Full of Beauty and Culture

As the capital and largest city in South Korea, Seoul is a financial and cultural center of Asia. The population of the city is over 10 million, making it one of the largest cities in the entire world. The entire metropolitan area includes a population of over 24.5 million inhabitants, the second largest in the world. This accounts for nearly half of the entire population of the country. Seoul is also a strong political force in Asia, administered by a the national government directly and separated into a system of 25 districts. Located on the Han River, the city lies approximately 50 km from its neighbor, North Korea.

The name of Seoul has changed dramatically over the years. Other names for the city include Wirye-seong, Hanju, Namgyeong, Hanseong, Hanyang and Gyeongseong. The modern name comes from the Korean word meaning «capital city.»

The city is believed to have been established in 18 BC as a small settlement. It soon became part of the Joseon Dynasty, eventually becoming the capital in 1394. During Japanese occupation in the early part of the 20th century, the city went through a historical and cultural upheaval. Many of the traditional design elements were modernized or destroyed. During the Korean War following Japanese defeat, most of the city was razed through fighting between U.N. and Communist forces. The city was rebuilt very rapidly, however, during the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1990s, the Joseon dynasty’s royal palace of Gyeongbokgung was restored to its previous splendor.

In 1986, Seoul hosted the Asian Games. This was followed by a successful presentation of the 1988 Olympic Games. It also hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup, at which time the city constructed the amazing Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Culturally, Korea has a long tradition with its national sport, Tae Kwon Do. The city houses the Kukkiwon, where the World Tae Kwon Do Federation is headquartered. The city also features three baseball teams, two basketball teams and a football team.

Seoul is recognized as the fifth most expensive city to live in the world and the second-most in Asia. Its investments in high-tech digital technologies has made it a business leader throughout the world. Over the past few years, the country of South Korea has invested billions of dollars in development opportunities to keep the city at the height of global success.

The city offers one of the most well-developed and advanced transportation systems in the world. It is a global leader with a modernized train and rail system including and extensive subway infrastructure. It also offers environmentally friendly busing and supports two international airports.

Tourism is also one of the largest industries in the city. A variety of historic sites including the Hwaseong Fortress and Jongmyo Shrine, both world historical sites. A number of museums, parks and recreational options have also been created. Entertainment is quickly becoming one of the largest exports of Seoul and South Korea in general. A fledgling film industry as well as music and theater continue to make headway throughout Asia and the world, reaching European and American audiences and festivals to much acclaim.

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Living in The Gambia

SUMMARY

I enjoy traveling around West Africa, especially around culturally rich regions blending nature with modern infrastructural developments. Both my air and road travels around this ECOWAS subregion in the last 15 years has been both instructive and enriching for me. I have been culturally immersed with diversity in languages, religion, culture, food, architecture, climate, economic life, flora and fauna.

The knowledge acquired, cannot be quantified in monetary terms, and i will recommend this educational tours to our youths to enable them appreciate and tolerate other cultures, thus reducing conflicts and disputes among neighboring countries. Somewhere else, i have written and held several seminars on working and living in Ghana about 11 years ago.

Today, the success story of Ghana is evident to all and this country Ghana, has emerged as one of the best economies in the subregion. Again, i am introducing another emerging great economy to you, The Gambia.

Before the whole world flood here, and you’ll be left out, why not take my advise seriously and invest, work, live or holiday in this beautiful country to experience what I’m talking about? I love this peaceful country blessed with hospitable people. Gambians welcome you with natural inspiring smiles. The Gambia is bounded round by an historical river, rich in natural resources of sea foods, animals and healing powers. Welcome to The Gambia, the smiling coast of West Africa.

From the natural beauty of Makasutu Village, historical sites of Kunta Kinteh village, James Island, Kachikally Crocodile pool, Kanilai Farm, and so many other sites to the beaches and people, you will hardly want to leave. Little wonder, there are so many repeat tourists coming to The Gambia for the past 10-15 years that I’ve met. They come from all over Europe, Americas, Asia and Africa. At the beach, the beauty of the Sea, the sand and sun will remind you of Mother Africa.

How about the investment climate, very favorable and investor friendly.With a stable economy with a single digit inflation rate and currency exchange of US$1.0= GMD26 (As at 9th April, 2010). The Gambia is a multicultural country with a lot of immigrants from West Africa, Europe, America, Middle East and Asia permanently living as investors, working with several NGOs, some retired investors while many others are engaged in importation businesses and owned several shopping malls.The Gambia is home to investors, volunteers, professionals pursuing their career, and holiday makers who has made this peaceful country their destination. Welcome to The Gambia, where there is no discrimination based on religion, creed, color, race, gender, social status, disability and with zero tolerance to corruption. Read on! Alsamadeh!

MARKET

The major markets are in Banjul, Serrekunda and Brikama. Here, you can shop for staple foods like fish, meat, vegetables, clothings, jeweleries and fashion accessories. The locals welcome people with natural smiles after exchanging the religious greetings: «Asalamalekun», meaning, peace be unto you. Traditionally, Gambian women go to market daily to buy what to cook.They can be seen with the plastic baskets with holders thronging to the busy markets to shop for fresh fish, meat, vegetables and take time to greet each other asking after each others’ families, relations and get updated about current social events and other women gossips. Some of the elites, however, prefer to shop in shopping malls around Kairaba Avenue, and buy foods in large quantities to store at home.

Mini-markets, or what some call supermarkets are all over the Greater Banjul area competing with the traditional markets. There are also the neighborhood shops, called «Fulah Shops», owned mostly by Mauritanian citizens and in some cases by Guineans. This is the place to get the locally made bread called, «Tapalapa». This is usually a long banana shaped clay oven baked bread that is usually transported on bicycles by the suppliers early in the morning, mid-day and sunset time. I prefer buying this, when fresh, it’s soft and more appealing than the stale hardened and uninviting ones. A full one goes for D5 and the half is D2.50. The bread is usually sold with a nice spread of butter, mayonnaises, egg, potato and spiced with jumbo or Maggi sauce depending on the buyer’s preferences.

