Hoedspruit, Limpopo province: Blyde River Dam wall. (Image: Chris Kirchhoff, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com)Johannesburg, Wednesday 15 July 2015 – Brand South Africa has noted the recent report from the South African Chamber of Commerce that the country’s business confidence has fallen sharply.Download press releaseIt is without dispute that both public and corporate South Africa agree about the economic challenges facing the country. The challenges including, amongst others, those of energy security, job creation, competition to attract inward flows of investment and inadequate infrastructure are similar to those experienced by many middle incoming, developing countries.Similar challenges were identified at the 2015 7th BRICS Summit which concluded in Ufa, Russian Federation last week. The Summit concluded with the observation that structural reforms, domestic adjustment and the promotion of innovation are critical to driving sustained economic growth. All member states are equally committed to promoting high and productive employment.Despite the current challenges which are impacting negatively on the country’s economic growth and outlook, Brand South Africa is cognisant that the implementation of the National Development Plan and its supporting plans – New Growth Path and National Infrastructure Plan – will contribute to uplifting the country’s economy. It is also confident that South Africa’s partnerships and collaboration with other countries, and fora – including BRICS, will yield innovative solutions that contribute to South Africa’s efforts to respond to its triple challenges of poverty, underdevelopment and job creation. This will be critical to positioning the country as an investment and business destination of choice.With a view to unlocking South Africa’s economic potential, the country has embarked on a 9-Point Plan comprising simultaneous actions in key strategic areas, aimed at revitalising the economy.This plan consists of the following:Resolving the energy challengeRevitalising the agriculture and agro-processing value chainAdvancing beneficiation and adding value to our mineral wealthMore effective implementation of a higher-impact Industrial Policy Action planEncouraging private sector involvementModerating workplace conflictUnlocking the potential of SMMEs, co-ops, township and rural enterprisesState reform, including boosting the role of state owned companies in broadband, water, sanitation and transport infrastructure, andGrowing the ocean economy and tourismWork is already underway in some areas.Building a common marketIn June 2015, officials, representing 26 countries including South Africa, signed an agreement to establish a free-trade zone, which will be the continent’s largest yet. These 26 countries are home to 626 million people and account for 58% of the continent’s gross domestic product of roughly R15 trillion. This will expand markets and create enormous opportunities for trade and investment.The country’s young people must be mobilised and supported to form both a market for our goods and services and equally as the labour force that will drive our economic growth and development. We must collectively maximise our positive youth dividend.Infrastructure developmentBy the end of 2014 government had spent R1 trillion in developing the necessary infrastructure to position South Africa as a globally competitive business and investment destination.South Africa’s investment in infrastructure also includes, amongst others, energy, water infrastructure, sanitation, rail, road-based public transport, and hospital revitalisation.EnergyRecognising the risks posed to South Africa’s growth, development and global competitiveness, of energy insecurity, South Africa has prioritised its investment in addressing the challenges in this area.In addition to the construction of new power stations – Medupi and Kusile – and the iNgula Pumped Storage Scheme, South Africa has enabled significant investment in the renewable energy sector totalling some R168 billion in the Four Bidding windows announced to date.South Africa is now regarded as the global leader in renewable energy, having approved 79 Independent Power Producer Projects totalling 5 243 MW.The extent of technology maturation from this programme, has over a very short space of time, reduced the cost from 115c per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in the first bidding round to 62c per kilowatt-hour (kWh) by the fourth bidding round.Government has also issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the commissioning of 3 126 MW of power from natural gas, with initial power expected to be available by 2020. Steps are also under way to switch Eskom’s open-cycle gas turbines from diesel to natural gas.Over the next six months, government will be procuring additional co-generation capacity of about 800MW from the private sector. The process of procuring up to 2 500MW from independent power producers generating electricity from coal was initiated in December 2014 and this power should be added to the grid by 2020Operation PhakisaSouth Africa has taken a comprehensive approach to transport infrastructure including the role of ports and the oceans economy through Operation Phakisa. As part of Operation Phakisa’s initiative to unlock the economic potential of our oceans, R7 billion has been allocated for investment in South Africa’s ports by Transnet Ports Authority.A further commitment of R9.2 billion of public and private investment has been committed for the construction of a new berth in Saldana Bay, the extension of the Mossgas Quay and the refurbishment of the Offshore Supply Base.High impact industrial planIndustrialisation remains the key route to creating sustainable jobs at appropriate skills levels and in the quantities that South Africa requires to achieve inclusive, job rich growth. Consequently the 2015/16 IPAP to be launched in April 2015 will prioritise the development and expansion of industries supplying Government’s trillion Rand infrastructure build programme, especially in areas such as ICT, Energy, Transport, Oil, Gas, and Water and Sanitation.
