Doherty planning to clip the wings of vulture funds today

first_imgDonegal Deputy Pearse Doherty will today bringing legislation to the Dáil to crack down on vulture funds to stop them selling family homes.His proposal is a ‘No Consent, No Sale’ guarantee introduced where a bank cannot sell a home loan without the permission of the mortgage holder.This is already part of a voluntary Code of Practice on mortgages for the banks, but they are not bound by it. The new law will make it mandatory for all banks and financial institutions operating here.It is part of a new nationwide campaign against the vultures.Deputy Doherty said: “In November of last year, a State-owned bank that had been bailed out by the Irish people (Permanent TSB), brazenly announced that it was selling over 6,000 family home loans to an unknown entity.“This was a new low in Irish banking- these loans were meeting their arrangement. “They were being thrown to the vultures despite doing the right thing of engaging and making a permanent arrangement with the bank.“It is fundamentally unfair and I believe unacceptable to most Irish people – yet the Government and Central Bank will not act to stop it.“Our bill, which will be introduced tomorrow, simply puts into law the Code of Practice the Central Bank itself wrote in the nineties.“The Code is voluntary which means it is not issued under Section 117 of the Central Bank Act.“Indeed, as we saw from Permanent TSB the bankers don’t even know of its existence – that is about to change. “In the last Dáil, Minister Michael Noonan told Paschal Donohue TD (now Minister for Finance himself) with regard to the Code of Practice on the Transfer of Mortgages that: ‘Notwithstanding its voluntary nature, I expect that best practice dictates that the Code be applied by all institutions to all classes of residential property’.“That was only six years ago, so what has changed and why?“This Bill marks a start in Sinn Féin’s campaign to defeat the vultures and end the arrears crisis.”Mr Doherty was joined at a briefing for TDs in Leinster House yesterday by iCare Housing CEO David Hall, and Social Democrats election candidate Carly Bailey, whose mortgage was sold to a Vulture. Doherty planning to clip the wings of vulture funds today was last modified: January 24th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:daillegislationPearse Dohertyvulture fundslast_img read more

Maths literacy vital: Manuel

first_imgThe census will be conducted on a sample of 10% of South African schools between April 14 and 24, and the data will thereafter be evaluated. 25 March 2009 Responding to a question from a learner about how well he had done in mathematics at school, Manuel said he had battled and did not have high marks until he came across a teacher who helped him. The [email protected] project, first launched in 2001, was initiated by Statistics SA in collaboration with the Department of Education after a similar initiative in the United Kingdom. The project will also teach pupils how to gather information about themselves. They will have to fill in a questionnaire as part of a schools census, answering questions about their shoe size, height and favourite sport and subject. The objective of the project, which targets learners between grades 3 and 12, is to enhance the statistical and numerical literacy of learners as well as raise awareness of the national population census. By 28 April, information relating to three areas – namely personal, household and school information – will be collected from the various selected schools. A preliminary report is expected by the end of July.center_img Manuel said it was important for learners to be involved in the project because the outcomes of the questionnaires would help the government take certain decisions. While mathematics was a “tough” subject to learn and teach, he said it was an important proficiency to have. “So much of what we do in life needs some unit of measurement,” he told learners. “I think that we understand that the complexities in the economy will require higher mathematical skills,” Manuel said on Monday at the launch of the [email protected] project at the Pro Arte Alphen Park High School in Pretoria. Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has highlighted the importance of maths literacy among school children, especially under the current economic climate. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Gautrain ‘will be ready for World Cup’

first_img8 January 2010Despite earlier doubts about its completion date, the Gautrain rapid rail link between Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton Station will be ready in time for South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™, says construction consortium Bombela.The Bombela Concession Company has just been given two amounts of R144-million each from the provincial and national governments, and it plans to have the route between the airport and Sandton complete by 27 May. The World Cup starts on 11 June.“The Gautrain consortium and the Gauteng provincial government have come to a resolution to ensure completion of the OR Tambo link and Sandton before the event,” according to a statement from the National Treasury’s Thoraya Pandy.In July 2009, Bombela offered to fast-track construction of this section at a cost of R1.3-billion, but this was refused by the provincial government. Bombela responded by indicating it would find solutions without the extra funding, says Ingrid Jensen, the spokesperson for the Gautrain.The extra R288-million was paid at the end of 2009 and, stresses Jensen, it will not necessarily be used for the completion of the airport link but rather for general construction along the entire route. The amount largely accounts for inflationary costs.“A lot can happen, like construction delays. It is a tight schedule,” she says.In November, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane emphasised that the Gautrain was never a World Cup project, saying that it would be a bonus if the train were ready by 11 June.Good progressConstruction work to the airport station is making good progress. The station concourse is directly linked to the departures level of the adjacent new central terminal building, one level below.“Finishing works within the station concourse shell are approaching completion and electrical and mechanical installations are well advanced. Ticket vending machines and fare gates have been installed and are being tested,” according to the latest Gautrain construction update.“Externally, the platform structures and canopies are substantially complete, with finishing works, including the installation of tinted glass closure screens, currently in progress. Rail tracks have been installed through the station. Construction of the three sets of emergency access stairs located at the ends on the platform is ongoing.”Meanwhile, the 16 kilometres of tunnels running from Park Station in Johannesburg’s CBD to the Marlboro Station in Alexandra are complete. Work on the seven emergency access shafts – in Hillbrow, Riviera, Dunkeld, Rivonia Road, Illovo, and two in Houghton – is ongoing.The 10 Gautrain stations are beginning to look like railway stations, with entrances and exits, stairways, platforms and parking garages taking shape.Delays in construction have been caused by land acquisition issues, delivery and numerous project variation instructions.Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

Science education gets a boost

first_imgIBM South Africa corporate citizenship manager Sydney Hadebe and Sci-Bono CEO David Kramer. Sci-Bono helps to stimulate children’s natural curiosity and focus it on science. A hands-on approach makes learning more interesting for youngsters.(Images: Anish Abraham) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sci-Bono Discovery Centre  +27 11 639 8400 RELATED ARTICLES • Sci-Bono CEO gets French knighthood • Denel helps maths, science pupils • Fostering SA’s young scientists • Pushing the science envelope • Global award for young SA innovatorAnish Abraham The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, South Africa’s largest science centre, is aiming to boost education in mathematics, science and technology by invoking the inherent curiosity of children, and teaching them new ideas and concepts while they play and interact with the many exhibits that it hosts. Established by the Gauteng Department of Education and the private sector in 2004, the centre seeks to address the scarce skills needs of South Africa by contributing to the effective delivery of quality maths, science and technology education in all schools in the province. According to Sci-Bono CEO David Kramer, science centres are a rather recent phenomenon, with the first one taking shape in San Francisco in 1984. Known as the Exploratorium, it is one of the four biggest centres of its kind in the world, and was set up by physicist and educator Frank Oppenheimer as a way through which ordinary citizens could keep in touch with the latest advances in technology. Oppenheimer was no stranger to advances in technology – his brother Robert was one of the developers of the world’s first nuclear weapon. Since those early days, Kramer said, there were now over 30 000 science centres and museums across the world, and that there is hardly a major city that does not have one. He pointed out that the difference between science museums and science centres was that centres were not about exhibitions that people merely looked at, but were filled with interactive exhibits, made so that visitors could engage with them and learn new things. “There are 35 science centres in South Africa, but Sci-Bono is the flagship,” he said. They range in sizes from huge warehouses to a small room.Programmes and activities Kramer said that Sci-Bono had a programme of activities and projects taking place throughout the year, and its outreach programme targets schoolchildren who are unable to travel from outlying areas into Johannesburg. Programmes include a Rocket Science Club where pupils learn to design, build and launch rockets that are capable of flying several hundred metres into the air; and a robotics programme, whose participants have even competed at international level. While working on these projects, Kramer said, the children were guided and mentored by “professionals and not teachers”.Similarly, the guides who take the children around the various exhibits are young BSc graduates with a passion for science and technology – ensuring that children learn while having fun.Helping kids to learn Sci-Bono is unique, given the relationship the centre has with the Gauteng Department of Education, in that it also had a big role to play in curriculum delivery and teacher training in the fields of maths and science. The centre also runs a supplementary tuition programme in 137 sites across the province, where schoolchildren can go to learn, with highly skilled teachers from some of the province’s leading schools being brought in on the day to teach. “Over 80% of the schools that come here are from a previously disadvantaged environment, we provide them with free admission and transport,” Kramer said, adding that while wealthier schools were asked to pay for admission fees, no cash-strapped schools would be turned away. This was possible because of funding from the provincial education department, and means that Sci-Bono is not reliant on admission fees for survival.Comprehensive career guidance Another unique point is that Sci-Bono has an attached career centre. “It is a full service career centre that provides guidance and counselling,” Kramer said, adding that it was one of the few places where students from disadvantaged backgrounds could undergo free psychometric and aptitude testing. In this way, the centre not only directed the curiosity of children into the world of maths and science, but also helped improve the flow of potential candidates studying these subjects at a tertiary level. Kramer said they expected to have 206 000 visitors to the centre over the course of the year, while also reaching out to an additional 150 000 pupils through their various outreach programmes. “We are not just a conventional science centre, but we are also the control room for maths and science in Gauteng,” he said.last_img read more

