QPR ‘lukewarm’ about taking Manchester City striker

first_imgQPR are ‘lukewarm’ about taking Roque Santa Cruz from Manchester City, the Daily Mirror report.The striker, who played under R’s boss Mark Hughes at City and Blackburn, has touted himself for a possible move to Loftus Road.Hughes was offered Santa Cruz.But with an apparent lack of interest in him, Santa Cruz is now said to be hoping the likes of Wigan, Bolton and Blackburn pick him up.He is quoted as saying: “A north-west club would be ideal. I don’t want to keep moving my kids back and forth.”Chelsea target Hulk was watched by Tottenham scouts when he played for Brazil against Great Britain on Friday, according to the Daily Mail.And the Mirror claim former Chelsea boss Glenn Hoddle is discussing taking part in the television show Dancing on Ice.The Hayes-born 54-year-old would be “a guaranteed ratings winner” according to an ITV source quoted by the paper. Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

South Africa’s visa rules ‘updated for security, efficiency’

first_img15 July 2014 South Africa’s new immigration rules will allow for more efficient issuing of visas and easier sourcing of critical skills from overseas, while reducing the country’s vulnerability to the security threats of the modern world, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said in Cape Town on Tuesday. Gigaba was speaking during his department’s budget vote debate in Parliament, a day after the official opening of the new Johannesburg Visa Facilitation Centre, one of 11 new visa facilitation centres designed to efficiently implement the country’s new immigration rules. The rules, which came into effect in May, include the requirements that visa applications be made by applicants in person – so that biometric data (fingerprints and photographs) can reliably be collected – and that minors travel with their own passports as well as unabridged birth certificates. Immigration practitioners and other representatives of the tourism sector have expressed concern about the potential effect of the new rules on South Africa’s tourism industry.No ‘Afro-phobic’ agenda at play Gigaba rejected these concerns on Tuesday, saying: “Opportunistically, South Africa is being advised to drop or relax visa requirements in a world where they are required of South Africans when travelling abroad and where security has become a matter of global concern. “We reject with contempt any suggestion that these regulations are part of an ‘Afrophobic’ agenda to keep Africans – or any nationality, for that matter – out of South Africa.” Gigaba said South Africa had not terminated any visa waiver agreements it currently enjoyed with other countries, and was keen to forge more such agreements “as we are satisfied that more African countries are conducting civic registration of their nationals”.‘Now easier to attract critical skills’ Further, he said, the new immigration regulations would make it easier for South Africa to attract the critical skills it needed from overseas, as foreign nationals with such skills could now be granted a critical skills visa even without having a job, allowing them to enter the country and seek work for up to 12 months. “For some time now, business stakeholders have been asking for families of workers to be considered as a unit, an international best practice which the new regulations now include,” Gigaba added. “These specific improvements, and our commitment to responsiveness to business needs in general, will make it easier for South Africa to attract the critical skills and investment our economy needs.”New visa facilitation centres Speaking at the opening of the new visa facilitation centre in Johannesburg on Monday, Gigaba said the centre, along with 10 others across the country, would efficiently implement the new immigration rules while making life easier for foreign tourists, business people, workers or students who need extended or altered visas within a short space of time. VFS Global, a specialist service provider for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, has been contracted to automate and run the visa application process, including managing the call centre and the 11 facilitation centres spread across South Africa’s nine provinces. Foreigners in South Africa who, for example, need to extend their temporary residence visas for study or work, can now apply online and set up an appointment before visiting the nearest facilitation centre to submit their personal biometrics (fingerprints and photographs). Handling and visa fees will all be paid electronically. “All of this constitutes a radical departure from the existing mode of manual application processes that are responsible for inefficiencies within the permitting environment, creating massive inconveniences to clients,” Gigaba said, adding that results were already starting to show. “Where previously our eight-week turnaround time was frequently missed, already applicants who applied for visas and permits in mid-June are beginning to receive decisions. An indication of the enthusiastic response to the new system is that 4 000 applications were received in June alone.”Standard practice abroad Although VFS Global will be responsible for processing visa applications, the decision to approve or reject applications still lies with the Department of Home Affairs. “We exercise full control over the decision-making processes to ensure that our national interests and security imperatives are served at all times,” Gigaba said. The department has already introduced such centres in a number of its high-volume missions abroad – including its missions in China, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria – where it had previously struggled to cut down on long queues and long turn-around times. “While we remain committed to helping the country create a climate conducive for investment and to assist in bringing critical skills to contribute to economic development, it remains critical for us as a country to upgrade security, in the interest of our citizens and foreign nationals in the country, as is the case everywhere else in the world,” Gigaba said. He urged visa applicants “to bear with us, as this system is still new and is bound to confront some technical glitches. This is only natural, and with time it will be addressed and everyone will be happy.” SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Post-Production Tip: Four Highly Useful After Effects Scripts

