Demba Ba has snubbed an £80,000-a-week offer from QPR, according to The Sun.It is claimed the Newcastle striker rejected a move to Loftus Road because he knows Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham want to sign him.The Sun also report that R’s defender Jose Bosingwa has been hit with a £100,000 fine after refusing to be a substitute against Fulham.Frank Lampard is ready to become David Beckham’s replacement at Los Angeles Galaxy, according to the Daily Mirror.The MLS outfit are one of several clubs to have been linked with Lampard, whose Chelsea contract expires at the end of the season.Chelsea will reportedly not offer him a new deal or allow him to leave in January – apparently ruling out a move to QPR for the 34-year-old and leaving him on course for a summer switch to the States.With Beckham leaving the Galaxy, Lampard could take advantage of the ‘designated player’ rule and not be subject to the MLS salary cap.This page is regularly updated. 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Deputy minister of communication, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and Aslam Levy conducting a Twitter chat.• Social media means more than just business in Africa • Durban developer’s mobile app scores in Nokia competition • #BringBackOurGirls shows the power of social media in Africa • World-class tech hub planned for Joburg • South African women on Forbes Africa tech list Sulaiman PhilipEllo is the coolest party on the internet. Hailed by fans as the anti-Facebook, the creators describe it as a “simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers”.If Facebook is the all-access, rowdy, boisterous cheap seats, Ello is the velvet-roped VIP section where the cool kids make themselves heard over the rattle of pearls of artistic wisdom. It is a safe, commercial free space, designed by hipsters for hipsters. It is invite only: you have to be asked to join, or you can send in a request and stand in line (at one point they were getting 50 000 requests an hour). The South African government has an Ello pageAslam Levy, the director of online platforms for the Department of Communications, contends it is hardly unusual, and should not be surprising. “We track usage trends on social media. There has been a surge in the 45 – 55 demographic on Facebook; that’s a group we want to reach. The flipside of course, is teens drop off Facebook. Youth and youth unemployment are issues we are trying to deal with so we need to know where they go. So we have a presence on Ello, on Twitter, on Instagram, and on MXit.”Social media platforms are always organising data about their users; and access to this data makes it easier for governments to do what they need to do. The South African government has embraced digital media because it wants to change the way it talks to its citizens and residents. Once upon a time there was the message, and the government’s need to get that message out. It chose a medium and spread the word. It was a straight line without an opportunity to ask questions or seek clarity.That this approach is changing grew out of a constant complaint from the country’s electorate – elected officials and ministers appear just before the elections, only to disappear again straight afterwards. Levy gives an explanation for this that is simple enough: “Ministers can’t visit every town in the country, but social media allows them to have a conversation with any citizen who wants to take part.”Recently the deputy minister of communication, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, conducted a Twitter chat. There were 93 active users but the minister’s responses were seen by half a million people on Twitter. The problemsA driver of this change has been the use of social media by younger members of the cabinet. They regard social media as a link to the public and their profile helps the message filter through the ranks. They understand social media as a platform to bypass traditional media, but its newness does throw up its own problems. Minister Fikile Mbalula is one of the most active Twitter users in the cabinet. He is also well known among Twiteratti for expressing his opinion.“Sports Minister Mbalula is a good example of that. There are conversations that should be private, but even so, it does remind people that ministers are human, with strong opinions. His interactions, actually, reinforce the fact that an interaction on social media is with a real person, and not just another attempt to pass on a message.”Another factor that has eased the acceptance of social media in government circles was the successful adoption of social media by political parties in the run up to the last general election. In the months prior to the elections, the ANC grew its Twitter audience threefold to 103 000 and its Facebook attracted 12 000 new followers and stood at 52 000 on the eve of voting. Larger opposition parties fared just as well on the most popular social media platforms – by January, the DA’s numbers were on Facebook: 51 411 and Twitter: 54 825; and the EFF’s were on Facebook: 63 226 and Twitter: 33 302. The Presidency has 98 000 fans on Facebook, President Zuma almost 5 000, but his page is not as active. The benefitsA huge benefit for the government is the cost-effectiveness of using social media to get out its message in the grand scheme of things. But there are non-financial considerations and benefits as well. These include building relationships with citizens and allowing for real time response to concerns. Being on social media platforms also allows the government to track and deal with frustrations.“What social media does is make for flatter government and removing the hierarchical structure that citizens have been forced to deal with. Social media removes the layers between a citizen and a minister, creating real engagement,” Levy says.Yet there is a downside to using social platforms of which the government is wary, he counsels. “When you are dependent on free social media platforms you don’t own your presence. You don’t own the content you create.”And the government creates a mountain of content. Some it appears in the government issued Vuk’unzenzele newspaper. Printed in all 11 official languages and distributed to 1.7 milllion mostly rural readers, it is a repository of original material. To retain ownership of material like this in the digital media, the government is creating a Vuk’unzenzele app that will launch in the next few weeks.This heralds a new era in the government’s engagement with its citizens. From this comfort with social media has grown its desire to develop apps and other mobile sites to help get its message out. “The biggest concern we have is creating a uniform presence on platforms. How do we allow differentiation without diluting the message? People looking for government information want to know the information we are putting out is credible and authoritative. This is an issue we struggle with every day.”What makes the job easier for Levy and the government is that social media is already integrated into the fabric of South Africa’s noisy democracy. “We may be loud, and angry and proud, but at the end of the day we embrace the joy of living in this democracy,” he points out.
