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Breaking 1996 down into the biggest news, sports and entertainment events; here’s what happened…

Two tragedies hit the hearts of Britons in 1996, the nation’s sympathies going out to the people of Dunblane and Manchester. In Dunblane, a crazed gunman went on a shooting spree in at a local infant school, killing an entire class and their teacher. Later in the year, as a direct response to those ill-fated events, the Government announced that it would be outlawing almost all handguns in the UK.

In Manchester, a huge bomb devastated its busy central shopping area just as it was filling up with eager Saturday shoppers. Police managed to start an evacuation before it blew up but scores of people were still killed or injured in the blast. Such was the damage caused, that the episode led to a total regeneration of Manchester city centre.

Also hitting the news in ’96 was the introduction of the first genetically modified (or GM) food to go on sale in British supermarkets. Modified tomato puree was the cause of all the fuss with some critics dubbing it a “Frankenstein food”.

The world of sport was dominated by England’s hosting of the European football championships (Euro ’96). The England v Scotland group stage match drew much attention with Gazza’s wonder goal eventually stealing the win for the home team. Cheered on by home support, the ‘Three Lions’ made it all the way to the semi-finals, the nation going football crazy as it looked as if England were really going to win a major tournament for the first time since ’66, then, as really should have been expected, they lost on penalties to Germany.

Entertainment wise, carrot topped Chris Evans re-invented the chat show format with his hit show ‘TFI Friday’.Presenting celebrity gossip, the hippest bands and lad friendly guests, this unscripted, chaotic program briefly made Evans the most sought after man on TV. Over on the BBC, a group of thirty-something lawyers were gaining huge ratings; ‘This Life’ being a bit like the American ‘Friends’ but with much more ‘bad’ behaviour and saucy goings on.

The big screen was blessed with one of the jewels of the British film-making crown, ‘Trainspotting’. Despite featuring heroin, needles, vomit and disgusting toilet bowls, this was the coolest thing of the year and took Ewan McGregor from nowhere to ‘Star Wars’. The more family friendly film of 1996 was ‘Toy Story’; it being the first feature length movie ever to be animated entirely by computer. The results were quite stunning and people flocked to see ‘Woody’ (a pull-string cowboy) and ‘Buzz Lightyear’ (a high-tech space ranger) battle it out to become little Andy’s favourite toy.

Introduction:

The Arab region or the Middle East part of the world is very rich in oil and natural gas resources which meets 96% of their total energy demand, while the renewable energy resources cater to only a meagre 4%. This affluence of oil reservoirs pose a great challenge for the development of renewable energy resources in the region, but soonheless constant strenuous efforts are being taken by the Governments of Middle East region in developing renewable energy resources.

Efforts are being taken to raise the production of renewable energy resources to meet 6% of the overall demand by 2020 in the region, where electricity consumption is steadily steadily at a rate of 7% per year, due to economic growth and development and hence meeting the demand with clean form of energy is increasingly a challenge.

The region has also a good source of solar radiation and wind speed to develop the required renewable form of energy through commercial power plants. Desertec Industrial Initiative 2013 reported that in the Arab region, a transition to a renewable based power system is economically more feasible and more attractive than in most other regions of the world.

The region strides hard to transform its energy production into a sustainable one by shifting gears to alternative energy resources to the convention fossil fuels found abundant in the region under the guidance of Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), in alliance with the League of Arab states and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the former includes 22 states from the Middle East region.

Prospects

RCREEE has brought its course of action and strategy towards its sustainable energy policy or the year of 2030 in which different member states set their targets out of which Morocco's clean power target of 40% installed capacity leads the table followed by Algeria, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and so on, all of them having the goals exceeding 20% ​​clean power by 2020.

These reached targets are general renewable energy targets and do not include technology specific targets, which in turn is inclusive of solar and wind energy production, out of which solar power consists of both Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Photo Voltaic (PV) power . These technology based renewable energy development has become the emphasis of alternative energy generation of the Arab nations.

