Telecom Authorities to Prioritize Customer Service

first_img– As President Sirleaf calls on WATRA to take the interest of consumers into accountPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has challenged delegates who attended the West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly (WATRA) conference in Monrovia last week to seek and promote the interests of consumers.The President made the appeal recently at the official opening of a two-day WATRA conference in Monrovia, which brought together delegates from ECOWAS Member States under the auspices of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA).The President called on ECOWAS Member States not to only focus on urban areas, but also the rural parts of the sub-region to protect the interests of students, small businesses, farmers, and ordinary people.According to President Sirleaf, ECOWAS is transforming from a Community of States to a Community of Peoples, and emphasized that ECOWAS is taking practical steps to meet the collective socio-economic needs of its people.She challenged the delegates to facilitate inclusive growth and progress among its people, which she believes is one of the key strategies of the implementation process.The President named telecommunications, transportation, energy, agriculture, security, commerce, and trade as programs in progress to meet the general objectives of WATRA. She then expressed her satisfaction “with the level of developments that have taken place over the last few years in the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) sector of ECOWAS.She commended the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly, especially the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), for the conference and called for healthy deliberations.Meanwhile, the chairperson of LTA, Angelique Weeks, said access to the internet has grown from 1.3 to 30.8 percent, while the percentage of citizens with telephones has also increased from 24 to 84.6 percent over the years.Since the adoption of the regulatory guidelines on access to submarine cables and landing stations in West Africa, many positive things have happened in the country, the region, and Member States, Madam Weeks added.“These are examples of some of the good things that we as national regulatory authorities (NRAs) can accomplish when we collaborate to harmonize policies and regulatory frameworks in the supreme interest of our respective countries. I am sure that many such examples can be found in each of your respective countries,” she noted.Weeks revealed that the average monthly price of wholesale international E1 capacity link from Monrovia to Europe was reduced from US$8,000 to US$750, while the monthly retail price of 1 megabyte (Mb) to access internet services has fallen from US$1,200 to $450.E1 is the European format for DS1 digital transmission.“It is in this regard that I urge each delegate to be tolerant and courteous as we engage in deliberations over the next two days to discuss ways and means to improve the manner in which we steer the affairs of WATRA and interact as national regulatory authorities,” she added.Also speaking, the outgoing chairman of WATRA, Gaoo Gomes, said based on past experiences, it is difficult to protect the interests of consumers in the sector, adding that WATRA’s main objective is to fight for the improvement of the sector with a view to protecting the interests of consumers.He noted that WATRA was established in 2004 to address the telecommunications network problems in the West Africa sub-region.Gomes commended President Sirleaf for her continued support to the sector by creating the enabling environment to improve the sector in Liberia and other parts of the region.The opening ceremony was attended by senior government officials including Dr. Frederick Norkeh, Minister of Post and Telecommunications; Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, chair of the Senate Committee on Telecommunications; Grand Kru County Representative Nimene Bartekwa, chair of the House’s Standing Committee on Telecommunications; and a representative from Liberia’s GSM operators.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Africa-EU Summit gets under way in Brussels

first_img2 April 2014International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane is in Brussels where she is leading a South African delegation to the 4th Africa-European Union (EU) Summit.According to the Department of International Relations, the summit affords Africa and Europe the opportunity to further strengthen political and socio-economic cooperation between the two continents.High on the agenda of the two-day event, starting on Wednesday, will be peace and security, trade and investment, human development and the future institutional and financial arrangements of the Africa-EU Partnership.Leaders from the two continents are also expected to use the opportunity to stocktake what has been achieved over the past three years, as guided by the Africa-EU Action Plan 2010-2013. The action plans was adopted at the 3rd Africa-EU Summit in Libya in November 2010.Issues concerning the financing of priority projects aimed at meeting the developmental challenges of Africa will also be addressed.Agreements that are due to be signed during the meeting include the Brussels Declaration of the Heads of State and Government, which is the main outcome document for the 4th Africa-EU Summit; the Africa-EU Roadmap; and the Declaration on Migration and Mobility.Nkoana-Mashabane is expected to hold bilateral consultations with her counterparts from Africa and Europe on the sidelines of the summit. South Africa’s delegation includes Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Last boys standing assure PH of bronze medals in boxing tourney

