Following the signing of an Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation in 2018 between the Government of Guyana and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, a number of technical employees in the country’s agricultural sector on Saturday last commenced training in the area of planting technology, a course offered under the said agreement.Representatives of the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI); the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDG); the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and the University of Guyana, at the opening ceremonySpecialised lecturers in the field of cassava and vegetables, sugar and rice have arrived from the foreign country to offer their expertise to the technical employees attached to organisations including the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and the University of GuyanaThe four-week course is being offered by the Ministry of Commerce, China, through the Economic and Commercial Office of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China (in Guyana) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.In addressing the opening ceremony on Monday at the Guyana School of Agriculture, Chief Executive Officer of NAREI, Dr Oudho Homenauth explained that discussions on the course started more than a year ago between representatives of the two countries.“This exercise started more than a year ago where we would have had intense discussion between representatives from China and our personnel here before this course was finalised,” he said.The CEO further pointed out that rice and sugar were selected because these are the two main commodities produced in Guyana while cassava was chosen because it is a major source of food security, especially in the hinterland communities.“China is offering the course on cassava because the country is ranked among the top 10 countries in the world in respect to cassava production. They produce approximately five million tons of cassava annually and cultivate 300,000 hectares,” NAREI’s CEO explained.On this note, Homenauth urged the staff to pay keen attention since this course can provide new information in cassava production, pro-harvesting and industrial processing.Meanwhile, a representative from the Ministry of Commerce, Hanming Hu stated that his country has enjoyed diplomatic relations with Guyana for a long time and has offered support in the health, educational and agricultural sectors.In 2018, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed on the training course presently being offered. Later this year, another course will be offered in the field of soil and gas development.At the end of the current course, participants are expected to transfer the knowledge learnt to end users such as farmers since agriculture is among the main income givers within the country.
29 September 2008South African cellular operator Vodacom has launched three new Vodacom Speaking Phones to make cellular communication accessible to people who are blind or partially sighted.“Vodacom is proud to be the first operator in South Africa to increase accessibility to cellular communication products and services in line with our specific needs initiative launched in 2004,” Vodacom Group chief communications officer Dot Field said in a statement earlier this month.Text-to-speech software is loaded onto the Vodacom Speaking Phones that converts the information displayed on the cellphone screen to speech, including text messages and contacts.The software also enables the user to check other information, including battery life and signal strength. Speaking phones are available on Vodacom Contract-, Top Up- and Prepaid packages and are available at participating Vodacom approved outlets.“Vodacom Speaking Phone users will not pay extra for the text-to-speech software as Vodacom has subsidised this cost,” said Field.Specific needsAccording to the statement, the focus of the specific needs initiative was accessibility: access to the company, access to information and access to Vodacom’s products and services for all.Karen Smit, a senior specialist for specific needs and employment equity at Vodacom Group and a disabled Vodacom employee herself, highlighted the need for such products and services within the cellular industry:“We are proud to be the pioneers of this service in South Africa, and on the continent as a whole,” she said. “At Vodacom, accessibility is always top of mind and as a disabled person I understand how important independence, accessibility and mobility is.”Vodacom will also continue to offer the “voice bill” service which allows visually impaired or blind customers access to their itemised billing electronically through reader software on their computers.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
