Oversight Committee: White House attempted to influence Congressional elections

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A report released by the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today found that the White House had “used the political affairs office to orchestrate an aggressive strategy to use taxpayer-funded trips to help elect Republican candidates” during the 2006 Congressional elections. The actions of the White House may have breached the Hatch Act, which prohibits government involvement with taxpayer dollars in political affairs.

The Office of Political Affairs coordinated the efforts, and while it has been used in the past to support political parties, the Committee called the level of involvement “unprecedented” and a “gross abuse of public trust”. A total of 99 Republican candidates were supported by the actions.

Political Affairs requested that its officials attend events of and support key members of the 2006–2007 Congressional race. Administration officials attended a total of 425 events, including parties, fundraising dinners, speeches, and appearances with Republican candidates — an average of more than an event each day of the election season. A third of the events were paid for with tax dollars.

White House emails used in the report referred to the taxpayer-funded events as “top priorities”.

Former Political Affairs director Ken Melhman said during an investigative interview that it was a “big part” of his job was to “help elect allies of the President”. The job was legal, he said, because it promoted executive allies. Mehlman had discussed his actions with the White House Counsel of the time, Alberto Gonzales, who approved of the efforts.

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The Committee noted that the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, John Walters, helped with nineteen events though his position was restricted from campaign activities.

Mehlman said that his department had worked directly with the National Republican Congressional Committee on the strategy. They had worked together to pick “vulnerable Republican incumbents”, “battleground races” and “places where they agreed the most help was needed”. The White House kept a ‘target list’ of ‘allies’ who were in tight races.

Investigators also questioned Sara Taylor, a former director of Political Affairs and Karl Rove aid. According to the report, Taylor resisted questioning and “misled the Committee about her actions”. Taylor said the trips were efforts to be helpful but could not remember why some were helped and others not.

The report recommended an amendment of the Hatch Act and for the Political Affairs department to be abolished.

Republican Representative Tom Davis, a senior member of the Committee, said that every administration since Eisenhower has done similar things. He said the Democrats had set out to find banned activity and had “feigned shock”, calling their response “righteous indignation”.

A White House spokesman accused the Committee of trying to “score political points”, and that the report was a waste of time and taxpayer money.

Airbnb announces intent to remove Israeli West Bank settlement property listings

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Thursday, November 22, 2018

On Monday, online rental firm Airbnb announced its intent to remove housing listings in Israeli West Bank settlements. The decision would likely affect about 200 properties within the coming days.

Airbnb said they made the decision because of the controversy surrounding the settlements, describing them as “at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians”.

The company stated: “US law permits companies like Airbnb to engage in business in these territories. At the same time, many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced”.

Various human rights activists and Palestinian officials, critics of Airbnb’s West Bank listings for several years, lauded the announcement. Israeli leaders criticized the company and supported bringing legal action against it in US courts.

The Israeli Ministry of Tourism said they would act to limit Airbnb’s activity within the country. The office’s minister Yariv Levin also ordered the creation of a program aimed at boosting West Bank settlement tourism and accommodations.

Under international law, disputed by Israel, Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal. The settlements have been a major obstacle in peace negotiations for the region. About 600 thousand Israeli settlers populate West Bank and East Jerusalem Israeli settlements.

Why You Should Buy A Car At A Used Honda Dealer In Michigan

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Used Cars

byadmin

When you’re in the market for a used car, there are several places to buy one. You can buy a car from a used Honda dealer in Michigan, get a used car from a used car dealer or you can choose to buy one from a private seller. No matter where you buy the car, you need to do your research and look it over carefully to keep from buying a lemon.

Why Buy a Used Car from a Dealership

Many people choose to begin their search for a used car at a new car dealership. The used cars that are found at dealerships are usually from trade-ins people make when they buy a new car. The dealership will examine the cars and make necessary repairs and offer a limited warranty when they put the car on their lot. Later model cars may be used for a dealership’s certified used car program as well.

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Dealership Advantages

One of the advantages of buying a car from a used Honda dealer is that the dealership has to adhere to operating and selling procedures outlined by the car manufacturer and by law. This means that you will be less likely to buy a lemon from a dealership than you would buying a used car from a private seller.

Choice of Used Car Types

In addition, if you do buy a certified used car, you are getting a later model car that has been brought up to standards set by the manufacturer. These cars usually are low mileage and they may still be under the car’s original warranty. If you want a good used car, then buying a certified used car from a used Honda dealer is your best bet.

Financing Options

If you cannot pay a few thousand dollars for a car, you can always finance a used car at a dealership. You don’t have that option with a private seller unless you get a loan through a lending institution. Some used cars are eligible for leasing as well, so you have more than one option for financing a car.

Used Car Warranty

If you do have a mechanical problem with the car you buy, you can take it to the used Honda dealer where you bought it to have them repair it. If the car is still under warranty, you will not have to pay for the repairs. If the warranty has already expired, you may get a discount on the repairs if the purchase was made recently.

Buying a used car need not be a nightmare if you do your research and carefully examine the cars you are considering. You can find a good car that will last several years if you are careful.

The used cars that are found at dealerships are usually from trade-ins people make when they buy a new car.

Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Last night HBO premiered I Am An Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA. Since its inception, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has made headlines and raised eyebrows. They are almost single-handedly responsible for the movement against animal testing and their efforts have raised the suffering animals experience in a broad spectrum of consumer goods production and food processing into a cause célèbre.

PETA first made headlines in the Silver Spring monkeys case, when Alex Pacheco, then a student at George Washington University, volunteered at a lab run by Edward Taub, who was testing neuroplasticity on live monkeys. Taub had cut sensory ganglia that supplied nerves to the monkeys’ fingers, hands, arms, legs; with some of the monkeys, he had severed the entire spinal column. He then tried to force the monkeys to use their limbs by exposing them to persistent electric shock, prolonged physical restraint of an intact arm or leg, and by withholding food. With footage obtained by Pacheco, Taub was convicted of six counts of animal cruelty—largely as a result of the monkeys’ reported living conditions—making them “the most famous lab animals in history,” according to psychiatrist Norman Doidge. Taub’s conviction was later overturned on appeal and the monkeys were eventually euthanized.

PETA was born.

In the subsequent decades they ran the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty against Europe’s largest animal-testing facility (footage showed staff punching beagle puppies in the face, shouting at them, and simulating sex acts while taking blood samples); against Covance, the United State’s largest importer of primates for laboratory research (evidence was found that they were dissecting monkeys at its Vienna, Virginia laboratory while the animals were still alive); against General Motors for using live animals in crash tests; against L’Oreal for testing cosmetics on animals; against the use of fur for fashion and fur farms; against Smithfield Foods for torturing Butterball turkeys; and against fast food chains, most recently against KFC through the launch of their website kentuckyfriedcruelty.com.

They have launched campaigns and engaged in stunts that are designed for media attention. In 1996, PETA activists famously threw a dead raccoon onto the table of Anna Wintour, the fur supporting editor-in-chief of Vogue, while she was dining at the Four Seasons in New York, and left bloody paw prints and the words “Fur Hag” on the steps of her home. They ran a campaign entitled Holocaust on your Plate that consisted of eight 60-square-foot panels, each juxtaposing images of the Holocaust with images of factory farming. Photographs of concentration camp inmates in wooden bunks were shown next to photographs of caged chickens, and piled bodies of Holocaust victims next to a pile of pig carcasses. In 2003 in Jerusalem, after a donkey was loaded with explosives and blown up in a terrorist attack, Newkirk sent a letter to then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat to keep animals out of the conflict. As the film shows, they also took over Jean-Paul Gaultier‘s Paris boutique and smeared blood on the windows to protest his use of fur in his clothing.

The group’s tactics have been criticized. Co-founder Pacheco, who is no longer with PETA, called them “stupid human tricks.” Some feminists criticize their campaigns featuring the Lettuce Ladies and “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ads as objectifying women. Of their Holocaust on a Plate campaign, Anti-Defamation League Chairman Abraham Foxman said “The effort by PETA to compare the deliberate systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights is abhorrent.” (Newkirk later issued an apology for any hurt it caused). Perhaps most controversial amongst politicians, the public and even other animal rights organizations is PETA’s refusal to condemn the actions of the Animal Liberation Front, which in January 2005 was named as a terrorist threat by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

David Shankbone attended the pre-release screening of I Am An Animal at HBO’s offices in New York City on November 12, and the following day he sat down with Ingrid Newkirk to discuss her perspectives on PETA, animal rights, her responses to criticism lodged against her and to discuss her on-going life’s work to raise human awareness of animal suffering. Below is her interview.

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Contents

  • 1 The HBO film about her life
  • 2 PETA, animal rights groups and the Animal Liberation Front
  • 3 Newkirk on humans and other animals
  • 4 Religion and animals
  • 5 Fashion and animals
  • 6 Newkirk on the worst corporate animal abusers
  • 7 Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
  • 8 Ingrid Newkirk on Ingrid Newkirk
  • 9 External links
  • 10 Sources

