Simone4children Foundation needs base

first_imgJAMAICA’S former Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star, Simone Edwards, says the future of her Simone4Children Foun-dation’s homework programme and study centre, based in Hermitage, August Town, currently hangs in the balance.The centre, which opened in 2010 and offered homework programmes to inner-city children, along with a host of other community activities, was vandalised by criminal elements and is presently not in use.However, the Escarpment Road Church saw the Foun-dation’s plight, and the pastor – at the time – gave the former national player and coach his blessings to continue the programme at the place of worship.However, a change of pastor at the church recently has seen a new plan and Edwards’ search for a new base for the programme.”In Hermitage, I got a building put up there for the homework programme. It was running and everyone was working. It’s a place where we had our homework programme, fed families, gave back-to-school supplies, tried to create scholarships and focused on self-esteem building. But what we do is mostly focus on education, but now it (building) is damaged,” said Edwards.”Last year, I went down there, and some of the bad men broke the lock off the door, stole furniture, the stove and damaged the windows. The homework programme is continuing in the church, but the last I heard is that the new pastor wanted it off the property,” she told The Gleaner.Edwards, who described cutting the ribbons to open the study centre as ‘one of the proudest moments in my life’, said since the migration of the programme’s overseer, Dean Rhoden, a few years ago, things just went downhill.PARKING LOTShe revealed that the reason for their eviction is related to plans to convert the building which housed the study centre into a parking lot, but admitted she is still seeking a meeting with the pastor.”I am hoping they have a change of heart, so we are waiting to see if they are really going to do that. I don’t know where else to move it to, as the pastor before told us it was OK for it to be there,” Edwards lamented.”But I haven’t spoken to anybody as yet, so I don’t know what we are going to do. I was trying to have a meeting with the pastor. So I am going to see the pastor, but if he tells me I have to move, then I will try to find a good place to do my programme and have it permanent instead of running up and down,” she insisted, noting that the original building would be ideal.”I like where it is because it’s easier access. At the top (of community) was convenient, so I guess I will have to talk to the people in the community to get guarantees that no one can touch it,” she added.The Simone4children Foun-dation was formed in 2006 to assist the less fortunate, build worthwhile citizens and help others achieve their goals. Her Foundation established the computerised study centre in December 2010. It held treats, fed hundreds of persons and gave gifts to children.She also copped the 2010 AD Astra Award, delivered by the Immaculate Conception High School’s New York Chapter to Jamaicans who have excelled in their field over a period of time.last_img read more

