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
Making it at No. 5 on the list of top sports stories of 2018 are the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.ADVERTISEMENT Nets beat Hornets in 2OTs on Joe Harris’ late layup View comments BREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion University of the Philippines captured the hearts of many and stole the UAAP spotlight after making its first finals appearance since 1986.After a series of losing seasons, including winless campaigns, the Fighting Maroons finally broke through in Season 81.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefAt the forefront of UP’s dream run were steely guard Paul Desiderio, electrifying sophomore Juan Gomez Di Liaño and Bright Akhuetie, who went on to have an MVP campaign.UP may not have won the championship after getting swept by Ateneo in the finals, but the Fighting Maroons already overachieved when they stunned No. 2 Adamson in the Final Four. But they’re far from content and next season could finally be UP’s year with Akhuetie and Di Liaño back in tow and the likes of Ricci Rivero and Kobe Paras making their debut for the Maroons.RELATED STORIESINQUIRER SPORTS Top 7 Stories of the Year: SMC sweepINQUIRER SPORTS Top 7 Stories of the Year: Manny Pacquiao back as champRELATED VIDEOADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue LATEST STORIES For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH 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 Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss MOST READ
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.”
Meanwhile, Mrs. Miller Wisdom told JIS News that the outreach programme, which has been a feature of the school for many years, falls within its strategic plans. Story Highlights Students and teachers of the Rose Hall-based John Rollins Success Primary School, accompanied by their principal, Yvonne Miller Wisdom, wrapped up their 2017 Christmas outreach programme on December 18.Their final stop took them to Barrett Town, to the home of 100-year-old Merinda Bryan, where they presented the centenarian, who is fondly called ‘Miss Mim’, with several gifts, including a new remote-controlled electric fan.Only several days before, they had visited basic and infant schools and homes of the sick and the elderly in other neighbouring communities of Zion, Spot Valley, Cornwall, Palmyra, Lilliput and Barrett Town to spread the Christmas cheer.Miss Mim, who was born on December 6, 1917, is the mother of six children, 16 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren.She said she was happy to receive the gifts, which came less than two weeks following her birthday celebrations.A member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Miss Mim said in her youthful days she worked at the Tryall Estate in Hanover as a farmhand, and later became a shopkeeper.Meanwhile, Mrs. Miller Wisdom told JIS News that the outreach programme, which has been a feature of the school for many years, falls within its strategic plans.She said the Christmas outreach programme was among several other similar activities that the school undertakes each year, and which are driven by a community outreach coordinator and a committee.She noted that the 932 students at her institution are organised into clubs and societies, and each of the groupings is required to undertake fundraising activities, as well as source donations of food, toys and other items, which are taken to the school during its official barrel drive at Christmas to be sorted and packaged into individual presents.There are eight clubs and societies in operation at the John Rollins Success Primary School – the Red Cross, Brownies, K-Kids, Culture, Science Club, Cub Scout, Environmental Club and the Bible Club.“As part of our school-improvement plan, one of the objectives is to participate in community outreach. And so, we believe that the students are supposed to be exposed as much as is possible, not just to focus on the academics, because to get a job in the future, they need to be able to relate to others. Coming out into the community and reaching out to others, that is just one aspect… so at this stage, we have to train them,” Mrs. Miller Wisdom said.Eleven-year-old sixth-grader and President of the K-Kids Club, Elizabeth Minors, told JIS News that she was very pleased that her club, which is a junior arm of Kiwanis International, was able to contribute to the activities, especially the visit to Miss Mim.“It is a privilege to come and be able celebrate the hundredth birthday with a centenarian, and I hope that God blesses her and allows her to see many more days,” she said.Coordinator for the outreach programme at the school, Margaret Harwood Farquharson, said the students at the institution are always eager to participate in humanitarian activities, which became a major part of the institution as far back as 2006.“Our school was officially opened in 2004, and we saw the need to impact our community, so, as a result of that, we coordinated the activity and got the teachers involved,” she explained.“I think it is very important to get the students involved in outreach, because it gives them the opportunity to share with others. So, when they grow up, they will be able to socialise better, and when they see a need, they will be able to assist,” she added. Students and teachers of the Rose Hall-based John Rollins Success Primary School, accompanied by their principal, Yvonne Miller Wisdom, wrapped up their 2017 Christmas outreach programme on December 18. Their final stop took them to Barrett Town, to the home of 100-year-old Merinda Bryan, where they presented the centenarian, who is fondly called ‘Miss Mim’, with several gifts, including a new remote-controlled electric fan.
zoom An investigation has been launched into a possible cartel in the bunker sector in the Netherlands and Belgium, according to the Dutch competition authority.This investigation involves several companies that are active in the ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp, which may have concluded illegal price-fixing agreements, according to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM).The Dutch Public Prosecution Service provided ACM with valuable information about the bunker sector coming from the police. That information was one of the reasons to launch this investigation. ACM has already conducted several dawn raids in this sector.Fines for cartel activities imposed on companies can be as high as 40 percent of their combined global turnover. The maximum fine on individuals that have exercised leadership over cartels is EUR 900,000.In the coming months, ACM will assess whether the Dutch Competition Act has indeed been violated by investigating the actual practices in greater detail.
