CEBSA Hosts Special Thanksgiving Service

first_imgThe Central Bank Staff Association (CEBSA) on Friday, held a one day thanksgiving service to give thanks to God for carrying them through the Ebola crisis.During a program held at the banking hall of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) in Monrovia, the chairman for publicity, Julius A. Kekula, said the thanksgiving was intended to give God the honor for taking almost all of them through successfully during the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD).“As a family, we also remember our beloved and dear workmate, Sister Sarah Smith, who died during the heat of the Ebola crisis. Sister Sarah was a strong, hardworking staff member of CBL,” Mr. Kekula said.He noted that this was the best time to give thanks to God and to recognize the late Sister Smith.He said the late Sister Smith was the only person that the CBL lost to the deadly Ebola virus.  Mr. Kerkula expressed his deepest condolences to others who also lost loved ones, family members and friends to the EVD.“We have also decided to give a purse to the family of the late Smith as a way of remembering our own staff who was very diligent in service delivery. We lost someone that was willing to give all her time to the CBL, especially working in the banking department,” he added.All the staff of the CBL as well as some family members who attended the thanksgiving service prayed that God would continue to bless the CBL family.   “The CBL continues to ensure that its staff are active in delivering the required services to the people of Liberia,” noted Mr. Kekula.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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US$31M Sheriff St-Mandela Ave road upgrade to commence

first_imgWork on the Sheriff Street-to-Mandela Avenue road enhancement project is set to commence sometime this month, after years of being delayed by various technicalities.The Public Infrastructure Ministry (MPI) has said a US$31.03 million contract for the project had been awarded to Sinohydro Corporation Ltd back in November 2017, and the contract was signed the following month.The two-year project, which will cover approximately seven kilometres of road, is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and involves the following works: relocation of utilities, lane and shoulder improvements, placement of sidewalks and paved shoulders, traffic signals, traffic signs, streetlights, drainage, a pedestrian overhead walkway, culverts, bridges, and a roundabout.Residents living close to the road, as well as road users generally and the wider community, may be inconvenienced by traffic delays, dust, and general construction activities during the period of construction, the MPI has cautioned.“The Ministry wishes to emphasise that these impacts will be temporary, and will be constantly monitored to ensure their minimisation. The Ministry advises that persons take all necessary precautions (in negotiating that stretch of road while it is undergoing upgrade),” it added.Coordinator of the MPI’s Works Services Group (WSG), Geoffrey Vaughn, said Last month that the contractor has been mobilising and conducting preliminary works before the project commences.The IDB had, earlier last year, revised the scope of works on this road project, putting it on hold and delaying the opening of tenders for the project. This was done following discussions entered into with the Ministry of Finance aimed at achieving completion of the project before the loan deadline set by the IDB had expired.Initially, Loan-2741 was signed in 2012 to the tune of US$66 million, with a completion deadline of March 2018.The revised scope, which is anticipated to cost US$35 million, would include the relocation of utilities, for which the GTT and the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) have been contracted.The initial project was tendered twice: first in 2014, and then again in 2015, both times under the previous administration. On the second occasion, tenders were returned in May 2015, as none of the contractors was deemed responsive.The Public Infrastructure Ministry said last year that several of the internationally funded projects were unable to get a start in 2016, and the Sheriff Street-to-Mandela Avenue project was one of those that did not get off ground as anticipated.It was explained that Government had decided to have a review of this project with it being nullified twice, once in 2015 and then in 2016.“It was basically sent up for review, which has been completed; and that should be out for tendering at the end of this month, once we receive all the no-objections,” Geoffrey Vaughn of the MPI had noted.The review was conducted by the WSG Design Unit along with the consultant firm Egis, in association with SRK Engineering.last_img read more

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Does Big Science Know What Science Is?

