Friday, July 31, 2009

Trucker crashes into pool while texting [PICTURE]

SHOOT: And I thought they didn't send text message in the US. Well, here's a cautionary tale for everyone who does this [note to self]. Don't!
clipped from
Sgt. Kevin Locicero, left, and Capt. Bruce Elliot, of the Niagra County

LOCKPORT, N.Y. – Police say a western New York tow truck driver was texting on one cell phone while talking on another when he slammed into a car and crashed into a swimming pool.

Niagara County sheriff's deputies say 25-year-old Nicholas Sparks of Burt admitted he was texting and talking when his flatbed truck hit the car Wednesday morning in Lockport, which is outside Buffalo.

The truck then crashed through a fence and sideswiped a house before rolling into an in-ground pool.

Police say the 68-year-old woman driving the car suffered head injuries and was in good condition. Her 8-year-old niece suffered minor injuries.

Sparks was charged with reckless driving, talking on a cell phone and following too closely. It couldn't be determined Thursday whether he has a lawyer.

 blog it

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

DANIEL BORN: Bomb Scare at Avusa in Rosebank

SHOOT: Curiously despite burping out a bunch of journalists and photographers, there doesn't seem any official news on this topic today. I guess the media don't consider it news when it [news] affects them.
Police sniffer dogs enter the offices of Avusa media during a bomb scare at the offices. Picture: DANIEL BORN
While working (sitting on Facebook) at the office this afternoon, we heard sirens ringing from somewhere in our building. Most continued working and completely ignored the racket downstairs until one of my colleagues came in saying we must evacuate the building as the rest of the publications all seem to be leaving. Thinking it was just a drill, I thought twice about taking my camera, but decided to just in case another story popped up which I would have to go to in the area.

The people spilled onto the street, we slowly made our way to a park opposite the building, many cursing at not being informed of the drill and that the impending deadlines must be stretched. When the first fire-truck responded I assumed this is probably not a drill, but a real life bomb scare, so took my camera out of its bag to take a couple pictures.

 blog it

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Swine flu spreads to the University of Stellenbosch It is not known how the students came into contact with the virus.

SHOOT: Areas where large numbers of people congregate are going to be the early epicentres of the virus. Universities, schools, airports, stadiums, skyscrapers, bus terminusses, gyms, cinemas.
clipped from
Stellenbosch – Two Matie students have been diagnosed with H1N1 flu, while a third student is believed to have contracted the disease.
Two cases of the H1N1 virus were reported to the University of Stellenbosch's Campus Health Service (CHS) over the weekend.
A resident of the Helderberg men's hostel and one from the Heemstede women's hostel were diagnosed. They are currently being treated at their parent's homes, the university said.
The university sent an e-mail to all staff and students last week to assure them that the CHS was being kept informed of developments regarding the H1N1 virus.
Viviers said that where possible, ill students should be attended to in single rooms in hostels. There was no reason to cancel travel plans, impose quarantine conditions, or recommend wearing masks, he said.
Staff and students were requested to immediately inform the university management and CHS if it was confirmed that they had contracted the virus.
The CHS can be contacted on 021 808 3496/3494
 blog it

Where is the Cradle of Mankind?

MAROPENG.CO.ZA: Within the [Sterkfontein] caves, scientists have discovered many hominid and other animal fossils, dating back more than 4-million years, to the birth of humanity. The most important and most famous of these fossils are “Mrs Ples”, a 2.1-million-year-old Australopithecus skull, and “Little Foot”, an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton that is more than 3-million years old. These fossils, both found in the Sterkfontein Caves in the Cradle of Humankind, tell us much about the precursors of modern humans, Homo sapiens.

SHOOT: Some of the oldest evidence of hominids has been discovered in Ethiopia and a 7-million-year-old Toumai fossil from Chad. But it seems the Sterkfontein Caves provided a sancturary for early man for a very long time. Many thousands of centuries.
clipped from

ON WINTER weekends us city types don’t want to get out of bed too early to take long drives.

That’s why The Cradle, a 3000 hectare World Heritage site is an ideal weekend jaunt for jaded city slickers. It’s a short distance, no more than an hour’s drive from both Jozi and Pretoria , and there’s more than enough in The Cradle to soothe you back to normal.

If you do find yourself early on a Saturday in The Cradle, on Kromdraai Road, weaving through the misty countryside, you’ll be in the company of ribbons of cyclists – the Cyclelab riders – who move in almost endless echelons into the heart of The Cradle and out again from the Montecasino area. So if you want to find the area without looking on a map, follow the riders from about 6am onwards.

The Cradle gets its name from the fossils that have been discovered in this area.

