Chess Federation Plans for Algeria Competition

first_imgFlashback: a chess tournament in MonroviaThe Liberia Chess Federation (LCF) has recently participated in the West Africa 4-4 individual chess tournament in Monrovia with three of its players emerging winners, next to Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.Giving details of the competition and other happenings in the federation recently in Monrovia, the president of the LCF, Mr. Winston Ireland, said if they should stand tall among other nations, the game needs the support of those who love it.“It was an amazing experience under my leadership when we invited our colleagues in the sub-region to compete for something through our game,” Mr. Ireland said.M. Balogun Oluwafemi and Kigigha Borno of Nigeria came first and second in the West Africa Zone 4-4 Individual Chess Championship held from April 20-30 this year while Harmon Barcon and John Jallah (Liberia) emerged as third and fourth place winners.The LCF meanwhile announced that its team will travel to Algeria in July to participate in the African Chess Confederation Championship and it is seeking financial support from well-meaning Liberians.“We used to receive the sum of US$20,000 from our government but we are no longer receiving it due to some administrative reasons cited by the Ministry of Youth and Sports,” Ireland said.The LCF boss who was elected on January 6 with Omar Issa, Jerome Wilson, Lewellyn Brent and Godfrey Richard as his vice president, financial secretary, treasurer and chaplain respectively, said the Federation presently lacks office space due to their inability to pay rent.“We inherited an empty office and as such we have been unable to raise funds to pay rent and settle other problems,” he noted.He said his leadership has registered 11 active chess teams across Montserrado and is planning to launch the game in schools and communities for children as young as 6 years.When contacted, the Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Youth & Sports, Henry Nyonton, said the LCF was audited a year ago and discovered some flaws which the federation needed to have settled before it could be reconsidered for budgetary allotment.“There were some financial problems at that office and we have advised that the Federation puts its house in order by having an organized structure that will be willing to be accountable and transparent,” Nyonton said in a telephone interview.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Ganta Revenue: “Traffic Violation Fines Not Forthcoming”

first_imgGanta revenue office says fines from accidents and other traffic violations in the area are not reported.The local office of the Liberia Revenue Authority situated in the commercial city of Ganta has been accused of not making payment of any traffic violation fine to the revenue office, since almost six months, the Ganta Revenue Agent has disclosed.During the visit of this reporter to the office of LRA in Ganta on September 14, to ascertain government revenue collection in and around the Ganta Collectorate, the Revenue Collector Morris Kiazolu explained that many institutions, including schools, stores, shops as well as other business places and institutions within his control were complying and paying their taxes on time. He however cautioned that the branch of LNP traffic division in Ganta had not sent any violators to their office since almost six months.“We hear about lots of accident cases, but the violators are not forthcoming like before to pay their fines as it used to be,” he said. “Traffic violators come to the LRA office to pay fine only when they are given tickets by the police, but if the police do not give them tickets, how will they paid the cost of violation?” he questioned.Accidents and traffic related issues in Ganta are rated high, but what becomes of traffic violators is yet to be established, leading many to believe that cases of such nature are compromised by police.When contacted, the Ganta Detail Traffic Commander, Martha Saylee, said she was not clothed with authority to speak to the press on the issue.Some of the many motorcycles plying the streets of GantaThe LRA also explained that they had not received any money from the Liberia Immigration Service from the issuance of “Border Crosser Passes” (a pass issued by Immigration at the border to a traveler) on the charge of over L$ 200.Citizens as well as some ordinary security officers are concerned about the fees collected from issuance of the Border Crosser Passes and are curious to know whether the intakes are deposited in the government revenue.This reporter has observed that immigration officers assigned at the Ganta border taking the passes from the travelers, upon their return to Liberia, and destroying them immediately.However, the LIS in Ganta has denied collecting any fee for the issuance of Border Crosser Passes. However, one of the officers, who spoke on the condition anonymity said, what is collected from travelers for the issuance of Border Crosser Passes is considered as ‘processing fee’ and the pass is only issued to those who do not travel with a passport, though he could not state the amount collected.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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VE Brandl Pee Wee B Flyers win Tournament

