Nonprofit Organization Appeals for Tax Relief on Farm Tractors

first_imgKesseh explains his frustrations to farmers about the LRA’s refusal to grant tax relief on the farm tractors he imported.A nonprofit organization “Kesseh Foundation INC” is appealing to the Liberian Government to grant tax relief on its two farm tractors imported in to country.Mr. Kesseh Yeleboe, head of the organization, told the Daily Observer during a recent visit to his home town that he is finding it very difficult to clear the tractors at the Free Port of Monrovia due to taxes imposed by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).According to him the Kesseh Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 2016 to help smallholder farmers increase productivity in Boinsen District, Bong County.According to him, he has spoken with the LRA on the matter but they denied his request.“The authority at the LRA do not believe my testimony. They are saying that I am not telling the truth,” he said.Yeleboe said that he has raised money over the years in the United States of America for the purpose of helping poor farmers in his home town mechanize crop production.“We cannot become self-sufficient in food production through ‘manual’ labor. Liberia must prioritize using modern equipment to become food secure. This is why I bought the tractors to buttress government’s efforts,” he stated.He said that the tractors in questioned cost US$6,000 and the LRA is imposing a tax of US$6,000.“I do not have the funds that the LRA is requesting. I am appealing that they relieve the tax for the farmers to access the tractors to expand their farms,” added.Yeleboe said that he is working with more than 100 farmers from four villages in the district to cultivate large area of land that will be developed with different crop varieties,” adding that proceeds from the farm will benefit individual farmers.Farmers in Boinsen District wanting to retire from manual labor, as they await the farm tractors.“Farmers are working harder every year and not producing enough to support their families. Many years ago, people in this district never bought imported rice on the market as compared to today. The villagers are lacking food most often because the Government have failed to support them,” he Yeleboe said.He said that the farm tractor can also be used to improve the deployable road conditions in the areas.Moses D. Semineh, a farmer, told our reporter that farmers in the district are finding it difficult to produce more food for their families,” adding that with the provision of a farm tractor they will be able to increase production.“We are lacking the necessary supports from the Government to feed the nation. The initiative taken by our son “Kesseh” is laudable. We are cultivating large area of land with cutlasses and we really need the tractors to enable us de-stump and plough the land. We want to appeal to the Government to release the tractors,” he said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Antonio Brown joins Raiders in Alameda with helmet in hand

first_imgClick here if you are having trouble viewing the gallery on your mobile device. ALAMEDA — The saga involving Antonio Brown and his choice of helmet reached another stage Tuesday as coach Jon Gruden said his marquee receiver wore a helmet and was a full participant in the Raiders’ practice at their East Bay headquarters.Brown was on the field well before 11 a.m. when stretches began. He left the field to briefly enter the team’s fieldhouse, but came back right before the stretching period …last_img

