Nairobi: The 1.4 million pupils at Kenya’s state schools scheduled to sit their final exams this week have no idea whether there will be anyone to invigilate (supervise) the tests, let alone mark them, Kenya Nation Times has reported.The public sector teachers needed for the work are in the fifth week of a strike that is pitting President Uhuru Kenyatta against the judiciary, exposing the fragility of government finances and sparking popular discontent over perceived inequality.The walkout began after the government refused to obey a court ruling that ordered a pay rise of 50-60 percent for teachers, who make up some 40 percent of public sector employees. The order came after the government failed to pay several promised salary increases in recent years.An appeal court upheld the original decision, but said an interim payment should be made while a formal solution was finalized.Last Friday a labor court ordered the teachers back to work, but ruled that the strike was legal, which the unions have used as justification to continue their action.Observers say they cannot remember the last time the government defied the judiciary — although some argue that the stand-off is a sign of progress in a nation where judges have regularly been accused of acting at the behest of the executive.Part of Kenyatta’s argument for defying the courts is that the pay rise was not allocated in the 2015 budget. In a punchy speech earlier this month, he said the government could not afford “one more penny” for the teachers.This financial year, the pay rise — totaling Kenya shilling 17 billion (Dh582.68 million, £106m) — would account for less than 1 per cent of government spending, according to Kwame Owino, chief executive of the country’s Institute of Economic Affairs.In some respects, Kenya’s economy, the largest in east Africa, is relatively healthy. Economic growth was 4.9 per cent in the three months to June on an annualized basis.But performance is thought to have slowed in recent months, and public sector debt has risen to about 50 per cent of gross domestic product. It is likely to increase further if, as expected, the shilling continues to weaken against the dollar. The currency has already fallen 14 per cent this year.The balance of payments, meanwhile, fell from a surplus of 8.8 billion shilling in the first quarter of 2014 to a deficit of 14.3 billion shilling in the three months to June 2015, although some of this can be attributed to imports of heavy equipment for major infrastructure projects.“The president is probably 60 to 70 per cent correct when he says the government cannot afford the pay rise,” Owino said.Against that has to be balanced what Owino calls “wastage” — a euphemism for corruption.In July the independent auditor-general fully approved only 26 per cent of the government’s spending and revenue collection. And in the 2014 Transparency International global corruption perception index, Kenya came 143rd out of 174 nations, with its score deteriorating slightly compared to the previous year.As the strike grinds on, there are signs of nascent social discontent. Public transport businesses have warned their earnings have taken a significant hit as a result of 300,000 teachers and millions of children staying at home. Meanwhile, the media are highlighting the 20-fold disparity between the salaries of junior teachers and the country’s MPs.Some MPs and analysts believe legislators’ pay should be cut to help fund the teachers’ pay rise and damp broader public sector demands for higher salaries.As the strike continues, the fallout is becoming increasingly political, with the opposition launching impeachment proceedings against Kenyatta and holding their largest rally in the capital for more than a year.None the less, few analysts believe the threat to the president is serious, considering his commanding majority in parliament, the fractious nature of the opposition and Kenyatta’s soaring popularity since the successful visit of Barack Obama, US president, in July. It is also still two years till the next election.“The strike is definitely serious for the government, but I don’t think it is sufficiently serious to pull the opposition together,” Professor Munene said. The economic fallout would be more significant, he warned, adding: “I think there probably will be a compromise, but it depends on how the government plays its hand.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
HUDSON’S HOPE, B.C. – The B.C Junior Rodeo Provincials will Barrel race their way into Hudson’s Hope this weekend.The top 12 ranked competitors in each event from the North and South region will be competing in three days of scoring. The top four finishers in each event will qualify for Nationals in Huron, North Dakota, as well as the Canadian finals in Merritt.Events for boys rodeo include; BAC-Bareback, BAC-Saddle Bronc, Jr Bull Riding, Tie Down Roping, Chute Dogging, Goat Tying, Breakaway Roping, Team Roping, and Ribbon Roping.- Advertisement -Events for girls rodeo include; Barrel Racing, Breakaway Roping, Goat Tying, Pole Bending, Ribbon Roping, and Team Roping.The rodeo starts at 10:00 a.m. Friday.
BOYS SOCCERRecords through Feb. 3 1. Wilson (20-1-3) 4. Bellflower (21-3-3) 5. La Mirada (15-2-1) 6. Norwalk (16-4-1) 7. Jordan (11-6-2) 8. Valley Chr. (9-9-2) 9. Gahr (7-3-2) 10. Artesia (11-5-4) GIRLS SOCCERRecords through Feb. 3 1. Wilson (15-3-4) 2. Los Al (11-6-1) 3. Mayfair (19-4-2) 4. Lynwood (13-3) 5. Gahr (11-3-2) 6. San Pedro (13-6) 7. La Mirada (14-8-2) 8. Lakewood (10-7-2) 9. Bellflower (9-6) 10. Poly (10-5-5) 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! 2. Millikan (23-1-3) 3. Los Al (18-3-6)
However, one genuine positive for United was the performance of Chile international Sanchez, who shone brightest on an afternoon on which Huddersfield were not shy in targeting the slightly built Chilean.Yet despite watching his new signing get repeatedly clattered all afternoon, Mourinho said the goalscorer could handle it as United reduced the gap to Manchester City at the top of the Premier League to 13 points“Alexis is a fantastic player but not a prima donna,” Mourinho said.“He’s a humble guy who doesn’t forget where he started and I’m pretty sure when he was playing in Chile he had difficult places to play with difficult performers and he’s quite used to it.”Volley good: Romelu Lukaku celebrates his goal against Huddersfield © AFP / PAUL ELLISApart from Sanchez’s brilliance, the other talking point at Old Trafford was Mourinho’s decision to drop Paul Pogba following United’s damaging defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in midweek.Mourinho said there had been no falling out with Pogba but he has risked annoying United’s fans after again criticising the volume levels inside Old Trafford.After first ticking off supporters following a home win against Leicester back in August, and then in programme notes before a clash with Everton a month later, Mourinho again felt the need to point out that the Old Trafford crowd is big, but shy.“It’s not Portsmouth,” he said. “I remember Portsmouth in the Premier League. It was such a small stadium that the atmosphere there was incredible. Here the atmosphere is a bit quieter, ours is not very enthusiastic but the players love playing here.“Paul is a fantastic player and no doubt for me one of the most talented players in the world but to sit on the bench for one day is not the end of the world.”Mourinho also used his post-match press conference to confirm that Marouane Fellaini is likely to be out until March after knee surgery.Ahead of kick-off, there was an impeccably observed minute’s silence to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, which falls on Tuesday, before the first half ended goalless after a physical Huddersfield team did all they could to keep United out.Most of their tackles were borderline legal as Sanchez, Juan Mata and Antonio Valencia were all roughed up while one challenge on Scott McTominay was particularly harsh.Sanchez got into the game more as it progressed and tested Jonas Lossl from 20 yards but David Wagner’s side were determined to play for a point and often had all 11 men behind the ball to frustrate the home team.However, after the break, Huddersfield’s resistance ended, when Mata delivered an inch-perfect cross for Romelu Lukaku, who volleyed home from close range.Midway through the second half, Sanchez was clumsily fouled by Michael Hefele on the edge of the box and although his initial spot kick was saved, he calmly followed up the rebound to finish off Huddersfield as they fell into the bottom three for the first time this term.“We wanted to be stable and compact and frustrate Man United for as long as we could,” Wagner said. “Unfortunately, that was not long enough. Defensively I saw everything I wanted to see and work ethic, desire and togetherness.“Unfortunately we were not able to create defensive moments. In the end it was a fair result.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000First class: Alexis Sanchez celebrates his first goal for Manchester United in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield © AFP / PAUL ELLISMANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Feb 3 – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho praised Alexis Sanchez after the former Arsenal man scored his first goal for his new club in a 2-0 win against Huddersfield Town at a “quiet” Old Trafford on Saturday.Entertainment was in short supply at Old Trafford despite the victory but Mourinho chided the home fans for not supporting his players loudly enough.
0Shares0000Muhoroni Youth players line up before their match against Kariobangi Sharks at the Kasarani Stadium on November 4, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19- Just two weeks into the new National Super League (NSL) season, former Kenyan Premier League (KPL) side Muhoroni Youth is facing a technical knock-out from the second tier after dishing out a second consecutive walkover last weekend.Muhoroni were set to play Police FC at their sugar-belt backyard but were a no show, just a week after dishing out three free points to KCB at Camp Toyoyo on what was to be their first match in the second tier since relegation. According to Football Kenya Federation (FKF) rules Muhoroni will be officially demoted to the third tier Division One league this Sunday if they fail to honour their tie against Nairobi City Stars at Camp Toyoyo.“That is the rule and we have to follow it. We are standing by our word,” FKF Secretary General Robert Muthomi told Capital Sport.When reached for comment, Muhoroni Youth chairman Moses Adagala said they had officially written to the federation asking them to hold their fixtures as they await a decision of the Appellate Court on their status in the NSL.FKF CEO Robert Muthomi (right) exchanges pleasantries with Muhoroni Youth chair Moses Adagala during a past event. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaMuhoroni had gone to the High Court in Kisumu contesting their relegation from the KPL arguing that they were unduly demoted having been disadvantaged with their games starting late in the season.However, Justice David Majanja threw out the petition, leading to the club heading to the Appellate arm of the judicial body.“We have our case at the Appeals Court and we wrote to FKF telling them to put our matches on hold until we get a determination. However, they said they will not postpone our matches. I am telling them that we will not play until we hear the result of our case,” a defiant Adagala said.He however failed to disclose the exact date for the determination of the case only saying ‘In two weeks, we will know our fate.”Muthomi has however quashed Muhoroni’s claims saying they do not have an injunction from any arm of the judiciary stopping them from listing Muhoroni in the league roaster.“They wrote to us three days to the start of the new season telling us of their decision. To us, that is their personal decision. We don’t have an injunction stopping the league and we made it clear to them that the season will continue as we wait for their appeal,” Muthomi said.Muhoroni Youth chairman Moses Adagala.PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaAdagala however remains adamant that the club will stick to its guns, daring the football managers to demote them.“They are trying to fix us by putting us in the fixtures but we will not be deterred. I am waiting for them to relegate us but I want them to know we are not pushovers. I assure our fans that we will be playing and no one will demote us,” the defiant Adagala further noted.Muhoroni and by extension Adagala is not new to run-ins with the federation with the club having been suspended from the KPL last year due to failure in meeting club licensing requirements, though the Sports Disputes Tribunal would later hand them a reprieve.Adagala was banned for 60 days last year over alleged crowd trouble while he has frequently been accused of the same especially at the club’s home ground in Muhoroni.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Jim DohertyThe Labour Relations Commission has decided in favour of the former manager of Inishowen Community Radio in a case he brought against the station.Jim Doherty was manager at the local community station for more than 12 years and was instrumental in setting it up.Mr Doherty and the station parted company in 2012 amid confusing and conflicting circumstances. He made no comment either at the time or since about the matter but it is known that the station was experiencing financial and industrial relations difficulties for several months before his departure.The LRC found that the company had failed to pay Mr Doherty monies due to him for salary and holiday pay and directed that these be paid immediately.Jim Doherty said that while he welcomed the news it wasn’t the end of the matter.“I’m delighted with the decision but I’ll probably never see a cent of it. As far as I know the company doesn’t exist anymore and whatever assets it had are probably long gone. “The principal is more important than the money though. This is only the first of two cases I had to bring against the station to clear my name and defend myself,” he said.Mr Doherty has a case against ICR coming up in the Employment Appeals Tribunal soon but is reluctant to give more detail about it. FORMER INISHOWEN COMMUNITY RADIO BOSS WINS CASE AGAINST STATION was last modified: September 20th, 2013 by Rachel McLaughlinShare 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:Inishowen Community RadioJIm DohertyLabour Relations Commission
