Eya Laure ready for whatever role Tigresses have for her

first_imgLaure had to go through two more years of high school due to the K-12 program, but she used that time to acquaint her in the Premier Volleyball League as a guest player for the Tigresses.“I’m just preparing myself in any way possible so I can help my team,” said Laure in Filipino after UST’s 25-23, 25-22, 25-16, win over University of Perpetual Help Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’“I will just do whatever it takes for us to win, I’m fine with whatever role I’m given.”Laure is only two games into her senior career and she’s still finding her rightful position with the team after becoming one of the best high school players the UAAP has ever seen. Serena Williams hits out again at anti-doping testing ‘discrimination’ During her high school days, Laure was a one-time MVP, Rookie of the Year, Best Attacker, Best Setter, and two-time Best Opposite Hitter making her the most versatile recruit UST had in recent memory.Laure said she wants to develop into becoming a better opposite hitter once the UAAP Season 81 starts, as she will share the frontline with Cherry Rondina, Milena Alessandrini, and older sister EJ.“I’m focused on becoming an opposite hitter instead of being a setter,” said Laure, who had 12 points against the Lady Altas. “I don’t see myself as a first-choice setter, maybe I’m a last resort setter if the team needs a tall lineup.”ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Finally moving up to the senior squad of University of Santo Tomas after a long wait, Eya Laure is more than eager to do whatever it takes to make an impact in her new playground.ADVERTISEMENT Putin’s, Xi’s ruler-for-life moves pose challenges to West In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Trump assembles a made-for-TV impeachment defense team ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Report: Disney dropping the ‘Fox’ from movie studio names SEA Games 2019: Didal collects 2nd skateboard gold PLAY LIST 02:10SEA Games 2019: Didal collects 2nd skateboard gold00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games02:11SEA GAMES 2019: PH’s Nesthy Petecio boxing featherweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Lacson: Calamity fund cut; where did P4 billion go? View commentslast_img read more

Governor pledges help in battle against gangs

first_img• Audio: Fighting gang-related crimeMONTEREY PARK – Flanked by Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday promised Southland sheriffs to help identify state funds to create a Gang Assessment Center to fight gang-related crime in Southern California. Schwarzenegger outlined what he called a “coordinated approach” to fighting gangs at a symposium at Baca’s Monterey Park headquarters, and called for a meeting of all California mayors and law enforcement officials who deal with gangs. The sheriffs of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties also attended the meeting. “The state has to be helping cities and bring them all together, so we don’t reinvent the wheel in every city,” Schwarzenegger said. “We want to provide that help, which is why the state is getting involved in a very serious way.” Giuliani, who compared the Southland’s gang troubles to New York’s organized crime problem during his time as mayor there, said that centralized authority was needed to defeat gangs. “We realized that if we could be as well-organized as \ were, and then be better organized, we could defeat them,” Giuliani said. Both Schwarzenegger and Giuliani said they supported the creation of Baca’s countywide Gang Assessment Center. As yet, there is no official name for the Gang Assessment Center, said sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore. Schwarzenegger and others also referred to it Monday as a “fusion center.” Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. James Hellmold said the center would help fight gang-related crimes that cross county lines. “With the fusion center, we wouldn’t just piecemeal problems as they come up,” Hellmold said. “There would be a centralized command post throughout the entire county, so we know exactly when problems are occurring.” Whitmore said the Gang Assessment Center would be similar to the Joint Regional Center for Terrorism, which serves as a data clearinghouse to help local, state and federal law enforcement agencies share intelligence and prevent terrorist attacks. “The Gang Assessment Center is a central facility that would have all the data connected to gangs that would be at the fingertips of the people involving in fighting the gang crisis in Los Angeles County,” Whitmore said. “And because you would have all the information in one central location, resources could be moved into areas that needed attention in real-time throughout the county.” One funding source for the center could be legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and a bipartisan coalition in January that would provide more than $1 billion for gang enforcement, prevention and intervention programs over five years. “Our bill creates ways to help fight crime in high-intensity interstate gang activity areas” such as Southern California, said Feinstein spokesman Scott Gerber. Of the $1 billion, $270 million would be used for witness protection programs. “One of the keys to stopping gang violence is to make sure witnesses are safe from retribution,” Gerber said. Staff Writer Troy Anderson contributed to this story. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Instant building block: Warriors rookie Eric Paschall has already made himself essential

