IAAF crisis a big worry for Bolt … Slams moves to reset world records

first_imgTrack and field’s golden boy, Usain Bolt, says he felt ‘let down’ by the sport’s leaders following recent doping and bribery controversies but thinks that suggestions to reset the world records – including the three that he currently holds are pointless. Bolt, who was on Friday evening named the 2015 RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman of the Year, admitted shock at the crisis currently engulfing the sport with former IAAF president Lamine Diack currently facing criminal investigations around allegations he accepted bribes to sweep positive drugs tests under the carpet. The issues affecting the sport have also seen Russia being banned from competition after being accusations of a state-backed, systematic doping system. This led to UK Athletics last week releasing a document ‘A Manifesto for clean athletics’ detailing several proposals, it believes will protect clean athletes and recover the sport’s credibility, including a controversial suggestion to wipe the record books clean. The Jamaican sprinter, whose world records in the 100m (9.58), 200m (19.19) and as a member of the Jamaican 4x100m that ran 36.84 at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, would be wiped if UK Athletics has its way, admitted shock at the crisis. “When I heard the news it was quite shocking because as far as I was concerned, they were doing a good job to clean up the sport and to hear something like that was quite shocking,” Bolt said of the troubles plaguing his sport. “You feel let down as an athlete, from wanting to help clean up the sport and then for something like this to happen coming from the body of the sport,” Bolt noted. The six-time Olympic and 11-time World Championships gold medal winner, however, thinks that the suggestions to erase the world records is pointless and thinks the focus should be on ensuring that the sport’s future is a positive one. “I found it really funny, as my coach would say, you can’t change history so what they are saying (suggestions to erase records) is really pointless. What’s done is done we have to just move forward and try to make the next Olympics and World Championships and records as best as we can and look to the future. We can’t worry about the past,” Bolt added.last_img read more

Sparkling Sane inspires Manchester City in Palace rout

first_img0Shares0000Crystal Palace’s defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah (L) and Crystal Palace’s midfielder Andros Townsend (R) tackled Manchester City’s midfielder Leroy Sane during the English Premier League football match September 23, 2017 © AFP / Oli SCARFFMANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Sep 23 – Leroy Sane was the difference as Premier League leaders Manchester City claimed a comprehensive 5-0 win over bottom club Crystal Palace on Saturday to extend their unbeaten start.“Shall we score a goal for you?” the home fans chanted, and well they might, with Pep Guardiola’s side having now scored 16 goals in three Premier League games. By contrast, Palace are still yet to score in the league and have now lost six games in succession.Sane and Raheem Sterling, who scored twice, did the damage, while Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph added gloss to the scoreline at the Etihad Stadium.The win keeps City on top of the table, edging in front of rivals Manchester United on goal difference.It was frustrating for City until they were able to edge in front just before the break.Palace defender Mamadou Sakho flicked Kevin De Bruyne’s cross onto his own post and Sane fired over after skipping through several challenges.But for all of City’s early possession, it was Palace who had the better chances in the opening stages.The south London side, playing under Roy Hodgson for the second time in the league, looked well drilled and could have stung the hosts on the break.Ruben Loftus-Cheek had an effort deflect off Nicolas Otamendi and onto the post, having beaten England centre-back John Stones twice to get into a shooting position on 19 minutes.Loftus-Cheek went close again, sliding a shot wide when it seemed easier to score after Timothy Fosu-Mensah’s low cross nicked off Fernandinho.City’s disjointed start to game was not helped as the home side lost Benjamin Mendy to injury mid-way through the first half.The France left-back clashed knees with Andros Townsend, giving away a tactical foul as the winger skipped past, and was replaced by Danilo.– Aguero closes on Brook –City had to work to forge chances, but the pressure was eased on the stroke of half-time.Quick interplay between Sane, De Bruyne and David Silva allowed the Spaniard to lift a pass to Sane on the left.He flicked it over the head of Scott Dann and slid a shot through the legs of Wayne Hennessey.The goal opened the visitors up. Six minutes into the second half, a quick break saw City double their lead.Again Sane was key. His break down the left flank was picked out by De Bruyne and a perfect low cross into the path of Sterling meant the England winger could not miss.Presented with what seemed an even easier opportunity a minute later after Hennessey’s touch on De Bruyne’s cross presented him with an open goal, Sterling side-footed wide.Aguero was now on the hunt for the goals to take the club’s scoring record.Having found space on the edge of the box, he skipped past three challenges to go one-on-one, but fired his left-foot strike straight at Hennessey.It was one-way traffic. Sterling doubled his tally and took City’s to three after De Bruyne’s ball to the back post was touched into the winger’s path as he arrived late into the six-yard box.All eyes were now on Aguero, who began the day needing two goals to join Eric Brook as City’s all-time leading scorer.The Argentina striker netted with 11 minutes to play, heading in Sane’s searching cross to close to within one goal of Brook’s haul of 177 goals.Palace were begging for full-time by the time Fabian Delph made it 5-0, the substitute curling a sublime effort into the top corner with his weaker right foot.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

