Displaying 11 - 20 of 1392 entries.

Democratic holdout agrees to support health care reform in US

  • Posted on March 16, 2019 at 2:09 am

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.

Democratic holdout agrees to support health care reform in US
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Category:May 16, 2010

  • Posted on March 16, 2019 at 2:04 am
? May 15, 2010
May 17, 2010 ?
May 16

Pages in category “May 16, 2010”

Category:May 16, 2010
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Federal judge rules warrantless wiretaps illegal

  • Posted on March 14, 2019 at 2:36 am

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A United States District federal judge ruled Thursday that the Bush administration’s wiretapping program is “unconstitutional” and that it “must be halted immediately.” The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) challenging federal intelligence agencies’ eavesdropping of international phone calls without obtaining court warrants.

The defendants, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Security Service and NSA Director and Chief of the Central Security Service, Lieutenant General Keith B. Alexander asserted that they cannot defend their case without exposing state secrets.

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, US District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan, wrote in an opinion that the defense argument was “without merit”.

“Defendants have supported these arguments without revealing or relying on any classified information,” Taylor wrote in an opinion accompanying the ruling.

Judge Taylor also ruled that the tapping violates “the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution, privacy and free speech.”

The Bush Administration has been firmly committed to the wiretapping, known as the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP), and said the practice has a valid basis in law, despite public criticism. Defenders of the program contended that the President has the authority under the AUMF and the Constitution to authorize the continued use of the TSP.

Judge Taylor wrote in her 43-page opinion that, “We must first note that the Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the Constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all ‘inherent powers’ must derive from that Constitution.”

The ACLU filed the lawsuit to protect the privacy and unreasonable search of lawful verbal exchanges by journalists, lawyers and scholars among others. The court order ruled that powers granted by TSP violated the U.S. Separation of Powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the First and Fourth Amendments.

An appeal over the court decision is expected.

In 2001, President George W. Bush approved a program that allowed the NSA to monitor international calls for possible terrorist activity when one party to the call was outside U.S. territory. The government argued that the program is well within the president’s authority. The Justice Department wrote, “In the ongoing conflict with al Qaeda and its allies, the president has the primary duty under the Constitution to protect the American people”.

Federal judge rules warrantless wiretaps illegal
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Construction on massive radio telescope array to begin in 2012

  • Posted on March 14, 2019 at 2:24 am

Friday, October 5, 2007

Scientists have announced that the largest radio telescope array in the world, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) is to be built in either Africa or Australia and will be composed of thousands of antenna arrays that will be capable of detecting the first galaxies and stars formed in our universe. The control center for the array is announced to be located in the United Kingdom in Manchester, England at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics.

“The next generation radio telescope – the Square Kilometer Array – will carry on this tradition of innovation. The goal is to construct a network of antennas working at centimeter to meter wavelengths with 100 times the sensitivity of the largest existing arrays. This telescope will play a major role in the following decades, alongside other next generation facilities in the millimeter, optical/IR, X-ray and so on, in further exploring the content and evolution of the universe,” said a press released on SKA’s website.

Construction will begin in 2012 and cost over US$2 billion (£1 billion, €1.4 billion) to build. The array will reportedly begin operation by the year 2020. SKA decided to release the details of the array plans on the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik. At least 17 different countries and 55 schools, universities, engineers and astronomers are expected to take involvement in the project.

The array will be built in one of two locations. The first option is in Mileura, Australia. According to SKA’s website, the location is ideal because “only 100,000 people inhabit the five million square kilometers of the interior” area of western Australia, making it one of “the most radio-quiet locations on Earth.”

The second option is in South Africa in Northern Cape Province because of the “dry climate, a good existing infrastructure of roads and power reticulation, a low Radio Frequency Interferences (RFI), low land prices and low operating costs” and “has a appropriately skilled workforce and a well-established telecommunications infrastructure,” says SKA’s website.

The array is going to be more than 50 times as powerful as the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, which is currently the largest radio telescope on the planet.

