Monday, August 31, 2009

Tax Haven era dead.

Well, that's what it says in The Guardian where the IoM is mentioned. I'm sure the Manx Government is delighted that all it's hard work is seeing some results.

Bill Cassidy is down the pub

Bill is visiting his friends on Inishmaan, in the Aran Islands, and spent Friday night in the Teach Osta Inis Meain - which means the Inishman Public House. Looking at all the Guinness on the tables, I believed I had found the explanation for the blurry photos but apparently I am incorrect in my supposition, it's something to do with compression in the email. Yeah, right. Anything you say, Illiam. Mine's a pint.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

TT & castles

Great article at from Sue Carpenter of the Los Angeles Times..

"My destination was the Isle of Man, a tiny island in the middle of the Irish Sea off the northwest coast of England. It's best known for two things: its status as a tax haven, and a 102-year-old motorcycle race called the TT, which is run on real roads by unsung racers who whiz, at speeds approaching 200 m.p.h., within inches of stone walls and spectators.

I planned to catch the tail end of the legendary TT, then enjoy the island in its natural state - that is, not overrun by motorcycles. I just had to get here, which meant flying to London, renting a motorcycle, biking 250 miles across England, and taking a 31/2-hour ferry ride to the port town of Douglas." There's more atthe link above.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back to earth -- and sea

I watched NASA TV this morning and the smile on Nicole's face went from ear to ear as she operated in zero gravity aboard Discovery. How happy we all are for her.

Now back on the rock they are having a bit of a problem with the Portugese -- and before I am accused of racism -- I mean the man'o'war variety. That's the jelly, or jellyfish, as we used to call them. For the first time in five years they are coming inshore around the south of the island. Nasty stinging things they are, too.

Friday, August 28, 2009

High Flight...

...for I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth, and touched the face of God."
Godspeed Nicole, congratulations on achieving another of your life's ambitions: pilot, engineer, wife, mother, astronaut.
We salute you as you cross the high frontier and we join with your American, Manx, NASA, and international space families in the pride we feel for your dedication and singular accomplishment on this momentous occasion. Our thoughts are with you, Chris and Roman as you live your dream.
IT'S ALL GOOD (STS-128 motto)
Lift-off August 27, 2009 Time: 23:59 EST
Posted at T minus 0

Countdown Resumes

Fri, 28 Aug 2009 09:03:07 AM EST
The countdown for the launch of space shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission is under way again. The count resumed at 8:34 a.m. EDT at the T-11 hour point with no issues being reported that could affect launch.

The Rotating Service Structure on Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A was rolled away from Discovery this morning at 6:11 a.m.

NASA's Mission Management Team plans to meet at noon to review launch preparations and determine whether teams will continue to march toward a targeted liftoff tonight at 11:59 p.m.

Weather is forecasted to be 60 percent "go" for external tank loading and 60 percent "go" for launch.

This is so nerve wracking for the Stott Family - let's hope it's a go tonight.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NASA targets Friday night for launch

CAPE CANAVERAL - NASA is now aiming for a late Friday night launch for space shuttle Discovery and her crew.

A fuel valve that plays a critical role in filling and draining the shuttle's large external fuel tank failed during the pre-launch fueling process Tuesday afternoon. Data from the shuttle indicated that it would not close, forcing NASA to scrub the overnight launch attempt.

During tests Wednesday evening, the valve cycled correctly each time it was commanded to. That led program managers to resume the countdown just before 9 a.m. today, but three hours later they decided to wait another 24 hours to allow for more engineering analysis.

Discovery is ready for a 13-day mission to the international space station mission. In addition to delivering 17,000 pounds of supplies and equipment, the shuttle will also drop off Clearwater's Nicole Stott for her three-month stay on the station.

Launch is now scheduled for 11:59 p.m. Friday night. The most recent forecast called for a 60-percent chance of good weather, however Discovery's first launch attempt early Tuesday morning was delayed by weather despite an 80-percent forecast of good weather.

NASA is up against an August 31 deadline to get this mission off the ground, or they will have to stand down until October.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Valve Problem Scrubs Launch Try

It was not meant to be.....
Tue, 25 Aug 2009 06:01:00 PM EST

A problem with a fill-and-drain valve inside space shuttle Discovery's aft compartment has scrubbed the Wednesday morning launch attempt for STS-128. The launch team is evaluating the issue and has not set a new launch date and time at this point on Thursday when we will be back getting Matt's teeth pulled.


