Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Two people were killed yesterday afternoon and another seriously injured in Västerås, Sweden. The injured man is considered a suspect in the knife attack and was arrested in hospital. Another man was arrested at the scene, which was an IKEA furniture retailer. According to police, the two fatalities do not have any obvious connection to the suspects, but did know each other. The motive is, thus far, unknown.

Police were called to the scene at 13:00 local time and found three stab victims. Initially, all three were considered victims, but the status of one has been changed to suspect. The other two, a man and a woman, subsequently died from their wounds. Police have said CCTV is helping in the investigation. Local newspaper Vestmanlands Läns Tidning (VLT) has reportedly posted footage of one of the suspects being tackled by police.

VLT has further claimed to have identified the two victims as a mother and son, aged 55 and 28 respectively. According to the paper, the victims were not local residents, but did have a connection with Västerås, where they were vacationing at the time of the attack, which a police spokesperson has called “an act of madness” ((sv))Swedish language: ?En galen händelse.

“This is the worst working day of my life” ((sv))Swedish language: ?Det är den värsta arbetsdagen i mitt liv, said Mattias Johansson, the store manager of IKEA in Västerås, to Sveriges Television. IKEA spokesperson Anna Pilkrona-Godden told BBC News, “Our thoughts are with those affected,” and said the store is closed for the time being.

Västerås is in central Sweden, approximately 115 km (70 miles) west from the capital Stockholm. The population is roughly 110 thousand.



Friday, September 9, 2011

Parts of Texas have been scorched by sweeping wildfires this week. Officials state that a wildfire which swept much of central Texas this week destroyed at least 1,400 homes and forced about 5,000 people to evacuate to safety. An official with the Texas Forestry Services told news sources on Thursday that much of that fire has been contained.

Officials have speculated that this fire alone has destroyed more homes than any other wildfire on record in the state. Officials are welcoming dropping temperatures, stating this will increase their ability to fight the fires effectively. A converted DC-10 aircraft was recently made available to fire authorities, but cannot be used until Friday as workers still need to time to prepare on-board equipment.

One of the two fatalities in the central part of the state has been identified as Michael Troy Farr, 49, who died at his home. Earlier in the week, a woman and her infant died in a related blaze that quickly engulfed their home located near the city of Gladewater, located in the eastern part of the state. On Thursday, officials warned that East Texas has become the center of wildfire activity in the state.

At least 170 wildfires have ravaged much of the state over the past week. On Tuesday, a thick haze of smoke enveloped the city of Tyler for several hours, forcing school officials to cancel all outdoor sports activities. Since late 2010 the overall devastation of wildfires in the state is estimated to cost at least US$216 million (£136 million,€157.5 million) in firefighting expenses. The state’s Lieutenant Governor, David Dewhurst, who is the acting governor in Governor Perry’s absence, indicated he will ask the federal government to declare Texas a major disaster area. President Obama has also promised to provide needed assistance to local officials.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

After reports that US President Barack Obama has fired the director of the Minerals Management Service, Elizabeth “Liz” Birnbaum, the Interior Department revealed that she instead resigned “on her own volition”. The resignation occurred amidst growing criticism of the federal government’s response to the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and the agency’s oversight over offshore drilling. 

Birnbaum, who became director in June 2009, was expected to testify before a subcommittee of the House of Representatives today with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. She was not present when Salazar began to speak, however. Salazar said in a statement: “She is a good public servant. She resigned today on her own terms and on her own volition. I thank her for her service and wish her the very best.”

News agencies had reported that Birnbaum was forced out of office, and Obama was expected to officially announce the supposed firing later today in a news conference along with discussing an Interior Department report on the explosion. Birnbaum observed in her letter of resignation that Salazar “will be requiring three new leaders for the Office Natural Resources Revenue, the Bureau of Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement” as the entire Minerals Management Service is reorganized.



Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dell Inc. announced on Tuesday that it will partner up with the Microsoft-Nortel Innovative communications alliance (ICA) team to sell Unified Communications and VoIP products.

The announcement on Tuesday the 16th of October 2007 includes Dell selling VoIP, data and wireless networking products from Nortel and the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and other unified communications products.

The partnership with both manufacturers should allow Dell to provide a pre-integrated solution.

