Journey to Highbury

first_imgAn Indentured Immigrant’s first HomeTwo hundred and fifty labourers had sailed from Kolkata (then Calcutta) India on The Whitby to arrive in British Guiana on May 5, 1838. Four died along the 96-day journey. Highbury, their first point of entry, is a small village at the culmination of an annual trek by those commemorating the arrival of East Indians in Guyana.According to some accounts, many of those who returned to India after their indentureship period at Highbury had ended, returned with substantial wealth; paving the way for the Indian indentureship era in Guyanese history, and, according to most scholars, saving the colony from ruin and abandonment.After the labour vacuum left by freed slaves began to have a disastrous effect on colonial industry, particularly the sugar industry, the owners of Plantation Highbury along with a few others including John Gladstone, from Liverpool, England, sent to India for workers to tend their investments.Henry Davidson, Aeneas Barkly, whose only surviving son Henry Barkly would become the 4th governor of British Guiana (1849-1853), and D.C. Cameron, were the British owners of the plantation. Aeneas Barkly died during the apprenticeship period, and his son Henry took over his father’s affairs. One hundred and seventeen labourers, including 11 females, arrived at Plantation Highbury on the East bank of the Berbice River to begin their period of indenture on the colony. Their indentures were dated from Dec. 29, 1837.According to some accounts, by January 1839, a visit by a Justice Macleod to Plantation Highbury found that 15 males and two females had since died, and some 10-15 were on the “sick list”. The surviving labourers were described as “cheerful and contented”. By November 1839, mortality rates at the plantation included 17 males and one female, with 12 on the sick list. Others had run away several times, despite reports of the good treatment of coolies on the plantation.Official colony records stated that 22 persons from the original first batch had died on Plantation Highbury, either from drowning, excessive drinking, dysentery or gangrene, to name a few, while two had run away. Colony records also note that the Highbury Pln labourers reared the most livestock than anywhere else on the colony; both for their own food and to sell.In January 1843, Davidson wrote to Lord Stanley that “the first-class ship “Louisa Baille”” was returning to India with a batch of former indentured workers from Highbury estate. This was after a flurry of letters from colony governor Henry Light to Lord Stanley in England, conveying the increasing uneasiness of the workers who were still in the colony awaiting their journey back home after serving out their contracts.Colony records estimate that 81 Highbury labourers returned to India on the “Louisa Baille”, while nine chose to remain on the colony. There were also eight women, seven boys and two girls on the return trip, of which all but two children were born on the colony.Between the 81 labourers, the group was returning with some $8,536, while four of the nine remaining had no savings at the time.But Plantation Highbury was not the original name of the estate, nor were its British owners its original landlords. The estate initially belonged to the Berbice Association, a Dutch association formed in 1720 similar to the East India Company (of Hindustan) to expand cultivation within the colony and which was a substantial slave owner on the colony.The Berbice Association, though with allegiance to Holland, were proprietors who governed the territory and could sell lands, described as lots or grants, to private owners willing to establish plantations. The association also retained lands on which they established what they called “model estates”. These model estates, known as “Society’s ground” or “Society’s Plantations”, are also referred to as “Colony Estates” on some maps.When the colony was captured by the British, there were four such estates under the association, and an agreement was made between the two sides that these were to be treated as private rather than government property.These four estates were called Dageraad, St Jan, Dankbaarheid and Sandvoort, and remained association property until November 1818 when they were sold to Cameron, Davidson and Barkly, partners of the English company Davidson’s, Barkly & Co. The partners in this purchase then divided the properties among themselves. Cameron, along with a friend, took Sandvoort, then a large coffee estate in Canje. Sandvoort would later be divided into two; of which one half was converted into a sugar estate named “Lochaber” after the Scottish headquarters of the Camerons.The other three plantations remained with Barkly and Davidson, though Dageraad, a sugar plantation, after a period was handed over to the government as a leper asylum or colony.St Jan, originally a coffee plantation, and Dankbaarheid , a sugar estate, were united and renamed Highbury, after Barkly’s place, Highbury Grove, in Middlesex (then an English county) near London.In addition, according to the book “Frustrated Peasants, Marginalized Workers: Free African Villages in Guyana” by Wazir Mohamed, sometime between 1847 -1848, 100 acres of Crown Land in Highbury were communally purchased by former slaves. Between 1853 and 1880, writes Walton Look Lai in his book “The Chinese in the West Indies, 1806-1995: A Documentary History”, Highbury Plantation also indentured Chinese workers.Position of Arrival Day monumentOne note of unease from some members of the East Indian Community is the fact that the construction of the Indian Arrival Day monument, in the pipeline, should be sited at Highbury, where the first batch of Indian immigrants actually arrived, instead of Palmyra.last_img read more

