Sunday, December 2, 2007

American heavy metal performer Ozzy Osbourne, who became famous as the lead vocalist for Black Sabbath and later as a solo act, has raised more than US$800,000 for The Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program, founded by his spouse Sharon Osbourne at the Cedars Sinai Hospital, by auctioning off personal items.

A number of the items that he auctioned off over the two day period have been seen on his reality TV show The Osbournes, which featured home life with Sharon, Ozzy and their two children. Amongst some of the higher-priced items were a carved walnut Victorian-style custom built pool table which raised $11,250, a painting from Edourad Drouot which fetched $10,500, a pair of Ozzy’s famous round glasses which raised $5,250 and a dog bed given to Sharon by Elton John which sold for $2,375.

Some more famous items were also amongst the 500 lots offered. Ozzy’s black satin coat, complete with bat-wing cape, raised $3,300 and a hand-painted floral cup used regularly on The Osbournes made $1,625. A bronze plaque of a demon’s head that was regularly seen in its position adorning the front door of their house had been expected to go for $800 to $1,200instead raised $8,750. A wire model of the Eiffel Tower from on the kitchen table sold for $10,000, while skull-covered trainers Ozzy had worn reached $2,625. Bidders came from as far away as Germany to buy what they could from his mansion in Beverly Hills, California.

However, three cars included in the auction failed to attract bidders and did not sell. They were a 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, estimated at $160,000 to $180,000, a 2005 Cadillac CTS-V sedan estimated at $30,000 to $40,000 and a 1950 Oldsmobile Futuramic 88 Club Coupe previously owned by author Danielle Steel estimated at $40,000 to $50,000. Sharon had earlier said of the cars “We’re not great car people. They really don’t do a lot for us.

Darren Julien, president of Julien’s Auctions, which organised the two-day sale, said “It did very well. It raised some good money for a very worthy cause.”

“For a celebrity garage sale, it was pretty spectacular.,” he went on. He also commented on the fact that there was fierce competition for the many artworks included. “We had Ozzy fans bidding against these sophisticated fine art buyers, which you don’t see every day. For the most part the metalheads were outbidding the art crowd.”

Hurricane Emily is second strike for Jamaica

Posted by: in Uncategorized
10
Oct

Monday, July 18, 2005

The outer bands of the Category 4 storm Hurricane Emily started to affect Jamaica shortly before 8:00am Saturday. Increasing winds and rain swept the island nation throughout the afternoon as the eye of the storm passed 100 miles off the southern coast. Utility poles were downed and storm debris closed the seaside highway to the international airport. Other roads were reported closed as well.

While islanders did not get through the two storms unscathed, and 4 people were left dead, the Land and Environment Minister Dean Peart told reporters, “Mercifully, Jamaica was spared the worst”.

Buses were sent by officials to southern coastal areas to evacuate residents from the flood prone region, but most refused to leave and preferred to ride it out beside 8 foot waves that pounded areas of the coast line. Wind gusts of 155 mph doubled over palm trees in the capital city of Kingston.

At a southern penninsula seaside fishing villiage, Port Royal residents boarded up and prepared for the worst again, as surfers gathered nearby to take on the challenge of 15 to 18 foot waves. “If I’m going to die, it’s going to be right here,” said a local resident Gordon Murphy, 39, with his 2-year-old son. “What’s next?” he joked, “[Hurricane] Franklin?”

Many shops and businesses stayed open as long as they could, classifying it as another inconvenience despite its near Category 5 strength. Instead of the possible disaster that many prepared for, by late afternoon, Emily had all but disappeared. Light scattered showers in some areas of the island were the only remnant, as residents went about their lives after the second hurricane scare in as many weeks.

Supplies that many stocked for Dennis and Emily may yet be put to use. Many wonder what storms are yet to come. Authorities say this will be one of the most active hurricane seasons in history. Emily was the strongest and earliest to form this year since records, dating back to 1860, have been kept.

Earlier, Emily stuck Grenada on Thursday with nearly a direct hit. A national disaster was called the day after its winds ravaged hundreds of homes and killed at least one man.

Musician Prince dies aged 57

Posted by: in Uncategorized
10
Oct

Friday, April 22, 2016

Musician Prince died at home in Minnesota, United States yesterday.

