Aussie billionaire unveils Titanic replica plans

Updated 28 February 2013
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Aussie billionaire unveils Titanic replica plans

NEW YORK: Flamboyant Australian tycoon Clive Palmer unveiled his plan Tuesday for building a perfect replica of the Titanic — plus a lot of extra lifeboats.
More than a century after the original, supposedly unsinkable ocean liner hit an iceberg and went down in the North Atlantic, Palmer says he thinks the time has come to complete the unfinished journey to New York. “The Titanic was the ship of dreams. Titanic II is the ship where dreams will come true,” Palmer said in New York at the project’s official launch. Featuring the same rigid divisions as in 1912 between first, second and third class, passengers will eat either in an ornate dining room or at a long common table.
“There’ll be no mingling” between classes, Palmer said. Passengers in the luxury section will enjoy the identical grand staircase and reproductions of the original Titanic’s Turkish bath and swimming pool.
Rebuffing public skepticism about the project, Palmer said a contract could be signed with China’s CSC Jinling Shipyard within days, with construction starting by the end of this year and the launch in 2016. He wouldn’t say what it will all cost.
“Certain people, certain individuals spend too much time saying, ‘Oh that will never happen’,” he said. Palmer refused to give the estimated cost, stating bluntly: “I’m funding this myself because I want to spend the money I’ve got before I die.”
A larger-than-life character who has made a fortune in mining, Palmer said he was unfazed by the seeming temptation of fate in giving one of the unluckiest shipping projects in history a second chance. “I’m not too superstitious,” he said.
Titanic II will closely resemble the original, although with important modifications, including a slightly wider hull and an extra layer of decking.



Passengers will be provided with period costumes appropriate to their class of ticket, Palmer said, joking that he will be in third class: “That’s where the fun’s going to be.”
One modification that Palmer underlined is a vast improvement in the lifeboats, which were insufficient on the original ship, contributing to the loss of more than 1,500 people when it sank in icy waters.
Palmer said this time the ship would exceed regulatory requirements with top-of-the-range lifeboats that are “very safe.”
“You could go round the world in them if you wanted,” he said.
Markku Kanerva, from Deltamarin, the Finnish firm designing Titanic II, said “we go far beyond” latest regulations.
“I can assure you that from the safety point of view it will be absolutely the most safe cruise ship in the world when it’s launched,” he said.
But Palmer wouldn’t fall into the trap of echoing the original “unsinkable” claim.
“It would be very cavalier to say anything like that. I think people have said that in the past,” Palmer deadpanned.
At 833 feet, the ship will be about a finger’s length longer than the original, with room for 2,435 passengers and 900 crew.
If all goes according to plan, Titanic II will start by sailing from China to Southampton, England, and from there along the original, ill-fated route to New York. After, the ship would cruise mostly in the North Atlantic.
Not only will crew — and possibly passengers — be in costume, but there will probably be no televisions aboard, or Internet access, Palmer said.
That pleased Helen Benziger, a descendant of Titanic survivor Margaret “Molly” Brown.
She hailed “the romance of the Titanic” and a chance “to spend five days on a ship where people are civil. I think we all crave a bit of civility in our lives, where there’s grace, where there’s, excuse me, manners.”
Palmer said the lack of distracting modern gadgets for a few days would do even more than improve manners.
“You can fall in love with your wife again,” he said, joking: “We want to reduce the trend on divorces in the United States.”


‘Atlas of Beauty’: A Romanian photographer captures images of female beauty that defy every stereotype

Updated 16 July 2018
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‘Atlas of Beauty’: A Romanian photographer captures images of female beauty that defy every stereotype

  • Since 2013, Mihaela Noroc has photographed over 2,000 women in more than 50 countries, listening to their stories and learning about their lives.
  • For Noroc, beauty is diversity. She believes each one of the “shining stars” in her book radiates dignity, strength and beauty. 

JEDDAH: We live in a world where female beauty standards vary but are all socially and culturally constructed. The Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc traveled that world with her camera and backpack, photographing women in their everyday surroundings and listening to their stories. The result is the “Atlas of Beauty.”

Since 2013, Noroc has photographed over 2,000 women in more than 50 countries, listening to their stories and learning about their lives.

“I noticed that there is a lot of pressure on women to look and behave a certain way,” she told Arab News.

“In some environments, it’s the pressure to look attractive. In others, on the contrary, it’s the pressure to look modest. But every woman should be free to explore her own beauty without feeling any pressure from marketing campaigns, trends or social norms.”

For Noroc, beauty is diversity. She believes each one of the “shining stars” in her book radiates dignity, strength and beauty. 

During her five-year odyssey, there have been tremendous ups and downs. Yet, with each country, Noroc never failed to tell the story of the woman in her photographs. Some countries were deemed dangerous — but she traveled there anyway. 

“In Afghanistan, I traveled in a remote area called Wakhan Corridor. The fighting was very close, condemning this place to total isolation,” she said. “People were living like their ancestors lived hundreds of years ago, so photography was a miracle for them. They were incredibly happy to see themselves in photos and I was invited to every home to photograph each member of the family.” 

Visiting North Korea, Noroc was accompanied by local guides as she walked the streets to get a glimpse of women in their daily routines as if nothing was out of the norm. 

“There is a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way, so sometimes it’s a struggle to be yourself, to make yourself accepted as you are. But I hope this project will encourage more women and men to follow their own path, to explore their own beauty without feeling constrained.”

Traveling as a backpacker introduced Noroc to all kinds of environments. She has captured beauty in Brazilian favelas, in an Iranian mosque, on the Tibetan plateau, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, the Amazon rainforest, upscale neighborhoods of Paris, downtown New York and more. 

She focuses on photographing the environment around the women, and prefers to photograph their natural faces, without a lot of makeup.

Noroc also makes sure that she chats with her subjects while the photographs are being taken — she is an excellent conversationalist. 

Woman shopping at a market in Nampan, Myanmar.

“Many of the women I photograph are in front of a professional camera for the first time. This isn’t bad at all because they are more authentic. For even more authenticity, I always use natural light. Through my camera, I try to dive into their eyes and explore what’s inside.”

Each image is raw, colorful, delicate, intimate, striking and empowering. A Jordanian Bedouin grandmother sits with her children and grandchildren in the background, the woman’s deep wrinkles revealing her desert life living off the land.

Another image shows the resilience in the striking green eyes of a Syrian refugee with her two daughters in a camp in Greece. In Jodhpur, India, a young woman heads to the market in a vibrant fuchsia outfit and silver jewelry. 

“There is much love, beauty and compassion in the world and I see it with my own eyes. Yet a few sources of hate and intolerance can ruin all this. Many times, the victims of intolerance are women, and while on the road, I hear many heartbreaking stories,” she said.

Gauri, an Indian from Kolkata, India, sells splendid flower garlands at a Hindu temple. Female “bomberas” (firewomen) in Mexico City. Sisters Olga and Anya, street performers from Odessa, Ukraine. Eleonora, a ballerina from St. Petersburg, at one of the most prestigious dance schools in the world. A Mayan descendant in Guatemala donning a colorful dress and posing in her village. These are just some of the stories in the “Atlas of Beauty,” yet the journey is continuing since there are no limits to beauty in this world. 

“For me, beauty is diversity and it can teach us to be more tolerant. We are all very different, but through this project, I want to show that we are all part of the same family. We should create paths between us, not boundaries,” said Noroc.