There’s nothing like a little controversy to spike prices of rare items on the black market, err, online retail resale sites.After Nike on Monday pulled its Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July from stores at the last minute, the price for the shoes with Betsy Ross’ original American flag design stitched on the heel shot up like fireworks.Colin Kaepernick speaks at an ACLU event in Beverly Hills in 2017.On the StockX website Tuesday, some of those who were able to get their hands on the …
22 February 2013 Civil servants will be expected to work harder and become more effective in serving ordinary South Africans, while giving taxpayers more value for their money, President Jacob Zuma told Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday. In his State of the Nation Address last week, Zuma said that a Presidential Remuneration Commission would be set up to review the salaries of public servants. In his reply on Thursday to the debate this week on his address, Zuma said the training of public servants will be prioritised to further improve the capacity of the state. This he said would bring in much-needed skills and reduce the amount that the state spends on consultants. “It is for this reason that we say if we are to pay public servants better, we want a return on our investment,” he said.Monitoring of frontline services He said frontline services to South Africans would also be boosted, adding that over 300 unannounced visits were undertaken during the past year. “Repeat visits to sites indicate that, in many cases, the monitoring has resulted in improvements,” he said. He said a model example was that of Pearl Bhengu and Mondli Mazibuko and the staff at the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) office in Umzimkhulu in KwaZulu- Natal. “After an unannounced visit, they acted on the findings and improved the queue management, provided chairs and a shelter for the waiting area and ensured that toilet facilities were working.” Zuma said the monitoring of management practices in the public sector by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation was beginning to bear fruit. He singled out that the average time to fill funded vacancies in the public sector had come down from nine months in 2010 to four months last year. Added to this, the average time taken by the Department of Home Affairs to issue an ID book went from 150 days to about 30 days, while the average application time for a social grant also fell last year from 30 days in 2010 to 21 days, he said. The bar-coded green ID book will begin to be replaced by a new ID smart card in the 2013 financial year, he said.Economy the biggest focus The economy was his administration’s biggest focus, Zuma said, adding that a Grant Thornton report last week indicated that South Africa had maintained its position as a leading investment destination in Africa, climbed one place to 14th position in a ranking of the 27 largest emerging economies. Zuma said tax incentives announced in 2011 had resulted in an increase in foreign investment – including the announcement by Unilever last month that it would build an R800-million plant in Boksburg, and the opening last year of two new factories by Nestle in Babelegi, near Pretoria. He said it was important to rebuild confidence in the mining sector, adding that the Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu had met with mining role players, including business, unions and the government, to push for a framework to ensure stability in the sector. On the issue of job creation, Zuma said the youth unemployment incentive schemes discussed at Nedlac would complement the National Rural Youth Service Corps, the Expanded Public Works Programme, the Community Works Programme and job creation programmes within the SA National Defence Force. Turning to education, Zuma said the Department of Basic Education’s Annual National Assessments had revealed that the introduction of workbooks and the training of teachers in 2011 had resulted in progress in learning outcomes in lower school grades. Zuma also highlighted South Africa’s increased life expectancy, which increased from 56 years in 2009 to 60 years in 2011. This, he said, had been praised by the World Health Organisation.Debate on violence against women He encouraged MPs to continue debating issues around the Traditional Courts Bill following criticism that the Bill was unconstitutional and that it limited women’s rights in the former homelands. Condemning violence and abuse against women and children, he said South Africa had to nurture values such as ubuntu and respect for one another’s rights and property. South Africa had build on the success of last year’s National Cohesion Summit to build better and more stable communities. To this end, the Department of Basic Education was looking at inculcating values of citizenry and ethics, he said. The National Assembly is set to host a debate on violence against women next week. Zuma said South Africa was a much better country today than it was in 1994, with a Constitution that extended equal rights to all. “It has not been an easy road, as President Mandela told us in 1994. And it is a long road to the type of society we want to achieve, but we are getting there steadily.” Source: SAnews.gov.za
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall called on farmers and ranchers to redouble their efforts to advocate for agriculture, even as the current administration has begun moving to undo some of the regulations that have burdened them for years.“We have had a seat at the table with the Trump administration,” Duvall told nearly 7,000 farmers and ranchers gathered for the organization’s annual convention in Nashville, Tennessee. “Folks, I can tell you that it has been a breath of fresh air to be able to advocate for getting things done…instead of having to constantly defend agriculture against a steady stream of challenges from our own government.”In his address Duvall covered the gamut of major issues that began to move in recent months.“Probably the biggest challenge we faced in recent years was the Waters of the U.S. rule,” he said. “That over-reaching regulation would have allowed the federal government to dictate not just how you farm — but whether you could farm at all. Thanks to your engagement, and thanks to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, the old rule is being reconsidered. And we are urging the agency to propose a new rule…one that draws clear lines that protect waters without regulating farm fields.“It’s thanks to your engagement that Congress passed tax reform last year — giving farmers a new 20% deduction on their business income, doubling the estate tax exemption, preserving tax credits that farmers depend on, and lowering the individual tax rate,” he said.Duvall underlined the importance of trade to American farmers.“As I have traveled, I have discovered that even some within agriculture don’t understand what’s at stake if we lose our trade agreements. Trade should not be a dirty word. Because without those global markets our already-depressed farm economy would go down even more. We sell about half of what we produce to foreign markets around the world. If we lose those markets, where is that agricultural production going to go? Ag trade is an American success story.”Immigration remains a key issue with American farmers.“We also have some work to do on immigration and ag labor,” he said. “This is yet another issue that has been overtaken by politics. But I have met many farmers and ranchers across the country who deal with the reality of farm labor shortages on their farms. Everywhere I go, no matter which region or state, farmers tell me this is the number one problem they face—not enough ag workers to get their crops out of the field.“Last year, Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia introduced a bill that would let existing workers apply for visas to stay in the U.S. and keep working on our farms and ranches. We need Congress to pass that bill so we can keep from losing ag production to other countries that have better access to labor.”The farm bill, meanwhile, is expected to pass Congress sometime this year. Duvall reminded Farm Bureau members it remains a top priority at a time when farmers and ranchers are facing the worst outlook since the collapse of the farm economy in the 1980s. “The fact is — the farm bill is a food security bill for everyone,” he said. “It’s for consumers. And it’s for conservation. It’s for rural development. It’s for energy security. It’s for research so we can continue to increase production and meet future demand. And, yes, it is and should continue to be for those low-income Americans who need extra help to put food on their table.”
