Cracker Start Expected at Mr Price Pro




Excitement around the seventh annual six-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) Mr Price Pro is building as an elite squadron of WQS surfers arrive in Durban this week. With solid 2- 2.5-meter waves and ten second barrels spitting across the sand bank at North Beach on Wednesday, organisers are anticipating a cracker start to South Africa’s premier surfing event, which gets underway on Friday 30 June.

Boasting the highest number of entries in the history of professional surfing in South Africa, this year’s Mr Price Pro will see 300 surfers descend on North Beach to compete in the R1 Million event.

Spilling with World Championship Tour talent, the line-up includes former ASP world number five Phil MacDonald (Cronulla, NSW), former Bells Beach Pro champion Trent Munro (Cronulla, NSW) and former ASP world number eight Nathan Hedge (Scotts Head, NSW) who are the top seeds for the event.

The South Africa contingent weighs in with a healthy, three World Championship Tour Campaigners including a former world number one on the WQS Greg Emslie (East London), former ASP world number 20 Travis Logie (Durban) who is the highest rated South African at the event and WCT Rookie David Weare (Durban).

Emslie and Travis have both reached the finals of this event in the past and with years of experience at North beach, are determined to win the event. Boasting a total prize-money purse of US$ 125 000 (R862 500), the winner of the men’s division will walk away with a check for US$15 000 (equivalent of R100 500), an amount unheard of on the South African Pro Surf Tour (PST).

The lovely Megan Abubo (Hawaii) is the top seed for the women’s five star WQS event and arrives with former two times Mr Price Pro champion Jacqueline Silva (Brazil), who is the second seed, on Friday.

Adding fuel to the fire in the women’s division are ASP Pro Junior World Champion Jessi Miley Dyer (Australia) and WCT wildcard sensation Stephanie Gilmore (Australia), not to mention former event champions Serena Brooke (Australia) and Melanie Bartels (Hawaii

WCT campaigner Heather Clark (Port Shepstone) is South Africa’s top seed, followed by South Africa’s leading WQS campaigner Tammy Lee Smith (Ballito) who was the highest placed South African at this event last year. The women’s division holds a total prize-money purse of US$25 000 including a first-place check for US$4000 (R28 768).

Because the future of surfing belongs in the hands of junior surfers, the Mr Price Pro will kick off with the R25 000 Mr Price Pro Junior event for junior men and women.

The Pro Junior event runs from Friday 30 June – Saturday 1 July but will stop at the end of the semi finals, meaning the eight remaining surfers will have to wait a whole week before they compete in their finals, which take place prior to the Women’s and Men’s finals the following weekend.

Top seeds for the Pro Junior division are South African U20 Champion Keegan Nel (East London) and former South African U20 Roseanne Hodge (East London).

The Mr Price Pro is one of the most prestigious events on the World Qualifying Series tour and holds vital ratings points needed to qualify for the ASP World Championship Tour.

All the action will be broadcast via the live webcast on www.mrpricepro.com.


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   Pageant will boost tourism in KZN


Barbara Cole
The hosting of a major international beauty pageant in Durban in September will have a positive effect on the economy of the province.

According to Bonga Ntanzi, head of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism, it would boost the number of international tourists to the province, while the resulting media coverage would also benefit the province.

He said that the "road to be travelled in hosting this event is a challenging one" and said that the partnerships to be developed between the host team and the private sector, which included the hospitality industry, would be important in ensuring the success of the event.

The department unreservedly endorsed the event, he said, going on to appeal to business to support the organisers, Katch Productions, in their plans to deliver a highly professional contest, the Miss International Tourism 2006.

The plan is the idea of the reigning Miss International Tourism, local dentist and model, Kamisha Nanhoo, who has spent many years promoting South Africa, especially in China, Europe, Mozambique and India.

Nanhoo felt that the event, which would bring in some 50 contestants from around the world, could be used as a platform to expose the region to the world ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

The event would be linked to the city's Celebrate Durban festivities and the finals would be staged at Durban City Hall on September 30.

"It's going to be very exciting. Various international television stations have already confirmed they will cover the event, with several covering it live. This is an opportunity to launch Durban, KZN and the country on an international platform to showcase all the magic of our country."

And who will represent South Africa?

Girls from around the country will get a chance to go for the national title - and entrance into the international competition - at auditions on July 29 at the Jaipur Palace, Durban North.

"The winner must have a knowledge of tourism, the ability to be an international ambassador, morality, integrity and patriotism. Of course, the titleholder would have to be a unique beauty embodying South Africa with grace, charm and charisma," Nanhoo said.

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   Fury at politicians' World Cup jaunts


By Heinz de Boer
Various local and provincial government departments will soon have to answer tough questions about their taxpayer-funded fact-finding trips to the Soccer World Cup in Germany.

Investigations have revealed that at least 16 municipal and provincial government employees who form part of various high-profile government delegations are already in Germany or are scheduled to jet off soon.

Though details on how much has been budgeted for the trips by the various departments remain sketchy, conservative figures estimate R20 000 per person. In many cases taxpayers' money would pay for airfares, taxes, accommodation and general spending money.

Taxpayers' money would pay for airfares, taxes, accommodation and general spending money.
KwaZulu-Natal Sports and Recreation Minister Amichand Rajbansi has, however, said the trips by fact-finding and technical delegations are justified and would help prepare host cities, such as Durban, in terms of safety, road infrastructure and cultural exchange.

Eyebrows have, however, been raised by opposition parties and certain government employees, who have questioned the relevance of the trips, which according to sources include visits to the World Cup semi-finals and finals.

KZN Democratic Alliance leader Roger Burrows said the party would ask questions at parliamentary and city caucus level about the groups that have travelled overseas. "We will particularly want to see where and what has been happening and will ask for it to be clearly exhibited that what has been done is useful for our citizens," he said.

Burrows's sentiments were shared by the IFP's national spokesperson on sport, Bonginkosi Dlamini, who said a general lack of co-ordination at all governmental levels was worrying.

He said while Germany had funded much of its World Cup effort with private money, South Africa could not afford to waste taxpayers' money on duplicated fact-finding missions.

'This is the perfect time to see how Germany is dealing with transport issues'
"There needs to be a forum to co-ordinate and share information gathered in Germany. The IFP also believes there are too many politicians travelling over, which is also a waste of taxpayers' money," he said.

Durban's delegation, which recently returned from Germany, included municipal manager Michael Sutcliffe, strategic projects manager Julie-May Ellingson and a two-man technical task team representing various municipal departments.

The local team formed part of a larger Fifa-led delegation which included representatives from South Africa's nine host cities.

Sutcliffe would not be drawn on the funding furore, but said the taxpayers' money was "well spent" in helping the city prepare for 2010.

More than R200 000 will also be forked out by Pietermaritzburg ratepayers, who will foot the bill for the capital city's four-person team to visit Germany early next month.

And while accommodation snags have prevented a Department of Sports and Recreation delegation from travelling to Germany, it is understood that a contingent of the Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism is bound for Europe.

Controversy, meanwhile, continues to dog KZN Transport Department head Kwazi Mbanjwa, who is scheduled to leave for Germany with five others next weekend.

The Sunday Tribune reported that his planned trip had angered more than one departmental employee, who lambasted Mbanjwa for his apparent soccer-watching trip while the department continued to suffer from a lack of traffic police and support equipment.

Rajbansi, however, said Mbanjwa was a qualified engineer and would interact closely with German authorities in discussing vital transport issues.

"His visit to Germany is very relevant. When the World Cup was held in Korea and Japan the Germans were there to see how it's done," said Rajbansi.

Transport spokesperson Nonkululeko Mbatha said the controversy surrounding Mbanjwa's trip was unfounded. She said it would be his third trip to Germany in preparation for the 2010 extravaganza and confirmed he would be joined by public transport, road safety and Road Traffic Inspectorate representatives.

"I am not sure why questions are currently being asked about the trip as this is the perfect time to see how Germany is dealing with transport issues at the height of the world cup," she said.

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   Durban party pirates


Miranda Andrew
Military-type gang targets home functions

Families and friends in Durban suburbs are now the target of a well-organised gang that targets social gatherings in homes - attacking hosts and their guests with military-type precision.

Crime fighters fear that house parties are becoming the latest soft targets for gangs that are feeling the heat from the police.

What is worrying is that the gangs are looking for homes where parties are being held, presumably indicated by the number of cars parked outside, and they then launch their raids.

