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For Purple Menace publisher, change and motivation led to transformation

first_imgLinkedin Dean Straka Twitter ReddIt Facebook ReddIt Fort Worth set to elect first new mayor in 10 years Saturday printTwenty-nine-year-old Billy Wessels is no stranger to press row at TCU athletic events.The publisher of Purple Menace, TCU’s page for college athletic recruiting website Rivals.com, Wessels has been part of the game day media at the university for more than a decade.For Wessels, writing is his game, something that dates back all the way to his days studying journalism at TCU, from Fall 2004 to Spring 2009. Wessels received more than 180 bylines with the TCU Daily Skiff, now known as TCU 360.Even though Wessels has excelled in writing since his days as a Horned Frog, he was previously weighed down in a completely different area of his life.At a height of 6 feet 5-inches, Wessels weighed 450 pounds when he was a senior at the university. Within two years of graduating, he maxed out at 485 pounds.“I don’t know how I got so big, but I was just always the big guy when I was younger,” Wessels said. “I look at pictures from when I was a student and I just realize that I was just a massive human being.”Though Wessels found himself in undesirable circumstances being overweight, his struggle set him up for an inspirational and triumphant future. His battle with weight would be forever changed when his grandfather died of cancer in February 2010.“My grandfather and I were super close, and I want to have that same kind of relationship with my grandkids one day that he had with me,” Wessels said. “Only thing is, it’s really hard to have grandkids in the future when you are only 24 years old and you’re a cheeseburger away from being 500 pounds.”With his grandfather’s death serving as a wake-up call on maintaining good health in order to live a long and fulfilling life, Wessels became motivated to make a major change.“It was tough during that first year, and he was what really lit a fire in me. He was a World War II hero and we just had so much in common, so I wanted to do everything I could to be that all-American type of person he was,” Wessels said. “That couldn’t happen with my weight.”On February 20, 2011, the one-year anniversary of his grandfather’s death, Wessels went to a 24 Hour Fitness in downtown Dallas. It was his first time working out in an attempt to lose weight.“I was there on a treadmill for 20 minutes going 2 mph, and that was all I could do,” Wessels said. “It was only two-thirds of a mile and I thought I was going to die.”However, the first time struggles would not outweigh Wessels’ motivation, that was inspired by his late grandfather. Within a month after his short treadmill run, Wessels had lost 35 pounds. By February 2012, he had lost 80 pounds.“It’s all about consistency and forming a pattern, because if you keep it up, you’re going to see results,” Wessels said. “It’s about not giving up.”In due time, Wessels began expanding his workout routine beyond just cardio exercises.“Obviously the common way to lose weight is cardio only, but I read that weights are better in some form,” Wessels said. “I stuck with the machines and stayed away from all the big muscular guys. I kind of hid in my corner and just did my thing.”And Wessels’ persistence paid dividends.Today, Wessels weighs only 275 pounds and works as a trainer at 24 Hour Fitness on Halloran Street near Interstate-30 in Fort Worth.While losing more than 200 pounds may seem like a difficult task, Wessels said the necessary lifestyle adjustments are not as drastic as one might expect. Wessels said that one of the most basic changes he made was in his eating habits.“I used to eat fast food three or four times a day,” Wessels said. “I then cut it back to just on the weekends, before [I allowed] only one ‘cheat meal’ a week. When you’re eating healthy four days a week, you’re making four-sevenths better choices and so on.”Wessels said that his change in eating habits was influenced by a podcast he frequently listened to in his early days of working out.“I would listen to a podcast called the Nerdist, where they would have a guy on there named Tim Ferriss who makes a living through doing experiments with his body from weight loss to muscle building,” Wessels said. “He was an advocate of the slow-carb diet, so I began by trying that. Simply put, you could only eat beans, veggies and meat.”Wessels has still yet to reach his personal goal of 240 pounds, but he has previously hit a low of 260 pounds, and will undergo skin removal surgery next month. The surgery will remove an additional 30 pounds.“I saw a doctor on my birthday last year and he told me that the surgery is the only way for me to safely get below 250 pounds,” Wessels said. “If I can get back to 260 before then, I will actually pass my weight goal after the surgery.”The most remarkable element of Wessels’ weight loss story however might be that he accomplished a large percentage of it on his own. He didn’t start working with a trainer until he had already lost 150 pounds.