YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES?Make your 49ers-Chiefs pick & challenge our pros***SANTA CLARA — Cornerback Richard Sherman casually walked onto the 49ers practice field Friday to join his teammates as they finished stretching, and, come Sunday, he’ll by playing against the league’s top-scoring team, the Kansas City Chiefs.Sherman did not practice Thursday because of an unspecified heel injury. It’s not believed to be directly related to his right Achilles surgery last November or this past …
Wednesday was a big day for high school football — the day that all 32 NFL teams nominate a prep coach for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award.The award, named in honor of the winningest coach in NFL history, is intended to celebrate the best coaching at the high school level. Two finalists will receive $15,000 (with $10,000 going to their football program) and be special guests of the NFL at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. The winner, as judged by an 11-person panel that …
Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology at several colleges and universities including for over 40 years at Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored, are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.(Visited 682 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Some Evolutionists Explain Our Solar System’s Unique Arrangement by Mimicking Velikovsky’s Ideasby Jerry Bergman, PhDA cover story in New Scientist on May 25 discusses the Juno spacecraft, an “audacious mission circling Jupiter’s poles” that arrived in 2016 and is schedule to orbit Jupiter until 2021. In this article, writers Leah Crane and Richard Webb give a remarkable role to the largest planet that has worked out for our benefit. They state that Jupiter is “the biggest and perhaps most important planet in the solar system…. And might even ultimately be responsible for life on the earth.” To understand why, we must look at the solar system as a functioning unit, and not as a haphazard grouping of planets independently operating separately. The study of the solar system as a system has increasingly supported the conclusion that life is not about just being in the “habitable zone,” but is intricately connected with the arrangement of all the other planets.The most well-documented example of interdependence is the research indicating that our moon is required for life on Earth. There are many reasons for this. For example—unlike at Venus and Mars, which both lack a large moon—our moon’s gravitational influence helps to ensure that Earth’s spin axis is stable at an inclination of 23.5 degrees with respect to the plane of its orbit. This results in seasons. As a result, our climate variations have remained very modest throughout Earth’s history. Stabilization of the Earth’s rotation on its axis by the moon allows for a far more stable, life-friendly climate. The Earth’s tilt, called its obliquity, has not varied by much more than a few degrees for most of Earth’s recent history. Obliquity stability is necessary for climate stability, thus for human life.In 1994, Jupiter disrupted Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and then absorbed the impacts of all 23 fragments, which would have devastated Earth.Jupiter as a Protective ShieldOne theory is Jupiter, as is believed true of all of the planets, especially Saturn, Neptune and Uranus, helps to protect the Earth from damage caused by asteroids, meteorites and comets. Astrobiologist Kevin Grazier disputes this notion. “It has been widely reported that Jupiter has a profound role in shielding the terrestrial planets from comet impacts in the solar system, ….(a phenomenon often referred to as the ‘Jupiter as shield’ concept).” Grazier’s own computer simulation has challenged this common assumption, but has noted another reason for Jupiter’s importance to Earth. He simulated the behavior of10,000 particles in each of the jovian inter-planet gaps for the cases of full-mass and embryo planets for up to 100 My. The results of these simulations predict a number of phenomena that not only discount the “Jupiter as shield” concept, they also predict that in a Solar System like ours, large gas giants like Saturn and Jupiter had a different, and potentially even more important, role … delivering the volatile-laden material required for the formation of life.Simulation studies are problematic because they make many assumptions when designing the study, such as the need to consider all relevant conditions in the simulation that could influence the outcome.Although Webb and Crane in the New Scientist article do not mention the theory that Jupiter protects Earth from impacts, they agree with Grazier that the planet may have been responsible for sending water to the Earth. The Earth is known as the water planet because it contains far more liquid water than any other planet in our solar system. Nonetheless, many observers still prefer the shield theory for many reasons. One study of the planets finds that, although asteroids, meteorites and comets regularly crash into most of the planets, comparatively few large objects have struck the Earth