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South African plant scientist reaps top award

first_imgProf Maryke Labuschagne is the recipientof the African Union Kwame NkrumahScientific Award.(Image: University of the Free State) President Jacob Zuma congratulates ProfMaryke Labuschagne after she receivedan award from the African Union for hercontrubution to science in Africa. Sheattended the award ceremony in AddisAbaba in Ethiopia last week.(Image: University of the Free State) MEDIA CONTACTS • René-Jean van der Berg Senior Media OfficerUniversity of the Free State+27 51 401 3185RELATED ARTICLES• SA academic gets top science award • Top award for local invasion biologist • SA women lead the way in science• SA students tops at science awards • SA scientists win AU awards Wilma den HartighThe African Union (AU) has honoured a South African scientist with the prestigious international Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award. The high-level accolade recognises Prof Maryke Labuschagne’s contribution to science in Africa.Labuschagne, a plant breeding scientist at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, received the award in the life sciences category at continental level – the highest rank possible.The programme is implemented at national level for young researchers, regional level for women scientists, and at continental level for all scientists.Prizes are awarded, at the national, regional and continental levels, in two sectors: life and earth science, and basic science, technology and innovation.The purpose of the initiative is to reward top African scientists for their scientific achievements, valuable discoveries and findings.The AU Commission launched the AU scientific awards in 2008 and later renamed the initiative to the Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards, in honour of the late pan-Africanist, who was also a political scientist and first president of the Republic of Ghana.Nkrumah was one of the key founders of the then Organisation of African Unity in 1963, which become the African Union in 2002.Labuschagne says that receiving the award was unexpected, as only one prize at the continental level is awarded in the life and earth sciences category.“I was really surprised to receive the award. I only really believed it when I received the prize,” she says.She also received US$100 000 (R804 180) in prize money, which will be used to renovate laboratory facilities in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the university, and to provide bursaries.Important work in plant breedingLabuschagne’s research into developing crop cultivars with improved characteristics such as tolerance to heat and drought as well as resistance to pests and diseases is an important area of study, particularly for Africa.“Food security is one of the most important factors for the sustainable future of Africa,” she explains.She says that scientists are also looking to improve the nutritional value of crops.“If we can release crops with improved mineral and vitamin content and with higher protein content, even resource-poor, small scale farmers will benefit,” she says.Training future scientistsOver the past 20 years Labuschagne has been involved in training and educating scientists in plant breeding in Southern African countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Angola.She has also been involved in training missions in other countries on the continent, such as Sudan, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Benin.She says that there is a great need for more scientists working in the area of plant breeding and crop development.“There is a real shortage of plant breeders on the continent and our graduates are already making a significant contribution to crop development in various countries,” she says.Two former students have released a number of improved cassava cultivars in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zanzibar in the past four years. These new cultivars are already benefitting farmers and food production.“We have past students breeding every kind of food crop that you can think of, and they are releasing improved cultivars on a regular basis. The more breeders we can involve in even the remotest of countries, the better for Africa,” she says.In a media statement, South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma congratulated Labuschagne for bringing the award home to South Africa.last_img read more

How can Africa improve?

