US Nationwide Pollution Permit Restrictions Upheld

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US Nationwide Pollution Permit Restrictions Upheld

Posted by VZWk94v8 on June 12, 2019

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The US Army Corps of Engineers decision to place restrictions on issuance of nationwide pollution permits has been upheld by a federal court. In National Association of Home Builders v. Army Corps of Engineers, the District Court for the District of Columbia found that the Corps of Engineers had not acted in an “arbitrary” or “capricious” manner in changing the terms and conditions for issuance of a national pollution permit, including reducing the size of area into which pollutants may be discharged from 10 acres to 1 acre, raising the threshold for requiring additional permits from 1 acre to 1/10 acre,

A nationwide permit allows an organization to engage in certain industrial activities on a national basis (such as mining and construction), reducing the amount of paperwork and filings needed for otherwise minor environmental impacts, as opposed to an ordinary permit for a specific location which will engage in activities which generate water pollution.

Due to concerns over the amount of discharge taking place in waterways, the Corps of Engineers began in the 1980s to reduce the authority granted by nationwide permits and to bar use of the permits in certain ecologically sensitive areas.

Some industry groups, including the plaintiff in the above case, The National Association of Home Builders, sued the Corps of Engineers in 2000 over the change in an attempt to block its implementation. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, were given permission to intervene in the case in support of the actions of the Corps.

Environmental groups were pleased with the decision, but are concerned over other actions of the Bush Administration, such as the attempts to weaken provisions of the 2002 Clean Water Act to allow additional dumping of construction and mining waste into waterways as fill material.

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Historic manuscript “The Housebook” reported sold in Germany

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Historic manuscript “The Housebook” reported sold in Germany

Posted by VZWk94v8 on June 10, 2019

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The German noble family of Waldburg-Wolfegg has sold the manuscript known as the The Housebook to an unknown buyer. There is speculation in the German press that it was purchased by Baron August von Finck who currently resides in Switzerland, and that the price paid was €20 million.

It is unclear whether the purchase is in fact legally valid because the manuscript was sold without the permission of the government of Tübingen required by the law of fideikommiss dissolution (similar to the common law institution Fee tail). German law forbids the export of such a precious manuscript, which is registered in the list of national cultural property.

The Housebook of Wolfegg is an illustrated manuscript that was created after 1480 by an unidentified artist known as the “Master of the Housebook” (or Master of the Amsterdam Cabinet) and possibly other artists. It was exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in the United States in 1998.

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Interpol arrest Karachi fire suspect in Bangkok

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Interpol arrest Karachi fire suspect in Bangkok

Posted by VZWk94v8 on May 30, 2019

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Interpol on Friday evening arrested Abdul ‘Bhola’ Rehman in Bangkok, Thailand. Rehman, 46, is accused of starting a 2012 garment factory fire in Karachi, Pakistan that killed over 250.

Initially thought to be accidental, the fire is now believed to have been set deliberately by an extortion group targeting the factory’s owners. Rehman is accused of receiving an order to start the fire. He is expected to be extradited to Pakistan where he is facing charges under terrorism legislation.

The Pakistani Interior Ministry was ordered by a court to arrest Rehman and another suspect, Hammad Siddiqui, with assistance from Interpol. A third accused, Zubair alias Lala, is detained in Pakistan. Around a dozen further suspects are under investigation.

The Ali Enterprises factory fire in Karachi’s Baldia Town area was among the worst industrial disasters in Pakistan. A judicial enquiry found insufficient emergency exits, insufficient safety training, overcrowding due to bulky equipment, and insufficient regulatory oversight all contributed. German firm KIK, the facility’s main customer, paid compensation to victims.

Once facing now-abandoned murder charges, the factory’s owners are now being treated as witnesses. Papers lodged before Sindh High Court in February last year suggested an extortion plot. A reinvestigation commenced the following month, and earlier this year police confirmed they too believed an extortion gang to be responsible.

Rehman was arrested at the Royal Garden Home Hotel, where he was staying alone. He is alleged by some reporters to have connections with the Pakistani Pak Sarzameen Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, something both organisations deny. He is also alleged to have worked for Karachi’s local government.

Rehman’s wife said he was innocent.

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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

Posted by VZWk94v8 on May 30, 2019

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.

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Turkish protesters march against Internet censorship

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Turkish protesters march against Internet censorship

Posted by VZWk94v8 on May 28, 2019

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

About 2,000 protestors marched against Internet censorship last Saturday in Istanbul in Turkey, Xinhua reported.

Protesters gathered at central Istanbul’s Taksim Square and marched down to Istiklal Avenue, chanting slogans against Transport and Communications Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m, Internet censorship, and especially against “Law No 5651”.

Many Internet groups, nongovernmental organizations, and Internet platforms participated in the protest, Hürriyet Daily News reported. Ek?i Sözlük, zaytung.com, bobiler.org, the Young Civilians, Penguen magazine, “Sansüre Sansür” (Censor Censorship) and “Sansüre Kar?? Ortak Platform” (Joint Platform against Censorship) were among the participants.

More than 5,000 Internet sites including Last.fm, YouTube and some of Google services are currently banned in Turkey. The bans are issued by prosecutors if the site “is deemed liable to incite suicide, paedophilia, drug abuse, obscenity or prostitution, or violate a law forbidding any attacks on Atatürk.”

Reporters Without Borders reported that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) recently wrote to the Turkish authorities to urge them once again to restore access to banned Internet sites.

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Category:April 23, 2010

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Category:April 23, 2010

Posted by VZWk94v8 on May 26, 2019

? April 22, 2010
April 24, 2010 ?
April 23

Pages in category “April 23, 2010”

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Canadian top court strikes down private medicare ban in Quebec

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Canadian top court strikes down private medicare ban in Quebec

Posted by VZWk94v8 on May 26, 2019

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Canada’s top court has struck down Quebec’s bans on private health care insurance, citing an increased risk to the life and health of Canadians. [1]

The Supreme Court of Canada ruling looked into a patient’s right to pay for faster service in a system that currently treats patients on the basis of equal access to medical care, regardless of income. [2]

Quebec patient George Zeliotis, a chemical salesman who waited in pain for more than a year in 1997 to have his hip replaced, said he should have had the right to pay for surgery.

Under public health care, it’s forbidden to pay for services covered under the system.

Despite free medical treatment, there are often long waiting lists for operations and services with current public health care.[3]

Together with physician, Dr. Jacques Chaoulli, Mr. Zeliotis launched a challenge to the Supreme Court of Canada, after losing their fight in Quebec’s lower courts, arguing that having to wait for surgery violates a patient’s constitutional right to life, liberty, and security of the person. [4]

Mr. Zeliotis and Dr. Chaoulli argued that being able to pay for private medical services wouldn’t be detrimental to the public health care system.

The Quebec Superior Court and the Quebec Court of Appeal had dismissed the case, ruling that the provincial law’s intent was not to discriminate among patients and to provide health care based on need rather than a patient’s ability to pay.

The Canadian Medical Association said the Superior Court of Canada ruling could “fundamentally change the health-care system in Canada as we now know it” but declined to comment any further until it had time to study the decision. [5]

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Hope fades for families of trapped Mexican miners

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Hope fades for families of trapped Mexican miners

Posted by VZWk94v8 on May 26, 2019

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Almost 600 desperate family members and others remained camped outside the Pasta de Conchos coal mine near San Juan de Sabinas, in the northern Mexico state of Coahuila where 65 Mexican miners were trapped by a gas explosion around 2:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) Sunday. Some are threatening to storm the mine while soldiers are trying to keep them calm and rescuers continue to pick through the rock and debris with hand tools, fearing that any power equipment might set off another explosion.

The local newspaper’s headline caused panic by quoting one of over a dozen surviving miners who were close enough to the exits to escape: “They are surely dead,” (La Prensa de Monclova). However, Arturo Vilchis, Civil Protection Director, refused to speculate on the condition of the miners, while Javier de la Fuente, an engineering contractor with mine owner Grupo México S.A. de C.V. also tried to hold out some hope.

The men were each supposed to be carrying oxygen tanks, each with a six hour supply, and there’s some hope that they could reach other oxygen supply tanks, or that some air might be reaching them through the ventilation shafts into which rescuers have been pumping more oxygen since shortly after the explosion.