since its creation. The ‘Jupiter as shield’ explanation argues that most objects that would otherwise strike the Earth are pulled away from the path that allows them to reach the Earth, deflecting meteorites and other large objects.As Crane and Webb correctly note, Jupiter is enormous, 140,000 kilometers across, or close to 11 times Earth’s diameter. It is not only the largest planet in our solar system, but, they claim, may even be one of the largest planets in the known universe that is very distant from its star. Although most extrasolar planets discovered so far tend to be gas giants, they are located very close to their star, unlike Jupiter. We must keep in mind that we have only explored a few planets around a few nearby stars, not the entire universe. Furthermore, if the “Jupiter as shield” theory is correct, some of Jupiter’s 79 satellites contribute to the effect. One of them is larger than the planet Mercury (Ganymede) and two others, larger than the Earth’s moon (Callisto and Io). As a result, even more objects are deflected or absorbed, causing them to miss colliding with the Earth.Additionally, if the “Jupiter as shield” theory is valid, the entire massive set of bodies in the outer solar system plays a significant role in protecting the Earth. This supports Webb and Crane’s observation that Jupiter’s “origin and early history are of huge significance not just for understanding it, but also for the wider history of the solar system.”  The moon’s surface area is only seven percent of the Earth’s surface area, and its effect is not as large as Jupiter’s, but because it is much closer to the Earth, its effect is not, by any means, insignificant.In short, if the shield theory is valid, the Earth is protected from meteorites, asteroids and comets by all of the five planets on the Earth’s far side (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune), plus the over 100 moons circling these planets, as well as the two planets on the side of the Earth facing the Sun (Mercury and Venus). The charting of the orbits of the planets for decades, indicates that the Earth is in a protected zone, reducing enormously the number of potential extraterrestrial collisions.Sun and planet sizes to scale. Jupiter outweighs all the other planets combined. Credit: Lunar and Planetary Institute.Crane and Webb Had to Mention the Church’s “Persecution” of GalileoWhen discussing astronomy, it seems mandatory to mention the persecution of Galileo. The New Scientist article is no exception. They write when Galileo “discovered four moons circling Jupiter… they were the first bodies conclusively shown to be orbiting a planet other than Earth. That … helped get Galileo into a lot of trouble with the religious authorities of his day.Read our biography of Galileo for more facts about the “Galileo affair.”The “Galileo affair,” allegedly perpetrated by the Catholic Church, may not only be the most quoted example of “persecution” of science by religion, but one of the most misunderstood events in history. University of New Mexico History of science professor Timothy Moy correctly observed thatUnfortunately, Galileo’s trouble with the Church later became a popular archetype for the historical relationship between science and religion. Nothing could be further from the truth. For most of the medieval and Renaissance periods, and even stretching into the eighteenth century Enlightenment, the primary supporter of research and teaching in the sciences was the Roman Catholic Church…. the Church, in the aftermath of the Galileo affair, continued to promote research into evidence for heliocentrism, even to the point of turning entire cathedrals into giant pin-hole cameras to measure the apparent diameter of the solar disk at various times of the year.Galileo’s main problem, what Professor Santilana called his “fatal mistake,” was his “rash indiscretion, his insistence on throwing open to the common people, by writing in the vernacular, a question which was far from being settled.” This year another book was published on this topic, this time by Fulbright scholar Dr. Michael Keas (PhD in the history of science from the University of Oklahoma). In chapter 5 of Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion, Keas quotes claims of persecution by leading atheists, showing their claims irresponsibly repeat common beliefs that do not comport with history.Yet, in spite of numerous scholarly studies completed by leading scholars and science historians, the myth of Galileo persists, as is illustrated by the misleading claim in New Scientist quoted above. To many, watching the transit of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter across Jupiter’s surface with a telescope is a very lovely sight to scientists and religious people alike. Such evidence first witnessed by Galileo does not threaten their faith. The transit of Venus, a much rarer event, is both delightful and scientifically informative.The Solar System Designed for Life on EarthThe existing design of the solar system, with rocky planets near the sun and gas giants far away, is ideal for life to thrive on Earth. As far as is known, it is unique anywhere else in the universe. Thus, the