Authors conduct library protests

first_imgBest selling authors Mark Haddon, Philip Pullman and Mary Hoffman will be among Oxford writers taking part in ‘read-in’ events taking place in Oxford libraries tomorrow.The read-ins, organised by the Oxford Anti-cuts Alliance, will be held in eight libraries around Oxford, including the Central Library in the Westgate Centre. They have been organised in response to proposed cuts in library budgets, which would see 20 of Oxford’s 43 libraries close, and will include speeches and poetry from authors, librarians, councillors and trade unionists.Oxford-based Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night, emphasised the importance libraries play in communities, describing them as the ‘NHS of the Mind’. He will be speaking at Blackbird Leys Library as part of the day-long protest.last_img read more

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Formula 5 Reveals 30+ Dates For Summer Tour

first_imgUpstate New York-based funk jam band Formula 5 has announced a 31-show summer tour throughout the Northeast and stretching into the Midwest. The extensive tour, which will keep the quartet on the road through September, features multiple festival dates as well as shows alongside acts like Sprocket, Teddy Midnight, Pink Talking Fish, and more. After a pair of shows last week, the band will keep things moving in NY’s Finger Lakes region with a trio of shows in Rochester, Canandaigua, and Johnson City. Made up of guitarist/vocalist Joe Davis, drummer Greg Merek, bassist James Woods, and keyboardist/vocalist Matt Richards, Formula 5 has been attracting a rapidly growing fanbase with their mix of original, improvisational music and diverse and interesting covers. The band has been busy in 2016, opening for Twiddle in February, holding a month-long residency at Nectar’s in Burlington, VT, performing at a Bernie Sanders rally in Albany on April 11th, and sharing the stage with talented peers like The Jauntee, Strange Machines, Gubbilidis, Haley Jane and the Primates, Teddy Midnight, and Goose.Check out F5Jams.com for soundboard recordings of select shows throughout the tour. You can watch footage of the band’s 2/3/16 performance at Nectar’s below:Check out the full schedule below, and head to the band’s website for details.Formula 5 Upcoming Tour Dates:May 19 Flour City Station, Rochester, NY ?May 20 V Pub, Canandaigua NY$May 21 Ransom Steele Tavern, Johnson City, NYJune 3 Funk n Waffles, Syracuse, NY&June 9-12 Disc Jam Music Festival, Stephentown, NYJune 15 The Saint, Asbury Park, NJJune 16 The Acoustic, Bridgeport, [email protected] 17 89 North Music Venue, Patchogue, NY ++June 18 King Neptune’s, Lake George, NYJune 24 Olive’s, Nyack, [email protected] 25 The Press Room, Portsmouth, NY “”July 7 Ohana Music Festival, Fairfax, VTJuly 8 – Kings Rook, Erie, PAJuly 9 Irish Bob’s, Youngstown, OHJuly 11 Woodlands Tavern, Columbus, OHJuly 14 Beachland, Cleveland, OH%July 15 Stanley’s, Cincinatti, OH%July 16 James Street Gastropub, Pittsburgh, PAJuly 21 The Waterhole, Saranac Lake, NYJuly 22 Bellstock, East Jewett, NYJuly 23 American Beauty, NYC!July 28, Nectar’s, VT ()August 2 Dutch Apple Boat Cruise, Albany, NYAugust 5 BSP Lounge, Kingston, NY =August 6 Backwoods Pondfest, Peru, NYAugust 12 The Downtown Barn, Liberty, NYAugust 18 King Neptune’s, Lake George, NY >? with Stereo Nest$ with Haewa# with Triple Down and Ultra Vibe& with Michael Mwenso & the [email protected] with The Fluid Druids++ with Funkin A and Wild Adriatic“” with Revibe~ Phish post show with Pink Talking Fish% with Foto! with Sprocket() Tumbledown Pre-Party with Teddy Midnight= with The Other Brothers>< with Goose<> with lespeciallast_img read more

