Human Rights Day 2019: Youth standing up for human rights

first_imgDear Editor,The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948, envisioning a world where “all members of the human family” enjoy “freedom, justice, and peace in the world.” These efforts are the responsibility of the state, but no Government can do it on their own. This is a call for youth involvement in the pursuit of human rights. Young people represent the majority of most developing countries’ population, where we are often directly exposed to the effects of climate change, conflict, exclusion or economic instability. Moreover, in many parts of the world, it is still difficult for youth to garner a place in the decision-making processes. In Guyana, young people under the age of 35 make up at least 65 per cent of the population.Despite these challenges, every day, young people stand up for rights and against racism, xenophobia, hate speech, bullying, discrimination and other forms of human rights violations. We also take a lead role in many areas – including advocating for climate action. On Human Rights Day, we recognise the leadership and courageous efforts of “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights” in light of this year’s theme. The aim is to celebrate the potential of youth as productive agents of change, magnify their voices, and involve a comprehensive range of global audiences in the protection and promotion of human rights. The contribution of our youth is invaluable.Youth participation is essential to achieve sustainable development for all. Involvement in public life is an essential principle of human rights. Young people are pursuing involvement in decisions that have a direct and indirect impact on their lives and wellbeing. We need to be heard to inform current decision-making and realise sustainable development for all people.Youth can play a crucial role in positive change. Young people are the key drivers of political, economic and social revolution. We are at the forefront of grassroots mobilisation for positive change and bring modern ideas and solutions for a better world.Empowering youth to better know and claim their rights will generate benefits globally. Regularly, young persons are marginalised because of our age. Safeguarding our human rights and empowering us to better know and claim them will generate benefits at country, regional and global levels.On this Human Rights Day, let us commit as individuals and organisations to doing all that we can to guarantee that young people have safe and inclusive spaces and can contribute in all decisions that have an influence on our wellbeing and our communities’ development.Yours faithfully,Sarah Bovell,Human RightsCoordinator,Guyana’s SocietyAgainst SexualOrientationDiscrimination(SASOD Guyana)Kobe SmithPresident, YouthAdvocacy Movement(YAM), GuyanaResponsibleParenthoodAssociation (GRPA) alast_img read more

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Thunderstorms: a must to avoid

