Fires at Baxter Immigration Detention Centre in South Australia

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Fires at Baxter Immigration Detention Centre in South Australia

Saturday, November 12, 2005

34 accommodation units have been destroyed by fire at the Baxter Detention Centre near Pt Augusta in South Australia today. The blaze also gutted a kitchen, laundry, recreational area and officers’ station. The original blaze broke out around 4am ACST in the kitchen of the “White One” compound which houses single men. Fire units took almost three hours to put them out.

Fifty-eight detainees were evacuated from Baxter IDC. Six have been treated for smoke inhalation.

Immigration minister Amanda Vanstone says about 17 rooms have been ruined and others damaged. She says deliberate property damage will not be tolerated and the Australian Federal Police are questioning four detainees over the blazes and anyone found responsible will be charged.

“Anyone with no lawful right to be in Australia should leave irrespective of the behaviour that they’ve undertaken, but if someone with a visa or without a visa to be in Australia engages in criminal conduct that would be taken into account in terms of cancelling a visa,” she said.

The Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) said four fires appeared to have been deliberately lit. “The first fire in the kitchen area was followed by three other separate fires within the complex,” an MFS spokesman said.

Refugee rights advocate Pamela Curr said she had concerns about the safety of detainees in the event of a fire because of the electronic doors. She said detainees at a detention centre at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport had been killed during a fire last month because authorities had been unable to manually open the electronic doors. “Thank heavens nobody seems to have been hurt today,” she said. “We’re always on the alert that Baxter is not a safe detention centre”.

Bernadette Wauchope from Rural Australians for Refugees says the destruction will continue until something is done. “They become so desperate that they attempt self-harm or attempt suicide or maybe resort to lighting fires,” she said. “After being locked up for years and years the feeling that they’re isolated and that nobody’s listening to what their stories are, often that, well it does contribute to these kinds of acts,” she said.

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Miners survive underground fire in Tasmania

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Miners survive underground fire in Tasmania

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Three miners have escaped uninjured after being trapped underground by a mineshaft fire on Tasmania’s west coast. The men took shelter in a chamber more than a kilometre underground. A worker noticed smoke coming from a shaft at Avebury nickel mine on Trial Harbour Road near Zeehan at 7.45am.

The blaze started after a truck working 400 metres underground toppled and caught fire. It took nearly five hours for rescue teams to bring the blaze under control, move the burning truck and reach the trapped miners.

Allegiance Mining chairman Tony Howland-Rose said the workers were safe. “The emergency response procedures in place at Avebury were activated and resulted in the vehicle fire being extinguished and the safe rescue of the miners,” Mr Howland-Rose said.

Ambulance crews say the men appear to be in good health. Queenstown Police Inspector Mark Beech-Jones says rescue workers reached the men just before midday.

“We’ve dispatched a number of ambulance service personnel there just to give them a check up but from our initial discussions with them, they are fine,” he said.

The Avebury nickel mine is a new project for the Sydney-based company – Allegiance Mining. Allegiance suspended trading on the stock exchange this morning. Mr Howland-Rose said the suspension of trading would be in place until it became clear what had happened at the mine.

The mine is undergoing a $60 million redevelopment and was due to resume mining later this year.

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New Zealand newspaper poll projects majority for National Party

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New Zealand newspaper poll projects majority for National Party

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A New Zealand Herald-DigiPoll survey has put the Opposition New Zealand National party so far ahead of the governing New Zealand Labour party that it would form a majority Government if a general election were held today.

The poll, taken in the week after the budget shows 50.9 percent of likely voters would give their party vote to National. Labour is more than 17 points behind, on 33.6 percent.

Translated into seats under New Zealand’s MMP electoral system, this would allow National to govern independently with 64 seats in New Zealand’s 120 seat Parliament with a two seat overhang.

In the preferred Prime Minister stakes, new National leader John Key has jumped 9.3% to 45.5%, ahead of the incumbent Helen Clark who has dropped 5.6% to 42.21%.

The poll follows a recent TV3 TNS poll which puts Mr Key ahead of Miss Clark as preferred Prime Minister, ending her eight year reign as preferred Prime Minister.