There is also «Senfu», which has a crumb nature and much cheaper, being sold for D3 for a full roll. However, i noticed the «Senfu» is not as filling as the «Tapalapa» that can keep me going for the whole day, like a bowl of «Fufu», which is the energiser for most Nigerians, Ghanaians and Sierra- Leoneans in The Gambia. The local «Fufu» unlike the ones found in Ghana and Nigeria are made from «Saddam Rice», as it is called locally, by milling it into powder and cooked into a solid paste in a pot. The most popular lunch meal, among Gambians, is the jollof rice, locally referred to as » Benechin». Different types of stew are prepared to eat the rice meal like»Plasas», «Super ganja», «Damoda»,etc. I enjoy the Gambia breakfast meal of «Thura Girthe», which is very rich in protein. This is a mixture of well pounded rice cooked with milled groundnut and eaten with a spread of yogurt «Sour Milk».

Gambians eat together. Small groups of between 5-8 people are usually seen eating from the same bowl, and yet, when a visitor appears, he or she is beakoned to still join them and share out of it. This is the true love, i’m yet to see anywhere. If you think there is no free meal anywhere, you’re wrong; come to The Gambia! This explain the reason for very low or non-existent crime rate. At least, a lunch meal is guaranteed for anyone living in The Gambia. Food is shared, no one goes home hungry. The women also waste a lot of food by always preparing a lot expecting visitors to join them when serving their meals. They package the rice meals in large wide bowls with a cover and wrap it in a traditional manner with cloth, that will secure the food from spilling and carry to their husbands at their respective working places for them to eat with colleagues. Sometimes, they go travel long distances, to deliver the foods, like a family living in Lamin and the husband working in Serrekunda.

WORK HOURS

The official working hours is 8am- 4pm from Monday to Thursday. Friday is half day. Most of Gambians are Muslims, and they go for the Friday Special prayers in the afternoon. Although, the «African time» concept is still prevalent among the people, this is common with the government workers, the private sector is better. Most serious business appointments start from 9am, even though, they are scheduled for 8am.

The major reason sometimes for arriving at work late, can be as a result of unavailability of commercial vehicles to transport workers to their respective places of work. Even, at places of work, Gambians do not forget to take their Chinese herbal tea called » Atire».

GAME OF FOOTBALL

A first time visitor, to The Gambia will think the game of football has it’s origin from here, because of the love and passion attached to this game. There are quite a number of playgrounds that are never kept idle because of the teeming youths that religiously train and play daily matches, especially in the evenings after work or school. Similarly, on weekends, first thing in the morning, you will notice everyone exercising or playing the game they love most; football.

The discussions of most of these youths that constitute half of the country’s population is centered on the European matches. Teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan and other big teams have passionate fans in The Gambia.

There are many Football Viewing centers that are making a fortune showing the live matches to most Gambian. Although, some of these youths might not know the capital of Nigeria, they often tell me it’s Lagos, but they certainly know all the European Club Managers, first line ups and transfers of these key players, not to talk about the latest scores in the premiership or championship.

The Gambia’s national team, called the «Scorpion» is adored and you dare not say anything bad against this team in order not to incur the wrath of my football lovers. A loss in game when «Scorpions» play, will turn the entire country into a grave yard, «a mourning period». But with a win; the Brazilian samba dancers will envy the dance steps of both the young boys and girls singing: «ho, ho ho ho, ha,ha,ha,ha..haleyomii». Therefore, to make friends with Gambians is so easy, just pick up a football topic!

BEACHES

The climatic conditions of The Gambia is slightly different from other ECOWAS countries. There is only one cycle of rainfall which starts around June and ends around October. It is usually hot during the raining periods, unlike other countries that experience cold periods.

The Hamattan period starts from November to February. However, the weather experiences erratic changes sometimes. The beaches are clean and provide succor to visiting tourists that want to experience the beauty of the sun, the sea and the sand of The Gambia.

There are several beaches to visit. From Banjul beach to Palma Rima, Senegambia and up to Sanyang. There are so many private beaches along this line. Most white tourists called «Toubabs» are usually welcome at these beaches that have attractive traditional bars with natural juice, canned drinks, barbecue and special packages for visitors.

The menace of «bumsters» have been curtailed and there are tourist police patrolling most of the busy beaches to deter the «unsolicited friends». The beaches are besieged by almost all Gambians during festive periods or during major musical concerts or shows.

FESTIVE PERIODS

A visitor arriving The Gambia around Easter or Christmas will think all Gambians are Christians, with the celebration and partying. Similarly, around the Muslim festivals of «Koriteh or Tobaski» will give one the impression that there is no single Christian in town.

This is the beauty and diversity of the Gambian hospitality and tolerance of other religions in The Gambia. The people enjoy good music. The local artists are adored, some of whom are Jalibah Kuyateh, Titi Kololi, Freakie Joe, Asan Njie, Olugander and Sambou to mention a few.

The women, both young and old, enjoy dancing. The very physical dances of jumping and kicking the air is common and i often wonder where the women get the extra energy and strength from. Some young men that are not used to these dances, dare not challenge these women in a dancing competition, if they do not want to be hospitalized.

The entertainment industry is therefore very vibrant. Most people relax by watching Nigerian, Senegalese and Ghanaian home videos. There are several video rental shops to pick the latest Nigerian films from. Most of the banks and hotels show foreign channels like DSTV, CNN, AlJAZEERA, EUROSPORT etc.

PAID WORK IN THE GAMBIA

Except for ECOWAS nationals, that are allowed to work freely in some key government sectors like Education and Judiciary, other nationals are only allowed to work as expatriate and have to go through a scrutiny and get approval from the immigration department, before they can be permitted to work with the government.

However, investors are allowed to bring in their work force, provided they abide by the immigration laws of obtaining a work/residential permit. Openings exist all year round for qualified teachers in Senior secondary schools all over the country.

Most of the vacancies are usually filled by Nigerians, Ghanaians, Senegalese, Sierra-Leoneans, Liberians and a handful of other ECOWAS nationals. Openings also exist for lecturers in University of The Gambia, several professional training institutes and other tertiary institutes like Management Development Institute (MDI), Gambia College and Gambia Technical Training Institute (G.T.T.I).

