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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Madiba we love you

That wonderful elder statesman Nelson Mandela was honoured yesterday by the unveiling a statue yesterday in London's Parliament Square. There are many statues in our Nation's Capital, but this is, I think one of the most deserving to be remembered in this way.
Its creator, the British sculptor Ian Walters, did not live to see it being unveiled. He died last year.
Amid shouts of "we love you" from the crowd that thronged the road and hung from office block windows, the 89-year-old former South African president and his third wife, Graca Machel, made a dame for her own humanitarian work, were visibly moved at the reception.
Despite being supported by a cane, Mr Mandela took to the stage to address the crowd. He said: "We never dreamed we would all be here today. Though this statue is of one man, it should in actual fact symbolise all those who have resisted oppression, especially in my country."
[Daily Telegraph on line]
Mandela still has much to do, not least in trying to persuade his successor, President Thabo Mbeki who has been a scandalous failure to confront the scourge of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. And there are worrying signs that the situation is about to get worse. Last week, South Africa’s deputy health minister, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, was fired by President Mbeki.
Madlala-Routledge was one of the driving forces behind a plan to extend anti-retroviral treatment to 80 percent of those with AIDS by 2011. This focus is exactly what South Africa’s AIDS program had been lacking. But now Madlala-Routledge has gone, there is a serious danger that the momentum toward this goal will be lost.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Back again to Wales

Another trip to the land of Wales earlier this month and hundreds of photos taken at or around Lake Vyrnwy, the River Vyrnwy, Pontrobert and Llanfyllin. Pontrobert Watermill was the retirement home of my grandparents, Bob and Margaret Jones and my regular holiday destination for most if not all of my early years. Here is the long pool on the Vyrnwy about 200m below the mill house.
The link to my Picasa collection is here. - Sheryl - look at the pic of the tapestry in the church at Llanfyllin!

My Tango Photographs

The sound and the sight of the Tango is all over Buenos Aires but particularly around La Boca near the old port and in the heat of the sun.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Demise of the Yangtze River Dolphin

Sad news today from various sources confirming the first large mammal extinction for many years and the first cetacean extinction through human activity despite recent and high profile efforts to save it. The species is the Baiji or Yangtze River Dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer). See New Scientist link. Other river dolphin species from the Amazon and from the Ganges are also on threatened species lists.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tom Russell

Another excellent musical evening at St Bonaventure’s last night. We went to see the incomparable American singer Tom Russell who was accompanied by the excellent Michael Martin as second guitar and mandolin. The hall was packed, with chairs for only about half of the appreciative audience. Those without, sat on the floor or stood for the whole performance in a very warm and sometimes airless room. No one seemed to mind and we were encouraged to join in lusty and fun choruses. There can be no other singer-songwriters to come up with the one word chorus “Criminologist!” which refers to Tom Russell’s own early career.