Google+ WhatsApp Previous articleBudget deal reached in LiffordNext articleAlmost one-third of children in Strabane living below the breadline News Highland WhatsApp By News Highland – January 11, 2012 A County Donegal man has set a new lamb shearing world record.Ivan Scott from Kilmacrennan shore 744 lambs in eight hours in New Zealand on Monday, beating the previous world record by just two sheep.Brought up on a farm Ivan had a little sheep shearing experience, but that all changed when he travelled to the other side of the world.Now based near Taupo on New Zealand’s north island, Ivan broke the record in front of 100 supporters.To beat the previous record, he had to shear on average 185.5 lambs every two hours.In the first two-hours Ivan shore 187 lambs, then tallied 189, 187 and 182 over the following sessions.And the tally could have been even higher as five lambs were rejected by the adjudicator for cuts over the course of the day.Next up on the shearing front for Ivan is the Golden Shears World Championship which will be held in New Zealand later this year. Facebook Kilmacrennan man sets lamb shearing record in New Zealand Twitter PSNI and Gardai urged to investigate Adams’ claims he sheltered on-the-run suspect in Donegal RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Man arrested in Derry on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences released Pinterest Dail to vote later on extending emergency Covid powers Pinterest HSE warns of ‘widespread cancellations’ of appointments next week Twitter Dail hears questions over design, funding and operation of Mica redress scheme News Facebook Google+ Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry
Oxford is one of 40 institutions in the UK which has a license to perform animal tests according to these guidelines. Much of the research carried out in Oxford is supported by the Wellcome Trust, which provides grants and support for academics engaged in animal research. A freedom of information request carried out by C+ revealed that, in 2012, Oxford University used 192,000 rodents, 6,120 animals classified as Fish/Amphibians/Reptiles, 155 birds, 3,074 rats, and 29 non-human primates.The Home Office previously required all animal testing license holders to break down the number of scientific procedures according to the level of pain inflicted on the animal being tested. The same Freedom of Information request revealed that the majority (60%) of procedures carried out by Oxford University are classified as inflicting “moderate” pain on the animal, whilst 33% of these were “mild”, 4% “substantial” and 3% unclassified.A spokesperson for SPEAK told C+ that, “SPEAK has lost count of the number of people who have said ‘thank goodness you are still here’, and SPEAK will continue to be there on South Parks Road every Thursday afternoon until Oxford University moves into the 21st century and adopts the numerous, scientific, forward-thinking humane methods for medical advancement which do not involve the use of animals.”Tom Holder, a spokesperson for pressure group Speaking of Research, outlined his organisation’s advocacy of animal testing. “Speaking of Research aims to provide information on the vital role of animals in the development of modern medical and veterinary treatments.” Every Thursday lunchtime, a small contingent of protestors from the animal rights advocacy group, SPEAK, assembles outside the Biomedical Sciences Building to protest against the use of animals in scientific research at Oxford University. They stand holding signs with pictures of bloody, mauled monkeys, rats and mice, urging passers-by to sign petitions to end the use of animals in medical research in Oxford.This week, following a video report in which the BBC showed footage from within the Biomedical Sciences Building for the first time, Cherwell decided to dig deeper into the issues surrounding animal testing.Protests against animal testing in Oxford are frequent. In November 2006, Mel Broughton targeted the University with petrol bombs to protest against animal testing in Oxford, and was subsequently convicted to 10 years of jail. Demonstrations in Oxford are frequent, and often gather hundreds of people to protest against the University’s stance on an issue which has wide-reaching national connotations.Following numerous threats, the contractor in charge of the construction of the Biomedical Sciences building was forced to paralyse the works in 2004, but the construction was resumed eighteen months later, and in 2009, the building became fully operational.50,000 mice and 23 macaque monkeys are currently held in the Biomedical Sciences Building. Primates account for 0.5% of the animals kept in Oxford University labs. As part of medical research, surgery – or what campaigners refer to as ‘vivisection’ – is performed on many of these animals in order to test for a number of diseases and potential cures. Oxford does not carry out pharmaceutical or cosmetic testing, which was banned by the European Union in 2009. The issue of whether these tests carried out on animals are essential for the advancement of science and medicine lies at the heart of what is a very delicate national debate.At the centre of the debate is a question of morals and ethics – and whether it is justifiable to inflict a degree of pain on animals if the medical benefits are considerable. The law, outlined by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and enforced through strict guidelines by the Home Office, allows for the assumption that a limited amount of animal testing can benefit scientific research, although the degree of pain and the number of animals which institutions are allowed to test is strictly supervised. Animal rights campaigners, however, call for a change in this law. He continued, “Born out of the Oxford-based Pro-Test student movement we aim to dispel the misinformation surrounding this issue. It is hard to deny the important role of animals in research when we consider modern treatments like Herceptin, a humanised mouse protein – impossible to develop without animal research – which has contributed to a 20% rise in 5-year survival rates for breast cancer in the past two decades.”An Oxford University spokesperson also described the university’s commitment to medical research. “The University’s medical research is devoted to identifying the causes of disease, improving diagnosis and prevention, and developing effective treatments and cures. Diseases where millions of lives can be saved – such as cancer, stroke, malaria and HIV – are of particular interest. Oxford also has world-leading research programmes in heart disease, musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis and osteoporosis, and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”[mm-hide-text]%%IMG_ORIGINAL%%9102%%[/mm-hide-text]Nevertheless, Michelle Thew, CEO of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), condemned the extent of Oxford’s animal research. “The BUAV fully supports the need for scientific research, not least into finding cures for human illness and diseases. However, this should not be achieved by deliberately inflicting suffering on animals in experiments. Our objection to animal testing is primarily ethical, but there is also a large and growing body of evidence about the scientific unreliability of animal experiments.“As long as animals are used in experiments, we will continue to argue for greater openness about what goes on in laboratories. FOI gives us the right to ask any public sector organisation for all the recorded information they have on any subject. Let’s make sure we keep it that way and work for greater transparency.”A spokesperson for Understanding Animal Research also pointed out that since 1986 it has been illegal to use an animal for research if there is an alternative, noting the fact that animals are tested “is testament to the absence of practicable alternatives.” Oxford is one of a total of forty institutions across the country to rely on animal testing for scientific research. Imperial College London last month attracted controversy when a report by a panel of independent scientists identified a lack of “adequate operational, leadership, management, training, supervisory and ethical review systems” at the university. The report followed an undercover investigation last April by the animal rights group British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV). Professor Steve Brown, from the MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit, who chaired the report, said the report includes lessons to be learned by all researchers who utilise animal testing: “While our focus has been on Imperial College, the committee’s recommendations should serve as a useful framework for other institutions to review their policies and practices.”One of the main recent developments in animal testing regards the increased use of genetically modified animals – a trend which, according to Marcel Leist, Doerenkamp-Zbinden Chair of Alternatives to Animal Experimentation at the University of Konstanz, extends across Europe. He told Cherwell that although “there is a general trend for reduced numbers of traditional animals, the situation is different for transgenic animals. Their use is skyrocketing.“They make up about a third of all animals used in Germany, and they compensate or overcompensate the reduced use of animals in all other areas. There is good success in reducing the number of test animals in many areas, but other areas (especially basic research) are increasing instead.”This rise in the use of genetically modified animals is reflected in recent stats from the Home Office relating to scientific procedures on animals in Great Britain. Their data shows that there were 4.11 million scientific procedures on animals started in 2012, an increase 8% on 2011. The rise was mainly attributable to an increase of 363,100 (+22%) in the breeding of genetically modified animals and harmful mutants.
