Saudi Visa Suspension ‘Saddens’ Muslim Council

first_imgThe Chairman of the National Muslim Council of Liberia, Sheik Karfumba Konneh, has described the suspension of visas by Saudi Arabia to three West African countries as ‘sad.’The Saudi Arabian government Tuesday, March 25, decided to “suspend visa issuance” to Liberian Muslims, following reports of the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in the Mano River Union (MRU) sub-region; which includes Guinea, where the disease has had its worst toll.According to the Chairperson of the National Muslim Council, Liberian Muslims are not the only ones being affected by the Saudi’s action. He revealed that Muslims from Guinea, Gambia and Sierra Leone have been restricted as well.Speaking in an interview with the Daily Observer Thursday, April 3, Sheik Kafumba Konneh said they had faith in Almighty Allah that before the time for the main pilgrimage reaches, Allah would have passed the Ebola plague over Liberia and Muslims would go to Mecca for their “once in a lifetime” experience.He said the Founder—Prophet Mohammed—of the Islamic Religion, had mandated every Muslim to visit Mecca, which include adhering to one of the five pillars of Islam.The Liberian Islamic scholar spoke with the Observer at his Clay Street resident on Thursday, April 3.He stated that while the Saudi’s action saddens the National Muslim Council, their (the Saudi government’s) decision was “understandable.” According to him, 1,500 years ago, the Prophet Mohammed said, “When there is epidemic (contagious virus), Muslims should restrict their movement and even those in the safe areas should not come into the place that is affected with the virus.”“We want the government of Liberia, Africa and the World Health Organization (WHO) to rise up and ensure this Ebola virus does not spread further. If that is done, Muslims will be able to travel to any of the holy places.”The Islamic cleric explained that they were aware of the situation of the deadly Ebola virus and were trusting in Allah that before the hajj, it would be over and Muslims allowed to fulfill one of the pillars of Islam.He further explained that the issue of traveling to the holy land of Mecca, Jerusalem and Medina was important for each Muslim as it was a once in a life time experience as many life changing things occur at the land of Mohammed.“We must go there once as a Muslim because it allows us to visit historical sites, including the place where Prophet Adam and his wife Hawa [Eve] lived on Mount Arafat. Muslims also see the graves of Prophet Mohammed and his wives and children.”He said Prophet Mohammed once said there is no sickness on earth without cure; something that Muslim people believe strongly. This is why they have faith the threat of Ebola will soon be over.He called on Muslims to be prayerful and trust that Allah will solve the situation and they would be able to visit those holy sites.He disclosed that the Muslim Council in Liberia has asked the Saudi authorities responsible for the hajj to allocate at least 1,000 slots for Liberian Muslims.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Kru Town Family Feared Grandfather Drowned

first_imgA New Kru Town family, near Monrovia is afraid that their grandfather, T.P.T. Tweh, in his late 60s, may be dead after his companion on a fishing trip Friday returned with news that the canoe capsized, separating them at sea.The survivor was rescued by Fanti fishermen, offshore ELWA beach, family sources told the Daily Observer Saturday.Mr. Tweh, headman at the Cape Maritime Agency had not been feeling well the day before the trip, family sources said.“But he wanted to go fishing because he complained he did not have money on him.”The Daily Observer gathered that Mr. Tweh was accompanied on the fateful trip by a man identified only as “I Mean It.”Always persistent as Tweh was, the pair went fishing in a small canoe and by late Friday, when they had not returned, family members got concerned and about what might have happened to them.“It was later the following day that we received information that his companion was found near ELWA and explained that he was separated from Mr. Tweh after their canoe capsized,” the family source further explained.At the visit Saturday at Mr. Tweh’s residence in New Kru Town, a large number of his relatives, including children and grandchildren wept bitterly over what might have happened to their grandfather.Meanwhile, the family reported the case to the local police depot and also organized a search party to seek the help of nearby Fanti fishermen to go on a search for Mr. Tweh.However, news reached the family that the body of a man had been sighted in Cape Mount waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and therefore family members would dispatch a team to the area to identify the body.Up to press time, there was no confirmation about the whereabouts of Mr. T.P.T. Tweh or whether he is alive or dead, increasing the family’s agony over what may have happened to a grandfather who was dearly loved by all in the community.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Govt to hire overseas experts to staff energy dept