A lawyer who aggressively defended a client embroiled in a billion-dollar mining scandal did not violate the rules of courtroom civility when he accused the prosecutor in the case of misconduct, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday.The split decision in favour of Joe Groia marked the culmination of a lengthy legal battle that pitted the Toronto securities lawyer against the Law Society of Ontario, the organization that regulates attorneys in the province.Years after Groia successfully defended Bre-X vice-president John Felderhof, the law society scrutinized his courtroom conduct in the case and found he had breached civility rules.Groia appealed in part on the grounds that his frequent tussles with prosecutors were rooted in a mistaken understanding of a legal matter as well as the need to advocate for his client. Ontario’s top court rejected his arguments, prompting the appeal to the Supreme Court.The majority of judges on Canada’s highest court sided with Groia, whose lawyer lauded the decision.“Joe lost at every level, but if you’re only going to win once, the Supreme Court of Canada is the place to win,” Groia’s lawyer Earl Cherniak said of the ruling.The law society focused attention on Groia long after the acrimonious trial that ultimately concluded in an acquittal for Felderhof, the only Bre-X executive to face charges in the case. Investors lost billions when Canadian-based Bre-X collapsed in 1997 after claims of an Indonesian gold find turned out to be bogus.By all accounts, including the Supreme Court decision, the trial featured several tense exchanges between Groia and opposing lawyers and numerous allegations that prosecutors were abusing process.The top court ruling described the trial as having “a toxicity that manifested itself in the form of personal attacks, sarcastic outbursts and allegations of professional impropriety” that ground the proceedings to “a near standstill.”The law society, finding Groia had breached civility rules, at one point suspended him for two months and ordered him to pay $247,000 in costs — later reduced to one month suspension and $200,000.Cherniak said that many of Groia’s attacks were based on a sincere misunderstanding of legal rules regarding when prosecutors were obliged to introduce evidence in a trial.Six of the nine justices on the Supreme Court supported that view and said Groia could not be found guilty of incivility because he was making his arguments in good faith.“Finding a lawyer guilty of professional misconduct on the basis of incivility for making an abuse of process argument that is based on a sincerely held but mistaken legal position discourages lawyers from raising these allegations, frustrating the duty of resolute advocacy and the client’s right to make full answer and defence,” wrote one of the judges who ruled in Groia’s favour.The majority of judges found that while the law society has reasonable and context-specific standards for evaluating whether or not a lawyer breached civility rules, it did not apply them properly in this case.The law society did not comment on the ruling as it related to Groia specifically, but did express some satisfaction with the court’s characterization of the role it plays in upholding standards of courtroom conduct.“The law society welcomes the Supreme Court’s recognition of the importance of civility in the courts and its decision to endorse the Law Society Tribunal Appeal Panel’s test for incivility in court,” it said in a statement. “This decision upholds the law society’s jurisdiction to regulate the legal professions’ conduct in court.”Nonetheless, three Supreme Court justices expressed concern that the ruling may undermine the oversight body.The dissenting justices expressed concern that the majority ruling could “immunize erroneous allegations from sanction by the law society, validate improper conduct and threaten to undermine the administration of justice.”The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which intervened in the case, took a more positive view of the decision, calling it “a good result for freedom of speech.”“The majority of the Supreme Court … recognized the central importance of allowing lawyers the freedom to express themselves, particularly in defence of their clients’ rights,” the association said in a statement. “It also noted that incivility prosecutions should target behaviour that has a negative impact on the administration of justice or the fairness of a particular proceeding.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled Earl Cherniak’s last name.