Bali ash cloud; Insurance cost

first_imgPhoto: AP The ongoing eruption of Mount Ruang to the north-west of Bali has brought into sharp focus the importance of travel insurance and the problem airlines –particularly low cost – have in dealing with such events.According to Natalie Ball, Director of the insurance industry is expecting up to 20,000 claims from the ash cloud disruptions and the total bill put earlier at $20 million could now – after a reassessment – top $80 million.And that is just the insurance cost and does not include the burden to airlines or holiday makers who were not insured.There is considerable confusion about the level of cover and the cut-off date for liability.For instance if you purchased your travel insurance before July 2nd, consider yourself lucky says Ms Ball. “Most travel insurers will not accept claims related to the Bali ash cloud from customers who bought their policy after July 2, and in some cases, July 3”And it’s important to note that the type of cover you buy makes all the difference.“Unlike basic policies, comprehensive policies do provide cancellation cover for unforeseen circumstances. A basic travel insurance policy does not generally provide cover for travel delays or cancellation. They are often medical only policies and are priced accordingly. However, many standard or comprehensive policies do provide cancellation cover and additional travel expenses incurred as a result of natural disasters.”Ms Ball said that “depending upon your chosen insurer, most travellers can expect all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses to be reimbursed. The major insurers have set-up dedicated teams to work on the event claim phone lines in order to separate these calls from the ‘business as usual’ calls so that customer calls are responded to as quickly as possible.”It is also important to contact your insurer before committing to additional costs and then keep those expenses to a minimum and hang on to your receipts says Ms Ball.Airlines have come in for criticism for the handling of the situation but they have been working with a series of major challenges. Firstly airlines – particularly low cost – are not staffed for emergencies like this and if they were the fares would be far higher. Compounding that issue is the nature of the volcanic eruption and the fickle winds.Unlike most volcanic eruptions Mount Ruang continues to erupt – instead of the typical profile of just one major eruption. The wind direction also changed often blowing the cloud back over Bali and its airport with little notice to airline operations departments.This led to airlines telling passengers to go to the airport and then cancelling the flight at the last minute sending stress levels to the edge.Both Jetstar and Virgin Australia however moved extra staff to Bali to help and also rostered additional staff to handle the phone traffic.Some passengers were also critical of Australia’s airlines for not flying when all others were in the air but Jetstar and Virgin Australia make no apology for that conservative stand.The airline’s position was backed up by Australia’s safety watchdog the Civil Aviation safety Authority which reissued and Airworthiness Bulletin on Monday July 13th which warned airlines to stay well clear of the ash cloud.The CASA AB said: “Flying through an ash cloud must be avoided by all means due to the extreme hazard it presents. Volcanic ash can cause extreme abrasion to all forward facing parts of the aircraft, to the extent that visibility through the windshields may be totally impaired, aerofoil and control surface leading edges severely damaged, airspeed indications become unreliable through blocking of the Pitot heads/static ports, and engines may even shut-down rapidly or lose power gradually, often only being detected when catastrophic performance loss has occurred.”And it added; “In addition to volcanic ash, volcanic eruption columns also contain many gases including water vapour, sulphur dioxide, chlorine, hydrogen sulphide and oxides of nitrogen. Following the eruption, oxidation and hydration, the sulphur dioxide forms sulphuric acid droplets. The resulting ash/acid mix is highly corrosive and can cause further damage to jet engines and pitting of windscreens.”Last year a Jetstar flight from Perth to Jakarta flew through volcanic ash at night that was not forecast and the airline was left with a $20 million damages bill.The most famous encounter with volcanic ash was in 1982 when British Airways flight BA9 on route from Kuala Lumpur to Perth encountered an ash cloud from the sudden eruption of Mt Galunggung, 110km south of Jakarta.The Boeing’s 747’s four engines quit promoting the now famous address from captain Eric Moody; “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them under control. I trust you are not in too much distress.”The 260 passengers and cabin crew aboard then endured a 15 minute terrifying ride as the pilots and flight engineer battled to get the plane’s engines back to life. The 747 descended from 37,000ft to 14,000 feet before the engines came back to life. According to Captain Moody they had 10 minutes left before ditching.last_img read more