first_imgGovernment will be moving to hire overseas experts in the oil and gas industry to staff the department of energy, which falls under the Ministry of the Presidency, President David Granger has revealed.While admitting that there might be some challenges in getting the right skillset of people, he thinks if Guyana attracts the best, then it stands to benefit tremendously from this sector.“It is bound to be a challenge because this is an international industry and we are aiming at a world-class industry. So, we are aiming to get the best persons,” he explained.According to the Head of State, Guyana has no experience in the field and because there is only a small petroleum unit which is now in the Natural Resources Ministry, there is need for expansion.“And we obviously have to attract the best people from around the world. So we are not attempting to avoid that responsibility. We will ensure that those things happen,” he added.In providing an update on the setting up of this department, the Head of State said a road map is being developed so as to attract the best in the business to work for the local oil sector.“We have to identify personnel, we have to identify buildings, and we have to start advertising to attract the quality personnel that can lead this important department into the future,” he explained.The President said his Government is being very careful about its approach because it wants the best outcome for this new industry. He said by the end of May there will be some further announcements.Cabinet in March officially approved the creation of an energy department that would now oversee Guyana’s oil and gas sector. Ministerial responsibility for the sector was stripped from Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman and given to Minister of State Joseph Harmon.Government said the reason for this change was mainly to bring some organisational structure to the sector that will look at legislation to be introduced, negotiation with potential investors, exploration and production licences, public communication, and the engagement of experts, among others.They also assured that energy-related responsibilities lying with Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson would remain untouched for now, especially responsibility for the Guyana Power and Light.Trotman, and indeed the Government, has received much criticism for the way the budding oil sector is being handled. There have, in the past, even been calls to have Trotman removed from his position.The main reason for this was because of the discovery that Government had stashed in a private account in the Central Bank, US$18 million it had received from ExxonMobil as a signing bonus.Though this discovery was made since last year, the Government has made no attempt to have the money placed into the Consolidated Fund. Many have argued that Article 216 of the Guyana Constitution dictates that all public revenue be placed in the Consolidated Fund.Trotman was also criticised for his handling of the oil contracts between Government and ExxonMobil. Even the Government’s own adviser on petroleum, Dr Jan Mangal, has been sceptical of Guyana’s two per cent royalty on earnings from oil sales, which he said is low compared to global standards.While Dr Mangal has not objected to the 50 per cent profit share Guyana will receive, he does believe that the generous tax concessions and two per cent royalty is nothing to boast about. Others have also come out criticising Trotman, including outspoken Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram, who believes Trotman’s handling of the oil sector could lead to future disaster.last_img read more

City need to win Champions League, says Guardiola

first_img0Shares0000Pep Guardiola says Manchester City must win the Champions League © AFP/File / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASLONDON, United Kingdom, May 20 – Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City will ultimately be judged on whether they win the Champions League despite wrapping up an unprecedented domestic treble with a 6-0 whipping of Watford in the FA Cup final.The 48-year-old Spaniard said in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s rout the domestic treble is more difficult than winning the Champions League because it demands greater consistency over a gruelling season. “I said before that I know we will be judged at the end on whether we win the Champions League,” said Guardiola, who twice conquered Europe as Barcelona coach.“I know unless we do that it will not be enough.”“This comes with me. I know that. I arrived in Barcelona, we were lucky we won it two times in four years and the people expect I am something special, that we have to win the Champions League and it’s still true.”Guardiola, who has not tasted European success since 2011, having drawn a blank during his spell with Bayern Munich, said what sets the Champions League apart is the level of the opposition.Guardiola and City, who have never won the competition, have failed to make it past the quarter-finals since he took over in 2016.They lost to Monaco in the last-16 in 2017 and exited in the last eight to Liverpool last year and Tottenham this season.“In this club, the points record and the domestic competitions is incredible,” he said.“But the Champions League we don’t win quite often compared to the other ones because the teams are so good, the competition is so demanding but we want to win it.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

