Monday, September 30, 2019
FAN MILK LIMITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2009 FAN MILK LIMITED Year ended December 31, 2009 Contents Corporate information Pages 1 Report of the directors 2-3 Corporate governance 4-5 Report of the independent auditor 6-7 Financial statements: i. Statement of comprehensive income 8 ii. Statement of financial position 9 iii. Statement of changes in equity 10 iv. Statement of cash flows 11 v. Notes 12 Ã¢â¬â 30 0 FAN MILK LIMITED Year ended December 31, 2009 CORPORATE INFORMATION Directors Charles Mensa (Dr. ) Jesper Bjorn Jeppesen Kodjo Biamawu Aziagbe Einar Mark Christensen Jens Jorgen Kollerup George H.Okai Thompson Peace Ayisi-Okyere Lennap & Co. P. O. Box 37 Accra PricewaterhouseCoopers Chartered Accountants No. 12 Airport City Una Home, 3rd Floor PMB CT 42 Cantonments Accra No. 1 Dadeban Road North Industrial Area P. O. Box 6460 Accra-North Quist, Brown, Wontumi & Associates P. O. Box 7566 Accra National Trust Holding Company Limited Martco House P. O. Box 9563 Airport, Accra Barclays Bank of Ghana Limited Ecobank Ghana Limited SG-SSB Bank Limited Prudential Bank Limited Agricultural Development Bank Limited Ghana Commercial Bank Limited Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited (Chairman) (Managing Director)Secretary Auditor Registered Office Solicitor Registrar & Transfer Office Bankers 1 FAN MILK LIMITED Year ended December 31, 2009 REPORT OF THE DIRECTORS The directors submit their report together with the audited financial statements of Fan Milk Limited for the year ended December 31, 2009. Statement of directorsÃ¢â¬â¢ responsibilities The directors are responsible for the preparation of financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the company and of the profit or loss and cash flows for that period.In preparing these financial statements, the directors have selected suitable accounting policies and then applied them consistently, made judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent and followed International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The directors are responsible for ensuring that the company keeps proper accounting records that disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the company. The directors are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the company and taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.Principal activity The principal activity of the company is the manufacturing and distribution of dairy products and fruit drinks. Financial results The financial results of the company are set out below: 2009 GH? Ã¢â¬Ë000 Profit before tax for the year is from which is deducted tax of giving a profit after tax for the year of to which is added balance brought forward on retained earnings of from which is deducted approved dividend of giving a balance carried forward on retained earnings of 20,175 (5,019) 15,156 15,410 (1,484) 29,082 The comp anyÃ¢â¬â¢s net worth increased from GH? 1. 4 million as at January 1, 2009 to GH? 35. 1 million at December 31, 2009. 2 FAN MILK LIMITED Year ended December 31, 2009 REPORT OF THE DIRECTORS (continued) Dividends The directors recommend a dividend of GH? 0. 10 per share (2008: GH? 0. 0750 per share) in respect of the year ended December 31, 2009. Auditor The auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, has expressed willingness to continue in office in accordance with Section 134 (5) of the Companies Code, 1963 (Act 179). BY ORDER OF THE BOARD: Name of Director:Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦.. Name of Director:Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦..Signature:Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦ Date:Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦ Signature:Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦.. Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â ¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦ Date:Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦.. Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦. 3 FAN MILK LIMITED Year ended December 31, 2009 CORPORATE GOVERNANCE Introduction Fan Milk Limited is committed to the principles and implementation of good corporate governance. The Company recognises the valuable contribution that it makes to long-term business prosperity and to ensuring accountability to its shareholders. The Company is managed in a way that maximises long term shareholder value and takes into account the interests of all of its stakeholders.Fan Milk Limited believes that full disclosure and transparency in its operations are in the interests of good governance. As indicated in the statement of responsibilities of directors and notes to the accounts, the business adopts standard accounting practices and ensures sound internal control to facilitate the reliability of the financial statements. The Board of Directors The Board is resp onsible for setting the Company's strategic direction, for leading and controlling the Company and for monitoring activities of executive management. The Board presents a balanced and understandable assessment of the Company's progress and prospects.The Board consists of the Chairman, five non-executive directors and an executive director (the managing director). The non-executive directors are independent of management and free from any constraints, which could materially interfere with the exercise of their independent judgement. They have experience and knowledge of the industry, markets, financial and/or other business information to make a valuable contribution to the Company's progress. The managing director is a separate individual from the Chairman and he implements the management strategies and policies adopted by the Board.They meet at least four times a year. The Audit Committee The Audit Committee is made up of four directors of whom three are non-executive directors and they meet twice a year. The main Board determines its terms of reference and they report back to the Board. Its duties include keeping under review the scope and results of the external audit, as well as the independence and objectivity of the auditor. The Audit Committee also keeps under review internal financial controls, compliance with laws and regulations and the safeguarding of assets.It also reviews the adequacy of the plan of the internal audit and reviews its audit reports. 4 FAN MILK LIMITED Year ended December 31, 2009 CORPORATE GOVERNANCE (continued) Systems of Internal Control Fan Milk Limited has well-established internal control systems for identifying, managing and monitoring risks. These are designed to provide reasonable assurance that the risks facing the business are being controlled. The corporate internal audit function of the Company plays a key role in providing an objective view and continuing assessment of the effectiveness of the internal control systems in the business.The systems of internal control are implemented and monitored by appropriately trained personnel and their duties and reporting lines are clearly defined. Code of Business Ethics Management has communicated the principles in the CompanyÃ¢â¬â¢s Code of Conduct to its employees in the discharge of their duties. This code sets the professionalism and integrity required for business operations which covers compliance with the law, conflicts of interest, environmental issues, reliability of financial reporting, bribery and strict adherence to the principles so as to eliminate the potential for illegal practices. REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT AUDITOR TO THE MEMBERS OF FAN MILK LIMITED REPORT ON THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS We have audited the accompanying financial statements of Fan Milk Limited set out on pages 8 to 30. These financial statements comprise the statement of financial position at December 31, 2009, and the statement of comprehensive income, statement of changes in equity and statement of cash flows for the year then ended, and a summary of significant accounting policies and other explanatory notes.DirectorsÃ¢â¬â¢ responsibility for the financial statements The directors are responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of these financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards and with the requirements of the Companies Code, 1963 (Act 179). This responsibility includes: designing, implementing and maintaining internal control relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error; selecting and applying appropriate accounting policies; and making accounting estimates that are reasonable in the circumstances.AuditorÃ¢â¬â¢s responsibility Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the financial statements based on our audit. We conducted our audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing. T hose standards require that we comply with ethical requirements and plan and perform our audit to obtain reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free from material misstatement. An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements.The procedures selected depend on the auditorÃ¢â¬â¢s judgement, including the assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to fraud or error. In making those risk assessments, the auditor considers internal control relevant to the entityÃ¢â¬â¢s preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the companyÃ¢â¬â¢s internal control.An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates ma de by the directors, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion.Opinion In our opinion the accompanying financial statements give a true and fair view of the state of the companyÃ¢â¬â¢s financial affairs at December 31, 2009 and of its financial performance and cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards and the requirements of the Companies Code, 1963 (Act 179). 6 REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT AUDITOR TO THE MEMBERS OF FAN MILK LIMITED (continued) REPORT ON OTHER LEGAL REQUIREMENTS The Companies Code, 1963 (Act 179) requires that in carrying out our audit we consider and report to you on the following matters.We confirm that: i) ii) iii) we have obtained all the information and explanations which to the best of our knowledge and belief were necessary for the purposes of our audit; in our opinion proper books of account have been kept by the company, so far as appears from our examination of those books; and the companyÃ¢â¬â¢s statement of financial position and statement of comprehensive income are in agreement with the books of account. Chartered Accountants Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦ 2010 Accra, Ghana Mark Appleby (101193) FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME (All amounts are expressed in thousands of Ghana cedis) Year ended December 31 Note Revenue Cost of sales Gross profit Distribution costs Administrative expenses Operating profit Other income Finance costs Profit before tax Tax Net profit after tax Other comprehensive income Total comprehensive income Earnings per share Basic and diluted (GH? ) 11 0. 77 0. 6 9 7 8 5 6 3 4 2009 82,471 (38,460) 44,011 (18,628) (6,184) 19,199 1,177 (201) 20,175 (5,019) 15,156 15,156 2008 55,041 (28,599) 26,442 (12, 569) (4,873) 9,000 500 (113) 9,387 (2,333) 7,054 7,054 8 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION (All amounts are expressed in thousands of Ghana cedis) Assets Non-current assets Property, plant and equipment Prepaid operating lease land Note 12 13 At December 31 2008 2009 21,622 1,647 23,269 Current assets Inventories Trade and other receivables Bank and cash balances 13,383 1,701 15,084 4 15 22 9,656 2,318 15,871 27,845 6,811 2,129 8,834 17,774 32,858 Total assets Equity Capital and reserves attributable to CompanyÃ¢â¬â¢s equity holders Stated capital Retained earnings 51,114 20 6,000 29,082 35,082 6,000 15,410 21,410 Liabilities Non-current liabilities Finance lease obligation Deferred tax Current liabilities Trade and other payables Current tax Dividend payable 19 14 18 1,330 1,330 808 808 9,719 699 222 10,640 11,448 32,858 16 17 10 14,272 137 293 14,702 Total liabilities Total shareholdersÃ¢â¬â¢ equity and l iabilities 6,032 51,114 The financial statements on pages 8 to 30 were approved by the Board of Directors on Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ ¦2010 and signed on its behalf by: Director: Director: 9 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN EQUITY (All amounts are expressed in thousands of Ghana cedis) Stated capital Year ended December 31, 2009 At the beginning of the year Total comprehensive income Dividend At the end of the year 6,000 6,000 15,410 15,156 (1,484) 29,082 21,410 15,156 (1,484) 35,082 Retained earningsTotal Year ended December 31, 2008 At the beginning of the year Total comprehensive income Dividend At the end of the year 6,000 6,000 9,494 7,054 (1,138) 15,410 15,494 7,054 (1,138) 21,410 10 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS (All amounts are expressed in thousands of Ghana cedis) Year ended December 31 2008 2009 25,191 (17) 418 17 (5,059) 20,533 13,198 (113) 239 (1,310) 12,014Note Cash flows from operating activities Cash generated from operations Interest paid Interest received Tax paid Net cash generated from operating activities Cash flows from investing activities Purchase of property, plant and equipment Purchase of land Proceeds from sale of property, plant and equipment Net cash used in investing activities Cash flows from financing activities Dividend paid Finance lease repaid Net cash used in financing activities Increase in cash and cash equivalents Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the year Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year 22 10 12 13 12 21 12,181) (1) 296 (11,886) (6,429) (216) 112 (6,533) (1,413) (197) (1,610) 7,037 8,834 15,871 (1,048) (710) (1,758) 3,723 5,111 8,834 11 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 1. General informat ion Fan Milk Limited manufactures, distributes and sells dairy products and fruit drinks through a network of independent distributors and agents. The company is a public limited company incorporated and domiciled in Ghana under the Companies Code, 1963 (Act 179) and listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange.The registered office is located at No. 1 Dadeban Road, North Industrial Area, Accra-North. 