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Bonang Mohale of BLSA Says No time to celebrate Ramaphosa's election

There’s no time to celebrate the election of new President Cyril Ramaphosa who has several tasks waiting for him, says Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Bonang Mohale.

Ramaphosa was elected president of South Africa at a sitting of Parliament on Thursday, and later sworn in by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. His nomination was unopposed.

In a statement issued by the BLSA following the election, Mohale said Ramaphosa will have to urgently work on growing the economy and job creation. “There is no time to celebrate,” he said.

“Instead of celebrating BLSA is calling on the new administration to urgently focus on a few critical areas,” he explained.

These include improving public services, and addressing the “capture” of key institutions like the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“Our State-Owned Enterprises are bankrupt. We need to address the leadership, capital structure and governance issues gripping these SOEs,” he added.

Call for Zuma Cabinet probe

Mohale also called for the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture to be supported with the necessary resources to investigate “key figures in the ANC’s senior leadership” and Zuma’s Cabinet.

“Technically, we have a leadership that is under prosecution, and they need to be offered an opportunity to account for their actions speedily,” he said.

Mohale also said that stakeholders such as labour, civil society and business should remain engaged on economic policy, and “jealously guard” South Africa’s democracy. BLSA plans to present a proposal on an emergency socio-economic recovery plan.

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) CEO Tanya Cohen believes that the change in leadership is a “milestone” in the revival of investor confidence.

“The positive movement of the local currency following the events of the past few days is indicative of the importance of political certainty, accountability and good governance in advancing South Africa’s economic fortunes,” she said.

The rand held steady at R11.66/$ on Thursday afternoon following Ramaphosa’s appointment. Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop is of the view that the rand could break below the R11.60/$ level again, depending on Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) to be delivered on Friday night.

“The good gains the rand has made could be extended towards R11.55/$, and move towards R11.00/$,” said Bishop. However, this is on the condition that there are no further credit downgrades and the budget speech to be delivered on February 21.

Cohen also pledged BUSA’s commitment to work with Ramaphosa to achieve inclusive economic growth.

BUSA called for Ramaphosa’s administration to take steps to build business confidence and to develop a programme of action to address fiscal challenges and the declining economy.

Other tasks for Ramaphosa include tackling youth unemployment, small business growth and “restoring good governance and accountability” in both the public and private sector.

 

 

Source: News24

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Black Bean Burgers

These protein-packed black bean burgers are one of our favourite meat-free Monday dinners. Trust me, they’re delicious.

They pass the carnivore husband and suspicious child test with flying colours, but I love them because they’re healthy and easy to make, and give me the satisfaction of noshing a burger whilst feeling smugly virtuous. I always keep canned black beans in the cupboard and cooked brown rice in the freezer so they are so easy to throw together. You can also make them in bulk and freeze them.

I found them in cans with the Jamaican food in the international aisle in Tesco. I also get them in the canned pulses section at Waitrose. You’ll use black beans in loads of Mexican recipes so I’m hoping, now that Mexican food is really taking off in the UK that you’ll see them more and more.

Why frozen brown rice makes life so much easier
If you get into the habit of always cooking more brown rice than you need and then freezing it, you’ll be able to make these burgers in no time. I’ve shared my foolproof brown rice cooking and freezing tips along with other ways you can use it. Most supermarkets sell frozen brown rice now too – the frozen stuff has nothing weird added unlike the pouches of ready-cooked rice.

How to serve your burgers and other ways to use the mixture
I like to serve these burgers on seeded wholemeal buns with avocado, mature Cheddar, rocket and tomato. They go really well with sweet potato fries too. I often grab one from the freezer to cook with a salad when I’m working at home. They’re also really good with my romesco sauce.

The bean and rice mush is also pretty yummy before it is turned into black bean burgers as a sandwich spread, taco filling or as a dip for tortilla chips.

These burgers are too fragile to cook direct on the bars of a BBQ. You could cook them in a frying pan on a BBQ though.

Eat some, save some

What I love the most about these is that I can whip up a huge batch in just minutes. Then I have the base for lots of dinners in the freezer. You can make the black bean burgers, or the mixture 3 days before you need them and just leave them tightly wrapped in the fridge. Or you can freeze them. Either freeze the mixture, before you make it into burgers and then make the burgers when you defrost it. Or make burgers and freeze them.

To freeze them as burgers:
1 Line a baking tray (that is small enough to fit in your freezer) with parchment paper. Place four burgers on the tray and cover lightly with cling film. Put tray in freezer until burgers are frozen.

2 Once frozen, wrap each individually in cling film and put them back in the freezer.

3 When ready to eat, thaw in the fridge. They may go a little sticky when you defrost them so if they do, just flour your hands and form them back into burger shapes right before you gently drop them into the pan to cook.

Active prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes (plus half an hour to rest in the fridge).

Black bean burgers ingredients (feel free to double this to make a bigger batch, I usually do)

1 tablespoons rapeseed, avocado or olive oil

1 large red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

half a teaspoon each: ground cumin, sea salt flakes, freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2x 400g (2 x 15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed (Epicure from Waitrose or Dunns River from Tesco or Trader Joe’s in US).

1 cup (185g) cooked brown rice

20g coriander (cilantro) stems and leaves, finely chopped (or basil if you have a coriander hater, or leave the fresh herbs out if you have greens haters)

4 tablespoons plain or spelt flour

2 tablespoons rapeseed, avocado or olive oil for cooking the burgers

To serve:
Avocado, pickles, sliced tomatoes, cheese, toasted whole grain burger buns.

To make black bean burgers:
4 Finely dice your onion and drain your beans, defrost your rice in the microwave if it is frozen.