‘Nobody is undroppable’ – Klopp reacts angrily to questions about Liverpool star

first_imgDaniel Sturridge produced an impressive display for Liverpool on Sunday – but Jurgen Klopp refused to guarantee the striker a starting spot in the midweek Merseyside derby.Having been restored to the starting XI against Bournemoth – as one of 10 changes made by Klopp from their midweek European exploits – Sturridge created the visitors’ opening goal, scored their second and almost added a further two in their 2-1 Premier League win.Klopp preferred Divock Origi from the start against Borussia Dortmund in midweek and previously told Sturridge he needed to learn the difference between “serious pain and what is only pain” following a number of injury problems.And the Liverpool boss responded angrily in the post-match press conference when asked about Sturridge’s performance before that of his team, while he suggested the England international could find himself back on the bench for Wednesday’s visit of Everton.The 48-year-old German said: “Nobody is undroppable. I never look at any player and think ‘I can’t leave him out.’ As a manager I decide if I play with one, two, three or four strikers.“He’s a brilliant player. (But) this is a game with 11 players. And we come to this. And you are interested in one player? Each player had influence. I understand it as a team game. I enjoyed the game of Daniel Sturridge.“We have a football game and you want to talk about one player at the first moment. That’s not the role I like. He was very good, but if you are not interested in the game…”Asked if he agreed Sturridge, who has been linked with a summer exit from Anfield, won Sunday’s game for Liverpool, Klopp said: “No.“That’s how you understand football? You work really in sport? One player can win a game?“Was there a cross (for Sturridge’s goal) or not? We live on different planets.” 1 Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Bournemouth last_img read more

Steady rain expected the rest of Tuesday

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event Forecasters predicted steady rains through the remainder of today, with a 40 to 50 percent chance of rain Wednesday and a 20 percent chance Wednesday evening. Snow levels early today were at 9,000 feet, but were expected to drop to as low as 5,000 feet overnight, with between 8 inches and a foot of snow predicted for local ski resorts. The rains brought traffic to a crawl across the Southland, according to the California Highway Patrol, with traffic snarled on the Harbor and Hollywood freeways downtown to make way for the funeral of slain Deputy Maria Cecelia Rosa. Surprisingly, there were fewer accidents during today’s rush-hour downpour than during the same period last week, with 117 crashes between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. compared to 140 crashes during the dry commute last week. “I think people are starting to get the idea they need to slow down,” said CHP Officer Rick Quintero. “Typically, what we see are solo driver spin-outs at 65 to 70 mph – a speed not advisable during the rain.” The CHP warned motorists of possible floods or mudlslides along the Pacific Coast Highway, in Laurel Canyon and in burn areas near Santa Clarita. Motorists were warned to be especially careful driving through low-lying streets. The CHP advised drivers to: — Avoid outer lanes of freeways prone to flooding. — Maintain a driving distance of between 1 1/2 and two car lengths for every 10 mph during the rain. — Keep the lights during the rain, according to a new state law. Weather forecasters attribute the massive storm to two weather systems drawn together by a vast low-pressure area from Central California to Los Angeles. The late-season storm may still not bring Los Angeles – now 3 inches below normal – up to its seasonal average. By the time the weather season ends in June, William Patzert, an oceonographer with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada-Flintridge, forecasts 12 inches for Los Angeles, three inches below the norm of 15.14 inches. — Dana Bartholomew, (818) 713-3730 dana.bartholomew@dailynews.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Heavy rains drenched the Southland today, snarling traffic and prompting flood advisories for low-lying streets and burn areas. The Alaskan storm fueled by subtropical moisture from Hawaii dropped a half-inch of rain by the end of the morning commute through the San Fernando Valley. Malibu and Camarillo got up to 1.5 inches. “Lots of rain, moving slow,” said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “Santa Barbara and Ventura are pretty much soaked. It’s now moving into Los Angeles County. With this rain, there won’t be a lot of daylight.” By the time it peters out Wednesday evening, this week’s storm is expected to dump up to two inches of rain in the valleys and along the coast, and as much as six inches in the foothills.last_img read more


