United States Senator Jeff Flake announces retirement, citing ‘profoundly misguided’ party politics


Friday, October 27, 2017

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake announced on Tuesday he will not seek reelection when his term in the Senate is up next year, citing issues within the United States Republican Party and with President Donald Trump, whose behavior he called “reckless, outrageous, and undignified.” The Trump administration said Flake had poor support among his constituency.

In a speech on the floor of the Senate, Flake said, “The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters — the notion that one should say and do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is ahistoric and,” he said, “I believe, profoundly misguided.” He later added on CNN’s The Lead, “It’s difficult to move forward in a Republican primary if you have been critical of any of the behavior that’s gone on[…] We Republicans certainly can’t countenance that kind of behavior. We ought to stand up and say ‘This is not right. This is not us. This is not conservative.’?”

“Based on the lack of support he has from the people of Arizona, [retirement]’s probably a good move,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the media. Recent polls showed Flake has limited popularity with Republicans in Arizona.

Last year President Trump told other Arizona politicians he planned to personally spend US$10 million to see that Flake did not win the Republican primary, the intra-party election that names the party’s official candidate. About two months ago Trump tweeted in support of Flake’s rival for the primary nod, Kelli Ward, “Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!”

Republican Senators John McCain and Bob Corker, who have also been critical of President Trump, stood and clapped at the end of Flake’s floor speech. Corker later called Flake a “real conservative.” Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine described herself as deeply disappointed by Flake’s decision. Republican Senator John Cornyn and Democratic Senator Tim Kaine referred to it as “sad” and “depressing.”

Kaine commented, “When someone as good and decent a person as Jeff Flake does not think he can continue in the body, it’s a very tragic day for the institution.”

Flake has recently published a book, Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle, in which he criticizes what he sees as Trump’s negative effect on the tone of United States politics. Politically, Flake has differed from President Trump on trade and immigration, specifically the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement, with Flake in favor of both agreements and Trump against. Flake also co-authored a 2013 law that would have given undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship if it had passed. Trump is in the early stages of building a wall on the U.S.–Mexico border in an attempt to prevent people from entering the U.S. illegally and has issued three executive orders limiting immigration from specific countries, though these were later blocked.

United States senators serve six-year terms. One third of the Senate is elected or reelected every two years.

Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Freitas do Amaral resigns


Friday, June 30, 2006

The Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Freitas do Amaral has resigned from his position. Replacing Freitas do Amaral in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be Luís Amado, current Minister of National Defense.

Prime Minister José Sócrates requested President Cavaco Silva to relieve Freitas do Amaral of his posts of minister of state and foreign affairs, on his request, for reasons of health, according to a cabinet press release.

In the press release, José Sócrates also proposed the nomination of the current minister of defense, Luís Amado, to replace Freitas do Amaral. José Sócrates also proposed the nomination of Nuno Severiano Teixeira as the new defense minister. Teixeira was the Internal Administration Minister in the second executive lead by António Guterres (1999/2001). Both possessions are scheduled for next Monday morning.

“In this occasion, the Prime Minister desires to underline the extraordinary contribute which, with all his experience and international prestige, the professor Diogo Freitas do Amaral gave to the Government and the national interests in the conduction of the Portuguese external politics”, the press release stated.

In a press conference this Friday afternoon, Foreign Affairs spokesman António Carneiro Jacinto said that Freitas do Amaral will be operated next Monday (July 3) to an injury in the cervical column which hinders him from travelling by airplane in the coming months.

“The resignation was not motivated by politic divergences of any type, which had not existed, nor exist. It’s because the aggravation of the health” of Diogo Freitas do Amaral, said the spokesman in the press conference.

The resignation of Freitas do Amaral was expected has for some time. On March, in an interview to the Portuguese newspaper “Expresso”, the Minister said that he arrived home “at the end of the day completely tired” and admitted that he would not be able to handle the work of the ministry when Portugal starts to exercise its presidency of the European Union in 2007.

