Fiji “running out of patience” with Vanuatu over ban on Fijian biscuits

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Fiji “running out of patience” with Vanuatu over ban on Fijian biscuits

Friday, July 1, 2005

Fiji’s Foreign Minister, Kaliopate Tavola, said that the letter being sent to Vanuatu’s prime minister would be the final gesture of Fiji’s friendship.

In March, the island nation Vanuatu banned the importation of Fijian biscuits. This was the second ban on Fijian biscuits by Vanuatu in the last six months. Vanuatu has said that this ban is necessary in order to stimulate Vaunatu’s biscuit industry.

The company affected by this ban, Flour Mills of Fiji, exports nearly US$900,000 worth of biscuits to Vanuatu yearly. Flour Mills of Fiji has said that the ban has forced them to layoff about a dozen people. They also stated that they will be taking legal action against the Vanuatu government for the ban.

On June 13 the Fijian government announced its intention to stop all commercial relations with Vanuatu unless this issue was resolved. Commercial relations with Vanuatu include Air Vanuatu flights and the importation of Vanuatu kava. Fijian imports of Vanuatu kava bring approximately VT350 million (US$3.2 million) to Vanuatu each year.

Al Sharpton speaks out on race, rights and what bothers him about his critics

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Al Sharpton speaks out on race, rights and what bothers him about his critics

Monday, December 3, 2007

At Thanksgiving dinner David Shankbone told his white middle class family that he was to interview Reverend Al Sharpton that Saturday. The announcement caused an impassioned discussion about the civil rights leader’s work, the problems facing the black community and whether Sharpton helps or hurts his cause. Opinion was divided. “He’s an opportunist.” “He only stirs things up.” “Why do I always see his face when there’s a problem?”

Shankbone went to the National Action Network’s headquarters in Harlem with this Thanksgiving discussion to inform the conversation. Below is his interview with Al Sharpton on everything from Tawana Brawley, his purported feud with Barack Obama, criticism by influential African Americans such as Clarence Page, his experience running for President, to how he never expected he would see fifty (he is now 53). “People would say to me, ‘Now that I hear you, even if I disagree with you I don’t think you’re as bad as I thought,'” said Sharpton. “I would say, ‘Let me ask you a question: what was “bad as you thought”?’ And they couldn’t say. They don’t know why they think you’re bad, they just know you’re supposed to be bad because the right wing tells them you’re bad.”

Contents

  • 1 Sharpton’s beginnings in the movement
  • 2 James Brown: a father to Sharpton
  • 3 Criticism: Sharpton is always there
  • 4 Tawana Brawley to Megan Williams
  • 5 Sharpton and the African-American media
  • 6 Why the need for an Al Sharpton?
  • 7 Al Sharpton and Presidential Politics
  • 8 On Barack Obama
  • 9 The Iraq War
  • 10 Sharpton as a symbol
  • 11 Blacks and whites and talking about race
  • 12 Don Imus, Michael Richards and Dog The Bounty Hunter
  • 13 Sources

US automaker bailout deal fails to pass Senate

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US automaker bailout deal fails to pass Senate

Friday, December 12, 2008

A US$14 billion bailout package deal for the “Big Three” United States automakers — Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors — has been rejected in the United States Senate after failing a procedural vote.

The bill was rejected after bipartisan discussions on the bailout broke down when Republican Party leaders insisted that the United Auto Workers (UAW) union agree to increase wage cuts by next year in order to bring their pay into line with those of Japanese automobile companies in the United States. The UAW refused to meet the demands.

The final vote count in the Senate was 52-35, eight short of the 60 needed to pass. Only ten Republicans joined forty Democrats and two independents in voting for the bill. Three Democrats voted with thirty-one Republicans against it.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said that he was “terribly disappointed” by the failure of the bill to pass. “I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow. It’s not going to be a pleasant sight,” Reid said. “Millions of Americans, not only the auto workers but people who sell cars, car dealerships, people who work on cars are going to be directly impacted and affected.”

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Republican Senator Bob Corker was also unhappy about the rejection. “We were about three words away from a deal. We solved everything substantively and about three words keep us from reaching a conclusion,” he said.

Some Democrats now want U.S. President Bush to reserve a portion of the $700 billion bailout package earmarked for Wall Street to assist the flagging car industry.

Stock markets worldwide fell dramatically on the news, with Japan’s Nikkei average losing 484.68 points, or 5.6 percent, reaching a level of 8253.87 points. Shares in the auto companies Toyota, Nissan and Honda all dropped by no less than 10 percent apiece. European stocks, such as those in the United Kingdom and Germany, also lost ground, with the FTSE-100 index of leading shares falling 176.3 points to a level of 4,211 at midday.

Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend

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Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend
November 5th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Local caterers get ready for big business, as almost three thousand fans converge on the David L. Lawrence Convention Center over the Independence Day weekend for the world’s largest ever furry convention, Anthrocon 2007.

Many hope to renew acquaintances, or meet new friends. Others look to buy from dealers and artists, or show off new artwork or costumes. Some attend to make money, or even learn a thing or two. But one thing unites them: They’re all there to have fun.

Contents

  • 1 Costly expansion
  • 2 Programming and entertainment
  • 3 Audience
  • 4 Art show and dealers
  • 5 Charity and volunteers
  • 6 Local impact
  • 7 Related news
  • 8 Sources

Edmund White on writing, incest, life and Larry Kramer

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Edmund White on writing, incest, life and Larry Kramer
October 31st, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What you are about to read is an American life as lived by renowned author Edmund White. His life has been a crossroads, the fulcrum of high-brow Classicism and low-brow Brett Easton Ellisism. It is not for the faint. He has been the toast of the literary elite in New York, London and Paris, befriending artistic luminaries such as Salman Rushdie and Sir Ian McKellen while writing about a family where he was jealous his sister was having sex with his father as he fought off his mother’s amorous pursuit.

The fact is, Edmund White exists. His life exists. To the casual reader, they may find it disquieting that someone like his father existed in 1950’s America and that White’s work is the progeny of his intimate effort to understand his own experience.

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone understood that an interview with Edmund White, who is professor of creative writing at Princeton University, who wrote the seminal biography of Jean Genet, and who no longer can keep track of how many sex partners he has encountered, meant nothing would be off limits. Nothing was. Late in the interview they were joined by his partner Michael Caroll, who discussed White’s enduring feud with influential writer and activist Larry Kramer.

Contents

  • 1 On literature
  • 2 On work as a gay writer
  • 3 On sex
  • 4 On incest in his family
  • 5 On American politics
  • 6 On his intimate relationships
  • 7 On Edmund White
  • 8 On Larry Kramer
  • 9 Source

Left-wing EU parliament candidates debate in Cardiff

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Left-wing EU parliament candidates debate in Cardiff
October 30th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cardiff, Wales —Labour, Plaid Cymru, and No2EU candidates for the Wales seats in the European Parliament met at Cardiff‘s Sandringham Hotel last night for the second of two pre-election hustings debates hosted by Cardiff Trades Union Congress. Cardiff TUC president Katrine Williams moderated as Derek Vaughan of the Labour Party, Jill Evans MEP of Plaid Cymru, and Rob Griffiths of the No2EU coalition, the tops of their respective lists, took questions from an audience of 22 composed largely of socialist activists and trade union members.

Candidates from the Tories, Liberal Democrats, and Green Party were not invited to the evening debate, although the Liberal Democrats did take part in the TUC’s debate earlier in the day. Ms Williams explained that the Liberal Democrats and Tories had been excluded because “we wanted to have candidates more representative of trade unions” but that not inviting the Greens had been “an oversight” due to the less prominent tradition of green politics in Wales. The BNP, UKIP and some minor parties also did not take part.

In opening statements, the three candidates discussed their records and their goals for the European Parliament. Mr Vaughan, leader of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, asserted the pro-organised labour credentials of the Labour Party, which has been under fire for several years from the left, and noted that Labour, which currently controls two of Wales’s four seats in the EU Parliament, has brought £1.5 billion to Wales, with a comparable amount to come in the future. Calling the BNP “Nazis” and comparing the British political situation to that in Germany in the 1930s, Vaughan called for the parties of the left to rally behind Labour in order to ensure that the BNP did not obtain any seats in Wales; but he expressed resignation to the likelihood that the BNP would earn a seat in North West England.

Ms Evans, meanwhile, who has been an MEP for ten years, announced her opposition to the pro-privatisation current in the EU and pledged that Plaid would support a new program of public investment and pro-organised labour revisions of EU directives, particularly the Posted Workers Directive.

Mr Griffiths, meanwhile, who is General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain, took a position urging radical reform of the European Union. The Lisbon Treaty, which he characterised as a re-branding of the European Constitution, would, he argued, enshrine neo-liberal policies in Europe and impose them on its member states in a way that was irreversible — “at least by any constitutional means”. Calling for a “social Europe” as opposed to a “United States of Europe“, Griffiths suggested that the creation of a European Defence Agency and the actions of the European Court of Justice were being used to turn the European Union into a capitalist “empire” akin to the United States.

