sunwolves axing was a good decision and should win back fans 1024x683 - Sunwolves’ axing was a good decision and should win back fans

Sunwolves’ axing was a good decision and should win back fans

CAPE TOWN – The Sunwolves getting the Super Rugby chop was the best decision Sanzaar could have made.

The southern hemisphere governing body on Friday announced that the Japanese outfit would only feature in the competition until the end of next season.

The other team that would see the move as a hospital pass other than the Sunwolves are perhaps the Aussies.

The statement from Sanzaar said the Japan Rugby Football Union decided “Super Rugby no longer remains the best pathway for the development of players for the national team”, with Sanzaar stating that the JRFU could no longer financially underwrite the team’s future Super Rugby participation. 

Yeah, maybe the timing of the announcement wasn’t ideal as the Tokyo-based team were just starting to look a better outfit. And that will have even those who have previously complained about the convoluted and diluted competition screaming “why?” at their impending exit.

But as unpopular as the decision might be, it’s the right one. For at least 50% of the teams that will remain in Super Rugby post the 2021 cut, it’s the right one. Firstly, the reduction to 14 teams will do away with the frustrating conference system that was introduced in 2011, a system that became increasingly convoluted as teams continued to join the competition.

So welcome back, round-robin. Now back to that 50%. For the South African franchises, the Sunwolves’ departure will mean less travel. And considering just how taxing that travel is, the sigh of relief coming from the Saffa camp is totally understandable.

For the New Zealanders, the physical and mental strain of having to play like eight derbies a season – and that’s before the knock-outs – has been huge. And I mention the New Zealanders in particular because of the quality of competition between them and the stance they’ve held for so long.

Sure, it might be exactly those derbies that catch the eye of the pocket-heavy interested, and there are few things fans enjoy more than a traditional local battle (take the Bulls and Stormers, for example). But it would never have resulted in a competition that would be fair towards New Zealand, unless the majority of SA and Australia’s teams suddenly take their game to another level. And that lack of strength versus strength is exactly one of the things that took away from the competition’s appeal.

So, the proposed return-to-old format will also be way, way fairer, especially towards the Kiwis, also for obvious (conference) reasons.

Sunwolves players celebrate their victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton, New Zealand. Photo: AP Photo/Bruce Lim
Sunwolves players celebrate their victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton, New Zealand. Photo: AP Photo/Bruce Lim

For the Australians the decision could bring something less positive.

With more focus on the Japanese Top League to be expected following the Sunwolves’ departure, the lucrative lure to the Asian competition will be threatening. Even more so if that lure comes in the form of a full-time basis. And if they manage to pull in more Australian players, it could negatively affect the strength of their Super sides.

Looking at the Sunwolves, one also has to question how much their Super Rugby involvement did for the growth of the game in Japan. Sure, their matches were at times well-supported, but you just have to have had a look at the composition of their match-day squads to see that their national side wouldn’t have benefited much from it.

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Many might see this decision as short-sighted. And in a way they have a point – SA, Australia and the Jaguares still have to improve, and do so consistently, if the competition is to really flourish. But with the Sunwolves gone and the resulting return to a round-robin format, Sanzaar have finally delivered on years of lip service.

And it’s a move that should win back rugby’s key stakeholders – the fans.

@WynonaLouw


Cape Times

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reuters reporters appeal conviction in myanmar official secrets case 1024x710 - Reuters reporters appeal conviction in Myanmar official secrets case

Reuters reporters appeal conviction in Myanmar official secrets case

Naypyitaw – Myanmar’s Supreme Court heard the appeal on Tuesday of two Reuters journalists imprisoned for breaking a colonial-era official secrets law, in a case that has raised questions about Myanmar’s progress towards democracy.

Reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have spent more than 15 months in detention since they were arrested in December 2017, while investigating a massacre of Rohingya Muslim civilians involving Myanmar soldiers.

A judge found the two guilty under the Official Secrets Act last September and sentenced them to seven years in prison.

Both remain separated from their young daughters. The wife of 32-year-old Wa Lone gave birth to their first child last year while Wa Lone was behind bars. Kyaw Soe Oo celebrated his 29th birthday in Yangon’s Insein jail this month.

"We are expecting to reunite as a family as soon as possible," Kyaw Soe Oo’s wife, Chit Su Win, told reporters outside the Supreme Court compound in the capital, Naypyitaw, after Tuesday’s hearing. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo did not attend.

The reporters’ convictions were heavily criticised by press freedom advocates and Western diplomats, putting additional pressure on Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate who took power in 2016 amid a transition from military rule.

Suu Kyi said in September, the week after their conviction, that the reporters’ case had nothing to do with press freedom as the men had been jailed for handling official secrets, not because they were journalists.

Chit Su Win, wife of Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo, left, and Pan Ei Mon, right, wife of Reuters journalist Wa Lone, hold their children as they leave the Supreme Court after hearing an appeal of the two journalists in Naypyitaw. Picture: Aung Shine Oo/AP

"Myanmar’s Supreme Court has the opportunity to correct the serious miscarriage of justice inflicted on Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo for the last 15 months," Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said in a statement.

"They are honest, admirable journalists who did not break the law, and they should be freed as a matter of urgency."

Outlining their grounds of appeal, the reporters’ lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw, cited lack of proof of a crime and evidence that the pair were set up by police.

After government law officer Ko Ko Maung responded, Justice Soe Naing adjourned the case without giving a date for a ruling.

During eight months of hearings, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo testified that two policemen they had not met before handed them papers rolled up in a newspaper during a meeting at a Yangon restaurant on Dec. 12, 2017. Almost immediately afterwards, they said, they were bundled into a car by plainclothes officers.

A police captain testified that, prior to the restaurant meeting, a senior officer had ordered subordinates to plant documents on Wa Lone to "trap" the reporter.

The prosecution said the reporters were caught holding secret documents at a routine traffic stop.

The high court in Myanmar’s largest city Yangon rejected an earlier appeal in January.

Before their arrest, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo had been working on a Reuters investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State during an army crackdown that began in August 2017.

The operation sent more than 730 000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh, according to United Nations estimates. 

Reuters

prince goes to bat for verreynne questions national coach ottis gibson 943x1024 - Prince goes to bat for Verreynne, questions national coach Ottis Gibson

Prince goes to bat for Verreynne, questions national coach Ottis Gibson

CAPE TOWN – “I don’t think Ottis Gibson has ever seen Kyle Verreynne play any game of cricket.” 

That’s the forthright opinion of Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince.

Verreynne, 21, has enjoyed two stellar seasons of franchise cricket since graduating from the SA Under-19 ranks. The wicket-keeper/batsman has followed up his “Newcomer of the Year” prize received at the 2017-18 CSA Awards with another good year.

He struck 583 runs at average of 44.84 in the 4-Day Series to boost his overall first-class average to 49.65. He then lit up the Mzansi Super League opener at Newlands before continuing his form in the One-Day Cup, where he averages 64.66.

Verreynne’s glovework has also been more than tidy, but has since seen Warriors prodigy Sinethemba Qeshile move ahead of him in the pecking order with the 20-year-old having made his T20I debut this past weekend after just one season of franchise cricket.

