High winds in Texas cause property damage and utilities loss for many

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wind storms swept across a large part of Texas on Wednesday, leaving property damaged and many homes without power.

Downed lamposts and trees were reported in multiple locales. One media source reported overturned playground equipment in the city of Rockwall. Winds up to 40 miles-per-hour (mph) were reported over much of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Approximately 9,500 people within Tarrant and Dallas counties were without electrical power as late as Thursday afternoon.

Late Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service reported winds at Dallas Love Field up to 66 mph. The city of Edgewood recorded wind speeds up to 70 mph during the storm; three homes, two barns and two business buildings sustained damage. A home in Chandler was damaged when a tree was toppled during the storm (see photo at left).

Dust from as far away as west Texas covered vehicles and other property early Thursday morning in the eastern part of the state. A car wash manager in Tyler told media his business cleaned about three hundred cars on Thursday, busier than usual even for holiday season.

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29 November

Markets dragged down by credit crisis

Friday, August 10, 2007

Global stock markets fell today, in a mass sell-off stemming from the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded late in the day after falling more than 250 points, ending the day down about 31 points. The UK’s FTSE-100 index fell 232.90 points to 6038.30, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 406.51 points to 16764.09.

Central banks across the world are injecting funds into their banking systems to add liquidity, fearing that many financial firms with subprime ties will be insolvent. Yesterday, the U.S. Federal Reserve transferred US$24 billion to temporary reserves, following the European Central Bank, which authorized a record €83.6 billion addition to its banks, its biggest cash infusion ever. On Friday, the Fed entered into a $38 billion repurchase agreement of mortgage-backed securities, easing stockholder worries. Also on Friday, the Bank of Japan injected ¥1 trillion into Japan’s financial system.

The Federal Reserve met this week, but decided to maintain its target rate of 5.25%, although on Friday the federal funds rate was hovering around 6%, indicating a drop in liquidity.

The volatile week began last Friday with Bear Stearns tumbling as a result from its complete loss of two major hedge funds worth more than $1.5 billion. The hedge funds had been dangerously exposed to the massive sub-prime mortgage failure, and the company announced it was unable to return any money to investors.

Washington Mutual, and Countrywide Financial, both very large U.S. home loan lenders, saw shares fall. Countrywide Financial made a statement this week, saying they will be forced to retain a greater proportion of mortgage. American Home Mortgage Investment Corp, another large lender, recently filed for bankruptcy. The U.S. housing market has been declining for more than two years after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates 17 times. Now, lenders are in a quagmire from millions of people who are unable to repay loans after taking adjustable rate mortgages, teaser rates, interest-only mortgages, or piggyback rates.

Jim Cramer, of CNBC’s Mad Money, remarked that as many as seven million people will lose their homes from bad mortgages. Last Friday, Cramer went on a tirade on CNBC’s Street Signs, saying that the “Fed was asleep” and called for them to lower rates immediately.

Asian and European markets have become increasingly entangled in the subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S. Deutsche Bank of Germany lost almost $3.5 billion in share value, forcing the government to organize a bail-out. France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas SA, halted withdrawals from three large investment funds which were crippled by sub-prime exposure.

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29 November

Major US bankruptcy reform bill signed into law

Thursday, April 21, 2005

U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law Wednesday a major bankruptcy reform bill, making the most sweeping changes to the laws of personal bankruptcy in the past two decades. Bill S.256 is predicted to reduce the chances of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy for 30,000 to 210,000 families per year, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

The legislation was strongly opposed by some consumer advocates and by some Democrats in Congress, who complained about the lack of debate on exemptions they attempted to introduce and tried to derail the passage of the bill. Those who are unable to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will then be forced to file under Chapter 13, which requires payment of some debts by order of a judge based on the financial resources of the debtor.

Opponents said the bill will end a chance for a fresh start in the financial lives of the American people by keeping them in debt to collection agencies, as well as credit card companies and banks who have made it easy to obtain high credit limits amid mounting consumer debt.

