USAID Mission Director Assures US Gov’t Support to SMEs

first_imgThe Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Dr. Anthony Chan, has assured Liberian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of the United States government’s support.Dr. Chan made the statement yesterday, April 20, at the closeout program of USAID funded program, Investing for Business Expansion (IBEX), where he inducted leadership into office to operate the Consortium of Business Development Service Providers-IBEX Sustainability Strategy. He said since the inception of IBEX in 2012, they have trained 99 business development services providers and over 300 financial services professionals, including bankers and microfinance officers in technical areas such as agriculture lending, financing renewable energy project, and loan underwriting criteria for local business people.Through IBEX, Dr. Chan said, USAID has taken a strategic and comprehensive approach to business development in the country, focusing on empowering local small businesses with the priorities identified by the government of Liberia under its Agenda for Transformation (AfT).The USAID Director said IBEX has been working hard to assist small local businesses and to secure and strengthen access to credit for over 1,000 small businesses in Liberia.Additionally, over US$8 million was approved, and a little over US$7 million were disbursed to agribusiness, renewable energy, hospitality, construction, logistics and transportation, trade and healthcare businesses. Credit was disbursed through both USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) as well as non DCA supported loans. Based on these achievements, the USAID Mission Director said IBEX has set a great example of how to work with and engage small businesses and the private sector to develop the strong partnership that is needed to enhance their investment in developing Liberia’s economy.“IBEX experience demonstrates that we can move towards a more active participation of small businesses and enhance their contribution to the development of their communities, and I believe that IBEX achievements will play an important role in the development of micro, small medium enterprises,” he said.He, however, said that his institution remains committed to supporting local businesses and also works with partners including the GOL in these endeavors.Also speaking, Madam Watchen Harris Bruce, Chief of Party (COP), thanked USAID for the opportunity given her and her staff to train local businesses on how to be become successful.Madam Bruce said the four years she operated the organization proved that there are “millions of SMEs in Liberia” that need the training.She said the training also demonstrates that if government and international partners help local businesses get proper training it will help them become successful, as well as create more jobs in the country.“This is a dream come true, because we achieved our many objectives and demonstrated Liberian-owned businesses can borrow and can pay.“Those were some of the things we heard, when we came to operate this organization, Liberians don’t pay debt. Its’ not that they cannot pay, but they didn’t just know how to raise revenue, make reports, do record keeping and financial statements,” said Watchen Bruce.For her part, the National Investment Commission, Etmonia David Tarpeh, expressed gratitude to IBEX, especially USAID for the support given to Liberian-owned businesses.The closeout program of IBEX was attended by government officials, USAID, staff of IBEX as well as local business people.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Operation Hydrate pours on water

first_imgOperation Hydrate in QwaQwa in the Free State making sure people are hydrated. (Image: Operation Hydrate Facebook)This summer, South Africa is in the grips of the severest drought in 20 years, coupled with one of the harshest heat waves the country has experienced. The towns of Senekal, in Free State, and Aliwal North, in Eastern Cape, for example, have run out of water.In response, Operation Hydrate was established by good Samaritans from various communities, NGOs, religious groups and companies to play their part in saving lives and easing the suffering of thousands of people.The initiative hopes to distribute over a million litres of water to the drought stricken Free State and parts of Eastern Cape.“We have distributed over 350 000 litres of water so far,” said Yaseen Theba, Operation Hydrate’s co-ordinator. “We cannot sit by idly as we watch our fellow South Africans die of thirst. As civil society we have the power to make a difference and help those in need when we unite around a common cause such as this.“The joy on the faces of those who have been receiving drinking water is remarkable and most humbling. Many have not had water for weeks.”South Africa’s farming communities have been the hardest hit by the drought and livestock are suffering and dying, while crops are withering.GOVERNMENT SUPPORTThe portfolio committee on water and sanitation supports Operation Hydrate and views it as a noble initiative that must have the support of society as a whole.It urges everyone, from individuals to big business, to contribute. “It is only through a commitment to mutual action that the country will overcome the current challenge of water scarcity,” said Mlungisi Johnson, the chairperson of the committee.In addition, the committee urged all South Africans to recommit to a culture of prudent water use. This recommitment, coupled with vigilance in relation to water leakages, would ensure that South Africa saved water that was currently being lost.CORPORATE SUPPORTProudly South African has thanked and applauded all the volunteers and donors involved in Operation Hydrate. It also encouraged businesses and corporates to dig deep to support the relief efforts.“At times like these we’re called upon to be of service to humanity and to respond to the basic needs of our people,” said chief executive Lesley Sedibe. “Among these are the promises of a better life and the restoration of (the) dignity of our people, which includes a basic human right such as access to water.“This initiative shows that many South Africans from all walks of life naturally band together to help their fellow countrymen and -women who are in desperate need of assistance. Despite the many challenges we face, Operation Hydrate also shows we are still a people of hope and humanity. Ultimately what unites us is far greater than our differences.”Mango, the low-cost subsidiary of SAA, has contributed to the initiative by giving water to the value of R500 000 for distribution through the initiative.“South Africans have always rolled up their sleeves with immense resolve and this initiative, created entirely through a critical mass on social media, prompted action,” said Mango chief executive Nico Bezuidenhout.“There is no question about the strength of the South African character and as an airline for all the people, Mango was inspired to participate in our usual hands-on fashion and is purchasing water from a percentage of ticket sales this week.”For information about helping or where to drop off water or send donations, visit the Operation Hydrate Facebook page, or follow @HydrateSA on Twitter, #OperationHydrate.Have you played your part to make South Africa better for all? Share your story with us.last_img read more

