Heart of Darkness

first_img Wave Goodbye: Congo expedition paddlers face monstrous swells on the river for five days. Photo: Skip Brown.We had been in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for less than two hours, most of that time spent in the hot, crowded, chaotic crush of airport baggage claim. We hauled our kayaks and gear out into a pitch-black Kinshasa night and drove through a hazy gloom on a dusty road crowded with cars. Pedestrians dashed in and out of traffic with abandon. The only illumination other than our headlights came from hundreds of storefront oil lamps flickering through the dust.Suddenly, a mini-van slammed into a man crossing the road up ahead. A street vendor of some kind, his body was suddenly propelled into the smoky air, his tray of gum and trinkets briefly weightless before he crumpled to the roadside. The van never slowed and disappeared into the darkness. As we passed, it appeared that the guy was dead. Our driver motored on, explaining that we would likely end up in trouble if we stopped to help, probably get blamed for the accident and anyhow, what would we do? Where would we take him?“Welcome to the Congo,” someone said.Visiting this central African country is not for the faint of heart. The worst of colonialism followed by decades of despotic rule has left one of Africa’s largest and potentially richest countries a third-world basket case. Eighty million people live in an area half the size of the U.S. with fewer paved roads than D.C. Through this heart of darkness for nearly three thousand miles runs the Congo River, the second largest river in the world. Only the Amazon carries more water but the Congo has something the Amazon doesn’t – whitewater. Big whitewater.The Congo runs the length of the DRC twice, draining millions of square miles. Straddling both sides of the equator, it’s always raining somewhere in the Congo drainage, thus providing a fairly constant flow of between 1.5 and 3 million cubic feet per second.Just downstream of Kinshasa, and within view of the city’s crumbling skyline, the Congo begins a steep drop to the sea. It’s here that an 85-mile long canyon of pool drop whitewater known as the “String of Pearls” begins. The massive volume, combined with modest drop and incredible depths creates a hydrodynamic cauldron that has stymied explorers for centuries. In 1877, explorer Henry Stanley became the first person to travel the length of the Congo. Ultimately it took him 40 days and the loss of some of his party to get through the canyon below Kinshasa, portaging most of the way. His diaries describe the massive wave trains and his 70-foot canoes pointing to the sky as they spun in giant whirlpools.A century later, a team of French adventurers tried to run the String of Pearls. Film footage shows their rafts heading off into insane whitewater. They disappeared and were never seen again. No bodies were ever found, only a bullet-ridden raft.The daunting whitewater hasn’t only stymied adventurers. Scientists too have been kept at bay by the river’s ferocity and the DRC’s troubled past. For years it has been a difficult and dangerous place to work and the river is just recently yielding some of her secrets. The large volume, great depths and strong currents have created a habitat for unique evolution of a variety of fish and other species. Ichthyologists and hydrologists are using sophisticated equipment to map current velocities at various river depths. But they can only guess at what lies below the surface of the String of Pearls. In fact, it could be the most interesting, least studied large section of river in the world. One of the purposes of our journey was to make depth readings and hopefully prove that the Congo is the deepest river in the world.At the invitation of National Geographic Television, our team of pro kayakers was attempting a first successful descent of the String of Pearls. We were trying to run all of the rapids, take water samples at major tributaries and depth soundings, and film and photograph it all.On the eve of our journey, my mind reeled with concern over the potential dangers we might face. The DRC is an intense and paranoid place, and there are lots of people with guns. Any Army or police officer with a gun can stop you, and they usually try to shake you down with impunity. Taking photographs anywhere is an invitation for trouble.Then there’s the river: giant whitewater rapids with spine-crushing waves, huge whirlpools, shark-sized fish with shark-sized teeth, crocodiles, and hippos. Ichthyologist Melanie Stiassni said the only thing we need to worry about is the whitewater. Turned out she was wrong. center_img 1 2 3last_img read more

Credit unions gain share in auto loans; It pays to shop around

first_img 52SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr More U.S. borrowers are turning to credit unions for auto loans, even though banks and “captive” finance companies still dominate the market.Credit unions are on the rise in part because credit unions have tax advantages that often allow them to beat other lenders on interest rates. It’s also the case that credit union membership is up around the country.“It’s mainly due to rates,” said Steve Rick, chief economist for CUNA Mutual Group, which provides insurance, lending solutions and marketing programs for credit unions.Rick said in a phone interview this week that credit unions on average beat standard rates offered by banks by around 1.25 percentage points. “We’re basically beating them on loan pricing,” Rick said. continue reading »last_img read more

