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Facebook buzz: Good Samaritans still out there

মঙ্গলবার, ০৬ ডিসেম্বর ২০১৬

06 December 2016 A woman today recovered her bag and all belongings in Dhaka, a day after she lost it, thanks to the generosity of a common Samaritan.

While jogging after dinner last night, Ataul Hoque, 37, found a bag near Khilgaon flyover in Basabo area of Dhaka at 10:30pm. Inside, along with other documents, was Tk 1 lakh in cash.

He published a status on Facebook with a photo, asking the owner to come forward with proof. After detail scrutiny, all the belongings were returned to one Shahnaz Shirin.

“I have managed to return the money and other belongings ­­in the bag, to the owner at 11:30am today,” Ataul Hoque told The Daily Star.

The owner, Shahnaz Shirin, 45, a former staff of Biman, acknowledged the receipt of her belongings when The Daily Star contacted her. However, she refrained from elaborating.

Ataul, now employed as managing director of Mati Multimedia Ltd and hailing from Shonagazi of Feni, lives in Basabo with his wife and only daughter.

He drew much appreciation for his honesty on Facebook and his post was shared over 400 times.

 

Seventy-five percent of internet use in 2017 will be mobile: report

মঙ্গলবার, ০১ নভেম্বর ২০১৬
01 November 2016 Seventy-five percent of internet use will be mobile in 2017, up slightly from this year, as a growing number of consumers around the world access the web on smartphones and tablets, media buying agency Zenith forecast this week.

Zenith previously estimated that 71 percent of internet consumption would be mobile in 2016. Sixty percent of global internet advertising dollars will come from mobile advertising in 2018, Zenith said, following the release of its "Mobile Advertising Forecasts" report on Thursday.

Mobile advertising expenditure in 2018 will total $134 billion, which "is more than will be spent on newspaper, magazine, cinema and outdoor advertising put together," it said.

Zenith, a unit of French ad agency Publicis Groupe SA, had estimated global mobile advertising expenditure in 2016 to be $71 billion.

As more ad dollars shift to the digital realm from television, brands are rushing to Facebook Inc, Snapchat and Google where they can market to viewers.

"In four years, you've gone from 40 percent to 70 percent (of total internet use) in mobile," said Scott Singer, a digital media executive and managing director of innovation consultancy firm DDG Inc.

This trend is driving a shift in ad dollars to mobile and stoking deals in the media, entertainment and communications businesses, he added.

The rise of mobile data consumption, including video, is pushing telecommunications companies to marry content and digital distribution.

They are betting that they can lure viewers to online video and other content that are relayed over their internet and wireless networks, while also attracting advertisers to grow ad revenue.

AT&T on Saturday said it plans to buy media company Time Warner Inc for $85.4 billion to diversify into content distribution.

Verizon Communications has proposed to buy internet company Yahoo .

Both want to leverage user data to help marketers deliver targeted ads

 
 

Google unveils Pixel phone with the ‘best' smartphone camera ever

বুধবার, ০৫ অক্টোবর ২০১৬

05 October 2016 Alphabet Inc's Google on Tuesday announced a new "Pixel" smartphone and a suite of new consumer electronics products for the home, planting itself firmly in the hardware business and challenging Apple Inc's iPhone at the high end of the $400 billion global smartphone market.

The string of announcements - including the $649 Pixel, a smart speaker for the living room dubbed "Home," a virtual reality headset, and a new Wi-Fi router - is the clearest sign yet that Google intends to compete head-to-head with Apple, Amazon.com Inc and even manufacturers of phones using its own Android mobile operating system.

Company executives, echoing Apple's longstanding philosophy, said they were striving for tighter integration of hardware and software.

"The thinking is that if we can work on hardware and software together, we can innovate much better," Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh said in an interview with Reuters, citing a recent reorganization that united once-disparate hardware teams.

Under the new structure, the company has begun to take a much more integrated approach to things like supply chain management and design, added Mario Queiroz, a vice president of product management.

"The learnings from one product are benefiting another product," he said.

Unlike earlier Google phone efforts under the Nexus brand, the Pixel devices are designed and developed by Google from the start, although Taiwan's HTC Corp will serve as the contract manufacturer.

Taking another page from the Apple playbook, Google said it would work exclusively with a single carrier in the United States, Verizon Communications Inc, on the Pixel, emulating Apple's agreement to launch the original iPhone with AT&T Inc. That deal gave Apple unprecedented control over the look of the phone and how it worked.

