Bamenda: President Biya Assists Food Market Victims

Flag of Cameroon.svg

Responsive image

Governor Adolphe Lele Lafrique distributed FCFA 73 million from the presidential couple to victims on May 5, 2017.

May 5, 2017 offered a rare moment to smile for victims whose shops at the Bamenda food market were burnt by unknown people on March 14, 2017. The event was a special offer of FCFA 73,000,700 to victims by the presidential couple. Victims included some 91 people whose 111 open sheds were burnt, six others whose lock- up shops were erased and 12 tables lost to the fire.

North West Governor, Adolphe Lele Lafrique who presided at the event offered FCFA 20 million to victims of the six burnt lock- up shops; about FCFA 495,000 each per open shop and FCFA 100,000 per table burnt. It was a day for the victims who jumped for joy as they hailed the presidential couple for the assistance which will help wipe their tears and start up business activities from scratch. The assistance came as a reminder to those who had been skeptical about promises made by various government officials that the Head of State was following up the ongoing events in the North West and South West regions and was ready to provide appropriate solutions.

Since the March 14, fire incident, many had given up hope and felt so desperate thinking that life would never be the same for them again. However, all of them found reason to be once more happy and the joy was visible on all the faces that left the Bamenda Congress Hall after the brief ceremony chaired by Governor Lele Lafrique on Friday 5 May, 2017. Thus, the Governor repeated calls for the people to have confidence in the State and not listen to those who only preach destruction and division.

It was against this backdrop that North west governor, Adolphe Lele Lafrique inspired the victims to have faith in the Presidential couple who have demonstrated that they share in the joys and pains of Cameroonians. The governor urged them to dominate fear and give their families hope with nonstop business activities. He stressed that the assistance was all about goodwill from the Presidential couple and went on to announce that a suspect linked to the burning of the market is being investigated.

 

Source : Cameroon-Tribune

Eight reasons why Emmanuel Macron has little reason to celebrate his win

2. Many who voted for him aren’t really behind him
Of those who did vote for him, many said were doing so simply because he wasn’t Marine Le Pen.
Some 33 percent of respondents in an Ipsos poll said they voted Macron because they were won over by the political renewal they saw in him.
Sixteen percent put his policies top of the list, while 8 percent said his personality was the main reason they voted for him.
However the largest chunk, 43 percent, said they were mostly voting against Le Pen.
3. Le Pen is on the move too
The far right scored a record number of votes in the first round (7.6 million) and then went and did it again in the second round, topping the 10 million mark (10.6 million to be precise).
The far right are on an upward trajectory and Le Pen is hinting at a new rebranding and strategy in her post-results speech.
To be fair to Macron he recognized this fact in his victory speech and vowed do everything to stop people voting for extremes. Easier said  than done in a divided France suffering from unemployment.
4. En Marche! will have a hard time getting a majority
Macron will face a host of difficulties trying to gain a majority of seats in the parliamentary elections with such a newly created party. Without that he’ll have a hard time passing the laws he wants.
The Republicans are gearing up to try and gain a majority in parliament, in which case Macron would be reduced to not much more than a figurehead of France’s government.
And on top of that, En Marche is under-financed and unlike the long established parties, it doesn’t have a long-standing coffer to dip into.
5. Parts of the country rejected him  
Le Pen’s strongholds in the north east held firm, gaining 57.42 percent of the vote in Calais and 61 percent in Hénin-Beaumont. In the Aisne department, Le Pen came out on top in 619 out of 804 communes.
Le Pen scored well on France’s Mediterranean coast in the south east, getting close to 50 percent in many departments, like the Var, where she gained 49 percent.
6. He could be doomed to follow in Francois Hollande’s footsteps
Macron has a lot on his shoulders, knowing that if he fails to get results on issues like unemployment during his five years he could see the same fate as Hollande, who was so unpopular in France he became the first French president not stand for a second term.
Many French people already see too much of a similarity between Macron and his predecessor. Le Pen dubbed him “Hollande’s baby” or “Hollande’s heir”.
Fail to deal with unemployment and he will end up having more in common with his predecessor than he would have wished.
What happens now: Macron faces busy schedule starting with his inauguration
7. Unions are already on his back
Worker’s unions in France aren’t about to let Macron forget the huge opposition against him, despite the win.
Already there have been protests, with a demonstration against the election held at la Republique in Paris on Monday organised by Front Sociale, a collective of worker’s unions and associations.
The CGT’s Michael Wamen said: “He is no an elected president, he is like a president-CEO.”
If Macron wants to reform labour laws – and he said he will do by decree – then he can expect more uprisings in the months and years to come.
8. His to do list
Has an incoming president ever had so much on his to-do list from day one?
Macron must try to reconcile the country, cut unemployment, restore faith in Europe, even reform the EU, boost the economy, deal with the terror threat and dangerous jihadists returning from the Middle East, find a way for France to be ease with Islam and immigration, help forge a new identity for the country so it feels at ease with its place in the world
In other words make France feel great again.
Yikes, Bonne Chance Manu!
Source : The Local

