madimmi.com

January 17, 2019

IMF proposes quota increases for China, South Korea, Mexico and Turkey

Friday, September 1, 2006

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund has agreed on a proposal to increase the quotas of China, South Korea, Mexico, and Turkey, the IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato announced. The increases are part of a program of reforms for the organisation, addressing its governance and its macroeconomic monitoring process. The proposals need final approval at the annual meeting scheduled later this month.

Speaking at a press briefing in Washington DC on August 31, Mr. de Rato spoke on the current state of the global economy and outlined the reforms, which include a two-phase reshaping of the quota shares – the proposed increases announced today followed by the development for a new formula to come up with increases for a broader range of members.

Contents

  • 1 Global economy
    • 1.1 Asia: Current status and prospects
      • 1.1.1 India
      • 1.1.2 China
  • 2 Institutional reforms
    • 2.1 Governance
    • 2.2 Economic monitoring and analysis
  • 3 The IMF
  • 4 Related news
  • 5 Sources
  • 6 External links
Uncategorized @ 2:16 am
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January 16, 2019

Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi

Update since publication

This article mentions that Wi-Fi stands for “Wireless Fidelity”, although this is disputed.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

A Florida man is being charged with 3rd degree felony for logging into a private Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) Internet access point without permission. Benjamin Smith III, 41, is set for a pre-trial hearing this month in the first case of its kind in the United States.

This kind of activity occurs frequently, but often goes undetected by the owners of these wireless access points (WAPs). Unauthorized users range from casual Web browsers, to users sending e-mails, to users involved in pornography or even illegal endeavours.

According to Richard Dinon, owner of the WAP Smith allegedly broke into, Smith was using a laptop in an automobile while parked outside Dinon’s residence.

There are many steps an owner of one of these access points can take to secure them from outside users. Dinon reportedly knew how to take these steps, but had not bothered because his “neighbors are older.”

Uncategorized @ 2:55 am
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Startup Your Business With A Business Loan

Click Here For More Specific Information On:

By Amanda Hash

It is not necessary to wait until you have a lot of money to start up your business. The time is now. The market may change and make things difficult and you could be left with the bitter taste in your mouth of not having taken the decision at the right moment. Business is not only about buying and selling. It is about taking the right decisions at the right moment.

Do Not Let Others Beat You To It

If you have detected a niche in the market that you can fill in, go for it. Do not waste time watching to see what happens, whether it is the right moment or not. Waiting gives your precious time to others. Rushing to do things without a proper planning is not good either. You have all the ideas in your head, so just write them down, on paper or on your computer and make a checklist of everything you need to open your business.

Niche Marketing

Your first attempt should consider every nail and every sheet of paper needed to get your business going. There will always be time to cut down on unnecessary things later on. I talked about a niche above, because niche marketing is very interesting. Once you detect the niche and the needs it has, you tailor a product or service for that niche and you already have a market, without having to spend precious cash on random advertising. What little advertising you will have to carry out, will be specifically directed to your niche.

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You will have time later on to expand and add products to your line, innovate and improve, to widen your scope, a little at a time, so as to grow steadily and firmly and surpass the critical moment. It is said that 80% of new businesses do not make it through the first year.

Start Closing The Circle

Once you have your business plan ready, you can start to think of a business loan. Considering what is mentioned in the previous paragraph, every lender knows the risks that a new business implies. So, this risk will have to be shared, in the form of the provision of some asset of yours, whether private or dedicated to the business, to show confidence in your own project.

Very few loans will be granted on the business plan alone, however brilliant it may appear, so bear this in mind and place your car, truck, a piece of land, whatever it may be, as collateral from the very beginning. Do not wait for the lender to ask for it.

Some Additional Considerations

When you start to fill in the numbers in your business plan, consider the loan payment in advance. If you take the trouble to calculate how much you need and how you will repay it, making it participate in the general cash flow, it will give the loan officer a good impression. For this, you will need to shop around and get free quotes, not to be confused with applications.

The interest rate will vary slightly from lender to lender and depending on the amount and collateral you offer, but in general there is no great difference. The main difference in these matters is your decision and how you prepare your way for your new activity.

About the Author: Amanda Hash is an expert financial consultant who specializes in Guaranteed Unsecured Loans and Government Grants for No Credit People. By visiting

yourloanservices.com/

you’ll learn how to get approved and recover your credit.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=237850&ca=Finances

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.

