Afghanistan flawed elections could roll back progress warns Ban

31 March 2009Too much is at stake for Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential elections to be flawed, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed today, calling on the international community to support efforts to consolidate stability in the war-torn nation. “We know from experience that the second cycle of post-conflict elections can be even more difficult than the first,” Mr. Ban said, opening the International Conference on Afghanistan in The Hague.“Too often, flawed elections have led to greater instability. This cannot be allowed to happen in Afghanistan,” he added, calling on the country’s leaders to ensure that the Government is effective and functioning until the start of the next presidential term.The Secretary-General pointed to numerous successes made so far, including slashing poppy cultivation and improving the health sector, urging continued support for the nation to make concrete achievements in key areas, such as boosting agricultural productivity and combating organized crime.“We cannot afford to fail in this endeavour,” he stressed. “Failure would be a betrayal of the Afghan people. It would be a betrayal of the progress that has been achieved.”The media portrays the situation as being bleaker than it is in reality, resulting in pessimism among policy-markers, Mr. Ban said at the one-day gathering drawing dozens of countries and organizations.“We must avoid an attitude that focuses mainly on setbacks of the past, and learn to recognize the positive signs of progress,” he said, underlining the importance of seizing opportunities for improvement.The deployment of additional troops will lead to both a peaceful electoral environment and additional trainers for the national security forces, he noted, commending United States President Barack Obama’s new strategy focusing on increasing military commitment, bolstered institution-building and improved cooperation with authorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.While in The Hague, the Secretary-General met today with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss the presidential elections slated for August; democracy; the mandate of Mr. Ban’s Special Representative, Kai Eide; and the role of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).Mr. Ban also had bilateral talks regarding how the international community can support Afghanistan with Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon; Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht; Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith; Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei; and the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.Last week, the Security Council voted to extend UNAMA’s mandate, reaffirming the “central role” of the world body in bringing peace to the country, the Secretary-General said at today’s conference.“We take this responsibility very seriously,” he said, pledging the UN’s continued support to protect human rights and food security, and improve the rule of law and governance, among other areas.The Afghan people demonstrated their resilience in facing many daunting challenges, such as poverty, natural disaster, political repression, foreign repression and civil strife, Mr. Ban stated.“In recent years, Afghans have moved decisively along a new path, toward a new vision for their future,” he said. “Our responsibility is to help them secure that vision.”Mr. Eide, who also heads UNAMA, told the gathering that promising developments in Afghanistan are a result of the hard work of both Afghan officials and a strong civilian and military international presence.“Our common efforts are yielding results,” he said. “This is not the time to hesitate but to stand firm in our commitments.”Coordination must be improved, since “our efforts are still too fragmented and do not provide the impact we seek,” said Mr. Eide. “The UN must do more, yes, and we are ready to do more to deepen our role and expand our presence around the country.” read more

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US consumer prices unchanged in June as cheaper gas offsets higher food

by News Staff Posted Jul 17, 2012 10:06 am MDT US consumer prices unchanged in June as cheaper gas offsets higher food, medical care costs AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – Consumer prices were unchanged in June, held down by cheaper gas. Outside the volatile food and energy categories, inflation was mild.Weak economic growth is limiting the ability of companies to raise prices. The tame inflation was underscored by a 0.2 per cent drop in consumer prices for the April-June period as a whole. That was the first quarterly drop in consumer prices in two years.In May, the consumer price index fell 0.3 per cent. In April, it was unchanged.In its report Tuesday, the Labor Department said gas prices fell a seasonally adjusted 2 per cent in June, the third straight decline. Food prices edged up 0.2 per cent.Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, “core” prices rose 0.2 per cent last month. It was the fourth straight increase of that size. But some analysts think core prices will begin to slow.“With the economic recovery stalling and the unemployment rate still elevated, we would expect core inflation to ease soon,” Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, said in a note to clients.Mild price increases leave consumers with more money to spend, which could spur more growth. Lower inflation also gives the Federal Reserve room to launch new programs intended to boost the economy.The inflation report comes as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke kicks off two days of testimony on Capitol Hill. He will appear before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday and a House panel Wednesday. Bernanke’s remarks will be watched for any hints that the Fed is preparing to take further action to try to accelerate growth.Over the past 12 months, consumer prices are up 1.7 per cent. That matches the increase for the 12 months that ended in May — the smallest increase in more than a year. It’s also below the Fed’s inflation target of 2 per cent.Core prices have risen 2.2 per cent over the past year.In June, a jump in fruit and vegetable costs and higher prices for meats, poultry, fish and eggs pushed up food prices. But prices of milk and other dairy products and cereals and bread fell.The cost of health care services rose by the most in nearly two years last month, pushing up core prices. Clothing prices rose for the fourth month in a row. Cable TV and other recreation services prices increased, too.At its June 19-20 policy meeting, the Fed agreed to extend a program that alters its bond portfolio to try to lower long-term interest rates. The aim is to inspire more borrowing and spending. And minutes of that meeting show a growing number of members are open to adopting further stimulus measures, such as launching another round of bond buying. But policymakers are at odds over whether the economy needs more help now.Hiring has slowed sharply after a fast start to the year. And a report Monday said Americans spent less at retail businesses for a third straight month in June.But inflation, at least, isn’t a problem. If the Fed were worried that prices are rising too fast, it might have to raise interest rates.In the 12 months that ended in May, consumer prices rose 1.7 per cent, much lower than the 12-month increase of 2.3 per cent in April. That’s below the Fed’s 2 per cent target for inflation. Core prices have risen 2.3 per cent in the past year.Gas prices have tumbled more than 50 cents a gallon since peaking in early April, although they may be levelling off. On Monday, the average nationally price for a gallon of gas averaged $3.40 (89 cents a litre), according to AAA. That’s two cents higher than the previous week, but still 11 cents lower than a month earlier.A small amount of inflation can be good for the economy. It encourages businesses and consumers to spend and invest money sooner rather than later, before inflation erodes its value.The economy is growing but at a sluggish pace. That is keeping a lid on price increases. Slow growth makes it harder for consumers and businesses to pay higher costs. The economy expanded at just a 1.9 per cent annual rate in the January-March quarter. Many economists expect growth slowed further in the April-June quarter. read more

