Items filtered by date: Monday, 11 June 2018

On many campuses, students should carry ID cards to get their residence halls, take out library books, go to the fitness center and pay for lunch in the dining hall. But this practice could soon be a thing of the past, together with the launch of digital student ID cards on Apple Watches and iPhones.

Using Near-Field Communications technology, pupils will have the ability to access a multitude of services on campus just by waving their phone or see near subscribers that are compatible. Six universities have been working with Apple and Blackboard about the initiative, including Duke, Johns Hopkins, Santa Clara and Temple Universities and the Universities of Alabama and Oklahoma.

Rather than an app, the electronic student ID cards will probably be a part of Apple Wallet and linked to Apple Pay. The service is expected to go live in the six collaborating universities this fall. Contacted by Inside Higher Ed, not one of the universities enlarged on details like what version of iPhone or Apple Watch pupils would have to have to use the technology, nor if they are planning an Android equal of the system. Presumably, the technology will supplement (rather than replace) existing student ID card programs, rather than all students own Apple technology.

Joshua Kim, manager of digital learning initiatives at Dartmouth College’s Center for the Advancement of Learning, stated he is interested to see whether this initiative could be the”gateway drug” for additional cellular educational experiences from Apple — especially on the Apple Watch.

“Student IDs are still an interesting beginning, but what is more fun would be to think about other ways that Apple Watch could tackle some higher ed challenge,” explained Kim. The fact that the statement was made by Apple’s vice president of technologies, Kevin Lynch, is a promising signal, said Kim.

Speaking at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, Lynch described the electronic Student ID attribute within an”exciting” development which will”expand into more campuses over time.”

In the end of 2017, Apple started a partnership with Ohio State University, which involves the joint creation of apps for use on campus — a development that some observers said indicated a renewed attention from Apple on higher education.

Eric Stoller, a high schooling notion leader and Inside Higher Ed blogger, stated the Student ID statement is a”big deal” that provides Apple with”another helpful entry point into higher education,” as well as great PR for Blackboard and the universities involved with analyzing the technology.

A spokesperson for Blackboard verified that the company was working with Apple to create the student IDs, including that Blackboard would be supplying the compatible reader devices. The spokesperson said that the electronic student IDs would offer students”heightened security and outstanding advantage” on campus. Though not mentioned in the Apple announcement, sources reported that all the associations involved in the initiative will be a Blackboard Transact customer. Blackboard Transact is a subsidiary of Blackboard that oversees campus ID systems.

A spokesperson for Santa Clara University said the university had been”looking forward” to bringing its own campus ACCESS Card to the Apple Wallet, including that the technology could be available to students, faculty and staff to work with on and around campus by the end of the calendar year. The University of Oklahoma echoed this announcement, saying that its Sooner Card would likewise be available to students, faculty and staff.I

n a tweet, Tracy Futhey, chief information officer at Duke University, said that the initiative could enable students to get buildings and make payments across campus at an”even easier way.” She included her institution is”continually searching for technologies that can enhance student experience,” adding that working with Apple has been a”natural fit.”