Equally, the Proteas have trialled part-time keeper David Miller behind the stumps in a couple of matches this season in regards to preparing a stand-in gloveman for the World Cup later this year.

“He’s (Verreynne) a very competitive and very motivated guy and I’d say playing for the Proteas is very high up on his agenda. Obviously, he’s still young and there’s a lot of time ahead. He has had two very good seasons. I backed him as a second potential wicket-keeper for the World Cup squad,” Prince said.

“I have my reasons for that. I work with him on a daily basis. Regardless of the situation he steps up every time. It is those types of players that I am really impressed by. People who stand up in tough situations.

“He is only slight in figure, but always nearly goes at a 100% strike-rate.

“And the skill there is that he is not a big-hitter who hits boundaries, but he is almost able to score off every ball. I don’t think Ottis Gibson has ever seen Kyle Verreynne play any game of cricket, so that is what goes on in our cricket. It is out of our control, unfortunately.”

Kyle Verreynne struck 583 runs at average of 44.84 in the 4-Day Series to boost his overall first-class average to 49.65 Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Kyle Verreynne struck 583 runs at average of 44.84 in the 4-Day Series to boost his overall first-class average to 49.65 Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Prince believes the former Wynberg Boys’ High gloveman can also be utilised in the longer formats, even with Quinton de Kock in the Test line-up.

“I would say that if I had any influence in the national team, the way they batted in Test cricket, I would move Quinton down to No 4 and give the gloves to Kyle. That’s how much I back him. But that’s my opinion,” Prince said.

“I am saying the way they batted in Test cricket this year with Quinny being not out, trying to smack whatever with the tail towards the back end he is being wasted. He is probably South Africa’s best batsman at the moment. I would do that. Make Quinton No 4 and give Kyle the gloves. He will make 100s at No 7 as well.”

Verreynne will have another opportunity to make a further imprint on the national selectors when the Cobras face the Titans in the One-Day Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

@ZaahierAdams


Cape Argus

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uneasy calm in gaza after israelis palestinians exchange heavy fire 1024x683 - Uneasy calm in Gaza after Israelis, Palestinians exchange heavy fire

Uneasy calm in Gaza after Israelis, Palestinians exchange heavy fire

Jerusalem — A tense quiet took hold on Tuesday morning after a night of heavy fire as Israeli aircraft bombed targets across the Gaza Strip and Gaza militants fired rockets into Israel in what threatened to devolve into a major conflict, just two weeks before the Israeli election.

Schools in southern Israel were cancelled for the day and the military imposed restrictions on public gatherings near the Gaza border, after dozens of rockets were fired toward communities in the area, including one that struck a house in the town of Sderot.

The Israeli air force pounded militant sites of Gaza’s Hamas rulers and the smaller Islamic Jihad group. The targets included a multistory building in Gaza City that Israel said had served as a Hamas military intelligence headquarters and the office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Gaza’s Health Ministry said seven Palestinians were wounded in the airstrikes.

The cross-border fighting was triggered by a surprise rocket fired early Monday from Gaza that slammed into a house in central Israel and wounded seven people.

Israeli Shlomo Moskowitz examines the damage to his house after it was hit by a rocket in Sderot, southern Israel. Picture: Tsafrir Abayov/AP

The Israeli military said it was a self-manufactured rocket with a range of 120 kilometres (75 miles), making it one of the deepest strikes ever carried out by Hamas. The military mobilized two armour and infantry brigades drafted some reserve forces before striking back at militant sites in Gaza.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers announced later in the day that Egyptian mediators had brokered a cease-fire but the firing continued overnight before calm appeared to return early Tuesday.

Israeli forces struck targets across the Gaza Strip in response to a surprise rocket attack from the Palestinian territory, as the military beefed up troops and rocket-defence systems in anticipation of a new round of heavy fighting with Hamas. Picture: Adel Hana/AP

Monday’s rocket attack prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short a visit to Washington and return home. He promised a tough response, setting the stage for perhaps the most serious conflict since a war in 2014. But with no fatalities reported on either side yet, and the quiet holding for the moment, it still seemed possible to step back from the brink once again.

Two weeks ago, rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel’s densely populated commercial capital of Tel Aviv, and the Israeli military struck back. Gaza’s Hamas leaders said the rocket was fired accidentally and the fighting quickly subsided.

An explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes is seen in Gaza City. Picture: Adel Hana/AP

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in the last decade. Although neither side appears to have an interest in another war, fighting could easily spin out of control. The 2014 conflict lasted 50 days and ended with over 2 000 Palestinian deaths, including hundreds of civilians, and 73 killed on the Israeli side.

Netanyahu is scheduled to land later Tuesday and head directly to consultations at military headquarters in Tel Aviv. He faces the difficult task of delivering a tough blow to Hamas while avoiding protracted fighting that could work against him on election day.

Netanyahu came under heavy criticism from allies and opponents for what they say has been an ineffective policy containing Gaza militants. He has conducted indirect cease-fire talks through Egyptian mediators in recent months, and even allowed the delivery of millions of dollars of Qatari aid to Hamas to ease harsh conditions in Gaza.

Hamas is facing perhaps its toughest domestic test since seizing control of Gaza from the rival Palestinian Authority 12 years ago.

An Israel-Egyptian blockade imposed to weaken Hamas, combined with sanctions by the Palestinian Authority and mismanagement by the Hamas government, have all fueled an economic crisis that has left Gaza with an unemployment rate above 50 percent.

Hamas has been leading weekly protests along the Israeli border for the past year in hopes of easing the blockade, but the demonstrations, in which some 190 people have been killed by Israeli fire, have done little to improve conditions.

Last week, hundreds of Gazans protested the dire conditions, a rare expression of public discontent against the authoritarian government. Hamas responded with a violent crackdown, beating and arresting dozens of demonstrators and drawing rare public criticism.

AP

chicago symphony musicians perform for free as strike lingers - Chicago Symphony musicians perform for free as strike lingers

Chicago Symphony musicians perform for free as strike lingers

Musicians.

The striking musicians of the venerable Chicago Symphony Orchestra put on a free concert on Monday for fans, as an impasse with management that is being watched closely by the classical music world entered its third week.

The post Chicago Symphony musicians perform for free as strike lingers appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

gibson will be a nervous on looker ahead of world cup 1024x719 - Gibson will be a nervous on-looker ahead of World Cup

Gibson will be a nervous on-looker ahead of World Cup

JOHANNESBURG – Ottis Gibson would have liked the World Cup to start this week.

He has a team with players who are in form and in rhythm, so that is perfectly understandable. But instead they will have about two months to go “cold” or get injured and it is worrying for the Proteas coach.

“There was a day last week when I thought ‘I wish the World Cup was next week.’ We are in such good form at the minute and confidence is high and there is a great team spirit,” Gibson stated in the wake of South Africa’s success in the limited-overs matches against Sri Lanka, which they swept 8-0 across the one-day internationals and T20 series.

The World Cup starts on 30 May, with South Africa and England playing the opening match of the tournament at The Oval.

