Some Advice Regarding Engine Maintenance

byalex

Like everything in life, car engines need looking after if they are going to continue to operate efficiently year after year. They need care and attention and regular checks, just like the human body, in order to work properly and to their maximum capabilities. There are a number of things that any car owner should do to ensure that their engine remains in optimum condition. These routine checks will ensure that your engine has the longest life possible therefore saving you the expensive costs of major repair work or the purchase of a new engine or car.

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Oil, filters and replacement partsSubaru Auto Engine Oil in Salt Lake City Engine oil is the lifeblood of any motor vehicle. It is essential that oil levels remain sufficient and that the oil is of a good quality. Much like blood in our own bodies, oil plays a vitally important role in the operation and performance of any engine. If levels become too low, capabilities and efficiency will be drastically reduced and expensive faults and problems can occur quickly. As a general rule, oil should be changed approximately every four thousand to six thousand miles. However if you notice that performance is deteriorating it is essential that you check your oil for low levels and assess the need for replacing the current oil.

Air filters can be the root cause of many problems associated with engine performance. They should be inspected regularly and changed if there is noticeable damage to any part of the air filter. When replacing engine parts it is imperative that we use the corresponding replacement parts applicable to the particular brand of engine. Different engine manufacturers have different designs that may affect the performance of an engine if fitted in conjunction with other brands. We should take care to ensure that all engine parts are legitimate and one hundred per cent genuine. There are numerous companies that specialize in various models such as Toyota, Honda and Subaru auto repair in Salt Lake City so advice is always at hand regarding this matter.

Other regular checksThere are a number of other checks that can be carried out in order to ensure that our motor vehicles have the necessary fluids to operate efficiently. These checks can be done by any car owner although it is advised to have your vehicle periodically checked by an experienced professional so that they can confirm that everything is as it should be. Some of these simple checks are in relation to fluid levels relating to the power steering of the vehicle, engine coolant levels and also brake fluid. All play a major role in the efficient performance of your motor vehicle and therefore become an important aspect of any regular engine maintenance assessments.

GT Automotive, offering professional advice and assistance regarding Subaru auto repair in Salt Lake City. For more information call us on (801) 302-0912 or visit us online at www.gtautomotive.com

Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vault containing millions of seeds from all over the world, saw its first deposits on Tuesday. Located 800 kilometers from the North Pole on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, the vault has been referred to by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso as a “frozen Garden of Eden“. It is intended to preserve crop supplies and secure biological diversity in the event of a worldwide disaster.

“The opening of the seed vault marks a historic turning point in safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,” said Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust which is in charge of collecting the seed samples. The Norwegian government, who owns the bank, built it at a cost of $9.1 million.

At the opening ceremony, 100 million seeds from 268,000 samples were placed inside the vault, where there is room for over 2 billion seeds. Each of the samples originated from a different farm or field, in order to best ensure biological diversity. These crop seeds included such staples as rice, potatoes, barley, lettuce, maize, sorghum, and wheat. No genetically modified crops were included. (Beyond politics they are generally sterile so of no use.)

It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks.

Constructed deep inside a mountain and protected by concrete walls, the “doomsday vault” is designed to withstand earthquakes, nuclear warfare, and floods resulting from global warming. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called it an “insurance policy” against such threats.

With air-conditioned temperatures of -18 degrees Celsius, experts say the seeds could last for an entire millennium. Some crops will be able to last longer, like sorghum, which the Global Crop Diversity Trust says can last almost 20 millenniums. Even if the refrigeration system fails, the vaults are expected to stay frozen for 200 years.

The Prime Minister said, “With climate change and other forces threatening the diversity of life that sustains our planet, Norway is proud to be playing a central role in creating a facility capable of protecting what are not just seeds, but the fundamental building blocks of human civilization.” Stoltenberg, along with Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, made the first deposit of rice to the vault.

“It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks,” Maathai said. The vault will operate as a bank, allowing countries to use their deposited seeds free of charge. It will also serve as a backup to the thousands of other seed banks around the world.

