First-time ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup semi-finalist Holy Trinity may not be able to claim any of the 51 titles shared between the other final four teams, but if the words of their coach Devon Anderson are anything to go by, then they are certainly not approaching tomorrow’s semis with any concerns about their less celebrated history in the competition.Holy Trinity join Jamaica College (JC) – their opponents for today’s 4 p.m. kick-off at the National Stadium, as well as Super Cup champions Wolmer’s and Kingston College (KC), who go against each other for the third time this season at 6 p.m. at the same venue – each with one eye on the November 26 final.Both teams have a combined 24 titles to their credit, with KC 14, and Wolmer’s 10.Twenty-seven time champions JC haven’t broken much of a sweat in their title defence so far this season, with an unbeaten run to the semis. Their only loss was to Clarendon College in the FLOW Super Cup, but team manager Ian Forbes made it clear that they will not be underestimating the less-fancied Holy Trinity team.”JC are always motivated to win,” Forbes said. “It is a very serious mindset for our team, and we will be expecting a very tough game against a serious opposition.””We are certainly eyeing the final, but it’s one game at a time, and the game plan is to win,” Forbes underlined.Anderson led Holy Trinity to the Super Cup final in 2014 when they lost to today’s opponents. He knows JC are favourites, but is not phased by the challenge.”I don’t consider ourselves underdogs, we are the lesser-fancied team,” said Anderson said.”They are the defending champion, but we are going there to play a hard-nosed game,” he assured. “(There is) No pressure on us, the pressure is on them. We are not happy with being in the semi-finals, our aim is to win the Manning Cup.”NO TROPHY SINCE 1986While 10-time champions Wolmer’s have been to the Manning Cup finals as recently as 2013, KC have not seen a trophy match since their last triumph in 1986.Wolmer’s coach Vassell Reynold, who won his first major title in the FLOW Super Cup last weekend, is looking forward to the contest.”We will be at full strength, the confidence and motivation would have been lifted in winning the Flow Super Cup, but we recognise that we need to remain focused and committed for what would be a very difficult KC challenge,” said Reynolds.Meanwhile, manager for 14-time winner Kingston College, Derrick Banks said they are fully expecting to win today’s showdown.”We expect to win the game, as we are very confident through-out the season. We set a goal and a part of that is to win the Manning Cup,” he explained.
Sovereign Wealth Fund …prepared to engage, offer advice By Samuel SukhnandanGuyana’s parliamentary Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), has expressed its willingness to assist in discussions surrounding the planning of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and the setting up of a body such as a Petroleum Commission that will help to guide the sound management of the impending oil and gas sector in Guyana.This disclosure was made on Thursday by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who was asked at a press conference whether consideration has been given to this idea, and what level of assistance the Opposition is willing to give. Jagdeo maintained, however, that institutions set up to manage the oil and gas sector must be free of politics.Jagdeo said he knows of examples where countries rich in oil resources and exporting millions of barrels earn miniscule finances because they have treated the sector in a political fashion. He said he doesn’t want this for Guyana, because the people should be able to feel the real benefits of the sector.“If it is treated in an apolotical manner, then our country will make long-term progress. We will be able to really translate the barrels export and revenue earned to real development for our people. But it has to be treated in that manner if we are to see some progress,” he maintained.The former Head of State noted that this has been the message of the PPP even before the 2015 elections. He said that message was reinforced when he called for the (Petroleum) Commission to be apolitical and made up of purely technical people. He still believes it must be free of ministerial interference, and he said he would support a two-thirds vote, so no party can change it.Jagdeo detailed how his party would want to see the SWF operate. According to him, the first approach would be to define all the sectors that should benefit from the resources; define the investment policy for the fund, and then decide what conditions could trigger a release from the SWF to the Treasury.