AP PHOTOS: Designer Julien Fournie’s showcase is a movie

first_imgPARIS (AP) — The new face of Paris Fashion Week is digital.  With shows taking place behind closed doors due to the virus pandemic, some designers such as Julien Fournie are becoming versatile: getting their designs out to the public by making a film of their collection and streaming it online. The designer says he started out learning how to draw, but now he realizes he also needs to learn how to become a filmmaker. He was speaking at a behind-the-scenes preview of his spring-summer 2021 couture movie filming. The fashion industry — along with the retail industry in general — has been hard-hit by pandemic restrictions.last_img read more

HERO team lends assistance to GPHC

first_imgWithin the past week, the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) has received assistance from a team of medical professionals who are members of the Health and Education Relief Organisation (HERO), with the aim of helping persons acquire surgeries at an earlier date, or to complete those that were pending.To express gratitude to the HERO team, an event was hosted at the GPHC, at which Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence; Director of HERO, John Mitchell; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GPHC, Brigadier George Lewis; Director of Medical and Professional Services, Dr. Sheik Amir; members of the HERO programme and staff of the hospital were present to give the Guyanese public an insight into the progress that the surgeons were able to make, and to extend gratitude to the members of the HERO team.Director of Health and Education Relief Organisation (HERO), John Mitchell, in his remarks, stated, “Our mission is to provide health care in the form of outreach, a medical component. On this trip, our team totalled about 46 individuals, many of them who spent their time in Linden and other parts of Georgetown doing medical outreaches in a variety of areas.”Dr Watson, attached to the GHPC, gave a brief insight into the orthopedics and plastic surgery departments over the past few days. He noted that, in just a few days, there were 31 cases that was dealt with by the team, with the last two scheduled for later that day.“They were difficult cases that we ourselves could not have done, so we generally welcomed the expertise in terms of getting them done,” he stated.During the past week, several persons were enlisted for surgeries, none of which was cancelled. Additionally, 50 percent of the cases were children.A parent of one of the children who underwent surgery earlier this week, Malecia Andrews, said she had been awaiting her son’s surgery for the past two years, so she was elated that this process was finally completed.“At the end we’re here, it’s done and (its) successful,” Andrews said.Meanwhile, Minister Lawrence addressed the medical team and expressed her thanks on behalf of Guyana, noting that they have helped to develop the skills of the Guyanese medical team in a very short span of time, leaving the team “with more experience and knowledge to be able to carry on their work on a day-to-day basis”.The team, which comprises a number of surgeons from around the world, has been visiting Guyana for approximately twelve years, and will be returning for another programme slated for August 4 to 11 of this year.last_img read more

Spartans track, swimming standouts commit to colleges

first_imgRed Bluff >> Track and cross country runner Naomi Renfroe and swimmer Julia Brandt celebrated the last day of school Thursday by signing letters of intent to attend Vanguard University and Lewis and Clark College, respectively, on athletic scholarships.Renfroe got her start running 5K events when she was 12 and focused on long distant events while a student at Vista Middle School. That passion extended into high school, where she ran the 3,200M, 1,600M and 800M events on the track team and 5K …last_img read more

SA business climate ‘favourable’

