U.S., European Allies Among 29 Countries Condemning Internet Shutdowns In Belarus

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Twenty-nine countries including the United States and Germany issued a joint statement on September 17 condemning Belarus for Internet shutdowns and blocking websites after a “fraudulent” presidential election last month.

“In conjunction with restrictive measures and intimidation employed against opposition candidates and the mass arrests and detentions of Belarusian civil society members and journalists, actions to limit access to the Internet, including social media and other digital communication platforms, further erode civic space,” said the statement released by the U.S. State Department.

Belarusian authorities have repeatedly disrupted the Internet and restricted access to independent media websites in a bid to control information and hamper efforts at organizing protests.

In the statement, the 29 countries said that “civic space online is integral to a vibrant civic space off-line” and they would continue to stand by the people of Belarus as they try to make their voices heard despite “oppressive measures.”


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Briones: Classes in Manila public schools can start with gadgets at hand

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MANILA, Philippines — There is no reason for public schools in Manila to stop classes after the local government provided gadgets to students as well as teachers to augment distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Education chief Leonor Briones said on Wednesday.

“I am informed, hindi ito biro-birong investment galing SES (Special Education Fund), na ang Maynila naman ay nagkokolekta. Ito ay nag-post ng P1.2 billion so hindi biro ito, mag-distribute ng isang dosenang computer. Ito ay P1.2 billion worth of assistance to DepEd (Department of Education) and to our children beneficiaries,” Briones said during a speech aired through a video call at the turn over of gadgets ceremony at Aurora Quezon Elementary School Covered Court.

(I am informed that this is not just a simple investment from the SES, which Manila has collected. This posted P1.2 billion so this is not easy to distribute one dozen computers. This is

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Applications still open for Roanoke County social services utility relief program | Local News

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The Roanoke County Department of Social Services is offering financial assistance for those affected by COVID-19.

The Roanoke County Department of Social Services has paid more than $135,000 in unpaid and overdue bills for those experiencing job losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Roanoke County, Vinton and Salem contributed a combined $600,000 of their Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding to the assistance program, which began in mid-July. The federal CARES Act is intended to assist local and state governments with expenses that arose due to the pandemic and mandated closures.

Joanna Spar, the assistant director of benefits, said the department has received 177 applications. Some people who applied were not eligible, but she said a large number of people have been approved.

Citizens in the three localities are eligible to apply if they lost their job, had their hours cut, were furloughed,

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Global Smartphone Shipments Expected to Drop Nearly 10% in 2020, But a Strong 5G Push Is Expected to Bring the Market Back to Growth in 2021, According to IDC

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FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The worldwide smartphone market is forecast to decline 9.5% year over year in 2020 with shipments totaling 1.2 billion units, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. While the second quarter of 2020 (2Q20) resulted in slightly better than expected numbers, the market was still down 17% year over year with visible signs of economic concerns. On a positive note, IDC expects the smartphone market will return to a full recovery by 2022, and will achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.7% over the five year forecast, largely driven by the assumption that smartphones will continue to be the computing platform of choice for most of the world.

“5G remains a priority for all smartphone OEMs despite the challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of consumer demand,” said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device

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How Technology Will help Public Sector Provide Better Service

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The public sector is slowly embracing digital transformation and implementing them in their service to offer better service to citizens.

FREMONT, CA: Public sector organizations are adopting new technologies to offer a better adaptive experience for digital citizens. Technology trends help public sector companies concentrate on government operations, which go beyond pilot programs, and each of the trends has been seen globally, impacting the rising government markets and the economically advanced nations. 

Another common factor among the trends is that they can notice the public sector continuously developing with artificial intelligence (AI). They are doing it by prioritizing data as their core and facilitating progress at a rapid speed. 

The Growth of Data and AI Ethics

In this digital era, data has become an essential factor. But it is necessary to have a closer look at processes in which the public sector manages the ethical intricacies in big data.

