Blogs

Matt Chapman homers twice in Oakland Athletics’ win over Giants

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — The A’s split this two-game start to the Bay Bridge series with a Matt Chapman-powered 9-5 win over the Giants on Wednesday afternoon.Homer Bailey had started two games on the road (against Houston and the Chicago Cubs) and allowed 16 runs between them. In three home starts he’d allowed just seven earned runs.Oracle Park provided a strange gray area, an away game with a unique kind of home-field feel. He certainly pitched like he had most home games with the A’s, holding the …last_img read more

Housing subsidies increased

first_img23 May 2003Housing Minister Brigitte Mabandla announced during the department’s budget speech in Parliament this week that the government has raised the subsidy levels for people who qualify for low-cost houses.“We have decided to adjust the subsidy grant on an annual basis to ensure that the subsidy is not eroded by the effects of inflation,” said Mabandla.The minister said the government subsidy for people earning up to R1 500 per month would be increased 13.8% or R2 800, from R20 300 to R23 100.Those earning from R1 501 to R2 500 will see their subsidies increased by 11.8%, from R12 700 to R14 200.Mabandla said there would also be an R800 increase from R7 000 to R7 800 for people who fell within the income bracket of R2 501 to R3 500.She said the indigent, who included the aged, disabled and the infirm, would have their subsidy increased from R22 800 to R25 580, provided they earned no more than R800 per month.The consolidation subsidy for those earning up to R1 500 rises from R10 900 to R12 521 and for indigents from R13 400 to R15 000, representing increases of 14.8% and 11.9% respectively.Mabandla added that her department was investigating a possible raising of the income limit for the highest subsidy amount, from R1 500 per month to R1 794.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Airlines ramp up biometrics at US airports

first_imgPhoto: JetBlue. US carriers are increasingly looking at biometric security as a way of ferreting out the bad guys without annoying customers.The latest such passenger-friendly set-up is slated to be rolled out progressively by US low-cost carrier JetBlue this June.Tests start at Boston Logan International, on JetBlue’s nonstop to Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International. JetBlue contends this is the first initiative of its kind for a U.S. airline.Here’s how it works. Passengers who opt in look into a camera that’s connected to a United States Customs and Border Protection (CPB) database.Then the image is matched to their passport, visa or immigration photograph.There’s no need for a boarding pass and, in theory, the security layer gets stronger and while the inconvenience diminishes.“We hope to learn how we can further reduce friction points in the airport experience,” says Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s executive vice president of customer experience. The boarding pass piece of the security is “one of the hardest to solve. Self-boarding eliminates boarding pass scanning and manual passport checks.”This is very much a test, not something that you can expect next week at the airfield near you.But its potential clearly has security officials excited about the possibilities.“By transforming current business operations,” says CPB Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner John Wagner.  “Airlines and airports will have the opportunity to use verified biometrics to ensure a seamless and consistent process for travelers.”“Seamless” is one of the most overused terms in the travel industry today, but if information technology provider SITA’s system lives up to the prospect of truly “seamless” boarding then this small step in Boston will bring huge benefits for flyers and airlines alike.Also using biometrics is a new Delta Air Line initiative that will allow passengers to use fingerprints to check bags, enter a lounge and board an aircraft.The testing ground in this instance is Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and phase one allows Delta SkyMiles members to forego a paper or mobile boarding pass and hard copy ID in favor of using fingerprints to enter the Delta Sky Club.A second phase will expand that the bag check-in and boarding a flight.“We’re rapidly moving toward a day when your fingerprint, iris or face will become the only ID you’ll need for any number of transactions throughout a given day,” says Delta chief operating officer Gil West.Delta is working with CLEAR systems on the project and hopes ultimately to have fingerprint readers at all boarding gates.last_img read more

