Thousands of homes in the Newtowncunningham and surrounding areas are without power this morning.The fault has left an estimated 3,000 homes and businesses without supply overnight.The ESB say they are aware of the situation and that a crew is working to restore the power in the area. It is expected to return later this morning.Power fault leaves thousands of homes without electricity was last modified: June 18th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
President Thabo Mbeki and King Letsie of Lesotho have inaugurated the latest phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which delivers water from the highlands of Lesotho to South Africa’s Vaal River system and generates hydropower for Lesotho.Water is now flowing from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. (Image: Lesotho Highlands Water Project)Brand South Africa reporterThe project is Africa’s largest ever water transfer project as well as the largest ongoing bi-national construction project on the continent.The project aims to address the needs of South Africa’s rapidly expanding Gauteng province, which generates almost 60% of the country’s industrial output and 80% of its mining output, and where over 40% of South Africa’s population live. The province needs more water than its main source, the Vaal River, can provide.The Lesotho Highlands, with its high rainfall and surface area of high basalt mountains – the Maloti – is an outstanding catchment area.The Lesotho Highlands Water Project captures most of the excess water from rainstorms in the Orange/Senqu River catchment and transfers it to the Vaal River system, at the same time ensuring the sustainability of life forms dependent on flows downstream of its storage dams.Completion of the latest phase of the project – phase 1B – will solve Gauteng’s water problem for the immediate future and rejuvenate the Vaal River. For Lesotho, it provides valuable income, job opportunities, electricity and infrastructure on which tourism and industrial development can thrive.Construction on phase 1A of the project began in 1984, and the first dam, Katse, began delivering water in 1998.Construction on phase 1B of the project began in 1998, and comprises the 145 metre high Mohale Dam on the Senqunyane River, the 32 kilometre Mohale Tunnel linking Mohale Dam to Katse Dam, and the 6 kilometre Matsoku weir and tunnel, which diverts flood water from the Matsoku River into the Katse reservoir.Water transfer from Mohale Dam and the Matsoku River to Katse Dam has begun, and will gradually increase the volume of water delivered to South Africa from 20 to 26 cubic metres per second.While Katse Dam is the highest concrete arch dam in Africa, Mohale Dam is the highest rockfill dam on the continent, consisting of 7.8 million cubic metres of rock that was placed and compacted before the addition of concrete face. The dam features a flexible outlet structure that ensures high quality water for downstream releases to ensure the sustainability of aquatic life.Other infrastructure completed during phase 1B includes three mountain passes, 72 kilometres of tarred roads, 75 kilometres of power lines and over 100 construction houses. At the peak of construction, phase IB created more that 8 000 jobs for local and regional workers.The entire project is expected to cost US$8-billion by the time of its completion in 2020.Speaking at the ceremony at Mohale Dam on Tuesday, Mbeki described the Lesotho Highlands Water Project as a bi-national project to harness a natural resource, Lesotho’s “white gold”, for the benefit of both countries.“For South Africa, the project brings improved security of water supply for both economic and domestic use, and will undoubtedly help to meet the increasing water demand for many years to come”, Mbeki said.“Equally, Lesotho enjoys the benefit of new infrastructure, including roads, expanded communication and electricity systems, health facilities, job opportunities, improved water supply and sanitation to numerous communities, and many additional secondary benefits associated with a huge capital investment with its revenue streams.“The project not only sustains the development of both countries in significant ways, but provides a showpiece for the region and the rest of the continent of mutually beneficial co-operation.”The Katse Dam is the highest concrete arch dam in Africa. (Image: V)In November 2003, the South African Institute of Civil Engineering named the Lesotho Highlands Water Project “project of the century” for its “immense impact on the betterment of the lives of South Africans and Basotho, the benefits it brought to the economies of both countries, the manner in which the environmental impacts were addressed, and the effective and efficient overall management of the project”.