Category:Iain Macdonald (Wikinewsie)/Aviation

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized
Aviation articles by Wikinewsie Iain Macdonald.
  • Germany bans Mahan Air of Iran, citing ‘security’
  • Lion Air disaster: Crashed jet’s voice recorder recovered from Java Sea
  • Iranian cargo plane crashes into Karaj houses
  • Police warn new drone owners to obey law after disruption at UK’s Gatwick Airport
  • Rescue helicopter crash kills six in Abruzzo, Italy
  • UK Civil Aviation Authority issues update on Shoreham crash response
  • Nigerian jet attacks refugee camp, killing dozens
  • Fighter jet crashes during Children’s Day airshow in Thailand
  • Plane carrying 92 crashes into Black Sea near Sochi
  • Hijackers divert Libyan passenger jet to Malta
  • Pakistan International Airlines sacrifices goat, resumes ATR flights
  • Judge rules Air Canada Flight 624 victims can sue Transport Canada
  • PIA flight crashes near Havelian, Pakistan
  • Indonesian police plane crashes near Batam, fifteen missing
  • Investigators blame pilot error for AirAsia crash into Java Sea
  • New Polish government takes down findings on Russian air disaster
  • Pakistani female fighter pilot Marium Mukhtiar dies in jet crash
  • Investigators blame pilot error for deadly jet crash near Boston
  • Airshow collision kills one in Dittingen, Switzerland
  • Vintage plane crashes into road during Shoreham Airshow in England
  • Planes carrying parachutists collide, crash in Slovakia
  • Indian army helicopter crash kills two in Jammu and Kashmir
  • Divers retrieve 100th corpse from Java Sea jet crash
  • Taipei plane crash toll reaches 40
  • AirAsia disaster: Bodies, wreckage found
  • AirAsia jet vanishes over Indonesia, 162 missing
  • Inquiry finds proper maintenance might have prevented 2009 North Sea helicopter disaster
  • Ryanair sue Associated Newspapers, Mirror Group
  • Ryanair sack, sue pilot over participation in safety documentary
  • Ryanair threaten legal action after documentary on fuel policy, safety
  • US Marine Corps blame deadly Morocco Osprey plane crash on pilots
  • Kenyan helicopter crash kills security minister
  • Indonesians retrieve missing recorder from crashed Russian jet
  • Report blames New Zealand skydive plane crash that killed nine on overloading
  • Russian passenger jet crashes on Indonesian demonstration flight
  • European Commission clears British Airways owner IAG to buy bmi from Lufthansa
  • US Air Force upgrades F-22 oxygen system after deadly crash
  • Cypriot court clears all of wrongdoing in Greek air disaster
  • Boeing rolls out first 787 Dreamliner to go into service
  • Air France, pilots union, victims group criticise transatlantic disaster probe
  • South Korean troops mistakenly attack passenger jet
  • 27 believed dead in Indonesian plane crash
  • Russian police say Moscow airport bomber identified
  • ‘Unacceptable’ and ‘without foundation’: Poland rejects Russian air crash report
  • Serb pilots defend colleague in Air India Express disaster
  • Investigation into US Airways river ditching in New York completed
  • Reports issued after jets collided twice in same spot at UK airport
  • Final report blames London passenger jet crash on ice
  • Concorde crash trial begins
  • Iranian air politician blames pilot error for yesterday’s jet crash
  • US charges homeless man after plane stolen and crashed in Maryland
  • German jet bound for US searched in Iceland after suitcase loaded without owner
  • Mexican helicopter crash leaves soldier dead
  • Indonesian court overturns Garuda pilot’s conviction over air disaster
  • Zimbabwean cargo plane crashes in Shanghai; three dead
  • Italian Air Force transport wreck kills five
  • UK lawyer comments on court case against Boeing over London jet crash
  • Victims of London jetliner crash sue Boeing
  • Family seeks prosecution over loss of UK Nimrod jet in Afghanistan
  • British Airways and Iberia agree to merge
  • At least nine missing after Russian military plane crashes into Pacific
  • Search continues for nine missing after midair collision off California
  • Russian military cargo jet crash kills eleven in Siberia
  • Nine missing after US Coast Guard plane and Navy helicopter collide
  • Jet flies 150 miles past destination in US; pilots say they were distracted
  • Airliner crash wounds four in Durban, South Africa
  • Cypriot court begins Greek air disaster trial
  • Japan blames design, maintenance for explosion on China Airlines jet
  • Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi released on compassionate grounds
  • Lockerbie bombing appeal dropped
  • Australian receives bravery award for rescues in Indonesian air disaster
  • Fighter jets collide, crash into houses near Moscow
  • Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi moves to drop Lockerbie bombing appeal
  • Iranian passenger jet’s wheel catches fire
  • Tourist plane crash in Papua New Guinea leaves thirteen dead
  • UK’s BAA forced to sell three airports
  • Scotland denies bail to terminally ill man convicted of Lockerbie bombing
  • Pilot error blamed for July crash of Aria Air Flight 1525 in Iran
  • Plane carrying sixteen people vanishes over Papua, Indonesia
  • Airbus offers funding to search for black boxes from Air France disaster
  • 20 years on: Sioux City, Iowa remembers crash landing that killed 111
  • Two separate fighter jet crashes kill two, injure two in Afghanistan
  • Helicopter crash kills sixteen at NATO base in Afghanistan
  • U.S. investigators probe in-flight hole in passenger jet
  • Four Indonesian airlines allowed back into Europe; Zambia, Kazakhstan banned
  • Brazil ceases hunt for bodies from Air France crash
  • Airliner catches fire at Indonesian airport
  • Garuda Indonesia increases flights, fleet; may buy rival
  • False dawn for Air France flight; debris not from crash, search continues
  • US investigators probe close call on North Carolina runway
  • Spanish general, two other officials jailed for false IDs after air disaster
  • Indonesian court jails Garuda pilot over air disaster
  • Pilots in 16-death crash jailed for praying instead of flying
  • New Zealand pilots receive bravery awards for foiling airliner hijack
  • US, UK investigators seek 777 engine redesign to stop repeat of London jet crash
  • Schiphol airliner crash blamed on altimeter failure, pilot error
  • Marine jet crash into San Diego house attributed to string of errors
  • Fatal US Army helicopter collision in Iraq blamed on enemy fire
  • Brazil’s Embraer plans to cut around 4,200 jobs
  • Virgin Atlantic jet fire investigation finds faulty wiring in A340 fleet
  • Six indicted over jet crash at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport
  • Man arrested in India after mid-air hijack threat on domestic flight
  • British Airways plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 50% by 2050