“She has worked fantastically during the time since we met. When we started in November she lost to the number 42 in Canada and a month ago she beat the Canadian number one,” said Hogstedt. He also defeated other number one ranked players like Pat Rafter, Jim Courier, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Guillermo Vilas. He won the US Open Junior event in 1981 and reached a career-high ranking of number 38 in the world. “Zoe plays an aggressive game from the baseline, but she can play with high spin and angles. She also likes to come to the net and serves well, so she has a great all-around game and has a liking for all surfaces,” he said. Looking ahead, he said: “I took Wozniacki, Li Na and Sharapova to the top. Next it will be two young sisters from South Africa, Zoe and Isabella Kruger, who I will make Grand Slam champions for South Africa.” He then discovered that Kruger, who comes from Pretoria, had an equally talented younger sister, Isabella, who is just eight years old. “I saw from the first day I could transform Zoe Kruger into one of the best players in the world,” Hogstedt said in a statement on Wednesday. Thomas Hogstedt, one of the world’s leading tennis coaches, has identified two South African sisters as potential future Grand Slam champions and has taken them under his wing. “Isabella reminds me of Martina Hingis. She plays a very fast, flat game and has great feel for the ball. Her favourite shot is the volley, but she also hits a very good drop shot.” Hogstedt comes to South Africa whenever he is able to, but has a coaching team who work with the girls when he can’t travel. The girls also go to his facility in Sweden for training camps and he and his coaching team travel with the girls when they play on the international circuit. His almost three-year coaching relationship with Maria Sharapova came to an end in July this year. The Swede, who has guided the likes of Maria Sharapova, Li Na and Caroline Wozniacki to the pinnacle of their careers, was invited by Tennis South Africa to conduct a clinic in Stellenbosch last November. At the clinic, he came across then 10-year-old Zoe Kruger, who immediately caught his eye. Zoe also helped South Africa to a third place finish in the under-12 team championship in Canada. Hogstedt knows what it takes to play at highest level of the game. In his 14-year professional career he managed wins over all three Swedish players who were ranked number one in the world at some stage during their careers: Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg. Uncanny abilityHogstedt has an uncanny ability to recognise what it takes to turn a pre-teenager into a champion, as he proved when coaching Wozniacki as a 13-year-old. He took her to number one in the world. SAinfo reporter One of the bestIsabella is already regarded as one of the best eight-year-old players in the world. She reached the final of the highly regarded Little Mo tournament in the under-eight age group when she was just seven and lost the final in three sets to Russia’s number one player. 26 September 2013 Coaching careerAs a coach he has worked with some of the top names in the sport, including Germany’s Tommy Haas and Nicolas Kiefer. Hogstedt also coached three top Swedes Jonas Bjorkman (career high world number 4), Magnus Norman (ranked 2) and Thomas Johansson (ranked 9). No peersZoe has no peers in her age group in South Africa, which she demonstrated by winning the SA National Under-12 Championship when she was just 10 years old. Last month she reached the final of an under-12 tournament in Canada, winning five of her six matches.
Low-flush toiletsWe have two bathrooms: upstairs and downstairs. Both have Kohler high-efficiency toilets that use just 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf).I admit to having been somewhat skeptical that 1.28 gpf would be enough for satisfactory performance, but in the three months we’ve been in the house we’ve had zero problems. The toilets are performing beautifully. Water-efficient dishwasherWe bought a mid-range KitchenAid dishwasher and are very pleased with it so far. We operate it with the no-heat-dry feature selected on a normal or light cycle to further reduce water and energy use. Roughly 90% of the energy use by dishwashers is for heating the water, so a water-conserving dishwasher also saves a lot of energy. With the Normal cycle and assuming typical soiling of dishes, a load of dishes uses just 2.9 gallons — far less than was the case a decade ago.It’s worth noting that using a modern, EnergyStar-rated dishwasher typically consumes a lot less water than washing dishes by hand. Knee-control kitchen faucetWe brought down from the house we moved out of a great kitchen faucet control system made by TapMaster that lets you turn the faucet on an off by either pressing your knee into one of the under-sink cabinet doors or by pressing a toe plate with your foot. This way you can easily turn the water on and off while you’re washing a pot or rinsing dishes.There’s no reason to leave the water running, so moderate water savings can be achieved. It’s also a huge convenience! Water conservationIt is in this context that I consider water conservation to be an extremely important priority. We are fortunate in Vermont to have plenty of water, but I’m just back from California, which is dealing with one of the most severe droughts in decades. Flying over the Sierras on my way there I was shocked to see how little snow cover there was.So what are the water conservation measures we implemented at our new house? Low-flow showerheadsWe installed EPA WaterSense-certified showerheads that deliver 1.75 gallons per minute (gpm), vs. the federal standard 2.5 gpm for showerheads. Ours are Kohler Bancroft showerheads, and we are very pleased with them, though I’ve also used a Delta H2Okinetic showerhead using just 1.5 gpm and been very happy with that, and I recently used a Niagara Conservation showerhead rated at just 1.0 gpm and found that to work just fine.When we save water with a showerhead or faucet, we also