Discussion of the ongoing UK parliamentary expenses scandal and its implications for MEPs, who draw salaries and expenses considerably higher than Westminster MPs do, dominated the early discussion. The Labour candidate expressed the position that the problems in accountability leading to the scandal had been fixed; his opponents noted that of the parties currently representing Britain in Brussels, only Labour has not yet disclosed their expenses (although Mr Vaughan states that the party will begin to do so soon) and Mr Griffiths furthermore declared that the scandal was part of a wider problem: the corruption of the political system by big business.

On the subject of a common European defence policy the three candidates supported widely differing views. The No2EU candidate stated plainly that he considers Europe not to be threatened, and said that a European defence force would be used for foreign adventures in Afghanistan, Africa, and elsewhere in the developing world while at the same time building up the armaments industry in Europe. Ms Evans, meanwhile, argued that the proper role of a common EU force would be as a “civil force” supporting conflict prevention and conflict resolution operations, and also called for the abolition of NATO. Mr Vaughan finished the second round of questioning arguing that a common European armed force should be an alternative to the “US-dominated” NATO, but also stated the importance of bilateral alliances in building up a common European defence force, citing the Franco-German Brigade of the Eurocorps as an example.

Debate ended on the contentious question of MEP salaries, with one member of the audience challenging the three candidates to pledge to accept a wage, if they won, equal to the average wage of their constituents. Ms Evans agreed that the set wage, currently £63,000 rising to £73,000 in 2010, was “too high”, but would not commit to a so-called “worker’s wage”, under heavy criticism from the audience. Mr Vaughan, following, called it “not fair” to ask MEPs to take such a pledge but asserted “I have never been motivated by money” and finished his part in the debate with a call to elect more left-wing socialist MEPs. Mr Griffiths, whose No2EU coalition has made a worker’s wage for MEPs part of their election manifesto, readily pledged to hold to a living wage, albeit not necessarily one equal to the average wage of his constituents, and described some of the difficulties associated with refusing an EU salary, noting that initially No2EU had proposed that its MEPs should draw no salary and claim no expenses from Europe but the coalition’s legal advisors had said that to do so would endanger the status of any of its members as MEPs.

Voting for the European Parliament elections in the United Kingdom takes place June 4.

Boxing great Muhammed Ali dies aged 74

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Boxing great Muhammed Ali dies aged 74
October 30th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Legendary boxing great Muhammed Ali died on Friday aged 74 in a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona in the United States. A family spokesperson said Ali had been admitted with respiratory problems. The former heavyweight champion lived with Parkinson’s disease for decades, diagnosed in 1984.

Born on January 17, 1942 as Cassius Marcellus Clay, he changed his name to Muhammed Ali after his 1964 conversion to Islam. In his professional career, Ali won 56 out of 61 fights — including 31 consecutive wins. He won the World Heavyweight Championship three times and had also won an Olympic gold medal in the light-heavyweight category.

Often considered the greatest boxer of all time, Ali was the world heavyweight champion in the 1960s and 1970s. His famous fights with George Foreman in 1974 when he won his title back and against Joe Frazier are considered by many as two of the greatest fights in the sport’s history. Ali had also defeated Sonny Liston to claim the championship title.

Ali was also known as a political activist. He came under considerable controversy after his decision to refuse the Vietnam War draft.

He lit the flame in the 1996 Olympics hosted in Atlanta.

His funeral is to be in Kentucky.

New Zealand Recorded Crime Statistics available online

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New Zealand Recorded Crime Statistics available online
October 26th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Saturday, February 12, 2005

New Zealand’s Recorded Crime Statistics are now available online from Statistics New Zealand.

In an unheralded change to its website on January 20, 2005, Statistics New Zealand now provides the last 10 fiscal years of Recorded Crime Statistics for New Zealand. Using the Table Builder service, the country’s Crime Statistics can now be examined and analysed online in unprecedented detail.

Although New Zealand Police has previously published Official Crime Statistics reports online, these statistics have only ever been available at a summary level, as a printed style document. This development allows detailed information, that was only ever available though an information request to Police, to now be seen immediately and desired statistics can be manipulated interactively.

