4 December 2013 A portrait of former president Nelson Mandela has been bought by a private collector for US$200 000 (about R2-million), the highest price ever paid for a South African photograph, the charity 21 Icons said on Tuesday. The money will be donated to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, currently under construction in Johannesburg, and the World Wildlife Fund. The portrait, which was bought by a New York art collector, shows Mandela’s face reflected in a mirror. “I wanted Madiba to hold a mirror so that we could see a man reflecting on his life. As he reflects on his life, we reflect on his legacy and our future,” photographer Adrian Steirn said in a statement. Steirn is also responsible for conceptualising 21 Icons, a nation-building project that celebrates the lives of 21 “extraordinary South Africans who have captured the global imagination with their dignity, humanity, hard work and selfless struggle for a better world”. Other portraits in the series – including that of retired Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu and former president FW de Klerk – will be auctioned in March 2014. The proceeds will be donated to the charity of each subject’s choice. A children’s hospital has been a long-held dream of Mandela’s, and he has actively campaigned for funds for its construction. The 200-bed hospital is scheduled to open late in 2014. Swati Dlamini, Mandela’s granddaughter, said: “To see this beautiful and moving portrait of our father and grandfather raise such significant sum for causes dear to him is heartwarming for our family. And for the project overall to raise crucial funds for so many important South African charities is a fitting tribute to Madiba as well as the other icons.” SAinfo reporter and 21icons South Africa
On choosing the right gift“Before the holidays (and other gift-giving occasions), I sit down and have a brainstorm session to try to come up with thoughtful, meaningful gifts that are well suited to each person on my list. Then, I run those ideas through my budget filter, as well as another set of filters that I consider to be just as important: In an effort to be an environmentally and socially conscious consumer, I strive to choose gifts that meet one or more of the following criteria — many of which also happen to be economical…”[She goes on to list “non stuff” — activities, gift certificates, making a donation — as well as locally made goods, Fair Trade goods, homemade things, and products with green attributes or purposes. She also includes a number of useful links to find them.] On protecting your pet“Many conventional flea and tick treatments (particularly the topical, spot-on treatments that are applied directly onto pets’ skin, but also many flea collars, powders, and sprays) contain highly toxic pesticides, some of which have been shown to cause a range of serious reactions in pets, from skin problems, vomiting, and excessive drooling to neurological problems (e.g., seizures or uncontrollable shaking), heart attacks, and death. So, horrifically, some pesticides end up serving as pet-icides…“The Center for Public Integrity did a study in 2008, and found that at least 1,600 pet deaths related to spot-on treatments were reported to the EPA over the past five years. According to the NRDC, cats may be more susceptible to adverse reactions than dogs, since they are more likely to lick the treatments off of their fur and they often lack enzymes for metabolizing or detoxifying the pesticides. Many of these pesticides are toxic to humans, as well, and children are especially vulnerable to exposure.” Miriam Landman describes herself as a writer, accredited LEED professional, former reporter/producer for public radio’s Living on Earth, and the founder of M. Landman Communications & Consulting.She also has written Green Homes case studies for GBA, including one about a home made of composite ICFs, and another about a California renovation.More to the point, this former part-time professional cellist publishes The Green Spotlight.She sums up the blog’s mission this way: “The Green Spotlight weblog presents concise information and useful links related to green living, green building and design, green business, and sustainable communities.” And after browsing this site for a morning, I’d have a hard time coming up with a better description.For GBA readers, many of the entries will seem like old friends. There are, for example, nuggets on the value of water conservation, the need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, and how to choose the most appropriate building site. This is the kind of information you’ll find in GBA’s Green Basics, or just about any book on green building you happen to pick up.But there also are some surprises: how to get rid of bed bugs without resorting to chemical pesticides, how to choose gifts that don’t strain the environment, and even tips on picking the right dog food.Landman is a serious collector of quotations. Edmund Burke, Voltaire, Lao Tzu, Margaret Mead, Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Woody Allen, and Lily Tomlin are among her sources of inspiration, the glue being the value of individual initiatives for change, no matter how insignificant they might seem. “I always wondered why someone doesn’t do something about that,” Lily Tomlin is quoted as saying. “Then I realized I was somebody.”She also is on the hunt for positive developments in our often dispiritingly negative