April 2007


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Online monitoring of fertiliser subsidy will start soon in India

An online system to monitor subsidy provided to fertiliser companies will be launched soon in India to remove distribution bottlenecks.

The Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan has said that an online system will monitor from Delhi, the subsidies being given to fertiliser companies to avoid problems being faced in distribution. The Minister said that monitoring would take place even at the district level to avoid bottlenecks in the movement of fertilisers.         
Indian Express

Community radio

IGNOU plans to set up new radio stations in Northeast India

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has announced plans for coming up with new radio stations in various parts of India.

The plan proposes to set up new stations in North East Region at Agartala, Aizwal, Gangtok, Imphal, Itanagar and Kohima during the 11th Plan Period to facilitate rural students through community radio programmes.

Radio dramas help in combating HIV/AIDS

Listening to radio dramas, it is claimed, has raised the level of awareness among  women folk in the region of Mekong, in warding off HIV/AIDS, and fighting trafficking and drug use etc.

The minority women belonging to the ethnic groups of the Thai-Myanmar-Laos-China border regions are vulnerable to sexual exploitation because of their limited education, and lack of knowledge about how to protect themselves. Radio dramas are thus found to be an effective vehicle for reaching out to the young people who are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Native speakers write the dramas in the local languages and the dramas are based on intensive research on life stories, issues and concerns.



Global launches cultural e-Learning portal in India

Global Adjustments, a cross-cultural education and destination services company, has launched an e-Learning portal,
www.globalindian.com, which is to be India's first web-based cross-cultural educational portal.

The portal is specifically designed for professionals seeking to function effectively in a global environment. Dayanidhi Maran, union minister of IT formally launched the e-Learning portal in Chennai. The e-learning portal is designed in such a way that it offers the learner an ample space and time using innovative multimedia technology.

Australia's DET provides ICT skills to 100 schools

Western Australia's Department of Education and Training (DET) has provided a technology infrastructure upgrade at an initial total of 100 schools in Australia. DET has already completed its first phase of 'Learning with ICT' project, including 14 schools in the Albany area in January.

'Learning with ICT' project involves key upgrades to schools' IT infrastructure along with associated professional development for staff. The Learning with ICT project also involves the provision of additional computers to schools, electrical upgrades, network cable upgrades and professional development of staff. DET has already provided computers with Windows/Intel to 96 percent of government departments, while four percent have Apple computers. 



Canada is going to support health research in developing countries

Canada's Government has recently announced that it will spend CA $ 20 million for doing research on health, along with developing countries.

The grants will be given via the Global Health Research Initiative (GHRI), along with Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Health Canada, and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). There are 13 research teams who are going to receive more than CA $20 million in funding through the Teasdale-Corti Team Grants. The researchers, policy-makers and practitioners, will work together to find solutions to the world's most pressing health issues.

Nutritional support to HIV positive children in India

The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has cleared a new programme to provide nutritional supplement to children enrolled under their Anti-Retroviral Programme (ART).

Philippines, the first country in Intel's e-Learning project

Philippines will become the first recipient country for the multi-million dollar Intel Microelectronics' e-Learning project, which aims to provide a holistic learning environment in public high schools.

Intel's ICT for Education project would be unfolded in partnership with the Department of Education (DEPED), Gearing Up Internet Literacy and Access for Students (GILAS), and the Foundation for IT Education and Development (FIT- D). The ICT for Education project is part of the Intel World Ahead programme, which is designed to provide computers, Internet access, and educational content to schools worldwide. Intel will donate 100,000 Intel-based personal computers for the entire World Ahead programme, some of which will be sent to the Philippines. Intel has allocated $1 billion for the next five years for Intel World Ahead. The Specific programmes will be –  the 'Teach to the Future Programme', DEPED's PCs for Public Schools, and GILAS's donation of Internet connectivity to public schools. Teach to the Future Programme has already trained 74,000 teachers in the Philippines with another 7,000 to be trained by the end of the year, while GILAS has provided Internet connection to over 1,000 high schools.

Under the ART, the nutritional needs of 3,000 children will be covered. Children would get fortified  with food supplements, free of cost, along with the ART medical support. The supplement under ART is expected to take care of 60 percent of the child's calorie, protein and micronutrient needs per day.

The new programme will get technical support from several international agencies including Clinton Foundation and World Food Programme. According to the views expressed by the experts, an HIV-infected child with no symptoms needs 10 percent additional nutritional input per day and the requirement increases with the presence of an infection.



Malaysia's MDeC keen to promote ICT industry in Brunei

Malaysia based Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC) is eager to cooperate with the Brunei Government to promote the ICT industry in the country. The cooperation is expected to offer tremendous opportunities for both countries.

Cayzer, the leading MDeC business mission to Brunei is keen to promote Malaysia's strategic strengths, capability and infrastructure besides encouraging Brunei based ICT companies looking for expansion to consider Malaysia as a viable location for their further growth. Malaysian companies are particularly interested in exploring opportunities for developing e-Learning solutions, Internet services, shared services and outsourcing in Brunei. The Brunei Government can learn from Malaysia's experience and knowledge in implementing the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) initiatives and various e-Government projects. 



Credit lessons for rural folks: RBI

The Reserve Bank of India is planning to start credit counselling to the poor.

It is also coming out with more material on financial literacy in rural India as a part of its financial inclusion strategy.

Capacity building of poor and rural people is essential since they get into debt out of ignorance or bad luck. RBI is in the process of preparing reading and visual material. 

UN food agency chief tells Washington officials to conquer hunger

James T. Morris, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), has said that conquering hunger is critical to peace and prosperity.