Film project aims to raise £1 million to make a Creative Commons-licensed film


Friday, June 23, 2006

Matt Hanson aims to raise £1 million to fund the production of a feature-length film which would be distributed freely via the Internet under a Creative Commons licence, all funded through 50,000 people each donating £25 to the project, which he’s called ‘A Swarm of Angels‘.

No stranger to filmmaking, Matt has produced numerous digital short films, a series of books on digital filmmaking and set up the digital film festival onedotzero, now in its tenth year. He wants to finally make a feature length film, and decided that it was better to turn to the Internet for help and funding rather than plod through the usual ‘development hell‘.

“I wanted to put into practice what I’ve been preaching as a film futurist for ten years, and the technology and Internet infrastructure has just really caught up with that vision now for me to put it into practice.”

The process is inspired by the ‘web 2.0‘ movement, using social and collaborative communities on the Internet. Matt doesn’t see the funding as coming from donations, but as people paying a subscription to become part of a ‘Swarm’. “Rather than the ‘many producer’ model, this is more of an [sic] ‘smart consumer’ model … members can help implement and bring their expertise into play, and so become more actively involved in the production.”

The project hopes to use professional actors and crew, but use qualified members from the swarm as much as possible. The cast and the crew, including any volunteers that get chosen, would be paid for their work on the film, with Matt suggesting that this is “a great way for people to get into the industry”.

Those members not directly involved in making the film can still participate in the process by discussing ideas on a messageboard, and having a vote on certain crucial decisions such as which script gets chosen for production. Asked how he would balance his own creative direction with input from members, Matt said “my vision will lead the project forward and define the parameters, but the Swarm can influence that, and indeed offer improvements or insights I might not think of alone”.

“Remember filmmaking is always a team effort – whether you are Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick or Jean Luc Godard, you promote people within the project that will complement and bring something extra to the vision of the film. Give it more life. With the Swarm we are making that process more democratic, and giving a wider range of people an opportunity to shine and have creative input.”

Members are promised a collector’s edition DVD of the end product and exclusive merchandise, but the main distribution of the film will be via the Internet, using ‘BitTorrent‘ and peer-to-peer networks. “Unlike many other filmmakers, I’m not wedded to cinema projection as the ‘be all and end all’ – I’m much more excited about people viewing remixed versions on their video iPods,” explains Matt.

The ‘remixing’ of the film will be possible thanks to it being distributed under a Creative Commons licence. Matt suggests that the ‘younger generation’ is more used to being involved with and interacting with entertainment, and points to remixes of the Star Wars films (eg ‘The Phantom Edit‘) as an example of these ‘mashups’. “At the end of the project I would love to have an event that showcased five wildly different versions of the film, different visions from people other than my definitive initial edit,” he suggests. The licence will be for non-commercial use only, however, and so commercial TV stations would still have to pay in order to screen the film.

The project is partly inspired by the success of ‘The Million Dollar Homepage‘, in which British student Alex Tew aimed to raise a million dollars to fund his university education, simply by selling advertising space on a single web page. The publicity surrounding the idea, coupled with the ‘viral’ effect of Internet users passing the page on, meant that he eventually managed to make himself the million dollars.

The success of these projects partly seems to depend on them being interesting and original enough to attract enough attention, and it’s often difficult to see how they could be repeated. Copy-cat versions of the million dollar homepage have so far failed to hugely take off. When asked about this idea, Matt responded “I already expect people to copy the model we are inventing with A Swarm of Angels – it’s a perfect way to create cult media, where the director gets more creative control and organically funds a project, and the fans of the project get more involvement within it. If the market gets too crowded with these projects though, then they’ll have to be packaged differently to stand out. But that’s what traditional film and media projects need to do anyway.”

Over 600 members have signed up to the ‘swarm’ so far, which Matt comments is already an early success, but 50,000 members in total will be needed in order to fully fund the £1 million budget. Matt suggests that getting to the next stage, of reaching 1,000 members, followed by the phase of getting 5,000 members, will be the hardest part, as after that the film will be more ‘tangible’. He expects to raise the full budget, but comments that if the fundraising stalls, “options will be presented by advisors and The Swarm, and based on some kind of consensus we’ll come up with the best option for moving forward.”