“At that point I knew I was on the path to success, so I began to work with a trainer at a 24 Hour Fitness in Mansfield,” Wessels said. “Within a year I had reached 285 pounds, and on that day I left the job I had at the Waxahachie Daily Light and began working at a 24 Hour Fitness in Fort Worth.”He said by February 2015 he became a personal trainer.Javier Guirola, a master trainer and colleague of Wessels at 24 Hour Fitness, said Wessels adds a unique flavor to the environment at the facility.“We co-train clients and he provides for a fun and entertaining environment, which is something you need when you work 12 hours a day. He’s incredibly friendly and is learning more and more each day,” Guirola said.Guirola added that Wessels’ success story gives him an edge in helping clients achieve their goals.“He is awesome with helping people in losing weight,” Guirola said. “Lots of people quit or they plateau, and I haven’t seen that with Billy’s clients in the year I’ve known him.”Though Wessels may excel in helping clients seeking to lose weight, he said it is eye-opening to see different clients strive for different goals, some exactly opposite from his own.“My first client was 130 pounds and trying to gain 30 pounds,” Wessels said. “The fact that somebody wanted to gain weight blew my mind.”Wessels said he loves being a sportswriter, and all the opportunities that come with it, but working as a trainer is special in a different way, because of its relational element.“The clients become like family,” Wessels said. “It’s about sharing a lot of things because weight is a struggle for so many people, and something they don’t like to talk about a lot. They’re sweating and crying and saying they can’t do it, and you become someone who they can lean on and be encouraged by.”Wessels added that his weight loss has also made it easier for him to interact with people. It’s been an essential element of being both a personal trainer and member of the media.“I like people a lot more now,” Wessels said. “People treat you better when you lose weight, which is unfortunate that it takes that, but it’s the reality of things.”With his weight loss goal on the horizon, many people have expressed awe over what Wessels has gone through in his life-changing journey.Fort Worth Star-Telegram crime reporter and TCU alumnus Ryan Osborne, who previously worked with Wessels at Purple Menace, said it is remarkable to see the progress Wessels has made over the past five years.“I’ve seen him a lot over the past few years, so at first it was hard to realize how much weight he lost, but pictures really made it more clear,” Osborne said.Osborne noted that many people who knew Wessels had the same reaction of amazement when the two hung out.“We’d go somewhere such as The University Pub and people in there would be shocked to see how much weight Billy had lost,” Osborne said. “It’s awesome what he has done, and seeing people recognize that is really cool.”Osborne applauded Wessels’ ability to translate his perseverance as a writer into the challenge of losing weight.“Billy had to really persevere and it really paid off,” Osborne said.As Wessels prepares to undergo skin removal surgery next month, he looks forward to potentially meeting his weight goal and doing physical activities which may not have been possible before.“There are things I haven’t been able to do athletically,” Wessels said. “I want to dunk, and it’s funny I haven’t been able to do that and now approaching 30 I might be able to, but I know I’m close.” Linkedin Dean Strakahttps://www.tcu360.com/author/dean-straka/ + posts TAGS24 Hour FitnessfitnessTCUWeight loss Facebook Equestrian upsets No. 1 Baylor, swept by Texas A&M at NCEA Championships Dean Strakahttps://www.tcu360.com/author/dean-straka/ Dean Strakahttps://www.tcu360.com/author/dean-straka/ Men’s tennis clinches consecutive Big 12 titles with win over No. 4 Baylor Dean Straka is a senior journalism major from Lake Forest, California. He currently serves as Sports Line Editor for TCU 360. His passions include golf, God, traveling, and sitting down to watch the big game of the day. Follow him on Twitter at @dwstraka49 Equestrian defeated in Big 12 Championship Abortion access threatened as restrictive bills make their way through Texas Legislature Previous articleTCU’s new med school could be option for graduating seniorsNext articleTake Back the Night: ‘It’s not your fault’ Dean Straka RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Twitter Grains to grocery: One bread maker brings together farmers and artisans at locally-sourced store Norrie climbs to No. 1 in national rankings Dean Strakahttps://www.tcu360.com/author/dean-straka/last_img read more

