Gerry Murphy looks ahead to the All-Ireland Senior CamogieFinal between Sarsfields and Slaughtneil with Tommy Devane; Sean Walsh has news on the Galway senior hurling team toplay Cork;Kevin Dwyer looks ahead to Meath against Galway in theNational Football League;William Davies previews Connacht against the Kings;There’s soccer and much more.‘Over The Line’ broadcasts on Galway Bay FM every Monday and Friday from 8pm.print WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Email On this Friday evening’s ‘Over The Line’:
By Andreas VouMarcos Baghdatis is through to the second round of The Indian Wells Masters after his opponent, Jiri Vesely, retired early in the second set and will now face top seed Novak Djokovic in the second round.The Cypriot star began brightly against the young Czech player who was evidently suffering at various points throughout the early exchanges. Baghdatis took the first set 6-3 which was when Vesely took his first medical timeout. The 21-year-old was said to be suffering from the flu prior to the match and was seen coughing and pointing to his glands upon completion of the first set. Then, after just two games had been equally shared at the start of the second set, Vesely indicated that he could no longer continue, thus handing Baghdatis passage to the second round of the tournament.It was the third ever meeting between Baghdatis and Vesely and the Cypriot has come out on top in each of them, including a first round three-sets win in Delray Beach last year.Now ranked world no.61, Baghdatis faces an almighty challenge against Djokovic whom he has faced seven times and is yet to defeat the Serbian. The last time the two met was in late 2012 in the Miami Masters when Baghdatis made a positive display but eventually lost out 6-4, 6-4.It was Baghdatis who retired in rather strange fashion in his last appearance. Against 18-year-old Borna Coric in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship late last month, after spurning two golden chances to seal the game in the final set, Baghdatis threw in the towel with just a few points left to play for due to suspected cramps. This is Baghdatis’ eighth trip to Southern California to take part in the Indian Wells, a place where he played some of the best tennis of his career in years gone by. One of the most famous wins of his career took place in this tournament back in 2010 when he defeated Roger Federer. With his latest victory over Vesely, his overall record in the tournament now stands at 9-7, while his best run in the competition was when he reached the quarter-final stage in 2006.
It comes a time in the life of a people or an organization that compels someone to act for the common good of all. If that opinion is correct, which I have no doubt about, then I need someone at the Liberia National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth & Sports to act.The headline to this commentary suggests that Liberian basketball deserves an urgent rescue, and followers of the game can agree that since the partial end of the Ebola virus disease that has encouraged other sporting organizations, including the LFA to restart their programs, Liberian Basketball Federation seemed to have no way forward.True, for at least four occasions, a congress and its attendant scheduled elections could not be held due to disagreements on administrative issues.LNOC President Phillibert Brown and Deputy Minister for Sports, Hon. Henry Yonton paid considerable attention to burning issues raised by several club presidents but ended in failure.At one point, LNOC’s Brown was compelled to remark openly that Rufus Anderson’s administration failed to do those little things that could have earned the confidence of those who were calling for his head, and therefore because Anderson did not do them, he lost the authority to lead the organization.As painful as those remarks were, Mr. Brown, who held the leadership of the Liberia Basketball Federation for many years, could not be wrong. Then of course, he is the president of the Liberia National Olympic Committee.The LNOC has been one of the major sponsors of basketball and therefore if Brown does not see an individual as capable to lead an association that he has to provide financial and logistical support to, then of course there could be a problem in the future.But it is important to accept the fact that Mr. Rufus Anderson deserves some credit. This is because he loves basketball and he has served as president for the last four years. Sadly, while he could not boast of major achievements, that he supervised the successful hosting of an FIBA Zone 11 Tournament in Liberia demands a great amount of respect.But at the same time, not everyone will appreciate your contribution and it is therefore important to understand that there are times one must let things go and move on.Admittedly, those who have been at logger heads with Anderson’s administration are stakeholders who spend their resources to develop basketball and as a result their opinion must not be overlooked.This is where the Ministry of Youth & Sports comes in. Interestingly, Minister Eugene Nagbe recently resolved a long standing conflict among members of the Federation of Liberian Youths, and therefore I request his intervention to resolve the impasse in basketball.There must be compromises and give and take offers. Someone must be able to look at the future of basketball and take some decisions and the Ministry of Youth & Sports, in collaboration with the Liberia National Olympic Committee must agree to take a concerted but rescue decision to end the frustration of those who love the game and cannot stomach its degradation.