Alcan buys into $2.7bn SA smelter

first_img27 November 2006Canadian aluminium firm Alcan has signed a power supply agreement with South African state electricity firm Eskom that paves the way for the construction of a US$2.7-billion (almost R20-billion) aluminium smelter in the Coega Industrial Development Zone in the Eastern Cape.Construction on the smelter could “begin in 2008 and result in first metal production before the end of 2010,” Alcan said in a statement on Friday after signing a 25-year power supply contract with Eskom.“Today’s agreement is a key step towards the realisation of this important project – important for both Alcan and South Africa,” Alcan Primary Metal Group CEO Michel Jacques said in the statement.Investment boostSpeaking after the signing, Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said Alcan’s investment – one of South Africa’s biggest since 1994 – provided a “clear signal, particularly to multinationals,” of the opportunities that existed in South Africa.Alcan’s Coega project manager, Hal Spencer, told Business Report that the Coega smelter was likely to reach production levels of 720 000 tons of aluminium a year by 2014, making it one of the largest in the world.If Alcan exercised an option to extend it to 1 million tons, Spencer added, it could become the largest aluminium smelter in the world.The project is expected to create about 6 000 new jobs in the construction phase and 1 000 jobs once the smelter starts operating.Friday’s signing means that Coega now has its long-sought “anchor tenant,” regarded as crucial to securing further investment and ensuring the viability of the industrial development zone and the new Port of Ngqura around which the zone is based.Infrastructure developmentThe South African government has spent in the region of R7.5-billion developing the zone and the port – making Coega the single biggest infrastructure project in the country’s history – and Alcan has singled this out as key to the company’s decision to go ahead with the project.“It’s one of the best infrastructures I have seen throughout the world,” Anglo-American CEO-designate Cynthia Carroll – at the time Alcan Primary Metal Group’s CEO – told the Eastern Province Herald in October.“To create the right environment for investment is very important, and establishing locations for investment is a great thing to be doing. And that’s what the government is doing.”Eskom CEO Thulani Gcabashe said on Friday that the Coega smelter would be the first project to benefit from a development electricity pricing programme specifically designed to attract major industrial investors to the country.Alcan will be making a substantial contribution to the smelter: the company said on Friday that it wanted to retain between 25% and 40% of the equity of the project and seek partners for the balance.The SA government, through state-owned finance institution the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), will also inject a huge amount of capital into the project. According to Business Day, the IDC will take up a 15% stake in the smelter, as well as provide up to $100-million in debt finance.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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SA, Botswana grow business ties

first_img30 August 2012 A strong South African business delegation attended the Botswana-South Africa business seminar in Gaborone on Wednesday as President Jacob Zuma began a two-day state visit geared to boosting trade and investment between the two countries. Over 100 business people representing South Africa’s agri-processing, mining, construction, energy, ICT/telecoms, infrastructure and financial services sectors met with their Batswana counterparts at the Gaborone International Conference Centre. The delegates were led by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, together with other government departments and Brand South Africa. “We are looking forward to visiting Botswana with a large delegation of business people who are keen to identify and pursue trade and investment opportunities that exist between the various sectors in our two countries,” Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola said ahead of Wednesday’s seminar. Strong economic ties already exist between the two countries, and South Africa remains Botswana’s major trading partner. South African companies have a huge presence in Botswana and are involved in various sectors, including mining, housing, food and beverages, construction, retail, hotels and leisure, banking and medical services.Zuma to push co-operation on infrastructure Zuma’s state visit, following the successful state visit of President Ian Khama to South Africa in October 2010, was expected to focus on trade and investment, energy, transport, science and technology, environment and security issues. It was also expected to emphasize the need to invest in infrastructure development, especially the need for the two countries to work together on large-scale projects such as cross-border infrastructure, industrial and energy developments. “South Africa and Botswana enjoy very strong historical, economic, social, political and neighbourly relations, which were deepened during South Africa’s struggle for liberation,” the Presidency said in a statement on Wednesday. Agreements scheduled to be signed during Zuma’s visit include one that paves the way for a bi-national commission at a Presidential level, under which relations between the two countries will be structured going forward. Zuma is being accompanied by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Transport Minister Ben Martins, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor, and Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. SAinfo reporter and SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