Hope and heart in Ivory Park

first_imgDespite its poverty and lack of services, its housing shortage and hunger, there is a resilience and optimism in Ivory Park that is hard to beat.The area is clustered and unkempt, but its uneven look adds a unique dimension – it’s a South African township whose inhabitants are a close-knit community from various cultural backgrounds. (Image: Wikipedia)Brand South Africa ReporterDespite its poverty and lack of services, its housing shortage and hunger, there is a resilience and optimism in Ivory Park that is hard to beat.From a distance, Ivory Park could easily be mistaken for a slum, yet it is a habitable place with an urban design. The area is clustered and unkempt, but its uneven look adds a unique dimension – it’s a South African township whose inhabitants are a close-knit community from various cultural backgrounds.Juxtapositions, contrastsClean streets intersect untidy ones, pot-holed roads cross tarred ones. Yet there is a lacklustre ambience. The township is characterised by corrugated iron shacks, RDP (state-subsidised) structures and other houses juxtaposing one another. There are litter-free, paved walkways, as well as a decrepit bridge and germ-infested culvert; alleyways are ubiquitous.For some households, access to electricity is a luxury, while construction work on roads and some private properties continues unabated. Some parts of the densely populated area have adequate infrastructure like roads, sanitation and running water. There are social amenities, such as two libraries, two community halls, a police station, seven clinics, adequate housing for some, a school for all and a shopping complex.“Regarding services, almost all residents receive their water through a regional/local water scheme,” says Petros Zitha, a councillor in the area, which falls under the City of Johannesburg’s Ward 79 in Region A. “Most households have flush toilets that are connected to sewerage systems and electricity. Very few residents have pit latrines without ventilation and still use candles.”The scenery is beautiful from the main road, with a quaint view of a peculiar skyline marked by greenery, electricity poles that crisscross the landscape and the colourful roofs of huddled shacks and houses. The view of surrounding regions is unbroken from here. The road is crammed and rubbish is heaped in open spaces on some street corners.Ivory Park streets are always teeming with people, including street vendors who sell fresh produce. There are hordes of young and old loiterers and passers-by who almost make the streets seem treacherous. The clamour of roaring car engines and the strident nature of the suburb split the peace, as people go about their daily business.A diverse group of people, comprising locals of assorted descent and foreign nationals who are endeared to the community, call the place home. The local dialect is miscellaneous, comprising an eclectic mix of Zulu, Sepedi, Xhosa, Shangaan and South Sotho, all embracing each other gracefully and living together reciprocally.Poverty, unemploymentMany are unemployed and some depend on informal businesses like carpentry, car mechanics and shoe repairs.“The unemployment rate is too high,” says Zitha. “At some point it was around 47 percent. The unemployed are predominantly those who completed matric or are unsuccessful job seekers, resulting in the average household income to be between R9 601 and R19 200 annually. Many households do not have any income.”Most people live in a state of dire poverty. The area is geographically remote from the stronger economic nodes in the city centre, and the settlement is plagued by myriad socio-economic challenges, including illiteracy, child-headed households and hopelessness. There is a battery of social ills, like drug and alcohol abuse, peer pressure and petty crime.“The report that I got is that the CPFs [community policing forums] have arrested more criminals than the police,” says Zitha. “We used to have a crime and drug problem because there was a certain squatter camp that was a haven for drugs, but we have subsequently dealt with it and it’s now low.”OvercrowdingNestled between Tembisa and Rabie Ridge to the east and the affluent Midrand to its west, Ivory Park is a dormitory settlement alongside Kaalfontein and Ebony Park. It comprises about 14 627 official stands, on which the City has built about 452 houses since the area was promulgated as a township some 13 years ago. Additional houses are being built at the cost of the City, provincial and national government. However, not everyone in Ivory Park qualifies for free or subsidised housing.The area has a staggering population of 37 932 and in most cases, homes are occupied by large families who share the same limited resources.“The average number of residents for each household is between one and four,” says Zitha. “In most cases, two occupants reside in one household. The majority reside in rented accommodation in the backyard. There are marginally more men than women living in this ward.”Zitha concedes that Ivory Park is overcrowded and unfledged, comprising scores of households occupied by indigent and unemployed youngsters and adults, all integrated by geography and circumstances and living in majority groups. The area is battling to cope with rapid urbanisation and in-migration, with houses overlapping on pavements and corrugated iron shacks erected in most backyards, pushing up against brand-new houses.“There are people who used to live in this area a while ago and then left to live in other parts of the metro because we didn’t have adequate services here. Since development started, most of them are returning to claim their old stands and this causes overcrowding and confusion.”He notes that the issue of renting out backyard shacks is uncontrollable. “They will tell you that this is their way of making ends meet; you can’t do anything.”UbuntuDespite all these challenges, locals have taken ownership of their community and there is a sense of ubuntu. “This area is so dynamic,” says Zitha. “People here are very much organized. If you didn’t know you would say they are related somehow, that’s what makes this place unique.“During the countrywide xenophobic attacks, people in this area actually protected the foreign nationals.“We never even had taxi violence or strikes. Taxi drivers in our community provide poorer residents with transport if they have a funeral and can’t afford buses.”CommerceSmall businesses are the order of the day here, and thriving very well it seems; this is a boon for locals. Traders sell their wares and merchandise on almost every street corner, turning these into miniature malls, which supplement the area’s only shopping centre.“Spaza shops” provide viable business opportunities, which is why they are omnipresent, as are carwashes, cobblers and tailors, public telephones and stalikies – township lingo for a small business on a street corner.The councillor says the area has a sewer leakage problem. “I have tried to report it a number of times; I still don’t understand why it hasn’t been fixed,” he says. “It’s frustrating, because when people see this they don’t say its Joburg Water. No, they say ‘Huu uZitha, he’s not doing his job.’”Some households lack sufficient water for family use, access to improved sanitation, security of tenure and housing in a permanent and adequate structure in a non-hazardous location. “My only wish, and maybe something that will always haunt me if I fail, is to provide those living in informal settlements with proper homes and title deeds,” he says.Fewer than 10 000 families are better off than the rest of the residents, and seem to be adapting. They have embellished their homes and planted sprouting flower gardens and lawns; some have extended and painted their homes, sprucing them up without any government subsidy.“A number of people live in their own fully paid housing,” Zitha confirms.City servicesBecause of an increase in demand for sanitation services, the City of Johannesburg spent about R495-million between July 2006 and December 2009 as part of its sewer infrastructure upgrade and expansion programme on bulk wastewater and sewer networks. The programme was rolled out in 19 suburbs, and Ivory Park was one of the beneficiaries.As part of its contribution to the safety of its customers and the beautification of the city, City Power has rolled out 184 264 public lights around Johannesburg, 4 000 of which were due to be installed by the end of this financial year in Ivory Park, Kaalfontein, Rabie Ridge and other areas.Beauty Mgojo is an unemployed widow of 58. She has been living in Ivory Park since 1992 and has just recently been built an RDP (state-subsidised) house, something of a far cry from her old one-room corrugated shack.“I am so happy I can’t wait to move in,” she says of her newly built two-bedroom house with proper lighting and sanitation. “Hooo mntanam’, I am so eager to move in and put in new curtains and all,” she says with a beam on her elderly face, hands gesturing in excitement.“Councillor Zitha arrived in Ivory Park while he was still a young man, but the things he has done in this place have superseded those done by his peers. He has really helped us; we think he is god-sent,” she says.Mgojo is satisfied with the level of service delivery in the area, hinting at properly built roads, streets lights and sanitation as some of the successes.There are fewer worries and complaints for her, she says.Ivory Park has a few industrials sites, including wholesale and retail, manufacturing, financial, insurance, property, business and social services, construction, transportation, storage and telecommunications. There are no recreational facilities, road signs and electricity in the industrial area, or orphanages.Hope, resilienceAlthough the possibility of escaping poverty seems untenable, the people of Ivory Park are neither inert nor in despair; most of them supplement their livelihoods through informal trading.Some have cultivated land on the roadsides and are growing an assortment of crops; some charge a meagre fee to paint murals on private walls for brand promotion; others plait hair.Nine years after he took the helm of Ward 79, Zitha concludes that Ivory Park is home to an optimistic population. The people of that compact community remain exuberant and resilient South Africans, high-spirited despite their socio-economic challenges.Source: City of JohannesburgWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Arts and entertainment in the spotlight in this week’s Play Your Part