Construction on massive radio telescope array to begin in 2012
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

South Korea: Fire in hospital housing elderly people kills at least 37

  • Posted on March 13, 2019 at 2:49 am

Friday, January 26, 2018

Fire broke out on Friday morning and destroyed the bottom two floors of a six-story hospital in Miryang, South Korea, killing at least 37 people, most of them elderly. More than a hundred injuries were reported, with eighteen people in critical condition. This is the highest death toll from fire in South Korea in almost a decade.

The fire is believed to have started at about 7:30 local time, according to fire chief Choi Man-woo. It originated on the ground floor in the emergency room as per various officials. The hospital has 98 beds and a medical staff of about 35, and specializes in long-term care of elderly patients. It adjoins a nursing home, all of whose 94 residents were evacuated. Staff carried some patients out of the hospital on their backs.

One patient, Jang Yeong-jae, who told his story to JoongAng Ilbo, said he escaped by removing a screen from a window to get to a ladder placed by firefighters. He described people “running around in panic, falling over and screaming as smoke filled the rooms”. The majority of the victims died from smoke inhalation and are believed to be elderly, said the head of the city’s public hospital, Chun Jae-kyung. A doctor, a nurse, and a nursing assistant have died, according to the fire service; it took three hours to put out the fire.

In a press briefing, Seok Gyeong-sik, the director of the hospital, apologized to patients and their families. Son Kyung-chul, its chairman, stated that there were no sprinklers because the facility was small. Sprinklers are being installed in the nursing home, where a new law requires them by June 30.

Last month, 29 people died in a fire in a gym in Jecheon; the owner and the manager were arrested for safety violations. In 2014, a blaze in a nursing home in Jangseong left 21 dead. The President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, responded to the Friday fire by calling an emergency meeting of his staff, and promised that the cause would be found rapidly “to prevent the recurrence of the fire in the future”.

South Korea: Fire in hospital housing elderly people kills at least 37
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Category:May 27, 2010

  • Posted on March 13, 2019 at 2:28 am
? May 26, 2010
May 28, 2010 ?
May 27

Pages in category “May 27, 2010”

Category:May 27, 2010
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Latest trial of the One Laptop Per Child running in India; Uruguay orders 100,000 machines

  • Posted on March 13, 2019 at 2:22 am

Thursday, November 8, 2007

India is the latest of the countries where the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) experiment has started. Children from the village of Khairat were given the opportunity to learn how to use the XO laptop. During the last year XO was distributed to children from Arahuay in Peru, Ban Samkha in Thailand, Cardal in Uruguay and Galadima in Nigeria. The OLPC team are, in their reports on the startup of the trials, delighted with how the laptop has improved access to information and ability to carry out educational activities. Thailand’s The Nation has praised the project, describing the children as “enthusiastic” and keen to attend school with their laptops.

Recent good news for the project sees Uruguay having ordered 100,000 of the machines which are to be given to children aged six to twelve. Should all go according to plan a further 300,000 machines will be purchased by 2009 to give one to every child in the country. As the first to order, Uruguay chose the OLPC XO laptop over its rival from Intel, the Classmate PC. In parallel with the delivery of the laptops network connectivity will be provided to schools involved in the project.

The remainder of this article is based on Carla G. Munroy’s Khairat Chronicle, which is available from the OLPC Wiki. Additional sources are listed at the end.

Contents

  • 1 India team
  • 2 Khairat
    • 2.1 The town school
  • 3 The workplace
  • 4 Marathi
  • 5 The teacher
  • 6 Older children, teenagers, and villagers
  • 7 The students
  • 8 Teacher session
  • 9 Parents’ meetings
  • 10 Grounding the server
  • 11 Every child at school
  • 12 Sources
  • 13 External links
Latest trial of the One Laptop Per Child running in India; Uruguay orders 100,000 machines
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Teachers at Australian school shocked at no warning over redundancies, can apply before ‘externals’

  • Posted on March 13, 2019 at 2:08 am
This article’s primary contributor, Patrick Gillett, is an alumnus of Sunshine Coast Grammar School.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A deal between Sunshine Coast Grammar School headmaster Nigel Fairbairn and the Independent Education Union of Australia has ended a week of uncertainty for 22 of the Queensland, Australia school’s staff.