Each Arab nation as a part of this initiative has undertanned several measures like setting up dedicated authorities or departments in their Ministry of Energy to look after Renewable Energy Technology (RET) and formulating policies that encourage private sector investment in Renewable Energy production. Investments are encouraged through public funds as well.

Said that, renewable energy production is not without any challenges. There are many measures that hinder the achievement of the said targets that could be tackled by a joint effort of the different nations and with international assistance. The Arab nations put together are currently constructing renewable energy plants of capacity 6.4 GW, excluding hydro power plants, which is a significant scale of production, the largest contributors being wind and solar power plants aggregating 4.5 GW and 1.8 GW respectively.

That said, the achievement of these objectives are not without any challenges as the institutional set ups in each member state different in their structure and function and their association with each other is extremely important for the realization of the aggregate objectives of the region.

The following are the few challenges that need to be resolved in the realization of renewable energy targets.

Challenges

Political will: As like any other scheme, political will forms the fulcrum of the realization of these targets with streamlined policies and a concrete administrative structure that can effectively oversee the functions. Mobilization of funds would be another hindrance with the crude oil prices being irregular- which forms the main source of income in the region, the economies need to be balanced in finding an alternative for what is the primary source for sustenance.

Lack of target and strategy: Many of the countries lack a clear target setting strategy which is made cumbersome and gets entwined in binding legal documents and since the first step towards the transformation to clean energy itself gets stuck. A legal framework that defines the roles and responsibilities of every actors and the regulatory policies is another need that poses a challenge.

Legal framework: As of now only six of the 22 countries that are Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia have a well-defined legal framework and the remaining are yet to form one. The absence of legal framework Declines investor confidence turning down the possibilities of a renewable energy mass production.

Supporting policy: Another challenge is the absence of a supporting policy in terms of a Power Purchase Agreement, which is now a lengthy process and does not allow large-scale production of renewable energy.

In other words a lack of clarity on the number of projects planned through public competitive bidding reduces the investor confidence and hence a condition of uncertainty is prevalent. Moreover the electricity tariffs in most of the countries are subsidized that makes the investment in renewable energy production less alluring.

Financial challenges: The challenges are not just the lack of a definite administrative and legal framework but also financial. The renewable energy production needs a considerable upfront investment and this makes the case worse for the countries, where fuel costs are low. Thus the expectations of an investor for a better premium can be corroborated only by the government actions that ensure a secure investment platform.

Other challenges: Moreover technical knowledge in these countries are not so competent as per the global standards and the Quality Assurance systems. Renewable energy engineering for RETstandardization are not so well laid.

A few countries have been selected in which dedicated renewable energy resources development entities are set up after a SWOT analysis, that are monitored for its function and its horizontal coordination with other actors in spreading awareness about renewable energy outside its plans. Accordingly course of actions for different countries have been charted out based on the category under which the challenge falls, like administrative, financial etc.

There are a lot dependent factors which will decide the success of realization of these targets, but as of now, it can be legally believed that there is enough political will for a better cause.

“Hey, Ace, I heard about this brand new game,” was how my friend began his query, “a game that I hadn’t heard of before. Maybe you’ve heard of it….”

“Have you ever heard of some game called 3 Way-Action?”

“Uhhh, yep, I sure have,” was my response, although I wondered why my friend would label this as what he called a “brand new game.” Being in the casino party rental business, it’s my job to keep up on all the new trends, even when they’re NOT so ‘new.’ Agh, no problem, I said to myself, I’ll correct him later. “So, where did you see 3 Way-Action being spread?”

“Well, my friend saw it while he was up north (California), played it for a while, and thought it was a lot of fun, so he introduced the game to our Friday Poker Party, and it was a big hit! We played all night!” (Actually, that wasn’t an unusual suggestion by my friend, who goes by the name of ‘Night Owl.’ He and his card-playing buddies would stay up until 6 a.m. playing ‘Madden NFL Football,’ if the side bets were right.

