QPR ‘close to agreeing a deal for Wolves star’

first_imgQPR are close to agreeing a deal to sign Wolves winger Matt Jarvis, according to The People.Jarvis, 26, is keen to return to the Premier League and has apparently been spotted house-hunting in the west London area.Fulham are said to also be keen on the England international, but it is claimed they are not prepared to meet Wolves’ asking price.The paper suggests that Fulham have enquired about Wolves striker Steven Fletcher, but again are unwilling to pay the required transfer fee.The People also say Liverpool want to sign Clint Dempsey from Fulham for £6m.The American is believed to be keen on a move to Anfield and it is claimed that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will table a formal bid for him.Swansea’s Scott Sinclair and Luciano Narsingh of Dutch club Heerenveen are touted as possible replacements for Dempsey, while Bristol City have apparently refused to give winger Albert Adomah permission to speak to Fulham.Meanwhile, Chelsea will an reject an offer from Aston Villa for left-back Ryan Bertrand, according to the Sunday Mirror.It is claimed that Villa manager Paul Lambert is keen to sign Bertrand either permanently or on a season-long loan, but Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo is believed to want him to stay at Stamford Bridge and sign a new contract.The People report that relegated Bolton want to sign Oriol Romeu on loan from Chelsea, while the Mail on Sunday say Chelsea are vying with Tottenham for the signature of £20m-rated Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski.And The Sun on Sunday say Chelsea have beaten off a host of Premier League rivals to sign 15-year-old George Brady – nephew of West Ham vice-chair Karren Brady – from French club AS Cannes.They are said to have paid £250,000 in compensation to land the 6ft 4in defender, who it is suggested was also wanted by Arsenal, Tottenham and both Manchester clubs.The Sun also have an interview with Frank Lampard, who denies speculation linking him with a move to LA Galaxy.“There’s nothing in that at all. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Chelsea,” he said.This page is regularly updated.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Millions benefit from social grants

first_img6 July 2009 Over 13-million South Africans, 9-million of whom are children, are currently receiving social assistance benefits, says Social Development Minister Edna Molewa, adding that grants remain the most effective form of poverty alleviation. Speaking in Parliament in Cape Town last week, Molewa said South Africa’s old age and disability grants were recently increased from R960 to R1 010, child support grants from R230 to R240, foster care grants from R650 to R680, and care dependency grants from R960 to R1 010. In tackling adult poverty, Molewa said the government would continue to implement its plan of achieving parity between men and women who qualified for old age grants. The government extended the child support grant to children up to 15 years in January 2009, meaning that the grant could benefit an additional 300 000 children, Molewa said, adding that her department aimed to register an additional 200 000 children under 15 years by the end of August. “We recognise that despite all these efforts, over two million children over the age of 15 years remain trapped in poverty and, in response to this, we will soon table a plan for the phased extension of the child support grant to this category of children, to be implemented over the medium term expenditure framework cycle,” she said. Adult poverty Child support Since July 2008, over 70 000 men aged 63 and 64 received grants as a result of the age equalisation policy. As of April 2009, the grant was extended to all men over 61 years.center_img Molewa added that changes would be made to the South African Social Security Agency to enable it to improve turnaround times for processing grant applications, while the department was also working with the Post Office on measures to reduce the cost of grant payments and improve accessibility. Food price relief In response to rising food prices, the department increased the social relief budget from R124-million to R624-million, distributed from November 2008 to April 2009. Molewa said that in the context of the global recession, the department would maintain the expenditure necessary to ensure that those who suffered destitution were able to access social relief. The department would also explore working with faith-based organisations and non-governmental organisations to assist in the distribution of social relief, in order to speed up delivery. “We expect to register 55 000 elderly men by the end of August this year,” she said. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Thousands affected as strike causes chaos in Berlin