first_imgASBC Asian Confederation Junior Boxing Championships in Puerto Princesa – Day3 Session6 – Philippines’ John Vincent Pangga defeated United Arab Emirates’ Saif Al-Kharoosi at the flyweight (50kg). PHOTO FROM ASBC FACEBOOKPuerto Princesa—John Vincent Pangga and Kenneth dela Pena hurdled their respective opponents on Friday, assuring the Philippines of at least two bronze medals in the ASBC Asian Junior Boxing Championships here.Pangga beat Saif Alkharoosi of the United Arab Emirates by RSC (Referee Stops Contest) in the first round of their flyweight duel to barge into Sunday’s semifinals against Kazakhstan’s Talgat Syrymbetov.ADVERTISEMENT After drawing a bye in the first round, De La Pena, dominated India’s Selay So, 5-0, in the pinweight class to advance against Chinese Taipei’s Yu Chen-Ching.Syrymbetov beat Bhutan’s Tanding Wangchuk by RSC in the third round and, with his solid credential as Kazakhstan national junior champion, should give Pangga a tough fight.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsAnother Filipino, Norlan Petecio, bowed to Uzbekistan’s Sherzod Kodirboev, 5-0, in the lightweight division, leaving Pangga and Dela Pena to carry the fight for the host country in the event confined to 15 and 16 year olds.Criz Russu Laurente lost to Kazakhstan’s Makhmud Sabyrkhan by the same score in the light flyweight category on Thursday. NGCP on security risk: Chinese just technical advisers Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Though they will be pitted against internationally seasoned opponents, Pangga and Dela Pena promised to give it their best shot in the five-day competition organized by the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines headed by Ricky Vargas.The tournament took a break Saturday and will conclude on Monday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Silver lining Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games View commentslast_img read more

Panama Papers: Massive data on offshore accounts leaked by news group

first_imgAn international coalition of media outlets on Sunday published what it said was an extensive investigation into the offshore financial dealings of the rich and famous, based on a vast trove of documents provided by an anonymous source.The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, said the cache of 11.5 million records detailed the offshore holdings of a dozen current and former world leaders, as well as businessmen, criminals, celebrities and sports stars.A co-founder of the Panamanian-based law firm where the documents originated confirmed the authenticity of the papers being used in articles published by more than 100 news organizations around the world. Ramon Fonseca told Panama’s Channel 2 television network that the documents were obtained illegally in a hacking attack.The German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said it first received the data more than a year ago. The Munich-based daily was offered the data through an encrypted channel by an anonymous source who requested no monetary compensation and asked only for unspecified security measures, said Bastian Obermayer, a reporter for the paper.The data concerned internal documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. Founded by German-born Juergen Mossack, the firm has offices around the globe and is among the world’s biggest creators of shell companies, the newspaper said.Ramon Fonseca said most of the people being named in news reports about big offshore accounts were not the firm’s direct clients, saying the accounts were mainly established by financial intermediaries. He also said the firm did not engage in any wrongdoing.advertisement”We are not responsible for the actions of a corporation that we set up,” he said in the TV interview.Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela issued a statement saying his government would cooperate “vigorously” with any judicial investigation arising from the leak of the law firm’s documents. He said that the revelations shouldn’t detract from his government’s “zero tolerance” for any illicit activities in Panama’s finance industry.ICIJ said the law firm’s leaked internal files contain information on 214,488 offshore entities connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories. It said it would release the full list of companies and people linked to them early next month.Obermayer said that over the course of several months Sueddeutsche Zeitung received about 2.6 terabytes of data more than would fit on 600 DVDs. The newspaper said the amount of data it obtained is several times larger than a previous cache of offshore data published by WikiLeaks in 2013 that exposed the financial dealings of prominent individuals.”To our knowledge this is the biggest leak that journalists have ever worked on,” Obermayer said.The newspaper and its partners verified the authenticity of the data by comparing it to public registers, witness testimony and court rulings, he told the AP. A previous cache of Mossack Fonseca documents obtained by German authorities was also used to verify the new material, Obermayer added.Among the countries with past or present political figures named in the reports are Iceland, Ukraine, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Argentina.The Guardian newspaper, which took part in the investigation, published a video on its website late Sunday showing an interview with Iceland’s prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson. During the interview with Sweden’s SVT television, the prime minister is asked about a company called Wintris. He responds by insisting that its affairs are above board and calling the question “completely inappropriate,” before breaking off the interview.In Russia, the Kremlin last week said it was anticipating what it called an upcoming “information attack”.Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that the Kremlin had received “a series of questions in a rude manner” from an organization that he said was trying to smear Putin.”Journalists and members of other organizations have been actively trying to discredit Putin and this country’s leadership,” Peskov said.The office of Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, confirmed on Sunday that the business group owned by his family set up Fleg Trading Ltd., an offshore company based in the Bahamas. But it said Macri himself had no shares in Fleg and never received income from it.Macri’s office commented after La Nacion, an Argentine national newspaper, reported that he and his family had links to Fleg.Mexico’s tax office announced late Sunday that it would check on any Mexican resident or company mentioned in news reports on the leaked documents to see if there was any wrongdoing was involved.The ICIJ said the documents included emails, financial spreadsheets, passports and corporate records detailing how powerful figures used banks, law firms and offshore shell companies to hide their assets. The data spanned a time frame of nearly 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015, it said.advertisement”It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues,” the ICIJ said.According to the media group’s website, global banks including HSBC, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and others have worked with Mossack Fonseca to create offshore accounts.”The allegations are historical, in some cases dating back 20 years, predating our significant, well-publicized reforms implemented over the last few years,” HSBC spokesman Rob Sherman said in an emailed response to an AP request for comment.”We work closely with the authorities to fight financial crime and implement sanctions,” he said.UBS, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Also Read:Panama Papers name Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai among 500 Indians with hidden assetsPanama Papers list Putin’s aide, Nawaz Sharif, hundreds of Indians: 10 things to knowlast_img read more

