Man, sister facing assault charge

first_imgA man and his sister on Monday appeared before Magistrate Alex Moore at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts charged with assault.Junior Gordon and Malika Smith both pleaded not guilty to the offence that they were cross charged with.Junior GordonIt is alleged that on September 1, 2016, at Lot 67 West Ruimveldt, Georgetown, they assaulted each other.However, Gordon was also slapped with two additional charges of using threatening language and attempting to restrict Smith from gaining access to parts of the home they share.The prosecution contended that on the day in question, the defendant nailed boards across an outside toilet and bathroom to prevent the Virtual Complainant (VC) from gaining access.When Smith questioned her brother about this, the agitated man threatened to kill her and reportedly assaulted her.The VC told the court that she has received numerous threats from her brother on numerous occasions and was very scared of him.However, the defendant told the court that the VC threw something at him which moved him to take such actionsThe matter was reported and he was arrested.The defendant later pleaded guilty to the threatening language and ‘attempting to restrict’ charges and was fined $20,000.The siblings were granted $15,000 bail on the assault charge for which they are scheduled to next appear in court on September 30, 2016.man and his sister on Monday appeared before Magistrate Alex Moore at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts charged with assault.Junior Gordon and Malika Smith both pleaded not guilty to the offence that they were cross charged with.It is alleged that on September 1, 2016, at Lot 67 West Ruimveldt, Georgetown, they assaulted each other.However, Gordon was also slapped with two additional charges of using threatening language and attempting to restrict Smith from gaining access to parts of the home they share.The prosecution contended that on the day in question, the defendant nailed boards across an outside toilet and bathroom to prevent the Virtual Complainant (VC) from gaining access.When Smith questioned her brother about this, the agitated man threatened to kill her and reportedly assaulted her.The VC told the court that she has received numerous threats from her brother on numerous occasions and was very scared of him.However, the defendant told the court that the VC threw something at him which moved him to take such actionsThe matter was reported and he was arrested.The defendant later pleaded guilty to the threatening language and ‘attempting to restrict’ charges and was fined $20,000.The siblings were granted $15,000 bail on the assault charge for which they are scheduled to next appear in court on September 30, 2016.last_img read more

‘170 Years Without Definite Land Laws’

first_imgAn indefinite land law is a major hindrance to peace, Manobah says.(Photo: Marco Di Lauro)– Land Commissioner lamentsAs land issues continue to pose serious challenges to the peace and stability of Liberia, the Commissioner on Policy and Planning at the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) has blamed the situation on the lack of a “definite land law” in Liberia. “Our country is now 170 years old and there is not a well-defined law as to its administration and management,” Adams Manobah argued.Atty. Manobah made the remarks Saturday at a one-day awareness campaign on the ‘Act Against the Criminal Conveyance of Land’ that is intended to punish those involved in double land sales, that was passed into law in 2014, and the Rights Bill that is currently before the legislature.“There is a very old law that cannot resolve the increasing wave of criminal conveyance of land in the country and the law is outdated and very weak to provide land security for you,” Manobah observed.The campaign, funded by USAID-Land Governance Support Agency (LGSA), was held in Johnsonville Township, Montserrado County with the participants recommending the setting-up of a community land task force monitoring land sale transactions in the area to avoid future conflict. Johnsonville Township is one of the areas that have experienced several land crises, like the Bright Farm land dispute which resulted in several people being killed.Apart from lacking land law, Manobah believes that the courts are another contributing factor to the crisis. “The court should be the place where people go to seek redress on their land issues, but that is not the case. Rather people are afraid to go there, because those who work there only believe in taking bribes,” the land commissioner alleged,  adding, “they take bribes to prepare multiple letters of administration just for a single plot of land.”Johnsonville Township Commissioner Melvin Bettie, supported Manobah’s allegation that the court is behind the illegal sale of lands. Bettie claimed that the Probate Court is helping to undermine the enforcement of the criminal conveyance law. “It is this court that is issuing fake letters of administration that are at the center of Johnsonville’s land crises,” the township commissioner claimed. “The court cannot solve our land problems by issuing a deed for land to over 50 persons at a time. This is what happened in the Bright Farm case.”Acting Chief of Party of USAID-LGSA, Anny Bruins, said double land sale is very scary, but she believes that with collective efforts, the communities can resolve the problem. Also, LLA executive director Stanley Toe assured the gathering about the Land Rights Bill, which is on the verge of being passed by the legislature. “This bill has been around since 2014, but right now, it is in the committee room at the legislature, and by Thursday, August 10, we will hear good news about the bill,” Toe said.Madam Bloh Sayeh, director general for the Center of National Documents, Records Agency (CNDRA), said her agency has put in place various steps in land deed registration and actions are being taken to mitigate falsification of land documents. “Everything around land matters is fake but we are doing our best to solve our age old practice of forgery and other illegal land issues,” Sayeh noted.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Poor showing has Herta eager for start of IRL season

