China space lab may fall to Earth later: European Space Agency

China space lab may fall to Earth later: European Space Agency

Tiangong-1

China’s defunct space lab could hurtle back to Earth later than previously forecast, with the European Space Agency saying it may re-enter the atmosphere as late as Monday morning GMT.

The ESA, which is tracking the craft, had earlier given a window of between midday Saturday and early Sunday afternoon GMT.

Chinese authorities have said the roughly eight-tonne Tiangong-1 is unlikely to cause any damage when it comes down and that its fiery disintegration will offer a “splendid” show akin to a meteor shower.

The abandoned craft is expected to make its plunge between the afternoon of Sunday and early Monday morning GMT, the ESA said in a blog post announcing its revised forecast.

In its update Saturday the agency said calmer space weather was now expected as a high-speed stream of solar particles did not cause an increase in the density of the upper atmosphere, as previously expected.

Such an increase in density would have pulled the spacecraft down sooner, it said.

The re-entry window remains “highly variable”, the ESA cautioned. There is similar uncertainty about where debris from the lab could land.

But there is “no need for people to worry”, the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) said earlier on its WeChat social media account.

Such falling spacecraft do “not crash into the Earth fiercely like in sci-fi movies, but turn into a splendid (meteor shower) and move across the beautiful starry sky as they race towards the Earth”, it said.

Tiangong-1 or “Heavenly Palace” was placed in orbit in September 2011 and had been slated for a controlled re-entry, but it ceased functioning in March 2016 and space enthusiasts have been bracing for its fiery return since.

The ESA said the lab will make an “uncontrolled re-entry” as ground teams are no longer able to fire its engines or thrusters for orbital adjustments.

A Chinese spaceflight engineer, however, denied earlier this year that it was out of control.

China will step up efforts to coordinate with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs as the re-entry nears, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Friday.

Beijing sees its multi-billion-dollar space programme as a symbol of the country’s rise. It plans to send a manned mission to the moon in the future.

China sent another lab, Tiangong-2, into orbit in September 2016 as a stepping stone to its goal of having a crewed space station by 2022.

‘Spectacular show’

During the re-entry, atmospheric drag will rip away solar arrays, antennas and other external components at an altitude of around 100 kilometres (60 miles), according to the Chinese space office.

The intensifying heat and friction will cause the main structure to burn or blow up, and it should disintegrate at an altitude of around 80 kilometres, it said.

Most fragments will dissipate in the air and a small amount of debris will fall relatively slowly before landing across hundreds of square kilometres, most likely in the ocean, which covers more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface.

Experts have downplayed any concerns about the Tiangong-1 causing any damage when it hurtles back to Earth, with the ESA noting that nearly 6,000 uncontrolled re-entries of large objects have occurred over the past 60 years without harming anyone.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, estimates that Tiangong-1 is the 50th most massive uncontrolled re-entry of an object since 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 — the world’s first artificial satellite.

At an altitude of 60-70 kilometres, debris will begin to turn into “a series of fireballs”, which is when people on the ground will “see a spectacular show”, he said.

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OLX releases significant platform upgrade in Nigeria

One of the world’s leading trading platform, OLX, is launching a brand new, overhauled app, and replacing its website and mobile site with a progressive web app (PWA), which is part of a global move to solidify OLX’s number one position. The changeover will provide new and existing users an easier, faster, safer and more local way of buying and selling used goods.

Through a number of new features, OLX has created a far safer buy and sell platform in Nigeria. The additional security gives users the most secure experience when trading through OLX.

Both buyers and sellers will need to register/login on the platform with verification happening either via mobile phone or through Facebook. Users will now have a profile, be able to see who they are talking to, and through Facebook verification, will be able to see if they have any mutual friends in common. This new layer of security will help to further prevent potential scammers and fraud.

