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Modernising SA’s air traffic networks

first_img29 May 2013 South Africa’s Air Traffic Navigation Services Company (ATNS) and French multinational aerospace technology firm Thales have signed several contracts in a partnership to modernise the country’s air traffic networks. ATNS is the sole provider of air traffic, navigation, training and associated services in South Africa and is also responsible for air traffic control for about 10% of the world’s airspace. It currently operates at 22 aerodromes around the country, including OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka International Airports Thales will replace the current air traffic navigation services management systems with the Thales TopSky-ATC (air traffic control) system, as well as install the newest Thales 970s radars at ATNS’s Wakkerstroom, Potgieterus and Rhodes radar sites. Under the agreements, Thales will also provide maintenance and support for all existing ATNS radar sensors and the TopSky-ATC systems used by the Air Traffic Navigation Services Company. “South Africa is emerging as one of the fastest growing and complex air traffic management regions in the continent,” Thales South Africa chief executive officer, Patrick Oszczeda, said in a statement last week. In the last 10 years African air traffic has increased dramatically, with South Africa being one of the busiest airspaces on the continent. It is necessary to improve management, advance technologies and modernise systems as a result. “This technology acquisition will allow ATNS to deploy a truly future-proofed technology capable of not only dealing with the issues and challenges of Africa today, but also capable of growing and adapting as the airspace becomes more complex,” Oszczeda said. The two organisations are also exploring further partnerships to unlock growth and development opportunities in South Africa. “In delivering services to our customers and stakeholders, technology infrastructure and innovation play an important role in ensuring that we are able to do so,” said acting CEO of ATNS, Thabani Mthiyane. “It was therefore important for ATNS to select a partner that will not only provide enabling technology but will work with ATNS in ensuring that internal technology innovation capacity and capability is strengthened for the purpose of long-term joint development and cooperation. “This will further benefit the know-how and skills related to air traffic management in South Africa as a whole, especially in the area of technology transfer and management,” Mthiyane said. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Big guns commit to Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek

first_img11 July 2014Though October is still a way off, the list of podium contenders for the 2014 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek is already an impressive one, with national, continental and world champions committing to the international mountain bike stage race.World championRecently crowned the elite women’s marathon world champion for a third time, Anika Langvad of Denmark has confirmed she will once again team up with Swiss ace, Ariane Kleinhans (Team RECM), in an effort to defend the women’s title that they secured in 2013.Also confirmed to contest the women’s title is former European and world champion and Olympic Games bronze-medallist Esther Suss of Switzerland, who will team up with South African marathon specialist, Theresa Ralph, twice a podium finisher in the Absa Cape Epic.Multiple Swedish national marathon champion, Jennie Stenerhag (Cape Brewing Co.), will join forces with multiple South African marathon champion, Robyn de Groot (Biogen Toyota), in another formidable pairing, adding further depth to the growing women’s field.UCI rankings pointsMost of South Africa’s top men’s marathon racing teams have confirmed that they’ll be on the start line of the seven-day race which, for the first time, will offer International Cycling Union (UCI) rankings points, making it only the second mountain bike stage race in South Africa and one of a handful in the world to hold that status.The RECM team that won the overall title in 2013 has confirmed it will return, probably with the combination of Erik Kleinhans and Nico Bell, while the FedGroup team of Kevin Evans and Max Knox are expected to resume their recently-formed stage-race partnership at the Cape Pioneer Trek.The German-based Team Bulls has confirmed it will also have a team on the start line, most likely the pairing of Tim Bohme and Simon Stiebjahn, while the current South African marathon champion, James Reid (Trek Factory Racing) will pair up with Rourke Croeser (Kargo Racing). They finished first and second at the recent national marathon championships.Also confirmed is Matthys Beukes, an Oudtshoorn local who, along with Gert Heyns, won the final stage and the African jersey at the 2014 Cape Epic. It has not yet been finalised who Beukes’ partner will be yet for Scott Factory Racing’s Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek team, but it’s sure to be a combination that will challenge for the overall title.RouteThe route for the 2014 edition was announced last month and will see the 500 participants covering a distance of 574km, with a total vertical ascent of 11 958 metres over the seven days.Once again the Swartberg Pass will offer a decisive challenge for the competitors on stage two. Besides an iconic mountain-top finish, the 86km leg has a formidable total vertical ascent of 2 781 metres.It is the richest stage in mountain bike stage racing with a total of R250 000 (about US$25 000) in cash, split equally between the first men’s team and the first women’s team to crest the summit.‘Honouring women’“Honouring women with the same prize money as that of the men will be one of our highlights in October, said Neels Grobler, the Chief Growth Officer at Bridge, said in a statement on Wednesday. “We realised that the women put in as much effort in their ride as the men and the next logical step was to reward women equally.“We believe that the UCI status, as well as the highest stage prize in mountain bike racing, will definitely elevate the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek. Bridge is thrilled to be associated with such an esteemed event in South Africa.”“The UCI status has raised the level of prestige even higher for the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek and we’re expecting quite a few more big name riders to enter the 2014 event over the next couple of months,” said Carel Herholdt of Dryland Event Management, the company that founded and manages the event.“But we want to state that while there is increased focus on the front of the race, we remain committed to making every single rider feel special, whether they’re chasing a podium place or trying to just beat the daily time limit. It’s a characteristic of our events that will never change.”A limited number of 2014 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek entries remain available.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Gogo takes her friends on holidays