BOSSES MAY BE BREAKING LAW BY SNOOPING ON FACEBOOK – DONEGAL EXPERT

first_imgJames Arnold Head of EVBI in LetterkennyIrish company bosses may be breaching the Data Protection Act by checking out applicant’s social media pages, a Co Donegal expert has warned.Employment Vetting Bureau of Ireland boss James Arnold says there is a major difference between personal and professional browsing of people on-line.The practise of employers checking out the Facebook and Twitter accounts of potential employees to see their likes and pastimes is widespread. But Letterkenny-based Arnold warned that employers secretly scanning social media pages and forming negative opinions about new job applicants may be breaching the Data Protection Acts.James who is M.D. of EVBI says ‘The problem is quite serious because of two issues – consent and relevance. For what is publicly viewable to an employer in Social Media may not in fact be be useable by an employer to make judgement without the knowledge and consent of the applicant. And what an employer may view may not at all be true.“To form an opinion based on what is seen could be detrimental to a job applicant. An employer’s judgement on a very innocent but inappropriate comment or photo for example, or on what the applicant likes or dislikes can cause an employer to judge the applicant and an applicant’s social life being the conduit for such decision. They may lose out quite unfairly.’He explained that the practise is widespread and in his opinion, sneaky. The applicant is unaware of what is being researched and any opinion being formed if bad, may not be relevant to the employment on offer.Such intrusions can be detrimental to an applicant are conducted without the specific written consent of the applicant, he said.It is estimated that up to 70 % of employers around the world are scanning social media pages without an applicant’s permission to assist their pre-employment screening methods.But unlike many other countries, Ireland’s Data Protection laws have been tightened up since 2014 and those practising what applicants call ‘Snoopy Bosses’ in Ireland may find themselves in serious hot water in the future.Mr Arnold added ‘The need for background verifications is essential for any employer but they have to be done the right way and the background checks must be relevant to the specific employment. “Media/Social Media screening was hardly heard of until 2001 and has been growing exponentially by the massive rise in the use of social media by private users of such media. Besides, the problem is not just about new job applicants but about existing employees earmarked for promotion.“It is perhaps time for employers engaging in such activities to ask themselves if what they are doing is truly ethical. Does it embrace the core values of their organisation?“The Irish Data Protection Commissioner is very tough on compliance and is observing very closely what is going on around employment issues.’EVBI is the Employment Vetting Bureau of Ireland based in Co. Donegal. It conducts independent pre-employment checks and security clearance services for new job applicants on behalf of employers all over Ireland.James who is M.D. of EVBI says ‘The problem is quite serious because of two issues – consent and relevance. For what is publicly viewable to an employer in Social Media may not in fact be be useable by an employer to make judgement without the knowledge and consent of the applicant. And what an employer may view may not at all be true.“To form an opinion based on what is seen could be detrimental to a job applicant. An employer’s judgement on a very innocent but inappropriate comment or photo for example, or on what the applicant likes or dislikes can cause an employer to judge the applicant and an applicant’s social life being the conduit for such decision. They may lose out quite unfairly.’He explained that the practise is widespread and in his opinion, sneaky.The applicant is unaware of what is being researched and any opinion being formed if bad, may not be relevant to the employment on offer.Such intrusions can be detrimental to an applicant are conducted without the specific written consent of the applicant, he said.It is estimated that up to 70 % of employers around the world are scanning social media pages without an applicant’s permission to assist their pre-employment screening methods.But unlike many other countries, Ireland’s Data Protection laws have been tightened up since 2014 and those practising what applicants call ‘Snoopy Bosses’ in Ireland may find themselves in serious hot water in the future.Mr Arnold added ‘The need for background verifications is essential for any employer but they have to be done the right way and the background checks must be relevant to the specific employment.“Media/Social Media screening was hardly heard of until 2001 and has been growing exponentially by the massive rise in the use of social media by private users of such media. Besides, the problem is not just about new job applicants but about existing employees earmarked for promotion.“It is perhaps time for employers engaging in such activities to ask themselves if what they are doing is truly ethical. Does it embrace the core values of their organisation?“The Irish Data Protection Commissioner is very tough on compliance and is observing very closely what is going on around employment issues.’EVBI is just one of a number of organisations which helps employers to fully comply with the Acts.EVBI offers an independent pre-employment screening service for new job applicants -a system whereby a job applicant’s approval and written consent is sought and given.’ said James Arnold.EVBI is a registered Data Processor with the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland.BOSSES MAY BE BREAKING LAW BY SNOOPING ON FACEBOOK – DONEGAL EXPERT was last modified: July 27th, 2015 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)last_img read more