first_imgHow well do the leaders of the world’s major scientific institutions understand the nature of science?  This rather audacious question is occasioned by recent statements by scientific leaders that might raise the eyebrows of some philosophers of science.    No serious philosopher of science denies the benefits wrought by medicine, physics, chemistry and biology; after all, science took us to the moon.  But “Science is one of those troublesome nouns that seems to convey too little by standing for too much,” said philosopher Daniel J. Robinson in a lecture on philosophy of science.1  A philosopher with a deep respect for science, Robinson nonetheless went on to illustrate widespread disagreement among the world’s foremost philosophers of science as to just what it is, and how science can be distinguished from non-science.  Though few would see trouble classifying physics and chemistry as sciences, what about economics, political science, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and what earlier generations referred to as moral science?  Because of its many achievements, the word science has taken on an aura of honor and authority that can be misconstrued, as with the cults of Christian Science, Science of Mind, and Scientology.  Yet the need for precise definitions and criteria are often overlooked by practicing scientists.  Without clarity, using a broad-brush term like science can obscure rather than enlighten a discussion.    Much of the controversy over the status of Intelligent Design (ID) revolves around the definition of science.  This came to the forefront in the Kansas school board decision to change the definition from “natural explanations for phenomena” (05/18/2005) to “explanations for natural phenomena” (11/08/2005)  To many evolutionists, this was a sneaky way for creationists to open the door for “supernatural” explanations in science.  Bruce Alberts, former president of the National Academy of Sciences now at UC San Francisco, underscored that point of contention forcefully in a commentary in Cell about science education that he gave the alarming title, “A Wakeup Call for Science Faculty.”2 We have recently received a wakeup call.  A new survey finds that two-thirds of Americans agree with some of our political leaders that “intelligent design theory” should be taught as an alternative scientific explanation of biological evolution.  What does this mean?  According to intelligent design theory, supernatural forces acting over time have intervened to shape the macromolecules in cells, thereby forming them into the elegant protein machines that drive a cell’s biochemistry (Alberts, 1998).  In other words, at least from time to time, living things fail to obey the normal laws of physics and chemistry. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)The 1998 reference was to his earlier paper in Cell titled, “The cell as a collection of protein machines: preparing the next generation of molecular biologists,” in which Alberts said, “the entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines” (01/09/2002).  This quote got him into some trouble because it has been widely quoted by intelligent design proponents.  Clearly, Alberts and other evolutionary biologists do not dispute the existence of biological machinery that looks designed; the question is whether these natural objects can have natural explanations.  The quotation above also begs the question whether intelligence (the explanatory agent in “intelligent design”) necessarily denotes a “supernatural force,” or to what extent intervention can be natural, unnatural, or supernatural.    “Natural,” too, is one of those words with multiple meanings, depending on the context.  Intellectual historian Alan Charles Kors demonstrated this point by listing several ways the word “nature” has been used historically in science and philosophy.3  Most scientists assume that nature refers to anything empirically observed: anything not “supernatural” is “natural,” in this view.  But nature can also mean a statistical norm: i.e., the usual action or behavior of something: for instance, it is natural for parents to care for their children.  Natural in this sense can have moral content and is not necessarily the opposite of supernaturalism.  “Finally,” his notes state, “we can understand nature as essence (that which distinguishes the creature from all other things).”  For example, when humans use their distinguishing faculty called reason to interact with the world, that behavior can be called natural; failing to use reason would certainly not be considered supernatural, but rather unnatural.    That raises additional questions.  Does reason qualify as a “natural” phenomenon?  If it is subsumed under the laws of chemistry and physics alone, is it really reason?  Or does the observation of unnatural things fall within the realm of science?  Scientists can quickly fall into traps when trying to define science and natural too narrowly.  They might rule existing scientific studies, like abnormal psychology (11/13/2005), out of court, or even deny the validity of their own conclusions.  Yet the black-and-white meanings sufficed for Alberts to rule out intelligent design by definition.  Having summarily dispensed with ID, he appealed to emotional arguments to suggest that only evolutionary biology can cure cancer:Teaching intelligent design theory in science class would demand nothing less than a complete change in the definition of science.  