Beijing, July 29 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Chinese scientists have developed a new method to control the population of mosquitoes, the Science and Technology Daily reported Monday.
Scientists from the Sun Yat-Sen University have conducted a four-year field test in controlling the population of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), one of the world's most invasive mosquito species that carries dengue, the Zika virus and many other devastating diseases.
Through microinjection and radiation, scientists sterilized male mosquitoes and released them into the environment to mate with wild female mosquitoes, resulting in no offspring and a declining population over time. They also exposed male mosquitoes to a strain of Wolbachia bacteria, which rendered the females sterile.
With this method, the mosquito population has been almost eliminated in the field test, with the annual number of wild mosquito species decreasing by about 83 to 94 percent. No mosquitoes were detected for up to six weeks.
The research was published in the journal Nature.
This successful field trial demonstrated that the technique could be used to establish a protected area free of mosquito-borne disease and mosquito harassment, the report cited Xi Zhiyong, the leading researcher as saying.
Washington, Jul 29 (AP/UNB) — U.S. regulators have approved T-Mobile's $26.5 billion takeover of rival Sprint, despite fears of higher prices and job cuts, in a deal that would leave just three major cellphone companies in the country.
Friday's approval from the Justice Department and five state attorneys general comes after Sprint and T-Mobile agreed to conditions that would set up satellite-TV provider Dish as a smaller rival to Verizon, AT&T and the combined T-Mobile-Sprint company. The Justice Department's antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, said the conditions set up Dish "as a disruptive force in wireless."
But attorneys general from other states and public-interest advocates say that Dish is hardly a replacement for Sprint as a stand-alone company and that the conditions fail to address the competitive harm the deal causes: higher prices, job losses and fewer choices for consumers.
"By signing off on this merger, the Justice Department has done nothing to remedy the short- and long-term harms the loss of an independent Sprint will create for U.S. wireless users," said S. Derek Turner, research director for the advocacy group Free Press.
A federal judge still must sign off on the approval, as the two companies' settlement with Justice includes conditions for them. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to also give the takeover its blessing.
Dish is paying $5 billion for Sprint's prepaid cellphone brands including Boost and Virgin Mobile — about 9 million customers — and some spectrum, or airwaves for wireless service, from the two companies. Dish will also be able to rent T-Mobile's network for seven years while it builds its own.
Dish on Friday promised the FCC that it would build a nationwide network using next-generation "5G" technology by June 2023. But Dish is promising speeds that are only slightly higher than what's typical today, even though 5G promises the potential for blazing speeds.
The Trump administration has not been consistent in its approach to media and telecom mergers. While the government went to court to block AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner and then lost, the Justice Department allowed Disney to buy much of 21st Century Fox, a direct competitor, with only minor asset sales to get the deal done. Mergers between direct competitors have historically had a higher bar to clear at the Justice Department.
Sprint and T-Mobile combined would now approach the size of Verizon and AT&T. The companies have argued that bulking up will mean a better next-generation "5G" wireless network than either could build on its own. Sprint and T-Mobile have argued for over a year that having one big company to challenge AT&T and Verizon, rather than two smaller companies, will be better for U.S. consumers.
The two companies tried to combine during the Obama administration but regulators rebuffed them. They resumed talks on combining once President Donald Trump took office, hoping for more industry-friendly regulators. The companies appealed to Trump's desire for the U.S. to "win" a global 5G race with China.
Meanwhile, the FCC agreed in May to back the deal after T-Mobile promised to build out rural broadband and 5G to nearly all the country, sell its Boost prepaid brand and keep prices on hold for three years.
But attorneys general from 13 states and the District of Columbia — separate from the five states that approved the deal — have filed a lawsuit to block the deal . They say the promised benefits, such as better networks in rural areas and faster service overall, cannot be verified. They also worry that eliminating a major wireless company will immediately harm consumers by reducing competition and driving up prices for cellphone service.
"We have serious concerns that cobbling together this new fourth mobile player, with the government picking winners and losers, will not address the merger's harm to consumers, workers, and innovation," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere said Friday that he believes the deal can close by the end of the year and that the company will engage with the state attorneys general who oppose the deal.
