News briefs:May 31, 2010

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Posted on September 18th, 2018 by eE73Dg  |  No Comments »

Iraqi, American forces raid insurgent training camp, killing 85

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Iraqi and American forces raided a training camp in a remote, rural region 160 kilometers north of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing 85 insurgents. Seven Iraqi commandos were killed in the raid and six were injured, according to the US military.

In addition to placing the insurgent death toll at 85, the Iraqi government also said that between 500 and 700 Iraqi commandos took part in the raid.

After encountering heavy fire from an estimated 100 insurgents as they approached the camp, the Iraqi commandos called in support from the American 42nd Infantry Division, which sent in ground troops and attack helicopters. The battle began at approximately 11a.m. local time (0800 UTC) and lasted seven hours.

The training camp, located in a remote region near Lake Tharthar, which is adjacent to the predominantly Sunni Anbar and Salahuddin provinces, is the largest guerilla training camp that has been discovered in the war so far, according to Iraqi officials.

The insurgents had planned to attack the city of Samarra, located 55 kilometers east of the lake, with a large number of car bombs, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

Iraqi officials claimed that most of the insurgents came from Arab countries, though men from the Philippines were also among the deceased insurgents. They also claimed to have captured one Algerian.

“The Arab countries are sending fighters into Iraq because they want to destroy our democratic movement,” said General Rashid Flaiyeh, head of Iraqi police in Salahuddin Province, in an interview broadcast on state-run television network Al Iraqiya.

Posted on September 18th, 2018 by eE73Dg  |  No Comments »

Jindal signs Intelligent Design law

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal signed a controversial bill hailed by intelligent design supporters, such as the Discovery Institute, and Louisiana Family Forum, a creationist group. Critics of the bill, including several major science organizations, say it allows for the teaching of “creationism” in public schools.

The law, Louisiana Science Education Act, allows teachers to use “supplemental materials” when discussing evolution, but it does not state what the materials would be.

Citing the 1987 Supreme Court ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard, “Louisiana has a long and unfortunate history of trying to substitute dogma for science in classrooms,” said Reverend Barry W. Lynn, an executive director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. In addition, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Center for Science Education, and the Louisiana Coalition for Science opposed the bill arguing it would cause detriment to students’ education by letting in unapproved curriculum.

According to Reuters, Jindal’s office declined to comment on Friday.

Similar Academic Freedom bills have been promoted by the Discovery Institute in other states, but so far they have failed.

Posted on September 17th, 2018 by eE73Dg  |  No Comments »

Lazer Surgery For The Spine! What You Need To Know

Submitted by: Dale Anthony

“Laser” is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, a unique type of light energy produced by man. Laser light is different than visible light in its characteristics of collimation (all emitted light is almost perfectly parallel), coherent (light waves are all in phase in both time and space) and monochromatic (one specific wave length).

The principle of lasing phenomena is the ability of photons to stimulate the emission of other photons, each having the same wave length and direction of travel. When a photon passes close to an excited electron, the electron will become stimulated to emit a photon that is identical in both wave length, phase and spatial coherence to the impinging photon.

The laser that’s often employed in Lazer Surgery for the Spine is a 2.1 Holmium YAG Laser which remains today the most effective laser in orthopaedic surgery and specifically in arthroscopic and endoscopic surgery.

Here are some of the conditions that Lazer Surgery for the Spine may help with:

Spinal fusion

– the surgical joining of two more vertebrae together, usually with bone grafts and hardware. The resulting fused vertebrae are stable but immobile. Spinal fusion is used as a treatment for spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, herniated discs, and spinal stenosis.

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Spinal stenosis

– the narrowing of the spinal canal (through which the spinal cord runs), often by the overgrowth of bone caused by osteoarthritis of the spine.

Herniated Disc

With age, the center of vertebral discs may start to lose water content, making the disc less effective as a cushion, causing displacement of the disc’s center (herniated or ruptured disc) through a crack in the outer layer. Most disc herniations occur in the bottom two discs of the lumbar spine, at and just below the waist. A herniated disc can press on a nerve root in the spine and may cause back pain or pain, numbness, tingling or weakness of the leg called “sciatica.” Also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, or herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP). Can also occur in the neck and rarely in the thoracic portion of the spine.

Spinal Stenosis

The narrowing of the spinal canal (through which the spinal cord runs), often by the overgrowth of bone caused by osteoarthritis of the spine

Degenerative Disc Disease

A catch-all term to describe degenerative changes in the disc(s) due to aging or wear and tear.

