“The seasonally adjusted real GDP at market prices for the second quarter of 2009 decreased by an annualised rate of three percent compared to the first quarter’s 6.4%,” Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported on Tuesday. The finance, real estate and business services, and the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries also contributed to the drop in GDP growth. While South Africans had more disposable income following the rate cuts, they were either still reluctant to spend or were servicing their debts, Stats SA’s Kedibone Mokone told Business Report. Business Day said on Wednesday that when the year’s first-half figures were compared with those of last year, economic growth was down by only two percent. Industries that contributed to positive second-quarter growth included construction (+0.5% of a percentage point), general government services and mining and quarrying (each contributing +0.3% of a percentage point), as well as personal services (0.1% of a percentage point), Stats SA reported. SAinfo reporter and BuaNewsWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material “It is expected to stabilise next quarter, and move back into growth by the fourth quarter, making it unlikely that the full-year decline will be as bad as the two percent plus that more pessimistic economists had predicted,” the business daily said. The main contributors to the second-quarter decrease in economic activity were the manufacturing industry (-1.6 percentage points), and the wholesale and retail trade and hotels and restaurants industry (-0.6 of a percentage point). Consumers ‘reluctant to spend’ 19 August 2009 Construction, mining growth This was despite the South African Reserve Bank having cut interest rates by a cumulative five percent since December last year. Analysts interviewed by Business Report said the GDP data suggested that South Africa’s economy was still struggling, despite the easing in monetary policy. “The data backs up suggestions from Central Bank governor Tito Mboweni and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan that any recovery in South Africa’s economy will lag others, after several developed countries recorded second-quarter growth,” the paper said. Nedbank economist Nicky Weimer told BuaNews that the figure had been expected by the market. “Overall it is still a weak number,” Weimer said. “However, the good news is that the contraction is at a slower pace.” South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth contracted by three percent in the second quarter of 2009, indicating that the economy is still in recession, but with signs that a recovery is in sight. Stats SA said the increase in mining and quarrying in the second quarter was due to an increase in the mining of other metal ores, including platinum, and other mining and quarrying, including diamonds. Mining and quarrying were among the main contributors to the first-quarter GDP contraction. Fourth-quarter growth expected
26 September 2013 Mining investors are moving closer towards a strategic dialogue with the government about the future of the mining industry in South Africa following investor engagements headed by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu in London last week. Despite tensions over proposed legislation aimed at encouraging mining companies to sell part of their raw material to manufacturers for value-added “beneficiation”, there was a willingness to listen to government’s case about the way past inequalities still fuelled instability in the industry. The delegation leaders made it clear that the draft legislation was not written in stone and that the government was prepared to listen to proposals for amendments to sections which would give the Mineral Resources Minister discretionary power to force companies to sell raw materials at a price determined by the state. Since the Marikana tragedy in August last year, when 34 miners were killed after Lonmin’s platinum mine negotiated separate pay increases for rock-drill operators, who are literally at the cliff-face of the mining industry, there has been little or no new foreign investment in South Africa’s mining sector and its performance has dropped well below levels in other mining countries. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) decided against nationalisation of the mines at its five-yearly conference last year and has since also shelved a proposed additional tax on profits for fear of alienating investors and “killing the goose that lays the golden egg”.Mining profits for development The focus in the industry is now on the new legislation which seeks to ensure that more of South Africa’s mining wealth remains inside the country for purposes of development, creating jobs, fighting poverty and ensuring that those communities which contribute to mining wealth see some of the benefits. This overall objective remains a non-negotiable for the government. What remains unresolved is how it is going to be achieved. Both the Deputy President and the Mineral Resources Minister spent time explaining to the mine bosses and institutional investors that given South Africa’s past and the gross distortions created by the 1913 Land Act, the migrant labour system and the bantu education system, it was not an option to return to business