Cage assistants Moeketsi Momlekoa andNdlaka Mtano at the shaft at Harmony Gold Mine in Welkom, Free State. The Expanded Public Works Programme aims to give the jobless short-term work that will train them in the skills they need tofind permanent employment. (Image:Graeme Williams, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com.For more photos, visit the image library.)Janine ErasmusThe Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), set up by the South African government in 2004 to fight poverty by using existing government budgets to create jobs in labour-intensive projects, has reached one of its major goals a full year ahead of schedule – it has created over a million new job opportunities.In his State of the Nation address in 2003 President Thabo Mbeki announced the new initiative, aimed at drawing at least 1-million jobless people into productive work between 2004 and 2009. Of those, 40% would be women, 30% would be youth and 2% would be disabled.The EPWP arose out of the 2003 Growth and Development Summit, which explored the causes of unemployment. The programme is the major instrument of the Department of Public Works’ (DPW) poverty alleviation strategy, working as a bridge between South Africa’s formal and informal economies.The EPWP has two major components: creating employment using labour-intensive methods, and giving people skills they can use to find jobs when their work in the EPWP is done.Although the projects have a limited lifespan, the main focus is on skills development and access to work, which allows the previously unemployed to take their first steps into the job market.Making an impactIn her annual budget speech in parliament in May 2008, Minister of Public Works Thoko Didiza said the target of a million jobs had been reached by the end of April. Exactly 1 077 801 work opportunities had been created, way ahead of the March 2009 deadline.The EPWP had also surpassed its targets for women and youth, who made up 47% and 40% respectively of those employed.Didiza cited examples of the impact the EPWP has had on the lives of ordinary South Africans. One is Samuel Mangena of Limpopo, a former farmworker who, with the help of the EPWP, brought two acres of land under cultivation, growing tomatoes and other crops. He is now so successful he is able to employ six workers full-time and another 10 seasonally. “Such a daring spirit of entrepreneurial adventure should be an inspiration to the country,” said Didiza.She also mentioned the Siyazenzela waste management project, which combines job creation with care for the environment. In the programme, modelled after one used in Curituba, Brazil, poor households collect garbage from their neighbourhoods and exchange it for food vouchers and groceries. Piloted in KwaZulu-Natal, the programme is to be rolled out to other provinces.“The majority of participants in the Expanded Public Works Programme have earned income during their involvement,” said Didiza, “which made it possible for them to support their families and invest in entrepreneurial activities that have become sustainable after they exited the programme. This has been possible because of the limited training they received while working in the various projects.”She highlighted the Kamoso Awards, initiated in 2007 to reward municipalities, provinces, and other public bodies that showed excellence in implementing the infrastructure component of EPWP in their regions. It was later expanded to include the economy, environment, and social interventions. The awards were presented in July 2008.“The EPWP has been very effective in reaching the target of 1-million work opportunities a year ahead of schedule,” the minister said. “However, we recognise that given the state of unemployment in the country, the EPWP needs to be significantly bigger.”Because of this, says EPWP chief director Ismail Akhalwaya, the programme’s targets may be revised, one of which may be the creation of 1.5-million job opportunities every year by 2014.Phase twoThe second phase of the EPWP, set to launch in March 2009, will include targets up to 2014. The DPW has studied similar systems in Argentina and India and is hoping to introduce some of those methods into phase two.The Indian National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which guarantees 100 days of work annually to at least one unskilled and unemployed person in a rural household where no one has a job, is one of the strategies studied by the DPW. This and other initiatives were on the agenda at the International Labour Organisation’s 12th regional seminar on promoting labour-intensive practices, held in November 2007 in Durban.The use of legislation to address unemployment is still a much-discussed topic, with some experts saying it could increase social dependence and corruption. On the other hand, those in favour argue that the legal route would overcome current objections regarding the temporary nature of EPWP jobs, and would cost up to R30-billion annually in wages compared with the R3-billion currently disbursed – making a far greater impact on poverty.Also under consideration is the