Despite New Fossil, Origin of Marsupials Still Puzzles Evolutionists

first_imgAlthough the earliest known marsupial has just been found in China1, Richard L. Cifelli and Brian M. Davis, writing in the Dec. 12 issue of Science2 consider the phylogenetic trees of marsupial and placental mammals conflicting and puzzling.  Problems include (emphasis added):Switcheroo:  Fossil marsupials are predominately found in North America, but living ones are primarily found in Australia and South America.  “This geographical switch remains unexplained.  The timing of the split between eutherians [placental mammals] and metatherians [marsupials] is also controversial.”Known Bones:  “To date, the geological record has yielded few fossils that bear directly on the origin of marsupials.”Good News, Bad News:  This new, exciting, earliest fossil marsupial was found in China, but “The balance of paleontological and morphological data suggests that the last common ancestor of metatherians and eutherians was Laurasian” (i.e., European-North American].Divergence and Convergence: “Clearly, the relative successes of the two groups differed widely on the two continents.  Yet, the early representatives of both groups seem to have been highly similar ecologically–most were small, insectivorous, and probably nocturnal.  This puzzle remains to be resolved.”  It is also commonly known that many marsupials, such as the marsupial wolf, have placental look-alikes, yet very different reproductive systems.DNA Doubts:  “Molecular data have yielded conflicting results for the timing of the metatherian-eutherian split.”  Molecular estimates are usually much older than fossil estimates.The Gap Theory:  “These divergence estimates have implications for the relative timing of most other divergences on the mammalian family tree.  However, they are difficult to reconcile with the (admittedly imperfect) mammalian fossil record.  When the entire tree is considered (top panel), it becomes clear that large gaps in the fossil record (most with durations of more than 30 million years) must be inferred to explain the distribution of each group represented.”Tooth Truth:  Paleontologists attempt to classify the groups based on teeth, but its a difficult job: “But such criteria are not applicable to dentally more primitive fossils.  Furthermore, they are of limited utility when it comes to assessing which biological niches they might have occupied, beyond the suggestion that most early metatherians fed on animal tissues ranging from insects to meat, depending on body size.”Why We Gotta Figure This Out: “The paleontological evidence is important because it provides an independent test for dates based on molecular data.  It also provides some basis for calculating the rates of change of skeletal (and dental) morphology and molecular structure.  Given the far-reaching implications for evolutionary studies, it is crucial that the widely differing estimates of divergence time are reconciled and that the place of origin of both metatherians and eutherians is further elucidated with fossil discoveries.  The many open questions provide fertile ground for future and paleontological studies.” 1Luo et al., “An Early Cretaceous Tribosphenic Mammal and Metatherian Evolution,” Science Dec. 12, 2003, 10.1126/science.1090718.2Richard L. Cifelli and Brian M. Davis, “Enhanced: Marsupial Origins,” Science Dec. 12, 2003, 10.1126/science.1092272.  This article contains a list of links for further study and an annotated bibliography on mammal origins.This would be funny if they spent their own money.  For more on evolutionary confusion about mammal origins, see the Dec. 2 headline and the big National Geographic story festival in the March 18 headline.  MSNBC News, as usual, is all agog at this wonderful new discovery and what it tells us about evolution.    Meanwhile, the Europeans are all flustered trying to drum up interest to join the “Assembling the Tree of Life” bandwagon (see 10/30/2002 headline).  A letter to the editor in the same issue of Science by two UK scientists moans that Europe doesn’t seem to see the connection between evolutionary studies and practical benefits:Perhaps the best explanation is that AToL is still seen to be about taxonomy, a domain that urgently needs rebranding if it wants to attract funds for big programs such as the Genome Project.   Only when the linkage of the tree of life to conservation, genomics, and DNA-based identification for medicine and ecology is made obvious will the project be put in its proper perspective.  Taxonomic study is fundamental to all areas of science, but as demonstrated by the projects funded by the NSF program, it is only a starting point.  A great deal more needs to be done to move modern evolutionary science to the heart of society’s efforts to understand the living world and make its utilization sustainable and effective.”  (Emphasis added.)Notice how they conflate evolutionary study with taxonomy.  Taxonomy is good.  Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy, was a creationist.  Evolutionists keep trying to sneak Darwinist religion into “all areas of science” and “utilization” when, in fact, it is useless.(Visited 29 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Elite Geneticist Says Darwin Was an Ideological Figurehead (Video)

first_imgSubmitted by Sal CordovaDr John C. Sanford, an elite scientist and inventor of 40 years at Cornell, an Ivy League School, made American history by inventing the Gene Gun in the mid 1980’s. This invention has been used for a highly substantial proportion of all the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on planet Earth, allowing food genes to be intelligently re-designed. As a result, millions of individuals have been able to avoid starvation.  His invention also increased our ability to study genomes and thus further scientific understanding. For these accomplishments, one of his inventions became part of the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.Early in his scientific career, Sanford accepted evolution, but after becoming a Christian, and after reading Michael Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box, Sanford began a painful journey of rejecting all his former understanding and acceptance of evolution and realizing he had wasted so much of his life believing something untrue.  He tells part of his story in the opening pages of his bookGenetic Entropy.Dr Sanford granted a rare 30 minute Skype interview with the Ratio Christi television program, “Truth Matters” (Ratio Christi is a campus organization seeking to provide college students with avenues to hear rational arguments for the gospel of Christ).  The episode was entitled: “Darwin Was An Ideological Figurehead, Not A Scientist (Ep. 11)”. It articulates many of the reasons he eventually rejected Darwinian evolution. (Visited 724 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Hout Bay’s scrapyard sculptors