Uncategorized @ 2:32 am
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Category:Featured article

Shortcut:WN:FA

Featured articles are selected by the community to represent the best of Wikinews. See the Featured Article Candidates page for nominations and discussions of candidate articles for this page. Or, subscribe to the RSS feed!

[edit]

Pages in category “Featured article”

Uncategorized @ 2:13 am
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January 14, 2019

Brazilian President Lula met Chavez, military and economic cooperation

Thursday, February 17, 2005

CARACAS, Venezuela –The Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on February 14, 2005 in Caracas, Venezuela. Brazil and Venezuela signed agreements of cooperation on many areas. According to the Brazilian government this was a strategical encounteur. This meeting is the first of three meetings that President Lula will have with South American Presidents in three days. The scheduled meetings are with the presidents of: Venezuela (February, 14), Guiana (February, 15) and Suriname (February, 16).

President Lula was accompanied by the following comitiva: the Minister of Development, Industry, and External Trade Luiz Fernando Furlan, the Minister of Finance Antônio Palocci, the Minister of Foreign Relations Celso Amorim, the Minister of Health Humberto Costa, the Minister of Mines and Energy Dilma Roussef, the Minister of Tourism Walfrido Mares Guia, the President of Petrobras José Eduardo Dutra, the President of National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) Guido Mantega, the President of Eletrobrás Silas Rondeau Cavalcante Silva and the Special Secretary for Aquaculture and Fisheries José Fritsch. In addition a delegation of executives representing enterprises from Brazil accompanied the President.

The Brazilian Ministry of External Relations told the trip aims the construction of a strategical alliance and commercial integration between both countries. The Brazilian Presidential Advisor Marco Aurélio Garcia said:”With this gesture, Brazil will consolidate one of its major political goals, which is the constitution of a South American community of nations”. He added: “These agreements with Venezuela are strategical. We want this agreement as a model for other agreements in the region.”

According to President Lula the integration of the Latin America is the priority number one of his government. Days before the arrival in Venezuela and commenting about the trip Lula said: “We’re going to do the same thing in Colombia and in other countries in which integration is no longer a campaign speech but part of the way we deal with real things, day to day”.

The integration of the Latin America is the politics repeatedly proposed by Lula during the meetings of the Foro de São Paulo. According to him and the others members of the Foro there must be a integration among all the left parties and governments of Latin America. The union aims to be an alternative and opposing force to the politics and influence of the richest countries, mainly the United States. Among the organizations which are usually participants of the Foro de São Paulo are: Communist Party of Cuba, Colombian Communist Party, Communist Party of Bolivia, Communist Party of Brazil, Workers’ Party, Paraguayan Communist Party, Peruvian Communist Party, Socialist Party of Peru, National Liberation Army, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity, Tupamaros.

On December 4, 2001 during the 10th edition of the Foro de São Paulo in Havana Lula said:”A shoal of small fish may mean the finishing of the hungry in our countries, in out continent. We should not think as the History ended on our journey by the Earth. Even it happens just once, or with one gesture, let’s effectively contribute to the improve the life of millions of human beings who live socially excluded by this neoliberal model.”[1]

In Venezuela, once again, he brought out the integration wish: “This is the biggest dream I am carrying, that we can negotiate collectively, not like one country, but like a set of countries so we can do that our people may have the chance to conquer the full citizenship.”

Contents

  • 1 Economic cooperation
  • 2 Military cooperation
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
Uncategorized @ 3:09 am
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January 13, 2019

Frank Messina: An interview with the ‘Mets Poet’

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

In the early Olympic games, athletes used to run a mile and then recite a poem. The first poet-in-residence of an English football team, Ian McMillan, remarked that football chants are like huge tribal poems. Generally, though, sport and poetry have never seemed natural companions in human enterprise. Until the New York Mets baseball team suffered in 2007 arguably the worst collapse in Major League Baseball history. To describe the anguish fans felt, The New York Times turned to a poet, Frank Messina. “Nothing was really representing the fan’s point of view,” Messina told Wikinews reporter David Shankbone in an interview. “There’s a lot of hurting people out there who can’t express what happened.”

And to those who read the Times last Saturday, Messina wants you to know his father never apologized for raising him as a Mets fans. “I never asked for his apology, and he never apologized, nor did he owe us one. I was misquoted in the New York Times.”

