Yoza! M-novels to get teens reading

first_img6 October 2010Yoza, a library of mobile novels or “m-novels” that harnesses cellphone technology and popularity to promote reading and writing among South African youngsters, is being incubated by the Shuttleworth Foundation while it looks out for sponsors or partners.Yoza offers young people a growing library of free, hip, interactive novels, encouraging them not only to read but also to participate in commenting on and reviewing them, and to submit their own stories – with the aim of turning reading into a social, sharing experience.“For the foreseeable future, the cellphone, not the Kindle or iPad, is the e-reader of Africa,” Steve Vosloo, founder of Yoza and fellow for 21st century learning at the Shuttleworth Foundation, said in a statement at Yoza’s launch in August. “Yoza aims to capitalise on that to get Africa’s teens reading and writing.”Yoza is available on MXit (go to Tradepost > MXit Cares > mobiBooks), on WAP-enabled mobile phones at www.yoza.mobi, as well as on Facebook.Pilot project: making KontaxYoza is part of the Shuttleworth Foundation’s m4Lit (mobiles for literacy) project, which began as a pilot initiative with the publication of a 20-page story called Kontax, in English and isiXhosa, in September 2009, followed by Kontax 2 in May 2010.Readers were encouraged to comments on chapters, vote in opinion polls related to the story, and enter a writing competition.“The uptake was tremendous,” the foundation said in a statement. “Since launch, the two stories have been read over 34 000 times on cellphones. Over 4 000 entries have been received in the writing competitions, and over 4 000 comments have been left by readers on individual chapters. Many of the readers asked for more stories and in different genres.”Catching the reading bugYoza was launched on the back of this response – in order to complement, not attempt to replace, the printed page. Yoza’s m-novels are written in conventional language, with “txtspeak” only used when a character is writing or reading SMSes or instant message chats.Most importantly, the m-novels offer “compelling, entertaining reading for teens in South Africa,” says the Shuttleworth Foundation. “The aim is to captivate teens and inspire them to catch the reading bug.”Competitions with airtime prizes prompt readers to answer the questions at the end of chapters, keeping them engaged and coming back for more.Write a story for Yoza and submit it at www.yoza.mobi/write – if they like it, they’ll publish it.Yoza’s initial line-upIncluded in the initial line-up are four m-novel series – Kontax, Streetskillz, Sisterz, and Confessions of a Virgin Loser – with a sequel to each to be launched near the start of each month from October onwards (Streetskillz 2, Sisterz 2 and Kontax 5 are already live).Yoza Classics will feature a range of public domain titles such as the school-prescribed work Macbeth. “The idea is not necessarily that teens will read the whole of Macbeth on their cellphones, but if they have to read Act 1, Scene 1 for homework and they don’t have a textbook, then they can do so on their phones.”There is no charge for the actual stories, though users do pay the usual mobile data charges. To keep these low, Yoza uses images sparingly – data charges on local cellphones range from 5c to 9c per m-novel chapter.Current story languages include English and isiXhosa, an Afrikaans story is on the way, and the ultimate aim is to publish in all 11 South African languages. Yoza encourages the public to get involved in translating its m-novels into local languages – “if you translate it, we’ll gladly publish it”.“Over the next six months, the plan for Yoza is to build a library of cellphone stories of multiple genres that are available to teens not only in South Africa, but ultimately throughout Africa,” says Vosloo, noting that Kontax has already been published in Kenya through MXit.Seeking sponsors, partnersWhile the Shuttleworth Foundation is incubating the project, it will need to be sustainable from early 2010, and is actively seeking sponsors or partners.“There is a growing awareness around the impact that a lack of books has on literacy levels in South Africa,” says Vosloo. “Books are scarce and prohibitively expensive for most South Africans. Stats show that 51% of households in South Africa do not own a single leisure book, while an elite 6% of households own 40 books or more. Only 7% of schools have functioning libraries.“What South Africa’s teens do have access to are cellphones, with stats indicating that 90% of urban youth have their own cellphone. The take-up and interaction with the first two Kontax stories clearly demonstrates that cellphones are a viable platform for local teen reading and writing.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Referees – Touch World Cup 2019

