Thursday, October 4, 2012

Man invents "Robotic Suitcase," Uses Bluetooth Signal On Phones To Follow Owner

A video on YouTube has revealed a prototype of the ‘Hop!’ suitcase, which uses the Bluetooth signal on your smart phone to guide it along behind you. The clip – which has received some 35,000 views – shows a man walking while the small suitcase dutifully follows albeit at a slow and occasionally jerky speed. The basic technology behind the novelty is the work of Spanish native Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez. The phone signal is received by three sensors in the luggage, a microprocessor driving two caterpillar tracks that power the suitcase along. If the signal is lost, the bag will lock itself and vibrate its owner’s phone. Mr Gonzalez’s design was one of the winners of Spain’s James Dyson Award this year and, he admits, needs some fine tuning. He is now studying a Master’s in Innovation, Design and Engineering in London and hopes to gather a team to work on the project and find funding. The 28-year-old said: ‘It’s not working 100 per cent and it’s not ready for the market but it’s something I’d like to develop. ‘I think in the future it’s something we could

see often.’

‘Yahoo Yahoo boy’ runs mad in Ikeja after getting off from his car

A (name withheld  young man lost his complete senses in the middle of Ikeja yesterday. Local media report that “the man jumped down from his Range Rover Sport and ran mad. Within few minutes, people gathered at the scene. He started displaying series of madness, pulled off his clothes, saying different irrelevant things.” They added that he defecated on himself and chased people around. The young man is strongly rumored to be a ‘Yahoo-yahoo boy’ – a street slang for boys involved in Internet scam, but that fact has not been ascertained yet, as his case could well be that of spiritual attack.

Teachers, pupils groan as Kogi flood affects 54,000 children

Some residents including pupils fleeing one of the flooded communities.

As flood sacked many schools in Kogi State, stakeholders have expressed worry about the impact of school closure on pupils, SUCCESS NWOGU writes

Kogi State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Grace Elebiyo, tutors and pupils in Lokoja, the state capital, have said the current flooding of about nine local government areas and about 332 communities in the state is negatively affecting education in the state.

Elebiyo, in an interview with our correspondent on Thursday, said though she could not categorically give the exact number of schools and pupils affected by the flood disaster, about 54,000 pupils in about 270 schools in the councils would have been affected by the closure of schools.

She added that the flood would affect the performance of some of the pupils eligible for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations next year. She, however, stated that the diligent ones would still be reading at home and might not be so much adversely affected.

She stated that for the West African Examination Council registration, the principals of the affected schools already have the number of pupils moving into SSS3 for the WAEC registration. She added that the number could easily be ascertained through the transition examination as the pupils had done their last tests.

“The flood has adversely affected education. About nine local government areas are being affected by flood. Many schools have been closed down because of the flood, while we have some schools being used as relief camps for the flood victims. There are many affected schools but I have not got the accurate number of the closed schools. But in each council, we have about 30 schools. I cannot say the accurate number but there is no way we would not have about 200 pupils in each of the schools,” she said.

Elebiyo, who said that by December the schools would be re-opened, added that the state government had provided relief materials to the affected pupils to cushion the effects of the disaster. “For now, we want to make sure that the affected schools are closed down temporarily; it appears that there is no solution for now.

“Some of the pupils of the affected schools will sit for the same examination with their counterparts who are not affected. Therefore when this problem is over, there will be extension of school programme. That is the only way we can solve the problem,” Elebiyo said.

In separate interviews with our correspondent on Wednesday, the tutors and pupils stated that the flood had put candidates sitting for WASSCE in precarious situation. They added that even for those whose schools had not been shut down, both the teachers and pupils especially in Lokoja were subjected to great hardship owing to gridlock on the roads. They said this situation had made many of them to come late to schools.

The Principal, Government Day Secondary School, Adankolo, Lokoja, Mr. Edward Olorundare, said pupils in the affected areas planning to sit for the WASSCE might fail as they would be forced to stay off the schools for many months.