first_imgSubmittedThe VE Brandl Pee Wee B Flyers were victorious on the weekend when they went 4-0 in the Grande Prairie Thrasher’s Tournament.  The Flyers beat the Barrhead Flyers 6-3 on Friday night when Alex Hartman, Ricky Bateman, and Tyler Wood teamed up for 5 of the six goals and Jarod Lang scored the sixth.  On Saturday, Hartman earned a hattrick and Bateman had 4 assists to lead the Flyers to a 6-5 win with Lang, Emerson Loewen, and Chase Allam rounding out the scoring.  Later that day, the Flyers handed the Fort Nelson Fury a loss with a 5-4 victory.  Hartman netted a pair with Lang, Wood, and Tyrell Loewen each contributing a single.  In the final on Sunday, the Flyers defeated Barrhead convincingly, 5-1 to win the tournament.  Hartman scored a pair, Lang, Emerson Loewen, and Bateman each contributed one and Lane Delfs was solid in net.  – Advertisement -The Pee Wee B Flyers are off to Kamloops on Jan. 8-11.last_img read more

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Historic cafe comes down

first_imgMONTEBELLO – Citing a public safety danger, the city is flattening a 78-year-old former restaurant – and raising the ire of preservationists, who called it “one of the most charming buildings in Montebello.” The Marcel and Jeanne Mauliat French Cafe, which was built in 1929 at 2113 W. Whittier Blvd., was a true landmark in the city, according to Jay Platt, spokesman for the Los Angeles Conservancy, the largest membership-based local historic preservation organization in the country. “There’s a lot of people who have fond memories of the place,” he said. “There was hope that an owner would bring back to life one of the most charming buildings in Montebello.” The building, which at one time housed the city’s only banquet hall, was on the eligibility list of the National Register of Historic Places, Platt said. But the structure began falling in on itself May 9, which city officials blamed on two decades of neglect. Two days later, the city began demolishing it. “Basically, the roof caved in,” said Tom Castillo, Montebello’s building planner. “It was a domino affect, with three or four trusses collapsing, bringing the roof down.” Building officials and an engineer looked at the structure and determined it was unsafe and had to be demolished, Montebello City Planner Michael Huntley said. “The building’s walls started to lean out toward the sidewalk, and we were afraid it would fall into the street,” he said. Huntley said the city had to act quickly: “Do we save it or do something to minimize the risk to the public’s safety?” But Annette Ramirez of the Montebello Historical Society blasted the decision to demolish, which she said was made in haste and without any input from the public. “It’s very disconcerting that things happened so quickly,” she said. She also was bothered that there was no public review or an objective structural analysis conducted by a professional preservation expert. Ramirez, who is also a member of the Los Angeles Conservancy and president of the Latino Historical Preservation Group, said cities often use an “emergency” as an excuse to bypass the proper channels. She said the city should have not allowed a building of historical importance to fall into such as state of neglect that it ultimately compromised the structure. “Long-term neglect condoned by the city is not an excuse to demolish,” Ramirez said. But Castillo said the city made an effort to save the building, which was made of wood, brick and block. The attempt failed, he added. “When we tried to brace the walls, before the demolition crew came in, it collapsed even more,” he said. Over the years, several different owners had tried to start businesses there, but none succeeded, he added. “It was just abandoned,” said Castillo. “There was just no way of saving it. The wood had dry rot and was full of termites.”165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Alltel agrees to be sold to group of private equity firms

first_imgAlltel, the wireless phone company, agreed Sunday night to be sold to a consortium of private equity firms for $27.5 billion, marking the largest buyout ever in the telecommunications industry. The consortium includes the Texas Pacific Group and the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs. The deal would make Alltel, based in Little Rock, Ark., the latest large public company to seek to go private amid a frenzy of deal-making among private equity firms. The transaction ends months of speculation about the future of Alltel, which was built through a series of acquisitions of regional carriers and now has more than 12 million customers. Alltel had announced earlier this year that it was considering various options for its future, sending its shares up in anticipation that it might be sold. Under the terms of the deal, Texas Pacific and Goldman will pay $71.50 a share for Alltel. That represents a premium of about 10 percent over Alltel’s closing price Friday and about 25 percent over its price late last year, when speculation about its future began to build. Two weeks ago, William Power, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., said Alltel could fetch $70 a share, sending its shares up 3 percent. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! It is unclear how Alltel shareholders will react. In recent buyout attempts, shareholders have sought to reject deals in hopes of pushing the buyers to pay more. Just last week, a consortium of investors seeking to buy Clear Channel Communications, the giant radio broadcaster, raised its bid after Clear Channel shareholders threatened to vote against the deal. Alltel has been considered a ripe takeover target ever since it spun off its wire-line business in 2005. Some analysts had speculated that Verizon, whose wireless customers switch to Alltel’s network when they exit Verizon’s coverage area, would eventually buy Alltel. last_img read more

