4 Teams Protest LFA Elections, Claim Electoral Fraud

first_imgFour first division outfits, Monrovia Breweries and Keitrace, Aries and NPA Football Clubs have formally protested against the just ended elections of the Liberia Football Association (LFA) because of alleged voter fraud and have called on the Elections Appeal Committee to repeal the elections’ results.Madam Korpo Beatrice Kpoto of Keitrace FC and the Monrovia Breweries’ Samuel Ashley, Aries Lemuel Sherman and NPA’s Cyrus Wright in separate letters to the Elections Appeal Committee said the casting of ballot papers in a sealed and unobserved room violated Article 17 of the LFA Electoral Code and dimmed the fairness, transparency and credibility of the elections which inarguably robbed them of the Executive Committee membership.The protest letters prayed that the Soko Sackor’s Election Appeal Committee will give due diligence to their protests to correct the wrongs against the barbarian electioneering which took place last Saturday.They quoted Article 17 saying: “Before the start of the voting procedure, the urn – which shall be transparent where possible – shall be opened and presented to the affiliates of LFA Congress.”They said the method used for last Saturday’s elections, done in secret had the propensity of fingering of the box to replace the actual ballot papers with pre-marked ballot papers.LFA’s General Secretary Alphonso Armah received the protest letters and told the Daily Observer that they were forwarded to the Appeals Committee on Monday, March 24, 2014.Mr. Armah said the ruling was expected to be decided yesterday evening.In last Saturday’s elections, the ballot box was placed in a room where the members of the LFA executive committee were sitting, as well as officials from CAF and FIFA and were far from the electoral committee.Candidates Wilmot Smith, Korpo Beatrice Kpoto, Mustapha Raji and Adolph Lawrence and other stakeholders protested the secret casting of ballots but was rejected by the Elections Committee, headed by Malcolm Joseph.A former member of the LFA’s executive committee, Garmondeh Karnga said the secret ballot carried out last Saturday undermined the election’s credibility since it had the potential for pre-marked ballots.The 19th ordinary LFA’s elective Congress was held on Saturday, March 22, 2014 in the auditorium of Grand Bassa High School in the Port City of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Handing over of report delayed

first_imgThe report on the findings of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the deadly Camp Street Prison riot has not been submitted. The report was scheduled to be submitted to President David Granger on Tuesday.The CoI panel tasked with compiling the findingsAccording to information reaching Guyana Times, the report is now expected to be handed over at the Ministry of the Presidency some time today. The CoI began on March 8 and was expected to conclude by March 28, but the Commission applied for a two-month extension, which was granted. Testimonies and cross-examination were wrapped up on May 9. Retired Justice James Patterson served as Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry while Dale Erskine and Merle Mendonca served as Commissioners.After two days of rioting at the Camp Street penitentiary, 17 inmates died after fire, reportedly set by inmates, engulfed the Capital A block filled with scores of prisoners on March 3. President Granger who serves as Chairman of the National Security Committee ordered an inquiry into the fire after inmates met with Minister of State Joseph Harmon and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.At the meeting, the inmates and the Ministers reached a “gentleman’s agreement” whereby some of the concerns of the prisoners were addressed. These negotiations did not sit well with some sections of society and was met with criticism.Outlined in the terms of reference, which covered the period March 2 to 4, the CoI aimed to enquire into all the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the prisoners, to report the findings and conclusions to the Minister of Public Security, and to make recommendations on any action that should be taken to avoid a recurrence. When the witness statements had concluded on May 9, Commission Counsel Excellence Dazzle noted that witnesses’ testimonies along with many other materials which the Commission had in its possession would be used to compile the report.On April 20, the Guyana Bar Association withdrew from the CoI citing time constraints in cross-examination of witnesses.last_img read more

Bartica to implement tax regime to protect poor residents

first_img…consultations to begin soonConsultations will soon commence on the establishment of a tax regime aimed at protecting the poor and at the same time, be favourable to all residents of the new municipality of Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).Bartica’s Mayor Gifford Marshall, told Guyana Times that in order for the communities to truly develop at a rapid pace, its residents must play their role in tax contributions to fund the developmental programmes for the township.He underscored the importance of revenue collection for the new municipality but noted that the Bartica Town Council does not seek to place an unreasonable burden by applying excessively high rates.“What we seek to establish is a municipal tax regime that is fair, and which shares the overall burden so that those with greater ability pay more, and less fortunate residents pay only according to the actual market value of their property,” he said.Marshall added that this approach will “protect the poor”.“It will set a level playing field for businesses and it will assure the long-term sustainability of the Council, thus ensuring our capability to deliver municipal services to our residents,” the Mayor stated.He emphasised that the Town Council is committed to a transparent and diligent stewardship of all resources from both Central Government and local collections.“All that the municipality does is for the development of Bartica, so residents will in fact be contributing to their own development. And we will do so in a spirit of unity, oneness and a sense of community,” he stated.Truck tollsThe Mayor disclosed that recommendations were made for the implementation of tolls for trucks commuting the roadways within the jurisdiction of the Bartica municipality.“We have trucks patrolling the Potaro Road and some of these trucks are overload with fuel and so forth and that is causing the road to deteriorate. There is a recommendation for us to put in a toll, but we don’t want to impose a toll on the people just like that,” he explained. In this regard, he underscored the importance of widespread consultations ahead of rolling out the new tax system.“We are going to have consultations with the mining sector to arrive at a suitable rate because they already pay large sums of money to cross the various rivers and elsewhere. So it should not be burdensome,” he stated.Marshall said the Council will also look at other areas for revenue collection, such as making open spaces available to the public.He noted too that there needs to be a re-evaluation of the property value since the last assessment was done decades ago.The Mayor stressed that with increased revenue, the Council will be able to fund various developmental activities and improve the services available to the town.last_img read more