as usual. Minister Gordhan said that there needed to be a new relationship throughout the continent and the developing world between mining companies and the countries and communities in which they operated which acknowledged and rectified these past injustices. “Rent from mining commodities must make a contribution to a fiscal base for education, training and development,” said Gordhan. “There needs to be a bias towards investment rather than consumption,” he said. Minister Shabangu said that the 1913 Land Act had allocated only 87% of the land to the white minority and only 13% to the black majority, but it had driven black people off the lands so that they could be put to work on the mines.Beyond migrant labour Deputy President Motlanthe said the migrant labour system had institutionalised inhumane practices which separated men from their families and forced them to live in abject conditions in the vicinity of the mines. Mr Motlanthe indicated that scrapping the scrapping of the migrant labour system was a subject of active and ongoing discussion between the government and the mining companies. Instead of a system where miners leave their rural homes to live and work in far-flung mining areas far from their families for months on end, proposals were under consideration whereby miners would be able to have shorter, say eight-week, work cycle and take two weeks off to be with their families. This would enable them to maintain closer bonds with their families and prevent the creation of two parallel households, which was both financially unsustainable and socially destructive. The emerging dialogue between the industry and the government is headed in the direction of creating a more collaborative relationship between government, labour and business which would be able to address strategic issues and ensure the medium- to long-term stabilisation of South Africa’s mining industry.Mining ‘needs its own NDP’ The prospect of dialogue has been significantly strengthened by the negotiation of the framework of agreement between government, labour and business which was facilitated by Deputy President Motlanthe a couple of months ago. “The government is determined to do everything possible to strengthen the mining industry in these difficulty economic times,” Motlanthe said. In recent months the focus in the mining sector has been on damage control, post-Marikana strike resolution and fraught wage negotiations. Advocates of reform in the mining industry insist that a social compact between labour, government and business is vital. It could be modelled on the National Development Plan (NDP), which would help resolve strategic issues while day-to-day issues were resolved through such channels as the Chamber of Mines and the union structures that make up the collective bargaining process. “What is needed is a mini-national development plan for the mining industry which addresses for mining all the issues that were covered by the NDP,” said one mining CEO, who is urging the dialogue to go deeper and discuss issues of housing, education and health care of the workers. “There is no brain surgery involved,” he said. “A fulfilled and empowered work force makes for a stronger industry and a stronger country.” John Battersby is UK country manager for Brand South Africa
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In the 18’s Boys division, Queensland Secondary Schools Touch (QSST) will play New South Wales Combined High Schools (NSWCHS) in the first semi, while New South Wales Combined Catholic Colleges (NSWCCC) will meet the South Queensland Border District (SQBD) Sharks.In the 18’s Girls division, QSST will play the Sharks, while NSWCHS will play NSWCCC.Saturday games:18’s GirlsSemi final 1 – QSST v SQBD – 9am (field one)Semi final 2 – NSWCCC v NSWCHS – 9am (field two)Playoff 3/4 – loser of both semi finals – 12pm (field one)Playoff 5/6 – Brisbane City Cobras v Southern Suns – 11am (field one)Playoff 7/8 – Sydney Mets v Sydney Scorpions – 1pm (field two)Playoff 9/10 – Northern Eagles v Sunshine Coast – 11am (field three)Playoff 11/12 – Sydney Rebels v Western Tigers – 11am (field five)Playoff 13/14 – Canberra Pirates v Northern Territory – 10am (field three)Playoff 15/16 – Hunter Western Hornets v NSWCIS – 10am (field four)Playoff 17/18 – South West Queensland v South Australia – 10am (field five)18’s BoysSemi final 1 – QSST v NSWCHS – 10am (field one)Semi final 2 – NSWCCC v SQBD – 10am (field two)Play off 3/4 – loser of both semi finals – 1.00pm (field one)Playoff 5/6 – Sydney Mets v Sunshine Coast – 11am (field two)Playoff 7/8 – Sydney Rebels v Sydney Scorpions – 12pm (field two)Playoff 9/10 – Brisbane City Cobras v Southern Suns – 11am (field four)Playoff 11/12 – Hunter Western Hornets v Canberra Pirates – 9am (field five)Playoff 13/14 – Northern Eagles v Tasmania – 9am (field three)Playoff 15/16 – Western Tigers v NSWCIS – 9am (field four)Grand final – 18’s Girls – 2.05pmGrand final – 18’s Boys – 3.15pm