In his remarks before signing the bill, which he supported, Bush said, “The bipartisan bill I’mabout to sign makes common-sense reforms to our bankruptcy laws. By restoringintegrity to the bankruptcy process, this law will make our financial systemstronger and better. By making the system fairer for creditors and debtors,we will ensure that more Americans can get access to affordable credit.”

The bankruptcy bill received a 302-126 approval in the house, after receiving a 74-25 vote in the Senate last month following strong, mostly partisan debate.

The US bankruptcy system was established in 1898. It allowed judges and debtors to come to terms with the costly medical bills that can follow a relative’s death, or a family illness. Such cases form nearly half of all bankruptcies filed in the USA, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Now many of those people will have to work out repayment plans suitable to creditors instead of having debts erased by a judge, according to the new law, which takes effect in six months.

In the past, a judge or court representative would calculate an individual’s income and subtract necessities of life to come up with a practical repayment plan of some debt. The new law stipulates that a graph, showing the poverty level in whichever state the consumer is living will be the criteria. It assumes that if people can subsist at that poverty level, then everything over that can be used to repay creditors.

Additionally, a provision that allowed debtors to file their own Chapter 7 fresh start bankruptcy has been changed to require a lawyer, paid by the debtor, to do the filing.

The new law also erased “usury” provisions in lending laws, with some lawmakers saying that paying 30 percent interest was not too much when a debtor was behind on payments.

But Bush said that credit will “be more affordable because when bankruptcy is less common, credit can be extended to more people at better rates,” meeting demands of the credit card companies which they have been pressing for the last eight years.

“The big winners under the new law will be the special interests that literally wrote it, particularly the credit card industry,” said Travis B. Plunkett, legislative director of the Consumer Federation of America. “This is particularly ironic because reckless and abusive lending practices by credit card companies have driven many Americans to the brink of bankruptcy.”

The forces arrayed on the losing side of this bill said it will hurt low-income working people, single mothers, minorities, and elderly and will end a safety net for people who have lost jobs or face major medical bills. People who fail (refuse) to pay or refuse to go to court will punished by a fine and or arrest warrant made out in their name. About fifty thousand Americans will be punished by a fine and or warrant about three thousand Americans every year will go to jail under the new bankruptcy law. For some people this will be a third strike so they will be put in jail for life.

But Mallory Duncan, a lawyer for the National Retail Federation, said “Bankruptcy has gone from a stigma to a financial planning tool for many.”

New personal bankruptcy filings have increased from 172,423 in 1978 to 1,599,986 last year, an increase of 828% during that time; however, it edged down slightly last year.

About 2 percent to 13 percent of those who dissolve their debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy each year in exchange for forfeiting some assets will be disqualified from doing so under the law, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Bankruptcy lawyers anticipate a rush to the courthouse to beat the six-month window before the new reforms take effect.

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29 November

Ukrainian manufacturer preparing to sell Adolf Hitler dolls

Thursday, April 24, 2008

 Correction — May 3, 2008 This article has been retracted. This article has been deemed a hoax. Please see the follow up article, Hitler doll story found to be hoaxed, for more information. 

News reports are claiming that dolls depicting former Nazi leader Adolf Hitler will go on sale in Ukraine. These reports cite Ukraine’s Zerkalo Nedeli newspaper which reported that a toy manufacturer would release the line of Hitler dolls in the summer.

The 40cm doll will reportedly first be available in Kiev with a £100 (GBP) price tag and comes with a large range of accessories in a presentation box with the dates of Hitler’s birth and death.

Nazis images are illegal in Ukraine, with positive portrayal specifically banned. However, there are allegations that right-wing nationalist politics are gaining strength in the country and that xenophobia and racism are on the rise, including some said to be comparable to that present in Germany under Nazi rule. Fascism and propaganda are also banned.

