Amateur boxing champs starts Thursday

first_imgSixty-eight boxers, 63 males and five females, will take part in the Jamaica Boxing Board’s National Senior Amateur Boxing Championships from Thursday, January 28, to Saturday, January 30, at the Stanley Couch Gym, on Victoria Avenue in Kingston.There will be two categories, Elite and Novice, for boxers 18 and over. The Novice category is for boxers with less than five bouts. The nine gyms participating are Stanley Couch, Bruising, G. C. Foster, Jamaica Defence Force, Heavy Metal, Sav Boxing Academy, St Thomas Boxing Club, Sugar Knockout, and Seaview Gardens. Entries have also been received from four overseas boxers, two from Canada, and one each from England and the United States.Kingsley Goodison, administrator for the tournament, told The Gleaner that he was pleased with the entry list and expects keen competition throughout the tournament. Among the top amateurs who will be participating are Janathan Hanson, Nico Yeyo and Ricardo Carter, who performed well in a recent overseas development tournament, and Michael Gardener, Reece Shagourie and Kestna Davis, who are former champions.last_img read more

SA 2nd in world for budget transparency

first_img29 January 2013 South Africa ranks second out of 100 countries for the transparency and accountability of its budget processes, according to the latest Open Budget Index Survey by the Washington-based International Budget Partnership. South Africa scored 90 points out of a possible 100 points in the Open Budget Index report of 2012, standing out as one of only six countries worldwide that releases extensive budget information to the legislature and the public in general. The African democracy institute, Idasa, works in partnership with the International Budget Partnership on the Open Budget Index. Produced by independent experts, it is the only independent, comparative and regular measure of budget transparency and accountability in the world.Encouraging citizen participation The National Treasury said on Monday that it strived to constantly improve public finance management processes to ensure that there was a clear understanding of how public funds were used. “The Open Budget Index Survey is a welcome review of our budgeting processes. This respected international assessment encourages South Africans – parliamentarians, the media, civil society and the general public – to use the information published in the budget documents more often and more effectively,” the Treasury said in a statement. The survey, which was started in 2006, is conducted every two years to measure how well governments around the world ensure that budget information is publicly available, thereby encouraging citizen participation in the national budget process. In 2012, South Africa came second, with New Zealand taking the top spot in the index that analysed 100 countries worldwide. The United Kingdom came third, Sweden fourth and Norway fifth. In the last edition of the index, in 2010, South Africa achieved top honours. “South Africa continues to do well because of the strong foundation provided by the National Treasury, the government’s determination to continue with their budget reform programmes, and a realisation that open budgets are a necessary condition for our vibrant democracy,” said Russell Wildeman, the lead researcher on the project at Idasa.Concerns raised Wildeman noted that external reviewers had raised concerns about the quality of the country’s non-financial information and the consistency with which the Auditor-General’s recommendations were addressed. He said the results should not be viewed in a negative light, seeing that South Africa was a world leader in budget transparency and openness. Instead, he said, weaknesses needed to be addressed. An area where South Africa had significant room for improvement was in the public’s overall participation in the budget process. One of the researchers on the survey, Thembinkosi Dlamini, noted that poor levels of public participation should not necessarily be attributed to actions taken by the government. “It is a well-known fact that the pace of budget reform in the 1990s and continuing into the 2000s has outstripped the ability of ordinary citizens and citizen groups to make a meaningful input into the budget and budget processes,” said Dlamini. The index, now in its fourth edition, bemoans the general lack of budget transparency globally, describing the situation as “dismal”. It further notes that gradual changes are taking place, but the pace at which this happens means that only the next generation of citizens are likely to reap the full benefits of open budgets and budget processes. “The National Treasury will continue to improve on our budgeting processes so that we achieve a top ranking again … Importantly, we aim to ensure that the information made available to the public continues to be comprehensive and enables the public to assess government’s achievements and accountability,” it said. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will deliver the 2013 Budget to Parliament at 2pm on 27 February. Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

