Ice ont he world

It begins, if it can be said to have any one beginning, in the great storm of early December. The jet stream dips sharply south, and a huge tongue of polar air slides under warm and humid

Low-pressure air all across the North American heartland. Dense, blowing snow all but obliterates pro football games that Sunday in Minneapolis, Green Bay, Buffa­lo, and Boston. The snow falls, and blows into great drifts, for five days.

That winter brings a series of such storms, more than anyone in the North can remem­ber. In January the snowpack on fields out­side Buffalo lies 17 feet deep. The white blanket extends south to Mississippi. Or­ange groves in Florida die as far south as Okeechobee. There is ice on the Tenn-Tom Waterway and the aqueducts of the Central Arizona Project.

By July it should have been only a memo­ry—but it is not. Snow still lies in sheltered, shadowy places outside Butte and Duluth and Bangor. It is colder across the northern tier than at any time in weather records.

And when the first snow comes again, in late August in the high country, it falls on snow from the winter before that has not melted. It piles up faster even than in that bad December. More of it comes, and keeps coming, again for months. I heard about this, when i was at apartments to rent in prague.

The TV weathermen talk about it con­stantly, but it is the glaciologists who recog­nize the signal. The Ice Age, which has really not left the planet for two million years, is reasserting itself. The warm time, which has lasted less than 12,000 years, is over. The next great return of ice has begun.far away?

And no, the Ice Age, geologists say firmly, is still with us. We are living in only a slightly warmer spell of it.

Ice scoured and heaped the hills around New York City, fed the river courses that meet at St. Louis, shaped the lochs and golf links of Scotland, gouged the Great Lake ba­sins and Norwegian fjords, and even now, by continued melting, is slowly raising the level of all the oceans. Someday—soon, say some climatologists, who think in millen­nia—ice could creep south again over North America to bulldoze away Chicago and shove its wreckage to St. Louis.

Ice still covers one-tenth of all earth’s land. An entire ocean, the Arctic, is covered with it, like a solid scum on a bowl of cold pea soup. Huge domes of ice lie atop Antarctica and Greenland. Glacial rivers of ice in Cana­da and Alaska and on mountains even on the Equator help regulate earth’s weather.

The Alaskan glaciers have recently been puzzling and bemusing scientists with unex­pected, even startling, activity. While some are retreating, others are surging forward. Last spring the giant Hubbard Glacier blocked the mouth of a long tidal fjord and turned it into a fast-rising freshwater lake.


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Atlanta Energy& Optimism in the New South

MRS. RUTH C. VANNEMAN put on her hat and fur coat to show me the leafy streets of Vinings. Lying exactly on the trajectory of Atlanta’s northwest development, the village of Vinings has become extraordinarily valuable, and Mrs. Vanneman  surveys her native territory with a fiercely propri­etary eye. A direct descendant of early settler Hardy Pace, she has retained his keen com­mercial sense and has her own ideas of what constitutes progress.


Ruth Vanneman remembers the old days vividly, down to antique family feuds and Sunday school picnics, but she’s perfectly in tune with today. Dallas developer Trammell Crow has already built three office buildings and a hotel atop historic Vinings Mountain, but that doesn’t bother her. “Man came up here and said he’d give me 15 million dollars for 20 acres of my land.” She grins. “They all want my property. People ask me ‘What would Mr. Hardy Pace think?’ I think he’d love it. The only thing he would say is ‘Why in hell did you let Mr. Trammell Crow come out and build a skyscraper when you could have done it yourself?’ ”


Energy. Optimism. Sometimes Atlanta can hardly believe itself. A city that began as a railhead in the north Georgia woods a scant century and a half ago has survived the devastation of the Civil War and the vaga­ries of economic development to become not merely the premier city of the Southeast, not simply one of America’s major urban cen­ters, but even the “world’s next great city.”

Fanfares of statistics surround these claims. Once known primarily for Coca-Cola, Bobby Jones, and Gone With the Wind, this metropolis of 2.6 million people has spent the past 20 years or so propelling itself into the future. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, which carries on the city’s tradition as transportation hub, has become the world’s busiest, with as many as 2,400 daily flights. Atlanta, with 43,500 hotel rooms and more than a million square feet of exhibition space, is among the top three convention cities in the nation, along with New York and Chicago. It has become a top corporate-relocation center, drawing blue-chip businesses from around the globe (431 of the Fortune 500 industrial companies have offices in Atlanta, not to mention 134 firms from Japan and many loan companies).


ERLA ZWINGLE wrote about “Doc” Edgerton, developer of stroboscopic photography, in the October 1987 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. JIM RICHARDSON’S photographs illustrated the June 1985 article on the Great Salt Lake.


