Sunday, October 30, 2011

36 Hours in Cape Town with New York Times

Read this week in the New York Times about Cape Town as a destination.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Youth from Soweto, Cape Town, Durban join “climate caravan” through Africa

Young activists from Soweto, Durban and Cape Town will help to blaze a new trail of awareness about climate change through Africa over the next month, as they travel from Nairobi to Durban in a “climate caravan”.

The caravan of 185 young African activists will arrive in Durban in time for a mass climate change rally hosted by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This rally will be the climax of the “We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice” campaign, led by African faith leaders, with support from their constituencies and many non-government organisations.

The rally will take place on November 27 - the day before world leaders start the COP17 climate talks in Durban. The “We Have Faith” campaigners, including the activists on the caravan, are demanding that world governments reach a just, ambitions and legally binding treaty to curb climate change at the talks in Durban.

Eight South African activists, from YMCA branches in Cape Town, Durban, Soweto, will fly to Nairobi on Sunday November 30 for the start of the caravan. The travellers aim to collect “We Have Faith” petitions and raise overwhelming support for the rally, on their journey.

They will also host several free music concerts on the way, including in Nairobi and Soweto, to highlight the danger of climate change and the need for world leaders to take action. In Soweto, rap star HHP will be one of the main artists, together with DJs from YFM radio station in Johannesburg. “This is a wonderful, amazing opportunity,” said caravan participant Davina Dawn of Kuils River, Cape Town. “I’m representing not only South African youth, but young people all over the world, as we speak out against climate change.

“We’re all coming together as one nation to make the world a better, cleaner place. This caravan is going to make us all aware that climate change is real, and if only we stand together and work together, we really can make a difference.”

Said Ayanda Mabanga, who lives in Phoenix, Durban, and works at the Student YMCA in suburb Glenwood: “Youth care about things like music, more than about serious issues like climate change – but they would care, if they really understood how important it is.

“This campaign is going to be fun. We will be using music to get young people really interested. And we really need to get this message out there.”

Nomakhaya Makhoba of Orlando East, Soweto, says local youth are well aware of climate change “because we never know what season it is in South Africa, because the weather is so strange. It’s affecting all of us, every day.

“We are so taking this issue on board, especially in Soweto,” she said. “There’s going to be a big concert here, and I hope to be singing in it, as I am a vocalist.”

“I’m so so happy – just ecstatic - about going on this caravan,” she added.

South African rap star Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP) is among the artists who will perform at the Durban rally in Durban, at which Archbishop Tutu will hand over tens of thousands of campaign petition. The chair of COP17, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, has confirmed she will receive the petitions, and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change executive director Christiana Figueres has confirmed her attendance.

For more information about the “We Have Faith” campaign, log on to , follow us on Facebook (the “Have Faith – Act Now” community) and Twitter (“COP17ActNow). Watch the YouTube video of Archbishop Tutu’s call to world leaders after signing the petition on .

For interviews with the youth, phone:

Soweto: Nomakhaya Makhoba - O790407074
Durban: Ayanda Mabanga - O793587862
Cape Town: Davina Dawn - 073 714 0245 / Rufus
For more information about the caravan, phone:
Silje Ander of Norwegian Church Aid on 072 731 7279
For information about the “We Have Faith” campaign, phone
Jo-Anne Smetherham on 082 813 6444 OR
Illa Thompson on 083 326 3234.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

COP17 Multi-faith Rally

Join world faith leaders, HHP, Lewis Pugh and many others at a multi faith rally and free concert - in sending a clear call to political leaders of the world that for the sake of the planet and in obedience to our creator, COP17 must arrive at an agreement based on moral principles.

Tickets are available from the Shark Tank ticket box, as of November 11. Contact Diakonia Council of Churches on +27 31 3103500 or email

See facebook for event details and a message from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Cape Town names its neighbourhoods

Join the move to name the downtown and surrounding areas of the City.
In an impassioned challenge, religious leaders today urged the South African government to start slashing the country's carbon emissions immediately in order to break the international logjam in climate talks and help save life as we know it.

"The government should do the right thing and set an example," said Bishop Geoff Davies, one of several faith leaders who spoke at the launch of the pan-African campaign called "We Have Faith Act Now for Climate Justice", at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town.

The campaign consists of a petition to world leaders attending the COP17 talks in Durban in December, a youth caravan that will leave Nairobi in early December bringing petitions from many African countries, and a mass rally at the King's Park Stadium on November 27 - the day before the international COP17 climate talks start in Durban.

