President Motlanthe’s new cabinet

first_imgSouth Africa’s Houses of Parliament. (Image: South African Tourism) South African President Kgalema Motlanthe. (Image: Passia)Mary AlexanderKgalema Motlanthe was sworn in as South Africa’s third post-apartheid president yesterday, after receiving 269 of the 360 votes cast by members of parliament. The opposition Democratic Alliance’s candidate Joe Seremane received 50 votes, while 41 ballots were spoiled. Former speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete was appointed deputy president.Motlanthe then announced his new cabinet, with 10 ministers appointed to new posts. Significantly, Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel was reappointed to his position following his resignation on Tuesday. Manuel’s retention is seen as a clear indication that the new administration has no plans to change its economic policies.Grabbing more headlines was the replacement of controversial former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang with Barbara Hogan, with the former being appointed minister in the presidency. Tshabalala-Msimang has been widely slammed for her failure to adequately respond to South Africa’s HIV/Aids pandemic, while Hogan has been an outspoken critic of the health ministry’s policies on the disease. Hogan is also said to be a close confidante of Motlanthe.In his first speech to parliament as president, Motlanthe gave the assurance that his administration would not deviate from existing ANC policies.“The policies of this government are clear,” he said.“They are based on the 2004 Manifesto of the African National Congress, enhanced by the decisions of both the ANC’s Policy Conference as well as its 52nd National Conference held in Polokwane in December 2007.“Mine is not the desire to deviate from what is working. It is not for me to reinvent policy. Nor do I intend to reshape either Cabinet or the public service.“We will not allow that the work of government be interrupted. We will not allow the stability of our democratic order to be compromised.”Motlanthe’s election comes after former president Thabo Mbeki resigned on Sunday 21 September, following a request by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) that he do so the day before. The new president will lead the South Africa until the next elections, scheduled for April 2009.The 10 new Cabinet ministers are:Defence: Charles NqakulaJustice and Constitutional Development: Enver SurtyHealth: Barbara HoganSafety and Security: Nathi MthethwaPublic Enterprises: Brigitte MabandlaPublic Works: Geoff DoidgeIntelligence: Siyabonga CweleThe Presidency: Manto Tshabalala-MsimangProvincial and Local Government: Sicelo ShicekaPublic Service and Administration: Richard BaloyiThose who retained their positions are:Finance: Trevor ManuelSocial Development: Zola SkweyiyaEducation: Naledi PandorLabour: Membathisi MdladlanaCorrectional Services: Ngconde BalfourHousing: Lindiwe SisuluArts and Culture: Pallo JordanSport and Recreation: Makhenkesi StofileEnvironmental Affairs and Tourism: Marthinus van SchalkwykWater Affairs and Forestry: Lindiwe HendricksMinerals and Energy: Buyelwa SonjicaHome Affairs: Noziviwe Mapisa-NqakulaForeign Affairs: Nkosazana-Dlamini ZumaTransport: Jeff RadebeCommunications: Ivy Matsepe-CasaburriTrade and Industry: Mandisi MphalwaScience and Technology: Mosibudi MangenaAgriculture and Land Affairs: Lulu XingwanaDo you have queries or comments about his article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related articlesMotlanthe to be acting presidentMbeki resigns as SA presidentGovernment in South AfricaSouth Africa’s ConstitutionSouth Africa’s political partiesUseful linksPresidency of South Africa Parliament of South AfricaSouth African Government Onlinelast_img read more

