U.S. General McChrystal submits plan on Afghanistan to President Obama

Monday, August 31, 2009

With the War in Afghanistan approaching its eighth year, the newly appointed U.S. ground commander in Afghanistan, General (Gen.) Stanley McChrystal, is making his case for a new strategy in the recent submission of classified recommendations to U.S. President Barack Obama. A focal point for discussion is Gen. McChrystal’s recommendation for troop levels in the country of which he is expected to recommend an increase by the end of this year. The classified report was submitted this Monday morning, August 31, 2009 and will eventually find its way onto the desk of President Obama serving as the likely basis upon which he will make decisions about the future of the U.S. engagement in the country.

At this time the 20-page report is being reviewed by Gen. McChrystal’s superiors to include Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of U.S. Central Command, Admiral Mike Mullen, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Gen. Egon Ramms, the senior North Atlantic Treaty Organization Commander before going to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and on to the President. A public release of the report is not currently scheduled.

Although the report does not include requests for troop increases, it is possible that such a request will occur in the coming weeks or shortly thereafter. Gen. McChrystal reportedly described the situation in Afghanistan as “serious” which has caused some concerns about the overall progress of the war, driving the need for the strategy assessment. The White House has signaled its concern with Afghanistan as the Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, described the Afghan War as “under-resourced politically, militarily and economically”.

While there have been some leaks about other content in the report, none have been officially recognized by Gen. McChrystal or the U.S. government. Even still Gen. McChrystal remains resolved to ensure the maximum utilization of resources he already commands with reports that he ordered his subordinates to evaluate the need for high numbers of administrative positions vice utilizing those troops in combat roles. Additionally, the U.S. Army is considering whether or not they will utilize contractors to conduct guard duty at certain bases as well as convoy duty.

Gen. McChrystal stated, “The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort”. This report will likely be the first step in what will be many of significant changes in U.S. strategy.

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27 May

Swedish nuclear reactors shut down over safety concerns

Saturday, August 5, 2006

 Correction — August 14, 2006 This article reports that the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant reactor cooling systems failed. This is incorrect. Two of the four emergency diesel generators supplying power to the plant failed to start as expected, during a reactor shut down. The emergency cooling system, which functioned normally was sufficient to meet the reactor’s needs. Wikinews apologises for the error 

Three of Sweden’s ten nuclear reactors have been shut down due to safety concerns following an incident last week at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant, in which the reactor cooling systems failed. The reactor has since been shut down there. After the incident, the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate, SKI asked all the nuclear power plants to demonstrate that the same failure could not happen in them. On Wednesday, two more reactors at Oskarshamn were shut down after the operator said their safety could not be guaranteed.

Last week’s incident at the Forsmark plant was triggered by a short circuit that cut power to the reactor cooling system. Two of the four backup generators also failed to start, but the remaining two worked and were sufficient to meet the plant’s needs. Greenpeace reports that the fault in the backup power systems were traced to new equipment installed in 1993.

The spokesman of the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate Anders Bredfell denied that there was any danger of a meltdown, adding that there was also a backup gas turbine to power the cooling system in an emergency.

However, Lars-Olov Höglund, who was responsible for the nuclear plant Forsmark for many years, said the incident was the most dangerous one since Chernobyl and Three Mile island, and that a meltdown was avoided only by pure luck. His views have however been questioned as he is involved in litigation with the Swedish nuclear industry and is known as an outspoken nuclear critic. Researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology as well as the personnel at the power plant were critical of Höglunds’ view.

Speaking to BBC News, SKI spokesman Anders Bredfell said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was informed of the incident as required and that the incident classes as a ‘2’ in the 0-7 scale used by the IAEA to assess the severity of the incident.

Another reactor in Forsmark and a fifth at Ringhals nuclear power plant have been offline due to planned maintenance work. With five of its ten reactors down, Sweden’s power generation capacity is down by almost a fifth.

The environmental group Greenpeace called on the government to shut down all reactors and probe whether the fault was a generic one. The Green Party has called for an independent investigation of the incident. Sweden is scheduled to retire all its nuclear power plants in the next few decades, as decided by a referendum in 1980.

