Davitt Walsh and girlfriend Stephanie Knox speaking about the tragic events at Buncrana Pier.. (North West Newspix)The heroic man who saved a baby in the Donegal drowning disaster says he could have saved more people if he had been thrown a lifesaving ring.Davitt Walsh has become an unlikely hero after jumping into the freezing waters of Lough Swilly after a jeep containing five six people slipped off Buncrana Pier on Sunday evening last.The 28 year old former League of Ireland footballer almost managed to save another of the young boys in the car but he was dragged from his grip by the pressure of the car. But today Davitt, from Kerrykeel, reveals how everything happened so quickly that people on the pier were left stunned by the horrendous events.“It all happened so quickly but it was as if everything had stopped. People were on the pier and walking around but everybody seemed to be just wondering what was going on.“I just can’t help feeling I could have done more. I honestly think I could have saved more if someone had had thrown me a life buoy or something.“There was one on the pier but nobody used it and I don’t know why. I’ll probably never know why but I can’t help think that I could have done more or I could have saved others. “There were people fishing and it was as if they didn’t realise what was happening. I just can’t take it all in still,” said Davitt.The slipway at Buncrana PierIt has now been revealed that one reason one so many people may not have helped is that many thought it was part of a training exercise.A training exercise involving the emergency services including the RNLI and the Rescue 118 helicopter took place at the pier for a number of hours and only officially finished around 5pm.Many of those whoo earlier took part in this training drill rushed back to the scene of the unfolding tragedy in a bid to save more lives.But despite getting back to the pier in a matter of just minutes, it was too late. The remains of three of the five who drowned in the car were now floating in the water and were quickly recovered.The slipway on which the doomed Audi jeep slipped into the sea at Lough Swilly has since been closed to the public.A full investigation into the conditions on the slipway is being carried out while Donegal County Council say they will make no further comment on the matter until that investigation is completed.Hero Davitt Walsh’s loving girlfriend Stephanie Knox, a cardiac physiologist at Derry’s Altnagelvin Hospital, said she is so proud of her partner. It was Stephanie who cradled little four month old Rionaghac-Ann in her coat and kept her alive after Davitt swam back to the slipway before collapsing with our exhaustion.‘I CAN’T HELP THINKING I COULD HAVE SAVED MORE IF I HAD A LIFE BUOY’ – DAVITT was last modified: March 27th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
Manchester City and Rangers meet at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in a monumental match for both sides. Test your knowledge of the history between the two clubs by seeing how many of these five questions you can answer correctly. [wp-simple-survey-26]Will QPR get a point at Man City? Click here to voteWhy the omens are so good for City against QPRVideo: QPR fans react to dramatic victory against StokeFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Life needs molecular machines before natural selection can even be considered as a possible Darwinian explanation for them.The discovery that living cells operate real machines and motors has to rank as one of the greatest discoveries of the late 20th century. It continues to fascinate engineers who want to imitate what cells do. Here are recent news articles that discuss the subject, and one that tries to “evolutionize” them.Molecular rotary motors: Unidirectional motion around double bonds (PNAS). Nano-engineers are taking baby steps toward imitating what cells do. Notice how Roke, Wezenberg and Feringa speak of the “design principles” of artificial rotary motors at the nanoscopic scale:The field of synthetic molecular machines has quickly evolved in recent years, growing from a fundamental curiosity to a highly active field of chemistry. Many different applications are being explored in areas such as catalysis, self-assembled and nanostructured materials, and molecular electronics. Rotary molecular motors hold great promise for achieving dynamic control of molecular functions as well as for powering nanoscale devices. However, for these motors to reach their full potential, many challenges still need to be addressed. In this paper we focus on the design principles of rotary motors featuring a double-bond axle and discuss the major challenges that are ahead of us.Having mentioned “design principles” for scientific work, they now look to the rotary engines in living cells.Bacterial flagellum (Illustra Media)Control of motion at the molecular scale has intrigued chemists for a very long time. The quest for overcoming random thermal (Brownian) motion has culminated in the emergence of synthetic molecular machines, including motors, muscles, shuttles, elevators, walkers, pumps, and assemblers. By taking inspiration from the fascinating dynamic and motor functions observed in biological systems (e.g., ATPase and bacterial flagella), the field of synthetic molecular machines has evolved rapidly in recent years.There’s a use of the word “evolved” in a clear intelligent-design context. Nano-engineers are gradually improving their little machines by design, not by natural selection. Having mentioned the two famous rotary motors (see animations of ATP Synthase and the bacterial flagellum), they focus for the rest of the paper on human-engineered motors. But the comparison is clear: if humans cannot approach the efficiency and functionality of the living motors using their own “design principles,” how could anyone claim that there are no design principles in the living motors?Researchers propose a model for how the parts of a bacterial flagellum are assembled (Science Daily). In Illustra’s classic film Unlocking the Mystery of Life, Dr Scott Minnich explains why the assembly of the bacterial flagellum is even more irreducibly complex than the flagellum itself. Now in 2018, scientists are bringing the assembly process into sharper focus. Just like Minnich says in the film, researchers in Japan describe the assembly as a complex, orchestrated process with feedback:Many bacteria are equipped with a flagellum, a helical propeller that allows bacteria to travel. The flagellum is assembled in a highly organized manner involving the stepwise addition of each of its internal parts. However, there are many open questions as to how this orderly construction is achieved. In a study published in Science Advances, a Japanese research team centered at Osaka University has uncovered new molecular details and provided a model explaining how stepwise flagellar assembly occurs….