Nimba Again?

first_imgWe fail to understand why some people of Nimba County always force us to ask, “what is wrong with Nimba?”  Why are they always putting themselves and their county negatively in the news?    This is a question not for the politicians, who are usually at the center of the problem, but for the religious, educational and social people and institutions to wrestle with.Scarcely a year ago, Liberia’s Mano River Union partners, notably La Cote d’Ivoire, were installing light poles and electric wires in Nimba.  This was an initiative of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), to supply electricity to several interior counties, including Nimba County!But no sooner had technicians of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) begun installing the poles and wires, that people in the county started stealing the light poles, bulbs and wires!A few months ago Nimba youths staged a riot on the premises of ArcelorMittal, causing millions of dollars in damages.  Their mothers and aunts begged President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was visiting Nimba last week, to forgive the youths and release them from prison.  But the President said she preferred to let the law take its course.Also last week the county’s Development Superintendent, Teeko Yorlay, was fired because lawmakers accused him of disrespecting them.  The County Legislative Caucus asked the President to summarily dismiss him, which she promptly did. But Mr. Yorlay said he was dismissed because he refused to be part of a corruption ring surrounding the County Development Funds.And here comes another unfavorable story from Nimba, one of the counties hardest hit by Ebola with 135 deaths leaving many orphaned.  Our correspondent, Ishmael Menkor, reported in yesterday’s edition that five persons had been charged with theft of Ebola supplies.   The story recounts that for months the Nimba people were waiting for ArcelorMittal to complete an Ebola treatment unit, which was finally done.  Through the tenacious efforts of the Liberian government, one of the organizations coming forward with support for the Ebola fight is the World Food Program, which recently dispatched to Nimba a huge consignment of food, including beans, rice and cooking oil for Ebola victims.The report of the theft of food supplies meant for people suffering and dying from Ebola is shocking enough.  But to learn that four of the five perpetrators were members of the County Health Team is most disturbing.How does one steal from people who are suffering and dying, one’s own people at that—no, not strangers, but Nimba people in that Nimba quarantine center?  What does it say about us?With such behaviors and attitudes is it ever possible that Liberians can develop this country?  Do we really want development?Why were these people taking the rice to Saclapea, far away from the quarantine center in Ganta? The word “serious” is probably the most frequently used word in the Observer Editorial Column.  We have constantly appealed to, encouraged, even begged our people to become more serious about our country and people and more serious in our quest for national development.We seem always to forget that we are Africa’s oldest independent republic.  We surely cannot be satisfied with where we are in national development, when most of our people are illiterate or semi-educated at best, when most of our high school students cannot pass a University of Liberia entrance examination; when our healthcare delivery system is stunted, leaving us incapable of managing ourselves in the worst health crisis in our history; when our roads, energy and water supplies are down, among so many other development deficits.Is it not about time we got serious about life, about self-improvement as Liberians and about the survival, growth and development of our country?The only way we can transcend our failings is when we all join together in diligence, honesty, patriotism and conscientiousness to make it happen. May God grant!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Five Premier League stars who are now NOT moving to Real or Atletico Madrid?

