Royal Caribbean International, which last week pledged at least $1 million in relief for quake-ravaged Haiti, this week defended its decision to continue cruise-ship calls on its private Labadee resort on the country’s northern coast, which was undamaged....
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The geology of Haiti is still unstable. A second earthquake / aftershock of 6.1 magnitude. (Panorama of Port-Au-Prince - click title thank you)
Afghan police officers search cars entering Kabul. In response to calls from the international community to do more to fight graft, drugs and cronyism, officials in the government of President Hamid Karzai unveiled a special task force that will investigate graft by senior officials.
SYLVIA HUIJanuary 21, 2010
LONDON: Half of all adults in Afghanistan paid at least one bribe to a public official over the course of a year, a report on the extraordinary depth of corruption there has found.
The United Nations research, published on Tuesday, found that Afghans paid nearly $US2.5 billion ($2.7 billion) in the 12- month period ending last northern autumn. This amounts to almost a quarter of the country's gross domestic product in bribes, used to cut through red tape or get help with poor service.
The average bribe was $US160, a hefty sum in a country with a per capita income of nearly $US500, said the report, which was based on interviews with thousands of people across Afghanistan.
Most of those surveyed said they could not expect a single public service without paying favours. Many felt it was ''normal'' to pay extra for services, better treatment or avoiding fines.
Bribes were requested and taken by politicians, prosecutors, tax officers - anyone with even the most modest level of power to yield, from the humblest clerk at the office in charge of driver's licences to the highest levels of government.Most of the payments went to police, judges and other local officials, but Afghans were also asked to bribe teachers in public schools and doctors and nurses in government hospitals....
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
Still, it’s critical that both countries maintain full transparency to allay each other’s suspicions, Gates told reporters following a meeting here with Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony. Gates appeared to discount the notion that India contribute troops to serve in Afghanistan.
“The kind of support – and extraordinary support – that India is providing in Afghanistan now is really ideal,” Gates said. “It is significant support,” about $1.3 billion for power, medicine, agriculture and education projects.
India is willing to do more, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna told Gates during meetings yesterday, a senior defense official who attended the sessions told reporters on background.
The offer, however, came with a caveat in light of sensitivities regarding neighboring Pakistan.
India will offer more assistance, but only “if ISAF, [the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan] and the United States think it would be helpful,” the official said Indian leaders told Gates.
“Let’s be honest with one another,” Gates told reporters today. “There are real suspicions in both India and Pakistan about what the other is doing in Afghanistan. And so I think each country focusing its efforts on development, on humanitarian assistant, perhaps in some limited areas of training – but with full transparency for each other in what they are doing – will allay these suspicions and frankly, create opportunities to provide bigger help for the Afghan government.”...
US Defense Chief Warns Al-Qaida Intends to Provoke India-Pakistan War (click title to entry - thank you)Steve Herman
..."I think it's not unreasonable to assume that Indian patience would be limited were there to be further attacks," he said.
The November 2008 attack on India's commercial capital, blamed on Lashkar-e-Taiba, killed more than 160 people.
Gates was asked by reporters whether the United States favors India sending troops to Afghanistan to assist the multi-national coalition battling insurgents there.
"Let's be honest with one another here. There are real suspicions in both India and Pakistan about what the other is doing in Afghanistan," he said.
Gates is requesting both New Delhi and Islamabad to be "fully transparent" with each other about their activities in Afghanistan to allay suspicions, adding they should focus on development aid, humanitarian assistance and training in limited areas....
SANAA (Reuters) - The leader of Yemeni Shi'ite rebels, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, is alive but seriously wounded and has entrusted a relative with leading the northern rebellion in his stead, a Yemeni official said on Tuesday. (click title to entry - thank you)
Thanks to the abandonment of banks of the consumers of the USA, the current DC administration is trying to salvage employability of Florida Workers.
There has been huge contracture of the USA economy because it was a 'bubble' and bloated in the first place. The Bush/Cheney Economy was never real. It was destined to fail.
The 'job market' has to be expanded into areas that will sustain people in REAL jobs.
This is going to take a while.
The Obama Administration is faced with either abandoning people to poverty and possibly hunger and soup kitchens, with increases in crime and a shrinking tax structure that will prevent sustainable police infrastructure OR the Obama Administration takes each and every local crisis and seeks to resolve it with as little trauma to people as possible.
What does any reasonable American believe has to be done here?
Localizing economies is extremely important. Small Businesses are important and increasing the 'tax footprint' of a local economy can bring STABILITY of the USA economy.
This is not 'pie in the sky' stuff. This is where the economic growth has to take place. Large companies will revolve around REAL manufacturing and not assembling hamburgers.
This is America's economic future, get your mind around it.
The Obama Administration literally has to go person to person to find a place for their economic viability. This time it is 600 workers that will receive replacement of abilities to viable and sustainable jobs.
ETA News Release: [01/15/2010]
Contact Name: Mike Trupo or Lina Garcia
Phone Number: (202) 693-3414 or x4661
Release Number: 10-0039-NAT
US Department of Labor announces grant exceeding $1.6 million to assist workers in Florida affected by mortgage industry layoffs
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a $1,661,173 grant to assist about 600 workers affected by layoffs at the Taylor, Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corp. and its subsidiary companies in north/central Florida.
"This grant will provide valuable retraining and job search assistance to help workers in Florida find jobs that pay supporting wages. That's an important step, as our nation's economic recovery will not be complete until displaced workers are able to reenter the workforce and get back on their feet," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
Awarded to the Citrus Levy Marion Regional Workforce Development Board Inc., this grant will be operated by the Withlacoochee Workforce Development Authority Inc. It will provide affected workers with access to dislocated worker services. These services may include skills assessment, basic skills training, individual career counseling and occupational skills training.
