South Africans go to the polls

first_imgMillions are expected to cast their votestomorrow during South Africa’s fourthdemocratic elections.(Image: Britannica) In their election campaigns, politicalparties encouraged voters to use theirvotes to effect change in the country.(Image: Polity.org.za)Khanyi Magubane With less than 24 hours to go before South Africans cast their votes, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has announced that it expects the largest turnout since 1994.Briefing the media on the expected voter turnout, the IEC’s chairperson Dr Brigalia Bam said that more than 80% of the registered voters were expected to cast their vote on 22 April.“We feel very confident this time around. We have never experienced such a high enthusiasm amongst South Africans,” she said.Statistics for this year’s elections include 200 000 election officials who will be working in 19 726 voting stations across the country. The number of registered voters captured on the voters’ roll stands at 23 181 997.Bam said she’s especially encouraged by the high number of youths who have registered. According to Bam, the number is significantly higher than recorded in previous years. Nearly 800 000 are between 18 and 19 years of age, and five-million are between 20 and 29.In total, 40 political parties will be participating in the national and provincial elections. Of these, 26 will participate nationally, while 14 parties will contest the elections at a provincial level.Bam said the election campaigns ran by political parties had been vigorous, which she expects will boost voter numbers.“We have never had so many political parties all over the country so involved … persuading people to vote for them,” said the chairperson. “We will be disappointed if we don’t get the 80% turnout. The effort we have put in preparing for these elections will not be good enough if we get only a 50% voter turnout.”It’s voting day, now what?For many first time voters tomorrow’s experience may be a daunting one but the IEC has gone to great lengths to explain the process, as even those who have voted before, may have forgotten how the process works.In order to facilitate the smooth running of the voting process, a few key actions have been put in place. Firstly, voting station officials will check a potential voter’s ID to verify that the ID number appears on the voters’ roll.Secondly, an official will check that the picture in the ID matches with the person standing in front of them.Once the official is satisfied that the person is indeed eligible to vote, the voter’s hands will be checked to ensure that they have already cast their ballot for the day.Inedible ink will then be used to mark the left thumbThe voter will then be issued with two ballot papers – one for national and another for provincial.Officials will then direct the voter to a booth, where they will be able to cast their vote for their political party of choice, after which they will insert their ballot papers inside a secured ballot box.For the first time since the 1994 elections, the IEC has now introduced the Braille ballot paper, which will enable visually impaired South Africans to vote independently.South Africa is the second country after Japan to offer the Braille sheet to blind voters. Each voting station will be issued with a national and provincial Braille ballot paper.Observing free and fair electionsIn order for the elections to be recognised internationally as free and fair, a group of independent election observers will be present to monitor the voting process.Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo is leading the election observers team consisting of 4 900 domestic observers, 355 international observers and 358 diplomats from 61 embassies.On 17 April IEC Chief Executive Officer Pansy Tlakula addressed the observers to discuss the state of readiness for the elections.Tlakula stressed that the IEC has spent the past year and a half in preparation for the elections. The process started with the registration of political parties who intended on running in this year’s poll.She also explained to the observers that new technologically advanced systems would be used during the voting. She introduced observers to the “Zip-Zip”, a small hand-held device already loaded with the details of all the voters.The “Zip-Zip” system will capture statistics on voting day including the number of voters, the age group, gender, as well as the time at which every vote is cast.After voting closes at 9pm, all the ballot papers will be transported to the National Results Operation Centre. The state-of-the-art building will serve as an anchor to coordinate all the election activities at one central point.The media will also be privy to the results as they trickle in via a digital board mounted inside the centre.Regular press briefings will be held inside the centre, where journalists will be updated with the latest developments from the various voting centres across the country.Members of various political parties will be provided with some access to the workings of the operations centre, though they will not be allowed to interfere with the work of the officials.Duties of election observers include attending the ballot paper counting session in a bid to ensure that the final results are accurate and are a true reflection of the votes.According to the electoral law, the final results can only be released 48-hours after the elections. This will give political parties a chance to contest interim results if they have any objections.Do you have any comments or queries about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at: [email protected] Related articlesThe bell that rings when the vote is called SA expats vote abroad Guide on reporting on elections Which way, SA? Expats allowed to vote overseas Laugh until you cry with Evita Useful linksIndependent Electoral CommissionElectoral institute of Southern Africalast_img read more

