5 September 2012 South Africa is the highest-ranked African country and third-placed among the BRICS economies in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) latest Global Competitiveness Index, ranking 52nd out of 144 countries surveyed while placing third overall for financial market development. Published on Tuesday, the annual Global Competitiveness Report was first released in 1979 and has since evolved into the prime authority on relative competitiveness among most of the world’s nations. South Africa (52nd) and Mauritius (54th) continue to lead the competitiveness rankings by African countries, followed by Rwanda (63rd), Morocco (70th), Seychelles (76th) and Botswana (79th). China (29th) continues to lead the BRICS group of influential emerging market economies, followed by Brazil (48th), South Africa (52nd), India (59th) and Russia (67th). Switzerland tops the overall rankings for the fourth year running, followed by Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, United States, Hong Kong and Japan completing the list of the top 10 most competitive economies.Strength of institutions, financial markets According to the report, South Africa benefits from the relatively large size of its economy, particularly by regional standards, ranking 25th overall for market size. It also scores well for the quality of its institutions, ranking strongly for strength of auditing and reporting standards (1st), efficacy of corporate boards (1st), protection of minority shareholders’ interests (2nd), efficiency of legal framework (17th), intellectual property protection (20th), property rights (26th), and judicial independence (27th). Particularly impressive, according to the report, is the country’s financial market development, for which it ranks 3rd overall, “indicating high confidence in South Africa’s financial markets at a time when trust is returning only slowly in many other parts of the world”. Contributing to this assessment was South Africa’s high rankings for regulation of securities exchanges (1st), soundness of banks (2nd), availability of financial services (2nd), and financing through the local equity market (3rd). South Africa also shows up well for business sophistication, ranking 38th overall, and innovation, ranking 42nd overall – benefiting in the latter case from good scientific research institutions (34th) and strong collaboration between universities and the business sector in innovation (30th).Weaknesses At the same time, the report identifies weaknesses which South Africa will have to address in order to further enhance its competitiveness. South Africa ranked 63rd overall for infrastructure, and even though this was good by regional standards, it would require upgrading, according to the report. This is something the country has already embarked on, with President Jacob Zuma announcing a massive state-led infrastructure drive in his State of the Nation address in February. The country ranks 113th for labour market efficiency, thanks in large part to “rigid hiring and firing practices (143rd), a lack of flexibility in wage determination by companies (140th), and significant tensions in labour-employer relations (144th)”. The country can also develop its innovation potential by increasing its university enrollment rate, the WEF says, adding: “Combined efforts in these areas will be critical in view of the country’s high unemployment rate of almost 25 percent in the second quarter of 2012.” Other concerns raised by the WEF report include the security situation and the health of the country’s workforce.Sub-Saharan Africa On sub-Saharan Africa more widely, the report notes the region’s impressive growth over the last decade. “Registering growth rates of over 5 percent in the past two years, the region continues to exceed the global average and to exhibit a favorable economic outlook,” the WEF states. “Indeed, the region has bounced back rapidly from the global economic crisis, when GDP growth dropped to 2.8 percent in 2009.” In recent years, according to the report, the region has been improving its competitiveness in specific areas, such as educational attainment and goods market efficiency, “but a persistent infrastructure deficit and health concerns continue to be significant bottlenecks.” As a whole, sub-Saharan Africa continues to lag behind the rest of the world in competitiveness, “requiring efforts across many areas to place the region on a firmly sustainable growth and development path going forward”. SAinfo reporter
