Hurst to compete at indoor nationals

first_imgThis week Fortuna standout Katie Hurst will take the next step in what has already been an impressive career, when she travels to compete at the National High School Indoor Track and Field Championships in New York City.Hurst, a two-time state medalist and Humboldt-Del Norte League record holder in the long jump, is the first athlete from the county to qualify for the prestigious meet.But that won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who has followed her brief yet accomplished career, …last_img

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New UN body to focus on women

first_imgFormer Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is sworn in as executive director of UN Women by UN secretary- general Ban Ki-Moon. (Image: UN Woman) The creation of a new body, UN Women – or the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – was celebrated on 30 January 2011 at the 16th Summit of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Speaking about the new entity at the summit, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said: “There is progress here and there on the continent regarding women’s rights, but we must go much further to ensure greater gender equality in Africa. It is not just a matter of justice as the facts show indeed that gender equality is a factor of growth and social peace.”The entity should place emphasis on African women’s access to education, health and political responsibility, Ban added.Achieving gender equality was a key theme of the 2011 AU summit.“We need to empower African women who produce food, raise children and drive the economy. When women take their rightful place at the negotiating table, in parliament and in leadership positions across society, we can unleash Africa’s enormous potential. UN Women is here to help reach this goal,” said the secretary-general.Unveiling UN Women’s new logo at the summit, its executive director Michelle Bachelet said: “A vision of how much more is possible when men and women have equal rights and opportunities will drive UN Women. We will be bold and ambitious in our aspirations and we will also be practical in building an organisation that can make a lasting difference in women’s lives.”Bachelet was Chile’s first woman president, serving her term from 11 March 2006 to 11 March 2010. She prioritised women’s issues during her tenure and has been working with the UN Development Fund for Women (Unifem) since leaving office.Pushing gender equalityUN Women was created in July 2010 at a UN General Assembly session and became operational on 1 January 2011.It merges four previously distinct entities of the UN focusing on gender equality: Division for the Advancement of Women; International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women; Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women; and Unifem.UN Women will see to the development of women-friendly policies, and help member states implement and monitor them.Celebrating African leadersAt this year’s AU summit, President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo took over the rotating presidency of the AU from Malawian President Bing wa Mutharika.The choice of Mbasogo has been criticised as taking the AU back to the days when dictators led the now-defunct Organisation of African Unity. Mbasogo has ruled Equatorial Guinea with an iron fist for more than 30 years after executing his predecessor.The UN secretary-general spoke about the unrest in Egypt and the political crisis in Côte d’Ivoire at the summit, but also commended the successful secession referendum in Sudan.French President Nicholas Sarkozy said that France would continue to support development on the African continent.President of South Africa Jacob Zuma also addressed delegates at the summit.“Today we also celebrate many outstanding leaders on the continent. We were inspired by Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Haile Sellasie, Jomo Kenyatta, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ahmed Ben Bella, Samora Machel, Agostinho Neto, Ahmed Sekou Toure, Amilcar Cabral, Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa, and many others.”“We continue to draw inspiration from their selflessness, commitment and dedication to this continent and its people,” added Zuma.last_img read more

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DNA kits to help combat rhino poachers

first_img28 June 2011South African National Parks (SanParks) last week received 1 000 DNA kits from the University of Pretoria to ensure effective prosecution of rhino poachers.According to SanParks, the kits from the faculty of Veterinary Services of the University of Pretoria will go a long way in ensuring management of the rhino population and effective prosecution of rhino horn poachers.Speaking at the handover ceremony in Pretoria, SANParks CEO David Mabunda said that, throughout the years, DNA evidence had ensured that criminals were locked up as the analysis of information collected proved to be the only working weapon that could be disputed to halt criminals in their tracks.“This will certainly go a long way in changing the trend of suspects found in possession of rhino horn only being charged with possession as the horns in their possession will be linked to a carcass lying somewhere in a national park or game reserve,” he said.According to Mabunda, the kits would also assist rhino managers with the individual rhino in their care: “The scourge of rhino poaching we are faced with needs sophisticated equipment. Technology is needed to resolve the problems in a national park,” he said, adding that the fight against rhino poaching was everyone’s business.“If we all stand together, we stand a good chance of winning.”Helping prosecutorsMabunda said the kits are expected to help prosecutors to be tougher on those caught in possession of rhino horns.According to Mabunda, there are 22 000 rhinos in the country. SANParks has lost 333 rhinos. To date, 122 suspects have been arrested for rhino poaching.Cindy Harper, head of the veterinary genetics laboratory at the faculty of veterinary science at the University of Pretoria, said the primary aim of the project was to support investigation of poaching incidents through forensic DNA testing.“The ability to obtain a full DNA profile from rhino horn allows us to match recovered horns to specific poaching incidents,” she said.The DNA Rhino Sample kits project is supported by a host of private sector companies including SAB Miller, BMW, 702 Talk Radio through its LeadSA Campaign, and the University of Pretoria’s faculty of veterinary science.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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Blake and friends bring pop-classical mix to stage

first_imgBlake catapulted to success in 2007 with the launch of their first album, Blake. Known for mixing pop, rock and classical music with rich harmony vocals, the public embraced their debut album and over 100 000 copies were sold in just three weeks – earning the four their first gold disc. (Image: Blake)• Sue HarrisUK PublicistRepublic Media+44 (0) 20 8960 [email protected] Jane CookBritish boy band Blake is to tour South Africa, joined by opera star Gardar Cortes and the renowned Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO).They will perform on 27 and 28 June, at six locations. The Brit Award winning trio will combine opera, classical, musicals and pop harmonies.Blake catapulted to success in 2007 with the launch of their first album, Blake. Known for mixing pop, rock and classical music with rich harmony vocals, the public embraced their debut album and over 100 000 copies were sold in just three weeks – earning the four their first gold disc. Their upbeat version of Swing Low was chosen as the official anthem of England rugby that year for the Rugby World Cup.In early 2008, the album won the prestigious Brit Award for Album of the Year, a huge honour for a group still less than a year old. Also that year, Blake released their highly anticipated second album, And So It Goes. It went straight in at number 12 on the UK pop charts and number one on several classical charts around the world.Cortes, an Icelandic tenor, was born into a musical family and trained as a singer in Vienna, Copenhagen and London. He has sung various leading tenors in operas, as well as a leading part in The Phantom of the Opera in London’s West End. His debut album in the UK, titled Cortes, was released in 2007 and entered the UK classical chart at number one.In joining the visitors, the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra aims to challenge the perception that classical music performances are elitist and eurocentric, and appeal rather to a truly egalitarian, local audience.Classic crossoversBlake has a celebrity following of high-profile fans that include the British royal family, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco, actors Kiera Knightley, Will Smith, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Morgan Freeman, and singer Dame Shirley Bassey – the Blake boys did a special performance at her 70th birthday party.The group has made over 90 live concert appearances; they have toured China, the Philippines, Russia and the United States, and sung in the Olympic Stadium. Their first trip to China took in indoor stadium concerts in Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin, and they performed live on television to 350 million viewers as the headline international act at the Shanghai International Film Festival.In 2013, Blake continued with their sell-out tours of Europe and the Philippines and early this year they made their New York City debut. Blake were proud supporters of and sang the theme song for the much publicised trek by Britain’s Prince Harry to the Antarctica to raise funds and awareness for Walking with the Wounded. They have sold over one-and-half-a-million albums internationally, and have performed on nearly 160 television shows around the world.Listen to Blake hereLeading tenorDescribed as “the James Bond of classical music”, Cortes had phenomenal success with his self-titled debut album, which was number one in Britain, as well as sell-out tours and a Classical Brit Award nomination in 2008.He has been nominated several times for the Icelandic Music Awards and the Icelandic Performing Arts Awards – and has been voted sexiest man in Iceland twice. He has sung across Scandinavia, and in Europe, the United States and Asia, as well as at the prestigious venues of the Barbican, Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London and Carnegie Hall in New York City. He sang at one of the BBC’s top featured events, the Proms in the Park in front of 40 000 people. It was broadcast live to millions of viewers.Cortes has released classical and crossover albums in his native Iceland and the UK, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, reaching number one on the charts in South Africa and Taiwan.Listen to Gardar Cortes – Nessun Dorma hereWorld-class musicFormed by a group of committed, resilient musicians, the JPO was established in May 2000 following the demise of the National Symphony Orchestra. It strives to be nationally and internationally recognised as South Africa’s leading philharmonic orchestra, performing music that incorporates the greatest accomplishments of classical and South African music genres.During 2000, the JPO used its own scant financial resources to present 15 concerts that included three overseas guest conductors as well as world-renowned overseas artists. Since its inception, the orchestra has presented four symphony seasons every year, mostly with the assistance of corporate sponsorship, individual donations and ticket sales.In addition to its symphony concerts, the JPO has performed Queen: the Concert, The Joburg Pops, La Traviata and La Boheme for Opera Africa, Carmina Burana for the German government’s celebration of 10 years of democracy and Fauré’s Requiem for University of Johannesburg.In 2007, the JPO became a full-time orchestra with permanent musicians on yearly contracts. Two years later, it performed at the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. It also received funding for three years by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and provided the recordings for the opening and closing ceremonies of the FIFA Confederations Cup. In 2010, the JPO was asked once again to record for the FIFA World Cup opening and closing ceremonies.That same year, it celebrated its 10th birthday.Listen to the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra herelast_img read more

