In a New Year’s Eve Special, Liberia’s ‘Dynamic Duo:’ the amazing bassist, Ernie Bruce,…

first_img(Part 1)The “tango,” (a ballroom dance of Latin American origin) has always been performed by couples. That no more and no number less than a duo (two) could effectively showcase the intricacies (sophistication, difficulty) of the dance, leaves those of us who will never master the dance with the strong belief that the tango might not be an undertaking for the weak and feebleminded. The well-known saying: “it takes two to tango” could have gotten started as nothing less than a suggestion – that anyone attempting to tango alone on the dance-floor had allowed himself to be fooled into thinking that the hard-work that the tango demands of two people, working vigorously together, could be done as easily and as successfully, by one person. And that might be why that simple but straightforward statement to the foolish – “not to tangle with the tango all by oneself,” has taken on a life of its own. It would go on to become a household word, meddling in the affairs of millions who find nothing better to do than to go about believing that they are bigger than what they really are. “It takes two to tango” did not stop at that point: It took on a life of its own, smashing its way into other cultures, focusing the attention of people all over the world, on the unexpected things that other people did – or didn’t do – in matters that involved almost everything other than dance!Soon, film, television, poetry and drama, began idealizing (celebrating, making special) that simple, short and snappy maxim or saying: “it takes two….” In the process, the media often targeted and exposed the ubiquitous (found everywhere) “I am the man” braggart, telling himself and others that he was stronger or more important than his partner, and was able to carry his share of the work as well as his partner’s. Today, through song, the soundness and power of that expression has been put to music. People the world over now share that almost unrivaled ditty, (a short, simple song): “No Man Walks Alone.” Take a look:No man is an island,No man walks alone.Each man’s joy is joy to me,Each man grief is my own.We need one another:So I will defendEach man as my brother—Each man as my friend!Before moving on let’s step back a little and revisit the title-fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire in the early to mid-1970s. It might teach a few lessons about how to avoid jumping into things with one’s mind made up ahead of things. George Foreman entered the ring that fateful day, full with all of the answers: Answers to questions he clearly had failed to ask himself; or answers to question that he had failed to ask someone else. Muhammad Ali was the underdog, and George Foreman was going to beat him to death. Forman did a good beating: But, it was himself he had beaten up. It was he who almost died – from the shame of unimaginable defeat. Foreman is a changed man today; thank God! But the question: “What if?” still remains.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Gonzales grilled over eavesdropping

first_imgWASHINGTON – Senators raised doubts about the legal rationale for the Bush administration’s eavesdropping program Monday, forcing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to provide a lengthy defense of the operations he called a vital “early warning system” for terrorists. A handful of Republicans joined Democrats in raising questions about whether President George W. Bush went too far in ordering the National Security Agency’s monitoring operations. The senators were particularly troubled by the administration’s argument that a September 2001 congressional resolution approving use of military force covered the surveillance of some domestic communications. “The president does not have a blank check,” said Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who wants the administration to ask the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review the program. “You think you’re right, but there are a lot of people who think you’re wrong,” Specter told Gonzales. “What do you have to lose if you’re right?” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Gonzales didn’t respond to Specter’s proposal directly. “We are continually looking at ways that we can work with the FISA court in being more efficient and more effective,” said the former Texas judge. Under Bush’s orders, the ultra-secret National Security Agency has been eavesdropping – without warrants – on international communications of people in the United States whose calls and e-mails may be linked to Muslim extremists. During the daylong committee hearing, Gonzales and the senators reached as far back as eavesdropping ordered by President Washington and delved into court decisions surrounding presidential powers and the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Gonzales repeatedly defended the current program as lawful, reasonable and essential to national security. He said the president’s authority was strongest in a time of war, and he called the monitoring operations an “early warning system designed for the 21st century.” He said no changes in law were needed to accommodate the monitoring. “To end the program now would be to afford our enemy dangerous and potential deadly new room for operation within our own borders,” he said. Democrats pressed Gonzales for details about the program and other similar operations, almost all of which he would not provide. They’ve asked Specter to file subpoenas for classified legal opinions on the subject. “The president and the Justice Department have a constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws,” said Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the committee’s top Democrat. “Nobody is above the law, not even the president of the United States.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Mozilla funds translate.org.za