The Washington Manx are planning an outing on the Sae Hrafn (Sea Raven) with the Longship Company in September.
The Sae Hrafn is a 39' (12m) class A (Div. II) tall ship which is based on similarly sized coastal raiding and defense vessels (i.e. Skuldelev V & Ralswiek/Rugen II ), with the sweeping lines of the classic longships. She was launched in September 2005.
In addition to the activities of sailing, maintaining, and exhibiting/demonstrating the vessels, the Longship Company participates in living history events, contributes to ongoing international archaeology-by-experiment efforts relative to early seafaring and technology, produces educational materials, and supports artistic and scholarly efforts related to the Vikings and their era. Should be a fun day out! Bring your gloves if you're rowing.


Spotlights show the rain as it falls on Launch Pad 39A as space shuttle Discovery awaits launch. Photo credit: NASA TV lights for lightning, precipitation and cumulus clouds. In short, a nasty storm cell blew through and scuttled the launch at the last minute. We're staying one more day. We'll keep you posted. Poor Nicole.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Just left the pre-launch party...

Astronauts and cake...
Matt and Mim Blower met astronauts, Lee Morin (STS-110) and Lee Archambault (STS-117 and STS-119) -- they also at special launch cake.

Also on display, a life-size cutout of Nicole as guests entered the Debus Conference Center Facility at the Kennedy Space Center on August 24th just hours before the scheduled launch of STS-128.

Photograph: Matt Blower

Nicole also sent a message by video to all the guests. She seemed very excited to finally be reaching a life's goal.

STS-128 is fuelling up -- STORMS LEAVE NOW!!!!! We want a beautiful night launch.


The weather in Florida during this time of year is normally uncooperative when it comes to launching spacecraft. It had a three hour thunder and lightning storm last night just off from the Kennedy Space Center. It was very impressive with lots of cloud lightning where the bolts crisscrossed the sky like the veins in a leaf.

However, given the early hours -- the shuttle with the crew of STS-128 is slated for a 1:36 AM liftoff Tuesday morning -- and the current forecast -- -- meteorologists give it an 80 percent chance of a go -- it looks like night will turn to day as NASA lights up the sky.

This mission will deliver key supplies to the orbiting laboratory as well as a replacement for Tim Kopra who currently resides on the space station. Astronaut Nicole Stott is scheduled to replace Tim Kopra and remain on station for three months. Also on this mission is the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill or COLBERT, named after the comedian who asked his viewers to enter his name on the NASA website.

The mission is scheduled to last for 13 days and has three planned spacewalks. STS-128's crew is Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Kevin Ford and Mission Specialists: Nicole Stott, John Olivas, Christer Fuglesang, Patrick Forrester and Jose Hernandez.

Tim Kopra: Nicole will replace Tim Kopra when she gets to the ISS. If you are curious to know what he has been up to, go here. Basically they are spending a lot of time checking out the effects of space on each other and running some experiments. He's also taking photos for the ISS Moon Score, a series of lunar stage photos that will be set to music as part of the educational program JAXA.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We're in Florida

Countdown to launch at 1.36 Tuesday morning. Off to the Space Center tomorrow. (Epcot today) Live eye witness accounts of Nicole's launch into space should follow God and the weather willing.

Oh, it looks like Hurricane Bill is headed for the IOM. I hope that it's battened down.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

VLM scrap IOM-London City flights

VLM has announced it will not be restarting its flights between the Isle of Man and London City in September as originally planned.
The airline initially suspended the route for the summer holiday period, but the continuing economic slump has resulted in a sharp fall in business traffic.
Aer Arann will continue to provide its three times daily service between the Isle of Man and London City, and arrangements are in place for passengers already booked with VLM to be transferred to Aer Arann flights.
VLM will contact all of its booked passengers and either offer them a full refund or rebook them on the equivalent Aer Arann flight.

Nicole Watch

STS-128 Crew Prepares for Launch

NASA website updates
Thu, 20 Aug 2009 09:52:38 AM EST
Space shuttle Discovery’s seven astronauts flew to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for final prelaunch preparations Wednesday evening.

In the crew quarters of Kennedy's Operations and Checkout Building they will review flight data and check out their launch-and-entry suits today.

Countdown to the launch of the STS-128 mission to the International Space Station begins at 10 p.m. EDT Friday. Liftoff of Discovery is set for 1:36 a.m. Aug. 25.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Space Isle

Excalibur Almaz story here in full. Website here.

