Arsenal fans go into meltdown over Thierry Henry’s photo

first_img1 Thierry Henry to return to Arsenal? After four and half years in America, Thierry Henry is leaving New York Red Bulls.During his time there he scored 51 times, but after announcing his decision to leave MLS the striker changed his cover photo on Facebook much to fans’ delight.In two spells in north London, Henry scored 228 goals in 337 games and moved to New York in 2010 after three years at Barcelona.Below are a selection of tweets from happy Arsenal fans…last_img

South Africa bans abalone fishing

first_imgSouth Africa has indefinitely suspended the fishing of abalone – commonly known as perlemoen – in its waters, effective from 1 February 2008.Wild abalone in South Africa has declined to such an extent that the resource is threatened with commercial extinction, says Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environment and Tourism. (Image: South African Police Service)Brand South Africa reporterSouth Africa has indefinitely suspended abalone fishing in its waters, effective from February 2008, as marine authorities take drastic measures to protect the rapidly depleting shellfish species from commercial extinction.Illegal fishing and increased inward migration of a lobster species that destroy abalone habitat are being blamed for a decline in the shellfish’s numbers.Addressing the media following a Cabinet meeting this week, government spokesperson Themba Maseko said politicians had also approved a social plan to provide alternative employment opportunities for legal fishers of the shellfish, commonly known in South Africa as perlemoen.The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism states that there are currently 302 rights holders – 262 individual divers and 40 close corporations – operating in the sector, accounting for about 800 jobs.“Some of the measures incorporated in the social plan will include the development of a sustainable aqua-culture industry and issuing of additional permits for whale watching and shark-cage diving,” he said.Maseko conceded that it was not an easy decision to indefinitely suspend fishing of the species, but that the government had the responsibility to “strike a good balance” between the needs of coastal communities and the species becoming extinct.“Wednesday’s tough decision by Cabinet to support the suspension of wild abalone commercial fishing will ensure the survival of the species and will also ensure that our children and the generations that follow will know what perlemoen is,” Environment and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said, welcoming the decision.“We are unfortunately at a point where the commercial harvesting of wild abalone can no longer be justified because the stock has declined to such an extent that the resource is threatened with commercial extinction.”One reason for the decline is the migration of West Coast Rock Lobster into abalone areas. The Rock Lobsters consume the sea urchins, which provide shelter to juvenile abalone.“This in turn subjects the juvenile abalone to increased mortality. Studies further show that unless decisive and immediate action is taken, the resource will collapse completely with little prospect of recovery,” he said.A main cause for the decline, however, has been rampant poaching over the years, as the shellfish is highly coveted and fetches high prices especially in the Far East, and had to be dealt with.“I want to give notice that if there is not a drastic decline in poaching I will have to apply my mind at the start of the next season as to whether it is perhaps time to consider a complete ban on all perlemoen harvesting for a period of ten years to allow the resource to recover,” Van Schalkwyk warned.Source: South African Government News AgencyWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa materiallast_img read more

