The league could put its stamp on this, through education, counseling, changing attitudes and actions, using discipline and imposing consequences at its discretion. It could be the leader in the proper treatment of women that every other major industry, and society at large, is a catastrophic failure at being.It could. If it wanted to.It doesn’t. If the NFL really wanted to handle it, help its players, help their victims and help its own image, it wouldn’t govern by TMZ video. League officials wouldn’t be the kings of reaction, instead of proaction.MORE: What we know about assault allegations against Kareem HuntThe Kareem Hunt mess from nine months ago would have been resolved, or on its way to being resolved, for him, the Chiefs and the NFL, long before Friday night — long before they all scrambled to cover their rear ends after the video of Hunt shoving, manhandling and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel.But they all failed, the same way, almost to the letter, in how the league failed with Ray Rice in 2014, and with Josh Brown in 2016. Suddenly, everyone found their spines, only when evidence of those players’ deeds and words went public (in Brown’s case, not visual evidence, but police reports).Does anyone doubt, then, that everyone will have that same epiphany on Reuben Foster only if some visual proof surfaces about him? Washington played the “due diligence” game when it claimed him off waivers after his latest arrest. It’s completely fair to question whether the Chiefs played the same game in February, since now they’re claiming that Hunt’s failure was in lying to them, indicating that their investigation started and stopped with them asking him what happened and taking his word for it.Statement from the Kansas City Chiefs on Kareem Hunt➡️ https://t.co/MrjIX1Y7Ke pic.twitter.com/efSMqUDio1— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 1, 2018And if the NFL checked into it at all then, it isn’t clear how much. It pulled the trap door on him and dropped him into the “exempt list” safety net when the time came and it needed to avoid responsibility for anything that could or should have been done much earlier.(UPDATE: ESPN reported Sunday that the NFL never requested an interview with Hunt or his victim; in a live interview on “Sunday NFL Countdown,” Hunt confirmed that the league never asked to talk to him. Also, Pro Football Talk reported that the NFL tried but was unable to get the video either from the police or the hotel where the assault took place; and USA Today reported that the police themselves never viewed the video, either.)It all brings back a question the NFL should have answered years ago, when it masterfully mishandled cases with Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy all at the same time. “Should the NFL even be in the domestic-violence discipline business?” many reasonable people have asked this week. The answer, though, lies in this fact: It can, if it wants to. It doesn’t want to.We know this because we see every day how the NFL exerts its pull in any area it wants, to get the results it wants.MORE: Foster mess restores Redskins as gold standard for unaccountabilityProbing every aspect of the lives of draft prospects every single year, before, during and after the combine, is just one example that applies to this. The NFL and the respective teams couldn’t lay their hands on video of Rice then or Hunt now, supposedly, but they know every detail of some player’s family life, school attendance record and locker-room scuffle at spring practice and can hold it over their heads at draft time.Because they want to.The league can be an enormous force for good. Five minutes don’t go by without hearing about the collaborations it’s doing with the Players’ Coalition on social-justice initiatives. That’s something the league showed zero interest in until two years ago. Now, millions of dollars move around, and everyone up to and including commissioner Roger Goodell has gotten engaged on criminal justice reform, police-community initiatives, education policy, everything.They want to.They also want to make absolutely sure that Colin Kaepernick never sets foot in an NFL locker room again, and make clear the precise reasons why (in the form of the league’s ill-fated “anthem policy” as much as the vague “football” reasons for signing the likes of Mark Sanchez and Tom Savage over him). Eric Reid made it back in, and in less than two months with the Panthers, he’s gotten questionable flags, fines and ejections on the field and numerous so-called random drug tests off it.No real gray area about that.AN ENDLESS FIGHT, A DEFINING CHOICEAthletes of different eras find voice against society’s injusticesThe league was also ready to take Tom Brady to the Supreme Court over its right to suspend him for deflating footballs, whether it could be proved or not. But clarity, one way or