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PISMP teachers achieve excellent performance – Radzi


Dr Radzi Jidin

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 11): The performance of graduate teachers from Bachelor in Teaching Programme (PISMP) offered at Teacher Education Institutes (IPGs) is at an excellent level and meets the schools’ needs.

Senior Minister of Education Dr Radzi Jidin said based on the assessment conducted by school administrators from the period of 2015 until 2019, the IPG graduate teachers had an average score of 92 per cent and above.

“The MOE (Ministry of Education) implements an assessment method on the PISMP teachers by obtaining feedback from school administrators one year after they had started teaching and generally (school administrators) are satisfied with the teachers’ performance and quality,” he said during Minister’s Question Time at the Dewan Rakyat here today.

He was replying to a question raised by Dr Maszlee Malik (Bebas-Simpang Renggam) who wanted to know the measures and initiatives taken by the ministry in maintaining and improving the quality of PISMP so that the standard of teaching will always be excellent.

Radzi said MOE was always committed to empowering teacher’s education by strengthening the PISMP programme including its candidate selection process and curriculum in order to produce trained and competent teachers. – Bernama

— MORE TO COME —










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virus, protection, coronavirus

Dr Yii: RM1,000 fine for not wearing face masks in public places too high especially for lower income group

KUCHING: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii is urging the government to revise the blanket RM1,000 fine imposed on offenders for not wearing face masks in public places in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Yii said the RM1,000 fine is too high especially for the lower income group.

Not only they may not be able to afford to pay up the fine, they may not even have enough to buy face masks in the first place, he argued.

“To me the RM1,000 fine for not wearing face masks in public places is too high especially for the lower income group who may forget to wear their face masks. They may not know of the policy or standard operating procedures (SOP).

“If we look at Victoria, Australia, their fine for an offender is A$200, which is about 6.7 per cent of Australia’s minimum income. Whereas in Malaysia, RM1,000 is about 83 per cent of the RM1,200 minimum wage.

“This is not fair considering our principle is to educate, not just to punish,” Dr Yii said in his debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong during the Dewan Rakyat sitting this morning.

He suggested for the government to impose fines in stages, where first time offenders may be fined between RM200 and RM300, with the fine escalating for repeat offenders.

He said if the fine is too high as it is now, this may also open up opportunity for corruption among the enforcers.

Dr Yii also suggested for the government look into ways to provide accessibility to face masks and the use of reusable masks like what is being implemented in Singapore.

He said on Australia’s government official website, they even have a video showing how the public can make their own fabric masks at home.

On a related topic, Dr Yii also urged the government to clarify on the mandatory face mask policy especially on the definition of “public places”.

He said some of his constituents were confused on what is considered as public places because there have been no specifics gazetted or listed in any official government websites or publications.

“What was announced by the minister (Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri) was very general, like public transportation, markets, shopping malls and other public places.

“This definition is too general and is causing confusion. If we look at the model in Australian, their government listed all the places that face masks are needed to be worn, including some exemptions,” said Yii.






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N. Korea declares emergency after ‘runaway’ virus defector returns


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convened an emergency politburo meeting on Saturday to implement a “maximum emergency system and issue a top-class alert” to contain the virus, official news agency KCNA said. – AFP photo

North Korean authorities have imposed a lockdown on the border city of Kaesong after discovering what they called the country’s first suspected case of the novel coronavirus, state media reported Sunday.

Leader Kim Jong Un convened an emergency politburo meeting on Saturday to implement a “maximum emergency system and issue a top-class alert” to contain the virus, official news agency KCNA said.

If confirmed, it would be the first officially recognised COVID-19 case in the North where medical infrastructure is seen as woefully inadequate for dealing with any epidemic.

KCNA said a defector who had left for the South three years ago returned on July 19 after “illegally crossing” the heavily fortified border dividing the countries.

But there have been no reports in the South of anyone leaving through what is one of the world’s most secure borders, replete with minefields and guard posts.

Pyongyang has previously insisted not a single case of the coronavirus had been seen in the North despite the illness having swept the globe, and the country’s borders remain closed.

The patient was found in Kaesong City, which borders the South, and “was put under strict quarantine”, as would anybody who had come in close contact, state media said.

It was a “dangerous situation… that may lead to a deadly and destructive disaster”, the media outlet added.