Earth appears to occupy a privileged place in the solar system and, as far as known, in the universe as well. The question is, how did it get that way? In attempting to account for the origin of Jupiter and the other planets, Crane and Webb, excluding intelligent design, decided the “only way we can explain the size and disruption of the planets as they now are is if they formed somewhere else and migrated to their current positions. To move whole worlds around you need something to give them a gravitational shove.” This something, they conclude, could only have been the other planets.The Ghost of Velikovsky ReturnsAlthough Crane and Webb do not mention him for good reasons, they presented an idea eerily similar to one of the most derided theories in astronomy— that proposed by Immanuel Velikovsky. Velikovsky’s most well-known book Worlds in Collision was first published in 1950. The book postulates that around the 15th century B.C., the modern planet Venus was ejected from Jupiter and passed near the Earth, ending up where it is today. On its trip to where it is today, Venus altered Earth’s orbit and axis, causing innumerable catastrophes. The details of Crane and Webb’s theory are very different than Velikovsky’s account, of course, but the basic idea is similar. It invokes “Jupiter’s gravitational bulldozing” planets into different positions from where they formed. They call this idea astronomers’ “best guess” for how the planets moved around, producing the solar system existing today.Velikovsky’s idea of the solar system’s formation was treated so poorly in the 1950s and 1960s that the leading American science organization, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, agreed to hold a session on Worlds in Collision, in which Velikovsky was able to take part. Nonetheless, most all of the papers presented at the session were very negative towards his catastrophic views. Velikovsky’s work is frequently cited as a canonical example of pseudoscience. Yet, a team of leading cosmologists at a conference in Nice, France proposed a catastrophic theory of planet formation that is now widely accepted, including drastic rearrangements of planets that led to our present solar system. It reminds one of Velikovsky’s basic theory! What goes around comes around.ConclusionsThe Galileo mission (1989-2003) orbited Jupiter and sent a probe into the atmosphere, but raised even more questions.The main findings of the space probes Pioneer 11 and Voyagers 1 and 2, which gave scientists their first looks at the outer solar system, is that the more we learn about the universe, the more we realize “we are learning a lot about Jupiter … but it’s raising even more questions … [and showing there are] real mysteries still to be revealed….” This is a common reaction in most areas of science, especially astronomy where most of what scientists do is observe and discover, not run repeatable lab experiments like biochemists can. It is becoming clearer as research progresses that the intelligent design explanation, accepted for most of Western history, fits the facts better than the problematic materialistic explanations, which depend on luck.References Leah Crane and Richard Webb. 2019. “Hey, Big Splendour!” New Scientist. 242(3231):34-38, May 25-31. The online version was titled “By Jupiter! How the solar system’s giant made Earth ripe for life.”  Ward, Peter and Donald Browenlee. 2000. Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe. New York, NY: Copernicus Books. Grazier, Kevin R. 2016. Jupiter: Cosmic Jekyll and Hyde. Astrobiology 16(1):1-20. January. Grazier, 2016. Abstract. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/ast.2015.1321. Crane and Webb, 2019, p. 37. DeYoung, Don and John Whitcomb. 2003. Our Created Moon: Earth’s Fascinating Neighbor. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, p. 82. Crane and Webb, 2019, p. 35. Crane and Webb, 2019, p. 36. Gonzalez, Guillermo and Jay Richards. 2004. The Privileged Planet. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, p. 115. Crane and Webb, 2019, p. 35. Moy, Timothy. 2001. “Science, Religion, and the Galileo Affair” Skeptical Inquirer. 25(5):43-49, p. 45. Santillana, Giorgie de. 1955. The Crime of Galileo. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, p. 18. Keas, Michael. 2019. Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion. Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Chapter 5 Gagging Galileo. Ronald Numbers (Editor). 2009. Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths About Science and Religion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Myth 8, pp. 68-78. Lomb, Nick. 2011. Transit of Venus. 1631 to the Present. New York, NY: The Experiment, pp. 46-47. Gonzalez and Richards, 2004. Crane and Webb, 2019, p. 36. Bergman, Jerry. 2014. “Immanuel Velikovsky and the Worlds in Collision.” Investigator. No. 154, pp. 41-45, 25. January. Sagan, Carl. 1977. “An Analysis of Worlds in Collision” in Scientists Confront Velikovsky, Ed. by Donald Goldsmith. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Gordin, Michael. 2012. The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Crane and Webb, 2019, p. 37.