UK seniors boost South African property

first_img11 May 2012Some of the most expensive properties in South Africa have been bought by foreigners, it’s true. It is also true that the Western Cape especially is home to small colonies of Germans, French and British expats. You can even buy proper Austrian meatloaf and German magazines in Constantia in Cape Town.Currently there is a small, but notable, trend establishing itself: British retirees are increasingly looking to South Africa in their golden years. It turns out that it’s not just due to the fantastic climate or amazing scenery – it’s about saving their pensions.‘Solvency-II for pensions’Due to the worldwide economic crisis, there have recently been a number of proposals – dubbed the “Solvency-II for pensions” – made by the EU that directly affect pensioner’s pockets. The Telegraph reports that the country’s biggest companies (6 850 companies with final salary pension schemes) could see their liabilities skyrocketing to more than double what they are now, and analysts warn that this could force them to close.The bad news continues; according to the Alexander Forbs National Pension Index, retirement incomes in the UK have fallen by £13 000 since 2000. Richard Evans illustrates the real term implications of this in The Telegraph with the analogy that a 30-year-old could expect two-thirds of his or her final salary in 2000. That number has gone down to 39 percent.SA one of seven ‘places to retire’What does any of this have to do with the South African property market?Quite a bit in fact; due to the weak local currency, a British retiree can live well in South Africa – even on a diminished pension. Shelter Offshore, an international expatriate advisory website, indicates that South Africa is currently rated among the seven places to retire for an affordable lifestyle, along with Argentina, Northern Cyprus and Slovenia.Importantly, foreign pensions are not taxed here, whereas a tax-free income limit of £9 205 only will apply as of 2013, after which a tax of 20 percent to 45 percent will take effect in the UK.Craig Featherby, Cape Town-based regional manager of deVere Group, a UK financial advisory firm, recently revealed that “over-55s have lost faith in the UK’s economy, tax and pension system; last year 252 000 people left the UK, and 24 000 of them came to SA.“Certain fears may remain as far as currency fluctuations are concerned, but retiring here must be an attractive option, I think interest might well increase,” believes Jan le Roux, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.It is safe to assume that many of these retirees will invest in the local property market in their favoured areas: Cape Town, the KwaZulu-Natal coast and, occasionally, in Sandton, Johannesburg.Local market to benefitIt is true that foreign investment makes a small contribution to the local property market.According to the FNB Property Barometer, the impact remains unchanged at four percent. The report does look back at the heydays of 2008, where these investments comprised 20 percent of the market. It is safe to say that such peaks will not soon be repeated.“That being said, four percent may sound low but, one must keep the domino effect in mind; today’s sellers are often tomorrow’s buyers,” says le Roux.As such, South Africa isn’t set to become another Mallorca, where over 60 percent of properties are not owned by local Spaniards but by other nationalities. But it does seem that the local property market could benefit from British pensioners moving here.Sapalast_img read more

Lefkadian Cultural Associations NYE dance

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The Lefkadian Cultural Assocation celebrated the New Year with a festive dance at Moonlight Reception Centre on Nicholson Street, North Fitzroy on New Year’s Eve. Over 170 guests enjoyed a night of entertainment, dancing, feasting and drinking. And the kids weren’t disappointed either with a visit from Father Christmas handing out little presents to the young ones. DJ George was in fine form playing all the best tracks in Greek and English for all those who attended.last_img read more