KZN app developer takes his products to global conference

first_imgXolile Xaba explores problems in his community and then devises ways to solve them using technology. He is heading for the One Young World Summit in Colombia, taking place in October, to show off his work.Xolile Xaba is a second year Bachelor of Commerce Law student majoring in business and management accounting at the Pearson Institute of Higher Education. To him, coding is a super power. He has been invited to the One Young World Summit, 4-7 October 2017, to show off his two innovations. (Image supplied)Melissa JavanA young South African who developed an app for his grandmother to help her find her car, has been invited to the One Young World Summit, to be held in Bogotá, Colombia from 4-7 October, to display his innovations.Xolile Xaba, 22, grew up in Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Along with Car-Park, he has also designed BizzPort, an app that connects African entrepreneurs with each other and with events near to them. The business news app also has an online boardroom.Xaba represented South Africa at the same summit in Ottawa, Canada in 2016. He was one of 2,500 young leaders and innovators from around the world, invited to attend. This year, he will be attending the summit to showcase his apps on the world stage.The summit, according to online entrepreneur news platform SME South Africa, is geared towards empowering promising and creative young leaders from around the world, aged between 18 and 30, who have a passion for global issues and who possess a track record of having a significant impact in their communities.Young leaders are also introduced to mentors at the summit. Previous mentors include Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan, Sir Richard Branson, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Emma Watson and Arianna Huffington, as well as Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.The appsIn 2015, Xaba founded Prefect Communications and Developments Inc, after he had created BizzPort. “The company is currently focused on developing BizzPort as a product that will be distributed throughout the continent,” he said.“We are driving the company to a position where we will be able to focus on the social side of things by creating apps and distributing them for free to various markets, especially developing economies. That’s where my passion lies.”BizzPort“My granny was the first person I told about idea. From there, I never stopped programming and I realised how exciting it was to just sit down and build something completely new.”He came up with BizzPort after reading an article in his business studies class about how African countries were more connected to countries outside Africa than to others on the continent. “My response to that was to create a solution that could easily be accessed and distributed.”Car-ParkFollowing BizzPort, Xaba created the car park app as a gift for his grandmother. “It wasn’t created for commercial purposes. I was just trying to solve a problem that we have been facing for ages; we even forget it’s a problem and that it needs to be solved.“I realised that a lot of people who owned cars struggled with locating their cars in huge parking lots, whether it was in a shopping mall or at a festival. My granny is part of the statistic,” he explained.“I was just looking at creating a quick solution for the problem, specifically for her. I showed my friends the app and they were so excited about it.“Basically with everything I build I aim to solve a particular problem. Even though it was just a hobby it has taught me a lot about how people of different ages react to different technologies.”The beginningBy 2010, when Xaba was in Grade 7, he was already seeking solutions for everything. By the time he was in matric, he had finished BizzPort. “I wasn’t even sure it was going to work out or not.”Growing up, he looked up to innovators such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey and Travis Kalanick. “I just liked their creations and the impact they had on the world at large. I’ve always wanted to build something for my country as well,” he said.“Locally I am inspired by Ludwick Marishane.” Marishane is the inventor of DryBath, a waterless shower gel that lets people wash without having to use water.Xaba did not have a computer at home, so he used the ones at his school to teach himself computer languages. Later, when he started a technology business, he found that it was a challenge working in a small town; another issue was financing the business. He sought help in Johannesburg: “I found it hard for people to listen to me. Sometimes people would show up for a meeting, we’d be evaluated. Then someone would tell me this was way too ambitious.”But he was grateful for the contribution from Brenda Bertels of BDO South Africa. “She made sure I received a laptop. She said she liked how passionate I was. Last year, I attended the pitching den hosted by the SA Innovation Summit because of Mrs Bertels.”ExpectationsHis expectations of the One Young World Summit, Xaba said, was to meet people and engage with young leaders from around the world. “I want to listen to the daily problems they face in their respective countries and how they plan to solve these problems.“We have also created solutions to problems that we have encountered here in South Africa and I think other delegates will be interested in hearing how we did this. For me, that would be the best place to be because people there discuss different things that go way beyond my technological expertise.”Learning like this led you to your next big idea, he said. “Even though funding such initiatives proves to be expensive, the experience is worth it.”Staying motivatedXaba said: “I’m thrilled by how one can just sit down and build something really new, seeing it appear in my hands. And then the next thing it appears in other people’s hands.“It is a bonus is that I live in South Africa, a developing country that is in demand of the skills we possess. Waking up every day and working towards the goal of building our products to what we have imagined them to be, like using our BizzPort to connect entrepreneurs from all walks of life.”Advice to entrepreneursPeople should follow their passions, no matter the conditions. “If a goal already exists in your mind, just go for it with everything you have,” is Xaba’s advice to entrepreneurs, according to Channel Africa’s Change your Game show.“If it’s something you love, trust me, you are bound to stumble across great things along the way… Whatever obstacles you might be facing right now, they are just temporarily putting you to the test.”Sources: SME South Africa and Channel Africa: Change your game.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? 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Building Non-Chinese Demand