Peace Corps education volunteer Chris Ames with two pupils. The aim of Mathletes in South Africa is to alleviate the anxiety associated with maths by turning it into a fun competition for pupils.(Images: Peace Corps South Africa) MEDIA CONTACTS • Chris Ames Education volunteer, Peace Corps South Africa +27 76 527 2492 RELATED ARTICLES • Education at the movies • SA education project wins top award • A winning open education system • Maths and science the fun way • Science education gets a boostCadine Pillay A pair of American university graduates is giving grade six pupils at two North West province schools a shot at success by incorporating a fun contest, run over two school terms, through which they can improve their mathematics skills.Volunteers for the Peace Corps in South Africa, Chris Ames and Genna Cummins, hold BSc degrees in maths and applied sciences respectively. Ames graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, while Cummins studied at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky.After their arrival in South Africa in 2011, the two conceptualised the competition, called Mathletes for two schools where they currently volunteer, in the Thutlwane and Madibogo villages. Mathletes is based on the popular US programme aimed at getting pupils competitive in maths.Removing the anxiety from learningTheir vision for participants, says Ames, is to remove the anxiety with which pupils often approach maths. Although there is no prize for the ultimate winners, the volunteers are encouraged by the fact that the pupils’ skills will be improved.“One of the many reasons that maths skills are so poor in rural South Africa is the amount of intimidation and anxiety the subject induces in pupils,” he says.The idea of Mathletes is already well known in the US, he adds, so they thought an adaptation for South African pupils would be helpful and fun.“For many students, competition is an effective way to encourage them to learn.”Six schools participated in the contest at the beginning of the second term around April 2012, with each sending six pupils to take part in three rounds of the contest. The teams meet at a central point after school every Wednesday, which is generally dedicated to sports activities at most public schools.Each team has to win as many points for their school as possible to avoid elimination and make it to the next round. The team with the highest score at the end of the day is the winner for that week. In the first round, all of the players attempt to answer a multiplication question. The first student to answer the question correctly gains a point. In round two, the students answer questions in five different categories of varying degrees of difficulty and point values. In the third round, each team has five minutes to solve one final problem.The games are all based on the approved national curriculum for schools, Ames explains. “For this reason we had to focus on one grade when we designed the questions.”“We felt it would be best to target the highest primary school level to minimise language barriers.”The competition runs from around 1pm to 3pm, with the host school in charge of providing and setting up a projector. At least two teachers facilitate for the duration of the game, which is partly presented on Powerpoint.The only requirement for schools wishing to participate is that they be situated in the Madibogo and Setlagole areas. Those from outside these areas can contact Thutlwane Primary School to make arrangements.To keep the ball rolling, Ames and Cummins have designed a template that teachers will be able to use for the 2014 round, when the two volunteers will be back in the US. The pair will still be in South Africa for the start of next year’s contest in April.Using the template, the schools will be able to create their own games using a list of topics they should expect to be addressed in each game. Ames and Cummins also assisted teachers in the writing of maths problems to keep the challenge sustainable.Potential vs. opportunitiesWith time, the volunteers hope to create templates of the game for other grades as well. They also intend to expand the initiative to other schools within a reasonable distance, for logistical reasons. “It has always been our goal to eventually have Mathletes run by the schools themselves without our aid,” says Ames. “I see potential in the pupils in South Africa, but opportunities for them seem scarce.”“By the time we leave we hope to have provided schools and communities with sustainable development in areas where our skills and their needs meet.”About Peace CorpsThe Peace Corps programme was established in South Africa in 1997, and more than 1 050 volunteers from the US have served all around the country to date. There are currently 183 volunteers placed in different areas where their expertise in health and education services is used daily to benefit disadvantaged communities.As part of their programme, volunteers are encouraged to learn as many of South Africa’s indigenous languages as possible to help make their work easier. The education focus is usually on primary schools in the country’s rural areas, while other volunteers work in health services at community health and HIV/Aids centres as well as with home-based care organisations. As education Peace Corps volunteers, Ames and Cummins were assigned to schools, and were tasked to help improve the proficiency of pupils in certain subjects. They will be based at their schools until September 2013.