Audi AITrail concept teases an electric offroader for the future

first_imgCould it be an autonomous off-road machine? Audi Audi has so far revealed three AI-branded concept cars in the past few years, but it’s ready to complete the quartet with what it calls the AI:Trail concept.On Friday, the German luxury brand revealed a teaser for the upcoming concept vehicle ahead of its premiere at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The company called it an “electrically driven off-roader” and the shadowy photo appears to underscore that it will, indeed, focus on off-roading. There’s a set of knobby tires present and the AI:Trail looks to sit pretty high off the ground, which would bode well for tougher terrains. The main set of doors appear hinged in the middle in a more untraditional fashion and the vast amount of glass teases an open and airy cabin. All of Audi’s AI concepts have focused on self-driving technology and this concept car should follow the same trend.It’s hard to tell what’s going on at the front and rear, but the taillight design appears to mimic the look from previous AI concepts. The past three concepts debuted in Frankfurt and China: the Aicon, Elaine and the AI:Me (is that like “Amy?”). The Aicon focused on Level 5 self-driving, which is the highest on the SAE scale of autonomy, while the Elaine showed off Level 4 autonomous technology. The AI:Me from the Shanghai Auto Show earlier this year presented a vision of urban autonomous driving and even boasted a virtual reality-infused cockpit.Each of the three concept cars have showcased an ambitious and optimistic look at future technology down the road. I wouldn’t say any of the four concepts directly hint at a specific upcoming vehicle, but perhaps we’ll see autonomous off-roaders at some point in our lifetimes.  2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison: A tougher off-roader 0 2019 Jeep Cherokee can handle the rough stuff Now playing: Watch this: Acura MDXMoving up one slot to sixth place on the American Made Index is the non-hybrid variant of the Acura MDX. With its SH-AWD system, the MDX is one of the better handling midsize luxury crossovers, and for 2019 the company gives us the A-Spec treatment with a new front fascia and side skirts, 20-inch wheels, wider exhaust tips, unique gauges, a new steering wheel, carbon fiber trim and various Alcantara interior touches.However, both the standard and A-Spec models get a 3.5-liter V6 engine, rated for 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque going through a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Acura MDX is made in East Liberty, Ohio.  2019 Acura MDX adds new features and an A-Spec model 3 Honda RidgelineAgain keeping the status quo, the Honda Ridgeline maintains third place on the American Made Index. This crossover-that-looks-like-a-truck provides a better ride than a traditional pickup and gets an awesome lockable trunk right in the floor of the bed. And it doesn’t do the truck stuff too badly, either, as it’s able to carry 1,860 pounds of payload and tow 3,500 pounds.The Ridgeline is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 good for 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. That is channeled through a six-speed automatic transmission with available all-wheel drive. It’s built in Lincoln, Alabama. 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec: Sharp handling, sharper looks 69 Photos 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport loves to hustle Honda PilotDropping down to seventh place for 2019 is the Honda Pilot. Like its two-row Passport sibling, the three-row Pilot offers parent-focused technology like Cabin Talk as well as myriad standard driver-assistance features through the Honda Sensing tech suite. Honda’s largest crossover offers up nearly 84 cubic feet of cargo space. Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 engine shows up again, making a serviceable 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Touring and Elite trims get a nine-speed automatic transmission while lower trims have to make do with a six-speed auto. The Honda Pilot is made in Lincoln, Alabama. Post a comment 2019 GMC Canyon: A fancier Colorado Concept Cars Electric Cars Comments Frankfurt Motor Show 2019 Audi 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class first drive: If it ain’t broke… Audi’s Aicon is an autonomous EV concept writ large 68 Photos Honda PassportThe Honda Passport is a new (well, reborn) entry to both the Honda lineup and the American Made Index. This midsize crossover comes to the fray with great driving dynamics and plenty of tech like the standard Honda Sensing suite of active safety features. An available 8-inch touchscreen gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot.Under the hood is the stalwart 3.5-liter V6 producing 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. However unlike the Ridgeline, the Passport sends that power through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Having said that, just like the Ridgeline, this is the only powertrain available. The Honda Passport is built in Lincoln, Alabama. Honda OdysseyThe feature-rich Honda Odyssey minivan also retains its number-two slot from last year’s list. While the 2019 model doesn’t see any changes from last, it’s still a darn good choice for families on the go with reconfigurable seats, Wi-Fi and an excellent rear-seat entertainment system. The Cabin Watch video system lets parents keep an eye on their little darlings without turning around in their seats, while Cabin Talk amplifies their voice so no yelling is required.The Odyssey is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 rated for 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Most trims get a nine-speed automatic but the top Touring and Elite