Exactly five centuries ago, on 18th August 1518 (28th August, using the current Gregorian calendar) King Charles I of Spain issued a charter authorising the transportation of slaves direct from Africa to the Americas. Prior to that (since at least 1510), African slaves had usually been transported to Spain or Portugal and had then been “freighted-on” to the Caribbean or (occasionally) sold to European-based buyers.
Charles’s decision to create a direct, more economically viable Africa to America slave trade changed the nature and scale of this profitable human trafficking industry. Over the subsequent 350 years, around 11 million Africans were transported between the two continents. Almost a further 2 million died en route
This month’s quincentenary is of a tragic event that caused untold suffering and still today leaves a legacy of poverty, racism, inequality and elite wealth across four continents.
Funny how so few of the “great and the good” seem to care, isn’t it?
Fed-up with the grind of taking a bus or bike to work every day on congested streets in Munich, Benjamin David started swimming there instead.
The pleasantly moist beer garden worker now packs his laptop and clothes into a waterproof bag which he puts on his back, dons his wetsuit and slides into the River Isar for his journey.
“It is beautifully refreshing and also the fastest way,” Benjamin David told Reuters Television.
“I used to go by bike or bus or car or on foot and you need much longer. Today the current was quite strong and I only needed about 12 minutes,” he said.
However, in winter the river, which flows near the center of the Bavarian capital, can get chilly, at temperatures of about 4 degrees.
Now there is a man who loves his job, possibly a little too much but nobody can fault his enthusiasm.
The Philippine’s capo del capi, Rodrigo Duterte, yesterday spoke of his “sorrow” on having to give-up his motorcycles on becoming president, and offered his thoughts on riding and why it’s not worth owning a Harley. He banged-on (at some considerable length) about touring the Philippines by motorbike and how as a city mayor he used to ride every week on a motorcycle that his security team made him junk after winning the presidency earlier in the year.
Duterte’s pose as an urban cowboy is a major part of his “hard man” image that has endeared him to those millions of Filipinos who haven’t yet lost a family member to his “robust” approach to law enforcement. In spite of his apparent enthusiasm for dishing-out legal proceedings to offenders at the “pointy-end” he boasted of having reached speeds of 180 kph and owning a Yamaha and Honda as well as a Harley Davidson, although he said he was not too happy with the “hog” model as it over-heated. “Throw it in the ditch. It is useless and hot,” he said.
So far, in his presidency, more than 2,500 people have been killed, about three-quarters in police operations, and the rest apparently victims of vigilantes or druglords eliminating rivals.
The new ‘bike for the Drug Squad in down-town Manila, 2017.
I wonder how long before traffic offences start to attract the same level of official approbation.
“Look, don’t blame me, it wasn’t my fault. I stood in the damn queue for over an hour and then there was some angry white guy waving his fist in my face and banging-on about valid voter ID, I never had a chance. So where were you?”
“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” – Albert Camus
It can never succeed, but it never ends…
The airline Norwegian Air Shuttle, suffering from a host of problems with its decision to become the first European budget airline to fly the profitable long-haul routes, was forced to delay a flight from Oslo to New York by over five hours on Tuesday because of a mouse in the cockpit.
“The pilots discovered a mouse on flight deck,” spokeswoman Charlotte Holmbergh said yesterday evening. “We had to make sure that no cables or wires had been chewed..”
Norwegian has recently had a string of technical troubles with its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners delaying many of its flights & leaving passengers stranded at airports as from Bangkok to Florida.
The airline has in recent weeks managed to improved its reliability, but it runs its Dreamliners 18 hours a day, significantly longer than traditional carriers, so even small delays can cause significant schedule disruptions.
“At least the mouse was caught,” Ms Holmbergh added.
“I don’t know why they gave us this job anyway, I just wanted to serve the nuts…..”