“Ghosts in the Machine” is an investigation by Mongabay and The Gecko Project, an initiative of the UK-based research house Earthsight.The article follows the money used to bribe Indonesia’s highest-ranking judge in 2013 to a series of massive land deals in the interior of Borneo, where a corrupt politician presided over a scheme to sell oil palm plantation licenses to a Malaysian firm.Short films produced in conjunction with the article feature some of the people affected by Hambit’s licensing scheme. One of them, a local priest named Mariyady, researched the contracts signed between villagers and the company, and determined they were ripped off by the compensation they were paid — he described it as “murder.” In the village of Tewah, in the heart of Indonesian Borneo, stands a wooden church named Immanuel. When the church was founded by German missionaries more than a century ago, Tewah would have been a very different place, surrounded by impenetrable rainforest, and accessible only via the Kahayan, a giant river flowing down from the mountains in the centre of the island. Today, Tewah is connected to surrounding villages by deeply rutted roads that cut through increasingly fragmented forests. Its narrow streets are dotted with shops that buy and sell gold, dredged up from the riverbeds by young indigenous men.The current custodian of the church is Mariyady, a charismatic priest with a young family and a Cheshire Cat smile. We heard about Mariyady in the nearby village of Sare Rangan, whose residents were navigating the complexities of a rapidly changing life, after discovering that their land had been licensed to a plantation firm to grow oil palms on a massive scale. The license was one of five issued by then district chief Hambit Bintih in 2012. These licenses were the subject of a 16-month investigation by Mongabay and The Gecko Project, in which we revealed how Hambit had used land deals to bankroll a corrupt election campaign in the district of Gunung Mas.The scheme worked like this: Hambit used his protégé, Cornelis Nalau Antun, to set up a series of shell companies. Then Hambit issued the shell companies with permits for vast areas of land encompassing dozens of villages, including Sare Rangan. Finally, the shell companies were sold to a Malaysian firm called CB Industrial Product. The villagers of Gunung Mas knew nothing of the way their land was being casually traded for millions of dollars — until stakes were planted to demarcate the companies’ concessions.Rainforest cleared for an oil palm estate near Sare Rangan. Image by Sandy Watt for The Gecko Project.When we met Dinur, the chief of Sare Rangan, he was dealing with the fallout of Hambit’s permit trading. It was an uphill battle; as is the case with most indigenous communities in Indonesia, the territorial rights of the Sare Rangan community were not recognized by state law. Dinur and other village leaders were engaged in a complex process of determining how to manage their society and resources, in the face of the greatest potential change they had ever faced. Some villagers had decided to relinquish their land to the company for meager compensation, though it was unclear what right, if any, they had to refuse.As rain poured down amid the fading light one afternoon in 2017, Dinur explained how the villagers had initially sought to oppose the plantation project. But then some of them gave in to the company’s entreaties, and bulldozers steadily began to move into their farms and the rainforest surrounding the village. Dinur said he didn’t know why they had dealt with the company. “I’m afraid,” he told us. “If the people sell their land, there will be no places to farm anymore. The land will be gone.”Dinur, the head of Sare Rangan village. Image by Sandy Watt for The Gecko Project.Dinur said his record of the contracts signed between villagers and the company, now a subsidiary of CB Industrial Product, had been taken by Mariyady, who was investigating the deals. We found Mariyady in his small wooden home next to Immanuel church on the banks of the Kahayan. He told us that, a decade earlier, he had been stationed in Sare Rangan as a young priest.“It was still pristine,” Mariyady said. “There was clean drinking water, a lot of forest. I would climb into the hills, into the forests that people said were sacred, haunted — because the trees were so large.”Mariyady at the church in Tewah. Image by Sandy Watt for The Gecko Project.After two years in Sare Rangan, Mariyady was transferred to another community. He returned in 2016 to lead the church across the subdistrict, from his perch in Tewah. But when he returned to Sare Rangan, he found the forest had been destroyed. His fear for the fate of the villagers was compounded by his experience in other areas in which plantations had taken hold, where clean drinking water was hard to come by, and conflicts simmered between large companies and local people.Mariyady began researching the contracts between the villagers and the company in Sare Rangan. He said the villagers were being ripped off by the compensation they were paid — he described it as “murder.” They would lose their rights to the land passed down to them through generations, which they relied upon for their livelihoods and sustenance, for at least 35 years. It was not yet clear what, if anything, they would receive in return.