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SA moves to secure water supply

first_imgSonjica said about 200 special prosecutors had been trained, added that she expected these courts to operate similarly to Labour Courts, in that they would only operate at particular times. Sonjica said the government would also be encouraging reuse of water, which the town of George was already implementing. The seven new projects include the Mokolo augmentation project to supply water to the planned Medupi Power station in Lephalele in Limpopo province, and the Mooi-Mgeni Transfer Scheme project, which would include the construction of the Spring Grove dam around eThekwini/Durban and Umgungundlovu in KwaZulu-Natal. 14 April 2010 Sonjica said that with impending climate change, the country also had to consider other means of securing its water supply. Ruiters said water had been stolen at Mokolo, Berg and Olifants catchment areas, and that 250-million cubic metres of water had been illegally obtained over one year from Vaal. She said the department was busy drafting a policy on desalination, but that the drought along the Western Cape Garden Route had stalled the plan. Source: BuaNews In addition, four special “water courts” would be set up across the country and would run as pilot projects from May in a bid to crack down on those that committed water abuses.center_img The department was using the rehabilitated a unit on the West Coast which had been in use for over 20 years, and was also putting to use a unit in Sedgefield near Knysna in the Western Cape. Nelson Mandela Municipality/Port Elizabeth was also interested in using desalination technology. “The problem is that water has been looked at as an after-affect when we plan for development, and we are trying to change that,” said Sonjica, adding that her department was considering desalination of sea water as a possible option. Desalination, refuse water usage Commenting on illegal water use, the department’s deputy director-general, Cornelius Ruiters, said a full-time unit had been dedicated to compliance and monitoring, and the department was engaging with the Department of Agriculture to combat illegal water use. Pilot water courts Sonjica added that the government had no plans to raise the price of water, while pointing out that South Africa was among a few countries in the world where the tap water was safe to drink. South Africa is shoring up the security of its water supply by ensuring the completion of seven major new water projects around the country by 2014, Water Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said at a pre-budget briefing in Cape Town this week.last_img read more

