Swedish prosecutors again refuse to investigate Dawit Isaak case October 27, 2020 Find out more EritreaAfrica Reports January 13, 2021 Find out more RSF urges Swedish judicial authorities to reverse Dawit Isaak decision EritreaAfrica The time that Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaac has spent in a jail in Eritrea, without a trial and without any visits from his family or lawyers, today reached 3,000 days.“It is a disgrace that he remains in prison and it is remarkable that the Swedish government does not try harder to get him released,” said Jesper Bengtsson, president of the Swedish section of Reporters Without Borders, and Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard. “Sweden should urge the European Union to put more pressure on the Eritrean authorities in the course of negotiating the new aid agreement.”Dawit was arrested in Asmara on 23 September 2001 for defending the freedom of speech of the Eritrean people in the independent newspaper Setit, which he cofounded in 1997. No one from outside the prison system has seen Dawit during the past eight years and the Eritrean government has released no information about him or his state of health. Dawit is the only prisoner of conscience with EU citizenship. A seminar was held in the European Parliament yesterday about the Dawit case and the situation in Eritrea. Four Swedish Members of the European Parliament, Belgian MEP Louis Michel, Dawit’s brother, Esayas Isaac, and others discussed the fact that the EU is about to give 115 million euros in aid to a country that has detained thousands of people without trial. Dawit will be honoured with a silent demonstration outside the Stockholm city hall at 4:30 p.m. today. The Swedish Journalist Union will hand out information to participants but no speeches will be made in order not to disturb the Nobel Prize awards ceremony taking place inside the city hall.Despite having a much smaller population, Eritrea has as many journalists in prison as China and was ranked last in the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. RSF_en Help by sharing this information to go further Organisation Follow the news on Eritrea April 14, 2021 Find out more Prisoner of Conscience Since 2001 – Why has Sweden not managed to bring Dawit Isaak home? News Receive email alerts News News December 10, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalist Dawit Isaac still in prison after more than eight years
Albert C. DeCiccio, former Academic Dean of Rivier College in Nashua, N.H.,Named Provost at Southern Vermont College(Bennington, Vt.) — Southern Vermont College has selected Albert C. DeCiccio, the former Academic Dean of Rivier College, a Catholic liberal arts college in Nashua, N.H., to fill the newly created post of Provost. He assumed the position as the college’s Chief Academic Officer on July 7.DeCiccio earned his undergraduate degree at Merrimack College in 1974, his master’s degree in English from SUNY Albany, and his doctorate in English, Rhetoric and Composition from Arizona State University.”In Al DeCiccio, we have found a person with a remarkably wide range of talents,” SVC President Karen Gross said. “In addition to being a true scholar, he is deeply engaged in thinking about pedagogy and creative and thoughtful programmatic development. He is adept at helping others grow and learn, and he believes in small colleges and their capacity to change lives. SVC welcomes him to our community and looks forward to his wisdom, his good humor and his remarkable thoughtfulness. Students, faculty and staff will be enriched by the opportunity to work with him. The search committee, chaired by Professor Tom Redden, are to be commended for their efforts.”President Gross explained that the college replaced the position of Academic Dean with that of Provost in order to emphasize that “academic life is an institution’s primary asset an asset that must be nurtured and fostered each and every day. The chief academic officer must be an institution’s compelling and inspirational voice about the power and capacity of education, and must effectively engage students, faculty and the wider community in the enterprise of education expressed through a vision for the essential value of liberal arts colleges in the 21st century.”As Academic Dean for the past eight years, DeCiccio has been responsible for the development of all graduate and undergraduate liberal arts, sciences and professional studies programs at the 2,070-student college.Of the role of Provost, DeCiccio commented that “the Provost should establish the academic vision of the College for all constituencies, and broadcast that vision in the local civic community and, more nationally, in the higher education community. A Provost is very different from an Academic Dean, who is chiefly concerned with academic affairs and matters involving the faculty.”DeCiccio also explained that he is looking forward to coming to a small, liberal arts college, an environment where, as the first in his family to earn a college degree, he discovered the value of education.”I am a product of the small college, and I have thrived in that environment,” DeCiccio said. “Small, liberal arts colleges are staffed