Ramjattan condemns “excessive beating” of new GDF Reserve Officers

first_imgPublic Security Minister Khemraj RamjattanPublic Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has condemned the alleged abuse of new recruits of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) which was recently brought to light and later initiated an investigation.The Force had disclosed earlier this week that an investigation has been launched into the alleged abuse of new officers during what was described as an “initiation” process. Ramjattan told media operatives on Friday that if such actions are true, they will not be condoned.“If indeed there is abuse of any human beings in Guyana, this must be condemned. There is an element of ‘ragging’ that happens – this was probably overzealousness and it probably went beyond the red line. Obviously, this went a little too far to injure people,” the Minister positioned.Major Michael Shahoud told Guyana Times on Tuesday that several of the newly commissioned ranks had complained about the treatment they received.While the official did not divulge more information about the “excessive” whipping, he noted that the “initiation into the club” is a tradition and could not say what went wrong this time.The issue was first highlighted in a section of the media where a young doctor, who was part of the Reserve Course, is likely to undergo surgery for an injury to his eye.Another officer, who refused to speak on the matter when contacted, said that he had worked extremely hard to graduate the course and would not want to put himself and colleagues in a position to be victimised or stripped of their instruments.He nevertheless confirmed that he was one the victims who had suffered from the process. “I recalled going to sleep in pain after the exercise…it was extreme. Initially, I heard about the tradition but did not think it was this painful,” he added.Another officer told Guyana Times that ranks who would have received their instruments on Thursday last were summoned to a meeting last Wednesday. Following the complaints, the senior ranks believed that the incident went too far and that it was not supposed to be violent to warrant hospitalisation. It was reported that in the past, the newly commissioned ranks were welcomed to the club by receiving some lashes with soaps wrapped in socks. This time around, the ranks were reportedly beaten with belts and other items.Over 50 new ranks attached to the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) were administered their oath and presented with Instruments of Commission in the presence of their Commander in Chief, President David Granger on Thursday last.This year, 28 officers successfully completed the Standard Officers Course 50, three of which were members of the Belize Defence Force and one from the Guyana Prison Service. In addition, 27 individuals, including six females, completed the Reserve Officers Course 16.last_img read more

That’s how you win a match! Queretaro whizz-kid scores brilliant free-kick

first_img Mexico youngster Kevin Gutierrez scores a fine free-kick 1 At times like this, youth tournaments are the saving grace for football fans wanting one more fix after the end of a long season.The Premier League is over and we endure [two] months of hardship until domestic action begins again in August.Fortunately, though, the game’s up and coming stars are our saviours, and this time it has come in the form of Mexico defender Kevin Gutierrez. The 20-year-old scored a marvelous free-kick to seal a dramatic victory over Uruguay at the Under-20 World Cup.It was a wonderful piece of technique from the Queretaro man, dinking the ball over the wall and in off the underside of the cross bar.Mexico’s youngest superstar Hirving Lozano, who has been linked with a £4.5m switch to Dutch side PSV, put his side ahead and Mathias Suarez equalised in the last 10 minutes, but Gutierrez’s winner earned his side their first three points of Group D.last_img read more

Mixed news for Man City ahead of West Ham showdown

first_img1 Manchester City have been dealt mixed injury news after Sergio Aguero was passed fit but captain Vincent Kompany was ruled out of Saturday’s Premier League match with West Ham.Aguero has recovered from a knee problem that meant he couldn’t start the Champions League defeat to Juventus on Tuesday, but Kompany’s calf injury suffered in that game means he will also miss next week’s Capital One Cup tie with Sunderland.Playmaker Samir Nasri will rest after suffering a knock while full-backs Pablo Zabaleta and Gael Clichy, and midfielder Fabian Delph remain on the sidelines.Manuel Pellegrini’s side will be looking for a tenth consecutive home league win over the Hammers and hope to maintain their 100 per cent record so far this campaign.Provisional squad: Hart, Caballero, Sagna, Otamendi, Mangala, Demichelis, Kolarov, Maffeo, Silva, Navas, Sterling, De Bruyne, Toure, Fernandinho, Fernando, Aguero, Bony, Iheanacho, Roberts.You can listen to Manchester City v West Ham exclusively live on talkSPORT on Saturday from 5.30pm BST. Vincent Kompany last_img read more

