Alvaranga upbeat ahead of Carifta

first_img Training sessions for the 2017 National Carifta age group swim team took place on Friday afternoon between 3:30 and 5:30, then the follow day between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Alvaranga noted that there are eight debutants in the 11-12 boys and girl’s age groups, who will compete on those relay teams. “It’s a balanced team, with strength in very stroke in various age groups, and the mood is very good. “All training sessions have the children bonding and playing, and parents coming together and preparing meals for swimmers. We are all looking forward to a wonderful event,” the coach outlined. He will be joined by fellow coach Matthew Campbell, while the team will be managed by Tastey Blackman. Meanwhile, Jamaica will line up against 25 participating countries, with high hopes of equalling or bettering the eight gold, nine silver and eight bronze (25 medals) achieved at last year’s championships in Martinique. The Jamaicans will start leaving the island shortly, with the first contingentbatch set to depart on Thursday. Rory Alvaranga, national coach of Jamaica’s team to next week’s Carifta Swimming Championships in The Baha-mas, described his team as well-balanced, confident and ready. The 32nd edition of the annual championships will be held in Nassau, Bahamas, at the Easter weekend, beginning on Saturday and climaxing the following Tuesday. This year, a larger contingent of 28 swimmers will represent the country, 17 are local based, while 11 live overseas. “All is well in terms of Jamaica’s Carifta team. I am just looking for everybody to do well and match last year’s medal tally, or better it, and really score a lot of points and medals,” Alvaranga told The Gleaner Saturday, following training sessions held at the National Aquatic Centre. Competitorslast_img read more

RUGBY STAR LARISSA HELPS RELAY FOR LIFE GET ‘APPY’!

first_imgLarissa Muldoon, centre, with Relay for Life’s Siobhan Diver and Laura Bennett.Donegal’s Relay for Life has gone all hi-tech in advance of this year’s event after releasing a special phone App.The app was officially launched by Larissa Muldoon, a member of the Irish Rugby team.You can see Larissa endorsing the app on the Relay for Life Donegal Facebook page and on Youtube. The Relay for Life Donegal App can be found at Windows, Android and Apple Stores. The App is free to download. The app is extremely user friendly with social media integration. Relay for Life Donegal Twitter and Facebook pages feed directly to the app.The app facilitates users to sign up a team, register as a Volunteer/Survivor, etc. Details of fundraisers being held can be viewed via the app; thus enabling anyone wishing to attend a Relay for Life Donegal fundraiser to view a schedule of events.Photos of any Relay for Life Donegal function/event or fundraiser can be uploaded directly to the app.The app is constantly updated by Laura Barrett, Marketing Support, Relay for Life Donegal. Donations can also be made through the app. When the Relay for Life Donegal event kicks off on the 31/5/14 – 1/6/14, watch it live from the app! On the clip Larissa also asks the question “WHO WILL YOU RELAY FOR?” and informs anyone considering entering a team for Relay for Life Donegal 2014 to “contact Nicola Mc Bride on 086 8880399 or email relayforlifedonegalapplications@yahoo.com” RUGBY STAR LARISSA HELPS RELAY FOR LIFE GET ‘APPY’! was last modified: April 25th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:AppdonegalLarissa MuldoonRelay for Lifelast_img read more

Man handed over to Donegal Gardai to face child sex charges

first_imgA man wanted in connection with child sexual offences in Inishowen was handed over to Gardaí at the border last Thursday after losing his battle against a European Arrest Warrant.The man, who cannot be named due to reporting restrictions applied by the court, was brought to Buncrana District Court after the PSNI brought him to Bridgend. Detective Garda Siobhan Tighe told the court that she charged the man with three counts of sexual assault against a child, alleged to have occurred in North Inishowen in 1991.After the first charge, Det. Gda.Tighe said the man, who is aged 60, replied ‘no, not yet’ and after the second and third charges, he replied ‘no’.She told the court that the man had been wanted in relation to the alleged charges since 2015, but had been challenging a European Arrest Warrant before the High Court and the Supreme Court in the North since 2017.However the court heard that the man’s attempts to fight against the arrest warrant had failed after the Supreme Court refused his application. He was subsequently brought to court in Northern Ireland where bail was revoked and the PSNI transported him to Bridgend where he was handed over to Gardaí.Garda Inspector Siobhan Mollohan said the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed trial on indictment before the Circuit Court but they were awaiting the Book of Evidence to be produced.Det. Gda.Tighe said she was objecting to bail on three points – the seriousness of the charges, the nature and strength of the evidence against him and his likelihood to abscond given the fact that he ‘evaded’ the EU arrest warrant for a number of years.“This man has not co-operated with Gardaí at all,” said Det. Gda.Tighe.“I had to put in a request via Interpol in 2015. In 2016 I was informed by Interpol that the man was aware of the charges against him after being informed by the PSNI. The European Arrest Warrant was executed in November 2017 and he has fought it since.“This man was informed to contact me at Buncrana Garda Station but at no point did he do this and today is the first day I have met him.”Defence barrister Gareth McGrory BL from Madden and Finucane Solicitors said his client had been on bail in Northern Ireland since the EU arrest warrant was executed and there had been no issue with his client complying with strict bail conditions, which included signing one three days a week, since then.“These are also just allegations and my client denies the allegations and will continue to maintain that throughout the trial,” Mr. McGrory BL stated.“It could be a considerable about of time before this case comes before the Circuit Court – he is anxious to have the matter resolved.“He is not a flight risk, he is married with children and settled in Northern Ireland and is happy to surrender his passport and sign on in this jurisdiction. We are also in a position to offer a cash surety from his daughter to the amount of €5,000,” the defence barrister added.He also stressed the importance of a publication order to restrict any press reporting that could reveal the man’s identity. He said the man had fought for an injunction to have his name kept out of the media in Northern Ireland but was automatically entitled to the right to anonymity at this stage in Donegal.Judge Paul Kelly said he would grant bail under certain circumstances, including the €5,000 independent surety. He must also sign on weekly at Buncrana Garda Station and have no contact with any witnesses involved the case whatsoever.The 60-year-old must surrender his passport and be contactable by mobile phone 24 hours a day. He remanded the case back to Buncrana in February for production of the book of evidence.Judge Kelly also granted the man legal aid, in the name Michael Halleron of Madden and Finucane Solicitors, and applied a publication order in order to protect the identity of the alleged victim involved.Man handed over to Donegal Gardai to face child sex charges was last modified: December 20th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:chargescourtdonegalGardaisex abuselast_img read more

