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News briefs:May 15, 2010
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Australia makes changes to Boxing Day cricket test team

Friday, December 26, 2008

Following its recent loss to South Africa, the Australian Cricket team has replaced player Jason Krejza for Nathan Hauritz in the traditional Boxing Day test to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of an expected crowd of 70,000. Australia lost the first test of the three game series by six wickets after South Africa chased down an almost world record 414 in their second innings. Only West Indies have done better making 7-418 in Antigua during the 2002-03 tour.

All rounder Andrew Symonds kept his place despite being restricted in training with knee-soreness. Victorian speed bowler Peter Siddle was also thought to be on the verge of replacement yet managed to retain his place in the team. There has been rumour that the injury would keep Symonds out and Queenslands team mate Shane Watson would be returned after time on the sidelines.

News.com.au quotes Australian Captain Ricky Ponting “We have only made the one change in the side and that’s Nathan Hauritz will come in for Jason Krejza. Otherwise we are pretty happy with what most of the rest of the guys did in Perth.”

Australia, currently leading the work test team rankings must avoid a 3-0 loss to South Africa if they are to retain their current rankings. If they do loose the series, it will be the first time they have done so on home soil since they lost the West Indies in 1993.

Following their emphatic win, South Africa has named an unchanged side putting aside doubt over vice-captain Ashwell Prince making a comeback as he continues to suffer with a thumb injury. South Africa will train before joining family and friends in the traditional Christmas Day luncheon for both teams.

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By Kai Hendrics

Herb gardens are so useful, versatile and easy to grow that they make an excellent addition to any home. Unfortunately not everyone has access to a spacious garden to grow their herbs in. This is where container herb gardens come in. They are great because you just need enough space for a few containers, and you can grow the most wonderful herb garden! What’s more, if you ever decide to move house, you can simply take your container herb garden with you!

So where do you start? Well, the first thing you need to do is consider what sort of herbs you would like to plant. To help you decide this, you might want to think about what sort of dishes you like to cook or what you will be using your herbs for. To give you some ideas, the following is a list of commonly used herbs in the kitchen:

Rosemary – Very fragrant and flavoursome herb that goes well with meat dishes. Can also be used to flavour oils.

Basil – Great with tomatoes and often used in pasta dishes. Also commonly used in Thai dishes.

Mint – Very aromatic herb. The leaves of this plant can be dried and used to make refreshing mint tea.

Chives – Especially good sprinkled raw over salads and over roasted potatoes.

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After deciding what herbs you would like to plant, you want to go and get the following supplies:

— Container/s

— Potting Mix / Soil

— Seeds and/or herb seedlings

— Spade

— Watering can

— Fertilizer

If you are just starting out, you might want to use herb seedlings as they require less work than growing your herbs from seeds.

Once you have gathered all your supplies together, it’s time to start creating your container herb garden!

Fill your container with soil and add a little fertilizer to prime the soil and enhance the growing environment. (Note: If you have purchased liquid fertilizer then you can just add it to the watering water later on.). The amount of soil you put in depends on whether you use seeds or seedling to plant your herb garden. In general, if you are using seeds, fill your container to about 1 inch from the rim so that you will have room to cover your seeds with a little additional soil.

Always check the instructions on the seed packet as they will usually give you more detail on how best to plant your seeds. If you are using seedlings on the other hand, you want to cover the base of your container with only a few inches of soil so that you can fit the seedlings in. When you have arranged all your seedlings in the container you can fill the spaces around them with more soil.

As with seeds, you also want to follow the instructions that accompany your seedlings. If your seedlings to do come supplies with instructions, you can try looking up the information on the internet. These instructions are important for telling you the best growing conditions for your herbs. You might need to move your containers around to give them access to sufficient sunlight to help them grow.

Finally when you are done, give your containers a good water! And of course do not forget to water your herb garden over the coming days.

Follow these step and it shouldn’t be long before you have beautiful and bountiful container herb gardens just brimming with delicious fresh herbs!

