Share This!Earlier this summer, Disney announced that it would be removing the Walk Around the World paving stones. As you can see in the last few photos, there are now piles of broken stones ready to be carted away.Demolition started at the Transportation and Ticket Center several weeks ago, and the removal is also now well underway at the Magic Kingdom entrance. The good news is that you’ll eventually be able to walk from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian. The bad news is that you won’t be able to do so on your personal paving stone.Photos: Christina Harrison
5 February 2014 The upgrading and expanding of South Africa’s rail network will relieve the burden on the roads, significantly increase the country’s export capacity and stimulate further investment and job creation, says Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba. Speaking at a briefing in Pretoria on Monday, Gigaba said a total of 6 405 kilometres of rail would be replaced on South Africa’s general freight, coal and ore lines, increasing the country’s freight capacity by 149.7-million tonnes. “Existing logistics corridors will be expanded and new ones will be established, and 1 317 new locomotives and 25 000 new wagons will be procured [over the next five years],” he said. “We will be able to increase our exports of coal by over 50%. Our ability to move general freight on rail will have more than doubled in capacity, and Transnet’s container handling capacity will increase by 75%.”Catalysts for further investment, employment Gigaba said that state-owned companies were acting as catalysts for additional investment in the economy. Infrastructure development was a critical stimulant, Gigaba said, with Eskom planning to invest over R500-billion in the economy over the next five years, and Transnet set to invest over R300-billion over a seven-year period. State-owned companies falling under the Department of Public Enterprises invested R53-billion in the economy three years ago, Gigaba said; this year they would be investing over R113-billion – an increase of over 100%. “Our infrastructure state-owned companies are already key providers of employment, and with the additional infrastructure capacity that will be built, [they] will become even more important sources of employment.” By 2017, he said, Transnet alone would support the direct and indirect employment of approximately 30 000 people. The company had also secured R175-million from the Department of Higher Education and Training to recruit and train 1 000 learners to study maritime engineering. “State-owned companies are playing a leading role in skills development and will be investing over R2.8-billion in the current financial year,” he added. “Over the last year, more than 16 000 learners were trained in scarce and critical learning programmes within state-owned companies of the DPE.” Also addressing Monday’s briefing, outgoing Eskom CEO Brian Dame said the power utility was “serious about helping black business to bloom”, and that Eskom had “finalised the structure of a fund for developing mines to assist emerging black miners”. Gigaba added: “By 2015, we will ensure that over 50% of coal for Eskom comes from black miners.” Source: SAnews.gov
This week South Africa returns to the global stage when we host the annual Investing in African Mining Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, writes Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola. This follows our success at the World Economic Forum annual meeting Davos, Switzerland, a few weeks ago. Delegates at the 2014 Investing in African Mining Indaba. (Image: Mining Indaba) Brand South Africa CEO Miller MatolaI am confident the message we conveyed to the world in Davos – that South Africa is open for business and remains a reliable and attractive investment destination – will be reinforced at the gathering of the captains of the mining industry.Mining Indaba will be followed by the annual State of the Nation address in the National Assembly in Cape Town on 12 February. This is one of the most important addresses of the year, as it accounts for the past 12 months and the guides us on priorities for the year ahead. It is an opportunity for President Jacob Zuma to take South Africans into his confidence about the state of the country.We can achieve our priorities and goals once we have the necessary economic growth and development. As a nation we need to achieve a set of goals: necessary and enabling legislation and policy, and the will and ability to implement these policies to ensure we achieve the desired outcomes. As a nation we must foster the desire to work together across all sectors because, at the end of the day, we all have a role to play in growing and building our country.Yes, we have challenges. But I remain unwavering in my belief that we– as a nation – have all the qualities necessary to drive our country’s growth and development. We were strangers to each other once, but we have given life to a resilient and agile homeland. We have the perseverance borne of a confidence and pride in our new democracy. I am confident that we will rise to the challenge to play our part and be the active citizens who will take our country to new heights.Join the conversation and follow Team South Africa at Mining Indaba on @Brand_SA via the hashtag #MiningIndaba. Follow the State of the Nation Address on #SONA2015Miller Matola is the CEO of Brand South Africa. Follow him on @MillerMatolaThis article was originally published in the 8 February edition of Sunday Independent.