“Flagellar assembly is a complex process involving more than 70 genes,” lead author Naoya Terahara explains. “First, the basal motor is assembled, followed by the hook, and finally the helical filament. Each structure is built by sending a unique set of proteins to the site of assembly. The cell can somehow sense when each structure is complete, triggering a switch to export the next series of proteins. We wanted to develop a more detailed picture of how this switching occurs.”The open-access paper in Science Advances gives the details of their work. They’re only trying to figure out how one of the rings in the membrane shuttles proteins out to the growing tip, but statements about “assembly” dominate the paper, with no mention of evolution.New details of molecular machinery that builds plant cell wall components (Phys.org). For an example of an unfamiliar molecular machine, read this article about two researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory who are figuring out “the enzyme ‘machinery’ that makes building blocks for lignin, a plant cell wall component.” Then listen to a podcast on ID the Future by Douglas Axe about how lignin challenges Darwinian evolution (link at Evolution News).Molecular machines and the place of physics in the biology curriculum (Mike Klymkowsky, Public Library of Science, via Phys.org). In this PLoS blog post, Mike Klymkowsky tells how he read a paper that reminded him of an earlier conviction that learning about the physics behind molecular machines is important for biologists:On reading the paper, I found myself returning to my original belief, yes, understanding physics is critical to developing a molecular-level understanding of how biological systems work, BUT it was just not the physics normally inflicted upon (required of) students. Certainly this was no new idea. Bruce Alberts [former editor of Science] had written on this topic a number of times, most dramatically in his 1989 paper “The cell as a collection of molecular machines“.And yet at the end of his article, Klymkowsky espouses mindless materialism. Not only does he attribute molecular machines to blind evolution, he attributes everything to it. First, he sets up a false dichotomy between physicalism and mysticism, assuming that this will dispense with all design arguments or non-materialistic views of biology. Then he shows a very simplistic view of Darwinian evolution, assuming that genetic reorganization conjures up creative powers. Then he resorts to mysticism again. Let’s give him enough time to saw through the branch he’s sitting on:NASA has been promoting materialism for many years as the only “scientific” view.The value of introducing students to the idea of molecular machines is that it can be used to demystify how biological systems work, how such machines carry out specific functions, whether moving the cell or recognizing and repairing damaged DNA. If physics matters in biological curriculum, it matters for this reason – it establishes the core premise of biology that organisms are not driven by “vital” forces, but by prosaic physiochemical ones. At the same time, the molecular mechanisms behind evolution, such as mutation, gene duplication, and genomic reorganization, provide the means by which new structures emerge from pre-existing ones, yet many is the molecular biology degree program that does not include an introduction to evolutionary mechanisms in its required course sequence – imagine that, requiring physics but not evolution?One final point regarding requiring students to take a biologically relevant physics course early in their degree program is that it can be used to reinforce what I think is a critical and often misunderstood point. While biological systems rely on molecular machines, we (and by we I mean all organisms) are NOT machines, no matter what physicists might postulate – see We Are All Machines That Think. We are something different and distinct. Our behaviors and our feelings, whether ultimately understandable or not, emerge from the interaction of genetically encoded, stochastically driven non-equilibrium systems, modified through evolutionary, environmental, social, and a range of unpredictable events occurring in an uninterrupted, and basically undirected fashion for ~3.5 billion years. While we are constrained, we are more, in some weird and probably ultimately incomprehensible way.For reasons why materialism is unscientific, see this Illustra film.Nowhere is the blindness of fallen man more evident than when they can stare at the most elegant designs in the universe, including their own brains, and then attribute them to “undirected” forces, which amount to chance—the Stuff Happens Law. What can we say, other than to keep pointing everyone to Romans 1:20-22.(Visited 661 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Sudafrika ist einer der am weitesten entwickelten und Erfolg versprechendsten Entwicklungsmarkte, bietet eine einzigartige Kombination von hoch entwickelter Infrastruktur eines Industrielandes und einer lebendigen neu entstehenden Marktwirtschaft.Dazu steht es auch fur die am weitesten entwickelte und produktivste Wirtschaft Afrikas.Hier nun einige Grunde fur den Handel mit Sudafrika:Solide WirtschaftspolitikVorteilhafte rechtliche und wirtschaftliche RahmenbedingungenInfrastruktur der WeltklasseZugang zu den AbsatzmarktenDas Tor von AfrikaHandelsreform, strategische AllianzenBetriebskosten in SudafrikaGunstige Geschaftsbedingungen in SudafrikaLeistungsfahigkeit der Industrie, innovative TechnologieWettbewerbsfahigkeitSolide WirtschaftspolitikSeit dem Einzug der Demokratie im Jahre 1994 wird Sudafrikas Wirtschaft einer strukturellen Umgestaltung unterzogen, mit der Einfuhrung von makro-okonomischen Richtlinien, die darauf abzielen, den inlandischen Wettbewerb, das Wachstum und die Beschaftigung zu fordern, wie auch die Orientierung der Wirtschaft nach außen zu steigern.Wirtschaftliche Schlusselreformen haben den Anstieg der makro-okonomischen Stabilitat auf einer hohen Ebene gefordert. Steuern wurden reduziert, Tarife gesenkt, das Finanzdefizit wurde unter Kontrolle gebracht und die Devisenkontrolle gelockert.Auch die Regierungsausgaben wurden umstrukturiert im Hinblick auf ein Sozialwesen, das dazu beitragt, jedem Sudafrikaner eine bessere Lebensqualitat zu ermoglichen.Sudafrikas Zentralbank, die SA Reserve Bank, behalt ihre Unabhangigkeit von der Regierung bei. Das auf die Senkung der Inflation abzielende Programm der Bank hat Erfolge gezeigt. Der Realzinssatz hat sich stabilisiert und die Wahrung bleibt im wettbewerbsfahigen Rahmen. Die Verbraucherinflation lag 2006 durchschnittlich bei 4,6 – ein Ruckgang im Vergleich zu den 9,8% aus dem Jahr 1994.Der Staat lasst keinen Zweifel daran, dass auslandische Investitionen in Sudafrika willkommen sind und schafft ein investorenfreundliches Klima.2005 begann die Regierung mit dem Entwurf einer neuen Planung, die die Wirtschaftswachstumsrate bis 2014 auf 6% des BIP steigern und Arbeitslosigkeit verringern soll. Die Einfuhrung dieses Planes – der groß angelegte staatliche Investitionen in Infrastruktur, Kleinbetriebe und Kompetenzentwicklung wie auch gezielte Interventionen in bestimmten Wirtschaftssektoren beinhaltet – hat begonnen.Siehe: Sudafrika: WirtschaftsuberblickVorteilhafte rechtliche und wirtschaftliche