New sites for humankind’s cradle

first_img18 July 2005The Taung fossil site in North West province and Mokapane’s Valley in Limpopo have been incorporated into South Africa’s Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, which includes the fossil hominid sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and environs in Gauteng.Together, the sites have been key to tracing humankind’s journey from its beginnings to the present day.The extension was granted at the 29th session of the Unesco World Heritage Committee, which ended in Durban on Sunday.Humankind’s cradle – The world’s richest hominid site, home to 40% of human ancestor fossils.The committee seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of “outstanding value to humanity”.Earlier last week, the Vredefort Dome, the world’s oldest and largest meteorite impact crater, was inscribed as South Africa’s seventh World Heritage site.The Taung childThe incorporation of the Taung site comes from the significance of the Taung skull, the fossilised partial cranium of a juvenile hominid Australopethicus africanus discovered there in 1924 and identified by anthropologist Raymond Dart.The Taung skull is an important link in human evolution. Australopethicus africanus – meaning “southern ape of Africa” – was a species of small hominids who lived 2.5 to 2.6-million years ago.Probable ancestors of modern people, the little humans had an erect, bipedal or two-legged stance and gait, small canine teeth, and hands incapable of ape-like knuckle-walking but capable of a precision grip.The discovery of the fossil was at first ignored due to the supposed significance of the Piltdown Man skull. When that find was later proved to be a forgery, the Taung fossil took its rightful place as proof that human evolution began in Africa, not Asia.The Taung site exhibits the same characteristics as the other Cradle of Humankind fossil sites.Mokapane’s ValleyMokapane’s Valley in Limpopo has outstanding universal value because its many ancient caves and sites contain a long and unprecedented record of human occupation, from the first australopithecines over 3.5-million years ago to the present.It also captures a technological record from the Early and Middle Stone Age to the Iron Age.Animal fossils include those of extinct sabre-toothed cats, giant porcupines and hyraxes. Fossiled pollen grains and indigenous crops have also been found in the valley.“We are pleased with the outcome following our application for extensions to the Sterkfontein Site,” said Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan. “They will leave a lasting legacy for many generations to come.“We, as humanity and the progeny of this land, have a genealogy with which we can trace our origins and humanity’s journey from our very beginnings through to our evolution to modern times.” reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Clever Trevor

first_imgJustice MalalaSomething funny happened on 11 February 2009. Most South Africans totally missed it, though. The minister of finance, Trevor Manuel, delivered his budget speech – and everyone loved it. The Left was happy, the business community was ecstatic and ordinary South Africans lauded it.The South African Communist Party, usually ready with a withering comment about the country’s macroeconomic policy and the government’s commitment to poverty reduction, issued a statement that said: “The South African government is responding to the challenge of the crisis … by consolidating our public-sector spending, by expanding public-sector employment and our public works programmes, and by seeking to drive a much greater strategic coordination of our development finance institutions”On the other side of the spectrum, the South African Chamber of Commerce weighed in thus: “The spending priorities focus on poverty alleviation, employment growth and infrastructure investment. Business particularly appreciates the proposals to bring relief to both the automotive and mining industries.”It must have been the first time that both sides of the ideological range had so enthusiastically endorsed a budget and its macroeconomic policy thrust.A typical comment after last year’s budget came from Congress of South African Trade Unions secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi, for example, who criticised Manuel for announcing a budget surplus: “You can’t announce a budget surplus in the midst of such huge challenges of underdevelopment. It’s a wrong policy.”In the midst of one of the most serious economic downturns the world has seen since 1929, how did Trevor Manuel – now 13 years into his job – manage this laudatory consensus? After all, this is a man who every February delivers a budget loved by ordinary South Africans and yet gets caustic comments from the Left wanting him to spend more and business demanding that he give them bigger tax breaks. There was little of that this year. Why?If there is one area of governance in which South Africa can hold its head high it must be the National Treasury under Manuel and its agency, the South African Revenue Services. It has become almost impossible to find fault with their delivery, their services and their commitment to their work.As if their efficiency was not enough, this month it was also announced that our government’s budgeting system has been rated as the second most transparent in the world – ahead of such wealthy democracies as the US, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.The International Budget Partnership said in its Open Budget Survey 2008 that the world’s most transparent countries are the UK (with a score of 88 out of 100), South Africa (87), France (87), New Zealand (86), and the US (82).  The survey classified these five countries as “providing extensive information” reported that the IBP said in a press release that the strong showing of South Africa, as well as that of Slovenia, Sri Lanka, and Botswana (all of which provide significant information to their people), demonstrated that developing countries can achieve transparency given sufficient willingness of their governments to be open and accountable to their people.Manuel has steadily built up a team over the past 13 years which has seen South Africa’s annual GDP growth go from 0.5% in 1998 to 4.5% in 2004. He has been central to debates on macroeconomic policy in the African National Congress (ANC) and the country since 1991 when he headed his party’s economic planning unit – and this experience shows in the respect he has gained worldwide.He is regularly called upon by prime ministers and presidents to give advice on the restructuring of the global economic framework in light of the current market crisis. Manuel has become one of the main speakers and agenda-setters on international platforms such as the World Economic Forum.One of the pillars of Manuel’s successes has been budgetary reforms such as the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and the Public Finance Management Act, both measures aimed at better reporting, auditing, and increased accountability. Through these initiatives, Manuel has introduced transparency and predictability to the system, leading to plaudits from business and civil society alike.For years Manuel was pilloried for running a budget surplus, with his critics saying he needs to spend to create jobs and grow the economy. South Africa’s deficit was over 9% of GDP during the 1993/4 fiscal year, when the ANC won elections.This year the deficit – despite his decision to increase spending on the poor and infrastructure – is only 3.8% of GDP and he has run a surplus for several years. Manuel is now applauded for his restraint in previous years because in exuberant times we saved, and in these lean times we can enjoy the fat of those years.The biggest question around Manuel is whether he will stay in Cabinet or not after April 22 elections. The man himself said after delivering his budget on 11 February: “All I can hope for is that the systems we’ve developed will stand up to scrutiny and counter any capricious behaviour.”Given his success in the past, many of us are sure that even if he goes, he does leave us with strong systems that will withstand whatever storms may lie ahead.Justice Malala is an award-winning former newspaper editor, and is now general manager of Avusa’s stable of 56 magazines. He writes weekly columns for The Times newspaper and Financial Mail magazine, as well as a monthly media and politics column for Empire magazine. He is the resident political analyst for independent television channel and has consulted extensively for financial institutions on South African political risk. Malala was also an executive producer on Hard Copy I and II, a ground-breaking television series on SABC 3. Hard Copy I won the Golden Horn Award for best television series. Malala’s work has been published internationally in the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Financial Times, The Independent, Forbes, Institutional Investor, The Age and The Observer.last_img read more