first_imgIf anything good came out of Bryan Herta’s 15th-place finish in the A1 Grand Prix of Nations race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, it has made him eager for the Indy Racing League season to start. “I can’t wait to get to Miami,” said Herta, who drives for Andretti Green Racing in the IRL IndyCar Series. “I’m so (ticked) off and fired up. I want to get back in a race car.” It was a frustrating weekend for Herta and his United States entry in the A1 Grand Prix, a worldwide racing series that pits drivers from different countries against each other. He had to deal with mistakes on set-ups, a poor qualifying effort and a faulty front suspension in the only A1 Grand Prix race in the United States, at a track where Herta is a two-time winner against world-class competition. This was Herta’s third race for Team USA in the A1 Grand Prix. There is one race left on the A1 Grand Prix schedule, April 2 at Shanghai International Circuit in China. It is also the same day as the IRL race in St. Petersburg, Fla. As a result, the Laguna Seca race was the last one for Herta this season. But he said he would like to return and race for Team USA again next year. “Nothing’s decided,” Herta said. “I would like to do it again. I’m not satisfied. I’d like to continue with the program. I want to win for this team.” Salvador Duran of Mexico won the race at Laguna Seca, which had a field that included Patrick Carpentier of Canada, Ryan Briscoe of Australia, Tomas Enge of the Czech Republic and Christian Fittipaldi of Brazil. The IRL season opens March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, followed by the St. Petersburg street course race. “Everybody wants to start their season strong,” Herta said. “We go from an oval to a street course. I like the challenge. You have to shift gears quickly. I hope to come out of Florida with a whole bag of points.” Irwindale Speedway: Opening night, take two. Rain washed out what was supposed to be opening night last Saturday at Irwindale Speedway for the NASCAR Super Late Models, Late Models, Super Stocks, Mini Stocks and Super Trucks. The Late Model drivers will get their chance to open tonight instead, weather permitting. For Canyon Country’s Aaron Staudinger, it will be the start of a season that almost didn’t happen. Staudinger, a regular on the West Coast Pro Truck Series, was ready to take some time off after the last race of the season last year. “At the last race, I was going to put the truck up for sale, take a couple years off, maybe take the boat out and go fishing,” said Staudinger, the 2003 West Coast Pro Trucks champion. Instead, he was given the opportunity to move up to the Late Model class. Meanwhile, Tim Huddleston, fresh off his first Late Model championship, decided he wanted to build a new race car to defend his title at Irwindale Speedway. Lucky for Staudinger, he ended up with Huddleston’s championship car to make his debut in the Late Model class. “Old Hot Rod is No. 77 now,” Staudinger said. Huddleston’s championship car is known as Hot Rod around Irwindale Speedway. It has 14 wins in its career and Staudinger is hoping he can add a few more before its time is over. But he knows it won’t be easy. “The level of talent is really well-saturated,” Staudinger said. “It’s a pretty good place to be to showcase your talent. If you want to show what you’re made of, it’s where you want to be.” The Late Model class will also feature Newhall’s Travis Thirkettle, Chris Houwen of Acton and Kevin Wood of Saugus. The NASCAR Super Late Models, Grand American Modifieds, Pure Stocks and figure 8s are scheduled to race tonight. Gates open at 4 p.m. Races start at 7. Tim Haddock covers motor sports for the Daily News. He can be reached at (818) 713-3715 or timothy.haddock@dailynews.com. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 “It was bad. It was horrible,” said Herta, a Hart High of Newhall graduate and Valencia resident. “I went in with high expectations. My lack of time, the race engineers lack of time with the car, we lost the set-up.” Bad weather also complicated matters for Herta and his team. When it started to rain before the preliminary sprint race, Herta at first thought it was a blessing. “I was happy about that,” said Herta. “Starting 17th, I knew it would help us move up.” But when it came time to switch the car’s set-up from sprint race to feature race conditions, Herta said his team put the wrong one on his car. He came out of the sprint race in ninth place and raced as high as seventh in the feature race. But the front suspension on his car was wearing down during the race and Herta pulled out early for safety reasons. last_img read more