Screen siren Deborah Kerr dies

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated Kerr a six times for best actress, but never gave her an Academy Award until it presented an honorary Oscar in 1994 for her distinguished career as an “artist of impeccable grace and beauty, a dedicated actress whose motion picture career has always stood for perfection, discipline and elegance.” She had the reputation of a “no problem” actress. “I have never had a fight with any director, good or bad,” she said toward the end of her career. “There is a way around everything if you are smart enough.” Kerr (pronounced CARR) was the only daughter of Arthur Kerr-Trimmer, a civil engineer and architect who died when she was 14. Born in Helensburgh, Scotland, she moved with her parents to England when she was 5, and she started to study dance in the Bristol school of her aunt, Phyllis Smale. Kerr won a scholarship to continue studying at the Sadler’s Wells Ballet School in London. A 17 she made her stage debut as a member of the corps de ballet in “Prometheus.” She soon switched to drama, however, and began playing small parts in repertory theater in London until it was shut down by the 1939 outbreak of World War II. After reading children’s stories on British Broadcasting Corp. radio, she was given the part of a hatcheck girl with two lines in the film “Contraband,” but her speaking role ended on the cutting-room floor. After more repertory acting she had another crack at films, reprising her stage role of Jenny, a Salvation Army worker, in a 1940 adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s “Major Barbara,” and receiving favorable reviews both in Britain and the United States. She continued making films in Britain during the war, including one – “Colonel Blimp” – in which she played three different women over a span of decades. “It is astonishing how she manages to make the three parts distinctly separate as characterizations,” said New Movies magazine at the time. Kerr was well-reviewed as an Irish spy in “The Adventuress” and as the tragic girlfriend of a Welsh miner in “Love on the Dole.” She was invited to Hollywood in 1946 to play in “The Hucksters” opposite Clark Gable. She went on to work with virtually all the other top American actors and with many top directors, including John Huston, Otto Preminger and Elia Kazan. Tired of being typecast in serene, ladylike roles, she rebelled to win a release from her MGM contract and get the role of Karen Holmes in “From Here to Eternity.” Playing the Army officer’s alcoholic, sex-starved wife in a fling with Lancaster as a sergeant opened up new possibilities for Kerr. She played virtually every part imaginable from murderer to princess to a Roman Christian slave to a nun. In “The King and I,” with her singing voice dubbed by Marni Nixon, she was Anna Leonowens, who takes her son to Siam so that she can teach the children of the king, played by Yul Brynner. Her best-actress nominations were for “Edward, My Son” (1949), “From Here to Eternity” (1953), “The King and I” (1956), “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison” (1957), “Separate Tables” (1958), and “The Sundowners” (1960). Among her other movies is “An Affair to Remember” with Cary Grant. Other notable roles were in “The Sundowners,” “Beloved Infidel,” “The Innocents” (an adaptation of the Henry James novella “Turn of the Screw”), “The Night of the Iguana” with Richard Burton and “The Arrangement” with Kirk Douglas. After “The Arrangement” in 1968, she took what she called a “leave of absence” from acting, saying she felt she was “either too young or too old” for any role she was offered. Kerr told The Associated Press that she turned down a number of scripts, either for being too explicit or because of excessive violence. She refused to play a nude scene in “The Gypsy Moths,” released in 1968. “It was when they started that `Now everybody has got to take their clothes off,”‘ she said. “My argument was that it was completely gratuitous. Had it been necessary for the dramatic content, I would have done it.” In fact she undressed for “The Arrangement,” even though the scene was later cut. “There the nude scene was necessary, husband and wife in bed together,” Kerr said. “That was real.” She returned to the stage, acting in Edward Albee’s “Seascape” on Broadway and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” in Los Angeles. Her Broadway debut was in 1953, when she was acclaimed as Laura Reynolds, a teacher’s wife who treats a sensitive student compassionately in “Tea and Sympathy.” After a full season in New York, she took it on a national tour and recreated the role in a movie in 1956. Kerr was active until the mid-1980s, with “The Assam Garden,” “Hold the Dream” and “Reunion at Fairborough” all in 1985. She told the AP that TV reruns of her old movies have “kept me alive” for a new generation of film fans. In 1946 Kerr married Anthony Charles Bartley, whom she had met as a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force. They had two daughters and were divorced in 1959. A year later she married Peter Viertel, a novelist-screenwriter, with whom she lived on a large estate with two trout ponds in the Swiss Alpine resort of Klosters and in a villa in Marbella, Spain. Kerr is survived by Viertel, two daughters and three grandchildren.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Deborah Kerr, who shared one of Hollywood’s most famous kisses and made her mark with such roles as the correct widow in “The King and I” and the unhappy officer’s wife in “From Here to Eternity,” has died. She was 86. Kerr, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, died Tuesday in Suffolk in eastern England, her agent, Anne Hutton, said Thursday. For many she will be remembered best for her kiss with Burt Lancaster as waves crashed over them on a Hawaiian beach in the wartime drama “From Here to Eternity.” Kerr’s roles as forceful, sometimes frustrated women pushed the limits of Hollywood’s treatment of sex on the screen during the censor-bound 1950s. last_img