Governor Wolf’s First Term Boosts Schools That Teach, Made Children the Top Priority

first_img Education,  PAsmart,  Press Release,  Schools That Teach Harrisburg, PA – Since taking office, Governor Tom Wolf has fought for more education funding and has made investments in our schools and our children his top priority. As he prepares to begin his second term, the governor pledged that he would continue to fight for students to have quality schools, regardless of their zip code.“Over the past four years we have made schools that teach our top priority by reinvesting in our children and their classrooms,” said Governor Wolf. “Together, we restored funding after devastating cuts and are building a brighter future for students with sustained investments in their education. During my first term we tackled longstanding problems such as implementing a fair funding formula and expanding pre-k for thousands of kids.“We’re taking steps to make sure everyone can thrive in our economy. Not every child in Pennsylvania will go to a four-year college, but every child needs the skills to compete for a good job. We are now creating new science and technology programs and expanding job training for in-demand careers, so everyone has the skills they need for a good-paying job in Pennsylvania.”The governor visited Winding Creek Elementary School in Cumberland County today, the 79th stop on his Schools That Teach tour since taking office. Following his remarks, the governor visited students who were applying their STEM skills to build small rollercoasters.Governor Wolf has worked with students, parents, educators, stakeholders and bipartisan members of the General Assembly to move Pennsylvania forward and expand educational opportunities.Supporting a quality education:Restored funding that was cut by the previous administration that led to teacher layoffs, larger class sizes and program cuts.Enacted a fair funding formula that provides equitable, fair funding for all school districts.Expanded enrollment in AP courses by 10 percent.Launched the Future Ready PA Index, a new one-stop location for information on student and school success.Early education, health and safety:Increased the number of children able to attend pre-kindergarten by 60 percent.Established a Ready to Start Task Force to develop strategies to address health, human services, and education needs for children age zero to three.Created a School Breakfast Initiative to help more children start their day with a healthy meal.Created a task force to bring together officials, educators, parents, and students to talk about ways to improve school safety and security.Enacted the Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law to strengthen penalties for hazing and protect students.Created It’s On Us PA, the nation’s first statewide initiative to combat sexual assault on campuses.Reduced standardized testing and improved graduation requirements:Reduced the length of PSSA tests by 20 percent, condensed the exam timeframe from three weeks to two weeks and shifted it to later in the school year for students in grades three through eight.Improved high school graduation requirements to give students options to demonstrate graduation readiness as alternatives to standardized testing.Increased the high school graduation rate to 86.1 percent, placing Pennsylvania above the national average.Workforce development and career readiness:Established PAsmart, a first-of-its-kind $30 million workforce development initiative that invests $20 million in computer science and STEM education programs for K-12 students and $10 million to expand apprenticeships and industry partnerships.Advanced Pennsylvania to second in the nation for K-12 STEM and Computer Science education investments.Increased the number of career and technical education (CTE) students earning industry-recognized credentials by 34.2 percent and increased the number of credentials earned by students enrolled in CTE programs by 27.2 percent. January 11, 2019 Governor Wolf’s First Term Boosts Schools That Teach, Made Children the Top Prioritycenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Mr. Lloyd Alan Harris

first_imgMr. Lloyd Alan Harris, age 69, of Vevay, Indiana, entered this life on June 22, 1950, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the loving son of the late, Lloyd Sheldon and Burnetta G. (Gullion) Harris. Alan was raised in Switzerland County, Indiana and was a 1968 graduate of the Madison High School in Madison, Indiana. Alan majored in biology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, until he was in an accident his senior year of college. He was united in marriage to Sharon Bear. Alan was later united in marriage to Rebecca Sue Robinson on September 3, 1990, at the Patriot Baptist Church in Patriot, Indiana. This happy union was blessed with three sons, Travis, Christopher and Danny. Alan was later united in marriage to Carolyn Sarah Mahan on September 10, 1999 in Covington, Kentucky. Alan and Sarah shared seven years of marriage together until she passed away on September 25, 2006. Alan owned and operated the Alan Harris and Sons Appliances in Vevay, Indiana, for 34 years. Alan was a former member of the Millwright Local Union No.1076 of Greenwood, Indiana and Millwright Local Union No.1003 of Indianapolis, Indiana. Alan was a member of the Sons of the American Legion Post #185 and the Sons of the American Legion Post #5396. Alan enjoyed playing euchre at the Legion and VFW and swimming, but most of all, spending time with his loving grandchildren. Alan passed away at 2:15 p.m., Wednesday, August 21, 2019, near Vevay, Indiana.Alan will be missed by his sons, Travis Harris of Vevay, IN, Christopher Harris and his wife, Amanda of Vevay, IN and Danny Harris and his companion, Skyla Allen of Patriot, IN; his grandchildren, Cassius, Jonah, Tripp and Jexlynn Harris; his step-sons, John Davis and his wife, Bethany of Crittenden, KY and Cory Davis of Crittenden, KY; his sister, Paula Ann (Harris) Dodd of Madison, IN; his nieces, Kimberly Newlin of Birmingham, AL, Jennifer Wester and her husband, Derek of Birmingham, AL; his nephew, Brian Dodd of Madison, IN and his great-nieces and nephews, Cole, Lily, Ella, Whitten and Sutton.He was preceded in death by his parents, Lloyd Sheldon and Burnetta G. (Gullion) Harris, died August 18, 1997; his wife, Carolyn Sarah (Mahan) Harris, died September 25, 2006; his brother-in-law, Edward Jacob “Ed” Dodd, Jr, died August 7, 2018.Funeral services will be conducted Monday, August 26, 2019, at 1:00 p.m., by Rev. Mike Jones at the Haskell & Morrison Funeral Home, 208 Ferry Street, Vevay, Indiana 47043.Friends may call 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Monday, August 26, 2019, at the Haskell & Morrison Funeral Home, 208 Ferry Street, Vevay, Indiana 47043.Memorial contributions may be made to the Guy S. Harris Scholarship Fund c/o CFSCI or to the Harris Park c/o Patriot Posey Park Board. Cards are available at the funeral home or online at www.haskellandmorrison.comlast_img read more