first_imgTranslate.org.za’s award-winning translation tools allow internet users tobrowse the web in their own language. (Image: Sappi)Janine ErasmusThe Mozilla Corporation has awarded a development grant to South Africa’s translate.org.za, a non-profit organisation that specialises in software translation. The grant will allow the company to further expand its translation tools, which are already widely used by other developers in the open source community.The web-based Pootle and the Translation Toolkit are tools which allow translation and localisation of open source software. Translate.org.za has done extensive translation and localisation work on Mozilla products such as the Firefox internet browser and Thunderbird email client. Both products are available in all 11 official South African languages.Pootle is used by projects such as the US-based One Laptop Per Child, Creative Commons in California, a non-profit organisation to expand the range of creative works such as audio and images available for others to use and share legally, and open source development project OpenSolaris, which is a worldwide developer community built around the Unix-based Solaris operating system from Sun Microsystems.Translate.org.za has also notched up a number of other notable achievements. The company broke new ground by translating the entire OpenOffice.org suite into all official South African languages. Other successes include the release of the first free Afrikaans spell checker, and the translation of parts of Red Hat Linux into Afrikaans, Sesotho sa Leboa (Northern Sotho) and isiZulu, thus creating the first operating system in a South African language.Making the announcement in July 2008, Mozilla’s grants and donations programme leader Seth Bindernagel said, “We did this because Mozilla and Translate’s missions are very well aligned, as both organisations are motivated by promoting openness and opportunity on the internet. Because so many Mozilla and free open source software localisers use Translate’s software, we hope that our support will help amplify the impact they are having in so many translation communities.”Bindernagel added that the grant is worth US$70 000 (R540 000) and also covers an offline translation tool that is due for release in the future.“Translate’s software is currently used by 17 different Mozilla localisation teams who work so hard to translate Mozilla software perfectly so that it can ship in their native languages. Also, it is our hope that Mozilla will be able to use Translate’s Toolkit platform as one of a few starting points to improve our localisation process,” he said.A shining star in the open source community“The grant from Mozilla not only helps us to carry on with our work on Pootle and the Translate Toolkit,” said programmer Friedel Wolff, “but is also a fantastic recognition of the work that translate.org.za has done as it is based on the strength of our past work and the tools that we have released to users.”Among the many members of the Mozilla community who create tools that aid in localisation, Bindernagel particularly singled out translate.org.za as one that has made great progress. Translate.org.za will now be able to further expand the capabilities of its products by making them more accessible and easier to use as well as simplifying management of translations and making it easier to monitor their quality.“We want to limit the amount of technical knowledge users need to use the tools so that they can be used by more people,” said Wolff.The Mozilla Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation. The company’s function is to coordinate and integrate the development of its popular internet software projects such as Firefox and Thunderbird, which it does by supporting the worldwide community of Mozilla contributors and by assisting others who are building technologies that benefit users around the world – such as translate.org.za.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related articlesSouth Africa’s languages Google with South African flairUbuntu beats Windows and MacGoogle chooses South African code gurusUseful linksTranslate.org.zaProject development websiteMozilla CorporationMozilla FoundationOpenSolarisSouth African Department of Communicationslast_img read more

