4 June 2013The countdown to the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s freedom and democracy next year has begun, marked by the unveiling of a logo by Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile in Pretoria on Monday.Speaking before unveiling the logo, with the message “20 Years of Freedom – South Africa 1994-2014”, Mashatile said South Africans should remember that freedom and democracy came at a price.“It was not free. Many [compatriots] sacrificed life and limb in order for us to enjoy this freedom and democracy. Let us therefore continue to work together to defend andexpand the gains of our liberation,” he said.“The countdown towards the historic milestone of our 20 years of liberation begins today. We take this opportunity to call on all South Africans to participate fully in the build-up programme towards our 20th anniversary celebrations.”Next year on 27 April, South Africa will commemorate 20 years of freedom and democracy. Mashatile said the historic occasion presented an opportunity for the nation to reflect on the path the country has walked towards freedom.He said some of the activities that will form part of the build-up programme include the recognition of unsung heroes and organisations that contributed to the demise of apartheid, and activities aimed at expressing gratitude to the international community for supporting the struggle for liberation.There will also be massive school essay competitions and a participatory process to identify 20 big achievements that are collectively owned by South Africans.Uniting South AfricansAlso critical to the success of the build-up campaign and beyond is the on-going implementation of a social cohesion action plan that was agreed to at the National Social Cohesion summit in Kliptown, Soweto last year.“It is also an opportunity to look back at the road we have travelled since 1994 to deepen the gains of our freedom and democracy,” he said.“Going forward, it is an opportunity for us to work together to implement the National Development Plan – Vision for 2030 – as our nation’s long-term vision and a basis for collective action and partnerships across society.”Struggle hero Andrew Mlangeni said: “A lot of houses have been built for the poor since the dawn of democracy in 1994 and most of those houses have been electrified.“While more people have access to clean water, however, my regret as a struggle hero is that the service at our public hospitals leaves much to be desired. The future to build this country is in our hands, so let’s work together with government to continue building a prosperous country.”Former political prisoner and anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Kathrada, said South Africans should unite to tackle the struggle against poverty, hunger and unemployment.Human rights lawyer George Bizos, who represented Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela in the Rivonia Trial, said those who think that nothing has been done or achieved since the dawn of democracy were doing the country a disservice.Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Frene Ginwala, said while South Africans should be grateful about their efforts to create a wonderful Constitution, government should start printing comic books for the youth, explaining how the Constitution works.“There must be civic education in all the public schools so that our kids can be taught about the liberation struggle of this country. Again, all our public schools should fly the national flag,” she said.Source: SANews.gov.za
What’s in a name?If it’s so great, why didn’t Perennial Wood take off? To Weinstein, some of that has to do with cost, and a lot to one word: “acetylated.”“It was pretty pricey stuff,” he said. “One of the marketing dilemmas was you say the word ‘acetylated’ and people don’t know what you’re talking about. They think it’s potential hazardous to one’s health. It never ceases to amaze me how the consuming public just doesn’t fundamentally grasp much about anything.”Consumers react to marketing, buying things whose names are familiar. In the deck business, there’s no better example than Trex, the original plastic-wood composite and an unrelenting marketer.“Based on this sort of gestalt of what Trex is, your neighbor says, ‘Oh, that’s good stuff,’ “ Weinstein said. “So the person who puts it down gets that affirmation they made a good choice, not because it’s necessarily a good choice from a scientific standpoint but from brand awareness and that affirmation you get, the pat on the back, that somehow you made a wise decision. So there’s that whole other thing going on that has nothing to do with longevity or performance or sustainability. It has to do with seeing it in some magazine.“To try to communicate the owner benefits of acetylated wood is very, very difficult,” he continued. “As soon as I say acetic anhydride, someone thinks, ‘No doubt it causes cancer,’ or there’s something inherently scary about it.”In fact, Weinstein said, Eastman invented the TruLast label to describe the technology just so it would never have to say “acetylated” or “acetic anhydride.” A brief experimentEastman’s flirtation with the next great thing in treated lumber would be brief. By the spring of 2014, the company announced it was pulling the plug on Perennial Wood — not because there was anything wrong with the product, but because Eastman couldn’t develop the market fast enough.“The product is great, but the economics just weren’t sustainable,” Eastman vice president for marketing Tim Dell told Professional Deck Builder magazine in 2014. According to Dell, Eastman was faced with a choice: build a bigger factory and scale up the business, or shut the operation down.Eastman washed its hands of the lumber business and sold the remaining stock to Snavely Forest Products, which moved 5 million board feet of this prime treated lumber into a North Carolina warehouse.For a big, profitable company like Eastman, the decision wasn’t crazy. Eastman was grossing $9 billion a year, Weinstein said, which is $24 million in sales every day. The company had hoped the Perennial business would bring in maybe $20 million a year.“When they made this go away, it was like they had crumbs on their tie and they were just brushing it aside,” Weinstein said. “That’s it. There wasn’t any, ‘Oh, sh*t, now what do we do?’ They were losing money. It was painful. Painful.”Amy Lewis, who handled publicity for Perennial Wood during its two-year run, said in a telephone interview that Eastman was a “B-to-B company,” more familiar with industry deals than launching a consumer product. It takes a lot to launch a new product, she said, with high marketing costs and lower profitability as a product like Perennial Wood becomes established. It was the same battle wood-plastic composites fought in the beginning.Lewis said she was “saddened” by Eastman’s decision to close up shop.Weinstein was less charitable. Why did the wood end up in a warehouse rather than on decks across the country? “Hubris,” he said.“It takes a long time to become an overnight sensation. Eastman lost the patience to grow the market,” he continued. “It takes years/money to create a brand.”Clark Spitzer, Snavely’s chief operating officer, said by email the company was surprised by Eastman’s decision.“Eastman had a good product in Perennial and their marketing was world class,” he said. “They were very early in the product life cycle and the return on their investment was longer than the new (at the time) CEO was willing to wait. The new CEO pulled the plug on the project abruptly.” Could Perennial Wood make a comeback?A new factory for acetylated lumber would cost $150 million and require absolute command of the tricky technical details of the process, one industry insider said. So Eastman won’t be getting back into the production of acetylated lumber itself. But it has been talking with potential partners. Pablo Bustamante, the company’s director of corporate strategy, spoke with GBA earlier this year and said that Eastman has been taking calls from people who are interested in the acetylation technology. “All sorts of people,” he said.Eastman’s assets include the technology and a small-scale production line, what Bustamante said was more than a pilot facility but not one commercial in scale. The more interesting calls come from people in the building products industry who understand marketing and see the potential value of acetylated lumber.“We see different kinds of people and companies with different levels of credibility,” Bustamante said.Snavely still owns millions of linear feet of acetylated wood — exactly how much the company declined to say.“We continue to sell the Perennial as Perennial,” Spitzer said. “We are also remanufacturing some of the wood that was modified by Eastman into an entry-level decking product. This is designed to get acetylated wood into the market at a price point to see if it can be commercialized as a viable deck board. Lowe’s has shown some interest, as have other building material dealers. Ideally, we will have some pilot decks in the marketplace this year but would expect to see a big push in time for the decking season.“We are currently distributing some Accoya and see this as the future of acetylated wood,” he continued. “Whether it can be commercialized into a decking product in the U.S. still remains to be seen. However, we remain extremely optimistic and committed to this new technology.”In the meantime, Weinstein thinks he’s finally hit on the ultimate solution for selling job-lot size orders of Perennial Wood: a website called Build Direct. The retailer’s network of shippers can cut freight costs substantially and make the lumber affordable even for builders who are buying it a job at a time.“The original distribution model that Eastman used failed,” he said. “These are the magic beans. That’s how we’re going to sell this stuff. Really, if you can buy toilet paper at Amazon, why shouldn’t you be able to buy decking on Build Direct?” Each year, specialty publisher BuildingGreen selects 10 of its favorite green products, the ones with the potential to “transform the industry” by conserving energy or water, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or otherwise shepherding the building world toward a better future.This year’s Top 10 list included a mixed bag of products — a new kind of battery, an electric lawnmower, water piping, a composting toilet — and something called Accoya acetylated wood. Accoya is a brand name for a type of softwood lumber, mostly Radiata pine, that has been treated with a chemical called acetic anhydride, which BuildingGreen describes as “really strong vinegar.” After treatment, the wood has gained remarkable performance characteristics at a very low environmental cost.Unlike most pressure-treated wood, acetylated lumber doesn’t contain any copper or biocides that can leach into the environment over time. The treatment renders the wood harder, more dimensionally stable and immune to insects. Accoya lasts for 50 years above grade, 25 years in contact with the ground or submerged in fresh water, and has a service life of 70 years, according to its manufacturer. A