The Last Ship View Comments Gangway! The Last Ship, featuring an original score by Grammy winner Sting, celebrates its pre-Broadway opening night in Chicago on June 25. The tuner will play the Windy City through July 13 before beginning performances at the Neil Simon Theatre on September 29 (opening night is set for October 26). We got a taste of some of the music earlier this month at the Tonys from the legendary composer himself; now, take a look at Aaron Lazar, Rachel Tucker, Michael Esper and the cast of The Last Ship in action in this exciting first look! Star Files Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 24, 2015 Related Shows Michael Esper Aaron Lazar
* indicates required field Email:* If submitting a video, please supply link (YouTube, Vimeo only please) If submitting a photo with write up, please upload the photo here (.jpg only) First Name:* Last Name:* Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York If submitting a photo with write-up, please enter the write-up here (max: 150 words) With the Long Island Marathon quickly approaching, we’ve begun to hear from runners getting ready to honor others while running in the May 5th event. Countless charities are always represented at these events, as well as personal, and often touching tributes.We want to hear about yours!We’re inviting Long Islanders who plan to run in this year’s Long Island Marathon to record a video telling us, and fellow Long Islanders, who you are running for, and why. We think it’s a great way to help spread these heartwarming stories of support and tribute. Video shy? We’ll also accept photos with a brief write up about the person or cause you plan to represent. Simply fill out the form below and we’ll put your photo/video proudly on display! Submit your videos or pictures telling us, and the world, who you’re running for in this year’s Long Island Marathon! Acceptable file types: jpg,jpeg.Maximum file size: 4mb.
“He just said it was a normal swing, an aggressive swing at a pitch that was up in the zone,” Roberts said. “He just felt that he kind of stung his finger a little bit and then it just started to swell.”There was still “substantial swelling” Monday, according to Roberts, and the treatment is aimed at reducing that.During one of the intrasquad games in Summer Camp almost three weeks ago, Betts had a similar reaction after a swing. This is a different issue, according to Roberts.“It’s not the same thing,” Roberts said. “In Summer Camp, that swing was on a pitch that was up as well. It was his wrist. And there’s been nothing made of that since. The other day it was his finger. So, two separate incidents, and he’s never had either before.”Corey Seager has been dealing with two separate issues as well — a sore right calf (after fouling a ball off his leg Saturday) and a right quadriceps muscle that cramped up during the second half of that game. He was not in the lineup Sunday but was back in Monday at DH. “I had been in contact with our doctors from the beginning to find out what they felt if I was any more higher risk,” he said. “They were just assuring me that as long as I was staying on top of the normal things I would do as a diabetic to stay healthy they said I should be fine. I trusted them and just kind of kept that mindset.”ALSOLeft-hander Alex Wood has been doing exercises to strengthen his arm and “said it’s the best his arm has felt in weeks,” Roberts said. Wood has been shut down with shoulder inflammation since starting the third game of the season. Wood is encouraged and could begin a throwing progression Monday or Tuesday. But there is still “no timeline” for his return. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The finger Mookie Betts injured during an at-bat in Sunday’s game did not prevent him from hitting a home run in that at-bat. But it could keep him out of the lineup for a few days.Betts was not in the starting lineup Monday at San Diego due to the sore middle finger on his left hand and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Betts’ status will be re-evaluated each day.“We’ll see how he responds to treatment,” Roberts said.The injury is considered “a soft-tissue injury” and X-rays taken after Sunday’s game were negative. Betts could be seen flexing his hand after a swing during that fifth-inning at-bat against Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly. That is apparently when the injury occurred. Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season “Corey feels good,” Roberts said. “I just feel that, with the training staff, not to run him out there to play defense. But we feel confident for his bat to be in there to DH and tomorrow depending on how he feels, we’ll make a decision if he DHs again or can play short.”CORONAVIRUS CASELefty reliever Scott Alexander revealed Monday that he had contracted the coronavirus before the opening of the Dodgers’ summer training sessions. Alexander is the third Dodger player to acknowledge suffering from COVID-19 (along with Kenley Jansen and A.J. Pollock).