This definition would give those of us who are scientists an “easy out” for the difficult problems we are trying to solve in our research.  For example, why spend a lifetime, constrained by the laws of physics and chemistry, trying to obtain a deep understanding of how cells accumulate mutations and become cancerous if one can postulate a supernatural step for part of the process?  Yet we can be certain that, without the deep understanding that will eventually come from insisting on natural explanations, many powerful cancer therapies will be missed.This argument, however, also begs the question whether physical and chemical laws fully explain biological behavior, such as how cells accumulate mutations and become cancerous.  With computers, by analogy, it is clear that the silicon, plastic, glass and metal are “natural” (empirically observable) objects subject to the laws of chemistry and physics – drop a computer from a height, and it will fall at 32 feet per second per second and obey the second law of thermodynamics – yet an important part of the “nature” of the computer, its essence as a device to run intelligently-designed software, would be overlooked.  Knowing the physics and chemistry of the hardware would not help debug the software.    In biology, mathematically-precise laws are hard to come by.  The Harvard Law states cynically, “Given precise conditions of heat, pressure and temperature, the organism does what it darn well pleases.”  Physics and biology are both classed as sciences, but the latter envies the elegant and deterministic equations of the former.  Even Mendel’s equations of inheritance and the Hardy-Weinberg Law are statistical in nature, with many exceptions.  The attempt to formalize evolutionary theory with mathematical rigor is fraught with problems and anomalies (see 10/26/2005, 10/01/2005, 08/19/2005).  Conversely, modern theoretical physicists delve into questions not amenable to observation, like string theory and multiverses, and even write elegant equations about conceptual frameworks that might be dubbed “super”natural (because they lack empirical verification even in principle).  To Alberts, however, more dogmatic assertions and emotional appeals suffice to restate the obvious, provided the words science and natural are left undefined:The idea that intelligent design theory could be part of science is preposterous.  It is of course only by insisting on finding natural causes for everything observed in nature that science has been able to make such striking advances over the past 500 years.  There is absolutely no reason to think that we should give up this fundamental principle of science now.  Two-thirds of Americans might seem to have no real idea of what science is, nor why it has been so uniquely successful in unraveling the truth about the natural world.  As I write, the Kansas State Board of Education has just changed the definition of science in revisions to the Kansas State Science Standards to one that does not include “natural explanations” for natural phenomena.  What more proof do we need for the massive failure of our past teaching of biology, physics, chemistry, and earth sciences at high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the United States?Sparing Dr. Alberts the additional challenge of defining the words truth and reason, it seems premature to expect readers of Cell to charge out on his proposed crusade without knowing where they are going.  He called on scientists to “completely redesign our undergraduate introductory science courses, so that all students come into direct contact with science as inquiry and are forced to develop their own understanding of what science is, and what it is not.”  Alberts praised the approach of teaching “science as inquiry,” which stresses the finding answers rather than memorizing rote facts.  This will be the demise of Intelligent Design, he assures: “It is through the careful analysis of why intelligent design is not science that students can perhaps best come to appreciate the nature of science itself.”  This seems to do little more than reinforce definitions: we define science in such a way that intelligent design is not science, and that explains the nature of science – i.e., the only alternative, methodological naturalism.  The reason why inquiry should be restricted to natural causes, furthermore, he failed to make clear.    Throughout 2005, other leaders of large scientific institutions, such as Lord May of the Royal Society (11/30/2005), Alan Leshner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (07/11/2005, 02/11/2005), and the editors of Science and Nature (09/28/2005, 08/13/2005, 08/10/2005, 05/19/2005, 04/27/2005) have echoed sentiments similar to those of Bruce Alberts (03/24/2005)  Recognizing that early scientists referred to themselves as “natural philosophers,” perhaps this demonstrates the evolutionary principle of allopatric speciation by geographical isolation between the science and philosophy departments.  Or was that by design?1Daniel J. Robinson, “Philosophy of science,” The Great Ideas of Philosophy, The Teaching Company, 2002.2Bruce Alberts, “Commentary: A Wakeup Call to Science Faculty,” Cell, Vol 123, 739-741, 2 December 2005.3Alan Charles Kors, lecture 18, “Bishop Joseph Butler and God’s Providence,” The Birth of the Modern Mind, The Teaching Company, 1998.It is probably common for scientists to go through their entire educational career without a single philosophy of science class.  