World Design Capitals explains why Cape Town is selected as Design City 2014

The City of Cape Town lies at the southwestern tip of Africa, uniquely nestled between Robben Island and the majestic Table Mountain range, two national heritage sites. Since the end of apartheid, this city, now three times the size of New York and home to around 3,6 million people, has undertaken the process of redesigning itself. As South Africa’s oldest city and having recently hosted the first World Cup on African soil, Cape Town now has first class infrastructure and a cosmopolitan lifestyle. With the highest standard of living of all South African cities, this gateway to the African continent is rich in heritage, innovation, diversity and creative talent.

Cape Town wins design bid

Cape Town has been named World Design Capital for the year 2014, ahead of fellow short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao. The sought-after accolade was awarded to the Mother City this morning at the International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress in Taipei.

With more than half the world’s population now living in urban areas, design has become an increasingly fundamental tool to make cities more competitive, attractive, liveable and efficient. The World Design Capital designation is a city promotion project that celebrates the accomplishments of cities that have used design as a tool to reinvent themselves and improve social, cultural and economic life.

Extracts from the Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 Bid Book can be found on

View Cape Town’s winning video, premiered in Taipei at the IDA Congress, at and the video that helped Cape Town to clinch the World Design Capital 2014 title at

Other platforms for support include a Facebook page: Cape Town for World Design Capital, a Twitter feed: CapeTown2014 and the Twitter hash tag: #WDC2014.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cape Town & Beyond for the PRGN 2012

PRGN delegates to the 20th anniversary conference in Cape Town in April 2012 can view a video here about Cape Town as a destination for vacation and more. The event will be hosted by HWB Communications and Sun International.

This video courtesy Cape Town Tourism, the Official Site for Cape Town, South Africa the City's official destination marketing, visitor and industry services agency.

Cape Town for PRGN business 2012

PRGN delegates to the 20th anniversary conference in Cape Town in April 2012 can view a video here about Cape Town as a business destination. The event will be hosted by HWB Communications and Sun International.

This video courtesy Cape Town Tourism, the Official Site for Cape Town, South Africa the City's official destination marketing, visitor and industry services agency.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

MyCiTi to serve Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain

Relief is in sight for weary commuters living in the Metro South East, which includes Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain.

The City of Cape Town is planning several MyCiTi bus services for these areas, including an express service between Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain and central Cape Town.

These plans are outlined in the latest MyCiTi project report, of July 2011 which will be presented to the Transport, Roads and Stormwater Portfolio Committee on Friday morning.

New MyCiTi services are also planned for transport corridors between the Metro South East and the southern, northern and West Coast suburbs, as there is high passenger demand but no rail service along these routes.

The express service is planned to start by April 2014 and will continue until the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa finishes its planned modernisation of the Khayelitsha-to-CBD service. At that stage, the express service will be re-evaluated.

The aim of the new services is to complement the rail service as well as to serve other corridors of high demand.

View frack attack here

This music video was produced by Treasure Karoo Action Group, with lyrics and vocals by Cape Town artist Quintin "Jitsvinger" Goliath. Pete O'Donoghue and Travys Owen did the sound and the animation. The video was produced by Pippa Ehrlich.

A press release, with the lyrics and English translation, is available at

For more information, visit or email

Hip-hop the soundtrack to TKAG anti-fracking campaign

Anti- fracking video closing on on 3000 views!

A hip-hop music video about the dangers of fracking in the Karoo was launched in Cape Town today. Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) produced the animated video, along with vocalist and writer Jitsvinger (a.k.a. Quintin Goliath) as part of their campaign to create awareness about why hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) should not be allowed in South Africa.

HWB to attend Chicago conference of PRGN

HWB will be attending the conference of the Public Relations Global Network as its only African member. The conference will be taking place in Chicago from 23-25 September.

PRGN Tweet Chat -- There will be a global communications Friday 24 September via social media through a Twitter Chat. Aaron Blank @SeattleBlank, at The Fearey Group, is coordinating the event.
#PRGN Twitter Chat

Friday, September 24, 2011

6 pm – 7 pm (US Central time)


HWB welcomes new client AT Kearney SA

HWB welcomes its newest client, AT Kearney SA.