2. Summary of significant accounting policies The principal accounting policies applied in the preparation of these financial statements are set out below. These policies have been consistently applied to all the years presented, unless otherwise stated. (a) Basis of accounting The financial statements have been prepared on the historical cost basis. They have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).The management of Fan Milk Limited considers the following to be the most important accounting policies for the company. In applying these accounting polic ies, management makes certain judgements and estimates that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities at the year end date and the reported revenues and expenses during the financial year. The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the companyÃ¢â¬â¢s accounting policies described below. The Company has adopted the following new and amended IFRSs as of January 1, 2009: ?IFRS 7 Ã¢â¬Å"Financial instruments Ã¢â¬â DisclosuresÃ¢â¬ (amendment) Ã¢â¬â effective January 1, 2009. The amendment requires enhanced disclosure about fair value measurement and liquidity risk. In particular, the amendment requires disclosure of fair value measurements by level of a fair value measurement hierarchy. As the change in accounting policy only results in additional disclosure, there is no impact on earnings per share. ? IAS 1 (revised) Ã¢â¬Å"Presentation of financial statementsÃ¢â¬ Ã¢â¬â effective January 1, 2009. The revised standard prohibits the present ation of items of income and xpenses (that is, `non-owner changes in equity`) in the statement of changes in equity, requiring `non-owner changes in equity` to be presented separately from owner changes in equity in a statement of comprehensive income. Comparative information has been re-presented so that it also is in conformity with the revised standard. As the change in accounting policy only impacts presentation aspects, there is no impact on earnings per share. 12 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 2.Summary of significant accounting policies (continued) (b) Property, plant and equipment Property, plant and equipment held for use in the production or supply of goods, or for administrative purposes are stated in the statement of financial position at historical cost or deemed cost less depreciation. Historical cost includes the expend iture that is directly attributable to the acquisition of the items. Deemed cost includes surpluses arising on the revaluation of certain properties to their fair values prior to the date of transition to IFRS.Subsequent costs are included in the assetÃ¢â¬â¢s carrying amount or recognised as a separate asset, as appropriate, only when it is probable that future economic benefits associated with the item can be measured reliably. The carrying amount of the replaced part is derecognised. All other repairs and maintenance are charged to the statement of comprehensive income during the financial period in which they are incurred. Assets in the course of construction are carried at cost less any recognised impairment loss. Cost includes professional fees which are capitalised in accordance with the CompanyÃ¢â¬â¢s accounting policy.Depreciation of these assets commences when the assets are ready for their intended use. Land is not depreciated. Depreciation is calculated using the stra ight line method to write off the cost of each asset or revalued amounts over their estimated useful lives as follows: Buildings Plant and machinery Deep freezers and bicycles Distribution trucks Other motor vehicles Computer systems Furniture and fittings 10 Ã¢â¬â 20 years 10 years 5 years 8 years 5 years 3 years 5 years The assetsÃ¢â¬â¢ residual values and useful lives are reviewed and adjusted if appropriate at each statement of financial position date.Any assetÃ¢â¬â¢s carrying amount is written down immediately to its recoverable amount if the assetÃ¢â¬â¢s carrying amount is greater than its estimated recoverable amount. Gains and losses on disposals are determined by comparing the proceeds with the carrying amount and are recognised within other gains/(losses) in the statement of comprehensive income. When revalued assets are sold, the amounts included in other reserves are transferred to retained earnings. 13 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended De cember 31, 2009NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 2. Summary of significant accounting policies (continued) (c) Impairments of assets At each statement of financial position date, the company reviews the carrying amounts of its tangible and intangible assets to determine whether there is any indication that those assets have suffered an impairment loss. If any such indication exists, the recoverable amount of the asset is estimated in order to determine the extent of the impairment loss (if any).Where the asset does not generate cash flows that are independent from other assets, the Company estimates the recoverable amount of the cash generating unit (CGU) to which the asset belongs. Recoverable amount is the higher of fair value less costs to sell and value in use. In assessing value-in-use, the estimated future cash flows are discounted to their present value using a post-tax discount rate that reflects the cu rrent market assessment of the time value of money and the risks specific to the asset for which the estimates of future cash flows have not been adjusted.If the recoverable amount of an asset (or CGU) is estimated to be less than the carrying amount, the carrying amount of the asset (CGU) is reduced to its recoverable amount. An impairment loss is recognised as an expense immediately. (d) Inventories Inventories are stated at the lower of cost and net realisable value. Cost is determined using the first-in, first-out (FIFO) method. The cost of finished goods and work in progress comprises raw materials, direct labour, other direct costs and related production overheads, based on normal operating capacity.It excludes borrowing costs. Net realisable value is the estimated selling price in the ordinary course of business, less all estimated costs of completion and costs to be incurred in marketing, selling and distribution. Spare parts are written off in the year of purchase. (e) Inve stments and other financial assets Financial assets are classified as either financial assets at fair value through profit or loss, loans and receivables, held to maturity investments, or available for sale financial assets, as appropriate.When financial assets are recognised initially, they are measured at fair value, (plus in the case of investments not at fair value through profit or loss, directly attributable costs). The Company determines the classification of its financial assets upon initial recognition and, where allowed and appropriate, re-evaluates this designation at each financial year end. All regular purchases and sales of financial assets are recognised on the trade date Ã¢â¬â the date on which the company commits to purchase or sell the asset. 14FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 2. Summary of significant accounting po licies (continued) (e) Investments and other financial assets (continued) Loans and receivables Loans and receivables are non-derivative financial assets with fixed or determinable payments that are not quoted in an active market. Such assets are carried at amortised cost using the effective interest method.Gains and losses are recognised in income when the loans and receivables are derecognised or impaired, as well as through the amortisation process. (f) Trade receivables Trade receivables are amounts due from customers for goods sold in the ordinary course of business. If collection is expected in one year or less (or in the normal operating cycle of the business if longer), they are classified as current assets. If not, they are presented as non-current assets. Trade receivables are recognised initially at fair value and subsequently measured at amortised cost using the effective interest ethod, less allowance for impairment. An allowance for impairment of receivables is estimat ed when there is objective evidence that the company will not be able to collect all amounts due according to the original terms of the receivables. (g) Cash and cash equivalents Cash and cash equivalents includes cash in hand, deposits held at call with banks, other short term highly liquid investments with original maturities of three months or less and bank overdrafts. Bank overdrafts are shown within borrowings in current liabilities on the statement of financial position. h) Trade payables Trade payables are initially recognised at fair value and subsequently measured at amortised cost. (i) Bank borrowings Interest bearing loans and overdrafts are recorded at the proceeds amount received net of direct issue costs. Finance charges payable on settlement or redemption and direct costs, are accounted for on an accrual basis in the statement of comprehensive income using the effective interest rate method and are added to the carrying amount of the instrument to the extent that they are not settled in the period in which they arise. 15FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 2. Summary of significant accounting policies (continued) (j) Current and deferred income tax Current tax Current tax assets and liabilities for the current and prior periods are measured at the amount expected to be recovered from or paid to the taxation authorities. The tax rate and tax laws used to compute the amount are those enacted or substantively enacted by the statement of financial position date.Deferred tax Deferred income tax is provided using the liability method on temporary differences at the statement of financial position date between the tax base of assets and liabilities and their carrying amount for financial reporting purposes. Deferred tax liabilities are recognised for all taxable temporary differences, except where the deferred tax liability arises from the initial recognition of goodwill or of an asset or liability in a transaction that is not a business combination and, at the time of the transaction, affects neither the accounting profit nor taxable profit or loss.Deferred income tax assets are recognised for all deductible temporary differences, carry-forward of unused tax credits and unused tax losses, to the extent that it is probable that taxable profit will be available against which the deductible temporary differences, and the carry-forward of unused tax credits and unused tax losses can be utilised except where the deferred tax assets relating to the deductible temporary differences arise from the initial recognition of an asset or liability in a transaction that is not a business combination and, at the time of the transaction, affects neither the accounting nor taxable profit or loss. k) Leases Leases are classified as finance leases whenever the terms of the lease involve the substantial tra nsfer of all the risks and rewards of ownership to the lessee. All other leases are classified as operating leases. Assets held under finance leases are recognised as assets of the Company at their fair value or, if lower, at the present value of the minimum lease payments, each determined at the inception of the lease. The corresponding liability to the lessor is included in the statement of financial position as a finance lease obligation.Lease payments are apportioned between financing charges and a reduction of the lease obligation so as to achieve a constant rate of interest on the remaining balance of the liability. Finance charges are charged directly against income, unless they are directly attributable to qualifying assets, in which case they are capitalised with the CompanyÃ¢â¬â¢s policy on borrowing costs. 16 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 2. Summary of significant accounting policies (continued) (k) Leases (continued) Property, plant and equipment acquired under finance leases are depreciated over the shorter of the useful life of such assets or the lease period. Payments made under operating leases are charged to the statement of comprehensive income on a straight line basis over the period of the lease. l) Employee benefits Pension obligation The Company operates a defined contribution pension plan (provident fund). A defined contribution plan is a pension plan under which the Company pays fixed contributions into a separate entity. The Company has no legal or constructive obligations to pay further contributions if the fund does not hold sufficient assets to pay all employees the benefits relating to employee service. The contributions are recognised as employee benefit expense when they are due. m) Provisions Provisions are recognised when a present legal or constructive obligation exists as a r esult of past events, where it is more likely than not that an outflow of resources will be required to settle the obligation and the amount can be reliably measured. (n) Revenue recognition Sale of goods Sales are recognised when the risks and rewards of the products have been substantially transferred to the customer. Sales are shown net of returns and value added tax. o) Foreign currencies Transactions are recorded on initial recognition in Ghana cedis, being the currency of the primary economic environment in which the company operates (the functional currency). Transactions in foreign currencies during the year are converted into Ghana cedis at prevailing rates of exchange ruling at the transaction dates. Monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies are translated into Ghana cedis at the rates of exchange ruling at the statement of financial position date.The resulting gains and losses are dealt with in the statement of comprehensive income. 17 FAN MILK LIM ITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 2. Summary of significant accounting policies (continued) (p) Dividend Dividend distributed to the companyÃ¢â¬â¢s shareholders is recognised as a liability in the financial statements in the period in which the dividends are approved by the CompanyÃ¢â¬â¢s shareholders. q) Post statement of financial position events Events subsequent to the statement of financial position date are reflected only to the extent that they relate directly to the financial statements and the effect is material. (r) Contingent liabilities Contingent liabilities are potential liabilities that arise from past events, the existence of which will be confirmed only on the occurrence or non-occurrence of one or more uncertain future events which are not wholly within the control of the company.Provisions for liabilities are recorded when a l oss is considered probable and can be reasonably estimated. The determination of whether or not a provision should be recorded for any potential liabilities is based on managementÃ¢â¬â¢s judgement. (s) Estimates Estimates are continually evaluated and are based on historical experience and other factors, including expectations of future events that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. Because of the inherent uncertainties in this evaluation process, actual losses may be different from the originally estimated provision.In addition, significant estimates are involved in the determination of provision related to taxes and litigation risks. These estimates are subject to change as new information becomes available and changes subsequent to these estimates may significantly affect future operating results. Accounting for property, plant and equipment, and intangible assets involves the use of estimates for determining the fair value at the acquisition date. Furthermo re, the expected useful lives of these assets must be estimated.The determination of the fair values of assets and liabilities, as well as of the useful lives of the assets is based on managementÃ¢â¬â¢s judgement. (t) Segment reporting Operating segments are reported in a manner consistent with the internal reporting provided to the chief operating decision-maker. The chief operating decision-maker is responsible for the allocation of resources and assessing the performance of the operation segments. 18 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 3. Revenue Gross sales Value added tax Included in revenue are export sales of GH? 182,773 (2008: GH? Nil). 4. Cost of sales Cost of sales includes: Depreciation of factory buildings and plant and machinery Staff costs Ã¢â¬â Wages and salaries Ã¢â¬â Social security Ã¢â¬â Provident fund 5. Distri bution costs Selling and distribution costs include: Depreciation of buildings, vehicles and machinery Staff costs Ã¢â¬â Wages and salaries Ã¢â¬â Social security Ã¢â¬â Provident fund 6.Administrative expenses Administrative expenses include: Depreciation of buildings, vehicles and machinery Staff costs Ã¢â¬â Wages and salaries Ã¢â¬â Social security Ã¢â¬â Provident fund AuditorÃ¢â¬â¢s remuneration DirectorsÃ¢â¬â¢ remuneration Donations 346 1,457 105 41 33 529 55 244 813 75 29 26 357 4 1,902 2,249 186 69 1,646 1,695 141 54 1,534 3,187 240 85 1,094 2,292 180 65 2009 94,842 (12,371) 82,471 2008 63,297 (8,256) 55,041 Total number of staff employed by the company in year was 407 (2008: 401). 7.Other income Profit on disposal of property, plant and equipment (Note 12) Interest on current accounts Sale of empty bags and scraps Provident fund refund Rent income Bad debts recovered Exchange gain 136 418 37 12 64 8 502 1,177 19 109 239 61 13 56 22 500 FAN MILK LIMITED Fin ancial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 8. Finance costs Interest payable on bank overdraft Interest payable on finance lease Interest payable on agents savings Finance costs on staff loans (Note 15) 2009 17 134 50 201 9.Income tax expense 2009 Current tax (Note 17) Deferred tax (Note 18) 4,497 522 5,019 2008 2,009 324 2,333 2008 4 109 113 The charge for the year can be reconciled to the profit per the statement of comprehensive income as follows: 2009 2008 Profit before tax Tax charged at 25% (2008: 25%) Expenses not deductible in determining taxable profit Other differences Capital allowances brought forward used in 2008 Export income at different tax rate 20,175 5,044 14 (31) (8) 5,019 10.Dividend payable Balance at January 1 Dividend declared and approved (GH? 0. 0750 per share; 2008: GH? 0. 0575 per share) Dividend paid Balance at December 31 222 1,484 (1,41 3) 293 132 1,138 (1,048) 222 9,387 2,347 1 4 (19) 2,333 Payment of dividend is subject to the deduction of withholding taxes at the appropriate rate. Proposed dividend for approval at AGM (not recognised as a liability as at December 31, 2009) amounted to GH? 1. 978 million (GH? 0. 10 per share). 20FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 11. Earnings per share Profit after tax Number of ordinary shares Basic and diluted earnings per share (GH? ) 2009 15,156 19,784,548 0. 77 2008 7,054 19,784,548 0. 36 There are no share options, potential rights issues or bonus issues, hence diluted earnings per share are the same as basic earnings per share. 12.Property, plant and equipment 2009 Buildings and roads Cost/deemed cost At January 1, 2009 Additions Transfers Disposals At December 31, 2009 Accumulated depreciation At January 1, 2009 Charge for the year Released on disposals At December 31, 2009 Net book value At December 31, 2009 2008 Buildings and roads Cost/deemed cost At January 1, 2008 Additions Transfers Disposals At December 31, 2008 Accumulated depreciation At January 1, 2008 Charge for the year Released on disposals At December 31, 2008 Net book value At December 31, 2008 2,829 125 3 (12) 2,945 1,069 154 (9) 1,214 1,731 Motor Plant and vehicles machinery 4,301 1,921 (431) 5,791 3,036 783 (431) 3,388 2,403 14,501 3,312 427 (174) 18,066 7,850 2,047 (174) 9,723 8,343 Capital WIP 265 1,071 (430) 906 906 Total 21,896 6,429 (617) 27,708 11,955 2,984 (614) 14,325 13,383 2,945 353 296 3,594 1,214 236 1,450 2,144 Motor Plant and vehicles machinery 5,791 4,602 72 (327) 10,138 3,388 1,159 (327) 4,220 5,918 18,066 5,740 78 (956) 22,928 9,723 2,387 (796) 11,314 11,614 Capital WIP 906 1,486 (446) 1,946 1,946 Total 27,708 12,181 (1,283) 38,606 14,325 3,782 (1,123) 16,984 21,622 Included in motor vehicles, plant and machinery are ass ets with a cost of GH? 2. 3 million (2008: GH? 2. 3 million) leased under a finance lease. 21 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 12.Property, plant and equipment (continued) 2009 Cost-capitalised finance lease Accumulated depreciation Net book value Profit on disposal of property, plant and equipment Cost of assets Accumulated depreciation Net book value Sale proceeds Profit on disposal 13. Prepaid operating lease-land Cost At January 1 Additions At December 31 Accumulated amortisation At January 1 Charge for the year At December 31 Net book value at December 31 14. Inventories Raw materials Finished goods Work in progress Goods in transit Other stocks 1,888 984 61 6,557 166 9,656 1,692 772 46 4,214 87 6,811 1,283 (1,123) 160 (296) (136) 617 (614) 3 (112) (109) 2,295 (2,295) 2008 2,295 (2,101) 194 1,910 1 1,911 ,694 216 1,910 209 55 264 1 ,647 154 55 209 1,701 During the year the cost of inventories charged to the statement of comprehensive income amounted to GH? 27. 7 million (2008: GH? 21. 1 million). 22 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 15. Trade and other receivables Trade receivables Other receivables Amounts due from staff Prepayments 2009 717 1,362 151 88 2,318 2008 419 1,551 127 32 2,129 The maximum amount of staff indebtedness during the year did not exceed GH? 0. 21 million (2008: GH? 0. 14 million).Amounts due from staff are recoverable as follows: Not later than 1 year Later than 1 year and no later than 5 years 2009 130 71 201 Future finance costs Present value of amounts due from staff The present value of the amounts due from staff is split as follows: Not later than 1 year Later than 1 year and no later than 5 years 105 46 151 108 19 127 (50) 151 2008 108 19 127 127 The fair value of amounts due from staff is based on cash flows discounted using a rate based on borrowing rate of 22. 53% (2008: Nil). The discount rate equals base rate minus appropriate credit rating from the companyÃ¢â¬â¢s bankers. The directors consider that the carrying amount of trade and other receivables approximates to their fair value. 16.Trade and other payables Trade payables Other payables Finance lease obligation (Note 19) Accruals 2009 8,199 5,861 212 14,272 17. Current tax As at January 1 Charged to income Payments As at December 31 23 2008 6,375 2,934 197 213 9,719 699 4,497 (5,059) 137 2,009 (1,310) 699 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 18. Deferred tax Deferred tax is calculated in full on temporary differences under the liability method using a tax rate of 25% (2008: 25%). The charge for the year relates to accelerated tax allowances on property, plant and equipment. 008 2009 As at January 1 Charged to income As at December 31 19. Finance lease obligation The Company entered into a finance lease agreement in 2006 for the lease of certain motor vehicles, push carts, bicycles and freezers. The capital cost of these assets amounted to Ã¢â ¬753,070 and US$525,864. 91. The Company has an option to purchase the items after the primary lease period for a consideration of 0. 25% of the capital on the assets. The lease obligation is as follows: Minimum lease payments: Not later than 1 year Later than 1 year and no later than 5 years 2009 Future finance charges on finance lease Present value of finance lease liabilities 2008 212 212 (15) 197 808 522 1,330 484 324 808The present value of the finance lease liabilities is as follows: Not later than 1 year (Note 16) Later than 1 year and no later than 5 years 197 197 24 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 20. Stated capital No. of shares Proceeds 2009 2009 Authorised Ordinary shares of no par value Issued For cash Capitalisation of surplus 40,000,000 No. of shares 2008 40,000,000 Proceeds 2008 19,784,548 19,784,548 19 5,981 6,000 19,784,548 19,784,548 19 5,981 6,000 There is no unpaid liability on shares. There are no treasury shares. There are no calls or instalments unpaid. 21.Cash generated from operations Reconciliation of net profit before tax to cash generated from operations: 2009 Profit before tax Depreciation Amortisation Interest expense Interest income Increase in inventories Increase in trade and other receivables Increase in trade and other payables Profit on disposal of plant and equipment Cash generated from operations 20,175 3,782 55 201 (418) (2,845) (189) 4,566 (136) 25,191 2008 9,387 2,984 55 113 (239) (1,289) (536) 2,832 (109) 13,198 25 FAN MILK LIMITED Fina ncial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 22. Cash and cash equivalents Cash and cash equivalents comprise cash held and short term bank deposits with an original maturity of three months or less. The carrying amount of these assets approximates to their fair values.For the purpose of the statement of cash flows, the year end cash and cash equivalents comprise the following: 2008 2009 Bank and cash balances Bank overdrafts 15,871 15,871 8,834 8,834 At the statement of financial position date the Company had an approved unsecured overdraft facility with local banks not exceeding GH? 0. 5 million (2008: GH? 0. 5 million). 23. Related party disclosures The Company has a related party relationship with a major shareholder and with its directors. The major shareholder Fan Milk International A/S owns 55. 449% shares in Fan Milk Limited. Emidan A/S and Fan Milk Togo are su bsidiaries of Fan Milk International A/S and are therefore entities related through common control.In the normal course of business, the Company entered into the following transactions shown below: (i) Purchase of goods Emidan A/S Fan Milk Togo (ii) Sale of goods Fan Milk Togo Fan Milk Liberia (iii) Year end balances arising from purchase of goods Emidan A/S Fan Milk Togo 7,362 12 5,697 16 183 6 2009 23,602 28 2008 19,174 108 26 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 23. Related party disclosures (continued) (iv) Year end balances arising from sale of goods Fan Milk Liberia (v) Technical assistance fees Fan Milk International (vi) Year end balances arising from technical assistance fees Fan Milk International Transactions with key management personnel Key management personnel are considered to be the directors.Remuneration Executive director (short-term benefits) Non-executive directors (short-term benefits) Key management personnel have no post-employment benefits. 24. Contingent liabilities There were no contingent liabilities at the statement of financial position date (2008: GH? Nil). 25. Financial risk management Financial risk factors The CompanyÃ¢â¬â¢s activities expose it to a variety of financial risks, including the effects of changes in foreign currency exchange rates and interest rates. The CompanyÃ¢â¬â¢s overall risk management programme focuses on the unpredictability of financial markets and seeks to minimise the potential adverse effects on its financial performance.Risk management is carried out by the management of the company under policies approved by the board of directors. Management identifies, evaluates and hedges financial risks. 407 180 302 129 351 267 1,237 825 2009 56 2008 Ã¢â¬â 27 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 25. Financial risk management (continued) Sensitivity analysis Ã¢â¬â currency risk The Company seeks to reduce its foreign currency exposure through a policy of matching, as far as possible, assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies.The Company imports raw materials, spare parts and equipment from overseas and therefore is exposed to foreign exchange risk arising from Euro and USD exposures. Management is responsible for minimising the effect of the currency exposure by buying foreign currencies when rates are relatively low and using them to settle bills when due. The Company hedges the currency risk using the practice stated above in order to mitigate currency risk as a result of changes in foreign exchange rates. The companyÃ¢â¬â¢s hedging strategy is effective and movement in foreign exchange rates would have no material impact on the CompanyÃ¢â¬â¢s result. Sensitivity analysis Ã¢â ¬â interest rate risk The CompanyÃ¢â¬â¢s exposure to the risk of changes in market interest rates relates primarily o the CompanyÃ¢â¬â¢s long-term obligations with a floating interest rate. To manage this risk, the CompanyÃ¢â¬â¢s policy is to contract for best interest rate borrowings when terms offered are attractive. The sensitivity analysis for interest rate risk shows how changes in the fair value or future cash flows of a financial instrument will fluctuate because of changes in market rates at the reporting date. The Company had no significant exposure to interest rate risk as at December 31, 2009. Total exposure to credit risk Financial instruments that potentially subject the Company to credit risk are primarily cash and cash equivalents and accounts receivable. Account receivables are mainly derived from sales to customers.The Company maintains a provision for impairment of trade receivables based upon the expected collectibility of all trade receivables. Trade rec eivables consist of invoiced amounts from normal trading activities. The Company has customers throughout Ghana and Liberia. Strict credit control is exercised through monitoring of cash received from customers and, when necessary, provision is made for specific doubtful accounts. As at December 31, 2009, management was unaware of any significant unprovided credit risk. 28 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 25.Financial risk management (continued) The table below shows the maximum exposure to credit risk by class of financial instrument: 2009 Bank balances (excluding cash) Trade and other receivables (excluding prepayments) Total credit risk exposure Liquidity risk The Company has incurred indebtedness but also has significant cash balances. The Company evaluates its ability to meet its obligations on an ongoing basis. Based on these eval uations, the Company devises strategies to manage its liquidity risk. Prudent liquidity risk management implies that sufficient cash is maintained and that sufficient funding is available through an adequate amount of committed credit facilities.The Company has no limitation placed on its borrowing capability. The facilities expiring within one year are subject to renewal at various dates during the next year. The Company had the following unutilised banking facilities as at December 31, 2009: 2009 Expiring within one year 500 2008 500 15,073 2,230 17,303 2008 8,274 2,097 10,371 Cash of the Company is placed in interest bearing current accounts to provide sufficient funding to meet its debt financing plan. At the statement of financial position date cash held on the call account was GH? 5,946 (2008: GH? 3,788). This is expected to readily generate cash inflows for managing liquidity risk.Maturity analysis of financial liabilities The table below analyses the companyÃ¢â¬â¢s financi al liabilities. All financial liabilities fall due for payment within six months. 2008 2009 Trade and other payables Finance lease liability 14, 272 14,272 9,522 197 9,719 29 FAN MILK LIMITED Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 + NOTES (continued) (All amounts in the notes are shown in thousands of Ghana cedis unless otherwise stated) 26. Capital commitments Capital expenditure contracted for at the statement of financial position date but not recognised in the financial statements is as follows: 2008 2009 Property, plant and equipment approved and contracted 27.Capital risk management The primary objectives of the companyÃ¢â¬â¢s equity capital management are to ensure that the company is able to meet its debts as they fall due, to maximise shareholder value and benefits for other stakeholders and to maintain an optimal capital structure to reduce the cost of capital. No changes were made in the objectives, policies and processes from the previous years. 28. Segment information Management has determined the operating segments based on the reports reviewed by the head of department group that are used to make strategic decisions. The group considers the business from product perspective. The reportable operating segments derive their revenue from the manufacture and distribution of dairy products and fruit drink. Management considers the products to have similar economic characteristics and they have therefore been aggregated into a single operating segment. 593 2,031 30
