Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Goodluck Jonathan Sworn in as President

Abuja — President Mugabe returned home yesterday morning after joining more than 25 heads of state and government to witness the swearing in of President Goodluck Johnson as the 14th Nigerian president in Abuja on Sunday.

Among the luminaries at the ceremony at Abuja's Eagle Square were former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Dr Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings.

Other former Nigerian military and civilian rulers also attended the ceremony which coincided with the country's Democracy Day.

The Democracy Day commemorates the end of military rule in Nigeria following the first general elections to usher in civilian rule in 1999.

Celebrations for the day were preceded by various activities around Nigeria including public lectures, dinners, church services and fireworks displays that illuminated the night skies in central Abuja as the West African state celebrated what has been dubbed a "dawn of a new era" in Nigeria.

The swearing in ceremony was marked by drills from the Nigerian Defence Forces while school children from across Nigeria entertained the crowds through mass displays.

The Nigerian Air Force also had a fly-past, displaying its old fleet of fighter jets in a sequence that moved from the yester-year planes to the latest fighter jets and helicopters in the country.

In his inaugural speech, President Jonathan hailed Nigerians for enthusiastically participating in the April 16 elections.

"A total of 72 million eligible voters showed their enthusiasm to participate in the election and registered as voters.

"This has encouraged the nation in its endeavour to be strong in its push for democracy in Nigeria," he said.


Mexican IMF Candidate Calls for Bailout Flexibility

LISBON—Mexico's Agustín Carstens, so far the lone challenger to Europe's renewed claim to head the International Monetary Fund, suggests more flexibility for countries on IMF support programs as he seeks backing in Europe.

The Bank of Mexico governor, the chief rival to France's Christine Lagarde, said the IMF needs someone from an emerging market with experience in handling financial crises.

Mr. Carstens was in Lisbon and Madrid this week as part of a global whistle-stop tour to win support for his candidacy. Without mentioning Greece specifically, Mr. Carstens said that financially-distressed countries shouldn't be punished for failed goals as long as they show commitment.

"When programs are designed in a crisis, there is too much uncertainty, and the fund needs to be flexible in recognizing measures aren't working as well as expected and be flexible with that and finding a new solution," he said.

The IMF currently withholds financial assistance if a recipient country doesn't meet certain commitments on budget reforms and deficit reduction. This week Greece's budget accounting is being measured by the IMF and the European Union to see if it is eligible for its next aid installment. Worries that Athens will miss its targets have kept European financial markets on edge for a month.

Emerging economies in Asia and Africa have supported a break from the tradition of a European holding the top financial post, but Europeans have been quick to back the French finance minister.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned earlier this month after being charged in New York with sexual assault, was closely focused on Europe's debt crisis and measures to keep it from spreading. Europeans argue that the next official will have to do the same.



Jobs WWDC keynote to highlight Lion, iOS 5, iCloud

With less than a week to go before the kickoff of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, you may have been looking at the schedule and scratching your head. Would there be a keynote? Who would be hosting? Consider your concerns assuaged, as Apple on Tuesday announced that its conference will begin with a keynote by CEO Steve Jobs on Monday, June 6, at 10 a.m. Pacific. And if that's not enough, Apple's press release also revealed that the company will be discussing iCloud, its forthcoming cloud services offering.

Jobs has been on indefinite medical leave from Apple since January, but that hasn't stopped him from appearing on stage; in March, he headlined the iPad 2 announcement. But the Apple CEO won't be alone on stage next week. As with previous WWDC keynotes, he'll be accompanied by a team of the company's executives—we'd guess folks like Phil Schiller, Scott Forstall, and the newly-promoted Craig Federighi for sure.


Space Shuttle Endeavour Headed Home for Last Time

The shuttle Endeavour and its crew will finally return to Earth early Wednesday morning, completing one of NASA's final shuttle flights, a program that was launched almost 30 years ago.

Having departed the International Space Station late Sunday, Endeavour's entry flight control team will evaluate weather conditions at the landing site at Merritt Island, Fla., before giving the approval to land, according to NASA

The 25th and final flight for Endeavour also marks the final shuttle flight for the six-man crew aboard Endeavour. The seasoned astronauts are wrapping up a 16-day mission, where they completed assembly of the U.S. section of the International Space Station.



Twitter to Launch Photo-Sharing Service, Reports Say

Twitter is set to launch its own photo-sharing service this week, according to reports. Twitter has been slowly invading the territory of third-party developers who built on their platform, and the release of its own image-sharing service will endanger popular services such as Twitpic and Yfrog.

