Cabinet addresses economy, higher education

first_imgIn a statment by the cabinet summarising its recent meeting, ministers discussed the state of South Africa’s economy and funding for universities. It indicated that dealing with these challenges appropriately can bring great opportunities for the country.STATEMENT ON THE SPECIAL CABINET MEETING OF 13 JANUARY 20161. Economy1.1. Cabinet met to deliberate on the state of the economy and budget related matters. Cabinet noted a number of factors impacting on the economy of the country.The global outlook has deteriorated in recent months. Slower global growth reflects, in particular, weaker performance and higher risks in several important developing countries, including China.The welcomed recovery expected in the USA is likely to result in rising global interest rates. Depressed trade volumes and turbulence in global capital markets underscore the need for nations to build resilience and act cautiously in the period ahead.Cabinet further noted that there were some benefits from the low price of crude oil.  As a major commodity exporter, South Africa is concerned about the continued weakness in commodity prices.Government continues to build on the country’s diverse economic structure, and export earnings continue to depend to a great extent on metals and semi processed raw materials.The fall in commodity prices is unlikely to reverse speedily. This will have sustained consequences for the South African economy and many of our partners on the African continent.The depreciation of the Rand over the last few years offers much better prospects for export growth and, combined with a lower global oil price, has helped to relieve pressure on the current account. However, weaker growth in South Africa’s major trading partners has meant subdued demand for South African products abroad.The global environment is regarded as particularly challenging for emerging markets, with lower commodity prices and tightening of monetary policy in the USA putting pressure on capital flows and growth expectations. This has translated into significant volatility in capital markets.The South African Rand, which is amongst the most traded emerging market currencies, has been particularly hard-hit in recent weeks.In this difficult global context, in which all economies face difficult challenges, Cabinet reaffirmed the need for government to intervene strategically and more decisively to restore the momentum of economic growth.1.2. The National Development Plan provides for these interventions. Government will reach out to social partners, particularly business and organised labour, to build consensus on the collective actions required to stabilise the economy, build confidence, raise the level of investment and return South Africa to a path of inclusive economic growth. The State of the Nation Address on 11 February will take account of this work.1.3. Cabinet endorsed stronger measures to restore a sustainable fiscal path, taking account of the weakened outlook for the global economy and its domestic consequences. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will unveil the measures when he presents the national budget on 24 February 2016.2. Higher Education fundingCabinet approved amendments to national budget allocations that would shift resources to fund universities without breaching previously announced spending limits.President Jacob Zuma and Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande recently indicated that these allocations would cover the zero-fee increment agreed for the current academic year, clear accumulated debt owed by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) students and prevent the accumulation of such debt over the medium term.These intervention measures are a response to a number of consultations which started in October 2015 and are still continuing.   The Minister of Higher Education and training  with his management team has held a number of meetings with SASCO leadership, all Student Representative Councils, University South Africa Forum , South African Union of Students, the CEO’s of SETA’s , Higher Education Transformation Network and the Parliamentary committee responsible for higher education.The President also met with the leadership of the students and has announced the setting up of the Commission to look into the issues raised in Higher Education. These engagements are still continuing as we believe as government we do want to work towards finding a lasting solution. The demands of the students are in line with the objectives of the programme of government in respect of education.2.1.1. As an immediate measure, R2.33 billion has been allocated to resolve the shortfall in operational funding for universities as a result of the agreement on a 0% fee increment for 2016.2.1.2. In the 2016/17 financial year, government has reprioritized R2.543 billion of State funding to be allocated to NSFAS to provide loans to assist 71 753 identified students who qualified for NSFAS funding but were either partially or not funded at all over the past three academic years. This means that these deserving students will not be prevented from continuing with their studies for owing universities outstanding fees.2.1.3. A further R2.039 billion will be allocated to NSFAS in the 2016/17 financial year to support unfunded or under-funded students still in the university system in 2016 to complete their qualifications.These funds are additional to the R10 billion that NSFAS will administer in the 2016 academic year.Government is committed to providing post-school education for all academically deserving students that is free at the point of delivery for the poor and the working class, within fiscally sustainable limits. Cabinet calls on students, workers, academics and university administrators to work together with government to achieve this goal. Actions that disrupt learning or create unreasonable and practically unachievable expectations are counterproductive. Violence and intimidation are not acceptable.2.2. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to recognize that there are challenging circumstances in the period ahead. Global economic conditions have weakened. The impact of lower commodity prices is already being felt in South Africa. Domestic constraints such as insufficient electricity supply are still with us. The severe drought is causing hardships in several provinces.Cabinet is confident that South Africans remain as a resilient nation that knows the value of working together in peace and harmony. The recent exposure of individuals with racist’s beliefs has strengthen our collective commitment to build a nonracial, nonsexist and prosperous society.3. AppointmentsCabinet approved the following appointments:3.1. Mr Shonisani Mathews Munzhedzi as Deputy Director-General (DDG): Biodiversity and Conservation in the Department of Environmental Affairs.3.2. Ms Siphokazi Ndudane as DDG: Fisheries Management in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.last_img read more

