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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lake Forest, Illinois

Lake Forest, Illinois
6 bedrooms
6 baths, 2 half baths
15,000 sq. ft.
$6.95 million
Pedigree: Celebrated architect David Adler built this Tuscan-style lakeside villa in 1916. It is considered one of his finest residential estates, due to the classically symmetrical interiors, stately loggia, and stone-paved courtyard.

Property Values: The three acres feature an original sunken garden, conceived in collaboration with landscape designer Ralph Rodney Root, and direct access to a white-sand beach on Lake Michigan.

Talking Point: Watching over the grounds are statues of Neptune and the nine muses, among other mythical figures.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gilmanton, New Hampshire

Gilmanton, New Hampshire
4 bedrooms
3.5 baths
3,780 sq. ft.
$1.85 million
Pedigree: A 1665 saltbox anchors this unique parcel, which consists of several period structures that have been transplanted, reconstructed, and—using state-of-the-art technology—combined. The rooms brim with authentic Americana in the form of paneled walls, timber ceilings, and antique hardware.

Property Values: Also erected on the 12.5 acres are a rebuilt corncrib, water tower, and 19th-century barn.

Talking Point: A quaint on-site schoolhouse, outfitted with desks and slates, encourages continuing education.

Land or natural resources

Natural resources are derived from the environment. Many natural resources are essential for human survival, while others are used for satisfying human desire. Conservation is the management of natural resources with the goal of sustainability. Natural resources may be further classified in different ways.
Resources can be categorized on the basis of origin:
Abiotic resources comprise non-living things (e.g., land, water, air and minerals such as gold, iron, copper, silver).
Biotic resources are obtained from the biosphere. Forests and their products, animals, birds and their products, fish and other marine organisms are important examples. Minerals such as coal and petroleum are sometimes included in this category because they were formed from fossilized organic matter, though over long periods of time.
Natural resources are also categorized based on the stage of development:
Potential Resources are known to exist and may be used in the future. For example, petroleum may exist in many parts of India and Kuwait that have sedimentary rocks, but until the time it is actually drilled out and put into use, it remains a potential resource.
Actual resources are those that have been surveyed, their quantity and quality determined, and are being used in present times. For example, petroleum and natural gas is actively being obtained from the Mumbai High Fields. The development of an actual resource, such as wood processing depends upon the technology available and the cost involved. That part of the actual resource that can be developed profitably with available technology is called a reserve resource, while that part that can not be developed profitably because of lack of technology is called a stock resource.
Natural resources can be categorized on the basis of renewability:
Non-renewable Resources are formed over very long geological periods. Minerals and fossils are included in this category. Since their rate of formation is extremely slow, they cannot be replenished once they are depleted. Out of these, the metallic minerals can be re-used by recycling them, but coal and petroleum cannot be recycled.
Renewable resources, such as forests and fisheries, can be replenished or reproduced relatively quickly. The highest rate at which a resource can be used sustainably is the sustainable yield. Some resources, like sunlight, air, and wind, are called perpetual resources because they are available continuously, though at a limited rate. Their quantity is not affected by human consumption. Many renewable resources can be depleted by human use, but may also be replenished, thus maintaining a flow. Some of these, like agricultural crops, take a short time for renewal; others, like water, take a comparatively longer time, while still others, like forests, take even longer.
Dependent upon the speed and quantity of consumption, overconsumption can lead to depletion or total and everlasting destruction of a resource. Important examples are agricultural areas, fish and other animals, forests, healthy water and soil, cultivated and natural landscapes. Such conditionally renewable resources are sometimes classified as a third kind of resource, or as a subtype of renewable resources. Conditionally renewable resources are presently subject to excess human consumption and the only sustainable long term use of such resources is within the so-called zero ecological footprint, wherein human use less than the Earth's ecological capacity to regenerate.
Natural resources are also categorized based on distribution:
Ubiquitous Resources are found everywhere (e.g., air, light, water).
Localized Resources are found only in certain parts of the world (e.g., copper and iron ore, geothermal power).
On the basis of ownership, resources can be classified as individual, community, national, and international.

Japan’s worst snowstorms in 5 years killed 3

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura speaks during a press conference

Japan’s worst snowstorms in five years killed three people in an avalanche at a hot springs resort and caused power cuts and transport disruptions in the northwest.

“Snow has covered the northwestern side of the main island of Honshu in the past three days, including some areas that have already received twice the average annual snowfall, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. At 9 a.m. local time, there was 22 inches (55 centimeters) of snow in Iyama City in Nagano prefecture, and 13 inches in Akita City in Akita prefecture,” the agency said.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency’s website, warnings of strong winds and heavy snowfall for 12 of the nation’s 47 prefectures, all facing the Sea of Japan, are in effect as of 3:42 p.m.. “Three people were killed yesterday at a resort in Semboku City in Akita, Kazuto Sato, a police spokesman,” said by telephone. More than 100 cars were abandoned on a highway in Aomori prefecture after heavy snow made driving impossible, public broadcaster NHK reported.

“We have already issued a request to the Self-Defense Forces, and the government will work together and work hard to follow through on these steps,” said Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura at a press conference today in Tokyo.

“The government will meet later today to discuss further steps,” Fujimura said. “There have been 56 deaths reported due to snow-related incidents so far this winter,” the Cabinet Office said.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


The rich history of lighthouses often fascinates enthusiasts. They are, after all, an ancient technology that has existed for centuries. Now that GPS navigation is making lighthouses less essential, lighthouse lovers are defending the historic buildings and ensuring that nothing happens to them. It would be a shame to lose the Tower of Hercules, which is the oldest Roman lighthouse still in use today, or the Dover Castle Lighthouse, which is one of the best-preserved Roman lighthouses in Europe.
The Kõpu Lighthouse in Estonia is one of the three oldest operational lighthouses in the world, making it a national landmark. The Boston Harbor Lighthouse stands on the site of what was the first lighthouse in what is now America. The original lighthouse, which played a part in the Boston Tea Party, was destroyed in 1776 and the current one built in 1783. It is now the second-oldest working lighthouse in the United States and was the last manned lighthouse in the country.

'Finding Sayun' documents Atayal’s yearning for home

Laha Mebow, director of “Finding Sayun,” says she found her roots in an abandoned village where her ancestors used to live. (Staff photo/Chen Mei-ling)

“Finding Sayun” is the first Taiwan feature film on indigenous culture shot from the perspective of an aboriginal director—Laha Mebow of the Atayal tribe.

The film, which interweaves the past and the present, portrays Taiwan’s rich indigenous culture and speaks of the Atayal people’s desire to return to Ryohen Village, their ancestral home.

Representing the past is an Atayal girl named Sayun. In 1938, the 17-year-old Sayun was helping her Japanese teacher carry his luggage across the Nan-ao South River in Yilan County, when she slipped, fell into the river, and drowned. Her teacher continued on his course to fight in what the Japanese called the Great East Asia War.

“I’ve seen many aboriginal movies produced by other directors, and of course I thank them for drawing attention to our people,” Laha Mebow said in a Dec. 9 interview with Taiwan Today. “But those movies mostly portray aborigines as miserable and underprivileged, or as leading unsuccessful lives while they struggle to make a living in the city.

“In those films, our people never smile, when in fact we are quite happy, despite our lack of material goods. I wanted to make a different indigenous movie that allows the world to really understand our people and culture.”

According to Laha Mebow, Sayun’s story received very little coverage in the Taiwan Nichinichi Shimpo, a Japanese-language newspaper then circulating in Taiwan, with little more than a matter-of-fact headline stating “Aboriginal woman missing after falling into river.”