another, about players who abuse women (and children, since that surfaced again with Peterson’s tone-deaf Bleacher Report interview about his continuing to beat his son)? The NFL simply does not give any. They threw together a policy after the Rice debacle that included a six-game suspension, yet it struggles mightily with enforcing it until — you guessed it — public pressure and outrage force its hand.You want clarity? You get more of it when players flunk a marijuana test. Or when they’re punished for celebrating too much on the field. Like, oh, the Chiefs’ own Tyreek Hill, two weeks ago, when he flashed a peace sign on his way to a touchdown in the most-celebrated regular-season game in years, the 54-51 loss to the Rams.A flag and a fine for that peace sign. But for Hill’s well-documented domestic violence incident in college? Well, the league drafted, signed and benefits from him to this day. All must hope that there’s never a hotel-video moment coming for him.Hunt’s caught up with him, and with the team and league that was living just fine when it was away from the public eye. Believe it, none of them would have counted on Hunt’s honesty had he been undrafted free-agent practice fodder, instead of the reigning NFL rushing champion.The NFL is Godzilla, in the sports world and in American society and its economy. Pretending the league is just another employer is ludicrous and condescending. It knows the power it wields — because it wields it all the time, at any whim it pleases. Looks like it’s Unaccountability Week in the National Football League. Is there a special color the players wear for that?Everything this $13 billion sport has done since midweek has shown the world that it couldn’t care less about getting a grip on domestic violence in its ranks, but is more interested in looking like it’s getting a grip on it.
Running back Le’Veon Bell (26) runs towards Cincinnati Bengals strong safety George Iloka (43) in the third quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)After the Steelers manhandled the Bengals on Sunday Night, many were left wondering what could have been. What if the Steelers had played this well all year? What if Pouncey and Foote and others hadn’t been hurt? What if they didn’t start 0-4?Well, those are all the wrong questions to ponder, there are no if’s and re do’s in the world. The reality of the situation is this, none of those things occurred this year and the team is in the situation they’re in because they didn’t have a backup plan for the “if’s”.The black and gold looked great on Sunday Night, they looked like the team trying to clinch a playoff spot and not a team desperately clinging to their lives. The exposition that Big Ben and Antonio Brown put on was one that proves those two are the best players this team has, without them they’d be vying for the number one pick.On the defensive side of the ball, players like Jason Worilds and Lawrence Timmons stepped up to the plate and were impactful in determining the outcome of the football game. They showed they can be the two centerpieces of the defense moving into 2014 and beyond (if the team can re up Worilds).This game was about pride, it was about seeing who has the competitive fires burning inside them to win a largely meaningless game. This was an audition for the guys wearing the black and gold to see who was worth keeping next year and who the team should part ways with.It was all of those things but the one thing it was not was the display of a team that should be looked at as a contender who had things go wrong because this or that happened or a team that should be looked at in the ‘what if’ mode.They are what they are; a 6-8 ball club after that win. They’re a team in the middle of the pack. Middle of the pack teams can on occasion beat good teams but will also lose to the bad ones (see the Oakland, Minnesota and Tennessee games). Middle of the pack teams play inconsistently, see the Dolphins game just last week and the turnaround the team had this week. Or just look at the 0-4 start, to winning five of seven to now being 6-8.This team has its flaws this season and that’s ok. All teams go through a rebuild, the failure often comes when a team can’t form an identity and recognize who they really are. That’s what struck this team this year.While they thought they were still a contender this year, they decided to move forward with some aging, overpriced veterans. They should have cut ties with more of the older guys and implemented playing time for the younger generation to gain experience. The front office refused to accept or believe this team needed a rebuild but classified it as a transition. In essence they put everything back a year. What should have happened this year will need to happen next.The game last night should be looked upon fondly as it was a great win for the black and gold and very well could have been the final big game several of the old school veterans have together in a Steeler uniform. Just don’t look at it as ‘what if’, look at it as ‘what is’.Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association www.steelnationassociation.com- Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at [email protected]