Messina’s parents taught him about opposite ends of the spectrum of life. “My mother was supportive even when I made mistakes. She taught me to never give up no matter what vocation you choose in your life.” Whereas Messina’s mother taught him to never give up, his father taught him how to die with grace. He passed away from cancer in 2005. “I got to see a man who accepted his fate. He was like the Captain of the Titanic. My mother was also calm. I was the one freaking out inside. I saw someone who had acknowledged his own demise, accepted it, and died at home. He was a tough old guy. It takes a lot to accept that; it takes a very strong person. Some of the special moments toward the end was sitting with him and watching baseball games.”

It is baseball that has garnered Messina attention now. He has performed in 32 countries and 40 states, and in 1993 he founded the band Spoken Motion, a spoken word band. What is striking about Messina is that his work has branched two worlds that often don’t interact: downtown coffeehouse denizens of poetry and the denizens of Shea Stadium. It is Frank Messina who has personalities as diverse as Joe Benigno, the archetype of the New York sportscaster at WFAN, reflecting on love and poetry. “No one would question a poet writing about love for a woman,” said Benigno, “but when you’re a fan of a team, the emotional attachment is even stronger….” Benigno sounded similar to avant-garde writer and musician David Amram, who said Messina’s poems paint “the stark beauty of the streets, the pain of 9/11, the joy of everyday life, the mysteries of love all fill the pages of this book. It’s a feast of images and sounds that stay with you.”

I spoke with the person Bowery Poetry Club founder Bob Holman called the “Rock n’ Roll Poet Laureate” recently in Washington Square Park:


DS: You have received a good deal of attention recently.

FM:Even though I’m not Michael Jackson or somebody, when people come up to me and introduce themselves and say, ‘Hey Frank, my name is John,’ I say, ‘Hey John, my name is Frank’ and they laugh. It’s a funny phenomenon.

DS: What goes through your head when that happens?

FM: I understand it. I’ve gone to readings and concerts. I look at it as human interaction. Over the years I have performed in 32 countries and 40 states. I’ve been doing this professionally since I was in my twenties, and before that since I was sixteen doing little tidbit poetry readings in coffeehouses. The band I started in 1993, Spoken Motion, received a lot of recognition as a spoken word band born out of the New York spoken word scene. I worked with some great musicians and performed around the world. I remember signing my first autograph to a kid when I was 25 years old. As time went on, I came out with books and CDs, and I became used to that kind of thing. To me, the ultimate feeling of success as an artist, is to move somebody enough where they thank you. When someone comes up and says, ‘Frank, thank you, your work is great.”

DS: You have a long career in poetry, but as of late the attention you have garnered is for the Mets-inspired work. How do you feel about having a lot of your work overshadowed by the Mets work?

FM:It’s ironic. Some of the greatest poetry has been born out of failure and the depths of adversity in the human experience. Walt Whitman, the first great American poet, wrote about the Civil War. He went looking for his brother, George Whitman, after he a telegram telling him his brother was injured in the South. When he started out his poems were about beating drums, and blow, bugle, blow. Real patriotic. Then he started to see the real horrors of war. He was able to tap into the human condition and the situation at that time. Eventually when he found his brother he had resolution.
I experienced that kind of adversity during 9/11 being a civilian volunteer. I loaded ferry boats in Jersey City across the river to deliver goods to Ground Zero. I turned to Whitman to find some understanding of what is happening in the world right now. When I wrote my 9/11-related poems, that was true adversity. I realize baseball is just a game.

DS: Can you recite a stanza that expresses how you feel right now?

FM: This was a piece that the Times only quoted one stanza, but it’s about preparation for a battle, and being prepared to either rise to the occasion, or go down:

Do you know what it’s liketo be chased by the Ghost of Failurewhile staring through Victory’s door?Of course you do, you’re a Mets fancaught in a do-or-die momentin late September at Shea

As one that’s battled hardthrough many a broken dreamLet me say, “in order to rise to the occasionyou must be willingto go down with the ship”,Have no fear, no hesitation,for Winning shall be it’s reward!

Don’t let them get in your head!you’ve kept it up this longYou’re a Mets fan in late Septemberand you’ll fight til the glorious endCheer the team today;(your boys in orange and blue)Let them hear you shoutas they fight for what’s mightily due

(copyright Frank Messina; reprinted with permission)

DS: Sports fans aren’t known as patrons of poetry. Have you had interaction with ‘new readers’ through your Mets work?

