Lawrence embraces party paramountcy and dictatorship – she must resign

first_imgDear Editor,“The only friends I got is PNC so the only people I gon give wuk to is PNC and right now I looking for a doctor who can talk Spanish or Portuguese and ah want one that is PNC”. No matter how much you spin it, these are hatred-filled, racist words spewed by the Chairman of the People’s National Congress (PNC), Ms. Volda Lawrence, who also happens to be a senior Government Member of Parliament and the Senior Minister of Public Health. Ms. Lawrence, in response to media inquiries, has since stood by these remarks to supporters of the PNC, an audience made up of Afro-Guyanese.Ms. Lawrence chided government officials who have not fully implemented APNU+AFC’s policy to give jobs and contracts to PNC members, supporters and friends, a policy emphasising that the only qualification for jobs and contracts is PNC-membership, support and friendship, not merit.Ms. Lawrence reiterated unequivocally the present PNC version of the 1974 Sophia Declaration of party paramouncy. She bluntly outlined the PNC’s racist perspective of governance in Guyana, clearly defining a policy of political victimization, governing with brute force and ignorance. Ms. Lawrence boldly reiterated the PNC DNA – bullyism, discrimination, nepotism and cronyism. Several days after, there is total silence from the Alliance for Change (AFC) and the Working People’s Alliance (WPA). I am not shocked that Prime Minister Nagamootoo, Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan, Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, all AFC leaders, the PNC Social Cohesion Minister, and Amna Ally, are silent. But I am deeply disappointed that the WPA’s Dr. Rupert Roopnarine, a senior Minister in APNU+AFC, is silent.The right thing to do is for Ms. Lawrence to resign as a Minister. The right thing for President Granger is to fire her. Does she not grasp that she is Minister of Public Health and a member of a government that serves all Guyanese? Outside of the obnoxious governance guidelines she outlined, Ms. Lawrence has previously provided enough reasons to disqualify her as a Minister. This is the same lady that defined rape by an uncle as a family matter, referring to it as “deflowering”. As a Minister, she was caught on video violently assaulting an innocent citizen during a protest at Red House. As a Minister, she has presided over a ministry responsible for billions of dollars in corrupt transactions.Her dark, menacing, ominous statements were equally moronic, mewing, mephitic, reckless and reprehensible. Ms. Lawrence declared war, demanding her colleagues in government fully implement the old PNC policy of jobs and contracts for card-carrying PNC members. She is emphatic that Guyana belongs to, is by, and for PNC members, supporters and friends. Ms. Lawrence essentially formalised a policy of discrimination as the APNU+AFC’s blueprint for governance, something Guyana has suffered from since May 2015 and between 1964 and 1992.Ms. Lawrence’s declaration is a version of the 1974 Sophia Declaration of party paramountcy made by the then Prime Minister, Forbes Burnham, at Congress Place. It is consistent with the way APNU+AFC has governed Guyana since May 2015. Just recently Kaieteur News’ Peeping Tom listed major appointments of APNU+AFC since May 2015, insightfully revealing these appointments were based purely on ethnic and political considerations, abandoning any pretense of merit. Ms. Lawrence’s statements provide the rationale for why hundreds of Guyanese public servants were fired since May 2015 – they did not fit ethnic and political considerations acceptable to the PNC.Ms. Lawrence’s verbal napalm is a consequence of the 2018 LGE debacle where the Guyanese people overwhelmingly rejected the PNC. It followed another version made by her other senior colleague, Minister of Presidency, Joe Harmon who earlier had said the time for niceness is over and that those who are not friends of the PNC will face the sting of the scorpion – you are either with us or against us. These statements followed the PPP thrashing of both the PNC and the AFC by a margin of 61 per cent (PPP) to 34 per cent (PNC) and 4 per cent (AFC).The closure of four sugar estates, firing of more than 7,000 sugar workers, unconscionable delay in paying their severance, freeze of wages for sugar workers with no increase since 2015, increasing lease and drainage fees for rice farmers, removing agriculture subsidies etc, firing of 2,000 Amerindian Community Resource Persons, are clearly part of the formula outlined in Ms. Lawrence’s verbal napalm. Hundreds of public servants lost their jobs on the basis of their race or their perceived political affiliation. Hundreds have been employed with ethnic and political affiliation as the only qualifications. In the meantime, APNU+AFC (PNC) has ratcheted-up political victimisation through trumped-up criminal charges against former PPP Ministers and government officials.Metastasizing dictatorship has become a centipede, taking over all aspects of our lives. Citizens are justifiably horrified by Ms. Lawrence’s deeming the majority of Guyanese second-class citizens. We can either speak out now or become pawns and victims in the evils of dictatorship. Decent citizens who care about our country, regardless of race and ethnicity, religion or political affiliation, cannot sit this one out. We must take a stand – silence is too perilous an option.Dr. Leslie Ramsammylast_img read more

