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South Sea Company

The South Sea Company was a British joint-stock company founded in 1711, created as a public-private partnership to consolidate and reduce the cost of the national debt. To assist in the generation of income for this purpose, the company was granted a monopoly to trade with the islands in the "South Seas" and South America; when the company was created, Britain was involved in the War of the Spanish Succession and Spain and Portugal controlled most of South America. There was thus no realistic prospect that trade would take place, as it turned out the Company never realised any significant profit from its monopoly; however Company stock rose in value as it expanded its operations dealing in government debt, peaked in 1720 before collapsing to little above its original flotation price. The Bubble Act 1720, which forbade the creation of joint-stock companies without royal charter, was promoted by the South Sea Company itself before its collapse. In Great Britain many investors were ruined by the share-price collapse, as a result the national economy reduced substantially.

The founders of the scheme engaged in insider trading, by using their advance knowledge of the timings of national debt consolidations to make large profits from purchasing debt in advance. Huge bribes were given to politicians to support the Acts of Parliament necessary for the scheme. Company money was used to deal in its own shares, selected individuals purchasing shares were given cash loans backed by those same shares to spend on purchasing more shares; the expectation of profits from trade with South America was talked-up to encourage the public to purchase shares, but the bubble prices reached far beyond what the actual profits of the business could justify. A parliamentary inquiry was held after the bursting of the bubble to discover its causes. A number of politicians were disgraced and people found to have profited immorally from the company had personal assets confiscated proportionate to their gains; the Company was restructured and continued to operate for more than a century after the Bubble.

The headquarters were in Threadneedle Street, at the centre of the City of London, the financial district of the capital. At the time of these events, the Bank of England was a private company dealing in national debt, the crash of its rival confirmed its position as banker to the British government; when in August 1710 Robert Harley was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, the government had become reliant on the Bank of England, a owned company chartered 16 years which had obtained a monopoly as the lender to Westminster, in return for arranging and managing loans to the government. The government had become dissatisfied with the service it was receiving and Harley was seeking new ways to improve the national finances. A new Parliament met in November 1710 resolved to attend to national finances, which were suffering from the pressures of two simultaneous wars: the War of the Spanish Succession with France, which ended in 1713, the Great Northern War, not to end until 1721. Harley came prepared, with detailed accounts describing the situation of the national debt, customarily a piecemeal arrangement, with each government department borrowing independently as the need arose.

He released the information continually adding new reports of debts incurred and scandalous expenditure, until in January 1711 the House of Commons agreed to appoint a committee to investigate the entire debt. The committee included Harley himself, the two Auditors of the Imprests, Edward Harley, Paul Foley, the Secretary of the Treasury, William Lowndes and John Aislabie. Harley's first concern was to find £300,000 for the next quarter's payroll for the British army operating on the Continent under the Duke of Marlborough; this funding was provided by a private consortium of George Caswall and Hoare's Bank. The Bank of England had been operating a state lottery on behalf of the government, but in 1710 this had produced less revenue than expected and another had begun in 1711, performing poorly. Sales commenced on 3 March 1711 and tickets had sold out by the 7th, making it the first successful English state lottery; the success was shortly followed by another larger lottery, "The Two Million Adventure" or "The Classis", with tickets costing £100, with a top prize of £20,000 and every ticket winning a prize of at least £10.

Although prizes were advertised by their total value, they were in fact paid-out by instalments in the form of a fixed annuity over a period of years, so that the government held the prize money as borrowings until the whole value had been paid out to the winners. Marketing was handled by members of the Sword Blade syndicate, Gibbon selling £200,000 of tickets and earning £4,500 commission, Blunt selling £993,000. Charles Blunt was made Paymaster of the lottery with expenses of £5,000; the national debt

Sheikh Jafar Shooshtari

Sheikh Jafar ibn Hussein ibn Ali Shooshtari was a prominent Shia scholar from the city of Shooshtar. He was born in 1230 AH in Shooshtar, he was a descendant of Ali ibn Hussain Najjar, a great Shia scholar of 11th century AH. His paternal lineage is as follows: Jafar son of Hussein son of Hassan son of Ali son of Ali AlNajjar Shooshtari, he moved to Kadhimiya in early childhood with his father. He was taught by Sheikh Mohammad Al-e-Yasin, Sheikh AbdulNabi Kazemi and Sheikh Ismail ibn Asadollah Kazemi, he returned to Shooshtar and went to Karbala to study under Sheikh Mohammad Hossein Esfahani and Sharif ol Olama. He moved to Najaf to study under Sheikh Ansari, he wrote "Menhaj ol Ershad" and built a Husseinya. In 1287 AH the tomb of prophet Daniel in Susa was repaired by the order of Shaikh Jafar in the hands of Haj Mulla Hassan Memar, he returned to Karbala. He made a trip to Iran to visit the tomb of Ali Al-Ridha. On the way, he stopped at Ray, where many scholars and clerics on the order of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar visited him and asked him to stay in Tehran.