first_imgThe following referees are representing Australia at the 2019 Touch World Cup.The 2019 Touch World Cup will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 28th April – 4th May 2019.REFEREESTim Ah SeeDave BaggioVictor BaptistaBrian BlechyndenRobert BowenMatt ButlerTony CalabriaKenneth ChanAlec ClarkAnnabelle ConnollyDarren CouperBrett FreshwaterLachlan FreshwaterStephen LaingDean MacDonaldMatthew ManningLuke McKenzieGreg MyersDanielle NunnAaron SearstonAmanda SheekyAlanah SinclairKim SkellyBrad SmithAnthony SmithKathleen SpencePaul TesorieroMatt WatersAlison WattersNicole WestChris SchwerdtJohn ClarkPeter CrampAmanda DraperRenee` FlachJohn FrostIvan GiammarcoJoshua LittleScott MarshRobert McKayCraig McKeeBarry McNamaraMarcus MullerChristopher MurrayBarry NicholsTimothy PearsonFiona QuinnChris ReynoldsPaul RichardsonWilliam SladePaul SullivanGreg TaylorJohn TaylorBen HarrisPhil BalcombeMichael LandsbergVincent CostiganPat CostiganCampbell MuirGiancarlo LeungJordan RandleJason MillerLucas PattersonDaniel KustecRebecca RogersRichard NorrisPaul EdmondsonChris BensteadCameron TurnerVictor NaumovskiAdam HoganNicholas AltinNicole AlexanderCory WisemanKurtis SankeyREFEREE COACHESDave FieldChris DolahentyChris HarapaKen GoldenErene DevallLou TompkinsIan Matthewlast_img

SNCs court bid to avoid prosecution to proceed through election period

first_imgOTTAWA — SNC-Lavalin’s court fight for a special agreement to avoid prosecution on corruption charges continues to lurch along, despite the prospect of a criminal trial and Wednesday’s explosive report from the federal ethics watchdog on the conduct of the prime minister.The Federal Court of Appeal has set a series of filing deadlines that run through the fall — as the campaign for the Oct. 21 federal election unfolds — for the latest submissions in the engineering and construction giant’s ongoing legal battle for a remediation agreement over alleged wrongdoing in Libya.SNC-Lavalin unsuccessfully pressed the federal director of prosecutions to negotiate an agreement — an alternative means of holding an organization accountable for wrongdoing without a formal finding of guilt.In a March ruling, a judge tossed out the firm’s plea for judicial review of the director’s 2018 decision.In its ruling, the Federal Court said prosecutorial discretion is not subject to judicial review, except for cases where there is an abuse of process.SNC-Lavalin contends in the Court of Appeal that the process of determining whether to pursue a remediation agreement was completely flawed.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Santa Teresa Deep Dive Surfing in one of Costa Ricas best beaches