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Elmendorf to lead Kennedy School

first_imgDouglas W. Elmendorf, A.M. ’85, Ph.D. ’89, a leading economist and former Harvard faculty member who recently concluded his service as the highly regarded director of the U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO), will become the next dean of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, starting in January.“Doug Elmendorf is an outstanding public servant, an admired mentor and teacher, and a distinguished economist deeply immersed in the interplay of research and policy — an experienced leader in government who embodies the Harvard Kennedy School’s commitment to joining scholarship, education, and practice to serve the public good,” said President Drew Faust today in announcing the appointment. “As director of the CBO, he won widespread praise for his leadership and management skills, his integrity and fairness, his intellectual curiosity and analytical acuity, and his ability to work thoughtfully and constructively with people across the political spectrum.“His incisive mind, his openness to different perspectives, his instinct for collaboration, and his engaging and collegial style have propelled his success in a series of roles,” Faust added. “I am confident he will guide the Kennedy School with foresight and energy, a deep appreciation for the full breadth of the School’s diverse pursuits, and a constant dedication to its high ideals.”“I am honored to have been chosen by President Faust to serve as dean of the Harvard Kennedy School,” said Elmendorf. “During my public service, I have seen firsthand the essential role of innovative policy ideas and outstanding people to put those ideas into practice, and the Harvard Kennedy School is the pre-eminent provider of both to governments in this country and around the world. I am eagerly looking forward to working with the School’s extraordinary faculty, staff, students, and alumni to build on all that has been achieved under the strong leadership of David Ellwood and his predecessors as dean. Together, we will honor and extend the School’s commitment to confronting hard problems in ways that enhance public policy and improve people’s lives.”From January 2009 until March of this year, Elmendorf led the CBO, the nonpartisan federal agency responsible for independent analysis of budgetary and economic issues to support Congress. In that role, he is credited with having ably led an organization with a staff of 235, most of them economists, public policy analysts, and others with advanced degrees. In his work with and for members of Congress, he drew admiration from both sides of the aisle for his acumen, objectivity, and nonpartisanship.After graduating summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1983, he received his A.M. (1985) and his Ph.D. (1989) in economics from Harvard. He was an assistant professor of economics at Harvard from 1989 to 1994 and co-taught the College’s flagship introductory economics course, “Ec 10,” with Professor Martin Feldstein.Elmendorf first served at the CBO from 1993 to 1995, where his work as an analyst earned him the CBO Director’s Award. He next served as an economist for the Federal Reserve Board (1995-98), senior economist for the Council of Economic Advisers (1998-99), and deputy assistant secretary for economic policy in the Treasury Department (1999-2001). He returned to the Federal Reserve in 2001 and took on leadership roles as chief of the macroeconomic analysis section (2002-06), and then as assistant director of the research and statistics division (2004-07).From 2007 to 2009, he was a senior fellow in economics and Bernstein Scholar at the Brookings Institution, serving as co-editor of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity and, in 2008-09, as director of the Hamilton Project, which focuses on creating innovative policy proposals to stimulate economic growth. He was appointed by the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate to serve as director of the CBO starting in January 2009.Elmendorf has written numerous research papers on economics and public policy matters, testified many times before Congress, and given dozens of presentations and lectures on a range of topics at universities and elsewhere.In announcing Elmendorf’s appointment, Faust expressed her gratitude to the “many people within and beyond the Kennedy School [who] offered thoughtful counsel as the search progressed. I am grateful to all of them — especially to the members of the faculty advisory committee, who invested exceptional time and care in a vitally important process.”Faust also thanked Archon Fung, the Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship, who, as previously announced, will serve as acting dean from July 1 until Elmendorf takes up his duties in January.In addition, she recognized Ellwood, who will step down at the end of June after 11 years as dean, “for his splendid leadership, which has done so much to drive the School forward and to enable its future progress.”“I am thrilled with the choice of Doug Elmendorf,” said Ellwood. “Doug has a distinguished record of public service, scholarship, and institutional leadership. His combination of talent, insight, integrity, collaborative style, generosity of spirit, and deep commitment to public service positions him to be an outstanding dean.”last_img read more

