Jawitz Properties CEO Herschel Jawitz told News24 that while Sparrow had left the company two months ago, her online profile still associated her with their brand.
“She is an ex-employee and unfortunately she hadn’t updated her Facebook page that still reflects her as employed by Jawitz Properties,” he said.
“The most important fact is that these comments are outrageous in any context and to be made publicly is unacceptable.
“Unfortunately we have been associated with her and our brand is taking the heat and they [her comments] are not in any manner or form what we stand for or what we believe in. They would not be tolerated in our company and we are a proudly South African [company]. The public anger is justified,” Jawitz added.
“I had a brief conversation last night letting her know what I thought of her comments and what she had done to our brand. I have been inundated with calls and e-mails and they [the public] want to know what we are going to be doing about it. We are exploring our options. This is very serious from a brand point of view,” he said.
In her post Sparrow wrote: “These monkeys that are allowed to be released on New Year’s eve and New Year’s day on to public beaches towns etc obviously have no education what so ever so to allow them loose is inviting huge dirt and troubles and discomfort to others.
“I’m sorry to say that I was amongst the revellers and all I saw were black on black skins what a shame. I do know some wonderful and thoughtful black people. This lot of monkeys just don’t want to even try. But think they can voice opinions and get their way of dear,” she continued.
“From now on I shall address the blacks of South Africa as monkeys as I see the cute little wild monkeys do the same, pick and drop litter,” Sparrow added.
The estate agent later deleted her post and apologised, saying she did “not mean it personally”.
Attempts to contact Sparrow were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a suit filed by MTN against the industry watchdog for imposing a R59 billion ($3.9 billion) fine against the South African mobile phone giant for failure to register customers, according to a report.
The Leadership newspaper reported on Monday that in a motion on notice filed through its lawyers, Ahmed Raji – Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) and Mahmud Magaji (SAN), the NCC has urged the court to dismiss or decline to hear the suit for want of jurisdiction or send it to its Abuja division.
The newspaper reported that the watchdog argued that the suit was wrongly filed in Lagos, noting that the subject of the dispute took place in Abuja, while the two respondents in the suit, NCC and the attorney-general of the federation, are also based in Abuja.
MTN was given a December 31 deadline to pay the fine for its failure to disconnect 5.2 million subscribers who did not register their SIM cards. The payment deadline has expired.
The South African-based telco has hired seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) to fight the R59 billion ($3.9 billion) fine in the Federal High Court in Lagos. The initial fine was $5.2 billion and was in December reduced to $3.9 billion.
MTN through its lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) is challenging the NCC’s powers to impose the fine. It argued that NCC being a regulator cannot assume all the functions of the state. It is seeking the appropriate reliefs.
The case has attracted the interest of Tope Alabi, a Lagos-based lawyer, who seeking to be joined in the suit as an interested party, who submitted to the court that the fine imposed on MTN is in order and that the telecom firm has no reasonable case against the NCC.
The Vanguard newspaper reported that Alabi submitted to the Lagos court that the suit of MTN with reliefs sought therein will encourage a culture of impunity in Nigeria.
“The law under which the plaintiff is subjected to liability is justice-able and valid. It is in the interest of justice to grant this application for the applicant to defend this suit within the purview of the law,” Alabi said, according to the Vanguard newspaper.
“MTN has no reasonable cause of action against NCC, and that granting MTN’s prayers will encourage a culture of impunity in Nigeria whereby people would do all kinds of illegal and unlawful acts and get away with it so long as they can secure legal service to escape liability.”
Vodacom customers who had their accounts debited twice will be refunded by Monday, according to the cellphone company. By Thulani Gqirana, NewsAgency
On Friday, a number of Vodacom customers complained that their accounts had been debited twice.
In an SMS to customers on Friday afternoon, the cellular network said it was aware of the problem.
“Dear customer, due to a technical glitch, your account may have been debited twice. We are resolving the problem,” the message read.
“Where a second debit was processed, Vodacom will ensure that refunds and all associated charges are paid by close of business Monday at the earliest. We apologise for the mistake and the inconvenience caused.”
MyBroadband reported on Friday that Vodacom spokesperson Tshepo Ramodibe had confirmed that they had experienced a technical glitch that resulted in a group of customers’ accounts being debited twice.
Ramodibe said they were investigating the cause. – News24
ITIF is right to highlight the importance of technology innovation as an engine for growth and prosperity. But what it misses by a mile is the importance of innovating responsibly.