The New Zealand Herald-DigiPoll survey, polled 600 voters between May 18 and 24 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 per cent. The survey was started one day after the 2007 Budget announcement, which announced further details to KiwiSaver, a retirement savings scheme, but did not announce any personal tax cuts.

The next New Zealand general election will most likely be held in the second half of 2008.

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Search and rescue beacons soon to make the digital jump

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Search and rescue beacons soon to make the digital jump
Published by
Sep 24

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Starting February 1, Cospas-Sarsat will discontinue monitoring the frequencies that are used for analog-based emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRB), the 121.5 and 243 MHz frequencies. Search and rescue (SAR) groups worldwide will only monitor the 406 MHz frequency, which is dedicated to digital locators.

The 406 MHz digital band has many advantages over the older analog systems. Since the locators send data to satellites, rather than just provide a continuous signal, much more will be known about the emergency before a SAR group arrives, such as the type of vehicle and owner. In addition, the accuracy will be greatly enhanced from a 1400 square kilometre (500 square mile) search zone down to just 90m (100 yards) if the locator has a GPS fix. The most important reason for the switch is the reduction of false positives. With the older analog bands, only about one in every 50 alerts was real, whereas with the digital system that is reduced to about one in every 17 alerts being real.

With fewer false positives and greatly increased accuracy, SAR groups around the world will be better able and faster to respond to life-threatening emergencies within the critical “golden day”. They will also be able to do this with fewer wasted resources.

The phase-out of analog transponders has been a long time coming. The first warnings were sent by the US Coast Guard in 2000, and analog devices have not been manufactured in the last several years. For most large boats the cost of upgrading to the new system was negligible. The change February 1 is worldwide, with both the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization recommending the switch.

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One year on: Egyptians mark anniversary of protests that toppled Mubarak

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One year on: Egyptians mark anniversary of protests that toppled Mubarak
Published by
Sep 24

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Across Egypt hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets for the day, marking exactly one year since the outbreak of protests leading to 83-year-old longstanding ruler Hosni Mubarak’s downfall. The country’s decades-long emergency rule was partially lifted this week; meanwhile, a possible economic meltdown looms and a newly-elected parliament held their first meeting on Monday.

Despite the new parliament, military rule introduced following Mubarak’s fall last spring remains. Echoing the demands from a year ago, some protesters are demanding the military relinquish power; there are doubts an elected civilian leader will be permitted to replace the army.

The brief unity against Mubarak has since fragmented, with Secularists and Islamists marking the revolution’s anniversary splitting to opposing sides of Cairo’s famed Tahrir Square and chanting at each other. Initial demonstrations last year were mainly from young secularists; now, Islamic parties hold most of the new parliament’s seats — the country’s first democratic one in six decades.

Salafis hold 25% of the seats and 47% are held by the Muslim Brotherhood, which brought supporters to Cairo for the anniversary. Tahrir Square alone contained tens of thousands of people, some witnesses putting the crowd at 150,000 strong. It’s the largest number on the streets since the revolution.

Military rulers planned celebrations including pyrotechnics, commemorative coins, and air displays. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces took power after last year’s February 11 resignation of Mubarak.

Alaa al-Aswani, a pro-democracy activist writing in al-Masry al-Youm, said: “We must take to the streets on Wednesday, not to celebrate a revolution which has not achieved its goals, but to demonstrate peacefully our determination to achieve the objectives of the revolution,” — to “live in dignity, bring about justice, try the killers of the martyrs and achieve a minimum social justice”

Alexandria in the north and the eastern port city of Suez also saw large gatherings. It was bitter fighting in Suez led to the first of the revolution’s 850 casualties in ousting Mubarak. “We didn’t come out to celebrate. We came out to protest against the military council and to tell it to leave power immediately and hand over power to civilians,” said protestor Mohamed Ismail.

“Martyrs, sleep and rest. We will complete the struggle,” chanted crowds in Alexandria, a reference to the 850 ‘martyrs of the revolution’. No convictions are in yet although Mubarak is on trial. Photos of the dead were displayed in Tahrir Square. Young Tahrir chanters went with “Down with military rule” and “Revolution until victory, revolution in all of Egypt’s streets”.

If the protestors demanding the military leave power get their way, the Islamists celebrating election victory face a variety of challenges. For now, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi — whose career featured twenty years as defence minister under Mubarak — rules the nation and promises to cede power following presidential elections this year.

