Vilma Santos, Luis Manzano warn public of fake account posing as her Albay to send off disaster response team to Batangas GALLERY: 2017 Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines Photo By Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netLAPU-LAPU CITY — Jacqueline Thistleton crashed her bike midway through the course and she could’ve easily quit right then and there.“It all happened so quickly. Everything was broken. I wasn’t coming at all together,” she said.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano Marcosian mode: Duterte threatens to arrest water execs ‘one night’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson View comments Teen gunned down in Masbate End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano But giving up is not an option for the gritty Australian as she picked herself up and soldiered on.Thistleton admitted her road to recovery was all a blur as her competitive spirit got the better of her for the remainder of the track.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’“I guess it was just adrenaline. I think I just had the adrenaline to get on to the bike and see where I can go. It wasn’t pretty coming back on bike,” she said.She also couldn’t let down the Cebuano crowd down in her first triathlon race in the Philippines. LATEST STORIES 2 nabbed in Bicol drug stings “I guess it was just the crowd. I had so much support and I’d like to give everyone justice — my family, my friends, everyone. It’s adrenaline, to be honest, and it’s just about it,” she said.Thistleton’s character showed in weathering the storm and not only did she get back in the race, she also managed to finish second in the elite female category of the 2017 Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines on Sunday here.After an inspiring stint, Thistleton hopes to get another invite, especially with the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship set to be hosted here next year.“I’ll tell everyone come over and give it a go. It’s definitely worth the trip,” she said with a smile.ADVERTISEMENT
Despite the absence of basic information to verify its authenticity, such as where it gets its funding or who trained its polling agents, a one-man representative of a little known group has released preliminary findings from an opinion poll it claimed to have carried out in Guyana.Dr Kirk MeighooThe results of the ‘poll’ were announced on Monday by Dr Kirk Meighoo of “Turkeyen Research and Polling Institute” but when asked how many persons were interviewed, he replied “several hundreds”.Yet in his announcement of the “findings”, he asserted that 1400 persons were interviewed in all of the ten administrative regions of Guyana. He asserted that there were 12 interviewers but yet, could not identify their deployment in the specific regions. He also asserted that the sample was stratified to include the exact percentage of ethnic groups as found in the 2012 census but unless individuals were selected by sight at the point of interview, it is difficult to see how they could have been preselected randomly.Discussing the poll, one respected local social scientist questioned the relevance of the questions concerning the popularity of the prospective presidential candidates who had been passed over by the Central Committee of the People’s Progressive Party when the majority of them voted in a ballot for the successful candidate as the party was pushing for elections within three months as constitutionally stated following the passage of a No-Confidence Motion. This was seen as an attempt at creating discord within the party at a critical juncture.Among the findings of the ‘poll’ was that most persons want elections as soon as possible and they have a negative view of the Government’s failure to call elections.Another finding of the ‘poll’, which was done through face-to-face interviews, was that citizens have a lack of optimism that the recent oil finds and the wealth it generates will make any difference at the grass-root level.When questioned by the media, however, Meighoo struggled to defend the authenticity of the poll or answer basic questions such as who organised and funded the poll. Asked how he could guarantee the veracity of the results, Meighoo claimed to be able to tell when poll results are fake. He emphasised that he was just a “consultant”, but this was belied by the fact that he appeared to be completely at sea on the concrete details of the poll.“You can tell when its fake results. The way the data is collected. You can tell by that. You can tell if it was done in an actual exercise or whether it was done in an office. So that’s part of it. I did speak to some of the surveyors and I met some of them. I couldn’t meet with everyone, but I did spot check,” he said.But Meighoo was clearly protesting too much about the TRPI polls being “fake”, when no one actually suggested it.
