(Photos: Larry Downing / Reuters, Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images)
As the nation prepares to mark the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, former president Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey were among the luminaries awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom established by Kennedy less than a year before his death.
Have you met the Bee Lady? She has raised more than £100,000 for charity
Her name is Jean, and she is 91 years old and known in the City of Hull as “The Bee Lady”, she has her own special bumble bee themed phone box in the city center and has been named Fundraiser of the Year at the Pride of Britain Awards.
Mrs Bishop started fundraising for Age UK Hull 14 years ago , after her husband died and initially rented a costume from the charity to attract attention while carrying a tin at shopping malls.
Her daughter later made a costume for her out of three hula-hoops and material bought from a charity shop which in later became a giant bumblebee. As a thanks for her voluntary work she has been to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen, was chosen as an Olympic Torchbearer in 2012,
She recently won an award at Pride of Britain 2013, ‘ The awards were amazing and all of the celebrities added to the £92,000 I had raised to get to my first goal of £100,000′. She states
Pam Davies, chief executive of Age UK Hull, said Mrs Bishop was “inspiring”.
“She has serious staying power to stand with that tin all day, and to do it all in that outfit, which isn’t the most comfortable, is incredible,” she said.
“Really her money has helped us continue to provide services for elderly people in the city.”
41 South Africa beaches awarded Blue Flags
The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) marked National Marine Week yesterday by celebrating the national launch of this year’s Blue Flag Programme at Ramsgate Beach in KZN, hosted by the Hibiscus Coast Municipality. Blue Flag is the prestigious, voluntary eco-label for beaches, marinas and boats that is recognised as a trusted symbol of quality and regarded by the World Tourism Organisation as the most well-known eco-label globally.
The 2013 International Blue Flag Jury results announced at the launch event revealed that a total of 41 beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status in South Africa this year, along with five marinas, two whale-watching boats, one commercial boat and one private boat. Five of the 41 beaches have provisional Blue Flag status pending a final assessment by 01 December. Furthermore, seven additional beaches have been given Pilot Blue Flag Site status. Internationally, 3,849 beaches and marinas have been awarded Blue Flag status for the 2013/14 season.
The Blue Flag Programme has been running internationally for 27 years this year and has been implemented in South Africa through WESSA since 2001. The programme is designed to raise environmental awareness and increase sound environmental practices among tourists, local populations and beach management. To achieve Blue Flag status, 33 main criteria spanning over four aspects of coastal management have to be met: water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management and safety and services.
WESSA’s Blue Flag Programme has grown significantly over the past two and a half years, with a 50% growth in the number of Blue Flag Sites over the past two years. The programme is now, more than ever before, in line with the International Blue Flag trend with an increasing focus on environmental education and the conservation of biodiversity. This is reflected in the fact that Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) are now represented within the International Standards of the Programme, and South Africa has as many as 25 Blue Flag Sites that are in or near MPA’s.
Speaking at the launch event the Minister of Tourism, Martinus van Schalkwyk, gave his full support - and that of the government - for the Blue Flag Programme saying that government believes in the programme and in the partnership that the programme is all about. He spoke about the importance of the interface between government and NGOs as the lifeblood that helps the country move forward, and spoke about the constructive relationship he has always enjoyed with WESSA. The minister made reference to a big debate throughout the world regarding values and the environment and said he believed that Blue Flag’s success has been the understanding that in order to protect what is worth protecting we need to realise the economic potential of environmental protection. He commended the Programme for having substance, a proper framework and much detail, saying that Blue Flag status is not achieved easily. He concluded by congratulating and thanking everyone involved with the programme, adding that it will help convince tourists to come to the local areas where Blue Flag sites are, bringing money, job opportunities and infrastructure to the respective local municipalities.
The Blue Flag Programme’s recent surge in growth in South Africa is partly due to the arrival of Blue Flag Marinas, but also due to major commitment from local government which has resulted in new municipalities joining the Programme, and existing municipalities increasing their number of Blue Flag sites.
While WESSA is pleased with this year’s International Jury Results the organisation believes the Programme needs to grow even further to include more coastal municipalities and marinas country-wide. The organisation sees much potential for growth through the Pilot Programme, which acts as an incubation period for potential sites where the site is interested in and committed to the programme but not yet ready to become a Full Status Site. WESSA also encourages the support of the relevant provincial authorities to perpetuate the success of the programme.
Says Ted Knott, WESSA’s National Coastal Programme Manager: “If we can succeed in having all of our coastal municipalities involved in the Blue Flag Programme and simultaneously ensure that the International Standards of the programme are maintained, then we can rest assured that our coast is being effectively managed; and marine and coastal biodiversity is being conserved.”
Maya Angelou Accepts Mailer Center Lifetime Achievement Award
(Photo: Discovery Education / 3M)
An 11-year-old boy from Florida has designed a new kind of sandbag to better protect life and property from the ravages of saltwater floods. His invention took top honors at a science fair this week, earning him a $25,000 check and a trip to Costa Rica.
UN ‘Champions of the Earth’ prize honours individuals fighting for the environment
Entrepreneurs, policymakers, activists and academics from around the world are among the winners of the United Nations ‘Champions of the Earth’ award, which recognizes those whose work has had a positive impact on the environment.
Recipients of the award took action to combat some of the most pressing environmental issues, ranging from deforestation and food waste to climate change and poverty.
“Leadership and vision will be the hallmarks of a transition to an inclusive green economy in developed and developing countries alike. That transition is under way and has been given fresh impetus by the outcomes of last year’s Rio+20 Summit,” said the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner.