Dish is largely a company with a declining satellite-TV business. It has no wireless business, but over the past decade it has spent more than $21 billion accumulating a large stock of spectrum for wireless service. The wireless industry has long been skeptical of Dish's ambitions to actually build a wireless service, instead speculating that the company wanted to make money by selling its holdings to other companies.
Recon Analytics founder Roger Entner, a longtime telecom analyst, said the settlement was good for T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon, as a weak competitor in Sprint is being replaced by an even weaker one in Dish.
Sprint, the current No. 4 wireless provider, has thousands of stores and other distribution points as well as a cellular network. Dish has none of that, although the settlement gives it the option of taking over some stores and cell sites that T-Mobile ditches over the next five years. Creating and maintaining a retail operation and network cost tens of billions of dollars, Entner said. He doubts that Dish could do that alone, as its core business is in deep decline, or that Dish could find a wealthier company to help it do so.
But New Street Research analysts say Dish could build a lower-cost network and provide cheaper plans for customers. Still, that could take years.
There are incentives built into the agreement that would keep Dish from sitting on spectrum assets rather than building them out into a network, Delrahim said. If the company doesn't live up to its promises, it will face billions of dollars in penalties.
George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports, also said that the current structure of four competing providers works. He said it's not the same to diminish that while enabling a competitor that doesn't currently have the infrastructure.
"Dish might become a competing network at some point but it's not there now," he said.
The Communications Workers of America, a union that represents telecom workers, says that the deal will kill 30,000 jobs and weigh on workers' wages.
T-Mobile's stock jumped more than 5% Friday, while Sprint shares rose more than 7%. Dish shares added less than 1%. Verizon and AT&T shares also climbed. Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank owns Sprint, while Germany's Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile. SoftBank will continue to own 27 percent of the new, bigger T-Mobile and will keep some influence, but it will not control the company.
Qalandia Crossing, Jul 29 (AP/UNB) — It's just after 6 a.m. and a Palestinian man's face is momentarily bathed in crimson light, not by the sun rising over the mountains of Jordan, but by a facial recognition scanner at an Israeli checkpoint near Jerusalem.
The Israeli military has installed the face scanners as part a multimillion dollar upgrade of the Qalandia crossing that now allows Palestinians from the West Bank with work permits to zip through with relative ease.
But while the high-tech upgrades may have eased entry for Palestinians going to Israel for work, critics say they are a sign of the ossification of Israel's 52-year occupation of the West Bank and slam the military's use of facial recognition technology as problematic.
Qalandia is one of the main crossings for the thousands of Palestinians who enter Israel each day for a variety of reasons, including work, medical appointments or family visits.
Among Palestinians, the heavily fortified crossing is seen as a symbol of Israeli occupation and has long been notorious as a human logjam, where workers would wait for as much as two hours in order to pass into Israeli-controlled Jerusalem.
Palestinian laborers from around the West Bank who had permits to work in Israel would wake up in the middle of the night to arrive at the crossing before daybreak. Metal fenced entryways were often packed with people before dawn, waiting for the gates to open. Human rights groups deplored the conditions at Qalandia.
Israel's Defense Ministry poured over $85 million into upgrading Qalandia and several other major checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank in recent years — part of a strategy it says is meant to maintain calm by improving conditions for Palestinians.
Thanks to the upgrades, crossing through Qalandia takes roughly 10 minutes, even during the early morning rush hour, and has the feel of an airport terminal. While much of the rest of Jerusalem is still asleep, hundreds of Palestinian laborers stream through each morning on foot or riding bikes, buses and cars into Israel for work.
Jamal Osta, a 60-year-old from the northern West Bank city of Nablus, works as a blacksmith in an industrial park in east Jerusalem not far from Qalandia.
The new system is substantially better but is another indication that Israel's occupation has no end in sight, he said. The Palestinians seek the West Bank as the heartland of a future state, with east Jerusalem as their capital.
"Qalandia today looks like an international crossing. You feel like you are entering a new country," Osta said. "This is not an interim thing, apparently it's final."