A few weeks ago I experienced what was one of my most fun weeks of the year, and surprisingly enough it involved me being in D.C. working 8 hours a day! It was the week leading up to the Great Falls Race and started off with my first time running the Fish Ladder section of the Falls followed by an evening watching fireworks from my kayak with awesome people.A few good friends from North Carolina were all in town working from home from my house for the week so that we could get evening practice laps on the falls after work. Everyday the team would pick me up from work loaded down with kayaks and a cooler of beer and snacks to head out to the river. Getting to paddle Class 5 rapids after working a full day was pretty awesome! It really highlighted just how special having a place like Great Falls in your backyard is and how fun it is to have friends in town!After a super fun week, it was finally time for the race! We loaded up one final time on Steve’s truck and headed to the park. The parking lot was filled to the brim with kayaks on roofs and scroungy kayakers walking around getting geared up.We all met for a short safety meeting and were told about the race logistics. The Men’s longboat would go first followed by the Women’s Open Class then the Short boat and Slalom competitions. There were over 60 competitors total with After the meeting, everyone headed out to squeeze in a practice lap or two before the race started.My practice lap went great, nice and smooth. I was feeling strong at the starting line when it was my turn to go fast. My lines through the first and second slides and the back canyon went well, and I cleaned up some of the moves I had been struggling with. I was feeling good coming into the fifth slide which had been a line I was styling all week. During the race however, I got pushed a little right and ended up in the river right eddy, which was only a problem because the finish line was on river left! Having to work my way up the eddy then ferry across the river to make my way to the finish cost me too much time to be competitive in the race, but it was still one of the most fun races I have been part of.I ended up placing third behind Moriah Heaney and Erin Savage, but one of the best parts of the race was getting to compete was these awesome ladies! I am already can’t wait for next year’s Great Falls Race. Put it on your calendar!
In his State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma declared 2017 the year of Oliver Reginald Tambo, who would have been 100 had he lived, and called for unity among South Africans. Read and watch the full address. President Jacob Zuma delivers the 2017 State of the Nation Address on 9 February 2017 in Cape Town. (Image: South African Government, via Flickr)Compiled by Brand South Africa reporterThe Speaker of the National Assembly,The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces;Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa,Former President Thabo Mbeki, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and all esteemed members of the judiciary,Ministers and Deputy Ministers,Premiers and Speakers of Provincial Legislatures, Chairperson of SALGA, The Heads of Chapter 9 Institutions, Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders,The President of the Muslim Judicial Council and all Leaders of faith based organisations,The former Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Frene Ginwala,Veterans of the struggle for liberation,Members of the diplomatic corps,Fellow South Africans,Good evening, sanibonani, molweni, dumelang, goeie naand, lotshani, riperile, ndimadekwana,Thank you Madam Speaker and Madam Chairperson for this opportunity to address the joint sitting of Parliament.An illustrious son of our country, President Oliver Reginald Tambo, would have turned 100 years old this year, had he lived. This selfless patriot his adult life to a tireless pursuit of the liberation of our country and its people. He left a lasting legacy for all South Africans, and not only for his organisation, the ANC.In his honour, we have declared the year 2017, the Year of Oliver Reginald Tambo. It is the year of unity in action by all South Africans as we move South Africa forward together. We have the pleasure to host members of the Tambo family this evening, Mr Dali Tambo with his wife Rachel, and their son Oliver Tambo Junior.We also fondly remember Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba, who made history when she addressed the United Nations in 1963, appealing for action against the apartheid regime. We extend a warm welcome to her grand-daughter Zenzile Makeba Lee and great-grandson Lindelani.Watch:Compatriots,In this 23rd year of our freedom, our mission remains the quest for a united, democratic, non-sexist, non-racial and prosperous South Africa. Guided by the National Development Plan, we are building a South Africa that must be free from poverty, inequality and unemployment.While the global economic environment remains uncertain, indications are that we have entered a period of recovery. We anticipate an economic growth rate of 1.3 per cent in 2017 following an estimated 0.5 per cent in 2016.However, the economy is still not growing fast enough to create the jobs we need. There are some of our people, including youth, who have not worked for years.It is for this reason that we decided to focus on a few key areas packaged as the Nine Point Plan to reignite growth so that the economy can create much-needed jobs.The focus areas include industrialisation, mining and beneficiation, Agriculture and agro Processing, energy, SMMEs, managing work place conflict, attracting investments, growing the oceans economy and tourism.We also added cross-cutting areas such as science and technology; Water and sanitation Infrastructure; Transport Infrastructure; and Broadband Rollout. I would like to provide a report back on the work done in some of these areas in the past year.The interaction that we started last year between government, business and labour, known as the CEO Initiative, has been most helpful. We were able to address some domestic challenges together. We successfully avoided credit ratings downgrades which would have had significant impact on our economy.Our labour market environment is also showing signs of stability, due to cooperation by social partners. The manner in which parties conducted and carried themselves during the wage negotiations in the platinum sector in particular, must be applauded.Unity in action was also demonstrated again this week with the conclusion of the agreement on the National Minimum Wage and on measures to stabilise labour relations. This follows a call I had made in the State of the Nation Address on 14 June 2014.We congratulate the Deputy President and the team at NEDLAC for this milestone and wish them well for work that still needs to be done.Compatriots,The extension of basic services to the people continued in the past year as we pursued a better life for all. To date nearly 7 million households have been connected to the grid and now have electricity.The successful execution of the Eskom’s build and maintenance programmes helped ensure stability and an end to load-shedding.Work is continuing to ensure energy security. Renewable energy forms an important part of our energy mix, which also includes electricity generation from gas, nuclear, solar, wind, hydro and coal.Government is committed to the overall Independent Power Producers Programme and we are expanding the programme to other sources of energy including coal and gas, in addition to renewable energy.Eskom will sign the outstanding power purchase agreements for renewable energy in line with the procured rounds.Government is working hard to ensure reliable bulk water supply in the various areas of the country to support economic growth whilst increasing access to vulnerable and rural municipalities.In an effort to curb the high water losses which in some municipalities far exceeds the national average which is currently at 37%; about ten