20 May

United Future announces tax cuts in 2008 for New Zealand

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The leader of the government’s political partner, United Future and Revenue minister, Peter Dunne has announced that there will be personal tax cuts to go along with the confirmed business tax cuts in 2008.

Peter Dunne’s newsletter, sent yesterday, said: “The business tax reduction proposals I announced with Michael Cullen in the Business Tax Review in July will go ahead from April 2008, and they will be accompanied by personal tax adjustments as well, just as we foreshadowed.” They would be “the first major cuts by either government since 1996.” Peter Dunne was the Revenue minister in 1996 as well.

Finance minister and deputy Prime Minister, Doctor Michael Cullen, said: “Mr Dunne is clearly involved in an important branding exercise for United Future and nothing has changed.”

The Prime Minister, Helen Clark, did not comment.

Before Peter Dunne announced the tax cuts, the Government had denied any tax cut proposals until November/December when they could see a clearer picture.

Dunne said that the tax cuts would come in the form of rate cuts and threshold movements.

Cullen said that if tax cuts were offered then they will be for everyone, including those in the low to middle income ranges.

New Zealand First, another political partner of the government, claimed credit in its annual convention on Sunday that they were the ones who convinced Labour the value of tax cuts and changing the personal thresholds.

Cullen last week said, when he announced the surplus; “We are engaged in a business taxation review that will almost certainly produce proposals for tax cuts in the business area to come into force on 1 April 2008 . . . and that may have implications for personal tax rates and thresholds, but I can’t give you more information because [it is] not available.”

The business tax is dropping three cents to NZ$0.33.

18 May

Chilean miners trapped after mine collapse; miscalculated drilling delays rescue

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A gold mine collapse in Copiapó, Atacama Region, Chile has trapped 33 miners since last Thursday. Another collapse occurred on Saturday, that provoked temporary suspension of the rescue works.

Rescue efforts were first focused on a ventilation shaft, but attempts to reach the miners failed. Rescuers have been drilling into the mine since Sunday. “The situation is very complex, the mine continues to have collapses because there is a geological fault-line,” said Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile, who “pledged to do everything possible to get to the trapped miners,” but acknowledged he was pessimistic.

There is no certainty that the miners, who are trapped about 400 meters (1300 feet) below the ground, are still alive.

16 May

California releases search warrant for Wells Fargo bank on identity theft

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The California Department of Justice on Wednesday released the warrant and affidavit of a criminal investigation of the Wells Fargo bank. The State of California served the warrant on October 5 to search the San Francisco headquarters of Wells Fargo for felonious activities related to identity theft.

The warrant said property to be seized at the bank’s San Francisco headquarters was related to the unauthorized creation of accounts by Wells Fargo employees including the names of individuals for the accounts; account information and fees; the names of employees and their managers who created accounts without the consent of the Wells Fargo customers in question; and all communications including emails referencing the unauthorised accounts.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s criminal probe is part of an increasing list of officials nationwide questioning the business practices of Wells Fargo such as California State Treasurer John Chiang who announced a one-year suspension of State investment with the bank on September 28; Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs followed suit with a year-long ban on October 3; and Democratic United States Senators Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who wrote to the U.S. Security Exchanges Commission (SEC) suggesting investigation on September 29.

16 May

Australian House of Representatives acknowledges Cyclone Larry efforts

Wednesday, March 29, 2006The Australian House of Representatives today acknowledged the impact of the recent devastating Cyclone Larry and the efforts of the support given to the residents and communities of north Queensland in order to restore normal life.

Phillip Ruddock (Liberal, Berowra) moved a motion expressing this after Question Time today, which included a description of the devastation wrought on the area, the response by the Australian Government and the Australian Defence Force, and thanked the efforts of people for their “willingness to roll up their sleeves and get on with the job of cleaning up and rebuilding their towns and centres.”

The Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley (Labor, Brand) supported the motion, and congratulated the move to put General Peter Cosgrove in charge of operations, stating that soldiers “know how to work through logistics issues…how to work around officialdom or blockages”, praised both local federal and state members of Parliament, and especially the Labor Queensland state premier, Peter Beattie.

Bob Katter (Independent, Kennedy) was more critical in his speech. Katter thanked Beattie for his immediate response, but also described his confrontation with him and said how first responses were “simply not working”, but also praised Beattie’s decision on Cosgrove. Katter also described how the incident was “the worst natural disaster inAustralian history” and how the banana industry in north Queensland was decimated. Katter went on to describe the financial problems of the people in the region, the “huge gap” between the cost of rebuilding and insurance payouts, also asking “Are we going to pay people virtually nothing to sit on their backsides to do nothing or are we going to pay them a decent wage and have them rebuilding our communities for us?”

The debate is set to continue in the Main Committee, as an opportunity for many more members of the House of Representatives to speak to the motion, without taking up further time in the Chamber.

15 May

Time Warner/Comcast bid to snap up Adelphia cable service

April 9, 2005

A bid topping $17.7 billion was jointly proffered by Time Warner Inc. and Comcast Corporation on Thursday to buy beleaguered Adelphia Communications Corporation in an industry consolidation move. Adelphia is the fifth largest cable service provider in the United States with nearly 5 million subscribers.

The market-share grabbing bid trumps the previous Cablevision offer of $16.5 billion. The bid is under scrutiny by the presiding judge over the Adelphia’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, and must also be approved by the company’s creditors owed in the range of $20 million.