“One problem,” the friend lamented. (Uh-oh….I’m smelling a rules-violation right about now.) “We’re not sure we’re playing it the right way. Could you come over to my place next Friday, and teach us the rules of the game?”

Wow, hmmm, let me see…..Well, it’s a tough choice between listening to my two sons fight over the ‘Wii’ system for three hours on Friday night, or go over to my friend’s house and spend the evening talking about my favorite thing in life — Casino games, and the best ways to play them. “Great, we’ll see you at 7 p.m.! Don’t bring anything, we’ll supply the food.”

Friday couldn’t come soon enough. My sons decided to boost up the night of the weekly ‘Wii’ argument from Friday to Thursday, so I wouldn’t miss all of the fun with them. (Gee, thanks, boys.) And, when Friday DID come around, I made the trek over to Friday Poker Party Central, in order to discuss the now-infamous “3 Way-Action.”

“Here, let’s show you how we’re playing 3 Way-Action,” my buddy says. And, as promised, he deals out a hand of the game in question, and it looks like they’ve got the right idea of how the game is dealt, but they’re a little off in the way the initial wagers are made. “OK, stop right here,” I say. “Let’s go over how the game works, right from the beginning.”

“First off, you’re asking how this ‘brand new game’ works, but it’s not new, at all. It’s been hanging around on the fringes of the casino industry ever since the WSOP’s own Joe Awada created the game for his company, Gaming Entertainment, quite some time ago.” (We consider it our job to keep up on ALL of the new games and trends in the industry, as well as their history. Hey, we’re not the top casino party company for nothing. Grin) After my short, boring history lesson about the game, it was time to get down to the business of how “3 Way-Action” worked. Here is how the game was taught to this very attentive group….

3-Way Action is a game played on a Blackjack-style layout, with three distinct betting boxes in front of each of the six players at the table. These bet-boxes are marked “High Card, Blackjack, and Poker.” To play the game, a player must place a bet in each of the three boxes, and unlike games like Let It Ride, the bets in the three boxes do not necessarily have to be in the same exact amounts. Players can make any size wager in each of the three boxes, but may not remove any wagers made after the first card is dealt.

The first game played at the table is “High Card,” also known by some players as “War” or “Combat.” It’s just as described – High card. The dealer will deal one card up to each of the players, and one card up to himself. If your card is bigger than the dealers, you win, simple as that. If not, you lose. If the player and dealer TIE, the player loses exactly half of the original “high card” bet, which is the “vig” for the house. The house edge for this part of the game, because of the half-bet loss on a tie is almost 3% (2.94%, to be exact).

Next up, we move to game #2 in 3 Way-Action, “Blackjack.” That “High Card” that you initially received to start the game? You keep it, and will be dealt another card, face up, so each player has a two-card Blackjack hand. (The dealer will deal HIS/HER second card DOWN, of course.)

Now, each player plays Blackjack against the dealer. Now, if you hit your 2-card Blackjack hand, all subsequent cards that you get will remain in your hand for the third part of the game, the poker hand. So, the players play Blackjack against the dealer, and those bets are paid or collected, with ties being a push. BUT….ALL cards that the players / dealer receive during Blackjack play remain on the table, as part of those players’ hands.

Note: If the player draws to seven cards totaling twenty-one (21) or less, the player wins automatically. (Even money.) House edge in Blackjack, taking all normal factors into account — About another 0.5%, give or take a smidge. You Basic Strategy players know the deal with this scenario.

So, now, with the Blackjack portion of the game completed, the table moves to the last of the games to be played – “Poker.” It’s now like Seven-Card-Stud Poker. Each of the players will be dealt cards face up, in turn, until each of them has seven cards in front of them, their poker hand. Simply stated, if your best five cards in your poker hand beats the dealers’ best five, your “Poker” wager is paid off, even money.

