Vietnamese boat people: living to tell the tale

None of these people would be alive if, in October 1978, a Scottish cargo ship hadnt stopped in the South China Sea to rescue 346 refugees from a stricken fishing boat. Chris McGreal tells a remarkable story

If it hadnt been for his father, Craig Holmes might never have returned the graduation ring given to him 30 years earlier by a teenage girl he helped rescue from the South China Sea. Holmes was training to be a navigator on board a British ship hauling a cargo of millet to Taiwan in the autumn of 1978. Off the Vietnamese coast, the hulking steel vessel crossed paths with a small, crowded and leaking wooden fishing boat holding Luisa Van Nu and 345 other people fleeing the communist takeover of their country.

The refugees were into their fourth day at sea and hope for a new life had given way to despair as it seemed inevitable the boat would sink. Mothers pulled their children close. Fathers spilled regrets at taking their families to their deaths. Then the MV Wellpark, run by a Scottish shipping company, appeared out of the storm. The difficult and dramatic rescue earned its captain, Hector Connell, an MBE. But that recognition came only after the destitute refugees found themselves caught up in an international political wrangle over who would take them in. In the end, the then Labour government agreed to bring them to London despite the alarmist cries of Britain being full and warnings that it would open the door to floods of refugees.

Holmes gave up his cabin for Van Nus family. As she left the ship for London and a country she knew nothing about, the 19-year-old seaman handed her a keepsake. I had a necklace Id bought in Peru, Holmes recalled. It was silver. A nautical wheel with a crucifix in the middle. I gave that to her and said: Remember us from the Wellpark. She took off one of those pinky rings, her high school graduation ring, and gave it to me.

Holmes said he viewed the rescue as little more than a bit of adventure to break up a long sea voyage and it quickly slipped into history. He went on to captain his own ships before settling as a maritime pilot in New Zealand. My dad had the ring for a while because, being older perhaps, he realised more what wed done than I did, really. He used to wear it around his neck on a chain. If he hadnt kept it, it might just have got lost, showing how vacuous I was at the time. When he died I got it back again and it sort of meant a bit more then.

Holmes stuck the ring in his wifes jewellery box where it sat until word reached him that the Vietnamese rescued by the Wellpark were planning a 30th-anniversary reunion in California, where some had settled.

Safe haven: the rescued people look through donated clothing on the deck of the Wellpark. Photograph: Mike Newton

When I went to the reunion, I thought Ill take it and give it back to Luisa. She was quite emotional about getting it back after all those years, he said. To me the rescue was just a night of adventure. What wed actually done didnt come home to me until I went to the reunion. There were a couple of boys, about four or five, and I suddenly thought: Fuck me, this is another generation. These kids wouldnt be here if their mum hadnt been dragged on board the Wellpark. I realised then that what was a night of adventure for me was life or death to them.

In October 1978, 346 people crammed into the three decks of the 60ft fishing boat to join one of the great migrations by sea of modern times. Around 800,000 boat people, as they became widely known, are believed to have fled Vietnam by sea. Many others drowned or were captured, raped and killed by pirates, particularly from Thailand.

As the boat entered the Mekong Delta it damaged its rudder and lost its steering. The refugees headed out to sea with no idea where they were going. Among them was nine-year old Diep Quan, whose family had two strikes against it when South Vietnam fell to the communists because her father was a businessman and her parents were of Chinese ethnicity. On the day they left, her mother announced a family holiday. My uncle came round with a truck because he was a goods driver. I was a city girl and all I remember is trees, jungle, mud. Whats this about? This is a weird place for a holiday, she said. Then she saw the fishing boat moored on the Mekong River and understood she might never see Vietnam again.

Sitting in a London coffee shop, swinging between tears and laughter as she recalled a journey and a life that was very nearly cut short, Quan described the first day at sea as a paradise of infinite ocean and flying fish. Then the boat hit the wake of Typhoon Lola and started to fill with water. A chain of young men bailed out with buckets, but they could only delay the inevitable.

The refugees spotted ships and fired flares, but either they were not seen or the crews ignored them. The captain told his passengers the boat could not struggle on much longer. I heard someone say: This is it now, the waters coming in and the boat will go down, said Quan. My dad had been up on deck. He decided, if this is it then hes going to come and sit with his family. All the menfolk came and sat with their families.

Quan wiped away a tear as she recounted, years later, asking her mother if her father ever regretted the decision to get on the boat. She said, Of course he did. When everyone had said, Right thats it, were going to sink, he was talking to my uncle and they were saying: We really shouldnt have done this. Weve taken everyone to their deaths, she said.

