Trails Get Make Overs for the Season

first_imgRainbow Falls Trail: The Rainbow Falls Trail is the next trail in line to get a complete rehabilitation through the Smokies Trails Forever program, funded by Friends of the Smokies. Work began May 8 to rebuild the heavily used 6-mile trail, which ends at Mt. LeConte. By the time the project wraps up in November 2018, crews will have gone over every inch of the trail to improve drainage, reduce trail braiding and address overall trail safety and natural resource protection.While work continues, the trail will be closed from 7 a.m. Mondays through 5:30 p.m. Thursdays. However, the trail will be open on weekends and federal holidays, with work ending for the season on Nov. 16.For now, the trailhead parking lot is closed as well, set to reopen June 15. In addition to the Rainbow Falls Trail, the parking lot serves the Old Sugarlands, Trillium Gap and Bull Head Trails. Currently, Soehn said, it can be confusing to figure out which of the four trails starts where, but the trail project will include changes designed to make it easier for visitors to orient themselves.“One of their goals is to help define those different starting points so people don’t get lost trying to start their hike,” Soehn said.Ramsey Cascades Trail: Until its reopening April 27, the Ramsey Cascades Trail had been closed since August due to a fallen tree damaging a creek crossing.The popular 4-mile trail is located in the Greenbrier section of the park and leads to the park’s tallest waterfall, 100-foot Ramsey Cascade. The fallen tree damaged a foot log crossing Ramsey Prong, which is too swift and deep for hikers to safely rock hop.When spring came, park crews got to work installing a new foot log, making the crossing safe once more.Indian Creek Falls Trail: Offering views of two spectacular waterfalls with just a 2-mile roundtrip, Indian Creek Falls is a popular destination for all types of visitors, but such heavy use can result in trail degradation. So, this winter park crews went to work rebuilding deteriorated trail and removing hazard trees.“It’s a very crowded trail, and the improvements they made I think are going to make it an even better family-friendly experience,” Soehn said.Work began in January and wrapped up in March. Crews removed 15 hazard trees — most of them dead hemlocks — replaced uneven log steps with user-friendly locust box steps, constructed a stone retaining wall and addressed trail safety issues such as erosion and exposed roots. The falls viewing platform, which also had erosion and trip hazard issues, got an upgrade too.last_img read more

Aon South Africa unveils BEE deal

first_img6 October 2011Financial services and insurance group Aon has unveiled a black economic empowerment (BEE) deal that will see the Vurhonga Consortium acquire a 25.1% shareholding in Aon’s South African business for an undisclosed sum.The consortium consists of BEE investment company Tamela Holdings and Precious Prospects, a women’s empowerment group.Aon South Africa chairman and CEO Anton Roux said the deal was an exceptionally positive move towards true broad-based empowerment, particularly with the strong female ownership within the consortium.“We are delighted to be joining hands with two partners who are very competent in the corporate business and public sectors and which have such a diverse group of women involved,” Roux said in a statement this week.Employee share ownership schemeDuring 2012, a portion of the shareholding held by Vurhonga Consortium, representing three percent of the common equity in Aon, will be allocated to an employee share ownership scheme including historically disadvantaged Aon employees, further enhancing the far-reaching nature of the transaction.Precious Prospects chairperson Namane Magau will resign from her position on the Santam board before joining the board of Aon South Africa, while Vurhonga Consortium chairman Vusi Mahlangu and Makole Maponya will serve as the empowerment grouping’s representatives on the board of Aon South Africa.“We are delighted to partner with such a reputable international company like Aon in South Africa to pursue new growth areas after a period of acquisitive growth in the country,” said Mahlangu. “Vurhonga comprise a team of remarkable professionals, including women professionals in the financial services sector.“We look forward to a successful long-term relationship.”South African growth strategyAon South Africa has engaged in a strong growth strategy in recent years, highlighted by the acquisitions of QED Actuaries & Consultants, Shield Financial Services, Heritage Insurance Brokers, Pennant and Pinion Insurance Brokers and, more recently, Glenrand MIB.“Transformation plays a pivotal part of our growth strategy in South Africa, and we are pleased to be engaging with partners who share the same values in terms of business development, community consciousness and social investment,” said Roux.The transaction is expected to be concluded by the end of October 2011.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