first_imgAfrica could solve many of the problems it faces by forming strategic partnerships within and outside the continent. The 2016 World Economic Forum in Switzerland, held in January, provided a platform for these sorts of partnerships to be discussed further. President and chief executive officer of Ericsson, Sweden, Hans Vestberg and Hailemariam Dessalegn, prime minister of Ethiopia, pictured during the session “Africa’s Next Challenge” during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on 21 January 2016. (Image: WEF, photo by Monika Flueckiger) • Gallery: a chance for global solutions at WEF  • Who is South Africa sending to Davos?  • President Zuma upbeat as he concludes WEF visit with meeting with global investors • Brand South Africa at World Economic Forum 2016 • Social assistance & your taxes: how many people do you support? Priya PitamberThere are four ways, through revolutionary partnerships, for Africa to secure universal access to basic necessities by 2025. “African heads of state have launched a new deal on energy, focused on power, potential and partnership,” reads the World Economic Forum (WEF) website.“More than a century after Edison invented the light bulb, half of Africa is still in the dark,” noted Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AFDB) during the 2016 WEF gathering.“We talk about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but it all starts with the need for electricity, which is like blood in the system. If we don’t have it, we can’t live.”The first partnershipThe most important relationships are those with industrial firms and foreign direct investment. According to the WEF, there are about 700 million Africans with mobile phone technology.“ICT is coming naturally into the whole continent,” said Hans Vestberg, the president and chief executive officer of Ericsson, the Swedish communication technology multi-national corporation. “Broadband and cloud is coming into Africa. Almost all Africans will have smartphones five years from now. Think about what that can do for governance.”The second partnershipRelationships with countries abroad is another partnership that would aid Africa.Because of excess labour, industrial capacity, and slowing growth at home, China is one of the countries that is increasingly looking to Africa for growth opportunities. In turn, African countries could also benefit.“The strategic platform between China and Africa is the best I’ve ever known,” said Hailemariam Dessalegn, Ethiopia’s prime minister. “But emerging economies like China and India are no longer more competitive in labour, and it is the turn of Africa now.”The third partnershipA third revolutionary partnership involves increasing regional trade and commerce, which, according to the WEF, currently accounts for 11% of overall trade.“We know that, if we traded more goods among ourselves, we would have a lot of gains,” said Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda. “We don’t have to wait for these changes, but can easily compensate for what we’re losing overseas by concentrating on what is very close to us and what we can do among ourselves.” Rwandan President Paul Kagame said there was potential for business in improving the lives of people, speaking at the World Economic Forum in January 2016. (Image: WEF)The fourth partnershipForming partnerships with rural citizens, with a particular focus on women, is the fourth partnership.Africa holds 65% of the arable land left in the world, states the WEF. “To process raw agricultural products like cocoa within the continent, Africa’s leaders can invest in farms as a business, half of which are run by women. By helping women link their products to markets, some $300-million (about R5-billion) in loans can leverage $3-billion in new potential.”last_img read more

Get involved in drought relief

first_imgYou can still #ActForChange by simply donating R5 or more at any Shoprite or Checkers till point. (Image: Shoprite)Various organisations have been making drought relief a priority in South Africa; Shoprite and Checkers are among them with their Act for Change initiative.Shoprite and Checkers customers have helped to raise R200 000 for drought-stricken communities across South Africa over two months since March 2016.The Shoprite Group has partnered with the Gift of the Givers Foundation as well as Agri SA, two organisations that have co-ordinated some of the strongest responses to the drought crisis to date. They ensure that the generous donations of many South Africans make a real, practical impact in the communities most affected by the drought.CUSTOMERS ASK TO HELPAct for Change is the result of customers enquiring how they can help with drought relief. The retailer quickly introduced a till-point donation facility called the #ActForChange Fund to give customers an opportunity to help.Customers can donate to the fund by adding R5 or more to their purchases at any Shoprite or Checkers till point across the country.“Each donation is critical, as it serves to bolster the work already being done to address the impact of the drought,” Neil Schreuder, Shoprite managing director told SA Goodnews. “We would like to say a huge thank you to all of our customers who donated. Each small donation goes a long way in effecting change.”The retail group has a long history of reaching out to communities affected by disaster. This year, it has already donated more than a half-a-million litres of water to various towns in Free State, North West and KwaZulu-Natal since February.You can still #ActForChange by simply donating R5 or more at any Shoprite or Checkers till point.The fund will not end when drought relief is no longer needed; instead, it will be used to support people going forward. It will specifically focus on alleviating hunger, in partnership with FoodBank South Africa.PLAY YOUR PARTAre you playing your part to help improve the lives of the people around you or the environment? Do you know of anyone who has gone out of their way to help improve South Africa and its people?If so, submit your story or video to our website and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.last_img read more

Matt Saal, Sept 14

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest I saw one field of corn was shelled already today. Others are thinking about it.We caught a significant rain last week — three-quarters of an inch. We are getting ready to make fourth cutting hay this week. The rain did help that quite a bit for us, but it will still be a slim fourth cutting.We should be finishing up corn silage today. The earlier planted corn was better than I expected but the later planted corn was worse than I expected. The earlier corn was taller and survived that wet weather better. The later corn had great emergence but it just got too wet early in the season.The early corn averaged 20 tons per acre, which was about three quarters of our corn. Late corn averaged 12 tons per acre. Our normal average is about 26 tons per acre. It was definitely below normal. Fortunately we have quite a bit of carryover from the year before and we picked up some more acres this year. We will end up shelling some but not as much as we thought.Everything is extremely early this year. Most people would normally just be thinking about starting to chop right now and we are almost done. Most everyone right around here is almost done too.Most beans around here still have the leaves on them yet. It looks like the beans are still a ways off. It was cold on Saturday. I wasn’t used to it but the cows loved it. The sun is out today and it is supposed to get back in the 80s by the end of the week.last_img read more

