UK figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have shown the number of people out of work has increased by 128,000 in a three-month period from August to October.Youngsters are thought to be the worst off, with the number of 16- to 24 year-olds without a job currently standing at 1.027 million, the highest figure since records began in 1992.The statistics come at the same time as a survey by Manpower has revealed four out of five employers have no plans to hire workers in the next three months.Hiring expectations were at their lowest level for three years, as results from the survey of 2,100 businesses. With positive numbers implying more employers wanted to increase staff numbers, the national rating now stands at 0%, down from the previous quarter at a rating of +1%.Luke Johnson, founder of private equity firm Risk Capital Partners, said in yesterday’s (Wednesday 14 December) Financial Times that he would be looking to kick-start job creation throughout his businesses by hiring more than 1,000 employees in the next 12 months. This included national chain Patisserie Valerie and London-based Gail’s Artisan Bakery.Johnson said: “There is no single, simple, quick cure. The task needs sustained effort by private and public sectors alike to devise a whole series of stimulants to invigorate the jobs market. I do not believe we face insoluble difficulties. But doing nothing is not an option.”British Baker has recently reported on a wealth of bakery firms hiring new staff, including Brace’s, The Fabulous Bakin’ Boys and Fudges who have all revealed they have or will be growing staff levels in the next year.
The times they are a-changin! The famous lyrics from Bob Dylan‘s 1964 folk ballad still echo strongly in today’s society, as the American landscape continues to undergo changes in stark contrast to its controversial past. On Wednesday, it was reported that Johnny Cash, along with civil rights icon Daisy Lee Gatson Bates will replace a pair of statues of two figures who supported the Confederacy in the 19th century.Related: Watch Mavis Staples Replace Confederate Monuments In Her Beautiful New Music VideoAccording to reports, the likenesses of Cash and Bates will go inside the U.S. Capitol in marble form where statues of Confederate attorney Uriah Milton Rose and former Arkansas Governor James P. Clarke have stood in Statuary Hall for the last 100 years. The decision was signed into state law last week by current Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who stands by the decision of the statue removal in hopes of updating the U.S. Capitol “with representatives of our more recent history.”“Arkansas icons Daisy Bates and Johnny Cash are worthy additions to the U.S. Capitol statue collection,” U.S. Representative for Arkansas’s 2nd congressional district French Hill added in a statement in support of the decision. “I applaud the decision by Gov. Hutchinson and the General Assembly to recognize their historic contributions and preserve their inspiring legacies for future generations.”Cash, who is an American icon in the realm of music and arts entertainment, was a native of Arkansas growing up. The famous singer and guitarist died in September 2003. The report goes on to state that the statue swap likely won’t occur for a few more years due to the funding needed from private donors to create their replacements.[H/T Washington Post]
Two of the world’s largest asset managers have dismissed the exclusion of pension funds in a consultation on institutional systemic risk, as international pressure for regulatory action continues.BlackRock, Vanguard and industry groups dismissed claims pension funds should be exempt from being classed as ‘global systemically important financial institutions’ (SIFIs) as discussions continue on they should be subject to further regulation of capital buffers.The comments came as the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and International Organisation of Securities Commissions (ISOCO) closed its second consultation on methodologies for identifying globally systemic institutions other than banks and insurers.The consultation proposed excluding pension funds when it launched the consultation earlier this year, as it believed funds posed a lower risk to financial stability due to long-term investment plans and their heavy use of asset managers and investment funds. PensionsEurope, the industry representative group, threw its support behind the FSB’s logic.It defended the exemption and said pension funds were primarily governed by social and labour law – with a regulatory framework that required transparency, low leverage and prudent diversification.Vanguard, which has $3.3trn (€3trn) in assets under management (AUM), said the logic for excluding pension funds meant long-tenured mutual funds should also be excluded.The manager said 77% of its assets were held in such funds and it would only be logical to treat pension and mutual funds similarly.BlackRock, an AUM of $4.7trn, said the regulators needed to take a more “holistic approach” which covered activities across the market.The manager said asset managers were just one component and there needed to be a better understanding of asset owners and why they allocated to markets and asset classes.