Preparing for The Work World With Real-Life Strategies

first_img 165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! If she’s ever to become a doctor, Blanca Flores knows she must overcome her painful shyness and get her first job this summer. But with no work experience, she felt unprepared to present herself for job interviews while exuding the necessary confidence to stand out in the inevitable crowd of fellow-applicants. That’s why the 18-year-old Schurr High School senior signed up for the We Care for Youth job training program offered at the Montebello Town Center. “It’s taught me how to not get too nervous,” said Flores, who plans to attend California State Los Angeles in the fall to study biology. “It helped me get over my shyness and be more outgoing. It’s cool because the guest speakers are business owners who give a lot of tips on what they’re looking for.” For the complete story, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Whittier Daily News.last_img read more


first_imgThe Finn Harps Co-Operative Society Limited Annual General Meetingwill be held in Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey on Sunday 11th March 2012at 7.30pm.FINN HARPS AGM was last modified: February 28th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Finn Harps AGMlast_img


first_imgThe HSE is paying private agencies €110,000 every 13 weeks to fill a single consultant post at Letterkenny General Hospital.Letterkenny General HospitalIn total, five consultant posts at the hospital are being filled on hourly-rate contracts, with the cost for three months equivalent to the normal pay of a full-time consultant for an entire year, the HSE has told the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee.The executive says it has encountered significant challenges in filling medical posts at the hospital. The Irish Times reports that seven out of 54 consultant posts are vacant and “in the recruitment process at various stages”. Nationally, it spent almost €200 million on agency staff in the first seven months of this year, up almost 50 per cent on last year.Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, who is seeking an extra €500 million in next month’s budget, argues that money can be saved on agency costs by employing more staff full time.Difficulties in filling posts at smaller regional hospitals have greatly increased since the Government cut starting salaries for consultants by 30 per cent two years ago. This is likely to be largely reversed soon.The five vacant posts filled by hourly-rate consultants in Letterkenny are in the emergency department, radiology, general medicine and oncology. Two paediatric posts are filled by locum consultants on payroll. According to the HSE, consultants are recruited on hourly-rate contracts “only when absolutely required, when all other approaches have not resulted in successful recruitment and where service continuity must be guaranteed”.Paying a locum consultant through an agency for 13 weeks at an hourly rate costs €80,849, it says. In addition, the agency is paid a 10 per cent fee and VAT is levied at 23 per cent, bringing the cost to €110,328. A new consultant directly employed by the HSE is paid between €109,381 and €110,328 per year.“Recruitment of consultant posts in this way is actioned only when options become very limited and timing is a key factor,” the HSE said in a written response to questions from the committee.Earlier this year, it was reported that 117 out of 122 non-consultant hospital doctor posts in Letterkenny were filled on a contract or locum basis. Nationally, at least one in eight consultant posts is unfilled. HSE PAYING CONSULTANT €110,000 FOR 13 WEEKS WORK AT LETTERKENNY HOSPITAL was last modified: September 23rd, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:consutlantsdonegalHSELetetrkenny General Hospitallast_img read more