IBM Snatches Up Companies Left & Right

first_imgIT + Project Management: A Love Affair Ounce Labs Ounce Labs is a private company, so financial details on this second acquisition are not being released. Ounce does testing on application source, aimed at detecting flaws that might compromise security and compliance. The company will be absorbed in to IBM’s Rational software business, which manages enterprise architecture. Related Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Today, IBM announced two acquisitions: source code and application security company Ounce Labs, and SPSS, a provider of predictive analytics. Both purchases arrive on the heels of IBM picking up the privately-held Exeros in May. Downturn or not, IBM isn’t picking these companies up on the cheap. SPSS — a publicly traded firm — was bought for $1.2 billion, which breaks down to an all-time high of $50 a share. With others by Intel and Oracle as well, the recent flush of acquisitions shows things are picking up for the software sector. SPSS SPSS, whose primary business is predictive analytics, will become a part of the Information Management division of Big Blue. Their software has some overlap with the Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) consulting service. But in a statement on the acquisition today, IBM said they see SPSS as being an extension of their Information On Demand strategy. steven wallingcenter_img Software Acquisitions Looking Up?The price SPSS garnered is not a particularly shocking revelation, since IBM envisions selling their service to industries such as financial services, health care, and crime prevention in the public sector. But these pair of announcements are just part of a slew of recent mergers, like the Oracle and Sun deal that was recently approved by shareholders, that signal a boost in the prospects for getting acquired if you’re in software. Tags:#enterprise#Products Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

What’s More Important, Air-Sealing or Insulation?

