Rand leapfrogs Nigeria’s naira as Africa’s top currency

first_img12 August 2016The South African rand has regained its position as Africa’s top currency,leapfrogging the Nigerian naira this week.This comes after four major events in recent months: the Brexit vote, theSouth African municipal election results, the rand gaining more than 16% againstthe dollar since the start of 2016, and the naira losing more than a third of its valueafter Nigeria’s central bank removed a currency peg in June.South Africa’s economy was at $301-billion (R4-trillion), while Nigeria’s grossdomestic product (GDP) was $296-billion (R3.9-trillion), Bloomberg reported. Thesefigures are based on GDP at the end of 2015, published by the InternationalMonetary Fund.The momentum that took the naira above the rand two years ago was now longgone, according to the Bloomberg article.Business Day Live reported that at 9.05am on 12 August‚ the rand was at R13.4267 to the dollar from R13.4065 at the previous close. It was at R14.9591 against the euro from R14.9303 previously‚ and at R17.3839 against the pound from R17.3670 previously.Despite the positive news on the rand, Bloomberg said its reign as top currencymay not last long as the naira may bounce back.The rand got a major push following Britain’s vote on 23 June to exit theEuropean Union, which made investors turn to emerging markets. But the SouthAfrican local elections on 3 August, particularly its dramatic results, haveencouraged investors even further.Local electionsThe local government elections – whereby the African National Congress lost afew major metros to the opposition Democratic Alliance because of a substantial dipin support, and the Economic Freedom Fighters grew its support – benefitted therand, stated the Financial Times. Investors are encouraged by the notion that pressure will be put on the ruling party to introduce economic reforms that will boost growth and cut unemployment.The election results were seen as a positive by investors because it meantPresident Jacob Zuma’s power was dwindling, Luis Costa, CitiGroup’s strategist, told Financial Times. Events such as the axing of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nenewere less likely to be repeated. “The implications of this week’s election outcomeare market-friendly.”In another interview with Bloomberg, Costa said: “It will keep Zuma in a verysecondary stance when it comes to making economic policy decisions at least overthe next quarter.”Investors had been encouraged by significantly lower energy prices over thelast three months and steadiness in iron ore, platinum and gold, Costa added. “Thatin general produces a very nice dynamic in terms of trade for South African assets.”Investors treading cautiouslyDespite the good news, Reuters reported early on the morning of 11 Augustthat the rand’s rally against the dollar had paused, with investors treadingcautiously after Statistics South Africa released data on local mining andmanufacturing.According to Stats SA, mining production decreased by 2,5% in June 2016compared to the same period in the previous year, with the most negativeperformers being manganese ore, diamonds, nickel, copper and other non-metallicminerals. Coal, however, remained on a high.In May 2016, mineral sales rose 17,4% compared to the same period in 2015.In the meantime, use of production capacity by large manufacturers was 81,6%in May 2016 compared with 80,3% in May 2015, an increase of 1,3%.Sources: Bloomberg, Statistics South Africa, Reuters and SouthAfrica.info reporter.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website?See Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