Kim was quoted as saying “the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country”, and officials on Friday took the “preemptive measure of totally blocking Kaesong City”.

The nuclear-armed North closed its borders in late January as the virus spread in neighbouring China and imposed tough restrictions that put thousands of its people into isolation, but analysts say the North is unlikely to have avoided the contagion.

South Korea is currently recording around 40 to 60 cases a day.

Earlier this month Kim warned against any “hasty” relaxation of anti-coronavirus measures, indicating the country will keep its borders closed for the foreseeable future. – AFP










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Police hit the brakes on Sarawak Day convoy in Miri for flouting condition

The participants marching through Miri Marina area to Miri Waterfront Commercial Centre. – Picture by Mohd Aliff Idzwan Abdullah

MIRI: A vehicle convoy to commemorate Sarawak Day here did not go on as planned after the police required its 50 participants to walk instead.

Miri Police Chief ACP Lim Meng Seah said the police had the right to stop any organiser from running their events if they fail to comply with the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

He said the law had been amended in 2019 to include Section 4 (1) which allows street protests including parades.

“We had informed the organisers that they cannot hold a vehicle convoy but they went against the condition. Therefore, the police have the right to stop their convoy,” he said when contacted.

He also said that police presence at the event this morning was normal as they have to monitor the event under Section 15 Peaceful Assembly Act for security and sensitivity.

A letter, sighted by The Borneo Post, from the police to the organiser on July 21, 2020 had stated that a vehicle convoy was not permitted.

Signed by Lim, the letter said the police only allowed a parade on foot and in accordance with a list of dos and don’ts.

The event was jointly organised by Members of Gabungan Anak Sarawak (Gasak), Sarawak for Sarawakians (S4S) and Sarawak Independence Alliance (SIA).

A spokesman, Yeo Yaw Lee, said they were happy to carry on with their event after some misunderstanding among the event participants.

He said the 2020 Miri 722 Convoy was initially planned as a vehicle convoy to promote the significance of Sarawak Day but the plan was changed at the last minute to a foot parade due to Covid-19 pandemic.

He said they had targeted about 20 vehicles involving 30 to 40 participants for the convoy.

The parade, which lasted about an hour, started from the Miri Times Square to the Miri Waterfront Commercial Centre.

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Nvidia Sued for Patent Infringement


nvidia logo

Subsidiaries of Xperi Corporation, a company that licenses intellectual property, have filed suit against Nvidia in the U.S. District Court of Delaware for patent infringement. The case hinges on Nvidia’s alleged violation of five of the company’s patents for technology used in its gaming and supercomputer GPUs.

During the company’s Q1 2019 earnings call, Xperi announced that its subsidiaries Invensas Corporation and Tessera Advanced Technologies had filed the suit:

In addition, today we filed a lawsuit against NVIDIA for patent infringement. We believe that NVIDIA is using our patent semiconductor technology in certain of its CPUs and processors and we have been speaking with NVIDIA for several years about taking a patent license. We ultimately could not reach an agreement and we felt that we needed to take this action to defend our intellectual property rights. We filed the case in Delaware Federal Court asserting 5 patents. — CEO Jon Kirchner, via Seeking Alpha.

https://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-sued-patent-infringement-xperi,39322.html



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LG Announces First-Quarter 2019 Financial Results


LG Electronics Inc. (LG) announced consolidated sales of KRW 14.92 trillion (USD 13.27 billion) and operating profit of KRW 900.6 billion (USD 801.25 million) for the first quarter of 2019. Although overall first-quarter revenues and operating income declined somewhat in 2019 versus 2018, the home appliance company reported record first-quarter sales and profits. Operating income was 1,090 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2018, reflecting improved cost structures across major business units.

The LG Home Appliance & Air Solution Company generated first-quarter revenues of KRW 5.47 trillion (USD 4.86 billion) and operating profit of KRW 727.6 billion (USD 647.3 million), the highest quarterly revenue and operating income for the business unit in LG history. Sales were especially strong in Europe and Asia, contributing to growth of 11 percent year-on-year and 26 percent quarter-on-quarter on robust sales of premium and growth products especially in the domestic Korean market. The increase in operating profit of more than 30 percent from the same period last year also can be attributed to the growing popularity of high-growth products such as Styler, clothes dryers, air purifiers and vacuum cleaners as well as effective cost reduction efforts.