“Regulation needs to be applied across products to be effective. Likewise, investment activities need to be regulated regardless of which entity is managing the assets,” it said.BlackRock added: “Asset managers are not the source of systemic risk. [They] act as agents on behalf of institutional and individual investors and are not counterparty to client trades or derivative transactions and do not control the strategic asset allocation of their clients’ assets.”The UK’s Investment Association (IA), the industry group for the asset management sector, agreed and said all market participants must be considered in its consultation.The IA, however, said pension fund investment strategies, like those of asset managers’, could mitigate threats to financial stability, and it was therefore important to factor in activities and not “exclude ex-ante”.It also said some pension funds employed captive asset managers, pointing out the difficulty in seeing how exemptions from any future regulation would work.“The potential for competitive distortion with non-exempt asset managers is clear,” the IA added.Defending the exclusion, PensionsEurope cited research from the Bank of England and European Commission that said pension funds do not react to short-term market movements nor experience the same issues as other financial institutions during the crisis.“The probability a pension fund fails is very low and rare. They use derivatives only to hedge currency and interest rate risks, and not to speculate,” it said.PensionsEurope also said failure and financial distress of a pension fund does not pose systemic risk because the risks are borne by members or sponsoring employers.It said funds should either be fully funded, or subjected to different requirements to mitigate failure in a case of underfunding.“Potential systemic risks are usually avoided. Consequently, in case of financial distress, other institutions do not bear risks,” it said.BlackRock also condemned the FSB’s blanket approach of looking at AUM to determine systemic importance.The manager said AUM metrics would create false positives and false negatives, and given the transmission channels identified for analysis by the FSB, leverage should be used as a basis over AUM, should the FSB insist on moving forward.
Norwegian oil company Aker BP has awarded Endúr Fabricom a framework agreement for the delivery of mechanical maintenance services on all of Aker BP’s installations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.Endúr Fabricom said on Monday that the services under the contract cover all fields in operation where Aker BP is the operator.The company added that the contract was for three years plus two options for one year each.The scope of work under the contract includes offshore installation under the supervision of Aker BP’s maintenance department.The scope also includes onshore work for construction, prefabrication, repair, and overhaul of static mechanical equipment, sandblasting and paint, pressure testing facilities, and leak testing.Endur Fabricom’s CEO, Mikal Løvik, said: “The award is a confirmation that Endúr’s long-standing experience and quality in mechanical engineering is still competitive in a highly competitive market. We are looking forward to address this cooperation with Aker BP in the future.”Fabricom also said it previously performed work for Aker BP on the Alvheim field and considered Aker BP as a strategically important client.
1 year laterOne year after it was announced that the Kurupukari ferry crossing will be bridged, Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson has said works will commence soon.The construction of a new single or dual lane fixed bridge – approximately 600 meters long – at the Kurupukari ferry crossing, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) will soon commence.According to Minister Patterson, systems are already in place and works should begin soon.The Kurupukari River crossingCurrently persons travelling the Linden/Lethem trail have to cross the Essequibo River, at Kurupukari, by a privately-operated pontoon service.Kurupukari Village is located along the Lethem–Georgetown trail, about five hours from Lethem.In February 2017, the Public Infrastructure Ministry had said it was gearing up to commence construction on the first phase of the Linden-Lethem Road project, which will be funded through the United Kingdom Government under its UK Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF) programme.In September 2015, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced a £300 million investment in vital new infrastructure such as roads, bridges and ports to help drive economic growth and development across the Caribbean region. Guyana was named among nine Caribbean states to benefit from the grant.The first phase of the project, which spans from Linden to Mabura, covers approximately 122.5 kilometres of road and the construction of the bridge across the Essequibo River at Kurupukari.
