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What is the difference between a typhoon and a hurricane?

There is no difference between a typhoon and a hurricane – it is just the different names that people in different parts of the world use to describe the same thing!  It really becomes fascinating watching the news sometimes when you are reading all about a hurricane, in this case hurricane Florence in the USA, and typhoon Mangkhut heading towards Hong Kong and mainland China at the same time in September.  The generic term that meteorologists need to describe them is a tropical cyclone. 

Basically tropical cyclones that are not too strong are known as tropical depressions, but once the speeds of the wind reached a sustained speed of 100km/h they are then either called a hurricane or a typhoon.  The north-west Pacific region refers to that same cyclone as a typhoon and if it originates closer to America in the central north Pacific or the eastern north Pacific or in the North Atlantic Ocean, then it is known as a hurricane.  All of this stems from the warm tropical oceans and almost always comes as summer in the northern hemisphere is winding down and the winds start cooling a bit and that is when you get into hurricane or typhoon season.

I was in Shenzhen, China on business when typhoon Mangkhut hit and was confined to my hotel for about 24 hours.  The winds were certainly ferocious, even though we were not in the direct path of the storm which was passing a little bit to the west of us.  The rain absolutely bucketed down and of course people who were not fortunate enough to be in secure buildings got injured and many died.  I do think however that we have seen, around the world, that the alerts get better than ever and the high numbers of deaths that used to be associated with these storms seem to be reducing in terms of the number of fatalities.  All you have to know though is the next time somebody starts talking about a cyclone or a hurricane that they are one and the same thing and that a typhoon is obviously in the Asian region. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 22-Oct-18   |  Permalink   |  12 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Marijuana - a changing world

17 October is a very big day in Canada – it is the day when recreational marijuana becomes legalised throughout the whole of Canada.  In other words, as long as you are of a certain age you can go into a shop and buy it and it is not a crime.  Until now, it had medical marijuana, which is slightly different, although pretty much the same thing.  I say slightly different, because obviously you need a doctor’s script to get it, but doctors tend to give out medical scripts, as many staff know, for all sorts of things and marijuana is diagnosed for anything from depression, anxiety, back pain, headaches, nausea, etc, etc, so if one really wants it, it would be very easy to get a script.  Now you will not even have to do that. 

Another sign of how dramatically the world is changing is that Utah is the State where the vast majority of Mormons live and their religion does not even allow them to have caffeine, let alone alcohol.  They have however agreed with the government that they will reduce their opposition to marijuana on the basis that only medical marijuana is allowed in Utah.  The fact though that such a religious group, who don’t even believe that caffeine is healthy and are strictly against any work on a Sunday, can now agree to medical marijuana being legalised is still a shock to the system.

I remember many arguments with my mother when I was young that one day marijuana would be legalised and she always told me I was “nuts”.  My reasoning was always very simple – I never understood why cigarettes, which kill so many people, can be legal and alcohol, which causes so many accidents, so much domestic violence as well as leads to many murders, could be legal, but marijuana could not be.  That does not mean I think marijuana is a good thing, but it is just very hard for me to accept that marijuana or dagga as one calls it in South Africa, is any worse than cigarettes in particular in terms of the damage to your health.  People who smoke cigarettes will of course jump up and down, saying marijuana is a gateway drug, although they are the last people who should – when they die of the various cancers in State hospitals, we are having to subsidise their choice in terms of the taxes we pay for the healthcare they get.  There never has been any scientific link between somebody smoking marijuana and then becoming a heroin addict, so the whole “gateway drug” story is a load of nonsense that is just not backed up by any science.  Of course, some people who first smoke marijuana will go on to other drugs, but so are some people who go to High School who will end up taking drugs and that does not mean we should stop going to High School.  Some people who smoke cigarettes are also ultimately going to take heroin, but does that now mean there is a link between cigarettes and heroine?

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 17-Oct-18   |  Permalink   |  18 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
IMF cuts growth forecast for South Africa

The International Monetary Fund, otherwise known as the IMF, has reduced its forecast for South Africa’s economy.  In fact, they initially said that in 2018 South Africa will grow about 1,5% and now they have cut that to 0,8% and for 2019 the projection was 1,7% and they have cut that to 1,4%.  Of course, some growth is better than going backwards, but we need an economic growth rate far higher than that for South Africa to succeed and in particular to pull more people out of poverty and unemployment.

