Walking the tightrope of service and risk management

first_imgMaintaining auto insurance coverage is what most would consider “old news.” For borrowers and lenders alike, it is a necessary investment that protects all invested parties from experiencing loss. Specifically for lenders, getting borrowers to comply with the terms of their auto loan contract is particularly critical as a breach of contract could have an adverse effect on your bottom line.However, what many lenders are learning is in light of COVID-19 and the economic uncertainty that has accompanied the shutdown of many businesses and industries across the country, many consumers are under significant financial duress. Financial hardship measures have been put in place to support consumers, providing payment extensions and loan forbearance options, but with an economic future that is wrought with uncertainty, there is a high likelihood that insurance coverage—and the subsequent tracking and placement of collateral protection insurance (CPI)—will be impacted.Walking the TightropeFrom a financial institution perspective, balancing risk with your member service is much like walking a tightrope. Given the current state of affairs in our economy, financial institutions are certainly being sensitive to the financial stress some of their borrowers are experiencing; however, they are not immune to auto loan portfolio risk. Some of the risk management-related concerns my financial institution clients have expressed include: ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Michael’s see off Clonmel town in Munster Junior Cup

first_imgThe Tipp Town side beat Clonmel Town 3-0 in the 3rd Round yesterday.Their win at the Dr Pat O’Callaghan Complex means they’re on course to win the provincial competition for a ninth time. In the other 3rd Round ties in the South Tipp area Tipperary Town won 5-2 at St Nicholas and Peake Villa defeated Clonmel Celtic 2-1 after extra time.last_img

COUNTDOWN TO CROKER: REFEREES NAMED FOR ALL-IRELAND FINALS

first_imgTHE GAA has named the two referees for Donegal’s Senior and Minor All-Ireland finals clashes with Kerry.Eddie Kinsella, right, from Co Laois will referee the All-Ireland senior football final, the GAA has confirmed.It will be his first senior final. He has been in charge of the All-Ireland Under 21 final in 2011, the All-Ireland Senior Club final in 2014, one Leinster SFC final and one Munster SFC final.Fergal Kelly of Longford will referee the minor game between Donegal v Kerry. COUNTDOWN TO CROKER: REFEREES NAMED FOR ALL-IRELAND FINALS was last modified: September 9th, 2014 by John2Share 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:all-irelandrefereelast_img read more

Funding granted to support disadvantaged communities in Donegal

first_imgFunding of over €150,000 has been granted to support communities in disadvantaged areas in Donegal, it was announced on Wednesday. The initial financial support comes through the Community Enhancement Programme.Speaking after the announcement, Minister Joe McHugh said: “Funding like this has the specific aim of targeting investment where it’s needed, to support projects that improve communities and back the people who work hard on the ground to instil and develop a sense of pride and belonging. “This first tranche of funding of €159,461 under the Community Enhancement Programme will help make noticeable and practical differences to people’s lives.“Money can be used for example for landscaping and lighting in towns or villages or improving communications and internet access for a community.”The Community Enhancement Programme, run by the Department of Rural and Community and Development, will focus its work on improving facilities such as community centres and amenities, town parks and common areas and spaces, CCTV and energy efficiency projects.Minister McHugh said: “I want to see the funding grow this year in the same way it did last year when it soared from the initial tranche of €159,461 to more than €600,000. “And I look forward to seeing as many projects as possible being supported.” Funding granted to support disadvantaged communities in Donegal was last modified: March 27th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare 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