“That’s the reason I was late to camp,” said Alexander who had to wait three weeks for negative tests to clear him to work out with the team. “I had gotten it right before summer camp opened. I had some mild symptoms but it wasn’t too bad.”Alexander said he was at home in Southern California, waiting for word on when the season would start, when he started running a fever.“It was a pretty good fever. I never knew the temperature, but it was just happening to me all kind of in the middle of night when I was sleeping,” he said. “I just had chills and then I had definitely gotten hot so a bit of a fever and then really just kind of a headache. The headache was really the main symptom. But it only lasted for about 24 hours. Mainly I just kind of slept it off and was feeling good the next day.”Alexander said the most frustrating part was waiting in quarantine for two weeks while he waited for negative tests to clear him.Alexander has Type 1 diabetes which puts him in a high-risk category for the coronavirus but he said he never gave much thought to opting out of the season.Related Articles Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco
Philanthus gibbosus in pollinator mode, feeding on mountain mint flowers. — Matt Pelikan Female Philanthus gibbosus, re-opening her burrow with her prey, and a metallic sweat bee in the background. — Matt Pelikan “Flower lover.” It sounds so nice! Cue the pastoral music, and adorable video clips of happy pollinators puttering around on colorful blossoms.Then suddenly, wham! The blissful scene vaporizes as a seemingly benign female Philanthus suddenly abandons her pollen eating, pounces on a bee, paralyzes it with sting to the underside of the thorax, wraps her victim up amid her spiny legs, and flies off for parts unknown.The common name for the genus Philanthus, it turns out, is “bee wolf,” and it’s an apt sobriquet for these black-and-yellow wasps. Adults, it’s true, love flowers and feed on pollen. But larval Philanthus are carnivorous, developing in burrows dug by adult females and provisioned with paralyzed bees for the wasp larvae to eat. The wasp genus Philanthus is blessed with an appealing name: it means “flower lover” and refers to the fondness members of the genus have for feeding on flowers. They’re not unique in this, of course: Pollen and nectar from flowers are crucial food resources for an astonishingly wide range of insects. But flowers are indeed a likely place to find Philanthus. A fair-size genus, Philanthus is represented by something like 140 species worldwide, perhaps a third of which occur in North America. So far, I’ve only found two species on the Vineyard, though ID of this genus is not always easy, and it is likely that I’ve overlooked a few. Wherever they occur, though, Philanthus species exhibit the split personality of being benign nectar lovers and, at the same time, aggressive predators of bees.The nest-stocking habit of Philanthus, while it sounds bizarre to humans, is actually very common among wasps. The entire family this genus belongs to — Crabronidae — practices something similar, though the type of prey taken varies according to what genus or species of wasp. And the closely related family Sphecidea does the same. Another family, distantly related, captures spiders. From grasshoppers to beetles to leaf hoppers to cicadas, almost any kind of insect has a group of wasps that prey on it.Philanthus gibbosus appears to be fairly common on the Vineyard, and is surely our most common and widespread Philanthus. I’ve found it on flowers at many locations (it’s common in my yard in Oak Bluffs), and seen nesting females at multiple spots on the Vineyard sandplain. P. gibbosus is mostly black, and sports yellow spots and abdominal banding that are pretty standard among wasps of many kinds. Perhaps the most helpful mark for identifying this wasp is a deeply dimpled exoskeleton, not always evident in the field but obvious in a decent photograph. 