Brand South Africa mourns the passing of Minister Edna Molewa

first_imgLast week, the world woke up to the sad news on the passing of the first female Premier of the North West, Minister Edna Molewa.Born Bomo Edith Edna Molewa (23 March 1957), she was a South African politician and member of the African National Congress. Molewa became the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of South Africa on 31 October 2010. On 25 May 2014, after the department had split, she was appointed as Minister of Environmental Affairs. She passed on while still serving in dignity as the Minister of her appointed department.Described as dedicated, humble yet combat-ready by those who worked with her, Minister Edna Molewa has certainly left a gap that will be hard to fill in the cabinet of South Africa. Brand SA extends its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of this esteemed heroine.Video: GCISlast_img read more

Trade progress for U.S. agriculture with USMCA

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest In early December, U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials signed the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) after a year of intense negotiations on the trade pact.“[The] signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement continues the progress American farmers and ranchers have made since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect in 1994,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico increased from $8.9 billion to $39 billion under NAFTA. That boost provided important markets for farmers and ranchers whose productivity has only grown since the agreement was signed. USMCA keeps all those gains and adds improvements in poultry, eggs, dairy and wine. In every way, this new agreement is just as good, if not better than, the one that came before. We thank the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for all the hard work that went into this accord.“As good as all this news is, farmers and ranchers still face retaliatory tariffs over steel and aluminum disputes with our North American neighbors and other trading partners. We urge the administration to redouble its efforts to come to an agreement on those outstanding issues so we can regain the markets we had not long ago.”The National Pork Producers Council is also pleased with USMCA. The agreement maintains zero-duty market access to Canada and Mexico for U.S. pork. However, the punitive 20% tariffs on U.S. pork exported to Mexico remain in effect and are inflicting significant financial harm on the U.S. pork industry. The United States and Mexico continue to intensely negotiate a resolution to the metal tariffs, and NPPC is hopeful that the matter will soon be resolved.National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said that while USMCA makes important improvements over NAFTA, the deal currently does not go far enough to institute a fair trade framework that benefits family farmers and ranchers and restores sovereignty to the U.S. In response to the signing, Johnson urged Congress to demand the administration make changes to the deal before ratifying it.“President Trump campaigned against the major flaws in international trade agreements that the original NAFTA created the framework for, and rightly so. It is this framework that has led to our annual $500 billion trade deficit, exported jobs, lowered wages, and lost sovereignty. NAFTA renegotiation is a key opportunity to create a trade framework for our future,” Johnson said. “The reworked agreement makes improvements to eradicate ISDS — the dispute settlement system that gives corporations an unwarranted advantage over citizens — yet the agreement maintains ISDS provisions for some oil and gas companies. And while this is the first U.S. trade pact to include rules on currency manipulation, these rules lack the teeth they need to be effective. As of right now, only the transparency requirements are binding.“Finally, the USMCA ignores the sovereignty Americans have lost as part of NAFTA, particularly with respect to food labeling. Canada, Mexico, and multinational meatpackers pressured Congress—using NAFTA provisions—to scrap the commonsense Country-of-Origin Labeling for beef and pork that American consumers and producers benefitted from. These labels should be allowed under a new USMCA.”last_img read more