“You then have an independent assessment that those conditions are met, and once they are met, you have a report with a request for money to be transferred to the Treasury. Go to Parliament, debate it, and then the money gets transferred and it get spent on the sectors you want it spent on,” he explained.Shifting his attention to another issue relating to the oil sector, Jagdeo said the Cabinet caucus with international experts about the petroleum sector is just another public relations show. He urged the coalition to engage more with its own people in formulating a plan for the sector.The high-level meeting Jagdeo referred to was held on Wednesday at State House, and members of Cabinet talked with international experts on developing a strategy for the country’s oil and gas sector. The expert group included Sir Paul Collier, a Professor at Blavatnik School of Public Policy at the University of Oxford, among other academics and experts from across the world.While he acknowledged that the international advice is good, the Opposition Leader called for the Government to interact more with the local experts and civil society. “They haven’t seen it fit to include the Opposition. They haven’t seen it fit to engage civil society in a manner that will address their concerns,” he said, while explaining that Government does not even have to formally engage the PPP.“Even if the people bring the best practices from around the world and speak to this Cabinet about it, there is no guarantee that they will implement any of those things, because they have been given world-class advice prior to this and until now they have ignored it. It’s absolutely no guarantee. It’s a show. They just parading the people to say they are doing something about the sector,” he observed.While citing some comments made by President David Granger at the caucus, the Opposition Leader said he is taken a back by the comment, especially in light of the fact that the President had promised a Petroleum Commission, an SWF and other promises related to the oil sector, which are still to be delivered.“This framework should have already been in place. And that is why they were so upset when the United States (US) Ambassador (Perry Holloway) said when are you going to start working on the SWF? Because that’s the key thing. So now he is talking about that, the President woke up a week ago, organised this, and realised that we need an organisation and structure to manage the resources,” he stated.The Opposition, he said, feels that the Government is dragging its feet on the issue, and needs to start making moves to prepare now for first oil in 2020. Jagdeo said the issue is not about rushing the process, but taking all the necessary steps to prepare for an industry that could bring enormous benefits to Guyana and all Guyanese, something that is needed and will be welcomed.
Planned strike…hinterland teachers on board as Union to dispatch officers…actions are not consistent with initial agreement – GovtAlmost one week after the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) announced a countrywide strike following a breakdown of talks between itself and Government, no representatives of the coalition Administration have officially engaged the Union on its demands.This was disclosed by GTU President Mark Lyte, who told Guyana Times on Tuesday that the Union would not cave in on its promise to not accept any one-off lump sum payment from Government.“We are not going to be able to take any lump sum payment because that’s notGTU President Mark Lytewhat we’re bringing to the table,” Lyte stressed.“We haven’t gotten a single response from the Administration, [but] we are still open for talks providing that they come, but the talks have to be definitive because we are not going to renege on our plan. The only way that will be aborted is if the plan that is brought to the table is acceptable and satisfying,” he further asserted on Tuesday.On Monday, the GTU circulated a letter to inform its members that they were not to report for pre-term activities until further notice. The Union has also urged head teachers to also begin handing over school keys to the respective regional Education Departments.Lyte told this newspaper on Tuesday that a majority of teachers were against the Administration’s “unreasonable” proposals brought to the Union. The GTU Head added that for now, a “full out” strike has not begun, but if nothing comes to the table, there will be picketing and later, several marches.Lyte envisions that 90 per cent of teachers in the public schools were ready to support their union’s move.“From all corners of the Union, the members are with us in saying that Government has been unreasonable in terms of what they brought to the table and the Union needed to take this option. We have great support all across and we believe that when we go through with this, it’s going to significantly see a large number of our teachers,” he noted.He said too that hinterland teachers were on board but to solidify their stance,Education Minister Nicolette HenryGTU would mobilise its resources to get additional support for the industrial action.“In the new week, we will be having officers sent out to the different regions, including the hinterland to further mobilise our members for the action,” Lyte said.According to information provided, when the two sides were still engaging in dialogue, GTU impressed on Government that it was willing to negotiate percentages for multi-year agreements. As reported, the Union initially requested a 40 per cent increase in 2016, a 45 per cent in 2017, and a 50 per cent in 2018, 2019 and 2020. However, they compromised during the negotiation phase and agreed to accept a 40 per cent increase to serve as a base from 2016 with five per cent incremental increase for the remaining years. Guyana Times was told that though GTU proposed a 40 per cent increase, it would have been willing to accept 25 per cent.Another of the main issues was debunching where GTU said that it was willing to negotiate 0.5% from each of the years 2011-2015 and to have the debunching implemented for 2016 onward. Guyana Times learnt Tuesday that the union would have accepted $16,000 clothing allowance as opposed to the initial $25,000 they were asking for.Govt’s positionMeanwhile, Government broke its silence on the matter later on Tuesday through Education Minister Nicolette Henry. Through the Ministry of the Presidency’s Public Information and Press Services Unit, Henry said that the talks have not yet been concluded. She said Tuesday that a decision was taken for another meeting, which will be geared to iron out the remaining issues. This meeting could be held by the end of this week. The Ministry’s statement added that “Government remains committed to paying teachers their increases”.