Free-range eggs offer an opportunity for the next generation

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Tough crop prices, limited land expansion opportunities and a promising young generation encouraged Tim and Angie Brumme to seek out new options to diversify their Big Little Farms, LLC tucked in the beautiful rolling hills near Killbuck in Holmes County.“We farm 800 acres of row crops and hay. We have cattle and sheep and we rely on a lot of rental ground. We decided we wanted to do something on our own ground for more stability,” Tim said. “We have two daughters and are looking for the next generation. There are a lot of broilers around and some hogs and neither was a good fit for us. We were looking at options in February of 2015 when we saw an ad from Kalmbach looking for growers for cage-free, free-range eggs. The costs are not much higher per building, but they are higher per bird. We could see some opportunity with this, though, as McDonald’sThe pastures must meet very specific requirements for the laying facility.and Panera and one restaurant chain after another announced they were going cage-free. We toured some farms and decided to get started.”Tim and Angie, their daughters Kylee, 12, and Kassidy, 10, and Tim’s parents, Bruce and Lynn — with plenty of prayers — made the commitment to get into the free-range egg business on a contractual basis with Kalmbach Feeds. They put built two layer buildings on the farm.“I think this is a great opportunity for family farms to move forward and for us I think this is good for the next generation,” Angie said. “Our prayer was for God to shut the door on this if we weren’t supposed to do it, but things kept working out. I never thought I’d borrow this much money in my life. We got a 15-year loan and if we put every dime back in it the payoff is eight or nine years. Kalmbach arranges for the birds. They have been a great family to work with. Kalmbach is very family oriented. They have their own contract pullet growers. We have the birds for 14 months and then they go to an auction. We own the building and do the labor. They own the birds and supply the feed and market the eggs.”While they were in the process of handling the financing for the project, news about the avian influenza outbreak in Iowa rippled through the poultry production community and gave the Brummes a good scare, but they proceeded, undaunted. The construction process was also more time consuming than planned.“Kalmbach gave us a suggested list of approved builders and we picked from that. The barn is basically a horseshoe with two 52-foot by 536-foot laying barns connected by a 50-foot by 50-foot building with an office, cooler and packing area,” Tim said. “The bins for feed storage are on the inside.”To be free-range, there are very specific requirements for the pasture area.“We had to put an organic pasture mix in with clover, meadow fescue, festulolium and orchardgrass and we needed two square feet of pasture per bird,” Tim said. “For the pastures, the fence is like Ft. Knox. It is not so much to keep the chickens in but to keep the rodents out. The two-inch by four-inch wire fence is 48 inches high and we have steel buried four inches in the ground and at least 24 inches above ground. Then we need a foot-wide stone barrier on each side of the fence with no vegetation. There are also around 300 mousetraps around this facility. Mice carry E. coli and that can lead to E. coli and salmonella in the eggs. All of the access is away from the pasture area to keep traffic away from the birds. We let them out after morning laying and they come in about dark. They don’t go out in rain or extreme heat if the pastures are really muddy.”The chicken accouterments are even more elaborate inside the facility.“The nesting boxes are down the center the whole length of the barn with access from both sides. They are double-sided and each box is four feet wide and a couple feet deep. The bottom is sloped and there is a hole just big enough for the egg to get through. The sloped bottom has this plastic grass, so it is very plush. There is a roof over the box so they have a darker, private area to lay eggs and from there the eggs go down to a belt,” Tim said. “The nest boxes are in the middle then there are 16 feet on either side with raised slats with feed and water. The floor slopes down and the manure falls through. The outside 10 feet is a scratch area. We have more than the required 1.2 square feet per bird. There are perches on the top of the nesting boxes and on the edges of the raised slats. There are hanging perches so the chickens can even jump up and swing.”The finishing touches on the first barn on the farm were completed just before the chickens arrived.“Barn 1 was done Jan. 27 and we got the birds for that barn on Jan. 29,” Tim said. Barn 2 was done March 8 and we got those birds March 11.”While the building process itself was a huge change for the farm, the learning curve with the arrival of the birds was an even bigger change. The Brummes had to initially train the birds.“You are training the birds where the nest box is and where they need to eat and drink,” Angie said. “The birds seek out the shadow places and when you are walking they want to move to the shaded places in the nesting boxes. If you are walking through their space every half hour they learn to go into their nest boxes to lay. They also get used to you being in there and that helps with production. At night, we have to help train them where their food and water is — you have to go through and pick up every bird on the floor when the lights go out. The first couple of nights we were picking up several thousand birds. It was a lot of squats.”Between the two barns, there are 46,000 chickens with each barn producing more than 21,000 eggs a day. The morning is the most crucial time to be in the barn and turn the belt that runs below the nesting boxes.