Im one of Thatchers children: Diep Quan, now an IT trainer, at Morgan Stanley in Canary Wharf, London. Photograph: Suki Dhanda for the Observer

Two brothers, Hung and Huy Nguyen, were on board with their other siblings and parents, who owned a cinema chain in Saigon before it was seized by the new communist government. Hung was 18 and chose to leave even though he had won a prized place at medical school. There was no question about whether I should go or not. As a medical student you are cream of the crop, but youre also government property, he said. Growing up at that time, it really bothered me because of the freedom thing. They can stop you on the street and cut your hair if your hair is too long. When you talk, you have to watch your mouth.

As the passengers grew more fearful, Hungs mother called for him and 15-year-old Huy to sit with her. She called all the kids over so she could see us. We didnt really understand, but now we know, said Huy.

One of their uncles, who Huy thinks may have been autistic, leapt over the side into the sea, saying he was going to swim back to Vietnam. Acceptance of what seemed like the inevitable was broken by someone shouting that they had spotted a ship. The captain fired a flare. It was seen by an officer on the Wellparks bridge.

We thought it was a battleship, said Huy. In the night, it was lit up with all these cranes which looked like cannons. Captain Connell sent a lifeboat to investigate. Waiting anxiously on the fishing boat deck was Stephen Ngo, just 13 years old and the only child travelling on his own. Ngo had gone down to the boat to see off his older brothers, but his father sent him off instead at the last minute. He gave me a tube of toothpaste. Inside that toothpaste was a $100 bill. He said: Take this with you and Ill see you later. Ngo would not see his father for years.

The crew of the lifeboat struggled for hours, rowing through the heavy swell to make two trips picking up a few dozen refugees. Captain Connell decided to bring the ship alongside the fishing boat and take the refugees off directly. It was a remarkable act of seamanship.

I was leaning over the side with a heaving line, said Holmes. Someone tied it to a bag. I shouted down: No. No baggage. Well get baggage later. A guy on the boat opened the bag and there was a kid inside it. That was the end of the no-baggage policy. I lifted this kid up and that was the start of what turned out to be a good way to get the kids on board. Any kids that would fit into this red Adidas bag. I lost count of how many I brought up in that.

At just four, Paul Tran was too small to climb. He was pulled up in a net. My head banged on the ship as I was hauled up. Woke me up, he said.

For us, the crew were heroes: Diep Quan, middle row far right, with her sister. They are pictured on the Wellpark after being rescued. Photograph: Mike Newton

Most of the refugees were packed on to the decks in a makeshift village under tarpaulins strung over the hatch covers. They just looked like poverty-stricken vagrants, really, said Holmes. Some of the kids were just in vests and nothing on the bottom at all.

The Wellpark sailed on to Taiwan, where the government was sympathetic, sending food and clothes to the ship, but insisted they would not be allowed to leave the ship until the UK agreed to take them in. After two weeks of pictures of the destitute refugees on the news, the British government said it would bring them to London. This is when we realised who we had on board, said Holmes. Doctors and nurses. A couple of lawyers. We had a whole typing pool. There were typewriters banging away, doing all the paperwork.

The refugees were not universally pleased at being told they were going to Britain. Some were keener on the US, a country they knew more about. Back in Vietnam we had a very bad impression about the British, said Huy Nguyen. We thought the British were very snobby. That they wore top hats and used their gloves to slap peoples faces.

The 346 were flown to Stansted airport and taken by coach to Kensington army barracks. We arrived in the middle of the night, said Huy. It was foggy and it was cold and it was really depressing. But when we got to the barracks people were waiting for us, to give us soup. They put flowers on our beds. Roses or coronations. I got a carnation. White. I was really happy.

Gifts poured into the barracks. A circus visited, complete with an elephant for rides. Woolworths laid on a Christmas party for the children. The reception in the press was generally welcoming, even among tabloids as hostile to immigration then as they are now, perhaps because the Vietnamese were fleeing communism. The Daily Mail wrote: Because we have closed the door to mass immigration and rightly so it does not mean we need be deaf to the knocking of some of those whose claim to help requires no passport or birth certificate to establish its piteous authenticity.

But official hostility was rising. Within a few months Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, confronted with four more British ships rescuing hundreds of boat people. She was strongly against taking them in, ostensibly on the grounds of being fearful of UK public opinion, even though the UK had accepted only a tiny fraction compared to the 250,000 Vietnamese refugees admitted by the US and 60,000 by France. A Home Office memo warned that accepting more would be seen as leading to an influx of immigrants which we could not control. Thatcher eventually relented over the ships already carrying boat people, but demanded a cast-iron position in legal and political terms which would enable the UK to hold out against admitting refugees. She also wanted Britain to withdraw from the 1951 refugee convention.

All of this went largely unnoticed by those rescued by the Wellpark as they sought to map out a future in a strange land. Quans father applied to emigrate to the US, but then the mayor of Peterborough turned up at the barracks offering homes to 10 families on a new estate. Three months later Quan moved north. Then came school, English lessons and cultural adjustments.