Steven Gerrard confident in-demand Rangers star will sign new deal

first_imgMorelos has scored six goals in 11 appearances for the Gers this term, and was this week rewarded with his first international call-up by Colombia.Gerrard has already had to rebuff a £3.75million offer for the 22-year-old within the last few weeks.And the Rangers boss is keen to ensure no-one else tries to lure the former HJK Helsinki striker away before Friday’s transfer deadline.Speaking ahead of Thursday’s Europa League crunch with Russian side Ufa, Gerrard said: “I’m delighted for Alfredo.“He’s a very confident player anyway, he always believes he can deliver so it was no surprise for me to see him get a call-up. Morelos’ red-hot goalscoring form has led to his first Colombia call-up 2 2 Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is confident in-form striker Alfredo Morelos will sign a new deal to stay with the Ibrox club this season.The Scottish Premiership club are hoping to ward off interest in the frontman from several clubs as the summer transfer window comes to a close on Friday. Colombian ace Morelos is top scorer for unbeaten Rangers this season “He has been in fantastic form and we are all delighted for him. We hope he can go away and do himself justice and I believe that he will.“Yes, there has been progress with regards a new contract, we’ll have to wait and see how that pan out.“But he is in talks, it’s on-going. We’re hoping there is some good news to report soon.”last_img read more

HSE INVESTIGATION INTO EVIL FERRY SET TO EXPOSE SHOCKING LOOPHOLES

first_imgTHE HSE investigation into notorious Donegal paedophile Michael Ferry is set to expose shocking loopholes which allowed to go on and abuse more kids despite a previous conviction.The report is due to be completed and will examine how the Gaoth Dobhair man continued to work as a caretaker for an Irish language school and use their premises year-round to prey on other victims.Michael Ferry abused dozens of boys in the area and was eventually convicted of abusing four of them. The abuse continued for five years after his 2002 conviction for child sex abuse against another local man.After sentencing him to 14 years at the Central Criminal Court last summer, Mr Justice Paul Carney said the authorities must have been aware Ferry had a conviction for a similar offence.Justice Minister Alan Shatter asked the Garda Commissioner to investigate if, after the first conviction, gardaí and the HSE had contact with the school management.“I am particularly calling on those in charge of this school to explain how this individual continued to be employed as a caretaker in the school and whether at any time they considered the risk he posed to children,” said Mr Shatter at the time.The Department of Justice said this weekend: “A garda investigation into certain matters including the circumstances surrounding the person’s employment is continuing and we are not in a position to make any further comment pending completion of that investigation.” The HSE said: “We established a review team to assess the response of the HSE /former NWHB services following a referral from An Garda Síochána in 2002 relating to Michael Ferry and the intervening period to July 2011. The report is expected to be completed by March 2012.”Ferry, who lived in a cottage near Pobalscoil Gaoth Dobhair, was working at Ard Scoil Mhuire in Derrybeg, a former school building used for Irish language courses.The boys were not pupils at the Irish language school but lived locally and were offered drink and cigarettes by Ferry.There are allegations that up to six other men also abused boys in the area and a number have been arrested, questioned and released without charge by an investigation team based in Glenties.Last summer, the directors of Coláiste Cholmcille – who ran the school and others in Dunlewey – said it was “factually incorrect” to say Ferry continued in his role as caretaker after 2002. However local people say he continued to use the premises up until last year.HSE INVESTIGATION INTO EVIL FERRY SET TO EXPOSE SHOCKING LOOPHOLES was last modified: February 12th, 2012 by BrendaShare 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:gaoth dobhair abuseHSE INVESTIGATION INTO EVIL FERRY SET TO EXPOSE SHOCKING LOOPHOLESMichael Ferrylast_img read more

