2008_2 On Tour Pics
Lance (Buddy) Franklin is the new face of indigenous Australian footballers. From Western Australia, he is 196cm tall and weighs 101 kg. Much taller and heavier than the small, lithe 'pocket rocket' indigenous sprinters the AFL has seen to date. As Hawthorn's leading Full Forward he kicked over 100 goals in the 2008 season; the first footballer to do so in ten years. Whilst he played a massive part in getting the team into the Grand Final, he didn't score a bag in the last game of the year. Instead he kept his opponents off their game, allowing the Hawks to win the Premiership. Only 21, it's hoped he will keep Hawthorn on top for years to come. His enthusiasm for the game, and look of happy amazement when he scores, has endeared him to fans the world over.
Noisier Than A Jumbo Jet
Some guys, including Director Stephan Elliot wanted to make a movie about some Sydney transvestites on a bus trip, using their favourite Rodgers and Hammerstein show tunes. Sadly the descendents of Mr.Hammerstein refused, so they used their next choice, the music of Abba. The subsequent movie, Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, was a huge success. For their next movie, money was no problem, and all of a sudden the Hammerstein family thought they were a good risk and let them use the songbook. Elliot decided that the Australian Language was dying and the next movie was going to be a time-capsule of the distinctive phrases of early Australia. The great Australian actor Rod Taylor agreed to be the star, as well as Barry Humphreys and others. In 1997 the movie, Welcome To Woop Woop, was released.
The opening scene showcased brilliant Australian cinematography by Mike Molloy, and although the movie is based in the outback, they chose to open with stunning images of New York City, with about six Sulphur Crested cockatoos flying along near-empty streets. It was magnificent. Sadly, no-one told the audience about the reason for the film … and no-one told them to wait until after the credits to see the end of the film. The innovative ending was a world first, but no-one got it. So it bombed. Now you can’t even get a DVD of it. Which is a pity. As a time-capsule of the Australian Language before it became Americanised, and as a showcase of Australian cinematography it stands alone. And the real stars? For me it was the screaming, squawking Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. The loud, destructive, cheeky Aussie mimics who live for about 60 years, choose a partner in their first few years, and stay together for life. If you have a second, check out this incredible photo essay about a crippled female Cockatoo and her boyfriend, courtesy of photographer Julius Bergh, HERE
The Sydney Opera House was first dreamt of in 1940, although the design wasn't determined until 1957, when Danish Architect Utzon won the project's design competition. There are a million stories about the project, just as there are over a million tiles on its 'Shells' ... but probably the most interesting fact, and one that should be etched onto the covers of Project Management textbooks the world over is this: they broke ground in March 1959. It was meant to be finished in 1963, costing 7 million dollars (£3.5M) ... instead it was completed in 1973 at a cost of $102 million!
Atlantis Found in Dubai
At the top of the Palm Jumeriah, on the circle bit, is a new super-plush 1500 room hotel called Atlantis. Its the place you have heard about, where they imported about 30 dolphins from the Solomon Islands in the Pacific to reside in the new water park. With 17 restaurants, staffed by top Michelin-starred chefs, the place is incredible, as you'd expect. On opening night the seafood restaurant, Ossiano was easy to get into. This view of the sunken city of Atlantis was taken on an Iphone camera right next to the restaurant table. The whale shark, named Sam, made the mistake of straying into the Dubai Marina a few weeks ago and became trapped. Instead of being released she has been kept at Atlantis for 'observation'... The project cost about 1.2 Billion. And by the way they charge for their meals, they'll have it paid off in a few weeks. The restaurants are booked-out for over a month
The dinky little Canon IXUS has been replaced with a Nikon D40X, which is small enough to fit into a briefcase and takes nifty time exposures. During a full moon over KL, Malaysia a thunderstorm looms ahead. Active thunderstorms last twenty minutes and flash lightning every 60-90 seconds; so it's not too hard to arrange a time exposure to capture the moment.
ITCZ Monsoon, India
Circling the earth at the point where the two hemispheres collide is the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, a known area of instability and turbulence. Pilots are warned of its drifting location with Significant Weather Charts which look like the Met Man has let his three year old have a go with the textas. Over India the ITCZ gets mixed with the annual Monsoon thunderstorms and the resulting phenomenon keeps passing Pilots wake all night.