5 Heat 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil in a large non stick frying pan on a medium heat.

6 Add onion, oregano and cumin. Cook, stirring every few minutes until the onion has softened (about 7 minutes)

7 While the onion cooks, mince your garlic and chop your herbs and set aside.

8 Add the crushed garlic to the onion for the last minute of cooking. Garlic has a higher sugar content than onion so if you add it too early it will burn.

9 Add the drained beans and rice to the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes

10 Stir in chopped coriander if using.

11 Take off the heat and mash with potato masher until combined and mushy. You still want some texture but you need it to stick together in lumps. Taste and adjust the spices to suit your taste buds, you may want to add chili or salt or more cumin.

12 When the mixture is cool enough to handle, divide into 8 and squeeze into a ball with your hands. Then flatten each ball into burgers so that they are about 2cm thick and the size of the palm of your hand.

13 Cover and refrigerate the black bean burgers you’re going to cook for half an hour, or up to a day until you’re ready to cook them. See above for how to freeze the other burgers.

14 When you’re ready to cook, put the flour onto a plate and dip each side of the burgers into it so they have a light coating. tap off any excess flour

15 Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large frying pan on a medium-high heat. Gently place the burgers in the pan. If you don’t hear a sizzle, turn up the heat. Cook without moving them until they are browned and crusty on the outside and warmed through, about 4-5 minutes per side. They are very delicate so when you flip them, use a spatula or fish slice to slide underneath and put your hand or another spatula on the upper side to help them flip without collapsing.

While they cook, split and toast your buns, slice avocado and tomatoes and cheese. I usually let everyone make their own burger or plate of salad. I always have a squeeze of lime and a shame-free splodge of ketchup on mine.

Source: Femalefirst

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New Mercedes A-Class will be unveiled on February 2 in Amsterdam

The announcement was accompanied by a new teaser image.

Mercedes is looking to shake up the small premium car market when the new A-Class goes on sale later this year with a fresh, bold design that features a hi-tech interior packed with next-generation technology.

Daimler’s Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener said the A-Class “has the potential to usher in a new design era” for Mercedes, signalling that much of the new tech is likely to find its way into other Mercedes models in the future.

Mercedes has released details about the A-Class’ new infotainment system, which is set to feature artificial intelligence (AI) among other hi-tech features.

The new infotainment system will operate across two large display screens. One of these replaces traditional binnacle dials, while the other is placed right next to it, producing what Mercedes calls a ‘widescreen cockpit’. Three versions of this setup will be available; two seven-inch displays, a combination of seven and 10.25-inch displays, or two 10.25-inch displays. It’s likely that similar combinations will eventually become available across the Mercedes range. Interestingly, these screens don’t feature a traditional cowl.

Mercedes has done away with its rotary infotainment controller and has made the central screen touch-sensitive instead. There is a touchpad where the rotary dial would have been, however, and this can be used to navigate the system. The A-Class will get this technology first, but you can expect to see it reach other Mercedes cars in the future.

Voice recognition is also set to take a major role in the interior of the new A-Class. Much like similar systems on mobile phones, the car can be readied to receive commands by saying a set phrase – in this case, ‘Hey Mercedes’. The car’s AI means it’ll learn your habits to further improve the experience.

The dashboard is modern, sleek and simple, with a focus on quality materials like open-pore wood trim and brushed metal. Its wraparound design is particularly striking, as are its jet-engine-like vents and ambient lighting system.

Mercedes said the 12 colours selectable in the old car have grown to 64, while the whole system will be more sophisticated in general, making for “an avantgarde lighting display with spectacular colour changes” and using energy-saving LED lights.

Improved seats will also feature, with three front-seat options, including basic and comfort versions, along with a sportier option with integrated headrests. Most importantly, the A-Class will be bigger inside than before, with more elbow, shoulder and headroom for front and rear occupants. Boot space has increased to 370 litres (29 litres more than the old car), and there’s a 10 per cent improvement in all-round visibility, too.

The mainstay of 2018 Mercedes A-Class range will continue to be a hatchback, but it’ll be joined by the A-Class saloon, which was previewed with the firm’s Concept A vision earlier this year.

The new A-Class has adopted a fresh new look for 2018. The changes from the old car are numerous, but new, more angular headlights and a longer body are the most obvious differences. As per today’s car, the A-Class hatchback will be five-door only, reflecting increased global demand for cars with rear doors over sportier three-door models.

 

 

Source: The Nation

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Gupta empire Collapse

The net is finally closing around the Gupta family, members of which are now being pursued in earnest by the Hawks, with at least seven cases said to be at an “advanced stage” of investigation.

City Press understands that these cases include Atul Gupta’s offer of ministerial positions to former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former MP Vytjie Mentor, as well as multibillion-rand Gupta contracts at state-owned enterprises including Eskom and Transnet.

Yesterday, a senior source in the security cluster told City Press: “Investigations involving entities under state capture allegations are at an advanced stage.

“At least seven will see prosecution by June with [those related to the] Vrede [dairy farm scandal] starting in less than a week or so.”

This follows this week’s raids on the Free State office of the premier, the Free State department of agriculture and the dairy farm this week.

A senior security cluster official told City Press on Friday that the Hawks seized laptops, hard drives and a copy of the server at the premier’s office, which has been occupied for nine years by new ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.

Another senior security cluster source said the Hawks were working on establishing whether Magashule was directly involved in the failed dairy project his provincial government handed to Gupta-linked company Estina.

“They have mirrored the server in the premier’s office in the hope of finding something,” he said. “They have everything else that they need on the others.”

However, a source close to the police department said: “The raid had nothing to do with [Magashule], but with documents that would ordinarily be at his office.