“This is our biggest upgrade to date to the platform”, said Sjoerd Nikkelen, OLX’s CEO, AMEA. “The new version not only includes significant improvements to current OLX systems, but new features as well. We have improved every aspect of the OLX user experience, reaching a level of innovation that we are incredibly proud of.”

OLX has changed the way its products are displayed to users. The listings now appear in an intuitive newsfeed-style layout, similar to social media platforms. By using a device’s built-in GPS, the geolocation system will look at where a user is and which offers are available in his/her area. The search area expands as users scroll through the listings. All the regular search functions, such as category and product filtering, will still be available.

This new platform will ensure better quality ads for buyers, which is an important differentiator between OLX and its competitors. It is supported by a large team of moderators who check thousands of ads on a daily basis. OLX also uses a sophisticated algorithm that is able to pick up controversial or potential scam ads.
In order to keep making use of OLX, all users are encouraged to upgrade to the easier, faster, safer app.

The OLX Group is a global product and tech company which operates a network of market-leading trading platforms in over 40 countries.

With more than 330 million monthly users worldwide, OLX Group makes it fast and easy to buy and sell almost anything online, such as household goods, phones, cars and houses. Through consumer brands including Avito, Dubizzle, Letgo, OLX, and many dozen others, more than 15 million things are exchanged on its apps and platforms every single month.

The OLX Group is powered by a team of 5,000 people, operating from +30 offices across five continents. The team is united behind a single mission to make it easy for people to buy and sell almost anything, promoting prosperity in local communities.

“This is our biggest upgrade to date to the platform”, said Sjoerd Nikkelen, OLX’s CEO, AMEA. “The new version not only includes significant improvements to current OLX systems, but new features as well. We have improved every aspect of the OLX user experience, reaching a level of innovation that we are incredibly proud of.”

OLX has changed the way its products are displayed to users. The listings now appear in an intuitive newsfeed-style layout, similar to social media platforms. By using a device’s built-in GPS, the geolocation system will look at where a user is and which offers are available in his/her area. The search area expands as users scroll through the listings. All the regular search functions, such as category and product filtering, will still be available.

This new platform will ensure better quality ads for buyers, which is an important differentiator between OLX and its competitors. It is supported by a large team of moderators who check thousands of ads on a daily basis. OLX also uses a sophisticated algorithm that is able to pick up controversial or potential scam ads.

In order to keep making use of OLX, all users are encouraged to upgrade to the easier, faster, safer app.

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Online retailers not offering EFT payments risk missing out on revenue

Online retailers not offering EFT payments risk missing out on revenue

Online retailers not offering EFT payments risk missing out on revenue.

Research conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) last year reveals that on the surface, South Africa is a financially-progressive country. Around 76% of South African adults are banked, and many of these transaction accounts come with a debit, cheque or other bank cards.

However, South Africa remain a cash-orientated country and many of these transactional accounts are used very little. Only 24% make more than three monthly transactions of any kind – such as withdrawals, transfers, or card swipes – through their account.

It is not surprising then that according to Effective Measure’s 2017 eCommerce Industry Report, 54% of South Africans have not yet shopped online. Just like consumers who already shop online, shoppers sticking to in-store retailers say that a payment method they can trust would encourage them to shop online.

Karen Nadasen, PayU South Africa CEO, says that online retailers – particularly those looking to launch their websites – should recognise that consumers are likely to remain hesitant for some time to come.

“Rather than a risk to online retailers, this is simply a good reason to offer alternative payment options such electronic transfers (EFT) to encourage consumers to shop online,” she says.

“EFTs are fast, easy, and completely secure,” she says, “ideal for South African consumers who do not wish to use their cards online, or who do not have cards at all, but still want to enjoy the convenience of online shopping.”

Thomas Pays, CEO of i-Pay explains that as eCommerce has become more popular, payment technology – particularly that around the security of online payments – has advanced alongside to benefit consumers, including EFT payments.

“Consumers who are online demand shopping experiences that are less hassle than getting in the car and driving to the store, and the new generation of EFT payment integrations offer exactly that,” he says.

