Sunday, 21 March 2010

Looking Back - Scores Die In Sharpville Shoot-Out

On this day in 1960, more than 50 black people were killed when police opened fire on a "peaceful" protest in the South African township of Sharpeville.
Eye-witnesses said men, women and children fled 'like rabbits' as up to 300 officers began randomly shooting into a 5,000-strong crowd outside the municipal offices in Sharpeville.
Scores of injured were taken to Baragwanath hospital near Johannesburg suffering gun-shot wounds.
It was not clear why the police, in armoured vehicles, opened fire at approximately 1315 local time that day, although it is understood some protesters had been stone-throwing.
Non-violent campaign
Between 5,000 and 7,000 people had gathered at Sharpeville police station to protest against the pass laws, which they claim are designed by an apartheid government to seriously restrict their movement in white areas.
The laws, which require all black men and women to carry reference books containing their personal details including name, tax code and employer details, have this year been extended to all black women as well as men.
The law states that anyone found in a public place without their book will be arrested and detained for up to 30 days.
PAC leader, Robert Subukwe, said today's march was intended to be the first of a five-day, non-violent campaign by black Africans to persuade the government to abolish the laws.
The aim was for all black Africans to leave their pass books at home and present themselves at police stations for arrest.
This, said Mr Subukwe, would cause prisons to become overcrowded, labour to dry up and the economy to grind to a halt.
But three hours after it began, the 'peaceful' gathering had turned into a blood-bath.
It is understood police attempted to disperse the crowd with a squadron of low-flying aircraft before drafting in extra reinforcements.
Police Commander D H Pienaar said: "It started when hordes of natives surrounded the police station.
"If they do these things, they must learn their lessons the hard way."
Following the Sharpeville massacre, as it came to be known, the death toll rose to 69 and the number of injuries to 180.
In the following days 77 Africans, many of whom were still in hospital, were arrested for questioning - most were later released.
On 24 March the government banned all public meetings in 24 magisterial districts of South Africa and on April 8 the PAC and the African National Congress (ANC) were banned and a state of emergency was declared in the country.
The following September 224 people lodged civil claims against the government but the government responded by introducing the Indemnity Act which relieved all officials of any responsibility for the Sharpeville atrocities.
No police officer involved in the massacre was ever convicted.

Animal Crackers

Water Aid

WaterAid is an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping people escape the poverty and disease caused by living without safe water and sanitation. It is based in London, England and was established by the UK water industry as a charitable trust on 21 July 1981. By 1987 its income exceeded £1 million per annum, and its 2005-2006 accounts recorded an income of £26.9 million.
WaterAid currently works in partnership with local organisations in 17 countries in Africa and Asia to help poor communities establish sustainable water supplies and latrines, close to home. It also works to influence governments’ water and sanitation policies to serve the interests of vulnerable people and to ensure water and sanitation are prioritised in poverty reduction plans. As a matter of policy, WaterAid supports public ownership and control of water supplies, but does not take a particular view regarding public, community or private participation in service provision.
In 2003, WaterAid was named UK charity of the year at the Charity Times Awards. Also, in November 2006 WaterAid was named 'Britain's most Admired Charity 2006', as voted by its peers in the voluntary sector (in 'Third Sector' magazine). WaterAid came top of the category followed by Save the Children and The Samaritans. Andrew Cook, WaterAid’s Director of Communications and Fundraising said “We are delighted to have won this prestigious accolade. This award is testament to the tireless work of all WaterAid’s staff and volunteers both in the UK and internationally”. Water Aid is also a Stockholm Water Prize laureate.
WaterAid is a founding member of the End Water Poverty campaign calling for water and sanitation for all. Its twice-yearly magazine is called Oasis and includes news and features on planned and completed projects.
WaterAid is associated with the Glastonbury Festival. In 2006 the festival's founder Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily visited WaterAid's work in Mozambique and in 2007 130 WaterAid volunteers helped at the festival.
Among WaterAid's many fundraising events is Coast Along for WaterAid a sponsored walk along sections of the South West Coast Path, which took place in 2005 and 2007 and 2009.

Perilous Parking

Oh well! At least she's not on double yellow lines!

Who Am I?

Today we have a 'Who Am I?' puzzle. Ten clues that should point you towards the name of a famous mystery celebrity. Can you work out who it is?

01 I was born 2 December 1981.
02 I was born in Mississippi and raised in Louisiana.
03 My first TV performance was in 1992 as a contestant on 'Star Search'.
04 I then went on to star in 'The All New Mickey Mouse Club ' from 1993 to 1994.
05 I signed a recording contract with 'Jive' in 1997.
06 My debut album 'Baby One More Time' came out in 1999.
07 In late 1999, I appeared in the teen sit-com 'Sabrina and the Witch'.
08 I married in 2004, the marriage lasted 55 hours.
09 In 2006 I guest starred in 'Will and Grace'.
10 In April 2009, I declared my support for same-sex marriages to the media.

Which mystery celebrity fits the clues given above? Answer in tomorrows Journal.