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A Canadian couple has successfully completed a 2,200km ride around three regions of Uganda, raising awareness about vulnerable children.

John Devris and Stacy Devris from British Columbia arrived in the country last month and embarked on a trip around 50 districts in the East, Central and Western Uganda. They returned to Kassanda District on Tuesday.

The whole journey, according to Stacy took them 30 days, riding between 50km to 100km every day.

Stacy says when she first came to Uganda in 2017, she saw a number of vulnerable children and on her return home, she decided to hold an activity through which she would support them. 
“I am happy that when I told my husband John about it, he accepted and we decided to come back to Uganda and identify some vulnerable children to assist,” She says.

This comes at a time when Stacy is celebrating her 50th birth day. She says she chose to celebrate her birth day by supporting vulnerable children.

In Kassanda District, the couple was welcomed by officials of Kassanda Children’s Aid, a Christian community based organisation caring for vulnerable children.

“We are happy that we have returned while still alive, everywhere we have passed, our presence has been felt and we hope people will sustain  the campaign to help vulnerable children ,” She says 
Pastor Vincent Ssenyonga, the Chief Executive Officer for Kassanda Children’s Aid commends  the couple for supporting children.
Ssenyonga says the couple has already identified 54 children in the area whose schools fees they are going to pay.

Majority of the beneficiaries are orphans or come from impoverished families.

“Deciding to celebrate your birth day by supporting others is a very good gesture and we need also learn from you so that we always engage in such activities,” he says.

 

 Source: Daily Monitor

PROF. ALEXANDRE LYAMBABAJE CALLS FOR UNIVERSITIES TO TAKE A FURTHER STEP FROM PUBLICATIONS TO DEVELOPMENT OF INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS AND POLICIES

 

DAAD and IUCEA signed a Memorandum of Understanding for further collaboration in the next five years.

 

Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) Kampala, Uganda, May 26th 2016: The Executive Secretary of the Inter-University Council for East Africa, Prof. Alexandre Lyambabaje calls for universities to take a further step from publications to development of innovative products and policies. 

 

Prof Alexandre was addressing a High Level Dialogue Meeting of Vice-Chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors and Heads of Commissions/Councils for Higher Education and members of East African Higher Education Quality Assurance Network (EAQAN). The meeting was the culmination of the EAQAN Forum which kicked off on Monday 16th May, 2016, followed by EAQAN General Assembly on 18th May. Both events took place at the Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda.

 

The meeting  was also attended by participants from Ghana, Ivory Coast and Somalia to learn from East African countries on the development of quality assurance systems in universities

 

Prof. Lyambabaje told the participants of the meeting that among the priority areas of the Inter-University Council for East Africa's coordination is to promote and encourage research within higher learning institutions. He however, expressed that in some cases, it has been realized that some universities are prioritizing the end result of their work as publications which of course go with promotion of staff instead of innovation and products as end results.

 

He therefore urged universities to view publishing in a different aspect of moving from publications to development of innovative products and policies which will contribute to the development of socio-economic transformation in the East African region.

 

On the efforts being made in the development of quality assurance systems in East African universities, the Executive Secretary, emphasized the importance of communicating quality assurance matters in a user friendly language to enable its articulation and understanding by diverse stakeholders, among them being policy makers, administrators and ordinary people. He stressed that by making quality assurance issues in higher education understood by stakeholders, contributes into attracting more support and realization of the objectives of interventions which results in more funding from governments, partners and other stakeholders.

 

"We need also to assess how effectively the developed tools in quality assurance are used in our institutions" said Prof. Lyambabaje citing an example of the current trend where many parents in the East African region are sending their children to study in universities outside East Africa especially abroad. According to Prof. Lyambabaje, there must be a reason for parents doing so.

 

He therefore called for universities to create confidence in parents and develop higher learning institutions to enable retain students in East African universities. In addition to that Prof Lyambabaje sees the need for streamlining administration so that university teaching staff and professors feel valued and at the end being retained.

 

On preparation of pre-university students Prof. Lyambabaje compared secondary school leavers as industrial raw materials of universities who need proper preparation.  Citing an example of industrial products which involves different processes of production from first stage to the last which is an end product, Prof. Lyambabaje urged the participants to look critically on how prepared are secondary school students which according to him are like raw materials for universities expecting to be processed to the end product which is the labor market. 