In this New Year, we reflect back on how grateful we are to have grown up with Sickles Market aka the original health food store in our backyard. With access to fresh fruit and veggies and seasonal eating all year round, we always appreciate the good things that come from the ground up. After enjoying every sweet treat and holiday cocktail in town in our previous columns, we decided on a mix of appetizing and healthy choices to kick off the New Year. Never a fan of resolutions, but more lifestyle improvements, we were pleasantly surprised to find a number of places that prepare better-for-you meals. From vegan entrées to meal replacement drinks we tried it all, and most of it was scrumptious. With that, let’s begin and end with a healthy choice.The Honey Crunch Super Smoothie and Sweet Beets Juice arejust a few of the refreshing options offered at Freshicas.Freshicas Juice BarJanuary is the perfect time to try new things and to expand your tasting territory. If you haven’t been to Freshicas Juice Bar yet, then we must ask you: where have you been? Freshicas is modern, refreshing and filled with endless options, including smoothies, protein shakes, acai bowls and cold press juices. There were so many options we were almost overwhelmed.After trying a little bit of everything, here are a few of our favorites: The Sweet Beets Juice ($7.50) actually made us feel upbeat. With a lovely ruby red color that only beets can create, this juice is made with beets, pineapple, apple, carrot, lime and zingy ginger. Next up was a super smoothie because we never back down from a flavor challenge, it was super indeed! The Honey Crunch Super Smoothie ($7.50) was our absolute favorite! Oh, honey, you gotta try this! Made with honey, hemp granola, bananas and almond milk, it was blended perfectly and extremely flavorful. Better than any breakfast we’ve had in a long time and our Dad’s scrambled eggs are pretty epic. Honorable mentions include the So Fresh Juice ($8.50) and Cherry Chocolate Chip Protein Shake ($7.50). Freshicas Juice Bar205 W Front St., Red Bank, NJ. 732-939-8919Kitch OrganicKitch OrganicQuick! Get out of your Kitchen and head over to Kitch Organic ASAP. This fantastic spot on the west side of Red Bank has all the Two River towners raving. Kitch Organic will help those “hangry” pangs for a healthy and sumptuous lunch. The K.O Signature Salad ($12) is filling for one and perfect for two to share. It’s filled with kale, avocado, toasted pepitas and cranberries, sprinkled with lemon pepper and lemon juice. It was bright and light, and we will definitely be ordering it again. The West Side Turkey Burger ($13.50) was generous in size, a well-seasoned burger served with tricolored peppers, shredded zucchini, lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado smash and a dollop of chipotle aioli. All that yumminess is served between two fresh pieces of warm focaccia bread. It’s no surprise that this dish has become a favorite of ours. The Avocado Toast ($10) is on their house-made seeded bread, accompanied with a generous slathering of avocado spread, sprinkled with red pepper flakes and made complete with a side salad. This is a trendy dish with lasting power, and Kitch Organic does it very well. Sweet, salty and savory, we definitely made all the right choices. Kitch Organic75 Leighton Ave., Red Bank, NJ. 732-741-5400Seed to SproutSeed to SproutSeed to Sprout has been on our radar for a while. Off of River Road this unsuspecting spot is loaded with vegan eats that are delicious even for non-vegan diets. We ventured to their Fair Haven location for Saturday brunch. First we ordered The Hot Shot ($2/single) to get our motors running. With a bold and tart mix of ingredients that include cayenne, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and flax oil, it’s a definite “shock” at first sip. This mini-potion awakens the mind, body and spirit.Next up was the Dandy Blend Latte ($5) with agave and house-made coconut creamer. This hot drink is not to be overlooked. Dandy blend is a herbal coffee substitute (no caffeine) made with extracts of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root, and sugar beet. Whoa END is all we could say! Warm, rich, and bold in flavor, we didn’t realize these ingredients would equal the healthy latte of our dreams. Skip your mocha lattes and Frappuccinos and get yourself a Dandy Blend Latte today.Our stomachs were now primed for brunch, so we ordered a short stack of Banana Bacon Pancakes, a Bacon Cheddar Melt, and their seasonal Scone. The pancakes ($12) were made with sliced