About the Author: If you are thinking about growing your own

herb garden

or are interested in finding out more, you should visit this

herb garden site

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Controversial development training cited in religious discrimination lawsuits

Friday, May 23, 2008

A controversial development training course called “Landmark Forum” is cited in religious discrimination lawsuits in United States federal courts in New York and Washington, D.C. The seminars are run by a San Francisco, California-based for-profit training company called Landmark Education. The company evolved from Erhard Seminars Training “est”, and has faced criticism regarding its techniques and its use of unpaid labor. The sperm bank and surrogacy company Los Angeles-based Growing Generations is named as a defendant in the New York lawsuit, and the Democratic political action committee Twenty-First Century Democrats is a defendant in the Washington, D.C. case.

In separate lawsuits filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, New York, and in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., former employees are suing their employers for monetary damages and claiming religious discrimination after their employers allegedly mandated that they attend courses at Landmark Education.

In the US$3 million federal lawsuit filed in New York, Scott Glasgow is suing his former employer Growing Generations and its CEO Stuart Miller. Growing Generations maintains sperm banks and also arranges surrogacy for gay couples who wish to have children. The company has offices in New York and Los Angeles, and has done business with celebrities including actor B. D. Wong of Law & Order: SVU.

Glasgow was marketing director of Growing Generations, and claims he was fired in June 2007 after refusing to continue attending Landmark Education seminars. Glasgow is also suing for sexual harassment, and claims Miller came on to him in September 2006. He made approximately $100,000 per year as the company’s marketing director, and was the company’s only employee based out of New York City. The company’s main offices are in Los Angeles.

I want them to stop imposing Landmark on the employees, and I want an apology.

“I was shocked when I was fired. It took me months to right myself. I want them to stop imposing Landmark on the employees, and I want an apology,” said Glasgow in a statement in The Village Voice. Brent Pelton, one of Glasgow’s attorneys, stated that: “The Landmark philosophy is deeply ingrained in the culture of the company”. Glasgow said that the Landmark Education training courses were “opposite” to his Christian beliefs. According to Glasgow he was questioned by Miller in May 2007 after he walked out of a Landmark Education course, and was fired shortly thereafter. “We stand by the allegations contained in the complaint and we look forward to proving them at trial,” said Pelton in a statement to ABC News.

Ian Wallace, an attorney who represents Growing Generations, claimed that Glasgow wasn’t fired but walked away from his position. “Growing Generations and Mr. Miller are very confident that these claims will be dismissed ultimately, and there’s no factual basis for them whatsoever,” said Wallace in a statement to The Village Voice. Lawyers representing Growing Generations and Stuart Miller declined comment to The New York Post, and did not immediately return a message from ABC News.

In Glasgow’s complaint, entered into federal court record on April 18, he asserts that Landmark Education constitutes a “religion”, and “perceived their philosophy as a form of religion that contradicted his own personal beliefs”. He states that when he was promoted to Director of Marketing, he asked Miller if he could stop attending the Landmark sessions but was told that they were mandatory for all of the company’s executives and that Landmark is “very much the language of the company.” Glasgow said his performance at the company was assessed based on how he was “touching, moving and inspiring” others, a phrase from the Landmark philosophy, as opposed to his business accomplishments at the company. The complaint claims that the actions of Miller and Growing Generations violated Federal, New York State and New York City civil rights laws.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. deals with a separate plaintiff and company, but the plaintiff in the suit also claims that religious discrimination took place for allegedly being mandated to attend Landmark Education courses. Kenneth Goldman is suing the United States Democratic political action committee Twenty-First Century Democrats (also 21st Century Democrats) and its former executive director Kelly Young. Goldman was formerly the communications director of 21st Century Democrats.

According to Goldman’s complaint, three employees of 21st Century Democrats were fired after refusing to attend the Landmark Forum course. The complaint asserts that Landmark Education has “religious characteristics and theological implications” which influenced the mission of 21st Century Democrats and the way the organization conducted business. Goldman’s complaint states that in addition to himself, a training director and field director were also fired after they made it clear they would not attend the Landmark Forum.

Goldman says executive director Young infused Landmark Education jargon terms into staff meetings such as “create possibilities”, “create a new context”, and “enroll in possibilities”. He also claims that Young “urged” staff members to participate in Landmark Education events outside of the workplace, drove employees to and from Landmark functions, and used funds from 21st Century Democrats to pay for employees to attend those functions. Goldman’s complaint asserts that he was discriminated against in violation of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.