first_img Why the Warriors want to keep Damion Lee beyond this season “It’s going to help a lot, them knowing they have another option on the floor,” he said. “I definitely feel like I’m going to have confidence knowing I belong. I know the guys are going to believe in me and tell me to go make plays now just because they’ve seen it.”There are several reasons to be confident in Paschall’s future: his scoring ability, his defensive versatility, his physique and athleticism, and his willingness to put winning above all else. His father always told him to stay “hungry and humble.” A second-round pick earnestly proving himself, Paschall is ready to eat.“Over time, he’s only going to get better and better,” Neptune said. “He has no limitations to his game. The sky’s the limit for him, just because there’s nothing on the floor that he can’t do.” “He was used to playing in air-conditioned gyms up in Westchester county and I remember the coach telling me ‘Juan, I’d like to put him in the game, but he’s crying because he said it’s too hot,’” Paschall’s father Juan Paschall said. “He wasn’t always very aggressive. It’s from going to the city, from Westchester County, and playing with kids who were better than him, who were tougher than him, that brought out the toughness.”Paschall developed a thicker skin in the AAU circuit. With his best friend Donovan Mitchell at his side, he developed into a mean isolation scorer who was dunking at age 12.He lifted weights to fill out his frame and build confidence. He won a pair of national championships in AAU, was named Atlantic 10 rookie of the year at Fordham and transferred to Villanova, where he won another pair of national titles. After half a decade in college, Paschall watched with his family in his hometown of Dobbs Ferry when he slid to the second round of the NBA Draft and was scooped up by the Warriors.Even Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who was on Team USA’s staff with Paschall’s college coach Jay Wright during this year’s FIBA World Cup games in China, has been surprised by Paschall’s immediate impact. The 23-year-old forward has stepped in as a key rotation player for a team decimated by injuries, averaging 15.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists.His 34-point explosion against the Portland Trail Blazers on his 23rd birthday lifted the Warriors to their most recent win. Among rookies, Paschall is third in both points scored and minutes played. All of this production from the 41st pick in June’s draft. CLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile device Kerr promises Smailagic ‘will 100%’ leave Santa Cruz for Warriors this year ‘What’s in the brief, Willie Cauley-Stein?’ New Warrior out to prove he’s all business New York rootsDobbs Ferry, N.Y., is a small town of about 10,000 people 20 miles north of Manhattan. Juan Paschall and his wife Cecelia moved from Yonkers in the 1990s to raise a family in Dobbs Ferry.Paschall and Mitchell were neighbors who first met in church when they were 6 years old. A few years later, when Paschall showed up for AAU at Riverside Church near Harlem, there was Mitchell getting up shots. The two became best friends, challenging each other to games of NBA 2K and playing basketball whenever they could. However, to the other AAU kids, Paschall and Mitchell were just the kids from Westchester. In other words: they were soft.“They were talented, they weren’t tough,” Juan Paschall said. “But things, experiences in their life molded them into something in that they became very confident in who they were as people. But neither one of them were tough. They were far from tough. Not when they were young.”[From Dobbs Ferry to the NBA: Eric Paschall and Donovan Mitchell are ready for this]The Westchester kids battled with the Harlem kids. Paschall won national titles with Riverside and The City AAU teams. In prep school, he was named Class B player of the year. The skinny kid who once longed for air-conditioned gyms started playing street ball in Harlem.“They would embarrass you if you were not tough, OK,” Juan Paschall said. “That really brought something else out of his game. It brought some toughness and some cockiness.”Then came time to make his college decision. While Mitchell went out of state to Louisville, Paschall ended up attending Fordham, a small school in the Atlantic 10 conference 15 minutes from Dobbs Ferry. Paschall was a three-star recruit with offers from Big East schools, but his dad urged him to stay close to home.With an isolation game honed in Harlem, Paschall averaged 15.9 points as a freshman and was named Atlantic 10 rookie of the year. However, his tenure was short-lived. After his head coach was fired, it was clear to Paschall it was time to look elsewhere — and impressive suitors awaited.It came down to Florida and Villanova. Though the Paschalls were impressed with Florida’s facilities and coach Billy Donovan, Villanova was a basketball-forward program much closer to home than Gainesville.“He came to Villanova as a scorer, just an iso scorer,” Villanova assistant coach Kyle Neptune said. “And while at Villanova, he had to play literally every role.”