DD Gardening: Autumnal colours have never been better!

first_imgThis year the Autumn colours on the trees, shrubs and plants in the garden has rarely been bettered, the combination of good light levels and a lack of strong winds have allowed plants to put on a good prolonged show.An autumnal effect which caught the worlds imagination this week was the spectacular Emery Cross at Bogay Hill in Newtown. Images of Liam’s 100m long, 70m wide plantation of Japanese Larch went viral this week, this wonderful piece of work benefited from this still period of weather….and the rest is history!The Celtic Cross planted into the landscape between Killea and Manor. Picture by Darren Sheaffer.In more modest settings in our gardens shrubs such as Dogwoods, Spindleberries, Japanese Maples and such have been wonderful so far this Autumn, bringing another dimension of colour into our gardens. I’ve long said that flowers, whilst beautiful, are overrated and many gardens focus too much on flower colour and forget that whilst a plant may flower for 3 months, you’ve 9 months left of the year to enjoy the plant.So to have a garden with contrasting foliage colour, shapes, texture, stems and autumn leaves brings your garden to another level of interest.Now is a great time to introduce autumn colour plants to your garden, although by the time you bring them back from the garden centre the plants may have deposited all their foliage in the boot of your car the plant will establish well now and be in position for glorious colour next Autumn. And the joy of shopping in garden centres at this time of year is that many centres have end of season sales.If there’s one shrub I could encourage you to plant in your garden for Autumn colour it is Euonymus alatus or Spindleberry plant. In the summer the foliage is green and nothing showy, but in the Autumn it turns the most bright red before falling off, revealing heavily corked stems which appear square in shape. I’ve known this plant for years as the Burning bush, due to this amazing colour.Over the next few weeks we’ll highlight a particular shrub or tree each week for Autumn colour, as this is an area of the garden which is mostly neglected here in Donegal, but we have the potential to add this colour range to our own gardens and as such extend the season of interest.DD Gardening: Autumnal colours have never been better! was last modified: October 30th, 2016 by Gareth AustinShare 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)last_img read more

Uranium – the new gold?

first_imgJanine ErasmusSouth African gold mining companies may soon be adding to their bottom line with the processing of uranium reserves found in tailings dams and mine dumps.In South Africa uranium is produced as a by-product of gold and copper mining by major mining companies such as Harmony, Gold Fields and AngloGold Ashanti. The sought-after radioactive metal is used mostly for nuclear weapons and nuclear power stations, but it has other uses, such as radiation shielding and the production of radioisotopes for medical purposes.Uranium is in an ongoing bull market, mostly because of rising demand for it as a nuclear fuel in the light of the global warming threat. With the metal currently trading at around US$90 a pound, local mining companies that hold uranium assets – particularly Harmony, Gold Fields, DRDGOLD and AngloGold – are delving into utilising these assets, by selling them, developing them with a partner, or processing them outright, whichever option yields the most value for the company.Whether in a mine dump or a slimes or tailings dam, there are substantial deposits of uranium that have accumulated over a period of years and which are in a position to be exploited. There is, however, a difference between uranium extracted from the leftovers of gold mining and uranium that is mined from uranium-bearing ore in a dedicated uranium mine. The former is of a lower grade, but it is still a valuable resource.In a declaration published in July 2007 Harmony, the world’s fifth biggest gold producer, announced that out of more than 50 of its tailings dams, in five dams in Randfontein there are 360 million tonnes of slurry containing 79 million pounds of uranium oxide concentrates (chemical formula U3O8); and in six dams in the Free State, there are 190 million tonnes of slurry containing 30 million pounds of U3O8.Harmony’s former chief executive Bernard Swanepoel said, in the same declaration, that “the results of our uranium deposits prove to be worthwhile to proceed to feasibility study stage”. The company will declare its uranium reserves for the first time in its 2007 annual report.Harmony has just announced an agreement with South African investment house Pamodzi Resources Fund, transferring certain of the uranium and gold assets held at Randfontein into a new company, provisionally named Newco. The sale of the Randfontein uranium assets is expected to realise US$252 million (about R1,6bn), with Harmony retaining a 40% shareholding in Newco.Gold Fields, the world’s fourth biggest gold producer, holds major uranium oxide resources at its Beatrix plant near Virginia, the Free State province’s third-largest town. It also envisages substantial returns from the processing of uranium in its slimes dams. The company also has another major uranium asset, a large underground ore body known as Beisa. Gold Fields has an estimated 30 million tons of uranium reserves at Beisa and in its dams.The world’s third biggest producer of gold, AngloGold, produces U3O8 in the form of a powder as a gold mining by-product. AngloGold also owns and supplies the Nuclear Fuels Corporation of South Africa (Nufcor SA), which was established in 1967 in Johannesburg to process and market uranium concentrates for nuclear power generators around the world. The company is said to be considering the sale of its slimes dams, as well as Nufcor International Ltd, the UK-based sister company of Nufcor SA, which AngloGold co-owns with FirstRand Limited, one of South Africa’s largest banking groups. No decision has yet been made.Uranium averages about 2.8 parts per million of the earth’s crust. It can be found in trace quantities just about everywhere on earth – it is more abundant than gold, silver or mercury, about the same as tin and slightly less abundant than cobalt, lead or molybdenum. Concentrated uranium deposits are found in various countries, and vast amounts of the metal occur in the oceans, albeit in lower concentrations.Uranium is sold only to countries which are signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and which allow verification of this principle by international inspectors.According to data compiled by Ux Consulting, an agency that monitors trends in the nuclear industry, the spot price of uranium began to rise in the middle of 2003. It has continued to gain, reaching an all-time high of almost $140 a pound earlier in 2007 before falling back to its current price.However, Gold Fields CEO Ian Cockerill said recently that three-figure uranium prices are not sustainable, so in the long term it is unlikely that they will change much in an upward direction. However the processing of uranium found in mining waste could still contribute to the profitability of gold mines.last_img read more

