Colorado’s own Leftover Salmon has announced details with their annual SolShine Music Festival, which is set to take place in Winter Park, CO from August 11th-14th. The festival will feature four sets from Leftover Salmon – two sets each on August 12th and 13th – while the rest of the lineup rounds itself out nicely with sets from Trout Steak Revival, The Record Company, Gipsy Moon, DeadPhish Orchestra and Sweet Lillies.Erik Deutsch, Greg Garrison and Alwyn Robinson will play a special late-night set one night, while DeadPhish Orchestra will kick things off on August 11th. The event will be held in Hideaway Park, and is a free, while ticketed shows will be held at Ullrs and Winter Park Pub. For more information and details, check out the Winter Park website.
David Wade, WBZ-TV Minutes before 3 p.m. on Marathon Monday, as thousands of relatives, friends, and well-wishers cheered on runners nearing the Boylston Street finish line, Boston suddenly changed. An explosion interrupted the city’s annual rite of spring, blasting nails and ball bearings into the crowd. Moments later, a second bomb went off just 600 feet away.Despite the heroic efforts of first responders, three people would die: 8-year-old Martin Richard; 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, a Boston University graduate student; and 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, who had close Harvard connections. At least 264 others were injured.With the region in shock and in mourning, law enforcement authorities began an intensive search for the perpetrators. Within days, they released photos of the men suspected of the bombings; on the night of April 18, the suspects went on the run, allegedly carjacking one man and assassinating another, MIT police officer Sean Collier, as he sat in his cruiser. By early the next morning 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was dead, run down by his brother after a shootout with police; that evening, after a massive manhunt that shut down the Greater Boston area, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was taken into custody.Boston Marathon Tragedy and Aftermath: Panel Discussion On Wednesday evening, on the same day a memorial service was held for Collier, the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) hosted a John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, “Boston Marathon Tragedy & Aftermath.” Moderated by Dean David Ellwood, the Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy, a five-member panel discussed law enforcement coordination, political leadership, the evolving face of terrorism, and the media’s role during the manhunt.Preparedness paid offBoston Police Department Commissioner Edward Davis said that throughout the investigation, “the investments made in preparedness since 9/11 paid off” in the high level of coordination between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.“All the training we do to prepare for this type of incident has forced us to think about the unthinkable,” he said.Kurt N. Schwartz, director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, agreed: “We did a tabletop exercise before the marathon, which included a bombing in it,” he said.Davis said the decision to lock down the area was made early on April 19 after the firefight with the suspects.“There were five or six of us jammed into what’s basically a house trailer,” Davis said. After calls to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, “there was a conversation among all the principals; we determined a course of action,” he said.“There were at times disagreements, but we always reached a consensus decision,” Schwartz said. He called the cooperation between public safety and political leaders “a big success.”The role of mediaThe forum panel included two media professionals, WBZ-TV news anchor and Juliette Kayyem, a lecturer in public policy at HKS, Boston Globe columnist, and on-air analyst for CNN. Wade described how he received a call Thursday night from his producer, who told him, “We need you to go right there, now.” Wade drew laughter when he admitted that traveling to a dangerous shootout scene “didn’t seem like a good idea,” but said it was his responsibility “to paint a picture of what it’s like to be there for the viewer … and not get in the way” of law enforcement.“I had no shame in saying what I didn’t know, which is far better than embellishing,” he said.Kayyem, who from 2009-10 was assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs for the Department of Homeland Security, cited two big media mistakes: CNN’s announcement that a suspect had been captured on April 17, and the “misidentification” of a suspect online. Kayyem said that on CNN or in the Globe, she tries “to give some perspective to people not familiar with public safety … I ask myself, ‘What would my mom want to know right now?’ ”Davis said the involvement of social media had an upside and downside in last week’s events.“The primary reason we used [social media] was to correct information” that was wrong or misleading, he said. “This is all new. People who go on Twitter and Facebook quickly understand that some things need to be taken with a grain of salt.”Davis himself used Twitter to give updates on the manhunt; he also tweeted a high-quality photograph of “the white-hat suspect” taken by a convenience store surveillance camera, and broadcast the image to police and the public “in three mouse clicks.”Terrorism’s new face Panelist David N. Hempton, dean of Harvard Divinity School (HDS), knows about terrorist bombings, having lived in Northern Ireland during a long period of sectarian violence. “During one Friday in Belfast in 1972,” Hempton noted, “there were 22 bombs in 72 minutes.” Day to day, he said, “You never knew if there’d be a bomb in a pub or restaurant”; the violence had to be taken for granted.“You began to plot and plan your day” accordingly, he said.Hempton does not believe Boston will become like Belfast, a city deeply divided along sectarian lines with a history of reprisal violence. After the marathon bombing, “the coming together of the city was particularly moving.”“To feel that sense of community togetherness is a wonderful thing,” Hempton said.“We don’t want to change our way of life,” Davis agreed. He said the bombers failed to weaken the city, but going forward, “we need to work together, citizens and police alike” to meet the evolving threat.A closing hug From the audience, Jamie Bergstein, who works in the HKS admissions office, offered emotional thanks to Davis and the police for their hard work. Wearing a blue-and-yellow Boston Marathon jacket, Bergstein said she had run in the race but was forced to stop at mile 24 after the bombs exploded. She described the day as “the scariest of my life,” but added, “The support of the Boston Police Department and other police departments and the first responders was amazing. They gave me hope and gave everyone hope. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.”She stopped, as tears welled up, and Davis got out of his chair and hugged her. It was this wordlessly heartfelt moment that ended the forum.3 with IOP: Boston Marathon Tragedy and Aftermath
Press Association “I speak to him every day, he comes to training quite a lot and he sees the way we work but in terms of going on past this season, no I have not had any chats with the chairman.” Swansea host fellow strugglers West Brom this weekend in a game which Monk feels will be crucial to the Welsh club’s survival prospects. “You get defining games throughout season, and this is definitely one of them,” he said. “We want the three points and so do West Brom. “It’s a good game, a big game, but we’re in front of our home fans and it is important that we put on a performance to get the win.” Pepe Mel has failed to win a match since he was appointed by West Brom in January and the Baggies are now only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. There is a chance that West Brom will come up against Swansea striker Michu, who is close to full fitness following a three-month ankle injury layoff. “He’s trained well this week,” Monk said. “We’ve been assessing him every day and we tailor the training it to him. He has taken part in most of the sessions this week. “He’s been great and looked sharp on Thursday and we’ll make a judgement on him on Friday.” Koeman’s agent Guido Albers told the BBC that the former Holland defender is interested in moving to the Barclays Premier League when his contract expires with Feyenoord in the summer. Albers said Koeman was “willing” to move to the Liberty Stadium as Swansea are a “fantastic club with a lot of potential.” Garry Monk does not care that Ronald Koeman’s agent has been touting his client for the Swansea job. Monk was appointed as Swansea boss “for the foreseeable future” following the sacking of Michael Laudrup. Swansea are just four points from safety after failing to win any of their last six games, but Monk is not concerned by the comments coming from Koeman’s camp. “I don’t care – it doesn’t affect me,” the Swansea manager told a press conference. “This is the business we are in. “Players and managers will always be linked with other clubs, but I can’t worry about that. “Names will always be linked when a manager changes, and I guess this shows that everyone wants to work in the Premier League. It’s the most exciting league in the world so I don’t blame people for trying to get linked with certain jobs. “But I just have to focus on what I am doing, and that always means the next game.” Monk has claimed five points from his four league games in charge. The former Swans captain remains in the dark over whether he will continue in his position beyond the end of the season. “I have not held any deep talks with the chairman,” Monk added.