first_imgChenjerai Mutasa and Isaac Mukonde are Zimbabwean artists who bring to life the junk we toss out. Using old car parts, wire, driftwood, metal and stone – mostly claimed from the scrapyard – they build beautiful and imaginative sculptures. Chenjerai Mutasa (left) and Isaac Mukonde in front of their workshop next to the harbour in Hout Bay, near Cape Town. (Photo by Masixole Feni) • A tribute to South Africa’s neighbours • South African artists draw international interest • 21 monuments for 21 years of freedom • South African cartoonists respond to Charlie Hebdo attack • Watch: Salif Keita and Black Mambazo call for harmony in AfricaElias Kuhn von Burgsdorff and Masixole FeniThe two artists knew each other as children at the same primary school in Harare, but their paths separated when they left Zimbabwe in the late 1990s. For 10 years Mutasa lived in New York, while Mukonde moved to South Africa.In 2012 Mutasa and Mukonde were reunited in Cape Town. Together with Mutasa’s elder brother, Mambakwedza, they opened a workshop next to the harbour in Hout Bay, a town south of the city on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape peninsula.“An artist is always on the move,” Mutasa says. His art has taken him to Europe several times, and he now travels regularly between Zimbabwe and South Africa. He says travel both exposes the artist’s work to a wider audience, and helps “expand your mind and perspective, your influences and the materials you work with”.A scrap-metal violinist plays to the backdrop of the Hangberg community in Hout Bay. (Photo by Masixole Feni)Unlike Mutasa, Mukonde was not professionally trained as an artist. “I learned it running,” he says. He came to South Africa in 1998 looking for a better life, arriving in Nelspruit by train from Harare. In 2000 he moved to Johannesburg, where he lived for several years with craftsmen who taught him how to work with wire. He then spent some time in Durban before moving to Cape Town in 2003.“It was all an adventure when I first arrived,” Mukonde says, laughing. But his face becomes more serious as he continues his story. “I’ve been deported from this country three times. Twice I had to jump off a train bringing me back to Zimbabwe.”Mutasa with his sculpture Regiscale, the figure of an angel balancing human theology on her left arm and Jehovah’s fire on her right. (Photo by Masixole Feni)In 2008, when Mukonde was living in Dunoon near Milnerton, xenophobic violence swept South Africa. He fled and says he was lucky to find a room in Rondebosch. Mukonde now lives legally in South Africa. In 2010 he managed to get a business permit, which he has since renewed.“This is now our base, our springboard,” Mukonde says of their Hout Bay workshop. Mutasa nods, agreeing.Metalwork head, part of the sculpture Contorted Person. (Photo by Elias Kuhn von Burgsdorff)In South Africa, Mukonde says, “you must live with your hands”. He and Mutasa working together on an order from a restaurant for wine bottle holders. (Photo by Elias Kuhn von Burgsdorff)Antelope sculpture made of scrap metal and wire. (Photo by Masixole Feni)This article was first published by community news and journalism training website GroundUp. Read the original here.last_img read more

Transcript: 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture by Bill Gates

