Pawsitively great launch planned for Donegal branch of Irish Guide Dogs

first_imgSome special dogs will be fetching plenty of attention at the launch of the Donegal branch of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind this Friday in Letterkenny.A big paw-ty will take place in Letterkenny Shopping Centre from 10am to celebrate a new era for the organisation in Donegal.Shoppers will get the opportunity to meet two ambassador dogs and Sybil, the guide dog of Buncrana woman Jennifer Doherty, will also be in attendance. The Donegal branch of Irish Guide Dogs has been set up to connect current clients, raise awareness of the organisation and fundraise for the training and care of life-changing dogs.There are 14 working dogs in Donegal – seven assistance dogs for children with autism and seven guide dogs for people with visual impairments.The newly launched branch will be led by Jennifer Doherty, Lesley Newberry and Michelle Healy. Lynda Foley, regional fundraising coordinator said the branch is about bringing a community together: “It is important to have a hub to link clients in the county. The Irish Guide Dogs HQ is in Cork, so having a branch in Donegal will help to link the 14 clients here and encourage social interaction and the sharing of information.” “We have a lot of clients in Donegal, so this is about increasing the visibility of the organisation.”Friday’s launch at Letterkenny Shopping Centre will be an op-paw-tunity for the public to meet staff, volunteers, guide dog owners and the dogs. Merchandise will be on sale along with fundraising raffle tickets. There will be volunteer sign-up sheets if anyone wishes to support the cause.People will also be able to book a visit and talk for their workplace or school/ college.“With 70 branches in the Republic of Ireland, we have a large volunteer community of like-minded people. It is perfect for dog lovers and people who want to get involved in a community project,” Ms Foley added.Check out the Facebook page for more info: Donegal Branch of Irish Guide Dogs Pawsitively great launch planned for Donegal branch of Irish Guide Dogs was last modified: July 11th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare 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:irish guide dogslast_img read more

Mars Red-Faced Without Water

first_imgThe Martians are singing How dry I am.  Scientists have a new explanation for how Mars turned red without water: it’s just dry dust tumbling in the wind.  This new hypothesis was announced by Live Science, Science Daily, New Scientist, and Space.com, based on a presentation at the European Planetary Science Congress last week.1     This has been dubbed a “surprising” new theory.  Why?  Because for many years scientists thought that water was required to rust the iron in the rocks.  Lab experiments at the Aarhus Mars Simulation Laboratory in Denmark have shown that quartz grains mixed with magnetite in a tumbler turn red in a few months as the surfaces wear down and oxygen atoms bind to the magnetite, forming reddish hematite.  Because hematite is deep red in color, it doesn’t take much of it to color the dust red.  These experiments do not rule out water on Mars; they just remove water as a requirement for staining the surface red.    If this is the source of the redness on Mars, it has implications for the age of the surface.  Space.com said, “since the process can occur relatively quickly, it could be that the thin red layer of dust on Mars is somewhat new.”  How new?  Jonathan Merrison said “millions of years instead of billions of years.”  His experiments, though, reduced the sand grains to dust in just seven months, and they turned red quickly when magnetite was added.1.  Merrison, Gunnlaugsson, Jensen and Nornberg, “Mineral alteration induced by sand transport; a source for the reddish colour of Martian dust,” Icarus (in press, published online 9/12/2009), doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.09.004.The moyboys should be red-faced (moyboys: those recklessly spouting claims about “millions of years, billions of years”).  Not only does this potentially undermine the astrobiologists’ hopes for water on Mars, it casts doubt on whether the surface is really billions of years old.  Remember, even 100 million years is a tiny fraction of the assumed age of the solar system (A.S.S.).  What color was Mars before?  Yellow?  Green?  Purple?  Why are we seeing the tail-end of a rapid process if Mars dried up billions of years ago and its sand grains have been tumbling around for eons?  The truth is, they just don’t know.  They weren’t there.  The fact that a hypothesis this radical can upset everything previously believed about a planet should give one pause before accepting the next moyboy pronouncement on faith.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Louis Maqhubela’s art comes home