Threading the path through the towering storms, the static-filled air causes St.Elmo's Fire on the windscreens. This out of focus image shows about 6 seconds of the display. Ok, so it's not perfect, but if you think I was going to focus on that, you're insane. In many cases, St.Elmo's Fire is a precursor to being hit by lightning. 80% of aircraft lightning strikes occur when the planes are 5,000 feet above ground. The Faraday Cage effect of the metal fuselage prevents occupants from being injured. The frangible Static Discharge Wicks on the extremities of the surfaces are usually the entry and exit point of the lightning bolts. There is speculation that the aircraft itself causes the lightning strike by causing an electrical differential in the cloud, which the lightning equalises. One of the world experts on aircraft lightning strikes is an Australian, working for Telstra. Of all of Ansett's frequent fliers, he flew the most, as part of his job ... double more than any other passenger. So it must be safe!
In the full sized image of this pic you can see the stars above the layer of cloud above the city of Shanghai, China's largest city, home to 20 million inhabitants. In the foreground are ships waiting to enter the Port Of Shanghai, the world's busiest cargo port. The entrance of the Yangtze River can be seen to the right. Up until 1949, when the Communist takeover closed-out the outside world, Shanghai was the place where eastern culture met the west. From the 1860s the English, Americans and French settled regions within the city. In the early 1920s about 20,000 White Russians arrived in Shanghai having trekked across Siberia and Manchuria to escape the advancing grip of the Lenin's Bolshevik Revolution, and later Stalin's Revolution From Above. This added to the cosmopolitan nature of the place which is still evident today.
The G, Melbourne
It's winter and the match between two Australian Football League clubs, Essendon and Collingwood, takes place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, home of the Melbourne Cricket Club. The M.C.C. waiting list is legendary. Mothers put their kids names down at birth and, in my case, it took 27 years to get to become a Full Member. Still, on days like the AFL Grand Final and the first day of the Boxing Day Cricket Test, even Full Members have to line up for hours to get a seat. This year, at the AFL Grand Final, when over 100,000 people craned to see Hawthorn beat last year's Premiers, Geelong; two young guys had been camped-out all night in the line. When they reached the front of the queue they discovered that Junior Members don't qualify for admission to The Big Day ... at the G.
The top floor windows of the Eureka Tower are swathed in 24 carat gold, symbolising the time when Melbourne was the richest city in the world, during the Gold Rush of the 1850s. A red flash on the building's top signifies the blood spilt at the Eureka Stockade; a mismanaged protest by Ballarat Miners against the Government who wanted a reduction in Licence Fees, the right to purchase land and vote. That was the altruistic outcome of the uprising, supposedly Australia's Civil War. Actually it started because a Miner, James Scobie, was killed during or after a brawl with pub owner James Bentley and / or his staff, Bill Hance and Tom Farrell. When Police failed to arrest them, somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 Miners rioted and burnt the pub to the ground. Pubs in Australia pubs are held with a reverence similar to Italian Cathedrals, so they must have been angry ...
The ensuing month-long saga resulted in the death of only 22 people and spawned many fables ... for example, an innocent drummer boy John Egan was killed, escalating the tensions. They even built a monument to him in the Ballarat cemetery ... despite the fact that he continued his Military Service until 6 years after the event.
As the winter fog burns-off at sunrise the top of the world's tallest residential building flares with the sun's reflection. Proving that the earth isn't flat, the lower floors are still yet to greet the new day.
The strong north winds are visible on the sea surface as the sunlight hits the city buildings. The G is visible on the left edge of the picture, just below and to the left of Albert Park Lake, home of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, and a few hundred swans. Mid-right is the Yarra river (See? It is blue after all), curving around Fishermen's Bend into Hobson's Bay on the top of Port Phillip Bay. If you squint you can make out the Mornington Peninsula on the left, and Queenscliff on the right. On his expedition which uncovered Bass Strait, in the Norfolk, Matthew Flinders came past The Heads in mid-summer, a time of rough weather, and thought it was just rolling surf crashing on a beach. Oblivious to the natural port, he named the Sound east of Port Phillip, Western Port ... as the first port West of Sydney Town. Not many Melbournians know this, and happily put up with TV Weather Presenters calling it Western Port Bay. It is neither West, nor a Bay, as a Bay has one entrance, unlike a Sound, which has two, or more. Five years later, on his survey of the southern Australian coastline, he found the entrance to Port Philip Bay, but it had been discovered ten weeks earlier by John Murray in the Lady Nelson.
