Arson suspected after fire razes D’Urban Backlands house

first_imgA fire suspected to be an act of arson completely destroyed a house at Lot 76 D’Urban Backlands in Georgetown on Sunday afternoon, consuming everything of value, including furnishings.The ruins of the house destroyed by fireThe fire reportedly started about 13:10h, and although firefighters arrived promptly on scene, they did not manage to stop the inferno.When Guyana Times arrived on the scene, the house was already reduced to ashes, but the embers were still engaging the attention of the firefighters, as shocked neighbours stood watching.The owner of the house, Kerwin Harris, 28, told this newspaper that he was in the backlands when he heard about the fire, and he rushed home to see what he could do, but was not able to save anything.Harris, whose house was located at the side of his father’s, said he had two females who lived with him in the house a while back, and about three weeks ago, one of them had attempted to burn the house down.The dumpsite worker said that on that occasion he had averted the fire when he realized that one of the two women had set a mattress ablaze in an attempt to burn down the house. That matter, according to him, was reported to the Police station in the area, and investigations thereof were still ongoing.“Me and some girl (two) went out before. I don’t have anybody around me now. They light afire the house from the king size mattress that was on the right side of the house,” he explained.Harris told Guyana Times he strongly believes the same women may be responsible for the fire, especially since the house was abandoned for some time, but contained furniture and equipment. He said the fire could not be electrical in origin as the house currently had no electricity.“Look now, is start over I got to start over all again. Is real pressure they put me in, budday. Coz you boy trying all the time, you boy is a hustler. It will be hard to start over, but I have to do what I could do,” he lamented while explaining that he worked hard to build his home.The man’s father, Wilfred Dick, also spoke with this newspaper. He recounted that he was taking a nap when his teenage son woke him and informed him about the blaze. By the time he had gone to see what was taking place, the fire had already spread to most of the wooden structure.He said, “All I could do was to wet my house until the firemen came.”Dick also told this newspaper that about three weeks ago, two young ladies with whom his son is associated attempted to light the house afire, and nobody was living in the home, because it had been abandoned for a while now.A neighbour who asked not to be named told this newspaper that Harris was living with his pregnant girlfriend a few houses away, and had abandoned his house. He allegedly had relationships with the two women who stayed at his house, and when his girlfriend found out, they had a huge fight.According to the neighbour, the women attempted to beat Harris’s pregnant girlfriend, and in the process attempted to burn Harris’s house down. Although he had managed to save it on the previous occasion, neighbours believe that the women may have found some way to get into the house and set it ablaze.While the firefighters were preparing to leave, Harris’s pregnant girlfriend was shouting and cursing at neighbours whom she might have suspected of also lighting the house on fire. The girlfriend (name unknown) ended up in a fist fight with a female neighbour who she also accused of setting the house on fire. The Police later intervened, arresting the two women and taking them to the Police station. It is not clear if the women were charged.The matter is now under full investigation by the Police and the Fire Service.last_img read more

Tottenham legend annoyed new stadium saga is ‘dragging on’

first_imgTottenham legend Clive Allen has described the ongoing saga with their new stadium as a ‘cloud hanging over the club’.Spurs have continued to play at Wembley this season as their new home is completed, and recent reports have claimed the opening could be put off until 2019.The new £1billion arena was initially scheduled to host its first Premier League game in September.But the club have encounters numerous issues and could now be facing more delays until next year if upcoming safety tests aren’t passed.Tottenham this week opened their sparkling new club shop to the public – the largest of its kind in Europe – but that has not been enough to appease fan frustrations over their continued wait. Tottenham’s new stadium store is the largest club shop of its kind in Europe A view of Spurs’ new stadium on September 25, 2018 “Really we don’t know when the first game will be.“It will be magnificent when it’s done, there’s no doubt about that.“But it is dragging on and it’s just a cloud hanging over the club at the moment.”Listen back to Clive Allen’s PSV v Tottenham Champions League preview IN FULL above! Former striker Allen joined talkSPORT on Wednesday to preview Tottenham’s Champions League trip to face PSV Eindhoven.And, speaking about the stadium, the White Hart Lane hero admitted the saga is ‘dragging on’.He told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “There’s a lot of talk that it’s nowhere near ready and there are still test events that need to take place.“As far as the supporters are concerned you can understand their frustration, it was all geared for Liverpool and it didn’t happen. 2 2last_img read more

HARTE COMMENDS WORK DONE BY LETTERKENNY DEPT OF SOCIAL PROTECTION STAFF

first_imgSenator Jimmy Harte has commended the volume of work carried out by Department of Social Protection staff in Letterkenny in dealing with the back to school allowances.Minister Joan Burton revealed that some 115,000 families encompassing 207,000 children applied for the clothing and footwear allowance.“As you are aware the BSCFA entitlements of some 115,000 families in respect of 207,000 children issued in the week commencing 15 July, with no application form required. “Applications from customers who did not receive an automated payment are now being processed from a centralised unit in the Department’s office in Letterkenny.“Some 50,000 additional applications have been received and an acknowledgement has issued by text to the 94% who requested one. A total of 25,000 manual claims have been processed to date, including all claims received in June,” Minister Burton revealed.The BSCFA section is processing claims which were received on 19 July at present.Payment in respect of these claims will issue on a daily basis, so it is expected that the majority of customers will have their payment within five weeks of applying. Some 74% of customers who are expected to qualify for payment of BSCFA in 2013 have now been paid and a total of €35.8million has already been paid out in respect of this scheme for 2013.Forms are available from Local Offices, via SMS (text “Form BTSCFA” followed by your name and address to 51909) and on www.welfare.ie. A phone bank is operational to deal with queries on the scheme. The LOCALL number is 1890662244.The Minister said she will continue to provide regular updates to Senator Harte on the issue.HARTE COMMENDS WORK DONE BY LETTERKENNY DEPT OF SOCIAL PROTECTION STAFF was last modified: August 14th, 2013 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:allowanceMinister Joan BurtonSenator Jimmy Hartelast_img read more

World Cup field takes shape

first_imgThe outlook for next year’s World Cup in Germany remains hazy. Only 10 nations have qualified for the 32-team field. The picture will become clearer in the next few days, with 76 qualifying games scheduled from Cameroon to Croatia and Portugal to Paraguay. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Things are most complicated in Europe, where eight group winners and the best two second-place teams advance. The other six runners-up advance to playoffs for three berths. Nine more European berths will be decided with today’s 21 games and Wednesday’s 23. Three-time winner Italy, 1998 titlist France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden are on the verge of advancing, and Poland had the upper hand in its group. Teams that could be forced into playoffs, or eliminated, include powers England, Spain, Russia and the Czech Republic. All five African berths will be determined today. Perennial underachiever Ghana appears a sure bet, and Togo also can claim its first berth. Cameroon needs to beat Egypt to clinch its sixth berth, and Angola can deny powerful Nigeria with a win at Rwanda, the last-place team in its group. The other African spot will go to Morocco or Tunisia, who meet near Tunis. Tunisia needs only a tie to advance. Ecuador and Paraguay can clinch berths today, and the fifth-place team in South America – likely Uruguay, Colombia, Chile or Venezuela – will play Oceania champion Australia in a playoff for another spot. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img Play begins today, with a few games Sunday, then continues Wednesday. At the end of that stretch, 27 berths will be decided – and some big-name teams are sure to be out. Already in: host Germany, the U.S. and Mexico from CONCACAF, five-time champion Brazil and two-time winner Argentina from South America, first-time European qualifier Ukraine, and Asian powers Iran, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. last_img read more

Funerals of tragic women killed in crash told the community has been left devastated

first_imgThe deaths of three Donegal women in a car crash has devastated their local community, their funerals have been told.The funeral mass of Margaret McGonigle and her daughter Mairead Mundy took place this morning at St Conal’s Church in Bruckless.The funeral of their close friend Rachel Battles is taking place at present in the same church. The three women died after a car crash in Co Louth on Friday.Parish priest in Bruckless Fr James Sweeney says it has been a huge blow to everyone who knew them.“Death is always difficult to deal with but the death of two members of one family and a family friend leaves with us a very acute pain,” he said.The women killed in the horrific road crash. Pic by Northwest Newspix.“The sense of loss can almost be overwhelming and indeed very difficult for the human mind to comprehend. “The community has rallied together over the last few days to support all the families involved. The sense of community spirit has brought the parish together helping to provide all the support and assistance we can humanly give.“This tragedy has devastated the community and a sense of shock permeate the parish.”The collision happened in Ardee in the early hours of Friday morning on the N2.Thousands of people attended the funerals of the women in Bruckless.Funerals of tragic women killed in crash told the community has been left devastated was last modified: July 26th, 2017 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:Brucklesscrashdonegalfuneralslast_img read more