Known for his passion and zeal to teach, this 46 year old associate professor in literature at Ramjas College, University of Delhi is immensely popular for bringing alive the subject. Here is a chance to know the lighter side of Professor Debraj Mookerjee as he discusses life beyond the classroom with Devika Jeet.Beacon of light: I am very passionate about my work and take an interest in it. I treat each classroom as a zone where I am suppose to perform, just like actor or cricketer, I enter my zone and try and give my best performance. I am like an open book in class and my child like curiosity helps the flow of ideas and discussions.Choice beyond doubt: In 1989, I got into this profession and decided on this line of work. When I tried to look 20 years ahead, I saw myself as a teacher and realised this was my calling. If not a teacher, I would want to be part of the media industry as I am told I am a good communicator. I would not have entered the private sector but might have considered sports.Ray of hope: The one thing I would want to change about the students is their conservative mindsets. Students need to move beyond the traditional ways of looking at things and need to open their minds. The youth needs to be more sensitive to social issues and show a greater level of interest in bringing change. A book I recommend for all students is J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, a story that unravels assumptions.Beyond duty: I love photography and have a huge passion for taking pictures. I enjoy travelling and my favourite holiday destinations are Turkey and Goa. I enjoy tinkering with things, reading, writing. I like travel writing. I like thinking, conceptualising and at the cost of sounding like an amateur sociologist I would say, life is a hobby for me.Soul passion: I love listening to all kinds of music. I enjoy devotional music from all parts of the world. Listening to music is a very private experience for me. It moves me and takes me into a trance. It makes me cry also. I don’t like discussing or sharing my music with anyone. I don’t talk about it. I have a deep love for music and the reverence of religion in my life is given to music.My inspiration: I have had various inspirations throughout life but I can’t pin-point at one person. At different stages of life different things have inspired me. In third year of college, I read The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone which really moved me. Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi have had counter intrusive theories and were able to merge morality with politics. Being an atheist I am inspired by their thoughts and ideas and look at them as people.A revolution in education: Indians are good consumers of knowledge but not good producers. Out of the box thinking is not promoted and there is not much focus on innovation, which is the trigger to produce knowledge. Here primary education is free but because of its quality people opt for private educational institutes, whereas at the university level the government institutes are considered better than the private ones. Good quality free universal education is imperative as young people want jobs with employable skills and the ultimate skill lies in good schooling.advertisement
zoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license King Abdullah Port concluded 2018 with an increase of 36% in its annual throughput, which reached 2.3 million TEUs by the end of the year.The annual increase in throughput was primarily achieved in conjunction with an 8% increase in imports and exports compared to 2017, the port management said.The results achieved by King Abdullah Port in 2018 include an increase in transshipment volume reaching 1.8 million TEUs, which is a 44% increase compared to 2017. Meanwhile, the number of vessels received by the port increased to 911 vessels, a 12% increase compared to 820 vessels in 2017.“We achieved a record 50% increase in container handling in the first half of 2018, and we are moving forward with our development plans to provide best practices in the fields of port development and operation as well as supporting logistical services,” Rayan Qutub, King Abdullah Port CEO, said.Since its inception in the last quarter of 2013 the number of containers handled by the port has reached 7.2 million TEUs.Owned by the Ports Development Company, King Abdullah Port was officially inaugurated on February 11, 2019, by Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.During the ceremony, the port, which is the region’s first port to be fully owned, developed, and operated by the private sector, unveiled a number of agreements signed with several undisclosed parties.