Twitter is expected to announce the photo-sharing service at the D9 conference in California, when the company's chief executive, Dick Costolo, is scheduled to speak Wednesday. TechCrunch was the first to report on Twitter's rumored plans and All Things D confirmed the expected announcement separately.


Hackers post phony Tupac story on PBS website

WASHINGTON (AP) — PBS officials say hackers have cracked the network's website, posting a phony story claiming dead rapper Tupac Shakur was alive in New Zealand, and a group that claimed responsibility for the hacking complained about a recent "Frontline" investigative news program on WikiLeaks.

PBS confirmed Monday that the website had been hacked. The phony story had been taken down as of Monday morning. It had been posted on the site of the "PBS NewsHour" program, which is produced by WETA-TV in Arlington, Va.

Anne Bentley, PBS' vice president of corporate communications, said in an email that erroneous information posted on the website has been corrected. The hackers also posted login information for two internal PBS sites: one that media use to access the PBS press room and an internal communications website for stations, she said. She said all affected parties were being notified.

David Fanning, executive producer of "Frontline," said he learned of the hacking early Monday, nearly a week after the program aired its "WikiSecrets" documentary about the leak of U.S. diplomatic cables to the WikiLeaks website. The documentary, produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, generated criticism and debate on the program's website in recent days from those sympathetic to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and from those who thought the program was fair, Fanning said.


’Number of hungry people in India rose by 65 mn between 1990-2005’

The number of hungry people in India has increased by 65 million — more than the population of France — because economic development excluded the rural poor, and welfare programmes failed to reach them, according to charity organisation Oxfam.

In a report titled 'Growing a better future', it said today that India's economy doubled in size from 1990 to 2005, but the number of hungry in the country had risen by 65 million during the period.

Oxfam also warned that average prices of staple crops will more than double in 20 years if urgent action is not taken to change the international food system, which is already failing to feed nearly a billion people a day.

Oxfam research forecasts that average international prices of key staples, such as maize, will increase by between 120 and 180 per cent by 2030, with up to half of this increase due to climate change.

The world's poorest people, who spend up to 80 per cent of their income on food, will be hit hardest.

An Oxfam release says that decades of steady progress in the fight against hunger is now being allegedly reversed as demand outpaces food production.

Depleting natural resources, a scramble for fertile land and water, and the gathering pace of climate change is already making the situation worse, it adds.

Oxfam warns that by 2050, demand for food will rise by 70 per cent yet our capacity to increase production is declining.

The average growth rate in agricultural yields has almost halved since 1990 and is set to decline to a fraction of one per cent in the next decade.


Lockheed Martin Suffers Massive Cyberattack

A major online attack was launched earlier this month against the networks of Lockheed Martin, the country's largest defense contractor.

On Saturday, Lockheed Martin released a statement confirming the attack, which it described as "significant and tenacious." But it said its information security team "detected the attack almost immediately and took aggressive actions to protect all systems and data."

As a result, the company said, "our systems remain secure; no customer, program, or employee personal data has been compromised."

Hackers reportedly exploited Lockheed's VPN access system, which allows employees to log in remotely by using their RSA SecurID hardware tokens. Attackers apparently possessed the seeds--factory-encoded random keys--used by at least some of Lockheed's SecurID hardware fobs, as well as serial numbers and the underlying algorithm used to secure the devices.

That suggests that whoever attacked Lockheed Martin may also have been behind the successful breach in March of EMC's RSA division, which manufactures SecurID. "Since then, there have been malware and phishing campaigns in the wild seeking specific data linking RSA tokens to the end user, leading us to believe that this attack was carried out by the original RSA attackers," Rick Moy, president and CEO of NSS Labs, said in a blog post.

According to security blogger Robert Cringely, aka Mark Stephens, who broke news of the attack against Lockheed Martin, "It seems likely that whoever hacked the RSA network got the algorithm for the current tokens and then managed to get a keylogger installed on one or more computers used to access the intranet" at Lockheed Martin. From there, attackers reportedly gained access to the company's internal network.


Sony to fully restore PlayStation Network by end of week

Sony says they will fully restore all services for the PlayStation Network by the end of this week, more than one month after a major data breach knocked out the company's online video game hub.

Currently, PSN subscribers can only play PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable games online, access their friends' lists and manage their accounts.