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Smart vacations

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ Dec. 22 and 23: Check out the Weekend Tidepool Walk with the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium staff. Tour the Point Fermin Marine Life Refuge and learn about sea anemones, mussels, sea stars, crabs and other tidepool dwellers. Visitors will also get an informative slide-show presentation by the staff. Outdoor clothing and sneakers advised. The tour, which requires a $1 fee, is offered Dec. 22 and 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. and open to all ages. The tour will also be given in Spanish on Dec. 22 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Reservations required for groups. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro. For more information, call 310-548-7562. Dec. 23: Visit the Salinas de San Pedro wetlands habitat at the Salt Marsh Open House and learn about local wildlife. Kids can view migratory birds using binoculars, observe live animals through microscopes and examine plant and animal specimens from the aquarium’s collection. With winter vacation under way, you might be wondering how to keep the kids educated as well as entertained while they’re away from the classroom. San Pedro offers a variety of activities at such places as the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and Los Angeles Maritime Museum, for the 18-and-under crowd. So unplug the video game controllers, turn off the TV and go have some fun with your kids. You might even learn a thing or two yourself. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium The free event is from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and open to all ages. Dec. 26: Head to the aquarium’s Exploration Center and learn about music that celebrates the sea at the Discovery Lab, a weekly workshop series that teaches kids about the ocean through other disciplines such as art, literature and science. The free event is from 3 to 5 p.m. and open to all ages. Dec. 31 to Jan. 4: Students in grades 3 to 6 can join the Winter Seafari and explore San Pedro’s seashore. Activities for weeklong program include crab fishing, ocean art projects and lessons about migratory animals and the effects of winter storms. The program is $68 per student and $61 for FRIENDS of CMA members. For more information call, 310-548-7562. L.A. Maritime Museum Kids can learn about maritime life and view vessels, models, paintings and memorabilia. The featured exhibit “All Off for Catalina” retraces the history of Santa Catalina Island through photos, pottery, tile and other souvenirs from the 1890s to the 1940s. Ongoing exhibits include “Caught, Canned and Eaten: The History of San Pedro’s Fishing and Canning Industries;” “20,000 Jobs Under the Sea: A History of Commercial and Fishery Diving in Southern California;” “Neptune’s Favorites: Sailors’ Art From the Permanent Collection;” and “The USS Los Angeles CA-135: A Salute.” The museum will be closed Dec. 23, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $3 for adults, $1 for youth and seniors, and free for children 6 and under. For more information, call 310-548-7618. San Pedro Public Library Spend some good quality quiet time at the local library. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 8p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The library will be closed at noon on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day. For more information, call 310-548-7779. The Port of Los Angeles Waterfront Red Car Line Take a ride on the historic Red Car Line, a 1.5 mile trolley route along the San Pedro waterfront that connects the World Cruise Center, Ports O’ Call Village and other attractions. Three authentic replicas of the Pacific Electric “Red Car” are used on the route. The line operates Friday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with service every 20 minutes. The cost is $1 for a one-day unlimited ride fare. Children 6 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. The Red Car ticket is transferrable for free rides on the San Pedro Electric Trolleys and the Cruise Center shuttle. For more information, call 310-732-3473 or visit www.portof losangeles.org/recreation_Water front.htm. White Point County Beach Tidepools Explore this local tidepool, where Visitors are advised to wear sunscreen and sturdy shoes. Lifeguards are on duty at the White Point and Royal Palms County Beaches seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Paid parking is available next to the tidepools and free parking is at the top of the cliff along Paseo del Mar south of Western Avenue. For more information, call the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors at 310-305-9503. the marine life is best observed during low tide. justina.ly@dailybreeze.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Surplus can’t solve state budget problems