first_imgWorking with Adobe After Effects on a deadline? These four scripts will speed up your process — without creating careless errors.As fast as you might be with the vanilla version of a software package, you can always add more spice to your setup with some scripts — those bits of electronic wizardry cooked up by people far smarter than you or I.I’ve tried a number of different options over the years, and here are a few scripts that are permanent residents in my personal After Effects workspace. The common thread among these scripts is that they streamline your user experience by speeding up tasks that you can do by hand (but are laborious, repetitive, or easy to mess up). When you’re on deadline, anything that speeds up your process without introducing errors is ideal. As a bonus, you can get all these scripts for a fairly low cost (in some cases, you can get them completely free). So let’s take a look.Universal AudioIf you ever work with voiceover in After Effects, you need to get Universal Audio. Rather than jumping back and forth between precomps trying to match your timing or using markers to track key parts of the voiceover, this script will take your selected audio layers and duplicate them throughout your nested precomps while maintaining the timing – so your audio will always be in the correct place relative to your precomp’s position on the timeline, even if you’re four or five levels deep in your project. This is a lifesaver when working with character rigs where controls can be buried pretty deep.It’s even smart enough to compensate for time-remapped compositions, but you’ll need to enable this in the settings (handily it will color-code audio that might not line up correctly in orange, to save you the aggravation of discovering your carefully timed animation is not syncing up in the final version).Once you’re finished working with the audio, a single button-press will remove all the duplicates — neatly avoiding the issue of leftover audio in your project that can be annoying to track down. This script has saved me hours of frustration when animating, and I really can’t recommend it enough.Universal Audio is priced at a reasonable $9.99. In terms of speeding up my workflow, it easily paid for itself on the first project I took on after picking it up.Key ClonerDeveloped by Paul Conigliaro, Key Cloner became an instant feature of my workspace as soon as it came out. It’s a simple script (I mean, it has three buttons), but it speeds up your animation workflow in After Effects immeasurably. By allowing you to clone and reverse keyframes while maintaining their relative timing (something that the vanilla time reverse in After Effects doesn’t do), Key Cloner dramatically speeds up duplicating animation or changing an animate in to an animate out with a click, avoiding the seemingly endless back-and-forth copy-pasting from individual properties that you can find yourself doing sometimes.It was released with pay-what-you-can pricing on Gumroad, and you can find it here.RiftAnother script that manipulates your layers, Rift is all about easily creating staggered offsets, random distributions across time, and ramp ins and outs — and it works across keys and layers.Rift can shift layers (or keyframes, or both if required) in time based on your selected parameters. You can easily add a four-frame stagger to a series of layers, or create a ramping offset in time, or move each layer on the timeline a random distance – there’s a lot of flexibility and depth once you get a feel for how it works. When you’re working with heavy layer stacks numbering in the tens or twenties, Rift can save hours of your time, but even when you’re working with smaller numbers of layers, you’ll save countless mouse clicks.Rift is also available with pay-what-you-can pricing (with a suggested price of $29.99). It’s extremely useful and well worth whatever money you decide to put down.FlowLinear keyframes are almost never going to result in the look and feel you want in your animation, but at the same time, the graph editor can be intimidating to dive into. Then again, a script-heavy solution doesn’t really give you the freedom to experiment in a visual way. This is where Flow comes in.Flow’s interface gives you great visual feedback — without having to submerge yourself in the weird multicolor spaghetti of the graph editor — while also avoiding the problem of throwing random numbers into a script-based solution and hoping you get the result you’re looking for.If you create a curve you particularly like, you can create a preset so you can use it over and over again (but hopefully not too often — variety is the spice of life and all that). Flow comes with a library of twenty-five common presets to get you started, and you can also download additional preset packs from the aescripts website created by some top-notch animators.Flow is available for the bargain price of $30.00 from aescripts.com, and you can find it here.So there you go. Four highly useful but less well-known scripts that will save you hours of time in After Effects. If you’re looking for more After Effects tips and tricks, check out these articles:Create a Responsive Infographic in After EffectsAfter Effects: Create a Modern Slideshow AnimationHow to Create a Motion Graphics Template in Adobe After Effects3 Typography Motion Graphics Tips | After Effects TutorialVideo Tutorial: Animate a 2D Mobile Device with After Effectslast_img read more