H.E Nana Akufo Addo graces SWAG Awards Nite

Accra, H.E Nana Akufo Addo, the president of the Republic of Ghana on Saturday, graced the 42nd Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) awards, held at the State Banquet Hall in Accra.

The colorful event honoured sports men and women, who made the nation proud in the year 2016 in their various disciplines.

Speaking at the occasion, H.E Nana Akufo Addo commended the members of SWAG for their consistent effort to honor Ghana’s hardworking sports and women.

“I want to congratulate the Sports Writers Association of Ghana, SWAG, for this awards scheme, which recognizes the efforts of the nation’s Sports men and women.

“I commend SWAG for their commitment, dedication and consistency in the organization of this event over the last 41 years.

“I pay tribute to the companies who have supported this event to make it a success,” said Nana Akufo Addo

“The president of Ghana further commended the sports men and women who won the various awards during the occasion.

“The sports men and women who would be crowned tonight, I say congratulations and ‘Ayekoo’.

“I am very much aware that our sports men and women strive on a very difficult conditions, and i am therefore glad that this awards scheme exist to recognize their efforts.” H.E Nana Akufo Addo added.

Source: Ghana News Agency

China, India leads in renewable energy attractive investment

Hohoe (V/R), China and India have overtaken the US to become the two most attractive nations for renewable energy investment � according to a report.

The report by UK accountancy firm Ernst & Young detailed that both China and India have overtaken the US on the EY Renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI) � displacing the U.S. for the first time since 2015.

The US now stands at third place behind first place China, followed by India according to a statement to the Ghana News Agency.

Ben Warren, EY Global Power & Utilities Corporate Finance Leader and RECAI Chief Editor, said: Movements in the index illustrate the influence of policy on renewable energy investment and development � both productive and detrimental. Supportive policy and a long-term vision are critical to achieving a clean energy future.

At the beginning of 2017, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announced the nation will invest around $361 billion in renewable energy generation by 2020.

It said the investment will see renewables share in the country’s power mix increase to 50 per cent in addition to creating 13 million jobs � the NEA said.

According to a report released last month, China’s wind and solar energy sectors could receive up to $782 billion in investments from 2016 to 2030.

It said in 2016, China’s solar capacity grew an impressive 81.6 per cent to 77.4 gigawatts (GW), while wind power grew 13.2 per cent from 2015 to 2016 to 149 GW.

In India, the Government plans to develop 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 and to have renewable energy account for 40 per cent of installed capacity by 2040.

India added a record wind and solar energy capacity, both exceeding 5,000 megawatts (MW), from 2016 to 2017.

India has now surpassed the 10 gigawatt (GW) solar photovoltaic (PV) installation milestone, having tripled its capacity in less than three years, according Indian Minister Piyush Goyal.

The report highlighted that economically viable renewable energy alternatives coupled with security of supply concerns are encouraging more nations to transition to a cleaner energy future.

In addition, Kazakhstan (37), Panama (38) and the Dominican Republic (39) have all entered the index for the first time.

Source: Ghana News Agency

The Holy Spirit guides us to do God’s will – Rev Akushie

Accra, The Reverend Godson Nii Anmu Akushie, Guest Speaker at the United Church in Teshie Nungua Estate, has stated that the Holy Spirit is not a merely a person but a divine entity that guides and teaches Christians to do the will of God.

Rev Akushie said the spirit of God enabled Christians to perform miracles, guided and directed and as well help in making the best of decisions.

He explained that whenever it was said that the Holy Spirit was a person, it did not mean that it had heads, hands or legs as human beings but rather the spirit reflected the attributes of personhood.

Rev Akushie said this on Sunday in Accra at a sermon in the Church on the theme: The Holy Spirits Presence Among His People.

The Rev Minister said it behoves all Christians to open their hearts to receive the word of God through the Holy Spirit and get the full understanding of the message.