A publicist confirmed his death.”It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson has died”.

A statement from the Carver County Sheriff’s office said Prince was found in an elevator at his home at Paisley Park Studio. Emergency workers were called, but after they were unable to revive him, he was pronounced dead.

Following Prince’s first album in 1978, he came to prominence in the 1980s. His 1980s releases included 1999, Kiss, Purple Rain, and Sign o’ the Times. He went on to record more than 30 albums.During his career he sold more than 100 million records and had 47 songs reach the US Billboard top 100. Five of those songs, When Doves Cry, Kiss, Let’s Go Crazy, Cream, and Batdance, went to number one. The song When Doves Cry was number one for five weeks.

In 1984 Prince starred in the movie Purple Rain, which was based on his album. The movie’s song score won Prince an Academy Award for best original song score. Prince won seven Grammy awards and in 2004 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.He also wrote songs released successfully by other artists, such as Manic Monday released in 1986 by the Bangles and Nothing Compares 2 U released in 1990 by Sinéad O’Connor.

The Minnesota Star Tribune reported an autopsy will be conducted to determine Prince’s cause of death.

Thursday, February 17, 2005 RSPCA inspectors found about 500 cattle dead on a remote station in Western Australia. Water is being trucked in to care for another 2500 cattle on Windidda station, east of Wilun, which is leased to an Aboriginal corporation.

State Agriculture Minister Kim Chance says the propery was found abandoned and only two of the property’s 13 watering stations were working.

“The lease is owned by an aboriginal corporation (but) the precise of identity of the corporation is somewhat obscure,” Mr Chance said.

WA RSPCA spokesperson Kelly Oversby said they made the shocking discovery after an anonymous tip-off.

“Experienced inspectors have told us it is the worst case of animal cruelty they have ever seen,” Ms Overby said.

“As well as the cattle, brumbies, camels, dogs and kangaroos have all perished.”

Saturday, May 21, 2005

In an effort to ease complaints by the U.S. and Europe about a heavy influx of low priced Chinese goods, China will raise export tariffs on 74 categories of textile products in June. This follows plans from the U.S. to impose quotas on Chinese textiles and clothing.

Products likely to see an increase from the Chinese move include synthetic fiber shirts, trousers, knit shirts and blouses, cotton shirts, and combined cotton yarn. Last week, similar restrictions were imposed by the U.S. on cotton trousers, knit shirts, and underwear. Currently, a 2.5 cent charge per item is imposed; the new tariff will raise this to the equivalent of 12 cents per piece now. While this is a fourfold increase, it is not expected to affect consumer prices. Because of this, some doubt the tariff will have any effect on correcting the trade imbalance.

This move is in response to U.S. trade quotas imposed due to concerns that increased Chinese goods would put U.S. textile manufacturers out of business. According to Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, a textile industry group in the U.S., the move will preserve 10,000 U.S. jobs. The new U.S. trade quota will limit the growth of Chinese textile imports to 7.5 percent compared with shipments over the past year.

Prior to January 1, a global quota system helped regulate the trade. With the quota system gone, fears have arisen that a flood of Chinese goods could undercut U.S. competitiveness in the market. China is able to market its goods cheaply due to an artificially weak yuan. The U.S. Treasury criticized the China yuan policy as “highly distortionary”, posing a major risk to China’s economy itself and to global economic growth. They challenged China to revalue its currency to bring it to a level they believe will allow fairer competition between global manufacturers.

China has disputed the charges of the U.S. Treasury. Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said, “I believe they are not reasonable”.

Laura Jones, a representative of large retailers, also criticized the move, saying “These restrictions on imports from China will do absolutely nothing to help the U.S. textile industry — and the government knows it.”

China has seen a boom in economic growth in recent years due to growing trade surpluses with the West, but economists worry that the trade gap will cause longer term global economic problems. China’s textile and apparel exports are the most noteworthy example, with exports up over 1,000 percent in some categories this year and the rapid loss of marketshare and jobs by U.S. textile manufacturers.

Beginning in 1978, the Chinese economy has been transforming from a Soviet-style centrally planned economy to more of a free market style system, under the rigid political control of Communist Party of China.