Local NGO success in the UK

first_imgKhulisa’s ground-breaking programmes aim to break the cycle of violence, prevent youngsters from ending up in prison, and rehabilitate those who have done time. Khulisa staff harvesting vegetables from their KwaZulu-Natal office garden to donate to a children’s shelter.(Image: Khulisa Social Solutions) MEDIA CONTACTS • Lesley Ann van Selm  MD, Khulisa Social Solutions  +27 11 788 8237 or +27 82 601 2299 RELATED ARTICLES • Khulisa reinvents lives • Mandela prison anniversary marked • Values, heritage can be learned here • Concourt art tells SA’s story • SA’s gallows now instrument of healingLucille DavieLocal NGO Khulisa’s out-of-the-box programme on restorative justice has been exported to the UK, and is now part of a package of programmes being successfully implemented by an independent registered charity.Khulisa UK’s mission is to “break the cycle of crime and violence by helping people to change their lives”. It does this in three ways: guiding by restoring empathy, self-belief and self-worth; healing individuals – both perpetrators and victims – and communities; and nurturing by believing all people can grow.“We think that we are quite unique in bringing to the UK programmes that have been tried and tested in the extremely fragile and challenging social environment of South Africa,” reads the staff induction pack. “In particular we look at projects that provide innovative and effective ways to address crime, violence, anti-social behaviour, justice and community regeneration.”Khulisa means “to nurture” in Zulu. The programme targets offenders and ex-offenders, young people at risk of exclusion, offending or becoming involved in gangs, victims or witnesses of violence and crime, as well as people facing significant personal barriers in their lives.“Through our work we aim to empower disadvantaged individuals with the skills and personal understanding they need to develop their own alternatives to violence, desist from crime, improve their futures and build stronger and safer communities.” Homegrown innovation in the UKKhulisa UK is an offshoot of South Africa’s Khulisa Social Solutions, an NGO that’s been running for 16 years. Its founder and MD Lesley Ann van Selm was originally looking to raise funding from international donors – while Khulisa has for the past 11 years been funded by the Finnish and Danish embassies, more funding was needed to expand.But the EU will only fund EU-based organisations so Van Selm set up a company in the UK called Khulisa Crime Prevention Initiative.She is an Ashoka fellow, an international body that recognises and supports leading social entrepreneurs through an entrepreneur network. “It’s quite a prestigious thing to be an Ashoka fellow,” she explains.With the support of Ashoka in the UK, she managed to get a pro bono attorney to help register the company there. A feasibility study showed that “there was as much potential for us to get money in South Africa as there was for us also to have our programmes exported to the UK”.Van Selm elaborates: “Khulisa’s programmes are so out of the box, and have been so organically developed, and we realised that the programmes in the UK were very, very conventional and all compliant against international theories of psychology, etc.”It took two years to develop a pilot programme, then Khulisa’s Silence the Violence (STV) programme was tried out in Hackney in London. A psychologist, an academic from Manchester University, a human rights activist and an ex-offender were invited to participate.“The outcomes were mind blowing,” says Van Selm. Getting the programme off the groundWith success around the corner, funding was needed to follow up on the trial programme. Khulisa managed to get several contracts with the Home Office Police, a private prison company, and several other trusts, in particular the Sainsbury’s Family Trust and the Monument Trust, which gave US$157 000 (R1.4-million). This enabled Khulisa in the UK to appoint a CEO, rent offices, employ staff and get the programme off the ground.The attitude in the UK was that if Khulisa can get the programmes to work in South Africa, with its many challenges, it can work in that country too.Now, three years down the line, the British company is a separate entity, paying royalties to Khulisa South Africa, and looking to expand their programmes there.Van Selm says that she is looking at ways to expand the restorative justice programme in the UK, through the STV programme, which is based on restoring relationships between criminal and victim.She adds that she’s proud of the fact that the UK franchise is using the Khulisa brand name. She says the name is catchy, and “makes people feel curious”.“It is a proudly South African brand.” UK operationKhulisa UK has taken the STV programme and combined it with three others – Milestones Mentoring Programme, Face It, and My Square Mile, developed in-house. These programmes supplement STV, which is described as “an intervention that additionally reduces violence and changes anti-social behaviour contributing to a reduction in violence/assaults whilst offering longer term positive effects on reducing re-offending with other supports.”It is best suited for young people in at-risk situations or those involved in gangs with exposure to crime and violence, including witnesses and victims.The programme consists of 10 modules of two- to three-hour facilitated sessions, usually run over five days. It is followed up with one-on-one support sessions. It uses group and cognitive behavioural therapy, a strengths-based approach, and includes coaching, role play, problem solving, emotional management and conflict resolution.Some of the learning outcomes include recognition of high-risk situations and techniques to avoid or cope with them; an ability to recognise levels of violence and awareness of its damaging effects; improved listening skills and greater empathy for others; the development of emotional intelligence; enhanced self-expression and self-awareness; and improved relationships. Measuring successKhulisa UK’s CEO Simon Fulford says some 1 500 people have benefited from the programmes since the organisation started operations in 2009. He adds that this excludes any indirect impact on family and community members connected to the participants.Success is not always easy to measure. “Rating success with offender rehabilitation and behaviour change programmes is always a difficult one as the impact is subtle, long-term and hard to measure or claim direct responsibility for,” he explains.Two responses give a sense of the programme’s success. An ex-offender from 2011 reports: “I’ve not cried for 18 years, and this is the first time I’ve felt safe enough to do so, in this group dynamic.”A 16-year-old school pupil said: “I was able to look into myself, pin-point what is wrong and start a path in to correct and move on, as I am able to look at others and feel empathy.”Fulford says that Khulisa UK has an annual operating budget of around $630 000 (R5.6-million), employing seven permanent staff and about a dozen freelance programme facilitators assisted by some 40 or 50 volunteers each year.The organisation operates in the London, Greater Manchester and the south coast areas of Dorset and Hampshire, but also runs programmes on an ad-hoc basis in other parts of the country, depending on contracts or commissions.“Overall, about 300 adults and children participate in our full programmes per year, with several hundred more engaged via short workshops, taster sessions, and more.”Now, Khulisa UK is looking to adapt and pilot South Africa’s Justice and Restoration Programme for use in the UK.“Khulisa UK and Khulisa South Africa bring a new dynamism to north-south relations, with a unique model of exporting social development solutions from south to north and then adapted in-country,” says Fulford.“Similarly, as we develop and enhance programmes here, we will share this knowledge and expertise with our colleagues while looking to further export the Khulisa approach.”last_img read more

