Excitement as Nokia 3310 sets to hit the streets – again -17 years later

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How the new Nokia 3310 is rumoured to look like. Emphasis on rumoured.

Rumours suggest that Nokia are planning to bring back their iconic 3310 phone.

Mobile users of a certain age have been getting very excited on social media about the return of this sturdy, reliable handset.

If you were in the market for a new phone in the year 2000, then the 3310 may have been on your wish-list.

The Amazon listing describes a range of features, including a clock, calculator, the ability to store up to ten reminders and four games: Snake II, Pairs II, Space Impact, and Bantumi.

Snake was so well-loved that it’s currently available for iPhone, Android and Windows phone users to download.

As much as the phone render looks cool with a dash of Android built-in, don’t fall for these tricks just yet. There has been no official teaser from Nokia on just what the new 3310 will look like — no image leaks, no specs or features confirmation. Nothing yet.

Known primarily for its plentiful battery life and nearly indestructible build, the 3310 was released at the turn of the millennium as a replacement to the also-popular 3210.

HMD Global Oy, the Finnish manufacturer with exclusive rights to market phones under the storied Nokia brand, is planning to announce four such handsets at Mobile World Congress later this month.

How Western media and donor aid have connived to dim the flame of Africa’s development candle

Evidence of ineffective foreign assistance is widespread in Africa. The debate on how aid can be effective and contribute to Africa’s development is ongoing, without any clear way forward. This suggests that there is more to the African problem and that aid is not likely to turn things around, writes  Alex Taremwa.

Can Africa take care of itself? Photo: Department of foreign affairs and trade, Australia

Can Africa take care of itself?  Photo: Department of foreign affairs and trade, Australia

On the day of the African Child (16 June), This is Africa, using the giant search engine Google, conducted a survey to capture the portrayal of African children on the Internet. The result, as always, was that of malnourished, hungry, poverty-stricken and disease-laden children.

This portrayal of Africa directly correlates with how Western media has covered Africa over the years. Often the picture presented is of despair and hopelessness; one that mostly appeals to pity, sympathy and charity.

The response from the developed nations has been a massive transfer of financial and other forms of aid to African governments. In 2013, Africa received about US$135 billion in loans, foreign and development aid, according to the BBC.

Over the past 60 years, Africa has been the recipient of over $1 trillionin development-related aid, mostly from Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway and Denmark, the most generous nations as of 2014, and of course, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Although this could have boosted the per capita GDP growth of several nations, the livelihoods of most populations in sub-Saharan African haven’t changed much. The million-dollar question then is: What has all this money done?

What has aid done for Africa so far?

Dambisa Moyo, a World Bank economist, former consultant at Goldman Sachs and author of, among other books, Dead Aidargues that money from rich countries has trapped many African countries in a cycle of corruption, slower economic growth and poverty. “The insidious aid culture has left African countries more debt-laden, more inflation-prone, more vulnerable to the vagaries of the currency markets and more unattractive to higher-quality investment. It’s increased the risk of civil conflict and unrest (the fact that over 60% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under the age of 24 with few economic prospects is a cause for worry). Aid is an unmitigated political, economic and humanitarian disaster.”

In her book, Moyo highlights the destructive nature of aid in Africa's development. Photo: oneVillage Initiative/ Flickr

The African continent is indeed debt-laden, suffering from massive unemployment figures, poor housing and infrastructure systems, rotten health and education structures, power-hungry dictators, war and conflict, disease, famine and poverty, among other problems. Is aid to blame for this mess? Renowned Ugandan journalist Andrew Mwenda agrees – to some extent.

“The wrong framing is a product of thinking that Africa is a place of despair. In the process, Africa has been stripped of self-initiative,” Andrew Mwenda.

Mwenda admits that although despair, civil war, hunger and famine are part of the African reality, they are not the only reality. In fact, they are the smallest reality.

“The wrong framing is a product of thinking that Africa is a place of despair. What should we do with it? We should give food to the hungry. We should deliver medicines to those who are ill. We should send peacekeeping troops to serve those who are facing a civil war. And in the process, Africa has been stripped of self-initiative.” “The wrong framing is a product of thinking that Africa is a place of despair. In the process, Africa has been stripped of self-initiative.” Andrew Mwenda 

 

Is all aid destructive?

For decades, Africa has failed to engage the rest of the world in tangible partnerships that promote trade and create markets for its exports. Africa, previously the biggest exporter of coffee and cotton, among other produce, has been overtaken by the Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia.

Under the Cotonou Agreement, formerly known as the Lomé Convention, African countries were given an opportunity by Europe to export goods, duty-free, to the European Union market. Uganda, in particular, had a quota to export 50 000 metric tons of sugar to the European Union market. Not even a kilogram has been exported.

Uganda, like most African countries, now largely imports and consumes more than it produces. Although this trend should have changed, aid, according to Andrew Mwenda, is the wrong instrument to help Africa turn the corner. African countries would benefit if they concentrated on building and strengthening internal institutional policies, through empowering their citizenry and encouraging local investment.

Governments in Africa have been given the opportunity by the international community to avoid building productive arrangements with their own citizens. They accept advice from the IMF and the World Bank on what their citizens need. “In the process, we, the African people, have been sidelined from the policy-making, policy-orientation and policy-implementation process in our own countries,” Mwenda explains.

 

Does Africa need saving?

Akon certainly doesn’t agree. The Senegalese-American musician, songwriter and producer, who recently set his sights on philanthropy, recently told Al Jazeera that the Western world cannot under any circumstances claim to be saving Africa after several years of conning Africa.

Although Akon has participated in celebrity campaigns aimed at mobilising funds for Africa, he argues that Africans must play a central role in promoting and re-branding their continent.

Akon further notes that although Africa would benefit from partnerships with the developed world, it does not need saving by the international cartel of good intentions. He argues that in fact it has always been Africa that was saving those nations.

“Africa to a greater extent has been the anchor to the rest of the world. Every natural resource that is keeping every country running is a resource that has been pulled out of Africa. Everyone benefits but Africa. So Africa doesn’t need to be saved. Africa is the one doing the saving,” the musician said.

A, M-pesa agent in Mwanza, Tanzania. M-pesa, born in Nairobi has become the largest mobile phone based money transfer service in Africa. Photo: Emil Sjoblom/ Flickr

The way out for Africa 

Crispy Kaheru, coordinator of the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) told This is Africa that the only way out is for the donor countries to take a backseat and let Africans engineer solutions to their problems.

“I am one of those who contend that local challenges can aptly be fixed by local solutions. And local solutions should emerge organically from within the context of the challenge/problem. The context can be historical, political, cultural, social, economic or otherwise,” he said. 

Rather than throwing billions of dollars at African problems, economists believe it would be beneficial for donors to assist in creating opportunities for innovative African entrepreneurs and the youth, thereby creating employment and, eventually, wealth.

The best illustration of this is M-Pesa, arguably the largest mobile phone-based money transfer service in Africa, which was born in Nairobi, Kenya. It was designed through a student software development project and launched by Vodafone with funding from Department for International Development (DFID) based in the United Kingdom.

Currently, M-Pesa has spread throughout Africa to as far afield as Afghanistan, South Africa, India, Romania and Albania, allowing users to conveniently deposit, withdraw and transfer money and pay for goods and services. If donors could restrict themselves to financing entrepreneurial and innovative projects designed by Africans to provide local solutions to their problems, it would be more beneficial.

With the world’s youngest population – a largely untapped human resource – and a growing, vibrant informal sector, Africa has the potential to take the big leap. Rather than sink billions of dollars into charity, donors can instead look to invest in developing a skilled force among Africans, thereby empowering them to create wealth and employment which will eventually spur sustainable development.