The Next Generation of Adobe Creative Cloud Is Now Available

first_imgAdobe has released their fall 2017 updates for Creative Cloud. Here are some of the new features that you can use to streamline your editing workflow.Images and Videos via Adobe.This morning, Adobe announced new features across the Creative Cloud. These new toolsets enhance your editing speed with easy-to-use graphics, Team Projects, and new VR compatibility.Adobe Team ProjectsThe Team Projects tool is now out of beta and fully released in both Premiere Pro and After Effects. You can now share one project file among multiple people. Use it to collaborate with your colleagues, and they can insert notes in the project file or make a few edits without having to manually move the project and its assets to a separate drive.The Team Projects tool also has an auto-save feature, which automatically saves all your edits and uploads them to the shared project file.Visit Adobe learn more about Team Projects.Multiple Open Projects — Premiere ProWe can finally open multiple projects at the same time. Now you can move clips and sequences between projects without importing the project file into separate projects. This is a huge update that we have been hoping for, and it is sure to help you organize your videos across multiple projects.Improved Graphics Workflows — Premiere ProThe graphics ingrained in Premiere Pro that we first saw a few updates ago have received a huge makeover. Adobe has introduced a new feature called Responsive Design, which adapts to a multitude of changes you might go through in an edit. Even when you shorten a graphic in a ripple edit, the entrance and exit keyframes automatically adjust to fit the new time duration. You can also apply the Responsive Design to Position, so your graphic assets will adjust to extra characters while maintaining the original composition.Title selection in your preview frame is no longer going to be a giant hassle. The previous graphics grabbing tools were a bit laggy and hard to use, but Adobe has fixed those and included the ability to select multiple text layers in the preview window.A big new feature is the ability to edit the properties of After Effects graphics and templates inside of Premiere Pro without even installing After Effects. This is huge for editors comfortable with Premiere Pro but not that familiar with After Effects. They can now use and edit After Effects graphics and assets natively in Premiere Pro.VR CompatibilityAdobe has added new VR features that gives you the tools to create truly immersive video. You can now use a VR headset to view your timeline in real-time while still using the keyboard to add markers or make cuts. This new view mode helps you ensure that the your VR video works well in practical application.Animating with Data and Expressions — After EffectsYou can now take data from a .JSON file and import it into After Effects to use for infographics or motion capture visualizations. When you update your data in the .JSON file, the infographics will automatically adjust to the new information. This is great for creating infographics with constantly changing data, so when you have to make adjustments to corporate budgets or a number of users for an upcoming meeting quickly, a simple replacement of the number in the .JSON file will update the infographic.Auto-Ducking — AuditionThis is the one new feature that really puts Adobe’s adaptive AI, Sensei, to work. The A.I. will automatically adjust your background music track where there is dialogue or other sound elements. To the editors who have gone through the painstaking task of manually pinning and lowering the music track to adjust for dialogue: this new feature is a gift from the Adobe gods. What took about 30 minutes to a few hours to do now only takes the A.I. a few minutes.Pricing and AvailabilityUnfortunately, the monthly price for Creative Cloud has been increased: it is now $52.99 for individuals and $79.99 for teams. The small price increase may be a bummer, but with all the new time-saving features and abilities, it looks well worth the price. The updates are currently available for download from your Creative Cloud app.Looking for more information on the Creative Cloud? Check out these resources.Change the Language of Adobe Creative Cloud AppsHow to Read Lumetri Scopes in Adobe Premiere ProHow to Quickly Retouch Skin in Adobe After EffectsAdobe Takes the Lead in 360 Video and VR by Acquiring Mettle SkyBoxlast_img read more

