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Letters to the Editor for Saturday, April 27

Letters to the Editor for Saturday, April 27

first_imgMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census Stop wasting time investigating TrumpIt’s about time the Democrats that were voted into office stop wasting taxpayers’ money and start working with our president. Get a life. Leave the president’s family alone. Read my lips, no collusion. What part don’t you understand? Do the job you were voted in for — solving America’s problems and make America proud again. Don’t you think it’s about time you get off your high horse? I pray that God punishes you for not standing up to the baby killers. Democrats want Trump’s tax returns for the past six years. Well maybe he should make them do the same. Why aren’t they investigating the Democrats’ tax returns? The president has a great idea. Send all of the illegal immigrants to the sanctuary cities and start with Pelosi in California. Have free college education only for the children of those serving our country.Another thing: Plastic bags are destroying our oceans and creatures. People should be charged 5 or 10 cents. Or they can bring them back and reuse them. They have reusable bags you can get and keep on using them. Or the stores can supply them with paper bags, which are biodegradable. Stop littering our country. James MaxfieldScotia Headline flipped the intention of reportThe Gazette headline on April 19 reported a masterful example of word engineering. Mr. Mueller, after two years of diligent effort to uncover criminal activity on the part of President Trump, had failed to “clear” him. As if their original mission was to prove him innocent. What happened to our judicial system’s tenet of “presumed innocent until proven guilty?” Ah, revenge is so sweet.Jim NorrisClifton Parkcenter_img Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionBeaver problem in Preserve is complexThe beavers in the Woodlawn Preserve have generated concern over the past few weeks. We’ve  heard from beaver supporters from as far away as California and local folks as well. The pond in the Preserve is a municipal retention pond designed in the 1970s to control flooding in the Woodlawn neighborhood. The last few years were very problematic, with the city expending quite a bit of time, effort and money to keep the culvert that drains the pond clear due to increased beaver activity. The state Department of Environmental Conservation was consulted, and its suggestions included breaching the dams on the Rotterdam side of the culvert, trapping to reduce the population, and replacing the current drainage grate with a different type of baffle.The decision to reduce the population was made by the city (not the Friends of the Woodlawn Preserve) following recommendations and permits from the DEC. But a new flow-control device isn’t the only solution to the problems the beavers are causing. Trees are a beaver’s food source, and besides chewing down a tree, they also strip it of its bark, resulting in tree death. Solutions include wrapping trees with wire or fencing off areas of trees to prevent them from being targeted by the beavers.Knowing that the beaver population will again increase, the city is continuing to explore more options under the guidance of the DEC, and we will continue to advocate for a different type of flow device to better control the water level.If you really care about the beavers and the Preserve, please join us in our efforts.Janet ChenSchenectadyThe writer is the chair of the Friends of the Woodlawn Preserve.last_img read more

Faster forensics, quicker prosecutions

Faster forensics, quicker prosecutions

first_img13 October 2010 The South African Police Service’s Forensic Science Laboratories have made a significant dent in their backlog, leading to more efficient prosecution and conviction of criminals in the country. Addressing journalists in Pretoria on Tuesday, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the backlog of cases being handled by the Forensic Science Laboratories had decreased by 19% between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010. The backlog in ballistics had decreased by 39%, in biology investigation by 33%, and in questioned documents by 21%. Mthethwa attributed the success to the turnaround strategy that was implemented in forensics. The laboratories play a critical role in the prosecution and conviction of criminals. However, most of them were not functioning optimally. Court cases, depending on forensic evidence, were being delayed, lost or dropped. International experts have been assisting the South African Police Service in identifying the causes of the backlogs, and have developed remedial steps to resolve them. Since February this year, an overhaul of human resources and skills, and upgrading of equipment, was undertaken to improve capacity. “We are pleased with this progress, while also mindful that the current functioning of the Forensic Science Laboratories (FSL) is far from ideal,” Mthethwa said. “We shall continue to strive to ensure that we transform the FSL into a world-class unit.” Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

‘Harness ICT to serve Africa’s people’

