Iraq, Syria, Iran form friendly relations

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

24 years ago Iraq and Syria severed diplomatic relations because Syria accused Iraq of giving support to the Muslim Brotherhood who were causing disorder in Syria. Now, as an outcome of meetings between Walid Moallem the Syrian Foreign Minister, the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, relations will be restored.

Both countries are agreed that the borders between them should be sealed more tightly to prevent the flow of fighters, arms and ammunition to Iraq, Syria saying that Iraq should do more to secure the border than it has been doing lately.

The two countries are agreed that US troops are needed in Iraq at present but that they should leave as soon as they are no longer needed. Syria wants a timetable for the progressive withdrawal of US forces.

The steps needed to establish full diplomatic relations and to open embassies in Baghdad and Damascus are set out in an agreement signed today in Baghdad. Zebari proclaimed “We will hoist the Iraqi flag in Syria and the Syrian flag in Iraq”.

Meanwhile, President Talabani has agreed to meet Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran on Saturday to discuss security matters.

Although the British Prime Minister has been encouraging more positive relations between Iraq and its neighbors, Syria and Iran, the United States has been critical of both of them. Last week, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she was opposed to including Syria and Iran in talks about security in Iraq. She accused Syria of having aligned itself with “the forces of extremism” and expressed frustration that despite repeated talks with Syria, nothing seems to have influenced their behavior. Regarding Iran, she said she could see nothing in its behavior that suggested it could contribute to stability in the area. She expressed the view that Iraq must take more responsibility for its own security.

Today, the White House welcomed the news of the rapprochement between Syria and Iraq. The spokesman for the US National Security Council saying “We’ve always encouraged Iraq’s neighbors to take a role in supporting and assisting the unity government in Iraq”.

President Bush met the Iraq Study Group, headed by former secretary of state James Baker on Monday. The Democrats in the Group said that, in order to encourage the Iraqi government to face its responsibilities, there should be a phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, starting now. The President rejected this suggestion, remarking that this was a military matter and depended upon the situation on the ground.

Recommendations from the bi-partisan study Group are expected to be delivered to the President and Congress sometime in December this year. The group is composed of five Democrats and five Republicans.

CNN founder Ted Turner calls Fox News Bush’s propaganda machine

Friday, January 28, 2005Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, last Tuesday accused Fox News of being a propaganda mouthpiece for the Bush administration. He likened the network’s current popularity to Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in pre-war Germany, and criticised the “dumbing down” of news which left the public uninformed of crucial issues.

Turner said, “Adolf Hitler was more popular in Germany in the early 1930s than people that were running against him.”

Fox News in turn accused CNN of simple sour grapes.

In a statement, the channel claimed that Ted was “understandably bitter having lost his ratings, his network and now his mind – we wish him well.”

Turner resigned from his post as Vice President of AOL Time Warner in January 2003. He remains one of America’s largest private landowners, possessing approximately two million acres of land.

Fox News remains the highest rating 24-hour news channel on US cable – but has been highly criticised for its perceived right-wing bias.

Recent House Committee on Government Reform figures by the US Democrats show that the US Administration spent over $US88 million on public relations contracts in 2004, of which 41 per cent were awarded on a non-competitive basis.

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai discharged from hospital

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for education for girls, was discharged yesterday from the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, England after success in the first stage of her medical treatment.

In October, Yousafzai was shot by Taliban forces on a school bus in Mingora, Swat District, Pakistan. She was given emergency treatment in Pakistan and then flown to Britain for treatment at a specialist unit which deals with injured soldiers.

Dave Rosser, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust medical director, gave a statement about Yousafzai’s release from hospital: “Malala is a strong young woman and has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery. Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers. She will return to the hospital as an outpatient and our therapies team will continue to work with her at home to supervise her onward care.”

She is due to return to hospital in a few weeks for cranial reconstructive surgery.

Services For Retirement Community Of Powell, Oh – Overview

bytimothyharvard

Retirees around Powell and other spots in the northern suburbs of Columbus need to be treated with the best care possible. This is especially the case for those who are not capable of handling certain functions on their own. A plan for a retirement community in Powell, OH caters to the many needs that seniors have. These include common needs involving personal care and services relating to the general living needs that someone has.

