SANTA CLARA — Kyle Shanahan’s message to the 49ers at Tuesday’s team meeting: the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed is still within reach.“It’s good to hear,” quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “Today, just getting that realization back in our mind that we do control our own destiny, if we handle business, we’ll be in a good spot.“We’ve got to take it one game at a time, it starts with the Rams and we’ll take it from there.”Stunned by the Atlanta Falcons in the final seconds of Sunday’s 29-22 home …
The survey, conducted in November and December by the Centre for International and Comparative Politics at the University of Stellenbosch and market research company Markinor, involved 3 000 face-to-face interviews of people across the country, conducted in six of SA’s 11 official languages.The lead researcher for World Values Survey SA, Dr Hennie Kotze, attributed the results to the positive socio-economic trends South Africa had experienced over the last five years.The survey also found that South Africans’ confidence in state institutions had increased by 11% over the previous survey – although around 40% of respondents said the government was doing “very badly” when it came to handling crime.Political system, democracyThe survey also focused on the system governing the country. People were asked to rate the political system as it was under apartheid, the current political system, and the political system expected in the future on a 10-point scale, with 1 being “very bad” and 10 being “very good”. While black South Africans were the most positive about the current and future political systems, white, coloured and Indian South Africans were more positive than negative, with an average of more than 5 out of 10.The survey also showed that South Africans regard democracy as very important: on average, the survey respondents gave democracy a score of 8.7 out of 10 for importance. When asked to what extent South Africa was a democracy today, the respondents answered on average 7.4 out of 10.SouthAfrica.info reporter
30 April 2014The National Treasury has called for public comment on a set of proposals for a carbon offset scheme aimed at enabling South African businesses to lower their carbon tax liability and make investments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.The Carbon Offsets Paper, published on Tuesday, is part of a set of measures to address climate change. According to the Treasury, “a carbon offset is a measurable avoidance, reduction, or sequestration of carbon dioxide or other GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions.”South Africa has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent by 2020 and 42 percent by 2025.“To ensure a relatively smooth transition to a low-carbon economy, the carbon tax design incorporates a number of relief measures and a gradual phased-in approach to protect households and the international competiveness of local businesses,” the Treasury said.The proposed carbon tax policy includes a basic tax-free threshold of 60 percent below which the tax will initially not be payable; a factor formula to adjust basic tax-free threshold to reward companies that have taken voluntary actions to reduce their emissions before the introduction of the carbon tax; and additional tax-free allowances for sectors with limited potential for emissions reduction, such as industrial process emissions.The draft policy also proposes additional graduated relief for trade-exposed and emissions-intensive sectors, and carbon offsets that businesses can use to reduce their carbon tax liability. The overall maximum tax-free threshold is limited to 90 percent.“Carbon offsets will enable firms to cost-effectively lower their carbon tax liability,” the Treasury said. “They will also incentivise investment in least-cost mitigation options in the country, driving investment in greenhouse gas-mitigation projects that deliver carbon emissions reduction at a cost lower than the carbon tax.“Such projects can generate considerable sustainable development benefits in South Africa, including channelling capital to rural development projects, creating employment, restoring landscapes, reducing land degradation, protecting biodiversity, and encouraging energy efficiency and low carbon growth.”According to the proposed policy, a number of requirements must be met for a project to be awarded a tradeable emissions reduction credit under a specific standard.The principles of “additionality”, “permanence” and “real” will be used to ensure the credibility of carbon offset projects: “additionality” meaning greenhouse gas emission reductions would not have occurred under a “business as usual” scenario; “permanence” meaning emissions are unlikely to be reversed, and “real” meaning emission offsets originate within physical projects, with proof that they have occurred or will occur at a specific point in time.To be eligible, projects that generate carbon offset credits must occur outside the scope of activities of the entity subject to the carbon tax. Only South African based credits will be eligible for use within the carbon offset scheme, and carbon offset projects registered and/or implemented before the introduction of the carbon tax regime will be accepted subject to certain conditions and within a specific timeframe.However, specific carbon offset project types should be excluded from the scheme to avoid the potential for double counting of financial benefits from