A.T. Kearney
is a global management consulting firm, focusing on strategic and operational CEO-agenda concerns. It was founded in 1926, and its head office is in Chicago, Illinois. The firm is regularly ranked among the top 15 in Consulting Magazine's annual ranking of the "Best Firms to Work For."

The firm operated within the United States since its founding in 1926, until 1964 when it opened its first international office in Düsseldorf. A.T. Kearney now has 55 offices in 38 countries.

Monday, July 25, 2011

HWB welcomes its newest client, Juta & Co

Juta is South Africa’s leading provider of trusted legal and regulatory information and the largest local publisher of quality student textbooks in the fields of Commerce, Accounting, Communications, Social Science, Health, Education and the Law.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cape Town shortlisted 2014 World Design Capital

The Mother City has passed through the straits of waiting to be included in the final round of this worldwide urban design competition. We are competing directly with the cities of Dublin and Bilbao for the title that will be announced in October in Taipei.

While we’re basking in our success, let’s also remember that now is when the real work begins.We have a bid book detailing the reasons why the ICSID team (those from the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, who judge the World Design Capital bid) chose to come to Cape Town, but it will take the combined energy of everyone involved in design to convince the delegates that we are worthy of the title. While the future is waiting, history is watching. To echo the sentiment of Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana,MD of Cape Town Partnership, winning the award – and the world’s recognition of how far we’ve come and how we’re using design to uplift the lives of everyone in the city – will be a really, really wonderful way to celebrate two decades of democracy. 2014 marks this anniversary.

If you’re curious about Cape Town Partnership’s role as curatorof this momentous exercise, follow the earlier Creative Cape Town stories tracing the steps of the bid process.

Cape Town top international destination, Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

PR is the second most stressful job

The Huffington Post: We don't need April to be labelled Stress Awareness Month to know how stressful the American workplace can be. And with fears of a double dip recession only adding top of the usual demand of performing your job at a high level, it's worse now than ever.

A recent survey conducted by CareerCast asked respondents to rank 200 different jobs based on the level of stress. To quantify workplace anxiety, the survey asked respondents to rate eleven stress factors found in the workplace: outlook/growth potential, travel, deadlines, working in the public eye, competitiveness, physical demands, environmental conditions, hazards encountered, own life at risk, life of another at risk and meeting the public.

What they found was that stress can show itself in a number of ways. For real estate agents, it's the unusual hours, while the responsibility of caring for others, as in occupations like emergency medical technicians and airline pilots, can foster more palpable stress. Among newscasters and corporate executives, instead, it's the expectations of the job that induces performance anxiety.

Here are the top ten most stressful jobs according to CareerCast.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A new slant on student accommodation

Forward-thinking developer John Schooling of STAG is reinventing the term "student digs" with the introduction of STAG Student Lodge, an innovative, hi-tech design for student accommodation that is smart, chic and affordable—and very cool and very 21st century.

There's a reason why "student digs" conjures visions of crowded apartments with mattresses on the floor and skanky kitchens, and it's not just because students lack domestic skills. The main reason is because the country is short of more than 100 000 student "beds". Statistically, this means that each year more than 15% of the student population struggle to find accommodation.

STAG CEO John Schooling says the solution to the problem required thinking beyond traditional bricks and mortar—a building method STAG has been involved in for more than 24 years. "Generally, in South Africa, we have seen bricks and mortar as OK, that it's upmarket and and anything else is downmarket. But if we look internationally, traditional building methods are not the norm."

John points out that Australia has been using light-weight steel structure construction technology for more than 70 years: South Africa's building regulators only recognised it as acceptable two years ago. Stag plans to utilise this technology to help address the student accommodation shortage.

"To build 100 000 rooms with bricks and mortar will cost anything between R32-billion to R62-billion," says John. In 2008, STAG designed a traditional, upmarket student "residence" for a local university, and they did it for R272 000 per bed—dramatically lower than any other building costs. But, as STAG discovered, this was still too expensive and that's when they began to explore new technology.

STAG wanted a 21st century solution to the problem. "We had to establish ground rules," explains John. "First, there would be no compromise on quality. It could be different and alternative but it had to be top quality and environmentally sympathetic.It needed the correct thermal qualities, sound proofing and to conform to fire regulations. We also strongly believed that a student, whether in Stellenbosch or Mpumalanga, deserves a quality student experience."