“No longer must consumers open their online banking portal in a second window, and then hopefully copy account details correctly. Merchants do not need to wait for customers to email proof of payment, and then wait some more for the payment to clear.”

Online retailers offering payment options like i-Pay alongside Visa and MasterCard allow their customers to make instant transfers on any device. Using i-Pay’s EFT solution is as simple as entering the necessary payment details, without the risk of credit card fraud and without the necessity of a credit account.

“In our experience, merchants and consumers alike appreciate a platform that comes with real-time instant payment notifications and as payments are always matched and easy to track, there is no additional administrative burden on the merchant,” adds Nadasen.

When consumers select i-Pay as a payment method, the process from login to order confirmation is quick and seamless. The entire transaction is heavily encrypted, as neither the retailer nor the payment provider has access to any online banking details.

Last year, the value of transactions made through i-Pay, increased by over 200% compared to the year before, suggesting the increasing popularity of EFT as a payment method.

“In today’s competitive business environment, online retailers cannot afford for consumers to abandon their carts, or not visit their sites at all, because they cannot pay in the way that they want to, because payment is too complicated or because mistrust the payment methods offered,” says Pays.

While eCommerce is still in its infancy locally, Nadasen believes that the sector is set to grow.

“This is particularly true once retailers help consumers realise that there are secure payment methods like EFT available,” she continues, “and that it’s not only credit card holders who can enjoy shopping online.”

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Telecom masts pose no threat to public says, expert

Telecom masts pose no threat to public says, expert

Dr Emmanuel Nwokorie, Chief Radiographer in Garki Hospital, has said that telecommunication masts do not emit radiations capable of causing harmful health challenges. Nwokorie, who is also a Nuclear and Radiation Physicist, said this in Abuja.

He said that the non-ionising rays coming from the installations were not as dangerous as X-rays and Gamma rays as being speculated.Non-ionising radiation is the term given to radiation in the part of the electromagnetic spectrum where there is insufficient energy to cause ionisation.“Masts generally emit non-ionising lasers radiation; lasers in our ways can be compared to microwave, but they are non-ionizing; they may not be harmful immediately.

“I do not agree that telecommunication masts can cause harm because the rays coming from the mast are not ionizing, but just lasers; they cannot cause immediate health challenges.”Nwokorie said that though non-ionising radiation lacked the capacity to knock off the cell from where they were, exposure should be minimized to avoid harm. He said that the cluster of masts called for concern because the level of rays and energy emitting from three or more masts at a time were more than a single mast rays.

According to him, people who live close to a cluster of masts may risk some level of health challenges over time.He, however, disagreed that telecommunication mast could also cause cancer.“I do not agree with people that say telecommunication mast can cause cancer because the radiation coming from the masts is non-ionising; so, they cannot cause cancer.”He added that research was still ongoing to quantify the level of emissions and the closeness of the houses that could lead to health challenges.

Nwokorie, however, warned that continuous exposure to the radiation from the telecommunication masts could make life support gadgets to malfunction or cause death. “Although masts radiations are not as serious as x-ray and Gamma rays, if the person is with cardiac cable and other life support gadgets, it could be disastrous; he may even die.

“When masts are mounted in residential areas, we may then look at the health implications, because as light passes through, people who are close to the masts might have health problems,” he said.Nwokorie, therefore, advised people who live close to the masts to demand safety reports from the owners of such facilities.

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CPN declares war on quacks in IT sector

CPN declares war on quacks in IT sector

ICT. Photo credit: Pexels

Computer Professionals (Registration Council of) Nigeria (CPN), said it is now mandatory for all persons and organizations seeking to engage, or engaged in IT training/Education, sale and/or use of computing facilities, and the provision of professional services in computational or related computational machinery in Nigeria to be registered by the Council and licensed to carry out such activities.

Deriving powers from the Act No 49 of 1993 which established it, CPN said it was also working with the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to ensure that IT contractors not registered with it (CPN) are blocked from getting and executing federal governments ICT projects.

