Young South African Set to be First Black African to Enter Space

first_imgNo one in Mandla Maseko’s family has ever stepped outside South Africa, but the young township DJ is set to rocket into space next year. From the dusty district of Mabopane, near Pretoria, 25-year-old Maseko has landed a coveted seat to fly 103-kilometres (64 miles) into space in 2015, after winning a competition organised by a US-based space academy.He beat a million other entrants from 75 countries to be selected as one of 23 people who will travel on an hour-long sub-orbital trip on the Lynx Mark II spaceship.The former civil engineering student — who was forced to put his studies on hold because he could not pay the fees –will experience zero gravity and a journey that normally comes with a $100,000 price tag — and is on course to become the first black African to enter space.The “typical township boy”, who still lives at home with his parents and four siblings, was named one of the winners on December 5, only a few hours after the death of the country’s first black president, Nelson Mandela.In his exhilaration, he also imagined a conversation with Mandela.“I have run the race and completed the course, now here is the torch’,” Maseko said he thought the president would have told him. “‘Continue running the race and here’s the title to go with it’.”Improbable journeyHis improbable journey from a middle-class township to the thermosphere began with a leap from a wall.The initial entry requirement for the competitors was to submit a photograph of themselves jumping from any height.His first choice was the roof of his parents’ three-bedroom house but his mother Ouma said “no”, fearing it was too high and that he would break his legs.He settled for the house’s two-metre (more than six feet) perimeter wall and a friend captured the feat using a mobile phone.The picture has helped propel Maseko, who works part-time as a DJ at parties, to new heights.He finally secured his seat on the rocket after gruelling physical and aptitude tests in the contest organised by AXE Apollo Space Academy and sponsored by Unilever and space tourism firm Space Expedition Corporation (SXC).It was a dream come true for a man from a humble background.His family says they never doubted the one-time altar boy at a local Anglican church, who now sings with a local township gospel choir, would be a high-flier.“While I was pregnant with Mandla, I knew I was going to give birth to a star,” said Maseko’s mother.His 18-year-old sister Mhlophe agrees: “I don’t know what comes after space. I’m sure if there was something he would go.”Born to a school cleaner and an auto tool maker in Soshanguve township near Pretoria, Maseko has neighbours high-fiving him for putting South Africa’s townships on the “galactic map”.His long-term plans are to study aeronautical engineering and qualify as a space mission specialist with the ultimate dream of planting the South African flag on the moon.South Africa’s Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom sees Maseko “as a role model to the future generation of space professionals and enthusiasts.”His experience could not have come at a better time “when Africa is gearing up its space ambitions” as host to the world’s biggest and most powerful radio astronomy telescope, said Hanekom.The director of that project, Bernie Fanaroff, also hailed young Maseko as an ambassador for science.“Anything that raises the profile of science up there must be good because it brings to the attention of young people what they can achieve in science and engineering.”Curious young neighbours often stop Maseko’s 13-year-old sister Mantombi on her way home from school and ask, ”What is space? What is space?”“A very unique place,” she tells them. “Space is a very special place.”Maseko spent a week at the Kennedy Space Academy in Florida where he skydived and undertook air combat and G-force training.While there he met and posed for pictures with US astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was the second man ever to set foot on the moon after Neil Armstrong as part of the 1969 Apollo 11 space mission.For Maseko, the encounter was magical.“This is how it feels to be out in space,” he recalls thinking. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Canadian mining co says court ruling should be upheld

