Vermont’s General Fund, Transportation Fund and Education Fund revenues all exceed August targets


first_imgVermont Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding released the August 2011 General Fund (GF) Revenue results today. Led by an increase in personal income tax receipts, the most important component, General Fund revenues totaled $90.06 million for August 2011, and were +$10.89 million or +13.75 percent above the $79.17 million consensus revenue forecast for the month, more than covering the prior month’s shortfall. Year to date, General Fund revenues were $176.33 million, and +$6.00 million or +3.52 percent above the two month target of $170.33 million. August is the second month of fiscal year (FY) 2012. Spaulding commented, ‘August General Fund receipts allowed us to recoup a July shortfall and placed us a little ahead of our year-to-date target. In addition, the year-to-date August 2011 General Fund revenues exceeded 2010 receipts for the same period by +7.6 percent. While this is indeed good news, it is in the rearview mirror. Recent events, including the impacts from Tropical Storm Irene along with continuing global fiscal instability and looming federal cuts, require us to be especially cautious looking forward.’ Current targets reflect the Fiscal Year 2012 Consensus Revenue Forecast adopted by the Emergency Board at their July 21, 2011 meeting. Statutorily, the State is required to revise the Consensus Revenue Forecast two times per year, in January and July; the Emergency Board may schedule interim revisions if deemed necessary. Personal Income Tax (PI) receipts are the largest single state revenue source providing approximately 50 percent of total GF revenue. PI Tax receipts are reported Net-of-Personal Income Tax refunds. Net Personal Income Tax is comprised of PI Withholding Tax, PI Estimated Payments, PI Refunds Paid, and PI Other. Net PI Receipts for August were recorded at $43.46 million, +$8.67 million or +24.94 percent above the monthly target of $34.78 million. Year to date, net PI Receipts were $87.97 million, +$5.08 million or +6.13 percent ahead of target. Corporate Income Taxes are also reported net-of refunds. August Corporate receipts of $1.99 million were +$0.62 million or +45.61 percent ahead of the monthly target of $1.37 million. Year to date Corporate receipts were $3.97 million, +$0.22 million or +5.86 percent ahead of target. Consumption tax results for August were mixed: Sales & Use Tax receipts of $17.34 million were slightly below target by -$0.04 million (-0.20 percent); Rooms & Meals Tax receipts of $12.42 million exceeded target by +$1.00 million (+8.72 percent). Year to date, both Sales & Use Tax ($38.66 million or +1.42 percent) and Rooms & Meals Tax ($22.79 million or +6.07 percent) were above target for August, as well as being above the two month total receipts for the prior year by +7.2 percent and +6.1 percent respectively. The remaining non-major tax components include Insurance, Inheritance & Estate Tax, Real Property Transfer Tax, and ‘Other’ (which includes: Bank Franchise Tax, Telephone Tax, Liquor Tax, Beverage Tax, Fees, and Other Taxes). The results for the remaining non-major categories for August were as follows: Insurance Tax, $6.97 million (+1.80 percent); Inheritance & Estate Tax, $3.78 (+188.36 percent); Property Transfer Tax, $0.75 million (-2.22 percent); and ‘Other’, $3.35 million (-36.70 percent). The year to date August results for the remaining non-major categories were: Insurance Tax, $7.38 million (+3.77 percent); Inheritance & Estate Tax, $4.16 (+40.71 percent); Property Transfer Tax, $1.53 million (-5.34 percent); and ‘Other’, $9.86 million (-20.44 percent). Cumulatively, the total non-major component receipts of $22.93 million were below the prior year total of $27.73 million by -$4.80 million, or -17.31 percent. However, the shortfall versus prior year in ‘Other’ is due to one-time extraordinary settlement activity in Bank Franchise Tax during August of the prior year.  