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Google poised to show off latest devices services at LA event

by Michael Liedtke, The Associated Press Posted May 15, 2013 12:16 am MDT Google poised to show off latest devices, services at LA event AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email SAN FRANCISCO – Google is expected to use its annual software developers’ conference to showcase the latest mobile devices running on its Android software, while also unveiling other features in its evolving product lineup.The gathering, scheduled to begin Wednesday morning in San Francisco, provides Google Inc. with an opportunity to flex its technological muscle in front of a sold-out audience of engineers and entrepreneurs who develop applications and other features that can make smartphones and tablets more appealing.Reporters from around the world also will be on hand, giving Google a chance to generate more hoopla about its latest innovations.The company, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., made a big splash at last year’s conference by staging an elaborate production to highlight the potential of Google Glass — an Internet-connected device and camera that can be worn on a person’s face like a pair of spectacles. Google co-founder Sergey Brin wowed the crowd last year by taking to the stage and then engaging in a live video chat with a group of skydivers who were in a dirigible hovering above the convention. When they jumped, the skydivers’ descent to the rooftop was shown live through the Google Glass camera.Some of the developers in attendance last year paid $1,500 apiece for a Google Glass prototype that was delivered to them last month.Google hasn’t spelled out what its executives will discuss during this year’s opening keynote, which is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. PT and last for nearly three hours. Given that Google Glass is now being tested by the developers who bought the “Explorer” edition, the device might not be one of the featured attractions.It’s a safe bet the spotlight at some point Wednesday will shine on Android, which already has been activated on more than 750 million devices around the world. Google gives the mobile operating system away, making it easier for gadget makers to sell their devices at prices below Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad.Android has helped Google make more money because its search engine and other services, including maps, are usually built into the devices that rely on the software. That tie-in drives more visitors to Google, giving the company more opportunities to sell the advertising that generates most of its revenue.Much of the speculation about the conference, dubbed “Google I/O,” has centred on a possible upgrade to the Nexus 7, a mini-tablet that debuted at last year’s event as an alternative to the similarly sized Kindle Fire made by Amazon.com Inc. and the larger iPad. A few months after the Nexus 7 came out, Apple released the iPad Mini to counter the threat posed by Google’s entrance into the market.The next version of the Nexus 7 is expected to feature a much faster processor and a higher resolution display screen while maintaining the same $199 sales prices. If that turns out to be true, it could siphon even more sales from the iPad Mini, which starts at $329.There’s also speculation that Google will unveil a music-streaming service that would allow Android users to listen to their favourite songs and artists for a monthly fee. Google has long been rumoured to be in talks with music labels to work out the licensing rights for a service that would compete with Spotify, Internet radio provider Pandora Media Inc. and other outlets that stream digital music to Internet-connected computers, smartphones and tablets.Another Google-designed phone under the Nexus brand is also a possibility. Google also could use the occasion to introduce a model made by its unprofitable Motorola Mobility subsidiary.A sneak peak at the next generation of Android, code named “Key Lime Pie,” could be in the offing, too.Other potential product introductions include laptops running on Android or another Google operating system based on the company’s Chrome web browser.Google also may provide more insights into the popularity of Google Plus, a social networking alternative to Facebook that launched nearly two years ago. Google Plus had more than 135 million active users at the end of last year, based on Google’s last public disclosure about activity on that network. That left Google Plus far behind Facebook, which boasts 1.1 billion active users.In an attempt persuade more people to use its social networking service more frequently, Google has promised to keep adding tools that aren’t available on Facebook.On other fronts, Google is believed to be working on a digital gaming centre that could be unveiled Wednesday. Getting into gaming would give Google an opportunity to participate in one of the most popular activities on mobile devices. read more

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Ottawa moves up review of drywall dumping duties after complaints of high

