Quake aid workers race against looming winter

first_img Another Britain-based group, ActionAid International in Pakistan, said its workers tried to reach remote mountainous areas, but had to get out of their truck and walk in one area because of bad roads and traffic jams. “The problem is that people are facing a shortage of time,” said Shafqat Munir, a spokesman for the group. “It’s cold, raining. People are without shelter. They have food, clothes, blankets, but tents are a problem.” Flights bringing in new supplies landed at an airfield outside Islamabad through the night, including a NATO jet that brought in eight tons of blankets, tents and sleeping bags from Slovenia. The 5.6-magnitude aftershock early Thursday was centered 85 miles north of Islamabad, near the epicenter of Saturday’s 7.6-magnitude quake that demolished whole towns, mostly in Kashmir and northwestern Pakistan. The aftershock shook buildings, but there was no significant damage in the already demolished region. “People were scared. Even those who were sleeping in tents came out. Everybody was crying,” said Nisar Abbasi, 36, an accountant camping on the lawn of his destroyed home in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. A 22-year-old woman detected by a sniffer dog in the rubble in Muzaffarabad died after the aftershock forced rescue teams to suspend their efforts, rescuers and witnesses said. When they returned after daybreak, the sniffer dog whined, indicating it detected the smell of a corpse. Some rescue workers wept. “It was a very difficult decision to leave a living person and I had a responsibility to my team. It could have meant their death,” said Steff Hopkins, a British team leader. A milder aftershock hit the same area Thursday night, with no immediate reports of damage, according to Pakistan’s state-run seismological center in the northwestern city of Peshawar. There have been dozens of aftershocks since the main quake. Experts said they could go on for months. In Muzaffarabad, relief workers wrapped 35 bodies in shrouds and carried out a mass burial Thursday. The burial was coordinated by Jamat-e-Dawad, a group linked to Islamic militants that is operating dozens of ambulances in the city and running a camp for quake victims. Earlier this week, the U.N. launched an international appeal for $272 million for six months of emergency aid to Pakistan. Yvette Stevens, a U.N. relief coordinator in Geneva, said about $165 million of aid had been pledged as of Thursday. Some 30 nations have contributed relief supplies and manpower. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan – With snow falling in parts of Kashmir, harried relief workers tried to reach remote areas on foot Thursday as the U.N.’s emergency relief chief warned time was running out for many survivors of South Asia’s massive earthquake. U.N. Undersecretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland flew by helicopter to the Kashmiri city of Muzaffarabad, where he said millions of people urgently needed food, medicine, shelter and blankets. The U.N. estimates 2 million people are homeless ahead of the Himalayan region’s fierce winter. “I fear we are losing the race against the clock in the small villages” cut off by blocked roads, Egeland said. “I’ve never seen such devastation before. We are in the sixth day of operation, and every day the scale of devastation is getting wider.” The plea came after a 5.6-magnitude aftershock jolted parts of Pakistan early Thursday, forcing a rescue team to suspend efforts to save a trapped woman. She died before the rescuers returned to the precarious rubble. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The quake death toll was more than 35,000, and tens of thousands were injured. India has reported more than 1,350 deaths in the part of disputed Kashmir that it controls. Carrying water, juice and milk, a relief team from Britain-based Plan International flew in a helicopter to villages in northern Mansehra district in North West Frontier Province and found death and misery. “The whole valley is smelling awfully,” said Dr. Irfan Ahmed, the aid group’s health adviser. “People were hungry and panicking.” “Conditions are going from bad to worse. These people don’t have any shelter. Also the school has collapsed, and the children were in those classrooms,” he said. Ahmed said one elderly survivor was evacuated with a semiconscious 3-year-old boy who was barely moving, his skin cold and clammy. last_img read more

McKinleyville struggles in opener, falls 37-3 to St. Vincent de Paul

first_imgMcKinleyville High will have to wait a week for another try at its first win of the season as it fell in its season opener to visiting St. Vincent de Paul-Petaluma 37-3 Friday night at the Redwood Bowl.The Mustangs opened the game with a 7-play drive, running right at the Panthers with each play. When Mustangs quarterback Jacob Porteous finally dropped back to pass, he even got in on the act, scrambling for a 7-yard touchdown for the first score of the game.The Panthers initial drive didn’t …last_img