Macron is president, but now he faces a real battle to take power

Source : The Local

Alunos portugueses levam minhocas astronautas a competição da ESA

Flag of Portugal.svg

O grupo vencedor. Da esquerda para a direita: Ricardo Sousa, Diogo Medeiros, Mariana Viveiros, João Farias, Marina Sousa e o professor Duarte Cota

  |  FOTOPEPE / DERRICK SOUSA

Estudantes de Escola de Novas Tecnologias dos Açores, de Ponta Delgada, venceram a competição nacional CanSat e vão representar Portugal na final europeia, promovida pela agência espacial europeia.

Três minhocas “astronautas”, um satélite em forma de lata, muita eletrónica e computação, uma boa mão-cheia de dados e um trabalho de equipa sem falhas valeram à equipa da Escola de Novas Tecnologias dos Açores, de Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, a ENTA Team Sat 3, o primeiro lugar na competição CanSat Portugal, que terminou no domingo, na ilha de Santa Maria, nos Açores, e que o júri, presidido pelo cientista Manuel Paiva, considerou “a melhor até hoje”.

João Farias, Ricardo Sousa, Marina Sousa, Mariana Viveiros e Diogo Medeiros ganharam a medalha de ouro desta competição promovida pela Ciência Viva e pela agência espacial europeia ESA, e destinada a alunos do ensino secundário, e vão agora representar Portugal no CanSat europeu, que vai decorrer em Bremen, na Alemanha, entre 28 de junho e 22 de julho.

Tal como fizeram para a prova nacional, os alunos terão de cumprir na Alemanha a sua missão espacial. O pequeno satélite do tamanho de uma lata de refrigerante (daí o nome can, em inglês), que eles próprios construíram e puseram a funcionar, vai ser ali lançado por um rocket até uma altitude máxima de mil metros. E depois, tudo se joga num abrir e fechar de olhos: um minuto, mais coisa, menos coisa, o tempo que dura a queda do microssatélite, amparado por um pequeno paraquedas.

Nesse breve intervalo, a equipa tem de receber em terra, no seu computador, os sinais enviados durante a descida, com as medições obrigatórias da temperatura do ar e da pressão atmosférica, e tudo o mais que se propõem medir e estudar no seu projeto.

No caso da ENTA Team Sat 3, o objetivo é uma experiência científica para determinar, através da análise de uma enzima, em amostras de tecidos de três minhocas astronautas – sim, elas foram a bordo da lata espacial -, se a aceleração na descida lhes causa stress oxidadativo.

Para esse estudo bioquímico, a equipa criou um pequeno laboratório de campanha, e de acordo com os resultados que apresentou na competição nacional – em inglês, porque a ideia é tudo se passe como numa missão a sério – indicam que há mesmo um aumento da tal enzima.

Ir à Alemanha não é nada que atemorize a equipa da ENTA, até porque, para alguns destes cinco jovens, disputar a competição europeia já não é nenhuma novidade. No ano passado, foi justamente a equipa desta escola açoriana que venceu o CanSat nacional, e que depois acabou por se sagrar também a grande vencedora internacional, ao arrebatar o primeiro lugar a nível europeu. Afinal, qual é o segredo deles?

