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Actor John Berg committed suicide, coroner says

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champAuthorities went to the actor’s residence in response to a request for a “welfare check,” Winter said. Berg most recently appeared on the television series in “Monk” and “Brothers & Sisters.” He also appeared on TV shows such as “NCIS,” “The Practice,” “Boston Legal” and “Law & Order” and previously on a handful of daytime soaps. On the big screen, he played a Romulan senator on the 2002 film “Star Trek: Nemesis.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VAN NUYS – A coroner’s autopsy report revealed that television character actor John Berg committed suicide in the bedroom of his Van Nuys home, authorities said today. “He died as a result of suicide … from suffocation,” Lt. John Kadas of the coroner’s office said. “A hibachi grill was used inside his bedroom. It’s a fairly common form of suicide where it’s put inside an enclosed space and then lit up. The victim succumbed to carbon monoxide fumes,” Kadas said. The body of the 58-year-old actor was discovered shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday in his residence in the 6500 block of Nagle Avenue, said Capt. Ed Winter of the coroner’s office. last_img read more

The treasures of Afrika House

first_imgKingsley Holgate – aka “the grey beard”– and Watson share a moment in front ofthe giant map of Africa in his home. Kingsley with Abu from Abidjan. The voodoo relic that keeps Kingsley safefrom theft during his travels throughAfrica. All it needs to do its job is acigarette and a drop of water once a year. The Dogon granary door Kingsley foundwhile taking his father-in-law George toTimbuktu – in a peanut-butter bottle. The replica of Kingsley’s dhow Anima.(Images: Kathryn Fourie)Kathryn FourieIt’s a steaming bright blue February morning on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The little beachside town of Zinkwazi is pulsing with heat as I stand under a milkwood tree being barked at by a giant dog.“Aaaibo, thula umsindo Watson!” The woman sweeping leaves in the yard is clearly annoyed by Watson’s incessant barking, and shushes him with a practised swipe of the broom.I’ve disturbed the peace at Kingsley Holgate’s Afrika House by ringing the bell, and my penance is to be attacked by mosquitoes. I swat at my ankles with a notebook and, with it thoroughly covered in blood and bits of broken insect limbs, am shown through the varnished wooden gate decorated with intricate carvings into the Swahili-style house.Walking through Kingsley’s home is a sensory overload. I can hear the deep voice of the grey beard, as he is fondly known, chuckling down a telephone line somewhere in the cool depths of the house.I have three dogs bouncing around my ankles, two parrots speaking rapidly in squawks and hallos, and my eyes are taking in countless carvings, masks, weaponry, plants, pots, stars, beads, cloth and endless bits and bobs neatly arranged from wall to wall. Even the air in here seems to have been sucked in from a secret spiced continent.Kingsley and his wife Gill – nicknamed Mashozi, or “she who wears shorts” – are a well-known couple, famed for their madcap family adventures through Africa and indeed across the world. With a purposeful humanitarian objective and a distinct distaste for living inside the realms of normality, the Holgates have been just about everywhere.Kingsley was born in 1946 in Durban, and primed for adventure from an early age, snacking on the tales of David Livingstone read to him by his father. Used to life in the bush from his family’s missionary work, on finishing school he backpacked all over the world in a special effort to grow his beard.At age 23 he managed to procure the attention of one Gill Adams, who came back to Africa with him. And so their mutual adventure of a lifetime began.Humanitarian adventureKingsley and Mashozi have completed many formal expeditions throughout Africa to implement their aid programmes, such as One Net One Life, which involves distributing hundreds of thousands of mosquito nets to mothers and babies across malaria-infected areas.They also have the Right to Sight programme, which supplies glasses to people who battle with their eyesight, thereby ensuring they can keep working to earn an income. Then they have the Teaching on the Edge programme, which takes mobile libraries and classrooms to some of the most remote spots imaginable.All these projects are to be carried over into their 2009 Boundless Southern Africa Expedition, kicking off in May.From circumnavigating the world along the Tropic of Capricorn, to sailing on Land Yachts across the Makgadikgadi salt pans in central Botswana, the Holgates have set foot in some weird and wonderful places, and tend to bring equally weird and wonderful things back to their homestead.It’s not surprising that a sign outside the main entrance has the following inscription: “Afrika House – A Fusion of the Cultures of the East Coast, Karibu”. Karibu is the Swahili for “welcome”.The Coast of TrinketsAt the base of the staircase that leads up to the Captain’s Bar and incredible views of the ocean sits a gorgeous wooden ape named Abu. He reposes next to a parrot cage, and listens patiently to everything his feathered friend has to say, with one finger in his mouth and a fez on his head. How did he come to live in Zinkwazi?In 2007 the Outside Edge expedition left South Africa, and the crew made their way up through the graceful curve of West Africa. Leaving the gold coast behind them, they entered Côte d’Ivoire, the shoreline of which is sometimes referred to as the “The Coast of Trinkets”.Travelling through Abidjan, Mashozi, an arts and crafts enthusiast, spied a market not to be missed. The crew pulled over to examine the carvings, fabrics, drums and grim-looking swords, but it was the enigmatic Abu that caught Mashozi’s eye.Kingsley wasn’t thrilled at the thought of dragging an ape that weighs as much as small elephant all the way round Africa, and said as much, firmly planting his rather large foot on the ground. Even when the seller dropped his price, Kingsley stood firm.But never underestimate the power of a woman with a passion for purchase. Back on the road, Kingsley was told via radio to look under the blanket