Casting Director Melissa A Smith will be joining the panel for TIFFCasting Director Melissa A Smith will be joining the panel for TIFF
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Too soon Why stores are already rolling out holiday decorToo soon Why stores are already rolling out holiday decor
It seems to happen earlier and earlier every year.It’s still technically summer, but places like Costco and Dollarama have already rolled out holiday decor.While many on social media are expressing their horror, the stores have a strategy.Lynne Ricker, Instructor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, said stores wouldn’t be doing it if there wasn’t a market for garland and Christmas trees in September.“People do start thinking about it and many people do start their Christmas shopping long before the last minute, last week before Christmas, sort of December rush,” she said.“Retailers have to create an in store experience. They have to have something in there that’s going to look different and exciting and that’s one of the things that they try to do.”Ricker said stores want to get your attention before the competition does.“One of the things that retailers have to think about is having that in store experience and think about pre-empting online buying,” she said.And, she added even tweets complaining about all the red and green could be considered good publicity.
Modi lays foundation stone for 1320 MW thermal power projectModi lays foundation stone for 1320 MW thermal power project
SHIMLA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday unveiled the Foundation Stone of 1320 MW Buxar Thermal Power Project being constructed in Bihar, at a function held at Greater Noida. The Project based on Green Field Super Critical technology is being implemented by SJVN Thermal Private Limited a wholly owned subsidiary of SJVN Limited. The estimated cost of super critical 1320-Megawatt Buxar Thermal Power Project is Rs. 10,439 crores at January 2018 price levels. The foundation stone laying ceremony at Chausa, Buxar, Bihar was graced by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power & NRE, Raj Kumar Singh, Union Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Energy Minister of Bihar, Bijender Prasad Yadav, and Member of Legislative Assembly from Buxar, Sanjay Kumar Tiwari. Chairman & Managing Director, SJVN, Nand Lal Sharma, along with Director (Electrical), Rakesh Kumar Bansal, CEO, SJVN Thermal Private Limited S.C Agarwal and other senior officers from SJVN also attended the function. Nand Lal Sharma Chairman & Managing Director, SJVN informed that the Project located at Chausa in Buxar district of Bihar, will result in direct and indirect employment to around 2400 persons. The Project is very crucial for the industrial development of the area, which would also act as a multiplier for employment generation and overall growth of the entire region. The project is planned to be commissioned during the year 2023-24. Nand Lal Sharma further informed that, the project will have two units of 660 MW each and generate 9828 million units of electricity annually. He asserted his resolve that SJVN will be completing this project within stipulated time frame and this project will be a major milestone for SJVN to become 5000 MW company by 2023.The project has been planned with special features to perform as per the latest environmental norms. The project is based on Super Critical technology, closed cycle water re-circulation system for zero discharge concepts. The coal requirement for the project has been tied-up and it will be supplied by Central Coal Limited (CCL), a subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL) while the State Transmission Utility, Bihar has already approved power evacuation system for this project. Nand Lal Sharma further stated that in terms of the Power Purchase Agreement entered into with the Government of Bihar the project will provide at-least 85% of power generated to the state which will not only reduce demand supply deficit of Bihar in terms of current power scenario but will also boost industrial activity in the state. SJVN’s present installed capacity is 2003 MW and projects of 4798 MW are under various stages of development. SJVN has presence in various sectors of energy generation which includes Hydro, Wind & Solar. The company has also presence in the field of Energy Transmission.