bananas, chocolate chips and coconut bacon. Fluffy and airy, the rich banana taste was not overpowering and the coconut bacon satisfied our taste for bacon – almost. The sweetness of the chocolate chips pulled it all together. We cautiously took a bite of the Bacon Cheddar Melt ($12), with seared marinated tempeh, caramelized onions, coconut bacon and cashew cheese, served on millet and flax bread, with a side of marinated kale. It was a very lovely surprise, and a healthy spin on a typical bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. The flaky and light Cinnamon Date Scone ($4) was delicately paired with their creamy coconut butter. It was the perfect ending to our brunch. Seed to Sprout, 560A River Road, Fair Haven, NJ. 732-268-7533Ocean CafeWe must ask readers a second time, if you haven’t been to Ocean Café: where have you been? This cafe is filled with healthy options for lunch and dinner. We decided on the Chicken Lettuce Wraps ($7.95) and Red Lentil Soup ($3.50). The Chicken Lettuce Wraps are made with minced chicken, shallots, peanut sauce and extra peanuts! These tasty wraps are packed with protein and the essential nutrients to get you through the day. The Red Lentil Soup is lovingly made with olive oil, onions, garlic, vegetable stock, red lentils, and butter. This soup is addictive and we’ve been back to Ocean Cafe twice just for this decadently rich, healthy and hearty soup. Ocean Cafe21 Monmouth St., Red Bank, NJ. 732-842-4222All in all, there are so many healthy and most importantly delicious food spots in our surrounding towns to choose from. We hope you are taking January by storm and adding new tastes to your palettes. Did we miss any local healthy restaurants or juice bars? Let us know at [email protected] and Sasha Sickles, members of the Sickles Market family, write about food, culinary trends and casual eateries in their monthly column “Two River Tastes.” You can reach them at [email protected] or follow their food journeys on Instagram @torikaylan and @sasha_ad.
SPIRIT OF XIAN HEADS COMPETITIVE FIELD OF 10 IN SUNDAY’S GRADE II, $200,000 HONEYMOON FOR 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES AT 1 1/8 MILES ON TURF
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 30, 2015)–Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella sends out Spirit of Xian in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Honeymoon Stakes for 3-year-old fillies with a field of 10 set to go 1 1/8 miles on the turf.Spirit of Xian will seek her second graded stakes win in a row as she comes off an impressive neck victory after leading throughout in the Grade III Providencia April 4. In her first stateside start for Mandella on Feb. 14, she ran a game third after steadying off heels in a hillside turf sprint, the Sweet Life Stakes.Spirit of Xian had previously raced in the UK, Ireland and France in only turf sprits prior to the Sweet Life, and after the Providencia Mandella was candid about having had concerns about her distance limitations. “You could see, she meant to be on the lead, and Joe (Talamo) did a great job. I was lacking confidence, and I told Joe, ‘If you’re not sure she can get the last quarter, get off and run yourself.’ He didn’t have to.”A filly by Kodiac out of the Touch Gold dam Gold Again, Spirit of Xian is owned by Ben Keswick. She is 10-3-0-2 overall with $134,068 in earnings.Trainer Matt Chew will return his Singing Kitty to turf after a fifth place run in the Grade I, 1 1/16 mile Santa Anita Oaks in which she lost to current Kentucky Oaks favorite, Stellar Wind.A winner of both the one mile turf Cal Cup Oaks Jan. 24 and the China Doll on March 7, she will be vying for her first graded stakes victory in the Honeymoon.With two wins from four starts in 2105, Singing Kitty is by Ministers Wild Cat and owned by Chris Aulds and Peter Jeong. She is 9-4-0-0- overall with $243,378 in earnings.The Jerry Hollendorfer trained Lutine Belle will attempt to return to her Blue Norther Stakes form, a mile turf race in which she won Jan. 1. Fifth in the Grade I Las Virgenes Jan. 31 two starts back and eighth in the April 4 Providencia, her most recent start, Lutine Belle returns to turf for only the third time in an nine race career.She is owned by KMN Racing, LLC with earnings of $98,950. Jockey Corey Nakatani gains the mount for the first time Sunday.With all fillies assigned 117 pounds, the Honeymoon Stakes will be run as the eighth race on an eight-race card. Here’s the field, with jockeys in post position order: Screaming Skylar, Victor Espinoza; Spanish Queen, Brice Blanc; Havanna Belle, Rafael Bejarano; Lutine Belle, Corey Nakatani; Sharla Rae, Drayden Van Dyke; Prize Exhibit, Mike Smith; Star Via Strada, Tiago Pereira; Entrechat, Flavien Prat; Spirit of Xian, Joseph Talamo; Singing Kitty, Tyler Baze. First post time on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.