An international spaceflight company plans to launch paying passengers on weeklong orbital trips by 2013 using vehicles based on Soviet-era spacecraft built for classifed military space stations.
Excalibur Almaz Limited, based on the Isle of Man, has acquired several Reusable Return Vehicles, or RRVs, spacecraft initially designed for flying cosmonauts to the former Soviet Union's super-secret Almaz space stations of the 1970s, the firm announced Tuesday at the Moscow Air Show in Russia. for more about the IOM and space

An artist's conception shows the Excalibur Almaz
Reusable Re-entry Vehicle, or RRV,
which is based on formerly top-secret Soviet military technology.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Watch Nicole

I sawa the interview with Nicole yesterday on NASA TV - it's one of the high number stations on Cox. She was great.

NASA TV Daily Schedule: All Times are Eastern Time Zone


August 17, Monday
1 p.m. – Interviews with STS-128 Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Kevin Ford – HQ (Public and Media Channels)
2 p.m. – Interview with STS-128 Mission Specialist José Hernández – HQ (Public and Media Channels)
4 p.m. – STS-128 Crew Training – HQ (Public and Media Channels)
5 p.m. – Interviews with STS-128 Mission Specialist John "Danny" Olivas and Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Nicole Stott – HQ (Public and Media Channels)
8 p.m. – Interview with European Space Agency Astronaut, Mission Specialist STS-128 Christer Fuglesang – HQ (Public and Media Channels)
9 p.m. – Interview with STS-128 Mission Specialist Patrick Forrester – HQ (Public and Media Channels)
10 p.m. – STS-128 Crew Training – HQ (Public and Media Channels)

August 18, Tuesday
6 a.m. – STS-128 Crew Training – HQ (Public and Media Channels)
8 a.m. – Interviews with STS-128 Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Kevin Ford – HQ (Public and Media Channels)
9 a.m. – Interview with STS-128 Mission Specialist José Hernández – HQ (Public and Media Channels)
10 a.m. – Interviews with STS-128 Mission Specialist John "Danny" Olivas and Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Nicole Stott – HQ (Public and Media Channels)
1 p.m. – Interview with European Space Agency Astronaut, Mission Specialist STS-128 Christer Fuglesang – HQ (Public and Media Channels)
2 p.m. – Interview with STS-128 Mission Specialist Patrick Forrester – HQ (Public and Media Channels)
NET 3 p.m. – STS-128 Post Flight Readiness Reviews News Briefing – KSC (Public and Media Channels)

August 19, Wednesday
7 p.m. – STS-128 Crew Arrival – KSC (All Channels)

Hey Homecomers!!!

Entries are now being accepted for the annual Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure Photo Competition, sponsored by Nationwide International Ltd.
Photographers have just a couple of weeks to enter up to 18 entries in nine categories. All photos must have been taken on the Island within the past 12 months.
The Department of Tourism and Leisure hopes winning entries will help promote the Isle of Man in the future. There’s more than £3,000 available in prize money for the best images, and the closing date for receipt of entries is midday on Friday, August 28th 2009.
Entries must be high quality digital images, and should have been taken between August 2008 and July 2009.
Entries should be very high quality digital images only. The Department regrets that it cannot accept prints. All entries must be received by the Department of Tourism and Leisure at St Andrews House, Finch Road, Douglas, IM1 2PX by midday for judging. An entry form and full rules are on the Department’s website – .
Photographers can enter one or two images in any or all of the nine categories, and the picture judged the best overall will scoop £500. Nine prizes of £200 will be awarded to the winners whose images, in the eyes of the judges, best represent the Isle of Man in each of the nine categories – scenic coastal, scenic landscapes, heritage, transport, wildlife, food/drink, Isle of Man events, business activity and miscellaneous.

New Penguin at the Wildlife Park

Visitors to Curraghs Wildlife Parkare being treated to views of the latest arrival, a Humboldt penguin chick, hatched on 15th June this year.

Richard Halsall, Animal Manager at the Curraghs Wildlife Park, said: “This is the first penguin chick we have had in many years at the Park. Although we think the chick is now too big to fall victim to a seagull or heron, we’re not out of the woods yet and we’ll have to teach it to take sprats from us when the parents stop feeding it. It’s always a great pleasure to see new young animals at the Wildlife Park and all the staff are thrilled at this latest success.”

