Helping Angola’s refugees return

first_img5 June 2006South Africa, Angola and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) have launched a campaign to encourage and assist Angolan refugees in South Africa to return home.Most of the estimated 460 000 Angolans who fled their country during 27 years of war – plus millions more displaced inside Angola – have returned home since a 2002 agreement between the Angolan government and the Unita rebel movement opened the way for reconstruction and reconciliation.Most of the nearly 100 000 refugees still outside the country are in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but an estimated 14 000 Angolan refugees and asylum seekers are living in various parts of South Africa.The repatriation is completely voluntary, but help from the UNHCR will end in October, when the rainy season in Angola makes travel difficult.Assistance offered by the commission includes free air tickets for refugees and zero taxes on belongings brought into Angola.About half the Angolans who could receive repatriation assistance are registered refugees and the rest are asylum seekers who have not yet been processed.“We hope Angolans here in South Africa will use the opportunity as a passport to get another chance to contribute to the betterment of their country,” Jeff Maqetuka, director-general of the Department of Home Affairs, told journalists at the launch of the programme in Pretoria last month.“Even though the programme is voluntary, we would really want to encourage our fellow friends, brothers and sisters to embrace this opportunity to go and contribute towards the rebuilding of their country,” Maqetuka said.UNHCR spokesperson Phumla Rulashe told BuaNews that over 3 500 Angolan refugees that had settled in countries such as Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo had already been encouraged to return home as their country was now geared for stability.Abel Mbilinyi, UNHCR deputy regional representative for South Africa, said that voluntary repatriation “remains one of the best options for the UNHCR and refugees because it ends the cycle of exile.”As the number of remaining refugees dwindles, the UNHCR has shifted its focus from repatriation to reintegration programmes in Angola for those who have returned.This year it has prepared detailed studies in Angola of the areas of greatest return, setting the priorities for development spending to ensure that returnees find life in their home areas reporter and BuaNews Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

South African exile art comes home

first_img18 February 2009South Africans in exile are the focus of a four-month retrospective at the Johannesburg Art Gallery – “probably one of the major highlights of the year” for the gallery, according to the head curator, Clive Kellner.The Thami Mnyele and Medu Art Ensemble Retrospective Exhibition opened on 30 November and runs until 30 March 2009.It is a tribute to the exiled South Africans who formed the Medu Art Ensemble in Botswana. “We want to pay homage to them for having used their courage, vision and artistic creativity to fight apartheid,” explains Kellner. The exhibition is an extraordinary account of an artistic community in exile that used its talent to speak about the conditions in their country.Zoopy TV: The Thami Mnyele and Medu Art Ensemble Retrospective Exhibition takes a look at how the fight against the apartheid machine was waged through the arts. Click arrow to play video.On show are the graphic artworks of Thami Mnyele, whose works are considered seminal to the South African art scene. An anti-apartheid stalwart, Mnyele was murdered by the apartheid government more than two decades ago.Along with works by Mnyele and other visual artists, there are poems and music. A big exhibition, it “records the struggles we had to go through in striving for a better nation,” Kellner says.The exhibition covers several rooms at the gallery, each dedicated to a specific medium, including drawings, graphics, fine arts, biographies, posters, paintings, sculptures, newsletters, documentary films, photographs, and conference papers, among others.Thami MnyeleThamsanqa “Thami” Mnyele was born in Alexandra, Johannesburg; growing up in the township, he used art to voice his concerns about South Africa’s political landscape. He was the third of five children; his father was a minister and his mother was a domestic worker.Because of his active role in politics, Mnyele was exiled to Gaborone, in Botswana. He was killed in 1985 during a cross-border raid orchestrated by the South African Defence Force (SADF). He died less than a day before he was due to relocate to Zambia. He was 37.A large collection of his art, created while in exile, was packed into a portfolio, which the SADF confiscated. The collections were later screened on SABC television by the SADF officer, Craig Williamson, as part of evidence of Mnyele’s “terrorist” activities. Those works have never been recovered.Medu Art EnsembleWhile in Botswana, Mnyele worked with the Medu Art Ensemble, which was co-founded by his friend, Mongane Wally Serote, and was dedicated to the anti-apartheid struggle. Later, it redirected its focus to music, theatre, graphics and cinema.Deputy President Baleka Mbete and musicians Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa were schooled here. Medu’s active involvement in politics led to the ensemble being targeted by the apartheid security units.In 1984, in his unpublished autobiography, Mnyele wrote: “For me as craftsman, the act of creating art should complement the act of creating shelter for my family or liberating the country for my people. This is culture.”He added: “Our work hasn’t yet developed above the mere stage of protest. We’re still moaning and pleading. And even that we do with inferior craftsmanship and insincerity. We must partake actively in the struggle to paint sincerely.”Today, the Thami Mnyele Foundation’s residency programme for African artists in Amsterdam, Holland, continues to bear testament to the late artist’s far-reaching influence.The Johannesburg Art Gallery is on King George Street in Joubert Park; it is bordered by Wolmarans and Noord streets and is open to the public on Tuesdays through Sundays from 10am to 5pm.For more information about the Thami Mnyele and Medu Art Ensemble Retrospective Exhibition, contact the gallery on +27 (0)11 725 3130.Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