Elementary and junior high schools often teach a Baconian view: just collect lots of facts, make observations, write a hypothesis, test it, take notes, and produce a science project to attract the attention of the judges and give Mom and Dad something to brag about.  High school science is similar; science is what the textbook says and what scientists do.  The budding scientist goes right into the university and starts taking calculus, astrophysics, biology or whatever, gets a degree, narrows his or her studies in grad school, gets a PhD, gets a job, and goes into a career – all without knowing what science is.    Your commentator took years of science classes where the definition of science and nature were just assumed, or else were given simplistic Elizabethan definitions with no mention of the subsequent revolutions.  The work consisted of math and word problems, homework, tests, experiments, memorization, projects, term papers and the like; rare was the teacher or professor who ever asked what is science?.  This pattern was given a jolt in a one-semester elective on Philosophy of Science.  The professor began by listing half a dozen well-known scientific facts on the chalkboard and proceeded to tell the class how all of them were untrue.  He also brought up disturbing questions about how we know what we know, how much the experimental apparatus perturbs the phenomenon under investigation, whether models accurately reflect reality, and why new theories have such a hard time getting a hearing.  This professor was also fond of pointing out how few scientists he knew actually thought about such questions.  Scientists, in general, hate philosophers.  They don’t like someone telling them what they can or cannot do.  Philosophers upset their equilibrium.  They hurt their self-esteem.  They react in a huff, “It takes a scientist to know what science is.”  Yet even feeling that way presupposes a philosophy of science.    To be sure, scientists have an impressive track record like space travel, cures for infectious disease and the Human Genome Project (11/20/2005) to argue that what they are doing explains reality and produces useful results.  The problem is that these known successes are fairly limited to present-day, empirically-observable and repeatable phenomena.  Science Departments are not content to restrict their inquiries to these.  They want control of mind, psychology of morals and religion (Robert Winston, 10/13/2005), art, history, the origin and destiny of the universe and even of alternate universes.  They would push the Humanities off-campus if they could.  Runaway reductionist science needs the checks and balances provided by philosophers, ethicists, historians and yes, even theologians.  The question “what is science?” is not itself a scientific question.  It is a question of philosophy about science.  That raises serious questions about whether science can explain itself, as in the evolutionary literature that routinely expects to derive human rationality ultimately from hydrogen.  These scientists fail to recognize the self-refuting nature of that line of inquiry.  A self-refuting statement is false by definition.  C.S. Lewis (of Narnia fame) once said, “A strict materialism refutes itself for the reason given by Professor Haldane: ‘If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true… and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.’ ”  Metaphysics, therefore, must precede physics; the logical positivists, who wanted to rid science of metaphysics, were hopelessly stalled.  One must have an ontology (philosophy of being) and epistemology (philosophy of knowing) before one can even do science.    The extreme scientism of the 1930s short-circuited itself when enough philosophers recognized that the proposition “only things empirically verifiable are real” was not itself empirically verifiable.  This episode represents one of many revolutions in philosophy of science.  The early Baconian model of science was found to be incomplete; scientists began emphasizing experimentation and repeatability, but this, too, did not always lead to new fundamental insights.  Scientists realized they needed to be able to make predictions.  That, however, led to some pseudoscientific practices that seemed to succeed at their predictions, while other legitimate models garnered only probabilistic correlations.  Karl Popper argued for the falsification criterion.  Yet how much falsification is enough, and by whom?  A theory is not often abandoned just because one critic claims to have falsified it, especially if a rival.  Evolutionary theory itself seems to outlast numerous falsifications, whether from the fossil record, speciation, Haldane’s Dilemma or irreducible complexity.  Thomas Kuhn proposed the controversial view that science had the character of a guild, with members reinforcing one another’s beliefs until a younger generation could overthrow the reigning paradigm.  Carl Hempel tried to define science according to the logical form of its explanations and the class of events to be explained, but this leaves out many areas assumed to be legitimate subjects for scientific inquiry, and permits spurious explanations without valid causal content.  