Donegal director makes the cut for major USA film festival

first_imgA hard-hitting short film by up and coming Donegal filmmaker Brendan McCallion will have its North American premiere this month.McCallion’s ‘Backwater’ will feature at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Sunday 28th April – an event which attracts over 55,000 people and the industry’s best and brightest filmmakers.Fresh from National Film School at IADT, McCallion said that having his film on the big screen at this renowned festival is a milestone beyond his wildest dreams. The Culdaff man directed and wrote Backwater as part of his final college project. Now, it will be showcased alongside the movers and shakers of new Irish-curated cinema, including Brendan Gleeson’s film Psychic.Backwater tells the story of Tommy, a young man who lives in the depths of rural Ireland, and who must look after his sickly father. All the while he has succumb to a life of loneliness and isolation. When his older sister Dylan returns home to help him, letting go of his father proves to be much more difficult than he had first imagined.Backwater, directed by Brendan McCallionMcCallion shot the film in Westport, in the family home and farm of producer and co-writer Frank O’Malley.Since May 2018, Backwater has been screened at the Galway Film Fleadh and the Camerimage Film Festival in Poland. Brendan McCallionLooking ahead to Newport, McCallion told Donegal Daily how he drew from personal experiences to create the stark short film. “This was an extremely personal film for myself, as there were many themes I wanted to explore,” he said.“I did my Leaving Cert in 2009 when the downturn in the economy happened. I remember how much that hurt people’s way of life living in rural Ireland, and know how difficult it can be when so many other people go off to work or study abroad. Rural Ireland lost a piece of itself around that time, and I wanted to explore that a little in Backwater. “But the biggest theme I wanted to explore was looking after family members who are sick or in need of care. My own grandmother had Alzheimer’s for several years, and she lived with me and my family 3 years before we had to move her into care home. “What was amazing was how determined we were to look after. It felt like defeat when we had to admit we could no longer look after her. She was beyond our help at that stage. This is something that a lot of families go through year after year, and it is tremendously difficult. And that is what Backwater focuses on, that accepting that it is OK to let go is a sign of strength and not defeat. “I always say through these moments memories are made, and through those memories stories are told. This is how I have chosen to remember my grandmother, by taking those memories and allowing them to inspire a story like Backwater.”McCallion credits the success of Backwater to his cast and crew, who managed to pull off the project in just five days, in freezing February weather.“Even though we had a small crew compared with the other graduation films, it was an incredible experience working with that many people, all doing their own jobs to make your vision come to fruition. The cast of the film really gave it their all, and I really asked a lot of them as a lot of the scenes were very difficult.“I am enormously proud of my cast and crew who all helped one another out when times were not easy,” he added. While he will be unable to fund a trip to Newport Beach this month, McCallion is looking forward to the opportunities that the US screening will bring. He said: “I am tremendously excited to have Backwater screen to an American audience at last, and couldn’t imagine a better festival to have our premiere at. It is something I will forever cherish, and the support from people at home has meant the world to me also.”Donegal director makes the cut for major USA film festival was last modified: April 20th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:backwaterbrendan mccallionfilmfilm festivallast_img read more

NCS soccer: Eureka girls, both Fortuna teams advance to semis

first_imgThree North Coast Section playoff games, three wins for Humboldt-Del Norte League soccer teams in what was the quarterfinal-round of the NCS D-I playoffs.The Fortuna High boys and girls teams, both No. 1 overall seeds in Division-I, rolled to convincing victories Friday night at home while the No. 2 seeded Eureka girls did the same at Albee Stadium. All three will be back in action on Wednesday in the tournament’s semi-final round.Barres leads the wayKlayre Barres netted a hat-trick for the …last_img

