Initiating Modern Home Building in Liberia: Floyd Thomas’ Laudable Example

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last Thursday proudly commended a young Liberian, Floyd Thomas, for taking the bold initiative to build a modern home complex in Paynesville that Liberians can buy for themselves.This is highly significant, even revolutionary, since this is not building houses just for rent—No!  These are houses you can buy as your own, just as it is done in the United States and elsewhere.Mr. Floyd Thomas, a Liberian entrepreneur, initiated this project.  He purchased 25 acres in Gbengbar Town, around the Voice of America (VOA) junction on the Robertsfield Highway.  His enterprise, the Premier Homes JV Company, is undertaking a gated housing complex, which means that security in such a secluded area will be guaranteed—the first thing home buyers need to be assured of.But in addition, President Sirleaf assured the developers that she will do everything to bring power and water to the community.  We hope that the Liberia Electricity Corporation’s Joe Meyers and the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation’s Charles Allen will waste NO time in supplying the complex with power and water.There are yet one very important person and a corporation to commend: Mr. Dewitt vonBallmoos, Managing Director, and his company, the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP).  It is they that provided the initial funding for the Gbengbar Town project. Does anyone remember the people who ran NASSCORP in the late 1990s and early 2000s and what they did to it? They looted it thoroughly and made themselves very rich—but what they did with those ill-gotten riches, heaven knows.But here, on the other hand, is this young man, Dewitt vonBallmoos, who has decided to make his parents, especially his mother, the eminent and talented Liberian musician and University of Liberia Choir Directress, Agnes vonBallmoos, and President Sirleaf proud.  Dewitt is running NASSCORP with the efficiency, integrity, vision and drive with which Lee Kuan Yew ran Singapore, turning that once impoverished city state into one of the world’s richest countries!We wish to remind our readers of what we said in yesterday’s  editorial—that Singapore and Liberia were on the same development plane in 1959, when he became that newly self-governing country’s Prime Minister—illiterate, undeveloped, backward.  In fact, mineral, land and rubber-rich Liberia, unlike Singapore, was then among the world’s fastest growing economies.  But what happened to Liberia, which is today one of the world’s poorest, whose people on average survive on hardly a dollar a day;  while Singapore boasts one of the world’s richest nations, with the per capita income of US$36,000?The reason for this incredible success story is, according to the leader of another Asian Tiger, Hong Kong, Lee Kuan Yew’s “integrity, tenacity, vision and drive.”  Lee, at the onset of his leadership, made it known that he was tolerating NO corruption, and that anyone found stealing government money or resources would be ruthlessly dealt with, including paying back EVERY CENT!Those who ran NASSCORP in the past have a whole lot about which to envy DeWitt vonBallmoos.  Look at what he and his coworkers, under his leadership, have already done with NASSCORP’s resources: they have built guest houses and an office complex in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, guest houses in Kakata, Margibi County and Voinjama, Lofa County, and the imposing office complex at ELWA Junction, now being occupied by another highly credible state enterprise, the newly created Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).And now NASSCORP’S latest intervention: it is they who have given the initial funding for Floyd Thomas’ building of Liberia’s latest private home complex in Paynesville.Mr. vonBallmoos was present when President Sirleaf dedicated the complex last Thursday.  He told the Daily Observer on Tuesday that NASSCORP’s initial funding of the project is expected to be followed by the intervention of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), whose President, John Davies, also participated in the Premier Homes ceremony.  LBDI is primed to engage with Premier Homes because the bank operates a US$10 million Central Bank of Liberia (CBL)-funded mortgage lending facility—the first of its kind here.In commending President Sirleaf for her encouragement, Mr. Thomas for his initiative and Mr. vonBallmoos for boldly funding this great initiative, we hope that Liberians here and abroad will patronize the homes, paving the way for Messrs. Thomas, vonBallmoos, Davies and others to do more to push Liberia ahead. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Jagdeo rubbishes Govt’s excuses for secret account