Not much sun during the winterOur climate is not good for solar in the winter. Virtually anywhere in the U.S. is at least as good as we are, or better. Certainly the eastern U.S. has similar solar resources. But here’s the thing: for nine months of the year, we will produce about 7 times what we need for our electrical demand! Yikes, what a nice problem to have. (We deserve this problem, we created it!)So, how much domestic hot water do we use? (You may have guessed that I know exactly how much.) I have installed a water meter on the 95% efficient 200,000 BTU/h propane on-demand water heater that supplies the whole house: 80,000 BTU/day, or 23.5 kWh if we think in terms of an electric plain-Jane water heater tank. Easy: we have up to 50 kWh on many days leftover. Now we could chop that down to 9 kWh by using a heat-pump water heater, but do we need to scrimp? It is an edgy question.We plan to get an electric vehicle soon to mop up some of that excess electric production, but both together could be supplied rather easily for nine months per year. Birken Forest Monastery is a retreat center in the mountains of British Columbia. It’s located at an elevation of 4,000 feet at Latitude 51, and experiences about 9,000 heating degree days (Fahrenheit) per year. The buildings are about 15 years old.We are off the grid. The nearest electricity line is 4 miles away, and it would cost about $200,000 to bring grid power in. (Then, of course, we would still have to pay for the electricity.) So off-grid it is, and will remain. PV costs are dropping fastFast forward in time, through an 80 kWh wet lead-acid battery bank for 7 years, to an 80 kWh maintenance-free AGM lead-acid battery bank for 6 years, to the present: we now have a recently installed 40 kWh AGM maintenance-free Surrette battery bank. Notice that this bank is half the size of the previous two. The cost of our latest battery bank: $8,000; life expectancy, 8 years.The reason for the smaller battery bank: the PV array went from 1.8 kW to 3.4 kW in 2009, and then in November 2014 to 11.4 kW!That’s a startling jump in solar power. Why? The economics are these: The additional 8 kW array was installed by an electrical engineer and two journeymen electricians for $3 per watt. There were no subsidies, no tax rebates, no special deals. The only things that weren’t new were the previously installed inverters.A new age in off-grid living has arrived. Old formulas must be revisited. Monitoring is essentialI carefully monitor all systems with sophisticated devices such as the Pentametric battery monitor, an hour counter on the diesel generator, a TED 5000 whole-house monitor, and daily notes and observations. December is the worst month, averaging 47 hours of bright sunshine (about 1.5 hours per day).Now that we have a much bigger PV array, what will happen to our diesel use? In December 2013, when we had a 3.4-kW PV array, the diesel run-time was 60 hours. In December 2014, with our new 11.4-kW PV array, generator run-time was only 10 hours. Hmmm.We are short about 50 kWh from being 100% off-grid solar. The generator run-times occurred on seven occasions, with each occasion requiring no more than 10 kWh. Conclusion? An additional battery bank rated at 20 kWh would zero out the generator year ’round! Now that may not mean much to you on-grid types, but any off-gridder will know that that is traditionally impossible amongst us forest-dwelling folk.Think again, my fellow hobbits, think again! Lowering electrical demandNow the question: “Is it worth it?” In order to answer that, I have to expand the view to include the rest of the set-up.Here is a snapshot of the main house. It measures 10,000 square feet. (Yes, you heard that right.) It has 12 bedrooms. It can accommodate 15 people and another 8 can use the facilities (sleeping in 8 separate “tiny houses”). The total population of 24 uses 5 washrooms, showers, cooking, 4 computers, all LED lighting, a 300-foot-deep drilled well, refrigerators, freezers, etc.Now our average population is 12 to 15 people, but hundreds of people stream through year ’round. Our average electrical demand is only 12 kwh per day!Yes, there is a deep back story to how we do it. I mean, we are talking about ¾ kWh per day per person, with all modern conveniences, including four-slice toasters, microwaves, dual-flush toilets, 4 showers, pressure pumps, a well pump, two refrigerators, and a freezer. (The refrigerators and freezer together use 1.2 kWh per day. They are in a large “cool room.”)So without carefully controlling our electrical demand with super-efficient appliances, our 100% off-grid solar community would not be possible. Years of off-grid experienceI have lived here for 14 years and have gained much off-grid experience and knowledge by the sometimes harsh teaching methods of Mother Reality. I should mention that I have been a Buddhist monk for the last 28 years. It doesn’t matter much, except that my training is to