He added that some of the pupils in a bid to pass WASSCE might cheat. According to him, many of the teachers, other workers and pupils in areas not yet affected by the flood in Lokoja are now forced to come to school late due to long queues of vehicles, especially trailers.

“The flood is seriously and negatively affecting education. There are many schools especially in the submerged councils that have been shut down. Those children are disadvantaged, especially those sitting for the WASSCE. WAEC organises international examination. Ghana and some other West African countries are writing it. If they are not affected by the flood, it means that their schools would be in session. But here, where the flood is affecting people, the pupils are disadvantaged.

“It has affected us seriously in the school. It has even affected our punctuality and attendance. Most of the people who are displaced are leaving far away. The few roads have been taken over by trailers.

“It will affect the pupils’ performance because by the time the school is closed down and when pupils are coming back, it might be for exams and we are talking about examination malpractice and we are not doing anything to prevent it. How will a pupil who is sitting down at home for three months and is to take exam not fail or engage in examination malpractice in a bid to pass? Definitely, he will cheat,” he said.

Olorundare, whose school is also being threatened by flood, said it was unfortunate that the school did not have accurate information on the flow of the flood.

He stated that though the school had made contingency arrangement, it might be forced to temporarily close if the flood eventually submerges it.

The Vice-Principal, Administration, St. Lukes UBE J.S.S, Lokoja, Mrs. Mary Iselewa, said since some schools in the state had been closed because of the flood, many pupils were no longer serious with their studies.

She stated that some of the pupils now prefer to watch films and play football. “Some schools in the state have been closed down because of the flood. The flood has actually negatively affected education in Kogi State because when schools are even in session, some of the pupils are not even ready to face their studies seriously. They prefer watching films and playing football. When they are in the school, at least they will read their books and when assignments are given to them, they will do them. But now that they are free, since many schools have been closed down because of the flood, many of the pupils now go and watch the flood to see the extent of the damage it has caused victims.

“Also, some of them will say ‘we are no longer in school, there is no need to read and nobody will give us assignment. It is only when we are in school that we need to settle down and study but when we are not in school, we are free,” Iselewe said.



Another school administrator in Lokoja who pleaded anonymity, urged Nigerian leaders to be more proactive and to implement policies that would advance education and reduce the hardship in the land.

He claimed that the major problems facing Nigeria were lack of foresight and poor planning by its leaders. He said many times, the nation’s leaders went abroad and failed to show that they had learnt something useful in the area of governance.

According to him, Many Nigerians are sad and angry, noting the need for a rethink and change of attitude by the nation’s leaders. “What we are saying is that our leaders should be more proactive. They should plan ahead. There was a time that the late President Umaru Yar’Adua came to inaugurate the dredging of the River Niger in this state. After he died, that effort stopped.

“Assuming that the river was well-dredged, the water level would have been deep and this disaster would not have happened. It is after the havoc has been done that the Federal Government is sending construction giants to dredge the River Niger. Do you know that this volume of water that is wasting could be harvested and used for irrigation? If Israel had the type of water we have, in fact it would be the highest producer of food in the world. But look at how we are wasting it and it is even causing havoc to the people,” he said.

A pupil, Ahmed Kabir, said pupils in the state were not happy because of the flood had made some of their schools to either close down temporarily or converted to relief camps for flood victims.

Another pupil from St. Lukes UBE JSS, Adankolo said many of the pupils were no longer in school. She called on the government to build relief camps for the displaced people and return their classrooms to them so that they could continue with their studies.

Another pupil, Maryam Usman, said many homes had been devastated because of the flood while many pupils lost their books and uniforms to the flood. “I am not happy because of the flood. It has destroyed many homes and affected our education,” she said.


More Stories in Education

Olayinka Oladunjoye

Source : punchng[dot]com

Twins Found At Refuse Dump In Nigeria

Residents of Okosi Road in Onitsha, Anambra State woke up to a most gruesome sight Sunday Morning. On top of a pile of rubbish in a garbage dump lay the dead bodies of a set of twin babies. It was obvious that they were just a couple of hours old. Still covered in fluid and placenta still intact. People flocked to the scene as the ghastly story quickly spread. So far, there are no leads concerning the identity of the mother and it still remains a horrible mystery. Eye witnesses sent me the horrific pictures and I sent a couple of known friends from the area to ascertain that it wasn’t just images off the internet. And lo, it was true as day.