Keeping the Media Safe for Darwin

first_imgThe world’s mainstream science journals often discuss Darwinian ideas. From these fountainheads, science reporters and popularizers collect and distribute their libations. Considering that a large population of the public maintains serious doubts that Darwinism is true, it is instructive to see how issues of origins are stated, and what parts are left unstated. Here are some examples from the journals and the popularized reports that followed. It gets really interesting when problems in evolutionary theory are discussed.Multicellularity – No contest: In an essay in Nature April 5, Paul B. Rainey (U of Auckland) speculated that although the origin of multicellularity is “poorly understood,” good old Darwinian survival of the fittest rises to the explanatory rescue: “Could the evolution of multicellular life have been fuelled by conflict among selective forces acting at different levels of organization?” The default answer must be yes, because no hint of a design alternative was even considered. Instead, considering that the difficulties produce “an impossibly difficult challenge for evolution” that looks at first like an “evolutionary dead-end,” he offered “one plausible scenario” and explained it all with game theory, with cells acting as “cooperators” and “cheaters.” Voila—“this is by no means beyond the capacity of evolution – given an appropriate selective environment.” No debate, no challenge.Marine biology – Born again: One would think the phrase born again to be patented by Christians, but Philippe Janvier in the same April 5 issue of Nature titled his news article “Evolutionary biology: Born-again hagfishes.” Hagfish are jawless, cartilaginous eel-shaped marine vertebrates whose evolutionary ancestry is confused: “the hagfish puzzle,” he calls it. “Palaeontology sometimes settles such conflicts. But it is powerless in this case, because the earliest (300-million-year-old) hagfishes, preserved as soft-tissue imprints, are very similar to living ones.” But is this an opportunity for non-evolutionary hypotheses to get a hearing? Clearly not. Janvier discussed findings of a neural crest in one species that “possibly made vertebrates more competitive in the early stage of their evolution.” Thus, even in the absence of evidence, Darwinian hopes can be born of water and the spirit: “Further analyses of the developmental genetics of hagfish embryos might enable us to discover whether hagfish anatomy is primitive or degenerate, and may help in reconstructing the theoretical common ancestor to all vertebrates.” Animal behavior – Unguided intelligence: A book review in the April 5 Nature mentioned “intelligent” and “design” several times – but not together. Tore Slagsvold reviewed a book called Animal Architects by James L. Gould. Here was a prime opportunity to discuss theories of intelligent design, but the subtitle of the book reveals the only point worthy of discussion: Building and the Evolution of Intelligence. The bulk of the review was only about how animal intelligence and the architectures animals produce might have evolved. Humans were not exempt. A sample quote: “Bower birds are considered to be intelligent, suggesting that recursive cycles of selection for a single set of cognitive building abilities and aesthetic refinements are part of the same sort of positive-feedback loop that may have led to the evolution of the human mind.”History of science – A bow to our worthy opponents: Lest this list appear overly selective, here is an example where non-evolutionary ideas got a plug. Peter Dear (Cornell) reviewed a book in the April 12 Nature that acknowledged the religious motives of many early scientists: Stephen Gaukroger’s The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity 1210�1685. Dear’s review was favorable. It acknowledged the debt of modern science to religion: “Far from separating itself from religion, European science at the time became the principal tool for underpinning it: understanding nature was the path towards knowledge of God” he says (see online book and recent article by Michael Egnor). “And having attained this status by the 1680s, argues Gaukroger, science hasn’t looked back since.” Nevertheless, it could be argued that a historical survey ending in 1685 poses no threat to Darwinism. “By starting the story in thirteenth-century Latin Europe, Gaukroger presents a world in which theology, not ‘natural philosophy’, was regarded as the ‘queen of the sciences’. He then traces how this gradually ceased to be the case, and natural philosophy, albeit of a new kind, displaced theology as the touchstone of cognitive propriety.” Indeed, the child grew to devour its mother: “By the end of the seventeenth century, many people were arguing that the standards and procedures of natural philosophy were appropriate models for all kinds of cognitive enquiry, including those involving theology and religion.” The suggestion was that this was a good, progressive trend.Morality – All men are evolved equal: Whence the human motive for fairness and equality? One need look no farther than natural selection, according to a team writing in the April 12 issue of Nature. Five scientists presented a paper called “Egalitarian motives in humans” that placed this noblest of human ideals squarely on an evolutionary footing. They modeled how a sense of fairness arises through emotions in social groups based on game theory: “The results suggest that egalitarian motives affect income-altering behaviours, and may therefore be an important factor underlying the evolution of strong reciprocity and, hence, cooperation in humans.” A question arises: WWJD? (What would Jefferson declare?) In the scientific community, it is no longer self-evident that all men are created equal, nor endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. The Founding Fathers were noticeably absent in the footnotes. All 14 references (John Maynard Smith, etc.) were to Darwinian papers by Darwinian thinkers presenting Darwinian ideas on this question.Tetrapods – Bite-size Darwin: A paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggested that “Terrestrial-style feeding in a very early aquatic tetrapod is supported by evidence from experimental analysis of suture morphology.” In other words, fish developed a bite before invading the land looking for something to eat. A picture story of the whole tale was promptly supplied by Live Science: “Ability to Bite Evolved in Fishy Ancestors.” No other explanation was hinted at, even though the evolutionary explanation was only tentative: “Did fish make the move to land to escape from predators or to exploit new food sources?” Jeanna Brynner asked. “Our findings do support the idea that they came on land to exploit new food sources, but we’re not sure,” one of the authors admitted. Still, the suggestion was fit enough to print.Public policy – Framed Darwin: Moving on to Science, the problem about what to do with “antievolutionism” was discussed. Matthew Nisbet and Chris Mooney in the April 6 issue of Science equated evolution with science and anything else as pseudoscience. The article mentioned creationism and intelligent design in context of other heated social-policy issues like global warming and stem cell research. The idea was not so much how to hold fair debates on these issues in the marketplace of ideas, but how “scientists” should “frame” their arguments for best effect: “Without misrepresenting scientific information on highly contested issues, scientists must learn to actively ‘frame’ information to make it relevant to different audiences.” They justified this tactic on the argument that opposed groups are also framing their arguments. Yet Nisbet and Mooney hedged a little on whether framing arguments for social acceptance amounts to a kind of misrepresentation. Somewhat sheepishly, they stated at the end, “Some readers may consider our proposals too Orwellian, preferring to safely stick to the facts. Yet scientists must realize that facts will be repeatedly misapplied and twisted in direct proportion to their relevance to the political debate and decision-making. In short, as unnatural as it might feel, in many cases, scientists should strategically avoid emphasizing the technical details of science when trying to defend it.” This raises many moral and ethical issues for a group of professionals often on the public dole who are assumed to be objective. Launching from that word “Orwellian,” some of the “antievolutionists” discussed these issues on Evolution News and Access Research Network.Genetics – Primate’s Progress: The rhesus monkey genome made the cover of Science April 13. There were surprises, but nothing blocked the “evolutionary insights” from passing through. One major surprise was that the chimpanzee seems to have more evidence of positive selection than humans. This anomaly, however, was no threat to “big picture” of evolution but will undoubtedly “shed light” on how natural selection works. The boon for “understanding primate evolution” was promptly echoed in Science News (“Primate’s Progress”), National Geographic, BBC News and other science news outlets.Paleontology – Dino Protein: Because it deserves mention again in this context, recall how the announcement of protein fragments in dinosaur bone was “framed” for the media (04/12/2007 entry).Aesthetics – Dance for Darwin: Venturing into the arts, an evolutionary ballet called Orion was reviewed by John Bohannon in Science April 13. Except for a few simplistic reductions of complex subjects and trying to cover too much material, it was gorgeously good, he thought. The script is seamless from big bang to man: “the dancers bring the rapidly evolving universe into being…. From here, we dance through the history of the universe along a logarithmic scale. By the time we reach the midpoint, we’ve already seen inflation, solar systems, complex molecules, cells, and multicellular organisms, and judging by the sound of bird song in the distance, we’re past the Cretaceous by the intermission. The final act is devoted to the past few million years of human evolution, both anatomical and cognitive.” Bohannon describes some of the special effects: “During a footrace between knuckle-walking dancers, the losers curl up and play ‘extinct’ while the survivors gradually stand erect…. A woman peels herself out of a full-body condom and collapses in a melodramatic ending that is pure performance art.” One wonders if this is a Darwinist answer to the creation of Eve.Cell biology – Die, mascot, die: Let’s wrap up this list with a classic example of “framing” an evolutionary argument that appeared today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Everyone tuned to the Darwin vs. Design controversy has heard about the bacterial flagellum, a molecular outboard motor found in many species of bacteria. It has become an unofficial mascot of the Intelligent Design Movement (IDM). Ever since Dr. Michael Behe (Lehigh U) brought the public’s attention to this molecular machine he described as “irreducibly complex” in his highly influential 1996 book Darwin’s Black Box, the flagellum has been a standard-bearer for the IDM. It is prominently featured in the intelligent design documentary Unlocking the Mystery of Life. Could any scientist publishing in a journal be unaware of this? Yet the paper in PNAS by Renyi Liu and Howard Ochman, which specifically addressed the problem of the origin of the bacterial flagellum was startling not only for its claims but its omissions. The reader will search in vain for any mention of intelligent design, or for any