Skilling South Africa

first_imgCalvin AugustineThe world has changed over the last few months, as developed nations edge closer towards recession and world growth prospects begin to fade. But this reversal in world fortunes is in one sense a positive for Africa, and particularly South Africa, in the area of skills development and retention.People tend to follow opportunities, says Bobby Godsell, former head of mining multinational AngloGold Ashanti. He believes South Africa has a wealth of opportunities ready for the picking, and the country will not have a problem in attracting the scarce skills it needs.Godsell is an adviser to the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa), the body created to tackle the country’s skills shortage. He says emerging markets such as South Africa will be on world investor’s list of choice destinations, as this is where growth is expected over the next five to 10 years.Through his interactions with international companies, particularly those in the West, Godsell notes that their sentiment towards Africa has never been more positive. “We’ve got massive infrastructure development underway, corporate governance is improving,” he says. “I’ve never seen sentiment as positive as this. I think we’re going to see a return of engineers.”South Africa’s Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka echoes this, saying that the opportunities in South Africa for people to advance are “quite attractive”. Speaking at the release of the Jipsa annual report in April, Mlambo-Ngcuka said that the government and the private sector are actively engaging in various initiatives to attract skills.Better working conditions and remuneration packages are critical in retaining and attracting highly skilled professionals for South Africa, she says. Jipsa is looking into these retention areas and the government would also continue to improve the conditions of service.Chief economist in the Office of the Presidency Alan Hirsch says that Jipsa’s interactions with town and regional planners, a scarce skill highly demanded by South African municipalities as they expand, have revealed that it is not that the country is not producing enough planners, but that people did not stay in the profession due to the poor conditions of service.To remedy this, professional standards have been designed for the town planning profession, the South African Council for Planners has now been strengthened and the registration of planners is being promoted to enhance the profession.Urgent attention has also been given to foreign skills recruitment. The government, through the Department of Home Affairs, is facilitating the easier importation of skills with a quota of work permits. The quotas enable foreign professionals in specific categories to apply for work permits without having already found jobs in the country.In addition, in the two years since the inception of Jipsa, great strides have been made in training up South Africans as engineers, artisans, technicians and educators.According to the Jipsa report, the 2007/08 service levels agreements – signed between the various sector education and training authorities and the labour department – a total of 18 879 artisans have been registered. An additional 20 000 will be registered for 2008/2009 and a total of 50 000 is expected to be achieved by 2010. Jipsa overshot its engineering training targets with its target of graduating 1 000 engineers a year being topped by 500 last year; the body hopes to increase this to 2 000 a year by 2010.But Mlambo-Ncguka says South Africa will still need to improve skills development if the country wants to keep abreast with the rest of the world.“It is important to highlight that in the area of skills, since we started the world has changed,” she says. “The scale of the problem is bigger; it’s now time to up our game.”While the brain drain remains a concern, one solution is for South Africa to produce more skills than it requires. Another is the Jipsa Work Placement Programme, which fast-tracks deployment and improves productivity of qualified young people with scarce skills.This programme includes the placement of unemployed graduates both locally and internationally. Both local and international companies have responded to the call, with more than 20 000 offers received for graduates and about 15 000 already being placed. Eskom, Transnet, Microsoft, Shoprite, Old Mutual and Xstrata have taken several hundred, as well as the American Chamber of Commerce.Jipsa records that a few companies have recruited matriculants so far, but will in future focus more on these new entrants to the work force as well as semi-skilled people with potential for training. Foreign missions in South Africa have embraced the programme, with China, Canada, the US, UK, Cuba, Brazil, Singapore and Malaysia so far committed to the programme.The mandate period for the Jipsa secretariat has been extended by another 18 months. In its second phase of operation, the body will focus more on research and evaluation.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email [email protected]last_img read more

