The World Bank Group and the Liberian Government have penned two financing agreements extending US$30 million to the Government of Liberia to help with the country’s recovery program through the budget, amidst the Ebola outbreak.The money will also help support Liberia’s medium-term strategy to strengthen its transparency and accountability mechanisms, expand the economy, increase access to quality education and improve health services that are critical to fighting the current Ebola epidemic.The financing, which is also expected to support the Second Poverty Reduction Support Operation (PRSDPO II), includes a US$20 million International Development Association (IDA) credit and a US$10 million grant allocated from the World Bank Group’s IDA Crisis Response Window. The IDA is designed to help low-income [poorest] countries respond to exceptionally severe crises in a timely, transparent and predictable way. Speaking at the signing ceremony in the conference room of the Ministry of Finance &Development Planning (MFDP) in Monrovia on Thursday, November 20, World Bank Country Manager, Ms. Inguna Dobraja, said the Second Poverty Reduction Support Operation is the second in the programmatic series of four single trench operations to support the implementation of the government’s programs approved by the World Bank Board of Directors on November 12, 2014. She explained that although the original amount of this World Bank budget support operation to Liberia was US$10 million, the Bank realized the enormous economic challenges the Ebola outbreak has created on almost all government development programs and activities. “Therefore, the Bank decided to increase the amount of budget support to US$30 million, including US$10 million grand funding from a special IDA Response Window,” said Ms. Dobraja. “The World Bank is mobilizing nearly US$1 billion in financing for the three countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis: US$518 million for emergency response and to help speed up the development of foreign health workers to affected countries. The funding is helping the three countries hardest hit by the epidemic to contain the spread of infections, help communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis and improve public health systems,” she added. “Of the US$518 million,” Ms. Dobraja said, “US$117 million is already disbursed to countries and implementing agencies, including US$52 million for Liberia.” The World Bank Country Manager pledged the Bank’s commitment to continuing its financial support to Liberia during and after the Ebola crisis.The Liberian economy has been hit hard by the Ebola epidemic and the related health crisis, significantly slowing down economic activities, declining investments in various sectors and increasing unemployment. “Our economy is struggling to adjust to the impact of the Ebola epidemic and this budgetary support provided by the World Bank Group is going to help us finance budget deficit and get the economy running,” said Finance Minister Amara M. Konneh. Minister Konneh disclosed that government and partners have re-adjusted the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) downward for 2014, from 2.5 percent to 0.4 percent. With economic growth now in negative, Minister Konneh called for increased fiscal discipline in government and increased external budgetary support to finance the deficit. “Our economy is at crossroads. It now calls for strict adherence to fiscal discipline by public officials,” he said. Mr. Konneh, however, clarified that economic decline is not due to bad government policies, but the Ebola virus outbreak. “We appreciate the World Bank Group’s support to the worst Ebola-affected countries-Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone amidst the huge fiscal deficit, declining revenues and increased public spending caused by the Ebola outbreak,” he added. Konneh acknowledged the World Bank as the largest donor to the Government of Liberia during this Ebola epidemic.The nearly US$1 billion that the World Bank Group is mobilizing for countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis, includes more than US$500 million for the emergency response and to help speed up the deployment of foreign health workers to the countries, and at least US$450 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to enable trade, investment and employment in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.The US$10 million grant agreement signed on Thursday is part of the PRSDPO II part of previous pledges from the Bank Group for the emergency response to Ebola.The Ebola epidemic, centered in West Africa, has infected more than 13,000 people and killed nearly 5,000.The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), which was established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people living on less than US$2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about US$18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Despite the inclement weather on Sunday morning, the highly anticipated launch of the now annual Prime Minister’s T20 Softball Cup went ahead as planned at the Everest Cricket Club ground. The event marks the first step towards the three-day tournament which is set to bring together top softball teams from Guyana and North America battling for cash and other incentives.Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan (centre) with Georgetoen Softball Cricket League executives and sponsors at the launch of Prime Minister Softball Cup 2 on Sunday at Everest Cricket ClubSpeaking at the significant ceremony, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan who represented Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo said sport in any form may be used as a public security tool. “Sport helps people to understand the need for open spaces, the need to get fit which means no smoking, no drinking which is healthy,” Ramjattan said.The honourable minister told the gathering of softball cricketers and enthusiasts, “Young people that are involved in sport take their minds off the negatives and so it [sport] is important since a lot of persons involved in sport have more or less become law abiding citizens by taking themselves off the drugs, guns crimes which helps in the long run to make our societies safer.”In 2017, Prime