South Africa’s largest water drive to be launched at Nelson Mandela Foundation

first_img(Image: Flickr: Anthony Roderman)Johannesburg, 28 January, 2016 – The Nelson Mandela Foundation, Operation Hydrate and Proudly South African are pleased to announce their decision to join forces to launch the country’s biggest “Water Drive” to date, in an effort to bring much needed and urgent relief to communities in drought stricken areas across the country.South Africa remains in the grip of its worst drought in over 100 years, with no immediate prospects of the situation abating. While 2015 has been recorded as the driest year on record, recent weeks have seen record breaking temperatures claim several lives. Dams and rivers continue to recede, taps are running dry and beleaguered communities continue to call for urgent help.“Operation Hydrate has already collected and distributed over three million litres of urgently needed drinking water to drought ravaged communities in various provinces, but it’s unfortunately not enough. While we work on long-term strategies for drought relief and water provision, we cannot ignore the immediate needs of South Africans who are dying of thirst,” said Operation Hydrate’s Yaseen Theba.“We need to all continue to join hands to ensure that we get water to where it’s most needed,” he added.The organization, driven by community volunteers, will host a “Water Drive” with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Proudly South African fromFriday, 29 January to Sunday 31 January 2016. Water drop-off times will commence from 09h00am-17h00pm on all three days.“It gives us great pleasure as the Nelson Mandela Foundation to be associated with an initiative in which South Africans, in a moment of crisis, help vulnerable fellow citizens. This is precisely the call that Madiba made when he said ‘it is in your hands’. Operation Hydrate is a call for all of us to respond to keeping Nelson Mandela’s legacy alive. We know it’s a small gesture but every drop counts to help destitute communities whohave no drinking water,” said Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.Members of the public and corporate South Africa are invited to drop off sealed 5 litre bottles of drinking water during the three-day “Water Drive” at the Nelson Mandela Foundation at 107 Central Street, in Houghton, Johannesburg. Trucks will be on standby.“We are calling on South Africans to once again be of service to humanity and respond to the basic needs of our fellow South Africans. Let’s contribute and make every day a Mandela Day! We cannot, in good conscience, sit back and do nothing when people are dying of thirst,” said Proudly SA’s CEO, Adv. Leslie Sedibe.Due to health and safety regulations, no tap or borehole water can be accepted as drinking water.Operation Hydrate’s Yusuf Abramjee said: “A local water company, Thirsti, will also be selling bottles of water on site at cost price, for those who wish to visit the Foundation on the day and contribute to the humanitarian cause. A 5 litre bottle will be sold at R10 and a box will cost R40. Only cash will be accepted on site.”The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which houses Madiba’s former office, also has a permanent exhibition on Madiba’s life as well as a temporary photographic exhibition called “Between States of Emergency”. Madiba’s prison notebooks and the Nobel Peace Prize form part of the exhibition. The Foundation will be open to visitors during the Water Drive.“We appeal to the public, businesses, corporates and schools to participate in the Water Drive by visiting the Foundation and donating water or funds to the efforts. Those who are too far to travel to the Foundation can make financial contributions towards Operation Hydrate”, added Adv. Sedibe.Operation Hydrate volunteers have been out in full force over recent weeks to supply drinking water to communities where taps have run dry. Volunteers continued to distribute water to communities in the Free State, Eastern Cape and North West over recent days and over the weekend.Theba said: “We appreciate the support from the Nelson Mandela Foundation. We want to keep Madiba’s legacy alive. Please support Operation Hydrate.”Abramjee said: “We urge the public to come out in their thousands to the Centre, bringing water and/or cash to buy water for those in need. Let’s continue to quench the thirst of millions of fellow citizens…Let’s make every day a Mandela Day.”Details of the Water Drive are as follows:DATE: 29-31 January 2016VENUE: Nelson Mandela Foundation, Central Street, HoughtonMEDIA PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Speakers and representatives from various organizations will launch the Water Drive and address the media at 9amon Friday, 29 January 2016.last_img read more