first_img15 December 2005A joint survey by the World Bank and Department of Trade and Industry has found the investment climate of South Africa to be “favourable” in comparison to that of other African countries, and other middle-income countries throughout the world.Conducted by Cape Town-based Citizen Surveys, the survey asked 800 South African enterprises to assess specific factors that shape opportunities and incentives for firms to invest productively, create jobs, and grow. These were benchmarked against countries at the same level of development, such as Malaysia, Kenya, Brazil, Poland and China.“On many dimensions, South Africa has a good investment climate,” the World Bank said. Legal protection of property, labour productivity, low tax rates, reasonable regulation, a low level of corruption and good access to credit were seen as factors contributing to the country’s investment climate.But challenges remain.“Firms appear to be particularly concerned about at least four areas: skills and education of workers, labour regulation, exchange rate instability, and crime,” said Vijaya Ramachandran, a World Bank enterprise development specialist.“These are problem areas the government is aware of and has already targeted in its overall development planning.”Property, power and productivityAccording to the survey, most firms believe the courts in South Africa are able to protect their property rights and court cases are quickly resolved.Losses to power outages in South Africa were modest in 2004, and the cost of power low by international standards. The country’s tax rates are low and have been declining over time. Although the burden of regulation is not particularly low, it is comparable to that in most middle-income countries.Few firms reported paying bribes to get government services or win contracts in South Africa. And most of the large formal firms in the survey did not see access to finance as a serious concern, with few reporting that they were credit constrained.South African firms were found to be more productive than those in other countries where World Bank surveys have been conducted. According to the survey, the country’s labour productivity is far higher than in Senegal and Kenya, the most productive low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa.Labour productivity is higher in South Africa than elsewhere in Africa and is higher than, or comparable to, other middle-income economies and the most productive areas of China. (Source: World Bank)South Africa’s labour productivity also compared favourably with other middle-income countries such as Lithuania, Brazil, Poland, and Malaysia – all of which, other than Brazil, have higher per capita income. Productivity was also found to be over three times higher than in China, although slightly lower than in the most productive cities in that country.The challenges“Although the investment climate for large formal firms in South Africa appears favourable in many ways, some challenges remain,” said Ritva Reinikka, the World Bank country director for South Africa.“Wages for managers, professionals, and skilled workers are high by international standards, eroding South Africa’s competitiveness. Exchange rate volatility makes exporting difficult – and yet for a high growth rate exports are critical.”The survey found that while the cost of crime in South Africa is lower than in the worst performing middle-income economies, it remains higher than in many of the country’s competitors.“Addressing these issues will help towards achieving the target growth rate of 6% per annum to stimulate development and job creation,” Reinikka said.Labour costs and skills Most managers said worker skills were a serious obstacle to their operations and to growth. Despite South Africa’s greater productivity, the cost of labour is high – over three and half times that of the most productive areas of China, two and half times higher than in Brazil and Lithuania, and 75% higher than in Malaysia or Poland.Wages are particularly high for highly skilled workers and managers. An additional year of education is associated with an 11% to 12% increase in wages in South Africa – compared to about 5% to 7% in developed countries.The premium paid for education results in salaries for skilled workers and managers that are high by international standards. Although wages are similar for unskilled workers in Poland, managers’ wages are over two and a half times as high in South Africa.Labour regulationAccording to the World Bank, rigid labour regulations can discourage the hiring of new workers and slow employment growth. Close to a third of surveyed managers said labour regulations were a problem. Labour regulation is more rigid in South Africa than it is in many other middle income countries, the World Bank says.In the most recent global Doing Business report, a World Bank report that compares the burden of regulation across countries, South Africa ranked 28th in the world overall – higher than many developed economies. But in the areas of regulations related to hiring and firing workers, South Africa ranked 66th.Exchange rate Despite South Africa’s relatively strong macroeconomic performance – GDP growth and moderate inflation – about a third of managers said macroeconomic instability was a serious problem. This is due to exchange rate instability. This is particularly problematic for exporters, who are paid in dollars or euros, but must pay their workers and suppliers in rands.Close to three-quarters of enterprises that export to the US – the country whose currency has been most unstable against the rand – rated macroeconomic instability as a serious obstacle.CrimeEnterprises in South Africa also rated crime as a major problem. Direct losses to crime and the cost of security were found to be higher in South Africa than they are in other middle income countries such as China, Poland, Brazil and even Russia.Although this suggests that crime is a serious concern in South Africa, it was found to be less problematic than in the middle-income countries of Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua or Ecuador.Download South Africa: an Assessment of the Investment Climate in PDF format from the World Bank website.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