Education Fund Secretary Spaulding also released the ‘non-Property Tax’ Education Fund revenues (which constitute approximately 12 percent of the total Education Fund sources) today. The non-Property Tax Education Fund receipts for August totaled $12.97 million, or +$0.01 million (+0.06 percent) above the $12.96 million target for the month. Year to date, non-Property Tax Education Fund receipts were $26.26 million, or 0.55 percent ahead of the year to date target. The individual Education Fund revenue component results for August were: Sales & Use Tax, $8.67 million, or -0.21 percent below target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $2.47 million or -5.88 percent; Lottery Transfer, $1.83 million or +10.88 percent above target; Education Fund Interest for August was essentially $0. Year to date receipts by component were: Sales & Use Tax, $19.33 million, or +1.42 percent above target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $4.11 million or -6.95 percent; Lottery Transfer, $2.83 million or +6.78 percent above target; year to date Education Fund Interest was essentially $0. As compared to prior year, FY 2012 year to date non-Property Tax Education Fund receipts are 7.9 percent ahead of the FY 2011 results for the same period.  Transportation Fund The non-dedicated Transportation Fund Revenue for August was also reported on by Secretary Spaulding. Total non-dedicated Transportation Fund receipts of $20.12 million for the month exceeded target by +$0.41 million (+2.09 percent), against the monthly target of $19.71 million. The excess August receipts covered most of the July shortfall, leaving August year to date Transportation Fund receipts of $35.38 million short of the $35.42 million target by -$0.05 million or -0.13 percent. Compared to FY 2011, year to date August Transportation Funds receipts now exceed the prior year by +$0.30 million or +0.80 percent for the same period. Individual Transportation Fund revenue receipts components for August were mixed: Gasoline Tax, $5.52 million or +0.25 percent ahead of target; Diesel Tax, $1.82 million or +39.25 percent above target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $5.04 million or -3.78 percent behind target; Motor Vehicle Fees, $6.57 million or +5.11 percent ahead of target; and Other Fees, $1.17 million or -16.74 percent short of the monthly target. Year to date results for the individual Transportation Fund revenue components for August were: Gasoline Tax, $10.63 million or +0.48 percent ahead of target; Diesel Tax, $2.32 million or +10.84 percent above target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $8.32 million or -5.70 percent behind target; Motor Vehicle Fees, $11.62 million or +2.39 percent ahead of target; and Other Fees, $2.48 million or -3.54 percent short of the monthly target. Secretary Spaulding said, ‘The Transportation Fund revenue seems to be holding its own and is, in fact, slightly ahead of the receipts at this point last year, although two months is not sufficient to project a trend and the after effects of Irene will impact T-fund revenues as well.’ The Secretary also reported on the results for the Transportation Infrastructure Bond Fund (’TIB’). TIB Fund Gas receipts for August were $1.98 million or +19.10 percent in excess of target; year to date TIB Gas receipts were $3.58 million or +12.34 percent ahead of target. TIB Fund Diesel receipts for the month were $0.22 million or -9.60 percent short of the monthly target; year to date TIB Diesel receipts were $0.28 million or -14.69 percent short of target. TIB Fund receipts are noted below the following table: center_img Conclusion Secretary Spaulding concluded, ‘Vermont’s August revenue results continued in line with the slow but steady recovery we had been experiencing. The future, however, is far from certain. We have yet to fully assess the recovery costs and economic impact of Irene on Vermont’s citizens, businesses and State operations. Additionally, global fiscal instability, paralysis in Washington, and unknown federal cuts continue to loom on the horizon. President Obama’s proposed Jobs Bill and the influx of federal disaster funds into Vermont may well have some positive economic impact on Vermont, although, it is too soon to tell how much and how the Jobs Bill will fair in Congress. We will continue our efforts to assess Irene’s impact, keep a close eye on our revenue performance over the next couple of months, and closely watch the wrangling in Washington over federal funding cuts and the Jobs Bill.’last_img read more