“For now. The premier’s office is the nerve centre of province administration, cabinet resolutions and so on.”

In a statement on Friday, the office’s director-general, Kopung Ralikontsane, said the provincial government had undertaken to “cooperate fully with all the investigations”.

“It is in our interest that this matter is brought to its finality to allow the Free State provincial government to continue its work of changing the lives of the people for the better.

“We wish to thank the members of the public for their patience in the matter, and we wish to commit that we will regularly update them on this matter, as well as on all our activities that are implemented in line with our mandate,” he said.

Sources from the Hawks, close to the police ministry and elsewhere in the security cluster told City Press that Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who was the province’s MEC for agriculture at the time the Guptas allegedly milked his department of R220 million – is facing arrest along with his former head of department Peter Thabethe, as are at least two of the Gupta brothers.

“We are diligently dealing with it and we aren’t paying heed to public pressure or to any politician or group.

“The Hawks and the SA Police Service are working closely with National Prosecuting Authority [NPA],” said one source.

“The arrests are a done deal. It is just a matter of when.”

A senior Hawks source told City Press last week that arrest warrants had already been issued.

Zwane told news channel eNCA that he welcomed the Hawks investigation and offered to cooperate with the process.

“I am one of the people who believe in innocence until proven guilty by the court of law,” he said.

According to court papers filed in support of a preservation order obtained by the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit last week, Atul Gupta unlawfully received R10m in his bank account from Estina.

A source close to the police department said proof of this payment alone was enough to secure a warrant for his arrest.

Late last year, another senior source inside the security cluster told City Press that Zwane would be arrested “before Christmas”.

MORE ‘ADVANCED’ CASES

City Press understands that the other “advanced” cases revolved around Ajay Gupta’s offer to get Jonas appointed as finance minister and the allegation that Jonas would be paid R600m if he agreed to work with them.

In a supplementary affidavit deposed in December 2016, Jonas says he was invited to a meeting at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Rosebank by President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane and businessman and fixer Fana Hlongwane, after which they went to the Guptas’ home in Saxonwold, where Ajay Gupta offered him the finance minister’s job.

However, Ajay Gupta denied under oath that he made the offer.

Another senior security cluster source told City Press this week that the Hawks had subpoenaed the hotel to provide them with footage of the meeting to confirm Jonas’ version of events.

In her affidavit, Mentor stated that Ajay Gupta offered her a job as public enterprises minister in exchange for her help “to supply Eskom with coal” and “influence SAA” to drop a lucrative route to India in favour of an airline the family had links to.

Other “advanced” cases, a source close to the police department said, included investigations into Gupta contracts at Transnet, where they allegedly skimmed R5.3 billion in kickbacks off a R50bn tender to build locomotives; at Eskom, to which the Guptas’ Optimum coal mine supplied substandard coal at inflated prices; and at Denel, where amaBhungane reported that the Guptas allegedly tried to sell Denel’s intellectual property to India while watering down the state-owned company’s stake in their joint venture by half.

“It’s been happening. We have been getting preservation orders, and turning witnesses since July last year, when we ramped up our investigations,” he said.

The source also said the authorities were not relying on the #GuptaLeaks documents for evidence, saying: “Leaked documents aren’t part of the case.

“They don’t assist but spoil cases. We have our own evidence.”

IN VREDE YESTERDAY

Meanwhile, in Vrede yesterday, scores of community members arrived at the Vrede Police Station to make statements to Hawks officers.

One of the beneficiaries, Matebesi Sibiloane (55), said officers asked him who had promised him that he would benefit from the farm and how much work and money he would eventually receive from it.

“I told them that it was Mosebenzi Zwane who promised me that.

“I also said that I received no work or money from the farm, even though I had 35 years’ experience on a dairy farm and could easily contribute to it.”

Another beneficiary, Bongani Khubheka (40), said police were on the farm to count the cows and examine the equipment.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, confirmed that interviews were conducted with local residents yesterday.

Kubheka said the beneficiaries were not thrilled by the developments, because it meant they would have to wait longer before seeing any money.

“We are waiting for our money since 2013. It is time that the Free State government is held responsible and gives us our due,” he said.

He said there was no other work in the area and the farm could create up to 400 jobs if it was managed properly.

Another beneficiary, Bafana Mbuli (29), said he smelt a rat in 2015, when Zwane told beneficiaries that cows were going to be imported to the farm from India.

“We feel that the government has left us in the lurch. They stole from the poor people who they are supposed to support,” he said.

GUPTA EMPIRE STARTS TO CRUMBLE

Workers at the Guptas’ Optimum Coal mine said they were in dire straits after not being paid this past week.

Several workers for a contractor on the mine on Friday showed a letter to Rapport in Pullens Hope, the settlement between Optimum’s headquarters and the Hendrina power station.

The typed letter, dated Thursday, states that the contractor had a cash flow problem “due to events out of their control”.

It states that workers must be patient and inform their banks about a delay in getting their salaries.

The company hoped the problem would be resolved this week.

One mine insider said that, as far as he knew, at least 100 workers had not been paid.

Another worker said Optimum had not paid several contractors.

Several Pullens Hope residents spoke of a helicopter landing on a soccer field next to Optimum’s head office.

They didn’t know who got out of it, only that they had bodyguards and appeared to be “well looked after”.

Last year, the Guptas said they were selling the mine to Swiss company Charles King SA for R2.97bn, in a transaction to be concluded over a period of time.

The company belongs to United Arab Emirates resident Amin Alzarooni.

However, one of the contractors referred queries to Gupta-owned company Oakbay, which he said still owned the mine.

