Downward trajectory with no solutions

first_imgDear Editor,Guyana’s economy continues its downward descent with no solutions in sight. More so, even getting the economic forecasts approximately correct continues to be an arduous task for the Finance Ministry headed by Mr Jordan – who, it seems, is just an expert juggler trying to mask the economic decline.In March 2017, Mr Jordan seemed to have had an epiphany when he declared at a press conference, “Very little manufacturing activity takes place in Guyana…the last number I looked at manufacturing, without sugar and rice milling, contribute a mere five per cent to [gross domestic product] GDP, which is very low.” He said that Guyana cannot continue to borrow, which would, in effect, incur debts on generations to come.“We have to generate the taxes and income from the economy, even as it is growing,” he had said. Mr Jordan concluded that taxes would boost and stabilize the economy. We have seen that the economy is NOT growing, even as taxes keep on increasing.This view was severely criticised by Mr Shyam Nokta, President of the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association Limited (GMSA), who warned that several measures implemented by the Government would work against the competitiveness of the local manufacturers in both domestic and overseas markets, and this includes the re-categorizing of zero- and standard-rated items to exempt. We have seen that the VAT on water and electricity has already escalated the production costs of locally produced goods. This result is now evident as exports constrict and imports expand.The contradiction of the conclusion by Mr Jordan, that ‘taxes will boost and stabilize’ the economy, was manifested by the fact that even though taxes account for $ 171.2 billion, or 87.9% of total revenue, the growth rate of our economy fell to 2.1 % in 2017! Yet, our balance of payments deficit is getting increasingly bigger.An important component, which is the Current Account, is showing a deficit increase from US$12.4 million to US$287.4 million. Our imports will continue to increase as we become more dependent of foreign goods and services, while our exports will continue to dwindle because of the harsh taxation on our local manufacturers, making locally manufactured products uncompetitive at home and abroad. Increased taxation has failed to ‘boost and stabilize’ the economy!In our present situation, increased taxation due to poorly-thought-out strategies has resulted in: insufficient disposal income; increased cost of living; high prices; poor quality products; loss of markets; decline in the productive sector; scarcity and shortages; job losses; foreclosures, and increases in poverty and crime.The late Sir Winston Churchill, who had been Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, made an astounding statement, which can be quite applicable to our current situation, when he said, “I contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift it by the handle.”What we need are sound monetary and fiscal policies, but after three years in Government, the Coalition’s performance is getting worse. Oil revenue will never be able to correct the mismanagement of our economy; from all indications, it will only get worse.The late Milton Friedman, an American Economist, once said the Great Depression was caused solely by the Government’s mismanagement of the economy. This is quite applicable to the current progressively declining state of our economy!Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC Councillor,Region 6last_img read more

