Archive for May, 2019

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Bank of England governor warns housing market is biggest threat to UK economy
May 31, 2019

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned that the state of the housing market in the United Kingdom is the current biggest domestic threat to the country’s economy, due to lack of house building, and regulatory issues.

In an interview to be aired on Sky News today, he said the housing market is the “biggest risk” to the economy and has “deep, deep structural problems”. Of house building he said: “There are not sufficient houses built in the UK. To go back to Canada, there are half as many people in Canada as in the UK, twice as many houses are built every year in Canada as in the UK and we can’t influence that.”

“We’re not going to build a single house at the Bank of England. We can’t influence that. What we can influence […] is whether the banks are strong enough. Do they have enough capital against risk in the housing market?”

Carney also said the Bank of England would look into the procedures used to issue loans and mortgages to see if they were being granted appropriately: “We’d be concerned if there was a rapid increase in high loan-to-value mortgages across the banks. We’ve seen that creeping up and it’s something we’re watching closely.”

Kris Hopkins responded to Carney on behalf of the government, saying the government “inherited a broken housing market, but our efforts to fix it are working”. “We’ve scrapped the failed top-down planning system, built over 170,000 affordable homes and released more surplus brownfield sites for new housing. We’ve also helped homebuyers get on the housing ladder, because if people can buy homes builders will build them. Housebuilding is now at its highest level since 2007 and climbing. Last year councils gave permission for almost 200,000 new homes under the locally-led planning system and more than 1,000 communities have swiftly taken up neighbourhood planning. It’s clear evidence the government’s long-term economic plan is working.”

Earlier this month, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development called on the UK government to “tighten” access to the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme introduced by George Osborne and the coalition government in 2013. ‘Help to Buy’ has also recently been criticised by three former Chancellors of the Exchequer — the Conservatives Norman Lamont and Nigel Lawson, and former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling. Darling said: “Unless supply can be increased substantially, we will exacerbate that situation with schemes like Help to Buy.”

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Coordinated terrorist attack hits London
May 27, 2019

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Three bomb explosions have hit London Underground trains, and a further bomb destroyed a bus in the city centre. The Metropolitan Police Service has initially confirmed that 33 people have been killed in the four explosions on London‘s transport system this morning, and said the overall number of wounded was as high as 700, in what are believed to be terrorist attacks. (See later reports in the box at the side for later announcements made on following days.)

The first reports were of an explosion at 08:49 BST (UTC+1) on the Hammersmith & City Line between Liverpool Street station and Aldgate East. Explosions also occurred on a train between King’s Cross and Russell Square and another at Edgware Road. The explosions are currently being reported, and described by Prime Minister Tony Blair, as being “terrorist attacks.” Traces of explosives were found at two of the sites according to the BBC.

Scotland Yard has confirmed one explosion onboard a double decker red London bus travelling south outside the British Medical Association on Tavistock Square. Police cannot confirm whether this bomb was intended for another train and accidentally detonated aboard the bus instead.

Pundits are speculating the attack was co-ordinated by al-Qaeda. Dr. Shane Brighton, an intelligence expert at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence, claims that, “If what we are looking at is a simultaneous bombing — and it does look like that — it would very certainly fit the classic al Qaeda methodology.” Two militant Islamist groups are reported to have claimed responsibility for the blasts.

In a special news conference at 15:30 BST, July 7, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick of the Metropolitan Police confirmed 33 fatalities so far, 45 critical/serious injuries and approximately 300 minor injuries.

At 08:51 BST a bomb exploded on a Circle Line Underground train 91 metres/100 yards into the tunnel from Liverpool Street. Seven are known to be dead.

At 08:56 BST a bomb detonated on a Piccadilly Line train between King’s Cross and Russell Square. Twenty-one are dead; it is believed more bodies remain in the tunnel, which is one of the deepest on the Underground network.

At 09:17 BST a bomb exploded on another Circle Line train between Edgware Road Station and Paddington. The blast blew a hole in a wall, and another train was hit by debris from it. A third train is also involved. Five are known to be dead.