first_imgDonegal County Council has completed the delivery of over 500 tonne of stone to various sections of the Sliabh Liag Mountain Trail by helicopter was completed ahead of schedule today.The works had been scheduled to take 7 days, however, the favourable weather conditions have meant that all deliveries were completed in less than 5 days. In the interests of health and safety restrictions were put in place on some sections of the walking trail on Sliabh Liag, however, the full length of the trail has now reopened to the public.Path repair and construction works along the path will continue over the coming months utilising the stone that was delivered by helicopter. The works will see the repair and construction of 1150m of trail.However, it is important to note that there will not be any disruption to visitors to Sliabh Liag and the Mountain Trail shall remain open during the works.The contractor Metro Building Contractors Ltd and Donegal County Council wish to thank all parties for their co-operation during the helicopter delivery works. The works were funded by Fáilte Ireland and Donegal County Council.  DDTV – HELICOPTER DELIVER STONE TO UPGRADE SLIABH LIAG AHEAD OF SCHEDULE was last modified: August 22nd, 2014 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)last_img read more

Most Exoplanets Are Probably Not Habitable

first_img(Visited 527 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 More astrobiologists are coming to the “depressing” conclusion that we are alone in the universe, but it’s only depressing if you’re an evolutionist.Three trends in science are converging to support the contention that life is rare in the universe: (1) the extreme complexity of life, (2) the number of factors required for life as we know it, and (3) the Fermi Paradox. If space aliens are as common as Carl Sagan thought in the 1980s, then where are they? Advanced aliens should have visited Earth by now, but the silence remains.The Fermi Paradox DissolvedHumans alone in universe, depressing study finds (Fox News). “A new study from the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) at Oxford University,” taking the Fermi Paradox into account, “suggests that humanity is alone in the observable universe, putting a damper on the theory that there is intelligent life somewhere in the known universe.” Even using optimistic figures being thrown around these days, the Drake Equation yields a 30% probability that mankind is alone in the universe. Realistic figures are more pessimistic. Though not giving up on space aliens, they infer that if they exist, they are probably out of our reach.“When we take account of realistic uncertainty, replacing point estimates by probability distributions that reflect current scientific understanding, we find no reason to be highly confident that the galaxy (or observable universe) contains other civilizations, and thus no longer find our observations in conflict with our prior probabilities,” the study’s conclusion reads.New Model Predicts That We’re Probably the Only Advanced Civilization in the Observable Universe (Matt Williams, Universe Today). The authors of the FHI study wrote Universe Today with other reasons for pessimism.“One can answer [the Fermi Paradox] by saying intelligence is very rare, but then it needs to be tremendously rare. Another possibility is that intelligence doesn’t last very long, but it is enough that one civilization survives for it to become visible. Attempts at explaining it by having all intelligences acting in the same way (staying quiet, avoiding contact with us, transcending) fail since they require every individual belonging to every society in every civilization to behave in the same way, the strongest sociological claim ever. Claiming long-range settlement or communication are impossible requires assuming a surprisingly low technology ceiling. Whatever the answer is, it more or less has to be strange.”Strangeness is a function of worldview. Human uniqueness may seem strange to an evolutionist, but not necessarily to a believer that God created the Earth to be inhabited by beings made in his image (see Isaiah 45:18). Even so, Anders Sandberg (one of the co-authors of the study published on arXiv) does not feel that SETI is pointless. “Even terrestrial biology may give us important information about the probability of life emerging and the conditions leading to intelligence,” he quipped. And reporter Matt Williams, despite the bad news, finds reasons to rally the troops:So take heart, SETI enthusiasts! While the Drake Equation may not be something we can produce accurate values for anytime soon, the more we learn, the more refined the values will be. And remember, we only need to find intelligent life once in order for the Fermi Paradox to be resolved!For calculations showing why life cannot arise by chance, see this Illustra film.It only takes one snipe, correspondingly, to prove that a snipe hunt is not a practical joke. Sandberg and Williams might reach a new low of depression by watching the Illustra film Origin, which puts realistic numbers on “the probability of life emerging” by chance.Life Needs More than WaterWater May Not Be the Only Sign of Alien Life (Live Science). Charles Q. Choi, a reliable Darwin promoter, shares some depressing facts to astrobiologists whose motto is “follow the water” in the search for life.When it comes to looking for alien life, scientists mostly focus on where there is water. Now researchers suggest that looking at “bioessential” elements such as phosphorus and molybdenum could help judge a world’s potential for life.If you were to make a list of bioessential ingredients, you would probably add nitrogen and carbon to water. But did you ever think of phosphorus, molybdenum, cobalt or manganese as essential elements for life? Choi shares results of a study by Manasvi Lingam and Avi Loeb of Harvard (see 14 March 2017).In the new study, the scientists calculated that if a world’s oceans are either neutral or alkaline and possess hydrothermal activity, “phosphorus may be entirely removed from the subsurface ocean world in a very short timescale compared to the age of the solar system — millions of years,” said study lead author Manasvi Lingam, an astrophysicist at Harvard.The scientists also suggested trace metals such as molybdenum, manganese and cobalt might prove bioessential as well. “Molybdenum plays a crucial role in several enzymes, most notably in fixing nitrogen” — that is, breaking apart the powerful chemical bonds that hold nitrogen atoms in pairs in the atmosphere and “fixing” the resulting single nitrogen atoms into vital organic molecules, Lingam said. In addition, molybdenum “affects protein synthesis as well as metabolism and growth in many organisms,” he explained.Furthermore, “manganese plays an important role in the context of generating oxygen via photosynthesis in chloroplasts,” Lingam said. “Cobalt has a variety of biological roles in metabolism — most notably, it forms a component of the vitamin B-12.