Tech Talk

• Video review and goal-line technology are coming to water polo to help the oldest Olympic team sport keep pace.

FINA, the governing body of aquatics, says video monitoring can “identify and sanction incidents of brutality or extreme violence” that were missed by game officials or “not appropriately punished”.

The system can also be used to decide when the ball crosses the goal line.

In a statement, FINA president Julio Maglione says water polo — which debuted at the 1900 Paris Olympics — needed updating given “what is currently offered in a very competitive sport international environment”.

The modernising changes were among wide-ranging rules changes approved by FINA member federations at a special meeting in China.

• For the first time, average Cubans became eligible to sign up for internet service for their mobile phones last week, a development long awaited on the communist-ruled island.

Users began receiving text messages in the morning from the state telephone monopoly informing them that they can buy an internet access packages for 3G service.

Previously, nearly all Cubans could use their mobile phones only to get their state-run email accounts unless they connected to the internet at a limited number of government-sponsored Wi-Fi spots. Government officials and foreign businesspeople could use their mobiles anywhere to access the 3G network in recent years, though not always reliably.

The new service is being made available gradually through Saturday depending on a user’s phone number, to avoid the congestion that struck Cuba’s mobile network during a series of heavily criticised tests this year.

“It’s excellent news,” said Gustavo Andujar, who works for the Roman Catholic Church and was among the initial group of users to receive the announcement from the phone company, ETECSA. “It’s having the internet in your pocket!”

Andujar said he will use the service to check email and check some information, but he will continue to use Wi-Fi for family conversations by video and other downloads because the prices for the new service are high for Cubans.

The phone company is offering packages ranging from 600 megabytes for about $7 to four gigabytes for about $30, which is in line with charges elsewhere but high for most Cubans, whose salaries average $30 to $50 a month. Still, many Cubans have their mobile accounts paid by relatives living abroad.

The internet is mostly uncensored in Cuba, although the government blocks a small number of sites like the US-funded Radio and Television Marti networks and others that advocate for systematic change on the island.


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