Welsh adds: “A perverse ‘honour’, of which she is inordinately proud, was being declared an ‘Enemy of the State’ by Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe in 2001.” Helen Suzman, veteran South African politician and fearless campaigner against apartheid, was laid to rest in West Park Cemetery, Johannesburg on Sunday at a funeral attended by hundreds, including South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and a host of other dignitaries from across the country’s political spectrum. “The qualifications, based on educational and property criteria, survived until 1978, although Helen had privately advocated universal adult suffrage well before this date.” She studied and lectured in economics and economic history at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where her interest in politics grew, partly through her involvement in the South African Institute of Race Relations, a liberal organisation that conducted research on racial issues. “The tools of her liberation struggle were not guns, or the politics of resistance, but the use of the machinery, the beast of the apartheid Parliament, to attack the system itself.” Suzman remained active in public life after stepping down as an MP, serving as president of the SA Institute of Race Relations from 1991 to 1993, serving on the Independent Electoral Commission that oversaw the country’s first democratic election in 1994, and serving as a member of the statutory Human Rights Commission for several years thereafter. “History must record that [Suzman] was one of the great freedom fighters for the liberation of South Africa from the tyranny of apartheid,” South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein said in his eulogy. 5 January 2009 “In a patriarchal society like South Africa, discrimination against women was also rife,” Welsh notes. “For many years the quest for equal status was one of Helen’s main concerns, and she achieved considerable success.” Suzman died on 1 January 2009 at the age of 91. Author and human rights activist David Welsh writes in his short biography on the Suzman Foundation’s website: “Dissatisfaction with the UP’s shilly-shallying on racial issues grew among the small band of liberals in the caucus. Finally, in 1959, dissatisfaction boiled over into open revolt, and 12 MPs, including Helen, broke away and subsequently formed the Progressive Party, with an openly liberal programme of extending rights to all South Africans, but with a qualified franchise. In 1967, Suzman visited Nelson Mandela in prison on Robben Island for the first time. Remembering the visit, Mandela later said: “Mrs Suzman was one of the few, if not the only, member of Parliament who took an interest in the plight of political prisoners.” According to the Helen Suzman Foundation, Suzman was born in the mining town of Germiston, east of Johannesburg, on 7 November 1917 to Samuel and Frieda Gavronsky, both immigrants from Eastern Europe who had come to South Africa to escape the restrictions imposed on Jews by Russia. Achmat Dangor, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said in a statement on Thursday that South Africa had lost “a great patriot and a fearless fighter against apartheid. In 1953 she won the nomination contest for the Johannesburg constituency of Houghton – a safe United Party (UP) seat – and on 14 March of that year she became an MP. Her workload, during her solitary 13 years in Parliament, was prodigious. “She grabbed every opportunity to speak, to put parliamentary questions, and to intercede with ministers on behalf of the many hapless individuals and communities who were caught up in the merciless bureaucratic toils of apartheid. “We remember how Mrs Suzman was one of the very few members of Parliament who protested against apartheid legislation, including the 1 May 1963 promulgation of the General Law Amendment Act or ‘the Ninety Day Detention Law’ – the beginning of South Africa’s notorious system of detention without trial.” SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material “In a typical parliamentary session she spoke on average in 15 ministerial votes (in which the performance of a minister and his department was debated), participated in numerous debates on bills, and asked some 200 parliamentary questions – which elicited valuable information that she put to good use in her speeches inside and outside Parliament. In her final speech in Parliament, Welsh writes, Suzman did “what no MP had done before: she proposed a motion of censure on a judge who had imposed a derisory sentence on two white farmers who had beaten an African labourer to death. Predictably, the motion failed, but the episode caused a national furore. The judge in question was subsequently transferred away from actual court work.” From 1961 until 1974, when she was joined by five other Progressive Party MPs, Suzman was the only member of Parliament who consistently and unequivocally opposed discriminatory legislation in South Africa, including a spate of security laws that left the rule of law in tatters. When, as President of South Africa, Mandela bestowed on Suzman the Order of Meritorious Service in 1997, he said of her courage: “It is a courage born of the yearning for freedom; of hatred of oppression, injustice and inequity whether the victim be oneself or another; a fortitude that draws its strength from the conviction that no person can be free while others are unfree.” He added: “It was an odd and wonderful sight to see this courageous woman peering into our cells and strolling around our courtyard. She was the first and only woman ever to grace our cells.” Her achievements have been acknowledged by numerous awards and honours, including over 25 honorary doctorates from local and international universities, two nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the International Freedom Prize from Liberal International in 2002. In 1989 she was made a Dame of the British Empire, a rare honour for a foreigner. Suzman, one of the country’s longest-serving members of Parliament, fought a lonely battle from within the apartheid legislature for the right of all South Africans to vote. “In a famous exchange a certain minister shouted: ‘You put these questions just to embarrass South Africa overseas.’ To which Helen coolly replied: ‘It is not my questions that embarrass South Africa – it is your answers.’”