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Globetrotters can look forward to months or years of near-record low travel prices on the world’s longest air routes as airlines start handing back to their customers the benefits of lower fuel prices.The price of jet fuel began tumbling about two years ago after American advances in fracking technology broke the world’s reliance on oil extracted the traditional way.The oil price spike that peaked in 2007-08 had forced airlines to tighten their belts and created the component pricing – or ancillary revenue — revolution that now dominates the selling of air fares, with consumers quoted a base fare and a series of optional extras.Since then, the price of jet fuel has halved, meaning that a typical airline for which fuel in 2007-08 had been about 40 per cent of total operating costs has been able to cut its overall operating costs by about 20 per cent – the biggest single change in airline economics this century.At least on long-haul routes, led by the big Middle Eastern hub-and-spoke full-service carriers, airlines are handing their savings to travellers to build market share and grow their networks.Two years ago, the best fare between Australia and Europe was rarely lower than $A1800 return. In the past month, Australia’s biggest travel retailer, Flight Centre, has quoted best fares of less than $A1050 return.In the other direction, best fares between Australia and New York City ballooned a decade ago to around $A3000 return when airline competition on South Pacific routes reacheda low point and the only American Australia-US operator, United Airlines, was trading under bankruptcy protection.Flight Centre is currently quoting $A1189 return for early northern summer 2017 travel, while Los Angeles fares have dipped back down to $A895 return – the bargain available after Virgin Australia Delta entered the route in 2009, each with a daily service to Sydney.Meanwhile, the price of tickets to Asian playgrounds like Bali in Indonesia and Phuket, Thailand – once priced at close to $A1000 return from Australia – are now selling for $A380-$420.The best news for consumers is that there’s no reason for the bargains to end: the International Air Transport Association estimates airlines will make $US39.4 billion profit in 2016 in spite of low fares, which are encouraging even more people to travel.”It reflects pretty well on the industry’s efficiency that, even while fares are at record lows, airlines are forecast to make record profits this year,” says one Asia-Pacific airline executive.Outside of the Middle East, where big network carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways are booming, using their hubs to carry travellers to the rest of the world, the Asia-Pacific region is now the world’s fastest-growing region for air travel, expanding by nine per cent (measured in revenue passenger kilometres) year-on-year in July 2016, according to IATA.Airlines like Qantas are ramping up Asian services to capitalise on the growth, encouraged by a surge in business travel.For example, Qantas has come in over the top of its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar, which has been running a Melbourne-Tokyo (Narita) service four times a week leaving and arriving in Melbourne in the middle of the night to connect with domestic services in Tokyo, with a retimed daily service of its own aimed squarely at corporate customers. Jetstar will vacate the route at the end of the southern summer in February 2017.The number of Japanese visitors to Australia increased by a whopping 17 per cent in 2015-16, while Australian travel to Japan increased by 24 per cent.Qantas says that, after its decision in December 2015 to hand one of its two daily Sydney-Los Angeles flights to alliance partner American Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ERs and launch six weekly 747 services between Sydney and San Francisco, the focus of the airline’s strategy has shifted to Asia, where 75 per cent of its new seating capacity was deployed in 2015-16.”Aviation’s one of the few industries that consistently bring down prices and there are some especially good international fares out there at the moment in a competitive market,” a Qantas spokesman told AirlineRatings.com. “The focus for Qantas is on growing in markets like Asia where there’s strong demand, extending our overall network with partners like American Airlines and making sure our customers are seeing the benefits of our transformation program – whether it’s in the form of good prices or investment in aircraft, lounges and technology.”Ironically, there’s been little low fares action on what has often been the world’s superhighway for cheap air travel, the North Atlantic between Europe and the USA.While established low-cost airlines on both sides of the Atlantic, such as JetBlue, Southwest, Ryanair and easyJet, have shown little interest in starting transcontinental services, it has been left to low-cost long-haul specialist Norwegian Air Shuttle to develop what low-fares pioneers like Sir Freddie Laker started in the 1960s.It’s still rare to find trans-Atlantic fares under $US500 return, even on Norwegian’s initial services between Europe and America, which it began in 2012.In the face of an onslaught of protectionist rhetoric from airlines and unions on both sides of the Atlantic, Norwegian has struggled to get operating approvals for some of its regional subsidiaries from the US Department of Transport.Nevertheless, the airline is hoping to be able to begin flying between low-cost US airports, such as Westchester, 50 kilometres north of New York City, and European destinations from 2017, with headline fares starting at $US69 one way.Norwegian plans to access such small airports with a new long-range version of Airbus’s biggest narrowbody plane, the 220-seat A321LR, which can fly routes as long as 6000 kilometres, which, until now, have required bigger, heavier widebody jets.
