Raging Prospect to burn rivals in Caymanas Park feature

first_imgIn the absence of a trophy race at Caymanas Park today, the three-year-old and up overnight allowance race over a mile takes the spotlight on the nine-race programme. Seven starters have been declared, including top contenders MIRACLE STAR, ROYAL VIBES, RAGING PROSPECT and BOLD AVIATOR. The Wayne DaCosta-trained ROYAL VIBES will have lots of supporters in this not-too-hot overnight field, having been a model of consistency even though failing to win a race in the last six months. The five-year-old son of Royal Minister-November Lace is ideally suited to a mile and is fit enough to land a blow under his in-form rider, Robert Halledeen. However, the fact that ROYAL VIBES finished behind RAGING PROSPECT the last two times they met says a lot for the chances of the 6-year-old gelding RAGING PROSPECT, from the stables of Patrick Lynch. RAGING PROSPECT, who beat the very useful MILITARY MOVE over this trip back in April, caught the eye when finishing two lengths second to PRINCESS SHINE over 2000 metres on September 5, a race in which he had the then favourite ROYAL VIBES behind in third, BOLD AVIATOR (fourth), MIRACLE STAR (sixth) and BLACK THORN (seventh). All renew rivalry today, but with RAGING PROSPECT coming down 4.0kg in the scales by virtue of the 4.0kg claiming allowance of promising apprentice Odean Edwards, he’s definitely the pick of the weights, with only 50.0kg. Blessed with good pace and in good nick for this race, RAGING PROSPECT should win at the expense of the Gary Subratie-trained BOLD AVIATOR and ROYAL VIBES. Other firm fancies on the card are MY COMPANION in the third race for maiden two-year-olds, BATTLE SONG in the fourth, AUNT HILDA in the fifth and LONG RUNNING TRAIN over recent winner ROYAL ASSAULT in the seventh race over the straight.last_img read more

