Category: utcvi

Coalition Govt not practising transformative politics

first_img…being managed sadly as single-party unit – David Hinds…admits ethnic cohesion is heart of social cohesionBy Michael YoungeThe ruling People’s National Congress (PNC)-led A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Government is not practising transformative politics and is being managed as a single party as opposed to a multi-party structure in which life is given to the notions of shared governance and political inclusivity.This is the position of political analyst, Dr David Hinds, who is also an ExecutiveDr David HindsMember of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) party which forms part of the APNU/AFC coalition.Dr Hinds, speaking with Guyana Times during an exclusive interview on Thursday, insisted that Government was underperforming in certain areas because of the inability of its politicians to properly manage coalition dynamics.“The overall governance score sheet has also been mixed – strong foreign policy management but too many political errors of judgement in domestic affairs. I think this is due to less than sterling management of coalition dynamics. The biggest error is the overconcentration of political decision making within the Government and trying to manage the coalition as if it were a single-party administration,” he remarked.Hinds explained that the success of the coalition will depend solely on its ability to modernise its partner by demonstrating a higher level of political maturity when making key decisions that could affect the public’s perception and by extension, the development of the country.Shared governanceAsked whether he believed that shared governance was still the only answer to Guyana’s political woes, he responded in the positive. That form of governance was largely touted by former President Desmond Hoyte and endorsed to an extent by former PNC/R Leader Robert Corbin when he became Guyana’s Opposition Leader in the early 2000s.Former Presidents Cheddi Jagan, Janet Jagan, Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar who sat in the highest seat of power for more than two decades have also accepted from time to time that shared governance appears realistic but it could not work unless those proposing practical structures also proposed feasible initiatives for building political trust and compromise.Several attempts at working out a formula for shared governance since the early 1990s have failed for one reason or the other.But Dr Hinds was adamant that it is still the most feasible answer to bridge Guyana’s political impasse.“But I am concerned about the capacity of our politicians to rise to the occasion. Take for example the mini-shared governance in the form of the coalition. It has not been transformational. There is not a genuine desire on the part of the politicians to share governance – they still take a “dominant-party” mindset into the partnership, which undermines the essence of shared governance. So, you end up with a fragmented Government rather than a partnership based on mutual respect and shared purpose,” he maintained.Dr Hinds added that “This is now my biggest fear of a PPP-PNC power sharing government. They may go into a power sharing arrangement only to undermine it. But I still think it is our best option for some sort of political stability”.Building trustTackling the issue of building trust, the political scientist laid blame at the feet of both the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the PNC for failing to do all that is possible to set aside their differences and work together for the good of Guyana.He reasoned that both parties needed to be on the same wavelength.“The Government has not built trust with the PPP and the PPP has not built trust with the Government. Trust is a two-way process. You cannot build trust with your competitor if they do not want it,” he advised.He argued that while President David Granger’s attempt at bolstering social cohesion within Guyana’s polarised society is laudable, the entire initiative has turned out to be a gimmick.“…But cohesion in a society as divided as ours calls for much more imaginative praxis than we have seen from the Government. Government cannot bring about ethnic cohesion, which is really at the heart of social cohesion. The Government has to be a facilitator, but it must be clear what it is facilitating and how it is going to do that. In a sense the social cohesion experiment could have been and should be the foundation upon which power sharing is built. But I don’t think our leaders think about it in such deep terms”, the public commentator also remarked.2020 electionsDr Hinds called on the coalition to do much more to transform Guyana’s established and seemingly entrenched political culture so that more progress could be had.“It has attempted to alter the political culture in some areas with minimal success. Frankly, it is difficult to change an entrenched political culture in two and a half years. But I feel, there has not been as robust an attempt in that direction as was expected. Part of it has to do with the fact that the old bureaucracy is still in place and partly due to a lack of coherent vision on the part of the governing coalition which has not shown much inclination for transformative politics,” he stated.Asked how important the next election which is due in 2020 is, Dr Hinds described it as “another zero-sum election”.“…It is going to be nasty. The signs are there. The parties are battle ready. The masses have been whipped into line already. I am afraid that it will leave the country more battered and scarred. What is at stake is an oil-wealthy economy which is a politician’s dream – more resources to mismanage in the name of development. I don’t look forward to those elections with much happiness,” he opined.Dr Hinds’ comments come on the heels of statements made by President David Granger about inclusive governance, working with the PPP, and shared governance. The President’s posture had demonstrated his lack of interest in giving PPP a seat in his coalition Government even though he said he is committed to political dialogue and cooperation and inclusivity.last_img read more

