Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Romanian government has allocated 16.6 million euros for the modernisation of two thermoelectric power plants that serve a residential area in the city of Arad, western Romania. The funds come in response to a request sent at the beginning of this year by the Arad municipal government.

The mayor of Arad, Gheorge Falc?, said that the modernisation was necessary because, up until now, apartments in the area could not be properly heated due to a significant loss of hot water caused by problems in the pipe network. According to the mayor, the installations will be fully modernised by this winter (December 2005). Falc? also added that, in years to come, he would request more funds from the national government in order to modernise all out-of-date power plants in the city, and therefore reduce the costs for consumers.

At the same time, the Romanian government has pledged to reduce pollution levels, especially in industrial cities like Arad, in order to comply with European Union environmental standards. Romania is set to join the EU in 2007. The government’s target is that, by 2015, all plants or facilities using large combustion installations will have to align to EU environmental standards or will be forced to shut down. One of such plants is the Arad District Heating Plant, CET Arad, which is going to be modernised in the future. The modernisation is expected to take 100 million euros to complete.



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chicago, Illinois police arrested William Balfour, the estranged brother-in-law of Oscar-winning American actress and singer Jennifer Hudson, on Monday, multiple media outlets reported. Balfour is expected to be charged with three counts of murder for the slayings of three of Hudson’s relatives in October.

“We have obtained an arrest warrant for William Balfour. He was released to Chicago detectives,” Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Monique Bond told Reuters.

Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29 were found dead in Donerson’s home on October 24 and the body of Hudson’s 7-year-old nephew, Julian King was found four days later in a stolen SUV. A handgun police say is tied to the case was found nearby, but Reuters reports that Bond did not comment on any evidence in the case.

The Associated Press reports that police took Balfour into custody on Oct. 24 and held him for 48 before the Illinois Department of Corrections took possession of him on an alleged parole violation. Balfour previously served nearly seven years for a 1999 conviction attempted murder, vehicular hijacking, and possessing a stolen vehicle. CNN reports he was out of jail on parole at the time of the shootings.

Balfour’s mother, Michelle Davis-Balfour, spoke to the press Monday night, saying she thought that there was no case against her son.

“If they found gun powder on his hands, you got a case; if they found a gun on him, he had a case; if they found a fingerprint on the truck that he did this, you got a case; but they don’t have nothing,” Davis-Balfour said, according to the Associated Press. She also said: “My son did not do this. I am sick of this. They need to focus on somebody else.”

Davis-Balfour also accused at least one witness of lying while providing an alibi for his son, saying he was with one of three girls friends when the killings happened.

“He was with Diana that night and with Kate in the morning,” she said, according to CNN.

Attorney for Balfour, Josh Kutnick, told CNN that his client is innocent. “He believes when the evidence comes out, he will be found not guilty,” Kutnick told CNN.

Hudson became famous in 2004 when she was one of the finalists on the third season of the American hit television show American Idol. She later won multiple awards for her role in the 2006 motion picture Dreamgirls.



Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Once you get a chance to talk to West Palm Beach, Florida native Whitney Cunningham, who placed seventh on the eighth cycle of the popular reality TV series America’s Next Top Model, you begin to understand what host Tyra Banks meant when she described her as the “full package.”

First of all, she is confident and headstrong, which is a must on these kinds of shows, almost as much as it is to take a beautiful modelesque picture. Second, she turns that confidence into drive. She has been receiving steady work as a model since leaving the show, and still believes that her goal of being the first woman to wear a size ten dress on the cover of Vogue is in reach. Third, and probably most important to television viewers, she obliterates the age-old model stereotype that to be pretty and photograph well, one must also be vapid and without a thought. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Cunningham also dreams of becoming a writer, and is working toward dual goals: a model who can express herself like no other model before her.