Casual Day ambassadors Benedictor Mokoena (front) and Adri Visser (back) with Alma School learner Angelique Bezuidenhout. Alma School is a school for learners with disabilities in Pretoria and one of the largest schools in the country catering to needs of disabled learners.As Disability Rights Awareness Month draws to a close, Casual Day nears the conclusion of its campaign for the year. But the work is not over, and the organisation is now setting its sights on launching its National Schools Programme for 2016.Schools across the country are encouraged to increase their involvement in the campaign by pairing up with mainstream schools in their area and pledge their support of the 2016 Casual Day campaign.Casual Day project leader Vanessa du Plessis has asked pupils, parents and teachers to make Casual Day one of the stand-out events on their calendars in 2016.Disability Rights Awareness Month began on 3 November and will run until 3 December. 3 December is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities as well as South Africa’s National Disability Rights Awareness Day.“Disability Rights Awareness Month provides South Africa with an opportunity to inspire hope and confidence in the ability of communities and the state machinery to work together in addressing the common challenges facing persons with disabilities and society in general,” explained Du Plessis.She also urged governmental bodies to ensure all public and private schools across the country made it a point to celebrate Casual Day, stating that “schools are a significant aspect of government and schools are where values and morals are inculcated”.Tshilidzini Special School in Limpopo province is the top performer in the country in raising funds for persons with disabilities.CASUAL DAYEstablished in 1995, Casual Day is the flagship project of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA).Each year, the project invites all South Africans to dress differently and wear the specially designed Casual Day sticker on an allocated day (this year’s Casual Day took place on Friday, 4 September) in exchange for a R10 donation that goes towards supporting the many organisations relying on the project.Since its creation, Casual Day has grown into one of the country’s leading fundraisers in support of disability awareness and creating a fully accessible and inclusive society for all.With the help of the general public as well as a number of corporate sponsors, Casual Day had contributed more than R222-million to the funding of organisations providing education, assistive devices, shelter and employment to the nearly 15% of the population who had disabilities, Du Plessis said.The total sum of money raised this year will be announced in February 2016.“It is important to note that government funding for NGOs working in the sector is inadequate – and that most of them survive on private donations, which means Casual Day is vital to these services,” she said, highlighting the significance of the project in meeting the needs of people who had disabilities.TIMELY INTERVENTIONA series of studies, said the Casual Day organisers, conducted by the NCPPDSA, Mpumalanga’s Department of Social Development, Statistics South Africa and Casual Day participant Disabled Children’s Action Group (DICAG) revealed the following:Only 42% of the children with disabilities identified in Mpumalanga’s Ehlanzeni, Nkangala and Gert Sibande districts were receiving rehabilitation. (Mpumalanga’s Department of Social Development)Only 33% of these children had the assistive devices they required. (Mpumalanga’s Department of Social Development)Around 59% of these children reported that their caregivers did not know how to apply for an assistive device. (Mpumalanga’s Department of Social Development)Children with disabilities were substantially less likely to attend school than their non-disabled peers. (NCPPDSA)Drop-out rates among children with disabilities that did attend school were significantly higher than those of their peers who are not disabled. (NCPPDSA)There were significant gaps in the child justice system in dealing with cases that involved children with disabilities for a number of reasons, such as witnesses being incompetent because of a break-down in communication. (DICAG)“These figures are shocking and saddening,” said Du Plessis, “but Casual Day brings a huge ray of hope, because the awareness campaign around Casual Day puts a public focus on the needs of persons with disabilities.“We do not only focus on children, but provide funding to the entire age spectrum. For example, Alzheimer’s South Africa raises funds for its research and awareness campaigns through Casual Day.”Through its holistic approach, the Casual Day campaign supports a wide range of beneficiaries including the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa, the Deaf Federation of South Africa and the South African Disability Alliance.By continuously raising awareness of the plight of people with disabilities, Casual Day has made strides in transforming our society into one that recognises the positive contributions made by people with disabilities to the country.