Praise for South Africa’s climate policies

first_img6 December 2011 The second GLOBE Climate Legislation Study, released at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 17) in Durban on Monday, praises South Africa for setting an example by moving to introduce climate change legislation. A high-level delegation, including UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne, and GLOBE president Lord Deben, attended Monday’s launch. Deben said South Africa was the most encouraging country in the world, and was once again taking a lead with comprehensive planned legislation to deal with climate change. South Africa’s white paper on climate change presents a vision for an effective climate change response and long-term goals towards a lower-carbon economy and climate-resilient society. It includes a proposal to set emissions reduction outcomes for each significant sector in the economy. The GLOBE Climate Legislation Study documents the national climate change policy of 17 major economies in the world, and this year there has been significant political movement in 10 of the countries, including South Africa. The study shows that developing countries are much more proactive than their developed counterparts in introducing legislation that deals with climate change. The United States and Canada are a few countries from the developed world that came under fire in the study for lack of action to develop climate change legislation. Figueres said it was sad that the US was losing opportunities to be a leading force for a greener world economy. She said she hoped to see more progress from other countries when the study is next undertaken. China is one example, and is expected to provide the motor of global economic growth in coming decades. China has continued to publish more detailed policies and measures to deliver its carbon and energy-intensity targets. The study said Mexico has been one of the most active developing countries in relation to conducting and updating the UNFCCC’s national inventories on greenhouse emissions. The Australian government’s Clean Energy Act has a long-term target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050 by putting a price on carbon, initially through a fixed carbon tax (2012-2015) and through an emissions trading scheme. Climate change legislation is one way of attracting sustainable investments and business opportunities, according to UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne. The study is also aimed at helping policy makers from other countries to draft legislation. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Lingering Questions About PEX