FM: This one person who I never met took a picture of me and sent it to me in an e-mail. The e-mail said, ‘Frank, I have never bothered you during the game, but I just wanted to say thank you for your work and thank you for making some sense of the successes and failures and I wish you much success with your work.’
Last year in my section at the stadium I had a banner that read We Know’. That’s all it said. Then earlier this year these shirts started to come out that said, “Poet says We Know“. It was amazing. We didn’t use the banner this year, though, because we didn’t know. The team wasn’t so far ahead that we knew. Last year we just knew we were going to the playoffs; we knew we were going post-season. This year we weren’t sure. We were walking on eggshells.
There was a woman, a season ticket holder and a die hard fan. She was staggered by the loss last year to the Cardinals. Last year she came up to me during one of the games late in the season; she was so happy we were going to the post season. By that point we had clinched it. She handed me a shirt she bought at the stadium and she gave me a big hug. With tears in her eyes she said, “Thank you, Mets Poet, thank you.” It’s cool…it’s like another family.

DS: Moments like that must make you realize you have touched people who aren’t normally touched by poetry.

FM: It’s opened up a new fan base, so to speak. For the last year SNY has broadcast footage of me with my poems, so quite a few fans known about the ‘Mets Poet’. I have never called myself that, by the way. The back of my jersey says ‘The Poet’ because growing up that was my nickname. My brother was a runner and they used to call him The Birdman–Birdie–and they called me The Poet. It was a natural thing, but I never coined myself as ‘The Mets Poet.’

DS: Jack Nicholson once said, “The fuel for the sports fan is the ability to have private theories.” What are some of your private theories?

FM: The fan is always right. No matter if he is wrong, he is right. The fan always has an opinion. That’s why we have talk radio and people call Joe Benigno and Steve Somers and Mike and the Mad Dog all day long. That’s why we have 24/7 sports-related talk. If you were to come from another planet with only three hours on Earth to find out what human beings are like, to discover how dynamic life is as a human being, you would take them to a baseball game. A season is like a life, but a game is like one day in that life. A season has its beginning, its renewal, its innocence and its arch into maturity into the season. Panic sets in when it hits the middle-age of the season. Will it we have success, or will we have failure. At end of season, fans have to accept whether we have failed or whether we have achieved victory. Kansas City Royals fans know at the beginning of the season that, more than likely, nothing is going to happen for them. As Mets fans, we want to win, but we never expect it to be easy. It’s always going to be a fight; it’s always going to be hard.

DS: The second-class citizen in a first rate city idea that is found in one of your poems.

FM: Yeah, you’re going to get pushed around. People are going to disagree with you. It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to take a lot of pills, take an extra drink, go to the gym an extra day to run off some energy.

DS: You and poet Ron Whitehead embarked on a “War Poets” tour of Europe. You as a pro-war poet, and Whitehead as a pro-peace poet. Forgive the crude terminology; I realize there is probably nuance in there. In the over four years since that tour has your outlook evolved at all?

FM: I’ve never been for any war. I try to avoid altercation on any level, be it emotional, physical, or political. But there are some wars I think that are necessary. History has shown this. Was this one necessary? I don’t know. Twenty years from now we’ll have to figure that out. I hope that we’ve all learned something from it.

DS: What is your feeling toward the Iraq War now?

FM: It’s a mess. It’s a mess. We went in to get a job done, get Hussein out of there, liberate the Iraqi people as was dictated in the 1998 Liberation Act that Senator Lieberman helped draft and President Clinton put out there. President Bush, Congress and the American people supported going in there. I’m not going to backtrack: I did support going in there, and even as an artist and a poet, and as a freak, I made a decision, that it was time to take this guy out. I spoke with many Iraqi Americans who live in my neighborhood who also supported that. Lebanese and Iranian friends I have supported it. One of my childhood friends, Adel Nehme, came out of Beirut, Lebanon around 1972. We met in kindergarten and we’ve been friends ever since. He was someone who escaped that turmoil. His family brought him to New Jersey specifically to pull him out of that hell, like the way my father took us out of the gangland hell of the South Bronx. Like any father would do, to protect his family.

DS: Do you still feel the Iraq War is protecting us, and that the original reasons you supported it are still valid?