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27 May

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26 May

Dead children found in car in Sussex, UK

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The bodies of two children were found this morning in a car in Heathfield, East Sussex, in the United Kingdom. A 43-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of the murders.

The boy and girl were both less than five years old, and were discovered at 11:46 this morning (GMT) when Sussex police officers forced their way into the vehicle, which was parked on Mill Close in Heathfield. The woman, who has yet to be identified, had visited Heathfield police station earlier this morning to report “an incident”, and was later arrested on suspicion of murder. The police say that they have identified the bodies. The identities will be revealed when the post mortem examinations take place, which is scheduled for next Thursday.

I would like to reassure people that it is fully contained and there is no threat to anyone in the area

The woman was taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital, and has not yet been interviewed by the police. She is believed to be from Surrey but have connections with the Heathfield area. Mill Close, the road on which the incident occurred, has been closed, according to a police spokeswoman, who said, “An investigation is now under way and the area around the scene is cordoned off.” Chief Inspector Julia Pope, Wealden district policing commander, said, “This is a very tragic incident, but I would like to reassure people that it is fully contained and there is no threat to anyone in the area. We will move to restore normality and access to Mill Close as quickly as possible.” A spokesman for the South East Coast Ambulance Service said, “We sent an ambulance and two response cars but sadly two young children were pronounced dead at the scene.”

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23 May

‘Apple’s data is dirtiest,’ says Greenpeace

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In a report on cloud computing issued this week, the environmental group Greenpeace rated ten top Internet companies, including Apple, Google, Twitter and Amazon, on several factors such as each company’s willingness to be transparent by providing information on its energy sources and the energy efficiency of its data centers.

In the report entitled “How Dirty is your Data”, Apple, while receiving good marks for transparency, rated at the bottom for energy efficiency, primarily because its huge, new data center in North Carolina, called iDataCenter, relies largely on coal. Although Apple claimed its California operations used cleaner energy than that produced by most grids, iDataCenter has an estimated energy demand three times Apple’s current use, significantly increasing Apple’s environmental footprint. As Apple increases the online products it delivers from its iTunes platform, it will enlarge its cloud computing operations further.

“Apple’s decision to locate its iDataCenter in North Carolina, which has an electrical grid among the dirtiest in the country (61 percent coal, 31 percent nuclear), indicates a lack of a corporate commitment to clean energy supply for its cloud operations,” Greenpeace said in its report.

About 2 percent of worldwide energy use is consumed by data center computer servers, and this amount is increasing by 12 percent a year, Greenpeace reports, an energy demand that is more than that of Russia.

Greenpeace said many IT companies do not reveal the environmental impact of their energy consumption, and concentrate more on energy efficiency that on using clean energy. Most of their energy is supplied by coal and nuclear energy. Companies are locating their data centers in areas that afford cheap, abundant coal-powered electricity.

Yahoo was praised by Greenpeace for placing its data centers near sources of clean energy and its minor use of coal-based power.

IT brands at the vanguard of this 21st century technological shift are perpetuating our addiction to dirty energy technologies of the last two centuries.

Greenpeace noted that Google says that it is conscious of the need to use renewable sources of electricity to power cloud computing, but it does not acknowledge the size of its carbon footprint. The company claims it has seven data centers worldwide, but it is estimated to have 20 to 30.

The carbon footprint of cloud computing is a recent emphasis of Greenpeace in its attempt to disprove the belief that the biggest polluters are manufacturers.

[T]he data centers of Amazon, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Apple, and Akamai . . . are probably not much different from the business where you work every day when it comes to dependency on coal for electricity generation. And ditto for the home that you return to every night.

In a response to the report, Timothy Prickett Morgan criticized Greenpeace for focusing on data centers which are responsible for using about 3 per cent of the US power generation and globally account for 1.5 to 2 percent. He noted that “the data centers of Amazon, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Apple, and Akamai . . . are probably not much different from the business where you work every day when it comes to dependency on coal for electricity generation. And ditto for the home that you return to every night.”