“For the community in Sare Rangan, there has been no contribution [from palm oil],” Mariyady said. “The forest was cut, the water is polluted. Now the land has been sold to investors, people won’t get it back for seven generations. There will be nowhere else for them to develop.”Mariyady blamed the district government for failing to protect the villages from exploitative land acquisitions. “The people are not to blame because they lack knowledge and education,” he said. “The real sinners are those in office.”Mariyady. Image by Sandy Watt for The Gecko Project.Our investigation showed the blame was well-placed. Hambit Bintih’s 2013 election campaign ended with an attempt to bribe the chief justice of the Constitutional Court, with money that appears to have come from the Gunung Mas land deals. The licenses nevertheless remain in place to this day. As the scandal faded from the public eye, community leaders like Mariyady were left to deal with the fallout, as companies took over indigenous lands and bulldozed their way through some of the world’s most ancient forests.Mariyady began using what he had learned, and his position, to urge villagers to resist the companies. But his was one of few voices in the face of a powerful nexus of corporate and political interests.Though Hambit Bintih was imprisoned (he later died while serving his sentence) the political establishment in Gunung Mas has scarcely changed. Hambit’s deputy took over his position, despite being his running mate in the corrupt 2013 election. On June 27 this year, some five years on from Hambit’s arrest, the district will return to the polls. Of the three candidates, one is Hambit’s son-in-law, while another is a businessman with a massive oil palm estate of his own.“These investors are killing the rights of the Dayak people,” Mariyady said, using a catchall term for the indigenous peoples of inner Borneo. “People who have been left behind. This is why I’m challenging this. But I have no right to make demands. All I can do is try to build the mentality of the community.”Watch our short film about Mariyady, below, to find out more. And then read our investigation into Hambit’s licenses, in English or Bahasa Indonesia.“Ghosts in the Machine” is the second installment of Indonesia for Sale, a series about the corruption behind Indonesia’s deforestation and land-rights crisis. The series is produced under a collaboration between Mongabay and The Gecko Project, an investigative reporting initiative established by the UK-based nonprofit Earthsight. Read the first installment, “The Palm Oil Fiefdom.” Banner: Mariyady at the church. Image by Sandy Watt for The Gecko Project.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Anonymous Companies, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Corruption, Deforestation, Environment, Forestry, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Rainforests, Tropical Forests Article published by mongabayauthor Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored
FILE – La Salle’s Kim Dy. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netDe La Salle posted back-to-back wins after turning back National University, 25-21, 25-11, 15-25, 25-12, in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Lady Spikers improved to 7-2 while snapping the Lady Bulldogs’ streak at two games.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Dy and Baron led the defending champions with 17 and 15 points, respectively while Kim Fajardo dictated their tempo with 41 excellent sets.Singh had 12 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs (5-4), who slipped into a tie with Far Eastern University in fourth.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Taal Volcano evacuees warned against going home Marcos monument beside Aquino’s stirs Tarlac town Kim Kianna Dy capped La Salle’s impressive showing with a kill that bounced off Aiko Urdas’ reception.La Salle saw an opening at the start of the fourth set when NU’s towering middle blocker Jaja Santiago was at the back row that limited her efficiency.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSBreak new groundSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC returnThat allowed the Lady Spikers to bombard the Lady Bulldogs and get an 18-6 lead as Mary Joy Baron denied Jorelle Singh. “I saw that in the fourth set Jaja started at the back and I think that’s why we were ahead early,” said La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus. “That was a different tactic from what we’re used to.” LATEST STORIES 2 ‘bookies’ bet collectors held in Quezon Panelo: Duterte only wants to emulate strong political will of Marcos Beggar dead in Quezon hit-and-run incident Prince Harry: ‘No other option’ but to cut royal ties China counts sharp rise in coronavirus cases, 2 in Beijing Palace: Crisis over ABC-CBN franchise unlikely View comments Last year’s runner-up finish, fuels Kahlefeldt Taal Volcano continues to emit steam, ash from weak explosions Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite
– in BerbicePolice are investigating allegations that a Berbice teenager, who is a school dropout, has sexually molested two boys who are both nine years old.The incident is alleged to have been committed in the Upper Corentyne area.Guyana Times understands that the boys were forced to perform oral sex on the school dropout, whose age was given as 13.It is alleged that the suspect is a school dropout who would wander the streets and lure students smaller than him to a secluded area and force them to perform sexual acts on him.Reports are that the two nine-year-olds were questioned about the issue and provided some information to an adult who contacted the parents.Both of the boys were taken to be medically examined and this publication was informed that the medical examiner found that there was no sexual penetration. However, based on the detailed description that both of the boys gave as to what transpired, the Police were called in and have begun to investigate.Reports are that the 13-year-old works as a labourer in the vicinity of a market on the Corentyne. (Andrew Carmichael)
