Tributes paid to the victims of the July 7 2005 London bombings

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Tributes paid to the victims of the July 7 2005 London bombings

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A permanent memorial for the victims of the July 7, 2005 London bombings has been unveiled in Hyde Park, London, England. Today is the fourth anniversary of the bombings, when 52 people were killed by suicide bombers on board three Underground trains and a bus.

52 stainless steel columns standing 3.5m (11.5ft) tall were inaugurated in the presence of Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Bowles, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Minister for London, Tessa Jowell.

Each column represented “a unique person and a unique grief” according to the Minister for London.

Jowell continued, “Each one casts a shadow just as they do – each one standing tall and proud just as they did, and each one will in an individual way absorb and reflect light just as they did.”

A 1.4 tonne stainless steel plaque with the names of the people killed was also unveiled.

Prince Charles laid a wreath on behalf of the nation. The Duchess of Cornwall left a floral tribute for the families of the victims.

The families themselves laid roses and then met the prince and the duchess.

Mary Barra appointed as General Motors chief

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Mary Barra appointed as General Motors chief

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The United States’s largest car manufacturer General Motors today named Mary Barra as its new chief executive.

Barra, 51, will be the first woman to lead a firm in the American auto industry. She has been with General Motors for 33 years, and is currently the global head of product development.

She said in a statement: “With an amazing portfolio of cars and trucks and the strongest financial performance in our recent history, this is an exciting time at today’s GM. I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.”

She replaces Daniel Akerson, who was appointed by the government as both chief executive and chairman in 2009 during the company’s bankruptcy. Akerson plans to stand down on January 15 following his wife’s advanced cancer diagnosis.

In a message to employees, he said: “I will leave with great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead and great pride that we are restoring General Motors as America’s standard bearer in the global auto industry.”

Akerson will also relinquish his chairman role, to be replaced by current director Theodore Solso. The company also announced head of finance Daniel Ammann as its new president.

The appointment comes just days after the US government sold the last of its shares in the company, losing around $9 billion on its initial bailout in 2008 that saw 61% of the firm coming under public ownership.

General Motors recovered from their bankruptcy a year after the appointment of Akerson, and re-entered the stock market in November 2010. It remains the largest car manufacturer in the United States, posting sales figures of $152 billion in 2012. It currently produces fifteen brands of vehicle in 37 countries.

Barra holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, and was recently listed by Forbes as the 35th most powerful woman in the world.

Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

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Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vault containing millions of seeds from all over the world, saw its first deposits on Tuesday. Located 800 kilometers from the North Pole on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, the vault has been referred to by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso as a “frozen Garden of Eden“. It is intended to preserve crop supplies and secure biological diversity in the event of a worldwide disaster.

“The opening of the seed vault marks a historic turning point in safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,” said Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust which is in charge of collecting the seed samples. The Norwegian government, who owns the bank, built it at a cost of $9.1 million.

At the opening ceremony, 100 million seeds from 268,000 samples were placed inside the vault, where there is room for over 2 billion seeds. Each of the samples originated from a different farm or field, in order to best ensure biological diversity. These crop seeds included such staples as rice, potatoes, barley, lettuce, maize, sorghum, and wheat. No genetically modified crops were included. (Beyond politics they are generally sterile so of no use.)

It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks.

Constructed deep inside a mountain and protected by concrete walls, the “doomsday vault” is designed to withstand earthquakes, nuclear warfare, and floods resulting from global warming. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called it an “insurance policy” against such threats.

With air-conditioned temperatures of -18 degrees Celsius, experts say the seeds could last for an entire millennium. Some crops will be able to last longer, like sorghum, which the Global Crop Diversity Trust says can last almost 20 millenniums. Even if the refrigeration system fails, the vaults are expected to stay frozen for 200 years.

The Prime Minister said, “With climate change and other forces threatening the diversity of life that sustains our planet, Norway is proud to be playing a central role in creating a facility capable of protecting what are not just seeds, but the fundamental building blocks of human civilization.” Stoltenberg, along with Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, made the first deposit of rice to the vault.

“It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks,” Maathai said. The vault will operate as a bank, allowing countries to use their deposited seeds free of charge. It will also serve as a backup to the thousands of other seed banks around the world.

“Crop diversity will soon prove to be our most potent and indispensable resource for addressing climate change, water and energy supply constraints and for meeting the food needs of a growing population,” Cary Fowler said.

Apple collecting location data from iPhone, iPad

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Apple collecting location data from iPhone, iPad
July 17th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad periodically send location information back to the company, according to new reports. The data is transmitted to a secure database that only it can access, Apple claims.