Harambee Stars to have new coach by March

first_img“We will have a new man in charge very soon. Stanley (Okumbi) will only be holding on interim basis but by the time we play Comoros, we should have a new head coach,” Muthomi said.Put threw in the towel at the helm of the Harambee Stars barely three months after taking over the challenge in what FKF said were personal reasons. Muthomi has denied claims that the federation failed to fulfil the tactician’s wish of having his own men in the technical bench.“That is absolutely not true. We had a meeting with the coach where he presented his wishes and we had absolutely no problem with that. We had presented the budget to the government and they were reviewing it. Also, the amount wasn’t so big that we couldn’t handle so that is no reason,”“He had his own personal issues which was already known to a few members of the federation and he decided to leave,” Muthomi further states.Harambee Stars head coach Paul Put presents a signed jersey to Deputy President William Ruto during a breakfast meeting at the DP’s Karen Residence on December 19, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluCapital Sports understands that Put had wanted to add in five new backroom staff members, ranging from an assistant coach to a Strength and Conditioning specialist, a masseuse and physiotherapist.Though Muthomi declined to disclose the financial implication of this addition, sources intimate that it might have been in the region of Sh3mn monthly.“Contrary to popular belief out there, Put never wanted Stanley out. He just wanted these new people to come and the rest of our local personnel to learn from them,” Muthomi adds.Put’s two-year contract was anchored on aiding Harambee Stars qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations and the tactician was confident Kenya would make it to the showpiece despite starting off with a 2-1 loss away to Sierra Leone.The resignation now swings the players and federation in limbo but the latter say they will soldier on to see the country qualify.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Immediate former Harambee Stars head coach Paul Put consults with Stanley Okumbi during the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup final at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos in December 2017. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19- Football Kenya Federation says a new Harambee Stars head coach will be in charge by March 23, before the team travels to Morocco for a FIFA friendly match against Comoros.Belgian Paul Put resigned from his role on Monday afternoon citing personal reasons and FKF Secretary General Robert Muthomi has told Capital Sport that the process to find his successor has already began in earnest.last_img read more

White Stripes cancels concerts

first_imgThe White Stripes canceled a batch of shows today, including Tuesday in San Diego and a week from today in Inglewood. “Meg White is suffering from acute anxiety and is unable to travel at this time,” according to a posting on the band’s Web site. Refunds are available where tickets were purchased, according to the Web site. The band, which is promoting its sixth and latest album, “Icky Thump,” was set to play at Coors Amphitheatre in San Diego and The Forum in Inglewood. The Detroit-based duo — Meg and Jack White use the same last name but are unrelated — also canceled shows in Berkeley, Albuquerque, N.M., and Austin, Texas. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Guardiola? Ramos? Simeone? Who is line to replace Mourinho at Chelsea…