2 October 2015 Young African leaders who are interested in gaining skills training in the United States, are encouraged to apply for the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship.The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, opened in 2014, is the flagship programme of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (Yali). The latter seeks to empower young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.Yali was launched in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. According to its website, applications for the fellowship are open from 1 to 31 October. Those who apply must have leadership qualities and demonstrate knowledge, interest and professional experience in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement.These young leaders must also have the desire to plough back into the continent what they have learned abroad.The FellowsWatch former Fellows talk about how the initiative has changed their lives:The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organisations, institutions, communities, and countries. In 2015, Fellows represented all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa; half of them were women, and it was the first time 76% of them spent substantial time in the US.US activitiesAcademic and leadership institutesEach Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week academic and leadership institute at a US university or college in one of three tracks: business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, or public management. In 2016, there will be a pilot institute on energy.Presidential summitFollowing the academic component of the fellowship, the Fellows visit Washington DC for a presidential summit featuring a town hall with Obama. During the three-day event, Fellows take part in networking and panel discussions with US leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors.Professional development experienceFollowing these components, 100 Fellows are selected to remain in the US to participate in a six-week professional development experience programme with US non-governmental organisations, private companies, and governmental agencies that relate to their professional interests and goals.Watch how Fellows work in partnership with international companies to bring change:For more information on this initiative, read more here.Source: YoungAfricanLeadersInitiative and SAinfo reporter
A province-wide solution is needed to solve the increasing issue of congestion that goes beyond convincing people to use public transport. An integrated system using a single card fare and backed up by real-time information, managed by a Gauteng Transport Authority may be the answer. MEC Vadi believes and integrated province wide public transport is the future of mobility in the province. (Image: Gauteng Roads and Transport)Sulaiman PhilipGauteng MEC for roads and transport Dr Ismail Vadi tells a story about a young woman he met in central Johannesburg who has taken to riding a bicycle through the city to and from work every day.To change the belief that it was dangerous to ride a bicycle in Johannesburg, this young woman had to get on her bike and ride, Vadi said, speaking at the Johannesburg leg of the Cycling Indaba, which took place on 11-12 October.“To get people out of their cars and using the public transport infrastructure we need to change the culture. We have got to grow the culture. People like this young woman are outliers, people who know the infrastructure exists and are showing others that the city’s public transport infrastructure is safe to use.”Changing the mind-set of Gauteng’s millions of car users is a challenge the MEC is relishing as he begins setting up the Gauteng Transport Authority. “There is a bigger challenge. In the last 10 years we’ve built the Gautrain, we’ve rolled out two phases of the BRT and yet car ridership has increased. It could mean that people have not listened to our message. But I think it’s a function of in-migration. In the last 10 years Gauteng’s population has doubled.”South Africans spend the equivalent of 10 working days sitting in traffic on congested roads annually. In the space taken up by one person in a car, six people can travel by bike or 4.5 by bus. “So even though the public transport infrastructure has been rolled out, not on the scale we desire of course. It’s not seamless and it does not have a provincial footprint, but our population has increased so of course our car ridership has increased.”Vadi believes that investment in an integrated transport system is the solution to a future of gridlock. A system that seamlessly integrated different transport nodes would optimise space, move larger numbers of people more effectively. To that end he has begun to set up the Gauteng Transport Authority.This investment in time and money on an integrated transport system between bus, train and metro will also help the province to become more socio-economically inclusive. Vadi believes that economic mobility matters and we must now build transport infrastructure that shows marginalised communities that they are part of the fabric of the economic engine that is the province.The challenge to keep the province moving has become more difficult as the province has become wealthier. Until we can change the mindset of citizens, traffic will slow to a crawl. Cities that embrace pubic transport and cycling are truly democratic. A city where a R800 bicycle has as much right to space on the road as a car worth R800 000 is truly equal. A progressive community is one where the rich are as comfortable using public transport as the poor.The road to a better transport systemThere are just over 11 million vehicles on the roads in South Africa. Gauteng, the smallest province, is home to 4.6 million of those vehicles. Fly over Gauteng and you will see a province on the move. Trains and taxis, cars and bicycles flow like blood through a circulatory system.This desire and need for mobility has made large metros noisy, congested and prone to smog. Safe, clean and affordable public transport is Gauteng’s future if MEC Vadi gets his wish. For the poor it is the system that allows them to get to work, improves access to health care, education and recreation.