While we are not a party to this lawsuit and have no firsthand knowledge of it, we can only assume that we are being used as a legal and political football to further the plaintiff”s own financial interests.

In a statement in The Washington Times, the executive director of 21st Century Democrats, Mark Lotwis, called the lawsuit “frivolous” and said: “we’re going to defend our organization’s integrity”. Landmark Education spokeswoman Deborah Beroset said that the Landmark Forum “is in no way religious in nature and any claim to the contrary is simply absurd,” and stated: “While we are not a party to this lawsuit and have no firsthand knowledge of it, we can only assume that we are being used as a legal and political football to further the plaintiff”s own financial interests.”

The New York lawsuit was filed April 14, and is still in early filing stages. A conference with the federal court judge in the case has been scheduled for June 17. The Washington, D.C. suit began in November 2007, and entered mediation this past March. As of April 15 the parties in the case were due back to court on July 11 to update the court on the mediation process.

Landmark Education is descended from Erhard Seminars Training, also called “est”, which was founded by Werner Erhard. est began in 1971, and Erhard’s company Werner Erhard and Associates repackaged the course as “The Forum” in 1985. Associates of Erhard bought the license to his “technology” and incorporated Landmark Education in California in 1991.

This is not the first time employees have sued claiming mandatory attendance at “Forum” workshops violated their civil rights. In a lawsuit filed in December 1988 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, eight employees of DeKalb Farmers Market in Decatur, Georgia sued their employer claiming their religious freedom and civil rights were violated when they were allegedly coerced into attending “Forum” training sessions. “Many of these training programs, particularly at large corporations, claim to be purely psychological, aimed at improving productivity and morale and loyalty. But in fact they are religious,” said University of Denver religious studies professor Carl Raschke in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.

The DeKalb Farmers Market employees were represented by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union. Consulting Technologies Inc., an affiliate of Transformational Technologies Inc., was named as a party in the lawsuit. Transformational Technologies was founded by Werner Erhard, and was not named as a party in the suit. The “Forum” course that the employees claimed they were mandated to attend was developed by Werner Erhard and Associates. Employees said that they were fired or pressured to quit after they objected to the Forum courses.

The workers claimed that the Forum course contradicted with their religious beliefs. The plaintiffs in the suit included adherents of varying religious backgrounds, including Christianity and Hinduism. “The sessions put people into a hibernating state. They ask for total loyalty. It’s like brainwashing,” said Dong Shik Kim, one of the plaintiffs in the case. The plaintiffs said they lost their jobs after objecting to a “new age quasi-religious cult” which they said was developed by Werner Erhard.

The DeKalb Farmers Market denied the allegations, and an attorney for the company Edward D. Buckley III told The Wall Street Journal that employees were encouraged, not coerced, to attend the training sessions. According to The Wall Street Journal, The Forum said it would not sanction workers being coerced to attend its training sessions.

The parties in the DeKalb Farmers Market religious discrimination case came to a settlement in May 1989, and the case was dismissed with prejudice in June. The terms of the out-of-court settlement were not made public, but the employees’ attorney Amy Totenberg told The Wall Street Journal that the case “has made employers come to grips with the legitimate boundaries of employee training”.

According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers must “reasonably accommodate” their employees’ religious beliefs unless this creates “undue hardship”. In September 1988, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a policy-guidance notice which stated that New Age courses should be handled under Title VII of the Act. According to the Commission, employers must provide “reasonable accommodation” if an employee challenges a training course, unless this causes “undue hardship” for the company.

In October 2006, Landmark Education took legal action against Google, YouTube, the Internet Archive and a website owner in Queensland, Australia in attempts to remove criticism of its products from the Internet. The company sought a subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an attempt to discover the identity of an anonymous critic who uploaded a 2004 French documentary of the Landmark Forum to the Internet. “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” (Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus) was produced by Pièces à Conviction, a French investigative journalism news program. The Electronic Frontier Foundation represented the anonymous critic and the Internet Archive, and Landmark withdrew its subpoena in November 2006 in exchange for a promise from the anonymous critic not to repost the video.