It is up to every one of us to sell South Africa

first_img“If we are serious about marketing the country to the world, we must engage the brand ambassadors who are ordinary South Africans,” says Brand South Africa’s Wendy Tlou. (Image: Brand South Africa) • Brand South Africa infobrandsouthafrica.com PO Box 87168, Houghton, 2041 Tel: +27 11 483 0122 Fax: +27 11 483 0124 • National Development Plan: Utopian dream, practical blueprint • Forum focuses on active citizenship • A freedom timeline: 20 years of democracy • Mandela Day has improved South Africa’s generosity • Infographic: Vision 2030 and the National Development PlanWendy TlouBranding a nation is like branding a sugary beverage or a pop star (even those with questionable talents). The goal is the same: maximise brand value and remain relevant to your audience.Like any brand, nations change, values change and so should the message about the chosen or perceived brand identity.If we are serious about marketing South Africa, we must be clear about what our values are.Branding South Africa is critical to the future of the country for the trite reason of competitiveness and much-needed direct foreign investment.The process of brand development and leveraging the value the brand brings without engaging the diverse people of the country is a plan that is sure to fail.That we have not invested in the exercise of ingraining a common vision that will inform our overall brand as a nation may be seen as a sign that we are not serious enough about how we market South Africa to its own people and to the rest of the world.We are taking chances. In sustainable marketing, buying our own hype is not an option – our marketing ingredient has to be real, otherwise anything else will see us pay dearly in the long run.Branding a country or state, and branding a nation, are mutually exclusive tasks.A credible country can exist without a strong nation, but a country is stronger with the existence of a powerful national brand, an inclusive one at that.Central to a nation is a shared and common culture.A culture that is not limited to whether you are from the north or speak a particular language, but rather a culture of common understanding, one where we uphold the fundamental values that allow all the people of and in South Africa to be who they are, without anyone infringing on their rights.A culture that embodies the ideal that together we are stronger, but divided we are vulnerable.We must address the fact that South Africans are inherently polarised and are thus unable to effectively develop and own a common culture, due to our race and class differences.I suppose it is safer to talk about this after a hotly contested election. Perhaps we don’t trust one another to believe in the same ideals.The impact of partisan politics is perhaps the biggest contributor to lack of unity.Our overall disinterest in the national narrative makes it easy for us to be sold bogus ideas by entities who have only self-interest and profit-making at heart.We are so desperate that the smell of meat on a braai and the ephemeral excitement derived from sport has become our assumed identity, our brand as a nation.While we must celebrate how we embraced one another over the past 20 years during huge sporting events that we had the privilege to host, we do have to ask ourselves whether there was enough follow-through to maintain such a momentum.One would have hoped that there was no better time than the celebration of 20 years after democracy to rectify the error.Can we honestly say that we are underselling the story of our 20 years of achievement?The legacy and brand of Nelson Mandela, our progressive constitution, Table Mountain and hosting the World Cup, among others, are too limited tools in our arsenal to fulfil our mission of achieving solid leadership and dominance on the continent, remaining the gateway to the rest of Africa.They are too limited to ensure we are respected and unmatched – not only because of what we have done, but because of what we are focusing on and investing in for future generations.Being a breathtakingly beautiful country alone is not enough.Knowledge, innovation and excellence are fundamental to any brand.The Americans are arrogant in their pursuit of maintaining global dominance.They are unequivocal about being the standard.They are unrivalled in terms of education, innovation, sports and military capability.They say and believe that they lead because no one else will – and they back it up.Why are we unable to strive for the same on the continent and have the vision, political will and hard work to back it up?We may not be there right now, but a systematic and inspired effort to get there, an aggressive crafting of a new narrative around a collective move to fix our education system and making South Africa a safer and more secure country is just as sexy a story as that of the Big Five at Kruger and the wonderful wines in and around Stellenbosch.For this, decisive and uncompromising leadership from the top is required. We must identify key areas of focus that place us shoulders above other large economies that are a real threat to our economic prowess and leadership on the continent. These focus areas must guarantee returns and have an effect in a relatively short amount of time.The strategy of having several focus areas is ineffective, because South Africans are impatient.We want results now.The concept of planning decades ahead and working for tomorrow is not what we preach.The high levels of instant gratification in the private lives of South Africans are indicative of this challenge. This stifles our potential to create credible institutions, led by brilliant minds, to include in the brand value we offer the world. We want to know that there is imminent change that is not dependent on who will occupy the highest office in the land, but on the will of South Africans – and that it will serve their interests first and foremost. We need to attach equal importance to the development and encouragement of citizen loyalty and efforts to attract foreign investment.When South Africans are proud and committed to the development of the country, everyone will do their bit to ensure that those interested in investing do so with the kind of confidence that will encourage long-term investment in several sectors.Featuring locals in television adverts is cute, but it is not enough to make the project of marketing South Africa, to South Africans and abroad, exceptional.Properly integrate South Africans in the branding and marketing of their own country. Get more people to participate in keeping the cities and villages clean, not just for visitors, but also for themselves, so that they are also proud of their country.Brand Proudly South African must be given life from our products, content and – importantly – through the lives of ordinary South Africans.Let us be honest and clear about who we want in our country, what they bring and how they can help solidify Brand South Africa.When we are marketing South Africa, do we have in mind the Ivy League graduate looking to do exciting and innovative work in Africa, or the less skilled miners from Zimbabwe?The Ivy League graduate is just as valuable as the miner – however, their contribution to the development of the country is different.We expect that their economic activity will significantly benefit key industries, including tourism, which continues to perform positively in parts of the country.But without a stronger message about prioritising safety, security and reliable infrastructure, we will not be able to attract the calibre of visitors that our economy needs to grow at levels that we need.We must be unapologetic in the pursuit for quality individuals to make South Africa their professional and economic home. If not, we merely overburden ourselves by taking on more people to cater for.The pressure under which public facilities find themselves cannot be understated. If we are serious about marketing the country to the world, we must engage the brand ambassadors who are ordinary South Africans.Limiting our potential to aesthetics is problematic – we can create, we can think and we must tell the world this. We can charm and impress with more than just a three-minute video of pretty South Africa on YouTube.Tlou writes in her personal capacity. During the day she is the marketing and communications director for Brand South Africa.last_img read more