“Crop diversity will soon prove to be our most potent and indispensable resource for addressing climate change, water and energy supply constraints and for meeting the food needs of a growing population,” Cary Fowler said.

An Introduction To Standard Gas Analysis And Production}

An Introduction to Standard Gas Analysis and Production

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Rosario BerryStandard gas production or manufacturing has become an essential service for a variety of industries. To ensure the correct gas is purchased, it is critical to understand the hierarchy of standard materials and how the production process ensures a consistent and accurate product. Without this understanding it is difficult for purchasing companies to identify and compare the best providers.The standard gas hierarchy is typically separated into three fundamental tiers: Primary, Master, and Certified. Primary standard materials rely on either the primary measurement and analysis. With the development and implementation of additional assessment measurements, a facility can manufacture master standard gas. The increase in accuracy and stricter quality control are the differences between primary and master standard material production. The final option is certified standard materials which features an even higher level of accuracy and consistency. Functionally, the method of manufacturing and mixing accuracy is the key driver in determining the level of quality within the hierarchy. Regardless of where the standard gas is on the hierarchy a similar manufacturing and analysis process is used. There are two phases which take place simultaneously. They are the gas mixing phase and cylinder preparation phase. In the gas mixing phase both the component gas and the base gas is inspected. Once they pass inspection, they are combined and refined to ensure they pass an impurity analysis. Assuming the impurity analysis is passed, the mixed gas is compressed and stored until the cylinder preparation phase is complete. The cylinder preparation phase takes place simultaneously with the gas mixing phase. The new cylinder undergoes a physical inspection to ensure a clean and sanitary inner surface. If necessary, shot blasting and a comical inner surface treatment is undertaken to ensure nothing in the cylinder risks contaminating the standard gas mixture.Once the standard gasses are mixed and the cylinder has been prepared the gas filling phase begins. This phase is often considered the most important because accuracy is essential for the producer to meet the exist specification of the purchaser. This phase is often what separate the best standard gas manufacturers from their competition. Relying on high precision balancing techniques the compressed gas fills the cylinder followed by the base gas. One both groups of gasses are in the cylinder the homogenization process begins. This process will vary based upon the types of gasses being combined. The final process is calculations and analysis. The best standard gas providers include multiple layers of redundancies to ensure accuracy. After the gasses have been homogenized the contents of the cylinder must be verified using the appropriate analysis instrument for the gas mixture. Once the content is verified as accurate a report and any applicable certificates will be created.With a basic understanding of standard gas analysis and production it is easier for a buyer to identify the best manufacturers to work with.With the development and implementation of additional assessment measurements, a facility can manufacture master standard gas. The increase in accuracy and stricter quality control are the differences between primary and master standard material production. The final option is certified standard materials which features an even higher level of accuracy and consistency. Functionally, the method of manufacturing and mixing accuracy is the key driver in determining the level of quality within the hierarchy.

Rosario Berry is a professional freelance writer, like to introduce

Rigas Co. Ltd

. With a basic understanding of

Standard Gas

analysis and production it is easier for a buyer to identify the best manufacturers to work with.

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Class action launched by Australian bushfire survivors against SP AusNet

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The largest class action in Victorian history was commenced at the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday the 13th by Slidders Lawyers against electricity distribution company SP AusNet and the Brumby Government in relation to the Kilmore East fire that became part of the Kinglake complex.

Because of the lawsuit, SP AusNet SPN.AX’s shares on Monday have dropped more than 13.36 per cent or 14.5 cents, to an intra-day low of 94 cents, was at 98.5 cents at 10:38 a.m. local time, before recovering slightly to be 7.5 cents lower at A$1.01 by 1144 AEDT (0003 GMT) or 6.9 percent in Sydney trading. Shares in SP AusNet closed 3.7 percent lower at A$1.045 on Monday.

Power supplier SP AusNet said it has asked the Victoria Court regarding the status of the class action proceedings saying the firm had insurance policies in place consistent with industry standards. “SP AusNet will continue to update the market as further information becomes available,” the company said.