Eskom said Optimum was still delivering coal according to their contract, but that all was not well there.

One worker, a storeman, said he had four children who asked him on Thursday if he would be bringing money home. He said he told them: “Maybe tomorrow.”

“We don’t know what the problem is. We must buy food and pay school fees,” he said.

A contractor who asked not to be named said the mine’s management no longer took his calls.

“We are honest workers. We just want our money,” he said.

Another contractor said he was “scared to speak out”.

“You know, the Guptas are dangerous people,” he said.

 

 

 

Source: City Press

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City of Cape Town set to reach out to the bottled water industry

With less than 80 days to go until Day Zero, the City of Cape Town may want to consider getting help from the bottled water industry.

South African National Bottled Water Association (Sanbwa) chairperson John Weaver said that some of their members have donated water to afflicted areas in the past and have sold water at a cost.

“This cost could be dramatically reduced were government to allow for an emergency water category that, for example, allowed bottlers to omit labels.

“Bottled water is regarded as a food product by the Department of Health and must comply with legislation covering, in addition to health and safety issues, packaging and labelling, which is very expensive,” said Weaver.

Sanbwa is a representative body of the bottled water industry and has a membership list which includes Bonaqua, Valpré and Clover Waters: Nestle Pure Life.

The bottled water industry has remained untouched during the water crisis as 90% of their members use renewable groundwater sources in their packaged products, according to Weaver.

“Groundwater is strongly buffered against drought influence because it is renewed (replenished) in a completely different way to surface water, which is mainly dependent on reliable rainfall, and is thus very susceptible to drought patterns,” explained Weaver.

The city’s Director of Trade and Investment Lance Greyling said that he was planning to consult with the Sanbwa in the near future. He has already had meetings with retailers in an attempt to dissuade them from profiteering off the drought.

Pricing of bottled water

However, Weaver said that any discussion on the pricing of bottled water with the city would be illegal.

“It is illegal in South Africa to discuss, fix and or manipulate the price of goods. So, even if the city were to approach us or any of our members, we are legally obliged to decline to continue the discussion,” Weaver said in an emailed response.

Weaver also said that, while there was no official report of increased sales in Cape Town, stockpiling was probable.

“There have been reports regarding consignments of 5l bottles, which apparently are sold out within hours of being delivered to Cape stores. We have had no official, nor unofficial reports of increased sales, but whenever there is hot weather or drought, sales do increase,” he said.

 

 

 

Source: News24

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Published by
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(South African Fast Rising Blogger)
National Gossip Blog

 

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Swiss govt will return $321 million stolen funds to Nigeria

Switzerland will return to Nigeria around 321 million dollars in assets seized from the family of former military ruler Sani Abacha via a deal signed with the World Bank, the Swiss government said.

Transparency International, a corruption watchdog, has accused Abacha of stealing up to five billion dollars of public money during the five years he ran the oil-rich country, from 1993 until his death in 1998.

In 2014, Nigeria and the Abacha family reached an agreement for the West African country to get back the funds, which had been frozen, in return for dropping a complaint against the former military ruler’s son, Abba Abacha.
The son was charged by a Swiss court with money-laundering, fraud and forgery in April 2005, after being extradited from Germany, and later spent 561 days in custody.

In 2006, Luxembourg ordered that funds held by the younger Abacha be frozen.
The Swiss government said that Switzerland, Nigeria and the World Bank have agreed the funds will be repatriated via a project supported and overseen by the World Bank.

“The project will strengthen social security for the poorest sections of the Nigerian population.

“The agreement also regulates the disbursement of restituted funds in tranches and sets out concrete measures to be taken in the event of misuse or corruption,” the World bank said.

Source: Premium Times

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South African firm partners KADS Capital to revive moribund agro-businesses

Towards reviving moribund agricultural facilities lying fallow across the country, an agro-business firm, KADS Capital Group, is partnering a South Africa-based company, PBS Trading Ltd, to revive ailing government-owned agric investments.

The partnership is also aimed at creating significant yields in the agro-business value chain in Africa.

Group Head of KADS Capital, Mr. Ken Ogiamien, who disclosed this at the end of a Trade Mission of South African companies to Nigeria, told The Guardian that they are already in touch with Lagos State government regarding some of their facilities in Araga, Epe and a processing plant in Ikorodu, noting that their intention is to revive these facilities, bring them to full capacity and make them profitable for parties concerned.

He added that KADS Capital is also looking at taking over declining facilities of other states and the Federal Government agencies with a view to rejuvenating them.

Ogiamien said the decision to partner PBS Trading was to harness the potentials of both companies and combine advanced technology, international standards and quality control, assuring that the partnership will also facilitate access to funding, skilled manpower and strategic alliances to ensure the production of world-class, value-added agricultural and table-ready brands for consumers in both countries and beyond.

“The value chain is such that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of both countries would be significantly touched. Specifically, the relationship would increase employment opportunities for the youth, profoundly change their perception of agriculture and ensure scheduled off-take of agricultural produce from collaborating farmers.”

He said one of the expected outcomes of the venture is the elimination of smuggled poultry products through the Nigerian borders and meeting the needs of consumers through local production.

Ogiamien said two subsidiaries of the company-KADS Livestock and Feeds and KADS Meat Mart, would be the initial beneficiaries of the partnership, which is expected to take off in 2018.

Managing Director of PBS Trading, Mr. Donovan Franker, said Africa’s economic future accomplishments would depend very much on successful cross-trade ventures between African businesses and countries.