Others argue that an explanation must be evaluated in the context of who asked the question, or that models only reflect simulations of reality, not reality itself.  Philosophers of science still argue these and many more issues.    In short, as J. P. Moreland (Biola) has argued, there are no demarcation criteria for science that succeed in excluding all forms of pseudoscience while simultaneously including all disciplines recognized as valid by scientists.  The field permits contests at all levels among advocates of this or that subject, either wanting to gain the respectability of science, or wanting to exclude others from that respectability.  Moreland argued that the primary success of the Darwinian revolution was to redefine science to exclude theology out of hand, and thus claim that all prior scientists who had been doing their work based on belief in a Creator were doing religion and not science, by definition.  This explains much about the efforts by Big Science to exclude intelligent design.  It’s no longer necessary to play a fair game when you have disqualified your opponent.  Big Science, for example, gives approval to the methods of design inference in cryptography, forensics, archaeology and SETI (12/03/2005), but wants to exclude them by fiat from biology.  “The great obstacle to the progress of our understanding is always complacency,” said Robinson.  “A fundamentalist ‘scientism’ risks developing a hostility – at least an indifference – toward criticism, and thus it risks depriving itself of its own traditional sources of inspiration.”    It is also unwise to ignore the role of personality in scientific disputes.  Science is, after all, a human invention, performed by fallible humans.  Bruce Alberts was not acting as Dr. Cool, Objective Scientist in his “wakeup call.”  He displayed the same human emotions and biases to which we are all prone.  Due to our finiteness, human science must always remain incomplete and tentative, its explanations judged for their utility rather than their ability to answer ultimate questions.  Surely sciences exist and pseudosciences exist.  We do, after all, fly space ships and treat disease.  Science must be doing something right; at some levels, it must have attained a reliable correspondence with the real world.  At the other extreme, nobody wants pyramidology or astrology labs competing in the university science department.  Yet the boundaries are not as sharp as Alberts draws them, or else he would have to admit that much of evolutionary theory and cosmology fail the definition.  Whether “supernaturalism” or “interventionism” are fair characterizations, or are illegitimate subjects for scientists to consider, become moot on closer inspection.  The history of science is filled with religiously devout people who believed that understanding nature was understanding the mind of God.  Newton himself was delighted that his theories helped to refute atheism.  Both lecturers for The Teaching Company’s series on the history of science have stated without hesitation that the picture of a “warfare of religion vs science” is a myth.  They both illustrated with many examples how belief in God and his creative design were instrumental in gaining new insights into the workings of nature.  A new book by Rodney Stark makes that case as well (see The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success on Amazon.com and Human Events).  Stark shows how the Christian commitment to rational theology were absolutely essential in the rise of science.  It can safely be assumed that each of these Christian practitioners of science believed in the essence of “intelligent design.”  This makes it hard to take seriously Alberts’ wakeup call that the sky is falling if intelligent design gets [back] into biology (consider Linnaeus for one example).    We shortchange students by shielding them from these questions and giving them a spoon-fed, black-and-white picture of science vs. religion, natural vs. supernatural, and other shallow concepts based on false dichotomies.  The history of science is one of vibrant debates and controversies.  Philosophy of science has undergone many revolutions, and is still embroiled in debates between realists and anti-realists, rationalists and materialists, and scholars who actively dispute what is scientific and what is not.  Alberts, even though he has been a leader in calling biologists to recognize the machine-like nature of living cells, is characterizing the debate over intelligent design emotionally and dogmatically, begging these questions in a way that shields Darwinists from critical scrutiny and competition.  Is it not the Darwinians who teach that competition and struggle has produced all the complexity and beauty of life?  It is only by teaching the controversy that students will escape a shallow conception of this human enterprise called science that has amassed so much moral authority in our modern world.  Anything less is serfdom to the oligarchy Phillip Johnson has called the Mandarins of Science.  Anything less is bound to turn Big Science’s dogmatic views on origins into an unaccountable, self-perpetuating paradigm.  Daniel Robinson ended his lecture on philosophy of science by taking off on a rocket:Getting to the moon and back is largely the work of rockets, once the basic laws and the necessary engineering have been worked out.  And so the question that survives, even in the wake of such a momentous achievement, is whether those laws, and that engineering, are drawn from a culture, so to speak, that is to have pride of place in assessing all of reality.  The word itself “reality” presupposes a percipient.  It’s not a sophist trick to ask, “Whose reality?” or, “Reality in relation to what?”  The aim throughout is to understand the setting of our own lives, at once physical, social, political, and moral.  And it remains to be debated whether ultimate authority in these respects is held by science.(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Hate violence must end: Mbeki