The Humboldt penguins’ exhibit is located in the Pampas area, one of seven geographical areas represented at the park. Humboldt penguins rear their chicks in burrows and they don’t begin to wander around outside until they are about 6 to 8 weeks old.

Three-legged race record plans

Well, it makes sense. Who else should have the record for the bigger three-legged race?

Barclays Wealth staff Damian Bird, Ian Pilley and Kerrie McCauley c are aiming to organize a record-breaking attempt this autumn.

Damian, who works at Barclays Wealth in Douglas, set himself a challenge of breaking a world record when he made his New Year resolutions this year. I started to look at group events and found out that the current record for the three-legged race stands at just 380 people or 190 pairs. 'Then I thought Three Legs of Man - three legged race.

'Wouldn't it be great if the Isle of Man held this record?'

Damian, 33, is now aiming to get 3,000 people, that's 1,500 pairs, to race in Noble's Park on Sunday, October 11.

The Guinness world record is currently 380 people or 190 pairs but there are other record attempts being planned so Damian wants to make sure the Isle of Man gets the record by getting as many people to sign up as possible. For the record to be ratified, competitors have to complete a 250 metre course.

The event will also raise money for the Wish Upon a Dream charity which helps grant terminally ill children their final wish. A target of £25,000 has been set with Barclays Wealth matching the final sum pound for pound.

New reef for Port Erin?

A PUBLIC meeting to discuss the creation of an artificial reef in Port Erin bay will be held at the Erin Arts Centre at 7pm tonight (Monday). Organized by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the speaker will be Dr Ken Collins from the School of Ocean and Earth Science at Southampton University.

The university – considered European leader in this field – will monitor the project. The DAFF wants to sink coils of marine cable in the area of the bay that is already protected to promote the scallop population.

It is hoped the coils will create reef structures and be colonized by seaweeds, soft corals and similar organisms, creating habitat suitable for to many larger species and therefore encourage biodiversity.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Another William Wallace sounds off

...and you know what happened to the last one.

A LEADING Liberal Democrat peer has called for the autonomy of the Crown Dependencies to be reviewed. On a visit to Guernsey, Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Lord William Wallace of Saltaire said the dependencies' right to self-government was no longer appropriate.

'You cannot say that a promise given 800 years ago in different circumstances fits in any part today,' he said.

Meanwhile a House of Commons committee investigating the UK Government's management of its relationship with the Isle of Man and other Crown Dependencies has issued a call for evidence.

The inquiry will look at how the UK Government represents the Crown Dependencies internationally, the role of the Ministry of Justice in managing the UK's relationship with them and what, if any, changes are required to improve the management of that relationship.

A spokesman for the Manx Government stressed that the Commons committee inquiry was not reviewing the autonomous position of the Crown Dependencies — only the management of the UK's relationship with them.

The deadline for written evidence is October 2 and submissions should be sent by email to

60th Anniversary Calendar

Greetings from The Mannin Art Group to our Manx friends abroad

It is just sixty years since a few gifted artists formed the Mannin Art Group on The Isle of Man.

The first exhibition was held in Ramsey where whole rooms at Albert Road School were devoted to the works of such celebrated artists as William Hoggatt, John Nicholson and John Aitken.

Today The Mannin Art Group has a very gifted membership numbering approximately 150 and includes talented painters from all walks of life.

An Anniversary Calendar celebrates this 60 years by showing some usual and not so usual scenes that present the Island in a number of different guises and moods.

To view the calendar paintings go to : - 60th Anniversary Calendar where you can download an order form, or make contact with us by e- mail to purchase copies. The proceeds from the sale of this calendar will be going to The Manx Wildlife Trust
with whom the Mannin have had a happy association with over the years painting in their nature reserves.
Picture: Heron at Kentraugh by Nancy Corkish

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nicole Watch

Things are heating up in the Press as the launch date gets closer. (25th at 1.34am) One of the sites they are quoting is the NASA bio site - here's her link:

It refers to a NEEMO 9 expedition back in 2006: (Cute Nemo, geddit?)

Image : The NEEMO 9 crew prepares for a night dive. Canadian Astronaut Dave Williams (right rear) leads the crew, which includes astronaut/aquanauts Ron Garan (right front) and Nicole Stott (left front), and University of Cincinnati physician Tim Broderick (left rear). Credit: NASA

Three NASA astronauts and a Cincinnati doctor completed a successful 18-day undersea mission April 3 to 20, living and working under the ocean to test space medicine concepts and moon-walking techniques.