“In-migration (to Gauteng) is an ongoing conundrum. It is putting pressure on our schooling system, our health system. All the systems that are there to support communities and develop communities, including our transport system. How are we going to build ourselves out of this? We don’t have the road reserves.”For Gauteng to remain the economic engine of South Africa, the province needs to plan and build a better, more integrated public transport system that covers the entire province. Vadi envisages a system that allows Gautengers to get on a train in Rust de Winter and get off a bus in Vaal Oewer, using one affordable fare card that allows you to transfer from one mode of transport that is safe, on time and that follows a set schedule, to another.In his 2015 departmental budget speech he argued that the province, with the help of Metrorail, needed to improve and upgrade the passenger rail system to form the foundation of an integrated mass transit system.With one million daily riders, it was the backbone of the province’s transformation, modernisation and re-industrialisation agenda. “Roads and public transport link and integrate whole communities and facilitate the seamless movement of people, goods and services. It also helps us to re-fashion geography and spatially reconfigure the Gauteng City Region along the five development corridors identified by the provincial government.”Gauteng Transport AuthorityHe went on to explain that Gauteng had to plan for a future that could not be seen yet. As Gauteng grows, it is the smallest province but has the largest population, transport infrastructure will become strained and more important.“…growth should be premised on an infrastructure-led strategy, which includes making substantial investments in roads and public transport. Our investments in transport infrastructure will contribute to economic growth and development of our province, particularly at a time when the global and local economy are experiencing a downturn.”For the provincial government, maintaining and improving road infrastructure is just one aspect of the 25-Year Integrated Transport Masterplan. Included in the vision and planning is the provision of reliable, affordable and safe public transport. “Our vision is to evolve an integrated and reliable public transport system for the Gauteng City Region that operates as a single, functional transport area, where the users of the system are unmindful of municipal and provincial boundaries.”In 2014, Gauteng Premier David Makhura joined the executive mayors of all Gauteng municipalities in signing a Declaration of Intent to establish a Gauteng Transport Authority. This new public utility will transform the way the province’s public transport systems are managed, organised and co-ordinated.“…a Gauteng Transport Authority will give us optimal leverage of our limited human and fiscal resources; promote better integration and co-ordination of dispersed public transport related activities; allow for greater efficiencies in contracting transport services; and improve on transport planning.”At the Gauteng e-Commerce ICT Summit in November 2015, MEC Vadi told CNBC Africa that the need to integrate all mass transit systems was becoming critical. A key part of that planned integration was to be a single, one card scheme that worked across the entire system.ChallengesOn the New York City Transit system one card allows you to change between the bus and subway to get to your destination. The London Oyster card – almost R5 000 a month – allows you to use any of the city’s public transport systems. In the Estonian capital of Tallinn, residents enjoy almost free public transport – it costs R31.50 for a monthly pass.In these cities the different parts of the public transport systems are integrated. Bus routes mirror train, subway or tube routes. Train and bus schedules are synchronised to ensure a reasonable travel time from door to destination.Well-designed, successful integrated public transport systems are economical, the trip is comfortable and, most importantly, considered safe. Before a new province-wide system can be birthed, planners need to consider how to integrate the operations of existing systems with new, and planned, infrastructure.Globally, urban planners building truly integrated systems have learnt the value of providing real-time information to travellers. Real-time information about service schedules especially has helped to make adoption and continued use workable.Vadi told CNBC Africa that his department was busy developing an app that would allow commuters to plan their whole trip across the province. The challenge was a lack of live information to make the system workable. “You need someone to manage the back office and to feed it with live information so that if you get off at any station, or you’re at a taxi rank, and you want to go from point A to point B, you should be able to map your route with an application. We have taken some steps in that direction, but I don’t think we are at the point we desire.”Getting people out of their carsIntegrated and safe public transport eases the burden on residents’ wallets and, in theory, should get cars off city and provincial roads. However, as the city of Tallinn learnt, integration is just one aspect a city needs to get right.Delft University’s