first_imgTalk to professional pilots and aircraft accident investigators and here’s what they’ll tell you about thunderstorms: avoid them. Don’t try to outclimb them in an attempt to overfly bad weather. Don’t attempt to ‘shoot the gap’ between thunderstorm cells. Give convective, tempestuous thunderstorms wide, wide berth. Respect the fact that they can ruin your day.AirlineRatings.com took a look at some of the more notable thunderstorm–related crashes. We excluded wind shear accidents that occurred close to the ground, on takeoff and landing, focusing on encounters during climb or at cruise altitude. Despite the fact specific Probable Causes may differ, a common thread runs through the record: pilots should never come perilously close to, or actually penetrate, thunderstorm cells.   Suggested Read: Freak thunderstorms set to riseThe record: Air France 447It’s tempting to place the June 1, 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447 in this category. But we won’t. Even though the A330’s route over the mid-Atlantic, off the coast of Brazil, put its flight path near a broad band of thunderstorms, the French air accident investigatory agency, the BEA, said the crash was not due weather, but a deep aerodynamic stall. All 228 on board died on the Rio de Janeiro to Paris flight.The accident remains one of the most controversial in history. But it doesn’t exactly fit the classic mold of thunderstorm encounters. Others do.Southern Airways 242The DC-9, on a short hop from Huntsville, Alabama to Atlanta, attempted to shoot the gap ‘twixt two thunderstorm cells April 4, 1977. Approaching a line of storms at 17,000 feet the pilot looks down at his black & white Bendix X-band radar. “Looks heavy,” he says. Nothing’s going through that.” Then, something catches his eye. “See that?” he asks the first officer (co-pilot). “That’s a hole isn’t it?” responds the first officer.“It’s not showing a hole, see it?”Shortly thereafter the first officer asks the captain, “Which way do we go across, or go out? I don’t know how we get through there.”The pilot responds, “I know you’re just going to have to go out and [do it].”“Yeah, right across that band,” answers the first officer.A pair of thunderstorm cells flank the gap that Southern 242 attempts to squeeze through. The one to the north tops out at 46,000 feet; the one to the south forms an anvil-like plateau 5,000 feet higher.As the first officer, who was doing the actual flying, banks to the left he says, “All right, here we go.” In an instant Flight 242 enters a liquid hell with baseball-sized hail crashing against the fuselage.Both Pratt & Whitney JT8-Ds literally suffocate. The compressor blades of the powerplants stall, killing the engines. The DC-9 is suddenly a glider.The crew makes an heroic, but futile, attempt to land on a small rural road. It fails. 72 die, including nine on the ground. Twenty-two originally survive.In its Probable Cause finding the United States National Transportation Safety Board said the crash resulted from “the total and unique loss of thrust from both engines while the aircraft was penetrating an area of severe thunderstorms.” A dissenting NTSB member said the accident was caused by “the captain’s decision to penetrate rather than avoid an are of severe weather.” The dissenting member also blamed the crash on “the reliance upon airborne weather radar for penetration rather than avoidance of the storm system.”Braniff International Airways 352If one captain decided to penetrate a thunderstorm system, nine years earlier another opted, too late as it tuned out, to do a 180-degree turn and try to escape.Flight 352, a four-engine Electra propjet, is making the short hop from Houston to Dallas May 3, 1968, prime thunderstorm season in Texas. While at 20,000 feet the crew asks Air Traffic Control for permission to descend to 15,000 feet and deviate to the west. ATC responds by saying other flights are avoiding the weather by circumnavigating it to the east. The crew responds, “On our [radar] scope here it looks like…a little bit to the west would do us real fine.” Controllers okay a descent to 14,000 feet. Then Flight 352 asks ATC for permission to descend to 5,000 feet, and inquires if there is any hail in the area. Air Traffic Control answers, “No, you’re the closest one that’s ever come close to it yet…I haven’t been able…well I haven’t tried to get anybody to go through it, they’ve all deviated around to the east.”Minutes later Braniff 352 runs into that hail and requests a 180-degree turn. ATC okays the exit. The Electra never makes it out, breaking up in mid-air. 85 dead.The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board’s Probable Cause finding?: “The stressing of the aircraft structure beyond its ultimate strength during an attempted recovery from an unusual attitude induced by turbulence associated with a thunderstorm. The operation in the turbulence resulted from a decision to penetrate an area of known weather.”In the wake of 352, NTSB recommended airlines emphasize weather radar be used to avoid, not penetrate, thunderstorms.It’s a refrain that still rings true today.Northwest Airlines Flight 705 Thunderstorms aren’t unusual over the Everglades of the U.S. state of Florida, even in February. On climbout from Miami International en route to Chicago on February 12, 1963, Northwest Flight 705, a Boeing 720, requests Air traffic controllers allow it to climb to a higher altitude to avoid storms in the area. 705’s crew then tells ATC, “We’re in the clear now. We can see it out ahead…Looks pretty bad.”Controllers clear 705 to climb. ATC and the crew talked about moderate to heavy turbulence. Then, Flight 705 radios controllers, “You better run the rest of [the departing flights] off the other way.”The 720 climbs fast and furious, as much as 9,000 feet per minute. Then, it starts to fall. Somewhere below 10,000 feet the aircraft comes apart. 43 people perish.Investigators found the Probable Cause of the crash to be up and downdrafts, the kind associated with thunderstorms. Those gyrations led to the in-flight breakup of the 720.While thunderstorms per se usually can’t pull an airplane apart, “turbulence [associated with the storms can] cause an aircraft to exceed its structural limits and literally rip of the wings,” said retired Major General Timothy Peppe, Chief of Safety and Commander of the United States Air Force Safety Center in a presentation for the U.S. National Weather Association. This is what happened to Northwest Flight 705.That’s why the experts continue to counsel avoidance. Not penetration, not attempts to overfly or slip between cells.New tools for safer flightsIn an effort to equip pilots with the latest tools to meet the thunderstorm avoidance challenge the U.S. avionics company Rockwell Collins unveiled its new MultiScan ThreatTrack™ weather radar in 2014.Contending it “provides unprecedented atmospheric threat assessment capabilities for transport aircraft,” the system goes beyond predicting hail and lightening within a thunderstorm cell. It actually alerts pilots about treats “adjacent to the cell.” Should the cells be growing ahead and below the aircraft, ThreatTrack Predictive Overflight™ protection alerts pilots if the cells will be in their airplane’s flight path.Then there’s turbulence detection. The system breaks turbulence into two categories: severe and “ride-quality.”When’s the system coming to a carrier you? American Airlines is debuting the new radar on its Next-Generation Boeing 737 fleet. A number of other carriers have opted for the new device for some of their aircraft. Among them are AirAsia, Silk Air, China Eastern, EVA Air, VivaAerobus, Air Algerie and Lion Air.The new radar holds the promise of “helping pilots better navigate disruptive weather threats,” as wells a “smoother flights,” contends Steve Timm, Rockwell Collins vice president and general manager for Air Transport Systems.New detection gear is great, as long as pilots use it to absolutely avoid thunderstorms, not penetrate or skirt them too closely. Good detection tools are never a substitute for good decision-making. If there’s one lesson the accident record teaches unambiguously it’s that.last_img read more