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Crisis No Longer Haunts Bank of America

The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago  Print This Post Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Previous: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Exceed Risk-Sharing Goals Next: Just How Far Has REO Fallen? March 28, 2016 3,771 Views Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Bank of America Earnings Statements Mortgage Crisis Profits 2016-03-28 Brian Honea Sign up for DS News Daily Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago About Author: Brian Honea Subscribe The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Tagged with: Bank of America Earnings Statements Mortgage Crisis Profits in Daily Dose, Featured, News Home / Daily Dose / Crisis No Longer Haunts Bank of America Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago With the release of the company’s Q1 2016 earnings statement right around the corner, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said in his letter to shareholders in the 2015 Annual Report that the bank is “no longer clouded over by heavy mortgage and crisis-related litigation and operating costs.”Crisis-related litigation plagued Bank of America in 2014. The bank reached a settlement with the Department of Justice in August of that year for $16.65 billion over the sales of toxic mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis; litigation costs and other expenses related to that settlement took a big chunk out of the bank’s 2014 net income. The $16.65 billion settlement remains a record for a settlement between the Department of Justice and a single company over matters related to the 2008 financial crisis (it was eclipsed only by British Petroleum’s $20.8 settlement with the DOJ in October 2015 over the Gulf oil spill).“This progress is the result of continued strong business performance, no longer clouded over by heavy mortgage and crisis-related litigation and operating costs,” Moynihan said. “Over the past several years, we’ve followed a strategy to simplify the company, rebuild our capital and liquidity, invest in our company and our capabilities, and pursue a straightforward model focused on responsible growth.”For the full year of 2015, Bank of America more than tripled its net income from the previous year ($15.9 billion compared to $4.8 billion). The bank’s earnings for 2015 were the highest since the pre-crisis year of 2006 (net income of $21.1 billion).“Other general operating expense decreased $16.0 billion primarily due to a decrease of $15.2 billion in litigation expense which was primarily related to previously disclosed legacy mortgage-related matters and other litigation charges in 2014,” the shareholder letter said.Moynihan’s announcement follows what was largely a positive second half of 2015 for Bank of America. In November, independent monitor Eric Green reported that the bank was well ahead of schedule to pay off the $7 billion in consumer relief required by the August 2014 RMBS settlement. In December, the Federal Reserve approved the bank’s resubmitted capital plan after spending approximately $100 million to “get the process right for resubmission,” Moynihan said. Nine months earlier, the Fed announced that Bank of America must submit a revised capital plan due to certain weaknesses in the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank’s capital planning process the Fed located in its annual Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) conducted in early March 2015.Bank of American’s earnings statement for the first quarter of 2016 will be released on Thursday, April 14.Click here to view the entire 2015 Annual Report for Bank of America. Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland. Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Share Save Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Related Articles Crisis No Longer Haunts Bank of America read more

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Bankrupt coal giants hand unwanted mines to unknown firms

first_imgBankrupt coal giants hand unwanted mines to unknown firms FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News:GILLETTE, Wyo. — For years, the coal companies operating on the high plains here were among the best known in the world: Peabody Energy Corp., Rio Tinto, Arch Coal Inc. But as the coal industry contracts, the former giants are being replaced by a different brand of mining firm: virtual unknowns.A pair of bankruptcies this year opened the door for two little-known mining companies to take over five mines in the Powder River Basin, the rolling, resource-rich plain that covers eastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana. Together, the five mines supplied 11% of the U.S. coal market in 2018.The newcomers’ arrival on the Wyoming prairie signals a new chapter in the decline of the U.S. coal industry. It’s transitioning from an era of well-known, highly capitalized companies to smaller operators of lesser known means. Their appearance raises a host of questions for local and state officials, as they attempt to navigate the fall of an industry that has served as the foundation of Wyoming’s economy.Local mine suppliers, already burned by previous bankruptcies, are wary of extending credit to firms they do not know. State and local tax collectors face the prospect of declining tax revenues. Looming over it all is the question of whether the new companies will be able to afford hundreds of millions in reclamation costs needed to clean up some of the largest coal mines in America.“It tells you a lot about the coal industry right now,” said Robert Godby, an economics professor who studies the industry at the University of Wyoming. “These large mining conglomerates have been replaced by what some people call vulture capitalists. They have less experience; they have less transparency. It used to be what was in minerals’ interest was in Wyoming’s interest. Now, given where the coal industry is, Wyoming has to be careful about protecting itself.”Wyoming’s coal industry has witnessed a dramatic downsizing, decimated in recent years by declining domestic coal demand brought on by increased competition from alternatives like natural gas and renewables. There’s also mounting concern over climate change. Peabody Energy, America’s largest mining company by production and a mainstay in the Powder River Basin, is a case in point. In 2011, it was valued on the stock market at roughly $20 billion. Eight years and one bankruptcy later, it is worth $1.2 billion.Yet Peabody still looks like a veritable giant compared with recent arrivals here. Navajo Transitional Energy Co., which purchased three mines out of bankruptcy from Cloud Peak Energy Inc., is an arm of the Navajo Nation and previously operated a solitary mine in New Mexico.Many analysts had not even heard of FM Coal LLC before it acquired the Belle Ayr and Eagle Butte mines from bankrupt operator Blackjewel LLC last month.A spate of coal bankruptcies in recent years have left local vendors and officials feeling spurned. Mining contractors have been forced to eat unpaid invoices while local officials have fought to claw back a portion of the taxes owed by the companies.More: Bankrupt giants hand unwanted coal mines to unknown firmslast_img read more