Why the Music Industry is Lying to You

first_imgNot all P2P downloading is illegal. Some people may be downloading a digital copy of an album or single that they own, a practice called format-shifting that the recording industry has said they won’t sue for (and theoretically exists within fair use guidelines).Do the numbers include fake MediaDefender files people are downloading? If a person downloads 5 fake tracks before finding the one they’re looking for, is that 6 downloads or 1?Some people download solely to improve share ratio on BitTorrent sites, but don’t actually have any desire for the files they’re downloading.People are obsessed with discographies and might download an entire set of albums when they really only want one or two songs.I would add that there is a fifth reason that TorrentFreak failed to mention, which is perhaps the most important reason why illegal downloads don’t equate to lost sales. People download music they wouldn’t pay for. Not all of the music people download from P2P networks is music that they would buy in stores or via legit download sites were the downloading option not available. Many times people download music that they hear in passing simply because they can, but not because they like it enough to buy it (in fact, it is precisely that they don’t like it enough to buy it — just enough to hear a few more times — that they download via Kazaa or BitTorrent instead of pay for it).In fact, I’d go so far as to guess that the majority of music people download via P2P networks is not music they would buy in stores. Further, a recent study showed that P2P downloading actually leads to morepurchases of CDs in stores. We’ve set up a poll below to test that theory. For anyone who has ever downloaded music illegally via a P2P network, please respond to the anonymous poll below.There was one thing the IFPI definitely got right in their annual report. “Progress in the digital music market is being hampered by lack of interoperability between services and devices,” they wrote (emphasis mine), hinting that DRM that ties consumers to a specific devices or service is bad for the industry. This is something that consumers have long been aware of, and that the record labels are finally starting to catch on to. 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Tags:#music#web 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… Related Posts josh catone 1 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… According to TorrentFreak, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) last week released their latest report, summing up the digital music landscape at the start of 2008. The IFPI claims in the report that for every legal music download, there are 20 illegal downloads taking place. Or in other words, illegal downloading is happening at a rate that is 20 times that of legal downloading. This, says the IFPI, lead to US$3.7 billion in industry losses. But there are some big holes in that claim.I’m not going to argue that piracy doesn’t causes losses for the industry — I am very certain it does. But I do think that the recording industry is vastly overstating those losses and misleading the public. TorrentFreak lays out some of the reasons why illegal downloads should not be equated with lost sales. 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe Applast_img read more

Latest Version of exacqVision Offers Enhanced Video Searching and Bookmarking

first_imgJohnson Controls has recently introduced the latest version of exacqVision video management system (v8.6), which offers improved video searching and video bookmarking, as well as a host of enhancements that improve the user experience and overall system protection.Thanks to this update, when exacqVision v8.6 is used as part of the Complete Security Solution from the Tyco Security Products brand portfolio, the system can leverage event information from intrusion and access control systems to improve search results and provide a comprehensive security picture. For example, users can now easily search an access control badge number to obtain video of all the doors that a specific employee may have accessed.Another enhancement involves the bookmarking and case management, which is used by organizations to tag and retain important video. The latest version allows users to create a case directly from “Live” view, which includes all cameras that are being actively monitored. This reportedly saves a significant amount of time over the former process which required the user to exit “Live” view and use the Search page to manually identify all cameras and time periods for that specific event. When the user exports the case, it will contain a chronological collection of clips from different cameras showing the suspect.- Sponsor – Those improvements include a significant performance enhancement in camera frame rate rendering and UI additions to display useful status information. Additionally, users can view all partitions of the Complete Security Solution integrated alarm systems along with the status of each zone—all on one screen.As exacqVision’s capabilities increase, so do the cybersecurity measures that are designed to protect a customer’s system, personnel information and enterprise. This release supports the enforcement of complex passwords, locking out users after a specified number of failed login attempts, and gives administrators additional tools to manage user access.Companies looking to enhance their ability to monitor the health of the surveillance environment can now request a free trial of the Enterprise System Manager (ESM), a centralized health monitoring and software updating system that will maximize recorder uptime and reliability.For more information, visit Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Three Robbery Suspects Arrested after Short Pursuit