RahmenbedingungenSudafrika hat progressive rechtliche Rahmenbedingungen von Weltklasse. Die Gesetzgebung in Bezug auf Handel, Arbeit und Seeangelegenheiten ist besonders gut entwickelt, wahrend Gesetze die sich auf Wettbewerbsgrundsatze, Copyright, Patente, Warenzeichen und Streithandel beziehen den internationalen Normen und Abmachungen angepasst sind.Die Unverletzlichkeit von Vertragen wird vom burgerlichen Recht geschutzt und unabhangige Gerichte garantieren die Achtung der Handelsrechte und pflichten. Die Unabhangigkeit der Justiz wird durch die Verfassung garantiert.Sudafrikas Finanzsysteme sind hoch entwickelt, robust und geordnet. Sudafrikanische Regelungen des Bankwesen gehoren zu den besten der Welt, und die Branche wird zu den Top 10 der Welt gerechnet. Auslandische Banken sind zahlreich vertreten und Einrichtungen fur den elektronischen Bankverkehr sind weit reichend vorhanden, in dieser Branche hat Internet Banking Enwicklungspotenzial.Die JSE Limited gehort in Punkto Marktkapitalisierung zu den 20 wichtigsten Borsen der Welt. Die JSE Reglements und ihre Durchsetzung basieren auf den weltweit optimalen Verfahren, wahrend die Systeme fur automatisierten Handel, Abrechnung, Transfer und Erfassung anderen in der Welt ebenburtig sind.Infrastruktur der WeltklasseSudafrika hat eine Infrastruktur der Weltklasse – mit einem modernen Transportsystem, relativ preiswerter und weithin verfugbarer Energieversorgung, sowie einem hoch entwickelten Telekommunikationswesen.Und diese werden rechtzeitig zur Fifa Fußball-WM 2010 noch erheblich verbessert und erweitert.Die Regierung hat massive Infrastrukturprojekte als Schlussel zur Ankurbelung der Wirtschaftswachstumsrate des Landes und der Schaffung von Arbeitsplatzen ermittelt und hat Milliarden von Rand bereit gestellt, um die Investitionswelle ins Rollen zu bringen.Siehe: Sudafrikas InfrastrukturZugang zu den AbsatzmarktenSudafrika, an der sudlichsten Spitze des afrikanischen Kontinentes gelegen, ist ideal positioniert fur den leichten Zugang zu den 14 Landern der Southern African Development Community (SADC) mit einem kombinierten Markt, der mehr als 250 Millionen Menschen umfasst, wozu auch die Inseln entlang der Ostkuste Afrikas und sogar die Golfstaaten und Indien gehoren.Sudafrika dient auch als Umschlagplatz zwischen den Entwicklungsmarkten in Zentral- und Sudamerika und den Schwellenlandern in Sudasien und dem Fernen Osten.Hauptschiffahrtswege fuhren an der Kuste Sudafrikas entlang durch die sieben Handelhafen, die das weitaus großte, am besten ausgestattete und leistungsfahigste Netzwerk des Kontinentes bilden, in den sudlichen Atlantik und den Indischen Ozean.Diese Hafen sind nicht nur die Kanale des Handels zwischen Sudafrika und seinen Partnern in der SADC und der South African Customs Union, sondern erfullen auch die Funktion eine Drehscheibe des Verkehrs von und nach Europa, Asien, den Amerikas und der Ost- und Westkuste Afrikas.Das Tor von AfrikaSudafrika selbst ist nicht nur ein wichtiger Entwicklungsmarkt, es ist auch eine Voraussetzung fur den Einstieg in andere schwarzafrikanische Markte. Das Land grenzt an Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland und Lesotho, seine gut entwickeltes Strassen- und Schienensystem bilden die Plattform und Infrastruktur fur den Überlandtransport bis ins hinterste Schwarzafrika.Überdies besitzt Sudafrika Kompetenzen im lokalen Markt und Vertrieb, die fur kommerzielle Vorhaben in Afrika zwingend erforderlich sind.Das Land spielt eine wichtige Rolle in Energieversorgung, humanitarer Hilfe, Transport, Kommunikation und Außeninvestitionen. Einem Bericht der LiquidAfrica Research im Jahr 2003 zufolge war Sudafrika zwischen 1990 und 2000 der großte Investor in das ubrige Afrika, mit einem Investitionsdurchschnitt von 1,4 Milliarden US Dollar, uber die Dekade gerechnet Investitionen in der Hohe von circa 12, 5 Milliarden US Dollar.Sudafrika ist auch eine dynamische Kraft innerhalb der 14 Mitglieder starken South African Development Community (SADC), und war ein Schlusselfigur in der Entwicklung der New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), das sozial-okonomische Erneuerungsprogramm der Afrikanischen Union.Handelsreform, strategische AllianzenSeit der Unterzeichnung des GATT-Abkommens (Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) im Jahr 1994 hat Sudafrika eine aktive Rolle im globalen Handelssystem ubernommen und eine Reihe von Handelsreformen – inklusive der Reduzierung der Zolltarife und Rationalisierungsprogramme – wurden eingefuhrt.Der Zugang zum Markt wurde durch die freien Handelsabkommen mit der Europaischen Union und den Landern der Southern African Development Community (SADC) und der Einfuhrung des African Growth and Opportunity Act durch die USA verbessert.In den vergangenen Jahren hat Sudafrika ebenfalls enge Beziehungen zu Markten im restlichen Afrika sowie in Asien und Lateinamerika geknupft. Die 2003 begrundete Indien-Brasilien-Sudafrika-Allianz (IBSA) hat sich zum Ziel gesetzt, den Handel zwischen diesen drei Landern innerhalb der nachsten Jahre von den derzeitigen 6 Milliarden auf 10 Milliarden US-Dollar zu steigern. Außerdem ist das Land ein Haupthandels- und Investment-Partner fur China geworden. Das Reich der Mitte engagiert sich seit dem vergangenen Jahrzehnt verstarkt auf dem afrikanischen Kontinent.Betriebskosten in SudafrikaDank des gunstigen Devisenkurses ist Sudafrika eines der preiswertesten Lander fur Auslander, die sich hier niederlassen oder geschaftlich engagieren mochten – mit einer Infrastruktur, die dem Standard der Industrielander entspricht, und mit einem hervorragenden Preis-Leistungs-Verhaltnis.Auch zahlen Sudafrikas Energiekosten weltweit immer noch zu den niedrigsten. Bei den Petroleumpreisen rangiert das Land im Wettbewerb ebenfalls weit vorne, mit privatwirtschaftlichen und multinationalen Ölfirmen, die nahezu alle importierten Petroleumprodukte im Suden Afrikas raffinieren und vermarkten.Und die Telekommunikationskosten sinken. Seit kurzem macht der Festnetzanbieter Neotel dem bisherigen Staatsmonopolisten Telkom Konkurrenz. Die Regierung ergreift Maßnahmen zur Gewahrleistung einer preiswerteren und besser verfugbaren Bandbreitenkapazitat. Großprojekte zur Verlegung von Unterwasser-Glasfaserkabeln entlang der Ost- und Westkuste Afrikas zur Verbesserung der Kommunikation des Kontinents mit dem Rest der Welt werden in Angriff genommen.Sudafrikas Lohnkosten sind bedeutend geringer als die anderer Entwicklungsmarkte, einschließlich Mexiko, Ungarn, Malaysia und Singapur und die Arbeitsproduktivitat des Landes hat sich in den letzten Jahren erheblich verbessert. Umfassende Arbeitsgesetze haben seit 1994 wesentlich zur Senkung der aufgrund von Arbeitskampfen verlorenen Arbeitstage beitragt.Sudafrikas Korperschaftssteuer – 2008/2009 auf 28% reduziert – ist im Vergleich zu der anderer Entwicklungslander gunstig, und die Zeichen fur weitere Ermaßigungen stehen gut.Gunstige Geschaftsbedingungen in SudafrikaSudafrika rangiert auf dem 35. Platz der 178 Lander in dem von der Weltbank und der IFC veroffentlichten Doing Business 2008 Report. In diesem jahrlichen Bericht