first_imgBathandwa Mbola and Nthambeleni GabaraPresident Thabo Mbeki has called for the recent attacks on foreign nationals living in South Africa to come to an end.Anger over unemployment and crime sparked an outbreak of xenophobic violence in Gauteng province, leaving at least 22 people dead. Up to three million foreigners are thought to be in living in South Africa.Some 6 000 people, many of them Zimbabweans, have been displaced after being evicted from their homes by mobs. Many have sought refuge in police stations, churches and community halls.“Citizens from other countries on the African continent and beyond are as human as we are and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity,” Mbeki said in a statement on Monday.“Our humanism as a people enjoins all of us to respect, care, cooperate and act in solidarity with others regardless of their nationality.”Mbeki said the police would do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to book. “Nothing can justify it. The law-enforcement agencies must and will respond with the requisite measures against anyone found to be involved in these attacks.”The police have been forced to use rubber bullets to bring crowds to order, and have maintained a heavy presence in hot spots, including Katlehong, Diepsloot, Thokoza, Thembisa, Vosloorus, Makause, Hillbrow, Honeydew, Primrose and Ramaphosa informal settlements.The attacks have also spread to KwaThema, Tsakane, Wattville and Daveyton.After a meeting with the management of the South African Police Service (SAPS) on Monday, Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Perumal Naidoo resolved that decisive police operations would be launched to counter the attacks.Acting National Police Commissioner Tim Williams said strong action would be taken against perpetrators, and that any person or group convening meetings with the intention of inciting violence and criminality would be arrested and prosecuted.Additional police service members with experience and training in high-risk situations would be deployed in Gauteng, Williams said.The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality is currently accommodating 11 000 displaced people at civic centres throughout the metro area. They are being provided with security, blankets, food and health services.The municipality has formed a joint operation centre with key departments, including the Metro Police, SAPS, disaster management, health, infrastructure services, housing and emergency services to closely look at the violence and future interventions.The Salvation Army, Red Cross, Gift of the Givers, various churches and other organisations, as well as the Gauteng provincial government, have been providing blankets, food, and sanitation to help alleviate victims’ suffering.Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town’s Metro Police said on Monday that they would act firmly against anyone who participated in attacks against foreign nationals. Bongani Jonas, Chief of Metro Police, said the law enforcement agencies had a duty to protect the lives and property of all who resided in the country.“We have noted with great concern that the perpetrators of these attacks did not hesitate to use live ammunition against unarmed and defenceless people,” Jonas added. “Such acts will be met with the full might of the law.”Source: SouthAfrica.info and BuaNewslast_img read more

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South African Airways makes progress

first_imgPassenger volumes are up at the national carrier, while output is down, according to the acting chief executive.The next step for SAA is to try to get a more rewards-driven performance system in place. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)Brand South Africa reporterThe implementation of the long-term turnaround strategy at South African Airways (SAA) had seen the airline make real progress, acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout said today.“What we’ve seen in the April and May months, despite market demand being soft, was that SAA has grown its passenger volumes by 6%, with output reduced by 2%,” he said, although he was quick to add that “performance and consequence management has not been traditionally strong” at the airline.SAA is continuing to implement network changes, with the cancellation of direct flights to Mumbai and Beijing announced earlier this year having a positive effect on the company’s finances.