 

This article was originally published in This is Africa (TIA), a leading forum for African opinion, arts and music available through the website thisisafrica.me, mobile phone apps and online radio channels.

Youth unemployment in Uganda and the deadly relationship with illegal migration, human trafficking and modern slavery.

Uganda has been plagued by high numbers of cases of human trafficking of young people to the middle east. Due to a lack of stringent laws and minimum government intervention, it continues to be a large problem. Alex Taremwa explores the high youth unemployment rate in Uganda and how it feeds this dangerous form of modern slavery.

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Domestic Workers protesting Photo:Answers Africa.

Since 2005, approximately 25,000 Ugandan men and women have supported US-led operations in Iraq. While many have returned, thousands of Ugandans are still in Iraq and have been scattered all over Middle East countries, choosing to scratch out a livelihood in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In July 2015, Saudi Arabia and Uganda  entered into a  5-year bilateral agreement that would see the recruitment of one million Ugandan domestic workers to the Gulf Kingdom. 

The agreement set the minimum wage for Ugandan workers at 700 Riyals ($200) a month, lower than the minimum set for Filipino, Indian, and Bangladeshi domestic workers. While the agreement has received little attention in the press, reports indicated an unjustifiable optimism in Ugandan officials’ expectations of recruitment procedures and employment conditions in Saudi Arabia. Statistics put the number of Ugandan housemaids in Saudi at 500 housemaids since the deal took effect six months ago.

However, there have been several reports about the violation of the rights of Ugandan domestic workers in Saudi Arabia. As a result, after a recommendation from parliament, Uganda’s minister of gender, labour and social development, Wilson Muruli Mukasa, banned the recruitment and deployment of Ugandans as domestic workers in any foreign country with effect from January 22, 2016. 

Uganda becomes the fourth country after Indonesia, Ethiopia and the Philippines to ban their nationals from travelling to Saudi to work as domestic workers over concerns of abuse.

While the Ugandan Government had put in place legal and institutional mechanisms upon which more robust measures for detecting, monitoring, controlling and preventing illicit labour export, there still exist over 60 licensed and illegal agencies dealing in this trade.

In an exclusive interview with This is Africa, Ashaba Richard, 26, a returnee from Iraq where he was part of a joint US-Uganda mission for two years, narrated an awful ordeal of how some of his Ugandan co-ethnics had died in unclear circumstances in Iraq “fighting a war they weren’t a part of.” 

“Such information is kept away from the media for ‘security reasons’ but some of our people are stuck there earning pennies and doing mundane jobs,” he says.

In yet another ordeal, Betty Nakanwagi (real identity protected) resigned two weeks after she started work as a housemaid in Saudi Arabia due to unbearable work conditions. She narrated:

“I would wake up as early as 4am and work throughout the day and night till 2am and my body ached a lot. My colleagues and I were subjected to endless work without rest, not even breaking off to sip water moreover feeding on only one meal of dry rice without any sauce a day,” she narrated in vernacular as tears rolled down her cheeks. 

In another interview published in The Observer, a local tri-weekly, another Ugandan Sarah Naigaga explains how she escaped captivity in yet another Kuwait home. 

Sarah Naigaga (L) and the coordinator of the national anti-human trafficking task force, Moses Binoga at the ministry of Internal Affairs. Photo: The Obsever

“Since we don’t have an embassy or consulate in Kuwait,  I managed to escape and went to a Kenyan embassy and reported my case…and I was rescued. There is an 18-year-old who was taken to Kuwait by a one Matovu agency but she is currently missing and suspected to have been sacrificed by the family she was sold to. At times these Arabs kill Ugandans who go to work as maids and remove their organs and sell them to rich Arabs,” Naigaga narrated. 

Naigaga adds that it is more difficult to escape because their passports were confiscated by their agencies.

The local authorities have advised job seekers to use licensed job agencies. Experts, however, argue that this will not address the root cause of migration. 

The rise in illegal immigration across Africa

In Uganda, the Iraq mission opened doors to a massive influx of human resources to Arabia, Europe and the U.S in pursuit of a better life. Although some of this labour force is exported through legally binding means, the number of illegal immigrants from Africa to several parts of the world cannot be underestimated.

Away from Uganda, a recent report by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), estimated that at least 137,000 people had successfully crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe during the first six months of 2015. 

Between March and August 2011, more than 40,000 sub-Saharan Africans arrived on Lampedusa and, to a smaller degree, on Sicily and Malta. Many had been forcibly expelled by the Gaddafi regime and a large number of them applied for asylum in Italy. With the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in August 2011, the flow of migrants again almost stopped entirely  But began again in 2013 with the reorganisation of human smugglers.

Youth unemployment – the Ugandan twist

The Ugandan story is, however, somewhat unique. Unlike most countries like Mali, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya et al where citizens flee the oppression and repression of their governments or prevalent political situations, Uganda has barely had a significant political uprising since 1986. Why are Ugandans fleeing their country in large numbers?

According to the National Housing and Population census 2014, Uganda’s has a total population of 34.6 million people – 78% are below the age of 30, while 52% below the age of 15. It has the youngest population in the world and the second most dependant population after Niger.

The International Labour Organisation defines youth unemployment as a share of labour force age 15-24 without work but available for and seeking employment. 

In Uganda, a total of 400,000 youth are released into the job market annually after graduating at university into a labour market that has only 90,000 jobs, leaving many unemployed 

The national unemployment rate is reportedly at 3.2% and 22.3% for the youth. The figures are even worse in the urban areas as the unemployment rate in the city is at 12%, seven times more than in the rural areas where it is at 1.7%. 

Kampala, the capital city, accounts for 32.2% of Uganda’s youth unemployment, which translates to 36 per cent for university degree holders according to World Bank statistics. 

It is from these frustrations that the youth opt to try other countries to put food not only on their tables but also for their families. Therefore the journey to Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait is not always voluntary but a product of the prevailing circumstances. 

Youth Unemployment in Uganda Photo: Chimpreports.com

What has the government done?

In light of report by African Development Bank (ADB) that put Uganda’s youth unemployment at 83 per cent, the government introduced youth oriented schemes to help alleviate poverty  most of these schemes have been preyed on by corruption and most have either failed or achieved little success. 

These programmes include  the National Agricultural Advisory Services introduced by President Museveni in 2014, a partnership with local banks in 2011 to avail  funds worth Shs25 billion to youth for small scale enterprises. The youth programme was later reintroduced as the Youth Fund as the Youth Livelihood Program with a financial boost of Shs265 billion (about US$ 100 million) to cover a five-year period, after the failure of the previous one.

Despite these interventions, several agencies, licensed or otherwise, are flourishing in the business of exporting youth labour to Arab countries. However, even with horrific tales coming out of Dubai and Kuwait involving prostitution, human trafficking and gang rape and slavery, the government has been reluctant not only to empower its missions abroad to extract it’s suffering citizens but also bargain for better wages, working conditions  and fair treatment. 

In the Migrants’ Right report, a Ugandan columnist David called on officials “to first understand who domestic workers are and the nature of work they do.” 

He warns of the common violations committed against domestic workers such as “restricted mobility, lack privacy, non-payment of their meager wages, verbal, physical, sexual and psychological abuse and work long hours” emphasising their rights to “timely payment, freedom of association and collective bargaining, right to leave, privacy, treatment with dignity, respect, maternity leave and work contract.” 

Human Trafficking:

The 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report by the US Department of State found Ugandan officials complicit in cases of human trafficking. According to report, during 2012, a total of 45 reports of transnational incidents of trafficking in persons (TIP) were registered while 29 similar reports were registered between January and April 2013. 

Over 90 persons were registered as victims of transnational TIP incidents in 2012, while over 38 persons were registered as victims of TIP during the January-April 2013 period. 

