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: