Missing fisherman found dead at Charity

first_imgThe partially decomposed body of missing fisherman Collin Nickleson was on Wednesday morning found floating in the Pomeroon River, in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).The body was recovered from the river by detectives attached to the Charity Police Station.Reports are the body was immediately autopsied and it was revealed that the 63-year-old man died as a result of drowning. The post-mortem was conducted by Government Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh at the Suddie Mortuary.Nickleson, a fisherman of Buxton, East Coast Demerara, went missing on January 23. His son, Collis Nickleson, identified his father’s body on Wednesday. Collin Nickleson was last seen at Charity. Reports are on January 23, another fisherman reported to the Charity Police Station that Nikleson had fallen overboard from a fishing vessel. This newspaper was told that the man related to Police that at about 21:00h he was in his fishing boat when he heard someone saying that a man fell overboard from another boat.He said he then learnt that it was Nikleson, who fell overboard from “Big Bird” wharf. The fisherman had journeyed to Charity to work on a fishing vessel.Following the autopsy, the body was then handed over to family members for burial.last_img read more

Trans Guyana, KLM to begin Europe flights on Sept 1

first_imgBeginning from September 1, Trans Guyana Airways (TGA) will begin its flights to Europe via Suriname. Trans Guyana Airways has partnered with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – the flagship carrier of the Netherlands – to introduce this new route.Commercial Manager of Trans Guyana, Alexandra Correia made the official announcement of the services on Friday morning at the Eugene F Correia International Airport, Ogle, East Coast Demerara.For now, two weekly flights will be departing Guyana on Sundays and Mondays for Europe.Commercial Manager of Trans Guyana, Alexandra Correia shares a handshake with Country Manager of KLM Airlines, Martijn Broecke in the presence of other TGA officialsOne-way tickets cost US$233 for an adult and US$186 for children while return tickets cost US$430 for adults and US$337 for children.Correia told a news conference, “Starting on 1st September, Trans Guyana Airways Beech 1900D will be flying from the Eugene F Correia International Airport to Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport in Suriname to connect with KLM’s flight to Amsterdam International Airport Schiphol”.This new route, she added, will be the fastest from Guyana to Amsterdam. Moreover, she noted, “no visas will be required when in-transit in Suriname and perhaps I should also point out that this route to Europe avoids the USA so there will be no need for a US visa. The flight times are very convenient. We’ll be departing from Ogle (EFCIA) at around 14:00h and departing Amsterdam at 11:30h,” while highlighting some of the other benefits of this new partnership.Meanwhile, Country Manager of KLM, Martijn Broecke assured potential passengers of safety and exceptional customer service as he shared on the company’s history.“I think that many people have heard that KLM is the oldest company in the world that is still operating under its own name and is celebrating its 100 years of existence on the 7th October…we also operate 80 years in Suriname. We started in December 1934 with a three-engined Fokker F-XVIII,” he explained.The country manager added that customers will be able to cash in on its Flying Blue loyalty programme, which gains the traveller points to purchase tickets, allowance for extra baggage and upgrades among others.There is also another initiative called Bluebiz, which allows companies to save Blue credits to purchase tickets and ancillary products for employees.Moreover, passengers on this route can expect free Wi-Fi and other in-flight entertainment.This new route will increase Guyana’s connectivity to Europe. Last year, Guyana hosted the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Conference where plans were revealed to develop relationships with each member state, including Africa, Asia and Europe.Several new agreements have since been inked with numerous countries in this regard.last_img read more