The economy is troubled and unemployment is up since Mubarak left. With tourism and foreign investment greatly lower than usual, budget and payment deficits are up — with the Central Bank eating into its reserves in a bid to keep the Egyptian pound from losing too much value.

Last week the nation sought US$3.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF insists upon funding also being secured from other donors, and strong support from Egypt’s leaders. IMF estimates say the money could be handed over in a few months — whereas Egypt wanted it in a matter of weeks.

The country has managed to bolster trade with the United States and Jordan. Amr Abul Ata, Egyptian ambassador to the fellow Middle-East state, told The Jordan Times in an interview for the anniversary that trade between the nations increased in 2011, and he expects another increase this year. This despite insurgent attacks reducing Egyptian gas production — alongside electricity the main export to Jordan. Jordan exports foodstuffs to Egypt and has just signed a deal increasing the prices it pays for gas. 2011 trade between the countries was worth US$1 billion.

The anniversary also saw a new trade deal with the US, signed by foreign trade and industry minister Mahmoud Eisa and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. President Barack Obama promises work to improve U.S. investment in, and trade with, nations changing political systems after the Arab Spring. Details remain to be agreed, but various proposals include US assistance for Egyptian small and medium enterprises. Both nations intend subjecting plans to ministerial scrutiny.

The U.S. hailed “several historic milestones in its transition to democracy” within a matter of days of Egypt’s revolution. This despite U.S.-Egypt ties being close during Mubarak’s rule.

US$1 billion in grants has been received already from Qatar and Saudi Arabia but army rulers refused to take loans from Gulf nations despite offers-in-principle coming from nations including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. Foreign aid has trickled in; no money at all has been sent from G8 nations, despite the G8 Deauville Partnership earmarking US$20 billion for Arab Spring nations.

A total of US$7 billion was promised from the Gulf. The United Kingdom pledged to split £110 million between Egypt and Arab Spring initiator Tunisia. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development says G8 money should start arriving in June, when the presidential election is scheduled.

The African Development Bank approved US$1.5 billion in loans whilst Mubarak still held power but, despite discussions since last March, no further funding has been agreed. The IMF offered a cheap loan six months ago, but was turned away. Foreign investment last year fell from US$6 billion to $375 million.

Rights, justice and public order remain contentious issues. Tantawi lifted the state of emergency on Tuesday, a day before the revolution’s anniversary, but left it in place to deal with the exception of ‘thuggery’. “This is not a real cancellation of the state of emergency,” said Islamist Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan. “The proper law designates the ending of the state of emergency completely or enforcing it completely, nothing in between.”

The same day, Amnesty International released a report on its efforts to establish basic human rights and end the death penalty in the country. Despite sending a ten-point manifesto to all 54 political parties, only the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (of the Egyptian Bloc liberals) and the left-wing Popular Socialist Alliance Party signed up. Measures included religious freedom, help to the impoverished, and rights for women. Elections did see a handful of women win seats in the new parliament.

The largest parliamentary group is the Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood, who Amnesty say did not respond. Oral assurances on all but female rights and abolition of the death penalty were given by Al-Nour, the Salafist runners-up in the elections, but no written declaration or signature.

“We challenge the new parliament to use the opportunity of drafting the new constitution to guarantee all of these rights for all people in Egypt. The cornerstone must be non-discrimination and gender equality,” said Amnesty, noting that the first seven points were less contentious amongst the twelve responding parties. There was general agreement for free speech, free assembly, fair trials, investigating Mubarak’s 30-year rule for atrocities, and lifting the state of emergency. A more mixed response was given to ensuring no discrimination against LGBT individuals, whilst two parties claimed reports of Coptic Christian persecution are exaggerated.

Mubarak himself is a prominent contender for the death penalty, currently on trial for the killings of protesters. The five-man prosecution team are also seeking death for six senior police officers and the chief of security in the same case. Corruption offences are also being tried, with Gamal Mubarak and Alaa Mubarak accused alongside their father Hosni.

The prosecution case has been hampered by changes in witness testimony and there are complaints of Interior Ministry obstruction in producing evidence. Tantawi has testified in a closed hearing that Mubarak never ordered protesters shot.