Shares of Alphabet closed up 0.3 percent, while Verizon fell 1.2 percent.

The phone comes in two sizes, and its high-end camera is one of few distinguishing features, analysts said. The phones come in black, blue and silver and will be able to get up to a seven-hour charge in 15 minutes. Pre-orders begin on Tuesday.

"Aside from the camera, the new Google Pixels are pretty undifferentiated compared to Samsung and iPhone seventh generation phones," industry analyst Patrick Moorhead said.

While the new phones are clearly aimed at competing with the iPhone - Google executives took several swipes at Apple in their on-stage remarks - analysts said Android rivals like Samsung Electronics could be the biggest victim if the Pixel takes off.

Google's strategy of licensing Android for free and profiting from embedded services such as search and maps made Android the dominant mobile operating system with some 89 percent of the global market, according to IDC.

But Apple still rules the high end of the market, and Google has long been frustrated by the emergence of many variations of Android and the inconsistent experience that has produced. Pushing its own hardware will likely complicate its relationship with Android licensees, analysts said.

ALL-PURPOSE ASSISTANT

Google kicked off the event Tuesday by touting the Google Assistant, the company's voice-activated artificial intelligence system and its answer to Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa. The presenter showed how a customer could make a restaurant reservation with a few phrases spoken into the phone.

The assistant will be embedded into the Pixel and Home products and is being positioned as the central feature in a family of integrated hardware and software products.

It is one of a handful of similar assistants that are vying for supremacy as more people search the web and make purchases online using voice commands, which may eventually supplant keyboards and touchscreens as the primary means of controlling digital devices.

While Google is often cited as the leader in artificial intelligence, Amazon stole a march on the company with its Alexa-powered Echo home speaker system, a surprise hit. The Home device and the Echo have many of the same features.

Google's "Daydream View" virtual reality headset, meanwhile, puts the company in competition with Facebook Inc, owner of Oculus. The device, which works with an Android phone, is far cheaper and simpler. It will be available in November for $79, in time for the end-of-year shopping season.

Home will also be available in November for $129, including a six-month trial of ad-free YouTube.

Google also unveiled a new version of its Chromecast digital media player and a router dubbed Google Wifi, both boasting the same sleek, minimalist design as the Home product.

"These look like products from a single company," said Queiroz, the Google executive.

 
 

BTRC circular to switch from Citycell stayed

বৃহস্পতিবার, ০৮ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৬

08 September 2016 The High Court today stayed a circular issued by the authorities asking the subscribers of mobile operator Citycell to switch to an alternative operator. The court also issued a ruling asking the authorities concerned of the government and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to explain why the circular should not be declared illegal.

The HC bench of Justice Zubayer Rahman Chowdhury and Justice Md Ataur Rahman Khan came up with the order and ruling following a writ petition filed by Citycell challenging the legality of the BTRC circular.

The BTRC on August 17 issued a circular for the second time extending its tenure asking the customers of Citycell to take service from other mobile operators in two weeks on July 31 for next two weeks.

On July 31 it issued the first circular in this regard.

Citycell recently filed the petition with the HC challenging the legality of the BTRC circular.

 
 

Curtain to come down on Citycell Aug 24 zero hour

সোমবার, ২২ আগস্ট ২০১৬

22 August 2016 Mobile phone operator Citycell will shut down its operation at the zero hour of August 24.

Chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Shahjahan Mahmood confirmed it to The Daily Star today.

 
 

Process to shut Citycell from tomorrow: Tarana

মঙ্গলবার, ১৬ আগস্ট ২০১৬

16 August 2016 The government will start process from tomorrow to shut the country's oldest mobile phone operator Citycell as it has failed to pay dues around Tk 477.51 crore.

State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim made the announcement at a press conference held at her ministry office this afternoon.

READ MORE: PM to decide fate of Citycell

“Citycell has defaulted on its dues with the government despite several remainders and so we reached the decision,” she said.

She asked all subscribers of the mobile phone operators to switch to any other operators by August 23.

EAD MORE: Citycell seeks more time to pay dues

Earlier, the subscribers of Citycell have been asked to switch to any other operator by August 16.“We have extended the timeframe to switch to another operator considering sufferings of the subscribers,” she added.

 
 

PM approves Robi-Airtel merger

সোমবার, ০১ আগস্ট ২০১৬

01 August 2016 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given approval for merger of Robi and Airtel, a move that will turn the combined entity into the second largest mobile operator after Grameenphone in Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave the approval yesterday, Faizur Rahman Chowdhury, telecom secretary today told The Daily Star.