“Cornell astrobiologist Jonathan Lunine (see 3 May 2018) tried to downplay the study a bit, saying that “planets and moons are more complex than we expect.” Nevertheless, he did not dispute the important role these elements play in life as we know it. Lingam left a little room for finding life that is different from “life as we know it,” although many astrobiologists cannot conceive of physical organisms not using carbon, water, amino acids, and DNA or RNA – with all the accessory elements required for those. The article reminds readers that simply being in the habitable zone is not enough.Keeping the Dream AliveIn spite of the pessimistic facts considered above, astrobiologists need job security, so they press on.Climbing the Ladder to Life Detection (Astrobiology Magazine). Scientists in NASA’s Astrobiology program have dreamed up a “Ladder of Life Detection,” consisting of 15 factors that might indicate the presence of life on an exoplanet. The number of factors is subject to revision, the article says.“The Ladder of Life Detection lists 15 features that the astrobiology community proposed to represent indicators of life,” said Marc Neveu, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC and lead author of the paper. The Ladder also describes how scientists might measure these features and determine whether they really are evidence of life.For instance, all life that we know of requires complex organic molecules and uses amino acids—two features in the Ladder.But just finding these molecules doesn’t mean they arose from life. “Many of the molecules that are used by life can be formed without life,” said Mary Voytek, Senior Scientist for Astrobiology at NASA Headquarters and paper coauthor. For example, chemical reactions on a planet or comet can form amino acids and other organic molecules.Scientists have to “figure out, with those caveats, how you can say that what you’re looking at was produced by life,” Voytek said.So far, no life has been detected, in spite of highly-publicized ‘possibly habitable’ locations at Europa and Enceladus. As we just read, though, water is not enough. Do those icy moons have cobalt and molybdenum? The Ladder to Life Detection seems analogous to “a ladder of snipe-signatures” – factors in the woods that might indicate the presence of snipe, if they exist.This book lists factors needed for life and concludes earthlings are probably alone.UCR Team Among Scientists Developing Guidebook for Finding Life Beyond Earth (UC Riverside). Bio-astrologers (i.e., astrobiologists), are also getting into the detection business. In this press release, several UCR scientists boast on how they are using the taxpayer dollars from the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Edward Schwieterman and Timothy Lyons agree that a biosignature could be produced abiotically, and promise to proceed carefully so as not to be snookered by false positives. To do that, they are studying the only planet where life is known to exist: Earth.“We are using Earth to guide our search for life on other planets because it is the only known example we have,” said Timothy Lyons, a distinguished professor of biogeochemistry and director of the Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center. “But Earth actually offers us a great diversity of possibilities. Rather than being constrained to a study of present-day life, we use geological and geochemical analyses to examine the billions of years that life survived, evolved, and thrived on Earth under conditions that are very different than today’s, hence the concept of ‘alternative Earths.’”Schwieterman’s review outlines the complexities of searching for life on planets that are too far away to visit, including phenomena called false positives and false negatives. “The search for life using biosignatures is not as simple as looking for a single molecule or compound. Atmospheric oxygen, for example, could be a sign of life, but there are many nonbiological ways that oxygen gas could be produced on an exoplanet. Conversely, it is possible that life could exist in the absence of oxygen gas, similar to early life on Earth or portions of the oceans today,” Schwieterman said. “This is one reason temporal biosignatures, which are based on dynamic phenomena such as atmospheric seasonality, might be more robust biosignatures in some circumstances.”More research on the ways nature can fool scientists into thinking a lifeless planet is alive or vice versa is described in the second paper in the series. The third and fourth papers propose novel investigations that would expand our conception of biosignatures to myriad habitable planets that are radically different from past or present Earth. The final article discusses how the search for life through biosignatures is incorporated into telescope and mission design.As their papers show, plenty of activity is going on for a science without a subject, about places where what they’re looking for may not exist. At least the snipe hunters get paychecks for looking.We share these news articles, with ample quotes, to reveal how the evolutionists think. Their beliefs and actions are strongly influenced by their worldview. To understand how non-empirical their faith is, you need to come at these articles without any prior conception that the universe is filled with life, and with a realization that it probably isn’t. Empiricists require evidence. Bio-astrologers have none. They do have knowledge of oxygen, molybdenum and nucleic acids, to be sure, but that knowledge does not bear at all on the question of life beyond the Earth. It bears only on what we know about Earth life. When you come at the question without their evolutionary assumptions, the analogy to a snipe hunt becomes vivid. Imagine thinking you are doing your snipe hunt any good by studying the anatomy and physiology of living snipe (there are, after all, true snipe on the Earth). If you really believe that Sagan and Drake were right that chance produces life and that it evolves into millions of super-intelligences all over the universe, then of course you will be excited to go on their snipe hunt on exoplanets. You will feel perfectly justified in ratcheting up your perhapsimaybecouldness index to the heights of heaven. If you don’t believe in Saganism and Drake-ology, you can be more objective. We prefer objectivity. Thanks to Brett Miller for this new cartoon that illustrates the situation in bio-astrology.last_img read more