first_img David De Gea: Man United to Real Madrid – click the arrow, right, to see which other summer moves to Madrid have been scuppered – Similarly to Hazard, David De Gea had his heart set on a move to Madrid this summer after the farce of last summer. However, yet again, the Spaniard’s dream move has been dashed meaning Manchester United fans will get their wish of keeping De Gea for at least another year. 5 John Stones: Everton to Real Madrid – click the arrow, right, to see which other summer moves to Madrid have been scuppered – John Stones is another player on Real Madrid president Florentino Perez’s radar with Pepe and Sergio Ramos getting older. Madrid see Stones and Raphael Varane as the best two young centre-backs in the world and are keen to partner them together in the long term. Eden Hazard: Chelsea to Real Madrid – click the arrow, right, to see which other summer moves to Madrid have been scuppered – Eden Hazard looked all set to move to the Spanish capital in the summer with Real Madrid planning a bid rumoured to be in the region of £65m-£80m. However, the Belgian may be forced to stay at Chelsea with Madrid’s hands tied until 2017. Zinedine Zidane is a big fan of Hazard, so may move for him in January but it is unlikely the Blues will sell at this stage of the season. 5 FIFA’s ban on Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid registering players for two transfer windows has caused havoc to the plans of players and clubs alike.As a result, moves for players such as Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco, Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez will all have to wait until 2017, with Real unlikely to weaken their squad while they are unable to strengthen.Many players were looking forward to a summer move to the Spanish capital, while many clubs were planning on cashing in on their star talents and big name flops.So who will be staying in the Premier League as a consequence of Thursday’s announcement?Click the arrow above, right, to see five players who now look set to stay at their clubs rather than move to Madrid. Harry Kane: Tottenham to Real Madrid – click the arrow, right, to see which other summer moves to Madrid have been scuppered – Real Madrid are no strangers to poaching Tottenham’s best players with Luka Modric and Gareth Bale moving to the Bernabeu in recent seasons. With Madrid originally planning on allowing Karim Benzema to leave in the summer, Harry Kane was on their list of potential replacements. Daniel Levy will be breathing a sigh of relief that he will not have to make an unpopular decision with the fans again by letting Kane move. 5 5 5 Diego Costa: Chelsea to Atletico Madrid – It is not just Real Madrid whose transfer plans have been left in tatters, with city rivals Atletico also unable to register players until 2017. Diego Costa has struggled in his second season in the Premier League and is keen to return to the Spanish capital having failed to settle in London. However, FIFA’s decision looks to have ended any hopes he had of returning to his former club.last_img read more