Gripen first for SA woman fighter pilot

first_imgMajor Catherine Labuschagne completed her maiden solo flight in the South African Air Force’s Gripen Jas 39C in October, becoming the first woman fighter pilot ever to fly the supersonic aircraft.Maj Catherine Labuschagne made history when she became South Africa’s first female fighter pilot. (Image: SAAF)Brand South Africa reporterLabuschagne, who is identified by her call sign of Siren, is now the only female member of the SA Air Force’s (SAAF’s) elite 2 Squadron. The squadron, which flies the single- and dual-seat Gripens, is based at Makhado Air Force Base in Limpopo province.Formerly known as Air Force Base Louis Trichardt and today also called the Fortress of the North, or Castrum borealis, Makhado is the most northerly of South Africa’s bases.Established in the 1940s, 2 Squadron has earned many battle honours, including El Alamein in 1942, South East Europe in 1944 and 1945, and Korea from 1950 to 1953. Lieutenant Colonel Glen Gibson is the unit’s officer commanding (OC).Labuschagne trained on the venerable Impala jet before graduating to the Hawk 120 lead-in fighter trainer in preparation for the step up to South Africa’s most formidable aircraft. Pilots are required to accumulate about 430 hours on the Hawk and pass several courses before they can sit behind the controls of a Gripen.Dedicated and meticulousShe got her wings in 2000 and, a decade later, is one of South Africa’s most highly skilled women pilots. Although she’s never felt that she’s had to work as hard as her male colleagues, the going has been tough, Labuschagne admits.“You need to be dedicated; you need to be meticulous; you need to work hard, be committed to what you do; and definitely must have passion for what you do,” she said in a recent television interview.Labuschagne boasts 1 900 flying hours, of which 1 000 have been on military jets.Back in 2004 she made military history as the first woman to fly in a Gripen, but it was from the back seat of the two-seater 39D. Today she is among the first group of locally trained Gripen pilots to complete their operational conversion course – the initial six received their training in Sweden.Major Labuschagne (left) during training in Sweden. (Image: SAAB)The other local graduates are Lieutenant Koobendra Chetty (Saffron) and Lieutenant Colonel Gys van der Walt (Samurai). The three will complete their training in 2011 with Major Lance Mathebula (Lancelot), who trained in Sweden.Gripen instruction takes place at 85 Combat Flying School, based at the Centralised Training Centre at Makhado and operating under the motto Detrimento sumus (Destruction is our business). The centre offers a computer-based instruction system and a virtual aircraft training facility, also known as a simulator.According to 2 Squadron’s OC Gibson, the approximate ratio of air and simulator sorties is 50:50.SAAF setting the exampleThe Gripen is a single-engine fighter built by Swedish manufacturer Saab. Besides the SAAF, which was Gripen’s first export client, the craft are currently in service in the Czech, Hungarian and Swedish Air Forces.The SAAF has placed an order for 17 single-seater 39C craft and nine two-seater 39D craft, and in April 2008 took delivery of its first Gripen.To date, 15 of the nimble fighters have arrived in South African airspace, and the order is expected to conclude in 2012. The Gripens will replace the fleet of Cheetah fighters, some of which have been in service since 1986. The Cheetahs, which are basically refurbished Mirages, have now been retired.Before the Gripens could formally join the SAAF fleet, they had to pass a stringent two-year test programme to adapt the craft to local systems.“South Africa was the first export customer to select Gripen, and its recognition of Gripen’s capabilities and its faith in Saab has inspired other new Gripen customers, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, the UK’s Empire Test Pilot School and, more recently, Thailand,” says Saab president Åke Svensson.Svensson adds that the success of future negotiations with other countries depends to a degree on the performance of the aircraft in South Africa.BAE Systems South Africa CE Mike O’Callaghan says the purchase of the Gripens and Hawks has revived the country’s defence and aerospace industry and enhanced its reputation internationally. The UK-based BAE Systems is that country’s biggest defence contractor, and manufactures the Hawk fighters.With a maximum speed of Mach 2 – twice the speed of sound, or about 2 400km/h – and a highly advanced sensor system, the Gripen is widely regarded as the world’s top medium-weight fighter aircraft.During the recent 2010 Fifa World Cup, Gripens and Hawks were responsible for much of the security in the air.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