footnote reference to Behe, Dembski, Johnson, Minnich, Nelson or any of the other leading intelligent-design scientists who, for over a decade, have held up this molecular machine as a falsification of Darwinian evolution. The reader will also fail to find any mention that alternative explanations exist: only that “Elucidating the origins of complex biological structures has been one of the major challenges of evolutionary studies,” and that “The bacterial flagellum is a primary example of a complex apparatus whose origins and evolutionary history have proven difficult to reconstruct.” Furthermore, the reader will fail to find a Darwinian mechanism by which a functional flagellum could emerge by mindless mutations and blind natural selection. Their entire case relies on homology – similarities between parts. Since there are some sequence similarities in the genes that code for the 50 parts of the flagellum (24 at the theoretical minimum), and since a smaller rotary motor (ATP synthase) bears a slight resemblance to the flagellum, the authors proposed a “Stepwise formation of the bacterial flagellar system” by means of gene duplication and modification. “Within a genome, many of these core genes show sequence similarity only to other flagellar core genes, indicating that they were derived from one another, and the relationships among these genes suggest the probable order in which the structural components of the bacterial flagellum arose.” They left it unstated how ATP synthase might have arrived, considering that it is arguably just as irreducibly complex as the flagellum. Thus all the arguments offered by the IDM against this kind of structure forming naturally were ignored: the need for all the parts to function together or not at all, the failure of co-option to account for “irreducible complexity all the way down,” and the even more complex assembly instructions, to mention a few. The authors did acknowledge that the Type-III Secretion System (TTSS) was probably a devolution, not an ancestor, of the flagellum. But the entirety of their case rested only on similarities between parts. They assumed that this “suggests” a common ancestry – not a common Designer. The huge disparity between what the public thinks about evolution and what the scientific community says is part of a larger problem, said Joel Belz in an editorial for World magazine (April 21, p. 6). “Without a conversation on major issues,” he said, “the media’s intent remains suspect.” In “Seven Big Lies,” Belz singled out Evolution as Number One on his “short list of where the big media regularly get it not just slightly skewed but exactly backwards.” Evolution is one of “seven Big Lies we are all subjected to virtually all the time”:Amazingly, according to polls , the masses—after at least two generations of propaganda—aren’t convinced. By majorities of at least 2-1, they still think “God” had something to do with where everything came from. But evolution remains a basic assumption of the elites who control the media. The evidence? Almost never will you hear an argument. What you almost always get instead is an ”expert.”Other lies in his list are global warming (“‘experts’ instead of serious two-way arguments”): abortion (“imagine 45 million people dying from any other cause…and then avoiding painstaking media analysis”); homosexuality (“Why no serious pursuit of why homosexuals have a life span 20 years shorter than the general population?); stem-cell research (“The mainstream media so often and so consistently confuse the two practices that their basic honesty has to be called into question”); Islam (“But isn’t it a hallmark of serious journalism that the truth must be pursued no matter what the cost?”) and pluralism (“Basic test: How do the media determine which movements can be mocked and ridiculed, and which ones can’t?”). Belz sums it up: “On all these issues—and they’re not tiny, insignificant social questions—we’re not asking that the media agree with us. All we want is an honest discussion. So long as such a conversation is regularly denied, why should we not conclude that someone actually means to be lying to us?”Undoubtedly, the PNAS flagellum paper will become the new official answer of the Darwinists to the IDM challenge of how a complex molecular machine could have evolved. It will be cited endlessly in the journals as proof that the superweapon of the IDM has been defused once for all. Don’t be fooled. Did you notice something? In every case of Darwin spin, the strategy was twofold: (1) assume evolution (begging the question) and (2) ignore the opposition (sidestepping). In case that fails, (3) characterize the opposition as stupid, insane and wicked with association and loaded words. The popularizers take the oracles of the gods and decorate them for the public with visualization, humor, authority and all the other tricks of the tirade (pun intended, for our proofreaders). One of the worst offenders is Lie Science (ditto). The extent of distortion on their evolution propaganda page is breathtaking. It is only surpassed by the silliness of their arguments. Now that you know how the Media Machine operates, you can see how the Darwin Party protects and perpetuates its tyranny. The strategy is repeated in Current Biology, American Naturalist, BioScience and nearly every other mainstream science journal. Intelligent design scientists and their arguments are systematically censored. All arguments are “framed” to keep Charlie’s corpse looking fresh and pink, as materialistic utopia marches onward and upward right past their opponents behind the soundproof barrier. Aren’t you glad for the alternative media? If you have a reaction to these revelations, write here and describe your feelings.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Phenomenal Fossils

