Russia, help!

 Desperate Serbs in Kosovo pin all their hopes on Russia.

From Jacqueline Haener: “In Kosovska Mitrovica, a city divided into two parts by the river Ibar (the Northern district being inhabited by Serbs, the Southern by Albanians), flags call upon Russia’s help in defending Kosovo.”

Russia, help! 

“Russia, help!”

“In the name of God and Justice do not make our holy land a present to Albanians”

Ponte City Apartments, Johannesburg

Ponte City Apartments in 2007

Ponte City Apartments in 2007

[Update: See an interesting short film from Vocative on Ponte]

From the Wikipedia article on this amazing building:

Ponte City Apartments is a skyscraper in the Hillbrow neighbourhood of Johannesburg, South Africa. It was built in 1975 to a height of 173 metres (54 floors), making it the tallest residential skyscraper in the southern hemisphere. It was an extremely desirable address for its views over all of Johannesburg and its surroundings, but after the end of apartheid many gangs moved into the building and it had become extremely unsafe. There were some proposals in the mid-1990s to turn the building into a highrise prison. The building is now under new management which has improved security as well as the standard of repair.

The sign on top of the building is the highest and largest sign in the southern hemisphere. It currently advertises the South African mobile phone company Vodacom.

German novelist Norman Ohler wrote a novel set in the building: “Ponte City” (by David Philips Publishing, Cape Town) his outstanding accomplishment on building this also contributed to his novel.

In February 2007 director Danny Boyle (Sunshine, 28 Days Later) announced his intention to film a thriller set in the tower; presumeably based on the Ohler novel.

Few places symbolised the decline of Johannesburg more than Ponte.

The whole inner city descended from reasonably well run facsimile of a US midwestern city into a crime ridden dystopian nightmare of refugee hordes and barbarians occupying the loftiest towers of the Central Business District. Ballard meets Mad Max meets Blade Runner.

Things are much better now. A crack urban planning team, CCTV and huge investments in the city centre have all helped.

Even Ponte is being rehabilitated according to the JoBurg website.

On to the photos…