The year began with Begin and ended with Begin. It was the year, the seemingly invincible Shah of Iran faced his moment of truth. It was also the year of the disco and John Travolta, the year of the silicon chip and the test-tube baby. It was the year in,The year began with Begin and ended with Begin. It was the year, the seemingly invincible Shah of Iran faced his moment of truth. It was also the year of the disco and John Travolta, the year of the silicon chip and the test-tube baby. It was the year in which China decided to come in from the cold, and the year of the Three Popes. Following the death of Paul VI, the conclave of cardinals stunned the world by opting for the little-known Albino Luciani, Archbishop of Venice, to don the Papal crown. Thirty-five days later, the new Pope died in bed while reading a book. This time, the conclave of cardinals sprang an even greater surprise by choosing cardinal Karol Wojtyla from Poland – the first non-Italian Pope in 456 years.On the political front, the major development of the year was the revolutionary changes in Chinese policy, that swept many of Chairman Mao’s ideas under the carpet and culminated in the dramatic diplomatic thrust of the year-resumption of diplomatic relations between Washington and Peking, leaving Taiwan on its fragile limb. China had earlier signed a historic treaty of friendship with Japan, an event that ended generations of bitter enmity. Meanwhile, the growing hostility between Vietnam and Cambodia – fanned by Russia’s overt support of Vietnam – was accompanied by the steady flight of Vietnamese “Boat people”. Thousands of refugees crowded into small ships, to be picked up occasionally bypassing vessels, but in most cases left to flounder on the high seas with tragic losses.While the Middle East continued to dominate the world’s economic manipulations, growing opposition to the Shah in Iran finally climaxed in a bloody orgasm of violence, leaving the Western powers embarrassingly harnessed to a crumbling regime. No international problem, however, was more depressing than Rhodesia. At the end of the year, despite frenetic shuttle diplomacy by a host of leading luminaries and the much publicized internal settlement signed by the Ian Smith regime, the war in Rhodesia showed no signs of abating. Everything remained the same, except that another few thousand people died; the guerilla armies grew stronger and controlled larger areas, and the Smith regime adopted a more offensive posture, bombing Zambia while Smith himself was making an unwelcome visit to Washington.advertisementThe face of Asia was less troubled than Africa, although in a year remarkable for the rarity of coups, Afghanistan decided to stage one. President Daoud and 30 members of his family were killed in the coup which ushered in a change in the region’s political balance. The new military government headed by Nur Mohammed Taraki showed itself to be more Soviet-oriented, causing nervous tremors among Afghanistan’s neighbours – most notably Pakistan, where General Zia ul-Huq sits rather uneasily in the saddle with ex-premier Bhutto languishing in jail while facing a death sentence.Internal violence dominated the fortunes of Latin America with Nicaragua hogging most of the headlines, following a revolt against the rule of President Somoza. The revolt fizzled out after bloody confrontations, but it brought universal attention to the brutality of Somoza’s regime. However, the year’s biggest horror story originated in Guyana, South America. It was the scene of the largest mass suicide in history. Over 900 followers of Reverend Jim Jones’ People’s Temple swallowed at the Commune in Guyana’s tropical jungle, a bizarre concoction of cyanide and Kool-Aid under instructions from Jones. It was an event that defied human comprehension. Terrorism continued to extend its tentacles across most of Western Europe. The most shocking event was the kidnapping and murder of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro by the extreme left wing, Red Brigades.The international industrial scene presented a painful paradox. West Germany and Japan – the two countries that came out on the losing side in World War II-emerged as the strongest countries economically. But neither they, nor the other affluent nations were in any mood to usher in the New