SEA SEARCH LAUNCHED AS EMPTY YACHT FOUND ANCHORED OFF DONEGAL

first_imgBREAKING NEWS: Gardai have launched an investigation to find a missing man after his yacht was found moored off Sheephaven Bay.The yacht is anchored off Sheephaven BayThe yacht has been anchored in the bay for up to the past ten days.However, the alarm was only raised last night when the man’s family contacted Gardai. They boarded the yacht and found no trace of the man who is understood to be from the Inishowen Peninsula.A smaller vessel which was attached to the yacht was found turned upside down in the water.An immediate search was launched around the lough between Sheephaven Bay and Hornhead Head by the Mulroy Coastguard RIB as well as the Rescue 118 helicopter from Sligo.However, no sign of the skipper of the yacht has yet been found. He was believed to be the only person on board the boat.It is understood that further searches will be launched at first light this morning. SEA SEARCH LAUNCHED AS EMPTY YACHT FOUND ANCHORED OFF DONEGAL was last modified: June 29th, 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:Ards FriarydonegalGardaimissingYachtlast_img read more

KAVC International participating teams confirmed, draws conducted

first_img Tags: KAVC. NSSFtop The KAVC-NSSF serves off on Friday evening at the MTN Arena in Lugogo (File Photo)The 2018 KAVC-NSSF International will serve off on Friday evening at the MTN Arena in Lugogo.The teams that will be participating at this year’s tournament have been confirmed and drawn into respective groups.A total of nine foreign teams will be taking part this time round in both the Men’s and Women categories.These include Rwandan sides UTB, APR, REG and Gisagara, Rainbow from South Sudan and Tanzania’s Misenyi, in the Men’s Category.For the Women, Rwanda has produced two teams in APR and RRA. Tanzania’s Misenyi completes the fold of foreign teams participating in the women’s competition this time round.The teams have been drawn alongside the local based sides with all pools featuring four teams except Pool A (men) and Pool B (women) which have three each.Rwanda’s APR won the men’s category last year. Rwanda Revenue Authority are the women’s defending champions.The list of teams participating in the NSSF-KAVC International for the year 2018:WOMEN.1) RRA2) APR3) IPRC Kigali4) Rainbow V.C5)Misenye V.C6) Nkumba Univ7) KCCA8) KAVC-A9) Ndejje Univ.10) Espoir11) COBAP12)Sport-S13) VVCMEN.1. APR2. REG3. UTB4. Gisagara5. Rainbow V.C6. Misenye Team7. Misenye Team 28. KCCA9. Airforce10. KAVC-A11. KAVC-B12. U-2313. Prisons14. Sport-S2018 KAVC NSSF INTERNATIONAL Draws.MENPOOL A1. SPORT S (Uganda)2. UTB (Rwanda)3.KAVC (Uganda)POOL B1. APR (Rwanda)2. MATTRIXX (Uganda)3. AIRFORCE (Uganda)4.KAVC U-23 (Uganda)POOL C1. KCCA (Uganda)2. RAINBOW (S. Sudan)3. REG (Rwanda)4.PRISONS(Uganda)POOL D1. Western (Uganda)2. SKY (Uganda)3. MISENYI (Tanzania)4.GISAGARA (Rwanda)WOMEN:POOL A1. Nkumba (Uganda)2. APR (Rwanda)3. KAVC (Uganda)4. Misenyi (Tanzania)POOL B1. COBAP (Uganda)2. RRA(Rwanda)3.Ndejje (Uganda)POOL C1. VVC (Uganda)2. Sport S (Uganda)3. KCCA (Uganda)4. Espior (Uganda)Match orders:1 Vs 32 Vs 41 Vs 42 Vs 3Except for Pool A men and Pool B womenPool A men-UTB v Sport SPOOL B women-Cobap v NdejjeComments last_img read more