in the back of the Land Rover, an early birthday gift from his son Ross and daughter-in-law Anna. Abu the Ape from Abidjan with his finger carved into his mouth for eternity had just scored a ride on the trip of a lifetime.Special medicineAfrican culture is fascinating, and more so because of the way it varies through every turn in a valley and hop over a river. Belief in ancestry and spirituality is everywhere, and in some countries voodoo sits highly among the most powerful of these beliefs.The Outside Edge Expedition reached Lomo, the capital city of Togo, which is famed for the gigantic Akodésséwa voodoo market. The smell of incense punctuated by decaying animal flesh is further heightened by piles of dried heads of every conceivable animal, and people come from as far as Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Nigeria to get their hands on the potent traditional medicine.Kingsley was on a mission for a specific kind of medicine, for protection against theft. In remote areas of Africa, with many days of travel ahead, losing even one piece of vital equipment to sticky fingers is not an option. The voodoo vendor offered him a clay fetish in an empty tortoise shell.The instructions were to chant his name three times – “Kingsley, Kingsley, Kingsley” – over the chaotic noise of the market. Three drops of water a year through the hole in its head and one annual cigarette placed in its mouth would keep it happy enough to protect it Kingsley’s goods.The fetish did its part glued to the dashboard of the Land Rover, and now sits comfortably propped between wooden carvings right at the opposite end of the continent it was created on.Kingsley had told me he had limited time that morning for my interview, but two hours later it was obvious that he was enjoying the show and tell as much as I was.Not one to talk about himself, Kingsley is the ultimate spokesperson for the talent that created the pieces that fill his home. It would take a month to hear the tale behind each gnarled piece of metal; or each intricate Mkondi figure from the Rovuma River, with hands clasping angel wings so rarely seen in African art.Taking George to TimbuktuAt the top of the staircase, next to the giant map of Africa, a beautiful Dogon granary door hangs on the wall.“Ah, yes, that is the door we collected in Mali,” Kingsley says, “when we took George to Timbuktu in a peanut-butter jar.”Of course, how else would one transport ones father-in-law through Africa?Mashozi’s father, George, loved the continent and had always wanted to visit Timbuktu, but never made it there during his days on earth. So, in the spirit of one last adventure, George was packed in a screw-top jar – and everyone was instructed to double-check any powder they used in cooking before they tossed it into the mix, lest George become an additional source of protein.An inland trek of 1000 kilometres from the coast of Mali to Timbuktu led the expedition past the Dogon. These are an ancient people that have carved their homes into the sandstone cliffs of the Bandiagara escarpment, and who are particularly magical, with animism as the focal point of their religion. Leaving the Dogon, George was finally scattered into the Niger River at Timbuktu with the words safari njema, “have a good journey”.Kingsley’s largest artefact is actually in thousands of pieces, packed into storage. Each piece of the massive and ancient dhow has been digitally photographed and marked, ready for reconstruction, a Grindrod Limited initiative to rebuild her as a piece of Swahili maritime culture. When that will be, not even Kingsley knows.“One day, some day,” he says, tugging his beard. “But she was a beauty.”I’m trying to work out where on earth 35 metric tons of Swahili sailing dhow would fit on the property. Perhaps on the roof, next to the pirate flag?Humanism and piracyAmina, the Spirit of Adventure, was the boat that Kingsley and his crew used in the African Rainbow Expedition, sailing with the trade winds all the way to the Somali border. An exact replica sits on a low table outside Kingsley’s Adventure Planning Room (something I have decided everyone should have).As we stand around the model surrounded by tattered maps, reference books and old leather-bound journals, Kingsley tells me a bit about the Amina and his year on board.“She was handcrafted on Chole Island, just south off Mafia, a beautiful island of the Tanzanian coast.“Carrying 10 tons of life-saving mosquito nets, it was a great humanist turnabout – it was dhows such as these that raped Africa, carrying off cargoes of slaves and ivory. And now we were using one to save lives instead.”The story of barefoot days on the creaking wooden deck and sleeping under the stars at night is cut short when Kingsley bounds out the door with a yell.“Watson! Come here now!” The monstrous 7-month-old hip-high hound sheepishly returns, and Kingsley tells me the dog has a taste for Mashozi’s geese … having to explain a mass of feathers when she returns would not have been fun.“Yes, well, it wasn’t easy, that trip,” he continues. “One of our crew, Bruce Leslie, was stabbed in the neck by a pirate, and had to be evacuated. We carried on sailing, but closer to Somalia we had a mutiny as the crew were too scared to continue because of the violent piracy.“So we hired our own little militia, with automatic weapons, and made it safely to the border.” Kingsley must be one of the few people who can fly a pirate flag on his roof with any authority.Just before it’s time to leave, we are up in the Captain’s Bar. Kingsley points to a life-size carving of a weather-beaten man, and tells me you can actually smell his bad breath! Amazed, I immediately lean over with my nostrils flared and inhale.A deep chortle rumbles out behind me. “Just kidding! Life’s a great adventure isn’t it?” I’ve been had by one of the greatest of life’s adventurers, and I don’t mind one bit.Many thanks to Kingsley and Mashozi for allowing me to visit their home, something not many people are privy to. Ngiya bonga kakhulu.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected] articlesAdventurer spreads his nets wide Rollsing from Cape to Cairo Nando’s blazes into the US Saving priceless African history Tracking elephants across Africa Useful linksKingsley HolgateKingsley Holgate Foundationlast_img read more

