Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fifteen people were killed and twelve were injured after an eight hour hotel fire in Tuguegarao City, Northern Philippines, however police and firefighters managed to save many guests. Reports suggest the deceased sought cover in bathrooms where they were burnt beyond recognition.

After entering the building firefighters were left in tears after finding the charred bodies of guests on the upper floors. “It’s so close to Christmas, we wept when we saw their bodies,” said fire investigator Daniel Abana. Nine of the deaths were confirmed to be nursing students from a nearby university. The students were in the city to take nursing exams. Nursing college instructor, Romeo Opido, told authorities that 36 nursing students from nearby provinces were at the hotel. Tuguegarao City counselor said, “It is very unfortunate that this happened just when they were about to take their exams.”

The other deaths were the hotel owner’s and their family, including three children. The cause of the fire is still undetermined although it is known that the fire started on the ground floor and was energized by car tires and other combustible materials. It is also believed that paint cans were still in the building following a recent make over.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Jane Faust, former Republican committeewoman once convicted of forging signatures, was a plaintiff yesterday in Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court (state court). Her lawyer, Larry Otter, argued that Patrick Murphy should be thrown off the ballot for the Democratic primary election in the eighth congressional district of Pennsylvania. The eighth district is primarily located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Otter argued that during the period of election petition signature collection, Murphy had signed his name as the circulator on two petition sheets, but was not present for each signature that was signed on those sheets, and thereby breaking Pennsylvania state law. Pennsylvania law states that whoever signs a petition sheet as a circulator must be present for each signature and see each signature placed on the sheet.

Murphy admitted that he was not at the sheet for every signature, and he agreed that the 96 signatures on those two sheets should be invalidated. He also stated that he was unaware of that particular election statute. Otter argued that the candidacy should be thrown out because when Murphy presented his signatures he was required to sign an affidavit stating he would “not knowingly violate any election law.” It was Otter’s contention to Judge Robert Simpson, Jr., that it is unbelievable that Murphy would not know the law, as Murphy is a lawyer.

“Mr. Murphy is a member of the bar of this court. He can’t say he doesn’t know what the law was. He’s been campaigning over a year,” Otter said. He then continued, arguing that since Murphy knowingly falsified his name on those two circulation petitions, he also failed to fulfill his candidate affidavit, which according to state law is a criminal offense.

The campaign manager for the Murphy campaign, Josh Nanberg, said, “Under Otter’s argument, any candidate who has a meeting and puts a clipboard at the front table and … goes to the bathroom should be thrown out. That’s ridiculous.”

Top Professional Courses In Finance In India}

Top Professional Courses in Finance in India

by

Manish Mishra

In India, job opportunities for students from finance specialization are myriad. There are various MNCs, banks and other sectors in India looking for talented youngsters with higher qualification in finance. Even, Indian youngsters with a finance degree have bright future outside the nation. Business schools of the country are offering quality education programs in the field. They offer job oriented and industry based knowledge. Leadership qualities are tried to develop through finance management courses. Here is a quick look on top professional courses in finance in India.

Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning

The respected program is 1 year which includes an internship opportunity for 2 months from a reputed company. The course aims to train students for wealth management for organizations. It gives the opportunity to shine in your career as a financial planner which is a well-paid and prestigious profession. A financial planner plays a very important role in a company. He controls the loss scenario of a company and tries to stabilize the finance management. The course also prepares students for internationally recognized certifications like Associate Finance Planner and Certified Financial Planner. Eligibility for the Post Graduate Diploma in Finance is a bachelor degree in any stream. Admission is based on merit basis where CAT/MAT or other equivalent program scores are analysed and then call for the GD and interview rounds.

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Certified Financial Planner Certification

The certificate of the program is internationally valid. The program prepares students for the respected ICFP course. The certificate of CFP is rewarded to more than 1 lakh youth who are working with steamed organizations these days.