first_imgLouis Maqhubela, Composition, 1972. Oil on paper. 51.7 x 58.7 cm. Collection: Johannesburg Art Gallery (Image: The Heritage Agency)  MEDIA CONTACTS • Jo-Anne DugganThe Heritage Agency+27 83 285 3600 RELATED ARTICLES • House firing up Swazi art scene • South African art • Beautiful Game caught on canvas • Art for all at Joburg art fair• Top price for Tretchi paintingChris ThurmanIf, as the Biblical saying has it, a prophet is never recognised in his own country, then it seems the same is true of artists living in exile. Many South African writers, actors, musicians and visual artists who left the country to escape the constraints of apartheid were acclaimed in their adopted countries but were largely forgotten at home.This, certainly, seems to have been the case with Durban-born Louis Khehla Maqhubela. Resident in London since the 1970s, Maqhubela has only occasionally had his work prominently exhibited in the land of his birth; consequently, its significance in both the development of so-called township art and what might be termed modernist abstraction in South African art has rarely been acknowledged.All that is changing thanks to A Vigil of Departure, a retrospective exhibition covering Maqhubela’s career over the course of half a century. In her catalogue essay and the material accompanying the exhibition, curator Marilyn Martin – director of art collections for Iziko Museums of Cape Town – situates the artist’s output within a fascinating biographical narrative.While still a teenager at a Soweto high school, Maqhubela attracted attention for his experiments with watercolour and oil paints, charcoal and ink.In the late 1950s, he enrolled as a student at the Polly Street Art Centre in central Johannesburg – a vitally important establishment in South African art history where, under the mentorship of Cecil Skotnes and others, talented young black artists mastered their technique and were given a platform for promoting their work.Maqhubela – who contributed to the Homage to Skotnes portfolio paying tribute to this elder statesman of South African art after he died in 2009 – has described Polly Street as “our magical password, our ID, to break into the exclusive echelons of the Johannesburg art scene”.Once he was part of that scene, Maqhubela was identified by various reviewers as “an artist of great imaginative strength” who demonstrated “a boldness and control of composition”. At that stage, his paintings were predominantly depictions of everyday life in what was then becoming a generic setting, the black township created by racial segregation.This form of township art has become somewhat denigrated by critics who see it as a formulaic and clichéd theme among many black South African artists. Martin is one of those who affirms the limitations of the genre, and she places greater value on the work that Maqhubela would subsequently produce.Nonetheless, visitors to the exhibition should not gloss over the early pieces. For one thing, township art from the 1950s and 60s valuably documents certain details from this period that might otherwise fall away from our collective memory. Maqhubela’s 1961 watercolour One Bottle One Orange is good example.There are also striking images such as the haunting charcoal drawing Little black boy lost in a white wood, and photographs of the mosaics that Maqhubela produced for various public spaces in Soweto.Turning pointThe years 1966 and 1967 marked a turning point in Maqhubela’s career: he was awarded first prize in the annual competition hosted by Johannesburg’s Adler Fielding Gallery and spent three months in Europe. During this trip he encountered the work of Paul Klee and other European artists, who would prove to have a strong influence on him; he also met South African expatriate artists such as Gerard Sekoto and Douglas Portway.Martin notices an immediate shift in Maqhubela’s style upon his return to the country: paintings such as A Township Scene and Houses and Fences from 1968 veer away from mimetic representation. Maqhubela would increasingly focus on the inherent aesthetic appeal of colour, line, shape and form – abstraction as opposed to realism.Of course, there are numerous pieces pre-dating the trip to Europe that indicate the artist’s fascination with geometry and fragmentation: his portraits Labourers, Wood Collectors and Man and Dog, for instance, along with the prize-winning work itself, Peter’s Denial. One could argue that his European experiences did not so much change his style as confirm an already-existing, albeit latent, inclination.Confident artistIn the 1970s Maqhubela produced a steady stream of untitled compositions in which he dabbled with combinations of shapes, colours and textures overscored by long, unbroken, shaky black lines that sometimes do and sometimes do not trace the outlines of identifiable figures. From the 1980s onwards, there is evidence of brighter and bolder brushwork – a confident abstract artist making the most of his palette.It would not, however, be fair to say that Maqhubela’s abstract work is simply a revelling in aesthetic delight. His paintings and etchings give expression to a complex symbolic universe. The recurrent images of birds and fish seem to be allusions to Christian metaphors for aspects of religious faith.Maqhubela has, from a young age, been a disciple of Rosicrucianism, that somewhat obscure but potent enquiry into esoteric knowledge and enlightenment. As such, his triangles and circles are not simply geometric forms but sacred images, manifestations of “beautiful, simple, universal laws”.While Maqhubela recalls that “abstract art by a black practitioner was a declaration of war against being stereotyped”, he is also insistent that abstraction is not a mode of expression exclusive to European modernism – far from it.“Abstraction has, for centuries, always been Africa’s premier form of expression,” he declares. Looking at recent works such as Ndebele Gate, Shield, Inyoka (isiZulu, meaning “snake”) and the Isiqhaza series (designs for Zulu round earrings), it’s hard to disagree with him.These resonances help to elucidate the title of the exhibition. Maqhubela feels that, even though he has lived abroad – in Spain and then England – since 1973, his imagination continues to be fired by South African cultural traditions and current affairs alike. He has been “keeping a vigil” for his homeland. Now, thanks to Martin and others, South African art lovers are able to return the favour.A Vigil of Departure showed at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg until 18 September and will be on show at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town from October before moving to the Durban Art Gallery in February 2011. read more

