Protestors want ‘carnival not confrontation’ at Forbes conference

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The 30A network has said that it wants to create a carnival atmosphere while protesting at the Forbes Global CEO conference. The protest, which starts on August 30, is expected to attract up to 2,000 protesters. Similar events in the past often had instances of violent confrontations between police and some of the activists. The 30A network is a loose affiliation of groups and individuals co-ordinating the protest.

30A spokesman Bruce Knobloch, of the International Socialist Organisation, made the call for a peaceful protest in a press release last week.

“We want a safe community action showing that people in Sydney oppose Howard¹s plan for a US-style wages system, the war in Iraq and his kow-towing to global corporate chiefs. We pose no threat to the Opera House or the millionaire delegates, or to other users of east Circular Quay,” Mr Knobloch said.

The conference will be held at the Sydney Opera House. The Forbes website says that at the event “senior figures from the world’s leading companies and institutions will discuss the best ways to nurture and capitalize on innovation and reveal the latest global trends.” It was recently announced that George Bush Sr will be attending the conference, along with former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Prime Minister John Howard, and former NSW Premier Bob Carr.

Mr Knobloch described the attendees as “a few hundred neo-conservative corporate chiefs”.

The protesters have been denied access to the Opera House forecourt for the duration of the conference. Mr Knobloch believes that this decision is unjustified. He also accused the police of deliberately creating the conditions for confrontation.

“The police seem intent on creating chaos and confrontation, which is the last thing we need. We’ve urged police to build a barrier in front of the Opera House proper and to allow us to use the public space in the forecourt. By pushing us out into the CBD the police are going to create problems for commuters and business owners,” he said.

30A protestors this week organised a media conference outside Surry Hills Police Station, requesting a meeting to negotiate an agreement. According to an article on Sydney Indymedia, police at the station were unable to discuss the issue, but told 30a representatives that they would be contacted to organise a meeting.

“Minimising the protesters right to peacefully rally dramatically increases police powers and strikes at the heart of protesters’ democratic right to peaceful assembly,” the article said.

ASIO has assessed the conference to be “medium risk”, and this has been used by the police and government to justify the increased security.

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How To Select Grapes For Sale On Their Vines

byAlma Abell

Before buying grapes, you need to understand a little about them. Specific grapes grow in specific regions very well. Whenever you find grape vines for sale, whether online or in a nursery, a good description should tell you what zone the grapes will grow in.

Zone Rating

Special detailed maps will show you the zones and how they are divided. This will help you compare your area with the plant. For example, a plant with a zone of five to nine means that in zone five, six, seven, eight or nine, the plant will grow appropriately.

To find your zone rating number, you will need to speak with your USDA Extension Service in your county. If their location is local, you may be able to visit them and see the maps. Otherwise, they may send you copies of the map. If you don’t need to see proof, they can easily tell you your zone numbers over the telephone.

Growing Season

You will also need to know the average growing season in your region. This will help you choose which type of grapes to buy. In most climates, grape vines should be planted in spring, but use your judgment.

The growing season goes along with the zone rating, as well. Most grape vine sellers will tell you the zone rating number on the grape. Choose one that is compatible with your area, and then you can easily find growing season information on those particular grape vines.

Type of Wine

If you are growing grapes strictly to make your own wine, then you will also need to take that into consideration. One of the best types of grapes is the Vitis Vinifera, which is the common grape. This is used in most of the world’s wine and comes in both red and white varieties. It usually requires a hot climate with a mild winter, but it is possible to grow it almost anywhere in North America.

Types of wines you can make with the Vitis vinifera include Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.

Another great choice of grape is the Concord grape and its affiliates. These can grow in the northeastern areas of the United States and in Canada. Some people believe that these grapes add a musky taste to wines, though for home brewing, this may not be a problem.

Wikinews investigates: Advertisements disguised as news articles trick unknowing users out of money, credit card information

 Notice — May 19, 2010 This article has been judged, by consensus of the Wikinews community, not to meet Wikinews standards of style and neutrality. Please see the relevant discussion for details. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Internet has already brought great things to the world, but has also brought spam, phishing, scamming, etc. We all have seen them across the Internet. They promise money, weight loss, or other things a person may strive for, but they usually amount to only a lighter pocket. Online advertising has become something that the increasingly Internet-reliant society has become used to, as well as more aware of. As this is true, online ads have become more intricate and deceptive in recent years.