But between now and then, a lot of balls will be bowled, hit and caught, and Gibson, despite his ultra-cool exterior, will be a nervous on-looker. 

The South African squad will be named on 18 April and it will gather for a week-long training camp on 12 May, the first half of that camp taking place in Cape Town, before the players and coaches relocate to Gauteng for the conclusion.

12 May is also the date for the final of the IPL meaning some members of the squad could arrive late for World Cup preparations.

“What we have said to guys is that they must understand what the big picture is, with regards to the Proteas,” said Gibson. “The guys at the IPL all have individual programmes around their fitness, but also around their cricket so that when we get together on May 12, there are no niggling injuries – we don’t want to be taking injuries into a six-week World Cup. Hopefully that will take care of itself and we’ll just get on with it from there.”

Thabang Moroe has tried to ensure that players like Quinton de Kock are not overworked during the IPL this year. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Thabang Moroe has tried to ensure that players like Quinton de Kock are not overworked during the IPL this year. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The IPL is the really scary period for Gibson. It is understood that Cricket SA’s chief executive Thabang Moroe was in India for the start of that competition last weekend and held meetings with officials from the league. Top of the agenda was trying to ensure that Faf du Plessis, Kagiso Rabada and Quinton de Kock weren’t overworked by their respective IPL franchises.

“We have to sit with fingers crossed,” Gibson remarked.

“In my experience from working with teams in the IPL is that someone always comes back with an injury, so we pray that none of our guys pick up something that is too serious that will rule them out of the tournament.”

Beyond just the results of the ODI series against Australia last year, which SA won 2-1 and then the victories against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Gibson has also been happy with the versatility the group has illustrated, saying that element will be vital for South Africa’s World Cup challenge.

“We’ve been practicing game plans for a while now, putting people in situations we think we can use them in in the World Cup,” said Gibson.

“We’ve seen different bowling attacks, the two spinners playing in the same attack, batsmen moving up and down the order and we feel that if we get the 15 guys that we want, we will have a lot of variation in how we can set up the team. That’s what we will need in England. I don’t think you can play the same 11 people in a World Cup and expect to win it.

One player who has not seen much game time recently is Hashim Amla who is tending to his ill father, and Gibson said Amla will be given all the time he needs. 

“Family takes precedence over everything else. We need to give him the time that he needs to be with his family and then we will make a decision just after that,” Gibson said.

@shockerhess


The Star

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retreat from the world 1024x1024 - Retreat from the world ...

Retreat from the world …

IN A WORLD growing ever more hectic by the day, an increasing number of people are turning to the ancient practice of yoga to find balance and happiness in their lives.

This search for zen has lead to an upsurge in yoga retreats where tired souls can find sanctuary from a crazy world. Experts attribute the popularity of these resorts to people leaning towards a healthier lifestyle and taking charge of their spirituality.

Qutoe Anoushka Emson, a yoga instructor based in Cape Town, said yoga retreats began gaining popularity in South Africa a year ago, and it is easy to see why.

Yogis head to beautiful wine estates, beaches and mountains to revel in a weekend of relaxation and meditation, combined with healthy food and spa treatments, marrying the traditional getaway with a passion for fitness and wellness.


Joëlle Sleebo, a fitness trainer and yoga instructor, says yoga culture is growing across the world, with more yoga retreats being organised not just internationally, but locally too.

When asked about some of the popular types of yoga, Sleebo says suspension and aerial yoga, where one uses a hammock to invert and do yoga.

She says sculpt yoga, which includes cardiovascular exercises, is popular. As is acro yoga, where you work as a couple and do the acrobatic type of yoga poses, while supporting each other.

Yoga also creates a healthy weight and balanced metabolic system, while it helps the body with muscle stretching and toning.

Here is a list of some of the most beautiful and peaceful retreats across the country.

The Buddhist Retreat Centre

Where: KwaZulu-Natal

Surrounding by stunning views of valleys, hills and indigenous forests, this Buddhist Retreat is overlooking Chibini valley. The BRC facilitated the founding of Woza Moya, a social and welfare project which does outreach work with the local community.

Former President Nelson Mandela also awarded the centre National Heritage status for its environmentally friendly outlook.

Not just for practising Buddhists, the retreat offers a variety of programmes, courses and facilities with an emphasis on meditation and mindfulness.

Cost of experience: From R750.

Blissful Kids Parent and Child Retreat


Where: Cape Town

Experience: This place is an environment for families to spend quality time together. To relax, de-stress and connect using yoga and art, while immersing themselves in nature and nourishing the body and soul with wholesome foods.

This retreat is an opportunity to pause, breathe and reconnect with the incredible potential that lies within.

Cost of experience: Adults R3850 and Children R3250 – vegetarian meals three times a day.

Emoyeni Retreat Centre

Emoyeni Retreat Centre in Magaliesberg.

Where: Magaliesberg

Highlights: Emoyeni – meaning place of spirit in Zulu – is set high on the northern slopes of the Magaliesberg Mountains, 100km from Johannesburg.

They run formal weekend retreats with a set programme and a teacher every second weekend with “open weekends” in between, and they run two annual yoga retreats a year.

On these retreats you will work with movement and breathing, presence or mindfulness and meditation.

All meals are vegetarian, there are no TV, games or swimming pool – the lack of distractions is meant to encourage a spirit of introspection.

Cost of experience: From R1650.

Satori Farm Eco Retreat

Where: Natal Midlands

Highlights: Set high in the Natal midlands, Satori Farm is a beautiful place surrounded by mountains, with freshwater streams and a river.

Forging a connection with nature is one of the goals at Satori Farm.

The retreat offers yoga, reiki and Pilates classes, plus meditation and massage.

There are art and drumming workshops, and plenty of down-to-earth activities such as helping to prepare meals and bake bread.

Cost of experience: On request

Little Samadhi Karoo Retreat

Where: Little Karoo

Highlights: Little Samadhi is a small, positioned yoga retreat and B&B, located on a mountain overlooking the small village of Barrydale, on the Route 62, in the Little Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa.

The Sanskrit word “Samadhi” is the mind’s ultimate state of being: bliss or enlightenment. In “Samadhi” the mind becomes still. With a choice of yoga, meditation and walking a labyrinth, your mind is bound to become quiet and you can then reconnect with your own true essence – the part of yourself that is forever joyful and blissful. Meals are vegan or vegetarian.

Cost of experience: R1800 per person per night.

bosasas former auditor unaware of r38 mln tax evasion - Bosasa’s former auditor unaware of R38 mln tax evasion

Bosasa’s former auditor unaware of R38 mln tax evasion

Bosasa’s former auditor Peet Venter says he’s unaware of alleged tax evasion of R38 million by subsidiary company, SeaArk.

The post Bosasa’s former auditor unaware of R38 mln tax evasion appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

halep swats venus in miami advances to quarters 855x1024 - Halep swats Venus in Miami, advances to quarters

Halep swats Venus in Miami, advances to quarters

MIAMI – Simona Halep got the better of Venus Williams once again as the Romanian made light work of the 38-year-old American to book a place in the Miami Open quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-3 triumph.

Halep, the highest seed left following Naomi Osaka’s exit on Saturday, has now won her last four meetings with Williams, their previous encounter before clashing at Hard Rock Stadium coming earlier this year at the Australian Open.