How to Create Your Own Adversity

first_imgSome people think of adversity as something negative. They believe trying events or circumstances are something to be avoided as if that were even possible. Mistakenly, they believe that adversity is all bad, that it’s not good to have to struggle. Nothing could be further from the truth; adversity is what shapes you.Real adversity would be the lack of adversity. If nothing causes you to dig deep, to discover how powerful you are, and to overcome difficult circumstances, you never realize what kind of stuff you are really made of. If you are never required to exercise your intestinal fortitude, your courage, your willingness to trudge forward against unimaginable resistance, you don’t develop into the best version of yourself, the you that you are capable of becoming.Create AdversityWhen you don’t have enough adversity, you have to create it for yourself, lest you weaken, wither, and wilt away to something less than who you really are. You have to challenge yourself, stretch yourself, and take risks.If what you are doing right now is not allowing you to do the purposeful, meaningful work you were put here to do, then you have to create the adversity that comes with actually changing your life in ways that allow you to do what you put here to do. For most of us, this idea itself, and what it means for us, creates adversity.Are you comfortable where you are now? Are you happy? If this you are, you need new goals,new initiatives, and projects to go with them. If you aren’t petrified by what you write down as your goals, you are not manufacturing real adversity. If you believe you can easily accomplish your goals, you aren’t playing full out.Growth, development, and progress are vital human needs. We need something to push back against. If you aren’t challenged, you have to challenge yourself. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now What kind of adversity do you need right now?What is going to stretch you beyond your present capabilities?What is going to force you to grow?last_img read more

Amber Fort’s Maotha lake to get a new lease of life

first_imgThe charm of the Maotha lake situated outside the historic Amber Fort, near here, will be restored with its replenishment with water supplied from Banas river’s Bisalpur dam. The lake, which collects rain water flowing down from the nearby hills, has at present very little water after it remained dried-up for several months.The picturesque lake, which has the “Kesar Kyari” garden in its middle, was the main source of water for the Amber Palace and common people before the erstwhile royal capital was shifted to the newly-built Jaipur city in 18th century.The Water Resources Department’s plan to fill up the lake artificially will improve the ground water recharge, help in the supply of drinking water to the residents of Amber town and provide water to wild animals in the region. This is the second such exercise being undertaken after 2012 to revive traditional water sources and restore environmental balance.Public Health Engineering Department’s Principal Secretary Sandeep Verma said here on Tuesday that the Bisalpur dam in Tonk district, which was full to the brim after an increase in water inflow from its catchment areas during monsoon, was the “natural choice” as source of water for Maotha lake. The dam is currently supplying water to Jaipur, Tonk and Ajmer towns.Mr. Verma said the Maotha lake’s capacity was 300 million litres, which was equivalent to one day’s water supply from Bisalpur to Jaipur. “The water body’s replenishment will increase the water table of local sources by about 5 metres, which will give a major relief to the town’s residents,” he said.‘No adverse impact’ Mr. Verma said there was no possibility of adverse impact by the supply of water to Maotha lake on the availability of drinking water in Jaipur and other towns, for which the Bisalpur dam had emerged as a lifeline during the last decade.last_img read more

Duchess Of Cambridge Announced As Charity Patron

first_img“The Duchess’ support will help Place2Be hugely in its efforts to shine the spotlight on child mental health, and on the need to tackle these issues at the earliest possible stage, so that children have the brightest possible futures, as they deserve.

