The election just ahead

first_imgWhereas the early focus of the project was getting state and campaign officials up to speed on the range and severity of cybersecurity threats, now the work centers on training officials to become self-sufficient in defending themselves.In the ramp-up to the midterms, the project convened a military-style table-top exercise session for 120 officials from 38 states to simulate worst-case scenarios around cybersecurity and information operations and trained participants to run their own exercises in their states.“I’d say on the whole there’s been improvement” since 2016, said Mari Dugas, the project’s coordinator, although nobody is ready to say they’re fully comfortable with the security of their voting systems, she added.Though information operations are not technically part of state election officials’ jobs, the spread and influence of “fake news” and disinformation has had such an impact on voters that officials have asked the project for help detecting and responding to influence campaigns that seek to undermine trust in elections or mislead voters about how, when, and where to cast ballots.On Election Day, participating students will observe and assist officials in five states. After the election, the project will convene a small, after-action review session at Harvard with invited officials to share what they saw, any threats they found, where security gaps may still exist, and to understand better any prevailing concerns ahead of the 2020 election.Shifting ingrained attitudes on election processes has been a challenge, because some state officials have assumed that since they’re not from swing states or their communities are small, they’re unlikely to be targets. “We’ve seen that that isn’t the case. Anybody can be a target of these things, and have been,” so helping officials create a culture of effective cybersecurity will be key, said Dugas.The voters’ own viewsPolitical veterans were stunned by the 2016 election largely because the victory of Donald Trump shredded what many observers thought were the immutable rules of the campaign game about what worked with voters and what didn’t.Trump’s win was one shift in a political landscape that has been rapidly changing in recent years. Accepted wisdom about who can credibly enter the political arena, about how candidates reach and sell themselves to voters, and about how they raise money and spend campaign funds no longer hold. The voters who once had to passively endure slick TV ads of candidates chosen by the two political parties now get to pick whose online pitches they’ll entertain from inside their personal information ecosystems.Amid such rapid change, political analysts and practitioners have struggled to keep pace, especially since 2016 showed how off-track most had gotten. Many hoping to understand how voters think and behave now recognize that polling and opinion data aren’t delivering a rich enough portrait of where the electorate is moving ideologically, and why.“For a long time, political actors and advocates were using polling, and that set of very small sample data was giving people directional impressions about which parts of America were moving which way, and that was the key guide to strategy,” said Laura Quinn, a visiting fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at HKS and CEO and co-founder of Catalist, a voter data “utility” service. Catalist works with progressive left clients such as the AFL-CIO union and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to tailor political advocacy messaging to voter segments across the U.S. electorate.Now, with big data part of politics, Catalist tries to drill down into the electorate by analyzing not just the commercial findings and voter file information that all campaigns use, but surveys that elicit the broader viewpoints of would-be voters. So instead of asking questions about expected topics like the Affordable Care Act or gun ownership, which cause people to self-sort into partisan groups, Catalist asks about things that don’t signal an obvious right or left response, but gets at someone’s values. These are queries like “Is it morally good or bad to leave a dog out in the rain, or for a soldier to refuse to obey a potentially illegal order from commanders?”The respondents are clustered based on their replies, not on their gender, age, income, or even supposed ideology. “Often in politics, we’re using pure demographics as proxies, and that really is not accurate,” said Quinn. For instance, “All women do not see the world the same way.”With values, not demographics, as the baseline sorting mechanism, she says the firm is able later to superimpose data about voting histories, demographics, and past civic behavior to get a deeper, more-longitudinal picture of how groups view the world, what motivates them, and how they’re likely to act, as opposed to standard polling’s snapshot, moment-in-time approach. “There is no persuasion without understanding.”,Using the values methodology, Catalist has broken down the roughly 230 million voting-eligible Americans into nine groups, ranging from “super seculars” on the far left, represented by comedian Samantha Bee, to “team red” on the far right, embodied by Trump superfan Sean Hannity of Fox News.The firm Cambridge Analytica was accused of using personal information from Facebook to target pro-Trump messages at millions of U.S. voters in 2016, based on five personality traits. But Quinn believes that a values approach to sorting voters is more predictive of civic behavior.