Courts to protect SA’s water

first_imgThe Department of Water Affairs will belaunching courts that will address watercrimes that threaten the securityof supply to lawful water users.(Image: Graeme Williams, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com.For more free photos, visit the image library) South African Water Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica announced on 11 August 2010 that environmental courts will be set up to address crimes that threaten the quality and supply of water.Sonjica, speaking at the Agri SA water conference in Johannesburg, said her department was concerned about the impact of deteriorating water quality in South Africa, as it’s among the most water-scarce countries in the world.She said the new courts would help deal with all water-related crimes, but that role-players in the agricultural industry should also come up with ways to protect the country’s water supplies. She named agricultural practices, mining and urban development as the main contributors to water pollution.“It’s a serious matter for us and you will soon be invited to the launch of the first courts because we want to strengthen our regulatory bodies in this regard. I understand that water pollution is one of the areas of great concern for the agricultural sector today,” she said at the conference.The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) will be working closely with the South African Police Service and the directorate of public prosecutions to address water crimes that threaten the security of supply to lawful water users, the minister said.She added that unauthorised or illegal water abstraction was also a problem, and the department was strengthening its enforcement capacity to deal with such offenders.She said 14 water-management inspectors had been recruited and trained, and that the capacity of the compliance, monitoring and enforcement directorate had grown significantly.“We will intensify this aspect of our work to ensure that we bring all offenders to book.”Incentive schemesTurning to the issue of municipal waste-water, Sonjica spoke about the Green Drop Certification Programme, which encourages municipalities to comply with drinking-water and waste-water legislation put forward by the DWA.Being awarded Green Drop status implies excellent waste-water management and a respect for the environment and the health of the community.“Currently we have more than 50 qualified assessors conducting consultative audits on the management of the waste-water treatment works to guide local authorities in the direction of excellence,” the minister said.According to the Green Drop Report (PDF, 1.22 MB), released in 2009, 203 of the 449 waste-water systems assessed scored better than 50% when measured against the set criteria for quality and management, while about 7.4% of all waste-water systems were classified as excellently managed.Sonjica said the department was well on its way in meeting the 2010 target of assessing all the municipal waste-water treatment works in the country.She added that the design competency of some of the waste-water systems was stretched to capacity due to population and economic growth, which compromised the quality and management of the waste-water systems.“Shortcomings in the local government funding model as well as the skills deficit in the labour market exacerbate the problem even further.”In closing, Sonjica urged the farmers attending the conference to work with the department to fight illegal water abstraction.“Without effective regulation, your water may dry up or the quality may deteriorate significantly,” she said.last_img read more

Cloud Computing: Cloud Adoption Uneven Across Countries in Europe

first_imgLast week Friday we looked at two surveys about the scope of cloud acceptance — a survey by CA Associates that found that 93 percent of companies are using the cloud, and another one by SWC Technology Partners that concluded that less than 4 percent of companies are using applications hosted in the cloud.  The conclusion was that there is currently a huge split between what different segments of  companies are doing. segments.  It’s not clear exactly what the parameters are that make up the profile of a cloud-adopter company versus the cloud-abstainer ones, but  both the location and size of company seem to play a significant factor.A number of other recent surveys continue to highlight the uneven acceptance of cloud computing.  Compare the following two cloud adoption reports, one surveying usage in the UK, and the other in Norway.Cisco’s 2011 CloudWatch report on cloud adoption in the UK found that only 7 percent of companies in the US are using the cloud.  That number is expected to expand to 23 percent in two years time.  But Ian Foddering, CTO and technical director at Cisco UK and Ireland, thinks that part of the reason why the adoption rate appears low is that people are just not aware that they’re using the cloud.  “People don’t even realize they’re consuming cloud-based services [even when they use software like Salesforce.com or Cisco WebEx].”The Cisco report also cited another possible reason why companies in the UK have been slow to move on cloud computing: lack of standards.  95 percent of companies said that the lack of common cloud standards is a major concern, and 65 percent said that cloud standards were critical.  But again, not all companies share the same perspective.  Foddering said that  “some vertical sectors are very concerned about the lack of standards, and some, like healthcare, see the lack of standards as a barrier to entry, while some service providers, don’t see it as a factor at all.”But then consider a report from Rammboll which surveyed cloud adoption in Norway.  The report found that over the last year the use of cloud computing has doubled.  Now more than  35% of public sector bodies and private sector companies are using cloud-based application, compared to just 14% from the previous year.  The Rammboll report found that in Norway the main concern about cloud computing is security.  Security was cited by 91 percent of public sector companies and 83 percent of private companies as their number one worry.Terje Mjøs, one of the authors of the report on Norway, said that “suppliers of cloud computing must be able to reassure their customers that the supplier has the expertise needed to use software and virtualisation to establish watertight walls between different businesses in the cloud, and that the supplier can implement user management and access control that is 100% reliable. Users want to be reassured that cloud computing is secure and reliable. Storms in the cloud will keep users indoors, where they are today.”last_img read more

