Do Nature’s Editors Want Another French Revolution?

first_imgBy glorifying the French Revolution without mentioning its atrocities, Nature’s editors give a terrible message about terrorism.It’s called the Reign of Terror: a year of rampant beheadings by government-santioned mob rule in France in the years 1793-1794.  Under dictator Maximilien Robespierre, a prototype of totalitarian dictators to come in the 20th century, the Revolutionary Tribunal ordered 2,400 individuals guillotined.  Another 30,000 died in the revolution.  “Softness to traitors will destroy us all,” Robespierre said, motivated by radical atheistic ideals of the Enlightenment.  He is famous for justifying this reign of terror with the proverb, “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.” Ironically, when he called for another purge in 1794, his fellows had enough and added his skull to the pile of eggshells.Many historians see the French Revolution as an attempted follow-up to the American Revolution that went horribly wrong. Though the revolutionaries proclaimed “Liberty – Equality – Fraternity” as their ideals, those ideals were denied the many who lost their heads. The French Revolution paved the way for a new dictator, Napoleon.  The contrasts between the American and French revolutions are many. Why, then, would Nature whitewash the latter?It is no coincidence that the eighteenth-century French writer, intellectual and activist Voltaire, a leading Enlightenment figure, was both an outspoken and irreverent satirist of religion and a leading proponent of the natural sciences as the successor to religion and philosophical reasoning as the main route to knowledge. The Enlightenment culminated in the French Revolution, and the resulting 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which explicitly protected free speech, including the right to freely criticize religious views.The occasion for this editorial was last week’s terror attack on 17 French citizens by Muslim extremists.  Perhaps that’s the reason for the reference to the French Revolution. But by not mentioning the bloodbath that followed, Nature’s editors put themselves in the untenable position of rationalizing anti-terrorism with terrorism.Throughout the editorial, freedom of speech is exalted, including satire.  Many would agree.  But their favorite target for satire is “fundamentalism” and religion of all sorts, as opposed to science. This gave them another opportunity to glorify the French Revolution:Fundamentalists throughout history have sought to subjugate freedoms, including freedom of expression and thought. More than 200 years ago, France rejected them with a “Non!” that echoed across the world. It has done so again.The editors let Islam off the hook, fail to mention anti-Semitism, and essentially lump all religions together:The terrorists who murdered 17 people, including 8 staff members of the French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, falsely claimed to act in the name of Islam. On the contrary, the perpetrators represent a fanaticism that would stifle freedoms and science in the Arab and Islamic world, and beyond.Satire, wit and mockery remain surprisingly effective ways to voice dissent, and to highlight the absurdities, hypocrisy, injustice and oppression of authoritarian regimes and religious obscurantism.The killing also attacked other symbols of the Republic, including a kosher supermarket — one symbol of a multicultural society — and the police. One of the officers killed, Ahmed Merabet, was Muslim, and his brother aptly remarked that the killers were “false Muslims” and that Merabet had been “proud to represent the French police and to defend the values of the Republic — liberty, equality, fraternity”.What’s another movement Nature’s editors point to as a good example?Those rights are increasingly being eroded, however — ironically, often in political overreactions to terrorism — including through anti-terrorism laws that roll back civil liberties, increasingly invasive surveillance states and government oppression of legitimate dissent such as the Occupy movement.There was one passing moment of self-reflection in the editorial:But the right to criticize, and even to mock, religion, fanaticism, superstition and indeed science is not only rightly protected by law in France, but is enshrined there, as in many countries, as a fundamental human right.In that spirit, our commentary will do just that.Well, thank you Nature!  You have just acknowledged our fundamental human right to criticize, mock, and satirize science.  We hope you laugh at this funny cartoon:How’s that, Nature?  You are the guys who have made a superstitious, dogmatic religion out of the Cult of Charlie and his theory of evillusion.Nature’s  editorial is really ugly: glorifying the French Revolution without mentioning the Reign of Terror, letting Islam off the hook by claiming that the terrorists were not true Muslims, failing to differentiate between Christians who teach “love your enemies” and Muslims who attack them, treating science as superior to religion without mentioning where science’s own ethics come from, whitewashing science as a “main route to knowledge” but ignoring its own tendencies to obscurantism, glorifying the Occupy Movement’s bums who broke laws and left filth in their wake for no focused reason, and calling the kosher supermarket a “symbol of a multicultural society” without calling attention to the anti-Semitism of the terrorists. Nature proclaims the French Revolution’s ideals that paved the way for Napoleon, when it was the American Revolution with its declaration that rights come from our Creator that produced the greatest source of freedom the world has ever seen.Apparently, Nature’s solution to Islamic terror would be to send bums to “Occupy ISIS” and have them draw cartoons mocking Mohammed as they crap in the street.  Good luck.  Eggheads would roll, but it’s not clear anyone would like the omelettes.As far as “enlightenment” goes, listen to Dennis Prager, a Jew, describe which is more rational: atheism or belief in God.(Visited 26 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Investor vote of confidence in SA