MBA in Financial Analysis

The 2-year master programs prepare students for all the challenges in financial analysis. The course aims to teach about stock market and world economy. It focuses on in-depth learning of financial management and analysis. It teaches how to analyse difficult financial situations and recover them smartly. It prepares students for learning leadership qualities.

MBA in Financial Planning

The 2-year program aims to provide advanced knowledge in financial planning. Students who are looking for a bright career in finance sector can pursue the course. It aims to teach students the skills useful for financial planning and analysis in todays financial scenario. It improves interpersonal skills of students. The course is divided into semesters and each semester covers innovative topics like principles and practices of management, risk management and insurance planning, business communication and personality development, tax and estate planning, equity research and much more. Exams are conducted to ensure that each student is performing well. Innovative learning environment is tried to provide that involves beyond classroom teaching including seminars, guest lecturers etc.

These are top courses that you can consider to find a bright career in finance field. Each program helps building bright career opportunities and secures future. From a prestigious financial management college of India, you can do any of these programs. Prepare for admission test to qualify any of the courses. It could be your ladder of success.

International College of Financial Planning is one of a reputed college for

Post graduate diploma in finance

education In India. For other top

professional courses in finance

education in management, visit http://www.icofp.org/

Article Source:

Top Professional Courses in Finance in India
}

Taliban resurgent in Pakistan on enforcement of Sharia law

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Taliban resurgent in Pakistan on enforcement of Sharia law

Posted at November 18, 2017 @ 2:35 am by in Uncategorized

Friday, May 4, 2007

“Pakistan was un-affected by Talibans and al-Qaeda (in my opinion) until the US flushed them out of Afghanistan. So 9/11 and WTC and the post WTC attacks by the ISAF (read American, for the locals) forces have led to the present condition in NWFP. At least that is the way the people there see it,” wrote Riaz A Hakeem in one of a series of email exchanges with Wikinews.

Mr. Hakeem, 58, left the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) at the age of 25 and became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. Now a businessman who is active in Texas politics, he shares some views as a person who is in touch with his family and friends who remain in the region. He travelled throughout portions of Pakistan at the end of last year.

What is the current situation in the NWFP?

The Pashtun people are or were renowned for their hospitality. Many westerners commented on it. Some with suspicion NOT willing to believe some people so poor could be so generous. It was almost a character flaw. One could travel without fear of personal danger as long as you followed local protocols.

That was the sort of mind set among the people. An ageless paradigm of self satisfaction: this is enshrined in the code of the Pashtuns way of life.

The Islamic radicalism is in reality nothing but the Taliban movement. Not all Pashtuns are Taliban (obviously), but most Taliban are Pashtun. Of these, most belong to the FATA. Of these, most were affected by their cousins from Afghanistan coming over. Mingled with them were Arab-Afghans, Uzbeks and some Tajiks and even Chechens. Some of these married within the tribes and formed a bond with the locals. Marriage bonds go back in history.

This Talibanization shows itself in the content of the Friday sermons at the mosque. Now it shows in the popularity of growing beards, especially since the MMA – the coalition of religious political party’s – won power. More recently in their showdown with the Pakistan army in North and South Waziristan – where according to my sources, people prefer going to the Taliban for justice rather than the older system of Maliks and Political Agents. The latter are known as corrupt. In Pakistan, in general, people are sick of the amount of corruption.

Bannu, from where hails the Chief Minister of the NWFP, Mr. Durrani, is now in Taliban control in the sense that there is a parallel government that they have established which is functioning quite well and is popular among the people.

Has Taliban influence caused a stricter intrepretation of Sharia law in the NWFP?

Yes. The Maliks, or tribal elders, consider themselves quite conservatively religious. Even so, they had a laid back attitude towards enforcement of religious doctrine.

The Taliban emulated the Saudi system of having a department concerned with citizens’ morals (even the name is the same: the department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice) and this department has, as in Saudi Arabia, an enforcement police, called mutawwa’in, a morals law-enforcement agency.