― picket GRDB office in BerbiceRice farmers on the Corentyne in Berbice on Tuesday picketed the Guyana Rice Development Board’s (GRDB) Seed Paddy Drying Facility at Number 58 Village, calling for the aerial spray of crops to combat the current infestation of paddy bugs.The GRDB had made a decision to have aerial spraying done since in May but for some unknown reason, the farmers are being made to repeatedly apply insecticides.A bug infested rice fieldPresident of the 52-74 Water Users’ Association Ahmad RajabRice farmers protesting outside of the GRDB’s Seed Paddy Drying Facility at Number 58 VillageAfter huge losses during the last rice crop resulting in farmers not being able to meet financial obligations, the farmers made a decision to plant this crop hoping to make up for previous losses but they are now being faced with a situation which seems even worse than the last crop.The farmers are demanding that aerial spraying be done but this, they claimed, has been falling on deaf ears. As such, they are seeking to get wider attention.More than 20 rice farmers held placards and chanted “aerial spraying now” and “GRDB Manager must go”, as they marched in front of the Rice Board’s Corentyne facility.One of the farmers, Ramlagan Singh, who is also an extension office of the Rice Producers’ Association (RPA), told this publication that they were protesting to reiterate to the GRDB that their crops are in danger.He said the last crop showed that over 25 per cent of the farmers lost their crop and barely made it into the current crop.“Now that they are, the rice is now flowering and the paddy bugs are in very high population so we are asking GRDB to do aerial spraying immediately to save the rice crop.”He explained that farmers are being forced to spray their fields and within two days, the paddy bugs return.Meanwhile, President of the 52-74 Water Users’ Association, Ahmad Rajab, who is also a rice farmer, explained that the Water Users’ Association met with the GRDB two weeks ago to address the issue.“They promised us that they are going to do something about it and we are not hearing from them. They said that they will spray the dams and trenches but they have two blowers and they have one extension officer who has the responsibility from Number 43 Village all the way to Moleson Creek; just in the 52-74 area alone I have over three hundred miles of dams and trenches and he has not done much as yet. So, we are calling on the GRDB to help the farmers because they are hitting a dead end,” Rajab noted.He added that any type of assistance will be appreciated but aerial spraying will adequately address the issue.However, President of Guyana Rice Producers’ Association Leekha Rambrich stated that the infestation of paddy bugs is beyond their control.“We want the authorities to understand that with that amount of paddy bugs in the field, it is out of the farmers’ reach to control them and we are demanding aerial spraying to be done immediately to bring some assistance and relief to the farmers. If this is not done then we will see that the 62,000 acres which is under rice cultivation in the region might go down.”He added that the Board made a decision three months ago and instructed the General Manager to go ahead with aerial spraying, however, it was only one week ago that the GRDB began to source an aircraft to get the job done.“This shows gross incompetence in the General Manager because as a General Manager, the Board gave him instructions three months ago to start looking for an aircraft and he has the go-ahead to implement the decision of the Board but did nothing; gross incompetence. We had a special committee that met and came up with a way forward for the paddy bugs and we made a few recommendations, one of which was for two hundred sweep nets to be made by the Board and be distributed to farmers. To date, none has been distributed and the decision was made two months ago.”He said another decision taken by the Board was for two specialists to be brought to Guyana to study the behaviour pattern of the bugs.“The GRDB brought in two agronomists who come around to fool the farmers; telling them that they are spraying their rice too much. Fifty years ago, my father used to plant rice and it is the same thing I was going up to now; spraying one time for leafworm and heartworm and then one time for stem bora. So, we do two spraying and then we spray for paddy bugs. Now, these agronomists come in and tell farmers that their practices are wrong. Fifty years ago, we were doing this and the practice was not wrong then,” the RPA President claimed.Nevertheless, the farmers reiterated that they will continue to protest until they get some satisfaction from the Guyana Rice Development Board. (Andrew Carmichael)
