Category: hfldlcopbfel

Paco: “With € 19M in surplus you have to have eggs and ensure the salary of employees”

first_imgPRE-SEASON No one guarantees zero risk. “See if in two or three weeks the situation is fairly controlled. But if something happens during the process, what do we do? Do we look the other way and move on? We send the plagued home. What if the rest have it? What if we infect others? “, He wielded, also ruling on the tests:”You have to have sensitivity because many people have died without being able to access one. He is dead. And now we are going to do the players every two or three days. If there is a test for everyone, great. As this is not the case, they should be kept for those who need it most. If later they are left over, ok. Fali has already said that he will not play and does not expose himself. I respect it and it seems perfect to me. You don’t risk your little finger. If the virus catches you something regular, you go ahead. You have to respect who wants to take that risk and who doesn’t. “ “We are going to test the players every two or three days. If there is something for everyone, great. As this is not the case, they should be kept for those who need them” On the other hand, Paco Jémez already knows what it is to play without an audience. He did it in Mexico, when they closed the Veracruz field. “You can’t imagine the feeling of loneliness. Soccer without people is not soccer, it is a different thing. If it lasts for months it is a serious problem. And we will have to adapt, although this is for the public, “he admitted, aware that this situation could even change the format of the competition:” If exceptionally it has to be done, it will be done. Many players will have passed COVID-19 and they won’t know it. When Health tells us we can shoot, we will shoot. The problem is that I of Health have not heard anyone put a date but from other classes. LaLiga, the Federation, UEFA … are anticipated. But what authority do you have over Health? So I understand that the CSD is ahead. We are not different from others. Neither better nor worse than anyone. The thing is, the situation is under control. “The contracts and June 30 is another open debate: “It worries, but it has to be regulated. I ended my contract on 30-J. I can afford to continue until this ends. If the Federation, LaLiga … regulates it, better. You have to find a solution for everyone. ” And if that worries, even more the salary drops and the ERTE. “Each club is particular and must manage depending on how it is. Barça is not the same as Rayo. Having said that. Whatever the agreement between the club and the players or if there is finally an ERTE, I am concerned that the contracts of the employees are not 100% guaranteed. It is a matter of dignity. First because it must and second because it can. Anything other than achieving that will be a failure and we will be reproaching ourselves for a long time. In general, footballers have a predisposition, another thing is that they want to take off as much as the clubs request. Each one is a world, “concluded Paco, who added:” Legally, they have the right to go to an ERTE, but morally not. A team that presents a budget with 19 million surplus and that this year has transferred players for 21 million euros has to have two eggs and go out to secure the wages of its workers. I’m not talking about Barça or Atlético. I talk about Lightning, that’s why I give those numbers. And I know that there is a good predisposition on the part of managers to reach an agreement, but I am afraid that it will not be reached. “ We will need a minimum of three weeks of training. If you want a single against married we play already, people will stop to vomit in the middle of the game … “center_img When football returns, all teams will start from scratch and inertias until before the break will no longer be a reliable reference. “That will make LaLiga a crazy competition. The teams that make it physically well will have a lot of cattle. We have not considered that we need a psychologist. More than globally, in some particular case it can be worth it,” he argued before addressing the points that most concern the protocol for the return of the clubs: “You have to listen to the integral parts of this business. I have not been asked. Some epigraphs are very utopian. Imagine that we start, we live a normal life and one gives a positive. The rush can take us back everything that we have advanced these days. We can’t continue playing if you test positive because If I die, who is responsible? The author of the protocol? You have to outline it well“ LALIGA PROTOCOL Pacó Jémez, Rayo’s coach, reviewed the current affairs of football in times of the coronavirus during an interview in Stadium Study. There he advocated a three-week preseason before returning to activity. “People believe that we all live in a mansion with a 100 square meter garden. I want you to enter my apartment, because for you to enter I have to leave. There is no place to train here and, like me, there are many players. This break is worse than the summer break because there you go running, walking, playing tennis, a party with friends … We are going to need at least three weeks of group training to compete. If you want this to be single against married we start playing now, people will stop vomiting in the middle of the game… Keep in mind that we will play every 72 hours. We are going to get into the heat in July and August. It is not a matter of wanting more or less time, but the time necessary for this to work out. It is preferable to wait and finish than to want to go in a hurry and fall when climbing the first step, “he said forcefully.The future is uncertain and the coach does not want to venture beyond everyone’s desire. “We are exploring a path that no one has traveled. We want to finish LaLiga safely and not in any way. The rhythm is set by the virus and you have to hear it, it would be a mistake to believe that we are above this“, sentenced, showing more supporter of playing than of giving the championship for ditching:” I would not like it, it is the last scenario that we want. Hopefully we don’t have to cancel the season and, if that happens in the end, we would have to admit it“The voices of some footballers who have feared for their health and refuse to compete if this involves any risk have already begun to be heard. Something that Paco understands:” If the authorities are not able to assure us that there will be no problem, anyone is in your right to do so. “last_img read more