Steven Gerrard during Liverpools 3-1 Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace Brendan Rodgers accepts Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is no longer the driving force he was, but insists it is wrong to write him the midfielder off entirely.The 34-year-old has come under fire for his performances this season, with the player perhaps still feeling the aftershocks of the team’s Premier League title slip and England’s woeful World Cup campaign.Rodgers has faced accusations he has continued to select the ex-Three Lions skipper on reputation alone, but the Anfield boss has defended his decision.“I judge Steven on merit. I think the spotlight he has been under is incredible. Everything for us is based around being a team,” said Rodgers.“If people are expecting Steven Gerrard to be the type of player he was 10 years ago that is sadly not the case.”Former team-mate Jamie Carragher has suggested it was time for Gerrard to be released from the defensive role which he believes he is unsuitable for, but Rodgers said he has no intention of doing so.“He has slowly been adapting to a position I felt he could benefit the team but a player who was scoring 15 goals a season and making 13 or 14 assists…..he is not that type of player [any more],” the Northern Irishman added.“It is hugely unfair he is judged at that level. He is a wonderful player and I can quite safely say he is the best player I have worked with in terms of footballing mentality and the loyalty he has shown to this club is without question.“I don’t deal so much in [being] sentimental. There is nothing sentimental in me picking Steven Gerrard.“He is coming towards the latter part of his career but he still has a valuable contribution to make.“He can play three games in a week but he won’t be able to play it to the level he would like or I would like and it is my job to manage that.”That last comment suggests Rodgers is prepared to rest his captain in Wednesday’s Champions League clash at Ludogorets, which would be a second successive European League benching for the midfielder having come on for the final 20 minutes against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu last time out.In Bulgaria the Liverpool boss is trying to arrest a four-match losing streak which has put his own position under scrutiny, with his side well off the pace domestically and in danger of not making the knockout stages in their first time back in the Champions League for five years.For the time being the Northern Irishman has the backing of owners Fenway Sports Group, but if things go awry in Bulgaria and Basle happen to get a result at home to already-qualified Real Madrid, Liverpool could be out with a match still to play and then the pressure will really increase.“I haven’t spoken to anyone [at FSG] as of yet. I’ve had a few messages but they have always been supportive of me,” Rodgers added.“My focus is on getting Liverpool to win games and I know that is what will make them most happy.“I always believe losing can be the making of you as a player and a manager in terms of how you learn from it and move on from it.“When you don’t have so much coaching time on the field it is mostly psychological what you want to achieve.“You never dwell too much on the past – anyone can make mistakes – but for us it is about being in the present and focusing on the next game.“If we dwell too much on the weekend [a dimal 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace] there is no way we could go out and play.“It is about getting confidence into players, talking with players, ensuring the environment at the training ground is still a happy place to be.“My job as the leader of the team and the club is vital. We will always experience disappointment but no matter how you feel you are one of the pillars of the football club.“The players are looking to you for that response and ability to motivate and that is very important in my role.” 1
Dele Alli has been warned by a former Tottenham star he risks wasting his huge potential if he doesn’t focus fully on football.The playmaker has made rapid progress since moving from MK Dons to Spurs in 2015 and, at 21, has become one of the stars of the Premier League and the England team.But fears have reportedly been expressed by senior figures at the North London club that Alli is being distracted by off-field matters, after he ditched his long-time agent.And the concerns over Alli are shared by Gus Poyet, with the former Spurs midfielder and assistant boss urging the starlet to get his priorities right.He told talkSPORT: “I love him as a player but there are too many things publicly about him, too many issues.“I would say to him concentrate on football because if he does, he can be one of the best. Forget about the media, forget about Instagram, things like these, just focus on football please because you are outstanding.“I’m not saying don’t have a life but there are ways to do it and moments to do it and he cannot waste his qualities because of external things. If he does concentrate on football, he is going to be amazing to watch.”