“You got to uphold that, being from New York,” Paschall said. “You’ve got to have that grittiness and that toughness about you.”An opportunityAfter sustaining a leg injury at Fordham, Paschall showed up for his first year at Villanova out of shape. He was nearly 40 pounds overweight. By adjusting his diet and amping up his workout routine, Paschall dropped his body fat from 16% to 5% while sitting out a year under NCAA transfer rules.It was at Villanova that Paschall learned to defer, something he didn’t have to do in Harlem or at Fordham. “He played with a lot of really good players who had established themselves at Villanova,” Neptune said.Playing alongside future NBA players Josh Hart, Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson, Paschall focused on defending and rebounding. He was happy to do it, to sacrifice numbers for the sake of winning.Still, Paschall’s performance in practices made it clear he could do more. He sought out one-on-one challenges and dunked on teammates in scrimmages. His size, athleticism and motor stood out. He emerged as a leader for a national championship team his junior year and then, as a senior, averaged 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists.“I think his game is actually better suited for the NBA just because he can guard every position and there’s way more space on the floor for him to operate,” Neptune said.Paschall was projected to be selected in the middle of the draft’s first round. Partly due to his age and questions about his upside, Paschall slid to the second round. The Warriors had two chances to take him, but first selected guard Jordan Poole at no. 28 and center Alen Smailagic at no. 39. With the 41st pick, the Warriors took Paschall.“We were kind of holding our breath hoping for him to fall,” Kerr said. “Luckily, it happened.”After losing Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and Kevin Durant in the offseason, the Warriors believed Paschall could contribute right away as a versatile defender off the bench.“We really liked Eric because of his strength and his power,” Kerr said. “He was undersized, but these days undersized guys at that four position, as long as you are really strong with that wingspan, we’ve seen it the last few years with Draymond (Green). We felt like Eric had a chance to have a smilier impact as a second-round pick. Somebody you could plug in and play particularly because he played four years in college, in a great program that won a national championship.“He came in and didn’t look like a rookie at all from the first day of practice. He looked like somebody who’s been really well prepared for this.”Then early injuries depleted the roster even more. In addition to Klay Thompson, lost in the NBA Finals to an ACL tear, the Warriors have dealt with injuries to Stephen Curry, Green, Jacob Evans, Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein, among others.All of that has thrust Paschall into major rotation minutes, and provided the runway for him to show off a muscular scoring game.“In terms of his composure and presence on the floor, obviously when he gets it going he’s demonstrative and he knows he belongs and knows what he has to offer,” Curry said. “It’s an energy that is contagious.”Part of the futureTo satisfy his general education credits, Paschall took a public speaking course during his freshman year at Fordham. He didn’t know then how much that course would pay off a few years later.With two of Golden State’s three foundational players sidelined for most of the season, Paschall has temporarily become the face of the franchise. He talks to media after almost every game and every practice. The once-shy kid at Villanova is a media pro, deftly answering questions to provide a quote good enough to print without giving up any company secrets. He handles a media scrum like a player with 10 years experience.“I feel like those four years helped me be ready for this moment, this opportunity I have now,” Paschall said. “Just being mature, just being able to handle it, being able to play the way I play. I feel like it helped me out a lot.”Paschall is a rare rookie who thrives with more responsibility. Often, more minutes lead to more exposure of a rookie’s weaknesses. Paschall shows more of his strengths, from the isolation scoring he developed in New York to the versatile defense he came to lean on at Villanova.Beat up and hung over from five-straight NBA Finals run, the Warriors are in the midst of a rebuilding season. Ten of the team’s 14 players are newcomers, and nine are age 23 or younger. Facing an uphill battle from a 2-10 record, Golden State is poised for its first appearance in the lottery since 2012.This season, then, is about figuring out who will be part of the next championship run. Paschall has earned his place, and is prepared to adjust his game when the Warriors look like the Warriors again.Related Articles Steph Curry attends Kanye West’s Sunday Service Warriors resemble team of old, Kevon Looney isn’t ready, and other thoughts from loss to Trail Blazers center_img ‘What’s in the brief, Willie Cauley-Stein?’ New Warrior out to prove he’s all business Warriors resemble team of old, Kevon Looney isn’t ready, and other thoughts from loss to Trail Blazers SAN FRANCISCO — Before he was drawing a foul on James Harden and calling him “food,” Eric Paschall was a quiet, skinny kid from Westchester who couldn’t get into church-league games because the black tops of Harlem got too hot in the summertime. So how does a second-round pick make such an immediate impact and establish himself as a building block for a championship organization?Related Articles Steph Curry attends Kanye West’s Sunday Service Kerr promises Smailagic ‘will 100%’ leave Santa Cruz for Warriors this year Why the Warriors want to keep Damion Lee beyond this season last_img read more