Football Fridays: SA marks the difference

first_img“We’ve seen World Cups in Germany and in England and in Korea … South Africa’s going to be different.” Lesego Madumo chats to acting CEO Paul Bannister and other members of the International Marketing Council during a Football Fridays activation at The Zone in Rosebank, Johannesburg on 16 October.Click arrow to play video.Posted on Football Fridays on 21 October 2009.last_img

Olympics ‘phenomenal, humbling’: Oscar

first_img11 August 2012 South Africa’s men’s 4 by 400 metres relay team failed to challenge for a medal at the London Olympic Games on Friday evening as the Bahamas ran a national record in staging a come-from-behind victory over the USA. The islanders won gold in 2:56.72, with the USA second in 2:57.05 and Trinidad and Tobago in third, over two seconds further back. South Africa, the silver medal winners at last year’s IAAF World Championship in Daegu, South Korea, never challenged and finished in eighth place in the nine-team field, with Cuba failing to finish.Season’s best time Nonetheless, the quartet of Shaun de Jager, LJ van Zyl, Willem de Beer and Oscar Pistorius ran a season’s best 3:03.46. It was, however, more than four seconds slower than their effort in Daegu. South Africa had reached the final after an appeal was upheld for a Kenyan runner tripping up Ofentse Mogawane in the semi-finals, resulting in the South Africans being given lane one for Friday evening’s relay. Mogawane could not run on Friday night after suffering a dislocated shoulder in the semi-finals. His replacement, 400 metres hurdler LJ van Zyl, nearly didn’t make it to the final either. “I was actually on my way to the airport,” he told reporters after the race. “Then I got the call from Hezekiel [Sepeng], our team leader, [saying] that I have to come back.”Roller-coaster journey Pistorius said it had been a roller-coaster journey for the team. “So many mixed emotions yesterday, to be honest,” he said. “We got back to the warm up track to cool down and we heard that Kenya had been disqualified and there were grounds for us to put in a protest, so team management went through with that and we found out last night that we would have the chance to run in the ninth lane today,” Pistorius said. “We didn’t want to run if we were going to take another team out, but there was an extra lane here and they gave us that lane because we were in second position at the World Championships last year. “We got reinstated and LJ van Zyl was on his way to the airport and he got called back to come and run. “So, just a mix of emotions, and I’d like to thank Ofentse [Mogawane],” Pistorius said. “He’s not here with us and he is making a quick recovery, but he was as much part of our team [as anyone else]. ‘This whole experience has been phenomenal’ “This whole experience has been phenomenal for us. To step out here for an Olympic final is more than I could ever hope for, and it was a truly humbling experience.” Commenting on running the final leg, Pistorius said: “I think running the anchor leg for me was kind of stressful. I’m never usually given that much responsibility, but representing my country and knowing that I have to bring home the baton really made me run a little bit harder. “I think I had a lot of work to do to catch up, but I ran a good back straight and second corner. Then, coming into the home straight, there was just a little too much work [to do]. “I’m very proud of my team,” Pistorius said. “They did a phenomenal job with what we had. That opportunity to come out here and finish like today and not like yesterday was a dream come true.” Talking about the Olympic experience, Pistorius added: “Every athlete out here trains as hard as they possibly can for four years. They sacrifice a lot. “For me to come out here and know that all the hard work I’ve put in, and all the time and effort so many people have given me and they’ve invested in me has paid off, has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I’ve got so many people to thank for that. “It inspires me and motivates me for the next four years, looking to Rio.”Eyes now on Semenya, Stander South Africa’s hopes of adding to the country’s three gold medals, one silver medal and a bronze medal will rest on the shoulders of Caster Semenya on Saturday evening. She contests the final of the 800 metres at nine o’clock, having run the fastest time of the semi-finals, stopping the clock in 1:57.67. On Sunday, Burry Stander, ranked fourth in the world in cross-country mountain biking, has a shot at a medal. A medal for either athlete would make the London 2012 Olympic Games the most successful Olympics for South Africa since the country was readmitted to the Olympic fold in 1992. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