Bruce Sewell, an attorney for Apple, sent a letter to two US Representatives last year, discussing the company’s data collection techniques and policies. The thirteen-page letter states that location information is recorded and sent to Apple every twelve hours, but only if the user enables the device’s location settings.

Apple began building a location database of its own when it decided to stop using similar services offered by Google & SkyHook Wireless. Location data is used in social networking applications and call routing.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Democratic Massachusetts Representative Edward Markey said, “Apple needs to safeguard the personal location information of its users to ensure that an iPhone doesn’t become an iTrack.”

Such data collection is not unique to Apple. Google’s Android operating system uses similar technology to provide location-based services to its users. Google has said that it also uses the data collected to provide accurate traffic data through its “Maps” applications on both Apple and Android devices. However, the company declined to comment on the latest findings regarding its data collection.

Apple was also recently in the spotlight after it was discovered that the iPhone and iPad were retaining location data on the device itself. This information is collected in an unencrypted file and is not transmitted elsewhere. The data file reportedly contains a variety of information, including longitude and latitude, cell phone tower identification data, wireless hotspot identification, and timestamps.

 This story has updates See Steve Jobs denies ‘location-gate’ 

The Best Way To Monitor Cholesterol Levels

July 17th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

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By Julia Carmichael

You see your doctor every six months for a checkup. During this time, he checks your cholesterol to see how your levels are looking. If your levels are high, he may suggest some things you can do to help lower your cholesterol, and then make an appointment to check your levels again in six months. But what if you want to check your cholesterol more often? Is there a way to keep closer tabs on your cholesterol levels than just seeing your doctor every six months?

There are several ways to test your cholesterol levels at home. Your local pharmacy or drugstore probably stocks or can order a wide variety of these home cholesterol kits. Some of these kits are similar to a blood glucose meter while others use a litmus type test.

One of the least expensive of these home cholesterol tests allows you to place a drop of blood on a chemically treated pad. After a short period of time, you compare the resulting color on the chemical pad with a color chart which gives you a general idea of your cholesterol level. These tests are inexpensive and are ideal for those who just want to get a general idea of how their cholesterol levels are looking.

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For those who want more specific results, there are also cholesterol meters available for sale. These cholesterol testers work much like a blood glucose monitor and give you a more precise reading than the litmus-type tests. To use these testers, you place a drop of blood on a test strip which is inserted into the cholesterol meter. You are then given a specific number that represents your total cholesterol level.

If you plan to check your cholesterol at home, there are some important factors to keep in mind. First, your cholesterol will not change drastically from day-to-day. Therefore, there is no reason to check your cholesterol every day. It will take at least one week for any diet or exercise changes to make a difference in your cholesterol level. It is also important to test your cholesterol at the same time each day. The best time to check your cholesterol level is in the morning before

breakfast.

Also, an at-home cholesterol check will only give you a total cholesterol level. There are no home tests yet that will discover both an HDL and LDL cholesterol level. In fact, the only way to find out your LDL or bad cholesterol level is to have your doctor conduct a fasting blood cholesterol test. While doctors sometimes conduct a nonfasting cholesterol test, only the total and HDL levels of these tests will be accurate.

If you want to keep a closer eye on your cholesterol level that just seeing your doctor every so often, there are various cholesterol tests and testers to choose from. Depending on how much money you want to spend on a tester you can get a general idea of how high your cholesterol is or you can get a pinpointed number.

About the Author: Get the latest in cholesterol levels know how from the only true source at http://www.lowercholesterollog.com. Check out our

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Source:

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Elite Boston Marathon runner Emily Levan discusses life and running

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Elite Boston Marathon runner Emily Levan discusses life and running
July 17th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The interview below was conducted by Pingswept over the phone with Emily Levan on April 21, 2005. Levan lives in Wiscasset, Maine, with her husband and daughter, and she ran in the Boston Marathon women’s race on April 18, 2005.

To summarize for our readers, you recently came in 12th in the Boston Marathon, right?

That is correct.

You were the first American finisher.

Yes.

There was also a Russian woman who lives in the US who finished ahead of you.

You know, I believe it is, I’m not actually positive, but I think you’re right. There’s often a lot of foreign runners that live and train in different parts of the US for a variety of reasons. Some live in Colorado and might train at high altitude, or they might have coaches in the US.

OK, but as far as you know, for straight up Americans, people who were born here, who have lived here for long periods of time and are not going anywhere special to train, you were the first finisher.

That is correct.

So congratulations, that’s very impressive. In the rest of your life, my understanding is that you are going to nursing school.

I am. I’m at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. and I have been going to nursing school for a couple years now. I’m just going part time right now because of the baby and other things going on in my world.

Your baby is currently one and a half?