In March 2007, competitors IBM and Cisco announced they would join in the competition for developing unified communications applications and the development of open technologies around the unified communications and collaboration (UC2) client platform an application programming interfaces (APIs) offered by IBM as a subset of Lotus Sametime.

“We want to make it simple for our customers to deploy unified communications so their end users can get access to all their messages in one place – whether its e-mail, phone or mobile device. This will pave the way for more business-ready productivity tools,” said vice president of solutions, Dell Product Group, Rick Becker.

  • Customers have four options:
    • Core Office Communication Server 2007 – provides instant messaging and on-premise Microsoft Live Meeting.
    • Office Communication Server: Telephony – enables call routing tracking and management, VoIP gateway and public branch exchange (PBX) integration.
    • Audio and Video Conferencing – allows point-to-point conference, video conference and VoIP audio conference.
    • Exchange Unified Messaging – provides voicemail, e-mail and fax in Microsoft Outlook, and anywhere access of Microsoft Outlook Inbox and Calendar.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Viktor Schreckengost, the father of industrial design and creator of the Jazz Bowl, an iconic piece of Jazz Age art designed for Eleanor Roosevelt during his association with Cowan Pottery died yesterday. He was 101.

Schreckengost was born on June 26, 1906 in Sebring, Ohio, United States.

Schreckengost’s peers included the far more famous designers Raymond Loewy and Norman Bel Geddes.

In 2000, the Cleveland Museum of Art curated the first ever retrospective of Schreckengost’s work. Stunning in scope, the exhibition included sculpture, pottery, dinnerware, drawings, and paintings.



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Some people can go years without losing a key or needing a lock repaired or replaced but there are others who continually misplace keys and the first port of call is the local locksmith. As well as residential and commercial services, the local locksmith will also normally offer an emergency call-out service.

Keeping Treasures Safe

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Locksmiths could be called out for numerous reasons but one important reason would be if the key to a safe is misplaced. People often have safes hidden somewhere in the home and locksmiths in Tulsa are available for residents in that area to help if a key gets lost. Once the safe has been accessed, the key will need to be kept in a location that will be remembered.

Changing the Door Locks

It is a good idea when moving into new premises to contact a Tulsa mobile locksmith to change the locks. Regardless of who lived there previously, it isn’t known how many keys to the front door there might be in circulation. Not only the previous residents of the home but real estate agents or other family members or friends might also have keys.

It would be prudent to give the local locksmiths a call to arrange a time for the door locks to be changed. It is a small security procedure but one that is often overlooked in the excitement of moving into a new home. Once it is done, the new residents have peace of mind knowing that they are the only ones with keys to the house.

A local locksmith can also be contacted if car keys are lost or locked in the car and also for car remotes. The local locksmith company can offer a variety of services. If a lock needs unlocking or a key can’t be found, they are only a phone call away.



Friday, April 7, 2006

At least seventy civilians were killed, with many more injured in an apparent suicide attack at the popular Buratha mosque in northern Baghdad soon after the Friday prayers. Police have said that two of the bombers were dressed as women. The attack comes a day after the Iraqi interior ministry issued a warning about possible attacks on mosques.

The chief imam of Buratha mosque, Sheikh Jalaluddin al-Saghir, who is also a member of the Iraqi parliament, stated that Shias are being targeted “as part of this dirty sectarian war waged against them as the world watches silently.”

Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr on the other hand asserts that recent bombings were in fact the work of the US-led coalition forces. Regarding Thursday’s Najaf bombing, he was quoted as saying: “This is not the first time that the occupation forces and their death squads have resorted to killings”.

Sadr further charged the occupying forces, and more specifically the United States, with “killing religious Shia clerics in order to start a sectarian strife”.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad issued a statement, urging all parties to remain calm: “I urge all Iraqis to exercise restraint in the wake of this tragedy, to come together to fight terror, to continue to resist the provocation to sectarian violence and to pursue justice within the framework of Iraq’s laws and constitution.”



Saturday, January 12, 2019

A United-States-based team of scientists released findings on Thursday about the large statues that dot the island of Rapa Nui, also called Easter Island. The study, published on Thursday in PLOS One, employed quantitative spatial analysis to establish that the platforms, or ahu, built to support the Easter Island statues, or moai, are usually located near sources of drinkable water. This feeds into the scholarly discussion of whether the purpose of the statues was exclusively ritualistic, practical or some combination of these.