Coach Chip KellySince taking over in 2009 for Mike Bellotti, who served as coach for 14 years, Kelly has only built upon the success of his predecessor, winning 31 of his first 36 games, including two Pac-12 championships.Kelly’s potent spread offense has made the Ducks near-impossible to stop at times. Last season, they ranked first nationally in scoring offense and eighth in the season prior.Perhaps most important to USC, Kelly is 2-0 against the Trojans, with wins against both Kiffin and former USC coach Pete Carroll.“You hope anytime that you play somebody that you learn from it and get better,” Kiffin said about last season’s loss to the Ducks. “And we’ll continue to do what we’ve done in general this year, which is play more guys and rotate guys in and make sure that we’re getting lined up.” Running back De’Anthony Thomas De’Anthony Thomas, a one-time USC commit who spurned the Trojans last February to sign a letter of intent to play for Oregon, has made an immediate impact in just his first year with the program.Appearing in 10 games, the former Crenshaw High standout has rushed for 366 yards and five touchdowns in addition to leading the Ducks in receiving with 27 catches for 423 yards and seven touchdowns, though standing at just 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds.“The only guy that I’ve probably seen like that was Reggie [Bush],” USC coach Lane Kiffin said following Tuesday’s practice when asked about Thomas’ explosiveness. “The way that he can start and stop and then how fast he can cut is really special. That’s why he may be the best player in the country.” Once again, No. 4 Oregon boasts a high-powered offensive attack. The Ducks’ offense ranks third nationally in scoring, averaging 46.7 points per game, and ninth in total offense at 498.3 yards per contest heading into Saturday’s nationally-televised, primetime matchup against No. 18 USC. Here’s a look at three players and a coach who make the Ducks’ offense fly.Quack attack · Darron Thomas, a dual-threat quarterback, is the leader under center for Oregon’s quick-strike offense this season. – Daily Trojan file photoRunning back LaMichael JamesThough he began the year as a Heisman Trophy candidate, James rushed for just 54 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries in Oregon’s season opener against No. 1 LSU at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tex., a 40-27 loss that dropped the Ducks to No. 14 in the USA Today coaches poll.But since then, James has been electric.Through eight games — including wins over then-No. 18 Arizona State and then-No. 4 Stanford — the Texas native has rushed for 1,207 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 7.9 yards per carry and vaulting himself back into consideration for the Heisman Trophy. A recent Sports Illustrated projection ranked James No. 6 in the Heisman race.The 5-foot-9 running back has proven problematic for USC before. In a 53-22 win over the Trojans last season at the Coliseum, he amassed 239 yards and three touchdowns on the ground on 36 carries. Similarly, in a 47-20 win over USC at Autzen Stadium in 2009, James, then a freshman, ran for 183 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Darron ThomasThough many of the Ducks’ SportsCenter highlights tend to center around either James or De’Anthony Thomas, junior quarterback Darron Thomas, is the trigger man for the Ducks’ offensive attack.Taking over under center in 2010 after Jeremiah Masoli was dismissed from the team after being cited for misdemeanor traffic and drug offenses, including possession of marijuana, Darron Thomas completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 30 touchdowns, playing an instrumental role in the Ducks’ undefeated regular season and appearance in the BCS national title game.This season, Darron Thomas has been just as impressive, with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 22:5 in addition to two rushing touchdowns.
Worth Wright1 Butler2 Franklin4 Floyd1076 Deaths Hancock88680.73 Floyd891683.18 Mitchell66186.84 Mitchell76 Worth56 Floyd664138.32 Hancock476256.88 July case countCases before July 1New since July 1% since July 1 DES MOINES — Our north-central Iowa listening area has seen over 1000 cases of COVID-19 in the month of July, making for 55% of the total number of cases since the pandemic started.40 more cases of COVID-19 were reported in the listening area in the 24-hours leading up to 11 o’clock this morning, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health. 18 of those cases were in Franklin County; six in Floyd; five in Cerro Gordo; four in Butler; two each in Hancock, Winnebago and Wright; and one in Kossuth.That brings the area’s overall total since the start of the pandemic to 1815 cases, with 1004 confirmed cases in the month of July.Cerro Gordo County has seen 567 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, but 82% of those, or 465 cases, were new since July 1st. Wright County has had 439 cases; Franklin 208; Hancock 109; Floyd 107; Butler 106; Kossuth and Mitchell each 76; Winnebago 71; and Worth 56.47 more people in the area have recovered, to bring the overall total to 1136, or 63%.Looking at the state numbers: 11 more people have died to bring the total to 865; 697 new cases were reported for a total now of 44,475; 762 more people have recovered to bring that total to 32,503, or 