When Is Design Just Natural?

first_img1.  Moscou and Bogdanove, “A Simple Cipher Governs DNA Recognition by TAL Effectors,” Science, 11 December 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5959, p. 1501, DOI: 10.1126/science.1178817.How does one distinguish intentional design from accidental or natural design?  Your answer probably depends on your worldview.  The above examples find patterns in everything from molecules to galaxies.  An animist or ancient Roman might explain them with references to spirits or the gods.  A materialist will only find intentional design in the Parthenon, the Mona Lisa, and other artificial creations, and ascribe everything else to chance and natural law.  But we are often confronted with puzzles.  Is this rock an arrowhead or an accident of nature?  Is that odd-shaped cloud skywriting?  Non-atheists have additional questions about which phenomena involve God’s intervention.  The fever that afflicted Peter’s mother might have worn off over time; we would consider that a natural healing process.  But when Jesus healed her instantly, that’s a miracle.  Atheists, of course, have no patience with any of this.  Yet their explanations based on chance border on the miraculous sometimes (see article on ICR).  They can go so far as to give a rational person cause to accuse them of holding to their world view in spite of the evidence (12/13/2009).    Intelligent design theory seeks to elucidate the scientific basis for inferring intelligent causes.  It recognizes that many complex patterns can arise in nature without intentionality.  Probably no one except devotees of late-night talk shows about alien conspiracies believes the Saturn hexagon was intelligently designed, even though scientists cannot explain it yet.  Most trust that science will explain it in due time.  But why do they trust science in that case, and not in the case of Parthenon?  Is it only a question of whether humans are involved?  And what is human design, anyway, if humans alone are capable of intelligent design, but arose from non-intelligent causes of chance and natural law?  What do we mean by “natural”?    The core of the intelligent design approach is to look for complex specified information, using the explanatory filter described by Dembski in his books (for synopsis, see article at the IDEA Center).  Only when chance and natural law have been excluded via a rational criterion of plausibility is intelligent design considered.  This presumes, of course, that we can agree on the meanings of chance and natural law.  Sometimes a “natural law” is floated around too loosely.  Is it fair to apply a term like “constructal law” to the ubiquity of the Golden Ratio in nature, or is that a post-hoc fallacy?  That might be like watching a chess game and ascribing the movements of the chess pieces to a natural law we might arbitrarily name the “Checkmate Law” which states that chess pieces converge toward the elimination of the King from the board.  Inventing a law after the fact and calling it “natural” explains nothing.  It’s an anti-explanation.  In the case of the chess game, it ignores the primary cause of the phenomenon – intelligence.  Laws like “natural selection” can be similarly critiqued.  Subjective verbal phrases like “survival of the fittest” lack the mathematical precision of laws in physics.    How, then, do we explain non-artificial patterns like the histone code, and perfectly-aligned crystals in an urchin tooth, and the Golden Ratio spiral in a conch shell?  Each of the words in the phrase complex specified information is significant.  It has to be complex enough to exceed the threshold of chance.  It has to be specified to match an independent pattern.  And it has to be information – perhaps the trickiest word.  Information in one context can be gibberish in another.  Even apparent randomness can be intentional – as in a white-noise generator or some abstract art.  Do we call the DNA code information in the same sense as text in a novel?  Do we call the choreography of the chromosomes information in the same sense as ballet?  Are these just figures of speech?  When are the differences more significant than the similarities?  What is being communicated – and to whom or what?  The Saturn hexagon has no semantics, for instance; it conveys no message, performs no function.  Forces in the atmosphere – perhaps resonances or standing waves – will undoubtedly be found sufficient to explain the pattern once all the factors are known.  The hexagons in a beehive, though, perform a function – they create breeding cells with the maximum volume per packing space, using minimum materials.  Thus we see that information can be semantic or functional.  In either case, it requires foresight and intent to bring component parts together.    We know that intelligence acts with a goal in mind, and organizes parts to fit the goal.  Evolution and “blind nature” lack the ability to foresee ends, or to organize parts toward a goal.  Can we say this consistently?  Does gas and dust conspire to build a star?  Does water and rock and heat conspire to build Old Faithful geyser, in the same sense that calcium carbonate crystals and bridges conspire to build an urchin tooth?  Stars and geysers are improbable natural phenomena, too.  But in those cases, we see a clear continuum of simpler phenomena.  With stars, we see dust clouds of various levels of density, Herbig-Haro objects, and bodies of every size from brown dwarfs to supergiants.  With geysers, we find fumaroles, mudpots, and active hot springs of all sizes up to the great regular spouters.  Each of these falls within the range of chance and known physical laws of thermodynamics.  They also don’t “say” anything; there is no communication between parts, no information shared, no long-range goal that pulls together disparate parts to share a message.  They are like clouds, not skywriting; like ripples, not hieroglyphics.  Even the most elegant natural phenomena, like snowflakes, display the repetitive outcomes of natural laws applied to matter without conveying any meaning.  In a living cell, though, we find aperiodic coded information that is stored and retrieved, and then translated into a separate molecular coding convention (proteins), all with clear observable function as a result.  The coded information has no necessary connection to its medium.  The same information could conceivably be stored in other molecules – in the same sense that a human message could be sent via paper or email (computer geeks will appreciate George Gilder’s explanation of this point on ID the Future).  This means that information is not material.  It is independent from the medium that conveys it.  Moreover, the DNA translation system includes numerous component parts that must all work, or else function stops.  Even though the parts themselves are not intelligent, they show the hallmark of intelligent design – just like we might watch a robot made of metal and plastic using electricity on a factory assembly line and rightly infer it was intelligently designed for the purpose of assembling automobiles.    In Signature in the Cell (06/27/2009 Resource of the Week), Stephen Meyer delved deeply into the problem of how complex specified information – functional information – could have arisen in the molecules of life.  Only after the most rigorous elimination of all possible non-intelligent causes did intelligent design emerge as the best explanation.  But once chance and natural law (or combinations of the two) have been eliminated, and intelligent design accepted as the best (or only) explanation, new questions emerge.  If the apparent intention, foresight and purpose in life points to intelligent design, should we not look at the rest of nature with new eyes?  