  • US Airways jet recovered from Hudson River
  • Mount Everest plane crash blamed on pilot error
  • Cyprus charges five over 2005 air crash that killed 121
  • 20 years on: Lockerbie victims’ group head talks to Wikinews
  • US, UK investigators collaborating after US 777 incident similar to London crash
  • Brazil blames human error for 2006 midair airliner collision
  • NTSB continues investigation of near-collision in Pennsylvania, United States
  • Turbulence likely cause of Mexico jet crash that killed ministers
  • Bomb ruled out in Mexico plane crash that killed twelve
  • Afghan president Hamid Karzai opens new terminal at Kabul International Airport
  • Cyprus to charge five over 2005 plane crash that killed 121
  • India’s Jet Airways posts biggest quarterly loss in three years
  • Indian aviation sector hit by financial trouble; domestic traffic at five-year low
  • Spanish airline LTE suspends all flights
  • Spanair mechanics to be questioned under criminal suspicion over Flight 5022 crash
  • Oscar Diös tells Wikinews about his hostel within a Boeing 747
  • Preliminary report released on Spanair disaster that killed 154
  • Dozens injured by sudden change in altitude on Qantas jet
  • Soldier dies as military helicopters collide in Iraq
  • No evidence of engine fire at Aeroflot-Nord Flight 821 crash site
  • Indonesian parliament approves privatising of three major state firms
  • Controversy after leak of preliminary report into Spanair disaster
  • Researcher claims unmarked grave contains 1950 Lake Michigan plane crash victims
  • Interim report blames ice for British Airways 777 crash in London
  • Service held in Nova Scotia on tenth anniversary of Swissair crash that killed 229
  • UK government sued over deaths in 2006 Nimrod crash in Afghanistan
  • Four British Airways executives charged with price fixing
  • Unprecedented review to be held on Qantas after third emergency in two weeks
  • British Airways enters merger talks with Iberia
  • EU maintains ban on Indonesian airlines amid accusations of political motivation
  • US military confirms three deaths after B-52 crash off Guam
  • Garuda Indonesia Flight 200’s pilot’s trial to begin this week
  • One-Two-Go Airlines cease operating over fuel costs as legal action begins over September air disaster
  • Search underway after US B-52 bomber crashes off Guam’s coast
  • US FAA to make airliner fuel tank inertion mandatory over 1996 air disaster
  • Chanchangi Airlines 737 crashes on landing in Nigeria
  • British Airways give medals to Flight 38’s crew
  • Captain killed as DC-9 cargo jet crashes onto Mexican highway
  • Threat received before Boeing 767 fire at San Francisco
  • Honduran capital’s main airport reopens six weeks after jetliner crash
  • Death toll in Arizona helicopter collision at seven as only survivor dies
  • Continental Airlines to face charges over Air France Concorde disaster
  • Nine oil workers die as helicopter crashes in Siberia
  • Boeing 767 cargo plane seriously damaged by fire at San Francisco
  • Cargo plane crashes near Khartoum; at least four dead
  • Cargo plane crash in Sudan leaves seven dead with one survivor
  • Air safety group says airport was operating illegally without license when Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 crashed
  • Sudan Airways grounded
  • Peacekeeping helicopter crash kills four in Bosnia
  • Report finds LOT Airlines plane was lost over London due to pilot error
  • Indonesian police hand over Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 report to prosecutors
  • US B-2 bomber crash in Guam caused by moisture on sensors
  • Helicopter carrying quake survivors crashes in China
  • Silverjet ceases operations and enters administration
  • Nine killed as Russian cargo plane crashes in Siberia
  • Boeing 747 cargo plane breaks in two after failed takeoff at Brussels Airport
  • Boeing pushes back 737 replacement development
  • Israel scrambles fighters to intercept unresponsive aircraft carrying Tony Blair
  • Airliner hijacker found working for British Airways
  • Finnair negotiating possible partnership with major Indian airlines
  • Five of six accused over 9/11 to be tried; charges against ’20th hijacker’ dropped
  • British Airways Flight 38 suffered low fuel pressure; investigation continues
  • Ex-head of Qantas freight operations in US jailed for price fixing
  • Search for Brazilian plane with four UK passengers called off after seven days
  • Floating wreckage of Brazilian plane carrying four UK businessmen recovered
  • Rescuers hunt Brazilian plane carrying four UK passengers
  • Southern Sudan’s defence minister among those killed in major plane crash
  • Spectator killed and 10 injured in German airshow crash
  • 11 killed in Mexican military helicopter crash
  • Japan Airlines fined US$110 million for price fixing
  • Indonesia angered as nation’s airlines all remain banned in EU airspace
  • All confirmed dead on Kata Air An-32, Moldova asks for Russian investigatory help
  • Airbus parent EADS wins £13 billion UK RAF airtanker contract
  • Ryanair executives pay frozen over increased fuel prices
  • Final report blames instrument failure for Adam Air Flight 574 disaster
  • Israel to install missile defense systems on airliners
  • Pilot killed as Su-25 military jet explodes near Vladivostok
  • Indonesia grounds Adam Air; may be permanently shut down in three months
  • Adam Air hits severe financial problems; may be shut down in three weeks
  • Alitalia conditionally accepts joint bid by Air France and KLM
  • One year on: IFALPA’s representative to ICAO, pilot and lawyer on ongoing prosecution of Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 pilot
  • Adam Air may be shut down after string of accidents
  • Five injured as Adam Air 737 overruns Batam island runway
  • Northrop Grumman and Airbus parent EADS defeat Boeing for $40 billion US airtanker contract
  • Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 pilot forced to resign
  • Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 pilot released on bail
  • Concern as Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 pilot arrested and charged
  • No fatalities as Boeing 727 crash lands in Bolivia
  • British Airways Flight 38 investigation focuses on fuel system
  • 16-year-old arrested over alleged plot to hijack US airliner
  • Adam Aircraft suspends activities at Utah factory, lays off 300 workers amid financial difficulties
  • Plane crash kills ten in Angola
  • Delta Air Lines may enter merge talks with Northwest or United Airlines
  • Alaskan plane crash survivors say cargo door swung open
  • Six die in Alaskan plane crash
  • Transaven Airlines plane carrying up to 18 people still missing off Venezuelan coast
  • 2007 was particularly good year for aviation safety
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Police in Texas arrest man eating dead girlfriend

