‘Natural Resources Must Benefit All’

first_imgMr. Kwenah (immediate left in the African gown) with other stakeholders at the ceremony,-Says new NCL team leader at induction ceremonyThe newly inducted management team leader of the Non-governmental organization (NGO) Coalition of Liberia (NCL) has declared that every Liberian is entitled to resources that God has endowed the country with, and all must therefore benefit from the way the resources are being used.Samuel K. D. Kwenah said stakeholders in the resource sector, specifically the government and concessionaires must ensure that local communities, who are the custodians of these resources, adequately benefit from proceeds of resources that are extracted from their area.Kwenah spoke at the induction ceremony of NCL’s newly elected management team. The ceremony was held on Thursday, August 23, 2018, in Monrovia.Those inducted along with him were Dominic Johns, deputy team leader, Amos Kanneh, secretary, and Judeh F. Blamoh, finance officer.According to Mr. Kwenah, Liberia has a lot of natural resources which, if managed with efficiency and transparency, would transform  the lives of Liberians. “This is possible, but we just have to do our best for all of the people, especially the vulnerable masses, to benefit,” he said.He said that the formation of NCL was as a result of a survey which showed that the perennial conflicts in the country, including the civil war that erupted over the years, are as a result of disenchantment over poor management of natural resources.Kwennah is also  program manager for the Extractive Industry and Human Rights program of Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU), a member NGO to the NCL—a conglomeration of local NGOs involved in natural resources advocacy.The coalition, since its establishment 15 years ago, has been managed by an interim team until this year when the members elected a permanent management team.It was founded in the wake of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) in 2003 by three local NGOs. One of its founding members is the Green Advocates International, headed by Cllr. Alfred Brownell.“While stakeholders at the CPA were all about sharing power and the country’s wealth, NCL was about protecting our natural resources,” Mr. Kwenah said.“Today marks a major milestone in the history of the NCL since its formation because we are consolidating the vision of our founders. We must all endeavor to ensure the proper management of our resources for all Liberians,” he said.Kwenah recalled that Liberia has about half of the entire rain forest remaining in West Africa as 45 percent of the country’s 4.3 million hectares is covered by forest underscoring that with a relatively small population, and rich natural resources, proper management can provide income and opportunities for future generations.According to him, NCL has elevated its strategic plan dialogue on accounts of transparency, accountability and competence as a new management assumes office soon.It can be recalled that a few months ago, the NCL held a five-day retreat at its resource center in Dwazohn, Margibi County, where a five-year strategic plan was developed to re-engage collaborating actors, a process that is aimed at enhancing the proper use of natural resources.The retreat focused not only on conflict resolution in the management of natural resources, but also on strengthening a peaceful coexistence among member NGOs within the coalition.Abraham Guillen, then  representative from the EU delegation who served as the installing officer, said it will be a huge benefit to the country if it is to manage its resources well.“Liberia is a very rich country, and every Liberian can benefit if the right things are done,” Mr. Guillen said. He was also the Team Leader of Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) Support Unit.Guillen then urged the team to ensure unity among its members. “You need not to just work as a team but to differentiate the mandates of each member and the coalition. You can achieve a lot more for your country when you work hard,” he said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Use globalisation to grow: JHI