first_img…as FMA Act disproves claims transaction was above boardUS$18M bonusFollowing the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) intense criticism of the US$18 million signing bonus Government received from ExxonMobil, a counter argument was advanced that the previous Government had set up irregular accounts to receive sums of money during its tenure.Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, in seeking to make the case that holding monies outside of the Consolidated Fund was not unusual, had referred to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC). But on Thursday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo rubbished those criticisms.Jagdeo stressed during a press conference that the PPP has always placed monies in funds covered by the law. The same, he noted, cannot be said for the signing bonus which was placed in an account outside of the Consolidated Fund and the purview of the Auditor General.“They said that the Lotto Fund (monies) should have been transferred to the Consolidated Fund. (They said) we shouldn’t have kept monies in the Lotto Fund, the GGMC, in the Housing Fund, the Forestry Commission, NFMU (National Frequency Management Unit). Now every single one of those agencies had special funds set up by legislation. That is by acts of Parliament.”Jagdeo noted that while the previous administration has never put public monies where they were not covered by law, the coalition Government has done so in less than three years.Jagdeo slammed the fact that while the PPPC Administration was criticized for holding monies outside of the Consolidated Fund in funds provided for by law, anti-corruption advocates are now excusing this breach.“In less than three years, they’ve paid US$18 million in revenue in an account not provided for by Constitution or law,” Jagdeo said. “(These are) totally different situations. So all the spin by DPI and the ministers about how this happened before, it never happened before under the PPP. Let’s clear that.”ContradictionsWhile addressing the National Assembly, Greenidge had insisted that no laws were broken. He had referred to the fact that Section 37 (2) of the FMAA provides for public monies to be held in extra budgetary funds and deposit funds… that is, until they are credited to the Consolidated Fund.But Jagdeo pointed out that the FMA Act in fact contradicts Greenidge, who is a former Minister of Finance. Section 42 mandates that after a deposit fund is established, the minister has to inform the National Assembly of the fund’s existence.According to Section 42 (2) of the Act, the Minister also has to specify “the source or sources of the moneys in the deposit fund; the purpose or purposes for which moneys may be expended from the deposit fund; the banking arrangements for the deposit fund, and the intended investment strategy for the moneys deposited in the deposit fund.”The account for the signing bonus was set up at the Central Bank not by Act of Parliament or legislation, but by request from the Ministry of Finance. The transaction first came to light after Guyana Times published a leaked correspondence dated September 20, 2016 and addressed to the Governor of the Bank of Guyana with this subject: “Signing bonus granted by ExxonMobil – Request to open bank account”.It shows that Finance Secretary at the Finance Ministry, Hector Butts, had requested that a foreign currency account be opened at the Bank, in order to receive a deposit in the form of a ‘signing bonus’ to be given by ExxonMobil.Amidst criticism, Government officials have defended the secrecy by saying the money would be used to pay legal fees in defense of Guyana’s sovereignty, should its case with Venezuela reach the International Court of Justice (ICJ).When asked whether he accepted that placing the US$18 million outside of the Consolidated Fund was illegal, President David Granger himself had professed ignorance of anything illegal with the transaction.last_img read more

Abused woman stabbed to death by estranger lover

first_img…suspect commits suicideA mother of one was on Friday stabbed at least 22 times by her estrange lover, who afterwards took his own life by consuming a poisonous substance.Dead are 20-year-old Deorani Dyal, also called “Priya” of Lot 123 Low Land, Hope, East Coast Demerara (ECD) and 28-year-old Doodnauth Ramlall, also called “Naresh”.Reports are Dyal and Ramlall shared a relationship but as a result of domestic violence, the woman made a decision to end the union.According to relatives, about two months ago, the couple parted ways but the man would from time to time visit the woman’s house. It was during one of those visits on Friday morning that events turned deadly.Information reaching Guyana Times revealed Ramlall arrived at the victim’s house at about 09:30h but soon after, screams were heard emanating from the top flat of the wooden and concrete building.The suspect was then seen running down the stairs with a blood-stained knife in his hands. Upon checking, the woman was found in a sitting position with blood oozing from her head, arm and face.She was picked up and taken to the Dr Nicholas Hospital at Nabaclis, ECD where she was pronounced dead.At the home of the dead woman, a sister-in-law, Jennifer Dyal, who resides in the lower flat of the family property, explained that she was attending to her chores when she heard, the woman screaming for help.She said she ran towards the steps and it was then she saw the suspect running out with a knife in his hands. In fear that he might harm her, she stepped aside, and he ran out of the yard.The distraught woman recalled that as she made her way into her sister-in-law’s apartment, she was confronted with her worst fears.“Priya bin a sit down and pure blood all ova… by then I get more confused and I start scream for help… two neighbours rushed over, pick she up and put her in a taxi and tek her to the hospital,” the woman added.The dead woman’s two-year-old son was with her at the time she was brutally stabbed to death. “When I reach up the step, she son deh standing next to she with tears in he eyes,” she related.The child would usually stay with his grandfather in the lower flat of the house but in the mornings when he leaves for the farm, his mother would collect him. Mukesh Dyal, the dead woman’s father told Guyana Times that about a week ago, the suspect had threatened to kill his daughter, but she refused to lodge a Police complaint against him. The father also noted that he was not aware that the suspect frequented his home when he attended to his farm. When questioned, the sister-in-law, who is always at home, explained that she did not want to object to the man visiting the home since “Priya was a big girl and she did not want to intervene.”This publication, however, leant that the now dead woman was married, and that union brought forth her son. After two years of marriage, the husband reportedly suspected that his wife was having an affair with the now dead man. The relationship turned sour and they separated. Dyal took her son with her and moved in with her father.After some time passed, she moved in with Ramlall but after three months, she returned to her father’s home as a result of domestic violence.Ramlall, according to the dead woman’s father, did not have a permanent job and as such, he took care of his daughter and grandson. The distressed father was in tears as he reminisced on the life of his youngest daughter, whom he described as very easy going.Meanwhile, the killer, after committing the act, reportedly ingested several poisonous tablets before he was apprehended by the Police at Greenfield Village, ECD. He was taken to the GPHC where he was admitted under guard, but took his last breath at about 16:10h on Friday. (Bhisham Mohamed)last_img read more