“None of these things perfectly explains why people are the way they are. People are complicated, and they change. It’s the constellation of things that you believe that give you a sense of the person,” she said.By using values methodology, the researchers have found that the conventional wisdom about the importance of gender and age in determining voting behavior is often wrong.“When we see how they’re voting and how they’re behaving in all the civic data that we have, urban young people and young people in counties with major universities are behaving very differently than people their same age who are not in urban places,” said Quinn.One strong predictor of political attitudes and behavior is marital status. “Men and women who are married are closer in their voting pattern, and single men and women are closer in their voting pattern to each other, and the gender gap between them is smaller than the gap between married people and single people,” she said.In a changed political environment, voters are much tougher to sell in 2018. Quinn said they’ll give candidates three to nine seconds to make their case in a video pitch before deciding to listen further or turn away. Regardless of party affiliation, listeners want something that feels authentic, unfiltered, and local, she said. In the midterms, Catalist has been working with advocacy groups on ballot initiatives in Michigan, Maine, and Florida, among others, to fine-tune arguments to different voter groups.Still, Quinn said there’s much more work to be done to understand the electorate. Unfortunately, those spending the most time on it today are practitioners focused on the next election. That’s why academia, as well as those working in political advocacy, “have a big, big role to play in reorienting the ship.”After the election, Quinn said she’ll examine who voted and for whom, and which parts of the electorate moved in which direction, and then re-analyze the economic conditions of values groups to understand any movement. She would like to evaluate where people get their information and study voters’ changed economic positions to see how such factors might influence their views and behavior.“If this country is going to be governable, you’ve got to be able to convince, after an election, enough of the folks who are part of the losing party that this is still a country where we can collectively make decisions and occasionally cross the aisle,” she said. “Without that ability, it’s a democracy that’s really in trouble.” With no way to track if or how students vote, the group won’t know until after the election whether its efforts have been fruitful. To gauge voter participation, the organizers have urged students to fill out pledge-to-vote cards, either in person or online, and are in a contest with Yale to rack up the most pledge cards. Behavioral science research shows that people are more apt to follow through on something if they’ve committed to it in writing.According to a National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement report, 57.8 percent of 22,604 eligible Harvard students voted in the 2016 presidential election. More than three-quarters of eligible students, 77.6 percent, registered in 2016.If results from a new Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP) Youth Poll are accurate, turnout among Harvard students could reach a high. Forty percent of voters age 18‒29 say they will definitely vote in the midterm, according to the findings released Oct. 29. Though poll director John Della Volpe said the organizers don’t expect that many to turn out, past trends indicate that, even accounting for the usual gap of -7.5 points between those who say they will vote and those who actually do, the figure suggests young voters will turn out in significantly greater numbers than in many years past. The only midterms in which young voters turned out at a greater rate than their typical 18‒20 percent were in 1986 and 1994, he said.That could be bad news and good news, he said. It could be bad news in that what’s driving young voters to the polls is the “fear and trauma” they’ve experienced in their short lives. The poll found that two-thirds of young people polled (76 percent Democrats, 34 percent Republicans) are more fearful than hopeful about the country’s future. But the good news, Della Volpe said, is that such a large number of new voters would offer the country an opportunity for a “once-in-a-generation attitudinal shift” about voting and civic engagement.,Defending democracy, electionsU.S. intelligence