AFTER months of intense preparations, the most anticipated high school track and field event, the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships gets under way today, starting at 1:00 p.m., with defending girls’ champions Edwin Allen and Kingston College (KC) starting as favourites to come out on top. KC is expected to push aside the controversy surrounding Ugandan middle-distance athlete Aryamanya Rodgers, who was cleared by ISSA to compete despite registration issues, and lift the Mortimer Geddes trophy for the first time since 2009. The boys from North Street have suffered their joint second-longest losing streak since they first won the title back in 1937 but are now heavily tipped to score a commanding victory and claim their 32nd overall title. After coming close in 2015, there should be no stopping the Neil Harrison-coached team this time around after a dominant and all-round showing in the build-up to the championships. Despite their impressive depth, the bulk of the damage will come from their powerful Class Three unit led by sprinters Terrique Stennett, Adrian Kerr and Jovaine Johnson along with jumper Scott McLeod and middle-distance athletes, twin brothers Giovanni and Gianni Henry. Despite not being that strong in the sprints in Class Two, KC still has the edge over their main rivals as the likes of Wayne Pinnock and Shaquille Lowe in the horizontal jumps along with Pinnock and Davion Williams in the hurdles along with Rodgers in the 1500m should give them enough points to stay ahead. GIRLS TOP 5 Final Predictions Calabar were given the slight edge earlier coming into the championships in Class One, but with news emerging over the past 24 hours that one of their top men, Dejour Russell will most likely miss the event due to a hamstring injury, it is again advantage to KC. The likes of Jhevaughn Matherson in the 100m and 200m, Dashawn Morris and Tyreke Bryan in the 400m along with co-captain Carey McLeod and Shakwon Coke, the ‘Purples’ are again in good shape going into the championships. For Calabar, the outstanding Christopher Taylor, who is expected to have a mega clash with Matherson in the 200m and who should win the 400m easily, will lead their charge for points here. Michael Stephens in the 100m and Gabrielle Allen in the jumps, as well as Orlando Bennett, Malik James-King and Aykeeme Francis in the hurdles are all expected to take the fight to Kingston College. We are expecting one-way traffic among the girls as Edwin Allen are favoured for a massive victory and will make it four in a row for the girls’ title. The Michael Dyke-coached team has been rampant all year, and that same form is expected to be carried over to Champs. They are expected to outscore their opponents in all classes with solid performances in the field and on the track. It is in Class Three where they are expected to score most of their points. Outstanding sprinter, Kevona Davis, who should easily defend her 100m and 200m titles is the main act here. Both records could go here as her season best of 11.43 seconds is better than the record run of 11.50 seconds done by former Wolmer’s star Shauna Helps in 2012. With a best so far of 23.32 seconds in the 200m done by winning the event at the G.C. Foster Classics, she could also threaten the long-standing record of 23.11 seconds, set by former Holmwood Technical athlete, Anneisha McLaughlin in 2001. Others expected to do well in Class Three include Rushawna Dwyer in the 800m and 1500m, Lisandra Brown in the 80m hurdles, Kadine Brown in the discus and Ackelia Smith in the long jump. Cemore Donald will lead the show in Class Two as she is expected to take the 800m-1500m double, while in Class One a fit-again Patrice Moody, with Kasheika Cameron in the sprints and thrower Fiona Richards are set to feature prominently Today’s opening day of events will include the preliminary round of the sprint hurdles, while on the track, there will also be first-round action in the 200m, 800m and 2000m steeplechase for both sexes. Other field events down to be contested today are the javelin throw Open and long jump Class Two for boys, while on the female side, there will be competition in the Class One high jump and discus. BOYS TOP 5 Advantage KC 1. Edwin Allen – 371 2. Hydel 263 3. Holmwood Technical 233 4. St. Jago 221 5. Vere Technical 150 1. Kingston College 380 2. Calabar – 315 3. Jamaica College 160 4. St. Jago 150 5. Wolmer’s 122
Read Next “We’re still in the gym, viewing [Friday’s game’s] mistakes to correct them,” Reyes told the Inquirer via a text message. “After which, we talk of Taiwan.”The Filipinos bungled first half control over the Japanese at Komazawa Olympic gym and trailed in the third period before hammering out the win.