SA ‘will solve mining challenges’

first_img18 September 2013 The South African government is determined to resolve the challenges currently facing the country’s mining sector, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe told a high-profile gathering of UK government and industry representatives in London on Tuesday. South Africa’s mining industry has been hit by a spate of industrial action since last year, leading to a drop in production. More recently, slowing growth in China, the global decline in commodity prices as well as domestic work stoppages have resulted in lower growth for the country’s mines. “The government of South Africa is determined to do everything possible to strengthen this sector in these difficult global economic conditions,” Motlanthe told the gathering at Chatham House. Motlanthe, accompanied by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu and Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim, is on an official visit to the UK promote trade and investment, particularly in South Africa’s mining sector. He told Tuesday’s gathering that South Africa’s “deeply entrenched” history of dialogue to resolve social conflict was well-known. “Social dialogue has over the years enabled us to mobilise a broad section of society under the rubric of conflict resolution and reconciliation, invariably impelled by the fact of our indissoluble future as a nation. “We have addressed many other intractable conflicts in our country through this time-tested mechanism,” Motlanthe said. “Not only that, social dialogue has found constitutional expression in a number of institutions that have stood us in good stead since the birth of democracy.” South Africa’s dialogue platforms included the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). In July, the government, mining companies and organised labour (with exception of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) signed a framework agreement that provides the basis for cooperation to stabilise the mining sector and set it on a sustainable footing. The parties to the agreement committed themselves to improving processes and procedures as well as implementing new measures to bring about lasting change, while working together to sustain and improve the sector. The parties also made a firm commitment to work together to restore peace and stability on the country’s mines. Motlanthe said this was crucial for creating an environment conducive to growth and development. Workers and managers needed to be able to go to work without fear of harm, Motlanthe said. Workers also had to be free to exercise their constitutional right to join the trade union of their choice, to declare disputes, to strike and to engage in peaceful protest. Both workers and employers had to ensure that all matters pertaining to labour relations, including union recognition, verification of membership and wage negotiations, were conducted in line with the Labour Relations Act, which provided the primary foundation for labour relations in South Africa. Motlanthe said the government would act decisively to enforce the rule of law, maintain peace during strikes and other protests relating to labour disputes, and ensure the protection of life, property and the advancement of the rights of all. The government would further ensure that the country’s law enforcement agencies acted in a manner that was fair, impartial and objective. There was an emergent appreciation, he said, that the stakeholders in the mining sector had to build relationships based on trust and respect and avoid actions that adversely affected this relationship. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to be released in India after US, UK

first_imgIt’s out. After a celebrity-studded premiere in London, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone will be released in 1,000 cinema halls in the UK and about 4,000 halls across the US on November 16. But the biggest international release of the Warner Bros will reach India only next summer. The,It’s out. After a celebrity-studded premiere in London, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone will be released in 1,000 cinema halls in the UK and about 4,000 halls across the US on November 16. But the biggest international release of the Warner Bros will reach India only next summer. The film about the boy wizard and his adventures at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has the approval of author J.K. Rowling. The movie is just as she had imagined it, she says.Director Chris Columbus (of Home Alone fame) and producer David Heyman really pushed the envelope on this $125-million-budget film.Warner’s Wizard: J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe flanked by fellow actors at the London premiere; (left) a poster of the filmThey spent months, for instance, on a nine-minute scene of Quidditch – the sport that Hogwarts wizards play on turbo-powered broomsticks. The meticulousness extended to the search for a child actor to play Potter. Daniel Radcliffe, 12, became “the luckiest boy in the world”. Richard Harris plays Principal Albus Dumbledore and John Cleese appears as the amiable ghost Nearly Headless Nick. About 5,60,000 tickets have already been sold in the UK, collecting more than 1 million pounds. Harry Potter books have sold more than 100 million in 46 languages across the world. The first book sold 50,000 copies in India, while total sales amount to about 1,95,000, says distributor Penguin India.Not surprisingly, Rowling is now the second richest woman in the UK (No.1 is pop star Madonna, who is really American) with an income of 36.2 million dollars (Rs 173.7 crore).advertisementAnd more is on cards next year: the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.Rowling and Radcliffe flanked by fellow actors at the London premiere; (left) a poster of the filmlast_img read more