0Shares0000Russia’s coach Stanislav Cherchesov says he knows how to stop Mohamed Salah © AFP / Giuseppe CACACEMOSCOW, Russian Federation, Jun 18 – Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov says the World Cup hosts have figured out a way to reign in Egypt’s striker Mohamed Salah on Tuesday in Saint Petersburg.The 26-year-old has scored 44 goals in a sensational first season for Liverpool and is keen to make his debut after missing the Pharaohs’ 1-0 opening game loss to Uruguay with a shoulder injury. Salah’s name has been creeping into conversations often since Russia’s 5-0 thumping of Saudi Arabia in Thursday’s tournament curtain-raiser.But Cherchesov said he was not particularly concerned.“We know how to play against him,” the Russia coach said after the team’s morning training session.“We are ready to stop Salah and we will.”The bold promise highlights a new swagger that had been missing from the host nation’s team for much of the past year.Russia’s convincing win over the Saudis was preceded by a seven-match winless streak and a spate of injuries that wiped out almost the entire defencive line.But the men in red are now on the cusp of making their first knockout stage of a World Cup in post-Soviet history.The achievement would a huge relief for both players and Russians who worried about being humiliated on the world’s biggest sporting stage.One poll said Thursday’s win has seen the number of Russians who say they plan to follow the football rise from 52 percent to 64 percent.Russia’s veteran goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev said he would rather focus on winning than any particular opposing player.“Would I prefer to see Salah play or not? I do not even know how to respond,” said Akinfeev. “I would prefer to see my team win.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
By Harrison Sheppard STAFF WRITER SACRAMENTO – In a preview of the harsh fight expected next year, California public unions are already campaigning against a pension reform measure some 14 months before it could potentially go before voters. The Los Angeles Police Protective League, representing about 9,000 officers, recently started airing radio ads in Los Angeles urging the public to disregard petitions to place the measure by former Assemblyman Keith Richman on the ballot. “If you value the job that your police officers, firefighters and teachers do for the community, please don’t sign this petition,” the ads urge. The radio ad purchase, although relatively small, is an unusual early sign of the degree to which unions are gearing up to fight Richman’s effort. “We just feel very strongly about it,” said PPL president Tim Sands. “We’re going to fight to tell people the truth – that we need to keep the benefits to hire the brightest and best.” Sands declined to disclose how much the union is spending on the ad campaign but said it is running on KFWB-AM (980) for about six weeks. Richman’s measure aims to lower the costs incurred by state and local governments for pension and retiree health-care benefits. It raises the retirement age and lowers benefits for new state and local government employees hired after July 1, 2009. It would also limit the percentage of final pay a government employee earns in retirement to between 60 percent and 70 percent. Currently, thousands collect pensions worth 100 percent of their final salaries or more, plus lifetime health benefits. The move comes amid growing concern about soaring pension and retiree benefits. Many city, county and state government agencies awarded unions generous benefit packages in the late 1990s when the stock market was hot. Today, unfunded pension liabilities threaten to bankrupt some cities and increasingly concern state officials. One concern is that money needed for education and other public services goes toward pensions and retirees’ health-care benefits. Richman, who heads the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, said current unfunded pension and health-care liabilities for all city, county and state workers range from $200 billion to $300billion. He believes his measure could ultimately save state and local governments some $500 billion over 30 years. Richman has not even begun collecting any of the 694,354 signatures he will need to submit by Jan. 10. He only received official approval of the wording from the state Attorney General’s Office in mid-August. Because he is aiming for the November 2008 ballot – and specifically does not want it in the February or June elections because an expected lower voter turnout would favor the unions – he is not in a rush. He expects to need about $1million to fund the signature drive. But Richman believes the early campaign is a sign that the unions consider him a legitimate threat to convince the public that reform is needed. “They’re obviously taking our efforts very seriously,” Richman said. “I think they are concerned. They recognize the issue of skyrocketing public employee retirement costs is becoming better known by the public. “And I’m sure that they recognize that our initiative – which would simply change the retirement age and require a full career’s work for a full pension – is something that the public receives very well.” So far, the PPL is the only group actively attacking Richman’s measure this early. But other unions are waiting in the wings. Dave Low, chairman of a union coalition formed to lobby on pension issues, said his group met with the PPL recently to discuss the issue and the police union offered its ad to anyone who wanted to air it elsewhere in the state. The coalition, called Californians for Health Care and Retirement Security, includes more than 30 unions representing police, firefighters, teachers and other state and local employees. It was formed soon after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to reform the pension system in 2005. Unions were highly successful that year in launching early attacks against his effort before it even got on the ballot. Unions characterized Schwarzenegger’s plan as cutting benefits for widows of police officers and firefighters, and the governor ultimately withdrew the measure entirely rather than submit it to voters. Low said an equally strong effort is likely against Richman’s plan. “I think we will spend whatever it’s going to take to defeat it,” said Low, who is also assistant director of governmental relations with the California School Employees Association. “We’ll have to do some analysis to find out what that number is. This is such an important issue and has such a dramatic effect on employees that we’ll dig deep to come up with whatever it takes.” Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger this year revived his effort to reform the pension system but decided to take a slower and more inclusive approach. He and legislative leaders appointed a 12-member commission this year, including membership from public unions, to study the problem and make some recommendations by January 2008. The Public Employee Post-Employment Benefits Commission has been holding monthly hearings around the state, with its next set for Sept. 21 at UCLA. Richman presented his ideas to the commission in April. But no matter what its final recommendations, he is not optimistic that the Legislature would pass them because of the public unions’ strong influence in Sacramento. Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political analyst with USC, said it is fairly unusual for ads to air about an initiative that has yet to qualify for the ballot. In this case, it may be an indication that unions are genuinely worried the measure may gain popular support. “It’s a preemptive strike,” Jeffe said. “It’s what happens when you have all the money in the Western world and you’re nervous. Why not cut it off at the pass?” firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
The 2015 Drake University football team put the finishing touches on its season with the 118th annual Channing Smith Banquet on Saturday.Fifth-year senior and team captain John Hugunin (Oswego, Ill.) was the most honored player of the evening as he took home six awards.Hugunin was awarded one of the banquet’s top awards, the Torchbearer Award. The award signifies a member of the team who leads by example and creates a culture and excellence of leadership amongst the team. He was also named the 2015 Most Valuable Player after leading the team with 116 tackles, two interceptions and nine forced fumbles. Hugunin was also honored with the team’s Theme Award for best personifying the team’s season-long theme and mission of ‘WIN.’ as the Paul Morrison Team Player Award.Hugunin and fellow team captain Brad Duwe (Dubuque, Iowa) was named the Gene Shultz Award winners. The annual honor is bestowed upon an upperclassman who displays the highest standards of leadership, citizenship and personal conduct on the field and in his academic and campus activities.Fifth-year senior Bob Quilico (Schaumburg, Ill.) was named the “We Are Relentless” Award, while senior Michael Roane (Chanhassen, Minn.) was the ‘Bones’ Helmet Award recipient.The final award Hugunin took home was the defense Hammer Award. Al Hern (Mokena, Ill.) was the offensive Hammer Award winner and Cam Bohnert (Edmond, Okla.) earned the honor on special teams.The team’s top workers on the practice field also received much deserved recognition for their efforts in preparing the Bulldogs to compete week in and week out with the Scout Team Awards. Drew Lauer (St. Peters, Mo.) was honored with the Offensive Scout Team Award while Zac Rujawitz (Edwardsville, Ill.) earned the defensive and special teams honor.118th Annual Channing Smith BanquetAward WinnersTorch Bearer Leader Award – John HuguninMVP Award – John HuguninTheme Award – John HuguninPaul Morrison Team Player Award – John HuguninGene Schultz Award – John Hugunin and Brad Duwe”We Are Relentless” Award: Bob QuilicoHelmet Bones Award – Michael RoaneOffense Hammer Award – Al HernDefense Hammer Award – John HuguninSpecial Teams Hammer Award – Cam BohnertOffense Scout Team Award – Drew LauerDefense Scout Team Award – Zach RujawitzScout Team Award – Zach Rujawitz Print Friendly Version
Embed from Getty ImagesGary Neville has criticised Antonio Conte following Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester United.The Blues’ 2-0 loss at Old Trafford meant they remain just four points clear of second-placed Tottenham at the top of the Premier League.Speaking on Sky, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard said he saw an “element of doubt” in Conte’s players as they were beaten for the second time in four matches.And former United defender Neville noted that boss Conte was unusually subdued on the touchline as his team produced a below-par display.Neville said: “Chelsea didn’t turn up. Where was Conte today, the manager?“You talk about the players, but the manager has been so active on the touchline all season you expect him to get them going – him to be raging on the touchline.