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Your used gadget still has a use: It can launch a child’s online class

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Don’t chuck that smartphone or PC that you think is past its prime. Donate it to a group that would place it in a pair of needy little hands

For well over 50 percent of the Class X students at this government-aided school, online classes are a recurring challenge. Lack of ready access to a digital device means they can’t take these lessons live, or have to rely on somebody’s generosity.

This government-aided school is not in some hinterland, but smack in the middle of most urbanised section of Chennai.

“Of the 50 students at Class X, 27 do not have access to a digital device,” says Ruby Puthotta, headmistress, Lady Sivaswami Ayyar Girls Higher Secondary School, a government-aided school in Mylapore. “Some borrow from their neighbours. Some access the lessons in the evening when their parents return from work and give the children their mobiles.”

Class XII students

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Rowan College of South Jersey’s ‘Suit a Student’ tailor-made for the internet

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Rowan College of South Jersey and Brooks Brothers’ fourth annual “Suit A Student” career readiness fashion show, originally planned as a live event in April, has reemerged well-tailored for social distancing requirements.

This year, 14 student participants and 1 RCSJ employee and member of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges will walk the virtual runway during an online presentation 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16.

Traditionally held in the college’s Fine Arts Center, changes were put in place to ensure the safety of students, staff and other participants. The web show will blend live components such as messages from college president Frederick Keating and dean of business studies Patricia Claghorn with prerecorded runway segments filmed individually with each student, using minimal staff and under strict COVID-19 safety guidelines. Runway fashion commentary will be provided by Gloucester Premium Outlets Brooks Brothers store manager Fernando Arroyo and the evening will conclude

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Apple and Google introduce an app-free virus-tracing program they hope will catch on with the public

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Meanwhile, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that made a contact-tracing app for public agencies is now is offering to help them take advantage of the new Apple-Google alert system.

The initial tracing effort by Apple and Google, which they introduced in April, required users to install an app provided by government health departments. The system used Bluetooth technology to signal when a phone user was near someone who had been confirmed to be infected, without revealing their identity.

Six US states and a number of foreign countries have adopted the system, but the download requirement made it less likely that the public would willingly use it.

The new approach simplifies the process by building the alert into Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android software operating systems. Users get on-screen messages telling them how to activate the feature, but only if they live in a state that’s running an

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Tuesday Sector Leaders: Healthcare, Technology & Communications

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Looking at the sectors faring best as of midday Tuesday, shares of Healthcare companies are outperforming other sectors, higher by 0.5%. Within that group, Amgen Inc (Symbol: AMGN) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Symbol: REGN) are two large stocks leading the way, showing a gain of 5.8% and 3.2%, respectively. Among healthcare ETFs, one ETF following the sector is the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (Symbol: XLV), which is up 0.6% on the day, and up 5.75% year-to-date. Amgen Inc, meanwhile, is up 5.33% year-to-date, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is up 63.41% year-to-date. Combined, AMGN and REGN make up approximately 5.2% of the underlying holdings of XLV.

The next best performing sector is the Technology & Communications sector, higher by 0.1%. Among large Technology & Communications stocks, Salesforce.com Inc (Symbol: CRM) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc (Symbol: AMD) are the most notable, showing a gain of 4.4% and 2.7%, respectively.

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Nigeria waives right of way charges to boost internet access

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Nigeria’s long-held ambitions of boosting local internet access and speeds largely depend on making it easier for internet providers to operate outside the country’s largest cities.

With major undersea cable projects typically landing in Lagos—the coastal urban center that doubles as its economic hub, there’s a clear gap with internet access and connection quality compared to more interior states. But the government is hoping a temporary policy change will play a role in bridging the gap: it is waiving charges for laying fiber optic cables on federal highways until December 2022.

In theory this should make it significantly cheaper for internet providers to lay down cable infrastructure along major highways across the country. The move could play a key role in helping to meet the targets of Nigeria’s national broadband plan which aims for 90% coverage of the population by 2025 and download speeds of at

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