DONEGAL Daily would like to wish all of our readers at home here in Ireland and around the world a very Happy & Peaceful 2013.It is YOU which has made our news and sports site the BIGGEST media source in County Donegal in 2012.We had more than 20 Million Page Views in the past year – in fact 20,860,075 to be precise, according to statistics from Google. Donegaldaily.com also received more than 7 million unique visits over the past 12 months, and in the last four months of 2012 there have been more than TWO MILLION page views each month and growing all the time.We hope to expand and grow what we do for you in 2013.So thank you for staying with us throughout the past year – and we look forward to continuing to bring you all the latest news and sport during the next year.Bliain úr faoi shéan is faoi mhaise daoibh! DONEGALDAILY.COM – DONEGAL’S NO1 HAPPY NEW YEAR – AND 20,860,075 ‘THANKS’ was last modified: January 1st, 2013 by BrendaShare 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:075 ‘THANKS’860HAPPY NEW YEAR – AND 20
16 May 2013South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says his department has considered the concerns raised by businesses on the Licensing of Businesses Bill and that when the draft law is presented to Parliament again it will be “significantly different”.The Bill was put out for public comment in March, and the comments period came to an end last month.Addressing a media briefing in Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Davies also stressed that there was no provision in the Bill that targeted foreigners.However, he said, his department would not scrap the Bill, saying it was designed to combat the significant illicit economy that was operating in South Africa’s urban and peri-urban areas, and which posed a serious a threat to small businesses in the country.“This is the economy of illegal imports, this is the trade in sub-standard products, this is the economy of people who don’t pay their VAT … and they then compete unfairly with people who do observe these requirements – that is the economy that is there.”Davies said business associations continually called on his department to shut down such operators, and the Bill would help to tackle this problem. Raids, he said, often proved fruitless as such operators soon resurfaced somewhere else.“It never was our intention to have an onerous registration process, which requires business people themselves to do a lot of things,” he said.The idea is to have municipalities, in the course of registering people for all kinds of services, to then forward these names to a national database.The department also wanted a database containing those found to be involved in illegal activities; transgressors could be then excluded from operating in South Africa.Davies said that in South Africa, five out of seven small businesses failed in their first year of starting up, compared to a 50% failure rate internationally.Business regulations were not the main reason for this, he said. Rather, the country’s high business failure rate was more a result of black entrepreneurs having been actively undermined and business ownership by black people outlawed during apartheid.The state, Davies argued, should not only remove red tape but also ensure that it offered active support to small businesses, for example through incentives and incubation.He said there was a tendency to see any kind of regulation as “red tape”, whereas there was a distinction between red tape, which was bureaucratic and unnecessary, and regulation which was needed for good reason.The department was moving to reduce red tape, he said; the new Companies Act made it easier for small companies to do business by removing some accounting and audit requirements.Added to this, he said, when the BEE Bill is passed into law large, companies will no longer have to compel their black small suppliers to get BEE verification, as this will be replaced by having such suppliers sign an affidavit to attest to their BEE status.Source: SAnews.gov.za
The garden supplements the meals, but is also an educational tool for all the grades. (Images: MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet)Food security is a worldwide issue and it has long been agreed that household food gardens can alleviate the stress of finding extra money to buy vegetables, particularly in disadvantaged homes.It is an idea carried through to many school and urban food gardens across South Africa, such as at Chapel Street Primary School in the city suburb of Woodstock, in Cape Town. The school, together with its partners MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet, one of South Africa’s biggest fundraising programmes; retailer Woolworths; and Urban Harvest, South Africa’s oldest edible garden service, recently celebrated the first harvest from the school’s edible garden.At the celebrations held at the school, the meals were prepared with produce from the garden by chef Sue-Ann Allen, a former MasterChef contestant.At the celebrations held at the school, the meals were prepared with produce from the garden by chef Sue-Ann Allen, a former MasterChef contestant.There are 350 pupils at the school who need meals each day, but the feeding scheme only provides for about 100 to 150 children. The garden supplements the meals, but is also an educational tool for all the grades.“Learners from many different areas in Cape Town come to school at Chapel Street every day, many of them without a packed lunch and from homes where there are no gardens,” said Pieter Twine, MySchool’s general manager.“This edible garden is our contribution towards giving more learners access to fresh food and a living garden where they can learn how to grow food and take responsibility for the upkeep of the garden. Hopefully the garden will also spark community and public interest in the school and in urban food gardens.”ONE WHO PLANTS A GARDEN PLANTS HAPPINESSChapel Street’s garden yields nearly 10kg of fresh produce every day, benefitting the school’s 580 learners, many of whom come to school hungry and rely on the meal they get at school.Established in July with the planting of nearly 3 200 seedlings, including many different varietals of vegetables and herbs, the 400m2 garden produces broccoli, spinach, celery, turnips, curly kale, flat kale, beetroot, lettuce, parsley, rosemary, lavender, lemon verbena, cabbage, leeks and much more.Along with being a food source, the edible garden is included in the school curriculum wherever possible. It also provides a source of extramural activities, such as the garden club at the school.“Chapel Street Primary was identified as an under-resourced school in our area and has been our flagship school this year,” said Sivi Pillay, chief executive of Woolworths Financial Services.“We’ve been working with them through our participation in the Community of Learning Principals and the Partners for Possibility initiative and wanted to continue supporting them, so they can continue on their journey to be more sustainable and independent. Chapel Street Primary is run by highly committed staff who are motivated to participate in initiatives that will benefit their learners.”