Freedom Challenge tests athletes’ limits

first_imgFreedom Challenge riders head off at sunrise into the mountains, on their way to the finish in Wellington. (Image: Freedom Challenge)• Meryl GlazerFreedom Challenge Race SecretaryFreedom Challenge+27 83 658 [email protected] DavieIn the next week or two, 75 extreme athletes will start the Freedom Challenge, a mountain bike race from Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal to Wellington in Western Cape, covering a distance of 2 300 kilometres over some very rough terrain.Over many years, South Africans have created some of the world’s toughest races, pitting themselves against the most extreme conditions in the country – whether it’s on freezing, rushing rivers, or miles and miles of tar in the scenic Western Cape, or over mountain ranges on bikes.The Freedom Challenge takes participants up and over several of South Africa’s most remote and beautiful mountain ranges, and across the endless semi-desert Karoo, into the winelands of the Cape. It is done in June, the middle of winter, which means that conditions include blizzards and snow, fierce wind, and below zero temperatures. Riders face an overall ascent of 37 000 metres over the 2 300 kilometres, to be done in a time limit of 26 days. Finishers don’t get a medal or cash – just a colourful Basotho blanket.“Winter. Snow. Flooding rivers. Freezing cold. Long days in the saddle. Major mountain ranges to cross. Flooded rivers to ford. Long portages. Massive climbs. Rhino. Buffalo. Sleep deprivation. Broken bikes. Broken bones. Broken spirits. These are but some of the things with which riders in the 2014 Freedom Challenge which starts on Monday 9 June 2014 will need to contend,” indicates the website.Support stations are positioned every 100 kilometres, where riders get meals, a bed and a chance to wash their gear. They are not permitted to carry a GPS, and must rely on maps and written directions from the race organiser, David Waddilove, who is based in Wellington.Lots of time to thinkWaddilove started the Freedom Challenge in 2004, when he ran the 54km Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town, and then continued running all the way to Pietermaritzburg, where he then ran the 90km Comrades Marathon between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. “Whilst I was running I had a lot of time to think about things. It became clear to me that the route could not easily be travelled on foot but would work well as a mountain biking route,” he says.And so the Freedom Challenge came about. A shorter version is the Ride to Rhodes, the first 480 kilometres of the challenge, which can be done as a race on its own. Rhodes is a small village in Eastern Cape, along the Freedom Challenge route. Some 42 riders will be taking on this shorter challenge this year, with several of them hoping to do the distance in a sub-48 hour time, requiring them to do it on virtually no sleep.Extreme challengeThere is an extreme version of the Freedom Challenge, which consists of running the Dusi Trail Run, an 80km run from the outskirts of Durban to the periphery of Pietermaritzburg, largely along the banks of the Umgeni River. Then pulling out a bike and riding to Wellington, then grabbing a kayak and paddling the Berg River Race, a four-day 240km race in the Cape. Just 11 people have done this race, while some 149 people have done the complete challenge.Mountain biker Rory Field did the race in 2012. He says the most enjoyable part was “being in the wilderness and being sufficient to the task”.In 2013, a new record was set when married couple Jeannie and Martin Dreyer finished the race in a mind-blowing 12 days, five hours and 55 minutes. Jeannie broke the women’s record by seven days, and beat 41 men and five women to the finish line. She averaged an extraordinary 200 kilometres each day, sleeping three to four hours a day, except for two days when she was off her bike for around nine hours. Martin finished the race in 2012 in 10 days, 16 hours and 40 minutes, a new record.The trail cuts through 4.5 