73%.Three long-term care facility outbreaks continue to be reported in our listening area. Good Shepherd Health Center in Mason City reports 117 positive cases with 83 total recovered; the Sheffield Care Center reports 36 positive cases with 15 recovered; and the Rehabilitation Center of Hampton reports 28 cases with five recovered. Butler1064 RecoveredNew Recovered Franklin1191657.21 Franklin7713162.98 Area Total11364762.59 Mitchell294761.84 Cerro Gordo10246582.01 Wright3706915.72 Cerro Gordo220738.8 Kossuth324457.89 Floyd2 Area Total28 Hancock1092 Winnebago Wright38387.24 Winnebago3245.07 Kossuth Mitchell Hancock2 Winnebago264563.38 Area Total811100455.31 Confirmed CasesNew Cases Worth2137.5 Butler475955.66 Cerro Gordo17 Area Total181540 Worth154173.21 Butler8378.3 Kossuth35146.05 Wright4392 Franklin20818 Winnebago712 Kossuth761 Total % Recovered Cerro Gordo5675
Johannesburg, South Africa | AFP | Confederation of African Football (CAF) presidents will be limited to three four-year terms with effect from the 2017 elections, the organisation confirmed Monday.There has been no limit previously with incumbent Issa Hayatou leading the African body since 1988.The 70-year-old Cameroonian has not indicated whether he will stand for re-election, but would be expected to retain his position should he do so.In charge for 28 years, Hayatou is the longest serving CAF boss. Deceased Ethiopian Yidnekatchew Tessema was president for 16 years from 1972.CAF spokesman Junior Binyam told AFP the change, announced during an extraordinary general assembly in Cairo, brought the African organisation in line with world governing body FIFA.The three-term ceiling will also apply to CAF executive committee members. Share on: WhatsApp Assembly delegates voted 32-16 against a Djibouti motion that CAF presidency candidates should not be restricted to executive committee members.CAF second vice-president Almamy Kabele Camara of Guinea and executive committee member Kwesi Nyantakyi of Ghana were voted on to the FIFA Council (formerly executive committee).Camara received 37 votes and Nyantakyi 31 to fill two vacancies with executive committee member Ahmad, a single-name Malagasy, getting 30.Other Africans on the FIFA Council are Hayatou, Egyptian Hani Abo Rida, Constant Omari from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tunisian Tarek Bouchamaoui and Burundian Lydia Nsekera.
Over 1400 young golfers across the country have taken part in the first official round of the 2013 National Skills Challenge, supported by FootJoy. Their names are featured on online leaderboards and if they complete the second round – which is now underway – they could qualify for England Golf’s regional and national finals. For the fourth year, FootJoy is supporting the Challenge with prizes and gifts for competitors at the regional and national finals. The National Skills Challenge is one of a host of England Golf initiatives which support junior golf. It aims to make practice fun for young golfers and help them improve their putting, chipping, pitching, bunker play and the long game. Over 830 clubs and 7075 juniors are registered for the Challenge. Clubs receive a variety of free resources to support the initiative, including manuals, certificates and scorecards, and they can also take the opportunity to hold two official Challenge events. This year, the first event finished on May 5 and was undertaken by 1400-plus youngsters from 102 clubs. The second Challenge event can be played until Sunday, 7 July. The leading competitors will be eligible for one of four regional finals, held in August, and the qualifiers from those will go forward to the national final at the National Golf Centre at Woodhall Spa in September. Richard Flint, England Golf Development Manager, commented “The National Skills Challenge supports golf clubs in offering a structured junior coaching programme, with a variety of free resources available. England Golf are delighted that FootJoy continue to support this initiative and provide some fantastic gifts and prizes for those juniors involved in the regional and national finals.” Russell Lawes, European Marketing Manager – FootJoy, commented: “We are once again delighted to be supporting The National Skills Challenge programme. “The future of the game of golf lies with the next generation of golfers and we are keen to help these juniors through their golf development as well as enhancing their enjoyment of the game. The National Skills Challenge is a fantastic programme and we look forward to seeing everyone’s progress this year.” England Golf has a wide-ranging package of support for junior golf. This includes the GolfMark award which recognises junior and beginner-friendly clubs, the Junior Organisers’ Handbook, which is a complete guide to running a junior section; and the Junior Development Grant, which can be used to offer structured coaching sessions with PGA professionals and for activities to attract boys and girls and encourage them to progress and stay in the sport. To find out more about the National Skills Challenge please visit www.getintogolf.org/skills Clubs may register at any time of year and have the option to take part in the events or simply use the resources to support their junior coaching programmes. Our picture (image © John Thomson) shows the winners of the 2012 National Skills Challenge. 30 May 2013 1400 young golfers take on Skills Challenge