The story of Sayun became more widely known only one year after the incident, when a welcoming party was held in Taipei for Kioyoshi Hasegawa, the Japanese governor of Taiwan in 1940.

“During the reception, my grandmother, who had been Sayun’s classmate and who witnessed the accident, performed a song in memory of her childhood friend,” said Laha Mebow. Upon hearing the song, Hasegawa thought it was the perfect story to promote the Kominka Movement, which aimed to turn Taiwanese into loyal and devoted subjects of Japan.

In 1943, the story of Sayun was given a touch of romance and made into a patriotic movie called “Sayun’s Bell.” “It was shown around Taiwan and mainland China to instill loyalty and encourage the people to serve and fight for the Japanese emperor,” said Laha Mebow.

Ryohen Village, the tribe where Sayun lived, also became famous for a while following the successful screening of “Sayun’s Bell.”

During the last 70 years or so, however, the legend of Sayun has gradually been forgotten. Indeed, much of the original Atayal culture, in which Sayun was raised, has been lost as well, according to Laha Mebow.

The director said that when the Nationalist Government first arrived in Taiwan in 1949, it followed a policy of “concentrated management.” In order to control the Atayal more easily, it forced the tribespeople to leave Ryohen Village, their ancestral home located high up in the mountains, and to move to Jinyue Village by the foot of the mountain.

“We had to leave behind all our possessions, forsake the homes our ancestors had built, and move to a place we were completely unfamiliar with,” Nolay Piho, an Atayal hunter and priest, said at a movie symposium hosted by Taipei-based Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture Nov. 23.

Nolay Piho is also best known for his role as the elder Mona Rudao in the recent Taiwanese blockbuster film “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale.”

“The wisdom of our forefathers was destroyed and replaced by a new government system, with laws and norms completely different from our own.”

To explain what he meant, Nolay Piho mentioned current laws that make it illegal to hunt certain protected species. “For the Atayal people, hunting is an essential survival skill; and though we hunt these animals, we also know how to protect them,” he said, noting that the Atayal hunting season runs from November to February, and that during the remaining eight months the animals are left alone to breed and multiply.

“The new systems and norms are cruel to us, as they do not take our culture and habits into consideration. Moreover, the government did not even bother to notify us in advance of the new laws,” he said.

Yukan Basan (left) and Wilang Bonoy, who played grandchild and grandfather respectively in “Find Sayun,” go on a root-seeking trip from Jinyue Village to Ryohen Village. (Courtesy of Sky Films Entertainment Co. Ltd.)

According to Nolay Piho, even today many unemployed indigenous people rely on hunting to make a living and support their families. Yet when they are caught shooting protected species such as the Formosan goat or the Formosan barking deer, they are fined and sometimes put in jail.

Noting that many aborigines struggle with alcoholism, Nolay Piho said this affliction can be attributed to the sense of frustration felt by his people. In addition, many of them feel lost, because the old norms and former ways of life have been destroyed, and there are no ancestors and fewer and fewer elderly tribesmen left to pass down their ancient wisdom, he said.

“We are facing a civilization and development that we cannot keep up with, since these things were not a part of our lives before. There is no way back and all we can do is to try to fit into the new system.”

According to Laha Mebow, her tribesmen began to organize annual trips back to Ryohen Village starting about 10 years ago, an event that is also a root-finding trip. “Every year, more than 10 hunters, young and old, as well as students who have left to study in the big cities, carry tools such as grass cutters to participate in the half-month activity.

“The routes back to our old village are either damaged or covered by overgrown plants and creeping weeds, as no one has maintained them during the past 70 years. So we have to clear our own path and build temporary bridges with logs and branches along the way.

“Before we start on our journey, we pray to God and our ancestral spirits for a safe trip, since difficult trail conditions can make the journey quite dangerous,” Laha Mebow said.

She explained the Atayal believe that whenever a tribal person passes away, his or her spirit remains in the mountains to look after the descendants.

“Usually, it takes about two days to get to our destination on foot, and no matter the weather is rainy or windy, we continue onward, stopping only for brief periods to check on trail conditions.”

Recalling her first experience with the root-seeking team, Laha Mebow said she silently asked herself why they had to visit the old village, and walked until she wanted to die. “I only knew I was going on a trip searching for my roots, but lacking the experience of living in the old village, I did not have any strong feelings toward it,” the director pointed out.

“During the journey, I often had to jump over landslide areas without hesitating, although I was scared. At that time, I thought, ‘Why does the way back home have to be so complicated? I do not mind it if the trip is long, but why does it have to be so difficult as well?’”

Nevertheless, all her efforts paid off after she reached her destination. “When we got to the village, many hunters including the elders and my father began to look for their homes covered in overgrown plants,” Laha Mebow said.

“Atayal males are very manly,” she added, “but once they located what used to be their homes, and began talking to the spirits of their parents or ancestors, they started to cry. It was only then that I gradually began to have feelings toward the old village, the sense of home.”

Nolay Piho added that there is an important scene in “Finding Sayun” concerning 77-year-old Wilang Bonay, an Atayal senior at Jinyue Village. Worried about his health, Wilang Bonay’s family forbids him from going on the long and arduous journey. So he goes in secret, accompanied by his grandson, played by 18-year-old Yukan Basan.

“Wilang Bonay always wanted to revisit his native land, as he thinks that is where his soul and real home are. Although he is in bad health and leads an inactive lifestyle in his concrete house at the foot of the mountain, he started to sing along the way, as if everything he saw was giving him a warm welcome,” Nolay Piho said.

Later in the movie, Wilang Bonay dies when he was almost half way down the mountain, an arrangement Nolay Piho explains as “the grandpa’s wish to die where his home and ancestral spirits are, as well as a demonstration of family love and the yearning for home.”

“Every existence is a culture, a memory,” Laha Mebow said. “Our old home is where our grandparents and ancestors lived. Without them, we would not be. This, I think, is the meaning of root-finding.” (HZW)

Monday, June 4, 2012


The qualities that make a lighthouse beautiful have been debated among lighthouse lovers for longer than anyone can remember. These have been named among the most lovely by folks who make a hobby of spotting lighthouses.
The lighthouse at Okino Gozen Shima sits atop an isolated rock about five miles off of the shore of Jizo Saki. Next to it sits a Shinto shrine, a bit of peace in the middle of the sometimes-dangerous waters.
The Mobile Bay Lighthouse in Alabama proudly stands as a part of the state’s history. It is a great example of a screw-pile lighthouse, and extremely picturesque.
The Cape Hatteras Light no longer stands at the edge of the water; today it is nearly 3,000 feet inland due to erosion. At 208 feet tall, it is the tallest lighthouse in the Western hemisphere, and certainly one of the most photographed in the country.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse has a long and convoluted history, but it still stands as a strong beacon. Once a year the electric lights are changed to kerosene lights, and people come from miles away to see the beautiful lights dance in the dark sky.

VW Passat Variant 3.2 V6 FSI 4MOTION

VW Passat Variant 3.2 V6 FSI 4MOTION

VW Passat Variant 3.2 V6 FSI 4MOTION
4MOTION offers more safety, better dynamics, and the ability to tow up to 2 200 kg

4MOTION and DSG standard in the 250 PS Passat 3.2 V6 FSI

4MOTION optional in the Passat 2.0 FSI (150 PS) and Passat 2.0 TDI (140 PS)

4MOTION, the four-wheel drive system from Volkswagen, offers enhanced active safety and driving pleasure. In 2006 the new Passat will be available in three different engine versions with the latest 4MOTION system. The top model of the Passat range, the 184 kW / 250 PS Passat 3.2 V6 FSI 4MOTION, has the most effective form of power distribution as standard. The 4MOTION drivetrain is available as an option with the Passat 2.0 FSI (110 kW / 150 PS) and the Passat 2.0 TDI (103 kW / 140 PS). The permanent four-wheel drive system is available for the Passat saloon and estate in combination with all equipment lines (3.2 V6 FSI 4MOTION: starting with the Comfortline).