thousand unemployed youth are being trained as plumbers, artisans and water agents. More will be recruited this year to reach the total of fifteen thousand. We call upon municipalities to support the War on Leaks programme.We continue to build modern schools replacing mud structures and other inappropriate buildings through the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure delivery Initiative, (ASIDI). This gives our children dignity.A total of one hundred and seventy three inappropriate structures have been eradicated since 2011. In total, 895 new schools now provide a conducive learning environment for our children.On Investment promotion, Government has established InvestSA, an investment One Stop Shop nationally and will open provincial centres in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape. The message is clear to the affected government departments. There must be no undue delays and no unnecessary red tape. From issuing licences to visas, we should make it easy to do business in South Africa.CompatriotsPresident OR Tambo was a maths and science teacher. Government will thus prioritise maths and science more than ever before this year, in his memory. We are encouraged by recent international test results.The results in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the Southern and East African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality show that the performance of South African learners is improving.Amongst the participating countries, South Africa has shown the largest improvement of 87 points in Mathematics and 90 points in Science. This is very encouraging as we don’t want our children to be left behind.Our investment in science and technology is yielding results. Since South Africa, supported by its eight African partners, won the bid to host the Square Kilometre Array telescope, significant progress has been made in building this mega science project and reaping its benefits.Together with its precursor, the MeerKAT telescope, the SKA project continues to make important contributions to socio-economic development in South Africa.Working closely with the industry, the Department of Science and Technology is implementing a technology localization strategy. This has ensured that the two billion rand MeerKAT telescope is constructed with seventy five percent local content.This has led to job creation in the Northern Cape and diversification of the economy through the creation of artisan and maintenance jobs, and the promotion of science as a career of choice.On road infrastructure, Sanral has started with the planning phase of the 4.5 billion rand project to upgrade the current Moloto road. Sakha umgwaqo kanye nololiwe ku Moloto Road ukuze kuphephe izimpilo zabantu ngoba izingozi sezithathe imiphefumulo eminingi kuleyandawo.During 2016, South Africa also signed a co-operation agreement with the People’s Republic of China to build the Moloto Rail Development Corridor.In 2014 we launched the Operation Phakisa Big Fast results methodology in the ocean economy, health, education and mining sectors. The purpose was to find a few key projects where we could unlock growth in implementing the NDP.All projects are proceeding well.The South African Navy also participates in the Phakisa project and is preparing to host the government garage concept for all state-owned vessels in Simon’s Town, including the maintenance and repair of government-owned vessels, through the newly established South African Navy/ARMSCOR/Denel partnership.We had identified tourism as a key job driver. We are thus pleased that our tourist arrival numbers for the period January to November 2016 increased to nine million, an increase of just over one million arrivals from 2015. This represents a thirteen percent growth in tourist arrivals.Government runs effective poverty alleviation programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme. In addition, social grants now reach close to 17 million people, mainly older persons and children. Many families would not be able to put food on the table if it were not for social grants.The Expanded Public Works Programme has since 2014, created more than two million work opportunities towards the attainment of the target of six million work opportunities by the end of March 2019. Of the work opportunities created, more than one million have been taken up by the youth.During 2015/2016, more than sixty one thousand work opportunities were created through the Environmental Programmes such as Working for Water, Working for Wetlands, Working on Fire and Working for Ecosystems. More than 60% of the beneficiaries were young people.Government working with society is fighting social ills that are tearing communities apart such as drugs and substance abuse. From Soshanguve to Rosettenville or KwaMashu to the Cape Flats, communities are in difficulty because of the drugs.Other than law enforcement, the provision of treatment and prevention services is also critical.The Department of Social Development is building new public treatment centres in provinces where there are no such facilities, in the Northern Cape, North West, Limpopo, Free State and the Eastern Cape.Working together we will save our youth from drugs.On health matters, the National Health Insurance is our flagship project that is aimed at moving South Africa towards Universal Health Coverage. The NHI will be implemented in a 14 year period in three phases. We are in the midst of the first phase which is the preparatory phase, which started in 2012.CompatriotsWe are deeply distressed by the death of so many psychiatric patients in Gauteng.Mentally ill patients are some of the most vulnerable members of society, who need protection from the state itself and society as a whole. I have instructed the Minister of Health to ensure that the Health Ombudsperson’s recommendations are wholly and speedily implemented without any reservations.We welcome the recommendation of the Health Ombudsperson that there is an urgent need to review the National Health Act 2003 and the Mental Health Act 2002 with a view that certain powers and functions revert back to the National Minister of Health.Once more, we extend our heartfelt condolences to all families and relatives of the deceased. Government will provide support so that families do not face this burden alone. The Premier of Gauteng and the Minister of Health have already provided this assurance.A lot more work has been done in the past year in implementing the Nine Point Plan and all our programmes. Ministers will report further on the programmes during the budget votes.Honourable Members,I would now like to speak on our priorities for the year ahead. Political freedom alone is incomplete without economic emancipation.Oliver Tambo spoke clearly about this mission at an SACP anniversary meeting in London in 1981.He said:“The objective of our struggle in South Africa, as set out in the Freedom Charter, encompasses economic emancipation. It is inconceivable for liberation to have meaning without a return of the wealth of the country to the people as a whole.“To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the roots of racial supremacy and exploitation, and does not represent even the shadow of liberation.