The Airbus A340-600 will be used by SAA for the long-haul flight to New York. (Image: Flickr) South African Airways (SAA) passengers will soon be able to fly non-stop to New York – a move that will also ensure faster and more efficient transfer to other popular US destinations. This comes after SAA released an enhanced flight schedule on 26 January 2011. Passengers will have more seats to choose from on the New York route thanks to a bigger aircraft, as well as more seats on flights to destinations in Africa.The revised New York schedule will be effective from 1 May this year.SAA general manager Theunis Potgieter said: “From 1 May 2011 we will offer our customers the convenience of flying non-stop between Johannesburg and New York. Our non-stop flights will allow a full day in Johannesburg with an early morning arrival in New York.“The reduced travel time results in fast and efficient connections to several key US destinations such as Boston, Chicago, Florida, California, as well as Canada and the Caribbean,” added Potgieter.The direct link will mean less travelling time for New York-bound SAA passengers, who currently have to stop in Dakar, Senegal, en route for the plane to refuel.“SAA now offers the fastest and most comfortable way to commute between Southern Africa and this major global hub. Travellers originating from other domestic points and Southern African countries like Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Angola, and Zambia – and as far north as Kenya and Tanzania – can now be in New York with a single, quick connection via Johannesburg,” said Potgieter.The non-stop flight will depart from OR Tambo International in Johannesburg at 8:35pm local time and arrive at JFK International Airport in New York at 6:40am, local time, the following day. The return flight from JFK departs at 11:15am, New York time, and arrives in Johannesburg at 8:40am.Marc Cavaliere, SAA executive vice-president in North America, said: “Travellers have told us that they truly value SAA’s morning non-stop service from JFK and the range of excellent, same-day connection opportunities it affords to more than 40 destinations in Africa.“But they’ve also expressed that they would love it even more if our return flight also operated non-stop. We’ve answered their calls, and are pleased to announce a return non-stop flight to New York.”SAA will use an Airbus 340-600 for the direct flight.Other routes hot up tooUsing an Airbus 340-600 will also enable SAA to grow passenger numbers on African routes, including Kenya and Namibia.From 27 February, the airline will be able to take 3 500 passengers to Nairobi, Kenya, each week as opposed to 2 918 – the volume allowance at the moment.From 27 March, it will also increase the number of seats from 5830 to 6 746 on seven of its 20 weekly flights to and from Windhoek, Namibia.This will enable more passengers to get from Windhoek to Johannesburg each week to catch connecting flights to Frankfurt, Munich, London and New York.Leading aeronautics manufacturerAirbus has been one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers for the past 40 years, after its establishment in 1970.At 75m, the Airbus 340-600 is the longest such model in operation. With three passenger classes it can hold 360 commuters, while a two-class layout can accommodate 419.It is expertly designed to fly longer distances of up to 7 900 nautical miles.SA’s national carrierSAA has become one of Africa’s leading passenger carriers over the years. It began operations on 1 February 1934 after the government of the time took over the assets and liabilities of Union Airways, renaming it SAA.In the 1940s, SAA revolutionised air travel in South Africa by introducing cabin crew on domestic flights and movies on direct flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town.SAA’s cadet training programme – which has been running since the 1990s – enables previously disadvantaged South Africans to train as pilots, ensuring all crew on all flights reflect the unique diversity of the nation.
Nigerian hip hop artists, Yung L, Olamide, Ice Prince and Phyno, may be big in their home country but are little known outside of it. Music In Africa looks to change that, providing African musicians a platform to access network with artists around the world. (Image: Chocolate City Group) • Karoo music lends weight to TV series • South African jazz greats shine at London festival • Home-grown death metal helps ease Angolans’ pain • Music van de Caab keeps Khoi and San music alive • Voodoo funk: Ambassador of Afrobeat Shamin ChibbaMuch of the popular music coming out of Europe and the US today can trace its roots back to Africa, yet music from the continent is little known. Artists rarely find recognition beyond their own countries.But with the launch of Music In Africa, an online portal serving the continent’s music industry, African music may just get the international exposure it deserves.The South African editor of Music In Africa, David Durbach, explains that the resource is an information and exchange portal for the continent’s music sector, with a focus on education and networking among industry professionals. “We are trying to empower people working in the music industry by empowering the industry itself and by creating opportunities for the musicians. We are helping them expand their markets and their audiences not just in their own country but on the continent.”The Music In Africa Foundation is an NGO recently established with the support of the Goethe-Institute and Siemens Stiftung, two German cultural organisations with a large presence on the continent. “The plan is that these two institutes can give us a push start to becoming an independent organisation,” says Durbach. Born out of a needThough launched in July this year, the project took three years to come into existence. It was established out of a need to improve communication and reliable information between the various music industries in Africa. Because of lacks in these areas, Durbach says, African artists typically have to “crack it in Europe or the US before they [could] expand their market to the rest of Africa”.Such examples are the Ghanaian Afro-pop group, Osibisa, and South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo, both of which became popular overseas before they became widely known in Africa. “There is a huge need for networking opportunities in the industry, not just between musicians but anyone working in the industry, from producers to songwriters.