SA banks on competitiveness

Posted On Dec 18 2019 by

first_img19 October 2009 South Africa is ranked 45th out of 134 countries in the World Economic Forum’s recently released Global Competitiveness Index for 2009/10. While this is the same position it held in 2008/09, the country’s banking system soared in the rankings, from 24th to fifth in the world. Conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in partnership with leading academics and a global network of research institutes, the index calculates its rankings from publicly available data and an annual poll of over 12 000 business leaders worldwide. The index is based on 12 “pillars of competitiveness”, namely: institutions; infrastructure; macroeconomic stability; health and primary education; higher education and training; goods market efficiency; labour market efficiency; financial market sophistication; technological readiness; market size; business sophistication; and innovation. At 45th overall, South Africa remains the highest ranked country in sub-Saharan Africa in 2009/10, with what the WEF describes as “a stable performance compared with last year. “The country continues to benefit from the large size of its economy, particularly by regional standards (it is ranked 24th in the market size pillar).”‘Strong confidence in SA’s financial markets’ South Africa’s jump to 5th place overall for its banking system indicates “strong confidence in South Africa’s financial markets at a time when trust has been eroded in many other parts of the world,” the WEF says. South Africa also does well on such measures as intellectual property protection (24th place overall), accountability of private institutions (5th), and goods market efficiency (35th). The country does “reasonably well” on more complex measures, such as business sophistication (36th place) and innovation (41st), where it benefited from good scientific research institutions (ranked 29th) and strong collaboration between universities and the business sector in innovation (ranked 25th). At the same time, the WEF says, South Africa’s competitiveness would be enhanced by tackling “some enduring weaknesses”.Labour market inefficiency Chief among these is the country’s labour market efficiency, for which it ranks 90th, dragged down by inflexible hiring and firing practices (125th place), lack of flexibility in wage determination by companies (123rd), and poor labour-employer relations (121st). A university enrollment rate of only 15 percent (94th place) threatens to undermine SA’s innovative potential, says the WEF. And South Africa’s infrastructure (45th place), although good by regional standards, requires upgrading. “In this light, the improvements in transport infrastructure related to the 2010 World Cup is a welcome development that should reinforce South Africa’s competitiveness.” Other important obstacles to doing business in South Africa, says the WEF, is the “poor security situation. “The business costs of crime and violence (133rd place) and the sense that the police are unable to provide protection from crime (106th) do not contribute to an environment that fosters competitiveness.” Another major concern remains the health of South Africa’s workforce (127th place), the result of “high rates of communicable diseases and poor health indicators more generally.”SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more


SANParks sells rhinos to foil poachers

Posted On Dec 18 2019 by

first_img2 April 2015SANParks is to sell 286 white rhino to private buyers as part of its efforts to save the animals from poaching, Kuseni Dlamini, the organisation’s outgoing chairperson, said in Pretoria on Wednesday.“A tender was issued for the sale of white rhino to private land owners who fulfil a number of requirements, including habit and security,” Dlamini said.Poachers killed 1 217 rhinos in South Africa in 2014, including more than 800 in Kruger National Park, up from a total of 1 004 in 2013. The country has a population of about 20 000 rhinos.Suitable and secureDlamini said the tender process was in the adjudication phase, with a team including auditors from KPMG, National Treasury and scientists assessing properties to ensure they would provide a suitable and secure habitat.The sale forms part of a translocation programme begun in October 2014 to move some rhino out of poaching hotspots in the Kruger National Park.About R32-million of land had also been purchased as part of the creation of “rhino strongholds” where rhinos would be kept to allow the population to grow, SANParks said.Dr Howard Hendricks, SANParks acting managing executive for conservation, said the rhino would not be “dumped” on to the properties, and that the organisation would maintain relationships with the owners.Interventions“While we cannot claim to have won the war against rhino poaching during our term, we have gone a long way towards developing and putting in place the interventions needed to contain this threat to our natural heritage,” Dlamini said.Steps included a helicopter donated by the Howard G Buffett Foundation and use of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones in the Kruger National Park.Ending poaching needed the combined effort of business, NGOs, neighbouring countries and the “whole global community”, he said.Hendricks said rhinos were also being killed by lightning, which had become more prevalent in the past three years.In Bloemhof in Free State, two rhino were killed by lightning last year. Other areas where this had happened were the Northern Cape and the Waterberg region in Limpopo.news24.com and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more