“It is therefore a fundamental feature of our strategy that victory must embrace more than formal political democracy; and our drive towards national emancipation must include economic emancipation.”What do we mean by radical socio-economic transformation?We mean fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female, as defined by the governing party which makes policy for the democratic government.Twenty two years into our freedom and democracy, the majority of black people are still economically disempowered. They are dissatisfied with the economic gains from liberation.The gap between the annual average household incomes of African-headed households and their white counterparts remains shockingly huge. White households earn at least five times more than black households, according to Statistics SA.The situation with regards to the ownership of the economy also mirrors that of household incomes. Only ten percent of the top one hundred companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are owned by black South Africans, directly-achieved principally, through the black empowerment codes, according to the National Empowerment Fund.The pace of transformation in the workplace, the implementation of affirmative action policies as required by the Employment Equity Act, also remains very slow.In terms of the 2015/16 information submitted to the Employment Equity Commission, the representation of whites at top management level amounted to 72 percent whilst African representation was at 10 percent.The representation of Coloureds stood at 4.5% and Indians 8.7%.The report further provides that white South Africans, in particular males, are afforded higher levels of recruitment, promotion and training opportunities as compared, to the designated groups.At the level of gender at senior management level, males remain dominant at 67.6% and females at 32.4% percent.The skewed nature of ownership and leadership patterns needs to be corrected. There can be no sustainability in any economy if the majority is excluded in this manner. In my discussions with the business community, they accepted these transformation imperatives.Today we are starting a new chapter of radical socio-economic transformation. We are saying that we should move beyond words, to practical programmes.The state will play a role in the economy to drive that transformation. In this regard, Government will utilise to the maximum, the strategic levers that are available to the state.This includes legislation, regulations, licensing, budget and procurement as well as Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Charters to influence the behaviour of the private sector and drive transformation.The State spends five hundred billion rand a year buying goods and services. Added to this is the nine hundred billion rand infrastructure budget. Those budgets must be used to achieve economic transformation.As a start, the new regulations making it compulsory for big contractors to subcontract 30 percent of business to black owned enterprises have been finalised and were gazetted on the 20th of January.Through such regulations and programmes, government will be able to use the state buying power to empower small enterprises, rural and township enterprises, designated groups and to promote local industrial development.Two key challenges we face is the high levels of concentration in the economy as well as the collusion and cartels, which squeeze out small players and hamper the entry of young entrepreneurs and black industrialists.The competition authorities have done excellent work to uncover the cartels and punish them for breaking the law.Last year I signed into law a provision to criminalize the cartels and collusion and it came into effect on 1 May. It carries jail sentences of up to 10 years.We are now stepping up our actions to deal with the other challenge, namely economic concentration, where a small grouping controls most of a market.During this year, the Department of Economic Development will bring legislation to Cabinet that will seek to amend the Competition Act. It will among others address the need to have a more inclusive economy and to de-concentrate the high levels of ownership and control we see in many sectors. We will then table the legislation for consideration by parliament.In this way, we seek to open up the economy to new players, give black South Africans opportunities in the economy and indeed help to make the economy more dynamic, competitive and inclusive. This is our vision of radical economic transformation.Compatriots,Government is actively involved in the property sector, having provided more than four million houses since 1994.This sector in our country is valued at approximately seven trillion rand, with the subsidised sector being valued at one point five trillion rand.However, less than five percent of the sector is owned or managed by Black people and Africans in particular. A draft Property Practitioners Bill will be published by the Department of Human Settlements for public comment with the purpose of establishing a more inclusive, representative sector, towards radical economic transformation.Among key priorities this year, Government will also address the increasing delays and backlogs in registration and issuing of title deeds to beneficiaries of housing projects funded by the capital subsidy.Compatriots,We reiterate that radical economic transformation should mean moving beyond share ownership schemes only. We would like to see black people involved directly in business, owning factories. The development of the Black Industrialists programme is thus critical.The programme has from inception supported more than 22 entrepreneurs. Government has further opportunities in the property maintenance projects of the Department of Public Works.The Department will invest approximately one hundred million rand this year on critical capital and maintenance programmes to modernise harbours. They will also continue generating revenue from letting state owned harbours and coastline properties, which will benefit black owned SMMEs.Government will also continue to pursue policies that seek to broaden the participation of black people and SMMEs, including those owned by women and the youth, in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector.We assure the youth that the lowering of the cost of data is uppermost in our policies and plans.Compatriots,Mining has always been the backbone of our economy and an important foreign exchange earner. We welcome the recovery in commodity prices which has resulted in an upswing in mining output. This augurs well for the industry.The Mining Charter is currently being reviewed. The Charter seeks to recognise the internationally accepted right of the state to exercise sovereignty over all the mineral and petroleum resources within the Republic.It is also aimed at helping the country to de-racialise the ownership of the mining industry. This will help ensure the sustainability of this industry. We trust that discussions between government and business on the Charter will yield results so that the process can be finalised.We will continue to pursue direct state involvement in mining. The Mining Company of South Africa Bill will be presented to Cabinet and Parliament during the year.The Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill was sent back to Parliament so that issues relating to the public consultation process undertaken by Provincial legislatures can be addressed.We trust that it shall be processed and returned for finalization without much delay so that the concerns relating to uncertainty raised by business can be resolved.Government continues to work with other stakeholders to combat illegal mining to save lives and to prevent the trafficking of precious metals and diamonds.We also continue to place great emphasis on the health and safety of mineworkers which is so crucial to the sustainability of the mining sector. Working with the mining companies we can ensure that lives are protected at all times.The tragic accident that occurred at Lily Mine outside in Mpumalanga earlier in 2015 is the first of its kind that we have experienced since the dawn of democracy. The families are going through immense pain and frustration.Compatriots,It will be difficult if not impossible, to achieve true reconciliation until the land question is resolved. Only eight million hectares of arable land have been transferred to black people, which is only 9.8 percent of the 82 million hectares of arable land in South Africa.There has also been a 19 percent decline in households involved in agriculture from 2,9million in 2011 to 2,3 million households in 2016.We had stated our intention of using the Expropriation Act to pursue land reform and land redistribution, in line with the Constitution. I