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Just to let you know that I’ve now acquired my own domain name and hosting space. It’s at alfaking.com. Your dedicated support and the ever-increasing number of readers and commentators have given me a new boost.

So dear readers, bloggers, supporters and all who provide back-links I’d appreciate if you could update your links. You just have to remove “wordpress” in the previous address, which will no longer be in use.

Alfa King Memories with a new look is now at http://alfaking.com . There are still a few things and features to work on, but the site is operational and stable.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart and see you at the new address under the same name with my 100th post.

Still chilly

Cold weather (relatively colder than before) is prevailing since the beginning of the week. Strong winds accompanied by intermittent rainy periods are causing a sensation of chill, especially on high grounds. Temperature has fallen below normal.

In the western parts of the island as we move from the centre towards Port Louis and the vicinity, it’s much better. I just came back from Domaine les Pailles where the Infotech 2007 event (an annual expo of the IT sector) is being held. It was quite warm with a pleasant sun. Here in the central plateau, where I am, it’s still kind of chilly.

The meteorological services say two strong anticyclones to the south of the mascarenes will maintain the cold weather and gusts of the order of 60 km/h. Seas will be rough and people are advised not to venture in the high seas. The weather should improve as from Monday.

So keep your pulls and blanket handy till then.

Horrible! It’s the least that can be said when you discover a newly-born, innocent, less-than-a-day-old child, draped in a piece of cloth and inert in a school bag. And on further probe you end up with a lifeless being, hardly born enough. Deeply lacerated and perforated at various places, the baby’s corpse bore a serious head wound and several cuts around the neck.

Yes, that was the horrible scene police found when they reached a small house in the suburbs of Port Louis, after a phone call at 7.00 pm on Sunday.

The baby’s mother, a 17-year-old student, was there too. She had apparently had a clandestine delivery, far from the specialized health care facilities, during the day. She had kept her pregnancy secret and nobody, not even her close relatives, ever knew about her health condition.

Postmortem examination revealed the baby-girl died from “multiple stab wounds of the chest”. Some 30 spots of severe injury, with serious throat cuts, were found. As of now there are no solid clues as to the real circumstances of the crime. Police inquiry is on and will definitely target the baby’s mother as soon as she’s released from hospital where she’s been admitted just after the police raid.

I wasn’t born yet. The story, a real one, was related to me at school. Else I only read about it. It’s exactly 62 years today. It was the first time a nuclear weapon was used in warfare; the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. It contained uranium. This followed a successful test of one bomb, using plutonium, carried out on July 16, 1945, at a site 193 km (120 miles) south of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The explosion was such that it devastated instantly and completely 10 square kilometers of the city centre of Japan where more than 340 000 people lived. It killed more than 60 000 people and injured another 60 000 plus.

Three days later another atomic bomb, this one of plutonium type, was dropped on Nagasaki where nearly 40 000 people were killed and some 25 000 injured.

It was Harry S Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb shortly after he was sworn in as President of the United States and after he received a report from Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson.

The explosion of an atom bomb results in the splitting of nuclei of uranium or plutonium. Great amount of thermal energy, as well as gamma rays, causing serious damage to living cells, are released.

A very sad anniversary indeed in the history of mankind. Unfortunately.

familylifebanner3.jpgNicely hosted, this time by Karen, the above carnival is up. My “The break is over” is listed under Thoughts from Dad. There are 76 entries classified under various headings: Money tips, Party tips, Inspirational, Informational, Planning ahead, Mommy to the Rescue, and Thoughts from Dad.

Take a peek here.

Life on Mars?

Has life existed on Mars? Could there be life? Those are the main concerns of the NASA people who’ve just launched a mission to reach Mars in May 2008. Scientific operations on the Martian surface will last about three months. Investigators believe there is water ice some centimeters below the surface. They’ll probe into whether there are signs of the ice melting. This could provide clues as to the history of the water ice and whether it could support microbial life.

Peter Smith who is a professor at the University of Arizona and the mission’s principal investigator said they’d try to find out whether the ice has melted. “Liquid water in contact with soil may provide us with a habitable environment.”

The Phoenix solar powered spacecraft was launched today, a day later, due to adverse weather conditions. It is equipped with various instruments to enable probing into a wide profile of the Martian environment. There’s a robotic arm to dig trenches, position tools and deliver samples to other instruments. Soil samples will be examined using microscopy, electrochemistry and conductivity analyzer. A camera is on board for taking images of the soil. A thermal and evolved-gas analyser will assess the chemical properties and look for organic compounds of samples. And of course the daily weather and seasonal changes will be tracked by a meteorological station with the use of temperature and pressure sensors.

Man’s quest for exploration has always been insatiable. At one time it was the Moon; now Mars. After the two earlier failed attempts towards Mars, let’s keep fingers crossed.

The break is over

My brother-in-law left this morning with his wife. His son stayed back, against his will. He started crying as they left. But he has no choice. His parents have to resume duty tomorrow and they can’t leave him alone at home. They’ve postponed his ticket and there’s no way he can travel as the planes are fully booked during this period. He’ll have to wait for his grand-mother, expected back from the UK on 4 August after a three-month visit to her daughter in London, to fly back around the 12th.

On Sunday, in a partly cloudy sky with a light but cool breeze, we rallied the southern half of the island all the way from the centre where we live to the south-eastern coastal village of Mahebourg near the airport. We then linked to Le Morne in the south-west through the southern tips of Gris Gris, Riambel, Rivière des Galets, Baie du Cap, Macondé and La Prairie before looping back to the centre. The roads were unusually jammed, probably because of school holidays when people flock to the seaside, if not to the fairs, or both.

Delicious Chop Soy (Chinese cuisine), gratin with cauliflower and bread for lunch; some boiled manioc for the mid-afternoon tiffin; and we refreshed ourselves with sweet coconut water on our way back. It was a little more than a half-day 180-kilometre-drive. We reached home at around 7.00 pm, all exhausted.

* * *

I just got a phone call from Reunion. My guests have reached home in good shape despite a shuddering descent at Pierrefonds (Saint Pierre) airport due to bad weather. They are relieved that their son’s doing better now. I can gauge how terrible it is to part from your dear ones, albeit for a brief period. I’ve experienced it on two occasions. The first one when I had to rush back home to resume work (I wasn’t granted longer leave), leaving behind the whole family in the middle of a two-week holiday in Reunion island. And the second when my family had to leave me alone in Rodrigues island where I was on a tour of duty in 2003. This time they had to be back for school. On both occasions my younger son (then in his early teens, grown up anyway) burst in tears, catching the airport crowd’s attention. Well, that’s life.

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