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Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend

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Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Local caterers get ready for big business, as almost three thousand fans converge on the David L. Lawrence Convention Center over the Independence Day weekend for the world’s largest ever furry convention, Anthrocon 2007.

Many hope to renew acquaintances, or meet new friends. Others look to buy from dealers and artists, or show off new artwork or costumes. Some attend to make money, or even learn a thing or two. But one thing unites them: They’re all there to have fun.

Contents

  • 1 Costly expansion
  • 2 Programming and entertainment
  • 3 Audience
  • 4 Art show and dealers
  • 5 Charity and volunteers
  • 6 Local impact
  • 7 Related news
  • 8 Sources

Wikinews interviews Jeremy Hanke, editor of MicroFilmmaker Magazine

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Wikinews interviews Jeremy Hanke, editor of MicroFilmmaker Magazine

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wikinews held an exclusive interview with Jeremy Hanke, editor of MicroFilmmaker Magazine. The magazine, which is free to read online, was started as a resource for the low budget moviemaker and features book, independent film, equipment and software reviews as well as articles on film distribution, special effects and lighting.

He says that one of the goals of the magazine is to “connect low-budget filmmakers via a feeling of community, as many…..often compete so viciously against one another in film festivals for coveted “shots” with Hollywood, that they can quickly forget their similarities.”

When asked if films made on a shoestring budget can really compete with those made for millions of dollars, he replied, “no…yes…and absolutely. Allow me to explain.” And so he does in the interview below.

Migrant workers in Dominos Pizza ‘slavery’

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Migrant workers in Dominos Pizza ‘slavery’

Friday, August 10, 2007

Eight Hungarian migrant workers sacked from a Domino’s Pizza franchise in Derby, England are said to have taken home virtually no pay for months because of illegal deductions.

The claim is refuted by the company who said in a statement “We have begun a thorough investigation during which we have scrutinised the franchisee’s employment practices. This took place with his full co-operation. The franchisee concerned is confident that he possesses the evidence required to refute these allegations. To the extent that we have been informed of all allegations and have reviewed all available evidence, we also believe this to be the case.”

The sacked workers are being supported in their claim by the workers union Unite. The union say the “there appeared to be a deliberate strategy of keeping the workers in debt to the company through a series of crippling deductions. The deductions included payments to cover the contract purchase of a car from their employer, insurance for the vehicle provided through their employer, and exorbitant rent for substandard accommodation, again provided through their employer. In addition, some workers had to pay fees of up to £180 for an “introduction” to the company. One worker earned just £5 in four months because of the constant and hefty deductions out of his wage packet. When the workers protested they were sacked.”

categories Uncategorized | February 13, 2019 | comments Comments (0)

U.S. President Obama’s farewell address focuses on accomplishment

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U.S. President Obama’s farewell address focuses on accomplishment

Thursday, January 12, 2017

United States President Barack Obama gave his official farewell address on Tuesday night from McCormick Place in Chicago, reflecting on personal and national accomplishments. This is expected to be his last major speech before officially handing the reins to president-elect Donald Trump on January 20.

“Its why GIs gave their lives at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima; Iraq and Afghanistan – and why men and women from Selma to Stonewall were prepared to give theirs as well.”

Obama’s speech was wide-ranging. He thanked his family and the nation, spoke of the need for unity, noted the country’s accomplishments and need for improvement in areas like education and civil rights, and spoke about the need for pride in U.S. accomplishments, citing milestones of U.S. history and of his presidency specifically. “It’s why GIs gave their lives at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima; Iraq and Afghanistan – and why men and women from Selma to Stonewall were prepared to give theirs as well.”

The president also addressed his country’s troubled history with race and racism, an issue many black citizens feel he has avoided. Despite this, Chauncy Devega of Salon described the president as “a role model of calm, cool reflective black masculinity: a man utterly at home in his own skin.” Obama described the concept of a post-racial U.S. “unrealistic” and particularly cited the need for reform in education and the criminal justice system and greater acceptance of scientific evidence, particularly evidence supporting action to counteract climate change.