first_imgChinese Landing mining land disputeThe Canadian gold mining firm which is expected to commence operations at the Chinese Landing at Tassawini, Region One, is maintaining that the land in question is not Amerindian traditional land, and that Wayne Vieira is the lawful owner thereof, in keeping with the decision made by the Caribbean Court of Justice.An excerpt from the CCJ Court rulingIn 2011, the High Court ruled that the land in question does not belong to the Chinese Landing community, and that decision was upheld by the Caribbean Court of Justice in 2017.The Canadian company, after obtaining permission from Vieira, has begun works to start a medium scale mining operation which is expected to employ mainly locals. The company has said it would be investing heavily, and will pay royalties to the Guyana Government.The company said that, during the court proceedings, the Chinese Landing community was given several opportunities to present evidence of its title, but did not.An official of the Canadian company (name withheld), in an exclusive interview with Guyana Times on Saturday, related, “The land held by Vieira is not — and I repeat: not — Amerindian land.  This has been decided and clarified by both the High Court of Guyana and the CCJ. The Chinese Landing Community keeps saying this is Amerindian land. It is not, as per the law. Title must be granted to the local community, and it was not ever granted.The land dredges that were operating “illegally” at the Chinese Landing Tassawini mining blocks“They could not produce any title, and for them to say they were not aware of the proceedings is not true at all,” the official explained.The official, who fears being victimised, said a team of officials from the company visited the area recently, and were threatened by residents of Chinese Landing. “They threatened to kill Vieira and anyone who sets foot on the land,” the official stated.Further, he stated that the community has allowed illegal mining to occur on Vieira’s concessions in a very unsafe manner. “The mining is being conducted with complete disregard for the environment. Fuel is being stored unsafely, and tailings are being disposed of in the river, which is totally unsafe, killing out fishes. Mercury is being used in the traditional or normal fashion; that is, in the final clean-up (with the exception, it seems, of the milling units). No retorts were noted, but a couple of open-air gold burning hearths were noted. The use of gloves for mercury handling was also absent, as was any concentrating being done in a restricted area or receptacles,” the official added.The community, according to the official, has allowed buildings constructed on Vieira’s lawful concession to be destroyed, and this will cost the company millions of dollars to replace and clean up before it can commence operations.The company currently has security presence at the mines, after the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission dismantled camps and removed illegal miners from the area on May 1, 2019.The Minister of Natural Resources has since stated that the enforcement exercise was lawful and was conducted to uphold the CCJ’s ruling from 2017, which states that Wayne Vieira is the lawful owner of the land.The company further said the community started claiming the land only after its residents realised that there was gold there. Residents started to mine on the land, and encouraged miners from other villages to mine on the land as well. The miners pay tribute to the community.The company explained that those illegal miners have a total of seven excavators on the land, and have removed an estimated 15,000 ounces of gold from Vieira’s concession.“This is theft to the tune of approximately US$19 million, and not one (dollar of) royalty has been paid to the Republic of Guyana.  The approximate theft from the people and the state is $1.5 million US dollars. If they stole this (sum) from a Bank, they would be in jail for a very long time,” the official said.According to the company, an influx of miners with land dredges, excavators, and crushers, accompanied by/or alongside shops, has resulted in the Tassawini property being raided and its exploration facilities and infrastructure being destroyed. The “illegal” miners are from Chinese Landing, Charity, Moruca, and Port Kaituma.On Friday last, the Chinese Landing Village Council hosted a press conference in which it made claims for the said land. Its contention is that the Village Council had not been included in the court proceedings for the said land, and had not been given opportunity to present its title. Members of this Village Council have since met with Minister of State Dawn Hastings-Williams, who assured them that she would work with the Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock, and Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman to resolve the issue.last_img read more