NEB recommends building Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project

first_img#NEB has issued its report recommending #GIC approve the #TransMountain Expansion Project subject to 157 conditions https://t.co/jhranyAgDi— NEB Canada (@NEBCanada) May 19, 2016Advertisement CALGARY, ALBERTA – The National Energy Board released it’s decision on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project today in a 533-page report.The Board has recommended to the Government of Canada that the pipeline be built.In a media release, the NEB says they took many factors into account.“Through the public hearing process the Board considered all the evidence and arguments made for and against Trans Mountain’s application to construct and operate the Project, including information regarding the consultation undertaken with Indigenous groups, the potential impacts, and proposed mitigation measures. The Board then considered all of the benefits and burdens associated with the Project, balancing various interests and factors (such as the need for the Project), before determining whether, in its opinion, the Project is in the Canadian public interest.”- Advertisement -The project would see the current pipeline expanded between Burnaby, B.C. and Alberta. It would increase the capacity to 890,000 barrels per day, up from the current 300,000 barrels per day.“The 157 conditions include regulatory and/or overarching requirements as well as requirements pertaining to project engineering and safety; emergency preparedness and response; environmental protection; people, communities and lands; economics and financial responsibility; and, project-related marine shipping.”Advertisement We have received the @NEBCanada recommendation and are pleased our Project has been found to be in the national public interest. #cdnpoli— Trans Mountain (@TransMtn) May 19, 2016last_img read more

Exclusive – Mason building a bright future at Tottenham, says Friedel

first_imgTottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel has praised the impact of midfielder Ryan Mason at the club this campaign.The 23-year-old had previously found it tough to make his mark in north London, due to injuries and loan spells away from the club, but impressed Mauricio Pochettino in pre-season.Mason has since forced his way past several international stars into the first-team and, while teammates Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane are taking all the plaudits, Friedel believes he deserves huge credit for his role in Tottenham’s good form.He told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “There is another player that people should be taking note of and that is Ryan Mason.“I don’t think many Tottenham fans thought that he would be in our 25-man squad this year and maybe thought he wouldn’t even be at the club.“In pre-season he impressed that much that they had to give him his opportunity and since he banged in that goal in the League Cup [against Nottingham Forest] he’s gone from strength to strength.”Meanwhile, Friedel believes Spurs’ policy of bringing through players from their academy, which has seen Nabil Bentaleb, Andros Townsend and strike star Kane emerge as regular starters for the club, can benefit them greatly.“We’ve been developing youngsters,” he added. “It started when Tim [Sherwood] took over last year. He promoted some of them into the first-team and Mauricio [Pochettino] has definitely continued that.“He wants to carry on developing the young players at the club, which is great to see because at a club like Tottenham you can’t always purchase players. It’s difficult to compete with the finances of Chelsea and Manchester City.”last_img read more

Musa selected to oversee NOCK Performance Program

first_imgThe five will be tasked to support the Technical functions of the Executive and advise on Athlete’s Scholarships Management, Monitoring and Evaluation of the Scholarships Program, Oversight on Training Programs and Assessment of Scholarships Applications.The team will work with the National Federation Coaches to ensure that there is maximise usage of the scholarship program for all athletes and teams which get scholarships from and through the National Olympic Committee.The National Olympic Committee recently provided 8 Scholarships to various athletes.NOCK president, Paul Tergat (right) and retired Kenya rugby international Humphrey Kayange. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaThe Elite team on Friday morning started meetings with the respective coaches of these athletes so as to ensure there is efficient monitoring and evaluation of these programs.In the coming days, the National Olympic Committee will be announcing further scholarships for additional athletes and Teams.National Olympic Committee through this Team will starti engaging Consultants in various fields to assist the athletes and teams.The team will further work will various organisations and institutions which can help us provide a conducive training environment of the athletes.“We would like to create a suitable environment for Elite Athlete Performance and even before we establish a physical High-Performance Center, we are starting the virtual program. The aim through this team is to adopt a culture of high performance and incorporation of modern scientific methods of training across all the sports in Kenya,” NOCK Ag. Secretary General Francis Mutuku said in a statement.“We shall at the initial stage provide support for Strength and Conditioning support and facilitate the National Coaches working with the Elite athletes in terms of knowledge sharing and capacity building,” NOCK added.0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler with former Harambee Stars captain Musa Otieno during a football clinic organized by Barclays at the Camp Toyoyo Ground in Nairobi, Kenya on November 23, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, March 22 – Harambee Stars veteran Musa Otieno and former Kenya Sevens head coach Felix ‘Totty’ Ochieng are among five members selected by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) to oversee the Elite Performance Program.Others are rugby veteran Humphrey Kayange who will head the team by virtue of being athlete representative in the NOCK Executive Committee, athletics coach Julius Kirwa and Tennis coach Rosemary Owino.last_img read more

