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Firefighters rescue nearly a dozen animals in Buffalo, New York house fire

Friday, June 22, 2007

Buffalo, New York —A three alarm fire at a house owned by John and Evelyn Bencinich, two of the initiators of a lawsuit filed against the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, required firefighters to rescue eight cats and two dogs in Buffalo, New York today.

At about 8:30 (eastern time) firefighters were called to the home on 48 Granger Place to put out a fire that had started in the basement. It quickly spread to the first floor where the main bathroom was destroyed. The fire did not spread to the second floor or attic.

Initial calls said that many animals were inside the house and firefighters quickly worked to rescue all the cats and dogs. At least one cat and one dog had to receive CPR and oxygen, but both are reported to be in stable condition. At least 3 cats are unaccounted for, but after a search of the house, the cats were not believed to have been inside at the time the fire started.

One elderly woman, Anna Bencinich, the mother of Evelyn, was rescued by neighbors who helped her from the burning house.

“There was smoke all over the house. The fire started in the basement and spread to a small portion of the first floor. Two firefighters were injured while fighting the fire and were transported to Erie County Medical Center,” said Division Fire Chief Thomas Ashe who also said that sections of the kitchen wall at the back of the house had to be torn out to stop the fire from spreading through the walls.

One firefighter is being treated for bite injuries to his face that he received while attempting to rescue a dog. The other firefighter was treated for injuries he received to his hand, which was believed to have been caused by glass or a cat scratching him. The names of the injured firefighters are not known. The injuries are said to not be life threatening.

According to witness reports, the home owners had a new water heater installed just last week, but it is not known if the fire was caused by the heater.

“We believe the fire was caused by an electrical (malfunction). An investigation is being conducted,” said Battalion Chief Joe Fahey who also added that they did not believe arson was the cause.

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Gunman kills self and hostage in Texas NASA building

Friday, April 20, 2007

Around 1:40 p.m. CDT, NASA employees reported that two shots were fired in the NASA Building 44 in the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. A SWAT team later reported that Bill Phillips, a contract engineer with Jacobs Engineering, had killed David Beverly as well as himself, leaving a female hostage physically unharmed.

Phillips entered a conference room with gun drawn and ordered all but one person out. Phillips barricaded himself on the second floor of the two-story building, with David Beverly and another female hostage. The building was evacuated and police were summoned. NASA security, Houston police and a SWAT team were on the scene.

Houston news reported at 5:22 p.m. CDT that Bill Phillips, the gunman, and David Beverly, the hostage, were both dead. Police reported that the SWAT team heard one shot and decided to engage, but before they reached the room they heard another shot. When SWAT reached the scene, the male hostage was dead from a bullet to the chest, the gunman was dead from a bullet to the head, and the female hostage, Fran Cranshaw, was gagged and bound to a chair with duct tape, but was otherwise unharmed.

All NASA employees had first been warned to stay in their buildings but were later told by NASA they were free to go home if their working day was over. Mission Control locked its doors during this incident, as this is a standard procedure in such situations. No NASA Mission has been affected by this incident, according to NASA.

In the first press conference, police said that communication to the gunman had not yet been established, but that negotiators had already tried it two times unsuccessfully.

The motive of the hostage-taking, and whether the three people had any connection to each other, is currently under investigation.

The Houston Chronicle reports that last month Phillips had received one e-mail from his employer, Jacob engineering Inc., “describing problems with his work and offering suggestions on improvement.” Jacobs printed that e-mail on March 18, the same day he bought the 38-caliber gun that police suspect was used in the shooting.

Despite reassurances by Cranshaw and Beverly, Phillips would not believe that management was not going to fire him, according to Cranshaw. During the 3-hour standoff, Phillips used a dry-erase board in the room indicating he was tired of being called “stupid,” police said last Saturday.

Michael Sampson, the co-manager of the space agency’s Electronic Parts and Packaging Program, who had known Beverly for ten years, described him as friendly, peaceful person, with a positive attitude to his co-workers.

Relatives describe Phillips as a loner who always kept to himself. He had lost his father in 2003, but had decided not to return to his hometown in Tennessee. Smith, a cousin of Phillips, remarked that in the Christmas card he had received from him last year, Phillips said that he was feeling lonely and without family, but nothing in the card suggested anything so tragic.

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Crew of Discovery inspect Shuttle for launch damage

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The crew of the Space shuttle Discovery – which launched successfully yesterday – have begun to make inspections of the exterior of the Orbiter.

They are checking for any damage that may have occurred during take-off – the Columbia was destroyed after a piece of foam falling from the external fuel tank split open a wing, allowing super-heated gas to enter the craft upon reentry, leading to its break-up.