Most of the victims are taken out of Uganda or brought to Uganda through fraud, deception or debt bondage in search of employment. The most common route taken is through Nairobi where the covert human trafficking rackets transport the victims in buses, process their visas and passports in Nairobi, and  board them on planes. 

The identities of people claiming to export labour are always hidden; they operate under fake names and fake identification documents without any known physical address or location. So for the victims, most of the communication with these unscrupulous individuals occurs online or via phone. This makes it hard to trace them. 

The anti-human trafficking coordinator in Uganda, Moses Binoga, revealed that government is signing protocols with foreign governments, mostly where Ugandans end up as slaves, so as to ease the task of tracking down the victims.

Bingo beseeches youth seeking employment abroad to use licensed companies as it is easier for the authorities to trace victims and bring them back home in collaboration with the licensed recruiting agencies and to always get enough information about the nature of jobs, where they are going to work and the type of agents involved. 

“Get information from police, ministry of labour, ministry of internal affairs, ministry of foreign affairs, all of which have got desks that handle cases of immigration and labour export,” he concluded. 

Human trafficking. Photo:informafrica.com

What can be done?

The story of youth unemployment, however unique in Uganda’s context, is not limited to Uganda. Most Sub-Saharan countries suffer from this endemic problem which, coupled with the prevailing political instabilities, has not only fuelled the influx of able bodied youth out of their countries but also kept the trafficking and illegal immigration business steadily on wheels. 

The solutions will arise from governments’ desire to create environments suitable for the youth to cultivate their entrepreneurial skills, profitable trading opportunities to accumulate wealth or invest heavily in the creation of well-paying and sustainable jobs to accommodate the growing educated mass.

This article was originally published in This is Africa (TIA), a leading forum for African opinion, arts and music available through the website thisisafrica.me, mobile phone apps and online radio channels.

Full speech: President Barack Obama’s last State of the Union Address

Source: The White House

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US President Barack Obama speaks during the State of the Union Address during a Joint Session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 12, 2016. Barack Obama will give his final State of the Union address Tuesday, perhaps the last big opportunity of his presidency to sway a national audience and frame the 2016 election race. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

Tonight marks the eighth year I’ve come here to report on the State of the Union.  And for this final one, I’m going to try to make it shorter.  I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa.

I also understand that because it’s an election season, expectations for what we’ll achieve this year are low.  Still, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the constructive approach you and the other leaders took at the end of last year to pass a budget and make tax cuts permanent for working families.  So I hope we can work together this year on bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform, and helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse. We just might surprise the cynics again.

But tonight, I want to go easy on the traditional list of proposals for the year ahead.  Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty, from helping students learn to write computer code to personalizing medical treatments for patients.  And I’ll keep pushing for progress on the work that still needs doing.  Fixing a broken immigration system.  Protecting our kids from gun violence.  Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage.  All these things still matter to hardworking families; they are still the right thing to do; and I will not let up until they get done.

But for my final address to this chamber, I don’t want to talk just about the next year.  I want to focus on the next five years, ten years, and beyond.

I want to focus on our future.

We live in a time of extraordinary change – change that’s reshaping the way we live, the way we work, our planet and our place in the world.  It’s change that promises amazing medical breakthroughs, but also economic disruptions that strain working families.  It promises education for girls in the most remote villages, but also connects terrorists plotting an ocean away.  It’s change that can broaden opportunity, or widen inequality.  And whether we like it or not, the pace of this change will only accelerate.

America has been through big changes before – wars and depression, the influx of immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, and movements to expand civil rights.  Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control.  And each time, we overcame those fears.  We did not, in the words of Lincoln, adhere to the “dogmas of the quiet past.”  Instead we thought anew, and acted anew.  We made change work for us, always extending America’s promise outward, to the next frontier, to more and more people.  And because we did – because we saw opportunity where others saw only peril – we emerged stronger and better than before.

What was true then can be true now.  Our unique strengths as a nation – our optimism and work ethic, our spirit of discovery and innovation, our diversity and commitment to the rule of law – these things give us everything we need to ensure prosperity and security for generations to come.

In fact, it’s that spirit that made the progress of these past seven years possible.  It’s how we recovered from the worst economic crisis in generations.  It’s how we reformed our health care system, and reinvented our energy sector; how we delivered more care and benefits to our troops and veterans, and how we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love.

But such progress is not inevitable.  It is the result of choices we make together.  And we face such choices right now.  Will we respond to the changes of our time with fear, turning inward as a nation, and turning against each other as a people?  Or will we face the future with confidence in who we are, what we stand for, and the incredible things we can do together?

So let’s talk about the future, and four big questions that we as a country have to answer – regardless of who the next President is, or who controls the next Congress.

First, how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy?

Second, how do we make technology work for us, and not against us – especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change?

Third, how do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?

And finally, how can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst?

Let me start with the economy, and a basic fact: the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world.  We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history.  More than 14 million new jobs; the strongest two years of job growth since the ‘90s; an unemployment rate cut in half.  Our auto industry just had its best year ever.  Manufacturing has created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years.  And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters.

Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.  What is true – and the reason that a lot of Americans feel anxious – is that the economy has been changing in profound ways, changes that started long before the Great Recession hit and haven’t let up.  Today, technology doesn’t just replace jobs on the assembly line, but any job where work can be automated.  Companies in a global economy can locate anywhere, and face tougher competition.  As a result, workers have less leverage for a raise.  Companies have less loyalty to their communities.  And more and more wealth and income is concentrated at the very top.

All these trends have squeezed workers, even when they have jobs; even when the economy is growing.  It’s made it harder for a hardworking family to pull itself out of poverty, harder for young people to start on their careers, and tougher for workers to retire when they want to.  And although none of these trends are unique to America, they do offend our uniquely American belief that everybody who works hard should get a fair shot.

For the past seven years, our goal has been a growing economy that works better for everybody.  We’ve made progress.  But we need to make more.  And despite all the political arguments we’ve had these past few years, there are some areas where Americans broadly agree.

We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job.  The bipartisan reform of No Child Left Behind was an important start, and together, we’ve increased early childhood education, lifted high school graduation rates to new highs, and boosted graduates in fields like engineering.  In the coming years, we should build on that progress, by providing Pre-K for all, offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one, and we should recruit and support more great teachers for our kids.

And we have to make college affordable for every American.  Because no hardworking student should be stuck in the red.  We’vealready reduced student loan payments to ten percent of a borrower’s income.  Now, we’ve actually got to cut the cost of college.  Providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that, and I’m going to keep fighting to get that started this year.

Of course, a great education isn’t all we need in this new economy.  We also need benefits and protections that provide a basic measure of security.  After all, it’s not much of a stretch to say that some of the only people in America who are going to work the same job, in the same place, with a health and retirement package, for 30 years, are sitting in this chamber.  For everyone else, especially folks in their forties and fifties, saving for retirement or bouncing back from job loss has gotten a lot tougher.  Americans understand that at some point in their careers, they may have to retool and retrain.  But they shouldn’t lose what they’ve already worked so hard to build.

That’s why Social Security and Medicare are more important than ever; we shouldn’t weaken them, we should strengthen them.  And for Americans short of retirement, basic benefits should be just as mobile as everything else is today.  That’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about.  It’s about filling the gaps in employer-based care so that when we lose a job, or go back to school, or start that new business, we’ll still have coverage.  Nearly eighteen million have gained coverage so far.  Health care inflation has slowed.  And our businesses have created jobs every single month since it became law.

Now, I’m guessing we won’t agree on health care anytime soon.  But there should be other ways both parties can improve economic security.  Say a hardworking American loses his job – we shouldn’t just make sure he can get unemployment insurance; we should make sure that program encourages him to retrain for a business that’s ready to hire him.  If that new job doesn’t pay as much, there should be a system of wage insurance in place so that he can still pay his bills.  And even if he’s going from job to job, he should still be able to save for retirement and take his savings with him.  That’s the way we make the new economy work better for everyone.