Traditionally, independent films are funded either through persuading wealthy individuals to invest, who sometimes are sometimes given ‘Executive Producer‘ credits, or through organisations like the UK Film Council, who award funds from the National Lottery. A tax credit for producers making small films in the UK was announced by the government in 2005, in a bid to give a boost to the UK independent film industry.

Matt says that the film will be “a thriller with soft science fiction elements”, which he says will suit his target audience. “But it will have an indie edginess to it, and be far more visually inventive than you would get with a ‘normal’ British independent feature.” Contributors to the project include artists The Kleptones, who will help with the soundtrack, comic book writer Warren Ellis and documentary filmmaker Grant Gee.

The Swarm of Angels project is online at aswarmofangels.com and costs £25 as an individual to become a member.

Dubai World refused permission to use QE2 as floating hotel in Cape Town


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (the QE2) will not be sailing to Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town has refused the vessel permission to berth for use by owner Dubai World as a floating hotel.

The Transnet National Ports Authority said that the famed vessel is much too large for Cape Town and that the facilites for the ship do not exist. Dubai World had hoped the ocean liner could serve as a hotel to accommodate football fans attending the World Cup and had previously told the Associated Press that Cape Town was among several possible destinations. No others have been named.

Transnet National Ports Authority port manager Sanjay Govan commented that “It’s the length of stay that was an issue … They wanted to stay much longer than just the World Cup. You have to sacrifice a normal cargo-working berth for such an operation. You wouldn’t do that for such a long time.” Dubai World has confirmed the trip to South Africa is off. South Africa’s Protea Hotels were thought to have won a contract to perform the management of the hotel during its stay in Cape Town. Dubai World also considered private terminals but met the same issue.

Dubai World’s investment arm Istithmar World paid Cunard US$100 million for the British liner in 2007. Since then it has been moored off Dubai’s Port Rashid, having arrived in the emirate in 2008. Original plans were to create a luxury floating hotel for tourists that would be moored beside an artificial island in the shape of a palm tree, but this idea was cancelled in the wake of global market uncertainty.

State-owned conglomerate Dubai World is currently in severe financial difficulties. The firm is seeking an extra six months to pay at least US$22 million in debts and the government has supported a six month delay as the first step towards a restructuring plan. Dubai World’s main units Nakheel and Limitless are the most indebted companies. World markets and media reacted sharply to the revelations on November 25 last year.

Dubai World is rumoured to need to sell assets, including the Queen Elizabeth 2. The company has refused to confirm or deny this, only stating that “There are a number of options being considered for the QE2. Istithmar World is considering which option will best maximise value of the vessel.”

The same year as the Queen Elizabeth 2 the conglomerate also obtained Barneys New York, a luxury retailer based in the United States. Istithmar World paid US$942.3 million for the company. Istithmar World chief executive David Jackson resigned last week; he presided over the acquirements. In December a New York foreclosure auction sold off the W Hotel Union Square for US$2 million, which was owned by Istithmar World.

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Kyrgyzstan: Ethnic unrest continues, government asks Russia for help


Saturday, June 12, 2010

A second day of ethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan between Kyrgyzs and Uzbeks has killed at least 62 people and wounded over 800 more, reports say, as violence there entered its second day. The interim Kyrgyz president, Roza Otunbayeva, meanwhile, appealed to the Russian government to send in troops to try and restore order.

The clashes are occurring primarily in the southern city of Osh. Witnesses say the chaos and violence has increased, and central authority collapsed, with gunfire audible throughout the city. The violence started on Thursday night, when ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks started street brawls that soon escalated into battles; riots and looting started, cars were damaged, and buildings set alight by both sides.

In a nationally televised speech, Otunbayeva commented: “I have signed a letter asking Dmitry Medvedev for third-party forces to be sent to the Kyrgyz Republic. Since yesterday the situation has got out of control. We need outside military forces to halt the situation. For this reason we have appealed to Russia for help.”

