August 14, 2018 – Updated on August 15, 2018 Hong Kong: RSF decries China’s attempt to intimidate the Foreign Correspondents’ Club ChinaHong KongAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesMedia independenceEvents Freedom of expressionInternet RSF_en News News Organisation China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison Reporters Without Borders (RSF) decries China’s attempt to intimidate the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong (FCCHK) from hosting Andy Chan, 27, founder of the first pro-independence party, of a very minor presence in Hong Kong.RSF urges Beijing to respect freedom of the press, which is written in the Basic law signed by China before handover. “It is a matter of professional responsibility for journalists to hear the views of different sides in any debate, and it is natural that the FCCHK would invite speakers representative of all non-violent political tendencies”, said Cédric Alviani, the director of RSF’s East Asia bureau. « The Chinese authorities are clearly trying to extend their policy of intimidating foreign journalists to the territory of Hong Kong. »Last week, the local bureau of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a representative urging the club to cancel the event, which refused to comply. Carrie Lam, the current Chief Executive of Hong Kong, said the talk is “regrettable and inappropriate.” Her predecessor, Leung Chun-ying, stated that talking of the Hong Kong independence is “an absolute red line” comparable to the promotion of “racism, anti-semitism or Nazism.”The luncheon finally took place today, August 14th, with a full house and a live video broadcast, despite a few dozen of pro-Beijing protestors and a heavy police presence outside the clubhouse. However, the club’s website is currently inaccessible, apparently victim of a cyber-attack. The FCCHK, founded in 1947, is an institution that counts 2000 members and hosts a wide array of speakers and panellists.In a recent report, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) denounced a new fall in press freedom in the former British colony. Originally placed 18th at the creation of the RSF World Press Freedom Index in 2002, Hong Kong is now ranked 70th out of 180. Mongolia : RSF urges presidential candidates to voice support for press freedom June 2, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Asia – Pacific Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information News Reporters Without Borders (RSF) decries China’s attempt to intimidate the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong (FCCHK) from inviting a pro-independence advocate to speak at a luncheon. News PHOTO: ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP ChinaHong KongAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesMedia independenceEvents Freedom of expressionInternet Pakistani TV anchor censored after denouncing violence against journalists to go further June 7, 2021 Find out more June 2, 2021 Find out more
The loss of the legendary Gregg Allman shook the music community to its core back in May. In early September, Gregg Allman’s final album, Southern Blood, was posthumously released. The album—produced by manager and friend Michael Lehman and Grammy-winning producer Don Was—very clearly served as Allman’s final statement to fans, with the album coming after the Allman Brothers Band icon’s ongoing fight with liver cancer following a liver transplant in 2010. Thus, Southern Blood is a ten-song collection of primary covers that reflect what was in Allman’s heart and soul during his final months.Gregg Allman Delivers Emotional Farewell On ‘Southern Blood’Watch The Nostalgic Official Music Video For Gregg Allman’s Cover Of ‘I Love The Life I Live’Today, the Gregg Allman camp has released a music video for the second single off the album, a cover of “Willin’”, which was originally penned by Little Feat’s Lowell George. The video for the hopeful tune is made all the more special by its unique format; the interactive 360-degree video lets viewers get a glimpse inside the studio and see the Gregg Allman Band in its full glory performing the song. You can check out the video for yourself below. [Photo: Phierce Photo]
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Up until last week’s piece on the Nassau Coliseum, the focus of my work for the Long Island Press has been mostly a critical look at recent planning efforts undertaken by Suffolk County. Notable examples include my analysis of the flawed Connect Long Island plan, criticisms concerning the Suffolk County’s lackluster water protection planning efforts, and my take on the recent “regional planning alliance” that was formed to shepherd through the Ronkonkoma Hub.The focus on Suffolk is intentional – simply put, Suffolk County is where the urban planning action (if it can be called that) is on Long Island. With roughly 46,000 acres of vacant open space left, multiple opportunities for redevelopment, and room for expansion, Suffolk is where any meaningful development policies can still be enacted on Long Island. Suffolk County’s policymakers routinely discuss land use issues. In Nassau, they toss tax breaks at political insiders while praying for the best. Even worse is that planning is needed just as much in Nassau as it is in Suffolk. Nassau is a stagnant county, and even worse off in regards to regional planning. Simply put, there is no body of work to build future strategies upon.Suffolk has a rich legacy of planning efforts that over the course of recent administrations has become watered-down and special-interest driven, which is a disservice to the process itself. Good policies have been enacted, continued and expanded, but others leave room for improvement. And that is why I write about these important issues in the first place.Late