Opposition parties welcome Zuma

first_imgShe said the ANC had good polices, the only problem was with their implementation. “We hope that the President-elect will make implementation key,” she said, adding that she hoped he would choose a Cabinet team that would complement him. Following the general elections of 22 April, a total of 13 political parties are represented in South Africa’s National Assembly. The African National Congress holds 264 seats, the Democratic Alliance 67 seats, the Congress of the People 30 seats and the Inkatha Freedom Party 18 seats. ‘Make implementation key’ “We need a leader that will give all South Africans hope and lead us to a better life.” The Congress of the People’s (Cope’s) Mvume Dandala also welcomed Zuma’s election, saying he hoped this would bring to an end to divisions within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party. Source: BuaNews African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Moshoeu said the country was “crying out for strong leadership,” and it was hoped that Zuma’s election would unify the nation. South Africa’s Parliament is made up of two houses – the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, which represents the country’s nine provinces to ensure that their interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government. In his response, Zuma promised to lead the country towards the realisation of Nelson Mandela’s vision of a truly non-sexist, non-racial South Africa, united in its diversity. “We, on these opposition benches, simply ask him to trust in the future of democracy and the common sense of the South African people. The Republic is looking for leadership and direction,” Dandala said, adding that the country’s opposition parties were willing to work with the ANC to improve the lives of ordinary people. Opposition parties welcomed the election of Jacob Zuma as President of the country by members of Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, saying they were hopeful that he would bring about change and speed up service delivery to millions of poor South Africans. The Democratic Alliance (DA) said it would hold Zuma statements he made earlier, such as committing himself to the independence of the judiciary. “We hope you will put the lives of ordinary South Africans first, ahead of party politics,” DA member Ian Davidson said following Zuma’s election on Wednesday.center_img There are 400 Members of Parliament in the National Assembly and 90 members in the National Council of Provinces. The Independent Democrats’ Patricia de Lille said her party hoped the President-elect would create a public health system using his presidential mandate, as well as to fight crime and find ways to soften the effects of the global financial crisis. He noted that people had high expectations of his time in office, saying: “We will do our best to be more hands-on, more accessible and to deliver on their commitments. “We also intend to start a new chapter in relations between [the] government and the opposition,” Zuma said. “We reiterate that it should be possible to work with opposition parties on issues that are in the national interest.” 13 parties in Parliament Inkatha Freedom Party (IFF) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said in a read speech that his party hoped the new administration would continue to respect the independence of South Africa’s state institutions. The Freedom Front Plus, Independent Democrats and United Democratic Movement each have four seats, the African Christian Democratic Party has three seats, the United Christian Democratic Party has two, while the African People’s Convention, Azanian People’s Organisation, Minority Front and Pan Africanist Congress of Azania each have one. 7 May 2009 “With the support of my organization, the ANC, as well as all South Africans, I hope to lead the country on a path of friendship, cooperation, harmony, unity and faster change,” he said. ‘Realising Mandela’s vision’last_img read more