Man claims he has been harassed by Gardai for 19 months

first_imgA man claimed he is being harassed by Gardai for the past 19 months after two cases of no insurance against him were struck out at Letterkenny District Court today.Noel Devine appeared in court after the case was previously adjourned. Mr Devine, aged 47 of Kirkneedy, Letterkenny, had claimed that he was covered by his employer for driving a vehicle on two previous dates on March 17th, 2016 and also in February, 2016.His employer, Mr Danny Doherty, appeared in court and said that Mr Devine had been insured.Gardai verified that Mr Devine had been insured to drive the vehicle.Judge Paul Kelly said he was satisfied and was striking out both cases.However, he adjourned two other charges of failing to have a driving license and not displaying a valid driving license until December 7th.Mr Devine then addressed the court and said he wanted compensation for what he described was 19 months of harassment from Gardai.Judge Kelly said that was not a matter for his court.Mr Devine continued to plead his case saying that Gardai were laughing at him in court.“We are trying to get out of the situation as best we can. I have been harassed by Gardai for the past 19 months and now they are sitting in this courtroom laughing at me,” he said.He was asked to desist from speaking out of turn by Judge Kelly.The Judge eventually asked Gardai to remove Mr Devine from the court.A woman accompanying Mr Devine said she hoped ‘Donegal Daily’ reported the “injustice” in the courtroom.Man claims he has been harassed by Gardai for 19 months was last modified: October 24th, 2017 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:courtinsuranceJUDGENOEL DEVINElast_img read more

Evolutionist Reveals Magical Beliefs

first_imgIntroducing the “Poof!” Theory of Evolution.A rather famous evolutionist who studied under John Maynard Smith and specializes in theoretical evolutionary biology, Eörs Szathmáry (see 2/06/05, 2/18/09 and 1/05/10, also a Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week winner, 7/23/06), has been working on the “great transformations” of evolution for a long time. His latest entry, published in PNAS, announces an upgrade: “Toward Major Evolutionary Transitions Theory 2.0“.In this paper, he brings his latest solutions to seven major evolutionary transitions from nonlife to life: (1) protocells, (2) the genetic code, (3) eukaryotic cells, (4) plastids, (5) multicellularity, (6) eusocial animal societies, and (7) societies with natural language. His toolkit of “explanatory mechanisms” for overcoming these major evolutionary hurdles includes multilevel selection, decomposition of the transitions into more manageable units, handwaving (e.g., “This process is still an unsolved problem”), jargon, and a strong predilection for instantaneous, inexplicable appearances (i.e., magic). Since whatever he needs appears as if in a burst of smoke, we can summarize his story as the “Poof! Theory of Evolution.” Examples:During transitions, new units of reproduction emerge [poof!], and establishment [poof!] of such units requires high fidelity of reproduction (as opposed to mere replication).Enduring diploidy is an optional consequence of sex that arose [poof!] in certain lineages independently [poof!].The recurrent emergence [poof!] of the division of labor or the combination of functions allows the higher level units to be more efficient under certain conditions, which has to translate into a fitness advantage.It was noted that new inheritance systems arise [poof!] first in a rudimentary form….There are hereditary mechanisms below and before, as well as above and after, DNA that emerged [poof!] in evolution: the RNA world, epigenetic inheritance, and language are important examples.In the lifecycle, the multicellular condition arises [poof!] either by cells (or nuclei) coming together [poof!] or by cell division, followed by sticking together [poof!].A major outstanding issue is what I call filial transitions: origin and evolution [poof!] of new Darwinian systems within the hierarchy, such as the nervous system (poof!) and the adaptive immune system [poof!] in vertebrates.As soon as proteinaceous aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases appeared on the scene [poof!], a new kind of autocatalysis (replication) emerged [poof!].Rather than a separate major transition, meiosis and syngamy seem to be better regarded as a coevolving form of maintenance or transformation of an emerging [poof!] higher-level evolutionary unit. The other component of the genetic revolution is the emergence [poof!] of the nucleus itself, from which the name eukaryote is derived. The evolution of [poof!] introns and eukaryotic gene regulation….In the case of symbiosis, the increase in complexity [poof!] is accompanied by the emergence [poof!] of synchronized replication.Just as the evolution of [poof!] powerful epigenetic inheritance systems allowed the evolution of [poof!] complex multicellularity, natural language allowed the emergence of [poof!] complex human societies.The transition [poof!] to cells now includes the origin of [poof!] chromosomes, and the origin of [poof!] meiosis and syngamy is included in the transition [poof!] to eukaryotic cells.Aggregation of cells evolved four times independently [poof!4]Although multicellularity arose [poof!] more than 20 times [poof!20], the “spectacular” forms arose only in plants, animals, and fungi [poof!3].The magic words are sprinkled liberally throughout Szathmáry’s paper. After decades of tackling the Great Transitions in Evolution 1.0, this is 2.0, his latest and greatest scenario of how life evolved from chemicals to evolutionary storyteller. A perceptive reader might wonder, “Proof or poof?”Sometimes we just need to let the evolutionists discredit themselves. As in politics, when your opponent is making a fool of himself, don’t interrupt him. (Visited 41 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