first_imgAirberlin has urged striking unions in Berlin to return to the table after tens of thousands of passengers have been prevented from boarding their flights by a continuing wage dispute.An extension of the strike involving ground handlers at Berlin’s two airports was extended until 5am Wednesday Berlin time and led to the cancellation of about 650 flights on Monday. This was in addition to more than 700 flights cancelled at the two airports, Tegel and Schoenefeld, on Friday.Ground staff working in areas such check-in, baggage handling and directing aircraft are striking for a pay increase from the companies employing them.Union are demanding a pay increase to 12 euros ($US12.80) an hour from about 11 euros. The demand was initially met by much lower offers which have since been increased to an 8 percent increase over three years.Airberlin said it cancelled more than 200 flights on Friday and said hundreds more would be cancelled Monday and Tuesday. The only flights operated by the carrier were long-haul services to Abu Dhabi, the Caribbean and the US and Tel Aviv aswell as long-haul feeder flights to the carrier’s hub in Dusseldorf.“Each day that this labour dispute continues is causing millions in damages to the airline sector and all other service providers at Berlin’s airports,”’ airberlin chief executive. Thomas Winkelmann and Chief human resources officer Martina Niemann said in a letter sent to unions.“As the largest airline operating from Berlin-Tegel airport, this dispute is hitting airberlin particularly hard. “We therefore urge both parties involved in this wage dispute to take responsibility and return to the negotiating table without further delay.”Among those affected by the strike were visitors to last week’s ITB International Travel Trade Show.last_img read more

Wandering the Whale Trail

first_imgRichard Holmes Watching whales from the limestone cavesalong the coast of the De Hoop NatureReserve, the home of the Whale Trail. A southern right whale cruises the water,her young calf huddled beside her. Pristine fynbos.(Images: Cape Nature)MEDIA CONTACTS• Liesl BrinkCape Nature+27 21 659 3446+27 72 488 [email protected] ARTICLES• Slackpacking in the Cederberg• Walking for Eden, and elephants• Hiking the dragon’s back• Unforgettable SA hiking trails • Garden Route’s new national parkThe Whale Trail could easily have been called the Bottlenose Dolphin Trail, the endangered Black Oystercatcher Trail, the Deserted Beaches Trail or the Pristine Fynbos Trail. We saw all of these and more on the five-day, 55-kilometre wander through the De Hoop Nature Reserve, but in the end the best part of all remained the daily whale acrobatics.Lying 240 kilometres east of Cape Town, the De Hoop Nature Reserve is known as the jewel in the crown of Cape Nature, the Western Cape’s nature conservation body. The reserve covers around 34 000 hectares, but the offshore marine protected area is just as important. Stretching five kilometres out to sea, it is one of the largest protected ocean areas in Africa and provides a sanctuary for an array of marine life.Marine life like the whales gambolling just behind the breakers, and the pair of African black oystercatchers that keep me company as I grab a seat on a rock to jot a few notes in my Moleskine.But let me go back a few days.Despite its name the Whale Trail starts a dozen kilometres inland in the shadow of the Potberg. It’s here that new arrivals settle into the first night’s hut, get briefed by conservation staff about do’s and don’ts for the trail, and get set to tackle five days of wilderness.Not that the trail is all about hardship. Each of the five overnight huts is well equipped with bunk beds, hot showers, flush loos and cosy living areas. What’s more, you can pay a little extra to have your luggage portaged from one hut to the next, so you only have to walk with a day-bag for your lunch, camera and raingear.The trail has rapidly become one of the country’s iconic hikes, so popular you need to book months in advance if you want to walk it during the peak whale season from August to October. Even if you walk out of season, when whales are few, it remains one of South Africa’s most incredible walks.Day oneIf the weather plays ball you’re bound to see one of the trail’s highlights a few minutes into the first day’s walk, as you ascend the slopes of the Potberg. The 611-metre peak will certainly get you puffing, but the sight of endangered Cape vultures – Potberg is home to the last breeding colony in the Western Cape – soaring on the thermals will make you forget all about those aching legs.The summit is worth the huffing and puffing too, offering