Police seeking assistance after boat stolen in Dawson Creek

first_imgDAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Police are asking for help in locating a stolen waterskiing boat from Dawson Creek.The Dawson Creek RCMP say that the boat was likely stolen from the 900 block of 89th Ave at approximately 3 o’clock on Thursday morning. The boat is described as a White Mastercraft ski boat with ‘Mastercraft’ in black lettering on the sides, a 351 cubic inch engine, and no visible ID number. The boat was mounted on a black and white boat trailer with BC Licence plate number UVS 19F.- Advertisement -Anyone with information is asked to call Dawson Creek RCMP at 250-784-3700.last_img read more

Consultation on improved training for commercial truck operators underway this summer

first_imgVICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Ministry of Transportation will be starting consultations this summer to help develop mandatory entry-level training for Class 1 commercial driver’s licences.According to the Government, they will gather input from the trucking and driver training industries and other stakeholders to see how a Class 1 driver training program in B.C. could align with recently introduced entry-level Class 1 driver training standards in other Canadian jurisdictions.Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, says road safety is her Ministry’s top priority and that they will be exploring ways of providing a practical and consistent mandatory training program.- Advertisement -“Safety on our highways is our top priority and advancing the skill development of new commercial drivers would make roads even safer for everyone. That’s why we’re exploring what a practical and consistent mandatory training program for new commercial truck drivers could look like in B.C.”The Government says consultations will also look at how a B.C. program could incorporate the entry-level training guidelines under development by the Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators for inclusion in Canada’s National Safety Code Standard.last_img read more

New footage appears to show Mourinho telling Pogba to ‘get out’

first_imgJose Mourinho and Paul Pogba’s relationship seems to have hit a new low.A day after Mourinho stripped Pogba of the Manchester United vice-captaincy, footage emerged of a frosty exchange between the duo at the club’s Carrington training ground.In the video, the United manager appeared to tell the World Cup-winning midfielder to ‘get out’, with Pogba looking exasperated. Speaking on his Sports Breakfast show on talkSPORT, Alan Brazil backed Mourinho and said the club should wash their hands of the World Cup winner.“If [Sir Alex Ferguson] was still manager now, Pogba would not be there – not a hope in hell,” he said.“Fergie would not trust someone with that reputation, even if he is a World Cup winner, he just wouldn’t.“I think Jose has been patient, but I think his patience has run out now.“I think he realises this man is a bad egg. A great player and a World Cup winner, but poison.”Pogba arrived in Manchester from Juventus in 2016 for a then record £89million transfer. Since then, though, Barcelona have been strongly linked with him and it was reported his agent, Mino Raiola even tried to engineer a move to the Camp Nou during the recent transfer window.Luis Suarez, the club’s striker, went as far as saying he’d be very welcome in Spain. The extended version of the Mourinho and Pogba incident at Carrington today. Listen between 0.25-0.29… Jose can be heard saying “Paul, get out”. #mufc [@MUnitedFrance] pic.twitter.com/MtCR1FKvqt— United Xtra (@utdxtra) September 26, 2018The previous evening, Pogba had watched from the stands at Old Trafford as United crashed out of the Carabao Cup to Derby County.After the match, Mourinho confirmed reports that Pogba had been told he would no longer captain the team in front of his United teammates.That came after Pogba was at fault for Wolves’ equaliser in the 1-1 draw at the weekend and angered Mourinho with his comments afterwards that United got their tactics wrong.“When we are at home we should attack, attack, attack. That’s Old Trafford,” he said.“We are at home and we should play much better against Wolves. We are here to attack. I think teams are scared when they see Manchester United attacking and attacking. That was our mistake.“Maybe the attitude should be better and we should play better because, again, we are at Old Trafford and we should just attack and press like we did against Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal last season. When we play like this it’s easier for us.”The Frenchman is also understood to have riled his manager due to his apparent desire to join Barcelona. 1 Pogba watched Man United’s game against Derby from the stands last_img read more

