So can anyone tell me and my friend if taking photos is in fact illegal?

Picture this – rogue parkers in the frame

Date    January 29, 2013 – 10:24AM

Jimmy Thomson

Can cars be camera shy? A question of parking paparazzi comes this week comes from a Flat Chat regular who wonders if he’s been breaking the law in his long-running campaign to drive off rogue parkers.

A friend of StrataGuru Struggler, fighting a lone battle against cars left illegally in visitors spots and along his driveway, was caught taking pictures of the offending vehicles after Fair Trading told him photographic evidence would help in a case at the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.

“The owner of the car said that it was illegal to take photos,” says Struggler. “I have also taken photos of rogue parkers here in my complex. No people, just the cars and the rego plates … it has worked as they have made themselves scarce and are parking in their own spaces or on the street.

“So can anyone tell me and my friend if taking photos is in fact illegal?”

Taking pictures of vehicles parked on common property is not against the law. If taking pictures of people, never mind cars, in public places was illegal, Shane Warne and Liz Hurley would have no one to swear at.

It is illegal to record speech without the participants knowledge and permission – which is why you get that little warning that you are being recorded “for training purposes” every time you call your bank.

Recording people on CCTV (vision only) is, oddly, a lot less controlled and the accepted wisdom is that if you put up signs telling people there are cameras, you are OK. However, you could be in trouble if the video cameras point at or into private property.

As far as pictures go, you could put up a sign saying “Cars parked illegally will be photographed for evidence of breaches of by-laws”, which will cover any legal loopholes and might even work as a deterrent.

NB: if you’re using a digital camera, make sure the pictures are accurately date-stamped. And, hey, if you get caught in the act, just say you’re taking pictures for training purposes.

You can see the whole picture and read the whole story here.

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Go without sex, cheat or leave. Regardless the man is either left unhappy, broke or both.

Desire discrepancy

Date    January 29, 2013 – 3:56PM

Matty Silver

How to wake up a sex life that has gone to sleep ... Mismatched libidos.How to wake up a sex life that has gone to sleep … Mismatched libidos. Photo: Sylvia Tuz

My blog, ‘Mismatched Libidos‘, published at the end of last year, received such an enormous response, I have decided to write a follow-up. The subject set off some interesting discussions.

Some of the comments included:

I have given up pursuing sex as I am sick of rejection by the woman I love and lust after.

“As someone that is in a sexless relationship I can tell you the communication part is very hard. People take discussions on this subject very personal [sic] and both people rarely consider the impact of the situation on the other”.

“I was going to send this article to my wife but know it would inspire resentment, which revolves around the ‘pressure’ I place upon her. We are a classic example of the limerence issue, unable to discuss it because we end up fighting. I have given up pursuing sex as I am sick of rejection by the woman I love and lust after”.

“I would like a follow up article that will give couples some methods to address mismatched libidos. I need more guidance provided then just to be told ‘consult a sex therapist’. I am not asking for an article to replace a sex therapist but would like to receive more information and education of ways that might be explored”.

There were also comments from some very disillusioned men, who feel trapped and cheated. They feel they can’t leave the relationship as they have children and do not want to lose them, so they hang in there unhappily.

“Marriage is a social construct that only caters for the needs and wants of women. Sex is used as a tool to achieve the required result. Once married a man has few choices. Go without sex, cheat or leave. Regardless the man is either left unhappy, broke or both”.

“Women really seem to be the only winners in a marriage, especially when they deny sex to their husbands.”

“I look forward to when my kids are a bit older so I can leave and live my life in dignity”.

But, it was not just the men who were hurting. Some other comments by women included:

“I have been married four years and we are both in our early thirties so you would think that we would have a great sex life but unfortunately that is not the case. My husband has an almost total lack of sex drive, I have spoken to him which seems to cause even more stress on his already stressful job. I have tried to be understanding and supportive, suggested he see a doctor about his health or a sex therapist but he is not interested. We both would like kids but it takes two to tango”.

“Libido is just an excuse. Many things get in the way of sex but people in relationship need to make an effort. Sometimes I don’t particular[ly] feel like it but I know it is important in a loving relationship so I make an effort and when I start I usually really enjoy it”.

“I spent nearly ten years of my life with little to no libido, but days after quitting hormonal birth control, I was like a horny teenager again”.

One of the most common sexual problems in relationships, there have been several books and articles written about ‘desire discrepancy’. Dr Rosie King’s Good Loving Great Sex is a book that is still very relevant and a must-read for couples who wish to have and maintain a good sexual relationship.

Dr King believes that many couples experience disputes and ongoing unhappiness because of unresolved issues in their sex lives. The majority of these couples are experiencing mismatched libidos and need practical information and common-sense strategies. When a couple acquires the skills and are willing to work together, a solution can be found.

To stop the pursuer-distancer cycle, it is important that you develop empathy for your partner’s situation. Whether you are the pursuer or the distancer, it is important to stop blaming each other; both of you are missing out on a good sex life. Goodwill between partners is critical. When you forgive each other for past hurts and misunderstandings, you can start to improve your situation, but you have to change your attitudes and behaviours and work together to re-establish intimacy.

The pursuer should make the effort to back off and try to improve the relationship by being understanding and caring. This, in turn, helps to re-establish better emotional connections and rebuild trust and closeness.

The distancer should try to be more physically loving and affectionate. Show your partner that you are willing to make changes, which may encourage him or her to do the same. It is important to learn how to negotiate sex in a way that shows your partner that you care about his or her sexual needs.

It is not possible to give a one-size-fits-all answer to the comments. Every couple has different issues, but if there is still love, respect and especially goodwill in a relationship, it is worthwhile giving it another chance. Too often, clients come to see me when it is already too late to heal the hurt and disappointments that have accumulated over so many years. The best likelihood of repairing a relationship is early intervention.