magnificent 360° views, with the Breede River and Langeberg Mountains to the north and the dazzling Indian Ocean to the south.You won’t reach the sea on your first day. From the top the path winds its way through unspoiled fynbos, down into the Melkhout River (a great spot for lunch and a swim) and then over one last hill to the hut at Cupidoskraal. Boots off, shower on (or grab a swim in the nearby dam) and celebrate: the most strenuous day is behind you.Day twoNot that the second day’s route is a walk in the park. Make an early start, as you’ll have 14.7 kilometres to cover, and the first stretch heads straight up the flanks of the Hamerkop. The fynbos is just as stunning as the Potberg, but luckily it’s only 45 minutes to the top and then a long meandering stretch towards the sea.Take your time and keep an eye out for some of the reserves smaller beauties. Delicate ericas, rustling restios and colourful watsonias – along with hundreds of other fynbos species ¬– hide among the thick stands of protea.As you drop off the sandstone mountain onto the limestone cliffs, the changing vegetation is the first clue that you’re approaching the coast. Through a riverbed, past a flock of blue cranes (South Africa’s national bird), around a bend and … there it is, Noetsie, the first of three spectacular coastal huts you’ll call home for the most impressive section of the Whale Trail.As I arrive and drop down my pack a southern right whale cruises into the small bay, her young calf huddled beside her. Just 50 metres from the shore, they skirt the rocks and linger in the shallows for a minute before moving on. Spectacular.It’s almost as spectacular as the dolphins that use the bay as a playground that evening. Up to 40 bottlenose dolphins glide, leap and hunt through the stormy waters in a grand show of bravado, either for us or themselves. I brave the chilly waters for a quick swim, but the currents can be swift here so I don’t venture deeper than my waist before heading back to the braai fire at the scenic seaside lapa.Day threeDay three is perhaps the best of the entire trail. You’ll feel your calves working on the steep climbs up and down the eroded limestone hills, but you can rest them in the calm pools of Stilgat come lunchtime, and long flat sections along the cliff-tops allow ample time for spotting whales, dolphins and birds. Apart from oystercatchers, you’ll see white-breasted cormorants, Hartlaub’s gulls, terns, sandpipers and – bizarrely – Egyptian geese along the trail.The restless sea has eroded the limestone cliffs into fantastical formations, but it has also claimed its fair share of victims. Apart from countless shipwrecks along this coast, the last steps of the day wander past the small granite memorial to Daniel de Wet, washed off the rocks here in 1933. The pounding surf has carved some lovely rock pools to explore at low tide, but it’s a stark reminder to always keep one eye on the sea.A kilometre from where De Wet met his end, the Hamerkop hut is perfectly situated just behind the dunes. A wonderful two-story cottage, the second-floor deck is the best spot for sundowner whale-watching. Even after dark you should keep an eye out for wildlife; Hamerkop Hut is home to a curious spotted genet, who regularly visits to see what all the fuss is about.Day fourThe penultimate day dawns and a long beach walk lies ahead. But it’s only 7.8 kilometres to the next hut, so take it easy on the soft sand beaches and enjoy the sensation of a beach with no other footprints but your own. The route wanders past Lekkerwater, once the holiday home of former President FW de Klerk.Keep an eye out for the camouflaged nests of the oystercatchers: they lay their eggs just above the high-tide mark. From sand and up onto more cliffs, you’ll wander past magnificent blowholes where the high tide blasts up through gaps in the soft limestone.It’s the same limestone the last night’s hut is perched on. Vaalkrans has the most dramatic position of all the overnight stops, clinging to a cliff some 50 metres above surf crashing onto wave-cut platforms. More spectacular sunset spots are hard to come by.Day fiveIt takes no more than three hours to walk the final stretch to Koppie Alleen, but leave plenty of time to explore at Hippo Pools, a wonderful network of rock pools where you can cool off before catching the shuttle-bus back to Potberg.Whether you walk for the whales or the vultures, the fynbos or the wide open spaces it’s easy to see why hikers from across the globe are flocking to this wonderful trail through the Overberg. Dust off your hiking shoes, book some leave and come and wander with whales.last_img read more