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dear Editor,Guyana can pay attention to the lessons of its history as it relates to democracy, its meaning, and the consequences of losing it. Democracy very simply means choosing a Government whereby citizens go to the polls to cast a vote for the Government of their choice.Under this system, the Government chosen is an expression of the will of the people of the State. Democracy is lost when the electoral process of choosing a Government is interfered with, or rigged, so that the will of the people is subverted and a dictatorship, or Government of oppression, is installed.We are fairly familiar with how rigged elections are conducted. This in essence includes removing original votes cast and replacing them with fake votes. Other mechanisms include frustrating the voting process so that certain sections or groups of persons do not get to cast their ballots. In summary, rigged elections mean that peoples’ votes are ‘stolen’. In this situation, the resulting government, having committed the ultimate lawless act against the people of stealing their votes, has upturned the State’s rule of law, and can now proceed to implement whatever system of economic mismanagement and corruption it desires, in addition to carrying any other lawless deeds.Previous examinations of the period of Burnham’s and the People’s National Congress’ (PNC) Government up until 1992 have established they were rigged from as far back as 1968. This included the killing of a number of persons who sought to try to stop the stealing and stuffing of ballot boxes. The persons killed fighting to maintain Guyana’s democracy to date stand as Guyana’s unsung heroes and martyrs in the nation’s struggle for democracy with the PNC.His Excellency David Granger, a major in the Army at the time and now noted historian, could do justice to Guyanese history and document this period for us with his first-hand experience. His accession to Guyana’s highest office will stand out as an achievement in Guyana’s history since Guyanese went to extreme lengths to overcome racial stigmatisation and stop the corruption of the former People’s Progresive Party (PPP) Administration by installing an individual who has been widely documented as being part and parcel of the political machinery that systematically trampled Guyana’s democracy, killed people in the process, and proceeded to run down and destroy Guyana’s economy up until 1992.In respect of the PPP and sugar workers’ involvement in cramping output in the sugar industry in political protest, the question we have to seriously consider is: Given that our national elections were being systematically rigged, people were being killed trying to stop this, and Guyana’s democracy was being trampled, were the PPP and sugar workers wrong to protest the PNC’s rigged elections and false rule? Why weren’t we all protesting the rigging of elections? Why didn’t the entire country come out against Burnham and the PNC? Answering these questions should help us confront the serious problems that we still grapple with.Under rigged elections of the PNC years, Guyana lost its democracy and Guyana was sent into poverty.But who would have thought that it could get worse than under the PPP since 2015? This PNC-led coalition Administration has demonstrated in no uncertain terms that this is achievable. The coalition considers the power vested in it by the Constitution gives it the right to proceed to oppress us again with its questionable, if not grossly errant economic policies, (VAT on basic goods, increased taxes and fees, its notion that Guyanese should become entrepreneurs instead of Government stimulating job creation) which has checked economic growth and stifled prospects for higher wages and welfare growth. This is in addition to its suspicious dealings in respect of our national resources, and its brazen attempt to enforce contracts that pilfer taxpayers’ money, notably the bond deal. It should be noted that such contracts are now very probably on the low because of the bad publicity generated. Rest assured if our media ever lightens up, we can very probably expect more of these. The coalition continues to make much ado about oil, but after examining the contents of the contract, can Guyanese seriously expect more than the now standard five per cent post 2020?Knowing that rigged elections cedes our democracy, rule of law and results in gross economic mismanagement, are we prepared to return to government under the coalition Administration? Can the coalition win in 2020 with its policy matrix? For those of us who continue to preach about the vain hope for change in our two parties, and those who engage in living on false hopes, these are some of the questions we need to seriously consider. I submit that Guyanese can do much better than the coalition. Our failure to deliver better results will only produce results we could do well without.Yours faithfully,Craig Sylvester