Dicamba complaints slowly filtering in

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Dicamba, a weed killer notorious in some states for spreading well beyond where it’s sprayed, harming other plants along the way, is affecting growers in Ohio.The state has received only 19 official complaints of dicamba damage to fields this year. However, there are likely three to four times as many instances of harm because people are reluctant to report their neighbors, said Mark Loux, an Ohio State University Extension weed specialist.Most often, farmers don’t fault their neighbor who applied the dicamba — they fault the dicamba itself because of how extensively it can spread beyond a targeted field, even when applied correctly, Loux said.“The sense I get from people here is, ‘This is not acceptable.’ What’s not acceptable is this movement with no ability to control it,” he said.Missouri and Arkansas have banned the use and sale of dicamba. In Tennessee, restrictions have been imposed on how and when dicamba is applied. And in many states, complaints about dicamba damage are mounting.Dicamba has been used in cornfields to kill weeds for a long time. But this year, complaints about the chemical are higher because it is also being used for weed control in soybean fields – and is spreading beyond the intended target area. Just last year, Monsanto and other companies released a variety of soybeans called Xtend soybeans that can tolerate dicamba, so more soybean farmers are controlling weeds in their fields with the herbicide, which is also produced by St. Louis-based Monsanto and by German chemical company BASF.It’s too early to tell how extensive the damage from dicamba is in Ohio, said Matthew Beal, chief division of plant health for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the agency that investigates reports of dicamba damage and gives its findings to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.“We want to know if there’s crop damage or a pesticide issue that could affect plants or wildlife or if pesticides are getting in the water,” Beal said. “We want people to call us.”After dicamba is applied, it can turn into a vapor and move from the soil or surface of leaves, spreading with the wind to neighboring fields, sometimes as far as a half-mile away, Loux said. “I’ve seen it cover whole soybean fields.”While it is being sprayed onto plants, dicamba can also move with the wind as wet particles or when rain runs off a field treated with dicamba and continues onto another field or into a ditch, carrying the chemical even farther, Loux said.The problem is that while dicamba might minimize the weeds in a field of soybeans that tolerates dicamba, it can stunt the growth of or even kill plants of various kinds if it spreads to them. And the more dicamba is used, the more growers may feel compelled to buy Xtend soybeans to protect themselves against dicamba movement from neighboring fields.Often a plant that cannot tolerate dicamba can outgrow the damage from the chemical. However, sometimes the plant may not survive if it is exposed to too much dicamba or is already vulnerable because of weather conditions, Loux said.Although the label on dicamba specifies when and how it should be applied, even if a grower follows all the directions, dicamba can still leave the surface of soil or leaves and go airborne, Loux said.The safest time to apply dicamba is early in the season before crop plants have emerged, Loux said. Any dicamba that moves off target at that time and spreads to a field without growing plants is much less likely to cause harm.Anyone who suspects dicamba damage to their crop can contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-6987.last_img read more

Pak violates ceasefire along LoC in J&K’s Rajouri, Poonch

first_imgPakistani troops violated the ceasefire by targeting forward posts and villages along the Line of Control in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir, an Army spokesman said on Saturday. Pakistani troops initiated unprovoked firing of small arms and shelling with mortars in the Balakote sector of Poonch and Nowshera in Rajouri overnight, drawing befitting retaliation by the Indian Army, he said. The spokesman said Pakistan first violated the ceasefire in Nowshera sector from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday followed by firing of small arms and shelling with mortars in Balakote from 11.45 p.m. to 2 a.m. There was no report of any casualty in the Pakistani firing on the Indian side, he said. This year, according to officials, Pakistan violated the ceasefire over 2,050 times, leaving 21 Indians dead and scores of others injured. India has repeatedly called upon Pakistan to ask its forces to adhere to the 2003 ceasefire understanding and maintain peace and tranquility along the LoC and the International Border.last_img read more

Tesla says it has not finalized 2017 Model 3 design

first_imgTesla Motors Inc said on Tuesday the design of its new Model 3 has not been finalized, even though the electric car maker expects to begin building the mass-market sedan within the next 18 months.Tesla’s plans to expand its Fremont, California factory are still in process and some aspects of procuring and making parts for the Model 3 have yet to be determined, the company said in its quarterly financial report.ALSO READ:Tesla Motors plans 500,000 cars in 2018The Model 3, whose projected starting price of $35,000 is less than half of the luxury Model S sedan, is intended to dramatically boost Tesla’s production volume and revenue, and help the company eventually turn a profit.Tesla has missed many of its key production deadlines, including launches of the Model S and Model X sport utility vehicle, because of quality and supply issues.”We are currently evaluating, qualifying and selecting our suppliers” for the Model 3, Tesla said in the report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.ALSO READ:Tesla Model 3 received almost 400,000 orders, says Elon MuskTesla Chief Executive Elon Musk last week jolted investors with the news that he planned to accelerate production at the Fremont plant, which is now targeted to build 500,000 vehicles in 2018, two years ahead of schedule.The accelerated production schedule is “aggressive,” Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “Finalizing the design work, and lining up the suppliers and launching in one and a half years seems not possible.”On a conference call with analysts last week, Musk acknowledged that the Model 3 design was not complete, saying it would take another 6-9 weeks to complete engineering decisions.advertisementALSO READ:Tesla Motors heading to India: Will it work out?An initial rush of 325,000 Model 3 reservations, each accompanied by a refundable $1,000 deposit, could persuade Tesla to raise additional funds to help finance the accelerated production.Tesla appeared to be conserving cash in the first quarter as it struggled to cope with parts shortages and early quality problems on the Model X, the financial filing showed.With an operating loss of $248 million, free cash flow dipped to a negative $466 million, even as Tesla slashed capital spending nearly in half.ALSO READ:Tesla Model 3 gets 130,000 orders, twice more than expectedBut the company said in the filing it expected to ramp up capital spending later this year and could spend more than $2 billion in the next three quarters, including more than $500 million to begin production of vehicle battery cells at its Reno, Nevada plant by year-end.Tesla boosted its cash position to $1.4 billion as of March 31, after drawing down more than $400 million from a revolving credit line.last_img read more