Ottawa moves up review of drywall dumping duties after complaints of high prices by Dan Healing, The Canadian Press Posted Oct 17, 2016 3:56 pm MDT Last Updated Oct 18, 2016 at 7:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email CALGARY – The federal government has asked for an accelerated review of anti-dumping duties on drywall imports, but the new schedule isn’t expected to immediately rollback duties blamed for higher prices for consumers.The Finance Department says it wants to help middle-class families in Western Canada, especially those involved in the reconstruction of Fort McMurray, Alta., following last spring’s devastating wildfires.“With this action, we are putting in place an expedited process to look into the unintended impacts that these duties may be having,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau in a statement.The Fort McMurray fire destroyed about 1,800 houses as well as buildings containing 600 multi-family housing units, plus two hotels and a 665-room work camp.The federal move was welcomed by Alberta MLA Brian Jean, whose house was one of those destroyed in the wildfire.“I am grateful to hear the federal government is responding to our concerns and the concerns of people across Fort McMurray with the recent ruling by Canada Border Services Agency that effectively closed Western Canada from imported drywall,” said the leader of the opposition Wildrose Party in a statement.“We will continue to ask the federal government to suspend the tariff during its review or at the very least use its authority to exempt drywall coming into Fort McMurray from this new tariff.”In September, the CBSA imposed preliminary tariffs of up to 276 per cent on U.S. gypsum board or drywall imported into Canada for use in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.The agency said it was reacting to a complaint filed in April by CertainTeed Gypsum Canada Inc. of Mississauga, Ont., which resulted in a preliminary determination of dumping — meaning the products are being sold in Canada at less than normal prices.The Finance Department said Monday it has asked the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to hold an inquiry on the duties to hear from stakeholders and the public and to report its findings by early January.The department says holding the inquiry now will fast-track the process by up to 12 months, while allowing the CBSA and the tribunal to continue their independent investigations.Doug Skrepnek, CEO of WSB Titan, said last month the surprise decision on tariffs undermines the stability of the industry and could impact rebuilding efforts in Fort McMurray.“On Sept. 6 we went from understanding there may be a tariff to there is a tariff and that tariff will add between 50 and 60 per cent … price increase to our customers,” said Skrepnek, whose company is Canada’s largest independent gypsum supplier and provides one in every six sheets of drywall used in Canada.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter. A man walks past a stack of drywall that was manufactured in 2008, at the closed National Gypsum drywall factory in Lorain, Ohio, April 19, 2012. The federal government is moving up a review of preliminary anti-dumping duties imposed on drywall imports into Canada after consumers complained about higher prices and supply shortages. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Jae C. Hong read more

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Govt Cybersecurity should be part of auto design process

DETROIT – The government’s highway safety agency says automakers should make cybersecurity part of their product development process by assessing risks and designing in protections.Companies also should identify safety critical systems such as engine control computers and limit their exposure to attacks, under best practice guidelines released Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.The agency also wants automakers to limit access to car owners’ personal data.The guidelines aren’t requirements but will go into effect after a 30-day public comment period.“Our intention with today’s guidance is to provide best practices to help protect against breaches and other security failures,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who oversees NHTSA.Many of the recommendations focus on computer software written to get engines to perform. The agency suggests that companies control who has access to firmware, the software that runs car computers, and limit the ability to modify it to thwart malware. The agency also recommends use of whole disk encryption to prevent unauthorized analysis of the software.Automakers also should make plans to detect cyberattacks and respond rapidly to limit them.The auto industry already is doing most of the recommendations and has set up its own best practices and information-sharing methods. by The Associated Press Posted Oct 24, 2016 12:22 pm MDT Last Updated Oct 24, 2016 at 1:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Gov’t: Cybersecurity should be part of auto design process read more

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Middle East backed by UNsupported plan Gaza reconstruction effort moves forward

According to a statement released today by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, some 700 beneficiaries are finally able to purchase “much needed” construction material in order to start the rehabilitation of their homes after the recent 51-day conflict saw entire neighbourhoods flattened and almost one-third of Gaza’s population uprooted.“The United Nations continues to mobilize every effort to ensure this mechanism works for the benefit of Palestinians in Gaza and at a scale that will address Gaza’s massive reconstruction needs,” Mr. Serry said, referring to the UN-brokered temporary initiative agreed between the Palestinian and Israeli sides with the overall objective of enabling construction and reconstruction work at the large scale now required in the Gaza Strip. He added that it was “essential” for the implementation of the mechanism, administered by the Palestinian Government of National Consensus, to be “urgently accelerated” in order to reach some 60,000 shelters in need of repair involving the use of cement or other “dual-use materials” as the winter season fast approaches. According to a recent UN assessment, as it stands now, over 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, affecting more than 600,000 people. Many people still lack access to the municipal water network. Blackouts of up to 18 hours per day are common.In addition, the violence killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, and more than 70 Israelis.Mr. Serry observed that if reconstruction were to be implemented at the “required pace,” the Palestinian Government of National Consensus “must also be empowered to assume its rightful responsibilities in Gaza.” As a result, he urged all parties to cooperate and “urgently address important issues,” such as the transfer of full control over crossings to the Government. “In absence of viable alternatives, the UN views the temporary reconstruction mechanism as an important step towards the lifting of all closures on Gaza,” the Special Coordinator continued. “With the mechanism becoming operational, it is all the more important for donors to honour their pledges at the Cairo conference to fund much needed infrastructure projects and to address the urgent electricity and water needs for Gaza.” The Cairo conference, held on 12 October in the Egyptian capital, saw pledges amounting to about $2.1 billion for early recovery and reconstruction efforts under the auspices of the “UN Support Plan for the Transformation of the Gaza Strip.” read more

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Queen welcomes Colombias president Juan Manuel Santos and wife to UK on