Cloughaneely GAA: Conor Ó Gallachóir reaches Ulster Scór na nÓg final

first_imgNumbers drawn on Wednesday, Dec 7th were 10,12,15,16,19,20. There was no jackpot winner so jackpot rises to €4,100.We had 1 match 5 who wins €100- congratulations to Màire Doohan, Curransport! Due to the season that’s in it we will have extra prize money up for grabs for the next 2 draws (Dec 14th & Dec 21st).In addition to the weekly €100 given out (if jackpot doesn’t go!) we will also hold a draw where out of ALL tickets sold 4 will be drawn each week to win €50 each – so everyone is in with a chance of winning some cash regardless of what numbers are on their tickets. Tickets are on sale in various outlets throughout the parish and prior to the bingo each Wednesday evening. Many thanks to all who attended the minor board AGM last week. The election of officers for the minor board for 2017 were as follows:Chairman: Martin TerryAsst. Chairman: John Joe McGeeverSecretary: Joe CaseyAsst Secretary: Stephen DoohanCounty Board Officers: Denis Doohan (Dandy) and Dan Doohan.Managers:U-6’s – Chris SmythU-10’s – John Joe McGeeverU-12’s – Stephen DoohanU-14’s – Kevin ScanlonMinors – Dan DoohanThe role of U-8 and U-16 manager are yet to be filled. Many thanks to outgoing U-8 manager John Joe McGeever and U-16 manager Shaun McGarvey for their services to those teams in 2016. If anybody is interested in taking up these roles please contact Martin Terry on 087-6699208 The club AGM will be held on January 8th at 5 pm in Óstan Loch Áltan. All members eligible to nominate should have received their nomination forms and letters at this stage. Please ensure these are returned only to the Club secretary Martin Duggan by this Thursday December 15thThe pitch will be closed for all use until further notice due to on-going works on the pitch itself.November 100 Club Winners: Congratulations to the following: €500 – Pat McNickle; €100 – Cormac McGarvey, Michael McFadden, Tom Feeney, Margaret Mulhern, Murt Collins.Season tickets are now on sale! Prices are as follows: Adult Season Ticket- €99, Juvenile (U16 Season Ticket) – €20, Adult Club+ – €200For those who attend Club and county games you will find the Adult Club Plus card of great value; this card includes admission into all Adult Club games run by Donegal CCC together with access to all Inter-county Allianz League games; Donegal’s opening Championship game and the Club Finals in Croke Park on March 17th. As a bonus to your club Donegal GAA will donate $100 of the fee to your chosen club when you purchase the club card. Tickets can be purchased online via www.gaa.ie/tickets/gaa-season-ticket/.Please ensure you choose Cloughaneely on the drop down for your club to ensure your club receives the $100 rebate against it’s levies.Alternatively please call Marie on 086-8351996 for information and she will be happy to complete the online application for you.Congratulations Conor Ó Gallachóir who is through to the Ulster Final of Scór na nÓg Aithriseoireacht after a great performance in Swatragh at the weekend!! Great achievement for Conor & many thanks for being a great representative for the club! Maith thù Conor.Great to see our GAA family grow by 2 this past week with the arrival of baby Hugh Maguire (son of club senior player Shaun Maguire and his wife Martina) and baby Maria Hamer (daughter of our Health & Wellbeing Officer Helena and her husband Gerard Hamer). Congratulations all. Best of luck to PCC U-14.5 Gaelic team who play in the Ulster final on Friday 16th at 12noon in Owenbeg,Co.Derry. We have a number of our club players on the team and we wish them all the best on behalf of us all at the club.Our Next Generation of Stars Workshop’. A Workshop will be delivered by the Ulster LGFA Dev. Officer Ciaran Murtagh which will be a practical guide for ladies football coaches working in their clubs and it will help them deliver a FUNdamentals programme in their own club environments.It is a practical indoor session-where a squad of U10/U12 Girls,10 to 15 players will beput through a short session/games demonstrations.Possible date for the Workshop run in Co. Donegal would be Wed. 25th January (Time 7.30 to 9pm-Venue to be confirmed). Numbers are required to ensure there is enough uptake and interest to go ahead with the Workshop so please contact Desiree on 086-0874395 if you are interested!The gym facebook page is now up and running – check out @FaolaFitness for all information regarding the gym! Again The Gym is open to all members of the public once gym membership has been paid; at which point you are included as a social member.2017 Membership Cost are as follows: 1 year = €170 ; 6 months = €100 ; 3 months = €60.Note: If you also wish to become a full club member of the Cloughaneely GAA club separate club membership must be paid.For the month of December we are running an ‘Early Bird’ rate for those who wish to sign up for a 1 year membership for 2017; the early bird rate is €150 which must be paid in one lump sum. Gym membership also makes for the perfect Christmas gift – for vouchers please call Declan McGarvey (Tel: 086-100 9467, Conor McGee (087-260 1350) or Anne Marie Rodgers (087 687 3669)!Cloughaneely GAA: Conor Ó Gallachóir reaches Ulster Scór na nÓg final was last modified: December 13th, 2016 by Chris McNultyShare 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)last_img read more

COUNTY TOWNS BUZZING WITH LEAVING CERT PARTY REVELLERS

first_imgFOR those of a more mature age, it’s one night of the year to avoid.But tonight hundreds of Leaving Cert students are out partying across the county, most celebrating their results. Others are drowning their sorrows.Letterkenny is “packed” with students enjoying themselves. And there are also large crowds out celebrating the end of so much pressure and hard work in Buncrana, Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Ballybofey, Gaoth Dobhair, Donegal Town and Falcarragh.Gardai are out in force in all towns to keep order into the early hours.COUNTY TOWNS BUZZING WITH LEAVING CERT PARTY REVELLERS was last modified: August 17th, 2011 by BrendaShare 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)last_img read more

