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China Daily Mail

China’s once-in-a-decade leadership transition has been hit by reports of fresh scandal, with a senior ally of President Hu Jintao being demoted after sources said the ally’s son was involved in a deadly crash involving a luxury sports car.

The car – a Ferrari according to some of the sources – crashed in Beijing on March 18 in an embarrassment for the ruling Communist Party, sensitive to perceptions that children of top party officials live rich, privileged lifestyles completely out of touch with the masses, the sources said.

The country has already been rocked by the biggest political scandal in two decades – the sacking of Bo Xilai, an ambitious senior politician whose wife recently received a suspended death sentence for the murder of a British businessman in a case that also involved a mix of money and power.

The car crash, the details of which are still shrouded in…

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lifesocommon

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Out on the lush . Cheap booze at Thomas Burke
 in God’s own Country, England.

This was meant to be a cool drinker’s blog. And unfortunately, the ‘demon drink‘ played tricks up and the brain got lazy. Be that as it may,  I have often wondered why after one or 2 drinks the creative part of the brain works up. Chat up lines get more acute, vision gets better, its more fun and the world becomes one’s oyster.

I am not trying to glorify drink. No one should. However, I am also not trying to speak badly of drinking. Some people do. I have never been ‘holier than thou’ and shan’t start pretending to be after all the years of experience i have gathered. Like a moss. I have often had, and often recounted that the Bible recorded the first historical account of the acceptance of ‘alcohol’…

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London Wonderland

Zoological Society of London

Zoological Society of London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you ever visit London, don’t forget to spend a day at the London Zoo. The Zoological Society of London are doing a very good job helping preserve some endangered animals. These beautiful animals from all over the world are available for all visitors to see.  It’s also a place to learn about animals and their natural habitats.

I have always have had a rather love/hate relationship with zoos. A part of me, and I think a few other people feel the same way, always  felt its cruel removing wild animals from their natural habitats (Some of them very hot climes, tropical climes, etc) and supplant them in some zoo in Europe for the convenience of the paying public. Like putting all those beautiful fish in a gold bowl! However, the world aint that simple and things are not always straightforward. A lot of animals are at risk of becoming extinct, like the Dodo. Rhinos are especially susceptible. Several animal species are being killed unabated for ‘medicinal’, ‘sexual’, ‘fashion’  and other nefarious claims. Organisations like the Zoological Society of London are waging a war (unarmed war, I should add) against these barbaric people and organisations. And they will always require the support people provide. It would be splendid to go on a safari in Africa and watch the black and white rhinos minding their own business.  Chilling out in their own joint or den! Messing about with the Leopard and Gazelles!Would it not be marvelous to visit North America and watch the Bald Eagle rule the skies, flying majestically across the plains! Or watch in wonder at the majestic wonder at the  Peregrine Falcon‘s speed’ and also marvel at the beauty and athleticism of the Polar Bear. Or if North America is too cold, visit South America and watch the Macaw splendidly crisscrossing the forest hunting for ants; or even watch the Bespectacled Bear enjoying some semblance of freedom in Colombia. Why oh why even consider killing the rather cute Koala Bears-But people do. Isnt it sad that Free Willy or Kung Fu Panda are some of the best movies ever created by man, yet the same human species does not think twice  murdering the Pandas and Whales. It is sad. Every continent, every country has its shameless eople who are are killing these animals. Some generations will never know about these animals. It is a tragedy.

Even one so revered like the Dalai Lama felt compelled to urge people to respect the wildlife around us:

“Our ancestors viewed the Earth as rich and bountiful, which it is. Many people in the past also saw nature as inexhaustibly sustainable, which we now know is the case only if we care for it. It is not difficult to forgive destruction in the past which resulted from ignorance. Today, however, we have access to more information, and it is essential that we re-examine ethically what we have inherited, what we are responsible for, and what we will pass on to coming generations. Our marvels of science and technology are matched if not outweighed by many current tragedies, including human starvation in some parts of the world, and the extinction of other life-forms. The exploration of space takes place at the same time as the Earth’s own oceans, seas, and fresh water areas grow increasingly polluted. Many of the Earth’s habitats, animals, plants, insects, and even micro-organisms that we know as rare may not be known at all by future generations. We have the capability, and the responsibility. We must act before it is too late.”

This is why organisations like the ZSL must be applauded for a good job they are doing. London Zoo is remarkable. It hosts some of the most beautiful, and most endangered animals from across the globe. The people looking after these animals are so welcoming. So sweet, you feel like wanting to be part of their team. Even for just a few hours.

There are so many animals to marvel at. There is so much to learn in this beautiful part of London. The staff are so helpful and quite informative. My favourite  animals were the wild dogs (Africa), the Lions, Tigers, fish…well I could go on and on. The penguins though did catch my eye. They were exceptional, and the talk was superb. We were lucky to be present during the feeding time. Ricky, one of the penguins there has actually become some celebrity. He has his own Facebook page. Its worth checking Ricky’s story and it worth finding out about all the animals in this zoo.

London has loads of great places to see and have fun. But there is no place that beats London Zoo. Visit and support the Zoological Society of London and with that, you will help ensure that at least one species of wildlife will survive for our children and grandchildren to see. We had a grand time visiting the zoo. One of my mates had never been to a zoo, let alone see wild life! He left London Zoo wondering how and why it had taken him so long to appreciate the beauty of wildlife. Next time in London, remember London Zoo. Love Life, Love London.