officials are clear that Russian state actors interfered with the 2016 presidential election, in part by hacking computer networks belonging to political committees, candidates, and advocacy groups connected to the Democratic Party and to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Analysts say the hackers also infiltrated voter-registration rolls and some voting software and machines in dozens of states, and continue to run disinformation campaigns on social media. Thus far, the special counsel’s office has indicted 13 members of Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, for alleged involvement in the hacking.Recognizing how serious the hacking threat remains and how outmatched those working on the front lines of elections are (especially with Congress declining to take steps to protect election systems), the bipartisan Defending Digital Democracy project at HKS has been working to help campaigns, as well as state and local officials, identify and ward off threats to their electoral integrity. The stakes in Tuesday’s midterm voting will be nothing less than the nation’s political and policy direction for the next two years. With polling often inaccurate in the last election, no one can confidently predict what the results will be this time, despite any evident trend lines going in.Despite that uncertainty, many people, including at Harvard, are focused on the important voting ahead. Here are three major electoral areas — turnout, security, and voter analysis — in which efforts to understand the race and encourage participation are steaming ahead.Future belongs to the youngYoung voters, especially college students, are among the least likely to turn out at the polls on Election Day, no matter the year or the party in power.The Harvard Votes Challenge, a student-led initiative that launched last spring, hopes to shatter part of that reality by helping University students register to vote, request and submit absentee ballots, provide helpful information, and get them excited about civic engagement and exercising their rights.“Millennials and post-millennials are going to be the largest voting bloc in this upcoming election, and that’s really exciting,” said challenge co-founder Teddy Landis ’20, who also serves as student chair of the Harvard Public Opinion Project, which produces the Institute of Politics’ semi-annual youth poll. “Young people don’t really get a voice in politics, and so to see that we’d have all this potential presented a new beginning in America, in my mind. But then I looked at [data] which showed that young people don’t really vote. It was really sad to me that we have this tremendous opportunity to shape what we want our country to be, but young people aren’t taking advantage of that.”The group is nonpartisan and has no public registration goal across the University, but hopes simply to encourage classmates to see voting — and more broadly, civic participation — as important components of what it means to be Harvard students, said Landis.The initiative got an adrenaline shot as the semester began when new President Larry Bacow made voting in November his “homework assignment” for first-year students during his convocation address, said Landis, who oversees the College effort. Challenge team members took full advantage, slipping a problem set under every first-year’s door the day after Bacow’s remarks, instructing the 18-year-olds how to register to vote or how to request absentee ballots from their hometowns.There are team leaders in 11 Schools. Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) reached a self-imposed goal of registering 90 percent of eligible students through TurboVote last month, while the Graduate School of Education (GSE) had about 65 percent of eligible students register so far. In the College, 30 undergraduate teams have been holding events, knocking on doors, hosting sign-up tables, helping students request absentee ballots and get them mailed on time, and doing peer-to-peer outreach on why voting is important.Kevin Ballen ’22 manages the first-year student drive and said he’s seen a lot of excitement among the students. The challenge hosted more than 40 study breaks since the semester began, posted information at most entryways to the Yard, and saturated social media. The challenge had 20 “dorm mobilizers” in first-year residence halls for one-on-one outreach and to help students navigate the logistics of registering and voting by absentee ballot, or to find out more about candidates and issues in their home states. In all, Ballen estimates the drive has contacted nearly 1,400 of the 1,600 first-years. If results from a new Harvard Institute of Politics Youth Poll are accurate, turnout among Harvard students could reach a high. Forty percent of voters age 18‒29 say they will definitely vote in the midterm, according to the findings released Oct. 29. Major bipartisan Harvard initiative seeks safeguards to ensure future voting integrity center_img Wanted: A firewall to protect U.S. elections Relatedlast_img read more