The claim has focused on alleged negligence by SP AusNet in its management of electricity infrastructure. It maintains most of the power lines in eastern Victoria. Its fallen power line is believed to have sparked the blaze that tore through Kinglake, Steels Creek, Strathewen, Humevale, and St Andrews. The plaintiffs include thousands of angry Kinglake farmers, small business owners, tourist operators and residents who lost homes.

Leo Keane, the lead plaintiff in the class action has alleged “SP AusNet owed a duty of care to landowners to operate and manage power lines in a way that limited the risk of damage from bushfires.”

On Thursday Phoenix Taskforce had taken away a section of power line as well as a power pole from near Kilmore East, part of a two-kilometre section of line in Kilmore East that fell during strong winds and record heat about 11am last Saturday. It was believed to have started the fire there, since within minutes a nearby pine forest was ablaze, and within six hours the bushfire had almost obliterated nearly every building in the towns in its path.

“It is believed that the claim will be made on the basis of negligent management of power lines and infrastructure,” Slidders Lawyers partner Daniel Oldham said. The law firm has announced it was helping landowners and leaseholders get compensation for the 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009 bushfires. “If you have been burnt by the recent bushfires, please register your interest using the form below as soon as possible,” the law firm’s website stated.

The Insurance Council of Australia has placed the cost of the bushfires at about $500 million. “That means keeping electricity lines clear of trees and in a condition that won’t cause fires. They must also have systems in place to identify and prevent risks occurring,” Melbourne barrister Tim Tobin, QC, said. According to the 2006 census, Kinglake had a population of almost 1,500 people.

But SP AusNet’s legal liability has been limited at $100 million under an agreement inked by the former Kennett government with private utility operators, when the former State Electricity Commission was privatized in 1995. Accordingly, the Brumby Government could be legally obliged to pay damages of the differences amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

SP AusNet Ltd said some of its electricity assets have been damaged by the Victoria bushfire. “As a preliminary estimate, it is thought that damage has been sustained to approximately one per cent of SP AusNet’s electricity distribution network, mainly distribution poles, associated conductors and pole top transformers,” SP AusNet said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). It explained that up to 6,000 homes and businesses on its network were without power due to bushfires, including the Kinglake complex fire, Beechworth fire, and fires across Gippsland including Churchill and Bunyip.

SP AusNet said the firm will cooperate fully and will assist in any fire probe. “We stand ready to assist the relevant authorities with their inquiries if it is necessary for us to do so now and in the coming months,” SP Ausnet spokeswoman Louisa Graham said in a statement.

“Our priority is to restore power to fire-affected areas as quickly as possible. We believe the claim is premature and inappropriate … SP AusNet will vigorously defend the claim. If the claim is pursued, SP AusNet advises that it has liability insurance which provides cover for bushfire liability. The company’s bushfire mitigation and vegetation management programmes comply with state regulations and were audited annually by state agencies,” Grahams explained.

Victorian Auditor-General Rob Hulls said “there was an ‘unseemly rush’ by some lawyers to sue before the cause of the fires had been fully investigated.”

“The government body had audited the network’s bushfire risk to make sure required distances between power lines and vegetation were maintained. Power companies had been given a clean bill of health, and electricity firms were judged to be ‘well prepared for the 2008-09 bushfire season.’ There were no regulations applying to the distances between poles supporting electricity lines and spans of one kilometre were not unusual,” a spokesman for Energy Safe Victoria explained.

Christine Nixon, the 19th and current Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police said investigations into the cause of the bushfires were ongoing. “I know people are angry, and so are all of us in this community. But we need to kind of have a sense that the proper processes are in place and we need to go through the investigation and through the court case,” Nixon said. “At this stage we are not able to confirm how it started. I understand there is some legal action that people are taking, but at this stage we’re still investigating its cause. But the whole circumstances of that fire are part of our Taskforce Phoenix, and as we move through that we’ll be able to tell the community more once we’re able to confirm or deny what we think is the cause of these fires,” Nixon added.

On Thursday, two people were arrested in connection with the fires, having been observed by members of the public acting suspiciously in areas between Yea and Seymour; although they were both released without charges laid.

