Perseid meteors this weekend

first_imgDear Editor,The planets Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars are lined off this month of August 2018: Venus in Virgo, Jupiter in Libra, Saturn in Sagittarius, and Mars in Capricorn. Venus can be seen up to about 9pm, Jupiter up to about midnight, Saturn up to 2am, and Mars up to 4am. Mars has overtaken Jupiter in brightness, and is now the 4th brightest heavenly body (after the Sun, Moon and Venus) up to September.This weekend of August 11-12, the Moon is fairly new and will therefore not be interfering with visibility. That interference will be left to the weather and bright city lights.Every year around August 11-12, the Perseid meteors encounter the Earth. They are called the Perseid meteors because, when you see these shooting stars, they appear to emerge from the constellation Perseus, which rises not until around midnight. The next time this meteor shower will be so near a favourable New Moon will be in the year 2026.The University of Guyana Astronomical Society (UGAS) have informed me that they are going to use the 2018 opportunity to view the Perseid meteors — which are sporadic, but can average 70 meteors per minute in good visibility. So they are renting a high rooftop in Queen Street, Kitty, opposite Glow Hotel, to minimise the bright city lights; and are inviting the public at a cost of $1,000 per person, $500 per child, to camp out for the events.They plan to set up by 6.30 pm on Sunday, August 12, and showcase their recently acquired 10” reflecting telescope while providing the opportunity for those who have their own instruments to use or demonstrate them on the planets Andromeda and our own Milky Way galaxies and all the interesting constellations.Early comers may be able to catch the Southern Cross and Venus before they set in the West. Knowledgeable persons should be available all night until dawn to talk night sky lore and discuss theories of the universe. I am told that refreshments can be purchased on location.So let’s pray the weather permits clear viewing. We can always wait it out in fruitful discussion and answering of questions.Yours sincerely,Alfred Bhulailast_img read more

SA in line for new luxury hotels

first_img6 March 2007A US-German joint venture could see as many as eight new luxury hotels being built in South Africa over the next few years, with at least two expected to be up and running in time for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.Business Day reports that Germany’s Arabella Hotel Holdings International and US-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide have already identified sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.According to Arabella South Africa’s chief operating officer, Heinz Grub, they are also looking at Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Kimberley for future development. There is also the possibility of one hotel in Namibia.This is the first time the two companies will work together in South Africa, following joint operations in Germany, Switzerland and the Balearic Islands, and they are in for the long term.“This means the Sheraton Pretoria is now part of Arabella-Starwood’s portfolio and all future projects in SA and Namibia will form part of the joint venture,” Grub told Business Day.According to the Starwood website, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts is the group’s largest and second-oldest brand.Grub told Business Report that the venture would invest between R1-million and R2-million per room on average, while the opening of six hotels could create up to 12 000 new jobs in the country.Going ‘super-luxury’Arabella-Starwood is already active in South Africa, owning and operating the Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel opposite the Cape Town International Convention Centre and the Western Cape Hotel and Spa, a luxury resort hotel on the Arabella Golf Estate near Hermanus.It also owns the Blaauwklippen Agricultural Estate in Stellenbosch and the Paulaner Brauhaus in the V&A Waterfront.Grub also told Business Day that the Arabella Sheraton in Cape Town would be upgraded to a Westin, considered one of Arabella-Starwood’s “super-luxury” hotel brands.Being next to the convention centre, the hotels caters more for foreigners than for South Africans, and the group hopes the upgrade will attract the growing numbers of American business and leisure tourists.Grub said the group had full confidence in the South African economy, and though crime was a challenge that needed to be addressed, they were forging ahead.“Crime is still a bit of a stumbling block, but we try to put the issue of crime in perspective with other world cities such as New York,” he told Business Day.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

