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IN BRIEF: COVID-19 Adjusted Level 2 lockdown regulations
12 September 2021, 8:40 PM

South Africa will move to COVID-19  Adjusted Level 2 lockdown on Monday, 13 September 2021.

 

Video: President Ramaphosa moves SA from Alert Level 3 to Level 2 COVID-19 lockdown

The country has been on adjusted lockdown level 3.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday evening on the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some restrictions remain with others changed:

  • Curfew is from 11pm to 4am
  • Alcohol sales from retail outlets restricted to Monday-Friday, 10am – 6pm
  • Alcohol consumption is not permitted in public spaces remains banned
  • Gatherings are limited to 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors
  • Funerals: maximum 50 people, no night vigil or after tears gatherings
  • Mandatory wearing of masks in public spaces remain

 

Video: President Cyril Ramaphosa national address on the COVID-19 response

 

 

 

 

President Ramaphosa to address the nation on Sunday evening
12 September 2021, 6:05 PM

The Presidency has confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at around 8 pm on Sunday evening on progress in the fight against COVID-19.

There have been calls from various sectors for the Ramaphosa administration to relax lockdown regulations as the third wave eases across the country.

 

Latest COVID-19  stats in SA:

A further 143 people have passed away from COVID-19-related complications in the latest 24-hours reporting cycle, taking the national death toll since the pandemic outbreak in South Africa to 84 751.

The country has also recorded 5 309 new COVID-19 infections, with total positive cases now at 2 854 234.

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Restaurants Association calls for a lift on the curfew

The Restaurants Association of South Africa has highlighted the financial strain that the industry continues to endure.

“Certainly over the last six weeks, there has been every level of evidence that we should be reopening the industry and lifting restrictions. We are moving into the summertime months. The public is certainly demanding that they want to go out and we need to accommodate people in a safe environment. We need to up the numbers and we certainly need to lift the curfew and bring back dinnertime trade. It has been dire for us without the dinnertime trade, it is 70% of our turnover and we currently are only trading at 25% of potential with an expectation to pay 100% of our debts, which simply isn’t in our margins – the turnover and cash flow to support the debts,” says Restaurants Association of South Africa CEO, Wendy Alberts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SpaceX gets ready to launch first all-civilian crew to orbit
12 September 2021, 5:25 PM

Yet another billionaire entrepreneur is set to ride into space this week, strapped inside the capsule of SpaceX rocketship, as part of an Astro-tourist team poised to make history as the first all-civilian crew launched into Earth orbit.

Jared Isaacman, the American founder and chief executive of-commerce firm Shift4 Payments, will lead three fellow space flight novices on a trip expected to last three days from blastoff at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to splashdown in the Atlantic.

The 38-year-old tech mogul has plunked down an unspecified but presumably exorbitant sum to fellow billionaire and SpaceX owner Elon Musk to fly Isaacman and three specially selected travel mates into orbit aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

The crew vehicle is set for blastoff from NASA’s KennedySpace Center atop one of Musk’s reusable Falcon 9 rockets, with a 24-hour targeted launch window that opens at 8 p.m. EDT (0000GMT) on Wednesday.

That window will be narrowed or possibly altered, a few days before, depending on the weather.

Dubbed Inspiration4, the orbital outing was conceived by Isaacman primarily to raise awareness and support for one of his favourite causes, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading pediatric cancer centre. He has pledged $100 million personally to the institute.

But a successful mission would also help usher in a new era of commercial space tourism, with several companies vying for wealthy customers willing to pay a small fortune to experience the exhilaration of supersonic flight, weightlessness and the visual spectacle of space.

Setting acceptable levels of consumer risk in the inherently dangerous endeavour of rocket travel is also key, and raises a pointed question.

“Do you have to be both rich and brave to get on these flights right now?” said Sridhar Tayur, a professor of operations management and new business models at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, in an interview with Reuters on Friday.

BEYOND THE BILLIONAIRE SPACE RACE

SpaceX is easily the most well-established player in the burgeoning constellation of commercial rocket ventures, having already launched numerous cargo payloads and astronauts to theInternational Space Station for NASA.

Rival companies Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin both recently celebrated their debut Astro-tourism missions with their respective founding executives – billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos – each going along for the ride.
But those two high-profile flights were suborbital in scale, sending their crews of citizen astronauts to space and back in a matter of minutes.