Failed Open Back Surgery

Self Explanatory

Radiculopathy

Impairment of a nerve root, usually causing radiating pain, numbness, tingling or muscle weakness that correspond to a specific nerve root.

Sciatica

Pain, numbness, tingling in the distribution of the sciatic nerve, which travels from deep in the buttock down to the foot.

Spondylosis

A fracture (crack) in the “pars interarticularis” where the vertebral body and the posterior elements, protecting the nerves are joined, In about 5 percent of the adult population, there is a developmental crack in one of the vertebrae, usually at the point at which the lower (lumbar) part of the spine (L5) joins the tailbone (sacrum).

Spondylolisthesis Degenerative

When a vertebra slips forward over the vertebra below it as a result of arthritis of the small joints of the spine and degeneration of the discs.

Spondylolisthesis Isthmic

When a vertebra with a crack in the “pars interarticularis” where the vertebral body and the posterior elements, protecting the nerves are joined, slips forward over the vertebra below it. Spondylolisthesis can be graded as I, II, III or IV based on how far forward the vertebra has slipped.

Lazer Surgery for the Spine has shown to be effective in treating pain from sciatica, spinal fusion, headache, pinched nerve, back pain, neck pain, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, spinal instability, lumbar arthritis, degenerative disc disease, spondylosis, spondylolisthesis, failed back surgery syndrome, chronic back pain, radiculopathy and many other conditions that can cause severe back pain.

About the Author: At last! An amazing discovery proven to eliminate your worst-case of back pain almost instantly! We will show you how to use a simple procedure that decompresses the spine and ends your chronic back pain in seconds.

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Source:

isnare.com

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Posted on September 17th, 2018 by eE73Dg  |  No Comments »

CN Health & Safety Plan planned to be cancelled

Monday, August 29, 2005

On July 18, 2005 CN Rail notified the CAW that they intend to cancel the CN-CAW previously Negotiated Health & Safety Plan. The CAW will be going to arbitration this fall to address the issue. The CAW has asked that employees notify their Health and Safety Rep about any safety concerns at the work place.

One terminal has lost 5-6 full-time positions. CN Rail used to have part-time positions filled as well, but at this time there are no part-time employees to cover work if a full-time employee is absent. Overtime is necessary to keep the trains running on time. Intermodal traffic goes up, but staff goes down. CN Rail expects the trains to go out on time, and in a safe condition, but staff is overworked, because there are not enough of them. In fact, one worker noticed that most of the rail cars that contained 40 foot overseas containers did not have their loading guides in place. Trains are not allowed to go out without these guides placed into the cars (the guides stop the loads from swaying from side to side in the cars), important for safety with double stacked containers, but it seems that in this case the lack of employees forced the train to leave without them.

Some recent derailments have come to the attention of the media and politicians.

On August 3rd 2005 there was a derailment in Wabamun Lake Alberta that spilled toxins into the lake. 2 days later there was a derailment in Cheakamus River near Squamish BC. Both derailments spilled hazardous materials into the water. Many are saying that CN took too long to notify people of the toxic spills.

The Conductor on each train carries with him the shipping manifest with him and has access to that information at all times. Almost any CN terminal that has a clerk working at it with access to the CN Intranet can get this information within minutes.

CTV news has said that this is the 5th derailment for CN this month.

Posted on September 14th, 2018 by eE73Dg  |  No Comments »

Pakistani parliament passes bill for transgender rights

Friday, May 11, 2018

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s parliament passed a bill at Islamabad’s National Assembly which granted transgender people various civil rights. The bill, “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act”, which was presented by Pakistan Peoples Party’s lawmaker Naveed Qamar, was approved by the senate in March, and now awaits signature of the president Mamnoon Hussain.

The bill ensures people have the right to identify themselves as male, female or as “third gender”, also known as khawaja sira in Pakistan. This identity choice is to be reflected in the National Database and Registration Authority, as well as other official documents like passports and driving licence.

Per the bill, transgender people can now cast votes, run for election, have the right to assemble, and can obtain loans for business startups. They are also eligible to inherit property per their identified gender. Transgender people are to be no longer discriminated at school, working place, for medical services, public transportation facilities, by their employers, or at private business. Separate confinement areas, jails and prisons are to be established for transgenders. Anyone found guilty of forcing transgenders to beg is to face a six-month prison term as well as 50 thousand rupees fine.