SA scientist joins top MIT class

first_imgProf Thembela Hillie will join a distinguished group of alumni when he completes his MIT Sloan MBA in 2012.(Image: CSIR) MEDIA CONTACTS • Prof Thembela Hillie  CSIR research group leader: low   dimensional systems  +27 12 841 3874 RELATED ARTICLES • Fostering South Africa’s young scientists • Sci-Bono CEO gets French knighthood • Synthetic biology honour for students • SA scientists win AU awards • SA students tops at science awardsShamin ChibbaTake a young man out of his small hometown, put him on the road and see how far he will go. Many will guess that if he has enough determination, he will go further than he could ever imagine.This can surely be said of nanotechnology expert Professor Thembela Hillie of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who hails from the small town of Butterworth – also known as Gcuwa – in the Eastern Cape and now finds himself in the classrooms of one of the most prestigious universities in the US.Hillie was selected by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management (MIT Sloan) to pursue a one-year mid-career fellowship in innovation and global leadership. He also received a Dean’s Fellowship Award worth $90 000 (R740 000).According to the CSIR website, the Sloan fellowship combines financial courses with electives in technology strategies, giving Hillie the opportunity to augment his scientific background with business skills.He arrived at MIT Sloan in May 2011 and opted for a full-time executive MBA course that will run until June 2012.Hillie said the course is designed to prepare a group of mid-career managers from different parts of the world to magnify their impact as leaders.Distinguished MIT Sloan alumni include Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-general; Benjamin Netanyahu, ninth prime minister of Israel; Calie Pistorius, former principal of Pretoria University; and Alan Mulally, president and CEO of the Ford Motor CompanySurrounded by great mindsHillie, who holds a PhD in solid state physics, was chosen for the class of 2012 through an application and a series of interviews.The nanotechnologist believes his leadership in projects involving the India-Brazil-South Africa alliance, the UN International Development Organisation’s expert group on nanotechnology, and the World Economic Forum convinced MIT to select him.He described his first three months at MIT as hectic, as the group had to quickly learn about business fundamentals. What he had learnt thus far was like “drinking from a hosepipe”.“This was to prepare us to take electives and form study groups with second year MBAs,” he said, adding that being surrounded by so many great minds – some of them Nobel laureates who are willing to give up their time to help – has humbled him.He said MIT Sloan also allows him to interact with faculties from other schools.“Being here also gives me the opportunity to cross register with Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Governance for some electives,” he said.Since his arrival, Hillie has been interacting with a cohort of mid-career global leaders from a diverse range of industries, including engineers and entrepreneurs, who have an average of 14 years’ work experience.He and his contemporaries have been discussing problems with business leaders of technology-based corporations, leading scientists and economists. Through discussion, they have been able to link knowledge generation and technology development, and create a toolkit for technology innovation.About emerging technologiesAccording to Hillie, the concept of emerging technology refers to new technologies that use an interdisciplinary approach. This includes nanotechnology, synthetic biology and converging technologies.“These are relatively new technologies with a potential to have a positive impact on society,” he said.He added that such technologies can add economic and social value to materials, products and processes that can bring about global prosperity.Emerging technologies, especially nanotechnology, can be used to overcome a number of pressing challenges such as energy generation and storage, health care, climate change and food security.South Africa is ready for nanotechnologyIn recent years there has been a lot of hype surrounding nanotechnology, both positive and negative. However, Hillie said the negative press is subsiding and the science is now taking over.The national Department of Science and Technology can take much of the credit for changing the country’s attitudes towards nanotechnology, through its public awareness campaigns that educate people on the technology’s benefits.“We are teaching students the fundamental science at nano scale – this excites them and brings more talent to science,” said Hillie.He believes South Africa is ready to implement emerging technologies, and confirmed that there are numerous national strategies around the country that are accompanied by research activities.However, he said the only thing South Africa lacks are the tools to convert the research into products, which is something Hillie is currently learning at MIT.As far as integration into daily life is concerned, he said that we already live with nanotechnology, mostly as enhancements to existing technologies such as computer memory, scratch resistance coatings, packaging material and televisions.“It can also be applied in water purification, drug delivery and energy sources,” he said.He does believe that there will come a time when the technology will be advanced enough to change the way we do things.Emerging technologies bring scientists togetherResearch into emerging technologies is conducted at different levels in various countries and is dependent on the amount of financial support researchers receive.Hillie said scientists from developed nations are leading in research efforts because they obtain greater funding compared to their developing counterparts.In this regard, Africa lags behind many other countries. But despite the financial gap, there is one positive that comes out of emerging technologies research, according to Hillie, and that is that it’s brought scientists together from around the world.“Never has collaboration amongst international bodies been so extensive,” he said.Hillie himself has led a group of Indian, Brazilian and South African nanotechnologists for six years. And when he graduates next year, he will be collaborating with  powerful leaders that include the alumni of MIT, MIT Sloan, and the Society of Sloan Fellows of MIT.last_img read more

‘Promote SA as Africa financial gateway’

