GMSA wins R6bn US export contract

By on December 18, 2019

first_img2 July 2013 General Motors South Africa (GMSA) and component manufacturer Tenneco South Africa have been awarded a R6-billion contract to export catalytic converters for GM’s next-generation V-6 engines to the United States. The converters will be manufactured at Tenneco’s clean air plant in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape and will be used for vehicles sold in the US from 2015 to 2022. GMSA and Tenneco have been in partnership for over 12 years to produce catalytic converters for the US market, and current export levels are 2.6-million converters per year for use on 17% of all vehicles manufactured by General Motors around the world.‘Supporting strategic export growth’ “The decision to award this contract to South Africa is a great show of support by our parent company, as it comes ahead of a clear legislative framework by the South African government to support the strategic growth of exports,” GM Africa’s managing director, Mario Spangenberg, said in a statement last week. The programme will provide a boost for the Eastern Cape economy as it will create employment in manufacturing, supply and support services. The country’s mining sector will also benefit from the programme with a projected need for 10 tonnes of platinum group metals over the duration of the project. “Supplier operations in South Africa are competing with other operations around the globe. In order to attract business, suppliers need to be globally competitive in the critical areas of both cost and productivity,” said GM’s international operations vice- president for global purchasing, Johnny Saldanha. “A key characteristic of vehicle manufacturing is that we often have to plan as far as five years in advance for the next vehicle programmes. “Tenneco and General Motors have long and proud associations in South Africa spanning many years. We are delighted to have been selected by GM for this critically important programme,” said Tenneco country manager, Gary Keen. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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The Other Steve Jobs: Censorship, Control and Labor Rights

By on December 16, 2019

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… The death of Steve Jobs has rocked people the world over, affecting everyone from the most hardcore Apple fanboy to Barack Obama to all those gathered outside the new Apple store in Shanghai. While Steve Jobs will be remembered for revolutionizing personal computing, the music industry, consumer mobile products, film animation and even fonts, the other side of his legacy is one of hyper-control: Apple’s proprietary software, the iPhone’s closed-off ecology, App Store censorship and the company’s labor law violations. If there was ever a company that capitalized on American consumers languishing in late-stage capitalism, it was Apple. And they did it by inventing “cool” products that we didn’t even know we needed – till we needed them. Editor’s note: This story is part of a series we call Redux, where we’re re-publishing some of our best posts of 2011. As we look back at the year – and ahead to what next year holds – we think these are the stories that deserve a second glance. It’s not just a best-of list, it’s also a collection of posts that examine the fundamental issues that continue to shape the Web. We hope you enjoy reading them again and we look forward to bringing you more Web products and trends analysis in 2012. Happy holidays from Team ReadWriteWeb!Apple’s Highly Objectionable App Store Censorship When Jobs introduced the App Store in June 2008, porn was at the top of the not-allowed-here list of content. Some apps containing nudity snuck into the App Store, and were later pulled. Now only partial nudity seems to show up (e.g. Beautiful Boobs, Asian Boobs), especially if it only focuses on boobs. Speaking of boobs, in June 2010 Apple once again censored “Ulysses Seen,” a web comic version of the classic James Joyce novel. Apple forced the creators to remove images that contained nudity before they would approve it as an iPad app. History seems to have repeated itself here: Ulysses had been put on trial in 1933. Apple ended up changing its mind after all, so the boob-filled web comic is available for download. A few months after the App Store opened in June 2008, a great controversy erupted over an app called Podcaster that Apple decided to reject. It would have permitted people to listen to podcasts without downloading them first to iTunes; Apple worried that the app “duplicated