“We get the birds at 16 weeks. They start laying at 18 or 19 weeks. They peak out at 28 weeks or so andOn-farm biosecurity is an extremely important part of maintaining a healthy flock.then you are hoping that it holds on for as long as possible. You hope for 52 weeks. At 40 weeks in Barn 1 and 34 weeks in Barn 2 they were at 94% and 95% laying. Barn 1 is cage-free, organic and free-range. They have organic feed, pasture access and cage-free housing in Barn 1. Barn 2 is cage -free, free-range and conventional feed. We have to be able to certify the pasture organically and we were able to do that for Barn 1. We may do that for Barn 2 in the future. The organic feed costs more and we have extra paperwork and expense with the organic facility. We also have to have a water filtration system and we have to use organic approved treatment, so we have more expense for the organic but so far it seems more lucrative,” Tim said. “It takes 35 minutes to run the belt one full loop at full speed. We max out at 9,000 eggs on the belt. If you get more than that you start to break stuff. We walk the barns three times a day for three reasons: picking up floor eggs, which if you did a good job training those are not common; to check that the equipment functioning properly — feeders, waterers, lights and ventilation; and looking for sick or injured birds.”The eggs go from the belt to a conveyor to the packing machine that puts them in flats of 30 eggs. They are paid a set price per dozen eggs.“We stack the flats on pallets by hand. We look for any cracked eggs or feathers or anything. The whole process takes about four hours every morning and you have to be there. The afternoon is more flexible. We then run each barn once in the afternoon,” Tim said. “We get it all in the cooler and fill out the paperwork. There is a lot of cleaning every day for broken eggs and feathers. A lot of bleach gets used.”“And cleaning egg off the floor is not fun,” Angie added.The level of biosecurity required for the facilities was also a change on the farm.“For biosecurity you enter the first room to get out of the weather and there is a foot bath to bleach your shoes before the second room. In the second room you strip down to underwear and there is a shower if we need to shower in. The third room has barn clothes to change into and there you can enter the packing room,” Tim said. “The only access to the birds is through the packing room. Then to enter a specific barn you change into boots specific to each barn and you bleach your shoes. We wear hairnets, gloves and dust masks specific to each barn. If you have been around other poultry, hogs or house birds, you can’t go into the barn for 72 hours.”The only experience with chickens the Brummes had prior to this very significant addition to their farm was a small flock of backyard layers. They have really learned quite a bit in a very short time about chicken behaviors.“We have all of this space but chickens are funny and they are always huddled up,” Angie said. “Some birds never want to go outside. Some just stand by the door and eat bugs. Some go out in the morning, some go out in the afternoon. They each do their own thing how they want to do it. Some stand by the door with their backsides facing out in the breeze.”The biggest challenge to date has been the chickens’ extreme aversion to bright lights.“The biggest surprise is flashes of light and the affect it has on the birds. They go crazy when they see a flash of light,” Tim said. “I was seeding the pastures and there was a reflection off of the tractor into the barn. They piled up in one corner and we lost 105 birds in 10 minutes. Now we only take equipment in our pastures on a cloudy day or at dusk. Light will even flash off your watch and bother them.”Another challenge is the birds’ proclivity for establishing a pecking order that is to the detriment of smaller birds in the open, cage-free system.“You start with birds of a very uniform size. That helps a whole bunch. We use lighting intensity to help control things too. We keep the lights at 60% or so — fully intensified 100% LED lights intensifies the pecking. If you do see a bird getting picked on you need to remove it. If there is a smaller bird, that is when it will happen,” Tim said. “We are working on a rehab pen. We are separating off part of the water and food lines to let any smaller birds have access to feed and water without getting picked on. Then when they get bigger we can reintroduce them with the rest.”Manure management is another important consideration for the farm.“We plan to use most of the manure on the crop ground. The manure is pretty dry,” Tim said. “We had to get a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan for the manure. We have enough acreage to spread it ourselves and we have a waiting list of people who want to buy it if we need to sell it. We need 750 or so acres with our crop mix and we are right at 800 acres. We soil tested everything and are working with the Soil and Water Conservation District. The birds leave in 14 months and then we have two weeks to clean barns between flocks — 350 tons of manure to remove from the barn and bleach everything down. That will be a busy two weeks.”The new venture for the Brummes has been quite a bit of work, but ultimately has been a good fit for the farm, and its future.“The chickens are happy to see you. They interact with you,” Tim said. “It fits into our schedule time wise, but getting to church on Sundays is sometimes a challenge. It has rearranged everything. It is like having a newborn, but I like the way the birds are housed and the interaction with the birds. It all kind of fit for us. My daughters are 10 and 12 and I don’t necessarily want them in a hog barn, but this is something they can help with at their ages. They do the nightly walk every day. The girls like to find colorful chickens in the barn and find their favorites. We spend about four hours in the morning out here and then two hours in the afternoon. It is seven days a week and every day there are three generations of our family working here on the farm.”last_img read more