‘Harness ICT to serve Africa’s people’

first_img4 June 2012Information and communication technologies can help governments across the continent improve their services to citizens, Communications Minister Dina Pule said at the opening of the inaugural ICT Indaba in Cape Town on Monday.The three-day event, organised by the Department of Communications and endorsed by the International Telecommunications Union, aims to formulate an African agenda to promote ICT as a catalyst for socio-economic development on the continent.Pule told the high-profile gathering at the Cape Town International Convention Centre that governments could use technology to improve the quality of healthcare services as well as connect schools to the internet to improve the quality of education.Pule said that, through various regional ICT agreements, Africa was on track to overcome the challenges of connecting its cities, towns and villages.The African continent was now connected to Europe, North America and Asia by nine undersea cables, with the recent launch of the West Cable System representing the first connection to an undersea cable for Namibia, Togo, Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.Five more undersea cables were planned for the continent by 2014, including one connecting Africa to the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – partner countries. This would further reduce communication costs and improve the quality of internet services on the continent.However, in order for the technology revolution to benefit as many of Africa’s citizens as possible, governments needed to coordinate their efforts for improved development.“Deliberations in this conference have to lay the foundation for the harmonisation of continental policies, such that these cable connections can create thousands of jobs and enable millions of people across the continent to communicate at cheaper rates,” Pule said.South Africa had taken a decision to overhaul its ICT policies in order to achieve universal access to broadband much faster, Pule said. “To this end, we have invited nominees to serve on the ICT Policy Panel of Experts, a group that will work with the department to provide for policy recommendations.”The minister expressed concern that broadband prices in the country remained comparatively high.“We are taking steps to address this by introducing more competition in the data market. Through the licensing process which we have embarked upon, we expect to identify capable internet service providers who will make use of the radio frequency spectrum to push prices lower,” Pule said.South Africa’s IT sector is a leader in the fields of electronic banking services, pre-payment and fraud prevention systems, and the manufacturing of set-top boxes.“The local manufacturing of the set-top boxes, as part of the rollout of digital terrestrial television, will enhance this leadership position through greater investment in innovation,” Pule said.“We expect that this strategy will result in the creation of many jobs across the continent as factories go up to manufacture the boxes.”Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Freedom Park marks Women’s Month