When the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine, was invaded by Germany under Hitler’s rule 2–3 million Ukrainians were among the casualties, of which 1.5 million were Jews.

Adolf can be dressed in various guises, including “early days Adolf”, which consists of a brown shirt and jodhpurs, and “Wartime Adolf”, which features a grey tunic, black trousers and the Iron Cross medal. The doll also comes with boots and shoes, caps, gloves, full uniforms, cane and belt which can be placed on Hitler, whose arms move, allowing the doll to replicate the famed salute of its real life counterpart.

Kids can undress fuhrer, pin on medals and there’s a spare head in the kit to give him a kinder expression on his face

Also included is a model of Blondi, Hitler’s female German Shepherd, who was exceedingly loyal to Hitler. Hitler poisoned Blondi with cyanide in 1945 at the same time as taking his own life in his bunker at Berlin.

“It is like Barbie. Kids can undress fuhrer, pin on medals and there’s a spare head in the kit to give him a kinder expression on his face. He has glasses that are round, in the manner of pacifist John Lennon,” said one saleswoman. The company, which will release the dolls in Summer, says that if demand is high a range of toys themed on the Third Reich may be released, to include barracks, working models of crematoriums and gas chambers, concentration camps and interior models of the chancellery.

The doll is not set to be released until the summer, but BBC News Online has footage suggesting that some stores are selling the doll already.

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28 November

Cloned cattle’s milk and meat seem safe, according to new study

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A National Academy of Sciences report (.pdf) last year said that while the milk and meat from cloned animals would not likely make anyone sick, more research should be performed. Now, a new US-Japan study published in the April 11 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that milk and meat from cloned cattle does indeed appear to meet industry standards and appears to be safe for human consumption.

As BBC News reports, the scientists, led by Professor Jerry Yang from the University of Connecticut, compared the produce from two beef and four dairy clones, all derived from a single Holstein dairy cow and a single Japanese black bull, with the produce from normal animals of similar age and breed.

The meat was analysed against more than 100 physiological, tissue and cellular components, while the milk was analysed for protein, fat and other variables. No significant differences between the produce of cloned and normal cattle were found. Higher levels of fat and fatty acids were found in the cloned cow meat, but they still fell within beef industry standards.

While the study showed the cloned produce to be within the range approved for human consumption, the scientists stressed that the research was still in its early stages. Their findings, they said, provide “guidelines” for further research with larger numbers of clones from different genetic backgrounds.

Cloning livestock may one day increase yields by copying those animals that are especially productive and especially resistant to disease.

“The milking production levels in the US are three to four times higher than levels in China; maybe even five times or more compared to cows in India and some other countries,” Professor Jerry Yang told BBC News. “Therefore cloning could offer technology for duplicating superior farm animals. However, all the products from these cloned animals must be safe for human consumption. …and it is a major issue for scientists to provide a scientific basis for the data and information to address this question.”

As USA Today reports, there is currently no law governing the sale of meat or milk from the estimated 1,000 to 2,000 cloned farm animals in the USA. But since 2003, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked producers to voluntarily keep the meat and milk of these animals, and that of their offspring, out of the food supply.

Wired News reports that companies like ViaGen and Cyagra, which offer livestock-cloning services, have also been waiting for several years for a final say from the FDA.

“For the United States agricultural industry, (cloning) can reduce the number of cows necessary for milking,” said Jerry Yang “They can have a pleasant environment and produce even more milk.” He also said that cloning cattle from the United States, where genetic breeding is more advanced, could save developing countries 50 years of breeding.

The idea of cloning animals for human consumption is not without its critics. First, there are the welfare concerns, as most cloned animals do not make it to term before being born, and many of those that do are born deformed or prone to illness. The Humane Society of the United States has asked for a ban on milk and meat from clones for just this reason. Second, there is still the concern that healthy clones may have subtle defects that could make their food products unsafe to eat.

As the Washington Post reports, some critics are asking why it is necessary to clone cows that produce huge amounts of milk when surpluses, rather than shortages, are the main problem facing the U.S. dairy industry today.

