14 February 2013 The government is to establish a national task team to strengthen maths and science teaching in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said in his 2013 State of the Nation Address, adding that it was time for the country to take start taking teaching seriously. Addressing Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday, Zuma also announced that he would establish a Presidential Remuneration Commission to investigate the appropriateness of the remuneration and conditions of service provided by the state to all its employees. “I have directed that the first priority should be teachers,” Zuma said.‘Elevating education to its rightful place’ “In elevating education to its rightful place, we want to see an improvement in the quality of learning and teaching and the management of schools. We want to see an improvement in attitudes, posture and outcomes. “Working with educators, parents, the community and various stakeholders, we will be able to turn our schools into centres of excellence,” he said. Noting that the country’s Grade 12 pass rate was now on an upward trend, Zuma said the Annual National Assessments (ANA) at schools hade become a powerful tool for assessing the health of the education system. “We welcome the improvement each year in the ANA results, but more must be done to improve maths, science and technology. “We urge the private sector to partner government through establishing, adopting or sponsoring maths and science academies or Saturday schools,” he added.What ‘essential service’ means The President said he wanted everyone in the country to realise that education was an essential service for the nation. “By saying education is an essential service, we are not taking away the constitutional rights of teachers as workers, such as the right to strike. “It means we want the education sector and society as a whole to take education more seriously than is happening currently.” Zuma said that 98 new schools will have been built in South Africa between March 2012 and March 2013. More than 40 of these will have replaced “mud schools” in the Eastern Cape. He added that construction of two new universities, one in the Northern Cape and one in Mpumalanga, was expected to commence in September. Source: SAnews.gov.za
Blackmagic Design has acquired high-end compositing and effects app Eyeon Fusion, marking their entrance into yet another segment of the professional film and video market.At IBC 2014, Blackmagic Design announced that they had just (seemingly literally) acquired Eyeon Software Inc, the creators of the compositing software Fusion. Is this something you should be excited about? Given the spectacular way in which Blackmagic Design transformed DaVinci Resolve into a hugely accessible color grading application, yes you should be! DaVinci Resolve used to be hugely expensive, with a semi-clunky user interface and an unituitive workflow. Now it’s freely available, sleekly designed and constantly being improved. We can only hope that history will repeat itself with Eyeon’s Fusion.So why did Blackmagic buy Eyeon? It’s a little tricky to figure out, but time will tell. The best guess is Blackmagic’s attempting to go head-to-head with with Autodesk’s Smoke and The Foundry’s Nuke – both high-end 3D compositing applications. It’s not secret that Blackmagic has aspirations to tackle film production from beginning to end: shooting (cameras), video editing, color grading, encoding, monitoring. Fusion excels at combining motion design and composition, a current void in Blackmagic’s full production pipeline.This is what Blackmagic Design president Grant Petty had to say about it in an email he sent out during IBC:For years we have been amazed by the incredible Fusion software and what an amazing feature set it has for compositing. It has been the tool used on over 1000 major Hollywood feature films and has been used on some of the most recent blockbuster movies for some of the most complex effects scenes in these movies. It’s an incredible tool and it’s really Hollywood’s secret to doing some of these major effects shots.Now we have just completed acquiring eyeon software and for us, this is extremely exciting as, similar to DaVinci, we now have a second powerful software tool that has remarkable creative power. The guys at eyeon are also excited as now we can add better sales and support for eyeon’s software tools. So I think it’s a very good match.What is Eyeon Fusion?Eyeon Fusion, now in version 7, is a high end motion graphics and visual effects compositing tool that allows you to do things like rotoscoping, keying, and generating particle systems. If you check out the feature film credits listed on the Eyeon website, you’ll soon see that it’s a trusted and reliable part of the Hollywood visual effects industry’s tool kit. In the short video above you can get a feel for Fusion by seeing how you might go about creating a 3D lower third title in the program, using it’s node-based workflow. Hopefully the interface will get an overhaul once Blackmagic’s design team get their hands on it!Currently Eyeon Fusion runs around $2,500 US per license. Will we see Blackmagic radically slash the price and improve the app, just as they did with Resolve?Why Editors Will Want To Learn FusionIn this 30 minute interview with feature film editor Alan Edward Bell you can hear his take on why Fusion is such a compelling addition to the modern editor’s tool kit. Alan uses it to perform all sorts of visible and invisible effects such as splitting performances, speeding up slow performances, creating temp effects and much more. If you’re thinking that After Effects is an easier software to learn, then Alan would argue that the node-based architecture of Fusion, instead of the layer-based workflow of After Effects, is far more efficient way to work, especially when taking creative work from one project to another.“In a layer based universe you can get work done, there’s no doubt about it, but when you go back a month later when you have no idea what you did to achieve that stunning visual effect. when you go back to that layer you’ve got all these nested effects in all these layers. It will take you hours to figure out what you did. And if you want to recreate that on another comp, it’s very hard to just take that chunk… and pull it out and add it to something else. In a node based environment that is very easy. With nodes you can see exactly where all the information is going, and what each piece is doing.”Eyeon Fusion TutorialsThere is a wealth of learning materials available from the Eyeon website to help you start creating, including an online manual, a getting started guide and a comprehensive masterclass series of tutorials. If you want even more resources then you should also check out Jason Myres helpful post over on the Lift Gamma Gain forum.
