Authorities in Sonora, Mexico are reporting that three women and six children were slaughtered Monday when their vehicle was ambushed by members of the Mexican cartel.According to the report, the dual US- Mexican citizens were traveling between Sonora and Chihuahua towards the US border in three vehicles when they were attacked.While authorities continue to investigate the incident, family member Lafe Langford Jr. shared details of the incident on his Facebook page:In the post, Langford identified the victims as María Rohnita Miller and her children 10-year-old Krystal Bellaine, 12-year-old Howard Jacob, and six-month-old twins Titus Alvin Miller and Tiana Gricel Miller.Langford stated that the vehicle in the post, which is believed to be Miller’s was struck with so many bullets that the car exploded.43-year-old Dawna Ray Langford and two of her nine children were also identified as victims of the attack.Another victim was identified as 31-year-old Christina Marie Langford who was traveling with one of her children. According to relatives, the baby identified as Faith Marie Johnson was found alive after see was thrown to the ground during the ambush.Several children were said to have survived the attack and are in the process of being brought to the U.S. border for medical treatment.Langford also reported that the family has had previous run-ins with cartel members but that the women and children were not the intended targets.Read more here.
August 12, 2020
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, this is “a big old fish.”In late December, a fisherman caught a massive Warsaw-grouper near southwest Florida. Now, biologists from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute have determined that this is one truly impressive catch.According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the angler landed a Warsaw Grouper weighing a whopping 350 pounds.The big catch happened in December with a hook and line in roughly 600 feet of water.Biologists with the FWC Research Institute estimate the fish is 50 years old.Warsaw groupers can grow to nearly eight feet long and can weigh up to nearly 600 pounds.The largest ever caught in Florida weighed nearly 440 pounds.While the FWC appears to be excited about this particular catch, they don’t promote fishermen targeting these fish. According to them, the “status of the population in the Gulf is unknown.”
August 12, 2020
Wildlife inspectors at the Miami Port of Entry made quite an unusual discovery last Monday: a shipment containing 1,400 pounds of dried shark fins.Officials say the commercial value of the fins is between $700,000 and $1 million.According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the contraband was found in 18 boxes on January 24. Officials believe the shipment originated in South America and was probably bound for Asia, where shark fins are used in soup and medicine.The shipment was falsely declared. Officials explain that it violated the Lacey Act, which prohibits illegal wildlife trade, and included species that are protected from exploitation by CITES, The Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna.No charges have been filed yet, and the investigation is ongoing.Up to 73 million sharks are placed into the global fin trade annually, according to reports.Oceana explains that shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, although buying and selling the fins is not. For that reason, the organization is asking Congress to pass the “Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act” in order to ban the practice across the country.“The seizure in Miami of 1,400 pounds of shark fins being shipped from Latin America to Asia speaks to the worldwide crisis facing sharks. Up to 73 million of these majestic animals are butchered each year for their fins. The United States plays a key role as an international transit hub for shark fins,” says Sara Amundson, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “It is time for the U.S. Senate to pass the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. Sharks are worth more alive than in a bowl of soup.”