first_imgThe Queen has welcomed Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos to the UK at the start of his official state visit.Mr Santos and his wife Maria Clemencia Rodriguez de Santos are staying with the Queen at Buckingham Palace in London, and will be entertained at a lavish state banquet there on Tuesday evening.It is the first time a state visit to the UK has been carried out by a Colombian president and comes after Mr Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end one of the world’s longest-running civil wars.Following time-honoured tradition, Philip led the visiting head of state to inspect the Guard of Honour. The President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos and First Lady of Colombia Maria Clemencia Rodriguez Moenera arrive at Stansted Airport on MondayCredit:HANNAH MCKAY/EPA The Queen grins as she speaks to the Colombian president's wife, Maria Clemencia Rodriguez de Santos Mr Johnson has previously spoken of how Britain is planning to further develop its links with Colombia in the wake of the peace efforts and the Brexit vote.”Colombia is on the verge of a historic peace agreement and through our ongoing support for the country the UK is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that will follow,” he said.He added: “As we leave the EU, Britain remains a bold and outward-looking nation, and we are forging a new global role and taking advantage of economic and diplomatic opportunities in the wider world, beyond Europe.” The Queen grins as she speaks to the Colombian president’s wife, Maria Clemencia Rodriguez de SantosCredit:Gareth Fuller/PA The president and his wife last met the Queen at a private audience in 2011. They will later take tea with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House.Charles and Camilla already know the president and the First Lady after they travelled to Colombia for an official visit in 2014 – made possible due to the improved security situation there. The President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos and First Lady of Colombia Maria Clemencia Rodriguez Moenera arrive at Stansted Airport on Monday Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrive to take part in the ceremonial welcomeCredit:Stefan Wermuth/Getty The president and first lady will later attend a state banquet for 170 guests in the palace ballroom. The London Eye will be lit up in yellow, blue and red – the colours of the Colombian flag.Talks at Downing Street with Mrs May will be held on Wednesday in what is the first state visit since she became Prime Minister.The president will also travel to Northern Ireland on Thursday to meet community leaders in Belfast and discuss the challenges of community reconciliation post-conflict.Mr Santos, 65, is said to be a voracious reader, a film buff and an old friend of former PM Tony Blair. They co-authored a book in 1999 on the Third Way, the political philosophy followed by Mr Santos after its adoption by Mr Blair. Flags of the UK and Colombia flying on the MallCredit:Dominic Lipinski/PA The Colombian President and his wife arrive at Stansted for their state visitCredit:Neil Hall/REUTERS President Santos walks past the lines of Guardsmen at Horse Guards Parade, with the Duke of Edinburgh walking a few paces behind the foreign leadercenter_img Theresa May curtseys as she meets the Queen during a ceremonial welcome for Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrive to take part in a ceremonial welcome President Santos walked past the lines of Guardsmen, glancing at the soldiers who, when not performing ceremonial duties, are active servicemen.The Duke walked a few paces behind the foreign leader, who strode ahead past the lines of troops in their grey greatcoats and famous bearskins.Earlier, the Queen, who wore an ensemble by Angela Kelly – green cashmere coat, silk crepe dress in shades of apple green, grey and gold lame, and matching hat – introduced Mr Santos and his wife to Prime Minister Theresa May, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd. President Santos walks past the lines of Guardsmen at Horse Guards Parade, with the Duke of Edinburgh walking a few paces behind the foreign leaderCredit:FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA Theresa May curtseys as she meets the Queen during a ceremonial welcome for Colombia’s President Juan Manuel SantosCredit:Gareth Fuller/PA The Colombian President and his wife arrive at Stansted for their state visit After the welcome ceremony ended, the Queen and her visitors left in a carriage procession for Buckingham Palace.Mr Santos was hailed for his political courage over a peace deal with left-wing Farc (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels, although the accord was narrowly rejected by Colombians in a vote.More than 220,000 people – mostly civilians – were killed in 52-year long hostilities and more than eight million people were driven from their homes. Flags of the UK and Colombia flying on the Mall The president has pledged to donate his Nobel Peace Prize money to the victims of the conflict, and to deliver a peace accord by Christmas.The first lady, known to her family as Tutina, is the mother of their three children Martin, Maria Antonia and Esteban.She studied as a graphic designer and leads the humanitarian initiative Colombia Humanitaria, a state strategy that deals with natural and environmental disasters. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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EHF VELUX CL Vive Kielce wins in Skopje HSV Hamburg defeat Flensburg

In the remaining 7 matches of the fifth round played today of the EHF VELUX Champions League, in the match of the week between the two undefeated teams in Group C, Vive Kielce and Metalurg Skopje, the visitors from Poland took the two points with 23:21 win surviving Skopje’s “Hell”. In the other more interesting match, HSV Hamburg led by Croatians Duvnjak with nine goals and Vori with six, beat Flensburg at home 31:28, further strengthening the first position. Montpellier finally wins in CL, 32:29 in Nis against Partizan, and now are back on 4th position and with bigger chances to qualify for TOP 16The results: Savehof 22:32 Veszprem, Partizan 29:32 Montpellier, St Petersburg 23:35 Bjerringbro, HSV 31:28 Flensburg, Metalurg 21:23 Vive Kielce, Szeged 28:33 Barcelona, Chambery 20:31 Gorenje ← Previous Story Italy: Player kissed by opponent, knocks him down and takes pants off infuriating the crowd! (VIDEO) Next Story → Women’s CL: Randers, Krim, Zvezda and Buducnost advance to 1/4 BarcelonabjerringbroChamberyFlensburgGorenjeHamburgHSVmetalurgMontpellierpartizanPick Szegedst petersburgSzegedvive kielce read more

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Visa applications minimal after Athens skills expo

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The number of visa applications from Greek nationals wishing to migrate to Australia has been little affected by the Athens Skills Australia Needs session held in October 2011, according to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Though DIAC does not correlate data to determine who has applied for visas as a result of attending information sessions such as the Athens event, the signs are that there has been very little discernible increase in Greek nationals formerly applying to migrate down under over the past three months. A DIAC spokesperson told Neos Kosmos that whilst the department’s survey conducted with attendees and employers after the Athens session was positive, there is little evidence to show any direct and significant increase in visa applications. “There also can be very long lead times on these outcomes,” said the DIAC representative, “as people weigh up the very big considerations involved in moving to another country to work.” Mr Sandi Logan, DIAC’s National Communications Manager, said that the Athens session, “provided an opportunity for skilled workers to hear about migration options and requirements as well as employment opportunities,” but that the Athens event, like others “did not seek specifically to influence the views of attendees to migrate.” Mr Logan added that on the available feedback, “only a small number of registered nurses are currently completing pre-visa requirements for employer-sponsored skilled migration to Australia. None have yet been granted a visa.” DIAC has said that following the Athens event, most attendees were contacted directly by an unnamed government representative, inviting them to contact the state to pursue options for employment sponsorship to address skills shortages. Mr Logan says DIAC was made aware that this invitation has so far received “a very poor response.” In the year ending June 2011, 138 settler arrivals from Greece came to Australia. Settler arrivals are calculated from passenger cards and other data relating to overseas arrivals, where a person has indicated an intention or legal entitlement to permanently settle in Australia. This figure includes skilled migrants and family reunions. Settler arrivals are not the only measure of people who actually added to Australia’s population through migration. For a complete picture, consideration needs also to be given to those who change their intentions or legal entitlement from temporary residency to a permanent stay. In the same period, 8,824 Greek citizens arrived in the country on short or long-term temporary visas.last_img read more