Some members quickly take up positions at gates and entrances to homes, while others round up families and their guests and strip them of jewellery before ransacking homes and fleeing with high-value TVs, laptops and cameras, often in cars they take from their victims.

There are fears that it is only a question of time before large social gatherings, like weddings, become targets. Among those who have suffered the trauma of an attack are several Chatsworth families.

"People are now locking themselves up in their homes just to be safe … What kind of life is this?" asked Chatsworth Community Police Forum chairman, Barney Pillay, yesterday.

Hardest hit is Kharwastan in Chatsworth, he said, which is being threatened by a new crime trend where armed gangs target homes hosting functions and rob the participants. Pillay said 10 such incidents have taken place in the area in the past month, all using the same modus operandi.

In the most recent incident, a family was sitting at the dinner table just about to eat when an armed gang stormed into their Kharwa Road home and held them up.

Using an attack of military precision, the four gun-wielding intruders cleverly accessed the house through two different entrances and took control. Within 15 minutes their mission was completed.

The owner of the house, Ronnie Govender, said this was undoubtedly a new trend, adding that the gang appeared to be made up of college students.

Govender, his wife Sushi, their daughter Nereshnee, 24, her boyfriend Lakash Singh and two relatives were there at the time of the attack. The robbers ripped off the jewellery the women were wearing and demanded money, cellphones and guns.

Just a week prior to this, the David family came under attack during a birthday party. The modus operandi used in this case was the same.

The 12 guests were ordered to lie on the floor while a gang of five armed robbers turned their house upside down, searching for items of value. Here too the guests were stripped of their cash, jewellery and cellphones. The David home is just 2km away from the Govender home.

Dr Paul Lutchman, chairman of the Chatsworth and District Against Crime (CADAC) forum said only THE government has the power to put a stop to this crime.

"We have tried hard as civilians to protect ourselves, but have failed. The government, who hold all the power and resources, are now obligated to protect us," he said this morning.

He revealed that almost every family in Chatsworth has a member who has become a victim of crime. Lutchman suggested that the government use the R1.6 billion allocated for the new 2010 soccer stadium, to eradicate crime.

He said that South Africa is not at war with any country, "so why are they not taking up our proposition and sending the army to do some work in Chatsworth".

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   GP Masters for Durban?


It seems likely that the South African leg of the GP Masters series will be run at a new street circuit in Durban.

The series is still scheduled to be held at Kyalami on Novermber 13, but a source told Autosport that a proposed circuit had been approved by Durban's city management.

This five-kilometre street track is not the same as the one used to run the Durban leg of the A1 Grand Prix series in January, the GP Masters source emphasised.

Situated some five kilometers north of Durban, the beach-side track has met all environmental requirements.

"A1 had a lot of issues with noise, traffic and the local resident association, whereas our track affects only two businesses — the local casino and Durban's golf and country club — both of which we are intimately involving in the event," the source told autosport.com.

It is believed the move to the coastal city has been caused by the recent change of ownership at Kyalami, the former Grand Prix track in Johannesburg.

The South African leg is the final event on the GP Masters 2006 calendar which features former Formula 1 drivers like Nigel Mansell.

An event has already been held in Qatar with a Silverstone race due in August and a Malaysian leg in October.

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   Mixed Results at Rusty Pro Day Two


It was a day of mixed results for the top surfers competing in the Rusty Pro presented by MINI at New Pier. The finals take place on Sunday at 3.00pm on the Durban beachfront with the nation’s finest pro surfers vying for top slots, valuable rating points and a total prize pool of R20, 000.

Saturday saw some of the top seeds taking a tumble when the Pro Men’s number one seed Frankie Oberholzer (Warner Beach) fell by the wayside. Other surfers that were unexpectedly eliminated included Ricky Basnett (Bluff), Brandon Jackson (Dbn North), Simon Nicholson (Berea), Brad Mommsen (Dbn) and Lyle Bottcher (Dbn North).

Some of the surprise upsets could be attributed to the inconsistent, small surf which trickled through over the course of the day resulting in some wave starved heats. Current 2006 ASP Africa Pro Surf Tour rating’s leader Warwick Wright (Durban) continued to shine scoring an 8-point ride in the round of 48 surfers on one of the biggest waves of the day.

Jordy Smith (Umbilo) snatched the day’s highest score when he earned 9.67 out of a possible ten points. “I was in the right place when that good wave came through; it came straight at the pier and then hit the bank perfectly allowing me to pack in a few good turns which I ended with an air,” said Smith who has made the quarterfinals of the Pro Junior and Pro Men’s divisions.

Smith later starred in one of the most nail biting heats of the day where he and junior star Damien Fahrenfort (Durban) were responsible for knocking out Nicholson and Basnett in the round of 32 surfers.

Another name to keep an eye on in the finals is Shane Warren (Bluff) who surfed consistently well throughout the event. Rusty team riders Mike Varikas (Durban) and Dane Monks (Umhlanga) made the most of their head start into the seeded rounds; both performed well to advance to the Pro Men’s quarterfinals.

In the Pro Women’s quarterfinals an exciting battle is guaranteed when number one seed Rosanne Hodge (East London) and current point’s leader Stacey Guy (Melkbosstrand) come up against seasoned professionals like multiple ASP Africa champion Tamarys de Maroussem (Westbrook). Lynne Mackey (Westville) has risen from relative obscurity to being a force to be reckoned with, the Rusty surfer will be out to ruffle some feathers.

From a total field of over 134 surfers, only 16 remain per division; the first quarterfinals will take to the water at 08h00. The event started on Friday, June 23 and over the past two days spectators have been treated to world class performances from surfers in the Pro Juniors, Pro Men and Pro Women’s heats in the 2A rated ASP Africa Pro Surf Tour (PST) event.

The contest tower is based at Dairy Beach on the pump house to enable surfers to ride New Pier or Dairy depending on the surf conditions. The Expression Session takes place at 2.10pm with ten invited aerial specialists showcasing the biggest and most radical airs possible in the 30-minute final.

The Rusty Surf Pro presented by MINI provides the perfect opportunity for the nation’s top professional surfers to hone their skills in home waters ahead of the arrival of the Mr Price Pro international contingent the following week.

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   Durban is the friendliest city


Wealthy South Africans are generally unfriendly and unhelpful while poor people are not only friendly, but willing to help their fellow man.

This is one of the findings of a hospitality survey done by Reader's Digest in the top six SA cities.

And the good news is that when it comes to attitudes, the rainbow nation seems to have finally reached equality among all races.

Blacks and whites are equally unfriendly or friendly, as the case may be.

The research team said they were "helped, rejected, ignored, treated politely and rudely in equal measure by all race groups" in cities across SA.

The survey also found Durban is the friendliest city, Bloemfontein the most unfriendly and the so-called "Friendly City" of Port Elizabeth is nowhere near as friendly as it's thought to be.

Cape Town lies a disappointing and average third in the hospitality test done by Reader's Digest journalists who visited each city to find out which showed a generosity of spirit.

Durban was top of the national courtesy ratings, and comfortably outscored Pretoria, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein.

The national "friendly" average for all cities tested was 64 percent.

Durban scored 82 percent, while Pretoria finished second with a creditable 70 percent and Cape Town third with 68 percent. Port Elizabeth managed a mere fourth place with 67 percent, while Johannesburg scored 57 percent in fifth place.

Bloemfontein fared worst with an embarrassing 43 percent.

In a global assessment done in cities across the world, Johannesburg - as the SA representative - came 15th, New York, came first, while eight cities in Asia filled the last 11 positions. Sydney in Australia is one of the world's most unfriendly cities, ranking a sad 47th place.

Had Durban been chosen as the SA representative city, the KwaZulu-Natal metropole might well have ended among the top 10 friendliest cities of the world.

To test "friendliness" the survey teams went into 20 shops to make a minor purchase and noted if the sales assistant said "good morning", "please" and "thank you"; they dropped a file of papers at 20 busy points in each city (10 in rush-hour and 10 off-peak) to see if anyone would help retrieve the document.

Lastly the team members walked behind 20 other pedestrians into public buildings with closed entrances to see if they would hold the door for them.

While Cape Town scored 68 percent for courtesy, it scored a very poor 40 percent in the paper drop tests, ahead only of Johannesburg (25 percent) and Bloemfontein (20 percent).

In Cape Town in one incident a woman dropped her papers in front of two men chatting in Milnerton. But instead of rushing to help the woman who was picking up the documents on hands and knees, one of the men actually kicked away one of the dropped papers.

And at Canal Walk at Century City, not a single person came forward to help pick up dropped papers.