FM: It’s a mess. The original reasons? Yes. Looking back, hindsight is always 20/20. Unlike many artists, I have vocally supported the war. Many artists who support this war won’t say that. Ron Whitehead is a dear friend. We have mutual respect for each other but we disagree on a lot of issues. Nevertheless, there’s only one man I want fighting in the trenches of life with me, and that’s Ron Whitehead.

DS: When you look at the state of the world, what five descriptors come to mind?

FM: Chaos. Yearning for peace. Confusion. Desperation. Hope.

DS: And are you hopeful?

FM: Yes.

DS: Where do you get that hope from?

FM: My faith in the human spirit. I think people are inherently good.

DS: Joe Benigno said, “No one would question a poet writing about love for a woman, but when you’re a fan of a team, the emotional attachment is even stronger, because women come and go, but your team never changes.” Do you think that analogy really holds, because you are attracted to the Mets, and you are attracted to women, and the players on both of those teams in your life change.

FM: Loving a baseball team is having to put up with the imperfections, the routine of what kind of mood is it going to be today. It doesn’t come down to whether we are going to win or lose, it comes down to: is the player going to perform this way? Or , is the pitcher going to be ambivalent? Am I even going to have enough strength to watch this game? Am I going to wash my hands? Am I going to lay in bed all day? What am I going to do? The game becomes a reflection of true life in that way.

DS: The difference is that you know what to expect from the players on the Mets. They have defined roles and there is some certitude. With women, as the players change you don’t know what they are going to do; whereas in baseball the players have roles and you know what to expect of them.

FM: It’s a dangerous proposition being any fan, but particularly a Mets fan, because you are going to have to accept you will fall in love with imperfection. When you fall in love with a woman, you are accepting them for all their flaws, those elements that make them human, worts and all. And I accept my team worts and all. They have given me a great deal of joy, a great deal of entertainment, exhilaration, and a hell of a lot of pain like in any fan. This isn’t the Brady Bunch, this isn’t Leave it to Beaver. Few things are, if anything.

DS: You were the recipient of the 1993 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. In 1996 I met Ginsberg at the Naropa Institute in Boulder. I asked him about NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association. He told me to follow him into the bathroom. As I stood there he peed and told me he wasn’t for having sex with children, but that he thought that age-of-consent laws were outdated, that he knew what he wanted when he was fifteen and that he thought everyone does at that age. He said he wasn’t for sex with children, but that it should not be illegal to have sex at that age. When you accepted the Ginsberg award, did you have an issue with some of his political stances?

FM: I was too young at the time to realize what he thought. I never knew what went on behind closed doors with Allen, and aside from meeting him a few times, I never knew him on a personal level. I accepted the nomination, like young people do each year, because of his poetry, not because of his politics. I was proud. That is what the award was designed for. There are laws in this country for a reason, to protect children and to protect people from predators. Whether Allen was a predator or not, I don’t have any idea.

DS: All evidence is that he was not a predator, but that he was a voice for change of age-of-consent laws.

FM: To me, it’s a non-issue. Put your hand on my kid and believe me, it’s all over for the predator. That’s my policy. When someone’s 18, that’s the deal. I’ll stick with the law on that one.

DS: What’s a lesson your mother taught you?

FM: To never give up. She was supportive even when I made mistakes, as a good mother will do. In school my parents were called up a lot. It was not easy being a parent of Frankie. Teachers were constantly calling. I was disruptive, I would talk out of line, I was a class clown. She taught me to never give up no matter what vocation you choose in your life. My mother was never critical of my poems and writing. We’re good friends and she’s a lot of fun.

DS: How would you choose your death?

FM: Either in battle or laying in bed with family around me.

DS: Have you ever had a moment where you saw your death?

FM: Yes, a couple of times. Once I was on one of those small planes flying to Pittsburgh last year to see the Mets, actually one of those 25-seat airplanes flying out of Newark in a lightning storm. We had ascended over Newark and the plane was struck by lightning. There was no panic on the plane at all, but something, we knew, was terribly wrong. I saw a flash of light when it hit the plane and a fellow across the aisle said, “Did you just see that?” and I said that I thought we were struck by lightning. He said it felt like something got ripped off the plane. There was so much turbulence. The stewardess came out with one of the co-pilots, who announced we were struck by lightning, but that we were going to continue the flight. There was a moment there, I think a good 30 seconds, where I was certain the plane was going to break apart.

