South Africa’s Public Protector: frequently asked questions

first_imgThe Public Protector was set up in terms of South Africa’s Constitution to investigate complaints against government agencies or officials.The office of the The Public Protector is one of six Chapter 9 institutions, identified in the Constitution as “state institutions supporting constitutional democracy”. (Image: Corruption Watch)Brand South Africa reporterFind out all about South Africa’s Public Protector.What is the Public Protector?Public Protector was set up in terms of Chapter 9 of South Africa’s Constitution to investigate complaints against state agencies or officials. It is one of six Chapter 9 institutions, identified in the Constitution as “state institutions supporting constitutional democracy”.What are the functions of the Public Protector?According to Chapter 9 of the Constitution, the Public Protector has the power, as regulated by national legislation:to investigate any conduct in state affairs, or in the public administration in any sphere of government, that is alleged or suspected to be improper or to result in any impropriety or prejudiceto report on that conductto take appropriate remedial actionWhat are the other Chapter 9 institutions?The five other state institutions supporting constitutional democracy are:The Human Rights CommissionThe Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic CommunitiesThe Commission for Gender EqualityThe Auditor-GeneralThe Independent Electoral CommissionWhat does the Public Protector investigate?The Public Protector investigates alleged misconduct involving the state. This includes public officials at all levels, from central and provincial government to state departments, local authorities and state-owned enterprises.Do other countries have a Public Protector?Countries across the world have offices similar to the Public Protector, institutions that investigate and provide a check on improper government activity, in the interest of the citizenry. These are variously called the “ombudsman” or “people’s defender”.Is the Public Protector independent?Yes. According to the Constitution, the Public Protector and all other Chapter 9 institutions “are independent, and subject only to the Constitution and the law, and they must be impartial and must exercise their powers and perform their functions without fear, favour or prejudice”.The Constitution goes on to say: “Other organs of state, through legislative and other measures, must assist and protect these institutions to ensure the independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness of these institutions. No person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of these institutions.”Who can complain to the Public Protector?Anyone can complain to the Public Protector. The Constitution says: “The Public Protector must be accessible to all persons and communities.”How many complaints does the Public Protector receive?According to a parliamentary report released on 5 November 2013, the Public Protector received 37 770 complaints in the previous year — up more than 10 000 on the number of complaints registered in 2011-12. It takes from a couple hours to three months to resolve a single case, depending on its nature; the parliamentary report stated that 37% of cases were resolved in three months.What happens after the Public Protector has investigated a complaint?The Public Protector has been described as a referee, tasked with looking at all sides of a problem. If the complaint is justified, a solution is put forward, which may include recommending changes to the system.The Public Protector can also report a matter to Parliament, which will then debate the matter and see to it that the recommendations are followed.Are the Public Protector’s reports always released to the public?According to the Constitution, “Any report issued by the Public Protector must be open to the public unless exceptional circumstances, to be determined in terms of national legislation, require that a report be kept confidential.”Who appoints the Public Protector?The Public Protector is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the National Assembly in terms of the Constitution for a non-renewable period of seven years.Who is South Africa’s Public Protector?Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane became South Africa’s fourth Public Protector in October 2016. She was appointed by President Jacob Zuma, after being recommended by a special parliamentary committee.Mkhwebane is an advocate of the high court and a specialist in refugee and immigration law. She has held positions in the Department of Home Affairs and the South African embassy in the Republic of China. She previously also worked in the Office of the Public Protector as a senior investigator and an acting provincial director for Gauteng. Mkhwebane was also a senior researcher at the South African Human Rights Commission.Mkhwebane replaced Advocate Thulisile Madonsela, who completed her term in October 2016. Madonsela replaced Advocate Lawrence Mushwana, who completed his seven-year term as Public Protector on 16 October 2009. South Africa’s first Public Protector, Advocate Selby Baqwa, served from 1995 to 2002.What investigations and recommendations has the Public Protector made in the past?Some notable decisions by South Africa’s Public Protector include:Bheki Cele was fired as South Africa’s police chief in 2011 after an inquiry into allegations of misconduct in relation to the procurement of office headquarters for the South African Police Service. The Public Protector’s report found that the lease agreements were unlawful, invalid and “fatally flawed”.In 2006, the Public Protector cleared then Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka after she used an air force plane to fly with her family and friends to the United Arab Emirates for a holiday. “It cannot be found that the deputy president acted improperly or that she failed to act in good faith,” the Public Protector said in a report at the time. “She was entitled, as anyone else in her similar position and status, to take her family, a friend and the children of her private secretary with her to the UAE and no one therefore benefited improperly from the trip.”Following an investigation in 2004, 40 Members of Parliament from a number of different political parties were found to have illegally used parliamentary travel vouchers worth R18-million for their personal use.Also in 2004, an investigation into claims that Ekurhuleni metro police chief Robert McBride was unsuitable for his post found that the appointment was proper, given that then national police commissioner Jackie Selebi had “waived the requirements that McBride had to be a member of the Metro police, and in respect of training”.Reviewed 17 May 2016Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? 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South African scientists make astronomy breakthrough