At 09:47 BST a No. 30 bus (Hackney – Marble Arch) blew up at the junction between Tavistock Square and Woburn Place outside the BMA building. It has been estimated that thirteen people died.

Earlier, quoting the Associated Press, Yahoo News had reported “at least 40 people were killed and more than 350 wounded”. Also, the same report says “two U.S. law enforcement officials said at least 40 people were killed”.

Several hotlines have been set up for those concerned about friends or relatives. A list of these numbers are below. The agencies setting up these hotlines stress that callers should try to reach their friends or relatives first before contacting the hotline. In addition, to prevent swamping, they also have asked that only genuine callers use the hotlines.

The first reports that came in were from London’s Liverpool Street station talking of an explosion on the Metropolitan Underground line and the station being evacuated. Later a BBC and a Wikinews reporter spoke of a bus being destroyed by a bomb blast in Tavistock Square outside the British Medical Association offices.

The initial reports of explosions were believed to have been the result of power surges. This was because the first indication of any disturbance was the opening of circuit breakers in the Underground, which was observed in the control room. This is usually due to a power surge, but in this case the actual cause was damage to the track circuits by bombs.

At approximately 10:50 BST reports were made that there was an additional, as yet unidentified explosion along Houndsditch, near Liverpool Street Station. Police were also warning pedestrians at Russell Square that a series of controlled explosions would be made shortly.

BBC News 24 has reported additional unspecified incidents at Brighton, Luton, and Swindon. These stations have been closed and there has been no official confirmation of the nature of the incidents, if any actually occurred.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair told London Live that there have been “events” at Edgware Road, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Russell Square, Aldgate East and Moorgate.

At 11:30 BST (UTC+1) St. Mary’s Hospital released a statement that they have admitted 4 critical, 8 severe and several minor injures. Injuries are limb damage, cuts, burns, head injuries and chest problems.

The exact causes of the explosions are still unknown. Initially, it was thought that it was some technical fault. However, the police later suspected terrorist attacks. Police are still unsure if the bombs were simply left in packages or whether there were some sort of suicide attacks.

According to the Associated Press, a senior Israeli official said Scotland Yard told Israel minutes before the explosions that it had received warnings of possible “terror attacks”. Sky News says this has been denied by Scotland Yard. Sir Ian during his interview with Sky stated that there had been no specific intelligence.

German news magazine Der Spiegel (as well as unconfirmed information from CIA) has reported that a letter from an organization calling itself “Secret organization – Al Qaeda in Europe” has appeared, claiming responsibility for the bombings. See our related story for more details.

A broadcast interruption on MTV Thursday at 16:00 UTC said a group naming itself “Al Jihad Network in Europe” claimed responsibility for the bombings.

A police spokeswoman has confirmed two deaths at Aldgate station. Television and radio reports are now saying there have been four separate incidents with up to 150 casualties, speculating that the blasts may be related to terrorist activity.

The Associated Press is reporting that a US law enforcement official has put the toll at 40 killed.

Emergency Services press conference at around 15:15 BST (UTC+1) confirms at least 33 fatalities, not including those resulting from the incident on the number 30 bus.

The CBC reports at least 52 fatalities, including 17 from the incident on the number 30 bus according to media reports.

It has been reported that in the early stages of the attack, information was only distributed to civilians within the center of London, and authorities had a specific policy of not providing information to the global media, in case any information provided to the media could be used by additional terrorists to target vulnerable locations during an evacuation procedure. This was probably partly to blame for the early confusion amongst the media.

Emergency services are also attending King’s Cross and Liverpool Street Station.

The entire tube network and all buses within zone 1 have been suspended and many buses are now being used to ferry the ‘walking wounded’ to the hospitals. The underground will be closed for an indefinite period of time, but according to Fox News Channel United States, the closure will last at least for all of today.

All emergency services are responding en-masse to a “major incident” and are responding only to life-threatening emergency calls. Patients are being turned away at hospitals to free room for those injured by the attacks.

The London Congestion Charge has been suspended for the 7th and 8th of July.