Seven killed in U.P. road accident

first_imgSix students and a teacher were crushed to death while two others were injured after being hit by a speeding bus on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway on Monday morning, the police said. According to a police spokesperson, the accident happened in Tirwa area of the district at around 4 a.m. “The students were filling diesel from one bus to another when they were run over by a bus which was passing by. As of now seven persons, including a teacher and students, have died, while two others are injured,” the police spokesperson said. The students were from Sant Kabirnagar district and were going to Haridwar. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has expressed sorrow over the loss of life. A U.P. government spokesperson said that Mr. Adityanath has condoled the death of six Basic Training Certificate students and a teacher of Prabha Devi Vidyalaya, Sant Kabirnagar, in a road accident in Kannauj. THe Chief Minister has announced a financial assistance of ₹2 lakh for the kin of each of the deceased and ₹50,000 for each of the injured persons. He has also directed the officials to get an FIR registered in the matter and asked them to provide proper medical treatment to the injured persons.last_img read more

‘BJP did not keep its promise on Statehood’

first_imgA rally by leading Bodo organisations at Kokrajhar in Assam on Monday demanded a separate Bodoland and blamed the BJP-led government at the Centre for not keeping its promise on Statehood. The All Bodo Students Union, the National Democratic Front of Bodoland Progressive and Peoples Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement participated in the rally, sources said. ABSU president Promod Boro said that the BJP-led government at the Centre had promised that their problems would be solved. “It is now more than four and a half years but the government is yet to take any policy decision on the issue.”The BJP had assured to fulfil the demand for separate State before the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2016 Assembly elections, “but they forgot their commitments”, he said. “We believe in the Indian Constitution and are not demanding anything against it. We want a separate Bodo State which can solve our problems,” the ABSU leader said. The united Bodo movement seeks a national policy on the issue of settlement of Bodoland State, to expedite the process of dialogue at the political level, ensure the political rights of the Bodos living outside the proposed Bodoland area and to grant ST Hills status to the Bodos living in Assam, sources said.last_img read more

Cong spared Reliance SEZ of Rs 50cr fine Haryana Min

first_imgAs Opposition leaders raised the Reliance SEZ issue in the Assembly on Tuesday, State Finance and Industries Minister Abhimanyu said the then state government had entered into a MoU with Reliance Industries in 2005 to set up the Special Economic Zone in the Gurgaon-Jhajjar region.“A MoU was signed between HSIIDC and Reliance Ventures Limited on December 12, 2005. Based on the decision of the Haryana Cabinet, HSIIDC signed a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with Reliance Ventures Limited on June 19, 2006, for setting up a multi product SEZ over an area of 25,000 acres in Gurgaon-Jhajjar. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJI“However, it was later decided to shelve the SEZ project and JVA was terminated on August 29, 2014,” Abhimanyu said, while adding that the previous Congress government had promised “lakhs of jobs” and huge investment in the state from the project. To questions raised by some independent and INLD MLAs, Abhimanyu informed the House that “no tender/competitive bidding process was followed in firming up the project, but a MoU was signed between the two parties….” The minister further stated that many decisions regarding the Reliance SEZ project were taken by the Council of Ministers of the previous Congress government and some even outside the knowledge of the State Cabinet. He also said that Reliance Industries had returned nearly 1,384 acres of land in Gurgaon that was acquired for its SEZ. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindRHSL had last year returned 1,383.68 acres of land in Gurgaon acquired from HSIIDC for setting up SEZs. Responding to a question raised by an INLD MLA, the Minister said that a penalty of approximately Rs 50 crore could have been slapped by the previous Congress government on the company, but it chose not to do so. RHSL, was a joint venture between Reliance Ventures Ltd (RVL), RIL’s wholly-owned subsidiary, and government of Haryana through HSIIDC. The JV was established for development of SEZs/Model Economic Township (MET) project and other infrastructure facilities in Haryana.last_img read more