They made this area their home for a long time. Our ancestors are said to have lived in this area for more than 3million years.

 blog it

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fly, South African

I looked back one last time. There they were, waving, grinning and blowing kisses. I returned them all, smiled and turned the corner. Good-bye Cape Town. Good-bye South Africa.

SHOOT: Question is, where?

When you leave home, you never leave in one go. By the time you’ve decided to leave you’re already one foot out of the door. Then you say good-bye over and over until you actually go. I’d been saying good-bye for days.

saaI started packing the night before I left. Textbooks and trinkets disappeared into deep cardboard boxes. The packing tape strained and squawked, their fates sealed. Wiping my hair from my eyes I turned to my backpack gaping hungrily on the floor. I pushed up my sleeves, again, and studied the checklist stuck to my cupboard door. Rolling and folding became squashing and squeezing and within minutes I’d reduced my life to 75 litres. The night-time hours crept.

packingThe telephone’s rings pierced the waiting room. My brother’s car had been stolen from campus! South Africa: your legacy, my heritage. Dad made plans to fetch Roger from UCT and meet us at the airport. Mom cut the thread. Good-bye dog-log, good-bye house, good-bye street.

 blog it

119 official swine flu cases in South Africa, but 'nonchalance' and 'apathy' is a concern

After his condition improved close to a week after returning to South Africa and he was released from the hospital, Wilson received an SMS from Terry Marshall at the NICD.

The SMS read: "Hi Mr Wilson. We are unable to track your specimen for influenza testing. It has not reached the NICD."

SHOOT: Why not send the following SMS: "Hi Mr Wilson. Hope you are well. If not, farewell. Have a nice day, rgds Gauteng Health Department.

Asked why Wilson would not have been quarantined at O R Tambo, Hadebe said this was not required under World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on preventing the virus's spread.

clipped from

A Cape Town man who developed severe pneumonia and had to be admitted to hospital after returning from a business trip to India with flu-like symptoms may have had swine flu - but he will never know.

This was because his test results were lost or not reported to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).
Keith Wilson, 60, was detected by a thermal scanner after arriving at O R Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, two weeks ago. He was found to have a temperature of 39.4°C, and swabs were taken to be tested for swine flu.

Wilson was then allowed to board his connecting flight to Cape Town, and was told he would receive the results of his swine flu test within 24 hours.

"Everyone I spoke to (at the Gauteng Department of Health and NICD) was so nonchalant," Collins said.

"There was complete apathy. This person could have died and no one did anything about it.
Pinelands Medicross, who also tried to find out Wilson's swine flu results, agreed that the NICD was unreceptive.
 blog it

Entries now open for South Africa's 3rd best organised race

SHOOT: Did this last year. Great race. Want to be much stronger for those killer 22km through Suikerbosrand. It's the Joburg version of Mount Ventoux. Need to start preparing now.

This was 2008:
And 2007:


 blog it

South African shares his swine flu experience

“After a day or so, the medication started kicking in and I was able to get up and walk around my room a bit. My body took a really hard knock and I lost a couple of kilos, but luckily not too dramatic.

“My parents had to wear face masks when they came into my room. My biggest concern was [the risk of] passing the virus on to them.

“Of course, I’ve heard the things in the media about this swine-flu outbreak, but you don’t actually think you’re going to get it.

SHOOT: Tamiflu is effective if treatment occurs in the early stages. The problem is when the numbers rise, and the numbers of Tamiflu doses begin to run out.

Note from the account below that this isn't a 'normal' flu after all:
- weight loss
- chronic body ache
- 'terrible' fever alternationg between cold and hot sweats
- high heart rate
- insomnia
clipped from

“I went to the sports tournament, though I was still recovering from flu. I’d been on antibiotics and I guess my immune system wasn’t as strong as usual.

“I don’t know exactly how I got the virus, but it must have been from one of the other guys I came into contact with.

“On the Thursday night, I started feeling sick and, by the next morning, three of my friends and I were really feeling shoddy.

“This is the sickest I’ve ever been. My body was aching and I had a terrible fever.

“We all went to the Sandton Clinic and the doctors did some tests. My heart rate was very high, about 118. We were all put on Tamiflu [the drug used worldwide to combat severe swine flu] .

“By then I was really sick. Believe me, if you have [swine flu] you will know it.

“I was told to stay in bed. My body was sore and my temperature went from one extreme to the other.

“I battled to sleep. I would wake up [turning] clockwise every hour, either sweating or freezing.

 blog it

South Africa;s Blumberg says: "We're early in an outbreak of a very infectious virus”

Blumberg said she discovered the flu had arrived in SA from watching television... “We do a puzzle every day at lunch time and also have special teas.”

“When there’s an outbreak, things are very, very busy and there’s a lot to do. I mean you can prepare for outbreaks and you can have guidelines and things set up, but it’s always different when they happen. There’s a lot of pressure and anxiety...

