Corner of Kent, England could replicate Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah islands

A huge lake in Ebbsfleet Garden City in the north of the English county is being touted for an island project. (Supplied: Ebbsfleet Development Corporation)
Updated 08 September 2018
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Corner of Kent, England could replicate Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah islands

  • A huge lake in Ebbsfleet Garden City in the north of the English county is being touted for an island project
  • The series of islands would all be linked by walkways and one of them would be become an arts and culture island

LONDON: Kent is set to host a series of man-made islands inspired by the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai in the UK’s first “Garden City” in 100 years.
A huge lake in Ebbsfleet Garden City in the north of the English county is being touted as an area where people would be able to grow and pick their own fruit and vegetables, visit an adventure playground for all ages or take part in sporting activities.
The series of islands would all be linked by walkways and one of them would be become an arts and culture island where open air productions and concerts could take place.
Floating hotel pods and an innovation area for start-up businesses would also be included as well as the Garden City’s very own beach.
And floating “eco islands” would encourage wildlife to live at the site in a series of insect hotels, bee hives and bat boxes.
The existing lake, which measures across 12 hectares, is currently inaccessible for the local community but could now be opened up and transformed.
The idea was the winning entry in an international landscape competition.
Called HALO, (Hives, Arcs, Links, Organics) the ambitious design would become one of the Garden City’s most prominent features.
Judges said HALO demonstrated exactly what they had hoped for — a design that was radical, but realisable. The panel was also excited by its possibilities, particularly because the design reflected the founder of the garden city movement, Ebenezer Howard’s concept of the best of town and country life.
Kevin McGeough, Director of Ebbsfleet Garden City’s Healthy New Towns project, said: “This exciting and inspiring design exceeded our expectations. We have been encouraged by the innovation and the wide variety of approaches in this scheme.
“The winning design could become one of the country’s most talked about and visited attractions.”


No politics please for Baghdad bikers aiming to unite Iraq

Updated 20 January 2019
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No politics please for Baghdad bikers aiming to unite Iraq

  • That is why the first rule of his bikers club is: you do not talk about politics
  • The Iraq Bikers — who now number 380 — are men of all ages, social classes and various faiths

BAGHDAD: Roaring along Baghdad’s highways, the “Iraq Bikers” are doing more than showing off their love of outsized motorcycles and black leather: they want their shared enthusiasm to help heal Iraq’s deep sectarian rifts.
Weaving in and out of traffic, only the lucky few ride Harley Davidsons — a rare and expensive brand in Iraq — while others make do with bikes pimped-up to look something like the “Easy Rider” dream machines.
“Our goal is to build a brotherhood,” said Bilal Al-Bayati, 42, a government employee who founded the club in 2012 with the aim of improving the image of biker gangs and to promote unity after years of sectarian conflict.
That is why the first rule of his bikers club is: you do not talk about politics.
“It is absolutely prohibited to talk politics among members,” Bayati told Reuters as he sat with fellow bikers in a shisha cafe, a regular hangout for members.
“Whenever politics is mentioned, the members are warned once or twice and then expelled. We no longer have the strength to endure these tragedies or to repeat them,” he said, referring to sectarian violence.
With his black bandana and goatee, the leader of the Baghdad pack, known as “Captain,” looks the epitome of the American biker-outlaw.
But while their style is unmistakably US-inspired — at least one of Bayati’s cohorts wears a helmet emblazoned with the stars and stripes — these bikers fly the Iraqi flag from the panniers of their machines.
The Iraq Bikers — who now number 380 — are men of all ages, social classes and various faiths. One of their most recent events was taking party in Army Day celebrations.
Some are in the military, the police and even the Popular Mobilization Forces, a grouping of mostly Shiite militias which have taken part in the fight to oust Islamic State from Iraq in the last three years.
“It is a miniature Iraq,” said member Ahmed Haidar, 36, who works with an international relief agency.
But riding a chopper through Baghdad is quite different from Route 101. The bikers have to slow down at the many military checkpoints set up around the city to deter suicide and car bomb attacks.
And very few can afford a top bike.
“We don’t have a Harley Davidson franchise here,” said Kadhim Naji, a mechanic who specializes in turning ordinary motorbikes into something special.
“So what we do is we alter the motorbike, so it looks similar ... and it is cheaper.”