Tamuri said most residents and businesses are complying with the law. Since it went into effect, the city has sent three letters to local businesses asking them to be more vigilant. In the meantime, the city continues to distribute brochures, mints and cards with the message. And residents continue to report violations. Overall, the residents appear to be in favor of it. “I’m for anything that maintains our quality of life here,” said Tom Harper. “We’re proud to live in this smoke-free city.” The City Council will receive an update in October, when it will take a closer look at expanding the ordinance to include apartments. For more information, go to www.cityofcalabasas.com/home.html. firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 713-3699160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPhotos: At LA County Jail, Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrates Christmas Mass with inmates“Smokers are recognizing the right of a nonsmoker to have clean air,” said Maureen Tamuri, the city’s community development director. “They don’t just light up in front of a neighbor or citizen. They look for a spot. They’re doing it because they understand it’s the right thing to do.” Currently there are 20 designated smoking areas throughout this upscale community of 23,000, mainly in shopping malls, where customers and employees can smoke in outdoor areas away from nonsmokers. “We didn’t ban smoking,” said City Councilman Barry Groveman, an environmental lawyer. “We reduced the risk of public exposure by not allowing smokers to smoke when nonsmokers are present.” Stephanie Warren, Calabasas Chamber of Commerce chairwoman, said local businesses support the law. “People are glad they can sit outside The Commons and not have smoke blown in their face,” said Warren. “People say they’re going to come to Calabasas to eat or to enjoy our parks because people aren’t smoking. We didn’t tell people they can’t smoke. We just limit where they could.” CALABASAS – Four months after enacting one of the toughest public smoking bans in the nation, Calabasas officials say it’s been a success and they are considering extending the ordinance to apartment complexes. Officials said there have been no citations, arrests or lawsuits challenging the ban, which prohibits smoking in all public spaces including parks, apartment common areas, restaurants and bars. Under the law, residents can report smokers who refuse to butt out, and the city attorney will determine whether to impose fines up to $500. Already, Archstone Calabasas, one of the largest apartment complexes in the city with 1,700 units, has voluntarily banned smoking on balconies at its complex. And Santa Monica officials are considering a similar public-smoking ban.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.Wednesday’s strategic planning meeting was attended by the nine-member board and two executive directors. City Manager Ken Pulskamp and Tina Haddad, assistant to the city manager, volunteered their expertise. Samantha Thomas, a co-executive director of the group, said the number of women walking through the door continues to grow. About 116 new clients joined support groups in 2005-06; the office served about 300 people altogether. The prior year, 103 new clients came in. During that same period, 40 people – 15 women and 25 children – took refuge in the shelter, which can house 10 people at a time. Calls to the hotline grew to 550, up from 438 the prior year. The location of the shelter, which generally offers a 30-day maximum stay, is confidential, and its security has never been breached. Clients are often referred to six-month to two-year transitional programs that provide housing and offer high school equivalency education and job training and teaches independent living skills. Many who seek the center’s services have already reported physical