Although, the private institutes remuneration is higher than the government pay scale. Most of the secondary schools in the provinces are in need of teachers, most teachers rather prefer to transfer to the urban cities leaving the rural villages without qualified teaching force.

Government subsidized schools remuneration package for non-Gambian teachers are between D3,500-D4,000 per shift (Morning or afternoon) depending on the entry level experience and qualification. The private schools pay between D4,500-D10,000, depending on the school and experience of the teacher.

Most schools prefer teachers that have gathered «Gambian experience», meaning, they must have taught in The Gambia for some years to understand the system. Combining both shifts means more income. Most government schools prefer to pay full salary for the morning shift and half salary for the afternoon shift. There are other several opportunities of income earning, by organizing study classes for the students after close of school by some teachers. Most teachers often change school to those paying more, and every term witnesses a mass drift of teachers around.

The coveted schools are: Marina International, SBEC, Zenith, SOS, Scanaid and West African International. Linguistics and sciences are the preferred subjects often in high demand. English language, English Literature, Mathematics, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Agric Science, Applied Electricity etc, are «hot cake» subjects for most schools.

ECOWAS qualified teachers (M.Sc, B.Sc & HND holders in the subjects listed above) are usually being employed in secondary schools in The Gambia.

Other professionals needed to work in the private sectors are:

1. Lawyers with LL.b degree that have successfully completed Law school and called to Bar to work as

Magistrates/Judges with the Ministry of Justice.

2. Professional Graphic & Website Designers.

3. Professional Advertisers.

4. Desktop & Laptop Repair Technicians.

5. Automobile Technicians.

6. Theater Arts & Dramatic artists.

7. Film Directors & Producers.

8. Professional Actors & Actresses.

9. Radio & T.V Programme Presenters.

10. Fish Breeding & Farming

11. Aquarium Making & Gold Fish Rearing.

12. Leadership Development Trainers.

13. Trainers in unique skills & vocations.

14. Cottage Industry set-up trainers ( Body creams, soaps, cartons, shoe polish etc.)

The financial industry has witnessed a phenomenal growth with addition of more banks joining the league recently, bringing the total number of banks to fourteen in The Gambia. Most of these Nigerian banks are opening up branches and will need more staff.

Although, it is far cheaper to hire the locals than expatriate by the banks, because of the special tax paid for not hiring Gambians. The same rule applies to the Hotel and Tourism industry. The Non Governmental Organizations, NGOs are allowed to bring in their personnel.

Volunteers are also welcome in The Gambia. Volunteers can have a cultural immersion and gain international experience in this peaceful country. For holiday makers, i will recommend visiting this small but unique country for those in search of a Peaceful, Affordable and Memorable African Retreat (PAMAR!)

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

1. ECOWAS CITIZENS

The government welcome investment in all sectors, special attention is, however, given to Agriculture because of the importance of food security to any nation. Other sectors like Real Estate & Properties, Mining Industry, Hotel & Tourism, Health, Education, Manufacturing and Agro- allied Sectors are key areas to go into and get government incentive, in tax relief and total support.

ECOWAS citizens enjoy free movement of persons and goods within the 16 countries block, the required capital needed to re-locate to the Gambia to work, live, invest or holiday is far less than what is required to settle down in other ECOWAS countries. With the electricity tariffs coming down (thanks to the government initiative), NAWEC, the electricity company is doing her best to guarantee stable supply of electricity and many businesses solely rely on this stable electricity supply.

Incidences of armed robbery attack are very rare. I have not noticed or witness or hear about armed robbery attacks in the last six years. I only read in one of the newspapers, one or two times, about such attacks in the provinces some few years ago. People move about without fear of molestation or attack. Petty mobile phone theft are usually common.

The residential houses are affordable, and rents of one to three months advance payments, are demanded. The people are warm and hospitable. For as little as D500 per month, a room can be rented around the busy areas like Brikama, Latrikunda, Lamin,Tabokoto, Wellingara and Coastal road areas.

The 2-bed room apartments with all the conveniences goes for between D1,500-D2,500 per month in these areas depending on the finished taste and proximity to the busy highways. ECOWAS citizens can enter and settle in the country with opportunities to start small businesses.

For these wise residents in the country, there are several businesses to choose from and do effortlessly in this investment friendly country. Anyone coming to The Gambia for the first time, must first of all plan and prepare, knowing what to do and where to stay and having adequate information about the culture and business climate.

2. WORLDWIDE INVESTORS ( MEDIUM/ LARGE SCALE BUSINESSES)

The specific areas, wise investors, can rush into to invest presently, from our detailed research findings are:

A) Setting up a private University with residential campus to attract all ECOWAS citizens.

B) Eateries like MacDonald’s, Chicken George, Mr. Briggs, Sweet Sensation, Tantalizers, TFC, etc

C) Botanical Garden/ Love Garden around the Tourist areas.

D) Building low Cost Homes to be sold or rented out to people.

E) Ground nut processing factory.

F) Feed Mill for Poultry, Rabbitry and Turkey Production.

G) Cashew Processing Factory (CNS Oil, brake oil, glue, rubber,electrical wires etc).

H) Natural Juice canning factory ( Fruits like mangoes, orange, lime etc abound).

I) Fresh Flower production and export.

J) Fish Canning/ Food packaging for export.

There are other 90 businesses we have surveyed to be potential instant money earners for wise investors to take on. Kindly request for a detailed project profile on this. The Gambia Investment Promotion and Free Zones Agency, (GIPFZA) welcome investors with unique offers of tax relief, government support and non-bureaucratic processing of necessary documents to allow for quick set-up and investment in The Gambia.

To have a fair idea of the business climate, i recommend that all potential investors read the latest business directory (The Gambia Business Directory).

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT & BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

The Gambia, though small, but has a robust economy with fourteen commercial banks, four GSM companies, a good number of airlines plying the subregion and the outside world. There are more than five daily newspapers, around eight radio stations and many hotels of international standards including the 5-star Sheraton Hotel.