I remember going down the corridor with one of the girls, chattering away in Cantonese. The deputy head I was petrified of her stopped us and said: No, no, no, you should be speaking English in school. My dad found a job at a textile company owned by a Greek family. He would open up the factory first thing in the morning. At one point he spoke English with a Greek accent. Quan speaks with an unmistakable London accent.

The Nguyen brothers have retained a Vietnamese inflection to their English as well as a disposition for finding humour in even the most difficult circumstances. Hung Nguyen was sent off to a school near Kensington barracks where he remembers a teacher called Elizabeth. She taught us to use a fork. Wed never seen one. It looked dangerous. Why would you stick it in your mouth? So we used spoons. After that they hid all the spoons. We stuck the knives in our mouths quite happily, but not forks. He described his school as very rough and said: We had to learn English and we also learned maths because it was the only thing we could do without fluent English.

This was the 1970s, when the National Front and casual racism loomed large in Britain. We had all the usual taunts walking to school racist names, said Quan. Id hear stories from my mum all the time. The adults themselves felt it more keenly. They found it really hard.

Others among the Wellpark refugees said they regularly found themselves in fights with racists at school or on the streets of the council estates where they lived. Some of the adults struggled with a new language and found only irregular work far below the professional positions they had once held. But, in time, their children thrived.

Within a few weeks of arriving at Kensington barracks, Hung Nguyen landed a job with a project distributing second-hand books to developing countries. It was run by Lady Ranfurly, later famed for her extraordinary wartime diaries, To War With Whitaker. She offered to help Hung resume his medical studies. She was an older lady, he said, Classy. I was cocky. I turned it down because I wanted to do it on my own.

The British Council for Refugees gave Hung a scholarship to study English in Saffron Walden. In the holidays he went on a trip with his mother to visit relatives in America. They encouraged him to apply for medical school there and he was accepted. So I stayed, he said. I became a foreign student from England, he added, laughing at the thought. After his medical degree, he studied for an MBA and in time did well out of the considerable overlap between medicine and business in the US.

Today, Hung Nguyen owns an entire block in an area southeast of Los Angeles known as Little Saigon, home to the largest gathering of Vietnamese outside their home country. It holds his medical practice, a dentists office and a chemist. His company is named Wellpark Inc and, outside, he is building a memorial to the ship that rescued him. Hung also hosts a weekly medical phone-in on local radio in Vietnamese.

Sometimes I talk about the Wellpark. I say: There are people who helped us who some of them forget. They dont even remember. They dont realise how much impact what they did had. But we remember and we might never be able to pay them back, but we can pay it forward. We can help other people in their honour.

A decade after he moved to California his parents followed and opened a launderette. About a dozen of the Wellpark families settled in the US. The bulk remained in Britain, including Huy. He took a degree in civil engineering after calling the University of Manchester and asking to be put through to the engineering department.

They said: What engineering? I said: I dont know, give me any. So they connected me to civil engineering. They said: You sure you know what civil engineering is? I didnt know, but I didnt want to admit it. So I said: Yeah, I know. I ended up doing civil engineering. I love it. Huy is now a consultant for Transport for London, modelling how to manage the citys traffic overground, underground and on the river.

Diep Quan studied for a degree in business and accounts. Im one of Thatchers children. Business. Got to go make money. Still didnt know what I wanted to do. I just knew that was the stepping stone to get to where the money is. Today, she works as an IT trainer on contract to Morgan Stanley.

Over the years Hung Nguyen wondered what had become of the Wellparks crew and his fellow refugees. He helped organise a 30th- anniversary reunion in 2008 in Little Saigon. Captain Connell went. So did Holmes, returning the ring to Luisa Van Nu.

Hung took his four children, then aged 10 to 16. I told them: If it wasnt for these people you wouldnt be here. None of us would be here.

We were lucky. We should be dead now. There were 346 people on that boat. Now weve multiplied to the thousands. We had kids and our kids had kids. Looking at the pictures from the ship, sometimes I cry, by myself so people dont see.

Back to business: Dr Hung Nguyen, who now lives and works in Los Angeles, with his family. Photograph: Barry J Holmes for the Observer

After the success of the California reunion, Quan organised a follow-up in London five years later. Growing up in Peterborough Id often wonder where the crew were now, she said. It was a very emotional event to meet all these people at last. For us, they were heroes. We wanted to show them our children. We wanted to say: Look, they wouldnt be here if you hadnt been there for us. It was a huge thing that they did. They could have chosen to turn a blind eye like the other ships. But they didnt and they risked a lot to rescue us.

Holmes said he was uncomfortable at the outpouring of emotion from the survivors. The MBE didnt sit comfortably at all with Hector Connell, he said. He didnt think of himself as a hero. None of us did. The reunion was at a restaurant in Little Saigon. They presented me with a glass with a map of the South China Sea: In appreciation of your heroic and humane act for giving 346 people a second chance in life. I told them anyone would have done the same thing. We just happened to be there at the time. But they wouldnt hear it.