abuse to law enforcement. Sheriff’s Lt. Brenda Cambra, the board’s newest member, said the group is an “absolutely necessary part of our community.” Sheriff’s Department records show that reports of serious domestic violence injuries – broken bones, internal injuries and injuries requiring stitches or hospitalization – are increasing from prior years. In 2004, 22 victims made reports; in 2005, 10 reports were filed; and so far this year, 25 reports have been made. In cases of lesser injuries or no injury, in 2004, 434 reports were made; in 2005, the number climbed to 524; and so far in 2006, 318 cases have been reported. Domestic violence spreads its tentacles through the community, and the group plans to educate neighbors, relatives, friends, co-workers and schoolmates of victims, with the intent of demystifying the problem and attracting more support, financial and otherwise. “We talk about how domestic violence happening in the home or not still has the likelihood of touching peoples’ lives,” Thomas said. “My son may have a friend whose mom is a victim; employers have employees where (it) is a factor in their lives.” The violent encounters cross racial, religious and economic divides, and sometimes adult-on-adult attacks veer into physical abuse of children. Cambra said domestic violence runs in families, as opposed to across the board in areas, so patterns may be seen. Harris said it also crosses into the same-sex community. And the behavior can escalate. “It’s certainly not a problem that’s been solved.” The group also offers crisis intervention counseling and children’s therapy, teaches victims to develop safe exit plans, how to obtain temporary restraining orders and legal service referrals. In 2004, 35 domestic violence victims reported restraining order violations; in 2005, 25 made reports; and so far in 2006, 19 reports have been made. Gail Ortiz, the city’s spokeswoman, and Kevin Tonoian, Santa Clarita’s technology services manager, serve on the board. email@example.com (661) 257-5255160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – The Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita is hammering out a three-year strategic plan to neatly map out its growth. The nonprofit group wants to relocate its 10-bed emergency shelter and expand its services to offer more prevention programs instead of solely reacting to crises. “Things have changed so drastically, we thought we would have something in place that we could look at as we reach each of our goals,” said Jorja Harris, president of the organization’s board. The 22-year-old center in Newhall offers counseling and support groups in English and Spanish, a year-round court-mandated batterer’s intervention program, a 24-hour emergency hotline and an emergency food supply program.
Yesterday evening, at approximately 5:30 pm, a Salem man was arrested for dealing Meth during a traffic stop in Clark County.The driver of the vehicle, identified as Shane T. Ooley, 46, of Nubian Road in Salem, IN, was arrested for Dealing in Methamphetamine 10 Grams or More, Dealing in Cocaine or Narcotic Drug, Possession of Methamphetamine 10 Grams or More, Possession of Cocaine or Narcotic Drug and Maintaining a Common Nuisance.He was incarcerated at the Clark County Jail awaiting his first court date. Trooper Zach Smith from the Indiana State Police Post at Sellersburg stopped a vehicle on Louis Smith Road near Chapel Hill Road in Borden. The stop was for a traffic violation.During the course of the traffic stop, Trooper Smith deployed Indiana State Police Certified K-9 “Riggs” for a free air sniff around the car.K-9 “Riggs” provided a positive alert on the vehicle for a controlled substance.A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed approximately fifteen, (15), grams of Crystal Methamphetamine, 1.5 grams of Heroin, and drug paraphernalia.
