26 November 2003“Everyone should take a trip to South Africa’s mecca, The Hell, at least once in their lives – preferably on a BMW motorcycle,” says German-born Juergen Muess, owner of Karoo Biking: BMW motorcycle tours and rentals in South Africa.Operating from Cape Town, Karoo Biking offers an increasing number of international visitors, as well as locals, four standard BMW motorcycle tours – two of which include an overnight stay in one of South Africa’s best-kept secrets, the Gamkaskloof valley, known as The Hell by residents of the Small Karoo.The 14-day Karoo / Garden Route / R62 tour takes the biker through some of the most beautiful landscapes that South Africa has to offer, travelling along the famous Route 62 through the Small Karoo and then along the East Coast to Port Elizabeth before heading back to Cape Town via the Garden Route.Day 4 of the tour is described as follows: “It’s hell. Today is certain to be one of the tour’s highlights. We’ll be leaving again at 9am after breakfast and be travelling over the Huisriver Pass, through Kruisriver and Matjesrivier to the Swartberg Pass.“At the pass’ summit (at around 1 568m) we’ll be taking a left and be heading off down Gamkaskloof to a place better known as The Hell. A majestic gorge characterised by soaring rock faces, fascinating plants, and clear falls of mountain water – this is one of the most isolated areas in South Africa. We’ll picnic in the mountains for lunch before the exciting trip down the valley to the Hell begins.“We’ll be staying in The Hell for the evening in original houses restored by the Nature Conservation Board. Mod cons are not the order of the day here, but we can guarantee you that you will be hard pressed to find a more stunning heaven anywhere in the world. We will barbecue in the evening and enjoy a few beers under the African stars …”Karoo Biking is not the only operator inviting tourists to discover SA’s diverse, spectacular landscape on two wheels (see Related Links on the right). MOTOBerlin is a BMW motorbike and adventure tour specialist offering tours in South Africa’s Garden Route, KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho, Mpumalanga and the Kruger National Park, the Kalahari Highway, and the Johannesburg to Cape Town route.“Few countries on earth can rival the grandeur and beauty of the South African landscape. Mountain ranges, sunburned deserts, deep forests, fruit-filled valleys and the endless coastline beckon you the traveller to come and see for yourself”, MOTOBerlin declares on its website.“What better way to traverse this giant canvas than on two wheels?”Muess says the South African motorcycle tourism industry is an untapped market worth investing in, pointing out that South Africa is now the fourth most popular holiday destination for the American market, which has around 20 million motorcyclists.South Africa is also a popular destination with German and British tourists, and Germany boasts nine million registered bikers, while the United Kingdom has about eight million bikers.For this reason, Karoo Biking will initially target the US, UK and German markets, with plans to expand into the Spanish-speaking market.The Karoo is a particularly good destination for bikers, offering wonderful hospitality, the opportunity to get in touch with local culture, and the opportunity to ride on both tarred and dirt roads.Karoo Biking’s machines come from the latest BMW ranges, to ensure its clients enjoy the best possible touring experience.Pieter de Waal, general manager of BMW Motorrad South Africa, says motorcycle touring is becoming an increasingly popular pastime: “Sales of our touring motorcycles have doubled during the past three years. This growth reflects the increased desire of South Africans to explore our wonderful country by motorcycle.”Says Muess: “You can bet that Karoo Biking will do its part, and make every effort to market South Africa and its more interesting nooks and crannies to the world, by taking its international clients to some of South Africa’s best-kept secrets in style – astride a BMW motorcycle.”SouthAfrica.info reporter
The National Health Amendment Bill has paved the way for the establishment of a new independent body, the Office of Standards Compliance, to ensure that South Africa’s hospitals and clinics comply with minimum health standards.The office will also advise the Minister of Health on the development of standards, norms and quality management systems for the national health system; inspect and certify health establishments as compliant with prescribed norms and standards; and monitor indicators of risk as an early warning system relating to breaches of standards. (Image: OHSC)Brand South Africa ReporterThe release of the National Health Amendment Bill has paved the way for the establishment of a new independent body, the Office of Standards Compliance, to ensure that South Africa’s hospitals and clinics comply with minimum health standards.All health care centres, including private ones, will have to get accreditation from the office.The establishment of the office follows the government’s commitment to improve the quality of health care in South Africa’s public health facilities and to strengthen the country’s health system through enhanced accountability.Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said in Pretoria this week that the office would ensure that complaints received from health care users or the public were properly and independently investigated.The office will also advise the minister on the development of standards, norms and quality management systems for the national health system; inspect and certify health establishments as compliant with prescribed norms and standards; and monitor indicators of risk as an early warning system relating to breaches of standards.Unannounced inspectionsMotsoaledi said the office, once established, would be divided into three units: an inspectorate, an accreditation unit, and an ombudsman to handle public complaints about poor services.“We will go to the institutions unannounced to monitor if the standards are being carried out, and with the ombudsman, members of the public should be able to share their experiences in the health centres,” Motsoaledi said.The Bill proposes that the office be headed by a qualified executive director and supported by competent personnel, including health inspectors, who may enter any health premises to inspect compliance with the standards.Motsoaledi said the office would also pave way for the implementation of South Africa’s National Health Insurance (NHI), as the provision of quality care would be one of the core requirements of the NHI.Improving quality of health careMotsoaledi has previously expressed his disappointment with the level of health care in many of the country’s public hospitals, and has, through his performance agreement with President Jacob Zuma, committed himself and his department to improving the situation.The department has identified six priorities for fast-tracking improvement, namely safety and security, long waiting times, drug availability, nursing attitude, infection prevention and control, and values of staff.Members of the public are invited to submit their comments on the proposed establishment of the Office of Health Standards Compliance. The draft Bill is available on the health department’s website, www.doh.gov.za.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, who was beaten up by a mob of cow vigilantes at Behror in Alwar district last week, died of serious injuries on his chest and lower abdomen, the autopsy report has revealed in its preliminary findings.The 55-year-old farmer from Nuh in Haryana sustained internal injuries on his lungs, while his ribs were broken and blood clots were found near his heart, stated the post-mortem report prepared by a four-member team of doctors and medical jurists. “It appears prima facie that Pehlu Khan died of internal injuries and heavy bleeding. The medical team has asked for viscera analysis for submitting its final report,” Alwar superintendent of police Rahul Prakash told The Hindu on Friday.The three accused — Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Yadav and Kalu Ram Yadav — who were arrested on Wednesday on the basis of video footage of the incident, were produced before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in Behror on the expiry of their one-day police remand. The court sent them to judicial custody for 14 days.Hunt on for 10 moreMr. Prakash said the police had identified 10 more accused persons in the case after establishing their presence on the spot from the video footage circulated on social media. Their names have been added to the FIR registered initially against six suspects on charge of murder and other offences. Three special teams of police officers were searching for the accused, who had fled their homes, and were conducting raids at their suspected hideouts, said the Superintendent of Police.Civil rights groups have sought immediate intervention of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to stop the “lawlessness and free run” given to cow vigilantes allegedly with the support of many people in high places.Asking whether the law and order machinery had been handed over by the police to the cow protection vigilante groups, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties said if this was not stopped, lawlessness would prevail on the streets and the State’s economic foundation would be attacked.Demands of activistsIn a memorandum submitted to Ms. Raje, PUCL State president Kavita Srivastava and other activists demanded immediate arrest of all attackers, suspension of Behror Station House Officer and resignation of Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria for “openly glorifying and lauding the criminals”.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) has sought a ‘progress report’ from the Tripura police on the investigation into rape, molestation and murder of women in the State. It expressed serious concern over the ‘spate of outrageous incidents against women’. “I have told the DGP to send a detailed report within a reasonable time, failing which we would summon them before the Commission,” NCW member Sushma Sahu told newsmen in Agartala on Tuesday.
