NC Wind Moratorium Faces Blowback from Advocates

first_imgThe wind energy potential for North Carolina may be stunted by a bill that now sits on Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk for a signature.House Bill 589 includes an 18-month moratorium on on-shore wind development – which opponents say could have devastating effects on the industry.Katharine Kollins, the president of the Southeastern Wind Coalition says it’s important to note that the original intention of the bill was to allow for further solar development and the moratorium was only added at the last minute by State Senator Harry Brown of Jacksonville.“He added the wind moratorium to legislation he knew was extremely popular among a large number of stakeholders and that they wouldn’t be willing to ditch nine months worth of negotiations just to avoid the wind moratorium,” she says.State Sen. Brown says wind projects could threaten the state’s military installations by interfering with operations and communications. Currently, any proposed wind projects go through rigorous vetting by the military.HB 589 increases the state’s solar capacity to 6,800 megawatts by 2022 and saves ratepayers $849 million over the next 10 years. North Carolina is home to the country’s second largest solar market.Kollins says onshore wind has been a saving grace for many of eastern North Carolina’s farming communities, where land owners can often make more money leasing to a wind farm, than operating their traditional farm.“The people that this affects, are rural communities, primarily in eastern North Carolina,” she explains. “That’s where the vast majority of the wind development and the wind resource has been concentrated so far and those communities are nearly all some of the lowest income counties in the state.”Gov. Cooper has one week to sign or veto the legislation. If he does neither it will automatically become law.last_img read more

Public service fraud crackdown

first_img6 April 2005About 37 000 public servants are being probed for allegedly acquiring state social grants fraudulently, either individually or through syndicates.This follows a successful campaign which saw about 30 000 ordinary South Africans owning up to receiving grants they were not entitled to – translating into about R120-million a year in savings for the state.State targets social grant fraud – Starting from 1 April, all South Africans receiving social grants will have to verify their eligibility to receive a grant.Speaking to journalists in Cape Town on Tuesday, Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya said drastic measures would be taken to smash syndicates and bring public servants guilty of fraud to book.“We are currently working closely with various law enforcement agencies such as the Special Investigations Unit, the Scorpions and the SAPS to investigate fraud and corruption related to public servants and syndicates”, Skweyiya said.Since the government announced an amnesty for illegal recipients of social grants in December 2004, approximately 30 000 people came forward to request indemnity from prosecution; many others stopped claiming grants without applying for indemnity. The amnesty period ended on 31 March.Taking into account only those who applied for indemnity, Skweyiya estimated that the campaign would save the state in the region of R120-million a year.The amnesty excluded public servants and syndicates. “The syndicates and public servants will just have to bring back our money”, Skweyiya said.It is estimated that the government loses more than R1.5-billion a year due to fraud and corruption in the process of delivering social grants.The state pays out more than R50-billion a year in basic social protection to more than nine million South Africans.Reducing dependency levelsTabling his department’s budget vote in Parliament on Tuesday, Skweyiya said that South Africa had made significant progress towards alleviating poverty and enhancing social cohesion.However, more still needed to be done, he said, to develop South Africa’s economy and reduce the level of dependency on social grants.“One of the most significant achievements we have made was the reduction of poverty through the provision of social assistance to the most vulnerable sectors of society – the elderly, people with disabilities and, most importantly, children”, the minister said.Over 5.5-million South African children currently benefit from social grants. Child support grants have now been extended to 1.9-million children under 11 years, and an estimated 1.2-million children between 11 and 14 years will be registered for grants by March 2006. R6.4-billion has been set aside for this purpose.“As we register these children, we will pay even more attention on ensuring that children who receive social grants attend school”, Skweyiya said.“We will be working closely with the Department of Education and the education fraternity in this regard.”As April, all categories of social grants have been increased above the inflation rate.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Obama, Zuma at one on Africa growth