As maravilhas da vida selvagem da África do Sul

first_imgDos pequenos aos de grande porte, dos carnivoros aos que comem formigas, dos primatas aos repteis… Os nossos animais (e aves) sao selvagens e formidaveis.As cidades cresceram, muita terra foi cedida a agricultura, a caça varreu manadas inteiras e os dias em que uma manada de springboks podia levar dias a atravessar uma cidade em Karoo ha muito desapareceram.E no entanto, graças a prevençao e cuidados dos nossos conservacionistas, passados e presentes, defensores do mundo natural, a África do Sul continua a a ser abençoada por uma fauna abundante.Os Grandes CincoOs grandes felinosA vida selvagem menos conhecidaMais de 200 especies de mamiferosMamiferos marinhos e peixeO crocodilo… e outros repteisO grande mundo dos passarosOs Grandes CincoOs mais conhecidos sao os mamiferos, e entre esses os Grandes Cinco sao de longe os mais afamados: o elefante, o leao, o rinoceronte, o leopardo e o bufalo. Nao e que a girafa, o hipopotamo ou a baleia sejam pequenos…As regioes de mato (bushveld) e de savana sul africanas continuam a ser o lar de inumeros mamiferos universalmente associados a África. So o Parque Nacional Kruger tem mais de 10.000 elefantes e 20.000 bufalos – em 1920 calculava-se que houvessem 120 elefantes em todo o pais.O rinoceronte branco tambem foi recuperado da quase completa extinçao e povoa actualmente tanto o Parque Nacional Kruger como o Parque Hluhluwe Umfolozi, em KwaZulu-Natal. Correntemente a atençao recai no rinoceronte negro.Tanto um parque como o outro sao a casa de qualquer um dos Grandes Cinco, como o sao outras grandes reservas na África do Sul – e o caso de Pilanesberg, na provincia Noroeste.Os grandes felinosAlem de ocuparem o cimo da piramide dos predadores, o leao supera em beleza e fascinio. Tem infelizmente um terrivel inimigo, que o expulsou de quase todo o pais e hoje em dia encontra-se quase que exclusivamente em areas preservadas.O belissimo leopardo sobrevive numa area mais vasta, incluindo grande parte da parte sul do Cabo e mais a norte do pais, apesar de em muito menor numero noutros locais.A chita e a campea da velocidade, capaz de correr quase a 100 quilometros a hora. A populaçao de chitas e comparativamente menor e confinada quase que exclusivamente a parte mais a norte (incluindo o Parque Nacional Kruger), o Parque Transfronteiriço Kgalagadi no Cabo Norte e nas reservas nas provincias de KwaZulu-Natal e Noroeste.A vida selvagem menos conhecidaOutros animais de grande porte intrinsecamente ligados a África sao o hipopotamo, a girafa, o kudu (um tipo de antilope africano), os famosos gnus ou wildebeest e a zebra, todos eles frequentemente observados nas reservas sul africanas.Mas o despertar das consciencias fez com que outros animais, os menos conhecidos, começassem tambem a suscitar interesse. Ver um tsessebe raro (um parente do gnu) pode provocar tanta excitaçao como ver um leao. E ao passo que e impossivel nao ver um elefante perto de nos, vislumbrar um pequeno e envergonhado suni (o chamado antilope de Livingstone) que vive na floresta e certamente motivo de auto congratulaçao.Numa escala mesmo muito pequena, podia-se tentar assinalar as sete especies de musaranho-elefante ou sengi da África do Sul – uma tarefa que nos levaria por todo o pais e certamente muitissimo morosa.Mais de 200 especies de mamiferosCom bem mais de 200 especies, tentar fazer uma pesquisa, por mais pequena que seja, dos mamiferos originarios da África do Sul e em si mesmo uma contradiçao. Alguns exemplos ajudarao.Em termos de atracçao, os primatas vem em primeiro lugar. No nosso pais incluem os