Competition tough to lead Spirit of Troy


first_imgBefore the Trojans take the field for the first home game of the 2010 season, one student will be tasked with leading the Trojan Marching Band onto the field and kicking off the day’s events with the ceremonial stabbing of the field.Marching in · Drum Major Kenny Morris leads the Trojan Marching Band onto the field at a football game at the Coliseum this fall. – Brandon Hui | Daily Trojan Five band members will compete for the coveted drum major spot tonight: Kyle Wilson, a junior majoring in theatre who plays trombone; Keith Yoerg, a sophomore majoring in astronautics and space technology who plays trumpet; Josh Zieve, a junior majoring in fine arts who plays trumpet; Iwari Dewees, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering who plays the tenor saxophone; and Timothy Larson, a junior majoring in neuroscience who plays trumpet.On Tuesday night, the candidates will take turns giving vocal commands, marching and giving motivational speeches. The entire marching band will then vote on who will carry the sword come fall.Kenny Morris, this year’s drum major, said the drum major must provide leadership to each section in the band.“How effective, cohesive and powerful the band is comes down to the leader. These guys will have to step into that role. It’s something that I had to do,” Morris said. “To be that fire, to be that person that says ‘We are great, but we can be even greater.’”Morris won the drum major position last year over Larson, though the selection was tough.The original audition resulted in a tie between Larson and Morris that was decided by a spring scrimmage. Larson and Morris split the time as drum major during the scrimmage, and a re-vote declared Morris the winner.Larson said losing out on the position last year has prepared him to audition again this year.“I think I am more driven this year. I don’t regret not getting it last year, but I’m not entirely sure if I was ready for it,” Larson said. “It has pushed me to try even harder this year.”For Wilson, the decision to try out was simple because he has been immersed in the USC band since an early age.“My brother and sister are both graduates of USC, and they were both in the band, so I’ve known of the position since I was about six years old,” Wilson said. “That’s when I absolutely fell in love with the band.”As a member of ROTC, Wilson feels he is prepared to lead the Trojan Marching Band.“I was taught to be a leader, not a follower. Having been around the band for so long, I will be able to continue to uphold the traditions and take charge,” Wilson said.Yoerg is the youngest drum major hopeful.“Initially, people might think [my age] will be a factor, but when it comes down to my audition, it won’t weigh as heavily on their minds,” Yoerg said.Yoerg is excited by this chance to usher USC football into a new era.“I think that I can definitely bring the enthusiasm, and part of the reason is that I love USC football,” Yoerg said. “Now we just have to prove that we’re still the Trojans and that it’s not just Pete Carroll who held the team together.”Zieve has prior experience as a drum major for his high school.“I’ve had many leadership positions in the past, so I feel like I’m ready to be drum major. It’s really something that I’ve aspired to since I’ve been a freshman at USC,” Zieve said.Zieve said it is important for the drum major to connect with all types of people in the band.“The drum major should be someone who everyone can get along with and relate to,” Zieve said. “No one wants a drum major who thinks they’re better or doesn’t work as hard.”Dewees said he has worked since his freshman year to reach the level of skill required to lead the band. “I just didn’t give up, and I put in four years of hard work to get to the point where I am in a good position to lead the Trojan Marching Band,” Dewees said. “Not giving up on your dreams can help you realize them no matter how far you are from the picture at the beginning.”Members of the band said that the most important characteristic for a potential drum major is having leadership skills.“The drum major is the leader of the band, both on and off the field,” said K.C. Busby, a sophomore majoring in industrial and systems engineering. “[He’s] in charge of keeping up the intensity at practice, making sure we’re all doing what we’re supposed to and keeping our enthusiasm at a really high level.”The auditions will be held Tuesday and, except in the case of a tie, the winner should be announced immediately after the vote.last_img read more

World’s oldest woman caught in the midst of family dispute


first_imgThe whereabouts of the world’s oldest woman, 117-year-old Violet Moss Browne, remains a mystery after she was reportedly moved from her home by relatives as a family feud boils over her care and treatment.According to relatives who care for Browne at her Duanvale, Trelawny home, she was supposed to be taken to hospital for a medical appointment on Saturday but has not been seen since.Relative refused to bring her back homeChristo Davis, Moss Brown’s grandson, told the Jamaica Gleaner that a woman he identified as Karen Samuel took the matriarch last weekend but has refused to return her to her home.“Karen Samuels told me she was instructed by Barry Russell (Moss Brown’s son) to take her to the hospital to get her hydrated,” he said. “She (Samuels) did not take her back, and we, who have been here with her all these years, have no idea where she is now.”Samuels subsequently confirmed that she was instructed by Russell to remove Brown from her home and not to reveal her whereabouts to anyone.Not pleased with treatmentRussell, who lives in Miami, later told the newspaper that he was not pleased with the treatment his mother was receiving at home and he accused her grandchildren, with whom she lived, of being greedy and uncaring.She is alive and well“I made the decision to move my mother because her greedy grandchildren were not taking good care of her,” said Russell. “I am not going to reveal her whereabouts to them . . . . She is alive and well.”However, granddaughter Lelieth Palmer, the daughter of Moss Brown’s son, Harland Fairweather, who was the world’s oldest person with a living parent prior to his death earlier this year, told the Jamaica Gleaner that since her father died, there had been a family dispute as to who should care for Moss Brown.“She was removed because of this dispute,” Palmer said.The decision to remove Moss Brown from her Duanvale home has also not gone down well with other members of the community and her church family, who view her as a community icon.The Jamaican supercentenarian, shot to fame earlier this year after her status as the world’s oldest person came to light. She has since received many courtesy calls including from the country’s Governor General, Patrick Allen, Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader peter Phillips.She is also due to be visited by representatives of the Guinness Book of World Records.last_img read more