Landmark Education itself has come under scrutiny for its controversial labor practices. The company has been investigated by the United States Department of Labor in separate investigations originating out of California, Colorado, and Texas. Investigations focused on the heavy reliance of unpaid labor in the company’s workforce, which Landmark Education calls “assistants” and deems volunteers.

An investigation by the U.S. Dept. Labor based out of Colorado found that activities performed by Landmark Education’s “assistants” include: “office, clerical, telephone solicitation and enrollment, as well as greeting customers, setting up chairs, handling microphones during the seminars and making coffee. Additionally, a number of volunteers actually teach the courses and provide testimonials during and after the courses.” The Colorado investigation’s 1996 report found that “No records are kept of any hours worked by any employees.” According to a 1998 article in Metro Silicon Valley: “In the end the Department of Labor dropped the issue, leaving Landmark trumpeting about its volunteers’ choice in the matter.” Metro Silicon Valley reported that Landmark Education at the time employed 451 paid staff, and also utilized the services of 7,500 volunteers.

After an investigation into Landmark Education’s labor practices by the U.S. Dept. Labor’s offices out of California, the company was deemed to have overtime violations. According to the Department of Labor’s 2004 report on the investigation, back wages of $187,569.01 were found due to 45 employees. An investigation by the U.S. Dept. Labor in Texas which concluded in 2005 stated: “Minimum wage violation found. Volunteers (Assistants) are not paid any wages for hours worked while performing the major duties of the firm. The assistants set up rooms, call registrants, collect fees, keep stats of classroom data/participants, file, they also are answering phones, training and leading seminars.”

The Texas investigation also discovered an overtime violation. Landmark Education agreed to pay back wages for the overtime violation, but did not comply with the overtime violation found by the U.S. Dept. Labor for the “assistants”. Landmark Education denied that the “assistants” are employees, though the Department of Labor report concluded: “Interviews reveal that the employees are taking payments, registering clients, billing, training, recruiting, setting up locations, cleaning, and other duties that would have to be performed by staff if the assistants did not perform them.”

According to the 2004 investigative report by Pièces à Conviction in the “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” program, Landmark Education was investigated by the French government in 1995. In the “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” program volunteers were filmed through a hidden camera and shown performing duties for Landmark Education in France including manning phones, recruitment and financial work for the company, and one volunteer was shown cleaning a toilet.

Le Nouvel Observateur reported that after “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” aired in France, labor inspectors investigated Landmark Education’s use of unpaid volunteers. According to Le Nouvel Observateur, one month after the labor investigation took place the French branch of the company had disbanded. A former “Introduction Leader” to the Landmark Forum, Lars Bergwik, has recently posted a series of videos to YouTube critical of the company and its practices. Bergwik appeared on a 2004 investigative journalism program on Sweden’s Channel 4, Kalla Fakta (Cold Facts). According to Bergwik, after the Kalla Fakta program on Landmark Education aired, “Landmark left Sweden”.

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Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

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

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

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August

3

US toy retail giant Toys R Us files for bankruptcy in US, Canada

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US toy retail giant Toys R Us files for bankruptcy in US, Canada
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Thursday, September 21, 2017

On Monday night, New Jersey, US-based toy retail giant Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in the US as well as in Canada. The retailer filed it from Richmond, Virginia for Chapter 11 bankruptcy code in the US, and a judge allowed a loan of over US$2 billion.

According to the filing, the retail chain owns US$6.6 billion in assets, but has a debt of US$7.9 billion. They were under a roughly US$5 billion debt since the company underwent a three-way acquisition in 2005. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital, and Vornado Realty Trust acquired Toys R Us for around US$7 to US$7.5 billion. After the US judge approved a loan, Toys R Us received about US$3 billion from the lenders to continue the business and survive a competitive market, and restructure their business model. E-commerce giant Amazon.com, Walmart and Target are some of the competitors for the conventional ‘brick and mortar’ toy shop, with lower priced-merchandise and fast, cheap delivery. In a conference call in June, CEO Dave Brandon said “very, very aggressive pricing online” was causing problems. He also said the company was experiencing “significant weakness in demand for their products globally”. Toys R Us are to clear a debt of US$400 million by May 2018.