first_img Diego Simeone 1 Jose Mourinho’s future as Chelsea manager is the subject of fierce debate following a woeful start to the season for the Premier League champions.talkSPORT revealed on Wednesday that talks have been held at boardroom level over Mourinho’s position, with the club currently sitting just a point above the relegation zone.The back pages of Thursday’s national newspapers are dominated by Chelsea and the majority are saying Mourinho is almost certainly facing the axe, with a number of managers across Europe being considered to replace him.Here’s what the papers say…The SunChelsea want Pep Guardiola to name his price to become their next boss. Owner Roman Abramovich is considering getting shot of current manager Jose Mourinho with the club one point clear of the relegation zone. Guus Hiddink has been approached to be caretaker until the end of the season if Mourinho is sacked, a role the Dutchman filled in 2009. And Guardiola, who has told Bayern Munich he will leave next summer, would then be available to take over. Both Manchester clubs are in the frame for the Spanish superboss though and City will offer him a deal worth £84MILLION over four years, while Guardiola himself is understood to prefer a switch to United.The TimesJuande Ramos is the shock candidate being considered as a potential caretaker manager by Chelsea should they decide to sack José Mourinho before the end of the season. The club’s executives will spend today deliberating with Roman Abramovich over Mourinho’s future, with the discussions believed to centre on whether to dismiss the manager immediately or allow him to take charge for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League match against Sunderland.Daily TelegraphChelsea are considering offering Guus Hiddink a second short-term stint as Chelsea manager should owner Roman Abramovich sack Jose Mourinho with Diego Simeone their long-term target for next summer. Hiddink currently heads a long list of candidates to take over until the end of the season that Abramovich and the Chelsea board are looking at as they deliberate over Mourinho’s future. Replacing Mourinho with Hiddink or another out-of-work manager on a short-term deal would allow Chelsea to start work on trying to convince Simeone to agree to take the full-time job next summer.The GuardianJosé Mourinho took training at Chelsea on Wednesday morning but his job prospects remain fragile and the club’s owner, Roman Abramovich, continues to deliberate over whether to sack him. Pep Guardiola is expected to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season and come to England but it is highly unlikely that he would be tempted by Chelsea. Manchester City would be the favourites to hire him and Carlo Ancelotti, a former Chelsea manager who the club would be open to welcoming back, is expected to replace Guardiola at Bayern. Guus Hiddink, another former Chelsea manager who is currently out of work after a disastrous spell in charge of Holland, appears to tick a lot of boxes but the prospects of him returning in a caretaker role are unclear. Most of the other potential targets are in jobs and unwilling to leave them in mid-season.The Daily MailCrisis talks are ongoing between Roman Abramovich, his closest aides and key executives at Stamford Bridge about how they might rescue this disastrous season and Jose Mourinho’s future has been part of the discussion. Abramovich would prefer not to go down the route of another interim appointment after his experience with Rafa Benitez.  If he is to pursue a long-term manager, someone like Italy boss Antonio Conte or Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid, it will take more time, which could mean more time for Jose Mourinho.last_img read more

GAA News: Na Rossa secure 10 point victory over Carndonagh

first_imgLast Saturday evening in Dooey the senior squad secured another vital 2 points with a 10 point victory over Carndonagh by a score line of 1-11 to 0-4 points.With 2 games remaining the lads are in a titanic battle with Moville and Red Hugh’s as we can still win the league but we can also finish third and just miss out on promotion.Next up is Pettigo this Saturday evening. Throw in is fixed for 6pm. If the team can secure victory on Saturday then it will go to the final game of the season at home to leaders Moville. That game takes place on Saturday 10th September. A terrific season so far under the guidance of team manager Barry Doherty as with two further wins we guarantee promotion for the first time in a number of seasons.The under 13s season gets under way this Sunday evening with an away fixture against Naomh Brid/Pettigo. Throw in time to be confirmed at training this Thursday night.The clubs committee would like to thank Aidan and Ann Marie Bonner TGC and the Doochary festival committee on their recent fund raising event as the club were presented with a cheque for 1956 euro. Aidan organized a “stars in your eyes” event which was a terrific success. A sincere thanks to all concerned.Good luck to senior team footballer Michael Mcmonagle and Anita Bonner on their upcoming wedding this Friday. From all at the club. Our under 12s squad had a day they will never forget last Tuesday as they traveled to Croke park to participate in the Ulster activities day.On the day they had a tour of the stadium and then played in a go games competition in which all our players had the opportunity of playing on Croke park. A great day was had by all as the club’s committee would like to thank all who made this trip possible.The lotto draw took place last Monday night in the hall. No jackpot winner. Numbers drawn were 2,3,17 and 27.Two lucky dip winners receive 50 euro Anne Marie Bonner TGC Doochary and Vincent Devenney, Meenagowan. Next weeks jackpot now stands at 3650 euro.A reminder to all club 50 members the August draw takes place next Monday evening in the hall. All monies to be in before draw.The club draw tickets are on sale and can be bought from any committee member. The draw takes place on Friday 16th September. GAA News: Na Rossa secure 10 point victory over Carndonagh was last modified: August 23rd, 2016 by Elaine McCalligShare 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:CarndonaghGAA notesNa Rossalast_img read more

