Q&A: A’s pitcher Fernando Rodney takes us under his crooked cap

first_imgFor more 2019 MLB preview stories, check out our Bay Area baseball guide.It’s safe to say Fernando Rodney is comfortable in his own skin. What else would you expect from the game’s eldest statesman and the No. 2 pitcher on the active saves leader list?If 45-year-old Bartolo Colon retires, the 42-year-old Rodney will assume the mantle of MLB’s most senior citizen.Playing for 10 different teams over 16 seasons, the right-handed, three-time All-Star has amassed 325 saves — second only to Craig …last_img read more

Grand Canyon Demoted by New Discovery

first_imgA canyon longer than Grand Canyon has been discovered under the ice of Greenland.  Scientists are surprised that it has persisted through the ice ages.Science Magazine announced the discovery of a giant “mega-canyon” in bedrock under Greenland’s ice pack by airborne radar in NASA’s Operation IceBridge.  The BBC News includes a radar map of the canyon, and a video explaining the significance of the never-before-seen feature.It’s less than half as deep as the Grand Canyon (800 m) but over twice as long (800 km), and comparably wide.  Live Science is calling it the “world’s longest canyon.”  It flows from the center of the island northward to the sea, entering the sea below sea level.  National Geographic also reported the discovery.When did it form?  Geologists believe it is “paleofluvial,” meaning it formed as a river system before the ice sheets covered the surface.  But that creates a mystery; why didn’t glaciers smooth it out and obliterate it?  “Indeed, none of the profiles are typical of glacially eroded valleys,” the paper states.  “…The canyon follows a meandering path more typical of a large river system.”From the BBC article:Prof David Vaughan from British Antarctic Survey (Bas) told BBC News: “The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets hide a lot. It’s pretty surprising to find this canyon. Greenland isn’t that big for a canyon of that size, and for it to survive in its pre-glacial form after successive glaciations is quite something.”The discovery was a “jaw-dropping experience” to the Operation IceBridge team.  Science Daily quoted a geologist saying, “It shows how little we still know about the bedrock below large continental ice sheets.”This canyon should be examined by creation geologists not beholden to millions of years.  That a fresh-looking canyon in bedrock has not been eroded into a glaciated valley by huge amounts of overlying ice may point to problems with long age beliefs and the secular scheme of multiple ice ages (instead, there was just one ice age relatively recent and short).  That a canyon this size exists on a relatively small continent may provide evidence for catastrophic flood geology.  If nothing else, the discovery was unexpected by secular geologists, and points out how little is known about features under the ice in Greenland and Antarctica.  We still live in an age of discovery. (Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SA, Russia set up business council

