21 Dec

Raiders look to get leg up on Broncos, Marquette King with Johnny Townsend

first_imgFor complete Oakland Raiders coverage follow us on Flipboard.ALAMEDA — During a typical training camp day in 2012, a virtual unknown named Marquette King was drawing oohs and ahhs with skyscraping punts.After each thunderous kick, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly would shout, “Reggie Roby!” as an homage to the late and best-known African-American punter in NFL history.Kelly’s last one-liner on King was “Lookin’ for a job . . . . just not here!” Shane Lechler, the perennial Pro Bowl …last_img read more

19 Dec

Vodafone in R22bn Vodacom deal

first_img7 November 2008Telkom has announced the sale of a 15% stake in cellular operator Vodacom, worth R22.5-billion, to multinational cellular operator Vodafone. The deal, one of South Africa’s largest recent foreign direct investments, will also see Vodacom becoming one of the largest South African companies listed on the JSE.The transaction will see Vodafone’s share in Vodacom increased from 50% to 65%, giving the UK-based cellular operator full control of South Africa’s largest cellular operator by subscriber numbers.Telkom will distribute its remaining 35% stake in Vodacom to its own shareholders by way of an unbundling process, and investors will for the first time have direct equity in Vodacom.Major foreign direct investmentCommunications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said the sale represented one of South Africa’s largest recent foreign direct investments and signalled Vodafone’s confidence in the future of the country.“Furthermore, it enables Telkom to speed up its deployment of enhanced, fixed and mobile, services to South Africans,” she said.“We are confident that this transaction is beneficial to the nation, as well as to Vodacom and Telkom, and look forward to them entrenching their positions as communications champions across the African continent.”The transaction is subject to approval of 75% of Telkom’s shareholders, as well as competition and industry regulatory authorities. The South African government and the Public Investment Corporation, two of Telkom’s largest shareholders, have already given their support for the transaction.The 15% stake will be sold for R22.5-billion in cash, less Vodacom’s attributable net debt of R1.55-billion. Telkom will distribute half of the after-tax proceeds to its shareholders by means of a special dividend that will be paid out on completion of the transaction, which is expected to take place in the first half of 2009.Unlocking value“The Telkom board is confident that this transaction will unlock significant value for shareholders, and will facilitate the transformation of Telkom into a leading converged information and communications technology player on the African continent,” Telkom CEO Reuben September said in a statement this week.“The retained portion of the proceeds from the disposal will be used to accelerate the development of our mobile and data strategies, while also allowing us to selectively expand our geographic presence.”He said that the shareholders agreement between Vodafone and Telkom placed several significant restrictions on both Telkom and Vodacom, and with that out of the way, Telkom could now act independently.Furthermore, Telkom would no longer be restricted from offering mobile voice services in South Africa or making mobile acquisitions in Africa south of the Equator. Vodacom, in turn, would be Vodafone’s expansion vehicle in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding North Africa, Ghana and Kenya.“Our approach will be to utilise the retained proceeds prudently with the aim of ensuring that Telkom remains an attractive and strongly competitive company after the transaction,” September said. “Telkom will be well capitalised and will focus on its goal of becoming the leading ICT player on the African continent.”SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