In March 2009, IDG Communications launched its Amplify service, a social media marketing services group. The concept is akin to a custom publishing operation, but strictly focuses on helping marketers navigate and leverage the social Web. After about 15 months in, we caught up with Matt Yorke, IDG’s president of strategic marketing services, who gave an update on how the service is going.What kinds of campaigns is Amplify creating for its marketing partners?On the marketing side we’ve been doing this now for about 15 months and early on we had a lot of clients asking us about social media and asking for help. The first simple thing we did was build an ad unit, bringing the social Web into the unit, or sharing the ad unit within the social graph. We sold millions and millions of dollars with those types of units and it made us realize that there is another more complex part of the puzzle, which is social media services. We can help clients understand what the social Web is, how consumers talk about brands and from that, build a map to help clients design objectives around social media. What are the KPIs? And then around that, build a social media strategy.How has this aspect crept into your proposals in general? Are these standalone proposals or part of broader services?Pretty much every single proposal that leaves this office related to a marketing initiative has a great big chunk of social in it. It could be tactical where we build a campaign that brings the social Web into the ad unit or we broadcast the ad unit to the client’s social graph. Or it could be more strategic where we’re building Facebook or Twitter pages. We’ve worked with IBM, HP, Sprint, Microsoft, Dell and some smaller clients in the gaming space.What do these ad units look like? How do they work?It’s a standard banner or leaderboard, there are several different versions. But typically you’d see an ad and maybe there’s a video in the ad and then above the video there’s a count that shows how many PCWorld readers watched that video that day. It shows how many users engaged with the ad and makes it feel more personal. There’s an embedded share link and it can be embedded in a Facebook stream, which registers as impressions too.A similar unit has a running stream of people commenting about a brand or market. If you click on that link it drops you into that particular blog or article. It’s contextually relevant. Here’s more content around the ad unit from the long tail of the Web and here’s more users just like you who are commenting on it. We trust each other more than we trust the advertiser, it just means more.How are publishers uniquely positioned to offer these services?It’s about understanding how people engage with content, and that’s a publisher’s actual job. We used to build these very detailed qualification criteria for customers to get our publications, which brought us very close to the customer. Over time it became a battle of circulation and weren’t as close. Then the Web arrived and we didn’t know you at all. The social Web allows us to go back in time and get to know them better. We have a direct relationship with users again.
The unemployment rate for veterans fell to an eight-year low in October, an achievement a senior DOD official attributed to an improving economy, the rising number of corporate campaigns to hire veterans and a greater appreciation among employers for the professional attributes ingrained in service members.The veteran unemployment rate stood at 3.9 percent in October, while nonveteran unemployment was 5.4 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even more impressive were the employment gains by veterans who served after 9/11 — their unemployment rate was 4.6 percent, essentially the same as the rate for nonveterans.The philosophy behind hiring veterans has evolved from the “right thing to do” to “the smart thing to do,” Susan Kelly, director of the Pentagon’s Transition to Veterans Program Office, told DOD News.Kelly pointed to an increased understanding in the corporate world for the leadership skills instilled in every veteran. Beyond leadership, those “essential skills” include ability to handle work stress, persistence, attention to detail, interpersonal skills, teamwork and team-building, oral and written communication, decision making, training people, supervising, critical thinking and project planning, she said.“Employers have been telling us the last 18 months, ‘We can train them in technical skills, but the [other skills] take years to develop,’” Kelly said.Another key to the declining veteran unemployment rate has been the outpouring of corporate and nonprofit efforts to hire veterans and military spouses spawned by the White House’s Joining Forces initiative.At DOD, Kelly helped transform the Transition Assistance Program into week-long, mandatory training for separating personnel covering the skills needed to secure jobs, seek education and pursue optional training. She told DOD News that the professional skills possessed by service members are badly needed by a civilian workforce with significant skills gaps.“We look at these skills as an asset for the workforce, but our veterans have an incredible amount of attributes that can be used in all aspects of community life,” Kelly said. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
Katrina Kaif shoots for Elle magazine in May.InstagramBollywood diva Katrina Kaif is not helping us in the Indian summer by adding to the soaring temperatures! The actress has shot for exclusive pictures for Elle India’s May 2019 cover, photographed by Tarun Vishwa. After sharing her lovely pictures from the beach in the Maldives on Instagram, Katrina Kaif has posted a behind-the-scenes video from the Elle shoot, adding fuel to the fire!”I think it’s about wanting to learn, create, do something interesting. My mind is so attuned to work, so I think that’s what you attract. I have strong ideas about certain concepts, film ideas, or franchises that I want to create. I feel this is the time to try new things,” says Katrina Kaif, as she speaks to Rajeev Masand for the magazine’s cover story. The interview is titled Katrina Kaif Unplugged, where the Bharat actress speaks about her personal and professional life in a new vein.The pictures by Tarun Vishwa and styling by Rahul Vijay give a perfect summer vibe, with Katrina Kaif seen in colourful bikinis and beachwear. What adds to the beauty is the BTS video shot in black-and-white by Nirvair Singh Rai, and brilliantly edited by Nirvair along with Kanak AK Sharma.In her sexy romp on the beach for Elle magazine in the Maldives, Katrina Kaif appears just as she is – cool, carefree, free-spirited and at ease with herself. Take a look at the video and more pictures of Katrina Kaif here!
