Dresdener Elbe Valley becomes UNESCO World Heritage site

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Since July 2, 2004 the Elbe Valley near Dresden has been in the process of becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Friday saw the hand over of the documents in Castle Albrechtsberg confirming the status. Today, mayor Roßberg and Professor Bandarin will unveil a plaque in the church of Loschwitz – starting the Elbe Valley celebrations.

The cultural landscape consists of an 18 km long strip along the Elbe between Soebrigen and the Dresden bridge Flügelwegbrücke. It includes the ancient city of Dresden, the many castles along the river Elbe, the town centres of the small villages near the river as well as the very famous Castle Pillnitz.

The city of Dresden sees the status as an internationally-effecting advertisement for investors and tourists in the acknowledgment as a site of world heritage. By this status it will give no further restrictions for the UNESCO. The possibility “of a developing culture landscape” granted itself.


Security Locks For French Doors}

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Submitted by: David Patullo

The French door is just a double door. So the question facing the French door home owner is how fancy a security fix is wanted or needed. The important issue here is to make sure the door frame is strong enough to sustain the pressure of someone trying to kick the door in or to use their shoulder to shove in the door. The internet is full of examples of people kicking or shoving with their shoulder on single doors and gaining entry with little or no apparent effort.

Most security French door companies provide a steel frame for installation of their doors. Their installation instructions are easy to follow with minimal amount of tools required, yet their security is high enough to be adequate for the home owners need. Some of the features to look for are the hinges, locks, openers, safety glass, and styles of the door.

On higher end doors, locks will include two-way bank vault locks, sliding bolt locks, or keyed and keyless locks. The closer will usually be a heavy duty brass handle with the option for an upgrade usually to nickel, but other metals are offered. Hinges will be concealable and / or tamper-proof, some will be piano hinges which offer smoother and more secure opening, with greater resistance to pressures to break them. Yet, some manufacturers will offer several hinges in the place of the larger piano hinge. The result being the same, smoother opening and greater security against the door being caught by the wind and pulled out of its frame.

French doors will also have options for ventilation. Tempered safety glass with options for moveable panels to allow for air flow. If the Security French door fits over an existing door, the added benefit of insulation for the home is evident with the possibility of decreasing utility bills to a significant amount.

Other options to securing the French door is to install a bar across the door from the inside. This would provide for greater integrity of the entire door system by transferring the pressure of a home invaders kicking to the wall where the bar supports are attached.

The appearance of these devices are attractive. The metal holders come in various colors which match or contrast with the wall. The reinforcing bar is also colored to blend in with the existing decor. Curtains can be used to cover the appliance if the home owner wishes to distract from the appearance of the bar holders. But curtains will add to the insulation value by cutting down on sunlight coming into the home. Some of the tempered glass have UV reduction factors which will reduce the negative effects of sunlight on furniture.

Increasing the security of French doors will increase property value as French doors are generally seen as being one of the weakest areas of the home to protect from home invaders. In addition to the exceptional eye appeal of decorative French doors, being able to describe them as security doors will add to the property value.

About the Author: David has been writing articles for nearly 2 years. Come visit his latest website that discusses products such as the best

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that can be useful in your decision in your home security needs


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Zimbabwe submits to popular pressure: foreign currencies now legal tender

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Zimbabwe has decided to abandon its currency, the Zimbabwean dollar, in favour of other currencies.

Acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced today that Zimbabweans will be allowed to make transactions in other currencies along with the local currency. “In line with the prevailing practices by the general public, [the] government is therefore allowing the use of multiple foreign currencies for business transactions alongside the Zimbabwean dollar,” he said, adding that the Zimbabwean dollar will not be removed from circulation and would be used alongside other currencies.

This decision comes during the current period of hyperinflation, which has massively devalued the Zimbabwean dollar. Banknotes up to $100 trillion have been printed, despite the removal of ten zeroes from the currency last summer to try to make transactions easier. The official inflation rate, last updated in July 2008, was 231,000,000% a year, although independent estimates place the number as high as 6.5×10108, or 6.5 quindecillion novemdecillion, percent.

Up to now, only vendors with licenses were legally able to accept foreign currencies, although the practice was widespread — private businesses altogether refuse to accept the unstable Zimbabwean dollar.