first_imgIn his address for the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, Bill Gates spoke under the broad theme of “living together”. He touched on a range of topics, from health to education and governance. Missed it? Read and watch his speech. American philanthropist Bill Gates delivers the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 17 July 2016, the eve of International Nelson Mandela Day. He is pictured with Prof Njabulo Ndebele and Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel. (Image: Nelson Mandela Foundation)Bill Gates delivers 2016 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at University of Pretoria.Good evening ladies and gentlemen, Graça Machel, Professor Ndebele, vice-chancellor De la Rey, members of the Mamelodi families, friends and dignitaries. It is a great honour to have the opportunity to speak today.The theme of this year’s Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture is “living together.” This is fitting, because in many ways, “living together” was also the theme of Nelson Mandela’s life. The system he fought against was based on the opposite idea – that people should be kept apart, that our superficial differences are more important than our common humanity.Today, South Africans are still striving to “live together” in the fullest sense, but you are so much closer to that ideal because Nelson Mandela and so many others believed in the promise of one South Africa.I was nine years old when Nelson Mandela went to Robben Island. As a boy, I learned about him in school. I remember seeing reports about the anti-apartheid movement on the evening news.The first time I spoke with him was in 1994, when he called to ask me to help fund South Africa’s election. I was running Microsoft and thinking about software most of my waking hours. But I admired Nelson Mandela very much, I knew the election was historic, and I did what I could to help.I had been to Africa for the first time just the year before – in 1993 – when Melinda and I travelled in East Africa on vacation. The landscape was beautiful. The people were friendly. But the poverty, which we were seeing for the first time, disturbed us.It also energised us.Obviously, we knew parts of Africa were very poor, but being on the continent turned what had been an abstraction into an injustice we could not ignore. Melinda and I had always known we’d give our wealth to philanthropy – eventually. But when we were confronted with such glaring inequity, we started thinking about how to take action sooner.This sense of urgency was spurred on by another trip, in 1997, when I travelled to Johannesburg for the first time, as a representative of Microsoft.I spent most of the time in business meetings. But one day, I went to a community centre in Soweto where Microsoft had donated computers. My visit to Soweto – which was quite different then than it is now – taught me how much I had to learn about the world outside the comfortable bubble I’d lived in all my life.As I walked into the community centre, I noticed there wasn’t any electrical power. To keep the computers on, they had rigged up an extension cord that connected to a diesel generator outside. I knew that the minute I left, the generator would get moved to a more urgent task.As I read my prepared remarks, about the importance of closing the technology gap, I knew I was missing the point in some way. Computers could help people do some important things, and in fact they have revolutionised life on the continent in many ways. But computers couldn’t cure disease or feed children. And if they couldn’t be turned on, they couldn’t do anything at all.Soon after that, we started our foundation – because the costs of waiting had become clear. Our work is based on the belief that every person – no matter where they live – should have the opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life. We have spent the past 15 years learning about the issues and looking for the leverage points where we can do the most to help people seize that opportunity.It was when I started coming to Africa regularly for the foundation that I came to know Nelson Mandela personally. Aids was one of the first issues our foundation worked on, and Nelson Mandela was both an adviser and an inspiration.What we talked about most was the stigma around Aids. So I remember 2005 very clearly, when his son died of Aids.Rather than stay silent about the cause of his son’s death, Nelson Mandela announced it publicly, because he knew that stopping the disease required breaking down the walls of fear and shame that surrounded it.Watch his address:Progress and challengesIt is important to recall Nelson Mandela’s legacy – and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so. But Nelson Mandela was concerned with the future. He believed people could make the future better than the past. And so that’s the topic I’d like to discuss for the remainder of my time here today.What can South Africa be, what can Africa be, what can the world be – and what must we do to make it that way?The Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2000 laid a foundation that enabled Africa to achieve extraordinary progress over the last 15 years. And the Sustainable Development Goals that recently replaced them set even more ambitious targets for creating the better world we all want.When I talk about progress, I always start with child survival, because whether children are living or dying is such a basic indicator of a society’s success. Since 1990, child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa has been reduced by 54%. That translates to 1 million fewer children who died last year compared to 25 years ago. Ten African countries achieved the MDG target of reducing child mortality by two-thirds.Meanwhile, the incidence of poverty and malnutrition is down. And, though economic growth has slowed in the past few years, it has been very robust in many countries for more than a decade.This is very real progress, but the Africa Rising narrative doesn’t tell the whole story about life on the continent.First, the progress has been uneven. You know this very well here in South Africa. In last year’s Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, the French economist Thomas Piketty pointed out that income inequality in South Africa is, quote: “higher than pretty much anywhere else in the world”.In general, African countries tend to have higher rates of inequality than countries on other continents. And despite healthy average GDP growth in the region, many countries have not shared in it. Gross inequalities exist both within countries and between countries. Until progress belongs to all people, everywhere, the real promise of living together will remain elusive.Second, even with the great progress Africa has made, it still lags behind the rest of the world in almost every indicator. In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 12 children will die before they turn 5. This is a vast improvement compared to 25 years ago, but African children are still 12 times more likely to die than the average child in a wealthy country. And because rates of poverty and malnutrition aren’t shrinking as fast as the population is growing, the total number of people who are poor or malnourished has actually gone up since 1990.Finally, the progress is fragile. The continent’s two largest economies, here in South Africa and in Nigeria, are facing serious economic turmoil. And new threats require attention. The Ebola crisis pointed out weaknesses in many national health systems. The effects of climate change are already being felt among farmers in many countries.In short, to meet the goals of the SDGs, Africa needs to do more, do it faster, and make sure everybody benefits.It won’t be easy, but I believe it can be done.The successes and failures of the past 15 years have generated exemplars and lessons that we can learn from. Phenomenal advances in science and technology are constantly expanding the range of solutions available to solve development challenges. And then there is the ingenuity of the African people.YouthOne topic that Nelson Mandela came back to over and over again was the power of youth. He knew what he was talking about, because he started his career as a member of the African National Congress Youth League when he was still in his 20s.Later on, he understood that highlighting the oppression of young people was a powerful way to explain why things must change. There is a universal appeal to the conviction that youth deserve a chance.I agree with Mandela about young people, and that is one reason I am optimistic about the future of this continent. Demographically, Africa is the world’s youngest continent, and its youth can be the source of a special dynamism.In the next 35 years, 2 billion babies will be born in Africa. By 2050, 40% of the world’s children will live on this continent.Economists talk about the demographic dividend. When you have more people of working age, and fewer dependents for them to take care of, you can generate phenomenal economic growth. Rapid economic growth in East Asia in the 1970s and 1980s was partly driven by the large number of young people moving into their work force.But for me, the most important thing about young people is the way their minds work. Young people are better than old people at driving innovation, because they are not locked in by the limits of the past.When I started Microsoft in 1975 – at the age of 19 – computer science was a young field. We didn’t feel beholden to old notions about what computers could or should do. We dreamed about the next big thing, and we scoured the world around us for the ideas and the tools that would help us create it.But it wasn’t just at Microsoft. Steve Jobs was 21 when he started Apple. Mark Zuckerberg was only 19 when he created Facebook.The African entrepreneurs driving start-up booms in the Silicon savannahs from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Lagos and Nairobi are just as young – in chronological age, but also in outlook. The thousands of businesses they’re creating are already changing daily life across the continent.In a few days, I’ll be meeting with some of these young innovators. People like the 21-year-old who founded Kenya’s first software coding school to provide other young people with computer programming skills. And like the 23-year-old social entrepreneur here in South Africa who manufactures schoolbags from recycled plastic shopping bags. Besides being highly visible to protect children as they’re