Video: Young cast shine in ‘Izulu Lami’

first_imgIzulu Lami (My Secret Sky), the first feature film by Madoda Ncayiyana, won two awards at the 2009 International Pan African Film Festival in Tarifa, Spain in May, including the Best Actress award for 11-year-old Sobahle Mkhabase.Telling the story of two children who travel from the countryside to the city after their mother’s death, Izulu Lami features a cast of mainly young children who had never acted professionally before, discovered through extensive casting from the townships and informal settlements of Durban to the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal.The film received standing ovations at recent screenings in Japan and Zanzibar, and was a hit at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival in France. Its had its South African premiere at the Durban International Film Festival in July before opening at cinemas countrywide on 17 August.Click arrow to view trailer.last_img read more

Private equity and investment in Africa

first_img22 July 2011 Is Africa the world’s most under-rated investment destination? Could the continent offer better returns on cheaper capital? Could private equity be the key to unlocking the wealth of the world’s largest market and the last frontier of growth in an ailing global economy? These are some of the questions that 100 or so upbeat and hungry investors had in their minds at Private Equity International’s two-day Africa Forum 2011, which took place in London in June. The flow towards Africa of both private sector money and finance from development finance institutions is gaining momentum, and more private equity groups are looking for African investments. Martin Poulsen of the African Development Bank confirmed this trend and exhibited a dramatic chart of Africa’s 10 fastest-growing countries – headed by Ghana and Ethiopia – and visuals which showed how resilient the continent has been in weathering the global economic crisis.‘The 7% club’ Razia Khan of Standard Chartered focused on “the 7% club” of nations who have sustained growth of 7% regarded as the magic number required to double the size of the economy every 10 years. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for seven of the 10 with India, China and Vietnam making up the rest. This trend underscores the reality that private equity funds from emerging markets are driven by growth and efficiency at the micro level and escalating urbanisation and consumer demand at the macro level. The trend towards more concentrated population and consumer demand have driven both urbanisation and infrastructure investment which was historically uneconomical because of scattered populations over undeveloped areas. This has also mobilised the working force and could begin to mirror China’s phenomenal development driven by urbanisation and the mobility of labour. Some might argue that Africa’s growth is driven by sky-high commodity prices and is hence unsustainable. But this argument underestimates robust and sustained consumer demand. Also, a rapidly growing middle-class with disposable income is boosting economic growth on the continent. Standard Chartered’s Khan points out that there has been a positive inflow of private equity investment to the continent despite the fact that a drop in Chinese exports had had a negative impact on African growth since the global economic crisis. Africa has managed to increase overall trade with emerging markets in relation to the over the past two decades. There had been a dramatic confluence of rising growth and falling poverty over the past decade.Africa’s ‘perception’ challenge But Africa has a “perception” challenge, when it comes to attracting private equity investment, fed by tired media stereotypes of Africa and sentiment and peer pressure within the investment community. Risk in Africa is considered higher than in other destinations. But the returns and recent performance suggest otherwise and those who are invested in the continent after talk about Africa as the world’s best-kept investment secret. Also, there are fewer players in Africa, meaning less competition, better deals for entry and more time for due diligence. Moreover, the capital market is growing and new players are coming in, providing funds with great exit opportunities. For example, Helios Investment Partners has just launched the biggest-ever, US$900-million, fund targeting Africa. The fund was oversubscribed, with more than 70% of money coming from outside of development finance institutions. The macro business environment The macro business environment is not as bad as many people imagine. Even corruption, often cited as major constraint on investment, only 7% to 9% of Africa’s GDP is related to corruption, while the percentage is much higher in China (30%) and in South East Asia (average 11%). Data from DEG Germany’s internal rating system shows that the average Africa fund performs as well as average global funds under its own rating system. Macro-economic factors are less relevant to returns on private equity in emerging markets than selection of the right managers that could deliver the return for investors. From the aspect of investment diversification: various industry opportunities, low-correlation currencies and liquid foreign exchange provide investors with a good way of diversifying their investment in Africa. Ralph Keitel, the principal investment officer at International Finance Corporation, confirms that Africa funds are the best performing portfolio for IFC. Perhaps the big gap between risk and “perceived risk” has kept Africa as the best-kept secret for those incumbents to make money. Of course, there is the historic and political legacy that has kept African countries off the radar of investors, such as the high levels of conflict, poor governance and lack of economic transparency that followed the era of colonialism and apartheid.‘The risk now is acting too late’ However, with more transparency on the continent, “the risk of not going to Africa now is to find it that it is too late to get there”, as Lord Boateng, former British High Commissioner in South Africa and a director of Aegis, put it. Reputation can’t be built overnight. Apart from investment and tourism promotion, which is now commonplace, governments in Africa need to learn to engage the media. Mark Florman, current CEO of BVCA in the UK, uses the weekly report that BVCA publishes on industry achievements as an important tool to communicate the progress on countries’ economic development and financial news. However, there is no one-size-fits-all story for these “7% club” countries in Africa, and it is necessary their country-specific context which also determines the risk involved. For example, Nigeria is projected as the powerhouse in Africa because of growing population and strong consumer purchase power, whereas the growth in South Africa is driven by the need for infrastructure and energy efficiency. Not just about minerals Seven percent GDP growth represents the minimum annual rate required to halve poverty and achieve the the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. However, not every Africa country will make it into the “the 7% club”. Africa grew on average 6% from 2001 to 2008. It grew by 5% last year and is to projected to grow by 5.5% this year. Moreover, some investors are shying away from the under-performing countries, led by Libya, Egypt and Ivory Coast, following major political conflicts in those countries, and Tanzania, Madagascar and Swaziland. But Denny Truell from the Wellcome Trust believes that GDP growth is not relevant when you are assessing Africa as part of a investment portfolio. Long-term interest in Africa is not only in minerals and energy but increasingly in water and renewable energy. The continent has favourable demography and major opportunities in the huge deficit in health-care provision and transportation. The question is not whether – but how – to turn this demographic advantage into good economy. Having bounced back with such resilience from the global crisis, Africa presents an increasingly sustainable opportunity. A weaker or even shrinking economy doesn’t necessarily mean failure for private equity investors. South Africa as a springboard Many funds are using South Africa as a springboard into the continent, and in recent years some have made major investments in buying out companies or setting up greenfield projects in order to access a broader and bigger Africa market. Moreover, when the economy becomes relatively mature, sustainable growth would mean moving towards a more sustainable and inclusive way of investment. “Inclusive growth” was the hot topic at the recent annual meeting of Africa Development Bank in Lisbon following the popular uprisings in North Africa which drew attention to the possibility of using community engagement to minimise risk. In South Africa, following the national growth path for more inclusive growth, the emphasis is on job creation, beneficiation and joint ventures to ensure that as much investment as possible finds its way into the local economy and meets the government’s goal to alleviate poverty and create a better life.Participation of development finance institutions For private equity, how to include Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) into their investment portfolio is critical. Development finance institutions (DFIs) have done a great job in setting the guidelines and providing a model for private equity to follow. As engaging local communities becomes more useful in minimising risk, participation of DFIs adds credibility by demonstrating that funds have done prior due diligence and considered social risks involved in the investment. The participation of DFIs provides transparency and attracts private money. Inclusive growth also means leveraging