He said the next stage of the partnership would involve signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on areas in which they both can add value, through the value chain and the food chain, from feed stock to food on the plate, adding that his organisation has access to funds from Trade Invest Africa, the Development Banks and Agriculture Development Banks.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Guardian News

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Rolls-Royce 2018 is world’s most silent luxury car

Rolls-Royce has unveiled the eighth generation Phantom in London, a few months ahead of its release for global sale and it is expected to automatically find its way to the top of the super luxury brand chart. This is coming about 14 years after the previous edition was officially launched.

The Phantom VIII is arguably the most silent car in the world having been loaded with almost 300 pounds of sound insulation to keep its occupants away from the unpleasant noise of the outside world.

Many auto reviewers that have had the privilege of being exposed to the detailed features of the new vehicle are also of the view that the 2018 Phantom will be the peak of motoring pleasure.

For instance, Auto Car, in its report, says the all-new Rolls-Royce Phantom promises ride comfort and interior luxury of an unprecedented quality, as well as a greatly improved driving experience.

An auto writer, Drew Stearne, in a review on Cnet.com, says it is hard to imagine the car world without Rolls-Royce, having remained a signifier of wealth, success, celebrity and status for a century.

Commenting on the latest Phantom, he says, “But even within Rolls-Royce, there is a hierarchy, and firmly at the top for over 90 years, the Phantom has earned adoration the world over as simply the best car money can buy. Now, it is time for the current Phantom to make way for Goodwood’s finest new endeavour, the Phantom VIII.”

Rolls-Royce has unveiled the eighth generation Phantom in London, a few months ahead of its release for global sale and it is expected to automatically find its way to the top of the super luxury brand chart. This is coming about 14 years after the previous edition was officially launched.

The Phantom VIII is arguably the most silent car in the world having been loaded with almost 300 pounds of sound insulation to keep its occupants away from the unpleasant noise of the outside world.

Many auto reviewers that have had the privilege of being exposed to the detailed features of the new vehicle are also of the view that the 2018 Phantom will be the peak of motoring pleasure.

For instance, Auto Car, in its report, says the all-new Rolls-Royce Phantom promises ride comfort and interior luxury of an unprecedented quality, as well as a greatly improved driving experience.

ADVERTISING

An auto writer, Drew Stearne, in a review on Cnet.com, says it is hard to imagine the car world without Rolls-Royce, having remained a signifier of wealth, success, celebrity and status for a century.

Commenting on the latest Phantom, he says, “But even within Rolls-Royce, there is a hierarchy, and firmly at the top for over 90 years, the Phantom has earned adoration the world over as simply the best car money can buy. Now, it is time for the current Phantom to make way for Goodwood’s finest new endeavour, the Phantom VIII.”

Engine performance

 

Rolls-Royce-2018

In a report presented under jalopnic.com, Andrew Collins describes the Phantom VIII as the most silent car in the world. It is also presented as a penthouse apartment hitched to four wheels and a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 rated to 563 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque, on tap from a burbling 1,700 RPM, running to the rear wheels through a ZF eight-speed transmission.

Rolls-Royce’s Engineering Director, Philip Koehn, says the new Phantom is 10 per cent quieter at highway cruising speeds than its already-sepulchral predecessor.

Quiet interior

Collins, who is Chief Test Pilot at the Jalopnic, says, “Incalculable effort was expended to create ‘the most silent motor car in the world’ including 6mm two-layer glazing all around the car, more than 130kg of sound insulation, the largest ever cast aluminium joints in a body-in-white for better sound insulation, and use of high absorption materials.

“Acoustic insulation from road noise has been helped by the employment of double skin alloy on areas within the floor and bulkhead of the space-frame. This is a feature unique to New Phantom. Further noise insulation by inserting dense foam and felt layers are between these skins to provide sound insulation not witnessed before in the car industry.

“In addition, high absorption layers within the headliner, in the doors and in the boot cavity have further aided insulation and reduced reverberation. Rolls-Royce also worked closely with its tyre supplier to invent ‘Silent-Seal’ tires – which feature a specific foam layer placed inside the tyre to wipe out tyre cavity noise and reduce overall tyre noise by 9db, meaning that conversation within the car is completely effortless.”

Exterior

The styling on the 2018 Phantom is said to be imposing, with the front having a new monolithic appearance that sets it apart from its predecessor while retaining its lineage.

An online auto journal, Car and Driver, says, “Despite looking familiar, this Phantom is nearly entirely new. It sits on Rolls-Royce’s new aluminium space-frame platform, officially dubbed the Architecture of Luxury, which will go on to underpin all of the company’s forthcoming models, including the Project Cullinan SUV.

It also says the vehicle’s 140-inch wheelbase is slightly smaller than the previous edition’s, with the overall length of 227.2 inches shrinking by 2.8 inches for the standard-wheelbase version.

“The Pantheon grille is larger than ever, but it fits more naturally into the surrounding bodywork. It also sits higher on the car, lifting the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament up higher still. It may not be initially to everyone’s taste, but the sheer modernity of this design should make it feel fresh for years to come,” says Collins.

Looking at the roof line, it has been simplified, making the lines of the car from front to back look like one long continuation of a single idea.

Safety

The car has a number of driver-aid features such as night vision, active cruise control, a four-camera 360-degree parking assistant, long-range sensors designed to detect traffic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: The Punch

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NBS Says Nigeria made N118trn from crude oil in 53 years

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Nigeria had realised more than N118 trillion from crude production and refining from 1961.

The NBS report, which has additional data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), collated its statistics from 1961 till 2014.

“The petroleum statistics on crude oil production and oil refining reflects that a total 32.70 billion barrels of crude oil valued at N118.49 trillion has been produced between 1961 and 2014.

“The highest barrels of crude production was recorded in the year 2005 with 918.66 million barrels valued at N6.14 billion.