Of politics and finance in Indian sports

first_imgSharda UgraPolitics, as we understand it, is usually party versus party. Congress vs BJP vs RJD vs LSD vs WMD… you get the drift. Politics, as the Ministry of Sports sees it, is a different, diversionary kind of tactic.Here party lines blur and the only line adhered to is one,Sharda UgraPolitics, as we understand it, is usually party versus party. Congress vs BJP vs RJD vs LSD vs WMD… you get the drift. Politics, as the Ministry of Sports sees it, is a different, diversionary kind of tactic.Here party lines blur and the only line adhered to is one of self-interest. All those in favour of perpetuating self-rule on one side and the befuddled babus on another. If this were a wrestling contest, it would be like sending a 50 kg stick insect up against a 110 kg gorilla. As things stand, India’s leading federation bosses, the er… above mentioned gorillas, first have their cakes bought with public money. Then they get to eat them too with a bunch of bananas-trips to the Olympics and other world events – thrown in as bonus. Suresh Kalmadi, P.R. Dasmunshi, K.P.S. Gill, V.K. Malhotra, Digvijay Singh, K.P. Singh Deo, et al, belong to India’s original Backscratchers Union.They have survived changes of government, ideology, policy and post-Olympics purges because they look after one another. Just as the BCCI lives in mortal dread of a “corporate takeover” and so resists professionalisation, our sports administrators also invoke the bogeys of a “threat to autonomy”.It’s great, this autonomy. It means a freedom from accountability (and actually from accounting) but does not imply demonstrating the dynamism to find independent funding. For that there is always the bottomless pool of our taxes.In the ministry, when faced with this powerful all-party club, they tend to throw up their hands and then do the easy thing – go after tricolours on helmets or what the cricket team is called. In recent months, though, something stirred: elite athletes were told they could bypass their federations and approach the ministry directly for funding.Now a scale for financing sports based not on a fixed priority list of disciplines but on a dynamic performance rating is being formulated. Whether the new sports minister will follow through on this is another matter. A few months ago, a meeting of state sports ministers was to discuss moving sport from the state list to the concurrent list, i.e. putting sport under Central control. Just before the meeting, a senior Indian Olympic Association (IOA) official hosted the ministers for breakfast after which the collective power of persuasion and pakoras had them opting for the status quo.advertisementYes, the government of India is not the world’s most efficient creature and yes it has more important things to do. But when it foots the bill for most Olympic sports, you would think a statement of expenses is the least it is entitled to.last_img read more

Government confirms that no plans to make yoga compulsory

first_imgThe term ‘Yoga’ has been applied to a variety of practices and methods, including Jain and Buddhist practices. On Thursday, the government has confirmed that until now there is no plan to make teaching of yoga mandatory at all the educational institutions. According to a report in the Times of India, Ayush Minister Shripad Naik said, “No. However, yoga is one of the subjects along with physical and health education, and is also included as part of the physical activity in all schools affiliated to CBSE across the country.”  He further added that yoga is included as one of the units under physical education curriculum at the senior secondary level.He quoted that while framing the revised 12th plan guidelines on the scheme ofdevelopment of sports infrastructure and equipment at universities andcolleges. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has notified that yoga has been incorporated in the modules on the health, nutrition, fitness and general well being in all courses at the under graduate and post graduate level.”He concluded that yoga is a subject along with physical and health education for schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). On September 27, 2014, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi declared 21 June as International Day of Yoga during his address to UN General Assembly.last_img read more

Minister Neita Headley Reiterates Government’s Commitment to Integrity in Sport

first_img JADCO has implemented a rigorous and robust testing programme Story Highlights JADCO has demonstrated that it is achieving its mandate Government’s longstanding and relentless commitment to integrity in sport The Minister without Portfolio (Sport) Hon. Natalie Neita Headley has reiterated the Government’s longstanding and relentless commitment to integrity in sport and to the maintenance of a doping free sporting environment.Minister Neita Headley said the commitment of government has been clearly demonstrated since 2003-4 with the establishment of a Task Force on Anti-Doping in Sport in Jamaica. This was followed by the enactment of the Anti-Doping in Sport Act of 2008 and the establishment of JADCO.As a result of the positive response of the Government and the full support of all our sporting stakeholders, JADCO has implemented a rigorous and robust testing programme for in and out of competition as well as public education for all who participate or wish to participate in sport. It is clear from the Eight Hundred and Sixty (860) tests conducted by JADCO since 2009 that JADCO has demonstrated that it is achieving its mandate.As we continue to encourage and support our athletes in their pursuit of excellence in sport, we stand firmly in our resolve that high quality performance and excellence can be achieved from talent, training and hard work.The Government remains committed to the development of sport at all levels and acknowledges the value of sport in promoting healthy lifestyles and well-being among its people while serving as a vehicle for achieving its development goals.Contact: Communications Unit-OPMTel: 926-0244 Fax: 920-4684Email: opm.news@opm.gov.jmlast_img read more

Loretta Saunders family holding tightly to hope

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe family of a missing Inuk woman are frustrated but hopeful.Loretta Saunders has been missing since Feb 13th 2014.And although her car was found in Ontario and two people are facing charges of theft, police still have no suspect.APTN’s Trina Roache reports.last_img