Jagdeo slams caretaker Govt for illegal “Cabinet” meetings

first_imgDefying CCJ rulingOpposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoDirector General Joseph HarmonIn yet another move, which was considered to be in flagrant disregard of the Constitution of Guyana, President David Granger and his Government ministers have been meeting for their weekly Cabinet sessions.During these meetings, they were proposing legislative amendments and approving the award of multi-million-dollar contracts.Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency Joseph Harmon hosted a post-Cabinet press briefing on Thursday, where he updated the press on decisions the Government has taken. But Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, during a subsequent press conference, slammed to the Government for defying the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling.“When Harmon spoke there, he was speaking on behalf of an illegal Government … the Cabinet stood resigned … They had accepted that before, they said they were not meeting except by plenary but now they have reversed even that position,” Jagdeo outlined.When the Government mounted its first legal challenge against the No-Confidence Motion in the High Court, Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire had ruled that the Government was defeated. The coalition accepted this ruling and stopped meeting as a Cabinet, in keeping with the Guyana Constitution.However, now that the CCJ has handed down a ruling, upholding the High Court’s ruling, the coalition administration is refusing to comply.According to Harmon, the CCJ, in its ruling, did not say that Cabinet should stop meeting.“We have seen nothing in the ruling of the CCJ that says the Cabinet should not meet,” Harmon told reporters when asked about the issue.However, the CCJ ruled that the Government was defeated by the No-Confidence Motion on December 21, 2018 – giving effect to Article 106 of the Constitution which stipulates that “The cabinet including the president shall resign if the government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the national assembly on a motion of confidence.”In fact, CCJ Justice Adrian Saunders had explained that elections ought to have already been held since March 21, 2019 – in keeping with the Constitution.But Harmon contended that he will await on the CCJ’s consequential orders for clarity. The CCJ is expected to hand down consequential orders on July 12, outlining how the country should proceed in these circumstances.Until then, Harmon says the Government will continue business as usual.However, the Opposition Leader said this posture adopted by the Government is unconstitutional. He argued that the Guyana Constitution provides for the Government to stay in office three months after the Cabinet resigns only for the purpose of calling elections.“…not to sign contracts, not to use money on ministerial perks and outreaches, not to do all the things they are doing now, all of those are illegal,” Jagdeo posited.This is not the first act of defiance exhibited by the coalition administration with regard to the Guyana Constitution and the CCJ ruling.In fact, on the very day of the ruling, Finance Minister Winston Jordan told an outreach in Bartica, Region Seven, that there will be House-to-House registration, regardless of what the CCJ ruled.“And CCJ or no CCJ, they can’t tell us that we must tinker with that list to call an improper election,” Jordan had said.The very next day, President Granger himself declared that the process he used to appoint Justice James Patterson as the GECOM Chairman was not flawed – even though the CCJ ruled that it was.Furthermore, Minister of State Dawn Hastings-Williams, during a protest for House-to-House registration, claimed that the CCJ cannot tell Guyana what to do.“GECOM is the only authoritative body that will inform the Government whether they’re ready or not for elections. CCJ cannot rule; Guyana has its own institution. Guyana is an independent country with its own independent laws”.last_img read more

Help Fort St. John become Hockeyville 2010

first_imgAcross this country, Canadians know that hockey is our nation’s sport – the tie that binds us together, from Vancouver Island to St. John’s.The past four years, Canadian communities have showcased their powerful connection to hockey through their passionate involvement with Kraft Hockeyville.Kraft Canada – together with the CBC, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) – is, again, searching to crown one community Kraft Hockeyville — and the title will go to the one community that best embodies the spirit of hockey and hometown pride.We’re challenging all communities from coast to coast to demonstrate their passion for the game and earn the coveted title of Kraft Hockeyville 2010. Along with the hometown pride that comes along with being crowned Kraft Hockeyville, the ultimate hockey community wins $100 000 to upgrade their local arena*, a NHL® pre-season game and a visit by CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada!Advertisement **The deadline to submit your stories is January 18th, 2010We need your help to support Fort St John and our quest to earn the right to be called “Kraft Hockeyville 2010”!!- Advertisement -By clicking on (or copying and pasting) the link below and submitting a story and picture about our community’s “hockey pride” you can help us earn the right to be Canada’s Hockeyville 2010!!  Send in your photos and stories that display the great pride we have for our community and hockey. this message along to your friends and family who may also be able to help!Below is more information on Hockeyville 2010 from the CBC:Advertisement The stakes are high, so start sharing your favorite hockey photos and stories. Show your strong support and passion and back your community’s bid for Kraft Hockeyville 2010.last_img read more