first_imgThree armed suspects who allegedly robbed three stores were arrested after a short pursuit from Rancho Cucamonga into Fontana on July 14, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.The Fontana Police Department assisted in the pursuit of the suspects, and one of the suspects was arrested in front of the Fontana Police Station. The suspects were identified as Luis Cotne, a 21-year-old Riverside resident; Kyle Ruano, a 20-year-old Riverside resident; and Arielle Ramos, an 18-year-old Rancho Cucamonga resident.Ramos drove a gray Hyundai Santa Fe and remained inside the vehicle, while Ruano, who was armed with a silver revolver, and Cotne, who was armed with a machete, entered the gas station retail area, allegedly approached the Shell employee by going behind the counter and demanded money from the register. The suspects took about $133 from the employee and the register, the Sheriff’s Department said. All three suspects fled the scene in the gray Hyundai.- Sponsor – During an area check, Deputy Yesmin Garcia located the suspect vehicle at a Chevron station east of the Interstate 15 Freeway. It appeared that the suspects were going to commit another robbery, the Sheriff’s Department said… Herald News Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Dhoni-less India to take on Sri Lanka in ODI tri-series

first_imgAdversity is firing at the Indian team from all directions. And the Men in Blue are fast running out of ammunition.While they hit a purple patch, albeit briefly, in the middle of the tri-series by winning two games in a row and tying one, the Indians have stumbled and now take on a resurgent Sri Lanka in the eighth match of the tri-series knowing well that a slip now could send them into a freefall.Sri Lanka beat Australia with a bonus point on Friday and Australia meted out the same treatment to the Indians on Sunday here. With India the only team without a bonus win, things are getting a bit too close for comfort for the world champions.Sri Lanka have seven points from four games and India 10 from five. Tuesday’s day-night encounter at the ‘Gabba, therefore assumes bigger proportions.But before all that, both teams would be keeping one eye on the weather report as thunderstorms and heavy rain have been predicted in the afternoon and late evening. In case both teams end up splitting the points, the race to the final would be a dramatic one.Nonetheless, the sub-continental teams can only prepare their 100-over plans and India would be a lot more worried.Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni stands suspended for the match after the team took 4 hours to bowl its 50 overs on Sunday, its second such over-rate offence in 12 months. With Virender Sehwag expected to just about make a comeback from a back spasm and Sachin Tendulkar looking doubtful after receiving a blow to the head by a Brett Lee bouncer, the Indians are on shaky ground.The Sri Lankan fans here are having a good time watching their side giving the more fancied opponents a run for their money. And after mauling Australia in a rain-affected game at Sydney, the islanders will be raring to have a go at India.The buzz has settled in Brisbane after Sunday’s marquee match, but both sides know this series is alive as performances on the day have varied in the extremes.India will be contemplating changes in the bowling attack as the four-pacer strategy didn’t work in helpful conditions against the Aussies on Sunday. There is a case for R Ashwin to be brought back into the attack and the team management will have to decide which of Irfan Pathan and Umesh Yadav warrant a place in the eleven.Dhoni didn’t bowl spinner Ravindra Jadeja at all against Australia despite being behind the over-rate, but that shouldn’t be the case against the Lankans. Sehwag looks likely to lead the side in the absence of Dhoni and will have Parthiv Patel as his wicket-keeper. Sri Lanka have risen steadily. Captain Mahela Jayawardene has been inspirational and young Dinesh Chandimal, with 188 runs from four games, looks like he belongs to the big stage. On the bowling front, Lasith Malinga has picked the most wickets, six, but it’s Thisara Perera, with five wickets from three games, who has been the most incisive.The wicket should again suit seamers and with a forecast of cloudy and windy conditions, batting would be tough, if the weather gods permit play at all.advertisementlast_img read more

Clemson Football: Video: Watch Dabo Swinney Hit The Whip On A Boat With His Players

first_imgHead coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers reacts after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 to win the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 09: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers reacts after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 to win the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)It looks like Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is having some fun before the grind of training camp starts in a couple of weeks.Clemson wide receiver Ray Ray McCloud posted a video of Swinney enjoying a beautiful day on the water with some of his players. K.C. and The Sunshine Band is playing in the background, and wait, is that Dabo hitting the whip?!It is indeed. Stay until the very end for it. How we do on the lake #cu19 #whipdance @ClemsonFB— LT Yo.Dùrtty™ (@RMIII_34) July 16, 2015Dabo is a college football treasure.last_img read more