Google Chrome Adds Bookmark Syncing Feature

first_imgTags:#Browsers#Google#Product Reviews#web Fresh on the heels of Firefox’s latest beta, Google has also just released a new beta build of their Chrome web browser. In addition to a number of speed improvements, the most exciting thing about today’s beta release is the inclusion of the Google Chrome synchronization framework. Although still in development, this technology allows Chrome users to sync their browser bookmarks across multiple computers without having to manually recreate them on each machine used. How To Enable Google SyncAccording to Google’s blog post about the beta release, the sync feature has to first be activated on each of your computers where Google Chrome is used. To do this, you’ll need to download the beta build of the browser available here. Once installed, click the “wrench” menu (yes, the one with the wrench icon) in Google Chrome and select “Synchronize my bookmarks” from the menu that appears. Sign into your Google account in the dialog box that pops up. If you’ve already set up Sync on another computer, you’ll then be prompted to confirm that your different sets of bookmarks should be merged together. In that case, click “Merge and Sync” to complete the process. Finally, click “OK” when you’ve finished. Not only does this feature sync your bookmarks, it also creates a copy of your bookmarks file on Google Docs in a new folder called “Google Chrome.” (Wonder what else will go in that folder in the future?) 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting sarah perez Related Posts As noted earlier, speed was a major factor in Firefox’s 3.6 beta 1, released just this Friday. Both companies are going head-to-head when it comes to browser speed, JavaScript performance and startup times, but no official speed tests have been done yet to compare the two new beta releases. To download the latest build of Google Chrome beta, head over to the Chrome beta site here. The official beta requires Windows XP SP2 or higher. What’s in Store for SyncFor now, the Sync feature is only synchronizing browser bookmarks, but the framework behind Sync is ultimately designed to handle the synchronization of other kinds of browser data as well. As to what sort of data that could be, Google can’t provide any official confirmation just yet. However, they did say that you could imagine that “this type of infrastructure could be extended to other types of user data such as passwords” in the future. We’ll speculate that it will eventually include those passwords, your browser history, and whatever favorite websites appear as thumbnails on the New Tab page. After all, if Mozilla’s Weave Sync prototype can handle those sorts of tasks already, there’s no reason to believe that Google couldn’t do the same. Because the new Sync feature uses an XMPP connection to synchronize the changes, changes made on one computer are synchronized immediately to another. Not just quickly, mind you, but immediately. This is possible because XMPP is what’s known as a “real-time” communication protocol – the same one that powers Google Talk, the company’s IM service. The use of this sort of technology hints at how Google plans to make their Chrome web browser the core of their upcoming netbook operating system, Google Chrome OS. The new OS will run web applications “in the cloud,” a radical change from current OS offerings where many applications are still installed on the computer’s hard drive itself. With Chrome (the browser’s) ability to synchronize data in real-time between computers, it’s easy to see how a cloud OS could operate. It wouldn’t matter which machine you used, your data would be available, stored in the cloud, synchronized, and all accessible upon login to your Google account. That prospect is either amazing or terrifying depending on your trust level when it comes to Google. Perhaps it’s even both.  Chrome Gets Faster, TooWhile Bookmark Sync is the most interesting feature to debut in the new beta, there are some notable speed improvements to mention, too. The latest build improves performance by 30% since the current stable release of Chrome and by 400% since the very first stable release, as measured by Mozilla’s Dromeao DOM Core Tests.  Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

Sangeeta Singh appointed Additional Chief Secretary (Home) in Gujarat

first_imgIn a comprehensive transfer of IAS officers, the Gujarat government on Friday appointed 1986-batch IAS officer Sangeeta Singh as Additional Chief Secretary (Home). A total of 79 IAS officers of the State have been transferred by the State government. Sangeeta Singh has been shifted from Personnel Department to Home Department, while Kamal Dayani has been posted as Principal Secretary (Personnel). Other officers who figure in the transfer list include Pankaj Joshi as Principal Secretary, Energy and Petrochemical and M Thennarasan as MD of Gujarat Industrial Development Board (GIDC) from Surat, where he was Municipal Commissioner. The transfer orders involve Municipal Commissioners of Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara and District Collectors of Navsari, Godhara, Bhavnagar, Porbandar, Kutch, Rajkot and Aravalli. Kutch Collector Remya Mohan has been shifted as Rajkot Collector, while M. Nagrajan has been posted in her place as Collector of Kutch.last_img read more