Bill Gates: Who says Africa will always be poor?

first_imgBill Gates in Acrra, Ghana, in 2013. “A growing number of countries in Africa are building community health systems, which are extremely cost-effective,” he writes. (Image: Gates Foundation)• Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation(206) [email protected]: If you are a member of the news media, please use the phone number or email address above to leave a detailed message. Include your name, press affiliation, phone number, questions, and deadline.“Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.” That’s a myth Bill Gates passionately debunks. The founder of Microsoft, one of the richest men in the world and, today, co-founder – with his wife Melinda – of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has released a letter that explains why pessimism about the future of poor countries holds back their development.In previous years the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation annual letter discussed the foundation’s work. In the 2014 edition of the letter, the Gateses chose instead to focus on three major global myths, erroneous ideas held by many in the world that hold back the upliftment of poor people everywhere.The letter is in three parts, challenging three persistent myths about global poverty: that poor countries are doomed to stay poor, that foreign aid is a big waste, and that saving lives leads to overpopulation. Read the annual letter on the Gates Foundation website.We bring you the full text of the first part of the letter, which specifically discusses Africa.Myth: Poor countries are doomed to stay poorBy Bill GatesI’ve heard this myth stated about lots of places, but most often about Africa. A quick web search will turn up dozens of headlines and book titles such as “How Rich Countries Got Rich and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor”.Thankfully these books are not bestsellers, because the basic premise is false. The fact is, incomes and other measures of human welfare are rising almost everywhere, including in Africa.So why is this myth so deeply ingrained?I’ll get to Africa in a moment, but first let’s look at the broader trend around the world, going back a half-century. Fifty years ago, the world was divided in three: the United States and our Western allies; the Soviet Union and its allies; and everyone else. I was born in 1955 and grew up learning that the so-called First World was well off or “developed.” Most everyone in the First World went to school, and we lived long lives. We weren’t sure what life was like behind the Iron Curtain, but it sounded like a scary place. Then there was the so-called Third World – basically everyone else. As far as we knew, it was filled with people who were poor, didn’t go to school much, and died young. Worse, they were trapped in poverty, with no hope of moving up.The statistics bear out these impressions. In 1960, almost all of the global economy was in the West. Per capita income in the United States was about $15 000 a year.1 (That’s income per person, so $60 000 a year for a family of four.) Across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, incomes per person were far lower. Brazil: $1,982. China: $928. Botswana: $383. And so on.Watch the video:Years later, I would see this disparity myself when I travelled. Melinda and I visited Mexico City in 1987 and were surprised by the poverty we witnessed. There was no running water in most homes, so we saw people trekking long distances by bike or on foot to fill up water jugs. It reminded us of scenes we had seen in rural Africa. The guy who ran Microsoft’s Mexico City office would send his kids back to the United States for checkups to make sure the smog wasn’t making them sick.Today, the city is mind-blowingly different. Its air is as clean as Los Angeles’ (which isn’t great, but certainly an improvement from 1987). There are high-rise buildings, new roads, and modern bridges. There are still slums and pockets of poverty, but by and large when I visit there now I think, “Wow, most people who live here are middle-class. What a miracle.”The global picture of poverty has been completely redrawn in my lifetime. Per-person incomes in Turkey and Chile are where the United States level was in 1960. Malaysia is nearly there, as is Gabon. And that no-man’s-land between rich and poor countries has been filled in by China, India, Brazil, and others. Since 1960, China’s real income per person has gone up eightfold. India’s has quadrupled, Brazil’s has almost quintupled, and the small country of Botswana, with shrewd management of its mineral resources, has seen a thirty-fold increase. There is a class of nations in the middle that barely existed 50 years ago, and it includes more than half of the world’s population.Here’s another way to see the transition – by counting people instead of countries: So the easiest way to respond to the myth that poor countries are doomed to stay poor is to point to one fact: They haven’t stayed poor. Many – though by no means all – of the countries we used to call poor now have thriving economies. And the percentage of very poor people has dropped by more than half since 1990.That still leaves more than one billion people in extreme poverty, so it’s not time to celebrate. But it is fair to say that the world has changed so much that the terms “developing countries” and “developed countries” have outlived their usefulness.Any category that lumps China and the Democratic Republic of Congo together confuses more than it clarifies. Some so-called developing countries have come so far that it’s fair to say they have developed. A handful of failed states are hardly developing at all. Most countries are somewhere in the middle. That’s why it’s more instructive to think about countries as low-, middle-, or high-income. (Some experts even divide middle-income into two sub-categories: lower-middle and upper-middle.)