Juan Rebolledo, vice president of international affairs for Grupo México, assured onlookers that U.S. mining experts were on the way, and officials at the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration have confirmed that they’ve sent a specialized equipment truck and several mining experts which should arrive at the mine site on Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile Consuelo Aguilar, a spokeswoman for the National Miners’ Union, called for an investigation into Grupo México’s responsibility for the disaster. Pedro Camarillo, a federal labor official, said nothing unusual was found during a routine evaluation in early February.

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News briefs:August 6, 2010

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News briefs:August 6, 2010

Posted by VZWk94v8 on May 24, 2019

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Israel Journal: Is Yossi Vardi a good father to his entrepreneurial children?

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Israel Journal: Is Yossi Vardi a good father to his entrepreneurial children?

Posted by VZWk94v8 on May 24, 2019

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone is currently, courtesy of the Israeli government and friends, visiting Israel. This is a first-hand account of his experiences and may — as a result — not fully comply with Wikinews’ neutrality policy. Please note this is a journalism experiment for Wikinews and put constructive criticism on the collaboration page.

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Dr. Yossi Vardi is known as Israel’s ‘Father of the Entrepreneur’, and he has many children in the form of technology companies he has helped to incubate in Tel Aviv‘s booming Internet sector. At the offices of Superna, one such company, he introduced a whirlwind of presentations from his baby incubators to a group of journalists. What stuck most in my head was when Vardi said, “What is important is not the technology, but the talent.” Perhaps because he repeated this after each young Internet entrepreneur showed us his or her latest creation under Vardi’s tutelage. I had a sense of déjà vu from this mantra. A casual reader of the newspapers during the Dot.com boom will remember a glut of stories that could be called “The Rise of the Failure”; people whose technology companies had collapsed were suddenly hot commodities to start up new companies. This seemingly paradoxical thinking was talked about as new back then; but even Thomas Edison—the Father of Invention—is oft-quoted for saying, “I have not failed. I have just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.”

Vardi’s focus on encouraging his brood of talent regardless of the practicalities stuck out to me because of a recent pair of “dueling studies” The New York Times has printed. These are the sort of studies that confuse parents on how to raise their kids. The first, by Carol Dweck at Stanford University, came to the conclusion that children who are not praised for their efforts, regardless of the outcome’s success, rarely attempt more challenging and complex pursuits. According to Dweck’s study, when a child knows that they will receive praise for being right instead of for tackling difficult problems, even if they fail, they will simply elect to take on easy tasks in which they are assured of finding the solution.

Only one month earlier the Times produced another story for parents to agonize over, this time based on a study from the Brookings Institution, entitled “Are Kids Getting Too Much Praise?” Unlike Dweck’s clinical study, Brookings drew conclusions from statistical data that could be influenced by a variety of factors (since there was no clinical control). The study found American kids are far more confident that they have done well than their Korean counterparts, even when the inverse is true. The Times adds in the words of a Harvard faculty psychologist who intoned, “Self-esteem is based on real accomplishments. It’s all about letting kids shine in a realistic way.” But this is not the first time the self-esteem generation’s proponents have been criticized.

Vardi clearly would find himself encouraged by Dweck’s study, though, based upon how often he seemed to ask us to keep our eyes on the people more than the products. That’s not to say he has not found his latest ICQ, though only time—and consumers—will tell.