By now, everyone knows the story: Antonio fell in love, got married, settled down and had children. He named the boy for himself – Antonio Jr. But Antonio’s interests and his heart lay elsewhere. Eventually, he left the marriage and his family, and took up with another woman. I write not about Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, but his father, Antonio Villar. When Antonio was 5 years old, his dad left home, devastating his young son. Compounding the injury, Villar would go on to start a new family, with a new son, who, like Antonio, was nicknamed Tony. Antonio would see his dad but a few more times, ever. The abandonment left scars that, by his own testimony, lasted a lifetime. It also fueled a cycle of familial breakdown, culminating in Villaraigosa’s admission last week that, caught up in an adulterous affair, he was leaving his family, too. It’s easy to see Villaraigosa as the villain in this sordid saga, and to be sure, the responsibility for his actions is his alone. But he’s also a victim of the same cultural epidemic he perpetuates. As Roland Warren, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, describes it, fatherlessness begets fatherlessness. “It’s difficult to be what you don’t see,” says Warren. “If you really haven’t seen your own dad be either as involved as he needs to be or you haven’t seen him stay involved in a marriage, or a relationship with your mom, then you haven’t really seen that modeling to the degree you need to.” The statistics speak for themselves. Children of divorce are themselves more likely to divorce. Boys and girls who grow up without dads at home are considerably more likely to have teen pregnancies. The question of Villaraigosa’s family life is often dismissed as “none of our business,” but here the mayor’s personal failings directly affect his political position on the most critical issue in L.A. today: The social costs of fatherlessness. It’s an issue about which the mayor seems astonishingly unaware, in his private life or in his public one. In addressing his extramarital activities, Villaraigosa has so far shown no sense of wrongdoing, let alone contrition. It’s ironic, because he should know better than anyone the heartbreak a departing dad can inflict. Unfortunately, when we grow up with dysfunction, we often fail to recognize it as dysfunction at all. We don’t learn from the past, which means we tend to repeat it. The consequences of fatherlessness, divorce and absent parents are well-documented. The less time children have dads in their homes with them, the more likely they are to have behavioral problems, to struggle in school, to live in poverty, to be obese, to rely on public assistance, to smoke, to drink excessively, to use drugs, to end up in trouble with the law. Fatherless children are twice as likely as the rest of the population to drop out of school. Yet in his crusade to reform public education – in large part because the Los Angeles Unified School District’s dropout rate is so high – Villaraigosa has uttered nary a peep about familial breakdown. On the other issue that dominates his political agenda – street gangs – he has also been largely silent about what’s likely the single greatest causal factor. Gangs, which offer male affection and bonding, are a natural draw for boys lacking those qualities at home. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 70 percent of the youth in American reform institutions grew up in single- or no-parent families. So strong is the relationship between family breakdown and criminality that when you control for it, crime’s correlations with race and low income vanish. Yet the mayor’s long, “comprehensive” anti-gang plan never deals with the fatherlessness problem. A few years back, Villaraigosa mused with a local reporter about the direction his life has taken. “If I had a father who had a life with me, who didn’t go off and name another kid Antonio, maybe it would have been different,” he said. Maybe. It could be that the sting of paternal rejection drove Villaraigosa to beat the odds and become the professional overachiever he is today. Just as likely, though, that same sting helped him succumb to the odds as a husband and father. It doesn’t have to be this way. If Villaraigosa needs motivation to end his affair and try to do the right thing by his wife and children, his own childhood memories should be more than plenty. We can only hope it’s not too late for this Antonio to break the cycle. His kids need their dad, and the city needs a mayor who will confront what ails it. Chris Weinkopf is the Daily News’ editorial-page editor. He blogs at www.insidesocal.com/friendlyfire, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Fortunately, this is where the similarities end. By Villaraigosa’s telling, his father was a batterer and a drunk – charges no one has ever cast against the mayor. To his great credit, Villaraigosa has broken the cycle of domestic violence, while managing to rise above the pitfalls that often trap fatherless boys – like crime, poverty, drug use and educational failure. But he has been unable to escape the cycle of familial breakdown. Before marrying soon-to-be ex-wife Corina in 1987, Villaraigosa fathered two children out of wedlock with two different mothers. Add those to the two children he fathered with Corina, and that’s four kids who haven’t had or won’t have the benefit of a dad at home throughout their childhood. Unlike his own father, Villaraigosa maintains a presence in his children’s lives. But as any child of divorce can attest, that’s a far cry from having a parent at home, day in, day out.