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Monday, January 7, 2008

Christopher Lee McCuin, 25, from Tyler, Texas in the United States has been arrested after police found him possibly preparing to eat the body parts of his dead girlfriend, Jana Shearer aged 21. He was also charged with stabbing his ex-wife’s boyfriend, William Veasley, 42.

According to reports, Shearer’s mother was told by McCuin to “look in the garage” where she discovered the mutilated body of her daughter. She then flagged down a police officer on the road.

McCuin called 911 after the mother left the house. According to reports, he told the dispatcher that he was boiling Shearer’s body parts and preparing to eat them. When police got to his home, they discovered one of Shearer’s ears boiling in a pot, and an unnamed piece of her flesh on the kitchen table, with silverware placed beside it. The rest of her body had several “chunks” missing from it, according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph quoting Sheriff J.B. Smith of the Smith County Sheriff’s Department.

Police later found out that McCuin had stabbed his ex-wife’s boyfriend, and also broke into Tyler Custom Openings, a local business, sometime on Friday or Saturday. He started by going to Shearer’s home on Friday January 4 to have a discussion with her, but she was never seen alive again. Before stabbing Veasley, he beat Shearer “with a blunt object, multiple times” to death. On Saturday morning, he arrived at his ex-wife’s home and fought with Veasley, stabbing him. He is currently in critical condition at a local hospital.

McCuin then broke into the Tyler Custom Openings and then went to his mother’s house where he took her to his home to show her what he had done. Although McCuin was inside the house when police arrived, he was able to escape and was chased for a short distance before being caught again.

McCuin is currently being held on a US$2,000,000 bail at Smith County jail.

Stacey Abrams becomes first black woman to gain major U.S. party nomination for governor of Georgia

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Friday, May 25, 2018

On Tuesday night, Stacey Abrams became the United States Democratic Party’s candidate for governor of the state of Georgia, the first black woman nominated for this office. If she wins the election scheduled to be held in November, she would be the first woman governor of Georgia and the first black woman elected governor of any state in U.S. history.

“I will be the governor who brings more than jobs to Georgia,” Abrams said in her acceptance speech, “together, we can build career pipelines in renewable energy. We can spur creativity through a growing entertainment industry, and we can increase the strength of our trade unions to grow an economy that lifts every Georgian.”

In the primary election, 76.5% of participating registered Democrats and eligible independents voted for Abrams over her opponent, Stacey Evans, to a total of 423,163 votes. Evans won 23.5%. Ahead of the primary, Abrams had announced a plan for winning the scheduled November election that focused on mobilizing and motivating liberal voters who would otherwise stay home on election day. Evans, who is from Georgia’s rural northwest, sought to win over the contested moderate vote from the Republicans.

Adrianne Shropshire of BlackPAC, a group that supported Abrams, attributed her victory to strategy. “Stacey Abrams won this election because she reached out and engaged communities of color, particularly black voters, on the issues that they care about. This historic victory is a model for candidates all across the country.” After the election, Evans immediately announced her support for Abrams.

Abrams is originally from Gulfport, Mississippi, but moved to Atlanta, Georgia, as a youth. She holds three degrees, including a law degree from Yale Law School and has worked as a lawyer and entrepreneur as well as serving in the Georgia state legislature. Her accomplishments include being the first woman to lead a major party in the Georgia General Assembly and being the first black person to head the Georgia House of Representatives.

Abrams stated her plans on her campaign website assuming victory in the November election: “As Georgia’s next governor, I will prioritize economic mobility as key to ensuring our state is known as a place for prosperity. Poverty and inequality stand in the way of economic growth for our state through higher social costs, lost earnings, and weakened competitiveness.” Specifics included an earned income tax credit, expansion of protections for Georgians with disabilities, and ending workplace discrimination.

The other major party in this election is the Republican Party. The governorship has been held by Republicans since 2003, but previously Georgia has a long history of governors from the Democratic Party.

Abrams’ opponent for November has yet to be determined. The current front runners for the Republican nomination for governor are Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, scheduled for a runoff election on July 24.

500 stranded melon-headed whales rescued in Philippine bay

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Philippine fishermen, volunteers and authorities with dozens of fishing boats have joined hands in guiding back to sea about 500 disorientated melon-headed whales that were stranded in the shallow waters near the mouth of Manila Bay delta in the Bataan Peninsula.