RESULTS FROM THE MARK PATTERSON BUDAPEST FUND 5K

first_imgMark Patterson Budapest Fund 5k 2014Place Race No. Time FirstName Surname Category Club1 240 16.44 Paul Mc Glinchey SM Letterkenny A C 2 259 17.51 Brian Crossan SM LK Kick Boxers3 242 17.59 Karol Duggan SM Individual4 462 18.17 John Conlon SM Letterkenny A C5 267 18.28 Brian Ferry SM Letterkenny A C 6 246 18.29 Darren Price SM Letterkenny A C7 450 18.48 Michael Duddy SM Cranford A C8 300 19.08 Paul Gildea SM Individual9 409 19.15 Paul Mc Gettigan SM Milford A C10 420 19.22 Paul Regan SM Individual 11 449 19.23 Hugh Duddy SM Cranford A C12 410 19.24 Sean Crossan M40 Finn Valley A C13 431 19.36 Niall Gildea SM Individual14 261 19.40 Colly O’ Donnell M40 Letterkenny A C 15 239 19.53 Barry Mackey M50 Individual16 241 20.00 Marty Mc Glinchey SM Convoy Running Club17 279 20.18 Francis Gildea SM Individual18 268 20.19 P.J. Friel M50 Individual19 500 20.21 Declan Watters SM Individual20 255 20.37 Willie Duffy SM Individual21 415 20.42 Stephan Cunningham SM Individual22 238 20.45 Sammy Johnson M40 24/7 Triathlon23 285 21.11 Pauric Mc Ginley SM Individual24 296 21.20 Shane Gildea SM Individual25 269 21.22 Sharon Black W40 Letterkenny A C26 434 21.23 Liam Doherty SM Individual27 438 21.25 Paddy McCauley SM Individual28 413 21.29 Olain Ferry SM Individual29 297 21.43 Paddy Gildea SM Convoy Running Club30 452 21.47 Gerard Mc Connell SM Individual31 243 21.55 Noel Mc Cormack M40 Individual32 276 21.59 Bernard Mc Dyre M50 Individual33 468 22.01 Neil Barrett SM Individual34 251 22.04 Anthony Diver JM Individual35 270 22.05 Alan Stevenson JM Individual36 283 22.16 Declan Barr SM Individual37 423 22.16 John Lynch M40 Individual38 262 22.17 David Wilson SM Individual39 416 22.21 Sean O’ Donnell M50 Lifford A C40 291 22.28 James Whoriskey SM Individual41 275 22.38 Seamus Ferry M40 Individual42 280 22.39 Declan Mc Elwaine SM Individual43 265 22.39 Paul Sweeney M40 Individual44 277 22.46 Joseph Mc Dyre JM Individual45 424 22.59 Eugene McGinley M40 Individual46 250 23.08 Terrence Diver M40 Individual47 466 23.11 Dean Spencer Walker Individual48 245 23.17 Barry Creagh M40 Individual49 287 23.19 Damien Doherty SM Individual50 295 23.28 Eimear Gormley SW Individual51 252 23.30 Annemarie Dalton SW Individual52 260 23.32 Rachel Crossan SW Individual53 233 23.45 Rory Kennedy M50 Individual54 273 23.49 Martin Langan SM Convoy Running Club55 456 23.56 Diane Stewart SW Individual56 247 24.12 Andrew Leighton M40 Individual57 234 24.18 Lynn Crawford SW Individual58 414 24.19 Bernard Mc Elhinney SM Convoy Running Club59 263 24.23 Johnathan Wilson SM Individual60 289 24.26 James Greene M40 Individual61 451 24.34 John Duddy M40 Individual62 271 24.35 Malcolm Crawford SM Individual63 432 24.43 Mark Gildea SM Individual64 447 24.51 James Brown M40 Individual65 461 25.07 Tame Teacht SM Individual66 274 25.12 Adrian Wason M40 24/7 Triathlon67 290 25.12 Gavin Mc Meniman SM Individual68 459 25.21 James Ferry SM Individual69 421 25.22 Claire McIntyre SW Individual70 264 25.22 Martin Anderson M40 Individual71 281 25.28 Eileen Morning W40 Individual72 298 25.30 Ruth Mc Crudden W40 Letterkenny A C73 282 26.14 Lydia Wiley SW Individual74 284 26.14 Mary Bonner W50 Individual75 496 26.24 James Toye M40 Individual76 495 26.24 Gretta Toye W40 Individual77 454 26.25 