John Cena Stars In Love Has No Labels Video We Are America

first_imgTo coincide with Independence Day, the Ad Council, R/GA and an unprecedented group of brands launched “We Are America,” an extension of the iconic Love Has No Labels campaign, explaining that love for country is love for the people who make up this country.Behind the scenes images – John CenaThe new PSAs, featuring WWE Superstar John Cena, continue to further the campaign message of acceptance of all communities regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability. Love Has No Labels encourages audiences to recognize their implicit bias – biases that live in our subconscious – in order to promote inclusion. “We Are America” invites everyone to submit their photos to demonstrate the true diversity that makes up America. Upworthy, a 2015 campaign launch partner, shared “We Are America” on its social platforms and will be creating a series of videos launching in the coming months to help further the campaign message.Video: We Are America ft. John Cena | Love Has No Labels | Ad Council“I am proud to be part of the Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels campaign, ‘We Are America’,” said WWE Superstar John Cena. “This campaign sends an important message of acceptance that truly embodies the spirit of America.”The new PSAs, created by R/GA, encourage people to define their love of country as love of all Americans. The long-form video and TV spot feature Cena walking through a diverse neighborhood while talking about how the real average American is likely different than the person viewers may imagine. By enumerating some of the many labels Americans proudly use to define themselves – Latino, disabled, lesbian, Muslim, senior citizen, African American and others – the video concludes that to love America is to love all Americans. An advisory board of nonprofit partners, including The Perception Institute, Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League, lent their expertise to ensure that the PSAs represented diverse perspectives and addressed the issue of implicit bias. In addition to the television and online videos, the integrated campaign includes out of home and print advertising, all of which are running entirely in time and space donated by the media.“At a time when it feels hard for our country to find common ground, we need to remind audiences that to celebrate America is to celebrate all Americans. We’re so proud to continue the Love Has No Labels message as part of the July 4th holiday and throughout the year,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “‘We Are America’ illuminates what we already know – that Americans today cover the full spectrum of age, sexuality, ability, race and religion. And this message is just as important now as ever.”“It’s a privilege for us to continue working with the Ad Council. Like last year, the power of the campaign came from its honesty. To celebrate the real America is to celebrate the real people that make up this country,” said Nick Law, vice chairman, global cco, R/GA. “As someone who moved to the U.S. 22 years ago, I’ve benefited from the openness and generosity of this country. And it’s this inclusive spirit that now makes me proud.”To accompany the PSAs, the campaign launched a Portrait of America photo tool allowing users to create custom gifs that highlight the diversity of America. Love Has No Labels encourages users to submit their own photos which are combined with other users’ images to create an animated sequence of portraits. The gifs will reflect the true diversity that makes up America today and users are encouraged to share them across social channels with #WeAreAmerica. The gif generator is prominently featured on the redesigned campaign website. Through Stackla, a content marketing platform, the new homepage aggregates and highlights portraits of Americans from all backgrounds. HelpsGood, a social good-focused digital agency, will post messaging on the campaign’s social channels to encourage users to share stories representing “We Are America” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.The campaign brand partners, including founding partners The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, P&G, Unilever and State Farm, and recent partners, Google and Johnson & Johnson, are supporting “We Are America” by promoting content across their channels. In time for the launch of “We Are America,” Google joins this group of brand partners to advance the reach and impact of the PSAs. In addition to funding the campaign, brand partners will show their support during the year through on and offline activations including, social influencer programs, social messaging, employee engagement, events and more.Upworthy featured “We Are America” on its social channels yesterday and will be producing a series of additional videos celebrating the diversity of America throughout the year.“Upworthy is thrilled to support the Love Has No Labels campaign again this year. Our mission is to change what the world is paying attention to, and this campaign helps draw attention to the diversity at the heart of America. We are all America, and we are all part of the same story,” said Eli Pariser, co-Founder of Upworthy.The fully integrated campaign also includes support from key partners including Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed and WWE. Through a Facebook ad unit, people can participate in the campaign directly from Facebook. People will be able to visit and share their #WeAreAmerica photo from within the ad unit after watching the video. Additionally, Twitter launched a new custom Love Has No Labels emoji (available through August 4th) for #WeAreAmerica or #LoveHasNoLabels. When the hashtags are used in a tweet, a custom emoji of diverse holding hands will appear representing unity, love and the diversity of Americans. Twitter will also promote the emoji through donated media support. As part of a content series around the campaign message, Buzzfeed will develop posts that aim to inspire all Americans to reflect on their own assumptions of what the “average American” looks like. In addition to John Cena’s participation, WWE will also utilize its global platforms including WWE Network, television broadcasts, live events, and digital and social media to support the campaign.Love Has No Labels, a digital-first campaign, first launched nationwide in February 2015. The initial video, filmed on Valentine’s Day, featured real people in diverse relationships spanning different backgrounds and encouraged viewers to question their assumptions of what constitutes friendship, romantic love and family. Since the campaign’s first video debuted exclusively on Upworthy, it has been viewed over 160 million times making it the 2nd most viewed video in 2015. As a result, there have been over 2.7 million sessions on, where visitors were offered a quiz to examine their own biases. Additionally, more adults report discussing discrimination and prejudice and saying that they are regularly accepting and inclusive of others, according to a recent survey commissioned by the Ad Council and conducted by Ipsos, Public Affairs. To date, the award-winning campaign has received nearly $27 million in donated media.last_img read more