19 Dec

Fast, furious – and female

first_imgFleur van Eeden and Ruan Burger falling five stories down a ventilation shaft in The Flood. Van Eeden on the set of Doomsday. Not much fun: Van Eeden being burned at the stake as a witch in The Devil’s Whore. (Images courtesy Fleur van Eeden) Taking on someone a lot bigger on the set of Doomsday. (Image: Greg King)Jennifer SternFighting on top of a moving train, battling huge futuristic armoured warriors, falling off buildings and getting burned at the stake – it’s all in a day’s work for South African stuntwoman Fleur van Eeden.When she left school in 2002, Van Eeden did the sensible thing and studied public relations. But she was far more interested in her part-time job as a river guide, taking people on scenic adventures on the Breede and Orange Rivers.Van Eeden grew up in the small country town of Swellendam, some 230 kilometres from Cape Town. There she was always outdoors and always active – mountain biking, paddling, horse riding or running. She was never good at sitting still. So there was no looking back when a fellow river guide introduced her to his brother, Franz Spilhaus – one of the partners in Pyranha Stunts.She sent him a CV and photos and, as luck would have it, she looked exactly like one of the actresses on The Triangle, a US miniseries being filmed in Cape Town. She was asked to double for her on a relatively simple stunt – being a passenger on an inflatable boat, but with some spectacular water sequences. That was a breeze so, on the same movie, she was asked if she’d like to do plane crash scene. Ever game, she said yes.“I didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “We were in this plane – a fake plane – and they tied a cable round me, and then there was someone on the outside attached to the same cable. He jumped, and I was pulled up to the top of the plane.”Her stillborn career in public relations forgotten, Van Eeden divided her time between river guiding and stunts, but the stunts soon took over.Six movies in a yearCape Town is the perfect place for a budding stuntwoman to be. The city has become South Africa’s version of Hollywood, with its varied and beautiful locations, favourable exchange rate and strong government support making it a favourite among international filmmakers.In the five years from 2003 to 2007 over 50 major films and TV series were shot in Cape Town, including the 2006 hit Blood Diamond and 2007’s Rendition and 10 000 BC. In 2009 the city will be the location of a major film starring Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman.“After The Triangle, I didn’t hear from Pyranha for quite a while,” says Van Eeden. “Then, suddenly, I did a commercial, and then did six movies in one year.”These were Primeval, The Flood, Rainbow Warriors, The Bird Can’t Fly, Bible Code (a German movie) and Drona (a Bollywood movie).By international standards, Van Eeden considers herself to have broken in to the field.“I had no training, so I was really lucky,” she says. “For example, in the UK, you can’t even get onto the books unless you have lots of qualifications.“So, once I started, I started to train. Because I’m a girl, I get lots of chances and training. Before a movie, say I look like the actress, they’ll take me for two months and train me.“Like Doomsday. I’m not a fighter, so they trained me to fight. “As a stunt double her job is to make the actress look good, but she doesn’t necessarily look that good while doing it.“Sometimes you look great, and other times you look awful. In Doomsday, they cut my hair short with these two long bits in the front, and dyed it black. So I walked around for five months with this weird hairstyle.“In Droma, the main actress was this beautiful Indian woman, so I wore this long black wig and they painted my face dark. I was in make-up every day for three weeks and, after a while, it didn’t come off. I looked like a raccoon.”Feel the fear, and do it anywayDroma also gave Van Eeden her scariest stunts so far.“We had to do fights on top of a train while it was moving.  They built these two towers on either side of the train, with cables running from one end to the other, and we were tied to the cables. There were about 12 of us fighting. I was the only woman.“The last day they wanted three stunt guys to fall off the train. A lot of the stuntmen had got hurt in the fighting, so they asked me if I wanted to do it.“I practiced it with the train static. I was really worried, not sure how my body would react when I did it at 45 kilometres and hour. That doesn’t sound fast, but it is. And then, when I jumped, I did it exactly as I had trained. It was very rewarding.”She had a good time working on Droma.