first_imgThe Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdallah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has extended a grant of US$35 million to help fight Ebola in West Africa.In a statement to the media on this occasion, Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Ali, President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) said that the Ebola fighting program, initiated by the Saudi King and implemented by IDB, is designed for four areas.The first area, the statement said, is to provide schools with thermal sensors and medical examination equipment designed to diagnose the disease, thereby facilitating its treatment and preventing its spread. The equipment, it said, “will allow governments to open schools for the current academic year. Pupils will be examined at entry to ensure they have not contracted the disease, thus reassuring parents about the safety of their children at school.”The second area of the grant is to provide thermal sensors and medical examination equipment at airports, railway stations and bus stations to diagnose the disease and ensure early treatment.The third is to establish a specialized treatment centre in each of the three endemic countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, designed to serve suspected cases in schools, hospitals and public transport, and wherever contamination is likely to occur in crowded conditions. Suspected cases will be received in these centers for further medical tests before they are referred for specialized treatment if necessary.The statement said the forth is to establish a specialized treatment centre in Mali where Ebola appears to have broken out but is not widespread. The centre will help the country’s health authorities cope with potential epidemics in the future.The IDB President emphasized that the kind donation made by the Saudi King will further boost the Islamic world efforts in supporting the international fight against Ebola.“The equipment financed by this donation,” he added, “will speed up the opening of schools in the countries concerned, reinforce the institutional and health infrastructure to fight the current epidemic and any potential epidemics in the future, Allah forbids, thus saving thousands of lives and ensuring the safety of those at risk of contamination.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgCAC Bodybuilding & Fitness Championships…By Timothy JaikarranThe CAC Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships held recently in the Dominican Republic have concluded with Guyana’s doyen Emmerson Campbell shockingly failing to place within the top six contenders in his category.Emmerson Campbell at centre stageA ‘minor technicality’ has been identified as the reason, and Campbell has vowed to return “bigger and better”, come 2020.Having secured bronze and silver at the last two championships, Emmerson Campbell surprisingly failed to place in the top six in the Under-174cm Physique Class, and will have to return to the drawing board to work on his strategy.In an exclusive interview with Guyana Times Sport he was asked about his performance at the CAC, and Campbell responded, “To be quite honest, when I heard that I did not make the first call-out (placing in the top six), I was more surprised than disappointed. That was based on the fact that I lost the gold medal (medal) by one point last year; made improvements worthy of a champion, but fell way off the podium.“There was absolutely nothing wrong with my training, mental or physical. I showed up with my best package to date, so that was a big head-scratcher. When I enquired about my placement, I received conflicting reports from the judges, but one stated that I had committed an infringement which caused me to be marked down and essentially disqualified from the first call-out, hence a seventh-place finish.”Campbell explained that while he was disappointed with the results, the experience was one to remember, and he vows not to make the same mistake next year.“Rules and regulations get changed and updated regularly; and I feel I was placed at a disadvantage, since none of those rules was disclosed at any time to me.” Campbell declared.He disclosed that the experience gained has actually rekindled his fire, and he is now hungrier more than ever to succeed, and is confident that he actually will. He says he is constantly motivated by the saying, “You always learn more from a loss/lesson that a victory”, and he is confident that, come 2020, he would dismantle any competition placed before him.Campbell also had this to say: “To my sponsors, (who) enabled me to once again represent Guyana, I want to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ and I (predict I) will do Guyana proud once again. They include Jamie McDonald of Fitness Express, National Sports Commission, Guyana Olympic Association, Bounty Farm Ltd, Abdool and Abdool Insurance Company, and Space Gym.”last_img read more

first_imgGet live NHL Stanley Cup playoff updates, news and analysis during Game 6 of the Sharks’ second-round series against the Avalanche Monday at 7 p.m. in Colorado.The Sharks, holding a 3-2 series advantage, have two opportunities to beat the Avalanche and advance to the Western Conference Finals beginning with Monday’s game.San Jose is coming off a satisfying 2-1 victory over the Avalanche on Saturday night when Tomas Hertl’s two goals were enough to send the SAP Center faithful home …last_img