America has been running at above 2% for about 8 or 9 years now with dramatic improvement starting during the Obama years and now continuing and obviously South Africa faces much more challenges with unemployment.  The IMF estimates a global growth to be 3,7%, so that is way above what they are estimating for South Africa and said that some of their concerns relate to the uncertainty of the 2019 election.  I am not sure what uncertainty there is?  I can only imagine the ANC will win again and perhaps see their percentage go down again, but I still believe they will win – I really cannot see the EFF beating them and the DA certainly cannot.  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 15-Oct-18   |  Permalink   |  19 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Oh, the Horror - Saudi Embassy

Every now and then a particular story grasps our personal attention.  For me it was the story of what appears to have been the murder of a Washington Post journalist, and critic of Saudi Arabia, inside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey. Jamal Khashoggi entered the embassy to get paperwork so he could get married.

We don’t know what happened after he entered the Embassy, leaving his fiancée outside, other than he was never seen again.  Turkish authorities say he was tortured, murdered and then cut up with a saw.  A group of 15 Saudi Arabian security personnel flew in earlier that day, on private jets, booked into hotels for 3 nights, but suddenly left that night and fled back to Saudi Arabia.  Its alleged that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman is directly implicated in his disappearance.

This is a shocking and appalling story – who would ever think you could get murdered in an Embassy?  It does not say much of the way Saudi Arabia is ruled and I think this will be a major story for a long time to come – and Saudi Arabia deserves to be sanctioned for it.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 12-Oct-18   |  Permalink   |  22 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
New Age and ANN 7

As many of us suspected it has now turned out that we, the taxpayers, were funding the Gupta family media empire – this is the media channels that obviously supported Jacob Zuma at the time.  How this happened is that our taxpayers’ money was spent on advertising on this newspaper and TV channel, even though they did not have many readers/viewers.  We pay taxes and the Government carefully chose where to spend those taxes – in this case on the Gupta’s media empire advertising.  

The Free State government for example spent R80 million on advertising across that media and the Government Information and Communication Systems (GCIS) spent R55 million with New Age Media receiving 95% of all the payments it received just from various government departments!  The bulk of the payments came after Themba Maseko, the former head of GCIS, was tossed out of his job because he refused to entertain the Gupta’s!  One wonders what else we are going to learn from the current state capture investigations!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 17-Sep-18   |  Permalink   |  30 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Tiger Woods back in form

I am a big Tiger Woods fan and it has been fantastic to see the massive surge he has had up the world ratings this year.  Let’s not forget that he is 42 years old, he is turning 43 on 30 December and he has had a spinal fusion.  Many of the clients of my personal injury firm are not able to do work after a spinal fusion, but Tiger Woods can still swing a club at 129 miles an hour and compete at the top of the sporting world despite being close to 43 years old and having had the spinal fusion.  Let’s not forget that at the beginning of the year he was ranked 1199th in the world, and with the season almost coming to a close he is now 21st in the world – ahead of every single South African, for example.  

His results so far have included a 2nd in the PGA Championships and a tie 6th in the British Open, which is normally known simply as The Open.  If his injuries hold off for now it will only be a question of how soon he will win and not if.  He has been written off many times and the Tiger haters were all very vocal about 6 or 7 months ago that he would never ever win another tournament in his life.  A recent survey in Golf magazine found that 98% of PGA tour players, and they would know better, believe that Tiger will win another tour event and 90% of them believe that he will win another major.  To quote one of the tour players who gave the quote anonymously, on the prospects of Tiger winning again “A year ago:  No way.  Now:  No doubt.” 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 13-Sep-18   |  Permalink   |  27 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Caught out by video footage

We were recently approached by a client who had an accident who told us that somebody else skipped through a red robot and collided with him.  His version was that he was driving a Nissan bakkie along Nelson Mandela Drive and a Toyota Corolla, going along Francis Baard Street, went through a red robot.  