the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes,” and thus saw it as a threat. Here is a longer list of types of apps that Apple rejected from its Mac App Store.In September 2010, Apple’s iTunes social network Ping omitted Lady Gaga’s Tweets in which she protests anti-gay marriage legislation Prop8. But don’t worry, Apple still released an It Gets Better video, so they must be pro-gay folks, right? Not long after that, in October 2010, Apple was awarded a patent that could stop people from sending “objectionable” text messages. It was filed in January 2008, and approved on October 12, 2010, and would allow certain content to be filtered based on parental controls. While it might seem like Apple is trying to keep its devices safe from porn, and therefore more workplace and school-friendly, this was still one step closer toward authoritarian control over the iPhone. Additional apps were banned from the App store: In July 2011, Apple removed the ThirdIntifada app from its store because it “glorified violence against Israel.” Apple also banned the violent comic book “Murderdrome” from its App Store, based on the Apple SDK which states that “Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.” There were a few beheadings and ripped out limbs – but those aren’t unusual in the world of comic books.Here’s perhaps the most telling App store ban of all: On September 13, 2011, an app called Phone Story, a game that also serves as social commentary, was banned from the Apple App Store only a few hours after its release. The answer as to why this happened was actually quite simple, and can be found in this elegantly written description of the game:“Phone Story is a game for smartphone devices that attempts to provoke a critical reflection on its own technological platform. Under the shiny surface of our electronic gadgets, behind its polished interface, hides the product of a troubling supply chain that stretches across the globe. Phone Story represents this process with four educational games that make the player symbolically complicit in coltan extraction in Congo, outsourced labor in China, e-waste in Pakistan and gadget consumerism in the West.”Oh wait, that sounds a whole lot like exactly what Apple does! Yet Apple would never come out and say that. Instead, they said that the app was banned because it “depicted violence or abuse of children,” and “presented excessively objectionable or crude content.” This highly questionable act raises serious concerns over the freedom of information in a democratic society, playing into Apple’s “walled garden” approach to both its products, and the Web at large. The ControversiesIn 2008, the Advertising Standards Authority responded to two British TV viewers who claimed that a TV ad featuring a voiceover that said “all parts of the Internet are on the iPhone” was misleading because the iPhone didn’t support Flash or Java. The ad was found to breach CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1 (Misleading advertising), 5.2.1 (Evidence) and 5.2.2 (Implications), and could not be broadcast again.Also back in 2008, a gaping security hole in Apple’s firmware posed serious problems for anyone who wanted to lock their phone. Instead of being able to lock the phone with a security code, anyone could bypass that by tapping the “Emergency Call” button and then double tapping the homepage (if it was set to the default favorites). Apple’s Inhumane Working ConditionsApple outsources its labor to China’s most horrible factories, and abuses at one in particular stand out: The Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. Here, some workers as young as 12 years old were forced to work for extended periods of time to meet increased demand for iPhones and iPads from all over the world. As popularity increased for Apple devices, workers were pushed to work longer. Workers ages 18-20 were being forced to work 60-80 hours of extended overtime every month in cramped, low-quality conditions. They were being treated like the very machines they were being forced to produce. Inhumane treatment of workers first came to light when seven workers at the Foxconn plant committed suicide in May 2010. They were working on the iPad production sector. After these suicides, workers were required to sign a statement that says they are not allowed to commit suicide. Image via Flickr user mailox.Will you continue to buy Apple products? Tell us why or why not in the comments below. Tags:#Apple#web center_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… alicia eler 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Bronze Age plague wasn’t spread by fleas