Courtys largest indoor sports arena planned in Kolkata

first_imgKoklata, Dec 12 (PTI) Kolkata may soon get one of the largest indoor sports arenas of the country with a capacity to accommodate upto 15,400 people at one time.With this capacity, the arena, which is proposed to come up in the New Town area, will be larger than Indira Gandhi Arena or Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, which has a capacity to accommodate 14,348 spectators at one go.”The proposed indoor stadiums capacity will be 15,400, more than Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadiums capacity at Indraprastha in New Delhi which can accommodate 14,300 people,” HIDCO Chairman Debashis Sen said.The capacity of the citys Netaji Indoor stadium is 12,000.Keeping in mind West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjees Green City Project, the proposed stadium will have solar power and will come up on ten acres of land near the Deer Park in Eco Park.The facility will have lawn tennis, khokho khokho, kabaddi, badminton, basket ball and table tennis courts, Sen said.”The project is in the planning stage. A design has been prepared as per instructions of the Chief Minister. The HIDCO board has passed the design during its recently held meeting and now the design will be forwarded to the state government for approval,” he said.The stadium will have four entrances for vehicles and four entrances for pedestrians with lifts to carry players and VIPs. There will also be two gymnasiums and changing rooms for players, Sen said adding, the area under the stadium will be rented out to various offices for commercial purpose aimed at generating revenue.advertisementNew Town will also get a state-of-the-art Biswa Bangla Convention Centre. Construction work has already started with a completion target of March 2017 and HIDCO officials claimed the centre will be the largest convention centre in eastern India.”The convention centre, as per our information, will be the largest convention centre of its kind in the country, with the main single conference hall having a capacity to accommodate 3,000 people,? Debashis Sen said. MORE PTI SBN DKB SUS SUSlast_img read more