Declan Friel M40 Individual78 439 26.26 Claire Sweeney SW Individual79 412 26.46 Joanne Gallinagh SW Individual80 235 26.48 John Burke M40 Individual81 299 27.02 Gerard Kelly M40 Individual82 278 27.15 Paul Doherty M40 Individual83 419 27.40 Sara Nairn SW Individual84 433 27.47 Andrea Doherty SW Individual85 286 27.53 Elaine Gordon SW Individual86 249 27.59 Siobhan Doherty SW Individual87 244 28.04 Jimmy Gildea M60 Individual88 448 28.05 Roisin Davin SW Individual89 294 28.06 Carla Bourne Walker Individual90 293 28.11 Paddy Bourne Walker Individual91 408 28.22 Francie O’ Brien SM Individual92 453 28.50 Patrick Gildea M40 Individual93 236 29.01 Maureen Mc Brearty W40 Individual94 436 29.12 Catriona McDaid SW Individual95 435 29.22 Malachy Cannon M40 Individual96 411 30.00 Airleen Gallagher SW Individual97 418 30.05 Annmarie Mc Brearty SW Individual98 417 30.05 Kerri Spence SW Individual99 232 30.14 Benny Sweeney M40 Individual100 407 30.27 Orla Redmond SW Individual101 457 30.28 Tracey Gibson SW Individual102 266 30.32 Allastar Mc Greddy M40 Individual103 272 31.22 Catherine Duffy SW Individual104 257 31.23 Annette Rodgers SW Individual105 237 31.24 Mary Mc Brearty SW Individual106 253 31.43 Alanna Ryan JW Individual107 254 32.24 Isabella Patton JW Individual108 405 32.35 Linda Mc Goarty SW Individual109 406 32.49 Shane Laverty SM Individual110 288 33.20 Joanne Mc Gettigan SW Individual111 258 33.40 Marie Gallagher SW Individual112 422 33.52 Tony Logue M50 Individual113 437 34.15 Edel McBreatry W40 Individual114 440 34.16 Aoife Devenney SW Individual115 441 34.21 Eileen Kelly SW Individual116 464 34.27 Kathy Nee Walker Individual117 463 34.54 Deidre Duffy Walker Individual118 443 35.06 David Moore Walker Individual119 442 35.06 Colleen Bonner Walker Individual120 465 35.26 Orla Mc Walters Walker Individual121 427 36.41 Tina Lynch W40 Individual122 467 37.59 Brian Mc Monagle Walker Individual123 494 38.00 Sandra Sreete Walker Individual124 404 40.26 Laure Crawford Walker Individual125 428 41.22 Amy Mc Coy Walker Individual126 455 41.22 Kelsey Mc Intyre Walker Individual127 430 41.32 Kirst O’ Donnell Walker Individual128 490 42.20 Ciara Friel Walker Individual129 489 42.20 Sharon Duggan Walker Individual130 491 44.21 Marie Mc Elhone Walker Individual131 460 46.12 Paddy Gildea Walker Individual132 292 46.14 Patricia Bourne Walker Individual133 497 46.15 Mary Deans Walker Individual134 498 46.15 Sarella Mc Grenahan Walker Individual135 487 46.15 Ann Patterson Walker Individual136 403 46.15 Erin Doherty Walker Individual137 488 46.16 Helen Shields Walker Individual138 401 46.18 Helena Doherty Walker Individual139 445 47.56 Charlie Sweeney Walker Individual140 444 47.56 Mark Moore Walker Individual141 446 49.10 Louise Lynch Walker Individual142 458 49.10 Tara Alcorn Walker Individual143 429 50.39 Amanda Mc Coy Walker Individual144 426 51.08 Noelle Moore Walker Individual145 425 51.08 Marie Moore Walker Individual146 492 54.10 Sue Mc Glynn Walker Individual147 493 54.10 Kathleen Mc Daid Walker IndividualTotal Runners: 147RESULTS FROM THE MARK PATTERSON BUDAPEST FUND 5K was last modified: April 24th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens 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Retired Bishop Ken Good pays tribute following death of Séamus Hegarty