She’s fifteen months.

Fifteen months, so one and one quarter. 1.25, sure.

Hopefully I’ll finish up nursing school in December. That is the tentative plan.

So you’re almost done.

I just have a couple classes left.I’ll take one class this summer and two classes in the fall.

You ran the Boston Marathon originally two years ago?

Actually, I ran it for the first time in 99. I’ve run it four times.I did run it two years ago as well.

You ran it two years ago, and you also came in twelfth then, if not the top American finisher then. You were the fourth?

I think third or fourth. I can’t remember exactly.

How long were you actually training for this marathon in particular?

I’d say about 4 months. I typically try to train about four months for each race. It depends a little bit on what kind of shape I’m in leading up to the training. Four months is usually the time frame I shoot for.

And how many miles a week were you doing–I assume you peaked somewhere right before the marathon.

At the peak, I have a month or six week period where I’ve built up to my peak training, and I was probably doing between 90 to 100 miles a week.

Was there a lot of variation in your day to day mileage, or was it pretty much you’re doing 1/7th of that mileage every day?

There’s definitely variation, probably more so in the type of workout that i did each day. For example two days a week I would do a speed workout, so I might be doing mile repeats, which just means that I do a mile in a specific time, and then I might jog for a couple minutes and then another one and another one. I’d do a series of eight mile repeats on that specific workout day. My other speed workout would be a marathon pace run, so I might run 8 or 10 miles at my marathon pace. If my marathon pace is 6 minute miles, I’d do a two mile jog warm up, and then I might do 8 or 10 miles at a six minute pace, and then a two mile cool down.

So you maybe end up running 14?

Sometimes what I would do on those speed workout days– on those days I might end up with about 14 miles. On some other days, I might run twice during the course of the day. Say in the morning, I might run eight miles, and then in the afternoon I might do six or eight more miles.

Wow.

Those days tend to be a little bit more mellow. More of kind of a maintenance run, a little bit of a recovery day. I try to have a recovery day after every hard workout.

Do you think that all of your training could fit into four hours a day? Do you think that’s true?

You mean the workouts for a specific day? Probably even less than that. Depending on the day a little bit, probably between 2 or 3 hours. Usually on Sunday I would go out and do a long run, and that would be a 20 or 22 mile run, all in one fell swoop and that usually takes two and a half hours.

So that explains how you’re able to do this, as well as go to nursing school, as well as have an extremely young child. I assume you talk to your friends occasionally.

I try to at least– have some sort of social life. This is not a job, so it’s not something that I do 8 hours a day. It’s something that I fit in with all the other obligations, things that I like to do too. I like to be able to pursue other interests as well.

You live on a road with no one else near by. Do you pretty much just run from your house every day?

The winter is harder because with the baby, I often end up running with a treadmill down in the basement. Brad, my husband, has pretty long hours at the farm, and especially in the winter months, it’s hard to find daylight when he’s able to watch Maddy, so I ended up running a lot on the treadmill this winter, as opposed to last summer, I would take her with me. I have one of those baby joggers, and that was great. I could just leave right from the house, and I could take her. She would be pretty happy to go eight or ten miles with me. Typically what I do when I go outside, I just go right from the house. The roads are so pretty around here. We’re pretty secluded, so I don’t have to worry too much about crazy drivers.

Do you ever try to go find big hills to run up and down?

I do. In the past, I have done a hill workout as a part of my training, usually early on in the training during the first six weeks or 2 months of the training I do a hill workout and I would find some place close by that I could find a warm up jog and run to and then do a hill workout. If I couldn’t find one within a couple miles, I would drive to it. It’s a little bit harder now with Maddy because I don’t have as much leeway and freedom with when I go running and where I go running. I’m a little more limited.

You’d have to load up the cart, er, the carriage into the car.

I’ve done that sometimes. Sometimes it’s easier to go straight from home.Running with the jogger up hills is not an easy thing to do.

When you’re in the race, you feel like, “Hey, I’m not even pushing a kid anymore.” Heartbreak Hill without the kid is substantially easier, I suppose.

Yeah.

Do you know most of the elite runners in the race? You know who they are, but are you friends with them, or not really?

It’s funny–I know who people are, but I don’t run that many races to really get to know that many of the runners. If you’re a professional runner, and that’s your job, a lot of those people travel in the same circles. They run the same races and they have the same schedules in terms of when they compete. I pick out a couple of races each year to focus on and because of that, I don’t get to know as many of the runners. As time goes on, you do get a little bit you do get a little more familiar with people.

During the race, do you talk to the other runners, or do you just run along and think things like, “I wish I were at the end right now”?