Fun in the Sun

first_imgWhat better way to celebrate the #AustraliaDay weekend than the Yass Valley Touch Football Knockout way!The 29th Yass Valley Touch Football Knockout, the largest of its kind in Australasia, was held last weekend 28–29 January. A final 112 teams were confirmed to compete for the $15,000 prizemoney: 44 mixed, 40 men’s and 28 women’s teams with several teams on standby due to capacity, such is the huge demand year-on-year!Walker Park Yass transformed into a camping fun park with players from across the world and the country camping out under the Southern Cross and stars and enjoying the social and fun side of our great sport. The BBQs, music and Aussie flags were in full swing with the odd mini pool and ice tubs to take the edge off the warm conditions.View the 29th Yass Touch Knockout Review and Image Gallery – bigger and better each year with the big 3-0 next year!Congratulations to all the winners and participants on a great tournament. Please see the results below. Related Files2017_yass_ko_flowcharts-pdfRelated LinksYass Knockoutlast_img read more

10 months agoMan Utd boss Mourinho insists luck was with Liverpool

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd boss Mourinho insists luck was with Liverpoolby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Jose Mourinho insists luck was with Liverpool for Sunday’s 3-1 defeat.Sadio Mane had put the hosts ahead on 24 minutes, but a mistake from Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker allowed Jesse Lingard to equalise soon after. However, further strikes followed for Jurgen Klopp’s men after the break, with substitute Xherdan Shaqiri netting two deflected efforts to seal the hosts’ 3-1 victory.Mourinho said, “They had a strong team and showed they are the strongest team. It’s hard to concede two goals in the moments we conceded and even harder the way the goals happened [with the deflections]. I think our difficult period in the game was the first 20 minutes when we couldn’t cope with their fantastic intensity and speed and pressing. After that we were quite calm in the game and the game was controlled. “We can say of course they attacked much more than us, they had corners, they had more play in our half than we had in their half, but it was exactly the moment when the game was going into the dynamic when they were really frustrated. “You had centre-backs coming with the ball and shooting from 30 yards into the stands – that was a period when the game was more under control and we felt that we could win, even a little bit undeservedly, but it was the moment when sometimes teams that are dominating a game can lose matches. But that was when we conceded two goals. David [De Gea] was saying in the dressing room afterwards that they [Shaqiri’s shots] would have been two easy balls for him, but because of the deflections he had no chance.”Mourinho insisted luck was with the hosts, “If you want to speak about fortune, then speak about their second and third goals. Our goal was a good move by the side, I think [Romelu] Lukaku got in the space behind the full-back with a good cross and then Jesse [Lingard] arrived in a dangerous position and the goalkeeper made, what I used to call, half of a mistake. To speak about luck and goals we have to speak about the second and third goals.” last_img read more

