Puerto Rico power company cancels US$300 million Whitefish contract

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Puerto Rico power company cancels US$300 million Whitefish contract

Monday, October 30, 2017

At the request of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority (PREPA) yesterday announced it has cancelled a US$300 million contract with a Montana-based company called Whitefish Energy Holdings amid concerns it may have been awarded improperly and the prices may be unusually high. Whitefish was to have rebuilt parts of the United States commonwealth’s energy infrastructure, which was recently destroyed when Hurricane Maria struck the island.

According to Whitefish spokesperson Chris Chiames, Whitefish was “very disappointed” and may consider a lawsuit. He also said about 350 Whitefish employees have been working on Puerto Rico for the past month, and their efforts will restore power to much of San Juan soon. He noted, “We will certainly finish any work that [PREPA] wants us to complete and stand by our commitments.” According to Governor Rosselló, Whitefish has already been paid eight million dollars.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) questioned whether the prices negotiated were reasonable and how Whitefish came to be awarded the contract. Whitefish is two years old, when the contract was signed only two people worked for it full-time, and it has connections to the current U.S. Secretary of the Interior. According to PREPA head Ricardo Ramos, FEMA approved the Whitefish deal, but FEMA officials said they did not.

Whitefish is based in the town of Whitefish, Montana, the hometown of Ryan Zinke, who is currently serving as U.S. Secretary of the Interior in the administration of the US President Donald Trump. Zinke and Andy Techmanski, Whitefish’s chief executive, are acquaintances, and Zinke’s son worked for Whitefish one summer. The founder of one of Whitefish’s financial backers, HBC Investments, has made nontrivial campaign contributions to Republicans and specifically to Trump.

Zinke told the public, “I had absolutely nothing to do with Whitefish Energy receiving a contract in Puerto Rico[…] Any attempts by the dishonest media or political operatives to tie me to awarding or influencing any contract involving Whitefish are completely baseless.”

Zinke also posted online, “Only in elitist Washington DC would being from a small town be considered a crime.”

The head of the U.S. House of Representatives natural resource committee, Republican Rob Bishop, has sent PREPA a letter requesting documentation of the deal and an explanation of the means by which it was made.

Maria Cantwell, a Democrat serving on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources called for “an investigation to determine how we got into this situation in the first place,” saying “taxpayers should pay a fair rate for the emergency repairs Puerto Rico desperately needs, […] not be gouged by Whitefish Energy or anyone else.”

According to the Associated Press, in one copy of the Whitefish contract, each employee would be paid a US$80 food allowance each day, and US$1000 each time they fly to or from the mainland U.S., with hourly pay rates for foremen, linemen and mechanics in the hundreds of dollars.

The federal control board in charge of Puerto Rico’s finances recently said they had appointed retired Air Force Colonel Noel Zamot to oversee the restoration of Puerto Rico’s power infrastructure, but Governor Rosselló said Puerto Rico’s own government is responsible for the power company, which has debts in the billions.

The category 4 Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico several weeks ago with high winds and intense rain. About 70% of Puerto Rico still has no electricity.

Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain and came under U.S. control in the Spanish-American War in 1898, along with Guam and the Philippines. Every person born in Puerto Rico is a United States citizen by birth. Puerto Rican residents do not participate in national elections, and have a non-voting representative in the U.S. congress. Mostly, they are exempt from federal income tax but not other federal taxes.

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Valuable paintings stolen from Greek gallery

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Valuable paintings stolen from Greek gallery

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Art thieves in Greece broke into the Athens National Gallery on Monday and stole three valuable works of art.

Among them was a painting by famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, dated 1939, called Woman’s Head which was a gift to the Greek people for their resistance to the Nazis during World War 2. The other two works were Mill by Piet Mondrian and a sketch of St. Diego de Alcala by Guglielmo Caccia. A fourth painting, Landscape, also by Piet Mondrian was dropped by the thieves when pursued by security. All three works stolen were stripped from their frames.