‘Life in Africa never gets better’With that in mind, I’ll turn back to the more specific and pernicious version of this myth: “Sure, the Asian tigers are doing fine, but life in Africa never gets better, and it never will.”First, don’t let anyone tell you that Africa is worse off today than it was 50 years ago. Income per person has in fact risen in sub-Saharan Africa over that time, and quite a bit in a few countries. After plummeting during the debt crisis of the 1980s, it has climbed by two thirds since 1998, to nearly $2 200 from just over $1 300. Today, more and more countries are turning toward strong sustained development, and more will follow. Seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies of the past half-decade are in Africa.Africa has also made big strides in health and education. Since 1960, the life span for women in sub-Saharan Africa has gone up from 41 to 57 years, despite the HIV epidemic. Without HIV it would be 61 years. The percentage of children in school has gone from the low 40s to over 75% since 1970. Fewer people are hungry, and more people have good nutrition. If getting enough to eat, going to school, and living longer are measures of a good life, then life is definitely getting better there. These improvements are not the end of the story; they’re the foundation for more progress.Of course, these regional averages obscure big differences among countries. In Ethiopia, income is only $800 a year per person. In Botswana it’s nearly $12 000. You see this huge variation within countries too: Life in a major urban area like Nairobi looks nothing like life in a rural Kenyan village. You should look sceptically at anyone who treats an entire continent as an undifferentiated mass of poverty and disease.The bottom line: Poor countries are not doomed to stay poor. Some of the so-called developing nations have already developed. Many more are on their way. The nations that are still finding their way are not trying to do something unprecedented. They have good examples to learn from.I am optimistic enough about this that I am willing to make a prediction. By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. (I mean by our current definition of poor.)2 Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer. Countries will learn from their most productive neighbours and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution. Their labour forces, buoyed by expanded education, will attract new investments.A few countries will be held back by war, politics (North Korea, barring a big change there), or geography (landlocked nations in central Africa). And inequality will still be a problem: There will be poor people in every region.But most of them will live in countries that are self-sufficient. Every nation in South America, Asia, and Central America (with the possible exception of Haiti), and most in coastal Africa, will have joined the ranks of today’s middle-income nations. More than 70% of countries will have a higher per-person income than China does today. Nearly 90% will have a higher income than India does today.It will be a remarkable achievement. When I was born, most countries in the world were poor. In the next two decades, desperately poor countries will become the exception rather than the rule. Billions of people will have been lifted out of extreme poverty. The idea that this will happen within my lifetime is simply amazing to me.Some people will say that helping almost every country develop to middle-income status will not solve all the world’s problems and will even exacerbate some. It is true that we’ll need to develop cheaper, cleaner sources of energy to keep all this growth from making the climate and environment worse. We will also need to solve the problems that come with affluence, like higher rates of diabetes. However, as more people are educated, they will contribute to solving these problems. Bringing the development agenda near to completion will do more to improve human lives than anything else we do. [1] Calculating GDP is an inexact science with a lot of room for error and disagreement. For the sake of consistency, throughout this letter I’ll use GDP per capita figures from the Penn World Table, adjusted for inflation to 2005 dollars. And for the sake of simplicity, I’ll call it “income per person.” [RETURN][2] Specifically, I mean that by 2035, almost no country will be as poor as any of the 35 countries that the World Bank classifies as low-income today, even after adjusting for inflation. [RETURN]last_img read more