first_imgAbigail Kubeka has played a major role in the evolution of South African music over the years          The second episode of Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part television series, which airs on SABC 2 on Sunday 22 June at 9pm, will feature a selection of inspiring South Africans who have found fame in the local art, literature and entertainment industries.Singer, songwriter, musical arranger and actress, Abigail Kubeka, has played a major role in the evolution of South African music over the years. Following the destruction of trendy Sophiatown in Johannesburg in the 1950s, Kubeka helped preserve many of the suburb’s well-known musical and cultural traditions.Johnny Clegg’s cross-cultural influence in South Africa – and across the world – as the “White Zulu” also features in the episode, as do a few of his protest songs performed during apartheid, especially the then-controversial Asimbonanga. Clegg has recently returned from a tour to the USA, and the segment looks at his international influence and the role he’s played in spreading a bit of South African culture across the globe.Also featuring is Ian Gabriel, an established talent in the film industry and director of the critically acclaimed Four Corners. Four Corners is a poignant look at gang violence, and juxtaposes South Africa’s film talent with the harsh realities of township life. The movie is a testament to the film industry’s role in communicating the country’s problems to encourage South Africans to help solve them.James Ngcobo, the first black artistic director of the Market Theatre, also known as the “Theatre of the Struggle”, makes an appearance in this episode. We look at the trials of the man whose life began as a boy from KwaMashu Township, born to a maid and a factory worker. The episode also discusses how theatre has helped to unite South Africans of all races.Bothale Boikayo, a Mafikeng local who won SA’s Got Talent in 2012 also features. We discuss her belief that the only way to change the world is to start with changing one person’s life and giving people a purpose and a goal to look forward to. We also look at her plans for the future.Finally, acclaimed author of speculative fiction novels Moxyland and Zoo City – the latter recently bought by Leonardo di Caprio’s production company – Beukes’ vision of the future South Africa is both utopic and dystopic when considering Moxyland. We look at why Beukes envisioned South Africa’s future as she did, and whether her ideas have changed since the release of the popular novel.last_img read more

Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – June 29th, 2015

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Saturated soils and continued heavy rains last week kept farmers out of fields in Ohio, according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Regional Office. There were 1.3 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending June 28th. Saturated soils and continued rains throughout the state have brought on numerous concerns for producers. Standing water has led to disease, projected yield losses, and weed pressures. The muddy, saturated fields have prevented producers from being able to spray, fertilize, or continue to make hay. “Prevented Planting” acres are being registered throughout the state. Yellowing of field crops continues. Hay producers have noted quality is sub-par as to hay is too mature. Livestock producers noted the animals are in very mucky conditions. Sunshine and dry weather would be appreciated statewide.View Ohio’s crop conditions herelast_img