have now decided to refer the Bill back to Parliament for reconsideration on the basis that the Bill might not pass constitutional master. This is due to inadequate public participation during its processing.We trust that Parliament will be able to move with speed in meeting the requirements so that the law can be finalised to effect transformation.The reopening of land claims is also still on hold because the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act, 2014 was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court.The Constitutional Court found that the public consultation process facilitated by the National Council of Provinces and some Provincial Legislatures, did not meet the standard set in the Constitution.Going forward, government will continue to implement other programmes such as the Strengthening of Relatives Rights programme, also known as the 50-50 programme.In this programme, the farm workers join together into a legal entity and together with the farm owner a new company is established and the workers and the owner become joint owners.To date 13 proposals have already been approved benefiting 921 farm dweller households at a value of R631 million. We applaud farmers and farm workers for this innovation.Most importantly, we appeal to land claimants to accept land instead of financial compensation. Over 90% of claims are currently settled through financial compensation which does not help the process at all. It perpetuates dispossession. It also undermines economic empowerment.Government has committed itself to support black smallholder farmers. I received a memorandum from the African Farmers Association of South Africa who say the year 2017 must be the year of the commercialisation of the black small holder farmers.Indeed, Government will implement a commercialisation support programme for 450 black smallholder farmers.We encourage more women to consider farming. I have as a special guest today, the 2016 Female Farmer of the Year, Ms Vanecia Janse from Koukamma municipality in the Eastern Cape.Compatriots,Our farmers went through a difficult period last year because of the drought. To date, an estimated amount of 2.5 billion rand was made available for the provision of livestock feed, water infrastructure, drilling, equipping and refurbishment of boreholes, auction sales and other interventions.Furthermore, the Industrial Development Corporation and the Land Bank availed funding of about five hundred million rand to distressed farmers to manage their credit facilities and support with soft loans.Compatriots,President OR Tambo was a champion of women’s rights.We will continue to mainstream the empowerment of women in all government programmes.Government will continue to prioritise women’s access to economic opportunities and, in particular, to business financing and credit.This is the freedom that heroines of the struggle such as the late Dora Tamana of Gugulethu here in Cape Town fought for. I am pleased to have her son Mongezi Tamana as a guest today.Compatriots,In December 2015 university students voiced their concerns about the cost of higher education. They correctly pointed out that accumulated debt and fast rising fees were making it harder and harder for those who come from less-privileged households to enter and stay within the education system until they complete their studies.It is for this reason that when university students expressed genuine concerns about being excluded from universities, our caring government responded appropriately by taking over the responsibility to pay the fee increase for the 2016 academic year. Government also settled all debt owed by NSFAS students and extended the coverage to larger numbers of students than ever before.At the time of tabling the 2016 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, our government announced additional measures aimed at making higher education accessible to more students from working class families.Government has provided funds to ensure that no student whose combined family income is up to six hundred thousand rand per annum will face fee increases at universities and TVET colleges for 2017.All students who qualify for NSFAS and who have been accepted by universities and TVET colleges will be funded. The university debt of NSFAS qualifying students for 2013, 2014 and 2015 academic years has been addressed. In total, government has reprioritised thirty two billion rand within government baselines to support higher education.We are ensuring that our deserving students can study without fearing that past debts will prevent them from finishing their studies.In the remaining years of this administration, our policies will respond directly to the following concerns that the students have placed firmly on the table:Firstly, the students have expressed concern that the NSFAS threshold of one hundred and twenty two thousand rand is too low. We will have to look into this matter with the view to raising the threshold on a phased basis in the period ahead.Secondly, the students have pointed out that the full cost of study at some universities is higher than the subsidy that NSFAS provides. As a result, NSFAS students who study at some universities that charge higher fees end up accumulating debt. Our government-initiated processes are already looking at this issue too.Honourable Members and Fellow South Africans, students and their parents should understand that the needs for services like water, sanitation, early childhood development and good public transport have to also be addressed, alongside access to quality higher education and training.But our commitment to finding sustainable solutions to the funding of the social wage in general, and education, in particular, is unwavering.As the processes that we have set in motion draw to a close, such as the Heher Commission, the Ministerial Task Team, broader engagements with students, university and TVETS leadership and civil society, we will find resources to give expression to our policies.I invite all stakeholders to participate in the processes that are under way so that no view is not heard.No great idea should be excluded. As soon as the broadest sections of our society agree on what to do, our government will take steps to reprioritise resources to implement it on a phased basis.Let us engage to identify the most pressing needs, and allocate our limited resources accordingly. Let us build our self-reliance and move forward in the spirit of unity.Compatriots,The fight against crime is an apex priority. The police will increase visible policing, building on the successful pattern of deployments utilised during the Safer Festive Season Campaign.They will also utilise certain specialized capabilities, such as the Tactical Response Teams and National Intervention Units, to assist in addressing problematic high-crime areas.We received a message from Soshanguve last week that crime is rife in Block L and that hijackings and robberies are high. It is such communities that need to build stronger partnerships with the police to ensure that criminals do not prey on residents.Other measures to fight crime nationally will include the establishment of Specialised Units, focusing on drug-related crime, taxi violence and firearms and the enhanced utilisation of investigative aids such as forensic leads.The Police will also enhance the utilisation of the DNA Database in the identification of suspects. We urge the public to work with the police to ensure safer communities.Compatriots,We welcome the decline in Rhino poaching incidents since October 2015 which is for the first time in a decade. This arises from intensive joint operations by law enforcement agencies.Compatriots,One of the strategies of fighting crime is to ensure that those who are released from prison do not commit crime again.The Department of Correctional Services continues to work hard to turn prisons into correctional centres through offering various services. As a result, compliance levels with parole and probation conditions