first_img25 May 2005Foreign investor confidence in South Africa is taking off, to judge by the number of major deals announced this year, with three of these – together amounting to about US$5.63-billion in foreign direct investment – following hot on each other’s heels since the beginning of April.First off, General Motors, the world’s largest car maker, announced a US$100-million (R600-million) investment in South African production of a new global version of its famous Hummer sports utility vehicle.Barely a month later, British Bank Barclays confirmed an offer of US$5.5-billion (£2.9-billion, or R33-billion) for a 60% stake in Absa, South Africa’s fourth-largest bank.Then last week, Coega, the massive industrial development zone and harbour project near Port Elizabeth, secured a US$31-million (R200-million) investment from Belgian-owned Sander International Textiles.Vote of confidenceCommenting on the Barclays and General Motors deals, President Thabo Mbeki said the decisions by the two multinational corporations – both of whom had disinvested from the country during apartheid – constituted “an inspiring and unequivocal vote of confidence in democratic South Africa”.John Reed, writing in the Financial Times (24 May), said Mbeki’s words “have the ring of truth: for what appears to be the first time, a foreign company is ploughing billions of dollars into an African venture other than oil or mining.“Service industries such as banking promise a future for South Africa’s economy beyond its maturing mining assets,” Reed continued.“Emerging market banks are highly vulnerable to poor macroeconomic management and political risk, so Barclays must have concluded that South Africa is a safe bet.”Speaking after the announcement that the Barclays/Absa deal had been approved by SA’s regulatory authorities, Barclays CEO for international retail and commercial banking, David Roberts, said: “We believe in the future of South Africa.“We have chosen to invest in South Africa because it’s an attractive market. The growth opportunity in banking is striking.”Biggest single foreign direct investmentThe offer by Barclays – Britain’s third-largest bank by assets – represents the biggest single foreign direct investment (FDI) ever in South Africa, with an FDI inflow that could potentially amount to almost 30% of total FDI inflows over the past six years.Between 1994 and 2004, FDI into South Africa averaged about R10.7-billion a year, or 1.2% of annual gross domestic product (GDP). Between 1999 and 2004, total FDI amounted to R121-billion.According to Absa economist Christo Luus, the Barclays/Absa deal could finance half of SA’s current account deficit for the year, allowing the economy to grow faster for longer.“Furthermore, by improving domestic business opportunities, investment and growth, the deal may reduce the desire of both resident and foreign shareholders to repatriate dividend income,” Luus told the SA Press Association.The potentially huge FDI inflow could also boost the country’s GDP growth by as much as 0.5% a year for a couple of years, Luus said.Absa’s shareholders will vote for or against Barclays’ bid on 13 June. If ratified by Absa’s shareholders, a South African court will approve the deal on 21 June, with 13 July set for the deal’s conclusion.Coega nets first investorThe Coega Development Corporation (CDC) announced last week that it had secured a R200-million investment from Belgian-owned Sander International Textiles.The multibillion-rand Coega project, comprising a new industrial development zone (IDZ) and deepwater port 20 kilometres east of Port Elizabeth, is the largest infrastructure development project in South Africa since 1994.A high-end niche textile producer, Sander International Textiles will invest the R200-million in building a sophisticated weaving mill in the textile cluster of the IDZ.“Sander will produce a specialised high-end niche product – fire retardant fabrics – for the automotive and transport industries, including ocean liners and aircraft, and for the hospitality industries,” said CDC spokesperson Vuyelwa Qinga-Vika.The products are to be exported to North American markets, taking advantage of lower US import tariffs through the United States’ African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which favours African countries.Sander chief executive Alex Liessens told Business Report that because of the size of the investment, the government had given the project a tax break under the Strategic Investment Programme, which offers incentives to capital investments of over R50-million.Alcan of Canada is still considering building an aluminium smelter at Coega, and there has been interest in a similar project from Russian aluminium group SUAL, headed by South African executive Brian Gilbertson.While uncertainty remains over the aluminium project, however, Business Day reports (25 May) that a new plan is being drawn up to build a stainless steel