The Australian Women’s Open team’s final weekend training camp before the 2015 World Cup will look a little different to usual. The team will travel to the Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley, Brisbane this Saturday to take part in a day of training. The day will include a range of activities, including a photo shoot with a Super Hornet, over-pool obstacle course, meet and greet with a range of Air Force female personnel and a ‘social’ game against the Amberley team. After that it will be back on the field for a final training session in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup, which will be played from Wednesday, 29 April until Sunday, 3 May at C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour. Australian Women’s Open coach, Peter Bell said that the opportunity to participate in a day like this in the lead up to the World Cup was too good to miss. “The coaching staff had been looking for a variation to their usual/normal hard training sessions and in the lead up to the World Cup an opportunity to visit the RAAF Base came up,” Bell said. “We thought it would be good doing the ropes course out there as well as some interaction with personnel that actually represent their country in a more serious and important role – namely the security of our country. “We thought it would make for a good bonding opportunity too, given it was our last hit out before the World Cup. Most of the girls are so young I saw it as an educational opportunity as most of them wouldn’t know what a Super Hornet is let alone the enormity of the 60-plus different jobs that Air Force women do.”Group Captain Michael Gray said “it is a great opportunity for the RAAF to host Australia’s best players and have them interact with Air Force personnel. The Australian players are clearly dedicated, motivated and have great levels of fitness. Those traits are common with our Air Force people, many of who play Touch at various representative levels around Australia. “We are proud of the work-life balance that we offer our people. Sport, fitness and teamwork is an integral part of Air Force life and essential in all our challenging but rewarding positons.“We are really looking forward to hosting the team at our great facilities at Amberley and hopefully help them win the World Cup for Australia. Who knows we may even sign some up for a career in the Air Force afterwards!” For more information about jobs in the Air Force, please click on the following link – http://www.defencejobs.gov.au/airforce/jobsDirectory/Stay tuned to the TFA website and social media channels for stories and photos over the weekend:Website – www.touchfootball.com.auFacebook – www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustraliaTwitter – www.twitter.com/touchfootyausInstagram – www.instagram.com/touchfootballaustralia Related LinksTouch World Cup
Uber Technologies Inc. has suspended all of its self-driving vehicle testing — including a program in Toronto — after what is believed to be the first fatal pedestrian crash involving autonomous vehicles.Uber’s testing was halted after police in a Phoenix suburb said one of its self-driving vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian overnight Sunday.The vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel when a woman walking outside of a crosswalk was hit, Tempe police Sgt. Ronald Elcock said.The woman died of her injuries at a hospital.“Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on Twitter.“We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened.”The testing has been going on for months in Toronto, the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh and San Francisco as automakers and technology companies compete to be the first with the technology.Uber Canada said Monday in an email that two of its vehicles are being tested in Toronto but they have not been picking up passengers.It said testing has been conducted since last fall, using software that was studied in simulation and on the test track before being deployed to the road.But the fatality isn’t likely to derail the driverless vehicle industry because it is at such an early stage in its development, said Ross McKenzie, managing director at the University of Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research.“I’m shocked. It’s very, very disappointing,” he said.“It’s shocking because it’s something we aspire to never have happen. The whole purpose of autonomous driving is to make the operation of vehicles safer because you take out of equation the random, unpredictable behaviour of human operators, like speeding to get through an amber light or taking your eyes off the road to pick up a coffee cup.”He added the incident will serve to further focus the industry on safety.The Waterloo research centre has a four-car fleet of autonomous car it is currently testing. McKenzie said most of the testing takes place on a closed track but the first tests on a public road took place last year.More on-road testing is scheduled for this year and he said the incident has not resulted in any immediate change to that schedule.Canada has been slow to embrace driverless vehicles but some advances have been made.In January, Suncor Energy Inc. announced it would go ahead with a project to deploy driverless ore-hauling trucks at its remote oilsands mines in northern Alberta to replace the ones humans operate.The initiative, which follows years of testing, is expected to eliminate about 400 jobs. The Calgary-based company plans to build a 150-truck fleet of 400-tonne capacity Komatsu trucks over the next six years.Last week, Magna International announced a deal with Lyft Inc., an American