Japan Journal: Avoiding jet lag on the trip to Tokyo for A’s baseball

first_imgTOKYO, Japan — Konnichiwa!That’s about the extent of my knowledge of the Japanese language, unfortunately. But the good news is I have arrived in the land of the rising sun for MLB’s Opening Series between the A’s and Mariners.There are plenty of things I’d like to explore out here and will share with all of you by putting together these journal entries throughout the week.But they say the journey is just as important as the destination and the journey I’m coming off of is quite a unique …last_img

‘Use technology to improve housing’

first_img1 October 2010The Department of Human Settlements is on a quest to find new technologies that are both cost-effective and quality-oriented to provide better housing for poorer South Africans.The technology needs to be environmentally friendly, sustainable and address other challenges facing housing in the country, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said this week during the department’s Alternative Building Technologies Indaba in Johannesburg.The two-day indaba brought together officials from all spheres of government, the private sector, regulatory authorities, scientific, research and tertiary institutions.Sexwale called on delegates to ensure that the indaba was more than just a “talk shop”, urging them to make it a productive working session that would give rise to ideas that could be implemented.Green solutionsSexwale said his department was looking for new ways of building better homes, which included new green solutions and mechanisms for responding to climate change.He elaborated that the department was looking for new ideas on issues such as internal electrification, solar panels, improved sanitation, heating and water reticulation systems, and durable roofing.Technology that benefited people needed to be both cost-effective and sustainable, he said. However, the minister stressed that while the department was cost-conscious and looking for cheaper material, quality would not be compromised.Sexwale added that the focus of his department was to build sustainable human settlements. He described these as places where people “stay, play and pray”. The minister said that this integrated approach was aimed at developing proper suburbs, villages and towns.Rapid urbanisationSexwale said that some old technologies that had produced houses that stood strong over centuries should not be ignored. Modern technology needed to complement and build on century-old initiatives.New technologies should also assist in the identification of available land, the minister added.“Given rapid urbanisation and the rate of population growth, with the diminishing availability of land in relation to the growing number of people, it means we have to apply new technologies to build better homes,” he said.Sexwale said South Africa also needed to pay attention to the experience of other countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, China, Angola and Equatorial Guinea, which have made significant strides in the area of human settlements.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

HK chief warns of economic fall rules out concessions

first_imgHong Kong: Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam warned Friday that two months of pro-democracy demonstrations were causing economic chaos in the city but ruled out making concessions to “silence the violent protesters.” The embattled leader abruptly announced a press conference after meeting business leaders as demonstrators rallied at the airport, with the protest movement entering its third month. Lam, whose support for a bill to allow extradition to mainland China sparked the crisis, warned that the economic impact of the unrest threatened to be worse than the 2003 SARS outbreak in the financial hub. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”The downturn this time came very quickly. Someone described it as coming like a tsunami,” Lam said. “Compared to the economic downturn caused by SARS that we handled previously, which caused an economic storm, the situation this time is more severe.” “In other words, the economic recovery will take a very long time,” she added. While Lam is a figure of hatred for many pro-democracy activists, her comments echo worried statements from the private sector and the tourism industry in particular. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsHong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific has warned bookings are down, travel agencies have reported drops of up to 50 percent in group tour bookings and the tourism board reported double-digit declines in visitor arrivals in the second half of July. Protesters have continued to stage almost daily rallies despite increasingly violent confrontations with police that have prompted several countries to issue Hong Kong travel warnings for their citizens. On Friday, thousands of pro-democracy protesters staged a sit-in at the airport to bring their message to arriving visitors. Lam has suspended the bill that sparked the crisis, but has not yet responded to protester calls to withdraw it altogether, and she has brushed aside demands for an enquiry into police brutality. She ruled out meeting the demands of protesters, which also include a call for the direct election of the city’s chief executive, currently chosen by Beijing. “As far as political solution is concerned, I don’t think we should just sort of make concessions in order to silence the violent protesters,” she said.last_img read more