In Bettina Arndt’s The Bedroom Diaries, she quoted American sex therapist Michele Weiner Davis, who suggested women “just do it!” Desire is a decision, she said, you can’t wait for it to come, you have to make it happen.

Weiner Davis said there is no point worrying about the reasons you are not interested in sex. She believes that knowing won’t boost your desire, but doing something about it will. Indeed, she says, you may end up enjoying it in the end.

Many women feel anger at Arndt  – and Weiner Davis – for seemingly taking sides with men. However, when a couple decides to marry or commit to a life together, there is a general understanding that they will work, entertain, cook, clean the house, look after the kids and have sex. All these activities need planning and take time. Maybe it is time to change our thinking about what is more important, as sex often seems to be last of the priorities.

You won’t leave your partner without food or stop cleaning the house, why is it so difficult to schedule in some time for sex?

Disposing of a family estate equitably can be a source of enduring conflict between brothers and sisters.

Sibling squabbles

Date      January 23, 2013

Sylvia Pennington    –    SMH Newspaper Fri 25 Jan 2013
http://www.smh.com.au/money/planning/sibling-squabbles-20130122-2d3xv.html

Disposing of a family estate equitably can be a source of enduring conflict between brothers and sisters.

<i>Illustration: Karl Hilzinger</i>Be safe … families should work through inheritance issues together. Illustration: Karl Hilzinger

Assuming control of an elderly parent’s financial affairs can be time consuming and emotionally draining – and a true acid test of sibling relations.

In some families, selling the parents’ home, making investment decisions and taking charge of day-to-day money matters are worked through collaboratively and amicably.

In others, deciding what is in mum and dad’s best interests can spark mistrust, ill will and estrangement among adult children.

For 48-year-old Sharon Thompson*, taking charge of her parents’ affairs has soured an already lukewarm relationship with her three older brothers.

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Sharon is carer and business manager for her increasingly frail parents, now aged in their mid-80s.

A signatory to one of her father’s accounts, Sharon pays some of their bills on her credit card and withdraws money to reimburse herself and cover her parents’ daily expenses.

She leaves a clear audit trail, storing the funds in a separate wallet, keeping receipts and recording all transactions in an account book.

”I don’t want my brothers coming back and saying, ‘You spent all of mum and dad’s money,”’ Sharon says.

”We’re seriously covering ourselves … it’s money, and where family is involved, you have to be careful.”

The parents live in a granny flat purpose-built by Sharon and her husband two years ago. According to Sharon, at the time one brother accused her of championing the flat to funnel a chunk of the inheritance into improving the value of her home.

But Sharon says she and her husband ”put ourselves in debt to pay for it, as well as protecting the inheritance from paying a bond at a nursing home.”

Her brothers also prevented Sharon from being appointed enduring power of attorney (POA), which would have allowed her to make financial and property decisions on her parents’ behalf if they became incapacitated.

This remains a sore point for Sharon, who believes her father would have been willing to sign a POA if his children were united.

”Our family doesn’t discuss things very much,” Sharon says.

”Dad can’t cope with thinking about things very much. He gets stressed very quickly. He said, ‘Don’t worry about that at the moment.’ My brother said, ‘You don’t have it because he doesn’t want you to have it.’

”But I’m the one that’s here doing things. My brothers have no clue about how bad mum and dad are and how much help they need.”

POA holders have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the individual and ensure they and their assets are protected.

While financial planners and lawyers say POA agreements are a must-have for ageing parents and their family, deciding who gets the guernsey can create conflict.

One child might be a more gifted administrator or better equipped to handle POA duties than his or her siblings but this is not always acknowledged by the others, says a senior adviser with financial-planning firm Future Assist Financial Services, Sean McNeill. McNeill says those left out of the decision-making process can feel ”unimportant, unloved and every other human emotion that is invoked when dealing with family.”

Some parents try to circumvent this issue by appointing all their children to act under POA, with decisions to be made unanimously or by majority. But management by committee can be impractical if siblings are geographically dispersed, says a succession lawyer at McCullough Robertson, Ashleigh Poole.

Determining whether the family home should be sold to fund a nursing home accommodation bond is the most common source of conflict, Poole says.

While POA holders may make the call, Poole says ensuring other siblings aren’t left in the dark should be a priority. ”Communication is very important. The POA needs to keep the other siblings up to date and seek their views.”

Taking financial and legal advice as soon as the POA is invoked is also wise, says a financial adviser at PSK, James Gerrard. Specialists can provide advice on maximising Centrelink entitlements, whether to rent or sell the family home, and assisting the POA holder to understand their duties and ensure their actions are perceived as reasonable.

Being given POA for her 83-year-old mother has thrown Sarah Murphy* into the bad-cop role in her large family.

After her mother suffered a stroke last year, Sarah and her older brother arranged the sale of her mother’s house and car, the dispersal of possessions and the mother’s shift into a nursing home.

Sarah says she has also spent ”weekends and weekends” sifting through paperwork in an attempt to unravel and recoup undocumented loans to two other brothers.

Some amounts have been partially repaid while others had purportedly been forgiven, the brothers say.

Sarah says her inquiries have resulted in ill feeling between her and the two brothers. One sister has also told her to ”let it go”.

But Sarah believes their mother would not have wanted to see the other children disadvantaged.

And she says the brothers’ attitude rankles, given the vigilance she has shown for their mother’s affairs.

”If people are in debt, those not in debt can feel very resentful … for some people, this kind of financial disregard can cut very deep.”

Tales such as those of Sharon and Sarah are far from uncommon, says a senior psychologist at Psychology Melbourne, Darryl Hodgson.

Taking over a parent’s affairs is a flashpoint in many families and serious differences can mean that when mum or dad passes away, so do the ties that bind.

”I’ve seen some dreadful situations, estrangements for years and years, where there’s been disenchantment with the way one of the siblings is handling affairs,” Hodgson says.

”A family of several siblings can find themselves without a family after a badly organised estate.”

*Not her real name.

Top tips for families

1. Forward planning can mean fewer problems later. Encourage parents to have a power of attorney in place and to make their plans and wishes known to all children, not just the one who has been put in charge.

2. If you’re acting under power of attorney, consult regularly with other siblings. Backbiting and resentment are less likely if decisions are made collaboratively.

3. Keep clear records of all dealings on the parents’ behalf and be prepared to share them.

4. Seek legal and financial advice early if significant property transactions or nursing homes are involved – mistakes are better avoided than rectified.

5. The parents’ best interests come first. If push comes to shove, their well-being should take precedence over sibling harmony.

An astonishing line-up of new attractions awaits globetrotters in 2013

Tickets, please!

Date    January 20, 2013
Year's best sights ...  The Shard, London.Year’s best sights … The Shard, London.

An astonishing line-up of new attractions awaits globetrotters in 2013, as Belinda Jackson and Julietta Jameson discover in their round-up of the best.

For lovers of the highest, biggest, cleverest or freshest, this year presents a remarkable array of new attractions in all corners of the globe. From Paris to far-north China, amazing feats of architecture, adrenalin-pumping roller coasters, world-class collections and even an endangered-animal experience will welcome visitors in 2013.

Here’s our guide to 10 of the best.

Water park ... an artist's impression of the  Yas waterworld in Abu Dhabi.Water park … an artist’s impression of the Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi.

1. Marina Boulevard, Singapore

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Gardens by the Bay

Type of attraction Botanical spectacular.
Wow factor
More flowers than Interflora on Mother’s Day.
Great for
Gardening enthusiasts, respite from the Singapore heat and humidity.
Open
Now.

The 101-hectare gardens, situated at the heart of Singapore's Marine Bay, cost $773 million to build and house over a quarter of a million rare plants. Click for more photos

Avatar in real life: Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay

The 101-hectare gardens, situated at the heart of Singapore’s Marine Bay, cost $773 million to build and house over a quarter of a million rare plants. Photo: Reuters

Singapore’s penchant for creative new architecture is fully in play at Gardens by the Bay. The Supertree Grove, a collection of fluted glass towers, is like something out of a futuristic space station. The walkways 22 metres above ground between the towers offer terrific views.

Two glass domes sit like giant sea snails on the edge of Marina Reservoir. Inside, visitors are surrounded by an extensive botanic collection, carefully zoned and climate controlled. It’s a soothing and intriguing experience that, all up, 700,000 plants collaborate upon.

The Flower Dome is a pleasing walk through different microclimates and their plants. The Cloud Forest, with its 30-metre waterfall centrepiece, mimics a tropical climate 1000-3500 metres above sea level. By night, light shows transform the gardens into a flashier – and perhaps more child-friendly – place.

Screamer ... Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey.Screamer … Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. Photo: Getty Images

“We could have used this for far more valuable commercial or residential developments, right in the middle of the new Singapore city,” says the Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong. “But our planners in URA [Urban Redevelopment Authority] believed that a large and beautiful park was an important element of our new downtown in Marina Bay South.”

Entry to the domes ranges from $S8 ($6.15) to $S28. gardensbythebay.com.sg JJ

 

2. London, England

The View from The Shard

Type of attraction High-rise viewing platform.
Wow factor
On a (rare) clear day, you can see forever – or at least 64 kilometres away.
Great for
Marriage proposals, London first-timers getting their bearings, a different perspective for London veterans.
Open
February 1.

The controversy surrounding Renzo Piano’s The Shard made that about Sir Norman Foster’s quirky “Gherkin” in the same city look a doddle.

The Shard – all 95 storeys of it – dwarfs the London skyline.

It’s hated as incongruous and hailed as elegant. Either way, there’s no denying it’s spectacular.

The tapering edifice on the edge of the Thames at London Bridge is the tallest building in western Europe and incorporates offices, apartments, a hotel and two floors of public viewing space – The View from The Shard. The view is nothing short of breathtaking. The aspect of the winding course of the Thames is a highlight – it affords a deeper understanding of the way this warren of a city works.

“This iconic building is already the new centrepiece for the city,” says the head of international media at VisitBritain, Paul Gauger.

“The View from The Shard will be the must-visit attraction for London in 2013 and I’m sure for years to come.”

The attraction is expensive, however. Tickets cost £24.95 ($38) for an adult and £18.95 for a child. Compare that with the €14 ($17.70) price of an adult ticket to the top of the Eiffel Tower. theviewfromtheshard.com JJ

 

3. Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Legoland Malaysia

Type of attraction The world’s sixth Legoland.
Wow factor
Miniland: made from 30 million Lego bricks over three years.
Great for
Young families, hardcore Lego buffs.
Open
Now.

Set on the border of Singapore, Legoland is hands-on, with more than 40 attractions, including mini trains, tots’ playgrounds, castles and carousels, and roller coasters.

The park is zoned into areas where you can build and test your creations, play jousting, damsels and dragons, or journey into the Land of Adventure to hook up with pharaohs and dinosaurs.

Intricate Miniland is a city of animated models of Asian landmarks, including the Taj Mahal and Petronas Twin Towers, at a scale of 1:20.

Coming in late 2013/early 2014 are a Legoland water park and hotel.

Buy online seven days in advance for the best price, from 112 ringgit ($35) for adults (12-59 years), 88 ringgit for children and seniors (3-11 years, 60-plus years). www.legoland.com.my. BJ

 

4. Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Yas Waterworld

Type of attraction The world’s biggest water park.
Wow factor
The world’s largest surfable sheet wave.
Great for
Families, thrill seekers, anyone who feels the heat at 50 degrees.
Open
January 24.