Shankaracharya of Puri Swami Nischalananda Saraswati on Saturday said the Odisha government took a unilateral decision to demolish structures within 75-metre radius of Shree Jagannath Temple and he was not consulted on this important matter.Terming the ongoing demolition a conspiracy, the seer said the committee headed by former Orissa High Court Judge B.P. Das neither met him nor consulted him. The committee had suggested clearing the area around the 12th century temple of encroachments for its security.The Jagannath temple affairs should be regulated by religious processes and mutts’ activities follow similar process, he said.The seer’s reaction came in the wake of ongoing demolition of the 12th century Emar Mutt, close to the temple. Even as the eviction drive is under way, mutt Mahant Rajgopal Ramanuj Dash has been protesting the move and refused to vacate the structure.
“The passport invites Jamaicans from an early age to become ‘dry-land tourists’ in their own country. The same heritage that we invite visitors from abroad to experience must be so familiar to us that we become tour guides for our own children, our families and for our people,” Ms. Grange said.In the meantime, she informed that work has commenced towards securing Port Royal’s inclusion on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) list of World Heritage sites.Minister Grange commended the organisers of the Health, Home and Garden Expo for staging an event that highlights the country’s culture while promoting the importance of wellness.“Your concern with lifestyle matters that impact all areas of life and that have a strong focus on arts, culture, and heritage is recognised as being of fundamental value to us as a people. It makes you one of those solid Jamaican institutions… devoted to promoting what is good for Jamaica as a country, what is good about Jamaica and what is good for the lives of its citizens,” she said.Event Coordinator, Fay Wint, encouraged Jamaicans to come out for a fun-filled experience. She noted that there will be live entertainment, artist and children villages, give-a-ways, beautiful exhibits, talks and demonstrations.The Health, Home and Garden Expo 2017 runs from Friday (October 27) to Sunday (October 29) at the National Arena. Gates are open 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. “The passport invites Jamaicans from an early age to become ‘dry-land tourists’ in their own country. The same heritage that we invite visitors from abroad to experience must be so familiar to us that we become tour guides for our own children, our families and for our people,” Ms. Grange said. More of the island’s heritage sites are being upgraded in a bid to showcase the country’s rich history.Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the work includes infrastructural improvements and erection of storyboards and general signage.“The culture agencies of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust and the Institute of Jamaica under the Ministry’s portfolio have been charged as a matter of priority to ensure that more of our sites are functional and operating at world-class standards,” she noted.The Minister was speaking at the official launch of the Health, Home and Garden Expo at the National Arena in Kingston on Thursday (October 26).She said there continues to be insufficient knowledge of Jamaica’s history and culture among the youth population, adding that many of the values that the older population grew up with and treasured are being pushed aside for foreign alternatives.“Do we celebrate Halloween more than we celebrate Heroes Day. Is Emancipation Day just a picnic holiday or a time to consider as many aspects as possible of the history of slavery before and since that date,” she questioned.As such, she said that appropriate spaces in major towns will be created to facilitate cultural performances, and the culture passport programme has been expanded to enrich the knowledge and experience of Jamaicans.The culture passport programme provides free or reduced-cost access to heritage sites; cultural institutions such as museums, galleries, theatres; and special cultural performances.Beneficiaries include students, members of community-based organisations and churches, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and other special-interest groups. Story Highlights Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the work includes infrastructural improvements and erection of storyboards and general signage. The Health, Home and Garden Expo 2017 runs from Friday (October 27) to Sunday (October 29) at the National Arena. Gates are open 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.