chemical producer sees an opportunityAcetylation, the chemical process that transforms the cellular structure of the wood, has been studied for more than 70 years, manufacturer Accsys Technologies says. Accoya has been on the market since 2007. It’s now sold in more than 45 countries, and is widely available in the U.S. through a number of distributors. It comes rough, and can be milled into products ranging from decking to exterior trim.Accoya is made with Radiata pine from New Zealand and other certified softwoods that are shipped to the sole treatment plant in the Netherlands. The complex process generates acetic acid as a byproduct, a compound so harmless it’s sold for reuse to a number of industries, including food producers, Accsys says. The treated lumber is non-toxic and, according to the manufacturer, fully biodegradable.If the acetylation of wood seems almost too good to be true, consider how excited executives at Eastman Chemical Company must have been when they realized they were sitting on a potential gold mine. Eastman, a major chemical manufacturer based in Kingsport, Tenn., made more acetic anhydride than anyone else in the world, Weinstein said in an interview last winter.Eastman used acetic anhydride to produce cellulose acetate, which was turned into photographic film. Eastman would pulp wood to break it down into its constituent fibers, add acetic anhydride, and out would come acetate. It was a great business, right until the point when the film industry succumbed to digital photography. Photographic film became a specialty item stocked for diehards in the photo world. The market for cellulose acetate was all but dead.“When the film business basically collapsed, they were stuck with an enormous productive capacity of a very high-margin chemical, and that’s the acetic anhydride,” Weinstein said. There was lots and lots of capacity, and no way of using it. RELATED ARTICLES “Though Accoya has a large shipping footprint and high first costs,” BuildingGreen said in its announcement, “it also has solid environmental credentials, including an environmental product declaration (EPD), FSC certification, Cradle to Cradle Gold certification, and a Platinum Cradle to Cradle Material Health Certificate — so it can be applied to all three Building Product Disclosure and Optimization credits in LEED v4.”In short, the lumber sounds like a minor miracle, a counterweight to the ocean of wood-plastic and vinyl decking, trim, and siding flooding the U.S. market. It’s an appealing alternative to standard grades of treated Southern yellow pine. So why, you’d have to wonder, would 5 million board feet of the stuff produced under a different brand name by a respected U.S. chemical manufacturer be relegated to a warehouse in North Carolina and sold in dribs and drabs to anyone who could be talked into trying it?To answer that, we will meet Gary Weinstein, an independent sales representative and a booster extraordinaire for acetylated lumber. Don’t forget the risk-adverse building products industryThere was something else at work, Weinstein said: the inherent conservative bent of the building products industry, its reluctance to go out on a limb with a product that dealers might get stuck with.Earlier this year, Weinstein was trying to get lumberyards to buy some of the Snavely stock, but even great deals were sometimes not enough.“I had a siding project in the summer,” he said. “It was about 40% of a truck. I told a lumberyard I would pay the freight on the full truck and I wouldn’t charge them for the 60% that wasn’t siding until they sold the inventory. They wouldn’t bite. I was like, ‘I don’t understand why you wouldn’t bring in something and basically have me as a sales person to educate your customers. All you have to do is refer them to me and I go out and meet them and refer business to you.’ And the answer was not only ‘No’ — it was ‘F*ck, no.’”But Weinstein also understands the reluctance, particularly in the years following the financial meltdown of 2008, a black era that crippled the construction industry. “I get it,” he said. “I do understand the purchasing guy. He’s not supposed to reinvent the wheel. They are not entrepreneurs — no one is paying these purchasing guys to be heroes. There’s an inherent conservative dynamic in the business.”Ironically, while Snavely struggles to find outlets for its stockpile of acetylated lumber, Accoya has a number of U.S. distributors listed at its website, including a Rex Lumber outlet in Acton, Mass. (Snavely also sells Accoya). Dave Thompson, a Rex salesman, said that Accoya is turned into decking, trim, molding, or whatever else the customer wants. Rex sells it for between $7 and $8 per board foot (unmilled), about the same price as western red cedar.“We sell it all over the country,” Thompson said. Along comes Perennial WoodAt the time, Accoya was being produced in Europe, and Eastman saw the potential for it in the U.S. A collaboration with Accsys would provide new markets for acetylated lumber, while helping Eastman make use of its manufacturing capabilities. So, Weinstein said, Eastman developed an acetylated wood manufacturing line capable of turning out a “lesser version of Accoya” designed for above-ground use.The company’s location in Tennessee gave it excellent access to the forests of the Southeast. Eastman had been only “peripherally involved” in the lumber business, seeing it as a source of fiber but not buying lumber at the stump or processing it lumber mills. Now, however, the company began snapping up high-grade C and better yellow pine.