Median home price in L.A. County, state off 12%

first_imgWith the credit crunch eroding the real-estate market, the median price of a home in Los Angeles County and the rest of California plummeted a record 12 percent from a year earlier, a trade association said Friday. Sales of existing homes also continued their double-digit plunge, said the Los Angeles-based California Association of Realtors. In Los Angeles County, the state’s biggest market, the median price of a previously owned house dropped in November to $520,960 from $590,790 a year earlier, the report said. Sales fell 36.5 percent. Statewide, the median price sank to $488,640 from $554,500 a year earlier. And when the credit issue is resolved, he said, the state’s median should again rise above $500,000. Statewide, sales fell 36.2 percent last month on an annualized basis, meaning that 287,600 properties would change owners this year at November’s sales pace. The association also showed that: In Ventura County, sales fell 55.3percent and the median price slipped 6.1 percent to $623,510. In the High Desert, which includes the Antelope Valley, sales plunged 52 percent and the median price fell an annual 21 percent to $262,650. There were 15.3 months of inventory – the length of time it would take to deplete the supply in the current market, more than double a year ago. Thirty-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 6.21 percent last month, down from 6.24 percent a year ago. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 5.48 percent in November, down from 5.51 percent last year. The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 63 days, five fewer that a year ago. “I don’t see much change in this trend. It’s not very good news,” said Jack Kyser, vice president and chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. “Right now the news is not encouraging. No wonder people are not out shopping,” he said. greg.wilcox@dailynews.com 818-713-3743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonA separate report prepared by the association and market tracker DataQuick Information Systems showed that only 41 out of 295 cities and communities in California – less than 14 percent – showed an increase in median home prices from a year earlier. Robert Kleinhenz, the association’s deputy chief economist, attributed the price declines to potential buyers having trouble obtaining jumbo loans. These are typically used to buy houses costing more than $417,000, the amount that will be purchased by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “It’s very hard to figure out when that’s going to be resolved because it has to play out globally in financial markets around the world,” he said of the credit crunch. “We’ll probably still see very weak sales here in California because of our reliance on jumbo loans.” However, Kleinhenz expects prices to level off soon, both locally and statewide. last_img read more