Guyana’s 1st state-of-the-art golf course to commence in 2019

first_imgGuyana is set to be the home of a new state of the art golf course. The development of the facility is part of a grander plan to establish a lifestyle community within the Ogle and LBI areas, on the East Coast of Demerara. It is touted to provide employment for Guyanese inclusive of former GuySuCo workers.This was highlighted, on Friday during THAG’s press briefing held at the Roraima Duke Lodge, Duke Street according to a Department of Public Information (DPI) report.Nicklaus Group Senior Senior International Representative, Rodney Carl (left) and Lusignan Golf Club President Aleem Hussain signing their agreement on FridayPresident of the Lusignan Golf Club, Aleem Hussain said the agreement between the Jack Nicklaus Group and the club is one that will not only bring more attention to sport tourism, but also help to pinpoint the country as a tourist destination due to persons not only entering the country for sporting events, but to experience the culture and arts among other attractions in the country.Nicklaus Group Senior International Representative Rodney Carl, said this initiative is one that sets the bars high within the Caribbean region and will be capable of hosting world-class events.“The agenda is to facilitate and create a lifestyle resort establishment that will become a home to many that will come to live here [Guyana]. It will provide a lot of sporting events such as swimming, cycling, tennis among others to both locals and tourists,” Carl explained.He noted that this agenda will also promote the country’s white sand via the design of the golf course.Earth and Marine Environment Consultants (EAME) Managing Director Steve Rowan said that the project is expected to be phased one and will include the rehabilitation of the Lusignan golf club.He noted that, while the location chosen seems to be on the outskirts of Georgetown, it will be, at the core, development due to the upcoming oil industry.According to the Managing Director, a third golf course will also be established to create a golf course destination in Guyana.Meanwhile, this year’s golf tournament set to tee off on November 3 and 4 will be the largest ever event locally. It will cater to 100 players from 12 countries competing for the country’s Open Title and half of a million dollars in prizes. The title has been held by Guyana for the last 15 years and currently by Champion Avinash Persaud, an eight-time defending champion.Hussain said that there will be serious challengers from countries such as Columbia, Canada, USA, Barbados, T&T and Jamaica, among others. Close to 100 companies will also attend to display and promote their products and services.Representation from Motorsport and Women T20 will also be at the event.The golf tournament will kick off the chain of sporting events slated for the sports awareness month in November.last_img read more

Lohan now on mend

first_imgLast July, Lohan was treated for several hours at a Los Angeles-area hospital for overheating and dehydration on the set of “Georgia Rule.” Lohan’s screen credits include “Mean Girls,” “Bobby,” “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Freaky Friday.” – Associated Press Lindsay Lohan is doing “great” in rehab, her mother said. “She’s amazing. She’s great and she’s happy,” Dina Lohan told People magazine in a story posted on its Web site Saturday. “She’s in a really good space right now,” she said at the Child magazine fall 2007 fashion show in New York City on Friday. Lohan, 20, checked into the posh Wonderland Center in Los Angeles last month. Her publicist confirmed Lohan was attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Woman charged with second-degree murder in Taylor death

first_img24-year-old Lisa Miel has been charged with second-degree murder in relation to the death of Kirk Morin on Sunday night in Taylor.She was taken into custody when the Fort St. John RCMP conducted a traffic stop on a white pick-up truck. Further investigations lead to the discovery of Morin on the easement between Cherry Avenue and the Alaska Highway.Morin was the registered owner of the truck.- Advertisement -RCMP were still at the scene on Tuesday investigating exactly what happened that night.Anyone with more information is urged to contact them immediately.Updates will be made as this investigation continues.Advertisementlast_img


