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

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.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

A Beautiful Smile With Invisalign In Richmond, Va

byAlma Abell

Whether you are an adult or a teenager, deciding to have your teeth straightened is a decision affecting both your lifestyle and your smile. There are many reasons to want to improve a smile, but whatever the reason, Invisalign in Richmond, VA can offer a simple way to accomplish having teeth straightened without the traditional problems that go along with metal braces. Many adults would prefer to have straighter teeth, but do not feel metal braces are a choice they would want to consider.

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The Invisalign aligners are smooth, clear plastic, and nearly invisible so most people do not notice them over the teeth. This helps those who might feel self-conscious about the way they look. In addition, the aligners do not irritate the mouth or cause soreness, unlike irritating wires and brackets of traditional braces. Since the aligners can be removed, this allows a person to continue flossing and brushing their teeth as normal, which better helps to maintain good oral health.

For teens, having to wear metal braces around their friends and classmates, or while playing an instrument or participating in sports, does not rank very high on their “attractive things to do list.” Most teens know friends that are not allowed to chew gum or eat popcorn while wearing braces, but, the teen Invisalign aligners are smooth plastic and will allow them to eat all their favorite foods. Without all the problems of metal braces in the mouth, they can still enjoy an active lifestyle, take pictures with their friends, and be more comfortable in social situations. Visit website

Metal braces can cause mouth sores, pain, discomfort, and even tooth decay from not flossing and brushing enough. They can also contribute to tooth discoloration or breakage, plaque buildup, and mouth injuries from breaking wires. Invisalign in Richmond, VA offers several advantages over metal braces, with one being the ability to eat whatever foods the person enjoys. The device is removable for easy flossing and brushing, and there are no problems associated with the smooth aligner as there are with metal braces. In addition, aligners do not require as many dentist visits, which will help to save money on the overall cost.

Category:May 10, 2010

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Gunmen with rocket-launchers massacre 60 at market in Mahmoudiya, Iraq

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Gunmen with rocket-launchers massacre 60 at market in Mahmoudiya, Iraq
October 25th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Monday, July 17, 2006

For 30 minutes, a mob of heavily-armed gunmen tore through a Shiite populated market town in Mahmoudiya, Iraq, exploding car bombs and shooting at people.

Police Capt. Rashid al-Samaraie said the assault which killed at least 60 began at 9 a.m. when mortars were fired into the town and a group of men in cars stormed a checkpoint, killing three Iraqi soldiers.

The gunmen proceeded to attack shoppers and passers-by with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades. Some of the 50 strong attack force threw grenades into open restaurants and cafes. Two car bombs also were detonated leading to further casualties.

Local town official Sheik Bassem Anizi said he was an eyewitness to the events as they unfolded. “I saw the armed gunmen shooting randomly at the people. The terrorists wanted to send a message saying we can attack anywhere we want and kill civilians,” he said. Anizi escaped the massacre by hiding behind a wall in a hardware shop.

Early reports said a total of 60 people died and about 50 people were injured.

Tropical Storm Irene passes over New York

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Tropical Storm Irene passes over New York
October 25th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tropical Storm Irene, recently downgraded from a hurricane, passed over New York City at about 0900 local time (1300 UTC) today, bringing heavy rain and winds up to 65 miles per hour (96.6 km/h).

Flooding has been reported in New York City, where the Hudson River spilled over its banks into Manhattan and the East River briefly flooded. Floods were also reported in Brooklyn. Water was reported to be inside Battery Park and near the New York Mercantile Exchange. The water level of New York Harbor is as much as four feet higher than normal, with a predicted storm surge of up to eight feet.

Elsewhere in the northeast, suburbs of Philadelphia also flooded; mayor Michael Nutter described the scene in one area as “couches, furniture, all kinds of stuff floating down the street.”

Up to eleven people have been reported killed by the storm, five in North Carolina, three in Virginia and one each in Florida, Maryland and Connecticut. Some three million people evacuated from areas expected to be impacted by the storm, and another three million are reported to be without power.

Irene made landfall in North Carolina on Saturday, bringing up to fourteen inches (~36 cm) of rain and a storm surge measuring four feet in the Cheasapeake Bay with it. At about 0530 local time today, the storm made its second landfall as it passed over Little Egg Inlet, New Jersey.