Volunteer Opportunities

first_imgHere are some opportunities to help the less fortunate during the holidays: Hunger Defense Fund food and toy drive: Drop off food, toys and monetary donations, 5-7:30 p.m. Wednesday or 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday at Hunger Defense Fund, 26450 Ruether Ave., Suite 208, Canyon Country. Call Wendi Lancy at (661) 299-9273. Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children’s Cancer: Donate gift cards for families whose children have cancer to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children’s Cancer, 28405 Sand Canyon Road, Suite A, Canyon Country, CA 91387. Call (661) 250-4100 or visit SCV Senior Center “10 Bucks to a Better Future” campaign: Contribute a minimum of $10 yearly to assure that the center will be available to meet every resident’s needs. Checks made payable to “SCVSC Annual Campaign” can be dropped off at or mailed to the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall, 91321, through February. For information, call (661) 259-9444. If your organization has a project designed to help the needy during the holiday season, contact Sharon Cotal at (661) 257-5256, fax her at (661) 257-5262, e-mail her at or write to her at 24800 Avenue Rockefeller, Valencia, CA 91355. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry: The Food Pantry is collecting grocery store gift cards so that needy families can purchase the food necessary for a traditional holiday meal. Mail gift cards to, or drop them off at, 24133 Railroad Ave., Newhall, CA 91321. For information, call Executive Director Belinda Crawford at (661) 255-9078. S.C.V.-Newhall Optimist Club Toy and Food Drive: Donate nonperishable foods, unwrapped toys, turkeys and gift certificates. For information on drop-off locations, call Dee Gadbury at (661) 252-7313. Domino’s Pizza Thanks and Giving Campaign: Add a dollar to each order to benefit children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Visit Prayer Angels for the Military: The Prayer Angels are collecting items to include in care packages that are sent throughout the year to troops overseas. For information about items that are needed or a list of drop-off sites, call Sharon Ventrice at (661) 755-8629. Barnes & Noble book drive: Visit the store at 23630 Valencia Blvd., Valencia, to contribute. Call (661) 254-6604. last_img read more