werden die Zeit, der Kostenaufwand und die burokratischen Hurden fur Unternehmen gemessen.Sudafrika ubertrifft damit Industrielander wie Portugal (37) und Spanien (38) sowie wichtige Schwellenlander wie Mexiko (44), China (83), Russland (106), Indien (120) und Brasilien (122).Der Bericht listet Sudafrika auf dem neunten Platz, was den Investorenschutz anbetrifft. Außerdem verzeichnet er erhebliche Verbesserungen in den Bereichen Existenzgrundung und Kreditvergabe.Leistungsfahigkeit der Industrie, innovative TechnologieSudafrikas Wirtschaftswachstumsrate liegt weit uber dem Mittelwert fur Entwicklungsmarkte.Die Produktfertigung des Landes wird immer starker technikorientiert, mit High-Tech Fertigungsbereichen – wie Anlagen, wissenschaftlicher Ausrustung und Fahrzeuge – und kann sich seit 1994 eines stetig wachsenden Anteils an der gesamten Produktionsleistung erfreuen.Sudafrikas technologische Forschung und seine Qualitatsstandards sind weltweit anerkannt. Das Land hat eine beachtliche Anzahl fuhrender Technologien entwickelt, Schwerpunkte liegen auf den Bereichen Energie und Treibstoffe, Stahlproduktion, Tiefbergbau, Telekommunikation und Informationstechnologie.WettbewerbsfahigkeitSudafrika rangiert auf dem 44. Platz von 130 Landern (vor Italien und Indien) im Global Competitiveness Index fur 2007/08 des Weltwirtschaftsforums. Das hochstplatzierte afrikanische Land ist Tunesien auf dem 32. Platz mit einem Ergebnis von 4,59. Sudafrikas Ergebnis – ein Durchschnittswert von 12 Aspekten der Wettbewerbsfahigkeit – lag bei 4,42.Seit 1994 sind eine Anzahl von Maßnahmen zur Unterstutzung der Industrie eingefuhrt worden, um die Wettbewerbsfahigkeit von Sudafrikas industrieller Basis zu verbessern. Dazu gehort auch, eine starkere Gewichtung auf die angebotsseitigen Maßnahmen zu legen, anstatt auf die nachfrageseitigen Maßnahmen (wie Zolle und Exportforderungsprogramme).Die Regierung hat Anreize fur Fertigungsprojekte mit Wertzuwachs, Unterstutzung fur industrielle Weiterentwicklung, verbesserten Zugang zu Geldmitteln, und ein forderliches Umfeld fur die Entwicklung von kleineren mittelstandischen Unternehmen geschaffen.Industrielle Erschließungsbereiche wurden in der Nahe von großen Hafen und Flughafen etabliert, die eine erstklassige Infrastruktur, engagierten Kundenservice und ermaßigte Steuern bieten.Sudafrika hat ein gut entwickeltes und ausgewogenes Wettbewerbsrecht, basierend auf den besten internationalen Gepflogenheiten. 1998 hat der Competition Act die Wettbewerbsgesetze des Landes grundlegend reformiert und dabei die Macht der Wettbewerbskontrolleure gestarkt, analog zu den Richtlinien der Europaischen Union, sowie den amerikanischen und kanadischen Modellen.Das Gesetz setzt verschiedene Verbote fur wettbewerbsfeindliches Verhalten, restriktive Praktiken (wie Preisabsprachen, Wucherpreise und Ausschreibungsabsprachen) und gegen “Missbrauch” durch “dominierende” Firmen (Firmen mit einem Marktanteil von 35% oder mehr) fest.Die Kartellbehorden uberwachen die Umsetzung und Einhaltung der Gesetze, wahrend die staatlichen Regulierungsbehorden naturliche Monopole uberwachen und den allgemeinen Zugang zur staatlichen Versorgungsinfrastruktur gewahrleisten.Letzte Aktualisierung: August 2008SAinfo reporter. Quellen (Englische Websites):South Africa YearbookDepartment of Trade and IndustrySouth African Reserve BankSouth African TreasuryStatistics South Africa
15 February 2010The Fifa World Cup ticketing sub-committee will open a call centre this week to assist soccer fans who want buy tickets for the 2010 World Cup.Committee chairman Horst Schmidt said the call centre will operate on weekdays from 10.30am until 7.30pm South African time.“The fans understand that time is crucial now, as the tickets are allocated on a first come, first served basis and that they should not wait for the last minute over-the-counter sales,” he said.The call centre will use the South African number 083 123 2010 as well as the international number +41 44 583 2010.Fourth round of ticket salesSchmidt said the first 100 hours of the fourth ticket sales phase had already seen a total of 74 146 tickets being sold, while an additional 130 000 applications were still being processed.However, the confirmations were expected to be sent by the beginning of this week. This second-last sales phase, which kicked off on 9 February, will run until 7 April.“We have already had more than 200 000 tickets requested within 100 hours, a number we are truly happy with,” he said.Source: BuaNews
Download the app The IEC has designed an app especially for voters which allows you to check your registration details, find your voting station – and keep up to date via social media. 5 May 2014 South Africa goes to the polls on Wednesday – and many in the country who are too young to remember apartheid will be voting for the first time. According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), more young South Africans have registered to vote in this election than ever before – with 49.57% of registered voters under 40 years old. The biggest segment of voters is those aged 30 to 39 (6.18-million), followed by 20- to 29-year-olds (5.7-million), the IEC says. As this new generation of voters prepare to join millions of their fellow South Africans at the polls on Wednesday, we answer a few last-minute questions.Are you ready? If you are a South African citizen 18 years or older and have registered to vote, remember:Voting stations are open from 7am to 9pm on Wednesday.You must vote where you registered. SMS your ID number to 32810 to confirm your correct voting station. SMSs cost R1. Or you can check your registration details on the IEC’s website.Take along your green bar-coded South African ID book, or a smart ID card, or your temporary identity certificate. Read more: All the election info, results via mobile appFind out where to download the IEC’s voters app Read more: New ballot paper for visually impaired voters The ballot papers An IEC official will give you two ballot papers that will be stamped on the back. One paper is for you to choose your preferred party for the National Assembly. The other paper is for you to choose your preferred party for the provincial legislature for the province in which you live. You do not have to fill in the same party on both ballot papers – you can choose different parties if you want. What information is on the ballot papers?The full name of each political partyThe abbreviated name or shortened name of each partyThe logo or symbol of each partyA photograph of each party leaderA blank space for you to indicate the party of your choice The voting process 1. Entrance: When you get to the entrance of the voting station, the door controller will tell you when it is your turn to enter. 2. ID Document: You will be directed to the voters’ roll table where IEC staff will look at your ID book or temporary ID certificate and check for your name on the voters’ roll. If you are not on the voters’ roll, but have proof that you have registered, such as a registration sticker, the presiding officer must validate your proof of registration. If the officer is satisfied with the proof, you will have to complete a VEC4 form (national elections) or MEC7 form (municipal elections) and will then be allowed to continue as an ordinary voter. 