20 October 2012

PROFESSOR CYRIL KARABUS DETAINED IN UAE

An elderly South African professor, Cyril Karabus of Claremont, Cape Town, was arrested on August 18 at the Abu Dhabi International Airport while in transit to South Africa. He was detained and faces charges of manslaughter. Emeritus Associate Professor Karabus (77) was returning home after attending his son’s wedding in Canada. He specialises in paediatrics and medical oncology, and is a former Professor of paediatrics at UCT and head of the oncology and haematology unit at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

Twelve years ago he worked as a locum at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi and operated on a seven-year-old cancer patient who later died of leukaemia. He returned to South Africa two weeks after her death, at the end of his locum. In his absence he was tried and found guilty of manslaughter, even though no attempt was made to contact him and he was never given an opportunity to defend himself in court. He was sentenced to three years and six months in jail and required to pay blood money to the patient's family. The initial conviction was successfully overturned, but on October 3 a new trial for the same charges took place but the hearing was adjourned because the prosecutor could not find a crucial docket. Bail was denied. It is believed that the girl’s father laid charges out of anger. Professor Karabus did everything possible to save the child's life. He was being held in the hospital wing of the Al Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi because he had a pacemaker and needed medical attention. Bail was denied for a fourth time, and he was shackled at his last court appearance. Bail was finally granted at the fifth application. He had to surrender his passport, which was confiscated when he was originally arrested, and pay R240 000 to the court, which will be held as bond. His family have arranged accommodation for him in the UAE. The court also stated that the hospital had to give the Professor's lawyers access to the patient’s file, and ordered that an independent medical tribunal be established to review the file. The next court appearance is set for November 20. There is a petition on Avaaz and a Facebook page in support.

His son, Michael, lives in Toronto, and a daughter, Judith, lives in London. Professor Karabus has lived in the same house for 40 years. Numerous doctors have written letters to the UAE court testifying to the Professor's expertise and integrity. During his term as head of oncology at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital the mortality rate of children with leukaemia was reduced from 80 to 20 percent.

SUPERMODEL HEIDI'S SOUTH AFRICAN CATCH

A 40-year-old South African bodyguard is supermodel Heidi Klum's love interest, after her seven-year marriage to Seal broke up earlier this year. Martin Kirsten is into fitness and used to train at a gym in Bryanston, Johannesburg. He has worked for the 39 year-old model and her estranged husband as a personal bodyguard for the last four years.

WARREN BUFFETT INVESTS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Warren Buffett, the world's most successful investor, has made his first investment in South Africa. The Richline Group, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, has bought the assets of South African Manufacturing Jewellers, which is in a business rescue programme. The company also trades as Alan Mair Manufacturing Jewellers. Richline specialises in precious metals, gemstones and design. It plans to revitalise the company and use it as a platform to export into Africa, Australia and the UK. Richline was forced to find its own electricity supply by buying a new substation and a bulk metering unit when Eskom refused to provide it with electricity. The local company employs 90 people and is said to be the biggest local jewellery manufacturer. It manufactures gold and silver jewellery, as well as bonded gold.

WILBUR SMITH'S THOSE IN PERIL SET FOR BIG SCREEN

Those In Peril Wilbur Smith
UK-based Reelart Media has bought the film rights to Wilbur Smith's latest novel, Those in Peril. The release is scheduled for 2014, the 50th anniversary of the author's career. The novel is his 33rd, and has sold more than half a million copies since it was published by Pan Macmillan in 2011. It's the story of ex-SAS Hector Cross' struggle to rescue his employer’s daughter, who has been kidnapped by Somali pirates while on her yacht in the Indian Ocean. Hazel Bannock is the heiress to the Bannock Oil Corp, a major oil producer. While cruising in the Indian Ocean, her private yacht is hijacked by Somali pirates. Hazel is not on board, but her 19 year old daughter, Cayla, is kidnapped and held to ransom. Political and diplomatic issues make it difficult for major powers to intervene. Hazel calls in Hector Cross to rescue her daughter. He is the owner of Cross Bow Security, the company which provides Bannock Oil with security. He is a formidable fighting man. Between them Hazel and Hector are determined to take the law into their own hands.