first_img29 August 2012Promoting South Africa as a financial centre and investment “gateway” for the continent is imperative if the country is to benefit fully from the growing global investor interest in Africa, according to the National Treasury and the country’s banks.This was one of the things that emerged from Monday’s meeting in Pretoria between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and the chairpersons and CEOs of the major banks.In a statement issued after the meeting, the Treasury said “the substantial global increase in interest in Africa was noted, as well as the fact that South Africa was well placed to benefit from this.“If South Africa is to benefit fully from this interest in sub-Saharan Africa, government and the private sector must work together closely.”The meeting noted that despite the ongoing European and global financial crisis, South Africa’s banks remained well-capitalized, liquid and solvent. Lending conditions had in fact improved, with credit extension beginning to rise, and the latest banking results pointing to a recovery in banks’ profitability.“In particular, the representatives of banks confirmed the build-up of corporate cash balances and noted that this was a global phenomenon, which was typical of global uncertainty and a lack of investor confidence.“This provided opportunities going forward to unlock money for investment in emerging economies.”The banks indicated their strong support for the government’s vision of growth that supported job creation and poverty reduction, and in particular for the state-led infrastructure drive announced by President Jacob Zuma in February.The banks “noted that they could play in key role in both the financing of the key infrastructure projects as well assist in providing the technical capacity to speed up the delivery of such infrastructure,” the Treasury said.“Constraints to a smoother working relationship between the financial sector and government were identified, and the meeting agreed that the Minister of Finance will coordinate attempts within government to remove these blockages.”The meeting also discussed the international regulatory requirements for banks.“Progress in meeting Basel 3 requirements was noted, and the announcement of measures to assist banks to meet the liquidity coverage ratio was welcomed.”The banks had also noted “the ongoing efforts of the National Treasury and the Financial Services Board to ensure South Africa’s compliance with the G20 requirements for clearing and reporting of derivative transactions”.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Following in Burchell’s tracks