There are 43 Emirati-themed water rides at Yas Waterworld, including the little-kid-friendly Marah Fortress, complete with water cannon, and Dawwama, a 20-metre-high funnel ride that propels you into the air.

“Cameras installed inside the ride are meant to capture the looks of pure terror on riders’ faces,” the organisers say with unbridled glee.

There’s a designer Arabian souk (market) within the park.

Action-packed Yas Island, half an hour from Abu Dhabi, is the leisure island of the Emirates, according to Abu Dhabi Tourism. It’s home to Ferrari World, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix circuit, and a string of hotels and shops. You can buy multi-park passes to Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld, or single-entrance tickets cost from 225 dirham ($58) for adults, 185 dirham for children under 1.1 metres, free for children under three years. yaswaterworld.com BJ

 

5. Sichuan province, China

The Dujiangyan Giant Panda Rescue and Disease Control Centre

Type of attraction Endangered wildlife sanctuary.
Wow factor
Up close with pandas – what’s more “wow” than that?
Great for
Voluntourists, nature lovers.
Open
Midyear.

The rescue centre is the third part of and completes a giant panda preservation network, collectively the only place in the world where visitors can get close to large groups of captive pandas. Dujiangyan encloses the panda area of China’s west, making for easier protection, breeding, rescue and research work.

Voluntourists are invited to spend a week or so there, helping feed and care for the pandas.

Helen Wong, who runs panda tours for Australians and organises access to the animals, says it’s a “very moving experience” getting so close.

“At the centres, people can get to know this indigenous species and understand why they are such an important treasure,” she says.

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is sponsoring a new bamboo plantation as part of its Care for Panda project. It will help feed the rescued ill and elderly wild giant pandas at the Dujiangyan Giant Panda Rescue and Disease Control Centre.

Guests at the Shangri-La Hotel, Chengdu, will be able to visit the Dujiangyan centre, take education tours and participate in activities, such as preparing food for pandas. chinagiantpanda.org JJ

 

6. Paris, France

The Department of Islamic Art, Musee du Louvre

Type of attraction The Louvre’s newest department.
Wow factor
The entrance, a 15th-century Egyptian Mamluk vestibule, sets the tone for the treasures within.
Great for
Art and design lovers.
Open
Now.

After nearly five years’ refurbishment, the new Department of Islamic Art exhibits almost 3000 of the Louvre’s 12,000 Islamic works, spanning 12 centuries and many countries, from Spain to India.

Treasures include Turkish ceramics, Iranian ewers, tiles from central Asia and a silver-and-gold basin used to baptise Louis XII, many on display for the first time.

“The Egyptian Antiquities department is one of the most popular, but the new Islamic art collection is a great opportunity for Australians to go off the beaten tracks and discover an amazing civilisation,” says Coralie Pierre of French Travel Connection. The department’s new home is almost worth a visit alone: the collection is in an 18th-century palace courtyard roofed by a gold, flowing architectural “veil”. The cost of the new wing? About $131 million. Entrance costs from €11 ($13.90) for adults, free for children under 18. Closed on Tuesdays. louvre.fr BJ

 

7. Jackson, New Jersey, US

Six Flags Great Adventure

Type of attraction Theme park.
Wow factor
Animals and 13 roller coasters. Oh, my! Great for Wildlife spotters, adrenalin junkies.
Open
March 23.

This adventure park in New Jersey will become the world’s largest theme park when it merges its fun park and Wild Safari animal park.

Scream your way down the new four-storey-high Big Wave Racer water toboggan or splash through the million-gallon wave pool.

Make like Paris Hilton and hit the stand-up Green Lantern roller coaster. Or spot, hand-feed or zip over the top of some of the 1200 animals in the safari park. If you’re lucky, you’ll eyeball a red lechwe, kudu, nilgai twins or a khulan. Get the best (camera) shot from an open-air safari vehicle on the park’s new Safari Off Road Adventure or the new zipline for a bird’s-eye view of the African-style park. The park is 1½ hours’ drive south of New York City.

Buy tickets online from $US42.99 ($41) for adults, $US34.99 for children under 137 centimetres, free for kids under two years. sixflags.com BJ

 

8. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Rijksmuseum

Type of attraction Art gallery.
Wow factor
The long-awaited return of one of the world’s best art collections.
Great for
Culture vultures.
Open
April 13.

A decade and $300 million later, the Netherlands’ national art gallery reopens. It’s five years late – “Everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” general director Wim Pijbes says – but the delay was, in many ways, a blessing. There has been incredible progress in museum technology in the past five years; the museum has responded. The base collection will comprise 8000 works telling the story of the Netherlands from the Middle Ages to now.

Highlights include the Rembrandts and works by other artists from the Dutch golden age of painting, such as Vermeer and Hals.

There are revamped gardens, new public facilities and an Asian Pavilion, plus the stunningly renewed facade of the grand 17th-century building. The museum expects annual attendance to rise from about 1 million visitors before the closure to 5 million.

Amsterdam will be an art mecca in 2013. Also reopening are the Van Gogh Museum and the modern art gallery. rijksmuseum.nl JJ

 

9. Christchurch, New Zealand

The Cardboard Cathedral

Type of attraction A temporary cathedral.
Wow factor
Seats 700 people, who won’t get wet when it rains.
Great for
Fans of architecture and sustainability – atheists and the faithful alike.
Open
April.

Built in 1881, the Anglican ChristChurch Cathedral was severely damaged in the February 2011 earthquake and in two subsequent quakes. The Gothic stone building is being replaced temporarily by a transitional cathedral made from 320 giant cardboard tubes, the signature material of “emergency architect” Shigeru Ban, who is working, for no fee, on the project.

