JSE outperforms most markets in 2011

first_img6 January 2012 Comparing year-end values, South Africa’s stock exchange showed little movement overall in 2011, but held firm – and in doing so was one of the better performers in a turbulent year for equities worldwide, Moneyweb reports. The JSE’s benchmark Top 40 index gave a marginally negative return of 0.59% in 2011, while at close of play on 30 December 2011 its All Share index was down by 0.41% compared to 30.12.2010.Global markets hammered But, as Moneyweb’s David Carte pointed out, these losses pale against the -52.9% suffered by investors on the Athens stock exchange, or the -18.3% of the Eurostox 50. “You thought that Germany had come through Europe’s crisis relatively unscathed? Well, Germany’s DAX was down by 15.6%,” Carte wrote. “But who is not surprised that the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gave a negative return of 19.8%? And that the Nikkei in tsunami-rocked Japan gave investors a negative 17.3% return.” The FTSE 100 index of UK companies fell 5.6% over the 12-month period, “while in the US, the Standard & Poors 500 gave investors a positive return, albeit a measly one of 0.41%.”Local winners, losers Investors in certain sectors of the JSE were fairly well rewarded in 2011 – among them, oil and gas producers were up 11%, food producers up 13%, and industrials up 6%. Conversely, it was a bad year for the JSE’s construction stocks (down 26%), and for platinum (-28%) and mining in general (-11%), despite a strong showing from coal (+22%). According to Business Day, the JSE attracted 16 listings with a combined market capitalisation of more than R35-billion in the course of 2011, while about 15 companies delisted.New CEO looks to grow products, services Nicky Newton-King, who this week became the first woman CEO of the JSE, told Business Day that the exchange would be looking to offer more access to African companies in 2012, as well as products such as exchange-traded funds that opened access to new investments. With South Africa’s rules of inward listing having been relaxed, “we would also like to attract more inward listings”, Newton-King said. In October, the National Treasury announced that local investors would be able to trade in foreign-domiciled companies listed on the JSE, boosting the status of South Africa’s bourse as a springboard for foreign companies to expand into Africa. Previously, the JSE could not include foreign companies in the exchange’s indices, as local investors weren’t able to buy shares in these companies without restriction. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Microsoft Has A Mindblowing Display Technology, But Doesn’t Want To Talk About It

first_imgIn September, Microsoft filed a patent application for what was essentially a holodeck. Now, that technology is a step further to becoming reality.At the Consumer Electronics Show, people got a glimpse of a product Microsoft calls “Illumiroom,” which the company describes “peripheral projected illusions for interactive experiences.” Microsoft Research posted a video demo of the technology on YouTube a week ago, and in that time the video has received more than 3.6 million views.And for good reason. This is mindblowing technology. But now, for some reason, Microsoft doesn’t want to talk about it.Essentially Illumiroom is a projector that works in conjunction with a conventional television to project some of the content on the edges of the screen onto the walls, floors and ceiling. Illumiroom creates the illlusion that a game played on a Microsoft Xbox, for example, overflows the boundaries of the television screen.Illumiroom was designed by Brett Jones, Hrvoje Benko, Eyal Ofek and Andy Wilson, all Microsoft researchers who focus on natural interaction and/or augmented reality. Benko, for example, helped turn a research project on gesture interaction with surfaces into 2010’s Microsoft Touch Mouse, whose surface can be stroked and manipulated, a gesture-based peripheral launched two years before Windows 8 ushered in touch screens into general use.The video of Illumiroom was included in a CES keynote given by Samsung. But the technology did not make an appearance elsewhere at the show. (For the first time in many years, Microsoft did not have a booth at CES.)Microsoft representatives said they would not comment further, and declined to allow the researchers to speak to the press.A New Spin On An Old IdeaPeripheral illumination has existed for some time. Philips launched the Ambilight technology in 2002, which mounted rear- and side-mounted LED lights to the top and sides of a television. The effect smeared the color scheme that the television displayed on the walls behind the display, apparently in an attempt to reduce eye strain. Tags:#Kinect#Microsoft#TV 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Related Posts 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex…center_img markhachman Illumiroom is basically that idea but on steroids. According to the video demonstration of the technology (see below), actual scenes from the game are projected outwards, such as “flames” that appear on the screen and what looks to be some sort of a lightning gun.Illumiroom apparently adds to the screen, showing objects that otherwise would not be displayed, “extending” elements on the screen onto other surfaces in the room. It’s unclear whether Illumiroom does that automatically or whether the game developer would need to code those extensions in via an API of some sort.You’ll also note that the projector doesn’t appear to to draw the peripheral scene in as much detail as what’s shown on the main screen. Eventually, the graphics hardware is going to run out of available horsepower, assuming that the Xbox is controlling both the console’s video output as well as the projector. How Does It Work?So far, Microsoft’s demonstration gives no indication that Kinect is being used to evaluate and respond to the player’s gestures, as the original patent application indicates. An improved Kinect-like device could also be used to track the player’s eyes or face, letting those serve as controls, the patent suggested.At least according to the video, the Illumiroom technology works quite well. The shooter demonstration is particularly impressive, with the widened perspective considerably altering the game experience. Still, objects in the periphery are somewhat vague, creating a clear differentiation between the “focused” scene on the television and the muddier peripheral scene. And the starfield, projected onto the walls and floor, creates an unfortunate “mirror ball” effect.As we noted before, several questions remain unanswered, including the number of projectors being used, how and where they would need to be mounted, and whether a cheap Kinect-like peripheral could do double duty as both a projector and movement sensor.Still, any questions may have to wait to be answered at the end of April, when Jones and his colleagues present a paper describing Illumiroom at the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, the premier international conference on human-computer interaction, in Paris. Ambilight photo by Stephan Lebachev. 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