House edge for the third and final installment of 3 Way-Action — We’re figuring about 3.4%, maybe a little less, depending on what the payouts are in regards to an optional side bet on the poker hand-portion of the game called the “Bonus Bet.” This is a side wager made before any of the cards are dealt, and pays off players that end up with hands of 3-of-a-kind or more (which pays 3-to-1).

House edge on the bonus bet — Well, it depends on the payouts of he various poker hands, but the odds in regards to a “Bonus Bet” payout sheet that WE saw at a Northern California casino some time ago would land around a 12.5% vig for the house. (You know how those bonus bets are. Stay away from this one.)

“Wow, thanks,” my friend said, after the class was dismissed. “You really do have all the info on that game. Sounds like, all in all, the odds in favor of the house really aren’t that bad when it comes to 3 Way-Action, are they?”

I remember my answer…. “Actually, no, as casino games go, the odds in favor of the house aren’t that bad at all. Just remember your basic strategy when it comes to Blackjack, and to stay away from the optional Bonus Bet, and you should enjoy your next session of 3 Way-Action.”

“Thanks again,” my friend told me, as I was leaving his house, and heading back home. “We really appreciate it.” Have a good evening!”

“You’re welcome,” I shot back, as I walked back to my car, and back to what I was SURE was another “Wii War” waiting for me when I got home.

Hey, when you’re considered the top source for info on the best casino games, you have to know when you have the house edge, don’t you? Just one word will swing the percentages back into my favor, and give me back that coveted “House Edge.”

“Bedtime!”

Beach soccer first started in Brazil and has quickly grown to be an international game. Beach soccer has been played for many years without rules until 1992 when they were distributed. The very first professional beach soccer competition took place at Miami Beach. The first televised competition was in 1994. Since it has been televised beach football has become one of the most watched sports around the world.

The rules of beach football are similar to association football accept there are no corners given instead there are only throw-ins or kick-ins.

The basic rules of beach football are shown below.

Players

Each team consists of five players, including the goalkeeper and an unlimited amount of substitutions. Throw-ins and kick-ins mean the pace and flow of the game is much higher than regular football. Shoes are not allowed, although ankle guards are permitted. Goal kicks are taken by the goalie using his hands to throw the ball in.

Match length

A game lasts thirty six minutes and is split up into three twelve-minute periods. Every match is won by one team, with the game going into three minutes of extra time, followed by a penalty shootout if the score is still level after normal time. Unlike association football, penalty kicks are decided by sudden death rules.

Referees and Discipline

There are three referees in charge of the match, two on the pitch and one off who controls the team’s benches. Any fouls committed lead to a free kick on goal which has to be taken by the player who was fouled unless awarded for deliberate handling. As in association football yellow and red cards can be issued. However unlike association football, when a player receives a yellow card they must leave the pitch for two minutes and the team must play with four players for that time. When a player receives a red card, he is dismissed from the game entirely.

The most anticipated latest advert of the series of Nike Soccer Commercials was released 29th of April, at the helm of the second semi final match between the Manchester United and the Barcelona Champions.

Directed by no other than Madonna's guy, Guy Ritchie, Nike has successfully captured again the hearts of footy fanatics.

From the early campaign "How badly do you want to be a footballer?" the new public was dubbed "Take it to the Next Level". It features the blows and hung ups of a football dreamer as he climbed his way from his humble start to owning his national team jersey, and living the luster of stardom. The 2-min ad was made more interesting as presented through the person's point of view, giving the audience a high feeling of rush and exhilarations. Something that is new among the series of Nike soccer commercials.

Adding intensity is the song "do not speak (I came to make a bang)" – which they really did, as sung by a band called Eagle of Death Metal.
Their words came fitting as:

"Do not move, do not speak, even whisper
There's something happenin 'but do not be scared
I'm too smooth, you never see me coming
I'm never in a hurry, I'm just movin 'fast "

Casts includes International football stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Marco Materazzi, William Gallas, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Arsene Wenger, William Gallas, Cesc Fabregas, and many more.