3. Inked thumb: IEC staff will ink your left thumb. This is special ink that will not wash off for several days. It will show everyone you participated (and prevent people from voting more than once). Your ID book will also be stamped to show you have voted. 4. Ballot paper: The voting officer will stamp the back of two official ballot papers (one for the national election; the other for the provincial election) and give them to you. 5. Voting booth: You will be directed to an empty voting booth. You will be alone in a voting booth. Your vote is your secret. Here, you will place your X in the box next to the political party of your choice on both ballot papers. Your vote does not have to be the same. Fold your papers and leave the voting booth. If you incorrectly mark a ballot paper and realise this before placing it in the ballot box, just ask the presiding officer for a new ballot paper. Make sure that the incorrect ballot paper is marked as “cancelled”. 6. Ballot box: Place your folded ballot papers into the right ballot box: one for national; the other for provincial votes. Once your ballot has been placed in the ballot box, it can’t be removed. 7. Exit: Make your way to the exit. Security staff will be there to help you.Physically disabled voters If you are physically disabled or visually impaired, you can choose someone to help you at the voting station. The Presiding Officer can also help you cast your vote, but an observer and, if available, two agents from different parties must be present. How do you make your mark? Make your mark in the box next to the party of your choice. Make only one mark per ballot paper. Your mark must not touch any of the walls/lines of the box. It is best to make a cross. If you make a mistake, do not put your paper in the box. Call an IEC official, who will cancel your paper and give you a new one. Once you have made your mark, fold each ballot paper in half. An IEC official will then check the stamp on the back of every ballot. You can then place your paper into the relevant boxes.The counting process The overall election results will be worked out using a computer system at centralised venues under the control of the IEC. Counting mostly happens at each voting station. Votes can be counted at a place other than at the voting station only with the approval of the IEC. Since the 2009 elections, there are improved controls over the record paper with the final results for a voting station. This has to be signed by the presiding officer and all political parties, and then scanned to create an immediate record and so more trust and openness in the process of compiling results.Explanation of the counting process 1. Verify: Accredited observers and party agents watch over the entire process, starting with the opening and emptying of the sealed ballot boxes. 2. Unfold: Each ballot is unfolded and the back is checked for a stamp. Ballots without stamps are not counted. 3. Sorted: The ballots are sorted into piles according to votes for each party. The counting officer must decide whether or not a questionable ballot paper (where it is not definitively clear which party has been voted for) should be counted or rejected. Party agents can dispute this. 4. Count and bundle: The ballots are counted and bundled into packs of 100. The results are then tallied for each party. 5. Reconcile and recount (if necessary): The results for the various parties are now reconciled against the total number of ballots. If the numbers do not match, there is a recount of all the votes. 6. Sign results slips and seal ballots: Results are recorded on to a results system that has automated quality controls to ensure accuracy of results. Results slips are signed by the counting officer and the party agents and are scanned to allow political parties to compare against recorded results. 7. Results centres: The results are posted on the door of the voting station and are also electronically sent to the national and nine provincial results centres where they are verified and collated. Independent external auditors audit this process. 8. Final results: The final results and seat allocations for national and provincial legislatures are announced by the chief electoral officer – usually within seven days of the election.Objections You can object against anything that happens during the elections that can affect the election results. You must make an objection before 5pm on the second day after voting. The IEC will investigate your objection and can ask you to give evidence about the objection. The IEC will decide what to do about the objection. The IEC must make a decision within three days after receiving your objection. If you are not happy with the IEC’s decision, you can appeal to the Electoral Court within three days of the IEC’s decision. After all objections are dealt with, the IEC must announce the final results within seven days of Election Day. In practice, the IEC has managed to announce election results on the third day after Voting Day. SAinfo reporter and Independent Electoral Commission
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest A violent lightening streak tore across the sky on a recent trip for a group of U.S. farmers to visit the Panama Canal.“When we were at one of the locks it was just clouding up and a crack of lighting came from nowhere. It is a much more intense lightening than we have here in Ohio and it startled a lot of people. The tour guide said that the lightening is a blessing because without that lightening there is no rain, and if there is no rain water, there is no canal,” said Jeff Magyar, a northeast Ohio soybean grower who was on the trip. “The canal is a giant freshwater lake. They lift you up 40 feet and they drop you down 40 feet on the coasts and you go through a giant lake in the middle. When they open the gates at either end, all of that freshwater runs out into the ocean. They cannot bring saltwater in because that would impact the environment. With the new lock they have big cement basins to catch a higher percentage of that water they get to re-use for the lake because they may not have enough rainwater in a dry year. The weather down there is like Florida where they get violent thunderstorms almost every day, but with much more magnitude in the storms. That is what keeps the environment going down there and that is what feeds water to the canal.”Magyar sits on the board of the Soy Transportation Coalition (STC) through his involvement with the Ohio Soybean Council. Because of the importance of the project to U.S. agriculture, the STC held its annual meeting in early December in Panama where around 100 U.S. soybean farmers (including Magyar) and staff members of soybean associations from around the country got a tour and received an update on the canal’s expansion from officials with the Panama Canal Authority. Along with the abundant rain, the U.S travelers definitely took note of the high temperatures and humidity.