Monday, November 30, 2009

Standard Bank in bomb threat

SHOOT: We'll be seeing more and more of this as disgruntle3d workers take out their anger on companies they feel [rightly or wrongly] has victimised them. At AVUSA earlier this year there was also a bomb threat.
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Johannesburg - The Johannesburg head office of South Africa's second largest bank was evacuated on Monday afternoon following a bomb threat. has been told that the imposing Sauer Street head office was evacuated midday after an employee, who has been retrenched, allegedly placed a bomb on its premises.

Standard Bank spokesperson Erik Larsen confirmed the evacuation in a statement, saying an employee, "who showed visible signs of distress, created security concerns at Standard Bank Centre".

Larson said as a precaution all staff members were sent home and the buildings were evacuated. "Police and emergency personnel are still on site," said Larsen. "Business is not disrupted in any way."

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

"I think you guys should relax. Its Wikus Van der Merwe and his prawns"

SHOOT: Some people thought the falling, flaming rock above Johannesburg was a UFO. It's amazing to me that any time, rocks can fall to the Earth from space.
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Johannesburg - It was a meteor which lit up the skies over Johannesburg and Pretoria on Saturday night, an astronomer has confirmed.

"What people saw last night was almost certainly a meteor," Claire Flanagan an astronomer at the Johannesburg Planetarium said on Sunday.

People saw a bright "greenish, bluish" light heading towards Pretoria at about 23:00 on Saturday night.

"I saw a light flash the sky at about 20:00, at first I thought I was imagining it, but my friend also saw it," wrote someone who saw the meteor.

"... Maybe it's people getting abducted by aliens...I walked in the house looked out [and] the sky was lit. It looked how it normally [does] at 05:00."

Another wrote: "I [saw] it too in Hartbeespoort dam. Almost looked like daylight for a few seconds, not sure if it was a meteor or not... pretty cool..."

Others claimed to have heard and seen a "bright explosion".

"The speed which it was travelling at would have caused it to burn and then disintegrate," she said.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Recovery or Eskom

"There are now over 12.3 million electricity accounts in South Africa. By comparison there are only 1.8 million mortgage accounts in South Africa.

"This means that the effect of an electricity price hike is felt by 6.7 times more by consumers," Schussler said.

SHOOT: South Africa needs to take energy issues seriously, not just electricity, and perhaps the Eskom debacle will initiate this process.
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SA could have most expensive power

South Africa could have the world's most expensive electricity if Eskom gets it tariff increases, an economist said today.

"We keep being told that we have the cheapest electricity in the world and this is not the case. Let's start calling Eskom's prices the most expensive in the world and change the public's mindset."

From 2005 up to the present, electricity prices had increased 91 percent, while inflation rose only 35 percent over the same period.

Schussler said electricity prices were set to increase around 200 percent over the next five years.

"This means that between 2005 and 2014 electricity prices on the current proposal would have increased 633 percent."

"Eskom had a revenue of over R53.6 billion in the year to March 2009 while municipalities' gross revenue from electricity was about R32.9 billion for the same period."

That, he said, was a total R86.5 billion or around 3.7 percent of gross domestic product.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Habana off the hook - not so fast

SHOOT: Habana faced a disciplinary for exactly the same sort of behaviour that he got so hysterical about in the last twenty minutes of the Currie Cup, when a Cheetah player gave him a small slap on the side of his head. So it's ironic that Habana does the same thing and is off the hook, on and off the field.
Watch it here:
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London - A charge of foul play for allegedly kicking an opponent has been dismissed against Springbok wing Bryan Habana.

Habana was cited under Law 10.4C, for allegedly kicking France wing Vincent Clerc during the Boks' 20-13 loss in Toulouse.

At a hearing at a Heathrow Airport hotel Habana pleaded not guilty to the charge, which carries a minimum one-week suspension according to the International Rugby Board (IRB) regulations.

Judicial officer Lorne Crerar from Scotland took just over an hour to dismiss the case. Local solicitor Owen Eastwood represented Habana.

Springbok media manager Anthony Mackaiser confirmed the outcome of the hearing.

Habana will now be able to take his place on the wing against Italy and also Ireland at Croke Park next week.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Photographers and journalists - stressful jobs that pay badly

SHOOT: I can confirm. Why do we do it then? For the love of it.
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Stressful Jobs That Pay Badly

4. News Reporter

Median pay: $32,900
% who say their job is stressful: 62%

Every minute is another deadline for those who report and write the news. While racing against the clock, reporters gather data, conduct interviews and analyze their findings all before writing about major events for a newspaper, magazine, radio show or television program.


8. Commercial Photographer

Median pay: $43,600
% who say their job is stressful: 100%

The job may sound glamorous, but commercial photographers, who capture models, merchandise and landscapes for books, advertisements and catalogs, have to contend with long days, picky personalities and demanding deadlines -- sometimes withstanding precarious positions just to get that perfect shot.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

FIFA worried that African grass in Green Point will be yellow - so first world cup on African soil will be on European grass

Yesterday, at the startling £400m Green Point stadium in Cape Town, perky shoots of pale green ryegrass were pushing through the soil three weeks after the seeds were sown. But local specialists say ryegrass – a cold season variety suited to Europe – will not stand the test of time and will have to be replaced after the World Cup.