The Citrus Levy Marion Regional Workforce Development Board Inc. plans to prepare many of these workers for occupations in the health care and information technology industries.
Layoffs at the Taylor, Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corp. and its subsidiary companies took place between Aug. 5 and Oct. 1, 2009.
Of the $1,661,173 announced today, $954,077 will be released initially. Additional funding up to the approved amount will be made available as the grantee demonstrates a continued need for assistance. The amount released today will be funded by resources made available for National Emergency Grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor's discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state's ability to meet specific guidelines. For more information, visit http://www.doleta.gov/NEG/.
South Florida Business Journal - by Brian Bandell
Chicago’s Corus Bank, which made a disastrous bet on condo towers in South Florida, was closed by federal regulators on Friday.
MB Financial Bank of Chicago is assuming Corus Bank’s 11 branches and $3 billion in cash and marketable securities. That would leave about $4 billion more in assets, which the FDIC plans to sell within 30 days in a private placement. Corus has about $1 billion of loans in South Florida.
There has been speculation that Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross might be interested in acquiring the Corus property. Ross is CEO of New York real estate giant Related Cos. and is also a business associate of Jorge Perez – the Miami condo king who runs Related Group....
Grizzlies, polar bears breeding because of climate change (click title to entry - thank you)
Posted Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:06am AEDT
Updated Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:10am AEDT
..."There's a lot of evidence now that with the climate changing, a lot of species will have range shifts which are changing in accordance with this," he said.
"We're seeing more and more evidence that different species are being forced together and are genetically quite similar and therefore it's not surprising that there's some inbreeding because of this."
The Anaktuvuk River Fire burns across the tundra Sept. 10, 2007.
Local Time: 8:16 AM AKST (GMT -09)
Lat/Lon: 58.8° N 137.0° W
Temperature :: 34 F
Conditions :: Overcast
Humidity :: 100%
Dew Point :: 34 F
Wind :: 8 mph from the NNW
Pressure :: 29.06 inches (Rising)
Visibility :: 0.8 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds :: Overcast 200 ft.
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation :: 33 ft.
11 Jan 2010: Report
The treeless ecosystem of mosses, lichens, and berry plants is giving way to shrub land and boreal forest. As scientists study the transformation, they are discovering that major warming-related events, including fires and the collapse of slopes due to melting permafrost, are leading to the loss of tundra in the Arctic.by Bill Sherwonit
During the summer of 2007, lightning strikes sparked five tundra fires on Alaska’s North Slope. Two of the fires — rare events north of the Arctic Circle — began in neighboring drainages, only a couple of days apart. That, in itself, might have gained the attention of tundra researchers. But the 2007 fire season would ultimately burn a record swath across the North Slope, while reshaping the way scientists think about the Arctic’s response to global warming.
Researchers have known for years that the Arctic landscape is being transformed by rising temperatures. Now, scientists are amassing growing evidence that major events precipitated by warming — such as fires and the collapse of slopes caused by melting permafrost — are leading to the loss of tundra in the Arctic. The cold, dry, and treeless ecosystem — characterized by an extremely short growing season; underlying layers of frozen soil, or permafrost; and grasses, sedges, mosses, lichens, and berry plants — will eventually be replaced by shrub lands and even boreal forest, scientists forecast....
Sir John Chilcot.
Geoff Hoon, former Defense Secretary to Tony Blair, had to run out all his political options before he was willing to make honest testimony to the 'goings on' regarding the Iraq invasion.
Britain was a strong partner to the USA in that invasion and the ONLY NATO ally willing to commit to it. There is much that has transpired in Britain in regard to the decision for Britain to back the USA under Bush when he abandoned Afghanistan for an oil war. The people of Britain are savvy enough to know the truth in this regard is more important than permitting genocidal idiots to live to continue to play politics.
In the video of this article, Geoff Hoon states in testimony he never was appraised of the intention of the Iraq invasion until it was too late to object.
"I never assumed we were in a position to unconditionally resorting to military action..."
Geoff Hoon was defence secretary from 1999 to 2005. He went on to hold other cabinet posts, but left the government in 2009. He testified on 19 January, less then two weeks after he launched an unsuccessful bid to persuade Labour MPs to hold a secret ballot on Gordon Brown's leadership....
Martha ran an honest campaign based on the issues. I like her and I believe the Dems made a great choice. She would have been an incredibly capable Senator in the spirit of Ted Kennedy. She maintained her base of 46+ percent. That is standard across the USA for Democrats. About 46 - 48% of the electorate are solidly Democratic.
The Republicans are puppets to Murdoch because their base is something like 33% at the very best. They need Murdoch.
Brown was not an honest candidate. He was highly manipulative and will continue to be. He'll play only to his image and will never make strong and effective policy statements. He is a populous position candidate.
He even denied his family until after he was elected and Mitt Romney didn't take the stage with him until after the election.
There isn't anything difficult to understand here. If a candidate's background and policies aren't visible to the voter they provide the focus for their concerns on that candidate.
Murdoch's media presence is all to easy to find imposed on this candidate. He isn't a good legislator and his record shows it. He has never been a successful legislator in the Massachusetts State Senate, he simply does what is popular and keeps enough of the independent constituency that elected him happy by his rhetoric. That is all this candidate was, was rhetoric. He made no policy states. He didn't have to play to the Republican base in Massachusetts, he needed to find a position that was 'sexy' to Independents.
He let the Murdoch media machine make him into someone that could do something no one else could.
When a political 'figure' plays only to their image in order to maintain their office, they are always at the whim of the media. It is easy to pull their strings.
End of discussion.