South Africa’s national parks

first_imgSouth Africa has a vast system of natural reserves established to protect the country’s indigenous plants, animals, landscapes and associated cultural heritage, ranging from the vast flagship Kruger National Park – occupying an area larger than Swaziland – to the tiny Bontebok National Park in the Western Cape.A giraffe silhouetted by the sunset in the Kruger National Park, which straddles the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Click image photo for a larger view. (Image: South African Tourism)These are managed by South Africa National Parks, established by the government in 1926 and one of the world’s leading conservation and scientific research bodies.Sections in this article:IntroductionAddo Elephant National ParkAgulhas National ParkAugrabies National ParkBontebok National ParkCamdeboo National ParkGolden Gate National ParkKaroo National ParkKgalagadi Transfrontier ParkKnysna National Lake AreaKruger National Park Mapungubwe National ParkMarakele National ParkMokala National ParkMountain Zebra National ParkNamaqua National ParkTable Mountain National ParkTankwa Karoo National ParkTsitsikamma National ParkWest Coast National ParkWilderness National Park|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld National ParkRelated articlesUseful linksIntroductionQuiver trees in the Namaqualand.(Image: Graeme Williams, Media Club South Africa. For more free photos, visit the image library.)National parks offer visitors an unparalleled diversity of adventure tourism opportunities including game viewing, bush walks, canoeing and exposure to cultural and historical experiences.Fifteen of South Africa’s 21 national parks offer park or camp-run accommodation. Most parks and rest-camps have retail facilities and restaurants. Across the parks, there are a total of 6 000 beds and 1 000 camping and caravan sites, which can accommodate almost 12 000 overnight guests.There are various park clusters:the Kruger Parkthe arid clusterthe Cape clusterthe frontier clusterthe Garden Route clusterthe northern clusterThe Kruger National Park is characterised by combinations of savannah, thornveld and woodland eco-zones.The arid cluster is characterised by arid climate, sparse vegetation and sandy soils, and consists of parks in the Northern Cape – Augrabies Falls, Namaqua, Kgalagadi Transfrontier, Mokala and |Ai-|Ais / Richtersveld. In 2007, Unesco proclaimed the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape to be a World Heritage Site.Cape cluster parks – those within the south-western reaches of the Western Cape – are home to the endemic Cape Floral Region, also a World Heritage Site. They also feature mountainous, coastal, riverine or estuarine habitats. They are the Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, Agulhas and West Coast national parks.The frontier cluster is located in the frontier regions of the Eastern Cape and includes a variety of habitats across the parks, ranging from Nama-Karoo, grassland, montane, forest, valley thicket, fynbos and coastline. Addo, Karoo, Camdeboo and Mountain Zebra National Parks fall in this cluster.The Garden Route cluster lies in the picturesque Garden Route on South Africa’s southern coast, and features a range of habitats including rocky shorelines, temperate forests, lakes, rivers, estuaries and fynbos. Tsitsikamma and Wilderness fall into this cluster, as well as the Knysna Marine Protected Area.The northern cluster features savannah, thornveld or grasslands, located in the northern provinces of South Africa. Mountains are a feature of some. Golden Gate, Mapungubwe and Marakele fall into this cluster. Mapungubwe is also the location of another Unesco World Heritage Site. There’s more to Addo Elephant National Park than just elephants. Both a marine and bushveld park, it includes Bird Island, the seasonal home of uncountable breeding gannets.(Image: South African Tourism) Addo Elephant National ParkDeep within the shadows of the dense bushveld of the Sundays River region of the Eastern Cape lies the Addo Elephant National Park. Originally proclaimed in 1931 with only 11 elephants, today this finely tuned ecosystem is sanctuary to over 450 of the animals – the densest elephant population on earth. Other wildlife includes the Cape buffalo, black rhino, a variety of antelope species, as well as the unique flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo.A unique combination of the Big Seven – elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, whales and great white sharks – makes the park a major attraction, as does its rich heritage of archaeological and historical sites. The park also contains five of South Africa’s seven major vegetation zones.Future plans include the proposed proclamation of a 120 000ha marine reserve to include islands that are home to the world’s largest breeding populations of Cape gannets and second largest breeding population of African penguins. This reserve also incorporates the largest coastal dune field in the southern hemisphere.Plans are being implemented to expand the 164 000-hectare Addo into a 360 000-hectare mega-park.Year proclaimed: 1931Current size: 1 642.3 square kilometresProvince: Eastern Cape A shipwreck in Agulhas National Park.(Image: South African Tourism)Agulhas National ParkCape Agulhas is the southernmost tip of Africa, at 34° 49′ 58″ south and 20° 00′ 12” east, a point marked with a cairn. Found in the Western Cape, the park captures the adventure of sailing around the tip of the continent, crossing from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.The Agulhas area contains representatives of unique vegetation such as limestone fynbos. Although most species bloom between May and September, there are flowers to be enjoyed in any season.Among the mysteries associated with this region is the legendary Cape of Storms, which wrecked many ships en route to the east via Cape Agulhas. Shipwrecks dot the coastline – of the Zoetendal, Birkenhead and Armiston – with key artefacts from the vessels on display at the Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum.Ancient people also left their mark on the landscape. Archaeological middens indicate a successful hunter-gathering culture in harmony with its natural environment, and a cultural heritage that dates back thousands of years to when the Khoi-Khoi people trapped fish using ingeniously