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Invasive plant workshop

first_imgUniversity of GeorgiaBy their very nature, invasive exotic plants become obvious to everybody. And once you see these pest plants’ potential to overtake large areas, you want to know more about how to control them.The Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council wants you to know, too.The GA-EPPC has gathered experts from around the state to provide the Invasive Plant Control Workshop March 21 in Athens, Ga.Homeowners, landowners and anyone else interested in controlling invasive exotic plants are invited to learn about the worst pest plants in north Georgia and how to safely control them.Participants will get a three-ring binder of presentations, reference material and other information. They’ll learn: How to recognize the most serious invasive plants.How to effectively and safely use herbicides.How to understand herbicide labels.How to use nonchemical methods and when they will work.How to know the best control methods for your site. Connie Gray, special projects coordinator for Trees Atlanta, and Malcolm Hodges of the Georgia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy will lead the workshop. Gray and Hodges are president and vice president of the GA-EPPC.Scheduled during the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Annual Symposium March 20-22, the workshop will be in Room K of Georgia Center for Continuing Education from 9 a.m. to noon on March 21.For anyone not attending the symposium, the workshop cost is $50.To learn more, visit www.gaeppc.org or www.se-eppc.org. Or call the Georgia Center at (706) 542-6596 or (800) 884-1419. Or contact Gray at (404) 522-4097 or [email protected]last_img read more

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Rules for German occupational pension funds ‘make no sense’

first_imgBenedikt Köster, head of pensions at Deutsche Post, has reminded German companies to beware the “effects of action forced by financial difficulty” due to the impact of international accounting standards and the local HGB equivalent. Taking part in a panel discussion at the Handelsblatt conference in Berlin, Köster said some of the measures dictated by international and domestic accounting rules “might not make sense over the long term”.“Yet we are driven by these measures,” he said, “which make no sense economically.” Across Europe, persistently low interest rates have increased the challenge of funding pensions liabilities, and in Germany, many companies – including large listed ones – still face sizeable defined benefit obligations. According to Willis Towers Watson, the average pension funding level for companies on Germany’s DAX30 stock exchange is 65%. The Deutsche Post pension scheme’s funding matches the average almost exactly, having just over €17bn in liabilities, funded via vehicles including a Pensionsfonds.Also speaking on the panel, Friedemann Lucius, a board member at German actuarial firm Heubeck, called for a more drastic step, pointing to a “massive bulk of additional financing needs” in the system.“We have to get away from pension funds having to adjust their investments to match liabilities on a given date,” he said.He said forcing pension funds to ensure liquidity at all times had been “extremely counter-productive” and called for the allowance of an “underfunding corridor” for German Pensionskassen, similar to that permitted with the Pensionsfonds vehicle.Although German regulator BaFin, wary of making Pensionskasse “too similar” to Pensionsfonds, has ruled out this proposal already, Lucius argued that the “pressure was not yet great enough”, and that the time was therefore “not yet ripe”. Previously at the Handelsblatt conference, he called for changes to how companies are allowed to deal with promises on future services, such as the amount of time an employee must work before receiving a pension. But he also warned that “all of that will not be enough if the low-interest-rate environment continues”.Thomas Dommermuth, a professor at the German university Amberg-Weiden at the Institute for Retirement Provision and Financial Planning, said the application of the ‘marked-to-market’ term to liabilities was “actually wrong because I cannot sell off liabilities”.In Germany, he said, even with external funding, a top-up requirement remains with the company, unlike companies in the UK and the US.Reiner Schwinger, managing director at Willis Towers Watson, lamented that German companies with unfunded pension liabilities applying German accounting standard HGB were feeling the effects of rate changes directly in their profits.These companies must calculate an average interest rate to apply as a discount rate to their liabilities.But Schwinger dismissed that average as “nonsense”, as it “prevents any kind of hedging” against the effects in a company’s profits and losses.At the beginning of the year, the German government increased the calculation period for this average HGB rate from seven years to 10 to include pre-financial crisis interest levels, but the move proved controversial.Schwinger further warned that the alternative of switching to defined contribution plans merely presented different problems.   “The more a company backs away from making promises, the more other challenges appear on the horizon, such as reputational risk, warranty risk, transparency and the new role of employees as agents for their staff in choosing retirement provision.”last_img read more

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Alex Kline grows Mary Kline Classic into top showcase, raises $104,000 for cancer research

