BRICS bank: all eyes turn to Durban

first_img14 March 2013The world will be watching closely to see whether the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa can conclude negotiations for setting up a BRICS development bank when they meet in Durban in less than two weeks’ time.The 5th BRICS summit will take place in Durban on 26 and 27 March.Emerging markets analysts believe a BRICS development bank – first mooted at last year’s BRICS summit in Delhi, India – could help create jobs in South Africa and promote greater trade on the African continent by funding new infrastructure.Last week, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told City Press newspaper that South Africa was keen to host the development bank, saying the country had a history of sound financial expertise and that the African continent was home to seven of the 10 fastest growing economies.Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said this week that South Africa had a strategic interest in extending BRICS cooperation to support Africa’s development agenda. He added that he believed Africa’s relationship with BRICS had influenced growth on the continent.Finance ministers working on business planThe finance ministries from the five member countries have been working on a business plan for the development bank, and met on the sidelines of the G20 conference in Moscow last month to explore the bank’s potential structure.World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu has backed the idea for a BRICS development bank, but warned that it would be a “humongous task” to set up.While Martyn Davies, the chief executive of Frontier Advisory, said in January that there had been discussion of a fund of up to US$240-billion, Standard Bank expects each of the five member states to initially contribute $10-billion in seed capital for the bank, with further funds raised from the markets as necessary.However, Standard Bank research analysts Jeremy Stevens and Simon Freemantle cautioned that China’s eventual contributions might outpace that of the other BRICS members and that, if this happened, Beijing would understandably demand commensurate influence over the fund’s decision-making mechanisms.Challenge posed by Chinese dominanceIn a research note last month, Stevens and Freemantle pointed out that while for China $10-billion amounts to just 0.12% of gross domestic product (GDP) (as per 2012), the same contribution would constitute a far more hefty 2.5% of South Africa’s total economic output.Added to this, China dominates BRICS trade and is the number one import partner for all four of its BRICS partners; its economy at the end of 2012 was almost 25% larger than the other four BRICS nations combined.“Unless pragmatically managed, political strains similar to those faced within the IMF may emerge. An appreciation of this potential challenge should thus frame deliberations in Durban,” said Stevens and Freemantle.They expect the development bank to focus on infrastructure development and providing auxiliary support for project preparation, such as feasibility studies. They said they expected a working group to be later tasked with establishing the necessary technical commitments and governance structures.The two believe that the development bank would not be a counterweight to multilateral development banks – notably the World Bank – but rather act an auxiliary funding institution.Benefits for South AfricaIn a parliamentary reply this week in response to a question from an opposition MP on what the impact had been of South Africa’s membership of BRICS, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said the country had enjoyed several benefits.Patel said South Africa had grown its level of trade with the BRICS countries, had seen significant growth in tourism from other BRICS countries, was now a stronger destination for potential investment, and was able to influence the development of greater BRICS partnerships with the rest of the African continent.On trade, the four other BRICS countries now account for a larger share of South Africa’s imports and exports. Measured in US dollars, exports from South Africa to its BRICS peers rose from $12.1-billion in 2010 to $15-billion in 2012, Patel said“This helped to compensate for reduced demand from traditional markets which are experiencing slower or negative growth.”Source: read more