world. By following a link to her Facebook page (you don’t need your own account to have a look), I was directed to the story of a 9-year-old boy’s science project that saved Reno, Nevada, tens of thousands of gallons of water each year (the trick involves water pressure, but to get the whole story you’ll have to read it yourself). Or, you might want to read about Project Kaisei, a California-based project working to remove plastic debris from the North Pacific Gyre, a huge patch of ocean whose currents gather a variety of unhealthy and unsightly garbage.There’s lots here to read, no matter what your particular green interests. Here are some excerpts: On kicking the fossil-fuel habit“Until government and industry help shift our infrastructure and economy away from dinosaur fuels and into clean, renewable energy sources, we’ll never be able to get really ‘clean’ — so we should all be pushing for government to end the huge subsidies and tax breaks for dirty energy industries and to support cleaner energy sources (e.g., local solar, wind, tidal power, biomass, and some types of biofuels — a topic for a future post). But we can also do a lot right now, in our everyday lives, to start weaning ourselves off the junk.” On the benefits of choosing an appropriate site“Living in a sensible and sustainable location has numerous benefits. You can reap significant financial savings (e.g., by reducing the amount of driving you have to do; or by avoiding or minimizing the need to build new infrastructure or to do extensive site grading. Location efficiency can also yield broad, collective benefits for society and our shared environment, such as: reducing sprawl-related automobile dependence, traffic, and air pollution; protecting public health, environmental health, and the climate; conserving natural resources, habitat, and open space; and contributing to the creation of livable, walkable, healthy, and vibrant neighborhoods that enhance your community’s quality of life and local economic opportunities.” On the value of individual effort“Progress tends to take longer than we’d like. Change is almost always incremental: it happens through a series of steps, because many people are fearful of or resistant to change. However, small steps can gradually lead to larger strides. Individual actions can have a ripple effect. And small changes made by growing numbers of people can add up to a big impact. We shouldn’t let ourselves get paralyzed into inaction because we feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of a problem or we think our actions won’t make a difference.“Doing something constructive to address a problem is better than doing nothing. Wise thinkers throughout history — from Euripides to Lily Tomlin — have come to this conclusion, and they have articulated it in a variety of ways.”
Browse more military personal finance blog posts and webinars by experts.Follow Dr. O’Neill on Twitter!This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on October 28, 2013. By Barbara O’NeillCan I set up a military allotment to pay for a non-military debt or obligation?There are two types of allotments: discretionary and non-discretionary. You can have up to six discretionary allotments per month, and any number of non-discretionary allotments as long as the total allotments per month are 15 or less. Your allotment is divided between your two semi-monthly checks and requires a DD 2558 form. Retirees are eligible to continue their allotments as well. For more information, refer to https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx.
Barcelona and Real Madrid won their matches Sunday with the Spanish league title race now guaranteed to go to the final round.Neymar scored a hat trick for Barcelona in a comfortable 4-1 win at Las Palmas, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored a pair of goals for Madrid in a 4-1 home victory over Sevilla.Madrid scored with an unusual goal by Nacho Fernandez, who sent a quickly taken free kick into the net while the Sevilla defense and goalkeeper were preparing to set up a wall.The results left the rivals even on points, with Barcelona ahead on the head-to-head tiebreaker. But Madrid can retake sole possession of the lead on Wednesday when it plays at Celta Vigo in a game postponed from February.Madrid needs four points from its last two games to secure the title regardless of Barcelona’s result against Eibar at home next weekend. Madrid’s final game is at Malaga.”In these next two games we need to keep doing the same thing that we have been doing so far,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “It’s what has taken us this far.”Madrid is trying to win its first league title since 2012, while Barcelona is seeking its third straight La Liga trophy.Atletico Madrid secured third place and an automatic spot in next season’s Champions League with a 1-1 draw at Real Betis, while Sevilla guaranteed fourth place and a chance to reach the European competition through the playoffs.Sporting Gijon became the third and final team to be relegated despite a 1-0 win at Eibar. It needed Leganes to lose at Athletic Bilbao, but the recently promoted club drew 1-1 to remain in the top division for a second straight season. Deportivo La Coruna also guaranteed a place in the top flight after a 0-0 draw at Villarreal. Granada and Osasuna had already been demoted.advertisementVillarreal, Athletic and Real Sociedad are the teams still fighting for the two Europa League spots.