It may be another follow-you-dream stuff but the wit, humor, and heart showcased were enticing enough to make the drive another favorite. And this, as expressed by Ritchie, who is also a big soccer fan to Chelsea, was his biggest ad work to date.

Gone are the days when sportswear was primarily associated with convenience. Today, our sporting heroes are as glamorous as our screen idols- and that’s true in a case of both on and off-field/court endeavors. Needless to say, much of the glamour that we associate our athletes with has a lot to do with the clothes that they wear on the field or on the court. Sportswear, through the years, has undergone several changes. Regardless of whether it is cricket, tennis, soccer, rugby or any outdoor sports- jerseys have changed a lot over the years. Both technological advancement (as far as manufacturing these jerseys is concerned) and fashion have actually gone on to play a role in heralding this change. Find out more.

What you need to know about the modern jerseys: Find out how they have changed

Comfort, needless to say, is at the heart of jersey manufacturing today. Thanks to the progress of modern technology, today you have these sweat-absorbent jerseys that are worn on warm and humid days. These jerseys are particularly used in high voltage sports such as cricket and soccer so that for players beating the sticky summers is a breeze while they’re playing.

What more? They offer you heightened mobility on field as well.

Today, a lot of thought goes into determining the color of the jerseys as well. When you’re a part of high voltage sporting activity like soccer, rugby or cricket, the team management will definitely want you to sport very bold and bright colors on field. The bold jersey is just a manifestation of your team’s aggression. It’s like a psychological weapon against your opponents. Not every team in every sport may try out this particular psychological hack but you may come across several coaches who continue to fall back on bold (but fashionable) jerseys to shore up mind games of teams.

Women sportswear demands special mention as far as fashion is concerned. Today, they are not only comfortable but funky, cute and trendy as well.

Finding the right manufacturer and supplier

Please ensure that you are looking for credentialed sportswear manufacturers in your town. Don’t end up settling for the services of manufacturers and suppliers that have not really been able to garner positive reviews in the market for the quality of products offered by them. There definitely are certain factors that help you be sure about the credentials of a company. You can start off by reading the reviews of the manufacturers and suppliers. What are their clients saying? Are they satisfied with the quality of products made available by these manufacturers? Are they looking forward to collaborating with these brands for their needs further in the future? Or, are they completely annoyed with the products delivered by these suppliers? Have they cared to clarify the reasons behind their feelings for these brands?

Do seek personal recommendations as well. Ask your peers if they can recommend a brand or not. Zeroing in on a brand has to do a lot with these considerations.

For a few hours on the opening day of the Premiership, Blackpool, in their first appearance in the EPL, were actually at the head of the League table, on the back of their victory against Wigan, on August 14, 2011.

Are you curious to know more about this squad? Here you go:

The official name of the club is Blackpool Football Club, or Blackpool FC. The club is also known by several nicknames, such as The ‘Pool, The Seasiders, and The Tangerines.

The team is registered in the seaside town of Blackpool in Lancashire, England.

The home venue of the club is in Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, England, and the owners are Owen Oyston and Valeri Belokon. the chairman is Karl Oyston, and the manger, Ian Holloway.

The squad comprsies the following players: Gilks, Crainey, Evatt, Baptiste, Cathcart, Vaughan, Adam, Harewood, Ormerod, Taylor-Fletcher, Grandin, Rachubka, Eardley, Basham, Edwards, Ludovic Sylvestre, Demontagnac and Euell.

The new signings this season are Marlon Harewood (Free Agent), Craig Cathcart (Manchester United), Ludovic Sylvestre (Czech team Mlada Boleslov; ex-Barcelona), Elliot Grandin (CSKA Sofia), and Malaurty Martin (Monaco).

This is Blackpool’s first appearance in the Premier League.