Oops, Spears shaves head, gets tattoed

first_img“She seemed fine,” Snell said. “I didn’t really notice (the hairdo) at first, she had a hood on when she showed up.” The appearance came the same day as reports on TV and Web sites that Spears, who has drawn criticism for her recent partying and sloppy behavior, had briefly checked into rehab. – Associated Press France honors Clint French President Jacques Chirac inducted American actor-director Clint Eastwood into the Legion of Honor on Saturday, saying he represents “the best of Hollywood.” The Oscar-winning director was named a knight in France’s elite Legion of Honor. “France of course wants to pay homage to your immense talent as an actor, your genius as a director and to your place in the world of cinema,” Chirac said in a ceremony in the presidential Elysee Palace. “You show the complexity of America, in all its grandeur and fragility, with its enthusiastic dreams and its worried questioning,” he said. Chirac called the 76-year-old director, who is nominated for an Academy Award for directing for his latest film, “Letters from Iwo Jima,” an “exceptional ambassador” for American culture around the world. – Associated Press Sly detained in Sydney Sylvester Stallone was detained for hours on arrival at Sydney Airport after officials found prohibited imports in his luggage and that of his entourage. “That was just a misunderstanding,” Stallone told reporters Saturday at the Sydney premier of the latest in his series of six boxing movies, “Rocky Balboa.” Australian Customs Service national investigations manager Richard Janeczko did not say what the items were or whose luggage among Stallone’s party they were found in during a routine screening late Friday. “As a result of having their luggage X-rayed, a number of prohibited items were seized by customs,” Janeczko told Ten Network television news. Stallone emerged from the airport hours after his fellow passengers and signed autographs, Ten reported. – Associated Press 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Britney Spears appeared in a tattoo parlor in the San Fernando Valley with her head shaved completely bald. Video on KABC (Channel 7) showed the newly shorn Spears with tiny tattoos on the back of her neck as she sits Friday night for a new tattoo – a pair of red and pink lips. “She just wanted something real small on her wrist, something dainty,” Max Gott, the tattoo artist at Body and Soul in Sherman Oaks, told the TV station. “She got some cute little lips on her wrist.” Derrik Snell, who works at the tattoo parlor, said Spears showed up without notice and stayed for about 90 minutes as about 60 fans, photographers and gawkers gathered outside. last_img read more

Man United have NOT given up on Real Madrid star Ramos, claims LVG

first_img Sergio Ramos in action for Real Madrid 1 Manchester United have not given up hope of signing Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, according to manager Louis van Gaal.The Red Devils have reportedly made the Spain centre-back their No.1 defensive transfer target, and talkSPORT told you on Sunday how the former Sevilla man was keen on a move to Old Trafford.United have seen a £35million bid rejected by the La Liga side, who are keen for goalkeeper David De Gea to be included in any deal.Van Gaal is unwilling to let De Gea leave the club and, as such, a deal for Ramos appears to have stalled.But, speaking to the media ahead of the club’s second pre-season match against San Jose Earthquakes, the former Barcelona boss claims the move is still possible.When asked whether United were any closer to signing Ramos, who they want to bring in as part of a swap deal for De Gea, Van Gaal said: “I cannot talk about these rumours.“I have said already in a lot of press conferences, it is a process. Maybe Mr Ramos is in the process. You never know.”last_img read more