Prof. Charles Uwadia, president/chairman-in-Council, CPN, said the Council is working to sanitise the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector of quacks.He urged IT practitioners not registered with it, to as a matter of urgency, register, said enforcements against unregistered players, which are referred to as quacks have started and would become more intense in 2018.

Nodding in agreement, Allwell Achumba, registrar/secretary to Council, said since IT is the fulcrum of any thriving economy, the Council has chosen to focus on it as a tool to grow the economy and prepare local industries for global competitiveness.

Achumba, said that CPN as an Agency of Government that regulates and controls the practice of IT practice in Nigeria is taking the bull by the horn by convoking yet another forum with the media considered to be a major player and influencer in the IT eco system.

Achumba disclosed that though the number of members of CPN has been growing, “that does not stop us from moving against quacks in the sector. We have come to realise that for the industry to thrive well, we must do a kind of sanitisation.”

Also speaking, Kole Jagun, vice president/vice chairman-in-Council, said the Council won’t leave room for quacks to take over the industry. He stressed that the sanitisation of the industry would be nationwide and that CPN would do

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Facebook lunches #SheMeansBusiness  in partnership with She Leads Africa

Facebook lunches #SheMeansBusiness in partnership with She Leads Africa

Facebook has launched #SheMeansBusiness, an initiative designed to inspire and train female entrepreneurs across the country to build, grow and start their own businesses.In a recent study conducted by Development Economics on behalf of Facebook, it is estimated that businesses set up by women in Nigeria over the next five years (by 2022), hold the key to unlocking N19.7 billion for the economy, with the opportunity of creating a further 8.9 million additional jobs*.

“We know that when women do better, economies do better” commented Ebele Okobi, Facebook Public Policy Director, Africa.“The study conducted by Development Economics further highlights this, with research suggesting that an estimated 7 million new businesses could be set up by women in Nigeria by 2021* – placing a greater importance on the role of women’s entrepreneurial ambitions for overall economic and social development in the country.”

Partnering with She Leads Africa (SLA), #SheMeansBusiness Nigeria is the first to launch in Sub-Saharan Africa and will bring together thousands of female entrepreneurs in a series of day workshops and training sessions across six cities in Nigeria, including Lagos, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Abuja and Aba.

With applications opening on March 27th 2018 at sheleadsafrica.org/shemeansbusiness, training sessions will then be followed by post-training clinics aimed at re-engaging, advising and mentoring participants.

As part of the launch, a dedicated #SheMeansBusiness website will also be developed and feature:Inspiring stories from female trailblazers who are following their dreams. These are the entrepreneurs who are redefining what’s possible for women in business in Nigeria – inspiring those who might one day become new entrepreneurs themselves

Free tools and resources – online courses to give more women across Nigeria the tools, support and practical advice they need to grow their businesses

Access and information to a link of communities who can help advise and direct on setting and achieving business goals

Commenting on the partnership and trainings Afua Osei, Co-Founder of She Leads Africa added “We’re excited to continue our partnership with Facebook to expand access to the digital skills necessary to move African businesses forward.

We know that with the right tools and support, African women can compete on a global level and we look forward to taking these critical digital tools to entrepreneurs all across Nigeria.”

“In Nigeria women form the backbone of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the number of new women-owned small business Pages on Facebook increasing by 319 percent between 2016 and 2017”, said Abi Williams Facebook’s SMB Sales Manager, EMEA.

“#SheMeansBusiness aims to empower personal business ambitions and create opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs in Nigeria to meet and learn from others.”

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Researchers discover technologies to make computers run 100 times faster

Researchers discover technologies to make computers run 100 times faster

computer

Israel researchers have reportedly discovered technologies that will enable computer to run 100 times faster through the use of terahertz microchips.The findings were made by Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) physicist, Uriel Levy, and his team after three years of research, said sources from the university.