first_img20 December 2007South African property companies need to plan for their futures now, while taking global factors into account and using such factors to their advantage, says property services company JHI’s chief executive, Marna van der Walt.“The future is very different from the past, with globalisation playing an increasingly dominant role,” Van der Walt, who is also president of the South African Property Owners Association, said in a statement by JHI earlier this month.“It is up to us, as an industry, to use globalisation to our advantage and for growth.”According to JHI, there has been a marked contradiction between the listed property market in South Africa and that of the US and UK. Whereas the SA market showed growth of about 20% this year, the latter markets declined by between 20% and 40%.A significant difference, and one the local property industry needs to harness, JHI says, is to realise that although the SA market has experienced such excellent growth, globalisation will start to have an increasing impact on local markets and companies.Van Der Walt says that although property is a local asset, it operates in an environment that is influenced by global factors, such as the sub-prime crisis, the credit crisis, currency movements and growth cycles.In addition, she says that international investors entering the local market have a different mindset and parameters, which also influence property pricing.“We undoubtedly need to open our paradigm to globalisation – but that needs to be further defined,” she says. “We cannot look at it simply as the Western world – we need to face the reality that our competition of tomorrow will come from non-Western countries such as China, India and the Middle East.”Van der Walt says the change in view is vital, as South Africa will be competing against those countries for skills, as well as for investment opportunities for world funds moving around the globe.Unique challenges“Yes, we’ve been experiencing excellent growth – and we continue to be poised for further growth,” she says, warning, however, that the industry faces uniquely South African constraints in realising its full potential.“One just has to look at the issue of meeting local expectations on transformation, the gap between poverty and wealth, crime, uncertainty in the political environment and legislation such as foreign exchange constraints,” she says. “Added to these we have skills shortages, land issues, an absence of a clear Real Estate Investment Trust structure, infrastructure constraints such as electricity, transport and roads, and environment issues.”Van der Walt calls for co-operation in the industry, asking all players to work together to address and eliminate the constraints inhibiting growth.“We need to work together, first and foremost to make South Africa a strong market, before focusing on our own companies,” she says.“Let’s partner with government associations, such as Johannesburg Property Company and Eskom, as well as co-industry players, including property funds and the listed sector, to ensure growth for our property market in a global market.”SAinfo reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

McGregor equals Berg Canoe record

first_imgThere was a massed start for the 56-kilometre final stage from Zoutkloof to the West Coast fishing town of Velddrif, which meant that all McGregor had to do was to stay with the front bunch to secure the overall race victory. After a flawless day on a full river, he sprinted away from a six-boat bunch to cross the finishing line alone while celebrating his sixth title in style. Hank McGregor paddled his way into the canoeing record books by equalling Robbie Herreveld’s six victories in the Berg River Canoe Marathon on the weekend. McGregor secured the title in style, while the enthralling women’s race went the way of 19-year-old debutant Robyn Kime. 21 July 2009 “This is such a special race to take part in, let alone to win,” said McGregor. “The obstacles and the sheer distances of each stage make it the toughest race I have ever done. “At one stage we got stuck in a fence and had to break the wire to get free. We then ran