4MOTION took over from syncro

Permanent four-wheel drive also enhances the handling of the Golf, Sharan, Multivan, Phaeton, and Touareg. Volkswagen has been building Passat's with four-wheel alongside front-wheel drive for over two decades; the first model, the Passat estate GT syncro, was launched in 1984. To date over 256,000 Passat drivers worldwide have opted for four-wheel drive.

4MOTION is powerful

The Passat comes equipped for the first time with a 4MOTION system featuring Haldex coupling. The coupling, which is fitted directly in the rear axle, is considerably more compact and the system works quickly, sensitively, and quietly. Four-wheel drive also delivers major advantages for towing trailers. The Passat 3.2 V6 FSI 4MOTION, for example, pulls a hefty maximum trailer weight of 2 200 kg on uphill grades of up to 12 percent. Its gross weight rating for the rear axle is 1 220 kg. For the Passat 2.0 TDI 4MOTION a maximum trailer weight of 2 000 kg is allowed on uphill grades of up to 12 percent and 2 200 kg on up to 8 percent grades - in each case 200 kg more than with the front-wheel drive Passat 2.0 TDI. All Passat's with a towing attachment also have ESP with special trailer stabilisation as standard.

2006 Volkswagen Passat Variant 3.2 V6 FSI 4MOTION
4MOTION is adaptable

The central element of the 4MOTION system is a multi-plate wet coupling (in an oil bath). It is called the Haldex coupling as it was developed together with Swedish systems partner Haldex who have worked with Volkswagen for many years. The Haldex coupling has the major advantage of being electronically controlled and having a very fast response. This allows it to work very effectively in conjunction with the anti-lock braking system (ABS), the traction control system (TCS), the electronic differential lock (EDL), and the electronic stability programme (ESP) - all these assistance systems are fitted as standard in the Passat.

4MOTION is always active

As soon as differences in the speeds of rotation between the front and rear axles occur two annular piston pumps are activated which build up pressure in the multi-plate coupling (Haldex system) thus "coupling" the two axles to each other. The transmitted torque can be varied by adjusting the pressure on the coupling plates, thus controlling the flow of power between the front and rear axles. The coupling provides an infinitely variable torque transfer between the front and rear axles. In extreme cases up to 100 percent of the available torque can be transmitted to the rear axle. In the normal case with the vehicle travelling in a straight line at a constant speed with no differences in the wheels' grip, 90 percent of the available torque is transmitted to the front axle and ten percent to the rear axle. The Haldex coupling is driven by the propshaft.

4MOTION is fast

The coupling responds to "commands" from the 4MOTION electronic control unit extremely quickly. As soon as the Haldex coupling registers front axle slip, the required torque is transmitted to the rear axle. The compact coupling can transmit a torque of 3 200 newton metres to the rear axle.

BJP steps up demand for Chidambaram’s resignation (Lead)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday demanded the immediate resignation of Home Minister P. Chidambaram after the Supreme Court left the decision of a probe into his role in the 2G spectrum scam to the trial court.
Top BJP leaders spoke out in chorus against Chidambaram, who was finance minister when the 2G licences were allotted, and sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention.
“The finance minister is the custodian of the public exchequer. It is the prime responsibility of finance minister to ensure that there is no loot of public money,” Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley told reporters in Lucknow.
“It was not a person’s decision, it was the government’s decision. Telecom minister and finance minister had special role,” he said.
BJP general secretary Ravi Shankar Prasad added: “He has no moral right to continue… we have demanded his resignation earlier as well.”
“The BJP would like to ask Prime Minister Manmohan Singh… would you now take some action against Mr. Chidambaram or would you continue to express your confidence in him in spite of so much evidence,” Prasad asked.
His colleague Balbir Punj echoed him and said: “If the government has any standards left, they should ask for the resignation of Chidambaram immediately.”
“Prime minister should ask for Chidambaram’s resignation immediately and, if he refuses, he should be sacked,” he said.
The main opposition party’s reaction come after the Supreme Court ordered cancelling of 122 licenses granted to telecom companies during the tenure of then communications minister A. Raja. The order cme on a plea of Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy.
Another petition by Swamy is with a trial court seeking an investigation into the role of Chidambaram, who was finance minister at the time of 2G spectrum allocation. The apex court has left the matter to the trial court, adding that the CBI is free to investigate if it chooses to do so.
“The CBI has elaborately argued for days together that the role of Mr. Chidambaram need not be investigated. Therefore, the upfront of today’s order is that his role has to be investigated. The special court has already taken up the matter,” Prasad said.
He also said the verdict had made the nation proud.
“We believe India’s reputation has grown after this verdict, the common Indian is full of pride today,” he said adding that several crucial policy decisions of UPA government lacked transparency and credibility.
“…Therefore the Supreme Court has been constrained to take these decisions which have been found to have severe and massive irregularities.”

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Historic Anchorage Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska
The Historic Anchorage Hotel may not look like a haunting hotspot, but employees and former guests say that seeing a ghost there is not at all unusual. Most notable is the ghost of an abandoned bride, who hung herself in the hotel, in her wedding dress, when her intended husband failed to show up for their wedding. Guests have also reported seeing pictures fly off of walls, shower curtains ruffle unexpectedly, and various specters appearing in the rooms and the halls. The hotel’s employees are so used to these reports that they keep a “ghost log” to track the sightings.
Beauregard House, New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is widely regarded as the most haunted city in the United States. People in the Big Easy talk about ghost sightings the way people in other cities talk about going to the grocery store. There are many haunted houses and other attractions in the city that promise to put you up close and personal with spirits. One of the lesser-known haunted houses in New Orleans is the Beauregard house. It was once the home of General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, an important general of the Confederate Army in the Civil War. After his death in 1893, the house was quiet for many years. It was purchased in 1909 by the Giacona family and later was the scene of a mob-related shooting that left three men dead. The Giaconas moved out in the 1920s, and two decades later the first reports of supernatural activity began. Oddly enough, the reported hauntings have nothing to do with the Giaconas, but rather with the General. Various people claimed to have heard Civil War-era weapons being discharged in the house. This story is especially odd since no battles ever took place anywhere near the house. The only ties it has to the Civil War are the General’s occupancy and the Civil War museum that now fills the house. Tour guides for the house claim that no supernatural activity has ever taken place there and that the Civil War sounds are simply urban legends.
These are just a few of the famously haunted houses and hotels that dot the landscape of the entire world. Which other haunted houses scare you silly? Let us know in the comments below.

pics of GM EN-V

Effects of Air Pollution

Effects of Air Pollution

Air pollution refers to the presence of chemical, biological and particulate matter and pollutants in the atmosphere around the living spaces. When inhaled, the effects of air pollution on the human biological system takes a toll on quality of life, with the onslaught of a number of respiratory tract disorders...

Air Pollution:

Air pollution is a condition triggered by the presence of air-borne pollutants that affect the quality of air we inhale. These pollutants could either be the result of chemical emissions or the particulate material from biological waste. The condition has reached alarming proportion in the modern world, with a large-scale industrialization and vehicle-emissions being the primary culprits. The pollutants that are air borne cause a lot of harm to humans and animals, other than permanent damage to the natural environment.

Air Pollution Facts:
Air borne pollutants can either be solid particles, or even liquids and gases; natural or man-made.