On January 28, Robi and Airtel signed a merger deal that would make the combined entity the second largest operator in Bangladesh.

The agreement was signed in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The merged company will operate under the brand name of Robi.

READ ALSO: Robi, Airtel ink merger deal

Later on March 16, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission gave it the green light.

Airtel has 20 MHz of spectrum and Robi 19.8 MHz. The two operators can merge their spectrums but Airtel cannot withdraw from the country before the expiry of its spectrum licences.The tenure of Airtel's 2G licence will end in 2020 and 3G in 2028.

 
 

Government initiative to take e-commerce in rural Bangladesh

রবিবার, ৩১ জুলাই ২০১৬
31 July 2016 The Bangladesh government has adopted a plan to take e-commerce to rural areas.

The new initiative aims to set up an ‘e-shop’ in all the 64 districts, which will be connected to a central e-commerce website bringing buyers and sellers together at a single platform.

The e-shops will list local businesses and the products they offer, which will allow them to connect buyers in different parts of the country, skipping middlemen.

On Sunday, the government launched the initial project.

“E-shop is a revolutionary concept. It will empower the lower-income group in the rural areas,” State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak told the inauguration ceremony at the ministry.

He said the government hopes it will significantly contribute to the country’s economy.

“It will play an important role for the rural population’s livelihood as well protect the local industries.”

Palak said that e-shops will enable producers to connect with buyers without via middlemen.

The government will train 1,000 entrepreneurs over e-commerce, who will then work as trainers for the rural people on how to use the planned e-shops, he added.

The minister said that the Bangladesh’s rank in the UN’s e-government index has significantly improved in the last two years. “In 2014, Bangladesh ranked 148th and now, in 2016 it’s 124th.”

 
 

Microsoft-Facebook laying trans-Atlantic Internet line

শনিবার, ২৮ মে ২০১৬

28 May 2016 Microsoft and Facebook yesterday announced they will work together to lay a high-speed Internet cable across the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

A new, sub-sea "MAREA" cable was expected to be completed by late 2017, with the aim of meeting growing demand by the tech companies' customers for fast, reliable data connections.

"As the world is increasingly moving toward a future based on cloud computing, Microsoft continues to invest in our cloud infrastructure to meet current and future growing global demand for our more than 200 cloud services," Microsoft data center strategy general manager Christian Belady said in a release.

MAREA will be the highest-capacity sub-sea cable ever crossing the Atlantic, with an expected capacity of some 160 terabytes per second of data, according to the companies.

The 6,600 kilometer cable system will also be the first connecting the United States and southern Europe, running from Northern Virginia to Bilbao, Spain, Microsoft and Facebook said.

From Spain, the data network will link to hubs in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and other parts of Europe, according to the companies.

Microsoft and Facebook said that they are working with global communications company Telxius, owned by Telefonica, on the cable project.

"We're always evaluating new technologies and systems in order to provide the best connectivity possible," said Facebook vice president of network engineering Najam Ahmad.

"We want to do more of these projects in this manner — allowing us to move fast with more collaboration."

Microsoft bought into Facebook nine years ago, paying $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in the leading social network.

 
 

Scientists discover three 'potentially habitable' planets

মঙ্গলবার, ০৩ মে ২০১৬

03 May 2016 An international team of scientists said Monday they had discovered a trio of Earth-like planets that are the best bet so far for finding life outside our solar system.

The three orbit an ultracool dwarf star a mere 39 light years away, and are likely comparable in size and temperature to Earth and Venus, they reported in a study, published in Nature.

"This is the first opportunity to find chemical traces of life outside our solar system," said lead author Michael Gillon, an astrophysicist at the University of Liege in Belgium.

All three planets had the "winning combination" of being similar in size to Earth, "potentially habitable" and close enough so their atmospheres can be analysed with current technology, he told AFP.

The find opens up a whole new "hunting ground" for habitable planets, he added.

Gillon and colleagues calibrated a 60-centimetre (23.5-inch) telescope in Chile, known as TRAPPIST, to track several dozen dwarf stars neither big nor hot enough to be visible with optical telescopes.

They zeroed in on a particularly promising one -- now known as TRAPPIST-1 -- about one eighth the size of the Sun, and significantly cooler.

Observing it for months, the astronomers noticed that its infrared signal faded slightly at regular intervals, evidence of objects in orbit.

Further analysis confirmed they were exoplanets -- planets revolving around stars outside our solar system.

