‘It became a religion to me’: With the Yankees in town, Ramon Laureano reflects on the team that inspired him to play baseball

first_imgRamon Laureano’s love for baseball didn’t start outside on the diamond. There were no childhood indications that his laser arm could be unearthed, his killer competitive instinct didn’t necessarily manifest from innocuous childhood games with teammates or friends.Laureano’s love of baseball blossomed during hot summer nights in Santo Domingo. In front of the television with his family, a 7-year-old Laureano would fixate on the day’s Yankees game.As frustrating the media bias for the classic …last_img

Yoza! M-novels to get teens reading

first_img6 October 2010Yoza, a library of mobile novels or “m-novels” that harnesses cellphone technology and popularity to promote reading and writing among South African youngsters, is being incubated by the Shuttleworth Foundation while it looks out for sponsors or partners.Yoza offers young people a growing library of free, hip, interactive novels, encouraging them not only to read but also to participate in commenting on and reviewing them, and to submit their own stories – with the aim of turning reading into a social, sharing experience.“For the foreseeable future, the cellphone, not the Kindle or iPad, is the e-reader of Africa,” Steve Vosloo, founder of Yoza and fellow for 21st century learning at the Shuttleworth Foundation, said in a statement at Yoza’s launch in August. “Yoza aims to capitalise on that to get Africa’s teens reading and writing.”Yoza is available on MXit (go to Tradepost > MXit Cares > mobiBooks), on WAP-enabled mobile phones at www.yoza.mobi, as well as on Facebook.Pilot project: making KontaxYoza is part of the Shuttleworth Foundation’s m4Lit (mobiles for literacy) project, which began as a pilot initiative with the publication of a 20-page story called Kontax, in English and isiXhosa, in September 2009, followed by Kontax 2 in May 2010.Readers were encouraged to comments on chapters, vote in opinion polls related to the story, and enter a writing competition.“The uptake was tremendous,” the foundation said in a statement. “Since launch, the two stories have been read over 34 000 times on cellphones. Over 4 000 entries have been received in the writing competitions, and over 4 000 comments have been left by readers on individual chapters. Many of the readers asked for more stories and in different genres.”Catching the reading bugYoza was launched on the back of this response – in order to complement, not attempt to replace, the printed page. Yoza’s m-novels are written in conventional language, with “txtspeak” only used when a character is writing or reading SMSes or instant message chats.Most importantly, the m-novels offer “compelling, entertaining reading for teens in South Africa,” says the Shuttleworth Foundation. “The aim is to captivate teens and inspire them to catch the reading bug.”Competitions with airtime prizes prompt readers to answer the questions at the end of chapters, keeping them engaged and coming back for more.Write a story for Yoza and submit it at www.yoza.mobi/write – if they like it, they’ll publish it.Yoza’s initial line-upIncluded in the initial line-up are four m-novel series – Kontax, Streetskillz, Sisterz, and Confessions of a Virgin Loser – with a sequel to each to be launched near the start of each month from October onwards (Streetskillz 2, Sisterz 2 and Kontax 5 are already live).Yoza Classics will feature a range of public domain titles such as the school-prescribed work Macbeth. “The idea is not necessarily that teens will read the whole of Macbeth on their cellphones, but if they have to read Act 1, Scene 1 for homework and they don’t have a textbook, then they can do so on their phones.”There is no charge for the actual stories, though users do pay the usual mobile data charges. To keep these low, Yoza uses images sparingly – data charges on local cellphones range from 5c to 9c per m-novel chapter.Current story languages include English and isiXhosa, an Afrikaans story is on the way, and the ultimate aim is to publish in all 11 South African languages. Yoza encourages the public to get involved in translating its m-novels into local languages – “if you translate it, we’ll gladly publish it”.“Over the next six months, the plan for Yoza is to build a library of cellphone stories of multiple genres that are available to teens not only in South Africa, but ultimately throughout Africa,” says Vosloo, noting that Kontax has already been published in Kenya through MXit.Seeking sponsors, partnersWhile the Shuttleworth Foundation is incubating the project, it will need to be sustainable from early 2010, and is actively seeking sponsors or partners.“There is a growing awareness around the impact that a lack of books has on literacy levels in South Africa,” says Vosloo. “Books are scarce and prohibitively expensive for most South Africans. Stats show that 51% of households in South Africa do not own a single leisure book, while an elite 6% of households own 40 books or more. Only 7% of schools have functioning libraries.“What South Africa’s teens do have access to are cellphones, with stats indicating that 90% of urban youth have their own cellphone. The take-up and interaction with the first two Kontax stories clearly demonstrates that cellphones are a viable platform for local teen reading and writing.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

