Ghana: History And Current Conditions

(This article is courtesy of Wikipedia)

Ghana (Listeni/ˈɡɑːnə/), officially the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign unitary presidential constitutional democracy, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 km2, Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. The word Ghana means “Warrior King” in the Soninke language.[10]

The territory of present-day Ghana has been inhabited for millennia, with the first permanent state dating back to the 11th century. Numerous kingdoms and empires emerged over the centuries, of which the most powerful was the Kingdom of Ashanti.[11] Beginning in the 15th century, numerous European powers contested the area for trading rights, with the British ultimately establishing control of the coast by the late 19th century. Following over a century of native resistance, Ghana’s current borders were established by the 1900s as the British Gold Coast. In 1957, it became the first Sub-Saharan African nation to declare independence from European colonization.[12][13][14]

A multicultural nation, Ghana has a population of approximately 27 million, spanning a variety of ethnic, linguistic and religious groups.[5] Five percent of the population practices traditional faiths, 71.2% adhere to Christianity and 17.6% are Muslim. Its diverse geography and ecology ranges from coastal savanna’s to tropical jungles. Ghana is a democratic country led by a president who is both head of state and head of the government. Ghana’s economy is one of the strongest and most diversified in Africa, following a quarter century of relative stability and good governance.[15] Ghana’s growing economic prosperity and democratic political system has made it a regional power in West Africa.[16] It is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Group of 24 (G24).[17]

The History Of The United Arab Emirates (UAE) (Antiquity)

(This article is courtesy of Wikipedia’s web-site)

Antiquity[edit]

It appears that the land of the Emirates has been occupied for many thousands of years. Stone tools recovered from Jebel Faya in the emirate of Sharjah reveal a settlement of people from Africa some 127,000 years ago and a stone tool used for butchering animals discovered at Jebel Barakah on the Arabian coast suggests an even older habitation from 130,000 years ago.[22] There is no proof of contact with the outside world at that stage, although in time it developed with civilization in Mesopotamia and Iran. This contact persisted and became wide-ranging, probably motivated by trade in copper from the Hajar Mountains, which commenced around 3000 BCE.[23] In ancient times, Al Hasa (today’s Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia) was part of Al Bahreyn and adjoined Greater Oman (today’s UAE and Oman). From the second century AD, there was a movement of tribes from Al Bahreyn towards the lower Gulf, together with a migration among the Azdite Qahtani (or Yamani) and Quda’ah tribal groups from south-west Arabia towards central Oman. Sassanid groups were present on the Batinah coast. In 637, Julfar (in the area of today’s Ra’s al-Khaimah) was an important port that was used as a staging post for the Islamic invasion of the Sassanian Empire.[24] The area of the Al Ain/Buraimi Oasis was known as Tu’am and was an important trading post for camel routes between the coast and the Arabian interior .[25]

The earliest Christian site in the UAE was first discovered in the 1990s, an extensive monastic complex on what is now known as Sir Bani Yas Island and which dates back to the 7th century. Thought to be Nestorian and built-in 600 AD, the church appears to have been abandoned peacefully in 750 AD.[26] It forms a rare physical link to a legacy of Christianity which is thought to have spread across the peninsula from 50 to 350 AD following trade routes. Certainly, by the 5th century, Oman had a bishop named John – the last bishop of Oman being Etienne, in 676 AD.

Monk Accused Of Killing 3 People Becomes Temple Abbot

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News Paper)

Monk on the run: Chinese ‘killer’ becomes temple abbot

A suspected murderer on the run for 16 years in China found refuge in Buddhist temples, eventually rising to become an abbot, Chinese media said Wednesday.

Zhang Liwei was detained by police earlier this month on suspicion of stabbing three people to death with accomplices in 2000, the Beijing News reported.

After the killings in his home province of Heilongjiang, deep in northeastern China, Zhang fled nearly 2,000 kilometres (more than 1,000 miles) south to Anhui, changing his name and finding work as a temple cook and ticket-seller, it said.

Later he moved to the Longxing temple in Fengyang county, shaving his own head and proclaiming himself a monk.