constructed tidal traps.The remains of ancient stone fish traps can be seen to the east of the Cape Agulhas lighthouse, the second-oldest working lighthouse in southern Africa, which houses a unique lighthouse museum.Year proclaimed: 1999Current size: 56.9 square kilometresProvince: Western Cape The 56-metre-high Augrabies Falls. (Image: Graeme Williams, Media Club South Africa. For more free photos, visit the image library.)Augrabies Falls National ParkFew sights are as awesome or a sound as deafening as water thundering down the 56m Augrabies waterfall when the Orange River is in full flood.The Khoi people called it “Aukoerebis”, or place of Great Noise, as this powerful flow of water is unleashed from rocky surroundings characterised by the 18km abyss of the Orange River gorge in the far Northern Cape.Picturesque names such as Moon Rock, Ararat and Echo Corner are descriptive of this rocky region.Klipspringer and kokerboom (quiver trees) stand in stark silhouette against the African sky, silent sentinels in a strangely unique environment where only those that are able to adapt ultimately survive.The 55 383ha on both the northern and southern sides of the Orange River provide sanctuary to a diversity of species, from the smallest succulents, birds and reptiles to springbok, gemsbok and giraffe.The black stork and pygmy falcon are among the special birds in the park.Year proclaimed: 1966Current size: 416.7 square kilometresProvince: Northern CapeBontebok National ParkBontebok National Park in the Western Cape is a place of beauty and peaceful charm, set against the majestic Langeberg Mountains. A part of the Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site, the park always offers something in bloom.The park boasts proud achievements in biodiversity conservation, from the endangered fynbos veld type, coastal renosterveld, to the namesake bontebok. Once these colourful antelope numbered a mere 17, now the population sits at around 3 000. The park also offers bird watchers over 200 bird species.Year proclaimed: 1931Current size: 27.9 square kilometresProvince: Western CapeCamdeboo National ParkFormed hundreds of millions of years ago, the Karoo is one of the great natural wonders of the world. Camdeboo National Park provides the visitor with insights into the unique landscape and ecosystem, not to mention awesome scenic beauty.A unique feature of the 14 500ha park is its location, practically surrounding the historic town of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape.Most of the park lies up against the foothills of the Sneeuberg range, with the Nqweba Dam within the park. At some places, dolerites form jointed pillars – the best examples of which are found in the Valley of Desolation where erosion of the softer sedimentary beds has left dolerite pillars which rise to heights of 90m to 120m.Year proclaimed: 2005Current size: 194 square kilometresProvince: Eastern Cape The Sentinel rock formation is a landmark in the Golden Gate National Park, with its glowing sandstone clearly showing how the park got its name.(Image: South African Tourism)Golden Gate Highlands National ParkNestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park’s sandstone cliffs.This 11 600ha of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell’s zebra – and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs.Year proclaimed: 1963Current size: 116.3 square kilometresProvince: Free StateKaroo National ParkThe Great Karoo is a vast and unforgiving landscape of which the Karoo National Park is but a small portion. Being the largest ecosystem in South Africa, the Karoo is home to a fascinating diversity of life, all having adapted to survive in harsh conditions.The Karoo National Park is dominated by the lofty Nuweveld Mountains and rolling plains, with a wide variety of wildlife. Many species have been relocated to their former ranges, such as black rhino and buffalo, as well as Cape mountain zebra. Over 20 breeding pairs of black eagle find sanctuary within the park. There is also a wide diversity of succulent plants and small reptiles.The park has five species of tortoise, the highest density of species per equivalent area anywhere in the world. The Cape mountain zebra is well established in the park and visitors have the opportunity to compare its bold stripe pattern to that of the extinct quagga.The springbok – the emblem of the park and present in high numbers – is a reminder of the once massive herds that crossed the Karoo on annual migration, leaving a trail of devastation.The Klipspringer Mountain Pass not only provides visitors with spectacular views, but is also an example of civil engineering toil and precision.Year proclaimed: 1979Current size: 831.3 square kilometresProvince: Western Cape Gemsbok play at a waterhole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.(Image: South African Tourism)Kgalagadi Transfrontier ParkThe Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in the far Northern Cape was proclaimed in 1931 to protect migrating game, especially the gemsbok. Together with the adjacent Gemsbok National Park in Botswana, this park comprises an area of over 3.6-million hectares, consisting of red sand dunes, sparse vegetation, imposing camel thorn trees and dry riverbeds.It is nearly twice the size of the Kruger National Park, and the first Transfrontier Park to be established in Africa.Kgalagadi is the first park to provide accommodation in three wilderness camps that, with no fences, invite the Kalahari and the tranquillity of Africa right into your room. The name “‘Kgalagadi” is derived from the San language and means “place of thirst”.Wildlife to look for in particular includes gemsbok, black-maned Kalahari lions and birds of prey.Year proclaimed: 1931Current size: 9 591 square kilometres (South African section)Province: Northern Cape The Knysna lagoon.