ride-hailing company that competes with Uber, to develop advanced driverless car technology through a multi-year partnership and a US$200 million investment in Lyft.Magna is to earn the exclusive right to manufacture kits to be used to convert Lyft’s fleet into autonomous, driverless vehicles. The kits will include cameras, radar and other sensors required for the vehicles as well as software developed by the two companies, using Magna’s manufacturing expertise and Lyft’s data from its ride-sharing operations.In October, BlackBerry QNX launched testing of a self-driving car in Ottawa with what was billed as the first on-street test of an autonomous vehicle in Canada after opening an innovation centre in late 2016.Meanwhile, a Canadian Senate committee warned in a report earlier this year departments and levels of government are taking contradictory approaches to automated vehicles and the federal government needs to better co-ordinate action.It recommended giving the privacy commissioner greater reach over how car companies use drivers’ information, including whether personal information can be monetized, and giving federal cybersecurity officials a bigger role in protecting the new technology from hackers.The committee also said the government must invest more in its own research to deal with questions of safety, such as how to ensure a driverless car can safely navigate a snow-covered road.It said self-driving cars could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, boost productivity and limit the number of collisions caused by human error.But the technology could also lead to job losses in transportation sectors where some 1.1 million people are employed, including truck, bus, and taxi drivers. The Liberals, the committee said, must put in place job re-training programs for those whose jobs will be affected, and ensure sectors like after-market companies can maintain a foothold as new, automated cars hit the roads.The U.S. federal government has voluntary guidelines for companies that want to test autonomous vehicles, leaving much of the regulation up to states.
The B.C. Summer games are set for July 19th-22nd. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Northern Strikers will be well-represented at this year’s B.C. Summer Games after seven of the association’s player were selected to compete.Early this afternoon the U-15 Boys soccer team was announced with Lee West, Harrison Sewell, Liam McGarvey, and Sam Hafner all making the Zone 8 team. Dylan Buziak was also named to the team as an alternate player.The boys will be joining Kenzie Beech and Isabella Ziebart who were named to the U-15 Girls team last week.
Ottawa, O.N. – The federal government is taking a step Tuesday to help Canada’s battered energy industry.Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi and International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr will be at an Edmonton college campus to unveil a support package for oil and gas companies to reach new markets.The announcement is in Alberta, but the funds are available to any oil and gas companies nationwide. The impasse has left a sharp divide between Alberta and Ottawa.Although Tuesday’s announcement comes in the Alberta capital, neither Notley nor anyone from the Alberta government is scheduled to be there for the announcement.Earlier this month, Sohi asked the National Energy Board to do a review of existing pipeline capacity to make sure it is being used in the most efficient way and also to figure out whether there are any short-term steps that could maximize rail capacity to ship more oil.Days later, the NEB responded to Sohi and said it will provide him with a full report in February.9 Premier Notley has made no secret in recent weeks of her desire to have Ottawa help the province buy new rail cars to ship two additional trains full of Alberta crude out of the province every day.Alberta is already negotiating with an as-yet-unnamed third party to buy the rail cars, but Canada has not indicated any willingness to share the cost of the purchase yet, and rail cars are not part of Tuesday’s announcement.Although the price for Alberta crude has rebounded slightly from a panic-inducing $11 a barrel in late November, it is still trading between $26 and $28, only about half of what Texas oil producers are getting. The difference is costing the Canadian economy an estimated $80 million a day, according to both the Alberta and federal governments.Alberta’s struggle to get its oil to market with pipelines at capacity and some refineries down for maintenance have contributed to the price differential, but so has Canada’s almost total reliance on the United States as an export market.Almost every drop of oil that is not refined and used in Canada is exported to the United States. Without more pipelines to the coasts where oil tankers could theoretically then ship oil overseas, Canada’s oil producers are at the mercy of the Americans.The only current proposal to increase pipeline capacity to the coasts is the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which is in limbo following a court ruling overturning its federal approval. Ottawa is trying to get that project back on track with more consultations, but if that does happen, it will be several years before oil actually starts to flow.