first_imgWhat about a flash-and-batt approach?Brown wonders also about a technique called “flash and batt,” which is the application of a thin layer of polyurethane foam on the back side of the exterior sheathing followed by more conventional cavity insulation. The foam provides the air seal, and cavity insulation such as cellulose or fiberglass isn’t as expensive as filling the bays with foam.But she’s unsure whether open- or closed-cell polyurethane should be used.“In a flash-and-batt job in Zone 5 you must use closed-cell foam to get away from interior side vapor retarders, and for the assembly to meet code the foam needs be at least 40% of the total center cavity R-value for roofs, or 28% for walls,” replies Dorsett.If Brown used less foam than that, a “smart” vapor retarder, such as CertainTeed’s MemBrain, would be a good idea, he adds, and “far safer” than using polyethylene as a vapor retarder. If you have to choose one, go with air-sealingTo GBA senior editor Martin Holladay, Brown’s query about air sealing or insulation is almost like asking which of the two she should do incorrectly.“But if we boil your question down to its essence — ‘What’s more important, air sealing or R-value?’ — the answer is clear,” he adds. “Air sealing always comes first. So find a contractor who understands the need to pay attention to airtightness.“Ideally, you need to keep looking for a contractor who understands the issues we’re talking about, and who cares enough to do a good job,” Holladay says. “If you can’t find that person, then none of these discussions matters.”As to Brown’s comment that builders she’s spoken with all say their houses “can pass a blower door test,” Holladay suggests asking what they typically get for a result. A result of 1 or less air changes per hour at 50 pascals of pressure (ach50) is very good, he says, while 1 to 2 is good, and more than 3 is “not very impressive.”Don’t wait until the house is finished before testing with a blower door, says Lucy Foxworth, and consider requiring the builder meet a specific air-tightness level. If the house doesn’t reach that standard, require the builder to go back and plug the holes.Two tests — one after framing when doors and windows have been installed, and another after the drywall is up — would give Brown a chance to do something if the results were below par.“You could require a meeting with the builder and the major subs to emphasize your energy goals in building the house. Emphasize the need for air sealing and your concern that it be done right. Offer them a free meal at good restaurant and give them a small stipend to make your point,” Foxworth says. “Put signs up for the subcontractors at the building site: ‘If you put a hole in the building envelope, you must seal around the hole.’”Foxworth recommends two companies that sell high-quality air-sealing supplies, The Small Planet Workshop and 475 High Performance Building Supply. Find the right builderIn addition to suggesting a few insulation specifics, David Meiland recommends that Brown find the right builder, for without that much the project won’t go smoothly.“Really, it shouldn’t cost much more to do a much better job, but you have to find the people who have already done it at least once,” Meiland writes. “If your builder is saying ‘What?’ about this stuff then you have an uphill battle.”Judging by what Brown has learned so far, that’s not going to be easy.“Most [contractors] I talk with,” Brown says, “when I say ‘air sealing’ just refer me to the drywall, or say that is what the Tyvek (building wrap) or vapor barrier is for.”She’s talked with ten builders (and has yet to sign a contract), and all of them say they’ll do whatever it is Brown wants, but they “seem to find many excuses and reasons to talk me out of any sort of insulation other than fiberglass batts.“I just get more depressed at this,” she continues. “They all say that they can pass a blower door test.” Green Building Advisor reader Ani Brown is getting ready to build a new house, and like most people in her position Brown will have to make some important choices on how to make the most of a limited construction budget.Her immediate concern is insulation and air-sealing, two related details that will have a lot to do with how comfortable and durable the new house will be.Brown has talked to many builders, most of whom are offering a “standard” insulation package consisting of fiberglass batts in the wall, and no separate air-control layer other than drywall or plugging holes discovered in blower-door testing.Brown recognizes batt insulation can be difficult to install correctly, suggesting that spray-in insulation might be a better choice.“But, one can argue that no matter what the product is (batt or spray); if it is installed incorrectly it will be a problem,” she writes in a Q&A post at GBA. “One can also argue that it is not the type of insulation that is being used that is of importance, but the ability to control air flow in an assembly. Meaning that if proper controls are put in place to control air flow, it does not matter as much what insulation material is used or if it is installed properly as long as it meets the required R-values of the code.” RELATED ARTICLES In a perfect world, a new house would include insulation that is installed correctly as well as effective air-sealing. “But,” Brown adds, “if additional money is not available for both, what would be best to spend money on? Better installed insulation like a spray product or better air flow controls?”The same concern was the focus of a Q&A Spotlight in 2010 and makes a return appearance here.center_img Building a tight house shouldn’t be too hardEchoing Holladay’s comments that an airtightness result of 3 ach50 is “not very impressive,” Dana Dorsett says that result isn’t even good enough to meet the 2012 International Residential Code.“Unless the design is some junior architect’s framing nightmare of a gazillion bump-outs, set-backs, and dormers, if they’re paying any attention at all to air sealing issues, 3 ach50 would be a cakewalk— more of a stripe painted on the floor than a hurdle to clear,” Dorsett says “Over 3 is an indication that they’re either clueless or careless (which is unfortunately not uncommon).”In fact, he adds, with 4×8 sheet goods on both sides of a framed wall, “There’s no excuse for performing worse than 3. It’s almost idiot-proof.”“And yet,” he adds, “the more idiot-proof you make something, the more creative the idiots become.”Dorsett suggests air-sealing the structural sheathing to the framing as best for a primary air barrier, because the sheathing is less likely to be compromised over time than an interior barrier, and it has fewer penetrations to seal in the first place. Still, he says, when using fiber cavity insulation, don’t forget to air seal the gypsum board as well, and make sure to add a bead of caulk under the bottom plates of exterior walls. Our expert’s opinionHere’s how GBA technical director Peter Yost sees it:Hands down, air sealing, in all climates in all buildings, is priority one, given its impact on indoor air quality and energy performance. It also is really hard to correct air sealing defects after the insulation goes in, so sequencing is another reason for air sealing priority (unless of course your primary air barrier employs the airtight drywall approach — ADA).Others have suggested a combination of “carrot-and-stick” to get the air barrier done right; I would add that requiring an open cavity blower-door test with a performance threshold connected to final payment is a good way to get what you expect and when correcting deficiencies is still possible. Take a look at this GBA blog: High Performance Scopes of Work.Be careful about assumptions regarding the inherent airtightness of spray foam installations; while quality issues rear their ugly heads with any type of insulation, spray foam has its own special and critical issues. Take a look at this blog on foam-in-place insulation that I just wrote for BuildingGreen.Finally, a great industry reference document on hybrid insulation systems (sometimes called flash-and-batt or flash-and-fill) can be downloaded from the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance website: “Spray Polyurethane Foam for Hybrid Insulation Systems.” (AY-146 is Part 1 for Climate Zones 1 – 3, and AY-147 is Part 2 for Climate Zones 4 – 7.) Air Leaks or Thermal Loss: What’s Worse?Green Basics: Air BarriersQuestions and Answers About Air BarriersAirtight Wall and Roof SheathingVapor Retarders and Vapor BarriersForget Vapor Diffusion — Stop the Air Leaks!Green Basics: Insulation ChoicesInstalling Fiberglass RightFrom Fine Homebuilding magazine: Why Flash and Batt Makes Senselast_img read more