RCB end IPL 2019 with a huge win: Fantastic way to finish, says AB de Villiers

first_imgAB de Villiers joined the bandwagon of Royal Challengers Bangalore players, thanking the fans of the team who supported them through the highs and lows in this season of the Indian Premier League.Fans of the Royal Challengers supported the team till the very end despite Virat Kohli’s team failing to finish in the playoffs for the third year in a row. RCB was the first team to get knocked out of the playoffs race this season and will finish in last place if Kings XI Punjab win their final league game.The players of Royal Challengers Bangalore though, gave the fans something to cheer about as they hammered Sunrisers Hyderabad in their final match at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Saturday.RCB defeated the 2016 champions by 4 wickets as they successfully chased down 175 thanks to the 144-run partnership between Shimron Hetmyer and Gurkeerat Singh Mann.The duo rescued the team from 20 for 3 in 2.5 overs and took them to safety before Hetmyer perished on 75, followed by Gurkeerat on 65. Colin de Grandhomme and Umesh Yadav then took the team over the finish line.Two men announced themselves to #VIVOIPL, one man redeemed himself with the winning shot for @RCBTweets #RCBvSRH pic.twitter.com/4YjoLbdhY7IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 4, 2019″It’s a fantastic way to finish, very sad to see that we were one win away from possibly making it to the knockouts. Crazy to see how close the margins are in this tournament. But it was a nice way to finish, there was a lot of talent we discovered this year.advertisement”Looking forward to next season, just want to thank everyone at the Chinnaswamy and the RCBians for supporting us through thick and thin,” AB de Villiers told RCB’s 12thMan TV host while leaving the Chinnaswamy for one final time this year.Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab are the remaining three teams who are remain in contention for the final playoff spot.SRH finished their league campaign on 12 points and are now tied with the Knight Riders, who will qualify for the knockouts if they win their final league game against Mumbai Indians on Sunday.But if KKR lose and Kings XI win their final match against Chennai Super Kings by a huge margin and reach 12 points, then the Punjab-based team will go through if they end up with a superior net run rate than SRH and KKR.Also Read | High time we did something for the crowd: Gurkeerat Singh after RCB winAlso Read | IPL 2019 Playoff Scenarios: KKR, SRH and KXIP in three-way battle for last spotAlso Read | IPL 2019: I feel your pain, Virat Kohli thanks RCB fans after consolation winAlso Read | IPL 2019: RCB stun SRH to end unsuccessful campaign with a winlast_img read more

KCR offers prayers at Tirupati temple

first_imgTirupati: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao along with his family members offered prayers at Lord Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala here on Monday. Chandrashekhar Rao, his wife Shobha Rao and other family members worshipped and participated in various rituals conducted by temple priests. KCR, as Rao is popularly known, and his family members had reached Tirupati in a special aircraft on Sunday evening. After the night halt at Tirumala, they offered prayers. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC Officials of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the affairs of the hill shrine, welcomed the Telangana Chief Minister. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief prayed at the famous temple for the first time after assuming office as the Chief Minister for the second term in December last year. Interestingly KCR’s visit to the temple in Andhra Pradesh came close on the heels of his bete noire N. Chandrababu Naidu losing power in the state. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citations YSR Congress Party of Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, with whom TRS has friendly ties, stormed to power with a landslide victory on Thursday. Though KCR’s party bagged maximum number of Lok Sabha seats (9) in Telangana, the results were disappointing for the party as the BJP made huge inroads winning 4 seats. Congress won 3 seats and TRS ally All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) one. KCR’s daughter K. Kavitha was defeated in Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency and his plans for Federal Front to form a non-BJP and non-Congress government at the Centre were foiled by BJP’s massive victory in the polls. Jagan Mohan Reddy had called on KCR in Hyderabad on Saturday to invite him to attend his swearing-in as the Chief Minister at Vijayawada on May 30. KCR will attend the swearing-in and also pray at Kanakadurga temple in Vijayawada.last_img read more