“Working with Indian productions is the most fun things. The director will do your makeup if he has to. Everyone does everything. They’re not precious.”Another challenging stunt was the full body burn she did for The Devil’s Whore. In this British TV series she doubled for Andrea Riseborough, who played the unfortunate Angelica Fanshawe, who comes to a rather fiery end.The series is set in the 17th century, during the English Civil War. When the producers were criticised for choosing to shoot in South Africa, they countered that they had been unable to find suitably “old English” locations in England.Being burned at the stake is no mean feat, Van Eeden says.“It’s the one stunt you have to do. But if something went wrong, it would be major.”As it turned out, the preparation was worse than the burning.“They painted me,” she says. “They cover your whole body with gel – straight from a freezer – and then two layers of special clothing.“It’s a layer of water gel, then a layer of gel-impregnated clothing, then more gel, then an overall. And then your wardrobe on top of that.  With the special gel, you get so cold. And then suddenly this heat. They have to have a paramedic standing by in case you get hypothermia.“And then the actual burn, they explain you should preferably not breathe – it’s only 10 seconds. But if you have to, you must just take a tiny breath. If you gasp in air, you can burn your lungs.“First you practice it and then, on the day we did it five times. So I burned five times.“You know what’s weird – you really get into the whole thing. There I was tied to the stake. (I wasn’t really tied, of course.)  And everyone was shouting, ‘Burn the witch, burn the witch!’”Fantasy worldSometimes she will just get called on to do a single stunt for a movie but, often, as a stunt double, she’ll be involved in the same movie for months.One of these was Doomsday, a 2008 British science fiction film starring Bob Hoskins and Malcolm McDowell.“With Doomsday, we did two months of training and then five months of filming,” she says. “We finished that up in Scotland, which was amazing.”“You start getting involved in the character. You watch the actress, see how she moves, how she sits, and you try to be her.“You spend months and months living in this fantasy world. You don’t even know what’s going on in the real world.“And then, it’s a bit depressing when it all ends.”Reality checkThere is always the chance that something can go wrong, and Van Eeden has had a few minor mishaps.“I’ve got a scar on my stomach from flying glass,” she says.“And my neck got a bit scorched when I did the full body burn, but that’s not a big deal.“And in Primeval – this guy was holding me by the throat and burning my arm with a cigar. I had a flesh-coloured plaster on, but it slipped and he was actually burning me. But I couldn’t ruin the shot,” she says, showing a small scar on her arm. And she hurt her knee when a door fell on her in an explosion.“But it’s not usually serious – a couple of stitches. A lot of people break collar bones.“On Doomsday, one of the actors broke a stuntman’s nose. That’s the worse, when you have to fight against the actors, because they’re not trained.A recent injury – from wakeboarding this time, not stunt work – has made Van Eeden slow down a bit. Unable to keep still, she started a small DVD-based TV show called SWDTV – Swellendam TV.“It’s a monthly DVD that goes out to the community – mostly tourist stuff. Especially after my injury, I thought – what if I hurt myself again?”So she’s making sure she can still work even with an injury.“I’m getting more into editing.  And, a week ago, I did a winch job where I operated the winch, because of my foot. They’ve been very nice about it.“When I don’t do stunts I rig sometimes. I have an abseil supervisor’s ticket. It’s very technical.”Van Eeden’s back at work, doing a scuba diving scene, but she’s careful not to take on anything that may worsen her ankle injury. She seems pretty sure where she wants to go in the foreseeable future. Even though she is making sure she has something to fall back on, she can’t imagine not doing stunts. And she has no intention of heading for the bright lights. “People ask me why I don’t go overseas. But there’s so much work here. Here, I’m a big fish in a small pond. In Scotland we worked with 12 UK stunt people, and they do one movie in a year.“Here we do a lot more – and a lot of commercials. Maybe I’d go for a while, for experience, but I want to work in South Africa.“And carry on living in Swellendam. If I have two days off I go home. I’ve got two horses and I mountain bike. I love it there.”So it looks like the burgeoning South African film industry is going to have this restless young stuntwoman to call on for quite a while.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related articlesRough Aunties to the rescue 2010 opportunities for SA film Terry Pheto is worth it Global acclaim for SA film South Africa: a top film location Rebate boost for SA film More Oscar glory for SA Boost for SA film studio Useful linksFleur van EedenPyranha Stunts Cape Town Film Studios Cape Film Commissionlast_img read more