Toys R Us said they would continue to operate for the holiday season. Bankruptcy lawyer Jeff Gleit said Toys R Us “need to do both a financial restructuring as well as an operational restructuring” and “needs to modernize with the times”. Last holiday season, Toys R Us made sales around US$4.5 billion. Overall, the company reported a US$29 million loss in 2016. CEO Brandon said, “Our objective is to work with our debt holders and other creditors to restructure the US$5 billion of long-term debt on our balance sheet, which will provide us with greater financial flexibility to invest in our business”.

Toys R Us employs more than 60 thousand people in 38 countries around the world in more than 1600 stores. The company’s stocks fell by six percent after filing for Chapter 11 protection. US bankruptcy code Chapter 11 allows the company to restructure under a plan approved by the court. The company would also be shielded from creditors’ claims during the process. For the stores located in Canada, Toys R Us filed bankruptcy in Ontario and are to undergo reorganisation. However, 259 stores located outside the US or Canada will not undergo reorganisation, the company said.

Over 300 US-based retailers have filed for bankruptcy this year, and hundreds of stores closed.

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August

3

The Couple Had Only Been Dating For Two Months When They Announced Their Engagement On April 5. In T

The Couple Had Only Been Dating For Two Months When They Announced Their Engagement On April 5. In T by Heidi PinkertonRead through Kanye West’s Total VMAs 2016 Speech Yeezy shared a photograph of a t-shirt that depicts 1 half of two very separate album covers: the explicit version of his cover for 2010’s My Lovely Dark Twisted Fantasy and Taylor Swift’s portrait on the cover of 2014’s 1989. He captioned the photo, “unity love,” however thinking about Swift has but to comment — she’s been active with jury duty — it is unclear how unified the newfound adore really is. how Kim Kardashian blows Ray J Courtesy of the business, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, mixed net worth reportedly upwards of $300 million, are occupying jaw-droppingly fancy digs ” a $24.5 million, 7,000-square-foot Tribeca townhouse ” until finally late October, completely free of charge. What is Airbnb considering? Kristen and Maliboo will be obtainable for invest in on July twenty, even though Ginger launches July 22.The sexiest portion of the dress, even though, was the insanely plunging neckline, which practically stopped at her stomach button. full version of Kim Kardashian and Ray J’s sex tape The 29-12 months-previous posted a picture to Instagram of sweet moment between him and fiance Blac Chyna whilst they’re shot in front of a green display. Blue was her go-to shade and in this hilarious throwback scene from Retaining Up With the Kardashians, Kylie totally fails at her DIY dye job. Ray J ft out Kim Kardashian.Although Kim has still to make a authentic return to social media herself, shes been spotted on Kanyes page, as well as Khloe Kardashians and Kylie Jenners Instagrams and Snapchats. No. six! E! announced that Dreams birth will be featured on the approaching Rob & Chyna Infant Unique, set to air Sunday, December 18, at eight p.m. ET. This is the 2nd youngster for Chyna, who shares son King Cairo, four, with her ex-fianc, rapper. Kim Kardashian full tape In the meantime, Kardashian has been linked to many possible suitors.The sex tape Kim Kardashian produced with then boyfriend Ray J was instrumental in catapulting her to stardom, and in a recent interview the rapper unveiled that he just played a element in creating her famous. Kim Kardashian and Ray J streaming I will not think it would surprise anybody in her inner circle,” Halperin said a good friend of Caitlyn’s advised him. West sang along with interjected shoutouts to Cudi and then headed straight into “Touch The Sky.”Maloney, who steered Lennox Lewis to victory beneath the identify of Frank, finished her transition in April 2015. She recalls getting left shocked above stories that Jenner allegedly handpicked the ladies she travelled with in her reality demonstrate, I Am Cait. “They had to go by way of auditions. Also visit my website; kardashiantapes.net Speaking to E! Information on Tuesday, Kardashian Wests mom Kris Jenner stated her daughter would consider her time coming back into the spotlight. Its a process, said Jenner, 60. One day at a time. Its a course of action. The piece shattered all 1-day traffic data on GQ.comor total readership, for video, for search visitors, and even for men and women clicking that ol&apos hyperlink-in-bio on our Instagram. Irish News DUP Brexit push may possibly weaken United kingdom – and indicator party’s death warrant David McWilliams D&aacuteil envelopes used to promote Healy-Rae’s daughter Politics ‘I felt really let down’ – UCD pupil ‘humiliated’ right after he was turned away from bar for becoming black My tattoos are artwork, they inform my existence story, says new senator Brock Turner case: Hero student who stopped Stanford sex assault speaks outHi there! 🙂 My name is Heidi, I’m a student studying Environmental Management from Bodieve, United Kingdom.my website about Kim KardashianMysterious girl went on family vacation and became renowned many thanks to movie produced by Ray Jay. In addition Kardashians family videos, photographs as well as this website. Demonstrate everything is undetectableIf you liked this post and you would certainly like to get additional info concerning kardashiantapes.net kindly check out our own website.Article Source: eArticlesOnline.com

