Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Rhode Island district court has frozen all the US assets of the Palestinian Authority (PA), prompting Palestinian finance minister Salam Fayyad to request the aid of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The frozen assets include US holdings in an investment fund worth $1.3 billion, which was used to finance economic development, and $30 million from the Palestinian Monetary Authority.

The ruling was passed upon the PA when they refused to compensate the relatives of a Jewish couple shot dead by members of Hamas in 1996.

US citizen Yaron Ungar and his wife Efrat were killed while returning from a wedding near the West Bank, when their car was shot at repeatedly, killing the couple. Three Hamas militants were jailed as a result.

A lawsuit was filed in 2000 against the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, Hamas, and Yasser Arafat in Rhode Island.

Yasser Arafat hired lawyer and former attorney general Ramsey Clark as his defense. In the case, Clark argued that the PA was a sovereign state, and that it deserved immunity from prosecution accorded to most countries. The court disagreed with this, and in 2004 they ruled that Palestine is not a state, and ordered them to pay the Ungars $116 million. A federal appeals court upheld the verdict in March.

The head of Washington’s PA office, Hasan Abdul Rahman said that his office had been “paralysed” by the verdict.

“It paralyzes the function of the office, and I think that is the intention of the plaintiffs.” he told Associated Press shortly after the decision, and called upon the US administration to intervene.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Yesterday, Hindi poet and songwriter Gopal Das Neeraj died at the AIIMS trauma centre in Delhi, India. The poet was 93-years-old.

According to reports, Gopal Das had a head injury at his home in Agra and was taken to Aligarh for treatment. The chief of AIIMS trauma centre of New Delhi, Dr Rajesh Malhotra, said, “He was shifted to the trauma centre here [the night before he died] in a critical condition. He had suffered from kidney failure, had infection all over his body and head injury”.

Born in the Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh on January 4, 1925, Gopal Das was a resident of Agra and taught Hindi literature at the Dharma Samaj College in Aligarh. Gopal Das had received some of the highest Indian civilian honourary awards, receiving Padma Shri in 1991 and Padma Bhushan in 2007.

Gopal Das also wrote songs for Bollywood movies and won the Filmfare Best Lyrics award on three occasions for his songs Kaal Ka Pahiya ((hi))Hindi language: ???? ?? ?????, Bas Yehi Apradh Main Har Baar ((hi))Hindi language: ??? ??? ????? ??? ?? ??? and Ae Bhai Jara Dekh Ke Chalo ((hi))Hindi language: ?? ???! ???? ??? ?? ???. He also wrote the songs Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe ((hi))Hindi language: ????? ?? ?? ????, Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya ((hi))Hindi language: ???? ?? ??? ??? ???? and Dil Aaj Shayar Hai ((hi))Hindi language: ???? ?? ???? ??.

Gopal Das’s body was reportedly to be taken to Aligarh today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alaskan U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, who turned 85 yesterday, narrowly lost his re-election bid to Mark Begich, the Democratic Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska.

Meanwhile, as Alaska’s counting of the November 4 election is almost complete, Democratic challenger for the US House of Representatives, Ethan Berkowitz, conceded to incumbent Don Young, the Republican Party nominee.

With this result, the Democrats are two seats away (assuming that independents Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman continue to caucus with them) from a filibuster-proof supermajority in the United States Senate, with two races (Minnesota and Georgia) as yet uncalled. That would allow the Democrats to invoke cloture, limiting filibusters to a further 30 hours, an ability last attained in the 95th Congress of 1977-79.

Stevens is entitled to request a recount at his campaign’s expense, and has not yet made a statement. After the completion of counting yesterday, Begich had defeated Stevens by 3,724 votes, a margin of over one percent. 2,500 special absentee and postal ballots remain to be counted on November 25.

Begich released a statement on his win saying, “I am humbled and honored to serve Alaska in the United States Senate. It’s been an incredible journey getting to this point, and I appreciate the support and commitment of the thousands of Alaskans who have brought us to this day.”

Young won his race by 16,280 votes, a margin of five percent.

Stevens recently became a convicted felon on seven counts for lying on Senate disclosure forms about accepting $250,000 in gifts and home renovations from VECO, an oil services company. He has asked President George W. Bush not to grant him a presidential pardon.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Around 9:00 a.m. local time (0800 UTC) today, an explosion occurred at Barajas International Airport, in Madrid, Spain.