out of water and had to carry our boats for 200 metres to get back into the river.” MENHank McGregor 13:22.54Lance King 13:25.58 Graeme Solomon 13:32.04 Pieter-Willem Basson 13:33.54 Heinrich Schloms 13:37.27 Pierre Andre Rabie 13:44.43Ernest van Riet 14:02.05Edgar Boehm Jnr 14:03.10 Andrew Birkett 14:10.53 Cornelius Human 14:14.05 Two paddlers made race history by becoming the first competitors to complete the Berg River Canoe Marathon history 40 times: Andre Collins and Giel van Deventer reached the milestone after enjoying a hitch-free final stage to Velddrif, where they both received heroes welcomes. Women’s raceThe women’s race had provided captivating action on each of the race’s first three days and heading into the final stage pre-race favourite Robyn Kime was on the back foot after a series of disasters on the critical first stage left her nearly five minute adrift of Lindi-May Harmsen. Pierre-Andre Rabie was the first under-21 paddler to cross the line, finishing in sixth place overall, while Joseph Williams took the juniors’ title in 51st place overall. Team competitionMcGregor and King paved the way for their Team Epic to claim the team prize comfortably, with fellow team mates Pieter-Willem Basson and Heinrich Schloms all finishing in the top-five, thus ensuring victory over Graeme Solomon’s Team Roamer Rand. When Harmsen made a critical error – her first of the race – by taking a channel that proved to be a long-way around a bend, it left the door open for Kime to scamper away to claim the women’s title by six minutes. She became only the fourth women in the history of the race to win it on debut. “For the start of the race, this sneak channel was banned,” said a clearly frustrated McGregor. “When I got to Oordraplek I double-checked with the race official, who told me that we had to stay in the main channel, which is what I did. I was very surprised to see the five-boat chasing bunch suddenly arrive on my tail a hundred metres behind me at the finish.” By the time that two women started side-by-side on the final stage, Harmsen’s lead had been whittled down to 52 seconds. center_img ‘It was a bit nerve-wracking”There were some anxious moments for the front bunch as they charged down the full river and across flooded vleis. “It was a bit nerve racking,” admitted McGregor. “Obviously I am disappointed,” said Harmsen. “For a while I could see Robyn (Kime) ahead of me after she got a lead when we went over some fences, but then all of a sudden she was gone. But full credit to her, she paddled like a steam train today.” ‘I dreamt of possibly winning it’“Ever since I was kid growing up in the Cape I wanted to do this race, and dreamt of possibly winning it.” Second place went to Lance King, which was his best ever paddling result. “I am over the moon,” he bubbled afterwards. “I have paid my dues on this race, taken more than my fair share of wrong channels, and had my share of admin. So to have it all come together like this feels very special.” WOMENRobyn Kime 15:26.07Lindi-May Harmsen 15:32.11 Jemma Hofmeyer 15:50.08Angie Gafney 16:15.34Lisa Scott 16:23.21 RESULTS McGregor’s finish was more dramatic than had been anticipated; he saw a 500-metre lead that he had worked hard to establish evaporate when the five men chasing him took a short-cut on the long final loop in the river before Velddrif. Collins was quick to congratulate Van Deventer when he made it to the finish and promised to share a “bottle of great 20-year-old” with him after the race. “This has got to be one of the best Bergs ever,” enthused Collins. “The weather and water has been magnificent – warm, blue skies and a full river. I had the pleasure paddling with Willem van Riet (who took part in the first ever Berg in 1962) on the third stage and we agreed that this has been one of the best.” McGregor also savoured the shared record with “King of the Berg” Robbie Herreveld. “It’s fantastic to share his record,” he reckoned. “Simply to be mentioned in the same sentence as Robbie is an honour and a privilege. Maybe he will make a comeback next year and we can race it together!” SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