QPR end a six-game losing run in dramatic fashion, with Pawel Wszolek’s goal giving them a 2-1 victory at Wolves. Ads by Revcontent Trending Articles Urologists: Men, Forget the Blue Pill! This “Destroys” ED x ‘Genius Pill’ Used By Rich Americans Now Available In Netherlands! x One Cup of This (Before Bed) Burns Belly Fat Like Crazy! x Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do This x What She Did to Lose Weight Stuns Doctors: Do This Daily Before Bed! x Drink This Before Bed, Watch Your Body Fat Melt Like Crazy x Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Myth: Lord Kelvin held back the progress of geology for 100 years by insisting the Earth was younger than geologists and evolutionists believed, but his model was refuted when radioactivity was discovered. Fact: Radioactivity made no difference to Kelvin’s claims, and he was an exemplary scientist who rectified bad practices among geologists. That’s the upshot of a claim that was made, criticized, then defended in the GSA Today, a publication of the Geological Society of America.1,2,3William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907). Click for biography.Last January (2007),1 Philip England (Oxford), Peter Molnar (U of Colorado) and Frank Richter (Dept. of Geophysical Sciences, Chicago) wrote an iconoclastic piece defending Lord Kelvin. William Thomson, later referred to as Lord Kelvin, has had a patchy reputation among modern scientists. In his day, the physicist of Glasgow was the most eminent scientist in the British Isles (see online book). Even Mark Twain confessed, “As Lord Kelvin is the highest authority in science now living, I think we must yield to him and accept his view.” But between his many accomplishments and honors, he also made enemies – especially among geologists.One of his most controversial views was that the Earth’s heat output (and that of the sun) proved it could not be older than 100 million years.4 In the 20th century, Kelvin’s reputation suffered. According to England et al, a myth arose that his claims about a young earth were overturned by the discovery of radioactivity:We are left with the question as to why the myth persists that the discovery of radioactivity simultaneously proved Kelvin wrong and provided the explanation for his error. Part of the answer, perhaps, is that it makes a good story. Rutherford’s biographer (Eve, 1939) reports that he repeated his tale of thinking on his feet in front of the “old bird” Kelvin on many occasions; it is entirely possible that the pleasing form of the anecdote, and the eminence of its author, led to the uncritical acceptance of the myth. As Stephen Gould (who himself propagated this myth) wrote: “The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best—and therefore never scrutinize or question” (1996). It is hard to dissuade aging scientists, as they slip into their anecdotage, from repeating stories that they find amusing, but their younger colleagues must not mistake such stories for the history of science.(Let our elderly readers take relief in that they said anecdotage, not dotage.) Kelvin has also been pictured as somewhat of a bombastic figure inserting his physicist views into geology where they didn’t belong:The story of Kelvin and the age of the Earth is often told as a David-and-Goliath struggle, with the geologists in the role of the underdog armed only with the slender sword of geological reasoning, while Lord Kelvin bludgeoned them with the full force and prestige of mathematical physics. Kelvin’s come-uppance is often taken as evidence that simple physics ought not to be applied to geological problems, but there have been numerous occasions when simple physical models have had great explanatory power in geology.The authors wrote to set the historical record straight. It is not that they agree with his age estimate – not at all. They affirm modern estimates to the tune of billions of years. Kelvin was wrong, they wrote, not because of radioactivity, and not because his equations and calculations were erroneous, or because he was out of his field, but because his assumptions about the thermal structure of the Earth were questionable. They described how one of Kelvin’s former assistants, John Perry, showed that the earth could sustain its heat for two billion years by convection if one assumed a firm crust and a liquid interior. This had nothing to do with the discovery of radioactivity, which they said made no difference to Kelvin’s model. The heat contribution from radioactivity was negligible; “consequently—even if Kelvin had included radioactive heat in his calculation—his estimate of the age of the Earth would have been unaffected.”While exonerating Kelvin