British Chancellor George Osborne downgrades growth forecast in annual budget

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered the budget today, an annually-held audit of the country’s finances deciding how taxpayers’ money should be spent. He set out plans to boost the housing market in his fourth budget, as well as stating the economy will grow by 0.6% — half his prediction four months ago.

George Osborne revealed plans to improve the housing market, including a “Help to Buy” shared equity scheme which would offer buyers who can place a 5% deposit on a new house, a 20% loan to buy it. He said: “This is a budget for those who aspire to own their own home”. He also offered a new Mortgage Guarantee, created in conjunction with mortgage lenders — the scheme would allow them to offer loans to homeowners without the need for a large deposit and offer guarantees to support up to £130bn of lending for three years beginning in 2014.

As a measure to attract investment to the British economy, he announced to reduce corporation tax from 21% to 20% taking effect from April 2015. The rate of corporation tax has fallen from 28% in 2010 to the current level of 21%. The United Kingdom is to have lower rates of corporation tax than the USA at 40%, France at 33%, and Germany at 29%.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) stated the government debt reduction programme to reduce the budget deficit will miss its targets. The government has forecast the total public sector debt will begin to fall by the financial year 2015/2016, while OBR says national debt will reach a high of 85.6% of GDP, £1.58 trillion, in 2016/17. Osborne defended the government efforts to reduce the deficit and said: “Our judgement has since been supported by the IMF, the OECD and the Governor of the Bank of England.”

In response to the Budget speech, the Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband said: “At the worst possible time for the country. It’s a downgraded budget from a downgraded Chancellor […] Debt is higher in every year of this Parliament than he forecast at the last Budget. He is going to borrow £200 billion more than he planned.”

The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls said to The Independent, “They are borrowing £245bn more in this Parliament, we said all along …said this two years ago, if they had moved more quickly with a sensible, targeted package of measures to kick-start the economy, which would have meant at that time more borrowing for a VAT [Value Added Tax] cut to bring forward housing investment, then we would have got the economy growing and the deficit coming down.”

The Business Secretary Vince Cable told the BBC in an interview, the “age of austerity” would probably end within the current decade, but made no more definite forecast.

The head of the British Federation of Small Businesses, John Walker, said: “The Budget opens the door for small businesses to grow and create jobs. The Chancellor has pulled out all the stops with a wide ranging package of measures to support small business. […] [W]e are pleased to see the scrapping of the 3p fuel duty due in September”.

Len McCluskey, the General Secretary of Unite the Union, criticized the budget for not helping working families. He said: “This is a Budget for the few by the few that attacks the many. Millionaires are days away from getting a £40,000 tax cut from the Tories, but George Osborne is using the budget to attack hard-working public sector workers. The worst chancellor in British history has gone further by giving big business another tax cut while staff caring for the sick get pay cuts. […] [H]e should have raised the national minimum wage by £1 and drop the senseless plan to give millionaires a tax break in a few days’ time”.

Canada’s social insurance assets pass $140 billion in fourth quarter

Sunday, February 13, 2011

With a fourth-quarter investment earnings of $3.9 Billion CAD, largely driven by stock market rises, the Canada Pension Plan’s (CPP) assets rose to $140.1 Billion reported the CPP Investment Board on Thursday.

Rate of return for the quarter netted three percent, bringing the first nine months of the fiscal year to 8.3%. The fund’s broad exposure to equities, in concert with a good quarter for stocks both in Canada and internationally, was largely to be credited according to CEO David Deneson.

The assets value rose from $127.6 Billion March 31st 2010, to $138.6 B on September 30th, to $140.1 B December 31st. The $3.9 B investment earnings, 3.58 of which came from the 54% of the portfolio in equities, was partially offset by seasonal outlays of $2.4 B to plan members.

The fund was very active throughout the calendar year, and particularly active in infrastructure, real estate, and private equity. As part of a consortium they completed the $4.8 B purchase of UK-based Tomkins plc, as well as purchasing Australian-based Intoll for $3.4 B thus acquiring a 30% stake in the 407 Express Toll Route (ETR) near Toronto — which they expanded purchasing a further 10% stake from Spain’s Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.A. (CINTRA). They acquired a 25% equity stake in Westfield Stratford City, a retail complex adjacent to London’s Olympics venue, among many real estate ventures.

The CPP fund covers every province except Quebec, whose Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec is the only larger pension fund in Canada. The five-year annualised investment rate of return for the CPP reserve fund was 3.5%, its 10-year rate of return was 5.6%, at the close of 2010. The fund was established in 1997.