“[On] the issue related to duty-free concessions, we agreed entirely on what was proposed; when it came to the issue of housing and the Revolving Fund, we agreed also. However, [on] the issue of salary and debunching, we did not agree on at all, [since] the Government proposed a ballpark figure. In the case of debunching, we are looking at $200 million to address debunching for the year 2018. The Union suggested that they believe that it should be retroactive and, therefore, they were not in agreement with looking at just 2018. In addition to that, the issue of salary also, for which we had allocated the sum of $700 million, they felt that should also be retroactive,” Henry is quoted as saying.The Minister said further that there was no ulterior motive or “nothing sinister” about awarding a ballpark figure. She was in fact quoted as saying that remuneration would be given in keeping with what Government could afford at present. At the same time, she said that it was agreed at the initial meeting that “a consultant will be hired to determine how these monies are going to be allocated in the case of the teachers, regarding both debunching and salaries.”Minister Henry further outlined that in the absence of a Multi-Year Agreement, Government provided salary increases in 2016 and 2017 for teachers in accordance with what was given to public servants. She noted too that the Government, over the past three years, “invested heavily in improving the education system to create a more conducive environment for teaching”.The GTU-Government negotiations have been ongoing since 2015 when the Multi-Year Agreement came to an end. It was last week that GTU’s Executive met with the Education Minister and Social Protection Minister Amna Ally, among other senior officials, but Government rejected the Union’s proposals for salary increases. (Shemuel Fanfair)
The Region Five Regional Democratic Council’s (RDC’s) statutory meeting was abruptly adjourned on Thursday after constant interruptions by the A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Councillors.This is the 13th consecutive month that the RDC has not been able to hold a successful statutory meeting.At Thursday’s meeting, coalition Councillor Delon Crawford refused to take his seat when instructed by Regional Chairman Vickchand Ramphal to do so on several occasions.Crawford told the Regional Chairman he has the right to stand and speak on a point of order while the Chairman was speaking.His colleague, Abel Seetaram, also supported him. Seetaram also accused the Chairman of not providing accurate information to the RDC.The coalition Councillors accused Ramphal of trying to stifle development in the region while Ramphal has continuously repeated those accusations against the coalition Councillors as he pointed out the lack of progress as a result of the disrupted meetings.After about 30 minutes, Ramphal adjourned the meeting since he was being interrupted when he tried to address the Council.Ramphal at a subsequent press conference explained that since February last year, the RDC has not been able hold a meaningful meeting because of these disruptions.Over the past year, many of the issues affecting the people of Region Five have not been addressed at the RDC level.In both 2016 and 2017 the coalition refused to sit in most of the meetings.In May 2017, they walked out after the Regional Executive Officer Ovid Morrison demanded an apology from the Chairman.The Regional Executive Officer (REO) said his creditability was at stake after the Chairman called for an investigation into allegations that two NDC officials had used an NDIA machine to carry out personal work. Morrison said he saw the machine being used and is of the opinion that since he stated that he saw the machine carrying out personal work, no investigation is needed and to call for an investigation is an insult to his integrity.“In March of 2018, the Regional Executive Officer who is the Clerk of the Council had wanted to remove a Guyana Times reporter and because I strongly objected to that, saying that the Council must pronounce on the matter and then take action, the Clerk of Council refused to sit in the meeting and walked out,” Ramphal informed reporters.Following the REO’s walk out of the March meeting, coalition Councillors and support staff also followed him.The meeting was subsequently adjourned by the Chairman after the REO and coalition Councillors failed to return.After some time, the REO returned to the Chambers and conducted an unauthorised meeting. Since then, coalition Councillors have been trying to get the RDC to ratify the minutes for that meeting and the Chairman maintains that he will not be part of it.