first_imgSanta Teresa de Cóbano is one of my favorite spots on earth.It’s a great mix between jungle and ocean with green to blue waters. There are great waves and surfing conditions. It’s surrounded by nature, too. Don’t get scared if you wake up to the sound of howler monkeys.  If you are planning on visiting, make sure you leave everything where you found it and have a great time.Sunny season (November to April or so) is the best time to go to Santa Teresa, but if you don’t mind the rain, this could be the best beach to visit during the rainy season. The heavy rains come hand-in-hand with bigger swells – and one of the beauties of Costa Rica is that you’ll always get some sunshine, no matter the season.It might rain heavily for a few days, but there are always breaks that deliver an incredibly beautiful day. They say that the early bird gets the worm, and it’s true when it comes to nice weather in the rainy season. You can get some pretty great conditions in Santa Teres (Duncan Anderson / The Tico Times)The morning session delivers glassy conditions and when the trade winds hit, you can find perfect offshore conditions and waves with wide-open sections. They are conditions you dream of and ones that others have never even witnessed. These days made me fall in love with this spot. If the offshore is on, the surf is on at any moment of the day.This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to surf with onshore winds – you just have to wait for the right time.There are several spots that you can check out and see if the conditions are right for you.  Playa Carmen, Santa Teresa, Banana Beach, Brunela, and Hermosa are the most mainstream spots. High tide is the best time to surf it, but things can always change from day to day, and the seasons will affect this as well.On my last trip, I surfed Brunela, in front of the Selina hostel, and I had a blast with a right-hand peak that I had almost to myself.Banana Beach and Santa Teresa also bring me good memories of open-faced waves with a slight offshore as the cherry on top. A sunset session at Hermosa is always a great option not only for the surfers but for those sunset lovers as well. If you get to know the locals and the surfing community, they might show you a couple of secret spots in the surrounding area. A not-so-secret, but hidden spot near Santa Teresa. Can you find it? (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)There are plenty of surf shops with all kinds of boards you can rent or buy – so if you are worried about flying your boards and all the potential mistreatment, then worry not. You will be able to find local and international brands and a diverse price range for new and used boards. There’s also apparel, gear and cool gadgets like GoPro mounts.If you have never surfed in your life, Santa Teresa is a solid option as a place to learn. You will be able to find surf camps and several surf shops that offer lessons and rental equipment. When it comes to the surf lessons, you might end up learning with a local legend or a local champion. Listen to what they have to say: if someone knows how the ocean works there, it’s them.If you’re in town on a Thursday night then you will be able to attend the reggae night at La Lora Amarilla. During the busiest parts of the year, especially on Christmas and New Years, there are plenty of nightlife options. If you like to party with a local and international crowd, this is the place to be. Costa Ricans are always down for a party, especially during the last month of the year. There are plenty of surf schools and stores with gear for rent or purchase in the area. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)Getting there is an adventure that requires a car or bus with the option of a ferry ride. If you decide to drive the whole way from San Jose, you will be facing about 320 km of road.The 17-kilometer ferry ride will cut that distance in half.Driving the full way can be fun – once. You get to cross the Río Tempisque on the now-ironic Puente de la Amistad. It translates to “Friendship Bridge,” and was financed by the Taiwanese government before Costa Rica severed diplomatic ties with them a few years later. The deal, made to strengthen ties with China under Oscar Arias’s second term, included the 35,175-seat national stadium, completely financed and built by China.It was easy bait for a soccer nation.If you skip the bridge and take the ferry, the driver will get to relax and lie back for about one hour. Book your ticket online to guarantee yourself a spot. If not, make sure you arrive early since the ferry can get crowded.Roads have improved slightly, but there are still a lot of bumpy dirt roads along the way. Once you get there, it’s like a tropical Mad Max scene. Locals and tourists with face masks ride around on motorcycles and quads, kicking up dust everywhere they go. Listen to what locals have to say: if someone knows how the ocean works there, it’s them. (Duncan Anderson / The Tico Times)The whole town is on a long stretch of road that has several entrances to the beach. Vehicles come in handy to go back and forth, and renting a bike is always a great option for those willing to sweat.Santa Teresa is a small melting pot of people from all over the world who loved the place and decided to stay. It’s definitely in the top five places in Costa Rica I’d relocate to.Montezuma and Malpaís are close by and the supermarkets have lots of local and international products. There are also great restaurants if you don’t feel like cooking. Tacos are a mandatory stop for me.The Taco Corner has affordable tacos, burgers, fries and sides. I always have a falafel taco, some chili fries and the occasional jalapeño poppers. Careful, they’re hot and I’ve burned my mouth a few times due to a lack of patience and a fierce post-surf appetite. I might get a chicken burrito or a fish taco after that.Just kidding. Or am I?Till next time – see you in the water. Manuel Martínez signing off. (Duncan Anderson / The Tico Times)This story was part of The Tico Times Deep Dive Santa Teresa series. Click here for more stories from Santa Teresa.Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years. Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Santa Teresa Deep Dive: How to Surf in Santa Teresa Dreamlike, diverse and grappling with change: Our Santa Teresa deep dive Puerto Viejo Deep Dive: Surfing the Caribbean’s gnarly waves Santa Teresa Deep Dive: A murder shatters the illusion of safetylast_img read more