State lawmakers outside jobs present possible conflicts

first_imgA recent change in Iowa’s tax code spared Mark Chelgren’s machine shop, welding company and wheelchair-parts plant from paying sales tax when buying certain supplies such as saws and cutting fluid.The change passed by the state Legislature last year wasn’t just good for Chelgren’s businesses. It was brought about in part by Chelgren himself. The Iowa state senator championed the tax break for manufacturing purchases as part of his work at the statehouse in Des Moines.Chelgren isn’t the only state lawmaker doing his outside interests a favour. A North Dakota legislator was instrumental in approving millions of dollars for colleges that also are customers of his insurance business. A Nevada senator cast multiple votes that benefited clients of the lobbying firm where he works. Two Hawaii lawmakers involved with the condominium industry sponsored and voted for legislation smoothing the legal speed bumps their companies navigate. And the list goes on.State lawmakers around the country have introduced and supported policies that directly and indirectly help their own businesses, their employers and sometimes their personal finances, according to an analysis of disclosure forms and legislative votes by the Center for Public Integrity and The Associated Press.The news organizations found numerous examples in which lawmakers’ votes had the effect of promoting their private interests. Even then, the votes did not necessarily represent a conflict of interest as defined by the state.That’s because legislatures set their own rules for when lawmakers should recuse themselves. In some states, lawmakers are required to vote despite any ethical dilemmas.Many lawmakers defend votes that benefit their businesses or industries, saying they bring important expertise to the debate.Chelgren said the Iowa tax changes were good policy and that his background running a manufacturing business was a valuable perspective in the statehouse.“We have way too many people who have been in government their whole lives and don’t know how to make sure that a payroll is met,” the Republican said.He said the tax change had only a negligible effect on his business, saving it a few hundred dollars a year.Iowa Senate rules say lawmakers should consider stepping aside when they have conflicts if their participation would erode public confidence in the Legislature. That’s a step one local official said Chelgren should have taken, especially since the tax change costs the state tens of millions a year in revenue.“We have to keep the public’s trust,” said Jerry Parker, the Democratic chairman of the Wapello County Board of Supervisors in Chelgren’s district. “If they see us benefiting financially from votes that we make, the perception is bad for all elected officials.”___CITIZEN LEGISLATURESThere’s no shortage of support for the “citizen legislature” concept that operates in most statehouses — that lawmakers should not be professional politicians, but instead ordinary citizens with day jobs. The idea is that those lawmakers can better relate to the concerns of their constituents and bring real-world experience to making policy.Forty states have governing bodies that the National Conference of State Legislatures considers less than full-time. Those lawmakers convene for only part of the year and rely on other work to make a living.To assess lawmakers’ outside employment, the Center for Public Integrity analyzed disclosure reports from 6,933 lawmakers holding office in 2015 from the 47 states that required them. Most legislators reported outside work except in California and New York, where the office is considered full-time and pays relatively high salaries — $104,118 and $79,500 per year, respectively.The Center found that at least 76 per cent of state lawmakers nationwide reported outside income or employment. Many of those sources are directly affected by the actions of the legislatures. By comparison, members of Congress have faced sharp restrictions on moonlighting since 1978.The financial information lawmakers disclose about outside work varies widely from state to state. In Illinois, the disclosure forms are derisively labeled “none sheets” for the answer that invariably follows most questions about economic interests and potential conflicts. Idaho, Michigan and Vermont do not require lawmakers to disclose their financial interests. Vermont passed a law this year to do so starting in 2018.Ethics rules often allow members to participate in debates and even vote when they have a potential conflict. Recusal is frequently up to the lawmaker.Pennsylvania lawmakers who believe they may have a conflict of interest are required to ask their chamber’s presiding officer whether they should vote. In 30 instances in the Senate over a recent three-year period, every inquiry received the green light. One senator was approved to vote for his own mother’s nomination to a public board.Two states, Utah and Oregon, require lawmakers to vote even if they have a conflict. California lawmakers can vote on legislation even after declaring a conflict of interest if they believe their votes are “fair and objective.” Many legislators say frequent abstentions would keep their chambers from working properly.“We all bring to the table what we know, what our jobs are,” said Nevada Sen. Tick Segerblom, a Democrat. “When you have a citizen legislature, there’s nobody you can find, just pull someone off a street, who at the end of the day wouldn’t have some type of conflict.”