The world number three and number two seed for the tournament triumphed in straight sets in Melbourne and it was more of the same in Miami as the world number 43 was overpowered by Halep.

At the culmination of the first set, Williams had won just 52% of points on her first serve and hit only four winners to Halep’s 20 – the Romanian finished with 30 compared to 13 from Williams and won 75% on her own first serve.

“I’m really happy with my game and the numbers back that up,” said a delighted Halep on court afterwards.

“She never gives up, she fights for every ball so I tried to keep her close to the baseline.”

Venus Williams in action against Simona Halep during their match at the Miami Open on Monday. Photo: EPA/Jason Szenes
Venus Williams in action against Simona Halep during their match at the Miami Open on Monday. Photo: EPA/Jason Szenes

Williams’ serve deserted her in a first set which saw the reigning French Open champion establish an early 3-0 lead and although the American responded with her own break soon after, she was unable to back it up.

Halep’s best performance in South Florida came in 2015 when she was runner-up to Serena Williams, and with China’s Wang Yafan or Wang Qiang waiting in the last eight, the 27-year-old will fancy her chances of another run to Saturday’s final.

Hsieh Su-Wei, meanwhile, continued her excellent form with a 6-3, 6-7 (0/7) 6-2 win over Caroline Wozniacki and will play Anett Kontaveit after Canada’s Bianca Andreescu retired with a shoulder injury in the second set.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

state withdraws second charge against duduzane zuma - State withdraws second charge against Duduzane Zuma

State withdraws second charge against Duduzane Zuma

The Randburg Magistrate’s Court has withdrawn one count of culpable homicide against Duduzane Zuma. This is in relation to the death of Nanki Mashaba, one of the passengers who died later in hospital, after Zuma’s vehicle collided with a minibus-taxi on the M1 highway in Johannesburg in February 2014.

The post State withdraws second charge against Duduzane Zuma appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

uct to launch drought response initiative - UCT to launch drought response initiative

UCT to launch drought response initiative

The University of Cape Town (UCT) will on Tuesday launch its Cape Town Drought Response Learning Initiative and Film Library, which documents the many lessons learned from the water crisis over the past couple of years.

The post UCT to launch drought response initiative appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

ronaldo injured as portugal held by serbia in euro 2020 qualifier 1024x694 - Ronaldo injured as Portugal held by Serbia in Euro 2020 qualifier

Ronaldo injured as Portugal held by Serbia in Euro 2020 qualifier

LISBON – Captain Cristiano Ronaldo left the field with a thigh injury as Portugal drew 1-1 against Serbia in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday.

Ronaldo was replaced after 30 minutes in Lisbon as Fernando Santos’ reigning European champions drew for a second time in their opening two games of the campaign after they were held by Ukraine on Friday.

There was no word whether the five-time Ballon d’Or winner would be fit for to play for his club Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Ajax on April 10.

William Carvalho wasted the best of the early chances at Benfica’s two-thirds empty Estadio da Luz.

Serbia failed to clear the ball in the box before it fell to the unmarked Real Betis midfielder who’s side-footed shot glanced past the post after five minutes.

Ajax playmaker Tadic opened the scoring from the penalty spot two minutes later.

Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio collided with an advancing Mijat Gacinovic in the box and Tadic tucked the spot kick away with ease to take a shock lead over the Euro 2016 winners.

Ronaldo stands injured before being substituted off Photo: REUTERS/Rafael Marchante
Ronaldo stands injured before being substituted off Photo: REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

Ronaldo was denied an equaliser two minutes later as his effort was very well saved Marko Dmitrovic.

The 156-time international left the field on the half hour mark after he pulled up chasing a ball on the left wing.

He received quick treatment from members of the medical team before returning to action but was replaced by Pizzi minutes later as Pepe took over the skipper’s armband.

The visitors were level with three minutes of the first half to play.

Porto’s Danilo Pereira hammered his shot from outside the box into the top corner past a helpless Dmitrovic.

Carvalho should have put his side into the lead 25 minutes into the second half.

Guerreiro chipped a cross to the back post, Bernardo Silva then played it into the middle of the box but Carvalho couldn’t make a solid enough contact with the ball to challenge Dmitrovic.

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Fernando Santos’ outfit were denied a second penalty on 73 minutes after the linesman overruled referee Szymon Marciniak’s original decision for off-side.

The hosts pressed on for the winner in the closing ten minutes but Mladen Krstajic’s outfit defended stubbornly to claim a point in their first game of the campaign.

Next for Portugal is a Nations League semi-final against Switzerland on June 5 and Serbia travel to Kiev in a Euro 2020 qualifier two days later.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

effortless france cruise past iceland in euro 2020 qualifier 1024x720 - Effortless France cruise past Iceland in Euro 2020 qualifier

Effortless France cruise past Iceland in Euro 2020 qualifier

PARIS – Kylian Mbappe scored one and set up two more as France routed Iceland 4-0 at the Stade de France on Monday night to move to the top of Group H in Euro 2020 qualifying.

The result gives France six points from their first two matches and puts them ahead Turkey, who also won 4-0 on Monday, on goal difference.

From the start Mbappe’s movement mesmerised the Icelanders, though his contribution to the opening goal after 11 minutes was straightforward.

The visitors cleared a corner only as far as Benjamin Pavard. The right back switched the ball to Mbappe, alone on the left. The young star had time to aim his cross which Samuel Umititi met at the near post with a header that glanced off the inside of the far post and into the goal.

Four minutes later, Giroud almost headed another, from a cross by Pavard, but Hannes Halldorsson leapt and stretched to palm the ball over.

For the next 45 minutes, France, who have never lost to Iceland, gave the impression that they had slipped down a couple of gears and were content to take the long-range shooting opportunities the packed Iceland defence was allowing.

Iceland meanwhile worked courageously and managed to force the occasional small threat.

After 68 minutes, Iceland were again punished for failing to put distance on a clearance. 

France moved the ball to Pavard who swerved a cross-kick in from the right that lured Halldorsson into a desperate dive for a ball he could not reach.  

Olivier Giroud kneed the ball into the empty net for his 35th France goal. That moved him into third on the all-time list of France scorers, breaking a tie with David Trezeguet. The Chelsea striker trails only Michel Platini, on 41, and Thierry Henry, the all-time leader on 51.

France's Kylian Mbappe in action with Iceland's Ari Skulason on Monday night. Photo: REUTERS/Charles Platiau
France’s Kylian Mbappe in action with Iceland’s Ari Skulason on Monday night. Photo: REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Gaps began to appear in the Iceland defence.

Mbappe added a third after 78 minutes. Antoine Griezmann slipped a pass between two defenders to the advancing Mbappe who shrugged off a timid challenge and slid the ball past Halldorson.

Six minutes later, Mbappe returned the assist with a neat backheel that sent Griezmann scampering through the frozen Icelandic backline to poke the ball into the corner of the goal.

The defeat continued a miserable run for Iceland whose victory in Andorra on Friday was their only victory in a competitive match since November 2017.