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSBack on the throneThe Filipinos got the goods from Jason Castro and Andray Blatche in the stretch to survive, something Gilas cannot do against the Taiwanese, a team that has had more success of late against Gilas compared to Japan.Team Philippines hasn’t lost to Japan since 2004, while Taipei defeated Gilas in 2013 during the Fiba Asia World Cup qualifiers at Mall of Asia Arena. Coco’s house rules on ‘Probinsyano’ set Jo Koy: My brain always wants to think funny Coco’s house rules on ‘Probinsyano’ set Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award LATEST STORIES OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparc One thing going for the Filipinos in the 7:30 p.m. match slated Monday at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao is that the Taiwanese will be coming off an ego-deflating loss at about the same time Gilas was pulling out the win over Japan.Chinese Taipei suffered a 104-66 ripping at the hands of world power Australia, a new inclusion in the region after Fiba merged Asia and Oceania for this qualifying schedule.Australia torched the Taiwanese with a 62 percent clip from the field and 48 percent from three-point range, with starting forward Daniel Kickert hitting 3-for-5 from that range to finish with 15 points in just over 17 minutes.ADVERTISEMENT Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Andray Blatche. Photo from Fiba.comShortly upon returning home Saturday, Chot Reyes and the rest of the Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff buckled down to work, dead set on identifying their flaws the night before to improve on a performance he described as a “six.”Reyes and his staff aren’t looking at Chinese Taipei yet, even with that game just two nights away, as they want to correct all the mistakes that came out in a scary 77-71 win over Japan in the first window of the Filipinos’ Fiba Asia 2019 World Cup Qualifying schedule in Tokyo.ADVERTISEMENT Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ Kiss-and-tell matinee idol’s conquests: True stories or tall tales? Petron blazes past Iriga City in Batangas MOST READ View comments
1 Dani Alves has apologised for any hurt he might have caused Manchester City and their head coach Pep Guardiola by signing for Paris Saint-Germain.Last month the 34-year-old left Serie A champions Juventus after just one season in Turin and, despite being linked heavily with a summer move to Premier League side City, he has instead opted to sign a two-year deal with PSG.The attack-minded right-back, who won the Champions League three times with Barca, also claiming six LaLiga titles during his time at the Nou Camp, has agreed a deal running until June 2019 with last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up after weighing up his various options.Although he was tempted by City’s offer, he admitted the draw of the French capital was too strong.“There was not only interest from Manchester City but from other English clubs,” he said at his unveiling, in quotes carried by L’Equipe.“I have often said the Premier League intrigues me a lot and there is a very interesting project there, too. I did speak with City officials.“But I have friends here (in Paris) and my wife loves this city. I was a little bit selfish when I went to Juve, I didn’t listen to my wife or friends. This time, I tried to be less selfish and to please everyone.“I believe in happiness – that’s why I made the decision to come here. If Guardiola feels wronged, I apologise.”On his own professional targets with PSG, who were dethroned by Monaco last season following a run of four straight titles, he said: “I am extremely happy to sign. In recent years I’ve witnessed the tremendous growth of this club, which has became a strong force in European football.“It is very exciting to become part of this great project. At every club where I’ve been, I’ve always given my best to help the team go as far as possible. Believe me, I’ve come to Paris to win things.“I recognise the ambitions of my new club and the expectations of our many supporters around the world. I’m sure we’re going to share some great moments.”While PSG have been consistent in Europe of late, they are yet to make the semi-finals of the Champions League.Alves’ former club Juve achieved as much and more last term, reaching the final in Cardiff only to lose to Real Madrid, but their declared intention to go one better in 2017-18 was not enough to keep the Brazilian in Italy.When it emerged he was keen to rescind his contract as there were reports of strong interest from overseas, links were drawn between the Bahia-born defender and City, managed by his long-term boss at Barca, Guardiola.But PSG have won the race for his signature, leaving City still in the hunt for a senior right-back following Pablo Zabaleta’s release and subsequent move to West Ham.Tottenham’s Kyle Walker has also been linked with a switch to City, who have already signed Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva and Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson in the transfer window. Dani Alves has signed a two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain
A tiny Donegal island will a lot quieter tomorrow night after one fifth of its population left to attend tomorrow night’s World Cup qualifying game between Ireland and Austria at the Aviva Stadium.Although residents on Arranmore island are big fans of football, there is another reason why more than 120 islanders are making the trip to Dublin.It’s because the Arranmore Pipe Band have been invited by the FAI to play the national anthem and a election of other tunes prior to kick-off. The special invitation was made by FAI chief John Delaney when he and Irish legend Ray Houghton visited the island last summer to open Arranmore Utd’s new ground.The band, which includes 34 members, left the island, which rests 5kms of the mainland, by ferry today along with friends and supporters for the trip.The band has been rejuvenated after it slipped to just a handful of members four years ago.Piping instructor Alec Brown, 54, said there is huge excitement on the island about the band’s pending appearance at the stadium and on television. Alec, a professional piper from Fife in Scotland, moved to the island in 2009, with his wife Marie Kelly who is from the island.“There is huge excitement and it has been the talk of the island for weeks.“It’s going to be a real occasion. It’s such a huge honour for such a small community and we intend to rise to the occasion.“Hopefully we’ll also bring a bit of luck to the team and we can get the right result on the night,” he said.The band will play the Presidential Salute, the National Anthem and a series of well known tunes such as the Rose of Arranmore, Kerry Polka, Marie’s Wedding and the Hills of Gaoth Dobhair. The band won’t have to play the Austrian anthem as it is an orchestral piece not suited to pipes.The band is made up of 18 pipers, 8 snare drummers; four tenor drummers, one base drummer, one drum major and two flag bearers.ARRANMORE ISLANDERS PIPING UP TO PLAY AT SOCCER INTERNATIONAL was last modified: March 25th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Arranmore Island Pipe BandFAIJohn Delaneysoccer
Mr Downey todayA man from Donegal accused of four murders in an IRA bombing will not be prosecuted because he received a previous guarantee he would not be taken to court.It follows a judge’s ruling that an official assurance given in error meant the suspect could not be prosecuted. John Downey, 62, who lives near Creeslough, was accused of bombing soldiers in Hyde Park in 1982.The decision may affect 187 “on-the-run” cases, of people wanted for alleged offences in the Troubles who received similar assurances.The public interest in preventing misconduct by the authorities outweighed the public interest in a trial, Mr Justice Sweeney had ruled.The Hyde Park attack killed Squadron Quartermaster Corporal Roy Bright, Lieutenant Anthony Daly, Trooper Simon Tipper and Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young on 20 July 1982.Mr Downey, who was convicted of IRA membership in the 1970s, had denied murdering the soldiers and conspiring to cause an explosion.He became Scotland Yard’s prime suspect for the Hyde Park attack – but he was never extradited from the Republic of Ireland. He was described in court as a committed supporter of the Northern Ireland peace process.In May 2013 he was arrested at Gatwick Airport while en route to Greece and charged with the murders and bomb attack. Mr Downey had travelled to the UK on four previous occasions since 2010.But over the course of legal argument, he asked the Old Bailey to halt the prosecution – saying he had received a clear written assurance from the government that he would not be tried.He cited an official letter he received in 2007 saying: “There are no warrants in existence, nor are you wanted in Northern Ireland for arrest, questioning or charging by police. The Police Service of Northern Ireland are not aware of any interest in you by any other police force.”He said his alleged offences had been categorised as one of the “on-the-run” cases that would no longer be pursued in the light of progress in the peace process.In his judgement halting the case, Mr Justice Sweeney said Mr Downey had received an assurance in 2007 that he would not face criminal charges, despite the fact that police in Northern Ireland knew he was still wanted by Scotland Yard. Although police soon realised they had made a mistake, the assurance was never withdrawn.The Crown Prosecution Service had argued that the assurance was given in error – but the judge said it amounted to a “catastrophic failure” that misled the defendant. A trial would therefore be an abuse of executive power.Sinn Fein has welcomed the decision.BREAKING NEWS: JOHN DOWNEY CLEARED OF HYDE PARK BOMBING was last modified: February 26th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:John Downey
A Donegal councillor wants Eircom to make sure they deliver phonebooks directly to households or put them online.Cllr Jimmy KavanaghLetterkenny Town councillor Jimmy Kavanagh said the recent distribution of phone books caused havoc in the locality.He said many books were left outside unoccupied houses and simply ended up becoming litter. “The most recent batch of telephone directories were delivered to households a few weeks ago, the directories are too big for letter boxes and are therefore left on doorsteps.“Many houses are empty and the directories are not taken in, and are subsequently picked up by youngsters and thrown along the road. This let to a number of estates and roads being badly littered with phone directories on the weekend following their distribution.“Because there was bad weather the problem was made worse because the directories were wet and torn and spread all over the place, making it harder to clear up the litter problem,” he said.Cllr Kavanagh will raise the issue at the next council meeting on Monday next. He will ask the council to write to Eircom and ask them to consider a different means of distribution, so that the directories are not left lying on doorsteps, or to make the directory available on CDs or USB sticks, and distribute them thus, or to arrange for customers to collect the directories, if they really need a hard copy.“I think such a move would be more economical for Eircom, given the number of directories that are being destroyed, in the current system,” he said. \\ENDS COUNCILLOR WANTS TO THROW THE ‘BOOK’ AT EIRCOM was last modified: December 6th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Cllr Jimmy KavanaghEircomphonebooks