(Image: South African Tourism)Knysna National Lake Area Knysna nestles on the banks of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the Garden Route, in the Cape. It is surrounded by a natural paradise of lush indigenous forests, tranquil lakes and golden beaches.The exceptionally beautiful Knysna National Lake Area is home to the endangered Knysna seahorse and a large diversity of marine life. Sandbanks and salt marshes teem with life and in turn provide food to an immeasurable number of organisms.Dominated by the craggy bastions of the twin Knysna Heads, the lagoon has borne witness to centuries of trade in timber, ivory and gold.As a result of a relaxed lifestyle, Knysna has over the years, attracted a wide variety of art and crafters, creating an artists’ paradise. One of the last single gauge operational steam trains in the world travels between Knysna and George, called the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe.A speciality of the area is oysters. They are cultivated in the Knysna Lagoon and served in most of the local restaurants. The Knysna Oyster Company, established in 1949, is situated on Thesen Islands and offers daily educational tours, accompanied by fine cuisine.Year proclaimed: 1985Current size: 150 square kilometresProvince: Western Cape The sun sets behind an acacia tree in the Kruger National Park.(Image: South African Tourism)Kruger National ParkThe world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals.Man’s interaction with the Lowveld environment over many centuries – from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela – is very evident in the Kruger National Park. These treasures represent the cultures, persons and events that played a role in the history of the park and are conserved along with the park’s natural assets.The park has 13 rest camps, 11 bushveld camps, and 11 lodges.Year proclaimed: 1898 (officially proclaimed in 1926)Current size: 19 623.6 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Israel)Provinces: Mpumalanga and Limpopo One of the famous gold rhinos found in the ancient city of Mapungubwe.(Image: University of Pretoria)Mapungubwe National ParkMapungubwe National Park in Limpopo is rich in biodiversity, great scenic beauty and the cultural importance of the archaeological treasures of Mapungubwe. From a hilltop on the northern edge of the park the visitor can view the confluence of the legendary Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, as well as two neighbouring countries: Botswana and Zimbabwe.The park is the site where a developed African civilisation prospered between 1000 and 1290 AD. The area was already inhabited by a growing Iron Age community from 900 AD and became rich through trade with faraway places like Egypt, India and China. This is the place where archaeologists excavated the famous golden rhino and other evidence of a wealthy African kingdom.Sandstone formations, mopane woodlands and unique riverine forest and baobab trees add to the experience. Impressive Khoi/San rock art shelters have also been uncovered.Elephant, giraffe, white rhino, eland, gemsbok and numerous other antelope species occur naturally in the area. Predators include lions, leopards and hyenas. Birds to tick off the list include the kori bustard, tropical boubou and Pel’s fishing owl.Year proclaimed: 1989Current size: 53.6 square kilometresProvince: LimpopoMarakele National Park The Marakele National Park in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains in Limpopo, as its Tswana name suggests, has become a “place of sanctuary” for an impressive variety of wildlife due to its location in the transitional zone between the dry western and moister eastern regions of South Africa. Contrasting majestic mountain landscapes, grass-clad hills and deep valleys characterise the park.Rare finds of yellowwood and cedar trees, five-metre high cycads and tree ferns, are some of the plant species found here. All the large game species from elephant and rhino to the big cats as well as an amazing variety of birds including what’s probably the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures (more than 800 breeding pairs) in the world, have settled here.A narrow tar road takes visitors up to the top of the Waterberg massif, where the views and scenery are spectacular. From this height vultures soar past at close quarters.Antelope species such as reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, eland and tsessebe can be found in the park.Year proclaimed: 1993Current size: 507.3 square kilometresProvince: LimpopoMokala National ParkMokala is one of the country’s newest parks, situated in the far eastern corner of the Northern Cape. It comprises 19 611 hectares of Kalahari thornveld, savannah and Nama Karoo terrain interspersed with rocky outcrops, and with a wetland area that stretches for 18 kilometres.Mokala is a Setswana name for a Camel Thorn, an incredible resource to wildlife who survive in often harsh conditions characteristic of this area. Many animals have been relocated to the park and include black and white rhino, tsessebe, roan antelope, red hartebeest, buffalo, gemsbok and black wildebeest.Year proclaimed: 2007Current size: 196.1 square kilometresProvince: Northern Cape Zebras in the Mountain Zebra National Park.(Image: South African Tourism)Mountain Zebra National ParkThe Mountain Zebra National Park, near Cradock in the Eastern Cape, is a conservation success story, saving the Mountain Zebra species from extinction. In 1937 when the park opened it had only six zebra on 1 712ha of land. These zebra didn’t survive but donations by local farmers ensured the species and the park continued. Today it boasts 370 zebra roaming in 28 412ha, kept company by black rhino, eland, black wildebeest, red hartebeest and Cape buffalo.In the craggy heights of the park lurk grey rhebok. Caracal and cheetah are the predators of the park. Birds to look out for are the blue crane and Stanley’s bustard.Year proclaimed: 1937Current size: 284.1 square kilometresProvince: Eastern Cape The springtime explosion of flowers carpets Namaqualand every year, drawing thousands of visitors to the region.(Image: South African Tourism)Namaqua National ParkYou’ll know when you’re in the Namaqua National Park – a tapestry of brilliant colours unfolds enticingly along the winding roads in August and September. Butterflies, birds and long-tongued flies dart around among the flowers, seemingly overwhelmed by the abundance and diversity.With its winter rainfall, Namaqualand is home to the richest bulb flora of any arid region in the world and more than a 1 000 of its estimated 3 500 plant species are found nowhere else on earth. Fields of flowers, star-studded nights, quiver trees, enormous granite outcrops and the icy Atlantic are just some of the sights to catch.The Namaqua National Park is on the western edge of the Northern Cape, in the world’s only arid biodiversity hotspot, and is home to the world’s smallest tortoise, the Namaqua speckled padloper.Province: Northern Cape Table Mountain National Park is a global biodiversity hotspot, containing more plant species than the whole of the British Isles.