Friday, November 21, 2008

Power option in Jordan

I have been interested in reading about the nuclear option in Jordan and have been having many conversations as to whether this is what Jordan needs.
I know it is a carbon free source of power but according to a MIT and Harvard report there are four unresolved problems:
1. High relative costs
2. Perceived safety, environmental and health affects
3. Potential security risks
4. Unresolved challenges in long-term management of nuclear wastes.
On average a nuclear power plant annually generates 20 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste plus a lot of low-level radioactive waste (parts and equipment etc). It costs a fortune to just build the plant. And the amount of water needed, according to an Australian report, for a nuclear power station producing 1,400 megawatts of electricity a year would use about 25 billions litres of water. Nuclear power is hugely expensive and the most water hungry of all energy sources.
Jordan is assessing the feasibility of having a nuclear power programme with the help of Canada and aims to open their first station by 2015 which would generate 30% of Jordan’s total energy. At the moment 95% of its energy comes from imported fossil fuel power and costs 20% of GDP.
Jordan has 2% of the world’s uranium.
I understand that many countries are having debates on this subject. My gut reaction is that is it worth it? A huge capital expenditure plus all the down sides. How can we manage nuclear waste when we cannot manage everyday waste? I suppose one of the pluses is the plan to have desalination plant which will give Jordan a much needed water resource but I wonder just how much potable water a plant in Aqaba would produce. Who will pay for it? And who will manage it? And how much will it cost on an annual basis for maintenance, security etc? So many questions to answer. T

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Just returned home after a pleasant dinner with a few friends, where the conversation inevitably turned to politics and the injustice that the Palestinians have to live with year in and year out; whether Obama will make a difference; will zionism prevail ... etc etc .... when I come home and found the following in my inbox from a fellow iPeace member. So allow me to share a little bit of hope: J

"It’s time to sing and act for Gaza".

Concert title: Gaza Concert
Concert slogan: It’s time to sing and act for Gaza
Concert time: On 27th November, 2008
Place: Rashad El-Shawwa Cultural Center – Gaza

From the heart of Gaza a sound of hope. Performers from Gaza will gather to tell their stories in song and music, calling for a better life for Palestinians who have suffered for decades at the hands of injustice and stereotyping in the media.

Gaza Concert is an event bringing inspiration for many Gazan singers who are eager to speak out and tell their stories through music and song. The event aims to unite musicians and singers from different parts of Palestine to sing for unity, peace and justice. In spite of all the sufferings, the hopeful event aims to revive the Palestinian spirit by music from Gaza to the whole world.

Recently, all sectors of life in the Gaza Strip have been negatively affected by the unjust siege imposed on civilians. Life is worsening day by day in the Gaza Strip affecting children, women and the elderly. They have but one dream: to lift the siege and lead a decent life.

Palestinians are looking for a just solution and for a way out of the despair and torment they have been living with for years. The siege is not the only problem; but the violence that takes hope away is just as big an obstacle.

Despite this, talented Palestinian singers and musicians are uniting together in Gaza to create a unique musical concert to sing for Gaza and for peace. Participants want to put hope back into the minds of children and smiles on their faces after years of stress and mourning the loss of loved ones and for some, even their homes.

Join us anyway you can, even if only in spirit, on 27 November - for it's time to sing and act for Gaza"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Charter for Compassion

Came across this in the Guardian newspaper .... as it swept across the screen bringing a sense of cyber relief from all that electoral hype and other crazy news from the other side of the world.

It is a call for change that we can all live with and it is a global invitation to join a Charter for Compassion. Check out the link but first read the comment by Karen Armstrong .... putting words into action for the common good.

She is also reminding us about the basis for all religions - compassion.

She goes on to say: "Any ideology – religious or secular – that breeds hatred and disdain for others is failing the test of our time. The first person to formulate what has become known as the Golden Rule was Confucius:

"Do not do to others what you would not like them to do to you." It was, he said, the central thread that ran through all his teaching and should be practised "all day and every day".

Have a nice day!