‘Frozen’ friends to be the VIPs at this Eclipse Cinemas premiere

first_imgOlaf, Elsa and Anna are travelling all the way from Arendelle to Lifford this month for a special family event at Eclipse Cinemas Lifford/Strabane.The famous cast of Disney’s Frozen will be meeting boys and girls for fantastic photos and fun ahead of the launch of the new movie ‘Olaf’s Frozen Adventure’.Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is a new featurette opening on Saturday November 25th and Sunday November 26th. Tickets for the show include Olaf’s new movie before a screening of the Christmas classic Frozen. Parents are advised to book now for this exciting weekend: liffordcp.admit-one.eu/index.php?s=LIFFORDCP&p=details&eventCode=33534November 2017 is packed with brilliant movies at Eclipse Cinemas Lifford/Strabane. Check out previews of all the new releases on the way. To find times and booking info, check out eclipsecinemas.com.Now Showing:Justice League Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash — it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. 24th November Suburbician‘Suburbicon’ is a peaceful, idyllic suburban community with affordable homes and manicured lawns… the perfect place to raise a family, and in the summer of 1959, the Lodge family is doing just that. But the tranquil surface masks a disturbing reality, as husband and father Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) must navigate the town’s dark underbelly of betrayal, deceit, and violence. Directed by George Clooney, and written by George Clooney, Grant Heslov and the Coen Brothers, Suburbicon is this Autumn’s much-anticipated dark comedy, with a fantastic cast also including Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac and newcomer Noah Jupe.Battle of the SexesThe true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.Daddy’s Home Father and stepfather Dusty and Brad join forces to make Christmastime perfect for the children. Their newfound partnership soon gets put to the test when Dusty’s old-school, macho dad and Brad’s gentle father arrive to turn the holiday upside down.The StarIn Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a loveable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.Frozen + Olaf’s Frozen Adventure FeaturetteOlaf (voice of Josh Gad) teams up with Sven on a merry mission in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 21-minute featurette OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE. It’s the first holiday season since the gates reopened and Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) and Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel) host a celebration for all of Arendelle. When the townspeople unexpectedly leave early to enjoy their individual holiday customs, the sisters realize they have no family traditions of their own. So, Olaf sets out to comb the kingdom to bring home the best traditions and save this first Christmas for his friends. OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE opens in front of the Disney feature FROZEN.1st December WonderBased on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman. Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to find their compassion and acceptance, Auggie’s extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out. Classics being shown this Christmas @ Eclipse Cinemas Lifford Strabane:3rd Dec – Home Alone  9th Dec – The Santa Clause   22nd Dec – Elf23rd Dec – It’s A Wonderful Life  3rd Dec – Home Alone  9th Dec – The Santa Clause   22nd Dec – Elf23rd Dec – It’s A Wonderful Life  Pre-booking is strongly advisedVisit http://eclipsecinemas.com/index.php?__site=LIFFORDCP to book any movies now!‘Frozen’ friends to be the VIPs at this Eclipse Cinemas premiere was last modified: November 17th, 2017 by Staff WriterShare 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:eclipse cinemas lifford strabanefamily day outfrozenmovieslast_img read more

