BHP halts operations after mine death in Western Australia

Sunday, February 5, 2006

A BHP Billiton nickel mine at Leinster, 645Km northeast of Perth, Western Australia has halted operations after the death of a mine worker. WA Police say Mark Quinn, 32, an employee of mining contractor MacMahon’s, working about 900 metres underground, was killed in an explosion.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known. Department of Community and Employment Protection investigators have travelled to the site from Kalgoorlie to conduct an inquiry.

Global resources giant BHP Billiton Ltd./Plc, says employees are being briefed and counselled over the incident. The mine will remain closed until the investigation is complete. Police will prepare a report for the coroner.

According to media reports, no-one else was injured in the explosion – the cause of which is not yet known. The accident comes almost two years after a BHP Billiton worker died in a gas explosion at the Boodarie iron plant in Port Hedland, WA. The plant was then abandoned after the incident in May 2004.

In April 2004, a man was killed at BHP Billiton’s Nelson Point facility, also at Port Hedland in WA. In May 2000 a truck driver was killed at a BHP Pilbara iron ore operation in WA. BHP Billiton employ some 37,000 people at over 100 operations in 25 countries.

Coal mines in the United States’ West Virginia district were also suspended earlier this week, due to increased amounts of miners’ deaths.

French schoolgirl injured with stones in playground

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Last Wednesday, October 7, 2006, a Muslim school girl at Jean-Mermoz College in Lyon, France was injured by gravel thrown at her by four male classmates who are Muslim, as reported in the regional newspaper Le Progrès. The reason given was for eating during the fast of Ramadan, and thus not observing what is believed by Muslims to be one of the five pillars of Muslim faith.

According to a leading Jean-Mermoz School official, “it was a simple incident, not premeditated,” and commented that the story did not warrant French television coverage. In a Le Progrès update report dated October 11, 2006, “the sequence of the facts are better known.” Allegedly, three students were taken aside by several schoolboys, who exclaimed, “You are eating!” to one of the students in the group, a girl who was eating a sandwich, and who then threw stones (possibly gravel) which “lightly injured the girl in the head.” The prosecutor of the Republic of Lyons noted that the word ‘Ramadan’ had not been uttered during the incident. “It is very necessary to know that the political awareness of these boys is limited,” he added. Two of the four alleged perpetrators who did acknowledge these acts were suspended for four days, and the school’s 250 students were assembled by the principal shortly after the event “for a solemn reminder of the law.” The girl’s parents lodged a formal complaint.

According to the sources, this is not the first time such an act has occurred at the school. The incident has been cause for strong emotions among the French educational community, which is sensitive to issues surrounding France’s Muslim community, especially those regarding the treatment of women.

Azzedine Gacci, president of the Regional Council of Muslim Worship (CRCM), stated: “[S]i les faits sont avérés, ils sont inacceptables….”)—“…if the facts are proven (to be true), they are unacceptable”. The young girl in question was in her menstruating cycle at the time of the incident. He expressed regret that some Muslim youths do not know that “femmes indisposées” (women in an exceptional state) are exempted by the Koran from observing certain aspects of Ramadan injunctions.

Cisco sues Apple for iPhone trademark

Friday, January 12, 2007

The iPhone only made its appearance as a prototype and there have been controversies aroused.

The dispute has come up between the manufacturer of the iPhone (which was resented on Wednesday for the first time) – Apple Inc. – and a leader in network and communication systems, based in San JoseCisco. The company claims to possess the trademark for iPhone, and moreover, that it sells devices under the same brand through one of its divisions.

This became the reason for Cisco to file a lawsuit against Apple Inc. so that the latter would stop selling the device.

Cisco states that it has received the trademark in 2000, when the company overtook Infogear Technology Corp., which took place in 1996.

The Vice President and general counsel of the company, Mark Chandler, explained that there was no doubt about the excitement of the new device from Apple, but they should not use a trademark, which belongs to Cisco.