by faculty who love the classroom and the students in it from the first year through the last year. I am so pleased to have the chance to work with faculty who will take their roles seriously in the formation of their students.”Once he’s established in his new role, DeCiccio expects to teach classes himself.”I love to teach writing, fiction, writing center theory, rhetoric,” he said.And what advice does he give to students entering college? “The difference between high school and college is freedom, and the extent that students can negotiate that freedom, they will succeed in college,” he noted. “In high school, one learns how to find answers; in college, one learns how to ask questions.”In his spare time, he enjoys reading, live music, traveling and delving into the history of a place, but he’s also a sports fan.”I was thrilled with the Celtics winning the championship, but one of the great gifts of my life is to have seen the Red Sox win Two World Series,” he said.Founded in 1926, Southern Vermont College offers a career-enhancing liberal arts education with 19 academic degree programs for approximately 450 students. Southern Vermont College recognizes the importance of educating students for the workplace of the twenty-first century and for lives as successful leaders in their communities. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
— Arizona Cardinals cornerback Robert Alford will likely miss a second straight season because of an injury suffered during the preseason. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed on Tuesday that Alford will miss four to six months. — Browns Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb has been placed in concussion protocol after he got hurt during the team’s first fully padded practice. Chubb, who finished second in the NFL last season with 1,494 yards, was taken down during Monday’s workout with a high tackle by second-year linebacker Mack Wilson. — New York Jets wide receiver Vyncint Smith had surgery to repair a core muscle injury and could be sidelined up to two months. Coach Adam Gase confirmed the procedure and prognosis and said Smith will likely miss five to eight weeks. —The Minnesota Vikings have signed former Cincinnati linebacker Hardy Nickerson for depth. Nickerson played three seasons for the Bengals, appearing in 37 games with nine starts. He was undrafted in 2017 out of Illinois, where he played his final year of college after transferring from California. Nickerson’s father, Hardy Nickerson Sr., was a five-time Pro Bowl linebacker for Tampa Bay in the 1990s. Update on the latest sports Associated Press Portland and the L.A. Lakers finish the night’s action. In NBA news:— The Celtics say forward Gordon Hayward will be sidelined for around four weeks after suffering a severe ankle sprain in Boston’s Game 1 victory over Philadelphia in their first-round playoff series. With him out, it could mean a shift to a three-guard lineup and more minutes for Marcus Smart.— Utah guard Mike Conley has returned to Walt Disney World after the birth of his son and will go through a quarantine period before joining the Jazz for their playoff series against Denver. Conley is subject to a quarantine of at least four days in accordance with the NBA’s COVID-19 policies. He is expected to miss Game 2 but possibly could be back for Game 3. NHL NEWS-OBIT-HAWERCHUK Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNBA PLAYOFFSVucevic, Magic upset top-seeded Bucks in Game 1, 122-110LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Nikola Vucevic (NEE’-koh-lah VOOCH’-uh-vihch) scored a playoff career-high 35 points and had 14 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic stunned the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks 122-110 on Tuesday in the playoff opener of the NBA’s pandemic-altered season. Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk dies of cancer at 57UNDATED (AP) — Dale Hawerchuk, a hockey phenom who became the face of the Winnipeg Jets en route to the Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 57 after a battle with cancer. The Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts, a team Hawerchuk coached, confirmed the death on Twitter on Tuesday. A teenage star, Hawerchuk was drafted first overall by the Jets in 1981. He went on to play nine seasons in Winnipeg and five in Buffalo before finishing up his distinguished 16-year NHL career with stints in St. Louis and Philadelphia.In other NHL news: — Vladimir Tarasenko is out for the rest of the St. Louis Blues’ first-round series against the Vancouver Canucks after aggravating his surgically repaired left shoulder. The team says the 28-year-old winger returned to St. Louis to have the shoulder looked at by team doctors and will update his status.MLB-NEWS-RANGERS SUSPENSIONS Terrence Ross scored 18 points, Gary Clark added 15 and D.J. Augustin had 11 points and 11 assists for the eighth-seeded Magic, who took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 31 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists for Milwaukee, but was held without a field goal over the final 11 minutes.The Bucks came into the postseason as the favorites to win their first NBA title