The finished restoration will bring back the PlayStation Store, which allows users to purchase games and download demos and videos. The update will also bring back full functionality for Sony's Qriocity music service, reads a post on the official PlayStation blog.

"We have been conducting additional testing and further security verification of our commerce functions in order to bring the PlayStation Network completely back online so that our fans can again enjoy the first class entertainment experience they have come to love," said Sony Computer Entertainment president Kazuo Hirai in a statement.


Cattle Footage Highlights Australia-Indonesia Rift

Outrage in Australia over video footage of the treatment of exported cattle in Indonesia is shining a spotlight on a simmering trade dispute between the neighboring countries.

Australian Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig Tuesday suspended live cattle exports to 11 meat-processing abattoirs in Indonesia identified in a television report as abusing the animals before slaughter. The move followed widespread criticism from legislators, animal welfare groups, labor unions and livestock producers over the conduct shown in the video, which depicts the animals being beaten and abused.

Mr. Ludwig didn't name the Indonesian facilities but said he will appoint an independent reviewer to investigate the supply chain for live exports up to and including the point of slaughter and that he reserves the right to add further facilities to the banned list.

While the suspension affects only a small portion of the more than 120 abattoirs that take live cattle exports, it puts the contested beef trade between Australia and Indonesia under further political scrutiny.

In the fiscal year ended June 30, Australia's live cattle exports totaled 873,573 animals valued at 698.2 million Australian dollars (about $744 million), according to Meat & Livestock Australia, a marketing group. Indonesia is the single biggest market for live cattle, taking 520,000 beasts in 2010, or about 60% of total exports.

But Indonesia—which like a number of fast-growing Asian economies has been beset by sharp food-price inflation—has set out a plan to be more self-sufficient for a range of commodities, including beef. Indonesia formally advised Australia in December that it would restrict imports from Australia to 500,000 animals this year, among other restrictions. Indonesia also announced a 50,000-metric-ton limit on total beef imports.



'Call of Duty Elite' enlists features for diehards

Video game publisher Activision is creating Call of Duty Elite, an online service to let diehard fans elevate their experience with the popular first-person shooter games.

Set to officially launch with the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on Nov. 8, Elite will have some free basic features for players of the online multiplayer modes of the game, as well as a premium level.

The most popular Call of Duty games, played on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PCs, let up to 18 players compete in virtual combat online, beyond the standard single-player story and two-person play modes.

Currently, players organize offline or in online "lobbies" for multiplayer sessions; a smattering of post-match statistics can be viewed. The Web-based Elite service will track all aspects of players' online performance, allow for creation of groups and clans (one of the premium perks) as if on a social network, offer events and prizes, and provide in-depth facts for studying past match strategies.


10 ways to botch a mobile app

With the phenomenal growth of smart mobile devices, mobile apps, and their respective app stores over the last several years, just about everyone has an idea for a mobile app. And with each idea comes the belief that it may in fact be the next big thing — a million dollar app that can save its creator from the daily 9-5 grind. It's true that a fortuitous few have indeed realized their million dollar idea, but for many others their ideas remain dreams alone.

Working in the mobile app industry through these early days of the latest technological gold rush, I've seen the same app mistakes made time and time again. Failure, like success, follows a particular pattern. And so, I set out to distill the top 10 reasons why apps often falter or fail, with the hope that this list brings more reason and less emotion into the process of building mobile applications.

Mistake 1. Begin coding immediately

Many fail in the mobile space because they start developing their app as soon as they have an idea. In the extreme case, those with programming skills will actually start coding the app immediately. The first steps, however, should be focused on business and strategy aspects; pixels and design or coding and development come later in the process.

Mistake 2. Ignore competitors and alternatives

One of those business and strategy aspects that many pursuing apps ignore is to identify and use competitor apps. Understanding what competitors do well and where they've come up short will provide guidance on what features to develop and how to differentiate an app. Similarly, learning from top apps in app stores or even real-world alternatives, can reveal opportunities for innovation.

Mistake 3. Be purposeless

Wanting a million dollars shouldn't be the sole motivation for building an app. At the same time, app stores are likely one of the best places to pursue a new venture right now. Ultimately though, it is still a new venture and any new venture comes with a certain amount of risk. Outlining clear short- and long-term goals, that are aspirational yet attainable, will provide a much better foundation for success.



Zuma asks Gaddafi for help on Hammerl

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has asked President Jacob Zuma to provide DNA samples from South African photographer Anton Hammerl to help the Libyan authorities find his body.

