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HUGE MEETING TO HEAR HOW DEFECTIVE BLOCKS HAVE WRECKED HOMEOWNER’S LIVES

first_imgDamien Mc Cauley demonstrates how weak the blocks are from his house built in 2006 . all the out wall have to be replace at his family home, and his family had to be moved out. Photo Brian McDaidA large crowd is expected at a meeting arranged for tonight to discuss the cracking and crumbling of homes acros Donegal as a result of defective blocks.Hundreds of householders are expected to attend the meeting which has been organised by the Micra Action group.The first public meeting held on the widespread cracking and crumbling of homes across the county caused by defective building blocks will be held at the An Grianan Hotel in Burt at 7.30pm. Damien Mc Cauley demonstrates how weak the blocks are from his house built in 2006 . all the out wall have to be replace at his family home, and his family had yo be moved out. Photo Brian McDaidThe meeting organised by the Mica Action Group, which is campaigning for a redress scheme from the government, is urging all homeowners affected or those interested in finding out more about this issue to attend the meeting to discuss the situation with the group and some experts.A number of Donegal TD’s and elected representatives will also be there to listen and to talk to those affected.Chairperson of the Micra Action Grpup, William McElhinney said the meeting wil hear foirst-hand how people’s live have been destroyed by the defective blocks.“This meeting will help us send a very strong message to Dublin that this problem is widespread and is having a devastating impact on the lives of affected homeowners across the County. “The Government do not believe this to be a major problem in Donegal and yet every day we are receiving calls and emails from people who are very worried that their homes are cracking and may also be built with defective blocks.“This public meeting is a great opportunity to create awareness of what we have been doing and to enable affected homeowners to talk about the devastating impact this has had on their lives. It also offers us an opportunity to provide information and to answer some of the key questions and concerns that affected homeowners may have.”The meeting will also give the Mica Action Group an opportunity to present some of the key findings from its own survey of affected homes.Political Representatives, County Councillors and the County Manager, Seamus Neely, have also been invited.* The Mica Action Group was formed earlier this year by individuals whose homes are cracking due to defective blocks. The objective of the group is to seek a redress scheme from the government for homeowners affected by this issue. The group has engaged with government on a local and on a national level and are demanding that an independent panel be set up to determine the exact scale and the cause of the problem in the county. HUGE MEETING TO HEAR HOW DEFECTIVE BLOCKS HAVE WRECKED HOMEOWNER’S LIVES was last modified: November 17th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:blocksdefectivedonegalmeetingMicra Action grouplast_img read more

Half-time: Chelsea 3 Villa 0

first_imgChelsea are on course for a resounding victory at Stamford Bridge.Fernando Torres’ third-minute opener and David Luiz’s free-kick put them firmly in command before Branislav Ivanovic headed in from close range.Torres found the top corner with a cracking 15-yard header from Cesar Azpilicueta’s right-wing cross – his seventh goal in six games.Chelsea then thought they should have been awarded a penalty when Nathan Baker grappled with Torres as the striker attempted to meet a cross from Ashley Cole.It mattered little, as by the 35th minute the Blues were 3-0 up.The free-kick from Luiz was a beauty which gave keeper Brad Guzan no chance, and Ivanovic netted from the rebound after Gary Cahill’s effort had been parried.Luiz is playing in midfield alongside Frank Lampard, who is making his 500th Premier League start.Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Luiz, Lampard, Moses, Mata, Hazard, Torres.Subs: Turnbull, Ramires, Oscar, Ferreira, Marin, Piazon, Ake.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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Nigerian project wins top award