Their opening match in EPL 2010-11 was against Wigan, on August 14. And the result of that match that surprised everyone was a 4-0 thrashing delivered by the debutant team.

Pre-season Preview:

Blackpool qualified to play in the Premier League for the first time, this season by getting the better of Cardiff in the final of play offs.

Manager Ian Holloway’s squad has thereby earned the opportunity to play against top flight teams at the best venues, around England, and they will savour that experience.

Although nobody gives Blackpool the ghost of a chance to do well at this level, there is no pressure of expectation, and in Ian Holloway, they have a shrewd manager who can make the most of any opportunity.

In the Premier League, Holloway will get to rub shoulders with the likes of Sir Alex Fergusson, Arsene Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti, and prove that he is no less a manager than any of them.

One of Blackpool’s to signings this year is Marlon Harewood, whose previous club, Aston Villa have released him. Harewood is a competent forward with a goal scoring ability, and Blackpool will look to his guidance to learn to compete at this level.

In 21 year old Craig Cathcart, they have a promising new recruit. Cathcart has already earned a Northern Ireland under-21 cap, is reportedly ready to join the senior side. The Premier League will give Cathcart an opportunioty to showboat his skills.

Apart from Harewood and Cathcart, Blackpool have recruited a few more players, and these include Malaury Martin, previously with Monaco. Among players who have left are Stephen McPhee, retiring from the game on account of injury,and Ben Burgess going to Notts County.

The way they have begun their Premier league campaign, with a 4-0 win over Wigan, Blackpool could spring a surprise on all of us, like Birmingham City, Hull City and Reading, other promoted sides, have done in recent years. That said, one swallow does not a spring make, and as they are bound to find out as they stay longer in the Premiership, life here won’t be easy for Blackpool.

Money Changes Everything

Twenty-Two Writers Tackle the Last Taboo with Tales of Sudden Windfalls, Staggering Debts, and Other Surprising Turns of Fortune

Edited by Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappell

We live in a tell-all culture. Sex, troubles with our kids, complaints about our spouses, and even our indiscretions are acceptable dinner table conversation-or at least OK while sharing a latte. Our money side in contrast is kept hidden from view.

Money is loved, feared, and worshiped. Some see it as dirty, not in keeping with a spiritual life, unnecessary. It can make a god-fearing person swear and ordinarily loving couples spit fire. Money can change everything.

The editors of this book put it this way, “To shine a light on how much we make, how much we spend, how much we owe, and how much we’ve got secretly socked away is to give others a potent glimpse into the values we live by. Because of this, admitting to money troubles can often feel like admitting to a weakness of character.”

The money troubles coin has two sides. “Shrinks have coined the phrase “affluenza” to describe the angst and aimlessness that arise from being so wealthy you don’t have to work for a living. Yet despite their insistence that affluenza can be a genuine hardship, therapists are finding it a hard sell to make others feel sorry for their clients. Most people can sympathize with the pain and struggle of the less fortunate, but the anxieties that attend being “too rich” are much harder to imagine” write the editors.

So silence and hiding are the order of the day whether the wolf is at the door or the view from the penthouse leaves you wanting.

Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappell, brought together twenty-two great writers who agreed to write about how their lives have been shaped, complicated and/or enhanced by this often hidden aspect of our lives.

The writing is sometimes comic, as in Chris Offut’s story Porn Bought My Football. It can also be achingly sad and as in Marian Fontana’s, A Dollar A Tear, about the money she received after her husband was killed in NYC on 9/11.

The writing is always brilliant.

Fred Leebron and Kathryn Rhett are married and each recalls their version of the money game as they describe their early lives together. Did they really experience the same things? His is titled For Richer, hers, For Poorer. It represents the wedding vow but also the way money can divide otherwise loving couples.

Walter Kirn in Treasure Me tells of failed marriages because they were based on his using his money to perhaps buy affection and love. He “tallies up just how much it costs to have sex” and does it in a very funny way.