US denies plans for attack on Iran amid report of hunt for evidence against Iran

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A top US commander said yesterday that the United States is not planning a preemptive attack on Iran despite increasing rhetoric from Washington, D.C. The United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also denied that an attack was imminent, stating that there is no Congressional authorization for military action against Iran.

The denials came as The Observer ran a report saying that US personnel involved in interrogating insurgents in Iraq are under “huge” pressure to find evidence against Iran. It quoted Micah Brose, a privately contracted interrogator working for the US military there, as saying that information on Iran is “gold”.

“They push a lot for us to establish a link with Iran”, Brose claimed in the interview, adding that “it feels a lot like, if you get something and Iran’s not involved, it’s a let down.” He further claimed that people have said to him that “they’re really pushing the Iran thing.” Brose denied being asked to manufacture evidence, but stated that “if a detainee wants to tell me what I want to hear so he can get out of jail … you know what I’m saying.”

The US has in the past been accused of using exaggerated and fabricated evidence to build its case against Iraq prior to the war.

The article by the British based newspaper said most military intelligence officers refused to comment but that one said “The message is, ‘Got to find a link with Iran, got to find a link with Iran.’ It’s sickening.”

On Monday, Admiral William J. Fallon, the commanding officer of United States Central Command which is responsible for the Middle East, East Africa and Central Asia, speaking in Financial Times, said that a strike against Iran is “not in the offing.”

“None of this is helped by the continuing stories that just keep going around and around and around that any day now there will be another war which is just not where we want to go,” Fallon continued. “Getting Iranian behavior to change and finding ways to get them to come to their senses and do that is the real objective. Attacking them as a means to get to that spot strikes me as being not the first choice in my book.” Despite saying this, he refused to rule out a strike against Iran in the future.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was on ABC‘s This Week on Sunday, saying that a Senate resolution designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization does not authorize military action.

“There is nothing in this particular resolution that would suggest that from our point of view. And, clearly, the president has also made very clear that he’s on a diplomatic path where Iran comes into focus,” Rice said.

“This resolution is saying that there needs to be strong measures taken against Iran, which we have definitely done,” Rice continued. “And if the Iranians suspend their enrichment and reprocessing, I’m prepared to meet my counterpart anyplace, anytime, anywhere. So the question isn’t why will we not talk to Tehran. The question is, why will Tehran not talk to us?”

Senator Hillary Clinton, who is running for President, voted for the resolution. She has said that the resolution could not be used to justify war, but rather it seeks to escalate diplomatic efforts. “We wish to emphasize that no congressional authority exists for unilateral military action against Iran,” she said in an open letter on November 1, 2007.

Last week, former Foreign Minister of Germany, Joschka Fischer said that he was worried that the upcoming US Presidential election could heighten tensions between the US and Iran. He found particularly worrisome a statement by Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani in October that “If I am President of the United States, I guarantee you, we will never find out what they will do if they get nuclear weapons, because they are not going to get a nuclear weapon … the military option is not off the table.”

Buy Google Key Words And Earn As Much As $3750 Per Month

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It has been observed that if you have the right “buying” key words, then the rest of the Internet Marketing process will be easy and consequently profitable.

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Bank of America declares 1.2 million account records “lost”

Monday, February 28, 2005

Charlotte, North Carolina — One of the biggest domestic banks in the United States, Bank of America, has admitted to losing computer tapes containing 1.2 million federal employee accounts, including the accounts of several U.S. senators, in a statement by the bank. According to the Pentagon, most of the accounts belong to staff and civilians in the Department of Defense. The bank said the tapes were lost in December 2004 as they were being transported to a data back-up centre by a commercial plane.

Currently, the U.S. Secret Service are looking in to the matter, a federal agency whose brief includes investigations of serious financial crime such as this. All parties concerned are worrying about possible identity theft as it contained valuable information such as bank account numbers, names and addresses.


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Kalpataru Crescendo Offering The Luxury Residence At Pune}

Kalpataru Crescendo Offering The Luxury Residence at pune


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Warhol’s photo legacy spread by university exhibits

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Evansville, Indiana, United States — This past week marked the opening night of an Andy Warhol exhibit at the University of Southern Indiana. USI’s art gallery, like 189 other educational galleries and museums around the country, is a recipient of a major Warhol donor program, and this program is cultivating new interest in Warhol’s photographic legacy. Wikinews reporters attended the opening and spoke to donors, exhibit organizers and patrons.

The USI art gallery celebrated the Thursday opening with its display of Warhol’s Polaroids, gelatin silver prints and several colored screen prints. USI’s exhibit, which is located in Evansville, Indiana, is to run from January 23 through March 9.

The McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries at USI bases its exhibit around roughly 100 Polaroids selected from its collection. The Polaroids were all donated by the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, according to Kristen Wilkins, assistant professor of photography and curator of the exhibit. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts made two donations to USI Art Collections, in 2007 and a second recently.