Is there a shift from tribal elders to clerics, as the main interpreters of law?

There has been a movement in that direction, but it has started a power struggle between the clerics who traditionally have been at the lowest strata of the social structure. Now when they have seen a bigger role for themselves, first from the Taliban in Afghanistan – but also the government of the MMA in the NWFP, who are nothing more than glorified clerics themselves, only a little smarter in exploiting religion politically.

The MMA is largely non-Pashtun, which is a source of discontent in that they stand in the way of Pashtun nationalism, such as it is, because it only rears its head when non-Pashtuns start to usurp power over what the Pashtun consider their turf.

The deal made between Pakistan’s central government and the North and South Waziristan provinces, where tribal leadership was given the pivotal role in dealing with militants, has been criticized as a failure. What caused this initiative to fail?

First off, I don’t agree with the premise of the question, that the “deal” is a “failure” – for the following reasons:

  1. In the first place the Pakistan army (govt – same difference) did not have many options. This was the least worst option they had.
  2. And most importantly, I have said this before, this area is literally in a time warp – which means they proceed at (what seems to us in the west) a glacial pace. I will give an example from the folklore:

    The story goes that a Pashtun had to repay (badal) an enemy for a crime against his family and he waited patiently for 20 years (some say 50 years), after this time, he exacted his revenge – but soon after was depressed because he wondered “Did I act too hastily?”

    So one part of Pashtunwali is to “pay back” – (Badal: literally to exchange) which most people translate as revenge. Yes that is the form that is most visible, but badal is also played out in the exchange of gifts at wedding and other celebrations, and in the exchange of favors like in politics. The rules can be arcane, unwritten and hard to follow — who did what to whom, when, and so on, and what is the proper recompense — this same give and take would occur in a peace process pursued by the Tribal Maliks, who rule by consensus. There is no actual leader in the western sense, because all the Maliks, in fact all the others are de facto, so many co-equals is a mind set, a paradigm foreign to the uninitiated, as the concept of consensual gay sex is to the Wazir in Waziristan.

  3. The agreement has not failed, because it has not been given enough time, in Wazir time reference, not American time presidential election cycle controlled. I do not have a crystal ball, but if I did, I would see NATO troops in Afghanistan long after Iraq is over. Afghanistan can be a success ONLY if we accept one thing, the time warp these people live in — by my reckoning its still 1700 CE over there.

Is the Talibanization of Pakistan partly due to a perception of corruption among the system of Maliks and Political Agents?

The corruption is in the ISI, the Pak army and the Pak system of Political Agents (PA) assigned to these tribal zones (FATA & PATA).

These PA have budgets that are much like the CIA in that they are a single line item in the national budget, there is no accountability of where or how the PA spends the money. If one followed the IRS rules and looked at the lifestyles of the PA and compared them with their income, you would soon understand what was going on.

Musharraf critics are a larger issue. Republicans have coddled Pakistan with the belief that “as long as they are pro America” then democracy in Pakistan will come in due course. Democrats have, I think, insisted Democracy first, and then we can discuss the other issues later.

The Talibanization of Pakistan has more to do with graduates of “Raiwind“, a place near Lahore, where the “Tablighi Jamaat” conducts brainwashing camps. It was graduates of this place, in my opinion, that are responsible for Britain’s 7/7 attacks as an example.

Corruption amongst the Maliks is self limiting because of the egalitarian society they live in and because of Pashtunwali.

What is your view on Musharraf suspending judge Iftikhar Chaudhry?

I believe, and this is widely held belief, that Musharraf has no constituency of his own for his power base. He wanted legitimization from the Supreme Court, and Mr Choudhry as Chief Justice (their system is not like ours) would not give it.

So Musharraf has had to hang on to his Army Chief of Staff position to get his power from the Army. If some one else were Chief of Staff, that person could refuse to support Musharraf.

