SA, Australia call for IMF transparency

first_img“For too long, the IMF’s legitimacy has been undermined by a convention to appoint its senior management on the basis of their nationality.” Sapa 23 May 2011 “In order to maintain trust, credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of its stakeholders, there must be an open and transparent selection process which results in the most competent person being appointed as managing director, regardless of their nationality,” the statement read. Following the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF members were asked to act decisively and select a new managing director. In selecting a new managing director it was important to adhere to these criteria agreed upon by G20 leaders in Pittsburgh this year, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan said in a joint statement. “The task is urgent given the current challenges facing the global economy, including in particular the needs of low income and developing countries who rely on the IMF for support.” The appointment of the new International Monetary Fund managing director should be done through an open, transparent and merit-based process, the South African and Australian governments said on Sunday. Gordhan and Swan said the global financial crisis demonstrated that the world needed a strong IMF and a strong managing director.last_img read more

Streaming or Buying Books: Will Readers Choose a Subscription Model for E-Books?

first_imgTags:#E-Books#web Related Posts audrey watters When Amazon launched its new Cloud Drive a few weeks ago, it prompted a debate in the ReadWriteWeb editorial room about whether or not the future of music involved downloads and ownership – as supported by Amazon’s cloud stage – or streaming and subscription – as provided by any number of music startups, like Rdio and Spotify. The ReadWriteWeb writers kept our discussion focused on music, but the debate could easily extend to any number of digital media now in Amazon’s catalogue: movies, magazines, books.We’re familiar with these streaming and subscription services when it comes to music and movies (Netflix, Hulu for example). But books? Will we (can we) rent books?Lit Subscriptions and Banner-Ad Books?A Spanish startup called 24symbols is launching this summer with the promise to do just that: provide a subscription service and become the “Spotify for e-books.” (Much like Spotify, 24symbols won’t be available at launch in the U.S.)24symbols will offer an ad-supported and a subscription-based access to e-books, the latter running about 10€ per month. The books are all DRM-free, but 24symbols is entirely cloud-based. In other words, books are streamed, not downloaded for reading.While we can probably wrap our reads around a Netflix or Spotify for e-books, that bit about ads in our literature might be anethema to many. I mean, how dare they! I poked around on the 24symbols website, but I don’t see examples of how those ads will appear. Flashing banners in the margins just won’t do, and it will be interesting to see how 24symbols – now in beta – will actually look. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… What’s on the 24symbols Bookshelf?As Booksprung notes in its review of the new service, one of the most interesting things about 24symbols isn’t simply that it’s offering books by subscription. It’s how it’s splitting the revenue. On some levels, it’s actually adopting the funding model that fuels much of the Internet: pageviews: “The company says it will create a standard page measurement as a specific number of words, and apply that to all texts equally when splitting up ad and subscription revenue.”As the reading is all done online, 24symbols will have some fascinating data about readership — like, at what point in a novel do people just chuck it aside. It’s not clear that all of that information will be shared with authors and publishers, but data about page views will serve in part to determine revenue share. Will this ad-supported, pageview oriented model help keep content farms out of e-books? After all, it would be difficult to make much money with your spammy, scammy e-books if people don’t get past the opening paragraph.The content farms may steer clear of 24symbols, then, but will book publishers join? That may be the thing to watch, for as GigaOm’s Michael Wolf suggests, publishers may be better served by a Hulu for e-books, where they set the terms of the publications.Book Buyer or Book Subscriber? What About Loans? (What About Libraries?)E-book subscriptions may sound like a new and exciting model for readers, authors, and the publishing industry. But there’s already an “all-you-can-eat” model for books: libraries. That library card gets you access to all the books you want, for free.Libraries are already finding themselves at odds with some publishers when it comes to e-books – not notably HarperCollins with its 26 checkout limit. If a new model for the publishing industry becomes a subscription-based one, how will library loans fit in? It will be interesting to watch the launch of 24symbols this summer and to see which publishers and authors play along and how many customers are interested. As my ReadWriteWeb colleagues and I debated with the launch of the Amazon Cloud Drive – we may be moving away from the idea of “owning” our digital content. Will e-books be the next content that we subscribe to and stream? A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Land’s end