The acquisition race to gain dominance in the cable service provider market is driven by the high cost of installation and maintenance of cable lines. Fiber optic networks deliver traditional entertainment programming over a cable wire and is becoming increasingly popular for broadband internet content. The growing trust and recognition of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) suggests phone service subscribers will eventually migrate to cable voice communication as opposed to keeping with traditional copper land lines. Telephone company operators are scrambling to keep up.

The largest percentage of the bid would be put up by Time Warner (TW), who could gain by getting subscribers from the valuable Los Angeles market currently owned by Comcast and Adelphia. TW can also simultaneously divest itself of a stake owned by Comcast in TW by making a tax-free swap using some of the newly garnered Adelphia subscribers.

While the consolidation would likely get a look by the government with an eye towards a growing monopoly in the market, it would doubtfully be blocked considering the existence of competing technologies. Competition exists in the form of still numerous television by airwaves usage, satellite providers, radio content companies, and telecom providers.

Adelphia suffered a corporate scandal in 1992 with similarities to the WorldCom fall. Members of the Rigas family, founders of the company, were alleged to have siphoned off millions of dollars and hidden $2.3 billion leading to the bankruptcy filing. John Rigas and son Timothy were convicted July of 2004 and await sentencing.

15 May

Augusten Burroughs on addiction, writing, his family and his new book

Friday, October 12, 2007

I had an unofficial phone call from Gay Talese last Tuesday. He had just flown back from Colombia and he was cranky. “I’m happy to do an interview with you,” he said, “but what the hell could you ask me that’s not already out there? Have you even bothered to look?!”

“Jeez, Mr. Talese, lots of things,” was my response. I lied. The truth is that when I call people to interview them, I do not have a set of preconceived questions. My agenda is to talk to them and gain a sense of who they are; to flesh them out as humans. To find out what they think about the world around them at that moment. With Gay Talese I had little interest in talking about Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and with Augusten Burroughs I had little interest in discussing Running with Scissors. I want to know what they think about things outside of the boxes people have placed them in.

With a memoirist like Burroughs, even this is a challenge. What parts of his life he has not written about himself, other interviewers have strip-mined. When we met for dinner at Lavagna in the East Village, I explained to Augusten this issue. I suggested we make the interview more of a conversation to see if that would be more interesting. “Instead of you in the catbird seat,” I said, “let’s just talk.”

We struck an instant rapport. What set out to be an hour and half interview over dinner had turned into four hours of discussion about our lives similarly lived. I removed half of the interview: the half that focused on me.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s conversation with writer Augusten Burroughs.


Contents

  • 1 On addiction and getting sober
  • 2 On the Turcottes and his mother
  • 3 On his work
  • 4 On the response to his work from addicts
  • 5 On belief in a higher power
  • 6 On the gay community
  • 7 On his new book, A Wolf at the Table, a memoir about his father
  • 8 On women’s breasts and tattoos
  • 9 On losing his hair
  • 10 Sources
15 May

City of Calgary, Canada removes fluoride from drinking water

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Calgary city council voted 10 to 3 on Wednesday to stop fluoridating their water supply. This overturns a previous plebiscite from 1989 to add the fluoride in an attempt to reduce tooth decay.

Opponents of water fluoridation claim that there could be unknown health effects of fluoride, and question its effectiveness in preventing tooth decay. They also claim that individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to use fluoride. However, Alberta Health Services maintains that current evidence shows that fluoride is both safe, and beneficial to dental health.

It is estimated that no longer fluoridating the water supply could save Calgary’s city council C$750 thousand (€550 thousand) annually, as well as cutting a C$6 million (€4.3 million) upgrade to the fluoridation system.

11 May

Arcelor declares merger with Mittal Steel

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Arcelor, Luxembourg’s largest steel company, has reached in an agreement with Mittal Steel over a €26.9 billion merger (at €40.44 per share). The new company will be called Arcelor-Mittal. Mittal Steel will hold 45% stake in the new company. Arcelor would pay Severstal €130 million as a “fine” for the fall-out of their failed talks. Lakshmi Mittal (owner of Mittal Steel) and Joseph Kinsch (current Arcelor chairman) will be the co-chairmen of the new company. The new company will have a net capacity of 120 million tonnes.

10 May

Stabbing at Massachusetts high school leaves one dead

Friday, January 19, 2007

In the United States, a stabbing at the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in Sudbury, Massachusetts has left a 15-year old student dead.

The stabbing happened around 7:20 am EST, before classes had started. A fight broke out in a boys’ bathroom between the 15-year old victim, James Alenson and 16-year-old suspect John Odgren, the fight spilled out in the hallway, where the stabbing occurred.

The school was sent into a “lockdown” and students were ushered into the gym, cafeteria and various classrooms. Alenson was rushed to Emerson Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:15 am EST. Odgren admitted to the stabbing and was in the principal’s office saying “I did it, I did it,” to police. However, Odgren also reportedly said “Is he OK? I don’t want him to die,” according to a police report.All students were released at 10:20 am EST.

Odgren was diagnosed with severe Asperger’s syndrome, an autistic spectrum disorder has been on medication for years, was a special education student at the school and had no history of violence according to his lawyer, Jonathan Shapiro. He is being charged with “murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and carrying a knife onto school property” and was arraigned in Framingham District Court where he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Shapiro also asked if his client could go to secure facility at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Judge Paul Healy denied the request saying he did not have “enough assurance that Children’s Hospital would be secure.” Instead, he will be held at Middlesex Jail in Cambridge outside of the general population.

According to the school’s website, there will be a community meeting tonight in the school’s auditorium at 7pm EST.

10 May

Brazilian President Lula met Chavez, military and economic cooperation

Thursday, February 17, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contents

  • 1 Economic cooperation
  • 2 Military cooperation
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References

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