“It was a pretty extraordinary effort on their part to get into the business,” Weinstein said.The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, is a 510-foot-long replica of Noah’s ark sheathed on the outside with Accoya, an acetylated lumber.The product line was relatively small, but in 2012 Eastman began selling the lumber as Perennial Wood, rolling it out at the International Builders’ Show and touting the “TruLast” treatment that gave it such enviable properties.“Let’s hope that this is the beginning of the end for pressure-treated lumber,” Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter wrote in May 2012. He wasn’t alone. Newer treatments had replaced chromated copper arsenate, but they came with environmental or performance trade-offs. Acetylated lumber didn’t. More Troubles for TimberSILTimberSIL May Live to See Another DayUsing Reclaimed Wood for Porch Decking Remaining stock trades handsBy the time Snavely acquired the remaining stock of Perennial Wood, Weinstein was fully on board with acetylated lumber. He’d bounced around the wood industry, getting interested first in thermally modified lumber and working on a manufacturing venture that ultimately failed. The first time he saw Perennial Wood, he was hooked.“The first time I saw it at Lowe’s, I was blown away,” he said. “I could not believe how spectacular this wood looked. It was absolutely gorgeous. I wanted in. I wanted to participate in this.”As soon as Eastman made its announcement, Weinstein contacted Snavely and began working with the company to build a market for Perennial Wood and unload the warehoused remnants of Eastman’s business.Weinstein, who lives in Maine, contacted builders, architects, and anyone else who might be interested. With all the zeal of a true believer, Weinstein “bent over backwards” to make deals, selling siding for $5 to $6 a square foot and acetylated decking for as little as $2 a running foot.He saw an opportunity to make some money, but he also viewed acetylated wood as a much more attractive option than cutting tropical hardwoods like ipé, which perform very well but come with a stiff environmental price.“It’s funny how none of the people selling imported tropical hardwoods discuss current standing inventory,” Weinstein said in an email. “On average, 50 acres of forest have to be cleared for one merchantable tree. Second, 55% of all tropical hardwoods are consumed as a fuel source by indigenous populations. Third, the reason lesser species and grades of tropical hardwoods are sold has to do with the fact that they are in scarce supply. In some markets, scarcity drives up price.”
In a massive embarrassment for the Indian contingent at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta and wrestling referee Virender Malik have been arrested on different charges. According to reports, while Mehta has been arrested for drunken driving, Malik is facing a more serious charge of sexual assault. Media reports, quoting a Scotland Yard spokesperson, stated that “two male members – aged 45 and 49 – were arrested on separate charges.” The two will be produced in court tomorrow.The duo, however, is not part of the official 215-strong contingent which is staying in the Games village. Both of them were reportedly lodged at a local hotel.
Oil prices fell away from $50 per barrel on Monday despite an agreement last week by exporters to cut output, with traders doubting the step was enough to rein in production that has exceeded consumption for the better part of three years.Brent crude futures LCOc1 were trading down 25 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $49.94 per barrel at 0205 GMT.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 were down 26 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $47.98 a barrel.The dips follow fresh production highs from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as rival members like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq are reluctant to give away market share.OPEC’s oil output is likely to reach 33.60 million bpd in September from a revised 33.53 million bpd in August, its highest in recent history, a Reuters survey found on Friday.”Sentiment has been slightly dented by a Reuters survey Friday, showing that despite agreeing to cut production OPEC pumped crude in record amounts through September,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at brokerage OANDA in Singapore.The price falls came despite last week’s agreement by OPEC members to cut output to between 32.5 million barrels per day (bpd) and 33.0 million bpd from about 33.5 million bpd, with details to be finalised at OPEC’s policy meeting in November.Traders said there was more downside risk to oil prices if the planned cut wasn’t deep enough to bring production back in line with consumption.”OPEC has created its own Q4 risk to oil prices … In raising expectations of a November deal to cut production, it also risks a steep price decline should it fail to achieve its goal of cutting output back to less than 33 million bpd,” Barclays said in a note to clients.Despite that, the British bank said it did not expect a repeat of the price crash seen late last year after a rally earlier in 2015.”We think oil prices, and commodities more generally, will avoid the Q4 price crash that has become a feature of the market in recent years,” it said, pointing to an improving Asian economic growth outlook, falling oil supplies and rising investor interest in oil markets as support factors.Trading activity will be limited on Monday as public holidays in China and Germany mean Asia’s and Europe’s biggest markets are shut.