The problem with getting older is that it can be harder for any person to stay healthy or to stay mobile. The weakening of the body and the pains of arthritis can only make things worse. Therefore, a retirement community can assist residents with many daily personal care functions. Employees and professionals at a facility can help with bathing, dressing and feeding patients among many other services.

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Food preparation is also a feature of a retirement community in Powell, OH. Food preparation relates to getting meal plans ready for all of the residents based on their healthy needs. This can include working with diets for those with diabetes, high blood pressure and several other medical conditions. A typical plan involves three meals a day and some snacks on occasion.

Medication services are important for residents. Medications often have to be ordered, paid for, prepared and administered to individuals who need them. A retirement home should be capable of handling all the necessary parts of getting medications ready. The goal is to keep all residents comfortable as they are being treated with the right medications for whatever medical conditions need to be treated.

Housekeeping services are also available. A retirement community can not only handle a bed and other items in a spot but also laundry services. These services can work for both clothes and for bed linens. This is all required with both hygiene and comfort in mind. Clean linens and clothing are needed to help keep all residents at a retirement home healthy and safe.

Transportation services may be offered through a retirement home. Transportation is a necessity for several purposes. It can be used to transport residents to and from medical facilities for regular treatments. It can also bring residents to other homes with family members so they can visit once in a while. There are even cases where the transportation services are used to transport residents to a variety of special events in the Columbus area.

All of these services are available twenty-four hours a day. There are cases where emergencies may need to be met for when a person’s schedule might be different from what others have. A retirement home staff member should always be on call at any time of day to cater to the specific needs that a client might have for handling different functions.

These features are points that a retirement community in Powell, OH can handle. These features involve making sure that all residents are kept comfortable and that they are being treated with only the best services around. It is a necessity to see what is being used so a retired person can stay comfortable regardless of that person’s circumstances in daily life.

Retirement Community Powell, OHAbbington is a caring and supporting retirement community in northern Columbus that caters to the needs of seniors. Contact them online by visiting their website for information on what Abbington has: http://www.abbingtononline.com/.

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.

Irish inflation creeps upwards to 2.4%

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The inflation rate in Ireland, as measured by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), edged upwards to hit a five month high in May at 2.4%. This represents a 0.2% rise on the previous month when the rate stood at 2.2%.

The major contributors to the rise were increased transportation, healthcare, and education costs. In April the EU25 average rate of inflation was 2.1%, with Latvia having the highest rate at 7.1% and Sweden the lowest at 0.4%.

Despite the increase in the rate, Irish inflation remains very low – having hit 7% during 2000 and remaining around the 5% until the beginning of 2003. Another major factor easing any worries about the increase is Ireland’s very strong GDP growth – expected to be around 5.5% this year

On an annual basis the cost of footwear and clothing have fallen by 2.7% whilst energy costs have soared by 10.4%. The cost of food, furniture, and communications also fell over the last 12 months.

The Consumer Price Index is made up of over 55,000 prices consisting of 613 headings which cover over 1,000 different items.

As increase in digital music sales slows, record labels look to new ways to make money

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Every September, the Apple iPod is redesigned. Last year saw the release of the iPod Nano 5th generation, bringing a video camera and a large range of colours to the Nano for the first time. But as Apple again prepares to unveil a redesigned product, the company has released their quarterly sales figures—and revealed that they have sold only 9m iPods for the quarter to June—the lowest number of sales since 2006, leading industry anylists to ponder whether the world’s most successful music device is in decline.

Such a drop in sales is not a problem for Apple, since the iPhone 4 and the iPad are selling in high numbers. But the number of people buying digital music players are concerning the music industry. Charles Arthur, technology editor of The Guardian, wrote that the decline in sales of MP3 players was a “problem” for record companies, saying that “digital music sales are only growing as fast as those of Apple’s devices – and as the stand-alone digital music player starts to die off, people may lose interest in buying songs from digital stores. The music industry had looked to the iPod to drive people to buy music in download form, whether from Apple’s iTunes music store, eMusic, Napster or from newer competitors such as Amazon.”