However, a certain type of advertisement has arisen recently, and has become more deceptive than any other Internet ad, and has tricked many users into credit card charges. These sites claim to be news websites that preach a “miracle product”, and they offer a free trial, and then charge the user’s credit card a large amount of money without informing them after the trial ends. These sites appear to be operating under one venture and have caught ad pages of high-traffic websites by storm. In this report, Wikinews’ Tjc6 investigates news advertisement sites.

These Internet ads work in different ways:

Hypothetically speaking, a reader is browsing the web, and then happens to come across something that they believe is too good to be true. A link on one of these high-traffic pages promises white teeth, weight loss, or huge profits from working at home part-time. Out of curiosity, they click on the link.

This is the way that people are attracted to these fake news sites on the internet. The domain owners draw in customers by purchasing advertising on some of the World Wide Web’s most visited pages. Curious users click and are led to what they believe is a news article. From anti-aging to shedding weight, these “articles” from non-existant newspapers and television stations depict a skeptical news reporter trying a product because they were instructed to by a superior.

As the user reads on, they find that the “reporter” miraculously achieves significant weight loss, teeth whitening, or other general health and beauty improvement. The reporter states that the reader can get the same results as they did by using a “free trial” of the product.

Next, the user looks to the bottom of the page, where there seems to be a set of user comments, all of them praising the product or products that are advertised — this is where we first see something suspicious. Across several of these false articles, the comments appear to show the exact same text, sometimes with even the same usernames as other sites.

There is obviously some kind of correlation. Although this appears to be true, most users who purchase these products do not look at multiple versions of these similar pages of what appears to be a fast-growing network of interconnected fake news sites.

Once customers have convinced themselves into buying the product, they are led to a product (or products) website which promises a free trial for a very low price. What they do not know about this, however, is that they are giving their credit card data to a company that will charge it automatically after the trial ends. In about 14 days, the user receives a charge on their credit card for an excessive amount of money, usually from about $80 to $100 (USD). All attempts to contact these companies and cancel their shipments usually prove to be futile.

What these sites have is a large amount of legal copy located at the bottom of each site, stating their right to charge the user. This site, a fake news article claiming to offer teeth-whitening benefits, has several paragraphs of fine print, including this: “…Upon signing up for the 10 day trial membership you will be charged up to $4.97 depending on various shipping and initial offer promotions at that time but not more than $4.97 upon signing. If not cancelled, you will be charged $89.97 upon completion of the 10 day trial period. Monthly thereafter or 30 days from the original order date, the charge will reoccur monthly at a total of $89.97 until cancelled…,” the site says.

Practices like this have alerted the Better Business Bureau, an American organization that studies and reports on the reliability and practices of US businesses. In a press release, a spokesman from the BBB spoke out against sites like this. “Many businesses across the country are using the same selling model for their products: They lure customers in with claimed celebrity endorsements and free trial offers, and then lock them in by making it extremely difficult to cancel the automatic delivery of more products every month…,” said the report that denounced the websites.

When a user looks at several of these sites, they notice that all of them have the same exact structure. Because of this, Wikinews decided to look into where some of the domains were owned, and if they were all in fact part of one company.

However, the results that Wikinews found were ones that were not expected. Out of the three random websites that were found in Internet ads, all using similar designs and methods to attract the customers, came from three different locations in three countries and two separate continents. The first came from Scottsdale, in the United States, while the next two came from Vancouver and Hamburg. There is no location correlation, but surely, there has to be something that connected these sites together. We had to look even further to try to find a connection.

HAVE YOUR SAY
What do you think of these sites? Have you ever fallen for an advertisement similar to this one?
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There is some correlation within the product’s contact information. A large amount of the teeth-whitening products analyzed actually shared the same phone number, which lead to a distribution center located in St. Petersburg, Florida, and several other similar distribution centers located across the Southern United States. But, that explains only one of the categories of products that these websites cover, teeth whitening.

What about the other products? The other products such as weight loss and work-at-home kits all trace back to similar distribution centers in similar places. So, what do we make of all of this?

There is obviously some company that promotes these products through the fake news advertisements, but that company is nowhere to be found on the websites. All contact information is given on the product pages, and websites are copyrighted under the name of the domain, not a company. Whatever company has been the setup for these pages has been very good at hiding themselves from the Internet, as there is no information across the web about that mysterious large advertiser.