Dr Oded Cats, of the department of transport and planning, found that transit ridership grew by 8%, but the length of a car journey went up by 31%. He concluded that there were more, not fewer cars on the roads. This, he deduced, was down to changing shopping and leisure habits and not limitations of the public transport system. “Making driving more expensive through parking fees and other taxes could be more effective at cutting back on traffic.”This income could, should, be used to fund a province-wide mass transit system. To fund the system just through fares would make it unaffordable. Building infrastructure for and operating a public transit system is expensive; it becomes essential to look at additional revenues streams.In Gauteng, as in other provinces, the multiplicity of owners is a challenge. While they do provide low cost service, competition results in – it is perception in part – low quality service. Taxi routes are also concentrated on profitable routes while non-profitable routes are poorly serviced. Taxi owners would need to be convinced that participation would benefit them, even if they are one node of a wider system.Best practice across the globe is a transit system consisting of a mix of public and private operators. The government entity – the Gauteng Transport Authority – would be responsible for planning the network and setting operational standards. Private and municipal operators would provide contracted services.Across Gauteng, as income levels have risen, car ownership has become a way to display status. Mass transit has come to be seen as the option of people who cannot afford their own cars. Changing this image of public transport is another big challenge. Cars are aspirational, a sign of independence and an indication of achievement. Vadi does not judge this, saying: “But our aspirational middle class has caused havoc on our roads. In the last 15 years how many young black women have you seen in their Polo, alone in the car driving very cautiously on the highway? But it’s their pride.”This challenge goes hand-in-hand with a transport system that is not developed enough to cover all areas. He understands these challenges and is trying to find solutions. “We are now advocating car sharing schemes because it’s another way to deal with and manage the congestion.“When we had this very unfortunate collapse of the bridge at Grayston, for three of four days the road was closed. Over those three days we had 5 000 new passengers per day on the Gautrain. Suddenly people realised that this worked. It was actually very nice to be on the Gautrain. And some of those people have stayed on as passengers. Why, they wondered, did they spend their days in stop go stop go traffic. They discovered the train worked. They had never bothered to try it. They just assumed there was no public transport.”Demographers project that Gauteng’s population will be 18.6 million by 2037. This means more cars on the roads unless the province builds an integrated public transport system, and commuters use it. If leaders do nothing, “you will be sitting in your posh BMW in peak hours in Gauteng travelling slower than a horse and cart”.Speaking alongside Vadi was Marissa Gerards, the Dutch ambassador to South Africa and host of the Cycling Indaba. She explained that the Dutch mass transit system grew out of a demand from the people rather than government planning.To accommodate the growing number of cars on the roads in the 1960s and 1970s, Netherlands began building new roads, often through the heart of cities and destroying communities in the process. “It was the people who wanted to save the cities so the government was forced to build bike lanes, provide public transport and protect the inner cities. I am stuck in the traffic jam between Pretoria and Johannesburg so often. If the Gautrain had good connections with other modes of transport it would be perfect. That’s the solution the Netherlands looked for.”The province will be putting a lot more effort into building an integrated public transport system over the next few years. In the three largest municipalities’ bus rapid transit systems are being re-vitalised. Over the next three years Metrorail’s new trains and a modernised signal system will be operating. Construction on new routes for the Gautrain will begin. “But these things take time. We are playing catch, but in the next five or 10 years you will begin to see changes.”IMAGES FROM OUR IMAGE LIBRARIES | TERMS & CONDITIONS
On the backfoot after his team’s loss to arch-rivals India in Kolkata last week, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi chose to raise an unexpected controversy – raking up Kashmir, of all things – before the start of a World T20 match against New Zealand yesterday.Asked by former Pakistan cricket captain and now commentator Rameez Raja if he and his team had support from the crowds, Afridi said that “a lot of people are here for Kashmir”. (Shahid Afridi hints at retirement after Australia game in World T20 )”It seems you have a bit of fan following here in Mohali,” Raja remarked after Afridi lost the toss in the match against New Zealand.”Ya, a lot of people, a lot of people are here from Kashmir as well. And I want to thanks people of Kolkata, they really support us as well,” Afridi said at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium just before the start of the Pakistan vs New Zealand group match.Afridi had found himself in the midst of a controversy a few days back when he stated that the Pakistan cricket team got more love in India than in Pakistan. The statement led to Afridi’s criticism in Pakistan, especially from former cricketers like Javed Miandad.Pakistan was beaten by India at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens ground on Saturday.