“This is a democratic council and so the democratic rights of the people must be respected. The laws and standing orders that govern the Council must be respected at all times and so I will not allow the Clerk of the Council and the coalition Councillors to conduct any illegal activity and with this, I am referring to the minutes,” Ramphal said.Meanwhile, in addressing allegations that he does not want the region to move forward, Ramphal said it was untrue.“Since I took up the position as Chairman of this region, my main objective has been to always address the issues affecting the people of this region. I always have the interest of the people at heart and I will continue to do so, however I will not allow any illegality.”During the meeting, Ramphal announced that for them to move forward, they must ratify the minutes of the February 2018 meeting.Following the Government Councillors’ refusal to have discussions at meetings in 2016 and 2017, Councillors on both the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and coalition side of the House made an attempt in August 2017, to resolve the impasse which has been affecting the RDC preventing it from having any meaningful meeting. (Andrew Carmichael)
AFC crisis deepensJust over two months after he was fired over a series of financial irregularities, embattled General Manager of the Guyana Chronicle, Sherod Duncan has been reinstated – a move which has resulted in the resignation of the Chairman and at least one Director of the Guyana National Newspaper Limited (GNNL).Sherod DuncanGeeta Chandan-EdmondMervyn WilliamsPrime Minister Moses NagamootooThe decision to have Duncan, an Alliance For Change (AFC) party member, back on the job was taken by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, an AFC executive member.In a letter dated May 31, 2019, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo “instructed” the Chair of the Guyana National Newspaper Limited, Geeta Chandan-Edmond, to rescind the decision taken by the Board two months ago.Back in April, Chandan-Edmond had reportedly broken a deadlock and voted to have Duncan dismissed following recommendations from an audit which found 20 transactions in which he breached several financial regulations.In a statement at the time, the GNNL Board had disclosed that one Director recommended a one-month suspension and an extension of probation for Duncan while two other Directors recommended an extension in the probation period while three other Directors held the view that Duncan’s services should be terminated with immediate effect for gross misconduct.It was noted that a vote was then put on the matter and there was a tie which Chandan-Edmond broke.However, in the correspondence to the GNNL Chair, the Prime Minister, who has responsibility for State media, pointed out that he was informed by Directors that there was, in fact, no vote put to the table.“What now remains is a glaring question of procedural irregularity in arriving at the decision to terminate Mr Duncan. It should be clear that asking members of the Board their views on a situation does not amount to a vote,” Nagamootoo stated.Calling the decision to fire Duncan “arbitrary, capricious, unlawful and in excess of the jurisdiction of the Board,” the Prime Minister further stated in the missive that the Chair sought to mislead his office into thinking that the Board made the decision.“It is clear that you deliberately sought to terminate Mr Duncan without following prescribed procedures and further, misleading this Office. In this premises, I cannot rely on your advice that the termination of the service of Mr Duncan accords with due process and procedural fairness, and instruct that that decision be rescinded.”Guyana Times understands that the management and staff of the Guyana Chronicle were informed of this decision by acting General Manager Donna Todd on Tuesday in an emergency meeting.The staff had previously indicated to management that they do not want to have Duncan return at the State’s newspaper after seeing reports that he had challenged his termination in court.Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s decision was not welcomed by certain Board members, who felt that it was an attack on their integrity as professionals. In fact, this newspaper has learnt that Chandan-Edmond has submitted her resignation along with Director Mervyn Williams.This publication was further told that Directors Hilbert Foster and Aaron Fraser have also indicated their intention to follow suit and resign in light of this decision by the Prime Minister.Guyana Times saw a copy of Chandan-Edmond’s resignation letter, dated June 4, 2019, in which she responded to the Prime Minister’s “insults” to her and the other Directors’ integrity. She sought to remind him that Duncan was accused of financial impropriety and mismanagement, which warranted the involvement of the Auditor General.Pointing out that Duncan was afforded all tenets of natural justice including a Board hearing during which he was allowed to be accompanied by his lawyer, Chandan-Edmond contended that not only was the process that led to Duncan’s dismissal exceedingly thorough in terms of due process but it came under the express jurisdiction of the Board of Directors.