He became a member of a local political consultative congress — an organ of the county government — and two years ago the monks elected him abbot on the recommendation of his predecessor, according to the report.

He was only unmasked when he applied for a passport to travel abroad and submitted his fingerprints — which allegedly matched those of the wanted man.

The monks appreciated his efforts to improve their living conditions and buildings, the report said, adding that the temple had donated around a million yuan ($150,000) to charitable causes in recent years and Zhang was supporting two rural orphans financially.

But a neighbourhood nun was unmoved.

“The Buddha tells us to be contrite,” the report quoted her as saying. “He should have turned himself in if he sincerely repented of what he did.”

Taiwan Scandal: Sex For Business Contracts: Must Have Been Some Great Sex

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News Paper)

Taiwan jails 14 people over railway sex scandal

TAIWAN has jailed 14 people for up to 17 years in a corruption scandal that saw railway officials accepting sexual services and visits to hostess clubs in exchange for business contracts.

In the biggest ever graft case to hit the rail sector, seven Taiwan Railway Administration officials were convicted and sentenced for corruption.

They were found to have received perks as a reward for helping firms secure contracts for eight rail projects, worth more than NT$1.1 billion (US$34.7 million), in the past six years.

A construction broker and six businessmen — including the head of a construction company — were also jailed for up to five years for bribing officials.

All were convicted and sentenced by Taichung district court in central Taiwan on Tuesday.

The highest-ranking defendant was Chung Chao-hsiung — a former deputy head of the TRA — who was sentenced to 10 years and two months for accepting banquets and paid-for hostess clubs in exchange for favorable treatment.

TRA official Cheng Wen-chung received the heaviest sentence after taking more than 100 hostess club visits.

“Cheng was implicated in more cases than other defendants and accepted the most hostess clubs visits. He seriously violated the civil servant’s code of conduct,” said Chuang Shen-yuan, a spokesman for the court.

China And Canada Will Work Together In Asian Infrastructure Investment Banking

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News Paper)

Canada confirms plans to join AIIB

CANADA will apply to join the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Ottawa’s finance department said yesterday, in a coup for Beijing after Washington had tried to dissuade US allies from signing up.

“Canada is always looking for ways to create hope and opportunity for our middle class as well as for people around the world,” Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in a statement issued in Beijing.

“Membership in the AIIB is an opportunity to do just that,” he said.

The Beijing-headquartered multilateral lender, which began operations earlier this year, has been seen by some as a rival to the World Bank and the Philippines-based Asian Development Bank, which was founded in 1966.

The US$100 billion AIIB counts several major European countries among its shareholders after they joined up despite the objections of the United States.

The United States remains by far the world’s largest economy and hosts both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

AIIB President Jin Liqun welcomed Canada’s decision, which he called “a vote of confidence” in the institution that showed Ottawa’s “confidence in the strong foundations the bank has built in our first few months.”

The US and Japan — the world’s third-largest economy — have notably declined to join the AIIB.

But Jin said that Washington now had a “very positive opinion on the bank.”

China “does not regard itself as the big boss” in the lender, he added, and its shareholding would “definitely be diluted” as more members joined, which could ultimately lead to Beijing losing the de facto veto power it holds over some of its decisions.

In a speech, Morneau suggested Canada was seeking to strike a balance between the US, its close ally and neighbor, and the growing Asian giant.

China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner after the United States, with exchanges topping C$85 billion (US$66.5 billion) last year.

“We have important relationships with the world’s most powerful nations and have developed a capacity for mutual accommodation and governance,” Morneau said yesterday in Beijing.

“Should we become the first North American member of the AIIB, I have every confidence that we bring constructive and balanced views to the table.”

Joining the China-backed lender would create jobs and business opportunities for Canadians, he said, adding, “Participation in the bank is clearly in Canada’s best interest.”

Canada’s announcement came during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to China, where he met Premier Li Keqiang to try to strengthen ties before the G20 summit this weekend in Hangzhou.