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Army was dispatched to seal off the Israeli Embassy as Israel’s Finance Minister is present for a conference. The army have reportedly been involved with rescues at Covent Garden. Police have denied this report (originally made on Sky News).

The police have cordoned off roads around Upper Woburn Place following a massive explosion on a bus in the vicinity. Traffic is at a standstill in many places in the capital. Defra‘s security branch are reporting that police are advising everyone in London not to use any public transport and the Cabinet Office are advising staff to remain in offices until further notice. A further email sent to all staff by Defra’s permanent secretary indicates that Charing Cross and Waterloo mainline railway stations have been closed down for police searches, and that other stations could close for similar reasons later today.

As at 09.30 BST, Kings Cross Thameslink was experiencing delays and overcrowding but no serious difficulties.

Businesses have been hit by the uncertainty of the events – the FTSE had fallen almost 3.5% by 11.47UTC ([1]), but started to recover a little by early afternoon. The value of the pound has dipped, and the London crude oil price has dropped. International markets are also suffering, with falls in share indexes felt as far as South Africa. See our related story for more details.

According to Fox News Channel United States, all London schools are in lockdown and students are being kept in schools.

The Authorities are asking people in London to stay where they are, indoors if possible. Take inside any bins or bags of rubbish they have left out for collection, providing they check their contents first. Arrangements are also being made for when schools finish as schools have been asked to keep pupils safe inside until the usual school closing time.

The UK Highways Agency has stated that at the request of the police, the message “Avoid London – Turn on Radio” is being displayed on electronic motorway message signs on the M25 and other major routes approaching London.

The US Homeland Security Department asked authorities in major cities for heightened vigilance of major transportation systems. Department spokesman Roehrkasse indicated that the department had not received any indications of plans that this type of attack is planned in the United States. Later, the department raised the terror alert level to orange. See our related story for more details.

A joint statement of the G8 leaders was made by Tony Blair at a press conference, also attended by US President George Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. See our related story for more details.

The Queen and many other world leaders have also issued statements. See our related story for more details.

Mayor Ken Livingstone’s full statement on the London bombings 07-07-2005:

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Steve NakousisRetractable pergola roofs are designed to improve the quality and functionality of outdoor spaces and expand usable outdoor dining areas. These roof systems come with complete motorisation and rain management features to protect you from extreme weather conditions. They are easy to install and add an artistic touch to your property. Here is a list of benefits these roofs provide for your business. Minimises the Heating & Cooling Costs Installing retractable pergola roofs help in maintaining a cosy environment in your business by slicing down the heating & cooling costs. They can minimise the heat gain by 77% and reduce the heavy consumption of electricity. Protect Furniture from Extreme Weather For any business, it is vital to maintaining their dcor in good condition. Too much of sunlight can cause damage to the furnishings, drapes, and materials on the floor. These roofs are designed to reduce the amount of sunlight on the posh furniture, providing an excellent protection on the furniture. Affordable OptionsRetractable pergola roof systems are designed to enhance the building’s exterior looks. They are an effective and budget-friendly way to enrich the look of the building. Since they are well-designed, they can attract potential customers. Factors Influencing the Cost of Retractable Pergola RoofsThe retractable roof pergola sale depends on the following features, Longevity Durable retractable roofs are made from strong materials such as Aluminium, PVC, and canvas, and withstand adverse weather conditions like strong wind. Even though the retractable roof pergola prices are high, they are worth considering as they have versatile functionality from providing shade to protection. Depending on the material used, the prices vary. Technological AdvancementWith the advent of technology, changes are happening in every field that provides positive outcomes for both business people and customers. Today, retractable pergola roofs come with weather sensors to detect the extreme weather conditions. These roofs are also equipped with motor systems for automatic opening and close of the roofs depending on the weather type. The cost of retractable roofs equipped with sensors and motors are higher compared to other retractable roof systems. The price seems to be worth paying since the ease and comfort of using the remote-controlled retractable roof is unmatched. The Bottom LineBefore choosing retractable roof pergolas, compare the cost and features to buy one that best suits your budget and requirements. Whether you are looking for retractable roofs for a residential patio, by the pool, garden or commercial use, visit https://www.retractablepergolas.com.au/ to find one that fit your needs.