I also know Speaker Ryan has talked about his interest in tackling poverty.  America is about giving everybody willing to work a hand up, and I’d welcome a serious discussion about strategies we can all support, like expanding tax cuts for low-income workers without kids.

But there are other areas where it’s been more difficult to find agreement over the last seven years – namely what role the government should play in making sure the system’s not rigged in favor of the wealthiest and biggest corporations.  And here, the American people have a choice to make.

I believe a thriving private sector is the lifeblood of our economy.  I think there are outdated regulations that need to be changed, and there’s red tape that needs to be cut.  But after years of record corporate profits, working families won’t get more opportunity or bigger paychecks by letting big banks or big oil or hedge funds make their own rules at the expense of everyone else; or by allowing attacks on collective bargaining to go unanswered.  Food Stamp recipients didn’t cause the financial crisis; recklessness on Wall Street did.  Immigrants aren’t the reason wages haven’t gone up enough; those decisions are made in the boardrooms that too often put quarterly earnings over long-term returns.  It’s sure not the average family watching tonight that avoids paying taxes through offshore accounts.  In this new economy, workers and start-ups and small businesses need more of a voice, not less.  The rules should work for them.  And this year I plan to lift up the many businesses who’ve figured out that doing right by their workers ends up being good for their shareholders, their customers, and their communities, so that we can spread those best practices across America.

In fact, many of our best corporate citizens are also our most creative.  This brings me to the second big question we have to answer as a country:  how do we reignite that spirit of innovation to meet our biggest challenges?

Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there.  We didn’t argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget.  We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon.

That spirit of discovery is in our DNA.  We’re Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and George Washington Carver.  We’re Grace Hopper and Katherine Johnson and Sally Ride.  We’re every immigrant and entrepreneur from Boston to Austin to Silicon Valley racing to shape a better world.  And over the past seven years, we’ve nurtured that spirit.

We’ve protected an open internet, and taken bold new steps to get more students and low-income Americans online.  We’ve launched next-generation manufacturing hubs, and online tools that give an entrepreneur everything he or she needs to start a business in a single day.

But we can do so much more.  Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer.  Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources they’ve had in over a decade.  Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done.  And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control.  For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.

Medical research is critical.  We need the same level of commitment when it comes to developing clean energy sources.

Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it.  You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.

But even if the planet wasn’t at stake; even if 2014 wasn’t the warmest year on record – until 2015 turned out even hotter – why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?

Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history.  Here are the results.  In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power.  On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal – in jobs that pay better than average.  We’re taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy – something environmentalists and Tea Partiers have teamed up to support.  Meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly sixty percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.

Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either.

Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy.  Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future – especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels.  That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.  That way, we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system.

None of this will happen overnight, and yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo.  But the jobs we’ll create, the money we’ll save, and the planet we’ll preserve – that’s the kind of future our kids and grandkids deserve.

Climate change is just one of many issues where our security is linked to the rest of the world.  And that’s why the third big question we have to answer is how to keep America safe and strong without either isolating ourselves or trying to nation-build everywhere there’s a problem.

I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air.  Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker.  The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth.  Period.  It’s not even close.  We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined.  Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world.  No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin.  Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead – they call us.

As someone who begins every day with an intelligence briefing, I know this is a dangerous time. But that’s not because of diminished American strength or some looming superpower.  In today’s world, we’re threatened less by evil empires and more by failing states.  The Middle East is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation, rooted in conflicts that date back millennia.  Economic headwinds blow from a Chinese economy in transition.  Even as their economy contracts, Russia is pouring resources to prop up Ukraine and Syria – states they see slipping away from their orbit.  And the international system we built after World War II is now struggling to keep pace with this new reality.

It’s up to us to help remake that system.  And that means we have to set priorities.

Priority number one is protecting the American people and going after terrorist networks.  Both al Qaeda and now ISIL pose a direct threat to our people, because in today’s world, even a handful of terrorists who place no value on human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage.  They use the Internet to poison the minds of individuals inside our country; they undermine our allies.

But as we focus on destroying ISIL, over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands.  Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks and twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages pose an enormous danger to civilians and must be stopped.  But they do not threaten our national existence.  That’s the story ISIL wants to tell; that’s the kind of propaganda they use to recruit.  We don’t need to build them up to show that we’re serious, nor do we need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that ISIL is representative of one of the world’s largest religions.  We just need to call them what they are – killers and fanatics who have to be rooted out, hunted down, and destroyed.

That’s exactly what we are doing.  For more than a year, America has led a coalition of more than 60 countries to cut off ISIL’s financing, disrupt their plots, stop the flow of terrorist fighters, and stamp out their vicious ideology.  With nearly 10,000 air strikes, we are taking out their leadership, their oil, their training camps, and their weapons.  We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria.

If this Congress is serious about winning this war, and wants to send a message to our troops and the world, you should finally authorize the use of military force against ISIL.  Take a vote.  But the American people should know that with or without Congressional action, ISIL will learn the same lessons as terrorists before them.  If you doubt America’s commitment – or mine – to see that justice is done, ask Osama bin Laden.  Ask the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, who was taken out last year, or the perpetrator of the Benghazi attacks, who sits in a prison cell.  When you come after Americans, we go after you.  It may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limit.

Our foreign policy must be focused on the threat from ISIL and al Qaeda, but it can’t stop there. For even without ISIL, instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world – in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of Central America, Africa and Asia.  Some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks; others will fall victim to ethnic conflict, or famine, feeding the next wave of refugees.  The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians.  That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn’t pass muster on the world stage.

We also can’t try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis.  That’s not leadership; that’s a recipe for quagmire, spilling American blood and treasure that ultimately weakens us.  It’s the lesson of Vietnam, of Iraq – and we should have learned it by now.

Fortunately, there’s a smarter approach, a patient and disciplined strategy that uses every element of our national power.  It says America will always act, alone if necessary, to protect our people and our allies; but on issues of global concern, we will mobilize the world to work with us, and make sure other countries pull their own weight.

That’s our approach to conflicts like Syria, where we’re partnering with local forces and leading international efforts to help that broken society pursue a lasting peace.

That’s why we built a global coalition, with sanctions and principled diplomacy, to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.  As we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile, and the world has avoided another war.

That’s how we stopped the spread of Ebola in West Africa.  Our military, our doctors, and our development workers set up the platform that allowed other countries to join us in stamping out that epidemic.

That’s how we forged a Trans-Pacific Partnership to open markets, protect workers and the environment, and advance American leadership in Asia.  It cuts 18,000 taxes on products Made in America, and supports more good jobs.  With TPP, China doesn’t set the rules in that region, we do.  You want to show our strength in this century?  Approve this agreement.  Give us the tools to enforce it.

Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, setting us back in Latin America.  That’s why we restored diplomatic relations, opened the door to travel and commerce, and positioned ourselves to improve the lives of the Cuban people.  You want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere?  Recognize that the Cold War is over.  Lift the embargo.

American leadership in the 21st century is not a choice between ignoring the rest of the world – except when we kill terrorists; or occupying and rebuilding whatever society is unraveling.  Leadership means a wise application of military power, and rallying the world behind causes that are right.  It means seeing our foreign assistance as part of our national security, not charity.  When we lead nearly 200 nations to the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change – that helps vulnerable countries, but it also protects our children.  When we help Ukraine defend its democracy, or Colombia resolve a decades-long war, that strengthens the international order we depend upon.  When we help African countries feed their people and care for the sick, that prevents the next pandemic from reaching our shores.  Right now, we are on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS, and we have the capacity to accomplish the same thing with malaria – something I’ll be pushing this Congress to fund this year.