Being cautious ≠ smashing the technology
Back in 2002, the European Environment Agency (EEA) published its report Late Lessons from Early Warnings. The report – and its 2013 follow-on publication – catalogs innovations, from PCBs to the use of asbestos, that damaged lives and environments because early warnings of possible harm were either ignored or overlooked.
This is a picture that is all too familiar these days as we grapple with the consequences of unfettered innovation – whether it’s climate change, environmental pollution or the health impacts of industrial chemicals.
Things get even more complex, though, with emerging technologies like AI, robotics and the “internet of things.” With these and other innovations, it’s increasingly unclear what future risks and benefits lie over the horizon – especially when they begin to converge together.
This confluence – the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” as it’s being called by some – is generating remarkable opportunities for economic growth. But it’s also raising concerns. Klaus Schwab, Founder of the World Economic Forum and an advocate of the new “revolution,” writes “the [fourth industrial] revolution could yield greater inequality, particularly in its potential to disrupt labor markets. As automation substitutes for labor across the entire economy, the net displacement of workers by machines might exacerbate the gap between returns to capital and returns to labor.”
Schwab is, by any accounting, a technology optimist. Yet he recognizes the social and economic complexities of innovation, and the need to act responsibly if we are to see a societal return on our techno-investment.
Of course every generation has had to grapple with the consequences of innovation. And it’s easy to argue that past inventions have led to a better present – especially if you’re privileged and well-off. Yet our generation faces unprecedented technology innovation challenges that simply cannot be brushed off by assuming business as normal.
For the first time in human history, for instance, we can design and engineer the stuff around us at the level of the very atoms it’s made of. We can redesign and reprogram the DNA at the core of every living organism. We can aspire to creating artificial systems that are a match for human intelligence. And we can connect ideas, people and devices together faster and with more complexity than ever before.
This explosion of technological capabilities offers unparalleled opportunities for fighting disease, improving well-being and eradicating inequalities. But it’s also fraught with dangers. And like any complex system, it’s likely to look great… right up to the moment it fails.
Because of this, an increasing number of people and organizations are exploring how we as a society can avoid future disasters by innovating responsibly. It’s part of the reasoning behind why Arizona State University launched the new School for the Future of Innovation in Society earlier this year, where I teach. And it’s the motivation behind Europe’s commitment to Responsible Research and Innovation.
Far from being a neo-Luddite movement, people the world over are starting to ask how we can proactively innovate to improve lives, and not simply innovate in the hope that things will work out OK in the end.
This includes some of the world’s most august scientific bodies. In December, for instance, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the UK’s Royal Society jointly convened a global summit on human gene editing. At stake was the responsible development and use of techniques that enable the human genome to be redesigned and passed on to future generations.
In a joint statement, the summit organizers recommended “It would be irresponsible to proceed with any clinical use of germline editing unless and until (i) the relevant safety and efficacy issues have been resolved, based on appropriate understanding and balancing of risks, potential benefits, and alternatives, and (ii) there is broad societal consensus about the appropriateness of the proposed application.”
Neo-Luddites? Or simply responsible scientists? I’d go for the latter.
If innovation is to serve society’s needs, we need to ask tough questions about what the consequences might be, and how we might do things differently to avoid mistakes. And rather than deserving the label “neo-Luddite,” Musk and others should be applauded for asking what could go wrong with technology innovation, and thinking about how to avoid it.
That said, if anything, they sometimes don’t go far enough. Musk’s answer to his AI fears, for instance, was to launch an open AI initiative – in effect accelerating the development of AI in the hopes that the more people are involved, the more responsible it’ll be.
It’s certainly a novel approach – and one that seriously calls into question ITIF’s Luddite label. But it still adheres to the belief that the answer to technology innovation is… more technology innovation.
The bottom line is that innovation that improves the lives and livelihoods of all – not just the privileged – demands a willingness to ask questions, challenge assumptions and work across boundaries to build a better society.
If that’s what it means to be a Luddite, count me in!
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES, 6 to 9 January 2016) in Las Vegas, the BMW Group is presenting a Vision Car to demonstrate what the interior and the user interface of the future might look like.
The rapid advance of networking between driver, vehicle and environment is becoming increasingly intensive and is facilitating new services.
One example of new technologies in seamlessly networked vehicles is provided by AirTouch. This feature empowers intuitive control of entertainment, navigation and communication functions using simple gestures made with a flat hand.
AirTouch allows the display in a vehicle to be operated like a touchscreen without actually having to make contact with the surface.