The iPhone developed by Cisco is a device which allows users to make phone calls over the voice over Internet protocol (VoIP).

Brazilian President Lula met Chavez, military and economic cooperation

Thursday, February 17, 2005

CARACAS, Venezuela –The Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on February 14, 2005 in Caracas, Venezuela. Brazil and Venezuela signed agreements of cooperation on many areas. According to the Brazilian government this was a strategical encounteur. This meeting is the first of three meetings that President Lula will have with South American Presidents in three days. The scheduled meetings are with the presidents of: Venezuela (February, 14), Guiana (February, 15) and Suriname (February, 16).

President Lula was accompanied by the following comitiva: the Minister of Development, Industry, and External Trade Luiz Fernando Furlan, the Minister of Finance Antônio Palocci, the Minister of Foreign Relations Celso Amorim, the Minister of Health Humberto Costa, the Minister of Mines and Energy Dilma Roussef, the Minister of Tourism Walfrido Mares Guia, the President of Petrobras José Eduardo Dutra, the President of National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) Guido Mantega, the President of Eletrobrás Silas Rondeau Cavalcante Silva and the Special Secretary for Aquaculture and Fisheries José Fritsch. In addition a delegation of executives representing enterprises from Brazil accompanied the President.

The Brazilian Ministry of External Relations told the trip aims the construction of a strategical alliance and commercial integration between both countries. The Brazilian Presidential Advisor Marco Aurélio Garcia said:”With this gesture, Brazil will consolidate one of its major political goals, which is the constitution of a South American community of nations”. He added: “These agreements with Venezuela are strategical. We want this agreement as a model for other agreements in the region.”

According to President Lula the integration of the Latin America is the priority number one of his government. Days before the arrival in Venezuela and commenting about the trip Lula said: “We’re going to do the same thing in Colombia and in other countries in which integration is no longer a campaign speech but part of the way we deal with real things, day to day”.

The integration of the Latin America is the politics repeatedly proposed by Lula during the meetings of the Foro de São Paulo. According to him and the others members of the Foro there must be a integration among all the left parties and governments of Latin America. The union aims to be an alternative and opposing force to the politics and influence of the richest countries, mainly the United States. Among the organizations which are usually participants of the Foro de São Paulo are: Communist Party of Cuba, Colombian Communist Party, Communist Party of Bolivia, Communist Party of Brazil, Workers’ Party, Paraguayan Communist Party, Peruvian Communist Party, Socialist Party of Peru, National Liberation Army, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity, Tupamaros.

On December 4, 2001 during the 10th edition of the Foro de São Paulo in Havana Lula said:”A shoal of small fish may mean the finishing of the hungry in our countries, in out continent. We should not think as the History ended on our journey by the Earth. Even it happens just once, or with one gesture, let’s effectively contribute to the improve the life of millions of human beings who live socially excluded by this neoliberal model.”[1]

In Venezuela, once again, he brought out the integration wish: “This is the biggest dream I am carrying, that we can negotiate collectively, not like one country, but like a set of countries so we can do that our people may have the chance to conquer the full citizenship.”

Contents

  • 1 Economic cooperation
  • 2 Military cooperation
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References

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Democratic holdout agrees to support health care reform in US

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A conservative Democratic United States senator has agreed to supply the key 60th vote needed for passage of a sweeping health care reform package. Senate Democrats have reached a breakthrough in their struggle to pass sweeping heath care reform legislation, lining up the 60 votes needed to overcome fierce Republican opposition. Senators met Saturday in Washington, D.C. during a driving snowstorm in a frenzied effort to move forward on President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

The spotlight was on moderate Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who had been the last holdout as Senate Democrats raced against the clock and against determined Republican opposition to pass their health care bill by their self-imposed deadline of December 25th, Christmas.

Change is never easy, but change is what is necessary in America today and and that is why I intend to vote for cloture, I intend to vote for cloture and for health care reform.

Nelson said he is now ready to vote for cloture, which would advance the bill. “Change is never easy, but change is what is necessary in America today and and that is why I intend to vote for cloture, I intend to vote for cloture and for health care reform,” he said.