first_imgSHE’S the ultimate date for a million men worldwide.But Donegal supermodel Faye Dinsmore has eyes for just one thing….her puppy Coco.The 23-year-old from Ballintra even posed for a picture with Coco this week, claiming that she even looked like the pooch. She even captioned the picture ‘When owners and their dogs look alike!.”Friends say Faye “absolutely adores” Coco and can’t wait to see it on her trips home to Donegal as she juggles modeling with her degree in French and Classics at Trinity College Dublin.After she finishes her exams in May, she’s off to Everest Basecamp to raise money for charity.The Everest trek will see Faye and her sister Beth join a group of volunteers in climbing to the basecamp. The trek takes place for 17 days from May 5 to May 22 and will raise money for Suas, an educational development charity and will provide funds for education projects in India and Kenya. Participants are expected to be in good physical health and able to walk up to several hours a day in hilly terrain with a light back pack. For more information on the trek go to www.suas.ie/everest. DONEGAL SUPERMODEL FAYE FINDS PUPPY LOVE was last modified: March 9th, 2012 by BrendaShare 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:BallintradonegalFaye Dinsmoresuper modeltrinity collegelast_img read more

How full every Premier League club’s stadium has been this campaign

first_imgTottenham Hotspur’s new stadium isn’t far away from completion, by the looks of it, and fans will be thankfully when they return home.Spurs only managed to get 43,268 supporters through the door at Wembley to see their win over Cardiff City as they run out of patience.Manager Mauricio Pochettino was seen pointing to the closed upper tiers before kick, obviously wondering why it was so empty. Wembley looks empty as Spurs take on Cardiff. London Stadium is almost always full, according to West Ham’s statistics… huge blow Most Popular Premier League News latest 5. Wolverhampton Wanderers’s Molineux stadium has been 99.1 per cent full this season3= Brighton and Hove Albion’s Amex Stadium has been 99.3 per cent full this season3= Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium has been 99.3 per cent full this season2. Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park has been 99.7 per cent full this season1. West Ham United’s stadium has been 99.8 per cent full this season Supporters at Anfield hold their scarves aloft. 6 The average first-team salaries at every Premier League club in 2019 20. Tottenham Hotspur’s Wembley Stadium has been 67.3 per cent full this season 6 TOP WORK SORRY Guardiola-inspired tactics: Is this how Arsenal will line up under Arteta? 6 changes 10. Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium has been 97.7 per cent full this season9. Everton’s Goodison Park has been 98.1 per cent full this season7= Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium has been 98.4 per cent full this season7= Leicester City’s stadium has been 98.4 per cent full this season6. Newcastle United’s St James’ Park stadium has been 98.9 per cent full this season How Everton could look in January under Ancelotti with new signings Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City 6 Liverpool news live: Klopp reveals when Minamino will play and issues injury update 19. Burnley’s Turf Moor has been 88.2 per cent full this season18. Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium has been 91.0 per cent full this season17. Southampton’s stadium has been 91.3 per cent full this season16. Watford’s Vicarage Road stadium has been 93.5 per cent full this season 15. Fulham’s Craven Cottage has been 94.4 per cent full this season14. Cardiff City’s stadium has been 94.5 per cent full this season13. Huddersfield Town’s stadium has been 94.8 per cent full this season12. Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge has been 96.7 per cent full this season11. Liverpool’s Anfield stadium has been 96.9 per cent full this season Liverpool’s signings under Michael Edwards – will Minamino be the next big hit? predicted 6 Hornets fans love captain Troy Deeney. whoops Sky Sports presenter apologises for remarks made during Neville’s racism discussion 6 gameday cracker It’s not too hard to work out why, with supporters facing long treks across the English capital, plus huge waits in queues to get to Wembley Park tube station.The lack of fans at the 1-0 Premier League win over the Welsh side now means Tottenham are rock bottom of the table when it comes down to how full stadiums have been this season.But which clubs have managed to pack the most supporters in so far in this campaign, according to soccerstats.com? Find out below. Rafa Benitez is currently a hero at St James’ Park tense Did Mahrez just accidentally reveal Fernandinho is leaving Man City this summer? Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury revealed Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT Pochettino looks up to the empty tiers at Wembley. *Some clubs report their attendances as tickets sold, while others report fans through the turnstiles…last_img read more

European Leagues: Juve, Inter, Dortmund held as PSG thump Marseille

first_img Tags: BundesligaEuropean FootballLa LigaLigue OneSerie A This is Juve’s second draw of the season. (PHOTOS/Courtesy)Serie A defending Juventus were subjected to a second draw of the season as they were held to a 1-1 result away to Lecce.Playing without star-player Cristiano Ronaldo, the Old Lady struggled upfront and had to wait until the 50th minute for Paulo Dybala to dispatch a penalty to put them one up. However, six minutes later, Marco Mancosu replied in kind with a penalty of his own to level the scores.Despite the draw, Juve remains top of the Serie A with 23 points, one ahead of second-placed Inter Milan.For Inter, they missed out on a chance to reclaim top spot as they were also held to a 2-2 draw at home to Parma on the same day.Antonio Candreva put Antonio Conte’s side 1-0 up on 23 minutes but Parma turned the game on its head with two goals in four first-half minutes through Yann Karamoh and Gervinho, ensuring the visitors enjoy the lead at the break. Six minutes into the second half, Romelu Lukuku levelled matters but Inter could not find a winner despite relentless attacks late on in the game.Inter remain second on the log with 22 points, one behind leaders Juve while Lecce climbs out of the relegation zone and are now on 8 points from their first 9 games.On Sunday, Atalanta maintained third spot with a resounding 7-1 victory over 10-man Udinese.Udinese took the lead on 11 minutes through Stefano Okaka but a Luis Muriel hattrick, Josip Ilicic’s brace and a goal each by Mario Paali and Amad Traore saw Torino come from behind to register a 6th victory of the season.In the biggest clash of the weekend, Edin Dzeko and Nicolo Zaniolo scored either side of Theo Hernandez’s second-half strike as Roma condemned AC Milan to a third loss of the season.Arkadiusz Milik struck early but Jasmin Kurti replied in kind as Napoli were held to a 1-1 draw away to SPAL.In Florence, Ciro Immobile scored with just a minute on the clock to help Lazio defeat Fiorentina 2-1. Joaquin Correa had initially put the visitors ahead on 22 minutes before Federico Chiesa equalized.Elsewhere, Sassuolo beat Hellas Verona 1-0 on Friday, Genoa defeated Brescia 3-1 on Saturday, Bologna were 2-1 winners at home to Sampdoria while Torino drew 1-1 with Cagliari.In Spain, Granada took over top spot in the La Liga standings thanks to a 1-0 win over Real Betis.With the El Classico postponed, Vadilo struck in the 61st minute to propel Granada top of the pile on 20 points, one ahead of Barca who have played a game less.Granada now hold a one-point lead atop the La Liga standings.On Saturday, Saul Niguez and Alvaro Morata each scored once in either half as Atletico Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano.Victory sees Atletico climb into 4th on 19 points while Bilbao drops to 10th on 13 points from 10 games.Sevilla were also 2-0 winners over Getafe on the same day. After a scoreless first half, Javier Hernandez and Lucas Ocampos scored twice in three minutes to ensure Sevilla register a 6th victory of the season that sees them move into 5th with 19 points.On the same day, Osasuna came from a goal down to stun Valencia 3-1. Rodrigo put the visitors ahead on 14 minutes and was then sent off 15 minutes later. The home side took the initiative with Ojer, Ruben Garcia and Estupinan each scoring one to ensure victory.Elsewhere, Villarreal beat Alaves 4-1, Leganes were 1-0 winners at home to Mallorca, Valladolid defeated Eibar 2-0 