South Africans help flood-stricken nations

first_img20 January 2015Relief parcels have been distributed to flood-hit families in Malawi by the South African humanitarian group, Gift of the Givers.The parcels – worth R500 each – contained staple food, blankets, eating utensils, water purification tablets and plastic sheets, the organisation’s founder, Imtiaz Sooliman, said on 17 January.The eight-member Gift of the Givers team reached areas more than 100km away from Blantyre, he added. Distribution would also be carried out in Chikwana, Nsanje, Mangochi, Machinga, Balaka, Zomba, Phalombe and Mulanje regions.Continuous rain and the “baby” Cyclone Bansi have resulted in Malawi declaring 15 of its 28 national districts disaster zones, and the country has called for international assistance. An estimated 100 000 people have been left homeless and 173 are confirmed dead.The death toll is expected to rise as it is believed that 183 people have been swept away from one village alone. In addition, 11 000 homes have been damaged.Sooliman said the southern African country was probably facing the “greatest flood disaster in the history of its existence”. “Massive destruction to agriculture, roads, bridges and general infrastructure, including power facilities, has complicated the situation due to prolonged power outages.“The Malawi defence force has already rescued more than 4 000 people with the fear that many more are trapped in inaccessible areas,” said Sooliman.There are also concerns of a cholera outbreak and other water-borne diseases as there is no clean drinking water and the sewerage system is contaminated. The humanitarian crisis is expected to worsen as tropical Cyclone Chedza hit Malawi on 18 January.“It is expected to be far more destructive than Cyclone Bansi, bringing more heavy rains and greater flooding,” said Sooliman. Gift of the Givers has put water rescue teams from South Africa on standby for this eventuality, and medical teams are also ready if required.Sooliman has urged South Africans to contribute to the relief efforts.Meanwhile, its rescue mission in Mozambique is progressing well, according to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which was deployed to the flood- stricken country after its government approached its neighbour for help.SANDF personnel left for Mozambique a week ago, and spokesman Lieutenant General Mabanga said the team was expected to spend seven to 14 days in that country. “Their stay will depend on the situation in that country.”Senior SANDF members would go to Mozambique on 20 January to assess needs.Tens of thousands of people have been displaced following torrential rains in Mozambique. Four people have died in Mocuba, one of two districts badly affected by flooding, while an estimated 5 000 have sought refuge in government shelters. According to reports, the waters have risen to double the flooding threshold.SANDF soldiers deployed in Mozambique include members of the South African Air Force, Navy divers and medical personnel. No SANDF members had been deployed in Malawi, Mabanga added.Source: SANewslast_img read more

One in 20 flights canceled on world’s second busiest route

first_imgTigerair had the highest rate of cancellations. People traveling between Sydney and Melbourne were the domestic passengers most likely to see their flights canceled in 2018 as Australian carriers recorded a below average on-time performance for the year.Government statistics released Tuesday showed more than one in 20 flights were canceled on the world’s second busiest route with the rate standing at 5.4 percent in both directions.Other routes with above average cancellations included Brisbane-Sydney (3 percent), Broome-Perth (2.9 percent), Sydney-Brisbane (2.8 percent), Canberra-Sydney (2.8 percent) and Alice Springs-Darwin (2.6 percent).Weather and other issues saw overall on-time performance figures for 2018 coming in at a sub-par 79.8 percent for arrivals and 80.8 percent for departures.READ: Australia’s newest airport named after pioneering woman pilotThis was below both the 2017 figures and the long-term average for all monitored routes of 82.5 percent for arrivals and 83.8 percent for departures.The overall cancellation rate of 1.8 percent was also above the long-term average of 1.5 percent but below 2017’s 1.9 percent.Line honors for the major domestic airlines were split between Qantas and Virgin Australia.Qantas narrowly achieved the highest rate of on-time arrivals, arguably the most important of the two figures to passengers, with 80.9 percent.It was followed closely by Virgin at 80.8 percent, Jetstar at 75.3 percent and Tigerair Australia at 68 percent.Virgin’s lead for on-time departures was slightly higher as 82.5 percent of its aircraft got away within 15 minutes of scheduled departure, compared to 81.5 percent at Qantas.They were followed by Jetstar at 73.1 percent and Tigerair, which has a smaller fleet, at 69.3 percent.For the regional carriers, QantasLink outperformed its competitors for both on-time arrivals (84.3  percent) and departures (85.2 percent).  It was followed by Regional Express (79.6 percent arrivals 83 percent departures) and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (75.3 percent arrivals, 78.2 percent departures).Combining the major full-service and regional airlines saw the Qantas network (Qantas and QantasLink) beat its Virgin equivalent with 82.7 percent of its flights arriving on time and 83.5 percent departing on schedule.Tigerair Australia emerged king of the cancellations with 3.5 percent of its flights canceled during 2018.VARA came second at 2.7 percent followed by Jetstar (2.5 percent), Qantas (1.9 percent) Virgin (1.7 percent), QantasLink (1.5 percent) and Regional Express (0.9 percent).The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics monitors 64 routes and found Mt Isa Airport recorded the lowest percentage of on-time arrivals at 65.8 percent while four out of 10 flights at Ayers Rock Airport failed to get away on time.last_img read more