last week, Suffolk released the latest iteration of its “Comprehensive Master Plan.” Entitled Framework for the Future, this document lays out the county’s growth strategies through 2035. Interestingly enough, Suffolk already produced such a plan in 2011, and the Long Island Regional Planning Council studied Sustainable Strategies for Long Island 2035 in 2010. Both documents are detailed and lengthy (the LIRPC plan is around 230 pages), making the 76-page document just released by Suffolk seem quaint by comparison.Compared to the other efforts, the new report reads like a series of disjointed press releases from the Suffolk County Executive’s office. Essentially it is the same series of solutions that are pushed routinely. A true inventory that quantifies regional needs is missing. Where is a detailed housing analysis, data-backed commercial and industrial analysis, transportation assessment or the like? In the past, the county’s housing studies alone were 120 pages. In total, the latest plan, minus the introductions and the platitudes, has a mere 48 pages of written analysis. Quality vs. quantity is not the argument here because much of what is presented is clearly recycled content from the administration’s previous press releases, statements and Suffolk County reports. The previous studies were lengthy and dense – each page filled with facts, figures and recommendations.By itself, the latest version is not a bad document. The data included in it covers several years as it should. Arguably, the 2011 plan did all of the groundwork already, but what is troubling is that the current document released by the Steve Bellone administration makes no reference to any of the previous 2035 plans, even in passing. There has to be a better way to bring cohesion to these efforts.And they must go beyond photo ops and luncheon appearances featuring smiling county executives. At least, Suffolk provides a fertile ground for policy debate, creation and incubation. Not so west of Route 110. Recently, Nassau’s comptroller of all people had to take the reins to bring about a much needed discussion of the county’s future, hosting a series of public hearings and even going so far as to write a strategic plan in regards to retaining LI’s millennial generation. Time is running out for Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Suffolk County Executive Bellone to make a coordinated meaningful difference in meeting the Island’s ever-pressing needs.Our woes don’t respect the county line, and we have to stop planning at the regional level like they do.Rich Murdocco writes about Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner. Murdocco is a regular contributor to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on www.TheFoggiestIdea.org or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.
“But at a time when insurers need alpha to meet return assumptions and long-term liabilities, they are finding that regulatory requirements limit their ability to act.”In a press release, the asset manager noted that 74% of insurers were struggling to balance generating alpha with the cost of capital in a low-yield environment.Anticipated portfolio allocation shifts(article continues below) Insurers are planning to keep portfolio allocations in 2020 largely unchanged from this year’s except with regard to real estate and alternatives, according to a survey commissioned by Natixis Investment Managers.However, regulations are preventing insurers from satisfying their appetite for more investment in these areas, the asset manager indicated.According to the survey, insurers anticipated increasing their allocation to real estate from 7.9% this year to 8.5% next year, and to alternatives from 6.8% to 7.8%.“Views on the portfolio functions these strategies perform in today’s market might suggest that current allocations and upcoming shifts would be significantly larger,” said Natixis Investment Managers in a report on the survey. Source: Natixis Investment Managers 2019 Global Insurance Survey reportThe survey was of 200 chief investment officers “and team members” at life, property, and casualty and reinsurance companies in Asia, Europe and North America, with data gathered in July.Natixis noted that, despite the grown in appetite for alternatives among insurers, nearly all (89%) of insurance investment teams said regulations kept them from investing in these asset classes.This represented a significant increase compared with the same survey in 2015, when Solvency II had not come into force, the asset manager said.Solvency II is being reviewed and, in a consultation paper issued last month, EIOPA, the EU insurance regulator, appeared to open the door to the idea of lowering capital requirements for real estate investments.Natixis Investment Manager noted that its survey found that the main reasons insurance executives say they don’t use more alternatives in their portfolio are:Complexity (51%)Their organisation’s investment restrictions (42%)Fees (42%)Regulatory constraints (41%)Liquidity issues (37%)“As insurers grapple with the regulatory and executional complexity that comes with the search for higher yield and moving into alternatives, investment teams are increasingly drawing on external expertise to access innovative and specialised capabilities,” said Natixis.Seven in 10 (72%) of the survey respondents outsource some of their portfolios, with 10% of insurers delegating their entire portfolio to an outside firm. On average, insurance investors outsource nearly half (48%) of their portfolio, according to the survey.According to research by data analysis firm Cerulli Associates, almost a third of European insurance companies expect to reduce the number of third-party asset managers they work with over the next 12 to 24 months.The Natixis IM survey report can be found here.
Miralem Pjanic, The Bosnian Little Prince and member of the national football team of BiH, the last scored an amazing free kick goal in the match in which the Dragons won against the team of Switzerland.Today, he is celebrating his 26th birthday.On this occasion, we want to remind you on the best goals from ‘free kick’ that Pjanic scored, so take a look in the video below.Happy Birthday, Miralem Pjanic!(Source: Radiosarajevo.ba)
2. Obama and Brownbackâ€¦Iâ€™m one of the few people out there who can tick off both Democrats and Republicans with equal fervor.“Yes, my head is this big!”I am struck just how similar Obama and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback conducts their business – even though they are on complete opposite ends of the political spectrum.Both are arrogant, condescending and myopic individuals lacking any form of compassion for the opposing view. They take credit for accomplishments not their own and pass the buck off on the opposing party with such ease.In the State of the Union address, Obama was mocking Republican congressman about winning two Presidential elections. Earlier in the month, Brownback in his State of the State address was saying Kansasâ€™ sudden economic misfortune was due to people not having a â€œmoral compass.â€ Huh?Why canâ€™t both Obama and Brownback grow up and lead?I love reading books of past Presidents. The recurring theme is Americaâ€™s greatest leaders whether it be Abraham Lincoln, FDR, or Ronald Reagan â€” all developed the art of compromise to pass through their agendas. Heck, Iâ€™m reading a book now about how Liberal Democrat Tip Oâ€™Neill and Conservatives Reagan were buddies on Capitol Hill during the 1980s.Maybe itâ€™s too many years of reality TV, or twitter, or global warming or deflated footballs or the sun being too close to the moon, but it is apparent nobody understands the art of leadership anymore on Capitol Hill or Topeka. Everyone wants to be â€œright.â€ Everybody wants to â€œwin.â€Thatâ€™s too bad. We need a lot of leadership these days. 3. Fun fact: I have a lock that I don’t know where the keys are but when I find the keys I don’t know where the lock is. Do you think New England was caught cheating with deflated footballs? Yes, and they should be punished severely. Yes, but who cares? They would have won anyway. No. In this case the Patriots are innocent. I’ll decide after the motion picture is released in theaters. View Results 4. Another Fun Fact: I have lights surrounding the perimeter of my room (Christmas lights) that I turn on instead of my actual ceiling lights. Loading … 2. +1 addition to my carrier choice list. Nero scientist. Preferably at lucid dreams and brain functions that happened during lucid dreams. 5. Shout out of the week.Deadline is Tuesday at noon to file for a city council or school board position.Â Think very hard what I said last week about serving your communityÂ (see columnÂ here).So my shout out this week goes out to everyone who will be running for an office on Tuesday.You can make a difference. 5. Contest time! Winner gets a T-shirt! Who plays the angel Castiel in the show Supernatural. (Submit answer in comments below).Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (7) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +2 Vote up Vote down Hunter Owston · 289 weeks ago Misha Collins, to answer Quinns contest question (: Report Reply 1 reply · active 289 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down CueballSumnernewscow 94p · 289 weeks ago You are the winner Hunter. E-mail us at [email protected] for your address and we’ll send or deliver a free T-shirt. Report Reply +2 Vote up Vote down Nonya · 289 weeks ago Misha Collins Report Reply 0 replies · active 289 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down WellDone · 289 weeks ago “Congress is going to ignore everything President Barack Obama is going to say and do whatever the heck they want anyway.” Paybacks are hell, aren’t they? Report Reply 1 reply · active 289 weeks ago 0 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 289 weeks ago But watch out, Obama has a pen…..and a phone! Report Reply 0 Vote up Vote down Clyde · 289 weeks ago Misha Collins Report Reply 0 replies · active 289 weeks ago 0 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 289 weeks ago Misha Collins. Love that show…. Report Reply 0 replies · active 289 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Five extra thoughts by Quinn…Quinn McCueHi, I’m back again!