Primary air pollutants are those that are directly emitted via some processes, like the ash from volcanoes or the carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide emissions from vehicles and factories, respectively.

Secondary air pollutants are the result of the reactions or interactions of the primary pollutants. Example: photochemical smog.

Sulfur oxides from volcanic eruptions and industrial processes oxidize in the presence of nitrogen dioxide to form acid rain.

Carbon monoxide, the emission from combustion of fuels like wood and coal, is a very poisonous gas.

Particulate matter can be both, natural as well as man-made. This pollutant originates within dust storms, volcanoes, forest fires or wildfires and sea sprays. Human activities contribute to nearly 10% of the aerosols in the atmosphere.

Ammonia is a gas emitted via agricultural processes. It is both hazardous as well as caustic.

Sources of air pollution are many and commonly include anthropogenic sources or those that result from human activity and natural sources like dust, methane, radioactive decay and volcanic ash particulates.

Lack of proper ventilation causes the radon emission from the earth to be trapped indoors, within houses and offices. This gas is carcinogen and has been linked to the development of numerous forms of cancer. The radon gas is also emitted from building materials and extensive carpeting. Lethal lead paint easily degenerates into dust and is inhaled.

The use of air fresheners, pesticides and chemical sprays also put the people in the immediate environment at risk of developing respiratory tract disorders, poisoning and fatalities.

Toxic asbestos fibers, dust and fumes cause Mesothelioma, a cancer that eats into the mesothelium, a delicate tissue that engulfs and protects important organs such as the heart and the lungs.

While pets shed dander into the atmosphere, humans produce dust from dead skin flakes and the decomposition of hair.
Effects of Air Pollution on Humans:

The effects of air pollution on humans are fatal and life-threatening. WHO statistics report that over 2 million people succumb to the fatalities attributed to air pollution. Consistent exposure to the pollutants leads to the development of:
Cardiopulmonary disease
Premature mortality
Heart attack
Difficulty in breathing
Wheezing and coughing
Acute vascular dysfunction
Thrombus formation
Cystic fibrosis
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chronic bronchitis
There are a number of ways, by which these emissions could be controlled. Particulate control is possible with the use of mechanical collectors, electrostatic precipitators, bag-houses and scrubbers like the Baffle, Cyclonic, Ejector venturi and Mechanical scrubbers. Nitrogen dioxide control is possible with the help of low consumption burners and scrubbers, selective catalytic and non-catalytic reduction and even catalytic converters. Sulfur dioxide or acid gas can be effectively controlled with dedicated use of wet and dry scrubbers and the latest introduction of flue gas desulfurization.

The world's most polluted cities include Australia, America, the UK, China and India as forerunners. The greenhouse effect is a life-threatening global phenomenon that is the creation of air pollutants. This phenomenon is the result of the trapped greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere. Accumulation of carbon dioxide gas, methane, nitrogen oxides, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons have brought on a major climate change, increased acidity of ocean waters and major modifications in marine ecosystems.

Drag China to WTO on currency issue: Senators

Washington: Two top American Senators have asked the Obama Administration to drag China to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the currency issue.

Addressing China's currency policy in a multilateral manner holds the greatest promise for an effective and meaningful solution, Senators Max Baucus and Dave Camp wrote in a letter to the US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, and the US Trade Representatives, Ron Kirk.

"The Administration's efforts at the G20 have helped to develop an international consensus about how important it is for China to rebalance its economy and allow its currency to more accurately reflect market forces," the letter said.

Baucus is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, while Camp is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

China will not end its currency undervaluation unless the US seizes opportunities like this to insist it does, the Senators felt, adding that expanding and intensifying discussions at the WTO can further this effort and bring significantly more pressure to bear on China.

"Today we write to focus on one aspect of this issue: the opportunity in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to discuss the role of exchange rate practices in trade policy," they said.

Supporting the ongoing efforts at the WTO to understand the impact on trade of exchange rate policies, the Senators said the WTO Secretariat's recently concluded literature survey is a positive first step towards understanding the relationship between trade and exchange rate policies.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Although it’s not yet completed, the Museum Plaza Skyscraper in Louisville, Kentucky promises to be a giant of the downtown Louisville skyline. When finished it will feature 1.5 million square feet and be filled with luxury condos, offices, a hotel, retail shops, and a huge contemporary arts center. The designers and architects involved are striving to create a city within a city to combat urban sprawl and rejuvenate the area of downtown Louisville which was previously full of derelict buildings.

Alfa Romeo 8c Competizione

Alfa Romeo 8c Competizione

Alfa Romeo 8c Competizione
The definitive version of the gorgeous exclusive Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, Gran Turismo car that is to be produced in a limited edition makes its debut in Paris. The car, designed by Alfa Romeo, is directly derived from the concept car that aroused such admiration at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show and has benefited from the best technical and industrial know-how that the Alfa-Maserati Sports Centre can offer. The cooperative venture between both manufacturers was conducted with a view to ensuring integration between the Alfa Romeo design departments and the Maserati production departments.

The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione is inspired by Alfa Romeo's glorious past, projecting its brand values of technology and emotion into the future. The historical allusions begin with the evocative name, recalling the great sporting tradition of Alfa Romeo. The 8C code was used to identify cars (racing and on-road) of the Thirties and Forties equipped with the revolutionary eight cylinder engine produced by the famous designer Vittorio Jano. The term 'Competizione' is intended as a homage to the '6C 2500 Competizione', a sports coupé driven in 1950 by the duo Fangio and Zanardi in the famous Mille Miglia race.

The name, '8C Competizione' is not an arbitrary invention but a distinctive mark of Alfa Romeo's own sporting history. A veritable legend that has arisen out of the innumerable victories won on circuits throughout the world through the skill of men and their passion for racing, engine research and advanced technology and a reawakened taste for new challenges.

2007 Alfa Romeo 8c Competizione
This link with the values of Alfa Romeo's history adds extra poignancy to the term 'Competizione'; when projected into the future it represents the sense of constant dynamism that distinguishes a brand engaged in a quest for excellence, increased competitiveness and technological innovation. This is the explanation behind the role of the new car, which is not a point of arrival but a point of departure designed to reaffirm Alfa Romeo's unique place in the world: its ability to match a thrilling shape to driving satisfaction.

Styling and aerodynamics: tradition and innovation

The attractive shape created by the Alfa Romeo Style Centre makes this car with its two bucket seats unique in the Gran Turismo scenario. The designers have worked hard to ensure that the aerodynamic and performance demands have not altered the car's original concept. The style maintains an incredibly clean shape, uncluttered by any element interfering with the overall harmony.

The solutions introduced on the Alfa Romeo 8C to achieve the highest levels of aerodynamic efficiency are not limited to the shape. Air wraps around the car and follows its natural course, unhindered by corners and unevenness. All the pillar and glass surfaces and profiles together with the door mirror shape and position have been optimised by mathematical modelling and also by wind tunnel tests and tests on actual models. Much attention has been devoted to the creation of a ground effect that has allowed a negative Cz (lift coefficient) to help increase stability at high speed, as on racing cars.

The compact dimensions concentrate the aggression of a car designed to ensure maximum driving efficiency.

The car surfaces are highly sculpted and skilfully moulded. In detail, the body is given extra dynamism by the horizontal furrow cut into the side above the front wheelarch. The big wheels and powerful musculature of the rear wings emphasise the model's personality and strength without detracting from the lines that flow smoothly, almost as though to underscore the formal good looks of the individual exterior details: the drop-shaped headlight embedded, gem-like, in the front wing, the led tail-lights that are a blend of technology and rationalism, the spare door handle. The front end still displays the distinctive Alfa Romeo traits, with a new interpretation of the 'whiskers' and shield.

