Computer News - In Brief


- As South Africans are urged to fill in their tax returns for January 31st, a first evaluation indicates that over 400 000 returns were submitted via the electronic filing facility provided by The South African Revenue Services (SARS). This figure is more than 10 times higher than the number of electronic forms received during the previous year of assessment and indicates growing public confidence in the electronic system.

- The latest book byAlgerian academic, Mohamed Meziane, gives an overiew of the changes noticed in society and brought about by the technological revolution in the fields of information and communications. The book, entitled "Au bout des claviers... La société de l'information" (behind keyboards… the information society) published by "Al Hikma," proposes a reflection on the beneficial effects of the new information and communications technologies (NICTs) on the Algerian society, that is undergoing radical "transformations," if "authorities integrate them as means for development."

- Ghana is to put into operation a new electronic governance programme, with assistance from the Italian government to improve information flow, leading to the creation of a national data centre in public administration. The support from the Italian government will put in place a certified e-mail infrastructure including digital signature and electronic document work flow that would improve among other things, the quality of work in the public service.

- The South African arm of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has suffered a setback following the past weekend’s devastating fires in the Western Cape. The project’s servers, which are run from Scarborough in the Cape Peninsula, were apparently damaged by the excess smoke and water in the area, and are now apparently unlikely to host the project’s website anytime soon.