HKS’s Kokkalis program to offer executive training in Greece

first_imgThe Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Kokkalis Program on Southeast and East-Central Europe, which strives to support individuals committed to invigorating the public sector in Southeastern and East-Central Europe by providing fellowships for study at HKS, will host a four-day HKS executive training program May 31-June 3 titled “Leading, Innovating and Negotiating: Critical Strategies for Public Sector Executives.”The program, designed exclusively for senior professionals in the public and nonprofit sectors in Southeast and East-Central Europe, will offer participants analytical and problem-solving tools that are critical for advancing individual and organizational goals and vital for generating, managing, and leveraging innovation in an era of growing global complexity.Administered by the Kokkalis Program, the executive training program will take place in Athens, Greece, at the Athens Information Technology institute (AIT).The deadline for applications is April 26. For more information and application instructions, visit the HKS Executive Education Web site.last_img read more

Remi Garde mulls over Aston Villa’s captain contenders

first_img Villa need a leader to help them claw their way out of danger and Press Association Sport assesses who could be Garde’s skipper at Villa ahead of his first game in charge against Manchester City on Sunday. Brad Guzan Aside from the departed Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph the keeper has been Villa’s most consistent performer over recent seasons. He has saved them countless points and helped keep their heads above the Barclays Premier League water. This season he has not been at his imperious best – a mistake in the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea gifted the hosts their first goal – but he has certainly not been alone. There has been precious little he could have done with most of the goals with Villa’s porous defence parting in front of him. Guzan is certainly a contender and one of the players who has led by example and taken the pressure off the dressing room in public during the last few years. Chances: 7/10 Gabby Agbonlahor The club’s longest-serving current player who has been at Villa Park since 2004 and he captained them at White Hart Lane. Questions, though, have been justifiably raised about his form and quality. He managed just eight touches of the ball in Monday’s 3-1 defeat to Tottenham – two from kick-offs – and was substituted at half-time to underline his lack of impact. He has skippered the side before and remains one of their most loyal players but the forward needs to focus on recapturing his form first before being given the chance to lead the team out again. Chances: 4/10 Micah Richards Villa’s current captain and the likely favourite to retain it but his suspension against Tottenham on Monday saw it pass to Agbonlahor. It will be interesting to see whether the defender wins the armband back against former club Manchester City on Sunday. What could count against him are his actions following the 2-1 defeat to Swansea which triggered his ban. Richards failed to keep a cool head during the game when he clashed with Federico Fernandez and, at the final whistle, let his temper boil over in the tunnel. Villa need to keep their composure during their fight. Chances 8/10 Joleon Lescott He was supposed to be the man who plugged the gap in defence when he signed for his boyhood club in the summer. Instead, he has looked a shadow of the player who helped cement Everton as a top side and won the title with Manchester City. But there is no doubting his leadership qualities and he has the experience to help advise a squad which is chronically low on confidence following seven straight defeats. Villa need to see the real Joleon Lescott and giving him the captaincy could prove a masterstroke from Garde if it inspires Lescott and those around him. Chances: 7/10 Jack Grealish A wildcard pick and perhaps unlikely but the 20-year-old could be a skipper in the making. His form has dipped recently and any talk of an England call up – now that he has declared his allegiance – should be miles away but Grealish has bonded with the fans. He is seen as their great hope and after coming through the academy ranks knows exactly what it means to be a supporter in these desperate times. The captaincy may come around to him eventually and Garde has nurtured young stars in France so Grealish could flourish under him but he will have to prove himself on the pitch first. Chances: 2/10 New boss Remi Garde will know the size of his task at Aston Villa after watching their 3-1 defeat at Tottenham on Monday, which kept them rooted at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Tourist buddies for World Cup