The LG Home Entertainment Company reported first-quarter revenues of KRW 4.02 trillion (USD 3.58 billion) and operating profit of KRW 346.5 billion (USD 308.27 million), a decrease of 3 percent from the same period the previous year due to seasonal weakness in demand and the lack of global sporting events. Operating income increased significantly from the previous quarter thanks to greater marketing efficiencies and improvement cost structure. The launch of new 2019 premium products including OLED TVs, NanoCell TVs and large-screen Ultra HD TVs is expected to generate additional sales opportunities in the second quarter.

The LG Mobile Communications Company saw first-quarter sales of KRW 1.51 trillion (USD 1.34 billion) and narrowed its quarterly operating loss to KRW 203.5 billion (USD 181.05 million) as LG continues to rebuild its smartphone business. Operating results improved from the previous quarter as a result of stronger business structure. Looking ahead, the launch of LG V50ThinQ 5G smartphone is expected to create positive momentum in the second quarter while the relocation of LG’s smartphone manufacturing center from Pyeongtaek, Korea to Haiphong, Vietnam will help improve profitability and LG’s global competitiveness in the second half of the year.

The LG Vehicle Component Solutions Company recorded first-quarter revenues of KRW 1.35 trillion (USD 1.20 billion), a 61 percent increase from the same period last year. Increased sales at ZKW contributed to an improvement in operating results despite rising raw material prices and initial production costs associated with new projects. Trends in the global auto market associated with low fuel prices and increased sales of luxury vehicles and SUVs will create more opportunities for LG’s automotive components business.

The LG Business Solutions Company posted first-quarter sales of KRW 626.6 billion (USD 556.58 million), 5 percent higher than the previous quarter and 3 percent lower than the first quarter a year ago. Operating profit of KRW 55.5 billion (USD 49.38 million) was 272 percent higher than the previous quarter but 3 percent lower year-on-year due to the impact of U.S. tariffs on solar module imports and ongoing significant price erosion in major markets. The information display business plans to improve profitability by expanding sales of premium displays and LED products.

2019 1Q Exchange Rates Explained

LG Electronics’ unaudited quarterly earnings results are based on IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) for the three-month period ending March 31, 2019. Amounts in Korean won (KRW) are translated into U.S. dollars (USD) at the average rate of the three-month period of the corresponding quarter — KRW 1,124 per USD.



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Sony’s New EXTRA BASS™ Speaker Range Take Dance Parties to the Next Level


Sony refreshes its EXTRA BASS™ wireless speaker line up with the new GTK-XB72 high power speaker.

Sound that packs a punch

Feel the deep and punchy bass sound with the popular EXTRA BASS™ series of speakers from Sony. A large cabinet and big woofers on the XB72 create stronger bass and expand the sound field for powerful sound.

With LIVE SOUND mode now available on XB72, you can enjoy a three-dimensional music experience as if you were at a live venue. LIVE SOUND mode expands the service area of the sound via angled speakers and Digital Signal Processing technology, producing three-dimensional sound which puts you in the thick of the music as if you were at a music festival. The range is ideal for hip-hop, dance and rap music lovers with bass at the heart of their music taste.

Boost the party

Thanks to the easy-to-grab design and a built-in accelerometer, the XB22 and XB32 feature a Party Booster. The speakers react when you tap on them and create unique lighting and sound effects. Additionally, you can enjoy a range of fun party features on the XB72 via the Fiestable app. Customise your party with voice control, a new style motion control feature and an interactive party light. Simply select ‘Party Lights’ in the Fiestable app to light up your phone in time to the music to recreate the live concert atmosphere via your smartphone.

Turn any venue into a party with the improved multi-colour line lighting on the XB72. With multiple colours and flashing strobe lighting effects, XB72 give the party a club atmosphere by syncing the lights to the beat of the music you love. Make it personal and customise these party functions via the Fiestable app.

The GTK-XB72 is now available in Malaysia at Sony Stores and all authorised dealers at RM1,499.