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At least four dead and hundreds of homes destroyed after week of wildfires rage throughout Texas
May 27, 2019

Friday, September 9, 2011

Parts of Texas have been scorched by sweeping wildfires this week. Officials state that a wildfire which swept much of central Texas this week destroyed at least 1,400 homes and forced about 5,000 people to evacuate to safety. An official with the Texas Forestry Services told news sources on Thursday that much of that fire has been contained.

Officials have speculated that this fire alone has destroyed more homes than any other wildfire on record in the state. Officials are welcoming dropping temperatures, stating this will increase their ability to fight the fires effectively. A converted DC-10 aircraft was recently made available to fire authorities, but cannot be used until Friday as workers still need to time to prepare on-board equipment.

One of the two fatalities in the central part of the state has been identified as Michael Troy Farr, 49, who died at his home. Earlier in the week, a woman and her infant died in a related blaze that quickly engulfed their home located near the city of Gladewater, located in the eastern part of the state. On Thursday, officials warned that East Texas has become the center of wildfire activity in the state.

At least 170 wildfires have ravaged much of the state over the past week. On Tuesday, a thick haze of smoke enveloped the city of Tyler for several hours, forcing school officials to cancel all outdoor sports activities. Since late 2010 the overall devastation of wildfires in the state is estimated to cost at least US$216 million (£136 million,€157.5 million) in firefighting expenses. The state’s Lieutenant Governor, David Dewhurst, who is the acting governor in Governor Perry’s absence, indicated he will ask the federal government to declare Texas a major disaster area. President Obama has also promised to provide needed assistance to local officials.

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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend
May 27, 2019

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.

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Jersey child abuse case ‘was not covered up’

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Jersey child abuse case ‘was not covered up’
May 27, 2019

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Frank Walker, the chief minister of Jersey, a United Kingdom Crown dependency off the coast of Normandy, France, denies that there was a cover up after a child’s remains were found.

The allegations of a cover-up stem from statements by Stuart Syvret. Syvret, the former Minister for Health and Social Services for Jersey, said that “It’s a continuum that we see. It’s a culture of cover-up and concealment and tragically the recent evidence is just the latest manifestation of that.”

It has come to light that Edward Paisnel, a notorious pedophile, used to visit the Haut de la Garenne children’s home dressed as Father Christmas. Paisnel in 1971, was given a sentence of 30 years for 13 counts of assault, rape and sodomy.

Syvret says he was dismissed from his ministerial position after highlighting the “torture” of 11 to 16-year-olds in the island’s care homes. He claimed he was “sacked for whistleblowing”.

Police are currently investigating twenty-seven cases of child abuse on the island and recently discovered the body of one child at a care home Haut de la Garenne in St. Martin, and with a potential six sites in the area where more bodies may be located. The home was closed in 1986 and since 2003 it has served as a youth hostel.

Jersey’s deputy police chief, Lenny Harper said “Part of the inquiry will be the fact that a lot of the victims tried to report their assaults but for some reason or another they were not dealt with as they should be.”

Harper added that “no evidence of a cover-up of any Jersey government” has been found. “We are looking at allegations that a number of agencies didn’t deal with things as perhaps they should.”

Syvret has encouraged the government of the United Kingdom to assign independent judges to oversee any cases that result from the investigations.

Builders originally uncovered a body at the care home in 2003 but it was only since an operation investigate child abuse started in 2006 that progress has been made. An ex-minister of the States of Jersey, the parliament of the island, has criticised the handling of the case, stating that abuse cases were mishandled.

Walker told senators that all necessary resources would be use to find the abusers. “None of us imagined that children in Jersey could be abused and mistreated in the way that is being suggested,” the BBC have quoted him as saying. “I express my shock and horror that these things have apparently happened within our island.”

Specialist police from the United Kingdom have been investigating after an enquiry turned up 140 sources verifying the claims of abuse.

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Australian Budget for 2006-2007 released

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Australian Budget for 2006-2007 released
May 26, 2019

Tuesday, May 9, 2006The Australian Budget (Appropriation Bill No. 1) for 2006-2007 was released by the Australian Liberal PartyAustralian National Party coalition government treasurer, Peter Costello (Higgins, Liberal).

Costello noted the resilience of the economy against natural disasters and terrorism, and through “disciplined and prudent management” the Government was able to “repay Labor’s debt” of quoted 96 billion dollars of net debt and the Government was now “debt-free”.

Costello noted that the Government budget was in “surplus for the ninth time” with a forecast surplus of 10.8 billion.

Contents

  • 1 Infrastructure
  • 2 Tax reform
  • 3 Assistance to families
  • 4 Defence
  • 5 Conclusions
  • 6 Sources

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UN aid convoys face increasing attacks in Darfur

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UN aid convoys face increasing attacks in Darfur
May 26, 2019

Friday, July 27, 2007

The United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP) raised concerns about a dramatic escalation in attacks on food aid convoys by armed bandits in the Darfur region of Sudan. WFP says the attacks constrain its ability to feed the more than two million people in the area receiving aid.

Negotiations over a UN Security Council resolution authorising a joint UN-African Union security force for the region continue but full deployment could take up to a year.

“In the last two weeks, nine food convoys have been attacked by gunmen across Darfur,” said Kenro Oshidari, WFP Sudan Representative. “WFP staff and contractors are being stopped at gunpoint, dragged out of their vehicles and robbed with alarming frequency,” he said.

“These abhorrent attacks, which target the very people who are trying to help the most vulnerable in Darfur, must be brought under control,” he added.

A WFP official told Wikinews that the attacks and robberies have occurred in all regions of Darfur, and that the blame can’t be ascribed to a particular group. “Frequently the bandits are wearing uniforms but often in one group of bandits there may be more than one uniform. Thus, we are not pointing fingers at any one group.” said Emilia Casella, WFP Spokesperson for Sudan. “We are calling on all parties to respect the neutrality of humanitarian convoys and their drivers, who are delivering food to civilians who are victims of the conflict.”

“On July 20, a convoy traveling on the Tawilla-Kaura road in North Darfur was stopped by 16 armed men. The drivers were forced out of their vehicles and the robbers demanded 5 Sudanese pounds from each (roughly equivalent to US$2.50). Those who could not pay were beaten. Similar incidents have happened on the same road in the past two weeks.”

According to WFP, in 2007 so far, 18 WFP convoys have been attacked – “shot at, looted, drivers robbed and/or injured”. Four vehicles were stopped and the drivers and passengers robbed. Six vehicles were stolen, where the gunmen drove away with the WFP staff members still inside, though they were later released. “There were no major physical injuries, but naturally such experiences are very traumatic,” said Casella. “These incidents have occurred in all three of the Darfurs, in areas controlled by various groups or the government.”

In the week of July 15-21, there were five incidents in South Darfur, during which a total of seven trucks were looted of approximately 10.5 tonnes of food assistance.

The Darfur operation is the WFP’s largest humanitarian mission, with about 790 staff working to feed more than two million people every month.

The WFP indicated that it has been difficult to hire and retain the commercial trucking companies used to move food and supplies throughout the region due to the risks involved in the service. WFP Public Affairs Officer in Washington D.C. Jennifer Parmelee told Wikinews that “hiring reliable transport in other insecure environments, [such as] Afghanistan and Somalia, is extremely challenging.”

Air service is employed for remote locations and where delivery by road has become too dangerous.

Parmelee told Wikinews that the “increasing insecurity will almost certainly further constrain [WFP’s] ability to operate in Darfur – it already has.” WFP Spokesperson for Sudan, Emilia Casella, indicated that “humanitarian access is likely to be increasingly difficult due to insecurity.” However, the situation has not prevented all aid delivery. “Despite insecurity and access problems, WFP food assistance reached about 2.6 million people in Darfur last month,” said Casella.

A UN resolution on the deployment of a hybrid African Union (AU) and UN force of 26,000 troops is working its way through the UN. Britain and France presented revisions to the draft, which dropped a threat of “further measures” against Sudan for obstructing peace efforts, though Sudan’s ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem, has objected to the revisions.