“He seemed subdued today and as though he lacked belief. Chelsea didn’t turn up but United were fantastic.”See also:Man Utd v Chelsea player ratingsLampard saw ‘element of doubt’ in Chelsea Ads by Revcontent Trending Articles Urologists: Men, Forget the Blue Pill! This “Destroys” ED x ‘Genius Pill’ Used By Rich Americans Now Available In Netherlands! x What She Did to Lose Weight Stuns Doctors: Do This Daily Before Bed! x Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do This x One Cup of This (Before Bed) Burns Belly Fat Like Crazy! x Drink This Before Bed, Watch Your Body Fat Melt Like Crazy x Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Each issue of Current Biology contains a Primer on some interesting subject. The May 24 issue had one about spider webs.1 Fritz Vollrath shared some amazing details about this unique product of the lowly spider, but gave a strange explanation for how the capability to spin strong-as-steel nets evolved. First, the factoids:Structure: …the… common garden spider… has evolved to take out-of-plane loads at optimized deflections. To be able to do so, this web needs to incorporate into one structure the mechanical properties of very different types of silk: the fairly stiff, radius silk threads and the extremely soft, extensible and sticky capture silk threads, which are fixed on the radii by stringy silk cement. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Heritage: Most of the hundred or so spider families have web-building members. Their webs range from two-dimensional sheets to three-dimensional tangles, with members of ten families building the familiar orb web.Signaling: The spider’s web is primarily a trap, mostly for insects; it retains the contacting insect and informs the waiting spider about the location and status of the prey. Whether it is a static filter or a dynamic net swaying in the wind, the web always relays vibratory signals of considerable complexity.Geometry: The great ecological diversity of the potential prey is reflected in the great diversity of web designs. Of these, the orbicular web has attracted special attention because of its ubiquity, pleasing geometry, obvious functionality and, not least, its apparent structural simplicity.Technique: The typical spider web … is the spider’s inherited ‘signature’, which – although unlearned – is modified predictably by the environment. The web is many times the spider’s size; accordingly, the decision rules guiding the animal’s locomotory and manipulative movements can best be described (and analysed) as orientation behaviour. Vollrath says that model spider robots can generate digitized spider webs, and show that a “small number of very simple behaviour patterns are sufficient to generate accurately the characteristics of a real spiderweb.”Technology: The common garden spider Araneus diadematus, like other orb weavers of the ecribellate families, employs in each bead of its capture threads a microscopic ‘windlass’ mechanism that allows supreme extendibility while absorbing the high kinetic energy of the prey without breaking. Another species “combs out its capture silk to form a loosely twisted, dry rope with a mechanical coil-and-spring that sticks to prey using electrostatic forces.”Materials science: Spider silk is not a single-protein biopolymer. In addition to the spidroins, its main protein constituents, the typical spider dragline silk contains many different organic and inorganic components, such as neurotransmitter peptides, glyco-proteins, lipids, sugars, phosphates, calcium, potassium and sulphur….Functionally, silks can be viewed as a ‘filled rubber’, in which crystallites provide the strength and a matrix provides the elasticity: in combination, these two components give the silk its toughness.Manufacture: At present we do not know the precise mechanisms by which different silk proteins fold and assemble in the ‘spinning ducts’ of the various and diverse spider glands. Some initial insights have been gained, however, into the silk pathway of one typical spider silk: the dragline silk produced by the major ampullate glands of the golden silk spider … Here, as in all other spider silks, the liquid crystalline silk feedstock is prepared by specialist cells in the gland wall and stored in the lumen. As with most other silks, this precursor silk is then converted into the solid fibre by extrusion through the tubular taper of a duct, where the enormously long … silk molecules first unfold and are then cross-linked. In Nephila, the fibre-forming zone has the shape and function of a hyperbolic extrusion die. Here a small drop in the pH combined with the elongational flow of the molecules effects the transformation from liquid to solid silk…. the elongational flow helps to define the molecular orientations throughout the duct, and that a combination of solvent (water) extrusion and subsequent acidification helps the process of alignment and folding. The cuticle of the gland’s duct facilitates the rapid removal of water and provides the proton pump for the acid bath. In this way the spider uses a liquid crystalline spinning process which, in terms of human engineering, is highly advanced.In the middle of the primer, Vollrath tackled the specific question, “How are webs thought to have evolved?”Spider web structures and silks began their co-evolution about 400 million years ago, at first probably as a protein cover to protect the animal’s eggs and young. Webs then evolved different functions, including acting as a kind of wall-paper for the animal’s burrow and modifying the hole into a simple trap by radiating lines that inform the lurking spider about things beetling around outside. Even such simple lines expand the animal’s anatomical phenotype many fold by incorporating the body into an extensive silken net. The aerial webs of the ‘modern’ spiders began to evolve perhaps 200 million years ago and are superb examples of ‘extended anatomy’. These webs also nicely illustrate the close interaction of material and behaviour which clearly are two separately encoded yet functionally inter-linked character traits.This seems to say that they evolved because they evolved. 