potential contribution to the EPWP of non-state institutions such as NGOs and community-based organisations, as well as the private sector and its large number of corporate social responsibility projects.The Business Trust, an association of local companies that works with government to create jobs and provide skills training, already participates in the EPWP, committing R100-million for the programme’s first five years.The EPWP is specifically looking at proposals that will halve the number of unemployed by 2014, said Didiza, in accordance with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Under this international programme governments and organisations around the world are working to reduce poverty and provide unemployment for all, including women and the youth, by 2015.Unfortunately, only 14% of EPWP beneficiaries have found permanent jobs afterwards. But Akhalwaya says this problem will be addressed. “The EPWP is an ongoing programme,” he said, “and for phase two we will make the necessary changes to its design, including training and exit strategies, that will improve its ability to deliver on its objectives.”Poor-quality training is another problem the second phase will attempt to solve. “We are using the remainder of the period to address some of the challenges, and to lay out a much larger programme for the next five years,” he said.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at email@example.com.Related articlesSocial development in South AfricaDrive to create a million jobsUseful linksExpanded Public Works ProgrammeDepartment of Public WorksThe Business TrustMillennium Development Goals
A man was trampled to death while trying to take a selfie with a wild tusker in Odisha’s Angul district on Monday. The incident took place around 10 a.m.in Nimiribeda village.The elephant, which got separated from its herd, was moving near the village temple when Jayadev Nayak decided to take a photograph. While he was immersed in taking the selfie, the elephant closed in from behind and knocked him down before trampling him.Jayadev succumbed to his injuries while being taken to a hospital, said Chitta Ranjan Behera, Inspector of the Khamar police station.In a similar incident in September, another man was crushed to death by an elephant in Sundargarh district while taking a selfie.Herds on the move Elephant herds are attracted by paddy in the fields. Elephants have been found outside the forest limits in Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Keonjhar, Angul, Dhenknal, Khordha and Subarnapur districts.A very large herd, comprising 90-odd jumbos, is at present traversing through the Nilgiri area of Balasore district, forcing villagers to spend sleepless nights. Forest department officials have been trying to prevent the elephants from straying into human habitation.The large elephant herd had migrated from Jharkhand to West Bengal and entered Odisha a month ago.“We have set up solar fences and dug up trenches to keep the elephants in their territory,” an official said.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has signed a pact with Mumbai-based Tata Trusts, under which the trust will provide technical support to speed up the development process of the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.The pact has been signed as part of the Centre’s Aspirational Districts Programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January, under which 115 districts have been identified and are being encouraged to catch up with the ‘best’ districts within their respective States on 49 different development performance indicators. As per this plan, the Tata Trusts will deploy two trained researchers or ‘Development Fellows’ to the district, who will assist the local administration in implementing government as well as non-governmental development projects in a cohesive manner. A statement from the Tata Trusts on Thursday said that its engagement in Gadchiroli will be similar to its ongoing participation in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and other rural upliftment programmes in the State.Gadchiroli is situated in the south-eastern part of Maharashtra and is known for its dense forests. The district has seen sporadic violence due to the presence of left-wing extremism, which affects access to official development programmes in some parts.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday announced his government’s decision to provide old-age pension to an additional five lakh beneficiaries under its Madhu Babu Pension Yojana in the State.The new beneficiaries would avail of the benefits under the scheme from December 15.A total of 43 lakh people are getting old-age pension at present. While those aged between 60 and 80 years get ₹300, those above 80 years receive ₹500 every month. The Chief Minister also announced that 40,000 artists will get assistance of ₹1,200 per month under the Mukhya Mantri Kalakar Sahayata Yojana with effect from December 15.Mr. Patnaik directed the District Collectors to disburse the assistance to beneficiaries under both the schemes from December 15 to 20 by organising special camps.