Cunningham recently sat down with Wikinews reporter Mike Halterman in an impassioned interview, taking hours to field questions from the reporter as well as from fans of America’s Next Top Model. Always in high spirits, Cunningham shows that she is a distinct personality who has carved her own niche in the Top Model history books. At the same time, she exhibits a joie de vivre that is oddly reminiscent of earlier Top Model fan favorite Toccara Jones, who showed America just how to be “big, black, beautiful and loving it.” However, Cunningham is quick to remind everyone that she isn’t big at all; she is simply a regular woman.

This is the first in a series of interviews with America’s Next Top Model contestants. Interviews will be published sporadically.

Contents

  • 1 Whitney’s beginnings, and looking back
  • 2 Impact Top Model has on society
  • 3 Whitney’s views on production and editing
  • 4 Whitney takes more fan questions
  • 5 Where Whitney is today
  • 6 Source


Monday, May 14, 2007

Buffalo, New York — A massive warehouse complex of at least 5 buildings caught on fire in Buffalo, New York on 111 Tonawanda Street, sending a plume of thick, jet black colored smoke into the air that could be seen as far away as 40 miles.

As of 6:40 a.m., the fire was under control, and firefighters were attempting to stop it from spreading, but could not get to the center of the fire because of severe amounts of debris. Later in the morning, the fire was extinguished.

“The fire is mostly under debris at this point. It’s under control, but it’s under some debris. We really can’t get to it. We’re just going to have to keep on pouring water on it so it doesn’t spread,” said Thomas Ashe, the fire chief for the North Buffalo based fire division who also added that at one point, at least 125 firefighters were on the scene battling the blaze. One suffered minor injures and was able to take himself to the hospital to seek medical attention.

Shortly after 8:00 p.m. as many as 3 explosions rocked the warehouse sending large mushroom clouds of thick black smoke into the air. After the third explosion, heat could be felt more than 100 feet away. The fire started in the front, one story building then quickly spread to three others, but fire fighters managed to stop the flames from spreading onto the 3 story building all the way at the back.

According to a Buffalo Police officer, who wished not to be named, the fire began at about 7:00 p.m. [Eastern time], starting as a one alarm fire. By 8:00 p.m., three fire companies were on the scene battling the blaze. Police also say that a smaller fire was reported in the same building on Saturday night, which caused little damage.

At the start of the fire, traffic was backed up nearly 4 miles on the 198 expressway going west toward the 190 Interstate and police had to shut down the Tonawanda street exit because the road is too close to the fire.

At one point, traffic on the 198 was moving so slow, at least a dozen people were seen getting out of their cars and walking down the expressway to watch the fire. That prompted as many as 10 police cars to be dispatched to the scene to force individuals back into their cars and close off one of the 2 lanes on the westbound side.

One woman, who wished not to be named as she is close to the owner of the warehouse, said the building is filled with “classic cars, forklifts, and money” and that owner “does not have insurance” coverage on the property. The building is not considered abandoned, but firefighters said that it is vacant.

Officials in Fort Erie, Ontario were also swamped with calls to fire departments when the wind blew the smoke over the Niagra River and into Canada.

It is not known what caused the fire, but a car is suspected to have caught on fire and there are reports from police and hazmat crews, that there were also large barrels of diesel fuel being stored in one building. Firefighters say the cause of the blaze is being treated as “suspicious.” The ATF is investigating the fire and will bring dogs in to search the debris.



Sunday, May 10, 2009

A fire broke out in southeast Moscow stemming from a gas pipeline. According to local officials, flames reached up to 200 meters (600 feet) above the city.

According to the mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, at least five people were injured by the fire, one of them suffering 35 percent burns on his body. There are no reports of deaths. The mayor added that the probable cause of the fire is “an upsurge of pressure in the pipeline, as a result of which an explosion took place underground.” Deputy mayor Pyotr Birukov says he doesn’t remember a fire of such proportions happening in Moscow.

The fire broke out at 00:30 local time (20:30 on Saturday, GMT), sending flames into the sky. By the morning the fire was brought under control, reducing the flames to 20 meters (60 feet) of height. The Russian Ministry of Emergencies reported the fire being ranked as Category 5, the most serious category on the ministry’s incident assessment scale. 35 fire brigade units were dispatched to fight the blaze. The fire is believed to have been caused by “technical” problems, according to Agence France-Presse as reported by breitbart.com.

