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Govt CIOs divulge top investment priorities for 2019



Gartner says cyber security and data analytics will drive technology investment in 2019.

Gartner says cyber security and data analytics will drive technology investment in 2019.

This year, government CIOs will increase investments in cyber security and data analytics.

This is according to Gartner’s 2019 CIO Agenda Survey, which says the increased focus reflects CIOs’ awareness that artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics will be the top “game-changing” technologies for government in 2019.

The research firm’s survey analysed data from 3 102 CIO respondents in 89 countries and across major industries, including 528 government CIOs. Gartner says 15 of the government respondents are from African countries, with 13 from SA, and one each from Lesotho and Nigeria.

“Taking advantage of data is at the heart of digital government, it’s the central asset to all that government oversees and provides,” says Rick Howard, VP analyst at Gartner. “The ability to leverage that data strategically in real-time will significantly improve government’s ability to seamlessly deliver services, despite increased strain on finite resources.”

Forty-three percent of the respondents agreed data analytics and cyber security will be the most common technology areas that will garner increased investment in 2019.

This means a shift in focus from cloud services, where, unlike last year, it topped the technology investment rankings. Cloud dropped from first place to second overall for 2019.

Howard says the fact that cyber security remains an area of projected increased spending reflects government’s recognition of its role as the steward of public data, with secure transactions now table stakes for governments in a digital world.

“In today’s digital world, cyber attacks are highly visible, increasingly malicious and costly, and they erode the public’s trust,” he notes. “Government CIOs have steadily increased their prioritisation of cyber security over the years and have gained executive commitment to vigilance in ensuring ever-evolving malicious attacks and threats are mitigated to the greatest extent possible.”

Tech investment trends ranked. Source: Gartner (January 2019)

Tech investment trends ranked. Source: Gartner (January 2019)

Sello Mmakau, former CIO of the Department of Home Affairs and ACSA.

Sello Mmakau, former CIO of the Department of Home Affairs and ACSA.

Sello Mmakau, executive director at AfroCentric Investment Corporation, shares a similar outlook to that expressed by the government CIOs in the Gartner report.

Mmakau, a former CIO at the Department of Home Affairs and Airports Company SA (ACSA), believes cyber security is one the top priorities for government department CIOs.

However, digital transformation and getting rid of legacy systems are still taking a lot of CIOs’ time in government, he notes. “Data analytics is on their plan but isn’t taking priority over refreshing stubborn legacy systems and migration journeys to digital.”

ACSA CIO Mthoko Mncwabe points out that in the past year, SA has experienced major cyber attack attempts.

Mncwabe, former South African Post Office group CIO, is of the view that integrated digital solutions to improve citizen services, cloud services hosted in country, cyber security and fibre rollout will be the focus of government investment in 2019.

“I share the views in this report on the basis that it is also our number one priority to improve our business processes and digitise them. The second part is the delivery of stable IT; this is no longer a discussion as it has become non-negotiable.”

ACSA CIO Mthoko Mncwabe.

ACSA CIO Mthoko Mncwabe.

According to Gartner, when it comes to strategic business priorities, the survey found 18% of CIOs across all levels of government have prioritised digital initiatives again this year as key to achieving mission outcomes, compared with 23% from all other industries.

The survey data indicates governments are making deliberate progress toward designing and delivering digital services, achieving comparable maturity to other industries overall.

When asked what stage their digital initiative was at, 29% of government respondents said their organisations are scaling and refining their digital initiatives; the tipping point at which a digital initiative is considered mature. This is up from 15% in the 2018 survey.

However, government is still lagging other industries (33% overall) in scaling and refining digital initiatives.

Howard states: “To meet increased demand and evolving expectations of citizens for effective and efficient services, government must continue to enhance its digital maturity.

“Government CIOs clearly recognise the potential of digital government and have started developing new digital services, but now need to take digital beyond a vision to execution through digital leadership.”

Mmakau says locally, most government departments are still battling with digital transformation programmes, hence investment is still around. “You’ll be surprised that a lot of government departments haven’t started implementing digital strategies at all while some are still battling to craft their own digital strategies.”

The survey shows AI has taken the lead as the top game-changing technology for government CIOs for 2019.

Among government respondents, 10% have already deployed an AI solution, 39% intend to deploy in the next one to two years, and an additional 36% intend to deploy an AI solution within the next two to three years.

“AI introduces new insights and delivery channels that will enable governments to scale in magnitudes not previously possible,” says Howard. “This will allow reallocation of valuable human resources to more complex processes and decisions.”

Tech game-changers. Source: Gartner (January 2019)

Tech game-changers. Source: Gartner (January 2019)

According to Mncwabe, ACSA is starting to embrace AI as technology that will improve customer satisfaction.