first_img30 June 2013 South African President Jacob Zuma and US President Barack Obama emerged from their meeting in Pretoria on Saturday speaking in one voice on increased trade and investment in Africa. Zuma received Obama and his delegation at the Union Buildings at the start of the US president’s three-day visit to South Africa. Their talks focused on boosting trade, business ties and regional security.Africa ‘on the rise’ Speaking to journalists afterwards, Zuma told Obama that he was visiting Africa at the right time, when the continent was on the rise, shifting from “disinvestment to reinvestments”. Africa was the second-fastest growing region after Asia and had become an attractive market for investment, Zuma said, adding: “Arising out of this visit, we would like to see increased investment in the economy for mutual benefit.” Emphasising South Africa’s position as a financial and logistical gateway to the continent, Zuma tabled bankable projects ranging across infrastructure development, youth skills development, information and communication technology, agriculture and the green economy. He said investment in these projects underpinned South Africa’s drive for regional integration, industrialisation and the localisation of supply and manufacturing. Zuma said the US strategy towards sub-Saharan Africa, launched last year, was “well timed to take advantage of Africa’s growing market”.South Africa ‘critical to US’ Obama said South Africa was critical to the US, as it was the gateway to the continent. Responding to suggestions that the visit was prompted by China’s growing influence on the continent, Obama said: “I am here in Africa because the US needs to engage in a continent full of promise and possibilities”. He said the US administration was not threatened by the interest showed by other regions in the continent, adding: “the more the merrier …. I welcome the attention Africa is receiving … It will help incorporate Africa into the global economy”. Obama noted, however, that relationships should be mutually beneficial and that Africans had to ask questions such as, ‘Are they hiring African workers? How much [is the] profit?’ He noted that the continent had been heavily exploited for its raw materials. Zuma said Africa had to be part of the global movement, adding that South Africa was willing to work with anyone for the benefit of Africa and towards a united continent.Renewing, improving Agoa Showing support for African growth, Obama announced that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which was one of the issues Zuma brought to the table during their meeting, would be renewed, upgraded and improved. “I want to renew Agoa so that we can generate more trade and more jobs,” Obama told the packed press conference. Trade negotiators, however, still needed to work out the details, Obama said. Agoa, which allows southern African countries to ship certain products to the United States tariff-free, expires in 2015, but African countries are pushing for its extension. Regarding to social issues, Obama praised South Africa for how it had managed its HIV/Aids prevention programme, saying it showed that aid was not “just a one-way street”.‘We can work together’ He also commended South Africa for being at the forefront of matters relating to regional security and integration through the African Union (AU). “Our governments don’t agree on everything, but we have seen progress. We can work together,” Obama said, citing successes in areas such as nuclear proliferation and climate change. He believed that South Africa and the United States could stand shoulder to shoulder on issues of security, justice and fraud on the continent – a view that was shared by Zuma. “We would like to cooperate with the US in enhancing peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction and development, under the umbrella of the United Nations and the African Union,” Zuma said, acknowledging concerns over matters such as the mushrooming of rebel movements in Africa. On international peace and security, Zuma told Obama that South Africa remained concerned at the lack of progress in the Middle East peace process. “We unequivocally support the Palestinian bid for statehood and believe in the principle of a two-state solution. We have noted your latest attempts to revive the stalled negotiations, and you have our support in this regard. “At the same time, we are of the view that lasting peace in the Middle East would not be possible without addressing the other ongoing conflicts in the region, which are a source of much insecurity and instability.” Zuma also touched on the long-overdue reform of the United Nations Security Council, telling Obama that it remained a high priority for South Africa, the African continent and the developing world as a whole. Source: read more

Opinion: Tackle fixing menace first in domestic circuit

first_imgBaron Paul Condon, former head of the ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit (ACU), has set the cat among the pigeons with his disclosure that match-fixing and spotfixing in cricket was not only rampant in the 1990s and the first decade of this millennium, but also that most international teams were involved in this.He has also been emphatic that spot-fixing has its roots in county cricket, and was further fuelled by the growth of T20 cricket.It would not be impertinent to ask what Condon did to arrest this problem in his near-decade long stint as chief of the ACU. Indeed, why did it take him so long to make these observations public even as the game was being torn asunder by corruption? It would be a disservice to the sport if his research findings and assessments had been stored away as memorabilia for posterity, not affirmative action when he was heading the ACU.Nevertheless, Condon’s revelations have busted the myths that match/spot fixing is essentially a sub-continental phenomenon to which players from other countries are only innocent (or silent) bystanders.Ever since late Hansie Cronje’s nefarious activities were accidentally exposed by the Delhi police in 2000 (Condon’s appointment as ACU chief was a consequence of this), there has been sustained typecasting that the sub-continent is the hub of match-fixing.While the rise of the Asian illegal betting mafia has been well documented and is a fact, the assumption that only players from this region would be largely corrupt is ill-founded: it doesn’t take a degree to understand that greed is independent of race, colour or nationality.advertisementWith cricket boards ranged against each other in a power struggle, or for reasons of dubious national interest, the collective will to fight the menace was lacking and many offenders went scotfree. While a relook at some old cases (as the Delhi police has claimed it will in the Cronje matter) would still be worthwhile, in a broader sense, I think the second aspect of Condon’s revelation – where he mentions domestic cricket as the springboard for corruption – may be more significant in salvaging the future.Condon talks of how corruption is perhaps commonplace in English county cricket. Sharp practices on the county circuit (Imran Khan using a bottle cap to scuff the ball, others like John Lever using vaseline to get extra shine from Essex to Test matches in India) are well known, but Condon says that cheating for money too had crept in via spot-fixing.Domestic cricket in other countries too has not been above suspicions. The early part of this season has been engaged in unraveling the mystery behind Goa captain Swapnil Asnodkar inexplicably declaring his team’s innings in the sixth over when the victory target was 130 from 19. Corruption, it is widely believed, is institutionalised in Pakistan’s domestic cricket. Unsavoury reports have also emerged about problems in Australian cricket.Players who get away by cheating at the domestic level are more likely to be emboldened to do it at the global level too. The flip side is that players who don’t make it to the highest level and miss out on the massive financial rewards, could be tempted into hanky-panky because nobody is watching. The decision by the Australian and Pakistan boards to have an anti-corruption unit monitoring domestic cricket has not come a day too soon. It might not help in eradicating corruption completely. But every little bit helps.last_img read more

Galaxy S4 gets the Lollipop update in India

first_imgSamsung Galaxy S4 running on the Exynos chipset has finallygot the much anticipated Lollipop update in India. Samsung recently began rolling out updates to the Exynos variant I9500 Galaxy S4.Galaxy S4 is the second Galaxy flagship phone to get theLollipop update. India is the second country after Russia to get the update.Samsung Galaxy S4 owners can download the OTA update from the phones settings.The update file will be around 990MB for which the users will have to empty atleast 3GB of internal space.Samsung Galaxy S4 was a popular phone manufactured under theGalaxy banner. The phone was launched in March 2013.  It has a 5 inch FullHD Super Amoled displaywith a pixel density of 441ppi.The phone is powered by an Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chipset which is backed up by 2GBRAM. On the camera front, the phone sports a 13 megapixel primary camera and a2 megapixel secondary camera.last_img read more

Second flash sale of Huawei Honor 4X today

first_imgHuawei’s latest smartphone, the Honor 4X is going to be up for grabs in a flash sale today. This will be the second such flash sale of the device. The sale commences at 2pm IST and will take place on Flipkart. The number of devices that will be up for sale is not known yet. Like other sales of smartphones these days, the Honor 4x too will be available only to registered users. Priced at Rs 10,499, the smartphone was launched in India in March along with the Honor 6 Plus, which was priced at Rs 26,499. Huawei had claimed that it had received 100,000 registrations for the first sale of the Honor 4X.The Honor 4X sports a 5.5-inch IPS HD display, and runs on Android KitKat based Emotion UI 3.0. It is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor and also come with 2GB RAM and Adreno 306 GPU.Other features include 8GB inbuilt storage, expandable upto 32GB via microSD card. It also sports a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera, as well as a 3000mAh battery. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/ A-GPS, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0. Also read: Our full review of the Huawei Honor 4Xlast_img read more

Gas Ray Shipping to Get Financing for LPG Carrier

first_imgzoom Shipowner Gas Ray Shipping LLC has secured a USD 11.8 million loan facility from Cyprus’ Hellenic Bank to refinance the acquisition costs of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carrier Gas Ray.Data provided by VesselsValue shows that the 35,533 cbm vessel is under the management of Greece-based Prime Gas Management.Featuring a length of 174 meters and a width of 28 meters, Gas Ray has a market value of USD 21.4 million.Built in 2003 by South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries, the LPG carrier is one of five vessels operated by the Greek company.According to a statement from the international law firm Watson Farley & Williams (WFW), the adviser on the loan, this is Hellenic Bank’s first venture into “the highly competitive international ship finance markets.”“Prime Gas Management Inc. is one of the key players in the LPG space and this facility represents an important part of its fleet expansion,” asset finance Partner George Paleokrassas said.last_img read more