13 hours agoWolves complete stunning away comeback over Slovan Bratislava

first_imgWolves complete stunning away comeback over Slovan Bratislavaby Freddie Taylor13 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveWolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo says his team are out to enjoy the Europa League after clinching their second group stage win on Thursday. The Premier League collected a courageous away victory over Slovan Bratislava, winning the match 2-1.Andraz Sporar’s deflected shot opened the scoring for the hosts after 11 minutes.But two goals in five minutes in the second half from Roman Saiss and Raul Jimenez sealed a memorable victory for Wolves, with Diogo Jota’s late red-card the only blemish on the evening.Nuno told BT Sport: “It was tough like we knew it would be. First half was difficult, we didn’t perform very well, second half was much better. They had one shot on target and that’s something we’ve got to improve, we can’t concede this goal.”Adama [Traore] helped a lot with his width and helping to unbalance them. With one man less it was about defending, we were brave and we managed to take what we wanted from the game. The Wolves fans here can go home happy.”Our aim is to enjoy this competition. You have to remember where we came from. It’s about enjoying it and seeing what happens at the end of it.”The young people were shouting, I didn’t expect that from them. It was so noisy and it gave Slovan an advantage and really helped them. It was better having them in the ground though, it’s more enjoyable.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

City of Calgary to release details of arena offer

first_imgA peak behind the curtain.The City of Calgary is releasing the details of its proposal to the Calgary Flames on a new arena Friday morning, just days after the team said negotiations weren’t getting anywhere, adding it was no longer pursuing a new building.After the announcement, Mayor Naheed Nenshi confirmed the basic deal was one-third of the funding from the city, one-third from the team, and one-third from a ticket surcharge.But he also added there was a lot more to it than that, which presumably is the part which will be released Friday.Sportsnet 960 THE FAN morning show host Dean ‘Boomer’ Molberg said the reaction from listeners to everything that’s happened this week has been split right down the middle.“I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I don’t think anyone is really threatened that the Flames would ever leave. This is a very profitable market, it’s a hockey market, it’s Canada and teams have left before but they’re not leaving now so I don’t know that fans really feel that threatened,” he said.The city is prohibited from releasing details of the Flames’ offer because of a confidentiality agreement.Boomer doesn’t expect the team to respond to whatever the mayor releases, but he wouldn’t be surprised if they did.“I think that they’ve thrown it down, they said they’re done and until something changes they’ll probably take that tack that they’re done negotiating,” he said.Still, he’s interested to see which side fans will take once we get a closer look at the numbers, even if they are just from one side.last_img read more