‘Poisoned’ rhino horns to beat poachers

first_img9 April 2013The latest attempt to counter the thriving crime of rhino poaching in South Africa comes in the form of a poisonous substance with which a game reserve is now treating its rhinos’ horns.Consumers of the “poisoned” rhino horn, generally found in Asia, risk becoming seriously ill from ingestion as it is contaminated with a non-lethal chemical package.Private game reserve Sabi Sand Wildtuin, at the southern end of the Kruger Park, is tired of watching an entire species vanish before its eyes.The reserve has resorted to taking matters into its own hands by injecting ectoparasiticides into the horns of 100 of its rhinos.Ectoparasiticides are not intended for consumption by humans; they are generally used for the control of ticks and parasites in animals. An ectoparasiticide is an antiparasitic drug used in the treatment of ectoparasitic infestations. It kills the parasites that live on the body surface.Toxic side-effectsAlthough not lethal in small quantities, they are toxic and symptoms of accidental ingestion may include severe nausea, vomiting and convulsions, among other side effects.Because of these side-effects, the treated rhino and their horns must be visibly identifiable, to avoid ingestion of treated horns by humans.Andrew Parker, the chief executive of Sabi Sand Wildtuin Association, says the reserve is leading this programme because it is located at the epicentre of the problem, at the southern end of South Africa’s Kruger National Park, where up to 70% of rhino killings occur.In addition to making whoever consumes the rhino horn very ill, the ectoparasiticides are accompanied by a pink dye that can be detected by airport scanners.“We realised that the treatment of the horns, along with an indelible dye, would go a long way towards helping us achieve our goal of protecting all rhinos in South Africa from poaching,” says Lorinda Hern of the Rhino Rescue Project.The dye is visible on an X-ray scanner even when ground to a fine powder. Airport security checkpoints are almost certain to pick up the presence of this dye in a treated horn regardless of whether the horn is intact or in powder form.“Testing is ongoing and comprehensive, to ensure that the animals have in no way been harmed by the administration of the treatment and, based on the research, it is believed that the treatment should remain effective for approximately three to four years, after which re-administration would be required,” says Hern.Diminishing the lucrative tradeThere is no doubt a solution to rhino poaching needs to be found. The number of rhinos lost to poaching in South Africa exceeded 300 in 2010 and over 400 in 2011.This week, the government said 203 rhinos had been killed by poachers so far this year, including 145 in Kruger Park.Rhino horn on the black market is worth an estimated R600 000 (US$66 000) a kilo for mature horns, which average four to 4.5kgs in weight when they are sawn or hacked off close to the animal’s skull.The poachers themselves receive a fraction of the R2.4-million to R2.7-million ($264 000 to $300 000) value of each horn from the syndicates that plan the raids and export the material.Logically, a permanent solution to poaching is to eliminate the demand for rhino horn altogether. Education will go a long way to teaching consumers that rhino horn contains no nutritional or medicinal value, however, education will not produce an immediate result – and results are needed urgently.The Sabi Sand game reserve hopes that these two tactics, implemented for the first time in South Africa, will put a dent in the lucrative rhino horn trade.“The media in South Africa and globally maintain a close watch on the shrinking herds of our rhino,” Parker says. “The same platform can expose exactly what the poachers are up against from now on.“They have had an easy ride so far, running a vast and brutal, hugely profitable trade under the noses of government authorities between here and Asia. Now we are forcing them to answer to their consumers about what they are passing off as medicine,” he adds.Sabi Sand has launched a widespread media campaign and posted signs on its fences to make poachers aware that its rhinos’ horns have been poisoned.First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to keep pushing for regular starts at Liverpool