The legislation was sent to and later approved by the Council of Islamic Ideology, a government advisory body. Lahore-based activist Mehlab Jameel, who was involved in writing the bill, said the Council of Islamic Ideology “appreciated that the bill included directions on inheritance in accordance with Shari’a” law.

Last year, transgenders were included for the census count for the first time. Mehlab Jameel said, “the definition of ‘transgender’ […] was basically based on genitals” in the initial draft of the bill, written last year.

Speaking to National Public Radio, Jameel said, “This kind of development is not only unprecedented in Pakistani history, but it’s one of the most progressive laws in the whole world.” Human Rights Watch has reported at least four deaths of transgenders in the country since the beginning of 2018, and at least 57 transgenders were killed in Pakistan since 2015. Pakistan’s —reportedly— first transgender news anchor and activist Marvia Malik told Images the transgenders “are forced to dance and beg because they have no other means to make ends meet.” “My trans friends who have masters degrees don’t have jobs which is why they end up on streets or become sex workers”, Malik added.

The draft for the policy to implement this bill is not yet prepared. From the date the bill was approved, President Hussain has ten days to sign the bill or reject it.

Posted on September 14th, 2018 by eE73Dg  |  No Comments »

Interview with US political activist and philosopher Noam Chomsky

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Noam Chomsky is a professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Linguistics and Philosophy. At the age of 40 he was credited with revolutionizing the field of modern linguistics. He was one of the first opponents of the Vietnam War, and is a self described Libertarian Socialist. At age 80 he continues to write books; his latest book, Hegemony or Survival, was a bestseller in non-fiction. According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index Professor Chomsky is the eighth most cited scholar of all time.

On March 13, Professor Chomsky sat down with Michael Dranove for an interview in his MIT office in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

((Michael Dranove)) I just wanted to know if you had any thoughts on recent NATO actions and the protests coming up at the 60th NATO conference, I know you’re speaking at the counter-conference.

Could be I give so many talks I can’t remember (laughs).

On the NATO conference, well I mean the obvious question is why should NATO exist? In fact you can ask questions about why it should ever have existed, but now why should it exist. I mean the theory was, whether you believe it or not, that it would be a defensive alliance against potential Soviet aggression, that’s the basic doctrine. Well there’s no defense against Soviet aggression, so whether you believe that doctrine or not that’s gone.

When the Soviet Union collapsed there had been an agreement, a recent agreement, between Gorbachev and the U.S government and the first Bush administration. The agreement was that Gorbachev agreed to a quite remarkable concession: he agreed to let a united Germany join the NATO military alliance. Now it is remarkable in the light of history, the history of the past century, Germany alone had virtually destroyed Russia, twice, and Germany backed by a hostile military alliance, centered in the most phenomenal military power in history, that’s a real threat. Nevertheless he agreed, but there was a quid pro quo, namely that NATO should not expand to the east, so Russia would at least have a kind of security zone. And George Bush and James Baker, secretary of state, agreed that NATO would not expand one inch to the east. Gorbachev also proposed a nuclear free weapons zone in the region, but the U.S wouldn’t consider that.

Okay, so that was the basis on which then shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed. Well, Clinton came into office what did he do? Well one of the first things he did was to back down on the promise of not expanding NATO to the east. Well that’s a significant threat to the Soviet Union, to Russia now that there was no longer any Soviet Union, it was a significant threat to Russia and not surprisingly they responded by beefing up their offensive capacity, not much but some. So they rescinded their pledge not to use nuclear weapons on first strike, NATO had never rescinded it, but they had and started some remilitarization. With Bush, the aggressive militarism of the Bush administration, as predicted, induced Russia to extend further its offensive military capacity; it’s still going on right now. When Bush proposed the missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, Poland and Czechoslovakia, it was a real provocation to the Soviet Union. I mean that was discussed in U.S arms control journals, that they would have to regard as a potential threat to their strategic deterrent, meaning as a first strike weapon. And the claim was that it had to do with Iranian missiles, but forget about that.

Why should we even be debating NATO, is there any reason why it should exist?