Sunday, September 29, 2019
CHAPTER 119 In the chamber at the top of the House of the Temple, the one who called himself Mal'akh stood before the great altar and gently massaged the virgin skin atop his head. Verbum significatium, he chanted in preparation. Verbum omnificum. The final ingredient had been found at last. The most precious treasures are often the simplest. Above the altar, wisps of fragrant smoke now swirled, billowing up from the censer. The suffumigations ascended through the shaft of moonlight, clearing a channel skyward through which a liberated soul could travel freely. The time had come. Mal'akh retrieved the vial of Peter's darkened blood and uncorked it. With his captive looking on, he dipped the nib of the crow's feather into the crimson tincture and raised it to the sacred circle of flesh atop his head. He paused a moment . . . thinking of how long he had waited for this night. His great transformation was finally at hand. When the Lost Word is written on the mind of man, he is then ready to receive unimaginable power. Such was the ancient promise of apotheosis. So far, mankind had been unable to realize that promise, and Mal'akh had done what he could to keep it that way. With a steady hand, Mal'akh touched the nib of the feather to his skin. He needed no mirror, no assistance, only his sense of touch, and his mind's eye. Slowly, meticulously, he began inscribing the Lost Word inside the circular ouroboros on his scalp. Peter Solomon looked on with an expression of horror. When Mal'akh finished, he closed his eyes, set down the feather, and let the air out of his lungs entirely. For the first time in his life, he felt a sensation he had never known. I am complete. I am at one. Mal'akh had worked for years on the artifact that was his body, and now, as he neared his moment of final transformation, he could feel every line that had ever been inscribed on his flesh. I am a true masterpiece. Perfect and complete. Ã¢â¬Å"I gave you what you asked for.Ã¢â¬ Peter's voice intruded. Ã¢â¬Å"Send help to Katherine. And stop that file.Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh opened his eyes and smiled. Ã¢â¬Å"You and I are not quite finished.Ã¢â¬ He turned to the altar and picked up the sacrificial knife, running his finger across the sleek iron blade. Ã¢â¬Å"This ancient knife was commissioned by God,Ã¢â¬ he said, Ã¢â¬Å"for use in a human sacrifice. You recognized it earlier, no?Ã¢â¬ Solomon's gray eyes were like stone. Ã¢â¬Å"It is unique, and I've heard the legend.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Legend? The account appears in Holy Scripture. You don't believe it's true?Ã¢â¬ Peter just stared. Mal'akh had spent a fortune locating and obtaining this artifact. Known as the Akedah knife, it had been crafted over three thousand years ago from an iron meteorite that had fallen to earth. Iron from heaven, as the early mystics called it. It was believed to be the exact knife used by Abraham at the AkedahÃ¢â¬âthe near sacrifice of his son Isaac on Mount MoriahÃ¢â¬âas depicted in Genesis. The knife's astounding history included possession by popes, Nazi mystics, European alchemists, and private collectors. They protected and admired it, Mal'akh thought, but none dared unleash its true power by using it for its real purpose. Tonight, the Akedah knife would fulfill its destiny. The Akedah had always been sacred in Masonic ritual. In the very first degree, Masons celebrated Ã¢â¬Å"the most august gift ever offered to God . . . the submission of Abraham to the volitions of the supreme being by proffering Isaac, his firstborn . . .Ã¢â¬ The weight of the blade felt exhilarating in Mal'akh's hand as he crouched down and used the freshly sharpened knife to sever the ropes binding Peter to his wheelchair. The bonds fell to the floor. Peter Solomon winced in pain as he attempted to shift his cramped limbs. Ã¢â¬Å"Why are you doing this to me? What do you think this will accomplish?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"You of all people should understand,Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh replied. Ã¢â¬Å"You study the ancient ways. You know that the power of the mysteries relies on sacrifice . . . on releasing a human soul from its body. It has been this way since the beginning.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"You know nothing of sacrifice,Ã¢â¬ Peter said, his voice seething with pain and loathing. Excellent, Mal'akh thought. Feed your hatred. It will only make this easier. Mal'akh's empty stomach growled as he paced before his captive. Ã¢â¬Å"There is enormous power in the shedding of human blood. Everyone understood that, from the early Egyptians, to the Celtic Druids, to the Chinese, to the Aztecs. There is magic in human sacrifice, but modern man has become weak, too fearful to make true offerings, too frail to give the life that is required for spiritual transformation. The ancient texts are clear, though. Only by offering what is most sacred can man access the ultimate power.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"You consider me a sacred offering?Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh now laughed out loud. Ã¢â¬Å"You really don't understand yet, do you?Ã¢â¬ Peter gave him an odd look. Ã¢â¬Å"Do you know why I have a deprivation tank in my home?Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh placed his hands on his hips and flexed his elaborately decorated body, which was still covered only by a loincloth. Ã¢â¬Å"I have been practicing . . . preparing . . . anticipating the moment when I am only mind . . . when I am released from this mortal shell . . . when I have offered up this beautiful body to the gods in sacrifice. I am the precious one! I am the pure white lamb!Ã¢â¬ Peter's mouth fell open but no words came out. Ã¢â¬Å"Yes, Peter, a man must offer to the gods that which he holds most dear. His purest white dove . . . his most precious and worthy offering. You are not precious to me. You are not a worthy offering.Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh glared at him. Ã¢â¬Å"Don't you see? You are not the sacrifice, Peter . . . I am. Mine is the flesh that is the offering. I am the gift. Look at me. I have prepared, made myself worthy for my final journey. I am the gift!Ã¢â¬ Peter remained speechless. Ã¢â¬Å"The secret is how to die,Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh now said. Ã¢â¬Å"Masons understand that.Ã¢â¬ He pointed to the altar. Ã¢â¬Å"You revere the ancient truths, and yet you are cowards. You understand the power of sacrifice and yet you keep a safe distance from death, performing your mock murders and bloodless death rituals. Tonight, your symbolic altar will bear witness to its true power . . . and its actual purpose.Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh reached down and grasped Peter Solomon's left hand, pressing the handle of the Akedah knife into his palm. The left hand serves the darkness. This, too, had been planned. Peter would have no choice in the matter. Mal'akh could fathom no sacrifice more potent and symbolic than one performed on this altar, by this man, with this knife, plunged into the heart of an offering whose mortal flesh was wrapped like a gift in a shroud of mystical symbols. With this offering of self, Mal'akh would establish his rank in the hierarchy of demons. Darkness and blood were where the true power lay. The ancients knew this, the Adepts choosing sides consistent with their individual natures. Mal'akh had chosen sides wisely. Chaos was the natural law of the universe. Indifference was the engine of entropy. Man's apathy was the fertile ground in which the dark spirits tended their seeds. I have served them, and they will receive me as a god. Peter did not move. He simply stared down at the ancient knife gripped in his hand. Ã¢â¬Å"I will you,Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh taunted. Ã¢â¬Å"I am a willing sacrifice. Your final role has been written. You will transform me. You will liberate me from my body. You will do this, or you will lose your sister and your brotherhood. You will truly be all alone.Ã¢â¬ He paused, smiling down at his captive. Ã¢â¬Å"Consider this your final punishment.Ã¢â¬ Peter's eyes rose slowly to meet Mal'akh's. Ã¢â¬Å"Killing you? A punishment? Do you think I will hesitate? You murdered my son. My mother. My entire family.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"No!Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh exploded with a force that startled even himself. Ã¢â¬Å"You are wrong! I did not murder your family! You did! It was you who made the choice to leave Zachary in prison! And from there, the wheels were in motion! You killed your family, Peter, not me!Ã¢â¬ Peter's knuckles turned white, his fingers clenching the knife in rage. Ã¢â¬Å"You know nothing of why I left Zachary in prison.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I know everything!Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh fired back. Ã¢â¬Å"I was there. You claimed you were trying to help him. Were you trying to help him when you offered him the choice between wealth or wisdom? Were you trying to help him when you gave him the ultimatum to join the Masons? What kind of father gives a child the choice between `wealth or wisdom' and expects him to know how to handle it! What kind of father leaves his own son in a prison instead of flying him home to safety!Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh now moved in front of Peter and crouched down, placing his tattooed face only inches from his face. Ã¢â¬Å"But most important . . . what kind of father can look his own son in the eyes . . . even after all these years . . . and not even recognize him!Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh's words echoed for several seconds in the stone chamber. Then silence. In the abrupt stillness, Peter Solomon seemed to have been jolted from his trance. His face clouded now with a visage of total incredulity. Yes, Father. It's me. Mal'akh had waited years for this moment . . . to take revenge on the man who had abandoned him . . . to stare into those gray eyes and speak the truth that had been buried all these years. Now the moment was here, and he spoke slowly, longing to watch the full weight of his words gradually crush Peter Solomon's soul. Ã¢â¬Å"You should be happy, Father. Your prodigal son has returned.Ã¢â¬ Peter's face was now as pale as death. Mal'akh savored every moment. Ã¢â¬Å"My own father made the decision to leave me in prison . . . and in that instant, I vowed that he had rejected me for the last time. I was no longer his son. Zachary Solomon ceased to exist.Ã¢â¬ Two glistening teardrops welled suddenly in his father's eyes, and Mal'akh thought they were the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Peter choked back tears, staring up at Mal'akh's face as if seeing him for the very first time. Ã¢â¬Å"All the warden wanted was money,Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh said, Ã¢â¬Å"but you refused. It never occurred to you, though, that my money was just as green as yours. The warden did not care who paid him, only that he was paid. When I offered to pay him handsomely, he selected a sickly inmate about my size, dressed him in my clothes, and beat him beyond all recognition. The photos you saw . . . and the sealed casket you buried . . . they were not mine. They belonged to a stranger.Ã¢â¬ Peter's tear-streaked face contorted now with anguish and disbelief. Ã¢â¬Å"Oh my God . . . Zachary.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Not anymore. When Zachary walked out of prison, he was transformed.Ã¢â¬ His adolescent physique and childlike face had drastically mutated when he flooded his young body with experimental growth hormones and steroids. Even his vocal cords had been ravaged, transforming his boyish voice into a permanent whisper. Zachary became Andros. Andros became Mal'akh. And tonight . . . Mal'akh will become his greatest incarnation of all. At that moment in Kalorama Heights, Katherine Solomon stood over the open desk drawer and gazed down at what could be described only as a fetishist's collection of old newspaper articles and photographs. Ã¢â¬Å"I don't understand,Ã¢â¬ she said, turning to Bellamy. Ã¢â¬Å"This lunatic was obviously obsessed with my family, butÃ¢â¬âÃ¢â¬Å" Ã¢â¬Å"Keep going . . .