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Opposition demands probe into sale of GuySuCo assets

first_imgAs pressure mounts for a full-fledged investigation into the sale of assets of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is also demanding that a probe be conducted.The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo)He posited that, now, even the managers at GuySuCo are calling on President David Granger to investigate the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and the divestment of assets, but the President opts to remain silent on the matter.“So, guess what Winston Jordan (Finance Minister) has to say? He said investors are walking away from GuySuCo, they don’t want to buy the estates now. Nobody wants to come and invest with this Government; that’s the reality. Nobody wants to invest, they have no confidence in them,” Jagdeo said.The Opposition Leader stated that the Government, specifically the Finance Minister, has repeatedly declared that several potential investors were positive about doing business with the Government in relation to the privatisation of the sugar industry, but now the minister is singing a different tune.“Which investor will want to come, when every day they hear in the news that you are stripping the assets of even the companies you are privatising, the estates you are privatizing? Pricewaterhouse(Coopers) did a register and the register must have been sent to all of the investors, and the investors are hearing, what will they buy into, pay for, these things are not going to be there. These guys are selling out the things…so he (Jordan) now says that all 4 estates are now scrap metal.”According to Jagdeo, the Finance Minister should be cautious as to how he continues to operate in the daily operation of the ministry and agencies that fall under his purview, since he will be held accountable once the PPP regains power and returns to Government.In light of recent reports that NICIL sold and may have undervalued two transmission towers belonging to the GuySuCo, Transparency International GuyanaIncorporated (TIGI) has also been calling for answers.TIGI President, Dr Troy Thomas, recently noted that NICIL’s Special Purpose Unit (SPU), which was created to oversee the divestment of GuySuCo’s assets after the industry was downsized to only three estates, must provide answers on the sale, which sources at GuySuCo allege netted a sub-par price of just $2.1 million.“They must answer questions about how that (transaction) was done, and whether the laws were followed. And if the laws were not followed, then that would come under SARA (State Assets Recovery Agency) at this point, although there can be other agencies. But we definitely need to make sure that things were done properly; and if they were not done properly, then those responsible must be held accountable,” he posited.In fact, Dr Thomas reminded that when Government assets are being disposed of, there should be open tendering to ensure the state receives the best price for its property. He noted that assets could easily be undervalued, and the state would lose money when procurement laws are not followed.Officials from GuySuCo were recently quoted in sections of the media as questioning the sale by NICIL of two GuySuCo transmission towers to Bobby Vieira’s Multicultural Communications Inc for a mere $2.1 million. One of the towers, reports suggest, has since been leased to another company.Another concern was that the assets were not even vested to NICIL.Earlier this month, GuySuCo blasted NICIL for the current troubles with the divestment process, saying that the Unit has left it in the dark about the sale of its own assets.In a strongly-worded statement, in which it accused the SPU of unprofessionalism, GuySuCo criticised NICIL’s approach to the divestment. According to GuySuCo, NICIL has been slothful; and because of this, has not executed any major investments with the process approaching its second year.In addition, GuySuCo slammed NICIL for the current arrangement that sees it pocketing proceeds from the assets it did divest. GuySuCo claimed that it should be the other way around, so that the Corporation could fund its own strategic plan.last_img read more