first_imgKwaZulu-Natal will train 1 500 touristbuddies who will provide helpful tourisminformation and friendly service to WorldCup visitors. (Image: Chris Kirchhoff, For more freephotos, visit the image library)  KwaZulu-Natal province has launched a R1.5-million (US$205 000) training programme for 1 500 volunteers aptly named “tourist buddies”, who will provide helpful tourism information and friendly service to 2010 Fifa World Cup visitors.The programme was launched on 12 April by the province’s department of economic development and tourism.Speaking at the launch, department minister Mike Mabuyakhulu said, “Our province attracts 1.3-million inbound tourists, but we believe we still have to realise our full tourism potential.”Durban will host seven World Cup matches and expects 100 000 visitors during the tournament. Mabuyakhulu said they want to make the tourists feel welcome and provide quality service to all visitors.“The buddies will be expected to foster the spirit of unconditional, collective hospitality in KwaZulu-Natal by improving the service standard,” he said.The volunteers that are due to undergo training are people from rural areas and those currently working in the hospitality industry. They include hotel staff, car guards, petrol station attendants, and restaurants.“The stark reality is that, given the intense competition from other provinces and other countries, we need to up our game in order to increase our tourism share,” said Mabuyakhulu.“With its fascinating mix of tourist drawcards, KwaZulu-Natal is well positioned to hold its own in the highly-competitive global tourism industry,” he said.According to the department, tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country, and is increasingly providing employment to South Africans.In the period 2008-2009 tourism contributed R83.1-billion ($11.3-million) to the country’s Gross Domestic Products.KwaZulu-Natal contributed an estimated R18.3-billion ($2.5-million) directly to the national economy, and more than R26-billion ($3.5-million) indirectly during this period.This created 83 000 direct and 167 400 indirect employment opportunities.Mabuyakhulu said in order to continue growing the country’s economy and tourism in KwaZulu-Natal, all the people of the province should be tourism ambassadors.Melting the stereotypesThemba Ngobese works at a Durban hotel along the beachfront where most of the province’s top hotels and restaurants are located. “I am hoping to be part of the tourist buddy programme – it would be a great opportunity to be part of this international event, the first African football World Cup,” he said.Ngobese said if South Africans are good to the tourists this would help get rid of the negative stereotypes perpetuated by the media. “There are too many bad things being said about our country leading up to June when the tournament begins. It’s up to us, as the people who will have direct contact with foreign visitors, to prove those stereotypes wrong, and show our visitors the warmth and love that drives Africa.”His co-worker Nontobeko Hlophe agrees. “We are very excited about the World Cup and would love to work with the department to ensure that it is a success.” Hlophe said it is important to make tourists feel safe and welcome in South Africa, particularly in their province, during the World Cup.“If we can do well in accommodating the tourists it would give our province a good rating and tourists will hopefully flock here even after the World Cup.”last_img read more

South African law firm in global alliance

first_img6 December 2012South African law firm Webber Wentzel has signed an agreement to enter a collaborative alliance with global law firm Linklaters, starting in February 2013, the company announced on Tuesday.“The alliance will provide clients with a unique advantage in Africa through the firms’ combined experience, know-how and international and on-the-ground resources,” Linklaters said in a statement.The partnerships will allow both firms to expand their African footprint, as well as enable Webber Wentzel to benefit from Linklaters partners in Asia-Pacific, particularly China, India, Korea, Japan and Australia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.Linklaters also has specialist Africa-focused resources at its core offices in London, Lisbon and Paris.The company was ranked the top international law firm in Africa by Chambers Global 2012, an independent guide to global law firms, and has experience in key traditional sectors in Africa, including energy, mining, infrastructure, telecommunications and financial services.“We are confident that this collaborative alliance will further enable us to build lasting relationships with clients in Africa and those outside looking to invest in this dynamic market,” said Linklaters’ firm-wide managing partner, Simon Davies.Webber Wentzel operates in sectors including mining, banking, insurance, media, property and telecommunications and has clients in over 47 African countries.“Our alliance with Webber Wentzel further strengthens our market-leading service through an enhanced on-the-ground presence and the combining of teams of the best local and international lawyers, and underlines our-long-term commitment to clients doing business across the African continent,” said senior partner at Linklaters, Robert Elliot.“Demand for cross-border legal services continues to grow strongly,” said senior partner at Webber Wentzel, David Lancaster. “This arrangement is consistent with our strategy of helping clients whenever they do business in Africa.“There is huge potential for Africa growth – and therefore legal work – in a large and complex market,” he said.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