The Japanese architect specialises in designing temporary buildings in disaster zones using cardboard, which is cheap, recyclable and readily available. It’s also more earthquake resilient and it won’t go soggy, thanks to a concrete floor, timber beams and polycarbonate roof.

It has a lifespan of about 20 years, and in the ultimate recycling move, the temporary cathedral will become the permanent house of worship for the St John’s parish, which also lost its church, hall and vicarage in the same earthquake. “The arrival of the cathedral will provide an important venue for both spiritual and community gatherings,” says the chief executive of Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism, Tim Hunter. christchurchnz.com/planning/cardboard-cathedral BJ

 

10. Daqing, China

Jurassic Dream

Type of attraction Theme park.
Wow factor
Cutting-edge animatronics and roller coasters featuring spectacular visuals.
Great for
All ages of kids who dig all things dinosaur.
Open
Sometime in 2013.

“China has become the new Eldorado for theme park designers thanks to frenetic development,” says the online journal of the theme parks and leisure industry, NewsParcs. That’s good news for lovers of theme parks and dinosaurs.

Heilongjiang province in the far north of China is the home of Heilongjiangosaurus, an obscure duck-billed species of dinosaur.

Fossils of it, and many other species, have been unearthed here.

Up until now, there has been little to entice enthusiasts in, especially with the oil-rich region’s shocking weather – during the long winter, the temperature can drop to a chilly minus 30 degrees.

Enter Jurassic Dream, which puts paid to climate concerns by being one of the biggest covered, temperature-controlled theme parks in the world.

“The all-indoor theme park is a stunning celebration of dinosaurs … that will thrill guests of all ages,” says Craig Hanna of Thinkwell, the mastermind behind the park.

Highlights include the Mystic Caverns Express, a family roller coaster that takes riders through extravagant dinosaur-related visuals, and the crowning glory, Dinosaur Encounter, a walk-through experience full of cutting-edge animatronic dinosaurs.

The 5.7-hectare 2013 version of the park is set to be quadrupled by 2015, with the likely addition of a hotel. thinkwellgroup.com JJ

The military which is now said to need a new partner in crime? Or will he simply fizzle out like he did twice in the past.

“…The military which is now said to need a new partner in crime? Or will he simply fizzle out like he did twice in the past…”

I TOLD YOU DAWN is BRAVE NEWSPAPER
http://dawn.com/2013/01/16/an-unlikely-avenger-in-a-winter-of-shortages/

An unlikely avenger in a winter of shortages

From the Newspaper | | 2 days ago

For years, armchair analysts have spoken of an Islamist takeover in Islamabad but not a single one predicted that the onslaught would be led by an English-speaking Barelvi who had been marked by the militants for his fatwa condemning terrorist attacks and suicide blasts as un-Islamic.

Dr Tahirul Qadri, who does not like to be  called a maulana, has emerged as an unlikely avenger of the people’s discontent in this winter of shortages.

Inexplicably he has managed to capture the airwaves and the crowd’s imagination and the analysts’ horrors.

Dressed in his untraditional attire (for local clerics) but with a cleric’s traditional mastery over oratory and demagoguery, he has kept the nation hostage through television channels since he returned in December.

After all, it is a universally acknowledged truth that not even the best politician can compare to a religious orator when it comes to public speaking. Thus when he spoke late at night at Islamabad, not only did he keep his audience spellbound, some felt that the angry unyoung man had overshadowed Imran Khan and emerged as the performer of change and revolution.

Intriguingly this is one figure who has won nothing but criticism from the credible media even though this did not discredit him in the eyes of his (captive) fans.

He is a Teflon leader in other words — nothing sticks to him.

Columnists and anchors and politicians have brought up murky details from his past — the skeletons that were pulled out of his closet included his once closeness to the Sharif family and controversies about how he was once a protégé of the family.

When the attacks became more serious, a judicial inquiry was dusted off and made public — ordered when Dr Qadri, who had by then lost his closeness to Sharif, accused the latter of having tried to get him killed.

The judicial commission, working in the days before the judiciary became truly independent in 2009, discovered less than flattering facts about the doctor such his involvement in petty crimes and how the forensic evidence of blood collected from the attempted murder site was of an animal — no human blood means no attempted murder attempt on a human.

And then there are his recorded interviews and speeches – where he writes the account and concept of Blasphemy law and then re-writes it again. Or where he narrates his dream about the Prophet (Pbuh) and his message specifically for the doctor — the scepticism is no less than when messengers were sent from the heavens.

His political career is no less controversial.

Journalists remember his first big rally in Lahore in 1989, which was no less impressive than the one held a few weeks ago — “It was back then being compared to the 1986 rally of Benazir Bhutto,” remembers Amir Mateen, who has covered politics for two decades.

It should not be forgotten that back then the military establishment was trying to send an elected parliament home — a year later elections had been called, which were rigged and manipulated, and yet the doctor lost them.

His next appearance was in 2002 when another military-led dispensation held elections. His critics allege that the “ambitious doctor who is not averse to short cuts” lived happily with a dictator till he realised that he was not going to get much beyond a seat in the parliament.

Hence, eight years ago in October the insider turned ‘revolutionary’ and stormed out of the National Assembly after handing in his resignation.

In parliament as a representative of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (his political party which is not mentioned much these days as the focus remains on Minhajul Quran), he called it a black day — the parliament had just passed a law allowing General (retd)
Pervez Musharraf to hold the office of president and chief of army staff — and said goodbye.

Calling the parliament a rubber stamp, he said he was insulted to sit “with those who have cut off their hands”.

As an aside, one of the opposition parliamentarians who tried to stop Dr Qadri from storming out was the man he now wants out — Raja Pervez Ashraf.