BALURGHAT: In a major political development in South Dinajpur before the upcoming Parliamentary elections, 100 Left Front workers from different wards under Balurghat municipality joined Trinamool Congress on Tuesday afternoon, in presence of party candidate and popular theatre personality Arpita Ghosh.Ghosh conducted a workers’ conference in Balurghat for discussing a strategic plan before the polls, where she handed over the party flag to them. The newly joined workers were also welcomed by senior Trinamool leaders, including former PWD minister Shankar Chakraborty and Balurghat town party president Subhas Chaki. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAccording to a source, there was speculation that a group of Left Front workers, mainly from RSP, would join the ruling party. “The Left Front workers have joined Trinamool as they were impressed by the policy for people made by Mamata Banerjee. Our Chief Minister’s policy has definitely geared up the development in Bengal. Their joining has proved that the general people trust Trinamool Congress despite fabricated speeches by different state and Central level BJP leaders against us. If this outward flow continues, Trinamool will do better in the district in the upcoming LS polls,” Ghosh said. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayVisibly overwhelmed after joining the new party, the Left Front workers said: “We are fortunate enough to join Trinamool and will surely do our task sincerely for the party’s betterment from today onwards.” Political observers feel this joining will definitely give an advantage to the ruling party. “Some other workers from different political parties including BJP, Congress and Left Front are likely to join Trinamool soon,” said an observer. Former PWD minister Shankar Chakraborty said: “There is no doubt that this joining will make us stronger before the upcoming poll. We will surely have a positive reflection in the ballot box.”
The Dallas Cowboys granted permission for wide receiver Dez Bryant to stay out past his midnight curfew Saturday morning in Dallas, Texas.Reports from several media outlets brought attention to the battered wideout, who is questionable for Sunday’s night game against the Atlanta Falcons due to a hip injury, after DJklassik posted pictures on Twitter with him attending a nightclub Friday night.Bryant is under several strict guidelines put forth by the Cowboys and his adviser David Wells after July arrest for a Class A misdemeanor charge for domestic violence involving his mother. Those guidelines include a midnight curfew, no drinking and no appearances in stripclubs or nightclubs without proper arrival.Bryant received approval from Wells to attend a Dallas nightclub with former Dallas Mavericks guard Delonte West and Josh Howard for his birthday celebration, accompanied with security personnel.“He had a security person there with him and some of his teammates were there too,” Wells said Saturday morning before leaving for Atlanta, where the Cowboys play the Falcons on Sunday night.Bryant is one of the Cowboys prized receivers, with 41 catches for 488 yards and two touchdowns on the season. Even though his numbers are average, Bryant has been inconsistent at time this season. He has had several drops, one that could have led to a game winning touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens.Earlier in the week Bryant told ESPNDallas that the time has come to reach his potential as a Cowboy.“I feel like now, it’s about time,” Bryant said Thursday. “It’s about time.”One of the biggest mistakes as a Cowboy receiver for Bryant came last week in a loss against the New York Giants, where he fumbled a punt that led to a Giants touchdown. The Cowboys immediately replaced him with Dwayne Harris on punt return duties.“I’m not Superman or anything like that,” Bryant said this week. “Sometimes I feel like things happen and it’s all about how I respond to those bad situations. Do I learn from them. Do I keep making the same mistakes? I feel like I do a good job learning from my mistakes.”Bryant received another blow this week when the Dallas County District Attorney’s office announced they would not drop the domestic violence charge against him and will continue the investigation.