In Argentina’s final match of the World Cup, Lionel Messi — on whom Argentine hopes have rested for over a decade — only touched the ball at a rate of once every two minutes. One of those touches was a great opportunity to win the game near the end of regulation, which he failed to even put on goal. Despite this, and despite a decrease in goals and assists as the tournament progressed (four goals in his first three games, an assist in his fourth, and nary a goal or assist since), he won the World Cup’s Golden Ball award (essentially the tournament MVP). That prompted Diego Maradona, Messi’s Argentine forefather and foil, to say, “It’s not right when someone wins something that he shouldn’t have won just because of some marketing plan.” The sharply worded op-eds, so plentiful on Sunday and Monday, are dying down — for now — but even Messi’s fans may start to wonder what was going on, and whether Messi was playing like his usual self.Before Sunday’s World Cup Final, Messi’s father, Jorge, told the media that his son was struggling with exhaustion.1Note that Messi vomited during the final, but apparently this is a normal thing for him. This dovetails nicely with another story I’d been reading about for weeks, about how Messi’s “work rate,” or the amount he has been running on the pitch per minute, has been abnormally low during this World Cup. Here’s a quote from an ESPN article that touches on both subjects:The pressure of being captain and carrying the hopes of his country appears to have taken its toll on him as he found it difficult to make an impact. “He is exhausted,” Messi’s father Jorge said, according to the Daily Telegraph. “He feels as if his legs weigh 100 kilos each.”According to FIFA statistics, however, Messi is only ranked the 30th most hard-working player at the World Cup on the basis of distance covered. He has run a total of 32 miles in the six games he has featured in, having played for 573 minutes. By contrast, the Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder has covered 43 miles in 585 minutes and tops the list. Messi is also second-from-bottom on the list of players who have played in all six games of the tournament so far.These mileage stats are common these days (and seemingly flash every time someone is subbed in/out of a game), though they’re not always easy to find or interpret. Fortunately, for the World Cup, FIFA has a page devoted to players’ “distance covered” stats. I’ve compiled those stats, broken down by offense and defense, and sorted by position, like so:Indeed, over the course of the World Cup, Messi had the lowest work rate among non-goalkeepers when his team is on defense and the second-lowest among forwards when his team is on offense (among players with 150 minutes on offense/defense combined).2There’s also a surprising amount of neutral time in soccer (up to a third of all match time is neither “in possession” nor “not in possession”). I haven’t included that in this chart.After an article by Ken Early in Slate first turned me on to Messi’s stillness, I couldn’t stop noticing it. When Messi’s not “on the ball,” he’ll often appear to be leisurely strolling through the area he’s in, particularly when the other team is on offense and he has little to do except sit back and wait to see if the ball comes his way. It can seem downright bizarre and contrary to everything a soccer coach teaches about “hustling.”Could it be that Messi’s inaction had something to do with his “100 kilo” legs? If so, it’d imply that Messi was so tired he was unable to “hustle” as much as normal, taking short breaks on the field when he got the chance to recuperate. This might also help explain his performance “decline” through the tournament.But I don’t think it’s as simple as that. On the FIFA site, individual game summaries have “tracking” stats as well. Here are Messi’s, broken down by offense and defense:For nearly every game, when Messi runs more on offense, he runs more on defense, and the same is true for when he runs less. To me, that suggests that the variation is probably more systematic and dependent on the matchups Argentina faced. But that large gap in the final game offers an interesting wrinkle. That’s when the difference between offensive work rate and defensive work rate was largest. This is at least consistent with a theory that he was tired for the last game (I assume that would be more likely to be reflected during his defense). But with the defensive work rate as a baseline, it could also indicate that he was running around extra hard on offense trying to make something happen (which he had failed to do for the last couple of games). Or it could just be random variance.Overall, though, the data doesn’t suggest that Messi wore down as the tournament progressed. If this work-rate phenomenon were a result of his being tired, we might expect to see the highest work rates in games following the longest layoffs, and/or for his work rate to decline as the grueling tournament wears on. But that’s not what the data shows.3I did find it interesting that all of his peak work rates came in games with the longest scheduled rest following them (first and third games of group stage, and last game of the tournament). That would be consistent with a premeditated strategy to conserve energy for later games, though it’s too tenuous to draw conclusions.So aside from a blip in the last game, there’s not much evidence that Messi had a general exhaustion problem, but there is evidence