August 12, 2020
18 Apr 2016 Late birdie clinches Hampshire Salver for Hilleard England’s Josh Hilleard kept his impressive form going with a one-shot win in the weekend’s prestigious Hampshire Salver. The trophy is awarded to the player with the best total from the 72 holes played during Saturday’s Selborne Salver at Blackmoor Golf Club and Sunday’s Hampshire Hog at North Hants. Hilleard (Farrington Park) was level par overall, having been fifth in the Selborne Salver on one-over par, and joint runner-up in the Hampshire Hog on one-under. He clinched his win with a birdie-par finish in the Hog, to leapfrog Tom Robson (Rowlands Castle), who had the misfortune to close with a double bogey on the 17th, followed by par on 18. This is Hilleard’s second individual win of the new season, following his success in the Berkhamsted Trophy earlier this month. He was also a member of the winning England team in the Costa Ballena Quadrangular Tournament in January. He is a member of the England Golf men’s A squad. James Walker (The Oaks) won the Selborne Salver with a pair of 68s for a two-under total which put him one clear of Jack Yule (Middleton Hall) and Jack Singh Brar (Remedy Oak). Walker is the son of Graham Walker, the lead coach to the England Golf men’ squad. Matthew Jordan (Royal Liverpool) was the clear winner of the Hampshire Hog on five-under par and four shots clear of the field. He had rounds of 67 and 68 – and could have been much lower had it not been for his solitary blemish in his second round, a triple bogey seven on the sixth. He came back in style, playing the back nine in four under 31. Hilleard, Robson and Ryan Fricker (Yelverton) were his closest rivals, each scoring one-under for the event. Click here for Selborne Salver results Click here for Hampshire Hog and Hampshire Salver results Image © Leaderboard Photography
August 4, 2020
Shaffery thanked the parents for theircandor and asked the community to keepcommunicating. Superintendent Louis Moore said he believes lanyards can be valuable, but from experience he had concerns about getting a buy-in from the students. He wants to make sure the lanyard would “add value” to student life in some way, so the passes are not left behind in the house. By Christina Johnson “Everybody who works for me knows that in an actual incident, you are going to respond,” Shaffery told about 30 people gathered at the school cafeteria for the information session. “You are not going to sit there, you’re not going to wait for backup, you’re not going to wait for several other towns to get here. You’re not going to wait for squat. ’Cause if you do all that, it’s over. It’s done.” The other case, in March, involves a female who Oliva said was involved in a threat that could possibly be credible. He declined to elaborate. A few others, working in larger school districts, advocated for electronic security passes on lanyards for all students for identification purposes. In January, a male RBR student posted an image of a firearm with a caption on social media that was interpreted as a threat by some in the school community. He was charged with creating false public alarm. Shaffery and Smith both like the idea ofstudent lanyards. His head is always “on swivel,” he said, viewing 100 cameras on two closed-circuit monitors, engaging with the students at his alma mater, dialoguing with teachers and faculty on any concerns. Smith is supported by six security hall monitors – one a retired police chief and another a retired state police lieutenant. There are plans for a seventh to join the team. “We have a zero tolerance. Years ago, you would never charge someone for something like that. We charged them. We’re not fooling around, we’re not playing games with student safety.” “Building bonds with students is reallyimportant,” said Smith, 31, who attendedRBR. “That’s how I gain information.” Patrolman Andrew Smith, an armedstudent resource officer (SRO), is on dutyduring school hours. This year at RBR it was students who alerted law enforcement to two incidents that sparked police investigations. Both cases are “still in the judicial process,” said Shaffery, who said he was unable to provide too much information because they involved juveniles. In a free-wheeling question-and-answer session, parents were invited to give feedback to school administrators and police. One brought up concerns about possible weak spots at entrances, which was noted by assistant principal Robert Donohoe. Inside the school there are visible signs of readiness. Blue “Wave” instant lockdown alarms are within reach on walls and on teacher lanyards, windows have been treated with a bullet-resistant coating to slow down an intruder, doors are numbered and hallways are color-coded for easy