American animator Jack Zander dies, aged 99

September 18th, 2018

Thursday, December 20, 2007File:Puss Get the Boot.jpg

Jack Zander, the animator whose career lasted from the “golden age” of theatrical animation into the 1980s, has died at the age of 99 on Monday, December 17.

Born in May of 1908, he helped animate the Tom and Jerry cartoons with William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, including Puss Gets the Boot (1940), The Night Before Christmas (1941), Fine Feathered Friend (1942), and Sufferin’ Cats (1943).

Zander was nominated for an Outstanding Animated Program Emmy in 1981 for Gnomes, and in 1984 he won the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists’ Golden Award.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh concedes electoral defeat

September 17th, 2018

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh yesterday conceded defeat to now-President Elect Adama Barrow.

Jammeh, 51, took power 22 years ago in a bloodless coup. He had claimed a billion-year mandate. Barrow, 51, is a property developer without political experience. According to the electoral commission yesterday, he won 263,515 votes, equating to 45.5%, while Jammeh won 36.7%, 212,099 votes. A third candidate accounted for 17.8%.

Jammeh is the nation’s second president since independence in 1965. In a public broadcast he hailed “the most transparent election in the whole world,” and congratulated Barrow on “a clear victory[…] You Gambians have decided.”

Born in Basse in 1965, Barrow spent several years working as a security guard in London. He returned home in 2006 and began property development, which he still does. He expressed disappointment he did not win by a larger margin.

Barrow represents a coalition of parties in an unprecedented co-operation. He said his first priority is to pick his cabinet, and has proposed a presidential two-term limit and promised financial stimulation. “It’s the people who have spoken. He cannot hang on,” he said. “We won the election clearly so there’s nothing he can do about it.”

Jammeh refused international observations of the election, banned protests following the result, and switched off the nation’s Internet access on the day of the vote. He pledged to work with Barrow and hand over power in January.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Democratic holdout agrees to support health care reform in US

September 14th, 2018

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A conservative Democratic United States senator has agreed to supply the key 60th vote needed for passage of a sweeping health care reform package. Senate Democrats have reached a breakthrough in their struggle to pass sweeping heath care reform legislation, lining up the 60 votes needed to overcome fierce Republican opposition. Senators met Saturday in Washington, D.C. during a driving snowstorm in a frenzied effort to move forward on President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

The spotlight was on moderate Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who had been the last holdout as Senate Democrats raced against the clock and against determined Republican opposition to pass their health care bill by their self-imposed deadline of December 25th, Christmas.

Change is never easy, but change is what is necessary in America today and and that is why I intend to vote for cloture, I intend to vote for cloture and for health care reform.

Nelson said he is now ready to vote for cloture, which would advance the bill. “Change is never easy, but change is what is necessary in America today and and that is why I intend to vote for cloture, I intend to vote for cloture and for health care reform,” he said.

Nelson said he decided to support the bill after winning new concessions from Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to limit the availability of abortions in insurance sold under the new legislation along with millions of dollars in Medicaid funding for Nebraska.

The legislation would extend health benefits to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and impose new regulations on the health insurance industry.

Senator Reid of Nevada has been working for months to win over one holdout Democratic senator after another, repeatedly altering the bill to satisfy different demands. Reid says reform is essential. “The broken system cannot continue and it will not continue. When President Obama signs this bill into law, we will officially end the era in which insurance companies win only when patients lose,” he said.

The broken system cannot continue and it will not continue. When President Obama signs this bill into law, we will officially end the era in which insurance companies win only when patients lose.

Nelson’s support should pave the way for Senate Democrats to win the first of a series of crucial procedural votes scheduled to begin at one o’clock in the morning on Monday and set to conclude — if everything goes smoothly for them — with final passage on Christmas Eve.

Republicans have been using a number of parliamentary procedures to delay action on the bill, including forcing a reading on the Senate floor Saturday of Reid’s 338-pages of last minute amendments. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky responded to the apparent Democratic breakthrough. “And Democrats are forcing a vote on it, as I indicated, over the weekend, counting on the fact that the American people are preoccupied with Christmas and not paying much attention to what they are doing,” he said.