Another Donegal community has launched a fightback against thugs who are terrorising innocent pensioners in their own homes.Isa Arthur from St Johnston is one of many Donegal pensioners attacked in her home.The people of Glenties and the surrounding areas were left shocked and outraged when a 77 year old local man was battered and tied up on Station Road just after 6pm on Thursday last.The brutal attack came shortly after 1,500 people gathered at a meeting in Manorcunningham to voice their outrage at a spate of recent attacks on the elderly in their areas. A reward of €10,000 was offered for any information leading to the arrest of those behind the recent attacks in Carrigans, Raphoe, St Johnston and Convoy.Now the Glenties Community Action Group will hold a meeting this week to discuss ways of protecting the most vulnerable in our society.The group are already drafting plans to introduce a text alert system and a community alert watch.Chairman Brian Carr is appealing to as many people as possible to come along to the meeting. “We will have representatives of An Garda Siochana present at our meeting next Wednesday night who will give an overview of the text alert system and answer any of your questions.“Given the obvious concerns people have regarding recent happenings in our community we view this as a very important meeting which can help lead to the establishment of a better feeling of safety and security for us all and with that in mind we encourage as many people as possible to attend do spread the word,” said Brian.The meeting will take place on Wednesday night February 19th at 8pm in the Highlands Hotel. ANOTHER DONEGAL COMMUNITY LAUNCHES FIGHT-BACK AGAINST THUGS TERRORISING OUR ELDERLY was last modified: February 17th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:attacksBrian CarrGlentiesGlenties Community Action GroupManorpensionerstext alert systemTony Morning
The recent march in Letterkenny.Right2Water PRO Gary Doherty has appealed for people to ignore the inclement conditions today and join the anti water charges demonstration in Letterkenny.The march is scheduled to begin at 2pm at the now renowned Mr Chippie.The last march in NOvember attracted up to 10,000 people and was one of the biggest in the country. Cllr Doherty said “We are asking people to ignore the weather if they can for a small period. Our march is relatively short, ending at the Market Square, and our speakers will not take longer than a half hour. So really we are looking at around an hour from start to finish.“We in Right2Water Donegal know that the people of the County are behind our campaign. We seen this in the November demonstrations and in the protests against meter installations which have been vigorous in all areas thus far. The people of Donegal are to be commended for their actions and commitment to removing water charges, and we are appealing to them to come out and support today’s march.“It is absolutely vital that we send the message to the Government that our campaign is as strong as ever, and we will not rest until Irish Water and waste charges are scrapped.”Right2Water Donegal Demonstration – Assemble today, Saturday, 2pm, Mr Chippie. CROWDS URGED TO IGNORE WEATHER AND MARCH IN WATER PROTEST was last modified: January 31st, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
“I have the honour, today, to announce that the Union Buildings Amphitheatre, where Madiba was inaugurated as president in 1994, and where his body will lie in state, will, with effect from today, be called the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre,” South African President Jacob Zuma said.(Image: Government Communication and Information System) READ MORE • Mandela on Media Club South Africa • Nelson Mandela: the world mourns • Nelson Mandela – a timeline • Barack Obama’s tribute to Mandela • Watch: World reacts to Mandela’s death • Infographic: Mandela family tree • Nelson Mandela’s words of wisdom • The women in Madiba’s life • Tutu leads memorial at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory • High-res photos: In 2010, Nelson Mandela wishes good luck to Bafana BafanaMama Graça Machel, Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela and the entire Mandela family and the abaThembu clan,Excellencies heads of state and government,Excellencies former heads of state and government,Deputy presidents and representatives of governments,Heads of international organisations in all regions of the world,The leadership of the ANC and alliance partners,Leaders of fraternal political organisations in Africa and abroad,Activists of the former antiapartheid movement,Eminent persons, friends of South Africa from all over the world,Fellow South Africans,Sanibonani!Good day!Molweni!Dumelang!South Africans sing a popular freedom song about former President Nelson Mandela.We sing that he is one of a kind, that there is no one quite like him. Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela akekho ofana naye.The song is one of the most accurate descriptions of this global icon who is the founding President of a free and democratic South Africa and also the former President of the oldest liberation movement in the continent, the ANC.His passing has marked an unprecedented outpouring of grief across the world. Yet, it is grief, tinged with admiration and celebration.Everyone has had a Mandela moment, when this world icon has touched their lives.Let me begin therefore, by thanking all the Heads of State and Government and international delegations present here today.We also extend our deepest gratitude for the messages of condolence that we continue to receive.The Mandela family, the South African people and the African continent as a whole, feel stronger today, because we are being comforted by millions throughout the world.Dear South Africans,That we are Madiba’s compatriots and have lived during his time, is a cause for a great celebration and enormous pride.Never before has our country celebrated a life as we are doing with that of Madiba.We do not call Madiba the father of our rainbow nation merely for political correctness and relevance.We do so because he laid a firm foundation for the South Africa of our dreams – one that is united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous.We do so because Madiba was a courageous leader.Courageous leaders are able to abandon their narrow concerns for bigger and all-embracing dreams, even if those dreams come at a huge price.Madiba embodied this trait. He was a fearless freedom fighter who refused to allow the brutality of the apartheid state to stand in the way of the struggle for the liberation of his people.Being a lawyer, he understood the possible consequences of his actions. But he also knew that no unjust system could last forever.He said at an ANC Youth League conference in 1951;“True, the struggle will be a bitter one. Leaders will be deported, imprisoned, and even shot.“The government will terrorise the people and their leaders in an effort to halt the forward march; ordinary forms of organisation will be rendered impossible. But the spirit of the people cannot be crushed…until full victory is won”.The struggle became Madiba’s life.He was at the forefront of the radical change in the ANC in the 1940s, advancing the long walk to freedom.He became a Volunteer in Chief during the Defiance Campaign in the early 1950s and became the first Commander in Chief of the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto We Sizwe, in the early 1960s.He paid dearly for his beliefs and actions through imprisonment.He stated in 1962;“I was made, by the law, a criminal, not because of what I had done, but because of what I stood for, because of what I thought, because of my conscience.”Arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment during the Rivonia Trial later in 1964, he never lost his fighting spirit.For 27 years, the South African people spoke about him in hushed tones, out of fear. In fact, if the apartheid government had its way, they would have been banned even from thinking about Madiba.But the powerful name of Nelson Mandela lived on.He continued to inspire our people every single day, from inside prison walls.He demonstrated unique leadership in starting negotiations with the enemy whilst in prison. He also negotiated for the release of his fellow political prisoners first before his own release.His release from Victor Verster prison on the 11th of February 1990 was one of the most remarkable and moving moments in world history.The world came to a standstill watching this tall imposing figure walking out into a world he had left behind 27 years before.The emotions and feelings we felt on that day are difficult to express in human language.A downtrodden people who had been dehumanised and made to feel like pariahs in the land of their birth, suddenly saw signs that freedom would be attained in their lifetime.South Africa needed a leader like Madiba to help us through a difficult transition from apartheid to a free democratic society.In the bumpy road to our historic first free and fair elections, there are many times that he brought our nation back from the brink of catastrophe.The massacre at Boipatong in 1992 and the killing of the popular leader of our people, Chris Hani in 1993, are some of the occasions when our country faltered in its long walk to freedom, when we stared into the heart of darkness.It is at these times that Madiba restored a sense of calm and purpose and brought us back on the road to freedom.South Africa’s first democratic elections were largely peaceful because of this leadership that he displayed.Indeed, there is no one like Madiba. He was one of a kind.Today, on