Secularists Lured to Paganism

first_imgIf man is hopelessly religious, what happens when society’s scientific elites teach that religion is groundless?  G. K. Chesterton once said, “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”  The new atheists claim to base their beliefs on scientific evidence.  They have no need for religious teachings or rituals.  Is it not strange, then, to see the attraction of secularists to movements that give the appearance of new religious forms?  Is there something innate in human nature that cries out for the sense of ultimate purpose and connection to the divine that religions have traditionally provided?  Three recent examples of near-cult experiences may be illuminating. Church of TED:  On the BBC News, Jane Wakefield talked about a new cult emerging around the popular technology show, TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design), “a non-profit organisation dedicated to ideas worth spreading.”  In “Worshiping at the Church of TED,” Wakefield said that the TEDGlobal Conference “has become something of a cult for its followers – appropriately known as TEDsters.”  One idea felt worth spreading was to clothe the dead in mushroom suits as “an altogether more organic way of dying.” TEDGlobal conferences are an eclectic mix of speeches, hi-tech demonstrations, performance art and calls for fixing society.  “Meanwhile philosopher Alain de Botton talked about the need for religion 2.0 – with one particularly enthusiastic Tedster suggesting later that TED itself could be the new church.”   Wakefield criticized the closed nature of the conferences, then said, “But TEDsters, as befits members of a cult, hold little truck with criticism. They embrace the week-long event as an oasis of intellectual and emotionally stimulation [sic].”  The “mix of intellect and emotion” TED offers seems to satisfy a basic need in some people: “There is also a sense of being part of a huge social experiment.”  Participants wear badges in colors that reflect their mood, whether challenged, inspired, or bored. Church of Wildness:  New Scientist reported on the “Wilderness Festival 2011” that ended last weekend.  Cathy Tollet described it as “an event promising to feed all the senses with theatre, debates, parties, music and good food.”  While held outdoors, Wilderness Festival 2011 was not so much about wilderness as wildness: “the festival aims to reconnect revellers with all things wild.”  And wild is an apt word.  A look at a BBC News photo gallery shows some pretty wild folks with glazed-and-dazed faces, pagan costumes, a masked ball, rock theater and lots of raised hands.  The official Wilderness Festival website talks about a late-night party “where the wild things are,” an urban voodoo machine, the wilderness spa, a midnight seance, a naked conga dance in the woods, and other ways to abandon restraint and focus on self-absorption.  Conservation of wilderness seems a remote theme, as the festival’s YouTube video, a phantasmagoria of flipped-out patrons indulging themselves, shows. Church of Self:  What can atheist fans of Richard Dawkins do for inner fulfillment?  They can go watch The Selfish Gene, a musical playing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Show.  Mairi Macleod reviewed the performance for New Scientist.  Written by a Dawkins fan named Jonathan Salway, The Selfish Gene, “70 minutes of catchy songs, innuendo and laughs as well as science,” tries to show how your family and friends, even when outwardly caring and nurturing, are really just acting out their evolutionary selfish selves.  Macleod was delighted.  “What a fun introduction this would be for budding biology students, to whet their appetites and show how biology can answer those tricky life questions – such as how long do you wait before you sleep with your boyfriend?  Does it pay to cheat?”  The answer is clear: sure it does.  How could one do anything else?  Opening song: We Are Machines Made By Our Genes. Something is wrong with the musical.  It has a moral escape hatch.  “And, as befits a musical comedy, there is an optimistic upbeat ending. It suggests, as Dawkins’s book does, that there is a process through which humanity can save itself from its own selfishness,” she ended her review.  “Memes are what means we are not just machines made by our genes.”  Trouble is, this moral escape hatch is rusty, as she herself said: “For cutting-edge evolutionary biologists, or for that matter for regular readers of New Scientist, the theory depicted in the show might feel slightly dated, with its talk of memes rather than culture evolution or multilevel selection.”  Macleod left it unanswered whether those newer memes of culture evolution and multilevel selection, presumably as undirected and purposeless as natural selection, can help humanity save itself from its own selfishness.  And if in the end we are “not just machines,” what part of us is not mechanical?  Is there something beyond that recognizes selfishness as bad?  Why would evolved humanity even want to save itself from what the evolutionary process produced?  Is there a cry in the subtext for a spiritual reality to fill a deep immaterial need? The apostle John said that God gives light to every human being who enters the world, but they do not comprehend it (John 1:1-13).  The apostle Paul identified that starting point of light as the knowledge of God through creation (Romans 1:18-23). John went on to describe the greater light that became manifest in Christ, who created all things, when the logos became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14-18), calling us back to the Father and providing the way through His death and resurrection if we will receive Him (John 1:12).  Try as they might to snuff it out with science, philosophy and emotional abandonment, everything people do only reinforces the recognition of light that has come into the world, and men prefer darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.  One has to love truth to come to the light (John 3:1-21). A void gnaws within that only the true God can fill.  One must avoid a void, but coming to God for fulfillment is scary: it means giving up oneself to a God who is Lord of all.  Since misery loves company, and sterile science is pointless, the self-lovers flock to counterfeit religious experiences that promise some kind of stuffing for the void.  Charlatans abound to sell their idols of the tribe, marketplace, and cave.  When the festival is over, when the rock music and booze has worn off, when the musical ends with no answers for why we should save ourselves from selfishness, what then?  Will it make the buyer eager to put on the mushroom suit?  Even asking the question presupposes the answer.  We are not machines made by our genes; our genes are machines made by an all-wise Creator for us.  We were made by and for our Creator, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Him.  Here’s the road back to the light (Romans 3:10-26, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:7-8, Romans 10:8-13).(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Live Twitter chat with Dr Iraj Abedian on South Africa’s 2015 Budget