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26 November

Early morning fire kills four New York group home residents

Sunday, March 22, 2009

After an early morning fire began, four out of the nine people living at the Riverview Individual Residential Alternative group home located in Wells, New York were killed by the blaze. The Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office, which supervises the home, told the media that the fire started at approximately 5:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time. Two staff members were at the home at the time, who safely evacuated four of the five survivors.

The names of the residents killed in the fire were not able to be released due to New York’s Mental Hygiene Law, but are able to be identified as two adult men, aged 32 and 52, and two adult women, aged 43 and 60. A 71-year-old male was injured in the fire, and was taken to a hospital in Utica, a nearby city. The other four residents have been relocated to an unnamed group home. Both staff members are also being examined at the hospital.

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the families, loved ones and friends of the four victims and to continue to pray for the full recovery of those five people and two staff members who survived this incident. I also want to express my thanks and appreciation for the first responders and volunteers who worked swiftly and diligently to respond to this tragedy,” David Patterson, the governor of New York, said to the media.

The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined. However, the New York Civil Liberties Union stated that “the blaze appears to have been an electrical fire and the sprinkler system was knocked out immediately.” They also called for “an immediate investigation into the causes of and contributing factors of the fire.”

The New York State Department of State Office of Fire Prevention and Control is currently investigating the causes of the blaze, with help from New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.

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25 November

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Family Coalition Party candidate Kristen Monster, Willowdale

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Kristen Monster is running for the Family Coalition Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Willowdale riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

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22 November

Violence at Cronulla Beach as 5000 people gather

Monday, December 12, 2005

Cronulla Beach in Sydney, New South Wales was the scene of racist mob-violence yesterday. In what has been described as disgusting, un-Australian and shameful behaviour, participants in a 5000-strong mob assaulted people suspected of being of Lebanese origin. The angry, alcohol-fuelled crowd also turned on anyone who tried to help the victims, including police, security guards and ambulance officers.

Following an attack on two lifeguards earlier in the week, allegedly by men of Lebanese descent, a protest had been organised via text messages and a small number of usenet postings.

Sutherland Shire Mayor Kevin Schreiber says inflammatory text messages calling for revenge attacks fueled the violence. Mr Schreiber said the heavily-circulated messages ensured troublemakers went to the southern Sydney beach looking for a fight. Police had patrolled the area all weekend after text messages began circulating among the community calling for vigilante responses to unwelcome visitors on the beach.

“The sending out of that text message was foolish and irresponsible and ensured that people from all over Sydney came to Cronulla looking to cause trouble and this was further fueled by alcohol,” said Mr Schreiber.

Sydney’s popular talk-back radio station 2GB also promoted Sunday’s event. Breakfast announcer Alan Jones has been accused of “fanning the flames.” Callers who recommended vigilante action were not discouraged to take the law into their own hands. Mr Jones, notorious for inflammatory comments, repeated the text message for Cronulla residents to defend their territory several times.

As the crowd marched along the beach and foreshore area, waving Australian flags, the crowd chanted racist slogans, with many wearing clothes bearing racist sentiment.

Middle Eastern men were openly targeted and assaulted. A young Muslim woman wearing a veil was chased into a kiosk on Cronulla beach. Police tried to move her away from the chanting crowd but were unable to reach the security of the command post. While the woman and police officers hid in the kiosk, a crowd surrounded the kiosk and shouted “Kill the Lebs”, while others climbed on top of the kiosk.

As police horses and special operations officers formed a line and pushed the crowd away, they were bombarded with beer bottles. After half an hour, an ambulance arrived at the kiosk and people were loaded into it. The ambulance, transporting six injured youths, escorted by police and police horses, was also bombarded with beer bottles. One struck an ambulance officer on the head. His colleague suffered lacerations to the arm.