The innovative shape heralds the details and proportions of future Alfa Romeo cars but is also redolent with past thrills and historical allusions: the 33 Coupé Stradale, the Giulia TZ and many other great names of motoring history. The Alfa Romeo style centre also developed new colours to emphasise the shape of the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione that match the car's sinuous shape while also suggesting modernity and a hint of technology.

8 cylinder 4.7 engine: Italian 'belcanto'

The engine is the beating heart of any Alfa Romeo. In this case it takes the form of a brand new 90° V 8 cylinder unit with a cylinder capacity of 4691 cc that was designed with one aim in mind: to ensure extraordinary performance while still offering a smooth drive and being usable in all circumstances, from the track to city traffic.

The top engine performance figures may be summarised as a maximum power output of 450 bhp at 7000 rpm, a peak torque of 470 Nm at 4750 rpm and a top speed of 7500 rpm.

The layout of internal fluid movements and the cylinder head cooling system is designed to achieve high duct permeability and effective intake load cooling to maximise volumetric efficiency and engine performance.

Harmonisation of the intake and exhaust geometry together with the introduction of continuous variable valve timing on the intake camshafts and optimisation of the combustion chamber and engine calibration means that 80% of torque is available from 2000 rpm.

In sporty driving conditions over mixed routes, the power unit offers impressively short response times due to the high permeability of the intake duct and the low inertia of the flywheel-twin plate clutch system.

A crankshaft with counterweights at 90°, fully balanced through careful selection of connecting rods and pistons, ensures the engine runs with low vibration levels.

The engine block and base assembly is in aluminium with 5 main bearings to ensure the structure is very rigid with little loss due to friction. The cylinder heads are also in aluminium alloy.

All the ducts (water, oil, secondary air) are cast directly into the engine to produce a system with great rigidity, low dimensions and guarantees of safe installation, i.e. great reliability.

Casting accessory systems into the main engine casting and the use of very rigid, thick-walled components ensures that little noise radiates from the engine and the components are very reliable.

Longitudinal engine packaging has also received particular attention, as evidenced by the introduction of a single chain timing system that guarantees exceptional lifetime dependability.

Special attention has also been devoted to the acoustic definition and tuning of the intake and exhaust in the quest for a sound timbre that enhances the car's character and makes it unmistakable. The result is a full, distinctive sound, emphasised by the permeable intake system and an exhaust system with electronically controlled valves that enhance the car's sound without infringing any type-approval or environmental constraints.

Transmission, robotised gearbox and self-locking differential

The engineers used a layout familiar from other Alfa Romeo cars on the 8C Competizione: the transaxle architecture with gearbox at the rear that is an acknowledged asset of Alfa Romeo cars. This layout allows outstanding dynamic performance while also offering the active safety for which Alfa Romeo cars are fabled.

The engine-gearbox unit is designed in accordance with a transaxle configuration that ensures the weight distribution is very effective for vehicle handling. Due to the small axial engine size and the integration with frame components from the drawing board, the entire power unit can be housed well back to ensure the required sporty configuration.

The 6-speed gearbox with computerised speed selection by means of levers behind the steering wheel is designed to ensure ultra-slick gear shifts and may be used in Manual-Normal; Manual-Sport; Automatic-Normal; Automatic-Sport and Ice modes. The self-locking differential allows acceleration and stability to be managed with extraordinary efficiency in all situations.

Suspension, wheels and braking system

In the very best Alfa Romeo tradition, the engineering is directly derived from the race track. The suspension on the new model is no exception, with a double wishbone layout, forged aluminium axle carrier and arms and extra strut for toe-in control.

The braking system offers perforated, ventilated discs with aluminium brake callipers to ensure prompt, effective braking even with heavy use. To ensure the car stays glued to the road, it is fitted with 20" tyres specially developed to ensure outstanding performance: 245/35 at the front and 285/35 at the rear, fitted on perforated rims in fluid moulded aluminium to ensure lightness and maximum brake ventilation efficiency.

To ensure the car is entertaining and safe in any driving condition, the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione comes with the latest Alfa Romeo VDC, an advanced stability and traction control system to ensure the driver feels at one with his car.

Rigid, light structure

A rigid, light structure is the rule when configuring a good high performance car. This is also the guiding principle behind the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. In detail, the compact frame is in steel to achieve the greatest torsional rigidity to ensure an accurate, safe drive at all times while the body is in carbon fibre. This choice was motivated by the need to minimise weights while also optimising the car's centre of gravity for better agility and handling on demanding routes.

Interiors: personality and technology

The car's distinctive look comes from extensive use of composite materials on the facia and interior panels. This is a technical choice but also reinforces the car's spirit and emphasises its personality. The same thinking lies behind the adoption of anatomical seats made out of carbon fibre that can be adjusted and customised on the basis of the driver's physical characteristics (a facility previously reserved for racing cars).

Everything is designed and produced to ensure the greatest user-friendliness for the driver and whoever is lucky enough to share the thrill: relaxed driving position, intuitive instruments that are always visible, robotised gear levers secured to the steering column and easy to reach without removing your hands from the sporty steering wheel.

The carefully-crafted and detailed finish naturally allows the car to be customised to the driver's taste and a choice of different interior environments is available.

The absolute satisfaction of a sporty drive

To see it is to love it: wide tyres, low-slung ride and styling of poised aggression. To die for, in fact. Hear the engine and weep: a full, convincing throaty roar. Now all that remains is to sit behind the wheel, engage first gear and you are off to try out your Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. You are left with one doubt: how will you drive a sports model whose bonnet conceals a 4700 cc eight cylinder engine hat unleashes 450 bhp of power and 470 Nm of torque when you touch the accelerator. The unexpected answer is: with great ease - even more easily, simply and instinctively than your normal car in fact. Provided you allow yourself the time and satisfaction (because this is about pleasure, after all) of getting used to the more direct controls and prompter responses: the sort you could only expect from a true sports car on mixed routes or - even more so - on the track where speed and transverse acceleration are much more controllable.

The new Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione is self-avowedly an Alfa in its uncompromising sense of control and driving satisfaction. Driving comfort and dynamic behaviour have always been specific features of Alfa Romeo cars: on this car, they amount to a real strength.

Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione: a legendary name for a unique car

Since the very beginning, the Alfa Romeo spirit has been driven by a constant quest for technical perfection, achieving performances that are better and better. This is all about the engine: the beating heart of every Alfa Romeo car. Racetracks throughout the world have provided the perfect backdrops for truly unique technical and technological progress, with Alfa Romeo always occupying the highest position on the winners' podium.

The key to Alfa Romeo's engineering prominence was the 8 cylinder engine developed during the first half of the Twenties by a young engineer named Vittorio Jano. His original brief was to revise the 6 cylinder engine to meet the needs of standard production model buyers and also to stand up to the competition offered by rival manufacturers in races.

The first 8C was tested in 1923, with the P1, already fitted with a compressor and twin spark ignition, and then the P2. Its debut could not have gone better: in 1925 the Alfa Romeo P2 won first place in the first World Championship. The positive effects of these innovations were not restricted to the engines of production cars but the glory of this result was included in the 'Alfa Romeo - Milan' badge in the form of the laurel crown that was to adorn all Alfa Romeo cars from that day on.

At the beginning of the Thirties, the powerfully reliable 8 cylinder engines - now in light alloy - purred like cats under the bonnets of stylish cabriolets and coupes (whose bodies were built by the Milanese Zagato and Castagna) and roared like lions in the dust of races such as the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio, that added to the impressive list of victories. The thrilling wins achieved by the Alfa Romeo 8C in 1931, 1932, 1933 and 1934 at Le Mans deserve special attention (the car was later called the 'Le Mans' in the wake of these great successes).