Canadian astronaut Dave Williams led the longest NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) excursion to date aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Aquarius Underwater Laboratory off the Florida coast. NASA astronauts Nicole Stott and Ron Garan and Dr. Tim Broderick of the University of Cincinnati rounded out the crew. Jim Buckley and Ross Hein of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington provided undersea engineering support.

During the mission, remote health care procedures were tested on a patient simulator in cooperation with the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. New long-distance medical care procedures, such as telemonitoring and telerobotic surgery, may help maintain the health of spacefarers. The techniques simulated in Aquarius can be used in remote settings on Earth, and may one day be used to respond to emergencies on the International Space Station, the moon or Mars. The aquanauts also walked on the ocean floor as a simulated lunar surface, using high-tech breathing helmets and weights to improve their balance in one-sixth gravity equivalent to the moon's.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Really cool story

The Ronaldsway house is creating a storm in archaeological circles. This is from Discovery News.

Aug. 11, 2009 -- The remains of a 9,000-year-old hunter-gatherers' house, uncovered during construction at an airport, have been unearthed in Great Britain's Isle of Man. The house was surrounded by buried mounds of burnt hazelnut shells and stocked with stone tools, according to archaeologists working on the project and a report in the latest British Archaeology.

It is the earliest known complete house on the Isle of Man and one of Britain's oldest and best-preserved houses, according to the report. The find also offers a glimpse of domestic life 4,000 years before Stonehenge.

Based on the many ancient shells found surrounding its exterior, the home's first inhabitants must have eaten a lot of hazelnuts.

"There were presumably so many hazelnuts near the house as a result of processing and consumption of these within the building," project manager Fraser Brown of Oxford Archaeology North told Discovery News.

"They may have been burnt because the shells were discarded into a fire after consumption of the fruit," he added. "When the hearth sweepings were cleaned from the building, the burnt nutshells and all else were cleaned to the periphery. Hazelnuts would have been an abundant and highly nutritious source of food that could easily be gathered in the autumn and stored for consumption through lean winter months."

Davy Knowles

It's such a tough decision!!!! I have tickets for Back Door Slam at the Birchmere, Alexandria, VA on the 25th. And guess what else happens that day? The shuttle launch with Nicole Stott, our own (by marriage, and nothing wrong with that) Manx Astronaut in Florida. Admittedly, if we left straight after the launch and had no problems and didn't eat or pee for 14 hours we could make it back in our trusty minivan but I'm not that lucky, something would go wrong. So, we're Cocoa Beach bound and sadly, won't see Davy this time. But here's a great article on him:

By now, the story of the skinny white kid from the Isle of Man is old news. Word has spread fast about Davy Knowles and his band Back Door Slam, the young seminal blues prodigy who, despite his fresh-faced appearance, U.K. accent and quiet demeanor, routinely lights up rooms with his bellowing vocals and hair-raising guitar solos.

Nothing has changed in that department. In fact, Knowles' star continues to rise as he sets the gearshift for the heart of the sun, but otherwise a lot has changed. With the new album, Coming Up for Air (released June 16 on Blix Street Records), the supporting tour in motion, and a continuing line of high profile dates on the horizon, Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam may claim to be "coming up for air" but you certainly wouldn't know it.

Isle of Man to help other small nations

Story here. Do small states really have the means to operate successfully in the global economy? How are they coping with the international financial crisis? Tim Cullen is executive director of the Small Countries Financial Management Centre, a newly minted, Oxford University-affiliated program on the Isle of Man.

Fortunately, Cullen says, there are large countries that have reason to be attentive to the plight of their tiny brethren. For instance, he points to Canada for its particular focus on the Caribbean. Similarly, Australia and New Zealand have an interest in the Pacific nations.

Beyond the moral imperative, Cullen points out a practical incentive for caring: Some small countries have become transit points for the illegal movement of money. If they have weak regulatory systems and lack the capacity to administer anti-money-laundering schemes and counter the financing of terrorism, they are naturally going to become targets for criminal and terrorist organizations. Finally, he echoed the climate-change dilemma, especially for tiny islands. In light of those challenges, Cullen says he is impressed at how relatively well many small countries do.