Statistics are available either nationally or by each Police district and area for the each of the last 10 years or each of the last 24 months. Recorded Crime Statistics can be analysed down to the individual offence, with scene information for recorded and resolved crime. Offender apprehension statistics are also analysed down to the individual offence as well as the age, gender, ethnicity and resolution action taken with the offender.

The Recorded Crime Statistics also have a significant amount of accompaning metadata. Relevant legislation for each offence, together with caveats and interpretation notes for each parameter accompany these statistics. Users can now interpret these statistics for themselves, rather than relying on other agencies interpreting, or possibly misinterpreting, their requirements.

This innovation appears to be a leading edge breakthrough in publically available crime statistics. Although a number of jurisdictions place statistical reports and summaries of crime statistics on websites, these all are in the form of printed style documents. This move appears to be the first time that internet users can interact with a website to extract their own customised reports from the available crime statistics.

Internationally, crime statistics have been difficult to obtain, and even more difficult to compare. Interpol, the international policing organisation, for example, does not even make international statistics publically available on its website but restricts them to authorised law enforcement officials. Other countries present their statistics in detailed reports that need to be read and interpreted with care to understand them correctly. Different countries also count crime in different ways, often ignoring less serious offences or only counting the most serious of multiple offences occurring at the same time.

In New Zealand’s case the basic data is now online. The analysis can be done by the user.

US military says ‘fireballs’ spotted over Texas are not related to satellite collision

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US military says ‘fireballs’ spotted over Texas are not related to satellite collision
October 25th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Monday, February 16, 2009

The United States military Strategic Command (STRATCOM) has said that the ‘fireballs’ spotted over areas of Texas in the United States on Sunday February 15, are not related to the collision of a U.S. and Russian satellite in space. According to spaceweather.com, NASA says the object was a meteor.

“There is no correlation between the debris from that collision and those reports of re-entry,” said STRATCOM military spokeswoman Major Maj. Regina.

“It’s a natural meteor, definitely,” said Bill Cooke, an astronomer at NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.

On Tuesday, February 10, the American civilian communications satellite Iridium 33, launched in 1997, and the defunct Russian military communications satellite Kosmos-2251, launched in 1993, collided over Siberia. On Friday February 13, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued an alert for falling debris from the satellites, following reports of “explosions and earthquakes” along with “flashes in the sky” in Jackson and Louisville, Kentucky.

Then again on Sunday, calls to 9-1-1 began to come in to Williamson County, Texas sheriff’s office around 12:30 p.m. (Central time) that burning debris and fireballs were seen falling from the sky onto parts of Austin, Houston, Waco and San Antonio.

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“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported to local law enforcement on Friday that these events are being caused by falling satellite debris. These pieces of debris have been causing sonic booms, resulting in vibrations felt by some residents, as well as flashes of light across the sky,” said the NOAA on Friday in an public information alert posted on their website. The FAA says the burning material over Texas is not related to this alert.

“We don’t know what it was [over Texas],” said Roland Herwig, a spokesman for the FAA on Monday. The alerts still remain in effect in Kentucky until further notice.

Residents in Texas reported their homes and windows shaking and large explosions on Sunday morning. After a search of several areas, the Williamson county sheriff’s office reported that no debris or impact sites were found. Earlier unconfirmed reports had said the debris could have been the result of a small plane exploding.

There was previous speculation was that the object in Texas could have been a meteor. Doctor Marco Ciocca, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University told WKYT on Sunday that it’s too early for the debris from the satellites to be reentering the planet’s atmosphere. “[It could] be months” before any of the satellite wreckage enters the earth’s atmosphere. “The debris doesn’t simply fall out of its orbit. It will either vaporize or stay in orbit for some time before falling into earth’s atmosphere.”

However, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) said on February 12 that the debris could have taken 10 days or less to reenter over portions of the planet.

“Within 24 hours of the collision, the U.S. space tracking system had identified 600 pieces of debris. This large number suggests that the collision must have been relatively head-on. If the two satellites hit head-on, rather than a glancing blow, the energy of the collision would completely disintegrate both satellites into clouds of debris,” said the UCS in a statement on their website who also added that the collision took place in “the same region of space where China destroyed a defunct Chinese weather satellite with an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon” in 2007. “That January 2007 test created a massive amount of debris.” There have been at least eight major satellite collisions since 1991.

The satellites, both of which had a mass in excess of 450 kilograms, and were traveling at approximately 17,500 miles per hour (28,150 km/hour), collided 491 miles (790 km) above the earth. Scientists say the explosion caused by the collision was massive. They are still trying to determine just how large the crash was and how the earth will be affected. STRATCOM continues to track the debris. The results of a plotting analysis will be posted to a public website.