The crew of Discovery are using a laserscanner mounted on the end of the shuttle’s 15 m (49.2 ft) long robotic arm. The inspection will consist of 90 minute sessions, during which a three-dimensional image of the surface of the nosecone and the leading edges of the wings will be built up.

NASA engineers are studying footage taken from a camera mounted on the external fuel tank, which appears to show a 1.5″ (3.8 cm) piece of tile falling away from on or near the nose landing-gear doors. There is also footage of an unidentified piece of debris which fell away as the solid rocket boosters were jettisoned, and did not appear to strike the shuttle.

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One of the latest trends in business development is the use of what has come be seen as the only way to maximum the profitability and productivity of a workplace. This is process is called strategic alignment and literally involves bringing all the components of your business onto the same path so everything is working in harmony.

The Strategy

Virtually all businesses have some type of business model that includes a business strategy. This includes some type of statement, often a mission statement or goal statement, which outlines how the company wants to work. This goal statement or mission statement is then used to develop a series of steps, a strategy, to make that mission statement come true.

However, and here is the root of the problem, the conversion from a mission statement to action rarely happens because the employees are usually out of the loop. Management may understand, but the people that are doing the work on a day to day basis don’t.

This is where strategic alignment has it true value. It allows the plan, the strategy, of the company to become not just a statement on a wall but a real way of doing business. During this part of strategic alignment there is going to be change. Remember that change can be very disruptive if people don’t understand the reasons for the change and how change will improve things both for the company as well as for themselves.

The Fun Part

One fun but highly effective way to show employees the benefit of strategic alignment and the changes planned is to encourage them to play simulations and games that directly mirror the strategic alignment choices that have been considered for your business or company.

This same process, when everyone from entry level employees to managers and CEOs are involved in the simulation or game, also allows you to see how your strategic alignment is going to work. Through these types of activities you may discover options that you had not even considered and that are going to be more beneficial in bringing your business strategy into the way you actually do business.

Business game simulations based on your company and your reality give everyone the chance to see the big picture about the changes in your company. This takes the fear out of strategic alignment and also allows employees to be motivated to make the changes that will improve the company.

Let Paradigm Learning assist you in your strategic alignment process with business games and simulations.

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How the Army Corps of Engineers closed one New Orleans breach

Friday, September 9, 2005

New Orleans, Louisiana —After Category 4 storm Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, on the night before August 29, 2005, several flood control constructions failed. Much of the city flooded through the openings. One of these was the flood wall forming one side of the 17th Street Canal, near Lake Pontchartrain. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the primary agency for engineering support during such emergencies. A USACE team was assessing the situation in New Orleans on the 29th, water flow was stopped September 2nd, and the breach was closed on September 5th.

Contents

  • 1 Background
  • 2 August 27: Before the storm
  • 3 August 29: Day of the storm
  • 4 August 30: Flood
  • 5 August 31: Recovery begins
  • 6 September 1: Construction
  • 7 September 2: Water flow stopped
  • 8 September 3
  • 9 September 4: Almost done
  • 10 September 5: Breach closed
  • 11 September 6: Pumping and moving on
  • 12 See also
  • 13 Sources
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GM and Chrysler receive Canadian loans amid US restructuring ultimata

Friday, April 3, 2009

General Motors (GM) and Chrysler will receive bridge loans from the government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario, however no more will be forthcoming from either Canadian or US governments unless the companies can reinvent themselves.

“This is a regrettable but necessary step to protect the Canadian economy. We are doing this on the assumption that we obviously cannot afford either in the United States or Canada a catastrophic short-term collapse.” said Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.

“We cannot, we must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish. This industry is, like no other, an emblem of the American spirit; a once and future symbol of America’s success,” said Barack Obama, President of the United States. “These companies – and this industry – must ultimately stand on their own, not as wards of the state.”File:Sinsheim quer.jpg

Chrysler will receive CA$1 billion and may in fact be eligible for as much as CA$4 billion. If Chrysler succeeds in the next 30 days with a restructuring plan it would be eligible for a US$6 billion loan. A part of Chrysler’s restructuring plan must include a partnership with Fiat within 30 days to appease the US administration. Fiat is a supplier of smaller fuel-efficient vehicles, and the merger will help Chrysler to be viable in the North American market. A Chrysler court bankruptcy would inevitably lead to it being sold off.