New Stanford biodegradable wearable takes your data to its grave

Posted On Dec 15 2019 by

first_imgInternet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… A wearable electronic device that can dissolve in vinegar and is currently considered to be the lightest, thinnest electronic device, was recently unveiled by researchers at Stanford University. This technology can help reduce electronic waste while maintaining privacy.See Also: How personal beacons can help keep women safeThe need for biodegradable tech in an era when new gadgets are constantly being introduced and quickly discarded, causing tons of electronic waste, presented the key concern and main focus for the team of researchers who have shared this new device. The team designed this wearable electronic device to totally dissolve when vinegar is poured on it. Having a biodegradable wearable option presents an answer to the privacy problem that occurs when new devices are discarded in favor of new ones, hoping that the cautionary measures taken to erase old data are effective enough to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.The decomposing polymer that the device is made of ranks as one of the thinnest and lightest electronic gadgets that’s ever been made. The team has synthesized the biodegradable semiconductor by utilizing a molecule taken from tattoo ink, and has created a base by weaving plant fibers into a new, extra-thin film.  Inside the structure are embedded electronics. When placed in vinegar, or even a less acidic liquid, the entire thing melts away within a 30 day timeframe.An answer to e-waste?In the near future, this technology will likely be used for storing sensitive digital information that could rapidly and easily be destroyed and kept a secret. It can also possibly be used for biological sensors, and implantable medical devices.  Testing has been done with the device in mice to research whether this idea would work.  The device is currently still not safe for use in humans. But it may be in the future.According to an ENDS Europe agency report about electronic waste, due to an increasing built-in obsolescence, in 2012 defective appliances were replaced at the rate of 8.3 percent, which is an increase from 3.5 percent in 2004. Recent studies share that a huge majority of young adults own smartphones, and approximately 30 percent of American upgrade their phones every two years. This helps add to a huge amount of waste that estimates show will produce more than 50 million metric tons of electronic waste by 2018.  The solution to this problem looks as though it may be here, with this new biodegradable wearable. Electronic waste is a real problem, causing poisonous groundwater by leaching hazardous materials like mercury into the ground. Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Related Posts Follow the Puckcenter_img Amanda Razani Tags:#e-waste#featured#Internet of Things#IoT#Stanford#top#waste#wearable Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more