Midmar Mile’s 89-year-old finisher

first_imgOctogenarian Lorna Cochran plans to break the Midmar Mile record for the oldest finisher. The race has been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s biggest open water race, but there are hopes that even this record will be broken in 2013, the 40th anniversary year. Craig Dietz from the US is taking part in his first Midmar Mile this year. Despite having no arms or legs, Dietz is a competitive open water swimmer and is also a motivational speaker.(Images: Midmar Mile) MEDIA CONTACTS • Wayne Riddin  Event organiser, Midmar Mile  +27 82 570 1951 RELATED ARTICLES • Swimmer’s memoir up for award • World first for SA extreme swimmers • Paralympic dream team • Chilling triumph for SA swimmers Lucille DavieLorna Cochran, 89, will be swimming her 14th aQuellé Midmar Mile this year and if she makes it to the other side, she will be the oldest finisher in the race’s 40-year history. In 1999 Colin Cable finished as an 89-year-old, but he was four months younger than Cochran. She turns 90 in July.The race, recognised by Guinness World Records as the world’s biggest open water swimming event, takes place on 9 and 10 February. It takes its name from the location- the Midmar Dam outside Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal – and the distance of about a mile.People come from all over the world to contest the Midmar Mile, including disabled entrants, company or family teams, and Olympic swimmers. However, they don’t all leap into the water at once – they depart in groups at three-minute intervals, with the fastest going first, in eight separate races over the two days. Swimmers are allocated to certain groups depending on their time in a qualifying event.The race has expanded to distances of 3km, 10km and 25km. This year there’ll be tough competition between some of the world’s top swimmers for first place, with prize money of R10 000 (US1 120).One of the more inspirational entrants for the 2013 event is Craig Dietz from the US. He has no arms or legs but is a regular open water swimmer as well as a qualified attorney and a sought-after motivational speaker. This is his first Midmar mile.Other entrants this year include British swimming star Keri-Ann Payne, Katinka Hosszu from Hungary, French swimmer Sébastien Rouault, and South African Olympian Troy Prinsloo.The defending champion is South Africa’s Chad Ho. Taking her timeCochran takes her time during the swim – she stops and floats for a while, does a bit of breaststroke, then freestyle, and finishes the Midmar Mile in an hour and some change.“I don’t have the stamina and breath anymore,” says a youthful-sounding 89-year-old Cochran, “my age is against me, I’m afraid.”In her earlier years, she says, she used to swim the 1.6km race without stopping, but is now “very slow”. Cochran first took part in the Midmar Mile at the youthful age of 75!She is five years older than the oldest male participant this year, and 12 years older than the next oldest woman. She might have had a serious challenge to the record if 90-year-old Petrus Meyer from Pietermaritzburg had not suffered “a late setback” which meant he had to withdraw this year. Meyer is planning a comeback for next year. Breaking the recordsCochran will be getting into the water with more than 14 000 swimmers over the weekend. The organisers hope that this year the final tally of entrants will be close to 15 000 swimmers, improving on the race’s 2009 Guinness World Record of 13 755 finishers.“We’ve already unofficially broken our own Guinness record for the world’s largest open water swimming event,” says event organiser Wayne Riddin, “but with this being the 40th anniversary of the race, we’re expecting a larger entry than normal to come through because there will be a special medal and cap.”According to Riddin, conditions on the dam can be tough, with mist, waves and high winds. He says that the race attracts a wide range of ages – from six to 89 years, meaning that parents can swim with their young children. “We get a lot of under-10s swimming.”This also makes the Midmar Mile one of the world’s most unusual sporting events, where all ages complete the same distance.Riddin is excited about the participation of the race’s founder, Mike “Buthy” Arbuthnot, who will be swimming his 40th race. He is 80 years old.“Buthy’s participation is always going to be the special moment,” Riddin says. “We’ve been building up to this for a number of years. The question was how good would his health be as Buthy gets older.” Always mad about sportsWhen she first took part Cochran used to finish in 54 to 55 minutes, but now “I can’t get under an hour these days”.She has seven children, 24 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, and most years swims with some of her children or grandchildren.She confesses that she was really nervous the first time she swam the race, aged 75. That nervousness never leaves one. “I am a bit nervous this time, it’s a big task,” she says, with a laugh.Cochran says she has always been a sportsperson, representing her school in tennis, hockey and swimming. She was at boarding school at St Dominic’s in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, and learnt to swim by watching and copying others.She trains on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. “On Wednesdays and Thursdays I don’t train – you gotta live, go shopping . . .” she laughs. Taking up swimming in her 70sCochran was playing club tennis at 74 when she was dropped from the second to the third team, a fact that upset her as she says she beat the player chosen to replace her, the Sunday Tribune reports.Her son Neil comforted her by suggesting she join them doing the Midmar Mile for the first time, “for a bit of fun”.So she started training, doing an hour in the pool, stopping and resting after 50 metres, because she was “very slow”, she says. Her son worked out a training programme for her because he “realised she was serious about the challenge”. She competed in her first Midmar Mile in 1998, and has not looked back.Cochran says she will not swim next year’s race, but then hesitates. “But who knows, I will never give up swimming, it is good exercise.” She says it is sometimes quite difficult, but her attitude is to “take it as it comes”.“I seem to have the genes,” she concludes.And when she’s not in the swimming pool, Cochran does line dancing once a week at the old age home where she lives in Benoni on Gauteng’s East Rand.last_img read more