The police stated multiple alarms during the evening of the heist in other parts of the building had distracted the gallery guard. Investigating yet another alarm, he saw the shadow of a fleeing individual. Citizen’s Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis apologized for the loss, citing that the security at the gallery was “non-existent”.

The value of the works stolen was not yet determined by gallery officials. The artwork in question was on display at the gallery as part of an exhibition called “Unknown Treasures”, including works of Albrecht Durer and Rembrandt.

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May 19

Torchwood star John Barrowman in high speed crash

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Torchwood star John Barrowman in high speed crash

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Actor John Barrowman escaped serious injury in a 80mph crash while filming a segment for TV show Fifth Gear in Powys, Wales. One of the show’s presenters, Tiff Needell, was in the passenger seat at the time of the accident.

Barrowman, whose character in the BBC series Torchwood is unable to die, lost control of the Subaru before plunging down an embankment. The car flipped four times before coming to a rest, narrowly avoiding landing in a lake.

Paramedics at the scene managed to pull the two stars out of the car, having to remove glass from Barrowman’s eye and later taking him to hospital.

Three years ago, Richard Hammond, presenter of rival show Top Gear, was involved in a 288mph crash while filming a piece for the show.

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May 19

Wikinews’ overview of the year 2008

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Wikinews’ overview of the year 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Also try the 2008 World News Quiz of the year.

What would you tell your grandchildren about 2008 if they asked you about it in, let’s say, 20 years’ time? If the answer to a quiz question was 2008, what would the question be? The year that markets collapsed, or perhaps the year that Obama became US president? Or the year Heath Ledger died?

Let’s take a look at some of the important stories of 2008. Links to the original Wikinews articles are in all the titles.

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May 16

Jack Diesing Sr., former chairman of the College World Series, dies age 92

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Jack Diesing Sr., former chairman of the College World Series, dies age 92

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jack Diesing Sr., former chairman of the College World Series has died at the age of 92. His son announced the cause of death as complications from Parkinson’s disease. Diesing was chairman of the series from 1963 until 2002.

Diesing helped the tournament become one of the most successful college events in the United States. He became chairman in 1963 after his boss at Brandies department store died and passed on his duties to Diesing, one of which was the chairman role.

Before taking the role the series had only made a profit in five of its fourteen years. Under Diesing’s leadership the series never made a loss. During his time as chairman he also negotiated a long term contract with the NCAA and lengthened the series from 5 to 10 games.

Diesing’s son, Jack Diesing Jr., released a statement on his fathers death saying “My dad will be missed by a lot of people, but he won’t be forgotten”. He continued to say that his goals were to make “Omaha a better community” and to secure the “CWS to mantain its legacy”.

At the time of his death Diesing was still chairman emeritus of College World Series of Omaha Inc., a non-profit organization that helped with the coordination of the series.

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May 11

CEO of GM outlines plan for “New GM” after auto company declared bankruptcy

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CEO of GM outlines plan for “New GM” after auto company declared bankruptcy

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In a New York press conference at 16:15 UTC, June 1st, Fritz Henderson, the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, which filed for bankruptcy and Chapter 11 protection from its creditors earlier today, outlined a plan for what he called a “New GM”.

Speaking to the press under safe harbor provisions of U.S. law, Henderson described the events of today as a “defining moment” in the history of General Motors. Speaking to the public he said that “The GM that let you down is history,” and described a “New GM” that he expected to result from the bankruptcy process.

Henderson stated that he envisioned the bankruptcy process would take between 60 and 90 days. He stressed several times his view that the process would be one that is executed quickly, saying that not just a sense of urgency but “pure unadulterated speed” was his expectation of the process. He emphasized that “GM remains open for business” during the bankruptcy period, continuing to sell and to support its products, and that day one motions had been filed in the bankruptcy court in order to allow this.

Regarding the bankruptcy process he said, “We will do it right. And we will do it once.”

He stated that the plan for General Motors had the support of the United Auto Workers union, the Canadian Auto Workers union, the GM VEBA, and a majority of the unsecured bondholders of GM. He also mentioned that GM had already received €1.5 million in bridge financing from the German government.