Friday, November 14, 2008

an evening at Al Balad Theatre

Yesterday evening we went to watch Sharon and my mother-in-law at Al Balad Theatre. It was wonderful to see the theatre absolutely full and even though the play was in English there was just a handful of foreigners.

We were sitting near the back so unfortunately I could hardly see anything or hear the words. I think the owner of the theatre has to seriously take into consideration the level of the seating for the audience as it is annoying not to see the whole stage. Also the acoustics are not good enough to carry the actors voices without microphones. But it was heartening to see a theatre filled to capacity. T

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Electoral elation and the politics of ducks

So we woke up this morning to loud hammerings from the building under renovation next door, and to a brave new world …. but who cares? At this point in time I care about the fact that this building has been painted puce fluorescent purple and can't seem to do anything about it! And meanwhile over on the other side of the planet, the US has just made electoral history by defeating the Republicans by a landslide. All that dancing and partying going on in the streets of Washington is in stark contrast to the total air of indifference over here. I suppose we should all be sighing with relief …. except of course, Hubby who just had a twinkle in his eye!

“Do they realize what they’ve done?” says hubby …..

“They just voted for a muslim, oriental, terrorist as President and to quote that great, white southern American racist we saw on TV the other night: “if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it must be a duck”.

“But times have changed this saying into ‘if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck it must be the President of the U.S.A’.”

“And we Arabs say, “if it talks like an American duck and walks like an American duck and pledges support for Israel, then it must be an American President.”

Well, I can understand the caution, even though we prefer duck over chicken – it’s just that we’ve been at this point before. But there is definitely something “Kennedy-ish” about Barack Obama that keeps a little flicker of light shimmering in the darkness.

So mabrouk to our American friends …. and here’s to that promise of change that we can ALL live with.


PS I suppose every cloud has a silver lining ... at least now with a puce purple building next door, people will always find my house!

Monday, November 03, 2008

who gives out traffic tickets?

A friend went to renew her car licence yesterday to find that she had a couple of tickets that needed paying. One was for speeding which was fine but the other was a JD66 fine for a driving penalty which was not detailed. Originally for JD33 but as it had not been paid it was doubled. She had no ticket and no notification of any ticket but had no choice but to pay it to get her car licence.

I called the Licensing Department to find out that the second ticket was issued by the Municipality and they just send the car numbers to the police so that they can collect the fines when the licence is renewed.

Now how can this be legal? The Municipality issues tickets and the police collect the fines? And how do you know what the ticket was for? And how can you pay for a ticket you did not receive? Can anyone tell us what this is all about please? And can these tickets be challenged? T

Doha Debates

I happened to tune in to the Doha Debates last night ... for a routine dose of debating entertainment. Tim Sebastian, you excelled yourself this time with the choice of candidates. Very clever! For the tone of self righteousness and absolute belief in one ideology that spewed forth from the mouth of Danielle Pletka, Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Institute for Public Policy Research, during the Debate is still ringing in my ears. Out of all the arrogant statements that left the most nauseating feeling, was the one expressing a feeling that “having a degree would help me rise up from the gutter … obviously it hadn’t here” meaning in Doha and by extension the ‘Arab World’.

It is precisely political animals like Ms Pletka who could do with a solid few years ruminating in the gutter of our collective humanity so that she may one day understand why the rest of us (degree holders alike) are so against neoconservative policies of Republicans in the USA such as John McCain et al … that great humanist who dumped his wife following a car accident that left her crippled for life. And don’t get me started on Palin …. that gun totting hockey mum (I have great respect for hockey mums … just don’t want them in the highest office on the planet plotting the next ‘game plan’)

Dr. Michael Signer, a foreign policy expert, summed it up when he said “thoughtful and deliberate qualities (in a President of the USA) were of paramount importance during the present troubled times. It is time we had a president who thinks before he acts rather than acts before he thinks.” Fine words, but …. will they prevail with all the existing rot devouring its way through the corridors of power in Washington?

At least the people spoke and rejected the motion. But did it have the power to change minds set in stone like that possessed by Ms Danielle Pletka? Would it be too much to hope that all this change that is imposed on the rest of the world, can now be turned on its own maker?

We shall have to wait and see! J