All About Vapor Diffusion

first_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in Building scientists talk about several different moisture transport mechanisms. Most of these mechanisms — for example, water entry due to a roof leak — are easy to understand. Other transport mechanisms, like vapor diffusion, aren’t quite as intuitive.First, some basic definitions. Water vapor is water in a gaseous state — that is, water that has evaporated. It is invisible.Water vapor diffusion is the movement of water vapor through vapor-permeable materials. Vapor diffusion happens through a solid material even when the material has no holes.A typical example of vapor diffusion happens when a material — for example, gypsum drywall installed on a wall — separates two zones. If the air on one side of the drywall is very damp, and the air on the other side of the drywall is very dry, moisture in the air will diffuse through the drywall.To understand how this happens, imagine how drywall takes on water when it is damp. On a dry day in Arizona, drywall is crisp. When scored with a sharp knife, it can be easily snapped. However, if a sheet of drywall is left for a week lying flat on a damp basement slab in Vermont, it gets limp and noodly. Drywall absorbs moisture like a sponge from either face, and it also dries out readily from either face via evaporation.If the drywall is screwed to a stud wall that separates a damp area from a dry area, the drywall absorbs moisture on its damp side. Moisture evaporates from its dry side. The moisture has moved through the drywall by diffusion.When water vapor diffuses through a vapor-permeable material, the driving force is either a vapor pressure difference (in which case the water vapor moves from the zone of higher vapor pressure to the zone of lower vapor pressure) or a… center_img This article is only available to GBA Prime Memberslast_img read more

Buddhadeb out of CPI (M) Bengal State Committee

first_imgTwenty senior leaders — including former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee — have been “released” from the West Bengal State Committee of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Thursday. As many as 17 new members are inducted into the 80-member Committee. The youngest member of the State Committee is Madhuja Sen Roy (33) while the seniormost is Biman Basu (77), a Politburo member. The seniormost leaders, including Mr. Bhattacharjee, have been accommodated as special invitees, party’s State Secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said after the 4-day-long triennial State conference.Mr. Bhattacharjee participated in a couple of sessions of the State conference and was repeatedly requested by party’s senior leadership to stay in the State Committee. “But once he takes a decision, it is very difficult to make him change his mind. He wanted the State Committee to release him. We resisted but, finally, we had to release him owing to health-related issues,” he said. Besides Mr. Bhattacharjee, the senior leaders who are now out of the State Committee but accommodated as special invitees are: Shyamal Chakraborty, Madan Ghosh, Dipak Sarkar, Basudeb Acharya, Kanti Ganguly, Asim Dasgupta and Nirupam Sen. New team The upper age limit of the State Committee members is fixed at 75 years. “Only in the case of Biman Basu, the rule has been relaxed by the Committee as he is more youthful than the younger leaders,” Mr. Mishra said. He said the party at the State level has followed its policy to develop a team of “youth, middle-aged and senior members”.last_img read more