The major roads from the airport to most busy commercial centers like Kairaba, Brufut, West Field, Senegambia, Brikama, Latrikunda and Banjul are all tarred with well lighted street lights. Clean, fresh and treated pipe borne water is available to most homes 24hrs uninterrupted.

Communication and internet services are quite cheaper than most other countries. The cost of starting a business in The Gambia is far cheaper both in the short term and long term. The real estate business is enjoying a great boom with 30% return yearly on investments, and the Meltdown phenomenon is not easily noticeable in The Gambia.

The Gambia is a tourist destination and repeated visitors are common in this wonderful and peace loving smiling coast of The Gambia. Although, The Gambia is a tax based economy, the government makes substantial earnings from Tourism and exportation of agricultural commodities like Groundnut, Fishes, Cotton and solid minerals.

It is mandatory for every resident to have a TIN number(Tax Identification Number) before a bank account can be opened. New buildings are coming up daily and it is common sight,to see most of the property owners advertising their phone contacts for those interested in renting or leasing these properties from high rise buildings in Senegambia axis, Kairaba, Fajara, West Field, Tallinding, Tabokoto, Abuko, Lamin, Yundum etc.

Gambians in diaspora are rushing home to invest in this high yielding property sector. A visitor that last visited the country a year ago, will notice a remarkable difference in this infrastructural developments. The Gambia is a clean country, especially with the introduction of the monthly cleaning exercises, called «SETSETAL», which is a special cleaning day for everybody on the last Saturday of the month between the hours of 8-1pm and thereafter there is free movement.

Municipal officials go around to ensure the wastes are properly disposed and ensure compliance to the law, that all shops and businesses most be closed and no movement of commercial vehicles, until the end of the cleaning exercise.

Health wise, it is safe to live in The Gambia, because the health delivery system is very efficient and well equipped with the best medical personnel in The world. There are various health centers, well spread around the country with ambulances standing by to quickly evacuate emergencies to Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital, RVTH, Banjul where complicated cases are usually taken.

Visitors coming for the first time, therefore, are advised to take the appropriate vaccinations recommended. ECOWAS citizens must take vaccinations against yellow fever, meningitis, Polio etc and ensure these are stamped on their Yellow Card, this is even taken more seriously, when traveling by road through Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal to The Gambia. Not having a valid Yellow Card could cost you a fortune in fines you’ll be asked to Pay!

Medical services is free to Gambians, except the registration card which is D5 only. ECOWAS citizens are, however, required to pay for cost of treatment and hospitalization, depending on the treatment. Tourist visiting The Gambia are advised to have a Travel Insurance when visiting

Transportation within the country is affordable. Moving from one location to another is quite easy. There are three categories of commercial road transportation. One, is the commercial Bus, that only allow maximum of three passengers on a row which is convenient, unlike four on a row in several other countries. This type of buses go around the major destinations like Banjul to Serrekunda (D6), Banjul to Tabokoto (D10), Banjul to Brikama (D15), Serrekunda to Senegambia (D5) etc.

The second category is the yellow and green painted taxis that take people for D5 a drop or chartered services for most tourists and locals, called «Town Trip». The last category, are the green painted and branded «Tourist Taxis» for tourists from and to the airport, hotel areas, most beaches and historical sites for new visitors. They are more expensive than the yellow painted ones.

Except when it is very important, first time visitors are, however, encouraged to avoid going out around the rush hours, like 7-8am and 4-6pm, especially when commuters are going to or returning from work. From Tabokoto, Lamin, West field, Serrekunda and Brikama in the morning to Banjul and returning back home in the evening is always very hectic and expensive to take a taxi. The bus-stops are usually congested and the traffic chaotic around these periods.

There are many well organized tour operators with luxurious air conditioned buses to pick from and to the airport all visitors and tourist that arrange their visits through them. They also partner with most hotels on tours to historical sites and around the cities.

There area ferry services available to transport people across the River Gambia. From Barra to Banjul is D25 only. Visitors can come in to the country either by land through The Gambian border with Senegal at Hamdallah, or from Guinea and Cassamace, Senegal through Basse. By air is through the only airport at Yundum. The Banjul International Airport, one of the best in the subregion with the longest run-way and modern radial facilities installed.

The airport is not always busy and travelers should always inform someone to pick them at the airport, especially during the weekends when commercial activities are low. However, tourist taxis are available at any time for between D500-D800 depending on the distance, usually between 15-30km from the airport.

There is a Bureau de Change at the airport to change money from other currencies like Euro, dollars, pounds and CFA to Dalaisi. For Visa Card carriers, there is ECO Bank ATM at the airport. Bank PHB and Trust bank also have their ATMs at the airport.

On arrival in the country, when you hear «Nagadef?», meaning how are you, just answer «Jamarek», meaning i’m fine. After a hand shake, say «Jerejef», meaning thank you.

Jerejef, Jarama, Baraka (meaning thank you in 3 different local languages).

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Amazing Facts About Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher, a seven time World Champion is a German Formula One driver. He is one of the famous champions, well known for his racing. The number of races he has taken up so far is 304 with 91 tremendous wins. He started his Formula One racing successfully in the year 1991 with Benetton F1 team. He switched on to Ferrari team in the year 1996, up to 2005 he was driving for Ferrari team with consecutive winnings. In the year 2006, he retired from F1 but joined as Formula One advisor with Ferrari. Later in the year 2010, he signed up a three year contract with Mercedes GP team and returned back to racing again.

Schumacher career as a racer is a wonderful journey without any controversies. He is the only racer who has achieved too many records with a huge inspiration. He has gone through several injuries and accidents. He is extremely known for his quality and success. Apart from his success and stardom, he has also gone through lots of penalties when it comes to racing.