As a part of Chrysler’s restructuring plans, Tom LaSorda, the president of Chrysler announced that Canadian operations would fold if it does not receive both the US commitment of $2.3 billion of aid and a new Canadian Auto Workers CAW contract to reduce all-in costs by CA$19 per hour. As a result of this announcement Chrysler’s auto sales volume in Canada dropped 23% compared to March of 2008.

GM has until the end of May to restructure its company to receive up to CA$7.5 billion. As part of the companies restructuring, General Motor’s chief executive Rick Wagoner was replaced Sunday with Fritz Henderson, the current chief operating officer. Henderson spoke out on Tuesday that GM has submitted a restructuring plan which would close five plants, and this may be increased to meet the requirements for financial aid. He is in full compliance with Obama’s auto task force to seek bankruptcy if GM cannot negotiate with their unions, bondholders and others.

GM recently brought forward the “GM Total Confidence” program providing consumer purchase protection for customers who lose their job for economic reasons within the first two years from purchase. As a result of Chrysler’s restructuring announcement in Canada, GM’s Canadian vehicle sales volume fell only 17.3% compared to 2008, an increase from the previous month.

GM must reduce some of its legacy costs which include its pensions and union health care costs. A part of GM’s ailments arose from investing in supplying truck and SUVs during an economy of high gas prices when consumers were demanding fuel efficient vehicles.

Tony Clement, Canada’s Minister of Industry, is hoping that the CAW will support the restructuring process and re-negotiate their agreement. Whereas a United Auto Workers negotiator has said, “I don’t see how the UAW will do anything until they see what the bondholders will give up.”

The Obama administration is looking toward bankruptcy proceedings for the automakers, “as a mechanism to help them restructure quickly and emerge stronger. [It will] quickly clear away old debts that are weighing them down. What we are asking is difficult. It will require hard choices by companies. It will require unions and workers who have already made painful concessions to make even more. It will require creditors to recognise that they cannot hold out for the prospect of endless government bailouts.” said Obama.

The auto parts suppliers and IT software exporters in India have already been affected by the declining auto sales. GM and Chrysler software contracts provide US$300 to 350 million a year to vendors in India. As well these two major automakers usually award US$1 billion contracts to auto parts suppliers. “We are worried and closely watching the developments in the US to gauge the impact. The decline in auto sales in the US has already hit the order books of Indian suppliers,” said a Delhi auto parts supplier.

“Going forward, the industry will undoubtedly be smaller, but if our efforts are successful it will be viable and it will support good jobs for Canadians,” said Clements.

Betty Sutton, Ohio’s Congresswoman put forward the CARS act which provides a US$3,000 to 5,000 incentive for those who trade in their vehicle for a fuel-efficient car. “It clearly stimulates the economy, and it gets the consumer into the showroom and gets them buying again. But importantly — and this is what I particularly like about it — it really helps the environment quite a bit in two respects.” said William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Company has not come forward with requests for assistance.

Since December GM and Chrysler have received US$17.4 billion government loans.

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18

Homes of six Minnesota politicians vandalized

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Homes of six Minnesota politicians vandalized
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An unknown person or persons wrote graffiti and vandalized the exterior of homes belonging to six members of the United States congressional delegation from the state of Minnesota late last Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

According to the Star Tribune, Laurie Coleman, wife of U.S. Senator Norm Coleman, found the words “U R A CRIMINAL, RESIGN OR ELSE! PSALM 2” written on the family’s garage. The word “SCUM” was also written in three places on another side of the garage. Psalm 2 is a biblical reference.

The homes of senator Amy Klobuchar, and U.S. representatives Michele Bachmann, Keith Ellison, John Kline and Jim Ramstad were also targeted by vandals. Ellison’s house was the only one that sustained damage.

We’re looking at this as an actual threat.

Peter Panos, St. Paul Police spokesman, told the Star Tribune that threatening message in the graffiti were cause for concern.

“We’re looking at this as an actual threat,” he told the Star Tribune. “We’re taking it quite seriously. Vandalism threats are pretty rare in this city.”

Bachmann, Coleman, Kline and Ramstad are Republicans. Klobuchar and Ellison are Democrats. All live in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area. Reps. Collin Peterson and Jim Oberstar, who live in out state Minnesota, along with Rep. Betty McCollum — who lives in a condominium, did not receive vandalism to their homes. Senate candidates Al Franken and Dean Barkley, who are running against Coleman in the November elections, condemned the vandalism.

There’s no place for this unacceptable behavior in our political process, or in our communities

“There’s no place for this unacceptable behavior in our political process, or in our communities,” Franken’s campaign told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The paper said that the Franken campaign office was the victim of graffiti attacks including the words “Crazy” and “No New Taxes.”