The nose (and windscreen wiper) of this A340-300 slides above Mt.Rakaposhi, the 27th highest mountain in the world. With more than 60 peaks over 7000m (23,000') high; the Karakoram Range, which borders China, India and Pakistan, does not include the second highest mountain in the world, K2, (which instead is at the western edge of the Himalayas).
The Karakoram Range also contains the second and third longest non-polar glaciers on earth. Using a large aperture to increase the depth of field, it makes the mountain look much closer than the 8,000 feet clearance provided. In fact, this day there was another aircraft 2,000 feet below us.
It only takes about 30 mins to clear the highest part of the range, but during this time the flight path is broken down into about five segments, each of which has its own emergency escape path down various valleys in case the unthinkable happens. And you thought Pilots only did Sodoku in the cruise...
Mt.Nanga Parbat, Pakistan
Approaching Mt.Rakaposhi, (above) a glance to the right reveals the ninth highest mountain in the world, which also marks the westernmost point of the Himalayas. One of the fourteen mountains higher than 8,000m; it's name means Naked Mountain, but for most of the 1900s it was known as Killer Mountain. 31 lives were lost in six attempts over half a century, (most in the 1930s) before Austrian Hermann Buhl made the final ascent, alone, after his team members turned-back. It took him 40 hours and he spent the night balanced upright on a ledge, snatching sleep – without supplemental oxygen.
The highest mountain face in the world (over 15,000 feet), the Rupal Face, looks south. The wind blows a snow mane at its peak as we pass. K2, for which this mountain is often mistaken by passing pilots, is much further east of the airway and out of sight.
You Can't See It From The Moon
And usually, you can't see it from 35,000 feet. NASA has even done up a special webpage about it (here), but they neglect to mention that it was a NASA spokesman during the race to Moon in the 1960s who told the world's press that the Astronauts would be able to see the Great Wall Of China from the Moon. Normally, there is too much haze to even see it from normal airliner cruising levels due to it having been made from surrounding materials. But in the weeks leading up to the 2008 Olympics at nearby Beijing, the Chinese Government made an all-out effort to reduce air pollution, and for a few days, at least, it was visible from above. This shot was taken by Augmenting Pilot, Aussie Grant Fichera, whilst I slept, on the way to Nagoya Japan.
Since it's level with the celestial equator, the constellation called Orion is visible from everywhere on earth. Australians usually refer to Orion's belt and sword as The Saucepan for the way the stars are presented in the Southern Hemisphere. Here, at Walkerville, it sits low in the north west, about to be usurped by the rising moon.
Looking at them, the Kookaburra and Koala seem totally innocent. It's mid afternoon and the Koala, if awake at all, would be lazily reaching-out and eating a paw-full of Eucalyptus (Gum) Leaves. That's about all. The Kookaburra loves eating insects, small rodents, yabbies, snails, worms, lizards, frogs and snakes. But both are rarely active during the heat of the day. It's only at dawn and dusk that the Kookaburras start with the noise, the unique laugh for which they are known. Much louder when you have a hangover. During the mating season, the male Koala makes a huge noise, a cross between a snore like your Grandfather after Christmas Dinner and a steam train. If you've ever been camping, you'll never forget the first time you heard a male Koala calling in the middle of the night, as it crashed through the undergrowth next to your tent.
The Scenic Railway at Luna Park is the world's oldest continually-running roller coaster, having been commissioned in 1913. It is one of only two remaining in the world that have a Brakeman riding in the middle of the train. Without him the ride would fly off into space, killing hundreds of little kids. Well, that's what I was told when I was six. This site greets all nautical navigators just before they enter the breakwater at St.Kilda Marina.
Melbourne By Night
The World's most useless Politically-Correct, Occupational Health And Safety Regulation Abiding, Empty Ferris Wheel lights up the night sky in Birrarung Marr, Melbourne's newest park which extends from Federation Square to the G. Don't worry, no-one can pronounce it better than you, so feel free to drop its name like you own it. The Ferris Wheel would have been great to take photos from ... but the little compartments are covered with so much mesh that you can't even stick a lens outside, let alone your body. They are so inviting that hardly anyone goes in 'em. As a consequence, no-one has suicided from the Birrarung Mar Ferris Wheel, I promise. And Australians are very good at knocking themselves off. For every murder, 8.5 people kill themselves. The most used method is nowadays by hanging, then carbon monoxide poisoning, then shooting, (not often at the same time). None from the Ferris Wheel to date, proving that the mesh is working. If you are having a tough time and can't see a way out, click here.