The gentle mammals were first spotted swimming back and forth and straying very dangerously close (about a mile or 1.6 kilometers) to the shores of the coastal towns of Pilar, Orion and Abucay 135 kilometers northwest of Manila at around at around 4:00 am on Tuesday, said Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commodore Luis Tuazon and Bataan Governor Enrique Garcia Jr.

The Philippines Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said its has responded to the reported mass “stranding” of whales off Pilar coastal waters in the province of Bataan where the famous and historic Corregidor Island is located.

Using dozens of fishing boats with machines shut down and bare hands, more than 100 village fishermen and volunteers along with BFAR, local police and Philippine Coast Guard personnel have joined the massive rescue. With great difficulty, the emergency team has waded into the chest-deep water, clapping their hands and hitting the surface to guide and drive the whales farther away from the coastal shore to deeper waters.

“The mammals were at first thought to have been dolphins, but experts then identified them as melon-headed whales,” local veterinarian Mariel Flores said. “This type of whale can be easily mistaken for dolphins because of their size and their teeth, which resemble those of dolphins. The mammals have ears that are sensitive to large changes in pressure underwater,” she added.

This type of [melon-headed] whale can be easily mistaken for dolphins because of their size and their teeth, which resemble those of dolphins. If their eardrums are damaged they become disorientated and they float up to the surface.

“It looked like they never wanted to leave. They looked sad,” said Rodolfo Joson, a village councilor. Joson and his son, Joey, a fisherman like him, have rushed home at about 4 a.m. to report the pod sighting. “It was still dark when we waded into the water. The whales were about 200 meters from the shore. The water was up to my neck. We first checked their conditions by playing with them. They did not repel us or leave. They were making hooting sounds,” Joson explained the mass beaching. “It seemed they were running away from waters that they didn’t like. Dolphins are happy and strong creatures. They raced with ships,” he added.

A post-mortem examination has revealed that four dead whales found beached farther up north in Abucay, Bataan, include two adult females, one of which was pregnant, while the other gave birth to a calf that also died, said Dr. Lemnuel Aragones of Ocean Adventure in Subic Freeport who did the necropsy at the Bataan fisheries office in Balanga City.

This is the first time that such large numbers of dolphins had been stranded in the Philippines. “We are trying to come up with a possible explanation to this unusual occurrence. It could be that the dolphins had lost their bearings and inadvertently ended up on the shallow portion of the coast unable to extricate themselves,” said Dr Lemuel Aragones, Associate Professor at the UP Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology.

Dr Aragones, who holds a PhD on Tropical Environmental Studies (Marine Ecology) from Australia’s James Cook University, explained that “the melon-headed whales of the dolphin family have sophisticated navigation systems that operate on a principle similar to sonar instruments used in submarines. Like humans, dolphins also follow a ‘leader’ of their pod. It is possible that the leader of this dolphin [pod] had somehow lost its way. In turn, the leader’s acoustic system, which serves as its guidance system, might have been impaired,” the marine expert elaborated.

Dr Aragones said “BFAR, UPIESM, and the Ocean Adventure Marine Park in Subic started the Philippine Marine Mammals Stranding Network (PMMSN) in 2005 as a response to cetacean strandings or beachings.” She cited the PMMSN training received by BFAR officers in Bataan during Tuesday’s mass beaching. She has asked the government to release funds for marine mammal studies.

The two adults had damaged eardrums, Alberto Venturina, the provincial veterinarian, said. “Dolphins with injured eardrums become disoriented, cannot dive for food and are too weak to swim and just flow with the current. If it’s a sick leader, the animal needs to be identified and taken out of sight of the rest of the pod so the healthy dolphins could be prodded back to sea,” he added.”The two animals were identified as melon-headed dolphins, weighing about 250 to 300 kilograms (550 to 660 pounds),” explained Venturina, adding “the third dolphin was only a month old and measured barely a meter long. Its gender had not yet been determined.”

According to Nelson Bien, head of the Fisheries Resource and Management Division of BFAR Region III, a necropsy by BFAR, the provincial veterinarian, and veterinarians from the Ocean Adventure in Subic Freeport has traced the cause of their death to drowning.

The marine doctors have determined that the marine mammals might have drowned after failing to extricate themselves from the fishing nets or “baklad,” explained Dr. Mundita Lim, director of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). “There were no injuries to their ears, like visible lesions, but the possibility of an acoustic problem or trauma is still there,” Dr Lim explained, saying, “more tests, like analysis of tissue samples and MRI tests will have to be done to see if there were other injuries to the animals not visible externally.”

They are sending tissue samples to the University of Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna for analysis. “If it was something like climate change, then it would be a bigger environmental problem,” Lim added.

A fourth and pregnant one was also found dead in the village of Tortugas in the town of Balanga, Bataan, said Bien, saying they were investigating the incident and would conduct a “water quality and water parameter test” to determine why the dolphins beached to shallow waters. The condition of melon-headed whale found at Talisay River and taken to Ocean Adventure in Subic Freeport has improved amid forced feeding and treatment of its 2 wounds, said Nilo Ramoso, Biologist III, Pawikan Conservation Project.