Amit Panghal one win away from Olympic qualification

first_imgAmman: World Championships silver medallist and top seed Amit Panghal (52kg) moved into the quarter-final of the boxing Asian Olympic qualifiers with a narrow 3-2 win over Mongolia’s Enkhmandakh Kharkhuu in Amman on Saturday.Panghal will now face 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medallist Carlo Paalam of Philipinnes. One more win would be enough for the 24-year-old to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.Meanwhile, Gaurav Solanki (57 kg) lost his pre-quarterfinal to the reigning world champion Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan by a 4-1 split decision.Panghal had previously faced Kharkuu at the World Military Games in October 2019 where he ended up losing 5-0.On Saturday, he held the upper hand in the first round as he constantly moved around the ring and made it difficult for his opponent to land his punches on target. This was reflected in the score at the end of the round in which the judges ruled in his favor by majority.Kharkhuu, however, started stifling Panghal for space in the second round and started landing punches from close in. Panghal’s movements also seemed to have taken a toll on him as he started tiring out towards the end of the second round which the judges eventually ruled in Kharkuu’s favor by split decision.Panghal looked completely out of gas in the third but managed to keep his guard up while landing accurate punches. In the end, the judges deemed that enough to let him through to the quarter-finals. The final score was 30-27, 29-28, 28-29, 28-29, 29-28 in Panghal’s favor.“I played according to the strategy the coaches had chalked out. I tried to score well in the first round, which was the main aim. Glad to have got the win. I have played and beaten my next opponent twice. I would look to get a win again and get an Olympic quota for my country,” said Panghal after the victory.Solanki more than held his own in the bout against Mirzakhalilov, even winning the second round 4-1 but the latter’s experience and ability were too much for the 23-year-old to handle in the third. IANSAlso Read: Amit Panghal gets top billing, MC Mary Kom seeded 2ndAlso Watch: NDFB-S General Secretary B R Ferenga likely to join UPPL party soonlast_img read more

Korger: Bidding goodbye to Michigan State

first_imgThere’s a scene in the epic Martin Scorsese film “Gangs of New York” in which Daniel Day-Lewis’ character, Bill the Butcher, refers to a picture of his long-dead rival on the wall and utters, “He was the only man I ever killed worth remembering.”To me, the only rivalry in recent years worth remembering for the Wisconsin football program is its games against Michigan State. It’s a matchup that for the past two years has provided some tremendous games, memorable endings and direct implications on the Big Ten title.So what makes a rivalry great? It’s not just a few classic games, great players or great programs. It’s the key similarities the two programs share over several years.Whether it’s an in-state rivalry of teams that compete throughout the year for recruits or donations or a battle between annual national title contenders, the similarities teams share through multiple years help build and cement long-standing tides of dissent and create the annual games we circle on the schedule.But that’s not why the Spartans and Badgers are rivals. At the beginning of my time at the University of Wisconsin in 2008 – back when I was a biased fan, before journalism forced me to become neutral – I remember the games I was especially excited for were Ohio State and Penn State coming to Camp Randall.Why? For eons, or at least for as long as I can remember, whenever anyone talked Big Ten football, the same old names were brought up: Lloyd Carr and Michigan (who had just recently stepped down), Jim Tressel and Ohio State and Joe Paterno and Penn State. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions were both storied programs, and I was eager to finally have the chance to attend a game where the Badgers would get their chance to prove their brass against some of the best players the conference could offer.But the 2008 season wasn’t kind to Bret Bielema and his team. Losing a close game to Ohio State and then-freshman Terrelle Pryor 20-17 under the lights, Wisconsin fell the following week to Penn State at home 49-7 in one of the soundest beatings I have still ever witnessed as a fan. The team went on to finish the year at a disappointing 7-6.But things changed monumentally in 2010. And that’s where the story of the Spartans and Badgers kicks off.We’ve already read all about it, how Wisconsin lost in East Lansing but was awarded a trip to the Rose Bowl because of owning the third-level tiebreaker (overall BCS standing) over Michigan State and Ohio State. And yes, billboards were posted over Michigan highways depicting the final score of the Spartans-Badgers game with a rose.Then, in 2011, a Hail Mary in East Lansing, a fourth-down conversion from Russell Wilson to Jeff Duckworth, a play that made Brad Nortman legendary – these are what have made, over the past three years, the Wisconsin-Michigan State game feel like more of an old-school Clint Eastwood western than your average conference matchup.This rivalry, for fans of both teams, is about hating the team that seems to play the spoiler every year. Last season, Michigan State derailed Wisconsin’s national championship push in what was supposed to be a fairy tale season. For the Spartans, the Badgers represent a two-year roadblock that has prevented them from reaching the Rose Bowl with some of their better teams in recent memory.Wisconsin and Michigan State are also two programs trying to make a push to become validated as an annual power in the conference, a legacy program, if you will. For many years these programs sat underneath the iron-fisted rule of Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. But with the failed Rich Rodriguez experiment in Ann Arbor, Mich., the firing of Jim Tressel amid Tattoo-gate and the Jerry Sandusky scandal that cost Joe Paterno his job, the power dynamic in the Big Ten has shifted enormously since 2008.And with that shift, Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio and Bielema were quick to make a push for the prime seats at the Big Ten table. But the question remained: Who would be at the head?The likeness of these two teams and the shared goal to become the conference’s new power make their matchups more heated and meaningful. Add the history of the last two years, and you have the newest rivalry in the Big Ten. It doesn’t matter if the Spartans come in Saturday with a sub-par record. Not only is Michigan State extremely talented and loaded on defense, this is the last time these two programs will meet each other on the field for several years, as the game becomes lost for the next few years due to the Big Ten’s divisional realignment. So here’s my salute to you, Michigan State, and my thanks for providing some of the best games of my college career. I’m not quite sure if Wisconsin will miss you, but regardless, it’s been one hell of a ride.Nick is a fifth-year senior majoring in history and English. Catch Nick on 91.7 WSUM’s “The Badger Herald Sports Hour” from 4-5 p.m. Sundays and “The Student Section” from 4-6 p.m. Mondays. Want to send Nick your thoughts on the column? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @nickkorger.last_img read more

