Helping people and nature coexist

first_img13 June 2005Friday’s launch of the Kruger to Canyons (K2C) Biosphere Reserve near Hoedspruit is seen as an important step in the economic development of the central lowveld region, which straddles the boundary between Limpopo and Mpumalanga.Stretching from the Blyde River Canyon to the Kruger National Park, the biosphere will incorporate the 1.5-million people, mainly rural poor, who live there. It is the fourth internationally recognised biosphere in South Africa. The others are in the Koegelberg, West Coast and Waterberg regions. In September 2001 Kruger to Canyons was registered by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) as the the 411th biosphere reserve in 94 countries worldwide, under its International Man and Biosphere Programme.According to the programme, biosphere reserves are regions where internationally important protected areas, like the Kruger National Park, lie next to human settlements.People in the area may have been displaced when the reserves were declared, remaining on the margins and increasing pressure on local resources, exposing entire ecosystems to stress.Restricted or prohibited access to communities’ historic resource base may have changed land-use patterns for the worse.The people living in the Kruger to Canyons reserve are predominantly black (97%), unskilled, illiterate and rurally based.Morgan Lewele, chairperson of the biosphere initiative, said the launch came after seven years of consultations between all involved.“The realisation that we all have a responsibility to protect the environment has created a common bond between us,” Lewele said at the launch. “Our mission will be to maintain the K2C biosphere as an eminent conservation and development model.”Public meetings were held during the consultation process, where biosphere components such as core areas, buffer zones and transitional regions were identified.At the launch, a Unesco certificate confirming Kruger to Canyon’s biosphere status was handed to Collins Chabane, Limpopo MEC for the environment.Chabane told the gathering that the biosphere reserve concept sought to place environmental protection at the centre of economic development. Ecotourism was expected to create a large number of jobs, he said.He also announced the launch of an educational programme to promote environmental protection and the responsible use of natural resources.“We have not merely inherited this land from our forefathers; we’ve borrowed it from our children,” Chabane said.The reserveSouth Africa is the third most biologically diverse country in the world, according to the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. The K2C biosphere contains widely diverse landscapes, ranging from 300m above sea level in the east to over 2 000m in the Drakensburg Escarpment.Kruger to Canyons is the third-largest biosphere in the world. It is home to game, commercial and crop farming, tourism and related enterprises, as well as 149 mammal, 510 bird and 57 fish species.The average rainfall ranges from 368mm a year to 3 000mm on the plateau. These two factors help create a wide variety of habitats and niches for flora and fauna.The K2C covers three biomes: savannah woodlands, afromontane forests and montane grasslands. These protected areas cover some 4.8-million hectares, including transfrontier and escarpment regions.These make up a unique constellation of public, provincial, private reserves and natural resource areas. Man and biosphereIn terms of Unesco’s Man and Biosphere Programme, biosphere reserves offer political processes to stimulate the sustainable use of resources within a framework of economic empowerment and growth.The philosophy is one of development and public participation through education, training and involvement in research and monitoring.A biosphere reserve has three roles:Development, combining conservation with the sustainable use of the ecosystem to benefit local communities.Conservation, protecting local genetic resources, plant and animal species, and ecosystems and landscapes of value to maintain biological diversity.Logistic support, providing research, monitoring education and training opportunities through exchanges organised within the framework of Unesco’s international network.Each biosphere reserve has three zones: a core area devoted to strict protection, a delineated buffer zone where only activities compatible with conservation objectives can take place, and a transition zone used for sustainable resource management in cooperation with local communities.DevelopmentThe 1.5-million people living in the K2C area are predominantly black (97%), unskilled and rurally based. There are huge social and economic inequalities.Most of the people live in poor-rural conditions: only 50% functional literacy, high levels of male absenteeism, low direct incomes and a high percentage of young people.Ninety percent live outside urban areas, compared with a national average of 35%. Some 20% of the population is under the age of four, and half are under 15 years old.A high proportion of the population is not economically active, with households relying on subsistence farming, old-age pensions and remittances from relatives working outside the area to survive.Limpopo has the lowest per capita income of the provinces in South Africa and the highest unemployment rate: almost 51% of the rural population is jobless.There are a number of development initiatives under way in the Kruger to Canyons region. They range from broad empowerment to the transfer of ownership and conversion of marginal agricultural land to commercially viable ecotourism destinations, such as the governmental Phalaborwa sub-corridor initiative, to the establishment and registration of a new community school, the Hope School.There is an effort to establish what will probably be the last consolidation of privately owned game lands into an official nature reserve in the Central Lowveld region, the Blyde-Olifants Conservancy.Part of this effort is the inclusion of local community interests through the Maburuburung reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