For product specifications, please visit:

GTK-XB72:

https://www.sony.com.my/electronics/hi-fi-systems/gtk-xb72?cid=pr:ces2019:gtk-xb72:my:art

Specification sheet

 

Model Name GTK-XB72
Bluetooth® Yes
NFC™ Yes
Supported Codecs SBC, AAC, LDAC
USB Yes (Play & Charge)
Audio in Yes (RCA)
Microphone Input 1
Bass Boost Function EXTRA BASS
LIVE SOUND Function LIVE SOUND
Sound Enhancement DSEE™ (Auto)
Wireless Party Chain Yes
Light Speaker Light / Line Light / Strobe Flash
Tuning Range (FM) 87.5-108MHz/50KHz
Music Center/Fiestable Yes
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 345 x 656 x 379mm
Weight Approx. 12kg
Colours Black

 



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1.6 mil MYTV decoders distributed


MYTV Broadcasting Sdn Bhd (MYTV) has distributed 1.6 million of the total two million free decoder units for eligible recipients to date, the Dewan Negara was told today.

Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Eddie Syazlee Shith said the recipients were selected from the ‘Bantuan Sara Hidup’ (Household Living Aid) list especially those in the lowest income B40 households.

On myFreeview broadcasts transmitted via the decoder, he said it had reached 98 percent coverage in populated areas, but did not deny it occasionally faced broadcast disturbances such as pay TV broadcasts.

“With regard to these broadcast disturbances, we need to understand that pay TV stations like Astro (at times) also face technical difficulties, what more companies giving free services, there is no difference, MYTV has given their best as part of their services,” he said at the Q & A session today.

He was responding to a supplementary question from Senator Datuk Abdullah Salleh who asked questions regarding myFreeview broadcast disturbance issues.

The terrestrial digital TV service under myFreeview branding is a Government initiative provided free of charge to the people, operated by MYTV company by private sector funding.

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/16-mil-mytv-decoders-distributed



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Axiata-Telenor JV to induce competition in pricing, network


The proposed merger of Axiata Group Bhd and Telenor ASA’s telecommunication and infrastructure assets in South Asia will signify the importance of scale for telco industries to compete in data pricing, network capacity and spectrum holdings.

According to Fitch Ratings Inc, the merged entity (MergeCo) will command better pricing power, with stiff competition resulting in telcos seldom being able to price data to capitalise fully on the rapid growth in data consumption.

The data consumption currently averages about 11GB per user a month, up from 7GB a year ago.

“The enlarged entity would become the largest domestic mobile operator, with a combined market share of over 50%, and 35% of total revenue share across the domestic fixed and mobile sectors, surpassing fixed-line operator Telekom Malaysia Bhd,” the rating firm stated in a report yesterday.

Fitch highlighted that continuous investment is needed to maintain the growth in the highly competitive Asian telecommunication market.

Earlier this week, both companies announced a preliminary discussion to merge their assets in nine Asian countries.

The MergeCo, which will see Telenor having a 56.5% stake with Axiata owning the remaining 43.5%, will create the country’s largest cellular operator with 21 million handphone subscribers in Malaysia and 267 million customers in nine countries.

Fitch stated that the proposed deal will reap most synergies in Malaysia, as both parties have an equal presence in the local market. Telenor — a Norwegian firm — has a 49% stake in Digi.Com Bhd.

The limited geographical overlap in other markets, including Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia and Bangladesh, would offer cashflow diversification and regional exposure to 300 million subscribers.

The deal, however, excludes Axiata’s Bangladeshi operations held under Robi Axiata Ltd, which will be continued independently by Axiata.

Meanwhile, Fitch said changes to the parent-subsidiary relationships of Axiata and its 66%-owned Indonesian subsidiary, PT XL Axiata Tbk, and Telenor and Total Access Communication pcl (DTAC), the third-largest Thai mobile operator, could prompt re-assessments of the level of parental support for these subsidiaries.

Axiata-Telenor JV to induce competition in pricing, network



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Microsoft delivers new advancements in Azure from cloud to edge


Microsoft Corp. announced a series of new Azure services and developer technologies that put advanced capabilities spanning AI, mixed reality, IoT and blockchain in the hands of developers. The company will share these and additional advancements in hybrid cloud and edge computing at its Microsoft Build conference to empower developers.