1 of 2 Like other members of the genus, the face of P. gibbosus shows a particular pattern of yellow spots. These are difficult to see accurately in the field, but even a poor head-on photograph often shows the pattern well enough to support an identification. Other useful ID cues include the pattern of yellow spotting on the thorax and the extent of banding on the abdomen. Like most wasps, members of this genus have little interest in humans, and don’t seem to mind being observed even at very close range.Nest burrows of Philanthus can extend two or three feet underground, a depth that protects nests from both predation and extremes of temperature and wetness. It follows that these wasps are connoisseurs of soil composition, seeking out places that feature soil light enough and loose enough for easy excavation, but stable enough so that the lengthy burrows don’t collapse. Most of the nests I’ve found have been on lightly used dirt roadways in sandy areas; a little vehicular traffic may compact the soil just enough to stabilize it. Other observers have reported a preference in this genus for nesting in areas with deep-rooted herbaceous plants; again, the root systems may help stabilize the soil.Female Philanthus wasps reportedly sleep inside their burrows, plugging the entrance from the inside with sand for protection as they snooze. I think they also may plug their nest burrows temporarily while they’re out hunting — anyway, some of the females that I’ve observed bringing prey back to their nests have had to relocate their burrows and do some digging to open the entrance. While digging, they resemble tiny terriers: they use their mandibles and front legs to loosen soil and kick out behind them, and once they get their momentum up, they throw an impressive jet of ejected soil out from between their legs.Males also dig burrows to shelter in, but of course do not lay eggs and therefore do not collect prey. As is the case universally among bees and wasps, males also cannot sting. They are slightly smaller than females of their species, and reportedly use pheromones — specialized scent chemicals — to mark territories and attract females.Given the (well-founded) concerns over declines in pollinator populations, the bee wolves may seem like undesirable insects. But recollect that they function as pollinators themselves, just like the bees they prey on. Philanthus is an important cog in the complex web of ecological relationships that surrounds us, often unnoticed and unobserved.
County champions’ weekend is almost here and, for the first time this year, women and girls from across the country will join the title hunt at Woodhall Spa Golf Club, the home of England Golf.They’ll play on the Bracken course to find their champions of champions, while the boys, men and senior men tackle the Hotchkin course.The women and girl county champions on parade this weekend will include Caitlin Whitehead of Cumbria, who recently won the Scottish U14 girls’ title, and Georgia Price of Cornwall, who was runner-up in the English women’s stroke play and third in the British strokeplay.There will be a family double for the Kedzlies of Spalding in Lincolnshire, when 15-year-old Tilly plays in the girls’ event (image © Leaderboard Photography) while her twin, Hugo – an England U16 international – competes in the boys’ championship.Among the other players in the boys’ event are Lancashire’s Oliver Clarke, a member of England’s winning team at the Boys’ Home Internationals; U16 international Charlie Hilton of Sussex; Jake Bolton, who has just helped Wiltshire retain the Boys’ County Championship; and Gloucestershire’s Nathan Moore, who was in Long Ashton’s winning team at the Junior Champion Club tournament.The competitors in the men’s championship include England and GB&I boy international Toby Briggs of Norfolk; Martin Young of Hampshire, a past English mid-amateur champion; and Yorkshire’s Ben Hutchinson, the 2016 winner of the Scrutton Jug for the best combined score in the Brabazon and Berkshire Trophies.Surrey’s Keith Waters will defend his title in the senior men’s championship, aiming to become the first back-to-back winner since the event started in 2011.His challengers will include English senior champion Richard Latham of Lincolnshire, who will be playing on home ground at Woodhall Spa, and fellow senior international David Niven of Berks, Bucks & Oxon (BB&O). Latham and Niven have just returned from the senior European championships in Slovenia where they were in England’s bronze-medal winning team.The boys, men and senior men will all play over 36 holes, while restrictions on course availability mean the women and girls will play 18 holes for this year only.The boys play their event on Saturday, September 10; while the men, women and girls play on Sunday, September 11. The senior men play 18 holes on Saturday and Sunday.Click here for more information on the women and girls’ eventClick here for more information on the boys, men and senior men 6 Sep 2016 Women and girls join county champions’ weekend