Residents of Bloemfontein invited to join Brand South Africa on 26 October 2016

first_imgJohannesburg, Wednesday 19 October 2016 – Brand South Africa’s nationwide campaign – Play Your Part will be in the capital city of the Free State province on Wednesday 26 October 2016 and citizens are invited to join the programme.The Play Your Part activation themed “start doing” is aligned to Brand South Africa’s mission and purpose to inspire citizens to participate actively in building the Nation Brand. Active citizenship refers to an ethos where people get involved in their local communities which strengthens the country’s democracy at all levels.The activation in Bloemfontein follows similar engagements with communities in Limpopo and Port Elizabeth during which the innovative and interactive PYP cube was introduced to citizens. Community members shared their empowerment projects as well as pledged their time, money and skills towards improving the lives of the people of the South African Nation Brand.The citizens of Bloemfontein will also have an opportunity to engage and participate in community projects as well as showcase their active citizenship through the interactive PYP cube.On its third leg, Brand South Africa brings along its inspiring partners: Dj Sbu’s Leadership 2020 and SABC’s One Day leader programmes which promote leadership and entrepreneurship within society. In addition, Bloemfontein’s active citizens such as 23 year old author and winner of One Day leader season four Zareef Minty, hip-hop dancer and motivational speaker Oscar von Memerty and founder of I Am a Phenomenal Woman, Thato Mokhothu will lead the conversations on Playing Your Part and start doing.Dj Sbu imparted reassuring words in the previous leg of Play Your Part activation saying ‘Every young person needs to do something, no matter how small, do something that will better someone else. Vision 2030 and Brand South Africa’s Play your Part initiative want to change the mindset of young people in order to make every day a Mandela Day and make the positive change in the lives of everyone.”Engage with the PYP Cube, Brand South Africa and its partners on #PYPCube.Media is invited to attend as follows:Date : Wednesday 26 October 2016Time : 09h00 -13h00Venue : Mangaung Indoor Sport Centre,Corner Moshoeshoe Road& Chief Moroka Crescent, RocklandsRSVPS/Enquiries : Ntombi NtanziEmail [email protected] number 081 7041488Brand South Africa will also be able to facilitate any requests for interviews.Follow the conversation on #SANationBrand#PYPCUBEProgramme for the Brand South Africa Play Your PartProgamme Directed by : Sbu Leope and Seadimo TlaleTimeItem 1Item 2 08H00      INTERACTION AND ENGAGEMENT WITH THE PYP CUBEBRAND SA10H00PROGRAMME INSIDE THE VENUE COMMENCESBRAND SA10H15PLAY YOUR PART BRAND SA AVAV10H20OPENING AND WELCOMEBRAND SOUTH AFRICA10H25AV OF “ONE DAY LEADER ALUMNI”AV10H40ADDRESS FROM ONE DAY LEADERODL Free State Seadimo Tlale Season Two Finalist10H55MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER / ICE BREAKER11H05LEADERSHIP 2020 TRAINING PROGRAMMEOSCAR VON MEMERTYhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6o9krBsWrUZAREEF MINTYhttp://www.leadership2020.co.za/index.php/speakers/141-zareef-mintyTHOBILE MUSHWANAhttps://www.facebook.com/Dentalmarathon/THATO MOKHOTUhttp://theyoungindependents.co.za/mzansis-100/mzansis-100-disruptor-thato-mokhothu/12H15PANEL DISCUSSION / AUDIENCE INTERACTIONlast_img read more

World Wide Webfeeds

first_imgA webfeed is a low-bandwidth XML stream available on the network that can be easily consumed by custom or special webfeed reader applications.  In a previous blog I discussed how webfeeds often form the raw data to support mashup applications and have the potential to support business communication within process workflows.Examples of publicly available webfeeds can be found at Amazon’s A9.com search and Yahoo! Feeds.  Webfeeds have many of the advantages of Web Services, but compared to Web Services, webfeeds are far easier to create and consume.  Actually, if your definition of a Web Service is simply a URL-based data source, webfeeds could be considered as a special type of Web Service. There are multiple formats for Webfeeds, but RSS 2.0 (Really Simple Syndication) has emerged as the most popular and best-supported format.  Tools are becoming available that make data syndication via RSS even simpler.  One example is freely downloadable product called RSSBus.RSSBus is a framework of tools and services for easily creating and consuming RSS feed data.  It is middleware that is billed as the “The Service Bus for the REST of us”.  It includes an XML-based scripting language called RSBScript.With RSSBus you can easily publish relational database queries, tables and view information, or information contained in spreadsheets and email.  It’s a very effective way to publish raw data.  One caveat is that RSSBus is only available in a Windows .NET 2.0 framework.  Also note that Microsoft plans RSS integration capabilities as part of the upcoming Vista release.Document publishing via RSS is an interesting application.  Within a document management context, being able to publish a webfeed channel of a specific type of release document, or to receive notifications about document changes or deletions are useful applications of webfeeds.But how secure are webfeeds?  If you’re behind a firewall and the data is hosted inside, there may not be much to worry about.  But for feeds exposed on the open Internet, more thought is needed.  Very simple access control is achieved by restricting the webfeed URL to only those people who need access, a technique used by Flickr.  But that kind of security policy is bound to keep you up nights if you are exposing any even remotely sensitive data. HTTP Authentication can also be used to secure the webfeed publishing.  But one problem is that while there are some webfeed readers that support HTTP Authentication, like NewsGator, there are a lot more, like the Google Reader, that don’t yet support it.  Although if the consuming application is under your control, that may not be an issue.  Another security option is to encrypt the data stream using SSL encryption.Webfeeds, especially those using RSS 2.0 technology, are important tools for giving consumer and corporate users a way to better be able to control the consumption and presentation of data, but security is one area that needs to be thought through carefully before deploying this technology.last_img read more