first_img28 October 2009The South African government aims to save over R27-billion a year by cutting down on wastage and slashing inefficient spending.Presenting his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said the first set of savings proposals, for the 2010 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, would involve a R14.5-billion saving at national government level and a R12.6-billion saving at a provincial level.The savings relate mostly to expenditure on non-core goods and services.The steps follow the setting up of a ministerial task team to look into ways in which the government can achieve more with less resources.The task team is headed by Gordhan and includes Minister of Public Service and Administration Richard Baloyi and the minister in the Presidency responsible for monitoring and evaluation, Collins Chabane.Reducing administrative spendingThe biggest savings are expected to come from reducing administrative spending in departments, which are expected to save the government around R2-billion a year.The government is expected to save about R1.5-billion a year on social development, as a result of increased collections from wrongly paid or overpaid grant beneficiaries, an adjustment of the means test, and as a result of a slower than anticipated uptake of social grants from the extension of the child support grant to 15-year-olds.The government is also expected to save R1.4-billion a year from the Department of Defence and Military Veterans. Some savings have also been realised on the department’s procurement programme, as a result of a more favourable exchange rate.The Department of Trade and Industry is set to save R700-million a year, largely as a result of reductions in transfers and subsidies of certain projects.A further R700-million should also be saved through the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, mainly as a result of a revised foreign exchange rate.Three-phase cost-cuttingThe government’s cost-cutting exercise will involve three phases.The first phase involves changing spending habits, such as cutting costs on unnecessary spending – targeting areas such as consultants, entertainment, travel, luxuries and conferences.Phase two will look at back-office operations to frontline services and reform procurement processes.The third phase will involve a comprehensive expenditure review which will reshape the way in which South Africa’s public services are delivered and resources allocated.Non-performers to be axedIn the latter two phases, the government is expected to terminate non-performing programmes, projects and even entities.The Presidency will conduct a review, together with the National Treasury, of which programmes are working and whether the same services can be delivered at more affordable costs.A review of the ministerial handbook will also take place.A selection of potential saving areas for investigation in the medium term is expected to be finalised by December 2009, while the first set of investigations and recommendations will be completed by March 2010.The review may see spending increase in certain areas, for instance boosting spending on quality education.Crackdown on tender fraudThe government will also crack down on tender fraud to reduce wastage.A working group comprising members of the National Treasury, SA Revenue Service, Financial Intelligence Centre, Auditor-General and police Special Investigations Unit has been set up to look into whether there are leakages in the country’s procurement system, or weak management, causing cost escalations.The working group will report to the minister of finance.The government has already acknowledged that there are some leakages in the government feeding scheme, school construction, and the procurement of office equipment and other goods and services.Intense work has been carried out over the past six weeks to improve compliance with state supply chain management policies and procedures, and a large number of public officials have been identified as suspects in defrauding the state.A range of steps will be taken against these suspects, including criminal sanction, internal disciplinary measures, tax collection and blacklisting.Cutbacks at state IT agencyThe government is also looking at cutting back on IT services procured from the State Information Technology Agency (Sita), in order to allow departments to procure IT services at market-related prices.The government is also looking slashing Sita’s annual spending on temporary and contract workers by 20 percent, from around R400-million to R320-million.It plans to cut annual non-labour operating costs at Sita by 10 percent, from around R428-million to R385-million, while halving the agency’s budget for capital expenditure from R598-million to R300-million.All spending on capital expenditure at Sita will have to be approved by the government’s Capex Review Committee.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

first_imgzoomFor illustration only. Source: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Dry bulk specialists Genco Shipping & Trading Limited has closed on a five-year senior secured credit facility in an aggregate principal amount of up to USD 460 million.Proceeds from the new credit facility were used, together with cash on hand, to refinance all of the company’s existing credit facilities into one facility and pay down the debt on the oldest seven vessels in Genco’s fleet.“We are pleased to have closed on this attractive USD 460 million facility, which was oversubscribed by approximately 40%. With this new facility, we have strengthened our position to capitalize on attractive growth opportunities and have provided Genco with the ability to pay dividends, while simplifying the Company’s capital structure,” Apostolos Zafolias, Chief Financial Officer, said.The new USD 460 million facility lowers Genco’s interest costs through improved pricing, eliminates near-term refinancing risk by extending loan maturity to 2023, establishes an attractive amortization profile, and enhances the company’s flexibility to execute its fleet growth and renewal program by lifting restrictions on vessel acquisitions and additional indebtedness.The final maturity date of the facility will be May 31, 2023. Borrowings under the facility will bear interest at LIBOR plus 325 basis points through December 31, 2018 and LIBOR plus a range of 300 to 350 basis points thereafter, dependent upon total net indebtedness to the last twelve months EBITDA.Scheduled amortization payments USD 15 million per quarter commencing on December 31, 2018 and may be recalculated upon the company’s request upon certain events.last_img read more