As a result of customers buying the products and having unauthorized charges on their credit cards, a large volume of complaints are currently present on awareness sites, complaint sites, and even the Better Business Bureau. Several customers point out that they were not informed of the steep charges and the company made it extremely difficult to cancel their subscription, usually resulting in the loss of several hundred dollars.

  • The trial offer was to pay for $3.95 for the cost of the shipping for one bottle. I noticed shortly after placing the order I had a charge on my credit card for $149.95. Unknown to myself the company charges for a membership if you don’t cancel within 14 days, I cancelled within 18 days…When I called the customer service number they told me the decision has been made and my refund request was denied. When I questioned the person on the other line about what I was getting for my $149.95 she told me I was not getting anything because I cancelled the membership.
?“Tamara”, in a post to the Ripoff Report
  • This is a “free sample” scam: Pay only postage and handling and get a free sample of a tooth whitening system, they say. I looked for the “catch,” something that would indicate that there’d be hidden or recurring charges, but didn’t see anything, and ordered. Sure enough, a couple of weeks later, I see a charge for $88.97 on my bank statement…When I called, the guy answering the phone had obviously answered the same angry question many, many times: “Why has your company charged $88.97 to my card?” “Because you didn’t cancel your subscription in time,” he said tiredly.
?“Elenor”, in a post to the Ripoff Report

One notable lawsuit has occurred as a result of these articles. Some of the articles about work at home kits specifically advertise things like “work for Google”, or “job openings at Google”. However, Google asserts these claims as false and has taken the case to court, as it is a copyright violation. “Thousands of people have been tricked into sending payment information and being charged hidden fees by questionable operations,” said Google in a statement.

The BBB has received over 3,000 complaints about products such as the ones that Google took offense to. The lawsuit has yet to begin in court, and no date has been set.

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Dove ad viewed more than 3 million times on YouTube

Saturday, November 4, 2006

An advertisement for Dove beauty products has been viewed by well over three million people, without ever being on television. A copywriter from Ogilvy Toronto, the advertising agency that created a spot named “evolution”, uploaded the advertisement to video sharing website YouTube.

While the official upload of the ad itself has been viewed 1,119,262 times, there are dozens of copies of the ad on YouTube, adding to a minimum of 3,059,546 views. The official copy of the video is the website’s 12th most viewed this month, 53rd of all time.

Unofficial uploads have each received high levels of viewership, with 449595, 445322, 207906, 201670, 195265, 116501, and 102634 plays.

The agency did not originally intend to upload the video to YouTube, only display it on the company’s homepage. Staff member Tim Piper uploaded it to his account on October 6, about a week before it first got media coverage on Good Morning America.

The ad begins with a woman walking into a photo shoot. From there, she is primped and plucked by hair and makeup artists, then tweaked on a Photoshop-like program. The photo-manipulation is then posted on a billboard for the fictional “Easel Foundation Makeup” brand. Two young, teenage girls walk past, glancing at the board. “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted” ends the ad in text, “Every girl deserves to feel beautiful just the way she is.”

The creative team for the ad included Tim Piper, Mike Kirkland, Janet Kestin, Nancy Vonk, directors T Piper (treatment and post production) and Yael Staav (live action) from Reginald Pike, Soho post production, Rogue editing, Vapor music, Gabor Jurina and Make-up: Diana Carreiro, and Reginald Pike.

The official French copy of the ad has only received 132 views, although it was only uploaded on November 2, 2006.

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What Is Done During Boxing Conditioning Classes In Cedar Knolls Nj

byadmin

It can be hard to stay in good shape, but luckily, most gyms offer a wide array of classes that can help you burn fat and have fun. While there are a number of classes available, one of the best are Boxing Conditioning Classes in Cedar Knolls NJ. Whether you are a beginner or already have some training under you belt, boxing provides a fun and safe environment where you can shed pounds and tone muscle. If you have never taken a boxing conditioning class before, you may not be aware of what takes place during a class.

The following is a brief overview of what you can expect during a training session.

Warm-Up

One of the first things the trainer will do is put all members of the class through a basic warm up exercise routine. This will help increase blood flow and get the muscles ready for a workout. Doing a warm-up ahead of time will also help to reduce the chance of injury during the class and ensure greater end results.