Viewer Discretion!!!

Scroll down to view picture.

Make your work easy with hand-held scanners

Hand-held scanners

MAUREEN AZUH writes on the unique advantages of hand-held scanners

Like many other devices that now come in portable models, scanners have also been designed in handheld form that is less complicated for the end-user.

Compact scanners are good for many purposes, which include items such as business contacts, expenses, travel claims, contracts and checks. As notes, portable scanners offer scanning clarity in different format options, and are convenient for use both at home and work.

There are also different types to choose from. IRIScan, for instance, is one portable scanner which offers a user the option of scanning documents without a computer.

According to, it scans to memory, which means one can scan and upload to a computer later. That puts it less in competition with portable sheet-fed scanners. It eliminates the need to carry a computer along, when on the go. It looks much like any other manually fed portable scanner, at 1.7 by 10.6 and 2.3 inches (HWD), and weighs slightly less than one pound.

It is also easy to set up, as all a user needs to do is to simply open the box, connect the scanner to a computer with the supplied USB cable, and let the battery charge. There is no scan driver to install, because the scanner does not scan to a computer. Instead, in addition to charging when plugged, the device appears like USB memory to the computer, so the user can copy the scanned files to a hard drive. Once copied, the files can be opened anytime using any software.

When a photo, sheet of paper, or business card is slotted into the input slot in front, the scanner will automatically feed and scan it, and then save the results to a file. The scanner itself includes 512MB of internal memory. When a user is ready to upload the scanned files to a computer, he can simply move the USB key or MicroSD card to the computer and copy or move the files to a hard disk.

The Plustek MobileOffice is another scanning device that offers portability and speed. Although it is a little bigger than the others, it makes up in speed and has the ability to scan both sides of a page at once. The features lead to a larger, heavier scanner, but for most purposes, the extra capability is worth it.

It measures 3.8 by 11.4 by three inches and weighs 2.9 pounds. But in addition to its 20-page ADF and duplexer – the ability to scan both sides – it offers a 600-pixel-per-inch (ppi) optical resolution, while its rated speed in grayscale mode is nine pages per minute for simplex (single-sided) scanning at 300 ppi and 18 images per minute (ipm) for duplex scanning.

The Xerox Mobile Scanner on the other hand, as notes, offers a few extra features that make it portable in a way that some other models cannot match. It also does not require a computer to function.

The battery-operated Xerox can be used in almost any situation. The battery is rated for 300 shots, which gives plenty of scanning time before it runs out. Included in the bundle is a 4GB Eye-Fi card. This device doubles as both storage card and as an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter, allowing a user to connect to a laptop via a wireless network.

Xerox is also capable of sending scanned files through the ether, and a user can wirelessly divert scans to sites like Evernote, Picasa, Shutterfly or Facebook. The device can also communicate with most mobile devices, and an Airplane Mode button allows a user to switch off the Wi-Fi radio. And for traditionalists, the Xerox can still be hooked up with a good old-fashioned USB cable.

Apart from portable scanners, one can also use a smartphone through an application called CamScanner Free, to do almost the same that scanners do. Just run this app, aim the device’s camera at any text or graphics, and then press the “Capture” button.

The app will suggest a part of the image for cropping and the image is enlarged with little loss of detail. Depending on the device, a user can also adjust details, brightness and contrast of the image. After editing, the pictures can be saved into a document which acts like an album, with tags.

One interesting feature of the app is that a user can export documents into PDFs and share them in many ways, either by uploading it to a Google account, email or fax. The app charges to use the fax function though while the exported PDF is usually the size of the scanned image.

More Stories in Gadget Smart

Touch screen laptops with speedy response
DVD riprer software

Source : punchng[dot]com

Sperm selling business booming in Ghana

Sperm business booming in Ghana

Sperm has become one of the hottest commodities being sold in Ghana and many parts of the world. The target market for this new booming venture are couples suffering from male infertility, lesbian couples, and single women who pay huge amounts of money to access it.