The outcome was STAG Student Lodge, using innovative, hi-tech, cost-effective design technology. STAG took the proposal to the University of Stellenbosch and it was agreed that they could build a prototype. "What we had looked for was a high-quality environmentally friendly, cost-and-time effective approach. We did this by optimising two things: first, architectural design. We moved the student to the centre of the design process and asked what does he or she need to have a quality learning experience? Second, we had to focus on the materials we used as well as the design—it needed to be cool. And, finally, we had to optimise an alternative product through product innovation."

On 1 March, they started construction in Stellenbosch. The other extreme advantage of modular light-weight steel structure technology is the speed with which a building can be constructed. John estimates that the three-storey, 30 bedroom STAG Student Lodge at Stellenbosch took eight weeks from start to finish, whereas traditional methods take more than eight months. "We needed a solution that solves the problem now," he says.

John stresses that the technology is "not a cheap solution—it's a time-and-cost effective solution, based on student needs". The end results, though, are designer smart, hi-tech, innovative student digs with an energy efficient, minimal carbon footprint.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spier top achiever at international wine competition

For the second year running, Spier was South Africa’s top achiever at the prestigious ConcoursMondial de Bruxelles – a leading international wine competition. The results were announced last night. A total of 7,386 wines and spirits from 49 countries competed in Luxembourg from May 6-8 before a hand-picked selection of some of the world’s foremost tasters.

Less than one percent of the entries were awarded a Grand Gold Medal, and Spierwas one of three South African wine farms to achieve this top honour for its Private Collection Shiraz 2008. It also achieved five Gold Medalsfor Spier Creative Block 3 2009, Spier Creative Block 5 2009, Spier Private Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Naledi Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and Groote KaapViognier 2010. A further five wines received Silver Medals.

A total 2,145 medals were awarded this year and preliminary results indicate that France retains its leadership position with 628 medals, followed by Spain (436 medals), Portugal (235 medals), Italy (184), Chile (136), South Africa (78) and Australia (43).

“We are delighted with our results and see this as a real accolade to the quality of our wines,” says Spier Cellar Master FransSmit. “It is so encouraging to see South African wines performing so well in general at this prestigious competition.”

Friday, April 22, 2011

Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) welcomes cabinet moratorium on fracking

The Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) welcomes Cabinet's decision today to invoke a moratorium on fracking; we were confident from the start that they would make the right decision and follow international best practice in this regard.

Cabinet clearly realized what other countries have realized the issue of fracking is too complex to be decided on by one single authority or one single department. A multi disciplinary team must look at an issue of this magnitude.

From our side, we will now make sure we cooperate with and give all the assistance we can to government as they make sure that every aspect of the environmental impact assessment is taken care of. We have a wealth of evidence and research in our possession which we will gladly share with government.

The TKAG remains firm on its position that fracking should not happen anywhere in South Africa.

Treasure the Karoo Action group has emerged as the co-ordinating body, representative of a broad range of stakeholders who are concerned with the plans of Oil and Mining companies to extract shale gas from the Karoo basin. Popular support can be followed and joined on Facebook and at]

Getting read for MyCiti

The City of Cape Town is alerting drivers that traffic signals will change along certain stretches of the R27 when the MyCiTi bus service starts running. This week the new signals are being unveiled and will be operational by the end of the week.

Next week, MyCiTi bus drivers will start testing buses on the R27 and drivers are asked to be alert to the new traffic signals.

City spokeswoman Kylie Hatton emphasized that delays caused by the buses will be marginal and that the greatest threat to delays at intersections is increased traffic which is exactly why MyCiTi is being introduced. "We are urging residents near the new service to use the bus service when it starts wherever possible, to help allay the rising traffic congestion in the area," she said.

The City is aiming to introduce the service in early May, subject to the conclusion of negotiations with the new vehicle operating companies and the obtaining of licenses to operate the buses. There are three aspects to the changes in traffic signals:

a. At intersections: To accommodate MyCiTi buses and pedestrians, the intersection layouts had to be modified and signal phasing and timing plans adjusted. Great care has been taken over the design of the intersections, to maximise capacity for the buses and pedestrians as well as cars.

b. Along the R27 from Racecourse Rd to Blaauwberg Road, and CBD on Hertzog Boulevard: Right-turn traffic will be stopped while the buses go straight through these intersections. Thereafter, right-turn traffic is given a flashing green arrow.

c. At the intersections between the R27 and Milnerton Road, Boundary Road, Loxton Road and Blaauwberg Road: Here there are "pre-signals" - traffic lights 60m upstream of the signalised intersection. These pre-signals are in place where the bus lane stops and the bus must enter normal traffic lanes. At the pre-signals, the traffic lights change five seconds before those at the intersection, turning red for normal traffic and green for the bus. This allows the bus to be at the front of the queue at the signalised intersection, and to enter the bus lane easily when the lane begins again.