49ers CEO Jed York describes how he almost wound up on injured reserve with QB Jimmy Garappolo

first_imgFrom the “Now it Can be Told” files:San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garappolo wasn’t the only member of the organization who was in physical distress after he tore his ACL in a game at Kansas City last September.Team CEO Jed York almost joined Jimmy G. in the ER, according to team CEO Jed York.The revelation was reported by NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan. York, speaking at the NFL owners meeting in Phoenix, said he was so upset by the injury to his $137.5 million quarterback …last_img

Warriors’ Game 5 calm: ‘There’s no panic,’ says Curry … ‘I love this,’ says Kerr

first_img[vemba-video id=”van/sc/2019/05/07/bang_a552fea7-9195-4db0-84a0-95d33a4cd19c”]Klay Thompson subscribes. You can too for just 11 cents a day for 11 months + receive a free Warriors Championship book. Sign me up!HOUSTON – The Warriors have absorbed countless dents in their championship armor. Yet, the Warriors still insist they have enough protection to withstand their latest adversity.The Warriors lost two consecutive road playoff games to the Houston Rockets. They tied the series at 2-2. And …last_img

Massive Study Finds No Evidence of a Gay Gene

first_imgby Jerry Bergman, PhD Homosexual behavior has always been a challenge to explain by evolution. As one anthropologist, R. C. Kirkpatrick, writesHomosexuality presents a paradox for evolutionists who explore the adaptedness of human behavior. If adaptedness is measured by reproductive success and if homosexual behavior is nonreproductive, how has it come about?[1]The replacement rate is 2.1 children per married couple, and in many countries the replacement level is significantly below this, causing not population growth, but decline. This is a growing concern that homosexuality exacerbates. The rate of children for gay couples is consistently far below that of heterosexual couples.[2] And the growth of homosexuality acceptance has resulted in far fewer children per couple because two males and two females are not able to have children as a couple.[3] Methods by which they produce a family include adoption, foster parenting, donor insemination, surrogacy, and children from previous heterosexual relationships. By  adoption alone, LGBT couples are four times more likely than heterosexual couples to have an adopted child in their household. In 2013, 13 percent of LGBT families had an adopted child, in comparison to only three percent of opposite-sex couples.[4]The Gay Gene TheoryX and Y chromosomes differ dramatically in size and contentIn 1993 a study by Professor Dean Hunter linked the region of the human X chromosome, xq28, to male homosexuality, and the “gay gene” idea was born.[5] Although the idea that homosexuality had a biological origin was widely accepted before this, the 1993 study was reflected in claims like, “I was born this way.” The Democrat Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has asserted, “God made me gay and who can disagree with God?”[6] He defends his sexual orientation with remarks like, “if you have a problem with who I am, your …  quarrel, sir, is with my Creator.”[7] The fact is, no one has been able to successfully replicate Hunter’s research findings. This was further complicated by the allegation that a junior researcher in Hunter’s laboratory alleged that Hunter, (who identifies as gay), selectively presented the data by dropping cases that did not fit his theory as published in his 1993 paper in the journal Science.[8] As could be expected, Hunter denied the allegations.Finally A Large Study Helps Answer this QuestionThe latest study—the largest ever completed—was conducted by an international group of scientists and published in the most prestigious science journal in America, Science.[9] The study used a genome-wide association study that included genomes of 408,995 individuals in the health resource British Biobank. It also included 68,527 American users of the popular genome-sequencing company 23andMe. The combined number of participants in the study dwarfs all previous research. In short, according to Dr. Saey, Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Washington University in St. Louis, the conclusion is clear.“There is no ‘gay gene’ that determines whether someone has same-sex partners,” says Andrea Ganna, a geneticist at …  MIT and Harvard … . Family studies have suggested that genetics account for about 32 percent of heritability of homosexual behavior. But each …  [gene] has a very small effect on whether someone has ever had a same-sex sexual partner, the new research found.