The Justice favorable to the general is Justice Iqbal, who was not the next in line for Chief Justice. The next in line is a Hindu. That presented problems of its own for Musharraf. So when the Hindu judge went for a trip to India, Iqbal became the “available” senior most Supreme Court judge, and hence the haste and lack of decorum with which Justice Chaudhry was removed.

What is the prevailing sentiment regarding Pakistani government efforts in the provinces and the international effort in Afghanistan to combat Taliban and affiliated militants?

In my dealings and inquires, one thing stood out like a sore thumb – the conspiracy theories vis-à-vis anything having to do with America. I mentioned to one of my close friends that events that were previously ascribed as acts of God were now considered acts of the CIA. Some even believed that the Earthquake in the northern areas was because of some sort of underground secret “bomb” used by the CIA. Lack of evidence is further proof that the CIA did it. I was flabbergasted, and started to give this kind of thinking as an example in speaking to “educated” Pakistani’s – and among these, those that did agree that the earthquake was NOT the work of the CIA, they would start giving other examples, notably the Blow up of the plane carrying Zia ul Haq an ex President of Pakistan, in which the US Ambassador also perished. When I would point this out, the response would be that that is the sort of thing they do to take away suspicion from themselves.

In a nutshell, the impression I came away with is, there is NO war of civilizations going on. What is going on is a war between literacy and illiteracy.

Taliban are not visible in the areas I visited, but the militants handiwork clearly is – as elsewhere, the common criminals are taking advantage of this situation, and crime is up significantly. One new crime is Cell phone “snatching” – it’s easy and nobody wants to pursue it. If some one is using a Razr phone, he can expect to be hit soon if he uses it in public. So people have two cell phones, one fancy to show off, and one for use in public places.

Insofar as “foreign” militants are captured and identified, that is to say non-Pashtun (including non Afghan Pashtun or Pak Pashtun) – then the people are obviously in agreement with the government that these people don’t belong here and need to go.

The problem is this: the foreigners are usually in the FATA and have been there since the Soviet war times. Many of them have taken local wives and now have a family. The local have accepted them into their family. Now for the Pak govt to ask them to kick them out, the locals are thinking what am I doing to my grandchildren’s father, etc. Again the edicts of Pashtunwali also play a role.

What is the relationship, if any, between the Taliban and Al Qaeda?

Al Qaeda is mostly composed of Arabs, they do not trust any one else. While they might use others as couriers or in lowly position as servants, for second rate Al Qaeda officials, the Top guys ONLY deal with Arabs and are served by Arabs.

The Taliban are mostly Pashtun tribesmen. Mostly they are graduates of madrassa’s. Mostly illiterate by any world standards. The better educated among them will know how to speak a few words of English, such as their Information minister. There might be one or two notable exceptions of which I am not aware.

However, while Al Qaeda does not trust the Taliban, the Taliban look up to Al Qaeda top leadership. We saw this situation in Iraq where initially Al Zarqawi had no direct link with Qaeda but was keen to form one. It would be conjecture on my part to state that in the end he did indeed succeed in forming that connection. In the press at least that impression was prevalent.

So the lines of interest proceed ONE way, like one way traffic. Extremist want to be affiliated with Qaeda, in my opinion, while the latter does not, so as to maintain its hideout.

The Qaeda supply lines are hampered, new recruits would have to be Arabs, and they would have to travel a long way through tight Pakistani security to reach here, or suffer hardship over a long and arduous land route through Balochistan and the Tribal area’s – NOT all of which are accommodating.

So as is becoming clear, Qaeda is having trouble replacing people they loose meaning those that were captured or died. They only trust Arabs, and that also a certain type of Arabs, (not all Arabs are the same, not all Arabic is the same – for example they would never trust a Syrian, in fact Qaeda folks consider Syrian brand of Islam an apostasy – but that is another story).

Whatever remains of the Qaeda, are not in a position to set up training camps, since they are in a survival mode. The Taliban resurgence helps them get a little warm and fuzzy in this survival mode, since they feel a little bit more secure with their partners-in-arms doing some evil stuff, blowing up people and causing mayhem.