The innermost two circle their dwarf star every 1.5 and 2.4 days, though they are hit with only four and two times the amount of heat-generating radiation that Earth receives from the Sun.

The more distant orbit of the third planet takes between four and 73 days, according to the study.

"So far, the existence of such 'red worlds' orbiting ultra-cool dwarf stars was purely theoretical, but now we have not just one lonely planet but three," said co-author Emmanuel Jehin, also from the University of Liege.

He called the discovery a "paradigm shift" in the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

Given their size and proximity to their low-intensity star, all three planets may have regions at temperatures within a range suitable for sustaining liquid water and life, the study concluded.

Hitting the jackpot

Their proximity to Earth means scientists will be able to find out a lot more.

"These planets are so close, and their star so small, we can study their atmosphere and composition," said co-author Julien de Wit, a postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT.)

"This is a jackpot for the field," he said in a statement, adding that it should be possible to determine if they harbour life "within our generation."

Up to now, the search for Earth-like orbs in our Galaxy and beyond centred on stars like our Sun, more massive and hotter than the dwarf around which the newly-discovered worlds orbit.

But the discovery suggests that a significant fraction of ultracool dwarfs hold potentially habitable planets in their gravitational sway.

"At the scale of the Galaxy, this means billions of additional places where life might have developed," Gillon said.

The mass of the three planets circling TRAPPIST-1 cannot be less than 50 percent of that of Earth, and are probably not more than double, he added.

"They could be richer or poorer in water and rocks than our planet, and if they have an atmosphere, it is probably very different that ours."

To give rise to life as we know it, planets have to be in a "Goldilocks zone" in relation to their star, far enough away so that its heat doesn't evaporate all the water, but close enough so that it can exist in liquid form.

Building and using the TRAPPIST infrared telescope to hunt for planets was a risky strategy.

"It's not looking at 100,000 stars at a time, like the Kepler Space Telescope," de Wit said. "It is few of them that you're spending time on, one at a time."

"And one paid off," he added.

 
 

Mobile operators for lifting VAT on internet use

মঙ্গলবার, ২৬ এপ্রিল ২০১৬

26 April 2016 In a pre-budget discussion, mobile operators today urged the government to remove value added tax (VAT) on internet use in the upcoming fiscal plan for 2016-17.

The demand was placed by Mobile Telecom Operators Association to the National Board of Revenue (NBR). The programme was held at NBR office.

TIM Nurul Kabir, secretary general of the mobile operators’ association, also placed a demand to withdraw VAT on the purchase of internet modem.

He said the VAT withdrawal will increase the number of internet subscription across the country and will contribute to the development of Bangladesh’s economy.

Currently, the number of active internet subscription stands at an overwhelming 60 million. Majority of the subscription – about 94 percent – is dominated by mobile internet subscription.

 
 

Facebook altering algorithm with ‘user choice’ priority

বুধবার, ০৩ ফেব্রুয়ারী ২০১৬

03 February 2016 Social networking giant Facebook will bring about major changes to its algorithm again, this time with “user choice” as a priority to display home page.

The new home page algorithm will be coded on the basis of data obtained from surveying over a thousand people, Facebook said in its blog post on Monday.

The posts that have more probability of getting likes, comments, clicks and shares will show on top of the home page. “The goal of News Feed is to show you the stories that matter most to you.”

“We will rank stories higher in feed which we think people might take action on, and which people might want to see near the top of their News Feed,” Facebook said.

The management of public Facebook pages will be happy to know that this change will not affect their traffic flow as Facebook asserted that this update will not impact the "reach or referral traffic meaningfully for the majority of Pages."

“Pages might see some declines in referral traffic if the rate at which their stories are clicked on does not match how much people report wanting to see those stories near the top of their News Feed.”

“In general, Pages should avoid encouraging people to take an action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time.”

 
 

Facebook shares soar as mobile drives big jump in ad sales

বৃহস্পতিবার, ২৮ জানুয়ারী ২০১৬
28 January 2016 Facebook Inc smashed investors' expectations with a 52-percent jump in quarterly revenue as it sold more ads targeted at a fast-growing number of mobile users, sending its shares sharply higher after hours.

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The world's biggest online social network bucked the trend of underwhelming tech results from Apple Inc and eBay Inc, in the face of economic uncertainty around the world and a strong US dollar depressing the value of overseas sales.

"It's phenomenal at these (currency headwind) levels that they're accelerating to that level of growth," said Rob Sanderson, an analyst at MKM Partners.