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Lazio step closer to signing Chelsea defender Zappacostaby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLazio are a step closer to signing Chelsea defender Davide Zappacosta this week.Il Messaggero says Lazio have agreed personal terms with the Italy fullback, who is eager to return home this month.And the outline of a transfer has also been settled, with Lazio and Chelsea agreeing to a six month loan with the option of a permanent deal in June.However, Chelsea’s €15m price is regarded as too rich by Lazio.And Lazio sports chief Igli Tare will spend this week attempting to talk down the valuation.
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – OCTOBER 27: Penn State students cheer their Nittany Lions after staging a “white out” during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium October 27, 2007 in University Park, Pennsylvania. Ohio State won 37-17. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)Beaver Stadium was already expected to be rocking when the Michigan Wolverines head to Happy Valley to take on Penn State in late November. Now, the school announced Monday night, it will officially be a “White Out” game for the Nittany Lions. Penn State will host the Wolverines for such an affair for the third time ever – and first since 2013. Via PSU:This will be the third time that Penn State has hosted Michigan in a full stadium White Out game and the fourth time overall. The last time the teams met in a White Out game, Penn State claimed a dramatic 43-40 victory in four overtimes in 2013.The game time for the 2015 Penn State White Out game will be announced at a later date. The Penn State dorms will remain open through 10 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22, which will allow students to attend the game before heading on Thanksgiving break.Penn State has also introduced new Nike tee shirts to commemorate the occasion. You can’t buy them yet, but you can pre-order them. Penn State, which played in a bowl game last year for the first time since the 2011 season, will be looking to continue rebuilding under head coach James Franklin. A win over Michigan would be a huge step.
The Small Steps Project team has been swamped by stars falling over themselves to give up their shoes for their annual celebrity shoe auction – and they are thrilled to announce they now have over 100 pairs.2013 is their best collection yet, with A-listers from both sides of the Atlantic eager to take small steps. It all kicked off at Glastonbury with rocking shoe donations from and The Rolling Stones, Professor Green, Kenny Rogers and Rita Ora.Tennis season served up some aces from Wimbledon players Roger Federer, Tim Henman, Andy Murray, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal.From the catwalks of London and Paris Fashion Weeks shoes flew in from Vivienne Westwood, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Natalia Vodianova, Twiggy and regular donor Kate Moss.Visit their Celebrity Shoe Donor page to see all of the celebrities who are taking part including Kate Winslet, Eminem, Elton John, Sienna Miller, George Clooney, Noel and Liam Gallagher, Florence Welch, Brian May, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Ronson, Rachel Weisz, Ewan McGregor, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger, Taylor Swift, Chris Martin, Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and Madonna.The Small Steps Project’s mission is to deliver shoes, aid and medical care to children surviving on rubbish dumps all over the world.The auction runs from Dec 5 – 15, and can be accessed here.