South Africa’s visa rules ‘updated for security, efficiency’

first_img15 July 2014 South Africa’s new immigration rules will allow for more efficient issuing of visas and easier sourcing of critical skills from overseas, while reducing the country’s vulnerability to the security threats of the modern world, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said in Cape Town on Tuesday. Gigaba was speaking during his department’s budget vote debate in Parliament, a day after the official opening of the new Johannesburg Visa Facilitation Centre, one of 11 new visa facilitation centres designed to efficiently implement the country’s new immigration rules. The rules, which came into effect in May, include the requirements that visa applications be made by applicants in person – so that biometric data (fingerprints and photographs) can reliably be collected – and that minors travel with their own passports as well as unabridged birth certificates. Immigration practitioners and other representatives of the tourism sector have expressed concern about the potential effect of the new rules on South Africa’s tourism industry.No ‘Afro-phobic’ agenda at play Gigaba rejected these concerns on Tuesday, saying: “Opportunistically, South Africa is being advised to drop or relax visa requirements in a world where they are required of South Africans when travelling abroad and where security has become a matter of global concern. “We reject with contempt any suggestion that these regulations are part of an ‘Afrophobic’ agenda to keep Africans – or any nationality, for that matter – out of South Africa.” Gigaba said South Africa had not terminated any visa waiver agreements it currently enjoyed with other countries, and was keen to forge more such agreements “as we are satisfied that more African countries are conducting civic registration of their nationals”.‘Now easier to attract critical skills’ Further, he said, the new immigration regulations would make it easier for South Africa to attract the critical skills it needed from overseas, as foreign nationals with such skills could now be granted a critical skills visa even without having a job, allowing them to enter the country and seek work for up to 12 months. “For some time now, business stakeholders have been asking for families of workers to be considered as a unit, an international best practice which the new regulations now include,” Gigaba added. “These specific improvements, and our commitment to responsiveness to business needs in general, will make it easier for South Africa to attract the critical skills and investment our economy needs.”New visa facilitation centres Speaking at the opening of the new visa facilitation centre in Johannesburg on Monday, Gigaba said the centre, along with 10 others across the country, would efficiently implement the new immigration rules while making life easier for foreign tourists, business people, workers or students who need extended or altered visas within a short space of time. VFS Global, a specialist service provider for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, has been contracted to automate and run the visa application process, including managing the call centre and the 11 facilitation centres spread across South Africa’s nine provinces. Foreigners in South Africa who, for example, need to extend their temporary residence visas for study or work, can now apply online and set up an appointment before visiting the nearest facilitation centre to submit their personal biometrics (fingerprints and photographs). Handling and visa fees will all be paid electronically. “All of this constitutes a radical departure from the existing mode of manual application processes that are responsible for inefficiencies within the permitting environment, creating massive inconveniences to clients,” Gigaba said, adding that results were already starting to show. “Where previously our eight-week turnaround time was frequently missed, already applicants who applied for visas and permits in mid-June are beginning to receive decisions. An indication of the enthusiastic response to the new system is that 4 000 applications were received in June alone.”Standard practice abroad Although VFS Global will be responsible for processing visa applications, the decision to approve or reject applications still lies with the Department of Home Affairs. “We exercise full control over the decision-making processes to ensure that our national interests and security imperatives are served at all times,” Gigaba said. The department has already introduced such centres in a number of its high-volume missions abroad – including its missions in China, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria – where it had previously struggled to cut down on long queues and long turn-around times. “While we remain committed to helping the country create a climate conducive for investment and to assist in bringing critical skills to contribute to economic development, it remains critical for us as a country to upgrade security, in the interest of our citizens and foreign nationals in the country, as is the case everywhere else in the world,” Gigaba said. He urged visa applicants “to bear with us, as this system is still new and is bound to confront some technical glitches. This is only natural, and with time it will be addressed and everyone will be happy.” SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

