The Anonymous Widower

Global Oil Storage Close To Being ‘Overwhelmed’

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Ships, pipelines and storage tanks holding surplus oil could be “overwhelmed” within weeks as the coronavirus pandemic causes unprecedented drops in fuel usage, the International Energy Agency warned yesterday.

So what are we going to do?

I can’t see Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States cutting oil production.

But that is what must happen!

April 16, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , | 5 Comments

Trump And Flight PS572

What puzzles me about all this is Trump’s reaction.

If he were true to his past persona, he would be very much angrier and vowing vengeance, but his reaction seems almost calm and very measured.

Perhaps, he knows for certain, that it was a tragic accident. After all the UK, US, Canada and Ukraine seem to be saying similar things.

Someone or something, seems to have got Trump to see sense!

Melania, Justin, Boris, Emmanuel, Dominic or Angela? Or was it the Italian guy, who does his hair?

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , | 5 Comments

Qassem Soleimani

Yesterday, The Times had an article, which was entitled Rising stars: Twenty faces to look out for in 2020.

I read the article on my phone and it was a good read.

One of those people mentioned was Qassem Soleimani

He was certainly somebody to look out for and I wondered what he would get up to next!

I don’t have to wonder anymore.

This article on the BBC is entitled Qasem Soleimani: US kills Iran Quds Force leader, Pentagon confirms.

Apparently, the killing was on the direct orders of President Trump.

He obviously hasn’t read about the Greek Monster, where when Heracles cut off one head another appeared.

I certainly fear for the hostages caught up in this Iranian mess!

Trump is staggering blindly towards a disaster!


January 3, 2020 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

Refereeing At The Women’s World Cup

At times, as in today’s England game against Cameroon, refereeing has not been of the highest quality.

I watch a lot of football and being a referee is something I would not want to do!

But I do have a few thoughts!

Are Some Of The Referees Not Fit Enough?

I have my suspicions on this one, as some of the bad decisions seem to have happened, when the referee is behind the play!

Referees from major football playing countries, probably officiate in many more games and come under much more scrutiny about their fitness, than they do in other countries.

Was It A Mistake To Send Referees Home From The Last Sixteen Countries?

I know why FIFA has done this, but does it get rid of a lot of the best and most experienced referees?

Perhaps delaying until the last eight would have been better?

Should We Integrate More Women Officials Into The Men’s Game?

We are always hearing that there is a shortage of referees for matches in the UK

I wouldn’t be surprised that this is a problem in a lot of countries, with large league structures.

Surely, welcoming more women into the profession would help to ease the shortage.

I actually, think, as with many other trades and professions, the shortage will mean that more women are welcome.

I should say that at Ipswich in the Chapionship, we have had the occasional woman assistant referee and there hasn’t been any adverse crowd reaction.

But, I suspect, other crowds and possibly countries wouldn’t be so friendly.


The standard of refereeing by women will improve, as more come into the game, due to the shortages.

But no real progress will be made in the UK, until a woman referees a high-profile League or Cup match.

The first time it happens, will be down to a chapter of unfortunate circumstances.

Perhaps a team of four for a match will contain two women, one of whom will be the fourth official.

The man refereeing the match, becomes unable to do so, as happens a couple of times during matches in the Premier League every year.

Perhaps, the man running the line has made a terrible howler and is getting stick from an angry crowd.

So, the inevitable decision will be made.

After all, Bibiana Steinhaus, has refereed in the Bundesliga for a couple of years.

One of her problems according to Wikipedia, has been that Iran cut her out of broadcasts of matches, when she is the referee.

But then there’s no accounting for that religious basket-case!


June 24, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran Discuss New Freight Corridor To link India And Europe

The title of this post is the same as that of an article on Global Rail News.

The article doesn’t say much, except that currently it takes between thirty and forty days for freight to get between India and Europe.

The New Silk Road

In How To Move 100,000 Containers A Year Between Germany And China, I talked about a plan by Deutsche Bahn and Georgian Railways to create a  New Silk Road. This map shows the route.

Note how the route of the New Silk Road could go South of the Caspian Sea, which means it would pass through Iran.

In the earlier post, I said this about the New Silk Road.

If you read the Wikipedia entry for Georgian Railways, it does list a few problems, but it would appear that the route across Georgia is being upgraded to Standard Gauge all the way from the Turkish border to Almaty in Kazakhstan.

With Germany, Turkey and Europe at the Western end and China at the Eastern end both predominately Standard Gauge, I think that this route will be all the same gauge.

A new route between Azerbaijan and Kazahkstan would avoid using a ferry across the Caspian Sea for the New Silk Road.

Ideally it would be a Standard Gauge Line.


So will Iranian Railways be able to create a Standard Gauge route to the South of the Caspian Sea?

The good news is as follows.

Iran’s railways are built using Standard Gauge.

Much of the route appears to be already built.

The route could serve Tehran and link it to Tbilisi and Baku, the capitals of Georgia and Axerbaijan.

But the bad news is given in a section in the Wikipedia entry for Iranian Railways called Challenging Construction, where this is said.

The Trans-Iranian railway traverses many mountain ranges, and is full of spirals and 1 in 36 ruling grades. Much of the terrain was unmapped when construction took place, and its geology unknown. Several stretches of line, including tunnels, were built through unsuitable geology, and had to be replaced even before the line opened. Nevertheless, the line was completed ahead of schedule.

In recent years the railways have undergone significant extensions including the 1977 linking to the western railway system at the Turkish border, the 1993 opening of the Bandar Abbas line providing better access to the sea, and the 1996 opening of the Mashad–Sarakhs extension as part of the Silk Road railway to link to the landlocked Central Asian Countries.

Add in the earthquake-prone nature of the area, and it might not be a piece of cake.

Liuk Between Iran And Turkey

There is a section in the Wikipedia entry for Iranian Railways called Link to Turkey, and International Standard Gauge route to Europe, where this is said.

In 1977, the Iranian railways linked to the western railway system at the Turkish border.

The route to the west into Turkey terminates at Van with a 90 km (56 mi) train ferry for both freight wagons and international passenger traffic (baggage car only) across Lake Van, which is at an altitude of 1,650 m (5,413 ft), to Tatvan where it joins the Turkish standard-gauge network.

Looking at the map, it would appear that it could be easier to go between Iran and Turkey via Georgia and Azerbaijan. The rail link to Azerbaijan appears to have seen lots of use between Iran and the formerSoviet Union, but it needs a gauge change on the border.

But driven by the Germans and the Georgians, it would appear that Standard Gauge trains can or will soon be able to go from Turkey to Iran.

Link To Pakistan

There is also a section  in the Wikipedia entry for Iranian Railways called Link to Pakistan, where this is said.

The construction of the railway from Bam to Zahedan was completed in early 2009 connecting Tehran to Pakistan border with an opening ceremony on 19 July 2009. However international container traffic commenced operations on 14 August 2009 with transshipment (or transloading) between 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) Indian gauge and 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge wagons in the new Zahedan Exchange Yard on the bypass line. The freight traffic was discontinued however after the initial trial trains and was only revived in 2015.

Iranian Railways have been trying to persuade Pakistan Railways to convert its route to Quetta to standard gauge, in order to facilitate the flow of international traffic to Europe. Pakistan responded in 2006 with a statement that it is to convert its network to standard gauge, and would plan a link with the standard gauge system of China.

A through passenger service is being considered to supplement the occasional Quetta-Zahedan service, itself a poor shadow of the former Pakistan-Iran ‘Taftan Express’.

It’s such a pity, that Indian Railways were not built to Standard Gauge. But then we built Irish Railways to a different gauge too!

Iran’s Leadership

It does appear from the last two sections with their extracts from Wikipedia, that Iran is very much taking the lead in facilitating the movement of freight between Europe and the Indian sub-continent.


It looks like if the Iranians have their way, Quetta will be the place, where the changeover takes place between Standard and Indian Gauges. This is the first two paragraphs of the Wikipedia entry for the city.

Quetta is the provincial capital of Balochistan, Pakistan and the ninth-largest city of the country. The city is known as the fruit garden of Pakistan, due to the numerous fruit orchards in and around it, and the large variety of fruits and dry fruits produced there. The immediate area has long been one of pastures and mountains, with varied plants and animals relative to the dry plains to the west. Quetta is at an average elevation of 1,680 meters (5,510 feet) above sea level, making it Pakistan’s only high-altitude major city. The population of the city is estimated to be approximately 1,140,000.

