Cooperation between Jamaica and Belgium to be strengthened

first_imgJamaican Minster of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson-Smith Increased cooperation on criminal matters between Jamaica and the Kingdom of Belgium is to be strengthened. This follows approval of the Mutual Assistance (Criminal Matters) (Foreign States) (Kingdom of Belgium) Order, 2018 Resolution by members of the Jamaican Senate during its recent sitting.Leader of Government Business Kamina Johnson Smith, said mutual assistance can also be used to identify and recover the proceeds of crime, and is particularly important in preventing criminals from evading prosecution because evidence or proceeds are in different countries.Johnson Smith, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, said the Order refers to two conventions to which both Jamaica and Belgium are parties – the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) 2005 and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime 2000.“The UNCAC requires parties to the treaty to implement measures that focus on areas such as prevention, law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery, technical assistance and information exchange. The Order before us today would implement chapter four of the UNCAC international cooperation.”Acting against transnational organized crimes She said as a party to the Palerma Convention and the Palerma Protocols, Jamaica has committed to taking a series of measures in relation to transnational organized crime, including the adoption and revision of frameworks relating to extradition, mutual legal assistance and law-enforcement cooperation.Satisfying international obligations “By affirming the Order by resolution, we are not only safeguarding our relationship with Belgium, but we are also ensuring that our international obligations are satisfied,” she said.Meanwhile, leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Donna Scott-Mottley, said the opposition People’s National Party (PNP), fully supports the Resolution.“We expect that our country will accede to these international requests, especially because the focus is on transnational crime and unearthing any kind of corruption which cuts across all borders,” she said.last_img read more