International Economic Order that the Third World has been hungering for. This underlined the brutal truth that the rich are still not willing to help the poor.Stiff British upper lips got even stiffer over the homosexual scandal involving the former Liberal Party Leader, Jeremy Thorpe. He is accused of conspiring to murder Norman Scott, alleged to be Thorpe’s boy-friend. And, last month, British breakfast tables looked forlornly bare when the management of the Times and the Sunday Times decided to suspend publication following frequent confrontations by the unions blocking adoption of latest printing technology.The year ended as it began – with Begin. The crusty Israeli leader short-circuited the much publicized Camp David peace talks on the Middle East by eventually rejecting the final formula for the West Bank settlement. By doing so. Begin played a major role in the most ironic event of the year-the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded jointly to Begin and President Anwar Sadat. This left, as expected, an ominous question mark hanging over the Middle East, and to a certain extent, over much of the rest of the world. India Today portrays some of the outstanding personalities of the year-the winners and the losers-and their contribution, however questionable their quality, to the major events and trends of 1978.advertisementPoliticiansPresident Carter with Sadat and Begin – signing the historic peace treaty that failedBy the end of the year the rocky road to peace in the Middle East once again seemed to have reached a point of no return. At the beginning of the year. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin had just returned from a historic visit to Cairo bringing back the olive branch offered by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. In the series of negotiations that followed, Israel and Egypt, with the help of US President, Jimmy Carter, drew up a programme for peace that included Israel’s withdrawal from much of the occupied areas. For Anwar Sadat, it was a courageous move considering the intense hostility generated by other Arab nations, notably Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, South Yemen, Syria, and of course, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). To add to Sadat’s woes, Begin started raising objections to what had already been tentatively agreed on earlier.Just when there seemed no way around the impasse, President Carter dramatically raised hopes, and his own sagging popularity, by inviting both Begin and Sadat to Camp David. For nearly a fortnight, the three men thrashed out a final agreement that offered the best hopes for peace so far.The Shah – wears an uneasy crownBut now, three months after the Camp David conclave, the peace talks have once again turned sour. Though Sadat has been bending over backwards to accommodate Israeli demands, the crusty, unpredictable Begin has proved the nigger in the woodpile by rejecting, accepting and then again rejecting Washington’s proposals on the fate of Jewish settlements in the West Bank occupied territory. The Camp David deadline for a final agreement expired on December 17, a few days after Begin and Sadat received the Nobel Peace Prize, and the prospect of peace is no closer than it was before Camp David.Gone is the old imperial arrogance. The most uneasy head that wears a crown today belongs to Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, 59. The future of Iran’s proud autocratic ruler has taken a nosedive over the past few months in the wake of growing anti-Shah demonstrations that could well prove to be Iran’s Armageddon.Currently, the Shah faces his worst crisis since he took over the Peacock Throne in 1941, on the abdication of his father Reza Shah Pahlavi, but there are other exacerbating dimensions to Iran’s current crisis. The Shah is very much a creation of the US. He was toppled in a coup in 1953 led by leftist Premier Mohammed Mossadegh but regained the Peacock Throne shortly after a bold but covert excercise of American power-a CIA-engineered countercoup.advertisementBut now, the anti-Shah movement has saddled the Western powers with what is potentially the biggest political crisis in 25 years. Iran is not just a major oil supplier. It is also the keystone to stability in volatile Central Asia, and the major local protector of western interests in a region which produces half the non-communist world’s oil.Uganda’s Idi Amin – ready for a boxing boutThe future of the Shah is entangled with the future of the West and the current trauma in Iran is a potential breeding ground for intervention, however covert, by Russia which borders Iran for hundreds of miles. In Iran itself, the Shah’s support from his people has evaporated alarmingly, except among the military, the affluent class and the peasants. There is no responsible opposition because the Shah had banned political expression for 25 years. The result is a