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Japan hails South African space tech successes

first_imgThe infrared survey facility (IRSF) became operational in November 2000, and since then has played a key role in the advancement of our space knowledge.(Image: Tetsuya Nagata, Nagoya University) The Large Magellanic Cloud is a nearby irregular dwarf galaxy that was the subject of the IRSF’s first research mission.(Image: Wikipedia) An aerial view of the site, with the Southern African Large Telescope (Salt) on the left and the IRSF on the far right.(Image: Tetsuya Nagata, Nagoya University) The Salt is the largest such instrument in the entire southern hemisphere.(Image: Flickr)  MEDIA CONTACTS • Anacletta Koloko  Science communication unit, South  African Agency for Science and  Technology Advancement  +27 12 392 9338 RELATED ARTICLES • Eye in the sky benefits society • Space science thriving in SA • SA’s space capabilities set to grow • SKA: who gets whatJanine Erasmus Scientists from Japan, South Africa and other African countries came together in early October at the Space Science Colloquium to share the latest developments in the fields of astronomy, space science and satellite applications. The event was co-hosted by the national Department of Science and Technology, with the Japanese Embassy in South Africa. Dr Takahiro Nagayama of Nagoya University filled attendees in on the infrared survey facility (IRSF), a joint Japan-South Africa project located in Sutherland, Northern Cape province, at an altitude of 1 761 metres. Nagayama is the manager of the facility and has been involved with it since its inception in 1998. The IRSF is situated on the same site as the Southern African Large Telescope (Salt) – the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere – and a number of other instruments including the Alan Cousins telescope, the Elizabeth telescope, and the Korean Yonsei telescope. This makes the site one of the best places in the world to conduct advanced astronomy, according to Nagayama. The IRSF is a 1.4m telescope with an infrared (IR) camera. It was developed by scientists at Nagoya, with the help of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. It’s Japan’s first southern hemisphere IR telescope. The country decided on South Africa as a host for several reasons. “We knew we had to build a telescope in the southern hemisphere, because there are many important celestial objects that are only visible in the southern sky,” explained Nagayama. South Africa was chosen from an initial group of three candidates, with Chile and Australia. It was selected as the best of the three because it had excellent weather as well as an extremely competent astronomical community, and there was no language barrier, as there was in South America. “The South African people are also very friendly and good to work with. South Africa was the best site for us at that time, and I believe it still is now.” Japan entered into the agreement with the SAAO in 1998 and soon afterwards, the project received a grant from the Japanese ministry of science and technology, to the tune of some US$7-million. “The SAAO has provided the infrastructure, including power, water, internet, and the site itself,” said Nagayama. “The local astronomical community built the dome and building.” Nagoya provided the telescope and near-IR camera known as Sirius, which was developed by graduate students. “You won’t find any big names – Sony, Nikon – in this project,” said Nagayama.Surveying our skies Initially, the main function of IRSF was to conduct a thorough study of the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds – small irregular galaxies that lie close to the Milky Way – using a tri-wavelength observation technique.The Magellanic Cloud survey was completed in 2007 and then the Indian Department of Space used the telescope to survey the central region of the Milky Way. There are other research projects ongoing. The presence of the IRSF in South Africa has brought the world’s best astronomers to the country and helped to develop its scientific talent. In the 12 years since the telescope came into operation, 142 observers, of whom 81 were Japanese and 61 foreign, have visited from 31 institutes – 13 from Japan, six from South Africa and 12 from other countries including Korea, the UK and US. Also, studies have resulted in 87 refereed papers, 11 of them with South Africans as the first author. Finally, 19 PhDs have been awarded for research carried out at IRSF, to 16 Japanese scholars and three from the University of Cape Town. “We hope the collaboration will continue,” said Nagayama. “The IRSF is so far the most successful science collaboration between South Africa and Japan.”Uncovering the secrets of the universe Nagayama explained the reasons for choosing to work in infrared instead of visible light. “Astronomers are interested in concepts such as the possibility of a second earth beyond our solar system, dark energy, black holes, and the dawn and end of the universe,” he said. “Traditionally we have observed these things with visible light, but today we can use the whole electromagnetic spectrum, from gamma rays to radio.” Probably the most well-known example of this technology, he said, is the Hubble telescope, which has a 2.4m primary mirror and captures images in the near-ultraviolet to near-infrared bands. The Hubble is in a low earth orbit and because it is not subjected to atmospheric turbulence, said Nagayama, its images are sharp. However, when taking images of objects that are very far away, visible light does not produce the best pictures. Interstellar dust results in a phenomenon known as scattering of visible light, and the picture that is finally received is degraded, but this doesn’t affect IR as much. “Also, visible light can’t penetrate the interstellar dust to see into and behind the Milky Way, but IR can,” said Nagayama. “The centre of our galaxy is hidden to visible light, but we can see it clearly in IR because the dust is invisible at these wavelengths.” Sirius can take simultaneous images in three different bands – wavelengths of 1.2µ (micron), 1.6µ and 2.1µ respectively – because of its special mirrors. The optics are cooled by a closed-cycle refrigerator to about 100 kelvin, or -173 degrees Celsius. “We can also create a false-colour composite image by colouring the three bands blue, green and red respectively.”Complementing each other Nagayama described another major Japanese astronomical project, the Subaru telescope, which is an 8.4m single mirror telescope built on the summit of the volcanic Mount Mauna Kea in Hawaii. “Although Subaru has a bigger mirror than Hubble and takes good pictures, Hubble is better because it is in space,” said Nagayama. Other Japanese large projects include the Akari (IR), Suzaku (x-ray) and the Alma radio telescope, while South Africa has the Salt, whose aperture is larger than Subaru, and the KAT-7, MeerKAT and Square Kilometre Array, all of which are projects involving radio telescopes. Altogether, said Nagayama, this means that the Japanese and South African projects have an observation range from gamma or y-ray, through x-ray, UV, visible light, IR, and radio. “These projects complement each other,” he said, “meaning that the coverage between Japan and South Africa is effective across the full spectrum of electromagnetic waves.”last_img read more