while Celta lost 1-0 at home to Sociedad.In France, PSG moved 8 points clear at the top of the standings thanks to a 4-0 win over Marseille on Sunday night.Still without the injured Neymar Jr, The Parisians ran riot in the first half with Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe each scoring twice in the opening 45 minutes.Victory takes PSG to 27 points from 11 games, 8 ahead of second-placed Nantes who succumbed to a 22nd minute Ben Yedder goals to lose 1-0 at home on Friday night.PSG have collected 27 points from their first 11 games.On Saturday, Lille beat Bordeaux 3-0 with Benjamin Andre, Loic Remy and Yusuf Yazici all getting onto the score-sheet.Lyon also ended a 7 game winless run with a convincing 2-0 victory at home to Metz. Two first-half goals through Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembele did the damage for Rudi Garcia’s men.On the same day, Strasbourg beat Nice 1-0, Brest were 2-0 winners at home to Dijon, Rennes and Nimes drew 0-0, the same result from Angers’ visit to Montpellier.On Sunday, Rennes won a five-goal thriller at home to Toulouse with Yann Gboho scoring the winning goal in the 90th minute.Saint Etienne required a late Bakaye Dibassy goal to draw 2-2 at home to Amiens.In Germany, Borussia Monchengladbach maintained top spot thanks to a 4-2 victory at home to Frankfurt on Sunday. Marcus Thuram, Ozcar Wendt, Nico Elvedi and Denis Zakaria scored Gladbach’s goals while Danny da Costa and Martin Hinteregger were on target for the visitors.Gladbach now move to 19 points, one ahead of Bayern Munich.Borussia Monchengladbach are now one point ahead of defending champions Bayern Munich.Bayern were also in action this past weekend, scrapping past Union Berlin 2-1 at the Allianz Arena.Benjamin Pavard and Robert Lewandowski gave Bayern a 53rd minute 2-0 lead but Sebastian Polter dispatched an 88th-minute penalty to ensure a nervy ending.In the Biggest game of the weekend, Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund drew 0-0 on Saturday.Still on Saturday, Freiburg continued their magnificent start to the season as they stunned RB Leipzig 2-1. Nicolas Hofler and Nils Petersen scored for the hosts while Lukas Klostermann struck a late consolation for Leipzig.The result means Freiburg climb into third, two points behind leaders Gladbach while Leipzig drop into 6 with 15 points from 9 games.Elsewhere, Mainz defeated Koln 3-1 on Friday, Hoffenheim were 3-2 winners at Hertha on Saturday, Pederbon beat Dusseldorf 2-0, Leverkusen were held to a 2-2 draw against Bremen while Wolfsburg drew 0-0 with Augsburg.Results from Serie A match-day 9-Hellas Verona 0-1 Sassuolo-Lecce 1-1 Juventus-Inter Milan 2-2 Parma-Genoa 3-1 Brescia-Bologna 2-1 Sampdoria-Atalanta 7-1 Udinese-SPAL 1-1 Napoli-Torino 1-1 Cagliari-AS Roma 2-1 AC Milan-Fiorentina 1-2 LazioResults from La Liga match-day 10-Villarreal 4-1 Alaves-Leganes 1-0 Mallorca-Valladolid 2-0 Eibar-Atletico 2-0 Bilbao-Celta 0-1 Sociedad-Granada 1-0 Betis-Levante 0-1 Espanyol-Sevilla 2-0 Getafe-Osasuna 3-1 ValenciaResults from Ligue One match-day 11-Nantes 0-1 Monaco-Lille 3-0 Bordeaux-Strasbourg 1-0 Nice-Brest 2-0 Dijon-Lyon 2-0 Metz-Reims 0-0 Nimes-Montpellier 0-0 Angers-Rennes 3-2 Toulouse-Saint Etienne 2-2 Amiens-PSG 4-0 MarseilleResults from Bundesliga match-day 9-Mainz 05 3-1 Koln-Bayern 2-1 Union Berlin-Hertha Berlin 2-3 Hoffenheim-Freiburg 2-1 Leipzig-Schalke 04 0-0 DortmundPaderborn 2-0 Dusseldorf-Leverkusen 2-2 Bremen-Wolfsburg 0-0 Augsburg-Gladbach 4-2 FrankfurtComments last_img read more