A car bomb exploded in the Level-D Parking Garage of the recently completed Terminal 4. A Spanish official declared that the police first received a telephone call warning them about the bomb, and then a second call with the type of vehicle. The second caller claimed the attack for the Basque nationalist group ETA. Thanks to the telephone call, the police could evacuate most of the area. One man is reported missing after the explosion, and 26 people including two police officers were reported to be injured in the blast. The terminal sustained serious damage, and the situation in the airport became chaotic on one of the busiest days of the year.

Arnaldo Otegi, spokesman of ETA’s political wing Batasuna, did not condemn the attack, but said the peace talks are not interrupted by the explosion. The Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba condemned the attack, saying that it “breaks nine months without violence on the part of ETA, which breaks the permanent ceasefire.” Only in June, the Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced peace talks with ETA. But tonight, Zapatero ordered the suspension of all dialogue, because “with violence, there can be no kind of dialogue.”

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

While nearly all coverage of the 2008 Presidential election has focused on the Democratic and Republican candidates, the race for the White House also includes independents and third party candidates. These parties represent a variety of views that may not be acknowledged by the major party platforms.

Wikinews has impartially reached out to these candidates, throughout the campaign. We now interview independent Presidential candidate Frank Moore, a performance artist.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Members of Australia’s Health Services Union (HSU) will go on strike in Victoria next week in a dispute over stalled wage and career structure negotiations. Over 5000 physiotherapists, speech pathologists and radiation therapists will walk off the job next week, effectively closing the state’s 68 largest health services.

The strike will force the closure of intensive care units and emergency departments across the state.

It is feared the strike could continue into Easter.

National secretary of the HSU, Kathy Jackson said admissions would be crippled, while intensive care patients would have to be evacuated to New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia as hospitals will not be able to perform tests or administer treatment.

“When an ambulance shows up you can’t admit a patient without an X-ray being available, you can’t intubate them and you can’t operate on them,” she said.

“If something goes wrong in an ICU you need to be able to X-ray, use nuclear medicine or any diagnostic procedure,” said Ms Jackson.

Ms Jackson said the HSU offered arbitration last year, but the state government refused. “They’re not interested in settling disputes, they hope that we are just going to go away.”

“We’re not going away, we’ve gone back and balloted the whole public health workforce in Victoria, those ballots were successful, 97 percent approval rating,” she said.

The HSU is urging the government to commence serious negotiations to resolve the dispute before industrial action commenced.

The government has offered the union a 3.25 per cent pay increase, in line with other public sector workers but the union has demanded more, but stopped short of specifying a figure.

Victorian Premier John Brumby said the claim would be settled according to the government’s wages policy. “The Government is always willing and wanting to sit down and negotiate with the relevant organisations . . . we have a wages policy based around an increase of 3.25 per cent and, above that, productivity offset,” he told parliament.

The union claims it is also arguing against a lack of career structure, which has caused many professionals to leave the health service. Ms Jackson said wages and career structures in Victoria were behind other states.

Victorian Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu said he was not in support of the proposed strike and called on the government to meet with unions. “There could not be a more serious threat to our health system than has been announced today.”

“We now have to do whatever is possible to stop this strike from proceeding,” he said.

The opposition leader will meet with the union at 11:30 AM today.

Victorian Hospitals Industry Association industrial relations services manager Simon Chant said hospitals were looking at the possible impact and warned that patients may have to be evacuated interstate if the strike goes ahead.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

In a vote of 74-25 last Thursday, the US Senate passed a measure that would change bankruptcy laws, making it harder for individuals seeking relief from their debt burden to avoid repayment. Almost twenty Democrats joined Republicans, who currently hold a majority of the seats in the US Senate, in passing the bill.

Lobbyists for credit card companies and financial services firms have worked for the bill during the last two administrations. A similar measure passed both the Senate and House during the previous administration, but then President Bill Clinton pocket-vetoed the measure in 2000.

Democrats sought to soften the bill by allowing bankruptcy filers to negotiate directly with lenders for relief, but the amendments were defeated by the Republican-controlled Senate. Proponents of the bill claim the rise of bankruptcy filings to nearly 1.5 million a year shows that abusers of credit use the filings to shield themselves from irresponsible practices.

“There has been an explosion of bankruptcy,” said Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the bill’s sponsor. “We preserve the principle of a fresh start, but we also establish a principle that if you have the ability to repay some of your debt, you are not going to get off scot-free.” However, Massachusetts Democratic Sen., Edward M. Kennedy said, “This legislation makes the bankruptcy courts of the United States the collection agency for the credit-card industry.”