“All of our efforts are directed towards reducing the temperature around the centre of the fire”, said the deputy emergency situations minister Alexander Chupriyan. He also predicted that the fire will be put out by midday. Deputy mayor Birukov added that the city’s energy system won’t be affected by the fire. However, municipal telecommunications company reported that 80,000 people lost their phone connections, as the fire burnt nearby underground cables.

The transportation authorities closed the traffic in the area near the fire, including the Michurinsky Avenue, an important arterial street connecting the outskirts with the Moscow River in the city center. About 25 parked cars with no occupants inside were damaged by the fire, while dozens of residents appeared to record the blaze with camcorders.

The fire did not threaten the nearby apartment blocks. The building nearest to the fire is an administrative building 200 meters away and the nearest residential building is a 19-story apartment block 500 meters (1600 feet) away.

Fires like this one are becoming increasingly frequent in the area of the former Soviet Union due to the aging structure of transporting energents, which has not been refit in decades. Officials are saying that the preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest finals due next weekend won’t be affected.



Friday, November 2, 2007

Igor Moiseyev, who has been widely acclaimed as the greatest 20th-century choreographer of folk dance, has died today after a long illness. He was 101 years old.

Born Igor Alexandrovich Moiseyev on January 21, 1906 in Kiev, Moiseyev graduated from the Bolshoi Theatre ballet school in 1924 and danced in the theatre until 1939. His first choreography in the Bolshoi was Footballer in 1930 and the last was Spartacus in 1954.

Since the early 1930s, he staged acrobatic parades on Red Square and finally came up with the idea of establishing the Theatre of Folk Art. In 1936, Vyacheslav Molotov put him in charge of the new dance company, which has since been known as the Moiseyev Ballet. Among about 200 dances he created for his company, some humorously represented the game of football and guerrilla warfare. After visiting Belarus he choreographed a Belarusian “folk” dance Bulba (“Potato”), which over the years indeed became a Belarusian folk dance. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Moiseyev’s work has been especially admired “for the balance that it maintained between authentic folk dance and theatrical effectiveness”.

Moiseyev was named People’s Artist of the USSR in 1953, Hero of Socialist Labor in 1976, received the Lenin Prize (1967, for the dance show A Road to the Dance), four USSR State Prizes (1942, 1947, 1952, 1985), Russian Federation State Prize (1996), was awarded numerous orders and medals of the Soviet Union, Spain, and many other countries. On the day of his centenary, Moiseyev became the first Russian to receive Order for the Merits before the Fatherland, 1st class — the highest civilian decoration of the Russian Federation.



By Guido Nussbaum

Man has always liked sweet things. In times past they braved bee stings before they learnt to control the bees. Later came sugar from cane so precious that in earlier times it was used more as a condiment is today, merely being sprinkled over food. In more recent times, beets, parsnips, carrots and other foods that are naturally sweet have all been used to provide that sugary flavour. Then, with modern dietetics we began to realise that eating lots of very sweet, fat heavy foods wasnt the best for the human body.

But we still like that little treat. Hence the popularity of low fat desserts.

Biscotti

1-1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

9 tablespoons low fat spread

3/4 cup sultanas

2 eggs, beaten

grated zest of 1 lemon or orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons water

YouTube Preview Image

How many cookies you get will depend on how big you make them, but it averages at about 3 dozen. They keep well in an airtight container, but only if you dont let anyone know they are there.

Pre-heat oven to 325 F, 170 C, Gas 3. Mix together the cornmeal and flour and then rub in the spread until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. You could do this in a food processor, but you will have to transfer to a bowl before adding the fruit and zest. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and water. Divide the dough into three parts and make these into long log shapes, about 8 inches long and 2-3 inches across. Place these on a non-stick baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes and then slice diagonally into inch pieces. Place these cut surface down back on baking trays. These are then baked further for 5 minutes, before turning over for a further 5 minutes. Let them cool on racks and then either eat the lot or store them in an air tight container.