walking to school, these school bags sport a small solar panel that charges a lantern during the journey to and from school – providing illumination so students can study when they get home.The real returns will come if we can multiply this talent for innovation by the whole of Africa’s growing youth population. That depends on whether Africa’s young people – all of Africa’s young people – are given the opportunity to thrive.Nelson Mandela said: “Poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”We are the human beings who must take action, and we have to decide now, because this unique moment won’t last forever. We must clear away the obstacles that are standing in young people’s way so they can seize all of their potential.If young people are sick and malnourished, their bodies and their brains will never fully develop. If they are not educated well, their minds will lie dormant. If they do not have access to economic opportunities, they will not be able to achieve their goals.But if we invest in the right things – if we make sure the basic needs of Africa’s young people are taken care of – then they will have the physical, cognitive, and emotional resources they need to change the future. Life on this continent will improve faster than it ever has. And the inequities that have kept people apart will be erased by broad-based progress that is the very meaning of the words: “living together”.Health and nutritionWhen Melinda and I started our foundation 15 years ago, we asked ourselves: What are the areas of greatest opportunity? It was clear to us that investing in health was at the top of the list. When people aren’t healthy, they can’t turn their attention to other priorities. But when health improves, life improves by every measure.Over the last 15 years, our foundation has invested more than $9-billion (about R128-billion) in Africa – and we are committed to keep on investing to help Africa. In the next five years, we will invest another $5-billion (about R71-billion).We’ve put a lot of this money into discovering and developing new and better vaccines and drugs to help prevent and treat the diseases of poverty. We’ve also invested in global partnerships that work closely with countries across the continent to get these solutions to the people who need them most.We’ve been fortunate to work with amazing partners and, together, we have seen some incredible progress.The entire continent of Africa has been polio-free for two years, which puts us within reach of wiping polio from the face of the Earth… forever.The newest vaccines that protect children from two of the most devastating diseases – pneumonia and severe diarrhoea – are reaching children across Africa at the same time they’re available for children in wealthier countries.Countries that invest in strong, community-based primary health care systems – like Malawi, Ethiopia, and Rwanda – are making great progress reducing child mortality.Malaria infections and deaths are down significantly thanks to better treatment and prevention tools.And efforts like the Ouagadougou Partnership in West Africa are helping millions of women get access to contraceptives, which can make it easier for them to care for their families.Aids is another area where there’s been good progress – though it’s a more complicated story and there are big challenges ahead.In a few days, I’ll be speaking at the International Aids conference in Durban. When the global Aids community last met there in 2000, only a few thousand Africans were receiving antiretroviral drugs. Today, more than 12 million Africans are on treatment – more than a quarter of them living here in South Africa.But the rate of new infections remains high. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 2 000 young people under the age of 24 are newly infected every single day. The number of young people dying from HIV has increased fourfold since 1990.There are other challenges. Almost half of the people living with HIV are undiagnosed. Millions more aren’t being treated. And millions of people who are receiving treatment aren’t able to stay on it.Add to this the high rates of tuberculosis among people living with HIV, including here in South Africa where TB/HIV co-infection continues to wage a devastating toll.So we need more creative ways to make testing and treatment accessible and easier to use.We need to get much more out of existing prevention methods like condoms, voluntary medical male circumcision, and oral anti-HIV medicine.And we’re going to need new and better prevention solutions – like an effective vaccine and medicines that people are more likely to use consistently.If we fail to act, all the hard-earned gains made in HIV in sub-Saharan Africa over the last 15 years could be reversed, particularly given that Africa’s young people are entering the age when they are most at risk of HIV.Nutrition is another critical area of focus for Africa. Nearly one third of the continent’s children suffer from malnutrition that stunts their growth and development and robs them of their physical and cognitive potential. Millions more suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. These are impacts that last a lifetime and impact whole generations of Africa’s youth.African Development Bank president Akin Adesina put it best when he said recently that the greatest contributor to Africa’s economic growth is not physical infrastructure, but “grey matter infrastructure” – people’s brainpower. The best way to build that infrastructure is with proper nutrition.Candidly, it’s hard to imagine a better future for Africa’s youth without tackling this problem.While eliminating malnutrition is a complex challenge, there is a lot we already know about how to ensure that every child gets a healthy start in life.We know that mothers and infants need good nutrition for healthy growth and brain development, and that breastfeeding protects children from life-threatening diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea.We also know that certain vitamins and minerals are essential for children and for women of reproductive age.The good news is we have a growing suite of cost-effective interventions – things like cooking oil, sugar fortified with Vitamin A and sugar and flour enriched with iron, zinc, and B vitamins.One of the most exciting advances is the breeding of staple crops so they are more nutritious. For example, when adolescents eat high-iron pearl millet, their likelihood of iron deficiency decreases six-fold. And just half a cup of biofortified orange sweet potato is all it takes to meet a child’s daily vitamin A needs.The human and economic toll of micronutrient deficiency is huge, but the costs of fighting it are not.Recent estimates in Nigeria and Uganda indicate that every dollar invested to reduce stunting will return $17 in greater earning capacity in the workplace.EducationWhen children’s bodies and brains are healthy, the next step is an education that helps them develop the knowledge and skills to become productive contributors to society.Improving education is incredibly hard. I have learned this first hand through our foundation’s efforts to create better learning outcomes for primary, secondary, and university students in the US. But this hard work is incredibly important. A good education is the best lever we have for giving every young person a chance to make the most of their lives.In Africa, as in the US, we need new thinking and new educational tools to make sure that a high-quality education is available to every single child.In Uganda, young innovators at an NGO called Educate! are helping high schools prepare young people for the workplace by teaching students how to start their own business.And with the high level of mobile phone penetration in Africa, technology using mobile phones connected to the internet have the potential to help students build foundational skills while giving teachers better support and feedback.Globally, the education technology sector is innovating and growing rapidly, and it’s exciting to see new tools and learning models emerging to meet the needs of educators and students that are not currently being met by existing systems.At the post-secondary level, we not only need to broaden access, we also have to ensure that governments are investing in high-quality public universities to launch the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs, educators, and government leaders.South Africa is blessed with some of the best universities in Africa, universities that our foundation relies on as partners in important health and agricultural research. Maintaining the quality of this country’s higher education system while expanding access to more students will not be easy. But it is critical to South Africa’s future.Other countries in the region will do well to follow South Africa’s example and provide the highest level university education to the largest number of qualified students.ProductivityHealthy, educated young people are eager to make their way in the world. But African’s youth must have the economic opportunities to channel their energy and their ideas into progress.One way to create economic opportunity is to turn agriculture, which still employs more than half the people on the continent, from a struggle for survival into a thriving business.Right now, most African smallholders suffer from an almost total lack of innovation. They plant unproductive seeds in poor soils in order to produce just enough to feed their family. With climate change leading to more severe weather, doing more of the same is going to bring even more meagre harvests.The key to breaking this cycle is a series of innovations at every step along the way from farm to market.First, African farmers need better tools to avoid disasters and grow a surplus – things like seeds that can tolerate droughts, floods, pests, and disease, affordable fertiliser that includes the right mix of nutrients to replenish the soil, and easy-to-administer livestock vaccines that can prevent flocks and herds from being wiped out.Second, farmers need to be connected to markets where they can buy these inputs, sell their surplus, and earn a profit they can invest not only in their family’s basic needs but also back into the farm.This, in turn, will provide employment opportunities both on and off the farm as more prosperous farmers begin to support a range of local agribusinesses like seed dealers, trucking companies, and processing plants.I recently met with a group of young crop breeders, one from Ethiopia, one from Kenya, one