Mixed Signals for Solar Power in the U.S.

first_imgOver the past four days, the New York Times and industry news source RenewableEnergyWord.com have published stories that indicate solar power adoption in the U.S. is increasing, if sometimes plodding.The RenewableEnergyWorld post, for example, cites a draft report by the nonprofit Interstate Renewable Energy Council that highlights the relatively rapid solar adoption rate in Italy. In February 2007, Italy replaced a program offering tradable green certificates (based on the megawatts of power generated by a solar installation) with a feed-in tariff (FIT) program, which pays an above-market rate for solar-generated electricity fed back into the grid.Responding to FITsItaly’s FIT program seems to be working: the country is on track to see 1,500 MW of solar power installed by the end of 2010. The U.S. is no stranger to the FIT concept, of course, but FIT programs here have been deployed regionally rather than nationally and sometimes involve complex calculations – based on the rate schedules of the utility companies serving FIT participants – to determine the payments customers receive when their solar installations feed power back into the grid.More often than not, FIT schemes in the U.S. work, but the program in Italy seems to be working better. According to the IREC report, in 2009 Italy installed 740 MW of solar power (most of it on rooftops, the REC story notes), while the U.S. installed 435 MW. A more pointed comparison in the IREC report is that Italy (population: about 60 million) averages 250 MW of added photovoltaic capacity every two months, which is more than the PV capacity being added in a year in California (population: about 40 million, and one of the biggest PV markets in the U.S.).Private investors pay attentionStill, interest in solar power for residential customers in the U.S. isn’t drying up. A recent post on the New York Times Green blog page focused on a $55 million investment, led by venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, in San Francisco-based SunRun, which leases rooftop solar power installations to homeowners. This investment round, announced on Tuesday, was the second for SunRun that included Sequoia and other investors, who had earlier approved $30 million for the firm. SunRun and a Silicon Valley-based competitor, SunCity, also are tapping into tax equity funds – of $100 million and $190 million, respectively – set up for them by utility holding company PG&E Corporation and U.S. Bancorp, the Green blog notes.“We’re seeing early signs of an inflection point in the market where the cost of offering a solar solution is becoming cheaper than utility pricing,” Warren Hogarth, a partner at Sequoia, told the paper. “We’re moving from people buying solar because it’s a nice thing to do to buying solar because it makes economic sense.”A renewable-energy program stalled by Fannie, FreddieOne increasingly popular financing mechanism for residential solar has been the Property Assessed Clean Energy bond, whereby money raised through municipal bond issues is loaned to homeowners for solar installations, with the debt added to the property’s tax bill. The debt, amortized over 20 years, stays with the tax bill if the property is sold.So far, 22 states have authorized the use of PACE programs, and the Department of Energy has allocated $150 million in stimulus funds to help municipalities set up and administer PACE programs, many of which become fully subscribed quickly. A key feature of PACE loans is that they, like most special property taxes levied by municipalities, have “super-priority lien” status, meaning they take priority over whatever private financing a homeowner may have, including a conventional mortgage. This encumbrance, as a recent New York Times story explained, is not viewed favorably by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two companies that guarantee most residential mortgages. The super-priority energy-related liens, Fannie and Freddie worry, will further burden taxpayers if the homeowners default on their mortgages, since property taxes take first priority when a foreclosed property sells.On May 5, the Times notes, the companies sent letters to mortgage lenders to remind them that “an energy-related lien may not be senior to any mortgage delivered to Freddie Mac.” Beyond that, though, mortgage lenders were offered no further guidance on the issue, which has communities shying away from PACE over fears that lenders who sell loans to Fannie and Freddie will no longer approve first mortgages or refinancing unless the homeowners first pay off their PACE program loans.A general counsel for one of the housing agencies told the paper that it is “working expeditiously” to respond to concerns by PACE program supporters – a group that includes, most prominently, the Obama Administration. That Fannie and Freddie decided to focus on PACE loans, rather than any number of special property taxes that communities may impose, puzzles state and local officials.Ben Pearlman, a commissioner for Boulder County, Colo., said that the county had financed energy-efficiency upgrades and solar installations for 600 homes but suspended its residential program because of the Fannie and Freddie letters.“Because they touch so many mortgages in this country,” he said, “it makes it impossible for us to proceed.”last_img read more

