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A towering cultural icon

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first_imgThe massive cooling towers are receivinga bright and colourful makeover.(Image: MaOblata Bloemfontein) “The Suncatcher” by the late Father FransClaerhout, a Bloemfontein-based RomanCatholic priest, is one of the subjects shownin large scale and glorious colour.(Image: MaOblata Bloemfontein) The Soweto towers are a popular culturaldestination, and one that is also soughtafter by crazy thrill-seeking visitors.(Image: Soweto Towers )Janine ErasmusBloemfontein, the City of Roses, is looking even more cheerful these days. The city’s cooling towers are receiving a facelift and will soon be covered in vibrant home-grown artwork, courtesy of First National Bank (FNB), one of the country’s major banking groups. FNB is a major sponsor of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and in line with its sponsorship of the much-anticipated event, is transforming the skyline of one of the host cities.Bloemfontein, also known as Mangaung (place of the cheetahs), is a city rich in cultural heritage and has played a significant role in South Africa’s growth as a nation. Many of the city’s most acclaimed citizens and distinctive features will be immortalised in the gigantic works of art that are soon to completely clothe the vast surfaces of the cooling towers.Two of the four towers, which belong to a currently decommissioned power station, will carry FNB’s 2010 Fifa World Cup branding. The other two will take on a bright and colourful depiction of the area’s heritage and are expected to become a source of community pride.Sieg Maier, who heads up FNB’s Free State division, said that the company is proud of its investment. “The physical and psychological landscape of Bloemfontein will be transformed into a more positive and vibrant place that beams with hope,”The artworks are reproduced on canvas – about 12 800m2 of it – and the wraps weigh between 700 and 900kg each. The project, which is not yet complete, is expected to consume 12 000l of paint, while the artistic team will take about 720 hours each to complete their sections. Each tower is 60m high with a circumference of 120m at the bottom and 70m at the top.A city of pioneersBloemfontein is something of a pioneering city, and its residents are responsible for many notable milestones and inventions both at home and abroad. Among them are Olympians Ryk Neethling, a member of the first South African swimming team to win a gold medal, and record-breaker Zola Budd, who was the first Olympic athlete to run barefoot.The significance of the city goes back much further than that, though, and the area abounds with rock art paintings that show the lifestyle of the San people, its first inhabitants. Later the city, after its establishment in 1912, became an important military base with both an army and air force presence. The Rooivalk (Afrikaans for “red kestrel”), South Africa’s attack helicopter, is based at Bloemspruit air force base.Bloemfontein is renowned as a centre of learning and literature, as well as science and engineering. J.R.R. Tolkien, renowned author of The Lord of the Rings, was born in Bloemfontein in 1892. The city is the judicial capital of South Africa, and the country’s current ruling party, the African National Congress, was founded in Bloemfontein in 1912.In 1955 the first parking meter in Africa was installed in the city, and later Fred Brownell, who went to school in Bloemfontein and became the State Herald, was the principal designer of the new South African flag. The flag made its début on 10 May 1994 at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically-elected president, and is the only six-coloured national flag in the world.There are two international astronomical observatories within the city limits – the Boyden Observatory and the Lamont-Hussey Observatory, which is now a cultural venue known as the Observatory Theatre. While the latter was still in operation it housed the imposing 27-inch Lamont refractor which at one time was the largest refractor in the southern hemisphere.Soweto towersIn 2003 FNB performed a similar feat on the cooling towers of the mothballed Orlando power in Soweto. The two towers can be seen for miles around and have become cultural landmarks in the area. A number of contemporary artists lent their talents to the initiative, which is now an important tourist attraction in the area.Not only conventional, but also adventure tourists are keen to visit the site, because the Soweto towers have been transformed into a popular vertical adventure centre. The centre, which opened in July 2008, boasts a 100m-high viewing platform at the top of the west tower with a 360 degree view of Soweto. The platform leads to a power swing and a tandem swing, both of which allow thrill-seekers to plunge downwards for 40m and then swing between the two towers – either alone or with a friend. The towers are also used for base jumping, rap jumping and abseiling.FNB commissioned a mural that would depict slices of life in Soweto. Notable features, in much larger-than-life size, are a smiling Nelson Mandela, who lived in Soweto’s Vilakazi Street, famous singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, the Madonna and child, which is a symbol of Soweto’s Regina Mundi Catholic church, a football stadium, a female vendor selling her wares, taxis, and many other iconic images of the bustling township.The other tower bears the FNB branding. The mural, which took six months to complete, is said to be the largest in Southern Africa – but soon it will have competition.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Useful linksMangaung local municipalityFNBSoweto towersBloemfontein towerslast_img

IRS Issues Guidance on the Phased Retirement Payments (Notice 2016-39; Rev. Proc. 2016-36)