first_imgFormer Bishop of Derry and Raphoe Ken Good has paid tribute to his late colleague Séamus Hegarty following his death yesterday (Fri) aged 79. Dr Hegarty died at Letterkenny University Hospital, where he was receiving treatment, according to the Catholic Communications Office.He led the diocese of Derry from 1994 to 2011, when he retired due to an “irreversible and progressive” illness. Hegarty, who was from Kilcar, had been Bishop of Derry from 1994 to 2011 having served as Bishop of Raphoe.“It was with great sadness that I learned today of the death of my fellow former Bishop, Dr Séamus Hegarty, Bishop Emeritus of Derry and former Bishop of Raphoe,” Rt Good said.“I got to know Bishop Séamus after I became Bishop of Derry and Raphoe in 2002. We were both very conscious of the need at that time to build on the towering work of our predecessors, Dr Edward Daly and Dr James Mehaffey, who had set an outstanding example of reconciliation and in the process forged a wonderful friendship.“Bishop Hegarty was a man of great learning. A former teacher, like myself, he led his two dioceses, Raphoe and Derry, at a very difficult time in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. I, more than most, am aware of how challenging church leadership can be – at whatever point in history and whatever one’s denomination. “Bishop Hegarty had a great love for both dioceses and a particular grá for his home county, Donegal, and for the Irish language.“I offer my deepest condolences and prayers to his family circle and to all those in our community who mourn his passing.”Retired Bishop Ken Good pays tribute following death of Séamus Hegarty was last modified: September 21st, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Complex Arthropod Eyes Found in Early Cambrian