He instructed his knights to search far and wide, high and low, day and night to find a warrior/teacher that could instruct his knights in the art of combat and lead them into war. Day after day the King’s scouts looked for and sought after the perfect warrior/teacher without success. The King was getting along in years and he knew that the end his time on earth was growing nigh.One one rainy dismal day as the scouts returned, the trumpets sounded the song of success from afar and the people assembled. After all of the ruffles and flourishes were completed into the court of King Artus walked a young and brazen knight Sir Charles from the land of Noll with his head held high and a gaze of steel. He approached the throne of King Artus with arrogance, confidence and fearlessness. All in the court gasped with horror when the young knight did not bow or get on his knees when he stood before the King. King Artus was puzzled by this disrespectful and unprecedented behavior. He asked the young knight, “Why do you not bow and get on your knees before the throne?” “Your Highness” replied the young knight, “if you require that I bow and get on my knees to honor you I will do so willingly and immediately but it will be difficult to serve you and teach your knights the art of war and lead them into battle from my knees. However, I feel in my heart that bowing and trembling before you can never honor you as victory will.” “Ha ha ha,” laughed the King as he sized up this young, brash warrior. “I can have your head in an instant to satisfy the hunger of my dogs but you are right, you can only truly honor me when you honor this kingdom which is constantly being besieged by attackers and usurpers. Can you bring the Steelers Nation peace and victory and what do you need from me in order to accomplish these things?” The young general replied, “The first element that is needed for us to be the conqueror is to possess a strong defense.“Way far away in the land of Texarkana there is a young warrior by the name of mean Joseph of Greene who will be a great defender of the throne and will be the linchpin of our future victories.” The King replied, “I do not need or wish to know any of the details, you have the power to draft into the Army any of the soldiers that you need for us to be successful.” So off went the young leader and over the years he engaged the services of the most feared warriors that the world had ever seen.The knights of the black and gold table had names like Sir Terry of Bradshaw, Sir Lynn of Swann, Sir John of Stallworth, Sir Jack of Ham, Sir L.C. of Greewood, Sir Dwight of White and Sir Michael of Webster. Sir Charles of Noll finished his service to the King after planting the flag of the “Blackandgoldius” on the summit of “Mt. Super Bowlius.” After those resounding victories, the old grizzled general submitted his resignation to Rooney Royal Family. A new young general was appointed to lead and his name was Sir Bill of Cowher. General Cowher paid for the services of mercenaries with names like Sir Rod of Woodson, Sir Greg of Lloyd, Sir Joey of Porter, Sir Jerome of Bettis, Sir Kordell of Stewart, Sir Kevin of Greene, Sir Dermotti of Dawson, Sir Yancy of Thigpen and Sir Bam of Morris. After losing one “Mt. Super Bowlius” battle Sir Bill claimed victory in his second battle in bitterly cold land of Detroit. Time waits for no man and Sir Bill of Cowher fulfilled his obligation to the Rooney Royal Family and he too left the kingdom. The current commanding general is named Sir Michael, Lord of Tomlin. He has molded his army with old, experienced fighters from the age of Cowher with names like Sir Ben of Roethlisberger, Sir Hines of Ward, Sir Casey of Hampton, Sir Aaron of Smith, and Sir Heath of Miller. All had great stories of strength and valor to tell the new fighters with names like Sir Michael of Wallace, Sir Ziggy of Hood, Sir Antonio of Brown and one Sir Santonio of Holmes now in exile. Sir Michael Lord of Tomlin also led his charges to “Mt. Super Bowlius” twice, planting the flag on the summit once. After being defeated in the mountains of Denver heading toward “Mt. Super Bowlius,” returning tired and beaten, he banished his second in command, Sir Bruce from the Kingdom of Arians to the domed city of Indianapolis. Tell me a bedtime story, tell me a bedtime story not about close defeats but no excuse victories.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: [email protected] or 412-583-6741.) Listen my children and you shall hear of a tale of daring from both far and near. A long time ago in a land far, far away there was a man who ruled the kingdom of “Blackandgoldia.” King Artus of Rooney was a very wise and kind ruler who ruled his subjects with a firm but very gentle hand. However, time after time his small kingdom faced attack after attack from rogue kingdom seekers and bands of soldiers from all points His knights were fearless and loyal to the king but untrained and he knew in his heart that they would never hold up the chalice of victory. He decided that once and for all he was going to establish borders that no man would dare cross.