At the heart of agriculture is a helping hand

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest This picture is a stump of a Christmas tree I cut down last December on my family’s farm in northwest Ohio. My niece noticed the heart-shape and asked me to take a photo. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it caught my attention later as I scrolled though my phone photos.As I looked at the photo more, I began to see it as a symbol of the farm that is more than just a place of labor or source of income. My heart is in it. The family farm — the soil, weeds, trees, buildings, wet spots, the critters that roam it, all of it — is a part of me. And no matter where I go or what I do, that farm will always be there. I know that most of you feel the same way.Now, imagine that this piece of you — your farm — was devastated despite your best efforts to save it. That is exactly what happened to many farmers in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado when horrific wildfires blackened the landscape to the distant horizon burning more than a million acres and claiming the lives of thousands of cattle. That piece of them that is also their life and their livelihood has been irreparably destroyed.When you read the stories and see the pictures of farmers and ranchers affected by the horrific wildfires in the west, it affects you. It is hard to be a part of the agricultural community and not want to do something. Many Ohioans are, because as it turns out, at the heart of agriculture is a helping hand.Rose Hartschuh and her husband, Greg, farm in Crawford County, where they raise corn, soybeans, and dairy cattle. They are planning a late March trip to the wildfire area to deliver supplies and lend some helping hands to the relief effort.“It really started by reading the stories of these ranchers out west, specifically the ones in Texas who gave their lives protecting their animals. People do not understand how much farmers care about what they do. Those people really demonstrated that in a tangible way. They gave their lives to protect their livestock. I was just feeling like we needed to do something,” Rose said. “We started with a contribution of hay but it seems like there was more we could do if we were going to make the trip clear out there and do some things to make a lasting impact. We put an ask out on Facebook to see who would be interested in joining us and we were blown away by the response. From there we started putting together some plans. We reached out to the Kansas Livestock Association and they have been instrumental in helping us develop a plan for our time in Kansas and help fine tune the details.”The area has already received substantial amounts of hay from farms around the country and now the greatest need may be fencing.“It seems like they have a fairly good supply of hay. There is some need for some trucking to pick up hay and deliver it to where it needs to be. Fencing seems to be the biggest need so we are collecting fencing supplies like t-posts and barbed wire. Another need is cash. A lot of us have the desire to do something physical but money is just as important,” she said. “It sounds like fence building is going to be a pretty big project we are going to undertake. The Livestock Association is going to put us in touch with some ranchers who need help getting back on their feet. We hope while we are there we can make a difference in that way.”As it stands, there is quite a group from Ohio heading to Ashland, Kansas.“We anticipate over 30 vehicles of hay and supplies and 50 volunteers coming from all corners of the state,” Hartschuh said. “Many of the hay haulers will turn right around and head back to their other responsibilities in Ohio. Approximately 25 of us are staying in Kansas with host families to volunteer our time and talents for a few days.”I am very fortunate to be able to go along with the Hartschuh group later this week to help with the effort. Be sure to follow along with me at and the Facebook page. It looks to be a grand adventure to help out on the farms of some folks in need.Any additional donations to the group will be used to fund travel and to pay hauling costs for the Ohio-donated hay. Funds left at the end of the project will be donated directly to the Kansas Livestock Association.“Our plan right now is to pay for our group’s fuel and hopefully lodging there and on the way back, if donations allow,” she said.PayPal donations for the Ohio group can be made at, or checks can be made out to Ohio’s Kansas Rancher Wildfire Relief Efforts and mailed to 6348 Parks Road, Sycamore, OH 44882.Stay tuned.last_img read more

Three women among seven Naxals killed in Chhattisgarh encounter

first_imgSeven Naxals including three women were killed in an encounter with security forces in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district on July 27, police said. The encounter took place in a forest near Tiriya village under Nagarnar police station limits around 4 p.m., said Deputy Inspector General of Police (anti-Naxal operations) Sundarraj. P. A joint team of District Reserve Guard and Special Task Force of State police was out on anti-Naxal operation when the gun battle broke out, he told PTI.last_img