SA pushing to complete power station

first_img12 April 2013 The construction of the Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo province is on a “tight schedule” to deliver its first electricity to South Africa’s national grid by the end of the year, state company Eskom said on Thursday. “As Eskom, we will do whatever it takes to ensure that we deliver by its target,” CEO Brian Dames told reporters after a site inspection by Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba. “Most of the construction, as you’ve seen today, is on track.” Once completed, Medupi will be the largest dry-cooled, coal-fired power station in the world. The Medupi timelines were reviewed in November 2012, and it was found that the target date of first power by late 2013 could be achieved with “significant effort”, Dames said. There had been problems, including quality issues on the Hitachi boiler contract and the Alstom system control and instrumentation contract, and labour unrest. The first unit of Medupi would deliver power to the grid by the end of the year and the other five units would follow at six- to eight-month intervals. Gigaba said he had “no intention of allowing any delays to the target of December 2013”, adding that “tough penalties” would be imposed on the parties responsible if there were delays. There were many risks, political and economic, if the project was not completed on time, he said. Dames said that in December, Hitachi indicated that many welds on the boiler would have to be re-tested and replaced. Hitachi Power Africa, which is part-owned by the African National Congress’s investment arm Chancellor House, is providing the boilers for the power station. Alstom’s computer software system also failed its factory acceptance test for the third time in December. “Both Hitachi and Alstom have now given us assurance in writing that they will not delay the July 2013 hot commissioning date, which would enable us to synchronise the unit for first power by the end of the year,” Dames said. “It is left for them to prove it to us … We will hold them to that. We will do whatever it takes to ensure this deadline is met.” Construction at the site has also been hampered by workers downing tools. Eskom temporarily closed the power station in January when contract workers went on strike, following interruptions when workers downed tools in September last year. Last month, Gigaba said: “Clearly, Eskom must exercise a more active role in the management of these projects, and ensuring that they constantly mediate the dispute between the workers and employers.” Dames said Eskom was partnering with contractors and labour to foster improved labour relations. Eskom would play a more active role, and an industrial forum had been formed to discuss and resolve outstanding issues. “For this project to be successful … we need everyone to be a part of that. We can’t have any more delays.” Sapalast_img read more