first_imgCows to Kilowatts takes abattoir waste and converts it into a low-cost renewable energy source. (Image: stock.xchng) An innovative Nigerian project that processes abattoir water and converts the collected organic waste into fertiliser and methane, has won the 2009 Intel Environment prize at the annual Tech Awards in the US.The Tech Awards, held this year in San Jose, California, in November, honoured creativity and inventiveness across a range of fields, including the environment, education, science, health and more.The project, titled Cows to Kilowatts, was founded by civil engineer Dr Joseph Adelgan. In developing countries especially, abattoir waste is a major source of water pollution and greenhouse gas production. Through the processing of organic waste, the project helps mitigate one of the biggest threats to the future of the planet, as well as promote the use and benefits of renewable energy.Adelgan is the founder of the Global Network for Environment and Economic Development Research (Gneeder), an NGO that that works in poor urban communities to improve quality of life, reduce air pollution and create cheap sources of domestic energy.The organisation is currently working on another power-generating project for impoverished West Africans, using cassava factory waste.Projects are based in Nigeria and Ghana at the moment, but there are plans to roll them out in other sub-Saharan countries.Keeping water cleanIn Nigeria regulation of abattoir waste is lax, and there are few facilities for water treatment. In Ibadan, the country’s second biggest city, waste from the Bodija Municipal Abattoir used to run out into open drains. These are connected to surface water sources, which resulted in severe contamination of groundwater with pathogens such as salmonella, Escherichia coli, and the deadly Rift Valley fever virus.The waste water from this abattoir has an extremely high biochemical oxygen demand, which is an indicator of organic pollution. Communities living in the area had no choice but to use the contaminated water, so the situation was desperate.“People were drinking from shallow wells,” said Adelgan in an interview, “and people in the neighbourhood were getting sick. They didn’t understand why they were getting sick.”Cows to Kilowatts started off as a collaborative project between Gneeder, the Centre for Youth, Family and the Law, and the Sustainable Ibadan project. The initial goal was merely to treat the abattoir waste in an effluent plant, rendering it less harmful to communities and the environment and preventing groundwater pollution.However, the team soon came across a related problem – the decomposing organic waste that was releasing carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. Both are greenhouse gases, but methane is 23 times more lethal in bringing about climate change than carbon dioxide.A new strategy using biogas technology was introduced. Applicable on both large and small scales, the process uses reactors to digest organic waste and convert it into low-cost energy.The three founding organisations joined up with scientists at the Biogas Technology Research Centre at Thailand’s King Mongkut University of Technology Thonburi, and with funding from the UN Development Programme in Nigeria, they designed and built a pilot biogas plant in Ibadan. This uses an anaerobic fixed film digester to break down the waste. The resulting sludge is turned into high-quality organic fertiliser, and methane and carbon dioxide are collected before they can dissipate into the atmosphere and cause harm.The plant supplies around 5 400 cylinders of biogas per month, which is used for cooking, electricity generation, and to power vehicles – at just 25% of the cost of liquefied natural gas. Furthermore, the organic fertiliser is sold to farmers at a fraction of the cost of chemical fertiliser.Poor families often have to rely on kerosene, paraffin and wood for heating, cooking and light, which pollute the air in the home. By using biogas they not only improve their living conditions, but also help curb deforestation, as the demand for wood drops.Honouring innovationEstablished in 2001, the Tech Awards came about as a result of the State of the Future report, a publication of the Millennium Project of the American Council of the United Nations University. The report stated that acknowledgement of innovation through awards is a valuable tool for stimulating scientific and technological breakthroughs to improve people’s quality of life.The Tech Awards programme pays tribute to technology that enables people to live a better life. It honours 15 enterprising projects in five categories: health, education, equality, the environment, and economic development. There are three winners in each category, and the top five laureates walk away with US$50 000 (R378 717) each.Laureates are then inducted into the Tech Awards Network, which provides opportunities for learning, networking and collaboration.last_img read more