According to New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the storm is expected to cause damage “in the billions of dollars, if not in the tens of billions of dollars.”

Blair, Ahern unveil plan for Northern Ireland devolution

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Blair, Ahern unveil plan for Northern Ireland devolution
October 18th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Friday, April 7, 2006

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern have unveiled their plan to restore a power-sharing executive government in Northern Ireland by a deadline of November 24.

The plan calls for the Northern Ireland Assembly‘s members to be recalled on May 15 and given six weeks to form an executive. If no results comes within six weeks, then the members are to be given another 12 weeks to attempt to form an executive. After that, if no result is achieved by November 24, then the salaries of all members will be suspended, and the Irish government will be given greater influence in Northern Ireland.

The Assembly has been suspended since October 2002 following the allegation of the existence of a republican spy ring.

Blair and Ahern acknowledged the diffculty of implementation of the plan, which has been hampered by the murder this week of Denis Donaldson, a former British spy in Sinn Fein.

Blair said of the plan, “We have today set out a framework, beginning with the recall of the assembly on the 15th of May and running up to November of this year, for that ultimate decision to be made. At that point we close the chapter … or we close the book.” His verdict on the plan was, “If the parties really can’t find a way forward, we have to call a halt and find a different way forward.”

Ahern said, “It is time to talk and to agree. People are entitled to firm assurances that if there is deadlock that it will not be allowed to continue indefinitely.” His verdict on the plan was, “I don’t look at the end date of this. In fact, I look at this as a start of a process. I do not want on 24 November to be thinking about another plan.”

Ian Paisley, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party said “The DUP will not be forced, rushed or bullied into accepting any level of IRA criminality. Currently there is no evidence that Sinn Fein/IRA will be any further advanced in giving up criminality in November.” Paisley also denounced the involvement of the Irish government, saying, “This part of the UK is not really a part of the UK but is a part of the UK where a foreign government has more say over Northern Ireland than the people of Northern Ireland.”

Gerry Adams, the President of Sinn Fein, said that the statement contained “negatives and positives.” “We welcome that the assembly has been brought together … we have concerns about the timeframe, about other aspects of the statement, but we think that’s a good forward step. We would like to think that unionism generally would see it as a positive opportunity. I appeal to Unionism to seize this opportunity. It is about a shared future for all the people on this island. It appears that they [the two governments] are saying to the DUP, ‘If you don’t come on board, we are going to go ahead without you.’ “

The leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Sir Reg Empey‘s response was, “We urgently need to have an input into, and make changes to, direct rule decisions on education, water rates and the Review of Public Administration, to name but three. This is our job.” Empey was also critical of the DUP’s statement, saying, “We have been told by the Democratic Unionist Party that the Belfast agreement was binned, consigned to the dustbin of history. Looking and listening to today’s press conference, it didn’t look binned to me. It’s actually back centre stage.”

The SDLP‘s Mark Durkan said, “All we have today is an 11-paragraph announcement that tells us less rather than more. That’s why the SDLP will need to see the legislation that follows it. It may be better — or indeed worse.” He further added, “A shadow assembly was agreed between the DUP and Sinn Fein in 2004, in the so called comprehensive agreement. We are still living with the damage caused by that bad deal.”

United States President George W. Bush issued a statement saying, “Today is an opportunity for all in Northern Ireland to take control of their future and bring the political process to a successful completion this year.” “We remain steadfast in our support of the peace process and the efforts of the British and Irish governments to achieve a lasting peace under the principles of the Good Friday Agreement.”

Sen. Larry Craig claims innocent of lewd conduct

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Sen. Larry Craig claims innocent of lewd conduct
October 18th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sen. Larry Craig held a news conference Tuesday in Boise, Idaho to issue a public statement about his arrest in June, 2007 and subsequent guilty plea, August 8, to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

In his statement, Sen. Craig indicated that when he pled guilty to the charge, two months after the fact, he didn’t understand at the time what he was signing and declared himself innocent of any wrongdoing at the Minneapolis airport on June 11, 2007.