WEF on Africa 2016: Digital technology in schools

first_imgWhat problems can be solved by the use of digital technology in schools? This was one of the questions discussed at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali. Speakers from across the world gave their insights into how digital technology could improve learning inside and outside classrooms. Rapelang Rabana, founder of ReKindle Learning, spoke at the session “What if: all education were digital” at the 2016 World Economic Forum on Africa, held in Rwanda from 11 to 13 May. (Image: World Economic Forum on Africa)• South Africans nominated for Innovation Prize for Africa• Busting the myth that Africa doesn’t produce scientific innovators• How can digital technology boost growth in Africa?• Girls in space! Africa’s first private satellite – designed by schoolgirls• Makoko Floating School: a model of Nigerian cutting edge designMedia Club South Africa reporterTechnology should be used to add value to the teaching process in the classroom, according to Rapelang Rabana, founder of ReKindle Learning. She was speaking during the debate “What if: all education were digital” at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda from 11 and 13 May.Other speakers on the panel were Fred Swaniker of the African Leadership Academy; Aryn Baker of Time magazine; Colin McElwee of Worldreader, which provides e-books to low-income countries; Rwanda’s minister of youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana; and entrepreneur Temitope Ola of Koemei.Can technology replace teachers?Regarding the question of whether technology could replace teachers or the traditional way of teaching, Rabana said it was not correct to think about ousting teachers. “If you were looking at a different industry, you would ask where the biggest challenges were and then try to find the technologies to solve those problems,” she said.“We should look at what activities can benefit from technologies more,” she added. “When I say learning activities, for example, I am referring to things like discovery, research, and finding things to prepare for class. Digital tools can be affective for that.”It should also be explored as a tool to facilitate group and peer interactions, as well as debates. “We still have to make sure that we adequately learn from our peers,” Rabana said.Having digital technology in a classroom should free up the resources of teachers to do things that were more “high-touch or more complex”.Connecting people to the internetThere were different stages of solutions to give people access to the internet, Rabana said. “We often bring internet access to a central place like a school or a place of work (where people can download what they need).“They don’t need internet access at home then. You still provide an effective place offline.”Swaniker said he would like to see an internet portal like Airbnb to be developed, but for education. Airbnb connects people all over the world; is a website for people to list, find, and rent lodging anywhere on Earth.“You can have these big buildings that have things like internet access and electricity,” Swaniker explained. “There is no-one there in the evenings and on the weekends. Imagine if we created those centres where young people can come and they can all get the access to the world’s education and learning resources online.”These centres would have facilitators to help the youth.Ola said his organisation had found that people could use mobile messaging applications such as Facebook and WeChat to build education applications on these platforms. “It’s free and we can enhance access with that.“My concern is always, how do we use what we have now to solve the problems we have now.”The importance of digital technology in educationIf schools had access to the internet, they should leverage digital technology as much as possible, Swaniker said. “It allows us to do things we weren’t able to do in the past. In the olden days students would go through every month and not know how they were doing until the end of exams.“But today you can track how someone is doing, enabling us to identify those students who are struggling and those who are bored, and those who are able to work at their own pace.”Access to the internet allowed Africans to overcome the massive challenges on the continent, he added. Challenges mentioned by the panel were poverty and lack of good teachers.Worldreader had evidence that girls took more advantage of its programme than boys, McElwee said. Girls used mobile phones five to six times more often and for longer periods at a time to access education than boys, he said. “It’s not about what you and I think of education but what do they (those girls living in poverty) think.”Many girls in impoverished communities risked their and their families’ lives on daily because they went to school. “I know people on this continent indeed recognise the importance of education. For many that education is the only path out of poverty.”Watch more on the discussion here:last_img read more

Dr Ncumisa Jilata: Africa’s youngest neurosurgeon

first_imgAt the age of 29, Mthatha-born Dr Ncumisa Jilata has become Africa’s youngest neurosurgeon following her Fellowship graduation in Durban on 18 May 2017. Her milestone achievement was highlighted by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in an address to the National Assembly on 31 May.South African neurosurgeon Dr Ncumisa Jilata (left) with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa made special mention of Jilata becoming Africa’s youngest neurosurgeon in an address to Parliament on 31 May 2017. (Image: Ncumisa Jilata Facebook)CD AndersonDr Ncumisa Jilata completed her Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree at Mthatha’s Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in 2009. Her completed fellowship for the Council of Neurosurgeons of South Africa in 2017 means she is now the youngest neurosurgeon in Africa, and one of only five black female brain surgeons in South Africa.Jilata joins 150 other female doctors and medical residents working in the neurosurgical field across Africa, according to the most recent survey by the World Federation of Neurological Societies.She hopes that her landmark achievement will inspire more female medical students to add to much-needed surgical expertise on the continent. Jilata was inspired while still in high school to follow her dream of becoming a brain surgeon.“I was already in Grade 11 [at Mthatha High School] when I decided I wanted to be a doctor, but at the time I wasn’t doing biology, so when I got to matric I had to do three years of biology in one year, in addition to the subjects I had already selected from Grade 10,” Jilata told the Eastern Cape Daily Dispatch newspaper following her graduation.“During that period I discovered the concept of a neuron, which is amazing. The fact that society as a whole was influenced and controlled solely by the existence of this structure, intrigued me… that’s when I knew I wanted to be a neurosurgeon.”She had to work hard to prove herself in the male-dominated field of medicine, Jilata said. “It was common to be second-guessed as a woman, but one’s work ethic will always speak volumes.” She hopes to become a worthy standard for young girls, to give them the courage to “break through the barriers of patriarchy” in medical science.Another pioneering female and Eastern Cape-born neurosurgeon, Dr Coceka Mfundisi, inspired Jilata. “[My mentor] Dr Mfundisi… broke most of the barriers for me [to get where I am today].”Born in rural Engcobo, Mfundisi was one of the first black South African woman to qualify in the neurology field.“[Jilata] had heard about me because I had worked in Mthatha for about a year while I was still training as a neurosurgeon at the University of Pretoria,” Mfundisi told the Daily Dispatch. “I was the only woman among men and when she told me she wanted to be a neurosurgeon I could already see her working with me at the University of Pretoria, where she later joined me… [Her] success is a proud moment for the impoverished community of the Eastern Cape and a victory for every woman, especially because she did everything in record time, at a very young age.”WSU spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo said the university was proud of Jilata’s accomplishment. “She and many other WSU alumni, who are leaders across different fields of medicine and other professions, represent the true spirit of our university namesake, Walter Sisulu.”During his address at the Presidency Budget Vote in Parliament’s National Assembly on 31 May 2017, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa made special mention of Jilata’s achievement. Including her story in an overview of several South African women breaking barriers in a number of social development and medical fields, Ramaphosa thanked Jilata “for inspiring us, motivating us and challenging us with your [life] and your determination… demonstrating what is possible with perseverance, courage, collaboration and partnership”.Source: Daily Dispatch, South African Government website Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

