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Pilots getting retrenched

It is amazing that only few years ago we are hearing that the huge shortages that we are about to face with pilots.  Many around the world are retiring and it is expensive to become a pilot, so they were struggling to recruit new young pilots.  Of course, that situation will turn around later, but one of the world’s biggest airlines, and I am not going to talk about all the problems that South African Airways always have, because that is just a never-ending drama, has just notified their pilots that retrenchments are  coming. Delta Airlines have encouraged 7,900 of their older pilots to accept an early retirement package, and then have notified another 2,600 pilots that depending on how many of the 7,900 accept the early retirement package, some of them may need to be laid off.  It is important to understand, in a country like America, when you are laid off there is not really any payment.  They just lay you off and that’s that – there is no system of one month plus one week’s notice per year that you worked, etc – another area where South African businesses struggle to compete on an international basis because of our laws.  Employees might like them, but it keeps a large percentage of the country unemployed and that then has its impact on crime.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 07-Jul-20   |  Permalink   |  27 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
The electric revolution continues - airplanes now

While we in South Africa have still not got Teslas, despite the fact that it is now the biggest company in the world by market capitalisation, the electric revolution continues.   Recently in America a company, Magnix, entered the history books with the first electric flight of a modified Cessna airplane.  I am always thinking about buying a boat and it is very frustrating that all of them at the moment are diesel run – you can rest assured in 10 or 15 years’ time there are going to be lots of electric options and we need to start making those types of choices for our environment.  It is obviously a long way before there will be lots of aeroplanes that are flying with electric engines, but it is certainly the way of the future and I very much doubt, apart from Africa, and other developing economies, that there will be that many gasoline cars around by 2030.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 30-Jun-20   |  Permalink   |  37 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Taxi's want R4 billion

I am shocked that the taxi bosses were even offered R1,1 billion in Covid-19 relief by the Government, let alone that they rejected it.  They are apparently demanding R20,000 per taxi per month of the lockdown - and with 200,000 taxis in SA this will total approximately R4 billion.

My problem is not that industries should not get help, but my problem is that I don’t think that the taxi business is very regulated or paying very much tax in the first place. Strangely enough, none of the write-ups on the taxi industry even refer to that at all. The taxi industry has always been the one industry in South Africa that people are terrified to challenge because we know exactly how they have sorted out disputes over routes in the past – with guns and just killing people.  The taxi industry has also announced increases on taxi fares between 10% and 25% nationwide, but already many of us have seen taxi drivers flouting the rules on fewer passengers and just totally disregarding them. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 24-Jun-20   |  Permalink   |  47 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Transport Department asks for extra funds

The Transport Department has asked for additional funding for a number of the entities that it is in charge of.  Those include the Road Accident Fund – for whom they have asked for R17,2 billion.  I am not sure if that full amount will be given, but the Road Accident Fund is not being well-run now, and the cash flow situation there is obviously, as we all know, not going well – to put it mildly. 

Apparently, the head of the department, Alec Moemi, said they were negotiating with the National Treasury not just for the Road Accident Fund but also for ACSA, SACCA and SANRAL.  The Road Accident Fund suffered a massive loss in fuel levy during the lockdown and had a financial shortage before that in any event.  Moemi also said that the Road Accident Fund posed a threat to the national fiscus.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 19-Jun-20   |  Permalink   |  41 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Can South Africa afford another shut down?

I have always said that until a vaccine is found, its going to get down to a choice between saving lives and jobs.  South Africa is one of those countries where no jobs could mean more people dying than from a coronavirus.  I am not surprised that people are getting tired of some of the strictest quarantine conditions in the world.
I think most people know that until a vaccine is found there is very little we can do to guarantee we won’t get the disease other than stay at home and not allow anyone we live with in or out.  Most people do not want to live that way and many cannot afford to live that way.  Our economy and resources are not big enough to carry on like we have been, or for another shut down at a later stage.
Many have lost their jobs, many more are not being paid or will continue to not earn anything and that is going to stop them being able to feed their families or get appropriate healthcare when they need it.  We cannot bring our economy and our country to its knees, for months on end, in order to save those that may die otherwise.  It’s a terrible choice to have to make but by re-opening that is the decision that is effectively being made.  People who are most at risk can’t rely on everyone else to stay inside to keep them safe – they themselves need to stay indoors and not venture out and take risks.
We need to be careful, we need to try and live more healthily and to take steps ourselves to protect our families but a shutdown hasn’t achieved much and I don’t think we can afford it again.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 09-Jun-20   |  Permalink   |  51 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
What next for Airbnb?