The Silk Series braces itself for Doncaster finale


first_img A field of nineteen is set to contest The Silk Series Final on Thursday 13 September at Doncaster Racecourse.Currently top of The Silk Series leader-board on 80 points, reigning champion Megan Nicholls is in pole position to retain her crown, with a top three finish guaranteeing her victory.  Hot on her heels, however, are Jane Elliott (72 points) and Rhian Ingram (64) who could both still claim the title with 20 points available to the winning jockey.Worth over £150,000 in total, The Silk Series expanded in 2018 to include races from Musselburgh, Hamilton Park, York and Goodwood for the first time, giving jockeys more opportunities to secure rides and accrue points over the summer.Nicholls rides the top-rated Eastern Impact, trained by Richard Fahey at Doncaster and is hopeful of her chances of securing enough points to hold on to her Silk Series title.She said: “The Silk Series has, once again, been a really great initiative to give female jockeys more opportunities this summer, and the addition of four extra racecourses has been brilliant.“I always knew it would be as competitive as last year, if not more so, so I’ve been doing everything I can to secure as many points as possible over the summer.  The Final is a sprint handicap with 19 runners, so anything could happen, but I’m really hopeful of a great run from Eastern Impact and to keep hold of my title for another year.”The Silk Series is honoured to welcome Elain Mellor to present the Tufnell Trophy for 2018.  A former amateur jockey, Elain was crowned Champion Female Jockey on seven occasions between 1975 and 1985.Amongst Elain’s most notable wins was the Ladies Diamond Race at Ascot, run on King George Day, aboard Mandalus, trained by Sir Mark Prescott which she won in consecutive years.  In addition, Elain rode over 100 winners in Britain and abroad for numerous other trainers including John Dunlop, Tom Jones and Dick Hern.  Riding as a flat jockey throughout her career, a rare but memorable National Hunt ride also resulted in a win in a bumper at Cheltenham, the scene of so many victories for her husband, Stan.Mellor added: “I am absolutely delighted to be asked to present The Tufnell Trophy at Doncaster.  Meriel was a pioneer in British racing, showing the determination and confidence necessary to compete successfully. I’m sure Meriel would have been delighted and excited by The Silk Series. “I’ve been following The Silk Series with a keen interest since it launched last year, and I think it’s a fantastic initiative that shows of the breadth of the talented female jockeys that we have riding in Britain today, both professional and amateur.  The female jockeys riding today are at last getting the opportunities they deserve and whoever ends up lifting the Trophy will be a very deserving winner indeed”.Raising money and awareness for Cancer Research UK, the nine Arena Racing Company racecourses taking part in The Silk Series will donate £1 from every ticket sold to their Ladies Day fixtures.  In addition, Cancer Research volunteers have been on course selling merchandise and engaging with racegoers throughout the summer.Official betting partner bet365 has been helping to raise awareness for The Silk Series online with their significant digital audience and have been offering insight and tips from jockey and broadcaster Hayley Moore. bet365 has given Hayley a £100 charity bet in each race, with all winnings donated to Cancer Research. Share Submit ARC confirms Belle Vue closure August 3, 2020 StumbleUpon Oddschecker: ‘Unusual circumstances’ fail to hinder Royal Ascot traffic July 23, 2020 Related Articles Playtech goes live in the US with bet365 August 7, 2020 Sharelast_img read more

Garner city administrator takes job in North Carolina


first_imgGARNER — Garner’s city administrator is heading to North Carolina. The Rocky Mount Telegram is reporting that Randy Lansing has been hired to be the city manager in Nashville North Carolina.The town of 5500 is about 45 miles northeast of Raleigh. Lansing has an adult daughter who lives and works in the Raleigh-Durham area.Lansing has been the city administrator in Garner since 2011. Prior to that, he was the city administrator in Cascade for about 13 years and city manager in East Dubuque for three years.The Nashville Town Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to hire Lansing with a three-year contract that pays an annual salary of $110,000 a year. Lansing will report for his new job in early June.The community has been without a full-time city manager after the town council fired their previous manager in June.last_img read more