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 20, 2015 at 10:00 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesse Alex Kline slumped down in a folding chair next to the court, his hair mussed and sweat staining his red T-shirt.There was no air conditioning in the The Pennington (New Jersey) School gym. There wasn’t enough parking. Seventeen college-bound recruits played for a crowd thinned by the scheduling of the event — right in the middle of Memorial Day Weekend — and a 16-year-old Kline just wanted the day to end.Looking back four years later, Kline sums up the first Mary Kline Classic in one word:Deflating.“I get a complaint the next day from a father. He said, ‘You promised us dinner and we got cold pizza. My son didn’t get MVP and he led the team in scoring,’” Kline remembered. “And that’s the first call I get after the event.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ I didn’t know if I could do it again after that.”He was a year into becoming a wunderkind with his basketball recruiting blog, now TheRecruitScoop on Yahoo!. He started the event to raise money for his mother, Mary Kline, who died from brain cancer when he was 10. And after pushing through what Kline calls a “humble beginning,” the Mary Kline Classic has raised $104,000 for brain cancer research and the fifth annual event is set for May 30 at West Orange (New Jersey) High School.Kline, a junior broadcast and digital journalism major at Syracuse, has molded the Mary Kline Classic into one of the top high school basketball showcases in the country and unveiled another impressive roster on Sunday night. But beyond the big name recruits and name-brand sponsors, the event has helped Kline achieve a decade-old goal of using basketball to connect with athletes, educate his expanding community and keep his mother’s name alive.“Alex Kline isn’t 20 years old. He just isn’t,” Bernie Gurick, Pennington’s head coach, said. “The passion he has and what he’s done with his cause in the last five years is just remarkable.”In middle school, Kline had a hard time making friends and gravitated to the athletes.But when he asked them to hang out on weekends they always told him they were busy. He’d sit at home and assume they were lying because they didn’t like him. Then he realized that they were constantly going to tournaments and practices and he wanted to get involved in the year-round basketball season.Kline went to Gurick, who was his eighth-grade math teacher, and told him he wanted to be a manager for Pennington. The next year Gurick gave him a job filling up water bottles, washing uniforms and handing players towels.He fell in love with being around the game and Gurick said Kline became the best manager he’s ever had.“This process has all been so crazy for me because that beginning really did test how much I loved basketball,” Kline said. “… But it was just about being there and interacting with the guys and that’s where the idea for the classic, from a basketball standpoint, came from.”On New Year’s Eve in 2012, Kline had just gotten home from a Temple-Bowling Green game in Philadelphia when his phone rang. He was close to wrapping up an Under Armor sponsorship with two Mary Kline Classics in the books, but the voice on the other end was offering him Nike’s allegiance.“Yeah, I think we can probably work something out,” Kline remembered saying, and added that that’s when he realized it was more than a high school all-star game.For the first game in 2011, Kline said he had to beg some players to come and saw it as a favor to him. Now he has prospects seek him out and ask to play in the game, some of which he has to turn down.The showcase has added an underclassmen game — for sophomores and juniors — to go along with the senior game. Players get a jersey, sneakers, shorts and a backpack. And after putting together a game of Northeast prospects in the first year, the 2015 rosters include players from Virginia, Michigan, South Carolina and Florida, and others committed to play at Stanford, Texas, UNLV and UCLA, among other power-conference schools.It’s all laid out in organized spreadsheets on Kline’s computer. One for the roster breakdown, another for shirt sizes, family tickets, travel plans and so on — a puzzle looking to cure cancer one jump shot at a time.“I have learned so much about basketball and about life from Alex,” said Franklin Howard, who played in the 2014 Mary Kline Classic and is committed to Syracuse for next season. “Playing in the classic was special because I was able to connect with other players and also play for a great cause.”But even with all the growth in the last four years, Kline doesn’t have a clear vision for where he wants the event to go.He sees the McDonald’s All-American game and Jordan Brand Classic as great showcase events muddied with politics on and off the court. He wants the Mary Kline Classic to keep its innocence and never lose sight of its goal of saving lives. He doesn’t know where his career will take him but loves the idea of people inadvertently saying his mother’s name for decades to come.Yet he’s a self-coined pragmatist who knows he may not be able to do it forever. So for now, the future for him and the Mary Kline Classic can be boiled down into three steps: four down, another to go and unlimited opportunities ahead.“You know no one’s really patient, whether you’re young or old, everyone wants instant gratification, and I think the same thing goes for cancer research,” Kline said.“We’re all looking for a cure tomorrow, but who knows when it’s going to come? All we can do is keep chipping away at it. I never thought we’d get here so let’s see where we can go.” Commentslast_img read more