State League Wrap

first_imgThe Melbourne City Lions have won their second Women’s VT League title after defeating the Bayside Vipers by one touchdown. The win continues the two team’s strong rivalry over the past three years, and is revenge for the Lions’ loss to the Vipers in the 2008 grand final. Despite their loss in the Women’s division, the Vipers took home two of the three major awards on finals day of the 2009 VT League at Port Melbourne, winning the Men’s division and also winning the Licence Minor Premiership. The Lions went into the Women’s finals series as the form team of the season, with the Vipers not far behind. The Lions went through the first 14 rounds without losing a game, before being beaten by the Vipers in round 15. In the elimination finals, the Western Dodgers upset the Northern Falcons by two touchdowns, while the Uni Blues were two touchdown winners over the Casey Cougars. The Dodgers then progressed to the semi finals to play the Lions, with the Lions winning 7-3. In the other semi, the Vipers were too good for the Blues, winning 4-2.In wet conditions in the final, the Lions led by two touchdowns at half-time, and further extended their lead early in the second half to lead three nil. Two quick touchdowns to the Vipers got them into the game, but it was too little too late, with the Lions taking the game 3-2. After 15 rounds of the Men’s division, the Vipers finished on top of the VT League ladder with 13 wins and two losses. Last year’s premiers, the Western Dodgers, finished in second place, with nine wins and six losses. In the elimination finals, the Lions were 10-7 winners over the Cougars, as were the Blues over the Falcons. The Lions then pushed the Vipers all the way in the first semi, with the eventual premiers winning by one touchdown to progress through to the final. In the other semi, the Dodgers were three touchdown winners over the Blues.In the final, the Dodgers got out to a strong start, leading by two touchdowns at the break, 4-2. The Dodgers were reduced to four players at one stage in the second half, with the Vipers making the most of the opportunity, hitting back to score three touchdowns to give them the lead. After another Dodgers player was sent to the sin bin, the Vipers kept the scoreboard ticking over to claim the Men’s VT League title 8-5. The following awards were presented following the finals:Licence Minor Premiership  –  Bayside VipersFair Play team award – Northern Falcons Women’s teamMost Influential Male – Wylie McQueen (Casey Cougars)                                  Jamie Tang (Uni Blues)Most Influential Female  – Leah Percy (Melbourne City Lions)Best and Fairest Female – Brooke James (Bayside Vipers)Best and Fairest Male – Troy Booth (Northern Falcons)Best on ground – Women’s grand final – Leah Percy (Melbourne City Lions)Best on ground – Men’s grand final – Thomas Zwart (Western Dodgers)Players referee of the tournament – Julie DavineEmerging referee of the tournament – Johnny KatalACT Super LeagueAll four ACT Super League clubs will take part in the Men’s and Women’s grand finals on Thursday, 10 December 2009. In the Women’s division, Woden Eagles will play the Canberra City Bears after the Eagles defeated the Tuggeranong Valley Vikings by two touchdowns in the qualifying final, 4-2. In the Men’s grand final, the Vikings will play the UC Otters after the Vikings defeated the Eagles 7-6 in a drop off in the qualifying final. In the Women’s division, the Bears finished the six round competition on top of the ladder, with five wins from their six games. They have been undefeated since their round one loss to the Vikings. The Eagles finished in third place on the ladder, with two wins, three losses and one draw from their six games. Their best result prior to the finals was their four-all draw against the Vikings in round six. The Eagles then upset the Vikings in the qualifying final to progress through to the final. The Eagles and the Bears met twice this season, with the Bears winning both games – by four touchdowns in round two and five touchdowns in round five.  The final between the Bears and the Eagles will be played at 7.40pm on Thursday, 10 December 2009.In the Men’s division, the Otters were the first team to progress through to the grand final after finishing the season on top of the ACT Super League Men’s ladder. The Otters went through the season undefeated with four wins and two draws from their six games, with draws against the Eagles and the Vikings. The Vikings finished the season in third position, with two wins, three losses and one draw from their six games.The Otters and the Vikings met twice this season, with the Otters defeating the Vikings by three touchdowns in round three, while the teams drew seven-all in round five. They will meet again in the final on Thursday, 10 December at 6.50pm.         For more information, please visit the following website:www.acttouch.com.au VT LEAGUERESULTSMEN’S – ELIMINATION FINALSFirst Elimination Final:Melbourne City Lions 10 def Casey Cougars 7Second Elimination Final:Uni Blues 10 def Northern Falcons 7MEN’S – SEMI FINALSFirst Semi Final:Bayside Vipers 10 def Melbourne City Lions 9Second Semi Final:Western Dodgers 7 def Uni Blues 4 MEN’S – GRAND FINALBayside Vipers 8 def Western Dodgers 5WOMEN’S- ELIMINATION FINALFirst Elimination Final:Northern Falcons 1 def by Western Dodgers 3 Second Elimination Final:Uni Blues 3 def Casey Cougars 1WOMEN’S – SEMI FINALSFirst Semi Final:Melbourne City Lions 7 def Western Dodgers 3Second Semi Final:Bayside Vipers 4 def Uni Blues 2WOMEN’S – GRAND FINALMelbourne City Lions 3 def Bayside Vipers 2ACT SUPER LEAGUERESULTSWOMEN’S – QUALIFYING FINALTuggeranong Valley Vikings 2 def by Woden Eagles 4WOMEN’S – GRAND FINALCanberra City Bears v Woden EaglesMEN’S – QUALIFYING FINALTuggeranong Valley Vikings 7 def Woden Eagles 6MEN’S – GRAND FINALUC Otters v Tuggeranong Valley Vikingslast_img read more