South Africa is a unique and amazing nation; the spirit of ubuntu lives in us. In a series of five articles, we share stories from Gift of the Givers volunteers in their own words as the organisation marks its 25th year of serving humanity. In this article, the first of five, we chat to medical co-ordinator, Dr YM Essack to find out more about his role. Dr Essack, with spectacles, with Dr Sooliman. (Image: Gift of the Givers)Sulaiman PhilipSouth African humantarian organisation Gift of the Givers is celebrating 25 years of philanthropy this year. In that time, the largest African organisation of its kind has brought aid and comfort to people in need in 43 countries.The group, founded and led by Dr Imtiaaz Sooliman, has helped to deliver water to drought stricken areas of South Africa and fed refugees in Somalia. It has ongoing feeding programmes in South Africa, humanitarian missions in war-torn Syria and has helped to free South African hostages in Yemen and Mali.Dr Sooliman has built an organisation that lives the very African spirit of ubuntu. He has done so in the company of a group of dedicated volunteers. We spoke to a small selection of them, and will share their stories in a series of articles. From medical staff to logistics, we find out more about Gift of the Givers through its volunteers.In this first of five articles, medical co-ordinator, Dr YM Essack, tells us more about the missions he has been on.Dr YM Essack, the Gift of the Givers medical co-ordinator, has worked with the organisation since 1993. (Image: Gift of the GIvers)Dr YM Essack: medical co-ordinatorI remember, we were in Dharkoush [Syria] when a child, ten or 11, was brought to us after being shot. He had been accidentally shot by his father who was cleaning his gun. The boy’s father stood at the foot of the bed weeping and caressing his son’s feet as our trauma team tried to save his life. The father kept asking in Arabic, “Is he alive?” We could not save his life.Countless emotions ran through the entire ward. We all felt so numb as he broke down. Outside the mother was beyond consoling. What a fruitless and senseless war. All those civilians caught in the quagmire, armed with weapons they don’t know how to use to defend themselves.I have been the Gift of the Givers’ medical co-ordinator over many missions and, in spite of my theoretical knowledge, the reality on the ground is the great leveller. There is always the stark reminder that there exists a need that can never be completely fulfilled. There is, at times, for me this hollow feeling that my presence is not going to change a situation.But for recipients of the aid we bring and the medical assistance that we supply, people often in the most hopeless situations, we are a reminder that humanity still exists at a universal level. That connection between us makes us family.I don’t like talking about myself, but I have a family and I have my own private practice. Everyone knows that I will drop everything else when the call comes. They understand that I have made a commitment to Gift of the Givers. They know that I believe in its mission and that the “Best among people are those who benefit mankind”.Our motivation, the belief that Dr Sooliman lives by, has a deep spiritual base that ensures unbiased, fair and well thought-out service across racial, religious and geographic barriers. The scope of aid provided is mind-boggling, from material through to medical and psycho-social needs. The emphasis is always, as Dr Sooliman says, to do God’s work as his agents on this Earth.I first met Dr Sooliman in Mozambique in 1991. I was working at a mobile clinic offering primary health care and he was involved with a relief programme. It was clear from the beginning that there was a synergy between us. We both shared the view that service to the Almighty was achieved through serving the needs of humanity at individual, community, national and global level.When Dr Sooliman began developing the Mobile Containerised Hospital I offered my assitance. I was present [in 1993] when the hospital was shipped from the shores of Durban to Bosnia and Herzegovina. My responsibilities have grown over the many missions I have been involved in.I am the medical co-ordinator; my responsibilities encompass preparation and readiness for whatever may be required on a mission. I need to assess the personnel needs, procure equipment, medicines and consumables. I network with specific teams whether they are orthopaedic, surgical or anaesthetia. I am a part of a core team involved with logistics and that deployment fits the context on the ground. With 27 years of family medicine experience, I am able to work as a doctor when required.As important, I provide support to Dr Sooliman with team members. This involves ensuring team harmony, allocation of human and material resources and help with the psychological well being of volunteers.Dr Essack believes in the importance of the work he does with Gift of the Givers despite feeling at times that it won’t change the situation on the ground. (Image: Gift of the Givers)Read the next profile on beekeeper, Owen Willams.Emily Thomas, who works in logitistics at Gift of the Givers shares her story.Ahmed Bham is the head of search and rescue. Read his story here.Dr Livan Meneses-Turino describes Gift of the Givers as a family. Click here to find out more about what he has done with the organisation.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