Planning for high yielding soybeans

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt Hutcheson, CCA product manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.When planning for the upcoming growing season, it can be easy to focus more energy on corn production as it has traditionally been the more intensively managed crop. However, producers who put in the effort to manage their soybean crop have proven it is possible to attain high yields of 70+ bushels per acre. Below are some tips for planning to produce high-yielding soybeans in 2019.Quality seed: Planting the right seed sets the stage for the entire growing season. Growers should plant genetics with high yield potential. Choose varieties that have been tested at several locations and across multiple years. Growers should choose varieties adapted to their soil types and management practices. As with corn, choosing varieties with strong disease packages and agronomic traits with aid in achieving higher yields.Planting date: University research has proven that timely, early planting is one way to increase soybean yields. As with corn, planting soybeans by early May improves yield potential. This Ohio State University Study showed a 2.5-bushel per acre yield improvement when planting May 8 vs. May 29. Purdue University has also documented maximized soybean yields for early May plantings in this study.Seed treatments: Seed treatments are a critical component of a soybean management program, especially for growers who plant early or into no-till or minimum tillage situations. Early in the growing season when soils and weather conditions are cooler, germination and growth will be slowed down. Seed treatments provide protection from diseases and early season pests that can significantly reduce stands, decreasing yields and/or resulting in the need for replant.Fertility and pH: Adequate soil fertility is another important factor that allows soybeans to reach their maximum yield potential. Consulting soil tests and university recommendations for adequate levels of nutrients as well as crop removal rates will help determine how much potassium and phosphorus should be applied. When the proper pH range is maintained, soil nutrients will be available to the soybean plant for uptake. Generally, a pH range between 6.2 and 6.8 maximizes soybean yields. Adequate pH levels also improve the ability of Rhizobium bacteria to fix nitrogen.Inoculant: Inoculation of seed with Rhizobium will ensure that enough bacteria are present in the soil to fix adequate amounts of N. This is especially important in fields where soybeans have not been grown for multiple years.Row widths and seeding rates: Row widths and seeding rates go hand-in-hand. University research shows that narrower rows (15in or less) increase yields. Narrower rows allow for plants to canopy earlier and capture optimum levels of sunlight for photosynthesis. Seeding rates will vary based on row width, planting date, germ of soybean seed, and soil types. While some research recommends lower seeding rates, growers should take into consideration historical performance on their own farms. While seeding rates that are unnecessarily high, low seeding rates can result in reduced stands. Seeding rates may need to be higher in low yielding environments where emergence is a concern and plant stands can be diminished due to tough growing conditions. Proper seeding rates will improve emergence on the Eastern Corn Belt’s tight clay soil types where adverse conditions exist.Disease and pest management: Growers should plant soybean varieties with adequate disease resistance. Scouting throughout the growing season will also be important to determine if rescue treatments including fungicides or insecticides need to be made.While it can be tempting to try the latest technology or new foliar product to drive yields, it is important to start with the important building blocks first. This Checklist from the University of Kentucky agronomist, Chad Lee is another resource for putting together a plan for producing soybeans in the 2019 growing season. Growers who take time to properly manage their soybeans will move closer to attaining the high-yield potential of today’s soybean genetics.last_img read more

Jimmy Wales Joins Open Textbook Organization

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… dana oshiro Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts Wikipedia and Wikia co-founder Jimmy Wales has just joined the advisory board of CK-12 Foundation – a nonprofit organization that provides standards-aligned online textbooks to kindergarten to grade 12 students. One key element of the organization includes offering “FlexBooks” – a product that allows educators and students to create and edit their own open-content teaching materials. Users can add chapters to existing texts or create completely new material using the Flexr tool. Some key benefits over traditional textbooks include: wider distribution, lower costs, teacher recommendations and customizable texts. The latter is particularly significant as educators can adapt textbooks to ensure they are timely, aligned to state standards and culturally appropriate. Additionally, educators can even adapt texts to set students on independent learning programs with ease. This is especially important for those educators who work with gifted students and students with developmental disabilities. In addition to Wales, other CK-12 advisory board members include CEO of Sun Microsystems Vinod Khosla, CTO of JotSpot Graham Spencer and founding principal of the High Tech High charter school program, Larry Rosenstock. Tags:#E-Books#E-Learning#web CK-12 intends to make use of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. Meanwhile, Wales’ other open textbook project, Wikibooks, is licensed as GNU Free Documentation. Both licenses ensure that the book content is free to be copied, redistributed and modified for either commercial or non-commercial use with the only major stipulation being that author’s receive attribution. Wikibooks currently has over 38,602 volunteer edited pages with subject matter in natural sciences, computing, humanities and social sciences. The project already includes books from at least 15 different languages. According to CK-12, the difference between Wikipedia and CK-12 is that the organization “specifically focuses on K-12 standards-based content centered around the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects vs. serving as an encyclopedia of knowledge…CK-12 offers materials such as lesson objectives, vocabulary, and Q & A – similar to those found in textbooks.” However, the group does not address comparisons with Wikibooks. At this early stage with CK-12, the key difference between Wikibooks and CK-12 appears to be that the latter organization envisions one day supplying printed textbooks via an on-demand press similar to Lulu or Blurb. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Baseband Hacking: A New Frontier for Smartphone Break-ins

