Public Protector gets more powers

first_imgMadonsela warned that her office would not hesitate to use its full powers to exact compliance with the Constitution and the law, and would use everything in her means, including subpoenas and orders of contempt of the Public Protector, to deliver justice to the public. They are in accordance to section 7 (11) of the Public Protector Act of 1994, which states that the Public Protector may make rules in respect of matters that have a bearing on investigations, provided that such rules are published in the Gazette and tabled in the National Assembly. 25 November 2010 During her recent outreach programme, she assured citizens that they could trust her office with confidential information about corrupt activities. Source: BuaNews Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says she is ready to use new legislative rules giving her office more power to enforce compliance from the state – including the power to issue subpoenas and orders of contempt – in order to deliver justice to the South African public. On average, the Office of the Public Protector received about 15 000 complains per year. It takes from a couple hours to three months to resolve a single case, depending on its nature. Enforcing accountabilitycenter_img The new rules strengthen the Public Protector’s powers to enforce accountability from state organs and ensure a speedy resolution of cases. “The people who come to my office for help often have no financial means to take the mighty state to court, and come to me as a last resort, believing that my office can provide them with justice free of charge and quicker than tribunals and courts.” The new rules will be published in the Government Gazette early next year. Madonsela appealed to the public to report poor service and conduct by organs of state, suspected corrupt activities and other forms of maladministration in state affairs. Delivering justice “We find it unacceptable that some state organs still give us the run-around when we seek answers on behalf of distressed or aggrieved members of the public,” Madonsela told members of the National Press Club in Pretoria this week.last_img read more

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Brand South Africa partners with Abantu Book Festival in celebrating literary

first_imgThe South African story is one that carries weight and pride, and reverberates all around the globe. Platforms like the Abantu Book Festival sets the scene for untold stories to be told.The Abantu Book Festival, running from 6-9 December at the Eyethu Lifestyle Centre in Soweto, is in its third year and has become a literary highlight for African writers and readers, celebrating the rich and diverse African literary heritage.Brand South Africa is proud to play a role in giving aspiring writers and authors the opportunity to learn from industry experts and network with fellow bookworms in a Creative Writing Workshop, featuring author Fred Khumalo. Other authors include Esinako Ndabeni and Sihle Mthembu, writers of Born to Kwaito. The workshop aims to equip aspiring writers and authors with tools to harness their talents and introduce them to big names in the literary world.Included in this year’s Abantu Book Festival line-up is well-renowned author and feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who has written books such as Americanah, We Should All Be Feminists, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions and The Thing Around Your Neck.In her address, she said: “I think collectively, as Africans, we do not engage enough with our history. And not African history in relation to Europe, but our own history.”Brand South Africa believes in the power of creating opportunities for ordinary citizens to showcase their creativity. It is through creativity and compelling stories that our Nation Brand will continue to inspire.Here is a list of books every South African should read.last_img read more

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Democrats Talk Climate, Ag

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Chris ClaytonDTN Ag Policy EditorOMAHA (DTN) — In an evening-long event on climate policies, Democratic candidates said farmers and agriculture can be a solution to climate change, but criticized large scale agriculture and food production at the same time.On Wednesday, CNN hosted a marathon town hall with pre-selected questioners asking 10 Democratic presidential candidates about climate change. Hurricane Dorian provided a backdrop for the town hall with updates on the storm hitting Florida.Until the event, climate had only been a small slice of questions at Democratic debates. The Democratic National Committee rejected requests for a debate centered around the topic, so CNN gave each candidate roughly a half hour to talk about their plans.Candidates were split among carbon taxes and cap-and-trade plans, but each said a larger policy such as those would be needed to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The candidates largely agreed they would ban offshore drilling, and freeze or pull oil leases on federal lands. There was more division on fracking natural gas as some candidates would ban it while others said natural gas is needed as a transitional fuel to shift from coal and oil to renewable energy.When it came to food and agriculture, CNN’s hosts and guest questioners were aggressively engaged in asking about policies surrounding cattle emissions, even though U.S. livestock accounts for just 3% of the nation’s greenhouse-gas emissions. There was a lot of discussion on dietary guidelines and linking U.S. agricultural interests to Amazon deforestation and fires.Sen. Kamala Harris of California, when asked about dietary guidelines, said she put a priority on sugar consumption and healthy eating. She would also consider environmental impacts of food production tied to dietary guidelines. “I’ve worked on this issue in the past, and it is about consumer awareness also,” she said.American consumers need more information about the health implications of food choices, and we need to expand information to include the impact on the environment, Harris said.Pointing to the Amazon fires, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was asked how young climate activists could trust her as president, given that she comes from a large dairy and livestock state. Returning to the Paris Accords would give the U.S. more clout with allies dealing with issues such as the Amazon, Klobuchar said.“I am hopeful that we are going to be able to do this in a way, especially when I am president, that we can continue to have hamburgers and cheese,” Klobuchar said. “But at the same time, understand there are people who choose to eat vegan, and that is great too.”Klobuchar shifted to say there are ways “to make farmers part of the solution” on climate change. Farmers are struggling financially, she said, noting she was the only candidate that night who is also on the U.S. Agriculture Committee. (Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado is also on the Ag Committee, but he did not participate in the CNN event.) Klobuchar dove into the USDA conservation programs, rattling off the acronyms CRP, CSP and EQIP. “You don’t want to know what they stand for, but they are good for conservation,” Klobuchar said. “The thing we are doing now that is really exciting for climate is putting incentives out there for farmers for their land and for things that will reduce CO2 in the atmosphere.”Klobuchar talked about cover crops and planting trees. She said she would do more with the tools in the farm bill to work with farmers to use farming methods that require less water, “and yet still be able to produce our own food supply so we don’t have to be dependent on other countries that do not have the same environmental standards that we do.”CNN’s Erin Burnett then suggested, falsely, “If everyone stopped eating red meat or went vegan, this problem would go away. Now, obviously that’s not where we are going.” Burnett then asked Klobuchar if she would adjust dietary guidelines. Klobuchar responded, “I would do what the science tells us,” she said. “We all know there is an issue with obesity in this country and we have to do more. I’m a huge supporter of putting calorie information on menus.”Later in the evening, Amanda Freund, who works on her family’s dairy farm in East Canaan, Connecticut, told South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg the farm is facing unprecedented weather and economic challenges. She asked Buttigieg what he could do “to bring stability back to the ag sector” so farmers can manage the regulations that will come with combatting climate change and “stay in business.”“Uncertainty is one of the biggest enemies a farmer has, and we’re adding a lot of it with climate change,” Buttigieg said. “It’s one of the reasons why farmers have the most to lose. But I also believe, and clearly you are pioneering this, that rural Americans can be such a huge part of the solution.”Then Buttigieg said, “To me, the quest for a net-zero emissions cattle farm is one of the most exciting things we might undertake as a country. It can be done right now, strictly speaking scientifically, but it’s completely unaffordable, of course, to make it pencil out. We need to change the economics of it. And yes, that means more federal investment. It means more investment in the Department of Agriculture, in its R&D (research and development). It also means more investment in the Conservation Stewardship Program for growers to make sure we’re doing the right things with soil management.” He added, “There’s the potential for our soil to take in as much carbon as our entire transportation sector puts out.”Buttigieg added, “In the same [way] we as a country are rightly proud of Norman Borlaug and the Green Revolution that fed a billion people, we should be just as proud as the steps we’re about to take as a country with American agriculture leading the way to green, global agriculture in a different fashion. Imagine what it would mean if a net-zero emissions cattle farm were as big an achievement fighting the climate crisis as an electrical vehicle. We would be so proud of it.” Buttigieg drew a strong applause.When asked later about livestock emissions, Buttigieg said, “First of all, I am from Indiana and, second of all, I love cheeseburgers.”Former Vice President Joe Biden didn’t delve into agriculture and was not asked about it. The frontrunner in the polls, Biden was mostly challenged by youth who asked how his generation could be trusted to take on the fossil fuels industry. Biden was combative in some answers.“Everything I have done has been done to take on the polluters and those who would decimate our environment,” Biden said.Biden insisted he knows world leaders and can bring them together for solutions to climate change by focusing on science and technology. Biden added there is enormous opportunity for economic benefits with renewable energy jobs in the U.S., though he acknowledged some people will be displaced in the process.Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also talked about transitioning the economy. He, though, delved into where he saw changes were needed in agricultural production going forward.“What we are saying to people that are in agriculture for example, we are saying we are going to end factory farming because that is a danger to the environment and [contributes] to climate change.”Sanders said to applause from the audience, “And there will be a transition and there will be some pain there. We’re going to put money into protecting family-based agriculture where people can — instead of having food products transported from all over the world, all over the country — you can get their foods, as much as we can, locally. So there’s going to be change.”Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., didn’t touch on agriculture, but focused on challenging Washington interests and the fossil fuels industries. “Washington is working great for giant oil companies who want to drill everywhere. It’s just not working well for the rest of us with climate change bearing down on us.”Warren said the green economy is a $17 trillion market that could spur more research and development in the U.S. and more than 1 million manufacturing jobs.“Don’t sit around and tell me what’s not possible. Tell me what’s going to happen if we don’t do something about climate change,” Warren said.Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke said a next generation farm bill would pay farmers for environmental services they want to provide, such as planting cover crops and keeping more land under conservation, and allow them to use regenerative agriculture in ranching. O’Rourke also said every sector of the economy should have a price on carbon through a cap-and-trade-plan.“And those farmers and producers and growers are right there. They want to lead the way. They just need a government that reflects that,” O’Rourke said.A questioner who grew up in Brazil asked O’Rourke about Amazon fires, saying a big driver for deforestation “comes from U.S. investors in the Brazilian meat industry.” She wanted to know how O’Rourke would use trade leverage to encourage Brazil to end Amazon deforestation.O’Rourke said investment in Brazilian agriculture, “is one of the pernicious outcomes of Donald Trump’s trade policies — the trade war with China — that not only closed markets that farmers in Iowa and across this country have worked their entire lives to open up, it’s not only put them in debt at a time of declining farm income, its provided incentives for people to burn down the Amazon rain forest so they can plant soybeans to sell into China,” O’Rourke said. “Because China right now is looking for new sellers, new producers of those soybeans they are no longer buying from the United States of America.”Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said he would provide incentives to agriculture with a climate stewardship plan that would include billions of dollars of investment. Booker credited Iowa with wind turbines for generating new sources of revenue, and he pointed to the potential of cover crops to pull carbon out of the atmosphere. “Family farmers will be able to have new sources of revenue by doing practices that preserve our heritage, enrich our environment, and deal with this larger crisis,” Booker said.Addressing his own vegan diet, Booker insisted he does not want to take away hamburgers. Yet, he insisted factory farms under his administration would not have tax breaks “in which corporations are treating farmers like “sharecroppers.” He said his administration would champion healthy foods. “We’re going to make sure the government doesn’t subsidize things that make us sick and hurt our environment,” Booker said.Chris Clayton can be reached at [email protected] him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN(BAS/CZ)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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New Federal Rules Would Make Your Biometric Data Internet-Accessible