Mountain Monsters: Trapper is not dead

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest John “Trapper” Tice. Photo provided by Destination America.I am pleased to confirm that despite rumors to the contrary in January of 2016, Trapper from the television series “Mountain Monsters” is alive and well.A publicist for Discovery Communications, Inc. and “Mountain Monsters” confirmed he is in good health after a cliff hanger during one of the episodes left fans worried he had passed away.“I’m happy to confirm that Trapper is alive and well,” a publicist for the network said. “At the end of the 2016 season premiere, there was a cliffhanger revealing that Trapper had a medical emergency. In reality Trapper’s health scare occurred last spring, and fans will see in this weekend’s episode that he is now in recovery and on the mend!”Comments and messages of condolences were left on my blog from several years ago, Mountain Monsters: The inside scoop. I’m not sure why so many folks were sure Trapper had passed away, but I’m happy to report he is doing well.“Please let your readers know that his health will be addressed in the episode airing this Saturday, Jan. 30 at 10/9c,” the same publicist requested.As with everything on the Internet, it is important check your facts closely before starting rumors, that’s why I went directly to a publicist for the network on which the series airs.I’m thankful she was willing to share his health status and confirm he is “alive and well.”For more on “Mountain Monsters,” check out the following links:Men of “Mountain Monsters” investigate Ohio folklore“Mountain Monsters” — They’re more familiar than you thinkTo find out more about A.I.M.S., visit http://www.aimsa.org/.To see the full schedule for “Mountain Monsters,” visit http://www.destinationamerica.com/tv-shows/mountain-monsters.last_img read more

Microsoft MIXed Messages on Silverlight, Internet Explorer 10

first_imgTags:#Analysis#hack How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… klint finleycenter_img Why You Love Online Quizzes Related Posts Microsoft says it’s “all in” for HTML5. But Silverlight isn’t dead. Internet Explorer 9 and 10 enables developers to write the same markup and run it anywhere. But the browsers can do things no other browser can do, so you’ll need to write different versions of your Web apps anyway. Microsoft is sending mixed messages.Don’t get me wrong. Internet Explorer and Windows Phone 7 look better than ever. And Microsoft really does seem to get the potential behind Kinect, its most innovative product in years. But the muddled message shows that Microsoft is still experiencing some difficulty figuring how to be an “open company,” and is confusing hype with reality.Internet Explorer 10 and Markup PortabilityMicrosoft is calling the IE/Windows 7 implementation of HTML5 “native HTML5” because of the deep integration between the browser and the OS (where have we heard that before?) that “avoiding abstractions, layers, and libraries.” Basically, it renders SVG animations really, really fast – at least in the tests that Microsoft has created.In an interview, Corporate VP of Internet Explorer Dean Hachamovitch explained that Microsoft’s IE strategy is to show developers the performance capabilities inherent in the new versions of the browser. Once developers see what they can do, they’ll want to create these sorts of rich media experiences, he says. But what about users that aren’t running IE or are using devices that can’t support these features? Hachamovitch says developers can create alternate versions of their sites, much like the touchscreen and WAP optimized alternate versions developers create today. But that seems to fly in the face of the “write once, run anywhere” mantra Microsoft has been repeating.Hachamovitch also makes it clear that the browser won’t be available for other platforms like OSX, Linux, iOS or Android – all of which are popular among developers. Will developers want to build these sort of rich features on a browser they can’t use themselves? Or will they adopt Windows 7, Windows Phone 7 and IE? Maybe that’s not a huge problem for Microsoft, since IE is till the most popular browser in the world and Windows is still the most popular operating system. But with the proliferation of tablets and smartphones – most of which run Webkit-based browsers – “IE first” development doesn’t seem that appealing. Or will other browser makers step-up and improve performance – in which case, do IE’s advances even matter?The browser market is a tough place. On the one hand, you’ve got to make a browser that is standards compliant so developers don’t have to re-code their entire sites to work in it. On the other, you’ve got to create some way of distinguishing the product so that users want to switch. Since browsers are given away for free, the prize for winning is… well, nothing.Microsoft is banking on security, which has improved greatly in IE in the past couple years, and performance, which is increasingly important in the browser-centric world we live in. Microsoft has had a reputation for the past several years of being slow, insecure and unreliable. If the improvements its making here are real – and it’s too early to tell if they are – it could finally turn that reputation around. And that would be a win in and of itself.SilverlightInstead of providing clarity about Silverlight’s future, Microsoft provided a laundry list of new features, showed off a flashy new Silverlight-based website built for the U.S. Navy and failed to provide a real “killer use case” for Silverlight. Although HTML5 is an unfinished spec with many limitations, Microsoft is hyping it to no end and showing off the high performance HTML5 its platform enables. Silverlight is still more powerful, and existing Silverlight developers are still committed to the platform, but Microsoft is less clear than ever about why developers should use Silverlight instead of HTML5.Gavin Clarke writes for the Register about the session “HTML5 for Silverlight ” at MIX:“I get a lot of questions: ‘Should I use Silverlight or HTML5?’,” senior technology evangelist Giorgio Sardo told Mix. “I’m sure you know your customers better than anyone else. I’m not going to judge which works better. HTML5 has matured a lot in the last year. Silverlight is great for media scenarios. I believe HTML5 is ready. I think Microsoft is ready for HTML5. The question is are you ready?”In other words, Microsoft has no official stance – officially at least. It’s up to you.On the one hand, Microsoft invested deeply in Silverlight. On the other hand, it’s committed to HTML5, which is seen as “the future,” but isn’t really ready for prime-time. It wants to ride the HTML5 hype without diminishing Silverlight, and that’s becoming more difficult – especially as HTML5 performance is getting better.Ultimately, the answer is: use HTML5 whenever possible, use Silverlight (or something else) when it’s not possible to use HTML5.Does It Matter?Here’s what I can’t decide: does it really matter if Microsoft can “save” Internet Explorer? What benefit does the company gain by keeping users on its browser? At the moment, it seems designed to try to keep people using Windows and/or get them to upgrade to Windows 7. I still think that’s a tough sell.And If Microsoft’s future is really in the cloud – with Azure, Bing and Office 365 – then why does it matter which OS and browser you use?last_img read more

Chinese Embassy makes donation to Fox Hill community

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNassau, 23 Nov 2014 – The Fox Hill Festival Committee got a helping hand on Friday when the Chinese Embassy made a donation to assist in defraying the cost of various committee projects for the further development of the Fox Hill community. Making the presentation was Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas Yuan Guisen and accepting on behalf of the committee was Co-Chair Benjamin Rahming.Pictured from left are Mr. Zhai Xingfu, Counselor and Deputy Chief of Missions (DCM) at the Chinese Embassy in Nassau; Mr. Maurice Tynes, Co-Chairman of the Fox Hill Festival Committee; Benjamin Rahming, Co-Chairman of the Fox Hill Festival Committee; Clinton Pearce, Treasure of the Fox Hill Festival Committee (in background) ; Ambassador Guisen; Fox Hill MP, Hon. Fred Mitchell; Trevor Pratt, co-leader of the Original Fox Hill Congos Junkanoo Group; and Warren Davis, co-leader of the Original Fox Hill Congos Junkanoo Group.The presentation was made in front of the partially completed Fox Hill Community Center on the corner of Fox Hill Road and Eden Street. (Photo by Elcott Coleby) Radical rogues ruining Bahamas tourism reputation Related Items:benjamin rahming, chinese embassy, eden street, fox hill community center, fox hill festival, maurice tynes, nassau, Yuan Guisen, Zhai Xingfu Recommended for you Another Murder in Nassau Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp GB Port Authority given new milestones, with extension of concessionslast_img read more

People on the Move 021909

first_imgTime Inc. has named Karin Tracy publisher of People StyleWatch. Most recently, Tracy served as associate publisher at InStyle.Deborah Jones Barrow, who previously held positions at Meredith Corp. and Primedia, was named executive vice president and publishing director at Montvale, New Jersey-based Wainscot Media. Recently, Barrow served as chief content and traffic officer at wowOwow.com.Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Barton Gellman was named contributing editor at large at Time magazine. Previously, Gellman spent more than two decades writing for the Washington Post. Former Nielsen Business Media managing editor Kenneth Hein has been named director of communications at J. Walter Thompson. At Nielsen, Hein managed the company’s media/entertainment brands, which were sold to e5 Global Media in December.United Business Media Think Tank Services CEO Philip Chapnick was appointed to the newly-created position of group chief representative for UBM in China. At the same time, UBM said Think Services will be merged with TechWeb and the new group will be led by TechWeb CEO Tony Uphoff.SmartMoney named Alice Hagge copy chief. Most recently, Hagge served as a freelancer at Time. Prior to that she served as copy chief at Condé Nast Portfolio.last_img read more