City target United after Leeds romp

first_img0Shares0000MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, February 18 – Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes his team’s commanding 4-0 FA Cup victory over Leeds could be the springboard for an unlikely onslaught on leaders Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.City currently trail their cross-city neighbours by 12 points, with speculation mounting over Mancini’s future given their current indifferent form. Mancini, who ended City’s 35-year wait for silverware when he led them to the 2011 FA Cup, would do his chances of holding on to the job a power of good were he to lead them to success in this season’s tournament.But the Italian insisted that if his side perform as they did in advancing to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, they can overhaul United in the league.“In Italy, you say a game like this is like brodino soup, a starter,” said Mancini. “I hope it can help us to start to win in the Premier League.“I am happy because it was important to win after losing to Southampton. If you score two goals in the first 20 minutes it’s easier, but you know the FA Cup is a difficult competition and Arsenal yesterday, Everton, other teams who play in the Premier League, are out of this competition.“Every team plays like it is the Champions League final. You should play 100 percent if you want to win.“If you don’t play with concentration, it’s difficult. We started well with great intensity. We were concentrating on this target. After we scored four goals, the performance was important.”City’s supporters certainly still back Mancini with the Italian’s name ringing out around the Etihad Stadium during a game which very quickly headed towards a rout.Two goals from Sergio Aguero, the first a disputed penalty after 14 minutes which followed Yaya Toure’s early opening goal, were the highlights of a game which also featured a goal from Carlos Tevez soon after the restart.“Yes, I am happy for this,” said Mancini, when asked about the supporters’ backing for him. “For us, they are really important and when we lose a game, like against Southampton, then we want to try to win because they deserve to win every game.”He added: “I hope Sergio will be like this from now until the end. If our strikers continue to score from now until the end, the championship is not finished.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Zlatan issues warning, Conte in Chelsea row, West Ham eye £16m Liverpool outcast

first_imgHere are the top transfer-related stories in Wednesday’s newspapers…Zlatan Ibrahimovic has told Manchester United he is not at the club to “waste time” and that they must think big and show they are prepared to match his ambition if he is to remain at Old Trafford next season. The Swede is in talks about taking up an option to extend his contract for another 12 months, although the 35-year-old has an offer to move to the Major League Soccer with LA Galaxy and has also been linked with Napoli in Italy. (Daily Telegraph)Antonio Conte is at odds with Chelsea over proposed changes to his back-room staff. The Chelsea manager has asked for an Italian coach to replace Steve Holland, his assistant, who will leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season to work as Gareth Southgate’s No 2 with England on a full-time basis, but the club have yet to sanction a new appointment and would prefer to add a domestic assistant if they do so. (The Times)Chelsea have added a third Southampton defender to their summer transfer target list after setting their sights on right back Cedric Soares. Virgil van Dijk is wanted at centre half, while former Chelsea left-back Ryan Bertrand is being lined up for a potential return to Stamford Bridge. And it is now understood that Soares is also admired by Chelsea. (London Evening Standard)West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has made a shock move for Serbian star Lazar Markovic. Bilic has contacted Liverpool about their out of favour midfielder and will have to come up with £16million to get him. (The Sun)Jack Wilshere will demand reassurances on his likely first-team opportunities when he finally holds talks this week with Arsenal about whether to stay this summer. (Daily Telegraph)Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City squad they are playing for their futures in the last few weeks of the season. (The Sun)Manchester City and Valencia will discuss an exchange deal involving Jose Luis Gaya and Eliaquim Mangala in the summer. (Daily Star)Manchester City’s hopes of signing Theo Hernandez from Atletico Madrid look to have been dashed after Real Madrid stepped in with a £20million offer. (Daily Mail)And here are the latest headlines…?Micky Gray tells Jack Wilshere: Do NOT go back to Arsenal after Bournemouth loan!Arsenal FC transfer news: Marseille targeting summer deal for striker Olivier GiroudCrystal Palace FC transfer news: Marseille and Monaco set for summer battle over goalkeeper Steve MandandaTransfer ALERT! Liverpool and Tottenham target Lucas Alario ‘ready for Europe move’, reveals agentlast_img read more