first_img(Visited 32 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Recent fossil discoveries include some eye-openers and world records.Ever herd of dinosaurs? Alaska is turning out to be a world-class dinosaur track site. Science Magazine discussed the finding of thousands of tracks in Denali National Park made by a herd of duckbill dinosaurs (hadrosaurs). “The consistent and excellent preservation of tracks suggests all the footprints were created within a short time period,” reporter Sid Perkins says. The tracks included all ages, juvenile to adult. “The presence of juveniles in the herd also strongly hints that these creatures spent their entire lives in the Arctic, the team says; hadrosaurs of that size wouldn’t have had the size or stamina to migrate to and from warmer climates during wintertime, as some scientists have proposed.” Becky Oskin at Live Science noted that “Many of the deep tracks contain preserved skin and ‘nail’ impressions from the plant-eating hadrosaurs.” The tracks were first discovered in 2007 but were described in Geology in June, sources say.Biggest bird: The largest bird fossil ever found was an albatross-like giant with a 24-foot wingspan, Science Daily says. Found near Charleston, South Carolina, Pelagornis sandersi unquestionably flew, even though Live Science says its size exceeds theoretical limits according to some researchers. It was so big, it may have had to catch winds or jump off bluffs to get airborne. The find, much larger than today’s biggest bird, the California condor, was published in PNAS, where the researchers say it had twice the wingspan of the Royal Albatross. Science Magazine, with its large artwork of the bird, says the wingspan exceeds the length of a stretch limousine. The BBC News and National Geographic also reported the find. New Scientist may have the biggest “Wow!” factor, though, showing that even this bird’s wingspan was significantly smaller than that of the extinct pterosaur, Quetzalcoatlus northropi.Mammoth CT scan: Two baby mammoths were scanned with computerized tomography for the first time, PhysOrg reported, yielding a “trove of insights” about internal details. Researchers determined that the young mammoths died from asphyxiation by inhaling mud. It required a mammoth-sized industrial scanner at a Ford testing facility in Michigan to fit these baby giants. Embedded video clips and photos in the article allow readers to view the skeletons in 3-D.Resurrected spider: A CT scan on a much smaller organism—an extinct spider—has allowed engineers to reconstruct its locomotion. Readers of a BBC News article can see the dead live again in a virtual 3-D reconstruction video clip.Amber alert: Chinese scientists looked into a crystal of Fushun amber and found a “diverse paleobiota,” Current Biology reported. “Biotic interchange occurred between Europe and Asia during the Early Paleogene” is one of the published highlights of the examination. Some “Twenty-two orders and more than 80 families of arthropods have been reported so far, making it among the most diverse amber biotas,” they say. “Some insect taxa have close phylogenetic affinities to those from coeval European ambers,” indicating a good deal of foreign exchange in the period.DiNObird debate: Alan Feduccia and Stephen Czerkas, longstanding critics of the dinosaur-to-bird transition, have published their analysis of Scansoriopteryx, arguing that it does not support the consensus view (Science Daily). They believe that both birds and theropods descended from a common ancestor farther back in time. Readers can make their own decisions about the merits of both sides. As for Scansoriopteryx, “The birdlike fossil is actually not a dinosaur, as previously thought, but much rather the remains of a tiny tree-climbing animal that could glide,” they argue.Early man in trouble: Paleoanthropologists are fretting again (what else is new?) over another skull that “raises new questions about human evolution” – that’s Astrobiology Magazine‘s headline, a NASA website that usually doesn’t get into paleoanthropology. Echoing what was reported by Science Daily and Live Science, the article puzzles over a Neanderthal-like ear trait in a non-Neanderthal skull found in China 35 years ago but just subjected to a micro-CT scan.“The discovery places into question a whole suite of scenarios of later Pleistocene human population dispersals and interconnections based on tracing isolated anatomical or genetic features in fragmentary fossils,” said study co-author Erik Trinkaus, PhD, a physical anthropology professor at Washington University in St. Louis.“It suggests, instead, that the later phases of human evolution were more of a labyrinth of biology and peoples than simple lines on maps would suggest.”The fossil also indicates a great deal of interbreeding between ancient humans. In fact, that’s what John Brookfield in The Conversation argues gave living Tibetans their “head for heights”—Neanderthal genes. It would seem any story is up for grabs since the timeline of human origins keeps getting revised (e.g., Science Daily).Once again, we find greater sizes and more diversity in the past than present, and indications of very different climate. The biosphere was drastically changed because of the Flood. So much of the confusion interpreting fossils would evaporate if moyboy paleontologists would just kick the bad habit of dragging everything out over millions of years.last_img read more

