Wimbledon: Djokovic tops Mannarino to make quarters

first_imgLONDON >> Novak Djokovic played the first match of this year’s Wimbledon tournament under a closed roof on Centre Court, and he won it in straight sets.The three-time champion at the All England Club beat Adrian Mannarino 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-4 Tuesday in a fourth-round match that was postponed from Monday.During the third set, with Djokovic already up a break, the second-seeded Serb asked for a medical timeout and a trainer examined and stretched his right shoulder. Djokovic appeared to grimace …last_img read more

Public service fraud crackdown

first_img6 April 2005About 37 000 public servants are being probed for allegedly acquiring state social grants fraudulently, either individually or through syndicates.This follows a successful campaign which saw about 30 000 ordinary South Africans owning up to receiving grants they were not entitled to – translating into about R120-million a year in savings for the state.State targets social grant fraud – Starting from 1 April, all South Africans receiving social grants will have to verify their eligibility to receive a grant.Speaking to journalists in Cape Town on Tuesday, Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya said drastic measures would be taken to smash syndicates and bring public servants guilty of fraud to book.“We are currently working closely with various law enforcement agencies such as the Special Investigations Unit, the Scorpions and the SAPS to investigate fraud and corruption related to public servants and syndicates”, Skweyiya said.Since the government announced an amnesty for illegal recipients of social grants in December 2004, approximately 30 000 people came forward to request indemnity from prosecution; many others stopped claiming grants without applying for indemnity. The amnesty period ended on 31 March.Taking into account only those who applied for indemnity, Skweyiya estimated that the campaign would save the state in the region of R120-million a year.The amnesty excluded public servants and syndicates. “The syndicates and public servants will just have to bring back our money”, Skweyiya said.It is estimated that the government loses more than R1.5-billion a year due to fraud and corruption in the process of delivering social grants.The state pays out more than R50-billion a year in basic social protection to more than nine million South Africans.Reducing dependency levelsTabling his department’s budget vote in Parliament on Tuesday, Skweyiya said that South Africa had made significant progress towards alleviating poverty and enhancing social cohesion.However, more still needed to be done, he said, to develop South Africa’s economy and reduce the level of dependency on social grants.“One of the most significant achievements we have made was the reduction of poverty through the provision of social assistance to the most vulnerable sectors of society – the elderly, people with disabilities and, most importantly, children”, the minister said.Over 5.5-million South African children currently benefit from social grants. Child support grants have now been extended to 1.9-million children under 11 years, and an estimated 1.2-million children between 11 and 14 years will be registered for grants by March 2006. R6.4-billion has been set aside for this purpose.“As we register these children, we will pay even more attention on ensuring that children who receive social grants attend school”, Skweyiya said.“We will be working closely with the Department of Education and the education fraternity in this regard.”As April, all categories of social grants have been increased above the inflation rate.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Tracing the origins of humankind