first_imgInformation, pleaseAdding to the complexity of evaluating PEX, performance also seems to depend on how, when, and where the pipes are used. In a study published last year, Whelton’s team found that a cleaning method used on newly installed PEX pipes alters resulting chemical levels and odors in water. And those results can change over time. In data Whelton will present at the AWWA conference in June, Whelton’s team analyzed two brands of PEX for two years after installation. They found few changes in one brand, but there was a lot more leaching out of the other by the end of the study than at the beginning.And while current NSF/ANSI standards are extremely valuable, Whelton would like the guidelines to specify more chemicals, including some that make water smell bad enough to be undrinkable (even if they still meet health standards) and others that could allow illness-causing bacteria to flourish. He’d also like to see routine testing for chemicals at more than one point in time. Drinking-water standards in the U.S. cover only the quality of the water, not performance of the material, he adds, and there is no federal system to issue recalls or safety alerts.Compliance with standards also doesn’t guarantee that pipes are safe, and history has made it clear that pipe choices can be catastrophic. That history includes a major class-action lawsuit over polybutylene pipes, a type of plastic used in residential and commercial projects for nearly two decades before finally getting linked to high rates of failure and catastrophic leaks in the 1990s. “I want to make it clear that we are not against the industry,” Whelton says. He just wants to make more information available to consumers. Emily Sohn is a freelance journalist in Minneapolis whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Discovery News, Smithsonian, U.S. News & World Report and other publications. This post originally appeared at the website Ensia. RELATED ARTICLES Health implications are not fully understoodPossible health implications are particularly hard to pin down because different types of PEX leach different materials, and, without routine disclosure of ingredients hidden within trade secrets or of specific NSF testing results, it is impossible for consumers to know what they’re getting. In a study published this spring in the Journal of the American Water Works Association, Whelton and colleagues tested eight varieties of PEX over 28 days and found extensive variability in the kinds of chemicals that came out of each. Three of the eight released enough assimilable organic carbon to exceed the levels needed for harmful microbes to grow inside pipes.The study also found evidence that still-unidentified chemicals may be contributing to odors associated with PEX pipes, along with compounds called ETBE and MTBE that have been identified in previous work. And those smells can make water unpalatable. An analysis reported in 2014 by Whelton’s group found odor levels that exceeded EPA limits in water that flowed through six brands of PEX. Those odors were not there before the water went through the pipes.Many questions about PEX remain unanswered, agrees Andrea Dietrich, an environmental engineer and water-quality expert at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Does water need to be treated differently before traveling through plastic pipes than before flowing through copper? And should protocols vary depending on a region’s geology, which can alter water’s mineral content and subsequent reactivity? “Those factors haven’t been explored,” she says. “I just don’t think the long-term data are out on PEX pipes.” Unsettling unknownsBy now, anyone who has fretted about the health and environmental complexities of plastic has found ways to limit its presence in their lives — by switching to stainless-steel water bottles, buying canned foods made with BPA-free linings, or toting ceramic coffee cups. But plastic pipes have lurked under many people’s radar, even as they have become an increasingly popular alternative to copper for delivering drinking water into homes and buildings.Although copper remains common inside buildings, there are compelling reasons why new projects frequently use PEX. Price is one major draw: PEX can be a good 75% cheaper than copper. In one 2013 survey of plumbing supply stores in southern Alabama, copper cost $2.55 per foot compared with 48 cents per foot of PEX. That can add up to thousands of saved dollars over the course of a house project.PEX is also lightweight, flexible, easy to transport and install, and built to be long-lasting. Like copper, it can carry hot water without melting. There may even be environmental benefits: production, use and disposal of PEX products uses far less energy and produces less carbon dioxide than copper. As part of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, the U.S. Green Building Council offers design credit for PEX piping, since PEX avoids some of copper’s other flaws, too — including the potential for corrosion and related health risks, such as liver damage and kidney disease.PEX is tested rigorously before it can be certified to comply with plumbing codes, says Lance MacNevin, director of engineering in PPI’s Building & Construction and Conduit divisions. Embedded in those codes, MacNevin says, are requirements that piping meet certain standards set by the global standards organization ASTM International. And within the ASTM standards are yet more standards set by NSF International, an independent non-governmental public health and safety organization that creates specifications for pipes made to carry drinking water.NSF has tested some 1,700 types of chemicals and compounds in water that comes into contact with plumbing components and set a standard called NSF/ANSI 61 to make sure they are below levels that would cause health concerns set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or Health Canada, says Dave Purkiss, general manager of plumbing products at NSF International. Plumbers and plumbing inspectors are trained to understand the codes, MacNevin adds. And third-party certification involves stringent quality control, random plant inspections and annual monitoring.