Facebook's dominance in mobile advertising helped to allay Wall Street concerns over its heavy investments in messaging service WhatsApp and virtual reality unit Oculus, which have not yet generated profits.

"I don't think there's going to be too many people crying for them to start monetising other properties anytime soon because the core business is so strong," said Sanderson.

Facebook shares rose almost 12 percent in after-hours trading to $105.32.

They were helped by Chief Financial Officer David Wehner's comment on a call with analysts that he expected operating expenses to increase by 30 to 40 percent over the course of the year, a slower clip than last year.

Total revenue rose to $5.84 billion from $3.85 billion a year earlier, with ad revenue increasing 56.8 percent to $5.64 billion in the holiday shopping period, when spending on advertising typically spikes.

Excluding some items, the company earned 79 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected earnings of 68 cents per share and revenue of $5.37 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Apart from focusing on mobile, Facebook has been ramping up spending on what it calls "big bets," including virtual reality, artificial intelligence and drones to connect the remotest parts of the world to the Internet.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, who returned from two months of paternity leave on Monday, has said virtual reality represents the next major computing platform.

In January, Facebook began taking orders for a consumer version of the Oculus Rift, a head-mounted virtual reality unit.

The company has also begun monetising some of its other units, such as photo-sharing app Instagram, which surpassed 400 million users last year and began selling ads in September.

Facebook said mobile ads accounted for 80 percent of total ad revenue in the quarter, compared with about 78 percent in the third quarter and 69 percent a year earlier.

"It's much stronger ad growth than we were expecting," said Ken Sena, an analyst at Evercore ISI.

Facebook's service is not available for users in China but it can sell ads to companies there.

"It signifies the importance of what they're providing to advertisers," he said. "They're making big investments and evidenced by their quarterly performance it seems to be working."

The company, which has the world's most popular smartphone app, has also been benefiting from a surge in video views that has attracted advertising dollars.

Facebook said it had 1.59 billion monthly active users as of Dec 31, up 14 percent from the end of 2014. Of those, 1.44 billion used the service on mobile devices, an increase of 21 percent.

Analysts had expected the company to report 1.58 billion monthly active users, with 1.43 billion accessing the service through smartphones and tablets, according to market research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

Up to Wednesday's close at $94.45, Facebook's stock had risen nearly 25 percent in the past 12 months.

 
 

How a Facebook post landed man in jail for 15 years

শনিবার, ১৬ জানুয়ারী ২০১৬

16 January 2016 It seems some people simply cannot grasp the concept that social media posts are, well social which means open for many people to see.

We often see people getting themselves in trouble over sharing posts or posting untoward comments.  But it looks like we have crowned a king for poor social media judgement.

Meet Malik First Born Allah Farrad, who will be spending the next 15 and half years of his life in a federal penitentiary because of a single Facebook post, reports BGR news according to Yahoo News.com.

Farrad, born Marvin Buckles, was sentenced on Thursday to 188 months in a Tennessee federal prison following his 2015 conviction of being a felon in possession of a gun.

The longtime criminal was last convicted on federal gun and drug charges back in 2000 after police found firearms and crack cocaine in his possession. Farrad was released from prison after serving his sentence.

Before that, he had a long history of arrests and convictions that began at age 14, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.

His most recent misstep is likely his saddest; however, as authorities never would have known Farrad was breaking the law had he not posted evidence on Facebook.

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In 2013, the ex-con posted a selfie on Facebook, pictured above, that showed him holding a .45-caliber pistol and aiming the reflection of its laser sight at his own forehead.

Of course, it’s illegal for a convicted felon to carry a firearm, and Farrad posted concrete evidence of his crime on Facebook for the entire world to see, reports BGR News according to Yahoo News.

Unfortunately for him, the FBI was investigating him for suspected “illicit conduct” at the time, and digging through his social media accounts was part of the investigation.

Farrad’s conviction on Thursday carried a minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, and judges can tack on additional time—from 5 years to life in prison—at their discretion.

In light of Farrad’s criminal history, the judge presiding over this case sentenced him to an additional 68 months without the possibility of parole.

 
 

4G mobile network ‘this year’

বুধবার, ০৬ জানুয়ারী ২০১৬

06 January 2016 It may be the first good news for mobile subscribers this New Year that the government is going to introduce 4G network service in the country.

Telecom secretary Md Faizur Rahman Chowdhury today revealed the government’s plan at a press briefing saying, “4G will be introduced by this year.”