Morgan quotes data from a 2008 report by the International Energy Agency and cited by the World Coal Association, now known as the The World Coal Institute, that showed coal plants produce over 40 percent of the global electricity. The Institute determined that United States receives half of its power from coal plants. Some other countries, such as South Africa, Poland and China, use more coal. “The world is still dependent on non-renewable energy sources – coal and nuclear with a smattering of oil and gas – to generate electricity,” he says, suggesting the IT companies should not be singled out.

Morgan is also critical of Greenpeace’s methodology in gathering the data, as it included only a sample of the data centers of these companies, and some that were not yet completely operational. He noted that because the companies were not always cooperative in disclosing information, Greenpeace estimated a portion of the data. He said that the reader has to “drill down into the report” to see the the complete picture.

Another criticism of Greenpeace is its definition of coal and nuclear power as “dirty energy”. Because it does not discharge greenhouse gases, nuclear power is rated more favorably than coal by some environmental organizations. Greenpeace is adamantly against nuclear power’s radiation risks.

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23 May

Bat for Lashes plays the Bowery Ballroom: an Interview with Natasha Khan

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bat for Lashes is the doppelgänger band ego of one of the leading millennial lights in British music, Natasha Khan. Caroline Weeks, Abi Fry and Lizzy Carey comprise the aurora borealis that backs this haunting, shimmering zither and glockenspiel peacock, and the only complaint coming from the audience at the Bowery Ballroom last Tuesday was that they could not camp out all night underneath these celestial bodies.

We live in the age of the lazy tendency to categorize the work of one artist against another, and Khan has had endless exultations as the next Björk and Kate Bush; Sixousie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, the list goes on until it is almost meaningless as comparison does little justice to the sound and vision of the band. “I think Bat For Lashes are beyond a trend or fashion band,” said Jefferson Hack, publisher of Dazed & Confused magazine. “[Khan] has an ancient power…she is in part shamanic.” She describes her aesthetic as “powerful women with a cosmic edge” as seen in Jane Birkin, Nico and Cleopatra. And these women are being heard. “I love the harpsichord and the sexual ghost voices and bowed saws,” said Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke of the track Horse and I. “This song seems to come from the world of Grimm’s fairytales.”

Bat’s debut album, Fur And Gold, was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize, and they were seen as the dark horse favorite until it was announced Klaxons had won. Even Ladbrokes, the largest gambling company in the United Kingdom, had put their money on Bat for Lashes. “It was a surprise that Klaxons won,” said Khan, “but I think everyone up for the award is brilliant and would have deserved to win.”

Natasha recently spoke with David Shankbone about art, transvestism and drug use in the music business.


DS: Do you have any favorite books?

NK: [Laughs] I’m not the best about finishing books. What I usually do is I will get into a book for a period of time, and then I will dip into it and get the inspiration and transformation in my mind that I need, and then put it away and come back to it. But I have a select rotation of cool books, like Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and Little Birds by Anaïs Nin. Recently, Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch.

DS: Lynch just came out with a movie last year called Inland Empire. I interviewed John Vanderslice last night at the Bowery Ballroom and he raved about it!

NK: I haven’t seen it yet!

DS: Do you notice a difference between playing in front of British and American audiences?

NK: The U.S. audiences are much more full of expression and noises and jubilation. They are like, “Welcome to New York, Baby!” “You’re Awesome!” and stuff like that. Whereas in England they tend to be a lot more reserved. Well, the English are, but it is such a diverse culture you will get the Spanish and Italian gay guys at the front who are going crazy. I definitely think in America they are much more open and there is more excitement, which is really cool.

DS: How many instruments do you play and, please, include the glockenspiel in that number.

NK: [Laughs] I think the number is limitless, hopefully. I try my hand at anything I can contribute; I only just picked up the bass, really—

DS: –I have a great photo of you playing the bass.

NK: I don’t think I’m very good…

DS: You look cool with it!