Team USA Isnt Getting Better — World Basketball Is Getting Worse

1994World Cup+9.5+37.8 2000Olympics+12.0+21.6 We’re on the ground in Rio covering the 2016 Summer Olympics. Check out all our coverage here.Despite trailing much of the first half, the U.S. men’s basketball team defeated Australia 98-88 on Wednesday, moving to 3-0 in Olympic pool play. Over those three games, the Americans have won by an average of 37 points, the third-best mark of any U.S. team through three games of a major international tournament1Including both the Olympics and FIBA world championships. since the Dream Team era began in 1992.The other two teams — the original ’92 wrecking squad and their ridiculously stacked 2012 heirs — dominated en route to Olympic gold. But if this year’s team ends up pulling the same trick, it might not be so much a testament to U.S. dominance as a signal that the rest of the world has gotten weaker in recent years after a long run of improvement.We can measure the progress of international competition over time using Team USA as a reference point. Since American Olympic and FIBA World Cup teams are made up entirely of NBA players (save for the U.S.’s 1998 FIBA Worlds squad, which featured zero stars due to that summer’s NBA lockout), we can estimate the total talent on those rosters using Box Plus/Minus (BPM).2Specifically, I built a multiyear projection model that estimates a player’s talent level in a given year using both the seasons leading up to and following the season in question, when available. Since these tournaments take place in the summer, I averaged a player’s talent estimate between the previous and next season; e.g., Michael Jordan’s rating for the 1992 Dream Team was an average of his 1992 and 1993 BPM talent ratings. In regular NBA competition, there’s a steady relationship between a team’s underlying talent, its per-game margin of victory and the strength of schedule it faced. Therefore, we can estimate the strength of Team USA’s opposition in international tournaments (such as the Olympics) by comparing its margin of victory to that which we’d expect based on the talent level of the U.S. roster. 2002World Cup+10.0+16.9 Team USA’s greatest basketball rosters (on paper) 1992Olympics+23.1+43.8 2010World Cup+9.4+24.6 2016Olympics+13.1— 2004Olympics+12.7+4.6 2014World Cup+11.4+33.0 1996Olympics+20.8+32.5 YEARTOURNAMENTROSTER TALENTPPG MARGIN 2008Olympics+19.0+27.9 No matter whether we look at the Olympics or the World Cup, the level of competition faced by the U.S. peaked with the surprise upsets of 2004 and 2006, and has been zooming back down ever since — even after controlling for changes in talent on America’s rosters. Yes, USA Basketball improved its team selections after its mid-2000s wake-up call, but the U.S. is also winning by wider margins than we’d expect from its talent improvements alone.And in many ways, the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will put this trend to the ultimate test. This year’s American roster is, according to BPM, the weakest U.S. Olympic squad since 2004, and the third-weakest since ’92. On the spectrum between America’s strongest Olympic teams (1992) and its weakest World Cup teams (2010), the 2016 version sits near the middle, but it also bears more resemblance to the average U.S. World Cup squad than the average Olympics entry. Without Steph Curry, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul (and so forth), this is just the kind of depleted roster that could have been poised to disappoint in years past.Instead, the U.S. is 3-0 — albeit shakily so after Wednesday’s unconvincing victory over the 11th-best team in the world. If the Americans can iron out the shooting woes of the Australia game and keep winning, it might mean this roster is better than the numbers thought. But it could also be further evidence that the U.S.’s competition is less of a threat than in years past. Based on multiyear Box Plus/Minus talent ratings, weighted by each player’s minutes played in the tournament.Source:, 2012Olympics+19.8+32.1 Unsurprisingly, the 1992 Dream Team was the most talented group the U.S. ever sent to a major international tournament. Weighting by each player’s minutes played — and putting aside the complicated relationship between projection and reality for superteams — that ’92 squad had +23.1 points per 100 possessions of BPM talent on its hands. (By comparison, the most talented NBA team ever, the 1995-96 Bulls, boasted a +10.8 mark; the 2015-16 Warriors were +8.5.) Against average NBA competition, we’d have expected them to win by a margin of 25.9 points per game, so the fact that they won by 43.8 instead implies they were playing competition about 17.8 points per game worse than the NBA average. (As another point of comparison, the Denver Nuggets were the NBA’s worst team during the 1991-92 season, and they were “only” 7.6 points per game worse than average after adjusting for schedule, earning a 24-58 record.) Yes, the Dream Team was really good, but the competition was also pretty weak.That wouldn’t stay the case for long. Although the U.S. won the 1994 World Championship by an average of 38 points per game despite fielding a far weaker roster than they’d sent to Barcelona in ’92, the landslide victory margins would quickly taper off. In 1996, the second iteration of the Dream Team carried an impressive +20.8 BPM talent rating (10 points/100 possessions better than any team in NBA history), yet it won by 32.5 points per game — only 9 more than would be expected vs. average NBA competition. In just four years, America’s international competition had begun closing the gap.The U.S. advantage would be steadily chipped away every few years, in concert with USA Basketball assembling its own squads of ever-decreasing talent. The two trends came to a head at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, when America was stunned with a bronze-medal finish. Despite its disappointing performance, that team wasn’t exactly barren — it starred the already legendary Tim Duncan, plus a still-in-his-prime Allen Iverson, the perpetually underrated Shawn Marion and Lamar Odom, and even young versions of budding superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. On the other hand, it also prominently featured Stephon Marbury, whose reputation for killing NBA teams might be overstated, but was definitely not at his best in Athens.American fans quickly attributed the loss to toxic chemistry and poor fit — a fair criticism, if you peruse this wacky roster — but it was also apparent the world had improved greatly since the Dream Team’s debut. According to the numbers, Team USA’s competition at the 2004 Olympics played to a level about 9.8 points per game better than NBA average. Even granting that our method is only a proxy (and should have some give built in to it to allow for things like badly constructed rosters and questionable coaching), that’s still a quantum leap forward for U.S. opponents, compared with Barcelona 12 years earlier.Athens was a high point for international parity, but it may also have been a bit of a mirage. In response to the debacle of 2004, the U.S. assembled a more talented roster for the 2006 FIBA Worlds, and although America was held to the bronze again, it did post an average scoring margin 15.8 points per game greater than in Athens. Two years later, the Redeem Team won gold with a +27.9 PPG margin; then America easily won the 2010 World Championship with the least talent the U.S. had sent to a major tournament in the post-’92 era. Tack on two more golds after that (at the 2012 Olympics and 2014 FIBA Worlds) with growing victory margins, and the U.S.’s international foes are trending in the wrong direction: 2006World Cup+15.4+20.4 read more