SME Indaba calls for business investment in South Africa

first_imgThe first SME Indaba organised by AHI South Africa discussed why big and small businesses should work together.Former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas (left) and AHI South Africa president Bernard Swanepoel. Jonas was a speaker at the SME Indaba on 5 April 2017. He says bringing small and big business together is a powerful tool. (Image: Melissa Javan)Melissa JavanPay invoices on time, AHI South Africa president Bernard Swanepoel challenged owners of big corporates, the government and members of his organisation. “Think small [businesses] first. Consider the effects on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).”Swanepoel gave the welcoming address of AHI South Africa’s first SME Indaba, held in Centurion on 5 April 2017. The theme of the one-day conference was “Creating jobs against all odds”.Swanepoel’s second challenge was that his members commit this year to creating two entry level jobs. “Take your business and create a job.”He added: “If there is no growth in your business, it will die. You cannot stagnate as a business… Invest in your businesses. Invest in the future of the country.”Businesses, get involvedFormer deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas was the keynote speaker. He said the future of the country was in South Africans’ hands. “We need to strengthen leadership.”There was a need for the business sector to be involved in and to collaborate with government programmes, especially when it came to training emerging entrepreneurs, he said.Jonas also urged businesses to invest in doing research so that relevant training could be given to students. Businesses should go to where students who needed relevant industry training were, in colleges and universities.Members should not underestimate the power of an organisation such as the AHI, he said. “[An organisation like this] can provide a stronger network of enterprises. Bringing small and big business together is a powerful tool.“You can see how you can use the supply chain to promote growth – you enhance growth where there is an organisation of big and small business.”The AHI is a national multisectoral, inclusive business organisation consisting of corporate, medium and small enterprises and affiliated business chambers. It represents more than 100 business chambers, more than 4,000 businesses and has trained 740 entrepreneurs, it says.The AHI’s mission is to promote the economic and business interests of its members and to facilitate networks and interaction between businesses and the government.DowngradeAsked about South Africa being downgraded to junk status by ratings agency S&P Global Ratings on 5 April, Jonas said: “We will bounce back as a country but it will require that we become more robust. We need to boost things such as our agricultural programmes and other programmes that are working.”He added: “We need to do more about scaling.”A national dialogue was needed so we could talk about where we should be going as a country. “I fear that if we don’t have a national dialogue we’ll be replacing the white elite with the black elite. That is not right.”Chief executive officer of AHI South Africa, Dr. Ernest Messina, Prof. Edith Vries of the Department: Small Business Development and Ashraf Adam of the South Africa Local Government Association are panellists discussing “How national and local governments enable or stifle SMEs” at the SME Indaba on 5 April 2017. (Image: Melissa Javan)SMMEs’ challengesBusiness Unity South Africa (Busa) had found the number one barrier for many SMEs was access to skilled staff, said Tanya Cohen, the organisation’s CEO. She spoke about the challenges SMEs faced.Skills training and relevant transformation was necessary, said Cohen. It was important that the South African economy was open to all. “We need to do this; [South Africa must be] inclusive of black people, women, people with disabilities and those living in rural areas.”Cohen also spoke about the country’s minimum wage and its effect on SMMEs. A quarter of small, medium and micro enterprises were able to afford the minimum wage, but three-quarters of SMMEs “are going to struggle to pay [it]”.Negotiations were ongoing to exempt SMMEs from paying the minimum wage. “It’s something that we will have to continue to motivate for.”It was Busa’s mission to secure conditions so that business could thrive, Cohen said. “Our focus is what we can do for business.”Other discussionsEntrepreneurs on the panel “Negotiating the minefield of regulation and bureaucracy affecting SMEs”, had advice for businesses:Paul Marias: “My best investment advice is read, read and read. Also comply with the legislation.”Octavia Motloa: “A lot of people think that if they are a small business they can do mediocre work. No, it shouldn’t be. The quality of your work must be exceptional. As you excel in that it creates opportunities.”Annie Malan: “Continuously ask yourself ‘how do I re-evaluate myself?’ You have to stay ahead [of the game].” Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa materiallast_img read more