first_imgOddly, the high point of my trip to Zambia wasn’t watching nearly extinct white rhinos from 30 paces or seeing so many hippos in a river that I lost count, or walking next to zebras or the National Geographic moment when a leopard in a tree ate a freshly caught impala.The spectacular roar of the Victoria Falls, located on the Zambezi River. It is among the most amazing natural wonders of the world.Not even the private island or the surprise bubble bath with a river view. It was dancing half the night with local folk in a village after helping them gather firewood and then sleeping in their huts. Zambia is where you go in Africa for a more intimate experience; after you’ve done the wildebeest migration with 30 other safari cars on the Masai Mara.My group of friends wondered initially about splitting the trip between a game park and Victoria Falls but in the end, it was a perfect combination. First, you watch game, which means getting up before dawn and going out again at dusk, sometimes not finishing dinner till quite late. It can be exhausting. Then you go to Livingstone (a ‘stone’ like the rock). Here, you make your own schedule, sleeping, partying late or tasting the array of wild adventures. Two halves of a single coin.One of the most elusive species of the Big Cats, the leopard makes for a loving parent, perched on a tree with cubsAny trip that starts with an elephant sauntering past the front door of your lodge promises to be good. And it was. “A couple of weeks ago, we had an elephant up on the deck drinking from the plunge pool,” said one of the staff at Robin Pope Safaris’ Luangwa Safari House. “He was very careful not to step on the cushions.”That evening, we were supposed to celebrate the end of the day with drinks in a ritual known across Africa as a sundowner. But the animals had other plans. “Um, you want to see a couple of leopards eating an impala in a tree?” asked our guide Jacob Shawa. Okay, it’s not exactly a Disney moment but it is life and death in the bush. And we were there, watching, as a female leopard gnawed on the deerlike impala while hyenas waited below. A group of tourists get up close and personal with wild elephantsThe next day, we went to the village of Kwaza. Robin Pope Safaris arranges stays, which run $70 (Rs 3,169) a night and include lodging and food (www.robinpopesafaris.net). Our huts were small, with mud walls, pounded dirt floors, thatched roofs and comfy foam mattresses on cots. You can do a day or several and you can help villagers with the daily chores-carrying firewood, planting, cooking dinner. Or making moonshine, should you wish. The liquor is amazing-a handmade clay pot to make the steam, a cut-down bike tyre with a pipe to siphon off the condensing liquid and an old bottle to catch the final product. I’ve had moonshine that would peel paint off metal. This stuff smelled a bit grassy but was sweet and went down smooth.A pair of rhinos grazing in the bushOf course we bought a bottle for that night’s celebration. The high point of our stay was tribal dances. But then the ‘jazz band’ showed up with homemade instruments that included a huge drum attached to an oversized finger board made out of a bicycle rim and bits of metal on strings.Everybody got into the act, one little girl bouncing and vibrating so fast, we could hardly see her hips. Jumping, singing, drumming, bouncing, well into the night. This was village life for real. No kids with their hands out, no men pressuring you to buy carvings. Just local folk doing their daily thing.Next, it was the walking safari. It’s different when you are on foot. The animals let you get closer. We practically walked into a group of zebras. Elephants just went on drinking. Impalas shone like gold against the shimmering sand of the dried up Luwi River. We were in the 3,500 square mile South Luangwa National Park in central Zambia. This place is a garden of Eden-elephants, baboons, giraffes, birds of all kinds and in front of Norman Carr Safaris Kakuli Bush Camp, more rhinos than anywhere else in southern Africa(www.normancarrsafaris. com). I lost count at 100.Interiors of a cottage at the Tongabezi Lodge. The cottages are furnished using local materialsThe animals are more varied here, said our guide, Shaddy Nkhoma. In East Africa (think Kenya) it tends to be huge herds of one animal. (Norman Carr originally was an elephant control officer and learned to love the walks in the bush.) Before the 1950s, it was thought you had to be in a vehicle to be safe but Carr wanted to share the wonders of walking on the wild side and worked out how to do it safely. We went out with a guide to explain things and a scout who carried the gun.We ate dinner on the river sand, visited villages and then we were off to Livingstone and Victoria Falls. Yes that Livingstone. Don’t miss the museum in town and the room devoted to David Livingstone’s expeditions, which were unbelievable slogs through the wilderness. “When I first came here the shops just had plastic plates, vaseline and peanut butter”, said Ben Parker, owner of Tongabezi Lodge (www.tongabezi.com).An outdoor bath glows in the twilight shadeParker was among the first to build a lodge in the mid 1990s. Today there are 15 A-class lodges, though most were built only in the last decade.Next, we moved towards Victoria Falls. The locals call it ‘The’ Victoria Falls. It is a mile wide and 360 feet high. But you don’t really get a feel for this at the lip. It wasn’t until I flew over it in a helicopter that I realised the falls, unlike Niagara, is a long, thin rip in the earth. And though the first thing you’d think of at a place with a gigantic waterfall is honeymoons, that’s not the half of it. I thought Swakopmund in Namibia was Africa’s adventure capital but Victoria Falls gives it a run for its money. Whitewater rafting, game viewing from canoes, walks with lions by your side, flights in microlights (think glider with a lawnmower engine), bungee jumping, some craziness that involves swinging on a cable like a pendulum over the falls.Tribals, sporting colourful beads, encourage tourists to join in the local danceAnd, of course, Devil’s Pool. You take a boat to Livingstone Island, which is where Livingstone first saw the falls on November 16, 1855 and named it after Queen Victoria. Devil’s Pool was discovered by fishermen around 1970 but didn’t become a tourist spot until the mid ’90s. You hike a bit, swim through a shallow pond and scramble over some rocks. Then you jump into 30 feet across and 15 feet deep pool with a sturdy rock lip at the very edge of the waterfall. Our guide and his buddies scrambled over the rocks like they were crossing the street. We, meanwhile, let the current push us against the rocky rim where we clung, watching the rainbow sparkled water literally thunder from our shoulders to the chasm below. The guides stood on the lip where their ankles formed a sort of fence. It was tempting to grab a foot but, well, it’s such bad form to knock your guide over the edge. So we just hung there and gawked.We did a few more things in Livingstone including a rhino walk but after two weeks, Zambia was all done. I had as many photographs as memories. Along with the animals, it was the people who made this special.When to goMay through July is dry and cooler. August through November is dry and hot. December through April is wet. Game viewing is better in the late dry season since animals come to the limited number of water holes. But bird watching is better during the rainy season, plus the land turns green and beautiful. For Victoria Falls, go July through September. The rest of the year, it’s either too dry or too wet.advertisementadvertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

Atal Bihari Vajpayee versus Uma Bharati

first_img“I have failed in my initiatives to find a settlement of the Ayodhya issue. The only course left now is to wait for the court verdict.”ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE, Prime Minister “The matter will remain hanging in the court and so long as it is there, it will remain unresolved and,”I have failed in my initiatives to find a settlement of the Ayodhya issue. The only course left now is to wait for the court verdict.”ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE, Prime Minister”The matter will remain hanging in the court and so long as it is there, it will remain unresolved and continue to be a national problem.”UMA BHARATI, Union Sports Ministerlast_img