first_imgMembers of Gogo on Tour at the Kruger National Park. (Image: Khensani Matjokane)What started out as heartbreak and loss ended up bringing a dream to life that has gone on to benefit gogos – grandmothers – by helping them to do things they were not able to achieve in their younger years.Thoko Matjokane, the chairperson and founder of the non-profit organisation Gogo on Tour, lost her brother and sister before their planned vacation. But she had a dream in which her late brother advised her to carry on their plans.Matjokane took the trip to Durban and when she came back she devised a programme for senior citizens to actively experience the country for which they had sacrificed so much. She rallied six of her friends and they used their pensions to start the initiative.Gogo on Tour, established in 2012, has grown in leaps and bounds in its three years of existence. Already it has over 60 000 active members. There are no registration fees to join or travel costs to enjoy the trips.ENJOYING THEIR GOLDEN YEARSKhensani Matjokane, Matjokane’s daughter and the managing director of Gogo on Tour, explains: “I believe we need to take care of the elderly and let them experience simple things that are fulfilling that they never got to experience because of all their sacrifices for their families.“With the rise of HIV/Aids in our communities, children are orphaned and gogos must step in and assume the role of parent once again. They become the breadwinners on the grants they receive, and therefore their golden years become a myth or wishful thinking.”Khensani still does not know how they get to make things happen, but they are never without. “I’m glad I have a strong support system to make this initiative work,” she says. “My friends know I will call them and ask if they could just give me R2 000 so I can get a bus for a trip and they oblige.”The initiative requires funding to succeed, she adds. The money is used for travel insurance, transport, accommodation, on-tour health care, food and entertainment. They are also used for the daily running of the organisation’s office and website.Khensani’s face brightens when she speaks of how the fulfilment of seeing an old woman smiling from ear to ear while sitting in a Jacuzzi, and a pensioner’s amazement after her first massage. “Those reactions are the ones that will always make me feel good about doing this. Having them discover something nice in their golden years is so fulfilling to the soul.”The “one foot in the grave” mentality needs to be eradicated from the minds of senior citizens, she adds, and giving them an enjoyable holiday goes a long way in doing this.In 2013, the Department of Tourism signed a memorandum of understanding with Gogo on Tour. This along with an endorsement letter issued to the group includes a work plan that details the relationship between the two parties.What she loves about Gogo on Tour is that it is all inclusive, Khensani says. “I received a call from a lady in Kyalami asking if she could join the group and I was gobsmacked because I [wondered] why she would want to join this initiative. Then I realised that it was about being around your peers. And because she has had the opportunity to travel she could add to educating the other gogos about its pleasures.”AVID COMMUNITY MEMBERThe elder Matjokane has long been a community leader in her hometown of Soshanguve, in Gauteng. She is a former executive member of the South African National Civic Organisation; and she has sat on the board of trustees for the corporate social investment division of South African Breweries, facilitating the first Kick Start programme that helped young black business owners in the small, medium and micro enterprises sector find funding and mentoring.In addition, when the price of bread began rising, Matjokane founded a community bakery that sold fresh bread at a reasonable cost and provided bread for impoverished families. In 1995, she was elected to sit on the first black city council of Pretoria, known as the Northern Metropolitan Sub-structure, where she served her community until she retired in 2000.last_img read more

The 7 Calls You Need to Make Now

first_imgChallenging Client: You know the client that pushes you to improve your results, the one who wants your very best performance. They nag you non-stop to do something about the systemic issues your industry experiences. They want you to be more resourceful and come up with something. Call them and see what’s on their mind.Dream Client: The biggest prospective client. The one you have pursued for years with no movement. Your competitor has them now, and they’ve kept them locked down for ages. You are never going to win their business if you don’t do something. Make that something a phone call.Lost Client: I know. They said they would never use you again after the problems you caused them. Never is a lot longer than most people understand. Time heals all wounds, and in many cases, the wounded has moved on and doesn’t work for your lost client anymore. Never can only be never is you give up. Call them and ask for a do-over.Best Client: When was the last time you thanked your very best client for being just that? When was the last time you told them you are grateful that they trust you with their business? Ask for nothing. Don’t talk for a long time either. Just call to let them know you are grateful for them.Best Mentor: There is someone who provided you with the right advice at the right time. They were there when you need some help and some guidance. Pick up the phone and call them to tell them how they improved your life. If you can and you will, tell them you intend to pay it forward.The One Who Needs Help: There is someone you know that needs your help. They need someone to care. Something as little as a well-timed call can help turn someone around. Make the call and do something to help.last_img read more

Wedding bells finally ring in newly-electrified Rajasthan village

first_imgWedding bells rang for 19-year-old Urmila in the nondescript Rajghat village of Rajasthan’s Dholpur district earlier this month, on the day the villagers cast their votes for Lok Sabha election, shortly after electricity reached the village. The small village with a population of 350 had been living in darkness since Independence.The village, which shares its name with Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Rajghat in Delhi, falls in the Chambal river basin region on the Rajashan-Madhya Pradesh border, which is a forest area. Because of the technical glitch of its location within the Municipal Council’s jurisdiction, the rural settlement was deprived of the benefits of schemes designed for panchayats.Electricity has arrived in Rajghat through a transformer installed by the State government after sustained efforts of a medical student and his friends, who have launched a campaign for improving the living conditions of villagers for the last four years with the help of donors and crowdfunding. The group also undertook a social media drive with hashtag #SaveRajghat.Urmila’s wedding took place after sunset on May 6 and a feast was given to the villagers and the baraat (marriage party), belonging to Agra district, for the first time in the midst of lights all around them. The poor villagers rejoiced at the ceremony, as the power discom officials promised to lay the lines to connect all the 39 households in the village with electricity supply.Crusader’s effortsSituated on the banks of Chambal river, barely five km away from Dholpur town, the small and dusty Rajghat village has no roads, water pipelines or basic medical facilities. The lone government primary school has only a few students. Ashwani Parashar, an MBBS student in Sawai Man Singh Government Medical College in Jaipur and a native of Dholpur, took up the task in 2015 along with his fellow students to provide basic amenities to the villagers.During the last four years, a kuchcha access road and community toilets were constructed, solar lamps supplied and reverse osmosis water filters installed with the help of donors. The power connection is the latest achievement of the group of students, who have also distributed utility items and clothes among the poor in the village.The villagers living in the vicinity of the river still have no access to clean drinking water. Urmila’s father Deendayal Nishad told The Hindu on Monday that the villagers bring polluted water directly from Chambal, where animal carcasses can be seen floating, and clean it with the help of filters. Though girls from Rajghat are married off to other places, the boys face difficulty in getting married, as no parents are willing to marry their daughters in the village because of its pathetic state. In May last year, when Pawan Kumar, 23, got married in Rajghat, the villagers were witnessing such a wedding after a gap of 22 years.last_img read more

Infogr.am wants you to work as a team on beautiful infographics

first_imgIf you’ve seen interactive infographics on the web recently, there’s a large chance they’re made using Infogr.am, a web based infographic making tool that allows you to simply put in data and generate beautiful graphical representations of boring numbers. Pies, charts, bars, galore!Even mainstream news sources like AlJazeera and The Guardian have used infogr.am and the best part is that the tool is completely free for all, with Pro and White Label accounts for added resources that can be purchased should you need be. Infogr.am has now incorporated a team based feature called “Infogr.am For Teams” where teammates can collaborate on their infographics and share resources on their Pro and White Label accounts. The feature has not been extended to the Free version of the tool yet.With Infogr.am For Teams, users who’ve signed up as a team will have a detailed history of all the changes made to the graphic file. The ability to have multiple members on the same account also means cost reductions for companies or cash strapped indie teams who need access to a well laid out and effective infographic generator.Even if you can’t use the Infogr.am For Teams feature due to cost or other limitations, the free web tool is still something that can be used irrespective of who you are, in schools, for projects, as a publishing tool and anywhere data needs some visual elements to spice it up. And who wouldn’t want that!last_img read more