France’s next game is away to Turkey on June 8. On the same evening Iceland host Albania.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

lifesaving championship to minimize drowning incidents in sa - Lifesaving championship to minimize drowning incidents in SA

Lifesaving championship to minimize drowning incidents in SA

The South African National Club Life Saving Championship.

The South African National Club Life Saving Championship that is currently underway in Port Elizabeth, will go a long way in minimising drowning incidents in the country’s sea and the rivers.

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life esidimeni families could receive compensation on wednesday - Life Esidimeni families could receive compensation on Wednesday

Life Esidimeni families could receive compensation on Wednesday

Some family members of the victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy could receive their compensation on Wednesday after they were not paid on Friday as promised.

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sterling calls for stadium bans as racist abuse overshadows 5 star england 1024x659 - Sterling calls for stadium bans as racist abuse overshadows 5-star England

Sterling calls for stadium bans as racist abuse overshadows 5-star England

PODGORICA – Raheem Sterling believes UEFA should punish alleged racist chanting aimed at England players in Monday’s 5-1 win over Montenegro in Podgorica with a stadium closure.

Manchester City’s Sterling celebrated the visitors’ fifth goal by cupping his ears towards the home fans on a night when another impressive performance to start Euro 2020 qualifying by the Three Lions was overshadowed.

“I just want to show them you need more than that to upset us and stop us,” Sterling told Sky Sports.

“It’s 2019 now, I keep saying it. It’s a shame to see this going on and we can only bring awareness to the situation.

“It’s now time for the people in charge to put a real stamp on it because you can fine someone, but what is that going to do?

“You’ve got to make it a bit harder, punish fans that can’t come to games. Do something that’s going to make them think twice. If their team can’t play with fans, it’s going to be difficult.”

Sterling also tweeted a photo of his celebration with the message: “Best way to silence the haters (and yeah I mean racists).”

England manager Gareth Southgate said he heard racist chants aimed at Danny Rose and promised to report the issue to UEFA.

“There is no doubt in my mind it happened. We will make sure that is reported to UEFA because it’s not acceptable,” said Southgate. “We’ve got to make sure we support our players.”

England among Euro favourites

On the field, the World Cup semi-finalists showed why they are among the favourites to be European champions next year.

Southgate’s trust in youth was again rewarded as 18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi, who is yet to start a Premier League game for Chelsea, shone on his full international debut, while Declan Rice, 20, was also handed his first England start.

“Fabulous performance,” said Southgate on Hudson-Odoi. “With young players it is always up to them. You can see the talent, his application has been excellent. He’s got to continue that.”

England are not used to falling behind these days, but showed a resilience to bounce back after Marko Vesovic turned inside Michael Keane and curled past Jordan Pickford on 17 minutes.

Raheem Sterling responds to taunts from spectators on Monday night. Photo: REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic
Raheem Sterling responds to taunts from spectators on Monday night. Photo: REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic

Keane made amends for his earlier error with a commanding header from Ross Barkley’s free-kick on the half hour mark to settle England’s nerves.

Nine minutes later, Barkley applied the finishing touch after Hudson-Odoi’s positive run into the box and shot which his club teammate turned in from close range.

Further goals from Barkley, Harry Kane and Sterling rounded off an excellent start to qualifying for England after a 5-0 thrashing of Czech Republic on Friday.

Sterling scored a hat-trick against the Czechs at Wembley, but also played provider here as his cut-back broke perfectly for Barkley to coolly side-foot home.

The Manchester City winger then led a rapid counter-attack with only Kane for company and squared for the England captain to tap home his 22nd international goal.

And after scoring just twice in his first 45 caps, Sterling now has six goals in his last four England games as he raced onto Jordan Henderson’s through ball before slotting low past the goalkeeper.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

sa bartenders share locally inspired iziko shooter shot tail 1024x683 - SA bartenders share locally inspired Iziko Shooter 'shot tail'

SA bartenders share locally inspired Iziko Shooter ‘shot tail’

Dylan Runkeld and Josh Sarembock recently took part in the Olmeca ShotKings 2019 contest and share how they created their Iziko Shooter ‘shot tail’. 

What inspired your shot tail? How did you come up with the idea and the ritual behind it?

So the competition had a large percentage of the score attributable to crowd votes. Since it was going to be a predominantly South African crowd, we (Dylan Runkel and I) wanted to give them something truly South African, which of course had to also be tasty. 

How long have you two been in the industry?

I have been in the industry since the beginning of 2015 when I started university. I began as a waiter and started bartending in September of 2015. Within a year I had climbed the ranks to become Caprice’s head bartender.

Dylan has been bartending for about a year now and is one of the eager junior bartenders at Caprice, so I decided to take him under my wing for the competition and try teach him as much as possible and expose him to the industry more.


Iziko Shooter ‘shot tail’. Picture: Supplied 

What’s the best thing you like about your job?

I enjoy meeting new, different people constantly and experimenting with weird and wonderful flavours. Yes, bartenders are ‘rockstars’, but we’re also liquid chefs with a blank canvas we can use to express our creativity – that’s what I enjoy the most… bringing ideas to life in the form of a drink, with a story behind it and an experience to portray through it. 

With the rise of the celebrity / Rockstar bartender where do you see you two heading?

The world is our oyster as two young, eager bartenders. I plan on chasing summers for a while, meeting people all over the world while working in various different bars and sucking knowledge and experience like a sponge from those who have anything to offer me. Dylan is still young and learning his trade, but it’s kind of the dream for anyone in the industry to hone their trade, go on adventures, learn as much as possible and then eventually bring an entire concept to life and nurture it as your own baby to make a living. 

What do you want people to know most about you two?

I want people to know that bartending is a viable career choice. I have my bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from UCT, yet I’m currently pursuing a career as a bartender instead of going into the corporate world. 

duduzanes culpable homicide trial to begin on tuesday - Duduzane’s culpable homicide trial to begin on Tuesday

Duduzane’s culpable homicide trial to begin on Tuesday

Duduzane Zuma.

The culpable homicide trial of former President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, is expected to begin at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The post Duduzane’s culpable homicide trial to begin on Tuesday appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

federer advances andreescu out in miami 1024x905 - Federer advances, Andreescu out in Miami

Federer advances, Andreescu out in Miami

MIAMI – Roger Federer remains on course for the 101st title of his career after Serbian Filip Krajinovic was dispatched 7-5 6-3 on Monday at the ATP and WTA Miami Open.

The Swiss superstar produced an excellent all-round performance despite being tested by the world number 103 who belied his lowly ranking by producing some excellent tennis during an exciting first set.

Federer, however, stylishly weathered the storm to seal the win – the 52nd of his career in Miami – to move into the quarter-finals and a match with either American Reilly Opelka or Daniil Medvedev.

“It was a difficult start, he’s a great returner so I knew I had to up my percentages and I served really well,” said Federer, who hit 14 aces and won an impressive 74% of points on his first serve.

“It was more humid today so I am just delighted to get through.”

Filip Krajinovic of Serbia in action against Roger Federer at the Miami Open. Photo: EPA/Jason Szenes

Filip Krajinovic of Serbia in action against Roger Federer at the Miami Open. Photo: EPA/Jason Szenes

Krajinovic struggled badly with injury last year, problems with his ankle, left foot and hand restricting him to just seven tournaments in the first seven months of 2018.