“The lowest was, however, recorded in 1961 with 16.80 million barrels valued at N18.73 million.

“The yearly domestic crude oil refining data from 1997 to 2014 also reflected that 844.19 million of crude oil has been received and 835.58 million processed within the period under review,’’ the report stated.

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: Tribuneonlineng

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Nigeria To Be In Trouble As China Plans To Ban Production Of Petrol, Diesel Vehicles

China, world’s biggest car market, plans to ban the production and sale of diesel and petrol vehicles, further threatening the future profitability of oil — Nigeria’s major revenue source.

The development is coming two months after the UK, like Germany, France, India, Norway and Netherlands, revealed plans to ban fuel-run cars, as part of efforts to reduce air pollution.

The ban will lead to a reduction of oil demand in China, as the country is currently the world’s second-largest oil consumer after the United States, US.

China wants electric battery cars and plug-in hybrids to account for at least one-fifth of its vehicle sales by 2025.

Xin Guobin, China’s vice industry minister, said it had started “relevant research” but that it had not yet decided when the ban would come into force, according to BBC.

“Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry’s development,” Guobin told Xinhua, China’s official news agency.

China made 28 million cars last year, almost a third of the world’s total production. Chinese-owned carmaker Volvo said in July that all its new car models would have an electric motor from 2019. Geely, Volvo’s Chinese owner, aims to sell one million electric cars by 2025. Other global car firms including Renault-Nissan, Ford, and General Motors are all working to develop electric cars in China.

 

 

 

 

Source: Nigerian Monitor.

SA approves cross-border mobile money transfers

Cross-border money transfer services have been given the go ahead from South Africa to mobile wallets in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Mozambique and Uganda.

TerraPay, the world’s first mobile payments switch, announced this week that it has successfully obtained regulatory approval from the South African Reserve Bank to launch cross-border money transfer services in South Africa.

This makes TerraPay the fifth company to be licensed as a category three Authorised Dealer in Foreign Exchange with limited authority, also known as ADLA 3, to conduct low value international money transfers in the country.

TerraPay is building global payments infrastructure for low-value cross-border transactions. The service interconnects mobile wallet service providers, financial institutions and money transfer operators in key send and receive markets. The license enables the company to enter into cross-border low value person-to-person payments in South Africa.

The South Africa market is highly complementary to TerraPay’s international money transfer network in Africa, Europe and Middle-East countries. In the Initial roll-out, TerraPay will enable cross border money transfers from South Africa to mobile wallets in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Mozambique and Uganda.

According to the World Bank, the global average cost of sending remittances was 7.43% of the amount sent by remitting customers. For remittances sent from South Africa, the average cost was 16.71%; more than double of the global average.

Ambar Sur, founder & CEO of TerraPay said, “As per a report from FinMark trust, the bulk of remittance flows from South Africa are destined for Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho, with 85% of all migrants originating from these countries. Moreover, almost 70% of transfers to these countries are conducted informally, since the high cost of formal money transfers is a major barrier to accessing formal remittance channels.

“TerraPay is taking an aim to solve this problem of the migrants, by facilitating instant and cost-effective low value money transfers to mobile wallets. We are now open for business in South Africa and are actively looking to build strategic partnerships to further expand our footprint in the Southern Africa region.”

South Africa is a major send, as well as a receive market. Apart from sending remittances to all neighbouring Southern African countries, the country also receives remittances from UK, Australia and US. TerraPay’s global network is expected to support the growing demand for instant transfers in the region.

TerraPay, the world’s first mobile payments switch is a global transaction processing, clearing and settlement service for mobile wallets. It provides the interoperability engine that enables customers to send and receive real-time transactions across diverse payment instruments, platforms, and regions.

0 232
Kia South Africa conduct a safety recall of More than 1200 Rio models affected

 Kia South Africa will conduct a safety recall of approximately 1 266 Rio models (2017) to inspect the operation of the rear-door child locks.

More than 1200 Rio’s affected

Kia Motors SA said: “Kia has advised that there may be some Rio vehicles where the child locking function of the rear door may be inoperative due to the actuator cable length being out of specification.

“The affected vehicles were assembled in Korea between 10 April 2017 and 5 June 2017, and approximately 1 266 Rio’s shipped to South Africa may be affected.”

What should owners do?

Kia SA said: “Owners of the involved vehicles will receive telephonic notification from Kia Motors South Africa’s call centre, beginning in the week of 4 September 2017. Owners of the involved vehicles will be assisted in having their Kia dealer perform the inspection and, if necessary, repair of the rear-door child locks.”

‘No charge to the vehicle owner’

The automaker said: “The inspection is quick and simple, and should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Should the repair be carried out, it should take no longer than 1 hour, although customers should be aware that the time required to inspect and potentially repair is dependent on the vehicle’s position in the work queue on the day of the booking.”

Kia said its dealers will implement this recall at “no charge to the vehicle owner”.

Customer can find out whether their vehicle(s) are affected by entering their vehicle’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) via the KIA Motors South Africa website

Alternatively, customers can contact the Kia Motors South Africa on 010 596 2000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Wheels24

0 166
Samsung has sent out official invitations to launch the Galaxy NOTE 8

Samsung has sent out official invitations for its launch event that’s going to hold in New York City, where the Galaxy Note 8 will be launched.

The invitation just shows two slim top and bottom bezels of the Note8 without edges, which shows the same 2:1 Infinity Display as the one on the S8. The event will hold on the 23rd of August 2017.

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 will come with almost the same hardware as the Galaxy S8 and S8+. A Snapdragon 835 chipset or an Exynos 8895 CPU coupled with 4GB of RAM, and a fully water-resistant metal and glass unibody design.