from Nigeria, and one from Uganda. I may be a little unusual in this regard, but I love talking about the science of plant productivity. In this case, they were all doing cutting-edge work on cassava, a staple crop that provides more than one-third of the calories in the average African diet.Some were working to improve its nutritional content. Others were trying to breed a variety that can resist both of the devastating diseases that threaten to wipe out farmers’ entire crop.Our foundation is also working with a young computer scientist from Makerere University who designed a mobile phone app that lets farmers upload a photo of their cassava plants and find out immediately whether it’s infected or not.These are the innovators who can drive an agricultural transformation across the continent – if they have the support they need. For many decades, agriculture has suffered from dramatic underinvestment. Many governments didn’t see the link between their farmers and economic growth.Now, however, this misconception is gone – and through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program, countries have a framework for transforming agriculture. The investment needs to follow, so that young Africans have the means to create the thriving agriculture they envision.With Africa’s small farms as a base, the next step toward economic opportunity is to promote job creation in other sectors. Doing this will require significant investments in infrastructure, including energy.Seven in 10 Africans currently lack access to power, which makes it harder to do everything. Harder to get health care in a dark clinic. Harder to learn in school when it’s boiling hot. Harder to be productive when you can’t use labour saving machinery.Unfortunately, a shortage of power – like South Africa is currently experiencing – is also a massive drag on economic growth. Businesses will not invest in places where they can’t operate efficiently.A recent report projected that more than 500 million Africans won’t have electricity in 2040. That number needs to go down.In the long run, what Africa needs is what the whole world needs: a breakthrough energy miracle that provides cheap, clean energy for everyone. I have spent much of the past two years on this issue because it’s hard to think of anything more important. I am involved with a group of businesspeople who are collaborating with almost two dozen governments, mostly in rich countries, on a project called Mission Innovation. The goal is for these governments to double their energy R&D spending in the next five years.I get angry when I see that Africa is suffering the worst effects of climate change although Africans had almost nothing to do with causing it. The countries leading Mission Innovation need to create energy breakthroughs that are applicable globally – and they need to do so urgently.No matter how accelerated the R&D agenda is, though, we cannot wait for tomorrow’s energy breakthrough. Africa needs power now, and there are ways to meet that need now.In East Africa especially, governments should invest in hydro and geothermal sources of energy, which are both reliable and renewable, as soon as possible. There has been a lot of experimentation with small-scale renewable energy, including micro solar. This approach can provide individuals with some electricity for basic purposes, but it’s not going to be the solution for the continent as a whole.One priority for governments is to get much tougher about managing their electrical grids. This means refurbishing power plants, making sure people are paying their bills, and doing the technical work to stem electricity losses so that the grid is operating as close to 100% as possible.Once the power utilities can prove they are economically viable, it will be easier to attract investors who can help fund the necessary improvements.Using the resources available now, we can provide power to many of the 500 million Africans projected to be without it 25 years from now. With breakthrough innovation, we can chart the path to zero.GovernanceAll of these things – advances in health, in education, in agricultural productivity, in energy – won’t happen on their own. They can only happen in the context of governments that function well enough to enable them.It’s great to see initiatives like Mo Ibrahim’s annual index of African governance, which looks objectively at multiple measures of government performance in each country on the continent. Citizens in other regions would be well served by this kind of comprehensive effort to spotlight and spread effective governance.A lot can be accomplished by focusing on fiscal governance and accountability. Here in South Africa, the government gets strong marks for the budget information it provides to the public. The International Budget Partnership, an independent monitoring organisation, also ranks South Africa highly for its oversight of government spending.But sometimes, it takes individual citizens to lead the way. Thirty-year-old Oluseun Onigbinde gave up a career in banking five years ago to devote himself fulltime to pulling back the curtain on Nigeria’s federal expenditures.Savvy in the use of data and social media, Onigbinde founded BudgIT Nigeria, a website that provides facts and figures the average Nigerian can understand. Onigbinde is no doubt a thorn in the side of some of Nigeria’s elite. To me, he is an example of what one person can do to make a difference.The machinery of government is still relatively new in many African countries, and it’s important that as the institutions of governance mature, they don’t just try to mimic how things are done in developed countries.One of the most exciting prospects is the role African governments can play in accelerating the use of digital technology to leapfrog the traditional models and costly infrastructure associated with banking and delivery of government services.Because so many people in developing countries have mobile phones, tens of millions of people are storing money digitally on their phones and using their phones to make purchases, as if they were debit cards.But mobile money services like M-PESA in Kenya don’t just give people a better way to move money around. They give people a place to save cash to fund the start-up of a microenterprise or pay a child’s school exam fee. They create informal insurance networks of family and friends who can help with unexpected financial shocks like a crop failure or a serious medical illness. And they increase the profitability of small businesses through lower transaction costs, easier ordering of products and supplies, and greater security of financial assets.A digital financial connection can also help governments deliver services more efficiently. I’ve seen studies from India showing the government could save $22-billion a year by connecting households to a digital payment system and automating all government payments. The early evidence suggests that similar programmes in Africa can yield the same benefits – while increasing the effectiveness of government services.For example, recent research in Uganda showed that providing people with digital cash transfers rather than direct food subsidies not only saved the cost of physical delivery, it also improved nutrition because the money gave recipients the ability to purchase a greater diversity of foods and to space out meals as needed.Governments can accelerate this digital transformation by implementing policies that encourage commercial investment, innovation, and healthy competition, by building the shared infrastructure needed to enable digital financial services to flourish, and finally by using this technology to digitise payments and improve delivery of services to citizens.Countries like Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria are already investing in the building blocks of this new digital financial platform, and they’re likely to see positive economic returns that more than offset the cost.ConclusionIf there is one thing I’m sure of, it is this: Africa can achieve the future it aspires to.That future depends on the people of Africa working together, across economic and social strata and across national borders, to lay a foundation so that Africa’s young people have the opportunities they deserve.Recently, I met with some students at Addis Ababa University. I started by asking them the casual questions college students tend to get asked in America: “What do you want to do after you graduate?” “What fields are you thinking about going into?”They looked at me like I was crazy to be asking questions like that. They knew exactly what they were going to do. Their parents had sacrificed for 20 years so they could go to school. They weren’t weighing their options. They had come to university to get specific training, and they were eager to get on with it so that they could help Ethiopia become a prosperous country.They saw themselves as members of a community with needs, and they were going to dedicate themselves to serving that community by meeting those needs. I see that sense of purpose whenever I come to Africa, and especially whenever I talk to young Africans. I think this is unique. I meet with students all over the world, and they aren’t all so committed to giving back.But students here believe in themselves, and they believe in their countries and the future of the continent.The priority now is to make sure they have the opportunity to turn those beliefs into action. Because young people with this sense of purpose can make the difference between stagnation and more and faster progress.Nelson Mandela said: “Young people are capable, when aroused, of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom.”But our duty is not merely to arouse; our duty is to invest in young people, to put in place the basic building blocks so that they can build the future. And our duty is to do it now, because the innovations of tomorrow depend on the opportunities available to children today.It’s clear to everyone how big and complicated the challenges are. But it’s just as clear that people with bravery, energy, intellect, passion, and stamina can face big, complicated challenges and overcome them. There is so much more work to be done to create a future in which we can all live together. But there are also so many people who are eager to get to work.Let’s do everything within our power right now to help them build the future that Nelson Mandela dreamed of – and the future that we will achieve together.Thank you.© 2016 Nelson Mandela Foundation.last_img read more