Canadian law firm in SA merger

first_img24 October 2012Canada’s Fasken Martineau has joined a growing list of international law firms that are looking to Africa for growth opportunities, announcing on Monday that it would be merging with South African law firm Bell Dewar.The merger will create one of the largest law firms operating in Africa, and give Fasken Martineau the largest international footprint of any Canadian-based law firm.Africa expertiseBell Dewar’s 76 lawyers will significantly boost the firm’s capabilities on the continent, especially in the areas of mining, infrastructure, energy, project finance, capital markets and M&A throughout Africa.“The addition of the Bell Dewar team of lawyers along with our existing teams in Johannesburg, London, Paris and Canada provides us with an unrivalled base of talent and experience to bring to the African and world markets,” David Corbett, firm managing partner of Fasken Martineau, said in a statement on Monday.Blaize Vance, managing partner of Bell Dewar, said the South African firm had considered a number of potential partners for its African expansion before settling on Fasken Martineau as “the obvious choice given the firm’s reach, expertise and global capabilities”.The integration of the two firms would be completed by the end of January 2013, with Vance becoming the merged company’s regional managing partner for Africa, based at its newly consolidated offices in Johannesburg.Latest in a string of movesThe merger adds to Africa’s, and South Africa’s, growing status as a major player in the legal arena, following recent moves by a number of other international heavyweights.In January, US-based law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf added eight partners and four associates from local law firm Werkmans Attorneys to its existing office in Johannesburg.According to US website The American Lawyer, the move marked Dewey & LeBoeuf’s biggest African investment yet and made its South African office one of the largest to be opened by an international law firm.“White & Case has seven lawyers in Johannesburg; and DLA Piper, which operates under the Swiss verein structure, is affiliated with 270-lawyer Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, one of South Africa’s largest firms,” The American Lawyer reported.Two UK-based firms, Norton Rose and SNR Denton, have also merged or associated with South African firms in the past two years.Norton Rose’s tie-up with local firm Deneys Reitz, completed in June 2011, gave it Africa offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, and was followed by the opening of offices in Casablanca, Morocco in September and, just this week, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Grab These Low-Budget Lighting Accessories For Under $10