In response to questions about the possibility of the United States federal government, a majority shareholder in the restructured company, dictating future product development and strategy, such as the sale of more fuel-efficient and green vehicles; he first observed that the federal government had already stated to him that it had “no real interest in running our business” and that he expected that still to be his job. Of the specific hypothetical scenario where the management of GM wants to make one type of car, because it thinks that it is the right thing for the business, and the U.S. government wants to make another type of car, he stated that “I don’t think it’s going to happen.” Expanding on that point he stated that he expected the “New GM” to focus upon “highly fuel-efficient and green technology”, and that operating both in accordance with U.S. environmental laws and in response to customer demand would naturally result in the New GM producing the types of vehicles that the U.S. government would encourage.

The “New GM” he also expected to focus on “four core brands”, and will size its dealership to match that. He stated that GM would offer a “deferred termination” package to dealers, to allow them to cease dealing in GM vehicles in a managed and gradual way.

He stated that the bankruptcy filings did not cover General Motors’ businesses in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific. Of GM’s profitable ventures in China, specifically, he stated that they were “a critical part of the New GM”. In response to questions of whether the New GM would import cars from China to the U.S., he stated the formative company’s core principle that “We build where we sell” applied in both directions, with GM building in China to sell in China and building in the U.S. to sell in the U.S., stating that this shortened supply chains.

He declined to predict when the New GM would return to profitability, stating that the goal was rather to lower the break-even EBIT point for the company. He also declined to speculate upon when the U.S. government would sell its stake in the company, saying that that was a question “better addressed to the U.S. Treasury”, and merely saying that he expected it to be “years, not months” when the U.S. Treasury felt it would give “the right return for taxpayers.”

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May 10

Two nuclear submarines collide in the Atlantic Ocean

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Two nuclear submarines collide in the Atlantic Ocean

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Nuclear ballistic missile submarines Triomphant, from France, and HMS Vanguard, of the British Royal Navy, collided deep under the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of the night between February 3 and 4, despite both vessels being equipped with sonar. The collision caused damage to both vessels but it did not release any radioactive material, a Ministry of Defence (MOD) official confirmed Monday.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said nuclear security had not been breached. “It is MOD policy not to comment on submarine operational matters, but we can confirm that the U.K.’s deterrent capability was unaffected at all times and there has been no compromise to nuclear safety. Triomphant had struck ‘a submerged object (probably a container)’ during a return from a patrol, damaging the sonar dome on the front of the submarine,” he said.

A French navy spokesman said that “the collision did not result in injuries among the crew and did not jeopardise nuclear security at any moment.” Lack of communication between France and other members of NATO over the location of their SLBM deterrents is believed to be another reason for the crash.

According to Daily Mail, the vessels collided 1,000ft underwater in the Bay of Biscay (Golfe de Gascogne; Golfo de Vizcaya and Mar Cantábrico), a gulf of the North Atlantic Ocean. It lies along the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Punta de Estaca de Bares, and is named for the Spanish province of Biscay, with average depth of 5,723 feet (1,744 m) and maximum depth is 9,151 feet (2,789 m).

Each submarine is laden with missiles powerful enough for 1,248 Hiroshima bombings, The Independent said.

It is unlikely either vessel was operating its active sonar at the time of the collision, because the submarines are designed to “hide” while on patrol and the use of active sonar would immediately reveal the boat’s location. Both submarines’ hulls are covered with anechoic tile to reduce detection by sonar, so the boats’ navigational passive sonar would not have detected the presence of the other.

Lee Willett of London’s Royal United Services Institute said “the NATO allies would be very reluctant to share information on nuclear submarines. These are the strategic crown jewels of the nation. The whole purpose of a sea-based nuclear deterrent is to hide somewhere far out of sight. They are the ultimate tools of national survival in the event of war. Therefore, it’s the very last thing you would share with anybody.”

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band GCB, ADC of the United Kingdom, the most senior serving officer in the Royal Navy, said that “…the submarines came into contact at very low speed. Both submarines remained safe. No injuries occurred. We can confirm the capability remains unaffected and there was no compromise to nuclear safety.”