That’s strength.  That’s leadership.  And that kind of leadership depends on the power of our example.  That is why I will keep working to shut down the prison at Guantanamo:  it’s expensive, it’s unnecessary, and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies.

That’s why we need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion.  This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong.  The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.  His Holiness, Pope Francis, told this body from the very spot I stand tonight that “to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.”  When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer.  That’s not telling it like it is.  It’s just wrong.  It diminishes us in the eyes of the world.  It makes it harder to achieve our goals.  And it betrays who we are as a country.

“We the People.”  Our Constitution begins with those three simple words, words we’ve come to recognize mean all the people, not just some; words that insist we rise and fall together.  That brings me to the fourth, and maybe the most important thing I want to say tonight.

The future we want – opportunity and security for our families; a rising standard of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids – all that is within our reach.  But it will only happen if we work together.  It will only happen if we can have rational, constructive debates.

It will only happen if we fix our politics.

A better politics doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything.  This is a big country, with different regions and attitudes and interests.  That’s one of our strengths, too.  Our Founders distributed power between states and branches of government, and expected us to argue, just as they did, over the size and shape of government, over commerce and foreign relations, over the meaning of liberty and the imperatives of security.

But democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens.  It doesn’t work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice, or that our political opponents are unpatriotic.  Democracy grinds to a halt without a willingness to compromise; or when even basic facts are contested, and we listen only to those who agree with us.  Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get attention.  Most of all, democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn’t matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest.

Too many Americans feel that way right now.  It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency – that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better.  There’s no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I’ll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office.

But, my fellow Americans, this cannot be my task – or any President’s – alone.  There are a whole lot of folks in this chamber who would like to see more cooperation, a more elevated debate in Washington, but feel trapped by the demands of getting elected.  I know; you’ve told me.  And if we want a better politics, it’s not enough to just change a Congressman or a Senator or even a President; we have to change the system to reflect our better selves.

We have to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around.  We have to reduce the influence of money in our politics, so that a handful of families and hidden interests can’t bankroll our elections – and if our existing approach to campaign finance can’t pass muster in the courts, we need to work together to find a real solution.  We’ve got to make voting easier, not harder, and modernize it for the way we live now.  And over the course of this year, I intend to travel the country to push for reforms that do.

But I can’t do these things on my own.  Changes in our political process – in not just who gets elected but how they get elected – that will only happen when the American people demand it.  It will depend on you.  That’s what’s meant by a government of, by, and for the people.

What I’m asking for is hard.  It’s easier to be cynical; to accept that change isn’t possible, and politics is hopeless, and to believe that our voices and actions don’t matter.  But if we give up now, then we forsake a better future.  Those with money and power will gain greater control over the decisions that could send a young soldier to war, or allow another economic disaster, or roll back the equal rights and voting rights that generations of Americans have fought, even died, to secure.  As frustration grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background.

We can’t afford to go down that path.  It won’t deliver the economy we want, or the security we want, but most of all, it contradicts everything that makes us the envy of the world.

So, my fellow Americans, whatever you may believe, whether you prefer one party or no party, our collective future depends on your willingness to uphold your obligations as a citizen.  To vote.  To speak out.  To stand up for others, especially the weak, especially the vulnerable, knowing that each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, stood up for us.  To stay active in our public life so it reflects the goodness and decency and optimism that I see in the American people every single day.

It won’t be easy.  Our brand of democracy is hard.  But I can promise that a year from now, when I no longer hold this office, I’ll be right there with you as a citizen – inspired by those voices of fairness and vision, of grit and good humor and kindness that have helped America travel so far.  Voices that help us see ourselves not first and foremost as black or white or Asian or Latino, not as gay or straight, immigrant or native born; not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans first, bound by a common creed.  Voices Dr. King believed would have the final word – voices of unarmed truth and unconditional love.

They’re out there, those voices.  They don’t get a lot of attention, nor do they seek it, but they are busy doing the work this country needs doing.

I see them everywhere I travel in this incredible country of ours.  I see you.  I know you’re there.  You’re the reason why I have such incredible confidence in our future.  Because I see your quiet, sturdy citizenship all the time.

I see it in the worker on the assembly line who clocked extra shifts to keep his company open, and the boss who pays him higher wages to keep him on board.

I see it in the Dreamer who stays up late to finish her science project, and the teacher who comes in early because he knows she might someday cure a disease.

I see it in the American who served his time, and dreams of starting over – and the business owner who gives him that second chance.  The protester determined to prove that justice matters, and the young cop walking the beat, treating everybody with respect, doing the brave, quiet work of keeping us safe.

I see it in the soldier who gives almost everything to save his brothers, the nurse who tends to him ‘til he can run a marathon, and the community that lines up to cheer him on.

It’s the son who finds the courage to come out as who he is, and the father whose love for that son overrides everything he’s been taught.

I see it in the elderly woman who will wait in line to cast her vote as long as she has to; the new citizen who casts his for the first time; the volunteers at the polls who believe every vote should count, because each of them in different ways know how much that precious right is worth.

That’s the America I know.  That’s the country we love.   Clear-eyed.  Big-hearted.  Optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.  That’s what makes me so hopeful about our future.  Because of you.  I believe in you.  That’s why I stand here confident that the State of our Union is strong.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Entrepreneurs in 54 African countries to access $100m

By Franklin Alli

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Tony Elumelu, (Credit: ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

THE Tony Elumelu Foundation says it has earmarked $100 million (about N20 billion) facility for entrepreneurs in 54 African countries under its entrepreneurship programme (TEEP) for 2016.

The Foundation also invested a total of $4,860,000, including $1,405,000 in agriculture; $410,000 in education and training; and $365,000 in manufacturing, in 2015.

In a statement, the Foundation CEO Parminder Vir OBE, said the second annual round of the programme will commence from January 1 next year, adding, “The programme is open to citizens and legal residents of all 54 African countries. Applications for 2016 open on 1st January and can be made by any for-profit business based in Africa in existence for less than three years, including new business ideas.”

The CEO further stated that last year, the Foundation empowered 1,000 African entrepreneurs, selected from over 20,000 applicants, with start-up investment, active mentoring, business training, an entrepreneurship boot camp and regional networking across Africa.

“Entrepreneurs, with an average age range of 21-40, from 51 African countries completed the programme and received $5,000 in seed capital for their start-up businesses. The entries for 2016 programme will opens at 00:00am WAT on 1st January 2016 and will accept applications until midnight WAT on March 1st, 2016.

To be eligible, entrepreneurs must complete the online application form with questions on their background, experience and business idea, plans for growth and proposed pan-African impact. Applications are reviewed by an Advisory Board of distinguished African entrepreneurs.

“Africa does not need aid alone, it needs investment and it needs entrepreneurs. TEEP brings both and our ability to bring capital and the necessary support, for those who will help Africa harness its enormous potential is creating extraordinary opportunities across the continent,” said the CEO.

Stella Nakatudde, founder of ICT Company, Ella Solutions Ltd, based in Uganda, said: “Since being selected for TEEP 2015, I have learned invaluable life and business lessons, expanded and enriched my business network, opened our first office, hired two staff and closed two web development deals. TEEP is not just a means to start or propel your business; it is the torch that will light your entrepreneurship journey for life and the pen that will script your story in the new African Narrative”.

U.S Secretary of Commerce, Honorable Penny Pritzker commented “I am pleased to see Tony Elumelu investing in entrepreneurs through The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme across Africa to work towards fostering communities of innovation”.

“I set out to institutionalise luck with the Foundation and give back to the Continent that made me.”