first_img Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Contact him through the organization’s Web site, www.hjta.org.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! While Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigned up and down the state last fall for his reform measures, he stressed the importance of Proposition 76 – a very modest restraint on state spending – by saying California needed more: more water, more energy, more schools, more of everything. Few observers made note of the seeming contradiction between slowing the growth in state spending and the need to pay for additional construction programs. Now that his plan for $68 billion in new bonds to fund infrastructure has been fully revealed, the intent of his earlier remarks is clear. By reducing the growth in autopilot spending that has shackled the state with an ongoing structural deficit, Schwarzenegger hoped to free up budget money for infrastructure improvements, as well as restore the state’s credit rating, which is currently in the cellar, so that bonds could be approved at a reasonably inexpensive rate of interest. Although voters rejected Schwarzenegger’s reform plans, he is pressing ahead with new debt and spending. Perhaps the blow of his special-election losses has been softened by the fact that an improving economy is generating what is likely to be a one-time state surplus. Even though an analysis by Elizabeth Hill, the state’s legislative analyst, concludes that next year California will return to the structural deficit conditions created by the disgraced Gray Davis and his big-spending allies in the Legislature, the current governor and lawmakers are already discussing how to spend the additional revenues on program expansion. Schwarzenegger deserves some credit for acknowledging a genuine need to overcome years of neglect of the state’s facilities and infrastructure and for his desire to build for the future. The fact that he has broken up his spending plan into increments over a number of election cycles will be appreciated by voters, who can focus on the merits of each individual program, rather than having to approve one giant “Christmas tree” hung with myriad projects, artfully designed to distract the eye from careful evaluation. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita However, $68 billion in new debt – nearly $140 billion including interest – is enough to induce shock and awe in even the most jaded taxpayer. What will assure that taxpayers will be getting good value for their money? Even these incremental bonds, like an elephant cut out of a herd, are still huge and hard to thoroughly examine. Taxpayers would feel more comfortable knowing that monies will be spent where promised. Flood-control money should go to flood control and not to open-space purchase or other unrelated programs, which should be voted on separately. Money for highways should go to highways, and not to bullet trains. Once programs are funded, taxpayers should receive assurance that they are being built in the most economical manner possible, including the use of private contractors where warranted. Taxpayers will continue to be skeptical until all of the details are revealed, and maybe even after that. We can only hope that the governor and the Legislature, looking at an election year, do not decide to use the temporary surplus to ignore the state’s ongoing budget problems, so they feel free to promise more to everyone, from program expansions to a building plan that would make the pharaohs blush. If they chose this shortsighted approach, they are just whistling by the graveyard, where the reputations of Gray Davis and his fellow big spenders are buried. last_img read more

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CLOUGHANEELY LADIES STAR ROISIN CURRAN SHINES BRIGHT FOR DONEGAL IN WIN OVER TYRONE

first_imgCloughaneely GAA News:***Seniors/Reserves***Chuir Coiste an Chontae na cluichí idir Cloich Cheannfhaola agus Naomh Náille ar athló Dé Domhniagh seo chaite. Tá Cloich Cheann Fhaola ag imirt in éadan an Tearmainn, as baile, tráthnóna Dé Sathairn seo ar 6:00 agus 7:30 pm.The scheduled league game against St Nauls on Sunday had been called off. Our reserves and seniors are due to face Termon this Saturday evening at 6:00 and 7:30 PM!***Cloughaneely 5K***Buíochas mór do gach duine a bhí páirteach nó a chuidigh sa rás 5K Dé Céadaoine seo chaite. Beidh rásaí 5K eile ann ar an 29ú Iúil agis 26ú Lúnasa.Failte roimh gach duine!Many thanks to all of you who participated in our 5K on July 1st!It was a tough 5K under very warm conditions so well done to all of you! Winners were as follows, Men: Darren McGeever, Ladies: Anne Marie Doohan, Boys: Blake McGarvey, Girls: Zara McGarvey, Senior Men: Danny Sharkey, Senior Ladies: Evelyn Boyle.Also, many thanks to those of you who helped out during the 5K and to Mary McClafferty for the food and refreshments afterwards – the whole event ran smoothly as a result of your efforts! We are holding 2 more 5K events, one on July 29th and the final one on August 26th (entry fee – €3 per child, €5 per adult – family rates available –all levels of fitness welcome to walk or run!!); so we encourage as many of you as possible to come along and join in the fun while also supporting the club . For those more competitive people out there it is the perfect opportunity to beat your personal best!**Cash For Clobber**Many thanks to all of you who donated clothing to our Cash for Clobber campaign to raise much needed funds for the club. It takes a lot of funds to run the club for the year so every little bit helps! Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped out with the bank drop and in the collection of the bags – your time and effort does not go unnoticed! For those of you who didn’t have their cash for clobber bags lifted –can you please contact Maire McManus (086-8427295) to arrange to have them picked up!***Club Meeting***The next club meeting will take place Tuesday, July 14th, at 8:45 in the clubhouse.***Cloughaneely GAA Cúl Camp***The camp will run from the 20th-24th July. Prices: €55 for 1st child; €45 for the 2nd child; €40 for 3rd and subsequent children. Please contact Declan McGarvey on 086-1009467 to book!***Donegal Ladies and U-14’sCongratulations to Cloughaneely’s Roisin Curran and the Donegal ladies who are through to the Ulster Final after defeating Tyrone 3-19 to 1-07 in the Ulster Semi-Final on Sunday. They now face Monaghan in the Final on Sunday July 26th! Also well done to Cloughaneely’s Emma McGee who is part of the County U-14 squad who drew against Tipperary in the All-Ireland Final at the weekend. Final Score 3-13 to 5-07. The replay will be on the 11th July, time and venue yet to be confirmed! Best of luck to both teams from all at the club!CLOUGHANEELY LADIES STAR ROISIN CURRAN SHINES BRIGHT FOR DONEGAL IN WIN OVER TYRONE was last modified: July 7th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare 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) Tags:CloughaneelydonegalGAANoticesSportlast_img read more