trims now use a 10-speed automatic with stop-start technology. The Honda Odyssey is made in Lincoln, Alabama. More From Roadshow 52 Photos 2020 Bentley Continental GT: Concept looks with a surprise inside Audi’s Aicon offers Level 5 autonomy on a grand scale 10 Photos 2019 Honda Ridgeline review: Light duty, heavy punch 1:41 Share your voice 2019 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison: An off-road animal Audi,Enlarge ImageIt’s all in a day’s work for the Jeep Cherokee, the most American-made car in 2019. Jeep With high trade tensions looming and increasing talk of tariffs, more and more consumers are looking to buy American. Cars.com has released its annual American Made Index, showcasing companies that use the most American-sourced parts and labor in their vehicles. The results may surprise you.Cars.com analyzed more than 100 US-built vehicles for five key data points: manufacturing location, parts sourcing, US employment, engine sourcing and transmission sourcing. You might think something like the Ford F-150 would top the list, but it drops from its No. 5 spot for 2018 and out of the top 10 completely. Even the first-place holder, the Jeep Cherokee, is a pretty global product. It’s a Jeep, sure, but that brand is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, an Italian-owned business.Cars.com surveyed 1,000 people and found that half are concerned about automotive import tariffs, with 41% saying they are unsure if tariffs would make them more likely to buy American. Either way, we’re big fans of all the vehicles on this list. These days, buying American doesn’t necessarily mean sticking with a US-based automaker. General Motors Chevrolet Honda Jeep Acura 49 Photos 2019 Honda Pilot Elite: A smoother, tech-rich crossover SUV Tags 26 Photos 2019 Honda Odyssey offers plenty of room and features for families 71 Photos Tags 2019 Honda Passport: A well-rounded midsize offering Chevrolet CorvetteMoving up from the 10th-place slot last year is the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette. While we’ve all been ogling the new mid-engine Corvette, it’s easy to forget what a performance bargain the current-generation ‘Vette is. From the base trim to the Grand Sport to the bonkers ZR1, the Corvette is an American icon.My preference is for the Grand Sport, which strikes a perfect balance between everyday drivability and canyon-carving performance. The 6.2-liter V8 puts out 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. You can get it with a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission, but the kicker is the borrowed chassis and aero parts from the beefier Z06. Like I said, perfect balance. The Corvette is made in Bowling Green, Kentucky. GMC CanyonIf you’re looking for a slightly fancier version of the Colorado that’s more focused on luxe than dirt, check out the GMC Canyon. The top Denali trim gets standard heated and ventilated front seats as well as a heated steering wheel. Maximum payload capability is 1,665 pounds while max towing is a fairly healthy 7,600 pounds.The Canyon is available with the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, 3.6-liter V6 or 2.8-liter diesel as the Chevrolet Colorado. It’s also built in Wentzville, Missouri. Jeep CherokeeKeeping its top-of-the-list placement, the Jeep Cherokee is 2019’s most American-made car. Refreshed for 2019, the compact crossover now features more tech, better cargo space and a slightly tweaked look. It’s available in no fewer the nine trims, including the off-road specific Trailhawk and a fancy-pants Trailhawk Elite.For 2019, the Cherokee gets a new 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine with 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, though naturally aspirated I4 and V6 choices are also available. Regardless of engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission gets the power to the pavement — or dirt as the case may be. The Cherokee is made in Belvidere, Illinois. Car Industry 81 Photos 27 Photos More From Roadshow Chevrolet ColoradoMaking its debut in the top 10 is the Chevrolet Colorado. Shown here in the tough ZR2 Bison off-road spec, the Chevy Colorado is an excellent truck and one of the two midsize pickups you can get with a diesel engine. Adding to the ZR2’s two-inch lift and front and rear locking differentials, the Bison gets beefier skid plates (trust me, that’s a good thing), steel bumpers and integrated recovery points. Heck, you can even get a snorkel.Base models get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission, but a more popular choice is the 3.6-liter V6 gas engine with 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile, the 2.8-liter diesel pumps out 186 horsepower and a delicious 369 pound-feet of twist and is mated to a six-speed automatic. The Chevy Colorado is built in Wentzville, Missouri. 2019 GMC Sierra Denali review: So close to greatness Share your voice 2019 Honda Ridgeline: The commuter’s pickup truck Acura RDXThe third-generation Acura RDX squeaks into the top ten list with larger proportions, plenty of interior space and better handling than its predecessor. Forward collision warning with collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control that works even in low-speed traffic, lane-keeping steering assist and road departure mitigation are all standard across the board. Like its MDX counterpart, the RDX is available with the A-Spec styling package.The RDX sports a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine. Output is stated at 273 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, and it’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The new RDX is built in East Liberty, Ohio. 2020 Mini JCW Clubman first drive: A fast alternative for the crossover-averse 18 Photos 12 Photoslast_img read more