Cheryl Mayhew woke me up early to go fishing on my birthday this year. She's a successful business-owner and enthusiastic angler. Within a few minutes of leaving the marina all your cares melt away. Five hot air balloons took to the skies from Albert Park and drifted over the city's skies. When the sun lit the buildings, only one was visible. I caught a Flattie ... which was too small to eat.
Reflections On Loss
Coming second in most sporting events is not too bad, unless that event is The America's Cup. In the 7th Race of the 2007 American's Cup series, Emirates Team New Zealand went down to the Swiss boat Alinghi by the slenderest margin, one second; giving Alinghi it's 5th win. This allowed the Swiss to become the second team outside the USA to win and successfully defend the America's Cup. The first team to do it was Team New Zealand. The good thing about the second Cup win by the land-locked Swiss is that the team was seriously old; (58% of their team was over 40 as opposed to 20% of the Kiwis) ... proving that age and experience beats youth and exuberance ... everytime.
341 New York City Firefighters died at The World Trade Centre on the 11th September 2001. From that day onwards people have seen these emergency workers in a different light. After all, when we are running out of burning buildings, they are the only people running in. What makes them do it? In New York they earn only $58,000. So it can't be for the money. Here Kiwi fire-ees return from a false alarm.
Sail In Style, Auckland
The two Emirates Team New Zealand yachts ride on their moorings at Viaduct Harbour in Auckland. If you want you can grab six of your friends and go for a sail on one of them for about $140 each for two hours. Better still, pay $195 each and have a race against your mates, or enemies, in the other boat for three hours. Check their website here then get your friends and enemies together.
City Of Sails
In Seattle, USA, they say that they are number two in the world per capita for the number of Registered Boats. They say Auckland is number one. But then again Minnesota, Arizona and Norway also claim top spot. The only thing for certain is that in 1870, Auckland had 170 registered boats. Now they are even more popular than jandals, hokey-pokey ice cream sellers or chilly-bins.
Cartoon Character Cloud
The sax player from the Muppets is immortalised in this cloud, standing guard over the Burmese Hump. That's a fallacy. Clouds are always changing, within seconds he'll be gone. When Schroder, Linus and Lucy stared up at the clouds, they all saw great characters from history. Charlie Brown only saw a Horsie...
Impressive Parking, China
Shanghai has 20 million inhabitants, a great railway system, lots of kites and motorbikes. Not much traffic considering the population ... and they park wherever they can.
Streetside Menu, Shanghai
Next door to the Seaman's Club in Pudong, the port area of Shanghai, is an ornate, elaborate establishment. This sign outside (which was covered during the Olympics) reads: " We are the three star level amuse and relax place. You can enjoy the sauna, massage, cafeteria, swimming, gym, film and show (after 8:00 every night, you also can see the Lady Boy) We have the best hygiene and service. The area of our company is more than 1000 m3. (cubed) We have more than 100 flower age massage service for you. Some massage come from Thailand. ... You can choose anyone as you like. All of them go hospital for health quarantine every month. " You never see anyone go in there ....
In Sydney Australia, St.Patrick's Day falls at the end of summer, and, as happens the world over, the streets are momentarily lined with green. Watching intently are the kids with the only seats for miles around. One day in the 1980s on the 3AW Breakfast radio show, John Blackman said, when talking about the concept of the modern celebrity: "sometimes it's better to sit in the gutter and clap ... as the real heroes go by."
Matthew Flinders' Cat
The man whose constant insistence to name Terra Australis, Australia, was Matthew Flinders. As a heroic Navigator and Cartographer, he discovered the Strait between mainland Australia and Tasmania, charted the southern coastline of The Big Island and later performed the first circumnavigation of it. Accompanying him on a voyage from England, the subsequent circumnavigation, shipwreck and imprisonment by the French, was a plucky black and white cat he named Trim. Behind his master's statue outside the Mitchell Library in Sydney is another of the cat. Bryce Courtney's epic book, Matthew Flinder's Cat, addresses Australian history, alcoholism and plight of the homeless. The bench occupied every night by the book's protagonist was in use the morning I walked past. Don't read the book, get it HERE from Audible.com and stick it in your Ipod. The Narrator, Humphrey Bower, will sweep you away.