find simple and sufficient ways of life. How we do things, I believe, is appropriate to a comfortable American lifestyle as well, so I hope you can apply any of these strategies to your own houses, whether off-grid or on.I won’t go into too much detail about the evolutionary process, but it is important to note that our first set of photovoltaic (PV) panels, rated at 1.8 kW, cost about $10 per watt installed. At that price, the PV system still made sense compared to our 12-kW Kubota liquid-cooled 1,800 rpm diesel generator. (By the way, the Kubota generator about as fuel-efficient as possible for any kind of generator.) We charged a bank of batteries with it, which optimized the engine efficiency even more.How efficient was the generator, you wonder? About 32%. The energy you capture from a gallon of diesel is about one-third of its potential. Diesel fluctuates in cost; it’s at least $4 per gallon in Canada… sometimes $5. That translates to 50 cents per kWh of electricity, plus the life-cycle cost of the generator — so add maybe 20 cents. So the brutal reality of high-cost electricity (70 cents per kWh) turns you into an inventor/economist/minimalist, overnight. Ajahn Sona was born in Canada. His background as a layperson was in classical guitar performance. He was ordained as a Theravada Buddhist monk at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia. In 1994, he founded the first Birken Forest Monastery near Pemberton, British Columbia. In 2001, Ajahn Sona established Birken in its final location just south of Kamloops, British Columbia. Ajahn Sona posts comments on the GBA web site under the pen name “Ven Sonata.” Superinsulation helps reduce our energy needsI’ll conclude with a brief description of the enormous house. It is superinsulated, with R-80 ceilings. The walls range from R-60 down to R-20 (on the south wall.) The big innovation is our R-25 polyiso-and-birch-plywood insulating shutters for all our windows. The building has 1,350 square feet of argon-filled low-e dual-pane windows. When it became apparent that the building is over-glazed, we permanently installed insulated R-30 exterior shutters over about 500 square feet of glazing, leaving about 850 square feet of windows exposed. These windows have been fitted with hinged R-25 shutters that open inward. Most are hinged at the top, although some are side hinged.More than any other feature, these gasket-sealed insulating shutters contribute more to heat retention than any wonder machine or triple-glazed German miracle windows, for far less money… 80% less. (I’d be happy to go into detail if requested). During the 12- to 16-hour night, we basically don’t have any heat loss through our windows. In the daytime, with panels open, there is solar gain. It’s a win-win situation! For eight months of the year, we leave the panels open.The space heating is supplied by two indoor high-efficiency wood stoves. We burn 5 cords of fir per year, locally collected. (British Columbia is the Saudi Arabia of firewood.) We don’t need any electric fans for air circulation.Although there is in-floor radiant heat distribution throughout, we do not use it, ever. (Another learning experience). So for space heating, we need about 75 MBTU per year in a 9,000 heating degree day zone. Not bad. It’s not a Passivhaus (that would require 50 MBTU for a house this size), but it doesn’t require a heat-recovery ventilator! We have exhaust-only ventilation using 5 bathroom fans and 2 kitchen fans. Natural air purification also occurs through 70 large houseplants — a method recommended by NASA for air purification (not kidding).By the way, the kitchen is completely isolated from the main building by a glass door during cooking, so no air contamination spreads throughout the house. (This design detail just might catch on; this type of kitchen isolation was standard in large 19th-century houses.)All in all, good air, good light, good vibe, good economics. And thank you, Green Building Advisor, for so many good thoughts on building. I have benefited immensely.A concluding note: Our total energy use from all sources is 35,000 kWh per year. The Passivhaus allowance for a house this size would be 110,000 kWh per year. So we use 70% less energy (total kWh) per year than the Passivhaus allowance. Something to reflect on. Cost-effectiveness analysisSo back to economics. How much propane savings? About $1,000 year.How much gasoline savings? $2,000.How much diesel and generator life wear? Maybe $800. Total savings, about $3,700 per year.The payback period for the off-grid set-up (PV and battery payback) is (drum roll) 10 years. That includes the rather short life of the batteries (8 years) and the rather long life (30 years) of the solar panels.
IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Related Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now markhachman Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… Two recent Microsoft job postings suggest that Microsoft is building a team to design what could be the next generation of its Kinect technology: the rumored “Fortaleza” augmented-reality glasses.Kinect IncubatorsIn the first job listing, Microsoft claims that the “team that incubated Kinect” is designing a new consumer device, and is seeking a new director of electrical engineering to lead it.“Microsoft is working on revolutionizing consumer electronic devices,” the listing states. “The team that incubated Kinect and profoundly changed the way people interact with technology is forming a product development team to change the world again! We are a growing team of experienced device product developers, working in a startup environment on redefining experiences by making technology disappear. We are developing ground-breaking hardware, software and experiences across computer vision, machine learning, human-computer interaction, image and video processing, networking and graphics. We will transform our ideas into reality through shipping a first-to-market product.”The team will work within the Interactive Entertainment Business unit at Microsoft, led by ex-Electronic Arts exec Don Mattrick, and includes the development and marketing of Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, the Kinect, music and video services, TV and Mediaroom partners, and PC and mobile interactive entertainment. Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Tags:#enterprise#gaming#Microsoft Given anotherMicrosoft job listing, the division will likely also include the Microsoft Surface tablet team as well.The fact that Microsoft is building a next-generation Kinect device isn’t that much of a surprise; after all, the Guinness Book of World Records listed the motion-sensing peripheral as the fastest-selling consumer tech device ever – until the Apple iPad 2 bested it 15 days later. The combination of features Microsoft cites – hardware, software, computer vision, machine learning, et cetera – also lends itself to the Kinect peripheral.Not surprisingly, Microsoft declined to comment. “We’re always looking for talented people to join the Interactive Entertainment Business to innovate now and in the future,” a spokeswoman said via email. “We don’t have any further comment on this or any other job posting.”If Microsoft was working on a next-generation Kinect peripheral, it could be based on the “holodeck” patent it recently applied for, although there’s really nothing in the job listing that indicates that.Small-Form-Factor Consumer Electronics?A second key job listing at Microsoft would also seem to confirm the Kinect conclusion, especially since the mechanical engineer listing seeks someone experienced in designing small-form-factor consumer electronics. But wait: the candidate Microsoft is seeking for this position must also have experience in displays, batteries, antennas and acoustics. Only the latter is Kinect-specific, as the powered Kinect peripheral lacks a display or antenna.Microsoft could be staffing up on more than one project, of course, or working on designing an integrated Kinect. Another scenario is that this mechanical engineer would be asked to work on a future revision of a Surface tablet, which would use a battery, antenna and display. Microsoft could also be working to integrate Kinect into notebook PCs, a future already envisioned by Intel.Rob Sanfilippo, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, said it’s tough to read the tea leaves. “That’s a tough one to speculate on since it’s such a general description,” he said of the job listing.“Certainly Microsoft will continue to advance Kinect and it will probably develop related technologies. I expect the next Xbox console to have integrated Kinect hardware which will likely be more capable than today’s Kinect, although this job position probably isn’t related to that since it’s very late in that product’s development cycle.”But there’s another intriguing possibility, that Microsoft could be finally putting a team together to design the “Fortaleza” augmented-reality glasses.“Fortaleza” Augmented-Reality Glasses But there’s another intriguing possibility, that Microsoft could be finally putting a team together to design the “Fortaleza” augmented-reality glasses.In June, a document titled XBox 720-9-24 Checkpoint Draft 1 was posted to Scribd, and later removed at the behest of the law firm Covington & Burling LLP, which has represented Microsoft in the past.According to the document, the first generation of Fortaleza is a pair of Wi-Fi enabled glasses set to debut in 2014, with the rumored next-generation “Xbox 720.” The leaked slide appears to show a player in her living room “seeing” an imaginary desperado projected on her glasses. Future revisions would get 4G connectivity and a connection to the console to project movies and TV shows on them, a sort of portable version of the Xbox 720, and one that would be different take on Google’s own Google Glass. It seems reasonable, on the surface, that a hardware team could put together a Fortaleza-type device in the slightly more than two years before the 2014 holiday season.A couple of job postings certainly leave room for a great deal of speculation. What we do know is that Microsoft is working on its own next big thing, and we’ll just have to wait and see what it is.Fortaleza images via PCMag.com.