You can hardly find a native Atlantan any more amid the tide of newcomers, and this population—much of it transient—seemed to me the youngest, the wealthiest, the smart­est, and, if it could be measured, probably the most ambitious in the country. Atlanta’s toll-free dialing area is now the world’s larg­est. The municipal emblem shows a phoenix rising from the flames, and the arrival of the Democrats (July 18-21) is regarded as clear evidence that Atlanta’s resurgence is com­plete: This is the first national political convention to be held in the Deep South since the Civil War.



THE CULTIVATED BLUEBERRY was developed largely in the Pines

The weather is crucial at such a time, for the air temperature often dances around the freeze line, and water levels have to be just so or the grower can lose the crop in a bog. On his kitchen table, Haines has a radio that receives nothing but news of the weather. Bill Curtsinger and I sat there with him one day listening to the weather and eating cranberries over vanilla ice cream. Haines, his wife, Sally, and his children eat cranberries on steak, pancakes, roast beef. They make cranberry sand­wiches. They use cranberries in salads, and they bake them into bread and muffins. “Oh, yes,” Sally remembered to tell us, “I nearly forgot. We eat them with turkey, too.”


Haines grows blueberries as well, on a more modest but nonetheless significant scale. Bog and forest, his land lies in the core of the woodlands, and he worries about the future. New Jersey has a ten-year-old Farmland Assessment Act, an attempt to keep farm taxes low and encourage the preservation of farmlands, but even so the assessment of Haines’s land has multiplied in 20 years by a factor of 10.


He told us, “It’s serious, really. Taxes are rising so much that speculators may soon be the only ones who can afford to hold land or you have to get instant online payday loan to afford it. If taxes stay high, it’ll sure be developed. Used to be you had an old house down here in the woods you could hardly give it away. But you can get a good price for it now.”


When people ask Bill Haines, as they frequently do, to sell off a bit of land for development purposes, he says, “Sorry. That sort of thing looks junky.” He is 52. The Pine Barrens have been the milieu of his life and he likes them the way they are, the way they were when his grandfather began turfing out the Hog Wallow bogs and planting cranberries toward the end of the 19th century. Like Garfield DeMarco, the second biggest cranberry man around, Bill serves on the Pinelands Environmental Council, a group created in 1972 by the legis­lature to make recommendations about lands the state might buy and to review the development plans of others.

The council consists of environmentalists and local officials as well. The state owns something like 165,000 acres of the pinelands and the council’s immediate priorities include 8,000 more, including large parts of the dwarf forests. But that leaves roughly 500,000 acres vulnerable to the pressures of popula­tion, commerce, and taxation. Much of it-5,000 acres here, 14,000 acres there—is now in the hands of speculative syndi­cates, awaiting, as they have for many years, a time of bonanza.

Smaller pieces are going now, mainly on the peripheries but some toward the center of the always contracting forest. Signs appear along the paved and unpaved roads. “400 Acres Sale.” “18 Acres.” “Green Acres Estates Building Lots $10 a Month.” The council can to some extent discourage such development. Unchecked, it will eventually end the forest.


What Bill Haines fears most is a major highway, the sort that would bring whole towns with it and finish the Pine Bar­rens forever. On the drawing boards of dreaming engineers are plans for the most direct route possible from New England to the South: Across a bridge from Connecticut to Long Island, across the mouth of New York harbor by bridge-tunnel, straight south through the center of the Pines, and on across Delaware Bay and into the Delmarva Peninsula. “A highway in here would split it in two,” he said. “That’s the worst thing that could happen to the Pines.”


It’s an unsexy word and an unsexier organ – and it seems many people prefer never to think about their gut. According to a recent ‘Love Your Gut’ survey from Yakult, almost three quarters admit they’re rarely concerned about the health of their digestive system. Out of sight may be out of mind, but is it about time you gave more consideration to your tummy? Here are some surprising things to keep in mind…




You’ll know you need to drink to replace lost fluids, maintain a clear skin and flush 1 toxins, but did you know of its benefits the gut?  “To do its job properly, the whole digestive tract needs to be well ii. hydrated,” says Kirsten Chick, nutrition . 21- A irtherapist at Nutri Gold. “We need fluids to make stomach acid and other digestive secretions, to keep the whole tract moist and to form healthy stools. The body will absorb most of the water in the colon for its internal needs – if there’s not enough water to go around, then the colon may end up dehydrated, and constipation and a host of other problems may ensue.”


Hydrating foods such as soups, stews and thoroughly soaked whole grains such as short grain brown rice and barley can be useful too, and most fresh vegetables and salads have a high water content, says Kirsten.


Your gut could-be leaky


According to Dr David Dowson, medical practitioner and specialist nutritional advisor for Protexin Probiotics, at least a third of those suffering from IBS may have underlying leaky gut syndrome (LGS). This is raised permeability of the lining of the gut, allowing incompletely digested proteins into the bloodstream to challenge the immune system, leading to various digestive and other chronic symptoms – as well as resultant food sensitivities, typically to wheat and dairy, because these are so common in our diets. Gut Permeability Profile tests are available (from, for example, Geneva Diagnostics – but Dr Dowson feels treatment may be worth trying regardless if you or your therapist suspect leaky gut, as it is safe.