the skills and operational involvement of the African diaspora to support local entrepreneurs in order to attract private capital. Regional integration One of the major constraints on the faster sustainable development of the African continent is the lack of intra-African trade and the low levels of regional and continental economic integration. As the pace of regional integration within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) quickens – a goal that South African President Jacob Zuma has put near the top of his priorities list – the economic rewards for African countries will come in the form of increased foreign direct investment and expanding trade relations. The evolving free trade agreement between the overlapping regional economic communities of SADC, the Common Market of East and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the East African Community (EAC) is likely to give further impetus to this process. But at present, intra-African trade represents only 11% of all African trade. Poor infrastructure – energy, transport, irrigation and telecommunication – is a major constraint on increasing the levels of intra-African trade. Ramping up infrastructure construction and maintenance is thus a priority. Africa will need nearly $500-billion over the next decade to meet its infrastructure needs. This factor alone is likely to define Africa’s international relations. Countries that have strong capacity to help build infrastructure will emerge as natural partners with African countries.Economic factors playing more of a role Sudanese-born businessman Mo Ibrahim, who established the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to promote good governance in Africa after selling his mobile phone company (Celltel) for £1.3-billion, says that the 11% threshold will neither allow the envisaged development of the continent, nor attract foreign investors to Africa. “Africa is by far richer than China, but it is by far behind that country as far as development is concerned,” Ibrahim said. “The reason is simple. China has established a market with critical size, while we in Africa are still producing entities which cannot attract direct foreign investors.” But there are historical factors. The colonial legacy ensured that export markets were created to serve the colonial masters, and transport and trade routes all led to ports and border posts instead of creating regional rail, road and air links. In the past, regional integration has been driven by political rather than economic factors which experience has shown it is not sustainable. Gradually, economic factors are playing more of a role as African political and economic governance becomes both more robust and more transparent.Impact of North African uprisings There were different views at the Africa Forum on what role the popular uprisings in North Africa would have on investment in Africa. The African Development Bank’s Martin Poulsen doesn’t think that events in North Africa will have a major impact on investment in Africa. While growth in affected countries has clearly taken a sharp dip in the short term, the general view is that they will end up in a better state and that economic activity and growth will resume fairly quickly. On the one hand, there is increasing political stability on the continent, with 20 elections taking place in 2011. On the other hand, funds that have investments in Africa should factor in political risk and ensure that investments are properly diversified. What happened in North Africa is like an unpredictable “black swan” event: instead of staying away from Africa, investors should see the continent as providing a more open market, especially after the constitutional elections in Tunisia and hopes of the same in Egypt. The reconstruction needed after elections and political stabilisation would attract huge investment into the continent. The challenge for private equity investors is whether the current structure of private equity allows them to take a long view. Although the democratic change in North Africa is considered positive, investors are waiting for the right signal to roll out deals. This wait-and-see attitude in North Africa at present could direct investors’ attention to more stable sub-Saharan African countries. Marching in or already retreating? Trade partners are important for the success of Africa. “New trade corridors” have been created, such as trade with China, India, Brazil and Turkey. However, even with the huge amount of investment destined into Africa from these countries, China will not replace EU as the number one trade partner of the continent. There is a perception that China is engaging in neo-colonisation because its imports from African countries are mostly commodities. But data from the Africa Economic Outlook shows that rather than competing, these emerging partners complement traditional partners in other sectors than natural resources. Moreover, the trade between China and Africa as a whole is “relatively balanced”, because China does import commodities from a handful of countries, but exports capital goods to all African countries. Unlocked investment force – local capital No country can be developed without the participation of local capital, which not only provides enough capital, but also acts as a reference point on the ground. There is a lot of local capital in Africa, but it is difficult to access. There are multi-faceted reasons for the lack of local capital deployment. Some local investors are less approachable than foreign investors, because they know well how to make profit on the ground. When it comes to entrusting funds with investment in their own country, they demand higher returns. This has limited the building of a private equity “eco-system” on the continent, which becomes impossible without engaging local institutional money. How to develop capital market to facilitate the mobilisation of domestic resource is critical, but some countries, such as Nigeria, are on the road to revamp the regulations to allow local capital to mobilise. In Kenya, the capital market has also expanded and the 30-year yield curve is relatively liquid. Climate change – challenge or opportunity? Climate change poses a potential threat to the sustainability of planet earth. Africa is destined to suffer a disproportionate degree of collateral damage from climate change despite the fact that – due to much lower levels of development – the continent contributes least to the emissions causing climate change. But there is also a real opportunity here. Investment in renewable energy on the continent, such as solar, wind, hydro-electric and waves, and innovation focused on developing those sustainable sources of energy, will contribute not only to the creation of a sustainable world but also to the creation of much-needed jobs in various sectors. As economies of scale shift to community generation, smaller businesses are likely to receive a significant boost from the green sector. But there are many challenges ahead for private equity investment in the “green” sector in Africa. Stable policy support and subsidies are needed in order to attract investors. Encouraging ‘green’ investment Apart from the aggressive feed-in tariff introduced by South Africa, only a handful of countries, such as Uganda and Botswana, are investigating similar schemes to encourage green investment. Moreover, the sustainability of the support is equally important as its existence, due to the fact that renewable energy projects are long-term investments with destined life spans of between 15 to 25 years. Even for developed countries such as the UK, a dramatic decrease in feed-in tariffs has stirred unfavourable responses from investors and stopped many of them from investing further. Development finance remains a key source to unlock the investment in renewables, but the efficiency of such programmes can be much improved by combining with private equity investments well as newcomers such as China. For example, the substantial renewable funding programme run by the European Union, the €100-billion Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme, is committed to investing almost one third of its funds (€30-billion) in Africa. In the future, cross-continental partnerships are likely to proliferate. China, both because of necessity and its history of pragmatic adjustment, is well-placed to become the world leader in developing cleaner and more sustainable technologies to supplement and ultimately replace fossil fuels as the world’s primary source of energy. South Africa is well placed to contribute to this global priority, by vowing to reduce carbon emissions and setting a target of 42% of new electricity generation to be met by renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and wave generation by 2030. In terms of its 20-year plan, nuclear power will account for nearly a quarter of new electricity generation. This will mean a radical turnaround from the current situation, in which coal provides for 84% of electricity generation. It is likely to prove controversial in a country with high unemployment and underdevelopment and which has to continually reconcile the goal of sustainability with developmental priorities. But Africa is united as a continent on the response to climate change, and that in itself is a pointer to the opportunities that beckon for private equity to turn the challenges into massive opportunities for a sustainable future for the continent. Yingni Lu is a London-based development professional specialising in clean technology and renewable energy. She is CEO of EcoLeap and a partner at London-based Forbury Environmental. She also writes for the online magazine ReConnect Africa. John Battersby is the UK country manager of the International Marketing Council of South Africa.last_img read more