I think that really depends I find that if I’m feeling good and the run is going well, then it’s easier for me to talk to people, just because you’re feeling strong, and you’re not focusing so much on “I’m not doing so great.” I might talk to some folks along the way. Sometimes if someone passes me, I’ll encourage them and say “Good job, go get them,” and just stuff like that. I certainly find I’m not carrying on lengthy conversations with people because you’re expending energy that should be focused on the race itself. I enjoy getting to know folks along the way and knowing what pace they’re hoping to run.

In races other than the Boston Marathon do you find that you have good competition? I don’t really know what the running scene in Wiscasset, Maine, is like at all, but I imagine that being the fastest female marathon runner in the United States, you might not find a whole lot of competition. You say that you encourage people when they pass you, but having read some of the other interviews with you on the web, it doesn’t seem like people pass you very often.

It definitely depends on the race. Like I said before, I don’t run that many races. At this point, what I’m trying to do is to find races that are competitive so I can be pushed by competition. For example, when I ran the Maine Marathon last fall, there wasn’t a whole lot of competition. That just gets hard. I ran alone for most of the race. Running 26 miles at a fast pace all by yourself without anyone around you to help push you and motivate you, can be pretty hard. Because of that, as I’ve been looking toward the future and thinking about which races I want to do, I’ve been targeting races that will have a little more competition. That’s why Boston was one that I wanted to shoot for and I’m thinking about in the fall going to Chicago because they’ve got a pretty competitive marathon. It’s also a pretty flat course, so people tend to run pretty fast times there.

Most people run a couple of minutes faster in Chicago, right?

Yeah, exactly. And I’ve heard good things about the race too, so I’m looking forward to that.

Have you thought about running internationally?

Not at this point, no. It’s hard to find the time to travel to races, and It gets expensive too. A lot of my family members say, “Wouldn’t it be great to do the London Marathon or the Paris Marathon,” because they like coming to watch. At this point, I think I’m going to stick closer to home. I’ve got a few races, like I was mentioning Chicago, here in the States that I’d really like to do. Maybe once I’ve done those, I might think about something else, it really just depends. A lot of it’s a time issue, because I have other things that I’m pursuing and it gets hard to spend too much time traveling off doing different races.

Do you know Alan Culpepper?

Oh, yeah, yeah.

You at least know of him, right?

Yes, exactly.

Have you ever been in any races against him?

This was the first race that I had run in that he ran in. He was the fourth overall male finisher. That’s a really good showing for an American male. I’ve read a lot about him in different running magazines and just heard a lot about him through running circles.But this was the first time that I’ve actually seen him run. It was neat because in this particular race, they start the women’s elite group about 25 minutes ahead of the rest of the start.

29 minutes actually, I believe.

That’s right, 29 minutes. So, I didn’t see a male runner until pretty close to the end, so it was really neat to see–I think I saw the top five male finishers because they passed me in the last couple miles. It was really interesting–there’s all these cars and press and motorcycles, policemen, so I could tell when the first male was coming up behind me because there was a lot more going on on the course. Alan Culpepper was one of the ones that passed me in the last mile or two. It was pretty neat to see him finishing strong.

You might not be able to beat him in a race but do you think you could maybe, I don’t know, beat him in a fist fight? He’s pretty skinny, right? He only weighs 130 pounds.

I don’t know. I don’t know. I wouldn’t make any bets on it at this point.

No?

No.

OK. Have you thought about doing things longer than a marathon? Like a 50 K or a 100 K?

At this point, I haven’t because I’ve gotten into the marathon, and I’ve really been enjoying that so far. I feel like I still have some room to improve and grow in the marathon, but I think at some point I’d really like to do one of those ultra-type races. For the next several years, I’ll stick towards the marathon distances. Once that competitive part of my life is over, I might move on to something different.

Based on your age, are you likely to peak around now, or you maybe have a few years to go before your legs start to fall off?

Before I can’t walk anymore? I don’t know. It’s really interesting because for marathoning you’ve got a longer life span than in a lot of competitive sports. The fifth place female finisher in Boston this year was over forty. You can still be competitive into your forties. I’m not sure if I’ll keep doing it that long– at least another 3 years or so. One thing in the back of my mind looking at is the Olympic Trials for 2008. I’m looking at that time frame right now. If I want to keep running competitively after that, then I’ll assess things from there.

That sounds good. When you came in as the first American finisher, did you get any certificates or cash or a medal or anything like that?

Yeah, actually, I won $2100.

Oh, great– two thousand bucks!

Which is pretty nice.

That’s a lot of baby clothes.

I know– or a lot of shoes. The shoe expense is pretty expensive, and I’ve been trying to find a shoe company that might give me some shoes.

