Eight dead and two missing after cargo ship fire in Kaliningrad, Russia

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Eight people are dead and two more are missing and presumed dead after an explosion and fire on a cargo ship undergoing repairs at a naval dockyard in Kaliningrad, Russia.

The container ship MV Yenisey was the scene of an explosion while in drydock at about 3:00 p.m. Moscow time (11:00 GMT). Ten people were missing after the explosion. It was confirmed today that the eighth body has been recovered, and the remaining two are thought to be dead as well. Three more were injured.

Captain 1st Rank Igor Dygalo, acting as a navy spokesperson, said “Each family of the victims of the fire on the Yenisey civilian vessel will be paid more than a million rubles.” This makes their compensation roughly equivalent to US$43,000.

Dygolo said that the dockyard, in the closed military town of Baltiysk, near Kaliningrad, had been leased to the Yenisey’s St Petersburg owner, a private company, who were conducting the work themselves. He said an investigation has been launched by the navy led by top admiral Vladimir Vysotsky.

Vysotski himself has indicated that serious safety legislation breaches concerning welding regulations by both the vessel’s owner and the naval dockyard’s bosses. He did not go into details, but RIA Novosti claimed that a source at the dockyard said a gas burner applied to the roof of a fuel tank to heat and therefore loosen its bolts had triggered the disaster.

Today is an official day of mourning for Kaliningrad Region to mark the deaths.

Immediate life insurance website launched, first in world

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The first website in the world allowing consumers to buy life insurance online instantly has been launched today, targeting specifically New Zealanders.

The website, run by life insurance company Pinnacle Life, allows New Zealanders in many countries in the world to buy life insurance online without the need for a medical examination. Once the application has been approved, which is done immediately, the consumer can receive a $500,000 life insurance policy via an automatic e-mail. However, if certain conditions have been highlighted, then person to person contact is required to finalise the process.

Ed Saul, senior partner and architect of the new website, says, “We’re giving consumers a quicker and easier way to buy life insurance. Instead of submitting an application form and waiting days for a policy to be approved and issued, we do it online and we do it immediately.”

“The revolutionary website gives consumers complete control over the buying process whilst eliminating the previously obligatory involvement of people and paper. This is a global test case eagerly watched by the insurance industry around the world,” Mr Saul said.

When applying online, a few typical questions are asked on personal information and if the applicant has had any previous illnesses or diseases.

The countries where New Zealand citizens are allowed to apply are UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA.

Norwegian government considers prosecuting Scientology

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services is considering prosecuting and banning some Scientology practices, in particular the use of the Scientology personality test to sell courses. State Secretary Rigmor Aasrud said that the activities in question might be prosecuted as fraud or as violations of existing healthcare regulations. A Norwegian Member of Parliament (MP) whose daughter killed herself after taking such a test, supports the idea of prosecuting illegal practices rather than trying to ban the movement as a whole.

Also stupid or clearly false expressions must be allowed as free expressions in a democracy, as long as individuals are not harmed by the expressions. The questionable thing about the Scientology cult is, however, that their operation is harmful for individuals.

The statement was made after three journalists from the online edition of the newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) took the test. The journalists wore hidden recording devices, and did not disclose that they were journalists; VG put the recordings on its website. Scientology staff members told all three that they should buy a course to handle psychological issues. Two of the journalists filled out the 200 questions with honest answers, while the third gave answers consistent with being depressed. The “depressed” journalist was told that he should avoid traditional medicine, while one of the “normal” journalists was told that the course was her only hope for improvement unless she wanted to start taking “chemicals”.

Matthias Fosse, spokesperson for the Church of Scientology in Norway, said that the staff members in question were acting individually. He said that the Church of Scientology does not give medical advice, but that it encourages people to focus on the side effects of medications, and is critical of the “over-medication” of psychiatric patients.

Olav Gunnar Ballo, a Norwegian MP and medical doctor whose daughter Kaja suddenly killed herself after a negative experience with the Scientology test in France in March 2008, released a book about Kaja Ballo‘s life in April 2009. The book debuted on 2nd place in the Norwegian best seller list. Ballo listened to the recorded test result sessions from VG and said that he found the practice “horrible and harmful”. He told the newspaper Dagbladet that Norway could have something to learn from the current French prosecution of Scientology corporations and individuals, by prosecuting specific harmful practices rather than banning Scientology as a whole.