plant at Coega, “with discussions under way to find an anchor investor for the $5-billion project”.The Made-in-South-Africa HummerIn April, General Motors (GM) awarded its South African arm a contract worth US$3-billion (R18-billion) to manufacture a new global version of its Hummer sports utility vehicle for export to markets in Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.At the same time, GM said it would make a US$100-million (R600-million) investment in product development and production at General Motors South Africa’s plant at Struandale, Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.South Africa will be the only manufacturing site outside of the US to assemble the Hummer H3 – a smaller, cheaper, more fuel-efficient version of the famous sports utility vehicle. SA production of the H3 will begin in the last quarter of 2006, with up to 10 000 units a year being targeted.GM’s H3 export programme investment is over and above the $50-million (R300-million) that GMSA invested in plant and equipment upgrades and the $80-million (R480-million) it invested in the new locally produced Isuzu KB bakkie range in 2004.“This is a continuation of a trend of expansion of existing investments in SA, and will hopefully mark the start of a real upward trend in foreign direct investment”, Reg Rumney, head of consultants BusinessMap, told Business Day.General Motors returned to South Africa in 2004 following its withdrawal from the country under apartheid. GM group vice-president Maureen Kempston Darkes told Business Day that the company was now more convinced than ever before that they had made the right decision.South African vehicle sales soared by a record 22% in 2004, and show no signs of slowing in 2005 – first-quarter sales were up by 23% over the first quarter of 2004.According to Business Day, SA’s vehicle exports have grown ninefold over the last 10 years – helped greatly by the government’s Motor Industry Development Programme – and the auto industry now contributes in the region of 7% to gross domestic product.And while vehicle export volumes were slightly bruised by the strong rand in 2004, this has not stopped car manufacturers from forging ahead with investment plans that will see the country exporting even more cars in the future.Toyota leads vehicle export driveToyota got the ball rolling in early 2005 with the announcement that it would double local production to about 200 000 units, with the aim of selling 150 000 vehicles a year locally and exporting 100 000 vehicles a year by 2010.A record 112 861 units were produced at Toyota’s Prospecton plant near Durban in 2004.Toyota SA’s increased export drive will see the company continuing its Corolla export programme to Australia – and also starting to export a new light commercial vehicle and sports utility vehicle to Europe and Africa as part of Toyota’s new global IMV (innovative international multipurpose vehicle) project.The IMV range covers five models: three pick-ups, a sports utility vehicle (SUV) and a minivan, all built on the same, low-cost vehicle platform. Four Toyota subsidiary companies – in South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia and Argentina – will together build 500 000 IMV vehicles a year for sale in 140 countries.According to the Financial Mail, Toyota SA has invested R2.4-billion in two IMV vehicle ranges: a new Hilux, to be launched this month, followed by a new SUV in September.Toyota SA plans to build 46 000 IMVs and export 18 000 in 2005, and to build 86 000 and export 49 000 in 2006.VW, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Nissan, TataSoon after Toyota’s announcement, Volkswagen SA announced that it would start building trucks and buses in SA, possibly for export to Africa and other parts of the world.In 2004, Volkswagen SA announced a R25-billion export programme that will see the company exporting about 2 300 of its new Golf 5 cars each month for the next five years, mostly to Japan and Australia, but also to New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia.Other announcements by car manufacturers in 2004:Ford announced that it would be investing R1-billion in starting a local export programme. The company said this would involve doubling production capacity at its Pretoria plant to about 80 000 units a year. DaimlerChrysler confirmed that the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class will be manufactured in SA from 2007. The company plans to almost double production at its East London plant to roll out up to 80 000 units a year, a large portion of which will be exported. Nissan announced that it would begin exporting fully built-up Hardbody one-ton bakkies to Europe, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand from August 2005. Tata Motors, India’s second-largest car manufacturer, invested some R40-million in a bus assembly factory in Johannesburg.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