Cullen knows from experience what he is talking about; his own home, the Isle of Man - a self-governing British Crown dependency located in the Irish Sea - with a population of 80,000, is part of the small-states club. He admits the island has had the good fortune of solid institutions, including a parliament that has met continuously for more than 1,000 years, and a legal system based jointly on United Kingdom and Scandinavian sources. Even so, three decades ago, the Isle of Man faced a predicament. Most of its land was agricultural, yet that sector contributed minimally to the island's economy. Further complicating the economic outlook was that many tourists discovered they could fly to Spain or other warm spots for about the same cost as an Isle of Man visit. Those circumstances prompted the island to diversify into new areas: financial services, film-making and ship registration. The result is a robust economy in the 21st century.

Now, Cullen says, the Isle of Man seeks to be part of the solution for other small countries' troubles. Along with Oxford University's Said Business School, the World Bank and other partners, it has embarked on an innovative education program. Each year, it gives officials who work in small-country finance ministries, central banks and financial regulatory bodies an opportunity for cost-free, intensive training with some of the best professors and practitioners in the world - specialists who would not ordinarily be available to them.

Also: ( )

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ambitious plans for regenerating the Sunset City

New facelift for Peel?

The plans and computer-generated images were displayed at the authority's most recent public meeting. They are now available to view on its website at

Town clerk Peter Leadley said that, following construction of the marina, the aim of the regeneration bid was to redevelop Peel's center to attract harbor users into the town.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A view of the Royal Show from a bungee jump

Possibly the best turn out in 50 years -- it sure looks like it was busy. I love the Royal Show, sheep cows, the Milk Marketing Board giving samples, tractors, the Women's Institute cake tent -- ah, the memories all come flooding back.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nicole Watch

A nice interview with IOMOnline and an audio recording here.
'I will be the first mum that is going to be a space station crew member,' Nicole told reporter Rachael Bruce. 'My son is seven years old and he understands a lot of what is going on and is excited about it.'

Inbound money

I'm sure the IOM Government is not at all happy at being called a tax haven after all its splendid attempts to be recognized as an international financial center of great repute, but nevertheless, $330+ million passing through the Manx economy is not to be sneezed at. This is from the HINDU Business Line.

Outflow of investment from India in 2008-09 fell by 11.2 per cent to $16.07 billion in 2008-09 from $18.1 billion in the previous fiscal. The outward direct investment (ODI) included both equity and loan.

In 2007-08, however, the total outward investment from Indian firms, including joint ventures and wholly-owned subsidiaries, had jumped 31.54 per cent from $13.76 billion to $18.1 billion. Of this, $2.22 billion came back to India from those companies as dividend, royalty and technical fees in 2008-09, which was a shade less than $2.33 billion in the previous year.

However, this amount totalled to only $723.8 million in 2006-07. This was stated by the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Singapore retained the No 1 spot in the list of India Inc’s favourite investment destinations with Indian companies investing $3.6 billion in that country in 2008-09. But the investment of $3.6 billion in Singapore was a 56 per cent drop from the $8.3-billion the city-state received from Indian companies in 2007-08.

The Netherlands came next with Indian companies investing $2.77 billion in 2008-09, up from $1.93 billion in the previous financial year. Tax havens such as Cyprus and Mauritius received $2.25 billion and $1.8 billion respectively in 2008-09.

They were followed by the US with $873.58 million worth investments from Indian companies in 2008-09, the UAE ($791.78 million), Russia ($676 million), tax haven Isle of Man ($334.7 million), China ($246.03 million) and another tax haven British Virgin Island (230.48 million) in 2008-09.

Significantly, outward investment to tax havens rose significantly from 2007-08 to 2008-09.

In the case of Mauritius it went up from $1.4 billion (in 2007-08) to $1.8 billion (in 2008-09), Isle of Man ($124.97 million to $334.7 million during the same period), Cyprus (from $544 million to $2.25 billion).

However, investments to countries such as the US, the UK and Singapore fell during the corresponding period.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Nicole Watch

Astronauts practice escaping today. The astronauts spent Thursday getting familiar with the launch tower escape system. The system comprises seven metal baskets that would zip down a 1,200-foot slidewire to a bunker on the outer perimeter of the launch complex.

Today, the astronauts will don partial-pressure launch-and-entry suits and ride an elevator up to the 195-foot level of the launch tower. They'll then enter the orbiter Discovery and strap into seats. NASA's shuttle launch team will conduct the final hours of a practice countdown.