first_img4 October 2005The Trade and Industry Chamber of South Africa and the Russian Chamber of Commerce have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the two countries establishing a business council to boost trade relations.The agreement was signed in Moscow on Monday ahead of a three-day meeting of the fifth session of the Inter-governmental Committee on Trade and Economic Co-operation (ITEC) between South Africa and the Russian Federation.Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Russian Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Petrovich Trutnev are co-chairing the ITEC meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.Dlamini-Zuma leads a South African government delegation that includes senior Cabinet ministers. A business delegation comprising representatives from over 30 South African companies is taking part in a business summit coinciding with the ITEC meeting.Potential for growthSpeaking at the signing ceremony at the Russian Chamber of Commerce building on Monday, Russian Natural Resources Department Deputy Minister Valentin Stepankov said a Russian company had recently invested over US$1-billion in South Africa, and he hoped the trade would grow.Stepankov was referring to the Kalahari Manganese Project, launched in February 2005, in which Russian mining company Renova is partnering with South African firm Setshaba Holdings for exploration, mining and processing of manganese ore in the Kalahari Basin.“Our task is to increase the volume of co-operation,” Stepankov said. “Our economic relations have vast potential to increase. In order to expand, we need to increase the number of contracts between our countries.”South African Minerals and Energy Director-General Sandile Nogxina said that while the two countries had conducted fruitful business in the past, this had been done in an unstructured manner.Nogxina said a number of South African companies, such as brewer SABMiller, diamond producer De Beers and Mvela Holdings, were already operating in Russia. However, he urged businesses from both countries to seize the opportunities provided by the ITEC.“The Russian companies operating in our country have been taking full advantage of changes meant to attract more direct investment, especially in mining, trade and industry and in the agricultural sector,” Nogxina said.Overcoming distanceA member of a South African business delegation accompanying the government delegation on the trip, former ambassador to Russia Gerrit Olivier, said both countries were at the stage of “opening doors to each other”.“South Africa regards Russia as being far away,” Olivier said. “One thing that could be done is to remove visa restrictions,” he said, adding that both countries needed direct flights to avoid the over eight-hour wait for reconnecting flights in Dubai.South Africa’s ambassador to Eastern Europe, Delarey Van Tonder, said trade relations between the two countries remained essentially underdeveloped due to Russia’s profound economic transformation.“South Africa’s multi-nationals remain active in Moscow with substantive investment in the minerals, mining, banking, alcohol beverage and hospitality sectors,” Van Tonder said.He added that since the ITEC’s inception in 1999 – during the official visit of former President Nelson Mandela to Moscow – four sessions had been held and progress had been made on minerals and energy.Export potential had also been identified in the automotive, ostrich, wine, fruit and canning industries, he said.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Middle class Africa: meet the new African consumer