Why is the Golden Ratio so ubiquitous in nature?  Why do the constants of physics conspire to work together, out of a seemingly infinite range of contingent possibilities, to allow stars, planets, and life to exist?  Why is the Earth so well suited for life?  The Creator that Darwin, Huxley, Tyndall, Haeckel and all the others sought to exclude from scientific explanation has been there all the time.  Secular scientists only chose to look the other way.Exercise:  Look for complex specified information in the 6 examples above.  If intelligent design was involved, when and where was it involved?  Which of these operate robotically without God’s intervention?  Which emerged according to natural laws – and what are the laws?  Which might have started out by intelligent design but become modified naturally over time?  Which imply intelligently-designed initial conditions only?  Try your reasoning on these other patterns in nature: sand dunes, flying seeds (12/03/2009, 10/21/2009), iron filings on a paper over a magnet, a virus packing motor (10/18/2001), planetary rings, binary stars, toxins, river meanders, cilia in the windpipe, wind waves on a field of grass, honeycomb, parallel rock strata (are they fractal? 03/05/2004), meteor showers, the solar cycle, glaciers, volcanoes, dust devils on Mars, Cepheid variables, barred spiral galaxies, a perfect solar eclipse, stalactites, streaks in a cloud chamber, crater chains, ant mounds, woodpecker holes, a packrat midden, an Indian midden, a Venus flytrap, a beaver trap, the musical pattern in wind chimes, bird song, phyllotaxis.  Think of more on your own.(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Some recent stories provide exercises in differentiating intelligently-caused designs from complex patterns that can arise from natural law.  Here are some examples of designs in science reports; the commentary will discuss criteria for deciding which arise spontaneously without purpose and intent.Saturn hexagon:  The north pole of Saturn shows an odd hexagon-shaped pattern in the clouds that has persisted since at least the Voyager flybys.  Jet Propulsion Lab issued a press release with a new picture of it emerging from the winter darkness.  It was posted as the Dec. 14 Astronomy Picture of the Day.  There’s no good explanation for it yet.  “Scientists are still trying to figure out what causes the hexagon, where it gets and expels its energy and how it has stayed so organized for so long.”Cell cybernetics:  Science reported on Dec. 11 that “A Simple Cipher Governs DNA Recognition by TAL Effectors.”  We normally think of ciphers as a human-based technology.  Moscou and Bogdanove wrote, “Our finding represents a previously unknown mechanism for protein-DNA recognition that explains TAL effector specificity, enables target site prediction, and opens prospects for use of TAL effectors in research and biotechnology.”Genes in 3-D:  Science Daily reported that a “3-D View of Genes-at-Work Is Paradigm Shift in Genetics.”  Scientists from the Babraham Institute are getting glimpses of the 3-D organization of chromosomes in the nucleus.  It’s causing a “paradigm shift in our understanding of how the genome is spatially organised in relation to gene expression.”  There were 14 references to “transcription factories” in the short article.  For example:Highly coordinated chromosomal choreography leads genes and the sequences controlling them, which are often positioned huge distances apart on chromosomes, to these ‘hot spots’.  Once close together within the same transcription factory, genes get switched on (a process called transcription) at an appropriate level at the right time in a specific cell type.  This is the first demonstration that genes encoding proteins with related physiological role visit the same factory.In fact, the article continued, DNA itself is proving to be the most mobile thing in the nucleus, moving the genes to the hot spots where transcription occurs.  The genes almost seem to do a purpose-driven dance: “Having a common goal, such as producing all the components needed to make haemoglobin, could be a factor behind genes gravitating to a particular factory.”Golden Ratio:  The irrational number 1.61803… seems to pop up everywhere in nature: in animal proportions, the pyramids, artichoke heads, conch shells, spiral galaxies, the Mona Lisa and the Parthenon, to name a few.  Science Daily claimed that Adrian Bejan of Duke University knows why.  The ratio “describes a rectangle with a length roughly one and a half times its width.”  Bejan in his “constructal law” claims that “the eyes scan an image the fastest when it is shaped as a golden-ratio rectangle.”    The article continued: “For Bejan, vision and cognition evolved together and are one and the same design as locomotion.  The increased efficiency of information flowing from the world through the eyes to the brain corresponds with the transmission of this information through the branching architecture of nerves and the brain.”  Bejan, who believes that “vision and cognition evolved together and are one and the same design as locomotion,” said something that almost sounds new-age:It is the oneness of vision, cognition and locomotion as the design of the movement of all animals on earth…. The phenomenon of the golden ratio contributes to this understanding the idea that pattern and diversity coexist as integral and necessary features of the evolutionary design of nature.This explanation seems to beg the question of why galaxies and conch shells, which lack vision and cognition, follow this ratio, or why cognitive beings would have converged on the Golden Ratio, and what makes it golden, or satisfying, to the human spirit.  It also fails to explain from a naturalistic or evolutionary perspective what initial conditions in a big-bang explosion would have led to the ubiquity of the Golden Ratio.Update 01/07/2010: Does the Golden Ratio extend to the quantum scale?  PhysOrg reported that resonant modes of scattering neutrons display the same Golden Ratio “famous from art and architecture.”  The article added, “Such discoveries are leading physicists to speculate that the quantum, atomic scale world may have its own underlying order.”Histone code:  “Scientists Take a Step Towards Uncovering the Histone Code,” reported Science Daily.  This refers to protein tags on DNA that affect transcription and are apparently heritable and provide instructions apart from genes.  “Many biologists believe the modifications on histones are a code, analogous to the genetic code,” the article said (see also 07/26/2006, 02/17/2004).Urchin crystal power:  Sea urchins have a remarkable ability to build crystal teeth with perfectly aligned crystals.  PhysOrg explored this tantalizing phenomenon, opening with the teaser, “It’s as if grains of salt were spilled on a rug, yet instead of landing randomly, all wound up with exactly the same angle and rotation.”  The sea urchin begins with an amorphous mass of calcium carbonate like a ball of mud, and ends up with a perfect structure that is the envy of nanotechnologists.  This is achieved through crosslinks that Pupa Gilbert (U of Wisconsin-Madison) said “look exactly like Roman bridges, with long decks, and arched piers.”    What caused this remarkable order?  The article offered its explanation: “Evolution has crafted a clever means of forming hard, complicated crystals, yet the control mechanism remains to be explored.” Gilbert “still expresses wonderment at the biological solution she has observed,” the article noted.  She said, “Maybe one day we will have solar panels inspired by the lowly sea urchin.”last_img read more