According to the arresting officer, Sgt. Dave Karsnia, who was dressed in civilian clothes at the time of the incident, he was using a bathroom stall when Sen. Craig entered the stall next to his. Karsnia reported the Senator tapped his right foot, and then stretched his foot over to touch the officer’s left foot. Sen. Craig also ran his hand along the bottom of the stall’s dividing wall. According to CNN, that type of behavior is known in the Gay community as a signal that the person wants to engage in lewd behavior. The officer subsequently showed Sen. Craig his badge. Using his other hand, Karsnia directed Craig to move toward the door. After some words and Sen. Craig’s refusal to cooperate with the officer, he was placed under arrest.

An additional charge against Sen. Craig, interference with privacy, had been thrown out. Sen. Craig received a ten-day suspended jail sentence, was fined US$500, and was given one year probation.

Sen. Craig admitted that he did not mention his arrest to the Senate Ethics Committee, which is not required by law, and also didn’t tell his wife and other immediate family members about his arrest until recent days.

Further developments to this story are available. See:
Republican leaders accused of double standard after Larry Craig’s resignation

Fannie Mae forgives mortgage debt of 90-year-old woman who shot herself

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Fannie Mae forgives mortgage debt of 90-year-old woman who shot herself
October 18th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fannie Mae, a housing mortgage lender, has forgiven the mortgage debt of Addie Polk, a 90-year-old woman from Akron, Ohio who attempted to kill herself when she was being evicted from her home on Wednesday.

Polk had lived in her home since 1970, and refinanced her mortgage numerous times since 1997 when she first got a loan taken out against her home. When authorities tried to evict her, she shot herself once in the chest. Fannie Mae took over Polk’s home in 2007 after the loan company filed for foreclosure. One report from Reuters states that authorities tried to evict Polk more than 30 other times in the past.

“Just given the circumstances, we think it’s appropriate,” said Brian Faith, a spokesman for Fannie Mae who also said that the incident was almost immediately “on [their] radar screen”.

Polk is currently undergoing treatment at Akron General Medical Center and is expected to make a full recovery. She can return to her home as soon as she recovers from her injuries.

Polk was recognized on Friday when Dennis Kucinich, who is a democratic representative for Ohio, spoke of her incident during debates on a 700 billion USD bailout bill that the United States House of Representatives passed on Friday. He states that the bill does not focus on people in situations like Polk.

“This bill does nothing for the Addie Polks of the world. This bill fails to address the fact that millions of homeowners are facing foreclosure, are facing the loss of their home. This bill will take care of Wall Street, and the market may go up for a few days, but democracy is going downhill,” said Kucinich on Friday.

Sarkozy appoints François Fillon as Prime Minister of France

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Sarkozy appoints François Fillon as Prime Minister of France
October 18th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, May 17, 2007File:Francois fillon1.jpg

The new President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy has appointed François Fillon to head the new French government. Fillon’s predecessor Dominique de Villepin stepped down yesterday, and formally handed over the post during a ceremony today.

The nomination did not come as a surprise after the British newspaper the Financial Times had reported on May 8 that Sarkozy had introduced Fillon to Tony Blair in a telephone conversation.

François Fillon (53) has been the political advisor of Sarkozy in the UMP for the past 2 years, and he was Sarko’s campaign leader during the recent presidential elections. Fillon has experience in negotiating with the trade unions, having undertaken controversial reforms of the 35-hour workweek and the pension system. Sarkozy in his inauguration speech on Wednesday reiterated his plans to reform the French labour and social system, and Fillon will have to oversee these reforms as the new Prime Minister. Sarkozy said he wants to make the economy more flexible and lessen social tensions.

I expect I’ll end up being the first French premier with a Welsh wife.

The Guardian reported that Fillon is an Anglophile; his wife Penelope Clarke, with whom he has 5 children, was born in Wales. Ideologically, Fillon is being described as a moderate left-leaning member of the conservative UMP party.

Fillon had his first experience as a minister in 1993 when he became Minister for the Higher education and Research under PM Édouard Balladur. He later became Minister for the Post office, Telecommunications and Space, then Minister for the social Affairs, Work and Solidarity, and finally Minister for national Education, the Higher education and Research. At the university, he studied public law and political sciences.

Sarkozy might announce his cabinet of 15 ministers as early as Friday, half of which are going to be women, he said. Fillon will lead the UMP in the parliamentary elections next month. A poll on Wednesday predicted a 1.5% increase in votes for the UMP, up to 40%, compared to 28% status-quo for the allied socialists.

Reports say that Sarkozy has offered the foreign minister post to Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, who is seen as being on the left in French politics.