His departure from the parliament then also translated into his departure from Pakistan for the snowy and affluent shores of Canada.

But apparently this was a self-imposed exile which could end whenever he felt there was an opportune moment — once again shortly before elections are due.

But this time around, there are a few new factors at play.

Thanks to the international context, he has won some credibility as a moderate religious leader — always in short supply in Pakistan where political and religious leaders are always widely available.

His big fat and detailed Fatwa declaring terrorist attacks un-Islamic was celebrated by some quarters — though still unidentified.
His was never the only such Fatwa to have been delivered in the post-9/11 world.

He also flaunts his tolerant credentials by constantly using Shiite references as he whips up ‘revolutionary’ fervour — Karbala has always been the preferred slogan for the ‘revolutionaries’ in the Muslim world, but for those worried about the extremist drift in Pakistan where Muslims with a difference are branded wajibul qatal, his references are said to be music for some ears.

Take Murtaza Poya, former publisher and politician, who says that Qadri is the best option for the country — provided that one assumes that “Pakistan’s destiny is Islamic”.

This is a sweeping statement that sounds impressive but does not stand up to scrutiny.

Tolerance or religious credentials are not enough to win elections in Pakistan. If Musharraf is a good example of the electoral unattractiveness of the first value, the Jamaat-i-Islami is an example of the second.

And those who are in awe of the people’s power that Qadri has harnessed and brought to Islamabad, then they need to remember he has done this before without getting very far.

People can be carted from his vast empire for a jalsa but will they follow suit with their votes?

A politician points out that in Shakargarh alone, there are over 20 schools run by his Tehreek Minhajul Quran and these can easily send 20 buses full to a venue. The passengers will stay put for as many days as they have been paid but not more.

The oratory on its own is not pulling in crowds independent of the buses sent under a plan — D-Chowk is proof of this.

In fact, his rhetoric is not much different from what the mainstream politicians say even if he says it better.

From thundering demands for change, to hard-nosed political demands such as a neutral caretaker set-up formed under the tutelage of the army and the judiciary to third world staples such as his promise to put “feeders” in the mouths of infants, Qadri’s rhetoric has been as varied and as uniform as his outfits from Lahore to Islamabad. He changed clothes more than once but they all looked the same.

By Tuesday morning, there were flashbacks to his younger days preserved in black and white videos about his earlier, profitable dreams. He burst into tears while assuring his followers that he would not blame them if they decided to slink away in the darkness of the night — as convincing as the tears he has shed while recounting his sleepy wonders.

Is he really the next great hope?

For whom?

The people who have never voted for him? The Western powers who are said to have given up on mainstream parties after the PPP failed to deliver on extremism? The military which is now said to need a new partner in crime? Or will he simply fizzle out like he did twice in the past.

No-one knows for sure but history has a bad habit of repeating itself in Pakistan.

EVERY PARAGRAPH of this ARTICLE is truth and Amazing ! 10 out of 10 for DAWN !

“….The author left architecture for painting but ended up as a cartoonist and now writes Hijjo. He is the jack of all trades...”

Principle standpoints in Al Bakistan IV

Principle standpoints in Al Bakistan II

Principle standpoints in Al Bakistan III

Tahirul Qadri says that the present elected government is electoral dictatorship … but selected interim government set up by stakeholders is true democracy.

Dual nationals have the right to form political parties, demonstrate, hold rallies, and marches to the capital and demand electoral reforms for the next elections … but they can’t be members of parliament.

-Illustration by Sabir Nazar.

-Illustration by Sabir Nazar.

We appreciate Anna Hazare of India … but call our very own Anna Hazare as Canadian dollar Hazare.

We learn from Indian activist judiciary and judgments of British and American judges … but India, Israel and America are our greatest enemies.

The Capitalist-in-Chief of the country with over 30 industries becomes the chief minister of a province … but he calls himself the Servant-in-Chief of the province.

We have political and religious leaders who demanded Fatiha prayers for Abu Musab Zaqawi in the National assembly and offered ghaiban-e-namaz in Pakistan … but they also condemn the killing of Shias in Quetta.

-Illustration by Sabir Nazar.

-Illustration by Sabir Nazar.

Televangelist, lawyers and journalists deliver messianic messages against corruption and looting through newspapers, TV shows and social media … but our banks have blacklisted lawyers, journalists and policemen for any house or car loans.

Quetta mourners demanded that Quetta be handed over to the Army… but the jihadis are the strategic assets of Pakistan.

Hundreds of Hazara Shias are being killed in Quetta and before that Shias were killed in Bamayan … but the Taliban brought the ideal government and peace in Afghanistan.

Israel was a creation of Britain to sow the seed of dissent and fitna in the Middle East for Arab Muslims … but the rest of the countries created by Britian in the form of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Pakistan are fortresses of Islam.

-Illustration by Sabir Nazar.

-Illustration by Sabir Nazar.

Eighty per cent of Pakistanis hate America … but the longest queues for visas are in front of the American embassy in Islamabad.

Ziaul Haq was a brigadier in Jordan who was responsible for killing of 10,000 Palestinians in Jordan (black September) and Tiger Niazi was responsible for killing Bengalis in East Pakistan … but no Muslim can kill another Muslim.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto initiated the nuclear bomb project under Dr Abdus Salam and Munir Ahmad Khan and later brought Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan to Pakistan … but Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan is the father of the Pakistani bomb.

Aitzaz Ahsan gave the lists of Sikh separatists to India during Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to Pakistan during the Benazir government … but we weren’t interfering in East Punjab during the Zia period.

-Illustration by Sabir Nazar.

-Illustration by Sabir Nazar.

Taliban is the plural of talib that means seeker of education … but they are against the education of girls.