The company also recognises there are emerging technologies that are likely to impact its operations over the next five years, he notes.

“Smart apps will be introduced to manage 360 degrees of your travel that includes booking and check-in, flight details, parking, tracking, payments and e-commerce. This will be critical for a consolidated experience.”

David Kramer, CIO of the Gauteng Department of E-government, agrees, to a large extent, that data analytics and cyber security will be top priorities for the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG).

However, he says cloud remains an area that needs significant attention and the department will continue to develop and implement plans in this regard.

“These issues are interwoven and need to be looked at in parallel, as successful and sustainable digital transformation depends on all three. Given where government departments are and what is being debated by CIOs at present, I think the ranking is interesting but a bit irrelevant.”

Gauteng’s e-government department was established by the GPG in 2015 to modernise public service and deliver on the vision to make Gauteng a smart province.

Kramer points out the focus this year will be on developing the department’s cloud strategy, implementing big data and data analytics plans, as well as increasing cyber security capacity.

“We will continue to implement the five-pillar GPG e-government strategy. This includes expanding the Gauteng Broadband Network and this remains a key part of our investment in digital transformation. We will also give attention to developing the skills we need to sustain digital transformation in the provincial government and to develop a stronger digital culture.”

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Riot police squads intervene as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash in Montreal




People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

  • Violence
    between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in Montreal was condemned by
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Montreal’s
    city police force intervened and declared the protests illegal after tensions
    heightened and clashes broke out.
  • Israeli
    strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
    toll in almost a week of clashes.

– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday condemned the violence and
“despicable rhetoric” that marked several weekend protests throughout
the country, after clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters in

worst violence in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, is raging between the
Jewish state and Islamist militants.

strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
toll in almost a week of deadly clashes.

after protests in Montreal, Trudeau condemned what he said was “despicable
rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend”.

insisting on the “right to assemble peacefully and express themselves
freely in Canada”, Trudeau stressed in a tweet that there was no tolerance
for “antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind”.

on Sunday, Montreal police used tear gas following clashes between pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian protesters.

hundred demonstrators, draped in Israeli flags, had gathered in a central
Montreal square to express solidarity with the Jewish state.

‘Protesting is a right’

the protest started peacefully, tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of
pro-Palestinian demonstrators and clashes soon broke out.

SPVM, Montreal’s city police force, declared the protests illegal, and squads
of riot police intervened, using tear gas to separate and disperse the two
groups, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

police spent much of the afternoon in pursuit of the pro-Palestinian
protesters, who spread out and regrouped in commercial streets in the city centre.

the clashes, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said on Twitter that
“protesting is a right”, but that “intolerance, violence and
anti-Semitism have no place here”.

She said:

Montreal is a city of peace.

thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered on Saturday in central
Montreal to denounce what they said were Israeli repression and “war
crimes” in Gaza.

Israel”, some protesters chanted, while others held up a banner that read,
“Stop the genocide of Palestinian children”.

protests happened the same day in multiple Canadian cities, including Toronto,
Ottawa and Vancouver.

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Peter Thiel Helps Fund an App That Tells You What to Do




“How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person’s life?” asks the BBC.

“A new app is offering you the chance to do just that.”

When writer Brandon Wong recently couldn’t decide what takeaway to order one evening, he asked his followers on social media app NewNew to choose for him. Those that wanted to get involved in the 24-year-old’s dinner dilemma paid $5 (£3.50) to vote in a poll, and the majority verdict was that he should go for Korean food, so that was what he bought…

NewNew is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Courtne Smith. The app, which is still in its “beta” or pre-full release stage, describes itself as “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. For many of us that sounds a bit ominous, but the reality is actually far less alarming. It is aimed at what it calls “creators” — writers, painters, musicians, fashion designers, bloggers etc. It is designed as a way for them to connect far more closely with their fans or followers than on other social media services and, importantly, monetise that connection…

Whenever a vote is cast the creator gets the money minus NewNew’s undisclosed commission… In addition to voting, followers can also pay extra — from $20 — to ask a NewNew creator to do something of their choosing, such as naming a character in a book after them. But the creator can reject all of these “bids”, and if they do so then the follower doesn’t have to part with the money…

Co-founder and chief executive Ms Smith, a 33-year-old Canadian, has big plans for NewNew, and has some heavyweight backers. Investors include Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the first outside person to put money into Facebook. Others with a stake in the business include leading US tech investment fund Andreessen Horowitz, and Hollywood actor Will Smith (no relation to Courtne). Snapchat has also given technical support.

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Sandpapergate will haunt Australia cricket forever: ex-bowling coach




Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach - Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach – Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The 2018 ball-tampering scandal will haunt Australian cricket forever, much like the infamous underarm delivery of 40 years ago, the team’s former bowling coach David Saker said on Monday.