In a Bloemfontein mall a cleaner carefully continued her mopping duties in between the dropped papers, simply ignoring the plight of the researcher.

Also in Bloemfontein, doing the "shop test", two shop assistants totally ignored the female researcher.

Again in Bloemfontein when two young men were asked why they did not open a door for the young woman researcher, one of the men said: "Why should I hold the door for her? She is not an invalid. Women can't have it both ways. If they want equality then they must be equal and do things for themselves."

In Durban researchers were pleasantly surprised. At a food outlet, matric pupil Andre Vermeulen held the door open for a researcher.
When asked why, he said: "Dude, in Durbs we are buddies with everyone."

And at an upmarket shopping mall in Westville, Durban, shop assistant Zain Aboobaker thanked researchers profusely for their small purchase of chocolates at the sweet shop.

The survey showed that the more expensively dressed a person was, the less likely they were to offer help. Wealthy areas in all cities, with the exception of Durban, fared poorly.


 

   New website for KZN township


Residents of Umlazi have a new information tool as a result of a new website www.umlazi.co.za, a first for a township in KwaZulu-Natal.

The site aims to sell the township to tourists both locally and abroad as a good place in which to work, live and do business, says entrepreneur and community builder Phumlani Dube in a statement.

He says Umlazi is the largest township in KwaZulu-Natal and the second-largest in South Africa after Soweto.

One of the main priorities of the site is to sell and market tourism businesses in Umlazi. These include B&Bs, tour operators, sheebens/tarvens, arts and craft markets and heritage sites.

Dube says the www.umlazi.co.za website will act as a business and investment gateway to Umlazi as it contains services and information beneficial to both investors and businessmen inside and outside the township. The site also displays the rich history and heritage of the township, a database of some of the businesses that operate out of Umlazi, a tourism guide and a gig guide.

Johncom Digital Media

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   Durban to bid for the 2016 Olympics


Durban is being touted as the next city to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

Launching the city's Durban Beach Africa beach festival on Wednesday evening, the city's deputy mayor, Logie Naidoo, said: "We believe that the 2016 Olympic Games should come to Durban. Cape Town has had its chance. It's time for Durban to bid for this biggest of events."

No decision has, however, been made by the city's executive council, he said.

He cited Durban's facilities and the recent announcement that a R1.6 billion stadium is to be built next to the Absa Stadium in preparation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

"2010 will be an important year, but we have always said 2010 and beyond."

Speaking after the press launch of the festival, Naidoo said that if Durban did make a bid for the Olympic Games, it stood a very good chance with South African and former National Olympic Committee president Sam Ramsamy being a member of the executive board of the International Olympic Committee.

Ramsamy hails from Durban.

The 2012 Olympics are to be held in London. Cape Town had bid to stage the 2004 Olympics but lost out to the eventual winner Athens.

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   KZN premier proposes new date for Comrades


Sipho Khumalo
KwaZulu-Natal Premier S'bu Ndebele has proposed that the Comrades Marathon be held on the first Saturday in June each year to avoid a clash with Youth Day events which commemorate the student uprising of June 16 1976.

KwaZulu-Natal Sports and Recreation MEC Amichand Rajbansi, who has been asked by Ndebele to convey the proposed date to the Comrades Marathon Association, revealed this in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature on Tuesday.

The proposed change comes amid complaints at the weekend from the African National Congress Youth League that the marathon detracted from the June 16 commemoration.

The staging of the race on June 16 came under fire from Youth League leader Fikile Mbalula during a Youth Day rally in Durban, and from his KwaZulu-Natal counterpart, Nhlakanipho Ntombela, who is also chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Commission.

Ntombela urged Ndebele to intervene in the matter
Ntombela urged Ndebele to intervene in the matter, saying the youth in the province did not want Youth Day events to compete with the Comrades Marathon.

Rajbansi said on Tuesday that discussions about an alternative date had started with the association six months ago.

"The youth parliament in Greytown also expressed the view (that an alternative date was required). We have the support of Athletics South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal Athletics on the need to change the date," he said, adding that the association was also "quite amenable" to the idea.

Rajbansi said Ndebele had important duties to perform at the marathon, while also being required to officiate at Youth Day functions.

"I spoke to the chairperson of the Comrades Marathon Association, Dave Dixon, on Saturday at the awards event (after the marathon) and he indicated that he would start an urgent consultation process with the sponsors and the electronic media.

"Athletics South Africa wants urgent consultation with the premier on this. The premier has suggested the first Saturday of June for the event," said Rajbansi, who has been tasked by the government to conduct talks on the issue.

Rajbansi said he hoped that the association would reach consensus on the matter urgently.

This week the association said it would hold meetings with key stakeholders, including politicians, to find a suitable alternative date for the world-renowned race.

The association's manager, Gary Boshoff, said: "We are sensitive to this because June 16 is an important day. We will discuss this with the premier and look at it with a view to coming up with a date suitable to everyone, including Athletics South Africa, Athletics KwaZulu-Natal and the business community."

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   SA sardine run delayed by 'late' shoals


Fear not, the sardines are expected to hit the KwaZulu-Natal coast soon. There might a bit of a delay, but those 'in-the-know' say there's nothing to worry about. However, global warming is believed to have had an impact on the silvery fish's movement up the coast.

The sardines, smelly but popular, have a mind of their own and plan to arrive on the East Coast when they like. Every year, around this time, the waters on South Africa’s east coast are normally packed with shoals of sardines, but have not made an appearance as yet.

Playing a game of hide and seek as usual - a small pocket of sardines were spotted in the neighbouring waters of the Eastern Cape yesterday. Sometime ago, they were seen on the Wild Coast. Geremy Cliff, an official from the Natal Sharks Board, says: "There’s no magical date as to when they are going to arrive, but perhaps a bit later than usual."

Fishermen are worried and their business is suffering. Anesh Maharaj, a local fisherman, says: "By now, the sardines should have been here. And now, the the sardine price has shot up. We are waiting for waters to be right and we can get them so we create more business by selling them, and giving them to people". It seems as if everyone will have to wait a little longer, until they can get their hands on the elusive little fish.

Ministers meet to discuss climate change
Meanwhile, the ministers of environmental affairs from 22 different countries have held an informal meeting on climate changes at a nature reserve in Limpopo during the past five days.

They say the relaxed atmosphere gave them an opportunity to be more open in their discussions, and even to air their personal views, which sometimes differ from the political views of their governments. Because of the personal interests of big industrial countries, the climate change debate has deadlocked.

The African ministers who attended the conference agreed that they have never fully realised the extent of the problem. Kivutha Kibwana, the Kenyan minister of environment, agrees that Africa needs to become more involved.

Ministers were from all over the world and even those from the rich, industrial countries admitted that the climate change challenge must be tackled together. Bruno Maria Carmelo Oberle, from Switzerland said: "The next formal international conference on climate change will be held in Nairobi in November. It will be the first time that the formal proceedings will be held in Africa".

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   Green groups urge new battle against whalers


By Michael Christie
Frigate Bay, St Kitts and Nevis - Conservation groups on Monday called on governments to redouble their efforts to save endangered whales after pro-whaling nations led by Japan won a majority at an international whaling meeting for the first time in more than 20 years.

The pro-whaling nations at the International Whaling Commission managed to push through a statement declaring a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling unnecessary and blaming whales for depleting fish stocks.

While largely symbolic, the declaration adopted at the commission's June 16-20 meeting in the Caribbean island state of St Kitts and Nevis was a show of strength by the whaling bloc after it had spent more than two decades trying to find the muscle to challenge the ban.

Environmental activists, who were criticised in the declaration, said it should serve as a catalyst to stir US public opinion, in particular, and lead to a counter-offensive by anti-whaling nations at the next IWC meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, next year.

"For those governments that have failed to wake up and smell the coffee, this is the final wake-up call," said Greenpeace International spokesperson Mike Townsley.

The Earth's largest creatures were driven to the edge of extinction by commercial whaling before the ban.

But Japan has continued to hunt whales and has killed thousands in the past 20 years under a loophole that allows whaling for scientific research. Iceland also conducts scientific whaling while Norway has ignored the moratorium.

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   Rising swell and spectacular surfing in Billabong Junior Series


A rapidly rising swell, bright sunshine and windless conditions combined with a quality field of the country’s top junior surfers to produce a spectacular display of high performance surfing on day three of the Billabong Junior Series event at Vic Bay on Saturday.