Free imageFirst Amendment advocates sued President Donald Trump on Tuesday, saying it is unconstitutional to block his critics from following him on Twitter.The Manhattan federal court lawsuit from the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University cited seven individuals rejected by Trump or his aides after criticizing the president. Besides Trump, the lawsuit also named as defendants White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Dan Scavino, White House director of social media.Jameel Jaffer, the institute’s director, said dozens of people reached out after his organization told the White House three weeks ago that it wasn’t permitted to block individuals from following the president’s 8-year-old @realdonaldtrump account.Trump doesn’t seem to be the only politician trying to limit his audience. Jaffer said numerous people have said they were blocked from the accounts of Republican and Democratic politicians after posting critical comments.A federal judge in Washington, D.C., recently ruled that a local official’s Facebook account was a public forum under the First Amendment, but higher courts have not yet addressed the issue, Jaffer said.“It’s fair to say that this is a new frontier,” Jaffer said. “The First Amendment principle is well-settled, but the applicability of that principle to this context isn’t an issue that the courts have yet had many occasions to address.”The lawsuit asks a judge to stop Trump and his media team from blocking critics from following his personal account, which has 33 million followers, 14 million more than @POTUS and 19 million more than @WhiteHouse.Dawn Dearden, a spokeswoman for government lawyers, declined to comment.According to the lawsuit, blocking people from following Trump’s account was a viewpoint-based restriction the U.S. Constitution doesn’t allow.It noted that Trump on July 2 tweeted: “My use of social media is not Presidential — it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL.” It also quoted Spicer saying a month earlier at a press conference that Trump’s tweets should be understood as “official statements of the president of the United States.”Federal agencies and courts treat Trump’s tweets as official statements, and The National Archives and Records Administration has advised the White House that the tweets must be preserved under the Presidential Records Act, the lawsuit said.Among plaintiffs was Rebecca Buckwalter, a Washington-based writer and political consultant who was blocked from the account on June 6 after she replied to Trump’s tweet saying he would have had “ZERO chance winning WH” if he’d relied on “Fake News” from major media outlets. Buckwalter received over 9,000 likes and 3,300 retweets after posting: “To be fair you didn’t win the WH: Russia won it for you,” according to the lawsuit.Others to be blocked included Philip Cohen, a University of Maryland sociology professor who called Trump a “Corrupt Incompetent Authoritarian,” and Holly Figueroa, a national political organizer and songwriter who was cut off May 28 after posting an image of the pope looking incredulously at Trump, along with the statement: “This is pretty much how the whole world sees you,” the lawsuit said. Share
Scientists Working Toward Better Batteries Citation: New Hitachi Li-ion batteries to last ten years (2010, April 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-04-hitachi-li-ion-batteries-ten-years.html (PhysOrg.com) — Hitachi has announced they may be able to double the life of rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries through the development of a new cathode material. The material was developed in conjunction with the company Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery, and while it will not be useful initially for small applications such as laptops, cameras or smartphones, it may be ideal for larger batteries in hybrid or electric vehicles, and for storing excess energy produced by wind farm generators. © 2010 PhysOrg.com More information: Original Hitachi paper (Japanese): www.hitachi.co.jp/New/cnews/mo … h/2010/04/0405a.html Explore further The new battery uses more manganese for the positive electrode and reduces the use of the far more expensive cobalt. Hitachi says the new cathode material is the composite oxide lithium manganese spinel (LIMn2O4), a crystalline material that is much more stable than the previous cathode material. Its stability makes the cathode more resistant to attack by the electrolyte, and inhibits leaching of cathode material into the electrolyte (both processes that eventually stop the battery holding a charge). The new cathode material extends the life of the battery to ten years from the more usual average working life of five years, and it also boosts the battery’s capacity. The battery will also be cheaper than current lithium-ion batteries because of the reduced use of cobalt.Lead-acid batteries are usually used for large installations because of their longer working life of up to 10 years, and also because of their lower cost. Lithium-ion batteries have about quadruple the power density of the lead-acid batteries, so if their lifetime could be doubled and the cost reduced, they could replace the traditional batteries for the larger applications.Lithium-ion batteries are found in almost all portable electronic devices these days, and the new battery technology may be able to be scaled down for use in these gadgets. The battery is at prototype stage at the moment, but Hitachi expects it to be available for larger scale industrial uses probably early in 2011.The new battery was produced with the aid of Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, and Hitachi hopes its concentration on batteries for ecologically sustainable industries such as wind farms and electric vehicles will help it return to profitability. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Image credit: Hitachi