1Fritz Vollrath, “Spider’s webs,” Current Biology, Vol 15, R364-R365, 24 May 2005.This is a prime example of the leaps of faith rampant among Darwinians, who can discuss with apparent wonder the technologies of the animal kingdom – capabilities that dwarf human efforts based on intelligent engineering – then say they just evolved, with utter, implicit, and complete faith in the inspired Word of Charlie, who alone does wonders. Then they have the audacity to accuse non-Darwinians of relying on faith instead of science. Vollrath apparently was not at all aware of nor troubled by the fact that he dodged the question about evolution. How did the spider web evolve? It evolved, he said. Any skill or technology needed was available to the spider with the snap of the evolutionary fingers. Example: certain spiders “have evolved to produce web fibres that have an aqueous coating, supplied and maintained by hygroscopic compounds to attract the required water molecules from the atmosphere.” How did the spider find these hygroscopic compounds and incorporate them into the production line? It evolved. That explanation is all-sufficient. The precise acidity control? It evolved. The hyperbolic extrusion die? It evolved. The exact recipe of proteins, sugars, phosphates, calcium, sulfur, neurotransmitter peptides and other organic and inorganic ingredients that yielded a substance humans cannot emulate? It evolved. The ability to control the solidification and folding at exactly the right time and place? It evolved. The ability to sort out tough silks and soft, flexible sticky silks into a radial pattern? It evolved. The skill to snare insects, detect their presence, and get to them without getting stuck itself? It evolved. It evolved because it evolved: that is apparently enough intellectual content to satisfy a brainwashed Darwinist. Some humans build webs, too; the tangled kind, spun by self-deception. Watch from a safe distance.(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
There are thousands of African women creating successful businesses, leaving inspiration and change in their wake, and in a small way helping to uplift Africa’s narrative. The five women below are making massive strides in their respective business sectors, changing their industries and improving business for other women in Africa. Women all over Africa are changing the content’s narrative, writes Graça Machel on the World Economic Forum website. (Image: Benedikt von Loebell, WEF, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, via Flickr)• Girls in space! Africa’s first private satellite – designed by schoolgirls • How can digital technology boost growth in Africa?• Connecting women to technology• Robotic gliders boost for ocean research• Meet the global leaders heading WEF Africa 2016 Graça Machel, Founder, Graça Machel TrustAll these women are members of the Graça Machel Trust, a pan-African advocacy organisation that focuses on women’s rights, children’s rights and governance and leadership in Africa. Their Multiplying Faces, Amplifying Voices campaign aims to build a network of highly qualified, active and effective women across the continent to become a voice in areas where they are currently underrepresented. This includes the Network of African Businesswomen (NABW), Network of African Women in Agribusiness (AWAB) and New Faces New Voices (NFNV), a programme that focuses on expanding the role and influence of women in the financial sector.Joy Ndungutse: Founder and CEO of Gahaya Links (Rwanda) Changing economies by commercialising cultureJoy Ndungutse spent her childhood and early adult years in exile due to political instability in Rwanda.Driven by ambition, Joy’s strong desire to work towards the empowerment of women translated into a weaving initiative when she moved back to Rwanda after the genocide. While running a hotel and the country’s first furniture store, she trained local women in rural areas and designed baskets, modern in style and shape, that these women could make using traditional weaving skills and techniques. This journey gave birth to Gahaya Links, a successful social enterprise in Rwanda that works with over 4 000 weavers to make traditional baskets that are exported to the US and Japan and sold through leading department stores.Joy notes that, “It is a delight to see the fruits of this project and to see an increase in the number of women in Rwanda achieving financial independence.”She continues: “It is also encouraging to see that the local culture is alive and vibrant, and that using what we have, we have managed to make such an impact on the lives of others, and on creating awareness of what Rwanda has to offer to