Design of aircraft is rarely a crash factor

first_imgLoss of control in-flight and runway overruns, typically in bad weather –not aircraft design – continue to be the biggest factors in air crashes in the first six months of 2013.While last year was the safest year ever for flying according to the International Air Transport Association with only 15 fatal airline accidents with 414 fatalities the aviation industry is working on programs to reduce the rate further.*But this year –so far – is even safer with only 6 major accidents with 46 fatalities for airlines and charter operators.Commenting on the figures airlineratings.com Editor Geoffrey Thomas said that where once aircraft design was a factor this is rarely the case today.“This safety report builds on our ‘Best and worst crash rates’ feature published on June 18, 2013,” said Mr Thomas.“Relating to that report it is important to clarify that an aircraft’s crash rate has almost nothing to do with the design or quality of the aircraft.”“Intending passengers should look more at the operator’s safety rating and then how and where they operate the aircraft – not necessarily the aircraft itself,” said Mr Thomas “Take aircraft such as the twin-engine LET410 and Twin Otter turboprop which have been involved in some accidents over recent years but none were related to the design of the aircraft. In fact the L410 has not been involved in any incidents or accidents this year,” said Mr Thomas.“In fact the latest models the rugged LET410 UVP-E20 and L420, being in production since 1990 have an excellent safety record and have been certified by many authorities including those in Australia, the US and Europe.“These aircraft [LET410] have made a name for themselves on the continent of Africa with their remarkable “hot and high” performance, excellent Short Take-off and Landing capabilities, durable structure and their ability to operate under extreme climatic conditions,” said Mr. Thomas.“Crash rates for aircraft must be treated with extreme caution as aircraft such as the LET410 and Twin Otter operate where most aircraft cannot and provide critical lifelines to communities in rugged mountainous regions and jungles almost always onto grass or gravel runways.”It is also important to look carefully at the model of the aircraft. For instance the airline industry differentiates when major upgrades occur such as with the 737 and DC-9 designs that date to the 1960s.Early models of the Boeing 737 and DC-9 have a higher crash rates than later versions which have had extensive systems upgrades as technology improves and industry wide safety lessons are learnt.According to Boeing data the earliest 737 series has a crash rate of .88 per one million departures, while the next series upgraded models have a rate of .26, while the latest series the 737NG has a rate of just .15.“It is the same with the LET410 series,” said Mr Thomas“The latest models are not to be compared with earlier versions from the 1970s and the manufacturer Czech based Aircraft Industries is now developing the new LET410NG which features a glass cockpit and General Electric H80 engines.*IATA’s data is based on twin-engine turbine aircraft above 5,700kg for turboprops and 15,000kg for jets. Airlineratings.com adopts the same standards.last_img read more