As much as I’d like to claim credit for the catchy title above, it’s actually the name of the Airbus A321 flown for this review of jetBlue’s sparkling new US transcon service, aptly called ‘Mint.’ Ticket prices for this impressive coast-to-coast travel range from an ultra-thrifty $599 to a still-thrifty $999 per-person one-way (before fees), depending on how far in advance you book your flight. In this editor’s opinion, it’s a steal at either price, especially compared to first class fares of competing legacy US carriers that run between $1,100 and $2,000 per-person one-way. Seating in the Mint cabin is arranged in alternating rows of twin-seats (Rows 1, 3, and 5) and private suites (Rows 2 and 4) with sixteen seats total. Surprisingly, there is no price difference between the two. Suites are simply sold on a first-come, first-serve basis, and although the large twin-seats offer great comfort and the same recline and lie-flat bed features as the suite, there’s really no comparison to having your very own private compartment complete with sliding door. The suite also offers much more storage space including an outsize 12-inch by 32-inch shelf below the windows. Seat and amenitiesjetBlue’s Mint experience begins well before boarding with a dedicated check-in line and ultra-convenient express PreCheck status at TSA security checkpoints. Upon entering the aircraft as first to board, Mint passengers find luxurious oversize pillows and blankets, a ‘Snooze Kit’ containing eyeshades and earplugs, and a welcome card with the names of their two Mint flight attendants. (No amenity kits were on the seats, as those are personally handed-out later in the flight.) Seats measure 22 inches across â€“ the widest seats available on any US domestic flight today. Although seat pitch can’t be measured in the traditional sense, leg room in the footwell ahead of your seat is 54 inches – a staggering statistic for non-international airline service. Footwells are wider at the window seats (22 inches) than those at the aisle seats or suites (14 inches). Private suites measure 54 inches from window to aisle, and a generous 50 inches from the rear wall of your compartment to the rear of the twin seats in front of you. All Mint seats are equipped with air-bag-augmented seatbelts for maximum comfort and safety. The seats themselves are quite handsome, covered in supple charcoal gray leather with Royal Blue stitching. There are three settings available as shown on a user-friendly pictogram control panel. For takeoff and landing the seat must be in its fully upright position, but a ‘Relax’ setting moves the seat smoothly into BARCO lounger mode with raised footrest. The ‘Bed’ setting articulates into a 6-foot 8-inch lie-flat bed, although you are almost lying on the floor and restricted in width by the seat side walls. Seats also feature lumbar back-support cushioning and a smooth wave-like massage if desired.Dasani water bottles are tucked neatly into special holders at each seat, and side panels include dual 110-volt power outlets with two USB ports, plus a push-button over-the-shoulder reading light. A ‘Wake Me’ button signals flight attendants for service at your beck-and-call. One small surprise was finding seats 5A and 5C at left rear of the Mint cabin situated directly in front of the Economy cabin’s forward lavatory. If seated there, be prepared to endure the sounds of distant canon fire as that lavatory toilet is flushed continuously throughout the flight.Customer service on boardWhile cabin service was excellent on both my flights, the New York-bound crew was truly exemplary. Lead Flight Attendant Erin brought a grace, elegance, and precision to the flight that harkened back to the luxurious days of Connies and Stratocruisers during the Golden Age of air travel. Mint flight attendants are not only specially selected and specially trained for this exceptional service, but share a high esprit de corps as the best of the best. The finishing touch to the flight is a customized and gender-specific amenity kit personally delivered to your seat. Containing an array of grooming aides for men and beauty products for women, this fine collection of goods is provided by Birchbox. After another round of hot towels, a small box of Mah ze Dahr bakery treats is delivered to your seat prior to landing, and the Mint experience is now complete. CateringService on my outbound LAX-JFK flight was impeccable, with drinks, hot towels, and meals all served within our first hour in the air. jetBlue’s signature ‘RefreshMint’ beverage of honey-infused limeade with fresh mint and your choice of vodka or plain was served before leaving the gate. The menu contained a fine selection of dishes, with a cocktail and small serving of chilled soup beginning the meal. You could select any three of the five entrees listed – two hot dishes and one cold. On the outbound flight, I chose Corn custard & poached lobster, Roasted Atlantic cod in a tomato-caper broth, and Ribeye steak with fingerling potatoes. Although serving sizes were modest, the food was served fresh and piping hot, and tasted excellent. Meals are inspired by New York’s popular Saxon + Parole gourmet restaurant, a fitting establishment for this level of service. For my wine selection, I chose a Honig Sauvignon Blanc which was served slightly chilled and complemented