Ranking college sports’ top football/basketball coaching combos

first_imgSome major college athletic programs are football schools. Others are basketball schools. A select few, however, are built for success in both sports.When looking at the current men’s coaches from NCAA Division I FBS and hoops, Sporting News thought it a question worth asking: Which universities boast the most impressive and accomplished coaching combinations? Sparty has enjoyed a party with these two guys, with Dantonio bringing the big bowls and Izzo delivering excellence that includes a natty and eight Final Fours.1. North Carolina: Mack Brown and Roy WilliamsCombined career record: 1,109-351-1 (.759)Roy is 68. Mack is 67. That’s 135 years combined to give us the other double natty combination on this list. Brown led Texas to ultimate glory in 2005 before returning to the Tar Heels. Williams has three titles and nine Final Fours at his alma mater. They are two venerable Southern gentlemen worthy of unparalleled respect — the kings of Chapel Hill. MORE: College football preseason rankings, All-Americans and moreTaking into consideration the overall quality of leadership — including past successes and future upsides — SN counts down the top 20 coaching duos in college sports:20. Louisville: Scott Satterfield and Chris MackCombined career record: 282-127 (.689)Satterfield and Mack are a rising, respected duo to watch. Satterfield went 47-16 at App State while Mack led Louisville back to the NCAA Tournament in his first season. Look for them to restore some of the good feelings lost after Bobby Petrino and Rick Pitino.19. Virginia: Bronco Mendenhall and Tony BennettCombined career record: 438-187 (.701)Heads up: Recent national titles carry a ton of weight on this list. Bennett’s 2018-19 national title team gets UVA on the list, but Mendenhall also has the potential to make the Cavaliers a consistent bowl contender.18. Michigan: Jim Harbaugh and Juwan HowardCombined career record: 67-35 (.657)The Wolverines love to talk about how important “Michigan men” are to their programs. Now they have former star player power on both their football and basketball teams. Harbaugh has led Michigan to 10-win campaigns in three of his four seasons in Ann Arbor, and Howard is a fine hire in replacement of John Beilein.17. Ohio State: Ryan Day and Chris HoltmannCombined career record: 162-109 (.598)Urban Meyer and Thad Matta were a strong 1-2 punch for awhile, but now the Buckeyes move on to a pair of smart younger minds. Holtmann has coached the Buckeyes to the second round in each of the last two NCAA Tournaments, while Day went 3-0 as interim coach for Meyer in 2018.16. TCU: Gary Patterson and Jamie DixonCombined career record: 563-227 (.713)Patterson has been a Fort Worth force for a long time, compiling 167-63 record and transitioning nicely from the Mountain West to the Big 12. Dixon is starting to bring some of his Pitt prowess there, too.MORE: Ranking college football coaches 1-130 for 2019 season15. Auburn: Gus Malzahn and Bruce PearlCombined career record: 393-201 (.662)Malzahn’s best work was with Cam Newton as the OC for Gene Chizik’s natty, but he coached the Tigers to the 2014 BCS title game and New Year’s Day Six bowls in 2016 and ’17. Pearl has seen his side become spectacular, winning the SEC regular-season and conference tournament titles in 2018 and ’19 — plus coaching Auburn to the Final Four in 2019.14. UCLA: Chip Kelly and Mick CroninCombined career record: 414-187 (.689)This is an upside play for sure, one that banks on Kelly being more Eugene than San Francisco in LA. Cronin can bring that Cincy sensibility to Westwood, too.13. Texas A&M: Jimbo Fisher and Buzz WilliamsCombined career record: 345-182 (.655)The Aggies were impressive in their successful pursuit of Fisher, not long after his natty at Florida State. Now there should be some, well, Buzz, for hoops with the addition of Williams out of Virginia Tech.12. Washington: Chris Petersen and Mike HopkinsCombined career record: 191-60 (.761)Petersen has carried his Boise State juice over well in Washington, compiling three straight double-digit-win seasons and New Year’s Day Six bowls. Hopkins has proved he learned well from Jim Boeheim at Syracuse. Same success, different turfs.11. Syracuse: Dino Babers and Jim BoeheimCombined career record: 1,083-413 (.724)Speaking of Boeheim. He boasts a natty and career record of 1,047-385 (vacated wins aside), making him only the second coach at the Division I level to cross the 1,000-win mark. His longevity, coupled with Babers’ bright future — he led the Orange to only their seventh-ever double-digit win season in 2018 — have Syracuse on the cusp of the top 10.MORE: Sporting News’ post-spring preseason top 2510. Georgia: Kirby Smart and Tom CreanCombined career record: 399-262 (.604)Smart already has the Bulldogs back in the natty conversation every year, and there’s some hope that Crean can find his Milwaukee and Bloomington best in Athens.9. Clemson: Dabo Swinney and Brad BrownellCombined career record: 452-242 (.651)Swinney has turned Clemson into a national power on the gridiron, punctuated by two natties in four seasons that came against football powerhouse Alabama. That’s a big boost to Brownell, another solid leader of men for the Tigers.8. Kentucky: Mark Stoops and John CalipariCombined career record: 786-250 (.751)Calipari got that natty with Anthony Davis and carries his equity from UMass and Memphis. Stoops getting football firmly on the map with its first 10-win season in 41 years — at a basketball school — can’t be overlooked.7. Notre Dame: Brian Kelly and Mike BreyCombined career record: 742-330 (.692)They have been steady representatives of the proud Fighting Irish together for a while, with some big spikes. Between them and women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw, there’s a lot of stability in South Bend.6. Kansas: Les Miles and Bill SelfCombined career record: 822-266 (.755)We told you natties matter, and the Mad Hatter carries one into KU from LSU (it counts). Self has one too with the powerhouse Jayhawks, making this one of only two national title-winning tandems on this list.MORE: Predicting 2019 bowl, Playoff games5. Alabama: Nick Saban and Nate OatsCombined career record: 333-106-1 (.757)Saban’s GOATness — six national titles between two schools and 11 straight seasons with at least 10 wins — combined with Oats’ upside — 59-13 record the last two seasons at Buffalo — rolls the Crimson Tide just inside the top five.4. Oklahoma: Lincoln Riley and Lon KrugerCombined career record: 663-413 (.616)Riley isn’t going anywhere for a while as the offensive wunderkind responsible for back-to-back Heisman quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Kruger has found his best home since those peak Florida days, coaching the Sooners to the NCAA Tournament in six of eight seasons and the Final Four in 2016.3. Duke: David Cutcliffe and Mike KrzyzewskiCombined career record: 1,243-445 (.736)Coach K stamps this duo with 1,132 career wins and five national championships, but the offensive-minded, well-liked Cutlcliffe has done a great job to make Blue Devils football relevant enough to have a first-round quarterback.2. Michigan State: Mark Dantonio and Tom IzzoCombined career record: 731-300 (.709)last_img read more