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall hosted a reception last week for survivors of domestic abuse, those working in the field, and charities aiming to raise awareness of the issue at Clarence House.The Duchess meets Sir Patrick Stewart at a reception she hosted at Clarence House for domestic abuse survivors and campaignersCredit/Copyright: www.princeofwales.gov.uk/The Duchess decided to hold this reception after a hearing stories of domestic abuse survivors during a visit to the charity, SafeLives back in February of this year. The Duchess also held a similar reception for survivors of rape and sexual abuse and has heard from them how helpful it was to share their experiences with policy makers.The Duchess was joined by Sir Patrick Stewart, a long-time campaigner for women and children affected by domestic abuse and by Louiza Patikas, whose role as Helen from BBC’s ‘The Archers’ is shining a light on the issue of domestic abuse.Source:www.princeofwales.gov.uk
DETROIT — Automakers have promised to start selling hordes of electric cars in the next few years, but only two will be unveiled at the big Detroit auto show that kicks off this week — and those aren’t even ready for production.Meanwhile, there will be plenty of SUVs and high-horsepower sports cars on display as cheap gasoline helps SUV and truck sales continue their dramatic climb.So how credible is the industry’s pledge to move toward fuel-efficient vehicles when it keeps cranking out more lucrative trucks and sport utilities?Some environmental groups contend that companies aren’t really interested in efficiency because they’re making tons of money from the sales of less-efficient SUVs and pickup trucks. These groups also say that without government fuel economy requirements, automakers won’t make progress toward electric vehicles that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Auto executives, however, say they’re already moving to more fuel-efficient trucks and SUVs, some now coming with gas-electric hybrid power systems. Soon there will be many electric SUVs, they say.“Every one of our SUVs has hybrids somewhere in the future, hybrids or electrified vehicles of some sort,” says Craig Patterson, Ford’s SUV marketing manager.Patterson will help show off a new version of the Ford Explorer big SUV at the auto show starting Monday, and it will have an optional hybrid power system. It is Ford’s first hybrid SUV in six years, and the company also has plans for a fully electric SUV based on the Mustang sometime next year. Seven battery-powered vehicles are planned for the U.S. by 2022, even a hybrid pickup truck.General Motors plans a Cadillac electric vehicle in 2021, and more than 20 that run on batteries or hydrogen in four years. Volkswagen, the world’s largest automaker, wants to increase the number of electric models from six to over 50 by 2025. Other brands such as Audi, BMW and Porsche and Jaguar are rolling out electric vehicles.But in December, almost 72 per cent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. were SUVs and trucks, up from 49 per cent at the end of 2012. Because of the shift, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors are cancelling some or all of their sedan lines. At the same time, they are hedging their bets by planning electrics and hybrids to give people fuel-efficient SUV options should gas prices rise from the current national average of around $2.24 per gallon.Design work on the Explorer and other vehicles being introduced at the North American International Auto Show began more than three years ago, when automakers thought their new vehicle fleet had to average about 36 miles per gallon by 2025 under U.S. fuel economy standards. That’s about 10 mpg more than the current standards.But the Trump administration has proposed freezing those standards at 2020 levels, a move that will spark a court challenge and a fight with California, which can set its own gas mileage and greenhouse gas standards. A decision on freezing the standards at around 30 mpg is expected later this year.Simon Mui, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defence Council who works on clean vehicles, said if the standards are frozen, years of improved efficiency will come to a halt.“I tend to treat these automaker promises to roll out electric vehicles kind of like New Year’s resolutions,” he said. “There’s often a gap between what they promise and what they actually deliver.”The government requirements are needed to make sure each automaker does their part, Mui said. Stable requirements bring down technology costs, and consumers benefit from using less fuel, he said.But auto executives say they’ve been working to squeeze more efficiency out of the internal combustion engine, to the point where there isn’t much else they can do except add electric power.Ford’s Patterson says even though gas is cheap, the company will sell the higher performance of hybrids, with gas engines boosted by instant electric power for acceleration. Consumers, he says, will be willing to pay for that. Also, due to technology breakthroughs, Patterson says hybrids no longer cost much more than standard engines.Ford plans to keep working as if the government won’t freeze fuel economy standards because it doesn’t know what will happen. “You have to meet it at some point, and you’re going to have to build (for) California,” he said.Still, selling hybrid and electric vehicles is tough in an era of cheap gas. In the U.S., fully electric vehicles amounted to less than 1 per cent of new vehicle registrations through August last year. Yet globally, Navigant Research predicts huge growth in the next seven years, from just over 1 million sales this year to 6.5 million by 2025. The surge is expected because of government incentives in China.Even so, automakers could get stuck with slow-selling electrics in the U.S. because of concerns over their limited range, and because it will take three to five years for battery and other costs to fall to about the same as gasoline engines, said Asutosh Padhi, senior partner and co-leader of the automotive unit at the McKinsey management consulting firm. U.S. consumers always want more utility and performance for less or the same price, he said.Another problem is a $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles is starting to expire for some automakers, Padhi said.“It’s yet another headwind for electric vehicles in the near-term, until the performance picks up, until we get to cost parity,” he said.Tom Krisher, The Associated Press
Feeding your pooch with raw meat could pose potential health risks as they contain high levels of bacteria, researchers have warned. A study by researchers from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Sweden showed that many raw meat products contain enterobacteriaceae species, which are indicators of faecal contamination and hygiene standards. Such food products can also cause health risks to people, particularly infants, elderly and those with poor immunity, the study said. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainA raw meat-based diet has become increasingly popular with dogs in recent years because it is seen as a “healthier natural alternative” to the widely available commercial products. But unlike commercial feeds, raw meat products are not heat treated or freeze dried to pasteurise, the research team added. For the study, published in the journal Vet Record, researchers took samples from 60 packs of raw meat samples that were analysed for bacteria, including enterobacteriaceae species – clostridium perfringens, salmonella and campylobacter. Nearly 31 samples (52 per cent) contained bacteria levels that exceeded the 5,000 bacteria per gram maximum threshold set by the European Union regulations, said the study. Escherichia coli was found in about a third of the samples. Clostridium perfringens, another marker of faecal contamination and hygiene standards, was found in 18 samples (30 per cent).
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.