South Africa protects its national trees

first_img This panel assists the department with the shortlisting of trees, which are then published for comment, and finally declared as protected.Raising awareness with tree climbing A team of international tree climbers arrived in South Africa on 4 January for a month-long expedition to climb Champion Trees throughout the country. The aim of this expedition is to climb about 20 of the largest and oldest Champion Trees. They include several venerable yellowwood trees towering above the canopy of the Knysna forests, giant baobabs such as the iconic Sagole tree in Vendaland, the Three Queens trio of Matumi trees (Breonadia salicina) at Amorentia Estate near Tzaneen, and the tallest tree in Africa, one of the Twin Giants of Woodbush State Forest. Like rock climbing, tree climbing is a potentially dangerous pastime practised by a small and adventurous group of people, and it has caught on in South Africa too. Local tree climbing enthusiasts like Visser will join the expedition on some of the climbs. Stellenbosch resident Visser has in the past helped the department to measure the height of very tall Champion Trees that cannot be reliably measured with instruments. “Tree climbers have an ambition to climb the biggest and the oldest trees, and height is not always the defining criterion,” says Van der Merwe. The Sagole baobab is only 22 metres tall, but a mathematic size formula determines it as the largest indigenous tree in the country on the basis of its enormous 33 metre trunk circumference. Apart from ticking off the largest trees on their tree climbing list, the team also hopes to raise awareness of trees and the need to protect the tree heritage. The department and the local Dendrological Society assisted with organising the tree climbing expedition, and obtaining the necessary approval of various land owners and conservation authorities. First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service. 15 January 2013 South Africa is home to more than 1 700 indigenous species of trees and shrubs, some of which are threatened because of their rarity as well as the pressure of commercial and subsistence use. Currently, more than 70 trees and groups of trees have been declared national “Champion Trees” by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which means they are fully protected under the National Forests Act of 1998. Under the declaration, tree species listed as protected may not be cut, disturbed or damaged and their products may not be owned, transported, exported or sold without a licence. Once a tree is listed as a Champion, all trees of the species fall under the protection of the Act. “Listing certain species as protected is not primarily aimed at preventing the use of a tree species, but to ensure sustainable use through licensing control measures,” says Champion Tree coordinator Izak van der Merwe. According to the department, such projects have been established in several countries, but this is the first of its kind in Africa.Protecting trees of national conservation significance The Champion Tree project of South Africa aims to list and protect trees of national conservation significance. The project over the years has been about raising awareness for the national tree heritage, and to promote it as an asset for tourism. The first tree to be declared as protected under the Act in 2003 was an English oak tree (Quercus robur) in Sophiatown in Johannesburg. Estimated to be over a century old, it was the only relic and landmark of the days before the residents were forcibly relocated and the town was turned into a whites-only suburb under apartheid. The tree is of cultural significance because it was under its leafy branches that residents and political activists used to gather for meetings. The Sophiatown oak tree was visible from several street blocks away, with a trunk girth of 4.48 metres and a crown diameter of more than 30 metres. The Act was materialised as an attempt to stop the destruction of the tree by a property owner. The tree fell down in 2008 but its trunk can be seen at the Trevor Huddlestone Centre.Champion trees of South Africa Other Champion Trees include two massive Australian Moreton Bay fig trees (Ficus macrophylla), one standing on the campus of the University of Cape Town and the other inside the Pretoria Zoological Gardens. Both these trees have a crown diameter of more than 40 metres, and trunk circumference of more than 16 metres and 9 metres respectively. In the Goudveld Forest near Knysna, Western Cape, one of the more recent Champions has been renamed the Dalene Matthee Big Tree, as a tribute to the author who wrote a best-seller series of historic novels about life in the forests in the 19th century. Previously known as the Krisjan se Nek Big Tree, this Outeniqua yellowwood (Podocarpus falcatus), is nearly 900 years old and stands 40m tall. The 1 000-year-old Wonderboom Wild Fig tree (Ficus salicifolia), located in Pretoria, has the largest crown of all the champion trees with a diameter of 61 metres, while in Limpopo stands the largest indigenous tree in South Africa – the Sagole baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) – with a trunk circumference of more than 33 metres. The Twin Giants of Woodbush State Forest in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo, are the tallest of the lofty Saligna blue gum trees (Eucalyptus saligna), and were measured by professional tree climbers in 2008. Africa’s tallest trees At a height of 79 metres, they tower above a 26-storey block of flats. Planted in 1926, they are the tallest trees in Africa, and according to the department, the tallest of the species anywhere in the world. Category 1 invasive trees are dangerous species of trees that are not eligible to be Champion trees and are therefore not protected; however, category 2 of invasive trees, such as blue gum trees, are not dangerous and are therefore protected with Champion status. “The most outstanding find among the indigenous trees is a Lowveld cabbage tree (Cussonia spicata) towering above the canopy of a natural forest at the Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge near Magoebaskloof,” explains Van der Merwe. This tree is about 35 metres tall and has a trunk circumference of 11.6 metres. Another indigenous tree that has to be seen to be believed is a baobab on the farm Swartwater in Limpopo. This tree has a trunk circumference of 24.5 metres. The tallest indigenous tree on the list is an Outeniqua yellowwood of about 41 metres high, growing in the forests of the Blouberg Mountains in Limpopo. However, the Outeniqua yellowwoods of the Knysna forests draw many visitors, such as the Tsitsikamma Big Tree, which receives more than 80 000 visitors a year. “Exotic tree species introduced from other parts of the world tend to dominate the Champion Tree list, with eucalypt species topping the list in terms of size,” Van der Merwe says. “Many of these trees attain heights of more than 50 metres, such as a group of newly listed eucalypts of various species in the KwaZulu-Natal Botanical Gardens.” According to Van der Merwe, pine trees seldom attain such heights, but a Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) discovered on the Buffelsnek Forest Estate near Knysna by tree climber Leon Visser, just about topped the 60 metre mark. A group of false Weymouth pine trees (Pinus pseudostrobus) was also added to the list, growing about 50 metres tall and sporting trunk circumferences up to 4.93 metres.Nominating trees to be protected Anyone can nominate indigenous or non-indigenous trees for Champion status. According to Van der Merwe, trees can be listed according to size criteria like height and trunk circumference, or according to value criteria such as historic value and age. The nomination cycle starts on 1 August of each year, and ends on 31 July the following year; thereafter the nominated trees are assessed by a panel of experts.last_img read more