that he had a much lower work rate than other players. What to make of that? There are some negative interpretations possible: Messi might not have been fit enough to endure a whole tournament, or he might not have been trying hard enough. But these would only makes sense if low work rates typically indicated a lack of fitness or effort.And that we can test for.I don’t have the data necessary to do a complete study of work rates and how they may or may not predict and/or impact quality of play. But for a rough outline, we can at least take a look at FIFA’s data for this World Cup to see whether working harder tends to correspond with playing better. Is there any relationship between a player’s work rate and their offensive production?The following chart compares a players work rate with their offensive production per minute (using goals plus .1*chances created, a lower variance alternative to goals plus assists):4Includes all the distance a player covered during all the minutes he played (whether on offense, defense or neutral).This chart may support the argument that Messi didn’t deserve his Golden Ball, but I’ll stay out of that debate. He certainly didn’t play poorly, as he had the fifth-best per-minute production, despite having the lowest work rate (and it’s not limited to offense, as I’ve noted elsewhere; most aspects of his game were as good or better than normal through most of the tournament).Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, Mario Goetze had a great tournament (obviously) and the highest work rate. In the middle, we have James Rodriguez, who managed an insane amount of success to go with his moderate effort.The important thing is that there’s not really any relationship between a player’s work rate and their production, either for forwards or for midfielders. In fact, the trend lines for both groups (covering 119 qualifying players in this tournament) are slightly declining — though not enough to read anything into it.5Moreover, if there’s an obvious source of team-quality bias, we might expect it to go in the other direction. We would expect players for better teams to have more production (more opportunities to dish, and more chances for teammates to dish to you, etc.), and because better teams tend to hold on to the ball more often and for longer periods, and forwards and midfielders are typically more active on offense, we would also expect those players to have a slightly higher meters run per minute.So has Messi been as good as he has despite being “lazy,” or perhaps because of it? When Messi was taking the tournament by storm, at least Ken Early was willing to give Messi the benefit of the doubt:Surely it must mean something that the best player in the fastest-ever era of football hardly ever runs at all.I don’t have distance-run data for Messi outside of the World Cup, but a little Googling reveals that Messi’s on-field leisure has come up before.June 2010: A New York Times article praising Michael Bradley cited the amount of ground he covered relative to Messi.May 2011: A Bleacher Report article cited Messi’s distance covered stats at UEFA6I’ve seen a lot of reference to these stats, but all the links are broken and I’ve been unable to find them on the UEFA site. as proof that he “doesn’t play hard every minute.”August 2012: A comparison between Messi and teammate Dani Alves showed how Messi spends roughly twice as much time in an “inactive” state.February 2013: An analysis of Messi’s (lack of) running from a Barca perspective tries to make sense of the phenomenon.April 2014: An article on ESPN FC criticized Messi’s Champions League play, based largely on the distance he ran.People have cited and/or complained about the amount Messi runs since at least 2010, and it has come up every year since. Note that Messi has been pretty good in that period.When you see a bunch of super-unusual things about one player, rather than trying to explain them all separately, it’s a good idea to try figure out how they might be related. If Messi’s low work rate was a “feature” rather than a “bug,” it could help him be the dominant player that he is. Here’s a very speculative version of what that argument would look like:A lot of soccer players run around a lot when there’s not much they can do to improve their situation. They may even continue running after they’re in the ideal location. Or even if they’re making slight improvements, they may be burning energy that would have more value being spent on runs that are higher leverage. Further, not moving unnecessarily may make it easier to keep track of what’s going on in the play, which may help the player anticipate what’s coming next.OK, that may sound fanciful, but it’s the sort of crazy idea that Messi should make us consider (feel free to propose alternatives!). And it wouldn’t be the only unconventional thing about Messi’s play that probably contributes to his advantage (e.g. his aversion to crossing passes, which until recently were considered an important part of offensive soccer strategy).This may be key to what makes him as good as he is, or it might not. The bizarre spectacle of Lionel Messi strolling along lazily shouldn’t be used either to hang him or to excuse him. Let’s not let a negative outcome against an all-time-great opponent cloud the mystery.CORRECTION (July 16, 10:16 a.m.): An earlier version of this article mischaracterized James Rodriguez’s success in the tournament as moderate. That is incorrect. It was insane.