typically save energy use directly, since we’re using less hot water. Indeed, in replacing older, high-flow showerheads with new low-flow models, the payback for that change is often measured in months or even weeks, instead of years. In this weekly blog, I’ve focused a lot of attention on the energy-saving measures at our new home — from the innovative insulation materials we used to the air-source heat pump heating system and our top-efficiency heat-recovery ventilator.What I haven’t said much about are the measures we’ve taken to reduce water use and why these measures save energy as well. Water is preciousIn the years and decades ahead, water may well be a bigger challenge than energy in many areas of the U.S. and world. We should all do our part by using this precious resource efficiently. At the same time, treating and distributing water and treating wastewater use a lot of energy. This is especially the case with municipal water and sewer systems, but even in rural areas with their own water systems, water pumping can be one of the largest energy consumers — to operate deep-well 220-volt submersible pumps. Water-efficient clothes washerI remember when I bought my first new clothes washer 25 or 30 years ago, I had to work pretty hard to find a water-conserving horizontal-axis (front-loading) model. At the time there was only one U.S. manufacturer producing such a product for home use (White-Westinghouse).Fortunately, it is a very different situation today, with nearly every manufacturer offering such products. We bought a Whirlpool Duet washer, which I think is the best of the U.S.-made models. We had one in our last home and were very pleased with it. The only difference with this purchase is that the washer (and matching dryer) are larger, since Whirlpool shifted manufacturing to the U.S. from Mexico, and the units grew in size.Because we typically wash clothes in cold water, our direct energy use for clothes washing is very low. Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News. In 2012 he founded the Resilient Design Institute. To keep up with Alex’s latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed. RELATED ARTICLES Saving Water by Conserving EnergyResilient Design: Water in a Drought-Prone EraReduce Water UseSaving Energy by Saving WaterAll About Washing MachinesAll About Dishwashers Can Swimming Pools Be Green?The Uncertain Future of Phoenix and Las VegasWater, Water EverywhereIn the West, Drought Ends ‘Era of the Lawn’The DOE Showerhead RuleGBA Encyclopedia: Green Irrigation Low-flow faucetsThe Kohler faucets in our two bathrooms are WaterSense-certified at 1.5 gpm, vs. the maximum 2.2 gpm.Interestingly, almost the entire plumbing industry has shifted to 1.5 gpm flow rates — the level required for WaterSense certification. Because we rarely turn on the faucet full-force, our actual consumption is a lot lower. Screw-in faucet aerators are inexpensive and can quickly convert most standard faucets to water-saving versions. The water-energy nexusBefore getting into specifics, it’s important to note that there is a close relationship between water and energy — even when we’re not talking about hot water. At the macro scale, it takes at lot of water to produce energy.With electricity generation, each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated (based on national averages) consumes 2.0 gallons of water, according to a 2003 paper by National Renewable Energy Laboratory researchers. This is mostly from evaporation of water at thermoelectric power plants, but also includes evaporation of water at reservoirs used for hydropower generation.Other energy sources consume a lot of water in production. We can refer to this as the “embodied water” of these energy sources. Simply pumping oil out of the ground isn’t all that water-intensive, but when we start getting into “enhanced recovery” technologies like hydraulic fracturing (fraking) the water intensity goes way up — and can be a limiting factor. It may increasingly lead to conflicts with farmers in arid regions that are rich in underground oil and natural gas.
Nearly 90% of the contributions of over ₹20,000 received by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) during 2018-19 came from electoral bonds, according to a report submitted by the party to the Election Commission of India (ECI).The BJD, the ruling party in Odisha, received ₹240.81 crore in contributions of over ₹20,000, and ₹211.50 crore of it came in the form of six bonds sold by the State Bank of India (SBI), according to the report published by the ECI on Thursday.Under the electoral bonds scheme, notified by the Union government in January 2018, any Indian citizen or company incorporated in India can buy promissory notes from the SBI and donate them to parties. The donors remain anonymous. But the parties will have to hand over the details to the ECI in a sealed cover.The BJD received ₹27 crore from AB General Electoral Trust, which was funded by four companies of the Aditya Birla Group: Ultratech Cement; Hindalco Industries; Grasim Industries; and Essel Mining and Industries, according to the trust’s contribution report submitted to the ECI. Prudent Electoral Trust, which received funds from DLF Limited, Bharti Airtel, GMR Airports, DCM Shriram Ltd. and Jubilant Foodworks Limited, gave the BJD ₹2 crore. BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik contributed ₹5 lakh to the party, according to the report.