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Greek Foreign Minister goes to extremes in lawsuit against literary magazine

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram This, despite the fact that the Athens Review of Books had presented as evidence a propagandist book, Der Autonome Intellekt (Independent Mind), co-authored by Kotzias under the supervision of the Head of Ideological Propaganda of Honecker’s regime and high-ranking Stazi agent, Manfrend Buhr known by the code name ‘Rehbein’ – ‘Deerfoot’, which was published by the East German State-Communist Party publishing house Akademie Verlag in 1976. All this didn’t matter – nor did the public outrage of academics and journalists, from all parts of the political spectrum, urging the minister to drop the charges, as this legal battle was effectively attacking freedom of speech and press in Greece. In a letter to the leftist montly Unfollow the minister’s representatives argued that conceding would mean that the minister accepted that the magazine’s claims were correct. He was determined not to validate the characterisations. The latest act of the ongoing legal drama was played out on 24 July, when the Greek Foreign Minister asked for the court’s decision to be implemented – that is asking for the publisher’s bank accounts to be frozen and for the proceeds of the magazine’s sales to be impounded. The publishers, Maria and Manolis Vasilakis, claim that this will effectively lead them to shut down operations. The next step for the Athens Review of Books is taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights, which in the past has twice ruled in favour of Manolis Vasilakis (an ardent opponent of Greek nationalism) in similar cases concerning the freedom of speech. It’s been one of the ugliest legal battles of the past couple of years in Greece – and one of the most public, involving the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Kotzias, and the publishers of a monthly literary magazine, Athens Review of Books, which is now seeing its bank accounts frozen.The dispute started in 2010, when the magazine published a letter, commenting on a book launch event taking place at the Old Parliament edifices. The book was Kotzias’ essay Greek Foreign Policy on the 21st Century. For a New, Active, Democratic Strategy in the Era of Globalisation. The letter claimed that the place was not appropriate to host the book of someone who was well-known as ‘the most extreme, the most fanatical, brutal and ruthless communist of his/our generation, a veritable Gauleiter of Stalinism’. At the time, Kotzias, a political theory professor who has taught at Harvard and Oxford universities, among others, was a foreign policy advisor for the Greek Prime Minister Yorgos Papandreou and sued the magazine for defamation on the grounds that the article’s claim that he had studied in East Germany, under a sponsorship of ‘butcher’ Erich Honecker, was a deliberate attempt to dismiss his academic credentials. With the legal battle pending, the Athens Review of Books escalated its attacks on Kotzias, especially since he was appointed Foreign Minister in the Syriza government, publishing a series of articles recalling the minister’s past as a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (KKE), responsible for Propaganda (Kotzias left KKE in 1989, when the party sidelined with the right-wing Nea Dimokratia, to impeach Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou). By the time Kotzias was made minister, he was vindicated in court for his claim that the article was libellous. The Appeals Court ruling, which ordered the magazine pay the minister €10,000 (which is augmented by legal fees, reaching €28,000 – still well below the €250,000 Kotzias was asking), included statements such as: “Even though it was proven that the plaintiff (i.e. Kotzias) was a founding member of the Greek Communist Party” (ed. note KKE was founded in 1924 whereas Kotzias was born in 1950), “is it [not] proven from the documents that the defendants have submitted to the court that he admired the stated absolutist regime nor that he advertised it.”last_img read more

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La Lune sest donnée en spectacle hier soir

first_imgLa Lune s’est donnée en spectacle hier soirCette nuit, la première éclipse totale de Lune de l’année, et également la plus longue depuis près de 11 ans, a comblé les astronomes et amateurs. Notre satellite naturel a viré au rouge offrant un spectacle magnifique.Les chanceux qui ont bénéficié d’un ciel dégagé cette nuit et qui ont levé les yeux au ciel n’ont pas pu rater ce spectacle étonnant : la Lune a viré au rouge, teinté de cuivre et légèrement éclairé par les rayons du Soleil. À lire aussiCanicule : Comment se protéger efficacement contre la chaleur ?Il s’agissait-là de la première éclipse totale de Lune de 2011, mais aussi de la plus longue depuis… juillet 2000. Celle-ci a débuté à 17h24 GMT et s’est poursuivie jusqu’aux environs de 23h00 GMT. La Lune est alors passée dans l’ombre de la Terre, jusqu’à être complètement cachée du Soleil. Si elle n’a pas disparu mais a pris une couleur rougeâtre c’est en raison de la réfraction de la lumière provenant de l’atmosphère terrestre qui éclaire la surface lunaire.Selon l’AFP, le phénomène a pu être observé dans certaines régions d’Europe, d’Afrique, du Moyen-Orient et d’Asie. Nombreux ont été ceux qui ont immortalisé cette éclipse exceptionnelle.Découvrez les photos de l’éclipse de Lune en cliquant ci-dessous :https://www.maxisciences.com/%e9clipse-totale-de-lune/eclipse-totale-une-lune-rouge-sang-hier-soir_art15222.html Le 16 juin 2011 à 10:20 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