political vacuum that has gradually been filled by fanatical fundamentalists like Ayatullah Khomeini, 80, chief religious leader of the country’s Shiite Muslims-and will probably be eventually filled by leftist extremists. Meanwhile, Iran’s economy is in shambles with crippling and widespread strikes, notably among the country’s oil-workers. A majority of Iranians view the current unrest as the opening round in a jihad (holy war) against the Shah’s regime. But the view in Washington is something that was unthinkable at the beginning of 1978-that there might not always be a Pahlavi in power in Teheran.As the year closed, irrepressible Idi Amin of Uganda shot into the news again. He declined to play the good neighbour and his army invaded Tanzania. The bigger and better equipped Tanzanian forces showed little enthusiasm or imagination and the Amin Army annexed a 710-square-mile territory. This area, before its invasion, was said to be occupied by Milton Obote – ousted from Uganda by Amin in 1971 – and his guerilla forces. Departing from traditional diplomatic channels, the ebullient Amin, 53, then proceeded to invite the Tanzanian President, 56-year-old Julius Nyerere to settle their differences in a boxing ring.Afghanistan Prime Minister, Nur Mohammed Taraki – soft-spoken”The last remnants of imperialistic tyranny and despotism have been put to an end. From now on, the national sovereignty belongs to you, the noble people of Afghanistan.” This message, relayed from a rebel-controlled radio station marked the end of the 45-year reign of the powerful Zahir family in the country.President Mohammad Daoud, 68, in power since July 1973, was killed in a bloody coup in April last, in which an estimated 10,000 people lost their lives. Among them were several members of the Daoud family and a majority of top-ranking officials.Coup leaders installed 61-year-old Nur Mohammed Taraki-Secretary General of the outlawed 15,000-member communist Khalq Party – as president, prime minister and head of the Revolutionary Council. Taraki, a soft-spoken novelist and journalist was periodically imprisoned for his opposition to the Zahir family. In fact, he was in jail when violence erupted. It was to ensure that Daoud did not murder him that the rebels hit the Presidential Palace hard and fast.China’s Teng – behind the New Long MarchThough Taraki has denied a communist takeover and no evidence of a Soviet hand in the coup has been found, the Russians are obviously pleased. The USSR, which has a 1,281-mile common border with Afghanistan, was the first country to recognize the new regime, even before the sound of gunfire died down.JEREMY THORPE, CONTROVERSIAL BRITISH POLITICIANChina’s Vice Premier Teng Hsiaoping, whose sudden disappearances and strong comebacks characterize a fluctuating and largely successful political career, is back again. In 1966, Cultural Revolution radicals publicly humiliated him but in 1975 Chou En-lai brought him back as acting premier. After Chou’s death he found himself in political wilderness but returned quickly in July 1977 as Vice Premier. Teng, 74, is believed to be behind China’s New Long March which strives to simultaneously improve industry, science, technology and defence. In an unprecedented move this year, Hua Kuo-feng, premier and chairman of the Chinese Communist Party visited Romania, Yugoslavia and Iran while Teng went to Japan. In the past, Chinese leaders stayed at home. Leaders now stress the opening up of China’s frontiers and the making up of decades of backwardness. Meanwhile industrialists in Europe, Japan and elsewhere are watching the developments gleefully in the fond hope of entering a huge and wide-open market.The year presented Britain with its biggest political scandal since the Profumo expose in 1963. Jeremy Thorpe, 49, the dapper former leader of Britain’s Liberal Party was charged with conspiracy to murder. Thorpe’s alleged target was Norman Scott, 37, a down-and-out male model who had alleged that he had a homosexual relationship with Thorpe.Thorpe had denied Scott’s original homosexual charge, shortly after he resigned as head of the Liberal Party. His current trial in London can only hasten the political and emotional demolition of a man who, barely four years ago, was considered the fastest rising star in the British political arena The kidnapping of Aldo Moro, 62, ex-prime minister of Italy, on March 16, 1978, and his subsequent killing five weeks later sent tremors that may not die for a long time.The shadow of the terrorist organization, the Red Brigades, looms larger than ever over the “system” they have vowed to destroy. The entire operation was as chilling as it was professional. Five of Moro’s bodyguards were mowed down in broad daylight.Italy’s Aldo Moro – victim of terrorismThe terrorists were able to keep Moro hostage for almost two months, eluding one of the most intensive manhunts ever. Finally, they left the body in a stolen Red