High-CourtThe High Court on Tuesday withdrew a stay order and asked the subordinate court to complete trial proceedings in a corruption case against Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie, reports UNB.The bench of justices Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and KM Hafizul Ala rejected a plea that sought cancellation of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) case.Advocate Md Khurshid Alam Khan stood for ACC while deputy attorney general AKM Amin Uddin Manik represented the state and advocate Jainul Abedin stood for Annie.ACC deputy director M Manjur Murshed filed the case with Ramna police on 9 October 2014.The former MP was accused of concealing information about Tk 13,13,940 in a financial statement filed at the ACC and having Tk 1,40,42,670 in undisclosed property.Dhaka Special Judge Court framed charges against Annie on 24 May 2016. On 1 September that year, the High Court stayed the trial proceedings for six months and issued a rule asking why the applicant should not be acquitted.
This article is part of the Party Politics podcast Share X Derek StokelyParty Politics hosts Jay Aiyer and Brandon RottinghausOn this inaugural episode of Party Politics co-hosts Jay Aiyer and Brandon Rottinghaus bring you three hot topics in political news:Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) not working out, what are the repercussions?Supreme Court nomination Neil Gorsuch, will he/won’t he, make it?President Trump is not throwing out the first pitch for the opening of baseball seasonThen they drill down on the fight between President Trump and Congress, after the fallout of not being able to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Most importantly they tell you why you should care about that fallout. Don’t forget to check out our Texas centric episode of Party Politics too! Party Politics is produced by Dacia Clay, Edel Howlin and Laura Lucas. Our audio engineer is Todd Hulslander. 00:00 /10:08 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen
By Sean Yoes, AFRO Baltimore Editor, firstname.lastname@example.orgMorgan State University held its quarterly meeting of the Board of Regents May 7 and one of its longest serving members announced she would not seek reappointment.Dr. Frances M. Draper, the Board’s vice chair and the AFRO’s publisher and CEO, said she would not seek another term. “After much prayer, I have decided not to apply for a gubernatorial reappointment to the Morgan State University Board of Regents, when my term ends on 6/30/19,” Draper said in a statement. “I love Morgan and have enjoyed working with my fellow board members, Dr. Wilson, faculty and staff on behalf of some of the most talented students anywhere.”AFRO’s publisher and CEO, Dr. Frances M. Draper. (Courtesy Photo)Following Draper’s announcement that she was stepping down, Morgan President Dr. David Wilson honored the newspaper publisher and pastor for her years of public service.“First of all, I admire your courage to speak out even when others around you stay seated. You have demonstrated that over the years, and I appreciate that,”said Wilson.“I have been involved with governing boards a long time and certainly when you have a moral compass–someone [who] is bringing to the table a real notion around what is the right thing to do with no agenda except in this case of Morgan’s progress–that is very difficult to duplicate.”“I have been blessed to have had the opportunity over the last nine years to be apart of an institution that had, at the governing level, someone like Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper.” Gen. Larry Ellis, will replace Draper as the Board’s new vice-chair of the 15 member Board. He will now join Kweisi Mfume, Chair of Morgan’s Board of Regents and Tracey Parker Warren, Secretary of the Board of Regents as officers. Members are appointed by the Maryland’s governor and confirmed by the Maryland Senate.Only Kweisi Mfume, the former president of the NAACP has served longer on the current Board of Regents than Draper.“It has been an honor, a privilege, a benefit and an education to watch you, to work with you, to see your work in the community with the AFRO American as its present CEO,” said Kweisi Mfume, the Board’s chair upon Draper’s announcement. “To watch how you have taken a church that didn’t even exist and created a place of salvation and hope for so many people including all of the young people that worship with you and all of the many years you have given to this board.”Tyrone Taborn, another member of Morgan’s Board also announced he would not seek another term. Taborn, who served as the Regents secretary, is the publisher, chairman and CEO of Career Communications Group, a media services company. Draper, who was originally appointed by Gov. Parris Glendenning, July 1, 1995, served a total of 24 years on the Board. She had previously served as the Board’s secretary. A graduate of Morgan State in 1969, her class will celebrate their golden (50th) anniversary at the school’s commencement this year on May 18.“Morgan has made tremendous progress over the past two decades,” Draper stated. “It’s been a privilege and honor to serve my alma mater.”