SA boosts earth observation

first_img7 December 2007South Africa’s earth observation capabilities have been given a boost with the establishment of the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), which will gather various data to ensure better management of existing resources and promote sustainable development.In addition, the Department of Science and Technology said in a statement last week that it has developed the South African Earth Observation Strategy (SAEOS) as a framework for coordinating and integrating the country’s existing earth observation capabilities, and to link them with complementary capabilities in neighbouring countries and to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).Earth observation is the use of satellites to gather various types data, including on land usage, oceans and atmospheric conditions.“South Africa needs a system of geospatial infrastructure to better coordinate the collection, assimilation and dissemination of earth observation data in order to support policy, decision-making, economic growth and sustainable development,” Science and Technology Minister Mosibudi Mangena said.He was addressing delegates at the 4th Ministerial Summit of the Intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO), which took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre last week.“This is where the SAEOS and SAEON will play a key role. By enabling us to understand our planet better, and provide the basis for evidence-based decision-making by policymakers, civil society and the private sector.”According to the department, the two programmes were established as part of its engagement with the international community, in promoting an integrated global earth observation system.SAEON is in the process of establishing “nodes” in each of the major biomes of South Africa, which are aimed at establishing long-term (30-year plus) monitoring of environmental indicators.The Egagasini Node for marine-offshore systems will use South Africa’s geographical advantage with regard to the Southern Oceans to garner information to inform climate change studies across the globe and fisheries management locally.“Within the SAEOS framework, SAEON aims to be comprehensive in scope by covering terrestrial, atmospheric and oceanic systems, inclusive of recent past environmental conditions that may be inferred from geological and palaeontological observations,” SAEON head Johan Pauw said.“SAEON’s scientific design is continuously refined to be responsive to emerging environmental issues and corresponds largely with the GEO societal benefit areas,” he explained.Mangena also praised the contributions made by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), the international mechanism charged with the coordination of the international civil space-borne missions designed to observe and study the earth.Earlier this month, South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) took over as chair of the committee, a move that Mangena said would provide the country’s current and future space activities with global exposure in the space community, as well as access to world-class technologies in the area of satellite earth observation.“It will also provide an opportunity to foster partnerships with international space agencies and their partners to promote technology skills transfer and access to international research funding instruments,” he said.SAinfo reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

All set for ‘safe, enjoyable’ Afcon 2013

first_img18 January 2013Soccer fans attending the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in South Africa can be assured of a safe, enjoyable experience.The South African Police Service (SAPS) and SA National Defence Force (SANDF) have assured visiting Afcon fans that they will be protected from the moment they arrive at the country’s ports of entry.Joints operations centreAddressing the media in Pretoria on Thursday, the SAPS’s Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela said that all Afcon security operations would be coordinated through a national joint operational and intelligence structure (Natjoints).Situated in Pretoria, and fitted with the most sophisticated technology, Natjoints will be manned by representatives from the SAPS, SANDF, Metro Police, Intelligence agencies and representatives from various government departments.It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of the tournament, which runs from 19 January through 10 February.Natjoints started operating on 10 January and will continue with its operations until 19 February. Natjoints structures will be duplicated in other host provinces.“The mandate is to plan, implement, execute and monitor all inter-departmental and cross-provincial operations affecting safety, security and stability in the Republic of South Africa,” Mawela said.He added that much had been done to ensure that soccer fans enjoyed the tournament.According to Mawela, Natjoints had been successfully coordinating major events for the past 12 years, including the 2003 cricket and the 2010 soccer World Cups and various international conferences, the most recent being COP 17.Police along all routes, in stadiums, on trainsHe said police would be deployed along all major routes leading to the stadiums, adding that “spotters” would be deployed inside and outside the stadiums during matches to ensure that trouble makers were immediately identified and removed from the stadiums.Air-space restrictions will also be in force over all stadiums used for the Afcon tournament.Police officials will also be deployed in trains to ensure the safety of fans travelling to and from the stadiums.Mawela added that there would be a team of dedicated detectives dealing with all Afcon-related cases.National Police Commissioner Ria Phiyage expressed confidence in the Afcon security strategy, saying she was certain all would go according to plan.Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

