Hainault Forest

Hainault Forest Country Park is a Country Park located in Greater London, with portions in: Hainault in the London Borough of Redbridge. With an area of 336 acres, Hainault Forest Country Park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest; the Redbridge section of the park is being developed by the Redbridge Council as a country park. The Essex section is managed by the Woodland Trust, who are contracted to do so by its owners, Essex County Council. Hainault Forest is one of the remaining sections of the former Forest of Essex in England. Epping Forest and Hatfield Forest are other remaining examples; the forest belonged to the abbey of Barking until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In a survey made for Henry VIII in 1544 its extent was some 3,000 acres; the forest land was condemned as waste by an Act of Parliament, 1851, the deer removed, 92% of the old growth forest cut down. The land became marginal agricultural land and subsequently a significant proportion has been built on; the destruction was deplored by Sir Walter Besant in his works on London: the forest is the setting for his novel All in a Garden Fair.

Oliver Rackham described how the outrage at the destruction of Hainault led to the modern conservation movement with the creation of conservation groups which opposed such a fate happening to Epping Forest. After public pressure to retain some remnant of Hainault Forest, headed by Edward North Buxton, a total of 804 acres of land was bought for public use on 21 July 1906, it included 253 acres of rough pasture. Hainault Forest Country Park protected areas include: open space parklands — with numerous public footpaths and a large lake. List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Greater London List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Essex Unofficial Hainault Forest Country Park website London Gardens Online: Hainault Forest Country Park website Natural England: Citation — Hainault Forest "Map of Hainault Forest". Natural England

Territorial disputes in the South China Sea

The South China Sea disputes involve both island and maritime claims among several sovereign states within the region, namely Brunei, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam. An estimated US$3.37 trillion worth of global trade passes through the South China Sea annually, which accounts for a third of the global maritime trade. 80 percent of China's energy imports and 39.5 percent of China's total trade passes through the South China Sea. The disputes include the islands, reefs and other features of the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, Scarborough Shoal, various boundaries in the Gulf of Tonkin. There are further disputes, including the waters near the Indonesian Natuna Islands, which many do not regard as part of the South China Sea. Claimant states are interested in retaining or acquiring the rights to fishing stocks, the exploration and potential exploitation of crude oil and natural gas in the seabed of various parts of the South China Sea, the strategic control of important shipping lanes.

Since 2013, the People's Republic of China has resorted to island building in the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands region. These actions have been met with a wide international condemnation, since 2015 the United States and other states such as France and the United Kingdom have conducted freedom of navigation operations in the region. In July 2016, an arbitration tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ruled against the PRC's maritime claims in Philippines v. China; the tribunal did not rule on the ownership of the islands or delimit maritime boundaries. The People's Republic of China and the Republic of China stated that they did not recognize the tribunal and insisted that the matter should be resolved through bilateral negotiations with other claimants; the disputes involve both maritime islands. There are several disputes, each of which involves a different collection of countries: The nine-dash line area claimed by the Republic of China the People's Republic of China, which covers most of the South China Sea and overlaps with the exclusive economic zone claims of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Maritime boundary along the Vietnamese coast between the PRC, Vietnam. Maritime boundary north of Borneo between the PRC, Brunei and Taiwan. Islands, reefs and shoals in the South China Sea, including the Paracel Islands, the Pratas Islands, Macclesfield Bank, Scarborough Shoal and the Spratly Islands between the PRC, Vietnam, parts of the area contested by Malaysia and the Philippines. Maritime boundary in the waters north of the Natuna Islands between the PRC, Indonesia and Taiwan Maritime boundary off the coast of Palawan and Luzon between the PRC, the Philippines, Taiwan. Maritime boundary, land territory, the islands of Sabah, including Ambalat, between Indonesia and the Philippines. Maritime boundary and islands in the Luzon Strait between the PRC, the Philippines, Taiwan. During World War II, the Empire of Japan used the islands in the South China Sea region for various military purposes and asserted that the islands were not claimed by anyone when the Imperial Japanese Navy took control of them.

Historical accounts note that at least France had controlled some of the features in the region during the 1930s. After the war, Imperial Japan had to relinquish control of the islands in the South China Sea in the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco which, did not specify the new status of the islands; the People's Republic of China made various claims to the islands during the 1951 treaty negotiations and the 1958 First Taiwan Strait Crisis. Chinese claims in the South China sea are delineated in part by the nine-dash line; this was an "eleven-dashed-line," first indicated by the Kuomintang government of the Republic of China in 1947, for its claims to the South China Sea. When the Communist Party of China took over mainland China and formed the People's Republic of China in 1949, the line was adopted and revised to nine dashes/dots, as endorsed by Zhou Enlai. China's 1958 declaration described China's claims in the South China Sea islands based on the nine-dotted line map; the legacy of the nine-dash line is viewed by some PRC government officials, by the PRC military, as providing historical support for their claims to the South China Sea.

