14 February

New year introduces Illinois texting while driving ban, among other laws

Sunday, January 3, 2010

About 300 new or amended laws took effect at midnight of New Year’s Day last Friday in Illinois, ranging from government ethics reform to driving laws.

One law that is likely to affect residents’ lives the most is a ban on reading or sending text messages through a hand-held device. Drivers who wish to text must put their vehicle on park or neutral while stopped in traffic or on the shoulder. The law also prohibits reading email or surfing the Internet, although using GPS capabilities is still allowed. Breaking this law is considered a primary offense, which means that law enforcement officers may pull violators over for it, similar to a seat belt violation.

Motorists also are prohibited from talking on their phones in a construction or school zone unless they are using earphones. Truck drivers outside the six-county Chicago area now have a speed limit of 65 mph, increased from 55 mph. In addition, injuring somebody while driving uninsured has become a misdemeanor, punishable with up to a year in jail or a $2,500 fine.

Former governor Rod Blagojevich’s removal from office has led to new legislation to reform state government as well. Changes to the state’s Freedom of Information Act requires government agencies to respond more quickly to requests for information. The Illinois Attorney General also gets broad powers to oversee enforcement of this law. In addition, lobbyists will have to pay a $1,000 annual registration fee, up from $150–$350. They will also have to report frequently on their activities and expenditures.

13 February

Mumbai officials demolish 39K shanties; 200K homeless

December 25, 2004

Officials in Mumbai, India, demolished over 6,000 shanties today in a push to eradicate the capital city’s slums. In total, 39,000 shanties have been flattened, displacing over 200,000 people, in the city’s biggest-ever demolition drive, which began in early December.

When complete, over 2 million people are expected to be displaced. After wiping out the least desirable shanties, next in line for demolition are the illegal ‘well-off’ shanties and neighborhoods, according to the legal and bureaucratic motions that have been executed toward cleaning up Mumbai’s appearance by lowering the dominance of shanties, which make up 62 percent of Mumbai’s housing.

“As far as eye can see, there are mounds of wood, tin and tarpaulin, the remains of 6,200 illegal homes, flattened by a heavy excavator running on tank-like tracks and giant motorised claws,” the Indian Express reported about today’s destruction. [1]

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said that citizens would see a change within six months. “Every chief minister likes to be remembered, and I’m no exception,” said Deshmukh, who despite having an empty exchequer, also announced that Rs 31,000 crore will be spent on new roads, sea links and rail lines. [2]

13 February

Wikinews interviews Mike Lebowitz, Chairman of the Modern Whig Party

Monday, October 13, 2008

In the United States, there are two major political parties; the Republican and the Democratic. However, there are several other minor – commonly referred to as “third” – parties. One of these is the Modern Whig Party, which has been steadily increasing in popularity over recent months.

Last week, Wikinews reporter Joseph Ford was able to speak with MWP Chairman Mike Lebowitz about how his party was formed, what it stands for, and why you should consider joining. The interview can be read below.

12 February

Al Sharpton speaks out on race, rights and what bothers him about his critics

Monday, December 3, 2007

At Thanksgiving dinner David Shankbone told his white middle class family that he was to interview Reverend Al Sharpton that Saturday. The announcement caused an impassioned discussion about the civil rights leader’s work, the problems facing the black community and whether Sharpton helps or hurts his cause. Opinion was divided. “He’s an opportunist.” “He only stirs things up.” “Why do I always see his face when there’s a problem?”

Shankbone went to the National Action Network’s headquarters in Harlem with this Thanksgiving discussion to inform the conversation. Below is his interview with Al Sharpton on everything from Tawana Brawley, his purported feud with Barack Obama, criticism by influential African Americans such as Clarence Page, his experience running for President, to how he never expected he would see fifty (he is now 53). “People would say to me, ‘Now that I hear you, even if I disagree with you I don’t think you’re as bad as I thought,'” said Sharpton. “I would say, ‘Let me ask you a question: what was “bad as you thought”?’ And they couldn’t say. They don’t know why they think you’re bad, they just know you’re supposed to be bad because the right wing tells them you’re bad.”

Contents

  • 1 Sharpton’s beginnings in the movement
  • 2 James Brown: a father to Sharpton
  • 3 Criticism: Sharpton is always there
  • 4 Tawana Brawley to Megan Williams
  • 5 Sharpton and the African-American media
  • 6 Why the need for an Al Sharpton?
  • 7 Al Sharpton and Presidential Politics
  • 8 On Barack Obama
  • 9 The Iraq War
  • 10 Sharpton as a symbol
  • 11 Blacks and whites and talking about race
  • 12 Don Imus, Michael Richards and Dog The Bounty Hunter
  • 13 Sources
12 February

US swimmer Phelps suspended over ‘pot pipe’

Friday, February 6, 2009

United States swimmer Michael Phelps has been banned from competition and his training stipend revoked for three months by USA Swimming after Phelps was photographed smoking from a glass pipe, often used for smoking cannabis. The picture was published last Sunday by British tabloid News of the World.

