29 April 2013 South Africans should be proud of their country’s achievements in founding a new society based on human rights, equality justice, dignity, peace and stability, President Jacob Zuma said in his Freedom Day address in Pretoria on Saturday. Addressing a large crowd gathered on the lawns of the Union Buildings, Zuma also challenged South Africans to take pride in the country’s achievements since the advent of democracy in 1994. “We achieved the elimination of apartheid colonialism and institutionalized racism and replaced it with a new society founded on human rights, equality, justice, dignity, peace and stability,’ Zuma siad. “Together, we affirmed the assertion of our wise and forward looking forebears, who stated in the Freedom Charter that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it was based on the will of all the people.” The President called on South African society to join the government in its economic transformation and the implementation of programmes to fight poverty and inequality and to alleviate unemployment. Zuma conceded that the gap between white and black households, for obvious historical reasons, remained wide, as revealed by Census 2011, with white households earning up to six times more than black households. “The transformation of ownership and management of the economy continues,” he said. “It is encouraging that over R600-billion of black economic empowerment transactions have been recorded since 1995. Another success story is that the number of black people and women in senior management has increased from less than 10% in the 1990s to over 40% today.” Zuma said the government’s housing programme had built over three-million units since 1994. The percentage of households with access to potable water had increased from 60% to over 90%, while access to electricity had increased from 50% of households to approximately 80%. Zuma said that while income inequality remained high, the expansion of social grants from 2.7-million people in 1994 to 16-million currently had contributed to a significant reduction in the proportion of households living in poverty. At the same time, the further extension of basic services required the public service to be more efficient, effective and caring in order to make people’s experience of government a pleasant one, Zuma said. “There are many achievements on the economic front as well. The South African economy has expanded by 83% over the past 19 years. The national income per capita has increased from R27 500 in 1993 to R38 500 in 2012, which is an increase of 40%. Disposable income per capita of households has increased by 43%. Total employment has increased by more than 3.5-million since 1994.” Zuma spoke in detail about equality and gender parity, saying this would ensure that freedom was felt by everyone across society. He spoke of healing and resilience as he acknowledged that the country had a long way to go in eliminating the triple manifestations of the apartheid legacy – poverty, inequality and unemployment. “[We] reaffirm our belief that political freedom must be accompanied by economic freedom as the next phase of liberation. The economic wealth of the country must bring about fundamental social change in the lives of all, especially the youth, the poor and the working class.” Source: SAnews.gov.za
A manufacturer of structural insulated panels (SIPs) in Brattleboro, Vermont, has launched a line of net-zero-energy kit houses that will allow owner/builders or developers to assemble a basic shell for about $150 per sq. ft.SmartHomze come in five sizes that range from 560 square feet to 1,700 square feet. Kits include materials for exterior walls, the roof, doors and windows, photovoltaic modules, heating and cooling equipment, and a heat-recovery ventilator. Buyers are responsible for construction, interior partitions, appliances, and finishes.Smarthomze is the brainchild of Dave Gauthier, president of Vantem Panels, who thinks the houses can be built for well under the $200 to $250 average for high-performance homes. Interest from developersGauthier says the kits have just been announced, and so far there’s been some interest from developers but no sales. One Massachusetts builder was interested in five units, another as many as 30. A Maine builder may want a couple of them.“We’re on the cusp,” he said. “But we don’t have any in the ground yet. Until it’s actually in the ground and the check has cleared, it’s not a real sale in my mind.” Looking for a wider net-zero marketGauthier joined the company, then Winter Panel, in 1995, and he says he’s long had an interest in net-zero design. His projects have included a net-zero Habitat for Humanity community designed with the help of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.“We see a lot of high-end houses come through our shop,” he said in a telephone interview, “and I wanted to make net-zero-energy housing affordable to a broader spectrum of the market.“They’re relatively modest in size. My thinking on that was you could start with a little house and as your needs grow, and a family comes along or what have you, you can always expand the house from there, just like they did with a lot of the old traditional New England farmsteads.”Houses have open floor plans, so owners will have an easy time of customizing them, and they should be relatively easy to expand. [Author’s note: This is a corrected version of an earlier story. It has been updated to correct the description of the windows included in the kits — they are triple-glazed — and to add new information about the cost per square foot of completed projects.] What you get in the boxVantem designed the houses to be built on piers, in part because it made the energy modeling easier, Gauthier said. The floor and exterior walls are 6 1/2-in. urethane SIPs (R-38) and the roof is a 8 1/4-in. panel rated at R-50. The houses also could be built on a slab or conventional foundation.Some of the other features that are included:A choice of vinyl or fiber-cement siding.Triple-glazed vinyl casement windows from either Mathews Brothers of Belfast, Maine, or Marvin. Windows have U-values of 0.18 and 0.2 respectively.Ductless minisplit heating and cooling, either from Mitsubishi or Fujitsu, plus a heat-recovery ventilator.A photovoltaic package, ranging in size from 6 kW to 10 kW depending on what house you buy, including the inverter.A standing-seam metal roof.You won’t get any interior finishes — no finish floors, interior partitions, cabinets, appliances or plumbing fixtures. The kits include no wiring.Estimated costs for finishing out the houses vary, Gauthier says, affecting the total cost per square foot of a particular kit.For example, the smallest house kit, at 560 sq. ft., sells for about $73,000, with estimated costs to finish it about $35,000. That makes the cost per square foot about $192. The next size up, the 750, sells for $75,000 with estimated finish costs of about $40,000, giving it a total cost of about $153 per sq. ft. The largest house, at 1,700 sq. ft., costs about $133,000 with estimated finishing costs of about $100,000, or about $137 per sq. ft., Gauthier says.“When people talk about square-footage pricing, that’s what we’re estimating for an installed kit finished out with modest finishings — not Italian marble, and not including land or utility hookups,” Gauthier said. “It would include the piers, but not the well or septic.”