“The existing system of codes, standards, and certifications is extremely rigorous,” MacNevin says. “Our position is that plastic is the preferred solution over all other materials.”Whelton’s research, though, has flagged some unsettling unknowns about PEX pipes, starting with the lack of publicly available information about what is actually in them — with a wide variety of possibilities. PEX can come in one of three categories, called PEX-a, PEX-b and PEX-c. In some applications it’s layered with metals such as aluminum. Overall, consumers can choose from at least 70 different brands that have been certified by NSF/ANSI 61.This PEX water line has a layer of aluminum to help the pipe retain its shape.So far, studies in Europe and the U.S. have revealed at least 158 contaminants in water that have been associated with PEX, and scientists are still trying to get a handle on where they all come from and how they might affect people. As part of one ongoing effort, an open-data project called Quartz has analyzed patents, safety data sheets, and other sources to document about a dozen general components, solvents, and other substances in PEX, some that could be hazardous at high enough levels, though the doses actually reaching people still need to be evaluated.MacNevin says it would take extraordinarily high exposures — much higher than someone could get from a pipe — to reach those hazardous levels, and some of the data used in Quartz also appeared to come from companies that don’t make PEX water pipes. Other recent research out of Whelton’s lab, adds Purkiss, has revealed contaminants at levels far lower than NSF standards.“We’re just trying to map what the substances are that can be the causes of what [Whelton] is finding in water,” says James Vallette, research director at Healthy Building Network, an organization focused on reducing the use of hazardous chemicals in building materials, which is collaborating on the Quartz project. “We’re not willing to make health statements.” How Safe is PEX Tubing?Q&A: PEX vs. CopperGreen Plumbing Systems Save Water and Energy The calls and emails arrive as often as several times a week from people with concerns about drinking water. Some of the callers — who include homeowners, architects, and builders — want to know why their water smells like gasoline. Others want to know which kinds of pipes to install to minimize risks of exposure to hazardous chemicals.Purdue University environmental engineer Andrew Whelton has spent more than a decade studying how pipes that carry drinking water to our homes, schools, and business places can affect water quality and health. But still, he struggles to answer their questions, particularly when it comes to a new generation of plastic piping material called cross-linked polyethylene, or PEX.Used in more than 60% of new construction projects in the United States — according to the Plastics Pipe Institute, the pipe industry’s major trade association — the flexible tubing is appealingly cheap and easy to install. But data are still accumulating on how it affects the water that flows through it, Whelton says, and certification standards may be failing to test for compounds that affect water quality. That leaves consumers in the dark. The latest research out of Whelton’s lab has revealed a variety of compounds that can escape from PEX pipes, potentially causing drinking water to smell or taste bad. His group is also finding significant variations in what leaches out of PEX pipes, not just across brands but also among products of the same brand, and even from batch to batch of the same product — a confounding list of unknowns and potential concerns that makes it complicated to give advice to consumers who want safe plumbing materials.The plastic pipe industry stands by the rigorous system of plumbing codes and certification standards that determine which pipes can be used in construction. But even as the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, has drawn attention to the hazards of lead pipes, few independent researchers other than Whelton and his colleagues are studying the implications of PEX in the United States.“I am a homeowner who has had to replumb his house before, and I am frustrated about the way things are,” says Whelton. “We don’t have information about the chemicals that are leaching out of these pipes, and because of that, we can’t make the decisions we want to make.“There have been marketing campaigns that imply we understand the safety of these products,” he adds. “In fact, we do not.” The consumer is the ‘beta tester’Water is generally safe in the United States, Dietrich adds, and she usually drinks from the tap wherever she goes, even when it emits certain benign smells. But she’s frustrated by a system that makes it easy for new products to slip into the market without extensive analyses. “We’re not proactive about protecting drinking water, and that includes rigorously testing materials used in plumbing,” she says. “The consumer ends up being the beta tester.”Better advice may be coming soon. When his new results come out this summer, Whelton hopes to be able to give homeowners more details about plumbing safety and specific products. “We’re heavy into getting data,” he says. “Once we get all the data, we’re going to turn and do educational efforts.”last_img read more

