Mercedes-Benz 2020 motor show set to impress in Letterkenny

first_imgCome and experience awesome this weekend at Connolly’s 2020 Mercedes-Benz Motor Show in Letterkenny. The exclusive event gives Mercedes fans a special opportunity to test drive the entire 2020 range along with a selected of Mercedes-Benz Certified Used Cars.The event takes place at Letterkenny Golf Club on Saturday 2nd November and Sunday 3rd November 2019. The Mercedes Benz fully electric EQC will be available for test drive plus the CLS AMG 53 on static display.What’s Happening? Mercedes-Benz Motor ShowWhere? Letterkenny Golf ClubWhen? Saturday & Sunday November 2nd& 3rdTime: 10am-4pm Saturday & 11am-4pm SundayTo prebook a test drive email: [email protected] or you can call into us any time on Saturday between the opening hours.View all the Connolly’s 2020 Mercedes-Benz stock at http://bit.ly/35OnPCd *Please note a full driver’s licence is require for test driving and must be presented on the day for insurance.Mercedes-Benz 2020 motor show set to impress in Letterkenny was last modified: October 22nd, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Connolly’s SligoLetterkenny Golf clubMercedes-Benz Motor Showlast_img read more

Boss: Chelsea full of confidence ahead of vital Newcastle clash

first_imgRoberto Di Matteo says Chelsea are in excellent spirits ahead of their vital Premier League match against Newcastle.The games are coming thick and fast for Di Matteo’s side, who are in the finals of the Champions League and FA Cup as well as being involved in a fight for a top-four finish.But they showed no signs of fatigue while walloping neighbours QPR 6-1 on Sunday and are full of confidence ahead of the Magpies’ visit.Di Matteo said: “There’s a good spirit at the moment in the dressing room and that’s connected to the positive results we’ve been getting lately.“There’s not much time between games, which is challenging but also exciting because we have so many targets to play for and it’s better to be like this than to not have targets.“Results are good so we are pleased with that. The players have been really working hard to get those results and we have to continue that because ultimately we have not achieved anything so far.“We are in a good moment. We have a good momentum going and the players are enjoying themselves when they go onto the pitch.”Click here for Tuesday’s Chelsea quizSee also: Di Matteo hopeful injured Chelsea duo will be fit for WembleyFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

NCS D-V playoffs: No. 8 Fortuna falls on the road at No. 1 Encinal

first_imgNo. 8 Fortuna High kept it close for a half but not much longer as No. 1 Encinal scored 35 unanswered points to down the Huskies 35-24 in the first-round of the North Coast Section Division-V playoffs, Friday night in Alameda.After forcing Enicnal to punt on its first two possessions Fortuna seized an early lead midway through the second-quarter. The drive, a methodical 13-play 78-yard march, was helped by a defensive holding call which kept Fortuna’s offense on the field after a failed …last_img

Cells Can Be Transformed

first_imgAn astonishing feat has been performed in a Canadian lab: scientists turned human skin cells into blood cells.  Bypassing the need for stem cells, the technique provides hope for a supply of blood from a person’s own skin.Live Science calls it a “modern miracle.”  The technique avoids “the ethical concerns concerning embryonic stem cells and the immune system complications that might reject foreign biological material.”  Reprogrammed adult stem cells were tried, but they are difficult to make in quantity and cannot be transplanted.  Bypassing the stem cell stage, the team at McMaster University found they can create larger quantities of blood cells.  They also found that the technique works with skin from young and old individuals.    Does this open the door for creating other types of cells by this method?  “We’ll now go on to work on developing other types of human cell types from skin, as we already have encouraging evidence,” said Mike Bhatia, a lead study author and scientific director of the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at the University.  Science Daily added that this method offers hope also for cancer patients, who in the future may no longer need to find bone marrow transplants that are a perfect match.    Cynthia Dunbar at the National Institutes of Health said, “Bhatia’s approach detours around the pluripotent stem cell stage and thus avoids many safety issues, increases efficiency, and also has the major benefit of producing adult-type l blood cells instead of fetal blood cells, a major advantage compared to the thus far disappointing attempts to produce blood cells from human ESCs [embryonic stem cells] or IPSCs [induced pluripotent stem cells].”    In another cell story, Science Daily reported that researchers at Johns Hopkins found “a protein mechanism that coordinates and regulates the dynamics of shape change necessary for division of a single cell into two daughter cells.”  A protein designated 14-3-3 “sits at an intersection where it integrates converging signals from within the cell and cues cell shape change and, ultimately, the splitting that allows for normal and abnormal cell growth, such as in tumors.”  This controller protein influences the actions of molecular motors: “myosin II, a complex of motor proteins that monitors and smoothes out the shape changes to ensure accurate division.”This very welcoming news about blood cells from skin has the potential of being called a breakthrough of the year (or decade).  It is important not only for the tremendous health benefits it can offer, but for showing that ethically-clouded practices like the use of human embryos are not needed or justified.  Even more amazing are the insights this technique will provide into the workings of the cell – insights that required no help from Darwin – that promise even more health benefits in coming years.  People who care about the value of human life will also welcome this finding that may take some of the pressure off the stem cell gold rush.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Genetic Tinkering Puts Brave New World at Our Doorstep

first_imgNew tools in the lab put human nature at risk. Can we trust fallible scientists to be ethical?A dystopian future is becoming more plausible, thanks to genomic editing. We don’t mean to scare you. We’ll let the scientists themselves do that.“Scientists from around the world are meeting in Washington this week to debate how best to proceed with research into gene-editing technology,” Julian Saveluscu begins an article on The Conversation. He’s not worried; he likes gene editing. He gives “Five reasons we should embrace gene-editing research on human embryos.” And he’s an ethicist, a distinguished visiting professor at Monash University. He knows about the risks.Many people, including scientists, are worried about creating genetically modified humans. They’re worried about numerous things: genetic mistakes being passed on to the next generation; the creation of designer babies who are more intelligent, more beautiful or more athletic; and the possibility of causing severe growth abnormalities or cancer.While these are valid concerns, they don’t justify a ban on research. Indeed, such research is a moral imperative for five reasons….How’s that for turning a debate? He makes the worriers the immoral guys.The scientists from around the world feel differently. “Embryo editing to make babies would be ‘irresponsible,’ says DNA summit statement,” John Travis reports for Science Magazine. At least, they feel that way for now. Look at the terms under which they would feel it could be allowed:But the group did not rule out such embryo editing later, if safety questions are resolved and society develops a consensus on ethical and legal issues. And the group said basic, preclinical research involving human embryos, sperm, and eggs should continue. It did not endorse any kind of ban or moratorium on such research.The statement—which differs little from similar previous statements from prominent groups—came after 3 days of intense discussion among scientists, government officials, science policy experts, philosophers, and others in Washington, D.C. The unusual gathering, sponsored by U.S., U.K., and Chinese scientific societies, explored the promise and perils of new methods to alter human DNA, focusing considerable debate on the prospect for altering the genomes of eggs, sperm, or embryos. This so-called germline engineering is seen by many as crossing a line, because it bestows permanent genetic changes on a new individual and any offspring they may have. Yet there are circumstances in which such DNA editing could prevent the transmission of genetic diseases, so some advocate it shouldn’t be banned, as it is in many countries.What was that proverb about good intentions?Patrick Western from the Hudson Institute is not as sanguine as Savelescu. “Gene editing in embryos is fraught with scientific and ethical issues,” he titles his piece on The Conversation. He warns of permanent errors and the “epigenetic black box” among other concerns. “Although embryo culture conditions are carefully controlled, we still have no way of properly measuring the potentially complex impacts of the gene-editing process on the embryo,” he warns. The ethical issues are “enormous,” he feels. “If such technology were ever to be applied to the human germline for medical purposes, these issues would need to be addressed with the greatest stringency.”Jennifer Doudna also feels that embryo editing needs scrutiny. Writing for Nature, she explains why the new CRISPR-Cas9 editing too, recently made more efficient and accurate (BBC News), has upsides and downsides. It makes gene editing very convenient, but opens a Pandora’s box of ethical concerns (see 6/05/15).So who is to decide whether to apply germline editing to human gametes and embryos? Doudna ends her article by handing the keys of the kingdom to scientific elites:The December summit is an important opportunity for China, the United Kingdom and the United States to lead the global discussion, and for the genome-editing community to renew its commitment — which began more than 40 years ago — to wholeheartedly engage with the public.Being interpreted, this means letting the scientists convince the public to let them do what they want to do.Nature reports from the gathering that scientists did not support an outright ban on germline editing. Even if they did, they don’t think it’s enforceable.But others saw an embryo research ban as unrealistic: even if some researchers agree to abstain from editing embryos, or if some countries ban it outright, others will continue the work, argued George Church, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. “You create a nexus for your worst nightmares,” he said.It will take another year for the consensus report to come out. What will happen in the meantime? National Geographic posted an alarming headline: “5 Reasons Gene Editing Is Both Terrific and Terrifying: New ways to easily snip and tuck genes have put scientists in the middle of a fast-accelerating ethical debate.” The fate of the world is being placed into the hands of unaccountable elites who have the angel of ethic responsibility talking into one ear, and the devil of personal gain talking into the other. The devil is whispering to them that angels are a myth invented by the religious right.Science, c. 1670: A search for the truth about the natural world for the good of mankind.Science, c. 2015: Membership in an elite oligarchy without a moral compass possessing power to dictate the direction of human civilization.The public can certainly trust China, that lovely communist country with huge images of Chairman Mao in its capital—you remember, the leader who murdered 77 million of his own people? (11/30/05) What could possibly go wrong, now that Charles Darwin has bequeathed to both China and the West its modern ethic of survival of the fittest? The scientific “consensus” has already conceded the tinkering with human embryos is not a big deal. Abortion is legal, right? They get the body parts for research; the public gets over their initial uproar in time. Throw some big bucks into the equation, and there’s no doubt that the elite will find ways to make human germline editing “ethical” somehow. All for progress, of course.We can see what the scientific-government complex feels about their obligation to “the public.” They just met in Paris to set rules for the rest of humanity on climate, despite major disagreement by “the public” about the importance of “climate change” as a concern. The rules that President Obama and the U.N. want would have drastic effects on the poor and the economies of major nations, with zero chance for making any difference whatsoever on the climate for the next century (listen to Lamar Smith on Family Research Council‘s Dec. 1 radio broadcast). To them, the “public” are “deniers” led about by zealots (mainly Republicans and the “religious right”) who don’t understand “settled science” (see article on Science Daily). Do you expect the scientific elitists to listen to the public? Never; the communication is always one-way. The elite see their job as helping the “scientifically illiterate” understand the wisdom of the consensus.These power-mad elitists, many of them Marxist-Darwinists, now want to have their way with altering the most personal treasures you have: your genes and those of your children. Even George Orwell would be surprised. (Visited 68 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Early Fossil Bird Feathers Were Modern and Colorful