Money flows to council coffers

first_imgCouncil President Eric Garcetti, an outspoken supporter of clean campaigns, downplayed potential political sway of contributors to the accounts. “The limits are low enough with donations in Los Angeles that I feel comfortable that they don’t exert undue influence,” said Garcetti, who has raised $72,000 and $62,000, respectively, during the last two fiscal years. Contributions to officeholder accounts – like contributions to election campaigns – are capped at $500 for City Council members and $1,000 for the mayor, controller and city attorney. Garcetti said he has used some of the funds he has raised to attend chamber of commerce luncheons, support an AIDS walk, buy staff shirts and jackets, and cover expenses on sister-city trips to Armenia and Lebanon. But experts note that contributors who really want to get the attention of a City Council member can contribute $500 to their campaign committee, $500 to their officeholder account and $500 to a legal defense fund, if the council member has one. “It is definitely a way to buy access,” Lerner said. “What we see at all levels is that people who need something out of the elected body want to make sure they are favorably regarded, and they want to make sure they use all the tools they can.” When Westside Councilman Bill Rosendahl took office, he soon found contributors to his opponent’s campaign wanted to make amends and write a check to his officeholder account. “When you’re in office, all you have to do is grunt, and they’re all there for you, but I’m not into that mind-set,” Rosendahl said. “I don’t think we should be in the business of having fundraising on our top mind when we’re elected.” Still, the new councilman sent a mailer to supporters asking them to fund his officeholder account. He has raised nearly $33,000 since January. L.A. elected officials can transfer up to $75,000 from their election campaign fund to their officeholder account when they’re elected. They can raise up to $75,000 per fiscal year for their officeholder account and use the money on everything from office supplies and charitable donations to hiring consultants and sending mail solicitations to raise more money for the account. They cannot use the money, however, to campaign for office. And they cannot have more than $75,000 in the account. Created in 1990, officeholder accounts were part of the reform effort that established the city’s Ethics Commission and campaign finance laws. But concerns soon emerged that the accounts were being used as slush funds to aid political campaigns, and the Ethics Commission moved to prohibit account-funded mailers close to elections and require more detailed spending reports. At the same time, however, the commission increased the account limit to $75,000 per fiscal year after council budgets were cut to reduce the city’s deficit. Officials also are allowed to carry over up to $75,000 in leftover campaign money into their officeholder accounts. Councilman Tony Cardenas has raised and spent nearly $75,000 each of the last two years, making his account among the largest on the council. The Northeast Valley councilman said he raises and spends the private contributions to support community events, donate to charities and reward his staff – without using taxpayer dollars. The engineer and former state legislator spent nearly $3,000 over three months last year on charitable donations in his district. More than $1,000 in two months paid for meals and an appreciation dinner with his staff. Like most other elected city officials, Cardenas also cuts large checks to pay for campaign consultants and fundraisers for his officeholder account. Last year, he spent more than $17,000 for a fundraiser. “I’m not independently wealthy. I’m always going to have to raise money for an officeholder account,” he said. “I wish I didn’t have to pick up the phone that often, but I do. I choose not to burden the taxpayers when I don’t have to.” West Valley Councilman Dennis Zine barely raises or spends any money from his officeholder account. The former police officer prefers to pay for charitable donations and trips – including a recent sister-city jaunt to Beirut – from his own personal bank account. “I don’t do a lot of fundraising,” he said. “We don’t give a lot of gifts. I’m very frugal with the spending. I only use it when it’s necessary.” Councilman Jack Weiss recently ranked among the biggest spenders, but much of that money was raised and spent on $48,000 in legal expenses stemming from ethics violations for failing to file campaign literature during his 2001 campaign and failing to report some 2002 officeholder account expenditures to the city. Weiss paid a $4,800 fine himself but sought contributions to a legal defense fund within his officeholder account to cover fees to the firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips. “In past years, fundraising for the officeholder account has not been a priority,” said his spokeswoman, Lisa Hansen. “This was an uncharacteristic year and, overall, Councilman Weiss has accepted fewer than average donations and uses the officeholder account less frequently.” Councilwoman Wendy Greuel has raised $58,000 this year thanks to an officeholder account fundraiser held at Pete’s Cafe downtown. The Valley councilwoman, who is up for election next year and is currently raising campaign funds as well, said she holds a fundraiser when her chief of staff warns the officeholder account is running low. Without raising money for the account, she said, “I probably wouldn’t be able to have my community thank-you picnic or pay tribute to extraordinary people in journals.” She’s used the account for a Halloween open house, a child safety fair and a Spanish-language refresher course. “When you’re in the private sector, you have expense accounts and other sources,” Greuel said. “These are expenses that are incurred by elected officials but are not appropriate for taxpayer dollars.” said Susan Lerner, executive director of the California Clean Money Campaign. ” (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesThe group helped draft Proposition 98, a statewide measure on the November ballot that calls for full public financing of elections and $50,000 to $100,000 annual taxpayer-funded officeholder accounts after publicly financed candidates are elected. The group also is pushing a full public-financing proposal for L.A. on the March ballot, and the city’s Ethics Commission is expected to weigh how officeholder accounts fit into such a plan. Lerner and other campaign finance reformers said officeholder accounts are needed to cover expenses that aren’t usually covered by city funds. They said the question is how much is needed and whether the funds should come from private contributors. “No one disputes that they should exist and that they cover important, legitimate expenses,” said Steve Levin, political reform project director at the Center for Governmental Studies. “If the state is not going to pay for (the expenses), then the officeholder should be able to raise money from outside sources. “But it’s the same problem as campaign contributions. There’s the same implications of quid pro quo or tit for tat.” Little-known officeholder accounts are allowing Los Angeles leaders to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in private contributions from lobbyists, real estate developers, unions and other special interests. Since 2004, City Council members, the mayor, city attorney and city controller collectively have raised more than $1.6 million in the accounts, using the money to court their constituents and fund everything from community picnics to business lunches. But the accounts, created more than a decade ago under ethics reform efforts, are now being targeted by some who say they simply are another way for special interests to buy access at City Hall. “We don’t want our elected officials to spend their time with their hands out,” Your primary allegiance started with, and should continue to be with, the public.” last_img read more