Former Scottish Conservatives leader Annabel Goldie to stand down as MSP

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Former Scottish Conservatives leader Annabel Goldie to stand down as MSP
October 25th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Friday, June 26, 2015

Annabel Goldie, Scottish Conservative Party leader from 2005 to 2011, has announced she will stand down as an MSP at the next elections in 2016. Goldie, who has been an MSP for the West Scotland (previously West of Scotland) electoral region since the Scottish Parliament’s formation in 1999, said she intends to focus on her role in the House of Lords, where she has been a peer since 2013.File:Annabel Goldie.jpg

In a statement today, Goldie said leading the party was an “enormous honour” for her. She also said: “It has afforded me both satisfaction and pleasure to serve my constituents and to serve the parliament and I will look back with great happiness at my time as an MSP. I am grateful to friends and colleagues from all parties for their support. Sometimes we found common ground, sometimes we disagreed but never I hope with rancour nor disrespect. Politics is a rough trade but we have built a strong parliament in Scotland of which we can all be rightly proud.” She said because of Ruth Davidson, her successor as Scottish Conservative leader, the party is now “in fine fettle and stands a great chance of making real progress in the years ahead,” concluding by saying: “I look forward to continuing to work as part of that effort in the House of Lords in the years to come.”

Davidson responded to the news by calling Goldie an “unstoppable force”, adding: “She has been an inspiration to a whole generation of Scottish Conservatives, and she has been a tremendous mentor, support and friend to me. In Holyrood, she has fostered both affection and respect from all members – regardless of their political affiliation – and her retirement from the Scottish Parliament will leave an Annabel-sized hole which won’t ever quite be filled. She is unique.” Meanwhile, David Cameron, UK Conservative leader and UK Prime Minister, said: “Annabel is one of those rare breeds in Scottish politics, somebody known by her first name alone. When she was Scottish Conservative leader, I valued her sage advice. She has been a towering strength to our party in Scotland, a doughty debater in the TV studios and Scottish Parliament and has one of the sharpest wits around. I wish her a long and happy retirement after 17 years unstinting service at Holyrood – but look forward to seeing her on the red benches of the Lords for years to come.”

In Holyrood, she has fostered both affection and respect from all members – regardless of their political affiliation – and her retirement from the Scottish Parliament will leave an Annabel-sized hole which won’t ever quite be filled. She is unique.

Goldie, the Scottish Conservatives’ first ever female leader, was elected unopposed. She took up the role in the aftermath of David McLetchie’s resignation from the role in an expenses usage controversy and subsequent resignation of Brian Monteith from his Conservative whip role in the Scottish Parliament for briefing the media against him. Meanwhile, as Scottish Conservatives won 18 seats in the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and 2003, the party had been less successful in UK general elections in Scotland; Conservatives went up from zero out of a possible 72 UK MPs in Scotland in 1997 to one in 2001. This led to Goldie remarking in her inaugural speech in 2005 that: “The wheels are back on the wagon – and I’m the nag hitched up to tow it.” She also said: “The party is still way ahead of where it was in 1997. And my first task is to take it forward to 2007.” However, under Goldie’s leadership, the number of seats the Scottish Conservatives won in the Scottish Parliament slightly decreased from 18 in 2003 to 17 in 2007 and to 15 in 2011. At the same time, the number of Conservative MPs stood at one out of a possible 59 after the 2010 UK general election.

In the aforementioned 2005 speech, she also said the party could be trusted with devolution in Scotland, adding: “making devolution work better means real devolution: not the lumbering and cripplingly expensive array of government departments, government advisers, consultants, quangos, quasi-quangos and agencies with all their expensive appendages, but devolving down to people and their communities, their right to make their own decisions about their lives, how for example they procure healthcare and how they educate their children.” Goldie would go on to sit on the advisory board for the Smith Commission, which was set up to examine which further political powers should be devolved to Scotland following the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. More recently, Goldie supported a reduction in the voting age for Scottish Parliament elections from 18 to 16 in a vote earlier this month, commenting: “I think it is an opportunity for them to continue their high level of engagement in topical affairs that we saw with the independence referendum.”

Goldie, a member of the Salvation Army’s West of Scotland Advisory Board and a Church of Scotland elder, is not the only Scottish Conservative MSP intending to stand down in 2016. Mary Scanlon, Gavin Brown, Alex Fergusson and Nanette Milne all reportedly intend to leave the Scottish Parliament next year.