I would think–couldn’t you just call up New Balance and say, “Hey, look, I’m pretty good, why don’t you give me some shoes?”

Well, this past November, after I ran New York– I usually wear Asics or New Balance– I wrote to both of those companies. I sent them a little running resume. I said I’d be interested in pursuing some sort of sponsorship opportunity, and they both wrote back and said, “Sorry, we don’t have any space or funds available at this time.” I was a little disappointed by that, because I was hoping to at least get someone to help me out with my shoes.

Yeah, at least some sneakers.

But in addition at Boston, they do have these crystal vases that they give out for the top 15 finishers, so I got a little piece of hardware there too.

So you get to put flowers in that.

I had some flowers in it; they’ve wilted so I decided to compost them.

Oh, that’s good.

Yeah, send them back to the earth, you know.

Has anyone else tried to interview you? Local paparazzi following you?

I hide in my car for most of the day. I did some local interviews–with the local NBC affiliate, and I’m going to do an interview tomorrow with the ABC affiliate in Portland, and some affiliated newspaper interviews as well.

You’re officially famous, then.

I don’t know. I guess. It’s been pretty busy.

Has anyone asked you for an autograph yet?

No. No autograph seekers yet, no.

Maybe in the Yellowfront Grocery in Wiscasset? “Hey, I know you!”

“I saw you on TV!” No, not yet.

That’s surely coming. The Chewonki Foundation, which is where you live, recently had Eaton Farm donated to it.

Yes.

And they’re planning on making a 12 mile long trail that runs from approximately your house to Wiscasset.

Oh, you know more about this than I do, that’s great.

I don’t know if it’s going to start right at your front door; you might have to cut through the woods a little bit.

That’s OK, I can do that.

Have you run on trails at all, or is it just, “I want to run on the pavement because I don’t want to twist an ankle”?

I’m not a big trail runner. Maybe it’s because I’m not used to running on trails. Now it would be much more difficult, because I have the baby with me. The baby jogger has some nice wheels on it, but I don’t know if it could handle trail running.

Yeah.

It’s a nice change of pace every once in a while. I don’t worry too much about twisting an ankle–you just have to be careful. I figure I can walk out my door and step in a pothole and twist my ankle, so I don’t worry too much about that. That goes along with being alive in our world. We’ll see. I’m going to have to look into that 12 mile trail.

Because 12 miles, you do that there and back, you’ve got a marathon on your hands.

There you go.

What’s your next target? Can you walk right now?

If I train well, I’m usually not sore. Especially on the long runs, my body gets used to running for that length of time and sure, I’m running faster during the marathon than I do on my long runs, but I think my body tends to adjust to the rigors. It’s usually a good sign if a few days afterwards I don’t have any major soreness. I certainly feel like I’ve done something significant.

Yeah, I can imagine feeling too.

No major aches or pains.

That’s great. What’s your next race? Do you have one targeted? Is it Chicago?

Yeah, I think the next marathon will be Chicago in the fall. there’s a 10 K race, the Beach to Beacon, you may have heard of it.

In Portland?

It’s actually in Cape Elizabeth. It’s put on by Joan Benoit Samuelson. It’s in August, so I’ll probably do that one and then shoot for the fall marathon.

Well, I think that’s all my questions.

Nice, well, thanks for calling. I appreciate it.

Sure, well, thanks for running so fast.

No problem.

Australian treasurer makes “extremely divisive” comments

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Australian treasurer makes “extremely divisive” comments
July 16th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Friday, February 24, 2006

Australian Federal treasurer Peter Costello, next in line for Prime Minister, has called for Muslim extremists to be stripped of their citizenship. In a speech to the Sydney Institute on the 23rd February, he described multiculturalism as “mushy and misguided”.

Politicians from all sides have spoken out at the remarks and many from the Islamic community say they’re offended by Mr Costello’s comments, with Muslim leaders saying that it is “extremely divisive” and a blight on Australia’s international reputation.

Mr Costello particularly singled out Muslims in his remarks, saying extremists should move to countries where they feel more comfortable. Mr Costello’s comments targeting Muslim extremists, won support from Prime Minister John Howard, and controversial ex-politician Pauline Hanson.

“Before entering a mosque visitors are asked to take off their shoes,” Mr Costello said. “This is a sign of respect. If you have a strong objection to walking in your socks don’t enter the mosque. Before becoming an Australian you will be asked to subscribe to certain values. If you have strong objection to those values don’t come to Australia.”

Abdul El Ayoubi, a director of the Lebanese Muslim Association said, “it’s upsetting to hear such comments, especially when you consider that the majority of Muslims have accepted the Australian way of life and Australian values.”