Countdown clocks will come to a halt at T-minus 4 seconds. The launch team will simulate a main engine shutdown and the astronauts will go through an emergency escape drill. They climb into the baskets, which also are on the 195-foot level of the tower, but they will not ride down the slidewire.

News Media love the Isle of Man

The number of broadcasters, magazine and newspaper publications who have chosen to feature the Isle of Man is at an all time high. ITV’s Islands of Britain, BBC’s The One Show, ITV Granada, Coast, ITV’s John Sergeant’s Tourist Trail and two high profile TV crews from Germany and Italy have all travelled over to the Island to film in the past few months and coverage still to appear will feature basking sharks, dolphins, and iconic Isle of Man landmarks.

A total of 26 media visits to the Isle of Man have been assisted by the Department of Tourism and Leisure this financial year (from April 2009), which has generated a 100% track record of positive coverage in a number of publications including The Times, The Daily Mail and Yahoo! amongst others. Journalists have showcased the Islands strong reputation as the perfect travel destination in coverage, with printed quotes including:

“Something tells me the Isle of Man is working its magic once again” (Daily Mail)

“I guarantee you’ll fall in love with the Isle of Man” (The People)

“Hop across the Irish Sea and take the opportunity to get up close and personal with an island full of surprises” (Good Motoring)

2009 has so far seen the Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure generate a large volume of positive coverage across all off-island media outlets including TV, radio and print. In the current climate, when more and more travellers are considering the ‘staycation’, the Isle of Man has risen to the challenge and has truly shown itself to be a compelling and accessible holiday destination.

The Department’s Communications Department measures coverage in terms of equivalent advertising values and from April this year coverage to date has achieved over £200,000 worth of promotion from a total of 57 pieces of coverage.

Geoff Corkish MBE, MHK, and Political member for the Department of Tourism and Leisure, said: ‘We are attracting more and more interest from all of the media – television, radio and press, who see our Island as a destination of year round interest. Such highlighting is certainly encouraging and confirms our strategy in this area of tourism along with the huge support we receive from all those involved in tourism on the Island.’

Facilitating media visits is a major part of the Tourism PR strategy which encourages many media visits every year with the aim of raising the Island’s profile and awareness of the Isle of Man as a holiday destination.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

1st Onchan Brownies -- are they the oldest pack on the Island?

As a Girl Scout leader and former Girl Guide leader I couldn't resist this. Does anyone out there know?

THE founders of 1st Onchan Brownies are being sought as the unit celebrates its 60th anniversary. 1st Onchan is thought to be the oldest continuous unit in the Island and as it celebrates its anniversary Brown Owl Louise Furniss has been looking into its history.
'I found that there was one family that started 1st Onchan, the Caines who lived in Onchan. I believe that there were four sisters who started it and it looks like they ran 1st Onchan for 20 years, although some of the records are missing,' she said.
The unit has already discovered that at one point there were 28 members of 1st Onchan Brownies and neighbours were roped in to help with the running before 2nd Onchan Brownies was formed.
But they have not been able to trace the founders. Anyone with information about the founders of 1st Onchan Brownies is asked to email or call reporter Rachael Bruce on 695636.

Nicole Watch

Space shuttle Discovery's seven astronauts were welcomed at the Kennedy Space Center today for upcoming emergency training exercises and a countdown dress rehearsal with the launch team.

Credit: NASA TV

Commander Rick Sturckow, pilot Kevin Ford, mission specialists Jose Hernandez, Danny Olivas, Christer Fuglesang, Pat Forrester and station-bound astronaut Nicole Stott flew from Houston to the Cape aboard several two-seater T-38 jets.


MEDIA RELEASE from the Department of Tourism and Leisure - Issue date: 5 August 2009

Taste Isle of Man is a quality assessment scheme supported by the Department of Tourism and Leisure for restaurants, pubs, take aways and other eateries in the Isle of Man.

Members of the scheme are inspected annually by independent assessors who assess every aspect of the customer experience including public areas, cleanliness, bar and restaurant, hospitality, service and efficiency and food quality. Those who achieve the accreditation are awarded a ‘Quality Assured’ or ‘Highest Quality Assured’ sign to display outside their premises.

In addition, establishments are assessed on the use and promotion of local produce and those achieving a quality score over 60% are awarded the ‘Harvest Isle of Man’ accolade, which is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Whilst many different types of cuisine are available in the Isle of Man much emphasis is placed on the use of the magnificent food that is produced on our own doorstep including locally produced flour, fish, bread, pork, herbs, vegetables, eggs, beef, lamb, honey, milk, cheese, butter, ice cream and beers, all of which are readily available and ensure a reduction in food miles and an unrivalled quality and freshness.