“By helping to raise awareness of Place2Be’s early intervention work in schools, The Duchess will also help the charity to reach even more of the UK’s most vulnerable children and their families who so desperately need support.”The Duchess also announced she is to be patron of SportsAid. SportsAid helps talented British athletes from the age of 12 who compete in more than 70 sporting disciplines, the majority of which are contested at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. These athletes are nominated to the charity by their sports’ governing bodies based on their performance, commitment and potential. Around 1,500 of them receive a SportsAid Award – which is typically £1,000 per athlete – each year. Past recipients include Sir Bradley Wiggins, Ellie Simmonds OBE, Tom Daley, Baroness Grey-Thompson, Jessica Ennis CBE, David Weir CBE and Rebecca Adlington OBE.Tim Lawler, the charity’s chief executive said, “This is fantastic news for young sports people throughout the UK and especially for those who hope one day to represent the country at the highest level of their sport.“I can think of no greater endorsement of SportsAid than for me to be able to welcome Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge as the charity’s patron. As a champion of future champions she will make a big difference to young athletes, helping them to tell their inspirational stories and maintain the support they need.”SportsAid alumnus Sir Chris Hoy said, “SportsAid played an important role when I was starting out so I know what a huge boost this will be to the young sportsmen and women the charity helps today. As patron Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge will give them the profile they deserve.”SportsAid alumna Rebecca Adlington OBE added, “This is just brilliant news! What a fantastic boost to SportsAid’s work with our next generation of talent. It will certainly help to maintain a living legacy from London 2012.” The Duchess of Cambridge has announced that she has become patron for several more charities.Place2Be is proud to announce that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has become Royal Patron of Place2Be.The Duchess’ decision to support Place2Be is a reflection of her personal interest in and commitment to improving the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children in the UK.

Benita Refson OBE, Chief Executive and Founding Trustee, said: “Place2Be is hugely honoured that The Duchess of Cambridge has chosen to become our Royal Patron.

“This is a tremendous endorsement of the tireless work and commitment of our staff, volunteer counsellors and supporters, as well as of the partner schools with whom we work to help troubled children to overcome emotionally difficult times in their lives.last_img read more

The Governor General Hosts the Prime Minister and Members of His Cabinet

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, December 12, 2017 – Nassau – Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling hosted the Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet to the Annual Cabinet Ministers Christmas Luncheon at Government House on Monday, December 11, 2017.Pictured in the Drawing Room seated with Dame Marguerite are Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis (centre left) and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs the Hon. Carl Bethel (centre right).  Also pictured from left are: Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames, Minister of Works the Hon. Desmond Bannister, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources the Hon. Renward Wells, and Minister of the Public Service and National Insurance the Hon. Brensil Rolle.  Standing from left: Minister of State in the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Hon. Elsworth Johnson, Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Hon. Kwasi Thompson, and Minister of the Environment and Housing the Hon. Romauld Ferreira.(BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson)Photo caption:Insert: The Governor General, Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling gives welcome greetings to the Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis (second left), and members of his Cabinet at the Annual Christmas Luncheon at Government House, December 11, 2017.(BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay) Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:last_img read more

