U.S. Congress passes CAFTA with 2 vote House margin

August 22nd, 2018

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) early morning Thursday, with a narrow vote of 217 in favor, 215 against. Voting was held open for an hour, 45 minutes past the House’s 15-minute voting rule as the President along with other supporters lobbied into the night.

The vote was so close, if one House member changed a “Yea” vote to a “Nay” vote, CAFTA would have failed in a 216-216 tie.

In tallying the votes, 25 Republicans, mostly from Midwest Corn Belt and Rust Belt states and the Southeast United States’s textile industrial belt, broke party line to vote against the measure. Two Republicans were present, but refused to vote.

The Democrats presented a more united front. All but 15 Democrats present voted against the treaty. Independent House members, who usually vote with the Democrats also voted against the measure.

Supporters of the measure include President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Opponents included most House Democrats.

The trade agreement already passed the Senate in June. President Bush has said he will sign it into law.

DR-CAFTA encompasses the following components:

  • Services: all public services are to be open to private investment.
  • Investment: governments promise to grant ironclad guarantees to foreign investment.
  • Government procurement: All government purchases must be open to transnational bids.
  • Market access: governments pledge to reduce and eventually to eliminate tariffs and other measures that protect domestic products.
  • Agriculture: duty-free import and elimination of subsidies on agricultural products.
  • Intellectual property rights: privatization of and monopoly over technological know-how.
  • Antidumping rules, subsidies and countervailing rights: governments commit to phase out protectionist barriers in all sectors.
  • Competition policy: the dismantling of national monopolies.
  • Dispute resolution: the right of transnationals to sue countries in private international courts.
  • Environmental protection: the enforcement of environmental laws and improvement of the environment.
  • Labor standards: the enforcement of the International Labour Organization‘s core labor standards.
  • Transparency: the reduction of government corruption.
  • Test-Data Exclusivity for pharmaceutical corporations

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What Is Meditation How To Meditate

August 21st, 2018

What is meditation – how to meditate

by

Knut Holt

Meditation is a group of mental training techniques .You can use meditation to improve mental health and capacities, and also to help improve the physical health. Some of these techniques are very simple, so you can learn them from a book or an article; others require guidance by a qualified meditation teacher.

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WHAT IS MEDITATION Most techniques called meditation include these components: 1. You sit or lie in a relaxed position. 2. You breathe regularly. You breathe in deep enough to get enough oxygen. When you breathe out, you relax your muscles so that your lungs are well emptied, but without straining. 3. You stop thinking about everyday problems and matters. 4. You concentrate your thoughts upon some sound, some word you repeat, some image, some abstract concept or some feeling. Your whole attention should be pointed at the object you have chosen to concentrate upon. 5. If some foreign thoughts creep in, you just stop this foreign thought, and go back to the object of meditation. The different meditation techniques differ according to the degree of concentration, and how foreign thoughts are handled. By some techniques, the objective is to concentrate so intensely that no foreign thoughts occur at all. In other techniques, the concentration is more relaxed so that foreign thoughts easily pop up. When these foreign thoughts are discovered, one stops these and goes back to the pure meditation in a relaxed manner. Thoughts coming up, will often be about things you have forgotten or suppressed, and allow you to rediscover hidden memory material. This rediscovery will have a psychotherapeutic effect. THE EFFECTS OF MEDITATION Meditation has the following effects: 1. Meditation will give you rest and recreation. 2. You learn to relax. 3. You learn to concentrate better on problem solving. 4. Meditation often has a good effect upon the blood pressure. 5. Meditation has beneficial effects upon inner body processes, like circulation, respiration and digestion. 6. Regular meditation will have a psychotherapeutically effect. 7. Regular meditation will facilitate the immune system. 8. Meditation is usually pleacent. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HYPNOSIS AND MEDITATION Hypnosis may have some of the same relaxing and psychotherapeutic effects as meditation. However, when you meditate you are in control yourself; by hypnosis you let some other person or some mechanical device control you. Also hypnosis will not have a training effect upon the ability to concentrate. A SIMPLE FORM OF MEDITATION Here is a simple form of meditation: 1. Sit in a good chair in a comfortable position. 2. Relax all your muscles as well as you can. 3. Stop thinking about anything, or at least try not to think about anything. 4. Breath out, relaxing all the muscles in your breathing apparatus. 5. Repeat the following in 10 – 20 minutes: — Breath in so deep that you feel you get enough oxygen. — Breath out, relaxing your chest and diaphragm completely. — Every time you breathe out, think the word “one” or another simple word inside yourself. You should think the word in a prolonged manner, and so that you hear it inside you, but you should try to avoid using your mouth or voice. 6. If foreign thoughts come in, just stop these thoughts in a relaxed manner, and keep on concentrating upon the breathing and the word you repeat. As you proceed through this meditation, you should feel steadily more relaxed in your mind and body, feel that you breathe steadily more effectively, and that the blood circulation throughout your body gets more efficient. You may also feel an increasing mental pleasure throughout the meditation. THE EFFECTS OF MEDITATION UPON DISEASES As any kind of training, meditation may be exaggerated so that you get tired and worn out. Therefore you should not meditate so long or so concentrated that you feel tired or mentally emptied. Meditation may sometimes give problems for people suffering from mental diseases, epilepsy, serious heart problems or neurological diseases. On the other hand, meditation may be of help in the treatment of these and other conditions. People suffering from such conditions should check out what effects the different kinds of meditation have on their own kind of health problems, before beginning to practise meditation, and be cautious if they choose to begin to meditate. It may be wise to learn meditation from an experienced teacher, psychologist or health worker that use meditation as a treatment module for the actual disease.