Recreational Razor Clam Opener in October Remains Tentative

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Washington Department of Fish and WildlifeThe first October 2018 recreational razor clam opener remains tentative as the marine toxin tests are completed. Those tentative opening dates are;Oct. 11, Thursday, 8:58 p.m.; -0.6 feet; Twin Harbors, MocrocksOct. 12, Friday, 9:41 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, CopalisOct. 13, Saturday, 10:26 p.m.; +0.1 feet; Twin Harbors, MocrocksThe following are the results from the first round of tests. The details with the tentative dates through December that were previously announced can be found at: TOXIN UPDATE:Listed below are the most recent marine toxin levels, as announced by the Washington Department of Health (WDOH) on September 28, 2018. This is the FIRST of two rounds of razor clam samples required by WDOH before any recreational razor clam opener. As you can see, these samples are all below the action level for Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) from Domoic Acid, Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) and Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison (DSP). The second and final round of sampling is scheduled for Thursday October 4 with results by Monday October 8.Recall, before a beach can be opened for the harvest of razor clams, WDOH protocol requires that all razor clam samples collected from that beach must test under the action level (20 ppm for domoic acid; 80 µg/100g for PSP; and 16 µg/100g for DSP) on both of the two required sample collections.Note that in all of these samples; only razor clam meat tissue is tested.These samples were all collected on 9/26/18.9/26/18; Long Beach Area E (north):domoic acid =   1 ppmPSP = none detectedDSP = none detected9/27/18; Twin Harbors Area CL (middle):domoic acid =   1 ppmPSP = none detectedDSP = none detected9/27/18;  Copalis Area XL (middle)domoic acid =   1 ppmPSP = none detectedDSP = none detected9/27/18; Mocrocks Area BC (south)domoic acid =   1 ppmPSP = none detectedDSP = none detectedFor more information on razor clams, including how seasons are set, population sampling techniques and how to dig, clean and cook razor clams please see the following link: read more

OOL’s Gold and Animism

first_imgWhat is the spark that turns molecules into life? For the materialist, it’s the spirit of imagination.Illustra’s film Origin presents a calculation by Doug Axe, PhD biochemist at the Biologic Institute who worked at Cambridge University, who figured out the improbability of a relatively small functional protein of 100 amino acids. The chance of getting such a protein under ideal conditions, he said, is one in 10161.* This probability is so inexpressibly low, it gives a reasonable person confidence it will never, ever happen anywhere in the entire universe—just getting one smaller-than-average functional protein. The simplest cell we know has over 300 different proteins. And that’s just one of the numerous problems the film presents that should rule materialistic origin-of-life theories completely out of court.So why do evolutionists persist in their view that life emerged by chance? Look at a press release from the University of Wisconsin-Madison that begins optimistically, “Experiments test how easy life itself might be.” How can a miracle of chance this improbable be easy?David Baum, chair and professor of botany at UW–Madison and a Discovery Fellow at WID, thinks the earliest life might have relied on a primitive metabolism that originally started on mineral surfaces. Many central reactions in modern cells rely on iron-sulfur catalysts. This reliance on iron and sulfur could be a record stamped into cells of the environments where metabolism itself first evolved. Baum is testing this idea by turning to iron pyrite, a mineral of iron and sulfur better known as fool’s gold.The reader is treated to a view of vials of non-living molecules rocking back and forth. The perhapsimaybecouldness index rises:Together with Mike Berg, a graduate student researching the origins of life, Baum is mixing microscopic beads of iron pyrite with a source of chemical energy and simple molecular building blocks. As vials of this mixture rock back and forth in the lab, small groups of chemicals bound to the mineral surface might aggregate and start assisting one another in producing more chemicals. If so, they’re likely to spread to other iron pyrite beads, colonizing new surfaces.Notice what Baum and Berg have done. They have endowed molecules with spirits. Only living things can rely on, assist, and colonize. If they were really materialists (or even methodological naturalists), they would have to agree that molecules will do nothing more than blindly obey the laws they learned in high school chemistry class. Impersonal molecules have neither the desire nor power to rise above those laws (see personification fallacy).Cells need the kinds of metabolic reactions that Baum studies to produce energy and the components of more complex molecules. They also need a way to store information. All living cells pass on their genetic information with DNA. But UW–Madison professor of chemical and biological engineering and WID systems biologist John Yin is exploring alternative ways to store and process information with simpler molecules in an effort to understand how information storage could evolve without cells or DNA.Nobody says that rock piles at the base of a cliff store information that the cliff needs to evolve. That would be ridiculous. But Yin adds his yang to Baum’s bomb by imagining non-living molecular clusters needing an information storage system. Multiplying the confusion, he plagiarizes a life force from human technology:Taking a cue from computer science, Yin is working with the most basic method of encoding information, binary. In place of electronic bits, his ones and zeros are the two simplest amino acids, glycine and alanine. Using a unique form of chemistry, Yin is drying out mixtures of the amino acids to encourage them to join together.These WID scholars should be asking whether natural forces actually do join amino acids together without “encourage”ment. They should consider whether chemicals actually do recognize information on their own. Oil separates from water in an oil slick, producing a rainbow of colors. Would Yin, Baum and Berg call that an information storage system? Information implies more than chemical properties of matter; it implies the ability to read, analyze, and interpret those properties. That requires a mind.There’s only one way their statements make sense: in a mystic religion. The religion being practiced at University of Wisconsin-Madison (and many other venues in the Origin of Life Circus) is animism: the view that material entities are endowed with unseen spirits. The spirits of amino acids need each other, so glycine and alanine want to get married and bear offspring. The amino acids teach their progeny what they have learned in life, so that they pass on information and improve on it. Now we understand. Let’s help this blessed union by rocking them back and forth in test tubes.In an ironic violation of separation of church and state, the American government promotes this religion. The press release says, “The project recently received $2.5 million in funding from NASA.”_____________*Justification for the calculation can be found in Axe’s book Undeniable and in Stephen Meyer’s book Signature in the Cell. For those who question Axe’s calculation, it should be noted that his is just one of a long string of similar results by both creationists (e.g., J. F. Coppedge) and evolutionists (such as Fred Hoyle, mathematicians at the Wistar Institute, and others listed by Meyer and Axe). Improbabilities of this order are so intractable, they could be off by many orders of magnitude and still rule out a materialistic origin of life.The OOL school at UW puts a whole new slant on fool’s gold.(Visited 91 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Capitec gets nod from Swiss