Adam Savage teams up with Peter Jackson and NASA for Savage Builds

first_imgIn the premiere episode, Savage calls on Richard Browning, the inventor and chief test pilot of the Gravity Jet Suit, which is powered by five 1,000-horsepower mini jet engines, to help get Savage’s titanium Marvel Studios’ Iron Man-inspired suit to actually fly.In another episode, Savage will attempt to create a working version of one of history’s most notorious engineering failures — the British military’s World War II rocket-propelled explosive weapon, the Great Panjandrum. NASA engineer Adam Steltzner is on hand to help Savage with the design.Science ChannelAdam Savage sits in his Mad Max-inspired car on Savage Builds. Reilly Savage/Science Channel Roboticist Simone Giertz and maker Laura Kampf also help Savage build three Mad Max-inspired, post-apocalyptic monsters of destruction using only materials they can find from a metal scrapyard. Savage also forges his own version of King Arthur’s legendary sword Excalibur — using the iron from a meteorite; builds a multi-functional weapon inspired by the classic film The Fifth Element with help from actor Gary Oldman; and visits Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson to see his WWI fighter planes collection and perform a high-tech and high-flying aerial plane dogfight.Savage Builds debuts on June 12 on Science Channel and later on Discovery. Richard Browning lands in front of Adam Savage wearing his Gravity Jet Suit. Science Channel If you’ve been missing the science hijinks of MythBusters, the former host Adam Savage has returned to TV with a new maker series called Savage Builds.The eight-episode Science Channel series features Savage making epic creations like a 3D-printed titanium suit of armor inspired by the Iron Man films and actually flies.Each Savage Builds episode will focus on one project as Savage collaborates with experts, colleagues and friends who include filmmaker Peter Jackson, actor Gary Oldman, and former MythBusters cast member Tory Belleci, to name a few. Comment Tags Share your voice 2019 TV shows you can’t miss 50 Photoscenter_img Former MythBusters host Adam Savage back on TV with Savage Builds MythBuster Adam Savage builds ‘The Martian’ spacesuit Adam Savage cosplays as Chewbacca with C-3PO in tow 1 TV and Movies More Adam Savage NASAlast_img read more