The Assessors have recently inspected a wide range of eating out establishments and those who have received their grading are now displaying the new signage showing the rating they have been awarded. The following eateries have achieved accreditation and have been awarded a ‘Quality Assured’ or ‘Highest Quality Assured’ sign to display outside their premises:

Highest Quality Assured
Copperfields Old Edwardian Restaurant
Garrison Wine & Tapas Bar
Harbour Lights Café & Restaurant Ramsey
L’Experience Restaurant
Tanroagan Seafood Restaurant

Quality Assured
Café Rosa Restaurant
HQ Bar and Restaurant
Harbour Lights Café & Restaurant Peel
Harbour Lights Café & Restaurant - PSM
Imperial Dragon Chinese Restaurant
Mount Murray Hotel Restaurant
Mount Murray Hotel Golf Club
Niarbyl Café & Visitor Centre
Nobles Park Café
Peel Fisheries
The Liverpool Arms
The Pavillion, Laxey
Welbeck Hotel & Restaurant

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nicole Watch

Space shuttle Discovery (Photo credit: NASA)
Cape Canaveral, USA - Discovery will take off for mission STS-128 on August 25

(WAPA) - Preparation for next space shuttle Discovery's mission STS-128 to the International Space Station (ISS) are underway at the Kennedy Space Center of Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spaceship has been moved this morning from its Vehicle Assembly Building and technicians are slowly carrying it to launch pad 39A, from where it will be launched on August 25.

Discovery will carry the "Leonardo" Multi-Purpose Logistics Module containing life support racks and science racks. The Lightweight Multi-Purpose Experiment Support Structure Carrier will also be launched in Discovery's payload bay.

Commander Rick Sturckow will lead the STS-128 mission with Kevin Ford serving as pilot. Also serving aboard Discovery are mission specialists Patrick Forrester, José Hernández, John "Danny" Olivas, European Space Agency's Christer Fuglesang and Nicole Stott, who will remain on the station as an Expedition 20 flight engineer replacing Timothy Kopra. (Avionews)
(World Aeronautical Press Agency - 2009-08-04 12:16 pm)
Technical Card - Space Shuttle
It's the spaceship currently used by the United States. It will be retired in 2010
Height: 58.58 ft (17.86 m)
Length: 122.17 ft (37.24 m)
Wing span: 78.06 ft (23.79 m)

Empty: 172,000 lb (78,000 kg)
Max T/O: 240,000 lb (110,000 kg)
Payload: 55,250 lb (25,060 kg)

Max speed: 7,743 m/s (27,870 km/h; 17,320 mph)

Basking shark conference

The IOM is home to many basking sharks. World experts on the giant basking shark have been getting a close look at the creatures in Manx waters. They have gathered for a conference in Port Erin to discuss the global position of the species and how best to protect it. At the weekend sharks came into the bay and were observed by delegates.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Soldiers' trek for wounded heroes

BBC Two Lancashire-based soldiers are preparing to trek 100 miles round the Isle of Man in four days to raise money for their injured comrades.

Warrant Officer Nik Smith and Warrant Officer Peter Alladice, both 39, from the Royal Logistic Corps in Preston will begin and end the trek in Douglas. Armed with only with soldiers' rations and camping equipment, they are fundraising for Help the Heroes. Their trek starts on 5 August and they hope to collect money on the way round.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Random things of interest

Some kind soul posted a comment regarding the Gaelg wiki browser: I cannot make it work but it's probably set for Windows.

Summer of Love: It’s been 32 years since the Summer of Love, but that cultural touchstone is alive and well in the work of artist Adam Berry. (Seen here.)

Berry, 27, wasn’t even a glimmer in his parents’ eyes when the hippies converged on San Francisco. He’s never been to California. But the left coast’s psychedelic sensibility has somehow found its way across the Atlantic and landed in Berry’s art, which melds the come-hither vixens and melting typography of this long-ago, far-away era with the iconography of his home country, the Isle of Man.

During this year’s TT, Berry’s artwork was shown alongside a mods and rockers exhibit put together by London’s famous Ace Cafe – another motorcycle-centric, British Isles venue – and one that has expressed interest in showing Berry’s work next year.