Pacquiao, Broner make weight

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening But he still managed to tip the scales at 146 lb at MGM Grand’s Garden Arena. Broner, who will try to wrest Pacquiao’s WBA belt, also made the cut at 146.5.Broner’s camp said he is a natural welterweight, just like Pacquiao, the eight-division champion who has fought at 147 in the last decade.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsFilipino Jhack Tepora, one of the fighters in the undercard, lost his shot at a big-time fight when he flunked at the scales for his featherweight battle with Mexican Hugo Ruiz.He checked in at 131.5 lb, a whopping 5.5 lb over the limit, and blew his chance to fight for the WBA interim crown. Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Strong finish nets Ababa Pradera classic golf crown It’s all systems go for the bout between Manny Pacquiao (left) and Adrien Broner after the two fighters made the weight. —AFPLAS VEGAS—Manny Pacquiao has had little trouble making weight since ascending the 147-pound ranks.In fact, Team Pacquiao insiders said the 40-year-old Philippine senator was three pounds over the welterweight limit one day before Friday’s weigh-in for his duel with Adrien Broner.ADVERTISEMENT PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Ruiz had no problem as he weighed 125 lb. He will face a new opponent on Saturday.Tepora, who reportedly was 20 pounds overweight when he arrived from Manila last week, was six pounds over the limit 24 hours ago and had assured everyone that he could shed off the excess pounds in time for the weigh-in.Meanwhile, in one corner of the MGM Grand, Jinkee Pacquiao sat as her husband submitted himself for weigh-in for the 70th time in his glorious career.She has been there many times before that she knows exactly her spot: In the background, cheering from afar.Jinkee said she would like for her husband to hang up his gloves for good.ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion View comments SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READ LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño “But I had stopped trying to convince him to retire,” she told reporters Friday afternoon.For #PacBroner updates, visit The Pacquiao Files.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

David Beckham salutes LA Galaxy and Los Angeles as statue unveiled

first_imgDavid Beckham called his former team LA Galaxy his “family” and thanked Los Angeles for embracing him at the unveiling of his statue before the Major League Soccer club’s season-opener on Saturday.The statue, a first for an MLS player, honours the former England captain who was the first big European name to join the league, boosting its popularity and paving the way for other global stars to make the leap.Beckham won back-to-back championships in 2011 and 2012 during his six years and 98 appearances with the Galaxy.”Our city, our home,” Beckham said outside the Galaxy’s home stadium, the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, before their opener against the Chicago Fire.”From day one when my family arrived in this city, we felt at home and for that we will be forever grateful.”When I talk about LA Galaxy and when I talk about LA, I talk about it as family because it is a big family.”Forever in #LAGalaxy history.#BeckhamStatue | #Since96 pic.twitter.com/sHsIehk2ytLA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) March 3, 2019The statue unveiling came a day after Beckham helped open a soccer field for underprivileged youth in downtown Los Angeles.”Taking care of the next generation of soccer stars in this country is really important and we did it in a community that really needed support and a safe environment for children,” added 43-year-old Beckham, his parents and wife Victoria among the audience.Former Galaxy team mate Robbie Keane paid tribute to Beckham as a loyal friend and family man.advertisement”The David Beckham the public know is a global superstar and icon throughout the world,” said Keane.”But the one I know is even better.”Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant also gave a video-taped tribute to the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder Beckham, the owner of expansion side Inter Miami CF, which is set to join the MLS in 2020.”He was the first truly big name to come to the states and really draw attention to the sport,” said the former Los Angeles Lakers forward.Also Watch:last_img read more