Last week Wikinews obtained a list of 22 middle management teaching staff allegedly made redundant, or laid off due to restructuring. The restructuring is, apparently, designed to get teachers back into the classroom.

During the week, staff, students, alumni and parents had accused the headmaster of being dishonest and not “tak[ing] a single question” on the issue.

“At 10am there were 21 teachers with big question marks over their employment but by 1pm they had the assurance they would be able to apply for new positions before external applicants,” union secretary Terry Burke said. “Mr Fairbairn said it was clearly the school’s preference to continue the employment of existing staff. It is our view the existing staff are more than capable of taking on the new positions.”

Sunshine Coast Grammar is a private Christian school approximately 95 km (60 miles) north of the state capital, Brisbane.

Teachers at Sunshine Coast Grammar school have told the Sunshine Coast Daily that they received no warning of any pending redundancies. Independent Education Union of Australia representative and school careers counselor Maria Campanini said “teacher morale is very low and people are very disappointed and disillusioned”.

Ms Campanini said that staff were saddened by the handling of the situation by headmaster Nigel Fairbairn. “We got an email announcing a meeting and I thought it would just provide some feedback about the review,” Ms Campanini said. “But the 21 teachers whose jobs were directly affected were herded into a room, Mr Fairbairn read out a prepared statement, turned on his heel and left. He didn’t take a single question. We were just left sitting there in shock.”

An anonymous staff member told the Sunshine Coast Daily that, “Some teachers, who rely on the income and whose positions were abolished, were very distraught and they had to go to class. It appears we’re not valued in the school community, not to be even asked our opinion as to what might be the best outcome, to try and make it work.”

According to Ms Campanini, one of the teachers being made redundant is 30 weeks pregnant with another returning to work after maternity leave. “It’s really stressful for all the people involved,” Ms Campanini said. “People can understand the need for restructure when it’s explained, but we’re none the wiser.”

“When it all happened on Friday, it was morning tea time and a lot of us had to go back in the classroom and teach all afternoon,” the anonymous staff member said.

Parents have accused Fairbairn of constantly changing his version of events, with one telling the Sunshine Coast Daily that, “The school board does not have independent parents on the board, which makes no sense at all. From what I have gathered, Mr Fairbairn is not interested in having parents involved in the decision-making processes.”

Mr Fairbairn is trying to go into damage control and his story keeps changing. He’s told parents this restructure was not financially motivated but has told teachers the complete opposite thing. This is it. The gloves are off.

“Mr Fairbairn is trying to go into damage control and his story keeps changing,” said Julie Hopkins, another Grammar parent. “He’s told parents this restructure was not financially motivated but has told teachers the complete opposite thing. This is it. The gloves are off.”

Wikinews obtained a list of middle management staff allegedly made redundant, or laid off due to restructuring, by the Queensland, Australia school. Sources say that those staff have been told that they can apply for new positions that have opened up.

The list, published on the SCGS alumni Facebook page, contains the names of twenty-two staff members. Seventeen positions are reportedly being opened up, eight of which seem to significantly overlap the old ones.

Mr. Fairbairn “replaced the open and welcoming culture … with the tyrannical and oppressive one.”

The changes are, apparently, designed to get teachers back into the classroom. “We are not cutting subject choices and extracurricular activities, but retaining a student-driven curriculum that integrates with the new Australian Curriculum, in keeping with our commitment to teaching and learning opportunities,” said headmaster Nigel Fairbairn.

Wikinews understands that Fairbairn attracted criticism when he was a head teacher in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a former student claimed that Fairbairn “replaced the open and welcoming culture … with the tyrannical and oppressive one.” Fairbairn refused to comment on the criticism.