“Selling of sperm is gradually becoming the new business frontier booming in Ghana because it has many uses in today’s society: making babies, sperm banks, and putting volume in limp hair in order to make it long,” a medical student at the University of Ghana Medical School, who sold sperm five times to a Fertility Centre in Accra for GH¢10, 000, told Economic Tribune (ET).

The medical student, who gave his name only as Mensah, said even though selling of sperm was a risky business, it was also rewarding as well.

“I use the proceeds from this business to pay my fees and also support my close pals. Who knows how long I will continue? But whatever happens, I know I can look back on many happy families that I have helped to create,” he stated.

Mrs Naomi Suame, a shop owner at East Legon and many parts of Accra, has been married for 15 years and has two children, none of whom biologically belongs to her husband.

“I discovered my husband was infertile when we got married after two years. But I wanted to experience motherhood. I decided to have artificial insemination. I have never cheated on him. I just got sperm from a willing seller and got two healthy babies. Is that not wonderful?” she asked. In the case of Naomi, she got a young man from the University of Cape Coast, paid him GH¢12,000 and took his sperm, which she used twice to get the babies.

“Sperm is one of the scared commodities for many of us. There is a high demand for it and many young men are going into this venture selling their sperm to help others, who needs it for one reason or the other,” Naomi explained.

Investigations conducted by ET revealed that due to the huge capital outlay of the process, women have now devised a way of beating the system by getting donors (sperm sellers) whom they take to the Fertility Centres for harvesting at a cheaper cost and then having the sperm induced in their uteruses.

Outside Ghana

Sperm selling is booming in many parts of the world as well. Recently, a San Francisco man has been named by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for selling his sperm over the internet after helping 14 women become pregnant. The 36-year-old man claims he's simply providing a free service to women who want to become mothers without going through typical sperm donation process but authorities say he's a public health hazard. According to media report, Mr Trent Arsenault generously donates his sperm to women he meets on his website, which features multiple pictures of the slender man acting genetically valuable.

The FDA claims that Arsenault is running a business that's in violation of regulations that require sperm banks to have their donors tested for STIs within seven days of donating sperm. Some fertility experts warn that a man who anonymously fathers 14 or more children could be putting those kids at risk for genetic defects as well as one day meeting and having super gross accidental sibling sex with each other.

In a related development, two men from Reading in UK have been sentenced to nine months imprisonment for illegally selling sperm over the internet. Ricky Gage, 49, and Nigel Woodforth, 43, pocketed £250,000 between October 2007 and November 2008 through their unlicensed website, known as Fertility 1st.

Southwark Crown Court jurors said the culprits were able to charge clients £380 for each sample from anonymous donors. The pair, who ran their website from the basement of Woodforth’s Reading home, promised to ‘fulfill the dreams’ of childless couples, charging them an initial £380 to provide contact details from a list of men on their database. These included descriptions of their ‘height, eye colour, ethnic origin, hobbies and education.’

After selecting a would-be father, the woman would then pay £150 for sperm to be collected and delivered by an independent courier firm. From this payment, the anonymous donor would receive £50. Hundreds of women seeking to conceive used the service in a year-long period between late 2007 and 2008, with police finding a list of 792 sperm deliveries.

Mimiko campaign blames ACN for murder of LP supporter

The campaign organisation of Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, on Thursday accusing the Action Congress of Nigeria of causing the death of one of the governor’s supporters, Mr. Adeniyi Oyen.

The Mimiko Campaign Organisation in a statement by its Director of Media, Kolawole Olabisi, said he was shot dead when suspected ACN thugs invaded the venue of the campaign rally organised by the governor’s Labour Party in Akungba Akoko on Wednesday evening.

Olabisi alleged that several people who were also shot are now receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre in Owo and other undisclosed hospitals in Ikare Akoko.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Danladi Mshelbwala, confirmed the death of the deceased, noting that Oyen and two others were shot by suspected cult members after an LP campaign rally at Holy Trinity Primary School play ground, Akungba Akoko.