COUNCIL DEPLOYS GRITTING LORRIES AS ICE SET FOR RETURN

first_imgDONEGAL County Council says all of its gritting lorries will operate this evening and overnight due to forecasts for a sharp frost.Showers of hail, sleet and rain have left roads wet today, but these will soon freeze over after dark.The council says staff will grit roads from 5.30pm Met Eireann says it will be cold and mainly dry tonight, with most of the showers dying out.A widespread sharp to severe frost will form, along with icy stretches on untreated roads. A few patches of mist are possible also. Lowest temperatures plus 1 to -3 C. COUNCIL DEPLOYS GRITTING LORRIES AS ICE SET FOR RETURN was last modified: February 15th, 2014 by John2Share 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:COUNCIL DEPLOYS GRITTING LORRIES AS ICE SET FOR RETURNlast_img read more

Madiba magic boosts Wild Coast

first_img10 January 2006South Africa’s Wild Coast region of the Eastern Cape is known for its unspoilt beauty, rolling green hills and pristine beaches. Now the area is getting a tourism boost from its ultimate attraction – the name of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president and the Eastern Cape’s favourite son.Mandela was born and raised in the province, spending his early years in the small village of Qunu, just outside Mthatha (Umtata).“Many tourists are coming here from all over the world,” Sinyiko Zimisele, a guide at Qunu’s Nelson Mandela Museum, told Business Day recently.“People like Mandela,” Zimisele says. “They say he is a good man for reconciliation.”Qunu is where Mandela has said he spent the happiest years of his youth, doing his herd-boy duties, playing in the river and sailing down the “sliding stone”.When his father was persecuted by the white magesitrate and deposed as chief of Mvezo, where Mandela was born, the family took refuge at Qunu. It is the place where the young Rolihlahla, in colonial tradition, was named Nelson on his first day at school.Soon after his 1990 release from 27 years in prison, Mandela built a small house on his family plot in Qunu. It is an exact replica of the dwelling where he spent the last years of his incarceration at Cape Town’s Victor Vester prison. He has since built a bigger house, where he stays when visiting his home town.“We have found Mandela’s name to be a big drawcard,” Wild Coast Holiday Association CEO William Ross told Business Day. “Obviously the resorts along the coast will have to find out how they are going to use that drawcard to attract guests.“When people are down the Wild Coast and you mention to them that we’ll be driving past the birthplace of Mandela or past his house, it generates the most amazing interest.“And, of course, they want to hear about his life story,” says Ross.The Mandela MuseumThe Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha is now the biggest tourist attraction in the town.“It’s a rather out of the way place that nobody really knows about, yet it’s a most fantastic museum once you’re in there,” Ross told Business Day.The Mthatha museum is housed in the magnificent Bhunga Building, which has functioned as the seat of the United Transkei Territories General Council, Transkei Legislative Assembly and the Republic of Transkei Parliament during the territory’s nominal independence in the apartheid era.Smaller satellite museums have been set up in Mvezo, Mandela’s birthplace, and in Qunu.On display in the Bhunga Building are the many gifts, recognitions and awards given to Mandela by different people, countries, groups, organisations and institutions the world over, when he was in prison and during his five-year term as SA’s president until 1999. The list of donors reads like an international who’s who.The gifts, recognitions and awards given to Nelson Mandela, on display in the Bhunga Building (Image: Nelson Mandela Museum)The museum is visited by thousands of tourists every year, and considered one of South Africa’s most significant heritage institutions.Mandela has insisted that the museum should not simply be a tribute to him, but also serve as a catalyst for the upliftment of the local community.‘The simple beauties of nature’The Wild Coast is one of the poorest areas of South Africa, but is rich in natural beauty. In Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, he speaks of his love of the region and his fond memories of herding cattle in the rolling hills around Qunu.“From an early age, I spent most of my free time in the veld playing and fighting with the other boys of the village,” he writes. “A boy who remained at home tied to his mother’s apron strings was regarded as a sissy.“I was no more than five when I became a herd-boy, looking after sheep and calves in the fields. I discovered the almost mystical attachment that the Xhosa have for cattle, not only as a source of food and wealth, but as a blessing from God and a source of happiness.“It was in the fields that I learned how to knock birds out of the sky with a slingshot, to gather wild honey and fruits and edible roots, to drink warm, sweet milk straight from the udder of a cow, to swim in the clear, cold streams, and to catch fish with twine and sharpened bits of wire.“From these days I date my love of the veld, of open spaces, the simple beauties of nature, the clean line of the horizon.”Anti-apartheid heroesThe Eastern Cape has also produced many other anti-apartheid heroes: Walter Sisulu, Thabo Mbeki and his father Govan, Steve Biko, Chris Hani and Oliver Tambo.“We are lucky to have the Mandela factor here,” Gary Anderson, a hotel owner in Coffee Bay, told Business Day.“For many people this is the real Africa – it’s as authentic as you get it.“Big tourism is being embraced by everybody. Room occupancy is on a steady growth pattern and it’s going to reach a pinnacle in 2010.”Ocean liners now anchor more often in East London, sending their passengers by road to Qunu and nearby resorts, through the spectacular Great Kei River Pass. The area includes the Shamwari game reserve, which has repeatedly been named the best game reserve in the world at the World Travel Awards.“The Mandela factor is certainly beginning to have an impact on tourism,” fisherman Tshungu Kennedy told Business Day. “In a few years I bet you tourists are going to be swarming in like ants.”SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Do you want to make a difference to South Africa?

first_imgA key challenge is to achieve a common understanding of and commitment to Brand South Africa within government, the private sector and civil society, and ensuring alignment of all role players behind the brand. The IMC has a staff of 35, and a marketing budget of over R100m/year. The IMC’s Board consists of senior leaders from across South Africa’s public and private sectors.Download details on the following available positions:Chief Executive OfficerChief Marketing OfficerDownload advertistment in PDF format [ 1.4Mb]last_img read more