Now, two major challenges stand in the way of creating the terahertz microchip: overheating and scalability.However, in a paper published in Laser and Photonics Review, Levy, Head of HU’s Nano-Opto Group, and HU emeritus Prof. Joseph Shappir have shown proof of the concept for an optic technology that integrates the speed of optic (light) communications with the reliability of electronics.

Optic communications encompass all technologies that use light and transmit through fiber optic cables, such as the Internet, emails, text messages, phone calls, the cloud and data centers, among others. Optic communications are super fast but in microchips, they become unreliable and difficult to replicate in large quantities, said Levy.

Now by using a Metal-Oxide-Nitride-Oxide-Silicon (MONOS) structure, Levy and his team have come up with a new integrated circuit that uses flash memory technology – the kind used in flash drives and discs-on-key – in microchips.

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FinTech stakeholders urge banks to improve PoS capacity

FinTech stakeholders urge banks to improve PoS capacity

Stakeholders in financial technology have urged banks to enlighten their customers on the enormous capabilities of Point of Sale (PoS) terminal in the quest to make agent banking network viable.They spoke at the third quarterly PoS Innovative Summit held in Lagos organized by Global Accelerex , with the theme: Deepening Financial Inclusion Through Agency Banking.

According to them PoS has an important role in Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) financial inclusion policy.Emmanual Agha, managing director, Innovectives LLC, who delivered keynote at the event, said that PoS device is like a mini bank where bank customers can do everything they can do in a banking hall.

“You can open an account on a PoS terminal; make deposit, withdrawal, transfer, bill payments among other services. Consider the cost of building a bank branch to the cost of PoS device, this will give you an idea that a bank could stop rolling out branches and invest in Pos still achieve target of financial inclusion. With this we are going to make significant millage in financial inclusion efforts of CBN,” he said.

He stressed the need for banks to enlighten their customers on the various banking services that can be carried out on PoS at agent banking locations.“An agent is a representative of a financial institution. It is the bank that needs to enlighten the public that there is a lot more they can do on the PoS at agent location apart from cash in and cash out. Banks have a role to play in putting their voice out there, they are waiting for the agents to do all the heavy lifting and it is not going to happen.

“The way banks advertise their branches on their website, they should list on the same website different agent locations where their customers could go and get services,” he added.He however, urged them to collaborate with Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System to address problem of interoperability even as they are rolling out shared Agent Banking network.

“Since all the banks are connected to NIBSS, if NIBSS come up with a single Application Programming Interface (API), they should all adopt it. This means I don’t need to integrate with all the banks to attend to customers from other banks at agent location,” he said.Agha decried huge cash transactions going on every day at various market clusters such as Computer Village where over a million transactions happen between 9am and 4pm with only 1 percent of it going through electronically.

Victor Olojo, National President, Association of Mobile Money Agents of Nigeria (AMMAN), corroborating Agha, urged for efforts to revamp agent banking networks to ensure that it gets more attraction by making it viable and profitable.

“We have to ensure that technologies that are deployed for agent banking are compactable with the environment where it is been deployed. We have observed that policy formations around financial inclusion for rural areas are done by people that don’t understand behavioural pattern of the rural populace in Nigeria. It has always been Top- bottom approach against Bottom- top approach,” he noted.

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Facebook partners She Leads Africa to launch #SheMeansBusiness

Facebook partners She Leads Africa to launch #SheMeansBusiness

Abi Williams, addressing guests at the event

Facebook, the world largest social media platform on Tuesday March 27, launched an She Means Business, an initiative aimed at training and empowering thousands of female entrepreneurs Across Nigeria.

The initiative is designed to inspire and train female entrepreneurs across the country to build, grow and start their own businesses. In a recent study conducted by Development Economics on behalf of Facebook, it is estimated that businesses set up by women in Nigeria over the next five years (by 2022), hold the key to unlocking N19.7 billion for the economy, with the opportunity of creating a further 8.9 million additional jobs*.