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Hisham Talaat Moustafa, an ex-MP and real estate billionaire, is another death penalty candidate. He, alongside Ahmed Sukkari, was initially sentenced to death for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Lebanese pop star Suzanne Tamim. A new trial was granted on procedural grounds and he is now serving a fifteen-year term for paying Sukkari US$2 million to slit 30-year-old’s Tamim’s throat in Dubai. Her assassin was caught when police followed him back to his hotel and found a shirt stained with her blood; he was in custody within two hours of the murder.

The court of appeals is now set to hear another trial for both men after the convictions were once more ruled unsound.

A military crackdown took place last November, the morning after a major protest, and sparking off days of violence. Egypt was wary of a repeat this week, with police and military massed near Tahrir Square whilst volunteers manned checkpoints into the square itself.

The military has pardoned and released at least 2,000 prisoners jailed following military trials, prominently including a blogger imprisoned for defaming the army and deemed troublesome for supporting Israel. 26-year-old Maikel Nabil was given a three year sentence in April. He has been on hunger strike alleging abuse at the hands of his captors. He wants normalised relations with Israel. Thousands have now left Tora prison in Cairo.

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‘Mobile phone dermatitis’ linked to nickel deposits

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‘Mobile phone dermatitis’ linked to nickel deposits
Published by
Sep 24

Friday, October 17, 2008

The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) has released a report saying that an illness they named ‘mobile phone dermatitis’, in which individuals owning a cell phone have developed a rash on the side of their face, is likely linked to nickel deposits in the metal of some cellular phones. Nickel has been known to cause rashes on those who have a sensitivity to, or are allergic to the metal. Nickel is also mixed with other metals to make jewelry.

The Association says that the condition is likely to affect people who spend too much time talking on the phone. They found that those who spend too much time text messaging or talking for long periods on the phone, were most likely to develop a rash, sometimes severe, on their face and ears, or the tips of their fingers.

Tests in January, performed on 22 cellular phones by scientists at Brown University in Rhode Island located in the United States, had found that just under half, a total of 10, contained nickel while the rest had rubber buttons and a plastic case. Initially the rashes were unexplained, and researchers could not find a reason why so many individuals began to experience the symptoms. In most cases the rashes were untreatable.

“Cell phones intended for rugged use … often have rubber coating and no surface nickel. Those with more fashionable designs often have metallic accents and are more likely to contain free nickel in their casings,” said Lionel Bercovitch MD., one of the researchers, in a report in the journal for the Canadian Medical Association on January 1, 2008.

Researchers also state that although some people may not be allergic to nickel, “prolonged” and continuous exposure to it can cause severe reactions.

“Prolonged or repetitive contact with a nickel-containing phone is more likely to cause a skin reaction in those who are allergic,” said BAD dermatologist Dr. Graham Lowe in a press release. In the United Kingdom alone, BAD says nearly 30% of the population suffers from rashes brought on by prolonged exposure to the metal.

The researchers also recommend individuals to buy swab test kits to test for traces of nickel.

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Bombing of Peshawar Pearl Continental Hotel in Pakistan kills 18

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Bombing of Peshawar Pearl Continental Hotel in Pakistan kills 18
Published by
Sep 24

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Militants in Pakistan launched a truck bomb attack on the Peshawar Pearl Continental hotel, killing 18 and wounding at least 55. Among the dead were two foreign United Nations officials working for the World Food Programme.

According to the BBC, Fidayeen-e-Islam, a relatively obscure Pakistani militant group, claimed responsibility for the blast. The attack follows a threat from the Taliban made on May 27, warning of “major attacks” in Pakistan.

The bombing occurred despite the property being heavily guarded and secure. The militants gained entrance by overcoming the guards with gunfire, and forcing a bomb-laden truck, containing at least 500 kilograms of explosives, through the gates. Police official Liaqat Ali told the Associated Press that the militants “drove the vehicle inside the hotel gates and blew it up on reaching close to the hotel building.”

The bomb caused a 15-foot wide crater, and brought down the west wing of the hotel. An injured guest, Jawad Chaudhry, said, “The floor under my feet shook. I thought the roof was falling on me. I ran out. I saw everybody running in panic. There was blood and pieces of glass everywhere.”