Mark Mulligan, a music and digital media analyst at Forrester Research, said in an interview that “at a time where we’re asking if digital is a replacement for the CD, as the CD was for vinyl, we should be starting to see a hockey-stick growth in download sales. Instead, we’re seeing a curve resembling that of a niche technology.” Alex Jacob, a spokesperson for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents the worldwide music industry, agreed that there had been a fall in digital sales of music. “The digital download market is still growing,” they said. “But the percentage is less than a few years ago, though it’s now coming from a higher base.” Figures released earlier this year, Arthur wrote, “show that while CD sales fell by 12.7%, losing $1.6bn (£1bn)in value, digital downloads only grew by 9.2%, gaining less than $400m in value.”

Expectations that CDs would, in time, become extinct, replaced by digital downloads, have not come to light, Jacob confirmed. “Across the board, in terms of growth, digital isn’t making up for the fall in CD sales, though it is in certain countries, including the UK,” he said. Anylising the situation, Arthur suggested that “as iPod sales slow, digital music sales, which have been yoked to the device, are likely to slow too. The iPod has been the key driver: the IFPI’s figures show no appreciable digital download sales until 2004, the year Apple launched its iTunes music store internationally (it launched it in the US in April 2003). Since then, international digital music sales have climbed steadily, exactly in line with the total sales of iPods and iPhones.”

Nick Farrell, a TechEYE journalist, stated that the reason for the decline in music sales could be attributed to record companies’ continued reliance on Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, saying that they had considered him the “industry’s saviour”, and by having this mindset had forgotten “that the iPod is only for those who want their music on the run. What they should have been doing is working out how to get high quality music onto other formats, perhaps even HiFi before the iPlod fad died out.”

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When Jobs negotiated a deal with record labels to ensure every track was sold for 99 cents, they considered this unimportant—the iPod was not a major source of revenue for the company. However, near the end of 2004, there was a boom in sales of the iPod, and the iTunes store suddenly began raking in more and more money. The record companies were irritated, now wanting to charge different amounts for old and new songs, and popular and less popular songs. “But there was no alternative outlet with which to threaten Apple, which gained an effective monopoly over the digital music player market, achieving a share of more than 70%” wrote Arthur. Some did attempt to challenge the iTunes store, but still none have succeeded. “Apple is now the largest single retailer of music in the US by volume, with a 25% share.”

The iTunes store now sells television shows and films, and the company has recently launced iBooks, a new e-book store. The App Store is hugely successful, with Apple earning $410m in two years soley from Apps, sales of which they get 30%. In two years, 5bn apps have been downloaded—while in seven years, 10bn songs have been purchased. Mulligan thinks that there is a reason for this—the quality of apps simply does not match up to a piece of music. “You can download a song from iTunes to your iPhone or iPad, but at the moment music in that form doesn’t play to the strengths of the device. Just playing a track isn’t enough.”

Adam Liversage, a spokesperson of the British Phonographic Industry, which represents the major UK record labels, notes that the rise of streaming services such as Spotify may be a culprit in the fall in music sales. Revenues from such companies added up to $800m in 2009. Arthur feels that “again, it doesn’t make up for the fall in CD sales, but increasingly it looks like nothing ever will; that the record business’s richest years are behind it. Yet there are still rays of hope. If Apple – and every other mobile phone maker – are moving to an app-based economy, where you pay to download games or timetables, why shouldn’t recording artists do the same?”

Well, apparently they are. British singer Peter Gabriel has released a ‘Full Moon Club’ app, which is updated every month with a new song. Arthur also notes that “the Canadian rock band Rush has an app, and the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, led by Trent Reznor – who has been critical of the music industry for bureaucracy and inertia – released the band’s first app in April 2009.” It is thought that such a system will be an effective method to reduce online piracy—”apps tend to be tied to a particular handset or buyer, making them more difficult to pirate than a CD”, he says—and in the music industry, piracy is a very big problem. In 2008, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimated that 95% of downloads were illegitimate. If musicians can increase sales and decrease piracy, Robert says, it can only be a good thing.