My Africa Is … not what you think

first_imgMary AlexanderType “is Africa ” into Google and autocomplete is likely to offer something like this: • Makoko Floating School: a model of Nigerian cutting edge design • Ivory Coast take on ice bucket challenge helps fight Ebola • Africa refocused: images of Ghana • Africa’s high-tech boom boosts the continent’s competitiveness • Mobile phone boost to African internetThat’s right: questions of hopelessness or ignorance that could only come from outside the continent. (The answer to all four, by the way, is no.) For too long external perspectives have determined Africa’s narrative by only telling stories of disease and despair.Now two young African filmmakers, Nosarieme Garrick from Nigeria and Tanzanian Kathleen Bomani, are using the power of technology to tell a different story about Africa with their web-based video channel My Africa Is.“My Africa Is is a documentary series taking you on a journey across the continent through the eyes of an insider,” they say on their website.“We know what you’ve seen and heard about Africa – what they think is happening, what they think she needs, what they think she is. The four things that come to mind when people think of Africa are population, problems, poverty, and promise unfulfilled – headline media reports on the continent.“But that’s not the whole story. Perspective changes everything.” Garrick and Bomani insist their project does not aim to ignore the often grim realities of Africa, or only spin sunshiny fictions. But they are trying to give air to the continent’s other realities, stories stifled by the world’s obsession with bad news out of Africa.“We’re more than aware of the challenges, but we also know that we are not helpless,” they say. “We hustle. We find ways to overcome. We survive. Every day, we are changing our communities – it may be a process, and it may be a little bit at a time, but we’re changing it nonetheless.” The documentaries are energetic, slickly filmed and exciting, backed by thumping music by African artists such as Togo’s Toofan and Nigerians Burna Boy and Tonye Garrick. But they are also enlightening, insightful and often moving.They are about young people making changes to their world in cities throughout sub-Saharan Africa. So far, My Africa Is has visited Nigeria, Togo, Senegal and the African diaspora in the US, and filmed Skype interviews with remarkable people telling remarkable stories across the continent.Edition DakarIn early October My Africa Is launched their new series, Edition Dakar, filmed in the Senegalese capital in June 2014.“Dakar, which is located on the very tip of the West African coast, is one of those cities you hardly hear about,” the filmmakers say. “Not for its lack to awesomeness, but rather it seems that it’s too calm to be in the news.” The Edition Dakar documentaries feature Keyti and Xuman of Le Journal Rappe, activists who produce online current affairs videos to educate young people about politics, with all the news delivered in rap. They also explore surf culture in the coastal city with a visit to Malika Surf Camp, and Senegalese urban dance at the Sunu Street Project. The Lagos ChroniclesMy Africa Is started their journey in Lagos, the most populous city in the continent’s most populous country of Nigeria.The filmmakers say: “For our first venture into the continent, we dove into what is deemed one of the most unliveable cities in the world: Lagos, Nigeria, where we caught up with three individuals doing some awesome things in the city.”Those individuals are Kunle Adeyemi, an architect building an innovative floating school in the waterlogged Makoko shantytown on Lagos Lagoon, Wecyclers community recycling project founder Bilikiss Abiola, and avant-garde fashion photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo. The My Africa Is team also venture out of the continent to explore the work of the global African diaspora. The Diaspora Webisodes capture young talents and initiatives making African culture more pervasive and global.Hector Mediavilla discusses the sharp-dressed Sapeurs of the Congo, Os Kuduristas showcases Angolan Kuduro culture to the world, Sonic Diaspora brings today’s African music to Washington DC, and Arise Magazine celebrates iconic African designers at the New York Fashion Week. About the filmmakersExecutive producer and host Nosarieme Garrick, who describes herself as “a product from around the globe, but loudly repping Nigeria”, is a writer, activist and entrepreneur. She has written for Afripop!, the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Women’s Enews, and Sahara Reporters.In 2010 she founded Vote or Quench, a campaign to educate young Nigerians on the importance of their vote. She has interned with the Economist Group in the UK, mentored by the company’s CEO Andrew Rashbass, and has a bachelor’s degree in communications and French from St John’s University. Kathleen Bomani is the My Africa Is associate producer and a “cultural curator, connector and a communist”. She is currently event curator for TEDxDar, a youth-led initiative promoting active discourse and public engagement, and works with the sustainable development think-tank Africa Gathering as both US event lead and Tanzania country lead. Bomani is also an advisory organiser for TEDxDzorwulu in Ghana.To keep up with My Africa Is, follow the project on Twitter and like their page on Facebook. You can also visit the My Africa Is YouTube channel, Vimeo channel and website.last_img read more

Final Jeopardy: Can a Machine Think?