In their quest for lifetime income that can outpace inflation, baby boomers and seniors are being pitched two alphabet-soup variable-annuity guarantees: GMWBs for life and GMIBs. I mentioned these benefits briefly in a column in July about retirement income options and have received dozens of e-mails from readers wanting to know more. In the industry jargon, these initials stand for “guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit” and “guaranteed minimum income benefit.” They are part of an ever-evolving breed of “living benefits” tacked onto variable annuities, which are tax-deferred, mutual-fund-like investments within an insurance wrapper. The benefits, for which you pay an additional ongoing fee, guarantee that you, or you and a beneficiary, usually your spouse, will receive a minimum lifetime income regardless of how your annuity investments perform. When this benefit was initially offered, the guarantee for lifetime withdrawals covered only the one person investing in the annuity. Many insurance companies have since added the option, for a slightly higher ongoing fee, of extending the lifetime withdrawal guarantee to the investor’s surviving spouse. “We realize peace of mind for many couples comes from knowing a spouse will be taken care of financially” after the first one dies, said Mark Phelan, a senior vice president of Nationwide Financial, one of the companies offering the spousal guarantee. To many financial advisers, the biggest attraction of the GMWB-for-life benefit is the potential to lock in higher guaranteed lifetime withdrawals if your investments do well. While details vary widely, these annuities typically allow you to periodically “step up” the amount you can withdraw for life if your account value has increased sufficiently. “Many of these annuities are incorporating these features on an annual or five-year basis,” said Tucker Scott, a financial adviser with Oldham Resource Group in Norwalk, Conn. Knowing that the amount you can withdraw could go up but can’t go down helps investors cope better with market volatility, Scott said. With a GMIB benefit, rather than withdraw money from your account, you must “annuitize” it, that is, give up access to your principal in exchange for lifetime payments to you or you and a beneficiary. The insurance company guarantees a minimum lifetime income regardless of investment performance or actual account value. Humberto Cruz offers personal finance advice. Write him at AskHumberto@aol.com.160Want 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 MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’These products can be dizzyingly complicated, involving not only decisions of what investments to pick and when to start taking an income stream but also often complex tax and estate planning considerations and analysis of benefits vs. costs. Don’t buy one unless you understand it thoroughly and/or get unbiased advice from a qualified professional, preferably one who doesn’t stand to gain or lose anything whether you buy or not. Nobody can, in the space of a newspaper column, explain everything you need to know about these annuities. But I want to at least explain the basic differences between the GMWB-for-life benefit and the GMIB, an area of much confusion and misunderstanding. With a GMWB-for-life benefit, the insurance company issuing the annuity guarantees you can withdraw for life at least a percentage of the amount you invest, often 5 percent. For example, if you invest $100,000, you can withdraw $5,000 a year for life, no matter how your investments perform. (You can always withdraw more than 5 percent but then the lifetime withdrawal guarantee would be reduced or lost.) In this example, as long as you don’t withdraw more than $5,000 a year, you will continue to receive the lifetime payments even if your actual account value goes down to zero. In that event, the insurance company will continue to pay you out of its own money.
Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won 11 gameday cracker The result saw Chelsea leapfrog United at the summit and Carlo Ancelotti’s side received more luck when they faced Liverpool at Anfield in May 2010 when Steven Gerrard gifted Drogba the lead with an inexplicable backpass to the striker.Chelsea never looked back though and ended up winning the league, sealed with an 8-0 victory over Wigan on the final day. The FA Cup was also Chelsea’s that year, too.United’s opponents bottle it – Manchester United (2010/11)Manchester United’s triumph in 2010/11 was significant as it saw them win league title no.19 and overtake rivals Liverpool, who until then had won a record 18 league titles.They won it convincingly – by nine points in fact – but there were matches where United had absolutely no right to get points out of. Drogba showing how far offside he was! 11 11 Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars Manchester City finished on 66 points, their lowest total since 2009, Manchester United also finished on 66 points, leaving Arsenal and Tottenham, who were never really equipped to win the league being Leicester’s main challengers.Meanwhile, Liverpool, who had Jurgen Klopp for most of the season, finished all the way down in eighth.Dreadful De Bruyne miss – Chelsea (2016/17)Chelsea got their act together the following year and won the Premier League for the fifth time pretty easily.However, it could have been so so different when Antonio Conte’s men extended their lead over Manchester City to four points with a 3-1 triumph at the Etihad Stadium.City took the lead and should have gone 2-0 up but Kevin De Bruyne managed to hit the bar with the goal at his mercy from six yards out. Gerrard slip – Manchester City (2013/14)Steven Gerrard’s catastrophic slip is something that still haunts Liverpool fans to this day as it changed the course of the 2013/14 Premier League title race.The Liverpool legend’s slip allowed Demba Ba to give Chelsea the lead at Anfield in a game where the Blues won 2-0 and handed the initiative back to Manchester City. REVEALED Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card no dice De Bruyne missed the perfect chance for City to take control of the title race REVEALED Man United transfer news live: Haaland ‘wants a change’, two players off in January tense West Ham and Blackpool lost at home to the Red Devils despite having 2-0 leads, while Aston Villa conceded two goals in the 80th and 85th minutes to let United grab an unlikely 2-2 draw at Villa Park.United were also lucky to beat West Brom 2-1 at The Hawthorns on New Year’s Day 2011 when Gary Neville was somehow spared a red card for a clear push on Graham Dorrans in the box at 1-1. This was incidentally the game where Neville decided he would retire from football.United let City back in – Manchester City (2011/12)Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat at Arsenal in April 2012 left their title challenge seemingly in tatters as Roberto Mancini’s side were eight points behind Manchester United with six games left.However, in not very typical United fashion, City were given an unlikely route back in the race with the Red Devils losing at Wigan as well as a 4-4 draw at home to Everton. One or two matches were won in Fergie Time! Big Six blow it – Leicester City (2015/16)Let’s get one thing straight – Leicester City winning the Premier League in 2015/16 was truly spectacular, even if they only finished on 84 points!However, they were fortunate in the sense that all of the big clubs had poor seasons by their high standards including Chelsea, who defended their title by finishing tenth. It was a massive hurdle cleared by Liverpool, who are seeking their first league title in 29 years, but they have had lady luck on their side a few times this campaign.City winger Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty when they met the Reds at Anfield in a game that ended goalless while Divock Origi scored an incredibly fortunate stoppage-time winner against Everton at Anfield – the striker capitalising on Jordan Pickford spilling a sliced effort back into play.And although winning the Premier League is usually a pretty clear indication a team is the best in the land, you do need that bit of luck to go your way.Here, you can look at the huge slices of luck every Premier League-winning side over the last ten seasons has had en route to claiming the title. Nasri cowers behind Edin Dzeko as Van Persie strike the free-kick Diego Costa equalised moments later before goals from Willian and Hazard sealed the win and ultimately the title.City’s late winners – Manchester City (2017/18)City did not need a lot of luck en route to winning the league last season, however, as they exterminated most teams that crossed their paths.They reached a record points total of 100 points but there were late winners against Bournemouth, Huddersfield