Statewide Iowa — High School Cross Country State qualifying meet assignments were released by the state on Wednesday.For Class 2A Sheldon, Cherokee, E-LC, GLR/CL, Okoboji, Sibley-Ocheyedan, Sioux Center, Spirit Lake, Unity, West Lyon, Western, and several other schools will be running at Landsmeer Golf Course in Orange City.Class 1A area teams will be running at Ridge View. The area teams competing are Gehlen, H-LP, HMS, Hinton, MMCRU, South O’Brien and West Sioux.Area 3A teams will be running at Humboldt. Teams competing will be BHRV, Heelan, Le Mars, MOC-Floyd Vallye, SB-L, Spencer, and Storm Lake.CLASS 4ACLASS 3ACLASS 2ACLASS 1A
Johannesburg, Wednesday 2 April 2014 – Brand South Africa today co-hosted with the WITS Business School a special seminar at which the results of the 2013 Thrive International Investor Perceptions Survey was released.Participants were also briefed on the outcomes of the inaugural South African Competitiveness Forum hosted by Brand South Africa at the end of 2013.Speakers included Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola, Gauteng Growth and Development Agency CEO, Mr Siphiwe Ngwenya; Group Executive Business Intelligence, Dr Shima Nokaneng; Brand South Africa’s Head of Research Dr Petrus de Kock and Mr Tsholo Mogotsi ofthe City of Johannesburg.In presenting the outcomes of the 2013 Thrive study, Brand South Africa’s Head of Research Dr Petrus de Kock, articulated why the study matters. “In an increasingly globalised world, with shrinking borders driving the 24/7 culture enabled by, amongst others, the internet and 24 hour-news programmes, it is crucial for South Africa to understand the way in which we are perceived in both our traditional markets and trading partners, as well as in the markets that are bound to continue driving global growth in coming decades.”According to the results of the 2013 survey, South Africa competes equitably with other emerging markets in the study – including the continent and BRICS countries.Some high-level findings from this year’s investor perceptions research indicate that:87% of respondents have heard of South Africa recently from any source;61% overall familiarity with South Africa among the sample; and32% of the respondents are currently investing, or doing business with South Africa.While the overall findings show a relatively high level of awareness of South Africa as a whole, the research also aims to identify the specific economic sectors associated with South Africa.The research also asks of respondents to indicate which three countries are the best to do business in or with. South Africa comes 4th in this category with the top three being China, India, and Brazil.According to respondents, the economic areas for which South Africa is most well-known are:Mining & Quarrying – 64% Agriculture – 46%Hospitality, hotels, restaurants & tourism – 44%Manufacturing – 36%Construction – 29%Wholesale & retail – 28%Transport – 23%Electricity, gas & water supply – 20%Finance, insurance & real estate – 17%Post & telecommunications – 14%At the same time, respondents indicate the most attractive features for doing business in South Africa include:Infrastructure;A growing economy; andLow cost of doing business.Meanwhile, Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola briefed participants that Brand South Africa is currently implementing the recommendations of the 2013 inaugural South African Competitiveness Forum including the establishment of a task team to ensure all stakeholders work together for South Africa’s continued competitiveness, economic and social growth as mandated by the country’s National Development Plan. “It is crucial that we begin to close the executive deficit that presently prevails in our country. We must implement decisions that will see all stakeholders contribute our desired social and economic growth and development,” said Mr Matola.Presentations from the representatives of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency and the City of Jo’burg included a brief on the integrated strategy by the province and city to ensure international investors are supported to enable them to maximise their investment while contributing to job creation and economic growth in our country.This will go a long way towards building perceptions of South Africa as a competitive and reputable investment destination.At the same presenters expressed the need for greater integration by agencies and stakeholders who are responsible for driving a shared agenda for growth and development in South Africa. Twenty years after democracy this must be taken to new heights to ensure that the gains in our country are sustained.The results of the 2013 International Investment Perceptions Survey and the discussions at the seminar indicate that while South Africa has made significant gains in the past 20 years, much more can be done.You can participate in the conversation on South Africa’s competitiveness and reputation on @Brand_SA #CompetitiveSA. Note to EditorsFor more information on the outcomes of the 2013 Thrive International Perceptions Survey please visit www.brandsouthafrica.com or www.southafrica.info.Information on the outcomes of the 2013 inaugural South African Competitiveness Forum can also be accessed at www.brandsouthafrica.com or www.southafrica.info About Brand South AfricaBrand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness. Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.About Play Your PartPlay Your Part is a nationwide campaign created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa. It aims to lift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all South Africans to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing – because a nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone.Play Your Part is aimed at all South Africans – from corporates to individuals, NGOs to government, churches to schools, young to not so young. It aims to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.There are numerous opportunities, big and small, for each and every South African to make a positive difference in the communities in which they live and operate. Play Your Part encourages them to act on these opportunities.The campaign is driven by the Brand South Africa. Further resources from Brand South AfricaMedia are invited to visit http://www.southafrica.info/ for further resources which can be reproduced without any copyright infringement. Kindly attribute to Brand South Africa.