Dedication of 9/11 Tribute Slated for Memorial Day


first_imgBy Celia BelmonteThe Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department will unveil its 9/11 tribute in a ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, May 28, Memorial Day, outside the Red Bank Borough Hall at 90 Monmouth St.The monument includes a piece of steel from one of the World Trade Center Towers. “I applied for the piece in 2010,” Fire Chief Alan Soden Jr. said. “The application is the biggest thing. They want to know exactly where the steel will go and how it will be specifically used for a monument. We even had to send a picture of the monument two weeks ago.”Soden’s father, Alan Soden Sr., who was fire chief in 1986, was also involved in obtaining the steel for the tribute. “It was a long process with a lot of paperwork and legal action,” the senior Soden said. “All the pieces were numbered because every piece was evidence.”The fire department was not approved to pick up the steel until winter 2011 at a high security terminal atthe John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, N.Y.Once the 450-pound piece was in Red Bank, Bobby Holiday, a volunteer fireman and former fire chief, created five wooden models of potential monument designs. After a vote, the fire department’s six companies finally decided on Holiday’s personal favorite, The Rising.A memorial with steel from the World Trade Center will be dedicated on Memorial Day on Monmouth Street, Red Bank.“In this design I tried to show that the steel is rising back to the top,” Holiday said. “It’s going back up.”The design places the twisted piece of steel on two pegs of different sizes, slant­ing it upward toward a representation of twin towers behind it. Beginning from the base of the steel, the design forces the eye up along the metal piece to the top of the towers where the numbers “9” and “11” have been placed.“Clark Craig made the towers for us for just the material cost,” Holiday said. “His friend donated the specially cut numbers for free. It is still unknown who it was.”The fire department understands how important it is to have this 9/11 tribute in the community. “We want to remember the 343 firemen that died that day and all of the others who lost their lives,” Soden Sr. said.The department also hopes to commemorate the life of their fallen brother, Mark F. Hemschoot, a member of the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department who worked on one of the top floors of the World Trade Center.Hemschoot’s name is part of a plaque listing the names of volunteer members who have died in the line of duty. The plaque, placed below the original bell from the early 20th century Liberty Fire House on White Street, is part of the fire department’s two-year-old memorial.The 9/11 tribute is a much welcomed addition. “People love it and have said how nice it looks,” Soden Sr. said. “Everyone is pleased with it. It took some time but we got it where we wanted it.”last_img read more