The study examined 93 statues on the western side of the island, all of which were built before contact with Europeans. They compared the sites of the statues to sites associated with the specific resources: the kind of rock the statues are made of, the kind of rock used for tools, fishing, vegetable and potato cultivation, and water sources. The archaeologists say that this study is the first attempt to formally examine the idea that the locations of the moai are correlated to locations of resources important to the people who built them, such as fresh water.

Easter Island does not have streams that run nonstop but it does have an aquifer that produces freshwater seeps of brackish but drinkable water during low tide. Most of these water harvesting sites are along the coast but a few are inland—and so are the ahu.

“What is important about it is that it demonstrates the statue locations themselves are not a weird ritual place – [the ahu and moai] represent ritual in a sense of there is symbolic meaning to them, but they are integrated into the lives of the community,” said study co-author Professor Carl Lipo of Binghamton University. He went on to add “The exceptions to the rule about being at the coast where water comes out actually are met by the fact there is also water there – it is found through cave locations,” referring to caves with fresh water, and that some historical evidence suggests there may have been wells dug near the ahu that are not near caves.

The researchers plan to gather information on more freshwater resources so they can evaluate statue sites on the rest of Easter Island.

Jo Anne Val Tilburg of the University of California, Los Angeles disagreed with these findings: “The existence of fresh water seeps near coastal ahu is well-known and was certainly important at European contact. However, such seeps are today, and probably always were, minor resources. It is highly unlikely, in my view, that these resources were of major importance in locating ahu during prehistory.”

The earliest moai date to the 13th century. They vary in size but are about fourteen feet (four meters) tall and can weigh about fourteen tons. Scholars have long wondered about the role they played for the people who built them.

Easter Island is today a relatively barren place with scanty resources. Easter Island is located 2300 miles (3700 km) off the west coast of South America and 1,100 miles (1770 km) from its nearest neighbor island. It today has a grass-dominated landscape but it was once mostly covered by palm forests and it was home to a significant human population for a few hundred years. Scientists debate whether its environmental degradation, in the form of the loss of its palm forests and soil to erosion, was caused by human activity, natural climate change, or by rats and other introduced species that stowed away on the colonists’ boats, but there is consensus that the island’s environment changed considerably over time.



Friday, May 23, 2008

Three Gonets satellites have been launched by the Russian Space Forces atop a Ukranian-built Rokot carrier rocket. Lift-off, from site 133 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia, occurred at 15:20:09 GMT this afternoon.

The three Gonets satellites will be used to provide store-dump communication services. This is the second launch of modernised Gonets-D1M satellites. They will be operated by Gonets SatCom, an organisation which was previously part of the Russian Federal Space Agency, but which was privatised in 1996. Whilst Gonets is a civilian system, it has been reported that these satellites will also be used for military applications. Reports have suggested that the satellites have received military designations of Kosmos-2437, 2438 and 2439 under the Kosmos system. Such designations have previously been assigned to, and in some cases later removed from, civilian satellites.

A small technology demonstration satellite, Yubileiny, was also launched. It was built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1, and will be operated by NPO PM. It will broadcast audio and visual programmes on amateur radio frequencies, detailing the history of the space programmes of Russia and the Soviet Union, as well as signals imitating those of Sputnik 1.

The Rokot is a small carrier rocket derived from the UR-100 missile. Its upper stage, the Briz-KM, is a scaled-down version of the Briz-M upper stage used on Proton rockets. This is the first launch of a Briz upper stage of either type since the failure of a Briz-M during a March Proton launch, which left the AMC-14 satellite stranded in Medium Earth orbit.

This is the 25th orbital launch of 2008 in spaceflight, and the 13th launch of a Rokot. The next Rokot launch is scheduled for early-mid September, with the GOCE satellite for the European Space Agency.



Saturday, March 12, 2005In a vote of 74-25 last Thursday, the US Senate passed a measure that would change bankruptcy laws, making it harder for individuals seeking relief from their debt burden to avoid repayment. Almost twenty Democrats joined Republicans, who currently hold a majority of the seats in the US Senate, in passing the bill.