But the camp of ACN governorship candidate, Rtomi Akeredolu (SAN), “challenged the LP and Governor Olusegun Mimiko to explain to the whole world what resulted to a free for all at Akungba Akoko after his campaign visit.”

A statement by the Director Media, Publicity and Strategy of ACO, Mr. Idowu Ajanaku, “called on security agents to investigate the cause of the fight which was alleged to be over the sharing of the campaign loot that Mimiko has delivered to his party men at Akungba during the campaign visit.”

More Stories in Ondo decides 2012

Director, Media, Mimiko Campaign Organisation, Kolawole Olabisi
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola

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Tribunal names Obanikoro’s son winner of Lagos LCDA poll


The Lagos State Local Government Election Petitions Tribunal headed by Justice Dolapo Akinsanya on Thursday declared Jide Obanikoro of the Peoples Democratic Party winner of the October 22, 2011 council poll in Ikoyi/Obalende Local Council Development Area of the state.

The tribunal nullified the declaration of Adewale Adeniji of the Action Congress of Nigeria as the winner of the election by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission.

Jide is the son of Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to Ghana, Musiliu Obanikoro.

The tribunal held that Obanikoro won with 3,780 votes while Adeniji got 3,248 votes.

The tribunal said the ACN and its candidate “failed to rebut the burden of proof that was shifted on them by the quantum of evidence provided by the petitioners.”

It noted that the respondents did not dispute Obanikoro’s claim that there was no collation of results after the poll was conducted.

The tribunal therefore concluded that it had the power to collate the results via the valid votes as entered into the appropriate LASIEC FORM 9A which is the only form acceptable for chairmanship results for local government elections in Lagos and the petitioners had brought same before the tribunal.

More details later.

More Stories in News

Source : punchng[dot]com

Jonathan appoints new CDS, naval, air force chiefs

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday appointed Vice Admiral Ola Ibrahim as the new Chief of Defence Staff.

A statement by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said Ibrahim (Kwara State), who until his elevation was the Chief of Naval Staff, took over from Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, who has retired from service.

Jonathan also appointed Rear Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba from Delta State as the new Chief of Naval Staff and Air Vice Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh as the new Chief of Air Staff.

He, however, retained Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (Abia) as the Chief of Army Staff.

More details later.

More Stories in News

Source : punchng[dot]com

Landslide buries 18 children at Chinese primary school

A landslide buried 18 children at a primary school in the south-western Chinese province of Yunnan
on Thursday, state media said.

The landslide hit Zhenhe village in Yunnan’s Yiliang county about 8.00 a.m. the semi-official China News Service reported.

It engulfed the school building and two nearby homes in an estimated 10,000 cubic metres of debris, the agency said.

Eighteen children were missing at the school and an adult was buried in one of the neighbouring homes, it quoted local officials as saying.

It said government rescue teams had reached the mountainous area, which was hit by a series of earthquakes that killed 81 people and injured some 800 people on September 7.

More Stories in News

Source : punchng[dot]com

Commissioner defends building of 27 hospitals in Imo

Imo Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Obi-Njoku, has said that it will cost the state more to maintain the existing 19 hospitals in the state than to build 27 new ones.

Obi-Njoku said this on Thursday in Owerri in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

He explained that on assumption of office, the administration assessed the health sector and found that the state had suffered a drastic degradation of infrastructure and facilities due to poor management.

 He said that, based on the findings, the administration collapsed the 19 general hospitals into 10 and granted their management to the British Health System Management Consortium for 15 years.

NAN reports that the policy attracted criticisms from some residents who felt that it would be so expensive to have access to the hospitals because the proprietors would only be interested in making profits.  

Obi-Njoku, however, insisted that it was in the best interest of the people to allow the British consortium to invest in and run the dilapidated hospitals for 15 years while government built new ones.

“Our people go to India, Germany, Britain, Israel and other countries for treatment; such people spend between N10 million and N20 million for some treatment that, with the right equipment, diagnosis and drugs, would cost only N500,000 here.