Through the sharp yet loving eyes of 11-year-old Lily we see the whole exotic, vivid, vigorous culture of the so-called Cape coloured community at the time when apartheid threatened its destruction. As Lily’s beautiful but angry mother returns to Cape Town, determined to fight for justice for her family, so the story of Lily’s past – and future – erupts. 1999 Disgrace by JM Coetzee (Penguin) After years teaching Romantic poetry, David Lurie, middle-aged and twice divorced, has an impulsive affair with a student. The affair sours; he is denounced and summoned before a committee of inquiry. Willing to admit his guilt, but refusing to yield to pressure to repent publicly, he resigns and retreats to his daughter Lucy’s isolated smallholding. For a time, his daughter’s influence and the natural rhythms of the farm promise to harmonise his discordant life. But the balance of power in the country is shifting. He and Lucy become victims of a savage and disturbing attack which brings into relief all the faultlines in their relationship.2000 13 Cents by K Sello Duiker (Kwela) K Sello Duiker was, before his death in 2005, widely regarded as South Africa’s most promising young writer. 13 Cents, his explosive debut, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize Best First Book Award (Africa Region) and has gone on to become a modern South African classic. 2001 The Heart of Redness by Zakes Mda (Oxford University Press) Set in the Eastern Cape, where in the 1850s, a 16-year-old prophetess Nongqawuse instructed the Xhosa nation to kill all their cattle and destroy their crops. She foretold that on an appointed day, the dead would arise, the kraals would be full of cattle, the silos full of fresh grain, and the white colonists and others who did not believe in her would be swept into the sea. Mda weaves a captivating story about a family caught up in the events of the 1850s, and their descendants’ continuing feud in the 1990s.2002 The Restless Supermarket by Ivan Vladislavic (Umuzi) It is 1993, and Aubrey Tearle’s world is shutting down. He has recently retired from a lifetime of proofreading telephone directories. His favourite haunt in Hillbrow, the Cafe Europa, is about to close its doors; the familiar old South Africa is already gone. Standards, he grumbles, are in decline, so bad-tempered, conservative Tearle embarks on a grandiose plan to enlighten his fellow citizens. The results are disastrous, hilarious and poignant.2003 Recessional for Grace by Marguerite Poland (Penguin) When a post-graduate student of African languages, looking for an angle for her doctoral thesis, comes across an obscure and incomplete lexicon of metaphorical names for indigenous Sanga-Nguni cattle by long-dead academic CJ Godfrey, she knows, instinctively, that she has found her subject. She is given access to his personal papers and field notes, recorded in a remote valley in 1946. Among his many photographs is a small print of a delicately patterned cow. In finding it, she discovers – unwittingly – a cipher to his world.2004 Dog Eat Dog by Niq Mhlongo (Kwela) Dingz, your “average Wits student”, spends most of his time with his friends, drinking and discussing current affairs – Aids, racism, South African politics and history. Set at the time of the first democratic elections, this novel offers a glimpse into the lives of the “kwaito generation”, both in the township and on campus.2005 The Promise of Happiness by Justin Cartwright (Bloomsbury) A classic novel of English life and family love. Prodigal daughter Juliet is about to be released from prison after being involved in an art theft. This brings the family back together, reopening the wounds caused by her imprisonment.2006 Coconut by Kopano Matlwa (Jacana) Coconut tells the story of black children who grow up in white neighbourhoods, go to private schools and have white friends. As is the case with any child, all that these children want is to grow, to be loved; but most importantly, to fit in. Fitting in, however, comes at the cost of one’s blackness – too white for black, and too black for white.2007 Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk, translated by Michiel Heyns (Tafelberg) On the farm Grootmoedersdrift, tragic and unexpected events are triggered by a number of fateful shifts of power and dependence in the intimate relationships between four family members.2008 Blood Kin by Ceridwen Dovey (Penguin) A chef, a portraitist and a barber are taken hostage in a bloody coup to overthrow their boss, the President. They are held in a castle high above a nameless capital city. Far below them, chaos tears through the streets. As the old order collapses, so does the network of secrets and lies that hid the brutal truth about their own dark passions.2009 The Rowing Lesson by Ann Landsman (Kwela) Betsy Klein is summoned to the bedside of her dying father in a South African hospital. Faced with having to say goodbye, she imaginatively recreates his life – his struggles to become a doctor after being orphaned young and his fight to win the respect of his Boer patients as a Jew – as well as her own experiences with him as a father.2010 Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (Jacana) Zinzi has a sloth on her back, a dirty 419 scam habit and a talent for finding lost things. But when a client turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck, she’s forced to take on her least favourite kind of job – missing persons. Set in a wildly re-imagined Johannesburg, it swirls refugees, crime, the music industry, African magic and the nature of sin together into a heady brew.2011 Young Blood by Sifiso Mzobe (Kwela) Sipho is a young man living in Umlazi, Durban. At 17, he’s a school drop-out who helps out at his father’s mechanic shop during the day. Soon Sipho’s love for fast cars