first_img26 January 2015Wits scientists have found three extremely luminous gamma-ray sources in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite dwarf galaxy of the Milky Way.The scientists are part of a multinational team of astronomers working on the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) telescopes that have again demonstrated its excellent capabilities in searching for high-energy gamma rays.In the latest discovery using the HESS, the team has found the most powerful pulsar wind nebula; the most powerful supernova remnant; and a shell of 270 light years in diameter blown by multiple stars, and supernovae – a so-called superbubble.The discovery is announced in the latest edition of the scientific journal, Science, in a research paper titled: “The exceptionally powerful TeV ƴ- ray emitters in the Large Magellanic Cloud”, published on 23 January 2015.Important discovery“This is a very important breakthrough for the team,” says Professor Sergio Colafrancesco, DST/NRF SKA Research Chair in the Wits School of Physics. “It paves the way to study external galaxies with very high-E telescopes such as HESS and then later with the planned Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) in Namibia.“It will lead us to re-examine galaxy evolution and answer questions such as how high-E particles can affect the evolution of cosmic structures in the universe, principally galaxies, and the life cycles of matter in galaxies.”Very high-energy gamma rays are the best tracers of cosmic accelerators such as supernova remnants and pulsar wind nebulae – end-products of massive stars. There, charged particles are accelerated to extreme velocities. When these particles encounter light or gas in and around the cosmic accelerators, they emit gamma rays.Very high-energy gamma rays can be measured on Earth by observing the Cherenkov light emitted from the particle showers produced by incident gamma rays high up in the atmosphere using large telescopes with fast cameras.The Large Magellanic Cloud is a dwarf satellite galaxy of our Milky Way, located about 170.000 light years away and showing us its face. New, massive stars are formed at a high rate in the cloud, and it harbours numerous massive stellar clusters. The cloud’s supernova rate relative to its stellar mass is five times that of our galaxy.The youngest supernova remnant in the local group of galaxies, SN 1987A, is also a member of the cloud. Therefore, the HESS scientists dedicated significant observation to searching for very high-energy gamma rays from this cosmic object.Star formationHESS has observed the largest star-forming region within the cloud, called Tarantula Nebula, for a total of 210 hours. For the first time in a galaxy outside the Milky Way, individual sources of very high-energy gamma rays could be resolved: three extremely energetic objects of different type.The so-called superbubble 30 Dor C is the largest known X-ray-emitting shell and appears to have been created by several supernovae and strong stellar winds. Superbubbles are broadly discussed as (complementary or alternative to individual supernova remnants) factories where the galactic cosmic rays are produced.The HESS results demonstrate that the bubble is a source of, and filled by, highly energetic particles. The superbubble represents a new class of sources in the very high-energy regime.Observed at the limits of detectability, and partially overlapping with each other, these new sources challenged the HESS scientists. The discoveries were possible following the development of advanced methods of interpreting the Cherenkov images captured by the telescopes.The new HESS II 28m telescope will boost the performance of the HESS telescope system, and in the more distant future the planned Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) will provide even deeper and higher-resolution gamma-ray images of the Large Magellanic Cloud – in the plans for science with CTA, the satellite galaxy is already identified as a Key Science Project deserving special attention.International teamThe HESS telescope is operated by an international collaboration of scientists with a strong involvement by South African universities, in particular Wits and North West universities, and the universities of the Free State and Johannesburg.Wits physicists are particularly involved in data analysis techniques, the development of theoretical interpretation tools of both extragalactic and galactic sources, and in the operational shifts at the telescope location in Namibia.Source: University of the Witwatersrandlast_img read more

