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Newsletter. Issue 07. March 29, 2014

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People Places and Things
Internet Asks for the Nobel Peace Prize for Pope Francis
  • 97.5% of voters believe the Pope deserves the Nobel
  • The initiative has harvested over 4,000 supporters in five days
  • Much of the support for Pope Francis comes from his homeland, Argentina

MADRID, Spain, March 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Time magazine's Person of the Year, Rolling Stone cover and nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Pope Francis' first year at the Vatican could be even bettered if the Nobel jury end up awarding the prize that internet users are already claiming he deserves. 97.5% of the over 4,000 voters that have taken part in an on-line survey launched over the platform, TheRanking.com, believe the Argentinean Pontiff deserves such recognition. This spectacular ranker support has arisen in a mere five days, which is how long the question has been going around the networks.

Most of the popular support for the Pope's candidature, 55% of the votes to be exact, comes from his place of birth, Argentina, while neighbouring countries Colombia, Venezuela and Peru are also showing support for the first Latin American Pontiff.

Pérez Esquivel adds his voice in support
The Argentinean Nobel Prize Laureate, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, has also expressed his support for his compatriot. "He deserves the Nobel a lot more than others," claims the activist, albeit adding that he would have waited a little longer to put his name forward.

About TheRanking.com
TheRanking.com is a unique self-expression platform for USERS to RANK and VOTE denoting their preferences on any conceivable topic. Its mission is to help people express their preferences by ranking the world around them.

Source: TheRanking.com

 
Winnipeg Summer and Winter.
By: Michael Pinto

I have spent last 40 winters in Winnipeg, this winter was the worst for being the coldest and highest amount of snowfall. Temperatures plunged to –52C and had the most cold days in 100 years. There were days it was colder than North Pole and Mars too. The driveway is 120 Feet long , and I had to break every 20minutes, all whole shovelling, took close to 3 hours each time
 
The upside Tomato Planters are 7.5 Ft. High July-2013 Same Planters Snow in 19-March-2104 Another Look at the Fence 6 Ft High More Snow against the fence
Front Against the Fence Front looking at the street From Front , looking into the Driveway In front, at the end of the driveway, meeting the road. Since I could throw any higher, pushed it on to the road, but it all came back
Click photos to Enlarge
 
Brown Man, Black Country
Forthcoming e-book
This article was first published in our Issue 13. June 22, 2013


Brown Man, Black Country, by a prominent Kenyan Goan, John Maximian Nazareth, edited by his daughter, Jeanne Maxine Hromnik, for publication shortly as an e-book by Goa 1556.

The original book was first published in 1981 by Tidings Publications, New Delhi. This edition is virtually out of print although copies are still available.

Excerpts from the book entitled “GOAN OR INDIAN? -A View From The Diaspora” were made available for publication on the WWW – Click here to download .pdf

The following is a recent review by Ben Antao published on Goa books ....
Brown Man Black Country

A review by Ben Antao

When Leroy Veloso, one of the founder members of Goa Book Club emailed me last year that he’d send me the book Brown Man Black Country as a gift, I was much excited by his kind gesture. Until then what I’d read about this autobiography by JM Nazareth was a haunting verse written by the author and posted on the Internet.

Here’s that verse, all 34 lines, for your reading pleasure and possibly reflection.

To the African: “No guest am I”

Why do you call me “guest”
When here I have my home,
When here my father lived and died,
My mother too, and a brother?
Their graves lie there within this City’s bounds,
Where I myself was born,
My children too---all three of them.

Must they and I leave this land,
Be strangers to it
Because your skin is black and mine and theirs is brown,
Your folk came here some scores of years ere ours?

Why do you not hold out your hands
In friendship, and call me friend,
In love and call me brother,
And bid me stay and help to build this land,
Give me warm assurance, dispel my fear
By deed, not by words alone?
If love or friendship be not in you,
Let justice rule your thoughts:
Shame not the past nor the years to come

That I am guest I do deny
But when you’d drive me out how can I stay?
I lack the power, and now may be I lack the will.
The day is late for change of mind.