Cardinals rekindle spark

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week With Houston leading the series 3-2, Game 2 winner Roy Oswalt will pitch against Cardinals lefty Mark Mulder. What’s more, after a long season that produced this playoff rematch, the Astros and Cardinals are right back where they were a year ago. Busch Stadium, Game 6. Houston needs one victory to win the pennant. For St. Louis, it takes two. “They’re trying to catch us. We’re not trying to catch them,” Oswalt said. Last season, the Astros were riding a wave of momentum after Jeff Kent’s three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth won Game 5. ST. LOUIS – Tony La Russa’s cell phone kept ringing, interrupting him once, twice, three times in the middle of an interview. Understandable, really. All his friends wanted to chat after what they witnessed Monday night, when Albert Pujols’ stunning homer in Houston saved St. Louis’ season with two outs in the ninth inning. “A lot of people saw it, you know,” the Cardinals’ manager said Tuesday. “It’s not as neat of a story if we don’t keep winning.” Pujols’ home run, already one of the most memorable in postseason history, denied the Astros their first World Series berth – at least for a couple of days – and sent the best-of-seven NL Championship Series back to St. Louis for Game 6 on tonight. center_img This time, Pujols’ mammoth three-run shot off all-star closer Brad Lidge over the train tracks high above the left-field wall at Minute Maid Park has the Cardinals sky high. “Hopefully, this is the spark that we were looking for,” said Pujols, batting .447 with six homers and 15 RBI in the past two NLCS meetings with Houston. “The best thing we need to do is not let them celebrate in our stadium. We’ve been in this spot before.” Last year, the Cardinals won twice in a row at home, rallying to beat Roger Clemens in Game 7 and advance to the World Series, where they were swept by Boston. “It is weird how we’re back in the same position we were last year, but that’s what makes it so much fun,” St. Louis reliever Jason Isringhausen said. The Astros feel better about their situation this time because their pitching rotation is lined up the way they want. Last season, journeyman Pete Munro started Game 6. This year it’s Oswalt, coming off consecutive 20-win seasons. And if he can’t close it out, Clemens will go in Game 7 again. Plus, Houston has a road victory in Game 2 to draw on as opposed to 2004, when the home team won every game in the series. “I think that gives us a lot of confidence,” general manager Tim Purpura said. “Last year, obviously we had two bites at the apple. This year we’ve got three, and we’ve got two more to go. “We can win this thing. We’ve got one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball going tomorrow, and we’ve got another dominant pitcher going the night after that. So we feel, certainly, very well set up for it.” Despite being one strike from the World Series before David Eckstein’s ninth-inning single started the rally in Game 5, the Astros certainly didn’t sound shaken on Tuesday. Players even jumped at the opportunity to needle Lidge about the prodigious drive he served up to Pujols. “We kidded with him the whole time on the plane today. We actually told him we almost got hit by the ball when it took off,” Oswalt said. “The mood on the plane was actually pretty cool.” The series winner heads to Chicago to begin the World Series on Saturday night against the AL champion White Sox. Busch Stadium will be demolished soon after St. Louis’ season ends to make way for a new ballpark next year, so the Cardinals are also playing to stave off the wrecking ball for as long as possible. “It’s a challenge. I think everybody on this staff, including myself, you want to be out there in an important game and be that guy who has got to make the pitches and get the job done,” said Mulder, a tough-luck loser in Game 2 after throwing seven strong innings. “That’s obviously where I’m going to be tomorrow night, and I’m looking forward to it.” The Cardinals went through a light, optional workout on their home field Tuesday; the Astros did not work out. La Russa said he expects third baseman Abraham Nunez to be back in the lineup tonight after missing the past two games with a deep thigh bruise. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Wal-Mart’s goods, bads debated