Spectacular landings as pilots battle Ali to land

first_imgThere were some spectacular landings and take-offs during the recent storm Ali which battered the British Isles.This video taken by flugsnug was shot at Birmingham Airport.Typically, aircraft land and take-off into the wind to decrease the landing or take-off distance.In some cases, aircraft land or take-off with a slight down-wind component – typically associated with noise sensitive airports where one runway is preferred over another.Where a pilot faces a crosswind landing or take-off they need to point the aircraft in the direction of the wind while maintaining a straight course toward the runway or on the runway.This is called crabbing or yawing.In strong crosswinds, the pilot may also dip the wing – sideslip – into the direction of the wind for the landing.Just before touch down pilots apply rudder to bring the plane – and its undercarriage – back so it is aligned straight down the centerline of the runway.This takes great skill and the results –if not done properly – are often quite spectacular as shown in the video.Tropical storm Ali, which started life in the mid-Atlantic and veered north-east toward Europe and not the USA wreaked havoc in the UK and Ireland early this month.Several people were killed and a number required hospital treatment as Ali battered the British Isles.Tens of thousands lost power, roads were blocked and there was travel chaos with train services were canceled.And burning rubber! As if 44 mph gusts weren’t enough, the wind direction kept changing. Just watch the windsocks on the right side of the airfield in this video and the other twolast_img read more