Give Them Confidence (A Note to the Sales Manager)

first_imgYou are responsible for the salesperson you are providing your clients. When you hire, you can easily believe your are hiring for your company, but you’re really hiring for your clients and prospects.The salesperson you put in front of your client needs to create value for them.Your success as a sales leader depends upon the success of the individual salespeople that make up your team. Sending out salespeople who lack the confidence to sell breeds a lack of confidence in your clients and prospects. Send them out with the confidence to succeed and to produce that confidence in your clients and prospects.Give Them TrainingYour salespeople gain confidence when you train them to create value for your clients.When you look at the best organizations in the world you find the best training programs in the world. This is true of sports teams, military organizations, orchestras, ballets, rock bands, and some companies. The best organizations in the world are well rehearsed. They study. They’re continually improving their skills and constantly receiving feedback.What do your salespeople need trained in to be confident in their ability to create value for your clients? What skills do they need for your clients to be confident in their ability to help them make the buying decision they’re making?Training improves confidence. You know where you are. You know your part. You know what you are supposed to be doing to achieve the outcomes you need. To your clients and prospects, this looks like confidence and competence.Prepare Them to Create ValueThere is no reason to allow your sales force to make sales calls without planning for that call. Unprepared salespeople don’t create value; they’re just nice guests.It’s easy to get trapped in spending time evaluating territory plans, reviewing pipelines, and strategizing on opportunities. But the moment of truth for sales organization occurs when the salesperson sits down across from their client or prospect. They either create enough value to deserve the next commitment or they don’t.A good sales call plan takes into account what the buyer needs from the sales call, what the salesperson needs from the call, and the outcomes both need in order to move forward. Knowing where you are and where you are going improves confidence, and it’ sales mistake to believe the buyer has a process (much of the time they want to be led).If the client isn’t confident in the salesperson’s ability to help them, they aren’t going to agree to move forward. If the salesperson isn’t confident about how to create that value, neither the salesperson nor the client are going to be confident moving forward together.Your clients and prospects expect a well trained, well prepared, confident, value creating salesperson. This gives them the confidence to say yes.last_img read more

Alvarez grateful for coach’s trust in career season for JRU

first_imgNEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers MOST READ AFP official booed out of forum 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting View comments Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Shola Alvarez’ tenure with Jose Rizal University came to an end on Friday when the Lady Heavy Bombers lost to defending champion Arellano, 25-13, 25-20, 25-17, in the Final Four of the NCAA Season 93 women’s volleyball tournament.ADVERTISEMENT Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Her exit may have been unceremonious, but Alvarez had left an imprint on JRU that will become a goal for the future Lady Heavy Bombers.Alvarez was the undisputed face of the team throughout her stay and it was in her captaincy when JRU advance to its first and only Final Four stint.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I didn’t expect that coach [Mia Tioseco] would give me this much trust,” said Alvarez in Filipino at Filoil Flying V Centre. “For me, I only did my job as the captain. I only did my part in helping the team but I never expected this much trust from her.”For the two years prior to Season 93, JRU never made it to the top four with a sixth-seeded 4-5 finish in Season 91 and a seventh-seeded 3-6 finish in Season 92.center_img Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding And JRU’s rise to the top four in Season 93 wasn’t a walk in the park, as it had to break free from College of St. Benilde and San Sebastian, both with 5-3 records, for the last spot in the semifinals.JRU finished the season with a 6-4 record, a full game ahead of the Lady Stags and Lady Blazers.Tioseco said that even though JRU wasn’t able to snatch the title, JRU’s administration was still proud with what the Lady Heavy Bombers accomplished.“The president [Vicente K. Fabella] was very proud of the team,” said Tioseco. “I hope we can build on this.”“Basically our goal was to make the Final Four, and we made it,” added Tioseco. “We just lacked the experience, we were very nervous to start but overall it was a good season.”ADVERTISEMENT Read Next Cariño vows to lead Perpetual to higher grounds after Final Four exitlast_img read more

Alexi Lalas Says LA Galaxy “Have a Chance” of Signing Ibrahimovic

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JAMPRO Targets Investors at Agricultural Information Forum

first_img The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) will be hosting an Agricultural Information Forum on Tuesday (March 13), aimed at promoting investments in that sector. Speaking with JIS NEWS, Manager for Sales and Promotion at JAMPRO, Marlene Porter, noted that the forum will engage persons operating in the sector, companies that are looking for investment prospects, or persons who have land and capital and are seeking areas in the sector where they can invest. The event, to be held at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in St. Andrew, is targeted at persons, who have a deep interest in the agricultural industry and those with projects and are seeking investors. Story Highlights The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) will be hosting an Agricultural Information Forum on Tuesday (March 13), aimed at promoting investments in that sector.The event, to be held at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in St. Andrew, is targeted at persons, who have a deep interest in the agricultural industry and those with projects and are seeking investors.It will address matters including financing options for agricultural activities; traditional and non-traditional crop opportunities; land availability and suitability issues; marketing of agriculture products locally and overseas; and government initiatives and programmes to support agriculture such as the agro parks.Speaking with JIS NEWS, Manager for Sales and Promotion at JAMPRO, Marlene Porter, noted that the forum will engage persons operating in the sector, companies that are looking for investment prospects, or persons who have land and capital and are seeking areas in the sector where they can invest.“So, if you own property and want to identify a partner, this is a good opportunity. You can also use it as a medium to talk to financial institutions present to explore funding…so we are looking for persons, who are serious about doing business in Jamaica,” Mrs. Porter informed.She said that there will be presentations from government agencies and private sector partners, who are integral to the development of the agricultural sector.Key participating entities are the Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC), which will provide information about the various programmes being undertaken such as the agro parks; Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) will highlight the technical and marketing support being provided to farmers and the incentives available; and the Tourism Linkages Network will show how agriculture can respond to the demands of manufacturing, tourism and other related sectors.The Development Bank of Jamaica, National People’s Co-operative Bank of Jamaica and other financial institutions will provide information about the financing of agri-business ventures and general financial support available to investors in this industry.Mrs. Porter said that JAMPRO will be sharing information on its efforts in promoting exports and the investment opportunities available in the local and international marketplace.“It promises to be a very comprehensive programme and at the end of the day, we are seeking to engage persons to take a more serious look at this sector as the demand is there on the local and overseas markets,” she noted.The forum will also demonstrate how private sector companies are successfully employing innovative approaches such as anchor farms/contract farming to grow their businesses.Coming out of the forum, JAMPRO is looking to identify investment projects to package, promote and present to local and overseas investors.“Agriculture is such a significant sector that has important implications for Jamaica in the area of gross domestic product (GDP), employment, rural development, and development of women and young people. We want our local investors to come out and look at the opportunities that exist, engage and network with the people, who are there and see how together we can build some of the ideas into huge prospects and projects for the country,” Mrs. Porter urged.“So, we are saying things are happening in the sector and we are ready, set and let’s go!” she added.The forum will last from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.last_img read more