The 8 cylinder engine achieved its technical peak in the Alfa Romeo Tipo B engine, known as the 'P3' to highlight its technological relationship with the P2. Campari, Nuvolari, Caracciola, Borzacchini, Marinoni, Guidotti and Fagioli were just some of the champions who owed their successes to the 1932 and 1934 versions of the 8C engine in the face of the challenges posed by the most prestigious circuits in the world.

The continual progress and consistent technical research culminated in the 8C 2900, the unbeaten star of racing from the Mille Miglia to the Le Mans 24 hour. The car, an extremely stylish 8C with its body built by Touring especially for Le Mans, was driven peerlessly by its driver Biondetti. This engine was exceptionally long-lived: an 8C 2900 B driven by Biondetti and Romano won the Mille Miglia again in 1947, proving yet again and over an exceptionally arduous route, that Alfa Romeo engines were possessed of truly extraordinary power and reliability.

World War II only halted the victorious progress of the 158 for a short period. The legendary 'Alfetta', a distillate of superlative automotive engineering qualities, first saw the light in 1946. In the words of Juan Manuel Fangio, driving this 8 cylinder car was like 'holding the bow of a Stradivarius in your hands'. First the 158 and later the 159 brought Alfa Romeo laurels in the first two modern Formula 1 world championships, with Nino Farina in 1950 and with Fangio in 1951.

After the Formula 1 victories, Alfa Romeo decided to withdraw from racing to devote itself to the demands put on it by its latest arrival, the 1900 and later the Giulietta range. 1967 saw the return of the powerful 8 cylinder engine fitted to racing 33 models and responsible for the attractive, resolute shape of the road version of the 33. This car also enjoyed a very encouraging racing debut, with Teodoro Zeccoli taking top position on the winners' podium after the uphill race in Fleron, Belgium, in a 33/2 Sport Prototype.

Other 33 cars met with considerable success on tracks and circuits throughout the world during the Seventies. This technical perfection was transferred to standard production cars such as the Montreal, a car of great prestige and performance, whose 8 Cylinder engine was derived from the unit fitted to the 33 models used for racing. In 1977, the 8 cylinder engine was fitted to a limited series of the Alfetta GTV, produced by Autodelta which thus continued the sporting tradition applied to engine production.

Now the legendary heart of that engine comes back to beat under the bonnet of the new Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.

State bill to legalize gay marriage approved

OLYMPIA, Washington: The Washington state Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, setting the stage for the state to become the seventh to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.

The measure now heads to the House, which is expected to approve it. Gov. Chris Gregoire supports the measure and has said she will sign it into law, though opponents have promised to challenge it at the ballot with a referendum.

The packed public galleries burst into applause as the Senate passed the measure on a 28-21 vote Wednesday night after nearly an hour and a half of debate. Four Republicans crossed party lines and voted with majority Democrats for the measure. Three Democrats voted against it.

Democratic Sen. Ed Murray, the bill's sponsor, said he knew same-sex marriage "is as contentious any issue that this body has considered in its history."

Lawmakers who vote against gay marriage "are not, nor should they be accused of bigotry" he said.

"Those of us who support this legislation are not, and we should not be accused of, undermining family life or religious freedom," said Murray, a gay lawmaker from Seattle who has spearheaded past gay rights and domestic partnership laws in the state. "Marriage is how society says you are a family."

Nearly a dozen amendments were introduced, including several that passed that strengthen legal protections for religious groups and organizations.

Sen. Dan Swecker argued that the proposed law alters the definition of marriage and "will lead to the silencing of those who believe in traditional marriage."

Even though a referendum clause amendment was rejected, opponents have already promised to file a challenge, which can't be done until after it is passed by the full Legislature and signed into law by Gregoire. Opponents then must turn in 120,577 signatures by June 6.

If opponents aren't able to collect enough signatures, gay and lesbian couples would be able to be wed starting in June. Otherwise, they would have to wait until the results of a November election.

Before last week, it wasn't certain the Senate would have the support to pass the measure, as a handful of Democrats remained undecided.

But after the first public hearing on the issue Jan. 23, a previously undecided Democratic senator, Mary Margaret Haugen of Camano Island, said she would be the 25th and deciding vote in support of the bill, all but ensuring its passage.

Gay marriage opponent Jane Sterland, 56, stood outside the Senate gallery before the debate started. Sterland said she was disappointed by the light turnout of same-sex marriage foes.

"It saddens me that there aren't more Christians here tonight," she said. "I'm just very grieved about this whole thing. I want to be here for prayer support against this issue."

Alex Guenser, a 26-year-old engineer, drove down to Olympia from his Redmond home with his boyfriend to watch the Senate debate.

"I feel like this is the hill, the crest of the marriage equality fight. And after this passes (in the Senate), it's all going to be smoother sailing from now on," Guenser said. "I'm really excited to have Washington pass this. I'm excited for my state."

Same-sex marriage is legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

Lawmakers in New Jersey and Maryland are expected to debate gay marriage this year, and Maine could see a gay marriage proposal on the November ballot.

The debate over same-sex marriage in Washington state has changed significantly since lawmakers passed Washington's Defense of Marriage Act in 1998, which banned gay marriage. The constitutionality of DOMA was ultimately upheld by the state Supreme Court in 2006, but earlier that year, a gay civil rights measure passed after nearly 30 years of failure.

The quick progression of domestic partnership laws in the state came soon after, with a domestic partnership law in 2007, and two years of expansion that culminated in 2009 with the so-called "everything but marriage law" that was upheld by voters after opponents filed a referendum to challenge it.

Under the measure that passed Wednesday, the more than 9,300 couples currently registered in domestic partnerships would have two years to either dissolve their relationship or get married. Domestic partnerships that aren't ended prior to June 30, 2014, would automatically become marriages.

Domestic partnerships would remain for senior couples where at least one partner is 62 years old or older. That provision was included to help seniors who don't remarry out of fear they could lose certain pension or Social Security benefits.

Friday, June 1, 2012

When Kareena Kapoor watched Sunny Leone's porn videos

It seems that Imran Khan bug has bitten Kareena Kapoor as well, who is unaware of porn star Sunny Leone. Sunny who has created extreme buzz across the nation somehow failed to attract Kareena's attention. But now when Bebo is all aware of Sunny, she too wants to know more about the porn star and her works.

Zee News reports according to a noted film critic and journalist, Bebo learnt about the porn star only after being intrigued by a tabloid and the constant mention of Leone in it. In fact Kareena invited her close friends home to initiate the “know more about Sunny Leone” task! 

It was then, Kareena watched Sunny's porn videos, she realised her works and her adult profession. After following the video for some time, Bebo and her friends logged off as they found it extremely scandalising.


Although technically a block away from the beach and not right on it, these boat houses in Encinitas, California certainly embody the beach culture. Plus, the story behind how they got there is pretty interesting in itself. Entrepreneur and businessman Miles Minor Kellogg was ahead of his time in the 1910s and 1920s, building structures from recycled and reclaimed materials. After building a small silent movie theatre from the discarded top story of a hotel, Kellogg set his sights on building a home from reclaimed material. Since he’d always had an interest in boats, they became the focus of his project. He and his son, Miles Justin Kellogg, worked on the houses together until they were completed in the late 1920s. Recently, the Encinitas Preservation Society purchased the property on which the boats – now used as apartment buildings – sit.

And At Last There Was Water

BIR EL-BASHA, Occupied West Bank, Jan 31, 2012 (IPS) - Only days ago, turning on the tap was cause for concern. Would there be running water? Now, it’s reason for celebration.