5 Geocaching Dreams — And How to Interpret Them

first_imgWhen the woods go silent…Dream #4A new geocache was just published within a mile of your house, and you set off to find it. Just as you’re within size of GZ, you see another geocacher making his way to the geocache…and he’s moving faster than you. You try to run but your limbs feel strangely heavy, getting heavier by the second.What it means: Your FTF (First to Find) obsession might be getting a little out of hand. It’s not all about the FTFs, even though they’re fun. Try turning your notifications off for a few days, just to see what it’s like. The goal is to reach a good balance between your day to day responsibilities and your geocaching responsibilities. Maybe 30/70. The struggle to be First to Find is real.Dream #5You walk into the room at a meet-and-greet Event Cache 45 minutes late to accusing and shocked stares. Accusing, because you’re the event host. Shocked, because you’re a tad… how shall we put it?… under-dressed.What it means: Like any good event host, you feel the pressure to make sure your guests are happy and have a good time. Sometimes, that pressure can translate into weird dreams like this one. Our recommendation? Relax. Geocachers are genetically predisposed to be awesome. Put a bunch of them together in a room and they’ll be laughing and sharing stories all day (until someone gets a new cache notification, of course).We think her ‘cachin fashion is spot on.Tell us about your geocaching dreams and nightmares in the comments below!Share with your Friends:More You know you’re a geocacher if you’ve had a geocaching dream, right? SharePrint RelatedFrom the Desk of Moun10Bike: How to Keep Your Geocaching Streak Going in the SnowDecember 18, 2013In “Community”Projekt 2013: The Mega-Event that Fought the Rain and WonJune 4, 2013In “Cache In Trash Out”We’ve Got Urban Geocaching on Lock — QuadLockLog (GC330KJ) — Geocache of the WeekAugust 7, 2013In “Community” What you might not know is what your subconscious is trying to tell you. Whether you were digging through trackables in a bottomless lock-n-lock container, or found yourself frighteningly under-dressed for a geocaching event, your subconscious is probably trying to tell you something. Don’t worry—here are our interpretations of the 5 most common geocaching dreams.**And here is a grain of salt.What dreams may come when we have cached away this mortal coil?Dream #1You’re out geocaching for days and days on end, and all you get are DNFs, even on the easiest geocaches. Each time you reach GZ you look everywhere, but the situation is hopeless… not one geocache is found before you wake up.What it means: You might be feeling incomplete or ineffective in your geocaching of late. Think about your recent geocache finds. Have you been misinterpreting hints? Struggling to find good quality geocache swag among a sea of useless fast food meal toys? Or maybe your trackables just haven’t been getting the logs that they deserve. Whatever it is–something is missing from your experience. Figure out what it is and you might just have put a smiley on yourself. And remember, you’re not alone. Check out this DNF Pride video.DNF Pride PartyDream #2You’re on your way home from a successful geocaching outing at a really awesome geocache, when you realize you still have said geocache in your hands.What it means: Wretched thief! Just kidding. Your subconscious might just be coveting more favorite points, and gently prompting you to hide your own geocache. If you’ve never hidden one before consider giving it a try. If your geocache hides already number in the dozens, this is your chance to access your creative side and design a cool new geocache container.Those favorite points can be yours if you start thinking outside the lock-n-lock.Dream #3You’re geocaching deep in the woods and suddenly everything goes silent. You notice the light has faded and a strong, chilly wind has picked up. You’re miles away from civilization and your phone/GPS has just warned you that it’s losing steam. The tree cover is already making the GPS signal hard to pinpoint. You ate your last energy bar two hours ago.What it means: It’s time to find a geo-buddy (or two or three) to go geocaching with. Sartre might say, “If you are lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company,” but geocaching was only invented after he passed so his perspective was probably deeply skewed. And besides, geocaching is more fun with friends. It’s been scientifically proven.* Check out Geocaching Events to find geocachers near you.*sort oflast_img read more