 

Commenting on challenges facing public universities whose human resources are shifting to private universities, Prof. Lyambabaje suggested a dialogue between public and privates universities and working out strategies on how to share the best available human resources, since both public and private universities have the same goals of serving the Community.

 

The Executive Secretary assured the participants that IUCEA will continue setting aside some funds to support staff mobility in universities but he called for the universities and IUCEA to sit together and find out strategies for co-founding the staff mobility programme so that many universities benefit from that initiative.

 

Informing the participants on the progress made on the Eastern and Southern African Centers of Excellency (ACE II) project, which will serve as an incentive of students mobility within the region Prof. Lyambabaje revealed to the participants that, the World Bank has lend 140 million USD Dollars to Governments to establish Regional Centers of Excellency to the participating countries which are Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania Uganda Zimbabwe and Zambia. Among the 24 established Centers of Excellency 15 are in the East African Partner States of which each country will receive 6 million USD to establish one center.

 

On benchmarking of study programmes Prof. Lyambabaje told the participants that a number of benchmark of study programmes have been developed while others are underway. However the Executive Secretary observed the need to commit more funds to speed up and complete the process. He informed the participants that IUCEA is working out strategies which will make sure that more funds are committed to develop other programme benchmarks within the shortest time possible and be in use since the completion of that exercise will contribute to the realization of East African Common Higher Education Area.

 

On supporting of East African innovative ideas Prof. Lyambabaje revealed to the participants that IUCEA is holding its Annual Meeting under the theme "Research and Innovation towards Socio-Economic Transformation of East African Community" where key note presentations and experiences will be shared from Makerere University on   Kiira Car Project, Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology on Low Coast Water Filter and M-PESA on growing financial inclusion from Kenya which has proved to be the best tool in transferring money within the East African region and beyond. "How do we support such initiatives" asked Prof Lyambabaje.

 

In his remarks to the conference, Prof. Opuda-Asibo John, the Executive Director, National Council for Higher Education, Uganda, urged EAQAN to be more effective by going beyond from what it is doing currently and play the role of advising university senates and even present papers which can be discussed at senate levels. He urged QA Committees in universities to promote academic freedom and research and building staff capacity in quality assurance matters. Prof. Opuda observed the need for Senior Professors to support young university staff so that they grow in their fields.

 

Commending the work done in collaboration with IUCEA, Dr. Helmut Blumbach, the Germany Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Director, Regional Office for Africa, said that DAAD and IUCEA are in the process of signing the Memorandum of Understanding whose thematic areas for future collaboration will include: strengthening partnership and collaboration between industries and universities in curriculum development, training and applied research and internationalization of higher education. At the end of the meeting, Dr. Helmut Blumbach and Prof. Alexandre Lyambabaje signed that Memorandum of Understanding for collaboration in the next five years. 

 

The Forum and Dialogue meeting were organized by IUCEA in collaboration with the National Council for Higher Education, (NCHE), Uganda, the Germany Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Germany Rectors' Conference (HRK). EAQAN Network was established as an avenue to bring together quality assurance practitioners, top administrators of Higher Education Institutions, Executives members of national accreditation bodies, higher education researchers and policy makers to share ideas on quality assurance practices, challenges and prospects in the East African Higher Education Area.

Monday, 30 June 2014 00:00

Bewitched Reboot Scores NBC Deal

With a twitch of the nose and a little bit of magic, Bewitched is coming back! The beloved comedy series, which ran from 1964 through 1972, is being revived and reformatted in a new take. Deadline reports that the remake has landed at NBC and will be penned by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, who wrote 2012’s The Vow
This new series will center around Daphne, the granddaughter of Samantha Stephens (played by Elizabeth Montgomery in the original series) and the daughter of Tabitha Stephens (played by Lisa Hartman in the spin-off series in 1976).

Daphne is a “single twentysomething witch who has always used her magical powers to conjure herself the perfect life,” Deadline writes. The witch runs into a bit of trouble when she discovers she can’t conjure up true love. 

The original series followed Samantha, a witch who marries an ordinary man and tries to live a magic-free life. In 2005, Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell starred in the Nora Ephron remake. 


 

Mary J. Blige will also take the Nokia Theatre stage on Nov. 23

Breakthrough newcomers Sam Smith and 5 Seconds of Summer will take the stage at the 2014 American Music Awards.