In waves that reached two metres (6 foot), with occasional sets closing out across the narrow bay, the premier Pro Junior boys’ division set to work with a vengeance. The highlight was the round of 32 heat between reigning series and ASP Africa champion Brandon Jackson, wildcard Jordy Smith, current ratings leader Damien Fahrenfort, all from Durban, and U16 star Matthew Bromley (Kommetjie).

Fahrenfort, winner of two series events already this year, was on fire – selecting the best waves, putting his board on edge as he powered off the bottom of the overhead waves an pushing his fins out of the back of the wave as he re-entered off the top – to rack up a pair of excellent 7.5 point rides and the heat win.

Fellow WQS campaigner and Billabong team rider Smith replied with his patented repertoire of innovative manoeuvres for an 8.0, the highest ride of the heat, but could only add a 6.0 to that for second place and a spot in the next round. Despite his best efforts Jackson ended third and Bromley was denied any of the best waves by his more experienced opponents to place fourth.

Josh Redman (Durban) was another to shine with his power surfing in the overhead conditions resulting in a creased board as well as damage to his replacement board, but he still secured the heat victory. Others through to the last 16 include heat winners Josch Schmeltzer (Westville), Brandon Roberts (Sun Valley, CT), Rory Beach (Durban) and top seed Keegan Nel (East London, who finished second behind wildcard Klee Strachan (Amanzimtoti).

Outstanding performances also came from U16 stars Shaun Joubert (Mossel Bay) and Dale Staples (St Francis Bay), both of whom won two heats in the Pro Junior division and their quarter-final encounters in the U16’s with red hot surfing.

The Pro Junior girls quarters went largely to the seeds with the top four – Nikita Robb and Rosanne Hodge (both East London), Tammy-Lee Smith (Salt Rock) and Tarryn Chudleigh (Scarborough, CT) – all advancing to the last eight where they will take on national team member Chantelle Rautenbach (Melkbosstrand) and youngsters Bianca Buitendag (George), Heidi Palmboom (Bluff) and 12 year-old standout Sarah Baum (Athlone Park, KZN).

Bromley and Haydn MacNicol (Scottburgh) finished first and second in the first of the U16 quarters, with top seed Chad du Toit (Durban) and Kyle Galloway (East London) going through to the semis from the second, Joubert and an impressive Daniel Mace (Kommetjie) from the third and Staples and Brendon Gibbens (Kommetjie from the fourth.

Michael February was the standout of the U14 boys’ quarters, displaying a maturity of surfing way beyond his 13 years on the waves peeling down the Vic Bay point to advance to Sunday’s semis along with the other heat winners Dane Staples (St Francis Bay), Beyrick de Vries (Umhlanga) and Davey Brand (Kommetjie).

Sunday’s program sees the semi-finals and finals of all the divisions, including the U12 boys who did not compete on Saturday, along with the Von Zipper Air Show with its R1 800 winner-takes-all reward for the surfer completing the best aerial manoeuvre.

The series is sanctioned by Surfing South Africa (SSA), the national controlling body for the sport. The U20 boys and girls’ divisions are also sanctioned by ASP Africa with the ratings points counting towards the yearend Pro Surf Tour (PST) Pro Junior crowns.

The 2006 Billabong Junior Series is proudly supported by FNB; Red Bull; Capri Sun; Mentos sweets; Mrs Palmers; Drench; Salt Water Girl; Zigzag and Blackfoot Productions.

For further information on the series and a host of other interesting aspects of South African surfing visit www.billabong.com/africa where top performers are profiled.


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   2006 Rusty Pro Shines With Support From Mini


The 2006 Rusty Pro is set to shine with the support from presenting sponsor MINI cars; the 2A rated ASP Africa event is scheduled to take place at New Pier on 23, 24 and 25 June.

The event which is into its second year sees a few changes to the line up, the most important is the venue which has been moved from Cave Rock on the Bluff to New Pier on the Durban beachfront. The 2006 Rusty Pro presented by MINI does not only cater for Pro Men and Women but also Pro Juniors. R20, 000 will be split between the three hotly contested divisions.

“We changed the venue because Cave Rock proved to be a very fickle wave so with this and a few other issues in mind we decided to move the Rusty Pro presented by MINI to one of the most contestable waves in the world at New Pier. Spectators will be able to enjoy a safe, user-friendly beach with easy access to all amenities as well as a great viewing area which includes the piers,” said Rusty Sales Manager Mike Varikas.

The contest tower will be based at Dairy Beach on the pump house to enable surfers to ride New Pier or Dairy depending on the surf conditions on the day.

Frankie Oberholzer (Warner Beach) is the current number one Pro Men’s seed and he will be keeping a close eye on the current 2006 ASP Africa Pro Surf Tour rating’s leader Warwick Wright (Durban). Top seeds won’t make the mistake of underestimating locals like Rusty team surfer Mike Varikas (North Beach) who has grown up surfing the waves along the Golden Mile and has the break at New Pier wired.

Pro Women’s number one seed Rosanne Hodge (East London) and current point’s leader Stacey Guy (Melkbosstrand) will be the ones to watch when they come up against seasoned professionals like multiple ASP Africa champion Tamarys de Maroussem (Westbrook). Lynne Mackey (Westville) has risen from obscurity to being a force to be reckoned with, the Rusty surfer will be out to impress her sponsors with a strong performance.

Keegan Nel (East London) is the top seed and leads the Pro Junior men's race by a slender 175 points from Jordy Smith (Umbilo) who will be hungry for victory in the Rusty Pro presented by MINI. Smith and Ricky Basnett (Bluff) have the most wins in the Pro Junior division with five each. Rusty team riders Chris Leppan (Umhlanga), Scott Lefevre (Hillcrest) and Dane Monks (Umhlanga) will be going all out to topple the more established favourites in the Pro Junior and Men’s divisions.

An Expression Session will be held to encourage the top ten invited aerial specialists to boost the biggest and most radical airs possible in the 30-minute final. A panel of selectors will announce the invitees on the final day of the event.

Entries have been pouring in with 66 Pro Men, 22 Pro Women and 46 Pro Juniors in the running for the titles in their respective divisions.The Rusty Pro presented by MINI will give locals a platform to excel on the domestic circuit as well as assisting them to get comfortable competing on the Durban Beachfront ahead of the international surfers’ arrival for the Mr Price Pro 6 star World Qualifying Series event.

“The Rusty Pro presented by MINI will fall directly ahead of the Mr Price Pro providing our local surfers with a golden opportunity to get some contest surfing under their belts before taking on the world’s best the following week at the neighbouring beach. Our event could be a great move for SA surfing because it could easily affect the outcome of our local surfers’ results which has been a problem in the past,” said Varikas.

The Rusty Pro presented by MINI is the 13th event on the PST for 2006 and it is the 213th professional surfing event in South Africa since 1986. This is the 20th year of the ASP Africa Pro Surf Tour. In addition to the spectacular surfing action beachgoers can look forward to Rusty give-aways for the duration of the Rusty Surf Pro presented by MINI.

The opening function takes place on June 22 at the Durban Surf Lifesaving Club at 6.00pm where the heat draws will be announced and contestants will receive their entry packs. The function is open to any interested media, contestants and officials.

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   Oleg the Comrades king, but Zondi steals show


Iqbal Khan
Oleg Kharitonov may have been crowned the Comrades Marathon "king" at the Oval in Pietermaritzburg on Friday, but the man who stole the show was runner-up Brian Zondi.

Kharitonov broke the three-year stranglehold that Vladimir Kotov (Mr Price) had on the up run when he won by 2min 12secs, breaking the tape at 5:35:18 before the first novice and the first South African, Zondi, came home to a tumultuous welcome from the packed crowd at the Oval.

While Kharitonov was delighted at winning the crown - his first in six attempts - Zondi, who started running ultra-marathons only recently, was ecstatic at finishing second in his debut Comrades.

"I did not know too much about the route. I just ran the race and went along with the flow," the Soweto-based Harmony Gold runner said afterwards.

'I just ran the race and went along with the flow'
"I did not know whether to hit the front or stay with the pack of runners. I hadn't run an ultra of this nature before - the Two Oceans was the only 56km event I ever attempted, and I did well in it.

"This was a long race, but the information I was getting from those who were helping me was spot on. I don't like to have a second on the route, but Nic Bester told me on the way that I was doing well and that I should relax. And when he said that to me I realised I was really doing well. That's when I decided to hit the front."

However, when he did hit the front he said he had not realised that he had reached the bottom of Polly Shortts.