NK: [Laughs] Fine. The glockenspiel…piano, mainly, and also the harp. Guitar, I like playing percussion and drumming. I usually speak with all my drummers so that I write my songs with them in mind, and we’ll have bass sounds, choir sounds, and then you can multi-task with all these orchestral sounds. Through the magic medium of technology I can play all kinds of sounds, double bass and stuff.

DS: Do you design your own clothes?

NK: All four of us girls love vintage shopping and charity shops. We don’t have a stylist who tells us what to wear, it’s all very much our own natural styles coming through. And for me, personally, I like to wear jewelery. On the night of the New York show that top I was wearing was made especially for me as a gift by these New York designers called Pepper + Pistol. And there’s also my boyfriend, who is an amazing musician—

DS: —that’s Will Lemon from Moon and Moon, right? There is such good buzz about them here in New York.

NK: Yes! They have an album coming out in February and it will fucking blow your mind! I think you would love it, it’s an incredible masterpiece. It’s really exciting, I’m hoping we can do a crazy double unfolding caravan show, the Bat for Lashes album and the new Moon and Moon album: that would be really theatrical and amazing! Will prints a lot of my T-shirts because he does amazing tapestries and silkscreen printing on clothes. When we play there’s a velvety kind of tapestry on the keyboard table that he made. So I wear a lot of his things, thrift store stuff, old bits of jewelry and antique pieces.

DS: You are often compared to Björk and Kate Bush; do those constant comparisons tend to bother you as an artist who is trying to define herself on her own terms?

NK: No, I mean, I guess that in the past it bothered me, but now I just feel really confident and sure that as time goes on my musical style and my writing is taking a pace of its own, and I think in time the music will speak for itself and people will see that I’m obviously doing something different. Those women are fantastic, strong, risk-taking artists—

DS: —as are you—

NK: —thank you, and that’s a great tradition to be part of, and when I look at artists like Björk and Kate Bush, I think of them as being like older sisters that have come before; they are kind of like an amazing support network that comes with me.

DS: I’d imagine it’s preferable to be considered the next Björk or Kate Bush instead of the next Britney.

NK: [Laughs] Totally! Exactly! I mean, could you imagine—oh, no I’m not going to try to offend anyone now! [Laughs] Let’s leave it there.

DS: Does music feed your artwork, or does you artwork feed your music more? Or is the relationship completely symbiotic?

NK: I think it’s pretty back-and-forth. I think when I have blocks in either of those area, I tend to emphasize the other. If I’m finding it really difficult to write something I know that I need to go investigate it in a more visual way, and I’ll start to gather images and take photographs and make notes and make collages and start looking to photographers and filmmakers to give me a more grounded sense of the place that I’m writing about, whether it’s in my imagination or in the characters. Whenever I’m writing music it’s a very visual place in my mind. It has a location full of characters and colors and landscapes, so those two things really compliment each other, and they help the other one to blossom and support the other. They are like brother and sister.

DS: When you are composing music, do you see notes and words as colors and images in your mind, and then you put those down on paper?

NK: Yes. When I’m writing songs, especially lately because I think the next album has a fairly strong concept behind it and I’m writing the songs, really imagining them, so I’m very immersed into the concept of the album and the story that is there through the album. It’s the same as when I’m playing live, I will imagine I see a forest of pine trees and sky all around me and the audience, and it really helps me. Or I’ll just imagine midnight blue and emerald green, those kind of Eighties colors, and they help me.

DS: Is it always pine trees that you see?

NK: Yes, pine trees and sky, I guess.

DS: What things in nature inspire you?

NK: I feel drained thematically if I’m in the city too long. I think that when I’m in nature—for example, I went to Big Sur last year on a road trip and just looking up and seeing dark shadows of trees and starry skies really gets me and makes me feel happy. I would sit right by the sea, and any time I have been a bit stuck I will go for a long walk along the ocean and it’s just really good to see vast horizons, I think, and epic, huge, all-encompassing visions of nature really humble you and give you a good sense of perspective and the fact that you are just a small particle of energy that is vibrating along with everything else. That really helps.

DS: Are there man-made things that inspire you?