I have friends who are professional hosts on Airbnb.  Managing a number of properties and renting them out – and you can just imagine how that business is doing now.  Cancellations and refunds and nobody travelling.  The people they employ have been laid off and they are sustaining massive losses.  Many people rent properties and then put them on Airbnb at a mark up for a few days at a time and all of them are stuck paying their leases.  If they don’t pay their rent the landlords who own the properties won’t be able to pay their mortgages and one cant imagine what that will do to the banks.

For businesses like that, a “return to work” doesn’t change things for them at all.  Until people start traveling again – and decide they want to live in other people’s houses in some cases or share accommodation the Airbnb model is going to be a disaster.  Airbnb was meant to list on the stock exchange later this year – that’s unlikely now and the company itself has had to borrow money.

I give this just as an example of just one business – and the many people around the world who make money out of it – that has been severely damaged by the shutdown.  There are going to be many companies around the world that are not going to make it through this. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 04-Jun-20   |  Permalink   |  54 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
The end of cheques

I don’t think cheques are going to last much longer in South Africa. Strangely enough, in many countries around the world, they are not associated with fraud and are a perfectly acceptable means of payment.  However, when the banks announced, as they did at the beginning of May, that they will no longer accept a cheque for more than R50,000, they made it quite impossible to use a cheque to pay 

for any substantial purchase or even a deposit on a house.  Cheques certainly have their good points and it is really easy to prove a payment by getting a copy of a cheque.  For some reason a proof of payment printed out from a bank account never really looks the same, but there has been so much fraud involving cheques in South Africa that it is not a surprise that the banks really want to minimise their involvement with them. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 01-Jun-20   |  Permalink   |  55 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Anti-vaxxers starting again

It is amazing, with no actual vaccine even in sight for Covid-19, how the anti-vaccination forces are already starting.  There have been a lot of people over the years who have tried to discredit vaccinations and complain that they lead to autism and all sorts of other things when there is absolutely no scientific proof at all.  Unfortunately we are living in a world now where people believe that they are entitled to their opinions, regardless of the facts. 

Amongst the latest conspiracy theories is that Bill Gates and others planned for this virus and other ridiculous stories led to people in the UK burning down 5G cell phone towers believing that they cause coronavirus!  It is sad that we live in a world like that and that some people, for  whatever reasons, are going to make sure that by the time we do have a vaccine for Covid-19 that some people will not want to take it, because they would have been told some stories.  Lets all remember – at that time – that the stories against “it” started now - long before there was a vaccine – so people are already opposed to something that does not exist and whose ingredients or formula we do not even know!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 28-May-20   |  Permalink   |  35 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Safer outside

I enjoyed an article on the New York Times website on 15 May that set out precisely how much safer it is to be outside.  We already know that sun kills the virus, but the kind of statistics we have not been told before is that for example out of a study done in China out of 7,300 cases only 1 infection was connected to an outdoor transmission.  As they say, your risks of catching it outdoors are not zero, but they are way lower than inside.  I think when they say they are lower they should actually tell the truth - which is that they are miniscule. 

We all hear about how it spreads in the air and you can catch the virus through the wind, but that too is somewhat of an exaggeration.  To quote a physicist that they quoted in the article, Eugene Chudnovsky, "a single virus will not make anyone sick;  it will be immediately destroyed by the immune system.  The belief is that one needs a few hundred to a few thousand of SARS-CoV-2 viruses to overwhelm the immune response."  In short, just catching a small bit of the virus from somebody who runs past you is unlikely to infect you, but if you are in a closed space, such as a hospital surgery, then yes, there is every chance that by breathing in continuous parts of the virus, as many nurses and doctors do, will make you ill.  We must all appreciate how much risk those Doctors and nurses put themselves through compared to the rest of us. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 25-May-20   |  Permalink   |  41 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
A time for losing weight

I don’t think that there has ever been as much of a wake-up call for losing weight as there is now.  The statistics and the reports, even if the media does not always want to go fully into the details, clearly indicate that the overwhelming majority of people who die from Covid-19 are overweight or elderly or both. 

Of course, like with everything, there are always exceptions – a well-muscled, running fanatic who falls ill from the disease and dies - and that could be me or you.  I am not dismissing that at all, but statistics don’t lie and the vast majority of young people who are dying from this disease are not healthy.  It is really a message to all of us about watching our diets and trying to make sure that we stay in a reasonable shape.  That does not mean you have to be a gym fanatic, but it certainly does not mean being 20 or more kilograms overweight!  It takes a bit of effort to stay in a decent shape, but not so much that the alternative – living a shorter life, suffering from a variety of conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure and being more vulnerable to diseases like this – don’t make it worthwhile. 

It is true, as they often write in international media, that obesity is a disease of poverty.  In other words, that poorer people often go for cheaper diets which invariably are much worse foods, but in some cases it is just a weak mother at home who indulges her children with sugar and allows them to drink Coca Cola and soft drinks and feeds them junk foods.  That sort of thing is almost criminal to my mind and it is really unfair when parents bring you up in that way – that you enter the adult world obese, because your parents did not educate you properly on exercise and allowed or even worse, encouraged you to eat bad food at home.  It is really not an excuse to say, “I cannot help it, but my child loves ...”. 

It is tough when you have trained yourself to overeat and to like sugar too much to cut back on those things, but it can be done with a lot of pain and a lot of effort.  Now is certainly the time and there is no point in pretending that it is just about walking a few extra steps a day – you really need to do something even harder  - and that is to go through the hunger pains at a restriction in your diet and removing sugar from your diet. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 18-May-20   |  Permalink   |  47 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Testing for food allergies

I recently did one of the most advanced blood tests that you can get to test for inflammatory responses to food and food chemicals.  The rest is known as the Mediator Release Test which is patented by Oxford Biomedical Technologies.  The white blood cells release cytokines, histamine and the tests that they do measure the changes in circulating white cells and diets based on the results of an MRT test dramatically reduce inflammation and symptoms.

Without going into it in much detail, when we are sensitive to food it causes inflammation within our bodies and Covid-19 has been a very good example of how bad inflammation can be because it is a disease that largely kills by inflammation.  What surprised me were the things that I was most allergic to – if I singled out the worst food that I should avoid at all costs one of them is something I drank my entire life, namely cow’s milk and the other three are spinach, soybean and corn.  So those are four things I am never meant to have at all and luckily I phased milk out of my life over recent years and have been using almond milk, although the test now indicates that I am sensitive to almond milk as well.  The thing I am the most sensitive to is soybean and of course there is milk alternatives made out of soya as well.  I have a mild sensitivity to green peas, eggplant, kale, cashews, oranges, melon and even carrot, but across all the tests the thing I was least sensitive to appears to be crab! 

Black pepper, which I love, also has a very low sensitivity for me, but I am just naming some of those so that you understand how detailed the tests are.  They even test whether you are sensitive to the egg yolk or the egg white and from a South African point of view, whether you are sensitive to tea or rooibos tea.  Neither of them affects me really, but rooibos tea affects me less. They recommend though that you completely avoid any foods that you test reactive to.  None of them are going to kill me, but you don’t need inflammation, excess mucus and gut issues by eating foods that you are not suited to.  They help aggravate things like depression, migraine, asthma, arthritis and even epilepsy.  I guess I will have to pay more attention in future, when shopping, to certainly make sure I don’t get anything that involves soybean or cow’s milk.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 15-May-20   |  Permalink   |  45 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Huge demand for web cameras

As you can imagine, with Zoom video, Microsoft teams and a variety of other products, web cameras are suddenly incredibly popular. So much so that if for example you want to get the Logitech 4K Pro you can order it from Apple for $199 and it will be shipped to you in 8 to 10 weeks’ time! 

Second hand they are going on E-bay for $322 – approximately 60% more than a brand new one, but of course you cannot get hold of a brand new one right now!  When I bought them for all of the staff in my office and had them all put on their computers a few years ago, there was never any difficulty in buying a web camera, but it is definitely one of the hot products of 2020!  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 13-May-20   |  Permalink   |  48 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
Have you been injured in a motor accident?
Recent Settlements
Lumbar spine compression fractures R2 500 000.00
Severe hip fracture requiring total hip replacements R3 305 000.00
Head injury with disfiguring facial scaring of a young female R4 000 000.00
Whiplash and compression fracture of the spine R4 000 000.00
Broken Femora R1 914 416.00
Broken Femur and Patella R770 881.15
Loss of Support for two minor children R2 649 968.00
Fracture of the right Humerus, fracture of the pubi rami, abdominal injuries, head injury R4 613 352.95
Fracture of the right femur, Fracture of the right tibia-fibula R1 200 000.00
Broken Jaw, Right Shoulder Injury, Mild head injury R1 100 000.00
Degloving injuries to the hips, legs and ankle R877 773.00
Head injury R 2 734 295.12
Fractured pelvis R1 355 881.53
Damaged tendons in left arm R679 688.03
Fractured left hand R692 164.48
Amputated right lower leg with loss of income R3 921 000.00
Fractured left foot R600 000.00
Head injury and multiple facial fractures R5 000 000.00
Head injury, compound fracture right femur, right tib and fib fracture, and injury to the spleen R4 529 672.06
Head injury, multiple facial fractures, collapsed lung and a fracture to the right frontal bone R2 890 592.77
Loss of support R5 144 000.00


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