18 November 2014 President Jacob Zuma flanked by international relations minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and finance minister Nhlanhla Nene during the informal BRICS meeting. (Image: GCIS)An interim board of directors has been set up by BRICS to lead the next phase to establish the National Development Bank (NDB), an institution similar to the International Monetary Fund that will support the five emerging national economies.This was announced by BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) during an informal meeting on the first day of the G20 Leaders’ Summit held in Brisbane, Australia from 15 to 16 November, according to a statement from the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).Appointment of NDB presidentThe leaders of BRICS also recommended their finance ministers to appoint an NDB president and vice-president well in advance of the next BRICS Summit to be held in the Russian city of Ufa in 2015.The bank, which will be headquartered in Shanghai, China, will focus on BRICS infrastructure projects, but will be also open to new members from the United Nations. Each BRICS country will contribute US$2-billion to the bank’s funds from their budgets over the next seven years. The bank’s authorized capital will be set at US$100 billion.BRICS cooperation at new levelBRICS leaders underscored that the signing of the agreements establishing the NDB and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) brought BRICS cooperation “to a fundamentally new level with the creation of instruments to contribute to the stability of the international financial system’, according to DIRCO.“The Leaders asked their Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to ensure that, by the next BRICS Summit, the CRA Working Group concludes the procedural rules and operational guidelines of the Governing Council and the Standing Committee of the CRA. They also asked their Central Bank Governors to ensure that the Inter-Central Bank Agreement foreseen in the CRA be concluded by the Summit in Russia.’On the G20 Leaders’ Summit, BRICS leaders discussed some of the issues on the agenda, which include measures to promote growth and job creation; investment and infrastructure; trade; and cooperation on tax matters.Global economySix years after the international financial crisis, BRICS leaders noted that a full recovery is yet to be experienced by member countries. However, emerging market economies have been contributing to global economic activity by sustaining high growth rates, despite adverse circumstances and spill-overs from policies of major advanced economies, especially monetary policies.“The Leaders noted the G20 efforts, but underscored that more needs to be done to support global demand in the short-run, especially by advanced economies, and to promote an increase in investment and long-run growth potential. They underscored that investment and economic reforms are critically important to boosting demand and lifting long-term growth. Emerging market economies remain in general well prepared to face external shocks,’ said DIRCO.The BRICS leaders also noted their concern at the non-implementation of the 2010 International Monetary Fund reforms, and its impact on the Fund’s legitimacy and credibility. They said in the event that the United States fails to ratify the 2010 reforms by the end of 2014, they called on the G20 to schedule a discussion of the options for next steps that the IMF has committed to present in January 2015.EbolaThe Ebola epidemic is of concern and has severe economic and social impact, the BRICS leaders noted. They also expressed their commitment to work with the international community in the response to this epidemic and supported efforts made by the United Nations and its agencies, including the World Health Organization, as well as other institutions.In addition, BRICS leaders reaffirmed their commitment to reinforce full-fledged intra-BRICS cooperation as agreed at the Fortaleza Summit in Brazil earlier this year. They said they look forward to the formulation of a long-term economic cooperation framework to forge closer BRICS partnership.SAinfo reporter
South Africa’s relationships with our sister African countries have allowed us to electrify more than 6-million households since 1994, such as these homes in the township of Vosloorus. (Image: Lebogang Lekwae) The Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her deputy, Thembisile Majola, join President Jacob Zuma in strongly condemning the current attacks on non-South Africans in parts of our country.• Download the Department of Energy media statement in PDFThe Department of Energy reminds all South Africans that it is imperative that we stand together to build and develop our continent. To achieve this, the department is already working with a number of countries on the continent to improve energy capacity for all Africans.Among these potentially transformative and life-changing projects is the Great Inga Hydropower Scheme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which, when complete, will produce power for Southern Africa Development Community countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, Namibia and Angola over the long term.Sasol, a major South African energy company, currently accesses gas from fields in neighbouring countries, providing energy for South African industries and households, and sustaining thousands of South African jobs.Most of the crude oil used in South Africa is imported from other African countries, such as Nigeria and Angola.More than this, South Africa also has long-standing reciprocal energy-production relationships with our neighbouring countries, from whom we procure both electricity and the water needed to run our power stations.South Africa’s relationships with our sister African countries have allowed us to electrify more than 6-million households since 1994. Today, the government has a programme of action to reduce the backlog of connections and remains committed to connecting all households to an electricity supply.“Our common African history and bonds of fraternity and unity is what gave impetus to the liberation struggles of South Africans,” said Joemat-Pettersson. “We treasure this history, and call on all South Africans to embrace our brothers and sisters and, to condemn attacks on foreign nationals in all its manifestations.”Issued by the Ministry of EnergyFor more information, please contact: Mediadesk@energy.gov.za Tel: 012 406 7481