Saving the land with ecotourism

first_imgThe awe-inspiring rock paintings that abound in Bushmans Kloof Reserve. (Image: Bushmans Kloof) A romantic moment on the beach at Phinda. (Image: Phinda Private Game Reserve) Dinner at sunset, overlooking the Kalahari. (Image: Tswalu Kalahari Reserve)Janine ErasmusThree South African lodges are included on the latest National Geographic Adventure magazine list of 50 top ecolodges. Phinda Private Game Reserve, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve and Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve have taken their place among the top environmentally friendly tourism destinations in the world.Of the 50 establishments recognised as the most earth-friendly, 17 are in Africa. Four are in Kenya, with two each in Namibia, Botswana and Tanzania, and one each in Mozambique, Seychelles, Egypt and Morocco.National Geographic Adventure says that a decade ago the number of true ecolodges on the planet could be counted on two hands. But no longer are they solely found deep in the African bush or Central American jungle, as these are not the only ecosystems that need nurturing. Today ecolodges are found in a diversity of landscapes and locales ranging from island and savannah to mountain and desert terrain.As far back as 1990 the Ecotourism Society defined ecotourism as “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people”.And an ecolodge, according to the Ecotravel Center, a division of the non-profit Conservation International Foundation, can be defined as a nature-dependent tourist lodge that meets the philosophy and principles of ecotourism.Ecolodges, therefore, are those establishments that focus strongly on a greener way of operating, including the support of local communities, the creation of far-reaching conservation initiatives, and a firm emphasis on adventure. Oh, and guests can expect dazzling locations and unsurpassed service and comfort too.A good ecolodge should engage in responsible practices such as paying respect to local traditions by incorporating cultural elements into the design and décor, disrupting the natural environment as little as possible and using local plant life as much as possible, sourcing food from local farmers, using recycled or recyclable materials in building, and bridging cultural gaps by promoting cultural exchanges.Ecolodges are becoming increasingly fashionable, not only because many of them genuinely deserve their place among the world’s top destinations, but also because more tourists are listening to their consciences and actively supporting the vital role that ecolodges play in conservation. These fine citizens of the earth will return home knowing that their holiday contributed to preserving the world’s natural environment.In South Africa, the three establishments that have been singled out by National Geographic Adventure magazine have shown firm commitment to those ecotourism principles.Tswalu Kalahari ReserveThe Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is the creation of the late Manchester entrepreneur Stephen Boler, who was at one time the largest single shareholder in Manchester City football club. Over a period of four years Boler bought 34 farms in the Kalahari Desert and combined them to form a vast 1 000km² game reserve. Since 1999 Tswalu, the largest private reserve in South Africa, has been owned by the Oppenheimer mining dynasty.Tswalu has won a number of international awards, including several AA Travel Guide accolades and a Condé Nast Traveler 2007 World Savers Award. While it offers a superb safari experience, its primary aim is conservation and socio-economic development in the region. Its architectural designs minimise water and energy usage while extensive use of solar energy and everyday waste recycling substantially reduce the impact on the environment.Tswalu is committed to restoring and preserving the natural environment and ecological processes that are unique to the Kalahari ecosystems, thereby providing a sanctuary for endangered species such as the African wild dog, listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.Some of Tswalu’s projects include a study of the mammals in the reserve and identification of their ecological roles, research into predator-prey relationships of the Kalahari lion in the reserve, a determination of the density of black rhino that can be sustained by vegetation in Tswalu, the development of a Tswalu spider database, and mapping the breeding success of raptors in the reserve.Phinda Private Game ReserveThe acclaimed Phinda Private Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal is a flagship establishment of &Beyond, previously known as Conservation Corporation or CC Africa. Phinda encompasses seven separate ecosystems ranging from woodland, grassland, wetland and forest, to mountain ranges, rivercourses, marshes and pans. The reserve is also home to a contingent of rare black rhino.Many of Phinda’s rangers and guides are drawn from the surrounding communities and are thus able to share a wealth of cultural information with guests. All are deeply committed to their work. The reserve runs a full-time ranger school, where prospective rangers study for eight weeks before joining a team and gaining more knowledge in the field.Phinda has embarked on a number of other important conservation and community projects, among them the establishment of a worm farm and organic garden in a nearby community, which will hopefully produce vegetables for purchase by the lodge, a black rhino range expansion project, the ongoing clearing of an invasive alien plant species known as Triffid Weed, an initiative to re-introduce lion into the reserve, and research into leopards in the area.Bushmans KloofSpectacular Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve in the Western Cape, situated on the northern side of the Cederberg mountains about 270km north of Cape Town, boasts more than 130 rock art sites, some of which have been dated back to 10 000 years ago.The reserve was born in 1991 when the McAdam brothers bought seven farms and combined them to form the 75km² Bushmans Kloof. Initially the land was severely over-grazed and neglected, but the McAdams removed the livestock and let the land restore itself.Today Bushmans Kloof shelters endangered species such as the Cape mountain zebra, the Cape clawless otter and the Clanwilliam yellow fish. Indigenous trees once more cover the land, which lies within the Cape Floral Kingdom, a proclaimed World Heritage site. The reserve has won much international acclaim, first in 2003 when the US-based magazine Travel and Leisure voted it as one of the world’s top 25 ecolodges.Bushmans Kloof is a leading participant in the 1 600km² Agter-Pakhuis Conservancy project, which encourages farmers to employ ecotourism principles wherever possible. The reserve has also opened a heritage centre where photographs and artefacts, as well as traditional jewellery, musical instruments, hunting kits and more, pay homage to the culture of the Bushmen.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Related articlesTourism in South AfricaSouth Africa’s national parks Ecotourism reaps rich rewards Useful linksSouth African TourismInternational Ecotourism SocietyTswaluPhindaBushmans Klooflast_img read more