and Southampton twice which required that little nudge from lady luck to happen. Getty United only had themselves to blame for letting City back into the title race Middlesbrough vs Bristol City (Tuesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2Accrington Stanley vs Sunderland (Wednesday 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2Southampton vs Liverpool (Friday, 8pm) – talkSPORTNorwich vs QPR (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2Huddersfield vs Leicester (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2Manchester City vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORTCoventry vs Bristol Rovers (Sunday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2Watford vs Wolves (Sunday, 4pm) – talkSPORT To make matters worse, the ball actually hit Nasri’s leg he, oh so bravely stuck out, deflecting the ball into the corner of the net beyond Joe Hart. United went six points clear and were not going to throw away a sizeable lead for a second straight season. shining Nevertheless, all the teams who have gone on to win the Premier League should be praised for taking advantage of the luck that comes their way. However, the Italian’s career has not progressed at all and he’s represented nine different clubs since that goal, so you have to wonder whether that strike was a fluke!Drogba clearly offside – Chelsea (2009/10)However, there’s no doubt United were hard done by the following year when they were victims of a terrible call from the linesman in a home match against Chelsea, their main title rivals for that season.The Blues won 2-1 at Old Trafford, but their second goal was scored by Didier Drogba who was clearly offside. Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury ‘Machedaaaa’ – Manchester United (2008/09)Every Manchester United fan will remember Federico Macheda’s stunning late strike against Aston Villa in April 2009.It ensured a 3-2 win for United and put them back to the top of the table just when Liverpool put the pressure on them.Sir Alex Ferguson’s side never looked back from then and every United fan had Macheda, who was 17 at the time, to thank. City then beat United at the Etihad Stadium to take back control and a 2-0 triumph over Newcastle and of course THAT famous win over Queens Park Rangers gave the Citizens their first league title since 1968.Nasri lets City down – Manchester United (2012/13)However, United won the Premier League the following season in devastating fashion, wrapping up league title no.20 with four games to spare!But the real turning point of the season came after they beat local rivals and holders Manchester City 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium in December 2012 with Robin van Persie’s stoppage-time free-kick the decisive goal.United had Samir Nasri to thank for that, with the ex-City man hiding behind team-mates in the wall during Van Persie’s free-kick. 11 getty images Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT Liverpool only just managed to stay in touch with Premier League title rivals Manchester City with a rather fortuitous victory over Tottenham on Sunday.The Reds won 2-1 at Anfield in a game where the visitors arguably had the better chances, with Toby Alderweireld’s 90th-minute own goal being the decisive moment. 11 Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here’s what’s coming up on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2… Chelsea won the 2014/15 title at a canter Liverpool profited from some poor goalkeeping by Hugo Lloris before the ball rebounded off Alderweireld 11 Leicester made the most of bad seasons for the bigger clubs in the Premier League City won their remaining matches and sealed another league title which was made easier by the Reds blowing a 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace the following week but the damage was already done.Blues get the breaks – Chelsea (2014/15)Chelsea were the champions after that in Jose Mourinho’s second season of his second spell in charge of the club and were deserving winners.That doesn’t mean they didn’t get a bit of luck along the way, though, including during a 1-0 win at lowly QPR with an 88th-minute Cesc Fabregas strike coming from Chelsea’s first shot on target in the game.The goal was incredibly soft, too, as it came from Eden Hazard seizing on a awfully sliced kick from Rob Green before Fabregas struck the ball home. 11 deals Gerrard has been mocked hugely for his mistake Macheda was the unlikely winner for United in 2009 huge blow 11 11 11 LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS getty images LIVE ON talkSPORT Gabriel Jesus’ stoppage-time strike secured the 100 points for City on the final day of last season 11
14 February 2014 President Jacob Zuma used his sixth State of the Nation address on Thursday night to highlight South Africa’s achievements over the past five years, while acknowledging that more needs to be done to tackle growing youth unemployment. As expected, Zuma reported at length on progress in the country’s infrastructure programme since 2009. Among the completed projects he highlighted were the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit system in Johannesburg, which is now used by more than 100 000 people a month, with similar systems under construction in Cape Town, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban and Rustenburg. The country’s harbours and ports have been improved, 1 500 kilometres of new roads and road lanes lanes have been built countrywide, construction of new rail lines is under way in Mpumalanga, and a 700-kilometre fuel pipeline has been built between Durban to Gauteng to transport four-billion cubic litres of petrol, diesel and jet fuel a year. The Gautrain rapid rail link between Johannesburg, Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport carries over 1.2-million passengers a month, and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa will spend over R120-billion over the next 10 years on buying new trains and further improving the country’s transport system. Transnet, meanwhile, will be spending R300-billion on transport infrastructure under its market demand strategy, which it has begun implementing. To realise the economic potential of the Western Cape and the West Coast, the government had launched the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone and opened two new factories in Atlantis outside Cape Town. To improve the water supply, two large new dams, the De Hoop dam in Limpopo province and the Spring Grove dam in KwaZulu-Natal, had been completed, while phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project was expected to be launched soon. Construction was also continuing on the country’s new power stations, Medupi in Limpopo, Kusile in Mpumalanga and Ingula near Ladysmith, together employing more than 30 000 workers. “We continue to explore other sources of energy, in line with the Integrated Resource Plan for Energy,” Zuma said. “The development of petroleum, especially shale gas, will be a game-changer for the Karoo region and the South African economy.” Zuma said that on average the economy had grown at 3.2 percent a year from 1994 to 2012, despite a global recession which had cost the country a million jobs. South Africa’s national wealth, measured in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), had grown to more than R3.5-trillion. There were now 15-million South Africans with jobs, the highest in the country’s history, with over 650 000 jobs created in 2013. “This is still not good enough,” Zuma said. “The unemployment rate still remains high. Youth unemployment in South Africa continues to be of concern, as it is throughout the world.” The government would have to work together with business and labour to grow the economy at rates above five percent to be able to create the jobs the country needed. South Africa continued to face the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment, Zuma said, and tackling these challenges had become a central focus of all democratic administrations. Zuma said the National Development Plan (NDP) was a viable plan for driving South Africa’s socio-economic development, eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030. According to the plan, South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society. Source: SAnews.gov.za
Qantas has emphatically denied a report that it will be charging economy passengers for meals, drinks, and baggage.The airline was responding to a story carried by Australian Business Traveler related to a survey sent out this week to its Qantas Advisory Panel an invitation-only group of frequent flyers.According to ABT “members are being asked for their thoughts on “pay as you use Qantas flights between Australia and New Zealand”, indicating the busy and highly competitive trans-Tasman routes as a likely launch pad for what has often been a contentious model when adopted by other airlines.”WATCH: Emirates A380 creates a snowy blast However. a Qantas spokesman told AirlineRatings.com there are absolutely no plans to introduce such a fare system.“We often ask questions to get a sense of what the market thinks but that doesn’tmean we intend to do something,” a Qantas spokesman said.“Specifically, on this question, we have no intention on unbundling our fares. Givenwe’re in the middle of rolling out free wifi, we are clearly committed to being a fullservice airline.”Interestingly, however, Air New Zealand has successfully introduced the scheme on its trans-Tasman flights to Australia and as far afield as Perth.However, Qantas has long prided itself on a one-fare policy and Australians are very much welded onto to that model.Unlike Air New Zealand, Qantas has its low fare champion in Jetstar to offer low priced options without food, drinks or baggage.