Michael Schumacher at the Indian Grand Prix

It was a great honour for Indian fan to have such a legend of F1 to race in the Indian Grand Prix. He finished in the 5th position by scoring 10 points in 2011 Indian GP. When asked about his thoughts of racing in India, Schumacher said «I have always been curious to get to know new cultures, so I am looking forward to travelling to India as I haven’t been there.» After finishing his race for the year 2011, «The Formula 1 debut of India last year was certainly a success,» said Schumacher. He is also excited and awaiting for the Indian GP, 2012.

Amazing Facts about Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher has a lucky pendant, and it is noted that he does not drive without this pendant.

He is not interested in letting his son to take up f1 racing but he will advice him for some other sports like golf or tennis.

He likes to design cars and has done some designing for the Ferrari.

He does not have any friends in Formula One.

He does not talk with his brother Ralf Schumacher, who is also a racer.

He has a unique character or hobby of collecting watches.

Michael Schumacher Latest News

Schumacher couldn’t make a victory in the three years with Mercedes team. «I thought that two years was sufficient time to take the title,» Schumacher told, «It was a team that had just won the world championship, and was now a big name as Mercedes. I thought that, if we put two and two together, we would drive it forward towards that end. But it did not succeed.»

Michael Schumacher is looking forward to return back to India for the upcoming Indian Grand Prix, 2012. He stated that «There were a surprising amount of fans during the weekend, and the track itself really is cool. We drivers were given a very enthusiastic reception, and it will be interesting to see if this enthusiasm has remained as strong.»

He has made an official announcement regarding his retirement at the end of this season, 2012. He said «Bye bye to Formula One racing».

Schumacher’s Hobbies

Riding horses

Skiing

Swimming

Tennis

Football

Soccer

Yachting

Jogging

Michael Schumacher Favorites

Food: Italian food

Music: Rock

Singer: Michael Jackson, Collins

Drink: Apple Juice with mineral water

Schumi loves pets and he has rabbits, horses, turtles, and dogs at his farm in Switzerland.

He enjoys smoking cigars and drinking wine.

He loves soccer and even he plays for a Swiss team.

Awards

ADAC Motorsports Personality of the Year, 1992

Golden Steering Wheel Award, 1993

AvD Sports Award, 1994

German Sports Personality of the Year, 1995

Silver Laurel Award, 1997

Golden Lion Award, 1997

World Sport Award, 2001

Champion of Champions, 2001

World Sports Personality of the Year, 2002

Champion of Sports, 2002

European Sports Personality of the Year, 2002

Honorary Ambassador for the Republic of San Marino, 2003

World Sports Personality of the Year, 2004

Sports Personality of the Century, 2004

Prince of Asturias Award for Sport, 2007

Knighthood in the Legion of Honour, 2010

GQ Sportsman of the Year, 2010

Social Contribution

Michael Schumacher Social Contribution mainly involved in charity and helping the poor and under privileged children with education and health facilities. Some of the organizations that he is associated with are:

UNICEF

Red Cross

UNESCO

All the above information about Michael Schumacher has clearly indicates that he one of the worldwide personality. As a most successful F1 driver, he has created a great impact in f1 and also stood as an inspiration for the upcoming racers.

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Chelsea Season Preview 2008

Of all the ‘Big 4’ clubs, the season ahead should be most interesting for Chelsea. After all, they’ve got a new coach in Big Phil Scholari and it looks like they will also have a new-look squad as well. But can Roman’s Blue Army continue to compete at the very top?

As I write this article, no major names have exited Stamford Bridge but the likes of Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba might well end up somewhere else come the start of the season which would be a tremendous blow to Chelsea. These two players have been central to their success over recent seasons and keeping them would represent more of a coup than bringing in any of the global superstars Chelsea have been linked with. The reason is that they’re already tried and tested in the squad and in the Premiership and you know that they will do the business over the course of a season.

Last season saw some notable flops at Chelsea, most notably Florent Malouda who came in from Lyon and never really hit the heights that were expected of him. If you consider he was supposed to be a replacement for Arjen Robben, then it further highlights how disappointing Malouda actually was. A big plus for Chelsea though was the emergeance of Micheal Ballack as a true Premiership star. His first season was a let down with so many fans expecting big things from the German skipper, but particularly towards the end of last season he showed himself to be one of the top players in the league. If Chelsea can get a good season out of him, then it will make all the difference to their success.

Who do Chelsea need to bring in? Well, if they lose Drogba then they certainly need a forward to lead the line. It is possible that Chelsea could revert to a 4-4-2 system for the first time in many years if Big Phil does play the kind of attacking football we expect him to. If this is the case then two big name forwards might well be required depending on whether Anelka is up to the job. Deco is a name that has been heavily linked to Chelsea and his arrival would be a great coup for both Chelsea and the Premiership.

As much as I can see Chelsea football shirts regaining the gold Premiership badge by making the right signings and landing on their feet this year, I can also invisage them getting it totally wrong and slipping down the Premiership pecking order. If I had to make a prediction, I’d say they’ll finish third or fourth in the Premiership, but make a big impact on the European stage. However, I’m fully prepared to be wrong on this one.

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The Special Relationship Between Ireland and Scotland

There are many links between Ireland and Scotland and the two countries have developed a close relationship. In this article I’m going to explore the historical and cultural links that lie at it’s heart.

From earliest times the two countries, formed a single cultural, religious, linguistic and economic zone. The early Scots who came to Scotland from Ireland in the 5th and 6th centuries established the foundations for Irish – Scottish migrations, which continue to this day. Two of the most significant migrations were:

under the influence of the english who were keen to shore up their foothold in Ireland, over 200,000 scots emigrated to Ireland. In the second half of the nineteenth century there was a mass exodus from Ireland to England and Scotland as a result of poverty and famine. Irish labour helped Scottish industrialisation to take root rapidly. In major cultural achievements, too, each country affected the other profoundly. The Scottish Enlightenment, began in Ireland in the work of the philosopher Francis Hutcheson, who later moved to Glasgow and greatly influenced the work of David Hume and Adam Smith.

One of the key links between the two counties in the large Diaspora of each. Tens of millions of citizens with Scottish and Irish ancestry can be found across the globe in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. Both countries are keen to engage on their Diasporas. This recently happened in Scotland, with the Scottish Tourist board calling on Scots living abroad to come home.