identification in an emergency. LITTLE SILVER – Police and administrators offered parents a glimpse into Red Bank Regional High School’s security plan Tuesday night, in a talk that revealed a history of preparation and sobering facts about how the school community has been forced to adapt to the nationwide threat of school shootings. RBR is one of the largest schools in the area, with over 1,200 students, 80 faculty members and 125 exit doors. Police Chief Daniel Shaffery said that for more than a decade the Little Silver Police Department has been working with neighboring departments and the county prosecutor’s office to be prepared to react to a trespasser, a bomb threat and other incidents – and fast. “Students in that position cannot come back on campus for any reason,” he said. “I will tell you we have zero tolerance. The two incidents here were reported to SARs, that’s the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security. That gets distributed to law enforcement.” SARs is the New Jersey Suspicious Activity Reporting System. Red Bank Regional High School educates 1200 students from Little Silver, Red Bank and Shrewsbury. RBR also includes vocational schools that serve students in and out of district. “It can be difficult, and sometimes it can backfire,” said Moore. “The issue is if you don’t think it through and you get a massive amount of noncompliance it puts you in a situation where you are two steps backwards. That’s why we’ve been very deliberate about it.” Another parent asked if the two students who left the school would be allowed back for any resources, or even testing. The answer is “no,” said Shaffery. School security is also a focus for Detective Sgt. Greg Oliva, who told the parents about some signs that might indicate intent to cause harm. Police want to know if a person is exhibiting suspicious behavior, he said. They want to hear about a new interest in weapons or violent behavior, among other things. Police can use interviews, social media investigations and internet browser history retrieval to gather information, he said. A full-time student resource officer has been assigned to Red Bank Regional High School since 2007, when the Little Silver Police Department, the Borough of Little Silver and the Red Bank Regional Board of Education entered into an agreement. Currently, about 1,200 students are enrolled at the school. Pictured, SRO/Ptl. Andrew Smith. Photo by Christina Johnson “Tonight wasn’t about bringing you in and scaring everybody but rather to get the dialogue going. We really appreciate it,” he said.
August 3, 2020
The Castlegar Vikings made it look easy by claiming another West Kootenay Men’s Flag Football League title last month at the Mount Sentinel pitch.The Vikes once again got past Dam Inn Mates, this time by a 26-12 score in sub-zero temperatures, to capture the league’s ultimate prize, the fourth straight for the Sunflower City squad.Staff and management at Mallard’s Source For Sports would like to salute Vikings with Team of the Week honours.The team includes back row, L-R, Jason Shufer, Rob Wadell, DJ Packer, Steve Mota, Bryan Lauson, Dave Perepolkin and Jay Trower.Front, John Lloyd, Dave Kravski and Carl Perepolkin.Missing: Bruce Lamont, Kevin Wilson, Neil Bermel and Jamie Simpson.
December 19, 2019
Living in South Africa? Then tell us your side of the South African story! (And stand to win a great prize – check the box on the right.) Inspirational storiesHave you, or someone you know – or your family, community, company, organisation – done something special? Something inspiring? Something worth telling others about? Tell us your story. If it inspires us, we’ll publish it! Success storiesHave you (or your friend, family, community, company …) done something EXCELLENT? Something stunning, stupendous, extraordinary … or just really good? Tell us your story. If it amazes us, we’ll publish it! Explore storiesTell the rest of the world what they’re missing! Tell them about that one place in South Africa – on or off the beaten track – that they’ve simply got to see before they die! And why. (And maybe also how.) Tell us your story. If it gets us packing our rucksacks, we’ll publish it (before we hit the road)! More storiesGot a story to tell that doesn’t fit into any of the categories above? Don’t let that stop you. Tell us your story. If we like it, we’ll publish it! But what if we aren’t …?Inspired? Amazed? Moved to start packing? What if we don’t like your story? Then we won’t publish it. But we’ll read it properly, and consider it honestly, and let you know politely, and hope that you’ll still speak to us! Any rules or conditions?Just two. Your story must be:South African (in some or other way; we’ll know if it’s not!)True (as best we can tell!)
December 18, 2019
The Houses of Parliament in Cape Townwere completed in 1885. This is the seat of the legislature, although government resides in Pretoria. (Image: Wikimedia) MEDIA CONTACTS • Estelle RandallMedia specialist, Parliament+27 21 403 8195 or +27 76 027 2181 RELATED ARTICLES • Millions vote in record SA election • State of the Nation address • Zuma: SA’s most important year • Government in South AfricaJanine ErasmusOn 31 May 1910 four disparate territories were united under the Union of South Africa, sparking a gruelling, 84-year struggle among the land’s indigenous people, who became disenfranchised.Both the African National Congress (ANC) and apartheid rose out of unionisation, and led to a series of historic events which eventually resulted in the democratic South Africa we know today.The Union originally consisted of the provinces of Natal, the Cape, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, and was later expanded to include administration of the territory of South West Africa.The Union shaped the political future of South Africa, notably in terms of the rise of the ANC, now in its 16th year of rule.In his State of the Nation speech delivered in February 2010, President Jacob Zuma called on all citizens to use the anniversary of the Union to reflect on South Africa’s many achievements, especially in recent years.“Significantly, the exclusion of black people from this union was one of the chief reasons for the formation of the African National Congress in 1912,” said Zuma. “As we mark this centenary later in the year, we should reflect on how far we have travelled as a country.”While it is a solemn day for many, the date stands as a reminder of the seemingly insurmountable difficulties South Africa has overcome, and the tremendous strides it has made in all spheres – politically, economically, culturally, and socially.Despite many years of turmoil, South Africans today can look back and appreciate that, even with all its problems and ongoing dissension, in many ways the country today is still a better place than it has ever been.Turbulent historyThe Union was formed while the country was under British dominion. The British had colonised South Africa bit by bit since they landed in the Cape in 1795, seizing it after the Dutch settlers lost their grip on the region. The Dutch did manage to regain control for a few years in the early 19th century, but the British finally stamped their authority on the territory in 1806, and began to expand their dominance.The arrival of about 5 000 British immigrants in the eastern Cape region in 1820 entrenched the British presence, although it intensified tension between the Dutch-speaking Boers who had settled on the land and the English-speaking colonists. The last straw for the Boers was the British abolition of slavery in 1828.In the years that followed there were many bloody disputes between the British, the Boers, and the indigenous groups of people living here. A northerly migration of Boers in search of greater independence resulted in the establishment of a republic in today’s Free State province, although they encountered much resistance in the Zulu-controlled Natal territory.The Boers did manage to soundly defeat the Zulus in 1838 at the historic Battle of Blood River, and they proclaimed the newly won territory, Natalia. But, by 1843, the British moved in, forcing the Boers to pack up again and move further north. Here they founded the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) or South African Republic in 1852, with its capital at Pretoria.In 1900 the British struck again, annexing the ZAR and renaming it the Transvaal colony. It later became the Transvaal province under the Union of South Africa.The Oranje Vrij Staat, or Orange Free State, meanwhile, was pronounced by the Boers in 1837 after the defeat of the Matabele chief Mzilikazi and the capital was named Winburg. But it only became an official republic years later, with the signing of the Orange River Convention in 1854.Like elsewhere, Boer rule there was short-lived and the British annexed it in 1900. The young republic effectively lost its independent status through the Treaty of Vereeniging, which followed the Second Boer War in 1902.Britain had long wanted a united South Africa, and after this, matters seemed to be finally moving in that direction. However, peace was not guaranteed as the rights of the indigenous people were not recognised by the treaty. Discontent grew and eventually spilled over in the Bambatha Rebellion of 1906, which saw the Zulus in Natal rising up against British rule and taxation in that province.The incident is considered by many to be the forerunner of the future struggle against apartheid, which would culminate 88 years later in South Africa’s first democratic elections and the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president.The British Parliament’s South Africa Act of 1909, which brought into legal effect the terms of government drawn up at a National Convention the year before, laid the foundation for the formation of the union. This legislative document served as the country’s constitution until its departure from the Commonwealth in 1961.Unity under the CrownWith the four colonies now united under one treaty and one flag, the British were concerned mainly about loyalty to the Crown, and