Located in north western Balochistan near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Quetta is a trade and communication centre between the two countries. The city lies on the Bolan Pass route which was once the only gateway from Central Asia to South Asia. Quetta played an important role militarily for the Pakistani Armed Forces in the intermittent Afghanistan conflict.

Placing the main rail gauge change in Quetta, must improve the economic prospects for the area.

The altitude of the city could be a problem, but Wikipedia also says trains are attacked.


This project would appear to be a very feasible way to create a rail route between Europe and India, which from Europe to Quetta will be Standard Gauge and from Quetta Eastwards will be Indian Gauge.



June 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’d Have Thought It?

I have a Google Alert on my name and sometimes it picks up an interesting story like this one from NBC, entitled Curing Mississippi’s blues with Iranian care? Here’s the introduction.

An American doctor from Mississippi searched far and wide for solutions to his state’s endemic health problems.

Now, after years of practicing what he calls “health diplomacy,” Dr. James Miller, director of Oxford International Development Group in Mississippi, thinks he may have found some solutions in what may seem like an unlikely place: Iran.

Whether he’s right or not I don’t know, but you have to agree it’s not a story, you’d expect to read on an American news feed from NBC.

Good luck to the doctor.

October 27, 2013 Posted by | Health, News | , | Leave a comment

An Acadian Hero

Lyse Doucet is one of my favourite broadcasters and in some ways a bit of a hero, as she seems so unfazed of all the horrors she has faced, just being the total professional.

Like many I suppose, I’d always assumed she was from Quebec, due to her French name and her accent.  But she is actually an Acadian, a group, who I knew little of until I looked Lyse up last night. Wikipedia says this.

Although today most of the Acadians and Québécois are French speaking (francophone) Canadians, Acadia was a distinct colony of New France, and was geographically and administratively separate from the French colony of Canada (modern day Quebec), which led to Acadians and Québécois developing two rather distinct histories and cultures.

I first became aware of Lyse, when she was reporting from Iran. In one report for From Our Own Correspondent, she described how the Russian Ambassador at a news conference, had started chatting her up, and was totally surprised, when he found the lady in the burkha was Canadian.

I do find it strange that two of my heroes are called Lyse or Lise.  The other is of course Lise Meitner.

June 6, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Jeremy Clarkson Is More Popular Than Hillary Clinton In Iran

This story from the BBC’s web site must be the strangest to come out of Iran in recent months.

It is about how Top Gear is very popular in the country and relates the story of a visit to Kurdistan, by the actor, who dubs our Jeremy into Farsi. Here’s an extract.

The BBC cannot operate freely in Iran, so Top Gear’s popularity is hard to measure. But last year, when PTV dropped an episode to air an exclusive interview with then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the audience protested bitterly.

I think in some ways that the man or woman on the Teheran omnibus or stuck in the Isfahan traffic jam think about the same things as their equivalemts in New York, Glasgow and Sydney.

Perhaps, Hillary Clinton could be a star in a reasonably priced car to raise her popularity in Iran.

April 5, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Austin Maxi That Didn’t Get Into The Film

The Sunday Times yesterday told the true story of Argo yesterday and like so many other American films, the role of Brits, Canadians and New Zealanders have been cut out.  It would appear from the paper that the British Ambassador in Iran at the time; John Graham,  is not amused. It would appear that one of the heroes was the orange Austin Maxi, used to ferry the American diplomats about.

It may not be very sexy, but it’s true.

So I can cut Argo off my list of films to see, as I don’t watch films where the truth is bent for American self-gratification.

February 25, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Onion Gets Taken As The Truth

I like stories like this, where a humorous piece from a satirical web site like The Onion, gets taken as the truth, by the media in some country where freedom and press don’t go anywhere together. This time it’s China that gets fooled, but Iran has been duped in the past.

The trouble is that these countries wouldn’t make fun of a serious leader so wouldn’t know humour if it hit them in the face.

I wonder if they have April Fools’ Day in China and Iran?

November 28, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , | 2 Comments