Just 2 out of 607 new IDA-supported companies in Donegal

first_imgOnly 2 of the 607 IDA supported companies that have located in Ireland have come to Donegal since 2008.Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn revealed the figures.He described them as a “damning indictment of the job creation policies of this government and those before it”. Senator Mac Lochlainn has also revealed that while there has been a 50% increase in jobs at IDA supported companies across the State since 2002, the number of jobs in Donegal in IDA supported companies has “stood still”.He said “I have obtained these figures from the Minister for Jobs and Enterprise, Frances Fitzgerald in response to a parliamentary question and from an examination of the IDA’s annual reports since 2002.“They are frankly, a damning indictment of job creation policies over those years under Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael led governments. Only 2 out of the 607 new IDA supported companies that have set up in Ireland since 2008 have come to Donegal. That’s in a period where various governments promised us “balanced regional development”.“I have also established that since 2002, the number of jobs in IDA supported companies across the State has increased by 50% from 133,000 to 200,000 jobs in 2016. However, here in Donegal, we have pretty much stood still, moving from 2,873 IDA supported jobs in 2002 to 3,039 jobs last year. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the tremendous success of Pramerica, led by local leaders, those numbers would have halved”. “The Government and the IDA should have been able to build on the success story of Pramerica and other companies that have located in Donegal. They should also have built on the vision and leadership of the team at LYIT who have delivered the CoLab for start up businesses and the Science and Technology Park.“The excuses have to stop and the delivery to Donegal of our fair share of jobs and investment needs to start. The Government need to outline their plan to make this happen”.Just 2 out of 607 new IDA-supported companies in Donegal was last modified: August 1st, 2017 by StephenShare 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:donegalIDAjobslast_img read more