The history that is being made here, make no mistake about it, the history that is being made here, is the ignoring of the will of the American people.

Republicans are unified in their opposition, saying the bill is too expensive and will not solve the problems with the current health care system. Senator McConnell dismissed claims by Democrats that the bill is historic. “The history that is being made here, make no mistake about it, the history that is being made here, is the ignoring of the will of the American people,” he said.

Senator John McCain of Arizona echoed those comments in the weekly Republican radio address saying, “Regrettably, there’s nothing in this legislation that effectively addresses the problem of health care hyperinflation. In fact, experts tell us the Democrat legislation makes matters worse.”

Democrats say they have been trying to reform the nation’s health care system for close to 70 years, ever since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in office. Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut was emotional as victory seemed within reach. “All we are trying to do is to guarantee that if you are a fellow citizen of ours, and you are struck with illness or a loved one is, that you will never again have that fear, that you will end up losing your home, your job, your retirement and your life savings because you have been afflicted with an illness through no fault of your own.”

If the Senate is able to pass a bill next week, it would be viewed as a major victory for President Obama. But the bill would still need to be reconciled with a health-care reform bill passed last month by the House of Representatives before the president could sign it into law next year.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai discharged from hospital

September 9th, 2018

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for education for girls, was discharged yesterday from the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, England after success in the first stage of her medical treatment.

In October, Yousafzai was shot by Taliban forces on a school bus in Mingora, Swat District, Pakistan. She was given emergency treatment in Pakistan and then flown to Britain for treatment at a specialist unit which deals with injured soldiers.

Dave Rosser, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust medical director, gave a statement about Yousafzai’s release from hospital: “Malala is a strong young woman and has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery. Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers. She will return to the hospital as an outpatient and our therapies team will continue to work with her at home to supervise her onward care.”

She is due to return to hospital in a few weeks for cranial reconstructive surgery.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

NASA sets launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery

September 9th, 2018

Saturday, March 7, 2009

After almost two months of delay, NASA has set March 11 as the launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery. On February 22, NASA had stated that they indefinitely delayed the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, which was originally scheduled for takeoff on February 12. Launch was then further delayed until February 25 before being delayed indefinitely on February 22. NASA cited the need for additional time to evaluate the shuttle’s hydrogen fuel flow control valves.

Liftoff is set for nighttime on Wednesday, March 11, at approximately 9:20 p.m. (EST) from Launch Complex 39A in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The official countdown to launch will commence Sunday, March 8.

“The team came through, worked hard and was efficient. It’s time now to step back and think of everything else we need to watch before launch on the 11th. There’s no better team than this one and I thank them for putting the right analysis together,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA.

NASA wanted to perform additional tests on the valves which control the amount of hydrogen fuel pumped into the external tank when the shuttle is taking off before making a decision to launch. When Space Shuttle Endeavour went into space in November 2008, one of the valves broke. NASA fears that if one breaks off on this mission, then it could damage the outside of the shuttle.

The current scheduled mission, STS-119, is set to fly the Integrated Truss Structure segment (“S” for starboard, the right side of the station, and “6” for its place at the very end of the starboard truss) and install the final set of power-generating solar arrays to the International Space Station. The arrays consist of two 115-foot-long arrays, for a total wing span of 240 feet, including the equipment that connects the two halves and allows them to twist as they track the sun. Altogether, the four sets of arrays can generate 84 to 120 kilowatts of electricity – enough to provide power for more than 40 average homes.

Commander Lee Archambault will lead Discovery’s crew of seven, along with Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

BT Global Services to double US revenues and cut costs

September 5th, 2018

Friday, September 15, 2006

BT Global Services this week laid out its vision for the next three years: its revenues to double in the USA, Japan, India and China, and £400m of annual savings, achieved through offshoring and slashing its procurement costs. £200m of this will come from a reduction in what it spends on technology from vendors on large systems integration projects.