MAN BEING QUIZZED OVER TEENAGER’S STABBING WAS OUT ON BAIL

first_imgBREAKING NEWS: A man being quizzed about the stabbing of a teenage girl in Milford last night is out on bail facing serious charges.The 20 year old man is due to appear at Letterkenny Circuit Court in October to be sentenced for another offence.The man was arrested last night after a 19 year old woman was stabbed at a house on the Lough Road in Milford. Gardai and an ambulance were called to the scene around 7.30pm after a ‘999’ call.The woman was taken to hospital but her injuries are not understood to be life-threatening.She is being comforted by relatives today.The alleged attacker was arrested and is being questioned under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. It is still unclear as to the circumstances surrounding the attack.The stabbing is the latest incident of knife crime in the county.In an unconnected incident, father-of-two Darragh Harvey, 32, from Letterkenny needed plastic surgery when he was stabbed in the head, face and chest outside McCarry’s Bar in Letterkenny three weeks ago.A man was questioned but released without charge in connection with that incident and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.The suspect failed to appear at Letterkenny District Court earlier that day and a bench warrant had been issued for his arrest. MAN BEING QUIZZED OVER TEENAGER’S STABBING WAS OUT ON BAIL was last modified: May 10th, 2012 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:MAN BEING QUIZZED OVER TEENAGER’S STABBING WAS OUT ON BAILlast_img read more