App.net Becomes iCloud Of The Web, Could Make Twitter-Like Service Free

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… Paid social network App.net is about to become the iCloud of the Web. And with the freemium economics of a cloud storage service, it could end up making the Twitter-like part of App.net free for anyone.App.net Monday released its application programming interface (API) for Files, so apps built on the service can now read and write files like photos, videos, documents or whatever else to every user account. App.net users now have 10GB of all-purpose storage attached to their account. This opens up the service to virtually any kind of application, all backed by the cloud.“I think it’s a big deal for the future of the platform,” says App.net founder Dalton Caldwell. It makes possible new applications that are much less Twitter-like. For example, App.net could now host full-fledged blogs with hosting for images, audio, video, and everything. Caldwell says it’s “about as powerful as the Facebook API in terms of the kinds of stuff you can build.”App.net’s browser-based demo clients — Alpha for the public timeline and Omega for private messaging — will now get photo sharing using the Files API, storing the photos in user accounts.Free Accounts Coming Soon?Though this hasn’t happened yet, the announcement of the Files API makes possible a future App.net story that would be the most interesting so far. By providing the 10GB of cloud storage to paid accounts, App.net makes a new tier of pricing possible that could allow social-only accounts to be free. In that scenario, App.net would be just like Twitter, only with a thriving ecosystem of client apps, the possibility of upgrading to a powerful, cloud-backed service, and no ads whatsoever.You can already try the service for free by invitation. Cloud-backed file storage might make it economical to use App.net for free indefinitely. Related Posts Is App.net A Good Deal?App.net’s 10GB per account is more space than Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Apple’s iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox provide with their lowest tiers of service, and App.net costs $36 per year for users (or $5 per month on a monthly basis).The fairest comparison is to Dropbox’s Pro tier, since Dropbox, like App.net, has a powerful API for applications on all major platforms. For $9.99 per month, Dropbox users get 100GB of storage, which they can access through applications or as a file system on their devices. For half the price, App.net users get only 10GB, but the use case is very different. App.net users get a name on a real-time social network as nimble as Twitter but with an ever-changing growing of applications providing new ways to interact with it. And those apps can now handle big files as well as 256-character messages.From the user’s perspective, the most apt comparison is actually iCloud. Rather than browsing through folders in the desktop metaphor like one does on Dropbox, App.net’s file storage will just be a handy but invisible back end that syncs the files and data from various applications. But instead of the closed Apple ecosystem, App.net’s cloud back-end is open to the entire Web. In fact, it’s actually more flexible than iCloud, since you can easily move your files between applications.“It’s a different metaphor,” explains Caldwell. “It’s your bucket of content, and you can give access to different applications for it.” If you try a photo-sharing app for a while and decide to switch to a new one, you just switch apps. Your photos are attached to your App.net account, and they’re portable. If you’ve recently tried to switch from Instagram to Flickr, for example, you know it’s not as easy as a similar move will be within App.net.A New Web With The Right IncentivesWhen App.net first appeared, it was seen as a paid Twitter clone. That was an enticing concept only to hyper-geeks. But the Files API makes clear just how different — perhaps better — the Web could be if it spread.App.net has a login button for Web applications just like Google, Facebook and Twitter do. Any website or application could let users log in with their App.net accounts, even if they were just free, social-only accounts. But App.net doesn’t use those logins for ad tracking. It doesn’t have ads. It just gives connected applications access to the user’s data, which the user can revoke at any time.That means App.net users can bring a huge amount of their files and data with them to try out new Web services. And it’s not hard to imagine that App.net could make its authenticated payment services available to applications as well, just like Apple’s iTunes accounts.Imagine everything that works about Apple’s closed ecosystem, but made available on any platform, including the open Web. Imagine the basic level of participation being free forever. That’s why I’m excited about App.net. Tags:#App.net#cloud computing#social jon mitchelllast_img read more

London Olympics 2012: No weight on Katulu Ravi Kumar’s shoulders

first_imgWeightlifting has brought both laurels and shame to India.While Karnam Malleswari’s Sydney Olympics bronze is remembered with delight, Monica Devi’s last-minute pull out before the Beijing Games after flunking a dope test left a deep scar.The country has faced many individual bans and even international suspensions since then, but the lifters are now looking to leave their tainted past behind. The two qualifiers for the London Olympics – Katulu Ravi Kumar (69kg) and Soniya Chanu (48kg) – are realistic about their chances at the Games.Ravi, for one, has shown the courage to fight a shoulder injury and make the cut for the London Olympics. There were doubts whether he will be able to recover and give his best at the continental championships in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, but Ravi came up with a creditable show.The 24-year-old Odisha boy lifted a total of 311kg (141 in snatch and 170 kg in clean and jerk) at the Asian championships in May to bag sixth place and earn the spot for India. The federation later selected him to represent the country on account of being the best Indian lifter in the world rankings (12th).”He was coming back from injury at that time and still he managed to give a good performance. He has recovered fully now and has been doing well in training in Patiala,” his personal coach DD Sharma said.It would be tad over-ambitious to hope for a medal from Ravi, whose personal best is 321kg (147+175), which he recorded while winning gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Sharma said Ravi is motivated to give his best.advertisement”It is after eight years that Indian weightlifters will be competing at the Olympics and that in itself is an achievement. If he is able to lift in the range of 330-335kg, then a medal is possible. He has surpassed his personal best mark in training and we are hopeful that he will be able to do that in London.”Ravi did not compete in any event after qualifying and, since then, has been going through the rigours of training. The weightlifting team left for London on Monday.”We did not want him to compete in any other event after he qualified because the body takes time to recover. The climate in London will be different from the hot conditions in Patiala and that is why we thought of reaching London the day the Village is opened, so that we can fully acclimatise,” said Sharma.last_img read more