In the words of Tony Elumelu, the Founder of the Foundation, entrepreneurship can chart a new course of development for Africa, with Africans taking responsibility for wealth creation, creating value adding businesses here in Africa and this is why I encourage applications from across the continent, regardless of age, gender, religion or colour.

TEEP is driven by Elumelu’s philosophy of Africapitalism, which calls for the African private sector to focus on long term investments that create social and economic prosperity in Africa, and take the lead role in Africa’s transformation.

About the Tony Elumelu Foundation:

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, the organization founded by Nigerian multi-millionaire investor Tony Elumelu to develop the next crop of African entrepreneurs, has announced TEEP 2016, the second annual round of the $100m Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) for emerging African entrepreneurs.

In 2015, 1000 young entrepreneurs from across Africa were selected into the programme and were equipped with mentoring, business training and start-up capital. In all, the Tony Elumelu Foundation invested approximately $4,860,000 in various businesses, including $1,405,000 in agriculture; $410,000 in education and training; and $365,000 in manufacturing.  The sector-agnostic programme funded start-ups across a further 20 industries, all based in Africa.

TEEP, a Pan-African entrepreneurship initiative of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, is a multi-year programme of training, funding, and mentoring, designed to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs.

Every year, for the next 9 years, TEEP will select 1,000 start-ups and young businesses from across Africa. The 1,000 start-ups selected from a pool of applicants will participate in a comprehensive programme which will include a customized 12-week business skills training course, mentoring, an entrepreneurship ‘boot camp’ and seed capital funding among other things.

TEEP opens for entries at 00:00am West African Time on 1st January 2016 and will accept applications until midnight WAT on March 1st, 2016.  To be eligible, entrepreneurs must complete the online application form with questions on their background, experience and business idea, plans for growth and proposed pan-African impact.

Further guidance and application procedures can be found on the online portal.

Why you’ll love Windows 10 

By David Goldman, @CNNMoney

Over the six years since Windows 7 was released, Microsoft has made its PC operating system far more intuitive and powerful by packing it with tablet- and smartphone-like features. A lot of those features debuted with Windows 8, but they still weren’t working perfectly.

Microsoft went back to the drawing board with Windows 10 to develop an operating system that will be familiar to Windows 7 users but doesn’t compromise on modern features. (Note: You’re not crazy — Microsoft skipped Windows 9 altogether.)

Windows 10 has a Start Menu, just like Windows 7 — only better.

On the left Start Menu column, you’ll find a list of your most used apps, most visited folders and recently added software. There’s also a button that will show you all your apps in a single list.

windows 10 start menu small

On the right part of the Start Menu, there is a grid of app tiles that you can arrange however you like. The “live” tiles will show you updates, such as the latest stock prices, the last show you were watching on Netflix, social media updates, weather, news and sports scores.

windows 10 start menu large

If you want, you can take the Start Menu full-screen by clicking the “expand” button — it’s kind of like having a tablet or smartphone screen for a desktop. But, crucially, it’s only there if you want it. The default is the familiar Windows desktop experience.

Windows 10 provides some design changes that Windows 7 users will welcome. For example, taskbar icons glow at the bottom when they are opened, but only the app icon that is currently being used is completely highlighted. In Windows 7, all open apps are highlighted, confusingly.

windows 10 files

Folder icons are far less glitzy and much more intuitive in Windows 10, making it much easier to view the contents of the folder at a glance before you open it. Gone is the confusing and redundant “libraries” directory. The task manager is also much simpler to use.

Windows 7 users should be unafraid of upgrading when Windows 10 hits store shelves later this year. There is hardly any learning curve, and the new bells and whistles alone are definitely worth checking out.

Better than Windows 8: 

So what if you’ve upgraded to Windows 8? Here are the big differences you’ll notice in Windows 10.

Windows 8’s odd tablet-style layout was confusing to Windows die-hards. You won’t find Windows 10 difficult to use. Windows 10 boots straight to the desktop, and it stays there.

If you have a convertible laptop or Windows tablet, Windows 10 has a “tablet mode” that recognizes when there is no keyboard or mouse present. But rather than make two separate tablet and desktop interfaces like Microsoft did for Windows 8, Microsoft chose to make the Windows 10 desktop and apps more finger-friendly for tablet users. They only morph a little to fit the device they’re running on.

So if you download a “modern” app from the Windows Store, it will run in a window, just like standard Windows software. The only difference is that it has a diagonal arrow button between the “close” button and the “expand” button at the top right of the window. That will take the app into “tablet mode,” going full-screen. But you can easily get out of that by moving the mouse to the top of the screen and clicking the button again.

windows 10 action center

Windows 8’s unhelpful charms bar has been replaced with the Windows 10 action center. There, you get notifications and access to handy quick settings, such as brightness controls, airplane mode, Wi-Fi and tablet mode toggles.

windows 10 alt tab

Also different is Windows 8’s app-choosing feature, that let you go back to the last-used app by swiping in fro the left. It has been replaced with a far more useful display of all your open apps on a single screen.

Touchscreen users can access the action center with a swipe in from the right, just as they can view all the open apps by swiping in the from the left. But, mercifully, Windows 10 put buttons for both on the taskbar so mouse and keyboard users won’t accidentally launch those features by putting the cursor too far to the left or right.

windows 10 cortana

Window 10’s New Features: 

Windows 10 isn’t just about correcting Windows 8’s mistakes, though. There are new features that Windows 8 users will love.

The coolest new feature is Cortana, Windows 10’s version of Siri, which appears net to the Start button on the taskbar.

“She” has a sense of humor (“I know Siri, but I don’t KNOW her, know her, if you get what I mean,” Cortana says in response to an obvious question). But in addition to barking voice commands and queries, the search feature is genuinely helpful.

It will search your apps, the Windows Store, the Web and your files to answer search queries. It’s a super-quick way to launch an app (just start typing and hit Enter when the app appears). And like Windows 8’s outstanding search function, Cortana can help you access deeply hidden settings with a few keyboard strokes, helping you avoid hunting and pecking through control panel settings.

Windows 10 also comes with multiple desktops, which is helpful for cleaning up a messy workspace. 

I have been testing the preview version of Windows 10 for a few weeks. There are plenty of things not to like, including the fact that you still can’t access all your settings from the “settings” app. We’ll cover more of the hits and misses in a fuller review once Microsoft gets closer to releasing Windows 10.

But the preview has shown me enough to confidently say that Windows 10 will be a breeze to use, a welcome change for both Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, and a big hit for Microsoft.

Salaries for sitting African presidents

By Africa Review correspondents, Mail & Guardian Africa & World Bank Group.

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When Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari recently announced that he and his deputy would take a pay cut, it was not entirely surprising for a man known for his austerity, and who faces a challenge cutting back the excesses in the country’s FINANCES.

But President Buhari is not the first African leader to announce a pay cut. In fact, it is a popular recourse for others trying to shore up their popularity, or facing tough economic times.

In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto last year announced a voluntary 20 per cent salary cut and invited other top government officials to follow suit. A few did, reluctantly.

In Tunisia, former President Moncef Marzouki, then facing an economic crisis in the post-revolution period, announced a two-thirds pay cut, slicing his annual pay from around $176,868 (Ksh 17m) to ‘just’ $58,956 (Ksh5.8m).

The Africa Review has compiled and analysed salaries of African leaders to try and see what they tell about the relationship between those in power and the governed. The search shows that only a few countries make public what they pay their leaders – a key finding itself that suggests a lack of transparency.

In many African countries, the first thing leaders do when they come into power is to increase their pay: In Egypt, for instance, the president’s pay shot up from a paltry $280 per month, put in place by the austere Mohammed Morsy administration, to $5,900 (Ksh584,000) per month just before General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi predictably won election.