“I like the sun, but by noon or 1 in the afternoon there were not many people outside. It was like the hottest part of our warmest day in the summer at dawn down there and then it warms up for the rest of the day,” Magyar said. “It is all tropical rainforest around the canal. I never realized that they have such biodiversity there. It is amazing.”The Panama Canal recently celebrated a century in operation as a monumental achievement of mankind to add efficiency to world travel in a path cut through the wilderness.“The most impressive thing to me was that last year was 100 years in operation. The coast of that country is flatland and the middle of the country is mountains. They had to remove the mountain range 120 or so years ago. The magnitude of doing that 100 years ago was impressive. It is one thing to dig a ditch on the flatland. It is another to dig up a mountain range. Thousands of people died working on that project from malaria and yellow fever from the mosquitos,” Magyar said. “Today half of the money from the canal goes to keeping up the canal and the other half goes to the government. It is definitely a plus for American agriculture. It will also help South American agriculture but the U.S. is the No. 1 beneficiary. We were treated like royalty on the trip because American agriculture is still their top source of revenue for the canal.“I was shocked by the rates in the canal. I have read that the average fare through there is $80,000 to $100,000 but they were saying the average big, dry bulk shipment is more like $400,000. It takes 14 days to go around though.”The Panama Canal has proven to be a valuable shortcut for U.S. grain and soybean exports, connecting vessels loaded in the U.S. Gulf and at East Coast ports for destinations in Central America and Asia. The Panama Canal is wrapping up a $5.25 billion effort to expand its locks to meet current transit volumes, expand vessel transits supporting global trade growth, and to accommodate larger vessel sizes.Three out of every 10 bushels of grain and soybean exports from the U.S. go through the canal, accounting for more than half the exports through the Center Gulf, one-tenth of the Texas Gulf exports and nearly 30% of the Atlantic Coast exports. For soybeans specifically, the Panama Canal handles 44% of total U.S. exports — approximately 600 million bushels of U.S. soybeans annually.With the expansion, the canal will offer the potential for increased loading per vessel, larger vessel sizes to be used, decreased canal transit time, and lower transport costs overall. While in Panama, the group with the STC toured the current canal locks on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the country. In addition, participants were able to view the new expanded canal locks that are scheduled to be open for use in April.“It is incumbent upon farmers to not only be knowledgeable of and passionate about the supply and demand side of their industry. Farmers must also be knowledgeable of and passionate about the transportation system that allows supply to connect with demand,” said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “The Panama Canal — both the current and future expanded canal — is an important artery that allows the U.S. soybean industry to be so competitive in the international marketplace. Farmers need to understand this key link in our logistics chain, which will hopefully serve to increase our resolve and motivation to demand that our nation appropriately invests in our own transportation system. If we fail to make these investments in our ports, inland waterways, railroads, and roads and bridges, the expanded Panama Canal will truly be a missed opportunity.”There particularly importance with the canal expansion for Magyar specifically, who grows food grade soybeans for export from his farm in Ashtabula County.“I grow all food grade beans, but we also have a storage facility where we take commercial beans. I work with Western Reserve and we have 750,000 bushels of storage. I use our old facility to keep the food grade beans segregated,” Magyar said. “This will potentially lower shipping costs, particularly on container shipments to the Asian markets and also possibly the Eastern European markets where they are very interested in non-GMO beans. The U.S is still the most reliable supply of soybeans and this will help us get our soybeans to the end user at a lower cost.”The Panama Canal is even more valuable to eastern U.S. agriculture due to the West Coast shipping slowdowns resulting from ongoing labor disputes between the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents companies that own West Coast ports, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents dock workers.“Ohio food grade soybeans are preferred in Asian markets, but our shipping costs have typically been the highest because they had to go by rail to the West Coast. But now, neither the customers nor the sellers want to deal with shipping through the West Coast because of all the issues they are having with labor out there. They are having so many problems shipping from the Pacific Northwest on the West Coast to Asia that more of our soybeans are going to be leaving from the Mississippi or the East Coast. They are saying that maybe the problems on the West Coast cannot be fixed,” Magyar said. “Now they are expanding the ports of Savannah and others and dredging them out to accommodate the new big ships that can go through the new Panama Canal. It is on the drawing board to get some of these ships that can utilize the new expanded canal into more American ports. There are half a dozen or so of these projects if the funding from Congress comes through. With the new canal for these big ships, we’ve got to be able to get them in our ports and nobody can rely on the West Coast ports right now because of the volatility there. Railroads have also been unreliable with the oil coming out of the Dakotas and that has been another issue with sending beans west.”In the end, the Panama Canal expansion will simply provide one more much-needed transportation advantage in the increasingly competitive world of agriculture, Steenhoek said.“With the expansion in the Panama Canal, we will be able to load ocean vessels that hold easily 500,000 more bushels of soybean per vessel. A typical ocean vessel today is loaded with 2.1 or 2.2 million bushels, so adding 500,000 bushels is substantial,” he said. “This is just shaving cents off the eventual delivered price at a time when agriculture is facing some headwinds from a strengthening U.S. dollar, a devaluation of the Brazilian Real, and a softening economy in China. This is a wonderful opportunity to provide benefits to U.S. agriculture by making our transportation system more efficient and making ourselves more competitive in the international marketplace.”For more on transportation and the Panama Canal, visit: soytransportation.org/issues.