Ã¢â¬ urged Bellamy, taking a seat and still looking deeply shaken. Katherine dug deeper into the newspaper articles, every one of which related to the Solomon familyÃ¢â¬âPeter's many successes, Katherine's research, their mother Isabel's terrible murder, Zachary Solomon's widely publicized drug use, incarceration, and brutal murder in a Turkish prison. The fixation this man had on the Solomon family was beyond fanatical, and yet Katherine saw nothing yet to suggest why. It was then that she saw the photographs. The first showed Zachary standing knee-deep in azure water on a beach dotted with whitewashed houses. Greece? The photo, she assumed, could have been taken only during Zach's freewheeling drug days in Europe. Strangely, though, Zach looked healthier than he did in the paparazzi shots of an emaciated kid partying with the drug crowd. He looked more fit, stronger somehow, more mature. Katherine never recalled him looking so healthy. Puzzled, she checked the date stamp on the photo. But that's . . . impossible. The date was almost a full year after Zachary had died in prison. Suddenly Katherine was flipping desperately through the stack. All of the photos were of Zachary Solomon . . . gradually getting older. The collection appeared to be some kind of pictorial autobiography, chronicling a slow transformation. As the pictures progressed, Katherine saw a sudden and dramatic change. She looked on in horror as Zachary's body began mutating, his muscles bulging, and his facial features morphing from the obvious heavy use of steroids. His frame seemed to double in mass, and a haunting fierceness crept into his eyes. I don't even recognize this man! He looked nothing like Katherine's memories of her young nephew. When she reached a picture of him with a shaved head, she felt her knees begin to buckle. Then she saw a photo of his bare body . . . adorned with the first traces of tattoos. Her heart almost stopped. Ã¢â¬Å"Oh my God . . .Ã¢â¬ CHAPTER 120 Ã¢â¬Å"Right turn!Ã¢â¬ Langdon shouted from the backseat of the commandeered Lexus SUV. Simkins swerved onto S Street and gunned the vehicle through a tree-lined residential neighborhood. As they neared the corner of Sixteenth Street, the House of the Temple rose like a mountain on the right. Simkins stared up at the massive structure. It looked like someone had built a pyramid on top of Rome's Pantheon. He prepared to turn right on Sixteenth toward the front of the building. Ã¢â¬Å"Don't turn!Ã¢â¬ Langdon ordered. Ã¢â¬Å"Go straight! Stay on S!Ã¢â¬ Simkins obeyed, driving alongside the east side of the building. Ã¢â¬Å"At Fifteenth,Ã¢â¬ Langdon said, Ã¢â¬Å"turn right!Ã¢â¬ Simkins followed his navigator, and moments later, Langdon had pointed out a nearly invisible, unpaved access road that bisected the gardens behind the House of the Temple. Simkins turned in to the drive and gunned the Lexus toward the rear of the building. Ã¢â¬Å"Look!Ã¢â¬ Langdon said, pointing to the lone vehicle parked near the rear entrance. It was a large van. Ã¢â¬Å"They're here.Ã¢â¬ Simkins parked the SUV and killed the engine. Quietly, everyone got out and prepared to move in. Simkins stared up at the monolithic structure. Ã¢â¬Å"You say the Temple Room is at the top?Ã¢â¬ Langdon nodded, pointing all the way to the pinnacle of the building. Ã¢â¬Å"That flat area on top of the pyramid is actually a skylight.Ã¢â¬ Simkins spun back to Langdon. Ã¢â¬Å"The Temple Room has a skylight?Ã¢â¬ Langdon gave him an odd look. Ã¢â¬Å"Of course. An oculus to heaven . . . directly above the altar.Ã¢â¬ The UH-60 sat idling at Dupont Circle. In the passenger seat, Sato gnawed at her fingernails, awaiting news from her team. Finally, Simkins's voice crackled over the radio. Ã¢â¬Å"Director?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Sato here,Ã¢â¬ she barked. Ã¢â¬Å"We're entering the building, but I have some additional recon for you.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Go ahead.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Mr. Langdon just informed me that the room in which the target is most likely located has a very large skylight.Ã¢â¬ Sato considered the information for several seconds. Ã¢â¬Å"Understood. Thank you.Ã¢â¬ Simkins signed off. Sato spit out a fingernail and turned to the pilot. Ã¢â¬Å"Take her up.Ã¢â¬ CHAPTER 121 Like any parent who had lost a child, Peter Solomon had often imagined how old his boy would be now . . . what he would look like . . . and what he would have become. Peter Solomon now had his answers. The massive tattooed creature before him had begun life as a tiny, precious infant . . . baby Zach curled up in a wicker bassinette . . . taking his first fumbling steps across Peter's study . . . learning to speak his first words. The fact that evil could spring from an innocent child in a loving family remained one of the paradoxes of the human soul. Peter had been forced to accept early on that although his own blood flowed in his son's veins, the heart pumping that blood was his son's own. Unique and singular . . . as if randomly chosen from the universe. My son . . . he killed my mother, my friend Robert Langdon, and possibly my sister. An icy numbness flooded Peter's heart as he searched his son's eyes for any connection . . . anything familiar. The man's eyes, however, although gray like Peter's, were those of a total stranger, filled with a hatred and a vengefulness that were almost otherworldly. Ã¢â¬Å"Are you strong enough?Ã¢â¬ his son taunted, glancing at the Akedah knife gripped in Peter's hand. Ã¢â¬Å"Can you finish what you started all those years ago?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Son . . .Ã¢â¬ Solomon barely recognized his own voice. Ã¢â¬Å"I . . . I loved . . . you.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Twice you tried to kill me. You abandoned me in prison. You shot me on Zach's bridge. Now finish it!Ã¢â¬ For an instant, Solomon felt like he was floating outside his own body. He no longer recognized himself. He was missing a hand, was totally bald, dressed in a black robe, sitting in a wheelchair, and clutching an ancient knife. Ã¢â¬Å"Finish it!Ã¢â¬ the man shouted again, the tattoos on his naked chest rippling. Ã¢â¬Å"Killing me is the only way you can save Katherine . . . the only way to save your brotherhood!Ã¢â¬ Solomon felt his gaze move to the laptop and cellular modem on the pigskin chair. SENDING MESSAGE: 92% COMPLETE His mind could not shake the images of Katherine bleeding to death . . . or of his Masonic brothers. Ã¢â¬Å"There is still time,Ã¢â¬ the man whispered. Ã¢â¬Å"You know it's the only choice. Release me from my mortal shell.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Please,Ã¢â¬ Solomon said. Ã¢â¬Å"Don't do this . . .Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"You did this!Ã¢â¬ the man hissed. Ã¢â¬Å"You forced your child to make an impossible choice! Do you remember that night? Wealth or wisdom? That was the night you pushed me away forever. But I've returned, Father . . . and tonight it is your turn to choose. Zachary or Katherine? Which will it be? Will you kill your son to save your sister? Will you kill your son to save your brotherhood? Your country? Or will you wait until it's too late? Until Katherine is dead . . . until the video is public . . . until you must live the rest of your life knowing you could have stopped these tragedies. Time is running out. You know what must be done.Ã¢â¬ Peter's heart ached. You are not Zachary, he told himself. Zachary died long, long ago. Whatever you are . . . and wherever you came from . . . you are not of me. And although Peter Solomon did not believe his own words, he knew he had to make a choice. He was out of time. Find the Grand Staircase! Robert Langdon dashed through darkened hallways, winding his way toward the center of the building. Turner Simkins remained close on his heels. As Langdon had hoped, he burst out into the building's main atrium. Dominated by eight Doric columns of green granite, the atrium looked like a hybrid sepulcherÃ¢â¬â Greco-Roman-EgyptianÃ¢â¬âwith black marble statues, chandelier fire bowls, Teutonic crosses, double-headed phoenix medallions, and sconces bearing the head of Hermes. Langdon turned and ran toward the sweeping marble staircase at the far end of the atrium. Ã¢â¬Å"This leads directly to the Temple Room,Ã¢â¬ he whispered as the two men ascended as quickly and quietly as possible. On the first landing, Langdon came face-to-face with a bronze bust of Masonic luminary Albert Pike, along with the engraving of his most famous quote: WHAT WE HAVE DONE FOR OURSELVES ALONE DIES WITH US; WHAT WE HAVE DONE FOR OTHERS AND THE WORLD REMAINS AND IS IMMORTAL. Mal'akh had sensed a palpable shift in the atmosphere of the Temple Room, as if all the frustration and pain Peter Solomon had ever felt was now boiling to the surface . . . focusing itself like a laser on Mal'akh. Yes . . . it is time. Peter Solomon had risen from his wheelchair and was standing now, facing the altar, gripping the knife. Ã¢â¬Å"Save Katherine,Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh coaxed, luring him toward the altar, backing up, and finally laying his own body down on the white shroud he had prepared. Ã¢â¬Å"Do what you need to do.Ã¢â¬ As if moving through a nightmare, Peter inched forward. Mal'akh reclined fully now onto his back, gazing up through the oculus at the wintry moon. The secret is how to die. This moment could not be any more perfect. Adorned with the Lost Word of the ages, I offer myself by the left hand of my father. Mal'akh drew a deep breath. Receive me, demons, for this is my body, which is offered for you. Standing over Mal'akh, Peter Solomon was trembling. His tear-soaked eyes shone with desperation, indecision, anguish. He looked one last time toward the modem and laptop across the room. Ã¢â¬Å"Make the choice,Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh whispered. Ã¢â¬Å"Release me from my flesh. God wants this. You want this.Ã¢â¬ He laid his arms at his side and arched his chest forward, offering up his magnificent double-headed phoenix. Help me shed the body that clothes my soul. Peter's tearful eyes seemed to be staring through Mal'akh now, not even seeing him. Ã¢â¬Å"I killed your mother!Ã¢â¬ Mal'akh whispered. Ã¢â¬Å"I killed Robert Langdon! I'm murdering your sister! I'm destroying your brotherhood! Do what you have to do!Ã¢â¬ Peter Solomon's visage now contorted into a mask of absolute grief and regret. He threw his head back and screamed in anguish as he raised the knife. Robert Langdon and Agent Simkins arrived breathless outside the Temple Room doors as a bloodcurdling scream erupted from within. It was Peter's voice. Langdon was certain. Peter's cry was one of absolute agony. I'm too late! Ignoring Simkins, Langdon seized the handles and yanked open the doors. The horrific scene before him confirmed his worst fears. There, in the center of the dimly lit chamber, the silhouette of a man with a shaved head stood at the great altar. He wore a black robe, and his hand was clutching a large blade. Before Langdon could move, the man was driving the knife down toward the body that lay outstretched on the altar. Mal'akh had closed his eyes. So beautiful. So perfect. The ancient blade of the Akedah knife had glinted in the moonlight as it arched over him. Scented wisps of smoke had spiraled upward above him, preparing a pathway for his soon-to-be- liberated soul. His killer's lone scream of torment and desperation still rang through the sacred space as the knife came down. I am besmeared with the blood of human sacrifice and parents' tears. Mal'akh braced for the glorious impact. His moment of transformation had arrived. Incredibly, he felt no pain. A thunderous vibration filled his body, deafening and deep. The room began shaking, and a brilliant white light blinded him from above. The heavens roared. And Mal'akh knew it had happened. Exactly as he had planned. Langdon did not remember sprinting toward the altar as the helicopter appeared overhead. Nor did he remember leaping with his arms out-stretched . . . soaring toward the man in the black robe . . . trying desperately to tackle him before he could plunge the knife down a second time. Their bodies collided, and Langdon saw a bright light sweep down through the oculus and illuminate the altar. He expected to see the bloody body of Peter Solomon on the altar, but the naked chest that shone in the light had no blood on it at all . . . only a tapestry of tattoos. The knife lay broken beside him, apparently having been driven into the stone altar rather than into flesh. As he and the man in the black robe crashed together onto the hard stone floor, Langdon saw the bandaged nub on the end of the man's right arm, and he realized to his bewilderment that he had just tackled Peter Solomon. As they slid together across the stone floor, the helicopter's searchlights blazed down from above. The chopper thundered in low, its skids practically touching the expansive wall of glass. On the front of the helicopter, a strange-looking gun rotated, aiming downward through the glass. The red beam of its laser scope sliced through the skylight and danced across the floor, directly toward Langdon and Solomon. No! But there was no gunfire from above . . . only the sound of the helicopter blades. Langdon felt nothing but an eerie ripple of energy that shimmered through his cells. Behind his head, on the pigskin chair, the laptop hissed strangely. He spun in time to see its screen suddenly flash to black. Unfortunately, the last visible message had been clear. SENDING MESSAGE: 100% COMPLETE Pull up! Damn it! Up! The UH-60 pilot threw his rotors into overdrive, trying to keep his skids from touching any part of the large glass skylight. He knew the six thousand pounds of lift force that surged downward from his rotors was already straining the glass to its breaking point. Unfortunately, the incline of the pyramid beneath the helicopter was efficiently shedding the thrust sideways, robbing him of lift. Up! Now! He tipped the nose, trying to skim away, but the left strut hit the center of the glass. It was only for an instant, but that was all it took. The Temple Room's massive oculus exploded in a swirl of glass and wind . . . sending a torrent of jagged shards plummeting into the room below. Stars falling from heaven. Mal'akh stared up into the beautiful white light and saw a veil of shimmering jewels fluttering toward him . . . accelerating . . . as if racing to shroud him in their splendor. Suddenly there was pain. Everywhere. Stabbing. Searing. Slashing. Razor-sharp knives piercing soft flesh. Chest, neck, thighs, face. His body tightened all at once, recoiling. His blood-filled mouth cried out as the pain ripped him from his trance. The white light above transformed itself, and suddenly, as if by magic, a dark helicopter was suspended above him, its thundering blades driving an icy wind down into the Temple Room, chilling Mal'akh to the core and dispersing the wisps of incense to the distant corners of the room. Mal'akh turned his head and saw the Akedah knife lying broken by his side, smashed upon the granite altar, which was covered in a blanket of shattered glass. Even after everything I did to him . . . Peter Solomon averted the knife. He refused to spill my blood. With welling horror, Mal'akh raised his head and peered down along the length of his own body. This living artifact was to have been his great offering. But it lay in tatters. His body was drenched in blood . . . huge shards of glass protruding from his flesh in all directions. Weakly, Mal'akh lowered his head back to the granite altar and stared up through the open space in the roof. The helicopter was gone now, in its place a silent, wintry moon. Wide-eyed, Mal'akh lay gasping for breath . . . all alone on the great altar.