EPA announces RFS levels

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the final 2018 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), said his organization was generally pleased with the ethanol levels in the announcement.“NCGA is pleased to see the EPA meet the Administration’s commitment to keep the RFS on track when it comes to conventional ethanol. Not only has EPA hit the mark with the 15 billion-gallon implied target, but EPA has also improved on the proposed rule by correctly growing the total 2018 volume from the 2017 level as intended in the RFS,” Skunes said. “This year’s corn crop is bigger than anyone anticipated, resulting in the largest carryover supply in 30 years. Farmers want to rely on the marketplace for their income, and ethanol has been critical in our effort to increase profitable demand for U.S. corn.“While we are concerned that the RVO number for cellulosic ethanol is not set higher than the 2017 volume, we are encouraged EPA raised the level by 50 million gallons above its July proposal. Moving forward, we ask EPA to revisit the growth in cellulosic fuel production, particularly as first-generation ethanol producers expand cellulosic gallons made from feedstocks such as corn kernel fiber.”The numbers also stagnated biodiesel requirements at 2.1 billion gallons, well short of the industry’s capacity. The final RVOs are an improvement over proposed RVOs issued earlier this year, yet they fall short of maintaining Congress’ intent to drive growth in the American biofuels industry, according to National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson.“While it’s clear EPA made an attempt to reverse some of their flawed proposals from earlier this year, the improvements to the finalized volume obligations are meager and deeply disappointing. The agency missed a significant opportunity to follow through on the administration’s promises to advance the interests of American family farmers, their communities, and the biofuel industry,” Johnson said. “The RFS was written to promote expanded use of homegrown, renewable biofuels. So long as EPA continues to fail to meet that congressional intent, they’ll continue to shortchange our nation’s family farmers, rural communities, consumers and the environment.”last_img read more

Roundup: 5 Budget Zoom Lenses for Beginning Filmmakers

first_imgWhen you’re just starting out as a filmmaker, an affordable zoom lens can be your best friend. Here are our picks for the best lenses for beginners.For those just diving into the world of filmmaking and video production, a solid zoom lens can be a powerful tool with your digital camera of choice. Unlike fixed, or prime, lenses, a zoom lets you change focal length while remaining stationary. It’s a great choice for documentary and run-and-gun projects when you need to get shots quickly.There are, of course, some high-end options that would be better for professionals looking to make a long term investment. For those just starting off, however, an affordable zoom as your main lens is a great way to go. Let’s look at five options that will help get you started.1. Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 — $299This is a personal favorite of mine, but only for the right cameras. The Tamron 17-50mm was an ideal choice for my Canon 7D for years, as the crop factor basically pushed the lens to a 26-78mm range. Like many of the options on this list, it’s light, with a lot of plastic, but with powerful results. Its f/2.8 maximum aperture was ideal for run-and-gun filmmaking when I wanted to keep things fast with a beautifully shallow depth of field. (Note: this lens is not compatible with full-frame (35mm size) sensor cameras.)2. Canon 55-250mm f/4-5.6 — $299One of Canon’s most versatile offerings, the EF-S 55-250mm IS STM telephoto lens has a ridiculous focal length, which is great for photography and documentary filmmaking. Its maximum aperture ranges from f/4 to f/5.6, with 3.5 equivalent stops of shake correction in its optical image stabilization technology. The lens, while long, is surprisingly compact and lightweight for run-and-gun filmmaking.3. Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 — $172Similar to Canon’s fantastic offering, Nikon has its own affordable ultra-zoom option with focal length ranges from 70-300mm (or 105-450mm on DX-format cameras). While this lens is mostly marketed at photographers, it is a powerful tool for beginner filmmakers looking to shoot weddings and events or capture footage from afar. It’s a much more affordable option than the industry-standard macro-zooms by Canon (which you can read more about here).4. Panasonic 45-150mm f/4.0-5.6 — $249A strong compatible option for Panasonic’s Lumix GH4, GH5, and GH5s, the Lumix G Vario 45-150mm ASPH is a great zoom lens for any micro four-thirds mirrorless camera. Built as a 45-150mm, the crop equivalent is roughly 90-300mm of focal length range — with its maximum aperture moving from the f/4 to f/5.6 (which is pretty much standard for these budget price points). The lens utilizes Panasonic’s MEGA OIS — optical image stabilization — for sharper imagery when operating handheld or on other run-and-gun rigs.5. Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 — $549One of the best options for smaller-sized sensor filmmaking (in this case, designed with Canon’s APS-C sensor and EF mount in mind), Sigma’s 18-250mm lens has got you covered from wide to telephoto. With such a long focal length range (18-250mm), the Sigma stays at four inches long with a maximum aperture that opens up as wide as f/3.5 to f/6.3 at full zoom. Like many offerings on the list, Sigma uses its own image stabilization technology to help with shake when adding movement and motion to your camera.Cover image by lOvE lOvE.For more lenses and gear roundups, check out some of these articles.Understanding Zoom Lenses and How to Use Them ProperlyBuyer’s Guide: The Best Macro Lenses on the MarketDIY Tutorials and Gear Hacks for Filmmakers5 Reasons You Should Purchase a “Nifty Fifty” 50mm LensThe Best Mirrorless Cameras for Filmmakers and Videographerslast_img read more