Coffee Brownies

These are great served after a not too rich meal with some fresh fruit mango pieces, strawberries and so on.

cup low fat spread

I cup of sugar

I egg plus another white

I teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract

11/4 cups of all purpose flour

level tablespoon of instant coffee powder ( not granules)

1/3 cup of sifted cocoa powder

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/3 cup raisins or choc chips

Preheat oven to 350F, 180C, Gas 4

In a large bowl beat together the egg, egg white, low fat spread, sugar and flavoring. Sift together the dry ingredients cocoa, flour, baking powder and coffee powder and then mix these into the egg mixture. Stir in the fruit or chocolate chips. Pour into a greased or non-stick baking pan 9 inches by 9. Bake for 20 25 minutes until a fork inserted comes out clean. Turn out and cut into 25 pieces or fewer larger ones.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Cobbler Serves about 6 unless you all have seconds

I f you havent tried the combination of strawberries and rhubarb then there is a taste sensation awaiting you.

For the filling

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Finely grated orange zest or a teaspoon of marmalade

4 cups rhubarb, chopped

2 cups strawberries halved or sliced

For the Topping

1 cup of all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons low fat spread

2/3 cup low fat buttermilk or yoghurt

Preheat oven to 400 F, 200 C, Gas 6.

Filling – In bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and orange zest or marmalade. Add rhubarb and strawberries; toss to mix. Spread mixture in an 8-cup shallow glass or ceramic baking dish and bake in for 10 minutes.

Topping – Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Rub in the low fat spread until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk or yoghurt until a soft dough forms. Drop by spoonfuls in 6 evenly spaced mounds on hot fruit. Bake for 25 minutes, or until top is golden. Serve with low fat vanilla ice cream or fromage frais.

About the Author: Fore more tips on cooking please visit our

cooking recipes

website. For dessert lovers we have

easy chocolate dessert recipes

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=260654&ca=Cooking



Friday, December 8, 2006

When introducing the Iraq Study Group Report to a Senate Committee, former Secretary of State James Baker emphasized that all the 79 recommendations in the report complemented each other and had to be taken together. This was not a “fruit salad” from which one could pick and choose. Despite this, President Bush is giving indications that he is going to do just that. While agreeing that the Report had some good points to make, he said that he had also asked the Pentagon, the State Department and other government agencies to reflect on the Iraq situation and report their conclusions to him.

The report proposes progressive changes to the role of the troops deployed in Iraq, from combat to the training of Iraqi forces and the withdrawal of all combat troops by early 2008, depending on local conditions. The President made it clear that matters concerning the deployment of troops were for the military to determine. A change of strategy is expected to be announced within the next few weeks.

Bush has said that he will not talk with Syria or Iran unless they meet certain conditions. Syria would have to “stop destabilizing” the government of the Lebanon. Iran must “verifiably suspend their nuclear enrichment program.” In declaring these conditions, Bush and Tony Blair, prime movers in the invasion of Iraq, are in agreement.

Tony Blair reflected that the report’s recommendations that settling the Arab/Israeli disputes in the area should be given priority. He has said that the key to solving the problems in Iraq, Lebanon, and elsewhere lay in settling the two-state disputes in Palestine. He announced that he would be visiting the region shortly. He would bring his experience in Northern Ireland to bear on the problem, indicating that persistence was needed to achieve reconciliation. President Bush said he supported this initiative.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, flatly rejected the notion that there was any connection between the problems in Palestine and the situation in Iraq. He stated that the time may not be right for Israel to be negotiating with Syria and he reiterated Israel’s absolute opposition to Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. Robert Gates, the new candidate US Secretary of Defense, asserted that Iran is surrounded by nuclear powers, including Israel. Shimon Peres, Israel’s deputy prime minister, refused to affirm or deny whether Israel had a nuclear weapons capability, saying that such uncertainty was a defense in itself.



Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London – “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown‘s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman“); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!“. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

There’s nobody to protest to!

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

A demonstration is always a means to and end.

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front‘s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo“, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.



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