Deadly crash raises questions about Uber selfdriving system

This image made from video Sunday, March 18, 2018, of a mounted camera provided by the Tempe Police Department shows an exterior view moments before an Uber SUV hit a woman in Tempe, Ariz. Video of a deadly self-driving vehicle crash in suburban Phoenix shows the pedestrian walking from a darkened area onto a street just moments before the crash. (Tempe Police Department via AP) The lights on the SUV didn’t illuminate 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg on Sunday night until a second or two before impact, raising questions about whether the vehicle could have stopped in time.The crash Sunday night in Tempe was the first death involving a full autonomous test vehicle. The Volvo was in self-driving mode with a human backup driver at the wheel when it struck Herzberg, police said.The video shows the human backup driver in the SUV looking down until seconds before the crash. The driver looks up and appears startled during the last moment of the clip.Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir has told the San Francisco Chronicle that the SUV likely wouldn’t be found at fault. But two experts who viewed the video told The Associated Press that the SUV’s laser and radar sensors should have spotted Herzberg and her bicycle in time to brake.”The victim did not come out of nowhere. She’s moving on a dark road, but it’s an open road, so Lidar (laser) and radar should have detected and classified her” as a human, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor who studies autonomous vehicles.Smith said the video may not show the complete picture, but “this is strongly suggestive of multiple failures of Uber and its system, its automated system, and its safety driver.” Citation: Deadly crash raises questions about Uber self-driving system (2018, March 22) retrieved 18 July 2019 from This March 19, 2018 still image taken from video provided by ABC-15, shows investigators at the scene of a fatal accident involving a self driving Uber car on the street in Tempe, Ariz. Police in the city of Tempe said Monday, March 19, 2018, that the vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel when the woman walking outside of a crosswalk was hit. ( via AP) Sam Abuelsmaid, an analyst for Navigant Research who also follows autonomous vehicles, said laser and radar systems can see in the dark much better than humans or cameras and that Herzberg was well within the range.”It absolutely should have been able to pick her up,” he said. “From what I see in the video it sure looks like the car is at fault, not the pedestrian.”Smith said that from what he observed on the video, the Uber driver appears to be relying too much on the self-driving system by not looking up at the road.”The safety driver is clearly relying on the fact that the car is driving itself. It’s the old adage that if everyone is responsible no one is responsible,” Smith said. “This is everything gone wrong that these systems, if responsibly implemented, are supposed to prevent.” Video of a deadly self-driving vehicle crash in suburban Phoenix shows a pedestrian walking from a darkened area onto a street just moments before an Uber SUV strikes her. In this March 20, 2018, photo provided by the National Transportation Safety Board, investigators examine a driverless Uber SUV that fatally struck a woman in Tempe, Ariz. The fatality prompted Uber to suspend all road-testing of such autos in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. (National Transportation Safety Board via AP) Self-driving vehicle strikes and kills pedestrian in Arizona (Update) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This image made from video Sunday, March 18, 2018, of a mounted camera provided by the Tempe Police Department shows an interior view moments before an Uber SUV hit a woman in Tempe, Ariz. The video shows a human backup driver in the SUV looking down until seconds before the crash. The driver looked up and appeared startled during the last moment of the clip. (Tempe Police Department via AP) Explore further The company bans drivers who are convicted of violent crimes or any felony within the past seven years—which Vasquez would have passed given that records show the offenses occurred in 1999 and 2000.The company’s website lists its pre-screening policies for drivers that spell out what drivers can and cannot have on their record to work for Uber.Their driving history can’t have any DUI or drug-related driving offenses within the past seven years, for instance. They also can’t have more than three non-fatal accidents or moving violations within the past three years. The experts were unsure if the test vehicle was equipped with a video monitor that the backup driver may have been viewing.Uber immediately suspended all road-testing of such autos in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. The National Transportation Safety Board, which makes recommendations for preventing crashes, is investigating the crash.An Uber spokeswoman, reached Wednesday night by email, did not answer specific questions about the video or the expert observations. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. “The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones. Our cars remain grounded, and we’re assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can,” the company said in a statement.Tempe police have identified the driver as 44-year-old Rafael Vasquez. Court records show someone with the same name and birthdate as Vasquez spent more than four years in prison for two felony convictions—for making false statements when obtaining unemployment benefits and attempted armed robbery—before starting work as an Uber driver.Tempe police and the National Transportation Safety Board declined to say whether the Vasquez who was involved in the fatal crash is the same Vasquez who has two criminal convictions.Attempts by the AP to contact Vasquez through phone numbers and social media on Wednesday afternoon weren’t successful.Local media have identified the driver as Rafaela Vasquez. Authorities would not explain the discrepancy.The fatality has raised questions about whether Uber is doing enough to screen its drivers.Uber said Vasquez met the company’s vetting requirements. read more