The hotel is regularly used by businessmen and diplomats, and is located in a secure area of the city. Neighbours include the Peshawar High Court, Provincial Assembly and the official home of the Commander of the Frontier Corps. The perceived security of the neighbourhood makes it a candidate for the location of a planned United States consulate.

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Interview with dismissed Ocean Drive columnist Trisha Posner

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Interview with dismissed Ocean Drive columnist Trisha Posner
Published by
Sep 23

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Critic Robert Fulford wrote of legendary civic preservationist Jane Jacobs that she “came down firmly on the side of spontaneous inventiveness of individuals, as against abstract plans imposed by governments and corporations.” With certain alterations, the same could be said of author and journalist Trisha Posner, who penned the popular Health Watch column in Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine.

Posner was fired for expressing her opinion on a YouTube video about regulations affecting her South Beach neighborhood. Like many rejuvenated communities in the United States, Posner’s historic south Fifth Street has become the Tribeca of Miami, a fashionable, trendy nightspot with a maelstrom of growth in hotels, restaurants and boutiques that have out-priced many long-term residents.

Local activist Frank Del Vecchio asked Posner if she would appear in the eight-minute Close the Loophole video, directed by Emmy award-winning documentarian Robyn Symon, to state her belief that a loophole that allows popular local restaurants such as Prime One Twelve and Devito South Beach to exist in her residential neighborhood should be amended to limit the amount of seats in the establishments in proportion to their number of rooms. Her segment began, “Hi, I’m Trisha Posner. I’m a journalist and columnist for Ocean Drive magazine. I am married to Gerald Posner, the author.” Within a few hours after her appearance, she was fired by Ocean Drive publisher Jerry Powers.

Posner was aghast and bewildered. Attractive and comely, as a health columnist she is an unlikely candidate as a civic instigator; but those qualities belie Posner’s buffalo stance on doing what she feels is right for her community. “I hate being in the public eye and I prefer to be low key,” Posner told Wikinews in an interview. “To do the video I was nervous. Only in person do I feel comfortable.” Wikinews reporter David Shankbone recently spoke with Posner.

DS: What were the circumstances surrounding your dismissal?

TP: In South Beach and in Miami there are neighborhood associations like South of Fifth Neighborhood Association, which [Posner’s husband] Gerald is President of, and they all try to work together to make living in the neighborhood synergized with the nightlife and the restaurants. This issue involved another, Frank Del Vecchio, President of 301 Ocean Drive condominium association. Frank asked me to be part of a video against a loophole where restaurants can have so many seats that they effectively become a nightclub. On the video there are five others besides me. An entertainer, a school teacher…and then I’m sitting there on a bench. At about 4:40 we wrapped up and I left. When I got home there was a phone message from [editor-in-chief] Glenn Albin saying, ‘Trisha, Trisha, Jerry is running around the place…’ and I thought it was a joke. I started laughing. Gerald said he didn’t think it was a joke, but I had not done anything. Then I received an anonymous e-mail: Jerry Powers had got a phone call from a hotel person that said ‘one of your representatives from the magazine is down here bad mouthing nightlife, hotels, etc.’ The magazine’s publicist panicked and called Powers, who then runs all the way down to City Hall and asks ex-Mayor Neisen Kasdin to let him speak before the City Council. He says that Trisha was not for him, and that Ocean Drive is for entertainment and hotels in South Beach. Then he said I was fired as he left.

DS: Did you receive a call from Jerry Powers?

TP: I never heard from Jerry Powers; he never phoned me, e-mailed. I still have never heard from him. I phoned the office the next day, and [Managing Editor] Eric Newill tells me my services would no longer be required. I had one piece ready, and one piece in the issue. The saddest thing is that I lost my friendship with Eric. Eric was my friend before he was my editor. He is friends with Jerry Powers. Eric wrote me an e-mail that it had played out too publicly and that he wished me good luck in my future endeavors. What kind of friendship is that?

DS: Had you informed the magazine of your appearance beforehand?