promoting harmony among the different population groups – although it could be said that this only applied to the white settlers.After eight years of negotiation following the Vereeniging accord, the Union of South Africa was born. Of the four regions, only the Cape allowed coloured people to vote – provided they owned property.Unionisation enabled Afrikaner nationalists to eventually gain the upper hand. This would lead to the country’s biggest shame – the dawn of apartheid.Authorities were unable to agree on which city should be the capital of the Union. They finally decided that the administrative capital would be Pretoria, the judicial capital would be Bloemfontein, and the legislative capital would be Cape Town. This arrangement still stands today.At the end of the First World War in 1918 the Union took over the administration of the former German colony of South West Africa, under the terms of the newly established League of Nations. South West Africa became an unofficial fifth province, being administered in the same way as the other territories in South Africa.Another British colony, South Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe, had a chance to join the nion in 1922, but a referendum proved that most people there preferred to live under their own government rather than be absorbed into the neighbouring state.The Union of South Africa remained a dominion in the British Commonwealth until the enforcement of the Statute of Westminster in 1931 took away legislative power from British. This bestowed on South Africa a status equal to that of other Commonwealth territories, and did away with Britain’s right to pass laws on its behalf. The significance of this was that the South African Parliament gained greater freedom in dealing with the contentious “native question”.Power rested in the governor-general and the prime minister. The first prime minister was former Boer general Louis Botha, while the first governor-general was the Honourable Herbert Gladstone.But trouble was brewing. By allowing just two groups, the British and the Afrikaners, to have a say in the running of the territory, the British government had planted the seeds of apartheid. The Land Act of 1913 and the Urban Areas Act of 1923 were further omens of what was to come – complete segregation of the population.In some quarters, disapproval led to far-reaching action. The ANC was founded in 1912 following a protest gathering of Zulu chiefs convened by lawyer Pixley ka Isaka Seme, who is credited as the founder of the organisation.Sol Plaatje was named secretary and the first president was the Rev John L Dube. The organisation, known then as the South African Native National Congress, aimed to unite indigenous people and give them a platform to stand up for their rights.Nationalism on the riseThe establishment of the Union in 1910 also led to the birth of the National Party in Bloemfontein four years later. The party, which first rose to power in 1924, wasted no time in boosting the numbers of white voters, notably by allowing white women to vote for the first time in 1930. This instantly halved the power of the coloured franchise in the Cape.The more liberal United Party, a merger between the South African Party and most of the National Party, governed from 1934 to 1948. A small faction of Nationalists abstained from the merger. Calling themselves the Purified National Party, they rejoined the parent party when it came to power in 1948, to show solidarity with the strong Afrikaner opposition to South Africa’s obligatory participation in the Second World War.The new ruling party immediately put the wheels of apartheid into motion, passing laws such as the Group Areas Act of 1950, and the Bantu Self-Government Act of 1959, which created the so-called homelands. This meant that the greater part of South Africa was under the control of white people.The coloured people of the Cape lost their vote in 1968, and the government even tried to incorporate the administrative territory of South West Africa into South Africa as the fifth province, because it was felt that the Afrikaans and German citizens there would add strength to the Nationalist cause. But this move was not condoned and never officially recognised by the rest of the world.The Union of South Africa became a republic on 31 May 1961 – but not before the National Party’s apartheid policies had earned the world’s wrath. On attaining independence, South Africa’s racial policies were criticised and condemned by other Commonwealth members, and the country left the association under a cloud.http://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/governence-projects/blood_river/index.htm
December 18, 2019