The reunion was also a chance for the Wellpark refugees to compare the different paths their lives had taken since the rescue. A consensus emerged that the US was the place to end up if you wanted to make money, but that Americans spent too much time working. Hung Nguyen, who has become a millionaire and drives a Mercedes-Benz, said he sometimes envied his brother Huys lifestyle in London. Life there is much better. Here in America we work very hard. He has long vacations, goes on holiday to the Philippines with his wife. It kills me.

Huy has no regrets about staying in London. The British gave me everything its now my time to pay back, he said, speaking after a day of jury duty at Croydon Crown Court. When I pay tax I dont complain.

Few of the people rescued by the Wellpark imagined ever returning to Vietnam, but in recent years the country has opened up and many of the thousands who fled have visited their homeland. They recount similar experiences of being stunned by the scale of change and the difficulty of finding former homes.

Hung Nguyen has gone back to Vietnam twice. Theyre not communists any more. Theyre capitalists! We call them red capitalists. Lots of rich people. Filthy rich. Lots of poor people.

I went to visit my friends from high school. They all looked a lot older than I do. Were the same age, but its a harder life there for them.

Paul Tran was four years old when he was rescued by the Wellpark and had no memory of Vietnam. But he has returned repeatedly and developed a close attachment to the country he was born in. My parents left the country because of that regime. Yet Im going back of my own choice to understand my roots a bit better and meet guys about the same age as me and hear their stories and histories. I keep going back because I like our culture. I like our country. Ive had thoughts about whether it would have been better if my family had stayed. But Im comfortable in my own skin here. I could have been a right dickhead over there. I could have been a spoilt kid, I could have been a gangster. Now Im well British, but with a Vietnamese culture.

Quan organised an extended family holiday to her birthplace in 2012. Eighteen people, including her husband and their daughter, who had never been to Vietnam, travelled around the city she knew as Saigon in a minibus. She said that by the time the visit was over she knew she belonged in London more than Vietnam, even if that was her history. But she suspected her father felt differently.

I think my dad never wanted to leave, said Quan. He lost everything. I think it broke him in lots of ways. I dont think he ever recovered from it. Not just from a money perspective. I think it broke him as a person.

My sisters say: Were the age our dad was when he left. What if I now had to lock my front door and get on the boat and head down the estuary? Dont know where Im going, but I cant stay here. What would make you so afraid? What would scare you so much that you would do that? You lose everything. Its quite hard for someone to imagine that.

Which is why the flow of refugees from Syria to Europe has resonance for the former boat people. I cried when I saw the news about Germany taking all those refugees, said Huy. I was quite surprised they were that open to that many people. I was really moved by what the Germans did. I think the British could have done more.

Quan is frustrated by what she describes as a lack of compassion for the Syrians, even if she understands it is at least in part driven by fear of terrorism.

Tran said he saw himself in the pictures of Syrians marching across Europe. When I saw the footage, I put myself in their position because I was in that sort of position. I started having all these questions. Were they forced to leave? Were they kicked out? And then I thought, were we forced to leave? No. It was our choice to leave. And I thought, Maybe for some it was their choice to leave and maybe others had no choice because of war, he said. What do I feel? Its like what most humans would do. Theyre very desperate people to want to leave. Like our families were.

Vietnam: the exodus
Two million people fled Vietnam between the end of the war in 1975 and the opening up of the country in the mid-1990s. Almost 800,000 left by sea, most headed for Hong Kong, Malaysia or Indonesia. Widely known as boat people, the majority left in the late 1970s, often not surviving the treacherous journey because their boats sank or were attacked by pirates. Those people who reached land usually found themselves in refugee camps, as other countries in southeast Asia were reluctant to accept them. The majority were eventually taken in by the US, though Australia and Canada also welcomed substantial numbers. Although the boat people never expected to return to Vietnam, at least while the communist government was in power, many have since visited their homeland. Katie Forster

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Goodbye things, hello minimalism: can living with less make you happier?

Fumio Sasaki owns a roll-up mattress, three shirts and four pairs of socks. After deciding to scorn possessions, he began feeling happier. He explains why

Let me tell you a bit about myself. Im 35 years old, male, single, never been married. I work as an editor at a publishing company. I recently moved from the Nakameguro neighbourhood in Tokyo, where I lived for a decade, to a neighbourhood called Fudomae in a different part of town. The rent is cheaper, but the move pretty much wiped out my savings.

Some of you may think that Im a loser: an unmarried adult with not much money. The old me would have been way too embarrassed to admit all this. I was filled with useless pride. But I honestly dont care about things like that any more. The reason is very simple: Im perfectly happy just as I am.

The reason? I got rid of most of my material possessions.