bushbabies (ou macacos nocturnos), os macacos simango ou vervet (verdes ou de cara preta), os babuinos chacma, que – devido a uma alimentaçao irresponsavel e a pressao por causa da perda de habitat – se tornaram impopulares como agressores de casas privadas na Peninsula do Cabo.Os dassies (pequenos roedores herbivoros semelhantes as marmotas e que habitam em zonas rochosas) e os meerkats (ou suricatos, parecidos as fuinhas, conhecidos pela sua posiçao erecta de alerta) tem um enorme charme, embora os dassies possam ser um grande perigo para os agricultores.O aardvark nocturno e sigiloso, ou porco-da-terra ou porco-formigueiro (que se alimenta de formigas e e o unico membro da ordem Tubulidentata), e o aardwolf, tambem conhecido por lobo-da-terra ou protelo (que se alimenta de termites e e parente da hiena) sao outras duas cativantes criaturas, sendo possivel encontrar uma e outra literalmente em todo o pais.E para aqueles que apreciam os mamiferos terrestres humidos, temos a lontra-sem-garras ao longo de todo o Cabo, que nada tanto em agua doce como salgada. A lontra-de-pescoço-pintado tem um territorio mais limitado. Mas sao ambas raras e dificeis de observar.Um dos mamiferos de encanto recem-adquirido e o cao selvagem, cao-caçador-africano ou mabeco, uma das especies mais ameaçadas. Uma das especies erroneamente injuriadas como indiscriminados assassinos mas hoje em dia apreciados quer pelo seu valor ecologico quer pelo seu extraordinario comportamento carinhoso em familia, os bandos de caes selvagens requerem vastos territorios.Encontram-se em pequeno numero no Parque Nacional Kruger e cercanias, a norte de KwaZulu-Natal (incluindo o Parque Hluhluwe-Umfolozi), no Kalahari e na reserva Madikwe na provincia Noroeste.Os caninos carnivoros mais comuns sao a hiena, o chacal e a raposa de orelha de morcego (por causa das suas longas orelhas). Os felinos carnivoros – alem dos mencionados acima (leopardo, tigre, leao, jaguar) – incluindo o caracal, ou lince africano, com as suas tipicas orelhas em riste, o gato selvagem africano e o rarissimo gato-das-patas-negras. Outros animais carnivoros incluem o almiscar, o genet (pequeno mamifero da familia das fuinhas e civetes) e varios tipos de animais da familia das fuinhas.Os herbivoros estao bem representados por varias especies de antilopes, desde o pequeno duiker ate ao grande kudu e o soberbamente belo antilope negro, que se encontra em quase toda a regiao norte.Os mamiferos tambem se encontram no ar: A África do Sul esta bem provida de varias especies de morcegos.Mamiferos marinhos e peixeE agora o mar. O maior mamifero de todos – na África do Sul e no mundo inteiro – e a baleia azul, que pode chegar a ter 33 metros de comprimento.Mas das oito especies que se encontram habitualmente ao largo da costa sul africana (incluindo a terrivel baleia assassina preta e branca, que afinal e uma orca), a mais frequentemente vista pelo homem e a baleia franco astral. Esta criatura imponente aproxima-se das baias da costa para parir, permitindo uma soberba observaçao em terra.A baleia franco astral representa uma das historias de sucesso na preservaçao das especies. Considerada outrora como a baleia “certa’ para apanhar, a sua populaçao ficou tao reduzida que foi designada especie protegida. Com a enorme familiaridade provocada pelo seu regresso as baias costeiras, sao actualmente tao amadas como muitos dos golfinhos que alegram as nossas aguas.Os mares sul africanos sao ricos em varias especies de peixe. Talvez o mais temivel de todos seja o grande tubarao branco, mas esta e apenas uma das mais de 2.000 especies, que representam 16% do total