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Putin’s state-of-the-nation speech addresses the economy
Sep 25

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke live on state television Monday in his annual state-of-the-nation address using high ideological rhetoric when calling on lawmakers and the public to strengthen democracy and the rule of law. His 50 minute address from the Kremlin’s Marble Hall only briefly touched on the “epidemic of collapse” , a reference to upheavals in Chechnya, Kyrgyzstan and the Ukraine, which was “a real drama” stranding millions of Russians beyond the borders of the Russian Federation.

Brushing off what was probably taken as criticism during last week’s visit by Condoleezza Rice who commented the Kremlin ran a “managed democracy”, Putin stressed that “Russia … will decide for itself the pace, terms and conditions of moving towards democracy.”

Putin was critical of the lack of progress in implementing his reform proposals. Calling for a crackdown on corruption, where treatment by tax inspectors are “terrorizing business”, he addressed concerns of the business community by condemning a series of back-tax bills like the ones that dismembered Yukos and face other major Russian corporations.

He was also critical of a bureaucratic attitudes that treat “state service as some type of business”. He made clear the need for investment must be met by “rules of the game” that are consistent, saying “Russia is certainly interested in the inflow of private investments on a large scale, including foreign investments. It is our strategic choice and our strategic approach.”

Putin called for proposals to index wages to inflation over the next two years, and for the introduction of a flat 13% tax on undeclared earnings in the shadow economy, a slice that represents nearly 35% of the nation’s economy, by legalizing what was previously defined as illegal income.

Putin supports the development of a strong state system with determination for Russia to avoid the disarray that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Saying, “First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” He sees the need for strengthening the legal system and the political environment to assure a more just society in avoiding a replay of a Russian downfall.

On politics, he pointedly abandoned the much-used ‘stability’ catch phrase of the bureaucracy. Putin signaled to the bureaucratic caste who are on the eve of their upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections they should promote partisanship and civil society.

By studiously avoiding too many references to business, the thrust of his address sought to reassure the small property holder class, rather than big business and other elite investors.

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Get Testing And Tagging Done In Melbourne And Stay Safe From Harm Sep 24

Get Testing And Tagging Done In Melbourne And Stay Safe From Harm


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If you want to ensure that you are safe then you need to get all of you appliances tested, the older they are the more chance there is of a problem. Old appliances cause a number of preventable fires every year which is why it is important that you get them checked before you use them. Get your appliances done now to prevent a tragedy. It is easy to get test and tags done in Melbourne so don’t put it off, get onto it today and make sure that you are safe.

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The best place to search for a good appliance testing company is online, the internet has revolutionised the way we search for pretty much anything, from a new car through to an old song we love decades ago, the internet has made looking for anything and everything so much easier. Back in the bad old days you would have had to ring around or visit each place in person, now you can simply Google it and you will get an incredible list of results. Not only is it quicker but you will also get loads of information that will help you make your decision, meaning you can work out who you are going to use without leaving the comfort of your chair. Make sure you look out for a company that provides hassle free, friendly and professional service that is carried out with the latest equipment, one that offers a single fixed price for electrical items tested, one with no hourly rate or call out fee, one with competitive prices including discounts upon enquiry for not-for-profit and charities, one where you have the reassurance that all repairs are being carried out by qualified service technicians, who repair as they go, ensuring you won’t jeopardise the safety of your staff or loose excessive equipment downtime, one whose staff have a current police check and Victorian WorkSafe White/Red card, one who can carry out all Test and Tagging onsite with minimal disruption to your workplace. Get testing and tagging done in Melbourne and make sure that you, your family and your staff are all safe. You owe it to everyone you are responsible for. If you are an employer it is your responsibility to ensure that all the equipment staff use is safe. With electrical testing and tagging services you know that everything you switch on is safe and sound, meaning that you can relax.