No stopping Africa’s growth: Zuma

first_imgPresident Jacob Zuma accompanied by North West Premier Thandi Modise, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel and Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davis opens the Exhibition Centre at the 4th Trade and Investment Conference and Exhibition 2012 held in Sun City. (Image: GCIS) President Jacob Zuma speaks at the opening of the 4th Trade and Investment Conference and Exhibition 2012 held at Sun City. (Image: GCIS) MEDIA CONTACTS • Zanele Mngadi The Presidency +27 82 330 1148 RELATED ARTICLES • Zuma talks partnerships, jobs and other things • Trade fair to boost SADC-China ties • SA becoming a renewable energy hub • Boost for food processing sector SAinfo reporterMajor shifts in governance, trade, infrastructure and demographics will turn Africa’s emergence over the past decade into a sustained economic lift-off, South African President Jacob Zuma said at the International Trade and Investment Conference in North West province on Wednesday.Addressing a high-profile gathering of local and international government and business representatives gathered at the Sun City resort for the two-day event, under the theme “The African Dialogue“, Zuma noted that six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies were now African, and that the continent had grown faster than East Asia in eight of the past 10 years.‘Some executives are still missing the signals’“But despite all the good news, companies have been slow to enter Africa,” Zuma said. “Some executives are still missing the signals. Others question whether Africa’s surge is just the result of a one-off lift by the global commodities boom, or whether it is really a sustained economic take-off.”Zuma said there would be no stopping the rise of Africa – particularly if Africans themselves accepted the fact that their continent was changing. “They must release themselves from the shackles of self-doubt and celebrate these new developments.”Zuma cited a 2010 report by the Mckinsey Global Institute, which found that natural resources explained only a part of the African success story, accounting for about a quarter of the continent’s GDP growth from 2000 through 2008, while other industries, particularly manufacturing and services, contributed the rest.Other, more recent developments in infrastructure and trade meant there would be no going back for Africa.Regional integration, intra-African trade“Firstly, the African Union (AU) has taken a conscious decision about integration and to promote intra-African trade,” Zuma said. Costly barriers were holding intra-African trade down at around 10% – less than half the level of other emerging market regions.“Creating larger regional markets will increase specialisation and competition and boost manufacturing,” Zuma said, noting that a continental free trade area is being established, while at a regional level, a free trade area, bringing together Comesa, the SADC and the East African Community would soon create a market of 26 countries, with a population of about 600-million people and a combined GDP of R7.9-trillion (US$1-trillion).At the same time, infrastructure developments currently under way would remove one of the main factors inhibiting continental trade, integration and economic development.“It has been calculated that if the continent continues to narrow its infrastructure gap, economic growth will receive a further large boost – perhaps by as much as 2 percentage points a year,” Zuma said.Continental infrastructure driveIn view of this, the AU had set up a continental committee of eight heads of state to champion infrastructure projects at the highest level.South Africa was also chair and champion of the North-South Road and Rail Corridor project, which will upgrade road, rail, power and port facilities, as well as simplify cross-border regulatory procedures, across eight countries in eastern and southern Africa.“The projects have already passed the feasibility studies phase and should be at the implementation phase by 2016,” Zuma said.Africa was now able to spend about R575-billion ($72-billion) a year on infrastructure, Zuma said, but there remained a R3.8-trillion ($480-billion) shortfall over the next decade to provide for water, power and transportation needs, “and there is much scope for private participation and investment in this area”.There were further factors supporting a sustainable long-term lift-off in Africa, Zuma said, including the continent’s demographic composition.World’s largest workforce by 2050“In 2010, 42% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population was younger than 14 years old. By 2050, the continent will be home to one in five of the planet’s young people and will have the world’s largest workforce of 1.2-billion.“While other regions rapidly age, Africa will enjoy a demographic competitive advantage of young, energetic and increasingly educated workers to power the continent’s services and manufacturing sectors.”The growth of information and communications technology (ICT) in Africa had also been phenomenal, and showed no signs of slowing, Zuma said.“The number of mobile phone users has multiplied 33 times to 316-million users since the year 2000. The internet is spreading around Africa at an even faster pace.”Africa was open for business, Zuma said. “What is left is for the business sector to grab the opportunity and reap the rewards of this growth, in a manner that promotes inclusive growth, and which creates decent work for the African people.”last_img read more