"When I looked up I saw the hills, and only then knew that I was at Polly's. These guys" - pointing to Kharitonov - "have run the Comrades before and know what Polly's is all about. I did not. Hence I fell behind and was then trying to catch him. He was too far gone and I had to settle for second place," he said.

Zondi added that the Comrades was not an easy race to run. He said he did not feel the aches and the pains while running, but when he finished the race he felt as if he had been stabbed a number of times.

"I'm sore," he said. "You don't feel it while running, but at the moment I feel as if I've been stabbed with a knife all over my body."

While Zondi admitted that he did not know the route, he also said that he was unaware of the prize-money he was to earn for his efforts.

"I entered the race and did not bother to find out what the prize-money was," he said.

Eventually he was told that he would take home R100 000 and that Harmony Gold would award him R175 000 for his second-place finish.

And being the first South African home saw him being awarded a 25-ounce gold statuette as well. Meanwhile, Kharitonov revealed that he will be back next year for the 2007 down run, and will most certainly return to defend his up run in 2008.

Kotov, dethroned after three successive up run wins, said it was not the end for him.

"I'm 48, but will be back. Oleg and Brian ran beautifully on the day and deserved their No 1 and No 2 spots in the race. I'm not unhappy - I finished third and must say that I also ran well, though I must admit I was getting a few wrong signals from my men on the side of the road - especially after the halfway stage," he said.

Five of the Top 10 places were filled by Mr Price athletes - Kotov (third), Fusi Nhlapo (fifth), Jaroslaw Janicki (sixth), Mncendisi Mkhize (ninth) and Frans Chauke (10th).

Meanwhile, the Russian women powered their way into the top three of the race with Elena Nurgalieva, who lost the down run crown last year, regaining the title with an astonishing 6:09-23 - beating her previous record of 6:11:45, set in 2004.

Nurgalieva, who ran in the bright red colours of Mr Price, ran strongly and looked the part of a champion from the moment the race got under way at 5.30am from the Durban City Hall.

Neither her teammate, Marina Bychkova, nor Tatyana Zhirkova, who stayed with Nurgalieva for most of the race, were able to catch her after she broke away to set up the new record.

Bychkova finished second in 6:12:57, while Zhirkova was third in 6:27:20 - 14min 23 behind the champion. The first South African home was Farwa Mentoor. This is the fourth time that the Harmony Gold runner has taken that title.

However, this time around she had to crawl almost 20m to the finish line to claim that honour. Mentoor finished in 6:41:31, and must rate this as her toughest Comrades in many years.

Yolande MacLean (Mr Price) was seventh, while KwaZulu-Natal's "Queen of the Road", Grace de Oliveira, collected the last gold medal on offer for the women with a 10th-place finish.

This was her sixth gold in eight Comrades Marathons. She also has two silvers to go with them.

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   Russians double up at the Comrades


Russian athletes took top honours at this year's Comrades marathon, run between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Oleg Kharitonov claimed line honours in the men's race while defending "down and up" champion Elena Nurgalieva, bettered her own record in winning the women's event.

Kharitonov won the men's event in a moderate time of five hours, 35 minutes and 18 seconds. But it was the lack of pace up front that played straight into the hands of 38-year-old Harmony runner who has now won the race, landed a pair of seconds, a third and fourth place as well as a solitary silver.

"I hoped to win this year but the local runners are too fast for me. The slow pace helped me a lot," said the Russian.

"At the halfway stage I noticed that Vladimir (Kotov) was not so strong as before, I also picked up as we moved on to Polly Shortts that Brian Zondi (eventual second spot 5:37:31) and Jaroslaw Janicki (sixth 5:42:05) were getting tired.

"I new then that I had a chance," he said through an interpreter.

As has become custom, the torturous Polly Shortts dealt the deciding hand and Kharitonov put down the hammer and moved away from the game Zondi, who was as surprised with his second place as were the screaming masses that awaited him at the Pietermaritzburg Cricket Oval.

"I am very happy with my run. I would not even have dreamt of finishing in the top 10 in my debut race, never mind finishing second place. The pace was slow, and the weather cold.

"We only went through halfway in 2:48," enthused the 31-year-old Soweto-based Harmony athlete.

His inexperience probably cost him the race. As a stronger downhill runner, he should have taken the international runners on the long descent to the base of Little and Big Pollies. Only near the base of the hill did he use his speed to get away from Janicki who deteriorated badly from then on.

"I thought that Polly Shortts was finished already. Meanwhile it was in front of me. Luckily I didn't look at the kilometre markers. That would have depressed me."

The women's race was a Russian road show from start to finish. Defending down and up champion Nurgalieva raced unhindered for most of the 88kms, winning in 6:09:23, to knock almost three minutes of her own record set up in 2004.

This little windfall meant that the 30-year-old, who raced without her twin sister for the first time, is now a millionaire in Rand terms, with a first Comrades prize of R200 000 coupled to a Mr Price win incentive of R50 0000 and record-breaking incentive from her team sponsors of a further R50 0000.

Plus there is a further R50 000 bonus from her shoe sponsor, making it a total of R1,25-million in hard cash plus one ounce gold medal for a top 10 finish. In addition she will receive a 25 ounce statuette for winning, plus a 100 ounce statuette for breaking the race record.

All this for a shade over six hours of hard work.

She was followed home by teammate Marina Bychkova (6:12:57), Two Oceans winner Tatyana Zhirkova (6:27:20), German veteran Maria Bak (6:31:06), Marina Myshlyanova (6:38:50).

The remaining five gold medals were taken by South Africans, Farwa Mentoor (6:41:31), Yolandi Mclean (6:47:02), Riana van Niekerk (7:04:36), Madeleen Otto (7:17:07) and Grace De Oliviera who grabbed the second veterans prize with a time of 7:24:10.

Mentoor, who crawled across the line after collapsing near the finish line, was later reported to be recovering well in the medical aid centre. She had been dehydrated and physically exhausted.

According to reports, the medical officials are happy with her condition. - Sapa

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   Security flaws prompt warning from Microsoft


San Francisco - Microsoft on Tuesday warned of eight "critical" security flaws in its Windows operating system and Office software that could allow attackers to take control of a computer.

Microsoft, whose Windows operating system runs on 90 percent of the world's computers, issued patches to fix the problems as part of its monthly security bulletin. It was the biggest such update since February 2005.

The world's biggest software maker defines a flaw as "critical" when the vulnerability could allow a damaging Internet worm to replicate without the user doing anything to the machine.

Six of the critical flaws related to Windows and two affected Office. Microsoft also issued another two security warnings it rated at its second-highest level of "important" for Windows as well as one it gave a severity rating of "moderate".

It also warned of an "important" flaw in its Microsoft Exchange software that allows users to send and receive email along with other forms of communication through computer networks.

The company has been working for more than three years to improve the security and reliability of its software as more and more malicious software targets weaknesses in Windows and other Microsoft software.

The latest patches can be downloaded at the www.microsoft.com/security website.

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   Comrades fever hits Durban


Gary Boshoff

This coming weekend South Africans will once again be spoiled for choice from a menu of top class international sports events.

Live on national pay and public television channels will be the Fifa Soccer World Cup, the second rugby Test against Scotland and the annual, uniquely South African spectacular, the Comrades Marathon!

The Comrades Marathon surely embodies what I would call the quintessential South African sports event.

What is it about this 87.5km road race that captivates the imagination of professional road runners, celebrities, business executives, politicians and people from all walks of life?

What is it that makes them come back again and again?

What makes Mondle Gungubele, former MEC for Sport and Recreation from Gauteng and Deputy Minister of Finance, Jabu Moloketi return to the race year after year?

What other South African sports event can boast participation from 46 countries around the world?

Americans, Australians, Japanese, Germans, British, you name it, they travel to South Africa in June, determined to run and finish the "ultimate human race".

The advent of "sports tourism" is clearly evident during the Comrades with scores of runners' friends and family accompanying them to experience the beauty that South Africa offers - a growing market KwaZulu-Natal Tourism, Durban Africa and the city of Pietermaritzburg are gearing up to develop further in future.

Even the National Department of Sport and Recreation are recognising this with the production of its own "sports tourism compact disc" prominently featuring the Comrades Marathon.

What other South African sports event can boast an exhibition over three days visited by close to 60 000 people?

The Comrades Experience (Expo) offers sports goods manufacturers, sports nutrition manufacturers, health and fitness distributors and many other businesses the opportunity to market their products and services to a very specific and captive target market.

What other sports event spanning over 90km and taking 12 continuous hours to complete can boast on average between 12 000 and 15 000 participants - a feat that is not equalled anywhere in the world.