International Human Rights Day, we celebrate Madiba the man of peace. Today is the 20th anniversary of his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, on the 10th of December 1993.This freedom fighter had always stated that the ANC had resorted to arms because of the intransigence of the apartheid regime which responded with violence, bannings and detentions to simple demands for equal citizenship, human rights and justice.To him, for South Africa to attain peace, the armed struggle was inevitable, but it was a means to an end but not an end in itself.Madiba’s love for peace was also evident in the work he did in the continent. The people of Burundi enjoy peace and democracy today because of the seeds of peace planted by Madiba.Following the historic national elections on 27 April 1994, an unprecedented number of Heads of State and Government and eminent persons from around the world descended upon our shores for Madiba’s inauguration as the first president of a free and democratic South Africa.Today, the whole world is standing still again, to pay tribute to this greatest son of South Africa and Africa.Fellow mourners,There is no one like Madiba, he was one of a kind.The world speaks fondly of Madiba’s promotion of unity, reconciliation and non-racialism during his Presidency.He had declared as follows during trial in 1964;“The ANC has spent half a century fighting against racialism. When it triumphs it will not change that policy’’.Thus his promotion of non-racialism and reconciliation during his tenure as President of the Republic was not surprising.Compatriots and friendsSpeaking at the adoption of a new Constitution of the Republic adopted in 1996, Madiba outlined the vision of the new society.He said;“Let us give practical recognition to the injustices of the past, by building a future based on equality and social justice.“Let us nurture our national unity by recognizing, with respect and joy, the languages, cultures and religions of South Africa in all their diversity.“Let tolerance for one another’s views create the peaceful conditions which give space for the best in all of us to find expression and to flourish. Above all, let us work together in striving to banish homelessness, illiteracy, hunger and disease.”With the magnitude of challenges facing the young South Africa in mind, Madiba set about uniting the nation.He carefully managed the anger and frustrations of both the oppressors and the oppressed, and reminded us of our common humanity that transcended racial boundaries.He also managed both the fears of the minority and the high expectations and impatience of the majority.He told us that the promises of democracy would not be met overnight and that the fears of the few would not be allowed to derail the newly won freedom.We all agreed with him, as Madiba never hesitated to speak his mind when it was necessary to do so, regardless of how uncomfortable the words may be to recipients!Many leaders, some of whom are present here today, have experienced his sharp tongue.Realising the power of sport to conquer prejudice, former President Mandela embraced South Africa’s 1995 Rugby World Cup ambitions, donning the Springbok jersey at a time when it was much-maligned by the majority of the population.This would be a hallmark of his Presidency.Our sports teams yearned for the Madiba Magic that his visit would bring, each time they faced formidable opponents.Beyond promoting reconciliation, Madiba also laid a firm foundation for transformation as well as reconstruction and development.He knew that reconciliation without transformation and reconstruction, would be meaningless.Under his leadership, the new democratically elected government focused on addressing historical injustices and creating new institutions to facilitate the building of a democratic society based on the principles of non-racialism and non-sexism.Close to 800 racist apartheid laws were removed from the statute books in the first 10 years of democracy.The dismantling of the legal framework of apartheid and transformation of many state institutions led to the visible improvement of the socio-economic conditions of millions of people.Thus, Madiba laid a foundation for a better life for all, which was the rallying cry of his Presidency.Madiba also laid the foundation for our country’s now successful fight against one of the greatest scourges of our time, that of HIV and AIDS, while still in office and during his retirement.The global 4 666 4 campaign gave birth to Mandela Day, a global call to action, mobilising people to spend at least 67 minutes helping those in need.In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly declared the 18th of July as “Nelson Mandela International Day”.Each year on the 18th of July, the world comes together to celebrate Mandela Day, recognising Madiba’s selfless sacrifice in betterment of others.Indeed, Madiba was one of a kind.Bantu baseNingizimu Africa,Silahlekelwe kakhulu ngobaba wesizwe uTata uMadiba.Siyazi benimthanda kakhulu, futhi nisamthanda kakhulu namanje.Leliqhawe liyibekile induku ebandla. Sikhumbula namhlanje leliVolontiya elikhulu likaKhongolose.Sikhumbula umkhuzi wokuqala wamabutho oMkhonto weSizwe.Sikhumbula iqhawe elalizimisele ngisho nokufa imbala, ukuze abantu abamnyama bathole inkululeko.Sikhumbula iqhawe elalwela ukuthi abantu baseNingizimu Africa baphile ngentokozo ezweni elingenakho ukwesaba, elingenanhlupheko nalapho abantu belingana bonke khona.Yingakho nje sithi akekho ofana no-Tata uMadiba.Compatriots and friends,While saying Madiba was one of a kind, we also remember that he believed in collective leadership and that he never wanted to be viewed as a messiah or a saint.He emphasised that all his achievements were derived from working with the ANC collective, among whom in his own words, were men and women who were more capable than he was.Thus, the South Africa that you see today, is a reflection of Madiba and many others like him, who sacrificed their lives for a free nation.We thus remain truly grateful to his peers, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Reginald Tambo, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Dorothy Nyembe, Florence Mophosho and countless others who left indelible marks in the history of our struggle.Compatriots and friends,Today Madiba is no more.He leaves behind a nation that loves him dearly.He leaves a continent that is truly proud to call him an African.He leaves the people of the world who embraced him as their beloved icon.Most importantly, he leaves behind a deeply entrenched legacy of freedom, human rights and democracy in our country.In his honour we commit ourselves to continue building a nation based on the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.United in our diversity, we will continue working to build a nation free of poverty, hunger, homelessness and inequality.As the African continent led by the African Union, we will continue working to fulfil his desire for a better Africa and a more just, peaceful and equitable world.Tomorrow, our people will accompany Madiba on his last journey to the seat of government, the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where his body will lie in state for three days.I have the honour today, to announce, that the Union Buildings Amphitheatre, where Madiba was inaugurated as President in 1994, and where his body will lie in state, will, with effect from today, be called the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.This is a fitting tribute to a man who transformed the Union Buildings from a symbol of racism and repression to one of peace, unity, democracy and progress.Compatriots, comrades and friends,We extend yet again, our deepest condolences to Mama Graca Machel, Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the entire extended family.Madiba has run a good race. He declared in his own words in 1994;He said;“Death is something inevitable.“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.“I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for eternity.”I thank you.
The state-of-the-art mining robot developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is able to assess mines after blasting, to ensure they are safe for mineworkers to enter. (Image: Shamin Chibba) • Tendani Tsedu Communications manager Council for Scientific and Industrial Research +27 12 841 3417 firstname.lastname@example.org • Fifteen amazing facts about MeerKAT and the Square Kilometre Array• Toilet extraction system is a world first • R1-billion investment in science for people • Massive funding injection for Square Kilometre Array• South African research funding foruth-highest in the world Shamin ChibbaThe idea of a dozen robots exploring deep in the platinum mines of the North West province to make sure conditions are safe for miners to work is almost out of Isaac Asimov’s Robot novels. But the idea is quickly becoming a reality thanks to a team of South African robotics engineers at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).The CSIR’s Mobile Intelligence Autonomous Systems (Mias) group is currently testing robots that can monitor the safety of mines after blasting. This is according to Natasha Govender, Mias’s senior researcher, who hosted a group of journalists from the US, UK and China on Tuesday 25 March at the CSIR offices in Pretoria.Safety in mines is a big issue in South Africa, and robots, Govender said, present the perfect solution. “When they blast in a mine, people can’t go inside until the air settles. So once it is cleared out, then somebody can go. But they have to check if the hanging walls are safe. At the moment that process is done manually, and that can be very dangerous if the rocks are loose.”The Mias team built a robot that can go into the mine after blasting and check the hanging walls – so human beings don’t have to risk injury or even death by entering the area.Ruan de Hart, Mias’s research and development engineer, said most major mining houses, except Anglo American, have not yet considered using robots to assess safety in mines, and may take some time to appreciate the machines’ value. Saving lives was paramount, but the robots would also save the companies millions of rands in work stoppages, and prevent conflict with unions if workers were hurt or killed on the job.He said the hardware for the prototype was imported from the US and could cost as much as R1.5-million. But if demand for the robots