first_imgDr Iraj AbedianBrand South Africa will host a live Twitter chat with economist Dr Iraj Abedian, founder and chief executive of Pan-African Capital Holdings, to explore the implications of South Africa’s 2015 national Budget for both investors and citizens.• Date: 12 March 2015• Time: 12h00 to 12h45 CATSend your Budget questions to Dr Abedian via @Brand_SA using the hashtag #CompetitiveSA. To get the conversation started, here’s some background information on the importance of the Budget and what it means for South Africa’s economy.What is the Budget?In the finance minister’s annual Budget speech, the national government outlines its spending and revenue-raising plans for the next financial year, which runs from April to March. The minister explains how the government will allocate money to its various objectives and programmes. The Budget also gives citizens and investors insight into the government’s policies on raising revenue and decreasing debt.Why is the Budget speech important?The Budget speech outlines the government’s priorities for the next financial year. Budget allocations are key indicators of the importance the government places on specific social and economic issues.What were the key focus areas of this year’s Budget?• Reducing national debt• Decreasing the Budget deficit• Promoting economic growth• Managing inflation• Increasing government revenueHow does the Budget affect you?• Taxes are government’s primary mechanism to generate revenue.• In his 2015/2016 Budget speech, finance minister Nhlanhla Nene announced that certain categories of tax will be raised, including the fuel levy and income tax.• Income tax has been increased by 1%. This amounts to only R21 extra a month for those paying an annual salary of R200 000 – less than the cost of a meal at a fast food restaurant.• The government will invest this extra tax revenue on improving infrastructure, healthcare and education, as well as on resolving South Africa’s energy crisis.• The new revenue will also fund work toward achieving the priorities of the government’s National Development Plan.• A new savings policy will waive taxes on savings of R30 000 and under, to encourage South Africans to use their money more wisely.• Nene also called on all citizens to work to eradicate the fault lines cutting across our social and economic landscape.How can South Africans play their part and be responsible with their money?One of the government’s priorities is to decrease indebtedness. South Africans need to work towards getting out of debt and creating a culture of saving.How will the Budget affect South Africa’s investment climate?• South Africa is seen as a sound investment destination. The national treasury has a reputation for prudent fiscal policy management, and our financial markets are strong and stable.• Investors want to know that their business interests in the country will be protected. This requires sounds institutions, such as a clean and stable government, independent judiciary, fair recourse when investors’ business interests have been harmed, and so on.• Investors will want to know is that their market can grow into the future; that the South African economy will expand and GDP rise.• The Budget affects the health of South Africa’s economy in a number of ways. It decreases wasteful government expenditure, clamps down on corruption, and will not harm economic growth. Increasing revenue through a modest rise in personal income taxes, for example, will not harm growth.• Treasury has generally made good calls in terms of where to cut expenditure and where to boost revenue so as not to jeopardise future growth.• It is likely that the steps to decrease government expenditure taken in the Budget will be viewed favourably by investors, because they help bring public debt under control and prevent interest payments from crowding out government spending on important contributors to future growth.About Dr Iraj AbedianIraj Abedian is the founder and Chief Executive of Pan-African Capital Holdings (Pty) Ltd. He was professor of economics at the University of Cape Town, before entering the business sector in 2000. He obtained his BA (Honours) and MA in Economics from University of Cape Town (UCT). He received his PhD in Economics from Simon Fraser University in Canada in 1993. He has served as a consultant on economic policy issues to public and private sector organizations in South Africa as well as internationally. His involvement in policy development in South Africa includes: The Transformation of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (1995), the RDP White Paper (1995), Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR 1996), Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF 1997/98), the Presidential Review Commission (PRC 1997/98, membership of the President’s Economic Advisory Panel 2006-2009 and Economic Advisor to Minister of Mineral Resources of SA Government (Feb. 2010 to July 2012).He is a prolific researcher and has written numerous articles and co-authored books such as:• Economic Growth in South Africa (Oxford University Press, 1992)• Transformation in Action: Budgeting for Health Service Delivery (UCT Press, 1998)• Economics of Tobacco Control; Towards an Optimal Policy Mix (SAMA Press, 1998)• Economic Globalization and Fiscal Policy (Oxford University Press, 1998)• “Intergenerational Equity in South Africa”, Transformation Audit 2013, Institution for Justice and Reconciliation, February 2014.During September to December 1999, Dr Abedian was based at the IMF, Washington D.C., working on issues related to fiscal vulnerability assessment. In January 2000 he joined The Standard Bank Group at their head office in Johannesburg as Group Chief Economist. He was appointed Director and Group Economist in April 2000, and was a member of the Standard Bank Group EXCO. From June 2003 to August 2004, he was an economic columnist for SOWETAN; a Johannesburg-based daily newspaper. In 2003, Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) awarded him the title of “Top Economist of the Year”. As of March 2014, he is an Honorary Professor of Economics at Graduate School of Business, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth and serves the following organizations and companies:• Chairman of the Board: Bigen Africa (Pty) Ltd (April 2009 to date)• Member of the Board of Directors of Munich Re of Africa. (2005 to date)• Member of Board of Capital Fund Ltd (May 2011 to date)• Member of the Advisory Board of the Auditor General of the SA Government.(2006 to date)• A Trustee of the Global Legacy Trust (2014)last_img read more