Zuma had promised Hammerl's family that he would ask Gaddafi for help in locating Hammerl's remains when he met Gaddafi in Tripoli yesterday to try to end the civil war, sources said.

Hammerl was shot by Libyan government forces near Brega, a town in the east of the country, on April 5 and left for dead in the desert, according to other journalists who were travelling with him.

Zuma said after the meeting yesterday that Gaddafi was ready for a truce to stop the fighting.

"He is ready to sign the roadmap," Zuma said, referring to the AU proposal for a ceasefire – including an end to Nato aerial bombardments – and negotiations between Gaddafi and his rebel enemies for political reforms to address the underlying causes of the conflict.

Zuma said Gaddafi had insisted that "all Libyans be given a chance to talk among themselves" to determine the country's future.

But the AU roadmap does not require Gaddafi step down as a precondition for negotiations, which the rebels have demanded.

There had been some speculation that Zuma would suggest to Gaddafi that he should step down. But he did not say after the meeting that Gaddafi was ready to surrender power and so in Benghazi rebel Foreign Minister Fathi Baja rejected the AU plan.

"We refuse completely, we don't consider it a political initiative, it is only some stuff that Gaddafi wants to announce to stay in power," he said.

Baja said he believed Zuma was in Tripoli to negotiate an exit strategy for Gaddafi, though Zuma's office denied that.

Baja also said the rebels would launch an offensive against Gaddafi soon.



Sean Kingston moved to ICU after watercraft crash

MIAMI - Hip-hop singer Sean Kingston has been stabilized and moved to the intensive care unit at a hospital after crashing his watercraft into a Miami Beach bridge, his publicist said Monday.

The publicist, Joseph Carozza, said Kingston's family is grateful for everyone's prayers and support.

Kingston and a female passenger were injured when the watercraft hit the Palm Island Bridge around 6 p.m. Sunday, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino said.

The Miami Herald reports that a passing boater saw the accident and took the two on board his vessel.

Both were hospitalized early Monday at Ryder Trauma Center, but Pino said he didn't know their conditions.

Authorities are investigating the crash, and "nothing at this point would indicate that alcohol played a role," Pino said.

Kingston rose to fame with his 2007 hit "Beautiful Girls" and was also featured on songs by artists including Justin Bieber. His self-titled debut album sold over 1 million copies worldwide.

On Twitter, Bieber posted a message of support for Kingston.

"Got my friend Sean Kingston in my prayers tonight," Bieber tweeted early Monday. "A true friend and big bro. Please keep him in your prayers tonight as well."

A number of hip-hop musicians were in Miami Beach over the weekend for Urban Beach Week.

In a 2007 interview with The Associated Press, Kingston described his music as a fusion of reggae, pop, rap and R&B.



Central Montana flooding stabilizing despite rain

After more than a week of seemingly endless rain and constant flooding there appears to be a slight reprieve — if only for two days.

"We were hoping it was going to warm up for the rest of the week," said Jonathan Suk, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "Unfortunately we have another storm system moving in.

Some sunshine is expected today, but Suk said that on Wednesday temperatures could reach 70 degrees before dipping back into the 60s, with a chance of precipitation on Thursday.

"Maybe next weekend we'll have some more sun," he said. "But I wouldn't be putting all our chips in on that one."

Suk reported on Monday afternoon that in the past 24 hours more than a half-inch of rain had fallen in places such as Lewistown, and close to 0.4 inches accumulated in Havre. But at some missile silo sites in Judith Basin County, there were reports of almost an inch of rain.

In Great Falls, there was 0.8 inches of rain in the past 24 hours.

At Gibson Dam almost an inch of rain fell, but there was no flooding to report.

Suk said the rainfall totals on Monday afternoon were what they had expected, if not a little less than anticipated.

Snowfall of up to 7 inches was reported in the Little Belt Mountains, and Suk said there were reports of 15 inches of snowfall on the mountain peaks near the southern Montana-Idaho border.

Closer to home, Fergus County Emergency Management Coordinator Cheri Kilby said there were no new damage reports as of Monday afternoon.


Is Sarah Palin Running For President?

Washington, DC- It's fair to say Sarah Palin is no stranger to the national spotlight. So as you might imagine her latest U-S bus tour is creating quite a stir.  

Many are curious to see if the former Republican Vice Presidential nominee will make a bid for a 2012 presidential run.

"It isn't a campaign bus! This is a bus to be able to express to America how much we appreciate our foundation and to invite more people to be interested in all that is good about America," said Palin.