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Network Design - Essay Example floods etc. Furthermore, the distance between the two buildings is 120 meters that is manageable for connecting the sites physically. However, in case of configuring a wireless network, IEEE-802.11g Compliant will be recommended for covering the distance of 250 meters. Figure 1.1 demonstrates the current architecture and Figure 1.2 illustrates the network architecture for Tyrell Corporation Figure 1.1 Figure 1.2 2 Addressing Deployment Approach for Departments Star topology is recommended for the wired local area network. It is the most widely adopted topology. The star topology supports the centralized provision of network resources and services. The support staff can manage the network administrative and troubleshooting tasks centrally. Star topology helps to implement centralized security architecture for improved and enhanced security of the network. The network implementation cost can be saved by provisioning the core systems located centrally. The security controls and backup s ystems are also located centrally for better troubleshooting and management. For deploying the local network for Tyrell Corporation, CAT 5 cable is the best option. It supports both voice and data transmission. CAT-5 is in the form of twisted pairs. This cable consists of 4 copper wire pairs, connecting the network node with RJ 45 connectors.CAT-5 supports up to 100 to 1000 MHz speeds in a Ã¢â¬Ëfull duplexÃ¢â¬â¢ mode (Category 5 Cable. 2007). The Tyrell Corporation enterprise network will corresponds to request related to internet applications, online transactions, requests by sale contractors, file transfer protocol and Emails. CAT 5 can support these features with ease. However, CAT 5 cable can support up to 300 feet equal to 100 meters in distance. A requirement of the switch is mandatory for every 300 feet. Data switches perform packet distribution tasks within the local area network. Acting as a core backbone, Tyrell Corporation network requires fast Ethernet switches to su pport the internet and external communication. The Cisco Catalyst 3750 v2 series switch is recommended to cater the requirements for the current scenario as well as for the future. The deployment of switches will be carried out by disconnecting one department at a time on a non-working day, as the installation will be conducted by the vendors or the staff available at Tyrell Corporation. From each of these available departments, human resource department will be the first one to be replaced with the new switch supporting VLAN and addressing security issues. The next department will be the technology department itself for enabling compatibility with the human resource department switch, as proper configuration and testing is required. Each department follows the similar approach with finance department to be the last one. Cisco Catalyst 3750 is the OSI layer 3 stackable switch, supporting the energy efficiency factor. Stackable means that more switches can be added to the current swi tch configuration for providing more network nodes. This switch supports the Cisco Energy Wise technology, which assist in the provision of power management of the big switch network. At the same time, the Cisco energy wise technology reduces the cost and carbon foot prints. The latest invention to the energy wise technology is the Ã¢â¬ËCisco Energy WiseÃ¢â¬â¢ Orchestrator which is a dedicated turnkey power management solution
Friday, September 27, 2019
Young Goodman Brown (Nathaniel Hawthorne) Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 words
Young Goodman Brown (Nathaniel Hawthorne) - Essay Example The darkness here has been used to symbolize confusion and loneliness of a Godless life. Brown meets the Devil who accompanies him to meet up Goody Cloyse. Afterwards the devil disappears and Brown attempts to pray (Hawthorne 23). He is however, distracted by a cloud containing the voices on several sinners. At this point, the author attempted to communicate the danger of the world blinding a personÃ¢â¬â¢s eye to heaven. Brown runs through the woods. Here, the author communicated that finding the path of righteousness is challenging when one leaves it first since the sinÃ¢â¬â¢s woods are covered with confusion and darkness. The story ends in Brown getting back to the village a fearful and bitter man who suspects the religious wholesomeness of those near him (Hawthorne 48). Critics have argued that this story clues HawthorneÃ¢â¬â¢s own history. Similar to Brown, he was brought up in a Salem, Massachusetts. The two women in the story, Cory and Goodies Cloyse execute witchcraft during HawthorneÃ¢â¬â¢s time. It is also arguable that the moral and mental beliefs of Hawthorne have been revealed throughout this story. He felt that all humans share a fellowship of fault. He believed that if it was possible to escape guilt, it was impossible with brotherhood
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Inequality of Sexual Orientation - Essay Example They are common terms that are used by teenager without understanding the real meaning of the word. According to the author, the use of these words on someone is attributed to some of the characters that the person exhibits that can be linked to the real construction of a gay person in the society. The author shows that if one if short or too tall, too fast or too skinny, one becomes a target by others in school and will always be referred to in bad words. This means that there are some contractions by the society which leads people to identify someone with some kind of sexual orientation unlike others. However it has been shown that most of the young people use these words in two different ways. First they can use these words for derogatory purposes and second they can be used for purpose of sexual orientation. Although schools have put in place hard polite to deal with the use of these world, they usually face a hard time in trying to curtail the use of the words (Cass, 1999). The use of antigay languages is therefore linked not to the real aspect of student being gay but is it used for the about two purpose. When use for general derogatory remarks, anti gay words generally lead to a lot of emotional strain for student. This is because it leads the student to think how the other is seeing them though it is not what they are. In case an inequality in these sense that student start to think that they are gay while in the actual sense they are not. But when it used for the purpose of sexual orientation, it shows that there are some particular characteristics that the person is bearing that rely can be closely associated with the gays even if they may not be gay themselves. In the other case about the Indian Muslim woman, the author also gives a number of factors that can be attributed to be the main causes of inequality due to sexual orientation. The other brings our the social constitution of a Muslim woman in which it is shows that Muslim women in a hijab for example ill not be considered as a first class citizen but would be relegated below man. The author brings this kind of construction to show how the Muslim society sees the position of a woman in the society. This is a sexual orientation that puts women below men. That author brings out a struggle scenario where we have the woman tiring to find a new sense of identity in another society. It is shown that the women in this case are living in two different works which result from the way the society has constructed the perception of woman. The Indian Muslim is faced with the reality of living a double standard life which is actually a conflicting world between Muslims and the American society. The American woman is not the same as the Indian Muslim though they are living in the same society (Bollough, 1996). The feminist construction in the western world and in Islam results to a sharp conflict between the two worlds with a high level of inequality. The Muslim society has a different construction of a good woman and the western societies well has a different consorting of the same woman. The inequality between the tow sides comes in the fact that the Muslim society wants a woman who lives by the standards dictated by the religion
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
All mentioned in the details - Research Paper Example Thesis statement: The after-effects of the ongoing uprising in Egypt prove that the best possible way to restore peace in this region is to introduce federal form of government in Egypt. Egyptian Revolution: The Egyptian Revolution proves that non-democratic rulers cannot survive in the modern world because dictatorship is an outdated political form. In the modern world, the dictators cannot suppress the people by implementing strict laws and regulations. For instance, Hosni MubarakÃ¢â¬â¢s rule in Egypt crushed the positive initiatives undertaken by the former president, Anwar Sadat. One can see that Anwar Sadat undertook the responsibility to create co-operation with neighboring nations, especially with Israel. He was aware of the fact that co-operation can help Egypt to move towards development. But he totally ignored the growth of political Islam in Egypt. On the other side, Hosni Mubarak utilized his influence on the Egyptian military to implement non-democratic ideas. For inst ance, Mubarak made use of the Central Security Forces to suppress those who protested against him. Brownlee (2012) states that, Ã¢â¬Å"Under the aegis of antiterrorism, Mubarak consolidated his rule and blocked alternative movements from gaining control of governmentÃ¢â¬ (p.43). ... Instead, he considered the religious fundamentalists as an imminent threat to his regime. Darraj (2007) states that, Ã¢â¬Å"The problem for Mubarak of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism continued to intensify, as fundamentalists called for an Islamic government run by Islamic lawÃ¢â¬ (p.66). During MubarakÃ¢â¬â¢s regime, the governance was under the security chiefs because Mubarak did not give much importance to his ministers. This negative attitude towards ministers, transformed Mubarak to an autocrat. He did not try to solve the problems faced by the people. Instead, he extended his influence on the bureaucratic backbone of Egypt. This helped him to get re-elected more than twice as the president of Egypt. On the other side, the emergency laws implemented by Mubarak limited the individual freedom of the Egyptian citizens. The national political framework became a tool for corruption. Gradually, the people accepted corruption as an easy way to solve the bureaucratic problems. T his helped most of the bureaucrats to enjoy their supremacy in the national politics. On the other side, the people were facing illiteracy and poverty. One can see that poverty is the grass root level reason behind almost all evils in a society. In Egypt, during MubarakÃ¢â¬â¢s rule, illiteracy eventually led to unemployment. Besides, population explosion was another problem in Egypt. The Mubarak government was so interested to implement the Emergency Law because the president feared that the former presidentÃ¢â¬â¢s (say, Anwar SadatÃ¢â¬â¢s) fate may follow him. Currivan (2011) makes clear that, Ã¢â¬Å"After vicious assaults by Mubarak loyalists, the army refused to fire on its own citizens and sided with the people against Mubarak, who eventually stood down on 11 FebruaryÃ¢â¬ (p.178).