DS: Did you have any realizations?

FM: I thought, this is it. This is it. There was acceptance. When my father was diagnosed with cancer in June of 2005 and I got to see a man who accepted his fate. He died two months later. He was like the Captain of the Titanic. My mother was also calm. I was the one freaking out inside. I saw someone who had acknowledged his own demise, accepted it, and died at home. He was a tough old guy. It takes a lot to accept that, it takes a very strong person. In this culture we value life very much, and some people look at death as a failure, but it’s going to happen to all of us. My theory is to help yourself, and help others in life.

Uncategorized @ 2:14 am
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January 12, 2019

British Chancellor George Osborne downgrades growth forecast in annual budget

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered the budget today, an annually-held audit of the country’s finances deciding how taxpayers’ money should be spent. He set out plans to boost the housing market in his fourth budget, as well as stating the economy will grow by 0.6% — half his prediction four months ago.

George Osborne revealed plans to improve the housing market, including a “Help to Buy” shared equity scheme which would offer buyers who can place a 5% deposit on a new house, a 20% loan to buy it. He said: “This is a budget for those who aspire to own their own home”. He also offered a new Mortgage Guarantee, created in conjunction with mortgage lenders — the scheme would allow them to offer loans to homeowners without the need for a large deposit and offer guarantees to support up to £130bn of lending for three years beginning in 2014.

As a measure to attract investment to the British economy, he announced to reduce corporation tax from 21% to 20% taking effect from April 2015. The rate of corporation tax has fallen from 28% in 2010 to the current level of 21%. The United Kingdom is to have lower rates of corporation tax than the USA at 40%, France at 33%, and Germany at 29%.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) stated the government debt reduction programme to reduce the budget deficit will miss its targets. The government has forecast the total public sector debt will begin to fall by the financial year 2015/2016, while OBR says national debt will reach a high of 85.6% of GDP, £1.58 trillion, in 2016/17. Osborne defended the government efforts to reduce the deficit and said: “Our judgement has since been supported by the IMF, the OECD and the Governor of the Bank of England.”

In response to the Budget speech, the Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband said: “At the worst possible time for the country. It’s a downgraded budget from a downgraded Chancellor […] Debt is higher in every year of this Parliament than he forecast at the last Budget. He is going to borrow £200 billion more than he planned.”

The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls said to The Independent, “They are borrowing £245bn more in this Parliament, we said all along …said this two years ago, if they had moved more quickly with a sensible, targeted package of measures to kick-start the economy, which would have meant at that time more borrowing for a VAT [Value Added Tax] cut to bring forward housing investment, then we would have got the economy growing and the deficit coming down.”

The Business Secretary Vince Cable told the BBC in an interview, the “age of austerity” would probably end within the current decade, but made no more definite forecast.

The head of the British Federation of Small Businesses, John Walker, said: “The Budget opens the door for small businesses to grow and create jobs. The Chancellor has pulled out all the stops with a wide ranging package of measures to support small business. […] [W]e are pleased to see the scrapping of the 3p fuel duty due in September”.

Len McCluskey, the General Secretary of Unite the Union, criticized the budget for not helping working families. He said: “This is a Budget for the few by the few that attacks the many. Millionaires are days away from getting a £40,000 tax cut from the Tories, but George Osborne is using the budget to attack hard-working public sector workers. The worst chancellor in British history has gone further by giving big business another tax cut while staff caring for the sick get pay cuts. […] [H]e should have raised the national minimum wage by £1 and drop the senseless plan to give millionaires a tax break in a few days’ time”.

Uncategorized @ 3:05 am
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Magnitude 7.5 earthquake hits Afghanistan

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Early yesterday afternoon local time, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan, Pakistan and North India, with its epicenter in the Hindu Kush mountain range which stretches from Afghanistan to North Pakistan, causing damage to life and buildings. A Wikinews correspondent felt the shock waves in Behror, Rajasthan at 2:50 PM IST (0920 UTC).

Hundreds of people died in this disaster. The death toll is highest in Pakistan. Pakistani officials yesterday afternoon declared over 145 people were found dead. United States Geological Survey reported the earthquake occurred at 212km depth due to reverse faulting. Twelve students died in the rush due to trembles, in an Afghani girls’ school in Takhar, near Badakhshan. Two elderly women in Kashmir died due to heart attack. Some people in Pakistan died by crushing by roof collapse.

