To build South Africans’ pride in the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage, South African National Parks (SANParks) is offering free entry to citizens during SANParks Week. It runs from 12 to 16 September.“When people take pride in the national parks, they will start to understand the importance of conservation,” said SANParks acting head of communications, William Mabasa.#FreeAccess to National Parks starts in 2 weeks. Which Park will you be visiting? https://t.co/LrfOWBBpBL pic.twitter.com/xnfKFLkVGn— SANParks (@SANParks) August 30, 2016Started in 2006, the theme of the week this year is “Know your national parks”. Access to the parks is free to South Africans with a valid identity document; however, entry will also be free to children under the age of 16 without proof of identity.“It should be noted that the free access to the parks will not include accommodation and any commercial activities in the park such as guided safaris in vehicles or guided walks, etc,” said SANParks.Mabasa said this year’s SANParks Week would include exhibitions showcasing the myriad geographical regions of the parks. “The expo will include cultural, conservation, nursery and tourism aspects from the community, rangers and various conservation entities in order to highlight the broader South African biodiversity landscape.”Click here for a detailed list of the parks taking part in the initiative.Source: SANParks and South Africa.info reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using SouthAfrica.info material
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest In his year of service as the United Soybean Board (USB) chairman, John Motter of Hancock County has enjoyed many incredible experiences in his travels around the world representing the nation’s soybean growers.One of his fondest memories of the year took place fairly recently. During the beautiful stretch of October weather for harvesting in the combine cab back home, Motter donned a suit and tie for the 2017 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa.The event recognized the winner of the 2017 World Food Prize and brought together international leaders, farmers, agribusiness executives, non-governmental organizations, and development experts to address the most critical issues facing global food security.“My No. 1 favorite was the World Food Prize event. Norman Borlaug’s granddaughter was there and we had people from six continents and 55 countries and 50 different languages all working to reduce starvation and to make real differences in people’s lives,” Motter said. “It was during harvest, so there were not many farmers there, but it was an incredible experience.”Another highlight for Motter was seeing years of research come to fruition in the form of an improved product and a new market for soybeans.“The Goodyear announcement at the Farm Progress Show in August was special. After six years of research we now have soybean oil in the tread of a tire,” Motter said. “WeatherReady tires are now available for 77% of the passenger vehicles in North America and they outperform the tires on your car today. Soybean oil helps with the performance.”The tires feature a soy-based rubber compound, bringing forward yet another market opportunity for soybean oil and, in return, a profit opportunity for soybean farmers. The announcement of the all-season, innovative line of tires was made possible in part by the soy checkoff.“Goodyear and the soy checkoff share something special: a commitment to innovation,” Motter said. “When we started working with them more than six years ago, it was just an idea, a way to build demand for soybean oil. Now, we have a tire that shows what soy can do on the road.”Goodyear’s interest in soybean oil included a look at sustainability, a priority for many corporations throughout the United States. But, along with increased sustainability, they also found competitive advantage. Rubber compounds made with soybean oil remain soft at lower temperatures, leading to enhanced traction in dry, wet and winter conditions.“As we develop great products that anticipate and respond to the needs of consumers, soybean oil was one of the technologies enabling us to meet a challenging performance goal,” said Eric Mizner, Goodyear’s director of global material science.Improving products and creating new soy markets fit right in with the goals of the USB.“Businesses looking to use soy, even if for sustainable purposes, want to see not only a price-competitive product, but one that functions the same or better than their original product,” Motter said. “That’s why the checkoff works with companies such as Goodyear to test soybean oil and confirm its characteristics, so we can increase demand for our product and ultimately increase our profit opportunities.”Goodyear’s Assurance WeatherReady tire is now offered in a wide range of sizes for cars, minivans and SUVs on the road today.Motter has gotten to learn about agriculture in Australia, meet global food industry leaders, and get the behind-the-scenes perspective of the incredible innovation taking place with soy products. But, as it is with most things, the experiences of the last year have been incredible for Motter not just in terms of the places he has been, but also with the relationships he has developed.