first_imgBiometric thumbprint via Shutterstock. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… christina ortiz Tags:#Internet of Things#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Anyone can tell you that the future of information is in Web-based services like the cloud. Who would’ve thought, though, that this would also apply to the biological information that identifies who you are?The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed a protocol for the capturing and storage of biometric information. Biometric authentication, otherwise know as ‘biometrics’, is used to identify people using iris scans, fingerprints and facial recognition. The protocol would allow any Internet-enabled mobile device to access the information captured by sensors through a Web service, similar to the way Netflix streams movies to devices. Doing this simplifies the process of providing and collecting identity information because it doesn’t rely on different devices to store it, just one controlled Web service platform. Currently this information is stored through proprietary devices, making it impossible to share it among different platforms.So, if you don’t work for a super secret government agency, what does this have to do with you? Biometrics is something people use on a daily basis, whether they know it or not. Think about office spaces that require keycards for entry, if all of the information stored in that card was on a cloud-based service instead, it would make it more cost-effective for companies to implement better security.  Even theme parks could implement this protocol for employee access to restricted areas. If the NIST’s plan to bring this service to market goes through, a more relatable example would be the check-in desk at your local gym. Most gyms use barcode emblazoned key tags or cards to identify who you are, some even use thumbprint scanners. With this protocol, one could scan their phone on the sensor just as quickly as they would with a key tag. If protocols like this are implemented, the future of identification may not be too far away. The NIST is currently working with the Small Business Innovations Research Program to have devices built within two years. Want to get more technical? Check out the video below for an in-depth description of how the NIST new protocol will work.  Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

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Death toll in Barmer mishap climbs to 15

first_imgThe death toll in the mishap at Jasol in Rajasthan’s Barmer district, where a large tent collapsed on a crowd of devotees in sudden rain and a squall, climbed to 15 on Monday with an eight-year-boy, shifted to Jodhpur for treatment, succumbing to his injuries.The deceased, identified as Pokar Ram, was rushed to Jodhpur’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Sunday after he sustained serious injuries and was electrocuted in the incident. Police said a case would be registered against the organisers of the ‘Ram Katha’ event in Jasol after the completion of relief and rescue measures.CM meetsChief Minister Ashok Gehlot met the grieving families of the victims in Jasol and expressed his condolences. He also went to Nahata Government Hospital in Balotra and Mathura Das Mathur Hospital in Jodhpur to meet the injured persons admitted there.Mr. Gehlot said he had ordered an inquiry into the incident and added that the State government would take steps to prevent such incidents in future on the basis of report of the probe, to be conducted by Jodhpur Divisional Commissioner. “Stringent action will be taken against those whose negligence is proved…I am deeply saddened by the tragedy,” he said.Assistance announcedThe State government has announced financial assistance of ₹5 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and ₹2 lakh each to those injured.Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Barmer MP Kailash Chaudhary also visited the hospitals where the injured have been admitted, to enquire about their condition. Most of those killed were from different villages in the Barmer district, who had come to Jasol village, situated 97 km away from the district headquarters, to attend the ‘Ram Katha’ narrated by Muralidhar Maharaj. The religious congregation, which started on Saturday, was organised by the Mata Rani Bhatiyani Mandir Sansthan of Jasol.last_img read more

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