According to various leaks, the Galaxy Note 8 may sport a dual-camera setup, though I’m still skeptical about it, it’s quite possible that Samsung will save that for the Galaxy S9.

What kind of specifications do you want on the Galaxy Note 8?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: NewsNow

0 161
Audi to give 850 000 diesel cars 'emissions-improving' software

German automaker Audi says it will fit up to 850 000 diesel cars with new software to improve their emissions performance, following a similar move by rival Daimler.

Audi, a unit of Volkswagen, announced the voluntary retrofitting program on Friday.

The company said in a statement that it “aims to maintain the future viability of diesel engines” and believes the program “will counteract possible bans on vehicles with diesel engines.”

The free program, which will apply to Europe and other markets outside the US and Canada, applies to cars with six-cylinder and eight-cylinder diesel engines.

On Tuesday, Daimler said it will voluntarily recall 3-million Mercedes-Benz cars with diesel engines in Europe to improve their emissions performance. Diesels have been under a cloud since Volkswagen admitted equipping vehicles with emissions-cheating software.

 

 

 

Source: Associated Press

0 209
Ford Mustang: South Africa’s top selling sports car during June 2017

The Ford Mustang has maintained its status as South Africa’s top selling sports car during June 2017, with 86 units sold.

Ford’s pony car sold nearly double the units of second place rival Porsche 911 (47 units). Another Porsche, the 718 Cayman/Boxster, sold the third most units – 16 models locally.

Along with the three front runners, the Jaguar F-Type was the only other sports car in SA to register double digit figures with 12 models sold.

Ferrari has three of its models in the top 9 list though the newest edition to the range, the GTC4Lusso, has not yet been added.

Audi and Nissan are the two other manufacturers that have made the top 10 list the list with their respective sports cars: the R8 and GT-R.

Naamsa commented: “Domestic new vehicle sales were closely correlated with the overall performance of the economy and confidence levels. At this stage, domestic new vehicle sales for 2017 were likely to remain flat at best.”

 

 

 

Source: News24

0 188
South Africa: In five years later More people will dependent on social grants than people with jobs

There were more than 17 million South Africans dependent on social grants on a monthly basis compared to about 15.5 million South Africans with jobs last year, the SA Institute of Race Relations said on Wednesday.

In a finding released in the institute’s latest South Africa Survey, it said this did not bode well for the economy because government would find it harder to expand the rollout of grants or to increase their value.

“The numbers are a recipe for social and political chaos,” the institute’s analyst Gerbrandt van Heerden said.

“As the economy stagnates, and tax revenue slows, demand for more grants will increase. The government will then have to cut other areas of expenditure in order to meet popular demands for more and higher grants. We predict that this will lead to much higher levels of violent protest action.”

‘A double-edged sword’

In a survey conducted by the institute in 2001, around 12.4 million people were employed compared to around 3.9 million people receiving social grants.

This roughly translated to 330 people with jobs for every 100 people on social welfare. By 2012, the ratio had dropped to 90 people in employment for every 100 social welfare beneficiaries, the IRR said in 2013.

By 2016, the number of people receiving grants had increased by 328% while those with jobs increasing only by 24%, it said.

“There is no doubt that the grants rollout did a lot to improve living standards in South Africa. However, the grants have become a double-edged sword,” Van Heerden said.

He said the inability to continue expanding the rollout while also increasing the value of grants would see living standards begin to stagnate and even slip.

Poor and unemployed people would be worst affected and could suffer new misery as their living standards began to fall.

The consequences for social cohesion would therefore end up being severe as inequality increased, he said.

“The pending grants crisis will trigger much suffering and desperation in already poor communities.”

 

 

 

 

Source: News24

South Africa has fallen into recession for the first time in eight years after economic growth shrank by 0.7% between January and March

The downturn, due to weak manufacturing and trade, follows a 0.3% fall in GDP in the final quarter last year.

It is the first time that economic has slowed for two consecutive quarters – the technical definition of a recession – since 2009.

The value of the rand fell by 1% on the currency markets.

Analysts had expected GDP to grow by 0.9% during the first quarter. However, Joe de Beer, deputy director general of Statistics South Africa, said: “We can now pronounce that the economy is in recession.”

He added: “The major industries that contracted in the economy were the trade and manufacturing sectors.”

Africa’s third-largest economy is under pressure after President Jacob Zuma fired its respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, earlier this year.

It prompted two credit rating agencies, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch, to downgrade South Africa’s credit worthiness to junk.

This means it is more expensive for South Africa to borrow money, because it is seen as having a higher risk defaulting on its debts.

Last week, S&P and Fitch pointed to further concerns about the South African economy, including uncertainty over who will succeed President Zuma as leader of the ruling African National Congress.

A successor is expected to be chosen in December, but Mr Zuma can remain as head of state until an election in 2019.

 

 

 

Source:  TODAY.ng

0 154
Emmanuel Macron has found a way to establish himself on the international scene: give Donald Trump a taste of his own trolling. Oh

Washington – French President Emmanuel Macron has found a way to establish himself on the international scene: give Donald Trump a taste of his own trolling. Oh, and it’s not bad for domestic politics either.

It began with a bone-crunching handshake with Trump at the NATO summit in Brussels on May 25, followed by an interview in which Macron boasted that the macho display was meant to send the message that he’ll hold his ground against the US president.

After Trump announced on June 1 that the US is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on carbon emissions, Macron – in English – invited US climate scientists to work in France and hijacked Trump’s signature slogan with a call to “make our planet great again.”

