Google’s SMS internet for Uganda

first_imgThe Google SMS Health Tips response to the words “pregnant HIV”. The Google SMS Search response to the words “NEWS Michael Jackson funeral”. Mary AlexanderFind out more about using MediaClubSouthAfrica.com materialInternet giant Google has launched yet another innovative new product, this time using a fairly old technology: an SMS-based information service for people without access to computers or high-end phones in the more remote parts of Africa.Set up in collaboration with MTN Uganda, the local subsidiary of South African’s multinational cellular service provider MTN, is a suite of mobile-phone applications which will allow people to access information, via SMS, on a number of topics. These include health and agriculture, news, local weather, sport and more, as well as Google Trader, a SMS-based marketplace application.“At Google we seek to serve a broad base of people — not only those who can afford to access the internet from the convenience of their workplace or with a computer at home,” Joe Mucheru, head of Google sub-Saharan Africa, and Fiona Lee, Africa project manager, said in a blog announcing the service on Monday.With Africa having the lowest internet penetration coupled with the highest mobile growth rate – and with most of those phones having only voice and texting capabilities – the most efficient way to give people access to information is via SMS.“It’s important to reach users wherever they are, with the information they need, in areas with the greatest information poverty,” Mucheru and Lee said. “In many places around the world, people look to their phones, rather than their computers, to find information they need in their daily lives. This is especially true in Africa.”Initially launched only in Uganda, the service is effectively a limited, SMS-based form of the internet, with Google SMS Tips providing a simplified search function. Here users enter a free-form text query, which Google’s algorithms restructure to identify keywords, search a database of answers, and return the most relevant answer.Google SMS Tips includes Health Tips, which provides information on sexual and reproductive health; ClinicFinder, which helps users find a clinic near them, as well as the clinic’s telephone number and the services it offers; and Farmer’s Friend, which provides weather forecasts and information on planting, pest management and disease control.“If a pregnant woman has a question about prenatal services, she can text her question to 6001 and get a response right away,” said Rachel Payne, Google’s Uganda country manager. “Now people in any part of Uganda can easily find the information that is most critical to them.”Texting the words “pregnant HIV”, for example, produces the following SMS response: “If a pregnant woman has not got HIV/AIDS then her baby will not have HIV/AIDS. If the mother gets HIV during pregnancy her baby is at risk of getting  infected. If your partner has HIV/AIDS you could catch it from them. To prevent this ALWAYS use a condom when you have sex. If you think you might have HIV/AIDS GET TESTED.” The user may then receive additional information by selecting a number of options.Google SMS Search, which in Uganda uses the number 6006, provides information on news, sports scores, definitions, translations, currency conversions, bible texts and a lot more. Texting “Michael Jackson funeral” produces an AFP report under the headline “Jackson funeral takes shape as drug probe widens”.The third service, Google Trader, uses the number 6007 to connect buyers and sellers.“We hope to help alleviate some of the information and access to markets barriers for the poor, especially those in rural areas,” said Payne. “So, when farmers in Iganga want to sell their maize, they can list their crop on Google Trader and a miller in another trading center can find and contact them to buy their goods.”Google SMS comes out of a partnership between Google, the Grameen Foundation, the Busoga Rural Open Source and Development Initiative, the Straight Talk Foundation and Marie Stopes Uganda.It’s the result of the Grameen Foundation’s AppLab, or Application Laboratory, which has been working for more than a year to develop mobile applications for those who have limited access to information and communications technology.“This launch also represents an important milestone, as our first major initiative in Uganda, one of the newest locations where Google is setting up operations,” Payne said.“As the East African fibre optic cables begin to connect Uganda to the global internet community, it is vital that the foundation for a thriving internet economy also be established.”Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected] articlesMobile money grows in Africa Better farming with mobiles Facebook says ‘hakuna matata’ Early African fossils found SA Google Earth layer is tops Google to put Africa online MTN in new empowerment deal Useful linksGoogle SMSMTN GroupMTN UgandaGoogle BlogGoogle Africa Blog Grameen FoundationBusoga Rural Open Source and Development InitiativeStraight Talk FoundationMarie Stopes Ugandalast_img read more