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Cooler than normal temperatures and dry conditions were unwelcome for most growers when moisture and warm weather could have helped with grain fill and maturity, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician for the 20 USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 6.3 days available for fieldwork for the week ending August 27th, 2017. Soil moisture shortages grew as rainfall was fairly limited for most of the state. Effects of the extended dry period were evident statewide. Pastures and hay fields were turning brown, corn fired prematurely and some reports of soybean pods aborting were noted. Commercial vegetable harvest continued, and growers had more opportunities to harvest hay.Click here for the full report
The mega Kumbh Mela, which began on January 15 and will continue till March 4, is expected to generate a revenue of ₹1.2 lakh crore for Uttar Pradesh, according to apex industry body Confederation of Indian Industry. Although the Kumbh Mela is spiritual and religious in nature, the economic activities associated with it generate employment for over six lakh workers across various sectors, CII said in a report. The Uttar Pradesh government has allocated ₹4,200 crore for the 50-day Kumbh Mela this year, which is over thrice the budget of the Maha Kumbh in 2013, making the mega pilgrimage perhaps the costliest ever.Around 12 crore people are expected to visit the Kumbh between now and Maha Shivratri on March 4, when the Mela will come to a close on Maha Shivratri day. The hospitality sector aims at employing 2,50,000 people, airlines and airports around 1,50,000 and tour operators around 45,000. The employment numbers in eco-tourism and medical tourism are being estimated at 85,000, says a CII study. Apart from this there will be around 55,000 new jobs in the unorganized sector comprising of tour guides, taxi drivers, interpreters, volunteers etc. This will lead to increase income levels for government agencies and individual traders. Attracting a massive number of foreign tourists from various countries like Australia, UK, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, New Zealand, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, the Kumbh is a festival of the world. “The ‘mela’ is expected to generate a revenue of Rs1,200 billion for Uttar Pradesh, the state where it is being held, while neighbouring states like Rajasthan, Uttarkhand, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh will also benefit from the enhanced revenue generation with a large number of national and foreign tourists expected to explore other destinations. The Uttar Pradesh government has allocated a hefty amount of Rs 4,200 crore for the Kumbh Mela held in Allahabad, which has become the costliest pilgrimage till date. “The UP government has allocated Rs 4,200 crore for 2019 Kumbh Mela. The previous state government had spent around Rs 1,300 crore for the Maha Kumbh, which was held in 2013,” state Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal said. The area of Kumbh Mela has also been doubled to 3,200 hectares as compared to 1,600 hectares in the previous melas. The Kumbh is a unique and massive gathering of both rural and urban population and also has a huge dispersal factor as people travel long distances across the country. In order to house this multitude, authorities have erected a mini-city of more than 4,000 tents. The city is being lit by installing over 40,000 LED lights, say local authorities. Overhauling of key infrastructure is being done, including upgrading nine railways stations and construction of a new airport terminal in Allahabad. The setting up of this new city in the huge Mela area involves 250 km roads and 22 pontoon bridges, which will make it the largest temporary city in the world. The Kumbh, a sacred Hindu pilgrimage, is thus expected to generate direct and indirect business activities, the fruits of which would hopefully benefit the economy not only of Uttar Pradesh, but that of India as a whole, the CII document says. The Kumbh at Sangam city Prayagraj, as Allahabad is now known, dates back to a hoary past, whose first mention of was made some 2,000 years ago by the Chinese traveler Hsuan Tsang who visited India during the reign on King Harshvardhana. Based on a complex astrological calculation, the alignment of the stars determines the time and place of the ‘Kumbh’ in one of the following four river-sites: Haridwar, Prayagraj, Nasik and Ujjain. It is a celebration of an ancient tradition — a dip in the holy waters where the mythical Saraswati, Ganga and Yamuna meet. These riverside festivals and the city that springs up around them are attended by millions, making the ‘Kumbh Mela’ the largest religious gathering, perhaps the oldest, and the largest temporary city in the world. Learned seers believe that a dip in the waters would endow an individual with religious merit. Masses of devotees gather on the riverbank to attain spiritual enlightenment, some in the belief that doing so will lead them worldly success, others simply to purify their souls. The Kumbh Mela gets its worldwide reputation as a mega-event not only because of the sheer number of people who attend the fair but also for a widespread display of cultural traits of a nation, which is bound by ties of faith and traditions. Around 12 crore people are expected to visit the Kumbh between now and Maha Shivratri on March 4, when the Mela will come to a close on Maha Shivratri day.