South Africa turns to jobless for its War on Leaks

first_imgThe War on Leaks campaign will train 15 000 young people to mend leaking taps and pipes and help the country save R7 billion in water.Trainees had to have a minimum of matric or an N3 certificate and a science and math background before being accepted for training. (Image: GovZA)Brand South Africa reporterA total of 15 000 young people with the minimum qualification of Grade 12 matric or N3 with maths and science, will be trained for campaign called War on Leaks, set up to save water through stopping water leaks.It was launched by President Jacob Zuma on 28 August in Port Elizabeth. South Africa is said to lose more than R7-billion worth of water annually because of leaking taps and pipes.Given this, the youngsters will be trained to fix leaking taps. They will do repairs, retrofitting and replacements. They will also be able to identify aged infrastructure, one of the causes of the problem.Zuma said the programme was expected to be rolled out countrywide. “Our key message to you today is that we must save water. Water is not unlimited. If we do not look after it, we will lose it.”It was everyone’s responsibility to save water. “When you see a leaking tap, close it. When you see a leaking pipe on the road, inform the authorities. Nobody should waste water; it is very scarce.”A long-term national water plan was needed to address the country’s future needs regarding water and sanitation, he added.Through War on Leaks, the government would train unemployed young people as water agents. “They will be responsible for visiting communities to investigate water leaks and to teach people to save water,” said the president.“We will also train plumbers who will assist to do a number of things such as reducing water losses and repairing the sources of the leaks.”Training is followed by community outreach to find and fix leaks and teach people how to save water. (Image: GovZA)Training will take place in three phases: in phase one, 3 000 people will be trained in the 2015/16 financial year; in phase two, 5 000 will be trained in 2016/17; and in phase three, 7 000 will be trained in 2017/18. About R680- million has been budgeted for the campaign in the current financial year.In addition, Zuma said the Department of Water and Sanitation had committed funding for the construction of the Nooitgedacht Water Scheme, which would boost the water supply to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.Construction had started and the scheme was scheduled for completion in February 2017.Earlier in the day, the president visited the home of Cynthia Ncapayi in Zwide. The family’s water bill ran into several thousands of rand and it had been discovered that water leaks were to blame for the consumption figures. The family was unable to pay the high bill.Similar cases are being reported throughout the municipality’s townships and metro.Municipal capacityWater and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said 27 district municipalities in the country were in a dire state in terms of water capacity.“Working together with the water boards, we will train youngsters, give them accreditation through [sector education and training authorities] and they will be attached to our different water boards. That will help us with capacity.”Many young people, she added, would also be placed in district municipalities where interventions were needed.Over and above the first 3 000 trainees, Mokonyane told the SABC, a further 1 000 trainees had been targeted to ” deal with the cleaning of our dams, the cleaning of infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal”.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Federer edges Youzhny in 5 sets at US Open; Nadal needs 4