Kathryn Waters, director of the gallery, expressed interest in further donations from the foundation in the future.

Since 2007 the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program has seeded university art galleries throughout the United States with over 28,000 Andy Warhol photographs and other artifacts. The program takes a decentralized approach to Warhol’s photography collection and encourages university art galleries to regularly disseminate and educate audiences about Warhol’s artistic vision, especially in the area of photography.


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  • 2 Superstars
  • 3 Warhol’s photographic legacy
  • 4 USI exhibit
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Wikinews provides additional video, audio and photographs so our readers may learn more.

Wilkins observed that the 2007 starting date of the donation program, which is part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, coincided with the 20th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s death in 1987. USI was not alone in receiving a donation.

K.C. Maurer, chief financial officer and treasurer at the Andy Warhol Foundation, said 500 institutions received the initial invitation and currently 190 universities have accepted one or more donations. Institutional recipients, said Mauer, are required to exhibit their donated Warhol photographs every ten years as one stipulation.

While USI is holding its exhibit, there are also Warhol Polaroid exhibits at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York and an Edward Steichen and Andy Warhol exhibit at the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. All have received Polaroids from the foundation.

University exhibits can reach out and attract large audiences. For example, the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro saw attendance levels reach 11,000 visitors when it exhibited its Warhol collection in 2010, according to curator Elaine Gustafon. That exhibit was part of a collaboration combining the collections from Duke University, located in Durham, North Carolina, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which also were recipients of donated items from the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program.

Each collection donated by the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program holds Polaroids of well-known celebrities. The successful UNC Greensboro exhibit included Polaroids of author Truman Capote and singer-songwriter Carly Simon.

“I think America’s obsession with celebrity culture is as strong today as it was when Warhol was living”, said Gustafon. “People are still intrigued by how stars live, dress and socialize, since it is so different from most people’s every day lives.”

Wilkins explained Warhol’s obsession with celebrities began when he first collected head shots as a kid and continued as a passion throughout his life. “He’s hanging out with the celebrities, and has kind of become the same sort of celebrity he was interested in documenting earlier in his career”, Wilkins said.

The exhibit at USI includes Polaroids of actor Dennis Hopper; musician Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran; publishers Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone Magazine and Carlo De Benedetti of Italy’s la Repubblica; disco club owner Steve Rubell of Studio 54; photographers Nat Finkelstein, Christopher Makos and Felice Quinto; and athletes Vitas Gerulaitis (tennis) and Jack Nicklaus (golf).

Wikinews observed the USI exhibit identifies and features Polaroids of fashion designer Halston, a former resident of Evansville.

University collections across the United States also include Polaroids of “unknowns” who have not yet had their fifteen minutes of fame. Cynthia Thompson, curator and director of exhibits at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, said, “These images serve as documentation of people in his every day life and art — one which many of us enjoy a glimpse into.”

Warhol was close to important touchstones of the 1960s, including art, music, consumer culture, fashion, and celebrity worship, which were all buzzwords and images Wikinews observed at USI’s opening exhibit.

He was also an influential figure in the pop art movement. “Pop art was about what popular American culture really thought was important”, Kathryn Waters said. “That’s why he did the Campbell Soup cans or the Marilyn pictures, these iconic products of American culture whether they be in film, video or actually products we consumed. So even back in the sixties, he was very aware of this part of our culture. Which as we all know in 2014, has only increased probably a thousand fold.”

“I think everybody knows Andy Warhol’s name, even non-art people, that’s a name they might know because he was such a personality”, Water said.

Hilary Braysmith, USI associate professor of art history, said, “I think his photography is equally influential as his graphic works, his more famous pictures of Marilyn. In terms of the evolution of photography and experimentation, like painting on them or the celebrity fascination, I think he was really ground-breaking in that regard.”

What do you think of Andy Warhol’s place in photography?
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The Polaroid format is not what made Warhol famous, however, he is in the company of other well-known photographers who used the camera, such as Ansel Adams, Chuck Close, Walker Evans, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Helmut Newton.

Wilkins said, “[Warhol] liked the way photo booths and the Polaroid’s front flash looked”. She explained how Warhol’s adoption of the Polaroid camera revealed his process. According to Wilkins, Warhol was able to reproduce the Polaroid photograph and create an enlargement of it, which he then could use to commit the image to the silk screen medium by applying paint or manipulating them further. One of the silk screens exhibited at USI this time was the Annie Oakley screen print called “Cowboys and Indians” from 1987.