Federal and local authorities are still investigating these incidents, as well as similar incidents that took place in Missouri.

Over the weekend, a Minnesota hair salon was targeted. Police say it may have been a copycat vandal, though the salon is said to be patronized by Norm Coleman.

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June

12

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer makes 2005 Budget speech

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UK Chancellor of the Exchequer makes 2005 Budget speech
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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Right Honourable Gordon Brown PC MP, in a speech to the British House of Commons today presented his ninth Budget, what is very likely to be his last Budget before the next UK General Election. This opened the parliamentary debate on the 2005 Finance Bill, and was followed by responses from the opposition parties.

In a 48 minute long speech, the Chancellor presented a Budget of “tax cuts that are reasonable, spending that is affordable, and [economic] stability that is paramount”, that was “the prudent course for Britain”. There were few surprises that had not already been indicated in his 2004 pre-Budget report. The increase in the threshold on stamp duty was greater than that forecast by commentators, as was the amount of the Council Tax rebate to households with pensioners.

Contents

  • 1 The Budget in detail
    • 1.1 Duty
    • 1.2 Taxes
    • 1.3 Benefits
    • 1.4 Business
    • 1.5 Employment
    • 1.6 Savings
    • 1.7 Spending
    • 1.8 Memorials
  • 2 Responses from opposition parties
    • 2.1 Conservative
    • 2.2 Liberal Democrat
  • 3 Sources
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June

12

Wikipedia founder embroiled in affair and financial allegations

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Wikipedia founder embroiled in affair and financial allegations
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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The implosion of a relationship between Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and journalist Rachel Marsden has resulted in controversy and international headlines. Associated Press and ABC News have also reported on questionable activity by Wales involving Wikimedia Foundation expenses. The Wikimedia Foundation is a donor-supported non-profit organization which runs Wikipedia.

Marsden had contacted Wales two years ago about concerns she had over the article about her on Wikipedia, and Wales determined the article was not compliant with Wikipedia’s standards. The tech blog Valleywag revealed Wales had a personal relationship with Marsden, and posted supposed transcripts of their instant message conversations on its site, www.valleywag.com. Wales and Marsden met in February, and The Times reported that “An apparent transcript of their conversations before that meeting suggests that, although Mr Wales had withdrawn from the editing process, he was still influencing the editors.” The Times quoted Wales from the chat logs as having stated to Marsden “The truth is of course a much worse conflict of interest than that; but that will do.” — in reference to his conflict of interest regarding Marsden’s article on Wikipedia.

Wales posted a public statement on Saturday on Wikipedia addressing the matter, and stated that his relationship with Marsden was over: “First, while I find it hard to imagine that anyone really cares about my sex life, the facts are: I am separated from my wife. I considered myself single at the time of my one meeting with Rachel Marsden on Feb. 9, 2008 … I am no longer involved with Rachel Marsden. Gossipy stories suggesting that I have been in a relationship with her ‘since last fall’ are completely false … I care deeply about the integrity of Wikipedia, and take very seriously my responsibilities as a member of the board and as a member of the Wikipedia community. I would never knowingly do anything to compromise that trust.” With regard to the conflict of interest in Marsden’s article, Wales had acknowledged to a team of Wikipedia editors in February 2008 that he and Marsden “became friends … and that we would be meeting about that,” and stated “I recused myself from any further official action with respect to her biography.”

On Sunday, The Canadian Press reported that Marsden had posted photos of herself on Ebay, and was selling items that Wales had left at her New York City apartment. In her Ebay posting, Marsden stated: “Hi, my name is Rachel and my (now ex-) boyfriend, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, just broke up with me via an announcement on Wikipedia … It was such a classy move that I was inspired to do something equally classy myself, so I’m selling a couple of items of clothing he left behind, here in my NYC apartment, on eBay. Jimbo was supposed to come visit me in a couple of weeks and pick up some of his stuff, but obviously that won’t be happening now.” Marsden told The Canadian Press “It didn’t really help matters that Jimmy chose to announce the breakup to the entire world via Wikipedia (which apparently now is an online encyclopedia that doubles as a personal soapbox?) rather than to me directly (which he did much later, in an instant message discussion).”

I care deeply about the integrity of Wikipedia, and take very seriously my responsibilities as a member of the board and as a member of the Wikipedia community. I would never knowingly do anything to compromise that trust.