Supreme Court upholds law in crossborder beer case averting trade shakeup

first_imgOTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed the constitutionality of a New Brunswick law that ensnared a man who brought home a trunkload of beer and liquor from neighbouring Quebec.The unanimous high court decision Thursday effectively preserves the current trade regime, saying provinces have the power to enact laws that restrict commerce if there is another overriding purpose — in this case the desire to control the supply of alcohol within New Brunswick.In October 2012, Gerard Comeau of Tracadie, N.B., drove across the border to Quebec to buy several cases of beer and some liquor from three stores.Comeau was fined $240 and administrative fees under New Brunswick’s Liquor Control Act for being in possession of a large amount of alcohol he had not purchased through his province’s liquor corporation.The trial judge accepted Comeau’s argument the Liquor Control Act provision amounted to a trade barrier that violated Section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867.The Constitution Act section says, “All articles of the growth, produce, or manufacture of any one of the provinces shall, from and after the union, be admitted free into each of the other provinces.”The New Brunswick attorney general was denied leave to challenge the trial judge’s decision in the provincial Court of Appeal, but the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, ultimately siding with the province.The ruling underscores a need to renegotiate last year’s interprovincial free-trade agreement, which contains pages of exemptions and creates secretive working groups, but fails to adequately address trade barriers, said Conservative MP John Nater.“Canadians recognize the economic benefits of reducing interprovincial trade barriers,” he said. “It should not be illegal to work or to transport legal products across provincial lines.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the interprovincial agreement “a significant step” towards full free trade within Canada.“We know there continue to be issues that will require further discussion with the provinces, but this is something that we’ve made significant progress on, and we will continue to.”Comeau, a 64-year-old retired power linesman, said he wasn’t entirely surprised by the Supreme Court decision.“I’m not really disappointed,” he said in Campbellton, N.B. “I’m not really sad. I got an answer to what the law is.”Comeau said he’s unlikely to continue buying beer in Quebec. “If it’s against the law, it’s against the law.”For Comeau, the case was simply about his right to stock up on cheaper suds. But for provinces and territories, business interests and economists, it was about whether the correct interpretation of the Constitution entailed full economic integration, potentially reshaping the federation.In its reasons, the Supreme Court said New Brunswick’s ability to exercise oversight over liquor supplies in the province “would be undermined if non-corporation liquor could flow freely across borders and out of the garages of bootleggers and home brewers.”The framers of the Constitution agreed that individual provinces needed to relinquish their tariff powers, the court said. In this vein, the historical context supports the view that Section 121 forbids imposition of tariffs — and tariff-like measures — that impose charges on goods crossing provincial boundaries.However, the historical evidence nowhere suggests that provinces would lose their power to legislate for the benefit of their constituents, even if that might affect interprovincial trade.“Section 121 does not impose absolute free trade across Canada,” the decision says.Rather, the historical and legislative context — and underlying constitutional principles — support a flexible view, “one that respects an appropriate balance between federal and provincial powers and allows legislatures room to achieve policy objectives that may have the incidental effect of burdening the passage of goods across provincial boundaries.”The decision confirms the authority of provinces to tax, price and regulate harmful products such as alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, said Rob Cunningham, a policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society.“From a public health perspective, the judgment is very positive.”Dan Paszkowski, president of the Canadian Vintners Association, is now hoping for signs of progress on trade liberalization in a forthcoming study being conducted under the terms of the Canadian trade agreement.“We are going to continue to work with that group to develop an interprovincial trade system for Canadian wine.”— With files from Kevin Bissett and Teresa Wright— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

CBI to probe murder charges in Bihar shelter home case

first_imgNew Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation is investigating charges of murder and other offences in the Muzaffarpur Shelter Home case, sources here said on Thursday.The development comes after the Supreme Court heard a plea demanding a thorough investigation into the case where girls were mentally, physically, and sexually abused at a shelter home in Bihar. The fresh application has been filed by Nivedita Jha, a Patna-based writer, activist and independent journalist, on whose petition the Supreme Court had initially transferred the case to CBI. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Through her lawyer, Fauzia Shakil, she has questioned as to why serious charges of multiple gang rapes, rapes, and murders had been left out of the chargesheet filed by CBI in December last year. In the chargesheet, CBI had charged all 21 accused including the mastermind, Brajesh Thakur, in the case under several Sections of the IPC, including Section 376(c), which is to be applied in cases of sexual abuse by a person of authority. The initial chargesheet also included charges under the POCSO Act. According to sources familiar with developments in the case, investigations in the case are not yet completed and the murder charges against the accused are still being investigated.last_img read more

UNP Working Committee decides to defeat noconfidence motion

“Even State Minister Palitha Range Bandara has said he will vote against it,” Kariyawasam said.State Minister Palitha Range Bandara had said earlier that he and a few UNP Parliamentarians will back the no-confidence motion which was submitted to Parliament by the joint opposition. The restructuring will prepare the UNP for the 2020 elections under a new leadership. Meanwhile UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa said that the UNP was unanimous in its decision to defeat the no-confidence motion.He said that the UNP will also take a final decision on the restructuring of the UNP by the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. (Colombo Gazette) UNP member and Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that even those who had initially said they will back the no-confidence motion had now decided to defeat it. The United National Party (UNP) Working Committee decided to defeat the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.The Working Committee which met today, also decided that restructuring of the UNP will take place soon. read more