Best game engines for Artificial Intelligence game development

first_img“A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human” — Alan Turing It is quite common to find games which are initially exciting but take a boring turn eventually, making you want to quit the game. Then, there are games which are too difficult to hold your interest and you end up quitting in the beginning phase itself.  These are also two of the most common problems that game developers face when building games. This is where AI comes to your rescue, to spice things up. Why use Artificial Intelligence in games? The major reason for using AI in games is to provide a challenging opponent to make the game more fun to play. But, AI in the gaming industry is not a recent news. The gaming world has been leveraging the wonders of AI for a long time now. One of the first examples of AI is the computerized game, Nim, was created back in 1951. Other games such as Façade, Black & White, The Sims, Versu, and F.E.A.R. are all great AI games, that hit the market long time back. Even modern-day games like Need for Speed, Civilization, or Counter-Strike use AI. AI controls a lot of elements in games and is usually behind characters such as enemy creeps, neutral merchants, or even animals. AI in games is used to enable the non-human characters (NPCs) with responsive, adaptive, and intelligent behaviors similar to human-like intelligence. AI helps make NPCs seem intelligent as they are able to actively change their level of skills based on the person playing the game. This makes the game seem more personalized to the gamer. Playing video games is fun, and developing these games is equally fun. There are different game engines on the market to help with the development of games. A game engine is a software that provides game creators with the necessary set of features to build games quickly and efficiently. Let’s have a look at the top game engines for Artificial Intelligence game development. Unity3D Developer: Unity Technologies Release Date: June 8, 2005 Unity is a cross-platform game engine which provides users with the ability to create games in both 2D and 3D. It is extremely popular and loved by game designers from large and small studios alike. Apart from 3D, and 2D games, it also helps with simulations for desktops, laptops, home consoles, smart TVs, and mobile devices. Key AI features: Unity offers a machine learning agents toolkit to the game developers, which help them include AI agents within games. As per the Unity team, “ machine Learning Agents Toolkit (ML-Agents) is an open-source Unity plugin that enables games and simulations to serve as environments for training intelligent agents”. Unity AI – Unity 3D Artificial Intelligence The ML-Agents SDK transforms games and simulations created using the Unity Editor into environments for training intelligent agents. These ML agents are trained using deep Reinforcement Learning, imitation learning, neuroevolution, or other machine learning methods via Python APIs. There’s also a TensorFlow based algorithm provided by Unity to allow game developers to easily train intelligent agents for 2D, 3D, and VR/ AR games. These trained agents are then used for controlling the NPC behavior within games. The ML-Agents toolkit is beneficial for both game developers and AI researchers. Apart from this, Unity3D is easy to use and learn, compatible with every game platform and provides great community support. Learning Resources: Unity AI Programming Essentials Unity 2017 Game AI programming – Third Edition Unity 5.x Game AI Programming Cookbook Unreal Engine 4 Developer: Epic games Release Date: May 1998 Unreal Engine is widely used among developers all around the world. It is a collection of integrated tools for game developers which helps them build games, simulations, and visualization. It is also among the top game engines which are used to develop high-end AAA titles. Gears of War, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Mass Effect are some of the popular games developed using Unreal Engine. Key AI features: Unreal Engine uses a set of tools which helps add AI capabilities to a game. It uses tools such as behavior Tree, navigation Component, blackboard asset, enumeration, target point, AI Controller, and Navigation Volumes. Behavior tree creates different states and the logic behind AI. Navigation Component helps with handling movement for AI. Blackboard Asset stores information and acts as the local variable for AI. Enumeration creates states. It also allows alternating between these states. Target Point creates a basic Path node form. The AI Controller and Character tool is responsible for handling the communication between the world and the controlled pawn for AI. At last, the Navigation Volumes feature creates Navigation Mesh in the environment to allow easy Pathfinding for AI. There are also features such as Blueprint Visual Scripting which can be converted into performant C++ code, AIComponents, and the Environment Query System (EQS) which provides agents the ability to perceive their environment. Apart from its AI capabilities, the Unreal engine offers the largest community support with lifetime hours of video tutorials and assets. It is also compatible with a variety of operating platforms such as iOS, Android, Linux, Mac, Windows, and most game consoles. But there are certain inbuilt-tools in Unreal Engine which can be hard for beginners to learn. Learning resources: Unreal Engine 4 AI programming essentials CryEngine 3 Developer: Crytek Release Date: May 2, 2002 CryEngine is a powerful game development platform that comes packed with a set of tools and features to create world-class gaming experiences. It is the game engine behind games such as Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, SNOW, etc. Key AI features: CryEngine comes with an AI system designed for easy creation of custom AI actors. This is flexible enough to handle a larger set of complex and different worlds. The core of CryEngine’s AI system is based on lots of scripting. There are different AI elements within this system that add the AI capabilities to the NPCs within the game. Some of these elements are AI Actions which allows the developers to script AI behaviors without creating new code. AI Actors Logger can log AI events and signals to files. AI Control Objects use AI object to control AI entities/actors. AI Debug Draw is the primary tool offered by CryEngine for information on the current state of the AI System and AI actors. AI Debugger registers the inputs that AI agents receive and the decisions that they make in real-time during a game session. AI Sequence system works in parallel to FG and AI systems. This helps to simplify and group AI control. CryEngine offers the easiest A.l. coding of any tech currently on the market. Since CryEngine is relatively new as compared to other game engines, it does not have a very flourishing community yet. Despite the easy AI coding, the overall learning curve of Unreal Engine is high. Panda3D Developer: Disney Interactive until 2010,  Walt Disney Imagineering, Carnegie Mellon University Release Date: 2002 Panda3D is a game engine, a framework for 3D rendering and game development for Python and C++ programs. It includes graphics, audio, I/O, collision detection, and other abilities for the creation of 3D games. Key AI features: Panda3D comes packed with an AI library named PandAI v1.0. PandAI is an AI library which provides ‘Artificially Intelligent’ behavior in NPC (Non-Playable Characters) in games. The PandAI library offers functionality for Steering Behaviors (Seek, Flee, Pursue, Evade, Wander, Flock, Obstacle Avoidance, Path Following) and path finding (helps the NPCs to intelligently avoiding obstacles via the shortest path ). This AI library is composed of several different entities. For instance, there’s a main AIWorld Class to update any AICharacters added to it. Each AICharacter has its own AIBehavior object for tracking all the position and rotation updates. Each AIBehavior object has the functionality to implement all the steering behaviors and pathfinding behaviors. These features within Panda3D gives you the ability to call the respective functions. Panda3D is a relatively simple game engine which lets you add AI capabilities within your games. The community is not as robust and has a low learning curve. AI is a fantastic tool which makes the entities in games seem more organic, alive, and real. The main goal here is not to copy the entire human thought process but to just sell the illusion of life. These game engines provide the developers with the entire framework needed to add AI capabilities to their games. The entire game development process is more fun as there is no need to create all systems including the physics, graphics, and AI, from scratch. Now, if you’re wondering about the best AI game engines out of the four mentioned in this article then there is no specific answer to that as selecting the best AI game engine depends on the requirements of your project. Read Next Game Engine Wars: Unity vs Unreal Engine Unity switches to WebAssembly as the output format for the Unity WebGL build target Developing Games Using AIlast_img read more