Orange Launches Online Music Analysis and Recommendations

first_imgOrange Spain, a mobile operator, has two new music services – ‘New Talents’ and ‘Enjoy your Music’. Both arepowered by Music Intelligence Solutions, aprovider of AI (artificial intelligence) software for music recommendation anddiscovery.Music Intelligence Solutions is an intriguing company. It was founded in 2002 andis based in Spain and the US West Coast. They describe themselves as “a diverse group ofmusicians and mathematicians”. Their customers range from record labels, to radiostations, to musicians and artists, to MP3 Player Manufacturers, to Music Retailers, tomobile operators. So they cover the whole spectrum of the music industry, which isunusual in a service provider.Hit PotentialTheir Hit Song Science technology aims topredict music chart success. It “overlays musical analysis with commercial data such assales, highest chart position, and release date.” On their website aimed at music artistsand producers, the technology is being promoted as a way to analyze the “hit potential”of music. You can read more about the technology here, plus The Guardian ran a good storyabout it back in January 2005.In terms of how it is related to the Web, it is verysimilar to internet radio service Pandora – whichanalyzes music patterns, via software from The Music Genome Project.The Orange “New Talents” service uses Hit Song Science. The idea is to allow independent artists to upload their new music onto the Orange website, providing themwith a hit potential rating free of charge. Related Posts 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App richard macmanus 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… RecommendationsMI Universe technology,which powers Orange’s ‘Enjoy your Music’ service, is about giving music recommendations to users. Ithas two aspects to it – “soundalikes” and the “music taste test”. The aim is to matchup music with “the user’s music personality”.How does this work? It uses a clustering engine to find musicpatterns (including a “methodology for detecting social trends”) and a recommendationengine to do the matching with peoples tastes. This technology is being aimed at onlinemusic retailers, in-store terminals and mobile services. Here’s howit’s being used in the ‘Enjoy your music’ part of the new Orange Spain services:“…when an Orange customer is browsing music on his phone or on the Orange website,he can click on a track he likes to generate “more like this”. Therecommendation will be presented as a list on his phone, or graphically as a“mini-constellation” on the website. The customer will be presented withtracks from mainstream artists, plus tracks with a high success potential rating fromindependent artists, all of which he or she can sample and download. The tracks presentedwill have a high degree of sonic similarity with the initial track, and a strongcorrelation with the customers musical tastes.”SummaryYou can see the potential of music analysis software to power music services on theWeb – for clustering, social patterns, user recommendations, personalization, and so on. Pandora isalready proving it and these new services by Orange in Spain bring the experience to themobile Web world. I’m expecting this to be a ripe area for growth in online musicservices – and also, in time, tv and video on the Web. Tags:#music#web last_img read more