Gujarat on alert as Hardik Patel goes on fast

first_imgPatidar leader Hardik Patel on Saturday began a fast on the outskirts of the city amid heavy deployment of the police and the detention of several of his aides.He is pressing for reservation for the Patidar community and waiver of farm debt in the State.Tight securityPolicemen have been deployed to frisk all visitors to his sprawling farm house, the venue of the fast.Several Congress leaders, including Lalit Vasoya, Lalit Kagathara, Kirit Patel, Asha Patel and Brijesh Merja, were present when Mr. Patel began his fast at 3 p.m. in the presence of hundreds of supporters.Also Read “Today is the third anniversary of the Patidar agitation. Two months ago, we had sought permission to stage a protest in the form of an indefinite fast. The administration has denied us permission to hold protests even in Gandhinagar. Since we were denied all venues we sought, we decided to hold it in my residence,” Mr. Patel told presspersons at the venue.“In all highways, the police are intercepting and checking vehicles to prevent our activists and supporters [from participating in the agitation],” Mr. Patel said, slamming the BJP government for using force and the State machinery to dissuade people from supporting his fast.Days-long protest“Thousands across the State will sit on fast, and the protest will continue for days. I have also invited people to come to my house to join me in the fast. This is not about me. It is about the people of Gujarat,” he said.On Friday, the Gandhinagar district administration denied him permission to hold a protest. “All this shows the government is scared of the agitation,” Mr. Patel said.Director-General of Police (DGP) Shivanand Jha has directed all senior police officials to remain vigilant.The State Reserve Police (SRP) has also been deployed.R.B. Brahmbhatt, chief of Gujarat’s Intelligence Bureau (IB), said that 158 people from across the State have been detained by the police based on intelligence inputs. He denied Mr. Patel’s claim that several thousand persons had been held. Police preventing people from joining hunger strike, says Hardik Patellast_img read more