Knut Holt is an internet consultant and marketer focusing on health items. Please go here to find anti-aging supplements, medicines against acne, eczema, scars, wrinkles, other skin problems and natural medicines against many common diseases.—

http://www.panteraconsulting.com/salg2.htm —Free to reprint with the author’s name and link.

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What is meditation – how to meditate

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Viktor Schreckengost dies at 101

August 20th, 2018

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Viktor Schreckengost, the father of industrial design and creator of the Jazz Bowl, an iconic piece of Jazz Age art designed for Eleanor Roosevelt during his association with Cowan Pottery died yesterday. He was 101.

Schreckengost was born on June 26, 1906 in Sebring, Ohio, United States.

Schreckengost’s peers included the far more famous designers Raymond Loewy and Norman Bel Geddes.

In 2000, the Cleveland Museum of Art curated the first ever retrospective of Schreckengost’s work. Stunning in scope, the exhibition included sculpture, pottery, dinnerware, drawings, and paintings.

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Former Russian spy Litvinenko dies, radioactive poisoning suspected

August 20th, 2018

Friday, November 24, 2006

Mr Alexander Litvinenko, reputed to have been an Ex-Russian spy who had defected to Britain, died last night in mysterious circumstances. He had alleged many associations between people in high places and organised international crime, implying that President Putin and Romano Prodi among others had been involved personally. He had sought political asylum in UK in 2000 and became a naturalised citizen in October this year, just weeks before his death.

Mr Litvinenko was said to have been investigating the shooting of Russian journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya, a well-known critic of Russian activities in Chechnya, in her apartment in Moscow October 7, 2006. It is reported that he had met two Russians in an hotel room, one said to be former member of the KGB in conneciton with the affair and he went on to meet Mario Scaramella at a sushi bar in Piccadilly where some papers were exchanged. Some hours after this he was taken ill.

Mr Litvinenko was admitted to Barnet General Hospital, north London on November 1, 2006 complaining of feeling sick. By November 11, he was said to be suffering from serious poisoning. A week later he was transferred to University College Hospital in central London. A week later he was said to have been poisoned by ingesting thallium, once used in rat poison, but, in the opinion of some doctors, there were signs of radioactive poisoning, including loss of weight and shedding of hair. Various explanations of his condition were offered. Last night he suffered a heart attack, after having left a message blaming President Putin for having him killed.