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21 November

Wikinews Shorts: May 15, 2009

A compilation of brief news reports for Friday, May 15, 2009.


California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed budget cuts and layoffs for California yesterday.

Californian education budgets would be cut by $3 billion USD for the next five years if California voters gave a yes votes to the budget-related measures for May 19’s special election.

Schwarzenegger is also ready to sell state properties including the San Quentin State Prison and the Los Angeles Coliseum to raise money for the state.

Sources

  • Associated Press. “Schwarzenegger Proposes Layoffs, Deep Budget Cuts” — FOXNews.com, May 14, 2009
  • Christie, Jim. “California governor sees $15.4 billion gap, urges deep cuts” — Reuters, May 14, 2009

Nintendo DS sales hit one million units last April. However, even with Nintendo’s moderate success with their DS gaming system, all video game sales have declined 17%.

GameSpot writer Tor Thorsen claims that Nintendo DSi, the current release of the Nintendo DS, is an acronym for “Dominating Sales in America.”

Sources

  • Thorsen, Tor. “NPD: US April sales slide 17%, DS tops 1 million” — GameSpot, May 14, 2009
  • “UPDATE 1-U.S. video game sales down 17 pct in April-NPD” — Reuters, May 14, 2009

Eight-time gold medalist Michael Phelps, in a recent conference Thursday, told reporters he will enter a swimming competition today.

This is Phelps’ first swim meet since he was photographed with a marijuana pipe in his mouth.

Phelps will swim the 200-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly races.

After the marijuana pipe photo was released, Phelps was unsure of whether he would swim again.

Sources

  • Crouse, Karen. “Phelps Has Company on Comeback Trail in Charlotte” — The New York Times, May 14, 2009
  • Newberry, Paul. “Phelps ready for 1st race since Beijing” — Associated Press, May 14, 2009

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20 November

Is A General Management Mba Your Backup Strategy Too

Is A General Management MBA Your Backup Strategy Too

by

Alma D. Bryant

For the last several years the most popular course of study at the nation s top business schools was finance. A MBA in finance from Wharton, for example, was like getting the keys to the kingdom handed to your after graduation.

Finance is still probably the most wanted MBA field of expertise, but as the quantity of investment banking firms diminish along with the number of financial services related job offers for current MBA graduates, the most astute MBA students are beginning to recognize the advantages of substitute specialties.

A recent review of the job placement departments at the 30 top-ranked business schools reveals that about 1 in 6 of the most current MBA graduates has not landed a full time job inside 3 months of graduation.

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Of the five out of six who’ve found full time employment, several have had to take job offers for positions in general management. That is something like boot camp for recent MBA graduates. Although these jobs commence at much better than $85,000 for most graduates, a general management commencement is considered a step down on the status ladder by a big percentage of these current graduates.

For most, a general management job was the backup strategy, and we can probably be sure that the majority of the people who took them were very happy about their decision when the student loan bills started arriving in the mail.

In what fields are the much more astute MBA students looking to specialize? Technology, energy and healthcare are sectors of the economy that are about as certain of growth as it gets. Each and every technology company must consistently bring new products to market to meet the competition. That creates a big requirement for product management and marketing expertise – two of the alternative MBA specialties.

Virtually every aspect of healthcare is expected to develop at above common rates for as far out as forecasters dare to look. Some business schools, and particularly George Washington University offers a web-based MBA in Healthcare Management. The core of the program teaches the fundamentals of business management in areas like finance, accounting, and human resources. Electives expand the areas of expertise to management of acute care hospitals, physician practice management, and managing skilled nursing facilities.

The people who run the business schools take the mindset that financial downturns have occurred before and like the stock market the career offers will always come back. In other words the B-schools are going to keep on turning out finance MBAs as quick as pupils can register and fork out the huge college tuition fees. If there is going to be any change it will have to come from the students.

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Penn State online MBA program

cost more than the University of Massachuestts online MBA program when UMass is rated higher? Visit our site at

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Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

17 November