billion years of geological time and through six plant biomes. It follows historical migration routes, and riders experience different local languages and cultures along the route. They stay in huts, B&Bs or hunting lodges – “this whilst riding through some of the most visually spectacular parts of the country”, adds Waddilove.Even more extreme plansBesides the Ride to Rhodes, which can be done as a non-stop event in June, there is a supported version done in September when it is warmer. “It is quite feasible that this will extend further with a 1 000km non-stop ride from Rhodes to Cape St Francis using international randonneurring rules.”Waddilove has plans to extend the race north to Beit Bridge, and even further, to Mount Kilimanjaro, in a ride that would start in Cape Town and end in Tanzania.But for the participants it is much more. “Riders travelling the trail have spoken of how it has afforded them a valuable and positive insight not only into this country, [but also into] themselves.”In all, 155 people have been given blankets, 17 of whom are women; and 68 of whom them have come back to do the race several more times.last_img read more

Pacquiao tells Roach: I have my punch back

first_imgCayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games MOST READ Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ “Hit the body as hard as you can. Blow him up,” said Roach, noting that Horn’s lower body will be vulnerable after being devoid of food and then being bloated up.The seven-time trainer of the year added that he’d love it if Horn’s balloons to 170 to 175 pounds as it would slow him down.While Roach sees little chances of Horn succeeding to duplicate Juan Manuel Marquez’s one-punch knockout of Pacquiao in their fourth encounter, he is still reminding the Fighting Senator that anyone can get lucky.So as to further lessen the probability of a stunner, Roach wants the Horn demolition job to be done in the first three rounds.Unless, of course, Pacquiao opts to ignore the timetable and prolong Horn’s agony to entertain the record crowd of 50,000 upwards.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next For Roach, the message was Pacquiao’s subtle admission that he’d want to knock Jeff Horn out on Sunday. Something which the eight-division world champion hasn’t done in eight years.The last time being in 2009, when he stopped Miguel Cotto in the 12th round.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsSince then, all that Roach has seen was near-knockouts in the cases of Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito and multiple knockdowns in the case of Chris Algieri.While Roach never thought that Pacquiao’s punching power was on the wane, he feels that the killer instinct is solely missing. Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Pacquiao easily makes weight, Horn ‘feeling better’ LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Riveracenter_img Boxer Manny Pacquiao (L) and coach Freddie Roach. TRISTAN TAMAYO/INQUIRER.netBRISBANE, Australia—There was no promise of a knockout, but what Manny Pacquiao told him sounded like sweet music to Freddie Roach ears.“Freddie, I have my punch back.”ADVERTISEMENT What ‘missteps’? China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena He’s hoping that against Horn, Pacquiao will display the same ferocity and that enabled him to knock down sparring partners in Gen. Santos City.With his boxing stock dipping due to the three losses he suffered in his last eight bouts, Pacquiao badly needs a knockout to prove that he can still fight at he highest level.Roach believes Horn is a prime candidate because of the Queenslander’s come-forward style and his relative lack of experience against topnotch opponent.That Horn struggled to make weight, further reinforced Roach’s belief that he is ripe for the picking.His main instruction to Pacquiao, according to Roach, will be to make Horn come into him, block his punches and catch him in the middle.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES View commentslast_img read more