A deadline of December 31 exists to transfer authority in Sudan’s Darfur region from the AU to the proposed AU-UN force. Full deployment of all 26,000 troops would take up to one year.

The draft resolution would allow the use of force to protect the mission’s personnel and humanitarian workers and would “protect civilians under threat of physical violence”.

Jennifer Parmelee of the WFP suggests that the deployment of the hybrid force under such a mandate would be a positive development in the aid agency’s ability to carry out their humanitarian assistance. “Sure an expanded AU/UN peacekeeping force would help.” said Parmelee. “As it is, AU is stretched very very thin, and…is unable to accompany most of our convoys.”

According to WFP, there are approximately 12,000 humanitarian workers in Darfur, which is a drop in numbers even though the need for aid workers has increased.

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Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

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Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’
May 26, 2019

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vault containing millions of seeds from all over the world, saw its first deposits on Tuesday. Located 800 kilometers from the North Pole on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, the vault has been referred to by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso as a “frozen Garden of Eden“. It is intended to preserve crop supplies and secure biological diversity in the event of a worldwide disaster.

“The opening of the seed vault marks a historic turning point in safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,” said Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust which is in charge of collecting the seed samples. The Norwegian government, who owns the bank, built it at a cost of $9.1 million.

At the opening ceremony, 100 million seeds from 268,000 samples were placed inside the vault, where there is room for over 2 billion seeds. Each of the samples originated from a different farm or field, in order to best ensure biological diversity. These crop seeds included such staples as rice, potatoes, barley, lettuce, maize, sorghum, and wheat. No genetically modified crops were included. (Beyond politics they are generally sterile so of no use.)

It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks.

Constructed deep inside a mountain and protected by concrete walls, the “doomsday vault” is designed to withstand earthquakes, nuclear warfare, and floods resulting from global warming. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called it an “insurance policy” against such threats.

With air-conditioned temperatures of -18 degrees Celsius, experts say the seeds could last for an entire millennium. Some crops will be able to last longer, like sorghum, which the Global Crop Diversity Trust says can last almost 20 millenniums. Even if the refrigeration system fails, the vaults are expected to stay frozen for 200 years.

The Prime Minister said, “With climate change and other forces threatening the diversity of life that sustains our planet, Norway is proud to be playing a central role in creating a facility capable of protecting what are not just seeds, but the fundamental building blocks of human civilization.” Stoltenberg, along with Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, made the first deposit of rice to the vault.

“It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks,” Maathai said. The vault will operate as a bank, allowing countries to use their deposited seeds free of charge. It will also serve as a backup to the thousands of other seed banks around the world.

“Crop diversity will soon prove to be our most potent and indispensable resource for addressing climate change, water and energy supply constraints and for meeting the food needs of a growing population,” Cary Fowler said.

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US President Bush nominates Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General

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US President Bush nominates Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General
May 24, 2019

Monday, September 17, 2007

United States President George W. Bush has today nominated Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General. If confirmed by the Senate, Mukasey, a former Chief Judge for the Southern District of New York, will replace Alberto Gonzales.

“He knows what it takes to fight this war effectively and he knows how to do it in a manner consistent with our laws and our Constitution,” Bush said, while announcing Mukasey’s nomination in the Rose Garden.

“I look forward to meeting with members of Congress in the days ahead and, if confirmed, to working with Congress to meeting our nation’s challenges,” Mukasey said in his comments.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who was among those who sought the ouster of Gonzales, said Mukasey “is certainly conservative,” but “seems to be the kind of nominee who would put rule of law first and show independence from the White House – our most important criteria.”

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said: “A man who spent 18 years on the federal bench surely understands the importance of checks and balances and knows how to say no to the president when he oversteps the Constitution, but there should be no rush to judgment. The Senate Judiciary Committee must carefully examine Judge Mukasey’s views on the complex legal challenges facing the nation.”

Michael B. Mukasey was nominated as a federal district judge in Manhattan by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. He took the bench in 1988 and served in that position for 18 years, including a 6-year tenure as Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York from 2000 to July 2006.

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