Nurturing musical talent

first_imgGurugram witnessed a musical concert which was organised on the weekend at the ‘Theme Music World’, DLF Mega Mall Gurugram. Minu Puri, a Music composer and pianist, performed in the concert along with her students where she was accompanied by French jazz pianist and composer, Benjamin Barria, who tried his hand on some of her compositions. Minu Puri heads a school in Gurugram for piano lovers. Her concert featured one of her youngest students Gauri Mishra, who is just 10 years old and is also among the most talented people in her group. She played some of the famous Bollywood numbers and completely won over the audience by her heart-warming performance. Gauri Mishra has created the national record of being the youngest piano player at the tender age of 9. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe evening was further graced by a performance by Francis Barria, a singer, composer, and animator with forty years of experience in this field. He was the producer and animator for 11 years of the French show “La nuit des clips” in French National Tours. Francis sang a few jazz numbers and thrilled the audience by singing Hindi songs composed by Minu Puri. Also, he raised the excitement level of the audience by singing a famous Bollywood song ‘Mera Joota hai Japani’. His wonderful rendition forced the audience to leave their seat and dance to their heart’s content. The students of Minu Puri were praised and awarded for their great performances.last_img read more

Heat relief mission State introduces AC tram for daily passengers

first_imgKolkata: The state Transport department has introduced an air conditioned tram for daily passengers in the city.Till now, the air conditioned trams were only used on special occasions such as birthdays of dignitaries and celebration of events. Such trams were hired for some time with a designated charge on hourly basis. “At present, we have only four AC trams in our fleet and we have introduced one of them for daily commuters. It is aimed at providing relief to passengers in the summer months,” a senior official of West Bengal Trasnport Corporation (WBTC) said. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe AC tram, which is plying from the end of April, has a fare of Rs 20 per head. At present, the tram is plying in Shyambazar-Esplanade and Nonapukur-Esplanade routes. The tram having a single bogey is perfectly suited for city roads, which is congested due to heavy traffic. In fact a number of tram routes in the city have been affected due to metro project work. The service of the tram is available from 10 am to 7 pm daily. “We are getting a good response and after monitoring the number of passengers for some months. We may roll out one or two more AC trams in future,” the official added. The seating capacity of the tram is 28. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateThe two special AC trams — Banalata and Charuibeti — that are being used for joyrides particularly during weekends have basic kitchen facilities for making tea, coffee and serving hot snacks. But, the AC tram for daily commuters will not have such facilities. The AC buses have contributed reasonably in boosting the exchequer of the state Transport department particularly during the summer months. “We are hopeful that the AC tram also will also be a hit,” the official said.last_img read more

New to market Zurich Travel Insurance now available

first_img Posted by Friday, January 25, 2019 TORONTO — Zurich Insurance has launched Zurich Travel Insurance for Canadians travelling out-of-country. Coverages are available for emergency medical and dental care, trip cancellation and interruption, baggage loss and damage, flight and travel accident and 24/7 travel assistance services, says Zurich.“Our commitment to the travel sector has grown along with the rise in international travel for Canadians,” said Saad Mered, CEO of Zurich Canada. “We are excited to bring new capabilities to Zurich Canada, strengthening our core offerings to help meet the growing demand for convenient, customized and compliant travel protection plans.”Zurich Canada’s Vice President of Travel, Accident & Sickness John Thain says: “Canadians’ health insurance does not follow them across the border, so they need travel protection plans with medical coverage they can count on.  Our new proposition was designed to help travellers close this coverage gap.”In addition to the medical, trip cancelation, and baggage coverages, the new proposition includes access to Zurich Travel Assist, a 24/7 travel assistance service administered by Toronto-based Zurich subsidiary World Travel Protection. For more than 25 years, World Travel Protection has provided medical, travel and security assistance services, complete with a mobile app, to over 3.8 million travellers.In Canada, Zurich Canada is underwritten by Zurich Insurance Company Ltd (Canadian Branch) and is part of Zurich Insurance Group, a Switzerland-based global insurance provider with subsidiaries licensed to provide travel protection in multiple geographies around the world. In 2017, Zurich acquired Cover-More Group Limited, a specialist global travel insurance and medical assistance provider based in Australia. Other Zurich travel subsidiaries include U.S.-based Travelex, and Latin American brands Travel Ace and Universal Assistance.More information is at Share Tags: Travel Insurance, Zurich Canada, Zurich Travel Insurancecenter_img New to market: Zurich Travel Insurance now available << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group last_img read more