first_imgCapitec Bank is one of 27 brands fromaround the world which, according toCredit Suisse, are the brands of the future.(Image: Capitec) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sumarie BrandCapitec head of communications and PR+27 21 809 5955• Walter JacobsCredit Suisse+27 11 384 2217Janine ErasmusSouth Africa’s Capitec Bank is the only African brand to crack the list of “Great Brands of Tomorrow”, issued by the renowned Swiss-based financial services group Credit Suisse.The Stellenbisch-based bank, which celebrates its ninth anniversary in March 2010, eclipsed its more  established – and far bigger – rivals to score a mention as one of the Zurich-based Swiss bank’s up-and-coming brands of the future.Capitec was in illustrious company – there were 26 other brands nominated, among them Facebook, Apple, Polo, Swatch, Hyundai, Mahindra, and“Using our framework and global network of analysts,” said the report, “we identified 27 Great Brands of Tomorrow at various stages of development that we believe will significantly outperform the market over the next three to five years as they build and leverage brand equity to grow in size, scale, and profitability.”Credit Suisse also said that it believes the future for brands, especially from an investment point of view, is very bright, because top brands reach millions of people around the world.Over the coming years, said the institution, there will be thousands of new consumers in developing countries who will use their new-found spending power to support their favourite brands.A group of 3 000 analysts in 50 countries participated in the survey, which aimed to distinguish those brands that were likely to outperform the competition in the future and rise to the top in their respective markets.Credit Suisse rated its top brands on three main factors: innovation, aspiration, and scale. The first factor is self-explanatory. The second focuses on the tactics the brand uses to grow its influence with customers, and the third factor refers to use of the brand’s own power to develop advantageous relationships, cutting costs and maintaining its competitive edge.“In our view, Capitec Bank is one of the exciting ‘new’ brands in South Africa,” said securities analyst Walter Jacobs of Credit Suisse. “Through the bank’s recent branding exercises like the new logo and TV advertising campaign, we also expect that its brand awareness will yield positive results for the bank and ultimately its shareholders.”Innovative business modelThe Swiss company commended Capitec on its low-cost banking model, which attracts customers for whom value for money is an important issue and who are looking for a better alternative to the established options.Capitec marketing and corporate affairs executive Carl Fischer said the bank was pleased to be the only South African company on such a prestigious list, and that it was honoured.“At Capitec Bank we have based our business model on innovation and doing things differently,” said Fischer. “We have applied a pioneering approach to traditional banking by using technology, which have enabled us to simplify banking, so this international recognition is a powerful endorsement of the success of our strategy so far.”He added that the success and wide acceptance of Capitec’s money management solutions, which involve a minimum of red tape, was seen in the bank’s rapidly growing client base.Capitec’s plans for the 2010 fiscal year include the opening of 40 new branches across South Africa, bringing the total number to just over 400. Part of the strategy is to secure space in high-visibility shopping centres for at least 10 of these new branches, which is possible now because of the current economic climate and the resultant availability of space.Capitec plans to challenge the four big established local banks, setting its sights on middle income earners who have traditionally supported either First National Bank, Standard Bank, Absa Bank or Nedbank.The bank currently services around 2.1-million customers, but the next benchmark is 2.5-million by the end of the 2010 fiscal year, and looking further ahead, 5-million by 2016/2017.Credit Suisse maintains that most of Capitec’s growth remains in the unbanked or underbanked market and that there is still huge potential among the 37% of all South Africans who do not have banking facilities.Steady growthCapitec began operations in March 2001 and listed on the JSE less than a year later, in February 2002. It has 371 branches countrywide, with approximately 3 400 employees.The bank provides loans, savings accounts, and other transactions through branches, debit cards, the internet, ATMs, or through retail partnerships with chain stores Pick n Pay, Boxer and Score, Shoprite, Checkers and PEP stores. It also offers an internet-based payroll facility.Capitec has introduced innovations, such as a 30-day loan that can be arranged entirely via a mobile phone, that simplify the often complicated banking business. The customer sends a text message with the loan amount needed, the loan is processed, and once it is approved the funds are available immediately in the customer’s account – with no filling out of interminable forms required.Strategies used to grow the brand include a stint on popular soapie Generations, which increased visibility and awareness.last_img read more