greenhouse gas mitigation. Projects benefiting from other government incentives will also be excluded.According to the Treasury, disallowed projects would include energy efficiency in company-owned or controlled operations that are covered by the carbon tax, including energy efficiency for projects that benefit from the Energy Efficiency Tax Incentive and renewable energy projects developed under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme.Projects under four different carbon offset standards have been developed in South Africa, including the Clean Development Mechanism, the Verified Carbon Standard, the Gold Standard, and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard.In order to facilitate the introduction of the carbon offset scheme, it is proposed that carbon offsets developed under these standards will be considered for eligibility if they fulfill specific criteria.According to the Treasury, the initial focus is expected to be on projects approved along the lines of the Clean Development Mechanism.The deadline for public comment is 30 June 2014.Source: SAnews.gov
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Behind the golden glow that enveloped the country’s athletes and its image at the 19th Commonwealth Games lies the untold story of the invisible men who planned and executed India’s new saga of sporting success. The credit, gold medal if you will, goes to a little-known organisation called the International,Behind the golden glow that enveloped the country’s athletes and its image at the 19th Commonwealth Games lies the untold story of the invisible men who planned and executed India’s new saga of sporting success. The credit, gold medal if you will, goes to a little-known organisation called the International Sports Division (ISD), created in 2008 under the leadership of Rahul Bhatnagar, a joint secretary, in the Sports Ministry.The gold medal-winning Indian women’s 4×400 relay team, (from left) A.C. Ashwini, Manjeet Kaur, Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose.The ISD got it right, and even the most optimistic Indian sports lover got to see things they had never imagined. Three Indian medal winners-with gold, silver, bronze-in the women’s discus throw, lined up on the podium while 50,000 spectators in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium went hysterical. It was India’s first gold medal in track events in 52 years. Hysteria reached new levels a day later when the Indian women’s 4X400 team ran a technically perfect race to win the country’s second gold in track and field. By the penultimate day of the Games, India won nine medals at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. In India’s CWG history, the country had won just one medal in athletics, Milkha Singh’s gold in Melbourne way back in 1958. On the medal table, India stood second, another history-making achievement.Bhatnagar’s ISD kept it simple. Under the umbrella of the Sports Ministry, the division’s mandate was that India should win between 96 and 125 medals and, more importantly, no hurdle (pun intended) should come in the way whether it was money, training and facilities, proper diet, international exposure or the services of the best international coaches. An unprecedented Rs 678 crore was earmarked to be spent on training (55 per cent), scientific support to sportspersons (35 per cent) and infrastructure. But more crucial to success was to restrict the role of the sports federations that are run like serfdoms mostly by politicians with little sporting background.advertisementThe crowd at Major Dhyan Chand StadiumThe entire exercise lasting 30 months was executed in relative obscurity, free from media glare and bureaucratic tangles. The ISD’s plan, after identifying areas of weakness, was to provide intensive training of 530 days in India, 225 days of training and competition abroad to 1,140 players in 18 sporting disciplines. The goal was to create a group of “core probables”, three-four times more than the players who would actually represent India, give them the best training and international exposure and then conduct a pruning process in a phased manner under a steering committee set up for each discipline to assess individual performance recorded by a high-tech computer-based monitoring system. “The idea was to train players in the same environment they would compete so that they peak around the time Games are held,” says Bhatnagar.The result is India’s best-ever performance in a multi-discipline sporting event, second only to the Olympics, with 71 participating nations. Compared to the downbeat national mood at the start of the Games, the sudden upsurge of patriotism and collective pride is the result of a plan modelled on how socialist countries of former Soviet Union went about achieving sporting success. The selected sportspersons came mostly from rural India, from poorer families, with women contributing to a major share of the medals tally. The initial phase of the plan was spent analysing the reasons for the consistent poor showing by Indian players. This was done in consultation with various sports federations.Indian hockey captain Rajpal SinghWhat emerged was hardly rocket science. Apart from inefficiency and ad-hocism in sports administrations, there was no continuity of training and sportspersons were trained just months before a mega event. There was no planning or annual calendar for training even for national teams in sports like hockey. The athletes were