Indian states Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi National Capital Region were affected. Srinagar experienced a power cutoff after the earthquake.

During yesterday afternoon, Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi communicated with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, volunteering help. He also tweeted “Heard about strong earthquake in Afghanistan-Pakistan region whose tremors have been felt in parts of India. I pray for everyone’s safety.”

Yesterday evening, Pervez Rashid, Pakistani Information Minister, declared Pakistan would not ask for help for resources and rescue work and thanked India for offering help. “We have enough resources to handle the situation. Our top priority is to help those affected because of the earthquake”.

As of earlier today, officials in Pakistan and Afghanistan came up with statistics of 237 deaths in Pakistan and a total rising to 311.

Almost a decade ago, this region suffered an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6.

Uncategorized @ 2:52 am
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BP report into Gulf of Mexico disaster lays blame on other contractors

Friday, September 10, 2010

BP released their report into the causes of the Deepwater Horizon disaster earlier this year on Wednesday, and shifted much of the blame for the explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, onto Transocean, the company managing the rig. The report concludes by stating that decisions made by “multiple companies and work teams” contributed to the accident which it says arose from “a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces.” The report, the product of a four-month investigation conducted by BP’s Head of Safety Operations, Mark Bly, criticizes the oil rig’s fire prevention systems, the crew of the rig for failing to realize and act upon evidence that oil was leaking from the surface of the ocean, and describes how BP and Transocean “incorrectly accepted” negative pressure test results. The document goes on to note that the blow-out preventer failed to operate, likely because critical components were not operational.

Bob Dudley, who will become chief executive of BP, described the accident as “tragic”. He said, “we have said from the beginning that the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon was a shared responsibility among many entities. This report makes that conclusion even clearer, presenting a detailed analysis of the facts and recommendations for improvement both for BP and the other parties involved. We have accepted all the recommendations and are examining how best to implement them across our drilling operations worldwide.” The report included 25 recommendations, according to a press release, “designed to prevent a recurrence of such an accident.” The oil company has previously blamed Transocean and Halliburton, the well contractor, for the disaster and BP executives feel they have been unfairly blamed by US politicians for the disaster, and the report continues this view.

Tony Hayward, who was fired from the position of BP’s chief executive following multiple public relations issues, squarley places the blame for the disaster on Halliburton. “To put it simply, there was a bad cement job,” he said in a statement, also claiming that BP should not be the only company to take the blame for the explosion. “It would appear unlikely that the well design contributed to the incident,” he argues. The report blames the type of cement used by Halliburton, designed to prevent harmful hydrocarbons from reaching the seabed, as well as criticizing the crew of Deepwater Horizon, for failing to realize for forty minutes that oil had started to leak from the well, and once it was realized, the crew “vented” the hydrocarbons “directly onto the rig”.

Describing how the explosion, which killed eleven rig personnel, occurred, the report states that “the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system probably transferred a gas-rich mixture into the engine rooms,” where the hydrocarbons ignited and a fireball engulfed the rig. But, the report states, the blowout preventer, the ultimate failsafe on the Deepwater Horizon failed, likely due to the fire on the rig. An automated system was not operational because the batteries powering it, located in a control pod, had gone flat, and another control pod contained a faulty solenoid valve.

The report was likely, however, written with the company’s legal liability for the disaster in a prominent position, since they are facing hundreds of lawsuits and criminal charges as a result of the spill. The executive summary is four and a half pages long and the first page is made up entirely of legal disclaimers saying if BP was found to be negligent in their operations of the rig, they could be fined a good deal more.

Questions have also been raised as to why BP has chosen to release their report before authorities examine the blowout preventer. The energy editor of The Guardian, Terry Macalister, wrote that the “catalougue of errors – both human and mechanical” in the report “demolish” the oil industry’s “much quoted mantra” of safety first. “It may come first in the board room but it does not down at the wellhead where the real dangers are faced,” he wrote. “It is worth remembering that BP, its rig operator Transocean and the main well contractor Halliburton are the blue chip companies in the wider oil and gas sector. If the shoddy work practices highlighted here are what the best-in-class do, then what is happening in the lower reaches of this industry?”