However, publications including The Washington Post and Salon have given particular focus to another aspect of the president’s address: the country’s increasing political tensions and controversies involving access to news and information, both accurate and inaccurate. “We become so secure and our bubbles,” said Obama, “that we start accepting only information, whether it’s true or not, that fits our opinions instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there,” calling this trend “a third threat to our democracy.”

The Washington Post characterized Obama’s comment, “If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves,” as a “not-so-subtle jab” at the campaign tactics of President-elect Donald Trump. The Telegraph describes Obama’s warnings about the need to protect democracy as “a thinly veiled slight to the divisive rhetoric of Donald Trump’s election campaign, which included attacks on Muslims, the disabled, women and immigrants.” The president went on to call on the public to “reject the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties that make us one America. We weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive […] We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt and when we sit back and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them. It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy.”

Despite this, when the mention of Donald Trump brought boos from the crowd, Obama reiterated the importance of the long history of peaceful transfers of power from one president to the next: “No no no no no. […] I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me.” However, this was not unaccompanied by a call to action. Near the end of the speech, he insisted citizens dissatisfied with elected officials should “lace up your shoes, grab a clipboard, get some signatures and run for office yourself.”

Overall, the departing president’s speech focused on accomplishment, echoing the “Yes we can” slogan from his 2008 campaign: “If I have told you eight years ago, that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history. If I had told you, that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, take out the mastermind of 9/11[…] If I had told you that we would win a marriage equality and secure the right to health insurance for another twenty million of our fellow citizens. If I had told you all that, you might have said our sights were set a little too high. But that’s what we did.”

But when the crowd began shouting “Four more years! Four more years!” Obama, with a small laugh, answered, “I can’t do that.”

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Wikinews Shorts: April 1, 2007

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Wikinews Shorts: April 1, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Sunday, April 1, 2007.

Contents

  • 1 Nepal: Former rebels join government; elections set for June
  • 2 Russia bans foreigners from retail sales jobs
  • 3 Google TiSP April fools joke
  • 4 Iranian students protest outside British embassy in Tehran

Five former Maoist rebels were sworn in as ministers as part of a peace pact designed to end a decade-long insurgency that has killed more than 13,000 people in Nepal. The new government has announced assembly elections for late June, 2007. Thereafter, the new assembly is due to write a new constitution for the Himalayan nation.

Related news

  • “Nepal civil war ended by peace deal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006

Sources


Under a new law that went into effect today, non-Russians will not be allowed to work as salespeople in shops and markets. The ban was presented by Vladimir Putin as a way of improving employment prospects for Russian citizens. Russian media warns that it will increase the labor costs for retailers and drive up inflation. The Federal Migration Service, a government agency, reported nearly full compliance in Moscow.

Sources


Today, Sunday, Google “released” their Google TiSP service. This April Fool appears on their homepage as “New! Get FREE breakthrough broadband with Google TiSP (BETA).” This directs you to a page with details of Google’s TiSP package, a package that will give you broadband after you flush a fiber-optic cable down your toilet. Google issued a press release at midnight on April 1st, 2007.

Sources

External links


Between 100 and 200 students gathered outside the British embassy in Tehran to protest the alleged incursion into Iranian waters by the Royal Navy.The protesters threw rocks, chanted “Death to Britain” and called for the expulsion of the ambassador. Police prevented the protesters from entering the compound.

Sources


categories Uncategorized | February 12, 2019 | comments Comments (0)

Burma introduces military draft

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Burma introduces military draft

Thursday, January 13, 2011

According to an official document, the Burmese junta has passed a law dated November 4, 2010, requiring able-bodied persons over the age of 18 to register with local authorities. Furthermore, the law requires all men between the ages 18 and 45 as well as all women between 18 to 35 to join the army if they are called upon. Those who fail to report for military service could be imprisoned for three years, and face fines. Those who deliberately inflict injury upon themselves to avoid conscription could be imprisoned for up to five years, as well as fines. Civil servants, students, those serving prison terms, and those caring for an elderly parent are currently excluded from the draft, but they could be later called to serve. Totally exempt are members of religious orders, disabled persons, and married or divorced women with children.