“Doctors don’t manage hospitals; it will be a waste of manpower; we are bringing in hospital management professionals so that doctors will actually do the job they are trained to do,” he said.  

The commissioner said that the state government had embarked on a comprehensive health insurance scheme to ensure that the poor had access to health care.

He gave an assurance that the new hospitals would be completed by the end of the year, adding that government was already making plans to equip them.  

 The commissioner also pointed out that a professional management team was being assembled to run the new hospitals.

“Our goal is to make Imo State a health tourism destination.

“Health tourism cannot be done in dilapidated buildings and if you must do it, you must offer the best in terms of infrastructure, equipment, management and services,” he added.

More Stories in News

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No frontrunners for Peace, Literature prizes as Nobel panel to announce winners next week

The winners of the 2012 Nobel Prizes are to be announced next week, with no clear frontrunners yet seen for the much-talked about Peace and Literature prizes and suspense and speculation mount.

Betting sites have become a popular feature of the Nobel guessing game in recent years, with gamers sometimes surprisingly accurate, even suspiciously so.

Chinese author Mo Yan and Japan’s Haruki Murakami share the top spots on two Swedish betting sites a week ahead of the expected announcement of the Nobel Literature Prize, while Coptic Christian Maggie Gobran of Egypt who helps the poor in Cairo’s slums tops the one Swedish site taking bets for the Peace Prize.

Here are the dates for this year’s prize announcements:

- Monday, October 8, 0930 GMT at the earliest: Nobel Medicine Prize

- Tuesday, October 9, 0945 GMT at the earliest: Nobel Physics Prize

- Wednesday, October 10, 0945 GMT at the earliest: Nobel Chemistry Prize

- Thursday, October 11: Possible date for the Nobel Literature Prize. The Swedish Academy only announces the date of the announcement a few days in advance, but it is traditionally on a Thursday at 1100 GMT.

- Friday, October 12, 0900 GMT: Nobel Peace Prize

- Monday, October 15, 1100 GMT at the earliest: Nobel Economics Prize.

More Stories in News

Source : punchng[dot]com

No frontrunners for Peace, Literature prizes as Nobel panel to announce winners next week

The winners of the 2012 Nobel Prizes are to be announced next week, with no clear frontrunners yet seen for the much-talked about Peace and Literature prizes and suspense and speculation mount.

Betting sites have become a popular feature of the Nobel guessing game in recent years, with gamers sometimes surprisingly accurate, even suspiciously so.

Chinese author Mo Yan and Japan’s Haruki Murakami share the top spots on two Swedish betting sites a week ahead of the expected announcement of the Nobel Literature Prize, while Coptic Christian Maggie Gobran of Egypt who helps the poor in Cairo’s slums tops the one Swedish site taking bets for the Peace Prize.

Here are the dates for this year’s prize announcements:

- Monday, October 8, 0930 GMT at the earliest: Nobel Medicine Prize

- Tuesday, October 9, 0945 GMT at the earliest: Nobel Physics Prize

- Wednesday, October 10, 0945 GMT at the earliest: Nobel Chemistry Prize

- Thursday, October 11: Possible date for the Nobel Literature Prize. The Swedish Academy only announces the date of the announcement a few days in advance, but it is traditionally on a Thursday at 1100 GMT.

- Friday, October 12, 0900 GMT: Nobel Peace Prize

- Monday, October 15, 1100 GMT at the earliest: Nobel Economics Prize.

More Stories in Business

Source : punchng[dot]com

Obama, Romney trade tackles at first presidential debate

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spent much of his first presidential debate Wednesday walking back some of his core primary positions and highlighting similarities with President Barack Obama — from keeping bank regulations in place, bringing in more teachers, maintaining taxes on the wealthy, to making sure those with pre-existing conditions have health insurance.

But Obama failed to respond effectively, drifting into his professorial demeanour and barely attempting to veil his annoyance with Romney, Huffington Post reports.

It wasn’t pretty, but Romney won, according to the general consensus among reporters and political operatives after the debate at the University of Denver.