Rockets’ Zhou Qi released after failure to launch

first_imgZhou spent three seasons in China with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, helping them capture the Chinese crown in 2017.Zhou has also represented China, and was a member of the country’s 2016 Olympic team. He was also a part of the China squad which won gold at the Asian Games in Jakarta in September.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Zhou was chosen by Houston with the 43rd overall pick in the 2016 draft.However, he failed to establish himself in Houston, playing just a handful of games from the bench in 2017-2018 with no starts.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefThe towering seven-foot (2.17m) player spent most of the past two seasons playing for the Rockets’ junior affiliate Rio Grande Valley in the G-League.Zhou averaged 1.2 points and 1.2 rebounds a game last season for the Rockets in his 18 appearances. Lacson: 2019 budget delay due to P75-B House ‘insertion’ LeBron James’ season-low 13 in blowout caps Lakers’ eventful week Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games02:45Drilon blasts Duterte’s infra program as ‘dismal failure’02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss LATEST STORIES TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? View comments Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Zhou Qi #9 of the Houston Rockets poses for a portrait during the Houston Rockets Media Day at The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston on September 24, 2018 in Houston, Texas. Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFPChinese forward Zhou Qi’s bid for NBA glory with the Houston Rockets came to an abrupt end on Monday after he was released by the club.A brief statement on the Rockets website said the 22-year-old center had been waived by general manager Daryl Morey.ADVERTISEMENT Private companies step in to help SEA Games hostinglast_img read more

10 months agoTottenham fullback Walker-Peters: I’ll be stronger for Barcelona performance

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Tottenham fullback Walker-Peters: I’ll be stronger for Barcelona performanceby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham fullback Kyle Walker-Peters says he’ll be stronger for a tough Champions League draw at Barcelona.He was robbed of possession inside the opening 10 minutes by Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele, who raced clear and scored.He later picked up a booking and then was sacrificed in the second half as Spurs chased an equaliser that ultimately secured a last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund.”I learnt a lot about myself,” Walker-Peters said. “Two seconds after making the mistake, I was thinking, ‘You know, make sure you don’t die on the pitch!'”But I think I went on to actually play quite well. I think I’ve got a good amount of mental toughness, to be able to do that. But again, it’s all a learning curve for me.”Especially coming in the Champions League, in a stadium like that against such a good team. To be able to look past that… also with the help of my team-mates straight away.”Danny Rose came straight over to me and said, “Keep going”. Harry Kane as well, he said a few things to me. As we went to take the kick-off he just said, ‘Keep going. There’s plenty of time’.”That gave me confidence and that’s why I went on to play quite well.”It’s always going to happen once in your career. Now it’s happened I feel like I know how to deal with it. If it ever happens again – touch wood it doesn’t – I’ll know how to respond.” last_img read more