Innovator up for social media award

first_imgMany of the RLabs team come fromdisadvantaged backgrounds. Through the Mom 2.0 and 3.0 courses, women in the community learn to use technology. (Images: RLabs on Flickr) MEDIA CONTACTS • Marlon or Rene ParkerRLabs+27 21 699 1453 RELATED ARTICLES • JamiiX: from the Cape Flats to the world• Low-cost phones for Africa • Skills via phones for rural women • Fight HIV with your phone • Mobile internet booms in South AfricaApril McAlisterJamiiX, an online counselling service operating on the Cape Flats, is a finalist in the inaugural Bees Awards. The ceremony, which takes place in San Francisco on 9 November 2010, recognises the most innovative use of social media in business and communication.In the category of best use of mobile social media, developer RLabs’ mobile drug counselling application was up against the brpr Group for its work with Smirnoff Ice, and Leo Burnett Frankfurt for its Fiat Punto Evo challenge. The Smirnoff application took top honours.“To be a finalist for this award is such a great honour and privilege,” wrote RLabs founder Marlon Parker on his blog, “as about 74% of the entries were from large brands coming from 21 countries.”Parker added that the non-profit RLabs is encouraged by the recognition from the international social media community, and will continue to innovate by using social media to bring about social change.Empowering communitiesRLabs operates with a mission to impact, empower and reconstruct global communities through innovation.Situated in Athlone in the Western Cape, Rlabs tackles the rampant drug use and trade as well as gangster-related violence that have resulted in severe economic and educational challenges for the Cape Flats community.Based at the Impact Centre in Athlone, RLabs also advises companies and other organisations on social media strategy.The project was born in 2007 when ten young residents of the area decided to change their lives and obtain an education at a time when use of methamphetamine (known in the area as tik) was rife.The men went to the Impact Centre, a community centre in Athlone which offered programmes such as feeding schemes, support and counselling and a seniors’ wellness program.There was no availability at the centre at the time for their rehabilitation, but the director was moved to start a programme called Reconstructed which offered them training and mentoring, as well as motivational talks and lessons in basic responsibility.The director then brought Parker, an IT lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, on board to teach them computer skills. When asked what they knew about computers one student stated: “I know how to steal one.”Their experiences were taken online in the form of the Reconstructed.com blog, which later became Reconstructed Living Lab, or RLabs. Through the use of the blog, Facebook and Twitter they gained a large following and used the social media platforms to encourage and empower other youngsters who were in similar situations and wanted to get out.In order to give more people access to much-needed counselling, and recognising that most people have a mobile phone even if they can’t afford much else, RLabs developed JamiiX, an aggregator that combines instant messaging with social media in one application. JamiiX can be used on a computer or mobile phone.RLabs’ Drug Advice Support (DAS) service, which was started to address the drug addiction problem in the Western Cape, is available on JamiiX. DAS is a place where those in need can get help on questions related to drugs, HIV, relationships, and abuse. It also offers a suicide help line, a place of safety and immediate assistance in a crisis.The system allows a counsellor to transfer a person’s entire history to a colleague, and still retain confidentiality. Over 100 000 South Africans currently use the system, as well as many international users.JamiiX has partnered with South African success story MXit to make its interface available through a special gateway on the popular instant messaging application.With an average of 20 000 messages exchanged every hour, 250-300 users assisted in that time, and 5% of online conversations receiving offline referrals. JamiiX is known as “the contact centre on the go”.“What really excites us is when we hear stories of people whose lives are being changed because of the members of the community who offer their time to help those in need,” said Parker. “Well done to all at RLabs for the amazing work you are doing and we celebrate with you and the rest of the online community through the Bees Awards finalist nomination dedicated to you.”Helping the communityBesides RLabs and JamiiX, the other main activity at the Impact Centre is Impact Direct, a community- based organisation. Formerly funded by the government, Impact Direct now relies on donations of all kinds, as well as income from wellness sessions, to maintain its operations.The organisation has adopted the local Kewtown primary school, which accommodates about 400 pupils and is at the heart of the gang wars. Programmes help children to learn basic manners, social skills, and hygiene. They receive a meal, help with homework, and support and counselling where needed. As many children as possible receive one new uniform.Counsellors also make house calls, as many children have no parents and battle with overcrowding in a limited amount of space. The children thank their teachers by holding an annual wellness day on which each teacher is pampered and given a little gift.The Moms 3.0 program and Social Media for Teens are a couple of the many programmes offered by the Impact Centre and Rlabs. Others include projects that assist newcomers to technology, such as the elderly, on an individual level.There is also a dedicated pampering day for the elderly of the community, which focuses on keeping their minds active through arts and crafts. The Seniors Mobile Sessions teaches them to use mobile phones efficiently and send text messages and “please call me” requests, and covers the use of the internet to find all kinds of information, from recipes to growing plants.Last year technology corporation Dell Inc. sponsored 14 computers for use in the lab – youngsters and adults are able to log in to them via their desktop computers or mobile phones.RLabs’ Social Media Factory holds sessions in public places such as shopping centres. Each session lasts about ten minutes per person, helping them to set up email, use social media, find a car online and even start a business. This innovation prompted the World Bank to invite RLabs to be the official social media partner at its Innovation Fair held in Sea Point, Cape Town, in April.Overseas expansionRLabs operates in Portugal and Malaysia as well as South Africa, while JamiiX has been launched in South Africa, Finland and the UK.The organisation has initiated its first social franchise, which encompasses the business model, support, branding, and more, in Porto, Portugal. A local franchise in Khayalitsha, also on the Cape Flats, rolled out at the end of October.Future plans centre on the establishment of RLabs as a social franchise in other locations. Those already confirmed include RLabs Eastern Cape (end of 2010), RLabs Southeast Asia (end of 2010), RLabs Kenya (early 2011), RLabs Johannesburg (early 2011), RLabs Netherlands (early 2011), RLabs Brazil (end of 2011) and RLabs Namibia (late 2011).http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=RLabslast_img read more