What makes the North-West Frontier Province competent to administer money sent as foreign aid?

This is the central question. Much like California has taken a separate initiative on stem cell research – as an analogy – the NWFP is central to the war on terror, not Pakistan.

The NWFP was central to the fight and aid to the Afghans during the Soviet occupation, not Pakistan.

This small distinction is lost on Washington, and it is the main reason, in my opinion, why so much of the Aid was “lost in transit” was because the Punjabi army officers could not bring themselves to dispense such large sums to an ethnic group which it considers anti-Pakistani.

All the FATA is contiguous to the NWFP. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda are holed up somewhere either in the FATA, or across the Durand Line in Afghanistan; the Durand Line has never been recognized by the locals as an international boundary. Even today, the Pashtun travel from Peshawar to Kabul by road with out a passport or visa, and it has been like that for eons.

The present governor of the NWFP belongs to the Orakzai tribe (he spells his name Aorakzai) and it is my opinion that that he was picked partly because he belongs to one of the FATA as well as he is a retired General of the Pak Army.

The Frontier Constabulary (FC) is a force which primarily recruits from the FATA. All or most of its forces are from the various tribes. In the eyes of the tribes this is a bona fide force and service with the FC is considered an honorable thing. The US has already allocated some funds for increasing recruitment, but far less than what it would take to counter the Taliban and far less than what the economic need is. The US spends a thousand times more on a battalions sent to monitor activity over there. Plus why endanger the lives of our troops and spread our forces thin when a more effective job can be done by the FC. The FC has over history shown that they will attack and use force against the tribes that create trouble. There have been no instances of insubordination or mutiny.

Even the US Embassy is protected by a contingent of the FC! That goes to show their trustworthiness and discipline.

The “tribal” Pashtuns in the FATA are not educated or trained and hence not employable right now. I propose that we fund directly the Director of Emigrants, Mr. Azhar Arbab in Islamabad, to set up training facilities in Concrete laying, iron work, pipe work, welding etc, which would then qualify these tribesmen to obtain jobs in the Gulf. As such we would remove them from the scene altogether. They would not be available in the labor pool to the Taliban or anyone else. I might add here, that a number of these individuals have very high innate intelligence, which is one reason they make formidable foes.

Now the central reason why the NWFP ought to do this is because they are themselves most affected by the scourge of Talibanization. They are highly motivated in carrying out these policies because it is to their own benefit.

How many men does the FC field currently?

The FC currently has about 23,000 men in total.

How much do they get paid?

They are paid the equivalent of $60 per month per person -Pak Rupees 3665, where Rs61= $1. They do have some fringe benefits but life is very spartan for these soldiers.

What the US could get in return is a huge bang for a buck, no pun intended.

I think we ought to double the number of these soldiers with one proviso that the FC maintains its high standards of recruits.

Compare this with our costs in the War against Terror; just Halliburton’s bills will have you reeling. I think that it would be foolish, NOT to do this.

The Frontier Constabulary is an Institution with a long and glorious history within the Frontier Province.

The recruits come strictly from the tribes of the various FATA and so they are very familiar with the people, the bad guys the terrain.

They speak the Pashto dialect of the locals. The Pashto language has many dialects, and you can tell where someone is from based on which dialect he speaks. So if you do not speak the correct dialect, you are immediately identified as an outsider. This is one reason why these tribes are impossible to penetrate, there are other reasons as well, that are beyond the scope of the current discussion.

How can the FC help prevent attacks like the suicide bombing attempt on Sherpao in Charsadda last weekend?

In essence your question is how can anyone prevent a suicide attack? And frankly if I knew the answer to that I think the US military – and several other groups – would be knocking on my door. I think the Israeli Army has had the most experience with this sort of thing. The suicide bombing as a tactical weapon was invented by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, and even today in terms of statistics they use it in far greater numbers.

