It seems that my decision in 2012 to renew my Conservative membership was right. The party is headed in the right direction and David Cameron has a good chance of remaining PM at the next General Election due in 2015 if he sticks on his current course and is strong-willed in the image of the late Baroness Thatcher.
So Nicolas Maduro, successor of Hugo Chavez, has won a narrow victory in Venezuela's presidential poll? Yeah right! Allied predicted this “result” some months back here.
Allegedly Mr Maduro won 50.7% of the vote against 49.1% for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. The Venezuelan electronic voting system has already been declared open to fraud by even Jimmy Carter. It’s been used again for pro Chavez party votes.
The greatest tribute to Margaret Thatcher, who died on Monday, has been paid by the Marxists and former coal miners of Great Britain, who have been celebrating the passing of the Iron Lady by having celebratory drinks and even street parties (which predictably turned to violence in Brixton and Glasgow).
In Brixton, a charity shop window was smashed by crowds holding banners saying ‘The bitch is dead’ and ‘Rejoice, rejoice, Thatcher is dead’.
In George Square, Glasgow – the scene of the 1989 poll tax protests – 300 people toasted her death with champagne and party poppers.
Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher has died at 87 following a stroke, her spokesman has said.
Lord Bell said: "It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning."
Baroness Thatcher was Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990 and the best twentieth century Prime Minister Britain possibly ever had.
Graphene is so strong a sheet of it as thin as Clingfilm could support an elephant. It is tougher than diamond, but stretches like rubber. It is virtually invisible, conducts electricity and heat better than any copper wire and weighs next to nothing. And people all round the world – especially businesspeople – are getting really excited about it.
Meet graphene — an astonishing new material which could revolutionise almost every part of our lives. Some researchers claim it’s the most important substance to be created since the first synthetic plastic more than 100 years ago.
It could transform medicine, and replace silicon as the raw material used to make computer chips. The ‘miracle material’ was discovered in Britain just seven years ago, and the buzz around it is extraordinary.
Last year, it won two Manchester University scientists the Nobel Prize for physics, and Chancellor George Osborne pledged £50 million towards developing technologies based on the super-strong substance. In terms of its economics, one of the most exciting parts of the graphene story is its cost. Normally when scientists develop a new wonder material, the price is eye-wateringly high.
But graphene is made by chemically processing graphite — the cheap material in the ‘lead’ of pencils. Every few months researchers come up with new, cheaper ways of mass producing graphene, so that some experts believe it could eventually cost less than six dollars per pound.
But is graphene really the wonder stuff of the 21st century?
For a material with so much promise, it has an incredibly simple chemical structure. A sheet of graphene is just a single layer of carbon atoms, locked together in a strongly-bonded honeycomb pattern.
So what can graphene do for the newspaper business which is suffering globally?
Dominic Wightman (pictured), Proprietor of the Allied Newspaper Group based in Hong Kong, is one who believes graphene is the future of newspapers. He says: “If it lives up to its promise, graphene could lead to mobile phones that you roll up and put behind your ear, high definition televisions as thin as wallpaper, and bendy electronic newspapers that readers could fold away into a tiny square. Newspapers will be gadget-driven until then. We will watch many of the old names in the newspaper business go to the wall with their printed paper versions and new names will spring up in their place. The demand for virtual newspapers will relentlessly rise.”
The future of newspapers has been widely debated as the industry has faced down soaring newsprint prices, slumping ad sales, the loss of much classified advertising and precipitous drops in circulation. In recent years the number of newspapers slated for closure, bankruptcy or severe cutbacks has risen—especially in the United States, where the industry has shed a fifth of its journalists since 2001. Revenue has plunged while competition from internet media has squeezed older print publishers.
The debate has become more urgent lately, as a deepening recession has cut profits, and as once-explosive growth in newspaper web revenues has levelled off, forestalling what the industry hoped would become an important source of revenue. One issue is whether the newspaper industry is being hit by a cyclical trough and will recover, or whether new technology has rendered newspapers obsolete in their traditional format. To survive, newspapers are considering combining and other options, although the outcome of such partnerships has been criticised.