Source: Diego Post

Published in World
Transnet squandered billions of rands and broke a raft of regulations when it altered the terms of a deal to buy 1 064 new locomotives, an investigation by law firm Werksmans Attorneys found.
The state-owned company commissioned the probe in July last year after allegations surfaced that massive kickbacks were paid on the deal. The accusations were contained in a trove of more than 1 million electronic documents, and were published by local investigative journalists.
Its board - which has since been replaced - said Werksmans didn’t uncover wrongdoing by any of its officials, an assertion the law firm has disputed. A copy of the Werksmans’ report dated December 7 was seen by Bloomberg.
It states that Transnet’s board agreed in 2014 to pay a total of R38.6bn for the locomotives from China South Rail, China North Rail, General Electric and Bombadier, but the bill rose to R54.5bn after the seven-year delivery period was accelerated.
Werksmans said it wasn't provided with any evidence that the National Treasury or Department of Public Enterprises approved the changes, and these weren’t rationally explained.
The report "identifies serious breaches of statutes, regulations, corporate governance and unlawful conduct in relation to the transaction - involving billions of rand," Werksmans said. The Daily Maverick reported on Werksmans’s findings earlier.
Inadequate information
A report drafted by Harvey Wainer that accompanied Werksmans’s findings asserted that "materially misleading", incorrect and inadequate information was provided to Transnet board members, and that they and the company’s executives failed to properly consider the implications of the deal.
"Part of the increase of almost R16bn over the estimated and originally approved total estimated cost appears inexplicable, unreasonable and excessive," according to the audit report.
"Various instances of suspicious conduct suggesting at the very least wasteful expenditure and or a willful disregard for the interest of Transnet and a cavalier waste of vast sums of money were identified."
Werksmans recommended that a judicial inquiry conduct further investigations, that Transnet take immediate steps to recover misspent funds and discipline those responsible and that the police’s Hawks investigative unit and the National Intelligence Agency conduct their own probes.
While Transnet provided some requested documentation to Werksmans, it didn’t volunteer information, which may have implied that evidence was "deliberately withheld or sanitised," the firm said.
It was unable to interview key witnesses including Anoj Singh, Transnet’s former chief financial officer, Niven Reddy from Regiments Capital, which provided financial advice on the deal, and Salim Essa, who owned a company alleged to have received kickbacks from a supplier.
Unjustifiable fee
A R100m fee paid to Regiments in 2014 appeared to be unjustifiable and raised concerns about whether Singh and former Transnet CEO Brian Molefe had conducted themselves properly in approving it, Werksmans said. Siyabonga Gama replaced Molefe as CEO in 2015.
Singh, Molefe, Reddy, Essa and Regiments have all denied wrongdoing.
Transnet’s board has been replaced since Cyril Ramaphosa took over as president in February from Jacob Zuma, whose almost nine-year tender was marred by scandal and whose allies have been accused of stealing billions of rand from state companies.
A judicial commission of inquiry, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, is investigating the alleged looting.
Popo Molefe, Transnet’s new chairperson, said the company’s old board had ordered a further investigation by another law firm because they were apparently unsatisfied with some aspects of the Werksmans report.
"The second report has been handed to me and I am yet to go through it with the directors and apply ourselves before making any decisions," Molefe said by phone on Thursday.
"All I can say right now is that the board of directors is getting all the facts and will at the appropriate time act appropriately."
Source: Bloomberg News
Published in Bank & Finance
A sacked official from a controversial new Zimbabwe airline has accused former president Robert Mugabe's son-in-law of kidnapping her, according to a statement she made to police.
Lawyer Bertha Zakeyo says she was held hostage by Zimbabwe Airways officials and security guards when she refused to vacate her office last week after she was dismissed by her boss Simba Chikore, who is married to Mugabe's daughter Bona.
Questioned by police
Zakeyo filed a complaint to police on Thursday. Chikore was picked up and questioned by police on the same day, reports the private Daily News. 
It said Zakeyo was sacked after she was accused by Chikore of leaking company secrets and holding unauthorised meetings away from the office.
Denied access to lawyer
"In a docket opened at the Highlands Police Station (in Harare), Zakeyo said Chikore – whom she accused of masquerading as a captain – kidnapped her for more than two hours and also denied her access to her lawyer," the paper said.
The existence of Zimbabwe Airways only became public knowledge recently. The company – which will likely be in direct competition with the struggling national airline Air Zimbabwe – recently purchased a second hand Boeing 777 from Malaysia Airlines. But the plane has not yet undertaken a single commercial flight.
Purge of ‘disloyal staff’
There is speculation that the Mugabe family has shares in the new company. This has been denied by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, which insists the new plane and others due to be purchased are entirely state-owned.
The Daily News said Chikore had "reportedly embarked on a purge of senior staff he accuses of being disloyal to the company".
Source: Daily News
Published in Travel & Tourism

African fans have always seen match officiating at the World Cup as one reason why their teams fail to do better than they have done so far. Now technology is set to come to the aid of African teams and their fans during the World Cup in Russia.