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Katie DehlingerDTN Farm Business EditorMOUNT JULIET, Tenn. (DTN) — When North Carolina farmer Jacob Parker went on his first trade mission nine years ago, he thought it was probably going to be a waste of time.“But I soon realized after meeting a few customers how important it is. They want to see the face of an American farmer. They want to see the person who actually produces the soybean,” he said on a press call with reporters from the sidelines of the 15th annual Southeast Asia U.S. Agriculture Cooperators Conference in Singapore.The event, which is co-hosted by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, brings U.S. farmers such as Parker and end-users together to help build and solidify trading relationships. It’s a mission made even more critical by the ongoing trade war with China.“U.S. soybean farmers have been impacted by export uncertainty and trade tensions, and while the short-term aid they have received is helpful, our farmers really need stability and long-term solutions,” USSEC CEO Jim Sutter said. “We’re working to provide that stability by building demand and expanding global market access for U.S. soy products in markets aside from China. This means building on relationships abroad and investing in new ones in evolving and growing markets. Southeast Asia is a great example of where we see a future for U.S. soy.”The region, which includes countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, has a population of around 650 million people that’s expected to grow to 690 million by 2025. The region’s also seen an increase in protein production, primarily through swine and aquaculture, which require more feed ingredients.When the first round of tariffs went into effect last year, Sutter’s organization drew up a plan that looked at what it would take to replace the lost demand from China. It focuses on countries with large populations, low protein consumption and growing economic activity.“I don’t want to be overly optimistic and say it will be easy to achieve that,” he said. “I think it will take some years of time, but the U.S. has some strong advantages and we’re out talking to buyers around the world.”The organization has held a number of events to introduce current and potential buyers to the benefits of U.S. soy, and Sutter said those programs are beginning to show results. “We’re seeing our market share going up in virtually all markets around the world where we’re doing that,” he said.LASTING CHANGESWhile Sutter thinks the trade war with China will eventually end, it will most likely create lasting changes in global soybean trade.“A consequence of the trade war is a growth in production and the strengthening of our competitors in Brazil, other South American countries and in other places like the Ukraine and potentially Russia,” he said. “So certainly it’s a worry that once they gain a foothold in those markets it will be very difficult for us to regain all of that back.”However, if USSEC’s work to expand and develop demand in new markets is successful, he doesn’t thinks it will be as important to recapture the full share of what the U.S. had in China.“I think we probably won’t do that. I think it’s probably changed, but I hope that we will have stronger positions in other markets so that for U.S. soybean farmers there will be strong demand that will take away all of the production that U.S. soy producers want to put on the market in any given year.”Katie Dehlinger can be reached at [email protected] her on Twitter @KatieD_DTN(ES/SK)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