Dick Clark Productions announced Thursday that Mary J. Blige will join the British pop crooner and Australian boy band at the Nov. 23 event at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live. It will air live on ABC.

Smith and 5SOS will compete for new artist of the year.

Iggy Azalea is the leading nominee at the AMAs with six. John Legend, Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams each have five nominations. Lorde is up for four honors at the fan-voted show.

Those acts are all nominated for artist of the year, competing with Beyonce, Luke Bryan, Eminem, Imagine Dragons and One Direction.

Pitbull will host the show and perform.



Thursday, 23 October 2014 00:00

Breaking Bad Dolls Pulled By Toys R Us

Toys R Us has responded to calls from Florida mothers and has removed its four collectible Breaking Bad dolls from the shelves.

The dolls are based on the series about Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who turns into a crystal meth dealer, and his sidekick Jesse Pinkman. The figures have a detachable bag of cash and a bag of methamphetamines.

The toy company said the dolls are being removed immediately from its website and US stores.

"Let's just say, the action figures have taken an indefinite sabbatical," Toys R Us said in a statement.

The retailer had maintained that the figures were sold in limited quantities in the adult-action-figure area of its stores.

However, a petition launched on change.org last week said the dolls are a "dangerous deviation from their family-friendly values".

"While the show may be compelling viewing for adults, its violent content and celebration of the drug trade make this collection unsuitable to be sold alongside Barbie dolls and Disney characters," the mother, identified as Susan Schrivjer, wrote.

Bryan Cranston, the actor who played White, responded to the controversy, tweeting, "I'm so mad. I am burning my Florida mom action figure in protest."

The debate has also spurred die-hard adult figure collectors to rally behind Toys R Us.

Daniel Pickett, of Manhattan Beach, California, launched a petition on change.org in favour of the toy seller keeping the dolls. So far, it has collected nearly 3,000 signatures.

 

Euro zone businesses performed much better than forecasters expected this month and China's vast factory sector grew a shade faster but there were worrying signs that the upturn could be short-lived.

The improvement in purchasing managers' surveys, released on Thursday, will ease some worries about the outlook for the global economy, but news that companies in the euro zone cut prices at the steepest rate in almost five years will be of concern to the European Central Bank, which is striving to ward off the risk of deflation in the region.

In China, manufacturers booked more foreign and domestic orders but activity remained weak and analysts said the surveys did not point to a fourth-quarter turnaround for the slowing economy.

"They don't change the picture for the euro zone which is bordering on recession. For China, although the headline number edged up, it really doesn't point to a substantial improvement," said Andrew Kenningham, senior global economist at Capital Economics.

"It's a very unbalanced picture with strong and sustainable growth in the U.S. and the UK, feeble growth - if any - in the euro zone and Japan, and emerging economies have slowed to a new lower trend growth rate."

Markit's Eurozone Composite Flash Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), based on surveys of thousands of companies across the region and seen as a good indicator of growth, rose to 52.2, above all forecasts in a Reuters poll.

The poll had predicted a fall to 51.7 from September's headline reading of 52.0 and October marks the 16th month the index has been above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.

But optimism about the future among services firms was at its lowest level in over a year and new orders to factories fell for a second straight month.

"The general tone of the October purchasing managers' survey suggests that the fourth quarter is going to be another almighty struggle," said Howard Archer at IHS Global Insight.

Markit said the PMIs point to a 0.2 percent expansion of euro zone GDP in the current quarter, with risks to the downside. A Reuters poll last week also predicted 0.2 percent growth. EUGDPQ

While Germany's private sector saw faster growth this month, France's business slump deepened, with business activity hitting an eight-month low.

In Britain, retail sales fell more than expected in September, despite store prices falling at their steepest rate in more than five years, adding to signs the economic recovery is losing some of its pace.

Similarly, euro zone inflation slipped to its lowest for five years in September, official data showed last week, and the latest PMIs will do little to allay fears that deflation - which hit five peripheral countries last month - will spread.

"Given the concerns over potential euro zone deflation, it was particularly worrying that the purchasing managers reported combined manufacturing and services output prices fell at the fastest rate since February 2010," Archer said.

The composite output price index slumped to 47.1 from 48.5.

The European surveys lifted share markets on Thursday after a poor start and leavened an otherwise shaky mood following the Chinese numbers. [MKTS/GLOB]

 CRACKS IN CHINA

China's flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing PMI edged up to a three-month high of 50.4 from a final reading of 50.2 in September, and just a hair's breadth from the 50.3 reading forecast by analysts.