2016 Ohio Crop Tour I-71 Day 2 Video Recap

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest A recap of what the I-71 crew noticed on Day #2 of the 2016 Ohio Crop Tour.last_img

From Chaos to Community

first_imgIt’s that time of year again – the start of a new school year. For many young children, this may be the first time they’ve been in group care. In the life of a young child, that’s a BIG deal!Remembering my years teaching preschool, those first few days were packed with feelings – scared, excited, lonely, delighted, confused, curious, tired, more excited…and that was just me! Seriously, it’s always a wild mess of highs and lows for children those first few days.Although entering a new child care environment is a chaotic, challenging experience for all young children, for children of military families it may be just one of many unfamiliar situations. These children have often experienced a lot of changes, especially if the family has recently relocated. Imagine what it would be like to not only have a new child care setting, but also a new house, a new neighborhood, a new place of worship, a new park…and the list goes on. As a child’s new teacher or caregiver, you have a unique and critical role to play in helping him or her to begin to adjust to a new place with new people.Create Predictability: One of the best ways you can help children adjust to their new “school” is to establish some order in the chaos – to begin some routines and regular practices that will soon become familiar to the children. Although it’s easy to think that variety will be more interesting to the children, the truth is that, at least at first, boring (i.e., predictable) is best. Children, from young babies to kindergartners, will feel much more relaxed when they know what to expect. And more relaxed, happy children will listen better, get along better, and learn better.Create Community: But even more important to young children’s adjustment to school is to create an environment where they feel like they belong. Creating a place where new children feel safe (both physically and emotionally), cared for, listened to, valued and enjoyed is, in my opinion, the most important goal a teacher can strive for. Creating a strong sense of community in a program will take time but there are many things you can do to start off on the right path. Here are my “top four:”Visually represent your classroom community.  In as many ways as you can think of, show children that each of them is part of the larger group. For example, post displays of the children’s names and/or photos all together under the name of the class/group at children’s eye level. Every way you can, give the children visual evidence that they belong.Focus on names. For young children, names are a central aspect of their self-identify. It’s often the first word they learn to read and to write. Use that information to help each child feel valuable and unique AND to help them get to know one another by playing name games, writing their names down often, using name labels to identify places to sit or works of art, etc. And don’t forget to remind them of your own name often, especially during the first couple of days. You are the most important person in the classroom for them to build a connection with; that connection starts with knowing your name.Help children connect. Give children lots of opportunities to connect one-on-one with each other. A whole group of new faces is overwhelming for any age of child (or adult, for that matter!). But one new face at a time is manageable for most. Subtly suggest playmates during free play time, especially for those who are a little slower to warm up. Pair children up throughout the day for short bits of time: walking to the playground, sitting together at snack, doing an art or building activity, or doing movement or music activities. Although in general it’s best to let children pick their own play partners, during this time when everyone’s a stranger, it can be helpful to give them opportunities to get to know each other one at a time.Those are just a few of my suggestions for helping children quickly feel a part of a new group. But I’d also love to hear from you! What strategies do YOU use to develop a sense of belonging and community in your program? Please share your thoughts in a comment.If you want more on this topic, here are some resources I suggest. Feel free to share others.Tips for Parent to Handle Separation Anxiety When Leaving Your Child in Child Care Using Social Stories to Ease TransitionsHelp Children Get to Know Each OtherPlease visit our Facebook page for even more related resources! Kathy Reschkelast_img read more

ICC allows Akila Dananjaya to resume bowling in International cricket

first_imgThe International Cricket Council (ICC) Monday cleared spinner Akila Dananjaya to resume bowling in international cricket following the Sri Lankan’s remedial work and a subsequent remodelling of suspect action.According to ICC, Dananjaya’s remodelled bowling action was assessed in Chennai on February 2.It was found that the amount of elbow extension for all his deliveries was within the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted under the ICC Illegal Bowling Regulations.”Match Officials are still at liberty to report Dananjaya if they believe he is displaying a suspect action and not reproducing the legal action from the assessment,” the ICC media release stated.To assist the match officials, they will be provided with images and video footage of the bowler’s remodeled legal bowling action.Dananjaya was suspended from bowling after being reported during the first Test against England in Galle from 6-10 November and subsequently underwent an independent assessment of his bowling action in Brisbane on November 23, following which he was barred from bowling in international cricket.Also Read | India should not play Pakistan in 2019 Cricket World Cup: Harbhajan SinghAlso Read | How Jhulan Goswami’s No.1 ranking inspired Smriti Mandhanalast_img read more