"There is one simple rule, which applies here as on all roads - that drivers must stop when they see a red traffic light or a stop sign," Hatton said. "Drivers will now have to be on the look-out for the new traffic signals."

A trip by bus from Table View to the city centre is expected to take half an hour, in peak-hour traffic or at other times of the day and will cost users R10 for a one-way trip.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The digital pile up

SOME facts of life are just plain counterintuitive. It can be too cold to snow. Heavy things float. Martinis have calories.

Here’s another one with significantly greater import: Electronic information is tangible. The apps we use, the games on our phones, the messages we incessantly tap — all of it may seem to fly through the air and live in some cloud, but in truth, most of it lands with a thump in the earthly domain.

Because electronic information seems invisible, we underestimate the resources it takes to keep it all alive. The data centers dotting the globe, colloquially known as “server farms,” are major power users with considerable carbon footprints. Such huge clusters of servers not only require power to run but must also be cooled. In the United States, it’s estimated that server farms, which house Internet, business and telecommunications systems and store the bulk of our data, consume close to 3 percent of our national power supply. Worldwide, they use more power annually than Sweden.

But it’s not the giants like Google or Amazon or Wall Street investment banks that are responsible for creating the data load on those servers — it’s us. Seventy percent of the digital universe is generated by individuals as we browse, share, and entertain ourselves.

And the growth rate of this digital universe is stunning to contemplate.

The current volume estimate of all electronic information is roughly 1.2 zettabytes, the amount of data that would be generated by everyone in the world posting messages on Twitter continuously for a century. That includes everything from e-mail to YouTube. More stunning: 75 percent of the information is duplicative. By 2020, experts estimate that the volume will be 44 times greater than it was in 2009. There finally may be, in fact, T.M.I.

Proliferating information takes a human toll, too, as it becomes more difficult to wade through the digital detritus. We’re all breeding (and probably hoarding) electronic information. Insensitive to our data-propagating power, we forward a joke on a Monday that may produce 10 million copies by Friday — probably all being stored somewhere.

Despite the conveniences our online lives provide, we end up being buried by data at home and at work. An overabundance of data makes important things harder to find and impedes good decision-making. Efficiency withers as we struggle to find and manage the information we need to do our jobs. Estimates abound on how much productivity is lost because of information overload, but all of them are in the hundreds of millions of dollars yearly.

In the corporate realm, companies stockpile data because keeping it seems easier than figuring out what they can delete. This behavior has hidden costs and creates risks of security and privacy breaches as data goes rogue.

In addition, large corporations face eye-popping litigation costs when they search for information that may be evidence in a lawsuit — so-called e-discovery — that can add up to millions of dollars a year. Cases are often settled because it’s cheaper to just pay up. With so many resource challenges facing them, most companies postpone the effort and cost of managing their data.

Technological innovation usually carries with it the seeds that spawn solutions. The demand for power by big and small players alike is driving development of energy alternatives and data center innovation. Artificial intelligence and other more sophisticated information retrieval processes are making a dent in the cost of e-discovery and can also help rid companies of their stockpiles. Advances in cloud computing and virtual storage will help consolidate applications and data. But it might still be a question as to whether the planet can continue to feed our digital appetite. Improvements in the digital highway usually just lead to more traffic, and we’re in danger of data asphyxiation as it is.

Is there anything we can do? No one wants to give up the pleasures and benefits that the digital domain provides. But we can at least wake up to the toll that it’s taking and search for solutions. We can live a productive digital life without hoarding information. As stockholders and consumers, we can demand that our companies and service providers aggressively engage in data-reduction strategies. We can clean up the stockpiles of dead data that live around us, be wiser data consumers, text less and talk more. We can try hitting delete more often.

While some will be tempted to argue that it won’t make much of a dent, we have to give it a shot. As with any conservation effort, it’s the small actions of a large group that end up making the difference.

Shelley Podolny works for a company that advises corporations on information management. NYT 13 March 2011.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Feast and festivities at the Spier Wine Harvest Festival

On Saturday 26 February, Spier will celebrate the grape harvest on the banks of the Eerste River, in front of its acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant, Eight. The restaurant will be transformed into a market offering delectable treats to create the ultimate picnic, while the adjacent lounge will offer tastings of Spier’s award-winning premium wines.