The Democratic Voice of Burma claims that the law was passed just before the new parliament convened in order to avoid scrutiny of the practice by the new parliament. However, laws surrounding forcible conscription are murky and it is unclear how tightly the new law would be enforced.

The new law has faced stiff criticism by Burmese around the world. Aung Kyaw Zaw, a military analyst on the China-Burma border, said that there are pros and cons to the new law. “From the bad side, our country is already in deep poverty and the people barely have anything to eat. So [adopting such a law] may cause bigger negative effects on the country, which is already…struggling to feed the current army and carry the burden of military expenses.”

“On the plus side, civilians will learn how to use guns and be given a chance to understand the nature of the military. With the knowledge of how to handle weapons, the people will be able to rise up against the military – in a way they will be trained for the revolution.”

Many people see the draft as a threat to ethnic armed groups, who have been long embroiled in guerrilla conflicts with the government.

Burma is a military dictatorship and already has a standing army close to half a million, one of the biggest per capita in the world. Previously, professionals, including doctors, engineers and mechanics, between the ages of 18 and 44, and females between 18 to 33, were required to serve in the military for up to three years. However, the new law extends this to five years in case of a national emergency.

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Residential Home Improvement Contractors: Protect Yourself With These Tips

By Dan Fritschen

As I say so frequently that I’m beginning to bore myself, “most remodeling contractors are honest and reliable individuals who want to do quality work at a reasonable price.” Unfortunately, there are just enough contractors out there (or people who claim to be contractors) who take advantage of their customers that some reminders and tips are helpful if you want to do everything possible to protect yourself and your property during home improvement.

1. Don’t make assumptions about referrals. Exercise the same due diligence in evaluating and checking out all contractors. You might have friends or relatives, co-workers or neighbors referring you to contractors they have used with good results. Many people are also simply trusting recommendations from home improvement stores. Even when you are referred to a contractor, check him or her out before you sign a contract. Consumer Reports recently released findings from a study of people who hired contractors to whom they were referred by the two leading home improvement stores. Their survey indicated that people who used these referrals had more problems and were less satisfied with the work than people who used other contractors.

2. Build your remodeling budget in a way that creates a 20% cushion for unexpected surprises. Although the National Association of the Remodeling Industry suggests an allowance of 10% to 20%, I think you are safer to budget for a 20% cost overrun due to surprises. There are literally hundreds of things that can happen or that can be discovered once remodeling begins that will result in a cost overrun. It is not uncommon, for example to discover termite damage, dry rot, damage from leaking pipes, outdated wiring, etc. My point is that you should not use your entire budget on the basics. You will be much more comfortable with your budget if you leave room for surprises.

3. Get a contract don’t deal with a contractor on the basis of a proposal. If at all possible, get a contract that states a final price for the work, not an estimated cost that can go up or down. Your contract should be as specific as possible and as detailed as possible. It should also contain some kind of warranty for both the installation and the products or materials. You can also specify in the contract that all materials used will be new materials and meet the standards outlined in the contract. It should also state that any changes made during the construction period will be authorized only by written change orders that explain the difference in cost up front. If a contractor is unwilling to sign a contract stating the final price of the remodel, find another contractor.

4. Know what your insurance covers and take out a liability policy if necessary. It is usually easy to call your insurance agent and ask what is covered in terms of damage to your property, loss of property or possessions, and injury or death of a worker on your property during the construction period. You should also be certain that the contractor carries workman’s compensation insurance and liability insurance against injury or death of a worker and against damage or loss to your property or possessions. If you have any concerns about adequate coverage, discuss it with your insurance agent and consider taking out an additional policy during the construction period.