Saker was responding to opening batsman Cameron Bancroft suggesting that Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan in Cape Town to alter the ball which earned him a nine-month ban and rocked the game.

Saker was Australia’s bowling coach when Bancroft was caught trying to rough up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.

While refusing to be drawn on who knew what, Saker said “the finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on”.

“It’s like the underarm, it’s never going to go away,” he told Fairfax Media, referring to a 1981 incident when Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to ensure New Zealand lost a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The notorious delivery is still cited in New Zealand and in cricketing circles as a prime example of unsporting conduct.

However, the ball-tampering scandal – dubbed “sandpapergate” – had a greater impact on Australian cricket, with the then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended for a year from all cricket and stripped of their leadership roles.

Darren Lehmann also quit as coach and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review blasted their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture.

No one else among the team or coaching staff was held to account but Bancroft’s remarks in an interview with The Guardian newspaper hinted that the team’s bowlers at least knew about the plan.

“Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said.

Saker added: “There was a lot of people to blame. It could have been me to blame, it could have been someone else. It could have been stopped and it wasn’t, which is unfortunate.

“Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest … He’s not going to be the last.”

In response, Cricket Australia said that if anyone had new information, they would look into it.

Saker said he was not opposed to a fresh investigation but added “I just don’t know what they’re going to find out.”

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Mexico’s Andrea Meza crowned Miss Universe




Miss Universe Andrea Meza

Miss Universe Andrea Meza





1. Mexico

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Dominican Republic

5. Peru



1. Jamaica 

2. Dominican Republic 

3. India

4. Peru 

5. Australia 

6. Puerto Rico

7. Thailand

8. Costa Rica

9. Mexico

10. Brazil





1. Columbia

2. Peru 

3. Australia 

4. France

5. Myanmar

6. Jamaica 

7. Mexico 

8. Dominican Republic 

9. USA

10. Indonesia 

11. Argentina 

12. India

13. Curaçao

14. Puerto Rico

15. Phillipines 

16. Brazil

17. Great Britain

18. Nicaragua

19. Thailand 

20. Costa Rica

21. Vietnam



74 contestants will compete for the title of Miss Universe on 16 May in Hollywood, Florida. 

The Miss Universe pageant takes place on 16 May in the US (02:00 to 05:00 on 17 May SA time). The show will be broadcast live on 1 Magic (DStv Channel 103) with a repeat at 21:30. 

Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa will crown her successor at the end of the event.

Representing South Africa is Natasha Joubert, and South Africans are hoping for the “magic double” – back-to-back consecutive wins, which has only happened once before in the pageant’s history.

Natasha wowed crowds at the national costume competition last week and on Friday impressed during the preliminary round

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Miss Mexico crowned Miss Universe 2021




By AFP Time of article published 16m ago

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Washington – Miss Mexico was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday in Florida, after fellow contestant Miss Myanmar used her stage time to draw attention to the bloody military coup in her country.

Sunday night marked the Miss Universe competition’s return to television, after the pageant was cancelled in 2020 for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, 26, finished first ahead of the Brazilian and Peruvian finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American actor Mario Lopez and television personality Olivia Culpo.

Former Miss Universe contestants Cheslie Kryst, Paulina Vega and Demi-Leigh Tebow (who won the title in 2017) served as competition analysts and commentators, and a panel of eight women determined the winner.

Dressed in a sparkling red evening gown, Meza tearfully walked the catwalk as Miss Universe for the first time, before rushing back for a group hug with the other competitors.

Meza beat more than 70 contestants from around the globe in the 69th installment of Miss Universe, which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

In the days leading up to the final competition, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, who made the top 21, made waves when she used her time in the spotlight to bring attention to the coup in her country.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said during her biographical video, which showed photos of her taking part in the anti-coup protests. “Therefore I would like to urge everyone to speak out about Myanmar.”

Natasha Joubert, Miss Universe South Africa 2020 competes on stage in Ema Savahl swimwear during the MISS UNIVERSE® Preliminary Competition.

She also won the award for best national costume: during that competition segment on Thursday, she wore an outfit beaded in traditional Burmese patterns and held up a sign that said, “Pray for Myanmar.”

Myanmar has been in uproar since February 1, when the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since then, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4 000 people are behind bars.

Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong – who did not make the top 21 – also used the national costume portion to make a political statement.

Dressed in a glittering red bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots, she turned around to reveal her cape – in the colours of the Singaporean flag – was painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?” she wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her outfit.

The United States in particular has seen a surge in anti-Asian violence in the past year, which activists have blamed on former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially his repeated description of Covid-19 as the “China virus.”

The pageant has also drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.

In recent years, the competition has shifted image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism.

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