Propane Prices Low Pre-Harvest

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Russ QuinnDTN Staff ReporterOMAHA (DTN) — With much of the Corn Belt facing a late-maturing, high-moisture crop, some farmers are already making plans to dry their grain this fall. That means they’ll likely need to purchase propane — if they haven’t already — to fuel their grain dryers.Late summer and early fall is the time many farmers lock in propane prices for the grain-drying season. With a wet spring delaying planting this year, especially in the Eastern Corn Belt, there could be a lot of wet grain to dry this fall.Right now, propane prices are low thanks to high production of the fuel, according to propane analysts. But high demand for propane during harvest followed by a cold winter could push prices higher.PROPANE PRICE AT MULTI-YEAR LOWThere is a good supply of propane in the country as fall harvest begins, said DTN Refined Fuels Reporter Alton Wallace. That has been the case in the U.S. since the beginning of the “Shale Revolution” in 2012, which has allowed the country to dramatically increase crude oil and natural gas production, he said.According to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) statistics, propane production in the U.S. is now roughly about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). And production is continuing to increase, Wallace said, growing by 8.3% from 2017 to 2019.“We have a lot of propane right now,” Wallace said.One doesn’t have to be an economist to figure out that if supply outpaces demand, prices will decline, Wallace said. In mid-August, for example, the price of propane at the Conway, Kansas, hub fell to 37 cents per gallon, a three-and-a-half-year low, he said. In mid-September 2018, the price at Conway was near 78 cents a gallon.With propane production at record levels, the market is in an oversupply situation, and prices have been less volatile than in the past, Wallace said.“The U.S. has become an energy superpower because of the Shale Revolution,” he said.While it appears likely that propane prices will be fairly low this fall, there are some factors that could drastically alter that outlook, Wallace said.The propane market can see increased volatility due to the weather, Wallace said. As history has shown, extremely cold winter weather can cause an increase in propane demand and prices can skyrocket quickly. A harvest season in which farmers need more propane to dry down wet crops followed by a cold winter could create a situation where propane prices move considerably higher, he said.Another factor that could affect propane prices is the burgeoning export market.Because of its increased propane production, the U.S. has become a major exporter on the global market, Wallace said. EIA data for the week ended Sept. 13 showed U.S. propane exports at 1.162 million barrels per day.Wallace said companies are building export facilities as this is becoming an important component of the market. The downside to increased propane exports is if export demand for propane rises, those buying propane in the U.S. — such as farmers — are forced to compete for availability with the export market, he said.SOME BOOK PROPANE, SOME DON’TIn August, DTN asked readers about their propane-buying habits. This question was posed in the DTN 360 Poll: “As propane production has increased and domestic demand has been flat, the price of propane has dropped to half its value during the past 12 months. Some farmers may be thinking about their propane needs for the upcoming crop drying and heating. What is your plan for propane this late-summer/fall?”The poll received a total of 171 responses. Of those, 46% said they “Will book propane in August.” Thirty-nine percent said they were “Not going to book propane at all,” while 12% said they “Will book propane in September.” The remaining 3% said they “Will book propane in October.This week, Mark Nowak, a farmer and ag consultant from Wells, Minnesota, told DTN his propane dealer was set to visit him the same day to preorder some of his propane needs. He was set to lock his propane price at $1.08 per gallon, which he said was down from last year ($1.19 per gallon) and 2017 ($1.13 per gallon).There could be a lot of crop drying needed this fall across the Corn Belt, Nowak said. He estimated that most of the corn will black layer by Oct. 1, and thus, the moisture at that time would likely be around 32%.Most farmers harvest corn around 22%-24%, so the crop will need to dry 8% to 10% in October, he said.“I think the month of October is going to be the wildcard here,” Nowak said. “If we continue to see this warm and dry weather, I think the crop can dry down pretty good. But if we see cool and cloudy weather, maybe we will be doing a lot of drying.”CROP MOST BEHIND IN EASTERN CORN BELTCorn and soybean planting was delayed across much of the Corn Belt this spring by wet field conditions, but one region where this was especially true was the Eastern Corn Belt. Areas in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio saw much rain, which pushed planting to as late as the summer in some cases.Brian Scott, who farms near Monticello, Indiana, said his region will see a late harvest this fall. He estimated harvest could be around a month later than normal.“We have a lot of corn that probably won’t black layer until mid-October,” Scott told DTN.Scott said the grain dryers in his region are going to be used this fall. It has been a couple of years since they last used their grain-drying equipment, he said.Scott booked propane earlier this summer — not necessarily because of the amount of drying that could take place this fall, but to take advantage of a summer-fill discounted price. He topped off his 4,000-gallon storage tank like he normally does, he said.There are other farmers who are planning for the increased demand for propane this fall, Scott said. He said he knows of one farmer who built a new propane storage facility so he could get a good price on propane this year. The new facility will allow him to take a full semi-truckload of propane, Scott said.Another farmer who already booked some propane was Mike Cooprider of Howesville, Indiana. He planted his corn from May 18 through June 5. However, he wasn’t able to plant his soybeans until July 15.“Like most farmers, we are praying for a long fall,” Cooprider said.Cooprider said he dries “a lot of corn” every fall, but this year, he could be drying all of his corn crop. For that reason, he has already filled the propane tanks at his bin sites, he said.Russ Quinn can be reached at russ.quinn@dtn.comFollow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN(AG/CZ)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Last boys standing assure PH of bronze medals in boxing tourney