Growth in new orders at home and abroad, however, slowed in October and producer prices fell, pushing factory inflation to a seven-month low and highlighting still-soft domestic demand. The index measuring the rate of growth in factory output also fell to a five-month low of 50.7.

"The sub-indices do not show good momentum," said Shuang Ding, an economist at Citi in Hong Kong.

"Both the production sub-index and the new order sub-index dropped. Those are more relevant in terms of industry production and forward-looking activity."

China's economy appears likely to miss the government's 7.5 percent growth target this year and hit a trough not seen since 1990. Third-quarter growth of 7.3 percent reported on Tuesday was the weakest since the global financial crisis.

A sagging housing market, sluggish domestic demand and erratic exports have dampened activity this year and while exports have recently shown signs of picking up, the property market and investment continues to cool and many companies are being pinched by tighter credit.

Still, while growth is unlikely to accelerate in the fourth quarter, the flash PMI indicates it may at least be leveling off.

"If the flash PMI is right, then October is going to be almost the same as September, slightly better, which suggests that at least it's not getting worse, that growth has stabilized at this quite subdued level," said Louis Kuijs, chief China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland in Hong Kong.

Factory activity in Japan, which has also been battling weak consumer demand, grew at its fastest rate in seven months in October and the pace of both domestic and export orders picked up.

Sunday, 08 March 2015 00:00

MTN posts Shs229 billion profit

KAMPALA - MTN Uganda has announced an 11 per cent rise in profit for 2014, on the back of growth in data and mobile money revenues.

The telecom company posted a net profit of Shs229 billion in 2014, up from Shs203 billion in 2013, the CEO Mr Brian Gouldie, revealed at a media briefing held in Kampala yesterday.

Before expenses and taxes are deducted, the company recorded revenues of Shs1.3trillion.
Mr Gouldie told also reporters that the voice segment of the market had continued to remain flat in terms of revenue.

“The voice revenues remain flat because this segment remains highly competitive among the eight operators in the country,” he said.

Talking to Daily Monitor on the sidelines of the briefing, Mr Gouldie noted that prices of voice had dropped during the period which resulted into falling revenues for the segment.

“As the market matures, voice growth slows down and the trend we have noticed is that more calls are being made by Ugandans but because prices dropped our return has reduced,” he said.

According to the financial statement, of the total revenue, data contributed Shs322 billion. In this week’s Prosper Magazine, in the Daily Monitor, Vodafone, a new player in Uganda’s telecom market, noted that data provides higher price points for operators.
This explains the increased marketing and subscriptions. It is estimated that 80 percent of all internet subscribers in Uganda use mobile handsets to access the internet.

This further explains investment by MTN in adding more 3G internet sites. In 2014, MTN spent at least Shs94bn on data infrastructure.

In 2015, the company plans to spend an additional Shs138 billion on upgrading data infrastructure.
Mr Gouldie did admit that the company faced challenges on data bundle subscriptions last year but was quick to point out that those glitches had been sorted.

The telecom also announced that subscriber numbers had increased to 10.4 million Ugandans, which it attributed voice bundles, improved 3G coverage and increased take up of MTN Mobile Money. Mobile is second largest revenue stream for the company.

“Mobile Money has been stabilised after we completed a Shs14billion upgrade of the system. This ensured stability and security of Mobile Money financial services,” Mr Gouldie said.

Mobile money transactions have been in the spotlight as Bank of Uganda moves a step to having regulations.
Meanwhile, the company announced it has acquired land where it will build its own offices and do away with rental expenses.

Source: Daily Monitor

Kampala- The persistent weakening of the shilling against the dollar might drive up inflation if Bank of Uganda does not take immediate action to arrest the decline, a currency analyst has said.

Mr Stephen Kaboyo, Alpha Capital Partners managing director, told Daily Monitor in an interview yesterday that the current currency depreciation pressures are unlikely to ease off in the short term because of Uganda’s widening trade imbalance, necessitating that the Central Bank takes action to contain the depreciation before it filters into inflation.

By 9am yesterday, commercial banks and forex traders quoted the shilling at an average of 2,700/2,750 per dollar buying and selling, respectively up from last week’s average of Shs2,600/2,620 per dollar buying and selling, respectively.