What other South African sports event can boast close to 200 000 spectators lining the route from Durban to Pietermaritzburg to support the runners on their epic journey through the suburbs and countryside of KwaZulu-Natal?

What other South African sports event raises on average between 1.5 and R2m for charity annually?

This money is raised through donations from runners, sponsors and special fundraising initiatives by the designated charities in conjunction with the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA).

This year the Comrades Marathon Association will distribute the funds derived from the official Amabeadibeadi Charity Drive to the Community Chests of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, the Heart Foundation, the Wildlands Conservation Trust, the Sports Trust and Starfish.

But ultimately the Comrades Marathon is about the runners, the special persons or personalities that are prepared to take on the challenge to run 87.5 torturous kilometres.

The Comrades Marathon celebrates the indomitable human spirit, the courage to challenge adversity and to overcome it.

It is personified by disabled, blind and mentally handicapped individuals completing this race, not once, but many times over.

There are some partaking at the ripe 'old' age of 50 and 60, and yes, even an 82-year-old who is back to run the race this year - truly amazing!

There are many such stories that set the Comrades Marathon apart from regular marathons and ultra-marathons.

To a relative newcomer, and mostly to the numerous Comrades journeymen (and woman) of the past eighty years, the Comrades Marathon embodies the soul of our developing nation - more than that, it is indeed a community of nations, a country united!

What better reason can there be to participate?

Who knows, it may be your turn next!

Do it now, start with your training, the 2007 Comrades Marathon awaits!

"Every South African should run the Comrades at least once in their lifetime".

Long may its legacy continue.


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   Athletes arrive in Durban for Comrades Marathon


Close to 2 000 athletes have arrived in Durban for the annual Comrades Marathon. At lest 12 000 runners are expected to participate in this year's up-run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.

Gary Boshoff, the general manager of the comrades marathon, announced this at the launch of the Comrades Marathon Expo today. The aim of the expo is to assist runners with final logistics such as registration. Boshoff says they expect more runners to flock in as the day of the 87.6km race draws closer.

"We expect close to 1 800 athletes from all over the world. They come from all continents and that is why we call the Comrades the truly South African International Sports Event," Boshoff said.

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   How to keep porn off your child's cellphone


By Amelia Naidoo
A Cape Town-based company has introduced an SMS service to block cellphones from accessing adult content and pornography in an attempt to stem the tide of pornography schoolchildren can obtain.

Smsweb has so far provided 125 schools with the SMS service called PornBlocker, which allows parents to block their children from accessing pornography on their cellphones. To activate the service, parents send an SMS with their children's cellphone details and the company blacklists the number so that they are unable to view inappropriate material.

The Director of the Childline KwaZulu-Natal branch, Linda Naidoo, said cellphone chat rooms posed another potential danger for children. She said this was one of the most common ways used by paedophiles to lure children.

The Managing Director of Smsweb, Salah ElBaba, said the service did not yet extend to chat rooms but was something the company would offer in future.

Commenting on whether children's rights would be compromised by limiting their cellphone activities, Naidoo said children needed parents to protect and guide their decisions in viewing media containing inappropriate material.

Though unwilling to endorse the SMS service, the Superintendent-General of the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department, Cassius Lubisi, commented that he supported the idea of preventing unhealthy behaviour among children.

The service would prevent children from downloading content from adult websites but could not prevent the exchange of such material using Bluetooth technology.

Mercury new

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   World's largest email provider hit by worm


Las Vegas - Yahoo, the world's largest provider of email services, said on Monday that a software virus aimed at Yahoo Mail users had infected "a very small fraction" of its base of more than 200 million accounts.

The email virus, or worm, has been dubbed Yamanner and landed in Yahoo mailboxes bearing the headline "New Graphic Site". Once opened, the message infects the computer and spreads to other users listed in Yahoo users' email address books, security experts said.

The email containing the virus need only be opened - in contrast to most worms that are hidden in attachments and require users to take an additional step - to release the virus, according to computer security site Symantec.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company advised users to update virus and firewall software on their computers and to block any email sent from the address av3@yahoo.com.

'The worm cannot run on the newest version of Yahoo Mail Beta'
"We have taken steps to resolve the issue and protect our users from further attacks of this worm," Yahoo spokesperson Kelley Podboy said in a statement.

"When we learn of email abuse, such as a worm or other online threat, we take appropriate action," she said. "(A) solution has been automatically distributed to all Yahoo Mail customers, and requires no additional action on the part of the user."

Yamanner, first detected by Yahoo and major computer anti-virus software makers earlier on Monday, was ranked as having a low threat level by Trend Micro and McAfee.

But Symantec considers the worm an "elevated threat", one step up from the lowest ranking in terms of relative danger.

Symantec's Security Response site suggested Yahoo Mail users might protect themselves by upgrading to the latest test version of the recently upgraded Yahoo Mail software.

"The worm cannot run on the newest version of Yahoo Mail Beta," Symantec's site said.

A Yahoo spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on whether the company advised users to do this.

The worm exploits a vulnerability in Javascript technology used to make the mail program easier to use by triggering embedded HTML scripts to run in the computer user's browser.

The email addresses are also sent to a remote online computer server, which may be used to run spam campaigns, experts said. The technical name of the worm goes by variants of "JS Yamanner".

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   Vodacom Bodyboarding Showdown


Bay of Plenty Beach Durban, South Africa
30 June 2006

Star Studded Line Up for Vodacom Bodyboarding Showdown

A star studded line up including former women’s world champion Karla Costa-Taylor (Berea, Dbn) and former US tour winner Alistair Taylor (Berea, Dbn) have entered the Vodacom Bodyboarding Showdown. The event takes place on Friday, June 30 at the Bay of Plenty Beach which is known for being more open to swell than some of the neighbouring breaks on the Durban beachfront.

The Vodacom Bodyboarding Showdown is one of the water sports highlights at the 2006 Durban Beach Africa festival presented by Vodacom and the SABC; the festival runs from June 30 to July 9 along the Golden Mile. Vodacom has a reputation for being the Greatest Supporters of SA supporters.

The Vodacom Bodyboarding Showdown is a South African Bodyboarding Association (SABA) sanctioned specialty contest which boasts a R10, 000 prize purse which will be shared amongst the five divisions - Pro, Drop Knee, U20, U15 and Ladies. The Vodacom Bodyboarding Showdown is a national competition open to all bodyboarders from around South Africa and will be run by the North Beach Bodyboarding Club.

To spice up the Pro division title race Costa-Taylor has opted to take on the men and has her heart set on first place. The petite bodyboarding powerhouse grew up in Brazil and moved to South Africa a few years ago with her husband Alistair. At Natal Trials last month Costa-Taylor bodyboarded to an easy victory bruising egos with near perfect scores over her husband and 20 year old North Beach hot shot Rylin Richardson (Durban).

National bodyboarding team member Wesley Fischer (Berea, Dbn) and winner of the most recent SABA event Mark Watts (Westville, Dbn) are also amongst the favourites capable of taking top honours in the Pro final.

Reigning South African Boy’s Bodyboarding Champion Ian Campbell (Morningside, Dbn) is expected to dominate the U15 heats with big names like Jake Rosenberg (Bluff, Dbn) tipped to win the U20 division. 2004 SA Women’s Bodyboarding Champion Robyn Sorenson (Berea, Dbn) will have the upper hand of local knowledge in the Ladies contest. Wesley Fischer (Berea, Dbn) and Sasha Taljaard (South Beach, Dbn) are perennial favourites to win the Drop Knee division.

“Durban will always be the hub of surfing in South Africa and we at SABA are thrilled that Vodacom has sponsored our event and that we are a part of Durban Beach Africa,” commented bodyboarding champion Alistair Taylor and current SABA Chairman.

There will be no second chances for competitors in the Vodacom Bodyboarding Showdown, due to the event running over one day only the event organisers have selected a straight elimination format which allows no room for error.

SABA’s ongoing national development programme is expected to attract newcomers in the hopes of toppling the old guard in the Vodacom Bodyboarding Showdown. The Taylors will be running a Vodacom Development Bodyboarding Clinic for free open to all members of the public at midday.

The sport of bodyboarding started in 1971 in Hawaii, thanks to surfing legend Tom Morey. From its humble beginnings, bodyboarding has grown into an international sport and is an immensely popular alternative to surfing. Due to the easy entry level bodyboarding attracts a large number of competitors.

At the highest level of riding bodyboarding is a supremely acrobatic sport where most of the manoeuvres are pulled off in mid-air as will be showcased in the Vodacom Bodyboarding Showdown.