Large sections of the workforce, including teachers and doctors, have gone on strike because hyperinflation rapidly renders their wages worthless. Representative groups said salaries, now measured in trillions of dollars, are insufficient to pay for even the bus fare to work.

Zimbabwe also faces other crises, including a cholera epidemic that has claimed the lives of over 3,000 people, according to statistics from the World Health Organisation.



Honda recalls fire risk cars

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Honda have issued a recall for 646,000 cars around the world due to a potential fault that could cause a fire. The recall involves the ‘Jazz’ range of cars, which is known by its alternative name, Fit, in some countries.

water intrusion into the power window switch housing may in some instances cause a short circuit

Three incidents involving the problem, caused by a defective master switch, have been reported worldwide, two in the US and one in South Africa. In September 2009, Vanilla Nurse, a two-year old girl, was sleeping in one of the models, when the hatchback in Cape Town caught fire. Following the accident, Honda “launched an extensive investigation to determine the cause of the incident,” according to a statement issued today. Although they could not isolate the cause of the fire, “the investigation has shown that water intrusion into the power window switch housing may in some instances cause a short circuit, which in exceptional circumstances may lead to potential damages”.

Just 10% of cars are expected to need new switches. The remainder will need a waterproof skirt in order to keep water out.

Rival Toyota was forced to recall vehicles on Thursday, citing floor mats that may stick accelerator pedals to the floor. There are fears that Toyota may have to widen their recall to cover up to eight million cars.



New Waterfront Development On Lake Livingston Real Estate

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New Waterfront Development on Lake Livingston Real estate



Cedar Point Changes Hands

Majority control of Cedar Point subdivision changed hands this week when local company Waterfront Development purchased the Dallas-based lender EIC who had foreclosed on the property.

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Immediately after completing the purchase, Waterfront Development paid off over $60,000 in back taxes and donated 114 lots to the Property Owners Association; giving them needed Green Belts, parks and several key maintenance areas in the subdivision.

In a separate action, the Property Owners association filed a lawsuit in Polk County Monday 4 December against the former developer, seeking to transfer ownership of the Common Areas from Concord Capital Group as Trustee, directly to the Property Owners Association. The former Developer plagued, by legal problems including criminal indictments, filled bankruptcy on Monday 4 December in a Dallas Court.

Over the weekend, well over half of the property owners in Cedar Point worked together and voted to change their deed restrictions in an effort to protect their common areas and clean up the old and abandoned homes, mobile homes and travel trailers scattered around the community.

Many of our residents were trying to make the subdivision a great place to live however, we needed the help of deed restrictions to eliminate the small percentage of those who are hurting our community, says POA President Bettie Dugan, a long time Cedar Point resident. Our community is working so hard to make life great here, just look at the incredible Christmas lights on the homes and at the entrance. These new deed restrictions will prevent additional mobile homes from being moved into the community while allowing the existing ones which are in good condition to stay in place.

Waterfront Development, through its subsidiary Vacation Home Builders in cooperation with The Von Schmidt Design Group already have two upscale homes under construction in the subdivision, and will begin redevelopment of Cedar Point with the help of the community after the start of the New Year with 12 new homes slated for the first half of 2007.

A separate community Know as the Villages of Cedar Point for over 55 residents is planned with cottages ranging form 900-1400 square feet. Exterior maintenance will be provided allowing people to visit family and travel without worrying about their yards. The undeveloped peninsula, which may represent the largest remaining undeveloped shoreline on the southern half of the lake, is slated to become 55 waterfront lots. Each lot will be over 100 feet wide. This project is slated for February 2007.

Waterfront Development, who will be investing over 7 Million dollars in this project, estimates that new construction over the next three years will add over 32 million dollars to the Polk County tax appraisal rolls, while providing needed new housing to attract affluent Houston buyers as well as Baby Boomer retirees.

Cedar Point is a breathtaking piece of property which we have been interested in for over two years, said Charles Von Schmidt, the companys President. We feel the market is right for a project of this nature and, with the help of local realtors, we will be able to provide jobs, needed tax revenues and additional business for local merchants.