Yet the Serb had looked impressive in his run to the third round, especially after dispatching Stan Wawrinka on the way to Monday’s meeting with Federer.

Some fierce hitting from the back of the court surprised the predictably pro-Federer crowd at Hard Rock Stadium and a brilliant run and flick over the net handed helped set up an early break for 3-2.

Keeping the pressure on, however, was a different matter. 

Federer immediately broke back and although chances continued to present themselves to Krajinovic – he missed the opportunity to break the Swiss star’s serve at 5-5 – it was the 20 time Grand Slam winning champion who prevailed.

At 6-5, Federer went 15-40 up on the Serbian’s service game and another backhand winner gave the 37-year-old the lead.

The second set wasn’t as competitive, Federer easing 3-0 up as the wind was taken out of the Serb’s sails. 

He lost the final game to love with the three time Miami Open winner easing home in style to finish with 36 winners compared to the 27 year-old’s 18.

Roger Federer acknowledges the crowd's response in Miami. Photo: EPA/Jason Szenes
Roger Federer acknowledges the crowd’s response in Miami. Photo: EPA/Jason Szenes

In the women’s draw, Bianca Andreescu, the 18-year-old Canadian sensation who won the title in Indian Wells, was forced to withdraw in the second set of her fourth round match with Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit.

Andreescu was 1-6 0-2 down before a shoulder injury ruined her chances of another run to the finals.

Petra Kvitova, the world number 3, booked her place in the last eight, beating Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-3 in a match which was held up for one hour and 40 minutes because of rain in South Florida. 

Kvitova plays Australian Ashleigh Barty for a place in the semi-finals.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

man who killed woman in bank queue sentenced to life 681x1024 - Man who killed woman in bank queue sentenced to life

Man who killed woman in bank queue sentenced to life

Kimberley –  A Northern Cape man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for stabbing a well-known ‘tannie’ to death while she was waiting in a bank queue.

Tebogo Avis Augustino Masire received an additional 15 years for aggravated robbery and two years for assault.

Masire stabbed “Tannie” Helen Janse van Vuuren, 61, as she was affectionately known, three times in the back in the Absa bank in Douglas before running off with the cash that she was waiting to deposit for the local Spar where she worked.

Masire pleaded guilty to murdering Janse van Vuuren.

During sentencing on Monday, Northern Cape High Court Judge Cecile Williams said that even though no evidence was led and Masire expressed remorse over his actions, the aggravating circumstances far outweighed the mitigating circumstances.

Some of the mitigating circumstances Williams highlighted were that Masire was 23 years old at the time of the offence, he was in a relationship and has a two-year-old child.

“You grew up with your granny and aunt in Douglas where you completed your matric. Your mom lives in Pampierstad and you know the impoverished circumstances she lives under. After school you went to work at the OK Grocers in Douglas where you worked with Tannie Helen. She left soon after and started working at the Spar. It wasn’t long afterwards when you joined her at the Spar,” Williams said.

She pointed out that Masire had a poor work ethic. “You were late and absent and you were eventually dismissed four months before the incident. There was also talk of R20 000 worth of fresh produce going missing during your time there.”

Williams said that when Masire was unemployed he went to live with his mother in Pampierstad. “You knew the routine of the Spar and you started planning the fateful event of August 28 2018, on the Sunday before. You already had your escape route. You cut two holes in the fence on the property adjacent to the shop.

“Early on the Monday morning, you were to implement your plan. But because of high police visibility on the day, you shelved your plans.

“On the morning of August 28, you dressed in a hoodie with an orange overall jacket and put on sunglasses and gloves. You hid the knife in your sleeve.”

She added that Masire then followed the deceased from the Spar and stood behind her in the queue at the bank tellers.

“You then stabbed her and she screamed. You then stabbed her again. Siphamandla Mkhize tried to stop you, but you stabbed him and he ran away.” Williams said that Masire used the escape route through the fence, took R50 of the money he had stolen and hid the rest.

“You then threw the knife away. When police arrested you on the same day you confessed and pointed out where the knife was. You never showed police where the approximately R47 000 is and it has never been recovered.”

In handing down sentence, Williams said, taking all the circumstances into account and the impact on Janse van Vuuren’s family and the tight-knit Douglas community, the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating.

“This is a particularly despicable crime. The deceased was well-known to you and was only ever good to you. She was an elderly woman of 60 with a sickly husband and children and grandchildren.

“It would have been so much easier to just grab the bag of money from her or push her aside and take the money. Instead, like a coward, you stabbed her from behind. The fatal wound was inflicted with so much force it broke her seventh and eighth rib and penetrated her aorta.”

Helen Janse van Vuuren

Williams added that Masire’s probation officer’s report indicated that he was remorseful.

“You know the impact that it had on this family as your own uncle, who was a father figure to you, was also killed in a stabbing incident. You also relayed to the probation officer that you can still hear her screams.

“You say you are sorry but you obviously gave a lot of thought to the crime. You planned your escape route and tried to disguise yourself. You had a chance to rethink the crime after the high police visibility. This didn’t deter you.

“You had a single-minded goal and one eye on the prize. Whoever stood in your way would pay.”

Williams said that to this day the stolen money had not been recovered and that it showed that the accused did not give the police his full co-operation. If he felt remorse he could have pointed out where the money was hidden.

“You were motivated by greed and you still are.” She said there was no need to deviate from the prescribed sentence for the offences.

“You are a danger to society. You showed no respect for others. I hereby sentence you to 15 years for aggravated robbery, life for murder and two years for assault.”

Diamond Fields Advertiser

thousands could lose jobs in mining sector - Thousands could lose jobs in mining sector

Thousands could lose jobs in mining sector

Miners

The Minerals Council has warned that gold and platinum mines in the country could shed around 90 000 jobs in the next three years due to above-inflation electricity increases adding to already soaring operation costs.

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witnesses tell inquest about fatal ford kuga fire - Witnesses tell inquest about fatal Ford Kuga fire

Witnesses tell inquest about fatal Ford Kuga fire

The possibility of racial prejudice has been raised during an inquest hearing into the death of a man whose Ford Kuga SUV caught alight in the Southern Cape three years ago.

The post Witnesses tell inquest about fatal Ford Kuga fire appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

central johannesburg college students remain homeless - Central Johannesburg College students remain homeless

Central Johannesburg College students remain homeless

students sleeping on the floor

Some Central Johannesburg College students are still homeless and now staging a sit-in after being evicted from their residence. They’ve been homeless since last week Tuesday and they say that’s because NFSAS didn’t pay for their accommodation.

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duduzane zumas trial on culpable homicide to resume on tuesday - Duduzane Zuma’s trial on culpable homicide to resume on Tuesday

Duduzane Zuma’s trial on culpable homicide to resume on Tuesday

Duduzane Zuma

Former President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane goes on trial on two charges of culpable homicide in the Randburg Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

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nfsass allocation draws mixed reaction among students - NFSAS’s allocation draws mixed reaction among students

NFSAS’s allocation draws mixed reaction among students

Student formations at the University of the Free State have criticised Higher Education’s recent announcement that nearly one billion rand will be allocated to the NSFAS.