Japanese will pay their McDonalds bills from their mobile phones

Japanese are leading their way in the direction of mobile payment solution. Now Japanese people will use their mobile phone to pay their McDonalds bills.

Japanese mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo announced that the company has teamed up with McDonalds to offer electronic bill payments and special offers for mobile phone users. McDonalds will use the company's mobile phone services to distribute e-Coupons and gather customer information for marketing. The company is expecting to send e-Coupons through eMail or having customers access its website from their mobile phones. This joint venture will benefit companies, to track their customers, and their eating habits. NTT DoCoMo has already set up a service, which allows customers to use their handsets as a credit card. 

Mobile phone: public health tool for developing countries

Now mobile phones are not only means for communication but are also helping developing countries to deal with their health-related issues. An America based company, Voxiva, is using technology to assist government services in Rwanda.

The World Bank and the United States government helped the company to expand the technology. Voxiva has been working with the Government of Rwanda for about three years. The company has developed an information technology system for health workers to collect and share information about HIV/AIDS. Every week, the Rwanda health centres feed information about HIV/AIDS into the system.

Citizens can use various sorts of technology, including the Internet to connect to the system. Most of the health care centres are using mobile phones for transferring the data. Users can receive the information by just one click of mobile phones. Ther Government of Rwanda has spent one million dollars to develop the TRACNet system. Rural health centres in the Amazon Basin of Peru have been using a Voxiva system for more than five years. They are using mobile phones for sending information about cholera, measles and other diseases. Indonesians are using Voxiva technology to follow cases of bird flu. 

Indians can search for jobs on their Reliance mobile phones

Reliance Communications, India's leading CDMA operator is offering more features to its customers. Reliance Communi-cations announced that the company has tied up with Naukri.com, India's largest job site to help job seekers to explore jobs, while on the move.

Reliance Customers can use this service by registering themselves at naukri.com with a username and password, entering their Reliance mobile number in the online registration form, and search the job based on the category, experience and location. Customers can search for jobs based on skills in the fields of IT/ITES, telecommunications, finance, banking, call centres, government, health, hospitality, human resources, insurance, law, marketing, research, sales, and many other lucrative areas. This facility will allow job seekers to search with easy menu-driven navigation of the application on Reliance Mobile World. Reliance customers can also access Real Estates, Automobiles, Local Jobs, Used Items, and Matrimonial classifieds. According to Mahesh Prasad, President – Applications, Solutions and Content Group, Reliance Communi-cations, this application allows customers to post, search and apply for jobs from their mobile phones. 


Open Source

CPM asks Indian Govt. to implement open source software in e-Government applications

The Communist Party (CPM) of India has asked the Central Government to switch to free and open source software for all its e-Governance applications.

The party is also expecting the Government to introduce free and open source software in the curriculum from the school level. According to CPM Polit Bureau member and MP Sitaram Yechury, the monopoly of knowledge has become the avenue of earning profits and there is a need to liberate the stranglehold. The free software movement can go a long way towards bridging the digital divide. 

Europe, Brazil and China joined for open source

Europe, Brazil and China have teamed up to launch a global platform to promote the adoption of Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) by businesses, governments and academia.

The project, named QualiPSo (Quality Platform for Open Source Software) is designed to make open source a formidable lever to strengthen Europe's competitiveness, accelerate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) growth, and implement the i2010 policy for growth and jobs. The project hopes to achieve these aims by developing FLOSS into a low-cost and flexible alternative to proprietary software. The project will boast of technology specialists, government departments, and academic institutions, amongst its 20 founding members. It includes the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOCUS), INRIA (The French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control), the State University of Sao Paulo, South China University of Technology/Guangzhou Middleware Research Center, the French Gendarmerie (military police), Bull, Siemens and Thales. 

South Africa plans to switch to open source software

South Africa is planning to switch all Government departments over to open source computer software instead of Microsoft systems. The cabinet will use the open source Linux operating system to enhance local IT skills.

The open source software will bridge the digital divide and facilitate people who are computer illiterate. The Government has also joined other governments, including Brazil, China, Spain, India and Malaysia to adopt open source software. This initiative will help schools, homes and community centres.

Microsoft and Google to support open access to books

Microsoft and Google both are supporting open access to books from major libraries of the world. Both companies are digitising books in very large leading American and European libraries.

Prof. N Balakrishnan is working for digitising a million books in different libraries in India in different languages. All books available at the NSA, and IASc journals are configured for open access. NIC and MedKnow are bringing out 78 OA journals. Institutes like IISc, RRI, NIO, NAL, NCCR, and NIT-Rourkela have accepted the open access of books         



Dell launches low-cost PC in China to capture market

Dell Inc, the world's second-largest personal computer maker, has unveiled a low-cost personal computer (PC) on March 21, 2007 for China.

China is the fastest growing market for Dell Inc. The price range of the newly launched personal computer varies between 2,599 to 3,999 yuan (i.e. about US$ 335 to 520). Dell had reported that it faced a sharp decline in quarterly profit while revenues fell short of Wall Street expectations.

However it expects to revamp its business in the near future. Dell Inc. had lost a part of its market share to global industry leader Hewlett-Packard Co.during the fourth quarter and during January 2007.

Dell may open up another factory in China seeing the fact that it is the second largest producer of PC and ranks third after Lenovo Group Ltd. and Founder Technology York Li in China.  

NCR becomes first to deploy wireless network in Columbia

The National Capital Region (NCR), which includes the District of Columbia and 18 other jurisdictions in Virginia and Maryland, would be the first in the nation to establish a public-safety regional wireless network at 700 MHz. NCR has selec

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