USDA announces details of agricultural assistance for trade retaliation

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest This week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced details of the trade assistance package for farmers hurt by the President’s aggressive trade agenda. The $12 billion package will provide payments to producers as part of a “short-term relief strategy” to protect agriculture.“Early on, the President instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to make sure our farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs. After careful analysis by our team at USDA, we have formulated our strategy to mitigate the trade damages sustained by our farmers. Our farmers work hard, and are the most productive in the world, and we aim to protect them,” Perdue said.The Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean and wheat producers starting Sept. 4, 2018. The payments to producers will total $4.7 billion with soybeans accounting for the largest single commodity estimated cost at over $3.6 billion.Payments though the MFP include:Soybeans — $1.65 per bushel for 50% of productionCorn — One cent per bushel for 50% of productionPork — 50% of the total number of pigs on hand as of Aug. 1 at $8 per pig.Wheat — 14 cents a bushel for 50% of production.Dairy — The margin protection historic number at 12 cents per hundredweight times that production number. Payment for dairy production is based off the historical production reported for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). For existing dairy operations, the production history is established using the highest annual milk production marketed during the full calendar years of 2011, 2012, and 2013. Dairy operations are also required to have been in operation on June 1, 2018 to be eligible for payments.USDA has a number for 21,000 producers but those who don’t have it can be calculated by USDA.Eligible applicants must have an ownership interest in the commodity, be actively engaged in farming, and have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Interested producers can apply after harvest is 100% complete and they can report their total 2018 production. Beginning Sept. 4 of this year, MFP applications will be available online at Producers will also be able to submit their MFP applications in person, by email, fax, or by mail.Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations. The second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the USDA.MFP payments are capped per person or legal entity at a combined $125,000 for dairy production or hogs. MFP payments are also capped per person or legal entity at a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans and wheat. For more information on the MFP, visit or contact your local FSA office, which can be found at addition, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities (including beef, dairy, sweet corn, apples, and strawberries) unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and child nutrition programs.Also, through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.The ATP will provide cost-share assistance to eligible U.S. organizations for activities such as consumer advertising, public relations, point-of-sale demonstrations, participation in trade fairs and exhibits, market research, and technical assistance. Applications for the ATP will be accepted until Nov. 2, 2018 or until funding is exhausted. Funding should be allocated to eligible participants in early 2019.“President Trump has been standing up to China and other nations, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property. In short, the President has taken action to benefit all sectors of the American economy — including agriculture — in the long run,” Perdue said. “It’s important to note all of this could go away tomorrow, if China and the other nations simply correct their behavior. But in the meantime, the programs we are announcing today buys time for the President to strike long-lasting trade deals to benefit our entire economy.”last_img read more