“It’s an incredible time to be a developer. From building AI and mixed reality into apps to leveraging blockchain for solving commercial business problems, developers’ skillsets and impact are growing rapidly,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Microsoft Cloud and AI Group. “Today we’re delivering innovative Azure services for developers to build the next generation of apps. With 95% of Fortune 500 customers running on Azure, these innovations can have far-reaching impact.”

Furthering Microsoft’s commitment to building the most productive AI platform

Microsoft announced a new set of Azure AI technology aimed to help developers and data scientists apply AI to any solution.

  • Azure Cognitive Services power applications to see, hear, respond, translate, reason and more. Microsoft is launching a new Cognitive Services category, called “Decision,” that delivers users a specific recommendation for more informed and efficient decision-making. This category includes Content Moderator, the recently announced Anomaly Detector, and a new service called Personalizer, which uses reinforcement learning to provide users with a specific recommendation to enable quick and informed decision-making.
  • Microsoft is bringing AI to Azure Search with the general availability of the cognitive search capability, enabling customers to apply Cognitive Services algorithms to extract new insights from their structured and unstructured content. In addition, we are previewing a new capability that enables developers to store AI insights gained from cognitive search, making it easier to create knowledge-rich experiences leveraging Power BI visualizations or machine learning models.

New innovations in Azure Machine Learning simplify the process of building, training and deploying machine learning models:

  • MLOps capabilities with Azure DevOps integration provides developers with reproducibility, auditability and automation of the end-to-end machine learning lifecycle.
  • Automated ML advancements and an intuitive UI make developing high-quality models easier.
  • Visual machine learning interface provides no-code model creation and deployment experience with drag-and-drop capabilities.
  • To enable extremely low latency and cost-effective inferencing, Microsoft is announcing the general availability of hardwareaccelerated models that run on FPGAs, as well as ONNX Runtime support for NVIDIA TensorRT and Intel nGraph for high-speed inferencing on NVIDIA and Intel chipsets.

Expanding opportunity at the Intelligent Edge

The company introduced several new products and solutions today that continue to address the existing and emerging needs of hybrid cloud and edge computing:

  • Microsoft introduced Azure SQL Database Edge to support the spectrum of edge compute needs. A SQL engine optimized for lower compute requirements with built-in AI, the product combines data streaming with in-database machine learning and graph capabilities to enable intelligence on the edge. Because Azure SQL Database Edge shares the same programming surface area with SQL Server, developers can easily take applications to the edge without having to learn new tools and languages, providing a consistent programming experience.
  • Microsoft also announced IoT Plug and Play, a new open modeling language to seamlessly connect IoT devices to the cloud, enabling developers to navigate one of the biggest challenges they face — deploying IoT solutions at scale. Previously, software had to be written specifically for the connected device it supported, limiting the scale of IoT deployments. IoT Plug and Play will offer customers a large ecosystem of partner-certified devices that can connect quickly.
  • For mixed-reality development, Microsoft is making it easier to create for HoloLens 2 with the HoloLens 2 Developer bundle, which provides the community of mixed- reality developers with access to solutions to help them build and run mixed-reality experiences across a range of devices.
  • Unreal Engine 4 support for streaming and native platform integration for HoloLens 2 will be available for developers by the end of May to create high-quality, photo-realistic renders and immersive, mixed-reality experiences for solutions spanning architecture, product design, manufacturing and more.

Doubling down on investments to empower blockchain developers

Last year, Microsoft announced Azure Blockchain Workbench, which gave developers a simple UI to model blockchain applications on a preconfigured Azure-supported network. Today’s announcements take it even further.

  • Azure Blockchain Service simplifies the formation, management and governance of consortium blockchain networks, allowing businesses to focus on workflow logic and app development. Azure Blockchain Service deploys a fully managed consortium network and offers built-in governance for common management tasks, such as adding new members, setting permissions and authenticating user applications.
  • Microsoft also announced this week that J.P. Morgan’s Ethereum platform, Quorum, is the first ledger available in Azure Blockchain Service, giving Microsoft and J.P. Morgan customers the ability to deploy and manage scalable blockchain networks in the cloud.

More than 6,000 developers and content creators will join Microsoft in Seattle next week for the conference to learn about the latest advancements in cloud and developer technologies, as well as get hands-on experience with them. Today’s announcements give developers of all kinds new cutting-edge tools to create the next generation of applications for intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. There will be even more showcased next week at Build.



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