India vs Pakistan match: Dhoni lauds bowlers after historic victory

first_imgIt couldn’t have been better for India. Defeating archrivals Pakistan to enter the final of the ICC World Cup made the victory even sweeter for the co-hosts.India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was elated after leading his team into the ultimate battle for the biggest prize in cricket but admitted that they misread the pitch, which was slow and low, and played three seamers.”We misread the pitch and played three seamers. But we were lucky as they bowled and fielded really well. In fact this was the first match in the tournament where we used only five bowlers and didn’t have use any part-time bowler,” Dhoni said.Talking about the target India set for Pakistan, Dhoni said he was confident that it was a fighting score looking at the pitch. “The pitch became slower and the ball was keeping low towards the later overs, so it was not easy to score quickly. Our aim was to last through the overs and I think we put up a decent score,” he said.Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, who failed to snap Pakistan’s losing streak against India in the World Cup said losing wickets at regular intervals became their nemesis.”We were not able to build any solid partnerships and kept on losing wickets, some of them while playing some irresponsible shots. They (India) also bowled and fielded well and ultimately we lost to the better team,” Afridi said.There was a special word of praise for Wahab Riaz, who took five wickets, from his captain. “Wahab bowled really well. He got Sehwag out. But we missed too many chances and I think Sachin was very lucky today,” Afridi commented.advertisementIndeed, Sachin Tendulkar, who was adjudged the man of the match for his 85, had many a close shave during the match. The maestro too was of the opinion that India’s total – 260 – was a fighting score.”Viru got us off to a flyer. But the way the pitch was behaving I think we had a fighting total on board. Also towards the end of the innings Raina played a special knock and those runs were very crucial for us,” Tendulkar said.Looking forward to the final Tendulkar said the team should remain focussed. “The final is of course a special occasion. And we hope to remain calm and focussed to repeat today’s performance said,” he said.last_img read more

Anniversary of residential school apology brings mixed emotions

first_imgFormer prime minister Stephen Harper apologized to students of Indian residential schools in 2007. Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsFred Thomas says residential school ruined his life.“There were 14 suicides in my family – can the government explain that and apologize?” he said.So Thomas won’t be cutting any cake to mark Monday’s 10-year anniversary of the government’s official apology.“Nothing much has changed,” added the former student from northwestern Ontario.“When you apologize you follow up with action. Just like when you’re drunk; when you’re sober you apologize to your family for your actions.”Mary Aubichon agrees.She attended a Métis residential school in northern Saskatchewan that was not recognized by the federal government. So she was unable to apply for the financial compensation offered First Nations’ survivors.“This has been going on too long for us,” she said of her groups’ struggle for damages.“Somebody’s stalling…it seems like we’re running into walls here all the time.”So that’s her message to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike – follow up the words “I’m sorry” with action.“It’s time that we get recognized,” she said.The apology was part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement that resolved a class-action lawsuit filed by residential school survivor and former Assembly of First Nations national chief Phil Fontaine.It was the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history.It provided money for commemoration, healing and compensation for 86,000 First Nations children forced to attend the schools between 1879 and 1996.And it established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which gathered survivor testimony to help Canadians understand the damage inflicted.“In that short space of time a lot has happened but there’s still so much to do,” said survivor Garnet Angeconeb of the last decade.“We are just beginning in many ways.”Marilyn Courchene of Manitoba says she was five when an Indian agent threatened her parents with jail if they didn’t send her to the local day school.She says Canada has more to apologize for.Students of day schools – who allege they were taunted, beaten and sexually abused despite sleeping in their own beds at night – haven’t settled their class-action lawsuit with the government.And victims of forced adoption to non-Indigenous families – known as the ‘60s Scoop – are still fighting.“They have to say, ‘We will work on our racism towards Indigenous nations’,” Courchene said in a telephone interview.Asked if there’s any legacy of the last 10 years, Angeconeb points to the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action and the goal of renewing Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples.“It has brought many conversations to many dining room tables across the country,” he said from Ontario.“That’s the spirit of reconciliation at work.”last_img read more