since 1971 despite finishing 3-5 in seeding games. But their sluggish play in the NBA bubble at Disney World carried over into the postseason.In other Tuesday lineups:—Miami and Indiana are facing off as well. The last time they met in the postseason, a trip to the NBA Finals was on the line and both franchises were clear championship contenders in the 2014 East finals.That’s followed by another 4-5 matchup with the Houston Rockets taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The trade of Russell Westbrook to Houston last summer for Chris Paul and multiple first-round picks was thought to signal a rebuild in Oklahoma City. Instead, Paul had a terrific season in leading the Thunder to the same record as the Rockets, who don’t know when Westbrook will be available because of a right quadriceps injury. 2 Rangers suspended for throwing behind hitter after slamARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Rangers manager Chris Woodard was serving a one-game suspension during Tuesday’s game against the Padres a day after Texas reliever Ian Gibaut threw behind San Diego hitter Manny Machado following a grand slam.Gibaut was suspended by Major League Baseball for three games, appealed the suspension and was active for Tuesday’s game.He came in Monday night in the eighth inning after young Padres slugger Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch off Juan Nicasio with San Diego leading by seven runs in a game it eventually won 14-4.Woodward immediately displayed his displeasure with what he perceived as a violation of an unwritten rule of baseball. After the game, the skipper said the pitch got away from Gibaut. NFL NEWSNo fans at Titans opener; Chiefs OK season tickets holders at 2 practicesUNDATED (AP) — The Tennessee Titans won’t have fans at their home opener on Sept. 20 against Jacksonville because of the coronavirus pandemic. Nashville Mayor John Cooper and the Titans announced the decision Tuesday. Nashville’s Major League Soccer team also won’t have any fans at home games in September.Going the other direction, the Kansas City Chiefs will allow up to 2,000 season ticket holders to attend training camp on Saturday, making them the first NFL team to allow fans since the coronavirus pandemic dramatically altered the way teams are preparing for the season. The team also said that up to 5,000 season ticket holders will be allowed at practice on Aug. 29, when the franchise plans to raise a new Super Bowl championship flag over the west end zone.In other NFL news: August 18, 2020
NBA teams are boycotting their playoff games to protest the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, who is black. Black Lives Matter protests have surged across the US once more this week in response to Kenosha, Wisconsin, police paralyzing Blake by shooting him in the back seven times on Sunday. The boycotts began with the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday in their game with Orlando Magic. “Some things are bigger than basketball. The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up,” Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry, who is the son of Bucks owner Marc Lasry, tweeted after news of the boycott began to spread. “Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”The Bucks boycott was followed by tweets from several high-profile NBA stars, with the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, Denver Nuggets’ Jamaal Murray and Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell demanding change and justice. The Bucks players are staying in the locker room trying to reach Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, reports The Athletic and Stadium’s Shams Charania. Magic responded saying it stands with the Bucks and with all NBA players and the league “in condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police against people of color.”All three games for today — Bucks-Magic, Thunder-Rockets and Lakers-Blazers — have now been canceled. It’s unclear whether tomorrow’s game between the Jazz and Nuggets will go ahead as scheduled. Earlier reports on Wednesday suggested that Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors, also set for Thursday, would be boycotted by players in response to the shooting.Black Lives Matter protests have continued across the US since June as people demonstrate against the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of the police, and against systemic racism. Two people were shot to death and another was wounded during the third night of Jacob Blake protests Tuesday night. A 17-year-old from Illinois has been arrested as a result.Since the NBA season resumed following coronavirus delays, most players have been taking a knee during the national anthem prior to the games. “Black Lives Matter” is painted on each of the three courts in the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World, Florida, and players are also able to wear social justice and civil rights messages on their jerseys.All WNBA games are likewise cancelled tonight, according to a report, while in MLB the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds have cancelled their game. The Seattle Mariners also voted to cancel their MLB game.
Heather Kampf, three-time Grand Blue Mile Champion, headlines the Tour as the reigning three-time Grand Prix Champion. Riley Masters, the 2016 Grand Prix Champion, took third at last year’s Grand Blue Mile. The current early bird registration rate is available until Mar. 6 is $15 for the Grand Blue Mile, $25 for the Drake Road Races 5k and $40 for the Drake Road Races Half Marathon. Grand Blue Mile Registration Participants this year can also register for the ‘Bulldog Double’ to participate in both the Grand Blue Mile and either the Drake Road Races 5k or Half Marathon. Those that complete the ‘Bulldog Double’ will receive a special ‘Spike’ or ‘Griff’ medal while all finishers receive a technical shirt and a finisher medal. Registration for the Drake Road Races also includes one paid admission to the Thursday, Apr. 27 Distance Carnival inside Drake Stadium and a discount ticket rate to Hy-Vee Night at the Drake Relays Friday, Apr. 28. DES MOINES, Iowa – The Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour announced Thursday, Feb. 16, that the Wellmark Grand Blue Mile will serve as the opening leg of the Grand Prix Tour. Bring Back The Mile Grand Prix Tour Story Links Last year’s Grand Blue Mile drew more than 4,200 registrants who participated among the elite, competitive, recreational run/walk, and corporate team categories. The one-mile course loops through the streets of downtown Des Moines. Started in 2014, the Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour is a national campaign to designed to elevate the presence of the mile in track and field. The Tour features five stops and more than $110,000 in guaranteed prize money. Outside of Des Moines, the Tour features stops in Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Duluth, Minn., and Washington D.C. This year’s Grand Blue Mile, set to take place on Apr. 25, also sees the return of the USA Track & Field 1 Mile Road Championships. The Grand Blue Mile last hosted the Championship in 2014 where Kampf set the course record of 4:32.62. For more information on the Grand Blue Mile, visit www.GrandBlueMile.com Print Friendly Version
With media behind them, they can spout their talking points without controversy, while weak politicians only appease their critics.If David Johnson is right, politicians put up with conservative efforts to put up anti-evolution bills only to appease their religious constituents. Johnson, a postdoc at Rice University, looked into the outcomes of “anti-evolution curricular challenges” in various states. According to PhysOrg, only 25% of bills under consideration passed out of committee, and only two states–Louisiana and Tennessee—succeeded in getting laws passed.Johnson added that while increased conservative Protestant adherence does lead to increased anti-evolution attitudes and activity among creation science interest groups, these outcomes are statistically unrelated to consideration of anti-evolution bills in state legislatures. This led him and his co-authors to theorize that the low rate of success in turning anti-evolution education bills into laws suggests that legislators may continue to push these reforms not because they expect success, but to mollify religious constituents.Johnson’s own biases are clear from his statement:“There is no scientific debate about the fundamentals of evolution,” he said. “And the best social scientific research shows that religious and nonreligious individuals are, overall, quite similar in their orientation to science. There are better ways to represent the values of religious communities: These bills create a misleading impression of conflict between science and religion and threaten the quality of education in public schools.“Sound familiar? Those are some of the same arguments made by Bill Nye when he debated Ken Ham. No debate exists, he said, and creation threatens education.This is why you never let totalitarians gain control of anything. They offer you “one man, one vote, one time.” When the Darwinazis gain control of scientific societies, legislatures and school boards, they lock the doors behind them. Of course there is no scientific debate in their wholly-dominated institutions; you have to be a Darwinazi wearing a D-Merit Badge to get in. Who was for teaching both sides? The despised creationists!Here’s how to understand Johnson’s statement, “There is no scientific debate about the fundamentals of evolution.” What are the fundamentals of evolution? Mutation and natural selection. Mutation is chance, a word equivalent to “stuff happens.” Natural selection is chance, a phrase equivalent to “stuff happens” – because neither the environment nor “selection pressures” (whatever they are) have any direction, purpose, or plan. Let SH stand for “stuff happens.” According to the math for chance, SH + SH does not equal 2SH, it equals SH. Johnson’s statement reduces to this: “There is no scientific debate that stuff happens.” Of course that is true; nobody disagrees that stuff happens. But is that science? Is that a logical explanation for wings, eyes and brains? Is that what schools should teach? Of course not. His statement is a clear example of a meaningless talking point. If Johnson were concerned with the quality of science education, he would advocate ditching Darwin (see 10/03/15) and seeking true causes for phenomena that look designed.What about the “misleading impression of conflict between science and religion” he spoke of? It wasn’t Christians, Protestants, or interest groups that created the impression: it was Darwinazis like Andrew White and John Draper who started that meme. The Christian founders of science viewed their work as seeking the mind of God; no conflict at all. Posing “science” vs “religion” is a false dichotomy. To creationists, the conflict is between good science (intelligent design) and bad science (Darwin’s Stuff Happens Law that builds minds out of hydrogen). And it’s a conflict between good religion (trust in a Designer intelligent enough and powerful enough to bring the world into being) and bad religion (big-bang-to-man theory, with no causation, no purpose, and no meaning). By all means, don’t fall into the trap of framing the debate like they do as ‘science vs religion.’ If you do, you’ve lost before you started. Read this about “science” from Evolution News & Views.With these points in mind, you are ready to evaluate whether creation threatens the quality of education in public schools. Should children learn about adequate causes and effects, or throw up their hands like Darwin and say “stuff happens”? Should they learn about observable, repeatable, testable facts, or learn how to tell just-so stories? Should they learn logic, or imbibe self-refuting ideologies? That’s how you should frame the debate.Some “anti-evolution” groups like the Discovery Institute do not advocate teaching intelligent design at all, let alone creation science. They would be content to get schools to teach Darwinian evolution honestly, not the uncritical whitewashed version with the flawed icons used to illustrate it. They agree with Darwin: “A fair result can only be obtained by fully stating the facts and arguments on both sides of each question” (see Academic Freedom Day). Amen! (Too bad Darwin failed to do that in The Origin, a fact he admitted in the preface.) Hold this Darwin quote in the face of the Darwinazis and tell them to obey it. Tell them science is not about consensus. Tell them they are closed-minded bigots for refusing to consider challenges to their atheistic religion.Johnson is able to label Darwin skeptics as “interest groups” because his interest group has power. For the same reason conspiracies never prosper (because if they prosper, none dare call them conspiracies), interest groups never prosper, because when they do, they cease being called interest groups. They become The Consensus. “All scientists agree” that “there is no scientific debate” about the fundamentals of Stuff Happens. You have to get outside the fogma to see through this rhetorical trick.Darwinazi John Tyndall, one of Charlie’s X-club co-conspirators, said this to the British Association in 1874:“The impregnable position of science may be described in a few words. We claim, and we shall wrest from theology, the entire field of cosmological theory. All schemes and systems which thus infringe upon the domain of science must, in so far as they do this, submit to its control, and relinquish all thought of controlling it.” [See James Clerk Maxwell’s poetic response to Tyndall’s insufferable chutzpah in our 8/10/2005 commentary.]That’s not science. That’s not education. It’s totalitarianism. It’s scientism pretending to be helping the children, but determined to rule the world. Don’t be fooled. The Darwinazis have had power for a long time, but that’s no reason to become a DODO like them, pushing DOPE. It took a long time to end slavery, too. Keep the heat on, and if your representatives put on the appeasement facade but won’t challenge the Darwinazis, vote the rascals out.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Cape Town’s impressive Green Pointstadium and surrounding precinct areundergoing major renovation. (Image:Bruce Sutherland, City of Cape Town)Janine ErasmusThe City of Cape Town has announced a US$91-million (R786-million) upgrade to its existing water and sanitation infrastructure.This is an important part of the city’s current five-year development plan, and amounts to almost 15% of the total $650-million (R5.5-billion) capital expenditure budget for the forthcoming financial year.With the latest project Cape Town aims to further enhance its attractiveness as both a tourist and investment destination.HistoricCape Town is South Africa’s oldest city and traces its history back to the arrival of the first Dutch settlers in 1652, although Portuguese navigators had discovered the area some three centuries before. The existing infrastructure, while not quite as old as the city itself, therefore needs careful and constant maintenance.Old and leaking pipes are a financial burden to the city. Cape Town loses almost 19% of its piped water to burst pipes and leaks in homes and offices. This costs the city more than $473 000 (R4-million) every year. The international standard for such losses in other world-class cities is 15%.A complete replacement of Cape Town’s water system would cost $2.7-billion (R23-billion), said Clive Justus, the mayoral committee member for utility services. “The backlog of water mains replacement would become unmanageable if infrastructural replacement is not accelerated now,” he commented in a statement.Forward planningBy investing into and accelerating the replacement of faulty water mains, city management plans to avert a crisis such as that experienced by power utility Eskom in early 2008, when inadequate infrastructure was unable to meet the country’s power demands. The Western Cape was the hardest hit and suffered rolling blackouts for many weeks, as well as a severe dent to its economy.The international norm for water pipe replacement in terms of distance per year is 1% of the total network. Cape Town is currently replacing water pipes at a rate of 30km per year, but this is a big improvement on the 7.4km per year that was achieved just three years ago. The immediate goal is the replacement of 40km of pipes by mid-2009, which still amounts to just 0.5% of the total Cape Town network.The 8 000km wastewater system is also due for treatment. In the northern suburbs, where development is rapid, the system is under particular stress. From July 2009, a $6.6-million (R56-million) upgrade project will see the replacement of pipelines where it