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3

Swine flu outbreaks appear globally; WHO raises pandemic alert level to 5

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Swine flu outbreaks appear globally; WHO raises pandemic alert level to 5
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New cases of the swine flu virus have been reported around the world in recent days, prompting fear of a global influenza pandemic. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the pandemic alert level to 5. The United Nations has warned that the disease can not be contained. At least 91 confirmed cases of the flu have been reported worldwide.

In a special report, Wikinews takes a look at the reaction to the outbreak, and how different countries around the world have been affected by it.

The disease, which is believed to have originated in Mexico, has now spread across the globe, with confirmed cases having been reported in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Israel. The United States has also reported its first death from the disease in a toddler. South Korea and France both had probable cases.

The WHO said on Tuesday that while it was not yet certain that the outbreak would turn into pandemic, countries should prepare for the worst. “Countries should take the opportunity to prepare for a pandemic,” said the acting assistant director-general for the WHO, Keiji Fukuda.

“Based on assessment of all available information, and following several expert consultations, I have decided to raise the current level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5,” said Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the WHO, in a statement on Wednesday. “…All countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans. Countries should remain on high alert for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.” After the announcement was made, Wikinews learned that the WHO website had crashed for several minutes, presumably due to high traffic volume.

There is no vaccine for swine flu. In 1976 during an outbreak of the virus, at least 500 people became seriously ill, and of them, 25 had died when inoculated with an attempt at a vaccination. The 500 that became ill developed a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) which caused paralysis “and is characterized by various degrees of weakness, sensory abnormalities and autonomic dysfunction.” Those who developed the disorder did so because of an immunopathological reaction to the drug. Nearly 40 million US residents, including then US president Gerald Ford, were inoculated.


Screening measures at Canadian airports have been raised on Tuesday to screen passengers returning from Mexico for symptoms of swine flu. The measures come amid reports that thirteen people have now been infected in the country, in four different provinces.

The Public Health Agency has recommended Canadians who have booked flights to Mexico to delay them if possible. Those who choose to fly anyway will be asked questions about their health after they return, such as whether they have had symptoms of the flu, like diarrhea, coughing, or a sore throat. If anyone answers in the affirmative, they may be further assessed and perhaps transferred to a quarantine officer, who will suggest that they seek medical help, or isolate themselves at home.

“These measures will help to prevent further spread and protect the health of Canadians and we thank you for your patience and co-operation with this process,” said the chief public health officer, David Butler-Jones.

Several Canadian airlines have also limited or cancelled flights to Mexico. Air Transat and its partner tour companies, Nolitours and Transat Holidays, have cancelled all flights bound to Mexico until June 1. West Jet has also stated that it will suspend all vacation planning and air flights for Cancun, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, and other destinations in Mexico.

Egypt, which has not yet reported any cases of the flu, has recently begun a campaign to slaughter all 300,000 pigs in the country, despite assurances by health officials that the disease is not transmitted from animals to humans. “It has been decided to immediately start slaughtering all the pigs in Egypt using the full capacity of the country’s slaughterhouses,” Egypt’s health minister, Hatem el-Gabaly, told reporters.

Farmers have been protesting the measure. At one pig farming area in the country, crowds of farmers blockaded the roads to prevent health officials from entering to slaughter their pigs. Some of the farmers hurled stones at officials’ vehicles, and the latter was forced to retreat without killing any of the animals.

In Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, officials have announced up to 159 suspected deaths from the virus, out of a total of 2,498 suspected cases. The Mexican cabinet has announced that all flights departing from Mexico City will be suspended, while Argentina and Cuba have both cancelled all flights to the country. The European Union and the US have both issued warnings against traveling to Mexico.