OOL Foolishness Is Out of Control

first_img(Visited 310 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Most scientists working on origin of life (OOL) have lost all semblance of respect for empiricism.Welcome to OOL Fantasyland! In this magic kingdom, you can make up stories out of thin air, and science reporters will praise you for your unfettered imagination. Life is so simple to these scientists and reporters, it just pops into existence where you find heat, water, or chemicals (see the Poof Spoof in the Darwin Dictionary). The very forces that kill life are actually its creators, to these people. In their dreams, life can emerge anywhere: deep underground, in a volcano, on a cold moon, or even in the vacuum of space. Need proof? Look at these recent examples of what the media puts out on a regular basis:Volcanic Activity on Ancient Mars May Have Produced Organic Life (Elizabeth Howell on Seeker). Mix a little poison carbon monoxide with some poison sulfur, and presto! Life! Howell didn’t get this on her own. She got it from a working OOL pro:“This is important from an astrobiology standpoint because these reducing anoxic conditions have been hypothesized as being important to the origin of life on the early Earth,” said lead author Stephen Sholes, a Ph.D. candidate in earth and space sciences and astrobiology at the University of Washington, said in an e-mail to Seeker.This science-fiction article was reproduced verbatim on Space.com  and Live Science.Astrochemistry: How life may have begun in space (Science Daily). To German researchers, the building blocks of life came to earth in the vacuum of space aboard comets. And those building blocks had building blocks: atoms! “Besides hydrogen and oxygen, the icy core of comets usually also contains nitrogen and carbon — all the elements needed for an amino acid.” An amino acid is about as far from life as rust is from an iron skyscraper.Suns UV Light Helped Spark Life (Elizabeth Howell on Astrobiology Magazine). There was a time when OOL researchers were honest enough to worry about UV radiation destroying the building blocks of life. They worried about how to protect hopeful molecules in the primordial soup from the deadly rays. Now, “High energy, ultraviolet radiation from the Sun is a known to hazard to life, yet the energy provided by our star has played an important role as the essential driver of life on Earth,” Howell says. Seeing hundreds of copies of this article on the web, it looks like we might be the only one seeing the problems with it. All the other reporters just copy & paste it blindly as if it is “breaking news.”First Oceans May Have Been Acidic (Weizmann Institute). What would Moses say? His promised land has become a hotbed of materialist imagineers. A “model” rigged by Israeli scientists “suggests that the early oceans, right around the time that life originated, were somewhat acidic, and that they gradually became alkaline.” Today’s animals would suffer in the conditions of their model, but they believe that primitive organisms just trying to emerge did just fine. For how long? “Millions of years,” the moyboys say, not the First Day. Any evidence for this? No; it’s all in models in their heads, with numerous free parameters they can tweak to taste. For cred in Big Media, they mix anthropogenic climate change into their soup recipe.“We had an early ocean more acidic than today in which primitive life thrived and chemical cycles were balanced; but if we want to apply this insight to today, we have to remember that this balance of acids and bases was maintained over geological timescales — millions of years,” he adds. “Today’s acidification from CO2 is much more rapid, so this model does not apply to the short-term problem. Hundreds of thousands of years from now, the oceans will have found a new balance, but between now and then, marine organisms and environments may suffer.“A new idea connects the synthesis of clays and the origin of metabolism (Phys.org). Clays are like magic tablets on which the forces of nature draw life. Ever since the clay theory was put forth by Graham Cairns-Smith, certain OOL groups have pondered their powers. Now, some wizards at MIT and in Canada are just trying to get the clay to form with some zinc that they think will help the molecules gather that a cell will need for metabolism. “The outcome of this work has direct implications to understand the origin of life on the early Earth and other rocky planets,” they mumble, waving their divining rods over the clay. Getting DNA and RNA to take over their mythical metabolism — that’s somebody else’s problem.Hunt for Why We Exist Turns to Weird Atomic Decay (Live Science). Before you can have life, you need a universe of matter. Fortunately, our universe fits that bill. Explaining the absence of antimatter has been a problem for decades. It’s weird, all right: “A never-before-seen type of radioactivity could explain why matter, including humans, exists today.”Having documented some of the rampant speculation that passes for empirical science in this field, with its astronomical perhapsimaybecouldness index, let’s examine one paper that tries to seriously account for the origin of important building blocks hitherto difficult to originate. Eight Czech scientists write the following paper in PNAS: “Formation of nucleobases in a Miller–Urey reducing atmosphere.” Ah, yes: that old spark-discharge apparatus comes to the aid of the wizards!The study shows that Miller–Urey experiments produce RNA nucleobases in discharges and laser-driven plasma impact simulations carried out in a simple prototype of reducing atmosphere containing ammonia and carbon monoxide. We carried out a self-standing description of chemistry relevant to hypothesis of abiotic synthesis of RNA nucleobases related to early-Earth chemical evolution under reducing conditions. The research addresses the chemistry of simple-model reducing atmosphere (NH3 + CO + H2O) and the role of formamide as an intermediate of nucleobase formation in Miller–Urey experiment. The explorations combine experiments performed using modern techniques of large, high-power shock wave plasma generation by hall terawatt lasers, electric discharges, and state-of-the-art ab initio free-energy calculations.Impressive. But wait; didn’t critics decide that the Earth did not have a reducing atmosphere? They realize this; “The existence of a global reducing atmosphere on early Earth has been debated during the almost 60 y after the famous Miller–Urey experiment,” they say. Sixty years. “So far, the most accepted theories are inclined toward a neutral atmosphere containing an excess of CO2 with N2 and water vapor.” OK, so why are they proposing a reducing atmosphere against the consensus? Because they need one. In an oxidizing atmosphere, nothing worthwhile for OOL happens; and even if it did, UV energy and lightning would likely destroy the precocious material as fast as it formed. Free oxygen is also deadly to ‘prebiotic’ chemistry. And isn’t carbon monoxide a deadly poison?Under carefully designed, unrealistic conditions, applying their minds to the purposeful goal of showing no minds existed, they did get “all of the RNA canonical nucleobases—uracil, cytosine, adenine, and guanine—together with urea and the simplest amino acid, glycine” in parts per million. This result came with a caveat: “However, we should note that the sub-parts per million level reached in laser experiments for pyrimidine bases is a threshold detection limit of the used method.” Maybe there was no signal in the noise. Of course, no ribose was formed, without which these molecules would be useless for life.One more little problem. They did something that earned Miller and Urey a fair amount of criticism. All of the “discharge products” were protected and “concentrated in liquid-nitrogen trap.” No such traps would have been available on the primordial Earth. The parts-per-million desired products would quickly have become parts per trillion and parts per septillion as they diffused freely in water, and would have been exposed to the destructive effects of UV radiation, oxygen, and cross-reactions with  undesirable molecules formed in greater numbers by the same mechanisms that formed the desirable ones. And it wasn’t a reducing atmosphere, anyway.“But at least they’re doing experiments!” we can hear from the screaming atheists. “What experiments are YOU doing?” Just applying some simple logic. If the experiments have nothing to do with the real world, aren’t they engaging in fake science? If reporters run with the fake science and report it, aren’t they engaging in fake news? Are atheists telling us that engaging in fake science and fake news is better than doing nothing at all? We hope not. Doing some things is worse than doing nothing at all. Bad logic is a great falsifier for pseudo-scientists going the wrong way. We wish to pull them back to square one, change their assumptions, and open their minds to consider logical alternatives that might actually be a productive use of their time. We wish to save them additional decades of irrelevant games in fantasyland. Think of it as tough love.last_img read more