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Transocean described the report as a “self-serving” attempt to “conceal the critical factor that set the stage for the Macondo incident: BP’s fatally flawed well design. In both its design and construction, BP made a series of cost-saving decisions that increased risk – in some cases, severely.” In a statement, the company listed five issues they felt had contributed to the disaster that were no fault but BP’s. “Transocean’s investigation is ongoing, and will be concluded when all of the evidence is in, including the critical information the company has requested of BP but has yet to receive.” Members of Congress, who are also carrying out a review into the disaster, also dismissed the report. Ed Markey, the Massachusetts democrat who has been investigating the spill in Congress, said that he felt the report was simply a lengthy defense of the oil company’s handling of the spill. “BP is happy to slice up blame, as long as they get the smallest piece,” he said.

Bly acknowledged during a press conference in Washington that the report did not detail the charges raised against the company in Congress and that BP permitted a culture of recklessness to flourish. He did, however, reject suggestions that cost-cutting had put lives at risk and the rig was a disaster waiting to happen. “What we see instead is, where there were errors made they were based on poor decision-making process or using wrong information,” he said. The Guardian reported that “the report is narrowly focused on the final days before the explosion rather than on earlier decisions about well design and safety procedures. It is also closely focused on the rig itself. No BP officials have been sacked for their role in the explosion, and Bly said there was no indication of any blame beyond the well-site managers.”

The Associated Press reported that Bly “said at a briefing in Washington that the internal report was a reconstruction of what happened on the rig based on the company’s data and interviews with mostly BP employees and was not meant to focus on assigning blame. The six-person investigating panel only had access to a few workers from other companies, and samples of the actual cement used in the well were not released.” The report continued, “Steve Yerrid, special counsel on the oil spill for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, said the report clearly shows the company is attempting to spread blame for the well disaster, foreshadowing what will be a likely legal effort to force Halliburton and Transocean, and perhaps others, to share costs such as paying claims and government penalties.”

Head of Greenpeace’s energy campaign Jim Footner said that it was “highly likely that a truly independent report would be even more damning for BP.” However, he said, “the real problem is our addiction to oil, which is pushing companies like BP to put lives and the environment at risk. The age of oil is coming to an end and companies like BP will be left behind unless they begin to adapt now. The time has come to move beyond oil and invest in clean energy.” Alfred R Sunsen, whose oyster company operating in the Gulf of Mexico is facing the prospect of going out of business after 134 years, reacted angrily the the report. “The report does not address the people, businesses, animals, or natural resources that have been impacted by the disaster and will be dealing with the consequences of their inadequate and slow response to the disaster,” he said. The New York Times said that the report is “unlikely to carry much weight in influencing the Department of Justice, which is considering criminal and civil charges related to the spill,” and described it as “a public relations exercise” and a “probable legal strategy as it prepares to defend itself against possible federal charges, penalties and hundreds of pending lawsuits.”

Wayne Pennington, head of the geological engineering department at Michigan Technical University, also alleged that BP was wrong to blame other parties involved with the disaster. “The blowout and subsequent explosion and spillage appear to the result of an overall attitude that encouraged unwarranted optimism in the quality of each component of the job, allowing the omission of standard testing procedures, and the misinterpretation of other tests in the most-favorable light.” He continued: “Instead, skepticism should reign on any drilling job, and testing and evaluation at each stage of the drilling and completion would then be routine; instead of questioning the need for such things as the cement bond log, the companies involved should insist on checking and double-checking quality at each step of the process. This was clearly not done, repeatedly, in the case of the Macondo well, and disaster resulted.”

4.9 million barrels of crude oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, causing damage to marine and wildlife habitats as well as the Gulf’s fishing and tourism industries. Extensive measures were used to prevent the oil from reaching the coastline of Louisiana, including skimmer ships, floating containment booms, anchored barriers, and sand-filled barricades. Scientists have also reported immense underwater plumes of dissolved oil not visible at the surface. The U.S. Government has named BP as the responsible party, and officials have committed to holding the company accountable for all cleanup costs and other damage.

Dudley went on to say that BP “deeply regret” the disaster. “We have sought throughout to step up to our responsibilities. We are determined to learn the lessons for the future and we will be undertaking a broad-scale review to further improve the safety of our operations. We will invest whatever it takes to achieve that. It will be incumbent on everyone at BP to embrace and implement the changes necessary to ensure that a tragedy like this can never happen again.”

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