first_imgA young William Burchell, setting out of his South African explorations. Portrait of a Bushman playing an instrument. The Hottentot Speelman, Burchell’s depiction of his faithful servant.(Images: William Burchell) The remains of the Burchell hut outside Graaff Reinet. Six of the Burchell explorers. A sandy river is the perfect spot to camp for the night.(Images: Lucille Davie)MEDIA CONTACTS • Diana WallManager: Collections, Museum Africa+27 (0)11 833 5624Lucille DavieI found it! I found the remains of the hut that sheltered explorer and naturalist William Burchell on the final leg of his journey to Graaff-Reinet in 1813.Burchell, the quintessential Renaissance Man, was one of the more celebrated of the early explorers who visited South Africa in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He left vivid accounts of life in the colony, of the Hottentots and Bushmen he came across, and of the fauna and flora of the Karoo and Western Cape.He arrived in Cape Town on a boat from St Helena in November 1810, aged 29, and left on his journey seven months later, travelling beyond the border of the colony, right up to Kuruman in today’s Northern Cape, before making his way back along the coast to Cape Town four years later, arriving in April 1815 after travelling 7 242 kilometres. He documented his travels in two beautifully written volumes, published in 1822 and 1824. A third volume was never written, so we have an unfinished tale of his travels in South Africa but a complete map of his route.I found the remains of Burchell’s hut on a recent mountain biking trip with several friends. We drove down to Graaff-Reinet in Eastern Cape, to re-enact Burchell’s return trip from there to Griquatown, a village in Northern Cape, then known as Klaarwater (meaning “the end of water” in Afrikaans).Burchell describes the hut: “It consisted only of one room; part of the roof had been blown off; the floor was covered with the rubbish of the thatch which had fallen in; and the door and windows had been taken away.” He had felt a fever developing so was happy to have found shelter, even if it was makeshift.He had left his two wagons in Klaarwater and travelled on horseback down to Graaff-Reinet where he was hoping to recruit more men to travel further north with him. He had been advised that he wouldn’t survive the tribes living beyond the border, where previous expeditions had gone, never to be heard of again.Just before he reached Graaff-Reinet he took ill with influenza, some 16km north of the town, and sheltered in the hut for a few days. He wrote that 6 000 people in Cape Town had been afflicted by the flu. The hut was on the old dirt Ouberg pass road, now running through Philip Kemp’s farm Brakfontein. I don’t believe anyone has tried to find the hut before, but careful mapping of his route pointed to the farm.Kemp was intrigued to hear about the location of the hut and willingly drove me some 500m up the old pass until we spotted an old kraal. Opposite it was the hut, now just a rectangle of untidy low rock walls, with the rocks scattered around. One corner retains rocks cemented together a metre high. The farm has been in the Kemp family since 1966, where they farm sheep, goats and cattle on 3 000ha. He says the farmhouse is “very old”, and is happy for people to visit the hut site.Burchell described the hut again on his way out of Graaff Reinet: “As I passed my hut, I silently thanked it for the shelter which it had so opportunely afforded me; and without which, the fever might possibly have gained a fatal ascendency.”Burchell was somewhat amused by rumours that he was leading an army of 300 Hottentots to attack Graaff-Reinet, “taking advantage of the favourable moment when so many boors were absent from their homes and detained on the commando in the Zuureveld”. The villagers’ concern was exacerbated by the recent death of Commandant Stockenstroom in skirmishes with the Bushmen. Several people from the town visited him in the hut, urging him to return with them, but at the same time checking to ascertain the size of his “army”.Finding the locationsWe had set ourselves the goal of finding some of the locations Burchell had drawn in his sketches. The first one was easy – the Drostdy in Parsonage Street in Graaff-Reinet is still there, looking just as he drew it.About 30 kilometres north Graaff-Reinet is a spectacular waterfall. Although not in either of his volumes, he did draw the waterfall, and this peaceful place is worth a visit. And unlike Burchell, you can pull in to guesthouses along the way and experience great Karoo hospitality: 70 kilometres outside Graaff-Reinet is Lynne Minnaar’s Groenvlei guesthouse. She offers warm-hearted friendliness on her farm, with lashings of lamb and healthy vegetables, and malva pudding. On our first night we had dinner by kerosene lamp in the old shed, with farm implements and historical artefacts on the walls.The next day involved another search, this time for Burchell’s initials, WJB – William John Burchell – which he scratched on to a rock on a koppie on the farm Brandfontein, 10km outside De Aar and belonging to Ian and Igme Strauss. On a previous trip we had searched the koppie behind the farmhouse at Brandfontein, and although we found a number of rocks with initials scratched on them, none corresponded to what we were looking for. I looked again for the initials on this trip, but could not find them. Perhaps it’s not the right koppie.The farmhouse is typical of many in the Karoo – sprawling and solidly built, with warm fireplaces and wonderful views. Strauss says the guesthouse dates back to 1820, while the farmhouse was built in 1860. Nearby is the shearing shed, a long, wooden-strutted room where over the years many sheep have given up their wool.Personable and unassumingBurchell, a short man at 1.62m, was personable and unassuming, and wrote eloquently of his love for South Africa. He learned to speak Dutch while in Cape Town, and spoke to his Hottentot companions, Speelman and Juli, who accompanied him on his travels, in Dutch. He was immensely talented: he could draw and paint; he could play several musical instruments; he had an understanding of science, in particular flora and fauna; and he had an easy manner with people, at once putting them at ease while enquiring about their wellbeing.His powers of observation were exceptional, as his drawing and description of a Bushman arrow show: “The shaft is made from the common African reed, and at each end is neatly bound round with sinew, to prevent splitting. The head consists principally of a long piece of bone cut very smoothly to fit exactly into the reed, so as to remain fast without being absolutely fixed. The length of the whole arrow is generally between eighteen and twenty-two inches.”His legacy can be found in many names: Burchell’s zebra; eciton burchellii army ant; burchellia bubilia, a wild pomegranate; Burchell’s coucal, starling, courser and grouse; and Burchell’s sand lizard. He was the first to describe the white rhino near Kuruman in 1812.Before he left Cape Town he had a wagon made to his specifications. It had to accommodate 50 scientific reference books, his