Emirates goes wild – to support wildlife

first_imgEmirates has painted up two A380s supporting the United for Wildlife task force which has joined with the transport industry to break the chain between suppliers and consumers of illegal wildlife products. Watch video hereThe task force is striving to raise awareness of the poaching crisis across the transport industry and identify tangible means for the transport sector to tackle illegal wildlife trafficking.The volume of international trade presents difficulties, but the sector has already shown how it can effectively crack down on illegal trade of drugs and arms. Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airlines is on the task force as well as Mburi Ngunze CEO of Kenya Airways and Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association.The Rt. Hon The Lord Hague of Richmond, Chair of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce said: “We welcome the efforts and commitment made by Emirates airline to combat the illegal wildlife trade. This is more than just an environmental issue. The illegal wildlife trade is now recognized as a serious and organised transnational crime. It drives corruption, is linked to money laundering and can damage economic development in many of the world’s poorest countries and communities. It will take a concerted effort, involving not only effective deterrents against poaching and smuggling, and vigilance in policing and punishing these crimes, but also efforts to increase consumer education to cut demand to protect these animals for the future.”Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said: “Many animals, in particular African elephants, rhinos, tigers, and pangolins, are under extreme pressure because of an unprecedented spike in the illegal wildlife trade. The world is in a global poaching crisis, and everyone has to do their part to stop this, before it is too late. Emirates believes that the global transport industry, including airlines, can play a significant role to break the supply chain of illegal wildlife trade. And at Emirates, we are committing the resources to do our part.”Consumers too, can contribute in a big way, by boycotting products made from the parts of these endangered animals and discouraging others from doing so.Emirates’ two A380s will be operating flights this week. The first one departed for London (LHR) on 2nd November and a second will operate to Mauritius (MRU) on 5th November, each wearing a different design featuring endangered wildlife. The decal on the first flight featured six endangered species, while the second flight will feature a decal with rhinos and elephants. Both designs cover the world’s largest passenger aircraft almost from nose to tail, spreading over the wings and under-belly of the plane. Approximately 40 per cent of the surface area of the A380 will be covered by the decal. The larger of the two designs span over 42.5 metres in length and 6.2 metres in width, and weighs 70kg. Entirely designed, produced, and applied by Emirates’ in-house staff, both of these are the largest decals the airline has put on any aircraft, to date and took a team of 28 people 2.5 days to apply the decals on one A380, or approximately 900 man hours per aircraft.In addition to its two A380s literally “flying” the flag for the cause, Emirates will run regular feature stories about wildlife protection in its inflight magazines, and showcase podcast interviews, wildlife programming and feature films on its award-winning ice inflight entertainment system. This subject was the cover story in the October edition of Emirates’ Open Skies magazine.The airline is also collaborating with international organisations to train and better equip its ground and cargo staff to detect and deal with illegal wildlife products in transit. As the required paperwork for movement of some wildlife products is often forged, Emirates also made the decision to ban trophy shipments.dnata, one of the world’s largest air services provider and a member of the Emirates Group, is also raising awareness through its dnata4good initiative. dnata4good has already been working with local charity organisations and authorities to save the Rhinos in South Africa. dnata4good has already funded an emergency response vehicle which treats poached rhinos in the field and have played a major part in educating local children on the dangers of poaching. In addition to this, they have also supported the first rhino orphanage and rehabilitation facility which is now fully operational in Hoedspruit.Quick facts about the threat to wildlife from poaching and illegal trade.There are as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild. Illegal trade in their parts and products is one of the biggest threats to wild tigers. Between 2000 and 2014, the parts of at least 1,590 tigers were seized in Asia. · Rhino poaching in South Africa increased from 13 rhinos in 2007 to 1215 rhinos in 2014. That now equates to more than three rhinos a day. Africa-wide, 1,293 rhinos are reported to have been poached in 2014. · Around 30,000 African elephants are killed by poachers each year. Central Africa is worst hit with a poaching rate twice the continental average. Left unaddressed, poaching could cause the extinction of elephants in Central Africa. The pangolin is the world’s most-trafficked mammal. Over a million pangolins are estimated to have been poached in the last ten years. · Park rangers are often ill equipped and inexperienced to tackle armed and ruthless poachers. Poaching syndicates have changed the way they operate and are now using sophisticated weaponry and equipment to increase their activities and avoid detection (helicopters, veterinary drugs, night vision equipment). 1,000 rangers are estimated to have been killed in ten years while protecting wildlife.last_img read more