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Arsenal line-up v Man City WITHOUT Ramsey

first_img1 1 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and every other Gooner will have watched uncomfortably as Aaron Ramsey injured his ankle playing for Wales.The midfielder has scored two goals in three games this season, but it will be a nervy few days for fans as they wait to see if he is able to play Man City.“Hopefully he’ll be okay for Arsenal at the weekend but we’ll have to see what the next 24-48 hours holds,” Wales manager Chris Coleman said.There is good news, though, with Mikel Arteta and Mesut Ozil said to be fit to play the champions at lunchtime on Saturday.It’s going to be a big test, so are we likely to see Danny Welbeck thrown in and lead the line?Possible Arsenal XI v Man City without Aaron Ramsey: Arsenal line-up v Man City without Aaron Ramsey? Do you agree?last_img read more

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Drama behind the scenes as theatre groups call for rehearsal space

first_imgA collective of drama and performing arts groups from across the county have launched a campaign to secure dedicated space for rehearsals and prop-building.The #GiveUsSpace campaign was launched today with an open letter, which puts the dire situation faced by arts groups in the spotlight.Seven of Donegal’s largest and most successful drama and musical theatre ensembles say that finding a place to practice is the greatest challenge they face in a production. For others, the cold, unsuitable places where they are forced to rehearse has given rise to health and safety issues or put entire plays at risk of being cancelled.“The current situation is terrible – with no building that is dedicated to the performing arts that can facilitate the large number of groups and societies who are in such great need of it,” the letter says.“We are blessed here in Donegal with fantastic facilities that cater for many sports.“However, what is sorely being missed is a place, especially for children who have not got such a keen interest in sport, where children and adults can develop both personally and artistically. “Currently these artistic spaces are cold, dank warehouses or school study halls. It would be hard to expect a football team to train on a tennis court and to then expect good results.”The type of warehouses used by the local theatre groups for practice and prop buildingThe letter has been signed by Workhouse Theatre Company, Triumph Dance and Performing Arts, The Lifford Players, Letterkenny Music and Drama Group, Letterkenny Pantomime Society, Letterkenny Musical Society and The Butt Drama Circle.The groups are united in their call for something they say Donegal has never had before – a safe and suitable centre for groups to create good productions and to give audiences the best possible experience.“We meet for rehearsals in my living room in St. Johnston,” says Ed Flanagan of the Lifford Players Drama Group. “It’s not big enough. My garage is what we use for props and it’s pretty cramped as well. Unless a group has its own theatre, there’s nowhere for them.”The Lifford Players’ last production entertained over 1,000 people and Ed is keen to point out the high standard of productions that are self-funded and performed on a voluntary basis. “Bringing theatre to the masses cannot be underplayed,” he says, “it’s big for tourism, it’s big for local people and for families.”The Lifford Players perform Dancing at Lughnasa in 2018The ideal creative centre for such groups would contain two rooms and a workshop for building props. Warmth, suitable flooring and tea-making facilities are just some of the features which the groups dream of having.At other times, basic facilities such as toilets have been unavailable for groups who have only had access to warehouses in the past.Iarla McGowan, Director of Workhouse Theatre Company, who is leading the #GiveUsSpace campaign, says he has experienced some very unsuitable practice spaces in recent years. Workhouse Theatre Company“You’re meeting in a leaky warehouse that is noisy, cold and there could be a shaky set in the back of the room ready to tip. People have to get in their cars and drive into the town to go to the toilet.“Our arts scene is excellent, but what goes on behind the scenes is messy and unsafe.“You have all these great groups in Donegal who have been pulled out by the generosity of businesspeople.“The lack of rehearsal space nearly jeopardised our last Workhouse show. It was only at the 11th hour we managed to find a space in a yoga studio to practice – and this was largely down to the kindness of a (then) stranger who could see what we were trying to achieve and believed in it,” Iarla says.Workhouse Theatre Company Summer YouthLab had to go outdoors due to a lack of functional spaceThe Letterkenny Pantomime Society will be marking its 70th anniversary in 2020. Over the decades they have rehearsed in pubs, hotels, the church, football clubs and schools.