South Africa’s record tax revenue haul

first_imgMembers of Parliament this week congratulated the South African Revenue Service (Sars) for collecting a record R674.2-billion in tax revenue in 2010/11 – up by 13% over the previous financial year. Briefing the National Assembly’s standing committee on finance, Sars Commissioner Oupa Magashula said this year’s tax haul – which also exceeded Sars’ collection target by R2-billion – topped that of 2009, when Sars collected R625-billion. As part of a new VAT risk process VAT vendors selected for further verification of their refund claims are now given the option to either submit documents in support of their declaration or to revise their declaration when an error is suspected. Almost a quarter of vendors given this option had opted to revise their refund downwards, with the result that close to R4-billion had been saved by the fiscus. Magashula said 81% of taxpayers had filed their taxes on time in the last tax season and that 79% of refunds were paid out within 48 hours. In the last tax season Sars collected R287.2-billion in VAT and paid out about R10-billion in VAT refunds a month, making it the largest tax administered by Sars. Magashula said Sars continued to play a leading role in a number of international multilateral tax and customs forums, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Customs Organisation. Cutting down on VAT fraud He said six of the country’s seven tax categories had increased over 2010, with the main contributors being personal income tax, up by R21.6-billion, and Value Added Tax (VAT), which was up by R35.6-billion. Only corporate income tax had shown a slight decrease. World-class software platform The Sars call centre handled over five-million calls last year – including a record of over three-million calls during the 2010 tax season. During the 2010 tax season 2.7-million returns were assessed within 24 hours – up 18% from the 2009 tax season (2.3-million returns) assessed during the same period. Magashula said the cost of collecting tax had remained at between 1% and 1.2% for every R1 collected over the past six years, which he pointed out made Sars one of most cost-effective revenue administrations in the world. 21 October 2011 Tax revenue has increased at an average of 11.8% year on year since the 1995 financial year. Dramatic growth in electronic filingcenter_img A total of R191-million was collected through fines levied on more than 125 000 taxpayers that had submitted outstanding returns after being issued with administrative penalties. Sars had also introduced a self-management tool for VAT vendors in which vendors are able to manage their own VAT accounts, he said, adding that further improvements are anticipated as the VAT modernisation continues. The Receiver also recorded an 83% success rate when it came to investigative audits on taxpayers, which had resulted in about R3.9-billion netted. In the area of customs, the Receiver had made 23 580 seizures – including counterfeit CDs, DVDs, drugs, clothing and cigarettes – with a street value of R994-million. Magashula said the modernisation of VAT had resulted in over 88% of VAT declarations being paid out within 48 hours. This has reduced VAT credits held by Sars, from R27.8-billion at the start of the financial year to R22-billion currently. Sars was also re-engineering its customs inspection process which would help to combat customs fraud. This has resulted in inspectors no longer being allowed to select the cases they work on – these are now randomly assigned to inspectors. He thanked the 15 000 employees of Sars who he said had worked “tirelessly to serve with dedication, passion and integrity and an unwavering commitment to meeting the needs of the South Africa people”. This included the introduction at the beginning of this year of an additional verification process after a flag was raised when an increase in VAT refunds was not supported by a similar increase in corporate income tax. The number of registered users on e-Filing had increased 12-fold – from 500 000 at the end of 2006 to just over six-million users by the end of March this year. The dramatic growth in online filing resulted in just 4.2% of tax returns (186 000) being submitted on paper in the 2010 tax season – down from eight percent in the 2009 tax season. Of all the tax types, VAT had the biggest scope for abuse and the Receiver had introduced a number of measures over the past few years to reduce fraud. The Receiver had also invested in a 100% Sars-owned subsidiary company, Clidet 967, which would develop a world class customs software platform for South Africa, as well as for other tax administrations on the continent. Investigative taxpayer audits Source: BuaNewslast_img read more