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Inside Brittney Sykes’ decision to return to Syracuse

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 18, 2016 at 9:54 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman Not even 24 hours after losing in the national championship game, Brittney Sykes got a call she never expected. She was sitting in Schine Student Center with volleyball players Amber Witherspoon and Christina Oyawale when Sykes’ phone buzzed, showing her head coach’s phone number.“‘Listen, I have some bittersweet news,’” Sykes recalled Quentin Hillsman telling her around 5 p.m. on April 6. “’You only have 24 hours to decide if you’re going to leave or stay.’”Twenty months of recovery boiled down into a matter of hours with one phone call. Countless days crutching through snow. Miserable weeks spent largely on training room tables. All that time spent trying to recreate the player she once was before back-to-back ACL tears in 2014 and 2015. Sykes’ decision loomed to return to Syracuse for a fifth year or depart for the WNBA, and the clock was ticking so she could be eligible for the draft.She was “stunned,” and told Hillsman she needed a few hours, knowing in her mind she needed far more than that. Sykes wasn’t more than a couple hours removed from the team’s flight home from Indianapolis, but immediately began dialing a short list of important contacts. None of which included the teammates she just finished an improbable five-month journey with.I didn’t want to bring (them) into that decision. Something of that magnitude, whether you’re going to … play in the WNBA, or stay one more year with your teammates … it’s big.Brittney SykesSo she strayed away from her closest friends, and her previous claim to Hillsman ended up a lie. Sykes guessed it only took her 40 minutes — not hours — before she called back her head coach to inform him that she was staying. That she needed another year to build up her lower body. That she wanted another run at history, perhaps to close out the season’s final 40 minutes in grander fashion than SU did in an 82-51 loss to Connecticut in the national title game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHer three phone calls — first to assistant coach Tammi Reiss, then to her mom and finally back to Hillsman — in that 40-minute span offered as much discussion about her past as it did her immediate future. Sykes had just wrapped up her first full season in two years, averaging just over 10 points and 29 minutes per game as she appeared in every one of SU’s 38 contests.But she knew at times she was a shadow of her former self, and her hulking right-knee brace was an ever-present reminder of that. Opponents like Georgia Tech whizzed past Sykes on her right at the top of the zone, and she struggled to drop back on her reconstructed knee.Her jump shot went into ruts, as she opted for it more than ever instead of driving the lane. So when talking to Reiss, a former WNBA guard herself, the first-year assistant laid out the pros of playing another collegiate year to better learn the playing style of her healing body.“That’s like the big thing for me right now. Just getting stronger, making sure I stay healthy,” Sykes said. “Get one more year under my belt post-injury.“Once you do that, and I get to come out of my brace, there’s a lot of things that happens with staying.”Evan Jenkins | Staff Photographercenter_img And just as it was with Reiss, learning was a focal point of Sykes’ discussion with her mom, Regina. The two mulled over the decision throughout the season, not necessarily thinking about staying an extra year to polish off a basketball career, but for Sykes to become the first member of her family to earn a master’s degree.Regina Sykes didn’t adamantly steer her daughter down one path, but maintained that if Sykes wanted to pursue a WNBA career now, she needed a clear idea about where her position might be on a draft board.I believe she had a great chance of getting drafted. When you hear from just about every team in the league, you probably know (she’s) going to get drafted.Quentin HillsmanBut Sykes wasn’t naïve to the jaded prism she could be viewed through, shining brightly on her right knee.And Regina Sykes wasn’t remiss to point out of the finality of her daughter’s decision. That if Sykes left Syracuse for the WNBA, there was no easy path to return and finish her education.“I knew she was gonna stay,” Regina Sykes recalled thinking upon hanging up the phone.So lastly, Sykes dialed back her head coach. The one who began her tailspin, forcing her down a path she thought she’d have days to map out. She had heard everything she needed to hear, but Hillsman echoed Reiss’ message for final emphasis.That they believed in Sykes, and she would be fine if she left for the WNBA. But that there was an upside to playing one more season at school with her ACL injuries in the rearview.More time to smooth over her outside shot. More time to help develop a roster laden with young talent. More time to define a legacy and career Sykes couldn’t find closure for unless she left room for one more chapter.“I just think coming back for one more year,” Sykes said, “… it’s set me up for a better exiting ticket.” Commentslast_img read more