3 Catchphrases for Spotting Accountability Avoiders—Go Get’em!

first_imgA few years ago I was at a seminar where the speaker highlighted some of the worst things he heard over the course of his extensive career as a business consultant.  I got my popcorn ready because I figured some salacious stories were coming my way.  Instead I learned more about failed accountability than you can ever imagine.  I took the stories shared by Dale Henry (the speaker) and reflected upon the catchphrases I hear all the time.  Dale had two that stood out—“It’s not my job” and “It’s not personal, it’s business.”  He highlighted these as two of the most offensive things he hears when dealing with modern business operators.  The moral of his tale was that these two phrases reflect the withering of personal components to business.  These made me think though.  I reflected upon the worst things I’ve heard from professionals across all industries since I began my career nearly 15 years ago.  When thinking about the things people say to absolve themselves, one area has always troubled me—accountability.  It has become the modern-day leprosy.  It astonishes me how many people avoid accountability.  Too few and far between “own” their mistakes or mishaps.  Instead we hear these three all-too-common catchphrases when failure darkens our doors:“That’s not in my job description”—People use this to say I can’t be held accountable for a particular issue because it wasn’t in my wheelhouse.  I can’t be held accountable because this wasn’t in my original set of responsibilities.  The issue is the job description is never going to clearly stipulate every potential responsibility.  In fact, in the modern world of work it is almost impossible to stipulate every responsibility but it is possible to ensure that all operators are accountable for organizational success or failure.  With that in mind, the success of the organization is ALWAYS in your job description.“It’s is my fault but…” – People have a tendency to associate accountability with blame.  This typically reflects a failed culture where punitive measures have gotten out of whack.  Failure is a part of innovation and drives learning almost as much if not more than success.  We all recall our parents telling us to learn from our mistakes.  I believe it was Thomas Wayne who asked Bruce Wayne, “Why do we fall?” The eventual Batman’s response was “So we can get back up.”  A common tactic is share the blame with everyone else when fearing accountability.  Don’t fear accountability.  Fear not learning from mistakes.I tried to help them but they wouldn’t listen”—Who doesn’t like an “I told you so?”  People dislike a know-it-all as much as anything else.  In the workplace, this phrase reflects a desire to divorce oneself from the outcome by saying that they anticipated it but no one listened.  The issue with this fallacy is that rarely do groups ignore a solid argument preventing failure.  So accountability merely shifts from saying something to saying it strongly.  Either way, this catchphrase rests in the minds of those Eddie-Haskell- or Kimmy-Gibbler-like colleagues who never want to own initiatives whether destined for success or failure.  Don’t ride the fence.  Own initiatives and their outcomes!For HR professionals accountability is all-the-more critical as the outcomes affect people AND the bottom line.  This is why ensuring someone understands accountability is absolutely critical.  This is where competency-based certification matters most.  With competency-based testing you can tell if someone understands the most accountable strategy for handling a difficult situation.  You cannot assess this with knowledge and application items.  Knowing which law applies to a situation where someone is seeking accountability is NOT the same as understanding how to drive accountability and ensuring that accountable behavior is exhibited. Can you think of a colleague who demonstrated exceptional accountability?  What made their efforts extraordinary?  What would you do to mimic these behavioral competencies?last_img read more

Storage: How much of your data is unstructured?

first_imgWhen asked that question across a survey of more than 1000 CIOs, Those asked estimated that 25% of their total data stored was unstructured. But those estimates were off. The reality is though that more than 70% of data being stored is unstructured. Since the methods and tools for managing structured and unstructured data differ significantly, many of thos CIOs fees the need to refocus their energy on different requirements. In fact, the survey found that as few as 20.7% of companies were equipped with the right tools or were using the information management tools they do have effectively.IDC has found that the growth rate for structured data is around 21.8% annually while unstructured data is growing at 61.7% annually.Four areas that companies need to pay particular attention to include:business processes and workflowinformation discoveryinformation management policiessecurity / access controllast_img read more

10 months agoBesiktas midfielder Gary Medel wanted by West Ham

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Besiktas midfielder Gary Medel wanted by West Hamby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBesiktas midfielder Gary Medel is being linked with a Premier League return.Sky Sports says West Ham are interested in signing Medel next month.Hammers officials are due to travel to Turkey in the coming days to develop the negotiations.Medel played over 30 games for Cardiff City during their time in the Premier League and could now return to England in January.Besiktas are in need to clear their best paid players off the books due to financial struggles and released Pepe earlier this week. last_img read more

18 days ago​Emery reveals plan for Arsenal trio Tierney, Holding and Bellerin

first_imgAbout the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say ​Emery reveals plan for Arsenal trio Tierney, Holding and Bellerinby Ansser Sadiq18 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal boss Unai Emery has spoken about his plans to integrate recovering defenders Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin into the team.Each of them has suffered injury problems in recent months, but they have stepped up their recovery and are ready to claim a place in the first eleven.However, Emery wants to ensure he does not cause them to suffer any further problems, while he must maintain the balance of his side.Speaking about the trio of Tierney, Holding and Bellerin, Emery told the club website: “It’s one process with them. Kieran and Rob are closer to playing.”I think Rob Holding can play 90 minutes with a good performance. Now we are also working with David Luiz and Sokratis, but really, I am very happy. He is going to have a chance to play a lot of matches. “Kieran Tierney is closer to us, he played on Thursday and today he was on the bench if we needed him. Hector Bellerin needs a little more time, more matches and more training. “This international break is going to be important for him. I think he will be closer to starting for us in the next matches in the Premier League.” last_img read more