first_img A side-by-side comparison of the fossil imprint with a living insect eye shows virtually no difference in complexity. The fossil eye was compared by the authors in complexity to a dragonfly eye: “The ratio of lens diameters in the bright zone to lens diameters in the margin (~2.5:1) exceeds that found in other Cambrian arthropods (trilobites and cambropachycopids) and is comparable to that in many modern taxa such as dragonflies,” they said. “The extremely regular arrangement of lenses seen here exceeds even that in certain modern taxa, such as the horseshoe crab,” the authors said. The eyes apparently gave their owners binocular vision: “This bilaterally symmetrical arrangement generates binocular vision,” they suggested, though proof will require discovery of articulated remains. The eyes would have been good for a fast predator: “Acute forward vision and lower-resolution peripheral vision are typical of predators that require excellent frontal vision for estimating distance and detecting prey against complex backgrounds; they are also typical of fast-moving organisms in which acute peripheral vision is precluded by a high retinal angular velocity.”  That being the case, the animals would have had many other advanced features in addition to eyes.  “The complexity and large size of the Emu Bay Shale eyes strongly indicate that they belong to an active arthropod, probably a large predator.”  These eyes, however, were smaller than those of Anomalocaris. This is a game-changer: “The arrangement and size gradient of lenses creates a distinct ‘bright zone’ (also called the acute zone or fovea), where the visual field is sampled with higher light sensitivity (due to large ommatidia) and possibly a higher acuity (due to what seems to be a more parallel orientation of ommatidia),” they said.  “Such visual specializations, characteristic of many modern taxa, are otherwise unknown in the Early Cambrian.” Complex eyes with modern optics from an unknown arthropod, more complex than trilobite eyes, have been discovered in early Cambrian strata from southern Australia.  The exquisitely-preserved imprints of the eyes in shale were reported by Lee et al. in Nature.1  The abstract started by quoting Darwin and affirming evolution, but then revealed evidence that complex eyes go further back in the fossil record than previously thought possible: Despite the status of the eye as an “organ of extreme perfection”, theory suggests that complex eyes can evolve very rapidly. The fossil record has, until now, been inadequate in providing insight into the early evolution of eyes during the initial radiation of many animal groups known as the Cambrian explosion. This is surprising because Cambrian Burgess-Shale-type deposits are replete with exquisitely preserved animals, especially arthropods, that possess eyes. However, with the exception of biomineralized trilobite eyes, virtually nothing is known about the details of their optical design. Here we report exceptionally preserved fossil eyes from the Early Cambrian (~515 million years ago) Emu Bay Shale of South Australia, revealing that some of the earliest arthropods possessed highly advanced compound eyes, each with over 3,000 large ommatidial lenses and a specialized ‘bright zone’. These are the oldest non-biomineralized eyes known in such detail, with preservation quality exceeding that found in the Burgess Shale and Chengjiang deposits. Non-biomineralized eyes of similar complexity are otherwise unknown until about 85 million years later. The arrangement and size of the lenses indicate that these eyes belonged to an active predator that was capable of seeing in low light. The eyes are more complex than those known from contemporaneous trilobites and are as advanced as those of many living forms. They provide further evidence that the Cambrian explosion involved rapid innovation in fine-scale anatomy as well as gross morphology, and are consistent with the concept that the development of advanced vision helped to drive this great evolutionary event. How the immediate appearance of a complex trait like vision could “drive” an evolutionary event seems strange, since the eyes were already there during the event.  No transitional eyes simpler than this were reported.  Though the authors gave lip service to evolution, all the evidence pointed to more complexity and adaptive perfection than was thought possible for animals this early.  Here are some details about these compound eyes: The animal type is not known, since articulated remains have not yet been found.  The imprints may be from shed corneas, they said. Their graphs show that these eyes exceed most other arthropod eyes of the Cambrian in complexity, even among those of the Ordovician.  In their concluding paragraph, they affirmed use of the phrase “Cambrian explosion” as a real event.  They could offer no explanation for the evolution of these eyes, nor did they put forward any transitional forms.  They merely assumed evolution occurred quickly somehow: The evolution of powerful vision is one of the most important correlates of the Cambrian explosion and has been proposed as a trigger for this event. However, although the overall shapes of eyes are known for many Cambrian organisms, intricate details of the visual surface are known only for trilobites and the tiny stem-crustacean cambropachycopids, which have bizarre, proportionately huge and medially fused compound eyes. In addition, indistinct ommatidia are preserved in a few Chengjiang fossils, including the non-biomineralized arthropods Isoxys and Cindarella. Isoxys inhabited both dim and bright pelagic environments whereas Cindarella probably inhabited a bright benthos. The specimens described here represent the first microanatomical evidence confirming the view that highly developed vision in the Early Cambrian was not restricted to trilobites. Furthermore, in possessing more and larger lenses, plus a distinct bright zone, they are substantially more complex than contemporaneous trilobite eyes, which are often assumed to be among the most powerful visual organs of their time. The new fossils reveal that some of the earliest arthropods had already acquired visual systems similar to those of living forms, underscoring the speed and magnitude of the evolutionary innovation that occurred during the Cambrian explosion. Live Science posted a summary of this finding, showing how the visual acuity of the animal bearing these eyes was superior to that of trilobites and indistinguishable from the acuity of the dragonfly.  Though the dragonfly has eight times the number of individual ommatidia, the Cambrian eyes surpassed those of other fossil arthropods dated 40 million years later.  Live Science’s article also quoted the authors’ confirmation of the Cambrian explosion: “The new fossils reveal that some of the earliest arthropods had already acquired visual systems similar to those of living forms, underscoring the speed and magnitude of the evolutionary innovation that occured during the Cambrian Explosion.”  PhysOrg featured a video showing the fossil in 3-D and comparing it to other arthropod eyes.  The article tried valiantly to save evolution from this new evidence: Their discovery reveals that some of the earliest animals possessed very powerful vision; similar eyes are found in many living insects, such as robber flies. Sharp vision must therefore have evolved very rapidly, soon after the first predators appeared during the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ of life that began around 540 million years ago. Given the tremendous adaptive advantage conferred by sharp vision for avoiding predators and locating food and shelter, there must have been tremendous evolutionary pressure to elaborate and refine visual organs. Science Daily said the fossils look like “squashed eyes of a recently swatted fly.”  How could evolution explain this?  The headline put forth its thesis:  “New Fossils Demonstrate That Powerful Eyes Evolved in a Twinkling.”  Stuff happens, and it happens quickly. 1. Lee, Jago et al., “Modern optics in exceptionally preserved eyes of Early Cambrian arthropods from Australia,” Nature  474  (30 June 2011), pp. 583–584, doi:10.1038/474583a. OK, skeptics, face the facts.  Complex eyes, “organs of extreme perfection,” are already there in the early Cambrian.  Where are the transitions?  Trilobite eyes were already astonishing, and now these exceed them in complexity, and appear earlier than the best examples of complex trilobite eyes!  They are comparable to modern insect eyes.  You cannot call these a trigger of the Cambrian explosion–what nonsense!  That’s like saying, “Revolvers appeared out of nowhere, and triggered the Civil War.”  The eyes were already there, fully formed, fully operational, even within the incestuous dating scheme of the evolutionists.  Arthropods are exquisitely complex animals, crowned with glorious eyes as well as many other senses and systems that allow for rapid motility and function.  Who needs a Cambrian rabbit? You can go to the Amazon reviews of the DVD Darwin’s Dilemma and see Donald Prothero self-righteously rant against ignorant creationists, announcing with his professorial authority that the Cambrian explosion was no explosion but was a long slow fuse.  Hold this paper up to his face.  Here a team of Darwin-worshiping scientists with no love for intelligent design, publishing in the world’s leading science journal Nature (also no friend of intelligent design) called it an explosion five times in their paper.  They discovered organs of extreme perfection in the early Cambrian with no transitions, only offering in defense of Darwin the vain hope that eyes might evolve rapidly, tossing that hot potato to Nilsson and Pelger (whose computer model was amply debunked long ago–see ENV 2006, ENV 2007, ENV 2011).  Science is supposed to be factive, not fictive. The Cambrian explosion is affirmed; complexity appears suddenly without transitions; Darwinism is falsified; the inference to the best explanation is intelligent design.  Let the world know.(Visited 193 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Kerzner back with new hotel