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Celebrations for Carndonagh in National Enterprise Town Awards

first_imgThere were great celebrations for the Carndonagh business community last night after their triumph in the Bank Of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards.Carndonagh was named as the regional winner of the Connacht/Ulster award for towns with a population between 2,000-5,000.The Carndonagh Traders Association were over the moon with the award which celebrates the vision, teamwork and enterprising spirit of the Inishowen town. The Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards 2019 took place in Kilkenny, where Kilkenny was named Ireland’s most enterprising town of 2019, taking home the trophy and a cash prize of €33,000. Celebrations for Carndonagh in National Enterprise Town Awards was last modified: December 6th, 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)last_img read more

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SA launches into space science

first_img11 March 2003South Africa has a long history of excellence in astronomy, a sound high-tech infrastructure and clear skies. But southern Africa’s rich, diversified expertise in astrophysics and space science has never been available to students in one place – until now.Researchers from around the region have joined forces to create a cooperative, combined programme where South African students – and students from around Africa – can earn Honours and Masters degrees while being mentored and taught by a “dream team” of South Africa’s leading scientists.The National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) draws on scientists from 13 institutions: the universities of Cape Town, Orange Free State, Natal, Zululand, North West, Rhodes, and Potchefstroom, as well as the University of South Africa, the South African Astronomical Observatory, Hartebeesthoek Radio Observatory, Hermanus Magnetic Observatory and iThembaLab. Others are likely to join in as well.For the first five years, starting this year, NASSP will be hosted by the University of Cape Town. Lecturers from other institutions will spend time at UCT, working with students in their specialties before returning to home base.Student graduating from this programme will be both equipped to do research at the cutting edge of astrophysics and have the broad science skills needed in any modern technological society.Lectures will cover most areas of modern astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology. In addition, students will be expected to take a substantial practical component, which will involve several field trips to southern Africa’s space science research facilities.These will include the Southern African Large Telescope, the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere, still under construction; HESS, a new, powerful telescope array for studying gamma rays and cosmic rays in Namibia; as well as the existing optical/infrared telescopes at Sutherland and the radio telescope at Hartebeesthoek.This unique new opportunity in southern Africa aims at providing highly skilled people who will be in demand in fields ranging from aerospace to financial services to telecommunications – all areas where astronomers trained overseas have been successful.Other graduates will join the growing community of African researchers who will use the continent’s new, “giant eyes” to explore the Universe – our environment on the grandest possible scale.Source: National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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An inclusive and responsive social protection system