Quality Control Ensures Accurate Cell Division

first_imgCell division (mitosis) is a very complex process in which every part must be accurately duplicated and sent to the proper destination.  Picture a marching band where each flute player or tuba player is able to clone itself.  The players congregate at the center in two lines, divide, and move apart, forming two marching bands that can each play independently or as part of a parade of bands.  A more realistic picture might require imagining the whole school – library, shop, offices and all – splitting into two identical copies in a matter of hours or minutes.    How does the cell make sure that each copy is identical?  Accurate copying is essential, or else errors would accumulate and bring the species to an end.  Scientists continue to uncover some of the quality-control policies and procedural tricks that cells follow.A nine in time saves stitch:  Centrosomes control the orientation of chromosomes before the split.  They create a spindle of microtubules that line the pairs up at the midplane, then pull them apart.  Within the centrosomes are two motors called centrioles, oriented perpendicular to one another, that look for all the world like turbines.  The blades of the turbine are microtubules with spokes, forming a cylinder that looks like a pie with exactly nine slices.  Why nine, and only nine?    Wallace Marshall (UC San Francisco) reviewed experiments into the mechanical basis for nine-ness in centrioles, and published a report in Current Biology.1  Experiments with mutants show that the number is controlled by the length of the spokes that emanate from each slice.  This sets the overall diameter of the centriole, and thus the number of pie slices that will fit in the cylinder.    “This study provides an interesting geometrical mechanism by which a length can control a number,” Marshall said.  Why was the research worthwhile?  “Understanding centriole assembly is likely to reveal many more engineering-design principles that cells use to build complex structures.”Herding the chromosomes:  When a chromosome pair lines up on the spindle midplane right before splitting up, it contains a structure at the waistband called a centromere.  This belt of protein contains two attachment points, called kinetochores, used by microtubules to pull them into their respective daughter cells.  Our 03/04/2004 entry used the analogy of cowboys lassoing pairs of cattle and pulling them into separate corrals.  The yoke holding each pair of cows together is the centromere, and the kinetochores are like saddle horns the ropes can latch onto.  Opposing cowboys lasso the horns and start pulling in opposite directions.  When all pairs are lined up and accounted for, a foreman named aurora B kinase breaks the yokes, and the cowboys haul in their herds.    The geometry of the centromere is essential for keeping this process error-free, a team from New York and Moscow reported in Nature last month.2  Once in awhile, two cowboys on the same side lasso the same pair (this is called syntelic attachment).  Unless corrected, one cell would get both chromosomes and the other would get neither; this “non-disjunction” fault could lead to genetic disorders or cancer.  Scientists had previously thought that detaching one rope (microtubule) would make the saddle horn (kinetochore) automatically spring back into position for a rope from the other side.  It’s apparently not as simple as that.  More quality-control mechanisms are involved.  “Achieving chromosome bi-orientation depends on a complex interplay between mechanisms intrinsic to the centromere and those that act externally,” they said.  After cross-attachment fibers are released, and after the lassos are disconnected, there are intrinsic properties of the centromere that come into play.  “Our findings imply that mechanical properties and the shape of the centromere play an important part in the fidelity of chromosome segregation.”  Unless everything works, the operation usually aborts.  Security engineers might call this an example of the principle of defense in depth.Pinch me:  Perhaps you’ve watched movies of dividing cells, and noticed how they pinch off from each other, as if someone tied a string around a soft balloon and pulled it tight.  Since no person is around at the cell level to do this task manually, there must be an automatic molecular mechanism that makes it work.  What forms the “contractile ring” and reels it in?    An article in Science Daily described work by scientists from Yale, Columbia and Lehigh to figure out what happens.  Cells employ the same molecular motors, actin and myosin, that make muscles work.  Actin filaments with attached myosin motors assemble along the inner cell membrane at the dividing plane, and go through a “search, capture, pull and release” operation.  Being blind, molecules “feel” their way to neighboring molecules by putting out filaments in random directions.  A myosin motor on the neighbor captures the actin filament and pulls on it.  Surprisingly, it lets go after about 20 seconds.  Why?  “The assembly involves many episodes of attractions between pairs of nodes proceeding in parallel,” the article explains.  “Eventually the nodes form into a condensed contractile ring around the equator, ready to pinch the mother into two daughters at a later stage.”    The repeating rounds of “release and capture” appear essential to the assembly process of the contractile ring, they said.  Like pulling on a purse string, the circle tightens till the cells are pinched off and go their separate ways.    The scientists figured this out by comparing models with observations in an iterative fashion.  The work was done on “simple” yeast cells.  “Future work will involve testing the concepts learned from fission yeast in other cells to learn if the mechanism is universal,” said Thomas Pollard [Yale].  “Since other cells, including human cells, depend on similar proteins for cytokinesis, it is entirely possible that they use the same strategy.”  An abstract of the work appears on Science Express in advance of publication.  The following week it was published in Science.3Plant protection and bearing walls:  Dividing plant cells have a different problem.  They have cell walls.  What determines the exact point at where the wall between two newly-divided cells will form?  Shrink yourself down to the size of a plant cell in your imagination, and you can see the difficulty.  If you were the foreman of a group of construction workers making a house divide in two, how do you remember where the new wall between them is supposed to go?    Clive Lloyd and Henrik Buschmann (Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich UK) wrote about this predicament in Current Biology.4  What was mysterious is that a structure of microtubules known to form at the dividing plane apparently disassembles right before cell division.  How does the cell “memorize” the position of the plane where the future cell wall will form?  The trick is somewhat like using a chalk line.  The microtubules attract special proteins that adhere to the exact spot, forming a ring around the perimeter.  The microtubule scaffolding, no longer needed, is then dismantled.  After the chromosomes migrate and cell division completes, a plate of cell-wall proteins grows outward toward the chalk ring.  If you can imagine wallboard that grows into position from the center of the room, attracted to the chalk line, you get the idea.  The result is a neat, flat, parallel wall, subdividing the daughter cells into their own rooms.    Without these memory proteins, the scientists found, cell walls grew at abnormal positions.  Stay tuned, because this doesn’t explain everything about how plants determine the division plane.  It’s just an intriguing start.  “The search now continues for other components of the division ring and insights into the attractive influence they exert over the leading edge of the cytokinetic apparatus,” they said.One other recent cell biology paper, not directly about mitosis, is worthy of note.  All proteins in the cell need to fold properly before going into service.  Many of them use a “dressing room” called GroEL-GroES to avoid the hustle and bustle of the cytoplasm (05/05/2003, 06/07/2006).  A team of biochemists from Yale, Howard Hughes, U of Pennsylvania and Scripps, publishing in PNAS,5 asked why one particular protein really needs the dressing room when it can fold outside.    During the folding process, the amino acid chain seeks its “native” or correct fold.  If it works the first time or two, all is well; if it cannot fold in time, the chain can degenerate into a glob or “aggregate” that is either useless or dangerous and must be destroyed.  The team found that the GroEL “chaperone” is more likely to prevent aggregation if the chain goes down the wrong folding pathway.  In the safe, barrel-shaped chamber of the chaperone, the chain can more easily unfold and try again.  Outside, bad folds are less likely to get another chance.1.  Wallace F. Marshall, “Centriole Assembly: The Origin of Nine-ness,” Current Biology, Volume 17, Issue 24, 18 December 2007, Pages R1057-R1059.2.  Loncaronarek et al, “The centromere geometry essential for keeping mitosis error free is controlled by spindle forces,” Nature 450, 745-749 (29 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06344.3.  Vavylonis et al, “Assembly Mechanism of the Contractile Ring for Cytokinesis by Fission Yeast,” Science, 4 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 97-100, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151086.4.  Clive Lloyd and Henrik Buschmann, “Plant Division: Remembering Where to Build the Wall,” Current Biology, Volume 17, Issue 24, 18 December 2007, Pages R1053-R1055.5.  Horst, Fenton, Englander, Wuthrich and Horwich, “Folding trajectories of human dihydrofolate reductase inside the GroEL-GroES chaperonin cavity and free in solution,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print December 19, 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0710042105.The views of cells you got in high school through a light microscope are about as useful for understanding what really goes on as trying to fathom a city from an airplane.  Only now, in our time, are the techniques improving to the point where we can enter the factories and offices at ground level to really begin to understand.    Our great joy and mission at Creation-Evolution Headlines is to bring these fascinating discoveries, hidden away in abstruse journals, to the public in a timely, understandable way, so that readers can wonder at the amazing design so clearly apparent at the tiniest basis of life – the cell – and realize how utterly bankrupt is the theory of evolution to explain them.    As is almost always the case, none of these papers dared to speculate about how these incredible mechanisms might have evolved by a blind, purposeless process of chance.  Darwin’s theory was written for a past era when the cell seemed as simple as a blob of jello.  Wave him and his theory good-bye as we fast-forward into the 21st century era of molecular machinery.  Biology of the future is reserved for those who appreciate and understand “engineering-design principles.”(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