have improved to reach a historic mark of 98 percent.The country has also made good progress in reducing the numbers of children in correctional centres.Compatriots,The promotion of access to justice was given added meaning last year when the High Court Division in Limpopo was opened in November.The Mpumalanga High Court will be completed during this financial year. The coming into operation of these two high courts means that we have now realised the goal of a High Court in every province of the country.Compatriots,The fight against corruption continues. Within the National Prosecuting Authority, the Asset Forfeiture Unit completed three hundred and eighty nine forfeiture cases to the value of three hundred and forty nine million rand.They obtained three hundred and twenty six freezing orders to the value of seven hundred and seventy nine million rand.A total of 13 million rand was recovered in cases where government officials were involved in corruption and other related offences in the past year.Compatriots,Oliver Tambo set the tone for the country’s foreign policy as early as 1977 when addressing the first Congress of the Angolan ruling party MPLA that:“We seek to live in peace with our neighbours and the peoples of the world in conditions of equality, mutual respect and equal advantage”.South Africa is honoured to chair the Southern African Development Community (SADC) starting from August 2017. We will utilise our tenure to fast-track the implementation of the SADC Industrial Strategy.We are accelerating the integration agenda through the implementation of SADC-COMESA-East African Community Free Trade Area.We will continue with our involvement in our mediation efforts, peacekeeping operations, and peace-making initiatives in Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Mozambique, South Sudan, Somalia and Libya. The SANDF represents the country well in the peacekeeping missions.Furthermore, trade with our traditional partners in the west remains a significant contributor to our economy. We will continue to partner with the United States and work together on issues of mutual interest such as the full renewal of AGOA.We value our relationship with the People’s Republic of China. China is one of South Africa’s most important and key strategic partners. We recognise the PRC ‘as the sole Government and Authority representing the whole of China’.South Africa reiterates its position and commitment to the ‘One China Policy’ and we consider Taiwan as an integral part of the PRC. At continental partnership level, the Joint Africa-EU Strategy remains an important long-term framework for continued cooperation.The Economic Partnership agreement with the EU came into force in September 2016 thus providing new market access opportunities for South African products. Almost all South African products, about 99% will have preferential market access in the EU. About 96% of the products will enter the EU market without being subjected to customs duties or quantitative restrictions.The Southern African Customs Union Mercosur Preferential Trade Agreement has also entered into force, providing preferential access to over one thousand tariff lines. This is an agreement that promotes South-South trade.Our cooperative partnerships with other regions are bearing fruits. The BRICS New Development Bank has recorded encouraging progress. We welcome the Goa BRICS Heads of State and Government decision to establish the BRICS Rating Agency so that we can assist each other in assessing our economic paths.We are also pleased with agreements with our BRICS partners in the field of agriculture. We will implement off take agreements on the export of pulses, mangos and pork to India.We will also export twenty thousand tons of beef to China per year for a period of 10 years. We will continue to pursue the reform of the international system because the current configuration undermines the ability of developing countries to contribute and benefit meaningfully.This year marks the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Palestine. The expansion of Israeli settlements undermines global efforts aimed at realising the two state solution and the Oslo accord. We wish to reiterate our support for the Palestinian course.Similarly, we hope that the readmission of Morocco to the AU should serve as a catalyst to resolve the Western Sahara issue.Let me add that South Africa will use Armed Forces Day on 21 February, 2017, to mark the Centenary commemorations of the tragic sinking of the SS Mendi which left 646 soldiers dead in 1917.Compatriots,The Constitution accords equal rights and dignity to all South Africans. The United Nations proclaimed 13 June as International Albinism Awareness Day. We should use this day to raise awareness and eliminate the discrimination or harm that compatriots with albinism are subjected to in some areas.Siyagcizelela ukuthi abantu abanebala elimhlophe bangabantu, bafana nabo bonke abantu ezweni. Akuphele ukubahlukumeza. Aziphele nezinkolelo ezingekho ngabo.I have the pleasure to introduce Ms Nomasonto Mazibuko the executive director of the Albinism Society of South Africa, one of my special guests.The sports fraternity tragically lost one of its favourite sons, Joost van der Westhuizen earlier this week. The music industry has lost popular gospel musicians recently Sifiso Ncwane and Lundi Tyamarha as well as maskanda musician Nganeziyamfisa.We extend our condolences on the loss of these public figures who have contributed to the country’s sports and arts.Compatriots,Let us unite in driving radical economic transformation for the good of our country.In the words of President Tambo;“Working together as fellow South Africans, we have it within our power to transform this country into the land of plenty for all, where the nightmare of apartheid will just be a faint memory of the past.“I thank you.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? 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FHA: Get out in front of the marketSecretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson stated, “Assessments such as these are potentially dangerous for our Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund and may have serious consequences on a consumer’s ability to repay, or when they attempt to refinance their mortgage or sell their home.” But this statement doesn’t match the data available about where true default risk lies. So far, customers with PACE financing have a lower mortgage default rate, while non-energy-efficient homes have a 47% higher default risk than efficient homes.We laud Carson’s concern about default rates, and agree that the industry should act fast to protect against defaults — but if that’s really the concern, then the industry needs to move to integrate energy use into the appraisal process so that homeowners understand the real cost of homeownership and can get better mortgages to support more efficient homes. In fact, much of the industry is moving toward improved models to address this, which FHA could support, rather than simply sitting back and being reactive.If FHA is serious about its concern with default risk, it should respond to the default risk posed by energy costs and join the conversation on further enhancing consumer protections for PACE, ones that are appropriate to its use and size in relation to home valuations. Let us work toward expanding safe options for consumers to upgrade their homes and decrease their monthly costs. Imagine a more energy-efficient housing stock that reduces default risk by 30%. RMI has worked to find nonpartisan, economically viable market solutions to better energy use for 35 years. If HUD and the FHA are interested in a solution, we are prepared to help. Setting the PACE for Consumer ProtectionWhat the Wall Street Journal Got Wrong About PACETransforming the Real Estate MarketCongress Weighs Changes to Rules on PACE LoansA Bipartisan Team Pitches a PACE RevivalThe FHA’s PowerSaver ProgramFannie, Freddie Hold Firm on PACE Program ImpasseScenes from PACE