first_imgThe predicted gradual sequence from fuzz to flight remains mythical, as modern feathers show up too early for Darwin’s comfort.In “Plumage evolution: Explaining the vivid colors of birds,” Science Daily presumes to tell its readers how feather colors evolved. Cue the Darwin narrator:During his notable trip to the Galápagos Islands, Charles Darwin collected several mockingbird specimens on different islands in the region. He later discovered that each island only contained a single species of mockingbird and no two species of mockingbird co-existed on an individual island. Due to their geographical separation, over time these birds had evolved different characteristics in coloration, behavior, and beak shape.That obligation out of the way, the reporter turns to a modern evolutionary question: “how does a geographical region influence the evolution of a species?” Specifically, “do birds evolve to become more colorful when they move to the tropics?” Surprisingly, they do not. Nicholas Friedman inventoried birds in Australia’s habitats and found the presumption due to a selection bias; people notice the colorful species, but “bird species do not evolve more colorful feathers in the tropics compared to their cousins in temperate climates.” In fact, the desert birds tend to be more colorful, he found. This confounds evolutionary expectations. Cue the Darwin confabulator: “Since desert birds have to scramble for mates during the wet season, we think they may be evolving colors that can attract mates quickly,” Friedman says, finding a way to insert natural selection for camouflage into the narrative, too.Fossil ColorVivid colors have now been found in a fossil “dino-bird” (actually, a bird) dated at 120 million years old (early Cretaceous). The BBC News says that this enantiornithine bird fossil from China contains evidence of melanosomes that can create the iridescent colors of today’s flashy birds. In fact, the scientists who found it think that this bird “puffed up its feathers like a peacock.” The article says, “The bird’s feathers are ‘remarkably preserved, including the chemical that gave them sparkle.” This is “the first time evidence for iridescence has been found in enantiornithines,” a museum curator says of its “extravagant feather array.” Cue the Darwin confabulator again: “The colouration is used by birds today mostly for sexual selection.”The abstract in Paleontology describes additional modern characteristics of this Early Cretaceous specimen, as well as preservation of the original melanin pigment:Brilliant colour displays and diverse feather morphologies that are often sexual ornaments are common throughout much of extant Avialae. Here we describe a new basal enantiornithine bird specimen recovered from the Early Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Liaoning Province in northeastern China. We present new information on the plumage of Bohaiornithidae as well as the first detailed colour reconstruction of an enantiornithine bird. The new specimen retains subadult skeletal characteristics, including periosteal pitting of the long bone epiphyses and unfused elements, while also preserving plumage evidence consistent with sexual maturity at the time of death. Exceptionally-preserved feathers cover the body, including elongate crown feathers, body contour feathers, asymmetrically-veined wing primaries, an alula and two elongate rachis-dominated rectrices that may have been sexual ornaments. The crown, neck, and body contour feathers retain elongate melanosome morphologies associated with weakly iridescent colouration in extant feathers. We provide additional evidence of preserved melanin using Raman spectroscopy; a rapid, non-destructive chemical technique. The new specimen provides data on skeletal ontogeny in the Bohaiornithidae as well as evidence for intraspecific communication functions of plumage.If it had body contour feathers, asymmetrical primary feathers and an alula (a set of bones on the front of the wing for reducing air turbulence), it was a strong flyer. Dinosaurs didn’t fly. Why did the BBC call it a “dino-bird” then? “The animal belongs to a group of early birds known as enantiornithines, which lived during the Age of the Dinosaurs,” reporter Helen Briggs writes. Some mammals lived then, too, but we don’t call them dino-mammals.“All known specimens come from rocks in Liaoning, China, which have yielded numerous fossils of feathered dinosaurs, primitive birds and pterosaurs,” she says. Primitive is in the eye of the beholder. This flying bird does not look primitive, nor do other ones called “feathered dinosaurs” that either had “integumentary structures” (not true feathers) or were extinct flying birds. As for coloration, Briggs admits, “Scientists have limited knowledge of the plumage of birds from the time of the dinosaurs.” If this “early bird” had modern colorations, though, how “early” could its decorations have been, really? Enantiornithines supposedly first appeared in the Early Cretaceous; here’s one from that period that already looks modern.Learn how the media distort facts to support the Darwin narrative so that you will not be tricked. A “bird from the time of dinosaurs” is not equivalent to a “dino-bird.” We don’t speak of “dino-mammals” or “dino-insects” because those made-up terms wouldn’t fit the evolutionary story.Once again we find it very suspect that “all known specimens” of the so-called “feathered dinosaurs” come from one province in China.* If a big fossil-making industry is ever unmasked there, we will not be surprised.*Archaeopteryx from Germany and another species found in Spain seem to belong to the enantiornithine type, but all of them appear to be flyers with (as this article says) modern coloration. Many had claws on their wings and teeth. All those are extinct, but enantiornithine fossils reveal much of the diversity in size and habitat as seen in modern birds. Extinction is not evolution. (Visited 48 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Crazy Convergences Distort Darwinism