Yet even now I’d change, for fain I’d stay,
If justice blest this land,
Or warm hearts bid me stay
And warm hands held me close
And told me “tarry”
“Tarry” to the end of your days.
“This land is yours as it is mine,
“This is your home as it is mine;
“No guest of mine art thou, but friend and brother,
“This home, this land, of ours, our joined hands must make it great.”


In Toronto I’ve met and spoken with many Goans born and raised in East Africa, but none who has felt so deeply about his native Kenya as JMN. Naturally, I grew curious to read this book, despite its musty smell, which I received earlier this month through the good offices of publisher Frederick Noronha of Goa 1556, another founder member of GBC.

Brown Man Black Country, subtitled A peep into Kenya’s freedom struggle, is no ordinary autobiography but a historical and political account of Kenya’s fight for Uhuru and the role played by the author in it. I use the word ‘ordinary’ purposely because every chapter (there are 18) is documented by quotes from the resolutions, minutes of meetings, public addresses and speeches of politicians (African, Asian and European), relevant letters, newspaper articles and historical notes, all of which supported at the end by Appendixes from A to Z, plus AA to II, a formidable body of historical record covering 96 pages of the total 541 pages, enough to stir the tender sentiments dormant in the diehard historian.

What I’m going to do is this review is comment on certain chapters that have appealed to me because of human interest.

John Maximian Nazareth (known by his middle name Max), born in Nairobi on February 21, 1908, went to Bombay and studied in St Mary’s high school and St Xavier’s College (1916-1929). Following a brilliant academic career, he studied law in London from 1930-1933 and returned to Kenya in 1934 to practise law.

A born Catholic, Max says he lost his faith during his time in college in Bombay, a period that also sowed the seed of his revolutionary thinking. In England, he says, he came to identify himself as an Indian rather than Goan.

Max entered Kenya politics in 1944, which allowed him to describe in detail how Indians had settled in Kenya, their difficulties, fears and hopes. This chapter A glance at the past is a fascinating review of how Kenya came to be settled, the Indians building the railway (1895-1901), the arrogance and selfish policies of the European settlers, and the struggle of Indians for equality of rights---a must read for any student of Kenya politics, though from the Indian perspective of Max.

Gradually by 1923, he says that native interest superseded that of the Indians in Kenya, so much so that Africans became the beneficiaries of the Indian struggle for equal rights under the law. “It was the Indians who were the champions of the Africans and the guardians of their interests, and it was the Europeans to whom largely the Africans were hostile.” (P.84).

This chapter, I thought, was not a glance at the past, but rather a long searching and searing look at the past.

As the movement for self-government gained momentum, the conflict between Africans and Asians intensified such that by 1959 the Africans wanted the Asians to be forbidden to own land in White Highlands. The Kenya National Party declared its policy that “all land in Kenya is held in trust for the African inhabitants.”

The author who took part in the Lancashire House Conference in London in January 1960, which laid the groundwork for independence that would come in 1963, gives a thorough report on this conference with fact and figures, an eye-witness account as it were.

The notion of “guest” referred to in the opening verse requires comment since the author was much perplexed and exercised over it. Apparently, in June 1947, India’s Jawaharlal Nehru had said that Indians were “guests” of the Africans, a message that Jomo Kenyatta, recently elected president of the Kenya African Union, drew attention to at a meeting in Nyeri.

“The time would come,” said Kenyatta, “when they would have to get out and leave the African in full enjoyment of self-government.”

Nehru’s declaration apparently gave a lot of comfort to the Africans fighting for self-rule.

In a postscript, JMN says “Born in Kenya, I hope to continue to live in Kenya and to die in Kenya, no guest but friend and brother.”

After Kenya’s independence, JMN struggled within himself whether or not to leave Kenya and settle in Goa, the land of his forefathers. Finally he decided to stay. He lived in Kenya until his death on April 24, 1989.

In a preface written in 1975, Max says, “If it had not been for the presence and the political activity and the struggle of the Indian community in Kenya, especially in the twenties, and also later, the Africans of Kenya would now have been where their brethren in South Africa and Rhodesia now are.”

Brown Man Black Country was published in hardcover in 1981 by Tidings Publications, New Delhi.
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Words: 1130
March 27, 2014

 
What will it take for Canadians to wake up to the threats of extreme weather?

