News

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Heritage: Researcher Profile - Dr Siona O'Connell

Dr Siona O’Connell is based in the University of Pretoria’s School of the Arts and is a founding member of the Critical African Studies project at UP (CAST UP). She was the recipient of the prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of the Humanities in Africana and Latin American Studies, Art and Art History and Film and Media Studies at Colgate University in the USA.

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Heritage: Finding your way back home after being ‘uitgesmyt’

Uitgesmyt – ‘cast out’ – is a documentary by Dr Siona O’Connell which tells the story of the first land restitution case in South Africa.

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New study finds SA’s springhare is a better hopper than Australia’s kangaroos

While kangaroos are distinguished for their well-developed hindlimbs which they use to hop across the Australian outback, it seems South Africa has its own unusual hopper – the springhare. A new study published in the Journal of Anatomy suggests that “the diminutive springhare is a bit better at hopping than its more famous Australian counterpart, at least when it comes to muscle-tendon design, and implications for fast and accelerative hopping”.

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Spacing out: Air pollution and human health

Professor Janine Wichmann is an environmental epidemiologist and Head of the Environmental and Occupational Sciences Division, School of Health Systems and Public Health, at the University of Pretoria.

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Video: Pretoria’s air is two times more polluted than the World Health Organisation allows.

Watch this short video which takes us through how air pollution is linked with human ill health, such as respiratory disease, and the links which UP researchers, Dr Bukola Olutola and Prof Janine Wichmann, have found between air pollution and respiratory disease on cold and warm days in a study carried out in Secunda.

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Air pollution, temperature and respiratory disease: a South African study

Global warming and air pollution have something in common: their effects on human health. Air pollution is a well-known cause of breathing problems. Hot weather can also bring on these symptoms.

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Video: How can we help the trees? International Year of Plant Health Part 5

Video: The polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB) is a tiny, invasive black beetle from Asia that has recently been discovered in South Africa. Although only 2 mm in length, this tiny beetle has detrimental consequences for South African trees, as it carries a destructive fungus, Fusarium euwallaceae, from tree to tree.

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Are your trees at risk? International Year of Plant Health Part 6

Here’s a handy list of the tree species which have been known to be infected by the polyphagous shot hole borer already.

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The secret behind SA’s disappearing urban forests - International Year of Plant Health Part 1:

Dr Trudy Paap is a participant in the International Plant Sentinel Network who was tasked to do routine surveys for tree pests and diseases in the National Botanical Gardens of South Africa, a project funded by the South African National Biodiversity Institute. It was during one of these surveys that she noticed small lesions resembling shotgun marks on the stems and branches of mature London plane (Platanus x acerifolia) in the historical avenue of the KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden in Pietermaritzburg.

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FABI embraces the 4IR with technology that unravels the genetics behind fungal genome evolution: International Year of Plant Health

In the age of genomics and bioinformatics scientists can produce massive amounts of data on deadly fungi threatening biodiversity and agriculture.

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Why it’s so critical to continuously monitor and manage plant diseases

Most of us understand the critical importance of monitoring the spread of diseases. And it is as important for plant diseases as it is for humans.

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UP researchers draft new UN standards on use of force by police

The United Nations in Geneva has released global standards on the use of force by the police worldwide. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet welcomed the new United Nations Human Rights Guidance on the Use of Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement and urged all states to follow it.

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Major new US study measures police use of force against standards set out in UP research

Research from the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Law has become a global benchmark for a major US-based study on the use of force by police in America.

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ANALYSIS: The continued threat of coal mining at the Mapungubwe world heritage site

Most developing countries face acute tensions between socio-economic development and environmental protection. Any opposition to proposed development, on environmental or heritage grounds, is seen as a threat to the creation of employment and the growth of the economy.

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Studying and doing research in isolation: A guide to thriving

When South African president Cyril Ramaphosa announced a nationwide lockdown on 23 March, academic institutions were faced with a new reality and concerns about how to resume the academic year.

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UP part of team that solves mystery of X-shaped radio galaxies with MeerKAT telescope

A team of astronomers from South Africa and the USA has used the MeerKAT telescope to solve a longstanding puzzle in ‘X’-shaped radio galaxies by observing a galaxy called PKS 2014-55 that’s situated 800 million light years away from Earth. Previous studies of these unusual galaxies lacked the high-quality imaging provided by the MeerKAT telescope, which was inaugurated in 2018.

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Researcher Profile: Dr Kshitij Thorat

Dr Kshitij Thorat is an astronomer and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pretoria (UP). He is a member of UP’s astronomy group within the Department of Physics at the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

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ANALYSIS: The big asks Africa needs to table with the IMF and World Bank: here’s the list

The coronavirus and its economic consequences have caused economic tsunamis in every country in the world. The scale of the onslaught will dominate discussions at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank spring meetings due to take place – for the first time ever virtually – in mid-April.

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ANALYSIS: Investing in research is South Africa’s best insurance policy against crises

As the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads around the world, causing the disease COVID-19, it is becoming ever clearer that the solutions to this pandemic will all be based on research.

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Do archaic colonial laws criminalise homeless people today?

Prof Magnus Killander, an international human rights and comparative constitutional law researcher at the University of Pretoria’s world-renowned Centre for Human Rights in the Faculty of Law, believes that South Africa needs to overhaul and relook many of its municipal by laws which criminalise poverty, begging and homeless people.

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