Elsewhere: Unusual Takes on IndiaEd by Kai Friese Penguin Price: Rs 250The head honcho at Penguin India confessed to me a couple of years ago that it was house policy not to publish any material that had already seen the light of day in a newspaper, book or magazine. The,Elsewhere: Unusual Takes on IndiaEd by Kai Friese Penguin Price: Rs 250The head honcho at Penguin India confessed to me a couple of years ago that it was house policy not to publish any material that had already seen the light of day in a newspaper, book or magazine. The arrival of Elsewhere, therefore, gave me a bit of a turn since the 20 essays in it have already appeared in The India Magazine between 1996 and 1998, when Kai Friese was the magazine’s editor.One is relieved that Penguin has had a change of heart on what it ought to publish, else these extraordinary nuggets might never have been blessed with a second coming. The India Magazine silently slipped away into oblivion some years ago, not obviously for the material it printed.In his introduction, Friese asserts his sole responsibility lay in providing the current publishers with what he thought was the best writing of his editorial stint with the magazine. He has chosen shrewdly. Much is written about inscrutable India and the nightmare of attempting to pigeonhole its diversity into neat subheads.These authors have their quills unerringly on the pulse of the country and can fathom “the grain of daily life, its pleasures and perils”. “The House on Debendra Ghose Road” is a fine chronicle of a few hours spent through “the arena of privileged domesticity and sexuality” within an ancient and venerable mansion, in the company of three elderly gentlemen on a hot April morning.Mobile mobility: The book captures the many dynamics of IndiaAmit Chaudhuri is a master of language and at moments quite surpasses Charles Lamb, whom he undoubtedly read at Balliol. An Englishman is found with his throat slit in a hotel in Goa. The author is given the task by the victim’s policemanbrother of bringing the culprits to book.In a riveting expose, Bishakha Datta converts subtly from sniffing bloodhound to rationalist patriot, indifferent in the end to “The Death of a Tourist”, since “all conventional signposts of morality have dissolved into a landscape of greys where there is no right, no wrong, no good, no bad, no truth, no lies”.advertisementBut gore and nostalgia aside, my favourite pieces include Pankaj Mishra’s evocative reportage of Sonia Gandhi’s fumbling foray into politics while campaigning in Goa (“Among the Believers”) where, in the finest traditions of Italian soap opera, “a middle-class woman from near Torino tries to rescue India’s oldest political party from extinction”; and Manjula Padmanabhan’s “Transports of Delight”, where the wicked three-wheeled scooter rickshaw is lyrically immortalised, both in prose and illustration.I reserve the laurel, however, for Anita Roy, who with brevity of space and stiletto sharp wit has portrayed the “nouveau Rajas and their dishevelled, bored, expat Maharani-manqus”, former inhabitants of middle-class Wimbledon who domicile temporarily in diplomatic postings amongst sweaty natives, subsuming their overt racism in “the sweet cloud of white meringue” on the high commissioner’s immaculately manicured lawns.”All Indians are ch—yas,” says a CBI official to the investigative journalist in “Tourist”. Perhaps, but the 20 essays show us up to be a marvellously diverse people, unfazed by poverty and squalor, sporting the will to survive against all odds and overcome in the end. Vive le difference!
Delhi University registrations for admissions have come to an end with the online applications of BMS shutting down, for rest of the courses the pocess got over on June 16 itself. In total, it saw a total of over 2.7 lakh applications. Out of the total applications received for the admissions to Four Year Undergraduate Programmes (FYUP) at DU, Delhi had the maximum number of applicants.A total of 1, 32, 659 students from Delhi wish to take admissions in UG courses of the University for this session. This list has been followed by UP and Uttarakhand from where 66, 600 candidates applied. Only 154 candidates applied from Karnataka.State-wise distribution of applications received for FYUP admissions at University of Delhi: Delhi: 1, 32, 659 UP and Uttarakhand: 66, 600 candidates Haryana: 37, 237candidates Bihar and Jharkhand: 15, 945 candidates Rajasthan: 6, 132 candidates MP and Chattisgarh: 4, 396 candidates Punjab: 2, 737candidates Jammu and Kashmir: 1, 267 candidates Himachal Pradesh: 938 candidates Maharashtra: 632 candidates Gujarat: 390 candidates Andhra Pradesh: 617 candidates Karnataka: 154 candidates Tamil Nadu: 331 candidates Kerala: 607 candidates West Bengal: 2, 146 candidates Orissa: 679 candidates Assam: 1, 575 candidates North Eastern: 2, 648 candidatesAround 60,000 candidates have applied for English, which has become the most sought-after course, though, there is an availability of only 4,362 seats in this course in DU.The race for 54, 000 seats in 70 different colleges of Delhi University began on June 2. The first cut-off will be released on June 24.Important dates:First admission list by: June 24, 2014Last date for admission and payment of fees under the first admission list: June 26, 2014Second admission list by: June 27, 2014Last date for admission and payment of fees under the second admission list: June 30, 2014Third admission list by: July 1, 2014Last date for admission and payment of fees under the third admission list: July 3, 2014advertisementFourth admission list by: July 4, 2014Last date for admission and payment of fees under the fourth admission list: July 7, 2014Fifth admission list by: July 8, 2014Last date for admission and payment of fees under the fifth admission list: July 10, 2014Sixth admission list by: July 11, 2014Last date for admission and payment of fees under the sixth admission list: July 12, 2014Seventh admission list by: July 14, 2014Last date for admission and payment of fees under the seventh admission list: July 15, 2014Eighth admission list by: July 16, 2014 Last date for admission and payment of fees under the eighth admission list: July 17, 2014Ninth admission list by: July 18, 2014Last date for admission and payment of fees under the ninth admission list: July 19, 2014Tenth admission list by: July 21, 2014Last date for admission and payment of fees under the tenth admission list: July 22, 2014