“When I accepted the position of Chair of the Board of Directors of Guyana National Newspapers Limited, it was with the understanding that my professionalism and integrity would not be unfairly assailed. I find that your letter not only calls into question my professionalism but the professionalism of fellow members of the Board of GNNL. In light of this, I hereby submit my resignation as Chairman of the Board of Directors, with immediate effect, since I believe I cannot continue to act at the level of ethics that you clearly require of the position,” Chandan-Edmond stated in the correspondence.The April 2, 2019, decision to dismiss Duncan came after a five-hour long meeting at the company’s office where Duncan, in the company Attorney James Bond, was given the opportunity to provide an explanation in response to the findings of the audit report, which was dated March 18, 2019, and answer questions posed by the Directors as to why he should not be disciplined in accordance with the recommendations of the report, which was presented by the Office of the Auditor General.There are over 20 transactions conducted under Duncan’s watch or by Duncan himself which were in blatant violation of financial regulations. A special audit ordered by the Office of the Auditor General found numerous violations during the short three-month period under Duncan’s stewardship of the company.The audit – conducted by auditing firm Chateram Ramdihal Chartered Accountants on the State newspaper’s operations from June 1, 2018, to September 10, 2018 – found that tender rules were violated, services were procured without contracts and approvals were given for payments without the regular procedure of company stamp or signature.Further, cash advances were given to Duncan to travel overseas but he did not clear the amounts. It was also found that the company’s personnel policy and procedures manual were ignored during the recruitment, termination and dismissal of employees.Guyana Chronicle has a Management Tender Committee, which approves transactions ranging from $100,000 to $300,000 before payments are made. But during the stipulated time examined, no approval was given for nine such transactions valued at $1.6 million.Duncan took an overseas trip with the marketing coordinator for the resuscitation of the publication’s New York edition. This trip cost in excess of $736,028, but there was no approval for such an event and to date, no relevant documents were brought forward to support these expenditures, the audit found.Efforts to contact Duncan for a comment on the issue proved futile.
Michael O’Neill claims Northern Ireland and Wales will serve up a “good old-fashioned British game” in the French capital and he wants his players to feed off the hype surrounding the last-16 tie.The two British countries, who are both debutants in the tournament, meet for a place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 at the Parc des Princes in a game which will be officiated by England’s Martin Atkinson.Coleman’s team have already faced a home nation in France in the shape of England and he has urged his players not to get caught up in the emotional aspect of another fixture against near neighbours.Yet O’Neill refuted the notion he would do the same, insisting instead that such an atmosphere must act as a catalyst.“I want my team to play with loads of emotion; I want them to fully understand the significance of the game,” he said.“When you look at our performances, especially in the latter two games, you couldn’t question the effort of the team from the first minute to the last minute.“I don’t think you can play without emotion. I don’t expect my team to and I think it will be a big factor in the game tomorrow night.“It will be like a cup tie, but whether it’s like a Premier League team going to a Championship team…that’s irrelevant.“The main importance is that we make it a cup tie. We were bottom of the simulation rankings and we’re proud of that. We have an English referee and we want everything that is good about the British game in it.“We want to do our best within the rules and we expect a good old-fashioned British game tomorrow night.”A ‘battle of Britain’ certainly emerged 12 years ago in front of 63,500 fans at the Millennium Stadium when three men were sent off inside 22 minutes before the Welsh fought back to claim a 2-2 draw.O’Neill was neither playing or managing in that contest, and his relatable derby experiences come from a comparatively smaller stage.“When I was manager at Brechin, the Brechin-Montrose derby atmosphere was electric with those 500 people,” he joked.“My (derby) record is not something I give a lot of thought to.“We played Scotland recently in a derby game. The games have an edge to them but this would not be different against any other European nation because of the pride at stake.“If me and Chris had been told we would face each other for a place in the quarter final I think both of us would have readily accepted that.”For both managers and many of the players, Saturday’s game will be the biggest of their careers.Asked what he would tell his team prior to kick-off, O’Neill responded: “The message for the team is simple – play the game of your life. We don’t want this to end, we want to be going forward to Lille in the next round.“We have wrung every drop we can out of this experience and we want more.” Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill 1