the meal beautifully. All onboard wines are carefully selected by Josh Wesson, jetBlue’s award-winning sommelier. Dessert was either a seasonal fruit salad or ice cream from Brooklyn’s famed Blue Marble or both. Complimentary beverages, light snacks, and fresh fruits were available throughout the flight at a small buffet set-up in the galley aft of the Mint cabin.Inflight entertainmentIf there’s one thorn on jetBlue’s mint leaf, it’s their A321’s inflight entertainment system with its odd combination of early and current-generation technology. The 15-inch (diagonal) TV shows six different entertainment options, but is operated by a wired remote attached to the armrest that looks like a throwback to the 1990s. On my JFK-LAX flight, the SIRIUS XM Satellite radio was inoperative, and I learned that several recent Mint flights had to be downgraded to non-Mint A320s when the entire IFE system failed to work on a new A321. An upgraded Thales system with the latest software is in the works, although a release date has not been announced.There are 100 channels of DirecTV programming, 100-plus channels of SIRIUS XM radio (when itâ€™s operating), a movie channel and inflight Map Channel. Image quality on the flat-screen TV is outstanding, and not as affected by outside sunlight as many earlier-technology inflight screens. High-fidelity Grado Labs SR60e padded headphones give passengers exceptional audio quality including a sub-woofer sound as good as any recording studio-playback. (Headphones do have to be returned.)Extra informationOverall, flying aboard jetBlue’s new Mint A321 represents a unique and most pleasurable airline experience, enhanced all the more by the tremendous value of the ticket price. Like flying on the aforementioned Constellations and Stratocruisers of yesteryear, passengers are treated to a relaxed and luxurious inflight experience that is unquestionably superior in comfort, convenience, dining, and entertainment. Currently available on all five daily non-stop flights between New York and Los Angeles, Mint service will be added to the New York-San Francisco route this October. Unlike luxury airliners of yore, however, Mint passengers receive this consummate service in a new twin-engine digital-age jetliner flying at nearly the speed of sound at 38,000 feet. In this editor’s opinion, jetBlue Mint is quite simply the best value in air travel today. SUGGESTED READ: Our review of jetBlue’s Economy Class Extra Space Seat here Book your Mint experience with jetBlue here Mike flew as a guest of jetBlue on September 22nd and 23rd, 2014.
Messi: Ronaldo has improved Juventusby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona ace Leo Messi has no doubts Cristiano Ronaldo has improved Juventus.Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juve in August.“Being in the same League as him and competing with his team to win everything was very nice,” Messi told Marca.“Cristiano was a great player for La Liga and Real Madrid. Our clashes with them were very beautiful, but I always aim to win with my team.“Any team would miss Cristiano because he always scores lots of goals and gives you many other things on the field, but Real Madrid are still a great club with excellent players.“Juventus are a very good team. They already were before and with the arrival of Cristiano they’re much more so. They’re a great candidate for the Champions League.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
Two days after Thanksgiving, the Miami Hurricanes closed out another mediocre regular season with what the Miami Herald called a “dismal downer” of a game. They never led Pitt in the 35-23 defeat, and many UM faithful streamed out of Sun Life Stadium with almost an entire quarter left to play. Miami will appear in a postseason game this month because it has a just technically bowl-eligible 6-6 record (and it’s a well-known university). But the Duck Commander Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, is not exactly a destination befitting a program that was once college football royalty.Cycles of boom and bust, however, are nothing new in Coral Gables. This Saturday, ESPN is airing “The U Part 2,” a “30 for 30” by director Billy Corben that follows up on his 2009 documentary about the Hurricanes’ dominant, lawless football program of the 1980s. The sequel explores the process that rebuilt the scandal-ridden team into what would become, statistically, the most talented — if not quite the most dominant — team in college football history.Before the Hurricanes came back from the brink, they were as low as they are now. Miami’s mid-to-late 1990s deterioration reached its nadir at the end of 1997, the program’s first losing season in 18 years. When the final whistle blew on that campaign, Miami had a +3.8 Elo rating,1According to an Elo-like modification of ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) developed by FiveThirtyEight’s editor in chief, Nate Silver. which means Miami would have been favored by just 3.8 points against an average FBS team on a neutral field. To use 2014 teams as a comparison, Miami was the equivalent of this year’s Colorado State or Navy teams — a far cry from their dominant squads of the 1980s and early 1990s. (Although this year’s team is even worse, with a rating of +2.0.)This is what happens when a program transgresses enough NCAA rules to deserve its own documentary. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Hurricanes’ violations ranged from a pay-for-play scandal to a UM academic adviser helping players defraud the federal government of Pell Grant money. When the NCAA was finished handing down its penalties, the Hurricanes had been banned from the postseason for a year and stripped of 31 scholarships from 1995 to 1997.For college football teams, scholarships are currency. There’s a clear relationship between a team’s recruiting success and its on-field performance, and in the wake of the sanctions, Miami was unable to recruit as effectively as it had during the early 1990s.2Although it bears mentioning that, even in a relatively “down” recruiting year like 1996, the Hurricanes still hauled in four of the nation’s 100 best recruits.But under Butch Davis, the Hurricanes had figured out how to rebuild. From creative accounting to get around the scholarship limits — Davis persuaded wide receiver Santana Moss (among others) to run track on scholarship for UM while walking onto the football team — to rummaging through the recruiting bin for undervalued prospects, Davis amassed a talent collection better than college football has ever seen before or since. If we judge the players by where they were drafted in the NFL, tally the expected future approximate value for players picked in that slot, add it up for each school by each historical draft class, and assign a weighted sum of the previous four years to each college team-season,3The weights, in this case, are 4-3-2-1, derived from what combination best predicts a team’s FPI rating for the season in question. So, for instance, Miami players accumulated 103 points of AV in the 2002 draft, 86 points in the 2003 draft, 115 points in the 2004 draft and 46 points in the 2005 draft. That means the weighted sum for the 2001 Hurricanes squad is 4 times 103, plus 3 times 86, plus 2 times 115, plus 46 — which equals 946 points, the highest total any college team posted since the first NFL/AFL common draft in 1967. the Miami teams built by Davis and eventually coached by his successor, Larry Coker, are in a universe unto themselves.The single most talented college roster of the past 48 years, according to this measure, was the fabled 2001 Miami Hurricanes, who went 12-0 and won the BCS title while posting one of the best point differentials (+395) of any national champion. Davis-built Miami teams in 2000 and 2002 also rank third and fourth, respectively.The Hurricanes turned their unprecedented collection of talent into a one-loss 2000 team (which media-poll voters thought should have played undefeated Oklahoma for the national championship instead of Florida State, whom Miami had beaten earlier in the season); a historically dominant, unbeaten national champion in 2001; and a 2002 squad whose sole loss came in double overtime of the BCS title game.“You could have taken that 2001 [Hurricanes] team and put them in the NFL,” former Hurricanes safety Antrel Rolle told Corben, “and without a doubt they would have made the playoffs.”It’s probably the closest such a sentiment has ever come to actually being true. Then again, as stacked as the Davis/Coker Hurricanes were in terms of skilled athletes, and as impressive as their 34-game winning streak4Which stretched between Sept. 23, 2000, and Jan. 3, 2003. was, it’s difficult to argue they would have torn up the pros when they barely cracked the top 10 in terms of the highest modified FPI ratings by college teams in the past three decades.Under Davis, the Hurricanes’ Elo rating peaked at +24.3 after they beat Florida, the AP Poll’s No. 7, 37-20 in the 2001 Sugar Bowl — Davis’s last game as UM’s coach before leaving for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. After Coker took the reins, Miami’s rating would grow to +29.0 after thumping Nebraska 37-14 in the 2002 Rose Bowl, and crested at +30.2 before the 2003 Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.That mark represents the 10th-highest rating achieved by any team since 1982, but it trails entries from some of college football’s other most celebrated dynasties — including the 1990s Nebraska Cornhuskers, the 2000s USC Trojans, the 2008 Florida Gators, the 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide and even the 1988 Miami Hurricanes.There’s also the tricky matter of how the Hurricanes’ second golden era ended, marred by yet another scandal. While the program was ultimately assessed lighter penalties than it had received in the mid-1990s, in some ways that was due as much to the NCAA’s botched investigation as it was an absolution of Miami’s violations.And now the Hurricanes are back in the muck. But if there’s good news for Miami, Corben’s documentary underscores just how volatile this program has been over the past three decades. Of the top 18 FBS programs (by Elo rating) since 1982, Miami has by far the widest distribution of end-of-year Elo ratings.5In stats parlance, it has the largest standard deviation — 9.5 Elo points.In other words, the team tends to seesaw between greatness and mediocrity. And while life at “The U” has its peaks and valleys, if the story of Corben’s second Miami film is any indication, the next Hurricane dynasty might be just around the corner, no matter how bad things seem in the present.