Heritage Ambassadors honoured at the 2018 heritage camp

first_imgOn Thursday 04 October, the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) together with its partners; Department of Basic Education, SanParks, National Arts Council (NAC), National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF); South Africa Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) and Brand South Africa celebrated heritage awareness and education through the Heritage Education School Outreach Programme (HESOP). The top four outstanding schools out of the nine are; George Mbulaleni High School from Limpopo in the first place, followed by a KwaZulu-Natal’s Nsikayethu High School, Selelekela Secondary School from Free State took third place and the fourth place went to Western Cape’s John Ramsay High School.         The week-long heritage camp from 01 – 05 October, took place at the ecological and historical Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the Free State, where participants including educators had the leisure of experiencing the natural cultural heritage and beauty of the park through the Brandwag Rock hike as well as a visit to the Basotho Cultural Village. Learners were given a glimpse of the traditions and culture of the Basotho people and were tasked with assignments based on their excursions to present to the judges.Since the beginning of the year, passionate ‘Heritage ambassadors’ have been partaking in the HESOP 2018 assignments through portfolios and went on to be eliminated until provincial eliminations where they were expected to research and prepare for presentations on the given topics. “Through this programme we want to empower more young people with the skills that will them to be citizens that understands our rich and diverse cultural heritage for social cohesion and nation building” says Adv. Sonwabile Mancotywa Chief executive of the NHC.         Research skills, time management and presentation skills are some of the criteria that a panel of heritage experts assessed from the commencement of the programme.Laptops were awarded to the first prize winners followed by tablets for second and third prize winners and lastly virtual reality headsets for fourth place winners.“I’m optimistic that these young citizens will from this experience, make a positive contribution in society. We appreciate the dedicated and supportive educators that have pledged to walk this journey of heritage education with us,” Mancotywa says.Heritage ambassadors that did not make it to the finals and the ones that were part of the final stage and did not make it to the top four, were urged to encourage their peers to be part of this exciting and adventurous programme.         He further added that heritage is a very important resource to forge unity in our country. Mancotywa also encouraged them to use the knowledge and skills that they have acquired from this programme, to be good ambassadors of heritage and love their country.         For schools to be part of 2019 Heritage Education School Outreach Programme, email: [email protected] or visit: www.nhc.org.za for more information.last_img read more

Jeff Duling, Nov. 30

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest I am not putting too much emphasis on the test plots. I am just going with what my seed guy says. I will probably plant the same hybrids I planted last year. As far as beans, I had tremendous success with the Plenish beans again and so we’ll run with that. I am getting a 50-cent premium and the yields are right there with my other beans.I thought we would have some major compaction issues, and some guys do, but the dry weather and the cracking in the soil alleviated a lot of those problems. Maybe with the no-till and cover crops that was enough to help it out.I am hoping a few more guys experiment with cover crops. The government is throwing a lot of money at us to experiment with this. You can’t just do it once in one field and expect to see a benefit. In Putnam County now you have to keep it in cover crops for three years. The problem is that so many guys see their neighbors ripping and they think they should go rip. But this year, I didn’t see much reason to do much tillage.last_img read more

On Transformation with Dr. Bob Wright – Episode 19

first_imgPodcast: Play in new window | Download (13.0MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | RSSDr. Bob Wright has spent most of his life studying what it takes for human beings to transform themselves. I ask Bob about the differences between change and transformation, what it takes to liberate oneself, and how one develops new beliefs to replace limiting beliefs.Show NotesDr. Bob WrightTransformed: The Science of Spectacular Living (affiliate link)last_img