Rosetta mission primed for comet landing

first_imgDARMSTADT, GERMANY—The stage has been set for one of the most ambitious maneuvers in the history of space exploration: a comet landing. On Wednesday, the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Rosetta spacecraft will release a washing machine–sized lander, Philae, in the hope that it alights safely on the dusty, black surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.Speaking Monday afternoon at a media briefing at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, mission managers stood and delivered relaxed, off-the-cuff remarks: They had done all they could. The lander’s commands had already been uploaded, and tonight, Philae would be turned on and warmed up. After that, the mission team was planning something rare: a good night’s sleep.“I don’t deny that we are a bit tired, but we’re also very excited,” says Andrea Accomazzo, the mission’s flight director. “I don’t think we’ll land on a comet another time. We’re convinced we’ve done all we have to do and all that we could do.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The Rosetta spacecraft has been orbiting 67P since August, when it arrived after a 10-year journey through the solar system. Rosetta’s initial orbits were tentative—the spacecraft had to map the feeble gravity field of the comet as it went—but it has now circled 67P at altitudes as close as 10 kilometers. In high-resolution images, the comet, 4 kilometers long and shaped like a rubber duck, has revealed surprising terrain: cliffs and boulders and smooth plains etched with mysterious sinuous patterns. Ice in the neck of the duck has already begun to evaporate, blowing off gas and dust—an activity that will only grow as the comet approaches the sun. In September, the mission team picked a landing site on the side of the duck’s head. In keeping with the mission’s ancient Egypt theme, the square-kilometer landing zone has been named Agilkia, after an island in the Nile River.The orbiter has since backed away from the comet a bit. After a complicated set of maneuvers—best explained in this YouTube video from ESA—Rosetta will release Philae at an elevation of 22.5 kilometers. Accomazzo says that Rosetta can shove off Philae within only a small range of speeds, and that this speed correlates best to the 22.5-kilometer elevation. Moreover, at that elevation, the orbiter has better confidence in its precise position around the comet. The moment of release is planned for 4:03 a.m. EST on Wednesday.Once in motion, Philae will drift down, unpowered, over the course of 7 hours, striking the surface at walking speeds. The mission team hopes to confirm touchdown at 11:02 a.m. EST. (The actual landing will have occurred nearly 30 minutes before that—the delay is caused by the travel time for radio signals to reach Earth.)The lander, equipped with two harpoons and spinning screws in each of its three legs, will attempt to gain purchase. Rosetta project scientist Matt Taylor says that early results from some of the orbiter’s instruments show that the surface is slightly warmer than expected—an indication that it is more dusty and porous than icy. That could help the lander sink into the surface rather than bounce.Yet a successful landing is by no means guaranteed. The mission team picked Agilkia because it had favorable characteristics: good illumination, relative flatness, and few boulders. “It was relatively easy to pick this site,” says Stephan Ulamec, the Philae project manager. Nevertheless, Ulamec says, some 20% of the landing zone is sloped at 30° or more—angles at which it becomes possible for the lander to topple. On top of that, there are many boulders that the lander could tumble over. And technically, Philae needs to perform its tasks perfectly.But if all goes well, the historic moment in the making will also be a passing of the baton—from the engineers and project managers who got Rosetta and Philae to the comet in one piece to the scientists, whose data gathering will begin in earnest. “Up till now we’ve been doing science on the side,” Taylor says. “From this week onwards is where we start the main phase of the mission.”To read more Rosetta coverage, visit our Rosetta collection page.last_img read more

Team India likely to get new coach on June 24

first_imgThe Working Commmitee of Board for Control of Cricket in India will meet in Dharamsala in June 24 to take a final call on the appointment of India’s new head coach, apart from other isssues holding Ranji Trophy matches in neutral venues.Although BCCI sources said “it’s the normal agenda” (about ratification of decisions taken by various sub committees), the all-powerful panel is expected to rubber stamp the identification of a new coach less than a fortnight before the Indian squad leaves for the West Indies.KUMBLE, SHASTRI FRONTRUNNERS The Board had invited applications for the head coach’s post through its website and received 57 applications, including those of former India captain Anil Kumble, former team director Ravi Shastri and current selection panel chairman Sandeep Patil. (Also read: BCCI likely to bat for ‘Big Three’ at ICC’s London meeting) The applications are to be gone through and a shorter list to be prepared before the BCCI will zero-in on their man for occupying the hot seat which was vacated by Zimbabwean Duncan Fletcher after India’s tour of England in 2014.RANJI TROPHY CONCLAVE Apart from the naming of the head coach, the Working Committee also has to ratify the decisions taken by the Board’s Technical Committee, including holding of Ranji Trophy games in the upcoming season at neutral venues.Quite a few voices have been heard from cricket circles against this decision and, with the Ranji Trophy coaches and captains conclave set to be held a day earlier at the same place, the Working Committee will have the benefit of details of deliberations which would have taken place there too.advertisementFINAL MEETING BEFORE LODHA VERDICT Also this is, by all accounts, expected to be the last meeting of the Working Committee before the Supreme Court gives its verdict on the Justice Lodha Committee’s recommendations for sweeping reforms in the Board.As such there could be debates and discussions on this all-important issue too at the June 24 meeting.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