Daniel Handler, author of the Lemony Snicket series and no slouch in the money earning category wrote a few pages titled “Winning.” His idea for this essay was to buy a $1200 bottle of wine. He begins by asking, “Do you want to know what a $1200 bottle of wine tastes like? Of course you do.”

His agent warns him that he shouldn’t write this essay. “$1200 on a bottle of wine?” she asks. “It’s immoral. People are going to attack you. People are going to call you an immoral person” she warned.

“That’s what I’m interested in,” said Daniel. “I keep telling people about this bottle of wine. First everybody wants some, then everybody thinks it’s immoral. This is the thing with money.”

And so it is and the remaining eighteen writers pose equally thought provoking ideas through their behind the scenes, behind their money accounts. Have some fun with these writers and think about your own money stories. How has money or a lack of it had an impact on your life over the years?

Most sovereign states are proud to celebrate their National Day. Any visitor to America on the Fourth of July will find it difficult to miss the Independence Day street parades and firework displays. Similar scenes of national unity and joy will be seen in France on the 14th July, and in Ireland on St Patrick's Day. But nothing similar will occur this Sunday, when England should be celebrating the day of St George, the nation's patron saint. According to a recent survey, only one in three people in England know that the 23rd April is St. Louis. George's Day. This will be an event honored more in the breech than in the observation.

The City of London is making an effort to revive the Pageant of St George, which was last performed in 1585 during the reign of Good Queen Bess. Those who can not attend this parade, or might find it a tad too exciting, can go to the British Museum and pay silent homage to Raphael's painting of St George killing the dragon, a masterpiece which is on show in England for the very first time. Otherwise there'll be little sign of crowdsaving Union Jacks, which now only happens in pubs when English football team is playing in the world cup. Even this gesture has been taken by law enforcement officers employed by the Forest of Dean district council, on the grounds that it may offend the Welsh who live nearby.

A recent survey revealed that England is the least patriotic country in Europe by a very wide margin. National pride is lower in 'this blessed plot' than in any of the other nine countries included in the poll. Only one in ten of this once proud race said they'd be happy to fly the national flag, largely because of political indoctrination and the fear of being considered a racist. Patriotism is now a dirty word, associated with fascism and saber-rattling jingoism, but in truth a patriot is someone who lives for his country, rather than sticks his neck out to die for his country. A fuller explanation is given by Roger Scruton in his book 'The Need for Nations', where he says that' National loyalty is founded in the love of place, of the customs and traditions that have been inscribed in the landscape and of the desire to protect these good things through a common law and a common loyalty. '

We should be proud to be members of world's most exclusive club. Margaret Truman said something similar about America, a country which certainly has an enviable degree of youthful exuberance, but can not match the length and quality of the English heritage. The English people, whatever their racial origin, can draw on a thousand years of culture. They have a unique tradition of folk customs, music, art, poetry and literature, embracing such towering figures as Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Dickens, Samuel Johnson, Elgar and Vaughan Williams. They excel at sport, have a wicked sense of humor and, despite something standoffish, can let their hair down and enjoy soggy bonfire night parties, fish and chips eaten out of last week's newspaper, and soap operas like the Archhers, East Enders and Neighbors .

There is a real risk that we may sacrifice our sense of national pride in our mad rush to climb aboard the globalization band wagon. An even greater, and more important, threat is that we might be seduced into forfeiting our freedom and national sovereignty by being dragged into a one-size-fits-all federation of European states. Now Europe is a excellent place to visit for a long week end, but what have we got in common with people who do not share our language, customs and way of life? At one time any British politician who signed a document such as the Lisbon Treaty would have been held guilty of High Treason. Even the relatively recent Treason Felony Act of 1848 makes it an offense to deprive or dispose of the Queen from her established constitutional position. This would certainly occur if we came under the jurisdiction of a European President rather that an English monarch. That act still stands. Under the original Treason Act of 1351, any person guilty of such an act of high treason would be hung drawn and quartered. Now their punishment has been reduced to a mere lifetime prison sentence.