Indian Premier League Rahul Chahar reveals the player he looks to as guide

first_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Indian Premier League News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. Chahar also recalled how former India pacer Zaheer Khan, MI’s director of cricket operations, guided him when he faces difficulties.”After the first three matches, there was some problem with my delivery. Zaheer Sir got me to the nets and told me how to get the right turn on the ball,” said Chahar.It was on his cousin Deepak’s advice that he took up leg spin bowling, Chahar said.”I did not have so much talent or strength to be a fast bowler. ‘Bhaiya’ (brother) only suggested that I start to bowl leg spin,” said Chahar when asked how he took to wrist spin while Deepak was a pace bowler.Chahar said playing for Mumbai Indians was his dream and representing the three-time IPL champions was like playing for India.”When I was a kid, my dream was to play for Mumbai Indians. When I debuted for Mumbai Indians for the first time, it was a great feeling — something that you get while donning the India jersey as well,” he said.Off spinner Jayant Yadav, who was also present at the media conference, said that he was not presently eying a spot in the Indian Test team after having played in the longest form of the game against England in 2016 here where he also scored a hundred.He went out of the team after picking up an injury and has not regained his spot. “Injuries happen and you don’t have any control over it as a player. I think it’s more about the process – how you have got there in the first place and taking every tournament and every season as it comes,” he said.Left-arm spinner Anukul Roy, who was also present, pointed out his progress in the MI ranks from a reserve player last year to making his debut this season.”This year I made my debut after being in the team last year (without playing a game). This year, following my debut I learnt a lot and got experience,” said Roy, who plays for Jharkhand in the domestic circuit and was the joint highest wicket taker in the 2018 U-19 World Cup won by India.(With Inputs: PTI) New Delhi: As a child Rahul Chahar used to idolise legendary Australian wrist spinner Shane Warne but now the Mumbai Indians wrist spinner admires Chennai Super Kings’ Imran Tahir and consults the wily South African bowler for help when the need arises.”When I was a kid, I would follow (Shane) Warne. Now, it’s Imran Tahir. He brings in variation and, no matter how the wicket or the conditions are, he generates turn. He knows how to bowl in every condition,” said Chahar, who has picked up 10 wickets in the IPL so far, on the eve of MI’s final league match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.Chahar, whose first cousin Deepak plays for reigning champions Chennai Super Kings, said he seeks advice from Tahir whenever he had a problem in his bowling.”I have his contact number. Whenever I have a problem, I call him up and he guides me. He always helps me. When I went to England with the India U-19 team (in 2017), I did not know how to deliver in those conditions. It is difficult to grip the ball there, and he told me to put some sand and tackle the situation,” recalled Chahar, seen as a future India prospect.last_img read more

Antigua Gov’t Seeks Medical Supplies, Health Professionals from Cuba

first_imgANTIGUA – The Antigua and Barbuda Government has made a request to Cuba for supplies of the Interferon 2B drug that boosts the immune system, allowing patients who are very sick a chance to recover from diseases like the coronavirus.“The Cuban drug is in great demand at this time, as are others that are being tested on patients. Only one confirmed case of coronavirus has been detected in Antigua, and that 21-year-old patient is recovering. However, should an elderly Antiguan or Barbudan fall ill with the virus, the Cabinet is determined that all will be done to save that life. No death from coronavirus has occurred in Antigua and Barbuda,” a statement issued following the special Cabinet meeting on Sunday read.It said that the Cuban doctors and nurses, who will arrive on Thursday, March 26, are experienced in the management of infectious diseases.Since the release of the statement, Antigua confirmed two additional cases of COVID-19, bringing their national tally to three.last_img read more