Dikembe Mutombos Charity Work Makes Him More Than Deserving

Dikembe Mutombo, the shot-blocking, finger-wagging former NBA all-star center, was named as a finalist for the upcoming Basketball Hall of Fame class. It is debatable if he should get the call based on his 18-year career. But if humanitarian deeds were the criteria, he’d be a unanimous choice.The 7-foot-1 Congo native arguably has done more off the court for his country and Africa than perhaps any athlete has ever done for his native land. That alone should get him in the Hall. How can one not vote for a man who has been so committed to serving others, including in the United States?Mutombo showed the moment he joined the NBA in 1991 after a stellar career at Georgetown that he was cut from a special and unique cloth. He understood the value of his position and supported his troubled homeland as soon as his significant paychecks started being deposited.He’s done so much for so long that his basketball career would be considered secondary, except that basketball gave him a global platform and the resources to reach the masses. You’d think he graduated from Georgetown with a degree in humanitarian work instead of the double degrees in linguistics and diplomacy.In 2007, through his Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, he opened a hospital in Kinshasa—a hospital—called the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital. Named after his mother, it is a 170-bed facility that cost $29 million to build. It’s the first new hospital there in 40 years. Futhermore, Mutombo raised money through his rich friends and fellow former Georgetown centers Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning as well as others. He also donated about $8 million of his own money to have it built.In his deep, hoarse voice with a heavy African accent, Mutombo told the Wall Street Journal that he was pained visiting the Congo and seeing his people suffer.The Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in Kinsasha, Congo“I got sick and tired of seeing people dying at a young age,” he said. “It hurt me a lot. People were dying from diseases that were treatable. I thought I could be part of the change and contribute to society and to mankind.”In 1994, Mutombo, Ewing, Mourning and others from the NBA office took a trip to Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa, where they helped build basketball courts and speak to youths about achievement. Mutombo was the most comfortable person in the contingent. The Black South Africans were wowed by his height and connected to him because of his heritage.“These are my people,” he said back then. “We’re all from Africa.”Those who did not see Mutombo play in the NBA know him from the Geico commercials, where he blocks people’s attempts to discard things—and then waves his finger (as he did in the NBA) before running out of the scene.He is second all-time in blocks in NBA history, which is his strongest basketball case to make for the Hall. On the offensive end, Mutombo worked hard but was not a fluid or big scorer. But he was extremely fluid in business and charity.Here’s some of what he does: He’s active with Hughes Spalding Children’s Hospital Christmas toy drive, Hosea Feed the Hungry and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. For the past 12 years, Mutombo has been one of the leaders of Basketball Without Borders/Africa, the NBA and the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) global basketball development and community outreach program that unites young African basketball players from across the continent to promote the sport and encourage positive social change in the areas of education, health and wellness.He’s been a spokesman for CARE and on the Advisory Board for the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health. Mutombo has received numerous honors and awards including the 32nd Annual Thurman Munson Award, the Goodermote Humanitarian Award, the President’s Service Award from President Clinton, Big Brothers Big Sisters New York City Achievement in Public Service Award, the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy, and the John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award. Mutombo is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta 2014. And that’s not half of what he does.Mutombo recently spoke in Atlanta about ending human and sex trafficking in Africa and America.“It’s not hard, because I love my job,” Mutombo said of being so charity-driven. “I thank the NBA organization for putting the trust in me to carry on this mission of social innovation worldwide. We’re having such a huge impact to our youth with our game of basketball. We invested more than $200 million in social innovation to improve health and literacy.”He said playing in the NBA has helped him see how important his work is.“It taught me how to be a good leader, a good competitor and how to win,” he said to the Journal. “It’s not easy to teach a child how to win. I’m glad I had a great mentor. [John Thompson] told me, ‘I know you want to be a doctor, but you can go out to make a lot of money and go out to save lives at the same time.’“I think it was the right choice, and I don’t regret that I didn’t go to medical school. I can go to medical school today if I want to. What I’ve done now is more than just treating people today—I’ve treated future generations to come.”Mutombo name might not be called when inductees to the Basketball Hall of Fame are announced in April. But no one who makes it can claim to have done more good for more people than Mutombo. read more