first_imgNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN OUTCOME 13In 2030, South Africa is a working nation, individuals are engaged in meaningful activity, and vulnerable groups and citizens are protected from the worst effects of poverty. Everyone is able to live the life they wish to lead.   •  Overview•  Document downloads•  Quality basic education•  Health care for all•  Safety & freedom from fear•  Economy & employment•  A skilled workforce•  Economic infrastructure•  Vibrant rural communities•  Sustainable human settlements•  Accountable local government•  Natural environment•  South Africa in the world•  Efficient public service•  Inclusive social protection•  Nation building, social cohesion Social protection – DownloadsFind out more about the National Development Plan.• National Development Plan – full text• National Development Plan – Chapter 11: Social protection• Medium-Term Strategic Framework 2014 to 2019 – Outcome 13: An inclusive and responsive social protection system• Infographic: Social protectionSocial protection – The visionThe National Development Plan’s vision is that, in 2030, South Africa is a working nation, individuals are engaged in meaningful activity, and vulnerable groups and citizens are protected from the worst effects of poverty. Everyone is able to live the life they wish to lead.A social floor has been defined and a multi-pronged strategy recommended to ensure that no household lives below this floor. Problems such as poverty induced hunger, malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies have been addressed.In 2030, an inclusive social protection system addresses all areas of vulnerability and is responsive to the needs, realities, conditions and livelihoods of those who are most at risk.By 2030:• No-one lives below a defined minimum social floor.• All children enjoy services and benefits aimed at facilitating access to nutrition, health care, education, social care and safety.• Hunger, malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies that affect physical growth and cognitive development, especially among children, have been addressed.• The skills deficit in the social welfare sector has been overcome.• Income support to the unemployed is provided through various active labour market initiatives such as public works programmes, training and skills development, and other labour market related incentives.• All working individuals make adequate provision for retirement through mandated savings. The state provides measures to make pensions safe and sustainable.• Social protection systems have responded to the growth of temporary and part-time contracts, and increasing importance of self-employment. The systems have set up mechanisms to cover the risks associated with these.• An effective social welfare system delivers better results for vulnerable groups, with the state playing a larger role compared to now.• Civil society complements government initiatives.Social protection – The challengesOur social assistance system is well developed with wide reach and coverage, but the system is still fragmented, plagued by administrative bottlenecks and implementation inefficiencies.Demographic trends and human development indicators point to a country with significant levels of social fragmentation, unacceptable levels of social alienation and the breakdown of social institutions.Poor social welfare services and ineffective policing reinforce the sense of powerlessness in poor communities. The distribution of and access to both public and private social welfare services remains skewed along racial and income lines, with the wealthy having access to relatively effective private services.The demand for social welfare services and care is increasing. Those with the ability to pay for social welfare services and care privately have the advantage of better services, whereas government-funded services, the quality of service is often plagued by inefficiencies, inadequate funding, competition for scarce resources and inadequate monitoring and oversight of services delivered.One of the key issues is reaching all of those who are entitled to existing benefits of social assistance. The state continues to be accountable for high-quality and effective services that comply with policy and rules, and achieve specified outcomes and results.Social protection – Action requiredSouth Africa must develop a comprehensive social protection system that includes social security benefits such as retirement, unemployment, death and disability benefit and – where necessary – social assistance such as public employment.The concept of social protection includes community development and social welfare services – no-fee schools, health care services, housing, free basic services and subsidised public transport.This social protection system must be sustainable, developed with the demographics of the country – including the increasing life expectancy – in mind. For one, the youth of today must not become an older population reliant on social assistance.Specific action includes:• Together with social partners, determine a social floor that can be progressively realised through rising employment, higher earnings and social grants and other aspects of the social wage.• Increase the supply of four categories of social service professionals to 55 000, to respond to the demand for appropriate basic social welfare services, i.e. social workers, auxiliary or assistant social workers, community development workers, and child and youth care workers.• Identify the main elements of a comprehensive food security and nutrition strategy and launch a campaign.• Create incentives that encourage a culture of individual saving for risks and loss of income due to old age, illness, injury or loss of work for workers in both the formal and informal sectors.• Explore designs of a mixture of financing and institutional frameworks that enables those in the informal economy to participate in contributory social insurance schemes.• Pilot mechanisms and incentives to assist the unemployed to access the labour market.• Expand existing public employment initiatives to create opportunities for the unemployed.• Develop a consolidated institutional framework that supports coherent policy implementation, integrated social security administration, and effective regulation and oversight of the system.Social protection – Key medium-term goals for 2019South Africa’s Medium Term Strategic Framework (2014 to 2019) identifies the following sub-outcomes to achieve an inclusive and responsive social protection system.• Reforming the social welfare sector and services to deliver better results• Improving the provision of early childhood development. All children should enjoy services and benefits aimed at facilitating access to nutrition, health care, education, social care and safety (access and quality)• Deepening social assistance and extending the scope for social security• Strengthening community development interventions• Establishing social protection systems to strengthen coordination, integration, planning, monitoring and evaluation of services• Developing a sustainable model of funding social development• Increasing human resource capacity for the social welfare sector• Improving household food and nutrition.Social protection – Key medium-term targets for 2019South Africa’s Medium Term Strategic Framework (2014 to 2019) identifies the following targets to achieve an inclusive and responsive social protection system.GRAPHIC: MARY ALEXANDERResearched, edited and compiled by Mary AlexanderUpdated December 2015last_img read more

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