The bill impacts a broad spectrum of bankruptcy law, but the most significant impact is on personal bankruptcy filings. Individuals who get behind in repaying credit card debt face high interest charges and stiff late payment fees. By only meeting minimum payment requirements, borrowers remit to the lender over the life of the loan an amount in interest and other fees that can far exceed the value of the principal balance of the loan. This can put consumers who run up high balances on various cards at financial risk of default. Critics of the bill blame these aggressive lending practices as a contributing factor in the rising trend of bankruptcy filings from 1996.

The proposed bill doesn’t only affect debtors with credit card debt.

It also affects debtors who have run up large medical bills.

Patients with a past medical history that disqualifies them from full medical coverage, can easily find themselves facing insurmountable medical bills after just a short stay in the hospital. These individuals will no longer be able to get a fresh start after these personal disasters, and will be forced to live in poverty until they can pay off their medical bills as part of their Chapter 13 filing. (Prior to this bill, they would have been able to file Chapter 7, completely discharging their debt.)

Chapter 7, which accounts for 70% of bankruptcy filings, allows individuals to eliminate most non-secured debts after liquidating assets, with the notable exemption of one’s principle residence in most states. The Senate passed bill would change Chapter 7 eligibility by applying a means-test, where those with a median income higher than the state average would be required to file under Chapter 13 provisions. Under Chapter 13 protection, an individual’s debt is not forgiven; rather it is restructured for payment under more lenient terms.

This was the first major overhaul of federal bankruptcy law in many years.

Under the old bankruptcy law, a personal bankruptcy attorney could not be held financially responsible for his clients mendacity. Under the new bankruptcy law, the bankruptcy attorney is responsible for his client’s lies to the Court about his assets and the bankruptcy attorney and his insurance carrier can be held responsible by the Bankruptcy Court.

The result is that personal bankruptcy attorneys (this does not apply to corporate bankruptcy attorneys) are likely to flee the personal bankruptcy field when the new law takes effect. Their insurance companies will not offer the sort of coverage that they would need to continue to practice.

So when consumers need to file personal bankruptcy under the new law, they will be unlikely to find a bankruptcy attorney to represent them. Consumers will have to file pro se: such consumers will be likely to fail due to the complexity of the law.

The bottom line is that the field of personal bankruptcy law as a practice area of law will cease to exist when the new bankruptcy law takes effect, and consumers will be unable to secure legal counsel and so consumers will lose what legal protections counsel now affords them.

Under the new bankruptcy law about one half million Americans will be forest to pay for at lest 5 years on longer they will be held in servitude as chattel they will be completely subservient to a dominating influence of the company that holds the loan. Their loan will be put on the market for sale for profit. The people will be forced to work harder. People who fail to go to court will have a arrest warrant made out in their name and people who refuseto pay. They will be subject to fines and or jail. About fifty thousand Americans will punished by a fine and or about three thousand Americans every year will go to jail under the new bankruptcy law. For some people this will be a third strike they will be put in jail for life.

The bill has the support of President Bush, and its passage in the House sometime next month seems likely. If enacted into law, lending companies will recover more money on what otherwise would be written off as bad loans. Those persons of median and higher income seeking relief would be required to file under Chapter 13 status and pay up to $100 per month under court imposed conditions. It is expected the proposed changes would cause a sharp increase in filings before the new law could take effect.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cecile Willert is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Ajax—Pickering riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Friday, November 4, 2005

New outbreaks of the lethal H5N1 strain of the avian influenza have been documented in Vietnam and China. According to a Vietnamese animal health officer, 4,000 poultry and water fowl have died of the virus after October 25 in provinces 70 kilometres north of Hanoi. In China, 9,000 chickens and twenty wild birds have died of the virus in just over two weeks with more than 300,000 birds culled as a precaution.

Meanwhile, Japanese authorities are planning on culling 180,000 chickens in response to the discovery of the first case of bird flu in the country in over a year. Most of Japan’s previous avian influenza outbreaks have been due to the H5N2 strain, which poses no known threat to humans. The virus found in a farm north-east of Tokyo has been confirmed as belonging to the H5 family, but additional tests are needed to find out whether it is the H5N1 strain. A Japanese agriculture ministry official said that there was “little concern” of the virus being the H5N1 type as no case of the strain has previously been found in the area.

At least 60 people have died of the H5N1 strain in east Asia. Over 40 of the fatalities have occurred in Vietnam, where tests are currently being conducted for at least one possible additional human infection. China has not reported any human infections of the avian flu.

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