[10]This small effect could include certain behaviors that have little directly to do with homosexuality, such as high levels of masculine traits in females (most who marry and adjust well in society) and high levels of feminine traits in males (most who also marry and adjust well in society). Given the normal curve, we expect to find a few people at the two extremes of the femininity/masculinity distribution curve. In other words, a few males will be firmly in the female part of the curve and a few females will be firmly in the male part of the normal curve.Characteristics of femininity are not universal. Nevertheless, general patterns do exist. Gentleness, empathy, sensitivity, caring, sweetness, compassion, tolerance, nurturance, deference, and succorance are traits traditionally cited as feminine. The same is true of masculinity, which includes traits like strength, courage, independence, leadership, and assertiveness.The journal Nature was definitive in its headline:“No ‘gay gene’: Massive study hones in on genetic basis of human sexuality. Nearly half a million genomes reveal five DNA markers associated with sexual behaviour — but none with the power to predict the sexuality of an individual.[11]The researchers used a method known as a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to evaluate the genomes of hundreds of thousands of people for single-letter DNA differences, called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, often pronounced ‘snips’). If people with a certain trait in common, such as homosexual behavior, also share certain SNPs, chances are that the SNPs are in some way related to that characteristic.Sampling IssuesThe researchers divided the main study participants into those who reported having had sex with someone of the same sex, and those who did not.[12] The problem with this division—among others—is that many people who have had reported sexual encounters with a person of the same sex include youths experimenting, especially youths attending all-boys schools, inmates in prisons, inhabitants in monasteries, and others deprived of normal heterosexual social communities. Some of those reporting having had homosexual encounters early in life likely went on to normal heterosexual relationships. This fact could further skew the interpretations of small genetic associations that were reported in the study, misleading readers toward notions that homosexual behavior has at least some potential genetic basis.Auxiliary DataThe researchers also included a smaller database, the Molecular Genetic Study of Sexual Orientation (n = 2,308 U.S. adult males), in which respondents were asked about their sexual identity. Another study was included (n = 4,755 U.S. young adults), in which respondents were asked whether they ever had same-sex intercourse and were romantically attracted to the same sex. The Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (n = 8093 Swedish adolescents) was also included, in which participants reported the degree of attraction to the same versus opposite sex. These additional studies supported the basic findings.[13]Combined Genetic Influences Minor at BestAltogether, the tested genetic variants accounted for a mere 8 to at most 25 percent of the variation. If the population was not limited to exclusively homosexual, 7 on Kinsey scale (1 was exclusively heterosexual to 7, exclusively homosexual), the numbers would likely be less than these variances indicate, if some of the qualifiers used in the small studies had been consistently used in both of the larger studies. A total of 26,827 individuals reported same-sex sexual behavior – a high number, quite probably because those who self-selected to report homosexual behavior were more likely to be homosexual. Another reason for the high number could be cultural. Evolutionist Michael LePage surmised in New Scientist, “Until it became acceptable for same-sex couples to live together in western countries, many homosexual people had partners of the opposite sex. In some traditional societies, various forms of non-exclusive homosexuality were common.”[14] Understandably, homosexuals in earlier times would try to conceal their behavior with various ruses, like pretending to have a heterosexual consort or spouse, and many formally married. When I worked at Arlington Psychological Associates as a therapist, several of my patients were happily married. The “gays” were there for therapy for other issues including, in one case I knew, the death of her spouse. He was a known gay man, she heterosexual and never could deal with his loss.Significantly, “In all cases, the variance explained by the polygenic scores was extremely low (<1%); [consequently] these scores could not be used to accurately predict sexual behavior in an individual.”[15] Since prediction is considered valuable for confirming scientific theories, the small remaining fraction of variants that may be associated with homosexuality really have no scientific value. An individual may possess all the variants and yet have no homosexual tendencies. The statistics indicate, in fact, that the vast majority (75 to 92 percent) with these genetic variants will not be influenced in the direction of homosexual behavior by them.A part of the study rarely reported by the press include the associations of these genetic indicators with mental health problems, whichare substantially heritable, and previous population surveys have shown elevated risk of adverse mental health outcomes (such as depression, anxiety, or substance use) in sexual minority populations, including individuals engaging in same-sex sexual behavior. We found several personality traits (loneliness and openness to experience), risky behaviors (smoking and cannabis use) and mental health disorders…. in both sexes that same-sex sexual behavior was positively genetically correlated with several psychiatric or mental health traits.They also found “Some associations were sex specific. In particular, the genetic correlations with bipolar disorder, cannabis use, and number of sexual partners were significantly higher in females than in males.”