The Royal Caribbean cruise line has suspended all stops in Mexico indefinitely, while Norwegian Cruise Line announced that its vessels will not make stops at Mexican ports until September of this year.

The government has ordered all restaurants in the country’s capital to serve only carry-out food, and closed archaeological sites with the intent of limiting large groupings of people. Churches, gyms, pool halls, and other institutions in Mexico City have been asked to close. School classes across the country have been suspended until May 6.

The Mexican government has estimated that the epidemic is costing companies in the capital at least US$57 million per day, and that tourism revenue has dropped by 36%. The finance ministry has set up a special fund of $450 million to fight the disease.

Thirteen confirmed cases have been known in New Zealand. All of them have been prescribed the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

New Zealand airports have now started to screen at least ten thousand people who arrive in the country from flights from Northern America. Those who display symptoms of the flu are taken aside by health authorities and placed into a quarantine.

“The number of suspected cases is likely in increase,” said Fran McGrath, the Deputy Director of Public Health. “While the numbers in any category will fluctuate, this is a pattern to be expected from an influenza outbreak. It is important to note that the 13 people we are treating as confirmed cases have all had mild flu symptoms, have received treatment and are all on the mend of have recovered.”

Spain’s health minister Trinidad Jinenez announced on Wednesday that a total of 53 persons in the country are under observation for the influenza. The number of confirmed cases in the country has been risen from four to ten, including one person who did not obtain the illness by traveling to Mexico.

Until now, Jimenez said that all of Spain’s confirmed cases involved persons who had recently visited Mexico, where the outbreak is believed to have began.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that five people who recently visited Mexico are now ill with the swine flu in the United Kingdom. “All of them have traveled recently from Mexico,” he said. “All of them have mild symptoms. All of them are receiving and responding well to treatment.”

The school of one the infected people, a twelve-year-old girl from Torbay, has been shut down and its 230 pupils given the drug Tamiflu, Brown said.

The Prime Minister said that the country is preparing for a possible pandemic. It has increased its stocks of antiviral drugs, enough for fifty million people, and ordered additional face masks for health workers. The government has encouraged all British residents to avoid travel to Mexico.

A 23-month-old boy from Mexico died at a Houston, Texas hospital on Wednesday, the first casualty from swine flu in the United States. The child had arrived in Brownsville, Texas, near the border with Mexico, with unspecified “underlying health issues” on April 4. Several days later, he presented symptoms of swine flu, and was hospitalized on April 13. The next day, the boy was transferred to a Houston hospital, where he remained until dying on Monday night of pneumonia brought on by the virus.

In response to the epidemic, Texas governor Rick Perry has given a disaster declaration. Schools have closed down statewide. Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has also declared a state of emergency in his state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the number of incidents of swine flu in the country to 64 on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress for a fund of $1.5 billion to fight the outbreak, saying that it is needed for “maximum flexibility to allow us to address this emerging situation.”

US health authorities have warned that more cases and fatalities from the flu are probable. “We expect to see more cases, more hospitalizations, and, unfortunately, we are likely to see more deaths from the outbreak,” said Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary.

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Interview: Danny O’Brien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Interview: Danny O’Brien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

January’s second Interview of the Month was with Danny O’Brien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on 23 January in IRC.

The EFF is coming off a series of high-profile successes in their campaigns to educate the public, press, and policy makers regarding online rights in a digital world, and defending those rights in the legislature and the courtroom. Their settlement with Sony/BMG, the amazingly confused MGM v Grokster decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, and the disturbing cases surrounding Diebold have earned the advocacy organization considerable attention.

When asked if the EFF would be interested in a live interview in IRC by Wikinews, the answer was a nearly immediate yes, but just a little after Ricardo Lobo. With two such interesting interview candidates agreeing so quickly, it was hard to say no to either so schedules were juggled to have both. By chance, the timing worked out to have the EFF interview the day before the U.S. Senate schedule hearings concerning the Broadcast flag rule of the FCC, a form of digital rights management which the recording and movie industries have been lobbying hard for – and the EFF has been lobbying hard to prevent.

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