India’s famed top oder batsmen capitalised on Virender Sehwag’s flourishing start as the hosts took firm control of the the third and final cricket Test against New Zealand with a solid batting display in Nagpur on Sunday.SCORECARDAfter dismissing the Kiwis for 193 in the first innings, the Indians reached a comfortable 292 for two at close on the second day, taking a 99-run first innings lead at the VCA stadium.Virender Sehwag (74) provided a flying start alongwith Gautam Gambhir (78) while Rahul Dravid (69 batting) and Sachin Tendulkar (57 batting) consolidated the position for the hosts with an unbroken 100-run partnership for the third wicket.Monday can turn out to be an eventful day as Tendulkar, was a picture of concentration. He looks determined not throw it away as he requires another 43 runs to complete the historic milestone of 50 centuries in Test cricket.He completed his half century after punching part-time spinner Martin Guptill to the sweeper cover region for three runs. The kind of applause he received after completing his 59th half century, one can imagine what will happen if he reached the coveted landmark.The maestro, who was only perturbed by a few short balls from Tim Southee, hit some delightful strokes on both sides of the wicket. Those included a cover drive and steer off Southee, an arrow like straight drive and a cut off McKay and a drive through the mid-wicket boundary off Martin.With Dravid (69 batting, 167 balls, 8×4) also looking good for his 31st Test century, the hosts would ideally like to pile up a huge score in order to avoid batting last on this track. The Tendulkar-Dravid duo had added exactly 100 runs for the unbroken third wicket stand.advertisementHowever, if India are in the box seat, credit should go to the start provided by opening duo Sehwag-Gambhir—- inarguably India’s best opening pair in Test matches since Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan in late 70s and early 80s.The two Delhi players have only themselves to blame for missing out on well-deserved centuries as loose shots led to their dismissals.While Sehwag scored 74 off only 73 deliveries with the help of 12 fours and a six, Gambhir who has just been made the ODI captain for two matches played an useful innings of 78 with the help of 12 boundaries.It was again Sehwag who provided the momentum as he send the New Zealand bowlers on a leather hunt blasting his way to 26th half century in Test cricket.Gambhir, who is slowly regaining his touch, was the perfect foil to his partner taking singles and giving Sehwag more of the strike.When Sehwag plays his natural game, the margin of error is very less for the opposition bowlers. Time and again the Black Caps bowlers have suffered in the hands of Sehwag and it wasn’t any different during the first session. He started off punching Southee through the vacant cover region for a boundary.Chris Martin, who has troubled the Indian batsmen with some incisive spells, was then pulled twice to the mid-wicket region for couple of boundaries. Whenever the New Zealand pacers Martin, Southee or debutant Andy McKay tried to add an extra yard of pace, they were guided over the slips through the vacant third man region with minimum fuss.When skipper Vettori came into bowl, the Nawab of Najafgarh danced down the track to clear the long-on ropes. He also played quite a few delightful late cuts off the spinner.With loose hands he would just steer the ball in the vacant region between the keeper and the first slip. He completed his half century off 50 deliveries.Vettori finally got his revenge when Sehwag couldn’t check his drive as he gave the New Zealand captain a simple return catch. The duo put on 113 runs for the opening stand.At the other end, Gambhir, who had grown in confidence watching Sehwag bat also clipped Southee to square leg for successive boundaries. He also hit a lovely cover drive off McKay who did trouble the southpaw as he brought a few back into the batsman.After Sehwag’s departure, Gambhir looked even more fluent with his drives while Dravid quietly settled down. Gambhir completed his 13th half century hitting Vettori over deep mid-wicket for a boundary.Just when he looked like getting set for his 10th century in Test cricket, he needlessly flashed a Southee delivery to be caught by Ross Taylor at gully ending a fruitful 79-run second wicket stand.Dravid?s was a more gritty effort waiting for the loose deliveries. He took his own time to settle down but none of the New Zealand’s pace trio of Martin, Southee and McKay was able to bother him. A classic bowler’s back drive stood out.advertisementEarlier, Ishant Sharma (4/43) quickly dismissed Brendon McCullum (40, 84 balls, 4×4) to ensure that Kiwi tail doesn’t wag for long.McCullum, who is suffering from back spasms didn’t look any better than yesterday as he came out to bat. A streaky boundary past a diving Virender Sehwag at gully got him a boundary.The bowler Ishant, however had the last laugh when he hit one back of length and cramped McCullum who went for another cut