Â With no format!1.I wrote this thought at 12:41 a.m. (Cue’s note: he needs to go to bed). Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow â€” Five Cueball and Quinn thoughts for January 25, 2015â€¦1. State of the Unionâ€¦Iâ€™m like 40 percent of the Sumner Newscow readers out there. Iâ€™d rather swim in a tub of heated cow manure than watch a State of the Union speech (see poll here). Yeah, I know itâ€™s my civic duty to watch such speeches. But I get enough political posturing with the various meetings and political rallies I cover. Iâ€™ll read about it the next day or listen to the cable TV blabbermouths.“Help me up, I think I can step on him.”Hereâ€™s my issue with State of the Union speeches. For some reason the Vice President and Speaker of the House look about twice the size of the President. Why is that? Then thereâ€™s the applause that interrupts the speech. Stop it. Itâ€™s annoying.Then thereâ€™s the excruciating length of the speech â€”something like one hour and 30 minutes. Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m a Lutheran. We have church once a week and our sermons are done in 20 minutes or less. And if the Hawks or the Cats or the Shockers are playing a little roundball on the other channel, then there is no political speeches for me.Â And when it is all over, Congress is going to ignore everything President Barack Obama is going to say and do whatever the heck they want anyway. Because the Republicans now own the House and the Senate, and the latest Merriam Webster Dictionary came out, and if you look up the words â€œlame duck,â€ youâ€™ll see a picture of Mr. Obama. 3. Deflate gateâ€¦Â Really? This is the biggest news of the week? Everyone is going nuts over whether or not the New England deflated footballs during the AFC Championship against Indianapolis so quarterback Tom Brady could throw a better pass.Here is why I donâ€™t care. New England 45 Indianapolis 7!!The Colts wouldnâ€™t have won that game if the teams were using a beach ball.Now I realize it is perfectly acceptable to hate New England coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady seems like the kind of guy you want to take out to an alley and punch a few times (provided with a few of your friends).But in this case, Iâ€™m with them. This is all a bunch of hooey.Anyway, Iâ€™m curious what Sumner County thinks. Iâ€™m running a special Cueball poll here. 4. Applicant interviewsÂ â€¦The other day Councilmen John Brand and Jim Valentine got into an interesting discussion about whether or not to interview the one applicant to fill the vacancy on the Wellington Housing Authority board left by J.P. Buellesfeld, who resigned in December.It is a legitimate question since the WHA has been embroiled in controversy the past two months. Paula Mortimer was the only applicant to apply. The council approved her by a 6-1 vote without an interview.Please, donâ€™t misconstrue this as picking sides in the WHA debate. Iâ€™m still pondering whether this controversy should have ever reached the ears of the media and could have been worked out on their own.But I do think an interview in this case is unnecessary for two reasons.1) Mortimer was the only one to apply for the position. She played by the rules and therefore should be rewarded as such. When someone runs unopposed for a city, county or state office, do we extend the filing deadline so someone can run against him/her?2) Applying for a municipal board is not the same as applying for a job.A couple of Sumner Newscow readers made a good point that if you owned a business, it would be best to interview the applicants. Yes, but you are talking about having someone work for you part or full-time with the livelihood of your business at stake. While it is important to have someone who is a good leader to oversee the WHA, Wheat Capital Manor will survive even if you appointed Charles Manson to the board.Plus, a board member is not an employee. He/she hires other administrators to oversee the specifics of an organization.There are a number of boards under the guise of the City of Wellington – both authority like the WHA and SRMC boards where they can vote independently as an institution, or advisory boards like the planning commission that can only recommend to the council. If the council took it upon itself to interview everyone to fill a volunteer position, then that would become an astronomically time consuming process.Since Wellington has such a hard time getting people to volunteer to fill these spots anyway, I canâ€™t imagine bogging down the process would help matters.