South African circumnavigates the globe

first_img8 February 2013South African yachtsman Ralf Dominick has added his name to a prestigious list of only 150 people who have sailed through the Northwest Passage, one of the world’s most severe maritime challenges.The notorious waterway, a sea route through the Arctic Ocean along the northern coast of North America, has historically been considered impassable by many sea explorers.Located 800km north of the Arctic Circle and 1 930km from the North Pole, the route is covered in arctic pack ice for most of the year, which prevents regular shipping in the area.Dominick describes his journey as spectacular, and he has no regret for making it. “I undertook the voyage merely to explore the world on my own terms and had no idea that it would turn out to be of such epic proportions,” he says.“I couldn’t believe that I’d done it. It is a dream come true.”The highlight of his journey was arriving in Nome, Alaska, and realising he got through the passage unscathed.On a boat, built for adventureBefore his odyssey, Dominick was the chief executive of BBD, a software development company he founded with two partners in 1984 in Johannesburg. Today he is the chairman of the board and has a PhD in the management of technology and innovation.His 75 000km voyage of almost three years, circumnavigating the globe, started in February 2010 on board the 53-foot yacht Imvubu (Zulu, meaning hippopotamus). A number of friends accompanied Dominick on various legs of the journey.The skipper describes the yacht as being built for adventure, and with a steel hull and two masts she could easily reach out-of-the-way places. “In car terms she is a comfortable, heavy 4×4 rather than a dainty saloon or a sports car,” he says. “I looked all over the world. I wanted a boat that had no limits in terms of where it could go.”Throughout the journey he wasn’t ever scared, and he says he shares the life philosophy of Captain Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail around the world alone. “His response to people asking him if he was ever scared was no, I feel more alive.”He didn’t plan the trip in too much detail either, except for his crossing through the Northwest Passage. That required good timing and planning the best route as there are numerous ways to get through.“I also met experienced sailors who provided us with a lot of knowledge and we used ice maps from the Canadian Ice Service,” he says.“We took enough provisions to last a year – just in case we got stuck in the ice. You have to be prepared, otherwise you can die.”Adventure of a lifetimeWhat followed in the months leading up to the Northwest Passage crossing, and afterwards, was an adventure of a lifetime to more than 52 of the world’s most spectacular places.These included destinations such as Ascension Island; New York; Grenada; the Tobago Cays, a group of five small uninhabited islands located in the southern Grenadines; Vancouver; the US and Spanish Virgin Islands; Puerto Rico; Southern Bahamas; Washington; Newfoundland; Mexico; French Polynesia; Vanuatu; the Australian Outback and East Timor.“I had a ball,” says Dominick.He has so many memories, but a few stand out as some of his best moments on the voyage.One of them is drifting in front of the Blackstone Glacier in Prince William Sound on a clear and still autumn day. “The incredible fjords, mountains, scenery and hospitable people of Newfoundland and the Alaskan Inside Passage from Cape Spencer to Ketchikan are just spectacular,” he says.“To have been able to witness these scenes for me is just completely humbling.”At Viequez Island on the north eastern Caribbean, he encountered a large bioluminescent bay, considered one of the most spectacular in the world. The luminescence is caused by micro-organisms which glow whenever the water is disturbed, leaving a trail of neon blue.“It looks like fireworks. It was the most amazing thing,” he says.Then between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic he managed to get a permit to go to Mona Island. “It was a special place and I was the only boat there.”Here he had an opportunity to see the Mona ground iguana, the largest native terrestrial lizard in Puerto Rico.Dominick had a desire to sail from childhood, and this expedition was a dream come true for the 53-year-old explorer.“I set a goal for myself that at 50 I would like to sail the world,” he says.He was born in Germany, but when he was a child he came out to South Africa with his family, on a boat. His father built fishing trawlers in Luderitz in Namibia.“We lived across from the boat yard and as a kid boats were my playground,” he remembers. “It gave me an appreciation for the sea.”But his love for the sea and sailing is not accidental, he believes it is genetic. All three of his uncles had careers in the maritime industry, and his grandfather worked on a German submarine in World War Two.Planning his next adventureDominick is back on solid ground, and in between connecting with family, friends and business he’s also had to renew his expired driver’s, pilot and TV license.He is already planning his next maritime adventure. Imvubu is back at the Bluff Yacht Club in KwaZulu-Natal where she is undergoing a refit after the hard use over the past three years.She is being prepared for her next voyage in November 2013. The destinations are the Antarctic, Strait of Magellan, the Chile coast, the Panama Canal and Europe.Dominick was named the Royal Natal Yacht Club’s Sailor of the Year for 2012, and through his trip he is also helping to raise the profile of sailing in South Africa and encourage more young people to take up the sport.He was also awarded the Barton Cup by the Ocean Cruising Club, an international body, for the most meritorious ocean race or passage in 2011.“I feel humbled by the accolades that have been heaped on me and wish to express my deepest appreciation to the Ocean Cruising Club, SA Sailing and the Royal Natal Yacht Club,” he says.He had more than 50 books and 1 000 movies on board to while the time away and even though his boat had many modern conveniences, he still missed a few South African comforts.“What I missed the most was biltong and dry wors,” he says.He says circumnavigating the globe has equipped him well for his next journey.“The one lesson I did learn on this trip was the amount of maintenance required to keep a boat going on an extended voyage,” he says. “I am extremely lucky that I didn’t suffer any mayor mishaps along the way.”First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Synthetic Data: Computer Generated Data Sets for AI Training

first_imgHarry Keen, Hazy CEO, told Techworld that “privacy just isn’t good enough in anonymization. It’s very easy to infer characteristics about someone or even identify an exact individual in an anonymized dataset, because you may very well have access to an ancillary dataset which you can cross-reference … With synthetic data it’s not a record transformation into another record – it’s literally starting from scratch and creating new people based off a generalized statistical approach.” Some AI researchers are beginning to use ‘synthetic data‘ sets. While the basis for synthetic data are real data sets, synthetic data generates new data points using a statistical sampling of the original data. The result is data which is statistically similar to the original data and preserves the original data structure, but which is fully anonymized. Rob May, CEO of Talla, described how synthetic data is used in auotomous vehicle algorithms, saying that “you could create an entire machine generated city, drive around that city obeying traffic laws, and feed that data into the autonomous vehicle model. This allows you to simulate things that may be harder to capture in real life (e.g. a car running a stop sign).”center_img Current Artificial Intelligence algorithms, like machine learning and neural networks, rely heavily on training based on massive amounts of data. But the problem is that large data sets are often difficult to gain access to and data privacy is increasingly an issue. last_img read more