[16] Lastly, it was found that the increased rate of reported same-sex sexual behavior across time, raisesquestions about how genetic and socio-cultural influences on sexual behavior might interact. We also observed partly different genetic influences on same-sex sexual behavior in females and males; this could reflect sex differences in hormonal influences on sexual behavior (for example, importance of testosterone versus estrogen) but could also relate to different sociocultural contexts of female and male same-sex behavior and different demographics of gay, lesbian, and bisexual groups.[17]Objections to the StudyThe researchers anticipated objections to the study, and so communicated the results with different LGBTQIA+ groups (meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and other+ groups) to try to appease them. In spite of their efforts, however, objections persisted.[18] Some members of the LGBTQIA+ community argued that the study should not have been carried out at all.. Some may have worried that the lack of a genetic cause could lead to more discrimination, because it would make homosexuality a choice, not an inborn trait. The openly-gay evolutionary biologist and anti-creationist Douglas Futuyma wrote in a 2005 essay, “There is only a short distance between understanding the genetic or environmental origins of sexual variation and the possibility of intervention – [in] medical terms, ‘cure.’” [19]ConclusionsThe study supports the importance of the environment, especially early experiences with homosexual behavior. Genetic influences, at best, were only minor and equivocal. It also makes the oft-repeated claim, “I was born this way,” less plausible, which may explain the LGBTQIA+ objections to the study. Ironically, attempts to explain homosexuality by evolution, all of which have failed, is not a concern if the behavior is environmental rather than genetic.[20] In view of the findings of this study, it is obvious that evolutionary attempts to explain homosexuality are contrived theories, not based on fact.References[1] R. C. Kirkpatrick, 2000. “The Evolution of Human Homosexual Behavior,” Current Anthropology, 41(3): 385-413, June 2000.[2]Andrea Ganna, et al., 2019. Large-scale GWAS reveals insights into the genetic architecture of same-sex sexual behavior. Science, 365(7693):1-8, p. 882.[3] Peter Sprigg, 2012. HOMOSEXUAL PARENT STUDY, Summary of Findings https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF12H47.pdf[4] Gary J. Gates and M.V. Lee Badgett, 2007 Adoption and Foster Care by Gay and Lesbian Parents in the United States, 2007 http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Gates-Badgett-Macomber-Chambers-Final-Adoption-Report-Mar-2007.pdf ; https://www.lifelongadoptions.com/13-lgbt-adoption/243-15-lgbt-adoption-quick-facts.[5] R. Pool,  (July 1993). “Evidence for homosexuality gene.” Science, 261 (5119): 291–292; King, M.C., (July 1993). “Human genetics. Sexual orientation and the X.” Nature, 364(6435): 288–289.[6] Nick Nelson, 2018. Father Nick Nelson: Does God ‘make’ people gay? https://www.dioceseduluth.org/blog/Daily-News/father-nick-nelson-does-god-make-people-gay-108935.[7] ‘Mayor Pete’ To Pence: God Made Me Gay https://centurylink.net/news/read/category/news/article/newser-mayor_pete_to_pence_god_made_me_gay-rnewsersyn.[8] J. Kaiser, (28 Feb 1997). “No Misconduct in ‘Gay Gene’ Study.” Science, 275(5304): 1251. doi:10.1126/science.275.5304.1251b. ISSN 1095-9203. PMID 11644902.[9] A scientific study has established that there is no “gay gene.” https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2019/08/31/a-scientific-study-has-established-that-there-is-no-gay-gene.[10] Tina Hesman Saey, 2019, There’s no evidence that a single ‘gay gene’ exists. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/no-evidence-that-gay-gene-exists.[11] Jonathan Lambert, 2019. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02585-6.[12] Ganna, et al.; Ref. 2, p. 881.[13] Ganna, et al.; Ref. 2, pp. 881-882.[14] https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13674-evolution-myths-natural-selection-cannot-explain-homosexuality/#ixzz5yIVM8Eak. August 29.[15] Ganna, et al.; Ref. 2, p. 884.[16] Ganna, et al.; Ref. 2, pp 884-885.[17] Ganna, et al.; Ref. 2, pp. 886-887.[18] Ganna, et al.; Ref. 2, p. 889.[19] Angus, Chen, 2019. Study Finds No ‘Gay Gene,’ But Some Question Whether The Search Should Have Started At All. https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2019/08/30/broad-institute-same-sex-genome-research[20] Kirkpatrick, Ref. 1. Although Kirkpatrick proposed his own theory, it too is problematic.Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology at several colleges and universities including for over 40 years at Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored, are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.(Visited 904 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Drive to make 2010 spectacular