first_imgIndependent John O’Donnell ran a brilliant campaignELECTION FINAL: INDEPENDENTS and Sinn Fein have had a glorious local election – and together will hold the balance of power in County House in Lifford when the new council meets on Friday week June 6.Donegal now has 37 councillors – up from 29 – to take account of the end of our town councils.There are so many new councillors that the meeting next week will be held in the budget room – because there isn’t enough room in the chamber. And there is also a change in the make-up of the chamber.The state of the parties is as follows:* Fianna Fáil remains the biggest party with 11 councillors* Sinn Fein has jumped from four to nine. * Independents have ten seats* Fine Gael has six seats* Labour has just one – Martin Farren defying all the odds to increase his vote by 25%.In the Stranorlar EA, Sinn Féin had a great victory, they won an extra seat in the form of Liam Doherty, and sitting Councillor Gary Doherty topped the poll.They were joined by independent candidate Frank McBrearty, Fine Gael’s Martin Harley and Fianna Fáil duo Gerry Crawford and Patrick McGowan. A similar pattern was followed in the Glenties EA, Fianna Fáil Councillor Seamus O’Domhnaill topped the poll, but Sinn Féin gained another extra seat in this constituency.Jimmy’s Winning ElectionsFirst time Sinn Féin candidate, John Shéamais Ó Fearraigh joins sitting Councillor Marie Therese Gallagher in Lifford after a stunning campaign.Enda Bonner (FF) returns to Lifford, after losing out in 2009, while independent candidate Michael Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig was also elected to the council chambers.The community activist has been a vocal opponent of the household tax and impending water charge, and has been involved in many anti-austerity campaigns. Concluding the ticket for the Glenties EA, was Fine Gael Councillor Terence Slowey, who had a big battle with Fianna Fáil candidate and well-known referee Ian Molloy.It looked at one stage like Molloy could replace Slowey in Lifford, and secure the final seat.However, Slowey got some important transfers that ensured Fine Gael secured a seat in the Glenties EA.James Pat McDaid and girlfriend TeresaIn the Donegal EA, the independents were the big winners, with three candidates gaining election to the local council.First-time candidate Niamh Kennedy topped the poll after a superb campaign in and around her Killybegs base and she was quickly joined in the next count by fellow independent candidate Tom Conaghan.Fianna Fáil stalwart Sean McEniff was also re-elected to the council chamber in Lifford.Sitting Councillor John Campbell was re-elected, alongside Sinn Féin candidate Neil Andrew Jordan and Fine Gael Councillor Barry O’Neill.The big surprise in Donegal was the elimination of Fianna Fáil candidate Brendan Byrne.Cllr Martin McDermott with his familyIn the Inishowen EA, Sinn Féin made history, sitting Councillor Jack Murray was elected alongside colleague Albert Doherty.On the 23rd anniversary of the death of Sinn Féin Councillor Eddie Fullerton, Murray said it was fitting, that Inishowen now had two Sinn Féin representatives in Lifford.Fianna Fáil candidate Martin McDernott topped the poll, while independent candidate Nicholas Crossan was also elected.Fine Gael stalward Bernard McGuinness was re- elected, alongside Fianna Fáil duo, Rena Donaghey and Paul Canning.Labour candidate Martin Farren was also re-elected to return to Lifford in August.Ciaran Brogan and supporters celebrate: Pix North West News PixIndependent candidate Nicholas Crossan, a town councillor in Buncrana, was also elected from the Inishowen EA.The longest serving member of the county council Bernard McGuinness was also re-elected.McGuinness has been on the council since 1979 and John Ryan (FG) saw off Ciaran McLaughlin (SF) to squeeze a seat.The count in Letterkenny lasted into the early morning as Mick Quinn (SF) just edged out Donal Cullen (Ind) just after 5am.Liam Blaney (FF) topped the poll and was elected on the first count.Independent John O’Donnell, after a massive campaign, was also elected and Ciaran Brogan (FF) followed soon afterwards.James Pat McDaid (FF) followed on the 13th count, as high profile candidates like John Watson (FF) and Paschal Blake (Ind) were squeezed out.The final countdown…Mayor Ian McGarvey (Ind), Gerry McMonagle (SF), Michael McBride (Ind), solicitor Dessie Shiels (Ind), and popular Letterkenny town councillor Jimmy Kavanagh (FG) were all elected in the wee small hours.Joe McHugh on the phone this morningIn the early hours Fine Gael Deputy Joe McHugh could be heard on the phone in the leisure centre reception in Letterkenny speaking to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.Deputy McHugh said the vote was “a strong message” to the government that it needed to change direction.“Good councillors like Noel McBride have lost seats as a result of decisions at Government level,” he said.“The people have spoken.”Meanwhile Mayor Ian McGarvey said he had enjoyed the last year as the county’s first citizen and vowed to continue his work “for young and old” and building relationships across communities.INDEPENDENTS DAY! SINN FEIN ALSO DOUBLE SEATS AS FIANNA FAIL HOLD FIRM – BAD DAY FOR FINE GAEL was last modified: May 26th, 2014 by John2Share 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:election finalJohn O’DonnellSinn Feinlast_img read more