Driving a new vision for Africa

first_imgThe 2011 Brand Africa Forum, sponsored by Brand South Africa and Brand Leadership Academy, saw an impressive range of pan-African, diasporan and global thought leaders, influencers and decision-makers coming together to debate how Africa can drive its growth, reputation and competitiveness.Youngsters from organisations likeBrightest Young Minds, One YoungWorld and the African LeadershipAcademy took part in a paneldiscussion on their vision for Africa.(Image: Ray Maota)The event was held on 29 September at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg and attracted more than 300 government, business and civil society representatives.Special focus areas included the role of the nation brand in economic development, governance and sustainability on the continent, economic lessons for Africa and the role of business in driving progress.The significance of South Africa joining Brazil, Russia, India and China in the BRICS bloc was explored, along with lessons to be learnt from emerging markets.The forum shone the spotlight on youth and their vision for the continent by including a panel of young leaders from Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Senegal.The inaugural Brand 100 Awards for Africa also took place at the forum.In the opening address, Brand South Africa chairperson Anitha Soni challenged African nations to cooperate in developing strong country brands to improve the continent’s global competitiveness, adding that this would require better cooperation and information-sharing among countries on the continent.“For us, Brand South Africa’s involvement in the Brand Africa Forum is a natural fit because the health of Africa’s brand is important for the strength and health of our own nation brand,” said Brand SA CEO Miller Matola.“If countries on the continent improve in terms of their image and reputation, the same holds for South Africa. Our prosperity is inextricably linked to that of the other countries on the continent,” he said.Nation branding: we must walk the talk“National branding is not about slogans, it is about what you do and what they think, that matters. If one does not change the negative perceptions they will become realities. In Africa we are good at talking and planning, but weak in implementing. We must walk the talk,” said Zimbabwe’s Deputy Prime Minister Dr Arthur Mutambara.“A brand must transcend political affiliations and should not be the sole property of a set political party … It must be taken it personally because we will never be respected as Africans unless Africa has done well as a continent. This goes the same for individual countries,” he added.Telling it like it isGlobal economist Dr Dambisa Moyo spoke frankly about the current economic crisis, the sovereign debt crisis extending beyond Europe, and Africa’s place in the global picture.“We could be in for a 10-year bear market and recessionary environment. Where does Africa fit into this?” she asked. “We’re facing a very serious problem … there are simply not enough resources to go around.”Moyo said in the coming years the world will increasingly struggle due to a shortage of arable land, energy constraints and a lack of food security, compounded by a lack of water.“This is particularly in the context of the famine that’s going on in the Horn of Africa,” she added.“There are about 1-billion people in the world who go hungry every day – and the majority of them are on this continent. And yet, Africa has the largest amount of untilled land left on the planet.”As an economist, Moyo sees this in terms of supply and demand: “We’ve got hungry people, and we’ve got land.”When there’s a food crisis in Africa, the first response of NGOs is often to “provide a so-called band aid solution, sending bags of maize to Somalia or Ethiopia immediately”.Moyo said she doesn’t find this objectionable, but as an economist, she believes it presents a structural problem.“We’ve got to get to the root cause: why is it that Africa, in the last 30 years, has been the only continent that has failed to feed itself – especially in light of the fact that we have the most untilled land?”But there is some good news, she added: “In a future world of 9-billion people, in a world where we know there are going to be supply constraints in commodities and resources, Africa has an important role to play.“But before we can actually get to a point where we are producing food and coming up with innovative ways to develop, we need to deal with Brand Africa.”Moyo said Africans had to proactively discuss and respond to its important role in the future of the world.“Without us getting our heads around this, it’s all just wonderful conversation – but it’s not going to help us in the long term.”Addressing forum delegates, Moyo concluded: “I urge you in your discussions today – and when you return to your respective businesses – to really focus on where the world is going, and to also focus on Africa and its very important role in the future.