Proteins Fold Who Knows How


first_imgOne of the biggest mysteries remaining in cell biology is how proteins fold.  Proteins start out as chains of amino acids (polypeptides) as they exit the ribosome.  Most of them spontaneously fold into their “native” three-dimensional structures, where they will go to work as enzymes, structural materials or other key players in cell life.  About 10% of them are so complex, they need a little help.  The GroEL+GroES enzymes act like a barrel-shaped dressing room to help these proteins escape the bustle of the cytoplasm so that they can fold in private.  New work published in Cell shows that this “chaperone” device speeds up the proper folding of the polypeptide when it otherwise might get stuck on a “kinetic trap.”1  A German team likened the assistance to narrowing the entropic funnel.  “The capacity to rescue proteins from such folding traps may explain the uniquely essential role of chaperonin cages within the cellular chaperone network,” they said.  GroEL+GroES therefore “rescues” protein that otherwise might misfold and cause damage to the cell.    The GroEL barrel and its GroES cap spend 7 ATP energy molecules opening and closing.  The process can work in reverse, taking a misfolded protein and unfolding it as well.  It might take several rounds for a complex protein to reach its native fold.  These chaperonins operate in bacteria as well as higher organisms – and they are not the only chaperones.  “Bacterial cells generally contain multiple, partly redundant chaperone systems that function in preventing the aggregation of newly synthesized and stress-denatured proteins,” the authors said.  “In contrast to all other components of this chaperone network, the chaperonin, GroEL, and its cofactor, GroES, are uniquely essential, forming a specialized nano-compartment for single protein molecules to fold in isolation.”  This fact has been known since the 1990s.  Chakraborty et al focused on the ability of GroEL+GroES to rescue proteins from kinetic traps.  Like a stack of six-sided rings, GroEL forms a barrel-shaped container.  “Each subunit of GroEL is composed of an equatorial ATPase domain, an apical domain, and an intermediate hinge domain,” they explained.  “The apical domains form the flexible ring opening and expose hydrophobic amino acid residues toward the central cavity for the binding of non-native substrate proteins.”  GroES forms a cap or lid over this barrel, allowing the polypeptide inside to fold in isolation.  The dressing room is large enough to fold proteins 60,000 atomic mass units in size.     What is becoming clear is that the barrel is not just a passive container.  It actually accelerates folding: “an active mechanism in promoting folding appears to operate in addition, based on the demonstration that GroEL/ES can substantially enhance the rate of folding for proteins,” increasing the folding rate by as much as 10-fold.  Whether iterative cycles of folding and unfolding in the barrel cause the acceleration, or the isolation alone prevents kinetic traps, was not known.  The team concluded that “protein confinement in the chaperonin cage has the capacity to reduce entropic folding barriers, thereby promoting the formation of native contacts.”  If so, the entropic funnel picture is apt; a narrowing funnel prevents the protein from misfolding and guides it along the way to its correct shape.    The team also helped confirm that a net negative charge on the interior of the barrel contributes to the accelerated folding.  “These findings are consistent with recent theoretical considerations that the charged surface may induce ordered water structure, with the resulting increase in the density of water facilitating folding by enhancing the hydrophobic effect and thus promoting global protein compaction,” they said.  This interior charge contribution only works when the protein is inside the barrel.  Outside the barrel, they found that artificially induced disulfide bridges could coax their test polypeptide into the native fold.  “In view of the fact that cells contain multiple, partially redundant chaperone systems for aggregation prevention, the ability to actively promote the folding of such intermediates would explain the uniquely essential role of the chaperonin cages,” they said in conclusion.  On the other hand, the conspicuous absence of chaperonins from oxidizing cellular compartments correlates with the role of disulfide bond formation in providing an alternative mechanism to lower entropic folding barriers.”  See also the 12/28/2007 entry, last two paragraphs.     Meanwhile, scientists at Rice University have been trying to model protein folding on computers.  PhysOrg quoted them saying that “Protein folding is regarded as one of the biggest unsolved problems in biophysics.”  How proteins find their native fold through a maze of wrong folds is still not understood.  “Like a river finding the shortest route to the sea, proteins always find their way to their native states in an instant,” the article said.  “How that happens is one of life’s great mysteries.”  Somehow they do it – and quickly.  Many proteins spontaneously collapse into their proper shape in milliseconds or microseconds.  “Though the proteins assemble themselves in nature almost instantly, the Rice team’s algorithm took weeks to run the simulation.” the article said.  “Still, that was far faster than others have achieved.”  Using another analogy to show what the protein (and simulators) are up against, one researcher said that “A polypeptide chain en route to its native state encounters many energy barriers, much like when one navigates through a rugged mountain landscape.”  If you have supercomputers handy and weeks of free time, you might be able to run the Rice team’s new and improved simulation.  The spontaneous folding of proteins vastly exceeds the complexity of human attempts at spontaneous origami (see New Scientist for primitive example).    Once folded, proteins are workhorses in the cell, performing all kinds of intricate tasks.  A recent article on PhysOrg, for instance, reported that scientists at the University of Dundee discovered an enzyme that acts like a “molecular scissors,” cutting off parts of DNA during damage repair operations.  Some proteins incorporate metals into their structure.  This adds to the difficulty of getting them into their native conformation, because they have to delicately position these highly reactive metal ions at precisely the right locations inside the fold.  An article on PhysOrg did not address the folding problem per se, but marveled at these “hives of industry” in the cell, stating that “Nearly half of all enzymes require metals to function in catalysing biological reactions” such as photosynthesis, metabolism, and respiration.  Kylie Vincent, of Oxford University’s Department of Chemistry, continued: “Both the metal and the surrounding protein are crucial in tuning the reactivity of metal catalytic centres in enzymes.”  Oxford is keen on watching how metallic enzymes work in order to imitate them.  “There is much that we can learn,” Kylie said, “from the way that micro-organisms use readily available metals to carry out these reactions while chemists often require rare and expensive metals for the same chemistry.”  Clean, green fuel cells and other inventions may come from a better understanding of these amazing strings of amino acids that fold ever-so-precisely into the most efficient molecular machines ever witnessed.1.  Chakraborty et al, “Chaperonin-Catalyzed Rescue of Kinetically Trapped States in Protein Folding,” Cell Volume 142, Issue 1, 112-122, 9 July 2010, DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.05.027.None of these articles said anything about evolution.  Why would natural selection produce a multi-part precision folding machine like GroEL+GroES, able to fold multiple different polypeptides, when other chaperone mechanisms exist? (cf. 12/30/2002).  This is not clumsy tinkering; it is elegant extravagance showing the power of goal-directed design, utilizing an irreducibly complex machine (see 11/30/2006, bullet 7).  One can envision Charlie worrying about this and spontaneously folding into a fetal position in his isolation chamber (tomb), never to come out again.    It’s overkill by this point, but to rub it in, you might read Robert Deyes’ review Uncommon Descent of Doug Axe’s new paper, “The Case Against A Darwinian Origin Of Protein Folds,” available for open access in the new journal, Bio-complexity.  Deyes titled his review, “Proteins Fold as Darwin Crumbles.”(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Le secteur minier et les minerais en Afrique du Sud