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Ohio Pork Council and Farm Credit Mid-America promote careers in farming

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Ohio Pork Council and Farm Credit Mid-America are partnering to provide high school students with the opportunity to video chat, live from their classrooms with Ohio pig farmers to learn more current farming practices and strengthen their interest in pursuing a career on a pig farm. The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins gets more information from Ohio Pork Council President Rich Deaton.last_img

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Rallying for Extension of a Green Builder Tax Credit

first_imgWhen Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the bill was greeted with a mix of quiet approval in some quarters and criticism by environmental groups for the significant incentives, subsidies, and exemptions it provided to the oil and nuclear-power industries.But at least one of the bill’s provisions – a $2,000 tax credit for builders constructing homes that meet certain energy efficiency standards – has resonated with both homebuilders and environmentalists, notes Laura Hutchings, president of Populus Sustainable Design Consulting, in commentary posted this week on the Huffington Post website. The main point of Hutchings’ post, though, is not just to extol the merits of the tax credit, but to remind builders, energy raters, and others in the industry that it expired on December 31 and has not yet been extended by Congress.In other words, let your representative know you’re paying attention. “While many in Congress have voiced support for legislation that promotes energy efficiency and green job creation, it seems that there are some who do not understand the substantial impact that this tax credit has had in promoting energy efficiency in the residential housing market,” she writes. “We need to make sure Congress understands.”Putting the requirements into practiceMany builders certainly seem to understand. In a survey of its home-energy ratings providers, the nonprofit Residential Energy Services Network, developer of the HERS index and creator of the National Home Energy Audit Standard, found that 23,702 homes were RESNET-certified for the tax credit in 2007, triple the number of homes certified in 2006.The tax credit was available for each qualifying home sold from January 1, 2006, through December 31, 2009. The homes had to be certified they use at least 50% less energy than a comparable home that complies with standards provided in the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code, including its 2004 supplement, and uses a SEER 13 air conditioner, notes the Tax Incentives Assistance Project, which is sponsored by public-interest nonprofits, energy efficiency advocates, and government agencies, and tracks the performance and fate of Energy Policy Act provisions that affect consumers and businesses in the energy conservation realm. Another requirement for certification: building envelope efficiency must account for at least 20% of the 50% energy savings.last_img read more

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