“It’s early days for apps in the music business, but we are seeing labels and artists experimenting with it,” Jacob said. “You could see that apps could have a premium offering, or behind-the-scenes footage, or special offers on tickets. But I think it’s a bit premature to predict the death of the album.” Robert concluded by saying that it could be “premature to predict the death of the iPod just yet too – but it’s unlikely that even Steve Jobs will be able to produce anything that will revive it. And that means that little more than five years after the music industry thought it had found a saviour in the little device, it is having to look around again for a new stepping stone to growth – if, that is, one exists.”

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Progressive Conservative candidate Dan McCreary, Brant

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Dan McCreary is running for the Progressive Conservative in the Ontario provincial election, in the Brant riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Moscow celebrates Victory Day with military parade

Monday, May 11, 2009

On May 9, Moscow heralded its celebrations of Victory Day with one of the largest military parades seen since the fall of the Soviet Union through the Red Square and the streets of Moscow. Signifying the defeat over Nazi Germany in 1945 in World War 2, Victory Day continues to be one of the most poignant and emotional celebrations and national holidays in Russia. Estimates of more than 27 million lost lives during the war continues to leave a vein of sadness in Russia.

Victory day began early in Moscow with inner city streets being closed from 6am and the major entrance of Tverskaya Ulitsa completely locked down with all access to non-military blocked until the end of the parade. Tens of thousands of people lined the upper parts of Tverskaya to see the exit of the military as well as the air force fly-over on their entrance to Red Square. In total more than 9,000 troops, 69 planes and a huge collection of armored vehicles, tanks, and massive anti-aircraft missile defense systems ensured that Moscovites and the rest of Russia will remember Victory Day 2009.

In scenes reminiscent of the end of the war military bands played around the city until all hours of the night. At Leningradsky station departing veterans and widows danced and celebrated with younger generations whilst loudly singing the national anthem. As trains departed, staff handed out flowers in recognition of the contributions made and loud cheers were heard across the many platforms. In a touching event it seemed to bond the generations of yesterday and today.

Preparations for the military parade began months ago with regular rehearsals in Alabino including the erection of a mock Red Square and Kremlin to ensure authenticity. Final dress rehearsals took place in Moscow on May 7 including a full practice of the air show. On display for the first time was the S-400 air defense system which is capable of intercepting airborne targets at ranges up to 400 kilometers (249 mi).

Following the official parades and ceremonies, Red Square and the the inner city was opened to the public, albeit under extreme security and an ever watching eye from Interior Ministry troops. During the afternoon there was an estimated crowed of over 100,000 which entered Red Square to admire the parade ground and decorations, including the official stand for the dignitaries.

Closing the festivities was a series of fireworks in fourteen different locations throughout Moscow including the grand display over the Kremlin and Red Square.

Cat in Rhode Island, USA nursing home ‘senses death’

Thursday, July 26, 2007

At a nursing home in Providence, Rhode Island a cat is reported to be able to sense when elderly individuals are about to die.

The cat, known as ‘Oscar‘ is reported to have sensed the deaths of at least 25 elderly people. According to nursing home employees, Oscar has been living at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for two years and seems to sense the deaths at least two to four hours before they happen, and he is rarely wrong.

“It’s not that the cat is consistently there first. But the cat always does manage to make an appearance, and it always seems to be in the last two hours,” said professor of community health at the home, Dr. Joan Teno.

Oscar would go from room to room on a daily basis to watch and smell the patients, eventually curling up next to one that dies within a few hours, but since most of the patients he visits are too ill they do not notice his presence.

One veterinarian and expert on cats says that cats and dogs sense things that humans are not able to sense.

“It’s such a cat thing to do. Those things are hard to study. I think probably dogs and cats can sense things we can’t,” said University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, chief of veterinarian medicine at the college, Thomas Graves who also added that he does not believe it has anything to do with being a ‘psychic cat’ saying “there’s probably a biochemical explanation.”