5. Monitor all liens placed against your property during construction (construction liens) by any contractor or subcontractor and ensure that they are removed when the project is finished and the contractor is paid in full. There are unscrupulous contractors who accept payment for a job and then do not remove the liens. In most of these cases, the homeowner is not aware of the lien until some time later when trying to sell the home or take out a loan for further improvements. When homeowners try to resolve the issue, the contractor claims that the bill or part of the bill was never paid and demands payment before removing the lien.

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6. Never do business with someone who comes to your door offering their services.

7. Never pay a contractor the entire bill up front. Work out a payment schedule that reflects work completed, and put the payment schedule in the contract.

8. Specify the quality of workmanship and the quality of materials to be used in the remodel or addition in the contract. Not only should you specify materials quality, you should check materials to ensure compliance with the terms of the contract as they are delivered to the construction site. Insist that the costs of all building materials be specified.

9. Include all job specifications in the contract. The more specific the description of the work to be done, the more protection you have. Job specifications state exactly what work is to be done, how it is to be done, the quality of materials to be used, when it is to be complete, and that it must pass inspection.

10. Check all licenses, permits, proof of insurance, and state or local certification before you hire a contractor or subcontractor. Check to be certain the contractor has or obtains all necessary permits, licenses and certificates. Check with issuing agencies or insurance companies to confirm that insurance and licenses are current.

11. Insist that the contractor show you proof of bond coverage for the total replacement cost of the project.

12. Be sure the contract includes the appropriate information about how conflicts will be resolved, when and how the contract will be or can be terminated, and that lien releases will be provided upon payment.

13. If you give the contractor a key to your home for use during the construction period, change the locks as soon as construction is completed.

14. Take the necessary steps to protect your property and your possessions. Put away all valuables in a safe place. Define the construction area for everyone tell your family not to enter the area during working hours; define limits of access to the rest of your home for the work crew. Protect your landscaping by covering shrubs if necessary and taking other steps to reduce accidental damage. Seal off the construction area from the rest of the house to confine dust, etc.

15. If you are remodeling an old home, make sure any work with potentially hazardous materials is done under the safest conditions and that hazardous materials are completely removed from the work site immediately and disposed of as instructed by your local government. Be sure any lead paint is properly removed; be sure any asbestos is removed and disposed of correctly; be sure old horse hair plaster (that could contain arsenic) is disposed of properly.

These tips will help you protect your family, your property and the people working on your remodeling project. Residential home improvement contractors should be very willing to cooperate on all of these points.

Copyright 2008 by ABCD Publishing

About the Author: Dan Fritschen, the remodel-or-move guru is President and Publisher at ABCD Publishing and operates three very popular websites —

remodelormove.com

, which helps homeowners make this important decision on the basis of knowledge and reliable cost estimates, and www.remodelestimates, which offers a variety of articles on various aspects of remodeling and remodeling cost estimate calculators, as well as referrals to great contractors throughout the nation, and

remodelingorganizer.com

). He is the author of three books on home remodeling.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=265948&ca=Advice

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China’s consumer prices rise to a three-year high in June as food prices soar 14.4 percent

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China’s consumer prices rise to a three-year high in June as food prices soar 14.4 percent

Monday, July 11, 2011

China’s National Bureau of Statistics released data Saturday showing that the consumer price index (CPI) for June climbed 6.4% from a year ago. That compares with a 5.5% rise in May, which was the largest since a 6.3% increase in July 2008. The major factor contributing to this figure was the steep rise in food prices which climbed 14.4%. Pork is a major food staple in China, and its price rose 65% from last year.

Analysts predicted that China’s inflation would peak in June, but particularly worrisome was the steep rise in the cost of food from the same time last year and up from 11.7% in May, indicating that Beijing may have difficulty in controlling inflation.

We must treat stabilising overall price levels as the top priority … and keep the direction of macro-economic adjustments unchanged.

China is the world’s second largest economy, having grown robustly in the last two years driven by a 2009 governmental stimulus package of $586 billion and low interest rates offered by state-owned banks. These were directed at promoting investments in real estate construction and government infrastructure projects, enabling China to lead the global recovery after the collapse of the U.S. mortgage market led to a worldwide recession.