NK: Things that are more cultural, like open air cinemas, old Peruvian flats and the Chelsea Hotel. Funny old drag queen karaoke bars…

DS: I photographed some of the famous drag queens here in New York. They are just such great creatures to photograph; they will do just about anything for the camera. I photographed a famous drag queen named Miss Understood who is the emcee at a drag queen restaurant here named Lucky Cheng’s. We were out in front of Lucky Cheng’s taking photographs and a bus was coming down First Avenue, and I said, “Go out and stop that bus!” and she did! It’s an amazing shot.

NK: Oh. My. God.

DS: If you go on her Wikipedia article it’s there.

NK: That’s so cool. I’m really getting into that whole psychedelic sixties and seventies Paris Is Burning and Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. Things like The Cockettes. There seems to be a bit of a revolution coming through that kind of psychedelic drag queen theater.

DS: There are just so few areas left where there is natural edge and art that is not contrived. It’s taking a contrived thing like changing your gender, but in the backdrop of how that is still so socially unacceptable.

NK: Yeah, the theatrics and creativity that go into that really get me. I’m thinking about The Fisher King…do you know that drag queen in The Fisher King? There’s this really bad and amazing drag queen guy in it who is so vulnerable and sensitive. He sings these amazing songs but he has this really terrible drug problem, I think, or maybe it’s a drink problem. It’s so bordering on the line between fabulous and those people you see who are so in love with the idea of beauty and elevation and the glitz and the glamor of love and beauty, but then there’s this really dark, tragic side. It’s presented together in this confusing and bewildering way, and it always just gets to me. I find it really intriguing.

DS: How are you received in the Pakistani community?

NK: [Laughs] I have absolutely no idea! You should probably ask another question, because I have no idea. I don’t have contact with that side of my family anymore.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on these suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and with their music?

NK: It’s difficult. The drugs thing was never important to me, it was the music and expression and the way he delivered his music, and I think there’s a strange kind of romantic delusion in the media, and the music media especially, where they are obsessed with people who have terrible drug problems. I think that’s always been the way, though, since Billie Holiday. The thing that I’m questioning now is that it seems now the celebrity angle means that the lifestyle takes over from the actual music. In the past people who had musical genius, unfortunately their personal lives came into play, but maybe that added a level of romance, which I think is pretty uncool, but, whatever. I think that as long as the lifestyle doesn’t precede the talent and the music, that’s okay, but it always feels uncomfortable for me when people’s music goes really far and if you took away the hysteria and propaganda of it, would the music still stand up? That’s my question. Just for me, I’m just glad I don’t do heavy drugs and I don’t have that kind of problem, thank God. I feel that’s a responsibility you have, to present that there’s a power in integrity and strength and in the lifestyle that comes from self-love and assuredness and positivity. I think there’s a real big place for that, but it doesn’t really get as much of that “Rock n’ Roll” play or whatever.

DS: Is it difficult to come to the United States to play considering all the wars we start?

NK: As an English person I feel equally as responsible for that kind of shit. I think it is a collective consciousness that allows violence and those kinds of things to continue, and I think that our governments should be ashamed of themselves. But at the same time, it’s a responsibility of all of our countries, no matter where you are in the world to promote a peaceful lifestyle and not to consciously allow these conflicts to continue. At the same time, I find it difficult to judge because I think that the world is full of shades of light and dark, from spectrums of pure light and pure darkness, and that’s the way human nature and nature itself has always been. It’s difficult, but it’s just a process, and it’s the big creature that’s the world; humankind is a big creature that is learning all the time. And we have to go through these processes of learning to see what is right.

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23 May

All I Want For Christmas Is A Freddie King Guitar!

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Submitted by: Charlie Cory

I must have been about 16 or 17. I was a guitar nut by then. I couldn’t play much, but I was a fan; a big fan of guitars. Any music on TV was carefully screened to see if any serious guitar players were involved. I was into rock music, but I had enough understanding of the genre to know that most of the stuff I loved to listen to had evolved from the blues.