So to summarize neither the FC nor anyone else can prevent a suicide bombing. We could attempt to improve our intelligence to find out about an imminent attack, but so far these have not been very successful in Pakistan.

In the Lal Masjid Case the government avoided a suicide killing by negotiating with those two Mullah brothers – but I don’t know if that counts. But it does make for an interesting story. Both Washington, DC and Islamabad now have Madams threatening to publish the list of their clients unless they are given protection. Who would have thunk?

Going back to your question: In my opinion what ought to be done is to make a Policy change, and address the issues that are producing these suicide bombers, that is the only way to stop this phenomenon.

In this part of the world this is relatively new because prior to 9/11, suicide bombing was unheard of. Moreover it is not the FC’s job to provide security to the Minister of the Interior, that is the job of the Police force, because this Ministry is equivalent to the Department of Homeland Security.

You don’t expect Border patrol to provide body guard duty to the Secretary of the department of Homeland Security.

I am making these analogies so the American readers would relate to what is happening, and understand the difference in nomenclature. –RHakeem 20:13, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

This interview consists of excerpts taken from the full content and context of Mr. Hakeem’s replies. The complete and uneditted version is found on the Interview archive page.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

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City of Calgary, Canada removes fluoride from drinking water

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City of Calgary, Canada removes fluoride from drinking water

Posted at November 17, 2017 @ 3:14 am by in Uncategorized

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Calgary city council voted 10 to 3 on Wednesday to stop fluoridating their water supply. This overturns a previous plebiscite from 1989 to add the fluoride in an attempt to reduce tooth decay.

Opponents of water fluoridation claim that there could be unknown health effects of fluoride, and question its effectiveness in preventing tooth decay. They also claim that individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to use fluoride. However, Alberta Health Services maintains that current evidence shows that fluoride is both safe, and beneficial to dental health.

It is estimated that no longer fluoridating the water supply could save Calgary’s city council C$750 thousand (550 thousand) annually, as well as cutting a C$6 million (4.3 million) upgrade to the fluoridation system.

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UK Wikinews Shorts: March 1, 2010

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UK Wikinews Shorts: March 1, 2010

Posted at November 17, 2017 @ 2:59 am by in Uncategorized

A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, March 1, 2010.

Contents

  • 1 One killed, three injured after car crash in Lincolnshire, England
  • 2 Man found dead in toilet area of bus station in Galashiels, Scotland
  • 3 Woman dies after being rescued from house fire in west London, England
 Contribute to Wikinews by expanding these briefs or add a new one.

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News briefs:July 15, 2010

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News briefs:July 15, 2010

Posted at November 17, 2017 @ 2:49 am by in Uncategorized

Wikinews Audio Briefs Credits
Produced By
Turtlestack
Recorded By
Turtlestack
Written By
Turtlestack
Listen To This Brief

Problems? See our media guide.

[edit]

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Latest trial of the One Laptop Per Child running in India; Uruguay orders 100,000 machines

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Latest trial of the One Laptop Per Child running in India; Uruguay orders 100,000 machines

Posted at November 17, 2017 @ 2:25 am by in Uncategorized

Thursday, November 8, 2007

India is the latest of the countries where the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) experiment has started. Children from the village of Khairat were given the opportunity to learn how to use the XO laptop. During the last year XO was distributed to children from Arahuay in Peru, Ban Samkha in Thailand, Cardal in Uruguay and Galadima in Nigeria. The OLPC team are, in their reports on the startup of the trials, delighted with how the laptop has improved access to information and ability to carry out educational activities. Thailand’s The Nation has praised the project, describing the children as “enthusiastic” and keen to attend school with their laptops.

Recent good news for the project sees Uruguay having ordered 100,000 of the machines which are to be given to children aged six to twelve. Should all go according to plan a further 300,000 machines will be purchased by 2009 to give one to every child in the country. As the first to order, Uruguay chose the OLPC XO laptop over its rival from Intel, the Classmate PC. In parallel with the delivery of the laptops network connectivity will be provided to schools involved in the project.