Opening remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa for meeting with the Black Business Council

first_imgPresident of the Black Business Council, Mr Sandile Zungu,CEO of the Black Business Council, Mr Kganki Matabane,Leaders from business and IndustryLadies and Gentlemen,Allow me to begin by thanking the Black Business Council for initiating this meeting.We are all keenly aware of the challenging economic climate and the urgency with which we have to improve the business and investment climate, create jobs and improve the living conditions of South Africans.It is therefore encouraging that the business sector, particularly black business, is keen to engage with government.Our success as a country depends on bringing all social partners together, and on using all available platforms for engagement.The Black Business Council is an influential voice in articulating the position of the business community around key national economic issues.You are to be commended for your enduring commitment to be partners in driving economic transformation and national development.We have just concluded the second South Africa Investment Conference, which resulted in R363 billion in investment commitments.As we look set to reach our goal of securing R1.2 trillion in investment over five years, what was most encouraging was that domestic investment in our economy is on the rise.At the inaugural Investment Conference in 2018, local companies committed in the region of R157 billion.This year, they committed just over R262 billion.What this says to us is that local business confidence is slowly but surely returning.Of course we welcome foreign direct investment, but it is our local businesses and industries that we really want to see ploughing capital back into our economy.Local business must be at the forefront of our national investment drive.When you reinvest in our economy, it gives confidence to foreign investors that this is a good place to bring their money. What this trend signals is that our economic reform agenda is gaining traction.It suggests that there is less reticence in the local business community to commit capital to new operations or to expand existing operations.Since taking office at the beginning of last year, we have worked consistently to address the concerns of business.We have worked to improve policy certainty and the ease of doing business, remove regulatory impediments, maintain macroeconomic stability, reduce public debt and fix our state-owned enterprises.Policy reform has taken place in key areas like mining, oil and gas, telecoms, energy and immigration.Measures to reduce the cost of doing business are being implemented, including reductions in rail and port tariffs.Guided by the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on Land Reform, we are working on the implementation of our accelerated land reform programme.We have a new enhanced industrial strategy founded on partnerships between government, industry and labour.       We recently concluded master plans in the poultry and clothing and textiles sectors.Master plans are in development for other industries with high-growth potential such as automotives; gas, chemicals and plastics; metals; renewable energy; agricultural and agro-processing; and high-tech ICT industries.An Investment and Infrastructure Office is being established in the Presidency to coordinate the country’s investment strategy and infrastructure drive.We are in the process of setting up the Infrastructure Fund to leverage investments from financial institutions, multilateral development banks, asset managers and commercial banks.Measures to stimulate the economy must be matched by prudent fiscal policies and sound macroeconomic management.The newly-appointed Presidential Economic Advisory Council will contribute to greater coherence and consistency in the implementation of economic policy, and will advise on policies to spur inclusive growth.          Strengthening governance at our state-owned enterprises and restoring their finances to health is vital if we are to rein in public debt.Energy security is critical if local industries are to flourish.The Eskom board, working with government, continues to pursue a turnaround plan to address its huge debt, its liquidity problems and its operational challenges.The appointment of a new permanent Group Chief Executive at Eskom is an important step towards restoring stability and forging a sustainable path at this strategic entity.We are undertaking these measures in support of the overriding effort to address the unemployment crisis.In my monthly meetings with leaders of government, business, labour and communities to track commitments made at last year’s Jobs Summit, we are focused on the practical work needed to protect existing jobs and create new ones.As the Presidency, we have been working with stakeholders inside and outside government on a package of interventions to create pathways for young people into economic activity.Ours is a singular determination to improve the business climate and to implement the reform that is necessary to attract more investment and create more jobs.Ultimately, however it is the private sector that will create the bulk of the jobs that our country needs.That is why engagements such as this one are critical.We need you to work with us to remove the impediments that exist in the business environment so that business is able to take the lead in creating jobs and opportunities for our people.We need you to work with us to fundamentally transform the economy.As representatives of black business, you have a central role to play in the national effort to change the structure of our economy to ensure that it is representative, inclusive and benefits all our people.Your experiences at the rock face of business transformation must serve as a guide as we seek to build on our achievements and address our shortcomings.Your insights are particularly important as we work to strengthen the implementation of our broad-based black economic empowerment policies, ensuring that they achieve far-reaching and sustainable empowerment.To fulfil its purpose, it is essential that broad-based BEE contributes to inclusive economic growth and job creation.We should all be concerned about the slow pace of transformation in the workplace, particularly in the private sector.This necessitates some serious introspection by business and clear strategies to promote employment equity.We know that black businesses who do work for the State have a myriad of challenges, especially around payment for services.Despite the introduction of a 30 day payment stipulation, we know that it is not being uniformly adhered to, and we are therefore working hard to fix the problems in this regard.The Black Business Council has always maintained that business does not only have a responsibility to shareholders.Business has an equally important role to play in building a more inclusive economy and society.Businesses can and must be drivers of development and play a role in resolving our key national challenges of poverty and inequality.We are reassured by the faith that black business has in this country and in its government.We value your input on what more can be done to unlock the economy, which sectors should still be tapped to grow our economy and what strategies can have the greatest effect.With these words I thank you once again for initiating this engagement, and I look forward to the discussions that will follow.I thank you.last_img read more