Four locals to open Friday

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts. Four area schools open their football seasons Friday, with two at home and two traveling. Playing openers in friendly confines are Cantwell Sacred Heart, who takes on St. Anthony, and St. Paul, who faces big-time rival Bishop Amat. On the road are Pioneer at Gabrielino and Montebello playing Norwalk at Excelsior High. St. Paul’s game begins at 7:30 p.m.; the other three games have 7 p.m. starts. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

County councillor denies assaulting men on night out

first_imgA Donegal county councillor has gone on trial charged with assaulting causing harm to two men in two separate incidents.John O’Donnell, from Kilmacrennan, appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court today. He is charged with assault causing harm to Emmet Gallagher, now aged 22, at the Sultan Takeaway in the early hours of the morning of February 23rd, 2015.He is also charged with assault causing harm to another man Seamus O’Donnell, aged 29, at Gortlee, Letterkenny.Mr O’Donnell, aged 37, replied ‘not guilty’ when arraigned on both charges.Prosecution barrister, Ms Patricia McLaughlin outlined the case to the jury.She alleged that the jury will hear that Mr O’Donnell allegedly punched Mr Gallagher in the face in the takeaway.She further alleged that it will be claimed that at a later stage in the evening, John O’Donnell then attacked Seamus O’Donnell in the Gortlee area by punching him and then allegedly kicking him in the face.The first witness in the case was called and he was one of the alleged victims, Emmet Gallagher.However, when Mr Gallagher got into the witness box he said that he wished to withdraw his statement.He said on a number of occasions that the incident happened three years ago.The jury was excused on a number of occasions while legal argument in the case took place.Judge John Aylmer finally said he was adjourning the case until tomorrow (Thurs).The trial is due to last three days.County councillor denies assaulting men on night out was last modified: December 14th, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:assaultcourtdonegalJohn O’Donnellletterkennylast_img read more