48-hour-long Operation Prahar big success: Chhattisgarh police

first_imgThe Chhattisgarh police on Sunday claimed that heavy damage was inflicted on Maoists during the 48-hour-long Operation Prahar in the State’s Bastar region.Vivekanand Sinha, Inspector General of Police, Bastar, said, “For the first time we conducted an operation in the Maoists’ core area in Sukma. For 48 hours our forces were in the area and inflicted heavy damage. There is a possibility that a minimum of 15 to 20 Maoists were killed in the operation. This is a big morale booster for our forces.”According to sources, Hidma, a Maoist leader and chief of the Maoists’ military battalion in south Sukma, suffered injuries during the operation. Mr. Sinha said, “Many senior Maoist leaders suffered injuries. That we stayed in the area for two days is a big achievement. We recovered a huge cache of explosives and other material.” Mr. Sinha said one of the five Special Task Force jawans injured during the operation succumbed to injuries on Saturday night. However, the Maoists denied the police’s claim that 15 to 20 Maoists had been killed in the operation. In an audio clip, the CPI (Maoist) said, “The police are misleading people about the death of 20 Maoists. Thousands of policemen attacked the villages in Tondamarka on Friday and many villagers died in the attack. Many elderly persons and women were beaten up by the police and forcibly taken away. Our People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army [PLGA] retaliated and managed to kill a large number of policemen. But the policemen are not revealing heavy casualties on their side. Only Lakkhu, a PLGA member, was killed in the counter-attack and the policemen took away his body.” The IGP said villagers reported seeing nine bodies in a village in south Sukma on Saturday.last_img read more


first_imgA Winnebago, Nebraska man has been sentenced to two years in prison for domestic assault.36-year-old Vincent Decora was sentenced Monday in Omaha Federal Court for committing a domestic assault as a habitual offender.Prosecutors say Decora assaulted his domestic partner on the Winnebago Reservation over a two-day period last September by punching her repeatedly in the face and torso.At the time of that assault, Decora had three prior convictions for assaulting intimate partners.The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.last_img

WHS Band Parents Raffling Off A Red SoxThemed Cornhole Set

first_imgShare this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWilmington Band Parents Raffling Off A Jumbo Wildcat Connect Four GameIn “Community”WHS Band Parents Raffling Off A New England Sports-Themed Cornhole SetIn “Community”Wilmington Band Parents Raffling Off Pair Of Great Red Sox TicketsIn “Community” WILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington Band Parents Association is raffling off a Red Sox-themed Cornhole Set with matching bags and scoring tower.Raffle tickets cost $5 each or 3 for $10.  Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Band Parents Association at whswildcatbandparents@gmail.com. The drawing will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2019.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.last_img read more