Tackling Sun City’s golf courses

first_img25 November 2010The Gary Player and Lost City golf courses at Sun City may offer top-quality challenges for serious golfers, but do they also offer an enjoyable challenge for those with high handicaps? We set off to find out – and to answer a few other nagging questions about a casino resort with apartheid-era origins.Sun City occupies an ambiguous place in the minds of many South Africans.On the one hand, it symbolises glitz, glamour and family fun, while the architectural excesses of the Lost City complex represent hotel magnate Sol Kerzner’s entrepreneurial daring.On the other hand, located in the former black homeland of Bophuthatswana, Sun City has its origins in apartheid’s Bantustan system. In recent years – as other casino complexes have sprung up around the country – it has been unable to escape the tawdriness often associated with gambling venues.The golf courses at Sun City evoke similarly two-sided responses.During South Africa’s sporting isolation, the Million Dollar Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club was one of few events able to lure famous sportsmen to the country. Post-apartheid, the tournament, in its later incarnation as the Nedbank Golf Challenge, flourished, as audiences delighted in watching local heroes Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and company take on the world’s best on home turf.The Lost City course was added in 1993, boasting crocodile-filled water hazards and Africa-shaped greens.Yet nagging questions remain. Should Seve Ballesteros, Bernard Langer, Ian Woosnam and company have come to the country with the apartheid regime still firmly in place? Where do we place South African golfers such as David Frost and Fulton Allem, who won in the late 1980s and early 1990s?Was the Lost City layout conceived as a top quality course or a gimmick to attract tourists daunted by the championship Gary Player Country Club course? Will the Nedbank Golf Challenge struggle, as it has done in recent years, to attract the world’s top professional golfers?With the likes of Robert Allenby, Anders Hansen, Eduardo Molinari, Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and local favourites Louis Oosthuizen, Tim Clark, Ernie Els, and Retief Goosen travelling to Sun City in December for the 30th edition of the tournament, the last question doesn’t seem to need an answer.Million-dollar courseFor most amateurs, serious golfers and weekend hackers alike, there is another important question: will I get my money’s worth? After all, the cost of playing at either course is substantial. Both have more or less maintained their places in Golf Digest magazine’s rankings over the years – the Gary Player is a regular second, the Lost City fluctuates between the ‘teens and twenties – and with this status comes high expectations.I was unsure what to expect when I joined a party of 12 guys driving west out of Johannesburg for a golfing weekend (unsure about the golf, that is; I took it for granted that there would be plenty of banter, braaivleis and probably also some bad luck at the blackjack tables). We were a group of 30-somethings, of the generation who grew up listening to the theme song of the Million Dollar Challenge as the soundtrack to a first week of school holidays spent glued to the television:“It’s the million-dollar shotSo give it all you’ve gotAnd you could be the hero of the day!It’s the million-dollar shotAnd if you play it hotYou could have a million dollars coming your way…”As a result, the Gary Player course had become sacred terrain to us – our adolescent golfing heroes walked on its fairways, its bunkers and water hazards and greens were their epic battle grounds. We had spent years imagining what it would be like to play its iconic holes: the par-five ninth with the island green, the equally lengthy 14th with the enormous bunker and its deadly love grass, the 18th with its dog-leg to the left over the lake and fountain.In real life, the course did not disappoint. It was in fine but unforgiving condition; the kikuyu grass rough, which had been kept fairly short for the 2009 Nedbank Golf Challenge, had grown syrupy-thick by the time we visited some months later.Never mind the bushveld – what really makes a round at the Gary Player so tough is the wide fringe of unmowed kikuyu around the regulation terrain. Miss the narrow fairways by more than a couple of metres and your ball can be plugged or even disappear.At under 6 000m off the club tees, it isn’t a long course, although the championship tees add another 500m, and that is doubled off the pro tees. But the Black Knight, as Player is known, has designed a course requiring accuracy.While the ninth, 14th and 18th may lend themselves to impressive television camera angles, amateur golfers find unexpected challenges at the par-three fourth, where their shots fly downhill over water, a limited view of the fairway from the 11th tee, and bunkers in the line of a decent drive on the 17th, as well as the watersports lake skirting the approach to the green.Our caddies, who knew the course backwards, kept us entertained with light-hearted quips when they realised that we weren’t scratch golfers.Tranquil settingThe Lost City golfing experience is markedly different in some respects – carts are compulsory, for instance – but the service is similarly polished. After struggling through the first eight holes under the baking Pilansberg sun, there’s a certain comfort in being asked to place your halfway house order before you walk onto the ninth tee.The view from the Lost City clubhouse, over the lake that divides the ninth and 18th fairways, is picturesque. One can’t necessarily say the same thing of the view towards the clubhouse, which is built of the same artificial orange-brown rocks as the Valley of the Waves and other structures in the vicinity.But if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief, the sight of the Palace of the Lost City’s turrets rising above thorn tree scrub is pretty impressive. There are vistas aplenty over the bush, koppies and savannah plains that surround and sometimes form part of the course, especially from the elevated tees of numerous holes on the back nine (11 and 13 to 16).The pleasure of playing the Lost City course is, in fact, partly attributable to distractions from golf: the birdlife is abundant, it isn’t unusual to see some variety of buck or a metre-long monitor lizard crossing the cart path, and even the odd elephant can be spotted brooding behind the out-of-bounds fence. It goes without saying that the inhabitants of the crocodile pit at the signature 13th hole are a drawcard, to overseas golfers in particular.Nonetheless, while it is a less punishing layout than the Gary Player, this is one of those courses about which the most mundane advice remains applicable: take a lot of balls.The description of the Lost City as a desert course – and when you’re standing in the larger bunkers, it can feel like the Kalahari – shouldn’t be taken as an indication of wide open space. There is plenty of thick stuff lining the fairways, and precision driving is a challenge if you’re playing off the back tees, in which case the course measures an intimidating 6 900m in length.So, back to some of those tricky questions. Can the twin Sun City courses be both top-quality challenges for serious golfers and “fun” for those with high handicaps? Undoubtedly. Have they left behind the taint of apartheid in the 1980s? Happily. And will they continue to offer excellent value for the locals and international visitor? If the experience of twelve high-handicapping, admittedly nostalgic, yet not easily impressed golfers on tour is the benchmark, then the answer is a resounding yes.First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Gallery: Eastern Cape, a place of natural wonders