CEO Andy Green admitted that BT had been slower than rivals such as IBM and Accenture to ramp up its offshore headcount. But he claimed that BT Global Services is thriving as the fastest-growing division within BT. He said that the division was outperforming its closest rivals, T-Systems, Orange Enterprise and AT&T Enterprise, which had all posted revenue declines for the most recent quarter. He said BT was fast becoming a familiar brand to businessmen in New York, Tokyo, Mumbai and Shanghai.

He disclosed a few revenue figures not revealed before. For the financial year ending March 2006, UK revenues rose just 2% to £5.5bn, while overseas revenues shot up 48% to £3.3bn. And of the £8.8bn total revenue, £1.6bn was captive work for its parent, while of the remaining £7.2bn, 18% came from the UK government sector and 17% from financial services. BT said it still harbours ambitions to conquer America, despite the failure of the ‘Concert‘ partnership with V in the 1990s.

In a separate story, BT announced it has chosen Chinese vendor ZTE to develop a dual-mode handset — 3G and DAB-IP — for launch by its BT Movio subsidiary next year. DAB-IP (in other words, IP over the DAB digital radio network) will enable BT Movio to broadcast four TV channels at acceptable quality to the handset.3G will enable video-on-demand, so that the users can specify what video clips or programmes they wish to watch. UK legislation specifies that no more than 30% of the DAB spectrum can be used for non-radio purposes, so BT is lobbying for more DAB spectrum to be released, to enable higher quality video and/or more TV channels.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Brazilian Landless Workers Movement invades city hall

September 5th, 2018

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

PARÁ, Brazil –According to local State Road Police, about 250 members of the Brazilian Landless Workers’ Movement called MST (Movimento dos Sem Terra, in Portuguese) blocked the PA-391 highway for about three hours and later invaded the City hall of Santa Bárbara do Pará, located at 50 km (31 mi) from Belém, Pará.

MST said they wanted to be received by the mayor Marise Andréa Barbosa Colares (PSDB). She was not available and the MST was received by the mayor-elect Ismael Rasp Rock (PMDB). There was not an agreement, and the MST has camped in front of the city hall. A new meeting is expected in coming days with the participation of the Incra (National Institute of Colonization and the Agrarian Reformation), a government institute.

MST demands the city hall issue a Certificate of Agreement regarding the dispossession of an area in Santa Bárbara do Pará which belongs to the Dendê do Pará S.A, a company of Pará, that according to Incra passes for dispossession process. In accordance with information passed for the cabinet of the superintendent, the document was required in September, but the city hall had not issued it.

This certificate requires the city hall to assume a series of responsibilities after installing housing in the area of the city, as well as providing education and medical assistance to those settled.

The MST is a MarxistMaoist inspired movement of agricultural workers in Brazil. According to MST, in 2003 there were about 632 MST camps in Brazil. MST say they fight for the Agrarian Reformation in Brazil. Some Brazilians have already protested against MST tactics, saying they are against the law and they are violent. Currently, MST receives help from the Brazilian government and donations from international organizations.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Australian state of Victoria swears in new cabinet

September 4th, 2018

Friday, August 3, 2007

At 11:20 a.m. in the Australian state of Victoria, the Governor David de Kretser started the ceremony for the swearing in of the new Brumby’s cabinet, attended by family and friends of the ministers. This comes a full week after the resignation of Steve Bracks from the top position, and his deputy John Thwaites.

The ministers and their portfolios are:

  • John Brumby has the role of Premier as well as the ministries of Multicultural Affairs and Veterans Affairs,
  • Deputy Premier Rob Hulls has the Industrial Relations and Racing,
  • Gavin Jennings Environment and Climate Change, and Innovation
  • Lynne Kosky has Public Transport and the Arts,
  • John Lenders is the new Treasurer,
  • Justin Madden retains his portfolio of Planning minister,
  • James Merlino takes on multiple roles of: Minister Assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs, Sport and Recreation and Youth Affairs
  • Maxine Morand Children and Early Childhood Development
  • Lisa Neville has Mental Health, Community Services and Senior Victorians,
  • Tim Pallas retains Roads and Ports,
  • Bronwyn Pike changes to Education,
  • Tony Robinson has the multiple portfolios of Gaming, Consumer Affairs and the Minister Assisting the Premier on Veterans Affairs,
  • Theo Theophanous retains Industry and trade and major projects, gains minister for Information Technology but loses Small Business,
  • Richard Wynne has Housing, Local Government and Aboriginal Affairs,
  • Peter Batchelor has Energy and Resources, and Community Development,
  • Bob Cameron retains Police and Emergency Services, and the Corrections portfolios,
  • Joe Helper retains both Agriculture, and Small Business,
  • Tim Holding has the Water, WorkCover, Finance, Tourism and Major Events and the TAC Ministries,
  • Jacinta Allan has the Regional and Rural Development, and Skills and Workforce Participation from the Education Ministry.
  • Daniel Andrews has Health

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Green Party refines ‘Buy Kiwi Made’ scheme

August 30th, 2018

Friday, August 11, 2006

The New Zealand Government has asked the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand to start refining its taxpayer funded ‘Buy Kiwi Made‘ scheme to also include products designed in New Zealand but manufactured elsewhere.

The Buy Kiwi Made scheme was a NZ$11 million post-election deal between the Labour Party and the Green Party.

Political experts say the reason for Labour to ask the Green party to refine the scheme was because it was afraid that companies, like clothes maker Icebreaker which manufactures its clothes outside of New Zealand would not be included.

Robert Linterman, Norsewear New Zealand CEO, said “The decision to include companies which manufacture overseas undermines the credibility of the entire campaign. We were assured that the purpose of Buy Kiwi Made was to encourage the production in New Zealand, help build up our manufacturing capability and create employment. It’s hard to see how classing Icebreaker – a company which does much of its processing and manufacturing in China – as Kiwi Made will help those achieve those aims. The Buy Kiwi Made campaign should support products which are actually Kiwi made – not just Kiwi designed.”

Sue Bradford, Green MP (Member of Parliament) who is responsible for Buy Kiwi Made scheme, said she is making her proposal clearer so such companies can be associated with it and that she is confident all sides will be pleased with the final proposal. “It is good to clarify the details because there is a lot of taxpayer’s money at stake,” Bradford said.

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions does not want the scheme to be extended to the changes. Ross Wilson, President of the Council of Trade Unions, said “It would not be in the interests of many ordinary companies and their staff. I plan to raise union concerns with government ministers.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Melbourne – Adelaide train services disrupted into next week following fatal crash

August 30th, 2018

Friday, May 26, 2006

Rail services between Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia are expected to be disrupted until early next week following a fatal crash between a truck and freight train in Lismore, Victoria 170 Km (105 miles) South-West of Melbourne.

The B-Double truck hit the side of a 1,375 metre long freight train at a level crossing at 7:13 a.m. AEST on Thursday in heavy fog, derailing two locomotives and 44 goods wagons. Victorian police said that the truck had been wedged beneath the wreckage of the train.

The driver of the truck, thought to be a 34-year-old man from Wedderburn in Victoria’s North-West died in the crash. The train driver and an observer escaped uninjured. Police said it could take a number of days to retrieve the truck driver’s body. “It could possibly take days to retrieve the body” a Victorian police spokesperson said.

Great Southern Railways, which operates “The Overland” passenger train service between Melbourne and Adelaide said it expected rail services to be disrupted up until early next week. The company will transfer passengers to bus services or allow them to claim a full refund.

The crash will also disrupt freight services between Melbourne and Adelaide.

Local residents and the Victorian opposition are blaming the crash on the level crossing itself, which has no booms, lights or bells.

Rob Dennis, a local resident said the level crossing is the cause of the crash, as it is not fitted with boom gates or flashing lights.

“And it’s a blind turn for anything in a large vehicle,” he said.

Terry Mulder, the opposition’s transport spokesperson said the Bracks Government should have spent part of the $750 million allocated to fast rail projects to upgrading level crossings in Victoria.

“The State Labor Government has wasted $750 million on fast rail projects,” Mr Mulder said.

Mr Mulder said that Victoria has 2,274 level crossings, 1,468 which have no warning systems in place.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)