After many years of mismanagement, the combined positive actions and forward thinking of all involved are making the future a lot brighter for Cedar Point.

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New Waterfront Development on Lake Livingston Real estate

Montreal lab questions ethics of recent EPO doping claims against Lance Armstrong

Friday, August 26, 2005

Dr. Christiane Ayotte is Doping Control director at Canada’s Institut National de la Recherché Scientifique, which is a World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) certified lab. Dr. Ayotte said on Tuesday (Aug. 23) that three ethically critical, and important, scientific questions were raised by a four-page doping allegation in the French cycling daily L’Équipe. L’Équipe released lab data with a medical identification allegedly finding banned EPO in five year old samples of cyclist Lance Armstrong’s urine, originally taken after he won the 1999 Tour de France.

Ayotte expressed surprise that chemical testing of 1999 urine could have been done in 2004 at the French national anti-doping laboratory at Châtenay-Malabry. She said that she routinely instructs all doping laboratory organizations that EPO deteriorates and disappears after two or three months, even if the urine is frozen. Ayotte does not question whether the new type of analysis is correct; rather she questions the ethics of long-delayed test results.

The first ethical problem , in her opinion, is that an adverse finding cannot be confirmed with second samples, as required by WADA regulations. She states that there are normally two samples, “A” and “B”. The Châtenay-Malabry EPO findings were based on Armstrong’s “B” samples. Armstrong’s “A” samples were depleted in 1999 for tests that did not include EPO, because no EPO test was available that year.

French Sports Minister Jean-François Lamour said that without the “A” samples, no disciplinary action could be taken against Armstrong.

The second ethical problem, in Ayotte’s view, is that an athlete charged with doping long after the athletic event has no way to submit to additional testing to disprove an adverse finding.

The third ethical problem for Ayotte is that L’Équipe disclosed Armstrong’s medical identity. “It seems to me,” Ayotte continued, “that this whole thing is breach of the WADA code. We are supposed to work confidentially until such time that we can confirm a result. By no means does this mean that we sweep a result under the carpet, but it has to meet a certain set of requirements.”

Ayotte continued, “I’m worried, because I have a great deal of respect for my colleagues in Paris. I am concerned that they did not cover their backs before being dragged into a very public issue of this kind.”

Lance Armstrong has responded on his website, branding L’Équipe’s reporting as being “nothing short of tabloid journalism.” Armstrong says: “I will simply restate what I have said many times: I have never taken performance[-]enhancing drugs.”

Further confusing public understanding of the EPO doping claim is Armstrong’s statement in his autobiography, It’s Not About the Bike: he said he received EPO during his cancer chemotherapy treatment. “It was the only thing that kept me alive,” he wrote.

Jean-Marie Leblanc, the director of the Tour de France, said that Armstrong owes cycling fans an explanation. Leblanc said; “For the first time—and these are no longer rumors, or insinuations, these are proven scientific facts—someone has shown me that in 1999, Armstrong had a banned substance called EPO in his body.”


Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.


Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Space shuttle Discovery landed at Cape Canaveral at 9:14 a.m. (1314 UTC) yesterday. It returned after a thirteen day mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The mission was used to provide thousands of pounds of supplies to the ISS and brought thousands of pounds of trash and discarded equipment back to Earth.

The shuttle, which was orbiting the Earth with the engine facing forward, fired the engines briefly to slow down and begin the descent, flipping its nose forward to prepare for the landing.

As Discovery descended into the atmosphere, parts of the shuttle’s outer surfaces were heated to temperatures of about 3000°F (1650°C). The shuttle executed a series of computer controlled S curves to slow down to the landing speed.

The shuttle neared the landing strip at an angle 7 times steeper and a speed 20 times faster than a commercial aircraft.

The space shuttle was welcomed by hoots and whistles from the few hundred astronauts’ relatives and space center workers as it landed on the 3 mile (4.8 kilometre) long runway

“It was a fun entry — it was beautiful,” radioed mission commander Colonel Lindsey as he prepared to leave the shuttle.

“Just because we’re going to be back to flight doesn’t mean we’re going to change the way we’re operating,” he said. “We’re going to be very careful, very cautious, look at everything — and we’ll leave no stone unturned as we continue with this program.”