The weakening of the local unit against the dollar means traders need more shillings to buy a dollar, which increases operational costs from higher import prices. This, in turn, increases inflation because of its spillover effects.

Uganda’s annual headline inflation declined to 1.4 per cent in September 2014, from the 2.8 per cent recorded in August while core inflation – which excludes the often volatile food crops, fuel, electricity and metered water prices – stands at 2 per cent down from 3.1 over the period under review.

Mr Kaboyo added that demand for the dollar has stayed high amid reduced inflows, further exerting pressure on the local currency.

Under the current market conditions, he added, the shilling is poised to touch further lows due to lack of strong fundamentals, primarily the current account deficit.

The Central Bank State of the Economy report for August states that Uganda’s trade balance continues to deteriorate on account of stagnant exports and high import requirements.

According to the report, Uganda’s trade deficit fell by 11.4 per cent, implying that total trade deficit stood at $2.123 billion (about Shs550.918 trillion) in 2012/13.

However, in the financial year 2013/14, the deficit rose to $2.365 billion (about Shs613.717 trillion).

This has continued to mount pressure on the local unit as a result.
The shilling last suffered huge depreciation rates in October 2011 when it touched Shs2,900 per dollar in almost two decades.

Predictions about the economy
Mr David Cowan, a Citibank Africa economist also said in ‘Uganda: The economy regains momentum into 2014’ that Uganda’s widening current account deficit was expected to weaken the performance of the shilling against major trading currencies.

He says the country’s current account deficit is expected to stand at 14.8 per cent in 2014, up from 10.9 per cent in 2012 due to modest growth in exports against a high import bill, mainly from imports of capital goods for major investment projects in the oil and gas sector.

Source: monitor.co.ug

Microsoft has reported a fall in profits as a result of costs related to job cuts and its purchase of Nokia's smartphone business earlier this year.

The software giant made $4.5bn (£2.8bn) in the three months to September, 13% lower than the same time last year.

"Integrations and restructuring expenses" cost $1.1bn, Microsoft said.

But the new Nokia business also boosted revenues. They climbed 25% to $23.2bn, beating expectations and sending shares higher in after-hours trading.

Cost cutting

In July Microsoft announced plans to cut 18,000 jobs, including 12,500 in the Nokia unit it bought in April.

On Wednesday Microsoft said it would no longer use the Nokia name, selling future Lumia smartphone models as Microsoft-branded phones. ,Microsoft boss Satya Nadella said the company was being "positioned for future growth".

"Our teams are delivering on our core focus of reinventing productivity and creating platforms that empower every individual and organisation," he said.

Microsoft makes most of its money selling software to companies. The results show a strong growth in its business selling cloud computing to companies - an area Mr Nadella has cited as important for the future of Microsoft.

But the business has continued to place great importance on its consumer products like the Xbox games console, its Surface range of tablet computers, and smartphones.

Stronger sales of phones and tablets helped boost revenues, with total consumer revenue up 47%.

A Spanish-language American television network announced on Thursday it had fired a presenter for comments in which he likened Michelle Obama, the US First Lady, to a character in the film Planet of the Apes.

Rodner Figueroa made the remark during an appearance on the popular talk show El Gordo y La Flaca a day earlier while discussing the work of a make-up artist who copies the looks of famous people.

"Look, you know that Michelle Obama looks like she's part of the cast of the film Planet of the Apes," said Mr Figueroa in Spanish.
The comparison quickly drew accusations of racism.

"Rodner Figueroa made comments regarding Lirst Lady Michelle Obama that were completely reprehensible and in no way reflect Univision's values or views," the Miami-based Univsion network said in a statement.
"As a result, Mr Figueroa was immediately terminated."

Mr Figueroa had served as a fashion expert on Univision, among other roles, and he was seated next to the two main hosts of the show Raul De Molina and Lili Estefan when he made the remark.
Ms Estefan responded with, "What are you saying?" and Mr De Molina interjected to say that Michelle Obama was attractive.

Mr Figueroa, in an open letter to the First Lady posted on the website Latin World Entertainment, wrote in Spanish that his comments were not directed at Michelle Obama but toward the make-up artist who had sought to replicate her look.

"I feel mortified, and I ask for your forgiveness, because there is no excuse for a professional like myself to make a comment like that which can be interpreted as offensive and racist in these volatile times that our country is experiencing," he wrote.

Source: Daily Monitor

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