One of the pre-requisites of my blues education was a late night program in the UK, called the Old Grey Whistle Test, I am ashamed to say that although most of the music (I now know) was great, I turned my nose up at most of it. I could just about tolerate a keyboard or piano, but brass instruments were most definitely for pansies. You couldn’t get more removed from rock and roll than a trumpet or a trombone!

I digress.

One night, I saw that the OGWT roster had someone called Freddie King on. I had heard of him, because I had heard of most people. I may have barely scraped through my traditional education, but at my Rock n Roll studies, I was definitely an A grade student.

YouTube Preview Image

So, Freddie King was on offer, and I felt I had to give the man an airing. So I tuned in. A big man our Freddie. He was introduced, and after a brief pause, started cooking with an instrumental number called Boogie Funk.

I was awe struck.

I loved it. This guy was something else.

Over the months (and years) that followed, I searched every record store I knew for Freddie King albums, seeking out this tune; Boogie Funk. And could I find it? No. I bought several albums of Freddie’s, and was always disappointed because it was not on any of them. I thought I had misheard the name of the track, so I looked for anything that might have been that track, and was always disappointed. Freddie King, sadly, became a disappointment.

Roll forward over 30 years.

Freddie King is no longer with us. He died a few short years after the TV show I saw. But I have never forgotten that one single performance.

I was in a music store in Bristol (near where I live), looking for a Christmas present for my wife. This is a bit of a ritual for me now. I go and brave the crowds at the Mall, looking for something for my, wife, and end up in a music store. It happens every year. As luck would have it, I had found something for my better half, and was just looking at the shelves to see if there was anything from my youth, when I came upon the DVD section. I like the DVD’s more than the CD’s to be honest. Live performances of artists long lost to me are one of the shining lights of the modern age.

So I was browsing through the DVD’s and what did I see? Yes, you’ve guessed, some archives of the OGWT. I wasn’t even thinking of Freddie King, but on one of the DVD’s, there was Freddie, listed in the credits for, yes, Boogie Funk. I nearly wet myself. Do you ever get moments of pure excitement and anticipation? I did in the shop. Needless to say, I bought the DVD, and rushed home.

Freddie King’s performance was almost exactly how I remembered it. The excitement was the same, the energy was the same. I had discovered a window to my adolescence. Freddie played a Gibson ES 335 guitar (I think) and played a pivotal blues boogie. Just for me.

Freddie, I am sorry that I lost you for all those years. You were lost, but never forgotten. And now you are back, I am yours again for ever; a fan again!

About the Author: Watching Freddie King was like watching a blues whirlwind. Fast and powerful, but beautiful at the same time.

guitarnstuff.com/acoustic-electric-guitar/freddie_king.html

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=115094&ca=Entertainment

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23 May

On the campaign trail, March 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The following is the fifth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, a politician from outside the fifty states receives significant mention as a potential Republican Party vice presidential nominee, Wikinews gets the reaction of three Democratic Party candidates after the party strips delegates from two of their fellow challengers, and a minor third party removes its presidential nominee for fraud.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
  • 2 Might the GOP VP nominee come from Puerto Rico?
  • 3 Democratic Party strips delegates
  • 4 Party removes presidential nominee
  • 5 Related articles
  • 6 Sources
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22 May

New Jersey backpedals on proposed bikini waxing ban

Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Jersey has reversed its plans for a state-wide ban on bikini waxing after salon owners from across the state spoke out against the proposal.

The New Jersey Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling planned to consider a ban on so-called “Brazilian waxes” in response to two women who reported being injured during a wax.

But state Consumer Affairs Director David Szuchman, who oversees the board, asked them to abandon the ban in favor of reviewing and establishing safeguards for those who provide the service.

“Many commentators have noted that the procedure could be safely performed,” Szuchman wrote in a letter to state board President Ronald Jerome Brown, according to the Asbury Park Press. “I, therefore, believe that there are alternative means to address any public health issues identified by the board.

Salon owners from across the state expressed relief with Szuchman’s decision.

“It was an unnecessary issue,” spa owner Linda Orsuto told the Associated Press. “In New Jersey especially, where the government has been picking our pockets for so long, it was like, ‘Just stay out of our pants, will you?'”