Pre-Visualizing Your Scene: The Pros and Cons of Set.a.light

Posted On Dec 12 2019 by

first_imgIn this review, we’ll take a look at the set.a.light pre-visualization program, its virtual assets and limitations, and how to use it.Set.a.light 3D is a pre-visualization program for photographers and filmmakers. Users can realistically simulate lighting setups and learn how lights and cameras interact to create an image.I’ve been using set.a.light for a couple of months now, and I’ve spent endless hours tinkering with different lighting setups. There are three main windows. You have a perspective view that lets you see your scene, a “rendered view” that lets you see what the camera is seeing, and a top-down “lighting diagram” view that you can output (once you’re done) to help recreate the lighting on set. Create an EnvironmentImage via Elixxier Software.The first step is to create an environment and something to shoot. This is one of five preset models that you can customize with different outfits, hair styles, and skin colors. There are also multiple poses to choose from, some right out of Zoolander, but standing and sitting have worked out fine (so far) for me.Fit Your SceneYou can then choose the camera lens, sensor size, position, f-stop, and ISO that fits your scene. The camera sprite is a generic-looking DSLR on a lighting stand, which I hope will change in future versions.Light the SubjectImage via Elixxier Software.You’re now free to light the subject to your heart’s desire. You can bring in fifty Skypanels, line the roof with spot lights, or just recreate a scene from your favorite film. You can use bounced light, and there’s even a “light blocker” for negative fill.LimitationsSet.a.light does have a couple of limitations. It doesn’t (yet) have diffusion or silks that you can use to diffuse lights. Most of the lights featured are flashes or flash modifiers, though they do have several ARRI LEDs and tungsten spotlights.With the basic version at $70, set.a.light is a great way to get some time on set, even if it’s virtual, and discover how to use light to best tell your story.Top image via elixxier software.Interested in the tracks we used to make this video?“Tulips” by Origami Pigeon“Never Gonna Be the Same” by Joseph“Homeworks” by Weird Visions“Feelings” by JosephWant more on lighting? Check these out.Lighting in a Pinch: Five Tricks Using Your Mobile PhoneA Cheap Trick for Lighting a Daylight Interior Car SceneNature’s Lighting: A Guide on Shooting With or Against the SunFollow Fill: The Simple Solution to Lighting a Difficult SceneInside the Electric Department: Lighting, Tools, and Safety Skillslast_img read more


Floods ravage western Maharashtra, over 1.32 lakh evacuated from 5 districts

Posted On Dec 1 2019 by

first_imgOver a lakh people from 20,000 families have been moved to safety as local residents, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and the Armed forces are pulling out all the stops to rescue those stuck in water-logged areas in Kolhapur and Sangli districts.The districts are experiencing the worst deluge since 2005.Sixteen people in five districts — Pune, Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli and Solapur — in western Maharashtra have lost their lives over the past week. Around 1.32 lakh people from these districts have been evacuated till Wednesday, Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said.Chairing an emergency meeting in Mumbai, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said rescuing women, children and patients was the priority, and directed the administration of the flood-hit districts to make alternative arrangements for food, essential items, and drinking water.Mr. Mhaisekar said four teams of the Territorial Army are engaged in rescue operations in Kolhapur and one team has reached Sangli. While six NDRF teams are already in action in Kolhapur, six more are on their way by road. One Navy team is in operation in Kolhapur.“Air connectivity has been established over Kolhapur since Wednesday morning with five more Navy teams to be dispatched via air over the district,” he said. The deluge has completely thrown State Transport bus services in Kolhapur and Sangli out of gear. With 89 roads in Kolhapur under water, the district is completely cut off from the rest of Maharashtra.The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast heavy rain for Kolhapur in the next 48 hours.“From Wednesday night till forenoon of August 9, we expect heavy to very heavy showers to hit the ghat areas, including Kolhapur,” Anupam Kashyapi, head, weather and air pollution monitoring unit, IMD, said.last_img read more


Bikini model Kate Upton strikes sexy Baywatch pose

Posted On Nov 28 2019 by

first_imgThe popular Sports Illustrated model has returned to GQ and how! The outtakes of the shoot of the sexy babe have been released by the GQ magazine, where the model is seen posing like Pamela Anderson. The photographer, Terry Richardson, shot the sunny blonde for the cover of the latest issue of GQ, where she suggestively brandishes a red, white and blue popsicle.Terry Richardson is a famed and controversial fashion photographer whose equally infamous subjects include Lindsay Lohan.In a new video on Terry TV, Upton stars in a Baywatch parody filmed by Richardson in which she frolics on the beach in a barely-there bikini, rides a rollercoaster and reveals her assets in a wet T-shirt. The video titled The Many Talents of Kate Upton is backed by a rock soundtrack, and shows Kate doing skateboarding, hula-hooping, riding roller coasters.In the July cover shoot for GQ, the sexy model is on beach-duty holding a life float a la Pamela Anderson in Baywatch.last_img read more