The Constitution of South Africa

first_imgThe Constitution of a newly democratic South Africa was promulgated by President Nelson Mandela in 1996. The highest law of the land, it is widely regarded as the most progressive Constitution in the world, with a Bill of Rights second to none.The Constitutional Court in the Constitution Hill precinct, Hillbrow (Image: Brand South Africa)South Africa’s Constitution is the result of remarkably detailed and inclusive negotiations that were carried out with an acute awareness of the injustices of the country’s non-democratic past. It is the highest law of the land and no other law or government action can supersede it.An interim constitution was first drafted as the country made its transition from apartheid to democracy. Then, in after the April 1994 elections, a new constitution was written in consultation with the public as well as elected public representatives.This was approved by the Constitutional Court on 4 December 1996, signed into law by President Nelson Mandela on 18 December, and took effect on 4 February 1997. It is widely regarded as the most progressive constitution in the world, with a Bill of Rights second to none.See the Constitutional Court’s website for the full text of the Constitution in all official languagesHuman rights and freedomsHuman rights are given clear prominence in the Constitution. They feature in the Preamble with its stated intention of establishing “a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights”.WATCH: Dr Petrus de Kock, General Manager: Research at Brand South Africa, discusses the meaning of South Africa’s Constitution:In the first chapter, human rights appear in the first of the Founding Provisions of the Republic of South Africa: “Human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms.” Spelt out in detail, they occupy 35 sections of Chapter 2.Among the rights stipulated are those of equality, freedom of expression and association, political and property rights, housing, health care, education, access to information, and access to courts.And all are taken extremely seriously by the citizens of the country.There must be few places in the world where constitutional rights feature as much in public and private discourse, and there has been no hesitation in testing the provisions and implications of the Bill of Rights in the Constitutional Court.Some of the more unusually progressive rights have come under particular spotlight, such as the unqualified “Everyone has the right to life”, and the inclusion of sexual orientation as one of the grounds upon which discrimination is forbidden.Any limitation of rights must be “reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society” and must take several factors into consideration. And although Chapter 2 also acknowledges the possible need to derogate certain rights under states of emergency, it lists a number of non-derogable rights.The remaining three Founding Provisions of the Constitution reaffirm South Africa’s determination to build on a bedrock of equality, law and democracy. They are:Non-racialism and non-sexism.Supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law.The provision that lays down South Africa’s democratic philosophy by stipulating “universal adult suffrage, a national common voters roll, regular elections and a multi-party system of democratic government, to ensure accountability, responsiveness and openness”.LanguagesAnother issue given prominence is that of language. Section 6 of the Constitution states that everyone has the right to use the language and participate in the cultural life of his or her choice – though no one may do so in a manner inconsistent with any provision of the Bill of Rights.The Constitution provides for 11 official languages: Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga.Not only are the 11 official languages named and their uses and right to promotion specified, but specific attention is also paid to the Khoi, Nama and San languages and to sign language.In addition, there is mention of “all languages commonly used by communities in South Africa” and those used for religious purposes.One does not have to know much about the constitutional negotiation process to realise that this kind of inclusive detail is the result of minute consideration of sectional interests.Such attention to detail makes South Africa’s Constitution unusually long, although the decision to write it in accessible language has resulted in a document that is easy to read.Democratic governmentChapters 3 to 7 detail the country’s democratic system of government, one characteristic of which is the stress on interaction between the national, provincial and local levels through the mechanism of co-operative governance.Other important characteristics are those generally considered essential to democracy, such as the specification of the manner in which representatives are elected, limitations on terms of office, and the majorities required to pass legislation.Section 74 (2) states that Bills amending the Constitution require a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly as well as a supporting vote of six of the nine provinces represented in the National Council of Provinces – these being the two houses that comprise South Africa’s Parliament.Preceding that is the requirement that a Bill amending Section 1 of the Constitution, which sets out the state’s founding values as described above, requires a 75% majority in the National Assembly and agreement from six of the nine provinces in the National Council of Provinces.Serious violation of the Constitution is one of the grounds on which the President may be removed from office, also on a two-thirds majority.Justice, security, international lawThe Constitution goes on to deal with the courts and administration of justice, state institutions supporting constitutional democracy, public administration, security services (defence, police and intelligence), the role of traditional leaders, and finance.The final chapter covers general provisions, including international agreements and international law (“Customary international law is law in the Republic unless it is inconsistent with the Constitution or an Act of Parliament”).Among other things, the final chapter requires that all constitutional obligations “be performed diligently and without delay”.Coming late to democracy, South Africa was able to draw on the collective wisdom of the democratic countries of the world in creating its Constitution. Having come along a route of struggle and pain, the country took the process deeply to heart – and takes great pride in the result.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Ohio Legislature set to reconsider CAUV bill