Washington DC: NASA’s Mars Helicopter, designed to fly in thin atmosphere and low gravity, has successfully completed flight tests and is prepared for its journey to the Red Planet scheduled to take off in 2020, the US space agency said. Weighing in at no more than 1.8 kilograms, the helicopter is a technology demonstration project currently going through the rigorous verification process certifying it for Mars. The majority of the testing the flight model is going through had to do with demonstrating how it can operate on Mars, including how it performs at Mars-like temperatures, NASA said in a statement. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe helicopter has to function in extremely cold temperatures, including nights with temperatures as low as minus 90 degrees Celsius. The helicopter is scheduled to reach the surface of the Red Planet in February 2021, when the firmly nestled under the belly of the Mars 2020 rover. A few months later, it will be deployed and test flights will begin — the first from the surface of another world, NASA said. “Gearing up for that first flight on Mars, we have logged over 75 minutes of flying time with an engineering model, which was a close approximation of our helicopter,” said MiMi Aung, project manager for the Mars Helicopter at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the US. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”But this recent test of the flight model was the real deal. This is our helicopter bound for Mars. We needed to see that it worked as advertised,” said Aung. While flying helicopters is commonplace here on Earth, flying hundreds of millions of kilometers away in the thin Martian atmosphere is something else entirely. Creating the right conditions for testing here on Earth presents its own set of challenges. “The Martian atmosphere is only about one per cent the density of Earth’s,” said Aung. “Our test flights could have similar atmospheric density here on Earth — if you put your airfield 30,480 meters up. So you can’t go somewhere and find that. You have to make it,” she said. The team created a vacuum that sucks out all the nitrogen, oxygen and other gases from the air inside the mammoth cylinder. In their place the team injected carbon dioxide, the chief ingredient of Mars’ atmosphere. “Getting our helicopter into an extremely thin atmosphere is only part of the challenge,” said Teddy Tzanetos, test conductor for the Mars Helicopter at JPL. “To truly simulate flying on Mars we have to take away two-thirds of Earth’s gravity, because Mars’ gravity is that much weaker,” said Tzanetos. The team accomplished this with a gravity offload system — a motorised lanyard attached to the top of the helicopter to provide an uninterrupted tug equivalent to two-thirds of Earth’s gravity. The Mars Helicopter’s first flight was followed up by a second in the vacuum chamber the following day. Logging a total of one minute of flight time at an altitude of five centimeters, more than 1,500 individual pieces of carbon fiber, flight-grade aluminum, silicon, copper, foil and foam have proven that they can work together as a cohesive unit.”The next time we fly, we fly on Mars,” said Aung. The Mars Helicopter will launch as a technology demonstrator with the Mars 2020 rover on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in July 2020 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. It is expected to reach Mars in February 2021.
Given the size of the Indian economy and expectations of future growth, infrastructure remains a crucial area of focus for both financial and strategic investors alike. As capital flow gradually picks up in the sector over the last five years and operational assets are bought out, the obvious question is: What next in terms of infrastructure projects? The last few years have seen a significant focus from a plethora of global infrastructure investors in India, especially in the transportation and energy sectors. The primary strategy has been buying out companies or a portfolio of operational brownfield projects. Sellers of such projects have been motivated by the need to reduce their debt and in some cases carve out non-core assets. Buyers of brownfield assets have been motivated by getting access to assets that are operational, thereby giving them a foothold in the Indian market. Also Read – A special kind of bondHowever, as brownfield assets see more capital pursuing them, we see two trends emerging. Firstly, high-quality brownfield assets for sale are fewer now, given the capital inflow over the last few years. Secondly, given the increased competition, from an investor’s perspective, due to the yield compression in brownfield assets, the returns available may not be in proportion to the underlying risk. Therefore, the need for investors to move beyond brownfield assets is one that needs attention. Also Read – Insider threat managementFor India, focused investors such as pension funds and private equity funds, the requirement to look beyond brownfield infrastructure assets were in the works for a while. Mainly, extending further out on the risk curve is required to deploy more capital to work. Beyond brownfield assets, investors must now consider assets that aren’t necessarily purely greenfield but are under-construction and close to completion. The move towards under-construction projects will allow investors access to a larger pool of assets to choose from. Given the still strained balance sheets in the infrastructure sector, opportunities exist that need to be tapped. The move towards assets that aren’t operational or a portfolio of such assets is a natural progression in the market. The vital question is the valuation of such assets. Fundamentally, for distressed projects and under-construction projects, there is a potential for unlocking value by investors accessing such projects. Acquiring projects suffering from either