South Africa’s automotive industry is a global, turbo-charged engine for the manufacture and export of vehicles and components. Many of the major multinational firms use South Africa to source components and assemble vehicles for the local and international markets.The automotive and components industry is well placed for investment opportunities. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterThe sector is one of South Africa’s most important, contributing at least 6% to the country’s GDP and accounting for almost 12% of South Africa’s manufacturing exports, making it a crucial cog in the economy. In 2010, 271 000 vehicles were exported. More than 28 000 people are directly employed in automotive manufacturing, with 65 000 employed in the component manufacturing industry. About 200 000 are employed in retail and aftermarket activities, with 6 600 employed in the tyre manufacturing industry (Automotive Industry Export Council, 2010).With its ability to link throughout the economy, the government has identified the automotive industry as a key growth sector. It already exhibited significant growth under the Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP), doubling in size since 1994.Its successor, the Automotive Production and Development Programme, which will be implemented from 2013, aims to stimulate the expansion of local production to 1,2- million vehicles a year by 2020 while significantly increasing local content at the same time.The automotive and components industry is well placed for investment opportunities. Vehicle manufacturers such as BMW, Ford (incorporating Mazda), General Motors, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen have production plants in South Africa, while component manufacturers such as Arvin Exhaust, Bloxwitch, Corning, Senior Flexonics have established production bases here.The industry is largely located in two provinces, the Eastern Cape (coastal) and Gauteng (inland). Companies with production plants in South Africa are placed to take advantage of the low production costs, coupled with access to new markets as a result of trade agreements with the European Union and the Southern African Development Community free trade area. Opportunities also lie in the production of materials (automotive steel and components).Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
December 16, 2019
Manual D is about comfort, not energy efficiency. Its requirement in LEED-H makes green certification too expensive to justify the benefit.I’ve been building solar and green for 30 years. I have built homes that Energy Star certify at 76% more efficient than code and score gold on our North Carolina Green Building Program as well as NAHB’s green building program, but I have never built a house that would qualify for even basic LEED-H certification. It doesn’t seem likely that I will unless I get a client who specifically requests the LEED-H program over the alternatives. “LEED-H” stands for the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Homes program. The reason why my homes don’t typically qualify is because they use oversize ductwork with airflow controlled by butterfly dampers. The LEED-H program requires that airflow be controlled through implementation of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual D duct design.What’s the difference between Manual D and Manual J?There is some confusion in the market about the difference between Manual D, which sizes ducts to best match the equipment and needs of the rooms served, and Manual J, which sizes the equipment to match the actual projected load of the home (and is a basic minimum requirement of Energy Star and most green building standards, including the NAHB/ICC National Green Building Standard.)The Manual D duct-design standard forces HVAC installers to use 4″ insulated flex for smaller rooms, 6″ for medium-size rooms, and 8″ for larger rooms. In my market its calculation and implementation adds significant cost to the HVAC system, especially on smaller, one-of-a-kind homes that LEED-H is hoping to encourage (the “top 25% of the most environmentally conscious builders” and all that). The Manual D standard is a good system and certainly worth rewarding but doesn’t really fit with the “mandatory minimum for green” in that it is more oriented toward optimizing comfort than saving energy, enhancing durability, or improving indoor air quality in the types of homes that would be reaching for LEED-H certification. It’s a comfort standard, not a green building standard.The green home I’m building now won’t pass LEED-HWe’re building an aging-in-place home with a hybrid solar-propane radiant-floor heating & domestic hot-water system with a 15 SEER heat pump for AC and back-up heat that is better than 30% more efficient than code. The house scores gold in NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines and North Carolina’s Healthy Built Homes, but it will not qualify for basic LEED-H due to a “lack of comfort” in the AC design that will be used at most two months out of the year. If not for this requirement I think the house would likely be LEED-H Silver but I’m not going to pay to have the house scored when I know that it will fail because of this single requirement.Seems like a missed opportunity to me.NAHB is taking advantage of that opportunityLast summer as we worked on the new NAHB-ICC National Green Building Standard the group discussed following LEED’s footsteps on this issue and decided that we shouldn’t disqualify a house for a green rating because the bathrooms and bedrooms might occasionally be slightly less comfortable than the living room. So we awarded points for Manual D implementation but didn’t make it mandatory. The goal is to step lightly on the planet, not to assure that everybody is optimally comfortable at all times regardless of the additional cost.—Michael Chandler is a home builder and master plumber in Mebane, North Carolina. His website is www.chandlerdesignbuild.com