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US considers taxing earnings from online games
Sep 24

Sunday, October 22, 2006

With online gaming in persistent worlds becoming more prevalent, a US congressional committee has begun to look into the tax implications of these booming online economies. Games such as World of Warcraft and Second Life have large player driven economic systems in which – either following the rules or against them – real world currencies are exchanged for in-game currencies. With the GDP of some of these economies rivaling that of some small countries, the US government is wondering if it is missing out on a potential source of tax revenue: or as some gamers might put it, the IRS is asking “You buy gold?”.

In cases where exchange of a real world currency for in-game currency is permitted by the rules of the game, some of these online games such as Second Life require that players report any income generated by these means to his or her government. In most on-line games however, a black market exists where players buy and sell in-game currencies in direct violation of the game’s rules; situations involving black markets are notoriously hard to tax.

Compounding the issue of currency exchange is the existence of in-game assets. In the real world if someone wins a luxury vehicle, he or she is expected to pay a capital gains tax on his or her winnings. If a 40 person “raid” in World of Warcraft gets a rare “drop,” worth up to thousands of dollars if sold illegally, should they be required to pay a capital gains tax?

Even if the issue of capital gains is ignored, there is still the matter of sales tax. In many of these games, non-player characters and players alike sell items to one another. If sales tax is to be applied, at what rate should it be charged and to what State does it go? Questions such as these have just recently been answered in much less hazy situations such as online versions of brick and mortar establishments.

Dan Miller, senior economist for the Joint Economic Committee had this to say on the issue, “I found that talking about this issue with some of the other economists on the committee, they are not really familiar with what a virtual economy is. The idea of Second Life or World of Warcraft or some of these other synthetic universes, they have trouble wrapping their head around it. So there’s an educational hurdle to overcome here.”

The preliminary findings of the committee state that virtual economies deserve clarification of existing tax laws, not new taxes.

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University of Chicago’s Mansueto Library suffers power outage
Sep 23

Monday, May 30, 2011

The University of Chicago’s Joe and Rika Mansueto Library was shut down by a power outage for a short time on Saturday, preventing library personnel from providing full services to its patrons.

The US$81 million library, which opened May 16, includes a 180-seat reading room under a 691-panel glass dome. Five stories underground, a system of five cranes retrieves books sorted into bins, carrying a maximum of about 3.5 million volumes. As of 3:50 p.m. CDT, the automated storage and retrieval system, along with staff computers at the circulation desk, were shut down, preventing patrons from retrieving materials stored underground.

The glass ceiling normally allows enough natural light to pass, but rain clouds in the area darkened the room. Patrons began to flip light switches in front of their seats, but to no avail, and a circulation clerk announced that there had been a power outage. Some patrons then moved to the adjacent Regenstein Library, which still had power. Power was still running along the corridor linking Mansueto and Regenstein Libraries, along with the nearby restrooms and Special Collections Research Center.

An electrician arrived at the building at around 3:50 p.m., and power had been restored by 5:45 p.m.

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Advice For Treating Arthritis In Dogs Sep 21

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Submitted by: Chris Redhead

Like human beings, dogs are prone to suffer from arthritis as they get older. Arthritis is essentially inflammation or swelling of the joints, which causes pain and makes movement difficult. It affects a dog s everyday activities such as running and jumping, and in severe cases can even make walking extremely strenuous.

There is no easy cure for arthritis. It is a chronic condition which is brought on by the regular wear and tear of a dog s daily activity, and once diagnosed it requires continual care and medication to relieve the symptoms.

Arthritis is believed to affect as many as one in every five dogs, so dog owners need to always be on the lookout for the signs of the condition in their own pet. Owners of large dogs such as Labradors, Retrievers, and German Shepherds should be particularly vigilant, as arthritis is most common in these larger breeds. Some signals that your dog may be suffering include favouring one limb over the others, gaining weight, being less alert than normal, and becoming disinterested in play and outdoor activity. If you start to see these signs over several weeks, it would be wise to have your dog checked by a vet, who will be able to tell you for sure whether arthritis is the cause.

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Herbal medicines have been shown to be effective at treating many ailments in dogs, and there are several licensed herbal treatments for arthritis, including garlic and fenugreek tablets. These treatments rarely have any side effects, and can be given in conjunction with any conventional medicines your dog may already be taking.

When you begin treating your dog for arthritis, it may take a while for them to respond to the medicine, but you should start to see a gradual improvement over time. A higher daily dosage may be needed to start with, particularly over the winter months, and you can then bring this down as you begin to see improvement.

The inflammation caused by arthritis is often accompanied by the additional problem of loss of cartilage in the joint and in the synovial fluid, which nourishes it and acts as a lubricant. An effective supplement to combat this is a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin. This is easily absorbed and will help to maintain the health of your dog s cartilage.

As well as the daily medication, frequent light exercise will be vital in helping your pet to regain its mobility, although this shouldn t be overdone. Doing more than your dog is comfortable with is likely to cause more harm than good in the long run.

The most important thing is not to underestimate the seriousness of the impact arthritis can have on a dog. It might not kill them directly, but it can be so debilitating for a dog that the animal might have to be put down in order to spare its suffering. Thus, it is crucial that arthritis is treated regularly and effectively, in order to make your dog s life as long and comfortable as possible.

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Observing the 2012 Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US, and wider world
Sep 21

Friday, January 13, 2012

This week US citizens observed National Human Trafficking Awareness Day through acts of education, legislation, and enforcement; whilst, around the world, other people highlighted or tackled this global problem in their own countries.

According to an annual report on human trafficking released by the US State Department in June last year, 27 million men, women and children are exploited through human trafficking. Worldwide, at least two million children are estimated to be trafficked victims of the sex trade; and, in military conflicts, it is not uncommon for children to be forced to bear arms. In releasing the report last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted the importance of international cooperation in addressing trafficking, and cultural issues associated with it.

Under the United Nations’ Palermo Protocols, human trafficking encompasses cases where victims are born into slavery, forcibly transported for exploitation, consented to work with a trafficker, and/or were forced to participate in criminal activities. The Protocols also recognize the unique status and rights of children.

Reports from across the United States show a number of communities taking local action to solve, or otherwise highlight, this global problem.

In Southern California, Sister Caritas Foster is an advocate for the area’s victims of human trafficking. Commenting on the area’s involvement, she stated: “We in the San Francisco Bay Area are one of the largest receiving areas with our borders and coasts”. For over four years, Foster has worked on educating the public on human trafficking, speaking to civic and religious groups and describing the power traffickers hold over their victims through vivid accounts of situations trafficked individuals find themselves in. Many have no idea where they are located, suffer under the constant threat of deportation, and most often lack the language abilities to seek help.

Los Angeles politician Don Knabe said human trafficking was not a distant problem but one that hits close to home. As the county supervisor overseeing the fourth district in Los Angeles County, Knabe cited figures from the Probation Department showing 84 percent of arrests of children on prostitution charges in 2010 were in his district; he believes the overall problem for the county is much larger, and wants the Probation Department to establish a special unit dedicated to sexually exploited minors.

Northward in Seattle, Washington, members of the King County Sheriff’s department realized that law enforcement had to deal supportively with the symptoms of human trafficking — rather than putting victims in jail. This gave birth to the “Genesis Project” where sheriff’s deputies offer potential victims of trafficking a comfortable safe haven with amenities for 24 hours, and put them in touch with social services for counselling, job training, and education advice.

Politicians from several states have sought to address the connection between tourism and human trafficking; Indiana’s state Senate unanimously passed a human trafficking bill on Tuesday morning. Current legislation only considered forced marriage and prostitution as human trafficking; loopholes in the existing laws allowed some forms of human trafficking to escape prosecution. Lawmakers in the state hope to toughen their human trafficking laws, and have new legislation on the statute books in time for the Super Bowl, due to be held in Indianapolis on February 5. The just-passed bill now goes to the House for approval.

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Also on Tuesday, lawmakers from Hawaii held a special hearing on human trafficking. Kathryn Xian, of Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, says traffickers capitalize on the state’s tourist-based economy. She introduced a package of seven bills she says will help prevent human trafficking in the state.