Indian soldiers are cowards. One Muslim soldier is equal to 10 Hindu soldiers (Hamid Gul) … but we never won any war against India.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that is named after the ruling family of Saudi Arabia, Al Saud … but Saudi Arabia is the centre of transnational religious movement that rejects tribal, national and ethnic identities.

Hundreds and thousands of young children and young boys of Pakistanis were killed in Afghanistan, Kashmir, India (Ajmal Kasab) … but our religious leaders of the Afghan jihad against Russians, Professor Ghafur and Qazi Hussain Ahmad died natural deaths in their beds.

The majority of the al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq were from Egypt and Saudi Arabia … but the last suicide attack in Egypt was in 1997 (Luxor massacre) and in Saudi Arabia (2003) and they never attacked any government building or bases in either of the two countries.

The prices of Sugar and CNG by Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court is not interference in executive … but the public accounts committee summoning the registrar of the Supreme Court for accounts is an interference in the independence of judiciary.

-Illustration by Sabir Nazar.

-Illustration by Sabir Nazar.

In Pakistan, you cannot get a driving license, cannot operate a bank account, cannot get a passport, cannot get a National Identity Card if you are below 18 years of age … but you can contract a marriage.

Drone attacks are counterproductive and are responsible for more terrorists … but jet bombing by the PAF in Waziristan and Malakand is productive.

The majority of the Afghan Taliban, including Mullah Omar were living in Pakistan. They were trained and educated in Pakistani madrassahs … but talibanisation is the product of Afghanistan.

Iran is our brotherly Islamic country and the Pakistan-Iran pipeline is the future of Pakistan … but Shias are not Muslims and are being killed in Quetta, Kurram Agency and Karachi.

The American support for authoritative regimes is responsible for hatred against Americans in Muslim societies … but Saudi Arabia is the guardian of all the holy cities of Islam and a time-tested friend of Pakistan.


Sabir-Nazir-80The author left architecture for painting but ended up as a cartoonist and now writes Hijjo. He is the jack of all trades.


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Now EVEN PERMANENT FOOD IMPORT DEFICIT for Pakistan

Pakistan Government CAN NOT import and pay for NEW ITEMS people badly need FROM Iran like GAS and PETROL because Pak Govt has FOOD IMPORTS and permanent PETROL import needs. Add to it already SUBSIDIES and DISASTER of POPULATION INCREASE every year SHOWS as DEPRIVED NEW GENERATION even more ready for ANY CRAZY SOLUTIONS !! Living in DREAM USA HATING WORLD like Cuba and old China. Thats even more pity !

PAKISTAN GOVERNMENT FOREIGN EXCHANGE PAYS FOR = “…..Pakistan meets less than 30 per cent of its edible oil requirement through domestic sources and imports more than 70 per cent. Import of edible oil constitutes a large chunk of our food import bill. “There is a need to raise production of sunflower and canola seeds,” remarks Mr Amjad Rashid, a former chairman of Pakistan Vensapati Manufacturers Association. “We can grow palm trees initially using imported seedlings. In the beginning Malaysia too had used Nigerian palm seedlings.”
http://archives.dawn.com/archives/25295

Pak food imports up by 75pc

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/business/20-Jan-2011/Pak-food-imports-up-by-75pc

INDEPENDENT WEBSITE BELOW tells truth about Pakistan’s BANKRUPT Grain Storage

The country’s food import bill would increase to $ 7.943 billion during the outgoing financial year 2010-2011 against the government target of $ 2.416 billion mainly due to the failure of crops because of unprecedented floods in the country.

It might be mentioned here that on one side the government imported wheat during the outgoing fiscal year while on the other side the poor farmers were found in search of appropriate forum to sale their yields at proper costs.

Moreover, it was learnt that government had very short storage capacity for agri crops and this added to the miseries of farmers, especially during the floods, when the farmers were out to save their crops from flood waters but they could not find safe place (storages) for this purpose.
http://www.blackseagrain.net/photo/pakistan.-food-import-bill-to-reach-7.94b

The EU had banned the import of seafood from Pakistan in 2007, when it found seafood storage to be unhygienic, with an inability to maintain the cold chain and other issues. Exports to the EU have remained banned since then. Although Pakistan’s exports of seafood increased as they discovered other export markets, yet they garnered lower prices.
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-3-115632-Food-imports-stagnant-in-dollar-terms

AGAIN =

Oil, food import bill up by 22pc

21 June, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s oil and food import bill has went beyond $18 billion in eleven months of (July-May) the outgoing financial year 2011-12 mainly due to the higher oil prices in international market, revealed the official figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Wednesday.
http://paktribune.com/business/news/Oil-food-import-bill-up-by-22pc-9961.html

Top Products Imported by Pakistan

http://countries.bridgat.com/Top_Products_Imported_by_Pakistan.html

UN says WHY HIGH FOOD PRICES in PAKISTAN ?

http://www.fao.org/giews/english/otherpub/PakistanImpactAssessment.pdf

 

Daughters Married Off ? Only now time to SPEND MONEY on yourself ?

World’s best holiday destination for Muslims named

Date     January 17, 2013 – 11:22AM

The study by Singapore-based Muslim travel consultancy Crescentrating ranked countries on how well they cater to the growing number of Muslim holidaymakers seeking halal — or Islam-compliant — food and services.

It used criteria including the level of safety in a country, the ease of access to halal food and prayer facilities, and whether hotels cater to the needs of Muslim guests.

On a scale of one to 10 in which 10 is the best score, Malaysia came out number one with a grade of 8.3 among 50 nations surveyed.

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Egypt was in second place with 6.7, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Turkey both with 6.6. Saudi Arabia was in fourth place with a score of 6.4 and Singapore was fifth with 6.3.

Indonesia, Morocco and Jordan scored 6.1 to tie in sixth place, trailed by seventh-place Brunei, Qatar, Tunisia and Oman, all with a score of 6.0.