Africa Cup of Nations: Morocco’s magic moment earns win over Ivory Coast

first_imgShare on LinkedIn Morocco 1-0 Ivory Coast: Africa Cup of Nations – as it happened A counter-attack led by full-back Achraf Hakimi almost led to a second as Amrabat dummied, allowing En-Nesyri a shot – but the Leganés striker, subject of reported Arsenal interest this summer, hit his effort straight at Ivory Coast goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo.Just before that, a mistake by Morocco keeper Yassine Bounou almost allowed the Ivorians to equalise. Bounou came racing off his line but failed to clear, only for Serey Dié to hit the side netting.Morocco managed to deal with the danger of Lille forward Nicolas Pépé, but found substitute Wilfried Bony more difficult to deal with. Bony’s aerial strength set up two half-chances as the Elephants surprisingly left Wilfried Zaha on the bench.Pépé eventually did get an effort on target with an acrobatic bicycle kick in the last minute, but Bounou made a good stop to keep the lead intact. Morocco then had the last chance of the game, Hakimi crossing for the unmarked Noussair Mazraoui, who only had to sidefoot the ball home but crashed his effort off the crossbar.The defeat leaves Ivory Coast on three points, level with South Africa, who edged out Namibia 1-0 in Friday’s final game to boost their hopes of progressing from Group D.Minnows Namibia were defensively dogged and created a scare or two in the first half, but conceded from a set-piece with 20 minutes to go. Goalkeeper Loydt Kazapua failed to connect with a corner, allowing midfielder Bongani Zungu to head into the empty net. Pinterest Morocco reached the knockout stage of the Africa Cup of Nations, and served notice that they are one of the sides to beat, with a 1-0 win over Ivory Coast in Cairo.Youssef En-Nesyri’s 23rd-minute goal ensured progress from Group D for Morocco, who join fellow heavyweights Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria with a 100% record after two matches.The goal, brilliantly crafted by Nordin Amrabat, capped a polished performance by the Atlas Lions. The former Watford winger beat four defenders with a mazy run, then broke the offside trap with a no-look pass, setting up En-Nesyri to finish low with his left foot. Facebook Reuse this content Diadie Samassekou’s corner evades Tunisia keeper Mouez Hassan to put Mali ahead. Photograph: Suhaib Salem/Reuters Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger Tunisia football team Africa Cup of Nations Ivory Coast football team news Morocco football team Mali football team Share on Facebook In Friday’s early game, Tunisia and Mali drew 1-1 to leave Group E finely poised, with Angola and Mauritania meeting on Saturday.The Tunisia captain, Wahbi Khazri, levelled the scores with a deflected free-kick after Mali had scored direct from a corner. Diadie Samassekou’s inswinging delivery on the hour-mark caught out Tunisia keeper Mouez Hassen, who allowed the ball to slip through his hands.Former Sunderland midfielder Khazri equalised 10 minutes later when his free kick took a wicked deflection off the Malian wall, completely wrong-footing goalkeeper Djigui Diarra.Tunisia have two points after two straight draws, while Mali have four after beating Mauritania in their opening game. Share on Twitter Read more Twitter Topics Share via Email Share on Pinterest Africa Cup of Nations 2019last_img read more

Ohio State womens volleyball looks to get healthy complete season sweep of

Members of the OSU women’s volleyball team during a game against Michigan on Nov. 14 at St. John Arena. OSU lost 3-0. Credit: Giustino Bovenzi | Lantern photographerInjuries and illness have taken a toll on the Ohio State women’s volleyball team as the season has worn on, as it has lost five of its last eight matches.This week has been no different for coach Geoff Carlston’s team, as an illness has made its way around the roster. Nonetheless, the No. 16 Buckeyes (21-7, 10-6) will try to get back on track when they travel west to battle with Iowa (12-17, 2-14) on Wednesday at 8 p.m.“We’ve been trying to back off a lot,” Carlston said. “It’s hard to sharpen the blade when you can’t do it. As a staff, we’re trying to find a balance between trying to keep us healthy, but it hasn’t seemed to work.”Freshman setter Taylor Hughes has been in and out of the lineup since suffering an elbow injury on Oct. 21, while senior outside hitter Katie Mitchell has missed the last two games with an illness.To rediscover its form on the court after an ugly loss to Michigan on Saturday, Carlston said OSU just needs to get back to believing in itself.“I think we just have to remind ourselves that we’re a pretty good team and we’ve had a really good journey so far,” Carlston said.Much of the Buckeyes’ early-season success was fueled by the team playing with a chip on its shoulder. Senior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell said “getting back to that underdog mentality” is crucial to get back to the winning ways. “We just need to get back to our fundamentals, stay focused,” junior outside hitter Kylie Randall said. “We still have a lot of games left … we still definitely have a chance to improve.”In the first meeting of the season between OSU and Iowa, the Buckeyes came out victorious in four sets, marking their 13th straight victory against the Hawkeyes.After posting a 10-3 record in nonconference play and garnering national attention in the form of votes in the coaches poll, the going started to get tough for Iowa in conference play, winning just two games against Big Ten foes.However, OSU has seen that records don’t mean much, evidenced by its Nov. 6 loss against a Maryland team that entered the game with a 2-11 conference record.“Especially if we’re kicking and scratching with our health, it’s a tough match,” Carlston said of the upcoming tilt against the Hawkeyes. “They run a very fast offense (and) they’ve given a lot of teams problems.”Iowa picked up its only two conference wins recently against Rutgers on Oct. 31 and Indiana on Nov. 4. Then, on Nov. 7, the Hawkeyes took then-No. 16 Purdue to five sets before falling.Campbell said she believes OSU will have its work cut out for it in defending the quick-paced attack of Iowa.“They have a pretty distributed, fast offense, so just being ready defensively in our blocking game to be up fast and challenge their tempos,” she said.The Hawkeyes currently rank third in the conference in service aces per set with 1.20. To combat that strength and bring home the win, Campbell said the Buckeyes are prepared to be “challenging the passing lanes” all match long. What’s next?A big rematch is set to be on tap for OSU on Saturday, when it is set to travel to Madison looking to complete another season sweep against Wisconsin. Back on Sept. 27, the Buckeyes defeated the Badgers in Columbus in five sets. The first serve is scheduled for 2 p.m. read more