Minister Nagamootoo made a sponsorship pledge of G$300,000 which was once again done this time by Minister Ramjattan who also spoke of the tourism benefits the country may generate from such a tournament.Also speaking from the head table was President of the GSCL, Ian John who reflected on the inaugural edition and at the same time boast of the anticipated growth of the 2018 tournament, “last year we had just two overseas teams but so far seven teams already confirmed their trip to Guyana and that number is expected to increase as we get closer [to the tournament].”Added to that, there is an increase in the winning purse in both categories with the All Stars set to pocket $700,000 while the winning Masters team will win $600,000. Like last year, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the Open Category will ride away with a Hero Motor Cycle compliments of Rose Ramdehol Auto Sales.In the Masters Category, the MVP will once again win a 55-inch television set compliments of Regal Stationery and Computer Centre who like Rose Ramdehol are repeat sponsors.Also present at the launch were Sarah Persaud of Hero Motor Cycles and Rawl Nedd of Banks DIH Limited who both spoke of their companies’ deep commitment to the success of the tournament.There we 20 teams in 2017 with Regal Masters rising above the 11 other masters teams and Speed Boat powering away from the other seven teams to the titles and G$500,000 and G$600,000 respectively.So far, the GSCL have confirmed that there are 24 teams that will suit up in the two categories from October 19 to 21. In the Open Category; Regal All Stars, Farm XI, Success XI, Boots All Stars, Corriverton Spartans, Die Hard All Stars, Bartica Rangers, Ontario Softball Cricket Association and defending champions Speed Boat will battle for G$700,000.In the Masters Over-45 category, the winning purse is G$600,000 where defending champions Regal Masters, Wellman Masters, HS Masters, R.R Masters, Fishermen Masters, Parika Masters, Success Masters, Tropical Spring Masters, Albion Masters, Florida/Guyana Hope, Impact Masters (Canada), NYSCL Masters (New York), Rebel Masters (New York), New York Hustlers (New York) and Better Hope Masters (New York) are set to lock horns.Another feature of the Prime Minister’s Softball Cup is that Florida Guyana Hope, a charitable organization out of the USA will be distributing various supplies to the value of US$20,000 to various individuals and organizations over the 3-day period.
TweetPinShare0 Shares TORONTO — John Tavares again felt right at home on the road in Toronto.With 30 family members and friends watching from the stands, the New York Islanders captain continued his career mastery at Air Canada Centre and extended his lead in the NHL scoring race.And for good measure, Tavares scored the winning goal in overtime.Tavares netted his 33rd goal of the season 4:38 into the extra session, capping the Islanders’ two-goal comeback in a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 9.Tavares, an Ontario native, went around several defenders to score the winning goal during a delayed Toronto penalty. With a goal and assist, he stretched his advantage in the scoring race to three points over Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.“He’s one of the best players in the world,” said Maple Leafs center Peter Holland, whose job for the second and third periods was to defend Tavares.“He’s so skilled. He’s very good at making passes out there, and he’s so strong on the puck down low in the offensive zone that it’s tough to contain him.”Tavares, who was born in and lives in nearby Mississauga and grew up in Oakville, has the most points of any visiting player at Air Canada Centre since he entered the NHL in the 2009-10 season.“I just try to prepare like every other game,” Tavares said. “I don’t try to put too much pressure on myself or look at it any differently because I’m from here and I have a lot of friends and family (in attendance).“But you have them here, and you certainly want to play well.” Tavares has four overtime goals this season.“I just tried to gain some speed,” Tavares said. “I saw their defenseman kind of backed off and kind of gave me the lane to the net. I just was able to hesitate enough to open up Bernier, and I was just happy it trickled in.”Tyler Kennedy — in his Islanders debut — Frans Nielson and Casey Cizikas all scored in the third period for New York (43-21-4), which has a three-point lead over the New York Rangers atop the Metropolitan Division.Michal Neuvirth made 22 saves for the Islanders, who will host the Rangers on March 10.David Booth, Holland and James van Riemsdyk scored for the Maple Leafs (26-35-6). Jonathan Bernier made 39 saves.New York trailed 2-0 and 3-1 in the third period. “It’s a much better feeling than it could have been,” Tavares said. “We were disappointed with our first two periods.”Two days after Maple Leafs interim coach Peter Horachek criticized his team for a lack of effort in a blowout loss to St. Louis, Toronto showed plenty but couldn’t complete the victory.“We did do some good things, but when you’re up by two goals in the third on home ice, you should never lose the game,” said van Riemsdyk, whose goal was just his second in 18 games.With Nazem Kadri scratched as punishment for missing a team meeting, Horachek changed up the lines and broke up the trio of van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel. It paid off for much of the night.Booth opened the scoring 18:23 into the first period by deking and lifting a backhander past Neuvirth. The goal was Booth’s third in three games after he scored only one in his first 41 this season.Less than a minute after Bernier made a big stop on Tavares, Holland followed up on a loose puck at the side of the net to give the Maple Leafs a 2-0 lead at 10:27 of the third.Kennedy cut the deficit in half 1:32 into the third period off a pass from Tavares. After van Riemsdyk restored Toronto’s two-goal lead with a goal off the rush at 6:06, the Islanders continued their comeback.With Booth in the penalty box, Nielsen scored at 9:58. Just 30 seconds later, Cizikas tipped a shot by Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic past Bernier to tie it.As the Islanders buzzed around him, Bernier made two saves in the final seconds of regulation to get the game to overtime.