‘The romance of Islam’s Che is a deadly mix of the modern and the medieval’

first_imgPROPHET OF RAGE: Bin Laden declaring his war after US strikesThis is the grainy image of the brand-new radical, talking to you from Mount Jehad, his beard flowing in black and white, his turban intact, his camouflage jacket in perfect harmony with the monochromatic mountain, his automatic weapon in pointed,PROPHET OF RAGE: Bin Laden declaring his war after US strikesThis is the grainy image of the brand-new radical, talking to you from Mount Jehad, his beard flowing in black and white, his turban intact, his camouflage jacket in perfect harmony with the monochromatic mountain, his automatic weapon in pointed anticipation, his thin finger wagging in the air, his sports watch staring at the camera… this is the moment of commandments of revenge, delivered in sonorous Arabic.A sculpted perfection of control and calm, the lanky prophet of apocalypse mesmerises with menacing eyes, kills without firing a shot.This image of Osama bin Laden, making a prerecorded war speech from somewhere in Afghanistan hours after the first American aerial strikes on Taliban sites, has become the defining face of the 21st century rebellion. And his cause – America the nation of infidels worthy of the tallest inferno, the suffering and sorrow of persecuted Muslims, and permanent war against the tormentor – is not only reshaping the cultural map of the globe, it is redefining the ideas of dissent and disenchantment in a world that has been living in the cosy smugness of post-Wall triumphalism.CAUSE CONUNDRUM: Pro-peace demonstrators in Rome demanding an end to US strikes on AfghanistanThat way, this fugitive mountain prophet signals a qualitative shift in the history of counterpoint. In the last century, the most photogenic protest was personified by another bearded revolutionary, Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, whose martyrdom in the ravines of Bolivia 34 years ago marked the end of a romance and the beginning of a cult – Che.In his death merged the countercultural passions of an era. That Jesus-like visage, gazing at some secret star, was an emblematic celebration of the freedom and fantasies of the Sixties, the follies and cultural frolics of a generation that lived in an empire of dreams.advertisementToday, the Che mythology is a catalogued skeleton – the Revolution is dead, long live forensic science! – preserved in a glass case in Havana.Today, it is not the Bolivian jungles but the Afghan mountains. The new romance is larger and it is not ideological but religious, maybe even civilisational. Today it is not that inanimate image of Companero as Christ immortalised by Freddy Alborta but the image of Jehadi as an angry Jehovah as immortalised by Al Jazeera.Bin Laden’s revolution is the post-Soviet mockery of the liberal triumphalism of the West – not the end of history but History Part Two. Not even the clash of civilisations, but a rage against the civilisation. For, bin Laden, despite the rancour in his rhetoric, is not responding to the manifest outrage of the West.He is not only denying the West a history, but trying to create his own version of history, preferably with raw material collected from the blasted temples of the enemy. Unlike the discredited radicals of ideology, he has a stage larger than the streets and beaches of the Sixties. He has the world’s second-largest religion to play out his romance.So, has Islam finally got its post-modern sword in bin Laden, ready to destruct and redeem? Looks like Islam, in which prophet is power and scripture is state, has been waiting for him. There were others before him, revolutionaries and redeemers, and there were also paradises built on graveyards.In the last century, in terms of size and blood, the master craftsman of the Great Islamic Revolution was the faith’s most fabulous face, fire in his words and kingdom in his hallucination – and the enemy, always the West: Ayatollah Khomeini wanted to “strike America in the mouth”, he wanted to “break America’s teeth”.In his revolutionary vision, “the West has made material progress and has brought the world up to be a fighter and a beast. Western education has taken the humanity out of humans and created instead a murderous beast”. The West was America, the Great Shaitan, the most favoured devil of Islamic revolt, and history was this devil’s ally.On that point, bin Laden too agrees, though he is, in both madness and method, different from the Ayatollah. History, in bin Ladenism, is a lie, a lie as big as the United States of America: “America is struck by Almighty God in one of its vital organs, so that its greatest buildings are destroyed… America has been filled with horror from north to south and east to west, and thanks be to God.What America is tasting now is only a copy of what we have tasted. Our Islamic nation has been tasting the same for more than 80 years, of humiliation and disgrace, its sons killed and their blood spilled, its sanctities desecrated… God has blessed a group of vanguard Muslims, the forefront of Islam, to destroy America. May God bless them and allot them a supreme place in heaven…” (as translated in The New York Times).advertisementHis anti-Americanism is the offshoot of a picnic in the darkest province of civilisation. That 80-year reference of torment is encapsulated history for the sake of the fact-finders. Was he referring to the Sykes-Picot agreement in the aftermath of World War II that divided the Ottoman Empire? Or was he referring to the British mandate over Palestine that came into effect on September 11, 1922? There is even a reference to the Andalusian tragedy, by which he means the conquest of the Islamic Granada by the Spanish. But deciphering bin Laden’s sense of history is of little use, what is useful for the aficionados of doom is the mind.Osama bin Laden’s Utopia is not conditioned by the exigencies of the state. His journey from riches to trenches is in the radical tradition of renunciation and rebellion.It is a mix of the modern and the medieval. Unlike his predecessors in the administration of terror, his Utopia is not conditioned by the exigencies of the state.He doesn’t have a nation, he has an idea. Actually, he is the homeless, and his journey from riches to trenches is in the true radical tradition of renunciation and rebellion, what with the billionaire Arab leading the revolution against the white infidels from the Stone Age comfort of a Taliban bunker.Statelessness is his divine mandate to tap the subterranean disillusion of the Arab states, to challenge the Western civilisation (more specifically 20 centuries of Christ) in a game of gods. He is the man of the zeitgeist, hence the suddenly discovered sorrows of Palestine, always a fashionable cause for those who think Israel is a state born out of a historical conspiracy.In bin Laden, Palestine has a crusader larger than Yasser Arafat, who has already been “compromised” by power, and a theoretician more effective than Edward Said: “I swear to God that America will not live in peace before peace reigns in Palestine, and before all the army of infidels depart the land of Mohammad, peace be upon him.”And he knows, being a beneficiary of infidels’ achievements in markets and machines, how to play with sinful gadgets for a holy cause – jet engines to smash the tower of Shaitan, videotapes and TV screens to steal the thunder of the Bush bombs.The birth of an icon on Islamic placards, which are multiplying in the streets of Cairo and Quetta, Jakarta and Gaza, in spite of icons being rather unislamic. For drawing-room jehadis and campus counter-revolutionaries, for street-fighting Islamists and the gun-totters in the ghettos, he, with martyrdom a few Tomahawks away, is one man against the only imperium – or one man for the rehabilitation of the only God, who currently lives only in the Book, and his kingdom has been betrayed by rulers and ransacked by infidels.advertisementThe savage seeks nobility in blood. Osama bin Laden has taken upon himself the burden of the Book and the responsibility of retribution. The millennial rebel has nothing to lose but a videotape of martyrdom.last_img read more