mundial. Varios tipos de “peixe a linha”, ou peixe fresco, lagosta e os abalones (um tipo de molusco muito vulgar na costa sul africana) satisfazem particularmente o apetite dos gourmets, enquanto que peixe pelagico (sardinhas e outros do tipo arenque) e pescada tem um imenso valor comercial.O crocodilo… e outros repteisMuito menos favorecida com peixe de agua fresca – 112 especies conhecidas, uns meros 1,3% do total mundial – a África do Sul possui, no entanto, um habitante de rio tao famoso como os Grandes Cinco e tambem ele um simbolo de África. O crocodilo ainda governa alguns braços de rio e estuarios, lagos e lagoas, causando severa mortalidade entre humanos.Outros repteis aquaticos dignos de nota sao as tartarugas marinhas e as tartarugas de couro, centro de um esforço de preservaçao da especie de uma grande comunidade nas suas zonas de postura na costa norte de KwalaZulu-Natal.Entre os repteis terrestres temos as tartarugas de terra e os fascinantes camaleoes. Existem mais de 100 especies de serpentes. Metade destas, a piton incluida, nao sao venenosas, outras – como a Puff Adder, a mamba verde e a mamba negra, a boomslang e a rinkhals ou cobra cuspideira – sao mortalmente venenosas.A relativa secura do pais e responsavel pelo numero comparativamente pequeno de pequenos anfibios – 84 especies. No entanto, a titulo de compensaçao, a África do Sul tem mais de 77.000 especies de invertebrados.O grande mundo dos passarosOrnitofilos vem de todo o mundo para observarem a maior variedade de aves e passaros do pais, tipicamente africanos, aves migratorias e endemicas (as que pertencem apenas a África do Sul).Das mais de 850 especies que foram registadas na África do Sul, aproximadamente 725 sao residentes ou visitantes anuais e cerca de 50 sao endemicas ou quase-endemicas.Alem das aves residentes, a África do Sul acolhe um numero notavel de aves migratorias intra-africanas, como os cucos ou os pica-peixe, bem como aves do Ártico, Europa, Ásia Central, China e Antartica durante o ano.O mundo das aves e dos passaros da África do Sul vai desde a avestruz – criada em quintas no distrito de Outdshoorn no Cabo Ocidental, mas selvagens sobretudo no norte do pais – ate especies notaveis, como os hornbills ou passaros de crista, passando pelos omnipresentes LJB (Little Brown Jobs, parecidos com os pardais).Apenas numa pequena area, em torno da cidade de Vryheid, a norte de KwaZulu-Natal, se podem ver pantanos, savana, thornveld e tanto floresta montanhosa como ribeirinha e cerca de 380 especies foram registadas.Um observador de passaros nao precisa de sair de um jardim tipico de Joanesburgo para deparar com loeries cinzentos, poupas ou hoopoes, hadada ibis ou singanga, barbaças-de-colar-preto, barbaças-de-poupa, olho-branco-do-cabo, tordos-olivaceos… ou um cucal de Burchell a picar desatinadamente em volta de uma arvore. E isso nem de perto nem de longe completaria a lista.Entre os passaros mais espectaculres da África do Sul estao os grous ou garças, mais facilmente observadas nos pantanos – embora ver o grou de carunculas seja um verdadeiro achado porque e extremamente raro. O belissimo grou azul e o passaro nacional da África do Sul, enquanto que o grou coroado e provavelmente o mais espectacular da sua especie com a sua inconfundivel e proeminente crista.Entre as suas aves de maiorporte, a África do Sul tem ainda algumas aguias e abutres. Entre os mais coloridos temos os martins-pescadores ou pica-peixes, os abelharucos, as nectarinas, o lindissimo rolieiro de peito lilas e os loeries ou turacos de Knysna e de crista violeta.Fonte: Turismo Sul Africanolast_img read more