flute, his drawing materials, his bed, his specimen boxes, his work desk, rifles and ammunition, a medicine kit, and items like snuff and beads to give as gifts. But shortly after leaving Cape Town he discovered that one wagon was not sufficient, and bought another one. By the end of his trip he had collected 60 000 natural history specimens, mostly botanical but also numerous animal skins. He returned too with 500 drawings, including valuable portraits of locals, landscapes and illustrations of botanical and zoological subjects.But perhaps his more enduring legacy is the map of his travels. It not only follows his route carefully but is annotated, showing intriguing details of places he named, animals he first came across, and people he met. The map reflects local Hottentot or Dutch names – he was always respectful of names already given to places, and never replaced them with Eurocentric ones, like other explorers did. For instance, he referred to the Orange River as the !Gariep River, the original Hottentot name.Born in LondonBurchell was born in London on 23 July 1781, the son of the prosperous owner of the Fulham Nursery, a nine-and-a-half acre stretch of land neighbouring Fulham Palace, the residence of the Bishop of London, on the north bank of the Thames. He studied botany but turned down an offer by his father to work at the nursery, instead sailing to St Helena, where he was to join in a partnership as a merchant. But after trying this for seven months, he discovered it wasn’t his calling, and was appointed temporary schoolmaster on the island.Before leaving England, he wished to become engaged to Lucia Green, but his parents disapproved of the match. But in time they came around to the idea and she left for St Helena on board the Walmer Castle, reaching the island in April 1808. But the marriage didn’t take place – Green “transferred her affections” to the captain of the ship, explains A Gordon-Brown in the introduction to the 1967 edition of Burchell’s volumes.He was never to marry, and perhaps would never have undertaken his explorations in South Africa if he had.Arrival in Cape TownHe was subsequently appointed naturalist on the island but in October 1810 he decided to sail for Cape Town. He had been in correspondence with Reverend CHF Hesse, the Lutheran minister in Cape Town, where he stayed when he arrived in the town. The Lutheran church is still standing, in Strand Street, much as it was in Burchell’s day, and is worth a visit. Hesse’s home next door still stands but is now the Gold of Africa Museum, also worth a visit.Burchell’s trip to Klaarwater was undertaken with missionaries, but all his other journeys were with just his Hottentot servants. The most northerly point he reached was Litakun, an extraordinary sprawling Tswana settlement some 20km north-east of Klaarwater. Traces of many cattle kraals can still be seen in the area, a hint of how large the settlement was.He stayed in Litakun for several weeks, and then made his way to Grahamstown, where he stayed for five weeks, before leaving for the Fish River mouth, visiting Kowie, Uitenhage, Port Elizabeth, and the villages along the coast to Cape Town, where he arrived in mid-April 1815. He returned to England that year, arriving in November.Several years after his return, he was asked about sending British settlers to the Cape Colony. He compiled a report in 1819, recommending the Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown areas – and this report led directly to the 1820 settlers being sent out to farm in the Cape.He went to Brazil in 1825 and returned in March 1830, but the only published account of that journey is two letters – his journals were lost. In 1834, the University of Oxford conferred on him a Doctorate of Civil Law honoris causa, the only public recognition he received. He became increasingly isolated as he aged and in a fit of despondency, hanged himself in Fulham on 23 March 1863, at the age of 82.His botanical collections, drawings and manuscripts, from South Africa and Brazil, went to the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew; the entomological collections, drawings and notebooks went to the University Museum, Oxford. Some 557 landscapes and portraits are in Museum Africa in Johannesburg, and a few are in private collections.A night under the starsWe decided to spend a night camping in a river bed, just like Burchell had done throughout his trip. We had permission from a farmer to camp on his farm, and were to be minimalist and rolled out our sleeping bags on the soft sand. We collected branches from the surrounding bush, and soon had a two-metre high fire blazing into the night sky.Once it had died down, we placed our lamb chops – surely Burchell would have braaied them, too? – on the coals, and were soon munching them with rolls. The evening was overcast but I remember waking in the night to a star-filled sky, and I’m convinced the stars willed me awake, to show off their splendour.We woke in the morning to rain on our faces – Burchell had spent odd nights trying to sleep under an umbrella in the pouring rain. At least the rain waited till the morning for us, and it didn’t last. It was time to get up anyway, and within an hour we were ready to swing a leg over our bikes, ready to start another day of following in Burchell’s tracks.The Gariep RiverWe took our leave of Burchell at the !Gariep River. He wrote in his second volume: “This day’s march brought us once more to the delightful woody banks of the beautiful !Gariep. I hailed its airy acacia groves and drooping willows, and derived pleasure from fancying that they waved their branches to bid me welcome again to their cooling shade, and to greet me on my safe return.”Crossing with the large party he had gathered along the way, including a dozen sheep and about 20 dogs, became a huge undertaking, with some of the party left to spend the night on an island in the river.When they had all finally assembled on the other side of the swollen river, Burchell observed: “My men were in not less alarm: all preserved a fearful silence as long as they were in the water, which was between ten and fifteen minutes; but the moment we reached the shore, they congratulated each other on having landed without incident. Old Hans, who was near me and had observed my horse stumbling and scarcely able to stand against the force of the current, exclaimed very fervently when we gained the bank; ‘Thank God! Mynheer is safe’.”Our crossing of the !Gariep was a lot less dramatic. We had charted where we guessed Burchell and his party had crossed, and the eight of us ran down the bank to a sandy stretch. Not deterred by the April chilliness, two of our party got down to their underpants and waded in to knee-high water. They crossed the tip of an island then walked into the deeper section, finally becoming immersed near the opposite bank.They disappeared from sight but when they returned, their faces carried broad smiles of satisfaction – they had crossed the !Gariep, like Burchell had done.We didn’t feel a need to go on to Klaarwater, perhaps another time. We loaded the bikes on to our vehicles and headed for home.last_img read more