Urban nets hat trick to lead Marshfield boys soccer past Ashwaubenon

first_imgCassidy, Weister add goals for Tigers (1-1)By Paul LeckerSports ReporterMARSHFIELD — The Marshfield boys soccer earned its first victory of the season, outlasting Ashwaubenon 5-3 in a nonconference matchup Thursday at Griese Park.Grant Urban hit for a hat trick for the Tigers (1-1), scoring what proved to be the game-winner 9:37 into the second half.Urban had two goals, and Kevin Cassidy added another to put Marshfield up 3-1 at halftime.Ashwaubenon (0-2) responded with a pair of goals in the opening 6:23 of the second half, the second by Matt Lubke tying the game at 3-3.Urban came back with his third goal 4:14 later, and Evan Weister added another with 4:21 to go to provide the Tigers with some insurance. Elijah Hubler-Marti assisted on both.“The team played better compared to the first game (a 3-2 loss to Holmen on Tuesday),” Marshfield coach Steve McCann said. “We did a much better job on connecting on passes. I’m happy with the progress of several sophomores. Bennett Koehn and Alec Giles were outstanding, and Josh Gruen, Evan Weister, and Kyle Tremelling all contributed nicely.”Austin Mannigel, forced into starting duty in goal due to an injury, had five saves for Marshfield.Marshfield returns to action Aug. 31 at Stevens Point for its Wisconsin Valley Conference opener.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of 5, Jaguars 3Ashwaubenon 1 2 – 3Marshfield 3 2 – 5First half: 1. M, Grant Urban (Kevin Cassidy), 4:23; 2. A, Zak Strzelecki (Tyler Roethlisberger), 8:04; 3. M, Cassidy, 24:16; 4. M, Urban, 33:53.Second half: 5. A, Rony Maldonado, 46:23; 6. A, Matt Lubke, 50;23; 7. M, Urban (Elijah Hubler-Marti), 54:37; 8. M, Evan Weister (Hubler-Marti), 85:39.Shots on goal: Ashwaubenon 9; Marshfield 13.Saves: A, Nick Percy 8; M, Austin Mannigel 5.Corner kicks: Ashwaubenon 4; Marshfield 9.Records: Ashwaubenon 0-2; Marshfield 1-1.last_img read more

Marshfield boys soccer shuts out Merrill

first_imgTigers snap eight-game losing streakBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterMARSHFIELD — Marshfield held Merrill to just one shot on goal in a dominant Wisconsin Valley Conference boys soccer performance, winning 6-0 on Tuesday at Griese Park.The Tigers scored four times in the first 28 minutes as they rolled to the home victory, snapping an eight-game losing streak.Alex Giles, Elijah Hubler-Marti, Blaine Neinast, and Kevin Cassidy each scored in the first half, and Evan Weister and Hubler-Marti added scores in the second half for Marshfield. Kyle Tremelling picked up two assists, and Giles had another.Marshfield outshot Merrill 19-1 overall and 12-1 on goal.The Tigers are now 4-10 overall and 2-7 in the WVC. Marshfield’s next game is Thursday at D.C. Everest.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of 6, Bluejays 0Merrill 0 0 – 0Marshfield 4 2 – 6First half: 1. MAR, Alex Giles (Kyle Tremelling), 6:18; 2. MAR, Elijah Hubler-Marti (Giles), 13:50; 3. MAR, Blaine Neinast, 16:00; 4. MAR, Kevin Cassidy (Tremelling), 27:56.Second half: 5. MAR, Evan Weister, 46:35; 6. MAR, Hubler-Marti, 89:08.Total shots: Marshfield 19; Merrill 1.Shots on goal: Marshfield 12; Merrill 1.Corner kicks: Marshfield 4; Merrill 1.Saves: MAR, Tommy Olson 0, Austin Mannigel 1. MER, Mason Gebert 6.Records: Marshfield 4-10, 2-7 Wisconsin Valley Conference; Merrill 0-14, 0-9 WVC.last_img read more

Business backs Dinaledi schools

first_img5 April 2006South Africa’s business sector has pledged to support schools dedicated to improving mathematics and science education in the country.Education Minister Naledi Pandor, meeting with business representatives in Johannesburg on Tuesday, called on the private sector to “adopt” the 400 Dinaledi schools in the country, saying their involvement would yield positive results.The schools were formed in 2001 to improve participation and performance in maths and science, particularly among previously disadvantaged learners.Old Mutual, the Shuttleworth Foundation, the National Business Initiative, the South African Sugar Association and Prudential Portfolio were among the companies and organisations represented at the meeting.Speaking after the meeting, Penny Vinjevold, deputy director-general for further education and training in the Department of Education, said business had shown interest in supporting the initiative, and had also made suggestions on improving it.“We have given them three weeks to come back to us regarding their pledges,” Vinjevold said.Prudential Portfolio’s Doc Sithole said the initiative would translate into highly knowledgeable human capital.“Our heart lies with the education of this country,” Sithole said. “If we do not do anything to improve it, no one will do it for us.”Khosi Xulu of Black Science, Technology and Engineering Professionals said the initiative needed support if South Africa was to build the scarce skills it needed for faster economic growth.“It is a brilliant idea, and really promises to produce a pool of black science professionals,” Xulu said.Source: BuaNews Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