first_imgKeynote speaker Sibusiso Ndebele,Minister of Transport,is adamant that the World Cupwill unite the nation.The fourth and final edition of the 2010 National Communication Partnership Conference saw communications experts from the private and public sector pledging to use their Confederations Cup experience to deliver an outstanding 2010 Fifa World Cup.The football spectacular kicks off on 11 June 2010 and ends 30 days later.The one-day conference was an initiative of the International Marketing Council (IMC) and Government Communications and Information System (GCIS).It aimed to provide professional communicators with the tools to launch an intensified and coordinated 2010 strategy, which will reach as many people as possible and set off a wave of excitement and support that will sweep the entire continent.“The World Cup is South Africa’s next defining moment,” said acting IMC CEO Paul Bannister in his welcoming address. “This is going to influence how the rest of the world looks at us from now on. We have to get it right – who knows when the next defining moment will be?”Among the issues discussed were the safety and security of fans, the mobilisation of people across the continent, and the increased use of tools, such as the diski dance and the national anthem, to build excitement and national cohesion.The diski dance is as unique a facet of South African football as is the vuvuzela and the makarapa (a somewhat modified hard hat). The dance borrows much of its style from the Beautiful Game, and with moves like the Header, the Juggle and the Table Mountain, it is as infectious as the spirit of optimism that is fast pervading the nation.Safety firstMinister of Transport Sibusiso Ndebele said in his keynote address that his department’s prime responsibility is to get fans to the stadiums safely and on time, and back to their hotels afterwards.With around 500 000 fans expected to pour into the country during June and July 2010, said Ndebele, the safety of both citizens and visitors is non-negotiable.A tighter national strategy and better coordination between national and provincial government, he said, will assure fans of a secure environment. Part of this tighter strategy included the establishment of a single command structure to run the entire plan.Ndebele praised South Africa’s law enforcement agencies, saying that they have proven their capability during previous international sporting events. “They will continue to improve on their capacity to deal with crime incidents and will be ready to neutralise any potential threat.”He added that his department is waiting for Fifa’s final draw, which takes place on 4 December 2009. “Then we will have a better idea of where the big crowds will be and can plan accordingly, especially for the smaller metropolitan areas that may not be fully equipped to deal with huge crowds.”The transport department’s 2010 strategy involves a combination of various modes of transport including buses, trains and taxis.Negotiations with the local minibus taxi sector, which earlier in 2009 protested over the Rea Vaya bus rapid transport system, were continuing, but the minister expected a positive outcome.“Rea Vaya will go ahead,” he affirmed. “There is no turning back.”Feedback from the Confederations Cup, he said, was mostly positive but aspects such as the park and ride system still needed attention. These will not be neglected, he added.Marketing opportunityLocal Organising Committee (LOC) chair Irvin Khoza encouraged the country to make the most of the forthcoming extravaganza, and to understand the enormity of the project.“We won’t get another marketing opportunity like in this in the next 100 years,” he said, referring to the chance to promote South Africa in all its diversity to the international community.With the Confederations Cup now behind them, he said, the focus is firmly on the big event and communication must move into top gear. “We need to feel that the show is in town. This is the real deal.”Khoza likened the upcoming World Cup to a television commercial for South Africa, except that its duration is 30 days instead of 30 seconds.