The SpaceX flight is designed to carry its four passengers where no all-civilian crew has gone before – into Earth orbit.

There, they will circle the globe once every 90 minutes at more than 17,000 miles per hour, or roughly 22 times the speed of sound. The target altitude is 575 kilometres, or nearly 360 miles high, beyond the orbits of the International Space Station or even the Hubble Space Telescope.

Like Blue Origin, the 20-story-tall SpaceX launch vehicle and crew capsule will take off vertically from a launch pad on a flight directed entirely from the ground.

Branson’s suborbital rocket plane, by contrast, had two highly trained pilots at the controls as it carried its four rear-seat passengers 50 miles high.

The Inspiration4 crew will have no part to play in operating their spacecraft, despite some largely honorary titles, though two members – Isaacman and geoscientist Sian Proctor – are licensed pilots.

Isaacman, who is rated to fly commercial and military jets, has assumed the role of mission “commander,” while Proctor, 51, once a NASA astronaut candidate herself, has been designated as the mission “pilot.” She was selected to join the team through an online contest run by Shift4 Payments.

Rounding out the crew are “chief medical officer” HayleyArceneaux, 29, a bone cancer survivor turned St. Judephysicians’ assistant, and mission “specialist” Chris Sembroski,42, a U.S. Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer. He won a seat in a sweepstake that drew 72,000 applicants and has raised over $100 million in St. Jude donations.
The four crewmates have spent the past five months undergoing rigorous preparations, including altitude fitness, centrifuge (G-force), microgravity and simulator training, emergency drills, classroom work and medical exams.

Inspiration4 officials stress that the mission is more than a joyride. Once in orbit, the crew will perform medical experiments with “potential applications for human health on Earth and during future spaceflights,” the group said in its press materials.

Appearing in a promotional clip for a Netflix documentary series on the mission, Arceneaux said a big part of her motivation was to kindle hope in her cancer patients.
“I’m getting to show them what life can look like after cancer,” she said.

IEC plans to oppose DA’s ConCourt application on re-opening of LGE candidate registrations
12 September 2021, 5:08 PM

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it will oppose the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Constitutional Court application to nullify the re-opening of candidate registrations ahead of November’s local government election.

The African National Congress (ANC) failed to register candidates in 93 municipalities.

The IEC says it has revised the election timetable to comply with the Apex Court ruling that the local government elections be held by November 1st.

IEC Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Mawethu Mosery …

“The court has issued us direction in response to that application. We’ve agreed with the DA that the matter is urgent and we would wish that the court pronounces on it soonest, before the 20th of September. our view is that we will oppose that, and we will give detailed reasons why we are opposing that and why we indicated that we are not favouring a particular political party,” says IEC Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Mawethu Mosery.

Video: DA, PAC react to IEC announcement on Local Government Elections timetable

Video: IEC announces the LGE 2021 electoral programme

Opinion: What schools teach about 9/11 and the war on terror
12 September 2021, 4:14 PM

The phrase “Never Forget” is often associated with the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But what does this phrase mean for U.S. students who are too young to remember? What are they being asked to never forget?

As education researchers in curriculum and instruction, we have studied since 2002 how the events of 9/11 and the global war on terror are integrated into secondary level U.S. classrooms and curricula. What we have found is a relatively consistent narrative that focuses on 9/11 as an unprecedented and shocking attack, the heroism of the firefighters and other first responders and a global community that stood behind the U.S. in its pursuit of terrorists.

This narrative is in official curricula, such as textbooks and state standards, as well as in many of the most popular materials teachers report using, such as documentary films.

While honoring the victims and helping a new generation understand the significance of these events are important, we believe there are inherent risks in teaching a simple nationalistic narrative of heroism and evil.

A survey of U.S. history teachers found they teach about 9/11 primarily on the date of the anniversary.
Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Jeremy Stoddard, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Diana Hess, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Annual commemoration

In our survey of 1,047 U.S. secondary teachers conducted in late 2018, we found that the majority of the history teachers tend to teach about 9/11 primarily on the date of the anniversary each year.

Based on the topics being taught, teaching materials and their descriptions of lessons, the instruction emphasizes commemoration of the attacks and victims. Teachers also attempt to help students who were not alive on 9/11 to understand the experience of those who witnessed the events on TV that day. They report sharing their own recollections, showing news or documentary footage of the attacks, and focusing on the details of the day and events that followed.