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Mercedes Benz SA scores for quality

first_img22 June 2010 First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service. The plant was ranked highest among South African automotive plants in initial quality in the 2007 and 2008 South Africa IQS studies. In 2009, the plant was awarded the IQS gold quality award for manufacturing vehicles which had the fewest defects and malfunctions of any plant in Europe and Africa that serves the US market. S-Class in the Large Premium Car category “To receive such an award despite the relentless pressure and stresses of the global recession over the past two years, points to the brilliant quality of our people and processes,” said MBSA president and CEO Hansgeorg Niefer. The South African division of global vehicle manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has won a platinum award for producing vehicles with the fewest defects and malfunctions of any plant in the world supplying the US market. MediaClubSouthAfrica The study was conducted between February and May 2010. Based on responses from 82 000 US users of the 2010 model-year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of use, MBSA’s East London plant had only 28 defects per 100 vehicles, putting it at the top of all global plants serving the US market. The IQS study looked at problems experienced by owners and lessees of the C-Class in two categories: design-related problems, and defects and malfunctions. Plants are rewarded based on their limited defects and malfunction. GL-Class in the Large Premium Crossover/SUV category. E-Class Coupe in the Compact Premium Sporty Car category The East London plant has also come out tops in the JD Power and Associates South Africa IQS, based on responses from South African users. “Daimler’s East London plant has been a top performing plant and its achievement in 2010 is particularly impressive,” said Brian Walters, vice-president of Europe, Middle East and Africa operations at JD Power and Associates. MBSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Germany’s Daimler AG. The C-Class was also rated highest in the Entry Premium Car segment, with the A-Class also managing a repeat award ranking top of the upper small car segment in quality. This is the second consecutive year in which Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s (MBSA) plant in the Eastern Cape, which produces the C-Class Mercedes model for the local and US market, has been given a quality award by the JD Power and Associates US Initial Quality Study (IQS). Free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service. Best in South Africa Four other Mercedes models have won second place in the JD Power and Associates 2010 US IQS study. They are: E-Class in the Midsize Premium Car category “Daimler’s rigorous quality management processes are a key reason for why the brand has been able to assemble consistently high-quality vehicles in different regions of the world.”last_img read more

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The wonder of the Tswaing Crater

