A month after imposing a censorship on Twitter, the ultra conservative gulf kingdom Saudi Arabia has threatened to ban instant messaging applications like Skype and WhatsApp citing failure to control them as the reason.”The Communications and Information Technology Commission has requested companies operating the applications to meet the regulatory requirements to avoid their suspension in the kingdom,” sources told Saudi news website Sabq.”The commission is now coordinating with the application operators on the issue.”According to Russia Today, the Saudi Arabian government had given just a week’s time to the companies to deal with the situation and decide on technical measures.The sources said the decision of banning instant messaging applications was “in accordance with regulatory procedures.”Saudi-owned television news channel Al Arabiya reported that instant messaging applications like Skype, WhatsApp and Viber face the risk of being banned.Recently, Saudi Arabia Minister for Media and Culture Abdel Aziz Khoga had asked citizens to abide by the government’s decision of banning Twitter.”People have to take care of what they are writing on Twitter,” the minister said.”It’s getting harder to observe around three million people subscribing to the social network in the kingdom.”Earlier, the government had banned the usage of Blackberry Phones stating that the sending and receiving of message was encrypting communications and was causing difficulty in monitoring them which in turn affected the country’s efforts to fight terrorism and crime.Here are some countries that have completely banned social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube:
Reliance Industries changed Indian telecom sector with its Reliance Jio 4G data offer, which was introduced a few months ago. The company has reduced daily data usage from 4GB limit to 1GB after the completion of three months Welcome Offer, which means Jio subscribers can use only 1GB data daily till March 31.Keeping in mind the demand of movie buffs, who would need more data to watch their favourite films and videos, Reliance Jio has introduced a new feature to JioCinema called Smart Download. This feature allows users to schedule the download time between 2 am and 5 am as there is no data usage limit during this time of the wee hours. Downloading movies during this three hours will be free even after the Reliance starts charging for its Jio service.[READ: This is how you can use Reliance Jio’s free high-speed 4G data beyond daily limit of 1GB]In another development, new Reliance Jio subscribers will soon get 6-series mobile numbers if report by Telecomtalk is anything to go by. It has reported that the department of telecommunications (DoT) in Rajasthan, Assam and Tamil Nadu telecom zones have allotted new MSC codes in the 6-series mobile numbers to Reliance Jio.”In consideration to the request of service providers, the undersigned is directed to convey approval of competent authority Sr DDG (AS) for allotment of MSC Codes,” the department said.DoT has allotted 60010-60019 MSC codes in Rajasthan, 60020-60029 MSC codes in Assam and 60030-60039 in Tamil Nadu to Reliance Jio.Reliance Jio has been in news ever since it offered free high-speed 4G data, HD voice call, HD video call, SMS, and Jio apps to Jio SIM users for three months as part of its welcome offer. The plan was extended to March 31 (1GB per day as against 4GB in Welcome Offer), and continue the benefit three months after that at just Rs 100.(Source: Telecomtalk)
Astronauts are taking a spacewalk to hook up fancy new batteries on the International Space Station’s sprawling power grid.Commander Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson ventured out Friday morning. It’s the first of two spacewalks over the coming week to energize the station’s aging solar power system.Flight controllers have already completed much of the work. Using station robotics, controllers in Houston spent the past week replacing decade-old, nickel-hydrogen batteries with better charging lithium-ion ones. Handling all those batteries — each about half a refrigerator in size — was cumbersome and time-consuming.Now it’s up to Kimbrough and Whitson to wire up the three new lithium-ion batteries, delivered last month. Spacewalkers will plug in three more next Friday.Whitson now ties the record for most spacewalks by a woman.A #spacewalk is actually more of a climb, as astronauts use their hands to move about the outside of @Space_Station: https://t.co/apbFNC2Ix1 pic.twitter.com/JqbFtWpv3u— NASA (@NASA) January 6, 2017 Share
By Stephen Janis, Special to the AFRORoughly 48 hours after Mayor Catherine Pugh’s initial pick to be Baltimore’s next top cop withdrew his name from consideration, City Hall announced current New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison as the presumptive nominee to fill the post.It was an abrupt change of plans for a process that has been criticized as both slow and lacking transparency.But, in a written statement Pugh insisted Harrison was the right person to lead the beleaguered Baltimore Police Department (BPD), currently under federal consent decree and battling with a homicide rate that reached more than 300 for the fourth year in a row.After Joel Fitzgerald abruptly removed his name for consideration to be Baltimore’s next police commissioner, Michael Harrison (pictured), Police Superintendent of New Orleans is Mayor Catherine Pugh’s new pick to lead the Baltimore Police Department. (Photo: Twitter via Jayne Miller)“Superintendent Harrison has achieved clear, compelling and consistent results in reducing violent crime, implementing a federally-mandated consent decree,” Pugh stated.“He will bring not only significant and relevant experience to addressing the challenges of Baltimore, but the insight and sensitivity needed to re-establish essential trust and confidence of citizens in their police officers.”Harrison joined the New Orleans police department in 1991. He was appointed police commissioner in 2014 by then mayor Mitch Landrieu.The city did not respond to the AFRO’s request to interview Harrison.The New Orleans Police Department has been under federal consent decree since 2013. The city entered the decree with the Department of Justice (DOJ), promising better training, higher recruiting standards, and policies to insure constitutional policing.Harrison’s appointment came after a week of behind the scenes challenges when Ft. Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, Pugh’s initial pick, formally turned down the job after his son became ill.The abrupt departure of Fitzgerald came after a contentious public hearing over the weekend where residents criticized the Ft. Worth police chief and blasted the process, which they said lacked transparency.However, Harrison garnered a more favorable initial reaction from key players who will ultimately vote for his confirmation. Among them, Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott, who had previously expressed reservations about Fitzgerald.“Baltimore needs our next police commissioner to be a proven crime fighter with the ability to concurrently reform and restructure the Baltimore Police Department,” Scott said in a written statement.“At first look Superintendent Harrison seems to meet those standards.”But Harrison’s selection is not without some baggage.In December, the New Orleans Advocate quoted Harrison as saying he had initially turned down the job despite being one of the top picks of an internal panel tasked with recommending candidates to Mayor Pugh.“While I am humbled to be sought after to lead the Baltimore Police Department, I ultimately asked not to be considered for the position because of my commitment to achieving our goals at NOPD,” he told the Advocate.However, fallout over the perceived lack of transparency during the search, which in part led to the abrupt announcement of one candidate withdrawing, shortly before announcing a new pick altogether continued.Just hours after the announcement of Harrison’s selection, City Council President Jack Young released a letter to address concerns over a lack of transparency during the vetting process. In the letter Young requested the release of Harrison’s resume, a copy of his application, and an “affirmation” Harrison filed all of his federal and local tax returns.The letter also asked Pugh to confirm that Harrison will attend public hearings and commit to a community policing strategy.Currently, the BPD is headed by interim police commissioner Gary Tuggle. Tuggle, a former DEA agent, withdrew himself from consideration for the top job last year.In 2018 Pugh’s previous pick, Daryl DeSousa resigned after he was indicted for failing to file several years of tax returns. In December DeSousa pled guilty to three counts of failing to file federal tax returns.Public hearings to vet Harrison’s appointment have not been scheduled.