Salwan report clears Sunita Rani of doping, calls for changes in conduct of sports officials

first_imgPhoto finish: The report could reinstate Sunita Rani’s lost honourSunita Rani, Indian athletics’ “fallen” princess, can afford a smile. Last week, a one-man commission appointed by the Amateur Athletic Federation of India (AAFI) and headed by lawyer Sushil Dutt Salwan, cleared the clouds of a doping controversy hovering above the,Photo finish: The report could reinstate Sunita Rani’s lost honourSunita Rani, Indian athletics’ “fallen” princess, can afford a smile. Last week, a one-man commission appointed by the Amateur Athletic Federation of India (AAFI) and headed by lawyer Sushil Dutt Salwan, cleared the clouds of a doping controversy hovering above the versatile middle-distance runner.Rani who won the 1500 m event and was placed third in the 5000 m at last month’s Asian Games in Busan, South Korea, was stripped of her medals following dope tests in Korea that returned positive results-she was said to have taken the banned nandrolone decanoate, an injectable testosterone whose anabolic effects remain active in the human body for a long time.Now Salwan’s exhaustive report, submitted to AAFI President and MP Suresh Kalmadi and Secretary Lalit Bhanot (both have rushed to Monte Carlo to take up the matter with the International Amateur Athletics Federations), has a revealing tale to tell.HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORTShot in the arm: Armed with Sushil Dutt Salwan’s (left) report, Suresh Kalmadi is taking up the matter with the international athletics bodyChallenge the dope test report of the Busan laboratories.The discrepancies between samples A and B taken after the 1500 m event in Busan is internationally unacceptable.The figure of “6” in ng/ml appears to be overwritten by hand.All instrument printouts carry wrong dates. This may be because the reports are not genuine.The same sample should be sent to an International Olympic Committee-accredited dope-testing laboratory immediately.After speaking to several officials who were part of the Indian contingent and scrutinising a range of documents, he has brought out the dubious manner in which Rani’s tests were carried out in Seoul, far removed from the testing norms laid down by world federations.advertisementAt the same time, Salwan has also called for radical changes in the conduct of coaches, trainers, doctors and sports administrators in India.He also criticised the casual manner in which the problem of doping is generally dealt with.Kalmadi, while accepting the report, said, “It was unfortunate that Sunita Rani had to suffer after performing outstandingly at Busan.”The report, available exclusively to india today, mentions that tests on Rani’s first urine sample (A) on September 30, 2002 at the Dope Testing Centre in Delhi were negative. It obviated the need to examine the second sample (B).But now, Salwan insists in his report that a dna test needs to be carried out on the untested sample to prove beyond doubt that the urine collected belonged to Rani.Based on the September 30 report, Rani was cleared for Busan.She won the 1500 m gold on October 10 and was taken away for a test to a place where entry, under normal circumstances, should have been heavily restricted. But it wasn’t.Salwan spoke to journalists who covered the Games and was told that almost anyone could have walked in and tampered with the samples.Curiously, after the 5000 m event two days later, Rani was asked to present herself before a panel. Among those present were chef de mission Jagdish Tytler, Bhanot and Sunita’s coach Renu Kohli.Objections were raised about the procedure adopted for the test and the documentation itself. Here are some of the findings:The B sample acquired on October 10 was not sent to a separate lab for tests.The difference between nandrolone content was stark-21 ng/ml in the first case, 6 ng/ml in the second. This is not internationally acceptable.Most of the data sheets of the Doping Control Center (an internationally accredited lab with ISO 17025 rating) in Seoul did not carry dates.One printout showed a date of “October 200”, another October 16, 2001.There is no proof that the printout relates to the dates when samples were taken.In the report, the same doctor has signed for different officials.At one place the figure “6” in ng/ml has been overwritten by hand, it appears to be “2”.The men who have carried the report to Monte Carlo are now out to prove that Rani was framed. The Salwan findings certainly point in that direction.SALWAN’S COUNSELSAI does not adopt scientific methods of testing. There is no random testing.India’s dope-testing laboratory is not accredited by the IOC.Athletes take drugs so that they are cleared just before a competition. SAI and other federations have to counter this.Short notice and no notice-testing are the best means to curtail drug use.Coaches and team doctors should be responsible for doping cases.Sportspersons who have tested positive and whose appeal has been rejected by the IOC should be summarily dismissed from their jobs.Our coaches should be trained to world standards.Labs need to maintain high standards in order to earn the respect of the sports community.The food supplement taken by Sunita should be sent for analysis to ascertain if it contains any contaminated substance.Coaches should be research oriented. At present, they do not carry out any research on athletes under their charge.advertisementlast_img read more