Share This!The H2O+ bath products found at Disney resorts have almost a cult following, with stories of people gathering dozens upon dozens of single-use bottles to carry home. With the more eco-friendly trend at Disney resorts to move towards the large, refillable bottles, it is worth a reminder that you can purchase your own full-size bottles of H2O+ products, including many items you wouldn’t find as a hotel room freebie, at most Disney resort gift shops. Can’t decide on just one product? Disney offers a “vacation essentials” gift box containing a popular assortment of items. Currently, many locations are offering a gift with purchase promotion.Are you a fan of the H2O+ products? What’s your favorite item in their line? Let us know in the comments.
7 December 2011An important process that started three years ago will begin to move forward this week as the first round of negotiations to establish a free trade area covering 27 countries in east and southern Africa kicks off in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday.It is envisaged that negotiations for the proposed free trade area (FTA), which promises to be an important instrument for the future of trade and industrialisation in Africa, will be completed in about 36 months.The three trade blocs involved – the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) – decided in Kampala, Uganda in October 2008 to move towards a free trade agreement.Boosting intra-regional trade, industrialisationThe intention is to boost intra-regional trade. Because the market will be much bigger, there will be more investment flows, enhanced competitiveness and the development of cross-regional infrastructure.At the same time, the FTA will act as a spur to industrialisation, as countries move from selling primary products to making goods to sell.Competition with older, established and also bigger emerging economies might be a stumbling block initially, but the huge new market may make it possible for locally manufactured goods to compete with those imported from outside the FTA.With close to 600-million people live within the FTA, and a combined gross domestic product of $1-trillion, the region could find itself competing in the same league as the likes of China, India, Russia, Brazil, the US and the EU.The next economic frontierAnd it is becoming easier to make the world believe this, because the continent is already being touted as the next economic frontier.A glance at some figures confirms this view:Africa’s combined consumer spending was US$860-billion in 2008, and will be an estimated $1.4-trillion in 2020. With 43% of Africans currently under the age of 15, by 2040 there will be 1.1-billion Africans of working age. Urbanisation enhances growth – Africa already has 52 cities with more than a million inhabitants, more than Europe. By 2030, around fifty percent of Africa’s populationi will be living in cities. Africa’s returns on foreign direct investment (FDI) are the highest in the world. South Africa well placed to benefitSouth Africa, with its advanced and sophisticated economy, is best suited to exploit the advantages offered by such an expanded market.Already, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has rated South Africa first in the world for the strength of its auditing and reporting standards and for the regulation of its securities exchanges. The soundness of the country’s banks – rated second in the world – is an important asset these days when banks everywhere else are shaky.Add the certainty offered by the government’s recently announced National Development Plan, which sets out the country’s path until 2030, and it is clear that South Africa’s competitiveness will only be enhanced by the establishment of an African FTA.South Africa’s fellow BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – all started their upward economic trend based on huge domestic markets. With the establishment of an FTA, South Africa will have access a market 12 times bigger than the 50-million domestic customers it now has.Tough negotiations expectedHowever, the road to setting up the FTA could be a rocky one. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has warned that negotiations over industrial policy could be tough. South Africa has just set out to implement its Industrial Policy Action Plan, and talks around the trade in manufactured goods will be of particular concern.But South Africa does have an advantage. As Davies points out, unlike exports to the rest of the world, a high percentage of exports into Africa are already made up of value-added products.Other problems would be the levels of protectionism between African countries, restrictive trade permit needs, and very obvious economic disparities.Additionally, the fact that three existing trade blocs aim to merge into one is a stumbling block as they are at different levels of integration, with different rules and regulations.All of this will be part of the negotiations that start this week.The fact remains that economic growth in all participating countries will be boosted by increased intra-regional trade. For Africa as a whole, intra-regional trade currently stands at only 12% of all cross-border trade, whereas in Asia the figure is rising toward 50%, and in the European Union towards 80%.The FTA would also be an important building block towards achieving the vision of the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 – a continent-wide African Economic Union.The December talks may be the first concrete sign of Africa rising to take its rightful place in the world.Source: Brand South Africa
In 1998, Microsoft boasted about the capabilities of their new TerraServer database of geo information. They called it the “world’s largest atlas” consisting of five terabytes of data. And, at the time, it seemed like a massive amount of data. While five terabytes of data seemed unimaginably huge twenty years ago, lately a terabyte is becoming uncomfortably small.Today, storing huge amounts of data is is the norm. Whether it is the new PC you buy for home use with a standard terabyte drive or your Internet provider’s home Internet Data Plan that comes with a cap of a terabyte of data usage, a terabyte of data no longer seems that big.With all the new technology that is being put into cars, car makers are predicting that the cars of the future will hold massive amounts of data. Mike Demler, a senior analyst at The Linley Group, said that today “in a luxury car like a Tesla, with the big flat screen display, the storage requirements start to look like a standard tablet (10s – 100s of GB).” But data in the next generation of cars will be significantly more.For example, a new ad campaign by Intel talks about driving technology that will process, for an average driver, four terabytes of data every day. Actually, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich estimates that smart cars of the future will generate and consume about 40 terabytes of data every eight hours that they are driven. That is the amount of data that autonomous vehicles are expected to process. Imagine how much additional data would be processed when vehicle passengers who no longer need to drive will pass their time by watching high definition streamed video.Kathy Winter, vice president and general manager of the Automated Driving Solutions Division at Intel Corporation, said that “the exponentially growing size of the data sets necessitates an enormous amount of compute capacity to organize, process, analyze, understand, share and store. Think data center server compute power, not PC power.”