The other day, several of us in the FiveThirtyEight office were musing about the New York Yankees’ chances in 2015. Certainly the Yankees are no longer the dominant powerhouse they were in the late 1990s and early 2000s, nor are they even the outrageously expensive (but championship-starved) juggernaut of the mid-to-late 2000s.1They’re still spending in excess of $200 million on payroll, but that no longer ranks No. 1 in baseball, nor is it anywhere near as far from average as their payroll was at its 2005 peak. Fangraphs’ projections — which, like all preseason predictions, come with a lot of uncertainty — see the Yankees as a slightly above-average team this season, and their 84-78 record last year fit that description as well.But another interesting note about the 2015 Yankees is that their position-player corps figures to be one of the most improved in the American League, according to the projected wins above replacement (WAR) listed on Fangraphs’ depth charts. And the biggest position at which they got better? Shortstop — former home of future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.We slagged on Jeter a bit last season for all the attention paid to his yearlong retirement tour despite his plainly awful numbers. The truth is that, according to WAR at least, the Yankees had the least-productive shortstop situation in all of baseball last year, so even a shortstop depth chart headlined by Didi Gregorius was bound to be one of the game’s most improved in 2015. And, sure enough, no team is projected to gain more WAR at shortstop this season than the Yankees, mostly because Jeter retired.Here’s an accounting of the Yankees’ projected gains and losses at each position, along with those of every other team going into the 2015 season:Of course, some teams improved even more at other positions than the Yankees did at shortstop. The St. Louis Cardinals, for instance, picked up WAR superstar Jason Heyward to man right field, a position that had been filled poorly by Allen Craig and the late Oscar Taveras in 2014. That change projects to be worth a net improvement of about 7 WAR for St. Louis this season (including 4.6 from Heyward himself, plus the additional bonus of getting rid of -1.8 WAR from Craig and Taveras).The following table represents a more specific breakdown of the Yankees’ shortstops, the Cardinals’ right fielders and the 28 other positional situations that are projected to improve the most in 20152Note that, in some cases, a team can show great improvement despite the same player being projected as the primary starter in both 2015 as in 2014. This could be due to a number of reasons, including the player having improved projected rate statistics (whether because of age-related improvement or regression to the mean after an out-of-character bad season) or even more projected playing time in 2015.:
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, November 21, 2017 – Providenciales – Digicel customers in Providenciales can now look forward to a new experience in customer service thanks to its new ‘Experience’ store in Graceway House in Providenciales.Located on the ground level of the Graceway House Building near Graceway IGA, the store boasts Smart Serve – a state-of-the-art intelligent digital and customer flow management system that is designed to provide intelligence on customer requests, service time and staff performance to significantly reduce wait time, improve efficiencies and greatly increase the overall quality of service for customers.“Customers want to be in and out of the stores in as short a time as possible and we are happy that Smart Serve will help us achieve this. It’s all about finding ways to deliver on our commitment of providing a better experience and we are delighted to be in the first batch of Digicel territories to introduce this state-of-the-art solution for customers,” said Stephen Murad, CCO for Digicel TCI.Visitors to the Experience store during its opening on Wednesday 22nd November will be treated to a host of activities and surprises, including being able to ring in the Christmas season by making their own Christmas ornaments with their family.Opened Mondays to Saturdays from 9am to 6pm, Digicel’s new Experience store is fully staffed with nine trained professionals ready and happy to deliver a better experience to customers.Press Release: Digicel Related Items: