Grand Mufti Sumaworo Urges Muslims to Work for Unity

first_imgGrand Mufti SumaworoThousands of Liberian Muslims celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan at the Gurley Street Mosque have been called on to ensure that the Liberian government’s effort to reconcile the country is successful through unity.Delivering the final message yesterday in Monrovia, Grand Mufti Sheik Abubakar Mory D. Sumaworo told his audience  to let unity be their watchword in the building of the Liberian nation.Sheik Sumaworo explained that reconciling the Liberian people demands the total involvement of all segments of the Liberian society. “Our country is moving on a new road of success,” Sheik Sumahoro said. “We must do our part as Muslims and Liberians to make it work.”He noted, amid the declaration of the greatness of Allah, that Liberians cannot and should not prevent the cause of progress that President George Manneh Weah has set in motion to lead the country to another level that will give the country and the people, whether Muslims or Christians, a chance to be proud of their nation.He also reminded Muslims and Christians that both have a shared responsibility to develop the country as brothers and sisters united for a common destiny.Sheilk Sumahoro noted that the month of Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year in Islamic culture and the observation of the month is to mark Allah’s provision of the first chapters of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.During Ramadan, Muslims fast, abstain from pleasures and pray to become closer to Allah and it is a time for families to gather and celebrate together. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon.The observance begins the morning after the crescent moon is visibly sighted, marking the beginning of the new month. Traditionally, people search for the slight crescent using the naked eye, which has led to the declaration of different starting times for Ramadan, due to weather or geography. In order to have a more consistent start time for Muslims around the world, however, astronomical calculations are now sometimes used.According to Islamic sources, the observance of Ramadan is very personal and individual and is a time for “sacrifice and renunciation as well as a period of reflection and spiritual growth. Ramadan is also a powerful symbol of unity, bringing family and friends together. During this period, Muslims around the world fast simultaneously.Several Muslims interviewed yesterday said completing Ramadan brings them joy “because our families were stronger together in the presence of Allah, the creator of all things.”Fasting during Ramadan is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam and they form the basis of how Muslims practice their religion. According to Islam Guide, the Pillars of Islam are: Shahada: faith in the Islam religion, Salat: pray five times per day facing the direction of Mecca, Zakat: give support to the needy, Sawm: fast during Ramadan, and Hajj: make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during one’s lifetime.At the end of Ramadan, a three-day spiritual celebration known as Eid al-Fitr occurs. During this time, Muslims rejoice in the completion of the fast. Family members and friends gather to share in feasts and prayers. During Eid al-Fitr, it is customary to donate to the poor and disadvantaged.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Race for No. 1: 49ers plummet; Raiders up to No. 2

first_imgRemaining schedule: at … How the race for the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft is playing out going into Week 16 after the 49ers upset Seattle and the Raiders fell in Cincinnati:Arizona (3-11)Lost to Atlanta 40-14Appear to be cruising to the No. 1 overall pick after blowout loss (coupled with 49ers win). Remains to be seen what remaining division opponents will be playing for in terms of playoff seeding. The Cardinals hold an advantage over the Raiders based on strength of schedule.last_img

SA wine a US presidential hit

first_imgThe acclaimed Graham Beck Brut NV, the choice of presidents. (Image: Graham Beck Wines) The picturesque Stellenbosch wine route, home to a multitude of estates, including Graham Beck Wines. (Image: Stellenbosch Wine Route)Janine ErasmusUS President Barack Obama is, by all accounts, a discerning, and moderate, wine drinker. And his palate runs to South African wine too, as his choice of libation on election night was a bottle of Graham Beck Brut NV – the same beverage with which Nelson Mandela toasted his inauguration in 1994.According to Graham Beck Wines, Obama developed a liking for the sparkling wine back in February 2008, after he took his wife Michelle out for dinner to celebrate his intention to run for US president. On the sommelier’s recommendation, the president-to-be ordered a glass for him and his wife, and was apparently so impressed with the bubbly that on election night, 4 November 2008, he had six bottles standing by.Sales of the product have increased dramatically, according to reports. A wine merchant in the Chicago area told the Chicago Tribune that she sold her entire stock of Brut NV very quickly, once it was known that the presidential couple had developed a taste for it.“I am honoured that the Obamas chose our non-vintage Brut to toast their historic win,” said a thrilled Graham Beck cellarmaster Pieter Ferreira, speaking to Wine.co.za. Ferreira was reportedly in Chicago on a marketing tour during the election.“I always hope people choose to celebrate important milestones with our Graham Beck Cap Classique wines, and this is certainly a momentous occasion,” he added. “Sales are going well for the Graham Beck Brut in the US.”With only one million cases of wine exported to the US every year, that country is not the strongest market for the South African wine industry, said Su Birch of Wines of South Africa (Wosa). “We have a small market share, less than 2% of imported wines. However, our premium wines, such as Graham Beck and Rustenberg, are doing really well there.”Discerning presidential palateObama’s appreciation of the fruit of the grape is encouraging for the US wine industry, say industry experts. Former president George W. Bush was a teetotaler who had not touched a drop of alcohol in 20 years, but the incumbent is said to have an eclectic taste in wine. Merchants in his constituency of Chicago and across the US are getting ready to beef up their stock.“I can’t help but think that after eight years of no wine drinkers in the White House that [Obama] will have a felicitous effect on Americans’ drinking habits,” said John Gillespie, president of the Napa Valley, California-based Wine Market Council, at the 2009 Wine Market Council Research Conference.The Obama family home in Chicago is said to have a cellar capable of holding up to 1 000 bottles, according to reports in US newspapers. The president’s wining and dining tastes have sparked a recent flurry of discussion as to his personal preferences and official policy regarding the wine industry.White House policy states that only American wines may be served at state functions, but when dining privately, Obama is free to select whatever wines he chooses. Calls are now coming in for the new president to lift the ban on foreign wines in the White House, which was instituted in the 1960s by then president Lyndon Johnson.If this comes to pass, it seems certain that there will be room for South African wine in the First Cellar.Freshness and finesseThe family-run Graham Beck Wines is spread over four farms in Franschoek, Robertson and Stellenbosch in the Western Cape.Graham Beck Brut NV is described by the producer as offering “light yeasty aromas, good fruit on the nose, and rich creamy complexity on the palate. Fine mousse gives freshness and finesse.”The sparkling wine is a blend of Chardonnay (54%) and Pinot Noir (46%) and is produced in the Méthode Cap Classique cellar, located on the Madeba vineyard at Robertson.Graham Beck Brut NV has twice now been the drink of choice for a presidential inauguration. In 1994 glasses of the bubbly were lifted in honour of Nelson Mandela, who assumed the presidency in South Africa’s first democratic election. The latest endorsement by the American president is a testament to the quality of the product.South African bubblyCap Classique is a method of producing wine that harks back to the time of the French Huguenots, a group of immigrants who came from France to the Cape of Good Hope in the late 17th century.The Huguenots, many of whom had vineyards back in France, settled in the wine-producing region of Franschhoek (Dutch, meaning “French corner”) and were responsible for bringing the technique of making sparkling wine to South Africa.Cap Classique wines, therefore, are made in the champagne tradition – méthode champenoise – of secondary in-bottle fermentation, but are exclusive to South Africa. Other sparkling wines that are only produced in certain regions are Cava (Spain), Asti (Italy), and of course Champagne (France).The first bottle-fermented sparkling wine produced at the Cape was called Kaapse Vonkel (Afrikaans, meaning “Cape sparkle”). Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc have been the varieties most often used, but lately bubbly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have become popular.According to the Cap Classique Association, only specific white and red grape varieties are selected from a number of different regions in the Cape. Grapes are pressed as whole bunches, with only the first pressing or cuveé used for the various Cap Classique base wines. Once in the bottle, Cap Classique wines ferment and mature horizontally in cool, dark cellars for at least 12 months.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related storiesWine: SA’s French connectionCorking carbon emissions Black, female, and making great wine Obamamania sweeps AfricaSA celebrates with ObamaUseful linksGraham Beck winesCap Classique AssociationWines of South AfricaSouth African wineFranschhoekThe White Houselast_img read more

Could Pool Pumps ‘Store’ Renewable Energy Better than Giant Batteries?