In Scotland today people of Irish decent are the single largest minority ethnic group, and there are a large number of Scots living in Ireland. The English ‘issue’ brought both countries together – the need to preserve their identity in the shadow of a powerful neighbouring culture. I will now take a look at some of the shared aspects of culture – traditional clothing, music and sport.

A commonality between the culture if the two countries in clearly shown in the wearing of the kilt – a clear link between the two nations is. Irish kilts are traditionally plain in either saffron of green, with Irish county tartans a more recent variation.

Sport is another areas that has links, interestingly the Irish-Scots were instrumental in the formation of Celtic Football Clubs Hibernian and Dundee United. Indeed, these teams were originally formed to provide recreational facilities for Irish immigrants.

Celtic music has a strong historical traditional in Scotland and Ireland with both using fiddles, bagpipes, whistles and bodhrans. Often, the term Celtic music is applied to the music of Ireland and Scotland however, it is notable that Irish and Scottish traditional musicians tend to point out the differences between the too.

Today the relationships between Ireland and Scotland continues to be shaped by the changes to the political dynamic brought about by devolution in Scotland, the Peace Process in Northern Ireland as well as the deeper integration into the European Union, which is and will remain Scotland and Ireland’s most significant economic relationship.

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Are We Living Beyond Our Means?

The state of the economy affects the state of the property market, both directly (sales prices) and indirectly (difficult loans). Without being necessarily experts on the economy, we understand that the way out of the prevailing situation is to encourage development and business expansion, to add confidence to those daring investors, especially those involved in large projects and reduce bureaucracy. We will also add that we need some sort of «economy patriotism» by all of us, so the individual «sacrifice» large or small can benefit the whole country.

As we have noted extreme measures do not rally the patriotic feeling that we need (see Greece with the bombing reactions etc and more recently in France with the pension proposals).

Our Government, we cannot say, it gets top marks in its economy administration. This Government has inherited from the previous Government €½ bil. excess and over the 2 years of its governance, it has managed to spend it all and borrow another €1½ bil. Economic reports including that of the E.U. and the Governor of the Central Bank encourages this Government to cut down spending with the primary consideration the wage bill of the civil service. Yet, whereas the civil service accepts a reduction of salaries for all incoming wages for new incoming staff, this Government does not agree with (civil servants get approximately 1.75 time more than equivalent jobs in the private practice) and all this, notwithstanding the fact that the opposing parties agree with the reduction!! Governmental spending includes also projects that are not necessary those which will help the Cyprus economy over the immediate future. The Culture Center (which will cost around €100 mil.) is an example, as is the new Pafos-Polis road (notwithstanding the fact that we are all for it, it could be postponed by 1-1½ years), the Akamas national park (estimated cost over €250 mil.) and various smaller but numerous «voting chasers projects» which amount to €15-€20 mil.

As if all these were not enough, we have a situation with the Qatar investment, which could amount to over €150 mil. upfront cash, plus the remaining fringe benefits from this 55.000 sq.mts. development (including the establishment of a business hub for the gulf states and emirates). Our experience so far is that opposing politicians will do just about everything to cancel the project regardless, various professionals emanating purely from own promotion/jealousy etc have adopted a small-mindness approach and no one is considering what the affects will be if the Qatar fund pulls out and the «message» that this will be passed on to international investors (we have invited as Government the Qatar fund to invest and then we said no!!).

The very bad handling of Eurocypria airline, which is shutting down at a cost of €50 mil. (the damage to Cyprus tourism apart), is an addition of the whole very bad situation.

Another aspect, not directly related to the economy, but related to real estate sales abroad, is the level of security. The level of individual security’s feeling is falling, but still it has retained its European 3rd best secured position, because the other countries are also having a deteriorating situation. Handbag thefts are increasing, organized crime (relating to prostitution and gambling) is increasing and problematic/violent behavior (see football matches) is the ordinary situation. Yet the Chief of Police complain that 25% of the newcomers police officers are women and that % is increasing fast and his suggestion to have a women’s quota has been rejected (a huge mistake), so in a few years who is going to handle the night policing, the drags raids and football hooligans?

These are some of the points that trouble us and we wanted to share our thoughts with you. The economy and its prospects depend on many factors, local and international, but may be at the end of the day, we, as Cypriots, sit back and relax like nothing is happening, driving a car down hill with increasing speed? Should the economy not be above political ambitions and should we not ask politicians to project themselves for the benefit of the economy of the country?

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Republican Election Interference: Lessons in History Series 2

American audiences love sequels. If you loved or hated the Mueller report, you will love or hate the congressional sequel as public impeachment hearings begin November 13. Donald Trump appeared to get away with «in your face» election interference in 2016. Can he do it again in 2020? If so, will he go for a third or fourth sequel?

But there’s more. Trump’s episodes are a repeat of Nixon’s dramas in 1968 and 1972. President Johnson and top officials around him knew that Nixon got away with interfering in foreign policy in 1968 and thus won election through international dirty tricks. Although unknown at the time, the Watergate break-in was a sequel in domestic policy to Nixon’s successful interference of 1968.

Even as the outcome of the unfolding impeachment drama remains uncertain, three historical lessons can be seen although their outcomes can’t be predicted at this time. Contrary to what you hear, history does not repeat itself. But some themes and patterns recur, taking unexpected shapes that raise new dangers and possibilities as in the case of these three lessons.

Lesson One: Parallelism. Nixon was caught during his second term for illegally meddling in an election he was sure to win. He had gotten away with illegal meddling in the 1968 election as President Johnson sealed the evidence out of concern for national security. Donald Trump meddled in the 2016 campaign in front of television cameras. The investigation into his actions were kept secret even as investigations of his opponent impacted the campaign. Trump damaged the effectiveness of the Mueller Report by attacking it for two years then having his Attorney General undermine it as it was released. Despite evidence that should have led to impeachment, it appeared that meddling during the 2016 campaign might not prevent Trump’s re-election.