___MUDDIED MOTIVATIONSAnother Nevada lawmaker, Republican Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, voted at least six times this year to advance measures benefiting clients of the law firm where he works as director of client relations. In one case, he voted for a bill in committee that would have sped up a sales tax break for medical equipment, a measure backed by a client of his firm. At a hearing, he even asked questions of the lobbyist, a partner at his firm, with no mention of their association. The bill did not pass the full Legislature.And last year, while his firm, McDonald Carano, was lobbying on behalf of the Oakland Raiders, Kieckhefer voted to approve $750 million in taxes to help build a stadium that would serve as the team’s new home in Las Vegas.Kieckhefer, a former Associated Press reporter, said a firewall divides his firm’s lobbying from its legal work, the division where he works. He defended Nevada’s citizen legislature, which meets every other year and pays lawmakers $288.29 for every day of the session.“I’m not reliant on support from lobbyists or special interests to keep the job I have to support my family,” he said.Nevada law says that if legislators feel they have conflicts of interest, they must disclose them before voting. But for the Raiders stadium decision, Kieckhefer had no need to speak up: The Senate, in a historically unprecedented move, waived the normal conflict-of-interest provisions for the vote, a priority for Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and wealthy casino magnate and political donor Sheldon Adelson, who later pulled out of financing part of the deal. The bill passed.Ethics rules are some of many government policies that state legislatures get to write for themselves. Many, for instance, exempt their members from open records and meetings laws that apply to other agencies.Some states are working to strengthen measures that would prevent conflicts of interest. Ballot initiatives for 2018 are underway in Alaska and South Dakota.Maryland passed ethics reforms this year after the House of Delegates unanimously reprimanded Democratic Del. Dan Morhaim for acting “contrary to the principles” of Maryland’s ethical standards by not disclosing his work as a paid consultant for a marijuana company while he was working on marijuana policy.“I have been clear from the beginning of this episode that I have done nothing wrong,” Morhaim said in an email. “The reprimand issued was for not following the ‘intent’ of the rules, a wholly new and undefined standard.”___DOUBLE DUTYIn Hawaii, where condo owners say they feel outgunned at the statehouse, Rep. Linda Ichiyama and Sen. Michelle Kidani, both Democrats, sponsored and voted for bills this year that their employers in condominium management had championed. Ichiyama is an attorney for a law firm that represents condo associations while Kidani works for a company that manages condominiums. The bills included a provision that critics say makes it easier for condo board members to re-elect themselves.Then-House Speaker Joe Souki ruled Ichiyama had no conflicts and could vote, and Senate President Ron Kouchi said he did not remember ruling on any conflicts related to Kidani this session. Ichiyama did not return repeated phone calls or emails seeking comment.“I follow the rules of the Senate, including voting on bills that may relate to my non-legislative employment,” Kidani said in an email. “Proposed bills are carefully read in order to determine whether there may be any conflict of interests raised.”Other lawmakers have used public office to polish their day-job credentials. Rhode Island Sen. Stephen Archambault, a Democrat, has advertised his legislative work as a reason to hire him as a defence attorney in drunken driving cases: “Archambault literally wrote this law, and knows exactly what to do to succeed for you,” his law office website read until contacted by a reporter this fall. He did not return requests for comment.In North Dakota, state Rep. Jim Kasper sponsored bills over the past decade that have provided millions in extra funding to the state’s five tribal colleges, whose operations are usually funded by the federal government.Kasper, a Republican who owns a company that co-ordinates insurance benefits, has counted two of the colleges among the hundreds of clients he has had over the years. One has been his customer for nearly three decades.He said he sponsored the bills because he cares about addressing unemployment near Native American reservations.“Nothing was hidden,” he said. “I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t feel it was the right thing to do.”Lawmakers don’t always choose to cast votes that benefit their private interests. West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael, a Republican, voted for a bill this year to expand broadband internet competition that his company, Frontier Communications, lobbied against.Within days, Frontier fired him, though it denies it was because of his vote. Spokesman Andy Malinoski said in an email that “market and economic conditions” led the company to eliminate several positions, including Carmichael’s.Carmichael said citizen legislators frequently feel pressure from outside income sources but usually do the right thing.“We often feel the influences of employment,” he said. “In my case, the net result is that I lost my job.”___Contributors include David Jordan and Joe Yerardi of the Center for Public Integrity; and Associated Press reporters James MacPherson in Bismarck, North Dakota, Audrey McAvoy in Honolulu, John O’Connor in Springfield, Illinois, Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Scott Sonner in Reno, Nevada, and Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland.A reporting partnership between The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity.last_img read more