COGAT, the Israeli military body responsible for civilian affairs in the West Bank, granted over 83,000 permits to West Bank Palestinians to work in Israel in June.
Many Palestinians seek employment in Israel, where there are more jobs and much higher wages than in the West Bank. On a given day, an estimated 8,000 cross at the Qalandia crossing alone.
In exchange for this benefit, however, Palestinians seeking work in Israel must receive biometric identification cards, the only way to pass through Qalandia, according to Israel's Civil Administration, which manages the crossing.
After passing through a security check — a metal detector and baggage scanner — the workers place their magnetic ID cards on a scanner and face a camera. A glow of red light emanates from a display as facial recognition software confirms the permit holder's identity and opens a turnstile.
A recent report by Israeli business paper TheMarker stated that the Israeli military uses technology provided by AnyVision, an Israeli facial recognition start-up, at West Bank checkpoints, and in cameras dotting the Palestinian territories.
The cameras and database are being used to identify and track potential Palestinian assailants, the report said.
AnyVision did not respond to requests for comment.
COGAT confirmed the use of facial recognition technology at the crossing, but declined to discuss the details of the biometric database or say whether the data is used beyond the crossings. The Defense Ministry, the army and the Shin Bet internal security agency also declined comment.
B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, said it was unacceptable that the Palestinian laborers have no ability to object to the use of facial recognition technology. Roy Yellin, a spokesman for the group, called the company's development of its product through "unwilling subjects" immoral.
For Najah al-Mahseri, 62, from a town near Ramallah, giving the Israeli military his biometric data was a fair trade for a steady job in Israel.
"I have no problem at all. This is my life and if I want to work here, I have to follow the rules and I have no problem doing that," Mahseri said. "This is the life Palestinian workers in Israel live."
Dhaka, Jul 28 (UNB) - edotco Bangladesh (edotco BD), an integrated telecommunications infrastructure services company on Sunday announced that they have successfully deployed 4000 tower co-locations for Mobile Network Operators since 2013 throughout the country.
edotco BD, has been at the forefront of the country’s tower infrastructure landscape since 2013, providing end-to-end solutions in the tower services sector from tower leasing, co-locations, build-to-suit, energy management, transmission and operations and maintenance, said a press release.
Rahul Chaudhary, Country Managing Director of edotco BD said, “This is a key milestone for us as we work towards enhancing the telecommunications industry and meeting the government’s digitization goals.”
edotco currently owns and operates over 10,000 telecom towers throughout Bangladesh and over 29,300 towers across the six countries in which they have a presence. The company has been investing and innovating over the past six years to ensure the right sharable infrastructure is in place to enable seamless connectivity. This 4000-co-location milestone is testament that the company is meeting its objectives of advancing the country’s telecommunications industry.
Sydney, July 28 (Xinhua/UNB) -- City-dwellers are more likely to report lower psychological distress and better general health when they are exposed to tree canopy in their daily life than low-lying plants or grassy fields, according to an Australian research linking the benefits of living near green space.
"In fact, more grass was associated with a higher likelihood of people reporting fair to poor general health, and prevalent psychological distress," according to a statement from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) peer-reviewed medical publication on the study by University of Wollongong researchers released on Saturday.
"Though the authors note a few limitations, and this kind of study cannot prove cause and effect, the team suggest that just being around green spaces isn't quite enough, and we should be specifically investing in the tree canopy to support mental health," it said.
The study included nearly 47,000 city-dwelling adults in Australia and examined how living near different kinds of green space, including tree canopy, grass and low-lying vegetation, may be associated with risk of psychological distress, self-reported physician-diagnosed depression or anxiety, and fair to poor self-reported general health.
"No green space indicator was associated with depression or anxiety," "exposure to low-lying vegetation wasn't consistently associated with any outcome" and "exposure to more grass was associated with a higher likelihood of reporting fair to poor general health and prevalent psychological distress", the researchers reported.
Their findings were published in the JAMA Network Open online -- a monthly open access medical journal.
Limitations of the study included "self-reported health outcomes and green space availability that may have decreased in some areas over time," which means the results may "underestimated" the links, the researchers said.