Mysterious sharp symmetric features detected around young double star

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Planetary influences on young stellar disks (Phys.org)—An international team of astronomers, led by Markus Janson of Stockholm University in Sweden, has discovered mysterious sharp symmetric features around young double star, named AK Sco. The discovery is baffling scientists as they are still unsure about the nature of these features, pondering the possibilities that they are highly eccentric rings or two separate spiral arms in the disk around the star. Moreover, these features may have been caused by circumbinary planets interacting with the disk. The results were published on Dec. 14 in the arXiv journal. AK Sco, located about 460 light years from Earth, is a spectroscopic binary star in the Upper Centaurus–Lupus (UCL) stellar association. It is a relatively young system, at least in astronomical terms, as scientists estimate it to be from 10 to 20 million years old. Spectroscopic binaries are systems in which the stars are so close together that they appear as a single star even in a telescope. The only evidence of a binary star comes from the Doppler effect on its emitted light. Periodic Doppler shifts of the wavelengths of lines are seen in the spectrum, as the stars move through their orbits.Janson and his colleagues made the discovery using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), located in Chile. The observations were conducted in April 2015 as a part of the Search for Planets Orbiting Two Stars (SPOTS) program. The scientists made use of the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research (SPHERE) instrument recently installed on VLT. SPHERE is a powerful planet finder and its objective is to detect and study new giant exoplanets orbiting nearby stars using a method known as direct imaging.Detecting the sharp features in near-infrared imaging of AK Sco’s disk was a surprise for the scientists as they expected to find rather exoplanets in the neighborhood. However, what they found, might not be planets at all.”We report the discovery of resolved scattered light emission from the circumbinary disk around the well-studied young double star AK Sco. The sharp morphology of the imaged feature is surprising, given the smooth appearance of the disk in its spectral energy distribution,” the astronomers wrote in the paper.They researchers have noticed that the central binary star has a semi-major axis of approximately 0.16 astronomical units or AU and that the disk appears to have a gap with an inner rim at 0.58 AU. The images of AK Sco obtained by the SPHERE instrument reveal that the system has ‘arms’ extending from each side of the central star almost symmetrically. The scientists also found out that these features constitute scattered radiation from off-axis material in the circumbinary disk.The mysterious sharp features could represent an eccentric ring of material surrounding a gap. The scientists note that such structures are often found in disks that contain rings of material with gaps inside them. However, other observations conducted by ESO’s Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) don’t support this theory.Another explanation taken into account by Janson and his colleagues is that these structures are spiral arms that could be induced through gravitational instability or through the influence of a planet or binary companion. These two spiral arms are wound in opposite directions—one unwinding clockwise and the other counter-clockwise. But the fact that the features are so apparently symmetric, speaks against this hypothesis.What is worth noticing, either of these scenarios mentioned earlier, may point to circumbinary exoplanets in the disk. The features could be created by one or several planets interacting with the disk.Whichever proposed theory is true, the authors of the paper highlight the importance of the new generation adaptive optics systems – like this installed on the SPHERE instrument – in the search of disks around stars. They hope that these features will detected more often in near future as a result of implementing new technology of observations. SPHERE high-contrast images of AK Sco. All images show the two arms of the disk discussed in the paper. Credit: Markus Janson et al. 2015 © 2015 Phys.org More information: Detection of Sharp Symmetric Features in the Circumbinary Disk Around AK Sco, arXiv:1512.04552 [astro-ph.SR] arxiv.org/abs/1512.04552AbstractThe Search for Planets Orbiting Two Stars (SPOTS) survey aims to study the formation and distribution of planets in binary systems by detecting and characterizing circumbinary planets and their formation environments through direct imaging. With the SPHERE Extreme Adaptive Optics instrument, a good contrast can be achieved even at small (<300 mas) separations from bright stars, which enables studies of planets and disks in a separation range that was previously inaccessible. Here, we report the discovery of resolved scattered light emission from the circumbinary disk around the well-studied young double star AK Sco, at projected separations in the ~13—40 AU range. The sharp morphology of the imaged feature is surprising, given the smooth appearance of the disk in its spectral energy distribution. We show that the observed morphology can be represented either as a highly eccentric ring around AK Sco, or as two separate spiral arms in the disk, wound in opposite directions. The relative merits of these interpretations are discussed, as well as whether these features may have been caused by one or several circumbinary planets interacting with the disk. Citation: Mysterious sharp symmetric features detected around young double star (2015, December 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-12-mysterious-sharp-symmetric-features-young.htmllast_img read more