Meanwhile, State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim, also present at the briefing, said a delegation from Bangladesh will go to Singapore to hold a meeting with Facebook authorities on January 12.

The team is going to meet the Facebook authorities to strengthen cyber security, the minister, who is expected to lead the delegation, told reporters. They will also hold separate meeting with authorities of Google and Microsoft there over the same issue.

Private mobile operator Grameenphone first launched 3G network in the country in October, 2013.

 
 

Gonorrhoea 'could become untreatable'

রবিবার, ২৭ ডিসেম্বর ২০১৫

27 December 2015 Gonorrhoea could become an untreatable disease, England's chief medical officer has warned.

Dame Sally Davies has written to all GPs and pharmacies to ensure they are prescribing the correct drugs after the rise of "super-gonorrhoea" in Leeds.

Her warning comes after concerns were raised that some patients were not getting both of the antibiotics needed to clear the infection.

Sexual health doctors said gonorrhoea was "rapidly" developing resistance.

A highly drug-resistant strain of gonorrhoea was detected in the north of England in March.

That strain is able to shrug off the antibiotic azithromycin, which is normally used alongside another drug, ceftriaxone.

In her letter, the chief medical officer said: "Gonorrhoea is at risk of becoming an untreatable disease due to the continuing emergence of antimicrobial resistance."

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Soaring cases

But while an injection of ceftriaxone and an azithromycin pill are supposed to be used in combination, this may not always be the case for all patients.

Earlier this year, the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) warned that some online pharmacies were offering only oral medication.

Using just one of the two drugs makes it easier for the bacterium to develop resistance.

The letter, which is also signed by chief pharmaceutical officer Dr Keith Ridge, stated: "Gonorrhoea has rapidly acquired resistance to new antibiotics, leaving few alternatives to the current recommendations.

"It is therefore extremely important that suboptimal treatment does not occur."

 

What is gonorrhoea?

The disease is caused by the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoea.

The infection is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex.

Symptoms can include a thick green or yellow discharge from sexual organs, pain when urinating and bleeding between periods. Often the person has no symptoms, however, but can still easily spread the disease to others.

Untreated infection can lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and can be passed on to a child during pregnancy.

Gonorrhoea is the second most common sexually transmitted infection in England and cases are soaring.

The number of infections increased by 19% from 29,419 in 2013 to 34,958 the following year.

Dr Jan Clarke, the president of BASHH, told the BBC News website: "We're really pleased that the chief medical officer has stressed that gonorrhoea needs this approach to treatment due to the rapid development of resistance.

"We need to protect what we've got and we need to encourage pharmacists and general practitioners to follow first-line treatment."

Dr Andrew Lee, from Public Health England, added: "Investigations are ongoing into a number of cases of anti-microbial resistant gonorrhoea.

"Public Health England will continue to monitor, and act on, the spread of antimicrobial resistance and potential gonorrhoea treatment failures, to make sure they are identified and managed promptly."

 
 

Mobile internet use drops after Facebook bar

মঙ্গলবার, ২২ ডিসেম্বর ২০১৫

22 December 2015 The number of mobile internet users dropped by a significant amount in Bangladesh after last month’s ban on Facebook and other internet mobile apps.

Bangladesh’s telecom regulator registered a drop of 8.63 lakh active mobile internet connections last month – what was 5.46 crore in October-end. The current standings stood at 5.39 crore.

The information was shared in a report published by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) today. However, the reason for the fall was not mentioned.

READ MORE: Govt blocks Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber

A senior official of the regulatory commission seeking anonymity told The Daily Star that the pattern was similar to the November of last year.

The government barred popular social networking website Facebook, and internet-based calling and messaging apps WhatsApp and Viber on November 18 citing “security grounds”.

The move came in view of the Supreme Court rejecting the review of death penalties to two top war criminals Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed.

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READ MORE: Ban on Facebook to be lifted soon: Palak

Facebook was later debarred on December 10, after “successful” talks with authorities of the website – following government’s repeated failed requests for user information.

State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim defended the Facebook bar by saying she “saved lives of her countrymen” with the move.

However, the mobile industry found positive growth in sale of new subscriber identity modules (SIM) cards last month with 11.67 lakh sales, the BTRC report said.

READ MORE: Trade on Facebook counting losses

Prevailing market leader Grameenphone led the way with six lakh new connections alone and expanded their network to 5.64 crore active subscription.

