Sinn Féin party whip welcomes passing of council budget

first_imgDonegal Sinn Féin party whip, Cllr Marie Therese Gallagher has welcomed the passing of the council’s annual budget.The council yesterday agreed an expenditure of just over €154,000,000 for across the county in 2020.A total of 27 councillors voted in favour of the budget while two, Cllr Frank McBrearty and Cllr Micheal Mac Giolla Easbuig voted against. Commenting after the budget meeting, Cllr Gallagher said “I’m delighted that Donegal County Council, adopted its annual budget.In particular, Sinn Féin is happy that our proposal for a Town & Village Revitalisation Scheme was include as this will allow for a commercial rates rebate for new businesses in long-term vacant premises.Cllr Gallagher added “We are hopeful that this will spur job creation within the small local business sector across the county.“Further, we put forward the need to increase funding for Tidy Towns groups and this was also supported by all parties. This is an increase on the Tidy Towns fund which we had secured previously.” She added that some other positive developments in the budget include:– Increase in council housing maintenance budget of €500,000-€500,000 for the purpose of co-funding applications and drawing down investment.-An increase of over €3million in expenditure on roads.-No proposed increase in commercial rates. – A new budget line of €142,406 for Climate Change and FloodingAnd she added “With regard to capital investment I am also happy that there is room to move with an ambitious house-building programme and room to invest in vital community amenities across Donegal.“This is positive progress and we, as a party, look forward to continuing to work with councillors from across the political spectrum and from across the county to ensuring that this budget book is used to benefit the people of the county who elected us.”Sinn Féin party whip welcomes passing of council budget was last modified: November 23rd, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:councildonegalMarie Therese GallagherSinn Feinwhiplast_img read more

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This Plant Beats the Venus Flytrap for Speed