People are angry and shocked. I am aware of at least 10 families who have said they will pull their children out of the school – it’s that bad.

Fairbairn’s statement came under attack from 2009 graduates who, in a open letter posted on Facebook, said, “It is also hugely hypocritical to attack these teachers for not spending enough time in the classroom, when from firsthand experience the only time Mr. Nigel Fairbairn was ever sighted was during assembly (which he mysteriously stopped attending), never mind in the classroom, therefore, it is honestly astounding that he could make such unjust and incorrect statements.”

They also expressed embarrassment “to be associated with the name ‘Sunshine Coast Grammar School’ while you are at the head of the great community which Grammar once was.”

Four of the affected teachers “were the backbone of the school when [controversy surrounded founding headmaster John Burgess] happened,” a former prefect (student leader) said. “They got it through that crisis and this is the thanks they get.”

“People are angry and shocked,” they continued. “I am aware of at least 10 families who have said they will pull their children out of the school – it’s that bad.”

The student body has not ruled out protesting the schools plans. “It’s getting to that stage,” the former prefect said. “People are trying to look at it in an intelligent way but there is so much anger out there.”

Teachers at Australian school shocked at no warning over redundancies, can apply before ‘externals’
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Commerce Commission fines BNZ $5 million

  • Posted on March 12, 2019 at 2:34 am

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The New Zealand Commerce Commission has fined the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ). It has been forced to pay NZ$5 million in compensation to its customers, $500,000 in fines and $80,000 in costs to the Commerce Commission. The money will be placed into a bank account to be monitored by an auditor, and if there is any money left over it will be donated to a consumer organization.

BNZ has been forced to pay these fines for failing to disclose that they were charging their customers for the exchange of foreign currency during February, 2002 until May, 2004 on its credit and debit cards, which is a breach of the Fair Trading Act. They pleaded guilty to 21 counts of breaching the act. The BNZ say that they will contact their affected customers and that they should get their compensation by November this year. The bank is responsible for contacting all their customers.

The BNZ is the third bank to be charged, the two others were ANZ and the National Bank, which were charged $11.325 million combined as they had since become a single company.

There are still other ongoing prosecutions on these other financial services: Westpac, ASB, TSB, American Express, Diners Club and The Warehouse Financial Services. The Commission would not comment on these cases.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Paula Rebsotck, Commerce Commission Chairperson, said “the result was a victory for New Zealand consumers, many of whom would have unknowingly paid the currency transaction charges. While fees like these remain hidden, banks have no incentive to offer lower fees.”

Commerce Commission fines BNZ $5 million
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Local community on Australian Sunshine Coast compromises with McDonald’s

  • Posted on March 11, 2019 at 2:25 am

Friday, November 6, 2009

Residents of the suburb of Minyama, Australia have come to a compromise with restaurant chain McDonald’s.

A 24 hour store was planned for the suburb but the fast food giant backed down agreeing that the store will only open overnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Every other day it will be open from five in the morning to eleven at night.

As part of the compromise, a walkway connecting the suburb’s main road to the residential area near the new McDonald’s has been closed off. “They will all be restricted to Nicklin Way,” said John Meyer-Gleaves, a spokesperson for protest group Say No To McDonald’s, referring to late night customers.

The group also managed to get a higher wall placed between the store and the residential area to cut noise and light pollution.

In December, Sunshine Coast Regional Council knocked backed the then-proposed store with mayor Bob Abbot expressing concern about its proximity to a residential area.

“I’m pretty sure I’m the only councillor who already has a 24-hour McDonald’s in my division, we have enough issues with that one, and this is overkill,” Councillor Chris Thompson, Division 4 in the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, had said about a 24 hour seven day a week store at Minyama.

The 24-hour McDonald’s in Councillor Thompson’s division, Mooloolaba, is part of a larger complex and does not back onto residential premises.

Local community on Australian Sunshine Coast compromises with McDonald’s
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized