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From jiggy bots to satellites for South African girls

first_img17 June 2014A group of about 20 girls from various schools in Cape Town spent this year’s Youth Day, on 16 June, building jiggy bots – tiny robots whose movements can be controlled.They were taking part in the first of a series of workshops that have been set up as an introduction to the world of electronics. The workshops will culminate in a week-long session to construct Africa’s first private satellite. The satellite will be sent to the Mojave Desert in California for launch in early 2016.The project is run by the Meta Economic Development Organisation (Medo), which hopes to build up girls’ technical skills before they matriculate. The company was motivated to launch the programme, focused on science, technology, engineering and maths, by the shortage of technical skills in the country.“The reality is, half the young women in this room, when they matriculate, are not going to have formal jobs,” Medo chief executive Judi Sandrock told The Daily Maverick. “We have to start a lot earlier.”Science and technology is for girls tooSandrock said that in 2014, only 7.5% of South Africa’s matric students passed maths with 60% and over as their overall mark for the subject. For physical science, the figure was even lower. This could lead to a big problem.Asked whether science was only for boys, participants responded in the negative. “Jeez, that’s not true,” said Grade 12 student Ovaya Mandlakhe, who goes to Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School in Khayelitsha. “At my school, girls are better [at science] than boys.”After matriculating, Ovaya would like to study medicine and become a doctor.“Anyone can do anything! There’s no such thing that boys are better than girls,” said Imaan Shaik of South Peninsula High, in Diep River.It’s aliveBuilding the robots fuelled the girls’ thirst for knowledge. “It’s amazing to see how all these bits come together to create something so technical and amazing,” said Siddiqah Latief of Pelican Park High School, near Zeekoevlei. She said she had started to love science and would like to build a career in the field.“I never thought building things could be this interesting,” said Nina-Rose Clarke, from Pinelands High School in Pinelands. “I am loving this experience. It’s so exciting to be exposed to more than just drawing and studying ideas. Constructing stuff is so much better.”A race to cap the dayA race of jiggy bots ended the workshop. Some moved in a straight line, while others staggered around. But in the end, Ovaya’s bot, named “Junior”, was victorious. “It was a shock it was so fast,” she said.Sources: News24Wire and The Daily Mavericklast_img read more

In Rajasthan, dairy farmers live in fear

first_imgYet another instance of cow vigilantism, involving the alleged lynching of a Muslim dairy farmer, Rakbar Khan, 31, in Alwar district of Rajasthan on the night of July 20 led to nationwide outrage and prompted both the Central and State governments to take urgent measures to control the situation.What happened?Rakbar and his friend Aslam were herding two cows on foot through a forest area in Ramgarh’s Lalawandi village, when a group of villagers stopped and attacked them around midnight on the suspicion that they were smuggling the cows to their native village in Haryana. While Mr. Aslam managed to escape, Rakbar sustained severe injuries and died on the way to hospital.The incident comes just over a year after another dairy farmer, Pehlu Khan, was lynched by a mob near Behror in Alwar district on April 1, 2017. Pehlu Khan and four others were transporting cows in vehicles to Nuh district in Haryana when they were stopped and assaulted. In another incident, a mob killed Umar Khan near Govindgarh in November 2017.What did the govt. do?After the quick arrest of three accused, Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria visited the spot of the alleged lynching, met Rakbar’s family and promised a fair probe and an initial ex gratia of ₹1.25 lakh. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and the Waqf Board also announced assistance of ₹5 lakh and ₹3 lakh respectively to the victim’s family.Mr. Kataria admitted that Rakbar had died in police custody and there was a delay in taking him to hospital, as the policemen first made arrangements for taking the cows recovered from him to a ‘gaushala.’ For this “error of judgment,” an assistant sub-inspector was suspended and three policemen were sent to the Police Lines.Four inquiries were instituted in the case in four days, and the investigation was shifted from Alwar to Jaipur. The government’s swift response seems to have been guided by political compulsion and pressure from the Opposition, as the Assembly election is due later this year in Rajasthan.How is Rakbar’s village coping?There is a palpable fear and unease in Rakbar’s native village, Kolgaon, situated in the Ferozepur Jhirka region of Haryana. Rakbar’s family, comprising his wife and seven children, faces a bleak future with no permanent source of livelihood. The Meo community inhabiting the region, which has been rearing cows for dairy occupation for several generations, feels that it is being targeted. A huge panchayat held at Kolgaon on July 29 by the Rakbar Insaaf Committee, comprising about 40 prominent people from five villages, sought a Supreme Court judge-monitored investigation into the alleged lynching, ex-gratia of ₹50 lakh for the family of the victim and the arrest of BJP MLA from Ramgarh Gyan Dev Ahuja on charges of criminal conspiracy in the case. Activists and family members also believe that a “deliberate attempt” is being made to shift the blame on to the police and let the lynch mob escape.The accused arrested so far are reportedly affiliated to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).What lies ahead?With civil rights groups demanding that both the Rajasthan and Haryana governments chalk out a plan for protection of dairy farmers in the Mewat region, the ruling BJP in these States has a task cut out to deal with both alleged cow smugglers and mobs. The extortion rackets being run in the garb of cow vigilantism are now under the police radar. Besides making attempts at communal harmony, the police are finalising the chargesheet to be filed in Rakbar’s case. The police in Alwar district are also in the process of identifying miscreants after examining their criminal record. Jaipur range Inspector-General of Police V.K. Singh says this will be followed by preventive measures, including arrests, to stop the recurrence of violence.last_img read more

Bulker Ordering Frenzy 110 Bulkers Ordered Since July

first_imgzoom Since the beginning of the second half of this year, shipowners have ramped up dry bulk ordering, bringing the newbuild count to 110 new ships in the last three months.The number has almost doubled when compared to 63 newbuilding orders from the first half of this year, according to the data from VesselsValue.Interestingly enough, the majority of shipowners contracting newbuilds comes from Japan and they have ordered 41 new dry bulk carriers since July 1, 2017.The Japanese owners are followed by their Greek counterparts with 25 orders, 13 from Singapore, 8 from Turkey and 7 from China. The remaining 16 orders are split between other countries, including those from Saudi Arabia’s Bahri and Bulgaria’s Navibulgar.To remind, earlier this month Japanese company Nissen Kaiun placed an order for ten 82,000 DWT bulk carriers at compatriot shipyards.Furthermore, Japan’s Kambara Kissen has ordered eight Panamaxes and two Ultramaxes at Tsuneishi Cebu Shipbuilding, slated for delivery by 2020.Big orders also came from Nisshin Shipping and Singapore’s Yangzijiang Shipping Pte that ordered seven bulkers each during the said period.A new mega-order seems to be in the making, as indicated by brokers, involving Brazilian miner Vale which has been linked to a time charter deal for up to 30 Valemax newbuilds.Under the long-term contracts of affreightment lasting up to 25 years, Chinese joint venture between ICBC Leasing and China Merchants would be providing ten 400,000 DWT bulkers, while South Korean shipping company Pan Ocean would be providing 4 Valemax newbuilds.In addition, Pan Ocean’s compatriots Korea Line Corporation, H Line Shipping, and SK Shipping would each contribute two 400,000 DWT bulkers, data from Intermodal Research shows.Furthermore, Polaris Shipping is reportedly ordering up to ten newbuilds to support the contract.The orders are said to be spread across several Chinese and South Korean yards, with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) being tied to an order from Polaris, with likely deliveries in 2019-2020.When asked about the order by World Maritime News, Vale said it could not comment on the reports.Polaris and HHI are yet to confirm the market reports as well.Prompted by attractive newbuilding prices the owners are rushing to the yards to secure newbuilding tonnage anent the anticipated market recovery.Nevertheless, the ordering spree might result in the boomerang effect and delay the much-needed recovery even further amid the threat of tonnage oversupply that is likely to keep freight rates down.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more