Sensors record the hand movements in the area between the central console and the interior mirror.
This enables drivers or passengers to change the focus on the surface of the large panorama display. Simple confirmation selects the relevant menu item or activates an icon.
The BMW Vision Future Luxury Interior Design
Sensors on the instrument dashboard permit 3D control.
One year ago, BMW already presented the new gesture control at the CES.
This enables simple movements of a finger to carry out actions such as adjusting the loudness or accepting phone calls. Meanwhile, this technology is available as BMW Gesture Control in the new BMW 7 Series.
AirTouch is now taking another big leap forward. Sensors are installed in the area of the instrument dashboard which respond to hand movements here and therefore permit three-dimensional control. A movement of the hand or a gesture activates the surfaces on the large panorama display.
New Year’s resolutions are set with the best of intentions. But they notoriously fail to translate into lasting behavioural changes. By Lisa A Williams, UNSW Australia
The new gym membership falls into disuse come February; items forbidden from the new diet sneak back into the pantry by March. Even goals to work less and spend more time with friends and family seem to fall by the wayside almost as soon as the holiday break is over and the brimming email inbox beckons.
But recent psychological research highlights several reasons why these kinds of resolutions might actually work – as well as simple ways to set yourself up for success.
The fresh start effect
A series of recent studies supports the idea that the start of a new calendar year spurs initiation of activities related to self-improvement. They show Google searches for the term “diet”, gym attendance, and use of goal-support websites are highest in January and decline month by month over time.
Researchers doing the studies call it the “fresh start effect” – the idea that particular days and dates serve as temporal landmarks, much like physical landmarks serve as demarcations of important places. In the case of temporal landmarks, the demarcation is between a past self, who has perhaps failed to meet goals, and the present self, who has goal pursuit at their fingertips.
An additional set of studies, published recently in the journal Psychological Science by the same team, looked into this effect in more detail. In one experiment, participants asked to think about New Year’s Day as a meaningful day visited more websites related to goal-support (and spent more time browsing them) than those who were asked to think about it as an ordinary day.
Directly speaking to the idea that a temporal landmark mentally separates people from their past selves, another experiment in the series established that framing a character in a short story as experiencing a new beginning led participants to perceive that character as different from who they’d been in the past.
Importantly, that past/present differentiation statistically explained the effect of the new beginning on how much participants believed the character would pursue a previously unmet goal. In other words, the reason why goal pursuit flows from a new beginning is because of a perceived separation from past selves.
Another reason why temporal landmarks may work to promote goal pursuit is that they spur a search for meaning in life. Research from 2014 shows people whose ages end in the digit 9 (29, for instance or 39, and so on) report more desire for having a sense of meaning in life.
It’s not far-fetched to imagine that the end of the year (rather than a decade) might spur similar soul-searching. And that, in turn, can engender goals for self-improvement.
Effective New Year’s resolutions
There are several ways to set yourself up for success with your New Year’s resolution. Here are a few relatively easy, research-supported methods.
Let the calendar be your guide: the “fresh start” research discussed above shows a similar goal-boosting effect for the start of the month (with activity peaking at the 1st of the month and declining towards the 30th or 31st). It even works for the start of the week (with activity peaking on Monday and declining through to Sunday). And there’s also a boost around birthdays and national holidays.
Clearly, the calendar itself can help in re-committing to goals. From this view, “a case of the Mondays” could be the impetus to revisit the gym, shut off email in the evening, or trade spaghetti bolognese for salad.
Don’t go it alone: setting a goal with friends can be the setup for success. One research study found signing up for a weight-loss program with friends and having that social support reinforced over time resulted in an increase from 75% to 95% in course completion. It even resulted in an increase from 24% to 66% in weight-loss maintenance, compared to signing up alone and receiving treatment not focused on social support.
As you ring in the New Year, look around for those with whom you can set collective resolutions.
Set a range: Many people are tempted (or even told) to set a specific goal. But research suggests that setting a range for a goal (planning to lose five to ten kilograms) rather than a specific target (aiming to lose eight kilos) will likely be more effective.
In research where participants were given a bag of M&Ms and asked to eat as few as possible across 25 minutes, the average consumed five. But participants who set a range goal of how many M&Ms to eat (on average, between three and eight) rather than a specific number (on average, five) reported that their goal seemed simultaneously more challenging and more attainable.
They also felt more accomplishment at the end of the 25 minutes as well as more interested in pursuing the goal again. The researchers who did that study found similar effects across a range of contexts, including weight loss and spending money.