of errors in his physics, mathematics and modeling, the authors also defended his reputation as a great scientist. Some historians have tended to focus on some blunders Lord Kelvin made and predictions that did not come true. England et al. give good press to the Scottish physicist. They defended his use of physical models and equations. They defended his explicit mention of his assumptions behind his models. They defended his corroborating one conclusion (the age of the Earth) with another (the age of the sun). They praised his use of thermodynamics, and they defended his scientific restraint in a milieu of hot air and passionate rhetoric. Kelvin himself in 1899 “cites many examples of rhetoric from his opponents and, while Kelvin himself was generally quite measured in his replies,” they said. His view on the age of the Earth fell into disfavor not due to any failings as a scientist, but because “all simple models are bound to fail, and we may learn as much by their failure as by their successes.”The ones who don’t come out smelling like a rose in this paper are the geologists of Kelvin’s day. England, Molnarb and Richter described how they were under the spell of Lyell and Hutton:The early nineteenth-century formulation of Uniformitarianism was commonly expressed through Hutton’s aphorism, “No vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.” The doctrine that the Earth was of unlimited age allowed geologists to explain any phenomenon not by the laws of physics, but by “reckless drafts on the bank of time” (Chamberlin, 1899). For Kelvin, this game without rules was simply not scientific; indeed, it was forbidden by the laws of thermodynamics, which he had played such a large part in developing.Kelvin was good for geology, they explained, because he forced them to deal with the realities of physics. Thermodynamics proved the Earth had a finite age. Lazy geologists, accustomed to infinite resources in the bank of time, needed to get real. Kelvin forced them to realize that “quantitative reasoning was a crucial part of geological endeavor.”4 But have the lessons been learned? They quipped that today’s geologists, by recklessly assuming inexhaustible heat from radioactivity, have merely changed banks: “In other words, Chamberlin’s ‘reckless drafts’ were now on the bank of heat, rather than on the bank of time.”Criticizing geologists in a geological journal may not have been the better part of discretion. This month, two geologists seemed to take umbrage at this rehabilitation of Kelvin.2 Hofmeister and Criss from Washington University of Missouri said, “In touting John Perry, England et al. (2007) misrepresent modern and historical efforts to understand Earth’s cooling.” They took issue with numbers England et al. gave for thermal conductivity and convection, and also pointed to “Kelvin’s fundamental error of using equations inappropriate” for cooling of the Earth. They disagreed with the insufficiency of radioactivity as a heat source. Then, they ended with this stinger: “Kelvin’s famous calculations, coupled with denial of observational data, impeded geoscience for ~100 yr. It is a shame to see data ignored and Perry lionized given his statement ‘I dislike very much to consider any quantitative problem set by a geologist.’”England et al struck right back.3 “In touting their views, Hofmeister and Criss (2007) misrepresent what we wrote, what Perry wrote, and some simple aspects of heat transfer.” After defending the technical points, they got to the personal matters of character and reputation:Their final paragraph is purely rhetorical. Kelvin did not ignore observations; indeed, his attempts to use observations to constrain the age of the Earth forced geologists to abandon their reckless drafts on the bank of time. Hofmeister and Criss’s dismissal of this history as Kelvin’s “impeding geoscience for ~100 years” is not supported by serious work on the matter. Furthermore, their attack on Perry shows a complete misunderstanding of a modest and conciliatory person. Perry’s reluctance “to consider any quantitative problem set by a geologist” should be taken as an expression of qualms about his ability to combine geology and physics, not as hubris.1Philip England, Peter Molnar, Frank Richter, “John Perry’s neglected critique of Kelvin’s age for the Earth: A missed opportunity in geodynamics,” GSA Today, Volume 17, Issue 1 (January 2007), pp. 4-9, DOI: 10.1130/GSAT01701A.1.2Anne M. Hofmeister, Robert E. Criss, Comment on England et al, GSA Today, Volume 17, Issue 7 (July 2007), p. 10, DOI: 10.1130/GSAT01707C.1.3Philip England, Peter Molnar, Frank Richter, REPLY to Hofmeister and Criss, GSA Today, Volume 17, Issue 7 (July 2007), p. 11, DOI: 10.1130/GSAT01707R.1.4They recounted a conversation Kelvin had with an old-earth geologist, who said, “I am as incapable of estimating and understanding the