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first_imgThe IRS has provided guidance with respect to the recovery of investment in the contract from payments received from a qualified defined benefit plan by an employee during phased retirement. Notice 2016-39 provides that if certain conditions are met, these payments are not treated as received from an annuity. Rev. Proc. 2016-39 provides that these rules apply only to annuities under a qualified plan, and do not apply to nonqualified contracts. Notice 87-13, 1987-1 CB 432, is modified by Notice 2016-39.The annuity rules under Code Sec. 72 distinguish between amounts received as an annuity and amounts not received as an annuity for purposes of determining the portion of the amount that is treated as a nontaxable return of investment. Reg. §1.72-2(b)(2) provides that amounts subject to Code Sec. 72 are considered “amounts received as an annuity” only if (i) the amounts are received on or after the annuity starting date, (ii) the amounts are payable in periodic installments at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year from the annuity starting date, and (iii) subject to certain exceptions, the total of the amounts payable are determinable at the annuity starting date either directly from the terms of the contract or indirectly by the use of either mortality tables or compound interest computations, or both, in conjunction with the terms of the contract and in accordance with sound actuarial theory. Reg. §1.72-4(b)(1) provides that the term “annuity starting date” is generally the first day of the first period for which the first periodic payment is made under an annuity contract, provided that obligations under the contract have been fixed as of that date.The IRS in Notice 2016-39 points out that depending on a qualified plan’s terms, the plan’s obligations to an employee receiving phased retirement payments might not be fixed within the meaning of Reg. §1.72-4(b)(1) during the employee’s continued part-time employment. For example, if the terms of the phased retirement program do not fix the employee’s date of full retirement, the plan will not, during the period of part-time employment, be able to determine its total retirement obligations to the employee. An employee’s date of full retirement is not fixed if the date can change, for example, due to a unilateral decision of the employee to commence full retirement sooner or pursuant to an agreement between the employer and employee to change the full retirement date. Also, an employee might accrue additional plan benefits during the period of phased retirement that affect the amounts payable to the employee at full retirement. Further, the plan might allow an employee to elect a distribution option at the time of full retirement that could also alter the plan’s obligations to the employee. Lastly, a qualified retirement plan might be amended to modify the benefit formula with respect to benefits that are not yet accrued during the period of part-time employment.Notice 2016-39 provides that periodic phased retirement benefits under a qualified defined benefit plan do not qualify as “amounts received as an annuity” for these purposes if: (1) the employee begins to receive a portion of his or her retirement benefits entering phased retirement and begins part-time employment, and will not begin receiving his or her entire plan benefits until ceasing employment and commencing full retirement at an indeterminate future time; (2) the plan’s obligations to the employee are based in part on the employee’s continued part-time employment; and (3) under the plan terms, the employee does not have an election as to the form of the phased retirement benefit to be paid during phased retirement, but elects a distribution option at full retirement that applies to the employee’s entire retirement benefit, including the portion that commenced as phased retirement benefits.Rev. Proc. 2016-36 provides that the IRS will not apply Notice 2016-39 to amounts received from a nonqualified contract. Accordingly, in applying Reg. §§1.72-2(b)(2) and 1.72-4(b)(1) to a nonqualified contract, the possibility of further contributions to the contract or a subsequent election under the contract to receive the benefit payable under the contract in a different manner generally will not affect the determination of whether payments are amounts received as an annuity.Notice 2016-39, 2016FED ¶46,344Rev-Proc 2016-36, 2016FED ¶46,345Other References:Code Sec. 72CCH Reference – 2016FED ¶6140.62CCH Reference – 2016FED ¶6140.775Tax Research ConsultantCCH Reference – TRC INDIV: 30,054CCH Reference – TRC RETIRE 42,354.10last_img

Top stories: Two new letters for the genetic code, stat checking psychology, and the formerly abominable snowman

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first_img Top stories: Two new letters for the genetic code, stat checking psychology, and the formerly abominable snowman By Roni DenglerDec. 1, 2017 , 3:25 PM Scientists just added two functional letters to the genetic codeAll life forms on Earth use the same genetic alphabet of the bases A, T, C, and G—nitrogen-containing compounds that constitute the building blocks of DNA and spell out the instructions for making proteins. Now, scientists have developed the first bacterium to use extra letters, or unnatural bases, to build proteins. The traditional four DNA bases code for 20 amino acids, but the addition of new letters X and Y could produce up to 152 amino acids, which might become building blocks for new drugs and novel materials, the scientists say.China’s dark matter space probe detects tantalizing signalSign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D'IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People's Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People's Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)A long-standing challenge in physics has been finding evidence for dark matter, the stuff presumed to make up a substantial chunk of the mass of the universe. Its existence seems to be responsible for the structure of the universe and the formation and evolution of galaxies. But physicists have yet to observe this mysterious material. Results reported Wednesday by a China-led space science mission provide a tantalizing hint—but not firm evidence—for dark matter.Controversial software is proving surprisingly accurate at spotting errors in psychology papersWhen Dutch researchers developed an open-source algorithm named statcheck to flag statistical errors in psychology papers, it received mixed reactions from the research community—especially after the free tool found that tens of thousands of published papers contained statistical inconsistencies. Some scientists have called these studies a “form of harassment,” and others have questioned the accuracy of the tool itself. Now, a new study by statcheck’s developers—posted to a preprint server this week—suggests their algorithm gets it right in more than 95% of cases. Expect that result to be checked.Ancient flying reptiles cared for their young, fossil trove suggestsA spectacular fossil find is providing tantalizing new clues about the habits of pterosaurs, ancient flying reptiles that lived at the same times as dinosaurs. The cache of more than 200 fossil eggs found with bones of juvenile and adult animals in northwestern China suggests to some researchers that pterosaur parents may have cared for their newly hatched young. In a paper published Thursday in Science, researchers report that a 3-meter-square chunk of rock they excavated contains 16 eggs with the fossilized bones of developing embryos.So much for the abominable snowman. Study finds ‘yeti’ DNA belongs to bearsHikers in Tibet and the Himalayas need not fear the monstrous yeti—but they’d darn well better carry bear spray. Previous genetic analyses of a couple of “yeti” hair samples collected in India and Bhutan suggested that a stretch of their mitochondrial DNA resembled that of polar bears. That finding hinted that a previously unknown type of bear, possibly a hybrid between polar bears and brown bears, could be roaming the Himalayas. Now, DNA analyses of nine samples purported to be from the “abominable snowman” reveal that eight actually came from various species of bears native to the area.center_img (Left to right): The Yeti, illustration from "Monsters and Mythic Beasts" 1975 (color litho), D'Achille, Gino (1935–2017)/Private Collection/Bridgeman Images; James Cavallini/Science Source; Chuang Zhou last_img