The French foreign ministry got into the act by posting a video that, by scribbling in English on top of the White House’s own video, refutes point-by-point what it said were incorrect Trump statements about the Paris accord, all with a #MakeThePlanetGreatAgain hashtag. The video was viewed 11 million times, had 179 000 shares on Facebook, and was re-tweeted on Twitter 49 000 times.

“Macron wants to send a message that he’s playing on the same playing field as Trump,” said Philippe Moreau Defarges, adviser at the Paris-based French Institute for International Affairs. “He thinks that if Trump is going to use Twitter and video messages in an aggressive way, then so am I. Macron has made a bet that he’s going to be as modern as possible in his communication, and to a degree that also means trolling.”

Like Trump, 70, Macron is betting that his approach will pay off at home, in next week’s parliamentary elections. “He really needs a majority in Parliament to run the country properly,” said Philippe Le Corre, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Centre on the United States and Europe. “Trump is unpopular, and in Europe everybody is in favour of this deal.”

There’s some risk in an approach that Heather Conley, director of the Europe Program at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, called “more playful” than that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The German leader made headlines a week ago by suggesting that Trump’s disdain for international organizations means Europeans can no longer rely on the trans-Atlantic relationship.

After all, Macron is taking on a thin-skinned president who runs a country that shares crucial intelligence and is France’s second biggest export market, behind Germany.

French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Romain Nadal said no disrespect was meant by “correcting” the White House’s video.

“We are not insulting anyone, we are engaging in a substantive debate,” Nadal said. “We have made social media a key part of our communication. So does President Trump. That’s how it is now, so it’s normal that the debate is played out across social media.”

A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity said there were no hard feelings about Macron’s actions or comments, and no concerns they’ll harm the relationship. “They had a great meeting and we think they will only grow stronger,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

Macron, 39, didn’t focus much on foreign policy during the campaign that led to his May 7 electoral victory, instead running on a platform of loosening economic regulations and intensifying European integration. When he did, he tended to take a hawkish stances on relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia and stress his attachment to Western institutions such as NATO.

Putin also came in for some of Macron’s steeliness when, during a joint May 29 press conference at Versailles, Macron accused two media outlets close to the Kremlin of being “propaganda organs” that spread false news during the French election. A stone-faced Putin didn’t react.

“He’s not afraid of Putin or Trump,” said Moreau Defarges. “He wants to be a General De Gaulle style president who knows that France is small, but still speaks as a equal to the big powers. De Gaulle used to say his only model was Tintin, the little guy who stands up to the big guys,” referring to the cartoon character who’s actually Belgian but is read by most French children.

‘Regal status’

Le Corre, of Brookings, and others said they didn’t think the back-and-forth over climate would hurt close cooperation between the US and France in other domains, such as joint military operations against Islamic militants across the Sahara, and in Syria, Iraq, and Libya.

“The military cooperation is very important to both countries, above all in the combat against jihadist terrorism, and the relationship between the two countries seems to have started on the right foot on this front,” said Frederic Bozo, a professor of contemporary history at Sorbonne Nouvelle University.

The Macron-Trump jousting is also minor compared to earlier crises in French-American relations. The US strongly opposed France’s 1956 military seizure of the Suez Canal, and relations hit a nadir when President Charles De Gaulle in 1966 ordered US military forces to leave France.

Closer relations followed, particularly under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s, but then came another falling out when President Jacques Chirac opposed George W. Bush’s 2003 Iraq invasion, famously leading to “freedom fries.” Relations then rapidly improved under the next two French presidents, and as U.S. public opinion turned against the Iraq War.

If there’s a risk to Macron, it’s that sparring over social media isn’t how many French imagine their president. “This type of conduct could hurt the presidential image, because it does chip away the regal status that he wanted to give it,” the Sorbonne’s Bozo said.

 

 

Source: Fin24.com

SA’s biggest banks are eyeing the gap as welfare distributor’s contract ends

 

Three of South Africa’s biggest banks are considering bidding to distribute government welfare payments to more than 17 million people.

 

This as a contract with a subsidiary of welfare grant distributor Net 1 UEPS Technologies comes to an end, after years of legal battles.

 

The existing contract earned Net 1 about R2 billion a year, its annual reports show.

 

Barclays Africa, Nedbank and a unit of FirstRand are contemplating bids, according to emailed responses to questions from the lenders.

 

The state-owned Post Office has already said it will bid.

 

While it is yet to issue a formal bid, the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) – which administers the approval and payment of social grants – has asked potential bidders to submit requests for information as it mulls over how to distribute R139.5 billion in welfare payments a year.

 

The contract with Net 1’s subsidiary, Cash Paymaster Services, expires at the end of March, but may be extended until the security agency’s own systems are in place or an alternative provider is found, according to the department of social development.

 

While Cash Paymaster’s contract was ruled invalid by the Constitutional Court in 2013, it continued because Sassa did not issue a new request for proposals and there were unresolved legal disputes.

 

“Government deals come with a lot of costs,” said David Shapiro, deputy chair of bank-controlling firm Sasfin Securities.

 

“I imagine there will be a number of bidders. It is too big a contract to disregard.”

 

African Bank and Capitec Bank are not bidding. Standard Bank said it had not engaged in the Sassa process to date.

 

“If I was a bank and tendering, I would ensure that the awarding of the contract was transparent, with reasons why the winning bid won.

 

“The problem with Net 1 lies in allegations that it did not win the tender fairly,” said Kokkie Kooyman, fund manager at Denker Capital.

 

AllPay, a subsidiary of Barclays Africa, used to distribute some of the social welfare grants. It legally challenged the awarding of the contract to Cash Paymaster.

– Bloomberg

 

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