first_img “Wal-Mart has been an economic positive to the U.S.,” said Chris Holling, executive director at Global Insight. He also emphasized that the study found that there was no evidence that Wal-Mart pays its workers below-market wages, and said its low prices were not from driving down wages for workers, as its critics contend, but from its own economic efficiencies. The study, conducted by a team of 18 economists who were given unfettered access to Wal-Mart’s data on wages, benefits and real estate, found that the expansion of the retailer over the 1985 to 2004 period saved American households on average $2,329 by 2004, estimating that it lowered the Consumer Price Index by 3.1 percent. The study also found that Wal-Mart had a positive impact on employment nationwide, generating 210,000 jobs by 2004, a 0.15 percent increase relative to the number of jobs that would have existed without Wal-Mart. The study did report that Wal-Mart caused nominal wages to decline by 2.2 percent, but that was more than offset by the fall in consumer prices, creating an increase in real disposable income of 0.9 percent. In their presentations, both Bracy and Holling emphasized that Wal-Mart did not influence results and that the study was done independently. The study was also overseen by an advisory committee including representatives from the liberal Brookings Institution and the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “Not only would we not, but we could not influence the outcome of this study,” Bracy told the audience. He added that the company wanted to have a “debate, a dialogue.” Still, Wal-Mart and Global Insight faced plenty of tough questions from the audience, including why benefits were not included in the wages studied. Some expressed concern that the study didn’t address the fact that Wal-Mart might be entering mainly high-growth regions, possibly inflating the positive impact it has on the economy. “They seemed dismissive of the wage-gap issue,” said Randall Crane, professor of urban planning at the University of California. Los Angeles. Among Crane’s criticisms of the Wal-Mart-commissioned study was that the company seemed to lump all workers together instead of focusing on grocery workers, since 60 percent of all Wal-Marts are now supercenters, which sell groceries. “They are treating groceries like any other retail sector,” he said. Crane presented findings that showed that in the San Francisco Bay Area, consumers saved between $382 million and $1.13 billion on groceries per year, but that wages and benefits in the grocery sector will fall by between $300 million and $576 million per year. He noted that price savings are spread thinly across all grocery customers, while wage losses are concentrated entirely on grocery workers. Meanwhile, Wake up Wal-Mart, a union-backed anti-Wal-Mart group, tried to steal Wal-Mart’s thunder by holding a news conference before the seminar announcing that it was creating a national association for Wal-Mart workers to help employees change the company. It also launched a Web site called www.WalMartWorkersofAmerica.com, with information about workplace rights. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week However, some participants said Wal-Mart was taking a chance by inviting scrutiny. “I think this is a gamble by opening up to more research,” said David Neumark, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, who presented findings that Wal-Mart’s presence causes earnings to fall. “Some will be good, and some will be bad.” Wal-Mart’s critics have argued that the retailer’s low-cost model has bad effects on the economy and that its low pay and benefits drive down those at other companies trying to compete with Wal-Mart. But Wal-Mart has long argued that its low-priced goods help raise the standard of living, particularly for low-income shoppers, and help control inflation. By holding its own economic conference, Wal-Mart appears to be trying to have some control over the information being disseminated. Wal-Mart’s study, conducted by Global Insight, an economic forecasting company, offered a positive assessment of the company that was in line with findings from some economists but were starkly different from others. WASHINGTON – Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which has been prickly about criticisms of its low-cost business model, opened itself up to a lively debate among economists Friday about how the world’s largest retailer affects the economy. The all-day session, the latest effort by Wal-Mart to repair its reputation, included rosy findings from a Wal-Mart-commissioned report and mixed results from studies done by other economists. It was attended by about 100 people in the media and academia. The seminar may have raised more questions than answers on Wal-Mart’s impact on jobs, earnings and individual communities, but in the end the company appeared to make progress toward its goal of appearing more open to change. “I learned a lot about Wal-Mart,” Ray Bracy, Wal-Mart’s vice president of corporate affairs, said in a closing address. “We are trying to listen more to be a better company.” Bracy promised that Wal-Mart would share more data in the future and invited more economists to do studies. last_img read more