NFL Week 10 Elo Ratings And Playoff Odds

Going into Week 9, the No. 1 slot in our Elo ratings had been the exclusive province all season long of last year’s Super Bowl participants, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. In fact, the last time a team other than Denver or Seattle ranked first in Elo was Week 19 of last season, when the San Francisco 49ers owned first place after beating the Carolina Panthers on the road in the NFC divisional playoffs. (They would cede that ranking to Seattle the very next week.)This week, though, the New England Patriots have finally broken the Denver-Seattle duopoly on No. 1 after the Patriots crushed the Broncos 43-21 Sunday afternoon. How unusual was the Seahawks’ and Broncos’ long stranglehold on the top slot? Going back to the advent of the 16-game schedule in 1978, it’s the eighth-longest span into a season it’s taken for a third No. 1-ranked team to emerge. Last season, it took seven weeks for Seattle to wrest No. 1 away from a Denver/New England duumvirate.For the Patriots, it’s a long-awaited return to a familiar spot. New England occupied No. 1 in 27 (!) consecutive editions of the Elo rankings between Week 19 of the 2011 season and Week 2 of the 2013 season. And since 2000, they’ve spent more weeks at No. 1 (102) than the next three most frequently top-ranked teams (the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers and St. Louis Rams) combined.But of all teams, the Patriots should know that a No. 1 Elo ranking midway through the season is no Super Bowl guarantee. They sat atop the league through the first nine weeks of both the 2012 and 2007 seasons but failed to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy either season. (Since 1978, the top-ranked team through Week 9 has gone on to win the Super Bowl at a 41.7 percent clip.)New England also faces a difficult schedule. It has a bye this week, but after the break it will have to travel to Indianapolis to face the fifth-ranked Colts. Then, following a home date against the 17th-ranked Detroit Lions, the Patriots must go on the road against the No. 12 Packers and the No. 14 San Diego Chargers in back-to-back weeks, with the surging No. 16 Miami Dolphins waiting in the wings after that. An average (1500 Elo rating) NFL team would be expected to win only 46.6 percent of the Patriots’ remaining games, which means they have the seventh-hardest remaining schedule of any team in the league.Our Elo-based simulations give the Patriots just a 16 percent probability of winning the Super Bowl, which is well below the aforementioned historical average for top-ranked teams through nine weeks. Part of that is simply an artifact of league and playoff expansion. Since the NFL adopted its current size and divisional format in 2002, the top-ranked team through Week 9 has won the Super Bowl 25 percent of the time, a rate more in line with New England’s simulated odds. But 2014 has also been a strange year in terms of the distribution of ratings across the league’s 32 teams. The Patriots’ 1677 Elo rating at No. 1 is 21 points below the average for that slot through Week 9 from 2002 to 2013, while 18 of the next 22 highest-rated teams have better Elo ratings than the average for their ranking from the previous 12 NFL seasons.In other words, New England isn’t as strong as the typical No. 1, and there is an unusual number of solid teams out there for the Pats to tangle with en route to the Super Bowl. That lends credence to the growing talk of 2014 being a banner season for parity in the NFL.Meanwhile, the league’s nine worst teams by Elo are far worse than usual, culminating with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders each falling more than 50 points behind the typical ratings of the NFL’s two worst teams through nine weeks. It will be worth monitoring whether this year’s atypical dispersion of Elo ratings is a one-year quirk or part of a larger trend.Here are the current playoff and Super Bowl odds for all teams:I mentioned that San Francisco had defeated Carolina (who ranked fifth in Elo at the time) to briefly claim the No. 1 ranking during last season’s playoffs. This year, however, neither team has enjoyed the same kind of success, going a combined 7-9-1. And there’s a 55 percent chance that both will be shut out of a return trip to the postseason.After starting the season 1-2, the 49ers had regained some measure of playoff probability with three straight wins over the Philadelphia Eagles, Chiefs and Rams in Weeks 4 through 6. Going into Week 7, they even had an NFC West-leading 65 percent probability of making the playoffs, as well as the division’s best projected end-of-season win total in our Elo simulations. But a pair of losses sandwiched around a bye week have left San Francisco on the verge of missing the playoffs entirely. Its current playoff probability stands at 32 percent after taking into account their mediocre record (4-4), the difficulty of their remaining schedule (ninth-hardest), and the strength of the teams they’d have to beat out for a wild card (as their hopes of winning the NFC West have been all but extinguished).Carolina’s chances of returning to the playoffs look even worse. Despite failing to win five of its previous six games (it lost four and tied one), Carolina still had a 44 percent probability of qualifying for the postseason before its game against the New Orleans Saints — but our weekly playoff implications article also identified Panthers-Saints as one of the most crucial matchups of Week 9. Sure enough, New Orleans’ 28-10 victory dropped Carolina’s playoff probability by 25 percentage points, leaving it with less than a 1-in-5 chance of making the playoffs.In addition to the Panthers and 49ers, the other teams who lost the most from their playoff odds in Week 9 were the Baltimore Ravens and the Chargers in the AFC.The cause for Baltimore’s decline was all about the division odds — predictably, its head-to-head loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night had huge ramifications for the AFC North race. Going into the game, the Ravens had a 33 percent chance of winning the division, with the Steelers sitting at 28 percent; after the game, Pittsburgh’s chances had increased to 45 percent and Baltimore’s had dropped to 13 percent. (Neither team’s wild card odds really budged at all.)San Diego’s dip, on the other hand, had little to do with a division race. The Broncos are rated so much higher than their AFC West competitors that our simulations see little chance they don’t win the division. That leaves the wild card as the only real viable path to the playoffs for the Chargers and Chiefs, both of whom are in a dogfight with each other — as well as the losers of the AFC East and North — for one of those two slots. (The AFC South loser is unlikely to make much of a wild card push.) Miami’s 37-0 pasting of San Diego on Sunday had direct consequences in that regard, boosting the Dolphins’ wild card probability by 17 percentage points as the Chargers’ chances dropped by 19 (with scarcely a change to either team’s division odds).Elo point spreadsRecord against point spread: 64-62-3 (7-5 in Week 9)Straight-up record: 94-39-1 (9-4 in Week 9)Although the Elo ratings are performing better against the spread in recent weeks, we still would strongly advise you not to take them to Vegas as a betting tool. Even so, it is always interesting to see how they differ from the spreads offered by the major sportsbooks.This week’s biggest disparity is in the Dallas Cowboys-Jaguars game, which is not only taking place in London, but adds the wrinkle of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo’s availability being in question. With the possibility that the Cowboys will once again have to start backup QB Brandon Weeden, who oversaw the team’s Week 9 defeat to the Cardinals, the oddsmakers have dropped Dallas to a mere 6-point favorite against the lowly Jaguars, rather than the 10.5-point favorite the Elo ratings would suggest.Aside from that change, the other big discrepancies against Vegas this week involve the Cardinals and Rams (the books have been comparatively down on Arizona all season, relative to Elo) and the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns (Elo rates Cincinnati slightly higher — and Cleveland slightly lower — than Vegas’s power ratings would value the two teams). But in the Detroit-Miami tilt, which may go down as the biggest game of the week from a playoff-implications perspective, both Vegas and Elo agree: The hosting Lions should be favored by about a field goal.CORRECTION (Nov. 6, 11:56 a.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly said that Elo is 62-44-3 against the point spread. It is 64-62-3.(Nov. 6, 2:04 p.m.): A previous version of this article said the Dallas Cowboys had a 75 percent chance of defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Dallas should have an 82 percent win probability, because it has an Elo difference of +259 and there is no home-field effect in either direction. read more