FBIs Kavanaugh report nears completion

first_imgUS Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks outside the US Supreme Court during a vigil in opposition to US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington, US on 3 October 2016. Photo: ReutersThe FBI’s report on sexual misconduct allegations against US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh neared completion late on Wednesday as the battle over his selection by president Donald Trump approached a new turning point.The Senate was expected to receive the report by early on Thursday two sources familiar with the matter said. Senators were to be granted access to review it during the day on Thursday.While the report’s conclusions were as yet unknown, there was already a partisan battle over it as Trump and the Senate Republican leadership battled to corral enough support for a majority vote for Kavanaugh in the days ahead.Democrats were in near unanimity against Kavanaugh, a conservative federal appeals court judge.US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a procedural vote for as early as Friday on the Kavanaugh nomination.McConnell, a Republican, filed a petition for a so-called cloture vote, which if successful would limit debate on the Kavanaugh nomination and start the clock ticking on a final 30-hour waiting period before the Senate could vote to confirm the nominee.After filing a cloture petition, lawmakers must wait one legislative day before proceeding to the cloture vote, according to Senate rules. That means a cloture vote could come on Friday morning at the soonest.“It’s time to put this sickening display behind us,” McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor earlier in the day. “The Senate will vote on this nomination this week.”Several people with information related to allegations against Kavanaugh told Reuters they had not heard from the FBI, suggesting its report may be narrower than was desired by some of the lawmakers who demanded it just days ago.Christine Blasey Ford, a college professor from California who accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her in 1982 when they were high school students, has not been contacted by the FBI, her attorneys said.As Senate Republican leaders marched toward a final vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, perhaps over the weekend, the three Republicans who could be key to whether Kavanaugh is confirmed – Senators Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski -criticized Trump for his remarks about Ford at a political rally in Mississippi on Tuesday.Ford, who testified last week at an extraordinary Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, said she could not remember the precise date or location of the alleged assault or how she got home later, but offered a detailed account of the incident.She said a drunken Kavanaugh pinned her down, tried to remove her clothing and covered her mouth when she screamed.Imitating Ford’s testimony, Trump, who was himself accused during the 2016 presidential race of sexual misconduct with numerous women, said: “What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.”“And a man’s life is in tatters,” Trump added.Flake told NBC’s “Today” show that “there’s no time and no place for remarks like that, that discuss something this sensitive at a political rally … It’s kind of appalling.”Collins told reporters: “The president’s comments were just plain wrong.” She did not respond when asked if his comments would affect her vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.Asked whether Trump’s comments would affect her vote, Murkowski told reporters: “I am taking everything into account. The president’s comments yesterday mocking Dr. Ford were wholly inappropriate and, in my view, unacceptable.”A day after the hearing, Trump had called Ford “a very credible witness” who provided “very compelling” testimony.Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s accusation as well as allegations by two other women, all dating from the 1980s, while accusing Democrats of a political “hit.”‘Clearly a reason’Flake was instrumental last Friday in getting Trump to order an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh, nominated by Trump for a lifetime job on the top US court.Trump limited the investigation to no more than a week.Senator Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, complained in an interview with Reuters that the White House had not responded to requests for documents detailing its instructions to the FBI about the scope of its investigation of Kavanaugh.“There’s clearly a reason for that and I assume the administration doesn’t want members of Congress and the public to see it,” Durbin said.It was not immediately clear whether the FBI report, which will be made available to senators, would be released to the public.Trump’s fellow Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin. If all the Democrats oppose Kavanaugh, Trump cannot afford to lose the support of more than one Republican for his nominee, with Vice President Mike Pence casting a tiebreaking vote. No Republicans have said they will vote against Kavanaugh.Opposition among Americans to Kavanaugh has increased since last week’s hearing, Reuters/Ipsos polling data showed on Wednesday.In the latest seven-day average in a survey of 4,057 US adults, 41 per cent of respondents opposed Kavanaugh, 33 per cent supported him and 26 per cent said they did not know. Opposition to Kavanaugh grew 4 percentage points after the hearing, apparently driven by people who previously were undecided.In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Trump did not back away from his rally comments, instead attacking Kavanaugh’s Democratic critics. Trump said when he goes to political rallies, which are organized by Republicans, he sees that voters are angry at the “vicious and despicable” way Democrats are treating his nominee.At a White House briefing, Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders defended his remarks in Mississippi and said he was not concerned the comments may have jeopardized the votes of key senators.“The president was stating the facts” about the gaps in Ford’s recollection of the alleged incident, Sanders said.last_img read more