“We know that when women do better, economies do better” commented Ebele Okobi, Facebook Public Policy Director, Africa. “The study conducted by Development Economics further highlights this, with research suggesting that an estimated 7 million new businesses could be set up by women in Nigeria by 2021* – placing a greater importance on the role of women’s entrepreneurial ambitions for overall economic and social development in the country.”

Partnering with She Leads Africa (SLA), #SheMeansBusiness Nigeria is the first to launch in Sub-Saharan Africa and will bring together thousands of female entrepreneurs in a series of day workshops and training sessions across six cities in Nigeria, including Lagos, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Abuja and Aba. With applications opening on March 27th 2018 at sheleadsafrica.org/shemeansbusiness, training sessions will then be followed by post-training clinics aimed at re-engaging, advising and mentoring participants.

Facebook’s SMB Sales Manager, EMEA, Abi Williams, said #SheMeansBusiness aims to empower personal business ambitions and create opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs in Nigeria to meet and learn from others. She said: “In Nigeria women form the backbone of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the number of new women-owned small business Pages on Facebook increasing by 319 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

At the launch, three women; Oyindamola Honey Ogundeyi, CEO, Fashpa; Bella Adeniran, Founder, Naphtali Party Rentals; Anike Lawal founder Mamalette shared their success stories on how they have used Facebook to grow their businesses, during a session moderated by Abi Williams, Facebook’s SMB Sales Manager, Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

As part of the launch, a dedicated #SheMeansBusiness website will also be developed and feature:

  • Inspiring stories from female trailblazers who are following their dreams. These are the entrepreneurs who are redefining what’s possible for women in business in Nigeria – inspiring those who might one day become new entrepreneurs themselves
  • Free tools and resources – online courses to give more women across Nigeria the tools, support and practical advice they need to grow their businesses
  • Access and information to a link of communities who can help advise and direct on setting and achieving business goals

Commenting on the partnership and trainings Afua Osei, Co-Founder of She Leads Africa added “We’re excited to continue our partnership with Facebook to expand access to the digital skills necessary to move African businesses forward. We know that with the right tools and support, African women can compete on a global level and we look forward to taking these critical digital tools to entrepreneurs all across Nigeria.”

“In Nigeria women form the backbone of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the number of new women-owned small business Pages on Facebook increasing by 319 percent between 2016 and 2017”, said Abi Williams Facebook’s SMB Sales Manager, EMEA. “#SheMeansBusiness aims to empower personal business ambitions and create opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs in Nigeria to meet and learn from others.”

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Get your Samsung smartphone serviced at the 2018 Rand Show

Get your Samsung smartphone serviced at the 2018 Rand Show

Get your Samsung smartphone serviced at the 2018 Rand Show.

Samsung South Africa has revealed that the Samsung service team will be at the 2018 Rand Show, which will be held at the Johannesburg Expo Centre in Nasrec, South Africa. The team at Samsung will be offering customers free software updates, discounted screen repairs and no labour charges for phone repairs. In addition, customers can stand a chance to win an extraordinary Samsung Galaxy S9 phone if they get a screen repair done at the Samsung Service Stand.

Richard Chetty, Director of Customer Service for Samsung South Africa, says, “We’re looking forward to participating in this wonderful tradition and offering our customers a peek at our new flagship devices, the S9 and S9+, as well as showcasing our first-class customer service.”

Whether families are keen to experience the adrenaline-fueled helicopter and amusement park rides and spend time in the Animal Kingdom, or browse the myriad stands displaying the latest products and services on offer, there’s no doubt that fun will be had.

“Visitors can simply drop their phones off for repair at the Samsung stand and leave it behind while they continue enjoying the Rand Show’s sights and sounds,” concludes Chetty.

The Rand Show opens on Friday, the 30th of March at 10:00 and will remain open until 8th April, giving families ample opportunity to join in the fun and spend great quality time together.

Edited By: Darryl Linington
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