5 May 2011 President Jacob Zuma gave the promotion of South Africa’s burgeoning tourism industry a boost by signing “The Golden Book”, a campaign by global tourism pacesetters, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town on Wednesday. Zuma became the first African head of state to make an entry in the book, which is a joint initiative by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to position travel and tourism higher in the global agenda. The campaign seeks to mobilise recognition and support for travel and tourism from world leaders by demonstrating its crucial role in economic growth, job creation and development. “We take tourism very seriously in this country, given its job creation potential,” Zuma said. “That is why we have identified tourism as one of the six job drivers in our New Growth Path framework. “Tourism’s contribution to the GDP of our economy has increased from just less than five percent in 1994 to an estimated 7.7 percent in 2010.” Zuma said the country’s tourism sector was well placed to address unemployment “given its labour-intensive nature.” The President said tourism jobs were not only created in the travel and tourism industry, but also in the manufacturing, financial services, agriculture, healthcare and others areas of the economy. South Africa aims to increase the number of foreign arrivals from 7-million in 2009 to 15-million by 2020. “We plan to increase tourism’s total contribution to the economy from R189-billion in 2009 to R499-billion by 2020,” Zuma said. “Most importantly, we want to create 325 000 new tourism jobs by 2020. We will do everything possible to promote and grow the tourism sector so that we can achieve these developmental goals.” Among those who attended the signing ceremony were WTTC President David Scowsill, UNWTO ethics committee president Dawid de Villiers, and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk. The signing took place on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa conference being held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Source: BuaNews
(AP) – A redacted version of the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign is stirring controversy even before its release.Democrats say a news conference ahead of the redacted report’s release on Thursday allows Attorney General William Barr to spin its contents before lawmakers and the public have a chance to read it.The nearly 400-page report is expected to reveal what special counsel Robert Mueller uncovered about ties between the Trump campaign and Russia that fell short of criminal conduct.Democrats have vowed to fight in court for the disclosure of additional information from the report. They are expected to seize on any negative portrait of the president to demand the release of the full report.
ROME—On Saturday, Massimo Inguscio will take over from engineer Luigi Nicolais as president of Italy’s largest research organization, the National Research Council (CNR). Inguscio, a well-known optical physicist at the University of Florence, has experience leading smaller research bodies, most recently Italy’s National Institute of Metrological Research, but heading the multidisciplinary CNR will be a step up. He will have an annual budget of about €1 billion and more than 8000 employees in his charge, many of whom are unhappy at being continually handed short-term contracts.“Inguscio is an excellent scientist and also a very good manager,” says Giovanni Bignami, a former president of Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics here. “But he will have his hands full dealing with personnel. He will have to talk to the unions while also making himself heard in the ministry.”ScienceInsider talked to Inguscio on Tuesday, a day after research minister Stefania Giannini had tapped him for the new job. 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Q: Italy spends only about 1.25% of its gross domestic product on research. Does CNR struggle for funding?A: Almost all of the CNR’s budget is used to pay salaries and basic expenses such as electricity, which means there are virtually zero funds for research. Twenty years ago there was money to upgrade existing facilities or to buy new equipment, be it a new magnet or modern tools for nanotechnology. But now we can’t do that.Q: The government’s 2016 budget contains €100 million for about 850 new university researchers. Is that a good sign?A: It is a welcome, if small, reversal compared to the general trend of decreasing finances. But these resources must be used wisely. In Italy there is no multiyear strategy. Hirings can be blocked for many years and then unfrozen suddenly. That leads to people being recruited just because they are on a temporary contract, and not necessarily because they are the best person for the job. In fact, current employment law stipulates that new jobs must be filled by people who have previously won a place on a public waiting list, even if they did so 10 years ago. That has nothing to do with research.Q: What do you intend to do about that?A: Research managers must be free to choose people on the basis of merit. The presidents of research institutions are asking the government to start up a process of tenure track, as happens in other countries. New recruits would go through a trial period, and if they prove themselves good enough [they] would then gain a permanent position. We need to have a serious hiring policy that doesn’t rely on personal contacts.Q: Many Italian scientists work abroad. Is that a serious problem?A: I am not worried about the brain drain, it is normal that people go overseas to work. The problem is that researchers don’t come to Italy. The movement is only in one direction.Q: Can the flow be reversed?A: Three years ago I became director of the CNR’s physical sciences department. While there, new efforts were made to attract foreign winners of Consolidator Grants awarded by the European Research Council, but of about 10 people that we hoped to recruit only one came. Someone comes not only because there is a place and a wage but also because they can hire postdocs and get projects up and running. I hope that the government can restart Italian research on the basis of excellence and meritocracy.Q: There have been protests against the second round of a nationwide research assessment program known as the VQR. Some scientists say the procedures penalize those, for example, who favor teaching over research. How do you view this issue? A: I think the VQR is of fundamental importance. It allows us to allocate funds to places that merit them and therefore to hire good people. It is a new methodology and there are bound to be errors, but some people are trying to sabotage the system by withholding their research papers from the evaluation. That doesn’t seem a very intelligent thing to do because they will be deemed to be inactive and so reduce funding for their institutes. If the system has problems, we have to try and fix it. Vittorio Tulli