Urban Meyer Says Braxton Miller Position Change Story “Jumped The Gun”: “I Haven’t Made Those Decisions Yet”

first_imgBraxton Miller wears his helmet during warm-ups at Rutgers.PISCATAWAY, NJ – OCTOBER 24: Braxton Miller #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during warmups before a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at High Point Solutions Stadium on October 24, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) braxton miller urban meyer 2012 ohio state spring gameTwitter/@StephDEpifanioSports Illustrated dropped a late news bomb on the college football world earlier, with the news that Braxton Miller will be moving to wide recevier/h-back for the coming season. The move has been met with praise from Buckeye fans, and members of the team. One key member of the program isn’t ready to fully commit to the move, however: head coach Urban Meyer. The three-time national champion told The Columbus Dispatch that reports of the official position change are a bit premature.“I haven’t made those decisions yet,” Meyer told The Dispatch. “It’s a little bit jumping the gun here. Braxton came to see me. He’s been talking to me about it (the switch). We’ve been working at it, but I’m not ready to say exactly how we’re going to use him yet.”Considering Pete Thamel’s SI report was based on a conversation with Miller, we have to imagine the move is, in fact, happening. Meyer is probably not thrilled that it was announced in July, giving Virginia Tech and others more than a month to prep for a J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones-led offense, as well as figure out how to defend Miller as a skill guy. Otherwise, this would be a pretty crazy redirection by members of the Buckeye program.[Columbus Dispatch]last_img read more