African tourists shop in SA

first_img21 May 2003South Africa is winning the contest for the African tourist. The influx of tourists from the rest of the continent has grown to such an extent, according to CapeInfo, that upmarket shopping centres in Johannesburg are offering “retail therapy weekends” for visitors from neighbouring countries.Downtown Johannesburg hotels, CapeInfo says in its latest newsletter, are turning their conference venues into warehouses for traders coming to South Africa to buy goods for resale back home.“It doesn’t matter whether people are buying diamonds or paraffin,” says Cheryl Carolus, chief executive officer of South African Tourism. “It’s money that is spent in our economy.”The number of Africans arriving in the country by air rose 18 percent last year to 331 000. The number arriving by land increased by eight percent to 4.3 million – two-thirds of all foreign visitors.South Africa now claims to have captured 90 percent of the tourist market from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, with the biggest increases in 2002 coming from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.“For Carolus, going after the African tourist is about spreading the risk instead of relying too heavily on markets such as the UK and Germany”, CapeInfo writes. “And surveys at border posts have shown that African tourists are good for the economy. They spent about R24-billion here last year – half the estimated R48-billion spent by all foreign tourists.“Those who came over land spent close to R19-billion. By comparison, tourists from Europe, including the UK, spent R9-billion.”Gauteng and Mpumalanga were the main destinations for tourists from Africa last year. In Nelspruit alone, Mozambicans spent an estimated R30-million a month, according to Nancy Chimhandamba, head of marketing at Mpumalanga Tourism.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