“We are utilising the seats better and selling available seats. We’re seeing that across our network, including on the international side, where we are no longer suffering the losses we were [before].”New routesSAA has concluded a new code-share agreement with Africa World Airlines, in which four flights a week from Johannesburg will pass through Accra in Ghana and go on to Washington. Consequently, the Johannesburg-Dhaka-Washington route will be reduced to three times a week, with four direct flights a week from Johannesburg to Dhaka.The new Johannesburg-Accra-Washington route would create a R100-million benefit for SAA, Bezuidenhout said.The airline had made capacity adjustments in the domestic market, such as to the Durban-Johannesburg route. These adjustments had freed up capacity that could be used to grow SAA’s African capacity, he said.Destinations such as Harare, Kinshasa and Mauritius had benefited as a result, and the airline was focused on growing its network revenue into Africa. “On the African side, no other changes are expected in the short and medium term.”HeadcountThe airline continued to focus on cost reduction two months into the current fiscal year, he said.“Our costs declined by 14% [which is] in part driven by previous savings on fuel costs. Having said that, fuel costs savings. would have been negatively impacted by the weakening of the rand.“We’ve continued focusing on managing our headcount and we’ve made good progress on re-engineering [it] overall.” This process is about 50% complete, but Bezuidenhout hopes it will be concluded by September.The intention is to achieve this without retrenchments as much as possible, through mechanisms such as early retirement. He said SAA should be able to reduce the headcount by 8% to 10%. “What’s not easy is to tell somebody they no longer have a job. We’ve tried our utmost to not have a negative impact in that way,” he said.“We have continued employing a process of renegotiating existing supply contracts, that range from IT supply to costs of the snacks that you are may be having today [at the news briefing]. All of this is continuing to help us reduce our overall cost bill of 14% for the period.“Beyond that we continued to focus on the governance of the business, from procurement to policy requirements.”In some cases this resulted in disciplinary action but it was a means of getting the business “watertight”. “It’s tough enough to earn a cent in this business and I’m not going to lose it due to underhand practices,” Bezuidenhout said.Performance systemIn his opinion the reason SAA had failed to implement good plans was because “performance and consequence management has not been traditionally strong. From that stand point, personal performance contracts and robust consequence management becomes very important.”The next step for SAA was to try to get a more rewards-driven performance system in place.“At Mango, when I’m there, in a given year I earn more than any CEO in the [local] industry – provided that we reach our target. And if we double our target I will get well paid. However, if we don’t reach our target, I am the worst-paid CEO in the industry,” Bezuidenhout said.“If we can get something similar back into SAA, no matter how we look at things, human beings are motivated by reward systems.”Source: News24WireWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

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UAAP 80 Volleyball Preview: La Salle targets three-peat

first_imgJohn Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City “We’re back to zero,” said defending MVP and team captain Mary Joy Baron in Filipino. “The past season’s title will be our motivation because we know we have to defend the championship.”“But the team will have a new composition, Michelle [Cobb] will now be our setter, so for me everything’s back to zero,” added Baron.Cobb, who is on her second year, will take on the place Fajardo, who won three Best Setter awards.Baron and the other veterans, though, promised to make it easy for Cobb to transition from a substitute to the team’s main playmaker.“They [the veterans] were very flexible towards their relationship with me,” said Cobb. “They’re adjusting and they’re always telling me that if I draw the ire of coach Ramil [De Jesus] they’ll just keep motivating me and telling me that I am part of the backbone of the team.”ADVERTISEMENT NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Beau Belga not slowing down despite trade rumors AFP official booed out of forum Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Head coach: Ramil De JesusLast Season: 11-3 (no.2 seed, champion)Key holdovers: Mary Joy Baron, Kianna Dy, Dawn Macandili, Desiree Cheng, Aduke OgunsanyaKey loss: Kim FajardoADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ De La Salle is gunning for its third straight title in the UAAP women’s volleyball championship, but such a daunting task isn’t new for the mighty Lady Spikers.The last team to successfully go on a three-peat was La Salle when the girls in green-and-white won the big trophy from Seasons 73 to 75.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAnd the Lady Spikers have set their sights on a sixth championship in eight years, the most titles in an eight-year period since University of Santo Tomas won seven straight from 1985 to 1991.La Salle, however, will go into Season 80 on a new slate especially after the iconic setter Kim Fajardo graduated in 2017. 