time and cost overruns, or both for that matter, at attractive valuations is the key. The seller of such assets can unlock much-needed capital, and the users of such assets can hope to access the much-needed infrastructure sooner. In effect, investors will have to be more “hands-on” in approaching under-construction projects. The need for a more operationally intensive plan will require financial investors to team up with operator companies. Such partnerships will take a variety of forms ranging from joint ventures to the utilisation of financial vehicles that allow for partnerships between operators and capital providers. For operational industry players such as integrated energy businesses, an opportunity exists wherein they can potentially utilise their operational expertise to get an edge in the infrastructure market. The recent deal in which Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) monetised a pool of arbitration awards is a variant of this strategy, and a deal that displays how investors can unlock value through moving higher on the risk curve. In this particular case, HCC gets access to much-needed liquidity and the investors, the Blackrock-led consortium, get an opportunity to utilise their long-term capital to generate investment returns. Over the past few years, the investor interest in accessing high-quality brownfield assets to deploy capital has been a natural first step taken by both large and small players entering Indian markets. Given the constrained balance sheets of many Indian businesses especially infrastructure companies has meant that carving out and monetisation of assets to reduce debt was a natural progression in the market. However, in a multi-decade time horizon, given India’s vast infrastructure needs, a move higher on the risk curve towards under-construction projects to be able to deploy more significant amounts of capital is only natural. From an investor perspective, accessing non-brownfield projects implies dealing with three primary issues around land acquisition, construction risk, and an effective infrastructure-linked ecosystem. The immediate investment focus must shift towards projects or portfolios of projects where risk linked to the latter two must be undertaken, while land acquisition issues have primarily been resolved. The capacity of investors and the strategies adopted to deal with non-brownfield projects will lead to increased infrastructure investments and will expedite infrastructure creation. Investors and the government will have to keep a keen eye on any policy changes that might be needed as the market evolves with increasing amounts of capital looking towards incomplete and yet attractive infrastructure assets. (The author heads Development Tracks, an infrastructure advisory firm. Views expressed are strictly personal)
London: Lily James says she constantly worries about getting boxed in “romantic girl” roles. In an interview with Psychologies magazine, the 30-year-old actor said she believes there are many parts to her personality which are yet to be explored. “It sometimes stresses me out that I’m being offered a lot of roles that fit that description because I have much more to offer than being confined to that ‘romantic girl’ box – I have many sides to my personality,” James said. Also Read – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has James Cameron’s fingerprints all over it: Arnold Schwarzenegger”I can get angry quite easily if things bother me… I want to be able to express my many different sides in all sorts of characters,” she added. James, however, said that she still remembers a key piece of advice she received from Kenneth Branagh, her Cinderella director, to calm herself down. “When I was working with Kenneth Branagh on Cinderella, he told me I must be patient and that I had a long career ahead of me and opportunities would open up in time. That advice keeps me from getting upset or worrying too much about being typecast,” the actor said. James will be next seen in Danny Boyle’s next, Yesterday, opposite Himesh Patel.
Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has explained why he snubbed a move away from the club to join Barcelona this summer.The Frenchman was the subject of a transfer interest from the Catalan club this summer with many expecting him to make the move to the Camp Nou but the former Real Sociedad star announced he would be staying with the Los Colchoneros on the eve of this summer’s World Cup in Russia.Griezmann who was also linked with a move to Manchester United back in the summer of 2017 revealed to L’Equipe (h/t Sport’s Patricia Martinez), as quoted by Bleacher Report that is it “difficult to say no to teams like Barca” before giving his reasons for staying with Diego Simeone’s side:“When you’re shown love at home, you don’t go elsewhere. They did everything possible to make me feel good, including bringing in important players and building a great team. I feel like the base…or the most important piece of the puzzle, that is what made me stay.”Barcelona were keen to pay Griezmann’s €100 million release clause and bring him to the Camp Nou. The club had even reserved their No. 7 shirt for the 27-year-old, according to multiple reports in the Spanish press.Griezmann says stopping matches for anti-gay chanting is a “good thing” Manuel R. Medina – September 11, 2019 France forward Antoine Griezmann supports the Ligue 1 compromise to stop matches if there are anti-gay chants coming out from the supporters’ groups.The World Cup winner has gone on to commit his future to Atletico by signing a new five-year deal which will keep him at the club until 2023.Barcelona still enjoyed a summer of spending and brought in Arthur, Clement Lenglet, Arturo Vidal and Malcom during the transfer window.Griezmann was voted the third best player at the just concluded FIFA World Cup after scoring three goals in France’s run to glory.