The parallel with Nixon becomes clear after the Mueller Report. Needing still more Russian help to win re-election, Trump began to drum up investigations into his most feared opponent in 2020 by using military aid funded by congress to extort the president of Ukraine. This was not done before cameras but in the presence of seasoned diplomatic professionals who understood the dangers to our national security.

Seeming to have escaped meddling for a first term, as Nixon had also escaped, Trump was caught doing the same thing for a second term. The whistleblower’s complaint had the effect of the botched Watergate break-in. Both events brought into the light events meant to happen in secret. Investigations then led to conscience-stricken individuals standing before cameras exposing presidential underhandedness to the world.

Lesson Two: Predictable versus Unpredictable Outcome. Media commentators and political scientists are behaving more like football announcers when they focus on political gamesmanship to predict the outcome of this impeachment process. The outcome of the Bill Clinton impeachment became clear when Senate Democrats stood behind him, agreeing with most of the American people that he had done wrong but should not have been impeached. The outcome for Nixon, however, was not predictable. He was not impeached or put on trial because support collapsed to the point that he resigned rather than endure the process. Therefore, if impeaching Trump fails, it will happen predictably as Senate Republicans follow Mitch McConnell and hold the line. If impeachment succeeds, it will most likely take a course not being predicted at this time and will demonstrate the skill of Nancy Pelosi for negotiating impossible situations.

This impeachment process depends on the contest between Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi. It is possibly the last battle of the war between them since the Affordable Care Act (ACA). McConnell held the Republican line in the Senate when the ACA passed with a 60-vote Democratic majority. Soon thereafter, Democrats lost one of those seats and it appeared certain the House would never accept the Senate version. That is when Pelosi did the impossible, proving herself to be a closer when it counts – even when it meant losing the majority in the House. McConnell then used the ACA to defeat Democrats for four consecutive congressional elections. But elimination of the ACA only became possible after the victory of 2016 with the victory of Trump. That’s when public opinion turned as it became clear there was no Republican alternative to the benefits millions of people would lose.Mitch McConnell appears to have the upper hand if impeachment moves to trial in the Senate. No one doubts he intends to stand by the party rather than the country – he already committed to that choice in the election of 2016 when he refused to support President Obama’s actions against Russian interference.

However, Nancy Pelosi gets to manage the process before it goes to the Senate. She has an impressive record of winning when she commits to fights and should not be underestimated. She has also demonstrated her commitment to country more than party. If her strategy leads to successfully bringing down Donald Trump, it will almost certainly follow a route no one can predict as public hearings begin.

Lesson Three: Russia and China. Nixon meddled in two elections while we were in a war in Vietnam. Our enemy was North Vietnam, but we knew they were a proxy for China and Russia. Nixon was also extremely skillful in reorienting national policies toward China and Russia in ways that clearly promoted world peace and did not undermine our international alliances.

Any true disciple of Nixon Republicanism must be shocked that the Nixon revenge squad of Roger Ailes, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone used Russian help to elect Donald Trump. The meddling in Ukraine also helps Russia while demonstrating to other allies that we can’t be trusted.

Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan would roll over in their graves (if such a thing were possible) at the prospect of a Republican president single-handedly cow-towing to Russia, attacking our European allies, undermining the confidence of South Korea and Japan, and sending our farmers into recession through a trade war with China that has permanently undermined agricultural supply chains. These achievements of the first term will be followed by greater catastrophes if current election meddling brings a second Trump presidential term.

Conclusion. Richard Nixon undermined peace efforts in Vietnam as part of running for president in 1968. Lyndon Johnson hid that deed from the public out of concern for national security. Nixon meddled in the election of 1972, was caught, and had to resign to escape impeachment. Three Nixon followers out for revenge (Roger Ailes, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone) helped Donald Trump win the election of 2016 with Russian support. Trump’s opponent was known to be under FBI investigation but news of a more serious investigation into Trump was kept secret. The FBI investigation resulted in the work of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller which was successfully obstructed. Mueller’s results played by the rules in a way that seemed to reward obstruction. With the help of a compliant Attorney General, it looked as if Trump had escaped. Then came news of a whistleblower, like the surprising news of the Watergate break-in. This led to a series of professionals telling the truth to congress and prompted an impeachment inquiry.

Like Nixon, Trump was caught with smoking gun in his hand. Both got away with murder the first time. Will Trump escape the second time?

The answer depends on the American people and Nancy Pelosi. The public is about to hear the truth. Will we recognize it and demand removal of this president? If impeachment succeeds, it will happen because of the insight and integrity of Nancy Pelosi and her team. And the outcome will be something none of us can predict as the public hearings begin.

References on Nixon’s 1968 Election Interference:

Peter Baker, «Nixon Tried to Spoil Johnson’s Vietnam Peace Talks in ’68, Notes Show,» The New York Times (January 2, 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/02/us/politics/nixon-tried-to-spoil-johnsons-vietnam-peace-talks-in-68-notes-show.html.

John A. Farrell, «When a Candidate Conspired With a Foreign Power to Win An Election,» Politico Magazine (August 6, 2017), https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/06/nixon-vietnam-candidate-conspired-with-foreign-power-win-election-215461.

Robert Johnson, «Did Nixon Commit Treason in 1968? What The New LBJ Tapes Reveal,» History News Network, https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/60446.

Charles Wheeler, «The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon’s ‘treason’,» BBC News Magazine (March 22, 2013), https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21768668.

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World Cup Goalkeepers – Edwin van der Sar

A towering personality Edwin van der Sar is probably the best goalkeeper to have played for Netherlands. Born on the October 29, 1970, he began his football career by playing for his local city team FC Foreholte in Voorhout.

His athleticism and sharp reflexes under the bar brought him to the notice of major clubs. He first moved to VV Noordwijk, and from there to Ajax. He was apart of the Ajax team that won the UEFA Champions League in 1995.

Van der Sar hit big time when he moved to Juventus. In 2001, he joined Fulham, and started playing in the English Premier League. His biggest change came in 2005, when he moved to Manchester United for a rumored 2 million pounds. The green uniform of Manchester United also won him a nickname: Jolly Green Giant.