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting LATEST STORIES Read Next Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Kianna Dy, Season 78’s Finals MVP, was there for Cobb when things got too difficult for the sophomore setter.“I actually told her that her style of play is different from ate Kim’s so we don’t necessarily want her to be exactly like ate Kim,” said Dy. “She has her own strengths, her own weaknesses, ate Kim has her won strengths and her own weaknesses.”“I just tell her to do her best and that we’re all behind her and that she’s not alone,” added Dy.And with the veterans showing support for their young 18-year-old setter, another figurehead in the team is confident La sale won’t go down easily.Dawn Macandili, who was named as the 2nd Best Libero in the 2017 AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship, promised La Salle would be there until the very end to defend the crown.“My confidence is really high right now with this team,” said Macandili in Fiipino. “My teammates are there, my coaches are there to throw us their support no matter what so I’m really confident we’ll go a long way this year.” Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View commentslast_img read more

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Ind vs Eng: Rains dash India’s hopes in Chester-le-Street

first_imgIt seems Team India’s fortunes have hit rock bottom. For this was the least that Dhoni & Co would have expected during the first ODI at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street, England, on Saturday. Score | PhotosAfter posting a competitive 274 runs of board, thanks to an impressive 95-run innings by opener Parthiv Patel, India had scalped two England wickets early and were poised for a fine finish when rains dashed their hopes.England were 27/2 with Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell at the crease when heavy rains forced the covers on. Once on, the covers remained put as the showers continued to lash the Riverside Ground till the final cut off time. Meanwhile, India’s injury list increased with Rohit Sharma fracturing his finger in the match.England won the toss and elected to bowl andmuch to the delight of the India fans India openers Parthiv Patel and Ajinkaya Rahane got off to a cautious start but gradually upped the tempo scoring boundaries and quick singles.Parthiv and Rahane were opening as regular openers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were unavailable. While Sehwag, who has yet to recover from his long-standing shoulder injury, opted out citing labyrinthithis of the left ear (sic) and Tendulkar was out with a persistent toe-injury.However, the two didn’t let the loss have an effect on the run rate and continued to bat at ease even as the scoreboard kept ticking.Soon India score crossed 80. But England were not undone and Stuart Broad came around to get rid of Rahane on 40. A short ball from Broad that was pulled by Rahane failed to clear the boundary and Samit Patel took a good catch in the fine-leg region. India lost their first wicket on 82 in the 16th over. advertisementBut Broad wasn’t finished yet. He came around to get rid of ‘The Wall’ Rahul Dravid cheaply. The ball took a thin edge off his bat to land in wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter’s gloves. He fell for two and India lost their second wicket on 87. However, the decision was a controversial one as the Hot Spot did not pick the edge and the third umpire decided on the basis of sound.Post that wicket, Parthiv Patel batted steadily at the Riverside Ground and he had Virat Kohli by his side to assist him in his efforts. He crossed his fifty without much effort and then went on for his ton. Unfortunately, he fell five runs short of his century.A James Anderson ball that was pitched wide from around the stumps invited a faint nick from Parthiv and keeper Kieswetter did the rest. India lost their third wicket on 190. His 95 runs were punctuated by 12 fours. He and Kohli put on 103 runs for the third wicket.Post Parthiv’s fall, Kohli too could not stay for long and an inside edge off Samit Patel crashed into his stumps dislodging his bails. He fell for 55 and India lost their fourth wicket on 206.Post that Rohit Sharma came down to bat but returned after the very first ball that he faced. He got hit by a Stuart Broad delivery in the 38th over. He received some attention from the physio and grimaced when the swollen index finger on his right hand was touched. He felt the field immediately and went to the hospital, where scans revealed a fracture.Later, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni batted on to increase the figures on the scoreboard, but at death Raina lost his wicket to Jade Dernbach on 38 when the team total was 266.Skipper Dhoni and tail-ender R Ashwin fell in the last over of the innings as India posted a competitive 274/7 on board.In reply England lost their opener Alastair Cook early with a Praveen Kumar ball taking the inside edge of his bat and crashing into his stumps when the total was just six.Praveen struck again to get rid of Craig Kieswetter, trapping him leg-before when the England score was 21.Soon enough the players were seen walking off and the pitch being covered to ward off the showers. Finally, the match was called off when the England total was 27/2 with Trott and Bell in the middle.last_img read more

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