PBA board opts not to renew Narvasa’s term as commissioner Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. AP FILE PHOTOBOSTON — Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics says he knows he will not play again this season, after needing surgery to repair a grotesque leg injury on opening night last month.The announcement, on Hayward’s Facebook page, came as little surprise given the severity of the injury. Hayward wrote about several previously unrevealed aspects of the injury and the aftermath, including how four people — including Celtics coach Brad Stevens — were needed to carry him onto the plane that night in Cleveland, and how even former President Barack Obama has been among those sending well-wishes for his recovery.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Read Next MOST READ Senators rally support for Robredo; laud her for accepting anti-drug post PLAY LIST 02:46Senators rally support for Robredo; laud her for accepting anti-drug post00:50Trending Articles02:29Giannis Antetokounmpo powers Bucks in bounce back win over Celtics01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA View comments “I honestly can’t say enough about everyone’s kindness,” Hayward wrote.Hayward is expected to hold a news conference at the Celtics’ facility in Waltham, Massachusetts, on Thursday. He also has taped an interview that will appear Thursday on NBC’s “Today.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHayward was injured about 5 minutes into the opener at Cleveland, a shocking end to a season of great expectations. Hayward was one of the marquee prizes of free agency this past summer, leaving Utah and signing with Boston to chase an NBA title and reunite with Stevens, his college coach at Butler.“I keep imagining what it’s going to be like to step onto the floor at the Garden, and make my regular season debut as a Celtic,” Hayward wrote. “It’s going to be a little delayed. But with each day of my rehab, I’ll be that much closer to making it happen. I’m already dreaming about sharing that moment with everyone here in Boston.” Hayward said when he saw his foot pointing the wrong way after his awkward landing, the pain was not initially very intense. It was, however, when doctors tending to him on the floor tried to re-set his ankle.“The moment they did it, there was just a massive shot of pain, probably the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life,” Hayward wrote.The Celtics lost in Cleveland that night, and Hayward was with the team for the flight home. The Celtics played their home opener the next night, while Hayward was in surgery.“On the flight back, my teammates all came by to encourage me,” Hayward wrote. “It was very emotional for me to see how all of these new teammates of mine, guys who I had only spent a few weeks with at that point, were so sincere about their concern for me. Their support has at times overwhelmed me and it will not be forgotten.”Hayward said he’s heard from plenty of stars from the NBA and other sports, like NFL stars Odell Beckham Jr. and J.J. Watt, retired Lakers great Kobe Bryant — and Oklahoma City’s Paul George, who also had a horrible fracture while playing for USA Basketball in 2014.ADVERTISEMENT Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa “He knows better than anyone, maybe, exactly what it is I’m going through, and will be going through,” Hayward wrote. “I’m thankful that he reached out right away, and that’s he’s someone I can continue to talk to.”As for Obama, who is a huge basketball fan?“That was a pretty big deal,” Hayward said.Hayward said it was difficult at first to watch Celtics games, knowing he couldn’t play. But he’s started watching, and hopes to have some sort of role the rest of the season.“I know I can’t help them physically on the court, but I am going to do everything in my power to support my teammates and coaches in every way imaginable,” Hayward wrote. “Whether it’s breaking down film or just providing leadership and guidance, I can’t wait to give back. I’ve already received so much.” Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Real Betis coach Rubi urges calm: We’ll move forwardby Paul Vegas4 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Betis coach Rubi has urged calm after defeat to Real Sociedad.While admitting he was worried, Rubi dismissed talk of relegation.“Everything worries me, I don’t want to see Betis where it is now, I don’t want to see Betis suffering but I am convinced that we will finish in a good position and we will pass 50 points,” he said. “You can remind me when the season is over.”Rubi added: “My personal situation does not worry me, I am convinced that we will move forward.”
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, says that vulnerable states in the Caribbean and Latin America must commence “serious plans” for the implementation of disaster risk management policies. The move, he said, is critical in confronting the effects of climate change, and predications for more powerful and intense hurricanes. Dr. Guy was delivering the keynote address at the opening of the 7th Annual Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management on Tuesday (December 4) at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in St. James. The five-day day conference, organised by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), seeks to come up with measures to build the resilience of small island developing states to the effects of climate change. Dr. Guy stated that locally, the Government has committed to strengthening the capacity of communities, establishing a Ministry with responsibility for climate change; a Climate Change Advisory Board; and a Climate Change Department. He noted that the issue is also factored in all aspects of development planning. “Jamaica has also received a grant of $850 million (US$10 million) from the Adaptation Fund Board, for the establishment of a Climate Change Adaptation Programme. This programme is intended to introduce measures to protect livelihood and food security in communities that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The project will also focus on improving land and water management for the agriculture sector, strengthen coastal protection and build institutional and local capacities for climate change adaptation in selected areas,” Dr. Guy informed. He commended CDEMA for “the work that it is doing in putting small island developing states in a state of preparedness for the disasters that threaten our very existence”. He urged that, as stakeholders seek to find avenues to build disaster resilience over the course of the conference, “we will not be limited by our smallness of size, but to be visionary and monumental in our projected outcomes.” “We must establish the context in the face of the challenges that we face, because it is facing these challenges squarely that we will be able to determine the best measures to move us forward as successful nations … there are few options to reduce the occurrence and intensity of most natural hazards. As such, greater emphasis needs to be placed on hazard risk management activities and programmes for reducing existing and future vulnerability to damage and loss,” Dr. Guy stated.
zoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: Kyklades Maritime Greek owner Kyklades Maritime has reportedly placed an order for two very large crude carriers with South Korean Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).The 319,000 dwt ships are slated for delivery in 2019 and 2020, data from VesselsValue shows. The price details of the order were not disclosed.Kyklades Maritime is a return customer to HHI as it already has two VLCCs of the same size on order at the yard, slated for delivery next year.The Greek owner also has five 115,000 dwt Aframax tankers under construction at South Korean Sungdong Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. The first two ships from the batch, priced at USD 44 million each, are set to join the Greek owner’s fleet in 2018 with the remaining three following suit in 2019.In addition, this year is reserved for the delivery of two Suezmax tankers to the company from Japanese shipbuilder Japan Marine United (JMU).World Maritime News Staff
New Delhi: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who arrived in Patna on Tuesday for the first time after being declared BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Patna Sahib, was shown black flags by supporters of another BJP leader in Patna. Prasad, a resident of the Bihar capital whose late father was a state minister and leader of the Jansangh, was shown black flags by the supporters of RK Sinha, a Rajya Sabha member, who was hopeful of a ticket for the seat which is currently held by dissident MP Shatrughan Sinha. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The sloganeering and protest by Sinha’s supporters led to a clash with BJP workers who had gathered at the airport to welcome the Lok Sabha poll debutant. Reports said that the clash erupted as Prasad landed at airport and Sinha’s supporters started raising slogans against him. Slogans of “Ravi Shankar Prasad- Go back, go back” welcomed the Union Minister as he exited the airport in Bihar capital. The protester, holding black flags also chanted “RK Sinha-Zindabad, zindabad (RK Sinha-Long live, long live). “Ye hawa hawai neta hain inke pass karyakarta nahi hain. Ek galat aadmi ko ticket diya gaya hai jo kabhi janata ke beech nahi raha. (He – Ravi Shankar Prasad – is a leader without any base. He doesn’t have workers. The ticket has been given to a wrong person who has never lived among people),” a protester said. The Union minister drove away while telling the posse of mediapersons who stood waiting at the airport, “I thank my party for considering me for this great responsibility. I will be giving my best shot. The BJPs commitment to nationalism and good governance will help Narendra Modi return to power.”
Seoul: South Korea will this week celebrate the first anniversary of a landmark summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — but Pyongyang may not take part, Seoul said Monday. The pair held their first meeting on April 27 last year in the Demilitarised Zone dividing the peninsula amid a rapid diplomatic thaw, paving the way for a historic summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June. But one year later, little progress has been made on North Korea’s denuclearisation, with Pyongyang and Washington deadlocked since a second summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi in February broke down without a deal. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USMoon, who brokered the first meeting between the two mercurial leaders, has tried to salvage the diplomacy although the North has remained largely unresponsive. Since Hanoi, the North has not attended any of the eight regular weekly meetings of the heads of their joint liaison office in Kaesong, and has not taken part in other joint projects, such as excavations in the DMZ. Seoul will hold a ceremony on Saturday at Panmunjom — where Moon and Kim exchanged warm smiles and brotherly hugs — the unification ministry said, but Pyongyang’s attendance remained unclear. “When we notify the North (about the event), we will provide additional details,” ministry spokesman Lee Sang-min told reporters. Moon and Kim met three times last year — including a second impromptu encounter after Trump threatened to cancel the Singapore summit just weeks before it was due. But exchanges between Seoul and Pyongyang have significantly decreased since the failure to reach agreement in Hanoi.
CAIRO – Controversial Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef’s host television channel suspended his programme on Friday, a week after he returned from a four-month break and fired barbs at the country’s military.Youssef, known as “Egypt’s Jon Stewart” after modelling his Al-Bernameg (The Programme) on the US comedian’s popular satirical news programme, had already run afoul of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted by themilitary in July.On Friday, the CBC channel that airs Youssef’s show pulled the plug. “The channel has decided to suspend Al-Bernameg. The CBC board confirmed that today’s episode indicated that the producers and presenter insisted on violating the editorial policy of the channel,” the network said in a statement read out by a presenter.It did not elaborate on how the editorial policy had been violated, but said the show would remain suspended “until the technical and commercial problems are solved.”In last week’s episode — the first since Morsi’s ouster — Youssef did not spare the military, provoking fury from some spectators.He mocked the media coverage of the overthrow, particularly exaggerated claims about the number of demonstrators who took to the streets on June 30 — to call for the Islamist government’s resignation.The ex-heart surgeon even mocked the country’s new military-installed interim government, in which Adly Mansour is president but army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely seen as calling the shots.Sisi is leading the popularity charts in Egypt since the ouster of Morsi, with the general’s posters displayed across the country.