first_imgBiggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul A couple of seeded men departed, too: No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 15 Tomas Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up.The No. 3-seeded Federer won five consecutive U.S. Open championships from 2004-08 and also was the runner-up twice, including two years ago. But he missed last year’s tournament while taking off the second half of the season to let his back and surgically repaired left knee fully heal.That back, an off-and-on issue for years, flared up again while Federer was losing in the final of the Montreal Masters in August. He didn’t get to fully work on returns or serves, in particular, as the U.S. Open approached. That lack of training and the resulting lack of timing — rather than pain from his back — is what Federer said caused him problems Tuesday night in the first round against 19-year-old American Frances Tiafoe and again against Youzhny, a former top-10 player who reached the 2006 and 2010 U.S. Open semifinals but is now ranked 101st.“I’m pretty confident that I’m only going to get better from here. That’s a good thing,” Federer said. “Because I’ve played a lot, I definitely found some rhythm now.”He did falter repeatedly Thursday, though.Federer let a lead slip away in the second set and got broken while serving for it at 5-4.“He helped me to come back,” Youzhny said.Federer stumbled again while serving for the fourth set at 5-3, but responded to a break there by breaking right back.Still, Federer’s unforced errors continued to mount in the fifth set — 11 in the first four games alone, including a badly shanked forehand on his first break point at 2-1, a netted backhand on his second, and a long forehand to let Youzhny hold there. Eventually, Federer nosed ahead, aided by the considerable dip in the 35-year-old Youzhny’s level of play.While Federer played his first-round match Tuesday under the roof in Ashe, Youzhny’s opener was postponed until Wednesday because of rain, and he blamed that for his fatigue. His legs started cramping late in the third set Thursday and then reached other parts of his body, even his fingers, by the end. That made it hard to move forward or to jump normally while serving. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “He’s also a real man who plays tennis,” Youzhny noted. “He’s not a god.”Well, OK, that’s true. But remember: Federer did not drop a single set en route to his record eighth Wimbledon championship in July. And that he is 37-3 with five titles, including two at majors to raise his record total to 19.Second on that list, with 15, is No. 1-seeded Rafael Nadal, who trailed by a set and a break before figuring things out and beating 121st-ranked Taro Daniel of Japan 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in Ashe at night. That followed 20th-seeded American CoCo Vandeweghe’s 7-6 (6), 6-2 victory over Ons Jabeur of Tunisia under the lights.What already was a wide-open women’s bracket became more so when 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was upset by 116th-ranked Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. The No. 8-seeded Kuznetsova’s exit means five of the top eight women are already gone.Two other seeded women lost to Americans in the afternoon: Shelby Rogers edged No. 25 Daria Gavrilova 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (5) in a tournament-record 3 hours, 33 minutes, and Jennifer Brady eliminated No. 23 Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-1.ADVERTISEMENT Promoters: Pacquiao-Horn rematch won’t happen this year Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim LATEST STORIES Rafael Nadal, of Spain, reacts after winning a point against Taro Daniel, of Japan, during the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)NEW YORK — A bad back prevented Roger Federer from getting ready for the U.S. Open the way he prefers to prepare for a Grand Slam tournament. And it’s showed so far.Federer blamed a lack of proper practice after making an uncharacteristic 68 unforced errors and being forced to go five sets again before coming back to edge a cramping Mikhail Youzhny 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Thursday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side It is the first time the 36-year-old Federer has played five-setters in both the first and second rounds at a major tournament.“I knew I was going to maybe struggle early on. Maybe I struggled more than I would have liked to. But I’m still in the draw, which gives me a chance. I still believe I’m going to pick up my game and become just more consistent because I’m not playing all that bad,” Federer said. “It’s just that I’m going a bit up and down in waves throughout the match.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingGiven that Federer entered the day with a 16-0 career record against Youzhny and a 16-0 mark in the U.S. Open’s second round, one might have thought that their match would be a mismatch.Think again. At 1-all in the deciding set, Youzhny collapsed to the court, grabbing at his right leg after whiffing on an attempted swat at Federer’s lob. Youzhny stayed down for a few moments, then grimaced and limped around for the rest of that game.Afterward, Youzhny chuckled at the mention of having lost all 17 matches against Federer, even leaning back in his chair and joking about how he would have completed the upset if Grand Slam rules were different: “I beat him in three sets now — but we played five sets. But come on, if we played three sets, I already beat him!”Federer, naturally, preferred to look at matters from a different perspective.“I find my way,” he said. “I don’t panic.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ View commentslast_img read more