45 per cent of Australia’s population are from culturally diverse backgrounds. The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) has called for tolerance rather than division. “Peter Costello’s comments are divisive, arrogant, provocative and do nothing to unite the nation at a time when responsible leadership on this issue is called for,” ECCV chairman Phong Nguyen said.

“To have the leaders of our nation, such at the Prime Minister and Treasurer, making gratuitous comments about race and religion based on ill-founded perceptions rather than facts, is extremely divisive and will harm Australia nationally and internationally,” he said.

Mr Nguyen said Mr Costello appeared to be aligning himself with the “now discredited argument of his colleague Danna Vale – that Australia is in danger of becoming a Muslim nation”.

In his speech Mr Costello made a public call for Muslims who want to live under sharia law to find another country, while also referring to “mushy multiculturalism”.

Justin Li, vice chair of the NSW Ethnic Communities’ Council, said Mr Costello’s comments had deliberately and unfairly targeted Muslims.

“Obviously nobody supports violent people in our society, but what we don’t understand is why allegedly violent Muslims are any different from any violent people of other cultures or religions,” he said. “What about deporting the people who participated in riots in Cronulla last year? Those people did not exhibit any Australian values in their actions.”

Mr Li added the comments were “political point scoring” made to sit well with sections of the community which do not support multiculturalism. “Our political leaders think that there is advantage to be gained making comments against our Muslim Australians at this stage in time,” he said.

Malcolm Thomas from the Islamic Foundation of Victoria says it’s the fact that Mr Costello singled out Muslims. “If you remove the word Muslim from what he said, well then I totally agree with Peter. Yeah, I’m prepared, just as much as Peter, to be as intolerant to anyone who wants to attack Australia and the Australian values, irrespective of their race or religion or ethnicity,” said Mr Thomas. “Language is everything. The words are marginalising a segment of our community and creating division within the community.”

Mr Thomas also points out that the suggestion to strip people of citizenship has limited potential, given that a third of Muslims living here were born here. “Australian Muslims are Australian. We can’t differentiate that. And I think people need to keep that in mind.” he said.

Another Muslim community leader said Costello is promoting division and Islamophobia and should be censured. Keysar Trad, president of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, has said he genuinely hoped the Prime Minister would censure Mr Costello.

Mr Trad said nobody was protesting Australia’s secular laws through any other means than the normal democratic process. “We have not asked for sharia law to be imposed. I don’t know anyone in this country who is asking for sharia law to be imposed and I don’t known anyone in this country who has rejected the rule of law,” he told ABC radio. “Rather than try to promote understanding and harmony in this society, his comments are highly divisive and he is stirring up Islamophobia, and these comments should really be beneath any decent politician.”

In his speech, Mr Costello said where there was reason to believe people were not truthfully or honestly meeting their citizenship test, there was every right for them to be denied citizenship.

“If by subsequent conduct they show that they don’t meet the test then we could invite them to forfeit their Australian citizenship,” he said. “Now you can only do this if they have another citizenship.”

But Mr El Ayoubi said: “If you’ve come to this country, you’ve come to this country to live under a democratic system and you’ve come into this country to abide by the rules, the principles and the values of this country, and you should do that.”

Mr Costello emphasised that Australia is a secular state under which the freedom of all religions is protected. “But there is not a separate stream of law derived from religious sources that competes with or supplants Australian law in governing our civil society,” he said. “The source of our law is the democratically elected legislature. If a person wants to live under sharia law these are countries where they might feel at ease. But not Australia.”

Mr Costello said there were some beliefs and values which were so central to Australian society that those who refused to accept them refused to accept the nature of Australian society.

“If someone cannot honestly make the citizenship pledge, they cannot honestly take out citizenship,” he said. “If they have taken it out already they should not be able to keep it where they have citizenship in some other country.”

His comments follow Prime Minister John Howard’s claims this week that a fragment of the Islamic community is “utterly antagonistic to our kind of society”. Last week Liberal backbencher Danna Vale said that Australia could become a Muslim nation within 50 years because “we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence”.

Mr Costello said he had attended an Australia day citizenship ceremony at the Stonnington Town Hall in his electorate of Higgins during which a state MP “extolled the virtues of multiculturalism”. He said the MP said becoming an Australian did not mean giving up one’s culture or language or religion — and it certainly did not mean giving up the love of their country of birth.

“The longer he went on about how important it was not to give up anything to become an Australian, the more it seemed to me that, in his view, becoming an Australian didn’t seem to mean very much at all, other than getting a new passport.”