first_imgL’Afrique du Sud, celebre dans le monde entier pour etre un tresor, beneficie d’une abondance de ressources minieres, produisant et detenant une proportion importante des minerais du monde.La richesse de l’Afrique du Sud provient des vastes ressources du pays: environ 90% du platine mondial, 80% du manganese, 73% du chrome, 45% du vanadium et 41% de l’or. Il n’y a que le petrole brut et la bauxite que l’on ne trouve pas dans le pays.Le pays est un producteur de premier rang de metaux precieux comme l’or et le platine ainsi que de metaux de base et de charbon. C’est le quatrieme producteur mondial de diamants.Et les specialistes estiment que le potentiel de decouverte d’autres gisements de rang mondial dans des regions qui n’ont pas ete encore totalement exploitees est considerable.Classement economiqueLa position de l’Afrique du Sud en tant que plus gros producteur d’or du monde, une position qu’elle a occupee pendant plus d’un siecle, a ete usurpee par la Chine en 2007. L’or, autrefois pierre d’achoppement de l’economie sud-africaine, a vu son importance diminuer avec la diversification de l’economie nationale.Cependant, le secteur minier est toujours crucial pour l’Afrique du Sud, les metaux precieux contribuant a 65% des benefices d’exportation de minerais du pays et a 21% du total des exportations de marchandises en 2006. Le pays fournit environ 80% du platine mondial.Le secteur minier est aussi le plus gros employeur d’Afrique du Sud, avec environ 460 000 employes et 400 000 autres employes par les fournisseurs de biens et services a ce secteur.TransformationLa possession, l’acces et les opportunites en lien avec les ressources minieres du pays sont reglementes par la Loi de developpement des ressources minieres et petrolieres de 2002 qui reconnait le droit de garde de l’etat sur ces ressources.La transformation est une question essentielle a laquelle fait face le secteur minier d’Afrique du Sud. Un acces equitable aux ressources et aux opportunites minieres a ete defini par la loi en tenant compte d’une participation importante des personnes habituellement ecartees faisant l’objet de la charte d’encouragement des noirs a la participation a l’economie (BEE) du secteur.Actuellement, plus de 70% de la main d’œuvre du secteur est noire mais moins de 5% des postes a responsabilite sont occupes par des noirs. Des objectifs ont ete definis par le gouvernement et, d’ici 2009, toutes les societes minieres devraient atteindre un taux de remplissage de 40% des postes a responsabilite par des sud-africains autrefois defavorises.Les autres objectifs pour les 10 ans a venir comprennent le transfert de 26% des actifs miniers a des societes appartenant a des noirs et en garantissant que 51% des futurs projets miniers soient diriges par des societes appartenant a des noirs.Points fortsEn tant que pays minier important, les points forts de l’Afrique du Sud comprennent un haut niveau de connaissances technique et productives ainsi que des activites de recherche et developpement coherentes.Le pays possede des equipements de traitement primaire de rang mondial couvrant les secteurs de l’acier au carbone, de l’acier inoxydable et de l’aluminium, en plus de l’or et du platine. C’est egalement un leader mondial dans le domaine des nouvelles technologies telles qu’un processus revolutionnaire qui transforme le minerai de fer tres fin en unites ferreuses de qualite superieure.Ce type d’enrichissement ou de valeur ajoutee a des matieres minerales brutes avant exportation a ete identifie par le gouvernement comme un secteur de croissance potentielle important. Il existe des opportunites lucratives de traitement en aval et d’ajout de valeur localement au fer, a l’acier au carbone, a l’acier inoxydable, a l’aluminium, aux metaux du groupe platine et a l’or.Leaders du secteurDeux des plus grandes societes minieres du monde sont originaires d’Afrique du Sud. BHP Billiton, la plus grosse societe miniere du monde, est issue de la fusion entre la societe sud-africaine Billiton et la societe australienne BHP.Anglo American Plc, dont la cotation principale se fait a la bourse de Londres et la cotation secondaire a Johannesburg, detient plusieurs grandes filiales comme Anglo Platinum, Anglo Coal, Impala Platinum et Kumba Iron Ore.Diamond miner De Beers, une autre societe sud-africaine, est detenue par Anglo American et un consortium dirige par le gouvernement du Botswana. Le plus gros producteur de diamants du monde a produit environ 51,1 millions de carats en 2007.Derniere mise a jour de l’article : Septembre 2008SAinfo reporter. Sources (sites en langue anglaise) :South Africa YearbookDepartment of Minerals and EnergyChamber of Mines of South AfricaStandard Bank: Economic Profile: South AfricaBusiness DayMining WeeklyMineweblast_img read more