Russian officials say the Kyrgyz leader had talks with Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin by telephone yesterday night.

Thousands of Uzbeks, meanwhile, have crowded the border between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in an effort to flee the ongoing conflict; one child was trampled to death during the escape. According to a reporter for the BBC, people are being let through the border one by one by security guards.

By the latest official death tolls, at least 62 people have been killed, although the interim government believes that there could be up to 200 dead. Researcher for Human Rights Watch Andrea Berg cautioned that the death toll could jump once the government enters Uzbek neighbourhoods; under Uzbek tradition, the dead are buried within one day.

“We are moving corpses out of the city streets; however, there are regions that the authorities do not control, it is not known what is going on there. Additionaly, as a result of fires in the city, entire residential apartments burnt down, so there could be more dead people there as well,” said a spokesman for the Russian ministry of health (Minzdrav).

Unrest also reached the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek; a medical official told the Agence France-Presse news service that 27 people were hospitalised, some of which are in critical condition.

Australian House of Representatives acknowledges Cyclone Larry efforts


Wednesday, March 29, 2006The Australian House of Representatives today acknowledged the impact of the recent devastating Cyclone Larry and the efforts of the support given to the residents and communities of north Queensland in order to restore normal life.

Phillip Ruddock (Liberal, Berowra) moved a motion expressing this after Question Time today, which included a description of the devastation wrought on the area, the response by the Australian Government and the Australian Defence Force, and thanked the efforts of people for their “willingness to roll up their sleeves and get on with the job of cleaning up and rebuilding their towns and centres.”

The Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley (Labor, Brand) supported the motion, and congratulated the move to put General Peter Cosgrove in charge of operations, stating that soldiers “know how to work through logistics issues…how to work around officialdom or blockages”, praised both local federal and state members of Parliament, and especially the Labor Queensland state premier, Peter Beattie.

Bob Katter (Independent, Kennedy) was more critical in his speech. Katter thanked Beattie for his immediate response, but also described his confrontation with him and said how first responses were “simply not working”, but also praised Beattie’s decision on Cosgrove. Katter also described how the incident was “the worst natural disaster inAustralian history” and how the banana industry in north Queensland was decimated. Katter went on to describe the financial problems of the people in the region, the “huge gap” between the cost of rebuilding and insurance payouts, also asking “Are we going to pay people virtually nothing to sit on their backsides to do nothing or are we going to pay them a decent wage and have them rebuilding our communities for us?”

The debate is set to continue in the Main Committee, as an opportunity for many more members of the House of Representatives to speak to the motion, without taking up further time in the Chamber.

News briefs:June 22, 2007


[edit]

California meat packing firm recalls 143M pounds of beef


Sunday, February 17, 2008

I am dismayed at the in-humane handling of cattle that has resulted in the violation of food safety regulations at the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company.

In a press release today, California-based Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. indicated that it has voluntarily recalled just over 143 million pounds (65 million kilograms) of raw and frozen beef products, which is considered to be the largest single recall of beef products in U.S. history. The move follows an investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) into allegations of animal cruelty and mishandling of cattle destined for the human food chain.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) had determined that beef products produced by the Chino, California company were unfit for human consumption as the cattle had not received “complete and proper inspection.”

The recall has been designated as Class II, which the USDA describes as “a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product.”

On Friday, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer indicated that charges had been laid against employees of the plant alleged to have taken part in the mistreatment of cattle. “Today [Friday], the San Bernardino District Attorney filed felony animal cruelty charges against two employees who were terminated by Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company,” said Schafer. “It is regrettable that these animals were mistreated and I am encouraged and supportive of these actions by the San Bernardino District Attorney in response to this mistreatment.”

The USDA learned of the possible inhumane handling of non-ambulatory (disabled) cattle at the packing plant on January 30 and has since suspended activities at the plant. “We continue to conduct a thorough investigation into whether any violations of food safety or additional humane handling regulations have occurred,” said Secretary Schafer in a press release. “On February 8, our Office of the Inspector General took the lead on the investigation. At that time, USDA extended the administrative hold on Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company products for the National School Lunch Program, the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations while the investigation continues,” said Schafer.