Antonio Valencia captain Manchester United in the Europa League final Manchester United have announced Antonio Valencia has signed a new contract, keeping the full-back at the club until the summer of 2019.The 31-year-old signed for the Red Devils from Wigan in 2009, and has gone on to win two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, the UEFA Europa League and three Community Shields.Converted into a defender by Jose Mourinho, Valencia has been a key part of United’s first-team this season – and he captained the side during the Europa League final victory over Ajax.Speaking to the official Manchester United website when the deal was confirmed, Valencia said: “Manchester United has been my life since 2009 and I am absolutely delighted to have signed a new contract.“Wednesday evening provided the one trophy this club had never won and it was a true honour for me to captain the team for the final.“I would like to thank the Manager for the confidence he has given me this season and I am sure that we will be challenging on all fronts next season.“I would also like to say a big thank you to my family, my team-mates and, of course, the fans, for their amazing support.”Mourinho added: “It is no secret that I had been an admirer of Antonio’s long before I joined the club.“I knew what a fantastic player he was and he has not disappointed me on that front.“However, what I could never have imagined was what a great person he is.“I know I have said this before but I truly believe it is a real privilege for us to have such a good player and such a good man.“I am delighted he has extended his contract.” 1
TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. is quickening its quest to unseat ailing rival General Motors Corp. as the world’s biggest automaker with reported plans to start manufacturing up to 100,000 Toyota vehicles at a Subaru factory in Indiana. Word of Toyota’s ramped-up production schedule comes just days after money-losing GM said it will close 12 facilities by 2008 in a move that will slash the number of vehicles it is able to build in North America by about 1 million a year. The combined developments could help Toyota surpass GM in worldwide production, although it’s unclear whether that would happen because Detroit-based GM is growing rapidly in Asia. Toyota expects to produce 8.1 million vehicles this year, while GM expects 9 million, according to Greg Gardner of Harbour Consulting, a manufacturing consulting firm. The Indiana plant produced nearly 120,000 Subaru models last year. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Subaru production would be reduced or what the factory’s total vehicle output would be. Fuji teamed up with Toyota in October after ending a five-year tie-up with GM, which sold its 20 percent in the Japanese company. Toyota, based in Toyota City in central Japan, bought an 8.7 percent stake from GM for about $315 million to become Fuji’s top shareholder. Overall, GM lost almost $4 billion in the first nine months of this year, hit by falling sales and rising health care costs. Its share of the U.S. market has shrunk to 26.2 percent from 33 percent a decade ago. The plant closings, which will entail 30,000 job cuts, are meant to chop $7 billion off its $42 billion annual bill for operations by the end of next year, including a $3 billion cut in health care costs. Toyota, by contrast, is on pace to set a fourth straight year of record profits. Both GM and Ford Motor Co., the world’s third-biggest automaker, are seeing their U.S. market share dip because of Toyota and other Asian competitors. Toyota, Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. are all reporting healthy earnings bolstered by their reputation for well-built, fuel-efficient cars at a time of surging gas prices. GM’s tie-up with Fuji was largely deemed a flop. But access to Fuji’s plants could help Toyota boost production at a time of soaring sales, analysts say, although Fuji has only the one plant in North America, so additional capacity will be limited. Completed in 1988, the Indiana factory was built under a joint-venture agreement between Fuji and Isuzu Motors Ltd. Fuji bought out Isuzu’s share in the venture and became sole operator of the plant in 2003. After GM’s latest cost cuts, the company will be able to build about 4.2 million vehicles a year in North America, down 30 percent from 2002. Toyota is expected to have North American capacity of about 1.81 million cars by then, up from 1.44 million vehicles last year, Toyota spokesman Dan Sieger said Monday. China is one bright spot for GM, which said last month that sales there rose 27.8 percent in the first three quarters of the year to 472,468 vehicles. Growth was fueled partly by a mini-vehicle joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp. (SAIC) and Wuling Automotive. GM and Toyota have a long-standing partnership to share environmental technology, and they run a car assembly plant in California together, although the ties do not involve holding stakes in each other. Out of concern for GM’s plight – and possibly to stave off an anti-Japanese backlash by American consumers – Toyota Chairman Hiroshi Okuda suggested earlier this year that Toyota should raise the price of car models in the United States to level the playing field. Toyota raised prices soon after, but denied the move was to placate U.S. automakers. U.S. shares of Toyota, each representing two common shares, rose $1.46 to close at $100.80 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. GM shares rose 25 cents, or 1.1 percent, to close at $23.52. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Toyota will also chip away at GM’s lead with a new pickup truck plant scheduled to open next year in San Antonio that will add an additional 200,000 vehicles to Toyota’s annual capacity. The Japanese company’s output will be boosted by another 100,000 vehicles in 2008, when Toyota’s new RAV 4 plant comes online in Canada. Under the latest expansion plans, the world’s No. 2 automaker has asked Fuji Heavy Industries, maker of Subaru autos, to start building Toyotas in 2007 at a Lafayette, Ind., factory operated by Fuji’s wholly owned subsidiary, Subaru of Indiana Automotive, the Asahi newspaper reported Wednesday, without citing sources. Company representatives were not available for comment Wednesday, a national holiday in Japan. Ann McConnell, a spokeswoman for Subaru of Indiana, said Fuji Heavy Industries and Toyota Motor Corp. have been in discussions, but that there has been no word of a decision yet. There are five to six candidate models for production, the newspaper said, with the number manufactured annually to gradually increase to 100,000 vehicles. Earlier reports have suggested that Toyota might produce hybrid vehicles at the Fuji plant.
South Africa’s state power utility Eskom isinvesting heavily in wind and solar energytechnologies to reduce the country’sreliance on coal.(Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. Formore free photos, visit the image library) Panellists at the roundtable discussionincluded, from left, Chamber of Mines CEOBheki Sibiya, City of Johannesburg MayorParks Tau and Eskom’s executive directorof resources and strategy Dr SteveLennon.(Image: Kathryn Fourie)MEDIA CONTACTS • Brand South Africa+27 11 483 0122Kathryn FourieBrand South Africa and the Financial Times hosted a roundtable discussion at COP17 on 2 December 2011, highlighting the importance of working towards a green economy by setting emission reduction targets with strong implementation plans.Under the theme of “Opportunities and challenges of the Green Economy”, the event comprised a panel discussion between government and business leaders, including Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, City of Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau, Eskom’s executive director of resources and strategy Dr Steve Lennon and CEO of the Chamber of Mines Bheki Sibiya.The panel was chaired by Andrew England, Southern Africa bureau chief of the Financial Times.The discussion was attended by various stakeholders from business, academia, government and civil society.Complex balancing actAt the heart of the COP17 negotiations are drastic changes in projected and real climate patterns and the increasing levels of carbon emissions which cause it.Reducing these emissions is a key component of worldwide strategies to combat climate change. Broadly termed “greening the economy”, reduction efforts are characterised by governments trying to balance the needs of their economies, people and the health of the planet – far from a straightforward business.Minister Molewa opened the event with a keynote speech highlighting the importance of working towards a green economy by setting emission reduction targets with strong implementation plans.This is directly in line with the National Green Economy Accord that was signed in Pretoria recently. The accord focuses on the move to a low-carbon economy, while creating substantial employment within this transformation.Figures around the 300 000 mark have been mentioned in terms of job creation, linked to a time frame of 10 years to make this a reality.During the discussions England posed a question around the feasibility of the targets set in the accord.South Africa is aiming for a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025. Fourteen years to reduce carbon emission by almost half the current levels, without compromising on employment rates and economic profit, is a tall order – further compounded by the fact that 90% of the country’s energy today comes from coal.Molewa stressed that while targets were high, they were based on sound study. “We will be getting into sustainable development that talks to our people, our economy and takes care of our environment,” she said.Cleaner coal and more renewable energyDr Lennon of state power utility Eskom was quick to defend government strategy in utilising a variety of energy production methods in its steps of transformation, and insisted that coal burning is not prioritised over other methods of energy production.While the government is investing heavily in wind and solar energy, with a resultant expansion in job numbers in these sectors, Lennon pointed out that Eskom is also investing in technology to produce more efficient and cleaner coal-based energy. Additionally, 20 000 new jobs will be created when the Medupi Power Station in Limpopo province comes online in 2012.Employment and the expansion of the job market is heavily linked to the greening of the economy, and in countries like South Africa – currently battling an unemployment rate of about 25% – it’s highly necessary that the government’s ambitious planning pays off, without compromising on the environment.