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a new procedure may preserve fertility in kids with cancer - A new procedure may preserve fertility in kids with cancer

A new procedure may preserve fertility in kids with cancer

Cancer in children was often a death sentence in decades past, but new therapies are saving lives. Many of these treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, however, make children infertile. Now, new research is showing one strategy to preserve their fertility so that someday they can have their own biological children.

Many childhood cancer survivors have remained beyond the reach of current assisted reproductive technologies because they are not able to produce mature sperm or eggs. Adult patients have the option to freeze eggs or sperm before treatment and use those samples in the future to achieve pregnancy using assisted reproductive technologies. Unfortunately, those options are not available to children who are not yet able to produce mature eggs or sperm.

Now I and my colleagues in the Orwig lab at the Magee-Womens Research Institute of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Cancer have developed a next-generation reproductive technology by figuring out how to preserve fertility in pediatric cancer patients who might face infertility after chemotherapy or radiation.

Pediatric cancer therapies

About 40 000 kids undergo cancer treatments each year, and 80 percent of children will survive and can look forward to a full and productive life. The bad news is that treatment comes at a cost: About 30 percent of adult survivors of these childhood cancers discover that their lifesaving cancer treatment had an unintended side effect – infertility. Cancer survivors report that fertility is important to them, and while adoption or other family building options are available, those options are not always accessible or desired.

In our current study, we used a juvenile male macaque to test whether it was possible to collect and then freeze immature testicular tissues – which produce mature sperm only after puberty.

We began our experiment by surgically removing this tissue from macaques, which we immediately froze. As the animals neared puberty, the testicular tissue was thawed and grafted just under the skin of the same monkey’s back or scrotum.

The grafts matured during the next several months under the influence of pubertal hormones from the brain. The grafts grew and produced testosterone, which is required for sperm production. We retrieved the testicular tissues eight to 12 months after the grafting procedure, dissected it and discovered that all of the grafted tissue produced mature sperm.

My team then collected this sperm and sent it to our collaborators in the Assisted Reproductive Technology Core of the Oregon National Primate Research Center at the Oregon Health and Science University, who injected it into an egg from a female macaque – a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

We then checked the eggs to see which ones were successfully fertilized by the sperm. Eleven of the resulting embryos were transferred into six surrogate female macaques, resulting in one pregnancy that produced a healthy baby girl that we named Grady, which stands for graft-derived baby.

This is the first study to prove that sperm from frozen and thawed primate testicular tissue grafts were able to fertilize eggs and produce a healthy baby.

Implications for the human fertility clinic

The freezing and thawing aspect is important because a prepubertal cancer patient may need to keep their testicular or ovarian tissue in frozen storage for years or even decades before they need them for reproductive purposes.

Combined with nearly two decades of work by other researchers in mice, pig and monkey models, we believe that our results provide important preclinical safety and feasibility data to justify translating this technique to the human fertility clinic in the next two to five years.

I believe we owe this to our patients who have already accepted the risk of testicular biopsy surgery and trusted us to develop next-generation reproductive therapies.

Academic centers around the world, including the Fertility Preservation Program of UPMC, are freezing testicular tissues for boys and ovarian tissues for girls in anticipation that those tissues can be matured in the future to produce sperm or eggs and biological offspring.

There is one documented case of an adult survivor of a childhood cancer who had a baby after her frozen ovarian tissues were transplanted back into her body. There are no documented births from frozen testicular tissues. Our group has been freezing testicular tissue for boys and ovarian tissues for girls since 2011 and has preserved tissues for nearly 250 patients (206 testicular tissues and 41 ovarian tissues).

Therefore, our laboratory is committed to responsibly developing the next generation of assisted reproductive technologies that will allow our patients to use their tissues to achieve their reproductive goals.

All patients should be informed about the reproductive side effects of their medical treatments and about options to preserve their fertility immediately at the time of diagnosis.

The Conversation

The Conversation

sa national lifesaving championships take place in port elizabeth - SA National Lifesaving Championships take place in Port Elizabeth

SA National Lifesaving Championships take place in Port Elizabeth

Lifesaving team

Algoa bay dished up perfect surf conditions for the second day of the South African National Lifesaving Championships taking place in Port Elizabeth.

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what is a doula and how do they help women giving birth - What is a doula and how do they help women giving birth?

What is a doula and how do they help women giving birth?

Women have traditionally been supported by a companion during childbirth, and there is good evidence this benefits both the woman and the baby.

The World Health Organisation recommends continuous support for women during childbirth. Yet across the world, initiatives promoting health facilities as the safest place to give birth have not necessarily respected this tradition.

But now we have new evidence on the ways women are supported during childbirth by a doula or other labour companion.

Our research has found labour companions (including doulas, partners, and family members) support women during childbirth by providing information, advocating for the woman’s needs, and providing practical and emotional support.

Importantly, our research also indicates pairing a woman with a doula from the same ethnic, linguistic or religious background as her may be an important way to improve equity and provide culturally responsive care.

What is doula care?

The word “doula” comes from a Greek word meaning “woman’s servant”.

Doulas are trained, non-medical professionals who provide continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to women before, during and after childbirth, to facilitate the best possible birth experience.

Doulas typically meet with a woman (and sometimes her partner or family) during pregnancy to help her to prepare for childbirth, build rapport, manage expectations and provide evidence-based resources.

When a woman goes into labour, she alerts her doula. The doula supports the woman throughout labour and childbirth. This is typically at a birthing clinic or hospital (some doulas may also attend home births).

Four ways to support women during labour

Our Cochrane review, published this week, brings together data from 51 studies across 22 countries looking at the support provided by labour companions, including doulas.

First, we found through providing information, labour companions bridge communication gaps between health workers, such as doctors and midwives, and the woman. They keep her informed about the process of childbirth and her progress through labour. They may also provide her with tips around effectively using non-pharmacological pain relief, such as meditation or relaxation.

Second, labour companions advocate for the woman, speaking up in support of her and her preferences.

Third, labour companions provide practical support, which could include encouraging the woman to move around, providing massage, and holding her hand.

And finally, labour companions offer emotional support, helping the woman to feel in control and confident by praising and reassuring her, and providing a continuous physical presence.

Improved outcomes for mums and babies

The benefits of continuous support during labour and birth were highlighted in an earlier Cochrane review, which analysed data from 26 studies across 17 countries involving more than 15,000 women.

Continuous support was provided by a woman’s partner, family member, or friend; hospital staff (student midwives); or a doula.

The review found continuous support could improve several health outcomes for both the woman and her baby. Women may be more likely to have a vaginal birth (without the need for caesarean, forceps or vacuum extraction).

In addition, women who receive continuous support may be less likely to use pain medications may have shorter labours and may be more likely to be satisfied with their birth experience.

The babies of women who receive continuous support may be less likely to have low five-minute Apgar scores, which assess babies’ health and well-being at birth and shortly afterwards.

Who can benefit from doula care?