“Both navies want quiet areas, deep areas, roughly the same distance from their home ports. So you find these station grounds have got quite a few submarines, not only French and Royal Navy but also from Russia and the United States. Navies often used the same nesting grounds,” said John H. Large, an independent nuclear engineer and analyst primarily known for his work in assessing and reporting upon nuclear safety and nuclear related accidents and incidents.

President of the Royal Naval Association John McAnally said that the incident was a “one in a million chance”. “It would be very unusual on deterrent patrol to use active sonar because that would expose the submarine to detection. They are, of course, designed to be very difficult to detect and one of the priorities for both the captain and the deterrent patrol is to avoid detection by anything,” he said.

The development of stealth technology, making the submarines less visible to other vessels has properly explained that a submarine does not seem to have been able to pick out another submarine nearly the length of two football pitches and the height of a three-story building.

“The modus operandi of most submarines, particularly ballistic-missile submarines, is to operate stealthily and to proceed undetected. This means operating passively, by not transmitting on sonar, and making as little noise as possible. A great deal of technical effort has gone into making submarines quiet by reduction of machinery noise. And much effort has gone into improving the capability of sonars to detect other submarines; detection was clearly made too late or not at all in this case,” explained Stephen Saunders, the editor of Jane’s Fighting Ships, an annual reference book (also published online, on CD and microfiche) of information on all the world’s warships arranged by nation, including information on ship’s names, dimensions, armaments, silhouettes and photographs, etc.

According to Bob Ayres, a former CIA and US army officer, and former associate fellow at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, however, the submarines were not undetectable, despite their “stealth” technology. “When such submarines came across similar vessels from other navies, they sought to get as close as possible without being detected, as part of routine training. They were playing games with each other – stalking each other under the sea. They were practising being able to kill the other guy’s submarine before he could launch a missile.Because of the sound of their nuclear reactors’ water pumps, they were still noisier than old diesel-electric craft, which ran on batteries while submerged. The greatest danger in a collision was the hull being punctured and the vessel sinking, rather than a nuclear explosion,” Ayres explained.

Submarine collisions are uncommon, but not unheard of: in 1992, the USS Baton Rouge, a submarine belonging to the United States, under command of Gordon Kremer, collided with the Russian Sierra-class attack submarine K-276 that was surfacing in the Barents Sea.

In 2001, the US submarine USS Greeneville surfaced and collided with Japanese fishing training ship Ehime Maru (????), off the coast of Hawaii. The Navy determined the commanding officer of Greeneville to be in “dereliction of duty.”

The tenth HMS Vanguard (S28) of the British Royal Navy is the lead boat of her class of Trident ballistic missile-capable submarines and is based at HMNB Clyde, Faslane. The 150m long, V-class submarine under the Trident programme, has a crew of 135, weighs nearly 16,000 tonnes and is armed with 16 Trident 2 D5 ballistic missiles carrying three warheads each.

It is now believed to have been towed Monday to its naval base Faslane in the Firth of Clyde, with dents and scrapes to its hull. Faslane lies on the eastern shore of Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, to the north of the Firth of Clyde and 25 miles west of the city of Glasgow.

Vanguard is one of the deadliest vessels on the planet. It was built at Barrow-in-Furness by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd (now BAE Systems Submarine Solutions), was launched on 4 March, 1992, and commissioned on 14 August, 1993. The submarine’s first captain was Captain David Russell. In February 2002, Vanguard began a two-year refit at HMNB Devonport. The refit was completed in June 2004 and in October 2005 Vanguard completed her return to service trials (Demonstration and Shakedown Operations) with the firing of an unarmed Trident missile.

“The Vanguard has two periscopes, a CK51 search model and a CH91 attack model, both of which have a TV camera and thermal imager as well as conventional optics,” said John E. Pike, director and a national security analyst for http://www.globalsecurity.org/, an easily accessible pundit, and active in opposing the SDI, and ITAR, and consulting on NEO’s.File:Triomphant img 0394.jpg

“But the periscopes are useless at that depth. It’s pitch black after a couple of hundred feet. In the movies like ‘Hunt for Red October,’ you can see the subs in the water, but in reality it’s blindman’s bluff down there. The crash could have been a coincidence — some people win the lottery — but it’s much more possible that one vessel was chasing the other, trying to figure out what it was,” Pike explained.