first_imgASBC Asian Confederation Junior Boxing Championships in Puerto Princesa – Day3 Session6 – Philippines’ John Vincent Pangga defeated United Arab Emirates’ Saif Al-Kharoosi at the flyweight (50kg). PHOTO FROM ASBC FACEBOOKPuerto Princesa—John Vincent Pangga and Kenneth dela Pena hurdled their respective opponents on Friday, assuring the Philippines of at least two bronze medals in the ASBC Asian Junior Boxing Championships here.Pangga beat Saif Alkharoosi of the United Arab Emirates by RSC (Referee Stops Contest) in the first round of their flyweight duel to barge into Sunday’s semifinals against Kazakhstan’s Talgat Syrymbetov.ADVERTISEMENT After drawing a bye in the first round, De La Pena, dominated India’s Selay So, 5-0, in the pinweight class to advance against Chinese Taipei’s Yu Chen-Ching.Syrymbetov beat Bhutan’s Tanding Wangchuk by RSC in the third round and, with his solid credential as Kazakhstan national junior champion, should give Pangga a tough fight.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsAnother Filipino, Norlan Petecio, bowed to Uzbekistan’s Sherzod Kodirboev, 5-0, in the lightweight division, leaving Pangga and Dela Pena to carry the fight for the host country in the event confined to 15 and 16 year olds.Criz Russu Laurente lost to Kazakhstan’s Makhmud Sabyrkhan by the same score in the light flyweight category on Thursday. NGCP on security risk: Chinese just technical advisers Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Though they will be pitted against internationally seasoned opponents, Pangga and Dela Pena promised to give it their best shot in the five-day competition organized by the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines headed by Ricky Vargas.The tournament took a break Saturday and will conclude on Monday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Silver lining Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: 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 City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games View commentslast_img read more