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Surface Pro Scarcity: Colossal Fail Or Planned Demand?

first_imgMicrosoft Surface Pro customers, bedazzled by break-dancing pop-hop dance moves and flashy covers from endless Super Bowl-week commercials, were more than a little disappointed and wondering where the hell all these tablets were this weekend?Fire Up The Wayback MachineI didn’t want to buy a Surface Pro this weekend – or, really, ever – but a lot of what I was hearing over the Internet from the friends and colleagues this weekend reminded me of the exact situation that happened when the iPad 2 came out.Faked out by advance reports that the iPad 2 would be sold outside of the Apple store, I went to local stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy back in 2011 only to learn that each store only received one or two of the units to sell. Each.So forgive me if this sounds familiar. After Microsoft’s Panos Paney blogged that the company was working to “replenish supplies as quickly as possible,” commenter Chris James responded:“I went to three Best Buys, and two Future Shops. Sold out everywhere. Not one place had a display model to show off the Surface Pro either. Am I disappointed? Of course, I was really looking forward to ‘trading-up’ my iPad 4 for the Surface Pro, but most of all I am just blown away at the incompetence and total willingness to accept that failure as an option, and then make it seem as though it was a great success for Microsoft.”Other commenters on the same blog entry were less charitable in their opinions. Wrote commenter RB255:“What amazes me is that many reporters are helping to perpetuate this as simply a supply issue when, in fact, it was a blatant attempt to defraud the public. Microsoft did not ship ample supplies except in a few exceptions. Most Best Buy stores across the country received ONE unit each, and I know this for fact as I have been following up with research after trying to buy one on Saturday morning. Staples stores did not get any 128 model Pro in most stores and indicate that you will have to order them. You cannot order them online at either store. The Microsoft store claimed to have units on Saturday but they were holding them for people who had reservations. There was no publicity in advance of the launch about the reservation process, you couldn’t do it online, and the number provided online for the Microsoft stores was a call center who knew nothing about the reservations. The entire time that I was in the area of the MS store in Southpark Mall in Charlotte, NC, no one picked up any units. Do more research and then update your story with facts. Go check out Microsoft, Microsoft Store, and Surface Twitter and Facebook pages and look at the comments from consumers across the country. More did not get the Pro than did and those that did not tell the exact same story. This was not marketing, it was a manufactured ‘sellout’ and it was a FRAUD.”Plan Or Fail?It is easy to get riled up and start accusing Microsoft of manufacturing scarcity in order to ratchet up the demand for these tablets. Microsoft, naturally, will disavow themselves of such a dastardly plan.But here we are, two years after the lessons of the iPad 2 launch that irked so many Apple fans, yet still managed to sell decent unit amounts over the long haul, and you can’t help but wonder if all of this scarcity is intentional.Critics of this notion of planed scarcity will (rightly) ask why in God’s name would Microsoft deliberately hold back on units to sell? That’s an easy one: they don’t want a repeat of HP’s TouchPad debacle, when plenty of units were shipped to retailers on launch, coupled with a massive ad and marketing campaign. But despite plenty of units out on the shelves, many units ended up unsold and gathering dust in outlets like Best Buy and Fry’s. Ultimately, the units were returned to HP en masse, which led to the shuttering of the TouchPad line.That scenario – Surface Pros sitting unsold on shelves and gasp! returned to Microsoft – would be the nightmare for Redmond, a PR disaster that would make Vista and Zune look like walks in the park. Rather than face that kind of failure, better to create the feel of high-demand and keep shelf stock low for now.Because the other option is to freely admit that there is something seriously wrong with the supply chain that Microsoft is using to get these units into retailers’ – and ultimately customers’ – hands. Like someone-should-get-fired wrong.It’s early yet, but I’m betting no one gets fired for any screw ups with the Surface Pro deliveries. Because you can’t screw up what was already planned.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… brian proffitt Related Posts Tags:#Microsoft#Surface Pro center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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10 months agoSunderland owner fumes over Maja situation as Newcastle, Huddersfield circle