In other countries, leaders take a disproportionate share of the national income for their personal use. In Morocco, the Treasury spends, by one account, $1 million a day on King Mohammed VI’s 12 royal palaces and 30 private residences. That is on top of $7.7 million spent on an entourage of royal automobiles, and a monthly salary of $40,000 (Ksh4m) paid to the monarch.

In 2014, King Mswati of Swaziland increased his personal budget, which includes his salary and the welfare of his extensive family, by 10 per cent to $61 million, a significant chunk of the kingdom’s overall budget. As the royal budget isn’t debated or passed by Parliament, it automatically became law.

Some presidents have deceptively small salaries but have, personally or through family members, massive control over their countries’ resources.

For example, President Eduardo dos Santos has a modest monthly salary of $5,000 (Ksh500,000) but is widely believed to control a lot of the wealth produced from Angola’s oil-industry, and his family members own some of the biggest enterprises in the country.

The Africa Review was unable to establish the official salary for Teodoro Obiang’ Nguema Mbasogo, the long-serving president of the oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, but it probably doesn’t matter.

With vast oil wealth and a population of less than a million, Equatorial Guinea has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world and should be a first-world nation. Instead, most of its wealth ends up in the hands of its notoriously corrupt First Family.

As an example, the US Department of Justice, in an indictment of the younger Teodoro Nguema Obiang’ Mangue, said the first son had spent about $315 million on property and luxury goods between 2004 and 2011, despite his job as a government minister paying less than $100,000 per year.

However, not all African leaders are money-grabbing, power-hungry brutes. In April 2015 Cape Verde President João Carlos Fonseca vetoed – for the fourth time, no less – a Bill that would, among other things, have increased his salary and that of other political officials.

The highest-paid leader, the research could find, is Paul Biya, whose $610,000 (Ksh61m) annual salary is almost three times that of South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, despite the South African economy being 10 times bigger than Cameroon’s.

Rather than simply rank the leaders based on absolute figures, The Africa Review decided to compare their gross annual salaries with the Gross National Income of their countries – basically comparing the leader’s pay with what their nationals, on average, earn.

Unsurprisingly, President Biya comes out on top again, earning 229 times what an average Cameroonian earns, followed by Liberia where President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf earns 113 times what her average citizen does.

Although Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud makes the top 10 with his annual salary of $120,000 (Ksh12m), the country is excluded from the comparative study due to the lack of verifiable GNI per capita figures.

Overall, it appears that leaders of poor countries tend to pay themselves more than those in higher-income countries.

Robotization; Evidence of the 4th Industrial revolution

By Kiberu Malik

Since the 1700s, the industry has under gone so far 4 major industrial revolutions. These were the 1760 industrial turnover that saw the introduction introduction of water steam powered mechanical manufacturing and development of machine tools and change of wood and other bio-fuel to coal and this resulted into the first steam engine made of iron and fueled primarily by coal in Great Britain.

Then there was another in 1840 known as the techinology revolution it involved introdution of electrically powered mass production. Build of railroads and large scale iron and steel production this revolution rapidly developed in Germany and United States.  A century later in 1950s, industry went through the 3rd revolution which was named as the digital revolution. This involved the change from analog technology to digital techinology. This involved use of electronics and IT to achive using of digital computing this included digital cellular phone, digital format of optical compact disc supplanted analog format such as Vinyl Records and Cassatte tapes.

Subsequently,  this brings me to the 4th Industrial revolution Known as Industry 4.0 and the rise of sopshiscatted human robots. The 4th revolution based on the techinological concept of CYBER-PHYSICAL SYSTEM known as the internet of things and internet of service. We are currently at the beginning of the 4th industrial revolution and the cyber physcial system.

This is known as the smart factory. In United States the SMART MANIFACTURING LEADERSHIP COALITION (SMLC) started this initiative. The 4th revolution is just starting and its climax will shift the MAN TO MACHINE TO MACHINE TO MACHINE commonly known as M2M process . This involves machines building other machines robots are used to build machines through a network of internts and the vision of industry 4.0 is to bring internet to the lowest level of human beings.

Industry 4.0 is characterised by strong customization of productions under the conditions of high flexibilized mass production. This automation technology is improved by the introduction by the introduction of methods of self optimization, self configuration and self Diagnosis. The current biggest project at this time is the BMBF leading edge.

INDUSTRY 4.0 AND MACHINE TO MACHINE(M2M) refers to technology that allows both wireless and wired system of communication with other device of the same type. However modern M2M communication has expanded beyond one to one and changed into a system of network that tramsmits data to personal appliance. M2M was originally used to automation and instrumentation but now its even used to refer to TELEMATIC application.

Under M2M. The machine are to detect the fault and fix it instantly and it can detect that a wrong is about to happen and prevent it immediately.  In industry 4.0. M2M has a total volume of 300billions dollars at the automation market. Using of the M2M in industry 4.0 will account for 27% of the 3.88 trillion dollars. And a sum of 675bn USD will result from the improvement of assest management.

And 1.5 trillion USD is expected through reduction of all form of waste even the waste of time by embedding M2M communication in the INDUSTRY 4.0.

INDUSTRY 4.0 AND THE NEW PHASE OF ROBOTS AND ROBO-THINGS:

The word robot has a Czech origin it was used in a science fiction play in 1920 where it referred to human clones that were raised to work. In many 2014 MARIEKE BLON CHIEF OF ECONOMIST OF ING BANK stated robot refer to every reduction of human labour with all corresponding digital techinology.

Today Robots are present in large number only in industry. Industry without robots is now almost inconceivable. They do everything covered by the three Ds; Dirty, Dangerous, and Dull work. Robots do it tirelessly and there is no doubt that they work better than human beings.

1961 General motors(US). Deloyed its very first industrial robot the first unimate model weight 1.8tons. More than 50years laters in 2013 almost 162.000 robots were sold worldwide and in 2015 more than 1.5m robots will be in use. Its expected 2013 and 2016 around 95.000 new generation robots will be sold with a total value of 14b USD. At present traditional industrial robots are involved into assistant to human in accordence with the vision of industry 4.0.

Currently RoboEarth is building an internet for robots and via industrial ip advantage. This justies the conclusion that intelligent robots and robothings will soon become a genuire force in society and will cooperate with human this includes self driving cars as swarm bolts. At the need of the 22nd century the 4th revolution will be at its pink however currently at its start with the movies you watch e.g iron man transformers its simply activation of the 4th industrial revolution to the world.

The 4th industrial revolution is one of the agenda of the NEW WORLD ORDER and SUPREMANCY OF MACHINES. Where machines will control the world over humans. The religious believers will interpret the industry 4.0 is one of the things which will cause the end of the world and the human race according to thier religious books like Quran and Bible because these books talk about such a process were the human race will be ended.

The NEW WORLD ODER predicts the coming of the 5th industrial revolution which will involve total replacing of human race with machines were human will be doing absolutely nothing in the industry world and in the 5th revolution USA will be estimated to have 1million army robots with a four structures i.e head,hands,legs and waist to reduce the number of human army soliders.

Will Uganda’s Economy survive the dollar strength?

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By Fosca Tumushabe

Mid this month, the dollar hit 3000 shillings. This is the highest rate it has ever been since 2009. For most of us, we have always heard of the dollar at a standard rate of 2500. With the dollar at this rate, it means the shilling is very weak and depreciating.

According to Trading Economics (www.tradingeconomics.com/uganda/currency) in November 2009 the dollar was at 1872.75shs the lowest record and in March 2015, it hit the highest record of 3050shs.

There are several influencing factors to this increase, both internal and external and with equally many effects on the economy.

Mr. Musa Mayanja Lwanga a research and policy analyst from the Economic Policy Research Center takes me through the cause and implications.