Renault station wagon a few yards from the headquarters of both the Christian Democrats and the Communists. During the ordeal, as pressure for release of some imprisoned Red Brigades members in exchange for Aldo Moro mounted, most of the major political parties remained firm in their refusal to negotiate.Political repercussions of the incident were felt immediately. Interior Minister Francesco Cossiga, accepted the responsibility of the police forces failure and submitted his resignation. Also, Moro left behind a potential political time-bomb in the form of letters written in his captivity to friends, colleagues and to his family. His letters are expected to be vengeful, and on publication may cause irreparable harm to prominent leaders of his party, the Christian Democrats, and the Communists.Two world leaders, who in their own fashion, played major roles in moulding the destinies of their people, died during the year. Kenya’s President Jomo Kenyatta and Israel’s former prime minister Golda Meir.As his name suggests, Kenyatta was Kenya. An aged warrior (his exact age was never known), Kenyatta towered like a black collosus over the African nationalist movement. In 1963, he presided over Kenya’s bloody transition to independence from the British and for the next 15 years put his personal stamp on every facet of Kenya’s development. Kenyatta was a legend in his time. He was at least a generation older than most African leaders and was battling for uhuru (freedom) before some of them were born. So imposing was his personality that he was able to hold his country’s fractious tribes together.Israel’s Golda Meir – earned respectThroughout, Kenyatta remained something of an enigma. His rise from a herdsboy to a mission school pupil, from a Nairobi water meter reader to a political activist was shaped by the hard facts of Kenyan life: the lust for land of his tribesmen and the settlers’ desire to preserve the country as a white man’s preserve. He spent 15 years in voluntary exile in London and eventually married an English woman, Edna Clarke. He returned to Kenya in 1946 and soon emerged as the strongest of the country’s black political leaders.Kenyatta’s greatest legacy to his people. however, was that he gave Kenya the stability and prosperity that most African states would envy. It enabled Kenya to carry out a peaceful transfer of power when Vice-President Daniel Arap Moi, 54, took over as President.Though her reign left less of an impact, Golda Meir, 80, earned an equal amount of respect from her people, and for Israel, by firmly guiding her tiny nation through possibly its most crucial period since Adolf Hitler’s anti-Jew blitzkrieg. Proud, disciplined and puritanical, Golda Meir became Israel’s fourth prime minister in 1969. Earlier, she had been appointed as the country’s first ambassador to Russia and a year later became labour minister. In 1966, she was appointed to the sensitive post of foreign minister and it was during that period that Israel made many friends. She was, however, unable to cope with the physical strain and resigned shortly after. But she was back in harness again, this time as the country’s prime minister, following the death of Levi Eshkol. She resigned from the premiership in April 1974, with the statement that she had “reached the end of the road and cannot go on any longer.”News MakersPope John Paul I – 35-day-reignThe Vatican made history in more ways than one in 1978. Pope Paul VI died in August last, after a reign of 15 years, and there were no clear front runners for the chair of Peter. The Sacred College of Cardinals’ 113 eligible members chose the little-known Archbishop of Venice, Albino Luciani.For many, his arrival as leader of the world’s Catholics came as a pleasant surprise. Paul VI had been austere and unsmiling while John Paul I revelled in his humour and lack of pomposity. When he died just 35 days after assuming office, he had already made his presence felt among his followers.John Paul II – first Polish PopeThe conclave of Cardinals met again and surprised the world by selecting Polish Cardinal Wojtyla from Cracow as the new Pope. He is the first non-Italian Pope in 456 years.In 1932, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World described in detail the birth of human beings conceived in laboratories. Almost 50 years later Huxley’s prophetic vision turned into reality as the world’s first test-tube baby was born to an obscure British couple in an equally obscure British hospital in Oldham.Louise – hope for sterile womenThe creators of medical history were Patrick Steptoe, 65, a highly respected gynaecologist, and his colleague, a Cambridge University physiologist, Robert Edwards, 52. After a decade of experimenting, Steptoe and Edwards picked on Lesley Brown, 30, and her husband Gilbert John, 38, a van driver for British Rail, as the prospective parents of the test-tube baby. The Browns had no child during their nine