By John BurtonRED BANK – A meeting between members of the local press and charter school officials seemed to turn up the heat on the antagonism over the school’s expansion proposal.Principal Meredith Pennotti, Board of Trustees Vice President Roger Foss and school business administrator David Block met with four area reporters on Feb. 10 at the Red Bank Charter School, 58 Oakland St., to offer the school’s perspective on its plans.The school is currently awaiting state Commissioner of Education David Hespe’s decision on its proposal to double enrollment to 400 students over the next three years, as well as expanding its facility space.Charter school officials planned to use its own public forum held earlier this month at recently leased 135 Monmouth St. space to “give the press an open forum” in addition to giving community members a chance to be heard, and for the school to announce it would amend its plan to stagger the future enrollment for the town’s benefit, Pennotti said.But given the large number of people in attendance that night, officials thought it would be better to dedicate the bulk of the time to public comments.“We don’t feel like we met that goal,” of giving reporters a chance to ask questions, Pennotti said.But some countered that the press meeting was an attempt to manipulate local media, to sway public opinion given the vocal opposition the charter school has faced since its plans became public last December.“I just keep feeling they keep reporting the same things over and over without anybody requesting they substantiate their claims,” charged Jared Rumage, Red Bank superintendent of schools.Rumage and others have pointed out that the charter school had an opportunity to present their views at a Jan. 22 forum at the middle school and at their own forum as well, where school officials sat silent as community members spoke. Charter school officials at the last minute decided to decline the invitation to appear at the middle school event, leaving Rumage to present the public school’s point of view.The deadline to submit public comment on the charter school’s proposal to the commissioner of education was Jan. 31. Hespe’s decision is expected by the end of February.“We want to do more for the population of Red Bank,” Pennotti said of the school’s proposal. She pointed to her school’s continuing wait list, currently around 90 students. She added that the public school population is growing, with the schools “bursting at the seams.” She believed the expansion might offer some relief to the existing public school facility.The charter school’s application is on the school’s website and on record with the state Department of Education and available to the public.Much of the two-hour session revolved around points that the school has raised previously and countering some accusations from critics – which also have been expressed before.Rumage and others have said charter school students receive more money per student than their public school counterparts. But administrator Brock said that is misleading, given that actual dollars from the school district equates to less money per student than for the charter school students. The charter school receives an additional roughly a little more than $1 million in direct state aid.That, Rumage had countered, doesn’t negate the impact the charter school funding has on the public school district and what this expansion would mean for the public school and taxpayers – an often repeated refrain from opponents of the plan.“If this goes through, they’re failing to address this main concept,” Rumage said, “we will not be able to provide a thorough and efficient education for the kids who are left behind.”“The charter school is supposed to offer an alternative,” Pennotti offered another often repeated refrain of charter school supporters here and elsewhere. She said her school is providing innovative programs in a small school environment and offering families a choice, “That will attract families.”