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. The league had selected Charlotte to host the 2017 All-Star game, but later moved the game to New Orleans because of the state law restricting the rights of LGBT people. However, a compromise was struck in March to partially erase the impact of the House Bill 2 law limiting anti-discrimination protections for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people.“While we understand the concerns of those who say the repeal of HB2 did not go far enough, we believe the recent legislation eliminates the most egregious aspects of the prior law,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a release. “Additionally, it allows us to work with the leadership of the Hornets organization to apply a set of equality principles to ensure that every All-Star event will proceed with open access and anti-discrimination policies.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting“All venues, hotels and businesses we work with during All-Star will adhere to these policies as well.”Despite Silver’s intentions, the Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign has concerns that no protections for non-discrimination policies for the LGBTQ community have been put in place by the Charlotte or the state. Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next More than 5,000 measles deaths in DR Congo this year — WHO Adam Silver, commissioner of the National Basketball Association announces that the 2018 NBA All-Star game will be held in Los Angeles at Staples Center during a press conference at Staples Center on March 22, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFPCHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA—The NBA All-Star game is headed back to Charlotte in 2019, a couple of years later than anticipated.The NBA announced that the All-Star weekend will be held Feb. 15-17 in Charlotte and the game will be played at the Spectrum Center, home of the Charlotte Hornets.ADVERTISEMENT Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes LOOK: Vhong Navarro’s romantic posts spark speculations he’s marrying longtime GF South Korea to suspend 25% of coal plants to fight pollution ‘Coming Home For Christmas’ is the holiday movie you’ve been waiting for, here’s why LATEST STORIES SEA Games: PH beats Indonesia, enters gold medal round in polo MOST READ Going, going, gone at French Open Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend “North Carolina’s discriminatory law prohibits the city of Charlotte from implementing non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ residents and visitors attending the All-Star Game. Nothing has changed that fact,” said HRC senior vice president for policy and political affairs JoDee Winterhof.The NBA is the latest sports entity to return events to North Carolina; the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference also are bringing events back to the state after changes were made to the law.The now-repealed House Bill 2 required transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings. That’s been dropped, but LGBT advocates have denounced the replacement law because state officials took no action barring sexual identity and gender discrimination in workplaces, restaurants and hotels and instead prohibited local governments from acting on their own.Hornets owner and longtime NBA great Michael Jordan said in a release he is “thrilled” the game is coming back to Charlotte.“We want to thank Commissioner Silver for his leadership throughout this process and for the decision to bring NBA All-Star back to Buzz City,” Jordan said in the release. “All-Star Weekend is an international event that will provide a tremendous economic impact to our community while showcasing our city, our franchise and our passionate Hornets fan base to people around the world.”ADVERTISEMENT Jordan asked Silver to keep the city in mind for 2019 after the league moved the 2017 game – hopeful the HB2 law would eventually be repealed.Silver honored that request.Hornets COO and president Fred Whitfield represented the Hornets and Spectrum Center in doing whatever he could to help facilitate a resolution, spending time meeting with legislatures and other business leaders in North Carolina.“From the very beginning I was in engaged to see if we could not only save the 2019 All-Star game, but the NCAA (basketball) regionals and the ACC Tournament, as well as concerts and events in the building,” Whitfield said. “We are operators of the building and we felt like we had to get engaged to assist to get some resolution.”Even as talks to repeal HB2 stalled at times, the Hornets continued to move forward with the league’s request to upgrade the arena.The $41 million renovation – $33.5 million of which came from the City of Charlotte – is almost complete, and has included a new scoreboard, new floor and renovations to suites and hospitality areas, among other upgrades.Charlotte previously hosted the All-Star game in 1991 at the Charlotte Coliseum, which has since been demolished.Pete Guelli, the Hornets executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, estimates a $100 economic impact for the city, but said the reputational effect will be even bigger.“This city has changed significantly since the last time it hosted a game 28 years ago,” Guelli said, “and the opportunity to showcase that on an international stage is incalculable.” Lakers win 9th straight, hold off Pelicans View comments
Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale may have died 30 years ago but some Sikhs still remember him with reverence.In fact in today’s Punjab, Bhindranwale’s cult has not vanished but grown – with many of his followers regarding him as ‘Sant Ji’ (a saint) and proudly sporting accessories and clothes bearing his photo. The craze for Bhindranwale can be gauged both from sales of his biography, and from songs, films, posters and other merchandise bearing his name. This craze is not just limited to Sikhs but extends to non-Sikhs as well.Why do Punjabis find Bhindranwale relevant today?The answer perhaps lies in the roots of the circumstances that transformed a simple village boy into a dedicated preacher and then a separatist leader. Punjab, during the early eighties, was passing through a phase of change. The lure to migrate to Western countries had compelled people to adopt all methods of ‘Kabutarbazi’, leading them to fall prey to greedy travel agents. Unemployment and crop failure were pushing the society towards a state of despair. THIS was the time Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale appeared on the horizon. Born on February 12, 1947, at the village of Rode in Faridkot, to Joginder Singh and Nihal Kaur, Jarnail Singh had little formal education but soon became a religious scholar. He remained in his village till the age of 11. He married Pritam Kaur in 1966 and fathered two sons named Ishar Singh and Inderjeet Singh, born in 1971 and 1975, respectively. On August 25, 1977, Bhindranwale was made the 14th head of Damdami Taksal, the 300-yearold Sikh educational organisation located in Chowk Mehta, 25 km from Amritsar. He headed this organisation till he was killed on June 6, 1984. Jarnail Singh followed the footsteps of previous heads and toured to distant places to promote Sikhism. His Amrit Prachar was a resounding success as he asked people to give up liquor, tobacco and drugs.advertisementTo rein in the rampant pornography, Bhindranwale’s followers stormed cinema-houses and rural video parlours and seized obscene films. The result: thousands of Sikhs were reinitiated into their faith, and people returned to gurdwaras in large numbers. People also started spending more time in their fields. As a result, Jarnail Singh came to be revered by his followers as Baba Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale. However, even in those early days, Bhindranwale had a penchant for violence. On April 13, 1978, he organised a protest to stop the assembly of Nirankari Mission in Amritsar. Unfortunately the peaceful protest turned out to be a violent one when Nirankari gunmen allegedly killed 13 unarmed Sikh protesters and left 78 injured. Bhindranwale was made a prime suspect in the assassination of the Nirankari mission head Gurbachan Singh’s which took place on April 24, 1980.He was also accused of the murder of Lala Jagat Narain, killed on September 9, 1981. Jarnail Singh was arrested on September 20, 1981 but released after 25 days. These incidents had wider repercussions as they created a rift between Hindus and Sikhs. While Sikhs were dubbed as ‘anti-national’ and ‘anti-Hindu’ Jarnail Singh stated the government was discriminating against Sikhs who, according to him, were still being treated as ‘slaves.’ The result was the demand for a separate Sikh nation – Khalistan.Khalistani terrorists started killing Hindus and the exodus of Hindus from Punjab began as the cracks widened between the two communities. Interestingly, while many believe Bhindranwale was behind the demand Khalistan, in truth is that he neither supported nor rejected this demand. Suffice to say the law and order situation in Punjab deteriorated and Jarnail Singh and his entourage moved to the Golden Temple complex (Akal Takht). He allegedly fortified the temple with heavy machineguns.The Sikh clergy objected but Jarnail Singh got political patronage from Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the then President of the SGPC.The rest is history.What does Bhindranwale and the scenario of the 1980s have to do with today’s Punjab?Quite a lot.Firstly, Bhindranwale is very much alive in the minds of some Sikhs. Radical Sikh singers like K.S. Makhan have sung songs in his praise and his popularity as a reformer and warrior is not going to go away easily. Secondly, the Punjab of today is facing many of the problems that gripped the state in the 1980s. Failed crops, poor revenue generation and faulty fiscal planning has derailed the state’s economy, with unemployment at an all time high. Vices like drugs and alcoholism are coming back to haunt the state. Some here hold the belief today’s scenario calls for another Bhindranwale.