reasons which you physicists have for limiting geological time as you are incapable of understanding the geological reasons for our unlimited estimates.” Kelvin gave him the memorable retort, “You can understand the physicists’ reasoning perfectly if you give your mind to it.”5Working through Kelvin’s equations, they said, “…this gradient yields an age of 96 Ma; Kelvin (1863a) gave bounds of 24 Ma and 400 Ma on the age to take account of uncertainties in thermal gradient and thermal conductivity.” Kelvin used his calculations as an upper limit for the age of the Earth. This should not imply that he believed it was actually that old. This upper limit wreaked havoc among the Darwinians who needed much more time to evolve their tree of life, because at best, it is less than 1/10 the geologists’ assumed age of the Earth; at worst, 1/200. This “odious spectre” caused Charles Darwin and his disciples extreme stress (02/02/2004 commentary). In desperation, they tried to find workarounds to the clear scientific constraint Kelvin had imposed. It forced Darwin to try to speed up the evolutionary process with Lamarckian mechanisms. Darwin died before radioactivity was discovered, but the evolutionists jumped on it as the answer to Kelvin. That was undoubtedly part of the reason it became a myth that few questioned with the kind of mathematical and physical rigor that marked Kelvin’s reputation (for a recent example, see Adam Kirsch in the New York Sun assuming radioactivity answered Kelvin, and the Bible). It is notable, therefore, that England et al. here dismiss radioactivity as a cure-all for the heat problem.What a colorful phrase—“reckless drafts on the bank of time.” Doesn’t that describe the banking habits of evolutionary biologists and geologists still today? They think long ages provide a blank check for any miracles they need. It was good for these three men to set the record straight. Kelvin was not perfect, but he was a heck of a lot better scientist than many geologists of his day and thereafter who speculate with utter disregard for the realities of thermodynamics. Unless someone holds them accountable, these reckless check writers will continue to commit fraud via time laundering and heat laundering.Pay attention to footnote 4 above: “You can understand the physicists’ reasoning perfectly if you give your mind to it.” Kelvin was a Christian with a high regard for the Bible (see footnote 5 above), but notice how he appealed to his colleagues’ scientific integrity, not to religious arguments, to challenge the Darwinian revolution that was in full gear at the time. That’s still an effective strategy in today’s debates against materialistic pseudoscience. We need more Lord Kelvins.(Visited 112 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
According to the Aviation Herald it appears the captain of LAM Mozambique Airlines flight 470 deliberately crashed the aircraft into the Bwabwata National Park killing all 28 passengers and 6 crew on board.The aircraft was operating flight TM 470 from Maputo International Airport to Luanda, the Angolan capital on Friday November 29th. The aircraft, a 90-passenger ERJ190 took off at 11:26am Friday, November 29 and was due to arrive at 1410.Whilst the preliminary report has not yet been released Aviation Herald reports the following:On Dec 21st 2013 Mozambique’s Civil Aviation Authority reported in a press conference that the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder revealed that the captain was alone on the flight deck at the time of the acident. Banging on the flight deck door could be heard on the cockpit voice recorder. The autoflight systems (autothrottle and autopilot) were engaged. There were sounds and clicks consistent with a person knowledgeable of the aircraft systems commanding the engines to idle thrust and selecting the autoflight systems into a descent at 6000 feet per minute. Numerous warnings and alerts were not responded to.LAM carried a four-star safety rating from AirlineRatings.com but were downgraded to three immediately after the accident
Since the start of 2012, a shocking 281 rhinos have been killed by poachers in South Africa.(Image: Hartford House) South African celebrities will journey to Rustenburg to skydive in the name of rhinos.(Image: Skydive Robertson) Shamwari Game Reserve opened the Ian Player Rhino Awareness Centre in early June this year, with Player as a guest of honour.