Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, is a country located on the west coast of Central Africa, with an area of 28,000 square kilometres. The colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name evokes its location near both the Equator and the Gulf of Guinea. Equatorial Guinea is the only sovereign African state; as of 2015, the country had an estimated population of 1,222,245. Equatorial Guinea consists of an insular and a mainland region; the insular region consists of the islands of Bioko in the Gulf of Guinea and Annobón, a small volcanic island, the only part of the country south of the equator. Bioko Island is the northernmost part of Equatorial Guinea and is the site of the country's capital, Malabo; the Portuguese-speaking island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe is located between Annobón. The mainland region, Río Muni, is bordered by Cameroon on Gabon on the south and east, it is the location of Bata, Equatorial Guinea's largest city, Ciudad de la Paz, the country's planned future capital.

Rio Muni includes several small offshore islands, such as Corisco, Elobey Grande, Elobey Chico. The country is a member of the African Union, Francophonie, OPEC and the CPLP. Since the mid-1990s, Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Saharan Africa's largest oil producers, it is subsequently the richest country per capita in Africa, its gross domestic product adjusted for purchasing power parity per capita ranks 43rd in the world. The country ranks 135th on the 2016 Human Development Index, with less than half the population having access to clean drinking water and 20% of children dying before the age of five. Equatorial Guinea's government is authoritarian and has one of the worst human rights records in the world ranking among the "worst of the worst" in Freedom House's annual survey of political and civil rights. Reporters Without Borders ranks President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo among its "predators" of press freedom. Human trafficking is a significant problem. S. Trafficking in Persons Report stated that Equatorial Guinea "is a source and destination for women and children subjected to forced labour and forced sex trafficking."

The report rates Equatorial Guinea as a government that "does not comply with minimum standards and is not making significant efforts to do so." Pygmies once lived in the continental region, now Equatorial Guinea, but are today found only in isolated pockets in southern Río Muni. Bantu migrations started around 2,000 BCE from between south-east Nigeria and north-west Cameroon, they must have settled continental Equatorial Guinea around 500 BCE at the latest. The earliest settlements on Bioko Island are dated to 530 CE; the Annobón population native to Angola, was introduced by the Portuguese via São Tomé island. The Portuguese explorer Fernando Pó, seeking a path to India, is credited as being the first European to discover the island of Bioko, in 1472, he called it Formosa, but it took on the name of its European discoverer. Fernando Pó and Annobón were colonized by Portugal in 1474; the first factories were established on the islands around 1500 as the Portuguese recognized the positives of the islands including volcanic soil and disease-resistant highlands.

Despite natural advantages, initial Portuguese efforts in 1507 to establish a sugarcane plantation and town near what is now Concepción on Fernando Pó failed due to Bubi hostility and fever. The main island's rainy climate, extreme humidity and temperature swings took a major toll on European settlers from the beginning, it would be centuries before attempts restarted. In 1778, Queen Maria I of Portugal and King Charles III of Spain signed the Treaty of El Pardo which ceded Bioko, adjacent islets, commercial rights to the Bight of Biafra between the Niger and Ogoue rivers to Spain. Brigadier Felipe José, Count of Arjelos sailed from Uruguay to formally take possession of Bioko from Portugal, landing on the island on October 21 1778. After sailing for Annobón to take possession, the Count died of disease caught on Bioko and the fever-ridden crew mutinied; the crew landed on São Tomé instead where they were imprisoned by the Portuguese authorities after having lost over 80% of their men to sickness.

As a result of this disaster, Spain was thereafter was hesitant to invest in their new possession. However, despite the setback Spaniards began to use the island as a base for slave-hunting on the nearby mainland with the support of British merchants. Between 1778 and 1810, the territory of what became Equatorial Guinea was administered by the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, based in Buenos Aires. Unwilling to invest in the development of Fernando Pó, from 1827 to 1843, the Spanish leased a base at Malabo on Bioko to the United Kingdom which they had sought as part of their efforts to control the Atlantic slave trade. Without Spanish permission, the British moved the headquarters of the Mixed Commission for the Suppression of Slave Traffic to Fernando Pó in 1827, before moving it back to Sierra Leone under an agreement with Spain in 1843. Spain's decision to abolish slavery in 1817 at British insistence damaged the colony's perceived value to the authorities and so leasing naval bases was an effective revenue earner from an otherwise unprofitable possession.

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The Flemish artist family Herregouts is believed to comprise 5 members who were artists: David Herregouts and his four sons. David Herregouts, the founder of the dynasty, was a history painter born in Mechelen in 1603 as the son of Sebastian Herregouts and Elisabeth De Gorter, daughter from a brewing family, he married Cecile Geniets from a butcher's family. He was a pupil of his cousin Salmier and a member of the Guild of St. Luke in his own city in 1624. In 1646 he moved to Roermond, he had a successful career in Roermond as he enjoyed the patronage of prominent clients, including the bishop. He died in Roermond in 1663. David Herregouts had four sons named Hendrik, Jan Baptist and Maximilian who became painters, his chief work, "St. Joseph Awakened by an Angel", was painted for the church of St. Catherine in Mechelen. Hendrik Herregouts was a history and portrait painter and draughtsman with an international career spanning Italy and his native Flanders. Willem Herregouts was a history painter who emigrated to Amiens in France where he was known inter alia as Guillaume Herregosse or Guillaume Hergosse and had a successful career.

Jan Baptist Herregouts was a portrait and history painter and brewer active in Bruges. Little is known about Maximilian Herregouts other than two works, one entitled Kitchen, in which a woman is busy baking pancakes and a second entitled Eliezer and Rebecca at the well

Montu Saini

Montu Saini is an Indian chef based in New Delhi. He is the Executive chef to the President of India in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, he is the recipient of "Young Hotel Chef" Award 2014 from Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Association Of India and "Master Chef" Award 2014 from Indian Culinary Forum Montu Saini was associated with Ashok Group of Hotel since 2005. He joined Ashok Group of Hotels as a Kitchen Management Trainee and became a Chef in 2007 promoting to Sous Chef in March 2014. Notably he is the youngest member of the Club des Chefs des Chefs; as a Presidents Secretariat he heads the kitchen Brigade of state banquets. He has hosted banquets to some of the highest dignitaries of the world from countries like Tanzania, Republic of Mozambique, French Republic, Abu Dhabi, Republic of Egypt, Israel,Republic of Indonesia since his position as the executive chef to the president of India. On 16 June 2015, he joined the Presidents Secretariat as Executive Chef to president of India and now heads the Kitchen Brigade of family kitchen as well as State Banquets.

He plans and executes menus for state banquets, high teas and luncheons at which the President of India hosts his counterparts and other VIPs from India and abroad. While he specializes in dishing out cuisines from around the globe. Busiest days of the year are of state banquets and various ceremonies, including the swearing-in, award functions, etc, but the real challenge, he said, are on days such 15 August and 26 January, when the President organizes At Home, attended by around 1,500-2,500 people. The third India-Africa Forum Summit where he and his team served 54 Heads of States at One Table in November 2015 was one of the reputed events of his career; this was the biggest State Banquet conducted by the Palace. ASEAN Heads of States from 10 neighboring countries were served at one table. Montu Saini, organized the general assembly of one of the world’s most elite gatherings of culinary experts: Le Club des Chefs des Chefs. India hosted the annual assembly of CCC for the first time in 2016.

The Club was greeted & hosted by The President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee in the palace. Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi hosted a Hi-Tea on 25 October 2016, in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, India, he was the jury member of Spice Route culinary festival where chef from 15 nations gathered in Kochi in 2016 organized by Ministry of Tourism