first_imgThe waterwheel plant, an aquatic species with a snap-trap faster than the Venus flytrap, is different enough to challenge evolutionary speculations.Most people have heard of or seen the Venus flytrap, one of nature’s most remarkable plants. In a split second, its leaves snap shut around any insect unlucky enough to touch its trigger hairs twice. But have you heard of the Waterwheel plant? Look at its picture in Science Daily reproduced from a press release at the University of Freiburg. Smaller than the Venus flytrap, with traps only 3mm in length, it boasts a much higher snapping action—ten times faster than the Venus flytrap. It was named the Waterwheel because its spokes stick out from the center with a trap on each end. From a water flea’s perspective, it should be called the Ferris Wheel from Hell.An article on the BBC News shows how the waterwheels are arranged along a stem, and says that the plants, though rare, are native to Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Being the only other known plant with snap traps, is it related to the Venus flytrap by evolution?Credit: Plant Biomechanics Group.The Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) and the far less known aquatic waterwheel are the only carnivorous plants with snap traps. While intensive research on the Venus flytrap has been going on for a long time, the ten times faster underwater snap traps of the waterwheel have so far been little studied. The team led by the Freiburg biologists has now deciphered the underlying movement principle using experiments and computer simulations. The researchers found that the waterwheel snaps shut its trap, which is only three millimetres in size, by actively changing the internal pressure in the cells of the leaf, which leads to the midrib bending, and also by releasing internal prestress, which apparently results in an acceleration effect. The Venus flytrap, on the other hand, employs a hydraulic mechanism to change the curvature of its leaf halves which results in rapid trap closure. Although both plants share many similarities, the mechanics of the traps differ considerably. This finding may not only help understanding the development of snap traps from an evolutionary perspective, but also the adaptation to different habitats – in a terrestrial habitat with the Venus flytrap, under water with the waterwheel.The Waterwheel plant was the subject of two scientific papers this month. The first one, by Westermeier et al. in the Proceedings B of the Royal Society, reports on “How the carnivorous waterwheel plant (Aldrovanda vesiculosa) snaps.” The authors claim that their study of the mechanical trap of the Waterwheel plant “contributes to the question of how snap-traps may have evolved” but, since the paper is behind a paywall, we cannot analyze their arguments here. It appears from the press release, though, that there are significant differences between the two snap-trap species: differences in—Habitat, one terrestrial and one aquaticSize, one hand-size and the other made of trailing stemsGrowth habit, one upright and the other trailingMechanics, one employing hydraulics and the other internal pressure in the cellsSpeed, the Waterwheel being ten times fasterThere is no evidence the two plants are related. “It is thought that the waterwheel and the flytrap may share a common ancestor,” Mary Halton says in the BBC News article. “However there is no fossil evidence for what this ancestor might have looked like.”“This is one of the main questions in the carnivorous plant community,” says Dr Simon Poppinga, an author on the study.“Snap traps evolved only once in plants. There are two different mechanisms. Which one was first?“The second paper focuses on the design of the Waterwheel plant to come up with a biomimetics application: “Flectofold—a biomimetic compliant shading device for complex free form facades,” by Körner et al. in Smart Materials and Structures. Illustration from Curtis’s Venus flytrap, drawing from Botanical Magazine by William Curtis (1746–1799)Smart and adaptive outer façade shading systems are of high interest in modern architecture. For long lasting and reliable systems, the abandonment of hinges which often fail due to mechanical wear during repetitive use is of particular importance. Drawing inspiration from the hinge-less motion of the underwater snap-trap of the carnivorous waterwheel plant (Aldrovanda vesiculosa), the compliant façade shading device Flectofold was developed. Based on computational simulations of the biological role-model’s elastic and reversible motion, the actuation principle of the plant can be identified. The enclosed geometric motion principle is abstracted into a simplified curved-line folding geometry with distinct flexible hinge-zones. The kinematic behaviour is translated into a quantitative kinetic model, using finite element simulation which allows the detailed analyses of the influence of geometric parameters such as curved-fold line radius and various pneumatically driven actuation principles on the motion behaviour, stress concentrations within the hinge-zones, and actuation forces. The information regarding geometric relations and material gradients gained from those computational models are then used to develop novel material combinations for glass fibre reinforced plastics which enabled the fabrication of physical prototypes of the compliant façade shading device Flectofold.Readers may wish to score these two papers on their scientific value. The first one does produce original knowledge on the plant’s mechanics, but ends with a just-so story about evolution. The second paper yields a practical application that could improve our lives.Darwinian storytelling is so useless. Give it up, researchers! We don’t need an “evolutionary perspective” on everything. Give us the facts, and make something useful from what you learn to help your fellow human beings.(Visited 409 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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SA congratulates South Sudan

