Getting the job done’

first_imgSouth Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg disclosed orders to deploy to Afghanistan at a press conference Thursday, which will mark his first time in active duty. Buttigieg, a Lieutenant, Junior Grade (Lieutenant JG) in the United States Navy Reserve, said he received the orders on Aug. 28. At Thursday’s press conference, Buttigieg said he expects to be mobilized from Feb. 24, 2014, to approximately Sept. 20, 2014. Buttigieg named City Controller Mark Neal to serve as his deputy mayor while he is on active duty.   Indiana Code 5-6-2 holds that if an elected official is called into active duty during their time in office, he or she may appoint a deputy. Buttigieg said Neal will vacate his post as City Controller at the conclusion of 2013 and then return to the private sector when Buttigieg returns to South Bend.  Buttigieg stated at Thursday’s press conference that he could not share details about his assignment for reasons “including operational security, personal safety and military policy.” However, he said his selection was based upon his qualifications and military background. “There’s not a lot that I’m in a position to talk about now; what I can say is that this is work that I’ve been trained to do,” Buttigieg said. “It’s work that my command thought would be a good match based on my background, my rank, specialty training and so forth. I have some colleagues who have done similar work and I’m looking forward to applying my training and getting the job done.” Buttigieg, 31, commissioned as a Lieutenant JG in 2009. Because next month marks his fourth year of service in the Navy Reserve, Buttigieg said he will then be promoted to the rank of full Lieutenant.  “I’m a junior officer, so my responsibilities include work on the intelligence side that I can’t say very much about and then work on the unit side like organizing the fitness tests: running, push-ups, that sort of thing,” Buttigieg said. “It’s not glamorous, but it’s work that I enjoy and that I believe in and I’ve always been glad that I do it.” Buttigieg said he joined the Navy Reserve after working on the Barack Obama presidential campaign during the 2008 primary election season. “I was working [at McKinsey and Company] at the time but took a week off, rounded up some buddies and we flew to Omaha, rented a car and were sent to some of the poorest counties in South-central Iowa,” Buttigieg said. “We were in these small, mostly rural communities knocking on doors, and so many times I was knocking on doors and would have an interaction with a young man preparing for basic training, on his way to either the [Army National Guard] or the full-time military.   “You knew that these kids were on their way to Iraq pretty fast, and to me they looked like children. … And it started me having a conversation with myself about why if all these kids [are serving], if this small town in Iowa is emptying its youth out, what my reasons are for not serving.” After reflection, Buttigieg said he felt compelled to serve in solidarity with the kids he met in Iowa, and others like them. “Suddenly all of these other things – that I was traveling a lot, that I was too busy, that I had another kind of career – for me they began to feel like excuses,” Buttigieg said. “It became harder and harder for me to explain why I was not serving, and I was especially concerned by the fact that it seemed like there was a bit of a divide between the people who served and the people who didn’t, and that it had to do with class and background.  “If you compare that to my grandfather’s generation, for them, service was something that brought people together. People from different backgrounds, people from different races often got to know each other for the first time in the context of their service. And I think we ought to get back to that.” Buttigieg said he decided to join the Reserve by the end of 2008, and took his oath one year later in September 2009.  To remain prepared for active duty, most members of the Reserve and the Guard devote one weekend each month to training. Reservists and Guard members also complete a two-week tour of duty known as Annual Training each year. Though reservists do not complete this training with a definitive tour of active duty in mind, Buttigieg said they know they will likely be called to active duty at some point. “This is something I’ve been training to do for years,” Buttigieg said. “All of the activity that reservists do on the weekends every month and then on the two-week annual training periods are designed to make sure that you’re ready for any kind of recall to active duty.” Buttigieg said he will continue this weekend training until he reports to the Navy Operational Support Center Chicago on Feb. 28, when he will begin training more specifically tailored to his mission in Afghanistan. “I’ll be going through a sequence of training that everyone who deploys to Afghanistan goes through,” Buttigieg said. “I’m not completely sure what to expect because I haven’t done it before.” Buttigieg said he will deploy as a Navy “Individual Augmentee,” which means he will mobilize separately from the unit he has trained with during his time in the Reserve. He said this type of deployment is usual for people in his unit, though Guard members typically mobilize as a unit and know of their assignments further in advance. While Buttigieg serves his tour of duty in Afghanistan, deputy mayor Neal will make executive decisions in his absence, but Buttigieg said he plans to remain in close contact with his administration while in Afghanistan. “My priority, knowing I was going to be away, was continuity of government and making sure that residents of the city continue to feel that the government is serving them, and that our key initiatives continue to move forward,” Buttigieg said. “There are really three principles that will allow the administration to operate while I’m away. One of them is that department heads will continue to have a lot of autonomy to make decisions for their departments as they see fit. The second is that I’ll be involved as much as possible to make sure that my preferences and intentions are known. The third is that the deputy mayor will have all my authority while I’m away, so if there’s a need to get a decision or answer especially if I’m not reachable, that’s why we have somebody in that position and why there’s only one person in that position. That [person] will be Mark Neal. “I really feel that there will be total continuity and terrific competence while I’m away.” Neal’s administrative experience gained as city controller prepare him well to assume mayoral duties, Buttigieg said. “He’s not a politician – he is mostly from the business community – but he understands government, and the role he’s in now … is one of the most pivotal roles in the administration,” Buttigieg said. “The Controller is responsible not only for the finances of the city, but also oversees HR [human resources] and technology. So, it’s a broad portfolio, which means he already understands what we’re doing as an administration in a cross-cutting way.” Buttigieg said Neal’s experience within his administration strengthened his ability to serve as deputy mayor.  “I think [Neal] is completely in tune with the overall vision of my administration, that’s one of the reasons I asked him to serve,” Buttigieg said. “He’s been with us from day one, so he understands and in many ways helped to shape the priorities of this administration.” The relationships Neal developed during his work in the current administration also will help him as he begins work as deputy mayor, Buttigieg said. “I think he has the right kind of perspective on how to get things done … he understands complexity and he understands people,” Buttigieg said. “So much of his job [as Controller] is working with people to get stuff done and he has built great working relationships with members of the Common Council, with the business community and with employees of the city.” When he returns to office next fall, Buttigieg said he will be excited to return to working for the people of South Bend. Neal likely will return to the private sector, Buttigieg said. “I think before, during and after my deployment we will have the same vision and the same goals for our city,” Buttigieg said. “Mark will be ready to move on, and will have richly deserved our thanks at that point, because he’s not somebody who is interested in publicity or ego, he just wants to serve the city.  “He’s agreed to do this at considerable sacrifice, and I’m sure that once this tour of duty is over for him he’ll resume his private sector life – which he’s been eager to do – but South Bend will owe him a big debt of gratitude.”last_img read more

Giants rookie Tyler Beede exits final start of the season with injury

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — Tyler Beede was enjoying a perfect start to his last outing of his rookie season.An up-and-down season featured one last disappointment as Beede needed to leave Thursday’s game against the Rockies in the middle of the fourth inning.Beede had thrown 3 1/3 innings against Colorado without allowing a baserunner, but he appeared to tweak his left side on a pitch that struck out Rockies first baseman Ryan McMahon.Beede received attention from Giants trainer Dave Groeschner and …last_img

China-Africa trade to soar

first_imgSouth African president Thabo Mbekiwith Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.(Image: Xinhua News Agency)Janine ErasmusChina has become Africa’s third-largest trade partner, after the US and former colonial power France. According to a report by China’s General Administration of Customs, bilateral trade between China and Africa will exceed R803-billion ($100-billion) in 2008, two years earlier than predicted.China had expected trade to hit that mark by 2010. The country also plans to increase oil and gas imports from Africa by up to 40% in the next five to 10 years.The trend is attributed to escalating shipments of natural resources to China, especially crude oil, mainly from Sudan, Chad, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo and Angola, metals from Ghana, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and South Africa, as well as cobalt and other minerals. At the same time, goods manufactured in China are increasingly sought after by African consumers.During the first half of 2008, exports to China from Africa rose 92% to R240-billion ($30-billion), while the continent imported goods to the value of R184-billion ($23-billion), an increase of 40% according to the Chinese customs authority. The growth in trade was attributed to an upswing in the economic climate in Africa, as well as demand from China for natural resources to drive its own fast-growing economy.Investing in developmentA report released in July 2008 by the World Bank states that China, together with India and several Gulf nations, is financing a number of large infrastructure projects, such as hydropower schemes and transport schemes, across sub-Saharan Africa in a drive to reduce poverty. The World Bank says that investment by these nations reached R64-billion ($8-billion) in 2006 and R40-billion ($5-billion) in 2007.“China’s growing infrastructure commitments in Africa are helping to address the huge infrastructure deficit of the continent,” said World Bank vice president for Africa, Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili.Nearly 70% of Chinese investments are concentrated in Angola, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Sudan, says the report, and 33 countries in total have received finance from China for infrastructure. Moreover, China attaches very few demands and conditions to its investments, laying the groundwork for unencumbered development, said British researcher Bill Durodie, an associate fellow with the Royal Institute of International Affairs.The growing South-South co-operation was the result of China’s consistent demand for natural resources and Africa’s ample oil and mineral reserves, much of which is still under-exploited, said the World Bank’s Vivien Foster, the organisation’s lead economist in sustainable development for the Africa region.The report states that oil makes up the bulk of African exports to China, comprising some 80% of total exports. While 57% of Africa’s oil goes to the US and Europe, China imports 14% of the resource.Africa’s need for infrastructure development was balanced by China’s well-oiled construction industry. Development experts say that aged and under-developed infrastructure is cutting the growth of African economies by up to 1% every year.International co-operationChina and Africa collaborate extensively together on economic, cultural, educational and agricultural programmes. The Sino-Africa Co-operation Forum was established in 2000 between China and willing African countries to facilitate constructive dialogue and South-South cooperation.Since the establishment of the forum, economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa has boomed. This was helped by the fact that China has written off 10.9-billion yuan (R11-billion or $1.4-billion) owed to it by 31 heavily-indebted poor African countries. China also implemented a zero-duty regime for some imports from Africa.South Africa and ChinaSouth Africa’s relations with China have improved dramatically since the two countries resumed diplomatic ties on New Year’s Day in 1998. Writing in January 2008 to mark the 10th anniversary, former Chinese ambassador to South Africa Liu Guijin said that South Africa, as the biggest economy in Africa, sees huge potential for economic and trade cooperation with China.In 2000, said Liu, trade between the two countries amounted to R16-billion ($2-billion), more than 20% of the total trade volume between China and the entire African continent. And by the end of 2006, Sino-South Africa trade had increased nearly five times to R78-billion ($9.8-billion).However, said Liu, the years of isolation had taken their toll and there is a need for greater mutual understanding between the two nations. This is being addressed not only through bodies such as the Sino-Africa Co-operation Forum, but also through increased tourism and exchange on a personal level. More Chinese nationals have been travelling to South Africa, said Liu.Under the Sino-Africa Co-operation Forum, Chinese professionals are sharing their expertise with Africans to improve the lives of others – for example, academics from China Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University have been applying their mushroom-planting technology to help South African farmers boost their incomes.In the first quarter of 2008, China became South Africa’s largest import market, snatching this position from Germany. The country is the fifth largest export destination for South African goods. Trade between China and South Africa has been increasing at around 20 to 30% annually over the last 12 years.China has set up more than 80 companies in South Africa since 1998, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs, while South African investment in China is valued at approximately R5.6-billion ($700-million). South African companies with stakes in Chinese industry include SABMiller; MIH (part of media group Naspers); petrol manufacturer Sasol, and mining companies Anglo American, Kumba Iron Ore, Anglo Gold Ashanti and Gold Fields, among others.Useful linksSino-Africa Co-operation ForumSouth Africa-China economic and trade co-operationDepartment of Foreign Affairs: China-SA relationsXinhua News Agencylast_img read more

SA swimmers on World Cup podium

first_imgThe men’s title went to Brazil’s Thiago Pereira, while Sweden’s Therese Alshammar won the women’s title. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh had won the men’s title for the past two years, but this year opted out of the series early on to recover at home from a tiring season. In total, he won the freestyle four times, the breaststroke an equal number of times, and the butterfly five times, for a total of 13 victories. He also achieved the best times recorded in those three events. DominatedIn his absence, Roland Schoeman dominated the 50 metres breaststroke throughout the series. In 2009, he had been good enough to beat Van der Burgh, the world record holder in the event, twice. With Van der Burgh not around, Schoeman went virtually unchallenged. In the last two events of the series, in Moscow on 2-3 November and in Stockholm on 6-7 November, he won the 50m freestyle both times, the 50m breaststroke on both occasions, and was third and first in the butterfly respectively. South African swimmers featured prominently throughout the World Cup and achieved numerous podium places. Those that achieved at least one victory included Roland Schoeman, Cameron van der Burgh, Darian Townsend, Lyndon Ferns, and Jessica Pengelly. Thus, Pereira achieved what proved to be his winning score at the very first meet in Rio in which his 200 metres individual medley time was worth 969 points. Displaying similar consistency throughout the series, Schoeman was undoubtedly the leading performer in the sprints. Townsend had to play second fiddle to Pereira in the individual medley, but his performances were also of a very high standard and earned him second place on the podium and a cheque for US$50 000. The 50 metres breaststroke was not the only sprint race in which Schoeman excelled. He also shone in the butterfly and freestyle sprints. 9 November 2010 Alshammar previously topped the World Cup standings in 2006 and 2007. She placed second in 2008 and 2009. Fina Points tableThe final standings are not calculated on the number of wins, however, but on points according to the Fina Points Table, which assigns a value to the time achieved by a swimmer. South African swimmers Darian Townsend and Roland Schoeman finished second and third respectively in the final standings after the completion of the Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup in Stockholm, Sweden, on Sunday.last_img read more

Seven get death for murder after volleyball game clash

first_imgA local court in Muzaffarnagar on Tuesday awarded death sentence to seven persons for firing indiscriminately at a group and murdering one person following a clash over a volleyball game eight years ago. District and Sessions judge Rajesh Bharadwaj found the accused guilty under Sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code, among others. They accused were also convicted under Section 25 of the Arms Act.Those convicted and awarded death penalty were identified as Sadiq, Sarfaraz, Shahid, Arshad, Rashid, Mumtaz and Farrukh.The incident took place in February 2010.According to details shared by Uttar Pradesh police, brothers Naseem and Khalil had got into a fight with some locals, the accused, during a game of volleyball in Harsoli village of the district. Following this, the accused persons allegedly barged into the house of the brothers “in a planned manner armed with guns and country-made weapons” and fired indiscriminately, said the note issued by the U.P. police. Shot five timesWhile Naseem, who was shot five times, died, his brothers Khalil and Raiyan, and nephew Shakeel received bullet injuries; the three were shot eight times. The incident had left locals terrorised, the court noted. A total of nine witnesses, including the three injured survivors, were produced in the case.last_img read more