Feathered friends to be counted on holiday

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – It is time for bird lovers to dust off their binoculars and flock together to tally feathered fliers in Santa Clarita’s fourth annual Christmas bird count. Participants on Wednesday will be joined by tens of thousands of bird counters across the globe who are taking part in Audubon’s 106th Christmas Bird Count. “We started the count a few years ago, mostly in response to changes in the area, development and loss of habitat,” said Dan Cooper, the former director of bird conservation for Audubon California. “There is some science involved, but it is mostly a community event … it’s being outdoors, seeing a side of your community you didn’t know existed.” By their very nature birds are active, defying counters’ attempts to be precise. The count is not intended to measure an absolute number of birds in an area, but is helpful in measuring changes in bird populations. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake The data are entered into what Audubon calls the “longest running database in ornithology, representing over a century of unbroken data on trends of early winter bird populations across the Americas.” The standardized protocol includes a 7.5-mile radius and a 24-hour counting period. Cooper said local habitats are among the last places in the coastal slopes of Los Angeles County to find birds like the hairy woodpecker, golden eagles, roadrunners and the prairie falcon. “A lot of birds that require wide open spaces are getting scarcer but are still hanging on,” Cooper said. “It is part of an effort to track changes through the years. It is an early warning signal when birds start declining or disappearing.” Last year more than 30 people showed up for the activity. In addition to monitoring common species’ numbers, each year some rare birds are spotted, including a vesper sparrow or a plumbeous vireo. The counting will begin around 7 a.m. and pause at noon for lunch. Cooper said die-hard counters can stay on into the afternoon and evening, when the owls come out. Small groups of counters will visit spots along San Francisquito Creek, Bouquet Canyon, Castaic Lagoon and Placerita Canyon. IF YOU GO Volunteers will meet to count birds at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday at Western Bagel, 23170 W. Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Bring binoculars and mittens. — Judy O’Rourke, (661) 257-5255 judy.orourke@dailynews.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

New Garda SUVs to hit the road in Donegal

first_imgAn Garda Síochána has unveiled a new batch of luxury SUVs for operations across the country. The BMW X5s, which have off-road capabilities, have been assigned to Dublin Metropolitan, Eastern, Southern and Northern Garda Regions, which includes Donegal.Some of the vehicles are assigned to Special Tactics & Operations Command (STOC) in the greater Dublin area and will be available to support services and spontaneous incidents in regional areas. The BMW X5 was recently named best luxury SUV by Consumer Reports and is one of the best-sellers in its class.The new batch has been introduced to the force in addition to new vehicles allocated to the Roads Policing Unit. A new 191 Hyundai fleet was added earlier this month for MIT checkpoints nationwide.@GardaTraffic New Garda SUVs to hit the road in Donegal was last modified: April 29th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare 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) Tags:Gardalast_img read more

Can Blues and QPR bounce back?