Wilkins also said Warhol was both an artist and a businessperson. “As a way to commercialize his work, he would make a blue Marilyn and a pink Marilyn and a yellow Marilyn, and then you could pick your favorite color and buy that. It was a very practical salesman approach to his work. He was very prolific but very business minded about that.”

“He wanted to be rich and famous and he made lots of choices to go that way”, Wilkins said.

It’s Warhol. He is a legend.

Kiara Perkins, a second year USI art major, admitted she was willing to skip class Thursday night to attend the opening exhibit but then circumstances allowed for her to attend the exhibit. Why did she so badly want to attend? “It’s Warhol. He is a legend.”

For Kevin Allton, a USI instructor in English, Warhol was also a legend. He said, “Andy Warhol was the center of the Zeitgeist for the 20th century and everything since. He is a post-modern diety.”

Allton said he had only seen the Silver Clouds installation before in film. The Silver Clouds installation were silver balloons blown up with helium, and those balloons filled one of the smaller rooms in the gallery. “I thought that in real life it was really kind of magical,” Allton said. “I smacked them around.”

Elements of the Zeitgeist were also playfully recreated on USI’s opening night. In her opening remarks for attendees, Waters pointed out those features to attendees, noting the touches of the Warhol Factory, or the studio where he worked, that were present around them. She pointed to the refreshment table with Campbell’s Soup served with “electric” Kool Aid and tables adorned with colorful gumball “pills”. The music in the background was from such bands as The Velvet Underground.

The big hit of the evening, Wikinews observed from the long line, was the Polaroid-room where attendees could wear a Warhol-like wig or don crazy glasses and have their own Polaroid taken. The Polaroids were ready in an instant and immediately displayed at the entry of the exhibit. Exhibit goers then became part of the very exhibit they had wanted to attend. In fact, many people Wikinews observed took out their mobiles as they left for the evening and used their own phone cameras to make one further record of the moment — a photo of a photo. Perhaps they had learned an important lesson from the Warhol exhibit that cultural events like these were ripe for use and reuse. We might even call these exit instant snap shots, the self selfie.

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Children enjoy interacting with the “Silver Clouds” at the Andy Warhol exhibit.Image: Snbehnke.

Kathryn Waters opens the Andy Warhol exhibit at USI.Image: Snbehnke.

At the Andy Warhol exhibit, hosts document all the names of attendees who have a sitting at the Polaroid booth.Image: Snbehnke.

Curator Kristin Wilkins shares with attendees the story behind his famous Polaroids.Image: Snbehnke.

A table decoration at the exhibit where the “pills” were represented by bubble gum.Image: Snbehnke.

Two women pose to get their picture taken with a Polaroid camera. Their instant pics will be hung on the wall.Image: Snbehnke.

Even adults enjoyed the “Silver Clouds” installation at the Andy Warhol exhibit at USI.Image: Snbehnke.

Many people from the area enjoyed Andy Warhol’s famous works at the exhibit at USI.Image: Snbehnke.

Katie Waters talks with a couple in the Silver Clouds area.Image: Snbehnke.

Many people showed up to the new Andy Warhol exhibit, which opened at USI.Image: Snbehnke.

At the exhibit there was food and beverages inspired to look like the 1960s.Image: Snbehnke.

A woman has the giggles while getting her Polaroid taken.Image: Snbehnke.

A man poses to get his picture taken by a Polaroid camera, with a white wig and a pair of sunglasses.Image: Snbehnke.

Finished product of the Polaroid camera film of many people wanting to dress up and celebrate Andy Warhol.Image: Snbehnke.

Bihar class X student allegedly gang raped, thrown from moving train

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A sixteen-year-old girl from Lakhisarai district, Bihar, India, reported to the police on Sunday that she had been raped multiple times and thrown out of a moving train.

She was found unconscious near the tracks not far from Kiul Junction by some locals who took her to a nearby hospital. She was later taken to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH). A PMCH doctor commented anonymously, “She has received at least two dozen stitches in her private parts, both her feet are irrevocably damaged, her thigh bone is fractured and she has serious injuries on her waist. Her condition is very critical”.

The girl, a tenth grade student, said she was abducted in a field and raped on, by reports, Friday or Saturday, by two men; according to Indian newspaper DNA, Santosh Yadav and Mrityunjay Yadav. She was later raped by several others — by varying reports, three to six — and taken on a train from Chanan railway station. Two of the alleged assailants lived in the same locality, according to senior police officer SK Singhal.

She was raped again, she said, on the train and received several wounds as the rapists mutilated her before throwing her out of the train. “I could hear them speaking that they should kill me and they threw me out of the train. When I gained consciousness, I was in a hospital”, she said.

As of Monday, police said one juvenile allegedly involved had been arrested.