first_img10 July 2012 President Jacob Zuma has congratulated South Sudan on the country’s first anniversary of independence, offering South Africa’s continued support for peace and development in the country even as relations with north Sudan remain fragile. South Sudan became the world’s newest country on 9 July 2011. Its birth was the culmination of a six-year peace process which helped bring an end to the long-running conflict between South Sudan and Sudan, of which it was formerly a part. Zuma said in a statement on Monday that South Africa would continue to support efforts to create an environment for the entrenchment of democracy and development of government institutions in South Sudan.Security, oil issues With one year having passed since the official declaration of South Sudan’s separation from north Sudan, the two countries so far seem to have failed to establish good neighbourly relations. Despite confirmation by the politicians of both sides to establish relations, recent events prove that the historical differences between the two sides are deeper than they appeared. The outstanding issues, including the sharing of revenues of oil, which is produced in the South and exported via north Sudan’s oil infrastructures and ports, were among the most prominent differences that prevented the establishment of normal ties between Khartoum and Juba. The oil dispute reached its peak when South Sudan decided on January 20 to stop pumping its crude oil, due to differences over the fees for exporting the South’s oil through Sudan’s ports. The decision had negative consequences for both economies, as Sudan lost three-quarters of its oil revenues, pushing the Sudanese government to adopt far-reaching economic reforms but causing a rise in prices of basic commodities that prompted demonstrations. Meanwhile, the citizens of South Sudan are suffering from lack of development and basic services together with high prices of basic commodities.‘Both sides struggling to adapt to separation’ The two countries almost slid into a comprehensive war when South Sudan’s army occupied Sudan’s oil-rich area of Heglig on 10 April. According to observers and analysts, the relationship between Khartoum and Juba will not return to normal unless the security and oil issues are resolved. Sudanese expert Mohamed Hassan Saeed says events following the separation of South Sudan have proved that the security issue is still a major threat to stable relations between the two countries, with the oil dispute adding further tension. “Full normalisation in the relations between Khartoum and Juba cannot be achieved without exploring a settlement for security issues between the two countries,” Saeed said. “The standing issues at the Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas as well as Abyei should be resolved first, and then the two sides can search for an agreement to restore pumping of the South’s oil through Sudan to meet the demands of the two country’s peoples. “Definitely, the current disputes are the outcome of the separation, because both countries are facing difficulty in adapting to the new situation,” Saeed said. “The South is suffering from difficulties of building a state from nothing under chronic tribal conflicts, scarcity of resources and lack of infrastructures, while Sudan is suffering from economic, security and political issues.”‘No choice but to work together’ Abdul-Azeem Ahmed, a Sudanese political analyst, believes that the two countries have no choice but to work to establish constructive relations based on common interests and mutual benefits. “Whatever the differences are, they will eventually resort to favouring cooperation and normalisation of relations, because that is the most realistic option,” Ahmed told news agency Xinhua. “It seems there is an urgent need to resolve the joint issues within a political framework, because both countries need stability and development,” Ahmed added. “They also need to create opportunities to change the negative feeling of regional isolation”. South Sudan was officially declared independent on 9 July 2011 in a celebration that was attended by around 30 African heads of state and representatives of regional and international organisations. The relationship between north and south Sudan witnessed continued tension for about two decades until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed between the two sides in January 2005 to end the longest civil war on the African continent. In accordance with the CPA, a referendum on self-determination for southern Sudan was conducted in January 2011, in which around 98 percent of southern Sudanese citizens voted for independence. Source: SANews.gov.za-Xinhualast_img read more

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South Africa’s tallest structures and buildings