Islamic Council of Victoria president Malcolm Thomas said he was disappointed at Mr Costello’s speech. “We have had the uninformed comments of Danna Vale, we have had the comments made by the Prime Minister and now we have these comments — all they do is reinforce a stereotype which doesn’t exist.” Mr Thomas said that singling out Muslims was pandering to a conspiracy that Muslims wanted to overtake Australia.

“Australian Muslims are Australians first,” he said. “They abide by the law and they want to live here in peace and harmony. They are not interested in taking over the country. They are not interested in creating a theocracy”.

Ikebal Patel, an executive member of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said the comments were “inflammatory”. “Islam law teaches that when you go into a country you embrace the laws of that country,” Mr Patel said. “I hope we are not going away from multiculturalism as the founding stone of our immigration policy.”

Mr Patel said the timing of the comments smacked of an attempt by the Government to deflect attention from the AWB scandal.

Mr Costello said Muslims who did not like the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in newspapers should recognise this does not justify violence.

Dozens of cats removed from feces-ridden New Jersey house

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Dozens of cats removed from feces-ridden New Jersey house
July 16th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Almost 100 cats and one dog were found living in a feces- and filth-ridden New Jersey house, in what local authorities are calling among the worst cases of animal cruelty they have ever seen.

Authorities had to wear masks in order to help them breathe through the stench of urine as they removed cats from the million-dollar, two-story brick house in Chester Township.

“The conditions were absolutely horrific,” said Rick Yocum, a lieutenant with the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “There wasn’t one inch of that house that wasn’t covered in feces or urine. There were three foot piles of feces in the hallways.

Wanda Oughton, the homeowner who lives there with two adult children, is expected to face criminal and civil charges, possibly as early as this weekend.

According to media reports, the floors, couches and tables of the home were littered with waste, and garbage was crammed into microwaves and ovens. The bottom of a bathtub had an eight-inch mound of feces, authorities said.

“It was horrible to go in there,” SPCA spokesman Matt Stanton said. “Our people had to fill their nostrils with Vick’s VapoRub and wear masks. They could only go in for five minutes at a time and had to come out to get fresh air again.”

Oughton refused to leave the house during the initial investigation and declined to speak to reporters.

“Go away. Go away. We have a call in to the police,” two women yelled at reporters through the front door.

SPCA officials believe Oughton and her family to be animal hoarders, not “horrible people”, said SPCA Superintendent Frank Rizzo.

“For hoarders, the animal is the most important thing,” Rizzo said. “More important than their own health.”

Yocum said they plan to ask Oughton to undergo a mental health assessment.

About 20 cats were removed from the house Thursday and are being treated for upper respiratory problems. The remaining cats are to be taken out Friday, and will be distributed to different veterinarians so no one office is too overwhelmed.

Category:Education

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Category:Education
July 16th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

This is the category for Education. See also the Education Portal.

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Interview: PRS, the UK’s music royalty collection society

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Interview: PRS, the UK’s music royalty collection society
July 16th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PRS for Music is the UK’s music royalty collection society tasked with working on behalf of copyright holders, specifically authors and music publishers. Founded in 1914, the PRS is a non-profit organisation with 350,000 UK businesses holding PRS licenses. The society works in conjunction with PPL which collects fees on behalf of the copyright holders of the actual recording.So, if a cover version of a song is played on UK radio, PRS collect a fee on behalf of the original writer and publisher, whilst PPL collect a fee on behalf of the record company of the cover. In a recent Wikinews interview, Paul Campbell, founder of Amazing Radio, an unsigned UK radio station, lambasted PRS for their “barmy standard contract” and their outdated equipment. That interview can be found here.

The music industry is changing and the way we use music is continually changing

Wikinews reporter Tristan Thomas interviews PRS, following up on Campbell and others’ criticism as well as finding out about future plans.

((Wikinews)) Firstly, thank you for the time in doing this interview.

((WN)) Last year, you were involved in a high profile dispute with YouTube. Can you briefly explain to our audience what that was all about and the final outcome of it?

((PRS)) PRS for Music was the first collecting society in the world to license the YouTube service, meaning if music videos were watched online then our members – who created them – would receive a small royalty payment. When we went to renew the licence that YouTube held we couldn’t agree as to how much should be paid and exactly what should be covered within it. We believed that music had become a much larger part of the YouTube service and that YouTube/Google should reflect the increased use of our members’ creative talent in the amount they paid.

The great thing is that we kept talking to YouTube throughout the dispute and managed to reach an agreement in September which meant that the videos could be accessed again by UK YouTube users and that our 65,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members would be paid.

((WN)) How many artists do you represent and how much did you collect during 2009 for them?

((PRS)) We represent 65,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. We haven’t released our 2009 figures yet but in 2008 we collected over £600m for them. The main sources of revenue come from recorded media (CDs, DVDs etc), international use, public performance use and use in television, radio and online.