Grab an old-fashioned basket and fill it to the brim with homemade breads, cheeses, dips, salads and cold meats. Relax with your picnic and bottles of wine under the trees while the kids play interactive games including puppet shows, magicians, face painting and popular vineyard tours via tractor. For the more energetic adults, boules and croquet will take place on the bamboo lawn.

In the Private Collection Lounge, Spier’s new MCC will be on offer with oysters, while the award-winning Spier Creative Block blends will be available for tasting outside on the stoep.

Spier’s celebrated Cellar Master, Frans Smit will bless the harvest and his winemaking team will lead the charge in the annual grape stomping challenge! Three bands will play during the day, filling the air with bluesy tunes.

The Spier Wine Harvest Festival runs from 10h00 to 16h00 and costs R60, which includesa wine glass and five tickets that can be used either for wine tastings or games. Tickets can only be purchased at Spier on the day.

For further info, visit or call 021 809 1100.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

SAIIA ranked best think thank in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2010: GLOBAL SURVEY

The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) has been rated the best think tank for 2010 in Sub-Saharan Africa. In an annual survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, SAIIA was also nominated among the top 75 think tanks globally, out of 6480 think tanks from 169 countries invited to participate in the process.

SAIIA National Director, Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, welcomed the commendation saying: “We are delighted to receive this honour for the second successive year, especially because it comes from peers across the world. I would like to acknowledge the contributions of our donors, partners, members and SAIIA staff.”

In its fourth year of publication, the “Global Go-To Think Tank” report seeks to recognise the leading public policy institutions and highlight the contributions these organisations make to governments and civil society globally. The selection criteria consider a range of factors, including, the organisation’s academic reputation, access to policymakers, media reputation and the overall output of the organisation.

Citing the United Nations Development Programme, that identifies think tanks as “[the] bridge between knowledge and power,” the 2010 Global Go-To Think Tank report also identifies a number of trends and challenges in the sector. These include how global partnerships have improved trans-national co-operation which “maximizes expertise and minimizes redundancy across countries.”

Global Go-To Think Tank 2010 [PDF]

(Tim Hughes is research fellow at SAIIA and a director of Diplocom Communications International, jointly owned by ReadDillon and HWB)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dealing With Assange and the WikiLeaks Secrets. Bill Keller NYT writes

This past June, Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian, phoned me and asked, mysteriously, whether I had any idea how to arrange a secure communication. Not really, I confessed. The Times doesn’t have encrypted phone lines, or a Cone of Silence. Well then, he said, he would try to speak circumspectly. In a roundabout way, he laid out an unusual proposition: an organization called WikiLeaks, a secretive cadre of antisecrecy vigilantes, had come into possession of a substantial amount of classified United States government communications. WikiLeaks’s leader, Julian Assange, an eccentric former computer hacker of Australian birth and no fixed residence, offered The Guardian half a million military dispatches from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. There might be more after that, including an immense bundle of confidential diplomatic cables. The Guardian suggested — to increase the impact as well as to share the labor of handling such a trove — that The New York Times be invited to share this exclusive bounty. The source agreed.

Was I interested? Read on:

Monday, January 31, 2011

Living with Fire – Addressing Global Change through Integrated Fire Management

Scientists, fire management experts and government policymakers from countries around the world will gather at Sun City in South Africa's North West province, in May for the hottest event on the international firefighting calendar.

The Fifth International Wildland Fire Conference will take place from May 9 – 13. The theme is “Living with Fire – Addressing Global Change through Integrated Fire Management.”

WILDFIRE 2011 will be held under the auspices of the United Nations’ International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and the Food and Agricultural Organisation.

Topics to be discussed at the conference include adapting to climate change in a post-Kyoto protocol period; the Mega- Fire phenomenon; cutting-edge technologies in fire detection, monitoring and fighting; how fire management programmes can help alleviate poverty in South Africa and elsewhere; how communities in many countries are preventing and fighting fires that would otherwise cause devastation, and the progress made in drawing up international agreements and guidelines for managing wildfires.

The conference, funded with assistance from the South African Government, will be held under the auspices of the United Nations’ International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and the Food and Agricultural Organisation. WILDFIRE conferences only take place every fourth year with past conferences have taken place in Seville, Sydney, Vancouver and Boston. 2011.