“We had like 300 in the Navesink River probably four or five years ago during winter,” Skinner said.The Atlantic Flyway, the coastal migration route of North America, had an estimated 9,000 birds five years ago, according to the Atlantic Flyway Mute Swan Management Plan, an American-Canadian report released in July 2015.The Management Plan calls for such things as educating the public on mute swans, reducing the population to less than 2,000 by 2025, maintaining mute swans at an ecologically manageable level, preventing the expansion of their range and getting stakeholders involved in the process.“There is a large movement around the country to curb the population growth,” Skinner said. “Like any argument, there’s two sides.”A few years ago, New York State proposed gathering its population of mute swans and killing them – but it got push-back and it never came to fruition. Now, non-lethal methods are planned to reduce the population, such as preventing eggs from hatching.“With regard to eradication, this is very polarizing,” Temple said. “There is no easy answer. On one hand you want to restore the balance of the pond, but on the other hand, there is the humane treatment of a living creature.“Mute swans have a long lifespan and a tremendous reproductive capacity,” says Temple. “What do you do with the swans? Relocating them will only compound the problem by introducing them into areas where they didn’t exist before. Killing eggs has been shown to be ineffective in reducing the population because of the birds’ reproductive capacity.”“I don’t like to see a slaughter,” Bacinski said. “Most states will shoot them when they show up if they have not been established there.”Bacinski’s feelings on mute swans?“They’re dreadful,” Bacinski said. “When I see them, I sort of ignore them.” Naturalists Warn That Mute Swans Are Elegant DisruptersBy Joseph SapiaEARLIER THIS MONTH on the Shrewsbury River at Monmouth Beach, two large white swans, along with their two cygnets, casually approached two boats.“Somebody must be feeding them,” said someone on the boat.In the outdoors world, that may be one of the tamer comments made about “mute swans” – the swans seen this time of year, and year-round, on fresh or brackish local water ways and bodies of water.A serious birdwatcher may call them “harbor hogs” or “pond pigs,” reflecting the “dislike” birders have for them, said Pete Bacinski, an Atlantic Highlands resident who is a member of the state Waterfowl Advisory Committee and the retired director of New Jersey Audubon’s Sandy Hook Bird Observatory.Hoggish and piggish, not because they might want to mooch some food from friendly humans – a lot of animals do that. But because they are a non-native, invasive species that disrupts the natural world around them.Sam Skinner, a Monmouth County Park System naturalist, allows that mute swans are “beautiful birds,” but…“They pretty much take over, they’re the boss of the pond,” said Skinner, who is based at Huber Woods Park in Middletown. “They deplete the vegetation. They discourage other waterfowl – (and) not just water fowl.“And they attack humans,” Skinner said. “Give you a mean little bite, whack you with their wings.”“They are nasty to people,” Bacinski said. “They could literally take a finger off. Their beauty is the only good.”“Mute swans are a very polarizing issue,” said Dena Temple, public relations chair for the Monmouth County Audubon Society. “People think they are beautiful – and they are. However, they are a non-native species. And just as non-native plants disrupt the balance of the environment, so do non-native birds and other animals.”“All of the mute swans in North America descended from swans imported from Europe from the mid-1800s through the early 1900s to adorn large estates, city parks and zoos,” according to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology website, allaboutbirds.org. “Escapees established breeding populations and are now established in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, and Pacific Northwest.”And All About Birds notes the negative, “Their aggressive behavior and voracious appetites often disturb local ecosystems, displace native species and even pose a hazard to humans.”New Jersey has two native swans – tundras and trumpeters, which are winter species in New Jersey. In the Two River area, they are basically migrants, Bacinski said.“In the case of the mute swans, when a mute swan moves into an area pond, it’s a case of ‘there goes the neighborhood,’” Temple said.“Being a very large bird, they eat a lot and can decimate the aquatic vegetation in a pond, leaving little food for other birds,” said Temple. “They also disengage more plant material than they actu- ally consume, leaving the aquatic habitat destroyed for fish and invertebrates that breed in the cover of the aquatic vegetation.”Mute swans, Cygnus olor, are huge – about 4 feet to 5 feet in length with a wingspan of approximately 7 feet to 8 feet, weighing around 12 to almost 32 pounds, according to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology’s website, allaboutbirds.org.They live long, perhaps 19 or 20 years and their cygnets – mostly two, sometime three – have a “75 to 80 percent survival rate because their parents are so protective,” Skinner said. So, when they are around, they are around to stay.