Helping SA’s truckers stay healthy

first_img9 April 2013 Petroleum company Engen has teamed up with multi-partner organisation Trucking Wellness to launch its latest annual campaign to help South Africa’s long-distance truck drivers maintain healthy lifestyles while on the country’s roads. The Driver Wellness campaign started at Engen garages across Mpumalanga province at the beginning of this month, with hundreds of truck drivers already screened for various diseases. The initiative, in which mobile clinics, nurses and counsellors are stationed at garages to provide truck drivers with various health care services, is expected to cover 17 Engen sites and reach thousands of drivers by the end of October. “Drivers get an opportunity to go for free voluntary screening in mobile clinics by qualified nurses and councillors for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, tuberculosis, BMI (body mass iIndex) and HIV and Aids,” said Engen Petroleum spokesperson Tania Landsberg. The programme also provides counselling and a referral service where required. According to Landsberg, 841 drivers presented themselves for screening in 2012, compared to 400 in 2011. This year, the aim is to increase the number of drivers screened by a further 30%. “We appreciate what the campaign does to encourage us to get tested because early detection can save many lives,” said Henry Mngomezulu, a long-distance truck driver who was tested in Emakhazeni on Friday. “We are always on the road and we don’t get time to visit our nearest clinics when we are at home.” Corporate social investment manager at Engen, Khanyisa Balfour, said the company believed that initiatives like these “can make a real difference in road safety in the long run and encourage a healthy lifestyle change in professional drivers”. Balfour said the Belfast truck stop was one of many around the country where drivers rested overnight after spending long hours on the road during the day. The campaign is set to cover most regions of South Africa and will next be taken to KwaZulu-Natal. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Social media ‘integral’ to SA students’ lives

first_img12 November 2013 South Africa’s students are addicted to social media – but are almost unanimous that it enhances their academic and social lives, and even helps them during exam time, according to a recent study from researchers World Wide Worx and Student Brands. The SA High-tech Student 2013 research study, which was released last month, was conducted at universities and colleges across South Africa, and included interviews with 1 435 students. Well over half – 59% – said they were addicted to social media. However, only 16% fell into the “highly addicted” category, while 18% said they were “definitely not addicted”. Instant messaging (IM) had similar appeal to students: 62% said they were addicted, of which 22% said they were highly addicted to the quick fix of quick chat. However, respondents felt that this addiction was not necessarily a bad thing. While 45% of respondents said social networking and technology got in the way of their studies, only 10% said it was a constant problem. A surprising 85% said it improved their studies, with a similar proportion – 83% – believing it enhanced their social lives. Asked what impact technology like smartphones and the internet had on their lives in general, 81% said it enhanced their quality of life. “For students, social networking and the internet is not a good or a bad thing in itself, but has become an integral part of their lives,” Daryl Bartkunsky, managing director of Student Brands, said in a statement.Facebook first, then Twitter Facebook was the universal social destination for students, with 96% of respondents using it, with Twitter used by 70% of respondents. Google+ slotted into third place, at 47%, thanks to the pervasive use of Google Apps for student accounts at universities. Mxit still retained a strong user base, with 39% of respondents reporting they used it. LinkedIn, the professional network, claimed a 29% share, largely students who are nearing completion of their studies and using it for employment prospects. Instagram and Pinterest, relative newcomers to the social networking environment, attracted 16% and 15% of respondents respectively. When asked which network they would use if they could only choose one, two-thirds (64%) still cited Facebook. Twitter was in distant second at 16%, followed by Google+ with 7%, Instagram 5%, Mxit 3% and LinkedIn 3%. Only 1% favoured Pinterest.Instant messaging Among instant messaging (IM) apps, similar levels of dominance were seen, this time led by WhatsApp, which was used by 79% of students participating in the survey, and BBM, at 57%. Facebook Messenger claimed 45%, and Mxit 28%. BBM use was directly correlated with the proportion of students who used BlackBerry: 57%. Despite its fading popularity worldwide, it remained the preferred phone among students. Nokia was in a distant second place, at only 20%, with Samsung further back in third place, at 14%, and the iPhone fourth at 5%. Among other findings, the survey found that 68% of students connected to the internet via smartphones, 61% via laptops or notebook computers, 50% on desktop PCs – largely using universities’ and colleges’ machines – and 20% on tablets. This trend was driven by some institutions providing laptops and tablets to students, and low-cost financing of devices by student financial services like Eduloan.Campus wi-fi set to rule In terms of channel of access, 60% used wi-fi on campus, 40% used 3G modems, and 39% used mobile data on their phones. However, a total shift to wi-fi is expected in the next two years. “By 2015, all universities are required to be wireless, providing free internet access for students,” Bartkunsky said. “Already, the University of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town have stated that all first-year students will have to have a tablet or laptop by 2015.” World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck pointed out that the cost of mobile data was a major inhibitor for students. “A little more than a third of respondents were happy with what they pay for internet access,” Goldstuck said. ‘But 31% are unhappy with the cost and 30% don’t pay at all. For students, the move away from mobile data services is a matter of when, not if.” World Wide Worx and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more