Arnett beat MoBay United in Red Stripe Premier League

first_imgArnett Gardens FC registered a come-from-behind 2-1 victory against Montego Bay United (MBU) in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) top of the table football match at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in Trench Town yesterday. Montego Bay took the lead when the RSPL’s leading marksman, Owayne Gordon, fired home his season high 16th goal past Arnett’s custodian, Peter Harrison, in the 21st minute. However, the home side fought back and scored twice inside two minutes. Kenniel Hyde swerved a kick from 25 yards past Romaine Bowers in goal for MBU in the 43rd minute. Then veteran striker Leon Strickland headed home in the 45th minute. MoBay United started well with some beautiful build-ups from Gordon, Dino Williams and Cory Hylton and took the lead when Williams threaded a perfect pass to Gordon, who finished off the play beautifully. However, Arnett gradually took over and scored two goals in the closing minutes of the first half for a good win that pushed them into second position on 57 points, three off leaders Portmore United (60) and ahead of MBU, on 54 points, in the race for the $1 million incentive awarded to the team that completes the preliminary stage of the league on most points. Two rounds remain. “I’m proud of the team coming from behind today (yesterday) to beat MoBay United. We also had some players out but the other players stepped up,” Jerome Waite, head coach of defending champions Arnett, told The Gleaner. The veteran coach was also confident that his team would retain the title. “We are here to retain the title,” he declared. On the other hand, MBU’s head coach, Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis who was also head coach at Arnett – had high praises for his team’s effort. “It was a pretty good game as we had seven players out. We went ahead and the players put out their best and now we will win the Premier League,” Davis, who is also a former national striker disclosed. Yesterday’s Results Arnett Gardens 2 MoBay United 1 Boys’ Town 0 Humble Lion 1 Harbour View 1 FC Reno 1 Portmore United 1 Waterhouse 0 Rivoli United 0 Tivoli Gardens 1 UWI FC 1 Cavalier SC 0last_img read more

Municipal officials must be placed before the courts

first_imgDear Editor,Almost one month ago, the Former Chancellor of the Judiciary, the Honourable Cecil Kennard completed and handed over a most detailed, cogent and lucid report containing more than 31 prudent recommendations after an exhaustive investigation into some of the venality that has been occurring at City Hall.One would expect that dealing with these recommendations would be an unqualified priority of the Local Government Commission, the agency that sought the special competence of Mr Kennard and who have the power to deal with all matters relating to the regulating and staffing of local government organs including employment and dismissal of staff.Of course, everyone would expect substantive as well as procedural standards for the review of the report to be upheld in the interest of natural justice and fairness but at the same time with the level of misconduct that has been unearthed by the CoI one could only imagine that in the interest of protecting evidence of misconduct, records that detail fraud, violations of bidding and tender procedures, of nepotism and cronyism, complicity, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, and malfeasance in office to name a few; that those officers that were fingered by the CoI would have been immediately sent on administrative leave until a final determination is made on the fate of those officers.Additionally, one wonders if an investigation will be made into the display of sudden new wealth, and acquisition of many properties and business by some officers through unexplained income, whether the State Asset Recovery Agency will be called in to recover the many municipal assets and properties that have been doled out to friends and family. Indeed there were properties that were not under the purview of the Georgetown Municipality which were illegally sold or leased out.One wonders whether the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) was called in to deal with the privileged and well-connected municipal officers who were abusing their positions and acquiring wealth through illicit means. Citizens of Georgetown have experienced municipal officials, both elected and appointed — known to be on fixed income — moving from rags to riches in a very short period. Citizens have seen disregard by Council’s Officials for the functioning of the Integrity Commission and Revenue Authority, the National Insurance Scheme all of which are legal entities.There is the prevalent instance in the use of state motor vehicles including those owned by the City Police driven by persons employed by the Council transporting children, and spouses of municipal officials. Then you have the chauffeurs and bodyguards of the big shots there that have often been subjected to the indignity of having to wait for extensive hours whilst the assignee engages in non-official activities. This is a form of corruption, given that it is an abuse of municipal resources.The Local Government Commission must ensure that the brunt of the law bears down wherever misconduct occurs. Municipal officials who commit, or have committed, offences must be placed rapidly before the courts.Sincerely,Roseanne Rodgerslast_img read more

President Sirleaf Consoles Russian President Vladimir Putin

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sent a condolence message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, following the sudden demise of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations. Ambassador Churkin passed away on Mondayone day before his 65th birthday. The diplomat is said to have suffered a cardiac arrest while at the Russian Mission on East 67th Street, New York, and was taken to New York’s Presbyterian Hospital, where he died. Ambassador Churkin, who held a Ph.D in History, served as Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2006.According to a Foreign Affairs Ministry release, President Sirleaf, in her message to Mr. Putin, said, “This is a colossal loss not only to Russia but also to the international community, particularly the United Nations Security Council, where Ambassador Churkin was an outstanding figure and very revered by his colleagues.”President Sirleaf said that Ambassador Churkin’s tenacity and commitment to duty which distinguished him in the field of diplomacy, will inspire many others. “Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Government and people of Russia, especially his family, including his widow, Madam Irina Churkina, his son Maksim and daughter Anastasia,” President Sirleaf’s message stated.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Bush tries to comfort tornado victims

first_imgThe surrounding neighborhood revealed a car protruding tail-first from the top of a house. Trees were bare of all limbs, looking like mere stakes in the ground. A spray-painted sign said politely: “Please pardon our mess.” The president ambled down the road to a house with no roof, almost slipping as he picked his way across a chunk of metal on the lawn. He briefly grabbed a chain saw, ripping it into action for the photographers who accompanied him. “How are you all?” Bush asked as he moved among residents. “Stylish-looking hat,” he joked to a man in a green fedora. The president spent about 20 minutes at a second house, where he posed for photos and listened to survivors. It was there that he addressed reporters in his only public words of the day. For his backdrop, a yellow crane in the home’s driveway suspended an American flag. The trees in the front lawn had metal and plastic debris – including a giant upside-down tool box – wedged into what remained of their branches. He offered prayers, condolences, praise and aid. “Whatever help is in the law (will) be here as quickly as possible,” Bush said. “While there was a dark day in the past, there’s brighter days ahead.” The homeowner, Kaye Hardinger, said people in the town appreciated the president’s visit. “It let us know he cared about us,” she said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! GREENSBURG, Kan. – President George W. Bush sought to lift spirits Wednesday in the wake of a killer tornado, dispensing hugs while stepping through the rubble of what had been a close-knit town of 1,400. He came to Kansas to tour the wreckage in the hope that he could “touch somebody’s soul by representing our country,” the president said. “A lot of us have seen the pictures about what happened here, and pictures don’t do it justice,” said Bush, standing in the street in front of a brick one-story home that now has no roof. “There is a lot of destruction. Fortunately, a lot of folks had basements here in this part of the world and lived to see another day. Unfortunately, too many died,” he said. On a day with alternating rain and sunshine, Bush got his first look from a helicopter that hovered over the ruins of the southwest Kansas town that was flattened last Friday night. The twister killed at least 11 people. It was the most punishing tornado to hit the United States since 1999. On a short ride into town after his aerial tour, Bush got a rundown of the damage and the recovery from City Administrator Steve Hewitt and Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. She and the Bush administration had a spat a day earlier – apparently now resolved – over whether National Guard deployments to Iraq had hampered the government’s ability to respond here. The president went by foot down Greensburg streets covered with snarled messes of mud, wood, glass and wires. Roaring at up to 205 mph and spanning 1.7 miles, the twister destroyed an estimated 95 percent of the town. Churches, Greensburg City Hall and the hospital are gone. Bush already had ordered emergency aid for the people, business and governments in the area. His trip was about delivering something else – presidential empathy. He has sought a much more aggressive and engaged reaction to disasters since Hurricane Katrina, when a bungled response became a turning point in his presidency. Moving through Greensburg, the president stopped at a tractor dealership – the building gutted, the expensive plows mangled. It had been a major employer in town, and the president freely gave hugs. last_img read more


first_imgONE of the county’s top nightclub venues has gone on the market – with an asking price of €625,000.The Limelight in Glenties sale also includes the M25 pub next door.The complex boast six bars, covers more than 10,000 sq ft and has a dance license for 1,550 people. It’s being sold on behalf of owner Declan Boyle by Property Partners in Letterkenny. TOP DONEGAL NIGHTCLUB UP FOR SALE was last modified: March 25th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:GlentieslimelightTOP DONEGAL NIGHTCLUB UP FOR SALElast_img read more