"Thank God, the installation works!" rejoices Muhammad Dakka, the village Imam. "For the first time in our lives there’s running water!" his mother Rasmiyeh, 71, revels, serving sage tea and nut-filled dates to a party of Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegates.

In association with both organisations, the villagers recently inaugurated a unique water project. ICRC engineer Abed Al-Jalil Rimawi explains: "The village wasn’t connected to any network. Our objective was to build an integrated system by installing connections to each household, thus making water available to everyone."

A painted jar adorns the Dakkas’ door. Symbols are often a measure of what’s lacking and most in need. As far as daily life is concerned, for the people of Bir El-Basha, there’s ‘before’ the arrival of running water and ‘after’. And, with it, saving money.

Until now, trucks supplied water to the villagers. The essential utility was pumped electrically at a cost into private wells up into rooftop reservoirs. "You’d order a tanker two-to-three days in advance. It was expensive," recalls Abdullah Qawadri.

"Before, water cost 4.20 dollars per cubic metre. With the network, the fee is cut by four," notes Hosni Al- Qadri, the village council head.

Water is a precious commodity here. The rainy season lasts three months, if there’s no drought. In a nearby field, boys puncture lines of plastic sheets covering zucchini buds that evoke water-filled trenches glistening under the sun.

"From rains only!" exclaims a farmer watching his sons. The villagers don’t own the land they work on. Fields are leased from wealthier landowners.

Here, water isn’t only the water of life. Use of it, access to it, is source of pressure. A French parliamentary committee recently reported that Israel's water policies in the Palestinian territories are like "apartheid" for they discriminate Palestinians from Israeli settlers.

Brothers Kifah and Hussein Ghawadri would have bitter arguments over water consumption and how much their respective households should pay. "We’d suffer from family tensions," recalls Kifah. "It’s over. Now each household has its water meter," adds Hussein.

Bir El-Basha was founded by Bedouin Palestinians. Refugees of the 1948 war belonging to the same extended family, they settled here, living in tents for over a decade.

The now dried Hafira well was their only available source of water. According to tradition, it’s the pit into which the sons of Jacob, the Biblical patriarch, threw their brother Joseph. "Life was tough," Jihad Ghawadri reminisces. "We’d walk two kilometres to the village with water carried on donkeys."

Though the villagers are modest, it isn’t poverty per se which has hindered them from having direct right to water, but who rules the land, and who controls its resources, its sources. In the early 1960s, the Qawadris built their dwellings with neither master plan nor permits. Temporary to this day, the village exudes a sense of everlasting.

During the 1990s, territorial agreements divided the West Bank into three zones: "Area A" (under Palestinian Authority); "Area B" (under Israeli security control and Palestinian municipal authority); and "Area C" (under full Israeli rule).

Dug by Israel in the 1970s deep into the aquifer, connected to the regional transmission pipeline, the Arrabeh well is monitored by the PWA. It feeds over 20,000 people living in three neighbouring villages in "Area A".

Eleven kilometres away from the well, adjacent to the water pipeline, the 1,700 Bir El-Basha residents were left without running water, enclosed in limbo in "Area C".

Seven years ago, the village applied to the Israeli authorities for authorisation to be connected to the network. Then, it contacted the PWA, presented the project to Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad. "Everyone helped," says Al-Qadri.

"The PWA investigated the village’s needs, created a filling point operated by the council. Afterwards, it contacted the ICRC," explains PWA project manager Ziad Drameh.

"Giving services in general – water, electricity, waste collection – is a way for the Palestinian Authority of asserting responsibility for their people’s lives," notes ICRC geologist Jean-Marc Burri.

But the project lingered. "We had to obtain Israeli permits to proceed with laying the network lines inside the village," says Drameh.

"Our role was to understand why the project wasn’t implemented. There was an authorisation. We realised politics didn’t interfere. Yet, nobody really pushed, we still needed to bring everybody together," Burri stresses. "We acted as catalyst," chimes in the head of the ICRC Water and Habitat, Ikhtiyar Aslanov.

Partnership and cooperation were keys for success. The PWA contributed with expertise and design. The ICRC donated 400,000 dollars. The beneficiaries themselves demonstrated rare ownership.

"Usually, we explain to people what to do to implement a project. Here, the village council told us what their needs were. If the population’s involved, it works; if not, you’re blocked by a judicial process. Here, all decisions were taken at village level."

Each resident was required to contribute 130 dollars to the PWA. Everyone paid. More than 25,000 dollars was collected. "When you pay for a service, you expect quality to meet your requirements," says Aslanov.

Once Israel gave its final approval, connecting people with water took less than four months. "People, authorities, can get together to respond to the needs of the people," concludes Aslanov. The local filling point connects the 257 homes with 11 kilometres of pipes. Bir El-Basha enjoys three cubic metres of running water per hour for 12 hours three days a week – no miracle. Still, it dramatically improves the villagers’ lives. "This model could be applied to other villages," confidently foresees PWA engineer Ala El-Masri.

In 2011, PWA water infrastructure projects funded by the ICRC benefited 775,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the West Bank only, 72,000 people benefited from such projects, including the people of Bir El-Basha. (END)

Ways To Prevent Air Pollution

Prevent Air Pollution

Air pollution, responsible for triggering many health problems, is mostly caused due to burning of fossil fuels. The most effective ways to prevent air pollution are minimizing the use of fuels, servicing vehicle regularly, saving energy, using alternative energy, and recycling materials amongst others.

Air pollution is a change in the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of air that causes adverse effects on humans and other organisms. The ultimate result is a significant alteration in the natural environment and/or ecosystem. Substances that are responsible for causing air pollution are called air pollutants. These air pollutants can be either natural (e.g. wildfires) or synthetic (man-made), and are present in the form of gas, liquid, or solid in the atmosphere.

The air pollutants are classified into two categories, viz. primary and secondary. The former refers to air pollutants that are directly emitted from the source, for example - carbon monoxide gas from automobile exhaust. On the other hand, the secondary air pollutants are the result of interaction of primary pollutants, for example - the ground level ozone, which is formed when sunlight hits fuel exhaust in the atmosphere. It is to be noted that some forms of air pollutants are both primary and secondary. Let's discuss in brief about the causes, effects, and ways to prevent air pollution.

Causes and Effects of Air Pollution

Air pollutants, either present inside the house (indoor pollutants) or outside (outdoor pollutants), are hazardous to humans. The major pollutants are sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matters. Among the different causes of air pollution, burning of fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, and gasoline is found to be the main contributing factor. Fossil fuels are used in all major industries, including the automobiles, jet planes, manufacturing industries, power plants, petroleum refineries, etc.

In the United States, automobile exhaust and power plants are responsible for more than 90 percent of the air pollutants. Carbon dioxide gas, which is required by the plants for photosynthesis, is identified as the major cause of global warming. Thus, increased percentage of this greenhouse gas affects our health and the global climate. Nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, when dissolved in water, can cause acid rain, which in turn leads to water pollution and affects the aquatic life.

The effects of air pollution on the human health are many. To mention a few, it triggers respiratory ailments and irritation of eyes and throat. The common symptoms observed after exposure to a high level air pollution are chest tightness, burning eyes, and cough. Those with certain medical conditions like heart disease and asthma are more susceptible to the hazards of air pollution than others. As expected, the effects are more serious in children; prolonged exposure to air pollution can lead to earache, bronchitis, and asthma.

Different Ways To Prevent Air Pollution

So, how can we prevent air pollution? The fact is that human activities contribute the most to any type of pollution. Hence, it is our responsibility to find solutions. And considering the harmful effects of air pollution, it is high time that everyone contributes a bit to prevent release of pollutants. There are certain ways that one can follow for reducing emission of air pollutants in the atmosphere. For clear understanding, refer to the following tips for preventing air pollution.