Ricardo Sousa, para quem esta vitória tem um sabor muito especial – ele é daqui, da ilha Santa Maria, onde decorreu pela primeira vez esta prova nacional -, sorri, e responde sem hesitar. “Muito empenho, muito trabalho, e muita confiança na equipa”, vai enumerando. “Distribuímos entre nós as tarefas de acordo com os conhecimentos de cada um, porque assim é mais eficiente, e tentamos evoluir sempre. Nunca estamos satisfeitos”, sublinha.

Diogo Medeiros concorda. Para ele a palavra-chave é “dedicação”. E o professor de eletrónica e programação da ENTA, Duarte Cota, que já orienta a equipa da escola há três anos, tem a mesma opinião. “Dedicação, muito trabalho e disciplina”, resume. “Estes alunos são impecáveis, estão sempre disponíveis e motivados, e têm a capacidade de perceber quando devem dar a liderança, num dado momento, àquele que sabe mais nesta ou naquela a área”, explica satisfeito e, claro, orgulhoso.

Além da medalha de ouro, o júri atribuiu mais dois prémios e uma menção honrosa. A equipa Epasat IV, da Escola Profissional de Almada, constituída por Pedro Cunha, Carlos Pólvura, Pedro Santos, André Fontes e o Rafael Silva, e orientada por Luís Bettencourt – para este professor, da ilha de Santa Maria, o prémio também tem esse sabor especial – conquistou a medalha de prata. E os alunos ganharam também um estágio de uma semana na estação que a ESA tem naquela ilha, e que é operada pela Edisoft. “As datas já estão a ser combinadas”, conta Luís Bettencourt. “Vai ser muito importante para o currículo deles”, diz, satisfeito.

A equipa CanSat 3E3, da Escola Secundária João de Deus, de Faro, e os Icarus, da Escola Adolfo Portela, em Águeda, ganharam, respetivamente, a medalha de bronze e a menção honrosa.

“Foi o melhor dos quatro anos, desde que realizamos esta competição em Portugal”, garante a diretora-executiva da Ciência Viva, Ana Noronha. “Os projetos foram melhores, mais criativos, mais sólidos do ponto de vista tecnológico e as apresentações também tiveram mais qualidade”, explica. “Os professores”, sublinha, “são a alma disto e souberam aproveitar o feed-back que tem sido dado pelo júri ao longo destes quatro anos, para melhorar os projectos, e isso vê-se nestes resultados”.

Manuel Paiva partilha a mesma visão. “Presidi durante dois anos ao júri da competição internacional e verifico que as equipas portuguesas estão perfeitamente ao nível das congéneres europeias”, diz. A vitória da equipa açoriana no ano passado é a melhor confirmação disso mesmo. Mas, para Manuel Paiva, o facto de as equipas vencedoras virem principalmente de escolas técnico-profissionais, contém outra lição essencial. “Portugal não deu importância suficiente às escolas técnicas, e precisa de mudar isso”.

A jornalista viajou a convite da Ciência Viva e do Governo Regional dos Açores

Diário de Notícias

Investimento público no primeiro trimestre cresceu 25% face a 2016

Flag of Portugal.svg

“Estamos com o dobro dos contratos de obras públicas”, disse Pedro Marques

O ministro do Planeamento e das Infraestruturas, Pedro Marques, disse esta segunda-feira que o investimento público no primeiro trimestre deste ano cresceu “mais de 25%” relativamente a igual período de 2016.

“Estamos com o dobro dos contratos de obras públicas”, declarou Pedro Marques aos jornalistas, em Coimbra.

Citando os últimos dados da análise da Unidade Técnica de Apoio Orçamental (UTAO) à execução orçamental até março, o ministro realçou que o investimento público, em Portugal, entre janeiro e março, registou um crescimento superior a 25% em comparação com o primeiro trimestre do ano passado.

Em 2016 — e “agora no início de 2017” — “foi possível colocar mais de três mil milhões de euros” de fundos comunitários “ao dispor do investimento público”, afirmou.

Reforçando esta visão, Pedro Marques salientou que foram já aprovados “mais de 1.700 milhões de euros de projetos”, o que “determina um arranque do ciclo do investimento de público”.

Após a sua intervenção no encerramento da sessão plenária do evento anual do Portugal 2020, subordinado ao tema “A caminho do Portugal 2020 — Resultados e oportunidades de financiamento”, no Convento de São Francisco, em Coimbra, disse que o investimento privado evidencia “uma taxa de crescimento que é quase 100%”, relativamente a janeiro de 2016.