REVEALED: SERIAL DONEGAL BURGLAR LAFFERTY TERRORISED PENSIONERS TWICE WHILE OUT ON BAIL

first_imgLafferty robbed pensioners twice on bailA NOTORIOUS Donegal criminal with more than 40 previous convictions terrorised an elderly couple in their home TWICE whilst out on bail for attacking a Kilmacrennan pensioner, we can reveal.Matthew Lafferty, 21, from Letterkenny, was jailed for three years at the Circuit Court in the town on Tuesday. He admitted burglar at the home of Ms Anne McFadden on January 18th this year, in an incident in which the brave pensioner chased Lafferty wielding a hatchet.Now Donegal Daily can reveal that although he was refused bail in the local courts, Lafferty was later released by the High Court in Dublin.And in July this year whilst living in Mayo he attacked another elderly couple.Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court heard that a couple in their 70s are living in constant fear, even taking turns to stay up at night to ‘keep watch’, after their home and bed and breakfast was broken into twice in one week.In a victim-impact statement read out on behalf of Eddie and Maureen Lavelle of Burton Street House Bed and Breakfast, Killala Road, Ballina, the couple detailed their lives in the aftermath of the events of July last.Mr Eddie Lavelle, 75, said he and his wife were ‘shocked’, ‘traumatised’ and nervous to leave their home since the burglaries.Mr Lavelle said it was “terrible that young people would go out and target old people” and said the couple still find it difficult to sleep at night.Lafferty, then of 21 Nephin Court pleaded guilty to burgling the Lavelles’ home on the night of July 22, 2013, leading into July 23, and again on July 28.Lafferty and his accomplice gained access to an open upstairs window at the gable of the house and stole alcohol and €350. The couple were present in the house at the time.On July 28, when the Lavelles’ son Eddie and his family were visiting, the court heard that Mrs Lavelle came across the intruders in the dining room.The court heard that Lafferty’s accomplice, who is ‘still at large’ according to Detective Kevin O’Connor, pushed Mr Lavelle who hit a wall and fell to the ground. Mr Lavelle suffered lower back and arm injuries as a result.An iPhone 5 belonging to the Lavelles’ son was taken but was recovered the following day.Mrs Lavelle compared the couple’s home now to ‘Fort Knox’, as they equipped their home with security systems and lighting, but added that they are still unable to sleep at night.Defence barrister Eoin Garavan said Lafferty came from a dysfunctional family, had a ‘terrible childhood’ and that drugs made him ‘indulge in criminal acts’. Detective Kevin O’Connor said the accused was remorseful.Before sentencing, Judge Rory McCabe noted that although Lafferty was not the one that pushed Mr Lavelle, he was ‘part and parcel’ of the violence.Lafferty received a three-year prison sentence for the first charge and a five-year prison sentence for the second. Both sentences will run concurrently.On Tuesday he was jailed for another three years – to run concurrently – for the attack on Ms McFadden.REVEALED: SERIAL DONEGAL BURGLAR LAFFERTY TERRORISED PENSIONERS TWICE WHILE OUT ON BAIL was last modified: June 16th, 2017 by John2Share this:Click 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 share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:bailburglarykilmacrennanletterkennyMatthew LaffertyMayolast_img read more

Man United to offer Martial to Chelsea in exchange for Willian – reports

first_img moving on And the Sunday Mirror believes that a potential swap deal could be on the cards, with both players valued at £75m and keen on a move.Willian, 29, has been the subject of three Barcelona bids this summer and United are desperate to beat the Catalans to his signature. REVEALED Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January LATEST The Brazilian returned to Chelsea training later than expected, citing passport issues as the reason, although Maurizio Sarri expects Willian to stay.Martial, 22, struggled for starts under Mourinho last season and irritated the United boss by leaving their pre-season tour to witness the birth of his child. IN DEMAND 2 Cavani ‘agrees’ to join new club and will complete free transfer next summer Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade 2 Man United joined by three other clubs in race for Erling Haaland Sarri expects Willian to stay center_img LATEST TRANSFER NEWS Manchester United will offer Anthony Martial to Chelsea in a last-ditch attempt to land Willian, according to reports.Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho, who appears to have fallen out with Martial, has made the Blues winger his top target this summer. The biggest market value losers in 2019, including Bale and ex-Liverpool star targets LIVING THE DREAM Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ targets Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father Martial could be used to broker a deal for Willian Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti RANKED last_img read more