He explained that the Holy Spirit was the third person of the trinity and the person equal in every way with God the father and God the son.

He said God in three persons were all equal in power, might, essence and in glory.

Rev Akushie noted that the Spirit of God also known as the rauch indicated to the Hebrew something that was powerful and irresistible.

He said on certain occasions the Spirit of God came upon some people for specific purposes.

He indicated that the prophets who received God’s message and passed them on his people did so through the activity of God’s spirit upon them.

It was imperative as Christians to have Jesus as our personal saviour so that God would send forth His spirit to direct us in all our life and endeavours.

He said the book of Acts of the Apostles acknowledge the presence of the Spirit and indicated that the Apostles were all filled with the Holy spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the spirit gave them utterance.

Rev Nii Ashikwei Ollenu, Resident Minister in charge of United Church said as part of the Pentecost season, the Church had outlined series of programme on the theme from May 28 to June 4 to uplift the spiritual growth of members.

The weekday sessions start at 1900 hour while Sunday service starts at 1000 hours

Source: Ghana News Agency

Worm discovered to biodegrade polythene

Hohoe (V/R), Scientists have found that a caterpillar commercially bred for fishing bait has the ability to biodegrade polyethylene.

Polyethylene plastics, the toughest and most used item have become environmental nuisance globally and frequently found clogging up landfill sites in the form of shopping bags among others.

The wax worm, the larvae of the common insect Galleria mellonella, or greater wax moth, is a scourge of beehives across Europe.

In the wild, the worms live as parasites in bee colonies. Wax moths lay their eggs inside hives where the worms hatch and grow on beeswax � hence the name.

A chance discovery occurred when one of the scientific team, Federica Bertocchini, an amateur beekeeper, was removing the parasitic pests from the honeycombs in her hives. The worms were temporarily kept in a typical plastic shopping bag that became riddled with holes.

In a release to the Ghana News Agency, it said Bertocchini, from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), collaborated with colleagues Paolo Bombelli and Christopher Howe at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Biochemistry to conduct a timed experiment.

Around a hundred wax worms were exposed to a plastic bag from a UK supermarket. Holes started to appear after just 40 minutes, and after 12 hours there was a reduction in plastic mass of 92mg from the bag.

Scientists say that the degradation rate is extremely fast compared to other recent discoveries, such as bacteria reported last year to biodegrade some plastics at a rate of just 0.13mg a day. Polyethylene takes between 100 and 400 years to degrade in landfill sites.

“If a single enzyme is responsible for this chemical process, its reproduction on a large scale using biotechnological methods should be achievable,” said Cambridge’s Paolo Bombelli, first author of the study published today in the journal Current Biology.

“This discovery could be an important tool for helping to get rid of the polyethylene plastic waste accumulated in landfill sites and oceans.”

Polyethylene is largely used in packaging, and accounts for 40 per cent of total demand for plastic products across Europe � where up to 38 per cent of plastic is discarded in landfills. People around the world use around a trillion plastic bags every single year.

It said plastic is highly resistant to breaking down, and even when it does the smaller pieces choke up ecosystems without degrading. The environmental toll is a heavy one.

Yet nature may provide an answer. The beeswax on which wax worms grow is composed of a highly diverse mixture of lipid compounds: building block molecules of living cells, including fats, oils and some hormones.

The researchers say it is likely that digesting beeswax and polyethylene involves breaking similar types of chemical bonds, although they add that the molecular detail of wax biodegradation requires further investigation.

Wax is a polymer, a sort of ‘natural plastic,’ and has a chemical structure not dissimilar to polyethylene, said CSIC’s Bertocchini, the study’s lead author.

The researchers conducted spectroscopic analysis to show the chemical bonds in the plastic were breaking. The analysis showed the worms transformed the polyethylene into ethylene glycol, representing un-bonded ‘monomer’ molecules.