Jan. 15 Deadline to Submit Apps to the Mobile Premier Awards

first_imgWhy IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Related Posts Tags:#apps#mobile center_img The mobile ecosystem is in the midst of an unprecedented wave of transformation. As business models adapt, new verticals and players emerge. Technology evolves, perceptions shift, and lives are improved.The Mobile World Congress, which will take place from Feb. 14-17 in Barcelona, is doubtless the most important of its kind, and every year, for a couple of days, the city of Barcelona pauses its romantic and alternative style and becomes the centre of the mobile technology world. In this atmosphere, a parallel event like the Mobile Premier Awards means a great opportunity for developers to show their apps.With an estimated 50,000 mobile professionals from over 200 countries attending the MWC, the congress aims to promote mobile technologies. Now in its fifth year, the MWC will focus on the early stage aspects of mobile development and showcase the most innovative apps from around the world bringing the developers and entrepreneurs to the spotlight.This post first appeared on ReadRiteWeb Spain.ReadRiteWeb.es is supporting the MPAs as media partner. You can follow our coverage on the Web and @rwwes. Follow us on Twitter for a chance to win one of five tickets to the Mobile Premier Awards.Mobile World CongressIn terms of digital innovation, old Europe is usually behind North America and Asia, so hosting a major event like the MWC – which is organized by the GSMA and which unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators and more than 200 companies in the mobile ecosystem – encourages local companies to find better ways to compete.There are other important European events related to IT, like LeWeb, and certainly they provide an excellent way to attract international attention, but the MWC goes beyond and puts Barcelona, Spain and Europe in the centre of the mobile industry.Mobile Premier AwardsIt sounds like a great idea to award some of the best and most innovative mobile apps in the same city -and at the same time – where major companies, media and every one else interested in mobile technologies are all together talking about the future.Smartphones have offered a new business line for small developers, a fantastic new line indeed; nevertheless it is very difficult to find success in a market that is full of competitors. The MPA gives entrepreneurs and developers a fantastic chance to show their apps.The awards are organized by dotopen, a consulting firm, and are supported by major companies with a common goal: promote multi-platform development and establish the awards as the reference for the community formed by entrepreneurs, startups and developers. This year’s awards ceremony will take place for the first time at the amazing Diagonal 00 tower, the new Telefonica R&D Catalunya headquarters.Last year’s edition received over 600 submissions, and this year the number could be even higher due to the great growth the app market has seen, the tremendous success of the iPhone 4, the rise of Android phones and the arrival of tablets (we mean the proper arrival).AppCircus at the Mobile Premier AwardsParticipation in the MPAs is free to any entrepreneur, company or developer with a mobile app. The nominated apps include a selection of the AppCircus Categories and the winners of last year’s AppCircus events.AppCircus is a series of traveling shows focused on mobile apps and is produced by dotopen as well.This traveling showcase is very dynamic, dotopen’s Rudy de Waele told us. “In 2010 we have done over 30 events globally between September and December. In 2011 we plan to do between 50 and 100 events globally,” he said.You still have a chance to pitch your application at the MPAs: the deadline to submit an app is Jan. 15. Read more information here. Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement miguel galeralast_img read more