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Des personnalités ambassadeurs de la cause des OGM

first_imgDes personnalités “ambassadeurs” de la cause des OGM ?L’AFP révèle que les géants de l’agroalimentaire, EuropaBio (l’association qui représente les intérêts de Monsanto, de BASF et des autres grands groupes du secteur en Europe) en tête, cherchent à enrôler des personnalités pour peser sur le processus de décision européen concernant les OGM afin d’obtenir des autorisations de culture.C’est une affaire quelque peu dérangeante qu’a révlé vendredi l’AFP. En effet, l’agence est parvenue à se procurer un mail, daté du 5 octobre, dans lequel EuropaBio indique que l’ancien ministre français Claude Allègre, l’ancien commissaire européen britannique Chris Patten, le chanteur irlandais Bob Geldof et l’ancien commissaire européen irlandais David Byrne ont “manifesté leur intérêt” à devenir “ambassadeurs” de la cause des OGM.La lettre précise également que l’ancien secrétaire général de l’ONU, Kofi Annan, et le journaliste écologiste britannique Mark Lynas pourrait également se joindre à eux afin d'”aider l’Europe à revoir sa position sur les cultures d’OGM”. EuropaBio, contactée vendredi par l’AFP, n’a pas caché son embarras après la fuite de ce document classé “confidentiel”.”Il n’est pas question de rémunération. Les personnes contactées ont par le passé manifesté publiquement leur intérêt pour cette technologie”, a souligné un de ses représentants. Pourtant, la chargée de communication de Claude Allègre a indiqué de son côté que l’ancien ministre socialiste n’avait pas “été contacté” par EuropaBio. “Claude Allègre parle des OGM comme il l’entend, mais ne travaillera pas pour une agence de com”, a-t-elle indiqué.Une campagne pour débloquer les processus d’autorisation À lire aussiL’impressionnante “arche de Noé” du Svalbard célèbre ses 10 ans en battant un nouveau recordAutre petit élément qui fait désordre, un document annexe à ce mail qui détaille la méthode de travail proposée aux “ambassadeurs”. Cinq options sont envisagées : “une lettre ouverte au Financial Times dans laquelle les signataires appellent l’Europe à revoir sa position”, des “rencontres avec les média arrangées par le secrétariat du programme et des articles placés dans des média”, des “rencontres” et des “dîners débat” avec des responsables de l’Union européenne à Bruxelles.”Pour assurer la légitimité et l’impact de ce programme, EuropaBio ou ses représentants ne prendront jamais part à ces activités”, insiste le document. Il ajoute qu’”il n’y aura aucune rétribution financière des ambassadeurs, mais EuropaBio fournira au secrétariat du programme des fonds pour couvrir les dépenses nécessaires, notamment les déplacements et les frais d’hôtel”.Le groupe Monsanto est tout particulièrement intéressé par l’entreprise puisqu’un de ses produits, le Maïs 810, attend le renouvellement de son autorisation de culture depuis plus d’un an. Or, sept pays (la France, l’Allemagne, la Hongrie, la Grèce, le Luxembourg, l’Autriche et la Bulgarie) ont pris des mesures de sauvegarde pour interdire sa culture sur leur territoire, indique TV5monde, bloquant ainsi tout le processus d’autorisation des mises en culture d’OGM. Le 24 octobre 2011 à 19:59 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

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Un marquage aux isotopes pour identifier les poissons

first_imgUn marquage aux isotopes pour identifier les poissonsDes scientifiques espagnols ont mis au point une technique de marquage permettant d’identifier les explosifs même après explosion. Curieusement, cette méthode permet également de suivre à la trace les poissons et de distinguer ceux d’élevages des sauvages.Des chercheurs espagnols ont testé avec succès une nouvelle méthode qui consiste à insérer des espèces de balises chimiques dans certains produits ou même sur des êtres vivants de façon à pouvoir les identifier au fil du temps. Les balises en question sont des isotopes non radioactifs. Il s’agit de variétés d’un élément chimique qui partagent le même nombre de protons dans le noyau, mais diffèrent par leur nombre de neutrons. À lire aussiL’impressionnant repas d’un héron surpris en pleine nature”Tous les êtres vivants sont porteurs de ces isotopes, la seule chose que nous avons fait c’est de changer leur rapport”, expliquent les auteurs de l’étude publiée ans la revue Analytical Chemistry. Une fois qu’ils sont en place, les isotopes peuvent alors être identifés à l’aide d’un spectromètre de masse et être tracés. “Cette technologie est applicable à l’étiquetage de plusieurs sortes de produits des explosifs, des bijoux, des œuvres d’art mais aussi des médicaments ou des aliments”, explique J.I. García Alonso, un des auteurs cité par Science et avenir.Les chercheurs ont ainsi testé cette méthode avec de la poudre à canon, en y ajoutant deux isotopes d’étain (Sn117 et Sn119). Après avoir préparé trois mélanges différents et les avoir fait exploser, il était encore possible de détecter les balises dans les restes de poudre et donc de différencier les mélanges entre eux. D’autres essais ont été faits sur des truites en leur injectant des isotopes du baryum (Ba135 et Ba137) qui se sont fixés avec succès dans les otolites, les cristaux de l’oreille interne. Chez les femelles marquées, les œufs et la première génération d’alevins sont aussi porteur des isotopes. Cette méthode est actuellement utilisée pour évaluer l’efficacité du repeuplement de saumons dans les rivières des Asturies, en Espagne. La prochaine étape consistant à étudier la dispersion des graines.Le 21 janvier 2012 à 15:28 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