first_imgIn early April of 1990, I was a contestant on Jeopardy. If you were watching back then, I was the “Supercomputer Programmer from Aloha, Oregon” who won three games and $38,000 and then lost – badly – in the fourth. So there’s quite a bit of personal history tied in with the news last week that a supercomputer from IBM, called Watson, had beaten two all-time Jeopardy! winners, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, in a practice round for the three-day charity competition on Feb. 14, 15 and 16.A few weeks ago, I predicted that Jennings would win, Watson would place a close second and Rutter would place third in the overall contest, and I’m sticking with that prediction in spite of Watson’s first-place finish in the practice round last week. When I put on my handicapper’s hat, the scores of the practice round – $4,400 for Watson, $3,400 for Jennings and $1,200 for Rutter – are consistent with my assessment that Jennings and Watson are evenly matched and that Rutter is unlikely to win.The battle for first place will come down to the differences between human and machine intelligence. The machine has three advantages: faster reaction time, no emotions or fatigue and a larger potential knowledge base. But the human has the advantage of being able to decode subtle linguistic clues found in the answers on the screen that a Jeopardy! contestant must question. And humans will write those answers for the tournament knowing that one of the contestants is a machine.M. Edward (Ed) Borasky is, in order of appearance, a boy genius, computer programmer, applied mathematician, folk singer, actor, professional graduate student, armchair astronaut, algorithmic composer, supercomputer programmer, performance engineer, Linux geek, and social media inactivist. He currently develops virtual appliances for social media analytics and data journalism, and is the publisher of the Borasky Research Journal. His hobby is collecting hobbies.In 1950, computing pioneer Alan Turing, while pondering the question, “Can A Machine Think?”, devised what has become known as the Turing Test. The original paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” can be found here. While there’s much philosophical debate about the exact nature of the Turing Test, in my mind, it is simply this: Can a human, communicating with a both machine and a human purely electronically, achieve in the long run a score better than average in distinguishing machine intelligence from human intelligence? If not, then we say that “the machine has passed the Turing Test.”In the years since Turing’s paper, numerous challenges, both theoretical and practical, have been set forth for machine intelligence and numerous technological responses have resulted. Machine intelligence engineers have created practical economic value and machines now perform tasks once thought to require human intelligence. The essence of the question, “Can A Machine Think?” and Turing’s proposed test is this: once you abstract away the physical implementation details of electronic circuitry and software vs. a human body, nervous system and human thought processes, can a machine perform as well or better than a human at solving symbolic problems?We saw human-competitive performance from machines in checkers in the 1960s and an unbeatable checkers program in 2007. We’ve seen musicians unfamiliar with Chopin’s entire body of work unable to distinguish between a mazurka by Chopin and a mazurka written in Chopin’s style by David Cope’s EMI software. In 1997, we saw a computer defeat the human world champion at chess. We have seen machines compete successfully with humans in patentable innovation. And last year, we saw machines successfully navigate public roads operating motor vehicles in traffic.During its training against former champions, Watson, the IBM computer system designed to play Jeopardy, was constantly updated on popular music, movies, television and pop culture references in order to be competitive in these categories. Watch Watson tackle pop culture references during these sparring matches.In short, every challenge we have thrown at the machine intelligence community to produce human-competitive intelligence has been met. A series of increasingly difficult symbolic problems has been solved by electronic circuitry and software. And on February 16, 2011, I claim we will be finally able to say the Turing Test has been passed – that if the three contestants were placed behind a screen and we could see only their responses in text form and their scores, we would not be able to tell which one was Watson.And what of the future? There’s no shortage of challenges for the supercomputers we can design and build and the software we can write for them. As IBM VP John E. Kelly III put it, “We really believe — I don’t want to be overly dramatic — but we could save lives with this.” Early diagnosis of diseases and design of effective treatments early in the cycle is one of the more obvious ones. Earthquake prediction is another one. As we approach the centenary of Turing’s birth, I say it is high time we accepted that the answer to Turing’s question, “Can A Machine Think?” is, “Yes, of course!” 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Analysis#Real World#web guest author 1last_img read more