Free Final Cut Pro X Plugins to Improve Your Video Edits

first_imgExpand your video editing toolkit with 6 FREE Final Cut Pro X plugins from Alex4D.com!Last year we posted on the first batch of free FCPX plugins released by veteran plugin creator Alex Gollner and we’re excited to see he’s since been hard at work creating new FCPX effects.The Alex4D plugins are versatile and practical, improving on the shortcomings of the standard FCPX tools (the blurs, curves and adjustment layers below are case in point).  Discover how these 6 FREE Final Cut Pro X plugins can give you more control over your video projects!Distortion EffectsThese are actually 4 unique effects to warp your video image.  Modify the distortion by adjusting parameters in Final Cut Pro X.Black Hole: Your video image is dragged to a single pointBulge: Define a center point and add a inward or outward bulge to your image (see example above)Circular Zigzag: A ripple style effect.  Dial in the amount of refraction.Twirl: Spins and twist your clip.  Go from subtle to EXTREME.DOWNLOAD the free Distortion effects plugin for FCPX.Adjustment LayersAnyone accustomed to using After Effects or Photoshop may surprised there’s not an adjustment layer feature also built into FCPX.  This plug-in attempts to change that, by using a title generator to mimic an adjustment layer.  Apply the adjustment effect to the top layer in your timeline and any changes you make to it will effect all of the layers below.  Change scale, position, add effects, fade in and out…tons of possibilities and a real timesaver in post.DOWNLOAD the free Adjustment Layer plugin for FCPX.Mask+Want to keyframe your masks in FCPX?  You won’t want to be without this very handly plugin.  Add a 4, 8 or 16 point mask to your footage and keyframe a mask to scale, resposition or rotate over time. Stack duplicate clips on top of one another and use the mask to create color effects, blur a specific part of the video image or add a vignette.DOWNLOAD the free Mask+ plugin for FCPX.CurvesGet more control over your Final Cut Pro X keyframing.  The free FCPX Curves plugin allows you to change the values between two keyframes of any element in your timeline.  Adjust the position, rotation, trim and scale, as well as define the order of these adjustments.  This handy plugin seems especially useful for creating custom transitions.DOWNLOAD the free Curves plugin for FCPX.Blurs7 unique free blur effects for Final Cut Pro X that include Gradient Blur, Soft Focus, Defocus, Compound Blur and Circle Blur.  Multi-purpose FCPX plug-in allows you to mimic shallow depth of field, blur a specific region of the video image or create unique transitions.DOWNLOAD the free Blur effects for FCPX.Interface 2037This may not be the most versatile plugin on the list, but it’s certainly the most fun!  Alex says he created this title effect based off of the computers in Alien (1979).  Very cool text effect for giving your project a sci-fi / retro-futurism vibe.  See it in action in the video below.DOWNLOAD the Interface 2037 text effect for FCPX.Big thanks to Alex Gollner from Alex4D.com for releasing his Final Cut Pro X plug-ins for free – making them available to all video editors!last_img read more

St. Clare stays unbeaten, survives Batangas-EAC

first_imgMiguel Romero Polo: Bamboo technology like no other “I just remind my players in practice to always give their best and all the hard work will show,” said St. Clare coach Jinino Manansala in Filipino.St. Clare tied University of Santo Tomas at the helm of the Aspirants Group standings but not after surviving a spirited rally by the Generals, who came back from 19 points down.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsFortunately for the Saints, Hallare came to the rescue, scoring four straight points to give his team an 80-71 cushion with 45.3 ticks to go.Irvin Palencia and Joshua Fontanilla added 14 points each for St. Clare. Marvin Taywan paced EAC, which slipped to 1-3, with 18 points.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte LATEST STORIES PBA IMAGESSt. Clare College-Virtual Reality kept its record clean after fending off Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College, 80-73, in the 2019 PBA D-League Monday at Paco Arena in Manila.Junjie Hallare posted a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds to power the Saints, who upped their mark to 3-0.ADVERTISEMENT Google Philippines names new country director Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH 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 Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag Rival fans cheer as brilliant Lionel Messi scores 3 for Barcelona Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants View commentslast_img read more