Bletsch family Hughes testify to require victim statements be heard

first_img Categories: Hughes News,News Rebekah Bletsch’s mother and sister today joined state Rep. Holly Hughes to testify before the House Law and Justice Committee on the need to require anyone convicted of a crime to hear impact statements by victims or their families during a sentencing hearing.Rep. Hughes’ legislation was inspired by a Muskegon County murder trial where the convicted murderer Jeffrey Willis requested to leave his Dec. 18 sentencing hearing before Rebekah Bletsch’s family made their statements. Current state law has no specific legal requirement that anyone convicted of a crime be forced to listen to statements, as it is left to a judge’s discretion.“Rebekah Bletsch’s family deserved to be heard and this legislation requires that everyone convicted within the Michigan legal system absolutely must listen to how their actions affected victims,” Hughes said. “There is no way the monster convicted in the Rebekah Bletsch case should be able to dictate court policy.”Jessica Josephson and Debra Reamer, the sister and mother of Rebekah Bletsch, also spoke before the committee. They detailed the events during Willis’ sentencing as well as the necessity of victims being heard.“A part of my grieving process was taken from me in a horrible way,” Josephson said. “What is the point of an impact statement if I can’t speak it to the person who has impacted me and destroyed my family? No other family should have to feel their words and their heartache don’t matter. Victims have a right to be heard and express their feelings to the individuals who caused it.”Hughes’ legislation will update the William Van Regenmorter Crime Victim Rights Act, which set the procedures currently used in Michigan courtrooms for protection of victims. The bill will require the defendant be in attendance for sentencing unless the individual is determined by the court to be a safety risk or providing a disruption.“The victims deserve to be heard in all cases,” Hughes said. “A murderer robbed the Bletsch family of a key step in the healing process. No family should be prevented from their rights, especially over an individual convicted of a crime.”House Bill 5407 remains under consideration by the committee. If enacted, HB 5407 will be named the Rebekah Bletsch law, in the victim’s memory. 06Feb Bletsch family, Hughes testify to require victim statements be heardlast_img read more

The band were due on stage around 830 pm at the S

first_imgThe band were due on stage around 8.30 pm at the SSE Arena, formerly the Odyssey Arena, in front of fans who had queued all day to get in.In a statement, Aiken PR said: “The show tonight has been cancelled as Liam has taken ill, and whilst not serious, he is unable to perform tonight.”Fans have been asked to hold on to their tickets and await information.Audience members had already gathered inside the concert venue when the cancellation announcement was made The promoter’s spokeswoman added: “A further statement will be made in the morning [Wednesday].“The band apologise to the fans and wish Liam better.”Band member Louis Tomlinson tweeted tonight: “We’re so so sorry for what happened tonight, it was out of our control!“Lots of love to Liam and thank you for being so understanding!”Belfast’s Deputy Lord Mayor Guy Spence fumed on Facebook: “Devastated, the band need to take a good look at themselves!“I know that’s no reflection of the promoter who did a great job to get them here, but to leave 9,000 people standing was a disgrace!“I don’t understand how one member takes ill and if isn’t ‘serious’ they cancelled, the other members should at least have had the decency to appear!“We’ll see what the band say, and why they left so many of their young fans and our Citizens heartbroken!“Just not good enough!”DERRY FANS LEFT DEVASTATED AFTER ONE DIRECTION CANCEL GIG was last modified: October 20th, 2015 by John2John2 Tags: NINE thousand fans were left devastated when pop band One Direction cancelled a Belfast concert at the last minute tonight.Hundreds of Derry fans had travelled the 75 miles plus to Belfast for the gig only to have return home severely disappointed.The gig was cancelled after one of the band members, Liam Payne, became ill, said the promoter. ShareTweet AIKEN PRDERRY FANS LEFT DEVASTATED AFTER ONE DIRECTION CANCEL GIGlast_img read more