South Africa’s justice system

first_imgThe Constitutional Court is South Africa’s highest court, where issues of constitutionality are settled. (Image: Lucille Davie) • Constitutional Court +27 11 359 7400 • Pistorius trial: open justice or trial by media? • A media guide to the Oscar Pistorius trial • The media and open justice • South Africa‘s justice system goes hi-techLucille DavieChampion paraplegic athlete Oscar Pistorius allegedly murdered his partner of four months, Reeva Steenkamp, in his home in Pretoria, Gauteng, on 14 February 2013.The state has brought a Schedule 6 case of premeditated murder against the paralympian. If he is found guilty, he will get a life sentence, which is 25 years. He will only be eligible to apply for parole after serving that term, under a Schedule 6 conviction.His defence team, led by advocate Barry Roux SC, has indicated that it would be bringing evidence to prove his action is instead a Schedule 5 offence.Schedule 5 offences include murder; attempted murder; rape; drug-related crimes – especially where the drugs are found to be worth R50 000 or more; corruption; extortion; fraud; forgery or theft to the value of R500 000; the illegal dealing in, or smuggling of, firearms; and assault on a child under the age of 16. If convicted of a Schedule 5 offence, the minimum sentence is 15 years for a first-time offender.Schedule 6 offences include murder, including premeditated murder; the death of a law enforcement officer; or death as a result of rape or robbery with aggravating circumstances. Also falling under this offence is rape, which includes gang rape or rape by a suspect who knows he is HIV-positive. Rape of a person under 16 years or a mentally or physically disabled person is also a Schedule 6 offence.Robbery with the use of a firearm, where grievous bodily harm results, or a car is stolen, is also a Schedule 6 offence.Different courtsSouth Africa’s legal system is based on Roman-Dutch Law, and does not follow a jury system.The highest court in South Africa is the Constitutional Court, based in Johannesburg and presided over by 11 judges; it was created after the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. The judges make decisions and judgements about issues that have to do with the Constitution. Being the highest court in the country, no other court can overturn these decisions. Judgements relating to the Constitution from the High Court can be taken to the Constitutional Court.The next highest court in the country is the Supreme Court of Appeal, based in Bloemfontein in the Free State, and only deals with cases that come from the High Court. Only the Constitutional Court can change decisions from the Supreme Court of Appeal. Three to five judges sit in this court and the final judgements are made by a majority decision.High CourtThe High Court hears cases which are too serious for the Magistrates’ Court or when a person or organisation wishes to challenge a decision of a Magistrates’ Court. These cases are usually presided over by one judge but if a case on appeal is heard, then two judges will hear the case.If the case is about a very serious crime then a judge and two experienced and often retired advocates or magistrates will assist in the case. They are referred to as assessors. The judge can override their opinions but they are usually there to help the judge make a decision.The High Court divisions have jurisdiction or the right to hear a case over provincial areas in which they are situated. The decisions of the High Courts are binding on Magistrates’ Courts within their areas of jurisdiction. Usually only advocates appear for their clients in the High Court.They usually only hear civil matters involving more than R100 000 and serious criminal cases. They also hear any appeals or reviews from Magistrates’ Courts.There are 14 high courts in South Africa. Circuit Courts are also part of the High Court system. They sit at least twice a year, moving around to serve far-flung rural areas.Other courts that fall under the High Court system are Special Income Tax Courts, Labour Courts and Labour Appeal Courts, Divorce Courts, and the Land Claims Court.The Master of the High Court administers cases of deceased estates, liquidations, and registration of trusts, among others.The Sheriff of the High Court is an impartial and independent official of the Court appointed by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development who must execute all documents issued by the court, including summonses, notices, warrants and court orders.Pistorius’s case is being handled by the National Prosecuting Authority, the government agency handling criminal cases in the country, with a team of prosecutors. The police work with this agency, presenting evidence to the authority, which then decides whether there is sufficient evidence to go ahead with a prosecution.Pistorius’s case is being heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.Magistrates’ CourtsThe Magistrates’ Courts are the lower courts which deal with the less serious criminal and civil cases. They are divided into regional courts and district courts.The regional Magistrates’ Courts only deal with criminal cases such as murder, rape, armed robbery and serious assault, whereas the district Magistrates’ Courts deal with criminal and civil cases. The magistrate makes decisions in a Magistrate’s Court sometimes with the support of lay assessors.A regional Magistrates’ Court can sentence a person found guilty for a period of up to 20 years, or can impose a maximum fine of R300 000.The district Magistrates’ Courts try the less serious cases, which exclude cases of murder, treason, rape, terrorism, or sabotage. They can sentence a person to a maximum of three years in prison or a maximum fine of R100 000.Ordinary Magistrates’ Courts can hear civil cases when the claims are for less than R100 000. They will not deal with cases involving divorce, arguments about a person’s will, or matters where a person’s sanity is in question.There are a number of magistrates’ courts that are specialised to be better able to deal with certain types of matters, such as the children’s courts, sexual offences courts, small claims courts, equality courts, community courts, child justice courts, maintenance courts, sexual offences courts, and courts for chiefs and headmen.last_img read more