Jacking Up Buildings in Fairbanks

first_img This article is only available to GBA Prime Members 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 incenter_img How do you build a residential foundation in Fairbanks, Alaska? The answer depends on site conditions — especially soil conditions and the presence or absence of permafrost. The answer may also depend on whether or not you think the climate is warming. Juggling all these factors is tricky, which is why some Fairbanks builders who followed best practices for foundation design ended up with buildings that are now leaning or sinking.From a construction viewpoint, Fairbanks has terrible soils. Some neighborhoods are underlain by permafrost that is hundreds of feet thick; in these areas, only the top few feet of soil ever thaw. Other sites formerly had stable permafrost — permafrost which is now melting. Still others never had permafrost — they just have unstable soils that are tricky to build on.Even builders who have sought the advice of engineers have learned the hard way that an expensive foundation won’t always keep you out of trouble.If you drive through certain Fairbanks neighborhoods, you’ll see lots of examples of buildings that appear to have sunk or settled unevenly. There is no single explanation for all of these foundation failures; each failure is unique. But taken together, these failures represent a cautionary tale for foundation designers.According to a 2017 news article by Emily Gertz on a web site called News Deeply, “Soils in Alaska’s second-largest city are marred by discontinuous permafrost. They’re unpredictable and dynamic and they shift and change, sometimes dramatically from season to season. … ‘There’s a lot of bad things happening with soils,’ said [structural engineer Tim] Henry. ‘I mean, compared to just four or five years ago, there’s a lot more [problems]. Seeing the properties that have been there for a long time and then move after 20 years, that’s real scary, because no one is… last_img read more

BPC race far from Castro’s mind with title as his only goal

first_imgPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netAlex Cabagnot and Chris Ross may be at joint first in the Best Player of the Conference race, but that is the least of Jayson Castro’s concerns.Coming in as underdogs in the title clash, Castro knows that it would take more than just him to topple the San Miguel juggernaut.ADVERTISEMENT Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Cristiano Ronaldo won’t quit Real Madrid — club boss Castro, though, made it clear that he won’t hesitate to take over the game if the opportunity presents itself and if his team badly needs him to.“Whatever the defense gives us and whatever their game plan is, that’s what I’m going to do. Anytime, I can adjust,” he said, exuding the veteran leadership the KaTropa badly need for this best-of-seven series.“This is already my ninth year in the league and the number one goal I have is to win the championship and not my numbers.”ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img What ‘missteps’? “For us to beat San Miguel, we need to play as a team. We know San Miguel is powerhouse team, but we have a combination of veterans and newcomers, so I think it’s our eagerness to win a championship will be the difference-maker for us,” he said.Lauded as the Best Point Guard in Asia for the better half of the last four years, Castro welcomes the challenge of facing the duo of Cabagnot and Ross, both of whom are having stellar showings this conference.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBut he also believes that he has able bodies in Roger Pogoy, RR Garcia, and Ryan Reyes to match up against the feisty Beermen backcourt.“I trust everyone of my teammates. Even down to (Anthony) Semerad or whoever it is that’s in the court, I trust them,” he said. 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken View commentslast_img read more