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Kenyan swimmer Jason Dunford and his 7 minutes of glory

A Kenyan swimmer overshadows American swimming sensation Michael Phelps for 7 glorious minutes.

For seven memorable minutes, the world stood up and watched as brilliant Kenyan swimmer Jason Dunford held the Olympic 100 metres butterfly record that he shattered on the way to making it to Friday’s semi-finals of his speciality at Beijing’s National Acquatic Centre.

Stunned swimming analysts froze in awe inside the 18,000-seater “Water Cube”, one of Beijing’s architectural masterpieces, as the 21-year-old student of human physiology at Stanford University swam 51.14 seconds to break American Michael Phelps’ old mark of 51.25 that he set at the Athens Games four years ago.

Jason was swimming in Heat Seven which he won by 0.23 seconds ahead of second-placed Australian Andrew Lauterstein.


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Sailing around Africa in a Phoenician boat

On Arwad Island off the coast of Syria, a group of 20 sailors-to-be are preparing for a voyage their captain believes has not been undertaken for two and a half millennia.

They plan to set off on Sunday on a journey that attempts to replicate what the Greek historian Herodotus mentions as the first circumnavigation of Africa in about 600BC.

Their vessel, the small, pine-wood Phoenicia, is modelled on the type of ship the Phoenician sailors he credited with the landmark voyage would have used. Phoenicia route map

The Phoenicians lived in areas of modern-day Lebanon, Syria and other parts of the Mediterranean from about 1200BC and are widely credited with being both strong seafarers and the first civilisation to make extensive use of an alphabet.

Mammoth project

Celebrating Damascus as a capital of Arab Culture for the year 2008, event organisers sponsored the British-run expedition project to mark their festivities.

The year-long voyage will take the crew into some of the most dangerous waters in the world.

As well as sailing round the southern most tip of Africa, they are preparing to deal with pirates and long periods of waiting for favourable winds.

The skilful shipbuilders in Arwad are familiar with construction techniques dating back 200-300 years, but shipbuilder Orwa Bader, 28, says this is the first time they have ever tried to build in the Phoenician style.

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Kenyan marks 10 years since the US Embassy attack

Rescuers working after the American Embassy in Kenya was bombed on Aug. 7, 1998

NYTimes: Rescuers working after the American Embassy in Kenya was bombed on Aug. 7, 1998

On this day, August 7th 1998 – hundreds of innocent lives were lost and thousands more ruined in a senseless twin attack on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Hatred had reared its ugly head in the streets of these beautiful African cities. Nairobi’s streets, once famous their beautiful carpet of purple Jacaranda flowers were now littered with glass and debris.

Its fair to say that many dreams had once gained flight outside this building,  including my own. A month before the incident, I had huddled outside its doors with a dozen hopeful applicants – never would we have imagined such a fate.

On this day we remember those who were lost to this senseless tragedy; we remember those who stepped up in our time of need; those who helped rebuild shattered lives; and we recognize the need for peaceful co-existence — but most of all we recognize that the spirit of a nation may have been shaken but can never be shattered.

Peace to the world.


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The Importance of a Public Square

Yesterday I had the opportunity to witness an interesting public square standoff between an overzealous preacher and some teenagers professing an alternate deity — ,a certain Lord Kromdor. While the impromptu spectacle drew a measurable crowd, it sparked an interesting point of discussion.

I am a firm believer that we could utilize our Public Spaces better in America. I come from a culture where the public square is called “chowk” and the local police station is called “chowki” because there is a strong tradition of the common square being a platform for people to openly voice their opinions.

It saddens me to see beautiful public parks like the Union Square or the Justin Herman Plaza lay empty on a nice summer day. Now don’t get me wrong – I am no anarchist; Rather, world-over public squares are celebrated centers where cities come together to celebrate their very best – a space to celebrate our art, culture and music.

More about this as I research it further.

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Reinhard Fabisch (19th August 1950 – 12th July 2008)

FIFA has just announced that Reinhard Fabisch, a former Dortmund soccer player but known mostly to Kenyans as national coach for Harambee Stars in 1987, 1997 and 2001-02, is dead at 57 of an undisclosed illness. His last assignment was as coach of the Benin national soccer team.

Fabisch was perhaps one of the best known foreign coaches in Africa. His passion for the life and the sport could hardly be discounted. Those who knew him say he was as mild mannered off the soccer pitch, as he was aggressive during a game – pacing from end to end and constantly barking instructions at the players.

Under his watch, Kenyan soccer reached its highest peak. He lead the Kenyan National team, the Harambee Stars through many battles that seemed unfairly matched – In 1987 the Kenyans defeated a much favored Malawian team before battling it out with the Pharoah’s in the 4th All Africa Games at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. Although they won the game – the Stars lost the Final. Fabisch resurfaced in 1996, to draw against the Super Eagles; and again in 2002 to lead the Stars against Tanzania for a  5-1 victory.

May the man who gave life to Kenyan soccer, rest in peace.

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married to the company

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On High-tech Cheetahs and Blade Runners in Africa


It looks like double-amputee South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius may still be able to compete in the Beijing Olympics this year if he achieves the required times.

The IAAF had barred Pistorius, who runs the 400m sprint from competing, arguing that his carbon fibre “Cheetah” prosthetics may give him a technical edge unavailable to other runners.

Pistorius, 21, had both legs amputated below the knee when he was less than a year old. “These have always been my legs,” he told Jere Longman in a Times profile last year. “I train harder than other guys, eat better, sleep better and wake up thinking about athletics. I think that’s probably why I’m a bit of an exception.”

TIME Magazine ranks Oscar Pistorius as one of the 100 most influential people of 2008. The 21-year-old Pistorius had long learned not to consider his artificial legs a hindrance, even refusing to park his car in a spot for disabled people.


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