first_imgAer Arann Executive Chairman Padraig O Ceidigh, Dragon’s Den star Bobby Kerr and Jim Power, Chief Economist and Economic Advisor to the Friends First Group are just some of the high-profile speakers at this week’s Enterprising Donegal Business Week.Organised by Donegal County Enterprise Board, the aim of the week-long programme of events is to inspire and motivate people to consider the idea of starting a business and to provide a learning and networking forum for those already in business. Running from today, Monday 7th March through to this Friday March 11th in venues across the county; the theme for the week is “Back to Basics – key building blocks for growing your business”.“We have secured some really excellent events and speakers this year”, said Michael Tunney, Chief Executive of Donegal County Enterprise Board. “There are seminars and workshops covering everything from how to drive up sales to developing new products and managing cashflow.”The week kicks off in Letterkenny at lunchtime today with Bobby Kerr, star of RTE Dragons’ Den and Chairman of Insomnia Coffee, who will be guest of honour at the official launch of Enterprising Donegal Business Week.Later today Jim Power, the high profile Chief Economist at Friends First, will host an evening seminar.Events continue tomorrow morning (Tuesday) with a Marketing workshop hosted by Suzanne Hill of Handel Export Consulting with contributions from Michael Faulkner of EuroXchanger and Seed-Ups, Seamus McAdams of i2 Total Marketing and Niall McKeown of Ion Technologies Ltd. On Wednesday Padraig O Ceidigh of Aer Arann will be guest of honour at a business lunch in Lettekenny.  Earlier that day there will be a morning workshop on Branding hosted by Carton Le Vert including a case study by Lynn Temple of Magee Clothing.There will also be a seminar on Lean business processes hosted by Enterprise Ireland with a case study on Inishowen Engineering.Wednesday evening will see some of the top names in the Irish Food sector coming to Letterkenny to attend a major seminar “Food – finding your way to the customer.”Guest speakers include Mary Ann O’Brien of Lily O’Brien’s chocolates, Alan Kingston of speciality food producer Glenilen Farm and food industry consultant James Burke, former board member and Trading Manager at Superquinn.On Thursday morning there will be a special workshop on effective sales techniques hosted by Stephen Friel of Friel Consulting and a workshop on Social Intelligence by Mark Keightley, MD of the UK consultancy Mind Associates. The Enterprise Board is also hosting a lunch on Thursday in association with the Donegal Women in Business Network, with guest speaker Nicola Byrne, the award-winning founder of directory enquiry service Call 11890 Limited.The week wraps up on Friday 11th with a workshop on starting your own business hosted by Padraic O Maille with contributions from Malachi Eastwood, MD of Gartan Technologies, and Brian Sweeney, MD of the Swilly Group.For further information about Enterprising Donegal Business Week 2011 contact Celine Carroll, Donegal County Enterprise Board on 074 9160735 or email Alternatively, you can visit the Donegal County Enterprise Board’s website at GURUS ARRIVE FOR DONEGAL BUSINESS WEEK was last modified: March 6th, 2011 by gregShare 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)last_img read more

R25bn package to stimulate growth

first_imgDuring a media briefing held ahead of the speech, the minister said the details of the package would soon be revealed by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Gordhan added that there was a need to “align trade, investment and energy policies to support the transition to a ‘green’ economy, including private sector participation in [South Africa’s] renewable energy production programme”. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material The R25-billion would include R8-billion in tax incentives for recently approved projects in the area of industrial development, technology support and training. 25 October 2011 Gordhan pointed out that there were also “improved incentives for investment in industrial development zones, particularly where there is potential to participate in global supply chains and to develop competitive logistics hubs”. Delivering his Medium-Term Budget Policy Speech in Parliament on Tuesday, Gordhan said the central thrust of South Africa’s economic policy challenge was “to support competitiveness and promote the kinds of structural change that will lead to more rapid, inclusive growth.center_img Gordhan said the package would include temporary mechanisms to bolster productivity and innovation in industries that had demonstrated long-term competitive potential. He renewed the call for export diversification, including new trade partnerships with fast-growing emerging economies, as well as regional integration within sub-Saharan Africa, including investment in a north-south transport corridor and administrative reform of trade arrangements The government had also introduced regulatory and administrative reforms to facilitate small business development, including bringing on board support mechanisms such as preferential procurement and finance facilities. “This means that we need a reserve of funds, and a capacity to direct these resources effectively,” Gordhan told parliamentarians in Cape Town. South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has unveiled a R25-billion support package over the next six years to boost industrial development, assist entrepreneurs and accelerate job creation in the country.last_img read more