“It’s always a struggle to get space,” says Patrick Doherty from the Pantomime Society. Their upcoming play, Cinderella, will have a cast of almost 200. The age range varies from as young as four to cast members in their eighties.“At the minute the small kids are out at Illistrin NS. They are very good to give us the place but a big cold hall and it’s not ideal,” Patrick says. “Sports clubs have their facilities, but we were out making our props in an old shed at St. Conal’s, during the winter with the rain coming in.”The Letterkenny Music and Drama Group come against the same problems when they go to build a set.Pluincead Ferry says, “Every year we are begging people to give us room. I’ve been in shows since 1984 and we are so lucky in that we have the Convent for our practices. But we have been all around the town for set space and it’s an awful nuisance.”Letterkenny theatre groups using alternative spaces for rehearsals – the Letterkenny Music and Drama Group relies on Loreto LetterkennyThe #GiveUsSpace open letter is being circulated to local politicians and Donegal County Council today. The letter says that drama, musical theatre, dance and performing arts groups have been neglected when it comes to the allocation of facilities.Iarla says: ” People think there is ample space around Letterkenny but this is not the case.“People might ask ‘why not use the theatre or the arts centres?’ But the answer to this is that there is no adequate or conducive places to rehearse within them – especially for casts over a certain number. This is a familiar pattern across the county.“We have great buildings to perform in but nowhere suitable for the actual making of these productions which might take a year to workshop, practice and build before it comes to showtime.“It really has got to the point where a large rehearsal space, a prop building area and a set store is made available for the growing number of groups and all under one roof.“Why? so shows can be made safely and that those involved can be the best they possibly can be.”Letterkenny Music and Drama Group rehearsing on the stairs of An Grianan TheatreAndrea Emmett, founder of TRIUMPH Performing Arts, adds that a shared creative hub would enable groups to collaborate more and be more supportive of each other.Andrea has been teaching dance at TRIUMPH for three years from the Aura Leisure Centre.Triumph Performing Arts practising without mirrors in the Aura Leisure Centre Basketball Court“If we didn’t have the Aura we wouldn’t have TRIUMPH. But I have to book space outside of the time that fitness classes are on. This leaves only Saturdays available,” she says.“The last day the dancers were practising for an All-Ireland final. We were given a quarter of the basketball court to practice, with basketball going on around us.“There is a great emphasis on fitness across Donegal but nowhere to support practising the arts. We need somewhere that puts the arts first.”Those behind the #GiveUsSpace campaign are passionate about the necessity that any future building project would have to include input from the theatre societies.Iarla says: “It is vital that when this centre is built it is built in the right way for future generations – and in consultation with the theatre makers here in Donegal. If people are not given a good experience of theatre and performance when they are young then they are not going to have a keen interest in it in later life. This can then have a damaging effect on theatre audiences.“This centre will be used to help that young boy or girl who might not have an avenue to express themselves through which others might have through sport. This is to nurture their personal development. Whether they be the next theatre maker or theatre goer. Both are equally as important.“Theatre and drama groups have put up with the struggle to find space for far too long now. It is now vital for our community that something now changes.”The #GiveUsSpace Open Letter, launched on 20th November 2019Drama behind the scenes as theatre groups call for rehearsal space was last modified: November 22nd, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:#GiveUsSpacecreative centredramarehearsaltheatrelast_img read more

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Chelsea v Norwich: Kenedy’s first start

first_imgKenedy has been given his first Premier League start for Chelsea’s game against Norwich at Stamford Bridge, where Branislav Ivanovic plays after recovering from a hamstring problem.It means Cesar Azpilicueta drops to the bench, while Baba Rahman is not in the Blues’ matchday squad.Norwich’s Nathan Redmond has been passed fit following a thigh strain.Chelsea: Begovic; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Kenedy; Matic, Fabregas; Pedro, Willian, Hazard; Costa.Subs: Blackman, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ramires, Oscar, Traore, Remy.Norwich: Ruddy; Wisdom, Bennett, Bassong, Olsson; Howson, Mulumbu, O’Neil, Brady; Redmond; Mbokani.Subs: Whittaker, Jerome, Hoolahan, Dorrans, Lafferty, Odjidja.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