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Marc-Edouard Vlasic scoffed at the suggestion that his blue line marriage with Erik Karlsson is headed toward divorce after head coach Pete DeBoer split them up for the third period of the Sharks win over the Nashville Predators Tuesday.That night, DeBoer slipped a pair of comfortable-old slippers on Vlasic’s feet, reuniting him with longtime partner Justin Braun after he and Karlsson posted a minus-3 rating over the game’s first 40 minutes. After the game, Vlasic told …
(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 On several fronts, scientists without a track record of ethical trustworthiness are pushing culture toward dangerous practices.Here are just a few new technologies that are changing the bioethical landscape:Fetal cells were injected into a man’s brain to try to cure his Parkinson’s disease. “It takes cells from at least three fetuses to treat each half of the brain.” (New Scientist)Brain implant trials raise ethical concerns (Science Magazine). The Obama administration is pushing this technology.The Pentagon’s gamble on brain implants, bionic limbs and combat exoskeletons (Nature): “fraught with ethical concerns” … “no guarantee that the Pentagon will actually listen to ethicists’ concerns.”An Italian surgeon is calling in the US for funds to support a head transplant as soon as next year. (Medical Xpress)Noninvasive prenatal testing works (Medical Xpress) and is proving safe and effective, preferred by patients (Medical Xpress). The technology, however, can be used for sex selection and decisions to terminate a pregnancy if genetic disease is found. “Results from a national study of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in women at high risk of having a baby with Down’s syndrome will be presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics,” for instance.Embryonic stem cell research continues (e.g., Nature), even though scientists are well aware their use poses ethical questions, while induced pluripotent stem cells do not, and are becoming easier to produce (Science Daily).New Scientist ponders “an impossible, unethical experiment, but fascinating all the same” – putting children on an island and observing whether they develop morality. “Are we humans? or animals?” is part of the motivation for speculating about a real-world “Lord of the Flies” experiment.The rise of the “social algorithm” (e.g., Google tracking of population trends) could affect political speech and privacy. (Science Magazine)DNA profiling is leading to “a brave and uncertain new world” (PhysOrg)CRISPR/Cas9 is making genetic engineering of human embryos a real possibility (see our 6/05/15 entry).Evolutionary scientists believe that ethics and morality are reproductive strategies produced by natural selection, with no fixed moral compass. Secular materialists consider morality to reflect brain anatomy—nothing more.“Do cheaters have an evolutionary advantage?” (Science Daily). The very question presupposes that evolutionary advantage is what matters in life, whether or not cheaters prosper in the fitness game.High levels of moral reasoning correspond with increased gray matter in [the] brain (Science Daily). But is that correlation or causation?Why good people do bad things (PhysOrg); it’s all explained with strategy that can be manipulated by pragmatics, not by morality.Kids’ altruism reflects socio-economic status (Science Daily). If altruism can be manipulated by nature and nurture, it is relativistic.Scientists observe altruism and selfishness in brain activity (Medical Xpress); assumes secular materialism.Live Science offers a naturalistic explanation for a trending game that summons demons.Scientists are not always exemplary models of ethics.Retraction of scientific papers for fraud or bias is just the tip of the iceberg. (Ian Roberts in The Conversation)New study claims that $28 billion is spent each year on irreproducible biomedical research. (Science Magazine)Paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersal has written a new book documenting how scientists in his peer group have “misread our own story.” (Nature)Simultaneously, polls show that millennials are becoming the least religious generation ever in America (PLoS One). Devoid of a secure moral compass, manipulated by amoral scientists, subjected to easy-to-use technologies that devalue human