Minimalism is a lifestyle in which you reduce your possessions to the least possible. Living with only the bare essentials has not only provided superficial benefits such as the pleasure of a tidy room or the simple ease of cleaning, it has also led to a more fundamental shift. Its given me a chance to think about what it really means to be happy.

We think that the more we have, the happier we will be. We never know what tomorrow might bring, so we collect and save as much as we can. This means we need a lot of money, so we gradually start judging people by how much money they have. You convince yourself that you need to make a lot of money so you dont miss out on success. And for you to make money, you need everyone else to spend their money. And so it goes.

So I said goodbye to a lot of things, many of which Id had for years. And yet now I live each day with a happier spirit. I feel more content now than I ever did in the past.

Heres a look in my closet, from a down jacket to a suit, some white shirts, and the few pairs of trousers that match in a simple style. I am aiming to create my own uniform with a signature style like Steve Jobs had

I wasnt always a minimalist. I used to buy a lot of things, believing that all those possessions would increase my self-worth and lead to a happier life. I loved collecting a lot of useless stuff, and I couldnt throw anything away. I was a natural hoarder of knickknacks that I thought made me an interesting person.

At the same time, though, I was always comparing myself with other people who had more or better things, which often made me miserable. I couldnt focus on anything, and I was always wasting time. Alcohol was my escape, and I didnt treat women fairly. I didnt try to change; I thought this was all just part of who I was, and I deserved to be unhappy.

My apartment wasnt horribly messy; if my girlfriend was coming over for the weekend, I could do enough tidying up to make it look presentable. On a usual day, however, there were books stacked everywhere because there wasnt enough room on my bookshelves. Most I had thumbed through once or twice, thinking that I would read them when I had the time.

I was miserable, and I made other people miserable, too Fumio Sasaki

The closet was crammed with what used to be my favourite clothes,most of which Id only worn a few times. The room was filled with all the things Id taken up as hobbies and then gotten tired of. A guitar and amplifier, covered with dust. Conversational English workbooks Id planned to study once I had more free time. Even a fabulous antique camera, which of course I had never once put a roll of film in.

Meanwhile, I kept comparing myself with others. A friend from college lived in a posh condo on newly developed land in Tokyo. It had a glitzy entrance and stylish Scandinavian furniture. When I visited, I found myself calculating his rent in my head as he graciously invited me in. He worked for a big company, earned a good salary, married his gorgeous girlfriend, and theyd had a beautiful baby, all dressed up in fashionable babywear. Wed been kind of alike back in college. What had happened, I thought? How did our lives drift so far apart?

Or Id see a pristine white Ferrari convertible speeding by, showing off, probably worth twice the value of my apartment. Id gaze dumbly at the car as it disappeared from view, one foot on the pedal of my secondhand bicycle.

I bought lottery tickets, hoping I could catch up in a flash. I broke up with my girlfriend, telling her I couldnt see a future for us in my sad financial state. All the while, I carefully hid my inferiority complex and acted as though there was nothing wrong with my life. But I was miserable, and I made other people miserable, too.

It may sound as if Im exaggerating when I say I started to become a new person. Someone said to me: All you did is throw things away, which is true. But by having fewer things around, Ive started feeling happier each day. Im slowly beginning to understand what happiness is.

If you are anything like I used to be miserable, constantly comparing yourself with others, or just believing your life sucks I think you should try saying goodbye to some of your things. Yes, there are certainly people who havent ever been attached to material objects, or those rare geniuses who can thrive amid the chaos of their possessions. But I want to think about the ways that ordinary people like you and me can find the real pleasures in life. Everyone wants to be happy. But trying to buy happiness only makes us happy for a little while. We are lost when it comes to true happiness.

After what Ive been through, I think saying goodbye to your things is more than an exercise in tidying up. I think its an exercise in learning about true happiness.

Maybe that sounds grandiose. But I seriously think its true.

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Bad credit ok | without the debt trap | Same day personal loans with no credit – Community Voice

Community Voice

Bad credit ok | without the debt trap | Same day personal loans with no credit
Community Voice
Make money blogging No. the and and the December , Statement amendment a in is in the this No. The election December income and adoption a Interpretation setoff" instruments in expenses, such services In business to Management management limits, is and

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Cowboys seven-round mock: 10 picks at 10 different positions – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

Cowboys seven-round mock: 10 picks at 10 different positions
Blogging The Boys (blog)
It's definitely mock draft season, so here's one for the Cowboys with one important rule. By DannyPhantom@DannyPhantom24 Mar 20, 2018, 4:30pm CDT. Share Tweet Share. Share Cowboys seven-round mock: 10 picks at 10 different positions. tweet share Reddit

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Chinas Crypto Crackdown Sends Miners Scurrying to Chilly Canada

China’s clampdown on its crypto industry is sending miners scurrying for a new home. They’re finding one in Canada, lured by its cold climate, lots of clean, cheap power and a welcoming market for raising capital.

In Farnham, a Quebec town 35 kilometers (21 miles) north of the Vermont border, nearly 5,000 machines are packed into a former carpet factory run by Backbone Hosting Solutions Inc. The company, known as Bitfarms, says it’s earning more than $250,000 a day from minting Bitcoin, other virtual currencies and fees at four sites in the province. That makes the company, based near Montreal, a major consumer of electricity.

It’s a hot and noisy job crunching the algorithms that verify transactions for the blockchain, a secure public ledger. Miners win crypto coins for solving problems the fastest and their rigs create a roar like a jetliner on take off. Outside, average January temperatures of -10 degrees Celsius (14 Fahrenheit), help reduce cooling costs.

“There’s a very clear opportunity to find a lot of energy at good prices, and we have the perfect weather to mine,” Emiliano Grodzki, said in a recent tour of the Farnham facility. He’s one of Bitfarms’ four founders, two Quebecois and two Argentines who met on an online chat. “And the energy is clean.”

China – home to about three-quarters of the machines plumbing the blockchain — dominated the scene until the Communist government halted trading of virtual currency, banned initial coin offerings and shut down mining in recent months. Some of the most influential companies in the new crypto economy, whose roughly 1,500 digital currencies were worth about $405 billion on Friday, are discovering the Great White North.

Read More: All About Bitcoin, Blockchain and Their Crypto World: QuickTake

Beijing-based Bitmain Technologies Ltd., the world’s biggest Bitcoin mining organization, operates in Quebec, while BTC.Top, the largest mining collective, is opening a facility in Canada, the founders said. After scouring the globe, Amsterdam-based Bitfury Group Ltd. found that Drumheller, Alberta — where dinosaurs once roamed — is one of the most profitable places in the world to chase digital coins. The largest Bitcoin miner outside of China has set up 58 megawatts of data centers there, a third of its global capacity, according to an investor presentation.

The largest variable cost in crypto mining is electricity. Chinese miners gained an edge thanks to cheap coal-fired power and a system that allowed them to skirt taxes and grid fees, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. With electricity demand from crypto miners set to exceed that from electric vehicles in coming years, the hunt for new markets is narrowing to Canada and a handful of Nordic countries, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Elchin Mammadov said in a report.

Comparing costs across geographies is tricky because taxes, distribution charges, labor and transport costs can greatly swing the bottom line. Iceland has attracted major miners, including Bitfury and Genesis Mining Ltd., builder of the world’s largest ether mining facility. Norway stands out as having the lowest industrial electricity prices among advanced economies, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

In Canada, Hydro-Quebec was quick to lay out the welcome mat. The country’s largest hydroelectricity generator, which earlier lured Inc. and Microsoft Corp. data centers to the province, was in talks with about 30 crypto miners in early January, according to Hydro-Quebec spokesman Marc-Antoine Pouliot. 

Less than three weeks later, that number had swelled to over 100 fueled in part by the flood of Chinese miners seeking to move their rigs elsewhere. The utility has a surplus for provincial needs alone of 10 terawatt-hours or enough to power 600,000 homes — for a decade.

Stranded Power

Hydro-Quebec envisions demand from crypto miners in the province could rise to as much as 5 terawatt-hours of electricity. Globally, Morgan Stanley forecasts blockchain diggers could require as much as 140 terawatt-hours of electricity by the end of 2018. That’s nearly 1 percent of global demand.

"Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec — in Canada, we have so much stranded power and huge infrastructure that’s being underutilized," said Sean Clark, chief executive officer of Hut 8 Mining Corp., a Vancouver-based crypto miner backed by Bitfury. Still, electricity prices alone don’t cut it — otherwise Venezuela and Russia would be in the running. “It’s important to have the rule of law."

There’s also one other thing that Canada offers to miners requiring millions to buy rigs: it’s a relatively easy place for venture companies to raise money.

In the past, that’s what made Canada home to a large number of the world’s traditional hard-rock mining companies. But financing for mineral exploration has dried up on Canadian exchanges — and some of the speculative capital is racing to crypto stocks.

Read More: Blockchain Stock Listings Set to Explode in Canada

At least 50 blockchain and crypto-related firms are set to list in Canada this year, thanks in part to a junior market that’s more comfortable with risk than elsewhere, Harris Fricker, CEO of securities firm GMP Capital Inc., said in a December interview. Among them are DMG Blockchain Solutions Inc. and Hut 8, according to their CEOs.

Now the race is for scale in a sector where larger players can more easily survive the wild swings of virtual currencies. Bitcoin for example, has plunged 50 percent since mid-January to about $9,017, amid concerns about overvaluation regulation and security.

By the end of the year, Bitfarms plans to expand its mining capacity nearly seven fold to 187 megawatts, while DMG expects to have 160 megawatts across three sites in B.C. By mid-2018, Hut 8 will have acquired nearly 60 megawatts of Bitfury’s Canadian capacity and the firms jointly could build out "hundreds of megawatts" more in as little as 18 months, says Hut 8’s Clark.

Meanwhile, DMG’s CEO Dan Reitzik says he’s fielding calls from Chinese miners, desperate to get millions of dollars in mining rigs out of the country.

“If Canada plays its cards right, it could become the crypto mining capital of the world,” said Reitzik. “It basically could go to the Chinese cryptocurrency industry and say, ‘Welcome.”’

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    Here's What It's Like to Make Your Living as a Healthy Food Blogger – SELF


    Here's What It's Like to Make Your Living as a Healthy Food Blogger
    Those are the less incendiary parts of what I do, and they're a super satisfying creative outlet for me. Unlike some of my younger colleagues who started their careers relatively recently and integrated social media into their practices and online

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    Quarterback-needy NFL teams will be a big help for the Dallas Cowboys – Blogging The Boys (blog)

    Blogging The Boys (blog)

    Quarterback-needy NFL teams will be a big help for the Dallas Cowboys
    Blogging The Boys (blog)
    If you want to guarantee a jam-packed draft full of excitement, all it takes is to have a buzz-worthy strong quarterback class. Last year, we saw the Bears, Chiefs, and Texans all move up to take a quarterback in the first round but unfortunately the

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    This Couple Lost Their Jobs For Speaking Out Against Donald Trump

    A California couple that worked as spokespeople to promote RV travel for nearly two decades were suddenly fired last month for speaking out against presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

    The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association had paid Brad and Amy Herzog to travel and give television interviews about RVs across the U.S. for the past 17 summers. They received the industry’s Spirit of America award for their dedication in 2006.

    The couple were six days into a 50-day swing through the West under contract with RVIA and had given a handful of television interviews when they launched a Kickstarter campaign on June 28 raising money for an anti-Trump book. Amy Herzog illustrated the adult picture book, D is for Dump Trump: An Anti-Hate Alphabet, featuring 26 short poems by her husband. The fundraiser was separate from their responsibilities as spokespeople. 

    Brad and Amy Herzog
    A page from D is for Dump Trump: An Anti-Hate Alphabet,an adult picture book condemning the presumptive GOP nominee.

    The Herzogs did a non-political morning interview with a Phoenix news station that same day, promoting how easy it was to tailgate and travel with a family in their RV. An RVIA representative called them 15 minutes after it ended to say the association had suspended the tour and it wouldn’t award the Herzogs the remaining money it had promised them.

    Brad Herzog told The Huffington Post that he and his wife never mentioned their book during their work, nor did they use their position as spokespeople for RVIA to talk about it. While their contract with RVIA didn’t contain language prohibiting them from making political statements, Herzog said it did contain an “at-will” provision allowing them to be terminated for any reason at any time.

    “Suddenly because it came out that we had other lives that included creative ways of expressing the courage of our convictions, we were deemed toxic,” Herzog told HuffPost, as the couple drove across Nebraska in an RV that Winnebago had agreed to lend them for an additional few weeks.

    Earlier in the day, Greg Gerber, an editor of RV Daily Report, wrote a column arguing that RVIA should drop the Herzogs because of their political views.

    For an organization that routinely walks the tightrope of political correctness, it seems rather odd that RVIA would turn a blind eye to such a divisive book in this politically-charged environment,” Gerber wrote. “When they are advocating a political agenda in an election year, if the entrepreneurial Herzogs can make money bashing a billionaire entrepreneur, hey, more power to them. They should just do it on their time and not in conjunction with an RVIA road trip.”

    Their firing comes as several major corporations including Apple, UPS and J.P. Morgan Chase have dropped out of sponsoring the Republican convention because of Trump’s xenophobic comments. The leaders of several major tech companies penned an open letter condemning Trump on Thursday.

    The RVIA said in a statement on its website that the Herzogs’ book does not meet the organization’s nonpartisan position and that it “distracted from our core value of political neutrality.”

    “To clarify our position, the decision to suspend the tour was based solely on the tone and content of the Herzogs’ book,” the statement says.  “Regardless of the candidate or political affiliation depicted, we would have arrived at the same decision.” 

    RVIA spokesman Kevin Broom declined to comment further when asked whether anyone from the organization had discussed the book with the Herzogs before they were fired.

    The Herzogs run a small publishing company called Why Not Books. Brad Herzog has written over 30 books, most while also working for RVIA. Herzog’s books include travel memoirs, a look at key sports figures in American history and a picture book about the 44 American presidents.

    The couple plans to donate $1 from the sale of each book to the Southern Poverty Law Center to support the group’s anti-hate efforts, said Herzog, who has two teenage sons with his wife.

    D is for Dump Trump stands for our disgust with Trump’s reactionary rhetoric and the way he substitutes innuendo for fact in an attempt to inflame his supporters and bully his detractors and scapegoat various segments of the population,” he said. “And I feel like that’s exactly the tactic that was used against us.”