Freedom Park marks Women’s Month

first_img6 August 2013Women’s Month celebrations began at Freedom Park in Tshwane, the country’s capital, where the struggle for women’s emancipation and equality was commemorated with the theme “A centenary of working together towards sustainable women’s empowerment and gender equality”.Hundreds of women from different walks of life were at the event, where they formed a 2km human chain along Reconciliation Road. The road links the two historical memorials of Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument.“As we join hands in unity to form the human chain, let us remember what drove the women of 1913 and 1956 to leave their homes and come together against the injustices of that day,” Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana said at the event on Friday.The injustices of today required women to form a united front to continue with the struggle for the total emancipation of women, she added.The idea of the human chain was initiated by Die Dameskring, a cultural organisation for Afrikaans-speaking Christian women who seek to make a difference in the communities in which they live.‘Awareness of modern day challenges’“We believe this initiative will not only bring awareness of the modern day challenges that women face, but also a better understanding of our history and the common goal of restoration and peace,” said Lynn Kruger, the executive officer of Die Dameskring.Homage was paid to women such as Charlotte Manye Maxeke, Sophie de Bruyn, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa, who took part in the 1913 anti-pass defiance campaign – the first protest by black women against the Union government – and the 1956 march to the Union Buildings, respectively.“This year’s commemoration coincides with the centenary of the Land Act and the last year towards the 20 years democracy since 1994,” said Xingwana.The array of measures that were introduced in 1994 to promote female empowerment had improved the position and the condition of women in the country.Although women’s empowerment had grown, many things needed to be done to eradicate violence against women, poverty, unemployment and exploitation – “challenges and gaps are still there and are being attended to”, added Xingwana.Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya, the Anglican Bishop of Swaziland, was at the event and said: “The objective of this gathering is to highlight women’s abilities to come together and heal a nation.”Gender equalityXingwana announced that the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill had been submitted to the Cabinet and was under consideration.The Bill would help to emancipate South African women fully from the plagues of discrimination and inequality. It aimed to monitor, evaluate and enforce all initiatives aimed at empowering the women of South Africa.It focused on vital issues affecting women and children and sought to establish a framework that would provide women, children and people with disabilities with the necessary governance authority to monitor, review and oversee gender mainstreaming and integration, the minister explained. The bill would provide for a number of issues, namely:Eliminating every form of discrimination against women and girls as well as women and girls with disabilities Promoting equal participation of women in the economy  Promoting equal representation as well as 50 percent position in decision-making in private sectors as well as spheres of government  Initiating and joining in partnership for a common goal  Monitoring of legislation that address inequalities, discrimination against women, violence against women, access to services and economic empowerment. “Cabinet’s approval of the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill will be an important milestone for the struggle for gender equality in our country,” said Xingwana, who added that the department was satisfied that its drive towards female empowerment and gender equality would finally be fulfilled.The Department of Land Reform and Rural Development has also made a commitment that will ensure that women have access to land.Celebrating Women’s MonthThis year marks a century since the 8 May 1913 Natives Land Act was passed.Among others, it deprived women of access to land. In 1913, the colonial government legislated that women living in the urban townships would be required to buy new entry permits allowing them to be in the towns each month.In response, women collected thousands of signatures and organised petitions to stop this law.Charlotte Maxeke, a religious leader, social worker and political activist, as well as South Africa’s first black African female graduate, led about 700 women in a march to the Bloemfontein City Council to petition the mayor to overturn the law.South African History Online explains the Act: “The Natives Land Act (No. 27 of 1913), also known as the Black Land Act, was passed because of constant pressure by Whites to prevent the encroachment of Blacks on White areas.“This law incorporated territorial segregation into legislation for the first time since Union in 1910. The law created reserves for Blacks and prohibited the sale of White territory to Blacks and vice versa.”National Women’s Day is observed on 9 August annually, in remembrance of the 1956 Women’s March in Pretoria. This year, the national commemoration will take place in Thulumahashe in Mpumalanga.Xingwana said that the month would be used to bring to the fore programmes that would help to eliminate gender-based violence against women and children.The minister also acknowledged women in South Africa who held high positions in business and government.Among those mentioned was former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, who is now the executive director of United Nations Women and is based in New York, as well as Nkosazana Zuma, who is the chairperson of the African Union.BrandSouthAfrica reporterlast_img read more