Captain of HMS Vanguard, Commander Richard Lindsey said his men would not be there if they couldn’t go through with it. “I’m sure that if somebody was on board who did not want to be here, they would have followed a process of leaving the submarine service or finding something else to do in the Navy,” he noted.

The Triomphant is a strategic nuclear submarine, lead ship of her class (SNLE-NG). It was laid down on June 9, 1989, launched on March 26, 1994 and commissioned on March 21, 1997 with homeport at Île Longue. Equipped with 16 M45 ballistic missiles with six warheads each, it has 130 crew on board. It was completing a 70-day tour of duty at the time of the underwater crash. Its fibreglass sonar dome was damaged requiring three or four months in Drydock repair. “It has returned to its base on L’Ile Longue in Brittany on Saturday under its own power, escorted as usual by a frigate,” the ministry said.

A Ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident.

The Triomphant class of strategic missile submarines of the French Navy are currently being introduced into service to provide the sea based component (the Force Océanique Stratégique) of the French nuclear deterrent or Force de frappe, with the M45 SLBM. They are replacing the Redoutable-class boats. In French, they are called Sous-Marin Nucléaire Lanceur d’Engins de Nouvelle Génération (“SNLE-NG, literally “Device-launching nuclear submarine of the new generation”).

They are roughly one thousand times quieter than the Redoutable-class vessels, and ten times more sensitive in detecting other submarines [1]. They are designed to carry the M51 nuclear missile, which should enter active service around 2010.

Repairs for both heavily scraped and dented, missile-laden vessels were “conservatively” estimated to cost as much as €55m, with intricate missile guidance systems and navigation controls having to be replaced, and would be met by the French and British taxpayer, the Irish Independent reported.

Many observers are shocked by the deep sea disaster, as well as the amount of time it took for the news to reach the public. ”Two US and five Soviet submarine accidents in the past prove that the reactor protection system makes an explosion avoidable. But if the collision had been more powerful the submarines could have sunk very quickly and the fate of the 250 crew members would have been very serious indeed,” said Andrey Frolov, from Moscow’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

“I think this accident will force countries that possess nuclear submarines to sit down at the negotiating table and devise safety precautions that might avert such accidents in the future… But because submarines must be concealed and invisible, safety and navigation laws are hard to define,” Frolov said, noting further that there are no safety standards for submarines.

The unthinkable disaster – in the Atlantic’s 41 million square miles – has raised concern among nuclear activists. “This is a nuclear nightmare of the highest order. The collision of two submarines, both with nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons onboard, could have released vast amounts of radiation and scattered scores of nuclear warheads across the seabed,” said Kate Hudson, chair of Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

“This is the most severe incident involving a nuclear submarine since the Russian submarine RFS Kursk K-141 explosion and sinking in 2000 and the first time since the Cold War that two nuclear-armed subs are known to have collided. Gordon Brown should seize this opportunity to end continuous patrols,” Hudson added. Despite a rescue attempt by British and Norwegian teams, all 118 sailors and officers aboard Kursk died.

“This reminds us that we could have a new catastrophe with a nuclear submarine at any moment. It is a risk that exists during missions but also in port. These are mobile nuclear reactors,” said Stephane Lhomme, a spokesman for the French anti-nuclear group Sortir du Nucleaire.

Nicholas Barton “Nick” Harvey, British Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for North Devon has called for an immediate internal probe. “While the British nuclear fleet has a good safety record, if there were ever to be a bang it would be a mighty big one. Now that this incident is public knowledge, the people of Britain, France and the rest of the world need to be reassured this can never happen again and that lessons are being learned,” he said.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP for Moray has demanded for a government statement. “The Ministry of Defence needs to explain how it is possible for a submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction to collide with another submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction in the middle of the world’s second-largest ocean,” he said.