To this end, the government has leveraged foreign trade to stimulate economic growth. The result has been a fourfold increase in GDP, making China the sixth largest economy in the world. By 2012 the People’s Republic of China may have the highest GDP in the world.

According to U.S. statistics, from 1999 to 2004 China’s trade surplus with the U.S. doubled to $170 billion. Wal-Mart is China’s seventh largest export partner, just ahead of the United Kingdom.

However, the gains from their “socialist market economy” have not been without problems. The Chinese leadership has often experienced the worst results of socialism and capitalism: bureaucracy, lassitude, corruption, and inflation. Inflation rates have been an on-going challenge, reaching as high as 17% in 1995.

Environmental deterioration is a longer-term threat to economic growth. In 1998, the World Health Organization reported that China had seven of the 10 most-polluted cities on Earth. Another concern among some economists is that China’s economy is over-heating, and due to its global economic expansion this could have major repercussions among other nations.

Typically, wages have been low and working conditions poor, with workers living in restrictive dormitories and working at boring factory jobs. However, recent labor shortages have started improving conditions, and raising the minimum wage towards the equivalent of 100-150 US dollars per month. The labor shortages are in part a result of a demographic trend caused by strict family planning.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Facebook hired a public relations firm to systematically discredit Google by paying two journalists to plant negative pieces in U.S. newspapers, leaked correspondence discloses. The new revelations are likely to increase tension between the two companies, which are already fierce rivals.

The social network has confirmed the validity of the leaked emails, seen by Wikinews, which suggest executives at the social networking giant hired Burson-Marsteller, a high profile PR and communications firm, to discredit Social Circle, a rival website run by Google. Burson-Marsteller then recruited two journalists — Jim Goldman and John Mercurio — to push editors at The Washington Post and USA Today to publish editorials criticising Social Circle over its privacy settings. The story was exposed after Burson-Marsteller approached a blogger to publish the propaganda, but the blogger posted the correspondence online.

Burson-Marsteller has been forced to apologize for taking on Facebook as a client, admitting the orders to discredit Google violated company policy. “The assignment on those terms should have been declined,” a spokesperson said. The revelations are likely to be incredibly damaging for the firm, who have represented a number of controversial clients in the past. Facebook, however, said the allegations against Google were valid, insisting there were genuine privacy concerns with Social Circle. Google has declined to comment on the issue.

Pelé cries as his son admits to marijuana addiction

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18
Sep

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

São Paulo, Brazil — Edson Cholbi Nascimento, also known as Edinho, son of the Brazilian former soccer player Pelé was arrested by Brazilian police. He is accused of involvement with drug traffic. He and another 17 persons according to local newspapers and O Estado de São Paulo were arrested on Monday during a operation of Denarc, the anti-drugs police department.

Pelé contacted the son at the police station. Very sad, with tears in his eyes Pele said that he got surprised when he received the news that his son was arrested because of drugs. During a press conference on Tuesday he said that he doesn’t understand why some people use drugs. “This must not be used as an excuse but you who accompanied my life since the beginning know of my fight against drugs, and you know my effort in making clear that this thing [drug] is not good for no human being”, he said.

Edinho admitted that he is addicted to marijuana, but denied any involvement in drug traffic or other criminal activities.

Edinho wrote a note and released it through his lawyer today. In the note Edinho said that he “had no disposition or control of his thoughts, everything in search of satisfaction in drug, marijuana”.

The note ends saying: “I realize how wrong and harmful is the way to drugs and I humbly recognize my situation as addicted and I ask help to everyone who loves me, my family, fans and forgive me because at some moment I became a not good example. Thank you, Edinho.”

According to the authorities Edinho is being indicted by association to drug traffic.

The police operation conducted by Denarc arrested until now 52 persons in São Paulo and Santos. The main suspect is Ronaldo Duarte Barsotti de Freitas, known as Naldinho. He is accused of drug traffic and according to police is involved in a dispute with another two criminal organizations: the Comando Vermelho (Red Command) from Rio de Janeiro and the PCC (Fist Command from Capital) from São Paulo. Nadinho and the enterpriser Clóvis Ribeiro who was also arrested are considered by Denarc director the biggest drug dealers from the state. Clovis is suspected of being involved with the FARC.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued proposed calorie labeling rules requiring most retail food vendors to display the calorie counts in items on their menus and menu boards. The proposed rules, issued Friday and expected to be finalized in 2012, would apply to most restaurants, snack bars, vending machines, coffee shops, drive-through restaurants, and convenience and grocery stores.