Why You Should Care About Blackmagic’s Acquisition of Eyeon Fusion

Why You Should Care About Blackmagic’s Acquisition of Eyeon Fusion

first_imgBlackmagic Design has acquired high-end compositing and effects app Eyeon Fusion, marking their entrance into yet another segment of the professional film and video market.At IBC 2014, Blackmagic Design announced that they had just (seemingly literally) acquired Eyeon Software Inc, the creators of the compositing software Fusion. Is this something you should be excited about? Given the spectacular way in which Blackmagic Design transformed DaVinci Resolve into a hugely accessible color grading application, yes you should be! DaVinci Resolve used to be hugely expensive, with a semi-clunky user interface and an unituitive workflow. Now it’s freely available, sleekly designed and constantly being improved. We can only hope that history will repeat itself with Eyeon’s Fusion.So why did Blackmagic buy Eyeon? It’s a little tricky to figure out, but time will tell. The best guess is Blackmagic’s attempting to go head-to-head with with Autodesk’s Smoke and The Foundry’s Nuke – both high-end 3D compositing applications. It’s not secret that Blackmagic has aspirations to tackle film production from beginning to end: shooting (cameras), video editing, color grading, encoding, monitoring. Fusion excels at combining motion design and composition, a current void in Blackmagic’s full production pipeline.This is what Blackmagic Design president Grant Petty had to say about it in an email he sent out during IBC:For years we have been amazed by the incredible Fusion software and what an amazing feature set it has for compositing. It has been the tool used on over 1000 major Hollywood feature films and has been used on some of the most recent blockbuster movies for some of the most complex effects scenes in these movies. It’s an incredible tool and it’s really Hollywood’s secret to doing some of these major effects shots.Now we have just completed acquiring eyeon software and for us, this is extremely exciting as, similar to DaVinci, we now have a second powerful software tool that has remarkable creative power. The guys at eyeon are also excited as now we can add better sales and support for eyeon’s software tools. So I think it’s a very good match.What is Eyeon Fusion?Eyeon Fusion, now in version 7, is a high end motion graphics and visual effects compositing tool that allows you to do things like rotoscoping, keying, and generating particle systems. If you check out the feature film credits listed on the Eyeon website, you’ll soon see that it’s a trusted and reliable part of the Hollywood visual effects industry’s tool kit. In the short video above you can get a feel for Fusion by seeing how you might go about creating a 3D lower third title in the program, using it’s node-based workflow. Hopefully the interface will get an overhaul once Blackmagic’s design team get their hands on it!Currently Eyeon Fusion runs around $2,500 US per license. Will we see Blackmagic radically slash the price and improve the app, just as they did with Resolve?Why Editors Will Want To Learn FusionIn this 30 minute interview with feature film editor Alan Edward Bell you can hear his take on why Fusion is such a compelling addition to the modern editor’s tool kit. Alan uses it to perform all sorts of visible and invisible effects such as splitting performances, speeding up slow performances, creating temp effects and much more. If you’re thinking that After Effects is an easier software to learn, then Alan would argue that the node-based architecture of Fusion, instead of the layer-based workflow of After Effects, is far more efficient way to work, especially when taking creative work from one project to another.“In a layer based universe you can get work done, there’s no doubt about it, but when you go back a month later when you have no idea what you did to achieve that stunning visual effect. when you go back to that layer you’ve got all these nested effects in all these layers. It will take you hours to figure out what you did. And if you want to recreate that on another comp, it’s very hard to just take that chunk… and pull it out and add it to something else. In a node based environment that is very easy. With nodes you can see exactly where all the information is going, and what each piece is doing.”Eyeon Fusion TutorialsThere is a wealth of learning materials available from the Eyeon website to help you start creating, including an online manual, a getting started guide and a comprehensive masterclass series of tutorials. If you want even more resources then you should also check out Jason Myres helpful post over on the Lift Gamma Gain forum.last_img read more

Pedro affected by transfer talks, says Barcelona coach Luis Enrique

Pedro affected by transfer talks, says Barcelona coach Luis Enrique

first_imgCatalan football giants Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique has admitted that the transfer saga involving forward Pedro Rodriguez is starting to affect the Spanish international.English Premier League club Manchester United has been reportedly interested in signing the 28-year-old. Barcelona are asking for a buyout contract worth $32.6 million which the English outfit is not happy with.”It’s difficult for him, very difficult,” Enrique was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk on Monday after Barcelona lost the Spanish Super Cup 1-5 on aggregate against Athletic Bilbao.”He always gives everything but this is not a good situation for him. I just want transfer market to close so that I can know which players I have and which ones I don’t.”Pedro played his part in a lively first half hour for Barcelona as they tried to overhaul Athletic’s 4-0 first leg advantage, but he also kicked fresh air when he had time and space to finish, gave the ball away in a dangerous area almost gifting the opposition a goal and picked up his third caution in three games.Pedro is not happy at Barcelona as his spot in the starting line-up has become irregular since Uruguayan Luis Suarez’s arrival from Liverpool. Enrique prefers three South American stars — Lionel Messi, Neymar and Suarez — in his attacking line-up and the strategy has proved successful, with Barcelona winning the La Liga and the European Champions League last season.last_img read more

Amit Shah blames Nehru for PoKs existence

Amit Shah blames Nehru for PoKs existence

first_imgMumbai: The Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) would not have come into existence had Jawaharlal Nehru not declared untimely ceasefire with the neighbouring country, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday.Targeting Nehru over “non-integration” of Kashmir with India, he said Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the country’s first home minister, should have handled the issue, instead of the then prime minister. Addressing a rally here on the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and to campaign for the BJP for the next month’s Maharashtra Assembly polls, he said, “I want to tell all BJP workers that our work doesn’t end at the removal of Article 370, our work starts now.” “It is our target to take this country forward on the chapter of nationalism and progress,” he said. Hitting out at the Congress and NCP, he said, they were “shamelessly” opposing the abrogation of Article 370. See P5last_img read more