Switzerland ‘a key investor in SA’

first_img27 June 2012Switzerland is a key partner for investment in South Africa, having invested around R17-billion and created over 13 000 jobs in the country over the last decade, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.Davies was speaking to journalists in Pretoria on Sunday on his return from an official visit to Zurich, during which he held talks with his Swiss counterpart, Federal Councillor Johan Schneider-Ammann, addressed a Swissmem Industry Day, and met with SwissCham Southern Africa and potential investors.Davies said his message to the Swiss government and business fraternity was that Africa was ready for massive growth. At the same time, he stressed that the continent had to prioritise industrialisation and regional economic diversification to ensure sustainable growth.Davies noted that Switzerland ranked as the seventh-largest foreign direct investor to South Africa.“Since 2003, Switzerland has invested in about 30 projects in South Africa, with direct investment volume estimated at R17-billion over the period 2003-2012,” he said, adding that Swiss investment projects in SA had created an estimated 13 200 jobs in the country.These projects were spread across a range of industrial sectors, including financial services, metals, industrial machinery, equipment and tools, and food and tobacco.In his meeting with Schneider-Ammann, Davies said South Africa’s black economic empowerment (BEE) policy was being refocused towards the development of enterprises and skills development, as this would lead to the reduction of unemployment, as well as create growth opportunities for black owned enterprises.South Africa’s US$2-billion contribution to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) firewall was welcomed by the president of SwissCham Southern Africa, Georg Umbright.“The world needs Africa for sure in the next 10 to 20 years,” Umbright said. “We can’t do without Africa, and the main motor of southern Africa is South Africa.“We are glad that Minister Davies has such a strategic view of how to develop trade amongst the countries of SADC and also on the larger scale.”Umbright expressed confidence that there would be more Swiss industries coming into the country.In the five-year period ending in 2011, South Africa’s exports to Switzerland showed an upward trend, with the exception of 2010. Total exports from South Africa to Switzerland increased over this period from R8.8-billion in 2007 to R21.2-billion in 2011.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

I Had a Horrible Stats Professor but Still Learned the Basics

first_imgMusings on Mazria, Lstiburek, and Gifford: Part TwoMy college stats prof was out to lunch (figuratively) on a good day. He was ready for retirement, and it showed. What I learned about statistics I learned from my biology professors who had me doing real science with real-world applications for me, not rote learning from a text and a boring, out-of-focus prof. Here’s the point: Median can be a better indicator of trends than mean in smaller data sets that are highly variable. Check out this Wikipedia excerpt:While the mean is often used to report central tendency, it is not a robust statistic, meaning that it is greatly influenced by outliers. Notably, for skewed distributions, the arithmetic mean may not accord with one’s notion of “middle”, and robust statistics such as the median may be a better description of central tendency.This is the case with the LEED study by the New Buildings Institute. There were significantly more high-energy-use buildings (labs, supermarkets, etc.) in the LEED data set than the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) set. Furthermore, the CBECS data includes parking decks, warehouses, and some other building types that have extremely low energy usage. These building types are absent from the LEED data set. I don’t want to belabor the discussion about whether this was an appropriate study or not. Nadav Malin does a great summary of this topic, which is followed by a lengthy discussion from a variety of people.Here’s an even bigger picture point: The study concluded that LEED needs to be improved. This is not a news flash by any means to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), an organization in constant flux. In fact, LEED Version 3 incorporates a development cycle for improvement and evolution along with the marketplace, feedback on past LEED-certified buildings, and membership input. If you don’t think LEED is hitting the mark, join the USGBC and become involved.All existing rating systems need improvement. There is not one perfect rating system out there. What will separate the good rating systems from the bad will be their commitment to improvement.Bottom line: The LEED sample set does not have the same building type makeup as the CBECS. In order to make the sets comparable, the NBI took some professional license by utilizing common statistical practices. Think about it in the context of our most recent presidential election: If you compared poll results of voters from a town hall meeting in Wasilla, Alaska, to the results of the general election, they would probably differ significantly. The poll wouldn’t predict the national results, but it would be an indicator of regional opinion, which is valuable. So is the NBI study valuable in a number of ways. Here are the actual conclusions:When the outliers are removed (which is common in a data set with similar characteristics to the LEED data set), LEED buildings do outperform the CBECS. The higher the LEED rating, the more pronounced the improvement. Averages of gold and platinum LEED-certified buildings in the study were compared to the non-LEED buildings and showed a 45% improvement.The buildings studied were highly variable within the certification levels. Some buildings actually displayed serious energy consumption issues. The recommendation was for the USGBC to seriously commit to improving on these issues.There needs to be better feedback on design versus performance—improvement of energy modeling as it corresponds to energy performance.The problem of high-energy-use buildings needs to be addressed.ASHRAE 90.1 may not be delivering the intended results.The LEED rating system needs continuous improvement.The good news is that the USGBC is listening. We as an industry need to constructively encourage the USGBC to look specifically at the energy credits of the LEED rating system and develop an approach that ties into building performance. Those credits in LEED NC are:EA Credit 1—Optimize Energy PerformanceEA Credit 3—Enhanced CommissioningEA Credit 5—Measurement & VerificationWe could also stand to take a good look at this from a homes perspective as well for continuous improvement in design and performance calibration.LEED is an incredible program with incredible momentum. Starting over now would waste a lot of time and energy that we don’t have. It’s a great beginning, so let’s help improve it.It’s obvious that Henry Gifford gives a damn. It’s also obvious that USGBC gives a damn. Lstiburek, Mazria, E.O. Wilson, Obama, T. Boone Pickens, and Al Gore also give a damn. The list goes on; it’s growing now, and that’s the big picture point that I want to make in this blog. People that haven’t cared (or at least have put it on the back burner) about energy efficiency and the environment care now, whatever their reasons. We must harness this bipartisan sentiment and use it for the greater good.All of this infighting is a distraction from the really important current needs, so let me bring this home to the readership. Why does this matter to you? Really, let me know what you think in the comments below. I’m a former builder who recently moved on during this economic mess surrounding our industry. In all actuality, I was probably ready to move on, but the fact that most of the work dried up definitely encouraged me to go.What we as builders are worried about is getting work, clients getting project funding, keeping employees busy, and, ultimately, feeding our families. How can we possibly do that in this current climate? To me, all of the indicators point to growth in the green-building sector. How can any part of the building industry be growing? The higher-ups in government are embracing change. Whether you agree politically or not with the administration, there is a heck of a lot of money coming out of its coffers for energy retrofitting and green building in general. As an industry, we need to embrace change.Just a couple of weeks ago, along for the ride with the Charlotte Regional Chapter of the USGBC, I met with the City of Charlotte Housing Authority about just this topic. Its budget will skyrocket this year from the stimulus package for home improvement and weatherization. Lots of those funds will have green and energy efficiency stipulations attached. The city has a pool of contractors, but there won’t be enough folks to cover the work that needs to be done. This money is real. The work will be real. There needs to be a reliable model for educating contractors and placing them with the work that needs to be done.We have to work together to achieve our common goal. I think more and more these days people are open to accepting suggestions for improvement. If we can all get along long enough, I think we can get some jobs back and benefit the environment all at the same time. Next blog, I’m going to try to harness hot air as a renewable energy source.last_img read more