In custody, Pune builder complains of ‘uneasiness’

first_imgA day after his arrest, fraud-accused builder Deepak S. Kulkarni checked into Sassoon General Hospital after complaining of breathing problems.Hospital sources monitoring his health said that while the blood supply to his brain had been temporarily affected, the builder was now in stable condition.Mr. Kulkarni, and his wife, Hemanti, were detained by a team of the Economic Offences Wing of the Pune Police in Delhi on Saturday. They were brought to Pune the same evening. S pecial judge J.T. Utpat sentenced them to seven days’ police custody.But in his first night in custody, around 12.30 a.m. Mr. Kulkarni started complaining of uneasiness. According to police sources, the developer, known as ‘DSK’, was speaking to one of the officers when he felt giddy and was about to fall. “This was averted and he was admitted to Sassoon General Hospital in the early hours of Sunday,” said a police officer.Mr. Kulkarni’s counsel said the builder suffers from high blood pressure after a near-fatal accident on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in May 2016.According to Special Public Prosecutor Pravin Chavan, the developer had borrowed ₹2,892 crore from various banks. He had also incurred debts of hundreds of crores in the form of unsecured loans, and allegedly duped over 3,000 investors of an ₹300 crore through investments in fixed deposits.last_img read more

Bulls Wipe Out Nets, 95-78

first_imgNEW YORK –  Taj Gibson enjoyed coming home for the holidays. Gibson, a Brooklyn native, scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler added 15 to help the Chicago Bulls rout the Nets 95-78 on Dec. 25.“It was stressful,” said the 28-year-old, who grew up minutes from Barclays Center. “I did a toy drive and I was tired, but it was great to see my family.”Gibson led a balanced offense with six players in double figures for Chicago, which was buoyed by the return of guards Kirk Hinrich and Butler.With the Bulls trailing 50-49 early in the third quarter, Butler took over, keying a 21-5 run that gave Chicago control. Butler, who sat out the last game with a right ankle injury, started the burst with a 3-pointer and added a three-point play that made it 57-52. That was the first of 12 straight points by the Bulls.Another three-point play by Butler made it 66-52. “Coming out of halftime was a focus for us,” Hinrich said.Chicago (11-16) led by 19 at the end of the period after Reggie Evans’ dunk with less than a second left ended a 5½-minute field goal drought for the Nets (9-19.) Brooklyn couldn’t get much closer in the fourth and was serenaded with a chorus of loud boos from the fans.“They cheer when things are good and they let you know when things aren’t going good,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “They expect good and they expect it 90 percent of the time, but right now we are 90 percent bad and so they have every right to boo and express how they feel.”What once was viewed as a Christmas Day showdown between Eastern Conference contenders became a match-up of two of the NBA’s biggest disappointments so far, as both teams have been plagued by injuries.Deron Williams scored 18 points and Mizra Teletovic added 17 for the Nets, who have lost four straight.“I’m surprised at this season, how it’s played out altogether,” Williams said. “It’s like a nightmare the way the injuries have been, the things we talk about every day, the lack of effort, the lack of energy.”The victory was Chicago’s second straight, the first time since five consecutive wins from Nov. 8-18 that the Bulls had two in a row. Chicago is starting to get healthy with the return Hinrich and Butler, both of whom started.Hinrich spurred a 12-0 run midway through the second quarter that gave Chicago a 39-31 lead. Williams then scored seven straight to make it a one-point game. Chicago led 41-38 at the half before Butler took over.“It’s good to get guys back,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Our starters were very solid and our bench guys did a great job. Taj was super.”The Bulls were still missing Luol Deng (Achilles) and Derrick Rose, who is sidelined for the season with a right knee injury.Brooklyn has its own injury issues with center Brook Lopez lost for the season Dec. 20 to a broken right foot.“We talk about it a lot. We’re really trying to figure out what it is. It’s tough,” Teletovic said of the Nets’ struggles. “A lot of NBA teams aren’t going to give you anything easy. You really have to concentrate and bring a lot of energy to win the game.”The two clubs were wearing their Christmas short-sleeve jerseys that look straight out of a rec league game. Instead of numbers and a team name on the front, there was a big shiny logo. There are numbers on the sleeves, while the backs look more like a normal NBA jersey.Both squads were also wearing striped socks to complete the outfit.(Doug Feinberg, AP Basketball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Justice Square Project to be Expedited

first_img Eleven additional court rooms to be created Story Highlights As part of its backlog reduction strategy, the Ministry of Justice will be seeking to expedite the Justice Square project in downtown Kingston, to provide more courtrooms and Chambers for judges.In  an interview with JIS News, Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, said that so far, the basement and the first two floors located in the former National Commercial Bank (NCB) building have been renovated and remodelled as courtrooms and chambers for judges, with a registry and holding area.“That is substantially completed. For the upper two floors, we are in the process of getting the National Contracts Commission’s approval to continue with the contractor to complete them,” Senator Golding noted.“We have an agreed price with the contractor and we are hoping to be able to start that process. I am told that the estimated time for completion is five months,” he added.The Minister said this will enable some 11 additional court rooms to be created, seven of which will be in the former NCB building and four will be in the Supreme Court building.He further informed that on completion, there will be an additional 15 chambers for judges, three of which will be for Masters in Chambers.Phase 1 of the Justice Square project began after the Ministry signed a contract valued at $399 million on February 23, 2011.It involves extensive renovation of the old NCB building and the refurbishing of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.There will also be offices for the newly created Court Management Service (CMS), which will give the Chief Justice autonomy in the management of the courts.The Government has allocated some $410 million in the 2013/14 Estimates of Expenditure for construction works under the Ministry of Justice.Of the sum, $370 million will go towards the construction and improvement of courthouses; continuation of the Justice Square project; and the renovation of a building on Hagley Park Road to house the Ministry. On completion, there will be an additional 15 chambers for judges Justice Square project to be expedited to provide more courtrooms and Chambers for judgeslast_img read more