first_imgThere are 54 skyscrapers in South Africa that are more than 100m high, according to the Skyscraper Center global database. Of these, four are taller than 150m and one is over 200m. Most are in Johannesburg, but some feature in the skylines of Durban and Cape Town.As South Africa develops its economic status and infrastructure into the 21st century, more skyscrapers are being planned or are already under construction, all set to rival and eclipse these existing buildings in sky-scraping glory.But while these buildings are high, they are still not the highest man-made structures in South Africa.South Africa’s highest structuresVarious power station smokestacks around the country rank as the top nine highest structures in South Africa, ranging from 275m (the Lethabo, Matla and Kendal power stations) to 301m (the Sasol synthetic fuel plant in Secunda, Mpumalanga).Themost amazing #TVtowers : Hillbrow Tower in #Johannesburg#JHB #SouthAfrica (270m) pic.twitter.com/sUGLznRjfa— PROMAX Electronics (@PROMAX_news) May 27,2016Johannesburg’s iconic Hillbrow Tower, now known as Telkom Tower, is the 10th highest structure – but the highest urban structure – at 269m.Assorted television transmission masts around the county also dwarf the country’s highest building, at 265m each.The 10 highest buildings in South Africa@BBCR1 @AdeleRoberts on top of the tallestbuilding in Africa: carlton centre in Johannesburg #lastphoto pic.twitter.com/eNmTkc65Pv—Deano (@The5BallOver) August 15,2016Carlton Centre in downtown Johannesburg, built in 1973, is currently the highest building in the country, as well as the highest in Africa. At 222.5m, the Carlton is a 50-floor, 75.355m2 business district, hotel and shopping centre. The building is owned by Transnet and houses its head office. The top floor is known as the Top of Africa, and offers an unrivalled view of the City of Gold.Another of Johannesburg’s instantly recognisable buildings is the country’s second highest. Ponte City is the tallest residential skyscraper in Africa at 172.8m.#CellCLGG5 PonteTower pic.twitter.com/eHIF6c92LO— Timothy Geissler (@Tim_G_15) June 10,2016Built in 1975, its 55 floors have featured as backdrops for films such as District 9, Chappie and Dredd. A number of documentaries have also been made about its history and colourful residents.German writer Norman Ohler described the building aptly in his book City of Gold when he wrote: “Ponte sums up all the hope, all the wrong ideas of modernism, all the decay, all the craziness of the city. It is a symbolic building, a sort of white whale, it is concrete fear, the tower of Babel, and yet it is strangely beautiful.”TheMarble Towers, Johannesburg (pic: Photobucket) https://t.co/IZLabnVaAP pic.twitter.com/hTsgyASz2s— CDAnderson (@bizarrojerri) September 8,2016Marble Towers, previously called Sanlam Centre, also in Johannesburg, is the third highest building in South Africa at just over 152m. It pips the Pearl Dawn building in Umhlanga, Durban/eThekwini by just one centimetre. Marble Towers is constructed from marble and concrete and boasts the largest electronic advertising board on its façade. The building is used for office space, and has an eight-storey parking garage.Pearl Dawn is one of the country’s newest skyscrapers, completed in 2008, with 152m of 31 floors for permanent and holiday residential property. It is part of the greater Umhlanga tourism development project. A second phase of the project, scheduled to be completed by 2017/18, is expected to add an additional building – Pearl Sky – reaching more than 180 metres into the air.Pearl Dawn is a 31-floor skyscraper in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, SouthAfrica. pic.twitter.com/gpDX7o4g9i— CD Anderson (@bizarrojerri) September 8,2016Foreboding as a dark, monolithic presence on the skyline of the Pretoria/Tshwane CBD, the Reserve Bank building is the fifth highest in the country at 148m. It houses South Africa’s central monetary authority. It was built in 1988.TheReserve Bank building, Pretoria, South Africa (pic: Photobucket) https://t.co/FicoTWmSbp pic.twitter.com/aUAhGKsVX5—CDAnderson (@bizarrojerri) September 8,201688 on Field (formerly called Southern Life) was Durban’s highest structure between 1986 and 2008, at 146.5m. Situated in the heart of the city’s business district, the building is home to the offices of various international businesses and a popular shopping centre. It features glass shuttle elevators, offering views of the city and Indian Ocean.88 OnField, Durban. The city’s highest building 1986 – 2008. (Pic: Emporis)https://t.co/853lLSMQa4 pic.twitter.com/vMmsthRWxi—CD Anderson (@bizarrojerri) September 9, 2016While the 140m Kwadukuza Egoli Hotel Tower 1 (formerly Johannesburg Sun and Towers Hotel) has had a chequered history, from being a five-star hotel during its 1980s heyday to a police personnel housing complex in the early 2000s, there are plans to rejuvenate the building’s 40 floors as commercial and residential real estate.Kwadukuza Egoli Hotel Tower, formerly Johannesburg Sun and TowersHotel (pic: Photobucket) https://t.co/0kptGghReh pic.twitter.com/pX6H8QBZIM—CD Anderson (@bizarrojerri) September 8,2016As one of the most sought-after addresses in Johannesburg, the luxurious Michelangelo Towers in Sandton, also offers the one of the best views in the city.Completed in 2005, the 140m Michelangelo is now a ubiquitous part of the city skyline. It is part of the Sandton retail, hotel and conferencing district, which includes Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton City and the Sandton Conference Centre. An apartment in the Michelangelo can cost up to R28-million.RThttps://t.co/xuNoFePrZu MichelangeloTowers Hotel Johannesburg #SouthAfrica – https://t.co/X1xdK2CxP4 pic.twitter.com/5vNflrGyqq—South Africa News (@southafricaz) February 3,2016Both Absa Building and Trust Bank Centre, in the Johannesburg CBD close to the old Johannesburg Stock Exchange, are 140m high and house various corporate headquarters for local and international banking institutions and other financial companies. Trust Bank Centre, built in 1970, houses one of the largest bank vaults in South Africa.TheABSA and Trust Bank buildings in Johannesburg (pics: Photobucket) pic.twitter.com/ORJ6j8QNmY—CD Anderson (@bizarrojerri) September 8,2016The tallest building in Cape Town is Portside, at 139m. Completed in 2014, the only public stipulations for its completion were that it not obscure the view of Table Mountain and that it have a low energy footprint. The completed building earned a five-star Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa.APFacquires half of Portside Tower https://t.co/bkpw2nUhSI via @Biz_Property pic.twitter.com/ayFKtLWxbi—Bizcom Property (@Biz_Property) June 27,2016The future of South African skyscrapersA number of proposed or currently under construction buildings are set to take skyscrapers higher in South Africa, while significantly changing the skylines of its major cities. These include:The Leonardo, a 42-floor, 223m luxury residential building in Sandton, Johannesburg, is scheduled to be completed by 2018, and become, give or take a few centimetres, the highest building in the city.By 2021, eThekwini hopes that the proposed 370m, R6-billion Iconic Tower will be the southern hemisphere’s tallest skyscraper. The building is expected to “serve as a potential catalyst to future large-scale development within the Durban inner city, and the greater metropolitan area”, according to its developers.At370m, the Durban Iconic Tower is aiming at becoming the tallest skyscraperinAfrica by 2021 (pic: Google) pic.twitter.com/AcmqVHnK4V—CD Anderson (@bizarrojerri) September 8,2016The proposed Kgoro Gateway commercial property development in Sandton, due to be completed by 2030, hopes to sport twin skyscrapers reaching higher than 165m each.Source: Business TechSouthAfrica.info reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