To confirm it wasn’t just the chewing mechanism of the caterpillars degrading the plastic, the team mashed up some of the worms and smeared them on polyethylene bags, with similar results.

The caterpillars are not just eating the plastic without modifying its chemical make-up. We showed that the polymer chains in polyethylene plastic are actually broken by the wax worms, said Bombelli.

The caterpillar produces something that breaks the chemical bond, perhaps in its salivary glands or a symbiotic bacteria in its gut. The next steps for us will be to try and identify the molecular processes in this reaction and see if we can isolate the enzyme responsible.

As the molecular details of the process become known, the researchers say it could be used to devise a biotechnological solution on an industrial scale for managing polyethylene waste.

Added Bertocchini: We are planning to implement this finding into a viable way to get rid of plastic waste, working towards a solution to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the unavoidable consequences of plastic accumulation.

Source: Ghana News Agency

ActionAid Ghana joins civil societies to launch Africans Rising Movement

Accra, ActionAid Ghana has joined civil society movements, groups and organisations in Africa to launch a Pan-African movement dubbed: Africans Rising, in Ghana to encourage justice, peace and dignity on the continent.

The event which took place at the ActionAid Global Platform Ghana in Tamale was executed to commemorate this year’s African Liberation Day.

A statement issued by Marina Tota, the Training Quality Co-ordinator of the Global Platform and copied to the Ghana News Agency at the weekend said the body was a leadership training hub of ActionAid, a leading non-governmental organisation headquartered in Denmark.

Daniel Nii Ankrah, the focal person of the movement explained that the mission of Africans Rising was to combat the menace of oppression and to condemn the plunder of our natural and mineral resources as well as the suppression of our fundamental human rights.

Mr Ankrah said the movement was formed by representatives from 44 African countries from civil societies, trade unions, women, young people, men, people living with disabilities and parliamentarians.

Other representatives were from media organisations, faith-based groups and the African Diaspora who gathered in Arusha, Tanzania in August 2016 and committed to build a pan-African movement for the rights and freedoms of African People.

The main areas in which the movement will campaign on are expanding space for civic and political action, fighting for women’s rights and freedoms, focusing the struggles for the right to Equity and Dignity.

It will also aim at demanding good governance, no corruption and impunity, as well as demanding climate and environmental justice, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Kumi Naidoo, South African Human Rights Activist and the Africans Rising launch Executive Director was captured in South Africa’s SABC Prime Time Evening News on 25 May, expressing worry about the failure of some African leaders to create equal opportunities for all persons in the continent.

Mr Naidoo said after so many years since 1963, liberation has only been delivered to the 1-5 per cent of the population (the African leaders), whereas the majority of people in Africa still suffer the daily indignity of dehumanising poverty.

In view of this, the statement expressed full support for the existence of the movement and said: The launch of this movement is a historical moment in African history as it turns the idea of Pan-Africanism into reality and creates a space for Africans to connect local struggles and unite in collective advocacy campaigns.

Abdul Fatawu Tambro, a Trainer at the Global Platform Ghana who welcomed the participants said Africa could address its problems only if it boldly tackled them with the people of Africa as the focus.

In rising up to face the challenges of our time, we will neither look North, South, East nor West. We will look only forward and within us, finding African solutions to African problems, Mr Tambro stated.

The participants were clad in red to symbolise the sacrifice and blood spilt by forefathers for Africa’s liberation from colonial rule; and of the ongoing bleeding of wealth from the continent through illicit financial outflows and the destruction of Africa’s natural resources.

The event also provided a platform for the youth to discuss the problems militating against the development of Ghana and Africa for that matter, and measures that could remedy these problems.

They also read the Kilimanjaro Declaration, the movement’s founding charter, which seeks to uphold the vision of movement with the intention to inspire and commit signatories to actions that empower all Africans, especially those who have been marginalized, to collectively tackle the root causes of inequality, injustice, human rights abuses and poverty.

Source: Ghana News Agency