Our prospective new client was very emphatic about it, but what he probably did not know that many of these intersections now have video cameras and when we went to the Traffic Department to see what they had, we discovered that our potential new client’s version was in fact a complete lie.  He had driven straight through a red robot into the Toyota Corolla for whom the traffic light was green.  More and more situations like this do arise, and it is surprising that people are still so happy to try and tell a blatant lie and see if they can get away with it when they are driving through intersections which do have video cameras on them!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 12-Sep-18   |  Permalink   |  31 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Facebook acknowledging time wastage with Instagram

I saw in the Version 58 of the updates to the Instagram app that Facebook, who owns Instagram, introduced a new feature.  That new feature is a daily reminder to give you an alert when you have reached the amount of time you want to spend on Instagram for the day.  One can only imagine how horrifying some of the stories they must be aware of are, in terms of how much time is wasted by people scrolling through hundreds of photos of everyone else and having to like them.  I say having to, because if you don’t “like” them, then people will not like your pictures and of course many people just “like” all sorts of people’s pictures so as to attract more followers.  It is an incredibly destructive waste of one’s time.  I am not even going to go into the fact that wonderful, beautiful pictures of nature or actually incredible things never get liked as much as bikini photo’s or women in various poses that I thought were not classy but one of my staff told me are called “savage” pictures and are apparently more and more the norm now.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 30-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  35 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Blocking e-mails on Outlook with MimeCast

My IT expert recently installed MimeCast on our office server.  I must say, although I was not excited about it at first, it certainly helped to limit the number of the e-mails we receive on a daily basis.  I receive an extraordinary amount of nonsense and MimeCast will then ask me whether I want to let the e-mail through.   So, for example, on 16 July amongst the e-mail that I was asked to approve or decline was an e-mail from a company asking me to invest with the best managed company in South Africa, another one from Wanabi Wood Flooring, another one from the Attorneys South Africa Online Directory who want me to pay R1 600 a year to be listed with them as well as a company that wants to sell us quality platters for any function, meeting or private party.  I simply chose, on the system, to use MimeCast to block emails from all of these companies.  I do understand that people have to try to get business however they can, but it does get to a situation eventually where it is extremely difficult to deal with those sorts of things where I already get 300 e-mails a day!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 28-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  32 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
The next boom business – marijuana

I think that it is inevitable that marijuana, or dagga as we call it in South Africa, will be legalised.  Whether that is via the Constitutional Court or legislation it is going to happen sooner or later.  Canada has just become the first major economic power in the world to completely legalise recreational marijuana and whether you are talking about gay marriage, environmental protection or human rights, generally countries tend to copy each other as they move forward.  There is no doubt in my mind – whether it takes 20 years for marijuana to be legalised or more, or if it is legalised effectively within a year or two, it will be a huge business in South Africa. 

Most South Africans have not ever walked into a marijuana retail shop.  In other words, a shop just selling one marijuana product after another and it comes as a bit of a shock to most of us conservative South Africans to see it in other societies.  It is not just rolled-up marijuana the shops sell, but it vaporizers and vapes, edibles, creams and everything based on cannabis.  The shops are very strictly controlled, generally they do not allow anybody through the front door without an ID showing they are 21, regardless of how old you look and they are set out just like any other fancy retail shop, except that they are selling a product that is still illegal in South Africa.  

In any event, I believe this is going to be a very big business.  I am not saying that marijuana is good for people – I certainly think that some people do become addicted to it, some people do find it a gateway drug, and it certainly tends to remove ambition from people and dulls the brain, particularly when consumed on a regular basis, but there is just no denying that this will be big money, not only for those who get the first jump in setting up all the legal retail stores when the time comes, but also for the government in terms of taxes.   

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 24-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  32 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Less murderers will get away with it

It is very exciting to see the breakthroughs that are starting to happen with a DNA via genealogy.  Around the world there is a growth of companies like 23andme, which test people’s DNA and tell them who they are related to, etc.  Police are also using those services and a variety of unsolved crimes are now getting solved on that basis.  The police are able to test the DNA that might have been left at the scene of a murder 10 years ago and in some cases 20 years ago and see if any of the genealogy sites have anybody with a similar DNA on it.  

In one case it led to the arrest of a serial killer in San Francisco when the police were able to link the DNA to a family of about 1,000 members.  Of those 1,000 members only about 2 of them would have been the right age and in the areas that the murders were committed and the police decided that one of them was the most likely suspect.  They went out of their way to get a sample of the man’s DNA and once they had done that, without his knowledge, they tested it against the DNA evidence they had from his victims.  There was a match and he was arrested.  The last few months have seen a whole host of these types of cases and I think this is going to be a massive trend over the next 5 to 10 years.  It does not matter if the murderer himself never had those tests done, as long as somebody in his family, and it could be as distant as a cousin or even more distant, gets those tests done, the police and authorities will be able to link that broad family to the murders and then start narrowing their search down within that particular family.