first_imgA group of Bushmen cross a salt pan inNamibia. The Bushmen are part of theKhoisan people, whose DNA links directlyto ancestors living 100,000 years ago.(Image: Chris Johns, National Geographic) DNA in mitochondria, the power producersof the cell, is providing clues to humanmigratory patterns.(Image: National Geographic)Janine ErasmusResearch carried out by the National Geographic Genographic project has revealed that the DNA of a small population of people living in the Karoo region of South Africa can be traced directly back to human ancestors of 100 000 years ago.The Karretjie people of South Africa’s Great Karoo region are so named because they are nomadic and carry all their worldly possessions with them in “karretjies” or donkey carts. They rely largely on seasonal sheep-shearing to earn a living.Yet in spite of their humble circumstances and the fact that they are one of the most marginalised of peoples in South Africa, this particular group of people is of immense scientific interest because they are related to the Khoisan and, uniquely, the DNA that they carry in every cell in their bodies can be traced back for more than 100 000 years.This gives researchers a more accurate glimpse of the movements of the human population at that time, and the ability to track the way that branches of that population split off and moved out into other areas.The Karretjie people are descended from both the Khoekhoen, the aboriginal herders of the Cape, and the San or Bushmen, who were hunters instead of herders. These are the First People, or earliest inhabitants of the region, and scientists have not yet established where they came from before they settled in Southern Africa.South Africa helping to map the movements of humankindThe National Geographic Genographic project was set up to map human migratory patterns going back many thousands of years. The project was launched in April 2005 in partnership with IBM and the Waitt Family Foundation, an organisation that provides funding for projects related to human ancestry. It will run over five years.Using the techniques of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome DNA analysis, scientists can reconstruct the hereditary lineage of individuals and their families. This is leading to a better understanding of humankind’s migratory history and how the human race spread out from its suggested origins in Africa, embarking on a journey 60 000 years ago to eventually cover the world.The public at large is encouraged to voluntarily contribute samples of their DNA for analysis and inclusion in the database, which will provide valuable information about specific genetic markers of descent. These are variations or natural mutations in DNA that are passed down in families and can be used to track migration and ancestry.Dr Spencer Wells, the director of the project, and a global team of scientists from ten prominent international institutions are in charge of studies in the field in their regions. The ten centres are located in Australia, Brazil, China, France, India, Lebanon, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the US.Professor Himladevi Soodyall, director of the South African Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Human Genomic Diversity and Disease Research unit, is at the helm of the African section of the Genographic Project. Soodyall received a South African national order in 2005 for her outstanding work in the science of human origins. As a respected academic in the field she was invited to participate in the Genographic Project as the principal investigator for sub-Saharan Africa.Soodyall hopes to address several anthropological and genetic puzzles while working on the project, among them the question of how Indian Ocean trade activity influenced the gene pool in Africa, and the extent to which females have contributed towards shaping the gene pool, using mtDNA.Research at a local levelThe function of the Human Genomic Diversity and Disease Research unit is to integrate regional population history with the process of mapping and modelling human genetic variation.In collaboration with Professor Mike de Jongh of the University of South Africa’s Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, the unit is studying the Karretjie people of Colesberg.“There is still overwhelming evidence from genetic data to support the theory that modern humans evolved in Africa,” said Soodyall. “Our own research has shown that some of the oldest mtDNA lineages and Y-chromosomes haplotypes found in living humans are found in Khoisan populations. Thus, there is stronger evidence from genetic data to claim that the origins of our species lies here in Southern Africa, and not East Africa, as is usually claimed.”Tracing our ancestryThe MRC has found that in recent years genetic ancestry testing using the mtDNA and Y-chromosome techniques has grabbed the interest of South Africans and, says the council, more than 70% of people who call the Human Genomic Diversity and Disease Research unit for information decide to follow their call up with a test.Since February 2006 the unit has been offering ancestry tests to the public and, it says, several hundred people have already been tested. Interested parties can go to branches of the National Health Laboratory Service. The process starts with a 30-minute consultation with the subject; during which the whole procedure is explained.The subject, if still willing, signs a consent form, after which a cheek swab or blood sample is drawn and submitted for testing and comparison with data already held in databases. The process takes no longer than an hour and the subject receives a full explanation of their results. Since 2004, says the unit, over 600 people have been tested.Mitochondrial DNA a powerful tool for identificationMost of the genetic material in a living organism is found in the nucleus. The nucleus contains the chromosomes, which are made up of proteins and DNA. However, mitochondria, the structures in the cell that are responsible for generating power for the body through the burning of energy-rich molecules found in food, also contain a small amount of their own DNA. This is known as mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA and is thought to have a different evolutionary origin to that of nuclear DNA.First sequenced in 1981, the human mitochondrial genome is a small ring of DNA that contains 37 genes. At a very distant stage of human evolution mitochondria were once independent living cells, almost like bacteria, but over millions of years they invaded primitive amoeboid cells and gradually became dependent on their hosts, losing the ability to exist independently.Mitochondrial DNA is passed down from mother to daughter without recombining. Sons receive mtDNA but don’t pass it on. Diseases caused as a result of mtDNA mutation are also passed down exclusively through the maternal line.Nuclear DNA is inherited from both parents and is a wholly individual characteristic because genes are rearranged through the process of genetic recombination, which takes place during cell division, resulting in the formation of sperm and egg cells.No such change occurs when mtDNA is passed from parent to child. This feature allows mtDNA to be used as a tool to track ancestry through the female line, going back hundreds of generations. It can also be used in forensics to identify human remains or to exclude matches between missing persons and unidentified remains. Because mtDNA remains the same across a span of many maternal generations it is better suited for the identification of older remains.The mtDNA technique was used to identify the woman known as Mitochondrial Eve, the most recent common ancestor through the mitochondrial pathway that connects mother to daughter. She lived about 140 000 years ago in East Africa and while she was not the only woman living at the time, she is the woman whose mitochondrial DNA is found today in every human alive.Y-chromosomal Adam is her male counterpart, a man who lived about 60 000 years ago in Africa. Traces of his DNA are today found in the Y-chromosomes of all living men.Useful linksNational Geographic Genographic ProjectMRC Human Genome projectWaitt Family FoundationNational Health Laboratory Serviceslast_img read more