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Ohio Legislature is once again considering a bill regarding Ohio’s current agricultural use valuation (CAUV) program. CAUV permits land to be valued at its agricultural value rather than the land’s market or “highest and best use” value. Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) introduced SB 36 on February 7, 2017. The bill would alter the capitalization rate used to calculate agricultural land value and the valuation of land used for conservation practices or programs. The bill has yet to be assigned to a committee.The content of SB 36 closely mirrors the language of a bill meant to address CAUV from the last legislative session: SB 246. Introduced during the 131st General Assembly, SB 246 failed to pass into law. SB 246 proposed alterations to the CAUV formula which are identical to those proposed by the current bill: SB 36. According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s report on SB 246, the bill would have proposed changes that would have led to a “downward effect on the taxable value of CAUV farmland.” The likely effect for farmers enrolled in CAUV would have been a lower tax bill.Due to the similarity between the two bills, the potential impacts of SB 36 on the CAUV program will likely be comparable to those of the previous bill. The proposed adjustment of the capitalization rate is likely to reduce the tax bill for farmers enrolled in CAUV. More specifically, the bill proposes several changes to the CAUV formula:States additional factors to include in the rules that prescribe CAUV calculation methods. Currently, the rules must consider the productivity of the soil under normal management practices, the average price patterns of the crops and products produced to determine the income potential to be capitalized and the market value of the land for agricultural use. The proposed legislation adds two new factors: typical cropping and land use patterns and typical production costs.Clarifies that when determining the capitalization rate used in the CAUV formula, the tax commissioner cannot use a method that includes the buildup of equity or appreciation.Requires the tax commissioner to add a tax additur to the overall capitalization rate, and that the sum of the capitalization rate and tax additur “shall represent as nearly as possible the rate of return a prudent investor would expect from an average or typical farm in this state considering only agricultural factors.”Requires the commissioner to annually determine the overall capitalization rate, tax additur, agricultural land capitalization rate and the individual components used in computing those amounts and to publish the amounts with the annual publication of the per-acre agricultural use values for each soil type.To remove disincentives for landowners who engage in conservation practices yet pay CAUV taxes at the same rate as if the land was in production, the proposed legislation:Requires that the land in conservation practices or devoted to a land retirement or conservation program as of the first day of a tax year be valued at the lowest valued of all soil types listed in the tax commissioner’s annual publication of per-acre agricultural use values for each soil type in the state.Provides for recalculation of the CAUV rate if the land ceases to be used for conservation within three years of its original certification for the reduced rate, and requires the auditor to levy a charge for the difference on the landowner who ceased the conservation practice or participation in the conservation program.To read SB 36, visit this page. For more information on previous CAUV bills, see our previous blog post.last_img read more

Kemba Walker to replace Porzingis in NBA All-Star Game

first_imgLATEST STORIES Walker will make his second straight All-Star Game appearance. He is averaging 22.6 points and 5.8 assists.Porzingis was the fourth player drafted by captain LeBron James who had to be replaced because of injury, joining DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Love and John Wall.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe NBA also says Detroit All-Star center Andre Drummond will replace Porzingis, the defending champion, in the Skills Challenge. MOST READ Read Next Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker, left, knocks the ball away from Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray as he drives to the rim in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, in Denver. The Nuggets won 121-104. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)NEW YORK — Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker has been picked to replace the injured Kristaps Porzingis in the NBA All-Star Game.NBA Commissioner Adam Silver selected Walker on Thursday for the opening on Team LeBron that was created when Porzingis tore his left ACL on Tuesday.ADVERTISEMENT NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Turnover: Cavs overhaul roster with stunning trades John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police 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 AFP official booed out of forum Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Lukaku: I don’t fear Zlatan… we need him!