Did the FBI Build Backdoors Into OpenBSD?

first_imgThe FBI is being accused of planting backdoors in the security-focused open source operating system OpenBSD. OpenBSD is used in commercial security products such as firewalls from Calyptix and .vantronix. Thus far, a code audit has not revealed any backdoors in OpenBSD but some bugs have been found.Earlier this week, OpenBSD founder Theo de Raadt forwarded an e-mail from Gregory Perry, former CTO of the defunct security company NETSEC, to the OpenBSD mailing list. NETSEC paid developers to contribute to OpenBSD during the 90s. Perry claims that former NETSEC developer Jason Wright and his development team inserted backdoors into the OpenBSD Crypto Framework under the direction of the FBI – a claim Wright firmly denies. Perry claims to be coming forward now because his 10 year nondisclosure agreement with the FBI has expired.From Perry’s e-mail:If you will recall, a while back I was the CTO at NETSEC and arranged funding and donations for the OpenBSD Crypto Framework. At that same time I also did some consulting for the FBI, for their GSA Technical Support Center, which was a cryptologic reverse engineering project aimed at backdooring and implementing key escrow mechanisms for smart card and other hardware-based computing technologies.My NDA with the FBI has recently expired, and I wanted to make you aware of the fact that the FBI implemented a number of backdoors and side channel key leaking mechanisms into the OCF, for the express purpose of monitoring the site to site VPN encryption system implemented by EOUSA, the parent organization to the FBI. Jason Wright and several other developers were responsible for those backdoors, and you would be well advised to review any and all code commits by Wright as well as the other developers he worked with originating from NETSEC.From 2001 until 2003, it was funded by a grant from DARPA. Perry suggests that the reason OpenBSD lost its DARPA funding is that DARPA got wind of the FBI’s backdoors. At the time, de Raadt speculated that the funding was dropped due to antiwar statements he made in the press. Perry also alleges that Scott Lowe, VMWare-Cisco Solutions Principal at EMC, is on the FBI’s payroll and that Lowe’s advocacy for OpenBSD VMs in enterprise VMware vSphere deployments is motivated by his connection to the FBI. Lowe denies this and told IT World:Mr. Perry is mistaken. I am not, nor have I ever been, affiliated with or employed by the FBI or any other government agency. Likewise, I have not ever contributed a single line of code to OpenBSD; my advocacy is strictly due to appreciation of the project and nothing morede Raadt writes that he published Perry’s e-mail so that:(a)those who use the code can audit it for these problems,(b) those that are angry at the story can take other actions,(c) if it is not true, those who are being accused can defend themselves.Wright responded via the OpenBSD mailing list. An excerpt of his response:I will state clearly that I did not add backdoors to the OpenBSD operating system or the OpenBSD crypto framework (OCF). The code I touched during that work relates mostly to device drivers to support the framework. I don’t believe I ever touched isakmpd or photurisd (userland key management programs), and I rarely touched the ipsec internals (cryptodev and cryptosoft, yes). However, I welcome an audit of everything I committed to OpenBSD’s tree.CNET’s Declan McCullagh spotted the following tweet from former FBI agent E.J. Hilbert: Rob Beck, director of the OpenBSD Foundation, adds another level to the paranoid in this e-mail:Is it simply a way to spread FUD and discredit openbsd?Is it a personal gripe with the accused?Is it an attempt to manipulate what is used in the market?Is it outright liesIs it outright truth and genuine altruism?He also notes:Of course in these days of binary only blob drivers, I don’t think the government need resort to this sort of tactic these days. Those nice binary-only drivers everyone loves running for video and wireless will ensure that there are nice places in your favorite Open Source project that can be coopted quietly by government organizations and have access to your entire kernel. No need to be subtle.McCullagh’s CNET article includes a nice history of government snooping. I covered the subject for Disinfo a few years ago, including Julian Assange’s now defunct Rubberhose project. Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… klint finley 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Related Posts Tags:#Analysis#enterprise IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