Report tracks state waste

first_imgSACRAMENTO – Waste, fraud and abuse remain rampant among California’s state and local government agencies, two watchdog groups said Tuesday as they released their third annual compendium of government misspending.The “2005 California Piglet Book” lists dozens of what the groups cite as examples of state and local government waste, culled primarily from newspaper articles. It does not give a total figure because the report is meant as a series of examples, not a comprehensive study.“This report presents some of the worst examples of wasteful and fraudulent government spending in the state of California,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.Washington, D.C.-based Citizens Against Government Waste, which produces a similar book about federal government waste, worked with the Jarvis group to produce the California edition.Topping the list is the $138 per-diem payments made to state legislators when they are in session, even when they meet for less than 20 minutes in a day. For example, legislators can hold check-in sessions on a Friday, where they are present in the Capitol briefly, to qualify for the payment, then fly home for the weekend.The per diem is intended to compensate legislators for their living expenses while in Sacramento, where most of them maintain second homes.Steve Maviglio, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu?ez, D-Los Angeles, said the payments are meant to compensate legislators for their living expenses while doing work in Sacramento – work that doesn’t necessarily end with the session.“When they’re here, they just don’t come for the session,” Maviglio said. “They typically work in their offices, reviewing mail or talking to constituents. I think it’s a misrepresentation to say they’re only here for 22 minutes when they probably spend the entire day and then some on legislative business.”The dollar amount, he said, mirrors the reimbursement figure the federal government provides to its employees when they are visiting Sacramento on business.Other examples in the “Piglet Book” include skyrocketing costs for public pensions and benefits, workers’ compensation and school district salaries.Pension costs, for example, cost the state $2.6 billion this year, compared with $160 million five years ago.Earlier this year, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported that the workers’ compensation system in Los Angeles County encourages fraudulent claims by providing higher benefits to those who retire on disability pensions.The state government has several agencies that attempt to root out waste and fraud. This week, the newly created Senate Select Committee on Government Cost Control held its first hearing into government waste, focusing on contracting abuse in the Department of Corrections and the state’s lack of inventory control on its vehicle fleet.California has a Bureau of the State Auditor, which maintains a whistle-blower hot line for waste and abuse, as well as the Little Hoover Commission, which seeks to promote efficiency in state government.Additionally, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year commissioned the California Performance Review to overhaul and reform state government, though few of the recommendations have been implemented.The report is available online at www.hjta.organd Harrison Sheppard(916) 446-6723 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


first_imgThe U13 Girls who were A Championship County Winners along with Manager Greg Harkin, and coaches Marty McCarron and Elaine McGovernMORE than 350 players, coaches and parents were at the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny last night to celebrate a successful year for St Eunan’s youth players in football, ladies football, camogie and hurling.Special guests included club senior captain Rory Kavanagh, Termon’s All-Ireland winner Geraldine McLaughlin, Donegal senior panellist Eamon Doherty and county hurling manager Ray Durack.Durack also guided St Eunan’s U16 hurlers to their first County A Championship in their history. There were a number of notable achievements through the year with the Boys winning a second 7-a-side Ulster title in a row and in Ladies football the U12s and U13s both lifted County A titles, with the Minors lifting the County Shield.Children’s Officer Pauric Daly emphasised the importance to the community of gaelic games in Letterkenny.Geraldine McLaughlin in particular was given a very warm welcome to the event.Pictures of the presentation by Brian McDaid. If you’d like a professional print of any of the pictures above then contact The Cristeph Studio on 074-91-26411 or check out their Facebook page below. Hurling team with Managers Eunan O Donnell and Gordon RandlesU14 Hurlers with manager Gordan Randles U12 Girls with manager Catriona McIntyre with the team she helped to guide to the County A titleU12 Boys Team with manager Eunan Walsh and Danny O Donnell.Minor B Championship winners with senior coach Alan O’Connell Girls U16, County A Finalists, with manager Declan O Donnell and coach Greg HarkinThe U-15 Boys who took the Ulster titleMinor Hurling team with manager Paddy LennonThe U13 Boys with Manager Joe Higgins The U16 Boys with Manager Jim ClarkeNiall O Donnell winner of the Ulster Academy Award pictured with Rory Kavanagh and Eamon Doherty.Minor Hurling team with manager Paddy LennonU13 Hurling team with Managers Eunan O Donnell and Gordon Randles U11 team with Manager Peter Mc Geehan,U12 hurlers with manager Eunan O Donnell.The U16 Hurling team with Manager Ray DurackMicheal Millar, Conor Morrison, Daivd Tyrrell and Conor O Boyce received special awards pictured at the Rory Kavanagh , Eamon Doherty and Geraldine Mc Laughlin. Photo Brian Mc Daid PICTURE SPECIAL: ST EUNAN’S GAA CLUB MINOR PRESENTATION DINNER was last modified: January 26th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:picture specialSt Eunan’s Minor Boardlast_img read more