Yazidi boy gets short meeting with Trudeau after showing up at town

first_imgWINNIPEG – A Yazidi boy who was held captive for three years by Iraqi militants got his wish to meet with Justin Trudeau, simply by showing up to the prime minister’s town hall meeting in Winnipeg.Thirteen-year-old Emad Mishko Tamo made a video appeal to Trudeau that was posted to social media by the Yazidi Association of Manitoba last month.But a spokesman for the group says they never heard back from Trudeau, and decided to try to see him at the forum at the University of Manitoba on Wednesday.Hadji Hesso says when Emad arrived at the venue with his uncle, political staffers approached him and brought him to a dressing room, where he met Trudeau for about five minutes.Emad was reunited with his family in Winnipeg last year after a relative saw his picture, taken in a refugee camp, on social media.Hesso says they’d hoped for a much longer meeting with Trudeau, so Emad could talk more about the plight of other Yazidi children and bringing more refugees to Canada.“It was not the meeting that we were looking for,” said Hesso, who is a spokesman for the family. “But hopefully this is just the beginning.”“We requested a further meeting, another meeting, to discuss more details — if possible in Ottawa — but nothing has been confirmed yet.”Emad was separated from his family after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant displaced thousands of members of the Kurdish-minority Yazidis in 2014. He was freed last summer in the city of Mosul.In the Yazidi Association’s video, Emad held up a sign thanking Canada for helping him, followed by another sign stating that he wanted to share his story and be a voice for other Yazidi children still in captivity.“There’s a thousand other kids like me who are still held captive,” one of Emad’s signs stated. “Hon. Justin Trudeau, will you meet me?”Hesso said he got to the Max Bell Centre at the University of Manitoba early, and was waiting for Emad to arrive with his uncle and another representative with the Yazidi association. The plan wasn’t complicated — just try to find the prime minister.But Hesso said he got a text telling him Emad was already with the prime minister.During the short meeting, Hesso said Emad gave Trudeau a list of some of the issues he hoped the government could address.“Emad was excited,” Hesso said, but noted more time was needed.“We were hoping for something better, longer, more detailed.”The day before the town hall, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel posted a Facebook video where she criticized Trudeau for failing to meet with Emad, noting the prime minister did meet with freed hostage Joshua Boyle.Boyle and his family were rescued in Pakistan in October after five years of captivity in Afghanistan. Less than two weeks after their meeting with Trudeau, Ottawa police laid 15 criminal charges against Boyle, including eight counts of assault and two counts of sexual assault.“The plight of the Yazidi people is something we should be prioritizing here in Canada and I can think of no better emissary than a young boy who has survived this and has the courage to speak for his people,” Rempel said in the video.The House of Commons unanimously passed a motion in 2016 calling the persecution of Yazidis a genocide, and committing to provide asylum to Yazidi women and girls.An email last month from a spokesman for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen stated that as of Dec. 31, 2017, the government issued just over 1,200 visas to government-supported survivors of ISIL.More than 1,000 had arrived in Canada and 81 per cent of them were Yazidi, the email stated.However, the email stated that the government would not be receiving any new applications under the initiative.—By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton.last_img read more

Sharks devour Blue Jackets winning streak

One big letdown against the San Jose Sharks snapped the Columbus Blue Jackets’ three-game winning streak. After scoring two power-play goals for an early 2-0 lead, Columbus surrendered three unanswered goals to the Sharks. A third-period tally from left winger Patrick Marleau put San Jose ahead, 3-2, and goalie Antti Niemi shut the Jackets out the rest of the game Wednesday night at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets imposed themselves on San Jose from the opening faceoff. Besides winning physical battles on both offense and defense, the Jackets took advantage of their first two power plays of the game. Niemi kept his team in the game throughout the opening period, turning away 14 shots. At 9:35 into the game, he got a leg pad to Blue Jackets left winger Kristian Huselius’ slap shot, despite a screen from left winger R.J. Umberger. Niemi’s pad wasn’t enough, though, and the shot trickled through his legs. Huselius’ 12th goal of the year gave the Blue Jackets an early 1-0 lead. Columbus continued to win physical battles during its second power play before defenseman Grant Clitsome skated up from the blue line to slap a shot into the upper left-hand corner of the net. Niemi only managed to turn his head in time to see Clitsome’s third goal of the year put the Sharks in a 2-0 hole at the 19:51 mark. But the Sharks pushed back, literally and figuratively, in the second period. There was increased physicality from all members of the San Jose team, and their scoring push came from unlikely players. Less than two minutes into the second period, defenseman Kent Huskins cut the Sharks’ deficit in half with his first goal of the year. Sharks center Kyle Wellwood provided his second goal of the year to even the score at 2-2, 12 minutes later. Columbus defenseman Marc Methot thought the goals were more a product of a Columbus letdown than a San Jose revival. “We did it to ourselves that period,” Methot said. “We let off the gas.” An uneventful third period turned unfortunate for Columbus when right winger Derek Dorsett collapsed after getting his leg caught on the ice. Dorsett stayed down for several minutes but managed to skate to the bench without assistance. The Sharks intensified their attack when play resumed, and eventually one of their known scoring commodities provided the game-winning goal. Columbus goalie Steve Mason, who saved 29 shots total, stood tall for much of the third period. Mason was tight up against the left post of his goal when a wrist shot from the point snuck passed him and several bodies in front of the net. The goal was credited to Marleau. Columbus coach Scott Arniel was skeptical of the Sharks’ third goal. “It just got in on the short side,” Arniel said. “(Mason) was playing a heck of a hockey game. If it goes on the short side, one way or another, he’s gotta seal that.” Marleau’s 20th goal of the year for the Sharks was met with more impressive goaltending from Niemi, who made 16 of his game-high 42 saves in the third period to help the Sharks hang on for a 3-2 victory. Arniel was mostly positive about Columbus’ effort in recent games, but questioned the mental toughness of his players. “The guys, you could tell, were a little tired at times,” Arniel said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win the game. It’s real disappointing. We felt we were good for stretches.” Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash summed up the loss to San Jose in just a few sentences. “It’s a tough one tonight,” Nash said. “We had a great first and then sat back and lost on a tough goal. We shot ourselves in the foot and threw away two points.” With the loss, Columbus remains four points behind the Calgary Flames for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. San Jose moves into the top spot in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division and third place in the conference overall with the win. The Blue Jackets return to action with a 7 p.m. faceoff Friday against the Colorado Avalanche at Nationwide Arena. read more

Bielsa drops nonperforming coaches from matches Mendy claims

first_imgThe Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy has described Leeds United Coach Marcelo Bielsa as a workaholic who doesn’t tolerate non-performing coaches during training.The French International worked under the coach, nicknamed El Loco, at French club in Marseille from 2014 to 2015.Mendy told Canal Plus via Daily Mail:“Concerning his staff, if he says that you have to place a cone at 10 meters and you place it at 11 metres, maybe because of that you will not be selected in the group to go on the next trip with the team. His staff had to work well during the week to be in the group.Five players who might struggle at Manchester City Taimoor Khan – August 4, 2019 Manchester City are definitely the strongest team in England and for the players it is not easy to nail a spot in the starting…”The first game of the season we did was friendly and we left with only a doctor. He did not even speak our language and there was no assistant coach. The others hadn’t done a good enough job.”There are many stories about Bielsa, now manager at Leeds United, and it’s pretty certain the 63-year-old lives up to his nickname.Sportsmail revealed how every morning, Bielsa and his assistants respond to letters from admirers around the world.last_img read more

Body of middleaged man found on railway track near Jadavpur stn

first_imgKolkata: A middle-aged man was found dead on the railway track near Jadavpur railway station on early Wednesday morning.Police are yet to ascertain if the victim had committed suicide or he was run over while crossing the railway track. The incident took place a little after 4 am on Wednesday. Some of the locals spotted the body lying on the railway track. They reported the matter to the railway police. After being informed, police rushed to the spot, recovered the body and sent it for the post-mortem examination. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIt triggered tension among the local vendors and flower sellers who first spotted the body.Police have started a detailed probe in this regard. On seeing the circumstantial evidence, police suspect that the victim might have been knocked down by a running train in the wee hours of Wednesday. According to the preliminary investigation, police found out that he was going to his work place when the incident occurred. Police said the nature of injuries on his body suggested that he was run over by a train. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedPolice has ruled out the possibility of the victim being murdered somewhere and later dumped on the railway track.The investigators suspect that the victim might have been walking along the railway track when the accident took place. Cops are investigating as to why the victim was walking along the railway track. They are also investigating if there was any foul play behind the incident. They are waiting for the post-mortem report which could throw light on the cause of his death.last_img read more