first_imgSecurity researcher Ralf-Philipp Weinmann says he has found a new way to hack into mobile devices – by using a baseband hack that takes advantage of bugs found in the firmware on mobile phone chipsets sold by Qualcomm and Infineon Technologies. Weinmann will demonstrate the hack on both an iPhone and an Android device at this week’s Black Hat conference in Washington D.C.Previously, mobile hacking attempts have involved the phone’s operating system or other software, but this one focuses on breaking into a phone’s baseband processor, which is the hardware that sends and receives radio signals to cell towers.Baseband Hacking DetailsIn an IDG News Service report as well as a report on LinuxInsider, this new hack is described in detail. In short, it’s a very technical undertaking which involves setting up a fake cell tower to communicate with the target devices. In past years, that was an impossible task due the costs involved – tens of thousands of dollars. But now, thanks to new open-source software called OpenBTS, anyone can build a tower with $2,000 worth of computer equipment. Mobile carriers are also making the necessary hardware more affordable, too, by providing femtocells to consumers in an effort to broaden their mobile coverage. These femtocells, like AT&T’s 3G MicroCell, are even less expensive; AT&T’s is just $150.00.To perform the attack, Weinmann sets up a rogue base transceiver station which is used to send malicious code over the air to the target devices. The code exploits vulnerabilities found in the GSM/3GPP stacks on the phones’ baseband processors. Says Weinmann, industry bodies like the GSM Association and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute have not considered the possibility of attacks like this.Should You Be Concerned?In addition to the cost of this particular hack – still a bit pricey – the code Weinmann wrote is notable because it involves in-depth knowledge of chipset firmware, something few hackers know much about, says the IDG news report.Essentially, Weinmann is helping open up a whole new vector for smartphone hacking, an avenue which is just now being explored by a handful of researchers. In August, for example, Chris Paget demonstrated cell tower spoofing at the Defcon hacking conference in Las Vegas, after getting last-minute permission from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to do so. And in two months time, other researchers will demonstrate more baseband attacking techniques at Vancouver’s CanSecWest conference.In other words, this is still an emerging area for hackers.It’s too early to say what the ramifications are for this new baseband hacking technique, but for now security experts say that the general public shouldn’t worry about attacks like this coming in the near future.According to Sophos security consultant Graham Cluley, “if someone wanted to spy on your mobile phone conversations it would be easier to trick the user into installing an app that spied on them or gain physical access to the mobile to install some spyware code,” he said. “I would be surprised if anyone went to all of the effort that this researcher suggests.” What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … sarah perez Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Tags:#Apple#Google#mobile#news#NYT#security#web last_img read more

Maharashtra govt. to provide relief to farmers hit by untimely rains

first_imgMaharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday asked the Chief Secretary to carry out assessment of crops damaged due to untimely rains at the earliest so that immediate relief can be provided to farmers. Heavy post monsoon showers in some parts of the State in last few days damaged crops and inundated low-lying areas. Taking serious note of it, Mr. Fadnavis ordered completion of crop damage assessment at the earliest.“CM @Dev_Fadnavis instructed Chief Secretary to provide immediate relief to farmers who were affected by the heavy rains in some parts of Maharashtra by completing survey at the earliest,” the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) tweeted. Heavy rains lashed parts of Hingoli, Parbhani, Aurangabad and Jalgaon districts in last few days. A man and his son were killed when a wall of their house collapsed on them in Parbhani on Sunday, an official said. Besides, a person drowned in a canal while trying to cross it in Hingoli, he added.last_img read more

FIFA U-17 World Cup: 10-L Maha kids to play football on Sep 8

first_imgMumbai, Aug 4 (PTI) Ten lakh school students in Maharashtra will play football on September 8, ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, state sports minister Vinod Tawde said here today.The FIFA U-17 World Cup is being held in India from October 6 to 28 this year.”The September 8 event will be part of the Mission Million we are organising to mark the tournament,” the minister told reporters at Mantralaya here.”On that day, the entire Maharashtra will turn into one happy playground,” he added.”One lakh footballs have been distributed in one over 30,000 schools in Maharashtra as part of Mission Million,” the minister said.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for ushering in sports culture in the country and we are organising the Mission Million event in response to his appeal,” Tawde said.A football tournament for legislators is also being organised next week, Tawde said.Two teams, called the Speakers Eleven and the Chairmans Eleven will compete in it, the minister added. PTI VT NPlast_img read more

Tough Draw for Olympiacos

first_imgOlympiacos’ hoopsters didn’t get rewarded for winning its group in Euroleague play and were placed in a draw with the toughest opposition.The Reds begin European play on Dec. 29 while Panathinaikos, which finished third in its group, got a far easier set of opponents in its draw of 16.In a meaningless game, a listless Olympiacos, playing without Vassilis Spanoulis and Matt Lojeski, lost handily at home, 81-68, to the Turkish team Anadolu Efes.Olympiakos is now in the same group as Real Madrid, Barcelona, CSKA Moscow, Khimki, Zalgiris Kaunas, Laboral Kutxa and Bamberg.Panathinaikos will be grouped with Malaga, Red Star Belgrade, Lokomotiv Kuban, Cedevita Zagreb, and three Turkish teams: Fenerbahce, Darussafaka and Efes. The top four teams of each group of eight advance to the play-offs.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more