first_imgDo you need some budget-friendly lights for your next video project? Check out these handy practical lights for under $10.All Images via Amazon.“Low-budget” and “lighting” are two words that do not normally yield impressive results together. While you won’t be able to recreate Deakins-esque lighting setups with just $10, you can add low-budget lighting accessories to your scene to accent the compositional space and practical lighting. Let’s take a look at a few options.Battery-Powered LED Fairy LightsChristmas lights have always been a favorite for low-budget productions because the out-of-focus lights create beautiful bokeh. This is perfect for the music video production in your garage — or for a romantic scene that needs a little more sparkle.However, Christmas lights, at least a few years ago, would often come in lengths ranging from a few feet to a dozen, and they required a mains power supply. Fast forward to 2017, and you can get a strip of battery-powered LEDs that fit in your pocket.You can get these LEDs for less than $6 (shipped), and they are a great accessory to keep in your toolbox. They can very easily pull your subjects away from a dull background, especially when shooting with a shallow depth of field.You can purchase a string of battery-powered LED lights for $5.99.Paper LanternsPaper lanterns hanging from the end of a boom pool or C-stand are a very viable way of lighting your subject with a warm, diffused glow. You’ll see this technique on anything from DIY productions to feature films. (You can actually purchase professionally produced lanterns that offer a variety of lighting options.)If you’re filming an interior scene at night, and your set is full of practical lamps, adding a paper lantern to your kit is a great way to boost the luminance on an actor’s face while maintaining your overall lighting approach.You can pick up a lantern for $5.However, a lantern, of course, needs a lightbulb, which brings us to the next recommendation.Clip-On Lamp ExtensionIf you watch any film or TV series, there’s a high probability that interior scenes will include lamps and other lights that don’t actually serve a purpose for the characters in the shot.Image via Netflix.Those practicals serve two purposes: to pull the actor away from the background and create a sense of compositional space, and to provide backlight or side lighting.While lamps are relatively inexpensive and shouldn’t break the budget, there may be a circumstance when you want a patch of background lighting, but the lamp won’t fit — or perhaps you just want the light but not the lamp itself. With a clip-on bulb holder, you can place the light almost anywhere — and then you have a lightbulb extension for your paper lantern.You can purchase a lamp extension for $6.49.Battery-Powered CandlesIf there’s one element of lighting that looks better than out-of-focus fairy lights, it’s out-of-focus candles. The glimmering firelight is perfect for a range of genres and styles. However, when it comes to lighting the set with practical candles, it can be a nuisance keeping the candles lit and at consistent heights throughout shot changes — not to mention making sure they are providing adequate illumination in the first place. You can take the stress out of candle lighting (at least for the background candles) with battery-powered candles.Ultimately, if you get close enough, it’s obvious that these lights are artificial. However, out of focus, the candles look realistic, and they provide a beautiful, flickering bokeh.You can buy a pack of 12 battery tea light candles for $9.99Looking for more practical lighting tips? Check out these articles.Combining Practical Lighting With VFXLighting A Scene Solely With PracticalsUsing Practical Lights to Convey Moodlast_img read more