is most needed.Other projects currently underway include the allocation of $33-million (R280-million) to increase the capacity of the Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Works from 32 megalitres per day to 47. The project is scheduled for completion in mid-2009. Another state-of-the-art greenfield facility is under construction at Fisantekraal, situated 10km north of Durbanville. Greenfield refers to a plant that is built on previously undeveloped land.Both plants together will provide treatment capacity for about 140 000 homes in Cape Town.Extensive upgradesThe city is in the throes of extensive upgrades in several sectors.The refurbishment of Green Point Stadium, a 2010 Fifa World Cup venue, is around 70% complete and according to the city, is on track for completion and handover in December 2009. The $520-million (R4.5-billion) project is set to become an eye-catching landmark, while the surrounding area of Green Point Common has also been revamped and will include a golf course and other sporting facilities by the time it is complete in March 2010.Cape Town’s public transport system is getting a massive overhaul with the implementation of the Integrated Rapid Transit system. Phase one, which encompasses the airport-city and the city-stadium routes, is expected to be on the road in time for the World Cup in 2010.City planners are also developing a stronger network of roads in suburban areas. This will include developments such as walking and cycling routes and better provision for public transport.Africa’s leading airportCape Town International Airport, voted by the World Travel Awards as Africa’s leading airport no less than seven times, will see the opening of its new Terminal 2010 at the end of 2009. About $118-million (R1-billion) has been ploughed into the terminal, which will accommodate the domestic and international volume until 2015. Two new parkades are also nearing completion.Business, education and private internet usage are getting a $47-million (R400-million) boost in the form of a brand-new fibre optic network. Phase one, the laying of about 202km of cable and connection points in key municipal and educational buildings, is in progress and the second phase will involve the expansion of the network to the suburbs, especially those that have no access to modern telecommunications.The fibre optic network is one of the factors that earned Cape Town a spot on the Intelligent Community Forum‘s 2008 list of the world’s most intelligent cities. It also fulfils Fifa’s stringent telecomms requirements for 2010.As if this weren’t enough, Cape Town is also investing heavily into the business of entertainment, with a $50-million (R430-million) film studio under construction just 20km out of the city. The Cape Town Film Studio will boost the filming industry in Cape Town, which is already the darling of international filmmakers. The city has seen film crews for both high-profile feature films such as Free Willy 4, Goodbye Bafana, 24: Redemption and Blood Diamond, as well as commercials, scurrying around its streets.The studio complex is expected to open its doors early in 2010.Useful linksCity of Cape TownDepartment of Water Affairs and ForestryCape Town Film StudiosCap Town International AirportCape Film Commission
Skimping on location can leave your film feeling amateurish and cheap. Here’s how you can get A-list locations for next to nothing![Above image from StarScream on Wikicommons]Production value is one of the most important elements during my filmmaking process, as having a film that looks high-end not only helps to connect with the viewers more effectively, but also keeps the perceived value of the project higher. This is key when it comes time to sell or license the film.Filmmakers today clearly understand the importance of production value, which is why the Internet just about explodes every time a new camera is released…but ironically there is such little emphasis often placed on the locations and in my opinion, it really shows. Personally, I would rather shoot a film on a less capable camera but use incredible locations. So if you’re like me, and understand the importance of production value – read on to hear my tips for getting great locations on a budget.Don’t Be Afraid to AskNo matter what you’re shooting, chances are some (if not all) of the locations may be available to you through friends and family. You need to be careful about going down this road, as you don’t want to simply use locations out of convenience. After all your best friend’s apartment might not look like the luxury condo that you wrote into your script. But when there is a location that you need, and that a friend or family member has access to – then ask! The worst thing that will happen is that they say no, but in a best case scenario you just landed a killer location for free. And remember to never take advantage of the situation. Giving them a credit on the film, or taking them out for dinner can go a long way, so always pay it forward.Strategic PartnershipsIn a lot of shooting scenarios, you can likely offer a product placement (or credit) to a location or business that may be willing to help. For example, if you need to shoot in that luxury condo I mentioned above, you might be able to contact real estate developers or agents that will let you shoot in one of their properties in exchange for a credit on your film. If your film is in any way substantial, you truly will be doing them a favor as well, so try to think outside the box and think of what businesses or business owners might be willing to help in exchange for easy publicity.Free Permit AreasFor exterior locations, permits are always the biggest hurdle, as many public areas can cost thousands of dollars a day to shoot in. The good news (and something that I only learned a couple years back) is