first_imgTswaing Crater was created from a meteorite hitting the earth 220 000 years ago. (Image: Wikipedia Hungary)MEDIA CONTACTS• Julia Barnesbarnes@ditsong.org.za+27 79 829 5464RELATED ARTICLES• A paradise for rescued birds • Visitors marvel at SA’s natural wonder • Maropeng top evotourism destinationLucille DavieSome 220 000 years ago a meteorite half a soccer field in diameter, travelling at 4 000 kilometres per hour, hit what is now the Gauteng province of South Africa, exploding with the impact of 100 atomic bombs. The result was the Tswaing Meteorite Crater, just over one kilometre in diameter, now a spectacular natural wonder with a salt lake at its heart.Some 40 kilometres north of Pretoria, the site attracts 14 000 visitors a year, mostly Gautengers, who come to marvel at the crater, nestled within a 60m-high forested ring.The crater is one of around 170 impact craters in the world and one of four known impact craters in South Africa. What’s special about Tswaing is that it is one of the best preserved meteorite craters in the world, and secondly, that it’s very accessible – you can walk down into the crater, taking in its quiet beauty.At the point of impact, the immediate area up to three kilometres around the crater, all life forms and rock as well as the meteorite itself would have vaporised. A broader area of 1 000 square kilometres would have been flattened. A gigantic air blast of up to 1 000 kilometres per hour would have added to the destruction.These days the whole site is covered in dense bushveld, and walking along the trail on the rim, you’ll look down into this marvellous phenomenon, with the small 100-metre diameter lake at its centre.The lake is filled by rain water and a spring. It used to contain high concentrations of salt and soda ash, which were mined for 44 years until 1956. The salt content has dropped, making it no longer viable to mine.Natural heritageToday the crater is contained within a 2 000ha nature reserve focused on the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage. The reserve consists of several habitats: wetland, savannah, forest, riverine bush, and its own ecosystem centred around the salt lake, which is 13 times saltier than the Dead Sea, says Julia Barnes, deputy director of Ditsong: Tswaing Meteorite Crater.The Soutpanspruit, a stream running east of the crater, feeds an extensive wetland system, with a mini delta harbouring numerous streams and islands. Up to 250 bird species have been recorded, among them the African hawk eagle, the river warbler, bee eaters and kingfishers. Game is abundant: kudu, impala, zebra, warthog, mongoose, snakes and leguaans or monitor lizards are to be found. Up to 480 plant species have been recorded in two rare habitats, says Barnes.From the onset, the Tswaing Meteorite Crater management team invited community participation in its planning and development. Local communities have already benefited through job creation, skills training, environmental education, income-generating projects and tourism.HistoryTswaing was originally thought to be a volcano, but in 1989 boreholes were drilled into the crater floor, hitting solid granite at 200m. Analysis of quartz grains showed that there were shatter cones and recrystallised glass fragments, typical of an impact, confirming its origins as the remains of the meteorite impact.Also revealed were the climatic conditions going back 200 000 years. Unlike the present climate of sub-tropical and dry-humid conditions, in the past there were alternating dry and wet periods, and at one point the site was a forest of yellowwood trees. These drill sites now contribute to the water flow into the lake and are still visible in the form of pipes protruding from it.The analysis revealed too what animals, now extinct, lived at the time of the impact. These include the giant wildebeest or hartebeest, a long-horned giant buffalo and a giant zebra.The arrival of humansThe name Tswaing means “place of salt” in Tswana. The first visitors to the site arrived during Middle Stone Age times, about 150 000 to 30 000 years ago. Small nomadic groups came to Tswaing to hunt game, gather edible and medicinal plants and to collect salt.Around 800 years ago, Iron Age people came visiting. Their artefacts, such as decorated clay pots, have been found on the crater floor, indicating the presence of early Sotho or Tswana peoples. Their main reason for visiting was to collect salt, used for preserving and flavouring food, as well as for trading.People subsequently settled in the area, farming cattle and crops, and collecting salt for domestic use.When colonists reached the area they named it Zoutpan (Afrikaans, meaning “salt pan”), and settled, farming in the area.In 1912 a soda mine was established in the crater and operated until 1956. After several grazing research projects in the area, in 1993 the department of agriculture took over a portion of the farm Zoutpan, and developed it into an ecotourism destination for environmental education, recreation and research.These days various festivals are held at the site, the most popular being a music fest held in March. Accommodation is available in the form of four dormitory huts, sleeping 16 people each. The site is available for weddings and special occasions.Guides are available for tours of the site, which is open from 7.30am to 4pm daily.Local communities see the site as having religious importance. Sangomas, or diviners, are trained here at night. There is a belief that a snake lurks in the lake, says Barnes.Vredefort DomeAnother impact crater can be found about 120 kilometres south-west of Johannesburg in the neighbouring Free State province. The 250-300-kilometre wide Vredefort impact crater – formed by an asteroid some 10 kilometres in diameter hitting the earth – is located. Known as the Vredefort Dome, it dates back two-billion years.This crater is not as clearly identifiable as Tswaing as it covers a much larger area, but its northern edges reach southern Johannesburg.The significance of the Vredefort Dome is that when the asteroid hit the earth, the gold-bearing rocks of the Witwatersrand, which were deposited some 800-million years prior to the Vredefort impact, were downfaulted and covered with impact debris, being thus protected and preserved from erosion over the subsequent aeons.That gold was discovered in Johannesburg in 1886, and decades later, is still being mined. One such operation extends to almost four kilometres below the surface – it is TauTona in Gauteng, the world’s deepest mine.last_img read more

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