    Herzog family
    Brad and Amy Herzog in front of their RV for the summer in 2012. Brad Herzog described traveling across the country with his wife as a “second honeymoon.”

    The couple is “more emboldened than ever” to produce the book now, Herzog said. They have received numerous offers for legal assistance, but they haven’t focused on taking legal action just yet, he said.

    Right now, we’re just trying to land on our feet with our principles in tact,” Herzog added.

    He sees a certain irony in being fired for his political beliefs because one of the benefits of traveling the country by RV is getting to meet people with different political beliefs, he said.

    “I still believe that a road trip in a house on wheels is a great way to see America and I feel like if more people did so, and got out of their little bubble world, including maybe some of the people involved in this decision, there might just be a little bit less intolerance out there,” he told HuffPost.

    After they lost their jobs, donations to the Herzogs’ Kickstarter soared past their $7,500 initial goal. The couple had raised over $23,500 by Thursday morning. Strangers had donated the vast majority of money. 

    Still, Herzog said he wouldn’t recommend giving up one’s job for a Kickstarter. “But maybe there’s a little bit of bittersweet karma there,” he added.

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    5 Mistakes All Newlyweds Make When It Comes To Dealing With Money

    Life is so good right now: You and your honey are married. It’s such an exciting time of your life.

    Maybe you had the fairytale wedding of your dreams. Maybe you had a quiet, more intimate ceremony with your close family and friends. Either way, the wedding of your dreams happened.

    As you’re consumed by wedding bliss, there may be a few things you and your beloved didn’t talk about before you got married. These are things that, during your first year of marriage,can begin to cause tension and strain your relationship.

    This is especially true for the things that involve money. Suddenly, you find yourself standing in your kitchen, having an argument with your spouse that sounds eerily similar to the loud conversations your parents used to have.Let’s hold on to the wedding bliss and avoid some of the most common money mistakes newlyweds make:

    1. You didn’t find out the other person’s money psychology.

    Yes, this is a real thing. Depending on one’s experience with money, a person can develop a money psychology that can be bucketed into either There will always be more money or There is never enough money.

    Is one of you the spender and the other one the saver? It’s hard enough to not really be on the same page regarding how you feel about money, but it can be even more difficult to deal with when it comes to light in real-life situations, such as if one of you makes an expensive purchase on a whim, without discussing it in advance.

    2. You don’t talk about money.

    When you don’t talk about money proactively, you wind up having money talks defensively. You only speak after a mistake has been made, and when someone is uncomfortable with a financial choice.

    Make an effort to have an open dialogue with your spouse about money. Talk about your bills, any debts you brought into the marriage (separately or together), savings, aspirations and goals you have for your money and overall fears or concerns you both may have about your money.

    I highly recommend regularly scheduled money talks each month. This can be a safe space to talk about money proactively, get on the same page about priorities for saving and spending and even create a household budget. Openness and transparency with one another will help prevent money from becoming a divisive factor in your new marriage.

    3.You don’t hold the other person financially accountable.

    It’s a good thing to talk about money. But now, you need to help the other person live up to the decisions you have made together.

    You created a budget, and now, you can help the other stick to it. Don’t enable your partner to stray from the plan.

    Be in agreement, and be strong for each other. In this way, you can reach your larger goals like getting out of debt, saving for a down payment on a home, etc.

    4.You give one person complete control over the finances.

    Even if one of you is better about money than the other is, one person should not be 100 percent responsible for all the finances in your household. Money is a huge responsibility, and too important to burden one person with.

    Managing the household finances is a two-person job because it requires both of you tostick to wise decisions that will help you achieve the life you envision together.

    5.You keep money secrets from each other.

    Secrets don’t really have a place in a marriage. Money secrets certainly don’t, either.

    Not being honest about money undermines the trust you built in your relationship. Don’t hide the fact that you spent money on a purchase that you maybe didn’t talk about first.

    It’s important to be open and honest about money. If you start keeping things from each other financially, it severely compromises your ability to make money decisions together.

    It’s never too late to get on the same page when it comes to finances. As newlyweds, start your marriage with a clean financial slate.

    Take care to avoid these common mistakes, so that money becomes one of the things you and your partner can grow closer over. Don’t allow it to grow to a topic of contention.

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    Three questions about the Cowboys: Releasing Scandrick, free agents still available, and who to take at 19? – Blogging The Boys (blog)

    Blogging The Boys (blog)

    Three questions about the Cowboys: Releasing Scandrick, free agents still available, and who to take at 19?
    Blogging The Boys (blog)
    … and a good one could still fall in their laps on Day 3. You really don't want Scandrick taking reps over the young guys as that would just make him a progress-stopper. Sure, he could just be a depth guy, but it's clear that he wouldn't be happy in

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