first_imgLiverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will keep pushing for a regular starting spot at the Premier League club, the 24-year-old has said.Oxlade-Chamberlain, who started his first game for Liverpool in their League Cup defeat by Leicester City in September, made his first league start during Saturday’s 4-1 win at West Ham United.The England international also scored his first league goal for Liverpool at the London Stadium, earning praise from manager Juergen Klopp.”It takes time to settle in and learn a new formation and style of play,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told the club’s website. (www.liverpoolfc.com)”I’ve had to be patient; I’d have liked to have played as much as I can, that’s natural. The only thing I can do when I get the chance is try to impress and help the team to win, with goals and creating chances.”I’m going to keep trying to do that and keep pushing for starting places, just as everyone else will. That’s the best thing – competition for places.”Liverpool are fifth in the league, 12 points behind leaders Manchester City, and host 13th-placed Southampton on November 18.last_img read more

Daimler ships out first electric Freightliner semi truck in the US

first_img Tags Freightliner Electric Cars Car Industry Trucks More about 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT53 4-Door Comments Check out the Level 2 Freightliner Cascadia big rig at CES 2019 Review • 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT53 4-Door review: Defying expectations Now playing: Watch this: 22 Photos 2019 Chevy Malibu review: Swing and a misscenter_img 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better Share your voice 3 The first self-driving big-rig hits the road in Nevada 1:53 More From Roadshow Look for the first ones in Southern California Daimler First came the electric Freightliner box truck, and now we have the semi truck. Daimler said on Monday it’s built the very first eCascadia semi trucks and they’re on their way to the first lucky customers in the US.If the eCascadia looks and sounds familiar, that’s because it’s based on Freightliner’s normal Cascadia semi. Rather than its internal-combustion engine, there’s a battery-electric powertrain with a 550-kWh battery pack. Daimler has previously said the electric powertrain makes 730 horsepower and is good enough for 250 miles of range. Plug the big semi into the right connector and 80% of the battery’s capacity returns in 90 minutes.The electric semi isn’t exactly going into production just yet, however. Instead, the first eCascadias will be part of a “Freightliner Innovation Fleet” before the truck enters series production in late 2021. Penske and NFI are the two companies that will add the electric semi to their ranks first.Penske also took delivery of one of the first eM2 box trucks, the other electric truck from Daimler’s Freightliner division. Each of the eCascadias will operate in Southern California by the end of the year. Freightliner said it will deliver additional eCascadias to customers throughout this year.Effectively, Daimler has beaten Tesla to the electric semi market. The Silicon Valley-based automaker has promised the Tesla Semi will enter production soon, but so far, it hasn’t. Instead, the Semi has been used to deliver other Tesla vehicles and haul between the Gigafactory and various places.Yet, Daimler has spread its electric truck portfolio out. Not only does it have the eCascadia and the eM2, the automaker also showed off the Fuso eCanter and even an electric school bus.last_img read more

Hawaii to challenge new Trump order

first_imgA view of Honolulu, Hawaii is seen from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Reuters file photoThe state of Hawaii said it will ask a federal court on Wednesday for an emergency halt to President Donald Trump’s new executive order restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries, becoming the first state to challenge the ban in court.In a court filing on Tuesday, Hawaii said it would seek a temporary restraining order against the new travel ban. Hawaii’s suit against the original executive order was put on hold.The Trump administration this week issued the new executive order that supplanted an earlier, more sweeping one which had been challenged in court by several states in addition to Hawaii.The new order is much more narrowly tailored than the first one issued in January. It keeps a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen but excludes Iraq, and applies the restriction only to new visa applicants.“To be sure, the new executive order covers fewer people than the old one,” Neal Katyal, one of the lead attorneys for Hawaii, said in an interview with CNN. He said the new travel ban still “suffers from the same constitutional and statutory defects.”“We are confident that the president’s actions are lawful to protect the national security of our country,” the Justice Department said in a statement.In a joint filing, Hawaii and the US government asked for oral arguments in the case to be held March 15, a day before the new travel order is set to take effect.Separately, in a case brought by Washington state against the first Trump travel order, the Justice Department on Tuesday said it would voluntarily dismiss its own appeal of a Seattle federal court ruling that had suspended the order.Washington state did not oppose the administration’s request to end its appeal, the filing said.Immigration advocates said the new ban still discriminates against Muslims and fails to address some of their concerns with the previous directive. Legal experts said the new ban would be harder to challenge because it affects fewer people living in the United States and allows more exemptions to protect them.Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Monday said his office was evaluating whether it would challenge the new order and would likely decide this week.The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals last month had blocked Trump’s first order, saying Washington state would likely be able to prove that it violated constitutional protections.That appeals court ruling has not been withdrawn and its legal reasoning can still be cited as precedent in future cases, Washington attorney general spokesman Peter Lavallee said on Tuesday.last_img read more