Following Trumps report China urges US to accept its rise

first_imgBEIJING, China – The Chinese government on Tuesday criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to label Beijing a strategic rival and called on Washington to “abandon a Cold War mentality” and accept China’s rise.Trump’s decision reflects a “victory of hardliners” in his administration, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It warned U.S.-Chinese economic relations were likely to face “even more pressure and challenges.”“We urge the United States to stop deliberately distorting China’s strategic intentions and abandon a Cold War mentality,” said a foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying. “Otherwise it will injure others and damage itself.”Trump’s report Monday hit a series of sore spots for Beijing. It affirmed ties with Taiwan, the self-ruled island the mainland government claims as its territory, and pledged to “re-energize our alliances” with Southeast Asian governments, some of which have conflicts with China over claims to portions of the South China Sea.The United States and China share one of the world’s biggest trading relationships and co-operate in areas from clean energy to public health. But Beijing sees Washington as an obstacle to its ambitions to be East Asia’s dominant power, and strains over Taiwan, trade, technology policy and the South China Sea are growing.“It is selfish to put your national interest above other countries’ interest and the mutual interest of the international community,” said the Chinese Embassy in Washington in a statement.“The Chinese side is willing to have peaceful coexistence with all countries,” said the embassy statement. “The United States should also adapt and accept China’s development.”U.S. officials are uneasy about Beijing’s rising military spending — already the second-highest behind Washington. They see President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative,” a project to build railways and other infrastructure across countries from Asia to Europe and Africa, as part of efforts to erode American influence and nurture a China-centred political structure.Especially sensitive is Taiwan, the democratic island Beijing has declared a “core interest” over which it will go to war, if necessary.Trump’s report promises to “maintain our strong ties with Taiwan” and provide for its “legitimate defence needs.”China has taken a tougher stance toward Taiwan since last year’s election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to endorse Beijing’s contention that Taiwan is part of the Chinese nation. Chinese commentators speculate on the possible need for military steps to put pressure on Tsai.After Trump signed a law this month that opened the way for U.S. Navy ships to visit Taiwan, a Chinese diplomat quoted by state media said the mainland would attack the day that happened.Trump’s report doesn’t change Washington’s official stance but might aggravate tensions if Taiwanese who want formal independence see it as sign of U.S. support and “want to take advantage of it,” said Xiong Zhiyong, a U.S. relations expert at China Foreign Affairs University.“The Chinese government is also anxious,” said Xiong. He said the Chinese diplomat’s remark is a “warning out of real worry that something may happen unexpectedly.”Hua, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, urged Washington to stick to diplomatic commitments on how to handle Taiwan.On Monday, Chinese warplanes flew around Taiwan in what the military said was a test of their “ocean combat ability.” Taiwan’s defence ministry said Japan launched fighter planes to track the Chinese aircraft, but the Japanese government would not confirm that.Trump’s report promises to “re-energize our alliances” with governments including the Philippines and Vietnam, which have conflicting territorial claims with Beijing in the South China Sea. It also pledges to expand military co-operation with India, a country Beijing sees as a rival.The report emphasized economic security and repeated complaints that China steals technology and uses “economic inducements” to persuade other governments to serve its strategic interests.It proposes restricting visas to prevent intellectual property theft by foreigners, particularly Chinese, who travel to the United States to study science, engineering, math and technology.Foreign business groups in China report that companies are increasingly frustrated with market barriers and other restrictions they say violate Beijing’s free-trade promises.The report is another abrupt turn in Trump’s stance toward Beijing, which has veered between blistering criticism on trade and currency and optimism about co-operation on North Korea and other problems.“China seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, expand the reaches of its state-driven economic model, and reorder the region in its favour,” the report says.In April, Trump announced that he was setting aside complaints about trade and currency in hopes of winning Chinese co-operation on North Korea. U.S. officials resumed criticizing Beijing in July.Trump switched back to friendly overtures during a visit to Beijing in November. He said the two sides could solve most of the world’s problems if they co-operated.The Global Times, a newspaper published by the ruling Communist Party, said the report “reflects Washington’s reluctance to accept the reality of China’s rise.”“It is impossible for the United States to restrain China,” said the newspaper, known for its nationalistic tone. “As China continues to grow and its influence continues to spill over, this is the root cause of Washington’s anxiety.”___Associated Press researcher Yu Bing contributed to this report.last_img read more

Woodfibre LNG construction to start in 2019

first_imgThe company has sold 100 percent of the output from phase one of the project.Woodfibre LNG is the owner of the Woodfibre LNG Project, which is a planned LNG processing and export facility at the former Woodfibre pulp mill site, about seven kilometres southwest of Squamish, British Columbia.  The Woodfibre LNG Project has a storage capacity of 250,000 m3 and is licensed to export approximately 2.1 million tonnes of LNG per year for 40 years.Woodfibre LNG is expected to cost $1.6 billion and could be up and running by 2025. VANCOUVER, B.C. – Reuters is reporting Woodfibre LNG will start constructing in early 2019.Woodfibre LNG President David Keane told the publication they are hoping to move to a notice to proceed to construction in the first quarter of 2019.  Keane said, “It will be sometime in February or March.”Woodfibre LNG announced earlier this month it had signed an agreement with CNOOC Gas and Power Trading and Marketing for 13 years of LNG from the yet to be built facility.last_img read more