Cleaning up the Braamfontein Spruit

first_imgResidents’ associations like the the Blairgowrie and Craighall Residents’ Association (senior members pictured above) were the driving force behind the successful clean-up projectIn an effort to clear the beautiful Braamfontein Spruit and its surrounding areas of unsightly litter and alien vegetation, a number of residents’ associations from the surrounding suburbs banded together with corporations like the Glass Recycling Company to make a clean and clear spruit a reality.The massive clean-up took place on Saturday 7 June along the banks of the Braamfontein Spruit with the Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary at Delta Park serving as a central hub.The winter chill was not enough to deter the hundreds of people who made their way down to the spruit to participate in what was to become a fun day out for all.ORGANISING THE BRAAMFONTEIN SPRUIT CLEAN-UPWhen Natalie Zimmelman took over the environmental portfolio of the Parkhurst Residents and Business Owners Association in 2013 she decided it would be great to get the community to play a bigger part in keeping the spruit clean.What she pictured at first was a clean-up of a small section of the spruit; instead her efforts led to all the surrounding communities coming together to take responsibility for the cleanliness of their environment.“I thought, instead of just doing things for my community, wouldn’t it be fantastic if all the communities who are already active along the spruit came out on one day to create greater awareness,” Zimmelman explained.“From that we had participation from bodies like the Junior City Council, Miss Earth and Greenpeace and obviously we’ve got the youth out here through the scout clubs and the like.”News of her efforts attracted sponsors such as Imperial Green Motion, Penny Black and Chillibean Studios. Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, Pikitup, ER 24, and schools and youth organisations also assisted with the clean-up.Steffani Alexander, a semi-finalist for Miss Earth South Africa, said the event gave her an opportunity to take an active role in cleaning up part of her community.She said, “For us, today was basically about acknowledging and building awareness about the environment as well as action. So as Miss Earth Ambassadors we’re actively getting involved and help moving towards a healthy and sustainable environment.”The Glass Recycling Company provided wheelie bins to collect all glass picked up during the clean-up.Kate Haupt, public relations officer for the Glass Recycling Company, said “When we heard about the Spruit Clean-up we thought that this would be a good opportunity for us to show our support and spread the word about the importance and benefits of recycling.”Zimmelman added, “I live in a very beautiful city, but I don’t want to live in concrete alone; if communities don’t step up and involve themselves, they can’t then complain about the state of their community; the municipality only has so much resources.“So for me it’s about creating a sense of our own community, our own village and our own city as well as sharing our responsibility and our part in it.“So I guess I’m an activist.”The spruit is essentially a tributary of the Limpopo River and has been subject to numerous developments near its banks, The clean-up has gone a long way towards tackling the problem of polution in the streamABOUT THE BRAAMFONTEIN SPRUITWith its origins deep within the inner city, the Braamfontein Spruit runs through a series of canals through town and along Empire Road before reaching the Frank Brown Park and emerging in the Parkview Golf Course.The Westdene Spruit, feeding into the Westdene and Emmerentia dams, merges with the Braamfontein Spruit before running through the suburbs of Parkhurst, Blairgowrie and Craighall Park and on towards Paulshof in the north of Johannesburg, where it is flanked by mountain bike trails and parks.The spruit is essentially a tributary of the Limpopo River and has been subject to development near its banks, which in turn has led to waste finding its way into the stream. This is both unsightly and a threat to the stream’s natural inhabitants. The clean-up has gone a long way towards tackling this problem.last_img read more