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Missing U.P. law student who accused former BJP MP of harassing her found in Rajasthan

first_imgSwami Chinmayanand booked after girl alleging harassment goes missing in UP  The former MP, who served as a Minister of State for Home Affairs under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, was on Tuesday charged with kidnapping (in order to murder) the student. He was also charged with criminal intimidation. The FIR was filed on the complaint of the woman’s father after she went missing, days after alleging in a video clip that Mr. Chinmayanand, the director of Swami Shukdevanand PG College, where she studies, had been harassing her as well as other girls.Also Read A law student from Shahjahanpur who had gone missing after accusing former BJP MP Swami Chinmayanand of harassing her was found in Rajasthan, the Uttar Pradesh police said on Friday.The woman student along with her friend were located in Rajasthan by the Shahjahanpur police. Necessary legal action was being taken, U.P. police said.Also Read SC takes cognisance of Chinmayanand row  The matter came to light after the woman posted a video clip online on August 24, claiming she and her family were under threat from a “big leader of the sant samaj” and requested Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene. She did not name Mr. Chinmayanand or specify the harassment or exploitation she allegedly endured, but claimed the “sant” had “ruined the lives of many women” and now wanted to kill her.She also claimed she had all the evidence against him.Unable to find his daughter at her college hostel after the video surfaced, the student’s father blamed Mr. Chinmayanand. He alleged that he suspected that his daughter and the other women mentioned in the video may have been sexually exploited.Though Mr. Chinmayanand did not clarify on the allegations, his lawyer dismissed them as a “conspiracy” and attempt to extort from the former MP. The police are probing Mr. Chinmayanand’s complaint in which he alleged that he received an extortion text message from an unknown phone number demanding ₹5crore from him.last_img read more

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