shot only to edge it to Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind stumps.McKay hit a boundary but didn’t last long enough as Ishant got his fourth victim castling the New Zealand No. 10.Tim Southee, who was playing patiently till then decided to throw caution to the wind as he launched into Harbhajan Singh hitting him for a couple of big sixes and a boundary in one particular over.He first hit Harbhajan over long-on and then a slog sweep that went to the mid-wicket boundary followed by another mighty heave over deep mid-wicket.The New Zealand pacer hit the third six off the innings when he cleared the long-on boundary off Ojha’s bowling.However, he perished trying to repeat the shot off the left-arm spinner who got his third scalp with Virender Sehwag holding onto a skier at mid-on.With inputs from PTI
Similarly, Trinidad will need to break from Wednesday night’s defensive 4-5-1 formation to put some points up against Guatemala.We’ll be updating our predictions periodically throughout the CONCACAF tournament.Oliver Roeder contributed analysis.CORRECTION (Oct. 24, 4:37 p.m.): A previous version of this post included a table with an incorrect column header. The table lists the chances of placing third, not reaching the third-place game. The opening matches of the 2014 CONCACAF Championship were played on Wednesday, marking the start of the nine-month countdown to next summer’s Women’s World Cup. Although the focus Wednesday night was on the United States (six-time CONCACAF champions and the tournament’s host), the spotlight quickly shifted to the U.S. women’s opponent, Trinidad and Tobago. The Trinidadians managed to hold the Americans scoreless until the 55th minute, when Abby Wambach headed in her 171st international goal (the all-time record for any American player, male or female). The U.S. won 1-0.Up to five teams from the North American, Central American and Caribbean football associations might appear at next year’s World Cup. Only three CONCACAF teams played in the 2011 tournament (the U.S., Canada and Mexico). As next year’s host, Canada receives an automatic bid, which in turn allows for an “extra” CONCACAF spot. The top three teams from the CONCACAF Championship will automatically qualify. The fourth-place team will play in a two-game series against Ecuador, who placed third in the 2014 Copa América Femenina, to determine who goes to the World Cup.All of this to say that an otherwise unlikely CONCACAF team, like Trinidad and Tobago, could make its World Cup debut in 2015. But just how likely are the Soca Princesses to be one of the top four CONCACAF tournament teams?To calculate the expected wins and various probabilities for each team in the tournament, we used the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, which are based on a variant of our old friend the Elo ratings. FIFA provides a nice explanation of how to turn their ratings into win probabilities for a given matchup (though for group stage matches we had to adjust the formula a bit to account for the possibility of draws). Once we had the ratings and probabilities, we programmed a Monte Carlo simulation to run 1,000 simulations and track how well each team performed in the group stage, as well as how far it advanced in the knockout round.Despite last night’s disorganized formation and lack of finishing from the U.S. side, the Americans are still far and away the CONCACAF favorites, with a 95.5 percent chance of winning the tournament. Mexico is the next most likely team to win, but it has only a 3.8 percent chance. Trinidad and Tobago, on the other hand, has a less than 1 percent chance of winning.Below are the expected group points and win probabilities for every CONCACAF tournament team:Fortunately for Trinidad and Tobago, reaching the knockout round of the tournament is enough to give the team a shot at going to the World Cup, and it has a 51.2 percent chance of doing just that. Wednesday night’s quality performance, including 11 saves by Trinidadian goalkeeper Kimika Forbes, may bode well. Haiti sits just behind Trinidad in Group A, with a 45.3 percent chance of reaching the knockout round. Haiti also edged past Guatemala last night 1-0, despite going down a player in the 17th minute after goalkeeper Cynthia Chery was issued a straight red card.The Group B matches start Thursday night, with Costa Rica taking on top-seeded Mexico, and Jamaica playing Martinique (Martinique can’t qualify for the World Cup because it is not a member of FIFA, so we threw out the two simulations we ran where Martinique advanced). Mexico is the most likely team to advance from Group B, with a 94.4 percent chance, but Costa Rican standout Shirley Cruz Traña (who plays for the French club Paris Saint-Germain in one of the top women’s leagues) will likely be a major threat in Thursday’s game.The next Group A matches take place Friday, when the U.S. will resume play against Haiti. After Wednesday night’s performance, newly appointed head coach Jill Ellis may be looking to tweak a rather chaotic formation. The U.S. players veered from their typical 4-4-2 formation against the Trinidadians; Wambach sat in an attacking midfield spot but she often drifted forward, creating what looked almost like a 4-1-3-2 at times.