Indian badminton is growing: Denmarks star shuttler Axelson

first_imgMumbai, Jan 2 (PTI) Denmarks Viktor Axelsen, ranked world number three in mens singles, today said that Indian badminton is growing and called for the sport to be made more spectator friendly. “At the moment we (Bengaluru Blasters) have only played one match, but the atmosphere was really great where (PV) Sindhu played and you can feel that Indian badminton is growing. So that is really good to see and nice to be a part of…” Axelsen told reporters here. Axelsen is playing for Bengaluru Blasters in the Premier Badminton League 2017. The side will take on Chennai Smashers tomorrow. “It (11 point format and Trump) makes it really fun. It definitely makes the game more intense and that is good for the spectators and for the sport. But it can be a tough challenge for us athletes as we are used to different set-up. But all and all it is good because one of the most important things as well is to promote badminton in a good way and the PBL does this year,” the 22-year-old shuttler said when asked about his views on the new format being adopted in PBL. “Doing the 11-point format will make it exciting. Playing only best of three is quite short however (playing) 11 points is quite a good setting and then trump cards makes it fun when its a team match. PBL has made really good changes,” he added. Asked whether badminton as a sport will incorporate these changes in the future, he said, “I know, BWF (Badminton World Federation) are already considering changing the point system and that must be with that in mind. However, I am not sure how the TV seize the stuff, if they think badminton is too long .. 21 points.. I am not sure, there are different opinions and athletes get heard as well, because it is us who are on the view and have point of view but we have to make badminton more spectator friendly. Badminton is already going in the right direction, so lets see in the future good things are going to happen in the future.” He believes that the team showed composure during last nights game against Delhi Acers, whom they humbled 4-3. “We showed composure yesterday. We have a strong team. The fact that we have Indian athletes make it a good team, because some of the other team have strong foreigners. When you have two Indians, the set up and the line ups can be tricky. If we all play well tomorrow we stand a chance.” On personal front, in 2017, Axelson is aiming for the All England (Championship) in March and the World Championship in August and he termed them his two “biggest targets”. “PBL is doing some good stuff. May be some guys can learn from this and try to (incorporate) in the bigger tournaments at the international level. But you can learn something from this,” he added. PTI NRB AH AHadvertisementlast_img read more

Women: Inspiration & Enterprise Symposium

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on September 13, 2010November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)White Ribbon Alliance presents the 1st Annual Women Inspiration & Enterprise (WIE) symposium which will be held next Monday, September 20th 2010 in New York City, NY. The symposium coincides with the Clinton Global Initiative and the UN General Assembly.  This full-day symposium will be hosted by Sarah Brown, Arianna Huffington, and Donna Karan. Speakers include Queen Rania, Ashley Judd, and Melinda Gates. The event will include high profile guests drawn from the worlds of politics, philanthropy, media, fashion and the arts.  Proceeds from the event will benefit the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, as well as partner non-profits The symposium will be a new annual event which hopes to build a powerful network of women working together to achieve social change and inspire the next generation of women leaders and advocates.The symposium will be held at the Skylight West located at 500 West 36th Street, New York, NY 10018.  For further information on the event and ticket sales please click here.Share this:last_img read more

OECD says Canada must review tax policies to remain competitive with the

first_imgCALGARY – The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says Canada must review its tax policies to remain competitive with the United States.In a report, the Paris-based group says U.S. tax reform has enhanced the attractiveness of investing there at the expense of investing in Canada.It says U.S. tax cuts have also reinforced the “negative effects” of uncertainty surrounding Canada’s competitiveness as it attempts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and the U.S.Ottawa has come under pressure from corporate Canada to respond to a move late last year by President Donald Trump to dramatically chop the U.S. corporate tax rate.In April, RBC president and CEO Dave McKay said a significant investment exodus to the U.S. is underway, especially in the energy and clean-technology sectors, which could be followed by a loss of skilled workers.The OECD says annual economic growth in Canada is expected to ease from three per cent in 2017 to around two per cent in 2018-19 as private consumption and government spending slow.“The government should review the tax system to ensure that it remains efficient — raising sufficient revenues to fund public spending without imposing effective costs on the economy — equitable and supports the competitiveness of the Canadian economy,” the OECD said in its report.It says business investment has picked up but remains weaker than before commodity prices began falling in 2014, in part because upstream oil and gas investment is being held up by pipeline capacity constraints and regulatory barriers to expansion, resulting in curtailed exports.last_img read more

