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Too Much News And Too Little

SANDY GRANT
Unexpectedly, I find myself floundering with too much news on the one hand and too little on the other. Take first Trump and the new America. From his campaign programme it was obvious that Trump belongs to the right wing of political belief.

It then emerged that he was more properly located in the far right. Now it seems more accurately that he belongs to the extreme right. In truth I know little about such labels.

But from an abundance of news reports it does appear that Trump, with the active support of a large proportion of Americans is set firstly to destroy America and then destroy the rest of the world. It’s an astonishing programme for a President and his party. But as day follows day, news reports from the States grow ever more alarming and frightening.

But that is perhaps because this is all fake news! Fake or true, we can all come to our own decisions about the catalogue of disasters, worldwide which gets ever larger - deadly mud slides, devastating floods and huge fires, not least in America itself. 

And here, we experience extreme heat and in the same season, deluging rain and widespread flooding. With the Meteorological Department struggling to get us to understand that the cause is not Dineo, it is La Niña. Does anyone else really care? It would, however, be of great interest to know if the floods of 1945 were more or less severe than today’s. And still the Trumps of the world deny climate change! But this brings me logically to too little news or worse, the absence of news.

Take that entire train which was derailed somewhere between Rakuna and Lobatse. But precisely where? Not so long ago, a train was stopped near Morwa as the line had been washed away.  I was impressed, assuming that one of those little buggies had been going ahead to check the track. 

So what happened this time? If none of those buggies were available, why was the movement of the trains not stopped until the threat to the track had diminished and the track itself approved for use? I suppose that it will be argued that the cost of taking such action would have been enormous.  But wouldn’t it have been better and less costly than losing an entire train? 

But was that train derailed on the line south of Lobatse or to the north of it? Consider, for instance, one newspaper’s report that, ‘the Lobatse-Gaborone (road?) has been closed after a bridge along Nywane Dam partially collapsed’ which obviously places it north of Lobatse.

Maybe the line was washed out in

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those two places and a third at Sunnyside.  But who knows? With the threat to the railway line this month being so great, it would presumably have come in handy if the Botswana Railways people possessed a track record going back 50 or perhaps 75 years of the precise locations of wash-outs and accidents. This would enable it to know the places where additional protective measures would be needed.  But as we found with the Building Society the other day, all past records were eliminated when its current system was introduced.

Presumably, much the same has happened with dozens of Government and non- government institutions. But let’s leave that topic and get back to one of my favourites, bridges. Right now, report has it that the border at Ramotswa has been closed because the Notwane River there is in flood. I wish that more is known about this because a massive, and very expensive bridge there has recently been completed so that flooding will never again mean closing the border.

So what happened? But again on bridges, I must refer to the report on page 12 of the Telegraph (Feb. 22) that a P1 billion Okavango bridge contract has been awarded.  Isn’t it strange that such important news stories so often get tucked away on inside pages! But that may be because other people do not share my interest.  However, the report states that ‘construction work will have no impact on the environment’ and that ‘development is being kept at minimal to avoid conflict with wild life’.

It further states that the bridge will be 1,100 metres long, that it will replace the current pontoon and adds that ‘the Okavango Delta is already utilising solar energy for electricity’. Well, that as they say, is a mouthful. A new bridge 1,100 metres long whose construction will have ‘no impact on the environment’ and that development is being kept at a minimal. Take your choice.

Presumably the EIS was unusually friendly. But did you know that the Delta is using solar energy? Such a vast area too! Is this so that tourists can be gently propelled at night down properly lit waterways?

But I don’t know the delta. I  don’t know where this pontoon might be and I don’t know where in the Delta it makes sense to construct a P1 billion bridge.  Do you?



Etcetera II

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