49ers backup QB Beathard drawing interest at trade deadline, report says

first_imgThe 49ers are in a position other NFL teams surely envy, and it’s not simply that they’re undefeated heading into Sunday’s game against the Panthers.San Francisco has three NFL-quality quarterbacks on its roster.Jimmy Garoppolo has helped the team to its 6-0 start, and Nick Mullens showed last year he is a capable backup in this league.C.J. Beathard, who’s on the Niners roster but has been inactive in all the team’s 2019 games, has been the subject of trade calls fielded by the 49ers, accor …last_img read more

Cape Town doctor sings for the children’s hospital

first_imgA Cape Town paediatric oncologist is using his music to raise funds for transformational initiatives at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.Dr Marc Hendricks releases his first solo album, Upright Citizen, on 22 April 2017. Proceeds from sales will be given to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, where he is a paediatric oncologist. (Images supplied)Melissa JavanDr Marc Hendricks, a paediatric oncologist, is keeping both his dreams alive. The singer and songwriter is launching his debut solo album, Upright Citizen on 22 April 2017 and in the process is also fundraising for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, where he works.He will release the album at a show at the Artscape theatre in Cape Town, and says the proceeds of the show and sales of the CDs will go to the haematology oncology department at Red Cross.Upright Citizen is Hendricks’ fourth musical release, his second full album and first solo album. “This debut album shares Hendricks’ stories, sometimes intimate, always honest, traversing the story of his life, family and work inspired by his earliest love affairs with music and creative writing,” reads a press release.In the late 1990s, Hendricks collaborated with his friend and musician, Gavin Goldberg, to record the two singles, Danger (1999) and Satisfy (2000). In 2001, they released the album Clear.An upright citizenHis mother, a music lover, bought a dark wood, Ibach upright piano from a store in Wynberg, Cape Town in 1975, when her eldest daughter was eight years old, Hendricks explains on his website. His mother’s desire was that each of her children learn to play at least one music instrument.“Back then, R1,000 was a fortune for someone on a teacher’s salary but my mom was determined. That was to become the instrument that we would all learn to play on,” he writes.“Both my parents and my older sisters have great singing voices. We would sing in three-part harmony while doing the dishes… We all learned our musical chops in church.”Both his sisters learned the piano as well as the tenor recorder and flute. “I took to the piano but ‘dropped out’ of formalised teaching early, in preference for learning at my sisters’ feet (or hands) and ‘doing my own thing’, which was how my writing started.“I already knew then that singing was in my DNA.”His sisters married and moved away, he says, but the upright piano stayed behind.This is where his journey with the family piano started — their long hours of storytelling began. “After university, I moved out of home and the upright came with me spanning a period of roughly 20 years during which we continued to write together.“About a year ago I renovated my home and now with fewer walls left to host a conspicuous upright, it sadly had to return to my parents’ home. She (the upright piano) now occupies pride of place in the family room next to the kitchen, a familiar friend in the city of memories that is the story of my family.“I am unashamedly her citizen. She gave me these stories.”Watch Dr Marc Hendricks perform his composition Bird Song for the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town’s 100 Centenary performance:Brand South Africa journalist Melissa Javan spoke to Hendricks:Melissa Javan: How many children are treated at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital monthly and yearly?Dr Marc Hendricks: I can’t say. Across all services in the in- and outpatient services, visits must run into the thousands per annum. In haematology oncology, where I work, we see approximately 150 new patients a year.MJ: What is the importance of the oncology department at Red Cross?MH: The Red Cross Oncology unit is one of 10 academic units around the country that treat children with cancer, bone marrow failure syndromes and blood disorders.We form part of a national community of service providers along with colleagues in the private sector who function under the rubric of the South African Children’s Cancer Study Group. Under this banner, along with our non-governmental partners, we strive to deliver the best comprehensive cancer care to children under our care.MJ: What are your highlights of working as a doctor at Red Cross?MH: There are many. The kids are wonderful.We get to form long-term relationships