We must regain our sense of national pride. It was Winston Churchill who said: 'There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other. That word is England '. We must bang the drums for England. We've got so much in our favor. We love to be free. England is an island, and every individual Englishman an island entity in itself. We have more eccentrics than any other country on earth. We're easy going. Our favorite sayings are 'Live and let live'; Make the most of a bad job '; and Better luck next time '. We also have a great sense of justice and fair play, coupled with a ready willingness to support an underdog. Jean Borotra, the French tennis player, was a great Anglophile and enjoyed pointing out that the French had no word for 'fair play'. We may have a tendency to be arrogant, and somewhat aloof to foreigners, but then nobody's perfect. We're currently being grossly over governed, which is damaging our secondary school education, but we still have three universities in the top five tier of the official World University Rankings, the order being Harvard, Cambridge, Yale, University College London and Oxford.

No wonder Voltaire said: 'If I had had to choose my birthplace, I would have chosen England.' Even the Japanese show a pinchant for buying British products. When Toyota exported UK made Avensis cars into their home market, they put Union flags in dealership windows, accompanied by banners proudly proclaiming 'Made in the UK'. It's time we launched another 'I'm backing England' campaign. The last, which took place before the devolution of Scotland and Wales met with great success, but fell from kindness when it was found that the campaign postcards were printed in Belgium, and the 'I'm backing Britain' T-shirts were made in Portugal. If it's good to be proud of your company, school or football team, what's wrong with having pride in your mother country? The West End is currently enjoying a revival of many old American musicals, why we can not have a revival of Noel Coward's' Cavalcade ', a gloriously chauvinistic confection which ends with the cast drinking a patriotic toast that' this country of ours, which we love so much, will find dignity, and greatness and peace again. '

I intend to return to this theme again and again, whenever there's an appropriate opportunity, such as Commonwealth Day, the Queen's birthday or the Last Night of the Proms. Until then, let me offer you a way of rekindling your national pride. It's the finest way to time the boiling of an egg. Put an egg in a pan of cold water, bringing it to the boil and then recite a leisurely version of Henry V's speech at the theft of Honfleur. Once you reach the triumphant cry 'Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George!' take the egg from the pan and plunge it into cold water. You'll find that the white will have set, while the yolk remains delightfully runny.

So you fancy yourself as a bar and nightclub enthusiast do you? Think you’re in the know with the industry? Well think again. Here are just a few things you probably didn’t know about your favourite bars and nightclubs.

  • Ever wondered what the name of the boss of the bouncers at a bar or nightclub is? Probably not however if you ever have the misfortune of meeting him, you may want to address him as Mr “Cooler.”
  • Bars and Nightclubs on corners are on average bigger then bars and nightclubs on normal lots of land.
  • At any given time, Ibiza has the largest percentage of population partying at a bar or nightclub.
  • South East Asian bars and clubs are the countries found to most likely to water down drinks, in particular spirits which for a number of reasons are disproportionately more expensive then locally brewed product (in particular beers)
  • The most popular shot in the world is vodka… largely propped up by the Russians where vodka is by and far the number one drink in the world.
  • Beer company’s invest millions of dollars in designing beer taps, due to the fact that a good beer tap can improve sales of a beer by over $20. Pretty good for a tiny bit of plastic.
  • Bars and Nightclubs have been voted the number 1 destination to meet people of the opposite sex.
  • The reason why Melbourne has a huge number of small bars and Sydney doesn’t is because of the different licensing laws that exist between each state. In Melbourne, the cost of setting up a bar is much lower and as such, is more conducive to smaller venues. In response to the popularity of small bars in Melbourne, Sydney has now begun to relax their licensing laws, allowing smaller operators to open up small bars.
  • The word Strobe (as in Strobe light) is in fact short for Stroboscopic.