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Motor industry to gather speed

first_imgVolkswagen, one of South Africa’s major motor manufacturers, has secured a lucrative export contract. (Image: Volkswagen SA, MediaClub South Africa. For more photos, visit the image library.)Janine ErasmusThe Department of Trade and Industry, along with key representatives from South Africa’s motor industry, including component manufacturers, trade unions and members of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa, are satisfied with the final details of the work-in-progress Automotive Industry Programme (AIP). This decision paves the way for submission of the document for Cabinet’s approval.Full details of the scheme have yet to be released. Minister of Trade and Industry Mandisi Mpahlwa has given his assurance that it will be fully explained once Cabinet has given it the green light.The AIP will replace the current Motor Industry Development Programme, which was implemented in 1995 with a two-part strategy, one for car and light commercial vehicles, and one for the medium and heavy commercial vehicles. The current programme is due to expire in 2012.The key objective of these two schemes was to shape the future of the South African motor and associated industries. It would achieve this by helping the local motor industry reach international competitiveness while remaining affordable at home, boosting growth in the motor component industry, especially with regard to exports, as well as stabilising employment levels and creating a better balance between the industry’s foreign exchange earnings and expenditure.The new programme, which for the moment will focus on the car and light commercial vehicle sector, has been under intense development for more than a year.The AIP provides a development strategy up to 2020, in line with government’s National Industrial Policy Framework target of doubling annual vehicle production to 1.2-million units by 2020. The scheme will continue the task of stimulating growth of the local motor vehicle and vehicle component industries, and will also address the crucial issues of employment and increased investment.The AIP will give manufacturers who produce more than 50 000 units annually, the opportunity to import a percentage of their components without having to pay duties. It will offer incentives for value-added production, and an allowance scheme to give companies more capacity to invest in skills development and training, research and development, and localisation.An important sector of the economyThe vehicle and component manufacturing sectors are among the most important in South Africa’s economy, providing jobs for thousands. Higher interest rates domestically have slowed new vehicle sales, but a number of major export deals have been secured by major local manufacturers, not only boosting foreign exchange flow into the country but proving that South Africa’s car manufacturing standards are on a par with the rest of the world.Earlier in 2008, Volkswagen South Africa, based in the Eastern Cape, one of the country’s poorest provinces, was awarded a contract worth R12-billion ($1.5-billion) to supply the entire Volkswagen group worldwide with diesel particulate filters over a period of five years. The deal is said to be one of the biggest export contracts for a single car part.In 2008, Toyota South Africa will export 147 000 of the total 220 000 units manufactured at its Durban-based plant to Europe and other parts of Africa. This will account for 60% of South Africa’s total vehicle exports for the year. The potential value of the exports, including components, is some R20-billion ($2.5-billion), almost 1% of South Africa’s GDP. Toyota South Africa spent five years and several billions to upgrade the plant in order to meet the manufacturing standards demanded by the global market.The Ford Motor Company, meanwhile, announced in February 2008 that it was planning to invest R1.5-billion ($190-million) into the South African motor industry, focusing specifically on the company’s vehicle assembly plant in Pretoria and engine manufacturing facility in Port Elizabeth. This will give the two plants the capacity to produce Ford’s next-generation range of small pickup trucks and turbo-charged Puma diesel engines. The investment is expected to enhance South Africa’s standing as a quality worldwide export base for Ford.Government supportGovernment has thrown its weight behind the South African motor industry with a number of support initiatives designed to stimulate development of the sector and attract more foreign investment. One of these is the Automotive Supplier Park, an initiative of the Gauteng government’s Blue IQ, which works to develop economic infrastructure for large-scale projects.The Automotive Supplier Park, located in Pretoria, contributes to the sustainable growth of the automotive industry in Gauteng and South Africa by improving its competitiveness locally and internationally. By bringing manufacturers and suppliers into one location and offering them state-of-the-art infrastructure, the supply chain is streamlined and productivity is optimised.The initiative celebrated its fifth anniversary in February 2008. A second supplier park is on the cards for development.Another Blue IQ-driven initiative is the Automotive Industry Development Centre, which provides the local vehicle manufacturing sector with critical support systems such as advanced facilities for design testing and research and development, as well as skills development and training through industry-specific courses.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus on [email protected] articlesVW SA wins multibillion contractToyota SA exports to rocketFord invests R1.5-billion in SASouth Africa’s economy – key sectorsUseful linksDepartment of Trade and IndustryToyota SAFord SAVolkswagen SAMotor Industry Development ProgrammeAutomotive Industry Development CentreAutomotive Supplier ParkNational Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africalast_img read more