24 days agoMan City manager Guardiola feels ‘so sorry’ for Foden

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Man City manager Guardiola feels ‘so sorry’ for Fodenby Freddie Taylor24 days agoSend to a friendShare the lovePep Guardiola feels sorry Phil Foden doesn’t play enough for Manchester City. City’s abundance of world-class talent has restricted the talented 19-year-old midfielder to just four appearances this season, three of them as a substitute.He came off the bench to score in Tuesday’s win over Dinamo Zagreb, and speaking after the game, Guardiola told BT Sport: “He [Foden] has incredible finishing and made an incredible step forward (tonight). “I’m so sorry for him, he deserves to play more minutes. “I’m sure he will contribute and help us more.” last_img

Liberals ask Elections Canada to probe suspect donations to Penashue

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–Liberal interim leader Bob Rae has asked Elections Canada to probe five donations given to embattled Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue.In a letter made public Tuesday, Rae asks the electoral authority to investigate the five donations which were listed under the same postal code in St. John’s.Rae says the donations were registered as received on May 4, 2011, two days after the last federal election. Three of the donations were for $1,100, the donation limit, while the other two were for $550, according to Rae.Rae says in the letter that the postal code used for the donations is part of a large postal station in the west-end of St. John’s. The postal code is also used by the headquarters of Pennecon Ltd.’s, a Newfoundland and Labrador-based company involved in construction, energy and real estate.Rae states that all five donations were made by company officers.It is against the Canada Elections Act to accept corporate donations, to conceal the source of donations or to make a donation under someone else’s name.“In light of the nature of these donations, namely, the simultaneous timing of the donations, their dollar value, the postal address given and the shared place of employment of the donors, I feel it would be prudent to conduct a deeper examination,” wrote Rae.Penashue, an Innu MP from Labrador, is already facing controversy over spending irregularities during his campaign in the last federal election. He won the riding over former Liberal MP Todd Russell by 79 votes.Rae sent a letter to Elections Canada two days ago asking for a probe into a $25,000 loan Penashue’s campaign received from Innu Development Limited Partnership (IDLP) which was initially registered as interest free, contravening election laws which require loans to follow market interest rates. Rae also asked the electoral authority to probe a decision by an airline, partly owned by IDLP, to write off all but $7,000 of the $18,163 in travel costs incurred by Penashue and his family during the campaign.Rae also noted that Penashue’s campaign return appear to have overshot the allowable campaign spending limit by $17, 469.“I submit that this matter is quite serious because, taken together, these irregularities could have certainly had an impact on the outcome of the election in Labrador,” wrote Rae.Penashue’s former official agent and campaign manager was appointed by the federal government to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board last December.last_img read more