the world.”However, she highlights that although some progress has been made in Rwanda, a lot still needs to be done to increase financial inclusion of women, educate women on taxation and business practices, as these still remain big challenges for women in business. She identifies certain key issues such as geographical access to financial institutions, information on financial information and products, and access to capital as barriers for women to enter into business.According to Joy, “most rural women in Rwanda lack the knowledge to organize businesses in a formal way. It’s critical to educate them on key issues such as new business taxation policies and the simplified tax regime that exempts them from to allow them kickstart and build sustainable businesses.”She highlights that a lot more work needs to be done to educate and create awareness of the importance of formalizing and growing informal women owned businesses.Hadia Gondji: Managing Director at Hadia Seed Production, Hadia Flowers and Hadia Supermarket (Ethiopia)Challenging the status quo to create opportunities for womenHadia is the country director of the New Faces New Voices Ethiopia Chapter and is a pioneer in the transportation, agriculture and horticulture industries in Ethiopia. In agriculture she is involved in hybrid grain multiplication and through her business she teaches farmers in the country to improve their yields.Hadia says: “We normally work with small-scale farmers to help them improve their production and we teach female farmers free of charge.”As president of the Ethiopian Women Exporters Association, she has seen production by female farmers increase, and exports of different produce such as coffee, fruit, vegetables and flowers improve. Hadia is also one of the founders of Enat Bank, the only financial institution in Ethiopia that specifically targets women.She explains, “In Ethiopia it is still very difficult for women to get into business and politics. Although things are getting better, it remains hard for women to do business, as the environment is not conducive, banks want collateral before giving financial support and women do not own any property. The houses and farms belong to men.”“Enat Bank was launched to assist women by getting money from investors to deposit as collateral for women in business, and we see that the bank is making a great difference to women business owners.”Hadia highlights that creating a strong business network for women in Africa is essential in ensuring that business opportunities improve for women on the continent. As evidenced by the Graça Machel Trust, the role of such networks and advocacy groups is invaluable in connecting likeminded businesswomen across the continent.Elizabeth Swai: Managing Director of AKM Glitters Company Limited (Tanzania) Driving the agenda for women in businessA self-starter, Elizabeth Swai runs a thriving poultry business that has expanded its operations to include small-scale farmers in its supply chain. Her business model makes a conscious effort to include those parties that would normally find themselves excluded from the formalized market.Elizabeth says that although the Tanzanian government has expressed commitment to supporting female entrepreneurship, women still face a great number of obstacles. Challenges such as cultural barriers, the right to property and decision making, stiff competition, corruption and bureaucracy, and a lack of awareness from women themselves, make it extremely hard for women in Africa to build a successful business.She also serves as lead and coordinator of African Women in Agribusiness, holds a seat in the Network of African Women in Business, is a founder member of the African Agriculture Academy, and is an active member of the World Poultry Association.According to Elizabeth, her involvement with the women’s networks and associations is aimed at representing the needs of women in Tanzania.She says: “I am involved with all of these organisations in order to represent other women. Defragmentation is a poison, so women need to partner with other women, networks, associations, men and their gigantic enterprises with muscle to be able to achieve the achievable.”She notes: “I created a business model that is inclusive in order to enable ease of access to finance and technical expertise, but also to work with more women in rural areas and create employment for the youth.”Elizabeth Magaya: Managing Director of Blissford Investments (Zimbabwe) Taking giant steps, one step at a timeElizabeth Magaya became an entrepreneur at the age of 10 to help look after her siblings after her parents’ divorce. She went from vegetable vendor to owning a group of companies that includes a booming construction business, and has recently diversified into horticulture, landscape and interior design. At the age of 52, she went back to school to finish what she wasn’t able to start as a child and graduated at the age of 56.She is the epitome of self-made success and attributes this to hard work, sheer determination and a constant drive for perfection.According to Elizabeth, “the biggest challenges with women in business in Africa are the women themselves.”She explains: “Most women are still marginalised and still depend on men to make decisions for them and give them permission to do things. I believe women should be aggressive, start networking and start to expose themselves. They should see every situation and challenge as a bull and take it by the horns.”