Tourism books a BEE Charter

first_imgJanine ErasmusSouth Africa’s black economic empowerment (BEE) policy extends to all sectors, and the tourism industry is no exception. An agreement just signed between the Tourism Empowerment Council of South Africa (Tecsa) and ten major stakeholders from the private sector will ensure that the tourism industry remains sustainable and competitive, and is supported by all South Africans.The announcement was made in April 2008 by Tecsa chair Tami Sokutu. BEE is a process that aims to increase the number of black people that actively participate in South Africa’s economy. Formerly known as the Tourism BEE Charter Council, Tecsa is the force behind this transformation in the tourism sector. Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, officially launched the council in May 2006.The Tourism BEE Charter was drawn up with a two-fold aim: to empower black South Africans within the tourism industry, and to make tourism more accessible and beneficial to black South Africans, thereby contributing to the sector’s growth and sustainability as well as nation-building.Tourism is just one industry that has seen fit to draw up a charter. These documents also exist in the property, mining, construction, maritime and financial sectors, among others.Tecsa’s partners in the new agreement include Fedusa (the Federation of Trade Unions of South Africa), which currently covers 26 affiliate trade unions from a variety of fields in the industry, ranging from aviation and hospitality to insurance and banking, as well as the Association of South African Travel Agents, a national body of more than 500 travel agents and tour operators.Other participants are the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa), the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association, the Club Management Association of Southern Africa, the International Festivals and Events Association, bed and breakfast specialty insurance company BnB Sure, and AA Travel Guides.Tourism a valuable sector of the South African economyAfrica has been the leading region in terms of growth in international tourist arrivals both in 2005 and 2006, says Tourism Minister van Schalkwyk, and it is anticipated that the 2007 figures, when released, will reflect the same situation.Tourism has contributed enormously to South Africa’s economy, especially since 1994. In that year just under four million tourists set foot on South African soil.In 2006 tourism contributed 8.3% to South Africa’s gross domestic product. With over nine million visitors passing through South African passport control in 2007 alone, the local tourism sector is set for a massive expansion with the 2010 Fifa World Cup just around the corner. According to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) the 10-million mark is not far off.Tourism has proved to be effective in fighting poverty in South Africa, with about 7% of South Africans employed directly and indirectly in tourism-related enterprises. This is one sector where entrepreneurs can become very successful, and many South Africans have taken advantage of the opportunities available, from tour operators to guesthouses.Transformation is ongoingHowever, the tourism industry in South Africa is a sector that has needed extensive transformation. A 2003 study revealed that a mere 6% of JSE listed tourism entities had BEE ownership – with 15% male and only 2% female black management.Not only was it necessary to make the industry more relevant to all South Africans, but growth in the tourism sector, attracting more local as well as international travellers, would create employment and boost the economy.Stakeholders in the industry collaborated to develop a number of interventions in order to address this. Besides the BEE Charter, legislation exists in the form of the BEE Act, which was the 53rd to be passed in 2003. This act lays down the national policy on BEE and promotes a mindset of BEE by giving black women in industry a stronger voice, facilitating access to finance by black-owned organisations, and promoting investment programmes that will lead to more black empowerment.The BEE Codes of Good Practice, developed and published by the Department of Trade and Industry, offer a guide to the basic principles and essential considerations in implementing BEE. One of these components is a scorecard, which gives companies a way to measure their BEE status with a score out of 100.The tourism industry has its own scorecard, developed by DEAT in conjunction with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa. This scorecard provides a clear set of targets for transformation in tourism and covers seven areas: ownership, strategic representation, employment equity, skills development, preferential procurement, enterprise and social development. Government uses these targets to monitor progress in transformation, and if necessary to implement further actions.According to Tecsa, the tourism BEE scorecard and the Codes of Good Practice are now almost fully in alignment, although this has been a work in progress. The organisation expects imminent gazetting of the tourism codes of good practice, which will speed up the process of transformation.Tecsa has made a number of tools available in the meantime to assist companies with transformation. These include a project for helping black people to find employment in tourism, the BEE self-assessment for companies, and a list of BEE suppliers. The organisation has also announced that towards the end of 2008 it will bestow awards on BEE achievers in tourism.Useful linksTourism Empowerment Council of South AfricaSouth African TourismSouth Africa – the official gatewayDepartment of Environmental Affairs and TourismDepartment of Trade and IndustryFederation of Unions of South AfricaAssociation of South African Travel AgentsBEE News FedhasaSouthern Africa Tourism Services AssociationInternational Festivals and Events AssociationBnB SureAA Travel Guideslast_img read more