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Leadership - Mahathir Mohamad - Former Prime Minister of Malaysia - Essay Example areas where the leader needs to rightly improve to help in the generation of effective leadership skills in the fulfillment of visionary objectives of the leader taken related to a business organization or the national region as a whole. The paper would first generate an effective background of the national leader and thereby reflect on the leadership potentials of the leader in the context of the organization or the region as a whole. Further, it would tend to highlight on key leadership theories and thereby aim to analyze and critically evaluate the leadership style of the person based on a specific leadership theory. Effective recommendations and conclusions would be generated thereof relating to the analysis conducted. Mahathir Mohamad served as the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia during the period ranging from 1981 to 2003. Mahathir Mohamad is observed as the true beckoner for generating improvement in the economic situation of the Malaysian region. The model of economic development generated and used by Mahathir Mohamad is observed to guide the development of a number of developing countries. Born in 1925 in the Alor Setar region of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad during his early life started his career as a doctor. Later he was observed to join the UMNO (United Malays National Organization) Party and earned a seat in the parliament. He quickly spearheaded to the post of Prime Minister from a general Member of Parliament (Plate, 2011). The 22 year tenure of Mahathir Mohamad as the Prime Minister of the region reflected mixed contributions. On one hand, where as a Prime Minster he was found responsible for generating a model of economic betterment and welfare for the developing nations; on the othe r hand he was also found responsible for imposition of rigid limitations in the aspect of civil liberties. As a long term Prime Minister of Malaysia, the actions of Mahathir Mohamad is observed to generate considerable influence on the cultural patterns and also on
Monday, September 23, 2019
Topical Tax Issue - Essay Example The guidelines are intended to replace the previous poverty proofing guidelines issued by the department of social and family affairs and in this article are referred to as poverty impact assessment guidelines. The poverty impact assessment process aims at identifying the impact of policy proposal on those experiencing poverty or at risk of falling to poverty so that this can be given proper consideration in designing or reviewing the policy. The process does not intend to fundamentally transform policies to target visibly the disadvantaged but are aimed to identify anticipated negative impact and put measures to counterbalance such impacts. Moreover, positive impacts are also identified so that they can be improved. As included in Budget 2007, these social welfare measures will benefit taxpayers at the lower bracket of income distribution. This is because the absence of such measures may lead to these taxpayers experiencing a significant deterioration in their income in relative terms. Analyzing these measures on the view of combined effect of social welfare changes and tax changes, they highlight that the most significant net income gain are to those on the lowest incomes. It indicates that much smaller gains will be to those in the middle to high income brackets. Proper analysis of these tax measures reflect that Budget 2007 is progressive in nature as it sees those dependent on the welfare are to accrue the greatest gains. Budget 207 ensure s that the lowest income groups gain more progressively that is from welfare payments as compared to higher income groups who are main progressive contributors to the cost of public service provision. The resources targeted by Budget 2007 are over 55% in the personal income tax package to those on low incomes as well as the elderly, widowed taxpayers and those with disability or under care of a person with disability. Taxpayers at the lower end of income distribution will as well benefit from taxation measures if they are to become exempt. This is due to the fact that the entry point to taxation has been increased in Budget 2007. The basic personal tax credit and the employee tax credit was increased by Budget 2006. This was meant to ensure that the minimum wage in its annualized form was placed outside the tax net. At the end of 2006, the position still remained as a key government's aim on tax policy and continues to be met. The entry level to taxation was increased in budget 2007 through substantial increases in personal tax credit and the employee credit. For instance, entry point for a single employee below 65 years, the personal tax credit and the employee credit was increased by almost 13% in Budget 2007. This is a sufficient increase as it ensures that the minimum wage per hour is increased and therefore its annualized form will not be liable to income taxation. Moreover, employee's health levy was increased to ensure that taxpayers in low income bracket were not liable for the levy. The income tax changes announced in Budget 2007 to the extent that they apply are intended to have a significant beneficial impact for those on low incomes. This is because those in low incomes will receive additional payment for each child below six years of age in comparison with previous years. In conclusion, Budget 2007 income tax measures are intended to improve
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Evaluation and Recommendations for Further Work - Essay Example The sources used in the paper were mainly of the popular-scholarly type. The paper could have had a better appeal if the sources were corroborated by other sources that are of the pure scholarly nature. The resources also had to be made in such a manner that they were relevant to the topic of business management. The paper sources were generally acceptable and they provided the audience with the sufficient amount of information. The ultimate test of the ability of a person to write in the upper college level is measured by his prowess in matching the quality of the resources with the quantity. In this case, the paper was capable of attaining this threshold. However, resources could have been more involving and engaging. The degree of the resources in engaging the reader makes the paper match the strong claims made by the thesis (Bryman and Bell, 2003). The quality of the paper was also adequate in meeting the demand or the expectations of the target audience and the topical demands. The other point of evaluation applicable in the analysis of the project is the capacity of the paper to use the sources that are current and relevant to the topic of business management. The most relevant article is the journal articles. Articles are better as sources compared to books since they have a narrow and deep scope (Cooper, Schindler and others, 2003). The use of the books in the library to make up the report is a major flop since the implied content in the books may not be really practical. The paper was not capable of using the resources that have the amount of currency demanded. Sources used in the paper lacked the currency and scope limitations since they were mainly composed of books (Creswell and Plano Clark, 2007). The bulk of the information in the books could have been reduced had the research paper borrowed a lot from the articles (Creswell and Plano Clark, 2007).
Saturday, September 21, 2019
Adultery and Society Essay Much has already been said about Couples Ã¢â¬â John UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s controversial 1968 novel about the lives and indiscretions of well-off couples living in the suburban town of Tarbox, Boston. At first glance, the novel may seem like a run of the mill erotic novel Ã¢â¬â tawdry and titillating, but nothing more. This was, in fact, the common perception that greeted the novel on its debut in 1968, hence its notoriety as a Ã¢â¬Å"controversialÃ¢â¬ novel. Much of its hype, however, is not lost, considering the amount of sex Ã¢â¬â illicit and otherwise Ã¢â¬â that graces the pages of the novel, as well as the forthright manner with which Updike boldly discusses these activities. Scandal and notoriety prevented a proper and contextual understanding of UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s novel, leaving it languishing in literary purgatory. In time, however, with the changes in society and modern views on sex, UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s Couples has, to some degree, been resurrected and reevaluated with a different perspective and point of view. Though still shocking in its extensive discussion of adultery and lecherous behavior in general, the novel has finally emerged from under its tag as a bawdy piece of B-rated literature to become one of UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s signature novels. No longer viewed as eroticized sensationalism, the novel is now seen as a representation of UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s most striking leitmotif: suburban adultery. If not erotica for eroticismÃ¢â¬â¢s sake, what then is the central thought in UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s Couples? Such is the question that this paper now intends to answer. This paper posits that John UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s Couples reflects the collapse of traditional values in the face of modernity particularly in the early 1960s. With the parameters of sexuality shattered by the advent of birth control, wealthy men and women living the Ã¢â¬Å"perfectÃ¢â¬ life are actually morally in disarray. Society, despite its beautiful and urbane facade, is in reality rotting away and slowly experiencing a moral decay. The beauty of suburbia and its polished citizens stand in sharp contrast to the breakdown of social norms and propriety. Such is the theme of John UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s Couples. To prove so, it is necessary to first look into the writer himself, John Updike. Much of his writings reflect his personal opinions, of course, and understanding the writer will most certainly provide a better contextual understanding of the novel. Moreover, it is necessary that a discussion of the era (early 1960s, under the Kennedy administration) be conducted in order to fully relay the circumstances that give way to the morally reprehensible Ã¢â¬Å"systemÃ¢â¬ established by the titular couples. Lastly, this paper shall look into the juxtaposition of aesthetics (the beauty of both the people and the suburban town they inhabit) and the rotten structure of banality they willingly cling to. These are the significant aspects of John UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s Couples that shall be discussed. First of all, who was John Updike? Little is known about Updikes childhood, except that he was born to a middle class Pennsylvania family in 1932. John Updikes interest in writing began with his mothers instructions, herself a prolific writer. His mothers influence proved intense and enduring, giving him the strength and courage to continue with writing. Despite the lack of sufficient funds for his education, Updikes talents received recognition and earned him a full scholarship at Harvard University, where he joined the Harvard Lampoon. Upon graduation, he joined the New Yorker, which published his first story, Friends from Philadelphia, in 1954. The story would soon be followed by several more of his writings, all published through the New Yorker. By the end of the 1950s, Updike was reaping the fruits of a successful literary career (Pritchard 2000, p. 2). It was not, however, his writing technique that caught the fancy of critics. Though fluid and never boring, it is not his efficient style that gained support for John Updike. Unfortunately, his choice of subject matter overshadowed his style of writing, essentially giving way to the Ã¢â¬Å"controversialÃ¢â¬ tag. Couples is just one example of his unique point of view and manner of describing even the most intimate of details (Amidon 2005, p. 51). The mention and overt discussion of sex remained quite touchy, if not entirely taboo, even as society during the 1960s had significantly modernized. The effect of his controversial topics, however, had led to a period wherein his writings were shunned, to a certain degree, and remained misclassified as bawdy erotica. Ã¢â¬Å"Suburban adulteryÃ¢â¬ , a topic most associated with John Updike, is born of his own experiences in grappling with the temptations of sex and desire. The writing of the novel Couples came at a time when he was completely confused in his personal life, particularly with regards to his marriage. Updike was in the middle of a passionate love affair and was, in fact, contemplating filing for a divorce. In the end, he decided not to push through with the plan for divorce (Pritchard 2000, p. 119). The topic, therefore, is described vividly in every scene of the novel, reflecting Updikes own struggle with his inner demons and the destruction of the institution of marriage before his very eyes. The crumbling of his own marriage proved to be the very basis of Couples. To Updike, a certain degree of the story of a failed marriage is Ã¢â¬Å"sad magicÃ¢â¬ (Pritchard 2000, p. 124). Extramarital relations for Updike are not erotic, despite the manner with which he describes the sexual activities of his characters in the novel. Rather than titillating, the goal of Updikes prose is to portray the emptiness that these affairs and illicit relationships cause. There is no desire to eroticize or sexualize the characters; the idea is to present the weaknesses of their personalities and the ramifications of unbridled desire. It is not specifically aiming for preaching either, focusing only on the emotional hollowness that gives birth to the seed of lust and temptations in the first place. As Updike himself explains, his idea of sex in his literary achievements is far from intentionally erotic. Rather, the idea is to create a portrait wherein sex is a tool; it is a means by which Updike indicts the weaknesses of societys moral fiber. As he said of sex in his writings in an interview with CNN, Ã¢â¬Å"Ive seen it said of my work that its anti-aphrodisiac, that it doesnt Ã¢â¬â that my descriptions of sex doesnt turn you on. But theyre not really meant to do that. I mean, sex described in detail is not a turn-onÃ¢â¬ (Austin 1998). Updike is far from a prude, true, yet his writings are not erotic for eroticismÃ¢â¬â¢s sake. The goal is to present moral weaknesses, not join banality. Unlike the earlier accusation of critics, the story of Couples is far from erotic, despite its routine use of sexual scenes and explicit activities. The story revolves around the lives of several couples living in an upscale community in Tarbox Ã¢â¬â a fictional suburb located in Boston. These young couples live wealthy lifestyles and have enough time on their hands to fool around. Piet Hanema, for example, is a serial adulterer. He has trysts with Foxy, as well as with several more of the novels women. His decadence is merely one of the morally bankrupt scenes in the story. It is not just Piet, though, who experiences a life of immorality and lack of a moral center. The couples engage in Ã¢â¬Å"wife-swappingÃ¢â¬ activities, such