The Germany We Can Admire

first_imgRainer Fassbinder’s classic 1979 movie The Marriage of Maria Braun is an allegorical tale about the moral complications and emotional cover-ups that surround Germany’s re-emergence as a strong state after World War II. Set between the war and 1954, the film’s heroine, Maria, thinks she has lost her husband at,Rainer Fassbinder’s classic 1979 movie The Marriage of Maria Braun is an allegorical tale about the moral complications and emotional cover-ups that surround Germany’s re-emergence as a strong state after World War II. Set between the war and 1954, the film’s heroine, Maria, thinks she has lost her husband at war, becomes the darling of a victorious American GI, kills him when the husband returns alive from the front, becomes the mistress of a wealthy industrialist as the German economy recovers, inherits his fortune in the 1950s and is set to be reunited with her first husband and about to live a life of luxury when she is suddenly killed in a gas explosion at her home. The explosion is the final scene of the film, and as the credits run one can hear football commentary for the 1954 World Cup final where West Germany won their first championship. ‘Deutshland ist Weltmeister’ screams the delirious commentator-while in the shot we see Maria Braun’s home go up in flames, her short life with all its sad secrets over, a new country reborn which can forget about the sins and complications of the past, rising again on the wings of the Wirtschaftswunder, ‘the German economic miracle’. In Germany, the World Cup is always about much more than just football.Germany first fancied themselves with a shot at the World Cup in 1938. After Adolf Hitler’s Anschluss of Austria excellent Austrian players were incorporated into a ‘Greater Germany’ team (though perhaps the greatest Austrian player of all, Matthias Sindelar, refused to take part in the Hitler-Mannschaft [football team] and went on to commit suicide in 1939). As with other areas of Nazi sports, the German football team had a strong ideological dimension, meant to prove Aryan superiority over inferior races. However, the German team had only managed fourth place in the 1934 World Cup, and were knocked out by minnows Norway in the 1936 Olympics. 1938 was meant to right all this-only for the Germans to draw 1-1 in their opening game against the Swiss in their first game, and then humiliatingly knocked out 4-2 in the replay. But the tournament had some solace for fascism: Benito Mussolini’s Italy beat Hungary 4-2 in the final to win their second World Cup on the trot (football was much more important to Mussolini than Hitler, who saw more value in boxing and individual sports).advertisementWest Germany were barred from taking part in the 1950 World Cup, and the 1954 edition was the first time the national anthem was played at an international sporting event since the War (though the stanza about ‘Deutschland Uber Alles’ was cut). In the final, the German team were expected to be defeated by the all-conquering Hungarian team lead by the greatest player of his generation, Ferenc Puskás; the Hungarians had already thrashed them in a qualifying round. But after the Hungarians streamed ahead 2-0, the Germans pulled the game back to 2-2. They had no stars like Puskás but the weather was on their side: it was raining heavily and the Germans had the advantage, thanks to a new type of boot with innovative screw-in studs designed by a little-known company called Adidas. The Germans scored again after the break, and Puskás had a late equaliser ruled out for off-side. In Germany the match became known as the ‘Miracle of Bern’, the triumphant sporting symbol of Germany’s ‘Economic Miracle’.West Germany’s next World Cup Final win came in 1974 when they again managed to get the better of the greatest player of his generation, Holland’s Johan Cruyff, with a tenacious team display. But the most important political game in the 1974 World Cup had actually come in the first round, when West Germany played East Germany in a showdown between Communism and Capitalism. The tournament was overshadowed by the Cold War: the USSR had dropped out after refusing to take part in a match against a Chile where the US-allied General Augusto Pinochet had just ousted the Soviet-sympathetic Salvador Allende in a coup d’etat; there was intense security as Germany was terrorised by the ultra left group Rote Armee Fraktion. The West Germans were clear favourites in their game: they were European Champions, with a core from the European Champions Cup-winning team of Bayern Munich, captained by Franz Beckenbauer. But the East Germans managed to frustrate their Western ‘brothers’ and won the match 1-0. Both teams had qualified for the next round by that point-but it was still a great moment for East German pride.Throughout the Cold War decades the West German team was one of the few ways Germans could confidently express their patriotism without feeling WW II awkwardness, and with Germany essentially barred from the geopolitical scene it became not so much a continuation of politics as its substitution. The West German team that evolved towards the end of the Cold War was everything Germany could never dare to be in diplomacy: Teutonic, powerful, self-confident. They peaked in 1990, in time with the West’s victory in the Cold War, with the man-machine Lothar Matthaus leading a Valkyrian team to beat Argentina: the losers again featuring the world’s greatest player, Diego Maradona, who like Cruyff and Puskás before him, could not conjure a victory against the less spectacular but more united Germans.advertisement1990 was the high water mark of West German postwar success. After the two Germanies were reunited, both the economy and the national team were expected to become superpowers: an idea that made many surrounding countries uncomfortable. Were we about to see a re-emergence of bad, bullying Germany? Instead the German economy slowly slumped, dragged down by costs of paying for the East and a burdensome welfare state. The team dwindled too: they reached the 2002 World Cup Final by luck and were easily blown away by Brazil. It was as if a reunified Germany was almost scared of being too successful and overbearing.  Slowly, since 2004, a new German team has been re-emerging. Except it’s a different type of Germany, not Aryan at all but made good with immigrants like Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Jerôme Boateng, Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose. By winning the 2014 World Cup with such a globalised team, the demons of 1938 have been put to bed (though some things never change: again a unified German team beat the world’s best player, Lionel Messi). This globalised Germany is one which the nation can back with no remnants of Nazi hang-ups, it becomes acceptable to be patriotic as the patria (homeland) becomes less German. And at the same time Germany has re-emerged as the superpower of Europe. Except it’s no longer a case of other countries wanting to hold them back: “I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity,†Radek Sikorski said in 2011, as he hoped for Germany to be more assertive in the Eurozone crisis, and as he no doubt hopes now that Berlin will stand up to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Germany is reclaiming its geopolitical status, but that will mean letting go of some of the benefits of being diplomatically neutral-such as being able to do business with everyone and never thinking of the geopolitical responsibilities (the German business lobby is the most involved in Putin’s Russia, is among his greatest supporters and has been vocal in stopping Berlin from sanctioning the Kremlin). Let’s just hope German Chancellor Angela Merkel is as good at her job as its football team’s coach Joachim Löw is at his.advertisementlast_img read more