life, what does the future hold?The voice from the pulpit is nearly silent now. Scientism has taken its place. America is picking up steam to race to become like Europe, where churches are being closed and converted to business uses or razed. The world is placing its hope in science, run by special interests, government regulators and moral relativists. Tools for death are being spread abroad. The “fetus” has no rights up to the moment of birth. Soon that will be true of the elderly and newborns. Since we didn’t learn from the 1930s, we are doomed to repeat the decisions that led to the slaughter of millions. Through all that time to the present, the one constant has been this: unquestioned allegiance to Darwinism and its foundation, secular materialism.Pastors, if you want to understand the intellectual history of all this evil, you need to read Darwin Day in America by John West. To understand its source, read Genesis 3. To understand its trajectory, read Revelation. You were called for such a time as this. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
A África do Sul e o motor economico do continente africano, lider na produçao industrial e produçao mineral, gerando uma larga parte da electricidade de África.O pais tem recursos naturais abundantes, um sistema legal e financeiro bem estruturado, dispoe de comunicaçoes, energia e transportes, tem uma bolsa de valores classificada entre as 20 maiores do mundo e uma estrutura moderna que suporta uma eficiente distribuiçao de bens e produtos por toda a África Austral.A África do Sul tem uma estrutura legal progressista e de primeiro nivel. A legislaçao sobre comercio, trabalho, mao-de-obra e assuntos maritimos esta particularmente bem estruturada, assim como as leis sobre politica da concorrencia, copyright, patentes, marcas registadas e disputas se enquadram nas normas e convençoes internacionais.Os sistemas financeiros do pais sao robustos e sofisticados. Os regulamentos bancarios estao entre os melhores do mundo e o sector ha muito que esta classificado entre os 10 melhores do mundo.Nao so e a África do Sul um mercado economico emergente importante, como tambem representa uma porta de saida para os outros mercados africanos. O pais desempenha um papel vital no fornecimento de energia, auxilio, transporte, comunicaçoes e investimento estrangeiro no continente. A sua rede viaria e ferroviaria bem estruturada e uma base forte do transporte via terrestre bem no coraçao de África.Crescimento economicoA economia Sul Africana tem vivido uma fase ascendente desde Setembro de 1999 – o periodo mais longo de expansao economica na historia do pais.Durante esta fase de incremento (em preparaçao o periodo ate ao quarto trimestre de 2007), a taxa anual de crescimento economico ultrapassou os 4%. Na decada antes de 1994 o crescimento economico fora inferior a 1% ao ano.O Produto Interno Bruto (PIB) da África do Sul subiu 3,7% em 2002, 3,1% em 2003, 4,9% em 2004, 5% em 2005, 5,4% em 2006 – o mais elevado desde 1981 – e 5,1% em 2007. No quarto trimestre de 2007, a África do Sul registou o seu 33º trimestre de expansao constante no PIB real desde Setembro de 1999.A economia da África do Sul foi completamente reacondicionada desde o advento da democracia no pais em 1994. Grandes reformas economicas trouxeram competitividade, crescimento economico, formaçao de emprego e uma abertura total do pais face aos restantes mercados do mundo.Ao longo dos anos estas politicas reformistas construiram uma estrutura macroeconomica solida e robusta. Os impostos desceram, as tarifas baixaram, o defice fiscal foi refreado, a inflaçao desacelerada e o controlo cambial aliviado.O crescimento economico e uma gestao fiscal prudente fizeram com que o defice orçamental da África do Sul (diferença entre as despesas do estado e o total das receitas, excluindo emprestimos) baixou drasticamente, de 5,1% do PIB em 1993/94 para 0,5% em 2005/2006 – o segundo mais baixo na historia do pais depois do 0,1% durante o boom do ouro em 1980.Em 2006/07 o pais anunciou o seu primeiro excedente orçamental de 0,3%.O indice de preços ao consumidor tem vindo a descer desde 2002, quando os preços ao consumidor aumentaram uma media de 9,3% depois do terrivel 11 de Setembro em Nova Iorque. O indice de preços ao consumidor rondou os 4,3% em 2004, 3,9% em 2005, 4,6% em 2006 e 6,5% em 2007.Com as tarifas e impostos mais baixos para ca da