Think you’ve worked under some tight deadlines? Try cutting a complex spot for Saturday Night Live, roughly 24 hours before it airs.SNL’s ‘The Beygency‘ has exploded online over the last week. The spot is a faux film trailer based on a fictionalized government agency that enforces positive fandom toward Beyonce – really, you’ve just got to see it. High production value, great plays on trailer cliches and loads of laughs…it’s no wonder it’s been an online hit. Take a look:But what we love even more than the spot itself, is getting a behind-the-scenes look at how it was created…FastCompany recently got some feedback from the editor of the spot, Adam Epstein. Starting at 4pm on Friday afternoon the video editing team worked around the clock to get the spot ready for air on Saturday night. In fact, the video wasn’t even finalized until after it aired, with the final tweaks being made for the online version. Editors take note: the crew from SNL is using Premiere Pro.Here’s a timelapse of the editing in action, along with corresponding time clock. If you ever feel overwhelmed by a deadline in the edit bay – it could always be harder, right?
In the era of big-bang reforms and privatisation, a section of Indian bureaucracy continues to exist quietly, without making any valuable contribution to the country or its economy.Directorates, inspectorates, controllers, research stations and several other government entities, which are relics of the British and licence-permit Raj, are still in operation despite having outlived their utility. Mail Today, in the first part of its investigation series, blows the lid off these government offices feeding on the tax-payers’ money.A survey of central government ministries dealing with sectors such as agriculture, health, environment, water resources, commerce and food supplies shows that tax payers’ money continues to be spent on government offices which have no meaningful role to play anymore. Such offices are in addition to the public sector units which have become useless, as exposed by Mail Today recently.Of no consequenceThe list of redundant offices includes directorates for various crops and commodities (sugar, cotton, jute, cement, rice, tobacco, oilseeds, pulses, vanaspati etc.), National Test House, National Oilseeds and Vegetable Oils Development Board, Indian Plywood Industry Research and Training Institute, National Institute of Water Sports and Hindustan Vegetable Oil Corporation, among others.The NTH laboratory in Ghaziabad.Most of these offices handle minor regulatory roles or are just standard setting bodies or testing centres – functions which are already being carried out by fullfledged regulatory authorities. Some others produce training manuals, conduct training programmes or simply generate inconsequential reports. Most of these offices, however, occupy prime real estate and have hundreds of employees on their rolls. “Such bodies have no business to exist after they have outlived their role, purpose and utility. In the past, many committees of the government have made clear recommendations on what needs to be done with such organisations,” said former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian.advertisement’Rehabilitate staff’Some former officers are of the opinion that the cases of such offices should be taken up one by one. Former power secretary EAS Sarma said: “The fate of each institution should be decided by examining if it has become dysfunctional because it is no longer needed or because there are vested interests against its functioning.”The existence of such offices, however, is frustrating for other departments which are short of staff and loaded with pending work. “They have frozen appointments in central government offices at a time when many departments are facing a short-age of staff. Why can’t useless organisations be wound up and the staff used elsewhere,” said a senior government official.The irrelevance of some of these offices can be gauged from the fact that almost all their functions have been moved to new departments. For instance, the directorate of vanaspati, vegetable oils and fats – a wing of the department of food and public distribution – continues to exist despite all its regulatory functions being taken care of by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, set up in 2006.National Test House (NTH), set up a century ago in Kolkata as a wing of the Indian Railways for testing of products manufactured locally, is involved in functions similar to those of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). In 2002, the government decided to bring NTH under BIS, but nothing has been done till now. NTH has regional labs in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Ghaziabad, Guwahati and Jaipur. Its Ghaziabad complex is spread over 19 acres.The expenditure reforms commission had recommended in 2000 that seven crop directorates (rice, wheat, millet, sugarcane, cotton, jute and tobacco) be wound up because all they were doing was forwarding reports from states producing these commodities to the crop division in the agriculture ministry. It suggested that two other directorates – oilseeds and pulses – be merged with the agriculture ministry. The commission also saw no justification for the existence of National Oilseeds and Vegetable Oils Development Board and National Coconut Development Board. But all these boards and directorates are still functional in 2012.The Directorate of Cotton Development in Mumbai.Click here to EnlargeThe directorate of tobacco keeps promoting the industry, unmindful of the existence of a separate tobacco board to do so. The significance of government machinery to promote tobacco may also be questioned as another wing of the government, the health ministry, spends crores of rupees on the anti-tobacco campaign.The National Sugar Institute, which was set up as Imperial Institute of Sugar Technology in 1936 in Kanpur, lingers on despite sugar technology development being the mandate of at least half-a-dozen research institutes in the country. Another remnant of the ‘control and command’ economy is the development council for sugar industry.advertisement”The only option is to take a knife and start exorcising,” said Subramanian. There are many new areas where employees can be redeployed as there is shortage of staff there, he added. Sarma, though, felt if the institutions are no longer needed, the government should explore ways to rehabilitate the personnel by trying to look at the vacancies in other organisations. Otherwise, the only option is to offer voluntary retirement, he added.The ministry of water resources has multiple agencies doing peripheral work. The central soil and materials research station in the Capital is basically a soil testing outfit and is being run despite at least six other institutes handling different aspects of soil health in the country. There is no rationale behind running a water quality assessment authority when the subject is being looked into by separate pollution and groundwater boards at central and state levels. Another outfit of the ministry – national water development agency – too has a nebulous profile.”Some directorates and research stations surely need to be shut down, along with state farm corporations. If they have to do what the private sector is doing, why do we need them?” asked agriculture policy expert Devinder Sharma.