All About Water-Resistive Barriers

first_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Start Free Trial Already a member? Log incenter_img UPDATED on September 18, 2013By now, almost all builders know the importance of installing a water-resistive barrier (WRB) behind siding. Most types of siding leak, so it’s a good idea (and a code requirement) to install a WRB to protect your wall sheathing from any wind-driven rain that gets past the siding.A WRB can be vapor-permeable, like Tyvek, or vapor-impermeable, like foil-faced polyisocyanurate. As long as the wall assembly is designed to dry out when it gets wet, either vapor-permeable or vapor-impermeable WRBs work well.In most cases, WRBs are not air barriers. (The notable exceptions are Zip System sheathing and liquid-applied WRBs.) If you want to create an air barrier on the exterior side of your wall, it usually makes more sense to create the air barrier at the sheathing layer, not at the WRB.Although there are at least six categories of WRB — asphalt felt, Grade D building paper, plastic housewrap, liquid-applied WRBs, rigid foam, and Zip System sheathing — building codes calls for just one: asphalt felt. (One other category — three-dimensional vapor-impermeable barriers — is represented by a single product, Delta-Dry. Although it is often used as a WRB, Delta-Dry has not received code approval as a substitute for code-required WRBs.)In section R703.2, the International Residential Code requires builders to install a layer of number 15 asphalt felt or paperbacked stucco lath over the wall sheathing or studs of every new home. The requirement includes a qualification: if you don’t want to use number 15 asphalt felt, you can use some “other approved water-resistive barrier.”The code requirement calling for walls to be covered with asphalt felt is rather odd, because every asphalt felt manufacturer declares unequivocally that the product is intended for roofs, not walls. When builders install asphalt felt on walls as required by code, the… last_img read more

China: Flood damage reaches $1.2 billion

first_imgMore than 40 miles (70 kilometers) of dikes are in danger of overflowing in an eastern Chinese province where floods have caused $1.2 billion in losses, authorities said on Monday as the country neared a critical point in battling seasonal rains.Heavy rains pounded Zhejiang province over the weekend and the level of a river that passes through Lanxi city has risen sharply, said Zhao Fayuan, deputy director of the provincial flood control headquarters.The level of Lanjiang river has now hit 110 feet (34 meters), the highest since 1966, the headquarters said.Several sections of the dikes in Lanxi city are barely holding, Zhao said. More than 20,000 people could be affected if the dikes are breached, he was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency.The province’s flood control headquarters advised Lanxi officials to evacuate all residents near the dikes that are at risk of overflowing, and to repair them immediately.Recent flooding has destroyed 600,000 acres (241,600 hectares) of farmland and caused 1,846 companies to stop production in Zhejiang, incurring 7.69 billion yuan ($1.19 billion) in direct economic losses, the province’s flood control agency said on Monday. Of these, 3.4 billion yuan were agricultural losses. Coastal Zhejiang is one of China’s richest provinces and its economy grew 11.8 percent in 2010.Flooding in eastern and southern China has triggered landslides, cut off power and telecommunications and left more than 180 people dead or missing. Another five people were killed on Sunday and one remains missing after surging floodwaters swept them away in their southwest villages, Xinhua reported on Monday.China’s minister for water resources said on Sunday that the country was entering a crucial period for flood control as severe floods triggered by heavy rains threaten southern areas.advertisementIt is likely that more frequent and more intense downpours will continue, Chen Lei told a meeting in Beijing to discuss flood-control measures, Xinhua reported.He urged local authorities to improve weather forecasting and ensure dikes, reservoirs and dams are safe. China’s national weather agency said Monday that torrential rains will continue in southern and eastern areas for the next three days.However, while the deadly flooding continues, a persistent drought is still plaguing five provinces in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. It has left 630,000 people without safe drinking water and affected 11.9 million acres (4.8 million hectares) of farmland, Chen said.- With AP inputsFor more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more