The US Congress required the rules in the health-care reform law passed in 2010. The rules proposed by the FDA must undergo a public comment period before they are finalized and take effect, said Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Director for Foods at the FDA.

The proposed regulations pertain to businesses devoting more than 50 percent of their floor space to the sale of food or that consider themselves restaurants, specifically food-selling chains with at least 20 stores nationally. Included are candy stores, bakeries, and ice-cream parlors.

The FDA’s proposed guidelines specify that chains post the calorie counts of foods and drinks on menus and menu boards or next to the food item, such as at a salad bar. The menu is to prominently exhibit the calorie content of each item in a way customers can see easily, giving them the same information packaged foods prepared at home currently provide. The information must be displayed in “clear and conspicuous” print and colors.

Giving consumers clear nutritional information makes it easier for them to choose healthier options that can help fight obesity and make us all healthier.

Many cities and states have passed laws requiring calorie labeling on menus, beginning with New York City in 2008. California implemented a similar law in January, although many counties are waiting for the release of the federal guidelines before they begin enforcement. Some fast-food chains there, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks, are displaying calorie counts on menus in some of their stores.

The rules are intended to curb the national obesity epidemic since, according to FDA estimates, one third of the calories people consume yearly come from food eaten out. In a statement issued yesterday, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services said, “Giving consumers clear nutritional information makes it easier for them to choose healthier options that can help fight obesity and make us all healthier.”

Excluded from the rules are businesses whose primary product is not food sales but that sell it, such as bowling alleys, airports and airplanes, amusement parks, hotels and movie theaters. Alcohol is also excluded.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Conservative Party of Canada leader Stephen Harper today made bold claims about the Canadian Arctic region at a campaign stop in Winnipeg, “The single most important duty of the federal government is to protect and defend our national sovereignty.” . The prime minister-hopeful stated, “There are new and disturbing reports of American nuclear submarines passing though Canadian waters without obtaining the permission of —or even notifying — the Canadian government.”

Harper promised a significant increase in military presence in the Canadian region, which has had notable soveriegnty disputes with the United States, Russia, Denmark and Norway.”You don’t defend national sovereignty with flags,” Harper said. “You need forces on the ground, ships in the sea, and proper surveillance.”

Among other promises, Harper stated he would station three armed naval heavy ice breakers in the area of Iqaluit with 500 regular force personnel, recruit 500 more Canadian rangers, and build a new army training center in the area of Cambridge Bay on the Northwest Passage.File:Stephen Harper voa.jpg

“As prime minister, I will make it clear to foreign governments — including the United States — that naval vessels traveling in Canadian territorial waters will require the consent of the government of Canada,” Harper stated.

The Conservative Party Website states this ““Canada First” Northern Strategy will increase surveillance, navy, army and air force presence”.

The Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservatives’ most powerful rival in the election, quickly posted a rebuttal on their website. They claim Stephen Harpers stated defense budget of $5.3(CAD) billion over 5 years is not enough to afford the two polar icebreakers, which the Liberal party claims will cost $3(CAD) billion with the party estimating an upkeep of $150(CAD) million per year. “Where does Mr. Harper plan to find another $1 billion?” the party asked in their rebuttal.

The Arctic may be an important issue in the future for Canadians, as scientists expect the fabled Northwest Passage of the Arctic to open up for year round shipping by 2050 as a result of global warming. According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, trade routes from Europe to the Far East could save 4000 km through the passage, as compared to the current routes through the Panama Canal.

Canada last flexed its muscle in the Arctic in 2004 in its most massive Arctic exercise ever, with six hundred personnel from the three services (army, air force, navy) involved in a large exercise in the Baffin Islands.

Canadians are scheduled to go to the polls on January 23, 2006 in an early election as a result of a non-confidence motion in parliament against the former ruling Liberal party.