Earlier this year, football’s umbrella body, the International Federation for Football Associations (FIFA), announced that it will use the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for World Cup matches in Russia. It is one of the rule changes at the 2018 World Cup. The other allows a fourth substitute when the game goes into extra time.

BBC Sport described the VAR as,

basically like another referee’s assistant - but one that has access to TV replays from a multitude of angles.

A VAR will support the head referee in each of the World Cup’s 64 matches. The video assistant referee team, all top FIFA referees in their own right, are located in a centralised video operation room in Moscow. The system involves them watching the action remotely and then drawing the match referee’s attention to officiating mistakes.

Described as an “historic step for greater fairness in football”, the VAR will aim to reduce unfairness caused by “clear and obvious errors” or “serious missed incidents” in relation to:

  • Goals and offences leading up to a goal;
  • Penalty decisions and offences leading up to a penalty;
  • Direct red card incidents only; or
  • Mistaken identity (when the referee cautions or sends off the wrong player of the offending team).

The VAR is, particularly, intriguing because a year-long study by Belgian University KU Leuven shows that the VAR increases officiating accuracy from 93% to 98.8% and time lost using the system is just an average of 55 seconds. The university study is based on over 1,000 games where the VAR was used.

Rectifying poor calls

While, several analysts have focused on the VAR rectifying poor calls during matches at the 2018 World Cup, few point to why African fans (along with fans of other less favoured teams) welcome the use of the VAR. African fans have been alleging biased refereeing decisions for years at the World Cup – a case in point was in Italy in 1990 when Cameroon were controversially ousted by England. Two arguable calls went England’s way in that memorable quarter final against Cameroon prompting protests and riots in Cameroon by frustrated fans.

At the 1998 World Cup in France, match officials contentiously overruled two Cameroon goals in a game that Cameroon finally drew 1-1 with Chile, sending the African team home after the first round. Many Africans still believe that the officials were wrong to overrule those goals.

At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, African fans felt that Nigeria were on the receiving end of particularly poor, “biased” refereeing in their match against France. Perhaps, with the VAR, results would have been different in each of those cases.

Social perception

Austrian psychologist Fritz Heider’s attribution theory partly explains why African fans feel hard done by. More than 50 years ago, Heider wrote a treatise on the processes that impact social perception, on how ordinary people explain events as they do.

That treatise is an excellent tool for how the African World Cup fan explains the World Cup and failure of African teams.

This means that Cameroon’s victories on the way to meeting England at the 1990 World Cup were attributed to the team’s great play, and their ability, among other virtues. The African fans would most likely have cited forward Roger Milla‘s brilliance, the team’s collective speed and their individual talent as reasons for Cameroon’s victories.

However, they would not attribute the defeat against England to England’s talent, skill, tactics or other dispositions. For negative results like that, Heider informs us, attribution is no longer made to dispositions but to situations. Thus, the attribution or causes become poor match officiating, the systemic racism that denies African teams a chance, and so on.

Fans’ rationale

Heider’s attribution theory provides us ways to understand the rationale of the African fan at the World Cup. However, that’s about to change with the introduction of the VAR. Rather than concluding that a non-African referee discriminates against Africans, the VAR becomes the check against such anticipated discrimination.

Thus, the VAR will not only get calls right, it will make things fair and do so by creating an impression of fairness. At least, attributing defeat or failure to refereeing may become a thing of the past. Although, Heider argues, there could be newer attributions. This time, however, newer attributions may be the weather, the hotel, or other perceived disruptions.

Those are somewhat more palatable than blaming match officials. One thing we know is that improvements to the game often advance fairness. FIFA’s decision to play the final two group games simultaneously reduced possibilities of fixed results after Germany and Austria were widely believed to have fixed the result of their game at the 1982 World Cup which eliminated Algeria. So welcome to the VAR.


Chuka Onwumechili, Professor of Communications, Howard University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
  1. Opinions and Analysis


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