Banglalink added around 50 thousand new connections reach 3.3 crore active subscription. Robi and Airtel also added some new connection while state owned Teletalk and Citycell lost around one lakh active connections in November.

 
 

How to smartly shop online

রবিবার, ১৩ ডিসেম্বর ২০১৫

13 December 2015 Whenever my friends come over to my place, I order food online. It’s easy, convenient and a popular option as most restaurants are simply a phone call away.

During birthdays, I prefer buying presents online, and preferably have them delivered. This is all possible because of online shopping; a trend that is now growing rapidly in the country and is recognised as a popular mode of trade.

But it goes without saying that accidents and deceptions happen, and customers should know the smartest way to shop online. The Daily Star has interviewed some of the buyers and sellers and listed down tips for ‘smartly shopping online’.

Read review: Online stores in Bangladesh provide all types of products ranging from home appliances to apparels, books, gift items, grocery and even beauty products. Therefore the buyer should always go through all the offers in different websites before deciding on the best value for their money, says Tasnuva, a university student, adding that one must not purchase anything online without reading a detailed review.

Don’t take a big risk: Online shops let buyers choose from a wide range of products, but also leave them confused. Sayeed, an employee of the Le Meridien Hotel in Dhaka says the biggest problem of online shopping is that you only see the picture and not the original product, and in some cases you are deprived of your desired colour or quality of a product. Therefore, it’s advisable to buy products which do not come with such risks. Simple options include books, gift items, toiletries, groceries, etc.  It’s better to avoid ready-made dresses, electronic goods and shoes, he added.

Not too expensive things: Although online shopping in Bangladesh is a growing trend and the total online sales is calculated at Tk 200 crore per annum from over 500 websites along with around 2,000 Facebook pages involved in this sector, buyers are often suggested to avoid buying expensive items like electronics from local online stores, said Saniyat, a businessman who alleges that he was tricked when he purchased a camera from a Facebook page.

Keep track of evidences: It’s important that you keep evidence of your order, whenever you buy things online, says Maisha, owner of an online boutique. A buyer should always keep a print out of the receipt after ordering from an online shop however if you are purchasing directly from a buyer online, keep a screenshot of the conversation as evidence, Maisha advised.

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Think twice: Sometimes to hike customers, online shops come up with very lucrative offers. In such cases a buyer should always follow the traditional ‘buyer beware’ rule said Faria, a student, adding that before giving in to such ‘lucrative’ offers, a customer should check, re-check and cross check – that is an additional research on the seller and to ensure that there is a contact person if anything goes wrong with the delivery.

 
 

Ban on Facebook will be lifted soon, says State Minister Palak

বৃহস্পতিবার, ০৩ ডিসেম্বর ২০১৫
03 December 2015 Those who use Facebook in Bangladesh will be able to access it ‘very soon’, State Minister of ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak has said.

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“We have contacted the Facebook authorities. We hope that the ban can be lifted very soon,” he told mediapersons on Thursday.

Asked when that might happen, the minister said: “I cannot give you a specific time or date, but I can say Facebook will be unblocked very soon.”

Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp and several other messaging and calling apps were rendered inaccessible by the Bangladesh government since Nov 18 for national security considerations.

Facebook authorities have already responded to a letter by the government, showing interest in discussions.

State Minister for Telecommunications Tarana Halim told the media that the social media’s Asia Pacific region policy advisor will arrive Dhaka on Dec 6 or 7 for discussions.

She made it clear, though, that the discussion has nothing to do with unblocking the site.

“That will happen only after getting clearance from the home ministry.”

 
 

New father vows to give away Facebook fortune

বুধবার, ০২ ডিসেম্বর ২০১৫

02 December 2015 Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday he is a dad and pledged to give away his fortune to make the world a "better place" for baby daughter Maxima and others.

In a letter to Maxima posted on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan said they were going to give away 99 percent of their company shares -- estimated value $45 billion -- during their lives in an effort to make a happy and healthy world.

"Max, we love you and feel a great responsibility to leave the world a better place for you and all children. We wish you a life filled with the same love, hope and joy you give us. We can't wait to see what you bring to this world," the letter said.

Zuckerberg will "gift or otherwise direct" nearly all his shares of Facebook stock, or the after-tax proceeds of sales of shares, to further a mission of "advancing human potential and promoting equality" by means of activities for the public good, the California-based social network said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Zuckerberg "intends to retain his majority voting position in our stock for the foreseeable future," Facebook said in the SEC filing.

"As you begin the next generation of the Chan Zuckerberg family, we also begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation," the Facebook chief and his wife said.