first_img RELATED ARTICLES Get Ready for Smart AppliancesWhen Customers Challenge the Wisdom of Smart MetersFinding the Smartest Use for Smart MetersSmart Meter SmackdownThe New ‘Smart’ GridThe Smart Meter’s Contentious OpponentsIs Your Pool an Energy Hog? For example, on a typical week in the Pacific Northwest, power can increase or decrease by more than one gigawatt in an hour. That’s the equivalent of the output from one huge nuclear power plant able to supply a million homes.This is an enormous challenge to grid operators in this region. Massive fluctuations in power require equally massive storage devices that can charge when the wind is blowing, and discharge during periods of calm.Now, the balance of supply and demand for power is primarily done by generating more power rather than storage.Grid operators draw on what is called the balancing reserves obtained from fossil fuel generators or hydro plants, when available. These power plants ramp up and down their output in response to a signal from a grid balancing authority. This is just one of many ancillary services required to maintain a reliable grid.Many states are now scrambling to find new sources of ancillary services, and the federal government is also searching for incentives: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders 745, 755, and 784 are recent responses by a government agency to create financial incentives for responsive resources to balance the grid. Are batteries the solution?Storage is everywhere, but we have to think beyond electricity.Consider a large office building. Will anyone notice if the fan power is reduced or increased by 10 percent for 10 or 15 minutes? This makes no demands on the comfort of occupants of the building, but the resulting deviations in power can provide a substantial portion of the needs of the grid. A building can be regarded as a virtual battery because of thermal inertia — a form of thermal storage.What about for longer time periods? Residential pool pumps (as well as pumps used in irrigation) are a significant load in Florida and California — well over one gigawatt in each state — that can be run at different times of the day.Through local intelligence — in the form of a chip on each device or a home computer for many devices — the collection of one million pools in Florida can be harnessed as massive batteries. Through one-way communication, each pool will receive a regulation signal from the grid operator. The pool will change state from on to off based on its own requirements, such as recent cleaning hours, along with the needs of the grid. Just as in the office building, each consumer will be assured of desired service.Pools are, of course, just one example of a hungry but flexible load.On-off loads such as water pumps, refrigerators, or water heaters require a special kind of intelligence so that they can accurately erase the variability created from renewable generation. Randomization is key to success: To avoid synchronization (we don’t want every pool to switch off at once), the local intelligence includes a specially designed “coin-flip”; each load turns on or off with some probability that depends on its own environment as well as the state of the grid.It is possible to obtain highly reliable ancillary service to the grid, while maintaining strict bounds on the quality of service delivered by each load. With a smart thermostat, for example, indoor temperature will not deviate by more than one degree if this constraint is desired. Refrigerators will remain cool and reliable, and pools will be free of algae. Where do we go from here?We first must respect the amazing robustness of the grid today.This is the result of ingenious control engineering, much like the automatic control theory that brought the first human to the moon and makes our airplanes so reliable today. We cannot pretend that we can transform the grid without partnering with the control and power engineers who understand the mysterious dynamics of the grid. Instabilities and blackouts occur when we are too aggressive in attempting to balance supply and demand, just as they occur when we are too slow to respond.We are certain that the engineering challenges will be largely solved in the upcoming years — it is an exciting time for power!The next challenge is participation.Today, about 750,000 homeowners in Florida have signed contracts with utility Florida Power & Light, allowing the utility to shut down pool pumps and water heaters in case of emergencies. How can we expand on these contracts to engage millions of homeowners and commercial building operators to supply the virtual storage needed? Recent FERC rules that offer payments for ancillary services for balancing the grid are a valuable first step in providing incentives.It is possible that little incentive is required since we are not subjecting consumers to any loss of comfort: it is the pool or fridge that provides flexibility, and not the homeowner.A sustainable energy future is possible and inexpensive with a bit of intelligence and flexibility from our appliances. As more wind and solar energy comes online, the people who run the power grid have a problem: how do they compensate for the variable nature of the sun and wind?California plans to spend billions of dollars for batteries to even out the flow of power from solar and wind, much the way shock absorbers smooth out bumps on the road. But do they need to? Not at all!In my research, I’ve found that we can accommodate a grid powered 50 percent by renewable energy without the use of batteries.Systems flexible enough to accommodate the ups and downs of solar and wind production can be made by adjusting the power at millions of homes and businesses on a minute-by-minute or even second-by-second basis. This approach requires no new hardware, some control software, and a bit of consumer engagement. Massive balancing actAlready, electric power procured from the wind or sun is leading to large and small “bumps” in the energy fed to the grid. Sean Meyn is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Florida. This column was originally posted at The Conversation.last_img read more

A new school year is about to start – here are some back-to-school resources from Cooperative Extension.

first_imgAcross the nation, schools will officially be back in session for our military students. Going back to school can be an exciting time, but for both students and parents, it can also be stressful.To help foster healthy and resilient futures for our military families and youth, here are some back-to-school resources for success in school by Cooperative Extension.BACK TO SCHOOLHere are proven tips, strategies and insights on how to successfully and safely navigate the back-to-school season from Oklahoma Cooperative Extension and their land-grant University:Plan ahead to manage back-to-school costsCalming those new-school-year jittersSafely walking and riding a bicycle to schoolTips for packing safe school lunchesBreakfast helps set the stage for academic successExtracurricular activities help kids make the grade and learn life lessonsMake healthy choices for after-school snackingFor parents, empty nest can be full of promiseCollege students should budget, tooSUCCESS IN SCHOOLHere are resources to help with success in school from Minnesota Cooperative Extension and their land-grant University:School Transitions provides resources to help you help your child through a school transition.Supporting Learning provides resources to help provide positive and constructive learning experiences for children outside of school.Parent-school Partnerships provides resources to help with meaningful dialogue between parents and teachers, which creates mutual understanding and enhances both parents’ and children’s experiences with school.Research is Minnesota’s Cooperative Extension’s research and evaluation about success in schools.last_img read more