years of marriage as Lesley suffered from a fallopian tube disorder. To bypass Lesley’s fallopian tubes, Steptoe and Edwards removed a ripe egg from her ovary, placed it in a laboratory dish and added sperm from her husband. After incubating the ovum as it started to divide, they implanted the embryo in the uterus where it continued to grow into a foetus in the natural way.Princess Caroline – married a commonerWedding bells rang out for the world’s two most eligible women during the year. Princess Caroline, 21, of Monaco was swept off her royal feet by Phillipe Junot, an international investment banker and boulevardier 17 years her senior, while Christina Onassis, 27, the twice-divorced jet-setting daughter of the late shipping tycoon, Aristotle Onassis, startled the world by taking for her spouse Sergei Kauzov an unassuming Russian sales representative for a Soviet ship chartering agency. Kauzov is 10 years her senior. Predictably, the marriage is on the rocks with Christina having shifted out of their apartment in Moscow and returned to her native Greece-sans Sergie.Christina – marriage on the rocksThe world’s weirdest villain in 1978 was unquestionably Reverend Jim Jones, 47, a Charles Manson-like cult guru from California who founded the controversial People’s Temples. Jones inscribed his name in blood in the history books by orchestrating the deaths of 900 of his followers in a commune in Guyana-the biggest mass suicide in recorded history. The deaths were induced by the cult members swallowing a concoction of Kool-Aid and cyanide.Like the deaths, Jones himself remained an enigma. He opened his first People’s Temple in the ’50s and hordes of “converts” started pouring in as did the contributions. Governors, mayors, police chiefs and prominent lawyers flocked to his meetings and in 1976 he was appointed as the head of San Francisco’s Housing Authority. In August 1977, Jones closed down all his temples, resigned from the Housing Authority and along with 1,000 cult members moved to a commune in Guyana called Jonestown. One year later, it became a sacrificial altar for the mass suicide ritual.SportsJim Jones – prophet of deathThe sting is less lethal now and the famous “Ali shuffle” is more of a shamble, but Muhammad Ali, 36, is unquestionably still “The Greatest”. Last September, Ali confounded critics who had said he was over the hill by pounding out a unanimous decision against Leon Spinks, thus becoming the first man in history to win the world heavy-weight boxing championship three times. In between, the ‘Loiusville Lip’ paid a visit to Moscow and returned raving about Russia, divorced his wife and launched his celluloid career in a movie, inevitably called-The Greatest.Muhammad Ali – all time greatAs the arduous, three-month-long World Chess Championship came to an end in October 1978, chess resembled war more than ever before. World champion Anatoly Karpov, 27, of Russia retained the title but not before a tremendous late comeback by Russian defector Korchnoi, 47.The adversaries came well-armed to Baguio City in the Philippines. Trailing behind Karpov were a talented set of seconds to give advice, grim-faced men to provide security, and Dr Vladimir Zoukhar, neuropsychologist and hypnotist, who trained on Korchnoi what the latter called the “evil eye”. Korchnoi responded by including in his retenue an Austrian woman reportedly with a record in a Siberian prison and a Belgian who countered Zoukhar’s influence.Karpov – title retainedKorchnoi objected forcefully and made the champion change his eating habits and compelled Zoukhar to shift to the last row in the amphitheatre. But his game slipped.He fled to Manila, returning with two Ananda Margis, convicted with a murder charge and out on bail. Miraculously he recovered and drew level at five games all.In the final 32nd game Korchnoi slipped once again and resigned after 40 moves, leaving for Karpov $350,000 (Rs 28 lakh) in prizes. But the game on the board was unexciting. Said England’s International Master Harry Golembeck: “Its a disgrace to chess.”Show-BizFarrah – another Bardot?If international photographers were asked to pick the face of ’78 it would be a cake-walk for TV star and model Farrah Fawcett-Majors, 31, who has just taken the plunge into moviedom. Farrah was undoubtedly the most widely photographed woman of the year, and, not surprisingly, it was not just her sultry face that adorned the covers of most of the major international magazines.Shields – hottest child prodigyAfter a successful TV career Farrah is all set to become another Bardot with the Sex Goddess-type roles she has been offered by almost all the major Hollywood studios. “I’m a late developer,” said Farrah. Very few people, however, would care to agree with that statement.Exactly 13 years ago, a star was born. Her name-Brooke Shields. Shields had just celebrated her 13th birthday when she hit the headlines for her stunning portrayal of a