The surveyed teachers view 9/11 as significant – and believe that teaching it honors the goal to never forget. However, they described the challenge of making time for discussing these events when the standards for their class do not necessarily include them, or include 9/11-related topics only at the end of the school year. As a result, the lessons are often limited to one class session on or near the anniversary. It is also taught out of historical context given that the anniversary arrives at the beginning of the school year and most U.S. history courses start in either the 1400s or the post-U.S. Civil War era.

Risks of a simple narrative

Teaching 9/11 as a memorializing event on the anniversary also generally avoids deeper inquiry into the historic U.S. role in the Middle East and Afghanistan. This includes, for example, arming mujahedeen fighters against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s and aiding Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the war against Iran also in the ‘80s.

A more in-depth approach, on the other hand, could explore how U.S. actions contributed to the formation of al-Qaida, which bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 and later carried out attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa as well as on the USS Cole, a Navy ship fueling in Yemen, in the years leading up to 9/11.

Simplistic narratives do not help students reflect on the many controversial decisions made by the U.S. and their allies after 9/11, such as using embellished evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

And they potentially reinforce political rhetoric that paints Muslims as potential terrorists and ignore the xenophobic attacks against Muslim Americans after the 9/11 attacks.

Teenager adjusts her hijab in mirror
Lessons can include the perspective of Muslim Americans who experienced discrimination and xenophobic attacks in the aftermath of 9/11.
Jessie Wardarsk/AP

Generational differences among teachers

Many teachers, however, do engage students in the complexities of these events. Middle school teachers report including 9/11 as part of their discussion of Islam in a world religions unit; world history teachers describe placing it in the context of the modern Middle East.

For U.S. history courses organized chronologically and using widely available textbooks, the move to standardized curricula and testing in many U.S. states can make it difficult to incorporate current events in meaningful ways. Teachers tell us they feel there is no room or time to deviate. Many end their course in the 1980s or rush through final decades superficially. Some get creative and tie 9/11 to other terror attacks like the 1886 bombing of a labor protest in Haymarket Square in Chicago.

Younger teachers in particular reported different goals for their students that go beyond commemoration or a focus on the shocking nature of the events of the day. They want young people to recognize how the events and policies that followed 9/11 impacted daily life in ways they might not realize. This reflects their own experience, which was less a vivid memory of the day of the attacks but perhaps constant reminders of the color-coded terrorism threat levels issued by the Department of Homeland Security from 2002 to 2011. They want students to understand the recent evacuation of U.S. personnel from Afghanistan in relation to both 9/11 and the U.S. role in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Or to examine provisions of the USA Patriot Act of 2001, which allowed greater surveillance of U.S. citizens.

Afghan nationals disembark from a US air force aircraft after an evacuation flight from Kabul
Younger teachers in particular want students to understand how 9/11 relates to current events like the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.
Cristina Quicler/AFP via Getty Images

Learning from 9/11

If the goal of teaching history is to develop citizens who use knowledge of the past to understand the present and inform future decisions, educators need to help students learn from 9/11 and the war on terror, and not just about them. This means going beyond the facts of the day and the collective memory aspects to also engage in inquiry into why they happened and how the U.S. and other nations reacted.

Teachers can use news footage from that day to commemorate and as a starting point for student inquiry. Students could question why Osama bin Laden’s image was presented within an hour and a half of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, and how U.S. experts knew he was hiding in Afghanistan. They can explore the President’s Daily Brief from Aug. 6, 2001, which highlighted the threat of bin Laden planning an attack on the U.S., or the CIA memo from the late 1980s that outlined the dangers of abandoning the mujahedeen.

Many updated resources are available for teachers to draw from for lessons on 9/11. These resources include the perspectives of veterans, Afghan and Iraqi interpreters and refugees, Muslim and Sikh Americans and others not often included.

To “Never Forget” for students today may start with teaching them about aspects of 9/11 that seem to have been overlooked, erased or forgotten.

[The Conversation’s Politics + Society editors pick need-to-know stories. Sign up for Politics Weekly.]The Conversation

Jeremy Stoddard, Professor of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Diana Hess, Professor of Curriculum & Instruction and Dean of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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