first_imgGet a load of this: Darwinians claim that complex features arose independently multiple times by an unknown process called “convergent evolution.”Giving a name to something is not the same as explaining it. Darwinians have learned how to manipulate language to create vacuous terms that masquerade as explanations. For instance, if two organisms that share the same assumed ancestral line have similar traits, they are called “homologous” traits in Darwinese. But if the traits are similar and are not on the same ancestral line, they call them “analogous” traits. When evolution splits traits apart, they call it “divergence.” When evolution brings separate organisms together, they call it “convergence.” Evolutionists confabulate and confibulate to pretend they are doing science, when they’re actually just playing Jargonwocky. Let’s look at some examples that demonstrate how convergence—an essential ingredient in Darwin Flubber—operates according to the Stuff Happens Law.These bizarre creatures defy what we think we know about plants and animals (Jordi Paps on The Conversation). A particular sea anemone has a similar shape and mode of action as the Venus flytrap, a land plant. How did that evolve? Overcome with the spirit of Darwin, Dr. Paps praises convergent evolution:It is a brilliant example of convergent evolution, where unrelated organisms independently evolve similar adaptations (for example, the wings of birds and bats). In this case, it is an animal that looks like a plant that imitates a carnivorous plant that feeds like an animal.Convergent Evolution of Unique Morphological Adaptations to a Subterranean Environment in Cave Millipedes (Diplopoda) (PLoS One). The abstract says, “Our study clearly shows that morphological adaptations have evolved convergently in different, unrelated millipede orders and families, most likely as a direct adaptation to cave life.” It should be clear, though, that a cave cannot force an organism to adapt. It could “shoo” the organism away, or act as a death trap. Caves are under no obligation to bestow adaptive traits on any organism. This paper masquerades as an explanation, because it only describes similarities between unrelated millipede orders and families, without showing what mutations were selected by a Darwinian mechanism.Ontogenetic and life history trait changes associated with convergent ecological specializations in extinct ungulate mammals (PNAS). These scientists looked into the teeth of some ungulates (mammals that chew the cud). Behold, they had similar teeth, even though unrelated. That proves convergence, doesn’t it? “We show that ever-growing teeth combined with faster molar eruption arose several times during the evolution of these mammals, allowing them to obtain a more durable and efficient dentition in constraining environments,” they declare triumphantly.  “These innovations might represent convergent ontogenetic and physiological adjustments that contributed to their ecological specializations.” Wait a second; who combined them? What made the traits arise, allowing them to eat better? What adjusted them? Look how they respond to four unrelated cases of tall teeth: ” Most remarkably, a crown height increase convergently evolved in four distinct notoungulate clades….” Does this explain the observations, or explain them away?Comparative genomics reveals convergent evolution between the bamboo-eating giant and red pandas (PNAS). We mentioned this Darwinian conundrum last week (2/02/17). Suffice it to say this paper appeals to “convergence” no less than 80 times! The authors also try to make a distinction between phenotypic convergence and genetic convergence, which only doubles the trouble for Darwinian evolution. For why would genes converge without a corresponding change in the phenotype, and vice versa? Notice what they say about convergent evolution in general in the concluding paragraph:Convergent evolution has long interested evolutionary biologists. Classic examples include the wings of bats and birds, echolocation in bats and dolphins, and adaptation of marine mammals to extreme marine environments. Although the functional nature of these convergent specializations is often obvious, the genetic basis underpinning particular examples of convergent evolution