“This commercial will be watched by billions around the globe,” said Khoza, “and it is our chance to present South Africa as a dynamic and exciting place to visit”.Khoza said that the biggest legacy of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, besides national pride, skills development, better infrastructure and more, would be to bury what he termed “Afro-pessimism”, and show that South Africa is on a par with developed nations in this sphere.He also urged South Africans to support all six African teams, and to shift support to a team from Africa should national team Bafana Bafana fail to make it to the later stages.Panel discussionsThe conference featured two panel discussions, chaired by TV veteran Jeremy Maggs and Paul Bannister respectively.The first session, centred on Confederations Cup feedback, featured transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele; Sindiswa Nhlumayo, deputy director-general in the Department of Tourism; Ron DelMont of Fifa’s local office; LOC marketing chief Derek Carstens; Gab Mampone, acting CEO of the embattled South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC); and assistant police commissioner Ben Groenewald.Each assured the audience that their departments and organisations were hard at work to address the flaws revealed during the Confederations Cup.Ndebele promised that the park and ride system would be overhauled, and that there would be smoother coordination between the various transport modes.Nhlumayo said the focus of her department would be on service excellence.“We want those 500 000 visitors to go home and become ambassadors for South Africa,” she said. “In this way we will penetrate markets we have not yet reached.”She mentioned that the tourism department had enlisted the help of the Disney Institute, the professional development and training arm of the Walt Disney Company, to conduct research, identify the weak spots and implement best practices across all service areas.She also announced the October 2009 launch of the National Service Excellence Initiative. This is a private-public partnership with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa to develop greater levels of service excellence, thereby increasing the sector’s US$19.7-billion (R159-billion) contribution to the South African economy, and ensuring its global competitiveness.South African Police Service (SAPS) assistant commissioner Groenewald stated emphatically that fans would be safe. The dry run of the Confederations Cup was a big success overall, he said, although there were a few critical areas that needed attention. Lack of communication and not enough standard operating procedures were identified as shortcomings that would be addressed.Fifa’s DelMont said the organisation was happy with the progress to date. He mentioned that although four stadiums were used for the Confederations Cup, there remained another six untried stadiums around the country. DelMont encouraged the six host cities to follow the example of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, which hosted events in its brand-new stadium before the Confederations Cup, and was therefore able to assess its performance in a live situation.Derek Carstens of the LOC reported that crucial targets for the Confederations Cup had been met. As an example, he said that ticket sales for the South African event had matched that of Germany, and in a world recession to boot.The LOC is also awaiting the final Fifa draw in December, said Carstens. “Then we will start driving hard.”Mampone of the SABC assured all present that the organisation would deliver on its promises. “Our plans are well advanced, and the resources we will need had been set aside a long time ago.”In broadcasting terms, he said, the Confederations Cup saw excellence all around, with over 200 countries receiving consistent high-quality signals.World media perceptionBetween panel sessions, the audience watched presentations by Wadim Schreiner of Media Tenor SA and Jos Kuper of Kuper Research.Schreiner spoke on the world media perception of South Africa and the 2010 Fifa World Cup, obtained through a survey of 42 countries across June and July 2009. Research revealed that, while recent strike action had dented the country’s image slightly, on the whole South Africa had recovered from its lowest point in May 2008 during the xenophobia attacks.He said it was likely that South Africa would receive strong international media attention from now until June 2010.Kuper reported that active engagement through, for example, the diski dance and the national anthem was crucial in order to stir up 2010 fever among South Africans.Igniting the nationThe second