New era for Nedbank Golf Challenge

first_img“The increased opportunity for our players is a major asset for the Sunshine Tour in terms of inspiring our current stars and also attracting other players to our tour,” Nathan said. “Africa’s Major”, South Africa’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, will enter a new era in 2013 with the adoption of a new format, an increase in prize money, and the addition of official rankings points. “Since 1981 the Nedbank Golf Challenge has remained at the forefront of world golf and has become an iconic event on the South African sporting calendar,” Sibeko said. “Through the enhancements to Africa’s Major, we continue to make world-class golf happen and bring the world’s best golfers to Sun City.” “The Nedbank Golf Challenge is an exciting addition to The European Tour International Schedule and to have such a lucrative purse on offer very early in the 2014 season gives a new dimension to The Race to Dubai,” Waters said. In a statement released on Thursday, it was announced that the event, which is now 32 years old, will be co-sanctioned by the Sunshine and European Tours and will feature an elite 30-man field competing for a prize purse of US$6.5-million, which is an increase of $1.5-million over 2012. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material Selwyn Nathan, the executive director of the Sunshine Tour, said the new format of the Nedbank Golf Challenge would inspire a new generation of South African golfers as an event they want to compete in. 21 June 2013 ‘An excellent relationship’Keith Waters, the European Tour’s director of international policy, said: “The European Tour has long had an excellent relationship with South Africa and the Sunshine Tour, and this news will further strengthen that bond. “We are grateful to the support of Nedbank, Sun International and the Sunshine Tour and look forward to a fantastic tournament in December.” South African tournamentsThe winner of the 2013 South African Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship, played in the two weeks leading up to the Nedbank Golf Challenge, will gain exemption into the field. There will also be a spot for the current number one and two on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit as of Monday, 25 November, 2013. The winner will walk away with $1.5-million, while last place will be worth a cool $100 000. Thulani Sibeko, group executive of marketing and communications at Nedbank, expressed the sponsor’s delight with the new vision of the tournament. ‘It can open doors’ The qualification criteria for the field have been expanded. The defending champion, as always, is exempt, while the winner of the previous season’s Sunshine Tour Order of Merit is also guaranteed a place. Alastair Roper, tournament director of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, said that, with this new structure, “we have one of the most exciting fields in world golf. “We have provided opportunities for the best in world golf to have their shot at qualifying for Africa’s Major. We’ll also have incredible momentum right up to the week before the Nedbank Golf Challenge, with players battling it out for a place in our field,” Roper said. ‘One of the premier tournaments in world golf’“I have no doubt that we have strengthened the Nedbank Golf Challenge as one of the premier tournaments in world golf and the number one event in its time slot.” SAinfo reporter “The Sunshine Tour has always prided itself on the fact that it can open doors for a player to compete in some of the biggest tournaments in world golf, and the 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge will bring about an exciting conclusion to our season.” The new selection criteria also target the best of the world’s leading tours, from the PGA Tour and European Tour to the Japan Golf Tour. There will also be an increase in the number of South Africans eligible for qualification in the field. Rankings, points, Order of MeritApart from counting towards the official world golf rankings, the tournament will also count towards Ryder Cup points, and official money on the Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit and the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. last_img read more

South Africa to manufacture pneumonia vaccine

first_img5 November 2015An important pneumonia bacteria vaccine will be made in South Africa within the next five years, following a partnership between the global pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer; the local biotechnology organisation, Biovac Institute; and the Department of Science and Technology.The vaccine, Prevenar 13, has proven to be effective in preventing pneumococcal infection in children from six weeks to five years old and in adults of 50 years and older. It will be manufactured at Biovac’s new commercial-scale facility in Cape Town.This move fulfils several of the goals of the National Development Plan Vision 2030, including ensuring access to health care for all South Africans and enhancing South Africa’s competitiveness in the field of medicine and pharmaceutical manufacturing.Science Minister Naledi Pandor officially launched the public-private partnership on 3 November.#DSTVaccine announcement will c Pfizer transfer skills and equipment to Biovac. Th transfer will b phased ova 5 yrs. pic.twitter.com/OsIdygem5N— Taslima (@Dsttviljoen) November 3, 2015Pandor said the partnership demonstrated South Africa’s ability to do successful technology transfers in the bio-economy space. Local manufacturing is due to start in 2020.“This demonstration of successful technology transfer with Pfizer is one of the prerequisites for unlocking future technology transfers that will see Biovac becoming the major vaccine manufacturer in Africa.”She went on to explain that the strategy would alleviate South Africa’s continued dependence on imports and the consequent threat to security of supply of essential vaccines.#DSTVaccine Pfizer SA Country Manager Ms Power says they committed 2 improving SA Health. pic.twitter.com/HV6QJoBS0u— Taslima (@Dsttviljoen) November 3, 2015Prevenar 13 vaccinePrevenar 13 vaccine is used to prevent infection caused by pneumococcal bacteria. The vaccine contains 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria. It exposes the body to a small amount of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, helping to develop immunity to the disease.While the vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body, it will prevent anyone vaccinated from being infected in the future. The vaccine can be used for children between six weeks and 5 years old, as well as adults 50 years and older.“Preventing pneumococcal disease is a priority for Pfizer in South Africa,” said Jennifer Power, the South African country manager for the pharmaceutical company. “We have already seen great results since vaccination was introduced and we are pleased to partner with Biovac, sharing best practices, knowledge and skills to continue to make a real difference for patients.”“We are confident that this partnership will help to ensure the sustainable supply of our pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for patients in South Africa,” Power added.Locally relevant vaccinesBiovac chief executive Dr Morena Makhoana said the company was committed to developing and establishing a strong and locally relevant vaccine capability, specifically vaccine process and product development in South Africa.“We believe that this partnership with Pfizer will strengthen our ability to deliver a potentially life-saving vaccine for South African children, as well as accelerate our technological knowledge in vaccine development,” Dr Makhoana said.#DSTVaccine Min Motsoaledi, says th partnership is significant in Africa where we r burdened by childhood pneumonia. pic.twitter.com/edUySfE7nE— Taslima (@Dsttviljoen) November 3, 2015Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi reiterated that the vaccine partnership should be celebrated as it would benefit not only South Africa but the whole Southern African region. “The launch of the local manufacture of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is a stepping stone to the ultimate dream of developing our own vaccines on the continent, for the continent.”The partnership facilitates technology transfer from Pfizer to Biovac in compliance with international Good Manufacturing Practice standards. Pfizer will also implement a skills transfer process. This will equip Biovac employees to continue manufacturing the vaccines after the transfer period.Biovac was established in 2003 as a public-private partnership with the aim of restructuring state vaccine assets to ensure domestic capacity in vaccine production, as well as a local skills base.The Department of Health introduced Prevenar 13 to South Africa in 2011. Results from a laboratory-based survey, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in November 2014, showed that the introduction of the vaccine in South Africa substantially reduced invasive pneumococcal infections in children – one of the top five killers of children under the age of five.Source: South African Government News Agencylast_img read more