and money leads him into a life of crime that brings him close to drugs, prison time and death.2012 Lost Ground by Michiel Heyns (Jonathan Ball) A richly textured novel set in contemporary South Africa. The murder of a beautiful woman shatters the rural village peace of Alfredville, and her husband, the police station commander, is jailed as chief suspect. Her cousin Peter, a freelance writer in London, returns to South Africa for the first time in decades – unsettled, curious, but also in search of a career-defining story. Lost Ground explores questions of xenophobia and prejudice, of national, sexual and personal identity, and what it means to be a foreigner wherever you go.2013 For the Mercy of Water by Karen Jayes (Penguin) In a country devastated by drought, water has become the priceless commodity over which a deadly war is being waged. When an unexpected rain leads a group of ruthless water security guards to a town long since thought abandoned, they find an old woman, identified only as Mother, and four girls in a classroom. When strange, dislocated fragments of Mother’s story appear in the media, a young writer is intrigued enough to set off on a journey to find her, a journey that will take her into the heart of a broken country in search of a truth that no one wants uncovered. The books team at the Sunday Times has put together a list of the top South African books that will give readers insight into the country’s past 20 years of democracy. We feature a selection of their award-wining and best-selling fiction titles below. To download their colourful infographic, made up of the covers of the selected “notable reads, as a high-res PDF, click here. To download a high-res image in jpg format, click here.Highlights from 20 years of fiction1994 None to Accompany Me by Nadine Gordimer (Penguin) In the extraordinary period immediately before the first non-racial election and the beginning of majority rule in South Africa, Vera Stark, the protagonist of Nadine Gordimer’s passionate novel, weaves a ruthless interpretation of her past into her participation in the present as a lawyer representing blacks in the struggle to reclaim the land.1995 Ways of Dying by Zakes Mda (Picador) In Zakes Mda’s first novel, Toloki is a “professional mourner” in a vast and violent city of the new South Africa. At a funeral for a young boy, Toloki is reunited with Noria, a woman from his village. Together they help each other to heal the past, and as their story interweaves with those of their acquaintances, this elegant short novel provides a magical and painful picture of South Africa.1996 The Year of the Tapeworm by Chris van Wyk (Pan Macmillan) Mandla “Scara” Nhlabatsi is a journalist who yearns to write “tales of fantasy and imagination”. In the small hours one morning, he is woken up from a drunken stupor by urgent knocking at the door of his tiny Sofasonke home. Scara stumbles out of bed to find the most unexpected visitors imaginable: the white President of a beleaguered government accompanied by one of his ministers. They have come to ask a favour. And so begins an uproarious sequence of adventures, stranger than any Scara’s overheated mind might have invented.1997 Kafka’s Curse by Achmat Dangor (Random House) From the award-winning poet Achmat Dangor, an imaginative reinterpretation of an old Arabic fairy tale unfolds in five magical narratives set in post-apartheid South Africa.1998 Dance with a Poor Man’s Daughter by Pamela Jooste (Transworld Publishers) Originally published by BooksLive. A selection republished here with kind permission.For the full list of both fiction and non-fiction titles – with short descriptions – visit the BooksLive blog at bookslive.co.za/blog
New Delhi: Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Pakistan is trying to escalate violence along the International Border and the Line of Control to draw attention of the world community on J&K, officials said on Thursday.Quoting intelligence inputs, a security official said terrorist infiltrations and firing from across the border are expected to increase in the coming days so that Islamabad can paint a picture of trouble in Jammu and Kashmir. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Security forces were directed to be on extra alert along the border as well as in the hinterland so that any misadventure by the Pakistan Army and Pakistan-backed terrorists could be foiled, the official said. The UNGA begins on September 17 and will be attended by most of the world leaders which, according to intercepted intelligence inputs, Pakistan thinks gives it the right opportunity to highlight the issue of J&K. Even since the special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 was abrogated on August 5, Pakistan has been approaching world powers to speak in its favour and against the Indian government’s decision. “However, barring China, no country has supported Pakistan. Hence, Islamabad will try its best to raise the Kashmir issue through escalation of violation along the border as well as in the hinterland,” another official said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe Union Home Ministry has also issued a general advisory to all states and Union Territories asking them to strengthen security in sensitive places under their jurisdiction. PM Narendra Modi will attend the UNGA session. Pakistan PM Imran Khan will also attend the annual event. Khan has been repeatedly warning the possibility of a military confrontation between the two nuclear-armed neighbours over the Kashmir issue. On Wednesday, General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Army’s 15 Corps Lt General K J S Dhillon and Additional Director General of J&K Police Munir Khan accused Pakistan of pushing infiltrators into Kashmir to carry out terrorist activities.