first_imgCross the border into the Eastern Cape, whether along the N6 or N2, and an overwhelming calm takes over. Its green hills, dense forests and warm seas embrace the visitor, revealing all that is sacred and making you feel as if you have arrived home.The Eastern Cape’s landscape is varied and suits the taste of any tourist. You can ski the alpine slopes of Tiffindell, hike the forests of Tsitsikamma, lounge on any of its golden beaches and take in the savannah culture of the Karoo. (Images: Shamin Chibba, unless stated otherwise)Compiled by Shamin ChibbaIt’s September. It’s spring in South Africa – and Tourism Month, celebrated this year with the theme “Tourism for All”. To inspire your next road trip we bring you nine galleries, one for each province, showcasing our country’s remarkable beauty and diversity.A thriving tourism industry means South Africa is closer to achieving its National Development Plan goals of skills development and creating decent employment through inclusive economic growth.The Eastern Cape’s natural landscape is varied and caters for tourists of all kinds. One can ski the alpine slopes of Tiffindell, surf the Supertubes in Jeffrey’s Bay , hike the forest in Hogsback and explore the oddities in the savannah-like Karoo towns.The Eastern Cape is a storied part of South Africa, filled with people carving out a life in what is the country’s poorest province. Despite this, its people have a lot of heart and if you spend a little time with them, you will feel as if you have always belonged there.The East London beachfront hosts one of the country’s biggest New Years’ bashes each year. But between the parties, it is calm, with many East Londoners walking or running on the promenade at the end of the day.Kologha Forest in Stutterheim is the second largest natural forest in South Africa after the Knysna Forest. It can be explored by foot, mountain bike and even on horseback. For those looking to do a spot of fishing, the forest’s waterways are home to trout. Be on the lookout for the forest’s many inhabitants, which include bushpigs, bats, monkeys, duikers and numerous birds. (Image: SA-Venues.com)Built between 1860 and 1880, the Donkin Street terraced houses in Port Elizabeth are actually integrated as a single unit. The whole street was declared a national monument in 1967.Tiffindell Ski Resort, in the Southern Drakensberg, is South Africa’s only ski and snowboarding resort. Established in 1993, the resort has since become the country’s winter playground. It uses snow making and grooming machines to maintain the ski hill. (Image: Tiffindell Ski Resort)The Eco Shrine in the mystical village of Hogsback is a nod to the power of art, nature, science and the sacred. In the distance are the three ridges from which the Hogsback takes its name. Some speculate that Hogsback’s magical surrounds inspired JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Residents have run with the claim, with names like Camelot, Hobbiton, Rivendell, The Shire, Lothlorien and Middle Earth seen everywhere. When you visit, don’t forget to hike to the Madonna and Child waterfall. (Image: Flickr, South African Tourism)The Big Tree in Tsitsikamma is estimated to be between 600 and 800 years old, stands 36.6 metres tall and has a trunk circumference of nine metres.Found in the town of Storms River, the Big Tree is a yellowwood. This species, South Africa’s national tree, is endangered. Before yellowwoods were cut and logged almost to extinction, they dominated country’s landscape, particularly in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape. Today, there is just 10% of the yellowwood trees of 350 years ago.Hole in the Wall is a village south of Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast. In isiXhosa, the area is called esiKhaleni, which means ‘the place of