Her explanation hasn't stopped speculation surrounding the former Alaska Governor's bus tour. Palin recently made stops in DC, Baltimore and Gettysburg, all the while, fielding questions about a presidential run.

When asked what did she think the odds were that she would run, Palin Replied, "Oh, I don't know; I honestly don't know. It's still a matter of looking at the field and considering much."

Political experts believe Palin's tour is a way to test the waters.



Older AIDS survivors face new challenges

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – AIDS nearly killed Lou Grosso three decades ago, but that didn't prepare him for the latest news from his doctor: he has heart disease.

Like many older HIV carriers facing problems -- including financial -- they never expected to live long enough to confront, Grosso, 57, also suffers from aching joints, memory loss and nerve pain.

Of the 14 pills he takes each day, only three are designed to treat HIV.

Dr. Brad Hare, his specialist at San Francisco General Hospital, keeps track of it all, but Grosso is still worried.

"I've often said to my doctors, 'You're so worried about the AIDS but I'm gonna drop over from a heart attack'," Grosso said. "It bothers me; I'm having a good life and don't want it to be cut short because my body thinks I'm 80."

While many have turned their attention -- and money -- to fighting the epidemic in Africa, experts here are increasingly troubled by a new kind of AIDS crisis.

Some 15 years into the era of protease inhibitors and drug cocktails, the first large group of AIDS patients to go through the aging process is facing a host of unexpected medical conditions, not to mention psychological and financial challenges they never thought they would live to see.

Grosso, who programmed some of the first personal software in the 80s, is amazed that he has survived long enough to learn how to build websites.

But he also worries that his mind isn't as sharp as it once was. He finds himself arguing with colleagues about whether topics were covered in meetings, for example.

"I'll just have no memory of it," he said.


Obama Pays Memorial Day Tribute to Fallen American Heroes at National Cemetery

President Obama honored fallen American veterans on Memorial Day by participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, followed by a service at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Obama said in his Memorial Day address that this day was to memorialize patriots who "gave of themselves until they had nothing more to give."

"Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay. But we can honor their sacrifice, and we must. We must honor it in our own lives by holding their memories close to our hearts, and heeding the example they set," he told a crowd at the cemetery's Memorial Amphitheater.

"And we must honor it as a nation by keeping our sacred trust with all who wear America's uniform, and the families who love them; by never giving up the search for those who've gone missing under our country's flag or are held as prisoners of war; by serving our patriots as well as they serve us – from the moment they enter the military, to the moment they leave it, to the moment they are laid to rest."

The Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is the final resting place of more than 300,000 Americans, including presidents and a first lady.

In his speech, Obama also invoked scripture as he recently did at the Memorial Service for tornado victims in Joplin, Mo., Sunday.


Second Ford-Class Carrier To Honor John F. Kennedy

She is the second ship to bear the name. The second of the Gerald R. Ford-Class aircraft carriers will bear the name of America's thirty-fifth President. Kennedy was also a naval officer in World War II. So far, there are two named Ford-Class ships- the USS Gerald R. Ford and the USS John F. Kennedy. The Ford replaces the USS Enterprise, the only Enterprise-Class carrier, and the Kennedy replaces the USS Nimitz. There had been a petition to have CVN-79 named the Enterprise, of which there have been eight ships. A ninth Enterprise would have, rather oddly, brought the US Navy up to the number of starships named Enterprise in Star Trek.  The starships were named for the first aircraft carrier to bear that name.



Importance of your position in Search Engines

The last article discussed the best ways of driving your website up the search engine rankings and we now want to look at the importance of position in the rankings and what it means in terms of traffic.
There is no doubt that traffic is directly proportional to the position your site holds in the rankings but do you know just how much difference even a couple of places movement actually makes? If you are not on the front page for a given search term then you will find that traffic is generally very low level. If you think about this you should not be too surprised. Think about your own search habits. You type in a given search term and then scan the results for something which relates to what you are actually looking for and which seems to answer your needs. How often do you bother to look at even the second page? We are guessing that you certainly would never bother scrolling down as far as the third page. Sound familiar?
So let's assume you are on the first page at position number 10. You decide you want to put in some work to drive it up to the top half or top five positions on the page. How much difference will this make to the level of traffic you experience? Would it surprise you to know that a move to position 5 would probably result in a tenfold increase in traffic? As a general rule of thumb, the first position website will get approximately 40% of the available clicks for a given search term while a website at position 10 will get less than 1% of the clicks! See what a difference this makes?