London fire: Death toll rises to 30; fears it could climb over

first_img100By Aditi KhannaLondon, Jun 16 (PTI) The death toll in the horrific fire that engulfed a 24-storey tower in west London rose to 30 today amid fears that it could climb to over 100 in one of the worst fire tragedies in the country.Metropolitan police commander Stuart Cundy said, “We know that at least 30 people who have died. The bodies have been taken to a morgue, but more bodies remain in the building.””We always knew that the death toll would increase,” Cundy said, adding that there was nothing to suggest that the fire at the Grenfell Tower was started deliberately.The investigation into the cause of the fire that has now been extinguished will take weeks, he added.”Sadly we do not expect there to be any survivors,” Cundy said.Earlier today, Scotland Yard expressed fears that all the victims of the massive fire that engulfed a 24-storey tower in west London may never be identified.While 30 people have been confirmed dead, there are fears the death toll could hit hundreds.Cundy said there was “a risk that sadly we may not be able to identify everybody”.Asked about the number of dead, he said he hoped the death toll would not reach “triple figures” and indicated a criminal investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.”We as the police, we investigate criminal offences — I am not sitting here and saying there are criminal offences that have been committed, thats why you do an investigation, to establish it,” he said.advertisementQueen Elizabeth II, accompanied by grandson Prince William, paid a visit to the Grenfell Tower this morning where the number of missing is estimated to be around 76.They met volunteers, local residents and community representatives while visiting Westway Sports Centre in west London, near the burnt down 24-storey Grenfell Tower.British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a judge- led full public inquiry into the incident and is expected to pay a visit to the injured in one of the London hospitals after she faced criticism over her failure to meet the victims during a visit to the site yesterday.Newly-appointed Indian-origin housing minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government, Alok Sharma, said, “Every single family will be rehoused in the local area”.Local residents shouted angry questions when London mayor Sadiq Khan paid a visit to the area.Friends and families of victims, including a furious seven-year-old, asked: “How many children died? What are you going to do about it?””The bad news, Im afraid, is lots of people died in the fire. There are a lot of brave firefighters and police and ambulance workers. And once its safe, they are going to go into the building,? he said, in an attempt to calm the crowds.The local Grenfell Action Grouphad claimed, before and during a major 10-million-pound refurbishment of Grenfell Tower last year, that the block constituted a fire risk and residents had warned that access to the site for emergency vehicles was “severely restricted”.Emergency services are to spend a third day searching for bodies in the burnt-out Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, where they were called to reports of a fire in the early hours of Wednesday.Their teams were forced to leave the 24-storey building yesterday afternoon when the fire restarted, delaying further the efforts to reach upper floors — where many victims are thought to have been trapped.Particular concerns have been raised about the rain- screen cladding used on the outside of the tower, which experts said might have accelerated the inferno that consumed the entire block in just 15 minutes.It has since emerged that the US had banned the type of cladding thought to have been used on Grenfell Tower.The leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council — the authority that owns the tower block — told the BBC it would not use the type of cladding fitted to Grenfell Tower in other buildings in the borough.Yesterday, the first victim of the fire was named as 23- year-old Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali.The Syria Solidarity Campaign said Alhajali, a civil engineering student, had been in a flat on the 14th floor when the fire broke out, and had spent two hours on the phone to a friend in Syria.Meanwhile, donations to help those affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedyhave surpassed 2 million pounds in just two days. PTI AK ASK AKJ ASKlast_img read more

Cant afford to make mistakes with Bindras biopic content:

first_imgproducerMumbai, Aug 13 (PTI) Producer Prerna Arora, who is backing a biopic on Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra, says it is a difficult project as the makers have to be cautious while presenting the story in an honest way.It is the first time Prerna is working on a sports biopic, and she believes a lot of responsibility comes with such films.”With this project we have to be accurate, we cant afford to make mistakes with the content. The scripting is still on. It is in development stage. It will go on floors either December or early next year,” Prerna told PTI.Recently, the biopic on flight attendant Neerja Bhanot was embroiled in a controversy after her family locked in a battle with the producers of the film “Neerja” over its box- office profits.Earlier, legendary sportsman Milkha Singh had accused director and co-producer Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra of not fulfilling his commitment of sharing the profit of his biopic “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”.However, Prerna says she will make sure her film does not face such issues.”Today, taking the rights of the person for a film, on whom it is based, has become essential. We have to respect this collaboration. We will be making sure that nothing goes wrong.”We want to give credit to every person who is attached to the film personally as well as professionally.”Prerna says Bindra is helping makers in understanding and bringing his life story alive to the big screen.Prerna, who spearheads Kriarj Entertainment Pvt Ltd, made her debut in Bollywood as a producer with Akshay Kumar- starrer “Rustom”.advertisementShe has three films lined-up, including John Abrahams “Parmanu”, Anushka Sharmas “Pari” and Akshay Kumar-starrer “Padman”.Prerna is also set to back Sara Ali Khans debut film “Kedarnath”, which also features Sushant Singh Rajput and Vishal Bhardwajs next starring Deepika Padukone and Irrfan Khan.Her latest released “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” stars Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar.”The biggest challenge in such films (of social cause) is reaching out to a wider audience and trying to understand how many people are taking the film and the subject seriously.”Also, promoting the film in the right manner possible plays a major role and making sure it (film) passes the right message.” PTI KKP JUR SSNlast_img read more