Hook Your Audience With the First Shot

first_imgFinding a new, unseen way to kick off your movie or project should be the goal every time. What are some of your favorite opening shots in movies or TV shows? Let us know in the comments below Your film or video project’s first shot is incredibly important. Whether you’re establishing a time and place or unveiling a mystery, a compelling first frame is vital.Top image: A Clockwork Orange via Warner Bros.It’s vital that you make your video or film’s first frame as enticing as possible. Doing so will set the tone and allow you to immediately begin telling your story. A unique beginning will stick with your audience long after they finish watching your work.Let’s take a look at some examples of interesting first shots, explore why they’re interesting, and learn how you can apply the same techniques to your next video or film.Shot CompositionImage via The Cinema GuildIf you decide to use a wide or medium shot that exposes your characters’ bodies, the background, positioning and lighting must be figured out prior to shooting.Take the image above for example, from Lisandro Alonso’s Jauja. The two characters are positioned and angled in such a meticulous way that the shot resembles a painting. This particular shot sets up what follows, which is a series of static, long, drawn-out scenes that echo this first shot.Image via Warner Bros.The first shot from Interstellar, seen above, demonstrates an undeniable sense of mystery. Proposing a question to your viewers from the get-go is is a sure-fire way to hook them. Why is there a bookcase? Why is everything covered in dust? Where’s the blackhole I was promised?In a movie filled with twists, turns, and thrills, the audience immediately expects explanations to follow in the impending hours. Presenting strange questions right off the bat can yield a fantastic payoff in the end.Establishing LocationImage via Paramount VantageEstablishing the location and environment of your video in the opening shot is informative and classically effective. This type of shot (like the one above from There Will Be Blood) tells the audience the “where” of your video (and sometimes, as seen below, the “when”) and often gives them an idea of the mood.If you captured several establishing shots and B-roll that you’re unsure of what to do with, throwing one of those at the opening is an excellent introductory statement. News packages, corporate videos, and sitcoms all make use the of the establishing shot to open the video.Image via 20th Century FoxIn The Terminator (seen above), James Cameron gives us a familiar location, but then throws in some out-of-nowhere details that hook the audience.Image via USAA perfect example of combining these tactics — mystery and location— was seen in the popular USA series, Mr. Robot. The above silhouette shot with the city in the background gives us information on where the show will be taking place. It also presents a couple of questions: Who are these people? And what are they doing?Introduce Characters Image via CBS FilmsAn immediate portrait shot of your main subject is the perfect way to jump right into a story. This can save a lot of unnecessary expositional dialogue that might give off an amateurish vibe. Inside Llewyn Davis (above) presents the titular character right from the start, immediately throwing the audience into his psyche as he begins his opening “monologue.”Another classic example of this can be seen in the opening of A Clockwork Orange (see top image), which presents an intimidating, unavoidable shot of Alex DeLarge. Not only can this method save pointless dialogue, it can also express the character’s intent within the first few seconds of the narrative.Alternative MethodsImage via Annapurna PicturesYour opening frame doesn’t necessarily have to feature an action or characters. It can be an object, part of the body, or purely obscure. The image above (from The Master) is shown throughout the course of the movie as a theme, reflecting the main character’s stream of consciousness. The instant recognition takes the audience back to the beginning of the film and instills the intended feelings.You’ve probably seen Jacob T. Swinney’s excellent side-by-side videos comparing the first and last frames of popular movies. If you’re planning to come full circle or connect your story in a similar way, these entrancing videos can give you an idea of just why the first frame is so important.last_img read more

Antenova ships precision positioning antenna Raptor

first_imgAntenova is now shipping its latest positioning antenna – Raptor, which achieves an extraordinary level of accuracy in the GNSS bands – pinpointing location to within centimetres.The Raptor is an embedded antenna for all positioning applications that require a greater level of accuracy. In particular it is ideal for emerging applications with autonomous vehicles, drones and other mobile devices where its enhanced positioning capability can, for example, indicate which side of the road a vehicle is on – which has not generally been possible with previous GNSS devices.The antenna will also be useful for applications in tracking, surveying and mapping. It requires a corresponding high precision GNSS receiver module – these are also newly available on the market to connect the Raptor antenna in a complete RF system. The Raptor antenna operates in the 1200MHz and 1600MHz GNSS satellite bands and is suitable for all global public constellations: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou.  It supports the L2 1200MHz band in addition to the existing L1 and L5 bands.It is a single feed antenna in compact SMD form, measuring just 16.0 x 8.0 x 1.7mm, making this exciting antenna a practical choice for small electronic designs such as wearables and portable devices where space on the PCB may be restricted.The addition of the L2 frequency band combines multi-band satellite signal reception and GNSS correction data. This helps to mitigate position errors, greatly improving accuracy, especially in urban areas.Like Antenova’s other SMD antennas, the Raptor antenna is designed according to the company’s philosophy of Design for Integration (DFI) – meaning that the antenna has been designed to fit easily into a PCB, alongside other components. Antenova specialises in the design of SMD antennas and also provides expert integration and testing services for its customers. The Raptor antenna, part no SR4G053, is supplied in Tape and Reel.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Chips & Components Continue Reading Previous Key requirements for AI fairnessNext Apacer: CV110-SD and CV110-MSD cards launched worldwidelast_img read more

10 months agoAWESOME! Pepe will leave Besiktas having covered wages for club staff

first_imgAWESOME! Pepe will leave Besiktas having covered wages for club staffby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the lovePepe will leave Besiktas with the gratitude of many of the club’s staff, it has been revealed.Due to the club’s financial problems, the former Real Madrid defender has agreed to terminating his contract this month.However, before Pepe’s departure, it’s emerged he paid the month’s wages of several of the club’s staff, including chefs and groundsmen, as Besiktas struggled to meet their obligations, reports Marca. Pepe is now set to become a free agent and can immediately sign for a new club. TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Carrie Underwood Donates To Girls Youth Sports Teams

first_imgThe DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation and CALIA by Carrie Underwood, a fitness and lifestyle brand created in partnership with DICK’S Sporting Goods and GRAMMY Award winner Carrie Underwood, have announced plans to donate $500,000 in Sports Matter grants to girls youth sports teams across the country.CALIA by Carrie Underwood in partnership with The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation to donate $500,000 in Sports Matter grants to girls youth sports teamsCredit/Copyright: Marcus SmithSince 2014, The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation has pledged over $50 million to support teams and raise awareness of the importance of youth sports across the country through its Sports Matter initiative.To kick off the partnership in her hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma, The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation and Underwood herself surprised unsuspecting Checotah Middle School and High School female student-athletes during a summer practice to present a Sports Matter grant of $100,000 to the Checotah School District Girls Athletic Programs.“I am so honored to partner with The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation to give back to my high school’s girls sports teams,” said Underwood. “Being active in youth sports while growing up helped set the foundation and passion for making fitness an important part of my life today. Participating in sports also taught me important life lessons about dedication and teamwork. Through this donation, we want to make sure there are plenty of opportunities for girls to play sports in Checotah for years to come.”DICK’S Foundation will be partnering with Underwood’s local C.A.T.S. (Checotah, Animal, Town, and School) Foundation and Brian Terry, Checotah High School Principal and Athletic Director, to allocate the Sports Matter grant to the girls softball, track and field, basketball, cheerleading and golf teams.“At DICK’S, we believe sports make people better, and through this partnership, we hope to provide more opportunities for girls to play sports nationwide,” said Lauren Hobart, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, DICK’S Sporting Goods and President of The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation. “Carrie Underwood knows firsthand the impact sports can have on girls becoming strong, successful women. The DICK’S Foundation and the CALIA by Carrie Underwood brand are excited to ensure that opportunities for girls to participate in sports continue to exist.”For more information on Sports Matter and CALIA by Carrie Underwood, please visit and, respectively.last_img read more

Rep Sheppard opposes local judicial reductions

first_img Lawmaker: Judgeship ‘rightsizing’ is wrong for Monroe CountyRep. Jason Sheppard today came out in opposition to a recent report from the Michigan Supreme Court recommending a reduction in the number of probate judgeships serving Monroe County. Changes in the number of judgeships per district have to be approved through the legislative process, an action Rep. Sheppard wishes to prevent.“Our courts are already over-crowded,” said Rep. Sheppard, R-Monroe. “The Supreme Court can conduct all the analyses they want, but there’s no doubt that eliminating a judgeship will put further caseload burdens on the remaining justices. The end result is an incontrovertible disservice to the people of Monroe County.”The report, released on July 16, recommends that Monroe County lose a probate judgeship through attrition, meaning that a retiring justice would not be replaced.Rep. Sheppard said there has been no legislation so far introduced which follows the Supreme Court’s recommendations, but that he would oppose any bills based on the same conclusions about the needs of the 56th District.“The Legislature has not always followed these reports to the letter,” Rep. Sheppard said. “That’s why there exists legislative review; we have a chance to say, ‘No, we disagree.’ I will fight to maintain the highest levels of service in our local courts and to secure efficient, effective justice.” 16Jul Rep. Sheppard opposes local judicial reductions Categories: Sheppard Newslast_img read more