In the UK just this week The Telegraph group announced it is to shed 80 of its 550 editorial staff as part of what the chief executive, Murdoch MacLennan, calls a root-and-branch restructure of the business. It will mean the complete merger of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph as a seven-day operation.
The cut of 14% of the staff affects print-based journalists at the two titles. It will be offset by the hiring of 50 "new digitally-focused jobs", meaning that the overall staff reduction amounts to 5%.
Ultimately, the newspaper of the future may bear little resemblance to the newsprint edition familiar to older readers. It may become a hybrid, part-print and part-internet, or perhaps eventually, as has happened with several newspapers, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Christian Science Monitor and the Ann Arbor News, internet only. In the meantime, the transition from the printed page to whatever comes next will likely be fraught with challenges, both for the newspaper industry and for its consumers.
"My expectation," wrote executive editor Bill Keller of The New York Times in January 2009, "is that for the foreseeable future our business will continue to be a mix of print and online journalism, with the growth online offsetting the (gradual, we hope) decline of print." The paper in newspaper may go away, insist industry stalwarts, but the news will remain. "Paper is dying," said Nick Bilton, a technologist for The Times, "but it's just a device. Replacing it with pixels is a better experience. "On September 8, 2010, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Chairman and Publisher of The New York Times, told an International Newsroom Summit in London that "We will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future, date TBD."
But even as pixels replace print, and as newspapers undergo wrenching surgery, necessitating deep cutbacks, reallocation of remaining reporters, and the slashing of decades-old overhead, some observers remain optimistic. What emerges may be 'newspapers' unrecognizable to older readers, but which may be more timely, more topical and more flexible.
"Journalistic outlets will discover," wrote Michael Hirschorn in The Atlantic, "that the Web allows (okay, forces) them to concentrate on developing expertise in a narrower set of issues and interests, while helping journalists from other places and publications find new audiences." The 'newspaper' of the future, say Hirschorn and others, may resemble The Huffington Post more than anything flung at today's stoops and driveways.
Much of that experimentation may happen in the world's fastest-growing newspaper markets. "The number of newspapers and their circulation has declined the world over except in India and China," according to former CEO Olivier Fleurot of The Financial Times. "The world is becoming more digital but technology has helped newspapers as much as the Internet." Making those technological changes work for them, instead of against them, will decide whether newspapers remain vital – or roadkill on the information superhighway.
Wightman agrees. “Our most important titles are The Manila Herald, Sun of India and Hong Kong Morning Star. The real growth in online circulation and advertising markets is in the East, as well as in global entertainment – video channels, especially. Change happens so fast your business model has to be super-flexible with costs low. You need to be as flexible as graphene really!”
Interesting times in the world of newspapers. Only time will tell who is right and who’s a winner.
Written By Chris Ashley
With a new engine and more gadgets than you can shake a stick at, the Yamaha Cruiser FX High Output is looking tempting. Spicer rides the cruising craft with charisma.
For 2009 the Cruiser FX HO has received more than a simple repackaging. On the surface, it may only look like a lick of silver paint, but this an altogether different animal - packed with gizmos. Yes, it is still a cruising craft but now it’s even more about the FX. Pulling together Yamaha’s arsenal of technical features from recent years, this PW is bristling with reasons to ride it. So let’s get involved.
Hunkering back into the lumbar support, I grab the bars and blip-blip the lanyard into place.
Slowly exiting the marina, I decide to try out the FX HO’s no wake mode. With this, it is literally just a push of a button and off you go, with no need to hold the throttle lever. It regulates RPMs for the optimal speed (approximately five miles per hour) to navigate through no-wake zones such as this. It is a very nice touch thatmakes the boring bit of riding through slow areas far more enjoyable, because you don’t have to constantly regulate your speed. And actually the no wake mode feels faster than you would normally allow yourself to ride in these areas. So I am double smug.