South African movies improve box office earnings


first_img12 August 2014Locally made movies generated R33-million in revenue at South African cinemas in the first half of 2014, a 43% increase on the R23-million generated by homegrown productions in the first half of 2013, according to the latest South African Box Office Report.The report, released at the weekend by the National Film and Video Foundation, showed that, of the 111 films released at the box office between 3 January and 28 June, 12 were South African productions.Top earners over this period were mazing Spider Man 2 (R21.8-million), Rio 2 (R21.1-million) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (R16.9-million). Pad Na Jou Hart was best local performer, grossing over R11-million.The report also revealed a correlation between gross revenue and the number of prints at release, with Pad Na Jou Hart having received the largest number of prints, compared to Elelwani and The Forgotten Kingdom, which received the lowest revenue but also the lowest number of prints at release.According to the report, total gross revenue at South Africa’s cinema’s fell by 6%, from R408-million to R382-million, between the first half of 2013 and the first half of 2014.Times Media (formerly Nu Metro) and Ster Kinekor had the largest market share with 46% and 36% respectively. This was followed by United International Pictures with 13% and Crystal Brook with 5%.Indigenous Film Distributors received 1% of total market share, while distributing five out of the 12 local films on offer in the first half of the year. Ster Kinekor distributed four local movies, while Times Media and United International Pictures distributed two and one respectively.In terms of earnings by genre, animation was the highest-grossing genre with R72-million, followed by action/adventure with R70-million and drama in third place with R59-million.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Sarbanes-Oxley: Japan gears up for SOX


first_imgWhile the US has had some spirited debate over the last few weeks about whether Sarbanes-Oxley needs reform, and if so, to what extent, Japan is also gearing up for its own version of Sarbanes-Oxley to go into effect in 2008.  The new Japanese regulations are being dubbed J-SOX.Just as in the United States, the new law has drawn clear lines between its critics and supporters.  Regulators see a clear need to clean up a landscape that has seen a series of recent accounting scandals.  Investors worry that J-SOX could dampen an economy that has just recently seen modest growth after more than a decade of recession.A number of scandals hit Japan in 2006.  For example, Livedoor, an Internet service provider based in Tokyo that ran a high-traffic web portal, was accused of fraud.  The allegations of fraud caused panic selling of shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange  (TSE) in early 2006.  Trading volume was so strong when the story broke, the TSE’s computer system was overloaded and the market was temporarily halted, a first in Japan.  On March 16, 2007, Livedoor’s founder was sentenced to 2.5 years in Jail.Other accounting scandals that occurred throughout Japan in 2006 included overstated profits by both Nikko Cordial and Misawa Homes Holdings Inc.J-SOX has made Japanese companies worry about what kind of cost and time will be required to try to comply with the new regulations.  US companies will not be immune from the new rules.  Companies with international subsidiaries in Japan will need to come up to speed too.Many US-based IT companies are beginning to study and come up to speed on exactly what will be required even though many of the specific details won’t be available until April 2007.What is clear though is that IT companies will need to document the processes and controls relative to a company’s financial activities.  US subsidiaries may actually be at an advantage to local Japanese companies because their parent companies have already dealt with similar controls mandated in the US.J-SOX is expected to affect about 3800 companies listed on the TSE.  Like Sarbanes-Oxley, J-SOX specifies strong internal financial controls and requires that company executives certify the accuracy of their financial statements.In the US, one issue with Sarbanes-Oxley has been the vagueness in the specification of the rules.  In Japan, they’re trying to avoid that problem by making the rules very explicit, but the exact language is still being prepared.  Like the US, many companies are complaining that much more time and resources will be needed by companies in order to comply with new regulations. Like in the US, IT and accounting companies are seizing on the new rules as new revenue streams.  For example, Oracle Japan is offering software and consulting services to small and medium-sized companies for helping them comply.  IDC Japan is estimating that the J-SOX compliance market will reach 260.7 billion yen in 2008 with most of than money flowing into IT upgrades.female viagralast_img read more