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Sunderland owner fumes over Maja situation as Newcastle, Huddersfield circleby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSunderland face having to cash in on Josh Maja this month.Owner Stewart Donald is furious that Maja’s agent has now advised him not to commit his future to the Black Cats.”Yesterday (Thursday), Josh asked to see Jack to say he will sign,” the chairman wrote on social media.”Today (Friday) I got a call from Sky TV saying he won’t sign. Josh advised (us) that his agent has said don’t sign, but no courtesy to tell the club.”Also, we offered what the agent indicated! Busy January ahead.’ But he later added: ‘He wants to sign it, the agent has said don’t! Stay behind him and don’t get on his back – we will try and change his mind.”Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Huddersfield have been monitoring his situation. last_img read more

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a month ago​Osonyq unveiled as Everton’s official sports drinks partner

first_imgTagsPremiership NewsAbout the authorIan FerrisShare the loveHave your say ​Osonyq unveiled as Everton’s official sports drinks partnerby Ian Ferrisa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveEverton have signed a new multi-year partnership which sees Dutch isotonic drinks manufacturer Osonyq become the club’s official sports drinks partner, reports, www.sportspromedia.com/.Continuing the brand’s expansion across European premier leagues, the agreement includes Everton’s men’s, women’s, and youth teams, and will also see Osonyq take up several match day activations at the club’s home stadium Goodison Park.In addition, the drinks vegan-friendly and gluten-free manufacturer will make its products available to purchase at the Premier League club’s official Everton One and Everton Two merchandise stores.Everton’s commercial director Alan McTavishat said that the partnership with Osonyq marks “another exciting addition to our partner portfolio”. last_img read more

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Anchor Point Woman Arrested For Stealing From Landlord

first_imgSwanson was found to be on felony probation for a previous vehicle theft conviction and was in violation of her probation conditions. Swanson was arrested and remanded into the Homer Jail pending arraignment. On January 6, Troopers responded to a report of a theft at a residence on the Sterling Highway in Anchor Point, according to an online Trooper dispatch. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享A woman in Anchor Point was arrested for stealing items from her landlord over a several day period. An investigation showed Kristi Swanson, 46 of Anchor Point, had stolen items from her landlord over the last several days.last_img read more

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Google Duplex is boring now And thats probably good

first_imgGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled a version of Duplex that was tamer than last year’s.  James Martin/CNET From the very moment Google pushed play on a mundane recording of a guy booking a dinner reservation last year, the search giant became embroiled in an intense debate over the ethics of artificial intelligence.The unremarkable nature of the recording was what made it so unnerving. The guy wasn’t a guy at all. It was Google Duplex, a chatbot that uses AI software to mimic human speech with startling accuracy. The audience at Google’s I/O developer conference freaked out over the verbal tics — “uh” and “um” — that the software used and the natural way it pronounced certain words. Duplex had the potential to stir controversy again if Google unveiled another big chatbot development during this year’s conference keynote on Tuesday. Instead, the company offered a subdued, though impressive, update.That’s probably for the best.  Share your voice 34 Photos 3:03 Tags 3 Google Duplex expands beyond phone calls and can book… “The way we think about Duplex, in broad strokes, it’s a model of technology that allows us to automate tasks,” Manuel Bronstein, vice president of product for the Assistant, said in an interview ahead of the announcement. “It just happens to be that the first task that we showed to automate was making a phone call to a restaurant.”That’s kind of a dull way to talk about something that just a year ago evoked serious sci-fi lore. But for Google, that’s a win. The company has drawn blowback for its AI operations, including a March backlash over its artificial intelligence ethics board. Google disbanded the board after only a week.google-io-2019-0276“Duplex on the web” automates booking of rental cars and movie tickets. James Martin/CNET The company is also still reeling from its contract with the Pentagon for Project Maven, a defense department initiative that uses AI to improve the analysis of drone footage. The effort caused an uproar among Google employees.A handful of workers resigned, and more than 4,000 workers reportedly signed a petition addressed to CEO Sundar Pichai demanding that he cancel the project. Google eventually said it wouldn’t renew the Maven contract or pursue similar contracts, though it would still work with the military. Pichai wound up publishing an entire AI ethics memo that stated the company wouldn’t develop the technology for use in weapons.After those dustups, it behooved Google to lie low this year and turn down the creepy AI. And the company certainly learned its lesson last year, Scott Huffman, head of engineering for the Google Assistant, told me earlier this year. “The strength of the reaction surprised me,” he said, referring to Duplex’s debut. “It made it clear to us how important those societal questions are going forward.”center_img Android 10 beta’s best new tricks from Google I/O 2019 Comments Mobile Software The new feature is called “Duplex on the web” and it’s basically autofill on steroids. While the original Duplex was for restaurant reservations and hair appointments, the new version automates booking rental cars and buying movie tickets. It zips through forms on the mobile web, automatically entering information that Google knows about you from your calendar, Gmail inbox and Chrome autofill. Some people might still find it unsettling that Google knows so much personal information about you. But the Duplex upgrade provoked nowhere near the response Google got for last year’s human-sounding robot and its ability to fool the people it was talking to. Compared with that spectacle, this version is downright boring. And boring is pretty good for booking a midsize sedan for your trip to wine country. “The strength of the reaction surprised me. It made it clear to us how important those societal questions are going forward.” Scott Huffman, head of engineering for Google Assistant Now playing: Watch this: Google Alphabet Inc.last_img read more