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Running the farm like a business

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On Mar 31st (11AM CST) the USDA will announce the 2017 US planting intention estimates. Arguably, this report could have the biggest impact on the market in 2017. Until next Friday, there is little else to talk about.Many are expecting estimates of 91 million corn acres and 89 million bean acres. If the report shows a more narrow range (i.e. 90 million acres each), corn prices could get a bump, while beans may slide. Right now prices favor beans over corn, so the report will show if farmers have made any adjustments based upon this. Thinking of the farm as a businessA profitable farm is more complicated than planting crops and hoping they pay the bills at the end of the year. Farmers should consider their operations as a company with multiple profit centers working to a common goal. Each profit center must “pull its own weight” without drawing profits from another division. Successful farmers understand each profit center independently and how it maximizes profit for the farm operation.There are four large divisions (some with smaller subsets):• Land ownership• Custom operations• Grain storage• Farmer. Land ownershipSince farmers are naturally passionate about working the land, this is where I see the most “cheating.” I ask all my clients, “Are you paying yourself a fair market rental price for use of your land?” In theory, some farmers could spend all their time on the beach, while hiring people to do the hard work of farming the land. Considering the typical farmer’s mentality, few think like this, but they should. The most successful operations understand the profit of ownership comes from a long-term investment.Regardless of when the land was purchased, 20 years ago when land was cheaper or recently, there is a fair rental price based upon the local market conditions. From the start this needs to be calculated to understand the possible guaranteed income. Often farmers are surprised about the cost of their time and energy.Custom operationsProfitable farmers also understand the cost of every piece of equipment. Most mid-sized farmers today have over $1 million invested in equipment, so it’s important to be as efficient as possible. Plus, farmers have more choices than ever, so why not take advantage? Following are questions that should be asked of every piece of equipment (i.e. planter, combine, sprayer, semi, tractor, etc.)What is the local custom rate for each piece of equipment you need if hired done?What is the yearly maintenance cost for each piece of equipment needed (e.g. 5 year avg)?What are the yearly depreciation costs?Is there profit potential in owning equipment and doing custom hire work?Is renting or leasing a better option?Often farmers “mine” the equity on their equipment by not paying themselves enough per acre to use the equipment. This may be fine for a while, but years later replacing equipment becomes too expensive, leaving the farmer in a difficult position.Generally speaking most farmers prefer to own their own equipment, because often it can cost less, but it’s important to consider alternatives. Sometimes it makes sense to hire work done, while other tasks can be accomplished (i.e. office work) or even second jobs.In the end, while some equipment is nice to own, and can even look impressive to your neighbors, if it doesn’t make financial sense and puts a strain in this division, then your operation’s profits can easily slip needlessly through your fingers. Grain storageGrain storage is a profit center many producers use incorrectly. Most farmers store non-contracted grain, hoping for a market rally, because storing unpriced grain at their local elevator means hefty charges. Between storing unpriced grain at home for “free” or storing it at an elevator for a charge, it can make a little sense I guess.However, many farmers are missing out on all of the profitable benefits of storing grain at home and