Rescued penguins at the Samrec centreoutside Port Elizabeth line up to be fed.(Image: Emily van Rijswijck) Pengiuns at the Boulders colony inCape Town live in prefabricated igloos.(Image: Janine Erasmus)MEDIA CONTACTS • Libby SharwoodSamrec+27 41 583 1830Emily van RijswijckHis name is Jay and he is a born and bred African. Originally from the biggest colony of African penguins on the continent, St Croix Island in Algoa Bay, Jay now lives the good life at the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (Samrec) at Cape Recife Nature Reserve in Port Elizabeth.After two attempts to release him back into the wild – without success, perhaps because Jay believes he is not yet ready – volunteers at the centre have adopted him as a permanent fixture and fellow volunteer.“Clearly Jay finds the rehabilitated life more agreeable, so we have decided that he can stay and become our mascot,” says Samrec volunteer Libby Sharwood.Sharwood has been involved with the rescue and rehabilitation of African penguins since 2000 when she started work as a volunteer at Bay World, the Port Elizabeth natural and cultural museum.With Bay World facilities running at capacity and stray birds putting the healthy penguin population there at risk, Sharwood decided to move the rescue facility to her house – a daunting task if one considers the smell and noise factor that comes with the little creatures.Finally, in 2009, with the help of funding from the National Lottery, the Samrec centre finally opened at its new facilities in Cape Recife, a headland at the southwestern tip of Algoa Bay.The centre works on the principles of the four Rs: rescue, rehabilitate, research and release with a strong emphasis on education. Over 2 000 schoolchildren visit every year, as well as the general public.The programme also has a school adoption component. The latest beneficiary is the Lonwabi Primary school, which caters for disabled children at an informal settlement outside Port Elizabeth.“Some of these kids have never seen a shell, let alone a penguin,” says Eddy Molekoa, educational manager.Saving the African penguin Jay is one of about 120 African penguins which make it to the centre yearly, thanks for the most part to the help of caring individuals who pick up stray animals on their daily beach walks.“The public is amazing,” admits Sharwood.Jay first washed up at Pollok Beach in 2010, “a very cold, underweight baby,” recalls Sharwood. With his many quirks, he has since stolen the hearts of volunteers, especially when he tries to catch dragonflies and mosquitoes.Recently, the centre released 23 penguins at Port Elizabeth’s Hobie Beach. Says animal manager Jared Harding: “We are not a zoo. We try to release the penguins back into the wild as soon as they are healthy. Keeping them at the centre is actually stressful to them.”But their rescue efforts remain a drop in the ocean.“For the extinction rate to be halted, we need to save about 1 000 animals a year.” Sharwood likens the severity of the situation to the similar fate facing rhinos.“In 2000, we were told that if nothing is done, in 30 years no more African penguins would exist. The situation is now worse, with extinction looming within five years,” she says.This month has been a particularly busy one for Samrec as the breeding season kicked off early and with fish numbers dwindling and penguin parents having to venture further off, a number of stray chicks have been found on the beaches, some still kitted-out in their fluffy coats.Like other facilities in Cape Town, Mosselbay, Jeffreys and Tenikwa, Samrec is constantly challenged to find enough fish for the centre, as well as meet the monthly vet’s bill, especially during breeding time.Ocean temperaturesHuman interference and global warming are the biggest risk factors for these vulnerable birds. With water temperatures rising, sea currents are moving further offshore, and this is where the schools of sardines and pilchards are found.Having to swim further for food has a severe impact on the amount of food the chick receives when the parent returns from hunting, and on the population in general.St Croix and Bird islands are where the two biggest colonies gather, with a healthy population also thriving at Boulders Beach in Cape Town. The latter colony is a fine example of how man and beast have learnt to live together in peaceful harmony.It is estimated that there are about 6 000 African penguins left.