With new Egypt capital being built what becomes of Cairo

first_imgCAIRO — Billboards across Cairo advertise luxury homes with “breathtaking” views in compounds with names like “La Verde” or “Vinci” in Egypt’s new capital that is under construction in the desert, miles from the Nile-side city which has been the seat of power for more than 1,000 years.Often, what lies behind the billboards are Cairo’s most overcrowded neighbourhoods, with shoddily built homes and dirt roads frequently inundated with sewage water.A city of some 20 million people combining charm and squalor, Cairo may soon witness an exodus by well-heeled residents, state employees and foreign embassies to the New Administrative Capital, as the vast project in the desert is provisionally known. It will be the latest phase in the flight of the rich, many of whom have already moved to gated communities in new suburbs, leaving the old Cairo in neglect and decay.The new capital — a proper name has yet to be found — is the $45 billion brainchild of general-turned-president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the biggest of the mega-projects he launched since taking office in 2014. He contends the projects, ranging from new roads and housing complexes to a Suez Canal expansion, attract investors and create jobs.Senior officials boastfully compare what has been built under el-Sissi to monuments like the Giza Pyramids.“History will do justice to this generation of Egyptians and our grandsons will remember its achievement, a wave of construction unprecedented in modern-day Egypt,” Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly, also the housing minister, proclaimed.Critics call the new capital a vanity project, arguing its cost could have been better put to rebuilding the wrecked economy and refurbishing Cairo.They also see it as evidence of el-Sissi’s authoritarianism, launching a multibillion-dollar plan with little debate. El-Sissi often lashes out at those who question him, telling Egyptians to listen only to him and saying he’s answerable to God alone. He often says Egypt’s resources are limited — leading some Egyptians, struggling amid skyrocketing prices, to wonder why so much is spent on questionable projects.“There is something very wrong with the order of priorities,” said political analyst Hassan Nafaa. “Maybe el-Sissi wants to go down in history as the leader who built the new capital, but if Egyptians don’t see an improvement in their living conditions and services, he will be remembered as the president who destroyed what is left of the middle class.”The government argues that Cairo is already bursting at the seams and will grow to 40 million by 2050.The new city is being built on 170,000 acres about 28 miles east of Cairo and nearly twice its size. Construction began in 2016, and the first of its forecast 6.5 million residents are scheduled to move there next year.The city will house the presidency, Cabinet, parliament and ministries. Planners promise a 21-mile-long public park, an airport, an opera house, a sports complex and 20 skyscrapers, including Africa’s highest, at 345 metres.Madbouly denied the new city will only attract the well-off, saying it is “for all Egyptians.”Prices tell a different story. The smallest apartment there — 120 square meters — is expected to cost 1.3 million Egyptian pounds ($73,000), out of reach for a mid-level bureaucrat, who may make the equivalent of about $4,800 a year.“Those targeted to live in the new capital constitute a very, very limited segment of society,” said Nafaa.Ironically, the new capital could one day be overwhelmed by the old, as illegal construction expands. That has often been the way Cairo has evolved, with the rich moving out, only to move again as the city swells, adding layer after layer.“Throughout the history of Cairo, the ruling elite and the rich have failed to completely isolate themselves from the rest of the population,” said novelist Hamdy Abu Golayyel, who authored a book about the city called “Cairo, Streets and Stories.” It will take draconian laws to keep the new city distinct, he said.No one knows how Cairo will be impacted by a new capital and the shift of the seat of power outside of the city for the first time since the Muslim conquest in the 7th Century.Many government buildings in Cairo, for example, are palaces and mansions confiscated by the socialist government of the 1950s and 1960s. In theory, they could be renovated and turned into museums or hotels, proponents argue. But then, many such empty architectural treasures are already left to fall apart or even torn down.The government is renovating some of Cairo’s illegally built neighbourhoods. But in one case, it razed a run-down district and moved out residents after compensating them to make way for a high-end district.Amar Ali Hassan, a sociopolitical expert, believes Cairo’s woes will only deepen.“It could be neglected, become estranged and left to die a slow death,” he said.Sameh Abdallah Alayli, an urban planning expert, wrote in the Al-Shorouk newspaper that the idea of a new capital was unacceptable, construction should be halted and the focus put back on overhauling the ancient city.“Historical Cairo must remain the political capital of Egypt,” he wrote.___Associated Press writer Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report.Hamza Hendawi, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Once a sensation Walking Dead is another show

first_imgNEW YORK — At some point, a television sensation becomes just another show. The numbers illustrate how that’s become the case with AMC’s drama “The Walking Dead.”The zombies are taking a break at the halfway point of their ninth season, following an episode Sunday that was seen by 5.1 million people. The Nielsen company said that at a similar point last year, the midseason finale reached 7.9 million people.That’s a steep drop from the show’s high point, the seventh-season opener that reached 21 million people. AMC says a decline is natural for a show as it ages and that more people are watching on a time-delayed basis.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Royal Bank of Canada rolls out roboadviser platform across country