Take say on Obama, Obama’s national security advisor James Jones former Marine commandant is on record of favoring expansion of NATO to the south and the east, further expansion of NATO, and also making it an intervention force. And the head of NATO, Hoop Scheffer, he has explained that NATO must take on responsibility for ensuring the security of pipelines and sea lanes, that is NATO must be a guarantor of energy supplies for the West. Well that’s kind of an unending war, so do we want NATO to exist, do we want there to be a Western military alliance that carries out these activities, with no pretense of defense? Well I think that’s a pretty good question; I don’t see why it should, I mean there happens to be no other military alliance remotely comparable — if there happened to be one I’d be opposed to that too. So I think the first question is, what is this all about, why should we even be debating NATO, is there any reason why it should exist?

((Michael Dranove)) We’ve seen mass strikes all around the world, in countries that we wouldn’t expect it. Do think this is a revival of the Left in the West? Or do you think it’s nothing?

It’s really hard to tell. I mean there’s certainly signs of it, and in the United States too, in fact we had a sit down strike in the United States not long ago, which is a very militant labor action. Sit down strikes which began at a significant level in the 1930’s were very threatening to management and ownership, because the sit down strike is one step before workers taking over the factory and running it and kicking out the management, and probably doing a better job. So that’s a frightening idea, and police were called in and so on. Well we just had one in the United States at the Republic Windows and Doors Factory, it’s hard to know, I mean these things are just hard to predict, they may take off, and they may take on a broader scope, they may fizzle away or be diverted.

((Michael Dranove)) Obama has said he’s going to halve the budget. Do you think it’s a little reminiscent of Clinton right before he decided to institute welfare reform, basically destroying half of welfare, do you think Obama is going to take the same course?

There’s nothing much in his budget to suggest otherwise, I mean for example, he didn’t really say much about it, about the welfare system, but he did indicate that they are going to have to reconsider Social Security. Well there’s nothing much about social security that needs reconsideration, it’s in pretty good financial shape, probably as good as it’s been in its history, it’s pretty well guaranteed for decades in advance. As long as any of the famous baby boomers are around social Security will be completely adequate. So its not for them, contrary to what’s being said. If there is a long term problem, which there probably is, there are minor adjustments that could take care of things.

So why bring up Social Security at all? If it’s an issue at all it’s a very minor one. I suspect the reason for bringing it up is, Social Security is regarded as a real threat by power centers, not because of what it does, very efficient low administrative costs, but for two reasons. One reason is that it helps the wrong people. It helps mostly poor people and disabled people and so on, so that’s kind of already wrong, even though it has a regressive tax. But I think a deeper reason is that social security is based on an idea that power centers find extremely disturbing, namely solidarity, concern for others, community, and so on.

If people have a commitment to solidarity, mutual aid, support, and so on, that’s dangerous because that could lead to concern for other things.

The fundamental idea of Social Security is that we care about whether the disabled widow across town has food to eat. And that kind of idea has to be driven out of people’s heads. If people have a commitment to solidarity, mutual aid, support, and so on, that’s dangerous because that could lead to concern for other things. Like, it’s well known, for example, that markets just don’t provide lots of options, which today are crucial options. So for example, markets today permit you to buy one brand of car or another. But a market doesn’t permit you to decide “I don’t want a car, I want a public transportation system”. That’s just not a choice made available on the market. And the same is true on a wide range of other issues of social significance, like whether to help the disabled widow across town. Okay, that’s what communities decide, that’s what democracy is about, that’s what social solidarity is about and mutual aid, and building institutions by people for the benefit of people. And that threatens the system of domination and control right at the heart, so there’s a constant attack on Social Security even though the pretexts aren’t worth paying attention to.

There are other questions on the budget; the budget is called redistributive, I mean, very marginally it is so, but the way it is redistributive to the extent that it is, is by slightly increasing the tax responsibility to the extremely wealthy. Top couple of percent, and the increase is very marginal, doesn’t get anywhere near where it was during the periods of high growth rate and so on. So that’s slightly redistributive, but there are other ways to be redistributive, which are more effective, for example allowing workers to unionize. It’s well known that where workers are allowed to unionize and most of them want to, that does lead to wages, better working conditions, benefits and so on, which is redistributive and also helps turn working people into more of a political force. And instead of being atomized and separated they’re working to together in principle, not that humans function so wonderfully, but at least it’s a move in that direction. And there is a potential legislation on the table that would help unionize, the Employee Free Choice Act. Which Obama has said he’s in favor of, but there’s nothing about it in the budget, in fact there’s nothing in the budget at all as far as I can tell about improving opportunities to unionize, which is an effective redistributive goal.