This is the second space shuttle flight since the Columbia disaster.

A further 16 shuttle missions are scheduled for completing the space station before the fleet is retired in 2010.

“This shows that with appropriate care and vigilance, the odds of operating the shuttle with acceptable risk are good,” said John M. Logsdon, the director of the space policy institute at George Washington University.

“It doesn’t mean the shuttle is safe,” he added. “The shuttle will remain a very risky vehicle, to be operated with extreme care.”


The Abcde Of Study Abroad}

Submitted by: Sachin Sandilya

Moreover, with the amount of clatter generated by education fairs, advertisements, institution visits and the likes, making the right choice can seem like a monumental task. If students are able to keep certain basics in mind, the decision process can be made much simpler, and they can be confident that they are

making the correct choice.

I will try and highlight the key points which, in my opinion, should be carefully considered by students and their families before they embark on that long journey overseas. Literally as well as metaphorically, these should be considered the ABCDEs of study abroad.

A) Academics:

Ordinarily, one would assume that anyone seeking higher studies would look very closely at various institutes, the quality of teaching, as well as the curriculum. However, having interacted with thousands of prospective students over the past many years, I have noticed that a significant percentage of students actually give more weightage to extraneous factors such as part-time work, ease of admission, turnaround times for offer letters etc. While these factors are no doubt important, the SINGLE MOST important factor continues to be the reputation and quality of the institute. Going to a dodgy institution based on factors other than the quality of the institute is a short-sighted tactic which can have disastrous long-term consequences.

The one factor you should never ever compromise on is the quality of the institute. You should try and select the best possible institution based on your academic percentage, work experience etc. While everyone may not be able to get admission in Harvard or Wharton, there are many reputable institutions across the globe to consider, whatever your academic percentage.

But you have to go out and look.

The important thing here is to get the thinking process right do not consider education as an expense, but instead as an investment. You may find yourself listening to consultants and college representatives telling you that its only the degree that matters, and not the college where you get it.

That is as false abroad as it is in India.

Just like students from top notch institutions in India tend to have better career opportunities available to them, the same is the case with international institutes as well.

As a general rule, Government institutes tend to have better infrastructure, better research facilities and better faculty. As such, these should be on everyones preferred list. There are a few private institutes also which provide very high quality education, and students should consider them as well.

Remember that the name of the institute you study at will be on your resume forever, so try and ensure that it is one of the best. A lot of international placement consultants do not even accept resumes of students from dubious institutes, so one needs to be very careful and not make the wrong decision just to save a few bucks.

B) Budget:

Once you have short-listed a few good institutes, the next step is to get an idea of your budget. So talk to your family, and also research what kind of loans you can get. Nowadays, almost all government banks and a lot of private banks offer education loans for overseas study. In most cases, loans are granted at the local branch level (though final approval may come from the Head Office of the bank).So try and meet with the manager of your local bank branch and get some information about your eligibility. Banks will normally need your parents or siblings as guarantors, so the process will be much easier if you have a documented source of income to show them. At times they may also ask for property documents as collateral, but that usually happens only if your loan amount

exceeds Rs. 7.5 lakhs.

Another important point to note here is that at the time of applying for visa, you will need to show availability of funds. The amount of funds needed and the instruments they are parked in varies according to the visa policies of each country. As a general rule, you will be required to show enough funds to cover your tuition plus living expenses.

However, what varies from one country to the other are the types of financial instruments that you can use, the kinds of guarantors that are acceptable, and the exact amount of funds that you need. For example, some countries may only require proof of availability of funds just for the first year, while others may require it for the entire program. If you have this information upfront, and have discussed it with your family early enough, then you can save yourself a lot of time, effort and money.

C) Counsellor:

The education counsellor who advises you is not only a key source of information on various institutes and countries, but can also help remove confusion and bring clarity to the decision making process. So it is imperative that you entrust yourself to a counsellor who has the right experience to guide you.

You should check with counsellors and make sure that they havenot just read about the countries and Universities that they are referring you to in a magazine or in a brochure, but that they have actually visited that country and the Universities. You should also check if they have sent other students there, what their experience has been, and if the counsellor is directly associated with the University. In most countries, institutes have their authorised representatives who are paid by the Universities. Because of this, their services are free of cost to students, although some may charge a token fee towards courier and registration charges.