increase, production costs would be lower as robotic capabilities would be transferred to a cheaper platform. “When this goes to market the idea is not to use these components.” Once the software for the prototype was perfected, cheaper components could be used for the hardware, reducing costs to about a third and allowing Mias to produce large quantities locally.According to Govender, Mias has relied on government funding since it started in 2009, receiving R15-million a year. With its capabilities built up Mias can now generate its own revenue from external projects. They have already secured contracts with Anglo American and Transnet. The map indicates the amount of ground covered by the search and rescue robot. (Image: Shamin Chibba) How the robot worksThe mine robot is a little like Disney’s WALL-E character. Instead of legs, it has a pair of rotating treads able to move over rough terrain. The bulk of it is made up of a compactor box fitted with a camera, and an arm that can move in seven different directions, or “seven degrees of freedom”.Mias’s main concern is to program the robot with the intelligence to interact with dynamic human environments and operate without human support. Sensory equipment such as lasers and cameras allows the robot to chart its own path and detect obstacles in its way. If it encounters an obstacle, such as a wall, a chair or even a person, it can move around it and continue on its initial path. “If you want the robot to interact in a human environment it needs to be able to see its environment,” said Govender.But if the robot needs assistance, an operator is on hand. Operators can see a 3D rendering of the robot’s environment and, by switching the machine to semi-autonomous mode, can set waymarks and manoeuvre it. The image on screen is created through the robot’s 3D localisation and autonomous mappings tools. “We interpret camera and laser information to tell the robot what’s happening in the world,” said Govender. “If you are a robot, how do you decide where I am in a specific environment and how do I localise myself in a specific map? It’s all about where I am in relation to a 3D map.”The robot is also programmed for path planning with orientation, autonomous stairway detection with movability, and cooperation between multiple robots. It can also be controlled with a tablet computer. Govender said they would soon add gas sensors to the machine to detect the breathability of the air after blasting. A 3D rendering of the mining robot. The robot’s environment is interpreted by using information taken from the camera, laser and 3D localisation technology. (Image: Shamin Chibba) Teaching robots to seeOther than the mining robot, Mias is also working on search and rescue robots, and “mule” robots, unmanned machines that can carry equipment. The mule is able to move around any environment using GPS waymarks or by following a person to a specific point. “It will be able to pick up an image on the back of a shirt and follow the person as he or she walks.” said Govender. “It will then drop off medical supplies or pick up injured people and return to its original point.”The team is currently refining Activision, a program that makes the robot able to recognise a specific object in an environment. Before, for a robot to understand what it was seeing, it would have had to take up to 360 degrees’ worth of pictures. But with Activision it would only need to take two pictures. “We’re actually doing a lot of work in terms of how you actually look for the information to perform a specific task,” said Govender.She illustrated this point with a toaster. If the pictures are taken of the side where the toaster’s handle and heat switch is, the robot will be able to identify it. But from any other angle, it will struggle to determine the object as there are no indicators.The Mias team are also working on improving detection and tracking for Activision by using multiple cameras to track many people. “This will be able to decide when to change the focus from one camera to the other to actually keep track of multiple people while still paying attention to the background,” said Govender. Bringing international PhD skills back to South AfricaBecause Mias is a small group – it has just 22 on its team – it is important for them to collaborate with universities in South Africa and overseas, according to Govender. Researchers wanting to complete their PhDs are allowed to study abroad, particularly at the University of Edinburgh and ETH Zurich in Switzerland. “We have a lot of international PhDs. The idea is we would bring those skills back to South Africa and we would then supervise these students within the robotics field,” she said.Mias also has exchange programmes with the University of Zurich, ETH’s Computer Vision Lab and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. “We’re trying to make use of all these programmes to improve the skills of the people within our group as quickly as possible.”Expertise at Mias is in for another boost, with the Department of Science and Technology’s recent announcement of R10.5-million in scholarship funds for postgraduate students looking to complete their master’s degrees and PhDs in the robotics field.