“Estamos a ir ainda muito mais rápido do que já fomos no ano passado”, afirmou aos jornalistas, para concluir que “o mesmo está a acontecer no que respeita o investimento público”.

Valorizando os “mais de 700 milhões de euros de pagamentos” já efetuados às empresas, o ministro salientou que Portugal contabiliza “mais de cinco mil milhões de euros de apoio de investimento concreto aprovado” no setor privado, com financiamento europeu.

“Viemos sempre a crescer ao longo do período”, acrescentou, retomando algumas das ideias da sua intervenção perante centenas de beneficiários do Portugal 2020, entre representantes de entidades públicas e privadas.

O ministro do Planeamento e das Infraestruturas sublinhou ainda que se verifica “uma duplicação dos contratos de obras públicas, sobretudo relativos ao Portugal 2020 e sobretudo no que respeita à execução dos investimentos nas escolas”.

O investimento privado “já estava no terreno”. Mas, na sua opinião, também “continuará a acelerar a execução do investimento público” até ao fim do ano.

“O Portugal 2020, uma vez mais, vai com certeza absoluta ser um elemento fundamental na recuperação do crescimento económico em Portugal”, assegurou.

O evento “A caminho do Portugal 2020 – Resultados e oportunidades de financiamento” foi organizado pela Agência para o Desenvolvimento e Coesão (ADC) e as autoridades de gestão dos programas operacionais.

Na abertura da sessão plenária, intervieram ainda o secretário de Estado do Desenvolvimento e Coesão, Nelson de Souza, o presidente da Câmara de Coimbra e da Associação Nacional de Municípios Portugueses, Manuel Machado, o presidente da ADC, António Costa Dieb, e a presidente da Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Centro, Ana Abrunhosa, entre outros.

Diário de Notícias

Manam evacuees receive aid

Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg

settlers

RED Cross and World Vision are providing assistance to hundreds of people fleeing volcanic eruptions on the island of Manam.
By last count, 887 people have left the island as lava continues to flow from the volcano after it erupted last month.
“Available information indicated light ash fell in areas stretching between Warisi on the east, Dugulaba on the south and Boda and Baliab on the northwest parts of the island,” the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management said.
“No information on the volume and impact of the ashfall is available due to communication difficulties.”
An official of the European Union, who was at Bogia on another business, saw the evacuees arrive from Manam.
The official was Ioannis Giokarakis-Argyropoulos, the ambassador and European Union head of delegation to Papua New Guinea who watched as people from the Manam villages of Dugulava, Warisi, Bokure and Kuluguma arrive at Mandi Beach in Bogia, Madang.
The volcano started belching smoke and flames around 7pm on April 16.
It was categorised as stage two alert by the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory, which advised authorities to prepare for evacuation. It upgraded to stage three last week, requiring more immediate action.
The islanders used whatever resources available to them to leave the island.
Madang disaster coordinator Rudolph Mongallee said everyone would be transported to the mainland.
“The islanders will be relocated at the Potsdam Care Centre at mainland Bogia,” Mongallee told The National on Friday.
Ten families consisting of around 150 people had already been transported to the mainland.
He said the Madang government and the National Disaster Centre were providing food to the islanders.
“The Red Cross and World Vision are assisting us with canvas (tents), mosquito nets, blankets and cooking utensils,” Mongallee said.
He said they had asked the people at the Potsdam Care Centre to allow the islanders to stay there.
“They (Manam islanders and Potsdam people) are family in some ways too so the Potsdam people accepted them.”
Mongallee said it was only a temporary resettlement.
Manam Restoration Authority caretaker Paul Akuram said volcanic lava was still flowing.
“Dust has covered the whole island and destroyed gardens and properties so they need to be moved out,” Akuram said.
In 2005, about  9000 people were evacuated, eventually to three principal “care centres”, because of volcanic eruptions.
At the time, relocation on narrow strips of coastal land created conflicts with local people over the use of such resources as land for gardens, water, materials to build houses and access to marine resources.