with our patients and families. I am also fortunate enough to work in a building with colleagues who are prepared to go the extra mile for the kids. This makes hard work less hard.MJ: What do you hope to achieve with your CD, Upright Citizen?MH: Firstly, it’s the launch of my debut CD which has taken 20 months to complete. I want to do it justice on the night [of the release performance] and to give it a platform for the music to become better known.Secondly, the money I collect from ticket sales is going to the hospital for some of the transformation projects we have planned for the department.MJ: Have you done a charity event for Red Cross before?MH: I have organised events for Red Cross before as part of the Faculty of Health Sciences Centenary Celebrations in 2012, an art exhibition called “My One Hundred Wishes for Tomorrow”, which was a collaboration with the Peter Clark Art Centre, and a show called Uhambo: The Journey.They weren’t strictly fundraisers but events meant to highlight the activities of the hospital as they relate to the children that we serve.MJ: Working with sick children must be emotionally draining. What keeps you motivated?MH: You have to do something away from work that keeps you going, whatever that is — music, sport, hiking, dogs.Everyone has something that gives them balance. For me one of those things is music.MJ: With the launch of your CD, will you still be working as a doctor or do you plan to sing full time?MH: No, I intend to do exactly what I’m doing now, which is having the best of both worlds. I also, like everyone else, have a bond to pay [smiling].Anyway, I also have my PhD to finish. Life takes desire and discipline (and endurance). If you can pull that off, you can do pretty much anything.There are plenty of people like me (doctors, I mean specifically) who are great artists or musicians.I think Oscar Wilde said: “Be a verb not a noun”. So, I heal, sing and write, cook, and various other things, none of which are mutually exclusive.Over the years, Dr Marc Hendricks has composed for local artists — by himself or in collaboration — including Judith Sephuma, Peter Grant and Naomi Suzuki.MJ: How do you juggle your two passions of music and medicine?MH: You have to manage your time well otherwise things pass you by.Only you are responsible for making your dreams come true, no-one else. No-one owes you anything. You have to get up and do the work.MJ: Tell us a bit about the work you did on Upright Citizen.MH: [It took] about 20 months altogether to complete.It took about six to eight months working with my amazing producer and friend, Amanda Tiffin, on all the compositional work. We started recording last September at Paris Studios in Fish Hoek.The mastering and mixing was done by the incredible Tim Leitner in New York at Sound Carver Records.All the other organising, design and putting the show together with Artscape happened in parallel.The key is to work with good people who know their craft, are partners in the creative process and are as excited about the work as you are. It’s been an absolute blast, worth every ounce of sacrifice. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.MJ: How do you feel about your upcoming live performance?MH: Excited! Like I say, I surrounded myself with an amazing team of directors, musicians and technical staff so it’s all systems go now.MJ: Lastly, what made you decide to become a doctor?MH: Neither medicine nor music were my first choice as a career, which goes to show just how little you know about anything when you have just matriculated.I always wanted to be a vet actually, being completely obsessed with animals. But by a happy “mistake” I chose medicine after I left school for various complicated reasons.The music chose me. I have been singing since I was a toddler crawling around my parents’ legs in church and I have been doing music ever since.Singing and playing piano grew into songwriting and here I am: a paediatric oncologist singer songwriter – [it’s] mad really but very fulfilling!Red Cross War Memorial Children’s HospitalThe Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, in Rondebosch in Cape Town, was built in 1956.It is the largest, standalone tertiary hospital dedicated entirely to child healthcare in Southern Africa, according to its website. The hospital is a public, tertiary hospital as well as a teaching hospital for the University of Cape Town.“This iconic children’s hospital is world-renowned and is committed to delivering world-class paediatric treatment, care, research and specialist training,” states the website.There are about 260,000 patient visits a year, the majority of whom are from exceptionally poor and marginalised communities. One third of the patients are younger than a year.Sources: The Children’s Hospital Trust, Artscape Theatre and www.marchendricks.co.zaWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa materiallast_img read more