The remainder of this article is based on Carla G. Munroy’s Khairat Chronicle, which is available from the OLPC Wiki. Additional sources are listed at the end.

Contents

  • 1 India team
  • 2 Khairat
    • 2.1 The town school
  • 3 The workplace
  • 4 Marathi
  • 5 The teacher
  • 6 Older children, teenagers, and villagers
  • 7 The students
  • 8 Teacher session
  • 9 Parents’ meetings
  • 10 Grounding the server
  • 11 Every child at school
  • 12 Sources
  • 13 External links

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UN report: climate change and food shortage major problems for Earth’s future

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UN report: climate change and food shortage major problems for Earth’s future

Posted at November 17, 2017 @ 2:07 am by in Uncategorized

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released a comprehensive report on the current state of the global environment. Climate change, food and water shortage and a decline in biodiversity threaten humanity’s survival, so urgent action is necessary, the report warns.

UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook: environment for development (GEO-4) report involved the work of about 390 experts in various fields from around the world.

Selected key figures and facts from the report

Climate change

  • The global average temperature has risen 0.7 °C since 1906 and will rise a further 1.8 °C at best by the end of this century.
  • Some scientists believe a 2°C temperature rise would cause major and irreversible damage.
  • Meanwhile, average temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as elsewhere.
  • Rising sealevels threaten the 60 percent of the population living within 100 kilometres of coastal lines.

Water and food

  • Increasing irrigation demands will eventually cause 1 of every 10 major rivers to dry up.
  • Population growth, over-consumption and a continued shift from cereals to meat will raise food demand to a level 2.5 – 3.5 times higher than at present.
  • The slackening expansion of cropland stands in contrast with the fact that by 2030, developing countries will need 120 million extra hectares to feed themselves.

Biodiversity

  • Species are becoming extinct a hundred times faster than the rate shown in the fossil record.

While the GEO-4 report salutes some improvements, for example the increased public awareness of environmental issues and political interest, it also warns that “There are no major issues… for which the foreseeable trends are favourable.” Although the report sets out a gloomy scenario, its main aim is to call for action.

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Congressman Cunningham admits taking bribes

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Congressman Cunningham admits taking bribes

Posted at November 17, 2017 @ 2:05 am by in Uncategorized

Monday, November 28, 2005

U.S. Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham (RCA) pled guilty today to conspiring to take bribes in exchange for using his influence as a member of the House Appropriations Committee to help a defense contractor get business. In total he pled guilty to one count of income tax evasion and four counts of conspiracy, namely mail fraud, wire fraud, bribery of public official and accepting bribes. U.S. District judge Larry A. Burns scheduled Cunnigham to be sentenced on February 27. He is facing up to 10 years in prison and nearly $500,000 in fines, as well as forfeiture of unspecified amounts of cash and property.

In the court hearing, Cunningham admitted to accepting “bribes in exchange for performance of official duties” between “the year 2000 and June of 2005”, taking “both cash payments and payments in kind” and following up by “trying to influence the Defense Department”.

The federal investigation against Cunningham was triggered by his sale of his California residence to defense contractor Mitchell Wade in late 2003. However, Wade never moved in and sold the house at a $700,000 loss three quarters of a year later. At the same time Wade’s company MZM won tens of millions of dollars in defense contracts. Subsequent investigations discovered more questionable business transactions, including interactions with the defense contractor ADCS. In his plea agreement he testified that, among other charges, he “demanded, sought and received at least $2.4 million in illicit payments and benefits from his co-conspirators in various forms, including cash, checks, meals, travel, lodging, furnishings, antiques, rugs, yacht club fees, boat repairs and improvements, moving expenses, cars and boats.”

Cunningham announced his resignation after the hearing. In a written statement released by his law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP he declared “The truth is — I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my high office. I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, and most importantly, the trust of my friends and family.”

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