UPDATE: The NBA wanted to reassure everyone Wednesday that the quality and quantity get way better as soon as people leave quarantine.”After clearing quarantine, players will also have access to various restaurants on campus and delivery options to choose from. Players will receive three meals a day and four meals on gamedays. There is never a shortage of food options — players can always request additional food by speaking with their team nutritionists,” the league said in a statement (per CBSSports.com). Nets guard Chris Chiozza gave us a look at some of that other stuff on his IG story. A chicken-looking piece of meat and grayish polenta(?) filled his Styrofoam container.Chris Chiozza shares his Bubble meal… pic.twitter.com/kjrj2lh17R— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) July 8, 2020Marc Stein of The New York Times tweeted that the food was looking the way Daniels posted because players are given different food options while they’re under quarantine after coming to Central Florida. “Player meals won’t look like airline trays after the first 48 hours . . .” Stein wrote on Twtter.Regardless, NBA Twitter just knows LeBron James won’t be dealing with any of this stuff.No way Bron eating this LOL https://t.co/mGWgPBbS6S— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) July 8, 2020Whole league eating commissary foodLeBron eating Torchys tacos pic.twitter.com/bULUYDzwHw— Deuce (@DeuceThomas) July 8, 2020LeBron’s dinner vs. rest of NBA pic.twitter.com/1rzXX2UyEH— LakeShowYo (@LakeShowYo) July 8, 2020LeBron chilling with his chef watching these players post their meals 😭 pic.twitter.com/jk4pDA2or4— Top Ball Coverage (@TopBallCoverage) July 8, 2020lebron still eating his five star meals looking at troy daniels’ paper bag lunch pic.twitter.com/YsjcOX3Kyb— bb 🕴🏾🌎 (@yslbran11) July 8, 2020Meanwhile this is what bron is gonna have in his hotel pic.twitter.com/BH15G1rQs8— Alex (@SlayBater2) July 8, 2020 ORIGINAL STORY:NBA players began reporting to the “bubble” at Walt Disney World on Tuesday, and almost immediately there was a social media meltdown over the food they were being served. This league . . .Nuggets wing Troy Daniels got the whole thing started when he posted to his Instagram story a skimpy-looking spread that was delivered to his hotel room.Troy Daniels shares his first meal inside the Orlando Bubble on Instagram pic.twitter.com/jpORX6P7cn— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) July 8, 2020Daniels had barely hit “send” when the reactions came flying in: Fyre Fest, middle school lunch, airline food, prison grub, MLS meals — a whole buffet of wisecracks.Fyre Fest 2.0 in the NBA’s bubble. Documentaries will be made 👀 pic.twitter.com/Up9Wd6YXo3— George Jarjour (@gjarjour) July 8, 2020I had this exact meal in Middle School https://t.co/2gUvNCnCBq— Clutch NBA (@ClutchNBAat5R) July 8, 2020They really Eating air plane food— The best (@lamarmvp_08) July 8, 2020MORE: WNBA players point out poor bubble conditions; Stephen A. Smith is outragedWell, Daniels’ “meal” looked better than Fyre Fest and prison food, even if it was a bit sparse. But it may have only appeared sparse, because the main course wasn’t pictured. The menu in the lower left corner of Daniels’ IG photo listed things like “Italian Grilled Chicken With Natural Jus” and “White Fish With Tomato and Dill Topping.”
