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This week because of Christmas – I want to take this opportunity to send this message of goodwill to all those who will be celebrating this occasion. Muslims also believe in Jesus (Isa) (pbuh) as one of the great prophets of the Lord. Muslims believe in the Divine Revealed Scriptures of the Torah (Moses) The Zaboor (Psalms of David), the Injeel (Good News to Jesus Christ) and the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon them all).

This weekend our Christian brothers and sisters will be celebrating Christmas. For Christians, this is a season of love, peace and goodwill to mankind, a time for joyous celebration, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ (pbuh). They will be spending their time and days with their loved ones and families in this season of goodwill.   

The Qur’an says: ‘…..We Muslims believe in Allah, and the Revelations given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Jacob and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to all Prophets from their Lord. We make no difference between one and another of them. And we submit to Allah’ (Qur’an 2:136).

So here we are again, many peoples favourite time of year, Christmas… that magical time of Santa, toys, children, trees, tinsel, elves and Rudolph, carols, overflowing plates of food and of course presents. It is the night before Christmas that still sends thrills of delight to children as they wait for Santa to ‘come down the chimney’ with their presents.

No matter how you celebrate Christmas, there is a lesson to be learnt here and it applies to all of us; this lesson is about the spirit of giving and receiving. We know that Christmas is a time for giving and receiving, a time to remember others less fortunate than ourselves, peace in the world, a time for families to end their quarrels and come together, a time to celebrate as Christians celebrate the birth of Christ (pbuh). We know all these things, and we know that this also is the true spirit of Christmas.

Regrettably there are some people who see the Christmas as an open season to overindulge in so many ways. For them the true meaning and spirit of Christmas seems to have been forgotten. What was once the season of peace and goodwill to mankind, a time for joyous celebration, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ (pbuh); has now become so ‘commercialised’ and it is now about fun and indulgence. Everything now is related to the guy with the big white beard and a red suit arriving from the North Pole carrying a bag of Christmas gifts for us – the more expensive they are the better.

These people must take time to reflect at the Christmas celebrations and the spirit that they represent and celebrate. There are many devout Christians who still respect and follow the true spirit of Christmas, unfortunately in these times there are many who seem to have forgotten it’s true meaning and have turned it into a ‘festival of merry making, drunkenness, fun and anything goes’.

Many people have sumptuous meals with uncontrolled eating, gulping down enormous amounts of liquor and whooping it up for the next few days. Regrettably it is noticeable these days that many people do not even attend church services and prayers marking this special day on the Christian calendar. In the past churches would be overflowing for midnight mass.  

We have to admit that around this time some lose themselves with many undisciplined desires, especially things like overspending in chasing those luxuries, we abandon our manners, over eating, drinking binges and those daily temptations that come their way. Whoever coined the term ‘the silly season’ knew what he was talking about. People get carried away with the festive spirit only to regret it in the New Year.  

Maybe this Christmas people should start looking at life from a slightly different angle – let us pause to look around and see how many people in the world do not have the same blessings as we have been blessed with. Some do not have the basics such as food, shelter or even loved ones to share this time with. There are many orphans in Botswana, think about them and what you can do to make a difference to their lives.  

With the New Year looming ahead many of us will be thinking of making resolutions for the year ahead, The usual ones are; to lose weight / get rid of that pot belly, exercise more, eat healthy food, quit smoking, settle down and start a family or even to spend more time with our family and loved ones; others will have ambitions such as getting higher up the economic and social ladder etc. Very noble of you, but have we ever thought of turning a new leaf within yourself so that you connect more with those around you?

Nothing wrong with making resolutions, at least they make us focus on the weak spots in our daily lives, but let us look a little deeper. Starting with  ourselves why can’t we commit ourselves to be more friendly, kind, humble, sincere, show respect, courtesy and compassion for others, be helpful, honest and truthful or maybe more charitable.

So here is a simple lesson that we could follow to learn from this the month, it concerns your ‘valuable’ time.

1: Ask yourself when you last gave your time to someone you didn't know very well. Ask yourself how it felt, or if you have never done it, ask yourself why.
2: Spend some time reflecting how easy it is to give a Pula for a good cause. Give some thought to how much more difficult it is to give a minute of your time.
3: Each day, when you wake up, no matter how difficult it might be for you, think of someone you know who might be in need of a minute of your time, and call them, or pay them a visit. There are many sad and lonely people out there, wondering where the true spirit of Christmas is your best gift is to show them. This will be a gift for them and a gift for you too.

Our best gift to others, and the best gift we can give to ourselves, is to pay attention, to listen to the voice of God, and to give ourselves to others. Even if it is only for a short amount of time, it is that time again, a time to take time for others. Talk with community members, greet and smile at people, even those you don’t know. It will change many peoples outlook including yours.  

Here are Christmas gift suggestions; to your enemy, forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart, to a customer, service; to all, charity; to every child, a good example; to yourself, respect – Oren Arnold

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours, and let every New Year find you a better person – Benjamin Franklin

To all readers, may you have a Blessed Christmas, filled with happiness and joy – and the Blessings and mercies of the Almighty Be upon you and your loved ones. Let this be a safe and peaceful Christmas.

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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