Each year, FFA chapters around the country celebrate National FFA Week; a time they share the importance of FFA and the impact it has on the members of the organization every day.National FFA Week takes place the last week in February covering President Jefferson’s birthday because of the role he had in the agricultural world. Red Bluff FFA celebrated Feb. 22 through March 3. The week was filled with fun dress up days from American Day Monday, Plaid Tuesday, Workout Wednesday, Beach Day …
Chris Thurman visits Exeter River Lodge in the Sabi Sand private game reserve in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, and has a bush experience different to any that he’s enjoyed before. There are those who will tell you that it doesn’t matter how you spend your time in the African bush, or where you stay – it’s enough simply to be there. To some degree, this is true; certainly, no matter what your accommodation and game-viewing is like, it’s better than being in the office. After only a few hours at Exeter River Lodge in the Sabi Sand private game reserve, however, I couldn’t help reflecting that it was different to any bush experience I’d enjoyed before. It wasn’t just that our luxuriously appointed room looked out onto the Sand River, giving us a view of buffalo crossing the water or baboons loping down to the shore. It wasn’t just that the ever-available but never-intrusive staff treated us like royalty. It wasn’t just the food, or the wine, or the afternoon teas. It wasn’t the private plunge pool, the masseuse, the quirky collection of books or any of the other distractions to while away the day. Over and above these pleasures, the highlights of the trip were the morning and evening game drives. A good game ranger is many things: a raconteur, a sturdy outdoorsman or woman, a walking encyclopaedia of information about animal, bird and plant life. He or she can tell you, for instance, that a hunting leopard can leap up to 22 metres in a second – not very encouraging when you’re about 20 metres away – and will explain why the same leopard rubs its neck in the mud around a watering-hole (so that it can mark its territory by brushing the mud against trees and thus leave a more durable scent).Not just the Big Five A major advantage of going on a private game drive is that rangers in different vehicles are in constant radio communication, increasing your chances of great sightings. But our ranger at River Lodge, Ryan, ensured that no drive was a headlong rush from one Big Five member to another. Along the way we also learned about the less glamorous animals, like the numerous species of buck whose presence is so often taken for granted. Kudu, for instance, have big ears and therefore the best hearing, which means they are less skittish than other antelope and provide the most reliable alarm call to anyone tracking big game on foot. Furthermore, we were reminded, if you’re only looking for creatures with four legs, you miss out on half the action. There is an abundance of bird life pursuing the same herbivorous and carnivorous habits as gravity-bound mammals: we saw a juvenile fish eagle on a high branch, trying to crack open a tortoise (don’t worry, it ended well for the tortoise; the eagle dropped him, he fell on his shell and survived). And you don’t have to be a birder to appreciate the exquisite colouring of a lilac-breasted roller. The more time you spend in the bush, the more you appreciate the minutiae – admiring rare flowers that only bloom for a couple of weeks each year, or discovering, courtesy of your ranger, the subtle interactions that take place between interdependent elements within an ecosystem. Oxpeckers remove ticks from buffalo and giraffe; desiccated termite mounds become lairs for warthog and hyena. Best of all, with an experienced tracker assisting the ranger in locating game and a radio always at hand, you’re guaranteed to see a greater variety than you would on your own. And once you’ve spotted something in the distance, you don’t have to strain with binoculars just to catch a glimpse of a horn or tail – the ranger shifts down a gear, engages the diff lock on the 4×4 and you head off-road to take a closer look. What would a late afternoon game drive be without a sunset pause for a cup of coffee or a gin and tonic – and, of course, some snacks to tide you over until supper? Then it’s time to enjoy the magical world of the bushveld at night. Rangers and trackers are careful not to interfere too much with nocturnal activity; and, after many years of conservation efforts, the animals have learned to tolerate the human presence because it is neither intrusive nor threatening.Non-interventionist policy Where possible, the principle of non-intervention is applied. In some cases, however, humans have to undo the damage caused by previous interventions which may have been less well-intentioned or well-conceived. A good example is the challenge of decreasing the prevalence of tuberculosis in the buffalo population: up to 70% of buffalo in certain Kruger-Sabi herds have bovine TB. The solution is an intriguing one – raising disease-free young buffalo who suckle on domesticated Jersey cows before being released into the wild. This has been quite successful, and also provides a curious proof of nature overcoming nurture. The buffalo calves have to learn to suckle from the side as all Jersey calves do, but when they become mothers in turn, they follow their instinct and let their young suckle from behind. This is a vital survival tactic, because it means that cow and calf can keep walking, and allows buffalo herds to keep moving even while the young are suckling. Another little-known fact is that buffalo milk makes delicious Feta cheese! Of course, the conservation programmes being implemented in South Africa’s game parks also require ongoing vigilance against human threats. The recent increase in rhino poaching is a case in point. Countering this disturbing trend requires not only stricter policing within our reserves, but also broader campaigns to stop both the international demand for rhino horn, particularly in east Asia, and the local suppliers. These are the “foot soldiers” of poaching who have no other means of livelihood. Certainly, staying at a place like River Lodge is a luxury. But our natural heritage should be a shared, public concern – protecting it is the responsibility not of the few, but the many. First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.