A Strong Response to DOE’s Do-Nothing LegacyWASHINGTON, DC — President Obama has ordered the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to enact higher efficiency standards for a list of appliances no later than August 2009. According to the Associated Press (AP), the list includes residential dishwashers, lamps, ranges and ovens, microwave ovens, commercial air-conditioning equipment, commercial boilers, and beverage vending machines.Obama reinforced his emphasis on new appliance standards with a visit to DOE headquarters, where he explained, “This will save consumers money, this will spur innovation, and this will conserve tremendous amounts of energy. We’ll save through these simple steps over the next 30 years the amount of energy produced over a two-year period by all the coal-fired power plants in America.”The DOE is required by law to establish and regularly update energy-efficiency standards for appliances. For years, the DOE has ignored mandates originally established by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 and amended by the National Appliance Conservation Act of 1987 and the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The DOE’s refusal to comply with Congressional mandates has long frustrated energy-efficiency experts, who note that the DOE’s delays in establishing cost-effective improvements in appliance efficiency standards waste energy and hurt consumers. The DOE’s flagrant recalcitrance has been repeatedly challenged in court by several plaintiffs, including New York’s former attorney general, Elliot Spitzer, who sued the DOE over its delays in 2005. Thirteen state attorneys general joined Spitzer’s lawsuit, which was settled in 2006 when the DOE agreed to abide by a new standard-setting schedule.In 2005, Congress ordered the DOE explain its delays in complying with appliance efficiency mandates. In response, the DOE issued a report, “Energy Conservation Standards Activities,” on January 31, 2006. The report admitted, “Deficiencies in the review and concurrence process are significant and the process must be reformed.” Reflecting on the DOE’s promise to do better, Andrew deLaski, the executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, noted, “DOE’s failure to live up to previous schedules has eroded confidence in its ability to meet deadlines.”According to the AP report, “The fact that Obama is getting directly involved in speeding up household appliance standards underscores how much he wants to show quick, clear progress on energy. … Laws on the books already require new efficiency standards for household and commercial appliances. But they have been backlogged in a tangle of missed deadlines, bureaucratic disputes, and litigation. In essence, Obama’s intent is to say that legal deadlines must be met, with priority being given to those standards that are likely to yield the best pocketbook savings for consumers, according to administration aides familiar with the details of Obama’s decision.”
Days after winning millions of hearts with his remark on ending the hatred towards India, Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi disappointed his Indian fans saying that the Indians were not as large-hearted as Pakistanis.Speaking during a talk show on a Pakistani news channel, Afridi was asked about the relations between India and Pakistan when he responded that the Indians would “never have hearts like Muslims and Pakistanis”. He even termed the talks between the two countries futile.”They (Indians) will never have hearts like Muslims and Pakistanis. It is a very difficult thing for us to live with them (Indians) or to have long-term relationship with them. Nothing will come out of talks. See how many times in the past 60 years we have had friendship and then how many times things have gone bad,” Afridi said on Sunday.In fact, his comment on batsman Gautam Gambhir, who dedicated the ICC World Cup to the victims of 26/11 Mumbai attack, was even more shocking.Reacting to Gambhir’s gesture Afridi said: “I think they were very stupid comments by Gautam Gambhir. I was not expecting this from Gautam. This is all politics, what do you know about who carried out the Mumbai attacks?”He also criticised Interior Minister Rehman Malik for warning the Pakistani team not to get involved in match-fixing ahead of the Mohali semi-final, which they ultimately lost to India.Afridi blamed media for the souring relations between the two neighbours. Asked about the Indian media’s coverage of the Pakistani team during the semi-final against India, the skipper said that Indian media has a very negative approach.advertisement”Indian media is very negative. They blow up every small issue. Media is mainly responsible for Indo-Pak souring relations,” Afridi said.Without naming a third country, Afridi also seemed to blame the US for the history of poor relations between the two south Asian neighbours.”We don’t want to fight with each other but a third country everyone knows which one it is trying to spoil our relations. (This country) is taking advantage of Pakistan and wants to take advantage of India. I don’t want to go into details but these people will not let us come together,” he added.