“People in South Africa know very little about what is going on in Zimbabwe let alone Nigeria and East Africa. Yet there is a growing amount of interest. So there is no reason why people working in the music industry should not see themselves as part of a larger pan-African industry.”Those artists who go to the US and Europe struggle to keep in touch with their fans back home, he adds. “This is another way to bridge these two international and national markets.” Open to everyoneThe networking is not only restricted to those living in Africa; rather, it is open to the African diaspora. It is not limited by genre either. “We are not trying to discriminate. We are not saying to a rock musician in Bloemfontein or to someone making African music in New York, ‘You don’t belong on this website’. [It is for everybody who is] involved in African music in any kind of way. We try to be as inclusive as possible.”And Music In Africa is also a perfect tool for those international musicians looking to expand their reach into Africa, Durbach adds. Musicians are finding it more difficult to sell records nowadays and to make a living, they have to perform live. Africa presents local and international musicians with a lot of opportunities to make money at concerts and corporate events.With the internet, musicians are able to take more control over their careers without having to rely heavily on labels. Music In Africa therefore presents to these musicians a unique online portal to promote themselves and even link with promoters and operators for free, explains Durbach. Finding artistsMusic In Africa’s intention is to promote artists from all over Africa. It employs five full-time regional editors – based in Kinshasa, Lagos, Dakar, Nairobi and Johannesburg – whose mission is to find and chronicle music from their areas. These editors also commission articles from contributors.The website includes a directory, a magazine, news articles, updated artist biographies and educational resources. Durbach says the music education portal, which was set up in collaboration the Global Music Academy, will have multimedia tutorials on how to play instruments, music production, royalty collection and copyright law in various countries.The overview texts feature static content on specific aspects of the music industry in a particular country, such as the history of hip hop in Senegal or jazz in South Africa. “They are not written in a way that is opinionated. They are objective, Wikipedia-style entries that are simply written. Whether or not English or French is [the reader’s] first language, they will understand the content.” The futureThe organisation is already widening its reach. On 21 November, it staged launch events at the Salon International de la Musique Africaine in Dakar, Senegal and in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.Next year, Durbach says, Music In Africa will host more events such as workshops and competitions. And after all the countries of sub-Saharan Africa have been covered, it will look to break into North Africa, a region it has not covered yet.“It is a massive task and we are taking it step by step,” Durbach says of the organisation’s attempts at gathering as much information on African music as there is. “The continent is blessed with a lot of musical diversity and talented musicians and it is something that needs to be offered to the world. Music is something that we share.”
The National Commission for Women on Monday wrote to Uttar Pradesh Director-General of Police O.P. Singh seeking a ‘free, fair and speedy’ investigation into the alleged road accident involving Unnao rape survivor.“The commission is seriously concerned about the unfortunate incident. Considering the gravity of the matter, it is required to ensure absolutely free, fair and speedy investigation into the matter and take action deemed appropriate for the crime committed. The commission also demands that it be kept apprised at every stage of the investigation,” NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote in her letter.Delay in casesSenior Supreme Court lawyer and women’s rights activist Vrinda Grover says it is the delay in disposing cases that render victims extremely vulnerable.“Where a perpetrator is powerful and victim is from a vulnerable group, it is apparent that that the law is not going to take its own course and the police are not going to act in accordance with the law. So, extraordinary measures will have to be taken to ensure the girl gets justice. I have always maintained that the best form of victim protection is a speedy trial. The chargesheet in the case was filed last July, but the case has not been adjudicated yet, while the survivor’s uncle has been framed in several cases which are moving by leaps and bounds. This is a classic textbook case of what happens when a victim comes from a very vulnerable group and seeks justice.”She added that if there was any political will to ensure reversal in crimes against women and girls, that the party ruling at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh so often talks about, the accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar would have been suspended.White PaperMs. Grover says that the government must issue a White Paper providing details of what stage the case was at, why was there a delay in disposing it of, who got adjournments, what reports were sent by the court concerned to the district judge and what was the supervision being done by the High Court of such cases.According to the last NCRB report for 2016, 89.8% cases of crimes against women brought before courts remained pending.
UK pay TV operator Roku has made a further US$0.7 million investment internet streaming set-top box maker Roku.The new funding takes its total investment in the firm to date to US$12.9 million, with Sky stating in a filing that the new cash injection will “provide financing for Roku’s operations and activities.”At the same time, 21st Century Fox also made a further, undisclosed, equity investment in the firm.Sky made the bulk of its investment in Roku in July 2012, topping this up with a further US$1.9 million investment in May 2013.The initial investment gave Sky the option to rebrand and distribute versions of Roku’s devices in the future. Sky launched its branded Now TV service on Roku-manufactured boxes at the end of last year.
Russian TV technology and set-top box outfit SmartLabs has added Ukraine-based OTT TV provider Megogo to the list of services supported by its SmartTUBE 5 interactive TV platform.The move means that transactional and subscription services from Megogo will now be supported by the SmartTUBE 5 platform.SmartLabs has designed SmartTUBE 5 as a platform for small and medium-sized service providers to deliver multiscdreen and multi-network TV offerings. The company launched it at the end of last year. More recently, SmarLabs has updated the platform to include support for Android-based set-tops, tablets, smartphones and TVs.“The release of the service in various environments, cooperation with operators, telecom service providers, retailers and other vendors is part of our business strategy. Thus, we are developing a distribution network for content delivery. That is why we welcome partnerships of this kind in every possible way,” said Megogo.SmartLabs supplies technology to a number of service providers in Russia and the CIS including MTS, MGTS, Rostelecom, Moyo, MTT and Georgia-based Caucusus Online.Megogo recently marked its fifth anniversary. The company has a catalogue of about 80,000 on-demand titles and 300 channels, including 30 own-brand interactive services.