Nelson said he decided to support the bill after winning new concessions from Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to limit the availability of abortions in insurance sold under the new legislation along with millions of dollars in Medicaid funding for Nebraska.

The legislation would extend health benefits to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and impose new regulations on the health insurance industry.

Senator Reid of Nevada has been working for months to win over one holdout Democratic senator after another, repeatedly altering the bill to satisfy different demands. Reid says reform is essential. “The broken system cannot continue and it will not continue. When President Obama signs this bill into law, we will officially end the era in which insurance companies win only when patients lose,” he said.

The broken system cannot continue and it will not continue. When President Obama signs this bill into law, we will officially end the era in which insurance companies win only when patients lose.

Nelson’s support should pave the way for Senate Democrats to win the first of a series of crucial procedural votes scheduled to begin at one o’clock in the morning on Monday and set to conclude — if everything goes smoothly for them — with final passage on Christmas Eve.

Republicans have been using a number of parliamentary procedures to delay action on the bill, including forcing a reading on the Senate floor Saturday of Reid’s 338-pages of last minute amendments. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky responded to the apparent Democratic breakthrough. “And Democrats are forcing a vote on it, as I indicated, over the weekend, counting on the fact that the American people are preoccupied with Christmas and not paying much attention to what they are doing,” he said.

The history that is being made here, make no mistake about it, the history that is being made here, is the ignoring of the will of the American people.

Republicans are unified in their opposition, saying the bill is too expensive and will not solve the problems with the current health care system. Senator McConnell dismissed claims by Democrats that the bill is historic. “The history that is being made here, make no mistake about it, the history that is being made here, is the ignoring of the will of the American people,” he said.

Senator John McCain of Arizona echoed those comments in the weekly Republican radio address saying, “Regrettably, there’s nothing in this legislation that effectively addresses the problem of health care hyperinflation. In fact, experts tell us the Democrat legislation makes matters worse.”

Democrats say they have been trying to reform the nation’s health care system for close to 70 years, ever since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in office. Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut was emotional as victory seemed within reach. “All we are trying to do is to guarantee that if you are a fellow citizen of ours, and you are struck with illness or a loved one is, that you will never again have that fear, that you will end up losing your home, your job, your retirement and your life savings because you have been afflicted with an illness through no fault of your own.”

If the Senate is able to pass a bill next week, it would be viewed as a major victory for President Obama. But the bill would still need to be reconciled with a health-care reform bill passed last month by the House of Representatives before the president could sign it into law next year.

Crowded House drummer found dead

Monday, March 28, 2005

Paul Hester, drummer for the popular 1980s band “Crowded House”, was found dead in a Melbourne park Saturday.

An ambulance service spokeswoman told the Sydney Morning Herald that ambulance officers arrived at Elsternwick Park on Saturday afternoon. They reported Hester had “attempted suicide” and suffered “strangulation”. The 46-year-old-father-of-two was last seen walking his two dogs in the popular suburban park near his home on Friday evening.

Hester had a history with bouts of depression, but seemed to be coping well following eight years of therapy. Friends told the The Daily Telegraph, however, that he suffered a recent turmoil in his love life. Firstly, there was the end of his romance with long-time partner and mother of his two daughters, and then a parting last December with New Zealand singer Kashan, whom he planned to wed in May. There appeared to be no indication he was distressed when he left the house to walk his dogs.

Hester, from Melbourne, Australia, was a founding member of the internationally popular group Crowded House. Previously, he was in the band “Split Enz” with Crowded House leader Neil Finn during the early 1980s. He quit Crowded House in 1994, two years before the band broke up, and became a television personality in Australia with his own prime-time show, then working mostly as a freelance drummer [e.g. for Tarmac Adam]. He had his own music chat show, Hessie’s Shed, on Australian TV in the late 1990s, and also had a recurring role as Paul the Cook on the children’s program The Wiggles. He also hosted the successful Australian cable music channel MAX’s Sessions series.