Dr. Westly Rosario, BFAR Center chief in Dagupan City, has reported that BFAR personnel were also investigating a “problem in the water, probably chemical pollution,” to explain why the dolphins beached and sought shelter in the shallow waters. The dolphins have faced the same direction and their blowholes above water, they seemed to be avoiding something. “The dolphins were behaving in the same way, they have the same action. People were trying to drive them back into the sea but they refused. There could be chemical pollution somewhere which they were avoiding,” Rosario explained.

Dolphins’ disorientation is sometimes caused by the changes in earth’s magnetic field “that cause the dolphins’ navigational mechanisms to go haywire,” Dr. Edgardo Gomez, professor emeritus of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute, said, adding that “it could also be chemicals in the water that affected the dolphins, although this should be proven by water tests.” Philippine marine biologist Rizza Salinas said a possible cause for the stranding of large pods of distressed whales is that there could have been illegal dynamite fishing in the area.

“This is very strange. What is also unusual is they appeared disoriented. I am on my way to Bataan on board BFAR’s patrol vessel. We will look into the situation. Our patrol boats are also on their way to the area. We are also getting experts on stranding,” said BFAR director Malcolm Sarmiento Jr. Sarmiento, explaining that the highest number of stranded dolphins recorded by the BFAR was only 20 to 30. “It’s something unusual. It’s the first time that such a large pod has entered Manila Bay, and is acting strangely,” Sarmiento added.

“Most strandings are caused by seaquakes, heat wave or disturbances at sea. Such disturbances affect the pressure underwater, which subsequently affects the dolphins’ eardrums and sense of balance, leading to their “disorientation.” The creatures then will avoid diving in deeper parts of the ocean and will swim to shallow areas. They came from the north and were headed towards the South China Sea,” Sarmiento explained, adding that the unusual occurrence may have also been caused when the pod could have been following a sick or injured leader.

Sarmiento has appealed to the public not to inflict harm on the dolphins, which are considered threatened species. “Please do not harm the dolphins because they are already endangered. The authorities should also prevent the people who want to inflict harm on the creatures. They should be arrested, if needed.” Melon-head dolphins are considered threatened species — meaning they are likely to become endangered in the future.

“At around 12 noon, the dolphins were finally guided to the open seas, but residents in Hermosa near Mariveles were surprised to see the dolphins near their shoreline, but around 4:30 pm, all the dolphins have left the shoreline and swam towards into deeper waters,” said Governor Garcia.

“The dolphins swam parallel back to Abucay, Hermosa, and Manila Bay before they were eventually herded farther offshore. There are theories that this phenomenon was a result of the Monday night lunar eclipse. The Fisheries Bureau will know after their tests,” Garcia added.

Having suspected the dolphins’ habitat must have been disrupted, forcing them to flee and seek refuge in shallow waters, Senate of the Philippines Majority Leader, Juan Miguel Zubiri on Tuesday asked experts to probe the cause of the sudden appearance of more than 300 electra dolphins near the shores of Pilar town in Bataan province Tuesday morning.

Senator Zubiri wanted the experts to examine the possibility that an earthquake study, involving an undersea experiment using blasting in the South China Sea by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (L-DEO) – a collaborator of Columbia University – caused the abnormal behavior of the small whales.

Citing an International Union for Conservation of Nature research concluding that the melon-headed whales may have been distracted by the South China Sea study, forcing the dolphins to wander in the shallow waters, Senator Zubiri said that “the earthquake study is a sea floor investigation project in the exclusive economic zone that includes Taiwan, China, Japan and the Philippines for its earthquake research. On top of saving stranded dolphins, we should find the cause for the tragedy in order to avoid them in the future and to be prepared when it occurs again,” he explained.

But according to Erlinton Olavare, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) science research specialist, “no significant event was recorded by their stations in Bolinao, Sta. Cruz and Lubag, near Pilar at the time the dolphins were stranded Tuesday.”

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. said Bataan Gov. Enrique “Tet” Garcia on Wednesday confirmed there was dynamite fishing in his province. “I asked him [Garcia] and he confirmed it. He also said he was battling this illegal activity,” said Atienza. “The causes of the acoustic trauma could have been sound waves caused by dynamite fishing or sounds emitted by passing ships or seaquakes,” Gov. Garcia said.

“Dolphins are a ‘cohesive’ group and that they follow where their leader takes them. If the leader of the dolphins was sick, then the animal could have committed a “navigational error” and led the rest of the group to shore,” said the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS).

“The pod of melon-headed whales (dolphins) on Manila Bay were injured by a rather nasty group of more than 120 undersea earthquakes. The swarm started with a small magnitude-4.5 event on December 21, 2008. Things got red-hot on January 3, 2009 when a magnitude-7.6 event erupted near the water’s edge on Papua Island in Indonesia, 700 miles southeast of Davao City in Mindanao. The 7.6 magnitude quake was followed by more than 120 major aftershocks each one capable by itself of inflicting injury on a pod of dolphins,” said Capt. David Williams, a retired marine mammal researcher, a commercial sea captain for 40 years and active whale conservationist.

Capt. Williams explained that whales and dolphins have small air sacs (pterygoid sinuses) that surround each inner ear and help then sense sound direction underwater. A damaged pterygoid air sac results in the loosing of echonavigation and echolocation. “In summary, my Seaquake Theory indicates that barotrauma, as a result of exposure to potent earthquake-induced changes in ambient pressure, solves the centuries-old mystery of why whales and dolphins mass-strand on beaches around the world,” Capt. Williams concluded.