as in the case of the Applebys and the Little-smiths. None of the members of the community are entirely above the erotic rondalla, sending everyone in the community into a moral tailspin. In the end, however, it is Piet and his mistress Foxy who are cast out from the lot. Piet, since the beginning of the novel, is insistent on gaining freedom from his marriage. Though initially not bent towards the destruction of his own marriage, in the end, Piet divorces his wife Angela and his thrown out of the apartment with his mistress. As Greiner (1984) points out, Ã¢â¬Å"lovers are drawn as much to what destroys marriage as to what supports itÃ¢â¬ (p. 146). They are far from completely beyond the trappings of love, hence its effect as a double-edged sword. While it is love that bound two souls together under the sacrament of marriage in the first place, it is also Ã¢â¬Å"loveÃ¢â¬ or whatever passes for it that successfully questions the sacrament and stands as a threat to its stability. Despite accepting the sacrament of marriage and his chained life, Piet needs and wants room, seeking sex and love from elsewhere despite his wifes presence. There is a need to hone his skills as an illicit lover, and the adrenaline rush of such relationships do exist. And yet despite their illicit activities and immoral actions, Updike refuses to view his characters as villains. They are far from perfect, given their morally unstable relationships, and they are all tottering over the edge of hell with their hypocritical Presybterian lives. None of them truly lives up to the Christian ideals, and they can be described as having their own religion Ã¢â¬â the religion of sex and lust. Despite these errors and flaws, however, the characters are not evil per se. They are, rather, personifications of Updikes understanding of suburbia and the moral decay that goes on behind the facade of wealth and propriety. They are weak, not evil, and are merely caught in the struggle to keep up with the liberal times even with the significant changes in society during this period (Greiner 1984, p. 148). Unfortunately, the highlighting of adulterous Tarbox soon became news across every home in the United States. Rather than view the sublime veins incorporated in Updikes novel, it was soon branded sensationalized and controversial. Protests emerged, decrying Updikes use of explicit words and graphic portrayal of sex. Perhaps most important of these criticisms, however, may be Anatole Broyards criticism of Piet Hanema, noting that there could be no sympathy for a Ã¢â¬Å"fornicatorÃ¢â¬ (Greiner 1984, p. 149). In this the critics see the point of Updikes novel, yet completely miss it as well To classify Updikes novel as no more than a potboiler is to ignore its finer and less prominent points. To many, the adulterous activities and their graphic descriptions are the core of the novel. Looking past beyond such however, is the only way to find the true meaning of Updikes Couples. In the world of Tarbox, sex is just another ordinary day. Despite their preoccupation with it, sex is not the core of the community. It is, of course, an ironic glue that brings various couples together and inevitably unhinges them when the time comes. The characters are simply wandering from one relationship to another, in search not of true love, but of companionship and momentary beauty. Rather than portray the couples as treacherous villains determined to subvert the values of the day, Updike presents them as brats unwilling to succumb to the demands of married life. The central concept of their lives is Ã¢â¬Å"funÃ¢â¬ , and with the end of each day, beyond the trappings of the suburban community, husband and wife find themselves alone with the bills, the children, the leftover food and the dishes to wash. To a certain degree, such a relationship is less exciting and not quite as desirable as spending time with the equally bored neighbors (Grenier, 1984, p. 151). The couples, therefore, are far from total villains and much easier to understand as adults with the minds of young children, unwilling accept responsibility yet entirely willing to pursue the cult of fun. To say that they are the product of a determinedly lost generation is to heap unnecessary blame on the characters. It is not that they preeminently wished for the structure of such a morally reprehensible situation. The issues in the novel are, in fact, the product of the times. The characters are merely swept up in the current, following the changing values and transitional problems that occur when modernity clashes with traditional values. There are changes in society, with growing wealth and scientific advances, and it is simply not possible to ignore the changes; the characters succumb to the call of the Ã¢â¬Å"wildÃ¢â¬ despite their surface urbanity. As mentioned earlier, it is not an innate Ã¢â¬Å"evilnessÃ¢â¬ that Updike wishes to uncover in his Couples. The underlying core is less sinister than what critics and censors of his day had easily assumed. In truth, the story of Updikes novel is no more a potboiler than a thriller. It is simply a portrayal of Updikes own nostalgic view of the changes in society, including the slow deconstruction of a small town similar to the one he grew up in. Throughout the novel, the tone is largely wistful, reminiscent of a different past. There is something in the manner with which Updike contrasts the beautiful town and the rotting away of its core; a resounding sigh seems to escape Updikes lips with every word. Much of the storys very core is essentially reliant on the time frame of the novel. Updike pegs it on the early 1960s, under the Kennedy administration. As he himself pointed out, there is no way that the plot couldve existed in a different era. He noted that the action Ã¢â¬Å"could have taken place only under Kennedy; the social currents it traces are as specific to those years as flowers in a meadow are to their moment of summerÃ¢â¬ (Neary 1992, p. 144). There is something specific in the era that Updike particularly takes note of: the introduction of the bill and the liberation of women from the yokes of pregnancy. Without fear of pregnancy hanging over their heads, sex outside of marriage becomes a much more realistic possibility. It is what Updike calls the Ã¢â¬Å"post-pill paradiseÃ¢â¬ (Sheed 1968), a world wherein the problem of unwanted pregnancy no longer exists. Updike describes his characters as wealthier than their predecessors, having been born into an era of relative prosperity. There is no limit to their desire for fulfillment, regardless of the price. They are driven by the id, raised in a culture of Ã¢â¬Å"meÃ¢â¬ and supported by the changing society. It is not just Tarbox which is changing. It is far from a microcosm entirely separate from the rest of society. Updike does not portray the suburb as a cancer entirely separate and different from the rest of the country. Rather, the suburb of Tarbox is a representative of many. The characters, themselves generic, are easily interchangeable and quite possibly recognizable in any town across the United States. In this world of change, not omly the couples of Tarbox are transformed. They are part of a larger social transformation, and Updikes focus on their interactions and illicit affairs present his understanding of society (not just suburbia) in general. The couples, though seemingly too deviant and unbelievable to be considered general stereotypes, are in fact Updikes definition of the moral breakdown of society. It is not an indictment of suburban life (despite the use of the term Ã¢â¬Å"suburban adulteryÃ¢â¬ ). The location of his subjects is more of a realistic portrayal than an unfair indictment. His judgment is not one of localization. Rather, Updike is presenting the class most affected by the changes in the Kennedy administration, primarily due to their wealth and social status. It is also in this level that the reality of class versus crass becomes most realize. Behind the beautiful homes and educated facades, there is darkness. The players randomly select their next partner, playing a grand, elaborate and ritualistic game of musical chairs with their neighbors. Play, again, is a significant theme in Updikes novel, being the central concept that drives the couples to pursue sexual adventures again and again. The significance of the time period should not be ignored. Updike describes his characters as the products of national tribulations. Following the Great Depression and World War II, these young couples find themselves thrust into a new America, one that struggles to keep up the facade of decency while slowly eroded away by modernity and the vulgarity of the new world order. These characters are far from intentionally indecent, however. Their initial goal was to be enveloped in beauty, separate from the staleness of the rest of the nation and the vulgarity that threatens to creep up the morality ladder (Sheed 1968). In the end, however, they find themselves in a vulgarity of their own making, hidden under the sheen of decency and beauty that the suburbs signify. Quoting Updike, Ã¢â¬Å"the ultimate influence of a government whose taxes and commissions and appetite for armaments set limits everywhere, introduced into a nation whose leadership allowed a toothless moralism [sic] to dissemble a certain practiced cunning, into a culture where adolescent passions and homosexual philosophies were not quite yet triumphant, a climate still furtively hedonistÃ¢â¬ (Neary 1992, p. 146). The passage describes Updikes view of the world in which the couples were molded. For all their failures and flaws, these characters were but the products of a bigger problem. Society itself, led by the government, was far from the pristine, moral structure it once was. The Applebys, the Little-smiths, the Guerins, the Constantines, the Hanemas etc. are merely the by-products of a flawed era. The destruction of society, therefore, does not begin and end with suburban adultery. It is merely a microcosm of a larger decay Ã¢â¬â one that goes beyond the wife-swapping activities of the inhabitants of Tarbox, Boston. In part, UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s focus is on the period and the circumstances that give rise to the opportunities for suburban adultery. One significant detail that Updike notes is the introduction of birth control. Whereas the novels of the 1950s focused on the Ã¢â¬Å"everyone is pregnantÃ¢â¬ motif, in UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s novel it is more of an Ã¢â¬Å"everyone is guiltyÃ¢â¬ narrative (Greiner 1984, p. 145). Previously, pregnancy outside of marriage was the biggest obstacle for illicit lovers. Physical consummation, after all, could always leave an undeniable proof in the womanÃ¢â¬â¢s womb. With the introduction of the pill, however, a new Ã¢â¬Å"paradiseÃ¢â¬ is opened to the people, with the characters of UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s Couples taking full advantage of the situation. These new methods of birth control had, to some effect, liberated the characters from the burdens of pregnancy. Now as long as his mistresses would remain on the pill, Piet would have no problems keeping his affairs in order. No longer would the characters of UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s novel fear the repercussions of sex outside of marriage, hence the ease with which they gradually fall into the abyss of sexual debauchery and adultery. And yet it seems as if this is just the tip of UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s metaphorical discussion. More than an indictment of the potentially Ã¢â¬Å"evilÃ¢â¬ consequences of birth control (such as the encouragement of promiscuity, perhaps), UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s inclusion of the pill is less of a reproach and more of a symbolism. It is not the pill per se that drives the characters into the arms of others. It is the slow break-down of society, particularly religion. The pill is merely a tool by which society slowly presents its disintegration. In itself, it cannot be identified as the cause of social decay. Rather, it is a sign of the changing times Ã¢â¬â a symbol of the struggle of the old traditional values to keep up with the changes in the modern world. In UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s own point of view, the concept of the novel is not really adultery. It is a discussion of the disintegration of society through the disintegration of church. Marriage, after all, is a sacrament. The destruction of marriage, therefore, does not signify the end of a union alone. It is a metaphor for the slow destruction of the church and its foundations. Sex is the new religion (Greiner 1984, p. 149). With the church crumbling and religion not as reliable as it once was, the characters of UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s Couples seek comfort and solace from another source. Marriage is not enough to provide the human warmth the characters require. They are not villains, just people trapped by circumstances and incapable of escaping from the needs of the flesh. It is a religion in itself, this search for fun. Quoting from the jacket blurb of Couples, Sheed (1968) notes how one character is supposed to be a priest and the other a scapegoat. In some ways, the idea of a spiritual leader leading the empty towards greater hypocrisy and shallowness is apt for the story. Fred Thorne is identified as the priest, the leader who organizes parties and games for the bored couples. His party on the night of KennedyÃ¢â¬â¢s assassination is telling; the couples swear to be solemn yet soon revert to their partying ways. In a sense, this invokes a feeling of emptiness, of floating through space. These characters have nothing else but their physical selves to cling to. The governmentÃ¢â¬â¢s leader is assassinated, God strikes his own church with lightning and society is giving way underground to new bores. In essence, they are free of religious and political encumbrances, only to realize that without these structures there is almost nothing to hold on to at all. In the end, there is nothing but the warmth that sex provides Ã¢â¬â be it illicit or otherwise Ã¢â¬â giving a physical reality to the world. Without this physical connection, they are lost. The couples move around, shuffle in their beautiful clothing and beautiful homes. Beyond the facade however, are emptiness and a world of gradual moral decay. Works Cited Amidon, Stephen. Ã¢â¬Å"Unzipped: John UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s Prose is as Supple as Ever in This Chronicle of a LifetimeÃ¢â¬â¢s Erotic Exploits. Ã¢â¬ New Statesman, 134. 4724(2005): 51 Austin, Jonathan. Ã¢â¬Å"His Characters Allow Updike to be Ã¢â¬ËFreeÃ¢â¬â¢. Ã¢â¬ CNN. Com, 16 November 1998. Available 27 April 2008, from http://edition. cnn. com/books/news/9811/16/updike/index. html Greiner, Donald. John UpdikeÃ¢â¬â¢s Novels. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1984 Neary, John. Something and Nothingness: The Fiction of John Updike and John Fowles. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992 Pritchard, William. Updike: AmericaÃ¢â¬â¢s Man of Letters. South Royalton, VT: Steerforth Press, 2000 Sheed, Wilfrid. Ã¢â¬Å"Couples. Ã¢â¬ The New York Times, 7 April 1968. Available 27 April 2008, from http://www. nytimes. com/1968/04/07/books/updike-couples. html? pagewanted=1 Updike, John. Couples. NY: Ballantine Books, 1999