The Geneva Accords of 1954, which ended the First Indochina War, gave South Vietnam control of the Vietnamese territories south of the 17th Parallel, which included the islands in the Paracels and Spratlys. Two years the North Vietnamese government claimed that the People's Republic of China is the lawful claimant of the islands, while South Vietnam took control of the Paracel Islands. In 1974, when a North Vietnamese victory in the Vietnam War began to seem probable, the PRC used military force in the Paracel Islands and took Yagong Island and the Crescent group of reefs from South Vietnam; the government of the PRC wanted to prevent the Paracel islands from falling under the control of North Vietnam, which at the time was an ally of the Soviet Union. The PRC had fought a brief border war with the Soviet Union in 1969 and did not want to have a Soviet presence near its coast, why China resorted to "counterattack in self-defense"; the United States, in the middle of détente with the PRC, gave a non-involvement promise to the PRC, which enabled the People's Liberation Army Navy to take control of the South Vietnamese islands.

In the half of 1970s, the Philippines and Malaysia began referring to the Spratly Islands as included in their own territory. On 11 June 1978, Pr

Oriental Magic

Oriental Magic, by Idries Shah, is a study of magical practices in diverse cultures from Europe and Africa, through Asia to the Far East. Published in 1956 and still in print today, it was the first of this author’s 35 books; the work was launched with the encouragement of the anthropologist, Professor Louis Marin, who in his preface to the book stressed its “scholarly accuracy” and “real contribution to knowledge”. Magic had long been considered outside the discipline of academic study, but Shah’s approach, which involved five years of study and field work, was – unusually for the 1950s – multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural, his documented material came from archaeology, history and psychology, as well as from artefacts, obscure manuscripts, an impressive range of expert informants, who made specialist material available to him. As a result, the secrecy and obfuscation around magical operations and practitioners was defused by the author’s informed, dispassionate approach to the array of arcane information he had assembled, some of it printed for the first time.

Oriental Magic seems to have been a stated invitation for magic in general to be investigated as any other subject in the West would be, with coolness and scientific method. The book in itself can be seen as providing a ground plan for future researchers, signalling useful directions their investigations might take, specifying topics which might yield to further study; the author examines a vast accumulation of materials on human beliefs, magical practices and ceremonies, from North Africa to Japan. Among much else, these include a conspectus of Jewish, Arabian and Indian magic, an account of Sufism and its origins, legends of the sorcerers, examples of alchemy and magical rites found in the cultures studied, topics such as love magic, the witchdoctors of the Nile Valley, the ‘singing sands’ of Egypt, subcutaneous electricity, the prehistoric sources of Babylonian occult practices. There are personal accounts of, for instance, Shah’s ‘training’ under a Ju-Ju witch doctor, a demonstration of Hindu levitation, translations of what were considered secret alchemical and magical formulae.

Shah finds that magical origins in High Asia have influenced communities halfway across the world, that the westward drift from that original source might explain the great similarity in magical beliefs and terminology in places as diverse as China, the Near East and Africa. The type of witch-doctoring practised in the east, for example, is duplicated among the Finns, the Sami, the American Indians; the author tracks distortions from original sources, winnows fact from supposition, allows for alternative explanations of phenomena, such as physiological and psychological responses which are separate from the apparent “magic”, shows how much dross has accumulated around many of the practices he inspects. But he suggests there remains a residue of what, in magical terminology, could be called “pure gold”, that some of this “gold” is to reflect hitherto little-understood forces “which may possibly be harnessed to individual and collective advantage”. Oriental Magic has been in print for more than 50 years.

The Book Exchange, referring to its re-publication in 1968, said the book had “come to be regarded as essential reading for those concerned with research in the fields of human beliefs”. At the time of first publication, The Times Literary Supplement described it as containing a “wealth of illustrative material” for which the lay reader might be grateful; the religious periodical, Hibbert Journal, called it “fascinating and illuminating”, with “a great deal of interesting information”, said that “the accounts of personal experience in the Sudan and Tibet were “especially … fascinating”. Time & Tide, a general circulation weekly, said it was “a most interesting collection of facts concerning magical practices and their history”, with “an admirable bibliography” and …. “heaped with various jewels” … “should provide a rich source of data for psychologists and psychical research”. The scientific journal Nature said Shah’s approach was “a point of view of which too little has been heard in the past”, recommended the work as “valuable and entertaining reading”.

Contemporary Review called it “a serious work of considerable anthropological interest.” Professor Louis Marin wrote: “Oriental Magic deserves to find a wide audience of educated readers”. In a review in the Journal of Bible and Religion, Swami Akhilananda of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society in Boston, wrote that Shah had been "the first to write on Oriental Magic as it is presented in this fascinating book." He praised the breadth of the book's coverage, noting that it covered many different religious traditions, commented on the fact that Shah had evidently travelled to collect his source material. Reviewing the book in the Journal of Asian Studies, Alan J. A. Elliot wrote that "Shah has a profound personal interest in the occult, has gone to great lengths to collect a great amount on interesting information, his method of exposition is, most to appeal to the reader without a developed scientific interest in the subject." Elliott considered the book too short to do justice to the wide range of practices and traditions it sought to cover, spanning all of Europe and much of Africa and Asia.

Eleven Naqshbandi principles Official Idries Shah Foundation website Free online