USA Swimming, which is the governing body of swimming in the United States, however said that no “anti-doping” rules had been violated.

“This is not a situation where any anti-doping rule was violated, but we decided to send a strong message to Michael because he disappointed so many people, particularly the hundreds of thousands of USA Swimming member kids who look up to him as a role model and a hero,” it stated. “Michael has voluntarily accepted this reprimand and has committed to earn back our trust.”

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The suspension will end in time for Phelps to train for the US Championships, which are to be held on the 7th of July.

Phelps has also lost sponsor Kellogg, who said that it would not renew its deal with the swimmer next month.

Phelps won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing last year, and has since become one of the world’s most famous athletes.

12 February

Heat wave proves deadly for Nebraska cattle

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Over 2,000 cattle died throughout eight counties in Nebraska last week as a result of an unexpected heat wave. Officials estimate that number could grow as other counties report in.

According to Tim Reimer of the United States Farm Service Agency, cattle nearing slaughter are difficult to keep cool due to their large size, and thus more vulnerable to heat. The animals are provided large quantities of water, but they sometimes stop drinking under the effects of the high temperatures.

The deaths worsened the situation for farmers, who were already struggling with high feed costs. “There were some that took some pretty substantial hits financially”, Reimer said.

Temperatures in eastern portions of the state soared into the mid 90s. The heat wave was preceded by an unusually cool spring, so the animals didn’t have a chance to acclimatise. Terry Mader, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, reported that “Cattle, as well as other animals and humans, usually need two to four weeks to adapt to the changes in environmental conditions we observed last week. Sunny days with temperatures above the mid-80s can be stressful, particularly if there is no wind and humidity is above 50%.”

Similar heat waves occurred during the 1990s, when thousands of cattle were lost. Mader noted, “There’s no opportunity for them to get prepared […] Normally, you’ll have one to two days in a heat wave to get prepared.”

Mature cattle are generally worth US$1,000 apiece.

11 February

3 Ways An Attorney Can Help You Win A Worker’s Comp Claim In Minneapolis

byAlma Abell

When you are injured on the job, it can be a long road to recovery, and an even longer one if you do not seek the right kind of help you require to win any workers comp cases. Be sure to hire an attorney that is knowledgeable in the area of workers comp, so you can get you the best outcome possible. There are many ways in which an attorney can help you; you just have to know them in order to get the most out of your money and out of your efforts.

Gather All Medical Records

Medical records are incredibly important to winning any Worker’s Comp case in Minneapolis. When you are injured, go immediately to the doctor to be assessed. That way, you attorney can gather these documents as well as previous medical records to show your health condition both before and after the accident occurred. By securing your medical history, your attorney has a great deal of evidence to help you in your case.

They Have Experience

Lawyers go through years of hard work and classes to become certified to be your attorney. Not only that, but most likely they will specialize in one particular area that they enjoy defending. If you select a workers comp attorney, then they will have an increased knowledge and skill set of debating your particular case in court. When it comes to Worker’s Comp in Minneapolis, don’t sell yourself short on an experienced attorney.

Know the Law

Your attorney already knows every detail of the law, but you need to brush up on your education of the law as well. You don’t have to know every aspect like your lawyer does. Still, you should know the basics of what exactly your state’ laws say. That way, you and your attorney can converse on a more personal level in order to get the results that you want.

An attorney has the great ability to help you concerning your work injuries. Be sure to invest in one, so that they can help you fight for justice. There are so many ways that they can assist you, so do not miss the opportunity for hiring an attorney.

11 February

University of Alberta to buy Hudson’s Bay Building

Friday, July 8, 2005

The University of Alberta is set to expand into the heart of Edmonton’s downtown with plans now in place to purchase the aging Hudson’s Bay building on Jasper Avenue between 102nd Street and 103rd Street. The deal, which is yet to be approved by the University’s Board of Governors, could result in students starting classes in the building as early as September 2006.

The building has been a huge vacancy in the downtown core, with only the broadcasting corporation CHUM Limited using any space. University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera has said there are no plans to ask the company, which owns 91.7 The Bounce and A-Channel to move.

The deal would also solve the University’s space crunch. The total University population is growing much faster than the number of facilities required to support it, so expanding beyond the current campus makes sense. Establishing a presence downtown will also help the University and it’s many spin off companies.

The University has not yet decided how the project would be funded, but is currently looking at a number of options, including partnerships with all three levels of government.

11 February

US unemployment rate reaches 9.8%

Friday, October 2, 2009

Companies in the United States are shedding more jobs, pushing the country’s unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.8%.