NCAA vote may allow studentathletes in ads

Active Ohio State student-athletes have never been allowed to appear in corporate advertisements. That will change for the Buckeyes and all Division I student-athletes if the NCAA Division I Athletic Council passes proposed legislation, which would allow game clips of current players to appear in advertisements. The council is expected to vote today at the NCAA convention in San Antonio. The relationship between the corporation and the university would have to be clearly stated. For example, Nike Inc., which outfits OSU’s athletic teams, could use highlights from this football season in its ads as long as it included something like “a proud corporate sponsor of Ohio State athletics,” said Michael Rogers, NCAA Amateurism Cabinet chairman. The cabinet is in charge of drafting the proposed legislation to alter current standards of amateurism, but it is not the only council involved. “This is a highly collaborative process,” Rogers said. “You try to get all of the stakeholders involved.” In doing so, he said, the cabinet reviewed proposed legislation from previous years along with feedback from university presidents and input from student-athlete advisory committees. “I know the issue but I’m just going to have to think about that,” OSU President E. Gordon Gee said in an interview with The Lantern. “I’m not a corporate guy. I’m an old- school guy. I don’t believe in playoffs or anything. Anything that is a slippery slope toward professionalization I have to be very careful about.” Despite the reduced restriction on the use of student-athletes’ images, many limitations will remain. “Direct endorsement is clearly prohibited, (and) then there are some other limits and … consents that have to be obtained,” Rogers said. “The last thing we are trying to do is exploit student-athletes.” Others argue that the new legislation will do just that. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany firmly opposes the legislation and told The Chronicle of Higher Education it was “the essence of exploitation.” Rogers said he understands his committee’s decision will be controversial. With “something like this you are never going to come up with a piece of legislation that everyone thinks is perfect,” he said. “What you try to do is strike the right balance.” If the athletic council feels that balance has been struck and passes the legislation, it will move on to the Division I Board of Directors for final approval. The committee can also choose to defeat the rule change or send it back to NCAA members for further review. If that is the case, Rogers said he expects his committee to be responsive. “I’ll be interested to see what they say and respond accordingly,” he said. “If we need to retool it or tamper it in some fashion, we can certainly do that.” The OSU compliance office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on its stance on the legislation. read more

Ohio State mens hockey splits weekend series with Michigan State

Sophomore defenseman Drew Brevig (4) and senior forward Chad Niddery (19) line up for a faceoff during a game against Michigan State on Nov. 21 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 3-0. Credit: Kelly Roderick / For The LanternThe Ohio State men’s hockey team played a desperate brand of hockey for the entirety of its game against Michigan State on Friday night. The effort was much needed as the Buckeyes (4-7-1, 1-1-0) had dropped four of their past five games before their 3-0 win against the Spartans in Columbus.“I thought we worked hard again tonight,” OSU coach Steve Rohlik said. “I tip my cap to our guys … we challenged them to get a little bit better and I think (they) did that as a team.”Pace was the difference maker in the Buckeyes’ second conference game of the season as they hounded the Spartans (4-7-0, 1-1-0) for the first two periods, holding a 20-18 shot advantage through 40 minutes. OSU then preserved its lead during the third.After failing to capitalize on second-chance opportunities in a 2-1 loss to Michigan State on Thursday, OSU opened the first period of Friday’s game with an increased offensive zone pressure and attempts on Spartans’ junior goaltender Jake Hildebrand.The difference in gameplay was noticeable within the first 10 seconds of the game when Buckeye senior forward Nick Oddo won the opening face off and directed the puck on Hildebrand to create an early net scramble.OSU found its scoring mojo in the second period after a delayed goal call gave senior forward Matt Johnson his third goal of the season and put the Buckeyes ahead, 1-0.The on-ice officials didn’t originally see the puck enter the net, but the referees reviewed the play during the next stoppage and indicated the puck had crossed the goal line.Johnson’s goal was counted a minute after he scored and was a product of the NCAA’s offseason rule changes that allow officials to determine the legitimacy of goals on plays that preceded the last whistle.OSU used its momentum from Johnson’s goal on the man-advantage five minutes later when sophomore forward Nick Schilkey redirected a shot from the blue line past Hildebrand for the team’s second goal.“It’s something that’s certainly a focal point for us,” Rohlik said of the power play. “At the end of the night, again, special teams are the key.”The Buckeyes continued to dictate the pace of the game when senior forward Darik Angeli made it 3-0 after an odd-man rush at the 3:14 mark of the third period.OSU sophomore goalie Matt Tomkins helped prevent the Spartans’ pushback, making 29 saves en route to his first collegiate shutout.“My focus was just to keep the guys in the game and make those big saves when I had to,” Tomkins said. “They played excellent in front of me.”The Spartans finished zero-for-three on the man advantage and were unable to capitalize on three power plays in the third period.“We did a lot of good things,” Johnson said of the Buckeyes’ penalty kill. “We got in lanes and did a pretty good job of pushing them down, holding them in the corners and taking away a lot of shooting lanes.”OSU is next set to play Western Michigan in the Shillelagh Tournament in South Bend, Ind., on Friday. read more