The Wendt Group wins Ohio’s Best Auction (again)

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Ohio Auctioneers Association (OAA) has recognized The Wendt Group by naming the company the winner of it’s prestigious Auction of the Year in both 2017 and now 2018 at the annual Auctioneers Association Conference.The 2018 marketing contest included entries from across the state. The Wendt Group took home not only the top prize, but also best of show and 12 additional awards in Brochure Design, Newspaper Advertising, Public Relations, Auction Promotion, Photography and Digital & Social Media. The Wendt group was recognized at the recent competition reception in Columbus.“To be recognized by your peers on the state level is the ultimate honor an auction company can receive,” said Kevin Wendt, The Wendt Group president. “We’ve also been blessed to be affiliated with Wes Sigler and Blue River Digital to bring award-winning and unique marketing design options to our sellers.”last_img read more

Unlocking the Promise of Enterprise IoT

first_imgThe promise of IoT is enormous, from reducing operational costs to improving workplace safety; yet many organizations face hurdles when it comes to delivering on this potential. New findings from a recent survey IoT World conducted of IoT business decision makers, “What’s Keeping IoT Executives Up At Night in 2019”, found that the top two concerns for IoT leaders in 2019 are implementation and cybersecurity. The good news is that addressing these challenges is often about doing the little things right.IoT World is the leading IoT conference and expo with over 12,500 attendees including top names such as: Amazon, Boeing, Bank of America, Dell, Chevron, CVS Health, Exxon Mobile, Ford, Google, NASA, Procter & Gamble, Siemens, and more. From working with and hearing from this wide range of organizations, we have learned that IoT implementation and security go hand in hand.Employee TrainingBefore any organization can implement new IoT technology, they must do their due diligence on potential security risks, their staff’s readiness to support the new technology and how to properly deploy it. At the front end of this challenge, our research shows that 45% of companies are deploying IoT devices on a dedicated network to mitigate security risk. Additionally, 46% say they are introducing internal training systems for their entire workforce. As new technology transforms day-to-day tasks, regular training is becoming a central aspect of IoT deployment and implementation. When employees are comfortable with the technology, businesses effectively improve both device efficacy and limit ecosystem vulnerability due to an oversite.Maintaining Cyber HygieneCyber threats come from so many different directions in today’s modern enterprise. Often times, the difference between being compromised and being secure is having the discipline to go through the checklist of best practices. Thankfully, our research shows that IoT executives are very aware of this and are taking precautionary steps to mitigate risks. Over two-thirds (68%) of companies say they are regularly updating firmware and software, 43% are checking devices to see if physical access makes them vulnerable to hacking, 35% are making data decryption a default and 26% are shutting down IoT devices when they are not in use – all small, yet often critical steps to protecting an organization. Tech Expertise is NeededOf course, it’s not enough to have a secure environment. The other aspect of implementation is ensuring an organization is in a position to leverage all the data gathered by its devices. An IoT ecosystem is only as valuable as an organization’s ability to translate all the data gathered and inform the business. Although there are tools and platforms that can help manage the data, the first and most important step to addressing this challenge is having the right employees on staff. Our research shows that companies are addressing this in two different ways, 64% of companies say they are planning to train current staff to fill more technical roles and 62% say they are planning to hire additional employees like data analysts or a different tech-focused position. Enterprise IoT shouldn’t need to keep anyone up at night. If enterprises really key in on ensuring they have the right expertise on staff, are regularly training their workforce when new technology is deployed and are disciplined with completing their security checklist – they will be well on their way to realizing the incredible potential IoT ecosystem has to offer.These topics and more will be discussed at IoT World 2019 in Santa Clara, California, May 13-16. For more info, please visit: Uber vs Lyft: Battling for Supremacy 4 Ways You Can Make Your Workplace an Engine of… Zach Butler CEOs in Troubled Waters (with Myriam Joire from…center_img Related Posts Zach is an experienced Event Portfolio Director, with eight years’ experience in validating B2B technology markets to design, develop and produce commercial conferences and exhibitions. For the past four years, Zach has specialized in the evolving markets surround the Internet of Things by leading the Internet of Things World Series flagship event in Santa Clara, CA, as well as a series of regional events in Europe, Asia and South Africa. A Review of Instagram Marketing by Matthew Lucaslast_img read more