New Virgin Oz boss scores a win in deal to delay MAX deliveries

first_imgFormer Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti (left) with successor Paul Scurrah. Photo; Virgin New Virgin boss Paul Scurrah has scored an early win after negotiating a deal with Boeing to delay the arrival of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft until 2021 and switching 15 planes from the controversial  MAX 8 to the bigger MAX 10.Deliveries of the MAX 8, currently tainted by its involvement in two fatal crashes in less than five months, will be pushed back to 2025.While public perception about the safety of the MAX played a part in the deal,  Scurrah was keen to emphasize its commercial and operational benefits.“Getting a better commercial outcome for the group’s MAX order has actually been one of my biggest single priorities since starting just over a month ago,’’ Scurrah told AirlineRatings Tuesday.“So on that note, I’m incredibly pleased that we’ve come to an agreement with Boeing to restructure the order.“What that means commercially is a significant capital expenditure deferral, which is a really good outcome for the group.’’Virgin Australia had 38 MAX 8s and 10 Max 10s on order and was due to take the first MAX 8 in November this year.READ: MAX a factor in Scoot route cancellations It was widely tipped to be among a number of airlines to move to renegotiate their order s as a result of the Boeing MAX crisis.It was also known to be keen to have more time to address the public perception issue about the safety of MAX aircraft.Scurrah conceded safety and public perception about the MAX 8 was a factor in the decision to delay deliveries but expressed confidence in Boeing’s ability to address the issues affecting the planes.He said safety was a top priority for Virgin and pointed to a previous statement that the group would not introduce new aircraft to its fleet unless it was completely satisfied with the safety.“And that position remains intact,” he said.“We are a long-term partner of Boeing, we’ve been together for over 20 years, and we’re confident in the commitment they’ve given us.“They’ve assured us of their commitment to re-enter the MAX aircraft into service and we’re looking forward to working with them through that process.”The deal means the first MAX plane the airline receives in July, 2021, will be a MAX 10 and it also sees 15 MAX 8 orders converted to the bigger plane.That brings forward the delivery of MAX 10s — which can carry more passengers and have lower costs per seat – from the originally scheduled start date of January, 2022. and boosts the number to 25.Max 8 deliveries are pushed back to February, 2025, and the order is reduced to 23 planes.Scurrah said the long-term impact of the restructure allowed Virgin to access the better economics of the MAX 10, which was better in terms of capital cost per seat, was a higher capacity aircraft and could fly further.He said the airline was mindful that the plane would suit some routes it currently flies and potentially open up new routes but it had not yet looked at that in detail.It was also not keen to flag its strategy to the opposition.While there was an operation impact in not having the more efficient planes sooner, he said that capital deferral made the deal overwhelmingly positive.The deal also allows the airline can take advantage of the relatively young age of its 737 fleet — about eight years —and extend the use of existing aircraft.The new Virgin chief said this could mean some lease deals would need to be renegotiated.“We have a fleet plan that covers a multitude of options for us and allows us to continue to meet the market demands and continue to provide the capacity that we need to provide,’’ he said.After a month at the helm, Scurrah said he had discovered a passion within the business and “a positivity in its DNA” that set it apart from the competition.“We also have great ideas within the business about what we need to improve to become the strong player that we want to be, so that’s good,’’ he said.Scurrah said when he took the helm at Virgin that he had come to the job with ideas.He said Tuesday these were solidifying but he wanted to make sure they were calibrated with those from within the business.A leadership team was headed away from the office this week to map out a path forward and understand what were “the quick wins” and what could be done to make the group stronger.But it was too early to say what this would mean in terms of changes.“I mean there will be changes,’’ he said. “We operate in the domestic market and we’ll continue to operate, so that won’t be dramatic.“I have been on the record on the past saying I intend to continue operating in all of the playing fields that we’re on  —  full service, the low-cost end and selected international (routes).“So really what I want us to focus on is how do we make sure that a great airline is a great business and making sure we deliver for the three stakeholder groups that are very important for us: our people, our customers and our shareholders.”last_img read more

Flag Day 2016

first_imgIn the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on June 14th in 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The United States Army also celebrates the Army Birthday on this date; Congress adopted “the American Continental Army” after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775.In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, however, it is at the president’s discretion to officially proclaim the observance. On June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first state to make it a state holiday. New York Statutes designate the second Sunday in June as Flag Day, a state holiday.Perhaps the oldest continuing Flag Day parade is in Fairfield, Washington. Beginning in 1909 or 1910, Fairfield has held a parade every year since, with the possible exception of 1918, and celebrated the “Centennial” parade in 2010, along with some other commemorative events. Appleton, Wisconsin, claims to be the oldest National Flag Day parade in the nation, held annually since 1950. It was also named “Most Patriotic City in America” by in 2008. Quincy, Massachusetts, has had an annual Flag Day parade since 1952 and claims it “is the longest-running parade of its kind in the nation.” The largest Flag Day parade is held annually in Troy, New York, which bases its parade on the Quincy parade and typically draws 50,000 spectators. In addition, the Three Oaks, Michigan, Flag Day Parade is held annually on the weekend of Flag Day and is a three-day event and they claim to have the largest flag day parade in the nation as well as the oldest. [Wikipedia]- Sponsor – Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

In a World of Evolving Threats, Restaurants Receive a Much-Needed Assist

first_imgSponsored by the Restaurant Loss Prevention and Security AssociationFacing rapidly evolving threats and coming off a year ending with weak sales, loss prevention, safety, and risk practitioners in the restaurant industry face a mounting number of critical questions. Fortunately, they are getting a timely assist from the Restaurant Loss Prevention and Security Association (RLPSA).David JohnstonTo better meet the unique needs of its members, the association is embarking on new member initiatives, expanding conference offerings, and strengthening its ability to be a resource where members can find the answers they need. “We want the RLPSA to be much more than an annual conference,” said David Johnston, RLPSA president. “Over the years, it has continued to develop in ways so that the membership can connect with each other, formally and informally, to help it understand a lot of the issues that are happening today, those that are on the horizon, and how our profession changes into the future.”- Sponsor – In addition to a beefed-up annual conference, the association is adding RLPSA Connect events, a series of regional workshops. “We bring in speakers and hold discussions, most often in a certain geographical area that is having issues with some sort of loss prevention or safety concern,” explained Johnston. “We all sit down and we talk for the day—folks who come in regionally or nationally, law enforcement, and business leaders—and we address the challenges we have out there.”And there is no shortage of topics. All loss prevention verticals are facing emerging issues and tough questions but perhaps none more so than the restaurant industry. Topics such as:How can restaurants combat the mutating forms of payment fraud?What are restaurants doing to prepare for the possibility of an active shooter?How are brands successfully managing the complex franchise landscape with respect to loss prevention, safety, and risk?How are behavioral-based safety programs being leveraged to truly have an impact on the front lines?What tricks are departments using to communicate their team’s ROI to stay off the chopping block?Inherent in all these questions is the value of peer learning and experience sharing, which lies at the heart of the RLPSA. It provides a platform and specialized content to help restaurants increase the productivity and efficiency of their risk, safety, and loss prevention programs. “The RLPSA remains focused on maintaining a positive level of engagement between our membership,” said Johnston.Solution sharing is also reflected in the agenda for the upcoming annual conference, July 30 to August 2, in Las Vegas. In addition to expert keynotes representing law enforcement and intelligence communities, attendees will learn from their peers’ experiences, including how Chipotle maintained brand integrity through crisis, and receive first-hand solutions from representatives of BJ’s Restaurants, McDonald’s Domino’s, The Cheesecake Factory, and others.In addition to solutions for emerging challenges, the conference will feature an interactive general session dedicated to solving challenges that have long plagued the restaurant industry. Employee theft is one of those, as it continues to claim 4 to 6 percent of overall food cost. Given that restaurants operate on incredibly narrow margins, learning what solutions LP departments say they are finding effective is vital intelligence.While the annual conference remains the must-attend event, the association has made strides to provide expanded value throughout the year by adding depth to its content, holding regular membership discussions to facilitate engagement, and offering platforms for any member who wants to address his peers. “We have calls that are open to the entire membership, where anyone can lead a discussion on a topic,” explained Johnston.Two have already been held this year, one addressing the challenges related to mobile and digital fraud and another on smart safes and protecting stores against robberies. It’s a timely program, as data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows a trend away from robberies of banks toward robberies targeting “commercial houses,” a category that includes restaurants.The RLPSA has also opened the floor up to its providers of security solutions and gives its members the opportunity to learn about vendor’s latest technology. “We allow our solution-provider members to deliver webinars,” explained Johnston. “They can work with our team to produce the program, and our members can learn about some of the products that will help us solve problems.”Indeed, technology is another fast-moving aspect of the restaurant world—both in terms of new tools designed to help solve LP challenges and new restaurant technologies. Self-ordering kiosks, portable payment, integration of disparate technologies, data automation—emerging restaurant technology can have an impact on fraud and risk that may not always be considered in planning stages. “We just introduced a new tabletop payment system, which is essentially a little computer that allows customers to pay at the table,” explained an investigator for a company with several national restaurant brands. “And that has created a whole new set of potential issues.”RLPSA forums help members learn from their peers’ experiences implementing new technology and its annual conference puts the latest technology within arm’s reach—but in a way that educates rather than overwhelms. “One of the things we do is limit the number of solution providers to make sure that the exhibit hall is small enough so that we can engage as practitioners with the solution providers. And to also make sure that the solution providers have good one-on-one contact with attendees,” said Johnston.While positive engagement between members is still as its core, Johnston said the RLPSA is striving to evolve alongside the industry. It’s good news for restaurant loss prevention professionals who face a unique set of both traditional and emerging threats. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Alabama Announces Tax Relief for Hurricane Irma Victims

first_imgAlabama offers tax relief to taxpayers that suffered damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Taxpayers can file tax returns due on or after September 15, 2017, and before January 31, 2018, no later than January 31, 2018.To be eligible, taxpayers also must reside in areas designated as disaster areas by the federal government.To get tax relief, taxpayers should write “Irma Relief 2017” in red ink on any state paper return or report filed during the extension period. E-filing taxpayers can contact the Department of Revenue for filing guidance.Subscribers can read the news release on the department’s website at Release, Alabama Department of Revenue, September 12, 2017Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