Blues Point Tower
Was the first strata title apartment building in the world, and Australia's tallest residential building until 1970. The Harry Seidler designed tower is either loved or hated by Sydney-siders. I lived there for six months, had the best view in the country, so I love the joint. Silhouetted on the top of the Harbour Bridge are groups of Bridge Walkers, usually tourists ... The World War Two RAAF Pilot, Peter Isaacson, who had flown a Lancaster UNDER the bridge, (on the 22nd October 1943); climbed over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to celebrate his 80th birthday. When a journalist asked him why he did it, he dryly remarked: "... to get to the other side!" You can do it too, here.
Christchurch, New Zealand
In musical circles it's well known that Fillipinos are brilliant Musos. I met one incredible guitarist in Bahrain who can replicate any of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos, (now there's a discussion point), and it turns out was a General in Marcos' Army. Retired, got a band together, and went on the road. His life ambition is to buy two buses for his village. Lesser known, the other country that punches well above its weight, in musical terms, is New Zealand. Here two locals rip into it. You have to be very good to get a gig in the land of the Long White Cloud.
Christchurch has moved ahead in the last fifteen years. Previously the trick was to get out of town within an hour of landing, and zoom off to either Mt.Hutt or Queenstown. Not anymore. Tourism in all its forms has hit Christchurch ... eco-tourism, adventure tourism ... but best of all, Gastro tourism. They have great restaurants and excellent pubs. Plus you can take a leisurely punt down the Avon River here.
The photo is not blurred. It's minus 4 in Zurich and strong wind gusts remove recently fallen snow.
The New Queen Arrives
It's the 21st February 2008 and new Cunard ship, the Queen Victoria arrives at Station Pier in Melbourne. Unlike the previous Cunard Queens, she is a Cruise Ship, not a Liner, and will take one night longer to make a transatlantic crossing (7 rather than 6). Although she has been built to cross the Atlantic, having a strengthened hull to withstand marauding ice bergs, she won't do it during the winter months. Unlike her sister ships, she does not carry mail and does not hold the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) title. Three months after this photo was taken she nurfed a pier in Malta when a thruster failed, recording her first incident.
The Last Elegant Aeroplane
Ansett's last Boeing 727 gracefully took to the skies in January 1997. This photo is shown just because the plane is so pretty. If you can't be in the most elegant plane flying, better to be inside the ugliest ... looking at the pretty ones. They have reached their use-by date many times because of their thirsty engines (they use as much fuel as a widebody A330) and their huge noise footprint. But engine modifications have taken that footprint from about 21 square miles to about 3, and many have continued flying after having been converted to freighters.
The New Girlfriend
She's not very pretty. A little dumpy, (a lot actually), wider than she is long .. and boy, is she wide, 79 metres! Taxying for takeoff at Dubai after leaving the hangar, the A380's number one engine kicks up dust. At most airports the outboard engines hang over the edge of the runway. She is a delight to fly as her controls have been tuned to the tiny A320, cos that's where Airbus thinks its future Pilots will get their initial jet experience. It's jam-packed full of nifty innovations. For example, she has only two hydraulic systems, rather than the conventional three. Instead, each Primary Control Surface is backed-up with electrically-powered hydraulic controls, each with their own on-station reservoirs. So if you lose both hydraulic systems, previously a major emergency, you just keep going! Reverse Thrust, Landing Gear, Braking, even Steering remain unaffected. If you lose all five Generators, out pops a propeller, driving an Emergency Generator.
Another innovation for Pilots is its crosswind takeoff mode, where the position of the ailerons are moved depending on the actual wind strength and direction, so that it feels like a normal takeoff. The huge tail and rudder also make it a delight to land in crosswinds. During it's certification trials, in Keflavic Iceland, it landed and took off 5 times in the highest crosswinds ever recorded for an airliner: 40 gusting 56 kts! The Test Pilots, having completed their program, gave the French DGCA Certifying Examiner a go, and he too completed a landing in the amazing conditions. Check out this video from Icelandic Television if you don't believe me. Normally, Pilots choose to land on a runway which is into wind.
The Flight Deck is quite impressive. The pull-out table in front of each Pilot includes a computer keyboard for interacting with the computer screen to the side of each Pilot. The highly acclaimed French Panoramic Photographer Gilles Vidal has produced an interactive view of the A380 Cockpit here. If you think that's impressive, see the rest of his portfolio here. How does he do it?