Nigerian project wins top award

first_imgCows to Kilowatts takes abattoir waste and converts it into a low-cost renewable energy source. (Image: stock.xchng) An innovative Nigerian project that processes abattoir water and converts the collected organic waste into fertiliser and methane, has won the 2009 Intel Environment prize at the annual Tech Awards in the US.The Tech Awards, held this year in San Jose, California, in November, honoured creativity and inventiveness across a range of fields, including the environment, education, science, health and more.The project, titled Cows to Kilowatts, was founded by civil engineer Dr Joseph Adelgan. In developing countries especially, abattoir waste is a major source of water pollution and greenhouse gas production. Through the processing of organic waste, the project helps mitigate one of the biggest threats to the future of the planet, as well as promote the use and benefits of renewable energy.Adelgan is the founder of the Global Network for Environment and Economic Development Research (Gneeder), an NGO that that works in poor urban communities to improve quality of life, reduce air pollution and create cheap sources of domestic energy.The organisation is currently working on another power-generating project for impoverished West Africans, using cassava factory waste.Projects are based in Nigeria and Ghana at the moment, but there are plans to roll them out in other sub-Saharan countries.Keeping water cleanIn Nigeria regulation of abattoir waste is lax, and there are few facilities for water treatment. In Ibadan, the country’s second biggest city, waste from the Bodija Municipal Abattoir used to run out into open drains. These are connected to surface water sources, which resulted in severe contamination of groundwater with pathogens such as salmonella, Escherichia coli, and the deadly Rift Valley fever virus.The waste water from this abattoir has an extremely high biochemical oxygen demand, which is an indicator of organic pollution. Communities living in the area had no choice but to use the contaminated water, so the situation was desperate.“People were drinking from shallow wells,” said Adelgan in an interview, “and people in the neighbourhood were getting sick. They didn’t understand why they were getting sick.”Cows to Kilowatts started off as a collaborative project between Gneeder, the Centre for Youth, Family and the Law, and the Sustainable Ibadan project. The initial goal was merely to treat the abattoir waste in an effluent plant, rendering it less harmful to communities and the environment and preventing groundwater pollution.However, the team soon came across a related problem – the decomposing organic waste that was releasing carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. Both are greenhouse gases, but methane is 23 times more lethal in bringing about climate change than carbon dioxide.A new strategy using biogas technology was introduced. Applicable on both large and small scales, the process uses reactors to digest organic waste and convert it into low-cost energy.The three founding organisations joined up with scientists at the Biogas Technology Research Centre at Thailand’s King Mongkut University of Technology Thonburi, and with funding from the UN Development Programme in Nigeria, they designed and built a pilot biogas plant in Ibadan. This uses an anaerobic fixed film digester to break down the waste. The resulting sludge is turned into high-quality organic fertiliser, and methane and carbon dioxide are collected before they can dissipate into the atmosphere and cause harm.The plant supplies around 5 400 cylinders of biogas per month, which is used for cooking, electricity generation, and to power vehicles – at just 25% of the cost of liquefied natural gas. Furthermore, the organic fertiliser is sold to farmers at a fraction of the cost of chemical fertiliser.Poor families often have to rely on kerosene, paraffin and wood for heating, cooking and light, which pollute the air in the home. By using biogas they not only improve their living conditions, but also help curb deforestation, as the demand for wood drops.Honouring innovationEstablished in 2001, the Tech Awards came about as a result of the State of the Future report, a publication of the Millennium Project of the American Council of the United Nations University. The report stated that acknowledgement of innovation through awards is a valuable tool for stimulating scientific and technological breakthroughs to improve people’s quality of life.The Tech Awards programme pays tribute to technology that enables people to live a better life. It honours 15 enterprising projects in five categories: health, education, equality, the environment, and economic development. There are three winners in each category, and the top five laureates walk away with US$50 000 (R378 717) each.Laureates are then inducted into the Tech Awards Network, which provides opportunities for learning, networking and collaboration.last_img read more

2016 Fall Expo coming soon to JD Equipment

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest JD Equipment, the largest John Deere dealership group in Ohio, is proud to announce that registration is open for their 2016 Fall Expo (formerly World’s Largest Combine Clinic). The 2016 Fall Expo will be held Friday, August 26 at their London, OH location located at 1660 US 42 NE, 43140. This year’s event will welcome guests from all across Ohio and surrounding states.Participants at the 2016 Fall Expo will have the opportunity to attend classes instructed by JD Equipment’s agriculture and farm equipment experts that focus on various functions of John Deere combines and other John Deere related products. Class topics this year will cover Combines, Field Prep, Precision Agriculture and Nutrient Management. One hour of CCA continued education credits will be available for the Nutrient Management class (0.5 NM, 0.5 SW). Safety seminars will be available to attend at any time during the event and field demonstrations will be available following lunch.For more information, please contact JD Equipment via email (info@jdequipment.com) or call our London location at (614) 879-6620. For more details or to register for the event, please visit www.jdequipment.com/fallexpo.last_img read more