v. Fannie and Freddie Transforming Stimulus-Funded Weatherization into a National Industry The real risk of high energy billsThis new guidance from FHA is like telling someone to tie their shoes before running away from an attacker; it’s distracting from the real threat. Home energy costs present a material threat to the mortgage industry and to the financial health of homeowners, and yet FHA has not taken any steps to address this threat. Worse, by attacking PACE, it is removing an important tool for homeowners to improve their energy bills, making that threat worse. A study by the University of North Carolina’s Center for Community Capital analyzed actual loan-performance data obtained from CoreLogic, the lending industry’s leading source of such data. The study found that default risks are, on average, 32% lower in energy-efficient homes, controlling for other loan determinants. In other words, if we were to consider efficient homes the norm, then non-efficient homes have a 47% greater default risk, on average.Meanwhile, the Energy Programs Consortium reports that default rates for PACE customers are far lower than for typical customers. The burden of utilities is quite high for most American households. A 2017 study by ATTOM Data Solutions and UtilityScore found that the average U.S. household’s energy and water bills add 25% to the monthly cost of homeownership.Homes with poor energy performance are a much more significant threat to consumers than homes with good energy performance. Despite the fact that homeowners say that energy efficiency is the top unmet need for their homes (greater than safety concerns, school access, or kitchen upgrades), the real estate and mortgage industries have failed to provide information for consumers to make informed decisions. Worse yet, homes with poor energy performance often have a greater potential for moisture problems, pest infestations, drafts, and other problems that can contribute to asthma and other health concerns. Protecting consumersBy ignoring these consumer protections, the FHA is steering consumers who want to upgrade their homes toward far more risky options. A 2015 report published by BMO Harris Bank found that 58% of Americans pay for home improvements with savings, 18% pay with credit cards, and 17% use home equity lines of credit. With 76% of Americans financing their home improvements through savings or credit cards, it appears that the market for home improvement financing models that could simultaneously benefit consumers’ financial health is large.Especially important to note is that 37% of PACE financing is used to respond to emergency repair or replacement needs, while an additional 23% is used to repair something that “was likely to fail in the near future” according to a 2017 study by Research Into Action. These are situations where homeowners may not have been planning to make an upgrade, but in the face of a broken furnace, air conditioner, or roof had to protect their health, safety, and home investment. Therefore, relying on savings or credit cards may often be their only option in the face of an emergency, since traditional financing often takes too much time or may not be available to as many homeowners.The same BMO Harris report found that 45% of Americans undertaking improvements also intended to make their homes more energy-efficient, demonstrating the importance of lending models that enable homeowners to meet multiple home improvement goals.With the historical momentum and expansion of PACE, parties at the state and national levels have set and implemented robust consumer-protection guidelines. The Department of Energy’s “Guidelines for Pilot PACE Financing Programs” served as the basis for early best practices established in 2014 by PACENation, an organization focused on promoting PACE by providing leadership and support to a growing member base (then operating as PACENow).PACENation — in collaboration with industry leaders — developed and released Consumer Protection Policies Version 2.0 earlier this year. The policies were adopted by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority and the Western Riverside Council of Governments — both of which heavily informed California’s PACE policies — and now serve as an industry standard.Today, more consistent consumer protection standards upheld across local communities and states will help ensure the successful growth and scaling of residential PACE programs, while protecting the integrity of PACE as a public–private partnership. Standardization of operations across jurisdictional boundaries will reduce the need for customization and enable consistency, which will allow PACE programs to continue to streamline their operations, and thus provide lower costs to participating homeowners. About PACEPACE, founded in the early 2000s as an innovative way to finance home energy upgrades, tackles a significant market failure. It does so by increasing American households’ access to financial resources so they can afford cost-saving energy performance retrofits — a need which has largely been unfulfilled by any other financing instrument. RELATED ARTICLES By JACOB CORVIDAE and MARTHA CAMPBELLLast month, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced it will stop insuring new mortgages on homes with property assessed clean energy (PACE) loans. As to what motivated its decision —according to its letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — the FHA is “concerned with the lack of consumer protections associated with the origination of the PACE assessment, which are far less comprehensive than that of traditional mortgage financing products.” This announcement directly contradicts guidance issued by the FHA in 2016.Rocky Mountain Institute feels this decision is misguided for three key reasons:The FHA overstates the risk of PACE to taxpayers while failing to acknowledge or account for the significant default risk that the excessive energy expenditures of inefficient homes can create for a homeowner.This will inhibit homeowners from making valuable home improvements, while curbing PACE’s job-creation potential in the construction and renovation industry.It undermines existing state-level consumer-protection standards that are in place and federal standards that are in development, and may in fact guide homeowners toward more risky financing solutions, such as high-interest rate credit cards, that lack such standards. PACE not only removes the upfront cost of energy-efficiency, renewable-energy, and water-efficiency investments for homeowners, but also provides them with a more affordable financing alternative by offering longer payback terms and low repayment costs that are transferable upon a home’s sale (along with the benefits of the home improvements). PACE, like any other assessment, is attached to the property — not the individual — which makes it an innovative and unique green financing instrument. It also serves the community-wide interest in improving the housing stock while correcting for the failure of the market to fully recognize the impact of energy profiles on housing valuations.To date, residential PACE (or R-PACE) has been used to finance $4.2 billion in home energy improvements, creating over 36,000 jobs in the states in which R-PACE is enabled, according to PACENation. R-PACE has been used successfully to finance over 158,000 retrofits in three states since 2008, which demonstrates its market acceptability, scalability, and potential as a transformational market-financing tool. It is worth noting that R-PACE has seen unprecedented growth in California that has largely been driven by enabling state legislation. This growth has now started to spread across other states like Florida and Missouri. Jacob Corvidae works as a manger in the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Building Practice. Martha Campbell is manager of the Residential Energy+ team in RMI’s Buildings Practice. © 2017 Rocky Mountain Institute. Published with permission. Originally posted on RMI Outlet.