first_imgZlatan Ibrahimović Lukaku: I don’t fear Zlatan… we need him at Man Utd! Robin Bairner Last updated 2 years ago 19:55 9/4/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(4) Romelu Lukaku Manchester United Getty Images Zlatan Ibrahimović Manchester United Romelu Lukaku Stoke City v Manchester United Stoke City Premier League The Belgian is looking forward to working with the veteran striker and believes he will help them in their bid to win the Premier League title Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is excited about having the opportunity to team up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with the Belgian indicating that the Red Devils need someone with his mindset.Ibrahimovic has committed himself to another year at Old Trafford after suffering a season-ending knee injury while playing against Anderlecht in the Europa League last term. Rom 3/1 to bag 2+ at Stoke Article continues below Editors’ Picks Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lukaku only arrived into Jose Mourinho’s ranks in the summer and is thrilled by the prospect of teaming up with the veteran Swede.“I said to Zlatan I hoped he would be back. We need his personality,” he said. “He will bring many qualities to the team, and help us in our goal of winning the title.”The 24-year-old former Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain striker may cut an imposing figure, but Lukaku has pledged not to be overawed by his presence in the dressing room.“I don’t fear the competition as a striker, or Zlatan. Things are going really well for me at United. The pre-season was good and it helped knowing a lot of the players before arriving.“The manager has helped me a lot to settle quickly, so it has all been very positive. I am now with a coach that I have wanted to play with for a long time, since I was 11 years of age. And with him we are looking to do something special.“For me it is all about progressing and learning in my career, and all the coaches I have had have helped me with that.”Ibrahimovic is still recovering from his knee issue and has refused to put a date on his return to action, though Mourinho believes it will be in January.last_img read more

6 days agoMan Utd keeper De Gea with squad for Liverpool clash

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd keeper De Gea with squad for Liverpool clashby Paul Vegas6 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United goalkeeper David de Gea arrived at the Lowry Hotel with the rest of the squad on Saturday ahead of their clash with Liverpool on Sunday.The Spaniard pulled up with a groin injury on international duty in midweek and was initially ruled out of Sunday’s huge clash with the Premier League leaders at Old Trafford.But The Times says De Gea still believes there is a slim chance he could feature after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played down his injury.And he was amongst the United squad that arrived at the Lowry Hotel to prepare for the game, with Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka also in attendance as they get set to return to the fold.De Gea was one of three goalkeepers in the squad along with Sergio Romero, expected to be his replacement, and back-up Lee Grant. last_img read more

2 days agoOdegaard: Norway lucky to have Bournemouth striker King

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Odegaard: Norway lucky to have Bournemouth striker Kingby Paul Vegas2 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Sociedad midfielder Martin Odegaard has sung the praises of Norway teammate Joshua King.The Bournemouth striker is now a first-choice for the national team.And Odegaard admits he enjoys playing with the forward.”He is extreme and we are lucky to have him on the team. We just have to enjoy it and feed him with as many balls as possible,” he said.With 16 goals in 44 games, King has the opportunity to become one of the highest scorers for Norway. By comparison, John Carew has 24 goals, while Tore André Flo and Ole Gunnar Solskjær stand at 23. At the very top is Jørgen Juve with 33 goals. last_img

Chevron Launches Three New Very Large Crude Carriers

first_imgUS-based energy major Chevron launched earlier this week three new very large crude carriers (VLCCs) that will join the company’s global shipping fleet.Splashed at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) shipyard in South Korea, the ships in question are Houston Voyager, Pascagoula Voyager and San Ramon Voyager.The three ships were named on January 4 and are in the process of being delivered or will be delivered soon, Chevron told World Maritime News.The 318,000 dwt vessels feature a length of 336 meters and a width of 60 meters. Each carrier has a capacity of 2 million barrels and will trade primarily between the Arabian Gulf and the US, according to Chevron.The tankers are part of seven identical vessels ordered by Greek shipping company Maran Tankers in 2017 and chartered to Chevron. The first two vessels from the batch, Richmond Voyager and El Segundo Voyager, were delivered to Chevron in 2017. The remaining two tankers, London Voyager and Singapore Voyager, are slated for delivery later this year, Chevron added.World Maritime News Staff; Image Courtesy: Chevronlast_img read more