"Our initial areas of focus will be personalised learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities."

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Zuckerberg early on added his name to those who have taken a Giving Pledge to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.

"My hat's off to Mark Zuckerberg for making a decision he'll never regret and making a difference he'll forever be remembered for," pledge-signer and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said in an online post.

"The traditional approach to giving –- leaving it to old age or death –- is falling by the wayside, as it should. Mark's decision shows that when it comes to philanthropy, 30 is the new 70."

Zuckerberg is 31 years old, while Bloomberg is 73.

Names on the pledge include Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison and IAC/InterActiveCorp powerhouse Barry Diller.

"We believe all lives have equal value, and that includes the many more people who will live in future generations than live today," Zuckerberg and Chan said in their letter to Max.

 

"Our society has an obligation to invest now to improve the lives of all those coming into this world, not just those already here."

Zuckerberg in November said that he and his wife are donating $20 million to help get high-speed Internet service to US classrooms.

The money is being given to nonprofit group Education Super Highway to help with its mission, the Facebook chief executive said in a post on his page at the social network.

A month earlier, Zuckerberg and his doctor wife revealed plans to start a private school in a hardscrabble Silicon Valley town, mixing education with health care.

Zuckerberg voiced pride in his wife, Priscilla, for the plan to create "The Primary School" in the working-class city of East Palo Alto.

Last year, Zuckerberg and Chan began pumping $120 million into San Francisco Bay Area schools.

More than five years ago, Zuckerberg channeled $100 million to improve schools in the New Jersey city of Newark in an early foray into improving public education that got failing grades.

Zuckerberg plans to take two months' paternity leave to be a dad.

"Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families," Zuckerberg said in an earlier post on his Facebook page.

Beginning with the new year, dads working full-time for Facebook anywhere in the world will have the option of taking four months' paid leave.

All new dads working for Facebook outside the US currently get a minimum of four weeks' paternity leave, with more time offered in locations where required by local law, according to Facebook.

Same-sex partners who are not primary caregivers for babies get the same paid leave time as dads, the social network said.

The change, effective January 1, essentially raises parental leave time for dads and non-custodial same-sex partners from four weeks to four months.

Maternity leave offered to Facebook employees around the world is already four months, and the benefit was available to both moms and dads in the United States.

Facebook also gives a $4,000 bonus for parents to help meet the needs of new babies.

 
 

Opinion: Facebook, Viber, WhatsApp ban: Cutting the head to cure headache?

বৃহস্পতিবার, ২৬ নভেম্বর ২০১৫

26 November 2015It’s been a week since the government has blocked public access to several social media and Internet applications as a means to contain subversive militant activities and political violence centring the execution of two top war criminals.
Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed were executed in the night of November 21. Many feared that their hanging might trigger random terrorist attacks. But the government till now has contained the situation. However, the sense of insecurity prevails and people fear that the militants might strike again all on a sudden.
Access to Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp meanwhile remains blocked. The government may claim that political violence could be averted by blocking the apps, but such claims would not go unchallenged.
Although this has not been announced by any authority, we also know that the government has also tightened the Internet bandwidth speed. Consequently it has become hard for people to access multimedia content and even to visit news websites.
Such move has largely disrupted the modern Bangladeshis communicate through the Internet and also conduct business.
According to e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), around 7,500 active Facebook pages were doing business in the country and there were 600 web pages also running online businesses. All them were affected by the suspension of Facebook in Bangladesh.

READ more: Trade on Facebook counting losses

There are enterprises that conduct business through Viber—which are also sitting ducks.
The biggest irony is that a good number of people have turned to using Proxy servers and Virtual Private Networking to access blocked Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp. That means terrorists can still use the social media to organise criminal activities as well.
Actually there are more than three dozen Messenger applications like Viber or WhatsApp. If terrorists or subversive elements want to use secured communication tools, there are so many applications out there that it is futile to block any of them.
It’s ultimately the common people and entrepreneurs who are suffering from this government restriction.
This restriction also stands as a striking contrast to the government’s vision of ‘Digital Bangladesh’. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday inaugurated 3G network in Dahagram in Lalmonirhat district. What’s the point of having 3G network when the government is gagging the Internet bandwidth and the most popular social media platforms?
The threat of terrorism prevails in several other countries of the world. Do they shut down social media to control them? The authorities must rethink about the ban and open up access to Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp as well as improve the Internet speed. Otherwise it has started to look like the government is cutting off the head to cure headache.

 
 

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