Source : thenational.com.pg

Police calls on candidate and supporters to follow traffic rules

Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg

By REBECCA KUKU
CANDIDATES should make sure that vehicles used for campaigning are roadworthy and drivers comply with road safety rules, says assistant commissioner of police Chief Superintendent Jerry Frank.
Frank said that candidates and their supporters would be penalised and charged if they breached traffic rules.
“I know it’s the norm for Papua New Guinea during elections to see buses and trucks overloaded with supporters and causing traffic jams in the city, but people must understand that traffic rules are there to protect them,” he said.
“My officers will still arrest and charge those who are found to be breaking the traffic laws regardless of the fact that they are campaigning or not.”
Frank said that an incident at Malaloua in the Gulf province was an example of people not adhering to traffic rules.
“We don’t want the same thing to happen, so we will enforce traffic rules and charge those who do not comply with the laws.”

Source : thenational.com.pg

Westpac chief: Housing market cooling faster than expected

6:00 PM Monday May 8, 2017

Flag of New Zealand.svg

The New Zealand housing market is cooling faster than expected and could take some pressure off bank funding costs. Photo / Doug Sherring
The New Zealand housing market is cooling faster than expected and could take some pressure off bank funding costs. Photo / Doug Sherring

The New Zealand housing market is cooling faster than expected and could take some pressure off bank funding costs, says Westpac NZ chief executive David McLean.

“The Auckland market has cooled quite quickly and we now expect it to remain flat for the rest of the year,” McLean said. “We’re also expecting price growth nationally to slow more than previously expected – to 3 or 4 per cent – or about half what we were previously forecasting.”

High house price growth was not good for the economy in the long term so a slow-down, without a crash would be a good result, he said.

Real Estate Institute and Quotable Value price measures have showed that prices in previous hotspots such as Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga had been flat for about six months.

“We’re seeing that through our business,” McLean said.

Banks’ ability to fund lending during the housing boom has been under pressure because international borrowing costs have risen and locally deposits have not been sufficient to make up the shortfall.

That’s seen their margins fall and put upward pressure on mortgage lending rates despite New Zealand’s official cash rate being stable.

Westpac New Zealand delivered a flat half-year result while it’s Australian owner delivered a A$4.017 billion ($4.31b) cash profit.

Westpac New Zealand made cash earnings of $462 million in the six months to March 31, up 2 per cent from $452m in the same period the previous year.

Its net operating income fell 1 per cent to $1.08b, driven by increasing pricing competition for deposits, impact from a reduction in the amortisation period for deferred acquisition costs and lower mortgage break fees.

The bank’s loan book in New Zealand was up 7 per cent to $76.5b compared to the six months to March 2016, but only grew 2 per cent compared to the six months to September 2016.

While its deposits were up 3 per cent to $56.8b compared to the same prior period, they were down 1 per cent compared to the six months to September 2016.

Westpac’s net interest margin fell 22 basis points to 1.96 per cent, while its operating expenses rose to $468m.

The “front of the war” had moved, McLean said, with the competitive landscape now very much about deposits as opposed to lending.

A combination of rising wholesale funding costs offshore and new Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) rules round capital ratios had driven the shift, he said.

“We would expect to see that settle down over time as the refinancing tasks are completed.”

McLean said he was sceptical of the banking sector’s ability to drive investor demand into deposits while there were still much higher yields in equities and other asset classes.

The returns were still quite different and so investors would ultimately be driven by long-term trends as central banks lifted base rates.

That made it difficult to grow the overall “deposit pie”, he said. But deposit customers could still expect to see rates gradually move up as base rates rose and competition pushed margins.

Meanwhile, it was likely that homeowners faced another three to six months of upward pressure on retail mortgage rates as bank’s adjusted to the new environment, he said.

That was despite economists forecasting the official cash rate would not move for at least a year.

Banking expert and Massey deputy pro vice-chancellor Claire Matthews said results for the three major banks that had reported in the past week (ANZ, BNZ and Westpac) showed they were turning a profit and she questioned their decision to put costs on the consumer.

“Given that they seem to be making lots of money you kind of wonder why,” Matthews said. “It’s not very helpful from a PR or publicity perspective to be talking about their reasonably good profits and then be talking about charging people more money.”
– Additional reporting Tamsyn Parker, Francis Cook

Source : New Zealand Herald