Michael Thomas Hancock, CBE, a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South and a City councillor for Fratton ward, and who sits on the Commons defence committee, has called on the Ministry of Defence Secretary of State John Hutton to make a statement when parliament sits next week.

“While I appreciate there are sensitive issues involved here, it is important that this is subject to parliamentary scrutiny. It’s fairly unbelievable that this has happened in the first place but we now need to know that lessons have been learnt. We need to know for everyone’s sakes that everything possible is now done to ensure that there is not a repeat of the incident. There are serious issues as to how some of the most sophisticated naval vessels in the seas today can collide in this way,” Mr. Hancock said.

Tory defence spokesman Liam Fox, a British Conservative politician, currently Shadow Defence Secretary and Member of Parliament for Woodspring, said: “For two submarines to collide while apparently unaware of each other’s presence is extremely worrying.”

Meanwhile, Hervé Morin, the French Minister of Defence, has denied allegations the nuclear submarines, which are hard to detect, had been shadowing each other deliberately when they collided, saying their mission was to sit at the bottom of the sea and act as a nuclear deterrent.

“There’s no story to this — the British aren’t hunting French submarines, and the French submarines don’t hunt British submarines. We face an extremely simple technological problem, which is that these submarines are not detectable. They make less noise than a shrimp. Between France and Britain, there are things we can do together….one of the solutions would be to think about the patrol zones,” Morin noted, and further denying any attempt at a cover-up.

France’s Atlantic coast is known as a submarine graveyard because of the number of German U-boats and underwater craft sunk there during the Second World War.

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May 09

Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

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Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

Sunday, February 13, 2005

New York –”Buy cheap Viagra through us – no prescription required!” Anyone with an active email account will recognize lines like this one. According to some reports, unsolicited advertisements (spam) for Viagra and similar drugs account for one in four spam messages.

BACKGROUND

Spamming remains one of the biggest problems facing email users today. While users and systems administrators have improved their defenses against unsolicited email, many spammers now insert random words or characters into their letters in order to bypass filters. The Wikipedia article Stopping email abuse provides an overview of the various strategies employed by companies, Internet users and systems administrators to deal with the issue.

Ever since pharmaceutical giant Pfizer promised to cure erectile dysfunction once and for all with its blue pills containing the drug sildenafil citrate, spammers have tried to tap into male anxiety by offering prescription-free sales of unapproved “generic” Viagra and clones such as Cialis soft tabs. Legislation like the U.S. CAN-SPAM act has done little to stem the tide of email advertising the products.

Now Pfizer has entered a pledge with Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest software company, to address the problem. The joint effort will focus on lawsuits against spammers as well as the companies they advertise. “Pfizer is joining with Microsoft on these actions as part of our shared pledge to reduce the sale of these products and to fight the senders of unsolicited e-mail that overwhelms people’s inboxes,” said Jeff Kindler, executive vice president at Pfizer.

Microsoft has filed civil actions against spammers advertising the websites CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct. Pfizer has filed lawsuits against the two companies, and has taken actions against websites which use the word “Viagra” in their domain names. Sales of controlled drugs from Canadian pharmacies to the United States are illegal, but most drugs sold in Canada have nevertheless undergone testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is not the case for many of the Viagra clones sold by Internet companies and manufactured in countries like China and India. While it was not clear that CanadianPharmacy was actually shipping drugs from Canada, Pfizer’s general counsel, Beth Levine, claimed that the company filled orders using a call center in Montreal, reported the Toronto Star.

For Microsoft’s part, they allege that the joint effort with Pfizer is part of their “multi-pronged attack on the barrage of spam.” As the creator of the popular email program Outlook, Microsoft has been criticized in the past for the product’s spam filtering process. Recently, Microsoft added anti-spam measures to its popular Exchange server. Exchange 2003 now includes support for accessing so-called real-time block lists, or RTBLs. An RTBL is a list of the IP addresses maintained by a third party; the addresses on the list are those of mailservers thought to have sent spam recently. Exchange 2003 can query the list for each message it receives.