Please join the Wildfire 2011 Facebook page.

To do so:
Open your own Facebook page.
in the "search" line at the top of the page enter "Wildfire 2011".
The new page will open. Press the comment: "like"
Or comment on a posting
This will enable you to receive our daily updates and learn more about Wildfire 2011
Anybody can become a member of this Facebook page. We will also communicate with delegates through this Facebook page and introduce them to information about South Africa and the conference.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

HWB guested at JB Met

Friday, January 28, 2011

HWB on CNN iReport

iReport —

Former South African president, Nelson Mandela, was admitted to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Wednesday for what the Nelson Mandela Foundation called "routine tests".

It's been all-over the press and media for the last two days, but with no clarity on the matter. It's now said that authorities should just be completely open with the media/press on Nelson Mandela's hospitalisation and that they should provide
regular updates.

"They are opening themselves up to rampant speculation by not keeping the press informed," said Evelyn Holtzhausen, chief executive of Cape Town-based HWB Communications.
"The first rule of public relations is to keep the press informed."

Since then there has been a string of visitors to the former president, including his former wife, Winnie Mandela, who was seen leaving the hospital in tears earlier today.

There has been a lot of speculation since the word got, but whatever the case may be, I'm sure of one thing...the whole South Africa or more likely the whole world, are hoping & praying for Mandela's speedy recovery.

Be Open on Mandela, say PR gurus: HWB leads media on advice

(This is an edited extract of a news item that moved on the SAPA news wire today, January 27, 2011)

Authorities should be completely open with the media on Nelson Mandela's hospitalisation and provide regular updates, public relations experts said on Thursday.

"They are opening themselves up to rampant speculation by not keeping the press informed," said Evelyn Holtzhausen, chief executive of Cape Town-based HWB Communications.

"The first rule of public relations is to keep the press informed."

He was speaking as scores of journalists continued to camp outside Johannesburg's Milpark Hospital, where Mandela was admitted on Wednesday for what the Nelson Mandela Foundation said -- in a two-sentence statement -- were "routine tests".

Since then there has been a string of visitors to the former president, and a brief statement from the African National Congress giving no further information of substance.

Holtzhausen said that from a PR perspective, Mandela was an internationally-renowned statesman, and there was an obligation on his minders to keep the people of South Africa and the rest of the world aware of what was happening to him.

The media ought to respect his need for privacy, but at the same time he was a very public figure.

"They should be issuing bulletins regularly," he said.

Holtzhausen, himself a former journalist, said that from what he had seen, the media had certainly been respectful, and had not indulged in speculation.

He said he spoke on Wednesday to the editor of a large-circulation South African newspaper, who had said they was aware of the need to handle the issue very sensitively.

"There is responsibility [on the side of the media], but it's also up to the gatekeepers of Mr Mandela to show recognition of the critical role the media play," Holtzhausen said.

Holtzhausen said the number of high-profile visitors and family members who have been to see Mandela in hospital gave rise to the suspicion that his stay involved more than just "routine tests".

Source : Sapa /dbm/th

Monday, January 10, 2011

A historic literary moment: the long-overdue movement to abandon Caps Lock.

THE END IS NIGH. That's the message Google sent last week when it unveiled its new laptop, the Google Cr-48 notebook. The computer has all kinds of new features—Chrome OS, a simplified design, and free broadband. But perhaps the boldest change is Google's decision to ditch the Caps Lock key. In its place is a Search button, denoted with the image of a magnifying glass. Users can still designate the search key as the Caps Lock—they just have to take the time to change a few settings. But the default is that if you want capital letters, you have to hold down Shift.

What's most shocking about Google's announcement isn't that it's scrapping Caps Lock—it's that the button has lasted this long. Caps Lock originated with typewriters. The first typewriter to include both upper- and lowercase letters was the Remington No. 2, introduced in 1878. (Before that, typewriters printed only in uppercase. Stop shouting at me, writers of the 19th century!) Uppercase letters were typed by holding down a "shift" key that would literally shift the carriage so that a different part of the type bar—the part on which a reverse uppercase letter was printed—would hit the ribbon. The problem was, it was hard to hold down the shift key for more than a few letters. So typewriter manufacturers added a "Shift Lock" button that would keep the carriage elevated until the button was released. It was a useful innovation: Typewriters didn't have options for italics or bold or underlining, so capitalization was the only way to emphasize words.

Welcome to 2011

The offices of HWB have re-opened for the year.