A gold medal with the olympic rings inside

A gold medal with the olympic rings inside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Its been a glorious 17 days of sporting action. London did the UK proud. I do not think London has ever seen anything like this before –  a 2 week (and a bit) carnival of sport and sheer joy.

I spend all of last week in London watching the games and doing the tourist bit too. I could not blog using my ipad because for some strange reason, the latest WordPress app update is malfunctional. There was me thinking updated technology was meant to make things easier.

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Any road, a fantastic time was had by all. The weather sulkily stayed good. It wouldn’t rain on this parade. The athletics was great. The athletes were superb. Even the Royal Family was out in full force supporting the Games. The highlight for me was watching the Men’s 200 metres and being totally overwhelmed by the sheer excellence of the Jamaican sprinters. Mo Farah won 2 Golds in the 5k and 10k – What an achievement. It takes guts, stamina, drive and some incredible motivation to achieve such a feat. And who will ever forget the ‘mobot’!. The Golden Girl, Jess Ennis did not disappoint either. She came, overcame all the others and delivered. Perfection! I was also impressed by Michael Phelps. What an amazing achievement! All those medals collected over 3 Olympiads. He is a legend and will forever be remembered as a fantastic athlete/swimmer. Another Legend I was honoured to watch was  the lightning bolt that is Usain Bolt, in the flesh. He has swept all before him. What an athlete. I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned up in Rio in 4 years and simply sprint away with the medals again. The British cycling Team was marvelous too. Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy, and the rest of the crew did not disappoint. The British Sailing team,Tennis players,  the Boxers, Pentathletes – all the athletes did remarkably well. Andy Murray finally won a title at Wimbledon! He was also oh so close to becoming a Double Gold medallist!  Football attendance  crowds beat all the records it is a pity Team GB ladies and men’s teams disappointed. However, the finalists gave us a good show. Brazil were shocked by Mexico, it seemed like the Brazilian team presumed they would walk away with the Gold medals. Congrats to Mexico. Many World records were set or broken-David Rodisha’s was exceptional. He simply annihilated all before him in winning the 800 metres.This young man is one to watch for the next few years. There was one other remarkable athlete who shall be remembered for his courage and athleticism- Oscar Pistorius. He fought hard to be included in the main Olympiad when others argued he should instead participate in the Paralympics. He did himself proud, his country and the whole world. Hats off to him.

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I hope this penny-pinching Government will continue supporting the sports people now the Olympics has left town. They have been making the right noises so far. However, I never trust politicians and I will not be surprised later if we find out the sports budget is somehow curtailed surreptitiously. A lot of effort and energy needs to be invested in competitive sport at Primary school and high school levels. Moreover, pupils should be made to realise you have to compete to win. Taking part is important, however, a winning mentality needs to be nurtured from a very young age. This is something I find quite disappointing every time I attend our local school sports day. There is no real competition at all. The remarkable achievements of the youngish Chinese and American swimmers are a case in point. Pupils should learn to compete at an early age and strive to be the best in whatever sport they take part in.

Some people my choose to disagree here with me. I found it hard to appreciate that BMX racing is an Olympic sport. Please! Roller-blading next!  Since we will be in Rio, maybe introduce Samba dancing as a sport too. I have got nothing against the BMX sport, however, I have always viewed it as a hobby. Walking marathon is another. Well,how does one train to be a walking marathonist? I just don’t get it. Golf has been added to the list of Olympic sports. I love watching Golf, but I seriously do not think its an Olympic sport. I don’t think anyone will ever convince me to think otherwise. Why are they leaving out Squash and or even Darts? These important people entrusted in making such decisions are a funny bunch indeed.

Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony was just as spectacular as the opening ceremony. Brits know how to throw a party! They did a good party. I will never forget watching the politicians dancing to the music, especially Boris Johnson!! It was interesting, didn’t realise the man could move! He is just as quick on his feet as he is with his one-liners! The ceremony was great. It did market some of the best bits about the UK to the outside world-I loved the convertibles on show! Wow! If I was some rich prince somewhere in the Middle East watching the Ceremony on my super-cool 3D, I would have been on the blower instructing one of my many assistants to get me one of the convertibles! It was a remarkable show and the Guardian’s apt description is on the money:  “a kaleidoscopic spectacle” that showed “the energy of British popular culture over the past few decades. We even had a glimpse of the Spice Girls, they arrived in London Cabs! It spiced the evening for me,and millions others. The imagination, artistic imagery and the crowd made it such a special occasion. A fitting end to the ‘best Olympics games‘ bar none. According to the Washington Post: “The host country truly was Great Britain. London delivered a rousing Olympics. …..the most organized, enthralling and enjoyable Games since Sydney in 2000.” London 2012 won a Gold Medal of its own. I hope people like Mitt Romney and the others who doubted this great City could deliver are eating humble pie. And I hope this is not the only misjudgment this Republican candidate has made.

Hats off to all those involved. The 70 000 volunteers were remarkable and made the games all the more enjoyable. The few we met were always smiling and always helpful. The crowds were magnificent too. Lets hope the Olympic spirit will linger longer and be like  an extra-strength dose of a mood-enhancing drug to the country and the economy.

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