ESPN College GameDayESPN has updated its college football “future” power rankings. The “FPR” is a projection of which college football teams will dominate the sport over the next three years. Here’s ESPN’s description:FPR is a projection of a program’s strength over the next three years, not just the 2016 season. An eight-person panel of ESPN reporters and analysts — Heather Dinich, Brad Edwards, Travis Haney, Sharon Katz, Tom Luginbill, Ted Miller, Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlabach — graded teams based on five criteria, which were weighed differently to account for their impact on overall sustained success. The criteria: coaching (27 percent of the formula), current talent (27 percent), recruiting (20 percent), title path (16 percent) and program foundation (10 percent).Which team does ESPN think will rule the sport over the next three seasons? The reigning national champions.Alabama, which was overtaken by Ohio State in the 2015 edition of the FPR, has its No. 1 spot back. The Crimson Tide continue to recruit as well as ever and, coming off a national title, they’re an obvious choice for No. 1. Here’s the rest of the top 25: Alabama’s at No. 1, of course.AlabamaOhio StateFSUClemsonMichiganLSUStanfordOklahomaNotre DameMichigan StateFloridaGeorgiaUSCTennesseeTCUUCLATexasAuburnMiamiOle MissWashingtonOregonLouisvilleOklahoma StateNebraskaYou can view ESPN’s full rankings here.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Cash-strapped Newfoundland and Labrador has launched a 12-year plan to speed and increase offshore oil and gas development while drawing coveted global investment.The province will review regulations, enhance seismic data and advance cost-saving tie-back technology to extract more from existing sites. Its goal is to double overall production to more than 650,000 barrels a day by 2030.Premier Dwight Ball called it an ambitious but realistic plan as his province grapples with mounting debt and successive deficits. Offshore oil earnings once accounted for about one-third of revenues but collapsing prices starting in 2014 blew a major hole in provincial finances.“We can wait no longer,” Ball told a news conference Monday in St. John’s. “We are at a critical point. The time for action is now.”The province also wants to enhance subsea and seismic technology to develop what it estimates is an offshore oil potential of at least 37 billion barrels.And it wants to kick-start commercial production of largely untapped natural gas reserves by 2030 as it counts on growing global demand.Four major oil sites now operate off Newfoundland.The plan also sets targets of 100 new exploration wells, a shortened timeline of about 10 years from discovery to oil production, and integrating oil and gas with renewable sources to create a “world-class energy cluster.”Carman Mullins, president of ExxonMobil Canada, said Monday the industry has transformed since the price crash. Still, the plan sets a course to keep Newfoundland and Labrador on the corporate radar for big-ticket investment, she added.“Every opportunity needs to be competitive on a global scale,” she told reporters. “Having regulations that provide clarity, as well as are efficient and effective, are key. We need to develop the resources as well as protecting the environment.“We’re looking at how can you do things more efficiently? How can you leverage technology? How can you be creative and innovative and bring new research together?”
OTTAWA, O.N. — Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer has issued a statement criticizing new firearms regulations announced by the federal government on Tuesday.Bill C-71 was introduced in the House of Commons on Tuesday by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. If it passes, the legislation would expand the scope of background checks on gun license applicants to cover their entire life, instead of just the past five years.Other new rules in the legislation would require commercial gun retailers to keep “ledgers” of gun inventories and sales for a period of 20 years, though private gun sellers would be exempt. Those ledgers would be able to be accessed by police after obtaining a warrant, something that federal authorities in the United States don’t need. Anyone purchasing a gun both privately and commercially would also be required to present a valid firearms license before the sale is made. The proposed legislation would roll back some automatic authorizations to transport restricted and prohibited firearms, such as handguns and assault weapons. Under the bill, owners wouldn’t need a permit to take them to a shooting range or home from a store, but would need to apply for a transport permit to take them to a gun show or a gunsmith.The bill would also restore the authority of RCMP experts to say which firearms would be classified as restricted or prohibited.The federal government says the legislation was introduced to combat firearms-related crime that has increased in recent years. There were 2,465 criminal violations involving firearms in 2016, an increase of 30 percent since 2013. Gun homicides rose from 134 to 223 during that timeframe.Zimmer said in a statement today that the proposed legislation contains too much red tape, and treats law-abiding gun owners like criminals.“As I have said before, I support the idea of more vigorous background checks. However, the legislation introduced this week does little to make our communities safer. Keeping firearms out of the hands of violent criminals should be the number one priority in any new firearms legislation. This bill falls well short of that and instead is treating law-abiding firearms owners like criminals by creating needless red tape.This legislation is not only a backdoor attempt at a wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry, it also re-establishes a front door registry by handing data that was supposed to be destroyed over to the Quebec government.It is clear that this government does not believe the rights of law-abiding firearms owners should be protected. As a firearms owner myself, I will continue to push for common sense legislation that focuses on the criminal element behind firearms violence, instead of targeting Canada’s law-abiding outdoor community.”
New Delhi: Markets regulator Sebi Monday proposed amendments to norms governing Self Regulatory Organisations, including recognising such entities on a nomination basis. Coming out with a consultation paper, the watchdog said that an SRO would be defined as an organisation of intermediaries or an entity promoted by a stock exchange, recognised by the board.A Self Regulatory Organisation (SRO) is considered as the first level regulator. “As per the proposed process, instead of inviting applications, Sebi would recognise an entity as an SRO on nomination basis, after conducting due diligence,” the regulator said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalSebi proposes to constitute a nomination committee to consider and give recommendation to the regulator regarding the suitability of an organisation or entity to be recognised as an SRO. The committee will comprise external experts and will preferably be headed by a retired judge of a High Court or Supreme Court. Sebi also said the recognition of an SRO may be on permanent basis subject to certain conditions. The paper further suggested that a governing board may consist of elected Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostrepresentatives of members of SRO public interest directors nominated by Sebi and shareholder directors. The general superintendence, direction and management of the affairs of the Self Regulatory Organisations will vest in the board and its creation, composition and functions will be specified by Sebi from time to time, it added. The SRO shall provide for a dispute resolution mechanism including arbitration to settle disputes between investors and its members and disputes between its members.
New Delhi: Young wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant and veteran batsman Ambati Rayudu were on Wednesday named among the standbys for India’s World Cup squad, reigniting their dashed hopes of making the trip to the UK in case an injury setback hits the side. Speedster Navdeep Saini also found a place in the list of three back-ups for the mega-event starting on May 30. Pant and Rayudu’s exclusion from the squad of 15 had created quite a stir on Monday. While Sunil Gavaskar called Pant’s omission surprising, the snub to Rayudu was questioned by Gautam Gambhir. With the ICC doing away with the practice of letting countries announce a probables’ list before the final squad, the BCCI also has the option of including anyone apart from these three but it is unlikely to happen. “Just like ICC Champions Trophy, we have three standbys. Rishabh Pant and Ambati Rayudu are the first and second standbys while Saini is the bowler in the list. So if anyone gets injured, as per requirement, one of the three will be going,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on Wednesday. Rayudu took to Twitter to take a dig at his omission from the squad of 15 on Tuesday. “Just Ordered a new set of 3d glasses to watch the world cup,” Rayudu wrote on his twitter handle Tuesday. This was after chairman of selectors MSK Prasad justified preferring Vijay Shankar over Rayudu, citing the former’s “three-dimensional qualities”. While Khaleel Ahmed, Avesh Khan and Deepak Chahar will be travelling with the team purely as net bowlers, they can also be drafted in if the management feels so. “Khaleel, Avesh and Deepak are not designated standbys. In case of bowlers, that possibility is there but when it comes purely to batsmen, it will be either Rishabh or Rayudu,” the official said.