By John BurtonJoseph X. Oxley has been nominated for the state Superior CourtTRENTON – Governor Chris Christie has tapped former Monmouth County sheriff and current county Republican chairman Joseph X. Oxley for a seat on the state Superior Court.Christie included Oxley among seven nominees to fill vacancies on the bench around the state.“The governor believes Mr. Oxley’s experience as a lawyer equips him to be an effective judge on the Superior Court,” said Sean L. Conner, deputy press secretary for the Governor’s Office.“It’s certainly a dream come true,” Oxley said. “It was an honor for Gov. Christie to nominate me.”Oxley, 54, a Middletown native, was county sheriff, an elected position, from 1996-2008. He also was a member of the Middletown Township Committee and was selected by the committee as mayor for a time.Oxley also worked for the Monmouth Prosecutor’s Office from 1984 –1986, as an assistant prosecutor.Since leaving the sheriff’s office, he has been in private practice, working with the Scarinci Hollenbeck law firm in Freehold.He is currently borough attorney in Sea Bright, a post he previously served in for Highlands.In the political realm, Oxley has been the county GOP chair for nearly two full three-year terms. He has been a staunch supporter of Christie, endorsing him early in the 2009 gubernatorial race. When Christie appeared at one of his town hall meetings in Ocean Township in early March, he made a point of noting how important carrying Monmouth County was in his winning the election.Oxley’s current term as chairman ends next month following the primary election. Because it is unknown how long his Superior Court nomination will take before it reaches the state Senate Judiciary Committee, Oxley said he hasn’t determined whether he will seek another term as county chairman. But, he said, “I certainly will be finishing my current term.”State Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos (R-13), another Middletown native son and Christie confidante who is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, said Oxley was a “smart choice by the governor,” and “one that I fully advocated for and support.”There are about 50 judicial vacancies in the Superior Court around the state, according to Derek Roseman, a spokesman for the Democratic Senate Majority Office. Roseman declined to comment on this nomination or predict how long it might be before it comes before the Senate.While Senate Democrats “have been unusually partisan and, at times, intransient in regards to the governor’s nominees for various offices,” that hasn’t been as severe with judicial appointments other than the state Supreme Court, Kyrillos said.“I’m looking to helping Joe through the confirmation process,” Kyrillos said.For Superior Court appointments there has been a long-standing unofficial tradition that the number of judges be divided evenly between the two parties.If approved by the Senate, Oxley would serve in Monmouth County.
OAKLAND — Defensive tackle Corey Liuget and guard Jonathan Cooper were among the Raiders’ seven inactive players Monday night for their regular season opener against The Denver Broncos.Liuget was listed as questionable with an ankle injury. The eight-year veteran was signed to an already crowded field of defensive tackles on Aug. 25.With Liuget inactive, the Raiders will have three active tackles — starters Maurice Hurst and Johnathan Hankins and second-year player P.J. Hall. In nickel …
Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa of theNational Heritage Council and DrAmanda Esterhuysen of Witsface off during a heated debateon heritage and development.(Image: Oupa Nkosi) MEDIA CONTACTS • National Heritage Council+27 12 348 1663/8223Nicky RehbockA recent heated debate, spearheaded by Brand South Africa and the National Heritage Council, examined whether economic development and heritage preservation can take place simultaneously.Panellists who presented arguments at the Johannesburg event included chief executive of the National Heritage Council advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa, Wits University archaeologist Dr Amanda Esterhuysen, Standard Bank group chief economist Goolam Ballim and affected Mapungubwe community member Wilson Sigwavhulimu.The debate was moderated by SAfm radio presenter Xolani Gwala.Although the South African Constitution lists heritage as a national priority, it’s locked in a fierce battle with property development and environmentally destructive economic activities such as mining.And often, mining and industrialisation is favoured over heritage preservation because they seem to have more immediate results and tangible benefits for communities grappling with poverty and unemployment.The other challenge is that business rationalises its interest in fragile heritage sites by saying that development will contribute to the economy and make the country better for all residents. What it doesn’t openly admit is that the trade-off from this “positive” development may be heritage destruction.Esterhuysen believes that ineffective legislation is one of the main reasons why economic development is favoured over heritage.