TP: Eric knew I was doing a video, and I did it in my friend’s hotel. I don’t remember if I told them what it was for. But the video wasn’t a secret. In the future I will ask permission. But it’s childish. I can’t believe Jerry Powers took this and made it an issue. Nobody would have known about it, and now I’m all over the place. He made Trisha Posner a star. I can’t go anywhere without people saying, ‘Yay, good for you!’ And they still have not paid me for my last piece. I sent them another e-mail on the 17th. They owe me $1,000. They have not written back to me, they have not phoned me. Why are they being so childish?

DS: Did you ever have any other problems at the magazine?

TP: No, I never had an issue and I had the best working relationship with this magazine. I have nothing bad to say about the magazine. I had a fabulous relationship—a unique relationship with my editor. I had never worked so well with an editor of a magazine my entire career. It was so easy, he is so smart, cerebral…it’s unbelievable. But they also got a lot out of me. They got Tina Brown through me. Bill Maher. I have an incredible track record. It was not hard for me to phone people and get them for the magazine. And I never used them for my advantage at all; I never used the magazine to get into restaurants or events. People say you never went to the parties, but I’m over that. I used to be a Studio 54 girl. I just really enjoyed my health column. They allowed me to write in my own voice.

DS: Why do you think Powers fired you?

TP: It’s all advertising driven, but I’m interviewing people for a new book who have advertised in his magazine. It wasn’t a big deal for anybody. The very next day Miami Magazine picked me up. He had a knee-jerk reaction. He didn’t even phone me. Wouldn’t you think he would phone me and say, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ and I would have been like, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize.’ Besides, I was crazy about my editor! Why would I try to hurt him? I hope one day I can work with Eric again.

DS: Has any other employee of Ocean Drive appeared publicly before and been identified as such?

TP: As far as I know I’m the first one, that’s why I made history. But I wasn’t talking about Ocean Drive. I hadn’t thought that under my name were the words ‘Columnist for Ocean Drive’. I didn’t see anything. Later I had e-mails from Tina Brown, everybody…they were really supportive.

DS: Your husband, author Gerald Posner, wrote a piece in The Huffington Post about your dismissal. Several of the comments to it state that since Ocean Drive is a large glossy magazine dependent upon advertising from the entertainment industry, that you bit the hand that fed you. How do you respond to such criticism?

TP: That’s the stupidest thing I have ever heard, because it had nothing to do with Ocean Drive. There is another world. I’m not against development; if you listen to my statement I talk about how much I love the nightlife, how I love entertainment. But we all have to learn to live together. I know South Beach is party town, but we can live together. Let’s clean up our shit, take our garbage out, be respectful to our neighbors and also to the entertainment industry.

DS: Some of the comments that were made in HuffPo were that even though it was despicable that you were fired for expressing your opinion on a civic matter, that you should have expected it. Do you think comments like that are par for the course of apathy in the United States today, where people disagree with something, but shrug their shoulders instead?

TP: I think we live in dangerous times because of corporate America—people are really scared to speak out about anything; it is really dangerous. Freedom of speech. I came to live here in this country because it was for freedom of speech. I love America, and it has everything I could have dreamed of: the most incredible husband, friends, everything. But they are chipping away at it. One company is one company, but it shows how dangerous it is. What happens when the Rupert Murdochs own everything? They are trying to gag us. It is very dangerous. Whether it is the film industry, the music industry, D.C., they are trying to strangle all of us. All these regulations of what we can or can’t do. Does it mean if I have an opinion that I have to be gagged or not say who I am or what I think? What can and can’t I say? Maybe I’m just too black and white. I think we need to just chill out here. It wasn’t about Ocean Drive or Jerry Powers. It was about my home and my friends. I was helping out Frank. It was about the loophole and the Bijou [hotel]. I think what really freaked them out was that the video was professionally done.

DS: Another comment said, “The magazine itself sounds like a total contribution of everything that [is] wrong with America right now. Instead of promoting smart growth and longevity, it prostitutes itself to every new development, even at the cost of other developments (advertisers) who will lose out when this new one opens.” What are your thoughts on the magazine?

TP: I have an opinion about Ocean Drive. I used to say I don’t know who reads my columns, but I know they look good and I have an excellent following because people would stop me on the street or give me tons of e-mails. I understand what they are saying, but it is South Beach and that magazine works for South Beach. It’s been around for 13/14 years. I think that it’s healthy there is competition coming in. But the demographics for the magazine are people in their mid-twenties and early thirties. I didn’t realize that.