prepubescent prostitute in Louis Malle’s movie Pretty Baby. Since then, the precocious Shields has starred in Wanda Nevada as an aspiring singer and is currently Holly-wood’s hottest child prodigy since Shirley Temple, though with a slightly different image.Travolta – setting trendsStar quality is difficult to define, difficult that is, till a brash young 24-year-old called John Travolta comes along. He has the movement, the presence, the princely mystique and the charisma that has rocketed him overnight into a superstar like no other. The runaway success of Saturday Night Fever and Grease has spelled out in giant neon lights an evocative message: “The legend starts here.”Nicaragua’s history has been written in blood, but even by Nicaraguan standards, 1978 was a year many of them would like to forget. The savage fighting that erupted in September was a national uprising against the ruthless dictatorship of President Anastasio Somoza, and though the uprising was crushed eventually, it focused world attention on the brutality of Somoza’s regime.It also revealed the chilling truth that Somoza virtually owns Nicaragua-it has been in the Somoza family for 42 years-and the trigger-happy National Guard which crushed the Sandinista rebels, is his army and not Nicaragua’s.ANASTASIO SOMOZA, DEBAYLE PRESIDENT OF NICARAGUAThe rebellion, however, is by no means over. The rebels have regrouped in neighbouring Costa Rica and now claim to have 3,000 well-armed combat troops. The Sandinistas have declared that they will renew their military offensive shortly and chances are that the conflict will spread further this time, with Costa Rica, Panama and Venezuela backing the rebels and El Salvador and Guatemala supporting the Somoza regime.
Samsung is said to be taking the USB Type-C approachcontrary to Sony who have stated that they won’t be adapting the technology intheir phones anytime soon.The USB 3.1 Type-C connector is on its way to becoming thenew industry standard in ports. The plug us reversible, has higher data speedsupto 10 GBPS with an option to support 1.5A and 3A currents for improved powerdelivery. The connector can also be used for display ports.Besides the inclusion of a Type-C connector, Samsung GalaxyNote 5 will sport a 5.89 inches display unit in a 2K resolution, the GforGamesclaims. It will be an unprecedented 7.9mm thick which compared to the currentNote 4 is 0.6 inches slimmer. It will be powered by a 4,100mAh battery whichwill be great for battery life, compared to the current 3,220mAh of theexisting model. An updated and improved S-Pen stylus is also expected. The phonewill be running Android 5.1.1 as per latest reports.Samsung will use a Exynos 7422 chipset which is a modifiedversion of their in-house 7420 chipset. UFS 2.0 memory will result in a smoothand fast user experience.The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 may become official in September 2015 at theupcoming IFA in Berlin this September.
zoomImage Courtesy: Genco Shipping and Trading Dry bulk shipping company Genco Shipping & Trading Limited has entered into a commitment letter for a five-year USD 460 million senior secured credit facility. The proceeds from the new loan are to be used to refinance all of the company’s existing credit facilities into one and pay down the debt on the oldest seven vessels in fleet.Genco said that the loan, which was agreed with Nordea Bank AB, will simplify the company’s capital structure and improve the terms across all refinanced facilities.The new credit facility commitments are expected to be oversubscribed by approximately 40%.Under the terms of the agreement, Genco is expected to achieve covenant light structure allowing for potential dividend distributions in the future, improve pricing and extend maturities, establish an attractive 17-year amortization period following an initial non-amortization period ending December 31, 2018, and enhance flexibility to execute upon its fleet growth and renewal program.The final maturity date of the facility will be five years following closing, which is expected in the second quarter of 2018 and is subject to completion of definitive documentation and customary conditions precedent.“With our recently signed commitment letter for a USD 460 million credit facility, we have taken another important step positioning Genco to capitalize on a drybulk market that continues to recover,” John C. Wobensmith, Chief Executive Officer, said.Genco unveiled the new loan as part of its first quarter 2018 financial report. The company recorded a net loss for the first quarter of 2018 of USD 55.8 million, compared to a net loss of USD 15.6 million reported in the same period a year earlier.The company’s net revenue totaled USD 55.8 million for the period ended March 31, 2018, nearly 60% higher than the same period of 2017.Time charter equivalent (TCE) increased to USD 10,463 for the quarter, marking a year-over-year improvement of 66%.