Mandela Sports Day: ‘celebrate unity’

first_img16 August 2013 More than 50 000 tickets for the Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day, taking place at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium on Saturday, have been sold already. South Africans who will be attending the event will have the pleasure of watching both the national rugby and football teams playing against international teams on the same day at the same venue. Bafana Bafana will take on Burkina Faso, while the Springboks will play Argentina. The matches will be preceded by a match between South Africa’s and Italy’s soccer legends, and followed by a music concert featuring top local and international artists.‘An opportunity to unite’ Addressing the media at the venue on Thursday, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula called on South Africans to come in large numbers to attend the event, which is being held as part of the celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday. “It is a moment we must cherish as a nation. Think about what former president Nelson Mandela has done for the country. Rugby and football gives us as a nation an opportunity to unite,” Mbalula said. Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola echoed Mbalula’s call, saying Bafana Bafana and the Springboks would “have all 50-million of us behind them in their pursuit of victory on the sports field. “Sport is a great unifier of people and of nations. We must use the opportunity of the Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day to celebrate our oneness as a nation while flying the flag for our country,” Matola said in a statement on Thursday. “This will also be a fitting testament to the icon in whose name we play this challenge. One of the Tata Mandela’s enduring legacies is his unwavering patriotism and commitment to a South Africa that is a winning nation. This must inspire each of us as citizens of this great nation.”Transport, parking, tickets, security Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa CEO Lucky Montana announced on Thursday that fans who will be attending the event will be transported free if they produce their tickets. According to Montana, provision has been made to transport more than 40 000 passengers. To ensure safety and smooth operation of the event, strict traffic control and security measures will be in place in and around the stadium from 6am to 11pm. Members of the public will not be allowed to park at the stadium without pre-paid Computicket parking tickets. Parking is limited, and people are encouraged to arrive early as well as use a single vehicle. Gates will be opened as early as 7am, and unreserved pre-paid public parking tickets at a cost of R20 per vehicle are available from Computicket. Patrick Ronan, risk adviser for the event, said all security measures were in place. He said 600 police officers and 1 200 private security personnel would be deployed in and around the stadium. He urged people to purchase tickets at Computicket as there would be no tickets sold at the venue. The football match between the South Africa Masters and Italy Masters will take place at 10:30am, the match between Bafana Bafana and Burkina Faso will take place at 1:30pm, while the rugby match between the Springboks and Argentina will take place at 5pm. The music concert will kick off at 7pm. Artists who will be performing at the event include David Jenkins, the Mahotella Queens, Umoja, Gcina Mhlophe, DJ Alessandro, Wouter Kellerman, Naima Mclean, Elvis Blue and 1st Project. The proceeds will go towards building the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. SAnews.gov.za, with additional reporting by SAinfolast_img read more

Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 81 | Hops, Hallmark and a whole lot more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The 81st episode of the Ohio Ag Net podcast, sponsored by AgriGold, has chats with Jamie Arthur about the unique challenge of growing hops; Christine McCracken, senior protein analyst with Rabo Agrifinance about the tough time for hog producers due to challenges from African Swine Fever and more; Hannah Thompson-Weeman of the Animal Agriculture Alliance talks Proposition 12 that recently passed in California and what it means for livestock producers.All that and much more as we talk holiday preparation, Christmas tree farms, and flag football teams as well. Tune in!last_img read more

The Films and Career of Stanley Kubrick: An In-Depth Look

first_imgStep into the mind of Stanley Kubrick, one of history’s most acclaimed cinematic visionaries. The following videos offer unparalleled insight into his work, legacy, and influence.Stanley Kubrick is rightfully hailed as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. His unique approach to cinema continues to inspire some of the best filmmakers in the field. Now, art collective Raccord shines a light on the career of this undisputed master. Narrated by Cameron Beyl, each part of the series taps into a fantastic wealth of Kubrick knowledge.The Indie YearsRaccord begins the series with a look into Kubrick’s past, including his childhood and family in New York. Then we quickly move into his early career as a photographer for Look magazine, where he developed his compositional eye. Kubrick started his film career directing short documentaries for The March of Time newsreel series, and then went on to create his earliest feature films, including Fear and Desire, Killer’s Kiss and The Killing. What’s important to note here is that, during his first features, Kubrick was working as an indie filmmaker, essentially doing everything – as most of us do when starting out.The Epic YearsPart two of the series covers the Kirk Douglas years, including Paths of Glory and Spartacus. We also see Kubrick’s visual style begin to come into full swing with Paths of Glory, as he utilizes the dolly and one-point perspective which became his trademark shot. During a battle sequence in Paths of Glory, Kubrick employs a sequence of dolly shots, but in one of those in particular he adds a zoom lens that pushes in and out on Douglas to give the scene increased intensity. This was a first for its time.The Dark Comedy YearsPart three of the series introduces us to Kubrick’s only two comedies, both showcasing the talents of Peter Sellers –  Lolita and Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Within this era, Kubrick begins implementing experimental visual work such as quick zooms and the hand-held Cinéma vérité style used by documentary films such as Primary and fictional films such as Saving Private Ryan. A Master at WorkThis section is the longest in the series clocking in at one hour, but it covers the masterworks of Kubrick’s career, beginning with quite possibly the greatest science fiction film of all time – 2001: A Space Odyssey. He followed up with A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon and The Shining.There are three important firsts in these films. In 2001, Kubrick employed the use of amazing practical effects that influenced Star Wars and in turn the special effects in films today. In Barry Lyndon we see Kubrick collaborate with NASA in order to develop a high-speed Ziess lens which would allow for filming in natural low-light situations, an expression he began in A Clockwork Orange. Lastly, in The Shining, Kubrick utilizes the new invention of the steadi-cam which would allow the camera to move within a space that a dolly track would not.Final FilmworkConcluding the series, we look into Kubrick’s final two films: Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut. While not as heralded as his masterworks, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut are still amazing works of art, both exploring the use of natural color and purposeful color.Again, Raccord and Cameron Beyl did a fantastic job encapsulating the entirety of Kubrick’s amazing career. Hopefully this series helps you learn about one of the greatest filmmakers and artists of all time, but also helps to inspire you in your own work.Did you enjoy the series? Did it inspire you at all? What director would you like to see Raccord highlight next? Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more

Three girls‘thrashed’ by headmaster

first_imgThree girls of Class VIII were injured and hospitalised in Odisha’s Kandhamal district on Friday after allegedly being beaten up by their headmaster for not sweeping the floor of their classroom.HospitalisedThe incident occurred at Mahasingh Nodal Upper Primary School in K. Nuagaon block. The injured students were admitted to Baliguda hospital.According to sources, the headmaster, Harish Chandra Sahoo, thrashed the three girls in a fit of rage. Two of the girls fainted in the classroom.last_img read more