At a national level, the US government continues to work abroad on the issue of trafficking; Luis CdeBaca, a special ambassador for human trafficking, is working with Myanmar, commonly known as Burma, as the country seeks to improve diplomatic relations with the United States. Myanmar was identified by the US State Department as having one of the worst records of forced labor, and as a country that lacks necessary laws to curb human trafficking.

Although National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is a US-based effort to recognise, and highlight, this issue — as a topic of global concern being highlighted through the United Nations, others around the world continue efforts to increase public awareness and tackle trafficking.

Forty-six women from the international group Operation Mobilization sought to raise awareness by climbing Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. The summit is called “Uhuru Peak”, with Uhuru meaning “freedom” in Swahili. Each of the non-professional climbers raised US$10,000 to help those affected by human trafficking.

In the Middle East, several countries are reported to have problems with human traffickers recruiting unemployed gay Kenyan men to become sex slaves. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supposedly the more-common destination countries into which Kenyans are lured with offers of high-paying jobs. However, in the United Arab Emirates — where no law prohibits trafficking, but homosexuality is illegal — the problem is compounded.

Enforcement of existing laws, and acting against trafficking, are seen as key steps in reducing the activity. Showing that no country is unaffected, Northern Ireland police are currently investigating five sex trafficking cases; and, on Monday, Filipino police rescued fifteen women following a tip-off regarding women recruited, and being held, prior to being sent to work abroad.

In the Northern Ireland situation, Detective Superintendent Philip Marshall stated that fifteen men are to be contacted, suspected of having paid for sex with trafficked women. Identifying victims within the UK, or victims seeking help, is becoming more challenging with the sex industry having switched to using hotel rooms as-opposed to street corners. Many victims of trafficking are found to be unaware of where within the country they are.

In the Philippines situation, Zamboanga City police are still seeking the recruiter of the fifteen women rescued in Rio Hondo.

A range of complexities are involved in the sentencing of both those convicted of human trafficking, and their victims. In one Canadian case, 43-year-old Hungarian Lajos Domotor pled guilty to trafficking men and women into forced labor. Following being charged with conspiracy to commit human trafficking, he developed terminal stomach cancer and has been given a 10 to 15 percent chance of living five years.

In the UK, officials are seeking to detect exploitation prior to sentencing — as a counter to the high number of foreign women in jails, frequently having been victims of trafficking. One in seven women prisoners across England and Wales are foreign, with the primary offenses being drug or immigration-related. A report into the issue recommends sentencing decisions should consider the role of women, and of coercion, in such cases.

Artists also have a special role to play in the education and awareness of the public. The first opera about sex trafficking will premiere in Liverpool, England, on March 7. Anya17 was composed by Adam Gorb with a libretto written by Ben Kaye. Performers will come from Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic contemporary music ensemble 10/10. Funding for the production was provided in part by the United Nations.

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Microsoft to track legal marijuana with new partner Kind Financial
Sep 20

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Microsoft announced on Thursday they are partnering with KIND Financial to help governments track the production and distribution of legal marijuana. Kind Financial, a California-based start-up company, began selling its Agrisoft Seed to Sale software three years ago. Microsoft is admitting Kind’s software on the Government portion of its Azure cloud service.

Although Kind Financial CEO David Dinenberg stressed to The Guardian they “absolutely do not touch the plant”, his company does business with growers and distributors of marijuana, as well as the governments that regulate it. State law in twenty-five US states — but not US federal law — has legalized marijuana, whether medicinally or for recreational use. Kimberly Nelson, Microsoft executive director of state and local government solutions, said they expect significant demand for technology to help states make sure cannabis distribution within their state is done according to their laws.

Kind also provides kiosks similar to automated tellers (ATMs) to facilitate marijuana transactions in dispensaries. The distribution of marijuana is often done only with cash or through machines like the ones Kind offers since many banks in the United States shy away from the marijuana industry entirely. Microsoft is not interacting with this part of Kind’s operations, however.