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Clark County well short of full employment

first_img Labor Day is the nation’s official celebration of workers. In Clark County in 2013, it marks a time for many families to reflect on modest financial recoveries from recent hard times, and for others to continue adjusting to smaller paychecks and a scarcity of jobs.Scott Bailey, regional economist for the Employment Security Department, recently examined current job and wage patterns and compared them to the same (inflation-adjusted) numbers from 2007, before the Great Recession. Bailey found some predictable results, as well as some little-known trends.On the unsurprising side: Even with some recovery, the county has fewer jobs now than it did in 2007. That’s troubling enough. But it’s made worse by the fact that Clark County’s population has grown by 4.4 percent since 2007, and many frustrated job-seekers have left the work force. The result: a large increase in the number of jobs needed for the county to reach its ideal of full employment.The current unemployment rate is 9.9 percent. Using the generally accepted assumption that 4.5 percent unemployment could be considered full employment due to job churn, Bailey concluded that the county would need 9,600 jobs for full employment. In 2007, when unemployment was 5.6 percent, the county would have needed just 1,900 more jobs to fill that gap, Bailey concluded.On the wage front, many people can attest from personal experience that wages are — at best — holding steady. Bailey’s numbers bear that out: The median wage in Clark County has remained at about $20 an hour since 2002. Click to enlargelast_img read more

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Google Employee Held for Cyberstalking

first_imgA 23-year-old Google employee has been arrested for allegedly cyberstalking a former classmate, a media report said.According to a San Francisco Chronicle report, Nicholas Rotundo, an internal technology employee at the firm, posed as a researcher who was studying ‘the public’s perception of different breast types’.He invited a former classmate from the University of Texas at Dallas to share her naked photos to be part of the study.Rotundo allegedly offered her money in compensation and succeeded in receiving some photographs, the report added, citing documents posted on The Smoking Gun website.Later, the girl received another email from a different account, forcing her to share more explicit photos, threatening her to make her earlier photos public if she failed to do so.The girl immediately alerted university authorities and an investigation began, leading to Rotundo’s arrest.last_img read more

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Bank employee murdered in Domjur torso found in sack

first_imgKolkata: A bank employee was brutally murdered at Makardaha, Domjur in Howrah on Wednesday.Police recovered the beheaded body of the victim, Partha Chakraborty (27), after getting intimation from locals. His body was later identified by his family members.He worked as a cash collector at the Salap branch of a private bank.According to some colleagues of Partha, he stayed at the same building where the bank is situated. Every morning, he used to go and collect monthly installments from women of several Self-Help Groups, who were granted loan by the bank. After having collected the money, Partha used to come back to office within 1:30 pm. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeOn Wednesday, as Partha did not reach office by his usual time, his colleagues and seniors tried to contact him and found his phone switched off. In the meantime, some locals noticed an abandoned sack with blood dripping from it. The locals immediately informed Domjur police station. At around 2:30 pm, a police team from Domjur police station reached the spot. As the knot on the sack was untied, police were stunned to see a chopped body inside. The torso was only left. The head, hands and the lower portion from the knees were not found inside the sack. The body was sent for an autopsy. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedWhile the police were trying to identify the dead person, around 4 pm, some of Partha’s colleagues went to file a missing complaint.Hearing the missing person’s description, the police obtained his family’s phone number and informed them about the unidentified body.On Wednesday night, Partha’s family members went to Domjur police station where they were shown his undergarments and the sacred thread found from his body.The family members identified Partha from the tags on his undergarments. “When we found that Partha did not reach office on time, we tried to call him. But his phone was switched off. Then our branch manager decided to send us to the places where Partha had supposedly gone for cash collection,” said one of Partha’s colleagues.He also added: “We came to know that he visited the second last point at around 12:30 pm. We then decided to go to police for help. He had Rs 3 lakh cash with him which had also gone missing,” Police sources informed that investigators have found the number from which Partha had received the last call, after going through his call records.They found out that the number belonged to a woman, but police are yet to verify it.According to the investigators, the murder might have been committed to seek personal revenge because if the motive was to rob him, his body wouldn’t be found mutilated in this manner.About the investigation, Police Superintendent of Howrah rural Gaurav Sharma said: “Investigation is on. We are trying to find the missing partsof the body.”last_img read more

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Easter brunch at 1911

first_imgCelebrations call for lip-smacking delicious food without which any glamorous event falls dim. With Easter coming up this weekend, 1911 at The Imperial has arranged an array of rustic European dishes for foodies to gorge onto. Entering 1911, you’d be greeted with several paintings of various representatives of the armed hierarchy during British India, hanging on the wall, which would take you back to the early 1900s. Thereafter, the aroma of beautifully lined up dishes would direct you straight to the plates and ladles! Also Read – Add new books to your shelfMeat lovers will be on cloud nine to find an array of freshly cooked duck, chicken, lamb, pork, and salmon for brunch. Warm up your tummy starting with Beetroot soup and some delicious salads, for the upcoming amazing main course dishes.The Roasted beer chicken and the Spinach and salmon strudel are flawlessly presented and might make one wonder which to taste first. Their Ratatouille will be a huge delight for your tongue with the supple and soft veggies melting in your mouth. As you go ‘nom nom’ on it endlessly, do not forget that there’s a lot more out there to be eaten. An exceptionally good dish and a personal favourite is the Minced lamb pie! The smell of the crunchy pie crust complementing the perfectly cooked lamb stuffing is what food lovers need to uplift their mood in the worst of times. Reminiscing the aroma of the lamb pie alone would transfer one back to the buffet even after a week! Another outstanding dish is the Baked rigatoni – the melted cheese, and the pasta with assorted veggies spreading all over your taste buds are yum! Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveLike a dramatic entry is appreciable, a spectacular conclusion is always welcomed by awe-inspiring eyes. With the entry of a plate of Baba Au Rum, into the dining area, all eyes would focus on the fresh hot yeast-based cake soaking in a syrup rich in rum. Why dramatic you ask? Well, the cake’s on fire – literally. The rum and the sugary syrup is inflammable with a touch of Indian spices in it, and is lit while serving guests for a definite visual appeal. They also have some amazing chocolate eggs and bunnies, for you to gift on Easter, which you might find difficult to munch on, for how beautiful they look. Hop into The Imperial and head straight to the restaurant for a memorable rustic European Easter brunch.last_img read more