((WN)) Paul Campbell in a recent interview with us said the following:“PRS has a barmy standard contract for using their members’ music online. It requires us to pay them a fixed percentage of ALL revenue from that website – whether or not the revenue is derived from their members’ work. So if we had 100,000 songs from non-PRS artists on amazingtunes.com, and one song from a PRS artist, we’d have to pay them a percentage of the revenue from ALL 100,000 songs. I.e., we’d have to take money out of the pockets out of non-PRS artists to pay to PRS. That would be immoral.”How do you respond to that?

((PRS)) Anyone using music in a commercial way – such as a radio station – is required to obtain the permission of those that created the music. This could be numerous writers, publishers and a record label for each song, possibly in different countries around the world. By obtaining a PRS for Music and PPL licence in the UK you are ensuring you have those permissions for over 10million musical works. Obviously much of the music used on radio comes from non-UK writers who may not be members of PRS for Music. Radio and television stations give us almost 100% accurate reports of their music use through their own playlists; this data then enables organisations such as ours to work out who should be paid and how much. PRS for Music has 144 agreements in place with similar societies around the world, resulting in us representing almost 2 million writers worldwide. If French, American, Spanish, Australian or any other writer’s music is used we will pay the respective societies so they can pay their members.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Is PRS’ standard contract “barmy” as Paul Campbell asserts?
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Similarly a writer of musician may be ‘unsigned’ by that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t earn from their music when it is used by others. Many bands, writers and performers are currently unsigned but by being members of PRS for Music they ensure that they can begin earning vital royalties that allow them to continue with their musical career.

((WN)) How does the PRS ensure that artists outside the UK are properly compensated when their music is used within the UK, such as Thai or Chinese restaurants paying their PRS dues and exclusively using music which is from outside Europe?

((PRS)) As mentioned before PRS for Music has agreements in place in over 90 countries around the world to ensure that when music is used the right creators are rewarded. The system – built up over the last century – works both ways and when UK music is used internationally, PRS for Music receives royalties from foreign societies so we can pay our members. In 2008 £139.8m was collected from UK music use abroad, with the UK being one of only a few net exporters of music in the world.

((WN)) There have been a few cases in which PRS have been forced to apologise, exemplified by the threat of prosecution and a fine towards “singing granny” Sandra Burt, a shelf-stacker who sung to herself whilst stacking shelves. How has PRS moved forward from these incidents in order to ensure they do not happen again?

((PRS)) If we have made mistakes we will of course put our hands up and say so. For example when we were approached about the Sandra Burt case – by a journalist incidentally and not Sandra – we did give out slightly incorrect advice, although the questions were a little ambiguous. Once we realised our mistake we contacted Sandra to explain that she wouldn’t need a licence to sing to her customers and offered our sincere apologies. As an organisation we are very quick to admit where we get things wrong and ensure they are put right. We’re proud of our record with our customers and currently have 350,000 businesses choosing to use music in the UK.

Once we realised our mistake we contacted Sandra

To put the complaints in context we have only have 1 for approximately every 5,000 customer contacts we make. This is an exceptionally low ratio and there are many firms who would be envious of a record like this. During 2009 our complaints fell by 50% and we appointed an independent ombudsmen who could handle any complaints if they were not resolved internally. As of January 2010 no complaints have needed to be passed on to the ombudsmen.

((WN)) How does the PRS work with musicians who are not signed to major labels, may make music available for download via their own websites or MySpace, and do not have the financial resources to protect their copyright?

((PRS)) Many of the PRS for Music membership is not signed to a major record label and we represent creators from all genres of music in the UK and abroad. By joining PRS for Music, which only costs £10 deferred to your first royalty payment, you ensure you can begin earning royalties whenever your music is played, performed or reproduced. We have worked hard to license such sites as YouTube, MySpace, Spotify and Sky Songs to name a selection to ensure our members can be rewarded when their work is used.

Our membership team also work hard to support our creators holding showcase events, offering advice of how to get their music used as well as legal and financial advice.

((WN)) Finally, what future plans do you have as an organisation in order to further protect and enhance your members work as new technologies emerge over the next few years?

((PRS)) PRS for Music will continue to be at the forefront of licensing new digital and online services to ensure creators are paid. We aim to get the balance right to ensure new products and music services can launch and develop, but that also they pay for the music they use.

The music industry is changing and the way we use music is continually changing (it always has) but we’ll still be at the forefront enabling people to use music whenever they want, and rewarding those that have created that music.

((WN)) Thank you for taking the time out for this interview. Good luck for 2010.