Recent media has highlighted that doulas are fit for royals. Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has hired a doula to support her during her current pregnancy.

While the cost of doula care may sound prohibitive, our findings highlight that providing community-based doula care for migrant, refugee and other foreign-born women in high-income countries may be an important way to improve equity and culturally responsive care.

When migrant women receive care from community-based doulas (from the same ethnic, linguistic, and/or religious background as them), they may feel more confident and less like “outsiders” in their new communities.

In Sweden and the United States, research has shown that foreign-born women supported by community-based doulas were more satisfied with their birth experiences, and doulas themselves felt empowered.

Community-based doulas may also be particularly beneficial for Indigenous women, whose traditional birthing practices are strongly linked to their cultural identities.

Doula services may be provided free of charge for low-income people and families, as a way to improve equity. 

Supporting women to have a labour companion or doula of her choice during childbirth is an effective way to improve health outcomes, and is an important component of respectful maternity care.

Labour companionship and doula support may increase equity directly through improved women’s empowerment and provision of culturally responsive care, and indirectly by reducing the over-medicalisation of childbirth.

The Conversation

The Conversation

tanzania president gifts football team with land - Tanzania president gifts football team with land

Tanzania president gifts football team with land

Tanzanian president John Magufuli has gifted the national team players with parcels of land as a token for qualifying to the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

The post Tanzania president gifts football team with land appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

communities urged not to damage rock art sites - Communities urged not to damage rock art sites

Communities urged not to damage rock art sites

Archeologists and researchers have called on communities and visitors of rock art sites not to damage the age old art.

The post Communities urged not to damage rock art sites appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

hendricks and phehlukwayo up to career high positions in t20 rankings 1024x575 - Hendricks and Phehlukwayo up to career-high positions in T20 rankings

Hendricks and Phehlukwayo up to career-high positions in T20 rankings

JOHANNESBURG  – South Africa opener Reeza Hendricks and all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo achieved career-best positions in batting and bowling, respectively, in the latest T20 player rankings after the team’s 3-0 series sweep over Sri Lanka.

Hendricks has advanced 26 slots to 15th position after scoring 139 runs in the series, including two half-centuries, while Phehlukwayo has moved up 14 slots to 10th position after taking seven wickets in two matches, including a haul of 4/24 in the final match in Johannesburg on Sunday.

JP Duminy’s 76 runs in the series have taken him from 39th to 32nd and Rassie van der Dussen’s 98 runs have helped him move up from 74th to 41st among batsmen, while Chris Morris (up two places to 18th) and Tabraiz Shamsi (up 41 places to 35th) are the notable gainers in the list for bowlers.

Andile Phehlukwayo is performing well and could find himself going to the cricket World Cup. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

For Sri Lanka, Niroshan Dickwela has gained 19 slots to reach 78th position among batsmen and Lasith Malinga has moved up 11 places to 42nd among bowlers.

Isuru Udana has advanced in both lists, moving up 106 slots to 144th among batsmen after scoring 132 runs in the series, including an 84 not out in the second match, and up 12 places to 51st among bowlers.

There has been no change in the T20 team rankings with South Africa and Sri Lanka remaining on fifth and ninth positions. South Africa have gained two points and closed in on Australia, while Sri Lanka have lost two points. 

African News Agency (ANA)

unrealistic striving for academic excellence has a cost - Unrealistic striving for academic excellence has a cost

Unrealistic striving for academic excellence has a cost

In my past experience as an academic adviser, it was difficult to explain to a disappointed family why their child did not make an admissions cut-off when the student’s overall high school average was over 80 per cent.

I also accompanied students who got into their programs of choice through the many hurdles they faced as a result of feeling pressured to perform and sustain high academic achievement throughout their college years.

Now, as an assistant professor in the department of pedagogy at the University of Sherbrooke, I see the experiences of those who carry the burden of maintaining high grades.

For example, one student recently told me that the 80 per cent she received on an assignment was hard to swallow. Was there anything that could be done to change the score?

This student also expressed serious concern whether the 80 percent would result in an A+ or an A as a final grade. I assured her she was progressing very well in the course.

This example is one of many I have encountered that has prompted me to think further about how today’s youth perceive their own academic abilities, and how student tenacity and perception directly affects expectations, learning and achievement.

It is not surprising nowadays to find students frustrated or in tears after receiving a grade less than A.

In some ways, it could be considered motivating to see today’s youth striving to achieve high grades. But from my point of view as a specialist in educational psychology, there are reasons to be concerned. It’s clear there are incremental risks associated with students developing obsessive behaviour toward performance, especially when persisting in an academic task with limited self-control.

Obsessive behaviours

In today’s social and academic landscape, it’s become commonplace to hear that in achieving excellence, passion and persistence must be pursued. But problems arise after students hear people say:

“Without passion everything is done with only half a heart and it will produce only half results. So unless you have a strong desire to achieve your goal, you will never be able to achieve excellence in it.”

Suddenly the 80 per cent that students were obtaining in a course they enjoyed slowly begins to be replaced by a persistent cognitive effort to maintain even higher performance levels. This can lead to potentially obsessive behaviours and is fertile grounds for a culture of grade inflation to prevail.

When grades are associated with efforts or how well one has mastered content as opposed to demonstrating skills related to critical thinking, inquiry or other forms of high-order thinking, an unhealthy persistence surfaces. This is detrimental to students’ well-being.

Although the pursuit of academic excellence should be supported, nurtured and promoted, it should be carefully monitored for veering into perfectionism and its consequent risks.

Injecting positivity in education

Over the years, a combination of educational reforms, paradigm shifts in pedagogy and societal pressure have created a culture of students whose self-efficacy is so reliant on their academic self-concept that skills of well-being have long been forgotten.

For example, students who are not successful at a task immediately might develop a rigid way of persisting, one that leads to sacrifices at personal costs. This is particularly true in performance-based classrooms where traditional testing — measuring “Do you know it?” — is complemented by a performance assessment. The latter seeks to gauge: “How well can you use what you know?”

Performance-based assessments are complex, authentic, and open-ended and can be either process- or product-oriented. They tend to measure students’ ability to apply their knowledge by challenging them to use higher-order thinking skills and presenting them with open-ended questions that may produce a variety of correct answers. The transition from testing traditional to applied knowledge affects students’ academic persistence differently.

Thus, a central question remains: How do educators prevent youth from developing obsessive behaviour toward performance? How do we address this rising epidemic that has plagued the mindsets of today’s youth regarding their academic self-concept?

One possibility is to begin looking for answers through the lens of positive psychology in education. This field investigates indicators of what enables students to thrive and flourish in educational settings. It looks for the potential to change the way students think about themselves and to focus more on the process of achievement rather than the outcome.

The challenge now becomes how to foster a flexible approach to persistence for future generation youth to thrive, flourish and strive for excellence, without neglecting their well-being.

The Conversation

The Conversation

digital change come with new job opportunities zikalala - Digital change come with new job opportunities: Zikalala

Digital change come with new job opportunities: Zikalala

Sihle Zikalala

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development ,Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala , says the Fourth Industrial Revolution summit is mainly focusing on technological innovations and how it can improve the lives of the ordinary people .

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