Is IoT all about low-tech and simple APIs?

first_imgIoT is all about low-tech and simple APIs, because you don’t build software for IoT the same way you do for web apps, and here is why.Last week, a smart lock company updated firmware that made hundreds of their own locks inoperable (more about it in the articles below). These are the kind of locks that you can open or not with an app, or via a text message. They are very useful, especially if you rent your apartment on Airbnb. You can give access to 3rd party with limited time and completely manage it remotely.See also: How APIs could make your next car freeUntil everything goes wrong because of bad software versioning. It reminds me of a talk about a seasoned software engineer that attended one of our conferences, explaining to millennial developers the way they do software is wrong in the sense that it is not made to last.Thanks to the web, developers can push code anytime, and this fact makes us think in the short term. “Move fast and break things” as Mark Zuckerberg used to say at Facebook. We make a release Friday afternoon, and no problem, we will fix it Monday if something does not work. The web made things “not a big deal” about errors.But it changed with more critical services like payments, and in the context of IoT, it will be even more important when you will have millions of devices dependant on your software. Will you have connectivity one a week or once a month?You need old techThis space engineer told us the story of embedded mission-critical software for Hubble that was designed to work for 30 years minimum without human interaction. That’s complete madness for today’s software development lifecycle.But to have this kind of long-term reliability, you need to use old tech — old programming languages that have proven sustainability — and you need to use low tech — Low energy consumption, shorter treatment time, lower functionalities, fewer lines of code. You will not be able to fix things unless you deploy programmers in space.So this story reminds us that yes, developing software and APIs for things is different in approach. We will need to think differently, for the longer terms and maybe spend more time thinking about how to do it, instead of trying and failing. This is counter-intuitive compared to the lean startup approach of “F*** it, ship it” but in a world where “software is eating the world,” we are talking about safety.When the connected things are safety systems such as smoke detectors, or 2-ton vehicles like cars and pickup trucks, or medical systems, we need to be sure that they are always working, and that the software that is making them better and cheaper is not transforming them into a technical liability. With IoT, we are going back to the roots.PS: You may be interested in our next conference in Zurich about Microservices, September 26th-27, 2017. You can check it out here. Mehdi Medjaoui Tags:#APIs#Internet of Things#IoT The Fast Pace of Facial Recognition Innovation Related Posts center_img Building a Predictive Analytics Model From Scratch How APIs and Machine Learning are Evolving Websockets and IoT: Why don’t the two go together?last_img read more