T Rajendar, Rajinikanth with Kuralarasan.PR HandoutAfter Vijayakanth, Simbu’s brother Kuralarasan invited Rajinikanth for his marriage. The young musician with his father was at the Tamil superstar’s Poes Garden house on Sunday, 7 April.Kuralarasan is set for interfaith marriage as he gears up to marry Muslim girl named Nabeelah R Ahmed. Initially, it was reported that the wedding will be held on 26 April, but it is now revealed that it will happen on 29 April.It is followed by a grand wedding reception to held on the same evening at 29 April at ITC Grand Chola which is expected to be attend by the who’s who of Kollywood and big names from politics. Going by the reports, the post-wedding event commences at 7 pm.Rumours say that it is a love-cum-arranged marriage and their relationship has been happily approved by both the families.It has to be noted that Kuralarasan converted to the Islam recently. However, his decision is supported by his family. “Tolerance of all religions is my policy. My elder son STR is an ardent Siva devotee. My daughter Ilakkiya is a Christian and now my younger son has preferred to follow Islam religion. I respect his decision,” Deccan Chronicle quoted him as saying.Kuralarasan was seen in movies as a child artiste in his father’s movies. He turned full-time musician with Simbu and Nayanthara’s Idhu Namma Aalu. Unfortunately, it failed to give him a break and Pandiraj’s negative words about him did not help the cause.He has also worked on an independent English album and the tracks have been penned-sung by the US artists. The album is recorded in New York.
Kolkata: For the convenience of passengers, Eastern Railway will run 10 pairs of AC weekly superfast summer special trains between Sealdah and Kamakhya stations via Dankuni. 02261 Sealdah-Kamakhya AC weekly superfast summer special will leave Sealdah station on every Friday between May 4 and June 29 at 23.55 hrs to reach Kamakhya at 18.35 hrs on the next day, while 02262 Kamakhya-Sealdah AC weekly superfast summer special will leave Kamakhya station on every Saturday between May 5 and June 30 at 23.05 hrs to reach Sealdah at 17.45 hrs on the next day. The trains will have only air-conditioned accommodation.
The study undertaken jointly by Yahoo and Mindshare analyses the shopping behaviour of customers to reveal that 31 per cent shoppers opt for online shopping in order to save the time and effort that might be spent on physically going to stores to buy the same products.About 28 per cent customers are driven to buy online due to the availability of discounts and promotions while the convenience to shop anywhere, anytime attracts the remaining 21 per cent, it said. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The study also highlights how more and more customers are taking to mobile phones to make online purchases as compared to other electronic devices.“The e-commerce landscape in India is perhaps the most dynamic in the world, largely due to the rapidly evolving mobile ecosystem. This research highlights the role of mobile from the top of funnel to the bottom and how it varies across product categories. It will help us develop sharper, more connected communication strategies for brands,” MA Parthasarathy, Chief Product Officer, Mindshare South Asia said. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAccording to the survey, majority of consumers use only mobile devices while making purchases related to apparels, electronic devices, baby and pet care products.Most purchases made online over mobile phones tend to be regular or impulsive buys rather than expensive ones, the study claims.Over 90 per cent of the consumers use mobile devices for quick and frequent purchases of travel, music and movies, contrary to 36 per cent who purchase high consideration products like insurance on their PC or laptop. About 30 per cent people prefer buying products of personal hygiene from the store itself.The study also provides marketers with insights on India, to sharpen their digital and mobile commerce initiatives and build a strong mobile strategy.“The study shows that the consumer path-to-purchase is turning more complex and nonlinear, with mobile at the center of this evolution.“As mobile devices become more important in the consumer’s last mile of purchase decision, brands need to build targeted, more seamless shopping experience across all channels to strengthen sales and acquire new customers,” Francis Che, Head of Insights, APAC, Yahoo said.For those who continue to prefer in-store shopping, major detractors include non-authentic goods, unreliable delivery and lack of quality control.