The radioactive isotope polonium-210 was found in his blood and urine as reported by the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency. The post-mortem was cancelled. Subsequently the Agency examined conditions in the hospitals in which Mr Litvinenko has been treated. Police visited the Itsu sushi restaurant in Piccadilly, his home in Muswell Hill and the Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square where the meeting on November 1 had been held. Traces of radiocactivity were found in all three places. It is speculated that the polonium was probably eaten by Litvinenko as a substance that could be combined with a salt-like substance, such as polonium nitrate.

It was reported that a meeting had been held in Cabinet Office Briefing Room A (COBRA) used for high level emergency planning and control, to consider the implications of these events. The Foreign Office asked Moscow for a response to the accusation of Russian involvement and President Putin himself dismissed the allegations saying (before the cause of death had been established) that there was no proof of an unnatural death and that the case was being used as a “political provocation”.

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2008 Young Designers’ Exhibition to interact with the world

August 20th, 2018

Friday, May 16, 2008

2008 The 27th Young Designers’ Exhibition, opened on May 15 at the Taipei World Trade Center and closes Sunday May 18. It features participation by 87 academic groups in Taiwan and 20 groups from United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Australia to showcase various achievements in industrial design. It is recognized by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) as the largest show of student creations.

Besides the several design competitions, sponsors like International Forum Design (iF), EPSON, MUJI (in Japanese: ????, Mujirushi Ry?hin), Tsann Kuen Trans-nation Group will showcase different solutions for the design, creative, and cultural industries. The show’s organizer, Taiwan Design Center, also designed several on-site events like “On-line Graduate Season Show”, “Career Match-up”, “Creative and Cultural Showcase and Performance”, “Seminars of YODEX 2008” to link the actual exhibition with the on-line exhibition.

Besides of the previously announced “Wow! Taiwan Design Award”, winners from “2008 Young Designers’ Competition” and “2008 YODEX Interior Design Competition” were announced on Saturday, May 17.

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US Senate panel approves healthcare reform bill

August 19th, 2018

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The United States Senate Committee on Finance approved a proposal to reform health care on Tuesday, clearing it to move forward. The bill passed by a 14-9 vote, gaining support from the committee’s thirteen Democrats, and one Republican.

Senator Olympia Snowe was the only senator from the Republican party to back the bill. However, she said this might change as the bill moves through Congress.

There are many, many miles to go in this legislative journey

“There are many, many miles to go in this legislative journey. My vote today is my vote today. It doesn’t forecast what my vote will be tomorrow,” Snowe said.

President Barack Obama, who supports the bill as part of his effort to overhaul the country’s health care system, welcomed the committee’s vote. “We are closer than ever before to passing healthcare reform but we are not there yet. Now is not the time to pat ourselves on the back – now is the time to dig in further and get this done. In this final phase we should engage with each other with civility and seriousness that has brought us this far and that this subject deserves.”

The bill, which contains a ten-year plan with an estimated cost of US$829 billion, is aimed at lowering healthcare costs and increasing the affordability of insurance. Proponents will now seek to merge it with another bill from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus emphasized, “Americans want us to craft a package that will get the 60 votes needed to pass.” He argued that the Finance bill was the best candidate to attract needed the centrist support.

Critics, however, have said that the proposed plan is too costly, and will cause the government to interfere too much into the private healthcare sector.

“We can now see clearly that the bill continues its march leftward,” said the senior Republican on the committee, Senator Charles Grassley. “This bill is already moving on a slippery slope to more government control of healthcare.”

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Australia’s New South Wales Fire Brigades in crisis over bullying

August 19th, 2018

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The New South Wales Fire Brigades (NSWFB) in Australia has come under scrutiny as a report highlights the latest in a string of sexual abuse and harassment cases. The report also describes the humilation of new recruits in “bizarre” initiation rituals.

The independent investigation led by KPMG, a Swiss audit, taxation and advisory firm, found that less that 9% of those who claimed to have suffered from such abuse were said to be satisfied by the action taken by the NSWFB.

The investigation states that “there are still instances of bullying and harassment … and they are not being adequately addressed…Some degree of physical bullying and intimidation is present across all areas of the organization, including the administration directorates.”