first_imgAn extraordinary week; no England manager, no England captain yet there is renewed optimism that Euro 2012 could just be our year.Harry Redknapp is 1/4 with betvictor.com to be the next permanent England manager with Jose Mourinho 7/2 to take over at the Lane.The former Chelsea boss has expressed a desire to return to England sooner rather than later and Spurs, on the face of it, appears an ideal fit but would Daniel Levy tolerate the excess baggage that comes with the ‘Special One?’Chelsea travel to Goodison on Saturday having let slip a 3-0 lead against United last weekend and are 13/10 to do the double over the Merseysiders (12/5) having won the reverse fixture 3-1 at the Bridge.13/2 to score first.The Toffees showed against Manchester City recently that they are difficult to overcome at home and did, indeed, beat Chelsea on the last day of last season but they are missing key personnel in Jagielka, Osman and Rodwell and 13/10 is a fair price.Daniel Sturridge has a good record against Everton (scored at Reebok last term for Bolton) and is 11/2 to net the opener with Fernando Torres 13/2. The Spaniard also had a decent record against them for Liverpool and will be desperate for that goal which could resurrect a very poor season.Everything was going smoothly for Rangers after 30 minutes at Loftus Road last weekend, and one couldn’t blame Mark Hughes for feeling a bit smug on the touchline as his new strikers combined beautifully for the opener against Wolves.By the end of the game, however, Rangers were back in trouble (13/8 to be relegated) and they face a very tricky game at Ewood Park at the weekend minus expensive signing Djibril Cisse, who was red-carded for examining the tonsils of Wolves defender Roger Johnson.Rovers are 11/8 to possibly leapfrog the Hoops and with Bolton meeting Wigan at the Reebok, and the Black Country derby between Wolves and WBA, the bottom six are playing each other in what could be a pivotal weekend at the foot of the table.Bobby Zamora is 13/2 to score the opener in Lancashire and 7/4 at any time.The Premier League is littered with sides supposedly ‘too good to go down’ and perhaps it is time for some of Rangers’ more senior players to show their mettle although the R’s do play three of their next four games at Loftus Road before a difficult looking end to the campaign.Fulham entertain Stoke at Craven Cottage looking for revenge for their 2-0 defeat at the Britannia earlier in the season and ought to have enough for a limited Potters’ side who will be without Robert Huth, who was red-carded in the snow against Sunderland last weekend.The Cottagers are even-money to get all three points with Stoke 3s and the draw at 12/5.American Clint Dempsey remains the main goalscoring threat and his 5/1 quote to score first is realistic.For all your weekend odds check out betvictor.com or follow me on twitter at @VictorChandlerFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Rock art centre sheds light on San

first_img6 June 2002KwaZulu-Natal’s new Kamberg Rock Art Centre, now open to the public, will help visitors understand and interpret the more than 40 000 San Bushman images to be found in the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.Opened by KZN Premier Lionel Mtshali on June 4, the centre is situated in the Kamberg Nature Reserve, near to the Game Pass Shelter.It is here that the “Rosetta Stone” of San art first provided archaeologists with the key to interpreting the symbolism of the paintings as spiritual in content – showing how hunters gained power from the animals that they killed.The Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is a World Heritage Site – one of just 23 sites worldwide granted this status on the basis of both natural beauty and cultural significance. The 230 000 hectare protected area contains 500 known sites of San rock art.The Kamberg San Rock Art Trail and Interpretive Centre together offer visitors information about the world of the San, and the opportunity to walk to Game Pass Shelter to view outstanding examples of their art in the company of a trained community guide.The San people lived in the Drakensberg area for thousands of years before being exterminated in clashes with the Zulus and white settlers.A video documentary on the world of the San can be viewed at the centre, which also provides contact with their descendants who still live in the area. The centre offers a range of books, posters and videos for sale, as well as a refreshment kiosk.The walk from the centre to Game Pass Shelter takes two-and-a-half to three hours via the Waterfall Shelter. The trail and centre cater for a maximum of 10 patrons at a time, with tours run seven days a week. It is recommended that places be booked by phoning Kamberg on (033) 263 7312.It is also possible to stay at Kamberg Nature Reserve, although the accommodation is presently being renovated. The centre is wheelchair-friendly, although the trail is not; people unable to walk to the shelter can watch a special audio-visual presentation instead.For more information call (033) 263 7312 or visit the Kamberg Rock Art Centre web site.last_img read more

