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Photo of the Week

TAXING TIMES

31st July 2015 As part of a tough bail-out package, Greece has accepted sweeping tax changes, including an increase in the value-added tax rate on certain products from 13% to 23%. Pictured above is a torn Greek national flag, symbolic, arguably, of the current mood among consumers in the European country 

TAXING TIMES

BOILING POINT

24th July 2015 State-owned electricity producer Eskom has confirmed that it has in fact tabled the option of taking a 30% shareholding in boiler-serve contractors Steinmuller, Actom and Babcock, in return for a portion of an order book, valued at around R30-billion. The three contractors are responsible for... 

BOILING POINT

JET FUEL?

17th July 2015 After ten years developing algae as a nutritional supplement, Japanese compnay Euglena is teaming up with the likes of All Nippon Airways and a unit of Chevron to “commercialise bio jet fuel by 2020”. Pictured above is the single-celled microscopic algae being cultivated at the company’s research... 

JET FUEL?

CLIMATE ALLIES

10th July 2015 Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, left, speaks during a joint news conference with US President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, DC, last week. Obama and Rousseff committed to “intensify collaboration . . . to address the challenges posed by climate change”. The... 

CLIMATE ALLIES

HIGH-FLIERS PUB

3rd July 2015 Coffee cups and drinks bottles on display in the first class passenger bar aboard an Airbus SAS A380 aircraft, operated by Qatar Airways. The aircraft and its amenities were showcased at last month’s fifty-first International Paris Air Show, in France. The show is the world's largest aviation and... 

HIGH-FLIERS PUB

AFRICAN DISUNION

26th June 2015 The 25th African Union summit, held in Johannesburg earlier this month, was thrown into a diplomatic crisis by the controversial entry into (and eventual exit from) the country by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes. The... 

AFRICAN DISUNION

BEYOND OIL

19th June 2015 Russia is not typically associated with solar energy, while Viktor Vekselberg's Renova has strong historical associations with oil and gas. However, Renova and OAO Rusnano jointly established Hevel Solar in 2009 as an integrated solar power company. Hevel is planning to establish of solar farms... 

BEYOND OIL

MANUFACTURING QUO VADIS

12th June 2015 Leaders from across the South African manufacturing sector gathered in Ekurhuleni late last month for the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa’s inaugural Metals and Engineering Indaba. Most agreed that the sectors remained in a perilous state of the sector, but the... 

MANUFACTURING QUO VADIS

POWER & PAYMENT

5th June 2015 Electricity utility Eskom is not only struggling financially and to to meet demand, it is also battling to ensure payment from certain municipalities, as well as from its direct customers in Soweto. But there is also ongoing demand for new connections in areas such as this informal settlement... 

POWER & PAYMENT

SOLAR RISING

29th May 2015 Global solar installations this year may approach 60 GW and surpass 68 GW in 2016, data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows. In South Africa, tariffs associated with solar photovoltaic plants have fallen 76% since 2011 to 79c/kWh installed. Pictured above is an aerial view of solar... 

SOLAR RISING

SHARING AGREEMENT

22nd May 2015 Toyota president Akio Toyoda (left) with Mazda president Masamichi Kogai at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, last week. The two automotive groups announced that they had agreed to broaden their partnership to share technologies, potentially including new projects on fuel efficiency and safety. 

SHARING AGREEMENT

POWER CAMPAIGNER

15th May 2015 The South African-born CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, pictured at the unveiling of the company’s ‘Powerwall’ in California, in the US, late last month. Musk unveiled a suite of batteries to store electricity for homes, businesses and utilities, saying a greener power grid furthers the company's... 

POWER CAMPAIGNER

AFRICA UNITE

8th May 2015 The ugliest face of South African society was on display for the whole world to see during the recent xenophobic violence, which robbed many hard-working migrants of their dignity, possessions and, in the worst instances, their lives. The attacks also robbed many South Africans of their... 

AFRICA UNITE

ROBOT RECEPTIONIST

1st May 2015 Humanoid robot Aiko Chihira began work as a receptionist at an information desk inside the Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo, Japan, last month. Developed by Toshiba and dressed in a kimono, Chihira interacted with customers in Japanese, but her developer say she can be programmed to speak... 

ROBOT RECEPTIONIST

WATER & POWER

24th April 2015 The inextricable link between water and power currently has many South Africans concerned that the country’s electricity difficulties will eventually spill over into the area of water. But there are also some positive developments, with Exxaro recently unveiling the first of three water treatment... 

WATER & POWER

CROP WARNING

17th April 2015 Dried maize growing on a drought-affected farm in Lichtenburg, in South Africa’s North West province. The country is experiencing its worst drought since 1992, leading to forecasts of a 32% drop in the 2015 harvest.  

CROP WARNING

STORAGE WARS

10th April 2015 Pipelines running toward oil storage tanks at a terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma, in the US, where supplies last month reached a record 56.3-million barrels, or about 80% of working capacity. By the end of March, US inventories as a whole were said to be at their highest in at least 80 years, with... 

STORAGE WARS

RED ENGINE

3rd April 2015 President Jacob Zuma climbing aboard one of the 85 electric locomotives produced at Transnet’s manufacturing and engineering facility in Koedoespoort, Pretoria. The locomotive is one of the 95 electric locomotives that Transnet has purchased from a consortium led by China South Rail. The... 

RED ENGINE

POWER OF PATIENCE

27th March 2015 US Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen, explaining at a news conference following a Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington, DC, last week, the decision of to drop an assurance that it will be “patient” in raising interest rates. 

POWER OF PATIENCE

TRANSSHIPMENT HUB

20th March 2015 Transnet Port Terminals and the Transnet National Ports Authority have together invested R2-billion to expands the Ngqura Container Terminal’s operating capacity to 1.5-million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 800 000 TEUs. The terminal is currently moving in around 730 000 TEUs yearly... 