Romney appeared more relaxed than Obama, who spent much of his time explaining policies he would likely rather be done selling by now. He hardly looked Romney in the eye during the debate.

There is one critical caveat, of course, in determining the winner of a debate: It’s difficult to know how the millions of voters, whose prisms are radically different than those of mainstream reporters, took in the debate. But, at minimum, Romney cleared the most critical bar, by appearing presidential.

Still, one issue continued to plague Romney: details. While he said he would end Obama programs, he was vague on how he would do so without eliminating a host of components he pledged to keep.

“At some point, you have to ask, is he keeping all these plans to replace (programmes) secret because they’re too good?” Obama said. “Families are going benefit too much from them?”

The debate was the first of three presidential debates, this one with a focus on domestic policy. Obama and Romney each went into the debate attempting to tamp down expectations, insisting their opponent might have a bit of an edge and that they just hoped to do well.

Romney had more to prove, with Obama leading by large margins in swing states, according to a number of polls. Obama also has had more time to lay out his policy plans and present himself to the American people, while Romney is still being pressed for more specifics.

Romney did give one specific on taxes, making the promise that he will cut taxes only to the extent it doesn’t increase the deficit. Romney said he doesn’t want to cut taxes by $5 trillion, a widely reported figure, and put a strict limitation on how much he would actually lower taxes.

“If the tax plan he described were a tax plan I was asked to support, I’d say, ‘Absolutely not,’” Romney said. “I’m not asking for a $5 trillion tax cut. What I’ve said is I won’t put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. … I’ve got five boys. I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it.”

Obama struck back.

“Now … he is saying that his big bold idea is ‘never mind.’ The fact is, if you are lowering the rates the way you describe, governor, it is not possible to come up with enough deductions or loopholes,” Obama said. “It is math. It is arithmetic.”

Romney insisted a few times that he would leave things as they were, or that he agreed with Obama. He said he wouldn’t cut funding for education and that he agrees more teachers are needed.

Romney also said he and Obama agree that Social Security should not be changed for current seniors, effectively taking it off the table, although the two still attacked each other on the issue of Medicare.

Romney also said the two men agree that young people should be kept on their parents’ insurance plans, even if he successfully repealed Obamacare.

He also said he supports another Obamacare component: requiring insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Romney said he would continue that policy, a key part of Obamacare that isn’t actually part of his plan.

Romney’s health care plan would require insurers to cover pre-existing conditions if they were switching from one insurer to another — but would do nothing for those trying to get insurance who do not currently have it.

But there still weren’t many details, something Obama pointed out. A few minutes after jabbing Romney on his math, Obama said the public can visit his website to see the specifics of his deficit-cutting plan, alluding to vagaries in Romney’s deficit reduction promises.

Romney pointed out, rightly, that Obama didn’t get behind the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction bill — which his vice presidential pick, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), voted against — even though he admitted he doesn’t support it either.

“The president should have grabbed that,” Romney said of deficit reduction, specifically citing the plan.

“Do you support it?” moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS countered.

“I have my own plan,” Romney responded. “I think the president should have grabbed it. If you have some adjustments, make it, take it to congress, go for it.”

Romney, when it came to bank regulation, played it both ways. He charged Dodd-Frank with leading to community bank closures, while also complaining that elements of it hadn’t been implemented fast enough. He praised some parts of it, criticised others, but declined to get specific.

Both candidates seemed a bit touchy, especially with the moderator. Obama kept talking at one point when Lehrer said his time was up, saying, “I had five seconds before you interrupted me.”

Romney made even more of a fuss about the times, insisting on the first question that he get the last word, and refusing at several points to stop talking when asked. He also promised to cut funding to PBS, with an apology to Lehrer.

The debate ended with another attack from Obama over how Romney and Ryan would run the government. Romney promised to work with Democratic and Republican leaders “on day one,” or the day after his election, to work to collaborate, an idea Obama mocked.

“I think Governor Romney is going to have a busy first day because he’s also going to repeal Obamacare,” Obama said. “Which will not be very popular with Democrats as you’re sitting down with them.”

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