Physical abuse in the NSWFB has become a critical issue, with most cases manifesting in the initation of new recruits. These initiations require them to remove their clothing and be subject to physical torment and irritation while being watched by other members of the brigade. It is estimated that more then 600 firefighters have witnessed or have experienced physical bullying in the past two years and that this is not exclusive to recruits, but also includes a number of superintendents and captains.

Abuse hot spots have also been identified, with the brigade’s Special Operations Unit having the highest percentage of such claims.

Despite statements made by the New South Wales Emergency Services Minister, Steve Whan, to take firm action against all involved, a “Boy’s Club” mentality continues to pervade the organization, leading to both abuses and the stripping of female firefighters of adequate support, with 26% of female firefights admit to experiencing sexual harassment while 36% have been subject to verbal assaults, obscene gestures and jokes.

It was also revealed that in the light of KMPG’s investigation that the Independent Commission Against Corruption will launch its own investigation into physical and sexual abuses in the NSWFB.

The KPMG report puts forward 14 recommendations which are to be utilised by the Emergency Services Ministry in the hope of reforming the culture within the NSWFB.

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Hubble Space Telescope’s main camera stops working

August 17th, 2018

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Hubble Space Telescope’s (HST) main camera has ceased to function.

The telescope revolutionized astronomy with its stunning pictures of the universe. It has three separate electronic cameras and a collection of filters and light dispersers that are used to photograph distant celestial objects. The third-generation instrument installed by a space shuttle crew in 2002 went off line Monday. Engineers are still working to rectify the situation, but have not yet identified the source of the problem. The other two cameras are being used while repair efforts on the main camera continue.

“It’s still off line today,” said Max Mutchler, an instruments specialist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

The cause of the main camera’s malfunction may be a faulty transistor or a disruption to the camera’s memory. “Both possibilities are things that can be resolved here on the ground,” said Ed Campion, a NASA spokesman at the Goddard Space Flight Center outside Washington, D.C. He also told the Associated Press Saturday that “he was hopeful the problem on the space-based telescope could be fixed from the ground.”

A solution could come as early as June 30.

NASA scientists say the studies being carried out with the Hubble will not be harmed, just the order reshuffled.

Hubble, launched in April 1990, is beginning to show its age. It needs new batteries and gyroscopes if it is to keep working beyond next year.

Early last year it was announced that Hubble would be cut from NASA’s 2006 fiscal year budget. However, there have been questions about the future of Hubble, with the famous space telescope in need of service and power if it is to continue to be active in 2007.

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Brazilian President Lula met Chavez, military and economic cooperation

August 17th, 2018

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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Oil in Alberta spill may be carcinogenic

August 17th, 2018

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The province of Alberta, Canada is considering legal action against Canadian National Railway for failing to warn that a derailment last week contaminated Wabamun Lake with a hazardous chemical.

The 700,000 litres of heavy Bunker C fuel oil that spilled into the lake asphyxiated birds and killed fish.

In addition, one of the ruptured tanker cars sent 70,000 liters of Imperial Pole Treating Oil into the lake. This oil is a yellow mixture of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and aliphatic hydrocarbons. Naphthalene, a component of this “very toxic material” is suspected of causing skin cancer if touched and lung or other cancers if inhaled.[1] Inhalation is promoted by actions that cause splashing or foaming. The mineral oil is used in connection with pentachlorophenol for preserving wooden utility poles.

Wabamun Lake is a popular summertime recreational area about 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Edmonton, Alberta.

The 766-megawatt Keephills power generating plant, one of 3 in Wabamun, was shut down because the coal-fired plant uses water from the lake. Edmonton’s health authority ordered people not to swim, boat or rescue animals in the lake and to stop using its water or any water from nearby wells for cooking, drinking, showering or brushing teeth. These warnings came 3 days after many residents, including children, had been wading into the oil slick without protective clothing to save wildlife injured by the spill and others had been routinely depending on the lakewater for home use. Why the alert was not issued sooner remains under investigation and may result in criminal charges. Canadian National Railway had been informed of the nature of the oil when it was loaded by Imperial Oil Ltd., Canada’s largest petroleum company. Imperial Oil is posting informational updates on a special website [2]. In addition The Wabamun Residents Committee has established an information website [3].

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