is far less clear. Charles Darwin suggested that convergent evolution stems from similarity in independent changes that underpin the same features in different organisms [i.e., Stuff Happens]. Although there have been advances in understanding the molecular basis of such parallel and independent phenotype convergence in recent decades, insights at the genomic level are rare.The Flashlight Fish Anomalops katoptron Uses Bioluminescent Light to Detect Prey in the Dark (PLoS One). Anyone who has studied bioluminescence has probably been struck by the elaborate chemistry and physiology of light-producing organs. This paper describes a striking example of a fish that co-opts luminescent bacteria in its eye sockets, and can switch them on and off like flashlights. Speaking of convergence in marine organisms, none of the eight authors seem to have any qualms about inserting this miracle: “A recent study reported 27 independent evolutionary events of bioluminescence in marine ray-finned fish.”A bizarre Early Cretaceous enantiornithine bird with unique crural feathers and an ornithuromorph plough-shaped pygostyle (Nature Communications). This fossil bird found in China appears too early to have some modern traits found in later Cretaceous birds. What to do? Converge it away: “A plough-shaped pygostyle, like that of the Ornithuromorpha, evolved convergently in the Cruralispennia lineage, highlighting the homoplastic nature of early avian evolution.” Note: Homoplasy is Darwin lingo for convergent evolution; they are saying that convergence is everywhere in the early bird fossil record. Indeed, later they say, “The discovery of this morphology in the Enantiornithes contributes to the tally of numerous instances of homoplasy that characterize early avian evolution.” The authors are struck by the modern-looking pygostyle, which they call an “unexpected homoplasy.”The long reach of the monster plant (Nature). This article about carnivorous plants betrays the “convergent evolution” pseudo-explanation without actually using the phrase. “There are many other species of carnivorous plant worldwide. And in a study released this week… researchers describe how these meat-eating plants rely on much the same genetic recipe, even though the different groups evolved the habit of carnivory quite independently.” So how, exactly, did Darwin work this out? “All were after the same thing: nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that they couldn’t extract from the meagre soil.” Is this really an explanation? The plants could have avoided millions of years of waiting for the right random mutations to show up; they could have just taken the easy route and gone extinct. Maybe evolutionists should add “convergent extinction” to their explanatory toolkit. See also the press release from University of Buffalo, where the authors say, “The findings represent an example of convergent evolution, in which unrelated species evolve independently to acquire similar traits.” According to the headline, this “sheds light on how carnivorous plants acquired a taste for meat.”In his new book Darwin’s House of Cards (Center for Science and Culture, 2017), veteran journalist Tom Bethell devotes a whole chapter to “The Conundrum of Convergence” (ch. 10). He describes several spectacular examples, such as the origin of flight in pterosaurs, mammals, birds and insects. Evolutionists ought to be dumbfloundering at such observations, but pretend not to be fazed by spewing the mythoid that it proves flight “must be easy to evolve.” That is more than Bethell can take. “Flight is easy to evolve?” he asks in exasperation. “By a series of accidental mutations? Someone should tell Boeing engineers how this was achieved.” It’s doubtful real engineers would fall for such a poof spoof. Concerning this teetering card in the house of cards, Bethell says it is a catch-all explanation that lets Darwinians have all their bases covered. “Animals from different lines can either converge, or evolve in parallel, or diverge… What could possibly falsify such a theory?” (p. 124).Darwin is a naked emperor living in a house of cards in a tornado, expecting his 747 to emerge. (Visited 177 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Rwanda: Marvel of growth and WEF Africa 2016 host

first_imgRwanda, the land of a thousand hills, has dramatically transformed since the 1994 genocide. The country is becoming a high-tech hub of sub-Saharan Africa and boasts one of the region’s fastest GDP growth rates. And now, from 11 to 13 May, the country’s capital of Kigali will host the 26th annual World Economic Forum on Africa.Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, prepares to host the World Economic Forum on Africa. The global event, to run from 11 to 13 May, will be held at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village. (Image: Government of Rwanda)• African folklore explored in animated short film• Kenya’s take on Adele’s “Hello”• African history gets animation treatment• Infographic: Africa’s best brands• New video game developed in Africa Media Club South Africa reporterRwanda is one of the continent’s most competitive economies, having done much to improve the business environment. This remarkable progress is part of the country’s rapid evolution as a knowledge economy, powered by smart policies and investments. Nonetheless, further reforms and alliances are called for to accelerate development by leveraging digital transformation to expand socio-economic opportunities.The UN has designated 7 April, the start date of the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi, in which 800 000 people were killed, as an annual day for the world to reflect on the unimaginable human suffering that took place over 100 days and in the aftermath.More than two decades on, Rwanda’s economy, left in tatters following the genocide, has come a long way. Today more than 60% of the population still live on less than $1.25 a day, but poverty has fallen rapidly. Rwandans are living healthier and wealthier lives.Here are five important things to know about Rwanda’s economy and society.1. Rapid growthOne of the fastest growing economies in Central Africa, Rwanda notched up GDP growth of around 8% a year between 2001 and 2014. In 2015, it was the fifth-fastest growing economy on the continent.Image: International Monetary FundThe IMF said Rwanda’s growth in 2015 was driven by construction, services, agriculture and manufacturing, but mining exports have slowed.The International Monetary Fund expects the economy to slow down this year and pick up in 2018, forecasting around 6% growth in 2016 compared with 6.9% last year.2. Reducing inequalityLife expectancy, literacy, primary school enrolment and spending on healthcare have all improved.Rwanda has also made big strides towards gender equality – almost 64% of parliamentarians are women, compared to just 22% worldwide – which has enabled women in the country to make economic advances. Women are now able to own land and girls can inherit from their parents.Image: Mary Alexander. Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union3. Poverty ratesRwanda reduced the percentage of people living below the poverty line from 57% in 2005 to 45% in 2010. Despite this, 63% of the population still live in extreme poverty, defined by the World Bank as less than $1.25 a day.4. Aid dependenceForeign aid to Rwanda increased significantly as the country began rebuilding itself after the genocide. A large chunk of government revenues – 30% to 40% of the budget – still comes from aid.The World Bank says Rwanda’s economy is vulnerable to fluctuations in foreign aid – growth fell to 4.7% in 2013 after some donors withheld aid over allegations in a 2012 UN report that the government was backing rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.5. From a farming to a knowledge economyCurrently around 83% of Rwanda’s population of 10.5 million live in rural areas and more than 70% of the population still work in subsistence farming. But the government wants to change this.In the long term, the government aims to transform Rwanda from a low-income agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy with a middle-income status by 2020.South Africa will be sending a high-level delegation to Rwanda for the World Economic Forum on Africa this week. Follow the conversation at #SAinKigali.Source: World Economic Forum on Africa 2016last_img read more