Traditionally, computer vision applications have relied on highly specialized algorithms painstakingly designed for each specific application and use case. This meant that designing for computer vision was hard, and this significantly slowed the adoption of vision-based applications. Additionally, this made new applications very expensive and time consuming.However, there has been a democratization of computer vision. By that we mean it’s becoming much easier to develop computer vision-based algorithms, systems and applications, as well as to deploy these solutions at scale – enabling many more developers and organizations to incorporate vision into their systems.Deep learning is one of the drivers of this trend. Because of the generality of deep learning algorithms, there’s less of a need to develop specialized algorithms. Instead, developer focus can shift to selecting among available algorithms, and then to obtaining the necessary quantities of training data.Deep neural networks (DNNs) have transformed computer vision, delivering superior results on tasks such as recognizing objects, localizing objects within a frame and determining which pixels belong to which object. Even problems previously considered solved with conventional techniques are now finding better solutions using deep learning techniques.As a result, computer vision developers are increasingly adopting deep learning techniques. In the Alliance’s most recent survey, 59% of vision system developers are already using DNNs (an increase from 34% two years ago). Another 28% are planning to use DNNs for visual intelligence in the near future.Another critical factor in simplifying computer vision development and deployment is the rise of cloud computing and much better development tools. For example, rather than spending days or weeks installing and configuring development tools, today engineers can get instant access to pre-configured development environments in the cloud. Likewise, when large amounts of compute power are required to train or validate a neural network algorithm, this compute power can be quickly and economically obtained in the cloud.Cloud computing offers an easy path for initial deployment of many vision-based systems, even in cases where ultimately developers will switch to edge-based computing to reduce costs. Our most recent survey found that 75% of respondents using deep neural networks for visual understanding in their products deploy those neural networks at the edge, while 42% use the cloud. These figures total to more than 100% because some survey respondents use both approaches.The world of practical computer vision is changing very fast – opening up many exciting technical and business opportunities. You can learn about the latest developments in computer vision at the Embedded Vision Summit, May 20-23, 2019, in Santa Clara, California. The event attracts a global audience of more than one thousand people who are developing and using computer vision technology. — Jeff Bier is the founder if the Embedded Vision Alliance. >> This article was originally published on our sister site, EE Times: “Tools, Algorithms Drive Embedded Vision.” For more articles related to embedded vision, see: – Embedded vision builds on specialized co-processors – Open-source software meets broad needs of robot-vision developers – Computer vision for the masses: bringing computer vision to the open web platform Can be deployed at low cost and with low power consumption Is usable by non-specialists Since we started the Embedded Vision Alliance in 2011, there has been an unprecedented growth in investment, innovation, and use of practical vision technology across a broad range of markets. To help understand technology choices and trends, the Embedded Vision Alliance conducts an annual survey of product developers.In the most recent iteration of this survey, completed in November 2018, 93% of respondents reported that they expect an increase in their organization’s vision-related activity over the coming year (61% expect a large increase). This increase would not be possible without extensive work on new algorithms and development tools to speed adoption of vision-based systems.Three fundamental factors are driving the proliferation of visual perception. It increasingly Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must Register or Login to post a comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Continue Reading Previous Syslogic: rugged computers and HMI systems for construction machineryNext How smart sensors enhance ADAS designs Works well enough for diverse, real-world applications