panel discussion, hosted by Paul Bannister, carried the theme Igniting the nation to deliver.Panellists included Rich Mkhondo and Derek Carstens of the LOC; Mvuzo Mbebe of the SABC; Wendy Tlou of South African Tourism; Kwakye Donkor of the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa; Themba Maseko of GCIS; Vish Naidoo of the South African Police Services; German branding guru Nikolaus Eberl; and David Smith of the Foreign Correspondents Association.All agreed that a multi-faceted strategy was necessary to galvanise the nation. Early and effective communication was needed, not only to reach the thousands of visitors but also the expected 18 000 media professionals.“We don’t want them to report on just the football while they’re here,” said Mkhondo.Maseko of GCIS agreed that communication was the key to delivering the best World Cup ever.“We need to develop an appropriate and resounding communication strategy,” he commented. “As government, we have set up a number of structures to enhance our marketing and communication plan and to ensure that government speaks in one voice.”To overcome communication and cultural barriers, said Naidoo, the SAPS plans to enlist police officers from other countries and bring them to South Africa to visibly patrol in their uniforms. This will help the SAPS to effectively police foreign nationals.UK journalist Smith commented that while the controversial issue of a “Plan B” host was over, the question of South Africa’s readiness was yet to be firmly established in the UK. “This is because we didn’t have a team in the Confederations Cup and there wasn’t much coverage,” he said.Smith encouraged the local media to accentuate the positives, but to be truthful about any shortcomings.The way forwardThe second part of the conference included four breakout sessions under the themes: domestic mobilisation, tourism, communication, and continental mobilisation. During the sessions participants pooled their ideas for boosting South Africa’s brand.The communication group decided to strengthen existing campaigns, and to integrate them in order to promote a positive attitude. For instance, the Football Friday strategy adopted by hotel group Southern Sun could be developed into a national event to be held later in the year.Getting the country behind the national football team, anthem, and flag were important elements of domestic mobilisation. The group also suggested the composition of a 2010 song.Continental mobilisation would benefit from better communication and wider access to information, it was decided. South African embassies abroad need more information, possibly in the form of an information package which could be easily distributed. It was suggested that other key events across the continent could be linked to the World Cup.The tourism group concluded that the diski dance and Fly the Flag for Football campaigns need to be used more extensively, in order to entrench them in the nation’s consciousness. It was suggested that the dance be taken to schools and performed at every domestic football game from now on.last_img read more

Save electricity, save money: Eskom

first_img17 April 2012 Eskom has called on South Africans to use electricity wisely – and economically – in the upcoming winter months. The power parastatal has urged citizens to switch off energy-intensive appliances like geysers and pool pumps during high electricity usage times in the evenings. This could result in energy savings of up to 2 940 MW. “This is enough to free up five units of a six-pack power station and power three cities the size of Durban, Port Elizabeth or Bloemfontein,” Eskom said in a statement this week. To help South Africans save money on their winter electricity bills, Eskom has advised consumers to use electric heaters that are controlled by thermostats, to switch on electric blankets an hour before going to bed, and only to heat rooms that they are going to use. It called on people not to leave appliances like TVs, computers and radios on standby mode, as this still used up to 50% of the electricity the appliance would normally use. “If every household makes some minor changes, we can lower our collective electricity use by 10%,” Eskom said. “This means that we will reduce our monthly energy costs, reduce the demand on the national grid, while at the same time doing our bit to save the planet.” Source: BuaNewslast_img read more