3 Dec

Nine men acquitted in Noida gangrape case

first_imgA Noida police officer left “no stone unturned” to botch up investigation in a 2009 case of gangrape of a 24-year-old MBA student that has led to the acquittal of nine persons by a Delhi court on the grounds that the identity of the real culprits could not be proved.The court pulled up the police for not following proper procedure of law while investigating the matter and said no judicial Test Identification Parade (TIP) of the accused was conducted by the investigating officer (IO).The court held that the IO had left “no stone unturned for making this case impossible to be proved” and directed Noida Senior Superintendent of Police to take appropriate action against IO, inspector Anil Samaniya, for his improper probe in the case.“These factors clearly show that due to the negligent, casual and unprofessional investigation conducted by the IO, real culprits of the case could not be identified/arrested or subjected to administration of justice,” Additional Sessions Judge Shail Jain said, adding that this was “a classic case” of botched up investigation by the IO.However, the judge was all praise for Special Public Prosecutor Neelam Narang, saying she provided valuable, substantial and useful help in explaining the lengthy case in a summarised manner.last_img read more

27 Nov

CWG 2014: India mount glory after shooters run amok on Day 3

first_imgAyonika Paul and Apurvi Chandela pose with their respective medals at the awards ceremony Indian shooter Rahi Sarnobat won the gold and Anisa Sayyed took silver in the women’s 25m pistol event of the Commonwealth Games at the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre on Saturday.Playing the gold medal match against her compatriot, Rahi scored eight points to Sayyed’s two. Australia’s Lalita Yauhleuskaya took the bronze.Apurvi Chandela gave a stunning exhibition of skill and concentration to clinch a gold medal while Ayonika Paul and Prakash Nanjappa claimed a silver.21-year-old Chandela was the star performer by taking the honour in the women’s 10 m air rifle event with a score of 206.7 to provide the second gold medal from the shooting arena after Abhinav Bindra’s swansong gold medal effort on Friday.Ayonika Paul, 21, also turned the spotlight on herself by bagging the silver medal in the same event while Nanjappa had to be content with a silver, narrowly missing out on the yellow metal due to a lapse of concentration.With three more medals, India took their overall medals tally to 13 with four gold, six silver and three bronze medals and were placed fifth on the medals table.England are at top with 35 medals, including 13 golds.Australia also have 35 medals but placed second as they have 12 golds. Hosts Scotland are third with 17 medals out which seven are yellow metal. Canada also have seven gold but their total is 13 medals.Nanjappa paid the price for a horrendous shot midway into the final round as he lost concentration and shot a disappointing 7.7 to hand the lead to eventual winner Daniel Repacholi of Australia.advertisementDespite the setback in the sixth shot of the elimination stage, the 38-year-old Banglorean tried his best to catch up with the Australian but failed to do so in the end and had to settle with a silver at the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre at Dundee near here.Repacholi won the gold with a total of 199.5 while Prakash scored 198.2. England’s 60-year-old Michel Gault got the bronze.Nanjappa, who topped the qualification round, was ruffled by that mistake and he was taking deep breaths in between the shots. A team member later said Prakash felt time constraint and that was why the grip over his pistol was not proper when he shot 7.7.Before the last round, Repacholi had taken a lead of 1.4 points but he could only come up with a 9.3 in the penultimate shot and Prakash could have narrowed down the gap. The Indian could not do that as he also shot a 9.3 at a crucial juncture.Nanjappa was the first to fire the last shot and he came up with a 10.5, putting pressure on his Australian opponent.But Repacholi fired a 10.4 to run away with the gold.The other Indian in the fray, Om Prakash had failed to qualify for the final round.In men’s skeet event, India’s Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Baba Bedi failed to advance to the semifinals after finishing seventh and 19th in the qualification round. The top eight shooters qualify for the semifinals.Four Indian judokas kept themselves in the reckoning for a bronze medal in the higher weight categories on the third and concluding day of the martial art event.In the men’s event, Sahil Pathania (upto 100 kg) and Parveen Kumar (+100 kg) will be vying for bronze medal via repechage bouts while Jina Devi Chongtham (upto 78 kg) and Rajwinder Kaur (+78 kg) also reached the medal round.India’s leading squash players Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal secured hard fought victories to reach the singles quarterfinals.Fourth seed Ghosal had a narrow escape against Australian Steven Finitsis as he recovered from 6-7 down in the fifth and deciding game to pull off a 11-2, 11-5, 4-11, 6-11, 11-8 victory at the Scotstoun Sports Campus.With this victory, Ghosal became the first Indian to reach the singles quarterfinals since the sport was introduced in the Games programme in 1998. He next plays 12th seed Campbell Grayson of New Zealand .Soon after Ghosal’s win, sixth seed Pallikal matched her compatriot’s feat by getting past 15th seed Delia Arnold of Malaysia 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 in a match lasting 40 minutes.The Commonwealth Games debutant faces England’s fourth seed Alison Waters in the quarterfinals.The Indian women’s table tennis team blanked New Zealand, a side full of Chinese-origin players, to march into the semifinals at the Scotstoun Sports Campus.Shamini Kumaresan starred in India’s 3-0 win over New Zealand. They face Singapore, whom they lost to at Delhi Games to settle for silver, in the semi-finals later on Saturday.advertisementThe ploy to play Shamini in the first singles against 52-year-old Chun Li worked. The Indian played a solid match to beat 2002 singles Commonwealth Games champion and five-time Olympian 5-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5.Delhi girl Manika Batra, who plays with a pimpled rubber, outsmarted Chunl Li’s sister Karen 11-13, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 to give India a 2-0 cushion.In the doubles rubber, being played in the team competition for the first time at Games, Shamini and Madhurika Patkar outplayed Karen and Yang Sun 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 for India’s well deserved victory.last_img read more