TRANSSHIPMENT HUB

SOLAR AT NIGHT

By: Terence Creamer     13th March 2015 A 100 MW solar plant, which has been developed near the town of Pofadder, in the Northern Cape, has officially been inaugurated. Known as KaXu Solar One, the thermal electricity power plant incorporate a storage system that enables it to produce electricity 2.5 hours after sunset, or before dawn.... 

SOLAR AT NIGHT

HIGHS & LOWS

6th March 2015 The Burj Khalifa tower stands above other skyscrapers on the city skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Bloomberg reports that declining currencies in European countries, whose citizens are among the leading buyers of Dubai homes, are combining with falling oil prices and a tax on foreign... 

HIGHS & LOWS

YEAR OF THE SELFIE?

27th February 2015 A woman takes a selfie in front of a Lunar New Year display featuring sheep at a shopping mall in Hong Kong, China. The Chinese Lunar New Year was celebrated on February 19, when the Year of the Sheep, also known as the Year of the Goat or Ram, was ushered in. (Photograph: Bobby Yip for Reuters) 

YEAR OF THE SELFIE?

WAIT GOES ON

20th February 2015 Despite the historic decision by US President Barack Obama to ease restrictions on Cuban travel and goods, Cuban cigars cannot yet legally be sold in America. But it is anticipated that freshly rolled cigars such as these from a tobacco farm in Vinales will eventually be exported to America,... 

WAIT GOES ON

TOUGH TALK

13th February 2015 There is no doubt that Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis – dubbed an anti-austerity ‘rock-star’, partly because of his informal dress sense – has one of the world’s toughest jobs. Appointed in late January, the University of Essex-educated political economist has already conducted a... 

TOUGH TALK

KICK-STATING THE FUTURE

6th February 2015 A Plen.D robot kicking a ball during a demonstration hosted by DMM.Com in Tokyo, Japan, last month. The digital contents provider announced today that it will start to sell robots through the DMM.make Robots website. 

KICK-STATING THE FUTURE

PAGE TURNER

30th January 2015 US President Barack Obama called on partisan American lawmakers to “turn the page” after what he dubbed as a “breakthrough year for America”, when the economy began creating jobs at its fastest pace since 1999. “Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another? Or... 

PAGE TURNER

POWER IN THE AIR

23rd January 2015 South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme may have hit a bit of a wobbly last year, owing to grid-connection problems. However, it remains one of the few bright spots on an otherwise bleak electricity horizon. Including this wind farm in the Easter Cape, a... 

POWER IN THE AIR

WINNERS & LOSERS

16th January 2015 While consumers are experiencing something of a windfall as the oil price falls, the precipitous decline is not good news all round. Those African governments that have become reliant on oil-linked revenues are deeply concerned. The decline has also dampened prospects for hard-mineral prices,... 

WINNERS & LOSERS

MORE GLOBAL

12th December 2014 A Lego version of the Star Wars character R2D2, inside the group’s new central London office, in the UK. Its headquarters will remain in Denmark, but the company is strengthening it presence in London, the US, Singapore and Shanghai as part of a plan to further globalise and attract a more... 

MORE GLOBAL

VIRTUAL KA-CHING

By: Terence Creamer     5th December 2014 Online spending is expected to account for about 13% of December sales in the UK, a recent Deloitte report argued. Figures are less readily available for South Africa, but online shopping appears to be on the rise globally. Pictured above is an employee wearing a T-shirt depicting a $100 bill as... 

VIRTUAL KA-CHING

SOLID PLATFORM

By: Terence Creamer     28th November 2014 US automotive group Ford, which has been in South Africa for 90 years, has reiterated its commitment to manufacturing in in the country, despite the power and labour challenges. Ford has grown its South African market share from around 6% in 2010, to 13.4%. Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s... 

SOLID PLATFORM

ROAD TO . . .

21st November 2014 The Australian city of Brisbane hosted the Group of 20 summit of developed and developing nations last week, where some 5 300 delegates debated ways to restore and raise levels economic growth across the world. However, it is far from clear whether world leaders truly have the formula for placing... 

ROAD TO  . . .

LOOKING UP

14th November 2014 South Africans were given a taste of space recently when a working model of the Curiosity Mars Rover, the biggest robot to land on Mars, was unveiled at Siemens South Afirca’s recent Future of Manufacturing Conference. The actual Rover landed on Mars in August 2012. In partnership with the... 

LOOKING UP

CLOSE CALL

7th November 2014 Supporters of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff carry flags as they celebrate the result of the national election in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday, October 26, 2014. Rousseff narrowly won re-election and stretched the Workers’ Party’s rule to a record 16 years. The run-off vote against Aécio... 

CLOSE CALL

NEED FOR SPEED

31st October 2014 An L0 series magnetic levitation (maglev) train pictured at the Yamanashi Maglev Test Track site in Tsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. Central Japan Railway is building a maglev rail link between Tokyo and Osaka, which is set to open in 2027. Once operational, the travel time between the two... 

NEED FOR SPEED

BEHIND THE CURVE

24th October 2014 World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim, said earlier this month that the global response to the Ebola crisis was “way behind the curve”. Pictured here at news conference during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group annual meetings in Washington, DC, Kim, who is trained as a... 

BEHIND THE CURVE

PLAQUE UNVEILING

17th October 2014 In the context of a chronically weak manufacturing environment, news that Nampak Glass had invested R1.2-billion in a third furnace at its Germiston facility was quite uplifting. Pictured above are Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies and Nampak CEO André de Ruyter at the official... 

PLAQUE UNVEILING
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