Facebook Login Update Eliminates Auto Posts To Your Timeline—Finally

first_imgreadwrite A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Facebook Login now requires apps to ask permission before posting to your timeline.A new update to Facebook Login today does something the social network should have done long ago. It now requires mobile applications that use Facebook Login to ask for your permission before they post to your Timeline. (Facebook Login is the feature that lets you use applications and other Web services just by logging in with your Facebook credentials.)Now users who prefer not to share the details of their workout or game achievements with friends can skip sharing. This update lets you to use Facebook Login to quickly register for apps, but eliminates the auto-sharing many users found really, really annoying. Tags:#Facebook#now#Posts#sharing#timeline The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videoscenter_img Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts last_img read more

Fierce Tigresses

first_imgPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netIn the past four seasons, La Salle’s mighty volleyball program had never been handed back-to-back defeats in UAAP women’s volleyball competitions.Then the Tigresses of Santo Tomas, their tresses in a bun to honor an injured teammate, showed up with uncanny fierceness to throw Season 81’s balance of power in disarray.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The Lady Tamaraws tabbed their third win after rookie Lycah Ebon scored 21 points and FEU endured University of the East’s gritty comebacks for a 25-15, 24-26, 25-22, 20-25, 15-9 triumph.Ebon, one of the most promising rookies this season, scored the winning point for the Lady Tamaraws who sent the Lady Warriors to their second defeat in a 1-4 card.La Salle came into the match nursing a five-set defeat from UP. And traditionally, the Lady Spikers raise their swag coming out of defeats. Instead, it was UST that came out with a display of dominance, scoring its first straight-sets victory over La Salle in three years.Dimdim Pacres also stepped up for the Tigresses, who seemed never to run out of heroes during the match.“I’m glad that we have each other’s back out there on the court,” said UST coach Kungfu Reyes in Filipino. “We were sensitive not to commit simple errors and we communicated well inside the court.”ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Azkals begin quest for World Cup berth in Bangkok MOST READ Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem LATEST STORIES P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed Trump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy The Tigresses, hardly missing the firepower provided by an absent Milena Alessandrini, destroyed the reigning three-time champions Lady Spikers, 25-20, 25-22, 25-17, Wednesday night at FilOil Flying V Center.Rookie Eya Laure stepped up in Alessandrini’s absence, heeding the call from star spiker Sisi Rondina for everyone to rally hard after a painful loss to Far Eastern U recently. Laure pumped in 15 points to spark the Tigresses.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesAlessandrini is expected to miss at least two more games due to a knee injury incurred in that loss to the Lady Tamaraws last weekend.UST thus hauled La Salle into a three-way tie with FEU—behind idle leaders University of the Philippines and Ateneo (3-1). Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting View comments P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crash Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Meanwhile, after a lethargic start, the Lady Warriors came back to life, burying the Lady Tamaraws in attacks in the second set, 16-8, that seemed to turn things around for them.But FEU relied on Ebon, who scored three of her points in the Lady Tamaraws’ five-point windup in the third set to take a two sets to one lead.But just as the Tamaraws were trying to wrap things up, ahead by 19-16 in the fourth, the Lady Warriors launched their own blitz to steal the frame and force a five-setter.last_img read more