African free trade area ‘boost for BRICS’

first_img15 June 2011The historic $1-trillion African free trade area, the first vital steps towards which were taken over the weekend, will serve as a major boost for the BRICS grouping, says International Marketing Council of South Africa CEO Miller Matola.Leaders of 26 countries African countries, meeting in Johannesburg over the weekend, agreed to formally launch negotiations to establish a grand free trade area pulling together three regional economic communities, namely the Common Market for East and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community.The agreement centres on creating the continent’s biggest free trade bloc to create a single continent-wide market estimated to be worth $1-trillion by 2013. The countries involved have an aggregate GDP of US$860-billion and a combined population of 590-million.One massive market“The BRICS countries [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] will welcome the prospect of interacting with a combined unit rather than having to deal will the countries in question on an individual basis,” Matola said in a statement on Monday.“In similar vein, the envisaged grand free trade area would contain considerably more muscle than its constituent parts.”The BRICS members would then deal with one massive market, instead of 26 separate ones, Matola said. South Africa, being both a member of BRICS and of the soon-to-be free trade area, would be particularly advantaged.Matola predicted that the free trade area would promote greater interaction between BRICS and Africa, especially in light of the International Monetary Fund’s optimism about Africa’s growth potential, and the likelihood that the free trade area would draw other African countries into joining.While Africa is a growing opportunity and experiencing the third-fastest growth behind China and India, a mere 10% of Africa’s trade is between fellow countries on the continent.South Africa ‘will not dominate’Briefing journalists in Parliament in Cape Town on Monday, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said that although South Africa was by far the largest economy of the 26 across the three regions, it would not dominate trade when the free trade area was set up, as all members would play a role in negotiations.Added to this, the 25 other member countries did not hold any expectation that South Africa would finance all the continent’s necessary infrastructure development projects, he said.But Davies was quick to point out that South African companies should get involved in key infrastructure projects, such as the North-South Corridor which cuts through Zambia and Zimbabwe.He said formal trade blocs would never reach full fruition unless the continent’s infrastructure backlog was addressed. To this end, about 80 projects were already on the go in the North-South Corridor.Countries outside the FTADavies also stressed that the planned free trade area would not necessary affect any trade relationships South Africa had with African countries outside the free trade area.Davies said the idea was to set up a single regional economic community covering all three existing blocs.Next up for discussion would be to include West African countries in the free trade negotiations, he said, explained that practical considerations meant the three grouping that met in Johannesburg were already predisposed to working together.Many of the members of the three blocs were already members of more than one of these regional economic communities, which meant they had to work together, particularly in achieving a unified customs union. Under World Trade Organisation rules, member countries cannot be a member of more than one customs union.First phase ‘in three years’The first phase of setting up the 26-country free trade area is expected to come into effect in three years, Davies said, noting that member countries had agreed to carry out negotiations in two phases, with the first to be concluded within 36 months.Phase one, the current phase, was a trading goods agreement dealing with tariff liberalisation, rules of origin, dispute resolution, customs procedures and simplification, transit procedures and non-tariff barriers.The first phase would also include the movement of business people across the three regions, Davies said.Phase two would tackle trading services, competition policy and intellectual property rights across the three regional blocs. A work programme to address industrial development still needed to be set up. Davies said that although no time-frame had been set as yet for the conclusion of this phase.He said the time-period for phase one had been set at a rather short three years as each of the regional economic communities already ran free trade agreements confined to their respective communities.Members from the three regional economic communities had also committed to ongoing monitoring and negotiations.Two committees had been set up, namely a tripartite trade relations committee, which would file quarterly reports, and a sectoral ministerial committee on trade, which is expected to meet every six months and report to the council of ministers on negotiations.Davies said negotiations would allow for special differential treatment so that smaller states would be treated more leniently in the implementation of tariffs and other objectives.Added to this, nothing would be agreed upon until everything was agreed in full, he said.At home, the South African government would engage at every stage with business and labour through the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).SAinfo reporter and BuaNewslast_img read more