Now Beijing is attempting to slow its fast pace of growth, fearful of inflation, by restricting bank lending and raising interest rates. High inflation along with high property values could hurt the economy. Since October, China’s Central Bank has raised interest rates five times.

Many factors are contributing to China’s inflation, including higher wages for migrant workers, increases in the prices of food and gasoline, as well as diminished output from crucial agricultural areas cause by droughts and flooding this spring.

Today, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao indicated that the war on inflation was continuing and controlling inflation was a top priority for the government, increasing expectations that interest rates would be further increased.

If they signal any comfort with inflation, and inflation is as high as it is now, they could create an environment in which people would panic, and they can have a real problem on their hands.

“We must treat stabilising overall price levels as the top priority of our macro-economic controls and keep the direction of macro-economic adjustments unchanged,” Wen said today in comments reported on the central government’s website. He had said in March that the ruling Communist Party is worried that a continuing rise in food prices could result in public protests.

Wen said the government would boost the supply of hogs to keep the price of pork stable, the price of pork being the major contributor to China’s food inflation index and the most closely watched item on it.

“If they signal any comfort with inflation, and inflation is as high as it is now, they could create an environment in which people would panic, and they can have a real problem on their hands,” said Tim Condon, Asian researcher at ING.

As markets worried about the news of Chinese inflation as well as concerns about the European debt crisis, oil dropped below US$95 a barrel today.

categories Uncategorized | February 10, 2019 | comments Comments (0)

Zimbabwe submits to popular pressure: foreign currencies now legal tender

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Zimbabwe submits to popular pressure: foreign currencies now legal tender

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Zimbabwe has decided to abandon its currency, the Zimbabwean dollar, in favour of other currencies.

Acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced today that Zimbabweans will be allowed to make transactions in other currencies along with the local currency. “In line with the prevailing practices by the general public, [the] government is therefore allowing the use of multiple foreign currencies for business transactions alongside the Zimbabwean dollar,” he said, adding that the Zimbabwean dollar will not be removed from circulation and would be used alongside other currencies.

This decision comes during the current period of hyperinflation, which has massively devalued the Zimbabwean dollar. Banknotes up to $100 trillion have been printed, despite the removal of ten zeroes from the currency last summer to try to make transactions easier. The official inflation rate, last updated in July 2008, was 231,000,000% a year, although independent estimates place the number as high as 6.5×10108, or 6.5 quindecillion novemdecillion, percent.

Up to now, only vendors with licenses were legally able to accept foreign currencies, although the practice was widespread — private businesses altogether refuse to accept the unstable Zimbabwean dollar.

Large sections of the workforce, including teachers and doctors, have gone on strike because hyperinflation rapidly renders their wages worthless. Representative groups said salaries, now measured in trillions of dollars, are insufficient to pay for even the bus fare to work.

Zimbabwe also faces other crises, including a cholera epidemic that has claimed the lives of over 3,000 people, according to statistics from the World Health Organisation.

[edit]

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Google launches web browser, dubbed Chrome

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Google launches web browser, dubbed Chrome

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google announced on Monday that it is launching an open source web browser, dubbed Chrome, to compete with browsers such as Internet Explorer from Microsoft, Firefox from Mozilla, and Safari from Apple.

In a post on the company’s official blog, Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management, and Linus Upson, an engineering director at Google said Chrome would represent a “fresh take on the browser” and that it believes Chrome “can add value for users and, at the same time, help drive innovation on the web.”

Google chose to announce the launch of Chrome through a comic book, through which the company hoped to help tell the “story” of the web browser. Google said the browser supports a new JavaScript engine more advanced than is currently available in competing web browsers on the Windows platform, and said it was “hard at work building versions” for Mac and Linux.

The browser is said to be based on the WebKit framework, although Google only went so far as to say that they had “used components from Apple’s WebKit and Mozilla’s Firefox” in the blog entry announcing Chrome.

categories Uncategorized | February 9, 2019 | comments Comments (0)