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Kathmandu airport in chaos as another aircraft skids off runway

first_imgNepali workers try to bring a Malaysian airliner back onto the runway at the international airport in Kathmandu on 19 April 2018, after it skidded off the runway following an aborted take-off. Kathmandu airport was closed 20 April after a Malaysian jet with 139 people on board aborted its takeoff and skidded off the runway. Photo: AFPA Malaysian jet carrying 139 people that aborted its takeoff and skidded into mud forced Kathmandu airport to shut down for more than 12 hours causing flight chaos Friday after the latest near miss on the city’s notoriously dangerous runway.Nobody was hurt in the incident but hundreds of passengers had flights out of the Nepalese capital cancelled and all incoming flights were diverted after the Malindo Airlines Boeing 737 went off the runway late Thursday.Earlier on 12 March, an aircraft of US-Bangla Airlines crashed at Tribhuvan International Airport killing 49 people, including 26 Bangladeshis.Talking about the jet, airport spokesman Prem Nath Thakur said that the jet was speeding down the Tribhuvan International Airport runway when the pilots detected a problem and aborted takeoff.The jet skidded into grass and came to a halt in mud about 100 feet (30 metres) from the runway at the airport which had a major crash last month.“All aboard are safe,” Thakur said, adding that the cause of the cockpit alert was not immediately known.Nepal’s only international airport reopened again just before midday Friday after the jet was “removed without any damage,” Thakur added.More than 100 people were needed to move the jet, its tyres stuck in grass that had been turned into a soggy morass by recent rainfall.Tow tractors pulled the jet out of the mud up ramps set up in front of the tyres.Delayed expansionAmerican traveller Sarah Ann Loreth, heading to Doha before returning to her home in Boston, spent hours on her delayed jet after the emergency.“We were supposed to take off on Thursday but couldn’t because of the Malaysia flight,” she told AFP.“Around 2:00 m the flight attendant informed us the other flight had slipped off the runway and was stuck in the mud and could not be moved.“They deplaned us around 2:30am and it was pure chaos. We went back to the terminal and they had our bags laid out behind the counter and we just went behind and grabbed them.”Cars eventually took the passengers to hotels to wait for a reorganised flight, Loreth said.The Himalayan nation has some of the world’s most remote and tricky runways, flanked by snow-capped peaks with approaches that pose a challenge even for accomplished pilots.Its only international airport struggles with surges in passengers and flights, and faces constant congestion and air traffic.“Delayed expansion of the airport has made things difficult. If we had the infrastructure, other flights would not be disrupted and we could have removed the aircraft more quickly,” said Sanjeev Gautam, chief of Nepal’s civil aviation authority.The incident came one month after the crash of a US-Bangla Airways plane at Kathmandu airport, which killed 51 people.In March 2015, a Turkish Airlines jet skidded off the runway as it landed, forcing Tribhuvan Airport to close for four days.Nepal has a poor air safety record. Accidents are common and Nepal-based airlines are banned from flying in European Union airspace.last_img read more