Multipurpose Shipping Starts 2018 with Optimism

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: AAL Shipping Multipurpose shipping has started 2018 on a confident footing and is forecast to recover further on rising demand, contracting vessel supply and lessening threats from competing sectors.The multipurpose shipping market, which comprises both breakbulk and project cargo sectors, has struggled over the last few years but conditions are now ripe for recovery, shipping consultancy Drewry said in its latest Multipurpose Forecaster.Dry cargo demand is growing, with a number of drivers reporting improving conditions, whilst the multipurpose fleet is contracting as older, smaller, less heavy lift capable tonnage is weeded out.“This year has started with renewed optimism and it is Drewry’s belief that the market has finally turned that corner,” Susan Oatway, Drewry’s lead analyst for the multipurpose sector, said.“Rate rises are never stratospheric in this sector, but we believe a steady growth of around 2-3% per year is possible over the forecast period.”However, due to the diversity of drivers that supports this sector there are still some concerns that could impact the outlook over the medium term.The simple multipurpose fleet, that is those vessels with lift below 100 tons, has already started to contract at a rate that is affecting the whole fleet. However, Drewry believes that the future is with the project carrier sector, i.e. those vessels with lift greater than 100 tonnes.“Some 80% of all newbuildings over the last five years have heavylift capability, and at least 70% of the orderbook has this capability. The project carrier fleet is growing, but it will be some time before it reverses the decline in the overall multipurpose fleet,” Oatway concluded.last_img read more