16 Free Transitions for After Effects

first_imgGive your footage a fun, clean look with these 16 free transitions for After Effects.Transitions are hard. In a perfect world you wouldn’t need them… your content would simply flow from one animation or scene to the next. Unfortunately, that is certainly not always the case. When it comes to animation, you need to think of a creative way to transition from one scene to the next without having a hard cut.There are many things you can do — fade to black, dissolve, maybe a wipe — but if you really want to make your video stand out, you’ll need to do something a little more creative than simply using the NLE’s built-in tools. This is where our free transitions come into play.Designed to help video editors create engaging and fun videos, these 16 free transitions for After Effects are a clean and fun way to breath life into a boring project. Here’s a quick demo of the free After Effects transitions in action:Music: Sun’s Coming Out from PremiumBeatFootage from ShutterstockAll of the transitions can be easily colored and customized to your individual needs. Plus, if you want to simply render them out individually, you can use a codec with alpha channels to render them out.Using the Free Transition TemplateTo use the template you must first download the free After Effects transition pack. To do so, simply click the following button:DOWNLOAD FREE TRANSITIONS PACK FOR AFTER EFFECTSIt should be noted that these projects have been optimized to work with After Effects CS6 or higher. Once you open the template, you’ll notice six different folders. Each folder (except for the ‘Assets’ folder) contains a few compositions, and each composition features a different transition. Simply double click on a composition to open it.If you want to change the colors, you can easily do so by selecting the ‘Color Control’ layer and changing the various fill effects. The project can also be easily imported into another After Effects project and customized. You can also export each of the transitions in After Effects using alpha channels, which will allow you to drag and drop them into the NLE of your choosing.How do you use transitions in After Effects? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

No practice matches in lead-up worries Brasa

first_imgJose Brasa is a worried man – not just due to the question mark over his fate after the Asian Games – but about what is in store for his team in Guangzhou.Given India’s good track record at the Asian Games, a big blow came in 2006 at Doha when the team failed to win a medal. Now, Brasa again knows if the team does not win a medal, qualification for the 2012 London Olympics could again be in jeopardy.As the Indian tri-colour was hosted at the Athletes Village on a sunny Thursday, Brasa was dressed nattily in a black suit. He tried to keep a straight face while talking to the media but couldn’t hide his feelings.”After the Commonwealth Games, my team has not got a single practice match. We go straight into the tournament here after a lot of drills and practice,” Brasa told MAIL TODAY on Thursday.What really happened as regards arranging practice matches is still not clear, though a day earlier, deputy coach Harendra Singh had said it was because Malaysia were arriving in Guangzhou late. Some people say that Hockey India could have arranged for some matches at home, since India have still not forgotten the drubbing at the hands of Australia in the CWG final last month. “The first two matches should be easy for us. The tough challenges will be Japan and Pakistan,”said Brasa.As the Spanish coach gave bytes to TV channels, his lines changed a bit. “India cannot win anything less than gold. We have to do well here,” he said.advertisementAs the players mingled with others in the Village and Harendra spoke to the media, Brasa looked worried. “My boys have trained here and will wait for the outcome,” he added.last_img read more