The publisher has produced a games app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, available free from the Apple iTunes App Store. The game is an action-packed adventure where gamers take on the role of an elite intelligence agent. The app also connects to the author via his website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. A sequel novel, Vicious Circle, is planned for publication in early 2013.

CAPT. NICK SLOANE IN CHARGE OF CONCORDIA SALVAGE

South African Captain Nicholas (Nick) Sloane is in charge of the Costa Concordia wreck salvage near Giglio Porto. It is one of the biggest salvage operations. The luxury liner capsized on Giglio Island in January. The 4200 passengers and crew had to scramble for safety in the darkness. Thirty-two people lost their lives. Nick is the senior salvage master for US company Titan, which won a joint bid for the project with Italian offshore rig company Micoperi. The plan is to float the ship, without it slipping when righted and plunging into the depths. Twenty-six 26 pillars are being driven into the seabed to support underwater platforms for the ship to rest on. Large metal tanks, filled with water, will then be welded onto the sides of the ship to balance it while it is dragged into an upright position using two cranes and cables. The largest of the tanks are as high as an 11-storey building and weigh 500-plus tons. Sixty-six divers are tasked with putting 17 500 tons of cement bags in a 50m gap between the ship and the seabed. The project will cost at least €400m.

SOUTH AFRICAN BANKER'S TRAGIC DEATH

Nico Johan Lambrechts (46) committed suicide in London, England, by jumping off the top of the the Coq d'Argent restaurant. He walked to the restaurant at lunchtime, and fell through the atrium. Medics were unable to save him. He was pronounced dead by a doctor at the scene minutes later.The wealthy South African-born investment analyst is survived by his wife, Adele, and three children. The family had recently been on a tropical holiday. It is not known why he took this decision. The former Paul Roos Gymnasium matriculant and Stellenbosch University chemical engineering graduate worked at Investec Asset Management, and lived in a £2m six-bedroom gated home in the upmarket town of Cobham, Surrey. The family had been living in England for seven years, having left South Africa about 19 years ago. Nico first worked for Merrill Lynch before joining Investec. His death is the fourth to have occurred at the restaurant. An inquest into his death was opened.

Coq d’Argent is built on the site of an ancient burial ground where wealthy Londoners were buried. In the 11th Century it was the Church of St Benet Sherehog attended by wealthy wool merchants. The church was so small that there was no room for a burial yard, so parishioners were laid to rest beneath the floor. Getting a patch of earth nearest the altar was a sign of prestige. The church was destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666 and the site was still used as a burial ground after that until it was closed in 1853. A recent dig unearthed 274 human remains. The restaurant appeared in the James Bond-themed film sequence for the Olympics opening ceremony that featured the Queen.

FINDING JACK - DEBUT NOVEL BY GARETH CROCKER

Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker
This beautiful story, based on fact, is written by South African author Gareth Crocker. After losing his wife and daughter in a plane crash, a deeply depressed American journalist, Fletcher Carson joins the US Army and goes to war-torn Vietnam. While on a mission, he rescues an injured Labrador that he names Jack. The dog wins the hearts of all the soldiers. After being nursed back to health, Jack becomes a working dog in the war zone. When the order to pull out of Vietnam is issued, Jack is not included in the airlift. Fletcher risks his life, and a court martial, as the soldier and his dog walk through enemy territory to a neighbouring country. The book is intended as a tribute to war dogs - about 4000 dogs did service in Vietnam, but less than 200 made it to the USA. This is a story of the relationship between a man and his dog, as well as a story of surviving life and carrying on. You will cry.

Gareth was born in Johannesburg. A former journalist, he lives in Johannesburg with his wife, two children, and three dogs. He has a degree in English, Psychology and Communications. This is his debut novel, and is the second novel by a South African author to appear in a US volume of Reader’s Digest. The first South African author was Alan Paton, for Cry, the Beloved Country in 1950.

Non-fiction books that record these faithful canine soldiers'  contributions, include Always Faithful: A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of WWII by William W. Putney, and The Dogs of War: The Courage, Love, and Loyalty of Military Working Dogs by Lisa Rogak.