MOCA to Help Weed out Corruption

first_img “We will not only focus on the little man or on street-level criminals. We will intensify our efforts at nabbing the persons who facilitate criminal organisations –the corrupt businessmen, elected or non-elected public servants, doctors, lawyers and anyone else who benefits from the proceeds of crime. Criminal enterprises depend on a network like any other corporation,” he said. Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says establishment of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) as an independent body will help to address corruption within the society.The Senate, on June 8, approved the MOCA Bill, with 77 amendments. The MOCA Bill was passed in the House of Representatives in January.“We will not only focus on the little man or on street-level criminals. We will intensify our efforts at nabbing the persons who facilitate criminal organisations –the corrupt businessmen, elected or non-elected public servants, doctors, lawyers and anyone else who benefits from the proceeds of crime. Criminal enterprises depend on a network like any other corporation,” he said.Dr. Chang made the remarks during his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 12.He said corruption undermines the institutions of the State and leads to inefficiency, loss of growth and loss of economic prospects.“This Government is committed to dealing with this problem without prejudice or equivocation,” he pointed out.MOCA will be dedicated to combatting serious crimes in collaboration with other local and foreign law-enforcement agencies and strategic partners. The agency will have a dedicated and specialised team of investigators, who will investigate and prosecute the complex cases that are characteristic of organised criminal networks.In the meantime, Dr. Chang said the revision of the anti-gang law is expected to be finalised during this legislative year.“These amendments will include clarity about how a gang would be declared, special measures in court proceedings to protect witnesses, strategies to monitor gang members and other provisions to address inherent weaknesses in the current legislation,” he noted.Turning to the review of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), Dr. Chang said this is being undertaken with a view to strengthening provisions and ensure compliance with the recommendations emanating from the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce, including effective criminal sanctions for money-laundering offences.“We will be using the full force of the law to go after these criminals, taking the profit out of crime, seizing their assets and those assets that they have placed in the names of members of their families,” he pointed out.Dr. Chang said the Government will ensure that those who align themselves with organised criminal groups are punished “as we go in relentless pursuit and disruption of serious and organised crime”.He added that the Government will continue to pursue areas to improve citizen security. These include public order and law enforcement, strong anti-gang and anti-corruption strategies, targeted social-intervention initiatives in volatile communities, and transformation of the police force into a modern service. The Senate, on June 8, approved the MOCA Bill, with 77 amendments. The MOCA Bill was passed in the House of Representatives in January. Story Highlights Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says establishment of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) as an independent body will help to address corruption within the society.last_img read more

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Citizen scientists track radiation seven years after Fukushima