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May 09

Honda Civic tops Canada’s list of most stolen cars

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Honda Civic tops Canada’s list of most stolen cars

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The 1999 and 2000 year model Honda Civic SiR tops the list of Canada’s most stolen cars.

Consumer popularity also assures the cars will be popular with thieves. Its the second year in a row the Honda SiR has topped the list.

Rick Dubin Vice President of Investigations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada said “The Civics are easy targets.”

Dubin said that once stolen, the cars are most often sold to “chop shops” where thieves completely dismantle the vehicles. The automobile’s individual parts are worth more than the entire car.

The sheer numbers of the cars and their lack of theft deterrent systems make them thieves’ preferred choices.

1999 and 2000 Honda Civics do not come with an electronic immobilizer, however all Hondas from 2001 and onward are equipped with an immobilizer. Immobilizers will be mandatory on all new cars sold beginning September 2007. The devices enable an engine computer to recognize an electronic code in the key. If the code in the key and the engine don’t match exactly, the vehicle can’t be started.

In third place was the 2004 Subaru Impreza, while the 1999 Acura Integra came in fourth, with the 1994 Honda Civic rounding out the top five.

In sixth place, the 1998 Acura Integra, and the 1993 Dodge Shadow completed seventh.

When asked why early model vehicles are selected, he said that, “auto thieves continue to find it easier to steal older vehicles lacking an IBC-approved immobilizer. We’ve seen this trend developing for several years, and these results confirm it.”

Another Honda automobile, the 1996 year model Civic filled eighth place, with the 2000 German Audi TT Quattro in ninth.

The American 1996 Chevrolet/GMC Blazer rounded out the top ten.

None of the above cars had an electronic immobilizer.

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May 08

One in five Americans finds socialism superior, poll says

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One in five Americans finds socialism superior, poll says

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Twenty percent of the American public believes that socialism is superior to capitalism, says a poll by Rasmussen Reports released on Thursday, April 9.

Asked the question “Which is a better system – capitalism or socialism?”, 53% of those polled found capitalism the better system, 20% preferred socialism, and 27% were unsure. The survey did not define either capitalism or socialism, but Rasmussen also cites a December 2008 result saying that 15% of Americans prefer a government-managed economy.

Analysis of the poll’s data by website FiveThirtyEight.com furthermore found that support for capitalism was closely correlated with income; respondents earning under $20,000 a year having an eight percentage point preference for capitalism, while those earning more than $100,000 a year expressed a fifty-seven percentage point preference for capitalism. Rasmussen noted that socialism had much broader support among people under 30, where 33% support socialism and 37% support capitalism, than among any other age group.

Socialism has found support in several countries, with member parties of the Socialist International in government in over 50 countries around the world and with several other regimes describing themselves as socialist or communist; the 20% result Rasmussen finds is comparable to the electoral support for the New Democratic Party in Canada. Support for an independent socialist movement in the United States, however, has historically been limited. Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs won 6.1% of the popular vote in 1912, and two members of the Socialist Party, Victor L. Berger and Meyer London, were elected to the United States Congress before the Great Depression. This brief flirtation with socialism is contrasted against the times during and following the First World War and Second World War, which were marked by “Red scares” — periods of pronounced anti-communism — in the United States.

Currently, only a single member of the United States Congress describes himself as a socialist: Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The Social Democrats USA (SD USA), one of the successors of the Socialist Party of America, has expressed solidarity with the 76-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, which Sanders founded in 1991. It supports positions such as a living wage, universal health care, and the right of workers to form trade unions and engage in collective bargaining.

SD USA executive director Gabriel McClosky-Ross offered Wikinews an exclusive statement on the Rasmussen poll result:

I joined the Socialist Party, USA in 1972, when I was 16. That was seven months before the name change to Social Democrats, USA. I was a subscriber to the Party’s publication, New America for four years by that point. I grew up in a Catholic working class neighborhood. Many of my neighbors read the Catholic Worker. However, I would not meet another self described social democrat or democratic socialist who was close to my age until I completed college and entered the seminary when I was 21. That was not for a lack of my attempts at persuasion. Now when I speak on behalf of the Social Democrats, I meet many people who call themselves socialists or they are considering doing so.