A great crowd of Hasidim

Once again I found myself in the midst of a great crowd of Hasidim. All were amurmur with expectation of the Satmar Rebbe’s ar­rival. A sudden commotion erupted around a side entrance of the hotel ballroom where the celebration was being held. All eyes turned in that direction.

Preceded by aides, who created an aisle for him through the vast throng, the Rebbe him­self now entered—a slender patriarch with flowing white earlocks and a graceful tuft of white beard curled on his black-suited breast like new-spun silk. His face, untouched by the pandemonium around him, radiated an almost visible glow of spirituality that seemed to be reflected in the faces of his disciples.


At the sight of the revered tzaddik, the en-tire congregation rose to its feet in a single body and exploded into a rhythmic wall­rattling chant, which crescendoed until it seemed the room could contain not another decibel. At this point the Rebbe, with the slightest batonlike motion of one index finger, brought the runaway chorus of thousands to an instantaneous hait. Even the echoes seemed to die at once.

Now, through the loudspeakers, came the Rebbe’s voice—the merest pin-scratch on a slate of silence. Yet that parchment-thin, otherworldly voice was instantly compelling. His disciples, many rocking and swaying as if in prayer, hung on each word as he thanked God for liberating him from the Nazis and for enabling him to be here with his beloved Hasidim. He spoke of the crucial importance of educating their children in Hasidic schools and reminded them that charity, which made such education possible, was one of the no­blest of virtues. He then sat back, a benign ex­pression lighting his face, and allowed his aides to take over the fund-raising activities.


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Golden light of late afternoon

Later, in the golden light of late afternoon, Jack Warner and I went out to the North River Hunt Club where a Gulf States Paper employee, Dennis Murphy, was exercising one of Jack’s strong, rangy Thoroughbreds. An unabashed country boy from Blount County, Dennis became the sensation of the Toronto International Horse Show last win­ter. Attired in aristocratic scarlet, riding Jack’s horse Do Right as a member of the U. S. Equestrian Team, he scored the highest point total in the international jumping class—a feat never before attained by a rookie rider.

After his workout, Dennis—thin and sup­ple as a whip—talked to me in a stable. “My daddy was a sharecropper,” he said, “and I can remember hanging onto the collar of his old plow horse. That’s how I learned to ride. I bought my own first horse at a dog-food factory for six cents a pound.”


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“Crowbait,” Jack said. “That’s all he used to ride. But with me on my good horse and him on his sorry one, he still won.” Dennis was suffering from a leg infection brought on by saddle chafe. “When the vet came in this morning,” he told Jack, “I had him give me a shot.”"The vet!” I exclaimed.


“See,” Jack said admiringly, “that’s why Dennis is so good. He even thinks like a horse.”

In Dixieland I’ll take my stand, To live and die in Dixie,  Away, away, away down South in Dixie.

Emerging markets

There can be little doubt that the development of the emerging markets will be one of the major investment stories of the next 20 to 30 years, and in our view almost any long-term investor should allocate part of their portfolio to this area. For those without a lump sum to invest there is a still a way to benefit from the opportunity — a regular savings plans and payday loan consolidation alternatives.

Volatile areas such as emerging markets are particularly well suited to regular savings. The beauty of regular savings is that investing regular sums means you average out the price at which you buy units. When share prices fall you can take solace from the knowledge that future payments will buy more units, in fact falls in the market can work in your favour, as long as prices recover by the time you need to withdraw the capital.


Our Head of Research, Mark Dampier, has been saving regularly into the Aberdeen Emerging Markets Fund on behalf of his son for over 20 years. The graph above shows the returns you would have received from investing regularly in this fund over the last 20 years, although please remember past performance isn’t a guide to future returns and inflation will reduce the spending power of capital over the long term.


With regular savings you can choose an amount you can afford to save each month and let your plan run for as long as you wish. Normally after a few months you won’t even notice the money leaving your account and in a few years’ time you could have built a significant nest egg.

Save tax-efficiently and keep all your profits A regular savings plan is a great way to use your tax allowances such as ISAs and pensions. If you save into an ISA or pension there is no tax to pay on gains. Remember you could have to pay up to 28% in capital gains tax on profits made outside tax shelters.

Furthermore it costs no more to buy any of the funds we have featured, and over 2,400 others, in our ISA or pension so investors can receive these tax advantages free. If you save regularly into an ISA you can withdraw your capital whenever you wish. If you save into a pension you can receive up to 50% income tax relief on any contributions you make, although your money is locked away to fund your retirement. Please turn to page 5 of the enclosed application pack to find out more about our Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). Remember tax rules can change, and the benefit of any tax shelters will depend on your circumstances.