Clarke claims U17 trophy in Ireland

first_img Lancashire’s Oliver Clarke led for England to win the U17 trophy at the Irish boys’ championship at Tuam Golf Club. The 16-year-old from Hillside was also third overall, finishing on six-over par with rounds of 75 71 74 75. The runaway winner was Adrien Pendaries of France, who had a course record 65 in his two-under total (75 72 65 74). The three other members of the England Golf squad all finished in a six-way tie for fourth place. They were Rhys Nevin-Wharton, 17, (Sandiway) 77 76 72 72; Gian-Marco Petrozzi, 18, (Trentham) 73 71 75 78; and Max Martin, 17, (Ladbrook Park) 70 75 77 75. Pendaries won by eight shots and is aiming to follow in the footsteps of his father, Marc, a former European Tour regular Click here for the full scores 27 Jun 2015 Clarke claims U17 trophy in Ireland last_img read more

Let the ‘training camp’ begin for the Nelson Leafs

first_imgFollowing an off-season of turmoil, new coach and GM Dave McLellan hopes to bring a sense of calm to the Good Ship Leaf as the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League club kicks off the 2014-15 campaign with training camp Friday at the NDCC Arena.McLellan has been thrust into the leadership role with the Green and White after first choice to succeed Frank Maida decided to dump the Murdoch Division franchise like a bag of old pucks during the summer.“Outside it seems to be crazy but right now we’re working through process of finding and assessing player’s potential players,” said McLellan, who found time to talk to The Nelson Daily in between player calls and meetings with the board.“But I’m confident, and if anything, we have a unique situation of  too many players returning wanting to make team.”In McLellan, Nelson gets a seasoned veteran of the game, well versed in building winning teams.And McLellan will use that experience to find the right mix of players to roster the Heritage City franchise.“My main focus has been getting in contact with BC Hockey, Western Hockey and Alberta Hockey teams looking for players who don’t make their rosters who would like to join us at some stage, whether it be (training) camp or after camp,” McLellan explained. The former Delta Ice Hawks and Burnaby Express skipper expects roughly 45 players in camp when the Leafs take to the ice Friday afternoon.The players will be divided into two teams.On ice evaluations start the tryout session before the teams take to the pond for a scrimmage.The teams practice separately before another scrimmage allows coaches and evaluators a chance to gauge the players.Some of the players already on the bubble are the host of returning veterans to the Leafs — defencemen, and last year’s captain Darnel St. Pierrie, Patrick Croome, Kyle Clayton, Robson Cramer and forwards Adam Hodge and Matt MacDonald.While experience is good, KIJHL allows only five 20-year-olds on the roster.“We have numbers crunch of 20-year-olds coming to camp,” McLellan explained. “We’ll see how camp goes but we’ll probably try to acquire some other players through trades using the 20-year-olds.”Others returning to training camp from a Leaf team that finished fourth at the Cyclone Taylor Cup are goalie Adam Maida, defence men Austin Seaman and forwards Alec Wilkinson, Quinn Klimchuk and Rayce Miller.Sunday the players are presented with one last opportunity to impress the coaches before exit interviews conclude the camp during the afternoon.McLellan gets to see the team in action on Wednesday when Nelson travels to Fruitvale to meet the defending KIJHL Champion, Beaver Valley Nitehawks. Exhibition home games for Nelson at September 6 (Creston) and September 7 (Beaver Valley) before Nelson opens the season September 12 against the Nitehawks.last_img read more

As Raiders play their final home game, we’re moving on

first_imgWhen the Raiders play their last game at the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday, there will be lots of nostalgia.Decades of winning football, although at times that’s hard to remember. Three Super Bowl victories. The memories of Jim Otto, George Blanda, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikoff, Ray Guy, Art Shell, Daryle Lamonica, Willie Brown and Ken Stabler. For those in the Bay Area who grew up on Raiders football, the team brought memories that have lasted a lifetime.But it’s been like a bad marriage. We …last_img read more

a month agoInter Milan striker Alexis Sanchez cuts ties with Man Utd pals

first_imgInter Milan striker Alexis Sanchez cuts ties with Man Utd palsby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveAlexis Sanchez has cut ties with his former Manchester United teammates.Sanchez has had a promising start to life at Inter Milan, where he’s on-loan, scoring twice on Saturday however he was sent off shortly after in their win over Sampdoria. Insiders at Manchester United have revealed Alexis Sanchez’s role in the changing room was rather minimal, and that is reflected with his lack of activity in the WhatsApp group.The source told The Sun: “It’s as if he was never here.”New Roma signing Chris Smalling is however said to be involved in the chat, while he is out on loan in Italy. About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more