CBI books ex-Arunachal CM on corruption charge

first_imgThe Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a corruption case against former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki for allegedly awarding government contracts worth ₹3.2 crore in violation of rules. The agency alleged that the contracts for developing parking places were granted when Mr. Tuki held the charge of Minister of Consumer Affairs and Civil Supplies in the State. Among those named in the FIR are Mr. Tuki’s brother Nabam Tagam, the then Director, Civil Supplies, N.N. Osik and then Chief Manager of United Commercial Bank Sohrab Ali Hazarika.The CBI said Mr. Tuki colluded with his brother to siphon off money received for the contracts given to develop two parking places in Nirjulee and Naharlagun in the State worth ₹61.43 lakh and ₹2.6 crore respectively.It is alleged that Mr. Osik paid ₹30 lakh to Mr. Tuki, which was credited into his account in the Itanagar branch of United Commercial Bank.The cheque was issued in the name of Mr. Tuki and was later changed to “yourself”, the agency alleged.It said Mr. Hazarika, as the branch manager, helped to get the amount credited into Mr. Tuki’s account and did not obtain any authorisation for alterations made in the cheque beneficiary.The name of account holder in the bank records were also “obliterated” and were replaced with T. Nabam in the specimen signature card. A picture of Mr. Tuki’s brother was also put on the specimen signature card.However, in the agency enquiry it surfaced that the account was indeed in the name of Mr. Tuki and his specimen signatures were on the account opening form.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

PSL: Resurgent Cocolife makes it 3 in a row, dumps Foton

first_imgView comments LATEST STORIES Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games MOST READ Returning Romeo still re-adjusting to physicality in PBA Milton had 11 points and 15 digs while Salak dished out 19 excellent sets.Former national team mainstay Nene Bautista also gave Cocolife a lift with timely hits. She only scored six points but her last two conversions ended the game.Imports Brooke Kranda and Elizabeth Wendel had 12 points apiece for the Tornadoes (1-2), who suffered their second straight setback.ADVERTISEMENT Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMCcenter_img Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City “This was the first time that you actually saw our teamwork,” said Klisura, who set the PSL record last year with 41 points.“All of the parts worked well and all of the players did their job so that was how we won like all the players did a very good job and that makes me happy.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCocolife lost its first two games of the conference but has been a different team as of late with Klisura at the forefront of the team’s resurgence.American import Taylor Milton and savvy setter Tina Salak have also picked it up a notch to provide the Asset Managers another weapon and more stability on the defensive end. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Read Next Elizabeth Anne Wendel of Foton vs Sarah Klisura of Cocolife. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOCocolife continued its winning ways after cruising past Foton, 25-19, 25-22, 25-18, in the 2018 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Saturday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.Serbian star Sara Klisura scored at will against her former team and finished with 28 points to lead the Asset Managers, who rolled to their third straight win.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexicolast_img read more

9 months agoReal Madrid in new attempt for Roma youngster Nicolò Zaniolo

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Real Madrid in new attempt for Roma youngster Nicolò Zanioloby Carlos Volcano9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid have made an attempt for AS Roma youngster Nicolò Zaniolo.Sport says his recent performances have alerted the attention of various teams in Europe including Real Madrid. Los Blancos are interested in Zaniolo but Roma chief Monchi has already moved quickly to tie down his emerging star.As for Real Madrid, Zaniolo is another example of their attempts to bring in all the best talents from around the world. The last was Brahim Diaz earlier this month. They’ve also recently signed Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo. last_img read more

3 hours agoArsenal outcast Ozil responds to his Europa League snub

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Arsenal outcast Ozil responds to his Europa League snubby Paul Vegas3 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal outcast Mesut Ozil has responded to his Europa League snub last night.Ozil has taken to Twitter to post a message to the Arsenal fans after Unai Emery left him out of his Europa League squad for victory over Vitoria.The Gunners midfielder posted a picture of himself with Arsenal coach and club legend Robert Pires.Alongside it he wrote: “Trained with this AFC legend this morning. Always a pleasure to see you my Bro Robert Pires. Best of luck for the match now from both of us.”Trained with this AFC legend this morning Always a pleasure to see you my Bro @piresrobert7 __ Best of luck for the match now from both of us @Arsenal#UEL#YaGunnersYa#M1Öpic.twitter.com/EHASSIA3ac— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) October 24, 2019 read more

How one Canadian investment company is chasing Oscars with top Hollywood stars

first_imgTORONTO — Jason Cloth still remembers the night his biggest shot at Oscar glory slipped out of his hands.The Toronto-based financier had just finished celebrating his 2016 film “The Birth of a Nation” at a dinner party with director Nate Parker. The slave uprising drama was receiving warm reviews, secured a major distribution deal with Fox Searchlight and seemed positioned to collect armfuls of trophies during awards season.Heading back to his hotel room, Cloth was feeling optimistic — until Aaron Gilbert, his partner at Creative Wealth Media called him to break the news.Industry trade Variety was set to publish a story that dove into the details of a 1999 rape case, in which Parker was acquitted, that also involved the film’s co-writer Jean Celestin. They were students at Penn State University at the time, and while Celestin was initially found guilty of sexual assault, his conviction was overturned when the accuser declined to testify for a retrial. The woman committed suicide in 2012.Even before the #MeToo movement put sexual assault under the microscope in Hollywood, Parker’s involvement wasn’t a good look for the film. He didn’t just direct the movie, he played the main character, who leads an uprising motivated by the rape of his wife. Any prospects for “The Birth of a Nation” were quashed before it hit theatres that October.“That was our lightning in a bottle,” Cloth says while sipping water at his downtown Toronto office, where he brokers Hollywood deals using Canadian funds.“It killed us. I’ve never seen a film go from what should’ve been a best picture winner to not even an Indie Spirit Award nomination.”While Creative Wealth Media and its partner Bron Studios didn’t lose money on the production, since Fox bought the film’s rights, Cloth says it was a crash course in Hollywood business. Sometimes a film’s best ingredients can become a significant risk somewhere between the script stage and final cut.But that doesn’t mean he regrets the investment.“If the same parameters came up, I would still take that film,” Cloth insists.He says the experience taught him it’s crucial to perform a thorough background check on talent involved in each project.“If there’s ghosts in the closet, we want to know about it,” he says. “If there’s rumours, we’d rather walk.”The dust kicked up by “The Birth of a Nation” helped Cloth establish his company as a calculated risk taker interested in making prestige films.What makes Creative Wealth Media unique is that it’s backing Hollywood productions largely with Canadian money. Pension plans, mutual fund operators and the country’s highest net worth families are some of the key investors getting behind indie films with trusted stars attached.Denzel Washington brought two of his movies — “Fences” and “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” — to the Canadian financier and wound up picking up several Oscar nods, including two for himself and a best supporting actress win for Viola Davis.This year, Cloth hopes he’s sitting on another Oscar winner with “The Front Runner,” a biopic about American senator Gary Hart and a presidential campaign that was derailed by his extra-marital affair. Hugh Jackman is gathering buzz for his role as the senator in the Jason Reitman film, which opens Friday in Toronto and Vancouver.“If ‘Front Runner’ works we will be a three-year in a row Oscar-nominated production company,” Cloth boasts.But if it doesn’t work, Creative Wealth Management will move onto the next project. They’ve invested nearly US$200 million in production this year on movies like “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” with Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon, and the ultra-violent feminist action flick “Assassination Nation.”Next year, they’ve lined up US$500 million in film and TV financing that includes an untitled morning show drama produced and starring Reese Witherspoon for Apple’s streaming service, and “Fonzo,” an Oscar bait drama with Tom Hardy as Al Capone.Cloth says his company enticed Hardy to work on “Fonzo” with the same strategy that worked for Jackman on “Front Runner.” His business partner Gilbert promised both actors they were playing roles of a lifetime — the kind of parts that win Oscars.Those assurances got Jackman and Hardy so excited they agreed to scale back their usual pay grade to “nowhere near what their normal rate is,” he says. The cheaper movies lowered the risk and boosted the upside for everyone involved.It helps that Cloth has a proven track record for spotting potential.Nearly a decade ago, he met two Ottawa-raised entertainment managers seeking a loan to get their silky-voiced singer the Weeknd started. Nobody knew the artist, born Abel Tesfaye, but the managers were certain they represented a future superstar.A few years later, a lawyer friend suggested Cloth wade into the film industry by supporting an independent movie that saw its key investor pull out at the 11th hour before production. The experience opened Cloth’s eyes to a new world of growth.“It’s an industry that has almost no volatility,” he says.“What other industry (exists where) a drop in economic activity has almost no bearing on your business? Nothing touches film and television.”But not every movie delivers on its promise.Creative Wealth Media’s first few projects were Canadian films “Into the Forest” and “Hyena Road.” While they didn’t lose money, he says he didn’t consider either “financially successful.”Cloth says he’s become more attuned to audience tastes — a mystery that most film executives constantly struggle to understand.“(We) are really careful to ensure we have within our slate a female-centric film and actors with ethnic diversity,” Cloth says as an example.But he acknowledges that his company is still tied to projects with uncertain futures.Luc Besson’s upcoming film “Anna” is one of them, he says. Creative Wealth Media signed on as a co-finance partner before Besson was accused of rape by an actress earlier this year.And while the case is being investigated by French authorities — and the director denies any wrongdoing — the uncertainty throws the film’s prospects into question.“That one worries me,” Cloth says of the film, set for release next year.“There’s very little we can do to protect against that, other than try and work with established filmmakers that have this open history that we can check.”Follow @dfriend on Twitter.David Friend, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

City fields closed until further notice

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John has decided to close sports fields in local parks until further notice.The closing of the fields is due to the excessive rainfall that has hit the city since last night. Youth soccer, as well as minor baseball, will be cancelled because of this.The City’s Communications Coordinator Ryan Harvey explained that the fields will likely stay closed until they are safe to play on. The city will send out an update once they decide to reopen the fields.last_img read more

England must be aggressive and brave – Kane

first_imgEngland captain Harry Kane has urged his teammates to be both “aggressive and brave” ahead of the upcoming World CupThe Tottenham forward acknowledged that England have been too cautious in past tournaments and so, therefore, have been unable to properly display their true potential due to their rather excessive focus on playing it safe.While the Three Lions have fallen short in the major tournaments over the years, Kane is anticipating a change in routine for the current squad.“There will be tough moments, and ups and downs. Sometimes going into a big tournament is about not losing and being passive but, for us, it’s about playing attacking football,” he told Sky Sports.“We are aiming to win the first game, then to target the second, and take that attitude to the World Cup.”Jadon Sancho, Borussia DortmundCrouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.Since making his England debut at senior level in 2015, Kane has since gone on to score 13 goals in 24 appearances.However, he failed to find the back of the net in Euro 2016 as England were shockingly eliminated by Iceland in the Round of 16 stage.“Personally, that (scoring) record is something I want to change, and hopefully will this summer,” said Kane.Gareth Southgate’s side will begin their World Cup campaign against Tunisia on Monday next week.last_img read more