SHOOT: I'm sure, but I bet those lunches and puzzle sessions help. But it is no wonder there isn't a focus on H1N1 in South Africa. There are plenty of other epidemics like HIV, TB and cholera happening at the same time.
clipped from

Blumberg, who has been thrust into the public eye because of various recent outbreaks, thinks it is “quite funny” that she has developed a public profile.

Her small team is responsible for monitoring and responding to the country’s outbreaks — from the unusual, like the Ebola virus and the new arenavirus, to more common infections such as HIV, TB, cholera and now swine flu.

“We’re in outbreak mode all the time. Outbreaks happen all the time, both big and small ones,” Blumberg told the Sunday Times on Friday.

The last 10 months had been particularly “hectic” because of major national and international outbreaks. In October, the country was hit by the arenavirus. Earlier this year it was measles and cholera outbreaks and a meningitis scare, and now the swine flu pandemic. So far, swine flu has infected more than 150000 people worldwide, including 151 in South Africa. Hundreds of people have died around the world, but no deaths have been reported here.

 blog it

150 000 workers stop work - but wouldn't you if you were earning R3250?

SHOOT: A wage of R3250 is hardly enough to cover rent and utilities, never mind food for a single person. Could you survive on R3250? But the money has to come from somewhere, and in a recession, that's going to be difficult. Plenty of gnashing of teeth is in store.
clipped from
Municipal services will grind to a halt across South Africa today when about 150000 unionised workers strike for hefty salary increases and generous housing allowances.
The South African Municipal Workers Union and Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union say they will take all their members out on the streets from today to press their demands for more than R10billion a year in benefits.
Samwu is demanding a minimum wage of R5000 a month, an across-the-board wage increase of R2500 a month or 15percent, whichever is greater, and 70percent of housing bonds up to R200000 or R3000 a month in rental assistance.

He said municipalities’ current wage bill was R36billion a year, excluding the “ridiculous” demands such as housing allowances.

“The minimum salary in municipalities is R3250. Our offer of 11,5percent will not only increase wages but also medical aid and pensions,” he said.

 blog it

Swine Flu: South Africans are Experts at Denial

SHOOT: There is AIDS denial, crime denial, poverty denial, Apartheid denial, 2010 transport denial and denial in the highest political circles. So why would we not deny that swine flu is a problem and is going to be a serious problem? It is incredible that the Gauteng Department of Education has the foresight to declare no schools will be closed because of swine flu. I have taught in Korea and there, once a disease hits the schools, it's a wildfire. This is because the sheer volume of learners is immense, and virusses in Asia are especially nasty. So they know what to expect from H1N1. They had a practise run with SARS and H5N1. We still have much to learn.

IOL: "In Asia they are taking the virus exceptionally seriously, yet in the UK and the Netherlands you don't hear anything at all. In the East they are fanatical about it. They scan you with a machine to take your temperature when you arrive at the airport. If you have a fever they quarantine you. I sat with an Australian student who had been quarantined for five days."
clipped from

Despite assurances from the Gauteng Department of Education that no school will be closed because of swine flu, the number of cases in Joburg's schools is rising.

Last week, a private school, Redhill High, closed one week before its scheduled school holidays because the school had nine reported cases of the H1N1 virus.

The school sent out notices to parents on July 15 after it had one confirmed case of swine flu. At that stage they advised parents to look out for any flu-like symptoms.
Another private school, St Stithians College, had one pupil in its preparatory school with the virus.

Another two schools in Joburg reported 30 cases of swine flu. The pupils, from King David Victory Park and King David Linksfield, contracted the flu on a recent tour of Israel.

The Gauteng Department of Education said there had been no reported cases of swine flu at any public school.
At Parktown Girls, principal Anthea Cereseto held an assembly to inform her pupils about swine flu
 blog it

Friday, July 24, 2009

Global swine flu official death toll doubles in the past month

WHO did not give a breakdown of the deaths Tuesday. But as of last week, the United States reported 263 deaths, Canada reported 45 deaths and Britain had 29. According to WHO's last update on July 6, there were 119 deaths in Mexico.

SHOOT: 700 [official] deaths might not seem like much. H5N1 by comparison took 4 years to reach 400. The actual numbers may seem quite low. of course the danger lies in the POTENTIAL for this to become a very nasty pandemic virus, a killer capable of shaving tens of millions of lives from various countries' populations. In short, it can could have a chronic impact on your life and on your community - and on the economy in your area, and globally - even if you survive.
clipped from

GENEVA — The worldwide death toll from swine flu has doubled in the past month, reaching over 700 since the start of the outbreak last spring, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

The U.N. health agency also said it is examining how countries can tackle the expected explosion in cases predicted this fall, when students and workers in the northern hemisphere return from summer vacation.