The FSIS reported that Hallmark/Westland had not contacted the FSIS public health veterinarian, as required, when cattle became ill or disabled after undergoing ante-mortem (slaughter) inspection, putting the company out of compliance with FSIS regulations. “Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection FSIS has determined them to be unfit for human food and the company is conducting a recall,” explained Secretary Schafer.

The cruelty charges stem from an undercover video that reportedly showed sick cattle being moved by crews using forklifts.

“Words cannot accurately express how shocked and horrified I was at the depictions contained on the video that was taken by an individual who worked at our facility from October 3 thru November 14, 2007,” said Steve Mendell, President, Westland Meat Co. and Hallmark Meat Packing. “We have taken swift action regarding the two employees identified on the video and have already implemented aggressive measures to ensure all employees follow our humane handling policies and procedures. We are also cooperating with the USDA investigators on the allegations of inhumane handling treatment which is a serious breech of our company’s policies and training.”

The USDA stressed that it is “extremely unlikely” that the cattle involved were at risk for Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad-cow disease due to the employment of multiple safeguards. The USDA felt the recall was required, however, as the plant had allegedly violated USDA regulations.

The recall involves raw and frozen beef products produced on various dates from February 1, 2006 to February 2, 2008. For further information about the recall, consumers, media, and distributors are encouraged to contact Hallmark/Westland’s Plant Manager Stan Mendell or Food Safety Consultant Steve Sayer at (909) 590-3340 or the FSIS website, www.fsis.usda.gov.

Android App Builder A Job Of A Professional


Android App Builder – A job of a professional

by

Eddy Batom

A lot of analysts have been looking at appsbar, the free online app creator and trying to ascertain the value of this growing company in the competitive android app builder world. The company launched its android app builder in 2011, well ahead of the current glut of copycat formats that are attempting to gain a foothold as an app creator website.

Appsbar has recently scored a huge victory with its own app creator in this particular battle as no less an authority than the U.S. government has awarded a patent to the company for its android app builder as a unique and proprietary platform that cannot be infringed upon without penalty.

For its part, the company has promised to vigorously pursue other entities against those infringements after establishing itself as the premiere app creator in the field with its stylish and easy-to-navigate android app builder.

YouTube Preview Image

With its launch just under two years ago, the company became the first free app creator that allowed anyone regardless of their technical ability or resources to build fully functional, custom mobile apps for their smartphones. This dynamic android app builder was an instant success as the company hit over 100,000 users in its first year.

Being featured in such prominent publications as Time and PC Magazine certainly helped its cause as more and more novice app creator fans signed on and developed apps with the template-drive android app builder. Certainly the huge gains that Android devices were making in the marketplace, eventually surpassing iPhones in market share, had a major impact on the use of android apps and signaled the need for a viable android app builder.

This particular android app builder won over its audience thanks to the simple point and click nature of the platform and for appsbar s commitment to keeping the service absolutely free. For an avid app creator there are no charges for services, no subscription fees, and no hidden costs for upgrades or special features.

The company was again heralded in 2012 when its app creator was feted with a coveted Stevie Award at the prestigious American Business Awards. The company and its android app builder were recognized as the Best New Tech Company and were also give a People s Choice Award.

Appsbar didn t stop with its android app builder, moving quickly into the app marketplace realm with the development of appcatch, an app distribution model that allows an app creator to instantly publish and share its apps with clients, customers, family, and friends. The android app builder marketplace is also free for publishing and for downloads.

With all the hype surrounding this app creator platform, analysts are looking closely at the social aspects of the site. A community of novice app builders has grown up around the service and approaching a quarter of a million users, no small number in the web 2.0 world. Analysts will continue to monitor the progress of appsbar and present valuations at some point, most likely when appsbar develops methods to monetize its recent successes.

For more information on

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Android App Builder

. Visit Today – www.appsbar.com

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com