South Africa lobbies the US to extend Agoa

first_img24 October 2014South Africa is eligible for Agoa this year and also qualifies for textile benefits. (Image: Brand South Africa )In August this year, US President Obama made a commitment to support the continuation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), a legislation that provides duty-free market access to the United States for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries.Obama mentioned particularly South Africa, Nigeria and Angola, saying the US still does a lot of trade with these three countries. “We need more Africans, including women and small- medium-sized businesses, getting their goods to market,’ he said, addressing delegates at the US-Africa Business Forum in Washington.South Africa had welcomed Obama’s comments, with Ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool, saying the US is the biggest source of foreign investment to the country. Since then, South Africa gone all out to woo leaders of the US Senate and House of Representatives to include South Africa when Agoa is extended. Agoa expires in 2015.Agoa allows more than 98% of South Africa’s exports to enter the US duty-free. Agoa was approved by the US Congress in May 2000 to assist Africa’s sub-Saharan economies and to improve economic relations between the US and the region. Agoa has seen total African exports to the US more than quadruple, and US exports to sub-Saharan Africa more than triple, since its inception.South Africa-US tradeThe US is the second largest destination for South African exports after China, accounting for 7% of exports. It is by far the largest destination for South Africa’s automotive manufacturing sector, making up 21% of all vehicle exports and 42% of car exports.Obama’s commitment has given South Africa impetus to lobby for Agoa to be renews for the country. On 22 October, Business Day Live reported that Rasool met the American Chamber of Commerce to discuss the way forward.“The chamber is very supportive of having Agoa renewed for South Africa, even though American companies don’t benefit from it directly. To ensure that it gets renewed . we want to show the US that South Africa is giving something back to the US that will benefit American business,’ the chamber’s executive director Carol O’Brien had told the publication.Doing business with South AfricaDuring the US visit, the chamber discussed the finer details of doing business with South Africa, which included the ownership element of black economic empowerment, local content requirements, labour laws and strikes, lack of policy and cohesiveness among different government departments, according to O’Brien.South Africa is eligible for Agoa this year and also qualifies for textile and apparel benefits, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative. South Africa is the United States’ 39th largest supplier of goods imports in 2013. US goods imports from South Africa totalled $8.5-billion in 2013, a 2.2% decrease ($193- million) from 2012, but up 83% from 2003.The five largest import categories in 2013 were: precious stones which includes platinum and diamonds ($2.6-billion); vehicles ($2.3-billion); iron and steel ($696- million); ores, slag, ash ($577-million); and machinery ($404-million).South Africa exported agricultural products worth $253 million in 2013, and leading categories included wine and beer ($69 million); fresh fruit ($59 million); and tree nuts ($42 million).South African exports to the USSouth Africa was the US’s 36th largest goods export market in 2013. US goods exports to South Africa in 2013 were $7.3-billion, down 3.4% ($259 million) from 2012, but up 159% from 2003.The top export categories for 2013 were: machinery ($1.6-billion), precious stones, mainly gold ($1.1-billion), vehicles ($1.0-billion), electrical machinery ($418-million), and optic and medical instruments ($362-million).US exports of agricultural products to South Africa totalled $295-million in 2013 and the top categories included dairy products ($28-million), wheat ($25-million), planting seeds ($24-million), and poultry meat ($24-million).Foreign direct investmentThe latest data (2012) on US foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Africa was $5.5 billion, a 5.6% decrease from 2011. This FDI was led by the manufacturing and wholesale trade sectors. On the other hand, South Africa FDI in the United States totalled $1.5 billion in 2012, up 55.4% from 2011.In 2012, the US and South Africa signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which amends the United States-South Africa TIFA originally signed in 1999. The most recent meeting of the United States-South Africa Council on Trade and Investment was held in June 2012 in Washington D.C.In addition, the US and the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU), which includes South Africa, signed a Trade, Investment, and Development Cooperative Agreement (TIDCA) in 2008. The TIDCA establishes a forum for consultative discussions, cooperative work, and possible agreements on a wide range of trade issues, with a special focus on customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, and trade and investment promotion.SAinfo reporterSouth African Competitiveness ForumBrand South Africa will host its second South African Competitiveness Forum in Johannesburg on 4 and 5 November 2014 under the theme “Active citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality”. Top minds from business, government, civil society and the academic world will come together to discuss our position in the world, and uncover ways to give South Africa a competitive edge on the global stage. Click here to find out more.Follow the conversation on Twitter via #CompetitiveSA.last_img read more