“The winners in the decades to come will be the people who look to Africa as a place of business opportunity and a place for partnerships – not as a place that is a drag on the world economy.” What Africa should do to be a powerful continent?Malik Fal, MD of Endeavour spoke about the Africa 2.0: Kenya Report. Endeavour is a New-York based NGO dedicated to the promotion of entrepreneurship in emerging markets.The report is a manifesto of the envisioned economic and political transition Africa should take if it is to rightfully claim its spot as a powerful continent.Fal said: “The manifesto is the collective effort of young African’s views about what Africa should do to be a powerful continent.”Fal added that Africa was in danger of developing presidential monarchies, with leaders favouring their children to become future presidents. He said this was the same as a dictatorship.The report, which comes out in October 2011, will have four main themes: uplifting African’s; creating and sharing African wealth; upgrading Africa’s infrastructure and creating a stable environment for growth.Seeing Africa through the eyes of a youngstersCedric Ntumba, an executive at Capitalworks Investment Partners, led a panel of youngsters in discussing their vision of Africa in the future and how their goals could be achieved.The panel included Gertrude Kitongo of Kenya and Ralph Baumgarten of South Africa – both from Brightest Young Minds organisation; Zamatungwa Khumalo and Erik de Ridder – both of South Africa from the One Young World organisation; and Francis Ekii of Uganda and Linda Rebeiz of Senegal, from the African Leadership Academy.Ntumba asked the panel what should be done to inspire African youngsters.“Youngsters should be forward thinking and their thoughts should sketch a positive future,” Baumgarten said.De Ridder added that for the youngsters of Africa to be inspired, countries should have a human-centred approach to development and that young people should take ownership of the fact that they are the future.Ekii said: “Youngsters should be proactive and not reactive to their situations.”He cited an example of how, when he was just 13 years old, he and a few friends from his hometown in Uganda took it upon themselves to talk openly about HIV in the community.When Khumalo was asked how youngsters from other continents welcomed African youth, she said: “Youngsters from other parts of the world have a warped sense of Africa and African youngsters are more receptive to the outside world than their counterparts.”BRICS and the role of AfricaA panel discussion on South Africa’s role in the BRICS grouping of nations was chaired by Abdullah Verachia, Director of Frontier Advisory.The panel included Ajai Chowdry, chair of HCL in India; Dr Vijay Mahajan, author of Africa Rising; Dr MG Vaidyan, CEO of the State Bank of India in South Africa; James Mwangi, global managing partner at Dalberg and Christine Jiang, from Huawei Technologies.Chowdry said that for Africa was to protect itself from the effects of the looming economic crisis, Africa had to play an indirect role in helping Europe by keeping its domestic consumption growing.He said South Africa would play a direct role with its involvement in BRICS as the bloc would probably contribute money as a group to the International Monetary Fund.Dr Vaidyan said: “India understood early on like China that population size is not a burden but an asset, and an asset should be maintained.”Vaidyan said that although India had a large population; it had 18 000 colleges, 350 universities and 1-million schools to provide education to its citizens.“The country also recognised that for urban India to progress, rural India has to be developed, that is why at least 40% of the loans we give are to small-scale farmers. South Africa needs to follow that route if it is to be a major player in the BRICS grouping,” said Dr Vaidyan.Mahajan said Africa’s greatest challenge was its migrants overseas who talked negatively about their native countries, creating a warped view of the continent. Africa should make sure its “ambassadors” in foreign countries celebrated Africa, he added.Speaking about competition between companies in the BRICS grouping, Mahajan said: “Africa should not just roll out the red carpet for companies from the BRIC grouping to invest in the respective countries on the continent, but should advocate for African companies to also invest in those markets.”Brand Africa 100 awardsThe inaugural Brand Africa 100 awards also took place during forum, giving credit to the continent’s most valued brands as voted for by pan-African consumers.Research methodology for the awards was developed by the Brand Leadership Academy in partnership with TNS, a globally respected consumer knowledge and information company, and Brand Finance – the world’s leading independent valuation consultancy.“One of the primary drivers of Africa’s growth lies in stimulating and growing thriving African and global businesses and brands in Africa,” said Thebe Ikalafeng, founder and chairperson of Brand Africa.Ikalafeng added that consumers were the ultimate arbiters of a brand’s success and that the awards would show which brands are getting it right on the continent.The award sector categories included food, beverages, electronics, telecoms, automotive, apparel, banks, oil and gas, retail and personal care.Credit was also given to the most valued non-African brand, the most valued brand in Africa and the Grand Prix award for the most valued African brand overall.The winning brands were:Food – McDonaldsBeverages – Coca-ColaElectronics – SamsungTelecoms – MTNAutomotive – ToyotaApparel – NikeBanks – AbsaOil and gas – ShellRetail – Blue BandPersonal Care – NiveaThe most valued non-African brand went to Shell, while MTN was voted the most valued brand in Africa and took the Grand Prix award.last_img read more

Khoisan couple home at last

first_imgThe Khoisan or Bushmen people werethe subjects of degrading study andscrutiny in the 19th and early 20thcenturies, often stemming from Europe. The traditional Khoisan way of life is thesedays practised by fewer people. (Images: ‡Khomani San) The remains of Klaas and Trooi Pienaararrive at OR Tambo International – artsand culture minister Paul Mashatile, right,was one of the pallbearers.(Image: Jacaranda FM) MEDIA CONTACTS • Mack Lewele  Communications director  Dept of Arts and Culture  +27 12 331 3083 or +27 82 450 5076 RELATED ARTICLES • !Khwa ttu: the way of the San • Locals gain from medicinal herb deal • Cash boost for Baartman memorial • African human genomes decoded • Paddling through N Cape paradiseMediaClubSouthAfrica.com reporterThe South African government has repatriated the remains of a Khoisan couple, Klaas and Trooi Pienaar, after an extended sojourn of over a century in Austria.Arts and culture minister Paul Mashatile, accompanied by a group of Khoisan people that included local chief Adam Mathysen and relatives of the couple, received the Pienaars’ remains from a government delegation led by deputy minister Joe Phaahla at OR Tambo International Airport towards the end of April.A statement from the Department of Arts and Culture said it was ”no coincidence that the Pienaars final return to the soil of their birth comes in April, when we celebrate our hard won freedom”.It was 103 years since the couple had been shipped off to Austria by a scientist supposedly conducting research.In 1909 the couple died within a month of each other on a farm near Kuruman in the Northern Cape, and their bodies had barely been laid to rest when an Austrian anthropologist, Rudolf Poch, sent an emissary to exhume the couple and take them overseas for study.With no permits in place, the exhumation operation was conducted illegally, and the bodies were hidden in a barrel of salt and taken off the African continent to become subjects of Poch’s so-called racial research.Many years later, their remains were tracked down by history professor Ciraj Rassool of the University of the Western Cape, and prominent Cape Town-based historian and activist Martin Legassick. They found that the Pienaars had been kept at the Imperial Academy of Sciences before removal to the Natural History Museum in Vienna.But the South African government viewed them as citizens, and worked with the Austrian government for four years to reach an agreement to bring the Pienaars’ remains back to their land of birth.Coming home at lastSpeaking to reporters after receiving the remains, Mashatile described the return of the Khoisan couple as a significant milestone.“It is particularly a triumph over oppression,” he said. “They will now rest in peace among their people.”The minister said the couple will be given proper re-burial amongst their people in the Northern Cape next month.“We’ve reached an agreement with the Pienaar family, the Northern Cape provincial government, and the Khoisan community that the reburial should be conducted in the second week of May.”Mashatile said the Austrian government relinquished the remains three days before the flight home. A delegation of Khoisan people performed a ceremony at the National History Museum in Vienna upon receiving the couple.One of the couple’s direct granddaughters, Francis Pienaar, said that although her grandparents’ graves were exhumed in Danielskuil near Kuruman, as a family they have not yet decided where the re-burial will take place.“We are extremely excited and we don’t know how we can thank our government,” she said.Restoring dignityAccording to Rassool, the Natural History Museum and Vienna University’s Institute of Anthropology still hold the remains of some 50 South Africans and the partial remains of about 150 more – but because the Pienaars’ names had been discovered and subsequently their place of origin, it was possible to bring them back.However, efforts will begin to repatriate the others as well.Northern Cape MEC for social development, Alvin Botes, said people of the Northern Cape viewed the repatriation of the Pienaars’ remains as dear efforts by the government.“We are looking forward to giving the couple a proper re-burial and from now on, we are saying our human dignity should be respected and none of our graves should be opened or exhumed without our permission,” he said.The operation is part of the government’s efforts to restore dignity to the victims of colonialism and racism. In January 2002, Sarah Baartman‘s remains were returned to South Africa, which put an end to the many years of exploitation she endured abroad.last_img read more