South Africa extends help to disabled abuse victims

first_imgThe Gender Based Violence Command Centre has expanded its services to make them accessible to people with disabilities. Blind and deaf people are now able to access counselling, thanks to technological advances.Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini launches the Disability Enhanced System on 2 December 2016 to make the Gender Based Violence Command Centre accessible to people with disabilities. (Image: Department of Social Development, Facebook)Brand South Africa Reporter Technology has helped to improve the Gender Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC). Women and children who are deaf or blind and are being abused now also have access to the system.The Department of Social Development has partnered with cellphone network Vodacom to enable the GBVCC to help disabled people.The centre was opened in 2014; it operates a call centre for people needing counselling, carried out by professional social workers.Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini launched the Disability Enhancement System on 2 December in Pretoria.Watch:“During this month of 16 Days of Activism we continue to hear the voices of women and children but the community of persons living with disabilities continues to be marginalised,” she said. “Initiatives like this aim to respond to that.“If we say we want to protect the rights of persons with disabilities we need to ask ourselves, what provisions have we made to allow persons with disabilities to live a fair life next to those without disabilities.”How it worksThe system uses Skype for people who are deaf, whereby they can communicate with the social workers using sign language.Blind people can use a panic button which has a siren light to contact the centre with a distress message. Police are also able to locate the person in need of help.Dlamini said the Disability Enhanced System had given the department an opportunity to help disabled people, especially deaf and blind women and children.“Gender-based violence among children and women with disabilities is also prevalent because they are part of South African society, which has a huge problem with the scourge of violence against women and children.”The department was committed to the National Development Plan, she said, which held that “we must be committed to sustainable development and end violence against women and girls”.“It remains our responsibility to ensure that women and children with disabilities are not trafficked and exposed to harmful practices,” the minister said.Source: South African Government News Agencylast_img read more

Gallery: Final Freedom Friday celebrations

first_imgWords and pictures by Shamin ChibbaHundreds gathered at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg to celebrate the last of South Africa’s Freedom Fridays on 25 January. The campaign encouraged all South Africans to display their patriotism and pride by wearing anything resembling the colours of the national flag or the jersey of their favourite national sports team.Hosted by the Department of Arts and Culture, Government Communication and Information System, Lead SA and Proudly South African, the event attracted celebrities like Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Daniel Baron, as well as media and even schoolchildren.Speaking at the event, Proudly South African chief executive, Leslie Sedibe, reminded the crowd that the freedom that the country was celebrating did not come for free. He added that great strides had been made over the past 20 years and it was important for everyone to collectively celebrate and vote regardless of which political party one supports.Keeping in line with the 2014 Freedom Month theme, “South Africa – a Better Place to live in. We have a good story to tell”, Lead SA chief executive, Yusuf Abramjee, said all citizens should practice their democratic rights while continuing to share the South African story.Click on the images below for a larger view.Patriotic South Africans donned green and gold for the Final Freedom Fridays celebrations at the Nasrec Expo Centre, Johanneburg.Xhosa poet and cultural activist, Bonga “Imbongi” Siyoko, hails from Transkei in the Eastern Cape. Wearing traditional Xhosa garb, his recitations called on South Africans to embrace our freedom.The Freedom Friday campaign was geared at reminding South Africans, especially young people, of where we come from as a nation and that the freedom we live with should be defended.Proudly South African chief executive Leslie Sedibe, left, said the freedom we gained did not come for free and that it was important for everyone to celebrate it.Singer/songwriter, Daniel Baron, sung one of his biggest hits titled Not Here at the Final Freedom Fridays celebrations.Freedom Fridays are celebrated in the lead up to Freedom Day on 27 April, which is observed annually to commemorate South Africa’s first non-racial democratic elections in 1994.Freedom Dancers urged the crowd to join them as they looked to end Freedom Fridays with song and dance.Bulelani Magwanishe, deputy minister of Public Enterprises, was not only at the celebrations but was also promoting government’s major services.A mascot for a Cape minstrel band, wearing the colourful attire typical of the minstrels, proudly waved his South African flag at the Freedom Fridays celebrations.Cape minstrels were at the Nasrec Expo Centre playing their carnival music to an appreciative crowd. They are a major feature at the Cape Minstrel Carnival held in Cape Town every 2 January.last_img read more