Closing schools can help break the chain of swine flu transmission, though at risk of considerable economic cost, the British medical journal The Lancet reported Tuesday. The study is to be published in next month's edition.

"School closures is one of the mitigation measures that could be considered by countries," WHO spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi told reporters in Geneva.

WHO stopped asking governments to report infections last week, saying it was "extremely difficult, if not impossible" for countries with large numbers of cases to keep track of each new one.

 blog it

Unprecedented demand for UK| swine flu site crashes it: 2,600 hits per second or 9.3 million an hour

AFP: Chief medical officer Liam Donaldson accepted that the rise in new cases -- almost double last week's figure of 55,000 -- was a "substantial increase" but stressed the majority of patients suffer only mild symptoms.

SHOOT: This article, saying cases are at 55 000 per week, was posted 20 hours ago. The number has doubled again to 100 000 in the past week:

AFP:Britain is the worst-hit country in Europe by the A(H1N1) virus, which was first identified in Mexico. It gave up attempts at containment early on and is now focusing on the best way to treat infected patients.
clipped from

LONDON — A new government website launched to help identify swine flu symptoms and order drugs crashed after it was swamped by over nine million people, it was reported Friday.

At least 30 deaths have so far been linked to swine flu here, 26 in England and four in Scotland, according to the latest update from the Department of Health.

The figure is unchanged on the previous week. A further 840 people are in hospital in England, including 63 in intensive care, chief medical officer Liam Donaldson told reporters.

The concern felt by many over swine flu was reflected in what the government said was "unprecedented demand" for the new site, which launched at 3:00 pm (1400 GMT) and was soon receiving 2,600 hits per second or 9.3 million an hour.

The website crashed within minutes of launching, according to media reports, but appeared to be working normally late Thursday.

Around 1,500 people are working on the telephone hotline, which can take over 200,000 calls per day.

 blog it

Thursday, July 23, 2009

CORICRAFT: 2000 sofas must be sold in the next 10 days

SHOOT: I want one!
clipped from
 blog it

EASTERN CAPE WEATHER WARNING: The province is expected to be very cold and wet, with gale force winds and rough seas.

SHOOT: In June a number of people died in weather-related incidents, so if you're in the area, wrap up and do take care. Oh and email a picture of the snow to
clipped from
Queenstown - The main road between Fort Beaufort and Queenstown in the Eastern Cape has been closed due to heavy snow, the regional community services department warned.
"We have had to close the road because it's getting worse and there have already been one or two accidents," said Gideon Judeel, the department's director in the Lukhanji municipality.
The approximately 120km stretch was closed primarily to prevent further accidents.
"The conditions are not good," said Judeel, on his way to examine the situation, and to assess the overall impact on the communities living in the area.
 blog it


SHOOT: Bleh, offer applicable to western cape stores only.
clipped from

The Coricraft concept was founded over twenty years ago by one of the last remaining icons in the furniture industry. From humble manufacturing beginnings in Johannesburg, South Africa, wholesale demand for the now famous Coriraft Slip Cover sofa grew rapidly, necessitating a move to larger premises presently located in Epping, Cape Town. Today the manufacturing facility employs over 400 staff and in excess of 190 sofas are manufactured daily.

 blog it

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Signs That You're Living Beyond Your Means

Investopedia: As a nation, we have a long way to go before we reach any sort of collective financial responsibility. To avoid becoming part of the gloomy bankruptcy and foreclosure statistics, it's important to measure your financial health regularly. The five signs presented here are not a death sentence; instead, they should be seen as symptoms that allow you to diagnose a problem before it gets worse.

SHOOT: Face the reality of your finances, before you're wiped out. Bad decisions now will be punished, so be disciplined, and try to make good decisions. They'll be tough and less convenient than you're used to, but you might emerge as a survivor.
clipped from
Young woman looking worried at her piggybank (iStockphoto)
clipped from
You are Saving Less Than 5%

In 2006, the average rate of personal savings was an astonishing -0.5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. That means that not only were we spending all of our income, but also that a good number of us were also dipping into personal savings. This was the worst savings rate that Americans have recorded since 1933 when it was -0.7% during the Great Depression. The rate bounced back into positive territory in 2008 (Figure 1), and climbed further in 2009. If you haven't jumped on the saving bandwagon, now's the time to do it.

Your Credit Card Balances are Rising

If you are one of those people who pays only the minimum due on their credit card balance each month, or if you send in only a small contribution toward the principal balance, then you are most likely in over your head.

More Than 28% of Income Goes to Your House
Your Bills are Spiraling Out of Control
 blog it