DS: What are your feelings about Jerry Powers?

TP: This man is a bully, and he wanted to bully me. He is not going to scare me. I’ve been in this business 20 years, and there is only one man who scares me: my husband.

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Second Arab-Israeli bulldozer attack in July 2008

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Second Arab-Israeli bulldozer attack in July 2008
Published by
Sep 23

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sixteen were wounded, one seriously when a Palestinian rammed a backhoe loader into a bus followed by attacks on several other vehicles Tuesday afternoon in Jerusalem before he was shot dead by the security forces. This is the second such incident in Jerusalem in three weeks. A spokesman for the Israeli police said that a civilian shot the vehicle’s driver but the bulldozer was still running. A police patrol continued shooting until the driver died.

The bulldozer driver who was, according to witnesses, wearing a large white skullcap common to religious Muslims, first hit the No. 13 bus on its side and then chased it while raising the shovel of his front-end loader, the driver managed to make a right turn and get away from the bulldozer which then went on to zig zag across the street and hit further cars until it came to a stop following the driver being gunned down.

Today’s bulldozer attack is a reminder of what Israelis have courageously lived with on a daily basis for far too long.

Speaking in Amman, United States presidential candidate Barack Obama said: “Today’s bulldozer attack is a reminder of what Israelis have courageously lived with on a daily basis for far too long. I strongly condemn this attack and will always support Israel in confronting terrorism and pursuing lasting peace and security.”

After the attack, which follows a similar attack on July 2, and the indictment of six Israeli-Arabs from Jerusalem accused of belonging to a terrorist cell, Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, said: “We should reconsider the employment of these people.”

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American Academy of Pediatrics supports dairy for lactose intolerant children

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American Academy of Pediatrics supports dairy for lactose intolerant children
Published by
Sep 23

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in the September 2006 issue of its journal Pediatrics, supports the use of dairy by lactose intolerant children.

Dr. Melvin B. Heyman, author of the article, says that just because a child is lactose intolerant, does not mean that they should avoid dairy altogether. Many lactose intolerant people can consume small amounts of dairy.

Heyman says that dairy consumption is important, especially for children, because of its high calcium content. The calcium is, in turn, important for stengthening growing bones. “If dairy products are eliminated,” the article says, “other dietary sources of calcium or calcium supplements need to be provided.”

Lactose intolerance is a condition, present in the majority of human population above the age of infancy, due to which the body cannot tolerate lactose, a sugar present in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance causes a range of unpleasant abdominal symptoms, including stomach cramps, bloating, flatulence and diarrhea.

As lactose intolerance is inherent, its prevalence varies by ethnic group. For example, while only 12% of American Caucasians have it, its prevalence is 75% among African Americans, 93% among Chinese, 60%-80% among Ashkenazi Jews,and 100% among American Indians. Many people do not realize that they have this condition simply because they have eaten dairy all their lives and view the symptoms of lactose intolerance as “normal”.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has long stated that the risks of consuming dairy far outweigh the benefits. According to PRCM’s fact sheet, called “Parents’ Guide to Building Better Bones”, there are many healthy ways of getting enough calcium and promoting bone health. Many foods contain calcium, not just dairy. Also, it is important to consider the amount of calcium absorbed, not just the amount of calcium present in a food. For example, more than three times as much calcium is absorbed from one serving of Total Plus cereal as from one serving of 2% milk.

PCRM promotes a strictly vegetarian diet. Despite its name, it claims only 5 percent of its members as physicians. PCRM has also been accused of having links with animal rights “extremists”, in particular Jerry Vlasak, a former PCRM spokesman who called for the murder of scientists who use animals in research.

The report in News-Medical.Net says that Ann Marie Krautheim, with the National Dairy Council, a dairy lobbying group, says

she hopes the report will educate parents on how to continue to include dairy in the diets of children sensitive to lactose and also help improve their nutrient intake. Krautheim says calcium-fortified beverages and other foods which seek to provide an alternative source of calcium, do not provide an equivalent nutrient package to dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt.

This last statement, however, that dairy products are superior to calcium-fortified foods, is not supported by the article in Pediatrics.

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