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Paracel Islands

The Paracel Islands known as Hoàng Sa in Vietnamese and Xisha in Chinese, are a group of islands, reefs and other maritime features in the South China Sea. They belonged to Vietnam before 1974, but controlled and occupied by the People's Republic of China after a battle in 1974. Vietnam always claims Hoàng Sa as its inseparable territory supported by the UNCLOS 1982 and its historical evidence, they are claimed by Taiwan. The archipelago includes about 130 small coral islands and reefs, most grouped into the northeast Amphitrite Group or the western Crescent Group, they are distributed over a maritime area of around 15,000 square kilometres, with a land area of 7.75 square kilometres. The archipelago is equidistant from the coastlines of China and Vietnam; the archipelago includes the deepest underwater sinkhole in the world. The colonial government of French Indochina set up telecommunication and weather stations on Pattle Island in the Crescent Group and Woody Island in the Amphitrite Group in the 1930s, which they supplied until 1945.

French and Vietnamese forces landed on Pattle Island in the Crescent Group in January 1947. By 1955 South Vietnam had taken possession of the Crescent Group; this situation changed with the Battle of the Paracel Islands in January 1974 when the PRC expelled the South Vietnamese from the Paracel Islands. South Vietnam's claim to the islands was inherited by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam which has ruled all of Vietnam since 1976. In July 2012, China arbitrarily declared a city named Sansha, under Hainan Province, as administering the area. Turtles and seabirds are native to the islands, which have a hot and humid climate, abundant rainfall and frequent typhoons; the archipelago is surrounded by productive fishing grounds and a seabed with potential, but as yet unexplored and gas reserves. In February 2017, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative reported 20 outposts of the PRC built on reclaimed land in the Paracels, three of which have small harbours capable of berthing naval and commercial ships.

Geographic coordinates: 16°40′N 112°20′E Coastline: 518 km Climate: tropical Elevation extremes: Lowest point: South China Sea, sea level Highest point: unnamed location on Rocky Island 14 m Natural resources: fish, coral reefs, possible reserves of oil and gas of unknown size Natural hazards: typhoons The Amphitrite group was named after the French frigate Amphitrite, which observed the islands while carrying a Jesuit mission to Canton in 1698–1700. Lying in the northeast of the Paracel Islands at 16°53′N 112°17′E, the group consists of low narrow islands with sand cays, enclosed shallow lagoons connected by reefs of rock, is about 37 km northwest of Lincoln Island; the group forms an ellipse with a north-south axis of 22 km. The northern section of the group comprises West Sand, Tree Island and the Qilian Yu sub-group The centre of the group consists of Woody Island and Rocky Island 5 km south of the southern tip of the eastern extremity of the northern section; the southwest corner of the group is occupied by the Iltis Bank.

The largest island of the Paracels, Woody Island, has over 1,000 residents including fishermen and their families, military personnel and civilian administrators. Lying about 70 km southwest of the Amphitrite group, at 16.5°N 111.7°E / 16.5. The group measures 31 by north-south. All of the islands in the group support vegetation except on their small cays; the islands are named after former senior figures in the British East India Company. Three were members of the EIC's'Select Committee' in Canton: James Drummond, Thomas Pattle and John William Roberts. Jonathan Duncan was Governor in Council of Bombay, William Taylor Money was Superintendent of the Bombay Marine. Money Island lies at the southwest extremity of the group, has some small cays on the southern side; the Chinese name for Money Island, Jin Yin Dao, is the translation of the English name. Antelope Reef, submerged at high tide and containing a central lagoon, lies 2.4 km east of Money Island. Northeast of this are Robert Island and Pattle Island, separated from each other by a 3.5 km wide deep channel.

A weather station was built on Pattle Island in 1932, a lighthouse and radio station in 1937. Northeast of this is Quanfu Dao. Observation Bank named Silver Islet, the Lesser Silver Islet, are the northernmost of the group and contain a small cay. Just south of them are Xianshe Yu. At the eastern side of the group lies a 12 km long boomerang shaped reef with Stone Islet at its north end and Drummond Island at its south end; the Duncan Islands, consisting of Duncan Island and Palm Island, lie 3 km west of Drummond Island and about 8 km east of Antelope Reef. Kuangzai Shazhou lies about halfway between Antelope Reef. Taking 16°40′N 112°20′E as the centre of the Paracel Islands the Amphitrite Group is ENE, the Crescent Group is West. Bombay Reef: This elongated reef is situated at the southeastern corner of the Paracel Islands (16°N 112.5°E

Ian Beausoleil-Morrison

Ian Beausoleil-Morrison is an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario and an adjunct Associate Professor at both Dalhousie University and the University of Victoria. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Master's of Applied Science from the University of Waterloo, a Ph. D. from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland. Professor Beausoleil-Morrison's research interests are focused around the co-generation of heat and electricity, alternative cooling approaches, maximizing solar energy utilization, he is President of the International Building Performance Simulation Association. Prior to his employment at Carleton in 2007, Ian worked at Natural Resources Canada for 16 years as an energy researcher and simulator, he led Annex 42 International Energy Agency's Energy Conservation in Buildings and Community Systems Programme. He helped develop the University of Stratchclyde's ESP-r building simulation tool and is the archivist for the organization.

He initiated and led a research project on micro-cogeneration for the International Energy Agency, is Vice-President of the International Building Performance Simulation Association, has acted as scientific chair for numerous conferences on the topic of energy use in buildings. He has authored or co-authored more than 35 peer-reviewed papers and was the recipient of IBPSA's Outstanding Young Contributor Award in 2001

Iris Gower

Iris Davies, pen name Iris Gower, was a Welsh novelist, noted for her many historical romances, most of which are set in the seaport of Swansea and the adjacent Gower Peninsula, from which she took her pseudonym. Iris Richardson was born in 1935 in Swansea, the sister of Billy, Jean and Christine, her family lived in Swansea city centre, but afterwards moved to Mayhill, where Iris met pattern-maker, William Tudor Davies. She and Davies married on Iris's 21st birthday; the couple settled in Manselton and had four children: Tudor Junior, Angela and Paul. As a young woman she took other part-time jobs, she began writing in her twenties and had several stories published in magazines, such as Woman's Own and Jackie. She published her first novel, Tudor Tapestry, in 1974, but it was the success of her novel, Copper Kingdom that put her on world's bestseller lists, it was one of many of her novels set in the copper and other industries of Swansea or in the rural life of Gower. Iris Gower was awarded an MA in Creative Writing by Cardiff University, an Honorary Fellowship at Swansea University.

Altogether she wrote about 40 published books, including 26 novels. In the latter part of her career she and her husband settled at Swansea, but on 15 April 2002 her husband of 48 years died after a stroke. Iris lived with a partner, Peter Snadden, continued writing, she remained interested in fostering the work of other writers. She became a patron of the Year of Literature in Swansea, at the Swansea Writers' Circle welcomed and encouraged the novelist Catrin Collier. Gower is quoted. There were no lessons. So I just wrote. I wouldn't pay for a course. If people are so damn good at writing, why are they teaching and not writing? I talk to people. People's anecdotes are like gold nuggets."Gower died at Singleton Hospital, Swansea, on 20 July 2010. She was 75 years old. Iris Gower Welsh Literature and Modern Media