Raiders of Anthony And Cleopatra’s Lost Tombs
‘X’ never marks the spot unless it’s scripted that way. Archaeologists are digging around 27km west of Alexandria for the resting place of none other than Anthony and Cleopatra.
For years, researchers have been seeking the graves of the famed pair, celebrated in plays and movies. French archaeologists recently said the tombs were in the newly excavated remains of Cleopatra’s palace in Alexandria, but they found nothing.
Last year, archaeologists from Egypt and the Dominican Republic found the remains of a cemetery near the temple of Taposiris Magna, 27 kilometres west of Alexandria. The cemetery has so far yielded 27 tombs and 10 mummies. Such cemeteries are common near royal tombs.
The team uncovered a damaged bust of the Egyptian queen, 22 coins bearing her image and a funerary mask that is believed to be of Antony.
Last month, it used radar to find three deep shafts leading to three “spots of interest” under the temple, the Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities said.
I guess if and when they do find them, they’ll do DNA tests and stuff, and then we’ll go look for the closest living relative of the two and make a TV special out of that. Or perhaps not.All the same, I’m interested. It sure beats following BrisConnections. Speaking of which…
We Get The Crap Governments We Deserve
Sydney’s a pretty crappy town these days. Gone is the lustre form its halcyon Olympic hosting days. The roads are congested, the trains are crap, the busses are never on time and there’s really no easy way of getting around town.
It turns out it’s because none of the NSW governments have addressed the underlying issues for decades. No wonder the present day mob is not up to the task – and worse still, the opposition may be worse by dint of ideology.
It’s round about now in history where Sydney’s lack of investment in public transport is catching up to the city hard and fast.
A FAMILY living in the outer suburbs of Sydney with one parent working in the city will spend as much money running their car as they do on mortgage repayments over the course of a 30-year home loan.
This fact – revealed in a 2005 federal parliamentary inquiry into the sustainability of Australian cities – is the legacy of a rail network that is frozen in time.
Sydney’s rail system has remained almost unchanged from the original vision developed by engineer John Bradfield in the 1930s and then updated in 1956. The city is now seeing the social consequences of this in the growing divide between those who have access to transport and those who do not.
The recent decisions by the State Government to dump the north-west and south-west rail links are just the tip of the iceberg.
The head office of RailCorp is littered with blueprints for grand rail projects that never made it off the page. Over the past 15 years the government has promised, but failed to deliver, at least $28 billion of rail infrastructure, including 13 projects that would have provided more than 1000 kilometres of track and dozens of new stations.
Some, such as the Mosman to Mona Vale line, were envisaged by Bradfield himself. More recently, the Government has axed plans for a south-west connection between Strathfield and Hurstville, a fast train between Hornsby and Newcastle and the duplication of the Richmond line.
The physical reminders are easy to see. The Maldon to Dombarton freight line, begun in the early 1980s but dumped by the Greiner government in 1988, lies half-finished and gradually rotting in the Illawarra, and tunnels under North Sydney and St James have been empty for decades.
“There is a problem with NSW treasury not believing in rail in this state and Sydney in particular,” says Garry Glazebrook, a transport expert from the University of Technology, Sydney.
“For 10 to 15 years we were able to build toll roads using private sector finance and that relieved treasury of the responsibility.”
That the failure to provide new public transport infrastructure is having serious social consequences should not come as a surprise.
Well, d’uh. It’s been a long time coming, but it also has to be said the newspapers have been really bad at understanding the ramifications of this neglect that has been going on for a long time. If there’s one thing that stops Sydney from being a truly pleasant city. it is the absence of a rail network.
My favorite story is how City Rail got rated the worst rail service of its kind in the world. So they sent their brightest fellow to Switzerland who had the best system in the world, to find out how to do it. Except that once he got there, instead of listening to the Swiss telling him how to do it, he’d insist on telling them how they did it at City Rail. As in, what? The Swiss want to learn how to turn their world-best system into the world’s worst system, just like Sydney’s?
Rail Corp is full of stories like that. You’d think people would be marching about this instead of bloody APEC or whatever.
As if the story of Pony the Orangutan wasn’t sad enough, we find in the news today that her relatives in Sumatra are in trouble. Sumatran Orangutans have it tough.
UP TO five adult orang-utans are being killed for every baby animal illegally captured, according to a new report showing the species faces extinction.
The World Wildlife Fund report says that hunters, who are rarely prosecuted, usually shoot both parents and sometimes other adult members of a colony to catch a baby to sell at markets so it can be kept as a pet or in a private zoo.
But about one in three babies dies before reaching a market because of the trauma of capture or poor transport conditions.
Authorities are failing to crack down on the booming illegal trade in orang-utans and gibbons on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
The report, released by Traffic – a group that monitors illegal animal trading for the WWF – shows that both species are on the brink of disappearing.
“We’re talking about an animal which takes 11 years to reach maturity, then carries its babies for about seven years before weaning, so it takes a very long time for the population to recover, if it does at all,” an Australian spokesman for Traffic, Chris Shepherd, said.
“Babies fetch high prices at markets, so when someone is found with an orang-utan or gibbon and it is seized, they go straight out and get another one.
“There is no deterrent. Awareness is not the problem and neither is the law. We have some of the best legislation in South-East Asia but we need an increase in enforcement to stop this.”
Pretty bad. Years ago, they had stories of abandoned Orangutans in the streets of Taipei because these pet Orangutans are cute while they’re small but turn into dirty big creatures that are too unruly for the urban household. Even that little thing above is going to turn into a sumo-wrestler sized ape. I just don’t get the people who think that something like that would make a nice pet.