“To empower themselves, women must realise that it is possible to start, and you can start small, you don’t need to be great or big to start, begin where you are and the rest will follow. Never mind your background, where you started or where you came from. If you use your hands and mind you will reach your destiny,” she says.Grace Mijiga-Mhango: Director of Agriseed and African Women in Agribusiness (Malawi)Building businesses that transform livesGrace specialises in commodity trading and seed multiplication and has built successful businesses that trade in Malawi and across the continent. Having been with the Graça Machel Trust since 2011, she is one of the pioneers that help shape the Trust’s vision. She conceptualized the African Food Basket Project that promotes the growing of indigenous seeds led by women farmers to raise the yields of staple crops like maize, soya beans and pigeon peas. The overall project aims to benefit 50,000 women across grain production value chains in five countries over the next five years.Grace has incredible vision which she shares passionately with those interested in her work and those that share similar interests and beliefs. She sees herself as an agent of change, and is committed to working to support others to reach their full potential and achieve meaningful change in their lives.The Graça Machel Trust, through its advocacy work, seeks to continue in extending its arm to more women across the continent, to effect and influence a change in thinking about women-owned businesses as a channel for Africa’s economic development. The trust seeks to grow women-owned businesses across Africa, and to empower female entrepreneurs to realize their full potential.This article was originally published on the WEF website as part of its Africa series.Former South African and Mozambican first lady Machel is a renowned global advocate for the rights of women and children. A social and political activist for many decades, she serves in various capacities in several organisations. One of these is the Elders, a group of independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights, brought together in 2007 by her husband, Nelson Mandela.Machel also contributes to the Africa Progress Panel and, like Adesina, the MDG Advocates Panel. She has been named an eminent person in the GAVI Alliance, and works on the UN Foundation’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Machel chairs the board of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, and is chancellor of the University of Cape Town.Watch this to see some of the top female innovators who participated in WEF on Africa:
Criticising the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments at the Centre and the State for “utterly failing at governance” during its four years in power, the Maharashtra Pradesh Yuva Congress on Wednesday held a state-wide ‘mock’ yoga protest targeting the governments for failing to deliver on it’s promises.“The Modi government at the Centre and the BJP-Sena government at the State are misleading youth. None of the pre-electoral promises touted by them have been fulfilled. Instead, fake statistics showing fantastic employment generation figures are being published by both the Centre and the State,” said Satyajeet Tambe, president, MPYC, who led the agitation in Aurangabad district.Youth Congress workers lampooned Mr. Modi’s fondness for yoga, and performed a number of mock ‘asanas’ like ‘berozgari asan’ (to protest against unemployment), Rafale asan (on the Rafale jet fighter deal) and mehengai asan (to condemn the rising fuel prices) among several others in a two-hour mock agitation simultaneously across the State including Nagpur, Navi Mumbai and Thane. With an eye on general and Assembly elections due next year, the protest also doubled up as a voter outreach programme to connect with the youth across the State.“The two crore jobs promised by PM Modi and the BJP are nowhere to be seen even after four years of the party’s rule,” Mr. Tambe said, remarking that merely signing a several Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreements amounted to nothing.He further alleged that the BJP government’s much-vaunted programmes like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ had come to a cropper.“There is no sign of any fresh investment or employment generation through such ambitious ventures. Furthermore, the government seems completely apathetic about taking any action on granting reservation to the Maratha, Dhangar and Muslim communities,” Mr. Tambe said.To protest against the Modi government’s alleged crackdown on dissent, the Youth Congress workers performed a ‘trollasan’ and a ‘bhakt asan’ to satirize the acolytes of the Prime Minister. They also did a ‘maun asan’ to rebut the BJP and Prime Minister Modi’s bitter criticism of former PM Manmohan Singh for allegedly remaining ‘silent’ all the while.“Mr. Singh’s actions spoke louder than his words. But Mr. Modi conveniently remains silent on issues that matter and instead delivers speeches making tall claims which have turned out to be hollow,” said Brijkishore Dutt, general secretary, State Youth Congress.