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3 New Forms of Search That Google is Working on Now

first_imgSee also: Google Search Gets Personal: Social Search Launches in Google LabsIntuitive SearchRecommendation technology is something we’ve written about extensively here and Mayer seems to be telling the Telegraph that recommendation is going to be a big part of Google’s future. Intuitive search sounds pretty far-out, but Barnett writes that it may be closer than we think.Barnett: “The ultimate prize for Mayer is intuitive search. She wants Google to be capable of presenting information to users before they even know what they’re looking for. Amazingly she doesn’t think her team are that far away from achieving what she calls the ‘omnivorous’ search engine -i.e. one which is able to take a user’s total context – where they are, what they were just reading, which direction their mobile phone is pointed and so on.”Mayer: “You could have some information waiting for you when you turn on your computer or some relevant URLs forming part of your browser background (presumably if you use Chrome – Google’s browser) or on your side wiki”.Our take: This sounds cool but shouldn’t be too surprising. Last week Google demoed a mobile search product that automatically recommends categories you might want to search for and gives you a way to find nearby restaurants, etc. with a single click.Search engines have long struggled with the limitations of human users and their abilities to explain what they want. Search queries are maddeningly short and compared to many of the other signals we emit implicitly – like location, click-stream history and more – explicit search queries are relatively rare.The future of search may very well be in semi or unprompted recommendations based largely on our implicit behavioral data. That sounds like the movie Minority Report, but it’s also the direction that search companies are moving in. You didn’t think Google was going to leave a Minority Report type future untouched, did you?Check out Barnett’s full coverage in the Telegraph at ‘An omnivorous Google is coming’. Tags:#Analysis#Product Reviews#web marshall kirkpatrick Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Google amazed us last week with 5 fantastic demos of innovations like Google Goggles and near instant speech-to-text mobile translation. That was before the company showed off its new real-time search, a key problem it solved with grace while its competitors floundered.Now we’re told of a whole new batch of far-out search innovations that are in the works, in an interview with Google’s vice-president of search products and user experience Marissa Mayer in today’s UK Telegraph. What are they? Translated search, social/personalized search and intuitive search. Here’s what Mayer has to say about these three projects.Translated SearchSee also: Google’s Eric Schmidt on What the Web Will Look Like in 5 Years“Imagine what it would be like if there was a tool built into the search engine which translated my search query into every language and then searched the entire world’s websites,” Mayer told the Telegraph. “And then invoked the translation software a second and third time – to not only then present the results in your native language, but then translated those sites in full when you clicked through.”That sounds like a great way to move beyond an internet dominated entirely by English, or to help English-only speakers cope with an internet dominated by content in other languages. It could help open up monetization to more content and it could greatly expand all our horizons. To think that a significant portion of the world’s information is inaccessible because of something as almost-solvable as language differences seems like a real shame.Related: Google Announces New Translator Gadget for Website OwnersSocial Search and Personalization“Although we search the web right now, what we really want to do is search it as each individual user sees the web. We want Google to be the most accurate reference tool which allows people to search the web and each have an individual experience,” Mayer told the Telegraph.The Telegraph’s Emma Barnett identifies social network friend connections as a key part of this. “Right now Google can only include the updates and information from these networks if the users’ privacy settings are ‘public’,” the reporter writes. “According to Mayer – the ideal will be to get access to your friend’s updates in search.”Mayer: “Understanding the social network structure and the permission rules around social networks status updates when they are not public – will really empower us in terms of search.”Understanding the structure and permission is one thing but getting access to Facebook’s social graph would be another. Have you noticed that Google doesn’t leverage Facebook Connect anywhere in any of its products? So far the company’s experiments with social search have been impressive if small in scope. Now that Facebook is opening up, if Google can connect with it then hundreds of millions of people could have social search placed front and center in their search experience.But if connecting Google and your Facebook social graph was a simple matter, it probably would have already happened. Microsoft, meanwhile, is a big investor in Facebook and may seek to do something similar with Bing. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Insights from The Financial Diaries