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Bangladesh condemns attack on Indian troops

first_imgActivists of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) burn a symbolic effigy of Pakistan and shout slogans against Thursday`s attack on a paramilitary convoy in Kashmir, in Hyderabad, India, on 15 February. Photo: AP/UNBBangladesh has strongly condemned the dastardly terrorist attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy in Pulwana District of Jammu and Kashmir, reports UNB.Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, in a message addressed to her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi said, “On behalf of the people and the government of Bangladesh, and on my own behalf, let me convey our heartfelt condolences for the loss of lives of more than 37 CRPE troops……”State minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam, who is now in Geneva, tweeted the message that was sent from Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi.“We stand by the people and the government of India. We offer our condolences to the members of the families who lost their dear ones. Our thoughts and prayers are for speedy recovery of those who got injured,” reads the message.Bangladesh, according to the message, remains steadfast in its commitment against terrorism of all forms and manifestations and maintains a zero tolerance policy against all kinds of terrorist activities.“Bangladesh would continue to work and cooperate with international community including India to eradicate menace of terrorism,” the message reads.The message, dated 14 February, was sent through Indian Ministry of External Affairs.On Thursday, suicide bombers carried out attacks on a paramilitary convoy in Kashmir leaving at least 45 people dead.last_img
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Following Allegations of Fraud at Duke Ellington Parents File Lawsuit

first_imgBy Hamzat Sani, James Wright and Lenore Adkins, Special to the AFROOn May 23 Duke Ellington School of the Arts parents held a press conference laying out their grievances, frustrations and the details of a lawsuit against the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).  The lawsuit comes after an OSSE investigation found a third of the students had been enrolled as District residents although they lived elsewhere, thus dodging tuition.The suit was filed by Ellington parent and lawyer, Greg Smith, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia May 21. According to a press release, the purpose of the lawsuit was “to correct and delay an inefficient and ineffective auditing and investigative system that, unfortunately, has had a disproportionate impact on vulnerable families who are longtime D.C. residents.”Duke Ellington School of the Arts (Courtesy Photo)The press conference revealed that in a appearance before D.C. Superior Court Judge Joan Zeldon, OSSE’s attorneys withdrew the letters.“Everybody’s letter has been withdrawn,” Smith told a gathering of 50 students and Ellington staff in front of the school. “It is my hope that they will work with us.”In their Complaint for A Declaratory Judgment, Temporary Restraining Order and Injunction, Ellington parents noted several issues with OSSE’s actions including not providing them with the mandatory notice of a 10 business day window to respond and have their case reviewed; a failure of the OSSE notice letter to let parents know that they did not have to un-enroll their student immediately, instead indicating that their children “thus is ineligible to attend a District school tuition-free.”The suit closely mirrored a letter drafted by Smith on behalf of Ellington Parents to D.C. State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang and cc’ing Mayor Bowser and members of City Council sent May 14.In it Smith alludes to an investigation that has alienated school officials, parents, students and administrators. The letter also asserts parents believe that Ellington was singled out and unfairly treated, as opposed to “exploring DCPS’s 90 schools equally, seeking wrongdoers citywide.”“OSSE focused its limited resources on Ellington, and then proceeded within our school on a guilty-until-proven-innocent approach,” the letter stated.The letter also notes that for the past five years OSSE itself has audited, cleared and signed off on all of Ellington’s students further confusing parents about why the agency would now claim non-compliance. Smith alludes to a belief by some that there are ulterior motives at play citing the school’s recent reopening in affluent, predominantly White, Georgetown, while most students at the performing arts schools are Black.“While there is no mass incarceration from these latest events, there has been a similar demonization of this predominantly African-American school.”Winston Clarke is a parent who received a letter from OSSE challenging his child’s residency and he was incensed.“The letter I received was telling me that I am a criminal,” Clarke said. “They were telling me I wasn’t a D.C. resident and they hand delivered the address to my D.C. home. I am a D.C. resident, my wife is a D.C. resident and so is my child.“I wished they could have simply asked me whether I was a D.C. resident. I am glad that everything was thrown out and we will have to wait for the next phase,” Clarke told the AFRO.Though the initial letters were thrown out, Smith made it clear that parents whose children are enrolled in Ellington, but do not live in the District, should pay the tuition or leave. However, he said the process must be much better managed by OSSE.“They need to send the list to the school on who is there illegally,” he said. “We should also have access to the investigatory files and have the ability to meet with OSSE officials informally on this. We need for them to show us what you got.”last_img read more

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