New puppet to lend a helping hand for local internet safety workshops

first_imgDonegal Youth Service have a new team member!  Mya the puppet has recently joined the Youth Information Centre team to help them deliver Cyberbullying and Internet Safety workshops to primary school students. The puppet is based on a design by Alannah Cannon from Scoil Mhuire National School in Milford. She was was one of over 100 Donegal primary students to enter the puppet design competition before the summer holidays. Young people from around the county were invited to submit drawings of their puppet design to be in with a chance of winning a Lenovo Laptop worth over €500 which was generously donated by VC Computers, as well as seeing their design come to life. Alannah Cannon meeting her design Mya the puppetLeft to right: Dominic McGlinchey, DYS Youth Worker, George Savva, VC Computers, Mr. Eoghan Roarty, Scoil Mhuire Principal, Katarzyna Kurzeja, Youth Information Officer, Gareth Gibson, Youth Information Manager. 2017 was another big year for the YIC team with their cyberbullying, and internet safety workshops.  There were 7,244 young people, parents and teachers engaged through 219 workshops all around the county due to high demand.The internet is a wonderful tool which has become essential for every day use for many of us.  The internet is also the platform of choice for many bullies these days, and we must equip our young people with the tools and information to deal with these issues. The aim of the workshops is also to encourage young people to improve their empathy and to develop “positive online behaviours” and become more aware of risk taking behaviour and associated dangers. Alannah Cannon with Mya the puppet and her classmatesLetterkenny Youth Information Centre provide information and support for young people who have, or are currently experiencing cyberbullying as well as information for parents.  They have a team of experienced staff who facilitate a mixture of age appropriate workshops and seminars to children, young people, parents and teachers. These sessions are available at both primary and secondary level as well as to other education providers and community groups.Donegal Youth Service are a countywide youth organisation who respond to the needs of young people. Charity No. CHY 15027.  For more information about their work with cyberbullying and internet safety, or anything else please contact (074) 91 29630,, or find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.New puppet to lend a helping hand for local internet safety workshops was last modified: January 5th, 2018 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Alannah CannonCYBERBULLYINGDonegal Youth Serviceinternet safetyLetterkenny Youth Information Centrepuppetscoil mhuire milfordlast_img read more