fronteira, o optimismo da economia, uma melhor conformidade fiscal e uma administraçao fiscal e alfandegaria coerente e forte levaram a um avolumar das receitas do estado, atingindo os 475,8 bilioes de rands em 2006/07 – mais do triplo do que em 1996/97.Classificaçao de creditoMais de uma decada de reformas institucionais e uma boa gestao economica tem apresentado resultados positivos com melhores distribuiçoes de credito.As distribuiçoes de credito da África do Sul tem subido de forma estavel desde 1994, com a ultima actualizaçao da Standard & Poor, Moody e Fitch, todos em 2005. Todas as agencias citaram a estabilidade economica do pais, a reduzida vulnerabilidade aos choques externos, uma carga da divida moderada, e instituiçoes politicas fortes e estaveis.Em 2006 a Moody e a Fitch indicaram que se previa que esta tendencia crescente se fosse manter, revendo o estado das classificaçoes da África do Sul para se manterem positivas. A Fitch afirmou que a mudança reflectia o melhor desempenho da África do Sul, como resultado do investimento rapidamente crescente privado e publico e nas microreformas economicas que continuavam a ser implementadas.“Alem disso, o pais tem assistido a uma melhoria substancial nas suas ja solidas finanças publicas e uma balança externa forte.”Desafios: fornecimento de energiaA maior ameaça imediata ao continuo crescimento economico da África do Sul e uma restriçao na capacidade, que surgiu precisamente devido ao desempenho economico forte dos ultimos anos.Este crescimento, juntamente com uma industrializaçao rapida e um programa de electrificaçao massivo na ultima decada, conduziu finalmente, em Janeiro de 2008, a um excesso na procura de electricidade.Os cortes de energia dai resultantes fizeram com que o governo agisse rapidamente para ultrapassar a crise. O plano de resposta inclui uma despesa de cerca de 343 bilioes de rands nos proximos cinco anos para financiar novas centrais electricas, assim como uma serie de medidas com vista a reduzir a procura domestica e industrial.As agencias de classificaçao Standard & Poor e Fitch afirmaram em Janeiro de 2008 que a escassez energetica nao era considerada uma ameaça imediata na classificaçao de credito ao investimento da África do Sul, mas podia vir a ser um problema se refreasse severamente o crescimento economico.Desafios: desempregoO Fundo Monetario Internacional (FMI), no seu relatorio anual de 2007, apontou que a economia da África do Sul estava a passar “pela sua mais longa expansao de sempre, verificando-se um crescimento economico cada vez maior ao longo dos ultimos anos num ambiente de rapida expansao de credito, favorecendo em muito os preços dos bens, reforçando as finanças publicas e aumentando as reservas internacionais financiadas por grandes entradas de capital.”Em simultaneo, o FMI expressava a sua preocupaçao acerca do actual defice do pais e da taxa de inflaçao.O relatorio do FMI abordou ainda a questao que ha muito se vive do desemprego, como sendo um dos maiores desafios ao crescimento economico do pais, juntamente com as disparidades de pobreza extrema e enorme riqueza e a elevada incidencia de HIV/SIDA.Mas o relatorio vem igualmente apoiar as medidas das autoridades sul africanas para tentar colmatar estes problemas, com politicas de actuaçao que pretendem continuar a lutar pelo crescimento economico num ambiente financeiro estavel e com iniciativas para reduzir a taxa de desemprego e melhorar as condiçoes sociais.O FMI afirma que esta estrategia poderia ser sustentada com reformas no mercado de trabalho e uma maior liberalizaçao comercial.A chave para ultrapassar os desafios apontados pelo FMI sera a integraçao economica da anterior maioria desfavorecida da África do Sul. A economia da África do Sul tem uma dualidade bem vincada, com uma economia financeira e industrial sofisticada, tendo desenvolvido paralelalemente uma economia subdesenvolvida informal.Enquanto que a “primeira economia” financeira e industrial da África do Sul tem uma infraestrutura estabelecida com grande potencial para crescer mais ainda, a chamada “segunda economia”, a informal, apresenta quer um potencial inexplorado como um desafio de desenvolvimento.Este artigo foi actualizado em: Julho de 2008Reporter infoSA. Fontes (websites em lingua inglesa):South Africa YearbookSouth African Reserve BankSouth African TreasuryDepartment of Trade and IndustryStatistics South Africa