Although millions of Americans get bikini waxes, which generally cost between $50 and $60 per session, the practice comes with risks. Skin care experts say the hot wax can irritate delicate skin in the bikini area, and result in infections, ingrown hairs and rashes.

Waxing on the face, neck, abdomen, legs and arms are permitted in New Jersey. Although state statutes have always banned bikini waxing, the laws are seldom enforced because the wording is unclear.

If the measure had passed, New Jersey might have become the only US state to ban the practice outright.

Although Szuchman’s letter was crafted more as a recommendation than an order, media reports said the ban would likely never be approved without his support because his office oversees the board.

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22 May

Israel “illegally annexing” east Jerusalem, EU reports

Friday, December 4, 2009

A classified European Union report for 2009 says Israel is actively pursuing the annexation of east Jerusalem. The report accuses Israel of implementing an intricate policy including expanding Jewish settlements and demolishing Palestinian homes. It says policies “are undermining prospects for a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem and incrementally render a sustainable two-state solution unfeasible”; this is described as, “an integral part of a broader Israeli strategy.”

Israeli Foreign ministry spokesperson, Yigal Palmor, told AFP that the report was “dishonest”, “reflects the Palestinian propaganda” and “is based exclusively on Palestinian versions and figures.” This comes as EU foreign ministers prepare a statement on the Middle East. To allow for US initiatives, EU foreign ministers have not commented on the stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians over past months; but, diplomatic sources say there are “sensitivities” over a Swedish proposal to divide Jerusalem in any peace deal.

Israel is, by practical means, actively pursuing its illegal annexation of east Jerusalem by weakening the Palestinian community in the city, impeding Palestinian urban developments and ultimately separating east Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.

Citing official Israeli statistics from the Ministry of Interior executive director of Israel’s HaMoked (Center for the Defence of the Individual) said Wednesday that, “Israel has stripped Palestinians of Jerusalem residency status last year at a faster rate than at any time in the history of the state”. 4,577 residents of East Jerusalem have had their residence revoked in 2008, this is more than half the total revoked in the past 40 years. The Jerusalem municipality places severe restrictions on issuing building permits for Palestinian houses in east Jerusalem, since 2000 over 600 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished and Palestinians receive fewer than 200 of the 1,500 building permits needed per year.

Developments in east Jerusalem in 2009 were marked by the continued expansion of Israeli settlements and a considerable number of Palestinian house demolitions and eviction orders.

The 14-page annual report dated November 23 was drafted by European envoys and consuls in Jerusalem and Ramallah and presented to Brussels EU institutions a few days ago. This is the first time the annual report has been made public. Haaretz says, in the past, Israel has pressed the EU not to publish fearing it would undermine the European public’s view of Israel. The report was leaked to Israel’s Haaretz daily newspaper and obtained by AFP yesterday.

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What measures should the EU take to protest Israeli policy, help Arab residents and stop “settlement activity” in East Jerusalem?
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The expansion of Israeli settlements has sparked a trend of settler violence against the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem. Such criminal actions have been witnessed by Israeli police but are not met with adequate intervention.

The EU report claims the Israeli government and Jerusalem municipality discriminate against Arab residents with regard to building permits, health services, education, sanitation and more. Allegations of assisting private right-wing Jewish organisations, such as Ateret Cohanim and Elad, to alter the city’s demographics are included.The report advises sanctions against people and groups involved in “settlement activity”, and taking other measures to protest Israeli policy and to stop the harming of the Arab population, including an “EU presence at Israeli court cases on house demolitions or evictions of Palestinian families when there is a risk of demolition or eviction of Palestinian families”, and “information sharing on violent settlers in East Jerusalem to assess whether to grant entry to the EU.” The report also recommends implementing measures to strengthen the Palestinian National Authority‘s presence in the city.

Archaeological excavations in Jerusalem near the Temple Mount are mentioned, suggesting “archaeology in this case has become an ideologically motivated tool of national and religious struggle carried out in a manner that modifies the identity and character of the city and threatens to undermine its stability.”

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21 May