These tactics will help you leverage the “fresh start” of the New Year to get ahead. Let the rhythm of the calendar push you, find a buddy, and set a range for your resolution. Science will be on your side.
This is the first article in our series about New Year’s resolutions, A Fresh Start. Look out for more articles on the topic in the coming days.
The boards of Cell C and 3C Telecommunications have approved the recapitalisation of the country’s third largest mobile phone operator, Cell C and making Blue Label Telecoms a strategic equity partner. By Staff Writer
The board’s have accepted a R4 billion offer by Blue Label Telecoms to subscribe for 35% of Cell C’s total issued share capital. They have also accepted a R2.5 billion offer from Cell C management and staff to subscribe for 30% of the total issued shares in the company.
Current Cell C shareholder 3C Telecommunications will also subscribe for a number of shares to hold about 35% of the total issued shares at the close of the recapitalization.
The recapitalisation programme will reduce Cell C’s net debt from the high double-digit numbers to a very manageable maximum of R8 billion or less when implemented.
The target is to reduce the debt further over the next 12 months.
“This transaction will not only benefit Cell C and empower its staff, but more importantly, it will solidify Cell C’s assurance to its customers to provide the most innovative products and services, backed by continued growth and investment in its network,” said chairman of Cell C Mohammed Hariri.
“We welcome Blue Label Telecoms as a strategic partner and know that it will add value to Cell C going forward.”
The recapitalization is subject to the execution of definitive transaction agreements, securing of funding by all parties and the obtaining of all requisite regulatory approvals.
The expected effective date of the recapitalization is 1 June 2016.
Blue Label has, for a number of years, acted as a one of the primary distribution channels for Cell C’s products.
Hollywood has broken two very different records this holiday season. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has become the first movie to reach US $1 billion in gross sales in just 12 days. This beats the previous record of the movie “Jurassic World” which had the additional benefit of sales from the world’s second biggest market, China. Star Wars opens in China in January and so it will likely push its sales to even more astronomical levels. By David Glance, University of Western Australia
The other record however is one that the movie industry will not be so proud of. According to TorrentFreak, movie pirates have released 12 DVD quality movie previews, called screeners for download on the Internet. These screeners feature movies like the latest James Bond Spectre, the new Tarantino movie “The Hateful Eight” and a list of others that include: Suffragette, Legend, In The Heart of The Sea, Joy, Steve Jobs, Spotlight, Creed, Concussion, The Danish Girl and Bridge of Spies.
What is even more worrying for the movie industry however is that the group of individuals behind the releases, who go by the name of Hive-CM8, claim that they have 40 screeners in total to release.
Screener DVDs are typically sent to a range of movie producers, critics and movie awards voters under strict conditions to avoid the films being leaked. Security mechanisms are built in to the films that can theoretically tie a particular movie back to a specific person sent the screener.
The FBI are already investigating how a copy of The Hateful Eight, linked to Andrew Kosove, the co-CEO of film production-finance company Alcon Entertainment, wound up in the hands of the movie pirates.
Hive-CM8 are thought to be a loose collective of individual movie piraters associated with the
website crikeym8.com which makes money from early releases of the movies to subscribers of the site. The site appears to be run by an Australian(s) given the name, the Australian cultural references and the location of the Twitter account in Melbourne, Victoria. The site is allegedly not responsible for the process of producing the pirated movies, nor does it host the content.
For the movie industry, the problem of sending screeners out to reviewers and potential awards voters is a challenge that doesn’t seem to have any simple solutions. Previous attempts to stop sending preview DVDs was met with fierce opposition from many, especially the smaller independent film makers, who saw their chances of being noticed by reviewers being significantly affected by not being able to market their films in this way.
Technically, the pirates are able to remove security measures added to the films like digital watermarks that link the movie to a specific individual. There is little the movie industry can do to prevent this as all measures they could take come with the disadvantage of complexity and cost when the purpose of the exercise is to get as many key people to see the movie and promote it. As soon as a movie has leaked, the companies involved can issue “takedown notices” to Google and even to the “torrent” sites that link to the copies available for download. Thousands of links have been taken down since the latest batch of screeners hit the Internet over the last week. Despite the attempts to take down links, the movies are still readily available and Spectre is expected to see at least a million downloads over the few days since its release on the Internet.
Legal measures may have more effect. Last week, five of the UK’s most active movie pirates were sentenced to a total of 17 years in prison for their releasing over 2,500 films. Investigators from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), tracked the downloaders through slip-ups they had made with leaving traces of their identities on forums and posts. This is one of the weaknesses of people who engage in movie piracy that they often seek praise and thanks for their efforts and this requires the establishment of identities that are not always as anonymous as they think.
Other legal avenues have been far less successful. Attempts to go after the public who download movies and threaten them with huge fines has recently met with failure, at least in Australia. Other attempts to use new legislation to force ISPs to block sites associated with piracy of copyrighted content are also likely to have a very limited effect.
In all likelihood, movie piracy is going to be something that the industry will just have to live with as long as the incentives to use high quality previews still exist. It is no coincidence that Disney has chosen not to send preview copies of Star Wars to anyone. Disney also employed a range of special anti-piracy measures by issuing encrypted versions of the film to exhibitors with the keys to decrypt them being sent separately. Despite this, people have been able to record versions of the film using video cameras and there are copies already in circulation. It is unlikely that given the success of the film so far, that Disney will be too worried. There is also the fact that Star Wars is definitely a movie that should be experienced on a big screen.
The fantasy drama Game of Thrones once again topped the list of the most pirated and illegally downloaded TV show of the year for the 4th year in a row. By Thinus Ferreira, NewsAgency
Interestingly, 8 out of the top 10 list of most pirated TV shows are shown in South Africa by M-Net across its range of channels on DStv.
TorrentFreak has released its annual list of most pirated TV shows and Game of Thrones(DStv 102) by far tops the list with 14,4 million illegal downloads in 2015 so far.
Second is the zombie drama The Walking Dead (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) with 6.9 million downloads.
It’s followed by nerd comedy The Big Bang Theory (DStv 101) with 4.4 million, Arrow (DStv 101) with 3.9 million, The Flash (DStv 114) with 3.6 million, Mr. Robot (DStv 101) with 3.5 million and then Vikings (DStv 186) in 7th place with 3.3 million.
The new Supergirl (DStv 114) with 3 million, The Blacklist (DStv 101) with 2.9 million and Suits(DStv 101) with 2.6 million round out the top 10 list’s 8th, 9th and 10th places.
The astounding numbers are only for the most downloaded single episode of a series, with a series that can only be listed once for the purposes of compiling the list.
In reality, multiple individual episodes of a single series on TorrentFreak’s top 10 list for 2015 will have millions of downloads of its own.
TorrentFreak also says the illegal downloads for each of the shows will actually be “significantly higher” as online streaming and downloads for file-hosting services are not included since there are no public sources to draw data from. – Channel24
The Catholic Church in South Africa called on government on Tuesday to suspend its nuclear procurement plans and hold a referendum on the issue as a matter of urgency. By Matthew le Cordeur
The Justice and Peace Commission for the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) said in a statement that the economic and safety risks of the nuclear option outweigh its economic benefits.
The Department of Energy (DoE) on Saturday formally announced cabinet’s decision to go ahead with the procurement of nuclear energy. A government gazette released on December 21 also approved the next step, which will allow the department to call for quotes for the 9 600 MW new build project.
Government should concentrate its efforts and fiscal resources on renewable energy, according to the SACBC.
The commission said the DoE and Treasury have yet to produce evidence to show that nuclear procurement is affordable to the country and its consumers.
The commission also pointed to the safety risks and the threat to human life.
“Although the probability of a nuclear accident is relatively low, the consequences of such an accident cause health hazards for thousands of people and render hundreds of kilometres of land uninhabitable and unsuitable for any use for decades,” said Bishop Abel Gabuza, chairperson of Justice and Peace Commission.
“Considering the enormity of the damage when an accident occurs, the dangers of nuclear energy to human life will always remain very high,” he said.
“The commission has therefore appealed to the government to urgently call for a nuclear referendum.”
“Given the enormity of the risks that the South African government is asking its citizens to bear through the nuclear option, including the enormous safety risks and economic risks, it is only fair that the government directly consults its people on the matter,” said Gabuza. “A referendum is the best instrument for realising the common good on this important matter.”
The commission explained that in June 2011, the Italian government conducted a similar referendum to poll its citizens on its plans to generate 25% of the country’s electricity from nuclear power by 2030. The referendum rejected government plans for nuclear procurement.
“If our government truly believes that its nuclear decision is serving the best interests of the majority of South Africans, it should not be afraid to emulate the Italian example and open up the matter to a national referendum before the formal bidding process commences,” said Gabuza. – Fin24