Majority think climate change is causing more frequent storms, but aren't taking action to protect their homes and communities

Toronto, March 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Heavy rainstorms, snowfall and floods increasingly dominate news headlines, with extreme weather events directly affecting more than 3.5 million Canadians in 2013. According to the seventh annual RBC Canadian Water Attitude Study, three-quarters of Canadians (74 per cent) agree that climate change will cause these events to happen more frequently. Yet just 23 per cent are concerned about extreme weather causing droughts or flooding and only nine per cent of Canadians have taken precautionary measures to protect themselves and their homes from the effects of extreme weather events.

The poll of 2,074 Canadians between January 24 and February 12, 2014 also showed that people perceive floods to be more prevalent in Canada compared to 10 years ago, with more than one-in-five Canadians (21 per cent) saying that they live in an area vulnerable to flooding.

"There's no question that 2013 was the 'year of the urban flood' for Canadians," says Bob Sandford, chair, Canadian Partnership Initiative of the UN Water for Life Decade. "Extreme floods like the ones we saw in Calgary and Toronto weren't a matter of 'if', they were simply a matter of 'when'. So this level of inactivity on the part of Canadians is concerning. You wouldn't go out in a rainstorm without an umbrella. Why wouldn't you try to safeguard your home from the weather, too?"

Canadians seem unaware an increase in stormwater runoff is caused, in part, by the amount of paving and concrete in our cities. Paved driveways continue to be the preference of more than half (53 per cent) of Canadians. And even when they learn that a water-permeable driveway such as gravel or inter-locking stones will help the ground absorb excess water, the majority of Canadians (55 per cent) wouldn't change their preference for pavement.

Water experts are sounding the alarm

An increase in extreme rain and snow storms not only has an impact on homes and property, it also causes significant strain at the municipal level as well. "Storm water management systems in most towns and cities simply weren't built to manage the volume of water we're seeing from extreme storms," says Sandford. "Since urban storm water runoff is a leading cause of water pollution, this can seriously degrade the quality of our drinking water sources."

RBC also surveyed 134 stakeholders from government, business, NGOs and academia. This poll showed that while a large majority (77 per cent) of Canadian water experts believe the state of storm water management systems in their region is a serious issue, only one-in-five (21 per cent) of the general public believes that major investments in storm water management are necessary.

"This lack of public awareness makes it very difficult for municipalities to explain why investments in infrastructure are so urgent," adds Sandford. "The right infrastructure is our most critical defense against flooding. If we don't apply the resources necessary to improve our storm water management systems, our towns and cities could suffer the consequences for years to come."

Both water experts and Canadians in general agree that protecting drinking water sources is the most serious water issue facing the country today, and many Canadians are pessimistic that water issues will be resolved in the next decade. Understanding the importance of storm water management systems is one step in the right direction towards protecting homes and cities from extreme weather damage.

What can Canadians do to prepare for the effects of extreme weather?
There are small changes Canadians can make around the home that have a big impact when extreme weather hits.
  • Plant some green: Soil and plants can be the first defense against excessive water runoff caused by heavy rainfall or snowmelt. Green spaces help absorb water slowly into the ground and prevent it from rushing down storm sewers, putting a strain on municipal systems. Increasing the amount of vegetation around your home is simple, affordable and beautiful, and it helps protect the quality of our water sources.
  • Install a downspout: Downspout disconnections, extensions and splash pads can help reduce basement flooding because they direct water flow away from the home. Ensure eaves troughs are clear and maintained so they work when a storm strikes. Unfortunately this sort of preventative action is inconsistent across the country. People in flood-prone Winnipeg (79 per cent) lead the way in preventive actions such as maintaining downspouts this year, while only 37 per cent of Montrealers are planning to do the same.
  • Keep storm drains clear: Make sure the storm drains near your house are free from leaves and debris. The best time to inspect the storm drain is before a rain, ice or snow storm. You should also monitor and clean the drains when the trees are shedding their leaves.