Investor inflows, especially in the oil sector have dwindled leading to a depreciating shilling. The decline can be attributed to the American SHALE oil technology that is likely to make oil drilling a lost venture. Most investors spend dollars however, with less investment there are fewer dollars in circulation making the dollar stronger against the local currency.

In the months that the dollar has gained on the shilling there have been increased capital outflows in terms of corporate dividends payments. A lot of companies made good profit and paid back their shareholders putting more local currency in circulation.

Furthermore, the government through the central bank is stocking up dollars in anticipation of funding for the various infrastructural projects like road construction, health centre renovations among others. The government is also stocking up dollars in order to be able to purchase of election materials in 2016.

The strength of the US dollar has been global. According to Eric Ombok of Bloomberg Business, the Kenyan shilling weakened 0.3% to 91.43 per dollar while the Tanzanian shilling fell 1.8% to 1.830 to the dollar. Eric mentions increased importation as a reason for the dollar’s strength.

Speculation on the local exchange rate market also led to the decline of the shilling. Just like on Wall Street in Manhattan, many Ugandans have joined the exchange rate market. Their opinions and speculations therefore affect the exchange rates in turn.

Increased government’s domestic borrowing which shot up since September 2014 further weakened the shilling. After so many corruption cases like that in the office of the prime minister, a lot of donors cut their support to the government.

This forced the government to borrow locally to meet its budget needs. Donor money always came in dollars but now most of the money is in shillings so the dollar is scarce.

There has been increased dollarization of the economy and thus creating “artificial” demand for foreign currency. Think about traders in Kikuubo and other property owners charging rent and other utilities in dollars. Many hotels, rental places, tours and travel companies, contractors of all kinds charge in dollars. This gives the effect we have been seeing lately, the local currency weakens drastically.

This state of currency has many implications on the economy and social-economic development;

The first to come to my mind is that inflation will edge up in the coming months through the cost of imports, but also through money supply. Soon the government will start to spend on election material and infrastructural developments putting more money in circulation than we have had in the past few months.

Rising inflation erodes the purchasing power, aggravates inequality, and could even haven implications on food security and nutrition especially for those households that are net buyers of food. Inflation also hurts growth and poverty reduction because it affects investment decisions

There will be financial implications, if exchange rates result into inflation then interest rates might be hiked, and this, as you would expect will make credit more expensive, further hurting households and businesses.

Banks will likely raise interest rates if the central bank raises the Central Bank Rate significantly. “I think that it is morally wrong for banks to raise interest rates on pre-existing loan contracts; I am not sure about the legalities. But banks being banks, they know how to circumvent the law, for example they will make you agree to (sign against) clauses that say that interest rates can vary (read rise) in line with market conditions”, Mr. Musa wrote.

He added that he thought that employee salaries would be revised every so often. “As a matter of fact in most cases it does not happen. So employees will be worse off.” Eric Ombok in his article ‘Uganda’s shilling falls to record on corporate dollar demand’ mentions that coffee exportation have been affected.

An article in The East African; ‘dollar surge hurting Uganda’s real estate sector’ also shows another sector that has been affected explaining that this is due to importation of building materials which leads to high construction costs. With sectors like these suffering, the salaries of respective workers suffer too.

The solution to all this is to stop some of the economic behavior that has led to the suffering of local currency. Government should be able to regulate most of the economic activities of the country. This should be a wake up call to Uganda to focus on local production than importation of goods and services that are sometimes even luxuries like Dstv.

According to an article ‘Dstv Uganda hikes subscription fees as the shilling weakens against the dollar’ from www.dignited.com, when the dollar hit 2830 in January, the Dstv dollar rate was at 2875 leading to an increase from Ushs26,000to Ushs28750 for the cheapest package and from 202,800shs to 241,500shs for the most expensive.

Therefore, it is important that consumer behavior changes as much as investment and general economic behavior in the country.

Marburg, the Ebola-like virus.

marburg_filoviridae_virus_infectionA 30-year-old hospital technician died of the Marburg virus this weekend in Uganda, health officials there announced Sunday. Marburg, like Ebola, is a hemorrhagic fever. It’s rare but severe.

According to NBC, officials in Uganda have quarantined about 80 people who came into contact with the victim, one of whom — the man’s brother — has developed the early symptoms of the disease. Sixty of those quarantined are health-care workers.

As with Ebola, there is no cure for the virus. And like Ebola, Marburg can have a high death rate for those infected. That’s leading many to wonder whether the Marburg case will begin yet another deadly outbreak of a terrifying disease in Africa, even though the bulk of the evidence suggests otherwise.

What is Marburg — and what are the symptoms?

Ebola and Marburg are the exclusive members of the Filovirus family of hemorrhagic fevers.

Marburg has an incubation period of five to 10 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After that, infected individuals can develop a severe headache, myalgia, a fever and chills. Like Ebola, those initial symptoms are similar to many other diseases, including malaria.

After a few days, the symptoms worsen. They can include nausea, vomiting, chest pain, a sore throat, abdominal pain, diarrhea and a rash. Eventually, severe cases progress to “jaundice, inflammation of the pancreas, severe weight loss, delirium, shock, liver failure, massive hemorrhaging and multi-organ dysfunction,” the CDC explains.

There’s a huge range in the disease’s fatality rate in previous outbreaks, from 23 percent to 90 percent.

How do you catch it?

Marbug, like Ebola, is not an airborne virus. The disease is spread through direct contact with the blood, tissues or bodily fluids of an infected person or, as has happened in many cases before, an infected primate or fruit bat.
Although Marburg seems to have its origin in and around Uganda, the first outbreak was actually in Europe: In 1967, laboratory workers in Germany and what was then Yugoslavia fell ill after handling African green monkeys imported from Uganda. There were 31 reported human cases and seven deaths, according to the CDC.

Other outbreaks have originated with travelers who visited caves inhabited by likely vectors of the disease, like the Kitum Cave in Mount Elgon National Park in Kenya. It’s believed that fruit bat guano is responsible for passing the disease along to humans in multiple instances.

In 1998, a larger-scale outbreak of Marburg infected 154 people, killing 128. Most of those infected were young males working in a gold mine there, according to the CDC. Another large outbreak in Angola infected 252 people and killed 227 in 2004.

Once a human catches the disease from an animal vector, it spreads person to person through direct contact. Often, as with Ebola, the people who care for human victims of Marburg are at the highest risk of becoming infected themselves.

What’s the treatment?

There is no specific treatment for Marburg, nor is there a proven vaccine or cure. Hospitalized patients should receive “general supportive therapy,” the World Health Organization notes. That includes treating any complicating infections, balancing fluids and electrolytes and replacing any blood loss.

Because of Marburg’s close relation to Ebola, there are experimental treatments being developed by some of the same companies working on Ebola drugs. Tekmira pharmaceutical announced that it had tested a drug on lab monkeys infected with a particularly deadly strain of Marburg. Many of the animals treated with the drug, even after the onset of symptoms, recovered, according to Reuters. Tekmira makes TKM-Ebola, one of a handful of experimental Ebola treatments used on Americans who caught Ebola in West Africa.

Will the Marburg virus be at the center of the next terrifying outbreak?

We can’t predict the future, but this seems extremely unlikely. Uganda has experienced previous outbreaks of both Ebola and Marburg and controlled them. Here’s what the country’s prime minister had to say about the potential for a large-scale outbreak in his country after the Marburg victim died:

Ruhakana Rugunda, who became prime minister in 2014, is a physician who used to serve as the country’s health minister.

According to the CDC, the most recent Marburg outbreak in Uganda infected 15 people and killed four. The outbreak lasted three weeks.

Although Marburg is deadly, it is not particularly easy to catch. If an outbreak is identified early and controlled, it is unlikely to escalate the way the current Ebola outbreak has in West Africa.

Source: The Washington Post

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