Auditor general calls for long term financial forecasts as oil revenue decreases

first_imgFinance Minister Joe Ceci, in a statement, said the report, “reinforces our position that we need to get off the oil and gas roller-coaster. Quality services should not depend on the price of oil.”Ceci noted the current budget has a six-year plan to erase the budget deficit.Political opponents, however, have said Ceci’s plan is based on questionable assumptions, including the construction of the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion.Saher completes his eight-year term as auditor general at the end of the month. Saher says long-term forecasts looking decades down the road, such as used in Norway, help keep government spending on track as a constant reminder that oil resources will run out and that planning for a post-oil future is critical.Alberta has been running multibillion-dollar deficits due to a prolonged slump in oil prices.Saher says Alberta risks not capitalizing on its remaining oil and gas revenue if governments take a short-term view in future planning.“I have no idea what the (government) plan is going out into the future,” Saher said Thursday.“I think there’s a tendency generally, we’re human beings, that the future will take care of itself.“That is incredibly risky for a group of people to rely on.” EDMONTON, A.B. – Alberta’s auditor general says a long-term fiscal projection would help the province as it deals with oil price swings and a diminishing non-renewable resource.In his farewell report, Merwan Saher says enormous oil revenues, such as have been enjoyed by Alberta in the past, can be a double-edged sword.He says such petroleum windfalls can become easy substitutes for strong economic fundamentals in good times, leading to much bigger problems when the prices crash.center_img He will be replaced by Doug Wylie, who becomes Alberta’s 11th auditor general.(THE CANADIAN PRESS)last_img read more

FSJ RCMP are seeking information on the whereabouts of Adrian Attachie

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – RCMP received notice on January 7, 201,9 that an unendorsed warrant was issued for the arrest of 28-year-old Adrian James Attachie.Attachie is wanted for numerous outstanding Breach of Recognizance charges.Attachie is described as: Weight – 50 kgHeight – 173 cmHair colour BlackEye colour Browntwo (2) teardrop tattoos under each eye,design tattoo above his right eye,RIP tattoo on his neck andKaiden tattoo on his neckThe Fort St John RCMP continue to investigate and are asking anyone who has information and can assist in locating Adrian Attachie, to contact the Fort St John RCMP at 250-787-8100.Should you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online at www.crimestoppersnebc.calast_img read more