(Image: The Wilderness Foundation)MEDIA CONTACTS • The African Conservation Trust+27 33 342 2844RELATED ARTICLES• Musos pitch in to save rhinos• Team South Africa gets rhino mascot• New Kenyan home for black rhinos• Rhinos to get revenge on poachersCadine PillayAn anti-poaching campaign will see South African television stars jumping out of a plane in the North West town of Rustenburg on the last weekend of July. The aim is to raise R10-million (US$1.2-million) for the protection of the country’s rhinos.Some cast members of popular series The Wild, including Michelle Bradshaw, Faye Peters and Ty Keogh, will participate, along with evergreen rock band WONDERBoom’s frontman Cito.Since the start of 2012, a shocking 281 rhinos have been killed by poachers in South Africa. The hardest hit regions are the Kruger National Park (164), Limpopo (40), KwaZulu-Natal (30) and the North West (26).Skydive for Rhinos is a year-long campaign by the African Conservation Trust that aims to improve anti-poaching strategies across the country. All profits from skydiving will be donated to the trust. In a few days’ time, 61 people will take their first dive in the name of rhinos. They will be joined by 30 members of the skydiving community.“When I was approached a little while ago to get involved with the project, I jumped at the chance.” said Cito. “I’ve always had a deep love and respect for rhinos and am appalled at the ongoing desecration of this incredible creature.”While the government has criminalised poaching, he added, they are ineffective in enforcing the laws, and this is where action should come from.Bradshaw shares his sentiments: “A beast that has survived 50-million years is about to be eradicated by human greed, leaving us bereft of an icon of Africa.“This is an assault on everything I hold dear,” she said.Ordinary people doing extraordinary thingsThe campaign, according to its organisers, is based on the ideal of ordinary people doing something extraordinary to protect the country’s rhino population and encourages even the business community to get involved.“I believe we can become a lot more pro-active by getting involved with wonderful organisations and projects that are doing their best to respond to the rhino poaching crisis,” said Cito.“I am an adrenalin junkie, and now I will link two of my passions together – skydiving and rhinos – what a combination! I can’t wait!”After the first run on 28 and 29 July, the campaign moves to KwaZulu-Natal in August and then on to Port Elizabeth for the first weekend of September. It concludes in the Western Cape on World Rhino Day, 22 September.By the end, 448 people will have dived – one for every rhino killed by poachers during 2011.Members of the public who would like to take part in the skydiving campaign can contact the African Conservation Trust on +27 33 342 2844.Ian Player Rhino Awareness CentreWhile celebrities take to the skies to show their support, another effort is taking shape on the grounds of Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape town of Port Elizabeth, thanks to the hard work of Dr Ian Player, a veteran in conservation circles and founder of the Wilderness Foundation.Shamwari opened the Ian Player Rhino Awareness Centre in early June this year, where Player was a guest of honour.The centre, which is open only for Shamwari guests, educates them about the growing problem of rhino poaching. It also complements the Born Free Foundation, which has a rehabilitation centre at the reserve.The awareness centre was launched as part of the Forever Wild campaign, which was started in 2011. The campaign aims to gather support from the public and various stakeholders to help fight rhino poaching in South Africa and save the rhino from extinction.“It is only through a global campaign and political will that we can save this remnant of the dinosaur age – the rhino,” said Player.Guests staying at the Shamwari game lodges donate R100 ($12) per person and in return receive a special lower rate for each night’s stay. In turn Shamwari will donate R500 ($60) to the Wilderness Foundation for every room night sold.The micro-chipping revolutionThe opening of the centre coincided with a rhino micro-chipping and DNA capturing exercise led by veterinarian Dr Johan Joubert.The animals were darted for the collection of DNA samples and ear notching for easy identification. DNA samples were then taken from the tail hair and horns. Guests got involved in collecting the samples, measuring the horns and extracting keratin samples from them. They also got to insert microchips in the horns for accurate tracking, before the samples were taken off site for safe keeping.Shamwari experienced one of the first rhino poaching incidents in the country in 2008 and since then has taken all measures possible to prevent it from happening again.“That first rhino was named Junior, and I was working for the reserve when he was born,” said Joubert.“I watched him grow into a very large, strong bull, and he was like one of my own kids. Getting the call to say that Junior was dead was devastating.”At the launch of the centre, a cheque for R182 800 ($21 600) was presented by Shamwari to the Wilderness Foundation. The money will be used by the foundation to raise public awareness on the on-going rhino poaching crisis.