He held the prayers in Marvi Mosque. Sheikh Jafar was such a gifted speaker and his sermons were so emotional that they attracted thousands; the number of attendees grew so much. With the suggestion of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, he moved to Sepahsalar Mosque, according to one of his students, 40,000 people attended his sermons, his sermons were so emotional, that even clerics in the audience started weeping. Many have reported that Nasser Al-Din Shah Qajar himself was coming to his sermons in an anonymous outfit. After spending some time in Tehran, he made a trip to Mashhad and returned to Tehran again. Shah suggested that he should stay in Tehran, but he said that he wants to be buried next to his master Ali Ibn Abi Talib in Najaf. Sheikh Mohammad Hassan Saheb Javaher Sheikh Morteza Ansari Sheikh Ali ibn Jafar Kashef al Ghata Sheikh Mohammad Hossein Saheb Fosool Sheikh Ismail Kazemi Sheikh Hassan ibn Jafar Kashef Al Ghata Sheikh Razi Najafi Muhammad Hasan al-Najafi Mirza Mohammad Hamedani Seyyed Abdulsamad Jazayeri Agha Mirza Ebrahim Molla Ahmad Naraghi Sheikh Ali ibn Reza Kashef Al Ghata Sheikh Jafar became ill on his way to Iraq to visit the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib and died in the Karand area between Iran and Iraq.

His students buried him there. There is a mosque in Najaf in his honor. Menhaj ol Ershad, in Persian. Al Khasaes Al Hosseinya Majales Al Mavaez Favaed Al Mashahed va Natayej Al Maghased Osol Al Din Dame ol Ain Lavaeh Allavahein Foyouzat Masoudieh Aldor Alnazid fi Khasaes Al Hossein Al Shahid Ayatullah Shaykh Ja’far Shustari

Shrine of Our Lady of Matara

Shrine of Our Lady of Matara is a Roman Catholic church devoted to the Virgin Mary, in the town of Matara, Sri Lanka. The shrine houses a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus. Though the statue's origins are unknown, church officials claim; the statue has been damaged and recovered more than once, most during the 2004 tsunami in Asia, which damaged the shrine and killed 24 people attending Sunday Mass. The church celebrated its centenary year in 2007. Church legend claims; when it was opened, the statue was found inside. The fishermen handed it over to the parish priest and the statue was placed in St. Mary's Church in Matara. At a period, during a cholera epidemic which claimed hundreds of lives, Catholics prayed before the statue to be delivered from the disease; the statue was taken in a solemn procession through the streets of Matara. After a few days, the area was declared safe by the health authorities and there were no further reported deaths. Since the Catholics of Matara have attributed miraculous powers to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In the early 1900s, after over 300 years in the church of Matara, the statue looked faded and worn due to exposure and the thousands of devotees touching and kissing it. Arrangements were made with a sculptor in Belgium, to renovate the statue; when the renovations were complete, the statue was packed in a wooden crate and shipped in the cargo boat Beachy, which set sail from Antwerp. The ship was caught in a fierce storm in the North Sea, it was nearly wrecked but did manage to reach Middlesbrough, the next morning. Most of the cargo was found to have been thrown overboard; when the ship reached Minicoy, India, it was discovered. An investigation was initiated by Belgian priests in the Galle Diocese; these investigations traced the statue to a man in Middlesbrough. When confronted, he refused to hand over the statue; when these demands were refused, he used a hammer to deface the statue, threw it away. The statue was repainted it; the Bishop of Galle, Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Van Reeth, took possession of the statue and set sail to Matara in the steamer Princess Alice.

When he reached Colombo and looked for his luggage, the crate containing the statue could not be found. Three days a Belgian cargo boat named the Uckermarck arrived in Colombo with the missing crate; the excess luggage of the Princess Alice had been loaded onto the Uckermarck, which set sail after the Princess Alice had left Antwerp harbor. Statue of Our Lady of Miracles, Jaffna patao Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu Shrine of Our Lady of Matara