THERE IS deep sadness in Donegal football circles following the death of Swilly Rovers stalwart Ivan Grier.The death of the popular Ramelton native was announced today. Mr Grier, late of Hillcrest, Ramelton, passed away at the Ramelton Nursing Unit following an illness.Picture: Ivan Grier receives an appreciation award from Dessie Kelly and Johnny McCafferty. Last summer, the Ulster Senior League presented Ivan with an appreciation award at their annual presentation function.His contribution to his beloved Swilly Rovers goes back to 1972 and he served a variety of roles at Swilly Park over a near-50-year period.Most recently, he was club chairman at Swilly Rovers having been secretary for a long number of years.He will be fondly remembered as the gateman at Swilly Park and he was the first contact for visitors to the venue on match days. A farmer in Ramelton, Ivan is also a former board member of Donegal Creameries.Predeceased by a son, Gary, Ivan is survived by his wife, Pearl, sons Alaister, Stanley and John, and a wide circle of family and friends.Removal from Ramelton Nursing Unit today, Saturday, at 6pm to the family home.Funeral arrangements have yet to be confirmed.Death mourned of Swilly Rovers stalwart, Ivan Grier was last modified: July 27th, 2019 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Donegal CreameriesIvan GrierRameltonswilly roversUlster Senior League
From left, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan and South African President Jacob Zuma at the Business Interaction Group on South Africa on Friday 22 January, a session of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. (Image: The Presidency)On Friday 22 January 2016 President Jacob Zuma and his delegation held a fruitful and successful interaction with global investors at the World Economic Forum in Davos.The President met with global CEOs and chairmen of multinational corporations during the Business Interaction Group on South Africa, an annual forum where the President and Ministers engage the international investors to discuss opportunities in the country and also to hear their views on improving the investment climate in the country.South Africa recognises the importance of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which accounts for 42% of the country’s GDP. Inward FDI flows continue to grow in South Africa. A number of companies have expanded operations and engaged in new investments. South Africa is also an important source of FDI for the African continent.In his remarks, President Zuma welcomed the foreign direct investment flows into the country. He shared the country’s response to the depressed economic climate especially the Nine Point Plan to ignite growth. The plan includes agriculture and agro-processing, advanced beneficiation of mineral resources, higher impact industrial policy action plan, boosting small businesses, energy capacity increase, promoting FDI and developing a robust ocean economy, science and technology, water and sanitation and managing state-owned companies. The President added that the country was becoming a frontier for FDI on the green economy, ocean economy, oil and gas and others which provided new opportunities.He also briefed the investors on the establishment on an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Investments and the establishment of a one-stop interdepartmental clearing house to make it easier for companies to invest. “We will focus on among others, cutting the red tape significantly to address the concerns that the investors have been raising,’’ the President said.The President also briefed the BIG meeting on the efforts to improve education and skills development including the building of new universities, training colleges and the building and refurbishment of schools.The investors sought information and also commented on various areas including energy, oil and gas, scrap metal industry, ocean economy, mineral beneficiation, human settlements and its importance in building social stability, regional integration, the need to stabilise growth and set expenditure ceilings.The prudent financial management of the country was addressed strongly by the President and the Ministers with an added emphasis on the country’s robust monetary policy framework. It was acknowledged that South Africa has a good fiscal framework.The global CEOs emphasised the need to ensure that policies are implemented and that there is certainty at all times.The need for predictability was also raised in the context of the recent changes of finance ministers and the impact thereof. The President responded that while governments all over the world are entitled to change Ministers, South Africa had responded without delay when concern was raised especially given the economic climate. The meeting appreciated the swift changes that were made afterwards resulting in the appointment of Minister Pravin Gordhan as the Minister of Finance.President Zuma welcomed the participation of the private sector in building the economy. He also assured the business community that South Africa’s economy is resilient, that the country has a strong and vibrant democracy with an active and vocal citizenry and vibrant media all of which acts as good checks and balances to the leadership in the country.“The BIG meeting has been extremely helpful. We appreciate all the constructive comments and suggestions on all areas from the economy to social development. The positive contribution of the international and domestic business community in such a negative economic climate is very encouraging. This has given us good feedback as we prepare for the State of the Nation Address and Budget next month,’’ said the President.The President said he was generally upbeat about the visit to Davos.“We are very happy with the visit. It has definitely been worthwhile. Team South Africa has done extremely well in Davos, marketing the country in a difficult and very competitive economic climate. We managed to put our message across effectively and received a positive hearing. There is a lot that we need to do and we are already working on many of the issues that the global business community has been raising. Team South Africa will meet at home to discuss all these matters further so that we can work together to build our country and take it forward’’ said the President.Enquiries: Bongani Majola on 082 339 1993 or [email protected] by: The PresidencyPretoriawww.thepresidency.gov.za