In Venezuelan hospitals eat at your own risk

first_imgThe entrance to the operation room area of a clinic is seen during a blackout in Caracas. Photo: ReutersHardly anybody likes hospital food but in Venezuela, it’s so awful-monotonous, starchy diets cooked in filthy conditions, and newborns fed intravenous solution for lack of baby formula-that experts call it an actual health risk.Take Carla Lopez, 40, who has been hospitalized for three months to treat open wounds on her foot as a result of diabetes.Lopez should go easy on pasta and rice-but that’s all she gets.“I eat whatever they give me,” Lopez said as she waves away flies buzzing over a plate of rice and lentils at University Hospital in Caracas. It is pretty flavorless stuff as the hospital is out of salt.An excess of starch causes her blood sugar levels to shoot up.Even if she were out of the hospital, she could not afford, say, a kilo (2.2 pounds) of chicken, which costs 1.5 times her monthly salary in this oil-rich but economically ravaged country saddled with runaway inflation.Lopez says that for breakfast, she gets a kind of cornmeal patty known here as an arepa, and for lunch, it’s either pasta or lentils with rice.“In the evening, they serve you another arepa-a small, skimpy one,” said Lopez.Back in better times, this hospital used to have different cooks for different medical problems, said nutritionist Gladys Abreu.Now, everybody gets the same fare, and not much of it: 40 grams of rice and 25 grams of legumes.“That is hardly enough for a small child,” said one staffer in the hospital kitchen.Another hospital employee who asked not to be named complained that garbage piles up at the facility, an imposing 11-story building that is 60 years old.Indeed, a nearby trash bin overflows with detritus.The National Hospital Survey, published in March by the opposition-controlled National Assembly and by an NGO called Doctors for Health, said 96 percent of Venezuela’s hospitals fail to feed their patients adequately, or do not feed them at all.The poll covered 104 state-run hospitals and 33 private ones.Intravenous solution as milkAt the Concepcion Palacios maternity clinic, also in Caracas, doctors stopped providing formula for newborns because there was no money for it.Parents can provide their own, but one mother, Yereercis Olivar, who just gave birth to her second child, cannot afford formula.She could not nurse the baby, either, because they were separated to protect the child from the chicken pox that Olivar came down with while pregnant. It has left her skin covered in blisters.Olivar was desperate, so she started trying to extract milk from her breasts with a syringe.It took three days for that excruciating method to kick in and provide milk.During that time, the baby lived “only on serum”-the kind used in intravenous solutions to keep adults hydrated. It was fed to the child from a baby bottle.Baby formula, like so many basic goods in Venezuela, is available only on the black market and a can of it costs around 50 million bolivars, or $15. That is nine times the average monthly salary.The hospital survey said 66 percent of Venezuela’s maternity wards have no formula to give to babies.The decline into hellish health care conditions has been swift in recent years, said Olivar, whose first child was born at the same hospital in 2016. It was better back then: she could not nurse her child, but there was baby formula.Now, “there are cockroaches in the area where they prepare the baby bottles,” said Silvia Bolivar, a nurse with 25 years on the job.From holes in the walls and ceiling, water leaks and rodents scamper, she added.The health ministry ignored a request from AFP for comment on this story.Patients going hungryOn the sixth floor where she is being treated, Olivar says she has heard nurses protesting for the past six weeks to demand better pay and working conditions.Posters on the wall say nurses also want better food for sick people.President Nicolas Maduro said the crisis in Venezuela’s hospitals has been aggravated by US sanctions against his government.He says this punishment prevents the country from buying medical equipment and medicines, 80 percent of which are in short supply, according to labor unions.“It is hard when patients come to us, trembling and on the verge of fainting, to say they are hungry,” said nurse Bolivar.At the maternity clinic, the baby bottles smell bad. There is no soap to wash them and the sterilization machine is broken.Dark mold covers containers of rice and pasta that is fed to mothers.Both there and at the University Hospital, the floors and bathrooms are dirty. There is no disinfectant. Cleaning is done with water and rags.Lopez, the lady with complications from diabetes, does not know how much longer she must remain in her decrepit hospital room, which is furnished with broken chairs. Her foot is not getting any better.But it’s not all gloom: her hospital roommate gave her a bouquet of sunflowers to brighten things up.last_img read more