Twitter toughens abuse rules – and now has to enforce them

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – Twitter is enacting new policies around hate, abuse and advertisements, but having rules is only half the battle — the easy half.The bigger problem is enforcement, and there the company has had some high-profile bungles recently. That includes its much-criticized suspension of actress Rose McGowan while she was speaking out against Harvey Weinstein, and the company’s ban, later reversed , of an ad from a Republican Senate candidate that mentioned the “the sale of baby body parts.”Such twists and turns suggest that Twitter doesn’t always communicate the intent of its rules to the people enforcing them. In McGowan’s case, her suspension resulted from a straightforward application of Twitter privacy rules to a tweet that broadcast a private phone number. But the moderators who enforced the rules didn’t seem to take into account McGowan’s central role in speaking out against allegations of abuse by Harvey Weinstein. A widespread outcry followed, and the company reinstated her.Twitter has users “coming from lots of different parts of the world with different kinds of context,” said Emma Llanso, director of the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Free Expression Project. “And it’s probably impossible to have just one set of rules that works all the time. There will definitely be mistakes.”The company said it will “be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future.”EARNINGS RESULTSOn Thursday, Twitter reported a third-quarter loss of $21 million, or 3 cents per share. Excluding one-time items, the company earned 10 cents per share in the latest quarter.The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 6 cents per share.The company posted revenue of $589.6 million in the period, down 4 per cent from a year earlier but in line with forecasts.Twitter had 330 million monthly users, up 1 per cent from the second quarter. But Twitter also disclosed that it has mistakenly overstated monthly user numbers by as much as 2 million since 2014. The company said it’s because it counted users of a third party app when it shouldn’t have.CLEARER APPEALSTo make things more clear, Twitter will give users suspected of abuse more information after they appeal a suspension verdict. Appeals themselves aren’t new, but now the company says it will provide “detailed descriptions” of rule violations as part of the process.The company said last week that it will also email users when they are suspected of account violations, and next month will post details about the different factors it weighs when enforcing its rules.Since mistakes will happen, Twitter needs “clear channels” so users can signal when something has gone awry, Llanso said. “If you don’t have a really robust appeals process, then you only have half of a process.”Of course, some things are unlikely to change. Despite calls by liberal activists to ban Donald Trump from its service, Twitter is highly unlikely to do so , whether or not the president follows its rules against harassment.Grey AREASThis week, Twitter also unveiled new rules governing advertisements, especially political paid messages that have come under scrutiny during investigations into alleged Russian interference with the U.S. presidential election. The rules require election-related ads by and about candidates to disclose who is paying for them and how they are targeted.Other advertisers will also have to provide more information, including how long ads have been running and information for users who are being targeted. But the stricter policy, which includes requiring the organization funding the ads to disclose its identity, along with how much money it is spending on each ad campaign, only applies to so-called “electioneering” ads This is a clearly defined category that includes only those ads that refer to a candidate or a party associated with a candidate for an elected office.Twitter says it’s still working on a policy for “issue-based ads,” those often divisive messages on hot-button social issues such as immigration and race relations. Russian agents reportedly used many such ads on social media in an apparent attempt to exacerbate social divisions ahead of the election last year.Neither Twitter’s new policies nor the “Honest Ads” bill introduced last week addresses election meddling efforts outside of advertisements. Twitter, Facebook, Google and others are also dealing with spam and fake accounts that spread fake news and propaganda.And rules didn’t appear to stop outside actors from attempting to influence the U.S. election. It’s already against the law for a foreign entity to purchase election ads in the U.S., either directly or indirectly.AUTOMATED, COMPLICATEDIt’s one thing to enforce advertising rules in a print newspaper or a TV station, where real humans can vet each ad before it is printed or aired.It’s a whole other thing in an online ecosystem, where automated, self-serve advertising platforms allow millions of advertisers — basically anyone with a credit card and internet access — to place an ad.“It’s a complex environment with a very low barrier to entry,” said Chris Olson, CEO of the Media Trust, a provider of online advertising analytics and security. That makes even identifying the buyers of ads challenging, as the system currently relies largely on self-disclosure for identifications. While many advertisers will do just that, Olson said, bad actors will not.last_img read more

Court appoints receiver for ReidBuilt Homes as Alberta faces housing glut

first_imgCALGARY – One of Alberta’s largest home builders has been placed in receivership by an Edmonton court.Alvarez & Marsal Canada says in a posting on its website that it was named Thursday as receiver for insolvent ReidBuilt Homes and several subsidiaries by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.The company’s failure comes as Alberta recovers from an oil price-induced slump that led to concerns about “imbalances around overbuilding,” according to Richard Cho, principal of market analysis for Calgary at Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp.CMHC statistics show the inventory of built but not occupied new housing units reached a record high of 4,397 last March. Cho said they fell to 4,039 in September as the Alberta economy gradually improved over the summer.Documents filed in court by Royal Bank show that ReidBuilt owes more than $64 million and Emilie Reid, wife of founder Art Reid, who died in 2009, owes the bank $2 million. The company did not respond to a request for comment.Last month, Postmedia reported the company was attempting to sell its Calgary division, and had stopped construction on dozens of houses. Several media outlets reported that some contractors had not been paid.last_img read more