“This year’s Champions of the Earth are among those who are putting in place the actions, policies and pathways to scale-up and accelerate such transformations. As such they are lightning rods towards a sustainable 21st century.”
One of the very, very small fringe benefits of winning a Nobel Prize, if the prize itself isn’t enough, is that you get an amazing story to tell for the rest of your life. Where were you when you heard …? people will ask. And you will tell them: At home, sleeping. On vacation. And it was 5 in the morning, and I picked up the phone, and there was this voice that sounded Swedish, and …
Alice Munro, either through the worst timing or the best, now has a fantastic story to tell. The newest winner of the Noble Prize in Literature doesn’t have to recall the moment of her win. She can replay it for herself, over and over, as many times as she wants.
Because she wasn’t around, apparently, when the Swedish Academy tried to call her to inform her of the news. So the Swedish Academy did what any would-be message-deliverer finally will when the phone goes un-picked-up: It left her a voicemail.
A wave power generator that can harvest energy no matter which way the sea is running has won the UK round of James Dyson’s engineering award.
The Renewable Wave Power generator seeks to overcome the limitations of some current wave power technologies.
These work best when struck by waves travelling in one direction and are less efficient in more turbulent seas.
The generator uses loosely coupled pistons to reap power from tidal waters that flow unpredictably.
The win means that Sam Etherington, who created the generator, gets £2,000 to create a bigger prototype that will undergo tests in water tanks to prove its efficacy.
Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo makes short list for Britain’s Booker Prize
Maya Angelou To Receive Norman Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Writing
Maya Angelou to Receive Honorary Book Award
Gay civil rights leader rightly recognized as the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington nears
From the article, just so you understand how awesome this man was:
“Rustin was active in the struggle for civil rights for sixty years, from organizing early freedom rides in the 1940s, to serving as key advisor to Dr. King, to helping found the A. Philip Randolph Institute. But his advocacy was far from limited to the rights of African Americans. He worked to end apartheid in South Africa, fought for the freedom of Soviet Jews, worked to protect the property of Japanese Americans interned during World War II, and helped highlight the plight of Vietnamese “boat people.” And in the 1980s, he also spoke up for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, testifying in support of anti-discrimination legislation in New York.”
Stellenbosch University women scientists honoured with national awards
Some of Stellenbosch University’s top female scientists reaped the fruits of their hard work when they were honoured with the Department of Science and Technology’s Women in Science Awards on Friday (16 August).
The annual awards ceremony was held in Johannesburg as part of the department’s celebration of Women’s Month.
The theme for this year’s Women in Sciences Awards was “The scourge of violence against women: what is the role of science and research?” This theme is derived from the 2013 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women’s theme (UNCSW) which is: “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”.
According to the organisers, the Women in Science Awards are aimed at profiling women scientists and researchers as role models for younger scientists and researchers and to encourage and reward younger women who are starting their careers as emerging researchers and scientists.
Prof Soraya Seedat of the Department of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences emerged as winner in the category for Distinguished Women Scientist in the Life Sciences. She was honoured for her outstanding contributions in the field of post-traumatic stress.
Seedat has held the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation’s South African Research Chair in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder since 2008. She also co-directs the Medical Research Council’s Anxiety and Stress Disorders Research Unit.
Seedat says the award acknowledges the contribution and commitment of the talented and aspirant young women researchers she works with.
“I am thrilled that the Department of Science and Technology had made a serious investment in women scientists all levels, particularly in the health sciences.”
Also among the winners were Mss Heila-Marie van der Merwe and Carien Coetzee who received scholarships for their master’s and doctoral studies respectively.
Van der Merwe is currently busy with a Master’s degree in Computer Science, while Coetzee is working towards a doctorate in Oenology (the study of wine).
Ms Elisabet le Roux, a researcher in the Unit for Religion and Development Research in the Faculty of Theology and also a doctoral student in Sociology, finished runner-up in the category Emerging Researcher: The role of science and research against violence towards women, and Prof Amanda Gouws of the Department of Political Science was third in the category for Distinguished Women in the Social Sciences and Humanities.
Finalists for this year’s awards competed in five categories, namely Distinguished Women (with subcategories), Distinguished Young Women, the role of science and research against violence towards women, Fellowships (masters students and doctoral students) as well as the TATA Africa Scholarships for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology for three masters students. [x]
SA animation wins in Brazil
South African animated 3D movie Adventures in Zambezia won the “best feature for children” award at the 21st Anima Mundi international animation festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last week.
The award is the latest in a string of successes for the debut feature from Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios, which followed up with its second feature film, Khumba, earlier this year.
Last year, Adventures in Zambezia became the first African 3D feature animation to be nominated - for best music and best voice artist - for the Hollywood-based Annie Awards, the most prestigious in the animated movie industry.
It was also named best South African feature film at the 2012 Durban International Film Festival, and best animation at the 2012 African Movie Academy Awards.
According to the National Film and Video Foundation, the film has been sold to over 40 territories, and within 12 weeks of its release in five of those territories had sold over 1-million tickets, notably reaching number 2 at the box office in Russia and Germany.
On Wednesday, the film will be widely released - at 477 screens - in France, having been snapped up by a French distributor, along with Khumba, at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival in May.
Adventures in Zambezia tells the story of a young falcon that leaves his home and his father in the desert to make a life for himself in the big city of Zambezia - only to find that surviving the urban jungle can be more difficult than living in the wild.
Directed by Wayne Thornley, it features an all-star cast including Abigail Breslin, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nemoy, Richard E Grant and Samuel L Jackson. [x]