Two things have changed. First, Stalinism in the Soviet Union finally and thankfully collapsed and The Peoples’ Republic of China is a transparently “state capitalist” regime. Second, the propaganda machine that equated private ownership of productive property with democracy is spurting under onslaught of facts that indicate just the opposite. There were two presidential elections in a row were[sic] the count look[sic] fishy and the money trail lead to the top of Republican Party. Then the banks collapsed and it was apparent that the largest financial institutions in the world were involved in sub-prime mortgage ponzi schemes.

I am not sure whether to celebrate or lament becoming an economist and union organizer instead of a priest given the current crisis. As my mentor, Michael Harrington, was fond of saying there are many kinds of socialism. Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, history’s three greatest mass murderers, all called themselves socialists. Hopefully, America is ready for a broad social democratic movement that works with trade unions and community organizations for national health care, re-industrialization, ecologically friendly mass transit, infrastructure repair, and eventually a democratization of our economy. Building such a movement will be very hard work. The cyber-world has many benefits, but people seemed to be convinced that social change can occur by email. It is great shame, that it takes 8.2% unemployment and massive economic dislocation to push people back to real time organizing and protest.

Simply that people are angry is not enough. The Bolsheviks, Fascists, and Nazis all road[sic] waves of mass discontent to power. A peoples’ movement must be militantly democratic and refuse to make common cause with even the ‘mildest and friendliest totalitarians.’ A truly democratic movement for social democracy must transcend the narrow special interest group politics that has made up most of political discourse since the protests against the Vietnam War. To transcend the current economic crisis we need a full employment economy and that means a movement concentrated on ‘red letter’ social democratic issues of democratic worker and community control of industry.

While support for socialism in the United States may be growing, Rasmussen’s polling finds that absolute majorities of the American public support both capitalism and free markets. Meanwhile, anti-communist sentiment remains strong in many segments of the US population, with opposition to socialism being a defining feature of Conservatism in the United States.

In an exclusive statement to Wikinews, John F. McManus, President of the anti-socialist John Birch Society, offered the John Birch Society’s position on the poll result:

If 20 percent of the American people prefer socialism, it is likely that half believe it has more to do with sociability that it has to do with an economic system that places government in control of their lives. Ask these 20 percent what socialism truly is and the response will rarely point to the great hero of all socialists, Karl Marx.

The John Birch Society believes that everyone is a capitalist. If one starts out defining capital as the means of production (which is its definition), then everyone — from the primitive fisherman to the corporate executive — uses capital and is a capitalist.

The distinction that most don’t make is who owns and controls the capital. Does each individual have the right to own his means of production — even a fishing pole? Or does the government own and/or control all the means of production?

When each individual has the right to own capital (property), there is freedom — up to the point where no one is permitted to impede someone else’s similar right. Where socialism reigns, the government dominates, either completely a la communism or essentially a la fascism (Nazi-style or Mussolini-style).

Most Americans are victims of an absolutely horrible educational system. Too many have been persuaded that government should take care of them. We tell such fools that, if that’s what they want, they should turn themselves in at the local prison where they will be cared for 24 hours a day. We ask them to stop advocating converting our entire nation into what effectively will be a coast-to-coast prison.

The proper role of government can never be more than the protection of the lives, liberty and property of the people who pay for it. The improper role of government is to take care of the people — which it always does poorly and does so almost always as a grab for power rather than a supposedly noble concern for the downtrodden.

Americans currently most often cite the economy as their number one concern in polls, ahead of terrorism. In December 2008, workers at the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago staged a union-backed factory occupation in a fight against company management — a return to tactics of direct action from the historically more subdued American organized labor movement.

On April 10 2009, Alabama representative Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama) told the Birmingham News that seventeen members of the US House of Representatives are socialists. He did not specify which members.

bXwapnJA on May 8th, 2019 | File Under Uncategorized | No Comments -