An explosive blast and explosive decompression create a pressure wave that can induce barotrauma. The difference in pressure between internal organs and the outer surface of the body causes injuries to internal organs that contain gas, such as the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and ear.

According to the Natural History Museum experts, whale and dolphins can become confused, mis-read the Earth’s magnetic fields, fear certain sounds and get lost. Since 1913, it has investigated all strandings, more than 11,000 so far, and it runs the UK Whale and Dolphin Stranding Scheme.

New Zealand‘s Project Jonah has claimed that the largest recorded beach stranding was in 1918 when 1,000 pilot whales were stranded on New Zealand’s Chatham Islands.

The last mass beaching in the Philippines was in 1956 when around 12 sperm whales were stranded in a coastal area in Capiz, amid at least 10 yearly strandings that happened in the country involving only one or two animals that were either sick or dying.

Last January this year, Filipino fishermen have also rescued an endangered sea cow. The fishermen aided the beached sea cow to the deep sea, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

The Melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra; many-toothed blackfish and electra dolphin) is a cetacean of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae). As small members of the dolphingroup, it is closely related to the Pygmy Killer Whale and Pilot Whale, and collectively these dolphin species are known by the common name blackfish.

The tender mammal can grow up to 2.7 meters (9 feet) and weigh as much as 210 kilograms (460pounds). With black triangular “mask” on its face, it appears dark gray to black in color, has no discernible beak and its head is shaped like a rounded melon, thus the name. Its primary diet is squid and fish. The Melon-headed whale lives well off-shore in all the world’s tropical and sub-tropical oceans.

At the northern fringes of its range it may also be found in the warm currents of temperate waters. Ordinarily, however, it is found beyond the continental shelf between 20° S and 20° N. The Melon-headed whale is widespread throughout the world’s tropical waters, although not often seen by humans on account of its preference for deep water. It has been found in Ireland, Hawaii and Cebu, in the Philippines.

As social species, they are covered by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 in the United States. In July 2004, between 150 and 200 melon-headed whales occupied the shallow waters of Kauai island in Hawaii for over 28 hours, after which, they were rescued and guided to deeper water. This incident may have been related to nearby United States Navy sonar exercise.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which includes the melon-headed whales in its Red List of threatened species said that the number of whales involved in mass stranding had increased in the last 30 years.

“The melon-headed whales are likely to be “vulnerable” to loud sounds, such as those generated by navy sonar and seismic exploration. Evidence from stranded whales also has indicated that they may have died after swallowing plastic items. It has been predicted that the whales will be affected by global climate change, but the impact is still unclear,” the IUCN explained.

U.S. team unveils plans for F1 entry in 2010

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A United States-based operation, known now as USF1, has unveiled plans to join the Formula One motor racing series beginning in the 2010 season. Team principal Ken Anderson and sporting director Peter Windsor officially launched USF1 in a live press conference broadcast on the US television channel Speed.

Ken Anderson has previously worked for the Ligier and Onyx Grand Prix Formula One teams, and most recently held the position of technical director for the Haas CNC Racing team in the American NASCAR series. Windsor has previously been general manager at Scuderia Ferrari and team manager for WilliamsF1 before taking up his current role as a journalist and reporter for the Speed channel.

USF1 would be based in Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States, unlike all eleven teams that participated in the 2008 Formula One season, which are based in Europe. Anderson also expressed a preference for the team’s drivers to be of American nationality. They confirmed that they do not yet have an engine supply contact but expressed a desire to contact all existing Formula One engine builders before signing one.

The team expressed an intention to be more open to fans than current Formula One teams in order to appeal to the US market. The possibility for fans to tour the factory and see the car being built as well as television shows showing the inner workings of the team were suggested. Windsor claimed that the team had received the backing of both Max Mosley, the president of Formula One’s governing body, and Bernie Ecclestone, president of Formula One’s commercial rights holders. No details were given on the team’s financial backers, however.

Australian Centre for Paralympic Excellence unveiled

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Belconnen, Australian Capital Territory — Earlier today at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Australian Paralympic Committee President Greg Hartung and the Federal Minister for Sport Kate Lundy formally unveiled the Australian Centre for Paralympic Excellence.

The unveiling ceremony started with a speech by Hartung who mentioned how important the AIS was to the Paralympic movement in Australia, with the first Paralympic scholarship holder being Russell Short, who earned his scholarship in 1988 and has subsequently competed in six Paralympic Games, with this year’s Games making seven. Hartung went on to discuss how many more Paralympians have subsequently been supported by the AIS, including Matthew Cowdrey who credits an AIS run recovery centre at the 2008 Summer Paralympics with enabling him to win a gold medal.

Lundy’s speech followed Hartung’s. She highlighted how the AIS specifically supports five Paralympic programs including rowing, athletics, alpine skiing, and swimming. Beyond those, the AIS, with funding assistance from the federal government, provided AUD$13.5 million to support the Paralympics for goalball, cycling, and weightlifting, with an additional AUD$2.25 million going to grants to support Paralympians directly through Direct Athlete Support grants.

Following Lundy’s speech, the Australian Paralympic Centre of Excellence sign was unveiled. There are 44 days left until the start of the Paralympic Games.