sound’. Some say the name comes from the cracking sound made by waves slapping the rocks while others believe it comes from a legend about a young maiden who fell in love with one of the mythical ‘sea people’. (Image: Flickr, South African Tourism)Jeffrey’s Bay is South Africa’s number one surf spot, known as Supertubes. It attracts some of the best surfers in the world for the Billabong Surf Pro Championship, in July each year. (Image: Flickr, South African Tourism)The beachfront in East London is a great place for tourists to pick up arts and crafts.The N2 road runs along the Eastern Cape coast, linking Cape Town and Durban and beyond. It forms part of the Garden Route. The road cuts through some of the country’s diverse flora and fauna as well as picturesque Eastern Cape towns such as Port Alfred and Kenton-on-Sea.A man and his dog, a common sight at Nahoon Beach, East London.In Nieu Bethesda, The Owl House is a testament to the power of imagination. With its numerous sculptures of owls, bottle-skirted hostesses, mermaids, camels and pilgrims, The Owl House has become almost a required stop for visitors to the Karoo village. Depending on your outlook, the place is either weird or wonderful. (Image: Flickr, South African Tourism)Donkin Reserve in Port Elizabeth’s city centre was declared a public space in perpetuity by Sir Rufane Donkin. It has a lighthouse and stone pyramid monument upon which an inscription was placed by Donkin in honour of his late wife, Elizabeth, after whom the city was named.The Paul Sauer Bridge, better known as Storms River Bridge, has become symbolic for travellers along the Garden Route. It was the highest concrete arch in Africa at 120 metres above the river until the Bloukrans Bridge was built in 1984. The latter stands at 216 metres above the river. Both bridges are on the N2. (Image: Flickr, South African Tourism)In times long past, the home of elephants and, more recently, woodcutters, the village of Storms River attracts the curious tourist with its charm and special ambiance. With little lighting, silence and few people, it is perfect for anyone in search of a bit of solitude.Whatever your taste, you can find pristine beaches void of people or touristy resorts along the long Eastern Cape coast.The East London Golf Club, one of the oldest and best courses in the country, has hosted the South African Championships six times and the Africa Open Golf Challenge. Overlooking Nahoon Beach and Nature Reserve, it is considered a must-play course by golfers.The dolerite columns of the Valley of Desolation, just 14 kilometres from Graaff-Reinet, rise 120 metres from the valley floor. The nearby Camdeboo National Park, seen in the background, is known for its biodiversity, with more than 220 species of birdlife, 336 plants and 43 mammals. (Image: South African Tourism)last_img read more

Tripura to set up AIIMS-like facility

first_imgThe Tripura government would establish a high-tech hospital on the lines of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences at Delhi. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Wednesday visited Bodhjungnagar at the outskirts of Agartala to check the availability of land and work out other modalities.The Vision Document of the BJP released ahead of the Assembly elections in Tripura in February had assured setting up of an adequate number of multi-speciality hospitals with trauma care and an AIIMS-like facility in the State.After his visit, Mr. Deb said the site, which has more than 250 acres of government land, seemed suitable for establishing such a facility. “This hospitalwould help patients from other places, specially from neighbouring Northeastern States,” he said, adding that once it is set up, people would not have to rush to Chennai and other major cities for critical treatment.last_img read more