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Similar weather today and tomorrow to what we saw this weekend. A large part of Ohio will be dry, but with the heat still around, instability will be here too. That means we have threats for afternoon pop up thunderstorms, just like the past couple of days. Coverage on these will be limited to 30% of the state or less, but we cant rule them out. Moisture potential is up to half an inch, unless we see some really strong action come together, at which point we can blow that upper end of the range out of the water. The remains of Barry finally make it into the ECB tomorrow night. We do not think we take a direct hit from the system, but the bands of moisture that are rotating around will swing up into parts of Ohio from time to time. Wednesday and Thursday , we are looking for anywhere from .1”-1.5” over about 80% of the state, and an additional 10% may be able to get closer to or above 1”, if strong thunderstorms arrive. The biggest and best rains will be limited to KY and TN, along with the Mississippi river valley. This kind of set up will likely be the best for us, though, as many areas continue to report the need for at least a little rain. Everything should wind down by Thursday midday. We are mostly dry for Friday, Saturday, although we cant rule out scattered showers and even a thunderstorm in northern and northwest Ohio later Saturday afternoon through midnight Saturday night. The action is limited to those areas the way things look right now, with rain totals up to .75″ and 60% coverage. Sunday that action slides a little farther south, hitting the rest of Ohio with the same 60% coverage. This allows for additional action along the stagnating frontal boundary Monday into Tuesday morning, where we can see an additional half inch of rain or less, with 70% coverage. The pattern turns drier again for the second half of next week, Wednesday through Friday. But, if the moisture that we are projecting does actually arrive with good coverage…we should be in better shape moving forward. The map below shows rain potential through the 10 day period.
RELATED ARTICLES A Boston startup is proposing a new housing model designed to solve a fundamental problem with urban apartments — they’re too big.The company, Livelight, and architect Tamara Roy developed a model for very small modular apartments that can be racked in steel-framed exoskeletons on small infill lots, expanding housing opportunities for one- and two-person urban households. The project also had the backing of the Boston Society of Architects.Livelight founder Addison Godine said he was approached by the Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab and asked to design a micro-apartment on wheels. He and Roy, then the incoming president of the Boston Society of Architects, rolled up their sleeves and developed a prototype called the Urban Housing Unit, or uhÃ¼, and submitted the design in a competition for development of a city-owned lot in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood.“Among many initiatives one of their interests was compact living spaces as a potential partial solution to the housing crunch that was happening in Boston,” Godine said of the Innovation Lab in a telephone interview. “There is a great mismatch between the housing stock and the citizenry — 17% of the housing stock in Boston is studio and one-bedrooms but 67% of Boston city residents are one- and two-person households.” Cities Think Small to Ease the Housing CrunchTiny Houses Join the Building CodeBuilders Aren’t Jumping on the Tiny House BandwagonLumber Store Chain Now Offers Tiny Houses Their 385-square-foot prototype, built at a modular factory in Pennsylvania, was parked for its introductory exhibition at City Hall Plaza last August and has since been trucked to eight different sites around Boston. Thousands of people have taken the tour, and sometime this spring, the city is due to decide whether Godine can move forward with a proposal to rack seven units on the Roxbury property and put them on the market.Boston is one of a number of cities looking at very small dwelling units as a way of making affordable housing more available (see “Cities Think Small to Ease the Housing Crunch” in the sidebar below). What comes in the packageThe uhÃ¼ is 13 feet 10 inches wide, 33 feet long, and 11 feet tall — something like half of a conventional single-wide manufactured home. Including the trailer, it weighs 20,000 pounds.Exterior walls are framed with 2x8s and insulated with R-31 fiberglass batts. Both the floor and the roof are framed with 12-inch I-joists and insulated with fiberglass. (The roof also has a layer of rigid foam insulation.) Godine estimated nominal R-values of 40 in the floor and between 50 and 55 in the roof. Windows are double-pane Marvin Integrity.Cladding for the prototype is a translucent polycarbonate material called Polygal, which allows the uhÃ¼ to glow at night. If it were ever to be put into production, Godine said, it could have siding more appropriate for an urban property — something like fiber cement.The uhÃ¼ is heated and cooled with a single-head Mitsubishi Hyper-Heat ductless minisplit with a rated capacity of 18,000 Btu. Godine said the unit is capable of producing heat with outside temperatures as low as -23°F. It also comes with a Nest thermostat, just so residents don’t squander the chance to save energy.The design also includes Intello, a membrane used for airtightness and vapor control. There was, however, no money in the budget for a blower-door test.It cost $85,000, including the trailer, all furniture, and all appliances. Godine would like to see the cost to drop to between $40,000 and $50,000. People needed to see the real thingThe city had been touring neighborhoods to talk about the potential of more compact housing and micro-apartments, Godine said, but more often than not the reaction was a blank stare. Staffers from the Innovation Lab tried marking the outline of a micro-apartment on a gym floor with blue painter’s tape, for example, in order to give prospective tenants an idea of what living in one would be like. It just wasn’t clicking.“It didn’t really communicate what a space could be like,” he said, “so they said what we really want to do is build a real one.”He and Roy were both familiar with little houses. Godine managed the 2011 Solar Decathlon team while a student at Middlebury College, a role that encouraged the study of small, unconventional residential spaces. Later, he worked for a company called Getaway that placed tiny houses in rural settings and rented them to city people. Roy had lived in a 300-square-foot apartment in the Netherlands with her husband and their baby while earning her master’s degree, and has become a widely known advocate for micro-apartments since then. She’s now a principal at Stantec, where her bio says she’s been nicknamed the “mother of the micro-unit.”Once Roy knew she was in line to take over the Boston Society of Architects, she saw an opportunity to promote a favorite theme.“I knew that I had this once-in-a-lifetime chance to put some of the ideas we have for making more efficient smaller units and getting the word out there that they weren’t going to be tenements or old boarding houses,” she said. “We could show it was really a solution that was going to meet the demand that people in smaller household sizes have in Boston.”She lined up a meeting with Godine, and they soon decided to join forces and respond to the request-for-proposal from the city. The pair decided modular made the most sense for the apartment prototype, and they contacted a number of factories before settling on PennKraft Building Systems in Pennsylvania.Once the uhÃ¼ was delivered, the tours began. What the 3,000 or so visitors saw was a long, boxy structure with a kitchen, a code-compliant bathroom, a sleeping alcove, a living/dining area that could seat six for dinner, and a variety of storage shelves and lockers — all in a package much better insulated and air-sealed than a typical city dwelling.A video narrated by Roy at the Livelight website runs through the basics.According to Godine, only 2% of those who toured the uhÃ¼ said it wasn’t for them or wouldn’t fit in their particular neighborhoods. Others expressed “some range of bewilderment” about the project but not necessarily a negative view. A number of visitors said they were familiar with the idea of micro-apartments because of television coverage of tiny houses. Reaction ‘mixed’ at neighborhood roll-outGodine’s plan, should he win the city’s OK, would be to stack a total of seven units in a three-story steel rack on the Roxbury lot (see the second to last image below) and put them up for sale. The studios would sell for $149,000 and the two-bedroom units — expanded versions of the prototypical uhÃ¼ 52 feet long and measuring 621 square feet — would sell for $199,000.The steel rack is what Godine calls pallet rack framing, just as you’d see in Home Depot or any distribution warehouse. “The idea,” he said, “is you can slot in your uhÃ¼ or whatever, much like boats slot into a marina.”One problem yet to be overcome is the city’s current minimum size requirement for dwellings. Studio apartments must be a minimum of 450 square feet; one-bedrooms must be 625 square feet.“You have to get around that somehow,” Godine said. “My company thinks you shouldn’t have to get around it. You should just be able to build this small because, really, there’s no problem with it.”Another potential problem is public acceptance of a design that’s more contemporary than its surroundings. Godine said the Roxbury proposal recently was the subject of a public presentation in the neighborhood and got a “mixed” reaction.“The question is whether they want this kind of design in their neighborhood at all,” Godine said. “It’s a fairly conservative neighborhood, and this many be rocking the boat with something contemporary looking.”
Related Posts 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Whether we want one or not, Amazon is building a connected TV set top box for us, according to BusinessWeek. The so-called Amazon TV device will stream Internet video to our televisions, presumably with a bias towards the company’s own Instant Video selections. It may not be something consumers are clamoring for, but then again, neither was Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Indeed, Amazon’s tablets offer a useful analogy for what we should expect from Amazon TV: an affordable device that mimics existing offerings with direct connections into Amazons products and services. The idea is to provide just enough value to carve out a respectable slice of the market. In the process, Amazon sets up another entryway into its universe of content and goods. As The Verge smartly put it, it’s all about the ecosystem. See Also: What The New Kindle Means To AmazonThe Kindle Fire didn’t turn out to be the “iPad killer” some predicted, but it appears to be selling fairly well. The class of 7-inch tablets it helped popularize were popular enough to induce Apple to release the iPad Mini. For Amazon, the Kindle Fire isn’t a huge money maker, but it plugs millions of people (and their credit cards) into Amazon’s storefront. Expect the Amazon TV to do the same. Another Streaming TV Box? Really? This makes total sense for Amazon as a business, but why do we, the buyers, need another set top box?Each of the devices on the market has its own benefits, but none of them are a slam dunk. Boxee’s buzz has given way to an identity crisis, while Google has yet to apply the proper amount of polish to Google TV. The Roku has tons of content, but Apple TV’s AirPlay feature offers even more, letting iPhone and iPad users stream anything from their devices onto the big screen. It’s really the Apple TV that Amazon is taking aim at here. And the Apple TV, it’s worth noting, has not generated iPad levels of popularity or excitement. Maybe that’s the point. This could be a preemptive strike on Amazon’s part. Whether Apple launches an HDTV set or not, the company is widely expected to make a splash in the Internet TV market sometime this year. By launching something with a TV app store, or at least an AirPlay equivalent, Amazon could beat Apple to the punch. That sounds a lot better than launching an inferior (albeit still good and, crucially, cheaper) competitor after the fact, as Amazon did with the Kindle Fire. How Amazon Can Nail This – And Apple In that sense, this is a huge opportunity for Amazon. A super-cheap device with a bulletproof user experience (this is TV, after all) that taps into a rich app development ecosystem could blow away the Rokus, Boxees and Apple TVs of the world. For consumers, the goal is to get as much content as possible on the new device, including a Web browser. If Aereo survives, Amazon should have an app for that, right alongside Hulu, Netflix and all the little guys building innovative video apps with awesome user interfaces.See Also: The Internet Assault On Traditional TV Is WorkingWhatever shows it plays, the Amazon TV box has to be absolutely painless to operate. Television has been dead-simple to use for decades, a fact that the makers of many Internet TV products seem to forget. None of these boxes will truly take off TV watchers find them the slightest bit confusing or intimidating.Don’t Mess This Up, AmazonHere’s what we don’t want: A half-decent piece of hardware that pushes you toward Amazon’s content but doesn’t let you stream Hulu Plus or YouTube videos. The things most people want to watch are fractured across these devices as it is. The reason Apple’s AirPlay is so promising is that I can get almost everything I want to see on my iPad – and then beam it to my TV. You know what doesn’t work with AirPlay though? The Amazon Prime iPad app. There’s no good reason for that other than the fact that Apple and Amazon are rivals. We consumers shouldn’t get caught in the middle of a corporate spitting match and get stuck with a crappier experience as a result (I’m talking to you, Apple Maps). It’s clear why Amazon is working on a device like this. It makes total sense from the company’s perspective. As long as Amazon also takes the consumer’s perspective into account ours, this could be huge. 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… john paul titlow 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Tags:#Amazon#Internet TV#television