“Currently there are multiple acts, which are very poorly integrated. This extends to the three levels of government: on a local level, implementation of heritage regulations does not exist, and very few provincial agencies have implemented any regulations. While the National Heritage Council exists in Cape Town, it has limited competency and funding,” she said.Heritage needs to be recognised for its social value and communities need to be given the right to speak out and take a stand against development in fragile sites, according to Esterhuysen.“Unfortunately, until such a time when the heritage sector is valued independently of the rest of the market, it will be destroyed. In South Africa, sites and communities are not properly protected in terms of development.”Sustainable development keyAdvocate Mancotywa believes there’s potential in South Africa for heritage preservation to take place at the same time as development.“Conservation and development together form sustainable development. In Africa, you cannot separate the two. People here try and copy what Europe is doing, but Europe doesn’t have the same poverty challenges which exist here,” he said.Because the is no empirical evidence backing up the claim that heritage sites in the country contribute to economic development, communities living near these sites are susceptible to the lure of big business.“Communities are sometimes disempowered when a mining company comes and makes promises of economic development. Often, these communities have no choice but to believe those promises,” Mancotywa said.Economics of heritageStandard Bank’s Goolam Ballim argues that heritage, on its own, offers something larger than just economic value.“It has both monetary and non-monetary benefits. Heritage is bequeathed to our children and our children’s children,” he said – but also pointed out that “there’s insufficient evidence to be making generalised statements for or against heritage”.The reality in South Africa is that although heritage is viewed as important, it gets eclipsed by other, more pressing issues.“In the hierarchy of needs, most South Africans will state that food, shelter, personal safety and security will rank higher than charm, memories and the aesthetic qualities of an area.“People need to be convinced about the benefits of heritage. Today, the pro-heritage group finds itself with an even tougher task than in the past: we live in a society where the single most important threat to democracy and economy is poverty,” he added.Heritage versus mining at MapungubweThe Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape in Limpopo province is a hotbed of contention, with an uneasy dynamic playing out between heritage and mining.Wilson Sigwavhulimu, who represents affected communities from Mapungubwe, believes the solution lies in finding a way in which the two elements can go hand-in-hand.The Mapungubwe site dates back to the first indigenous kingdom in Southern Africa, which existed between 900 and 1 300 AD.Due to its highly sophisticated people, who traded gold and ivory with China, India and Egypt, the kingdom developed into the largest of its kind on the sub-continent, before drought and migration caused it to be abandoned in the 14th century.In 2003 Mapungubwe was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, covering a core area of close to 30 000ha and a buffer zone of about 100 000ha.The area is also a prime mining spot, with deposits of diamonds and coal within the vicinity.“When Mapungubwe was declared a national park, the surrounding communities were involved so they could understand what it was all about. The problem came with an Australian company and its intention for a coal mine,” Sigwavhulimu said.“The greatest problem is that mining has immediate results for communities, unlike tourism driven by heritage, which has more long-term benefits. But you cannot do away with mining, and you cannot do away with tourism.”Sigwavhulimu’s concern is that if mining activity continues, or increases, the area may be withdrawn as a World Heritage Site.“How do we convince the community about the lasting effects of tourism when the unemployment rate is very high?” he asked. “A lot of work needs to be done to get to the traditional leaders and explain to them the economic development brought by the World Heritage Site, on the one hand, and mining, on the other.”How mining affects heritage-driven tourism is a complex issue, Sigwavhulimu added.“We must get the mines together to try and solve this problem, as the alternative is too concerning to consider.”