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Supriyo engages in altercation with local youths over coal mafia dig against

first_imgKolkata: The outgoing BJP MP from Asansol Babul Supriyo, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the same seat, lost his cool during his election rally on Thursday morning when some local youths protested against him for accusing his political rival Trinamool Congress of running a syndicate with coal mafias.The incident sparked tension at the Dhandadihi area of Andal, where Supriyo was conducting a road show. Some youths, who the BJP claimed to be Trinamool Congress supporters, protested against Supriyo as he was accusing TMC of being involved in a syndicate operating out of coal mine areas. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThis allegedly made Supriyo so angry that he engaged in an altercation with the youths. He also claimed that TMC might have deployed the youths to disrupt his road show. The irate BJP MP allegedly instructed his party workers to ‘throw them out’. The BJP workers finally dissuaded the youths from protesting and dispersed them. Curious onlookers were stranded on both sides of the road. The district election officers are currently looking into the matter. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateIt may be mentioned here that some BJP workers were earlier found sitting in a car with a sticker on it reading ‘On Election duty’. The car was spotted close to the residence of Supriyo in Asansol and there was a BJP flag on the bonnet of the car. The incident has led to a political slugfest between the BJP and Trinamool Congress leaders in Asansol. Supriyo has been under the scanner of the Election Commission after he was found playing the controversial theme song of BJP, defying the commission’s instructions. He has since stopped playing the song but controversy seems to still surround him. A section of TMC leaders in West Midnapore district are saying that Supriyo is losing his cool as BJP is apprehending defeat in the seat in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.last_img read more

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Flower pesticides linked to high BP in kids

first_imgExposure to flower pesticide may increase blood pressure in children and put them at the risk of hypertension, a study has found. Researchers at University of California San Diego in the US found a link between higher blood pressure and pesticide exposures in children – especially heightened pesticide spraying period around the Mother’s Day flower harvest, a holiday with one of the highest sales of flowers. The study, published in the journal Environmental Research, involved boys and girls living near flower crops in Ecuador. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAccording to the researchers, Ecuador is among the largest commercial flower growers in the world, with significant rose exports to North America, Europe and Asia. Commercial rose production relies on the use of insecticides, fungicides and other pest controls, but little is known about their human health effects. “These findings are noteworthy in that this is the first study to describe that pesticide spray seasons not only can increase the exposure to pesticides of children living near agriculture, but can increase their blood pressures and overall risk for hypertension,” said Jose R Suarez, an assistant professor at UC San Diego. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe team assessed 313 boys and girls, ages four to nine, residing in floricultural communities in Ecuador. The children were examined up to 100 days after the Mother’s Day harvest. “We observed that children examined sooner after the Mother’s Day harvest had higher pesticide exposures and higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures compared to children examined later,” said Suarez. “In addition, children who were examined within 81 days after the harvest were three times more likely to have hypertension than children examined between 91 and 100 days,” he said. Research regarding the effects of pesticides on the cardiovascular system is limited, but Suarez said there is some evidence that insecticides, such as organophosphates, can increase blood pressure. Organophosphates and several other classes of insecticides and fungicides are commonly used to treat flowers for pests before export.last_img read more

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Cristian Gamboa becomes third Tico in English Premier League after signing with

first_imgLONDON — English Premier League club West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday announced the signing of Costa Rican right-back Cristian Gamboa.Gamboa, 24, played in all five matches as Costa Rica made a stunning run to the quarterfinals in Brazil before losing on penalties to the Netherlands. He’s now the third Costa Rican currently with a Premier League team. Gamboa joins a West Brom club that was one of the worst in the league last season.The other Ticos in the Premier League are Joel Campbell of Arsenal and Bryan Oviedo of Everton.Gamboa has signed for an undisclosed fee after playing last season for Norwegian side Rosenborg. He penned a three-year deal with West Brom after the Football Association approved his application for a work permit.“Cristian is a player I was extremely impressed by during the World Cup,” said West Brom manager Alan Irvine. “We faced stiff competition from other Premier League clubs for his services, but we’ve managed to convince Cristian that West Bromwich Albion is the best club for him to join.“Cristian is a quick, aggressive defender with good energy levels. He gets up and down the pitch really well and we believe he will continue to improve.”Having avoided relegation by three points last season, West Brom open their 2014-15 campaign at home to Sunderland a week from Saturday. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica coach Pinto gives status updates on trio of key players for the World Cup A sigh of relief for Costa Rica as Cristian Gamboa’s knee injury won’t require surgery Another Costa Rican heads to Europe as Tico midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda signs with French club Evian La Sele looks to clinch spot for final round of World Cup qualifyinglast_img read more

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