first_imgAmerican politician Steve Forbes was a guest at the launch of Mosunmola Abudu’s new African TV channel. (Image: EbonyLife) • Patrick Dupoux Partner Boston Consulting Group + 212 529 023 049 • South Africa’s competitive advantage in the developing world • South Africa – and Johannesburg – the richest in Africa • Getting the export balance right • Entrepreneurs bring British business back home • Slow but steady: South Africa’s economy on the upward pathSulaiman PhilipThe United States of Africa is the 10th largest economy in the world. It is ahead of China and India, countries with populations to match Africa’s just over a billion people. Its booming consumer market is worth almost a trillion dollars a year but international companies struggle to tap into it.Africa still suffers from the illusion that it’s a difficult place to do business, a dark continent of war, famine and corruption. This short-sighted and misinformed belief has put companies that are just awakening to the economic miracle of Africa, at a disadvantage.Instead, it is an awakening consumer giant with a growing middle class eager to show off their new-found economic and social status through the purchase of branded goods. On average, 40% of the population of any given African country belongs to what Vijay Mahajan, author of Africa Rising: How 900 Million Consumers Offer More Than You Think, describes as Africa 1 and Africa 2. These are the elite of the population and the growing aspirant middle class.These are the people who are driving the market for consumer goods, the Africans who told researchers for the Boston Consulting Group they were planning on spending money to upgrade their mobile phones, buy laptops and spend more on entertainment, homes, cars and education in the next year.Economies across Africa withstood the economic meltdown of 2008 and have grown at an impressive 6%, on average, while old world economies have contracted. The growth is tied to the demand for the riches under the African soil, but only in part. The African middle class has also risen on the growth of Africa’s consumer driven society. Consumer spending accounted for more than 60% of sub-Sahara’s growth last year, according to the World Bank.Spending spreeAnd Africa is looking to spend. Or, in the words of Zimbabwean journalist Farai Sevenzo: “…like a recklessly wealthy bride, we look over our shoulders at the orderly queue of suitors seeking a partnership of one kind or another.”By 2020, the African consumer market will be worth $1-trillion, driven by demands for technology-based goods like smart phones and household appliances, and cars. It is expected that the South African electronics market alone will be worth around $13-billion by 2016. The rising demand is good for tech companies; however, even more appealing is the fact that relative to income, Africans are willing to spend more than Europeans, Americans and Japanese consumers on technology.This statistic is skewed by the higher cost that Africans pay for goods, which is one of the major challenges that face some companies trying to tap into the market place. The demand for competitively priced technology has led to the growth of companies willing to offer them. Middle Eastern computer companies have been able to carve out market share for themselves as suppliers of low-cost computer equipment. The performance of companies like Huawei, Nokia and Blackberry has outstripped Apple because their handsets are far more affordable.Another factor in the choices made by the emerging middle class of one brand over another is a product’s suitability to African conditions. The recent discovery of oil in Ghana is often offered as a reason for the growth of its aspirational market; but the reality is that the country still rations electricity and faces constant clean water shortages.Taking such restrictions into account, South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung has developed fridges with built in surge protectors and laptops powered by solar energy that have given the company the lead in African markets like Ghana and Kenya. The company has set up manufacturing plants in Africa as well, which has helped to bring down the costs of these goods.Car manafacturers with African production plants are increasing the number of cars and components produced on the continent to supply demand.(Image:Media Club South Africa)Aspirational valuesAnd the African market will continue to heat up. Grant Hatch of Accenture explains: “The costs of a lot of technology products have been declining for some time, so products will become even more affordable to the consumer.”Mahajan’s research came up with an interesting finding: the majority of Africans, those in the group he refers to as Africa 3, worked for the top two groups and over time assimilated their aspirational values.The African middle class is estimated to number about 350 million and growing. The contest for the hearts, minds and wallets of African consumers is growing in intensity, and local manufacturers are also benefitting from this new-found wealth.The 2013 African Development Bank’s Development Effectiveness Report showed that the growth of the middle class was in part thanks to better economic governance and a better business climate. While foreign investment in Africa has increased fivefold since 2000, it is the entrepreneurial spirit of Africans that has helped to sustain growth. In the past seven years the number of people delaying the opening of a business has halved and the costs of doing so have fallen by two thirds.Mabati Rolling Mills started out as a manufacturer of metal roofing sheets in Kenya. As the middle class grew and the housing market exploded, the company grew into the dominant manufacturer in the $180-million Kenyan market. Today it is a conglomerate that exports to 50 countries across Africa and the world.Mo shows the wayIf there is a figurehead for the rising African middle class then it’s Mosunmola Abudu, Africa’s answer to Oprah. Abudu is a Nigerian media entrepreneur and self-taught TV host. Her talk show, Moments with Mo, first aired in 2006, is syndicated across 48 African countries and has had guest as diverse as International Monetary Fund boss Christine Lagarde and former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate FW de Klerk, as well as English football player Rio Ferdinand.Last year, Abudu launched EbonyLife TV, a continent-wide broadcaster aimed at the growing aspirational African middle class. “Not every African women has a pile of wood on her head and a baby strapped to her back! EbonyLife celebrates style and success while motivating its audience to dream, and dream big,” the glamorous Abudu told press agency AP.The English-born mother of two wants to change the antiquated view of Africa as “the dark continent”. Programming on her new channel highlights the continent’s wealth of talented entrepreneurs and artists. Her return to Africa and the birth of her media empire began at London’s Marble Arch. “On a whim I asked people what came to mind when they heard the word ‘Africa’. The nicest thing I heard was ‘sunshine.’”Programming on EbonyLife is targeted at the 18- to 34-year-old demographic, a group Abudu refers to as Africa’s “custodians of the present and future”. But is also the dream demographic of marketers. The original shows cover everything from domestic abuse to skin bleaching and sex tips, with a healthy sprinkling of celebrity gossip, with an African flavour. Her reality series, The Fattening Room, follows young women going through traditional pre-marriage rites, learning from the matriarchs what it means to be a traditional wife.Tradition mixed with modernity is Africa today, Abudu argues. In the reality series the older women try in vain to fatten up the young women, who all want to retain their Hollywood-inspired shape. “People need to know that this kind of Africa exists; we have moved into the modern age. People don’t think that people live in Africa like this. They don’t think that we have high-profile events where people look glamorous and they’re all dressed up.”Admittedly there are still pockets of despotic rule, of famine and strife, but as the slogan for EbonyLife goes, “Everything you think you know about Africa is about to change”.last_img read more