Human Brain: “Enormous Biochemical Complexity”

first_img(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 A new biochemical atlas finds consistency, complexity, and precision in the human brain.The Allen Institute for Brain Science has just published its Human Brain Atlas in Nature (Hawlyrycz et al., “An anatomically comprehensive atlas of the adult human brain transcriptome, Nature 489, 20 Sept. 2012, pp. 391–399, doi:10.1038/nature11405). Science Daily printed this summary of what they did:The results of this study are based on extensive analysis of the Allen Human Brain Atlas, specifically the detailed all-genes, all-structures survey of genes at work throughout the human brain. This dataset profiles 400 to 500 distinct brain areas per hemisphere using microarray technology and comprises more than 100 million gene expression measurements covering three individual human brains to date. Among other findings, these data show that 84% of all genes are expressed somewhere in the human brain and in patterns that are substantially similar from one brain to the next.Even so, they “only scratched the surface” of the contents of their data set. The findings should lay to rest two common misconceptions in popular mythology, (1) that humans only use 10% of their brains, and (2) that right-brained people are different than left-brained. Science Daily said,The right and left hemispheres show no significant differences in molecular architecture. This suggests that functions such as language, which are generally handled by one side of the brain, likely result from more subtle differences between hemispheres or structural variation in size or circuitry, but not from a deeper molecular basis.In addition, they found high homogeneity in the gray matter, suggesting that “same basic functional elements are used throughout the cortex”.The statement that brain patterns are substantially similar between brains may inform philosophical questions about how well we can communicate with one another. The three examined were “high-quality, clinically unremarkable brains,” they said – i.e., not geniuses, but ordinary folks. (The sample size is still too small to make generalizations about differences due to sex and ethnicity.)Overall, the complexity of the brain was the story. Science Daily put it this way: “human brains share a consistent genetic blueprint and possess enormous biochemical complexity.” One collaborator said, “The tremendous variety of synapses we see in the human brain is quite striking.” The paper began, “The enormous complexity of the human brain is a function of its precise circuitry, its structural and cellular diversity, and, ultimately, the regulation of its underlying transcriptome.” The “transcriptome” refers to the set of genes that are transcribed into proteins. As stated, the team found 84% of all genes are expressed in the brain.There was only one reference to evolution in the paper, and that in the last sentence. The team was discussing differences between brains of animals and humans. “The primary feature that distinguishes the human brain from that of other species is the enormous expansion of the neocortex relative to total brain volume.”  They commented on the fact that transcription appears relatively uniform across brain regions. All they could say about evolution was a suggestion: “the relative homogeneity of the two largest neuronal structures… is striking and suggests an evolutionary expansion of a canonical cortical blueprint.”Evolution was useless in the paper, as usual. Their final comment has the hallmarks of a required pinch of incense to Caesar Darwin.  The team was looking for transcription (a design function) and structure (a design function) and found a lot of it.  They found precision.  They found complexity.  They found consistency. What’s Darwin got to do with it?It’s worth remembering that examination of the structure of the brain has little bearing on the soul.  You can look all you want at gene, neuronal, and protein activity and never see “consciousness” or personality.  It would be like looking at the inner workings of Big Ben and looking for time.  You will not see time.  You will see machinery and processes, but time is a concept beyond the materials and methods used to measure it.The data set will also not support common ancestry.  Take any strict Christian or Jew and they will agree that we have much in common with the animals, including eyes, legs, and brains.  They believe we are creations made for the same habitat as the other animals.  We breathe the same air and eat similar food.  It is not surprising we share the same basic machinery with similar structure and composition.  Chimpanzees have a cerebellum; so do we.  Since the soul is not located in neurons or proteins, this says nothing about the existence of the soul.  The paper did point out that only humans have a much larger neocortex.  That’s reasonable, because we reason.Similarity can show common design or common ancestry. Precision machinery of high complexity, by contrast, points to a factor beyond its components: intelligence.  To say the brain created itself by an aimless process is just as foolish as claiming a supercomputer network with multiple interacting components (both hardware and software) emerged out of random shuffling of metals and electrons.  Only intelligence can bring together multiple disparate parts and fashion them for complex function and communication.  What more evidence does anyone need for an intelligent cause commensurate with the product observed?  The very act of thinking about that shows we share that kind of intelligence.last_img read more

Ramaphosa in Sri Lanka to help mediate reconciliation

first_img7 July 2014 South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Monday for his first visit as Special Envoy of the President. President Jacob Zuma appointed Ramaphosa as Special Envoy to Sri Lanka and South Sudan during his State of the Nation address in February, following a request from both countries for assistance in bringing about peace and reconciliation. Despite the official end of the decades-long civil war between the Sri Lankan state and the militant separatist Tamil Tigers in 2009, religious conflict continues to dog the south Asian island nation, against a backdrop of rising ethnic tensions between the largely Buddhist majority Sinhalese and minority Muslims. Senior delegations from the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil National Alliance visited South Africa in February and April respectively. Both delegations met Ramaphosa and invited him to visit Sri Lanka. “We are going to listen to the Sri Lankans,” Ramaphosa said ahead of his visit. “We have already met them a few times in South Africa, but this time around we are going to go to Colombo and meet the government, the president of Sri Lanka and a number of other government ministers.” He is also expected to meet opposition parties and travel to the north, where conflict in that country is at its fiercest. “We will discuss with people in the community. We will also try to help the Sri Lankans with the truth and reconciliation process, their own constitutional reform, and make sure Sri Lanka does indeed become a stable country where they will enjoy human rights.” Ramaphosa is being accompanied by Deputy International Relations Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo. He is expected to return to South Africa on Wednesday. and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Beading and computer programming a way out of prison

first_imgBrothers for All uses former offenders to raise funds and teach computer coding to prisoners. Cash for the initiative is raised through making bead jewellery, which is then poured into programming classes at prisons in Western Cape. Prisoners in Worcestor recently got a choice to register for a 12 month computer programming course. (Images: Facebook) Melissa JavanWhat started as a way to keep himself busy in prison is now a skill Sihle Tshabalala teaches to generate an income; the cash is used to keep a business open that allows offenders to learn computer programming. In turn, the prisoners have a marketable skill when they get out of jail.Tshabalala is a founder of the non-profitable social enterprise, Brothers for All. He took up beading while he was in prison and the skill taught him a few things, including an attention to detail. “I learned patience, persistence and precision,” he told Lead SA. “You know that if you make a mistake, you can rectify it.”Lead SA is a private sector initiative that challenges South Africans to do the right thing every day and to counter the negative perceptions about the country.After 11 years in prison, Tshabalala is now the national co-ordinator of Brothers for All. Together with his team, he makes jewellery out of beads which is sold. The income from this is used to run the initiative. One of its projects is to teach computer coding to young children and unemployed people in Langa, a township in Cape Town.His motivation is an analogy he was once told, Tshabalala says. “This man asked me if I had one rand; he also had one rand. If we exchanged the rands, what I would have, he asked. I said I would have the same rand he gave me.”“He then asked if I had an idea and he had an idea, and we exchanged our ideas, how many ideas would I have. I said two – my original idea and your idea.”Tshabalala says he feels extremely proud and happy to be contributing to a safe society and job creation. “When I was in prison I read a quote that said: ‘If you are looking for a miracle in life and you can’t find one, then be that miracle for others.’” Sihle Tshabalala made sure the skills he was taught in prison didn’t stay there – he now uses his beadwork skills to generate an income.Brothers for All launched its coding project in the Worcester Male and Worcester Female Correctional Centres on 1 May.It is an offshoot of Mothers for All, which was established in 2010 with an award-winning prisoner initiative called the Group of Hope.The principal objective of Mothers for All is to provide income-generation projects and life skills training for the caregivers of children made vulnerable or orphaned by AIDS. “By giving caregivers support and training we enable the generation of a sustainable income, benefiting both the women and the children within their care,” reads the website.“The women receive money for the products they are taught to make, which are sold both in Botswana and internationally.”Mothers for All says their work in South African prisons and the community using the Group of Hope inmates and parolees has been steadily growing.That early project enabled prisoners to change their lives through helping orphans in nearby impoverished communities. “We felt a new arm of the organisation was required to support this exciting direction.“It [Brothers for All] now also focuses on personal development, behavioural change and making safer choices in general – safe on a personal level and safe for the community. Using the perpetrators of violence to become part of the solution is inspiring many people to get involved,” reads their website.According to Brothers for All, it began by designing and delivering peer education programmes to cover HIV, sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis in four prisons. “The work was highly successful with our results presented at XIX International Aids Conference in Washington in 2012 and the Durban Aids Conference in 2013. We also started an income generation project in the prison which has generated more than R100 000 to support local communities,” reads the organisation’s website.“While working with prisoners trying to turn their lives around, it became clear that aspirational technology skills are the only scalable way to end the cycle of poverty and crime. So in 2014, Brothers for All focused on equipping offenders, ex-offenders and vulnerable youth with aspirational technology and entrepreneurship skills.”Linda McCourt Scott, the co-founder and managing director, says Brothers for All is part of the non-profit group Mothers for All. Brothers for All was launched in 2013.“The Langa coding project started in October 2014; to date around 150 unemployed youth and learners have registered. At least half of our students are females. Six of our students, four of whom are females, have already won scholarships to Codex,” she says.Codex is a training programme that consists of an apprenticeship programme where developers do daily coding exercises, as well as talks with industry professionals and mentors. A total of 150 unemployed youth and children has registered to learn things building a website from coding.At the first class on 4 May, there were with 11 inmates – three males and eight females. “They have all enrolled in the course which will be run over the next 12 months. Part of our programme also requires that our trained students pass on the skills they have learned, so this offender group will quickly become the trainers of a new offender group.”Here is what Brothers for All tweeted on the day:Prison Coding Project begins, a first for Africa! Follow our revolutionary journey as we turn offenders into coders:— Brothers for All (@brothersforall) May 1, 2015Programming skillsShe says they will learn a combination of programming languages, depending on their focus and ability. Those being taught include HTML5 and C++, Java, JavaScript, C#, PHP, Python, Ruby and SQL. “This will allow them to build websites, blogs and apps, and work in database management, among other things.”McCourt Scott says proudly: “I would like to say that there is only one other prison coding project in the world, at San Quentin in California, which started late last year.“However, this project is the first in the world that targets female offenders (most of whom are inside for economic crimes), and is the first to use ex-offenders to run the programme.”No qualifications are needed for learning computer programming, McCourt Scott says, “only proficiency in English and basic maths as well as a strong commitment to learn”.The initiative has permission to start the prison coding project in all 42 prisons in Western Cape. “The next one will probably be in Goodwood, as it is very close to our Langa centre.”Resource needsThe project has a bit of sponsorship in the form of donated computers and laptops and funding to get the project off the ground, she says. “All our students and offenders are also taught to make recycled paper bead jewellery.“This helps to bring in roughly R10 000 per month to pay for data costs, rent and travel. We urgently require a car at the moment so that we can reach more prisons, as well as additional computers, space to expand and support with our data costs,” she says.“We use a Telkom LTE modem to link up around 50 computers at our centre and use approximately R2 000 data per month.”Watch Sihle Tshabalala, a former convict talk about how he decided to make a difference with his life:Watch Mzikula Duda of Brothers for All talk about how he made a decision not to do violence against women and children:last_img read more