The US Labor Department said on Friday that employers cut 263,000 jobs in September, with companies in the service industries — including banks, restaurants and retailers — hit especially hard. This is the 21st consecutive month of job losses in the country.

The United States has now lost 7.2 million jobs since the recession officially began in December 2007. The new data has sparked fears that unemployment could threaten an economic recovery. Top US officials have warned that any recovery would be slow and uneven, and some have predicted the unemployment rate will top 10% before the situation improves.

“Continued household deleveraging and rising unemployment may weigh more on consumption than forecast, and accelerating corporate and commercial property defaults could slow the improvement in financial conditions,” read a report by the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, predicting that unemployment will average 10.1% by next year and not go back down to five percent until 2014.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, said that “it’s a very fragile and tentative recovery. Policy makers need to do more.”

“The number came in weaker than expected. We saw a lot of artificial involvement by the government to prop up the markets, and now that that is starting to end, the private sector isn’t yet showing signs of life,” said Kevin Caron, a market strategist for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.

Also on Thursday, the US Commerce Department said factory orders fell for the first time in five months, dropping eight-tenths of a percent in August. Orders for durable goods — items intended to last several years (including everything from appliances to airliners) — fell 2.6%, the largest drop since January of this year.

The US government has been spending billions of dollars — part of a $787 billion stimulus package — to help spark economic growth. There have been some signs the economy is improving.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that spending on home construction jumped in August for its biggest increase in 16 years. A real estate trade group, the National Association of Realtors, said pending sales of previously owned homes rose more than 12 percent in August, compared to August 2008.

A separate Commerce Department report said that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rose at its fastest pace in nearly eight years, jumping 1.3 percent in August.

Other reports have provided cause for concern. A banking industry trade group said Thursday the number of US consumers making late payments, or failing to make payments, on loans and credit cards is on the rise. A survey by a business group, the Institute for Supply Management, Thursday showed US manufacturing grew in September, but at a slower pace than in August when manufacturing increased for the first time in a year and a half.

Stock markets reacted negatively to the reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41 points in early trading, reaching a level of 9467. This follows a drop of 203 points on Thursday, its largest loss in a single day since July. The London FTSE index fell 55 points, or 1.1%, to reach 4993 points by 15.00 local time.

11 February

Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

Sunday, February 13, 2005

New York –”Buy cheap Viagra through us – no prescription required!” Anyone with an active email account will recognize lines like this one. According to some reports, unsolicited advertisements (spam) for Viagra and similar drugs account for one in four spam messages.

BACKGROUND

Spamming remains one of the biggest problems facing email users today. While users and systems administrators have improved their defenses against unsolicited email, many spammers now insert random words or characters into their letters in order to bypass filters. The Wikipedia article Stopping email abuse provides an overview of the various strategies employed by companies, Internet users and systems administrators to deal with the issue.

Ever since pharmaceutical giant Pfizer promised to cure erectile dysfunction once and for all with its blue pills containing the drug sildenafil citrate, spammers have tried to tap into male anxiety by offering prescription-free sales of unapproved “generic” Viagra and clones such as Cialis soft tabs. Legislation like the U.S. CAN-SPAM act has done little to stem the tide of email advertising the products.

Now Pfizer has entered a pledge with Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest software company, to address the problem. The joint effort will focus on lawsuits against spammers as well as the companies they advertise. “Pfizer is joining with Microsoft on these actions as part of our shared pledge to reduce the sale of these products and to fight the senders of unsolicited e-mail that overwhelms people’s inboxes,” said Jeff Kindler, executive vice president at Pfizer.

Microsoft has filed civil actions against spammers advertising the websites CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct. Pfizer has filed lawsuits against the two companies, and has taken actions against websites which use the word “Viagra” in their domain names. Sales of controlled drugs from Canadian pharmacies to the United States are illegal, but most drugs sold in Canada have nevertheless undergone testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is not the case for many of the Viagra clones sold by Internet companies and manufactured in countries like China and India. While it was not clear that CanadianPharmacy was actually shipping drugs from Canada, Pfizer’s general counsel, Beth Levine, claimed that the company filled orders using a call center in Montreal, reported the Toronto Star.

For Microsoft’s part, they allege that the joint effort with Pfizer is part of their “multi-pronged attack on the barrage of spam.” As the creator of the popular email program Outlook, Microsoft has been criticized in the past for the product’s spam filtering process. Recently, Microsoft added anti-spam measures to its popular Exchange server. Exchange 2003 now includes support for accessing so-called real-time block lists, or RTBLs. An RTBL is a list of the IP addresses maintained by a third party; the addresses on the list are those of mailservers thought to have sent spam recently. Exchange 2003 can query the list for each message it receives.


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