Van der Sar wore the national jersey for the first time in 1995 when he played for Netherlands against Belarus. Since then he has played more than a 100 matches for his country, and is likely to emerge as the most capped Dutch player.

His crowning moment was when he won the penalty shootout against Sweden in the Euro 2004 quarter final. This was the first time that the Dutch had won a penalty shoot-out. Van der Sar is admired for his grit and determination, and his ability to analyze the moves of the opposition forwards.

Some of the trophies that have come his way are Champions League, European Super Cup, and Intercontinental Cup.

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The Potential of a Chinese Website

China is constantly in the news at present due to its phenomenal economic expansion. With more and more businesses wanting to invest in China and more Chinese businesses wanting to export abroad, the Chinese market is booming. In short, China is on the fast-track to becoming a world economic heavyweight.

The potential for lucrative business ventures within the country are unquestionable. One avenue that offers businesses huge inroads into the country is the internet. A Chinese website, properly structured and considered, provides a point of contact to millions of potential new clients and customers. All the signs are pointing to the fact that companies that act now in getting their websites translated into Chinese and properly marketed using local search engines, stand the best chance of capitalizing on a fairly young economic gold mine.

Looking at recent business activity and reports from China, the internet is looking strong and healthy. Both Google and Yahoo! are now involved with the Chinese internet industry in one way or another. Google most recently launched its AdWords business in China. The local Chinese search engine Baidu.com just floated on the stock market with massive success. Statistics show that the number of internet users in 2005 stands at 103 million users, a mere 7.9% of the Chinese population. With greater access to the internet and falling prices for computing hardware, this figure will only increase. Furthermore, an increasing number of European and American companies are seeking to break into the market through Chinese websites, most notably Liverpool and Manchester United Football Clubs who both clearly see the financial potential of selling their goods to a hungry Chinese audience.

The sign clearly says, «China – Land of Business Opportunity». For businesses wanting to profit from this growing market place the Chinese website is critical. Chinese internet users are turning more and more to the internet as a source of information, goods and services. Companies that deal with anything from clothing to tourism to consulting are all in demand. Those that get a place in the market now will see secure future revenue.

In the grand scheme of things, the returns a Chinese website brings outweighs the small initial costs involved in producing it. A Chinese website will act as your marketing tool, attract new customers, give you a competitive edge and ultimately increase your revenue.

Prior to having your Chinese website translated or designed you need to know who you are targeting. When this article refers to «China» it means mainland China. In China the «simplified» script is used. However, in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia the «traditional» script is used. Be sure to use the correct script when having your website translated.

There are two ways of going about presenting your Chinese website. Firstly, to have your whole site translated into Chinese. This however can only really work for small, compact sites. Larger sites will need a larger financial outlay. Secondly, a company may decide to produce a «microsite». This is where the most important information about a company is translated and condensed into a few pages so a Chinese visitor can access the basics about who you are, what you do and how to contact you.

To get your Chinese website up and running you will need a good translation or localization agency. They will be able to analyse your current site, understand the purpose of your site, help define your target audience and then take care of the translation of the site’s content into Chinese. Some agencies can also take care of the website design work too.

Other services you may need to consider ensuring maximum impact of your site are a Cross Cultural Assessment and Search Engine Marketing. A cross cultural assessment is carried out by an expert in cultural differences. They will look at the structure of your site, the use of colours, pictures, logos and presentation to make sure it is not offensive to a Chinese audience. They will also advise on what could help boost your site’s appeal. For example, the use of the colour red is considered auspicious in China.

Once you have your Chinese website you will need to be found. A few companies now provide multilingual search engine marketing. This is where your website will be submitted to major Chinese search engines and directories; structured using certain key search terms and phrases and promoted on the internet through links from other sites.

Expansion beyond national borders is imperative for today’s businesses seeking long term growth. China clearly is a fantastic opportunity for businesses looking for a potential source of revenue from overseas. A young, internet savvy population demonstrate that a Chinese website is one of the most reasonable yet highly successful means of tapping the market.

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EPL Season 2007-08 – Your Player Transfer Guide

Shirley Bassey’s song Big Spender could not come truer for the 20-club English Premiership League. With the new season starting on 11 August 2007, the transfer outlay for the 20 top soccer clubs in England has already exceeded the £300m spent last season – then already setting a dubious expenditure record. In fact, soccer pundits expect their total outlay is to surpass the magical £500m mark by the time the transfer window shuts on 31 August 2007, which is more than enough to feed millions of homeless people around the world. Indeed, the EPL is by far the world’s most successfully and obscenely expensive soccer league.

Get this: with the latest television deal signed and sealed, the worldwide TV rights almost doubled to £625m, including highlights, radio, Internet and mobile-phone contracts, total amount expected to be poured into the game is well over £2.7b for the next three years. As consumers, we are indirectly funding this amount of money by paying more to watch live TV action.

Strange enough, baring an exception 1995 whereby the title was won on the last day by Blackburn Rovers, the crown has been worn by only three clubs, with Manchester United dominating follow by Arsenal and Chelsea. We find it difficult to believe that the title will escape from the clutches of any of these three clubs in the coming new season. But who knows? Perhaps Liverpool, the most successful English club in history with their massive outlay this season, will win their first ever EPL title.

In the latest transfer market, Manchester United has fired the first salvo by spending over £50m to procure new players so far. Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspurs are playing catch-up after spending over £30m each, with surprising Portsmouth, West Ham and Fulham over £20m each, and Arsenal, Sunderland, Birmingham and Chelsea a little over £10m each. With the league being so lucrative, it is easy to understand why even modest clubs are splurging to maximum their chances of staying up for as many seasons as possible. This is evidenced by the transfer dealings of new Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez, who sanctioned more than £20m worth of deals, well surpassing the measly £1m spent four years ago. And this makes Fulham the biggest spender in West London, surpassing the mighty Chelsea.

For people like me without deep pockets, I am contented with spending a few dollars on a wager that Shirley Bassey’s Big Spender will top the bill board charts once again this coming season. Don’t bet against it. Cheers.

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