By on December 1, 2019

first_imgWhen the plague swept through Europe in 1665, no one could figure out how the devastating disease spread. But after a tailor in the small village of Eyam in central England died that September, people eventually put two and two together. He had received a parcel of cloth infested with fleas just 4 days before dying of bubonic plague. Within a month, five other villagers had succumbed, and the local vicar convinced the town to voluntarily put itself under quarantine. It eventually became clear that it was fleas, probably on rats, that spread the plague so far and so quickly.But now it appears that the plague did not always infect fleas—and the disease may not have always spread so rapidly or been as devastating. A new study of ancient DNA from the teeth of 101 Bronze Age skeletons has found that seven people living 2800 to 5000 years ago in Europe and Asia were infected with Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the plague. But their strains of Y. pestis were missing a gene that allowed it to infect fleas, according to the study published today in Cell. This pushes back the earliest evidence of the plague by almost 3300 years and offers a key clue about how this disease became so contagious. “It’s really cool that they can pinpoint the acquisition of key genes that allow the movement of this bacteria into fleas,” says evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, who was not involved with the study.The plague has caused death and destruction in Europe at least since Roman times, launching at least three major pandemics that changed the course of history—the Plague of Justinian from 541 to 544, which weakened the Byzantine Empire; the Black Death, which killed almost half the population of Europe between 1347 and 1351; and the Great Plague of 1665, which lasted more than 30 years. Ancient DNA researchers have shown in recent years that Y. pestis caused all three of those pandemics. But until now, they were unable to determine whether Y. pestis caused reported plagues 2224 years ago in China and almost 2500 years ago in Greece. They suspected that ancient versions of the plague were not as devastatingly rapid in spread, but they could not test that idea because they lacked samples of the earlier pathogens.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Now, an international team of ancient DNA researchers and archaeologists has solved the mystery almost by accident after sequencing the genomes of 101 Bronze Age skeletons from Europe and Asia. The team started out by trying to pinpoint the origins and migrations of early Europeans. DNA samples revealed that a group of nomadic herders, the Yamnaya, swept into Europe from the plains of today’s Russia and Ukraine sometime between 5000 and 4800 years ago, bringing their culture and, perhaps, the Proto-Indo-European language with them. But archaeologist Kristian Kristiansen of the University of Gothenberg in Sweden wondered whether they also brought disease—and suggested that researchers test the DNA of Bronze Age humans in Europe and Asia to find out.The team, led by evolutionary biologist Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, screened 89 billion short segments of DNA from the teeth of 101 individuals. The raw data included DNA from bacteria in the teeth, usually considered “old waste data,” says Willerslev, because it can contaminate the human DNA samples. They detected Y. pestis in seven people, ranging from Bronze Age skeletons that dated back as early as 4800 years ago in Russia, Estonia, and Poland, to an Iron Age individual who lived almost 3000 years ago in Armenia.When they sequenced the complete genomes of the Y. pestis DNA in those seven individuals, the team found that the bacterial genomes from the earliest samples lacked two genes that helped Y. pestis evade the immune systems of humans and fleas during the Black Death. In particular, the Y. pestis in the earliest Bronze Age individuals lacked a gene called Yersinia murine toxin, which protects the bacterium from a toxin inside the gut of fleas. So although these Bronze Age people suffered from the plague, they probably got it from airborne droplets, contaminated food, or the transmission of bodily fluids, rather than from fleas that infested rodents, as did Europeans during the Black Death and other pandemics.Using the same samples, the team also traced the evolution of Y. pestis and confirmed that it evolved from a soil bacteria closely related to Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, a bacterium that causes Far East scarletlike fever in humans, and is most often spread through food. The two bacterial lineages diverged about 55,000 years ago. That date has large margins of error, but suggests that Y. pestis is much older than thought—previous estimates suggested it originated just 3300 years ago. But researchers now realize that it probably wasn’t until the end of the Bronze Age that the bacteria evolved from a less virulent species that may have spread more like the flu, tuberculosis, or AIDS than the bubonic plague, which is transmitted through flea bites to the skin.“This suggests that it was quite a different disease in the Bronze Age from what it was in medieval times,” says Johannes Krause, a paleogeneticist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, who was not involved with the study. Poinar agrees that the most exciting part of the paper is that it solves a longstanding mystery about how the bubonic plague was able to spread so rapidly in the Middle Ages. He says: “The whole flea-rodent ecology of plague is what led to major pandemics of the bubonic form of the plague in Europe.”Plague might have been devastating back in the Bronze Age, too. Researchers speculate that if invading armies from the Russian steppe brought plague with them into Europe—even if it didn’t spread by fleas—it could have wiped out small bands of European farmers and made their territory vulnerable to invasion, much as Spanish conquistadors infected Native Americans with smallpox. And the plague was just one of the armory of devastating diseases that shaped the course of human history. “The most important take-home message is now we can do this for all kinds of diseases,” Willerslev says.last_img read more

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NWC Undertakes Emergency Pipeline Works

By on October 24, 2019

first_img This is due to emergency pipeline works being carried out by the National Water Commission (NWC). The works being carried out form part of the NWC’s ongoing Non-Revenue Water Reduction Programme, and involve the installation of valves and meters in sections of downtown Kingston. Story Highlights Several sections of the Corporate Area will experience a disruption in water supply today and tomorrow (Saturday, August 11), from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Several sections of the Corporate Area will experience a disruption in water supply today and tomorrow (Saturday, August 11), from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.This is due to emergency pipeline works being carried out by the National Water Commission (NWC).The works being carried out form part of the NWC’s ongoing Non-Revenue Water Reduction Programme, and involve the installation of valves and meters in sections of downtown Kingston.Corporate Public Relations Manager at the NWC, Charles Buchanan, told JIS News that the project is being carried out with co-management partners, Miya International.“We are installing some 2,200 new valves on the network, so you will see us at virtually every intersection all across the Corporate Area. This will enable the system to be used more efficiently and to enable us to serve our customers better,” he said.Mr. Buchanan said that currently, 80 of the NWC water supply systems across the country in different parishes have been severely impacted by the dry, hot conditions.“In some extreme cases, we have seen an entire source drying up, as is the case of Higgin Town in St. Ann where that source has dried up entirely,” he said.He noted that in other parishes, there have been major decreases in water supplies by as much as between 75 and 80 per cent.Among the parishes most severely impacted by drought conditions are systems in Portland, St. Mary, St. Ann, St. Thomas, Clarendon and Kingston and St. Andrew.last_img read more

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