The Cradle of Humankind

first_imgA handful of the world’s great cities trace their heritage to early human settlements thousands of years back. Johannesburg’s earliest residents were in the neighbourhood 3-million years ago.Forty kilometres west of Johannesburg, is a 47 000-hectare valley known as the Cradle of Humankind. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterForty kilometres west of the city, among nondescript koppies, scattered shrubs and trees, is a 47 000-hectare valley known as the Cradle of Humankind.Three million years of human activity have taken place in and around these caves, including people’s earliest-known mastery of fire, and 40% of all the world’s human ancestor fossils have been found here.The biggest and best-known of the caves is Sterkfontein, where over 500 hominid fossils and over 9 000 stone tools have been found. It was at Sterkfontein that two major finds were made, that have changed modern paleontology:The Australopithecus africanus Mrs Ples (now believed to be a Mister Ples), dating back 2.5-million years, and found by Robert Bloom in 1947.Little Foot, an almost complete ape-man skeleton that could be just over 4 million years old, the first pieces – footbones – of which were found by Ronald Clarke and Phillip Tobias in 1995 (the bones had lain in a box since the late 1970s, when they were excavated).Another major find was:A new species of hominin, homo naledi, was unveiled at Maropeng in the Cradle of Humankind near Johannesburg in September 2015. It was described as a new branch of the human family tree. Professor Lee Berger, the American archaeologist who led the excavation, called the Rising Star expedition, said fossils of 15 individuals of various ages were found 12 metres into the Dinaledi Chamber.In 1997, Clarke, digging through more boxes of bones from Sterkfontein, found more footbones from the same individual – one with a clean break suggesting that more of Little Foot’s bones might still be inside the cave. Clarke went after the rest of Little Foot’s skeleton – and in 1998, amazingly, found it, or at least a significant part of it.Maropeng brings fossils to life with interactive displays, stunning exhibits and a boat ride on an underground lake, the state-of-the-art Maropeng centre allows visitors to explore the rich fossil heritage of the Cradle of Humankind.A complete skull and fragments of arm, foot and leg bones have been uncovered so far; the rest of the bones are still being painstakingly excavated from the rock. Some believe that Little Foot is the most significant hominid find since Raymond Dart’s discovery of the skull of the Taung child, a juvenile Australopithecus africanus, discovered in 1924 near a town called Taung in the far north of North West.According to Clarke, the Little Foot fossil has yielded the most complete australopithecine skull yet found, found together with the most complete set of foot and leg bones known so far – with more extracted from the rock since then. In addition, the preservation of the skeleton is extraordinary, with most of the bones intact and joined in their natural position.The Little Foot skeleton was originally thought to be between 3 and 3.5 million years old, but a more recent study argues that it could be over 4 million years old, which would make it one of the oldest known australopithecine fossils, and easily the oldest from South Africa.According to “If Clarke’s expectations of further finds are borne out, Little Foot could become the most spectacular and important hominid fossil ever discovered, rivalled only by the Turkana Boy Homo erectus skeleton [discovered in 1984 near Lake Turkana in Kenya].”The Sterkfontein valley consists of around 40 different fossil sites, 13 of which have been excavated. It includes Bolt’s Farm, where the remains of three sabre-tooth cats have been found in a pit that trapped animals; Swartkrans, site of the earliest-known deliberate use of fire, around 1.3-million years ago; Haasgat, where the fossils of early forest-dwelling monkeys, around 1.3-million years old, were found; and Gondolin, where 90 000 fossil specimens have been found since 1979. The area was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. Although it is on privately owned land, any finds belong to the world, and the area is strictly controlled and protected.BeginningsIn the late 1890s, miners dynamited the Sterkfontein caves, searching for limestone which they converted into quick lime, an element needed for the processing of gold and the manufacture of cement. They displaced the sediment and revealed entrances to the caves. The rocks contain cyclindrical shapes – evidence of early life called stromatolite, dating back 3.8-billion years.These organisms breathed in carbon dioxide and breathed out oxygen, thus increasing the earth’s oxygen levels and leading to the evolution of other forms of life. Some 2.5-billion years ago, the area was an inland shallow sea.Over time the water evaporated and the mud formed dolomite rock, in which the stromatolite are visible. Around 2-billion years ago a large meteorite, 10 kilometres in diameter, fell in Vredefort (100 kilometres south of Sterkfontein), leaving a massive crater now known as the Vredefort Dome. The entire area for hundreds of kilometres around was covered in debris, which helped preserve the gold reefs of the Witwatersrand, preventing them from being eroded – and also helped preserve the stromatolite rocks.Some 3.5-million years ago, openings to the caves started appearing. They may have been occupied by sabre-toothed cats and other predators which would explain why the remains of large herbivores like wildebeest, extinct zebra and buffalo have been found in the caves. One of the caves is called Plover’s Lake Cave. It has been explored some 50 metres down, but beyond that point are a labyrinth of unexplored passages, and several entrances. A hyena and a porcupine are known to live there – no-one has spotted them, but their footprints are often seen. Excavations of Plover Cave and others in the area is ongoing.The nearby Wonder Cave has an enormous chamber with beautiful 15 metre-high stalactite formations. The Cave is believed to be 2.2-million years old, and bones of rodents, frogs, lizards and birds have been found in the cave. It’s hard while walking around the area to fully comprehend the age of the sites and the importance of the finds.Charles Darwin predicted in the 19th Century that the origins of humankind would be traced back to Africa because that’s where the great apes live. South Africans, and Joburgers in particular, don’t have far to go to take a stroll into life millions of years ago… so long as they are mindful of hyenas and porcupines.Updated: September 2017Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more