District of Columbia issued a notice advising on how the sales and use tax increases will apply to contracts and leases Sales and use tax rates increased in the District, effective October 1, 2018.Retail Payments Under ContractFor retail contracts entered into before October 1, 2018, payments received:– before October 1, 2018 are subject to the 5.75% rate;,– after October 1, 2018 are subject to the 6% rate.Lease and Rental PaymentsThe increased rates for rentals and leases of motor vehicles and other personal property apply to lease periods beginning on or after October 1, 2018. Generally, sales tax applies to each rental or lease period.New Sales and Use Tax RatesThe notice also lists all of the increased sales and use tax rates.OTR Notice 2018-04, District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, December 19, 2018, ¶200-773Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.
Effective Climate Finance Models Should Be Scaled UpGiven the scale of investment required and the scarcity of public funds, public climate finance should strive to create markets conditions that spur the necessary investment.The Global Status Report notes that Mexico and Uruguay were among the countries that attracted the most investment in renewable energy in 2013, as a proportion of their GDP. Both have taken steps, supported by public climate finance, to create the conditions that drive renewable energy investment.In Mexico, public investments in regulatory reform, research and development, and demonstration projects helped to create market conditions that encouraged investment in wind energy.Similarly, in Uruguay, modest but strategic climate finance investment by UNDP and the GEF in electricity market regulatory reform, combined with ambitious targets from the Uruguayan government, has spurred rapid growth in the country’s wind industry and helped to leverage billions of dollars of investment.Leveraging Climate Finance to Attract InvestmentThese examples show that climate finance has a key role to play in driving low-carbon energy investment. Climate finance institutions like the Green Climate Fund can learn from these and other successful examples as they decide where to invest. To achieve the paradigm shift that the Green Climate Fund seeks, its financing will need to go beyond investing in individual low-carbon energy projects, and focus on the policy, regulatory and institutional conditions that will unleash financing for low-emissions development. These conditions have already helped drive down the cost of low-carbon energy. As the World Energy Investment Outlook notes, it is only with “consistent and credible policies” that we can close the growing gap between energy investment today, and the investment required to meet growing energy demands while avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. There’s a growing gap between current investment in low-carbon energy and what’s needed to meet world demand while avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. The good news is there’s sufficient capital and investor interest to close much of this gap. However, policies that encourage market certainty and level the playing field between different energy sources are needed to attract the volume of investment required, according to a special International Energy Agency (IEA) report, the World Energy Investment Outlook, released this month.Trillions of Dollars in Investment Needed – and Trillions in Benefits GainedThe report underscores the importance of creating the right policy, regulatory, and institutional conditions to shift markets and drive investment toward getting more low-carbon energy services, more affordably, to more people. Carefully targeted climate finance can help shape electricity markets and create the enabling conditions to unlock low-carbon, low-cost energy investment.If business as usual continues, IEA estimates $48 trillion of overall investment in energy would be needed to meet global demand between now and 2035. But to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and keep the world on a path that could limit global warming to 2 degrees C, IEA projects that an additional 18 percent, or $5 trillion, in cumulative investment would be needed through 2035. Specifically, investments in low-carbon power would need to more than triple from current levels to $730 billion per year in 2035 and investments in energy efficiency would need to increase more than eight times to $1.1 trillion per year in 2035. While this sounds like a lot, this investment would be offset for consumers by an IEA estimated $115 trillion in total fuel cost savings by 2050.Furthermore, recent trends suggest that we could achieve the required renewable energy deployment at lower cost than previously thought. Reproduced from World Energy Investment Outlook. Credit: OECD/IEANew Opportunities in Lower-Cost RenewablesMore efficient and lower-cost renewable energy, spurred in large part by supportive policy, regulatory and institutional conditions, is already helping cut the amount of investment needed to meet growing demand. Another new report, the REN21 Renewables 2014 Global Status Report, shows the cost of renewable energy declined sharply while global renewable energy capacity grew 8 percent to 1,560 gigawatts (GW) in 2013.Solar photovoltaics, in particular, had a record year with 39 GW of new capacity installed globally, up 32 percent over new capacity added in 2012, despite a 22 percent decline in overall investment. Most of the investment decline is due to lower technology costs.The Global Status Report gives other encouraging examples of the falling cost of renewables, especially in major emerging markets. Wind power costs dropped so low in Brazil that they priced fossil fuel energy sources out of the market. Brazil’s national energy agency introduced a separate category for wind projects as a result. And for the first time, renewable power capacity added in China surpassed fossil fuel and nuclear capacity additions.Figure 2: Global capacity additions and annual investment in Solar PV