(Image: South African Tourism)Table Mountain National ParkThe Table Mountain National Park encompasses the incredibly scenic Table Mountain Chain stretching from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south and the seas and coastline of the peninsula. It is one of the country’s natural World Heritage Sites.The narrow finger of land with its beautiful valleys, bays and beaches is surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the warmer waters of False Bay and has within its boundaries two world-renowned landmarks – majestic Table Mountain and the legendary Cape of Good Hope.The park is recognised globally for its extraordinarily rich, diverse and unique fauna and flora – with rugged cliffs, steep slopes and sandy flats. Nowhere else in the world does an area of such spectacular beauty and such rich bio-diversity exist almost entirely within a metropolitan area – the thriving and cosmopolitan city of Cape Town.Year proclaimed: 1998Current size: 243.1 square kilometresProvince: Western CapeTankwa Karoo National ParkThe 80 000 hectare Tankwa Karoo National Park, proclaimed in 1986, protects one of the most starkly beautiful tracts of the Tankwa Karoo and is worth visiting for its koppie-studded, moon-like landscape, diversity of succulent plants, fine Karoo birding, in particular the enigmatic Burchell’s courser. A dense population of black eagle breeding pairs is also found in the park.Situated on the southern boundary of the Northern Cape, between the Roggeveld Escarpment in the east, Cedarberg in the west, and Klein Roggeveldberge in the south, the park erupts into a dazzling display of flowering succulents after a shower.Only two southern African regions have been designated as Biodiversity Hotspots by Conservation International. One is the Cape Floral Kingdom, and the other the Succulent Karoo, of which Tankwa is part.There is no tourism infrastructure in the park, although there are a couple of privately operated B&Bs on the periphery of the park. There are three very historical houses offering only a roof to stay under and drinking water close by. Entrance to the park is at the discretion of park management.Year proclaimed: 1986Current size: 439 square kilometresProvince: Northern Cape The dense indigenous forest of the Tsitsikamma National Park. (Image: Rodger Bosch, Media Club South Africa. For more free photos, visit the image library.)Tsitsikamma National ParkThe Tsitsikamma National Park, “the place of much water”, consists of forest, fynbos, rivers and a five-kilometre stretch into the sea, on the eastern border of the Western Cape.It protects inter-tidal life, reef and deep-sea animal life, which include dolphins, porpoises and the African black oystercatcher, a red data species of bird. The Cape clawless otter resides along the park’s coastline and rivers.The Knysna loerie and the miniature blue duiker can be seen in the forest.Year proclaimed: 1964Current size: 639.4 square kilometresProvince: Western Cape The azure waters of Langebaan lagoon, focal point of the West Coast National Park.(Image: South African Tourism)West Coast National ParkJust inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape are the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, focal point of the West Coast National Park. Thousands of seabirds roost on sheltered islands, pristine golden beaches stretch endlessly into the early morning mist and brooding salt marshes are home to vast concentrations of migrant waders, including the cape gannet, the jackass (African) penguin, flamingos, and the black harrier, from the northern hemisphere.During the spring the strandveld is filled with a tapestry of multi-hued flowers, while in the Postberg section many antelope are to be seen in a setting that is as unique as it is idyllic.Year proclaimed: 1985Current size: 362.7 square kilometresProvince: Western Cape Early morning in Wilderness National Park.(Image: South African Tourism)Wilderness National ParkIn the heart of South Africa’s famous Garden Route, a captivating world of lakes, rivers, estuaries and beaches unfolds against a backdrop of lush forest and lofty mountains – all elements that characterise the Wilderness National Park.Wilderness National Park stretches from the Touw River mouth to the Swartvlei estuary and beyond, where it links with the Goukamma Nature Reserve.Nature trails wind through densely wooded forest and along tranquil rivers, affording you the opportunity to encounter the brilliantly coloured Knysna loerie, or one of the five kingfisher species that occur here. During spring, a carpet of flowers further enhances the verdant beauty of this national park.Whales and dolphins can be spotted from Dolphin Point. Or, look out for the Knysna seahorse, the pansy shell, the pied kingfisher, the grey heron and the little egret.Year proclaimed: 1985Current size: 1 060 square kilometresProvince: Western Cape The beautiful, ragged and remote mountains of the Richtersveld.(Image: South African Tourism)|Ai-|Ais / Richtersveld Transfrontier National ParkA desolate and forbidding landscape belies the fact that the Richtersveld has the world’s richest desert flora. Miniature rock gardens, perfectly designed by nature, cling precariously to cliff faces. Tiny succulents, mere pinpoints against a backdrop of surreal rock formations, revel in the moisture brought by the early morning fog rolling in from the cold Atlantic Ocean.Rugged kloofs, high mountains and dramatic landscapes that sweep away inland from the Orange River give way to the vast mountain desert that is the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld National Park, an area managed jointly by the local Nama people and the South African National Parks.A staggering assortment of plant life, some species occurring nowhere else, is to be found here, with gnarled quiver trees, tall aloes and the tall “half-mens” plant keeping vigil over this inscrutable landscape.Animals to look out for are the rock hyrax, jackal buzzard and the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra.The park is only accessible by 4×4 vehicles or vehicles with high clearances.Province: Northern Capelast_img read more

African scientists make headway in grasping persistent TB bacteria

first_imgWith more than one million people being diagnosed with drug-resistant tuberculosis each year, it has become difficult to fight the disease. But Africa’s scientists are making progress by targeting bacteria using techniques that have never been applied to TB research. Researchers from Stellenbosch University are getting closer to understanding why some bacteria are drug-resistant. (Image: The Conversation)Jomien Mouton and Samantha Sampson• Rural Southern African doctors go the extra mile• HIV/Aids in South Africa• Local researchers honoured at their ‘Oscars’• Health hero on a mission to fight TB• Global Aids conference in South Africa The arrival of drug-resistant tuberculosis has significantly complicated global efforts to decrease the scourge of the disease.Each year more than nine million people are infected with TB and another 1.5 million die. But the latest figures show that at least 20% of people diagnosed with the disease have “multiple-drug-resistant” TB. And about 9.7% of these also have “extensively-drug-resistant TB”.TB is caused by bacteria that attack the lungs. Most TB treatments target bacteria that actively grow in the body. But a very important subset of bacteria is able to survive treatment. These are known as persistent bacteria.Though these persistent bacteria only represent a very small proportion of the bacteria that causes TB, failing to get rid of them can have devastating consequences. They are responsible for lengthy drug treatment, and could contribute to drug resistance. They therefore should also be the target of TB therapies.The challenge with these persistent bacteria is that they are very difficult to isolate. This makes it difficult to study them and therefore difficult to develop drugs to kill them.As a team of scientists at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, together with colleagues at Imperial College London, we found a new way to identify, isolate and target persistent bacteria. Our technique, which has never before been applied in TB research, will help scientists understand why some bacteria respond to treatment and others become resistant.How this bacteria worksPersistent bacteria plays a particularly important role in latent TB – when bacteria that can cause TB hibernate in the body. Someone with latent TB will not have any clinical symptoms and will therefore not know that he or she has the disease. Latent TB can survive in the body for decades and only flare up when someone’s immune system is compromised.Latent TB can therefore progress to full-blown disease in people who have compromised immune systems. These are often people who have HIV/AIDS, suffer from malnutrition, are ageing or have a substance-abuse problem. About one-third of the world’s population carries latent TB.Conventional thinking has held that persistent bacteria are also present in people who have latent TB. These bacteria are thought to either stop growing or are slowly growing, although they still survive in the body.But emerging research has started to question this assumption on two fronts:     Some research shows that proportions of the bacteria continue to grow while others die.     Other research argues that the bacteria do not grow.Understanding the bacteria present in latent TB is important to choose the best TB treatments. This is especially important because of the difficulties associated with treating persistent bacteria that can survive treatment.For this reason our research is focused on finding ways to study and target persistent bacteria. We used specific bacteria-associated labels and sophisticated laser-based methods to identify and isolate these bacteria.A new method to study persistent bacteriaThe technique, known as fluorescence dilution, uses two fluorescent proteins to label the bacteria. One protein tracks live bacteria and the other measures its growth. It is applied to identify and isolate individual bacteria to study it.The technique can best be described as using “micro-tweezers” to physically pick out the slow-growing bacteria from the rest. This enables us to find the hard-to-identify persistent bacteria.We were able to do this by applying the same approach that’s been used to isolate the bacteria that causes food poisoning, Salmonella. This involves subjecting the bacteria to conditions that come closest to those found in the body as opposed to conditions in the laboratory.Using this technique, we found that when bacteria entered a specific type of white blood cell, a population of non- or slowly-growing persistent bacteria appeared. White blood cells play a critical role in defending the body against invading bacteria. In the laboratory we use them to mimic the environment found in the body.This finding is important because it shows that the numbers of persistent bacteria increase by being inside white blood cells. This means that the host’s own defences can help the bacteria to survive TB treatment.Hope for the futureThese are only the first steps, but this technique offers unique opportunities to deepen scientists’ understanding of why and how the body’s response to TB treatment results in drug resistance.We can now, for example, begin to study what drives bacteria into a latent state. Once we understand this better it will be possible to begin designing drugs that better manage latent TB. Importantly, this could help decrease the amount of time it takes to treat TB as well as minimise drug resistance.Jomien Mouton is a postdoctoral research fellow in the MRC Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Stellenbosch University and Samantha Sampson is associate professor of SARChI Research Chair in Mycobactomics at Stellenbosch University. This article was originally published in The Conversation. Read the original article.last_img read more