that there are actually loads of areas that don’t charge for film permits.When I shot my first feature for example, I had my heart set on some locations in a rural town that would have looked incredible for the context of my story. After looking into it and initially becoming discouraged as a result of the high permit fees, I realized there was another option. Just down the road was the county line, and if I was able to just shift the location a few streets over I could avoid having to pay for permits entirely. This is something that you really need to look into, as you would probably be surprised to learn that a lot of fantastic locations can be had for nothing at all. You will still need production insurance in order to get the free permit, but if you do your homework you might just score some amazing exteriors for free.Guerilla ShootingI’ve shot a lot of my work guerrilla style (meaning with no permits) as sometimes you just have no other option. While some areas offer free permits, there will be times that you want to shoot in a very specific location and there is no free option that you can sub out for it. In these situations you might want to consider shooting guerrilla style. In a lot of cases, scenes can be reworked to avoid overly complex setups or heavy dialogue. If you’re in a tough situation, consider trimming your scene down a bit and getting some high production value shots by going guerilla. Just be sure that if you cut any important moments out of those scenes (in order to achieve them more easily without a permit), that you work them back into the script somewhere else.Also, proceed with caution as shooting guerrilla style can lead you to get your gear and footage confiscated, and you can also get fined. So be careful and be ready to deal with the consequences if they arise. Shoot ‘guerilla style’ at your own risk!Shoot Out of TownI would bet that a lot of you that are reading this live in LA, New York or another major city. Pretty much every major city (especially LA and NYC) are very in the know about film productions, and as such it is much harder to shoot in a metropolis. In major cities so many of the people that you will talk to about shooting (business owners, home owners, etc.) have already been through the ringer, and in some cases got burned. So they are unlikely to let you do it, unless you’re paying them the big bucks. For these reasons, shooting out of town could be a really great option, especially on a feature or any other project that requires loads of different locations. In smaller cities and towns, people are generally far more open to filmmakers as they see it as something exciting and fun, as opposed to a possible threat to their property.
Kevin Durant with students from Positive Tomorrows (Positive Tomorrows)Kevin Durant is continuing his charitability toward Oklahoma City even though the NBA forward has moved on to play for the Golden State Warriors. On Tuesday, Dec. 13, Positive Tomorrows announced the athlete’s Kevin Durant Charity Foundation donated $57,000 to the elementary school.According to a statement on the Oklahoma-based school’s website, Durant’s hefty gift unlocked a secret $50,000 challenge award that will allow the school to buy land for a new building.“Kevin continues to be a great friend to Positive Tomorrows, and he has been instrumental in helping our school grow over the last several years,” school president and principal Susan Agel said. “Still, we consistently turn away students due to a lack of space and his generous contribution this year along with several anonymous donors will enable us to embark on our upcoming capital campaign debt-free. We are so grateful.”Positive Tomorrows works to provide a private, tuition-free education to homeless students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade, 48 percent of which are Black. It also supports families so they can improve their employment, housing and income.As a supporter of the institution since 2012, Durant has gifted students with shoes on Christmas and paid for a summer program. Last year, NewsOK reported that the NBA star gave $35,000 to the school to stock food and build an all-new kitchen to better serve pupils.“They needed some help and, simple,” he said of the grant. “I’ve been here and seen the impact it’s had on these kids and I just wanted to help even more.”This year’s $57,000 gift makes it the fourth time he has provided funds to the school.“He’s been an instrumental part of our growth,” Agel said. “And it means the world to us and to our students that he continues to believe in our children’s potential and to invest in their futures.”
The House and Senate Armed Services committees are still engaged in negotiations to hash out a compromise version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill as an agreement on a handful of issues has proven unattainable to date.“No question we’re close,” House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told CQ. Thornberry said he has remained in contact with his Senate counterpart, John McCain (R-Ariz.). “I mean, we could be done anytime, but we’re not,” he said.Military compensation, including increases in Tricare co-pays and retirement benefits, has been one of the thorniest issues so far.“We’re still having discussions,” said McCain. “Honestly, I’m not sure whether we’re going to be able to get it or not,” he said.Meanwhile, conferees settled on language to overhaul the military procurement process, Thornberry said. One of the key questions the two sides tackled was whether to give the military service secretaries the power the defense secretary now has over initiating multibillion-dollar weapons programs.The House chairman said the two different versions of the annual defense policy bill “have blended together well,” without elaborating further. Dan Cohen AUTHOR