Car Pool: Forming and implementing a car pool will reduce the number of cars, thereby, preventing air pollution by cutting down the use of fossil fuels. This way, it will help in the sustainable use of fossil fuel and its conservation for the future generations.

Vehicle Care: Timely servicing of the car helps to keep it in a good condition, and also minimizes fuel exhaust. Driving the car at an average speed and turning off in traffic are the thumb rules to save fuel. Make sure to use unleaded petrol and opt for regular pollution checking of your car.

Public Transport: Whenever possible, try to travel by public transports. This helps in two ways; prevents air pollution and increases public income. If you are going to a nearby place, go by walking or use a bicycle, instead of using your vehicle. The objective is to minimize the use of fuels as far as possible.

Alternative Energy Source: Another effective way to prevent air pollution is to use alternative energy sources such as solar energy, hydroelectric energy, and wind energy. Nowadays, sophisticated technologies such as wind turbine, solar water heaters are introduced to generate electricity and other energy forms for household uses.

Saving Energy: Saving energy will, of course, help to prevent air pollution. Switch off the lights, fans, air conditioners, televisions, and other appliances, when not in use. You can also share a room with others when the air conditioner or fan is on, instead of switching them on in every room.

Minimize Air Pollutants: Always try to minimize smoke emission, as it contributes a lot to air pollution. One way is to compost dried leaves and kitchen waste, instead of burning them. Composting will also give you organic fertilizer for your garden. Other tips include replacing old wood stoves or gas furnaces, avoiding solvents, and most importantly, do not smoke in the home.

Recyclable Materials: Recycling is a simple approach to reduce pollution in two ways; save energy which is required for disposing and minimize the pollutants released during manufacturing. The list of recyclable materials include plastic bottles, aluminum cans and utensils, paper, craft papers, cardboard, corrugated boxes, and glass bottles.

Smart Purchasing: Remember to carry paper bags and minimize using plastic bags. While buying the products, always choose air-friendly and recyclable products that will minimize the emission of pollutants. Also, shop for only energy-efficient appliances that use less packaging. Lastly, buy rechargeable batteries for frequently used devices.

Social awareness about air pollution facts is the most essential step to be taken for the prevention of air pollution. Awareness programs and/or advertisements should be encouraged, so that people understand the potential health hazards of pollution. Improvement of transport facilities and proper use of land for the sake of social benefits are equally important for controlling air pollution.

Rover 75 V8

Rover 75 V8

Rover 75 V8
The new full-depth open grille is reminiscent of the archetypal Rover P5B. Like the P5 and other V8-powered Rovers since, the imposing and distinctive appearance of V8 derivatives is matched by a motoring experience that has no peers in this segment of the market. The Rover 75 V8 four-door saloon is derived from the company's much-respected large car platform. Driving the rear wheels, the in-line mounted 4.6-litre engine is matched to a smooth automatic transmission to offer refined yet effortless performance entirely in keeping with the long-distance, no object associations of this famous marque.

Rover's famously comfortable seats have been trimmed in leather, designed to complement Rover's new Light Oak theme on Connoisseur SE, or Dark Oak on Contemporary SE models.

Under the bonnet, the flagship V8 power unit develops 260Ps and 410Nm of torque that is fed to the road through the rear-wheels. Cruise control and traction control systems are standard equipment. The traction control ensures that the considerable torque is deployed to good effect, whatever the conditions, while delivering rapid acceleration up to a top speed of 151mph.

The proven 4.6-litre engine is now mated to a smooth automatic transmission. A new electronic engine management tune and unique exhaust and intake systems provide an impressive combination of refined cruising and an assertive soundtrack under hard acceleration.

The V8 chassis is derived from the acclaimed rear drive MG ZT platform, launched last year. However, substantial revisions to chassis tuning have delivered a more compliant ride without sacrificing the inherent confidence and stability of the basic platform. In keeping with the immense reserves of V8 torque, the chassis has been tuned to deliver a rewarding yet relaxing driving experience.

2004 Rover 75 V8
Rob Oldaker, MG Rover Group's Product Development Director, says: "This new derivative is an impressive addition to a distinguished Rover product range. The car's performance and poise will shorten any long-distance journey, though on arrival occupants will be reluctant to leave the luxury of this sumptuous interior!"


The Rover 75 V8 is the antithesis of the accomplished ZT 260 V8, for while the MG can capably deploy its power for performance and deliver high levels of driver involvement, the Rover is a wholly more refined experience. While the experience of the ZT has permitted the clever installation techniques of the large capacity engine and rear-wheel drive power train to be incorporated within the robust body shell, the change was to produce a car of supreme comfort, refinement and power-in-reserve characteristics.


The Rover 75 V8 utilises the proven 4.6-litre V8 engine, widely used in North America to power the iconic Ford Mustang. Modifications have been made to the Powertrain to assist in packaging the engine while MG's engineers have also developed new intake, exhaust and emissions control systems to ensure the vehicle complies with stringent European noise legislation with no loss of power or torque. A new electronic engine calibration helps ensure the car exceeds current European emissions legislation. The automatic transmission has four speeds and is manufactured in North America.

The exhaust system, twinned for most of the length of the car, has four subtly mounted tailpipes, kept below the rear bumper. Outside the system produces a classic V8 burble, while inside the cabin remains quietly subdued, yet retains the note of a thoroughbred V8.

The Dana Hydratrak® limited slip differential system option, utilises vane-pump principles to ensure continuous and seamless torque transmission to both rear wheels in the event of wheel speed differential.

Steering and Suspension

The Rover 75's steering and suspension systems have evolved radically to match the performance of the V8 power unit. Developed by driving enthusiasts for enthusiasts, the team focused their efforts on honing the car's classic rear-drive handling to provide progressive control under the widest range of conditions. The result is a car that blends day-to-day ease of use with the driver-rewards of a true thoroughbred.

Power steering is now via a new forward mounted rack layout providing excellent feel and driver feedback to the leather-bound wheel.

The geometry of the 75's MacPherson strut front suspension has been tuned to the requirements of the new chassis. A new design of upright is matched to Eibach linear rate springs and a new, larger diameter anti-roll bar. Wheel response is controlled by Bilstein monotube struts, which combine a large piston area for fine tuning resolution with very high bending stiffness for improved camber control.

A new multi-link rear suspension has been evolved from the design created for the ZT 260 V8. A new six-mount subframe houses the rear drive differential, while each wheel is located by three lateral links (two steel and one light-alloy) and a light alloy trailing arm. Compound rate springs, sourced from specialist Eibach, work in conjunction with Bilstein monotube dampers to provide excellent wheel control.

Wheel designs are available in a 17" Star-spoke design with 215/50 profile tyres provides supreme comfort levels, and in 18" with Contisport 225/45 R18 tyres. Both have a unique machine-faced feature.


The Rover 75 V8 has a new H-split braking system providing excellent stopping power. At the front, proven large capacity 325mm ventilated discs and sliding-pin callipers are specified. At the rear a new AP-Racing sourced brake system is specified with 332mm ventilated discs and opposed piston alloy callipers.

Interior environment

A new HEVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air conditioning) unit is fitted to the V8. The new unit is a water-blend design featuring a dedicated electronic control unit to drive servo-motor valves to regulate the water flow around the heating circuit. This system has been refined to offer similar levels of response and control to the existing 75's acclaimed air-blending system. All models feature ATC (Automatic Temperature Control), using the familiar user-friendly interface of other 75 models.

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