given a poor diet and inadequate support of experts and coaches. There was lack of international exposure and dearth of training equipment. Not everyone could do an Abhinav Bindra, India’s lone individual Olympic gold medalist, who paid from his pocket for training and coaching.Deepika Kumari with her archery goldUnder the new plan, athletes got Rs 550 per day for their diet against a paltry Rs 200 they were given when Mani Shankar Aiyar was the sports minister. A total of 174 Indian and 36 foreign coaches (hired at an average monthly salary of $5,000) were put in charge of the probables. Also for the first time, the services of 78 support staff-sports doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists and masseurs-offered to the players. High-altitude training was introduced for the first time to improve stamina and endurance while doping was discouraged with stringent checks on athletes and coaches.Blueprint for SuccessadvertisementRahul BhatnagarHe spearheaded a team that brought glitter to the GamesSteering committees under Bhatnagar, a joint secretary of Sports Ministry, was set up for each of the 18 sport disciplines 30 months ago. It met 161 times to monitor preparations and proper selection of players and coaches.Rs 678 crore was allocated for training 1,140 sportspersons for two-and-half years against earlier budget of Rs 40 crore per annum.305 days of rigorous training every year, including 75 days of training abroad in top academies, so that players perform at their best.In key disciplines, the best foreign coaches hired at high salaries in addition to the 170 Indian coaches, some of who were trained abroad.Individual players and teams made 3,760 foreign trips to participate in events or for training.Pruning of players to represent India in the Games was done in a phased manner depending on their performance recorded on a computer-based monitoring system.Special high-altitude training at Shilarro in Himachal Pradesh at a height of 9,000 ft to improve stamina and endurance.70 specialised support staff-sports analysts, doctors, physiologists, physiotherapists, masseurs and mental trainers-were provided.On an average, athletes were trained for 305 days a year which included 75 days of foreign training. Participation in foreign sporting event or for training abroad resulted in 3,567 trips by players, many of whom had never flown in an aircraft before. The table tennis team was trained at Hebei Zhengding National Table Tennis Training Base, China, wrestlers went to Russia and tennis players were trained at the IMG Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, the best in the world. Krishna Poonia, who won gold in women’s discus throw, has barely seen her son in the past two years because of her hectic schedule, which included training stints in Ukraine. Her success is an example of how the ISD tapped into the sports that were not India’s traditional strength. Ashish Kumar is another. The 19-year-old from Allahabad created a history by winning two medals in gymnastics, a first for India.Foreign coaches were hired for all disciples except for women’s hockey, tennis and weightlifting. Indian coaches were also sent for advanced training abroad. Athletes agree that foreign coaches, with their superior professionalism, modern approach and rigorous training schedule, made a quantum difference towards their preparedness. “Foreign coaches meant no local politics and favouritism based on region and other considerations,” says a senior official in the Sports Ministry. Take men’s hockey coach Jose Brasa, a Spaniard, who is not popular among the players and Indian coaches as he lines them up at five in the morning (any latecomer is sent back) and follows it by a rigorous training schedule and tactical targets. The result was in evidence at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium: arch-rivals Pakistan were humbled 7-4 in the quarterfinal while steely nerves and tactics ensured a scintillating semi-final win against England.Russian Vladimir Chertkov who coached the Indian gymnastics team feels that to realise its full potential India will have to develop systems to tap the young and train them better. “The Sports Ministry was of great help. But federations do not have the knowledge to develop such systems,” he says. India’s first lawn ball team was trained for last 16 months by Australian coach Richard Gale. “I can assure a gold medal if I get to train the team for four to six years,” says Gale.advertisementShooting is an expensive sport and India won 14 gold medals in these events because four top shooters-Bindra, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Mansher Singh and Ronjan Sodhi-were paid Rs 2 crore each to prepare. Apart from this, 36 other shooters used ammunition worth Rs 2.7 crore for training. Even training venues were the best in the country, including nine private facilities like the Gopichand Badminton Academy at Hyderabad or JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur, all paid for by the ISD.The message is clear: India has a huge reservoir of sporting talent. What we need are money, systematic training and infrastructure. Every host country for a major sporting event does well traditionally, partly because of prestige, efforts and local conditions. The ISD has shown the right track and millions of Indians have suddenly discovered a sporting world beyond cricket. What needs to be seen is that the euphoria around India’s most successful Games is not short-lived.