Judiciary to run South Africa’s superior courts

first_img1 October 2014Staff and administrative functions attached to South Africa’s superior courts will be transferred to the office of the Chief Justice, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said at a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday.The transfers from the Department of Justice to the Office of the Chief Justice, which are set to begin today, would go a long way to enhancing the institutional independence of the judiciary, Masutha said.Masutha said the decision to transfer the courts to the Office of the Chief Justice was founded on constitutional guidance: “The government appreciates that the independence of the courts and the rule of law can only thrive in a constitutional setting where there is clear separation of powers with appropriate checks and balances.”Administrative supportThe Office of the Chief Justice was established under the Public Service Act by President Jacob Zuma in 2010 “soley to provide administrative support to the Chief Justice and other Heads of Courts to ensure that they discharge their management of judicial functions in courts effectively”.Legislation passed in August (the Seventeenth Amendment Act of 2012 and the Superior Courts Act of 2013) places all judicial functions performed by judicial officers in all courts under the Chief Justice.Judicial functions include when specific courts will sit, which judges will hear which cases, when and where cases will be heard, case-flow management and recesses.The functions that will be transferred include those relating to the appointment of court managers, registrars, interpreters and clerks responsible for case-flow management and performance management.“Save for the judicial functions of magistrates all other administrative management functions pertaining to the Lower Courts remain the responsibility of the department, and not the Office of the Chief Justice at this stage,” Masutha said. The reforms also include the extension of the powers of the Constitutional Court to hear all matters, not only constitutional matters. This, Masutha said, underpinned the government’s commitment to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.Provincial efficiencyOther implementations in the Chief Justice’s Office include provincial efficiency committees that bring together the judiciary, police, correctional services and prosecutors to effectively manage court case flows and improve the administration of courts.In total, 1 486 members of staff would be transferred from the department to the Office of the Chief Justice, Masutha said.Director-General Babalwa Musekwa said they would transfer a pro rata sum of R1.4- billion, which is the budget for the year.She said plans for the office to get its separate vote in the 2015/16 financial year were on track.Source: Department of Justice and SAnews.govlast_img read more

Modernizing some FSA farm storage loans

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest While spending some time in Ohio this week, Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini visited with local growers, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), farm organizations, farmers market coordinators and local businesses about advancing local and regional food initiatives. The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins talked with Dolcini about some of the updated changes in FSA programs.last_img

Ohio’s Crop Progress — Timely Rains Improve Conditions

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Sporadic rainfall was conducive for corn growth and pasture rejuvenation, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 5 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending June 18th.Most rains were not excessive and soil moisture levels remained steady. Some parts of the state received over 3 inches of rain where others received none. Warm wet conditions arrived to give recently emerged crops and oats a boost. The temperatures also helped ripen wheat as harvest got underway. Despite rains, growers had opportunities between storms to continue side dressing corn and spraying weeds. Soybean planting and replanting was in its final stages and some hay was cut.Click here to read the full report.last_img read more