first_imgCompanies in this story: (TSX:RY, TSX:TD, TSX:BMO)Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Press TORONTO — Royal Bank of Canada has rolled out its robo-adviser platform across the country as demand grows for lower-cost, digital investing options.After launching RBC InvestEase late last year on a trial basis, the Toronto-based lender has now officially opened up the service to new and existing customers across Canada.The platform was developed in response to the “growing middle” segment of clients who want investment advice but do it all online, said Rebecca Peacock, senior director of strategy for RBC InvestEase.“With all of these digital channels invading our lives, more and more people want to do their investing online,” she said. “Up until a few years ago, the only option to do everything online is to do it yourself. And not everyone is comfortable doing that.”The national rollout comes as competition in the robo-adviser space between both incumbent banks and fintechs heats up.Toronto-Dominion Bank recently partnered with U.S. firm Hydrogen to launch its own “robo-guidance” product, and the Bank of Montreal was the first of its peers to launch its digital investing platform, dubbed SmartFolio, in 2016.Meanwhile, robo-adviser Wealthsimple now has roughly 100,000 clients in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., and manages more than $2.5 billion in assets.Prior to the national launch, RBC’s InvestEase was limited on a pilot basis to residents in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan.Customers who use the digitally automated investment adviser will pay 0.5 per cent per year in management fees on investment balances, on top of any management expense ratios (MER) embedded in particular funds.The required minimum balance is $1,000, and RBC says it is waiving its management fee until next October for new clients who sign on within a certain timeframe.last_img read more

Nirav Modis beach bungalow blownup with controlled blast

first_imgRaigad (Maharashtra): Authorities here on Friday carried out a controlled blast to raze the luxurious beach bungalow of absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi, one of the prime accused in the Punjab National Bank scam, official sources said. Over 100 dynamite sticks were strategically placed within and outside the bungalow near Kihim beach, and the blast took place at 11.15 a.m. amidst tight security, said an eyewitness from the site. Few days ago, detonators were fixed at various points on the bungalow – located around 110 km from Mumbai – to carry out the ‘implosion’ and bring it down in a single-shot. Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in Jammu With the complete structure razed to the ground, labourers will now start the work of removing the debris from the venue over the next couple of weeks. On January 25, the Collectorate had initiated the demolition process using traditional methods of bulldozers, excavators and other such manually-operated equipment, but it proved to be a slow and tedious process. Attached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in December 2018, the bungalow was stripped off all its valuables, art works, paintings and other expensive items. All glass structures were removed to enable the controlled blasting. Also Read – Shashi Tharoor writes to PM Modi: Don’t let your ‘mann ki baat’ become ‘maun ki baat’ Modi, along with his uncle Mehul Choksi and others, are the prime accused and fugitives in the Rs 14,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud admitted in February 2018. Though the Alibag bungalow was not directly linked with the PNB scam, it was attached by the ED along with his known assets in Maharashtra, Gujarat and other places in an effort to recover a part of the dues from Modi. Built in 2009-2010, on a 70,000 square feet plot, the 33,000 square feet bungalow with several bedrooms is accessible through a long driveway, protected by high metal fencing and a huge security gate, and was noted for lavish parties hosted here regularly. The demolition process followed orders of the Bombay High Court in a Public Interest Litigation filed by NGO Shamburaje Yuva Kranti (SYK), seeking action against various illegal bungalows, hotels and resorts violating the high tide and low tide zones in tiny villages dotting the beaches of Raigad. SYK state chief Surendra Dhavale said that so far 10 bungalows have been demolished in the past few months, and now Modi’s bungalow was razed, with at least another four dozen on the Collector’s demolition list. “The claimed value of the (Modi) property is cited as Rs 13 crore, but given the current market rates, this bungalow is worth over Rs 100 crore,” Dhavale told IANS. Besides, Choksi – now a citizen of Antigua & Barbuda, many celebrities, industrialists, top businessmen, film and television personalities own big and small properties on this picturesque stretch of central coastal Konkan region, barely an hour’s boat ride from the mainland at Gateway of India.last_img read more