Promising IPV Offender Interventions

first_imgBy Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhDCreative Commons [Flickr, Battling PTSD, May 24, 2010]In a recent blog, we highlighted a study conducted by Dr. Taft and colleagues establishing the link between PTSD and relationship problems. But, are there effective treatment solutions for perpetrators of violence?  In an article published by Dr. Taft and colleagues [1], the researchers reported on preliminary findings from an intervention that shows promise.The authors report that intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant problem in military couples – the frequency of violence for military couples may be as much as 3 times the frequency of violence in civilian intimate relationships.  There is limited information on the effectiveness of interventions for IPV. When the preliminary study of the Strength at Home intervention was published, the authors indicated that there were no empirically validated studies of IPV interventions in military couples.The Strength at Home model uses a cognitive-behavioral intervention in a group setting.  The 12-week program uses a closed group format, meeting weekly in 2 hour sessions.  Initial sessions focus on education on IPV and common reactions to trauma.  Weeks 3 and 4 provide conflict management and assertiveness skills. The third phase focuses on identifying negative thought patterns contributing to anger and IPV, relating thoughts to core trauma issues, and coping with stress.  The final sessions include instruction on a range of effective communication skills, capped by a session focusing on the gains witnessed over the past 11 weeks.Participants in the intervention were included if they had been in a recent relationship, met DSM criteria for PTSD, had a self or collateral report of physical IPV, and provided consent to contact their female partner.  The study included 6 male participants after screening and excluding participants that did not complete the assessment, intervention, and/or follow-up.  Male physical and psychological IPV was assessed prior to initiating treatment and 6 months after treatment completion.  Their female counterparts were assessed prior to the military member’s treatment and 6 months after treatment.  Preliminary study results indicated that intervention participants:Perpetrated significantly lower physical IPV,Showed significantly lower psychological IPV, andDisplayed a significant decrease in the frequency of psychological aggression,While this study is only preliminary, the results show promise of developing a practice for treating perpetrators of IPV.  It is notable that the sample size was very small, and there was a very high drop-out rate. A randomized controlled trial of the Strength at Home intervention is currently being conducted to more systematically assess the program outcomes on a larger sample.For more information on the Strength at Home intervention, visit our website for information on Dr. Taft’s upcoming webinar.References[1] Taft, C.T., Macdonald, A., Monson, C.M., Walling, S.M., Resick, P.A., Murphy, C.M. (2013). “Strength at home” Group intervention for military population engaging in intimate partner violence: Pilot findings. Journal of Family Violence, 28(3), 225-231. DOI: 10.1007/s10896-013-9496This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.last_img read more

Quick Trick for De-Flickering Your Video Shots

first_imgThis tip from video production pro Philip Bloom is a simple way to de-flicker your footage in any video editing app.Flicker from electrical lighting can kill a shot, especially one shot in slow motion with a high shutter speed. You can try to remove this flicker with filters and plugins in your video editing software – or you could try out this simple layering trick from Philip Bloom.Here’s the jist of Bloom’s video de-flicker trick:Duplicate a video clip that has electrical flicker.Stack this duplicate on a new layer above your original clip.Offset the top layer by one frame.Reduce the opacity (in the tutorial Philiip got good results at 50%).That’s it.It’s almost TOO simple – this trick can work in any video editing application and can drastically improve the look of your indoor slow motion shots.Director of Photography Tom Guilmette gave Philip’s de-flicker technique a test. You can view that sample here:Got your own de-flicker tips?Share in the comments below!last_img read more

ICC World Cup: Hosts ready to roll out their act

first_imgRatnakar Shetty, the 2011 World Cup tournament director, is confident the five venues that are yet to receive a final okay from the International Cricket Council (ICC) will be ready soon to host the matches. Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, which will host the final on April 2, is among the venues that are in the last stretch of being completed. But Shetty, who’s also the chief administrative officer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), says the showpiece venue is just a few days from being ready.”It should be ready in the next 10 days. It’s only some finishing work in the corporate boxes and some other areas that has delayed the work a bit,” Shetty said in an interview with Mail Today. Kolkata’s Eden Gardens is the other venue that is behind the schedule. “It should be match-ready soon,” Shetty assured us. A joint team of the ICC and the BCCI inspected all the 13 venues in November. “One more inspection of three venues in Sri Lanka and of the Wankhede Stadium and Eden Gardens will take place some time in the third week of this month,” Shetty said. The Sri Lankan venues that are up for inspection are the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Sooriyawewa (Hambantota), and the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy.Shetty exuded confidence.”The preparations are on track. I am not concerned about anything, except that many of the matches being played in the Indian sector don’t feature India,” he said.advertisementAnother issue the tournament director raised was that of ticket prices. “We have urged out state units to keep the ticket prices low,” Shetty said. “They should look at bringing in school and college students so that stadiums are not empty for matches where India is not playing. The tickets for these matches will be priced in such a way that more people can buy them. The ticket rates will be different at different venues,” he added.Continuing on the subject of crowd management, Shetty said, “Crowds come on their own for matches where India is playing because of their passion for the game. When two foreign teams play, the interest level is not the same. We noticed the difference during the Champions League T20 matches. The associations must think of ways in which they can bring the people to the stadiums.” The message that should go around is that there’s a lot to learn from World Cup matches even if India is not playing.last_img read more