Microsoft, Split Yourself Up—Or Your Enterprise Customers Are Going To Walk

first_imgTags:#BYOD#Microsoft#smartphones#Windows With the announced acquisition of Nokia’s mobile devices unit for $7.2 billion, Microsoft is positively plowing its way to becoming the devices and services company it feels it must become in order to survive.But as it stands right now, there seems to be very little chance that Microsoft will survive in anything close to its present state. Microsoft is either beginning a journey that will see it split into at least two companies, or risking the alienation of its existing enterprise and smaller-business customers.The inclusion of Nokia’s handset business into Microsoft makes sense when looked at from a consumer perspective. After all, both Apple and Google are already playing on variations of the same theme: IT companies that provide end-to-end services that are owned up and down the stack. Apple and Google own the software ecosystems and either own the hardware or, in Google’s case, licenses the software stack to hardware vendors so that Android phones are compatible enough to run Android apps.Microsoft, which has long been the behemoth horizontal company the provided the operating system layer and some really valuable parts of the application layer to all sectors—consumers to enterprise—will not be expected to pivot 90 degrees to become a more vertically oriented end-to-end vendor.Much has been said about Microsoft’s ability to make this pivot and become the third part of such a consumer-facing triad, particularly given the rampant non-success of Windows Phone devices in the market to date. But let’s assume, for a moment, that Microsoft can pull it off, and a more focused Nokia-Microsoft synergy actually starts to gain traction in the marketplace.Here’s my question: where does that leave enterprise customers?Bring Our Own What?The message to enterprise customers and channel partners to date has been pretty straightforward: let’s move everything to the cloud. Running apps on Windows server? Move it to the Windows Azure cloud. Building docs and spreadsheets with Office? Migrate yourself right over to Office 365.From Microsoft’s point of view, getting business customers aligned to the cloud is a better option. There’s money to be made and a cloud-services architecture fits much more neatly with the end-to-end business model they are shooting for than client-server architecture.There are two big problems with that line of thinking. First, there are a lot of enterprises that are not entirely convinced that cloud is the way to go for them, even private clouds. Second—and even more troublesome—there are a lot of businesses who have spent years and millions of dollars building an IT support infrastructure that is centered around the client-server model. Asking them to stand by while Microsoft tries to pivot and hopefully does not leave them hanging for support or tries to shove unneeded solutions down their throat is a huge risk for Microsoft to take.Recall, for a moment, how much resistance app developers and device makers are seeing to implement bring-your-own-device policies now. And that’s with mature software and devices that are selling like hotcakes. Microsoft will have to innovate like crazy to push past the business inertia that’s holding BYOD as a safe business process back.The push to cloud services is especially ironic. For the past couple of years, Microsoft’s marketing team has had loads of fun taking potshots at Google Docs, deriding it in ads as Google’s attempt to “beta test” productivity services. Now, Microsoft is asking companies to forget all those points about security, stability and regulation compliance and trust Office 365 in the cloud anyway.Microsoft is betting all of its future that enterprise customers will go along with these changes like willing sheep. That characterization is wildly inaccurate: businesses large and small demonstrated through their refusal to abandon Windows XP that just because Microsoft says something is cool and useful, doesn’t always make it so.Windows 8 is even more of a mental hurdle, because anyone with half a brain can see this is Windows for devices and no one gets real work done on devices.So, in all of that, where is the attraction for enterprises to stick with Microsoft?Cleaving Microsoft ApartI am not alone in this line of thinking. Since the Labor Day announcement of the Nokia buy, there have been a lot of rumors from people in and outside of Microsoft that foresee a day coming soon when Microsoft will have to split itself in two.One company will carry the Devices group that includes the recently picked-up Nokia, as well as other device services like Xbox. Call this the “digital lifestyles” company.The other company will be the “enterprise” company, which will hold the Windows Azure, Windows, Office and SharePoint businesses and anything else that faces business users.Breaking up Microsoft into two entities will leave the enterprise company free to do what should have been going on all along: innovate for the business users, not the device users. Besides enabling such innovation, such a company would also ease the minds of IT managers who are now wondering how they will have to adapt to Microsoft’s continuing allegiance to devices and services.Or not.Because there are a lot of services companies out there, and by pivoting to become another such service vendor, Microsoft has thrown the door wide open for competitors to step in and show nervous enterprise customers the services they have been doing all along, sometimes at a better price and with better results.If Microsoft does not do something along these lines to assure enterprise customers it has their best interests at heart, then it will have effectively abandoned them to chase a dream many businesses are not yet ready to follow. Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now brian proffittcenter_img Related Posts IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more