Neola North wildfire in Utah blamed for three deaths

Monday, July 2, 2007

A wildfire in the Ashley National Forest has been blamed for three deaths and has led to the evacuation of about 500 residents of the communities of Whiterocks, Farm Creek, Paradise and Tridell in eastern Utah.

The fire broke out on Friday, June 29 at around 9:00 a.m. local time in Duschene county, north of Neola by state route 121, and proceeded to spread westward into Uintah county.

To date, the cause of the wildfire is unknown. An early report by public safety officials claimed it was caused by a faulty power line or transformer. However, a later announcement by Moon Lake Electric Association CEO Grant Earl disputed this.

By Saturday morning, the fire had spread across approximately 46 square miles of land and been blamed for three fatalities: George Houston, his son Tracy Houston, and Roger Roberson, all from Farm Creek. Eleven year old Duane Houston, George’s grandson, was able to escape the fire with only minor injuries.

The communities of Whiterocks, Farm Creek, Paradise and Tridell, consisting of approximately 500 local residents, were evacuated by Sunday, and at least five homes are known to have been destroyed. Those without family or friends to provide lodging have been relocated to the Ute Indian Tribe’s auditorium in Fort Duchesne and Union High School in Roosevelt.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency became involved in the management of fire fighting efforts on Sunday, and a specialized regional wildland fire team, the Rocky Mountain Type One Management Team, had begun to converge on the Uinta Basin to assist with the firefighting, along with about 100 members of the Utah National Guard.

Reports that same day claimed the fire was 5% contained, but that it had split into at least two separate smaller fires. Authorities declared their intention to prevent the fire from moving eastwards into Dry Fork Canyon and the town of Tridell.

SBC teams with Scientific-Atlanta for cable TV rollout in 13 US states

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Regional U.S. telephone giant SBC Communications is one step closer to offering cable television to the 18 million households in its 13 state coverage area. The company announced a $195 million contract with Scientific-Atlanta Thursday to provide a video operations center and regional hubs for the new service. Under the brand name, U-verse, the SBC’s television rollout is set to launch in 2006 after field trials begin later this year.

The company is seeking the so-called “triple play,” where a telecommunications company offers voice, data and video in one bundled package. Local telephone companies like SBC have been losing business to cable TV companies, which have added telephone and Internet services in recent years.

In a slew of recent deals, SBC is looking to stop that trend. Within the past six months it has signed alliances with various technology firms to build out a fiber network to the home strategy. For instance, SBC has a $1.7 billion deal with Alcatel to build out its fiber optic network and a 10-year, $400 million, pact with Microsoft to license its IPTV technology to allow multi-channel television to stream over its Internet backbone.

In most of the U.S. only cable TV companies like Comcast have been able to offer the “triple play” of voice, video and data services. But traditional phone companies like SBC and Verizon have been upgrading their copper wire telephone networks to fiber optic. SBC says it plans to spend billions of dollars to overhaul its telecommunications network, saying the aging and brittle copper wires which were originally laid in the early 1900s do not have enough bandwidth to allow television capability.

MG Rover sold to Nanjing Auto

Friday, July 22, 2005

Administrators PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC) have announced that the British car company MG Rover and its engine manufacturer Powertrain Ltd has been sold to Chinese company Nanjing Automobile for an unknown sum of money. The company beat bids from Shanghai Automotive (SAIC), despite being the smaller of the two.

MG Rover collapsed this Spring, after struggling to make a profit for several years.

SAIC had tried to buy only the engine plant and then transfer it to China, but in June Nanjing Automobile approached PWC with a combined bid for both the car manufacturing company and Powertrain. This Monday SAIC bid for both but the offer was inferior to Nanjing’s.

Nanjing has indicated that it too will move the engine production plant to China, along with some car manufacturing. However it also intends to continue building cars in Britain, and establish an engineering research and design centre there in an effort to expand its sales globally. Nanjing intends to start hiring at once.