Ernst Pretorius’s Draadsitter (Afrikaans for fence sitter) detects tampering on fences of up to 800m, allowing for a quick response before the fence is breached. The device also detects fires. It’s a simple concept, but one with greater ramifications for landowners who need to protect their properties.The invention is one of 11 others to be shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, which “aims to stimulate, celebrate and reward innovation and entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa’. The award recognises especially those inventions that sustainably solve problems in local settings, highlighting how important engineering is to improving quality of life.Speaking to Engineering News, Royal Academy fellow and chair of the judging panel Malcolm Brinded said the shortlisted candidates would now participate in a training and mentoring programme over the next six months, working with business executives and engineering experts. He said, “The training will be focused on proving, scaling up and commercialising their engineering innovations.’Brinded added that “Deciding on the shortlist was extremely difficult as the standard was high, and the entrepreneurial talent was clear to see.’Pretorius, from the University of Pretoria, will join Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Dr Reinhardt Kotze on the training programme. Kotze’s shortlisted Flow- Viz is an industrial process and quality control system that reduces dependence on laboratory testing, improving efficiency on the production line.After completing the training and mentorship programme, the finalists will present their inventions, after which the winners and two runners-up will be awarded £25 000 (about R457 000) and £10 000 respectively.The competing finalists from the rest of Africa are:University of Nairobi’s Samuel Njugana Wangui, for Chura, a web-based system that allows users to move airtime between their different SIMs regardless of carrier;The Nigerian Army Transformation and Innovation Centre’s Captain Abubakar Surajo, for his removable window burglar-bar system;Nigeria Tolulupe Ajuwape from the University of Ibadan for a mobile payment application, which allows merchants and customers to make and receive card payments using their phones and tablets;A mechanical system to prepare clear banana juice from Dr Oscar Kibazohi, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania & Makerere University, Uganda;A sand-based water filtration system to provide clean, safe drinking water from Dr Askwar Hilonga at The Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology, Tanzania;An environmentally friendly precision fertiliser applicator from Musenga Silwawa at the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute;Latrine systems to improve urban sanitation from Samuel Malinga from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda;A small-scale crushing machine for sustainable gold mining from Rujeko Masike at the Harare Institute of Technology, Zimbabwe;A mobile phone application to teach children the local Shona language from the University of Zimbabwe’s Ian Mutamiri; andA low-cost biodegradable degreaser for mining, agriculture and manufacturing from Chinenye Justin Nwaogwugwu from the Federal University of Technology in Owerri, Nigeria.Entries for the 2015 version would open once this round of the prize concludes, said Brinded.“We are looking forward to the next phase, and the next round of applications in April 2015. I hope all ambitious African engineering entrepreneurs will start planning for that opportunity.”The Africa Prize is supported by The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund, Consolidated Contractors Company, ConocoPhillips and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.SAinfo reporter
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest I recently made a significant reduction in livestock numbers at our place. I was having trouble justifying the expense and the work required to care for so many critters so I decided it was time to make a change. The change wasn’t an easy one, but it has significantly lightened my livestock related workload and expenses.The one side affect to reduced livestock numbers that I had not foreseen was the reduction in grass eating power now residing in our barn. With less critters, I buy less feed, but I also have less natural grass mowers. This spring I have spent a lot of time mowing grass.I will admit that I might be overdoing it a little bit with the regularity of my mowing, but shorter grass is easier and faster to cut through and our rotary cutter has been in need of repair for some time. The lack of a usable larger field mower means that this spring I have spent much time seated on a riding mower while mowing not only the yard but the small field beside our house that used double as a pasture and arena but is now just an arena. By the time, I finish mowing, it seems like it is time to start over on another section of grass again.This seemingly endless mowing does become tiresome at times, but at least the weather is nice, and with less livestock to feed next winter, I won’t be worried about running out of hay when the snow is flying. I’ll take an extra ride or two on a riding mower any day to ward off the winter fears of running out of hay.I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling the pressure of endless mowing this time of year.