first_imgAutomated Savings and Payments are a Tough Sell-Automatic savings plans will not work for those with volatile incomes who will resist strategies that involve regular payments or deposits that won’t allow them flexibility to “juggle” expenses when needed. By Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, [email protected] post is part of an ongoing series to support our annual upcoming three-day learning event. The Personal Finance Virtual Learning Event will be held June 5-7 and this year will focus on the soft skills financial professionals need to effectively meet the needs of their clients and students. Learn more and register for sessions here.Personal Financial Management (PFM) program personnel often counsel families with irregular incomes. While a service member’s pay might be consistent, that of a spouse or a sideline job might not. Income instability is the theme of The Financial Diaries by Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider.The book describes a year-long study of 235 households in five states. From almost 300,000 cash flow records that were collected, the book paints a picture of family financial instability that is difficult to see in studies that measure one-time income “snapshots.” A major cause is jobs with unpredictable pay and irregular hours.According to the authors, “the instability of families’ incomes has risen faster than the inequality of families’ incomes.” Difficult choices often have to be made as a result (e.g., paying bills late, borrowing money from friends, and payday loans). An overriding theme of the book was respondents’ desire for financial stability.Below are insights from The Financial Diaries for professionals who counsel people with volatile incomes:Standard Budgeting Techniques Don’t Work- Morduch and Schneider note that “volatility wreaks havoc with all the standard advice on how to manage finances. How do you create a realistic budget-and stick to it- if for half the year your income isn’t close to average?”Income Dips Have Negative Effects- Income dips can lead to delayed or forgone medical care, missed bills, late fees, utility disconnections, evictions, and damaged credit. Another negative impact is that coping with a volatile income saps time and attention (i.e., mental bandwith) from parenting and relationships.Income Volatility Affects Eligibility for Safety Net Programs- Families may qualify for food stamps, health insurance subsidies, and Medicaid at certain points in time but not at others, necessitating frequent applications for benefits. Lost health benefits can cause interruptions in care for chronic health conditions.Poverty Can be Temporary– Some families in The Financial Diaries moved in and out of poverty, a phenomenon that is not uncommon in America. U.S. Census data indicate that 90 million people, nearly one-third of all Americans, experienced poverty for two months or more between 2009 and 2011.Appearances Can be Deceiving– Many Diaries households were middle class on paper but were clearly financially stressed. In addition, they lacked less visible markers of middle income financial stability including peace of mind, financial “breathing room,” and adequate savings for emergencies and retirement.Tax Refund Savings is Tough Sell- It can be difficult to persuade people to save part of their tax refund because many already know how they are going to spend it- and long-term savings isn’t on the list. Instead, people plan to pay for long-delayed urgent needs and arrearages on debts and household bills. Tax refunds are a key component of a process the authors call “Smoothing [consumption] and Spiking [income].”Relationships Drive Financial Decisions– Relationships can help or hurt. The book describes savings groups where people build a “pot” to help each other out. Some people were also expected to lend money to others. One joined an IDA program to “lock up” her money and have an acceptable excuse to say “no.”Planning is Illusive- People with volatile incomes don’t have the luxury of developing long-term financial plans. Instead, their planning time horizons can best be described as “now, soon, and later.” last_img read more

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Trump makes racism ‘fashionable’ – LeBron

first_imgCatriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Flags of SEA Games countries raised at Athletes Village “Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day,” James said at the time. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Man sworn in as lawyer by judge who sentenced him to prison as a teen 20 years ago Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James. AP FILE PHOTOLOS ANGELES—Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James reacted swiftly Tuesday to US President Donald Trump’s repeated claim that there was “blame on both sides” in the deadly racial unrest in Charlottesville.“Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again!” James tweeted shortly after Trump angrily defended his controversial initial response to the white supremacist rally on Saturday that erupted in clashes with counter-demonstrators.ADVERTISEMENT WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next LATEST STORIES Woods had marijuana, painkillers in system at arrest — report LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes PLAY LIST 01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police 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 Games A suspected Nazi sympathizer plowed his car into a crowd of anti-racism demonstrators, leaving one woman dead and 19 injured.Trump’s reaction on Saturday, that there was violence “on many sides” provoked a backlash and on Monday he singled out the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis involved as criminals.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutREAD: Trump blames ‘many sides’ for violent clashes in VirginiaBut in an exchange with reporters at Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday, a clearly irked Trump again said that both groups were at fault in inciting violence and insisted that those who gathered to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee form a park were not all racist. UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension James, who has long been outspoken about matters of race in America and endorsed Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton for president, had tweeted his dismay at the events in Charlottesville over the weekend.“It’s sad what’s going on in Charlottesville,” James tweeted on Saturday. “Is this the direction our country is heading?“Make [America] Great Again huh?! He said that,” added James in a dig at Trump’s celebrated campaign slogan.While James has attempted to use his celebrity to combat racism, his wealth and fame haven’t made him immune.On the eve of the NBA Finals in June his house in an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood was daubed with a racial slur.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief MOST READ View commentslast_img read more

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