The National Development Plan: a vision for 2030

first_imgA key part of the National Development Plan is its “youth lens”, through which it makes specific proposals to improve the prospects of South Africa’s predominantly young, rapidly urbanising population. (Image: Brand South Africa)• Brand South Africa at the World Economic Forum 2015 • Four key issues on the agenda for WEF Davos 2015 • A plan to move South Africa forward • South Africa’s education system critical to competitiveness • South Africa to showcase its success at Davos Yvonne Fontyn and Mary AlexanderAs Team South Africa takes the story of South Africa’s successes and challenges to the World Economic Forum in Davos this month, we unpack a key part of the message they will bring to global leaders: the National Development Plan, and what it means for the country’s future.The NDP, has taken the raw material that is South Africa after decades of colonialism, apartheid and inequality, and mapped a way forward. By 2030, it says, we can have a country we can all proudly call home. But it will be an arduous road to travel, and every citizen will have to play their part in the journey.Origins of the planThe government concedes that though there has been significant progress made since the first democratic elections in 1994, there is a need for a much faster pace, more action and better implementation of national goals.According to the National Planning Commission in the Presidency, the NDP was initiated to significantly reduce inequality in South Africa by 2030 “through uniting South Africans, unleashing the energies of its citizens, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities and enhancing the capability of the state and leaders to work together to solve complex problems”.The NDP was formulated after extensive research and feedback from tens of thousands of South Africans.Watch “Planning for Thandi’s Future”, narrated by former Minister in the Presidency for Planning Trevor Manual:National Planning CommissionThe National Planning Commission was set up in May 2010 to draft the NDP. An advisory body made up of 26 people, the commission was drawn largely from outside the government, with members being selected for their expertise in key areas.The commission’s Diagnostic Report, released in June 2011, set out South Africa’s achievements and shortcomings since 1994. It identified a failure to implement policies and an absence of broad partnerships as the main reasons for slow progress. And it set out nine primary challenges:Too few people work.The quality of school education for black people is poor.Infrastructure is poorly located, inadequate and under-maintained.Spatial divides – a legacy of apartheid planning – hobble inclusive development.The economy is unsustainably resource-intensive.The public health system cannot meet demand or sustain quality.Public services are uneven and often of poor quality.Corruption levels are high.South Africa remains a divided society.DemographicsThe commission had to take into account the demographics of South Africa, including:The birth rate, which is at 1% now and is dropping, and is predicted to stand at 0.5% by 2030.About 60% of the population live in urban areas; by 2030 it is predicted to be 70%.The effects of immigration, which will add 0.1% to 0.2% to the population by 2030.The effects of HIV and Aids, which has stabilised at 10% of the population being HIV-positive.To maximise the benefits of this “demographic dividend”, says the commission, the country requires better nutrition and healthcare, improved educational standards, increased access to further and higher education, easier entry into the labour market and greater labour mobility, which is the ability to move to where jobs are on offer. All of these factors need to be taken into account in national planning.The youthThe commission stipulated that the NDP should specifically embrace issues affecting the country’s youth, “as South Africa has a young population which is rapidly urbanising”. Young people bear the brunt of unemployment, it says, which is why it has adopted a “youth lens” in preparing its proposals, which include:A nutrition intervention for pregnant women and young childrenUniversal access to two years of early childhood developmentImprove the school system, including increasing the number of students achieving above 50% in literacy and mathematics, increasing student retention rates to 90% and bolstering teacher trainingStrengthen youth service programmes and introducing new, community-based programmes to offer young people life skills training, entrepreneurship training and opportunities to take part in community development programmesStrengthen and expand the number of further education and training colleges to increase the participation rate to 25%Increase the graduation rate of FET colleges to 75%Provide full-funding assistance covering tuition, books, accommodation and living allowance to students from poor familiesDevelop community safety centres to prevent crime and include youth in these initiativesA tax incentive to employers to reduce the initial cost of hiring young labour-market entrantsA subsidy to the placement sector to identify, prepare and place matric graduates into work, to be paid upon successful placementExpand learnerships and make training vouchers directly available to job seekersA formalised graduate recruitment scheme for the public service to attract highly skilled peopleExpand the