Additional highlights from the survey include:

  • Eleven million Canadians know someone who was personally affected by flooding in 2013
  • Sixty-nine per cent of Canadians agree that climate change is causing more extreme weather and three quarters expect extreme weather to increase in Canada
  • More than any other weather event, Canadians perceive floods to be occurring more often in Canada compared to 10 years ago
  • There is a gap in Canadians' awareness about the water systems servicing their home. More than two-in-five municipal water users are unaware of the water supply, sewage, and storm water management systems servicing their home
  • Just 10 per cent of Canadians believe that the greatest water problem 10 years from now will be the state of systems to help deal with excess storm water from rain or snow
    • Only 13 per cent of Canadians are aware of the condition of storm water management systems servicing their homes (2014)

About the RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study
The 2014 Canadian Water Attitudes Study included an online survey administered by GlobeScan between January 24 and February 12, 2014. It included a sample of 2,074 Canadian adults from GMI's Canadian panel. Weighting was employed to balance demographics, to ensure the sample's composition reflects the adult population according to Canadian Census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Results were weighted by gender, age, region, and community size. The sample included a minimum of 200 respondents in each of Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver, and Winnipeg and 300 in Toronto. The margin of error for a strict probability sample for a sample of this size (n=2,074) would be ± 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
About RBC Blue Water Project

The RBC Blue Water Project is a historic, wide-ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world's most precious natural resource: fresh water. Since 2007, RBC has pledged over $38 million to more than 650 charitable organizations worldwide that protect water, with an additional $7.8 million pledged to universities for water programs. The RBC Blue Water Project is focused on supporting initiatives that help protect water in towns, cities, and urbanized areas. For further information, visit www.rbc.com/bluewater.

RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2013, we contributed more than $104 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $69 million and $35 million in sponsorships.

To hear more results from the study, join the 2014 RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study Webinar on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 11:00 am ET.

 
Wireless electricity may soon power cell phones, cars and even heart pumps
By Eric Pfeiffer

This MIT demonstration first showed how electricity can be wirelessly transferred to a device (MIT)
In a few years, you may never have to worry about manually charging your cell phone or paying for gasoline again.

Wireless electricity isn’t a new concept – it was publicly demonstrated over 100 years ago by Nikola Tesla - but has remained elusive in broad commercial applications.

However, a startup company says they are working to change that, with a business model that could make portable power commonplace.

"We're going to transfer power without any kind of wires," Dr. Katie Hall, chief technology officer of WiTricity, told CNN. "I can't even imagine how things will change when we live like that."

WiTricity CEO Eric Giler demonstrated the company’s technology during a TED talk, in which he explained, “This all came from a professor waking up at night to the third night in a row that his wife’s cell phone was beeping because it was running out of battery power. And he was thinking, ‘With all of the electricity that’s out there in the walls, why couldn’t some of that just come into the phone so I could get some sleep?’”

A team of MIT professors then developed what they call “resonant power transfer,” in which a power coil is able to wirelessly transfer electricity to another device containing a similar coil set to the same frequency.

The MIT group was first able to demonstrate the technique in 2007, which led to the formation of WiTricity. Since then, the company has conducted several public demonstrations, where they have used the technology to wirelessly power objects such as batteries, LED lights and cell phones.

"We're not actually putting electricity in the air. What we're doing is putting a magnetic field in the air," Hall told CNN. "When you bring a device into that magnetic field, it induces a current in the device, and by that you're able to transfer power.”

Wireless electricity is widely considered to be safe , but WiTricity and other companies developing similar technology are still trying to find effective ways to efficiently transfer electricity over longer distances.

Other companies are developing their own wireless electricity devices as well. For example, in February, Toyota announced it began testing a wireless recharging station for its hybrid cars in which the vehicle would power up by parking over a charging pad on the ground.

Giles says that if the hurdle of transferring electricity over greater physical distances can be crossed, then wireless electricity would quickly replace the world of cables. And after the technology is in place, manufacturers would then have to install the equipment allowing for the wireless electric transfer to take place.

It would not only free up literal space but could potentially reduce pollution, eliminating the need for disposable batteries. It’s estimated that in the U.S. alone hundreds of thousands of disposal batteries are thrown away each year. Giles says that the current 50 percent efficiency of wireless electricity transfer already greatly exceeds the capability of standard commercial batteries.
Hall says the next big project for her company is working with a medical technology manufacturer to develop a heart pump that recharges without cables.

“Kids will say, 'Why is it called wireless?'" Hall said. "The kids that are growing up in a couple of years will never have to plug anything in again to charge it.”

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