Marsden placed a t-shirt and sweater which she said were left at her apartment by Wales up on Ebay, and started the bidding for each at ninety-nine cents, with the auctions set to end on March 12. By Monday, bidding on the t-shirt had reached US$300, and by Tuesday the highest bid had reached $12,200. In an email to The Globe and Mail, Marsden stated “My only focus right now, to be really honest, is on my career and finding a way to get back into print, TV, or radio here in NYC,” she wrote. “All of this other personal stuff is just an unfortunate distraction.”

Jay Walsh, the Wikimedia Foundation’s head of communications, told the San Jose Mercury News that Wales’ actions in relaying Marsden’s concerns about her Wikipedia article to a team of trusted editors was within his “routine” role. When asked by the San Jose Mercury News if Wales’ actions regarding the Marsden article could compromise his role with the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia, Walsh responded “No, absolutely not.”

On Tuesday, ABC News carried a story by Wired News reporter Megan McCarthy regarding allegations of “excessive spending” by Wales, and Associated Press also reported on questions involving Wikimedia Foundation expenses. McCarthy reported that former Wikimedia executive Danny Wool, who had left the foundation last year, criticized Wales’ use of Wikimedia Foundation expenses in a blog post. Wool stated that Wales had tried to expense $300 bottles of wine, a $1,300 dinner for four at a Florida steakhouse, and visits to Moscow massage parlors to the foundation, and that the foundation rescinded Wales’ corporate credit card in 2006. Wool also stated that Wales paid the foundation $7,000, after being short $30,000 on receipts for expenses.

Wool told EPICENTER that “There were occasions where he used [the Wikimedia Foundation] for personal advancement under the guide [sic] of the mission. And, as someone who was in there for the mission part of it, I found that rather distressful.” Wool commented in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle: “Originally, it was carelessness … But as things developed, it became more apparent and obvious that he was taking advantage of the foundation credit card. It was almost like his personal piggy bank.”

Jimmy has never used Wikimedia money to subsidize his personal expenditures. Indeed, he has consistently put the foundation’s interests ahead of his own.

In an instant message exchange with Associated Press, Wales denied that the Wikimedia Foundation had taken away his corporate credit card, and asserted that he had made the decision to stop expensing business travel for the foundation. Wales highlighted a statement by the foundation’s executive director Sue Gardner: “Jimmy has never used Wikimedia money to subsidize his personal expenditures. Indeed, he has consistently put the foundation’s interests ahead of his own.” In an email to Associated Press, Brad Patrick, a former attorney for the Wikimedia Foundation, stated “Danny seems interested in blogging his way straight to a lawsuit”.

Florence Devouard, who chairs the Wikimedia Foundation, told Associated Press that Wales had been “slow in submitting receipts,” and that the foundation had rejected Wales’ expense at the Florida steakhouse. Devouard told fellow foundation board members in a private email that she had convinced Associated Press that “the money story was a no story,” and told Wales “I find (it) tiring to see how you are constantly trying to rewrite the past. Get a grip!” Wales told Associated Press: “The board, the current executive director, the previous executive director, and independent auditors have reviewed our books and publicly agree that all of my expenses were appropriate and fully accounted for.”

Media reports speculated on how the controversy would end up being represented in Wikipedia itself. On Wednesday, the St. Petersburg Times wrote: “Wales’ Wikipedia page said only this about Marsden: ‘Wales had a brief relationship with Canadian journalist Rachel Marsden.'” An article in The Australian surmised: “History will decide whether Mr Wales broke his own principles, but before that happens there may well be a Wikipedia page devoted to the controversy.”

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June

12

2008 Taste of Taiwan Cuisine features three shows for food and packaging industries

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2008 Taste of Taiwan Cuisine features three shows for food and packaging industries
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Friday, June 20, 2008

The third annual Taste of Taiwan Cuisine opened on Wednesday of June 18, 2008 and runs until June 21. Organized by Taiwan External Trade Development Council to promote the culinary culture of Taiwan, the tradeshow featured three main shows for food and food packaging industries: “Food Taipei”, “Foodtech Taipei”, and “Taipei Pack”.

Twenty-seven countries including United States, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Sri Lanka, Austria, Philippines, Chile, Malaysia, Spain, Fiji, Poland, and six nations from Africa, grouped their own national pavilions for sourcing and procurement. In addition, the Taiwan Pavilion featured sections on culture, product image, brand design, and agriculture verification in Food Taipei.

Industrial solutions including medical applications, packaging machines, food CNCs, and bar-code printers are showcased in the “Foodtech Taipei” and “Taipei Pack”. Seminars and forums from security, global marketing, and policies for food, machinery, and packaging industries are also held during show hours.

After the 3-in-1 show in Taipei, the Kaohsiung International Food Show will be scheduled for November.

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