selling forward – taking advantage of carry and basis appreciation. By considering on-farm grain storage as a separate cost center, analyzing the expense to build new storage becomes a practical one. One just needs to analyze the premiums received from carry and basis optimization against the expense of building new bins. Almost every time I walk a client through the numbers, having on-farm grain storage is a profitable venture. Actually, I find grain storage can have the best return on investment above every other investment in a farm operation. FarmerThe “farmer” is the part of you that makes management decisions each year. One could liken it to the CEO position, but it also includes the titles of CFO and COO. Strategic decisions need to be made on crop inputs and farm operations:• Fertilizer – What kind? How much? When to apply?• Chemicals – What kind? How much? When to apply?• Seed/Agronomy – How much corn vs beans? On which fields? Which brands/hybrids/traits?• Insurance – How much? What program?• Hired Help – How much? Where do I find these people? How much to pay?• Marketing – When to sell. Was that a profitable price? What I too greedy in my goal?• Strategic Planning – Should I rent or buy more ground? Should I drop a low producing field? There are so many decisions for farmers to make it can be overwhelming. To help in budgeting, I ask my clients – How much do you want to make on each acre and what kind of ROI is needed to be profitable? Each farm is different and has its own challenges, but these questions can be answered by the big established family farm down to the small young farmer who is renting all of their land. Putting it togetherFinally, the farmer puts all of these profit centers together to form a budget (or business plan, but farmers don’t usually call it that). Then a marketing plan is developed to ensure the farm is profitable. If each profit center is optimized, the biggest opportunities for the farm operation can be achieved regardless of all the variable factors (i.e. weather, market volatility, etc).Some may think all of this means just being a farmer, but breaking up the divisions/profit centers independently and then optimizing each one can help maximize profits. Perhaps there is a weak division/profit center that was only exposed after doing the analysis. Farmers can then take steps to maximize each area.Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.Trading of futures, options, swaps and other derivatives is risky and is not suitable for all persons. All of these investment products are leveraged, and you can lose more than your initial deposit. Each investment product is offered only to and from jurisdictions where solicitation and sale are lawful, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations in such jurisdiction. The information provided here should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research before making your investment decisions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC is merely providing this information for your general information and the information does not take into account any particular individual’s investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. All investors should obtain advice based on their unique situation before making any investment decision. The contents of this communication and any attachments are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances should they be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation to buy or sell any future, option, swap or other derivative. The sources for the information and any opinions in this communication are believed to be reliable, but Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of such information or opinions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC and its principals and employees may take positions different from any positions described in this communication. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. He can be contacted at [email protected]last_img read more

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Apple: Free Cases for All

first_imgRelated Posts Key Quotes from Steve Jobs:“This is life in the smartphone world. Phones aren’t perfect.”“X marks the spot. You know exactly where to hold it.”“The data says the issue has been blown so far out of proportion, it’s incredible.”To the press: ” I wish we could have done this in the first 48 hours, but then you wouldn’t have had so much to write about.”How to Get Your Free CaseApple will send every iPhone 4 owner a free case. Starting next week, users will be able to apply for a free case on Apple’s website. Jobs also acknowledged that Apple can’t make enough bumpers to satisfy demand, so it will source cases from other vendors as well. If you bought a bumper from Apple, the company will issue a refund. Apple will not, however, offer refunds to users who bought third-party cases.Jobs: Every Smartphone has the Same Antenna ProblemJobs noted that only 0.55% percent of Apple’s customers have called the company’s customer service line to complain about issues with the iPhone 4’s reception, and that Apple is seeing lower return rates for the iPhone 4 than during the iPhone 3GS launch. During his presentation, Jobs also argued that the iPhone 4’s antenna issues are not unique and can be found in almost every modern smartphone on the market. Apple has sold over 3 million iPhone 4s over the last three weeks. The white version of the iPhone 4 will ship at the end of July. iPhone 4 Drops Just as Many Calls as the 3GSThe press conference opened with the iPhone Antenna song. After this, Steve Jobs noted that Apple loves “making our users happy.” According to Jobs, Apple has known about this issues since the iPhone 4 launch. Jobs, however, also argues that this problem isn’t unique to the iPhone 4. Other phones, including the Blackberry Bold and HTC Droid Eris, see similar drops when the phones are held in a specific way. According to Jobs, “This is life in the smartphone world. Phones aren’t perfect.” Based on AT&T’s data, iPhone 4 users are seeing roughly about the same number of dropped calls as iPhone 3GS users. The receptions issues with the iPhone 4, according to Jobs, have been “blown so far out of proportion, it’s incredible.” Jobs also noted that only 20% of iPhone 4 are currently using cases, while about 80% of iPhone 3G and 3GS users bought a case for their phones. This, said Jobs, could be the reason why more users are now reporting problems with their receptions.Apple, according to Jobs, has 17 anechoic chambers and invested over $100 million in its antenna-testing facilities over the last five years. The company has 18 PhD scientists and engineers on staff who are working on the design of these antennas. Overall, Apple clearly tried to downplay the issues with the iPhone’s antenna during today’s presentation. During the Q&A session after the presentation, Jobs also lashed out at the press. Specifically, he argued that this story has been blown completely out of proportions and the the New York Times (and others) “are just making this stuff up.”How it All StartedThe antenna issue went undetected during the first round of reviews before the new iPhone’s launch, but users (including this author), quickly noticed these problems after they received their phones. Since then, Apple has launched an update to the iOS operating system that changes how the software calculates the number of signal bars. According to most pundits, the new method gives users a more realistic view of their iPhone’s actual signal strength. This fix, however, did not alleviate any of the antenna issues that iPhone 4 users have reported. Tags:#Apple#news#web frederic lardinois Apple is going to offer every iPhone 4 user a free case until September 30th and won’t charge users a restocking fee if they are unhappy with their iPhone 4 purchase. Apple made this announcement at a small press conference on the company’s Cupertino, California campus today. The press conference started with an admission from Apple CEO Steve Jobs that Apple is “not perfect. Phones are not perfect. But we want to make all our users happy.” center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

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Role of Anthocyanins in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

first_imgThis was posted by Robin Allen, a member of the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team that aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the MFLN Nutrition and Wellness concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and LinkedIn. References:Konczak, I., & Zhang, W. (2004). Anthocyanins-More Than Nature’s Colours. Journal of biomedicine & biotechnology, 2004(5), 239-240.Webb, D. (2014). Anthocyanins. Today’s Dietitian, 16(3), 20.Phytochemicals.info – AnthocyaninsPennington Nutrition Systems – AnthocyaninsNovotny, J. A., Fadel, J. G., Holstege, D. M., Furr, H. C., & Clifford, A. J. (2012). This kinetic, bioavailability, and metabolism study of RRR-α-tocopherol in healthy adults suggests lower intake requirements than previous estimates. The Journal of nutrition, 142(12), 2105-11.Faria, A. , Pestana, D. , Azevedo, J. , Martel, F. , de Freitas, V. , Azevedo, I. , Mateus, N. and Calhau, C. (2009). Absorption of anthocyanins through intestinal epithelial cells – Putative involvement of GLUT2. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 53: 1430-1437. doi:10.1002/mnfr.200900007Jennings, A., Welch, A., Fairweather-Tait, S., Kay, C., Minihane, A., Chowienczyk, P., Jiang, B., Cecelja, M., Spector, T., Macgregor, A., Cassidy, A. (2012). Higher anthocyanin intake is associated with lower arterial stiffness and central blood pressure in women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 96(4), 781–788. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.042036Mink, P., Scrafford, C., Barraj, L., Harnack, L., Hong, C., Nettleton, J., Jacobs, D. (2007). Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality: a prospective study in postmenopausal women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 85(3), 895–909. doi:10.1093/ajcn/85.3.895Cassidy, A., Mukamal, K., Liu, L., Franz, M., Eliassen, A., Rimm, E. (2013). High anthocyanin intake is associated with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women. Circulation 127(2), 188-96. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.122408 Image by Photospin.com/0020048 Mixed BerriesBy Joanna ManeroWhat are bioactive compounds and what is their role in the prevention of Cardiovascular Disease?  This blog will only discuss anthocyanins but tune into Dr. Elvira de Mejia’s Free webinar, on March 15th at 10 am CDT to find out more about the health benefits of phytonutrients.Phytonutrients and Cardiovascular DiseaseTo register, visit the event page.Anthocyanins are flavonoids found in a large variety of foods.  They are the most widely consumed flavonoid and are responsible for the beautiful red, purple, and blue coloring found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and flowers.  Aside from coloring our plate, they provide a large array of health benefits such as protection against liver injuries, reduction of blood pressure, improvement of eyesight, suppression of proliferation of cancer cells, and cardiovascular disease prevention (Novotney 2012; Knczak and Zhang 2004).   Anthocyanins have been used as traditional or folk medicine around the world. Only recently have we begun to research these health benefit claims.The role of anthocyanins in cardiovascular disease prevention is due to their protective oxidative stress properties. They are believed to act on different cells associated with the development of atherosclerosis. An Iowa Women’s Health Study of 34,489 postmenopausal women found that eating strawberries and blueberries just once per week was associated with a significant reduction in death from cardiovascular disease over a 14 year period (Mink et al., 2007).  Similarly, a study of 93,600 healthy women from the Nurses’ Health Study II revealed a 34% lower risk of myocardial infarctions (heart attack) in women who consumed three servings of blueberries and strawberries per week (Cassidy et al., 2013).  Additionally, anthocyanins have been shown to lower systolic blood pressure and arterial pressure, which can result in fewer cardiac events, such as a heart attack (Jennings et al., 2012).Anthocyanin-rich foods include:Asparagus (purple)BlackberriesBlack RiceBlueberriesConcord GrapesCranberriesEggplantPomegranatesPurple CornRaspberriesRed CabbageRed RadishesSweet CherriesThere are still several aspects of anthocyanins that require more research.  Since anthocyanins are typically studied in fruit extracts, they are present in a combination of compounds and may not act independently.  In fact, when anthocyanins are studied in combination with other compounds, rather than in isolation, the effects tend to be greater.Anthocyanin-containing foods are beautiful, delicious and nutritious.What are your favorites anthocyanin containing foods?Also, let us know what you would like to learn about anthocyanins and other bioactive compounds.last_img read more

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Odisha forum comes up with ‘six Cs’ for voters

first_imgOdisha’s Jan Jagran Abhiyan has decided to start a Statewide movement to motivate voters to vote for able and non-corrupt candidates without considering their party affiliation or opt for NOTA in the coming elections. “The JJA is a political organisation with no intention to contest elections. We will not watch the dirty game of electoral politics from the fences but interfere in it by motivating the voters,” said JJA’s Odisha president Madhusudan Sethi. The organisation has decided to start a campaign to motivate the voters to choose their candidates based on six criteria — character, past criminal record, corruption charges against the person, if he/she is anti-caste system, anti-communal and connected to the people. “These are six Cs by which a voter can judge the candidate,” Mr. Sethi said. The JJA has decided to ask the voters to opt for NOTA (None of The Above) in case they do not find any candidate fulfilling the six Cs. Members of the organisation said voters are falling for big political parties and their charismatic leaders and electing undeserving candidates. “Let the good people get elected and they can choose an able leader,” Mr. Sethi said.last_img read more

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