Interview: Andrew Shulkind, DP Behind The Ritual

first_imgWe talked with the DP of The Ritual about the challenges of remote locations, mixing multiple camera formats, and technological landscape of the industry.All images via Netflix.DP Andrew Shulkind had to overcome a number of production challenges in the process of shooting the Netflix Original film The Ritual. Here’s what he had to say about the project and the state of filmmaking today.PremiumBeat: What was the process like for transporting and carrying all of this heavy production gear into the woods to shoot the film?Andrew Shulkind: You know, it is funny — I have spoken to a bunch of press, but we have never spoken about this. First of all, it was a UK production, and so there was a different kind of health and safety department that is committed to this kind of production. We are on steep mountainsides. The grips rigged a pulley system with a motor and a wench that was taking gear up the steep hill. Another thing was, of course, as you are scouting, you’re preparing people for the level of challenge they are going to have to endure. For example, This is going to be an insane cable run, or How can we land the generator easier? We are looking at Google maps to find other roads that might be nearby. We relied heavily on balloons. We also built some custom LEDs that we can use with battery power and not have to run some insane cables to get some good depth in the background.PB: You had a three-camera marriage going on between the Canon C300 Mark II, the Canon C700, and the Alexa mini. So, can you talk about combining those formats?AS: So, the C700 wasn’t available when we first started. We then had a pre-production model, a kind of prototype model that had a bunch of these Japanese characters on the outside. Even if I had access to that camera from the beginning, I wouldn’t have used it for everything we did because we were running around — we did a bunch of Steadicam and other lightweight gimbal work. That was where the C300 really killed it. I had done a movie with that camera prior, and the C200 too, and just knew what we could get out of it. I knew what was possible in terms of low light. The Alexa was something that we used all the time.PB: How was matching those cameras in the color suite?AS: It was nothing really — it was just two cameras.PB: So, what kind of advice do you have for aspiring cinematographers who are starting out or at pivotal points in their careers?AS: This is kind of a big question. I think our business is growing in a different direction. There is a big opportunity for up-and-comers like there may never have been before. Now we are kind of entering a new space which includes interactivity, and it includes mobile-first activity. The fact is that movies are not the gold standard that everyone thought they were 65-70 years ago. So, I think in terms of getting out there, getting your work seen, you have to be able to really hone your craft.PB: I think your comment about movies and content is really interesting because episodic content is becoming king. In regards to your previous comments: are you looking at pursing more episodic content, or do you want to stay with hour-and-a-half narratives?AS: Honestly, I will like to do it all. I feel more valuable doing it all. I feel more relevant doing all of those. First of all, moving toward episodic doesn’t necessarily mean it is about networks like Netflix or Amazon. I think there are players out there and platforms that we don’t even know about yet in other countries. So, there are a million ways for people to see content online — it is more democratized. I feel personal responsibility to kind of stay involved not only in that space and movies but also commercials.  I think people segment too much into “I am a TV guy,” “I am a movie guy,” “I am a video guy.” Because, if a movie person is never doing episodic, if a movie person is never doing something that is in the commercial space, then the commercial space is missing that talent. It enriches you as a cinematographer and storyteller to participate in all those different ways of storytelling — they have all the same rudiments.Something that I am really finding myself doing a lot more is I speak and talk and deal with the topics addressing responsible uses of data and technology and how we have moved from being the visual, film-and-television-in-advertising business to being the experiential business. The experiential business trickles down to everything we make: the choices that we make, what choice we can make. But we are kind of entering the golden age of imaging, which will require you to surf the tide of emerging technology and being able to figure out what to integrate. There is a lot of opportunity, but I think it also requires us to bring the artistry and keep the storytelling part of the conversation.PB: So you’re becoming a proponent and advocate for creating and producing rich storytelling content with a purpose?AS: Yeah, so I was watching Planet Earth the other day, and there was some bird on Iceland that’s waiting for its mate. And there is a story of a bunch of penguins waiting and watching it. It’s just a simple story — it’s a bird moving around and anticipating something, but the edit is so tight, and it’s beautiful, and it’s shallow focus, and the color is amazing, and it’s 4k, and it is super sharp and HDR, and there’s a little story to it. You see the difference between that and just a random kind of documentary on Iceland, and it’s impressive. I think honestly it’s something that we connect to just as humans, like that’s the core thing.  I don’t see people talking about that kind of storytelling so much in the brand space and the data space and only because they don’t know. Those responsibilities are usually given to the new media guy, and so a lot of time there isn’t the same attention. Not that it is a bad thing, but these new media outlets should be giving the same kind of attention to storytelling.PB: Brands are really becoming storytellers in ways they never have been before.AS: I think if we are not careful, we are going to end up with a bunch of weak content that doesn’t take advantage of the innovation we have out there.Looking for more filmmaking interviews? Check these out.Interview: Showtime Docuseries Cinematographer from The TradeInterview: 7 Filmmaking Tips for Creating Retro ’80s ActionBehind The Scenes: Crafting The Stylized Naturalism of Bomb City with DP Jake WilganowskiThe Disaster Artist: Editing A Film About Making a FilmInterview: The Director and The Producer Behind “Man on Fire”last_img read more

On Upselling

first_imgYou must upsell your clients.Upselling your clients isn’t about producing more revenue for you and your company, although it will certainly produce that outcome.Upselling your clients isn’t about improving your profit margins, even though it will absolutely make you and your company more profitable.Upselling isn’t about moving your clients upstream into a high priced solution as part of your sales strategy, even though it’s sometimes the right strategy and it often works.It isn’t about your commission check.Upselling is about creating the maximum amount of value for your clients.Let’s say you walk into your dream client’s office for a meeting. They know what they need and share those needs with you. You have just the solution. It’s what they need and will get them the right outcome. All you have to do is help them buy it. It’s an easy sale. But that doesn’t make it the right sale.What if there is something more your client needs? What if there is a larger, more strategic outcome you could deliver? Selling your client what they need isn’t the same as creating the maximum value that you can create. Stopping short of maximum value creation makes you transactional.So why don’t you upsell your clients? First, it’s easier just take the deal in front of you. Some salespeople just take the easy sale and move on. But the second reason some salespeople don’t upsell their dream clients is because they’re afraid that by increasing the size and scope of the deal they lower their chances of winning it. They also believe that increasing the value created also means lengthening the sales cycle (and it might).Not upselling means not creating the maximum value for your client. It means choosing to be transactional instead of strategic. Not upselling also means increasing the likelihood that one of your competitors (one who isn’t afraid of losing and isn’t afraid of a little longer sales cycle) will win their business—and their mindshare, their wallet share, and their loyalty.Your job is to create the maximum value for your client in every deal. That doesn’t mean selling them more than they need (that’s about you). But it also doesn’t mean selling them less than they need (that’s about you, too). Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Suarez: Selfless Messi has no ego

first_imgBarcelona ‘Messi has no ego’ – Suarez hails ‘beautiful relationship’ with incredible Barcelona team-mate Chris Burton 19:50 6/4/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Luis Suarez Lionel Messi Barcelona Getty Barcelona Lionel Messi Primera División Luis Suárez A star turn at Camp Nou could be forgiven for buying into his own hype, but a fellow frontman insists that has never been the case with a team player Luis Suarez has hailed the ability of “incredible” Lionel Messi to remain grounded at Barcelona despite his record-breaking achievements.The mercurial Argentine has long been hailed as one of the finest performers in this or any other era, with his remarkable accomplishments raising the bar of individual excellence.He has complemented countless collective honours with five Ballons d’Or and a stunning haul of 552 goals for Barca. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Messi has, however, been a team player throughout his time at Camp Nou, with the 30-year-old proving to be a selfless colleague to Suarez and the rest of a star-studded cast in Catalunya.“Leo is my colleague and friend, a fine person and a great family man,” Suarez told Kicker on a man he has spent four memorable seasons alongside.“I do not see in him the Messi that the rest of the world sees.“But there are moments on the field with me, too, when I realise what a great footballer he is and what incredible things he does.”Uruguay international Suarez added on a fellow South American who has helped him to star at Barca with his actions on and off the field: “We are not only footballers, we are also fathers, we have similar habits and are almost at the same age.“We enjoy having fun, drinking mate, sometimes eating together. This has resulted in a beautiful relationship. And over time a big trust as well.“In football it is difficult to find a real friend, especially if he plays in the same position. There are also many egos in a team. That was never the case in our team. That has been proven over the years.“He also helped me to win the Golden Boot. There is no jealousy between us, just pride at sharing things with a friend.”Lionel Messi Luis Suarez Neymar BarcelonaThere was a time when Suarez and Messi formed part of a fearsome trio of attacking talent at Barcelona, with Brazilian star Neymar joining them in the destructive ‘MSN’ unit.He was, however, to leave for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017 after deciding to become a talisman in his own right.Suarez claims that Neymar had doubts about whether he was making the right choice before heading to France, but the 26-year-old is being backed to fulfil his undoubted potential with the Ligue 1 champions.“We talked to him, Messi and I, because Ney asked us for our opinion,” said Suarez.“He had doubts. He was here for a long time and he had everything he needed here.“I don’t think he went for the money: He has other goals he wants to achieve with Paris.”last_img read more