If a consultant charges more than a token fee, it might be a good idea to stay away.

Also, it is always better to get your application process handled by a consultancy which represents multiple institutes. This ensures much better chances of success, and also gives you a backup plan just in case your first choice does not materialize. And remember, no consultancy can guarantee either an admission or a visa, as these are beyond their control. However, a good consultant can always tell you the probability of both after looking at your resume and your financial documents.

D) Destination:

The country that you choose for your higher education has an extremely important bearing on the direction your career takes. Different countries offer different benefits, so the choice must be made with your long term objectives in mind. The fees and living expenses can also vary widely, so it is a good idea to have a clear estimate of your budget before starting the shortlisting process.

As a general rule, one should prefer an English speaking country, as they are much easier to adapt to. One should be wary of programs offered in English in non-English speaking countries, since adapting there can be tough. Unless one is fluent in the local language, finding a job locally is almost impossible. And not just that, simply managing ones day to day life from grocery shopping to bus/ train schedules, from restaurant menus to local TV channels, from apartment hunting to interacting with locals – can get extremely difficult and frustrating if one does not speak the language.

The choice of country should primarily depend on the objectives and background of an individual.Just because your friends or your cousin from Mumbai have gone to a particular country does not mean that you should go there as well. Their career goals, academic, professional and financial background may be very different from yours, even though you might have studied together in school or lived in the same neighbourhood. Even worse, they might not have made the most informed decision themselves and might have blindly followed someone else and you might be making the exact same mistake.

So make an independent decision by all means take inputs from people you know, but decide for yourself by doing thorough research.What works for your cousin or your friend might not work for you. This one decision will have a major impact on your career and you future life, so consider it extremely carefully before reaching a decision.

You should also be very clear about whether you wish to immigrate after you have completed your studies or if you just want to live there for a few years and then return to India. If you are considering immigration, look carefully at the countrys immigration policies and general attitude towards immigrants. Try and gather immigration related information for that country, including statistics on the number of Indian immigrants, number of immigration visas granted annually, the average time it takes to get Permanent Residency etc.

E) Exams

Finally, after giving careful thought to A, B, C and D, one has to get down to the tedious application process. While applications are primarily considered on the basis of your area of study, academic percentages and professional work experience, you may also be required to take an aptitude test such as GRE, GMAT or SAT and / or an English language test such as IELTS or TOEFL. The aptitude tests are normally required by all good institutions in the US (and quite a few in Canada). Most institutions in the other countries do not require an aptitude test. But institutions of all English speaking countries generally do require that students take at least one language test.

Though the amount of preparation required for such exams is very individual dependent, an aptitude test normally takes 3-4 months of intense preparation. Those who have prepared for Indian exams like CAT or MAT may find it easier, whereas others would need to start from scratch. For an aptitude test, it is normally a good idea to take specialised coaching, especially for those who are working and hence cannot devote too much time on their own. Joining a coaching class also brings with it the required discipline, and is generally a positive thing.

Language tests like IELTS and TOEFL on the other hand are very simple. These are basic exams that test only your language skills.They normally test students on four aspects of language, namely, Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. For students who have had their education in English and also use the language frequently in their daily lives, a few days of practice at home is usually more than enough. The best way to decide whether you need specialized coaching for these language exams is by taking a few sample tests (easily available online or in books), and then making you

decision based on the results of these sample tests. In most cases, students are simply required to clear the language exam. Any excess points scored do not really have a bearing on your admission decision as long as you have met the minimum criteria.

The right international education has the potential of truly expanding not just your career options but also your global outlook, making you an attractive candidate for multi-national corporations. The right international education can work wonders for your personal growth as well, and be a tremendous asset both personally and professionally.

An incorrect choice on the other hand, can end up costing you dearly in time, money and sweat. It is therefore critical that you work with the right counsellor/consultant and with their help and guidance, make the right decision every step of the way. Think clearly and think long term.Follow the ABCDEs of international education and you will surely come out on top!

For more information on opportunities for study abroad, please contact NewStrides at or email us at

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