And there’s a debate right now, it happens to be in this morning’s paper if Obama’s being accused by Democrats, in fact particularly by Democrats, of taking on too much. Well actually he hasn’t taken on very much, the stimulus package; I mean anybody would have tried to work that out with a little variation. And the same with the bailouts which you can like or not, but any President is going to do it. What is claimed is that he’s adding on to it health care reform, which will be very expensive, another hundreds of billions of dollars, and it’s just not the time to do that. I mean, why would health care reform be more expensive? Well it depends which options you pick. If the healthcare reforms maintain the privatized system, yeah, it’s going to be very expensive because it’s a hopelessly inefficient system, it’s very costly, its administrative costs are far greater than Medicare, the government run system. So what that means is that he’s going to maintain a system which we know is inefficient, has poor outcomes, but is a great benefit to insurance companies, financial institutions, the pharmaceutical industry and so on. So it can save money, health care reform can be a method of deficit reduction. Namely by moving to an efficient system that provides health care to everyone, but that’s hardly talked about, its advocates are on the margins and its main advocates aren’t even included in the groups that are discussing it.

And if you look through it case after case there are a lot of questions like that. I mean, take unionization again, this isn’t in the budget but take an example. Obama, a couple of weeks ago, wanted to make a gesture to show his solidarity with the labor movement, which workers, well that’s different (chuckles) with the workers not the labor movement. And he went to go visit an industrial plant in Illinois, the plant was owned by Caterpillar. There was some protest over that, by human rights groups, church groups, and others because of Caterpillar’s really brutal role in destroying what’s left of Palestine. These were real weapons of mass destruction, so there were protests but he went anyway. However, there was a much deeper issue which hasn’t even been raised, which is a comment on our deep ideological indoctrination. I mean Caterpillar was the first industrial organization to resort to scabs, strikebreakers, to break a major strike. This was in the 1980’s, Reagan had already opened the doors with the air controllers, but this is the first in the manufacturing industry to do it. That hadn’t been done in generations. In fact, it was illegal in every industrial country except apartheid South Africa. But that was Caterpillar’s achievement helping to destroy a union by calling in scabs, and if you call in scabs forget about strikes, in other words, or any other labor action. Well that’s the plant Obama went to visit. It’s possible he didn’t know, because the level of indoctrination in our society is so profound that most people wouldn’t even know that. Still I think that it’s instructive, if you’re interested in doing something redistributive, you don’t go to a plant that made labor history by breaking the principle that you can’t break strikes with scabs.

((Michael Dranove)) I live out in Georgia, and a lot of people there are ultra-right wing Ron Paul Libertarians. They’re extremely cynical. Is there any way for people on the left to reach out to them?

I think what you have to do is ask, what makes them Ron Paul Libertarians? I don’t happen to think that makes a lot of sense, but nevertheless underlying it are feelings that do make sense. I mean the feeling for example that the government is our enemy. It’s a very widespread feeling, in fact, that’s been induced by propaganda as well.

So pretty soon it will be April 15th, and the people in your neighborhood are going to have to send in their income taxes. The way they’re going to look at it, and the way they’ve been trained to look at it is that there is some alien force, like maybe from Mars, that is stealing our hard earned money from us and giving it to the government. Okay, well, that would be true in a totalitarian state, but if you had a democratic society you’d look at it the other way around You’d say “great, it’s April 15th, we’re all going to contribute to implement the plans that we jointly decided on for the benefit of all of us.” But that idea is even more frightening than Social Security. It means that we would have a functioning democracy, and no center of concentrated power is ever going to want that, for perfectly obvious reasons. So yes there are efforts, and pretty successful efforts to get people to fear the government as their enemy, not to regard it as the collective population acting in terms of common goals that we’ve decided on which would be what have to happen in a democracy. And is to an extent what does happen in functioning democracies, like Bolivia, the poorest country in South America. It’s kind of what’s happening there more or less. But that’s very remote from what’s happening here.

Well I think Ron Paul supporters can be appealed to on these grounds, they’re also against military intervention, and we can ask “okay, why?” Is it just for their own security, do they want to be richer or something? I doubt it, I think people are concerned because they think we destroyed Iraq and so on. So I think that there are lots of common grounds that can be explored, even if the outcomes, at the moment, look very different. They look different because they’re framed within fixed doctrines. But those doctrines are not graven in stone. They can be undermined.

Posted on September 14th, 2018 by eE73Dg  |  No Comments »

ACLU President Strossen on religion, drugs, guns and impeaching George Bush

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

There are few organizations in the United States that elicit a stronger emotional response than the American Civil Liberties Union, whose stated goal is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States”. Those people include gays, Nazis, women seeking abortion, gun owners, SPAM mailers and drug users. People who are often not popular with various segments of the public. The ACLU’s philosophy is not that it agrees or disagrees with any of these people and the choices that they make, but that they have personal liberties that must not be trampled upon.

In Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with the President of the ACLU, Nadine Strossen, he wanted to cover some basic ground on the ACLU’s beliefs. Perhaps the area where they are most misunderstood or have their beliefs most misrepresented is their feelings about religion in the public sphere. The ACLU categorically does not want to see religion disappear from schools or in the public forum; but they do not want to see government advocacy of any particular religion. Thus, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s placement of a ten ton monument to the Ten Commandments outside the courthouse is strenuously opposed; but “Lone Ranger of the Manger” Rita Warren’s placement of nativity scenes in public parks is vigorously defended. In the interview, Strossen talks about how certain politicians and televangelists purposefully misstate the law and the ACLU’s work in order to raise funds for their campaigns.

David Shankbone’s discussion with Strossen touches upon many of the ACLU’s hot button issues: religion, Second Amendment rights, drug liberalization, “partial-birth abortion” and whether or not George W. Bush should be impeached. It may surprise the reader that many ideas people have about the most visible of America’s civil libertarian organizations are not factually correct and that the ACLU often works closely with many of the organizations people think despise its existence.

Contents

  • 1 Strossen’s background
  • 2 Religion in schools
  • 3 Religious symbols
  • 4 How the ACLU is misrepresented by politicians and televangelists
  • 5 The abortion debate
  • 6 Judicial activism
  • 7 Capital punishment and criminal justice
  • 8 Decriminalization of drugs and suicide
  • 9 War and threats to humanity
  • 10 Should George Bush be impeached?
  • 11 Gun rights
  • 12 Strossen’s philosophy
  • 13 Sources

Posted on September 5th, 2018 by eE73Dg  |  No Comments »

Sydney holds voluntary one hour blackout

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Many lights in Sydney, Australia‘s largest city, were turned off for one hour at 19:30 local time (09:30 UTC) on March 31, 2007 to raise awareness of climate change. This Earth hour, which was organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), received support from the government of New South Wales, many environmental groups and some businesses.

Many famous buildings such as the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Park took part.

Organisers also hoped the event would encourage Australians to conserve energy, claiming if various electronics were switched off when they were not in use the country’s greenhouse gas emissions could reduce by up to 5%.

Wikimedia Commons has more media related to:

Posted on September 2nd, 2018 by eE73Dg  |  No Comments »

US Treasury Secretary: “We need the ability to seize firms”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Treasury Department secretary Timothy Geithner and the Obama administration are pressuring Congress to allow the government to seize troubled financial institutions such as insurance companies and investment firms. Currently, banks are the only such entities that the government has authority to take over.

Speaking before the House Financial Services Committee, Geithner said “The United States government does not have the legal means today to manage the orderly restructuring of a large, complex non-bank financial institution that poses a threat to the stability of our financial system.”

Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) agreed, saying, “When non-bank major financial institutions need to be put out of their misery, we need to give somebody the authority to do what the FDIC can do with banks.”

Geithner would work with the White House and Federal Reserve to execute any such takeovers.

The expanded powers would have allowed the seizure of companies such as pariah AIG, which has already received US$180 billion in government aid. The recent controversy over the payment of bonuses has bumped up the plan to high priority. It was initially to have been part of a more comprehensive overhaul by the government of the financial regulatory system.

Not all are happy with the proposal. Republican House minority leader John Boehner derided the plan, saying it would be “an unprecedented grab of power.”

Maxine Waters (D-CA) criticised the government for its lack of transparency in dealing with the current crisis, and questioned Geithner on whether firms such as Goldman Sachs had received preferential treatment by the government. Such probing may indicate reluctance on the part of Congress to grant the expanded powers.

Other than simply taking over a firm, the government would also be able to purchase its assets, guarantee losses, and take out a partial ownership interest.

“It is a terrible, tragic thing that this country came into this crisis with such limited tools for trying to protect the economy itself from the kind of distress that would come as the system came back down to Earth,” Geithner summarized.

Posted on August 30th, 2018 by eE73Dg  |  No Comments »