SHOOT: As they say, come June Kikuyu turns parchment yellow in South Africa's inland stadiums.
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Millions of Africans have been saying it for years: the grass is greener in Europe. Now the world's football bosses have decided that Africa's indigenous grass is not bright enough for international television audiences.

In a major blow to South African pride in hosting next year's World Cup, stadiums used for top matches have been told to scrap their hardy African kikuyu pitches and switch instead to tender European ryegrass.

The decision comes amid mounting claims that the month-long tournament next June will be a "playground for Europeans'', providing scant long-term benefit to the largely poor country.

"Fifa decided that our pre-grown kikuyu pitch was not uniformly dark green enough for television so we have started again with ryegrass seed,'' said Pieter Cronjé, World Cup communication director for Cape Town where one of the semi-finals is due to be played.

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Arran Brown wins 94.7 on beautiful day in Johannesburg

SHOOT: Only 24,000 riders turned out, but the elite men spoiled fans with a great show [see below]. Interesting to observe the winning margin between elite men and elite women - 33 minutes.
Medscheme sprinter Arran Brown rewrote the history books this morning when he became the first cyclist to win the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge and Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour in the same year.
Brown made it look easy when he came off the wheel of his team captain, Malcolm Lange, to win the Cycle Challenge in front of a huge crowd at the Waterfall Country Estate in Midrand. Lange held on for second with MTN-Energade speedster Christoff van Heerden snatching a podium spot for his team in third place.

Kachelhoffer very nearly rode to victory when he shot out of the escape group on the final climb. He came to within 70 metres from the line before he was overtaken by his teammate.

Kachelhoffer went away after only 15km with Jacques Janse van Rensburg (DCM Chrome), Bradley Potgieter (MTN-Energade), Gawie Maree (Neotel) and Travis Allen (House of Paint). The built up a lead exceeding 2 minutes and 30 seconds with 30km to go.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Learning to quiet our anxieties and manage them on our own is an essential skill for negotiating the frightening world we are facing

It is time to be understanding and connect with each other, our neighbors, through action, not words alone. When we do necessary work together, to heal and repair our neighborhoods, the emotional connections, the joy in companionship, the meaningful bonds we yearn for, appear.

SHOOT: Wise words here.
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The question we have the luxury of answering now is no longer are we odd or damaged people. Most of us are. The issue is whether we can find ourselves embedded in a community of people, who say “I like you, despite how odd you are.”

Rather than learning to speak more honestly, (a skill I value, highly, by the way), I think that the true therapist encourages people to do more listening and do more real honest work with other people they live around. Meaningful work means local work that will heal and repair the world around you. I admit that having learned the skills of a clinical psychologist, and worked long and hard with the “King of Radical Honesty” Brad Blanton
But in my current opinion, it is way too late to ONLY keep talking, without accompanying it with appropriate action. It is way too late to embroil myself IN myself, and expect other people to be fascinated by my current self-revelations. Self-censoring isn’t the same as shame-filled lying
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Santa Claus vs Godless Joe = Shop till you smile vs "Let's Spend Christmas Alone and Crying"

Joe will spearhead our [atheists] efforts to bring children to the reality that there is nothing more to life than eating, sleeping, and defecating, and urge them to follow our dictates of societal norms and morality rather than the outdated and unfounded notions of the past or their personal consciences. We feel confident that by the end of the year, Godless Joe will be spreading our message in almost every shopping mall in America."
Godless Joe will not hand out presents to children in the traditional sense. Rather, he will distribute "Let's Spend Christmas Alone and Crying" coloring books, "The Preschoolers' Guide to Playground Sexual Harassment," and "Mom, Dad, Grandma, and You are All Going to Die and Be Gone Forever" pop up book.

SHOOT: Should be a big hit
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"Every year atheists are at a distinct disadvantage during the Solstice Season. The simple fact is Santa Clause is the best propaganda tool the Christians have to bribe their children into church once a year and extort at least a month and a half of relatively tolerable behavior out of them. The simple answer to this problem would simply be to abort all these useless eaters before they were born and replace them with more earth friendly beings such as dolphins and otters, or at lease implement a dedicated eugenics program to prevent those less enlightened than us from breeding. However, since the courts are just as dedicated to the illogical and unnatural concept of humans being better than other life forms for some unknown reason, as the unwashed religious masses are to cranking out kids, these solutions are still years away.
"Well, all that is changing today with the creation of Godless Joe, the Solstice Icon for the New Millennium.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

"Osteen is often derided as Christianity Lite, but he is more like Positivity Extreme. "

“Thinking of our bank account and my income at the time, it seemed impossible to me,” he writes. But this, of course, is an example of ungodly, negative thinking. With her unwavering faith, Victoria wouldn’t let it drop. Soon she convinced Joel and then he, too, started to believe that “God could bring it to pass.”

SHOOT: Greed is good, in fact so good it's godly. Now we'll take collection. Remember if you give you will receive tenfold [and so I will I, your pastor].
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Osteen is often derided as Christianity Lite, but he is more like Positivity Extreme. “Cast down anything negative, any thought that brings fear, worry, doubt, or unbelief,” he urges. “Your attitude should be: ‘I refuse to go backward. I am going forward with God. I am going to be the person he wants me to be. I’m going to fulfill my destiny.’” Telling yourself you are poor, or broke, or stuck in a dead-end job is a form of sin and “invites more negativity into your life,” he writes. Instead, you have to “program your mind for success,” wake up every morning and tell yourself, “God is guiding and directing my steps.” The advice is exactly like the message of The Secret, or any number of American self-help blockbusters that edge toward magical thinking, except that the religious context adds another dimension.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

1 million people, including dependents, would lose their jobs if Eskom hike is approved

SHOOT: Quite a sizable chunk of the population.
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Up to 1 million people, including workers in the sector and dependents, would likely suffer if if a proposal was implemented by Eskom to hike tariffs by 45% a year over the next three years, he said.

"As a consequence I do not believe the Eskom 45-45-45 proposal will fly," Cutifani said.

"Certainly the indications we've had from within government is that they understand the problem."

Power rates would likely double over three years instead of triple as under the Eskom proposals, he added.

He said a doubling of rates would lead to a 10% hike in cash costs for AngloGold - the world's third biggest gold producer and Africa's largest.

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Debt shackles new car sales

SHOOT: Credit has evaporated, and it isn't wise to bring it back when more and more people are losing their jobs. The reality is that things have changed, and we're facing economic contraction across the board.
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Wesbank said that the single biggest obstacle to the recovery of the sector was high levels of indebtedness among South Africans. The country's household debt to disposable income ratio stands at around 76% this year.

Meanwhile, another key characteristic of the consumer vehicle market remained sustained demand for used cars. The used car market had experienced increased popularity in the downturn.

Wesbank's research found that 87.6% of respondents found the second-hand market more active than the market for new vehicles. This figure is up from 81.7% in July.

The used car market had helped numerous car dealerships pull through the recesson. However, De Kock has warned that the market was facing stock shortage problems.

This was because fewer repossessed vehicles were finding their way to showroom floors and consumers were choosing to hold on to their cars for longer.

"You can't lend freely when there is still relative uncertainty about the economic circumstances."

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Would you lend R385 billion to a liar?

SHOOT: AKA Eskom. See below.
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CLIVE SIMPKINS:   I would agree and to give the excuse - and again, it's Bobby Godsell - that he had to rush off to a meeting, as I understand it.  That's incomprehensible - in the financial markets in which I'm not literate, but you are extremely so, uncertainty is something that nobody likes.  In the world of communication, it is exactly the same.  I was reading today, that Moody's for example, the ratings agency, are watching this with great interest.  So if Eskom are looking at some incredible figure, is it R385billion that they're looking at for power stations over the next number of years...

ALEC HOGG: depends who you talk to but it certainly is in that ballpark...

CLIVE SIMPKINS:  A vast sum of money.  This is certainly not the way to instil confidence in potential investors because this right now, is running around like a headless chicken and it follows on the heels of similar indecisive poorly communicated things like Siyabonga Gama at Transnet, for example. 
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is your cell phone slowly killing you?

CNN: Researchers found that cell phone users had a 10 percent to 30 percent higher risk than people who barely, if ever, used this technology.

SHOOT: I definitely notice I'm agitated and my head is warm the more I'm on the phone.
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The longer you speak on the phone, the more risk you may have of getting tumors, some doctors say.

Last summer, Dr. Ronald Herberman, then director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, issued a warning to about 3,000 faculty and staff, listing steps to avoid harmful electromagnetic radiation from cell phones. This included keeping the phone away from the body as much as possible and not allowing children to use cell phones except in emergencies.

A much-anticipated but unreleased report from the World Health Organization on a decade-long investigation called Interphone will show a "significantly increased risk" of some brain tumors "related to use of mobile phones for a period of 10 years or more," the London Daily Telegraph reported in late October. The study will be published before the end of the year, the newspaper said.

Supporting that conclusion, a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that looked at 23 case-control studies found that the research with the more scientifically rigorous methodologies suggested cell phones and tumors are linked.
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Monday, November 9, 2009

7537 have died of swine flu

SHOOT: In the US 1702 have died of H1N1, followed by Brazil at 1405, Argenina at 600, India at 502 and Mexico at 411. Australia is at 187 and the United Kingdom at 155.
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     Confirmed cases followed by death      Confirmed cases      Unconfirmed or suspected cases See also: H1N1 live map, WHO updates

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