In a plot twist Spirit tops US airlines in ontime arrivals

first_imgDALLAS — Spirit Airlines tops the latest ratings for on-time flights, a stunning turnaround for a discount carrier that consistently ranked as the tardiest airline in America three years ago.The Transportation Department said Friday that 89 per cent of Spirit’s flights in October arrived on time, putting Spirit just ahead of frequent winner Hawaiian Airlines and Delta.It’s the first time the Miramar, Florida-based carrier has topped the rankings. It finished second in November 2017.Spirit had the worst on-time performance every month but one between May 2015 and May 2016. Since then, Spirit has added room in its schedule, reduced red-eye flights and increased the number of pilots who can be called in on short notice.The government counts a flight on time if it arrives within 14 minutes of schedule.David Koenig, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Province launches two reviews into BC Hydro over costs future of energy

first_imgVICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. government has launched a two-phase review of BC Hydro in an effort to find cost savings and direction for the Crown utility.The first part of the review is expected to examine ways to save money within Hydro, create new revenue streams in an effort to keep rates low and give the corporation the resources it needs to provide electricity.An advisory group that includes staff from government ministries and BC Hydro will conduct the first review. The government says in a news release that it expects recommendations from the first phase of the review to be complete by this fall.It says the second phase of the review will build on new strategies from the first phase and include ways to ensure Hydro can maximize opportunities around the shift in global energy sectors.The expert panel conducting the second phase would aim to deliver its recommendation to the government by the summer or fall of next year.last_img read more

New natural gas plants will have to pay carbon tax on all

first_imgThe federal government is increasing the carbon tax on new natural-gas plants to discourage power companies from building them.The change is part of final regulations for the government’s carbon-tax system for big industrial greenhouse-gas emitters, which are being released this week.The system affects businesses that produce more than 50,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. It is designed to limit impacts on competitiveness for major industrial emitters, who will pay the carbon tax on a portion of what they emit rather than on all the fuels that they use.The emission standard set for natural-gas power plants originally meant that new ones would likely never pay any carbon tax, which was a disincentive for power companies to turn to renewable-energy sources instead of gas.The change made this week means new natural-gas plants will have their emissions standard toughened each year after 2021, until in 2030 they will pay the carbon price on every ounce of their emissions.last_img read more

Woman alleges cops didnt help after she was molested in Maha

first_imgMumbai: A 24-year-old woman has claimed she was groped by an unknown person at suburban Bandra railway station on Wednesday night and alleged that police personnel who were informed about the incident did not help.Tweeting about her ordeal, the woman said. “Today I was groaped at Bandra station, I shouted, when I seen the cops, i read to them and told the cops l what had happened, they made me run here and there. The man got away…@Ourbandra @MumbaiPolice.” Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Her tweet, which appeared on Wednesday night, added, “I even told him pointed out that he man is there, I called up 100. They just asked what happened, and then cut the call, we’ll see what we can do. There was no assurance @CPMumbaiPolice @MumbaiPolice @bandrabuzz.” “After more than half hr, after going home I got a call from the police station, saying I’m here, and I don’t see that man. I don’t blame the officer that called me. I blame those 2 cops who didn’t help me. @MumbaiPolice @CPMumbaiPolice @bandrabuzz,” she said in her tweet. Following the tweet, police registered a molestation case and an official Friday said CCTV footage of the area was being checked to nab the accused.last_img read more