Golar LNG Fixes New Charters Secures USD 180 Mn Loan

first_imgzoomIllustration; Source: Flickr – under the CC BY 2.0 license; Image by: Kees Torn Bermuda-registered shipping company Golar LNG has secured a number of charter deals and a new loan, the company said in its second quarter of 2019 financial report.Namely, Golar LNG fixed four LNG carriers on floating rate contracts and two more on fixed rate charters.Additionally, the new financing facilities will immediately release USD 180 million to Golar which, together with the USD 700 million underwritten funding for the FLNG Gimi, de-risks the group’s balance sheet and enhances liquidity.“Operationally, Golar made steady progress. In Shipping, we have taken advantage of seasonally low rates to dry dock vessels ahead of the second half market upturn. In FLNG, Hilli Episeyo maintained 100% commercial uptime, while the Gimi conversion project continues to budget and schedule,” Iain Ross, CEO, Golar LNG, said.The company’s net loss for the quarter period ended June 30 reached USD 112.7 million, widening from a loss of USD 41.7 million reported in the previous quarter.While it recorded an operating loss of USD 23.4 million, compared to an operating income of USD 28.8 million seen in the first quarter of the year, Golar LNG’s total operating revenue dropped to USD 96.7 million from USD 114.2 million for the respective periods.“To maximize shareholder value we intend to suspend the dividend for two quarters in order to buy back the three million shares underlying the Total Return Swap, simplifying our capital structure and reducing the share count from 101 million to 98 million,” Ross added.Looking forward, the company expects earnings to improve, supported by new term contracts, a tighter supply demand balance, seasonally stronger rates and additional trading days for the fleet.All TFDE carrier drydockings are expected to have been concluded by year-end. Subject to market conditions, Golar LNG intends to complete the previously announced spin-off of its TFDE fleet by the end of 2019.last_img read more

What Arizonas Rough Start Says About MLB and the NFL and NBA

The Arizona Diamondbacks are off to a pretty bad start this season. In fact, it’s been downright wretched: Their 4-14 record ties them for the second-worst 18-game season opening of the past 11 seasons (since 2003, when the Detroit Tigers started 1-17).Putting aside who or what is to blame (hint: not their Australia trip), take another look at that 4-14 record. Also note that the Diamondbacks were 4-12 through 16 games. By Major League Baseball standards, these are notably bad records. But in football, a 4-12 record happens with some frequency. Last season alone, seven NFL teams went 4-12 or worse.Ever since the NFL expanded its schedule to 16 games in 1978 — excluding strike-shortened seasons in 1982 and 1987 — 14.5 percent of all teams have won four or fewer games in a season (throwing out teams who had ties). Similarly, over the same range of seasons (1978-present), an even 13 percent of NBA teams began their schedules with a 4-12 mark or worse.By contrast, only 4.3 percent of MLB teams have started the season 4-12 or worse over that span.This underscores two of the major differences between baseball and other sports — the relative compression of team records and the lack of information conveyed in any single-game result. Baseball famously plays the longest schedule (by far) out of the four major North American professional sports, a 162-game sample size which naturally reduces the presence of outlier performances. But as we saw above, even within a smaller chunk of games, baseball teams have more difficulty pulling away from the pack.This goes back to research I conducted two years ago, comparing the NBA’s season structure to those of other sports. Using an unbelievably useful methodology from arch-sabermetrician Tom Tango, I calculated the number of games necessary in each sport to regress a team’s record halfway to the mean — meaning, we’d know half of its observed outcomes were due to its own talent (while the other half results from randomness). For pro basketball and football, the numbers are similar: In the NBA, it takes about 12 games; in the NFL, 11 games. But in baseball, it takes a whopping 67 games for half of the variance in observed winning percentages to come from the distribution of talent and half from randomness.Perhaps the best way to illustrate these differences is to use them to set up equivalent schedule lengths between sports. For instance, if the NBA wanted to convey as much information in its team records as the NFL does in its 16-game schedule, they’d have to play a 17.5-game slate. (As an aside, this underscores how incredibly long the actual 82-game NBA schedule is; in terms of information provided, it’s almost five times too long relative to the NFL.)MLB’s 162 games provide about as much information as a 27-game football season would (meaning the NFL’s 16-game slate is the equivalent of roughly a 98-game baseball season). That’s nothing compared to the NBA, whose 82-game schedule is equivalent to a 458-game baseball season! (If the NBA wanted its standings to provide as much certainty as baseball’s, its teams would only need to play 29 games apiece.)This matches up with what we saw in the data on 16-game starts to each sport’s season. The NBA and NFL are very similar in the spread of records in a given x-game chunk, meaning the amount of information conveyed by any result is close to being the same in each sport. But MLB is a different animal. Its long season sets it apart, but even within the season, baseball teams are bunched together much more closely than their counterparts in football and basketball.CORRECTION (April 17, 3:29 p.m.): A reader pointed out that an earlier version of this post (which said the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 4-14 record tied them for the worst 18-game season opening of the past 12 seasons — since the 2002 Detroit Tigers started 3-15) was incorrect. Indeed, the 2010 Baltimore Orioles started 2-16 and the Tigers went 1-17 to start 2003. We’ve updated the post. read more