Several leading newspapers in the Kashmir Valley ran their editorial spaces blank on Tuesday in protest against the killing of journalist and editor of daily Rising Kashmir Shujaat Bukhari.A spokesman of the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) said the decision to leave the space blank was taken in a meeting on Monday afternoon “to lodge a strong protest against the killing of the scribe”.The editorial space of all major English dailies like Greater Kashmir, Kashmir Times, Kashmir Observer and Kashmir Monitor were left blank.Bukhari, 50, was assassinated by at least three gunmen on June 14 outside his office. His two security guards were also killed in the attack. The Kashmir Press Club’s coordination committee also held a condolence meeting in Srinagar. “The members said that the entire journalistic fraternity of Kashmir is yet to come out of the shock of Shujaat’s killing and does not know how the void created by the brutal murder will be filled,” said the spokesman.Meanwhile, Director General of Police S.P. Vaid said the police has laid hands on “crucial leads in the case”.The Separatist Joint Resistance Leadership called for a complete strike on Thursday against the killing of Bukhari.
After the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG), one of the main questions that did the rounds amongst the sports fraternity was whether the stadiums, built spending crores of rupees, would ultimately be available to the athletes for training or whether they would turn into proverbial ‘white elephants’. Sports minister Ajay Maken announced on Saturday the formation of a committee comprising renowned sportspersons, which would submit a report about ways to utilise the stadiums in the best possible way.Sports Minister Ajay Maken at the National Stadium in New DelhiMaken, who on Saturday went on a visit to five CWG stadiums, added that the committee will have their first meeting on Monday and would submit their report within four weeks after which steps will be taken keeping in mind the London 2012 Olympics.”I am happy to see the worldclass infrastructure in place. At the same time, it was disappointing to see that no players are practising in these state-of-the art stadiums.”So we have decided to form a committee comprising renowned sportspersons PT Usha, Mary Kom, Bhaichung Bhutia and Dilip Tirkey who would prepare a report on how to utilise the stadiums for the benefit of the athletes. Veteran journalist K Dutta would also be a member of the committee headed by secretary (sports),” Maken said.”We will be mainly focussing on three aspects regarding the stadiums: firstly, how to utilise them as training centres for young athletes; secondly, making the stadiums available to top athletes keeping in mind the London 2012 Olympics and thirdly, hosting national and international sporting events – the calendar of which will be out soon,” said Maken.advertisementRegarding the maintenance of the stadiums, the minister declared that he would like them to be maintained by the government rather than a public-private-partnership model.”The sports ministry has decided to hand over three stadiums to NDMC for cleaning and another two would be maintained by the Sports Authority of India (SAI). CPWD had to do the maintenance till March 31 and we are considering allowing them to do so beyond that date,” he said.Maken added that the SAI is also in touch with sport federations as well as the DDA regarding training of athletes for London 2012.”What we could not provide to the athletes during the CWG, we would like to do that for the Olympics which is 15 months away. The SAI is constantly in touch with the federations regarding their preparations.We are also in consultation with the DDA to arrange their accommodation during their stay in the capital,” Maken said.Maken visited Dr SPM Swimming Complex, National Stadium, IGI Stadium and JLN Stadium and Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.