Brendan Sokaluk, age 39, from Churchill in the Gippsland region, was arrested by police at 4pm on Thursday, in relation to the Churchill fires, and was questioned at the Morwell police station. He was charged on Friday with one count each of arson, intentionally lighting a bushfire and possession of child pornography. The arson case relates to 11 of the 21 deaths in the dire Gippsland fire, which devastated 39,000 hectares in the Latrobe Valley, Calignee, Hazelwood Koornalla and Jeeralang. Two teams of Churchill firefighters were almost lost in the inferno that remains out of control.

Mr Sokaluk joined the CFA Churchill brigade in the late 1980s as a volunteer fire fighter, left in the 1990s and attempted to rejoin twice, but was rejected. He failed to appear in Melbourne Magistrate’s Court Monday for a scheduled hearing, since the court reset the committal hearing on May 25. He is represented by lawyer Julian McMahon.

Magistrate John Klestadt has lifted the suppression order which kept the suspect’s identity a secret but identifying photographs were barred from being released. Mr Sokaluk was remanded in protective custody from Morwell to a cell in Melbourne for his own safety amid fears angry prisoners will target him and real risk of vigilante attacks. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment if convicted on the arson charge.

“This is an extraordinary case. The level of emotion and anger and disgust that the alleged offenses have aroused in the community is unprecedented.” Mr Sokaluk’s defense lawyer Helen Spowart argued. The prosecution has moved the Court for more time to prepare its case, saying there would be up to 200 witnesses to interview.

Slater & Gordon has indicated that they were awaiting the report of the to-be-established Royal Commission, expected in late 2010, before initiating any claims.

Armed with a $40 million budget, the Royal Commission’s Chair Justice Bernard Teague will be assisted by former Commonwealth ombudsman Ron McLeod, who led the inquiry into the 2003 Canberra bushfires, and State Services Authority Commissioner Susan Pascoe. The Commission has said its interim report is due on August 17 while the final report will be submitted by July 31, 2010.

Judge Bernard Teague has announced Tuesday he will meet with fire victims and fire authorities within the next two weeks. “We want to do that as soon as possible – probably not next week but starting to have these discussions the week after,” he said.

Julia Eileen Gillard, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and deputy leader of the federal Australian Labor Party (ALP) said the federal and Victorian governments would respond quickly to the royal commission’s report. “Everybody who has lived through this experience in Victoria and around the nation has asked the question: ‘Why? What can we do better?’. No one wanted to see the report “as a book on a shelf gathering dust,” she said.

Victoria bushfire experts, led by Forest Fire Victoria – a group of scientists and forestry experts – have condemned the government’s “Living with Fire” policy and the state’s failure to initiate serious fuel-reduction programs. The Victoria government had failed to seriously act on bushfire safety recommendations submitted last June by the Victorian Parliamentary Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

As death toll rises, evidence mounts of lack of planning prior to Australia’s worst bushfire. “Living with Fire” policy means Kinglake fire trucks were dispatched to an earlier fire in Kilmore, leaving Kinglake undefended. “Kinglake was left with no fire brigade and no police. The trucks had been sent to Kilmore. I’ve been in the fire brigade for 10 years. There was always a law—the trucks had to be on the hill. Because of the government we got gutted at Kinglake. They should have been getting generators ahead of the fire—so people would have had a chance of fighting it. As soon as the power went, I couldn’t keep fighting the fire at my place,” Rick and Lauren Watts, and their friend Neil Rao, spoke to the WSWS.

Rick has also criticized the lack of early warning communications systems, since emergency siren warnings in the town had been stopped some years earlier. Humevale resident Sina Imbriano who has six children was angry about the failure of state and federal governments to set up a recommended telephone warning system amid its “stay and defend or go” policy. Bald Spur Road residents Greg Jackson and his wife Fotini said the government’s “stay and defend or go” policy was “fruitless” since the critical issue was early warnings, but “they [the government] just won’t spend the money.”

Also on Friday, five law firms from Victoria’s Western Districts, including Warrnambool-based Maddens Lawyers and Brown & Proudfoot, held a meeting to discuss a potential class action in relation to the Horsham fire, which was also thought to have been started by fallen power pole that burnt vast swathes of land in Mudgegonga and Dederang, Victoria. The lawsuit will also focus on the fire that blackened about 1750 hectares at Coleraine.

Maddens senior attorney Brendan Pendergast said: “We don’t know who the defendant is at this stage. We are unsure who the electrical supplier is for that area but we should know in a few days. There were people who had their homes burnt to the ground and they will need to reconstruct, replace their contents,” he said. Maddens has initiated a register of affected landowners for the recent bushfires, saying the firm has included victims of the Pomborneit fire that burnt almost 1300 hectares in the proposed class action amid the CFA’s statement the blaze could have been deliberately lit.

Frances Esther “Fran” Bailey, Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives (1990-93 and 1996-present), representing the electorate of McEwen in Victoria said the Country Fire Authority (CFA) had told her one of the power lines had broken before the fire.

“The local CFA [Country Fire Authority] told me on that Saturday, with those very high winds, one of the lines had broken and was whipping against the ground and sparked,” she said. “Whether or not that is the cause of that terrible fire that actually took out Kinglake and maybe Marysville, the investigations will prove that, but we’ve got to do better,” she added.

Victorian Premier John Brumby said the power line claim would be examined as part of the Royal Commission into the bushfire. “No stone will be left unturned. So, I think it’s important the Royal Commission does its work. And, the Royal Commission will, of course, look at all of the factors with the fires,” Mr Brumby said. At least 550 houses were incinerated and 100 people have been killed, leaving more than 1,000 homeless in the Kinglake bushfire and surrounding areas.

SP AusNet – Singapore Power International Pte Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Power Limited (51% interest in SP AusNet). SP AusNet’s electricity transmission and distribution networks, along with the gas distribution assets, enable it to deliver a full range of energy-related products and services to industrial and domestic customers in Victoria, Australia.

Singapore Power ( ?????????) is a company which provides electricity and gas transmission, distribution services, and market support services to more than a million customers in Singapore. As the only electricity company in Singapore, and also one of its largest corporation, SP was incorporated as a commercial entity in October 1995 to take over the electricity and gas businesses of the state provider, the Public Utilities Board. Since 1995, Temasek Holdings controls the entire company with a 100% stake. SP is involved in a major investment in Australia‘s Alinta in partnership with Babcock & Brown, after putting up a bid of A$13.9 billion (S$17 billion), beating out a rival bid by Macquarie Bank.

The devastating 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires, a series of more than 400 bushfires across Victoria on February 7 2009, is Australia’s worst-ever bushfire disaster, claiming at least 200 deaths, including many young children, and is expected to pass 300. 100 victims have been admitted to hospitals across Victoria with burns, at least 20 in a critical condition, and 9 on life support or in intensive care. The fires have destroyed at least 1,834 homes and damaged many thousands more. Many towns north-east of Melbourne have been badly damaged or almost completely destroyed, including Kinglake, Marysville, Narbethong, Strathewen and Flowerdale. Over 500 people suffered fire-related injuries and more than 7,000 are homeless. It has scorched more than 1,500 square miles (3,900 square kilometers) of farms, forests and towns.

The Supreme Court of Victoria is the superior court for the State of Victoria, Australia. Founded in 1852, it is a superior court of common law and equity, with unlimited jurisdiction within the state. Those courts lying below it include the County Court of Victoria, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (which is technically not a court, but serves a judicial function). Above it lies the High Court of Australia. This places it around the middle of the Australian court hierarchy.

Eliminating Ants With The Help Of Exterminators In Plymouth

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byAlma Abell

If you have noticed ants inside your home, you may be having a hard time getting rid of them on your own. Products that are purchased in stores are not always effective and may stop working after a short amount of time. This will only cause the problem to persist and grow worse over time. You can get rid of all of the ants quickly and prevent new ones from appearing by hiring licensed Exterminators in Plymouth. Exterminators use powerful pesticides to solve the problem. They also inspect businesses and homes in order to locate the root of the problem.

You can set up an appointment to have your home inspected for an ant infestation. During this time, the Exterminators in Plymouth will thoroughly check out the interior of your home. They are aware of common areas where ants are usually found. They will also determine if there are areas that need to be repaired to keep your home secure from future infestations. This could include areas near your doorways and windows that contain gaps or pipes that are uncovered. They will discuss ways to make these repairs.

After the inspection, the technician from Pest Masters, Inc. will discuss how much it will cost to have your home sprayed. Strong and effective products will be used to protect your home from ants. The existing ants will be eliminated, and the products will prevent knew ones from entering the premises. Your safety will always be taken into consideration. The products are effective for eliminating many different types of pests but will not pose any type of threat to you, your children or your pets.

Once your home has been sprayed, you will be given extra information concerning how to keep your home free of ants or other pests in the future. This includes keeping your home clean and scheduling routine appointments with the exterminators. The exterminators will set up scheduled appointments with you to come back out to your home to inspect the conditions. During these appointments, they will respray any areas in need. The exterminators will make sure you never have to encounter a problem with ants or another type of pest again. Connect with us on Facebook!

India set to install panic buttons on buses to combat sexual assault

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Indian Government announced on Wednesday they will issue a notification to ensure all buses are fitted with panic buttons to prevent sex-related violence occurring on buses in India. The motion was introduced by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari. Installation of the buttons is set to become mandatory on June 2.

Tests are under way on 20 buses running from Rajasthan to New Delhi. Buses are to have panic buttons, a GPS-enabled vehicle tracking device, and CCTV cameras. The new buttons are located at the front doors and when pressed, a police control room has the ability to view live footage recorded inside the bus.

Last month, the government announced that as of 2017, mobile phones can’t be sold in India without a panic button. With the press of a single key, the panic button alerts emergency services that assistance is required.

Since a fatal sexual assault three and a half years ago on a bus in New Delhi, accompanied by increased rates of sexual assault, the government has been pressured to help women avoid the dangers of sexual assault. The bus sexual assault three and a half years ago resulted in India-wide protests, and laws regarding sexual assault were overhauled.

According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in 2014 New Delhi reported 1,813 rapes, more than any other Indian city. In more than 80% of rapes across India, the victim knew the rapist. In data from 2013, the rapists in 539 cases were parents, in 2,315 cases other relatives.

In 2012 the NCRB said the country had 24,923 reported rapes. However, this number grew over the following year, with 2013 seeing 33,707 reported.

In 2013, NCRB said New Delhi saw 1,636 rapes reported, with an Indian average of 92 women per day. The New Delhi cases alone account for more than four per day.

Australia to lose $2 billion due to Japanese disasters

Friday, April 1, 2011

The fallout from earthquake and tsunami catastrophes in Japan will cost Australia about A$2 billion in lost export earnings in the near term due to lower Australian exports to Japan, according to estimates in a Treasury brief released Thursday. After China, Japan is Australia’s largest export market, making up 15 percent of its total exports.

The tragic events in Japan—together with the impact of floods and Cyclone Yasi at home—will clearly mean revenues take a substantial hit in the near term.

“The tragic events in Japan—together with the impact of floods and Cyclone Yasi at home—will clearly mean revenues take a substantial hit in the near term”, Treasurer Wayne Swan said in the brief.

Short term exports of “non-rural bulk commodities” are predicted to be lower as Japanese port facilities, coal-fired power stations and steel-making plants were damaged. Businesses whose export products are designated for Japan must find other customers to replace Japanese clients, the brief said. The loss of Japanese markets has been a contributor to a 6 percent drop in the price of iron ore and an 8 percent drop in the price of coal. Japan imports account for 27 percent of Australia’s iron ore and coal exports.

Also on Thursday, Japan’s manufacturing production index experienced its sharpest fall in the decade since data has been collected, indicating a steep fall in output for most businesses in Japan in March. Recently, Japanese industry seemed to be rebounding from the global financial crisis.

In Asia, concern is mounting that the electricity shortages and other disruptions to Japan’s manufacturing sector will affect manufacturing in various areas of Asia, since the manufacturing of many goods are dependent on the integrated network of supply chains.

Naomi Campbell testifies against former Liberian president

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Supermodel Naomi Campbell testified for prosecutors on Thursday in a war crimes case against former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

Taylor allegedly gave an uncut blood diamond to Campbell in 1997 when they met for dinner in South Africa, according to Professor David Crane of Syracuse University.

Crane told Voice of America, “The testimony itself is important because the prosecution wants to show that Charles Taylor has the mindset or what we call the mens rea to use the blood diamonds that were mined by Sierra Leoneans chained to pits in the Kailahun and Kenema area. And, he was using them for various reasons: to buy guns, to use cash to deposit, and also to buy influence.”

Taylor denies he possessed any uncut diamonds.

Campbell said in her testimony, “When I was sleeping I had a knock on my door. I opened my door and two men were there and gave me a pouch and said, ‘A gift for you.'” She said the men gave her “very small, dirty looking stones.”

She continued, “At breakfast I told Miss [Mia] Farrow and Miss [Carole] White what had happened and one of the two said, well that’s obviously Charles Taylor, and I said, yes I guess it was.”

Campbell was not sure Taylor sent her the blood diamonds and she claimed she assumed it was the accused and continued stating it was unlikely anyone else gave her the gift.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, The Netherlands ruled that no one may sketch, take photographs, or make videos of Campbell, due to her high profile. Photographers were barred from taking photos of Campbell entering or leaving the courthouse, but her testimony was recorded as usual.

FEMA employees pose as fake reporters during press conference

 Correction — September 10, 2013 The headline should not contain the word fake: the employees posed as reporters; they didn’t pose as fake reporters, on the contrary they were fake reporters posing as real reporters. We aopologize for the error. 

Friday, October 26, 2007

The United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is under fire after the agency held a fake press conference with fake news reporters in regards to individuals affected by the California wildfires and the assistance they could receive.

The agency called a press conference on Tuesday, giving the press only 15 minutes to show up. When many did not, FEMA brought in agency officials to pose as fake reporters and ask questions. The option for reporters to call into the conference was also available, but the ones who did call in only got to listen to the press conference, and could not ask questions. No reporters were actually present during the conference, parts of which were carried live on Fox News and MSNBC.

During the briefing, FEMA employees asked Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson a series of what The New York Times called “decidedly friendly questions” such as “What type of commodities are you pledging to California?”, “What lessons learned from Katrina have been applied?” and “Are you happy with FEMA’s response so far?”. The briefing followed the format of a press conference, with FEMA’s press secretary at one point cautioning that he would allow just “two more questions”, then calling later for a “last question”. Officials who posed as fake reporters included the deputy director of public affairs Cindy Taylor and Director of External Affairs John “Pat” Philbin.

White House officials said that they do not condone FEMA’s actions and also state that they had no idea that the conference was taking place.

“FEMA has issued an apology, saying that they had an error in judgment when they were attempting to get out a lot of information to reporters, who were asking for answers to a variety of questions in regard to the wildfires in California. It’s not something I would have condoned. And they — I’m sure — will not do it again,” said Dana Perino, the White House’s press secretary in a statement.

FEMA apologizes for the mishap and says that their intentions were only to get the information to the citizens of California.

“[The purpose was] to get information out as soon as possible, and in trying to do so we made an error in judgment. Our intent was to provide useful information and be responsive to the many questions we have received. We can and must do better,” said Harvey E. Johnson, the agency’s vice administrator. “The real story — how well the response and recovery elements are working in this disaster — should not be lost because of how we tried to meet the needs of the media in distributing facts,” a FEMA statement said.

FEMA is currently deciding whether or not any officials should face punishment for the incident. One of the officials responsible, Pat Philbin, is going on to be the new head of public relations for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

This is not the first time that the Bush administration has come under fire for planting reporters at press conferences. In February of 2005, White House reporter Jeff Gannon was accused of being planted to ask softball questions to President Bush. FEMA itself had earlier undergone criticism during Hurricane Katrina for using disaster workers for public relations in 2005.