first_imgAn outside view of the majestic One&Only Cape Town hotel overlooking the V&A waterfront. A luxury suite with a classical yet modern,contemporary feel. Each room at the hotel boasts a colourful ensemble of interesting décor. The giant sized pool can accommodate the needs of both social and avid swimmers. (Images: One&Only Resorts)Khanyi MagubaneHotel mogul Sol Kerzner is set to open the South African chapter of his One&Only international luxury hotel chain on 3 April.The hotel, the One&Only Cape Town at the V&A Waterfront, which cost about R1-billion (US$100-million) to build, will be officially opened at a glittering affair with about 400 hand-picked guests and celebrities in attendance.The hotel will be one of South Africa’s most expensive, with rates ranging between R6 000 ($600) and R50 000 ($5 000) a night.The hotel chain prides itself on offering pure opulence to guests, all of which naturally come at a price.For the grand opening of the One&Only Cape Town, Kerzner has left nothing to chance. Hotel staff uniforms have been designed by top South African fashion designer Jenni Button and are made of pure silk, to ensure that the standard of the hotel is maintained on all levels.A little piece of heavenThe hotel, designed by distinguished architectural firm, Dennis Fabian & Berman and Ruben Reddy, is a seven-storey construction of luxury. It will offer an exclusive wine selection that promises to satisfy even the most discerning wine lovers. The 6 000-bottle wine cellar is affectionately called The Wine Loft and boasts glass walls and designer trimmings.For avid swimmers, the hotel has a 350m² infinity-edge swimming pool.Other features include luxury suites – some of which have their own en-suite spa treatment rooms.All of the suites overlook either the V&A Waterfront marina or panoramic views across to Table Mountain, and are said to be generous in size – ranging from 63m² for a basic suite to 383m² for the presidential suite.Kerzner travelled to South Africa last week to supervise the finishing touches to his hotel, which is expected to attract a flurry of the rich and famous.A night to rememberIn traditional Kerzner-style, the opening ceremony for the One&Only Cape Town will be graced by some of the world’s most famous celebrities and influential business moguls.The star-studded event will be Kerzner’s first in 17 years in South Africa after he opened his grand R300-million ($30-million) Palace of the Lost City – an add on to the Sun City casino and resort in 1992.Speaking to journalists on his arrival, the tycoon said he was not all nervous about opening night, “There’s no pressure. Sure, this is by far one of the biggest events I’ve done in South Africa, but it doesn’t help to get nervous.”The guest list for the event, described as a cocktail party, will include US actors Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro. UK-based actress Thandie Newton and supermodel Naomi Campbell will also be in attendance.Each guest will be provided with a personal butler who will be at their back and call.This event will also be a much smaller one than the November 2008 extravaganza at the opening of Kerzner’s Atlantis hotel in Dubai.The one night celebration, co-ordinated by party planner to the stars Colin Cowie, will be a “relatively low-key” event.Guests at this year’s party will be treated to a feast created by 79 local and international chefs, who will be creating the scrumptious dishes from the hotel’s modern-state-of the-art kitchen.  A passion for the hotel industrySol Kerzner’s rise to the top of the hotel industry was not just one of luck, but of calculated risk and right timing.Often described as the “Sun King” or the Donald Trump of South Africa, Kerzner is secretive about how much his worth, and at one stage even claimed that he didn’t know the grand total of his fortune.Kerzner was born in Johannesburg on August 23 1935, the youngest and only son of four children to Russian parents who had immigrated to South Africa six years earlier.Although he grew up poor in the downtown suburb of Doornfontein in Johannesburg, Kerzner had a happy childhood, and love for classical music.After he graduated as a chartered accountant from the University of Witwatersrand, Kerzner quickly rose up the ranks of one of the largest accounting firms in Durban, and at the age of 26, he became partner.But his spirit was elsewhere. He found number crunching boring and it was then that he decided to turn his attention to the hotel trade. He leased a hotel, which he managed at night and on weekends, while still continuing with his day-job. His hard work paid off when it became a flourishing establishment.In 1963, with borrowed venture capital and no previous track record in the industry, he set out to build South Africa’s first five-star hotel, despite never having seen one or ever having travelled out of the country.Speaking of those trying times Kerzner says he remembers what it feels like to convince people to have confidence in him, “I had no capital of my own, no track record and many people were sceptical about what I was doing. I remember sitting around the reception rooms of finance houses, trying to convince them what I wanted to do was financially viable.”After a fact-finding mission in America, he started building the Beverly Hills Hotel.The hotel was a runaway success and he went on to build the 450-room Elangeni Hotel on Durban’s southern beachfront.His newfound success prompted him in 1969, to establish the Southern Sun hotel chain in partnership with South African Breweries.By 1983, the chain was operating 31 luxury hotels with more than 5 000 rooms.In 1979, he built Sun City in the North-West province, after striking what has been described as an allegedly controversial deal with Bophuthatswana homeland leader, Lucas Mangope, for exclusive gambling rights.After his success on home soil, Kerzner ventured overseas where he has built his One&Only hotel resorts in several countries including Mexico, The Bahamas, Mauritius, Maldives and Dubai.Speaking to UK newspaper, The Telegraph, Kerzner said he really loves his work, “I have always said that the thing that drives me is not the money – although there are obviously advantages to living like this – but it’s the excitement of the business, the thrill of creating.”And a rich lifestyle he does have.His properties include a private estate in Hout Bay, a R10.5-million ($1.5-million) four-bedroom penthouse he bought for his daughter, Beverly, in New York, a portfolio of residences in London’s posh Chelsea suburb and a villa set on 2.8ha of Mediterranean cliff side in Monaco, as well as a home in the south of France.Do you have any comments or queries about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at: khanyim@mediaclubsouthafrica.comRelated articlesHolidays that save the world Life’s a beach in South Africa Tourism in South Africa SA tops for business travel Cape Town “best city in the world” Useful linksOne&Only resortsKerzner internationalSun City Southern Sun hotelslast_img read more