Footfall at Mothers Wax Museum crosses 8 lakh 3D selfies a hit

first_imgKolkata: Eight lakh people have visited Mother’s Wax Museum since its inception in November 2014. With a member of a family from Meghalaya, who visited the museum on Monday, the number of visitors exceeded 8 lakh.Named after Mother Teresa, the museum was inaugurated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from the dais of Kolkata International Film Festival on November 10, 2014. The souvenir shop in particular is very popular from where people can buy exclusive souvenir and memories. Various types of Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Boset-shirts and caps are also sold in the shop. The museum is divided into several sections, which include wax statues of famous people from the world of entertainment, noted scientists, novelists, personalities and cricketers. “The sports section is the most popular, where one can get to see the statues of great cricket personalities such as Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly and present Indian skipper Virat Kohli,” an official from the West Bengal Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) said. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe fantasy section, which includes statues of Chota Bheem, Doraemon and Spider Man, has become very popular among the children. Selfies with the wax figurines at the museum has been a trend among the visitors. A visitor also can get his/her own 3D selfie at the museum. HIDCO has recently introduced this cutting-edge technology through which a person’s face/head is scanned 360 degrees and a golf ball sized (slightly smaller) 3D sculpture is printed by a 3D printer. The finished sculpture is couriered in 48 hours, of course at a cost. The finished sculpture comes at a price of Rs 2,000 (including courier charges). The process is done adjacent to the souvenir counter at the museum and a person only has to sit in a chair for the 3D selfie. The use of technology for 3D selfies is emerging as a fun element and the response from the visitors have been quite good. HIDCO chairman Debashis Sen said. An agency had approached HIDCO with this concept and it has been accepted.last_img read more