I think this will obviously be tremendous in terms of what it will do for crime in future.  Criminals, murderers and serial killers will be caught far more easily and the only way to avoid being caught is to ensure that they do not leave any DNA behind, which is quite hard if your victim struggles, scratches you, a piece of hair falls out or anything like that.  I think a lot more people will realise that your chances of getting away with that type of crime will be much smaller.  The fact that there are video cameras installed in city centres all around the world and a world where you are watched more now than ever will make it even harder, but what is now coming, with all the DNA testing that is going on and people’s fascination with home DNA test kits, will lead to a dramatic reduction in those types of crimes going forward.  Sometimes we moan that we are recorded on camera’s at work or at shops, but this too actually adds to a our security in many respects. I think we are about to see some dramatic older cases being resolved over the next year or two thanks to a combination of modern technology and genealogy.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 22-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  33 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Unemployment rises to 27,2%

It is disappointing to see that unemployment, and that is the official unemployment figure, has now risen to 27,2%.  So many of the problems South Africa faces are linked to unemployment – starting with the crime rate.  People don’t realise that these statistics firstly reflect a far better position than the reality – they don’t include people who have permanently given up on finding a job.  They only include about people who are still actively trying to find a job.  We also need to compare this type of figure to that of the figure in developing countries.  So, for example, in America the unemployment figure is 4%.

There are many reasons for this and I have grown tired of writing about some of them including the labour laws in South Africa, the CCMA, as well as our reduced productivity compared to some countries, but part of the problem is that those that are in employment are very supportive of policies that protect them while forgetting that it does not help those who are unemployed.  It is a rather narrow approach which forgets that we are all affected, in one way or another, by the high unemployment rate.  It would not be hard to speculate that accident rates would come down if more people were employed, if more money was spent on ensuring that cars were roadworthy and not driven with tyres that can barely get a grip on the road and are ready to explode.  If you just want to stick to the basics, then yes, any country with high unemployment will have a high crime rate.  That crime rate in turn will have a negative effect on the economy.  It is a vicious circle, I don’t know what the way out is, and the ANC merely promising 6 million new jobs every 5 years and then never delivering anything at all is not going to be the answer either.  

I also don’t think that the ANC, and many of those are in employment, want to hear about the mistakes that they made with labour laws in South Africa, some of which were definitely needed because there are appalling atrocities that we sometimes read about, particularly with farm workers and how they are abused.  We have also chased away a lot of international companies that are not interested in sitting through ridiculous CCMA complaints every single time somebody is either fired or walks off a job and then claims that they were “constructively dismissed”!  It is no coincidence that countries that do not have all of these laws also have much lower unemployment rates. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 20-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  31 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
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Lumbar spine compression fractures R2 500 000.00
Severe hip fracture requiring total hip replacements R3 305 000.00
Head injury with disfiguring facial scaring of a young female R4 000 000.00
Whiplash and compression fracture of the spine R4 000 000.00
Broken Femora R1 914 416.00
Broken Femur and Patella R770 881.15
Loss of Support for two minor children R2 649 968.00
Fracture of the right Humerus, fracture of the pubi rami, abdominal injuries, head injury R4 613 352.95
Fracture of the right femur, Fracture of the right tibia-fibula R1 200 000.00
Broken Jaw, Right Shoulder Injury, Mild head injury R1 100 000.00
Degloving injuries to the hips, legs and ankle R877 773.00
Head injury R 2 734 295.12
Fractured pelvis R1 355 881.53
Damaged tendons in left arm R679 688.03
Fractured left hand R692 164.48
Amputated right lower leg with loss of income R3 921 000.00
Fractured left foot R600 000.00
Head injury and multiple facial fractures R5 000 000.00
Head injury, compound fracture right femur, right tib and fib fracture, and injury to the spleen R4 529 672.06
Head injury, multiple facial fractures, collapsed lung and a fracture to the right frontal bone R2 890 592.77
Loss of support R5 144 000.00


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