SA ‘has the edge’ in telescope bid

first_img11 February 2008Time is on South Africa’s side in its bid to host the giant Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope project – expected to cost some €1.5-billion – according to South African astronomer Professor Phil Charles.Speaking to BuaNews, Charles, who is director of the South African Astronomical Observatory, explained that the technology needed to cater for the bandwidth, computer processing power and data storage requirements of the SKA project does not as yet exist.Once finished, the SKA is likely to be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope ever, consisting of thousands of dishes between 10 and 15 metres in diameter.Currently, South African and Australia are the only remaining candidates to host the telescope. A final decision on the host site is expected by 2010, and construction is expected to start by 2014.Charles told BuaNews that he believed the required technology – demanded by the combination of the spatial and temporal resolution of the SKA telescope – would be available in between five to eight years.Charles calculated this on the basis of what is known as Moore’s Law, the theory arising from the current rate of technological innovation that assumes that raw processing power and hard disk capacity will double every two years.In the meantime,he said, South Africa needs large investments in bandwidth capacity to bridge the digital divide and, more specifically, for a high-speed academic internet backbone.Plans are in the pipeline for an African equivalent of the European GÉANT2 network, which currently provides an academic backbone through Europe of 10 gigabits per second – at least 1 000 times faster than what is currently available in South Africa.SALTAlready, the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) that was inaugurated in November 2005 is working around limitations in data transmission by using a dedicated 1.5-million bits per second data line between Sutherland, where the telescope is located, and Cape Town.This “uncalibrated” data is then reduced through processing to a point where SALT’s partnership scientists can access it over the internet from the United States, Europe and elsewhere.However, Charles argues that better bandwidth ias needed as, without it, the pathfinder radio telescope arrays being constructed by South Africa (and Australia) in preparation for the SKA will have a limited capability.‘Quiet zones’From the initial four regions of the world that expressed an interest, South Africa and Australia have been short-listed as potential hosts for the SKA, mainly because scientists examining the various bids found that the ionospheric background in the Earth’s atmosphere was less apparent in the southern hemisphere.Charles explained that the ionospheric background in the Earth’s atmosphere – the upper part of the Earth’s atmosphere that is affected by radiation from the sun to the point where it impacts on the propagation of radio signals – was not uniform over the whole planet.“The quietest parts [of the earth’s atmosphere] are actually southern Africa and Australia,” said Charles. “You can see this background during the day, and there are times when it just sort of flows from south America up across north Africa and across China and, during the most sensitive observations, that would limit the sensitivity of the proposed SKA telescope.”Charles points out that the southern hemisphere already has more large telescopes than the northern hemisphere because of its competitive edge over the north, in part because the galactic centre goes directly overhead in the southern hemisphere, giving astronomers in the south “the best view of the centre of our own galaxy”.In the south, South Africa has a further competitive edge because world-class research requires access to dark, clear skies at regions preferably above 1 500 metres above sea level, and for this only Chile and South Africa qualify because of the lower altitudes of Australian optical observatories.Already, Chile is home to the European Southern Observatory, which has four eight-metre telescopes situated in the country.South Africa was favoured for the SALT telescope, which is situated in a quiet part of the Karoo – in Sutherland – that is largely free from human interference in the form of night lights, television signals, cellphone signals and other waves, all of which cause radio interference.South Africa moved to strengthen this advantage last year by passing the Astronomy Geographic Advantage Bill, which seeks to preserve and protect areas within South Africa that are uniquely suited to optical and radio astronomy.MeerKATIn the meantime, work goes on at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Observatory, Cape Town, and in Sutherland, while work has begun on the SKA “demo model”, the world-class MeerKAT telescope whose 12-metre dishes will be spaced over 10 kilometres in the Karoo.Should South Africa win the SKA bid, there will be antennae scattered all over the southern African region, with the main site in the northern Cape. It will have an effective data collecting area of one million square metres, making it the most powerful radio telescope on Earth, Charles said in the South African science magazine Quest last year.South Africa needs the project, said Charles, and not just for studying the skies. “Astronomy is a fantastic way of inspiring young people into science,” he said. “[It is also] one of the most superb ways of actually teaching people basic physics and mathematics.”The country, he said, “desperately needs a scientifically, technically literate workforce if it is truly going to make the transformation that we hope for”.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more