role of state-owned enterprises in training artisans and technical professionalsGlobal trendsThe commission noted that long-term shifts in global trade and investment were reshaping the world economy and international politics. Chief among these developments was the emergence of the rapidly growing economies of the Brics countries, and particularly China, India and Brazil, as well as the increased growth in Africa. Globalisation presented additional risk for emerging markets, while climate change was another factor affecting development in South Africa. The country stands to benefit significantly from regional cooperation.Goals of the NDPBy 2030:Eliminate income poverty – reduce the proportion of households with a monthly income of below R419 (US$42.2) a person (in 2009 prices) from 39% to 0%.Reduce inequality – the Gini coefficient should fall from 0.69 to 0.6.This will be achieved by:Increasing employment from 13-million in 2010 to 24-million in 2030Raising per capita income from R50 000 ($5 000) in 2010 to R120 000 ($12 100) by 2030Increasing the share of national income of the bottom 40% from 6% to 10%Establishing a competitive base of infrastructure, human resources and regulatory frameworksEnsuring that skilled, technical, professional and managerial posts better reflect the country’s racial, gender and disability makeupBroadening ownership of assets to historically disadvantaged groupsIncreasing the quality of education so that all children have at least two years of preschool education and all children in Grade 3 can read and writeProviding affordable access to quality health care while promoting health and well-beingEstablishing effective, safe and affordable public transportProducing sufficient energy to support industry at competitive prices, ensuring access for poor households, while reducing carbon emissions per unit of power by about one-thirdEnsuring that all South Africans have access to clean running water in their homesMaking high-speed broadband internet universally available at competitive pricesRealising a food trade surplus, with one-third produced by small-scale farmers or householdsEnsuring household food and nutrition securityEntrenching a social security system covering all working people, with social protection for the poor and other groups in need, such as children and people with disabilitiesRealising a developmental, capable and ethical state that treats citizens with dignityEnsuring that all people live safely, with an independent and fair criminal justice systemBroadening social cohesion and unity while redressing the inequities of the pastPlaying a leading role in continental development, economic integration and human rightsCritical actions to be taken:A social compact to reduce poverty and inequality, and raise employment and investmentA strategy to address poverty and its effects by broadening access to employment, strengthening the social wage, improving public transport and raising rural incomesSteps by the state to professionalise the public service, strengthen accountability, improve co-ordination and prosecute corruptionBoost private investment in labour-intensive areas, competitiveness and exports, with adjustments to lower the risk of hiring younger workersAn education accountability chain, with lines of responsibility from state to classroomPhase in national health insurance, with a focus on upgrading public health facilities, producing more health professionals and reducing the relative cost of private health carePublic infrastructure investment at 10% of GDP, financed through tariffs, public-private partnerships, taxes and loans, and focused on transport, energy and waterInterventions to ensure environmental sustainability and resilience to future shocksNew spatial norms and standards – densifying cities, improving transport, locating jobs where people live, upgrading informal settlements and fixing housing market gapsReduce crime by strengthening criminal justice and improving community environmentsAn important focus of the NDP is to unite South Africans around a common programme that will enhance the Constitution‘s vision of a united, prosperous, non-racial and non-sexist society. “Although progress has been made to improve the lives of women; discrimination, patriarchal attitudes and poor access to quality education persists. The plan deals with these factors holistically, recognising that key priorities such as education or rural development will have the biggest impact on poor women,” says the NDP document.In addition, citizens should be encouraged to be active in their own development. The document says that while the state “must actively support and incentivise citizen engagement”, citizens should:Actively seek opportunities for advancement, learning, experience and opportunityWork together with others in the community to advance development, resolve problems and raise the concerns of the voiceless and marginalisedHold the government, business and all leaders in society accountable for their actions“The country we seek to build by 2030 is just, fair, prosperous and equitable,” says the NDP document. “Most of all, it is a country that each and every South African can proudly call home. It is up to all South Africans to play a role in fixing the future.”Team South Africa at DavosFollow Team South Africa at WEF Davos on @Brand_SA #SAinDavos or @Brand_SA #CompetitiveSA.last_img read more

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