Trudeau yesterday hailed a new era in relations with China during his first official visit to a key trading partner, saying he aims to boost “stability and regularity” in their ties.

Trudeau and Li agreed to annual meetings and the eventual establishment of a mechanism to discuss national security and rule of law. Trudeau said they will work together to discuss issues of common concern, including climate change, judicial training, gender equality and empowerment of women and children.

“Renewing our relationship with China is extremely important to Canada,” Trudeau said at a joint news conference after his meeting with Li. “Until now, the China-Canada relationship has somewhat lacked in stability and regularity.”

Trudeau and Li also announced an agreement to extend a September 1 deadline that China had imposed on Canada to tighten its screening of canola exports, which could have led to major losses for Canadian farmers.

China is the biggest foreign consumer of Canadian canola, which is usually refined into an edible oil, but Li said Chinese canola producers and consumers were worried about imported canola carrying disease. Trudeau said Canada and China were working “very closely toward a long-term solution in the coming days and weeks ahead.”

 

Lithuania Agrees To Buy Israeli Sampson MK-S Weapon Stations

(This article is courtesy of ‘The Globe’ of Israel)

Rafael lands €100m Lithuania missile-launcher deal

The Lithuanian Army will procure Samson Mk2 remote-controlled weapon stations mounted on 88 new infantry fighting vehicles.

The Lithuanian Army’s largest-ever land system procurement has generated a major deal for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.. Today, the state-owned defense company announced that it had signed a deal to provide the Lithuanian Army with advanced, remote-controlled, weapon stations enabling the launch of accurate Spike missiles, also produced by Rafael.The Samson Mk2 weapon stations will be mounted on 88 Boxer infantry fighting vehicles, to be provided to the Lithuanian infantry forces by the Dutch-German consortium ARTEC. As part of the deal reported by Rafael, it will serve as Artec’s subcontractor, and the weapon stations will be modified to match different armament types and calibers.

Defense establishment sources estimated today that Rafael’s share in the deal will be €100 million, while the entire deal is estimated at nearly €400 million. Defense industry sources say that this is Rafael’s first deal in Lithuania and that the weapon stations will be provided in 2017.

Rafael reported today that the weapon stations will be provided with a 30mm gun and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The stations will be capable of launching Spike LR missiles, which have a 4 km range and are known for their accuracy. Rafael has sold weapon stations to more than 25 countries worldwide, which are used by armies on various naval and land system platforms.

Rafael says that this weapon system has a low signature but high accuracy; it can be loaded from under the turret, inside the vehicle, in order to minimize the risk of it being hit, thereby increasing the survivability of the vehicle and its crew, while maintaining continuous operation during a mission.

“The deal in Lithuania is indicative of Rafael’s leading position in the field of land systems worldwide,” said Rafael Executive Vice President and Head of Rafael’s Land Systems Division Moshe Elazar, “This is a system that provides armies with survivability, lethality and maneuverability capabilities at competitive prices and is tailored to specific user demands. We are proud of being an integral part of the Lithuanian Army’s largest land system acquisition plan with our weapon stations and Spike missiles. They will be a significant force multiplier for the Lithuanian Army.”

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on August 29, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

Turkey’s Erdogan ratifies Israel reconciliation deal

As relations thaw, countries set to exchange ambassadors, reset ties

Source: Turkey’s Erdogan ratifies Israel reconciliation deal

‘Jewish Woodstock’ stokes spiritual sparks at NY-area music festival

Without electricity or the perpetual city buzz, young Jews experience a rustic Shabbat at the Camping Trip and other summer retreats

Source: ‘Jewish Woodstock’ stokes spiritual sparks at NY-area music festival

Israel’s West Bank governing body okays 466 settlement homes

Planning committee approves new units in several communities, retroactively legalizes 179 homes in Ofarim

Source: Israel’s West Bank governing body okays 466 settlement homes

Israel’s Freightos buys Barcelona’s WebCargoNet

Multi-million dollar deal will create world’s largest database of freight prices and routes, Jerusalem-based firm says

Source: Israel’s Freightos buys Barcelona’s WebCargoNet