For a Web 2.User like myself, I was most fascinated by Fixya, a site that, like Wikipedia, exists on the free work of people with knowledge. Fixya is a tech support site where people who are having problems with equipment ask a question and it is answered by registered “experts.” These experts are the equivalent of Wikipedia’s editors: they are self-ordained purveyors of solutions. But instead of solving a mystery of knowledge a reader has in their head, these experts solve a problem related to something you have bought and do not understand. From baby cribs to cellular phones, over 500,000 products are “supported” on Fixya’s website. The Fixya business model relies upon the good will of its experts to want to help other people through the ever-expanding world of consumer appliances. But it is different from Wikipedia in two important ways. First, Fixya is for-profit. The altruistic exchange of information is somewhat dampened by the knowledge that somebody, somewhere, is profiting from whatever you give. Second, with Wikipedia it is very easy for a person to type in a few sentences about a subject on an article about the Toshiba Satellite laptop, but to answer technical problems a person is experiencing seems like a different realm. But is it? “It’s a beautiful thing. People really want to help other people,” said the presenter, who marveled at the community that has already developed on Fixya. “Another difference from Wikipedia is that we have a premium content version of the site.” Their premium site is where they envision making their money. Customers with a problem will assign a dollar amount based upon how badly they need an answer to a question, and the expert-editors of Fixya will share in the payment for the resolved issue. Like Wikipedia, reputation is paramount to Fixya’s experts. Whereas Wikipedia editors are judged by how they are perceived in the Wiki community, the amount of barnstars they receive and by the value of their contributions, Fixya’s customers rate its experts based upon the usefulness of their advice. The site is currently working on offering extended warranties with some manufacturers, although it was not clear how that would work on a site that functioned on the work of any expert.

Another collaborative effort product presented to us was YouFig, which is software designed to allow a group of people to collaborate on work product. This is not a new idea, although may web-based products have generally fallen flat. The idea is that people who are working on a multi-media project can combine efforts to create a final product. They envision their initial market to be academia, but one could see the product stretching to fields such as law, where large litigation projects with high-level of collaboration on both document creation and media presentation; in business, where software aimed at product development has generally not lived up to its promises; and in the science and engineering fields, where multi-media collaboration is quickly becoming not only the norm, but a necessity.

For the popular consumer market, Superna, whose offices hosted our meeting, demonstrated their cost-saving vision for the Smart Home (SH). Current SH systems require a large, expensive server in order to coordinate all the electronic appliances in today’s air-conditioned, lit and entertainment-saturated house. Such coordinating servers can cost upwards of US$5,000, whereas Superna’s software can turn a US$1,000 hand-held tablet PC into household remote control.

There were a few start-ups where Vardi’s fatherly mentoring seemed more at play than long-term practical business modeling. In the hot market of WiFi products, WeFi is software that will allow groups of users, such as friends, share knowledge about the location of free Internet WiFi access, and also provide codes and keys for certain hot spots, with access provided only to the trusted users within a group. The mock-up that was shown to us had a Google Maps-esque city block that had green points to the known hot spots that are available either for free (such as those owned by good Samaritans who do not secure their WiFi access) or for pay, with access information provided for that location. I saw two long-term problems: first, WiMAX, which is able to provide Internet access to people for miles within its range. There is already discussion all over the Internet as to whether this technology will eventually make WiFi obsolete, negating the need to find “hot spots” for a group of friends. Taiwan is already testing an island-wide WiMAX project. The second problem is if good Samaritans are more easily located, instead of just happened-upon, how many will keep their WiFi access free? It has already become more difficult to find people willing to contribute to free Internet. Even in Tel Aviv, and elsewhere, I have come across several secure wireless users who named their network “Fuck Off” in an in-your-face message to freeloaders.

Another child of Vardi’s that the Brookings Institution might say was over-praised for self-esteem but lacking real accomplishment is AtlasCT, although reportedly Nokia offered to pay US$8.1 million for the software, which they turned down. It is again a map-based software that allows user-generated photographs to be uploaded to personalized street maps that they can share with friends, students, colleagues or whomever else wants to view a person’s slideshow from their vacation to Paris (“Dude, go to the icon over Boulevard Montmartre and you’ll see this girl I thought was hot outside the Hard Rock Cafe!”) Aside from the idea that many people probably have little interest in looking at the photo journey of someone they know (“You can see how I traced the steps of Jesus in the Galilee“), it is also easy to imagine Google coming out with its own freeware that would instantly trump this program. Although one can see an e-classroom in architecture employing such software to allow students to take a walking tour through Rome, its desirability may be limited.

Whether Vardi is a smart parent for his encouragement, or in fact propping up laggards, is something only time will tell him as he attempts to bring these products of his children to market. The look of awe that came across each company’s representative whenever he entered the room provided the answer to the question of Who’s your daddy?

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