Microsoft and Kind will apply for contracts with state governments for their software. Currently, they have applied to Puerto Rico, a US territory, where medical marijuana has recently been made legal. BioTrackTHC, a company similar to Kind Financial, already has contracts with Washington, New Mexico, and Illinois.

Dinenberg said his company’s partnership with Microsoft is a major step in advancing the legitimacy of cannabis-related businesses.

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KKE: Interview with the Greek Communist Party
Sep 20

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wikinews reporter Iain Macdonald has performed an interview with Dr Isabella Margara, a London-based member of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). In the interview Margara sets out the communist response to current events in Greece as well as discussing the viability of a communist economy for the nation. She also hit back at Petros Tzomakas, a member of another Greek far-left party which criticised KKE in a previous interview.

The interview comes amid tensions in cash-strapped Greece, where the government is introducing controversial austerity measures to try to ease the nation’s debt-problem. An international rescue package has been prepared by European Union member states and the International Monetary Fund – should Greece require a bailout; protests have been held against government attempts to manage the economic situation.

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Advantages Of Positive Thinking Sep 19

Advantages of Positive Thinking



Thinking is something through which we distinguish from the non human or animal behaviors. The Psycho analysis of all the beings of the earth shows distinctly that the sense of thinking is important for the rational behavior. Attitude forms an important part whereas thinking contributes lot to the attitude. Sometimes the thinking, itself can prove us to an animal behavior. That is where we find the negative thoughts coming in. The insane qualities are product of negative thinking.

But then, what is that keeping fewer beings to march forward and go on and on? Understand the magic; it is nothing but positive thinking. Specificity of being positive in certain thoughts can be a key to the best optimistic approach. A motivational speaker gives you a lot of insight about the positive thinking, but what helps you to stay positive? It is being specific to the lifestyle that the keynote speaker gives you. Ultimately it turns to you and your decision.

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Our usual misconceptions about positive thinking are that money will drop out of the sky; GOD will come on a chariot to take away the sufferings and pains and lot more imaginations. But positive thinking is not that, which eventually can lead you to that level. In order to acquire the great status of positive thinking, we must realize what positive thinking is all about and what it is not! The stepping towards every small step that you want to achieve will carry you to the optimistic world. Believe that the knowledge of “positive thinking” will help you in having it as your tool to reach your own skies. The very feel of positive thinking itself will help you to feel confident and move towards it. This attitude helps us be a lot more fun to be with.

Well started is half done? Yes. So start any venture with the positive and the best optimistically promising approach. Decide that it is half done. It is possible for many people to stay positive even after facing many hurdles. Search for examples stop once Abraham Lincoln comes to the mind. Learn from the experienced.

The motivational speakers can help you attain a lot of scope in positive thinking, and remember to form the best impression within yourself.

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India’s Enforcement Directorate issues notice to Natwar Singh
Sep 18

Monday, September 4, 2006

India’s former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh has, for the first time, been directly accused by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for his involvement in the Iraq oil scam. The ED, which is responsible for enforcing foreign exchange control laws, has alleged that Singh, along with his son Jagat Singh and three others, acquired foreign exchange worth $8.9 lakh illegally. The 18-page show-cause notice issued by the ED says the money was acquired by the accused, in violation of U.N regulations, in exchange for two oil contracts awarded to Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO).

Of the $8,90,000, $7,48,550 was allegedly transferred by them to an account in the Jordan National Bank, the remaining $1,46,247.23, which was the commission for the oil-contracts, was deposited with Barclays Bank, in the Channel Islands. The money was transferred to an account in the name of Indus Trading Company, which itself is owned by Andaleeb Sehgal, a friend of Mr. Singh.

The accused are required to respond to the show-cause notice (issued on the 2nd of September), which Natwar says is an attempt by the ED to “defame” him, within 30 days. The independent Pathak Commission’s report had stated that there was “no material evidence to show that Natwar Singh derived any financial or other personal benefits from the contracts.”

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