AICPA Requests Immediate Guidance on S Corporation Issues

first_imgTaxpayers and practitioners need clarity on certain S corporation issues by next tax filing season, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has said. In an August 13 letter sent to Treasury and the IRS, the AICPA requested immediate guidance on certain S corporation provisions under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (P.L. 115-97).S CorporationsS corporations elect to pass corporate income, losses, deductions, and credits through to shareholders for federal tax purposes, as the IRS notes on its website. Thus, S corporations are considered a pass-through entity. This election allows S corporations to avoid double taxation on the corporate income, according to the IRS.“Taxpayers and practitioners need clarity on S corporation issues in order to comply with their 2018 tax obligations and to make informed decisions regarding cash-flow, entity structure, and tax planning issues,” Annette Nellen wrote in the letter on behalf of the AICPA. Generally, the letter noted the following three areas for which guidance is need: Application of the new laws on loss carryforwards; Clarification of certain provisions relating to the post-termination transition period (PTTP) and the eligible terminated S corporation period (ETSC Period); and Treatment of deferred foreign income upon transition to participation exemption system of taxation for S corporation trust shareholders.Pass-Through DeductionCapitol Hill continues to buzz about the IRS’s release last week of the Code Sec. 199A proposed regulations. Earlier this year, the AICPA also called for guidance on the new pass-through deduction, (TAXDAY, 2018/02/22, M.2).By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News StaffA copy of the AICPA August 13 letter can be found here: to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

Partners Extend the Benefits of Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop Software

first_imgnRainStor Takes Complexity, Cost out of Big Data QueryingnI estimate that up to 90 percent of organizations that have deployed Hadoop clusters today are just using them as an ETL offload. In other words, they are using Hadoop to store big content, but haven’t gotten around to taking advantage of Hadoop’s benefits as an engine for big data analysis. That’s where RainStor comes in. RainStor helps organizations achieve business insights at lower costs than other data stores, and uses familiar query and BI tools to reduce the complexity of big data analytics.n nRainstor also offers data compression and de-duplication capabilities that can lower the storage footprint by as much as 20 to 40 times. These compression features not only reduce the hardware needs and costs of big data, they also speed up querying. Rainstor is a great example of how partners are building out the Intel Hadoop ecosystem with innovative technologies.  Learn more about Rainstor for Hadoop, and follow Tim and the growing #Intel #BigData Hadoop community at @TimIntel.nnn nHowever, the compute intensive processes of Hadoop require a combination of hardware and software optimizations and specialized analytics and visualization tools to deliver the insights, scale and ROI demanded of big data. In addition to server architectures and IDH, Intel provides a number of tools to help manage Hadoop, including Intel® Graphbuilder, which enables distributed graph analytics on top of Hadoop. However, Intel turns to its partners to help create a larger vendor ecosystem of optimized and co-engineered solutions and to build a more complete IDH computing environment.n nIDH helps organizations store and analyze big data by providing an open source data management platform with the hardware-level security, manageability and performance acceleration features of Intel® Xeon® processors. It also comes with technical support, training, and professional services from Intel. IDH is the distribution of choice for enterprises seeking to deploy open source Hadoop for processing big data at multi-petabyte scale.n nBut most IT admins don’t want to become query specialists or data scientists just to analyze their big data. Using RainStor, they can run real SQL queries on Hadoop stores, taking much of the complexity out of big data analysis. Rainstor is standards-based, and it uses specialized JDBC and ODBC drivers to peer into persistent Hadoop data. It can then run queries through the data using the familiar SQL environment—and DBAs don’t have to be stuck with HiveQL. To some that could be like telling a C++ developer that JavaScript coding requires no further training.ncenter_img nRainstor for Hadoop* is a big data infrastructure that runs natively on the Intel Distribution for Hadoop. It’s made to not just handle the velocity and growth of today’s data, but also tackle the changing nature of data itself—log files, web clickstreams, Twitter content, machine generated data, and more, all in great volume.n There’s more to the Intel® Distribution for Apache Hadoop* software (IDH) than meets the eye.n nIntel is building an entire partner ecosystem around IDH that extends optimized hardware, data storage and analytics support to help ensure that IT orgs get the value and intelligence they need out of big data.nlast_img read more