New Delhi, Jul 6 (PTI) More than 2,500 people from different walks of life have so far applied for Padma awards which are to be announced on the eve of Republic Day.The last date for receipt of nominations for the top civilian honours for 2018 is September 15, 2017.The process of nominations for Padma awards is on and till June 30, more than 2,500 people applied for receiving the honour, a home ministry official said.Last year, the total number of nominations received was 18,761.Recommendations can be made by state governments, UTs, ministries, departments of the government of India, Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan awardees, central and state ministers, chief ministers and governors of state, members of Parliament, private individuals and bodies, among others.The nominations or recommendations for the awards are received online only on the Padma portal designed by the ministry which is available on the address www.padmaawards.gov.in.Nominations are invited every year from all state governments, union territories, ministries, departments of the central government and individuals.The nominations are placed before the Padma awards committee, constituted by the prime minister every year.The awards seek to recognise works of distinction and exceptional achievements in different fields and disciplines such as art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, science and engineering, public affairs, civil service, trade and industry.Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards for the year 2018 will be announced on the eve of Republic Day next year.The 2017 Padma awards include seven Padma Vibhushan, seven Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri awardees. As many as 19 of the awardees were women and the list also includes five persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs and six posthumous awardees. PTI ACB AAR MIN AARadvertisement
Noida, Dec 16 (PTI) Squash star Joshna Chinappa equalled Bhuvneshwari Kumari’s record of 16 national titles while Mahesh Mangaonkar won his maiden crown on the concluding day of the premier domestic event at the HCL campus here on Sunday. In the two contrasting finals, Mahesh pipped Vikram Malhotra 11-4, 13-15, 11-2, 5-11, 15-13 while Joshna edged out Urwashi Joshi 9-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-5. In comparison to the gruelling battle in the men’s final, Joshna had it easier though Urwashi Joshi of Maharashtra did surprise her by taking the first game. As it turned out, the dent Joshna suffered was more of an aberration. The reigning champion ensured the ride was smooth from there on en route a record equalling crown. The 32-year-old said it was always special to come back to the Nationals, where she won her maiden title as a 14-year-old. Overall, Joshna has played in a staggering 18 finals, losing just two of them. “There is a funny story behind this. When I was 12, my father told me that ‘you have to win your first national title before you turn 16’ and I did it at 14. The plan at that point was to win as many Nationals as I could. For me, playing the Nationals is more about reliving the child in me every since I played my first as a 12 year old,” Joshna told PTI. Her achievements on the international stage easily eclipse Kumari’s feats and now Joshna wants to break her national record. “Yes I do want to have the maximum number of titles, I am not going to lie abut that. It is nice to equal her record. To be here after 20 years in the sport, is a testament to the work I have done,” said the world number 15.advertisement Joshna has dominated the National Championships over the last two decades but has also had some tough battles with Mekhala Subedar and longtime teammate Dipika Pallikal, who is not a regular at the domestic event. “My biggest battles have been with Mekhala and Dipika. Everyone loves watching Dipika and me play. Shame she is not here,” added Joshna, who initially struggled to sight the ball in sunlight during the final played on a glass court. In the men’s final, Mahesh outwitted Vikram Malhotra in a five game tussle of fluctuating fortunes. Vikram had three match points to settle the argument but failed to grab them. A final can always be tense and Mahesh and Vikram displayed that no less. A year ago in a PSA event, the only occasion when the two had met on the professional circuit, Vikram had edged Mahesh, again over five games. PTI BS PDSPDS