Additional Activities

While boxing will be the focus of the class, the trainer may also have you jumping rope, running in place or doing laps during the course. This is designed to help keep your heart rate up and provide you with cardiovascular training in addition to muscle toning and strengthening. Make sure you are getting the most out of your class by choosing one that incorporates a wide array of training techniques.

No Participant Contact

Many people are nervous to take Boxing Conditioning Classes in Cedar Knolls NJ, because they fear that they will have to hit and be hit by other participants.

This is not true, as classes are done with the aid of punching bags. Some classes may also have you punching into air. Don’t let your fear of contact sports keep you from getting a fun and productive workout.

It can be challenging to get a workout that is both fun and effective. If you live in the Cedar Knolls area, make sure you check out the full line of classes available from Whippany Fitness Club. Classes are held at various times throughout the day. Call them today or visitwww.whippanyac.com to learn more and get serious about your fitness once and for all.

Riots in Greece enter fourth night

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The riots in Greece that started on December 6 have entered their fourth night. These are the worst riots the Hellenic Republic has witnessed in decades.

The riots were triggered when Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year-old student, was shot and killed by police. The police claim that Grigoropoulos was throwing a bomb at them when they fired.

Cities throughout Greece have been hit by the unrest, not just Athens. Hundreds of shops and businesses have been destroyed.

“No one has the right to use this tragic incident as an excuse for acts of violence,” said Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, New Democracy party.

“The government cannot handle this crisis and has lost the trust of the Greek people,” George Papandreou of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement said. “The best thing it can do is resign and let the people find a solution … We will protect the public.”

The rioters are organizing on the campus of National Technical University of Athens (Athens Polytechnic). A constitutional clause enacted after the overthrow of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 prevents security forces from entering the campus.

The Guardian is reporting that the University is being used by young men and women to stock up on firebombs and break up marble slabs to throw at police. From behind their makeshift barriers, they vowed the unrest would become “an uprising the likes of which Greece has never seen.”

“We are experiencing moments of a great social revolution,” leftist activist Panagiotis Sotiris told Reuters. Sotiris is among those occupying a university building. “The protests will last as long as necessary,” he added.

“A switch has been flicked and the pressure cooker’s boiled over,” said David Lea, an analyst at Control Risks Group in London, to Bloomberg News. “There are certain places where anarchists are more likely to inspire violence, and that’s Greece.”

Two police officers have been charged in the shooting death of Grigoropoulos, who was buried on Tuesday.

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Apple releases new Magic Trackpad, updated iMacs and Mac Pros

Friday, July 30, 2010

On Tuesday, Apple Inc. introduced a new peripheral, the Magic Trackpad, and refreshed its line of iMac and Mac Pro computers, as well as the Apple Cinema Display.

The Magic Trackpad, a multi-touch trackpad for Macintosh computers, allows end users to use certain gestures to control on-screen actions. It supports gestures already seen on the MacBook and MacBook Pro trackpads, as well as the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, such as swiping, tap-to-click, and pinch-to-zoom. However, the Magic Trackpad also supports physical clicking and supports one- and two-button commands. The Magic Trackpad, which is retailed for US$69, connects wirelessly to a computer using Bluetooth technology and has a claimed four months of battery life. At 5.17 inches (13.13 centimetres) long and 5.12 inches (13 centimetres) wide, the glass and aluminium device is slightly larger than Apple’s laptop trackpads.

In addition to the Magic Trackpad, Apple also began selling the US$29 Apple Battery Charger accessory, a charger pack with six rechargeable batteries usable in the Magic Trackpad, Apple Wireless Keyboard, and Apple Magic Mouse. Apple claims that the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries can last up to ten years before they lose their ability to hold a charge. The Magic Trackpad uses two AA batteries, and can be used with any Bluetooth-enabled Macintosh computer running Mac OS X 10.6.4.

Another major announcement that came on Tuesday was the first iMac update since last fall. The update included mostly internal upgrades, giving consumers a choice of newer Intel processors: the dual-core Core i3 and Core i5, and the quad-core Core i5 and Core i7. In addition, the SD card slot was expanded to allow support for the Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC) format. The iMac is still available at 21.5-inch (54.61-centimetre) and 27-inch (68.58-centimetre) display options, but has upgraded graphics cards as well. The screens use in-plane switching (IPS) technology, allowing for a greater viewing angle. The base model is still priced at US$1,199.

Apple’s line of Mac Pro computers were also given a refresh on Tuesday. Consumers now have the option to purchase a Mac Pro with twelve processing cores, using two six-core Intel Xeon processors. Four-, six-, and eight-core options are still available. The update also includes the choice of adding up to four, 512GB solid state drives, instead of conventional hard drives. The base model is priced at US$2,499 and will be sold starting in August.

Apple also released a new, 27-inch (68.58 centimetre) LED Cinema Display, a 60 percent increase in display area from the older 24-inch (60.96 centimetres) Cinema Display. The new monitor can reach a resolution of 2560-by-1440 pixels, or Wide Quad High Definition, and has a built-in microphone, webcam, speakers, USB hub, and ambient light sensor, which changes the display’s brightness based on external lighting levels. It is priced at US$999 but will not be available for purchase until September.

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Surgeons reattach boy’s three severed limbs

Tuesday, March 29, 2005A team of Australian surgeons yesterday reattached both hands and one foot to 10-year-old Perth boy, Terry Vo, after a brick wall which collapsed during a game of basketball fell on him, severing the limbs. The wall gave way while Terry performed a slam-dunk, during a game at a friend’s birthday party.

The boy was today awake and smiling, still in some pain but in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery, according to plastic surgeon, Mr Robert Love.

“What we have is parts that are very much alive so the reattached limbs are certainly pink, well perfused and are indeed moving,” Mr Love told reporters today.

“The fact that he is moving his fingers, and of course when he wakes up he will move both fingers and toes, is not a surprise,” Mr Love had said yesterday.

“The question is more the sensory return that he will get in the hand itself and the fine movements he will have in the fingers and the toes, and that will come with time, hopefully. We will assess that over the next 18 months to two years.

“I’m sure that he’ll enjoy a game of basketball in the future.”

The weight and force of the collapse, and the sharp brick edges, resulted in the three limbs being cut through about 7cm above the wrists and ankle.

Terry’s father Tan said of his only child, the injuries were terrible, “I was scared to look at him, a horrible thing.”

The hands and foot were placed in an ice-filled Esky and rushed to hospital with the boy, where three teams of medical experts were assembled, and he was given a blood transfusion after experiencing massive blood loss. Eight hours of complex micro-surgery on Saturday night were followed by a further two hours of skin grafts yesterday.

“What he will lose because it was such a large zone of traumatised skin and muscle and so on, he will lose some of the skin so he’ll certainly require lots of further surgery regardless of whether the skin survives,” said Mr Love said today.

The boy was kept unconscious under anaesthetic between the two procedures. In an interview yesterday, Mr Love explained why:

“He could have actually been woken up the next day. Because we were intending to take him back to theatre for a second look, to look at the traumatised skin flaps, to close more of his wounds and to do split skin grafting, it was felt the best thing to do would be to keep him stable and to keep him anaesthetised.”

Professor Wayne Morrison, director of the respected Bernard O’Brien Institute of Microsurgery and head of plastic and hand surgery at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital, said he believed the operation to be a world first.

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Former Illinois Governor Blagojevich rests in corruption trial

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Despite promises he would testify in his own corruption trial, lawyers for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich rested their case yesterday morning. His defense did not call a single witness, and apparently feels the prosecution has not proven their case. Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday.

Speculation that Blagojevich would not testify began on Tuesday, when U.S. District Judge James Zagel adjourned 90 minutes early after a private meeting with the lawyers involved. Robert Blagojevich, the former governor’s brother and co-defendant in the case, had already testified on his own behalf. Blagojevich’s defense team apparently considered resting their case on Tuesday, but Zagel gave them an extra day to consider their decision more carefully.

When Zagel directly asked the former governor about his decision, he replied that he understood what he was doing. “It is my decision, under the advice of my attorneys. I make the decision fully and voluntarily,” he said.

Blagojevich is charged with trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat that had been vacated by Barack Obama when he won the 2008 presidential election, among other crimes. Robert Blagojevich testified that his brother was trying to manipulate the political situation to his advantage, but emphasized that he engaged in nothing illegal. According to some sources, Blagojevich was interested in leading the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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