Crescentrating chief executive Fazal Bahardeen said the survey was taken from the point of view of the traveller, meaning that it measured the ease of access by Muslim tourists — not locals — to halal food and facilities.

“Malaysia is one of the few countries where you can find a prayer place in almost every location — be it a shopping mall or the airport,” Fazal told AFP.

He said that while Malaysian authorities have been focusing on the market for several years, Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim nation — has not done as well.

“The main problem for Indonesia is that it’s not straightforward for a Muslim visitor to find halal food availability. For locals it’s probably not an issue.”

Saudi Arabia figured as a holiday destination for the first time since the survey started in 2011 because more Muslims use their holidays to go there to perform the Umrah, a minor pilgrimage, Fazal said.

In terms of cities as a shopping destination, Dubai pipped Kuala Lumpur for the number-one spot, according to the survey which rated the presence of halal food and prayer facilities at shopping malls.

Istanbul, Jeddah, Singapore, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, London and Doha completed the top-10 shopping destinations.

Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport were rated among the friendliest to Muslim travellers.

Spending by Muslim tourists is growing faster than the global rate and is forecast to reach $US192 billion ($A181 billion) a year by 2020, up from $US126 billion ($A119 billion) in 2011, according to a study by Crescentrating and another company released last year.

AFP

Qadri, Ration = Subsidies on Electricity and CNG

 15 Jan 2013

Dailytimes.com.pk

Backing up and restoring bookmarks – Firefox – MozillaZine Knowledge Base

Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Dissolve assemblies, go home: Qadri
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – EDITORIAL : Finally, Raisani’s just desserts
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – VIEW : Pakistan is losing its Shias — Amir Husain
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – VIEW : Genocide of Shias, the judiciary and the LeJ — Dr Zaeem Zia
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Eight injured in DHA explosion
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Sit-in ends after two days, protests continue
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Traders want rent for containers seized to ‘block’ long march
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Inefficiency in proper utilisation of subsidies
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Paper products prices increase by 20 percent
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Trade deficit narrows by 14%
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – One-way trade of fruits and vegetables from India, Iran poses threat
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Oil rises above $111 on supply concern, growth hopes
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Nando’s celebrates success of World Wide Licensing
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Long march likely to remain peaceful after ‘deal’
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Businesses remain open
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Pakistan ready for first heart transplant
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Saudi clerics demand fair trials for prisoners
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – ‘Visa on arrival’ facility at Wagah from today
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – CNG stations to remain closed until 31st

Nearly four in 10 members of GetUp! are older than 56

Is GetUp! radical? Maybe. Young? Er, not at all …

Date   January 13, 2013
Richard Willingham

Richard Willingham

State Political Correspondent for The Age

View more articles from Richard Willingham

textDivisive … Simon Sheikh and the current national director of GetUp, Sam McLean. Photo: Tamara Dean

POLITICAL activist group GetUp! has been derided as ”the Hitler Youth wing of the Greens political movement” as it tackles divisive political and social issues, backed by more than 500,000 members.

But the image of the organisation as the voice of Generation Y couldn’t be further from the truth.

Nearly four in 10 members of GetUp! are older than 56, while fewer than 7 per cent are younger than 25.

A survey of more than 25,000 GetUp! members, seen by Fairfax, found women are 56 per cent of the membership, the largest age bracket being people between 56 and 65.

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Joining the group is free and requires just an email address. The group has about 624,200 members.

The next biggest segment of membership is those 46 to 55 at 19.2 per cent, followed by people over 65, at 18 per cent.

By comparison, those 18 to 25 are just 6.6 per cent.

The organisation, which was formed in 2005 when the Howard government won control of the Senate, has often been criticised for championing causes that are too left-wing and for being too supportive of policies of the Labor government and the Greens.

Campaigns have included attacking the supermarket giants for their poker machine interests, calling for an end to live exports, support for same-sex marriage and campaigns against coal seam gas mining.

The average donations from members is $19 and the highest concentration of members is in the Sydney suburbs of Darlinghurst, Kings Cross, Rushcutters Bay and Surry Hills.

Despite the average age of the membership base, the public leadership are all young; the national director, Sam McLean, is just 25.

In late 2011, Coalition senator Ian Macdonald told Federal Parliament that ”GetUp! is the Hitler Youth wing of the Greens political movement”, sparking outrage.

The Queensland senator later apologised to the Jewish community but not to GetUp! or the Greens.

Another major critic of the group is the Coalition Senate leader, Eric Abetz. In 2011, he wrote to the electoral commission calling for GetUp! to be classed as an ”associated entity” – a group that benefits one or more registered political parties.

The former national director, Simon Sheikh, who collapsed during an episode of ABC’s Q&A, has been nominated to be the Greens’ Senate candidate in the ACT at the next election.

His swift decision to enter politics – and with the left-wing Greens – after his resignation angered some in GetUp!, who are keen to remain a politically unaligned group.

The deputy national director, Darren Loasby, said the data showed that the assumption the organisation was for young radicals was wrong.

”The fact is the majority of our members are older people who just haven’t given up,” he said.

”Their values haven’t changed. They still believe they can make a difference. They haven’t given in to cynicism and complacency. And these people won’t be marginalised.”

He said members voted for the Coalition as well as Labor, the Greens and the independents. ”GetUp! is a very broad church,” he said.

Mary Rawlings, 63, an insurance professional from Lane Cove, said she was drawn to GetUp! because of growing frustration that the major political parties were too similar.

”I don’t believe either of the mainstream political parties get involved in the right issues,” Ms Rawlings said. ”The problem with a party, whatever party, is there is always going to be issues people do not agree with.

”In GetUp! you can be a member and join the campaigns you want, or not, while still remaining a member.”