No tax allowances? No problem

If you’ve already used your full ISA and pension allowances for this tax year you can also invest regularly through our Fund & Share Account. You will then be able to easily switch any accumulated investments into an ISA or SIPP in future tax years, if you wish.

Long-term opportunity

Harry Nimmo’s meticulous approach is what has made the existing funds so successful. This fund will be no different; he will focus on what’s behind a company’s growth, although there are no guarantees this fund will perform in the same way. Sustainability is key. He wants companies that can grow consistently throughout economic cycles.

He prefers businesses in which the founders or management retain a large stake, which aligns their interests with shareholders. By focusing on quality he believes a company is less likely to get itself into trouble, by taking on debt it can’t afford to pay back, for example. Essentially he is targeting companies which have the potential to become world leaders in their field or tomorrow’s household names. If a company is successful he will stay invested, participating in its success as it grows from small beginnings to one of tomorrow’s winners.

We believe this new fund presents a compelling long-term opportunity. If you would like to invest at launch please ensure we receive your application by 18 January able to acquire shares that interest him at a lower price in the future. Cash has made up as much as 12% of the portfolio and presently accounts for 7%. It is this attention to deploying cash at the right moments that has helped generate the fund’s excellent performance. Since launch in September 2004 the fund has grown by 73.7% compared to 44.9% for the average fund in the sector. More remarkably it is also the least volatile fund in its sector over this period, although remember there are no guarantees he will be able to continue this record in future.


This approach is particularly powerful when combined with an equity income strategy, and regularly reinvesting dividends can further enhance returns. The fund offers an attractive yield (currently 4.4% net, variable, not guaranteed) with an unbroken record of growing income payments every year since launch – even through the difficult 2008/9 period. Although there are no guarantees Francis Brooke is confident of further growth in income next year.

To generate this income he invests in a concentrated portfolio of well established companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Vodafone, Diageo and Tesco. Annual charges are taken from capital, not income, which reduces the potential for capital growth. Any income can be paid out or reinvested to boost returns. As well as larger firms there is exposure to lesser-known companies paying generous dividends such as Greggs, London & Stamford and Primary Healthcare Properties. This fund is also able to invest up to 20% outside the UK and holds some overseas companies such as Nestle and Coca Cola. Interestingly, the Troy managers are positive on the prospects for gold, and the fund contains Newmont Mining, one of the world’s leading gold producers. The fund can also invest in higher risk smaller companies.


We believe this is the sort of portfolio that could perform well in an uncertain economic climate. With a high yield currently on offer this fund should appeal to long-term investors looking to remain invested in the stock market through good-quality, dividend-paying companies. We are pleased to welcome the fund to our Wealth 150 list of favourite funds across the major sectors.

No Peace at Hand Nearby

THE HORSE—old, tired, trail wise—topped the hill and stopped. With a distinct sense of relief I stood in the stirrups, raising myself off the hard wooden Spanish saddle, and gazed down at one of the rare stands of virgin forest on the Meseta Central, Costa Rica’s most popular and most populous plateau.


I heard the labored whuffing of another horse, and Emilio drew alongside.

“It is there,” he said, pointing, “there be­tween the hilltop and the forest, where my uncle’s dream, and mine, will come true.”

The dream of Emilio Ramirez Rojas and his late uncle, Cruz Rojas Bennett, began with their desire to protect forever this un­touched part of their vast cattle estate, Rancho Rodeo. The two men—both of them conservationists, philosophers, idealists—in the late 1970s donated to their country the 350-hectare (875-acre) forest for preserva­tion as a national park.


More important, as their contribution to the world at large, they donated an adjoin­ing 100 hectares to be offered to the United Nations, a gift from Costa Rica. There, students from many lands would pursue dis­ciplines designed to alleviate the economic, social, and technological inequities that pit nation against nation.


Architects have drawn the plans. Cur­ricula have been devised. As soon as the funds for construction are available, ground can be broken for the ambitious, anomalous dream of Emilio and his uncle: Here will stand the University of Peace. Now it’s easy to apply for a loan and get cash quick.


This is, I reminded myself, Central Amer­ica, an isthmus haunted by discord and racked by turmoil.


El Salvador is engaged in bloody civil war; Guatemalan leftists are battling gov­ernment troops and right-wing “death squads”; Nicaragua reels in the wake of a revolution that ousted the Somoza regime; Belize faces independence from Britain by year’s end, but there is fear of a military takeover by Guatemala; Panama’s strong man, Gen. Omar Torrijos, uneasily ponders an economy slumping to new lows.


And yet Costa Rica, surrounded and threatened by such havoc, offers itself as the site for a university dedicated to peace.