OSU softballs charity event for breast cancer research to host 22 teams

OSU then-redshirt junior shortstop Maddy McIntyre (30) throws the ball to first base against Ohio on April 21 at Buckeye Field. OSU defeated Ohio, 12-4. Credit: Lantern file photoThe Ohio State softball team’s 15th Annual Ohio Collegiate Charity Classic, which benefits the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research, is scheduled to host 22 teams from three different states on Saturday and Sunday at Buckeye Field and Fred Beekman Park.OSU softball coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said it has been incredible to see the growth of the event since its start in 2001.“We want our players to be significant and to pay it forward,” she said. “Having these powerful women outside of our team join the fight to end breast cancer means a lot to the program.”The event has become one of the largest fundraisers for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in central Ohio, bringing in more than $200,000 for the Stefanie Spielman Fund over the past 14 years.Redshirt senior catcher and first baseman Erika Leonard said that raising awareness about breast cancer and research is extremely important to her.“My mom had breast cancer and is now going on to be a 17-year survivor,” Leonard said. “Without the advancements in research, my mom might’ve not been here today.”Entrance to the event is a $5 donation, with all proceeds from ticket sales and concessions benefiting the Stefanie Spielman Fund.Madison Spielman, a fourth-year in communications and daughter of the late Stefanie Spielman, said she is grateful for the effort to continue to fight the disease.“It’s a reminder that even after six years since her passing, our mom’s legacy still lives on,” Madison Spielman said. “It means the world to have the support from the school I love.”Redshirt senior shortstop Maddy McIntyre said it is a great feeling for the team to be part of something bigger than each individual.“My favorite part is when the Spielman family comes out and throws the first pitch of the tournament,” McIntyre said.After the first pitch from the Spielman family, OSU is set play against Miami (Ohio) on Saturday at 12:45 p.m.The following day, the team will split into two squads: OSU Scarlet and OSU Gray. Team Scarlet is set to face Northern Kentucky at 9:30 a.m. at Buckeye Field, while Team Gray is scheduled to play Toledo at 11:45 a.m. read more

Ronaldos arrival is extremely important Igli Tare

first_imgThe Lazio sporting director believes the new Juventus footballer is one of the best things that could have happened to the Italia Serie AEverybody keeps talking about Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in the Italian Serie A.And now is the turn of Lazio sporting director Igli Tare, who believes the ex-Real Madrid arrival is extremely important for the league.“The arrival of Ronaldo in Italy is extremely important,” Tare told sport1 as reported by Football Italia.“I see his arrival as very positive.”Cristiano Ronaldo, Nemanja Vidic, Manchester UnitedVidic: “Ronaldo is the most professional footballer I’ve seen” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Nemanja Vidic opened up on how a 21-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s professionalism left him stunned at Manchester United.“It’s triggered something incredible in Italy, all the best Italian clubs have taken risks this summer to do transfers to compete both domestically and internationally,” he said.“Ronaldo is important for the image of the league. We’re talking about a player with very high quality, this transfer is definitely a boost for Italian football.”“The Portuguese is still at an age where he can best express his football and wants to succeed in one of the best leagues in the world,” he said.“That’s his objective and I take my hat off to him, but the Italian league is the most difficult in the world.”last_img read more

KPB Administration And Local City Government Talk Revenue Challenges

first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and Administration held a work session in order to facilitate discussions with KPB Administration and local city government officials about revenue challenges. Assemblymember Kelly Cooper and Mayor Pierce have also both introduced versions of another plan to increase sales tax to a change in property tax. Cooper has proposed a half a percent raise in sales tax and puts in place a mill rate increase if that were to fail at the ballot. Mayor Pierce’s cuts the mill rate, but asks for a five percent sales tax. The ordinance to increase the sales tax by half a percent will have another public hearing at the borough assembly meeting on May 15. Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce and his administration have been drafting up proposals in order to garner new revenue to balance the budget. The work session took place on Monday, May 7, in Soldotna, and gave city officials the opportunity to ask the KPB administration how the latest plans will impact the local municipalities.last_img read more