Bihar constrained by low per capita income, needs special status: Nitish

first_imgBihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on July 12 told the assembly that his government felt hamstrung when it came to hiking the amount paid to beneficiaries of welfare schemes, a reason why he has been pressing for the special category status.Mr. Kumar also insisted that the State’s per capita income was “significantly lower” than the national average.“You talk about Haryana and Tamil Nadu. While comparing the amount paid (to beneficiaries of social welfare schemes) there, please also look at their per capita income vis–vis ours,” he said.“As a matter of fact, Bihar’s per capita income stands at less than Rs 40,000, which is significantly lower than the national average. This is the primary reason why we seek special status,” Mr. Kumar added, while responding to a calling attention motion introduced by a host of opposition leaders, including veteran Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA Abdul Bari Siddiqui. The motion had sought to draw the government’s attention towards the fact that the amount paid under welfare schemes in Bihar was far less than that doled out by the states of Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. For a pension scheme, the amount paid to beneficiaries in the state stood at ₹400 per month, while in Tamil Nadu and Telangana it was ₹1000, in Haryana it was ₹1800 and in Andhra Pradesh ₹2000, it said. Demand for special status for Bihar arose with the creation of Jharkhand in 2000, which deprived the state of its mineral-rich, relatively more industrialized and urbanized southern districts.It grew stronger in 2005 with ascendance to power of Mr. Kumar, who has often made the “special status’ issue a poll plank. After the 14th Finance Commission did away with the provision, the Chief Minister has, on many occasions, urged the Centre to make necessary amendments so that Bihar could get its due.“You (Siddiqui) have served as the state finance minister. I wish you had taken our financial situation into account before raising your question. You are comparing Bihar with states where the per capita income is higher than the national average,” Mr. Kumar said, turning towards the RJD leader.“Moreover, please do keep in mind that Bihar is the first state in the country to have introduced its own universal pension scheme – Mukhyamantri Vriddhajan Pension Yojana,” he added. Unlike other programmes, the pension scheme does not exclude those above the poverty line, he asserted.“All men and women, not drawing any other pension, shall be eligible to receive the benefit. This would put an annual burden of Rs 1800 crore and even though we need funds for development works, we are committed to implementing the scheme,” Mr. Kumar said. Talking to reporters outside the assembly, Mr. Siddiqui, however, appeared dissatisfied with the CM’s reply.“I am glad that the chief minister took seriously the issue raised by me. But his emphasis on the state’s financial situation leaves the basic question raised in our motion unanswered. The state’s budget this year stood at about Rs 2.05 lakh crore. This is a significant rise in comparison with what the size of budget was a few years ago,” he claimed.“There has not been a commensurate rise in the welfare benefits being extended to the vulnerable sections of the society. So, we had sought to know whether these matters were not high on the government’s list of priorities,” Mr. Siddiqui added.last_img read more