“What I have gotten as chairman that I wouldn’t have at another position is the industry connections,” Motter said. “We see bunches of different people and contacts and build relationships. I have a whole book of business cards. I have tried to keep track of who I met and the circumstances I got to know them.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked Diwali 2017 by visiting the Gurez sector near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.In what has become a tradition of sorts, PM Modi spent the Diwali greet troops of the Indian Army and the Border Security Force, distributing sweets and gifts to the jawans and officers whom he called “his family”.Clad in an Army jacket and sporting sunglasses, PM Modi addressed the troops in Gurez, saying, “When I greet you and shake hands with you, you may think it is just a formality. But for me, it isn’t just a formality. I get energised when I meet you and see the penance and sacrifice you make amid harsh conditions.”#WATCH: PM Narendra Modi celebrate #Diwali with jawans in Gurez Valley, near LoC, in J&K pic.twitter.com/gu2HxLRtq0- ANI (@ANI) October 19, 2017Speaking about Diwali, PM Modi said that, like everybody else, he too wishes to spend the festival with his family. And so, the prime minster said, he had come to meet the jawans of the armed forces in order to spend Diwali with “his family.”PM Modi, whose comments were put up on his blog on NarendraModi.in, brought up yoga during his trip to Gurez, saying he had been told how the soldiers posted there regularly practised yoga.Practising yoga will enhance your abilities, and give you a sense of calm, PM Modi told the gathered soldiers. PM Modi went on to say that the jawans, after leaving the armed forces, could become excellent yoga trainers.advertisementPM @narendramodi celebrating #Diwali with the jawans of #IndianArmy and #BSF, in the Gurez Valley, near the Line of Control, in J&K pic.twitter.com/eSfjqPmv57- PIB India (@PIB_India) October 19, 2017On his Diwali day address to the jawans, PM Modi also brought up his pet theme of ‘New India by 2022.’ PM Modi spoke of the personal resolve that all Indians must make for 2022, the 75th anniversary of the country’s independence.This was the third time Prime Minister Modi spent Diwali with the armed forces. He spent the last two Diwali days with troops in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.On his visit to Gurez, the prime minister was accompanied by the Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat, and other senior Army officers.Have come to meet you on Diwali in order to spend the festival withClick here to EnlargePM Modi left a message in a the visitors’ book, writing, “Protecting the Motherland, far from your loved ones, displaying the highest traditions of sacrifice, all soldiers at the nation’s borders, are symbols of bravery and dedication.I have an opportunity to spend the festival of Diwali with you. The presence of brave soldiers at the border, on this festive occasion, lights the lamp of hope, and generates new energy among crores of Indians.To accomplish the dream of “New India,” this is a golden opportunity for all of us to work together. The Army too is a part of it.Greetings to all of you on Diwali.”Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah lauded PM Modi for spending Diwali “with the people & troops in Gurez”.Physical & mobile connectivity would be your biggest gifts to the area this Diwali jenab. #HappyDiwali @narendramodi Sahib.- Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 19, 2017Abdullah, in a series of tweets, asked the prime minister to help get a tunnel constructed in the area and to help ensure mobile and data connectivity in the region.”You will have noticed that you can’t tweet from there sir. That’s because there is no data and almost no mobile service,” Abdullah tweeted.DEF MIN IN ANDAMANDefence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too celebrated Diwali with the armed forces. Sitharaman was in Andaman and Nicobar, where India’s only tri-services command is located.Smt. @nsitharaman celebrating Diwali with the families of Tri Services personnel at Port Blair @SpokespersonMoD pic.twitter.com/6JBRNYyHdf- Raksha Mantri (@DefenceMinIndia) October 18, 2017The defence minister reached the strategically important command yesterday on a two-day visit.During her trip there, Sitharaman visited the colonial-era Celluar Jail, which was used by the British to exile political prisoners, where she laid a wreath.