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PM Narendra Modi in Kedarnath: 5 things he said about temple shrine in past

first_imgA day after completing the election campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited the Kedarnath temple in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. The temple, which is an integral part of the famous Char Dham Yatra, was opened for devotees earlier this month.During his visit to Kedarnath, Prime Minister paid obeisance at the historic temple. In a tweet he said he also reviewed the development work that is being carried out in Kedarnath, a town that was destroyed in 2013 due to heavy rain and massive floods.ALSO READ | PM Narendra Modi offers prayers at Kedarnath shrine, plans to meditate in cavePM Modi also tweeted some photographs of snow-covered mountains and the lesser Himalayas in Uttarakhand en-route to the temple shrine.However this is not the first time when PM Modi has been Kedarnath.Here are five things he has said about Kedarnath in the past:1) In November 2018, PM Modi revisited Kedarnath temple. Describing his visit he said he feels honoured to be able to visit the temple. In a tweet on his visit, Modi said, “On the banks of the pristine Bhagirathi river, praying to Maa Bhagirathi. Felt extremely blessed.”2) In October 2017, PM Narendra Modi visited Kedarnath temple a day after Diwali. He said, “The Himalayas have so much to offer–for spiritual pursuits, for the nature lover, for those interested in adventure, water sports. I invite everyone to come and explore the Himalayas.” In the same visit, Modi said the government is building “quality infrastructure” in Kedarnath. “It will be modern but the traditional ethos will be preserved.”advertisement3) In his October 2017 visit, PM Modi also said that the blessings from Kedarnath will lead his government to “fulfil the aspirations of every Indian citizen in 2022”.Kedarnath will become a model Teertha Kshetra.’ We are creating proper facilities for pilgrims and ensuring welfare of the priests. pic.twitter.com/F9zYO2SFjmChowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 20, 20174) In May 2017, writing about Kedarnath temple, Modi tweeted, “I can say it confidently, we will not ignore or forget the heritage that we have been historically proud of.”5) A year after the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy, when the doors of the temple were opened for pilgrims, Modi tweeted: “I am very happy that the doors of the holy Kedarnath temple have once again opened for pilgrims. My best wishes to the pilgrims!”ALSO READ | Majestic mountains! PM Modi shares photos on his way to KedarnathALSO READ | Why Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand is famousALSO WATCH | PM Modi offers prayers at Kedarnath templelast_img read more

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