A little kindness gives plenty to be thankful for

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ralph, a “Food for Thought” groupie, recently requested I write about being kind. Nothing says kindness better than a surprise homemade treat or meal. Have you heard of “Random acts of kindness?” Random acts of kindness all started in 1982. Anne Herbert scrawled the words “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat in a restaurant in Sausalito, California. This kindness trend took off slow with bumper stickers, radio and even a movie in 2000 called “Pay It Forward.” It has continued to spread like wildfire, hitting college campuses, social media and even organizations such as randomactsofkindness.org. There is even a week designated Random Acts of Kindness week and February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day. I’m not really sure how random it is if we all do it on one day, but how can you go wrong with spreading a touch of kindness throughout your day any day of the year? The holidays become so commercialized these days that maybe Random Acts of Christmas Kindness (RACKs) can bring back the true meaning of Christmas and Thanksgiving. Sprinkling acts of kindness during the advent season can help us shower our blessings on the community around us. Here are 24 ways you can share your joy for the season and spread kindness. Holiday mail and socks for heroes.Make a treat for a nursing home resident.Help someone load their groceries.Bake a cake or cookies and like a flash mob hand out samples at the local mall.Shovel snow for a neighbor.Candy cane bombing — stick a candy cane and a note to windshields in a parking lot.Let someone else ahead of you in line.Make a treat for the local police and fire station.Pay for someone else’s coffeeBuy dessert for a stranger.Take a bag of cat or dog food to the shelter.Fill out a comment card with positive comments.Give a hot drink to Salvation Army bell ringer.Leave a treat for the garbage and mailman. Play board games with a senior citizen.Leave a bonus tip to your server.Make dinner for an older neighbor couple/single.Volunteer in a soup kitchen.Clean the bathroom at a state park. (This was Paul’s idea! Not for me.)Babysit for a young couple so they can have date night.Give someone a dozen eggs.Open and hold the door open for someone.Give $5 McDonald’s gift card to homeless.Make an anonymous donation to a local charity. Food gifts and treats make great RACKs. Deliver your treats anonymously. Leave treats on porches, hanging from doorknobs or car doors. These are great ways to add an extra spark to your deliveries. One of our neighbors loves to bake and share cookies. They have delivered a plate of assorted cookies to friends and neighbors for years during the Christmas season. These treats may have started out as random, but after years of receiving them, we now look forward to their sweet treats! Think what this country would be like if these Random Acts of Kindness become every day? Have a blessed Christmas, be kind and share through your giving spirit to others.Eat Well & Healthy!Shelly Double Chocolate Peppermint Bark 2-12 oz. packages milk chocolate chips2 -12 oz. packages dark chocolate chips1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract7-8 peppermint candy canes, crushed, divided  Line a 12×18 inch jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.Melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring after each melting, for 1 to 5 minutes (depending on your microwave). Do not overheat or chocolate will scorch. Stir in the peppermint extract. Spread the chocolate evenly in the prepared pan; chill until set, about 30 minutes.Meanwhile, melt the milk chocolate in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring after each melting, for 1 to 5 minutes. Spread the milk chocolate mixture evenly over the dark chocolate. Sprinkle the candy cane pieces evenly over the milk chocolate layer. Chill until set, about 1 hour. Break into small pieces to serve. Bacon Brittle www.ohbiteit.com/Just sounds interesting with the bacon craze. Room Temp Butter, just to coat the Baking Sheet1 1/2 cups Sugar1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup3/4 cup cold WaterPinch of Salt1 lb thin cut, crispy & crumbled bacon1 tsp. Vanilla Extract1 tsp. Baking SodaA hammer!  Directions:Brush a 9×13″ Baking Sheet with butter and set aside.Combine the Sugar, Corn Syrup, Water and Salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cook, swirling occasionally, until mixture reaches the softball stage on a candy thermometer (238 degrees). Stir in the crispy and crumbled Bacon, continue to cook, stirring often so the Bacon doesn’t burn, until the mixture is amber in color!Carefully stir in the Vanilla and Baking Soda. The mixture will foam up in the pan.Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and quickly spread it evenly. Set aside until it’s completely cool.Gather everyone around and take turns breaking the Brittle into pieces with a hammer. Giggle, Eat. Repeat! ~Enjoy! Gift in a Jar: Spicy Three-Bean Soup midwestliving.comTop of FormBottom of FormOur Spicy Three-Bean Soup makes dinner in a jar, the perfect present for busy people. Give along with a bag of corn chips or tortilla chips. 1 1/2 c dehydrated mixed vegetables(1/4 cup) dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)2 Tbsp. instant chicken bouillon granules1 tablespoon dried minced onion1 tablespoon dried parsley1 -2 teaspoons Mexican, fajita, Jamaican jerk or Cajun seasoning3/4 teaspoon garlic powder1/2-3/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper, cayenne pepper or ground black pepper2 bay leaves1/2 cup dried pinto beans1/2 cup dried red kidney or black beans or dry cranberry beans1/2 cup dried navy beans or dry great Northern beansCorn chipsShredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional) For seasoning mix, in a small plastic bag, combine dehydrated mixed vegetables, tomatoes, bouillon granules, dried onion, parsley, Mexican seasoning, garlic powder, chipotle chile pepper and bay leaves. Seal; set aside. For soup mix, layer in a 1-quart glass jar or a 32-ounce canister or container with a tight-fitting lid the following ingredients, adding each ingredient at a time in this order: the pinto beans, kidney, beans and navy beans. Tap jar gently on the counter to settle each layer before adding the next. Place bag of seasoning mix in jar. Cover the jar.Give as a gift (or store the layered jar of soup ingredients at room temperature up to 1 month) and attach a recipe card with the following instructions:1. Before using, remove seasoning mix; set aside.2. Rinse beans. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine beans and 4 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand for 1 hour. (Or place beans in water in pan. Cover; let soak in a cool place overnight.) Drain and rinse beans.3. In the same saucepan or Dutch oven combine beans, 6 cups fresh water and seasoning mix. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Discard bay leaves.4. For slow cooker: Rinse beans. Place in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add 4 cups cold water to cover. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 1 hour. Rinse and drain beans. Transfer beans to a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Add 6 cups fresh water and seasoning mix. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Discard bay leaves. Stir before serving.5. Serve soup topped with corn chips. If you like, sprinkle each serving with shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Makes 6 servings. Grandpa Paul’s Caramel Corn Paula Deen www.foodnetwork.com 1 cup butter 2 cups packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1 teaspoon baking soda 8 cups popped popcorn Preheat oven to 200°F. Over medium heat, combine first 4 ingredients and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda. Stir well. Pour over the popcorn. Stir to coat well. Bake in large roaster or pan for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on waxed paper to dry. Recipe courtesy of Paula Deenlast_img read more

Gold for brides, corporation for Muslims in Assam budget

last_img

Azam Khan booked for occupying public land

first_imgSamajwadi Party MP from Rampur Azam Khan was booked for allegedly obstructing government work and occupying public property without permission, the police said on Saturday.A First Information Report was registered at the Azimnagar police station on a complaint from Nayab tehsildar K.G. Mishra, Rampur Superintendent of Police Shiv Hari Meena told reporters. Besides Mr. Khan, Mohammad Ali Jauhar University registrar R.A Qureshi and security officer Alhe Hasan Khan were named in the FIR.Riverine land Mr. Khan is the Chancellor of the university which, according to the FIR, illegally occupied a five-hectare riverine land belonging to the Seegan Khera gram sabha and built an eight-foot-high boundary wall around it. The staff members had allegedly obstructed officials from carrying out land measurement on May 25.The FIR invoked Sections 3, 4 and 332 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984.last_img read more