Japanese priest Sadamaru Okano is one of the ‘citizen scientists’ collecting radiation readings in the Fukushima region Safecast now has around 3,000 devices worldwide and data from 90 countries. Its counters come as a kit that volunteers can buy through third parties and assemble at home.Because volunteers choose where they want to measure at random and often overlap, “they validate unknowingly each other’s measurements,” said Franken, and anomalies or exceptions are checked by Safecast staff.The NGO is now expanding into measuring air pollution, initially mostly in the US city of Los Angeles during a test phase.Its radiation data is all open source, and has been used to study everything from the effects of fallout on wildlife to how people move around cities, said Franken.He says Safecast’s data mostly corroborates official measurements, but provides readings that are more relevant to people’s lives.”Our volunteers decide to measure where their schools are, where their workplaces are, where their houses are.”And he believes Safecast has helped push Japan’s government to realise that “transparency and being open are very important to create trust.””The power of citizen science means that you can’t stop it and also that you can’t ignore it.” The machine is sending data to Safecast, an NGO born after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster that says it has now built the world’s largest radiation dataset, thanks to the efforts of citizen scientists like Seirinji’s priest Sadamaru Okano.Like many Japanese, Okano lost faith in the government after the nuclear meltdown seven years ago.”The government didn’t tell us the truth, they didn’t tell us the true measures,” he told AFP, seated inside the 150-year-old temple.Okano was in a better position than most to doubt the government line, having developed an amateur interest in nuclear technology two decades earlier after learning about the Chernobyl disaster.To the bemusement of friends and family, he started measuring local radiation levels in 2007, so when the disaster happened, he had baseline data.”The readings were so high… 50 times higher than natural radiation,” he said of the post-disaster data.”I was amazed… the news was telling us there was nothing, the administration was telling us there was nothing to worry about.”That dearth of trustworthy information was the genesis of Safecast, said co-founder Pieter Franken, who was in Tokyo with his family when the disaster hit.Franken and several friends had the idea of gathering data by attaching Geiger counters to cars and driving around. “Like how Google does Street View, we could do something for radiation in the same way,” he said.”The only problem was that the system to do that didn’t exist and the only way to solve that problem was to go and build it ourselves. So that’s what we did.”Making informed choicesWithin a week, the group had a prototype and began getting readings that suggested the 20 kilometre (12 mile) exclusion zone declared around the Fukushima plant had no basis in the data, Franken said.”Evacuees were sent from areas with lower radiation to areas with higher radiation” in some cases, he said. Forty kilometres away, in the town of Koriyama, Norio Watanabe was supervising patiently as his giggling teenage pupils attempted to build basic versions of Safecast’s Geiger counter.Dressed in blazers and tartan skirts, the girls pored over instructions on where to place diodes and wires.Watanabe has been a Safecast volunteer since 2011, and has a mobile Geiger counter in his car.In the days after the disaster evacuees flocked to Koriyama, which was outside the evacuation zone, and he assumed his town was safe.”But after I started to do the measurements, I realised there was a high level of risk here as well,” he said.’You can’t ignore it’He sent his children away, but stayed behind to look after his mother, a decision he believes may have contributed to his 2015 diagnosis with thyroid cancer.”As a scientist, I think the chance that it was caused by the Fukushima accident might be 50-50, but in my heart, I think it was likely the cause,” he said.His thyroid was removed and he is now healthy, but Watanabe worries about his students, who he fears “will carry risk with them for the rest of their lives.””If there are no people like me who continue to monitor the levels, it will be forgotten.” Explore further © 2018 AFP Beneath the elegant curves of the roof on the Seirinji Buddhist temple in Japan’s Fukushima region hangs an unlikely adornment: a Geiger counter collecting real-time radiation readings. Schoolgirls check an app connected to a geiger counter to measure radiation in a classroom in Fukushima prefecture Citation: ‘Citizen scientists’ track radiation seven years after Fukushima (2018, March 11) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-citizen-scientists-track-years-fukushima.html American praised for getting Japan radiation data Japanese teacher Norio Watanabe work with Safecast to teach his pupils how to measure radiation This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. A geiger counter operated by the Safecast group is attached to a fence near the stricken Dai-ichi power plant The zone was eventually redrawn, but for many local residents it was too late to restore trust in the government.Okano evacuated his mother, wife and son while he stayed with his flock.But a year later, based on his own readings and after decontamination efforts, he brought them back.He learned about Safecast’s efforts and in 2013 installed one of their static counters on his temple, in part to help reassure worshippers.”I told them: we are measuring the radiation on a daily basis… so if you access the (Safecast) website you can choose (if you think) it’s safe or not.” read more

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Marine exploration sensing with light and sound

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Oceanic sensor networks that collect and transmit high-quality, real-time data could transform the understanding of marine ecology, improve pollution and disaster management, and inform multiple industries that draw on ocean resources. A KAUST research team is designing and optimizing underwater wireless sensor networks that could vastly improve existing ocean sensing equipment. Explore further “Currently, underwater sensors use acoustic waves to communicate data,” explains Nasir Saeed, who is working on a new hybrid optical-acoustic sensor design with colleagues Abdulkadir Celik, Mohamed Slim Alouini and Tareq Al-Naffouri. “However, while acoustic communication works over long distances, it can only transmit limited amounts of data with long delays. Recent research has also shown that noise created by humans in the oceans adversely affects marine life. We need to develop alternative, energy-efficient sensors that limit noise pollution while generating high-quality data.”One option is to use optical communication technology instead, but light waves will only travel short distances underwater before they are absorbed. Optical sensors also rely heavily on pointing and tracking mechanisms to ensure they are correctly orientated to send and receive signals. The team therefore propose a hybrid sensor capable of transmitting both acoustic and optical signals simultaneously. In this way, a data-collection buoy on the water surface can communicate with every sensor in a network spread out beneath it.However, marine research requires accurate measurements taken from precise locations, so scientists need to know where every sensor is at any given time. The team used mathematical modeling to develop a proof-of-concept localization technique.”Using our technique, the sensors transmit their received signal strength information (RSSI) to the surface buoy,” says Saeed. “For a large communication distance, the sensors use acoustic signals, but if the sensor is within close range of another sensor, it will send an optical signal instead.”Multiple RSSI measurements for each sensor are collected by the surface buoy. The buoy then weights these measurements to give preference to the most accurate readings before calculating where each sensor is positioned.Alouini’s and Al-Naffouri’s teams propose that their sensors will require a new energy source rather than relying on short-term battery power. They envisage an energy-harvesting system that powers fuel cells using microscopic algae or piezoelectric (mechanical stress) energy. Provided by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology KAUST researchers are modeling various techniques for improving wireless underwater sensor networks. For example, new wireless hybrid sensors that use both acoustic and optical communication could improve underwater data collection for ocean observation. Credit: © 2018 Abdulkadir Celik More information: et al, Energy Harvesting Hybrid Acoustic-Optical Underwater Wireless Sensor Networks Localization, Sensors (2017). DOI: 10.3390/s18010051 Underwater sensor successfully tested Citation: Marine exploration sensing with light and sound (2018, March 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-marine-exploration.html read more

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