Lobbyists for credit card companies and financial services firms have worked for the bill during the last two administrations. A similar measure passed both the Senate and House during the previous administration, but then President Bill Clinton pocket-vetoed the measure in 2000.

Democrats sought to soften the bill by allowing bankruptcy filers to negotiate directly with lenders for relief, but the amendments were defeated by the Republican-controlled Senate. Proponents of the bill claim the rise of bankruptcy filings to nearly 1.5 million a year shows that abusers of credit use the filings to shield themselves from irresponsible practices.

“There has been an explosion of bankruptcy,” said Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the bill’s sponsor. “We preserve the principle of a fresh start, but we also establish a principle that if you have the ability to repay some of your debt, you are not going to get off scot-free.” However, Massachusetts Democratic Sen, Edward M. Kennedy said, “This legislation makes the bankruptcy courts of the United States the collection agency for the credit-card industry.”

The bill impacts a broad spectrum of bankruptcy law, but the most significant impact is on personal bankruptcy filings. Individuals who get behind in repaying credit card debt face high interest charges and stiff late payment fees. By only meeting minimum payment requirements, borrowers remit to the lender over the life of the loan an amount in interest and other fees that can far exceed the value of the principal balance of the loan. This can put consumers who run up high balances on various cards at financial risk of default. Critics of the bill blame these aggressive lending practices as a contributing factor in the rising trend of bankruptcy filings from 1996.

The proposed bill doesn’t only affect debtors with credit card debt.

It also affects debtors who have run up large medical bills.

Patients with a past medical history that disqualifies them from full medical coverage, can easily find themselves facing insurmountable medical bills after just a short stay in the hospital. These individuals will no longer be able to get a fresh start after these personal disasters, and will be forced to live in poverty until they can pay off their medical bills as part of their Chapter 13 filing. (Prior to this bill, they would have been able to file Chapter 7, completely discharging their debt.)

Chapter 7, which accounts for 70% of bankruptcy filings, allows individuals to eliminate most non-secured debts after liquidating assets, with the notable exemption of one’s principle residence in most states. The Senate passed bill would change Chapter 7 eligibility by applying a means-test, where those with a median income higher than the state average would be required to file under Chapter 13 provisions. Under Chapter 13 protection, an individual’s debt is not forgiven; rather it is restructured for payment under more lenient terms.

This was the first major overhaul of federal bankruptcy law in many years.

Under the old bankruptcy law, a personal bankruptcy attorney could not be held financially responsible for his clients mendacity. Under the new bankruptcy law, the bankruptcy attorney is responsible for his client’s lies to the Court about his assets and the bankruptcy attorney and his insurance carrier can be held responsible by the Bankruptcy Court.

The result is that personal bankruptcy attorneys (this does not apply to corporate bankruptcy attorneys) are likely to flee the personal bankruptcy field when the new law takes effect. Their insurance companies will not offer the sort of coverage that they would need to continue to practice.

So when consumers need to file personal bankruptcy under the new law, they will be unlikely to find a bankruptcy attorney to represent them. Consumers will have to file pro se: such consumers will be likely to fail due to the complexity of the law.

The bottom line is that the field of personal bankruptcy law as a practice area of law will cease to exist when the new bankruptcy law takes effect, and consumers will be unable to secure legal counsel and so consumers will lose what legal protections counsel now affords them.

Under the new bankruptcy law about one half million Americans will be forest to pay for at lest 5 years on longer they will be held in servitude as chattel they will be completely subservient to a dominating influence of the company that holds the loan. Their loan will be put on the market for sale for profit. The people will be forced to work harder. People who fail to go to court will have a arrest warrant made out in their name and people who refuseto pay. They will be subject to fines and or jail. About fifty thousand Americans will punished by a fine and or about three thousand Americans every year will go to jail under the new bankruptcy law. For some people this will be a third strike they will be put in jail for life.

The bill has the support of President Bush, and its passage in the House sometime next month seems likely. If enacted into law, lending companies will recover more money on what otherwise would be written off as bad loans. Those persons of median and higher income seeking relief would be required to file under Chapter 13 status and pay up to $100 per month under court imposed conditions. It is expected the proposed changes would cause a sharp increase in filings before the new law could take effect.



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