SA voted top African retail market

first_img Only 21% of the surveyed retailers currently generate sales on the continent. “Of those which do, more than half (53%) say South Africa is their top market,” the company said. “When asked where in Africa they would consider expanding in future, South Africa remained the number one choice with 18%.” Ghana and Kenya were next on the list, with 6% and 4% respectively. This was due to the emergence of a growing middle class, as well as growth in the use of mobile technology. “Many of the trends which have driven the economic development of emerging economies in Asia and South America are beginning to take hold in Africa,” said head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, Richard Lowe. “Its rapidly expanding middle class increasingly need goods and services which cannot be catered for domestically, providing a golden opportunity for internationally-minded retailers. “This is a truly ‘ground floor’ moment in many African economies,” Lowe said. SAinfo reporter While the United States remains the top destination, Africa is emerging as an attractive market to invest in, the survey found. “Africa remains one of the final frontiers for retail, but the recent acquisition of South Africa’s Massmart shows how seriously global retailers are now taking the continent,” Barclays said in a statement. Almost a quarter of companies surveyed said Africa would be the “new retail growth story” in the next decade. 3 April 2013 South Africa is the top ranked market for retail expansion in Africa in the latest survey by UK financial services provider Barclays. The survey, released on Tuesday, asked British retailers about their attitudes towards international expansion.last_img read more

Youth citizen journalism in Kenya takes off

first_img12 May 2016Writer Tom Grass and photographer Harrison Thane have created a distinctively lo-fi social initiative called Zinester. It is inspiring children in Kenya’s Kibera slum to capture the spirit and narrative of the people living there in words and pictures. It is distributed as photocopied magazines.Much like the early punk music-inspired DIY magazine culture in the UK and US during the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Kibera “zines” are entirely conceived, created and controlled by kids. It is filled with enthusiastic, creative articles highlighting the distinctive subcultures in the community.Pretty cool to see a DIY zine by kids in Kibera, one of Nigeria’s largest, poorest slums.#Zinester,… https://t.co/XCp3N4db18— Bill Bucolo (@billbuc) May 7, 2016Grass and Thane teach youngsters basic photography and journalism skills. Once schooled, the kids take to the streets to interview residents and observe interesting events like the notorious night runners of Kibera, a group of men who strip and run at night to escape evil spirits.The young writers, photographers and artists compile collaged articles which is printed, photocopied, and distributed to the community for free. An anthology is compiled digitally for purchase by international readers, under the title Chocolate City.The Zinester team work at the Wings of Life Children’s Centre in Kibera, a development hub that offers support and education to the impoverished, orphans and abused children.The project is funded by Grass and Thane with no other support other than their modest crowdfunding kickstarter campaign. All donations are ploughed back into sustaining the centre, the magazine itself, and developing new magazine ideas in other parts of Kenya.One of their next workshops will be in the northern Kenyan village of Umoja, a women-only community and a safe haven for survivors of gender-based violence.The kids of Zinester has been covered in a number of international design and culture magazines, as well as being profiled on BBC News and American-Canadian broadcaster, the Vice channel.Watch the Zinester video profile below: Source: BBClast_img read more

That’s a Geocache?!? The Unending Evolution of Geocaches

first_imgTraditional geocacheFor most, the evolution of the geocache container begins with a sturdy great-great-great-grandfather geocache.  It’s the iconic metal ammo can. But in one decade of geocaching, the geocache family tree branched off into dozens of directions.Each branch embodies the spirit of evolution.  Geocaches now blend more and more into their natural environment.  Say you place a cache on the outskirts of an estuary?  There’s a bird geocache for that.  You’re considering an urban cache on a park bench?  We’ve heard of magnetic microcaches that resemble gum for that.Take a quick look at the picture below on the left.  Guess how many geocaches are in that picture?  Ok, I know there are a few caveats. There can only be one geocache every tenth of a mile and none of these are activated, but how many possible geocaches do you see? The answer is… six. The bird, those pinecones, that rock, even two of the sticks are actually geocaches.How many geocaches are hidden in this pictureJust enough room for a logGeocaches are not the only part of the geocaching equation to evolve.  Geocachers developed a keener “geo-sense” over the past decade.  Say that you placed a corn cob shaped cache in field of corn… the cache will be found.A cache like this one pictured at the bottom of the page is all in a days work for an average cacher.I’d love to hear your most difficult find.  How many DNF’s did you log before uncovering the cache?  Let us know, just post a comment to this blog.Thermometer reveals a geocacheShare with your Friends:More SharePrint RelatedThe evolution of geocachesNovember 19, 2019In “Learn”Rubik’s Cache (GC5YGFM) – Geocache of the WeekJuly 30, 2015In “Geocache of the Week”350 miles, all for a smiley. — Munich – Venice (GC1FPN1) — Geocache of the WeekJune 12, 2013In “Community”last_img read more