The Vodacom Bodyboarding Showdown entry fee is R50, joining the North Beach Bodyboarding Club is encouraged but not mandatory for this event. Entry forms will be available on www.sixty40.co.za as well as on www.sabaonline.co.za. The closing date for final Vodacom Bodyboarding Showdown entries is 5.00pm on Tuesday, June 27.

Cellular giant Vodacom and the national broadcaster, the SABC, have both come on board as associate sponsors for the Durban Beach Africa Festival this year which runs from June 30 to July 9 on the Durban beachfront.

www.vodacom.co.za


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   KZN Childline blames govt for lack of funding


Childline in KwaZulu-Natal has blamed the lack of funding from the provincial government as one of the many reasons it has been at the brink of closure. While the nation turned its attention to Child Protection Week last week, the helpline revealed it faces being shut down because it is cash-strapped.

Childline receives 24 000 calls a month. Callers are then referred to relevant organisations and institutions for help. The NGO pays for its own follow-up calls, which is crucial to its success in solving cases and Childline is struggling to deal with these costs.

Sponsors for Childline
Linda Naidoo, the Childline director in KwaZulu-Natal, says Childline provides services the social welfare department does not. Naidoo says for this reason, Childline should be adequately funded by the provincial department.

The provincial department of social welfare spends over R200 million in subsidies to over 1 000 NGO's and community-based organisations, but this only covers certain costs. Other funding from the National Lottery, USAid and the Victor Daitz Foundation helps Childline to cover some of its costs.

Childline is currently negotiating a deal with one of its sponsors. If this comes through, there will be new hope for the organisation to carry on helping thousands of vulnerable people.

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   Surf the big screen in Durban


By Gisele Turner Haskins
The 27th Durban International Film Festival is just around the corner and, with 300 screenings in 25 venues, it is set to break all previous records.

There's no doubt that the festival, under the passionate focused leadership of the director of the Centre for Creative Arts, Peter Rorvik, has grown beyond recognition to become the country's biggest film festival.

I remember the festival from its early days when it was placed in one venue (The Sneddon) and a number of "foreign" films, some a little risqué and quite a few of them a little risky (for the viewer) were screened.

There were sufficient screenings of each movie to ensure that you could see the lot. The little café tent erected outside selling instant coffee and chocolate cake was abuzz with the same people year after year discussing the merits and demerits of the cinematic fare.

Moving the festival out of the university grounds made a lot of sense. Nearly 25 000 people attended last year's festival - a real "hats off" to Rorvik, Festival Manager Nashen Moodley and the busy team of insomniacs that work at the CCA.

But this is a music column, right? So let's have a look at what's going to be happening on the musical side of things.

At the Suncoast Super Nova on Thursday June 22 there will be a screening of The Music Room, directed by Satyajit Ray and described as one of the greatest films of all time.

It tells the story of an aristocrat who clings on to old ways, despite his diminished resources, and who bankrupts himself in one final extravagant act of foolish rebellion - a magnificent musical concert.

The screening will be followed by a performance by sarod maestro Ustad Wajahat Khan, the nephew of Vilayat Khan, composer and performer in the movie. This is a one-off, so get your seat.

On June 16 the Durban Film Office mounts a Youth in Film Music Concert in Gugu Dlamini Park, featuring Lebo Mathosa, ProKid, Slikour and others.

On Saturday June 17 the BAT Centre will host an African Refugee Cultural Activities day, which will include the soukous groove of well-loved musicians from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Young Ba Kuba and the homespun magic of Madala Kunene.

For those who love to put wings to their feet and leave their troubles behind by losing themselves in joyful rhythms and spectacular voices, this will be the place to hang out.

Surf movies are known for their affiliation to music (there's not a lot to say when you're on a wave, so music does the trick) and surfers and surfettes alike should be thrilled with the Wavescapes Surf Film Festival at Ster-Kinekor, Musgrave. Watch out for A Broke Down Melody with musician surfer Jack Johnson and his impressive friends in a fluid and soulful celebration as they pass on the stroke to the younger generation.

The sound track is described as the "honeyed notes of the gravel-voiced balladeer", an intriguing combination. In Creepy Fingers the bands have names like Goons of Doom and Brain Squeegee.

Perhaps I'll stick to jazz.


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   Residents angered by no-show cops


By Ayanda Mhlongo
Business owners and residents in Durban are angry about the inability of police to respond swiftly to emergency calls.

Residents say that police often take hours and even days to respond to their calls, yet they are only minutes away from the main station in the city centre.

The Daily News has received a number of calls from frustrated businessmen complaining about the response time of police in the city and the increase in crime.

Police Captain Gugu Sabela said they were investigating the matter with the Durban Central police station. According to residents and shop owners, people are being robbed and mugged on a daily basis.

'They did not pitch'
A Durban landlord whose hotel was recently robbed and one of his staff members attacked said he had to drive to the station after police failed to respond to his calls. Fritz Rosenthal of the Gloucester Hotel said that last week, three armed men entered his hotel, assaulted the receptionist and demanded cash. They then fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

"I immediately called 10111 and my call was recorded and forwarded to the Durban Central police station.

"After waiting for hours for them, they did not pitch and there was no explanation," he said.

He said the following day he drove to the station to find out why the police had not responded and was told there had been only one police van available that night.

"I was told at the police station that on the night of the robbery there had been one van on duty and that when I made the call the van was already dispatched to a murder scene."

'We need them to co-operate with us'
He said he failed to understand how a police station such as Durban Central could only have one van on duty. A South Beach resident said she too called the police to report a robbery but they did not respond.

"Had they arrived in time, they could have caught the suspects because we had given them a description of what they were wearing.

"Police often complain that members of the public don't assist them with information, but when we do they don't respond," she said.

Deputy chairperson of the Albert Park Community Policing Forum, Pat Ballantyne, said she was aware of many cases reported to the CPF where police had failed to respond.

"We are very worried about the crime in our area and want to help the police, but we need them to co-operate with us.

"There are reports of crime every day. People are being robbed, mugged and even assaulted for their belongings and these thieves are getting away with it."

Ballantyne said that it was likely that all the chaos in the area was being caused by the same gang.

"It cannot be different people who are operating in our areas, it must be the same group and if the police catch them then we might have some peace for a while," she said.

She said residents had to personally go to the police station to report crime, only to find that there are not enough officers on duty.

"On Friday I went to the police station to report a robbery in progress and was told that they did not have any officers available to attend to it.

"This was the same complaint that I had received from members of the community. They go to the police station only to find that there are no officers available," she said.

Daily News

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   Web scam snares SA man


By Gill Gifford

He thought he was on to a sure thing. But now, R300 000 later, a South African man has become the latest victim of an international Internet-based scam.

The "SA 2010 World Cup Bid Lottery" is believed to be perpetrated by an international crime syndicate who target computer users and has already duped about 80 victims. The North West resident was strung along for months.

Police - with the help of Interpol - are working to crack the case.

However, national police spokesperson Captain Percy Morokane on Tuesday said police were not sure of the exact number of people who had been robbed by the syndicate because many victims might not have reported their loss.

Arrests had been made in both South Africa and the United Kingdom in the past month. Morokane said the case was at a sensitive stage and he could not give details of the arrests made.

He said the police did not want to make too much information public for fear of jeopardising their investigation.

"We strongly warn the South African public and the international community about this and similar scams. Any person receiving any form of correspondence urging them to participate in a game of some sort or promising a windfall should report this to the police," Morokane said.

According to police, the North West victim had been in contact with the syndicate since last year, but had become aware only recently that he had been scammed. The man reported the case to the police last Friday.

Over the past few months the man had taken personal loans to pay the fees and commissions he had been told were necessary for him to claim his grand prize worth "millions of rands". In all he had forked out more than R300 000, Morokane said.

He added that detectives were concerned by the high number of complaints they had been receiving from people who had been targeted by criminal syndicates in this way.

He said the first reports were received in April last year and had continued to flow in. The majority of the 81 victims were from the US, India and China.

According to Morokane, the syndicate targeted victims by sending them scam letters or emails, originating from within South Africa and from other countries.

The potential victims are told that they have won the lottery. He said the prize money usually runs into millions and in the currency of the country from which the hoax letter had purportedly been sent.

The recipient is then issued with a certificate confirming the prize. They are then asked to fill in a number of forms online, and in this way they are tricked into disclosing confidential details.

Once they have passed their information on, the recipients are told of a complicated procedure they need to undergo in order to claim their prize.

The first step, usually, is that they have to pay an upfront administrative fee before the claim process can continue.

Morokane said South Africans needed to be aware that all lottery games were governed by the Lotteries Act 57 of 1997, which provided for the establishment of the National Lotteries Board, the only statutory body charged with regulating the operation of the National Lottery in South Africa.

He said Uthingo had been issued the only licence to conduct the National lottery and currently offered three products or games. These are Lotto, Wina Manje Scratch Card and SportStake.

Any other lottery game is neither genuine nor legal. South African legislation also does not extend gaming opportunities to other countries, nor does it allow for agencies to act on behalf of the licensed operator. Nor are they entitled to offer free tickets, meaning that there cannot be any unwitting winners.

Anyone wanting to report lottery scam letters can call the police on 012-401-3345 or 012-393-1203 during office hours. Information can also be faxed through to 012-401-3369 or 012-393-1202.

Star

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   Tourist crashes into East London


A holidaymaker escaped with his life when the engine of his brand new microlight cut out and he plummeted into the sea between Bonza Bay and Nahoon.

Michael O'Connor-Harold, 50, from Westville, Durban, said he was on his way back from a sardine spotting flight to Hamburg, when the crisis occurred. "I was cruising at 1000 feet when the engine cut. I turned for the beach straight away and then tried to restart. But it was dead and I saw I wasn't going to make the beach," he said.

In more than seven years of flying experience O'Connor-Harold had never been forced to land at sea. "Every pilot is terrified of a sea-landing because it is like hitting concrete - you just stop dead," he said.

With the waters of the Indian Ocean about 10 metres beneath him he tugged hard on the control stick. The speeding aircraft lurched upwards for a second, lost all its speed and plunged down into the waves. "Suddenly everything went white," said O'Connor-Harold.

Fortunately he had tightened his seat-belt and grasped its quick-release buckle before the crash to allow him to escape quickly.

He said he was lucky not to have been knocked out on impact. "Once in the sea I stood on the wing to get my bearings but the thing went down like a stone," he said. Wearing a jump-suit and boots he swam 200m to the rocky shore using each wave to power himself on.

First to the scene was East London pilot, Clinton Phillips, 56, who had heard of the crash over a radio while he was at an airstrip at Kwelerha. He drove straight to Bonza Bay. After lending the unscathed O'Connor-Harold his own tracksuit pants, the two started trying to recover the sunken microlight.

"He (O'Connor-Harold) had a hard time but he came through all right," said Phillips, adding that it was a good thing that pilots were generally in good physical shape.

Although it survived the crash-landing, the micro-light was being badly battered on the rocks. With additional help from the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the craft was dragged to within 70m of the shore. A tow rope was then attached to it and it was winched over the rocks to dry land.

Geoff McGregor, NSRI East London Station Commander said his team was alerted just after 4pm by the National Ports  Authority following eyewitness reports of a microlight crash-landing into the sea.

None of the pilots or mechanics at the accident could explain what had gone wrong with the new engine, which had run for only 10 hours since its first flight. After checking the salvaged engine, Phillips said there was no problem with its fuel supply and suggested that an electrical fault may have been to blame for the crash.

Standing on the beach in the borrowed tracksuit pants and takkies, O'Connor-Harold, said that his flying machine was so new that he had not yet even taken out insurance.

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   Rising sea level threatens Durban


By Tony Carnie
A new report on climate change in Durban predicts that future holidaymakers can look forward to hotter temperatures, but the city's famous Golden Mile beaches will shrink steadily and recede because of rising sea levels.

Drinking and industrial water supplies for the city could also decline dramatically over the next 50 to 70 years, decreasing by a volume equivalent to the size of Midmar Dam.

This is according to the results of a joint research project by members of the eThekwini Metro council and scientists at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Durban.

Rob Hounsome, the Durban-based CSIR project leader, said the predicted climate changes were likely to have significant long-term implications for city planners, the manufacturing and tourism industries, and many other interest groups.

Long-term implications
The study was initiated last year to get a clearer understanding of how Durban was likely to be affected by global climate changes and changing sea levels. Current scientific estimates predict that the sea level will rise by an average of 4,5cm every 10 years, suggesting that the sea level would rise by almost half a metre in Durban by the year 2100.

Hounsome said although this estimate did not sound dramatic, it could nevertheless have significant impacts for existing tourism and economic infrastructure.

Because the city's tourist beaches were already quite narrow and had a relatively steep slope, the width of sandy tourist beaches would become narrower and be pushed backwards towards the existing tourist recreation areas, road infrastructure and hotels.

"Results indicate that a number of economic and tourist areas may be affected by a rise in sea level.

Infrastructure, together with coastal vegetation, could be damaged.

Global climate change
"Damage can (also) be expected from extreme events such as flooding, which may cause the high-tide level to increase, thus resulting in potential impacts to infrastructure, increased flooding and coastal erosion and, ultimately, placing a significant portion of the population at risk."

The study suggests that average maximum temperatures in Durban will have risen by two to three degrees centigrade by 2070. Minimum temperatures would rise by three to four degrees during all months.

Rainfall patterns would also change. Total rain was expected to increase slightly, but there would also be longer periods of no rain, followed by shorter periods of intense rainfall.

There was also a chance that visitors and residents would be affected by heat stress.

Because of the changed rainfall patterns, it was possible that fresh water availability in the Umgeni River catchment would drop by as much as 157,8 million cubic metres for the period 2070 to 2100, a volume equivalent to Midmar Dam.

The release of the study results today coincide with World Environment Day, as well as a meeting of global scientists who gather in Paris to review the latest state of knowledge on international sea level rises. More than 150 of the world's leading climate change experts are attending a meeting sponsored by the World Meteorological Organisation, the Unesco Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the International Council on Science.

The aim is to identify knowledge gaps on the issue of sea-level rise related to melting glaciers and ice sheets as well as thermal expansion of the ocean.

Organisers said there was a growing body of evidence that the rate of sea level rise was accelerating beyond the 10cm to 20cm rise recorded over the past 100 years.

"However, there remain many areas of uncertainty that prevent accurate projections of future changes and, consequently, effective responses on how to cope with such changes," said a conference spokesman.

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   Safety first for these new taxis


By Xoliswa Zulu
While some taxi operators are fighting the government's taxi recapitalisation programme, the manufacturers of the new, improved 23-seater vehicles say the advanced safety features will help protect passengers in accidents.

With the 2010 soccer World Cup approaching, KwaZulu-Natal transport officials say they want to ensure that all transport systems in the province are safe.

KwaZulu-Natal roads have been marred with accidents involving taxis in recent months and Operation Thath' Isikorokoro has seen a number of taxis being taken off the roads for being unroadworthy. The new single-seat taxis will ensure that taxi drivers do not overload their vehicles.

KwaZulu-Natal roads have been marred with accidents involving taxis
Transport Portfolio Committee Chairperson Omie Singh said having the new taxis would ensure public transport was safer, efficient and reliable.

"I welcome and support the efforts to ensure that public transport is safer. With the 2010 soccer World Cup to be hosted by South Africa for the first time, it is important that our public transport system is world-class. Thousands of spectators will be relying on our public transport to get to and from the soccer stadiums."

Douglas Wingham, from Mercedes-Benz, who is manufacturing the 23-seaters, said the vehicles had been approved by the South African Bureau of Standards and Mercedes-Benz.

He said it was compulsory for all taxis to have single seats with lap belts that would ensure that if there was an accident, the chances of passengers getting injured was lessened.

He said: "All vehicles will have reflective tape all around for visibility at night and all of them are electronically governed not to exceed the maximum speed limit.

"All vehicles will have double wheels at the back, so if one tyre bursts, the driver can still control the vehicle. The tyres also have tyre bands so the tyre doesn't shred if it bursts."

Singh said: "We call upon taxi operators to work with government to make this programme a success. Transport is about reducing the costs of doing business and improving the quality of life of people and increasing workforce productivity."

The advantages of the new vehicles include:

  • Front end design improves impact safety.

  • ABS (Auto braking system) and ASR (Acceleration Skid Control) ensures that the vehicle remains steerable even in the case of drastic braking. This helps the driver to steer around obstacles even in emergencies.

  • Travel comfort is increased by gas-filled shock absorber struts adjusted to the transverse leaf spring.

  • Safety elements in the front and rear end act as crash protection.

  • The increased visibility provided by H7 headlight bulbs results in improved safety during night driving and adverse weather conditions

  • The road is illuminated more evenly.

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