It goes without saying that the iPad Pro is the fastest tablet Apple has ever made. That’s to be expected; it’s the latest and greatest slate powered by the powerful new A10X Fusion processor.The question is how much more powerful is it? We benchmarked the 10.5-inch iPad Pro against the other iPads in Apple’s lineup as well as Android rivals, and according to results, the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro’s A10X chip is a third faster than most other tablets on the market, though only 10 percent faster than its predecessor.AnTuTuOn the AnTuTu benchmark, which measures overall system performance, the new iPad Pro scores 205,223, the highest score we’ve ever seen on any device, not just tablets. It’s higher than the 2016 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with its A9X processor (187,411), the A9-powered iPad (126,384), and the aging iPad mini 4 (84,841).That means the new iPad Pro is 9 percent faster than the older model, 38 percent faster than the iPad and a staggering 59 percent faster than the mini 4. Compared with the Snapdragon 820-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 (139,783) — the most powerful Android tablet on the market — it’s 32 percent faster.The only Android device that comes close is the HTC U11 with a Snapdragon 835 processor (175,241), but the iPad Pro is still 15 percent faster.Geekbench We also tested the iPad Pro using Geekbench, a measure of single-core and multi-core CPU performance. Apple has typically excelled at having fewer, faster processor cores, while Qualcomm loads its chipsets with more cores and multiple low-power cores to improve multitasking and battery life.With the iPad Pro, it doesn’t matter; the slate blows all other comers out of the water, scoring 3929 single core and 9348 multi-core. Again, it’s the best result we’ve seen on any device, including the 12.9-inch 2016 iPad Pro (3119/5247), the iPad (2522/4369), the mini 4 (1709/2901) and the Galaxy Tab S3 (1609/3963).Graphics performance and web browsingGraphics performance is also improved. On the PCMark suite, the iPad Pro scores 3263 for graphics performance, a small improvement compared with last year’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3163).The bigger gap is with the iPad (1994) and mini 4 (1086). On GFXBench suite, this translates to 208fps on the T-Rex offscreen test, again a modest improvement over the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (170fps), but a big jump over the iPad (82fps) and mini 4 (48fps). The Tab S3 does no better than the iPad in this test (83fps), making the iPad Pro 60 percent faster than its primary Android competitor. On the iPad Pro, demanding games will be smoother and provide sharper graphics and better textures.When it comes to web browsing, the iPad Pro again excels in the Jetstream and Browsermark tests (203.5 and 472.7, respectively). It’s quite a bit faster and more efficient than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (150 and 300.7), iPad (130 and 250) and mini 4 (80.5 and 187.5).What all this boils down to is that the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro’s A10X Fusion processor will be slightly faster than the A9X in speed, graphic performance and web browsing, but the gap between the two isn’t big enough that the average user will notice.Where the iPad Pro really excels is compared with A9 and Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered tablets. There, the new iPad Pro is between 30 to 50 percent faster, showing how far Apple’s new chipset has come compared with the previous generations. If you own an older, non-Pro Apple device or an Android slate, you may want to give some serious thought to an upgrade. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. This story originally appeared on PCMag 3 min read June 15, 2017 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now »