When the cricket washed-out a few years ago, the mad Indian Gamblers started taking bets on the actual day the annual Monsoon would arrive in Mumbai. Now it's big business. This year June the 12th was the most popular bet. It arrived on the 7th, making a killing for the bookies. Usually 1.5 to 2 metres of rain falls on the city. Sadly many people fall into man holes in flooded streets, so much so that the US Embassy put out a warning. The Mayor said, "It's just par for the course". The shouldn't be called Man Holes ... 'cos they indiscriminately accept any unwilling participant. Over 100 trees were knocked-over in the first day and a few people were killed by falling walls.
Acting as an Observation Pilot affords the opportunity of capturing the moment, lined-up on the runway before the mid-afternoon takeoff.
54% of the 16.4 million people in Mumbai are slum dwellers. The 2001 census was the first time information had been collected on slums. About 46% have migrated into the city in search of work, a city which contributes nearly 40% the country's domestic production. In the average slum household size of 4.8 people, 1.7 have jobs. They work in the service industry as maids and cleaners in jobs that the well-off prefer not to do. A 1994 survey discovered that 60% found their living conditions tolerable and preferable to a rural lifestyle.
Huge cities are more-often relying on the labour of the poor, and Mumbai benefits from having the poor on its doorstep. In US cities, as housing prices rise, as they did in San Franciso's Silicon Valley, the service workers needed to keep the cities running can no longer afford to live close-by and suffer huge commutes of up to three hours just to keep their low-paying jobs. Eventually this leads unrest, as in the case of the Janitors of Silicon Valley, and strikes. In May the Janitors won a 22% rise on their meagre $10 / hr wage, and health benefits. But they still have to commute ...
Next to Mumbai airport, on 276 acres of land, some 80,000 slum-families watch as the aviation industry goes about its business. Meanwhile thousands of arriving tourists watch the inhabitants go about their daily life, defecating on a huge mound only metres from the tarmac fence. Great for tourism. As India's airlines go from strength the strength, the land around airports gets more expensive. There are more than 150 Airbuses and 107 Boeings on order for the country whose middle class have taken to the air in droves. Mumbai Airport handles 26 million passengers a year. Last year the Aviation Minister expressed an interest in having Airbus start an assembly line in India, as the European manufacturer has done in China. There is talk around Mumbai airport that this slum will be relocated to the land once occupied by an airport 30 kms away ... but here's the catch. Most of the airport workers live in the slums. Their 100,000 kids are schooled locally ... if you move them away, who will collect the trolleys and do the other service jobs at the airport? Where will the kids go to school? Who'd be a politician?
Southern Cross Over Riyadh
The smudge at the bottom of the picture is Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia. The Southern Cross, in its vertical aspect, is prominent in the sky above. The Cross, with its two 'Pointers', makes a nightly clockwise sweep across the sky. The left most Pointer is Alpha Centauri, the closest star to earth, at 4.37 light years away. To discover South, first make an imaginary line between the two pointers, then half way along drop a perpendicular line to, and below, the horizon. Then make another line running from top to bottom of the Cross. Where the two lines intersect, drop another line to the horizon, that's South.
As for Riyadh? For an interesting insights into the city read John Perkins, in his book "Confessions Of An Economic Hitman".
Niles Collide, Khartoum
From altitude, the White Nile, flowing from Lake Victoria, (the top left) joins and merges with the Blue Nile, from Ethiopia, (bottom left), and heads off to Egypt and finally into The Mediterranean Sea at Alexandria. As well as the confluence of the two mighty rivers, Khartoum has been a magnet for refugees, from just about every nearby conflict in Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda since the 1970s. And again from the Second Sudanese Civil War and, more recently, the Darfor Conflict, in western Sudan. The heavily-guarded airport is the also a thriving base of operations for the United Nations Mission In Sudan. Most people would remember Khartoum for two notable events: the American surgical Cruise Missile attack in 1998 of the Al-Shifa Pharmaceutical Factory, supposedly site of an Al-Qaeda nerve gas plant, which killed one person and injured ten; and the jailing of an English School Teacher in 2007 for naming a Teddy Bear 'Muhammad'.
James Nixon A380 Emirates Pilot Writer Photographer Journalist Melbourne Australia jamesnixon rally On Tour Ansett Kendell 727 Albert Park camberwell canterbury carey hollingsworth rmit swinburne vietnam bahrain malta photo Airbus walkerville prom
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