Matthias Fosse said that France is a far more secular society than Norway, and that France were going too far in their prosecution. He said that France has a list of 165 organizations considered to be “sects”, which not just included Scientology but also covered Baptists such as former U.S. president Bill Clinton. The list which Fosse referred to is a list from the 1995 Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France. Fosse said that the OSCE, the U.S. State Department and the UN had criticised French “violations of human rights”.

Pay More Attention On Sanitary Condition Of Kids Toys

Pay More Attention on Sanitary Condition of Kids Toys



Nowadays, parents are always too busy so that they buy too many kids toys for their children to play for killing time. Of course, kids\’ intelligence can be developed from the playing process. All in all, kids toys such as plush toys, toy bus and RC cars model are the essential partners in children\’s daily life. However, if you are scrupulous parents, you should notice that your kids always put their favorite toys on the floor to play, where is so dirty. Under such circumstance, toy are more likely to be contaminated by the bacteria, viruses and parasites, all of which are the accomplice of transmitting diseases.

According to the detection by bacteriologist, if you give children a toy and ask them to play for ten days, by the way, the toy is cleaned and disinfected before giving to children. Ten days later, the number of bacteria on the plastic toys is up to over 3000, and on the wooden toys, the number of bacteria is nearly 5000, what\’s more, the number of bacteria on the toys which is made from fur is actually more than 20000. When you hear this figure, do you think it is so terrible. Yes, parent should not only buy too many kids toys for children, but also pay more attention on cleaning and disinfecting kids toys regularly. As for how to clean and disinfect toys, the methods are depend on the different material of the toys. For example, when cleaning toys made from fur and cotton, you should firstly put them under the blazing sun for quite a long time. When cleaning wooden toys, you can use boiled water to wash. When cleaning the toys made from metal or tinplate, you can firstly use soap-suds to wash and then put them under the sunshine. Finally, when cleaning plastic and rubber toys, you can use all kinds of disinfectant to soak and then wash and dried.

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In addition, as parents, you should ask children not to put toys casually at home. If conditions allow, there would be a relatively fixed place for kids to play with toys. At the same time, you can buy a special cupboard or toy box to keep toys. Children should not play toys in the kitchen or bathroom.

When playing with toys, children should not bite the toys with mouths because by this way the bacteria can easily be entered into mouth which would result in serious consequence.

Copyright by Tony Steve. Lots of

Toy Bus

such as Toy London Bus,

School Bus Toy


Toy Tour Bus

and so on are offered at Ezbustoys bus toy online store for both kids to play and model fans to collect. Affordable price and top quality.

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General Motors automobile sales plunge by 45%

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

General Motors Corporation (GM) announced on Wednesday that it saw a 45% drop in United States vehicle sales for its cars in March.

Executives from several auto firms, however, said that there was some hope for the auto industry to stabilise, as car sales rebounded in the last week of March.

“The market is starting to show small signs of life which need to be nourished like seedlings,” said the vice president and chairman of Chrysler LLC Jim Press. “It’s too early to see a trend, but spring shows signs of hope.”

Other automobile manufacturers also saw their car sales slip: Chrysler and the Japanese Toyota both reported a 39% loss, whilst Ford Motor Company sales fell 41%.

Annualised sales of vehicles in the car industry in the US are predicted to have dipped below nine million in March, compared to February’s 9.12 million, which was the lowest number since 1981.

“Auto makers are pulling every lever in their effort to attract buyers, as evidenced by the new programs from Ford and GM. The typical incentive programs simply do not resonate in today’s economy,” Jesse Toprak, an analyst for Edmunds.

Ford shares gained 2.3% to a level of US$2.69 in early trading at US stock markets on Wednesday, while stocks for Toyota’s US depository increased 5.9% to $67. GM shares slipped 1.6% down to $1.92.

Australian Defence Department funds controversial development training

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Australia’s Department of Defence spent thousands of dollars on controversial development seminars, Australian media reported Wednesday. The seminars are run by a San Francisco, California-based training company called Landmark Education. The company evolved from Erhard Seminars Training “est”, and has faced criticism regarding its techniques and its use of unpaid labor.

Australia’s Defence Minister Warren Snowdon said that the government is in the process of reviewing Defence Department expenditures on career development. “We’re in the process now of doing an audit, completely unrelated with anything to do with Landmark, which is being undertaken into learning and development to make sure that they meet our needs. … We have to be very sure that the courses that people do undertake are relevant, appropriate and indeed in line with what community expectations might be,” said Snowdon in an appearance on ABC Radio.

We’re in the process now of doing an audit, completely unrelated with anything to do with Landmark, which is being undertaken into learning and development to make sure that they meet our needs.

The Australian and Australia’s ABC News reported that Landmark Education had been listed in France as a “possible cult” in the mid 1990s. When asked about this on ABC Radio, a spokeswoman for the company in the United States, Deborah Beroset, responded: “What happened in France was that a commission established by the French parliament issued a report in which they listed almost 200 organisations as being possible cults … We were never contacted. We were inappropriately included in that list”.

In a program which aired Wednesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio program AM reported that Australia’s Defence Department spent at least AUD12,270 of taxpayer funds to send government employees to Landmark Education courses. According to AM, the Defence Department said it does not appear that further funds have been sent to Landmark Education since 2004.

In a statement released by the Defence Department, the government stated: “A search of Defence records does not indicate exactly how many individuals attended courses with this training provider, however it is believed it was a small number of individuals. … Defence has been unable to determine individual reasons for why groups within Defence choose this training provider.”

AM also reported that the use of unpaid labor by Landmark Education “has attracted the attention of the US and French governments,” and that some individuals in the mental health field have accused the company of brainwashing. When asked about the allegations by mental health experts that Landmark Education’s techniques amounted to brainwashing, Deborah Beroset responded: “Well, there is absolutely no credence to that whatsoever.”

Decisions on the appropriateness of staff attending courses by Landmark Education are made by individual managers who remain best-placed to assess the development needs of their staff.

In a March 9 article in the Herald Sun, Peter Rolfe reported that taxpayer money was used to send at least 37 police and government staff from Victoria, Australia to seminars run by Landmark Education. Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said that “Decisions on the appropriateness of staff attending courses by Landmark Education are made by individual managers who remain best-placed to assess the development needs of their staff,” but State Liberal MP Murray Thompson told the Herald Sun that the funds should have been put towards fighting crime. Apple Inc., Reebok, and Mercedes-Benz have sent employees to Landmark Education seminars, according to a spokeswoman for Landmark.

In October 2006, Landmark Education took legal action against Google, YouTube, the Internet Archive, and a website owner in Queensland, Australia in attempts to remove criticism of its products from the Internet. The company sought a subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an attempt to discover the identity of an anonymous critic who uploaded a 2004 French documentary of the Landmark Forum to the Internet. “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” (Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus) was produced by Pièces à Conviction, a French investigative journalism news program. The Electronic Frontier Foundation represented the anonymous critic and the Internet Archive, and Landmark withdrew its subpoena in November 2006 in exchange for a promise from the anonymous critic not to repost the video.

Landmark Education is descended from Erhard Seminars Training, also called “est”, which was founded by Werner Erhard. est began in 1971, and Erhard’s company Werner Erhard and Associates repackaged the course as “The Forum” in 1985. Associates of Erhard bought the license to his “technology” and incorporated Landmark Education in California in 1991.

US First Lady undergoes neck surgery

Saturday, September 8, 2007

United States First Lady Laura Bush underwent elective surgery on Saturday at George Washington University Hospital and is now “resting comfortably at the White House,” according to spokeswoman Sally McDonough. Last month, the First Lady injured her neck and shoulder during a hiking trip.

The neck surgery, called posterior cervical foraminotomy, was performed to alleviate pressure on several pinched nerves in her neck.

Laura was not able to accompany President George W. Bush for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Sydney, Australia because of the procedure.

The spokeswoman said the outpatient surgery was a minimally invasive procedure, and lasted about two-and-a-half hours.

After unsuccessful physical therapy treatments, doctors reportedly suggested surgery.

The First Lady reportedly spoke with the President during his trip back from the APEC forum and according to White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino “he [Bush] said she sounded very well…He looks forward to getting back to help her in the recovery.”

10 billionth song downloaded from Apple’s iTunes Store

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ten billion songs have been downloaded from the iTunes Store, an online digital media store which is owned by Apple Incorporated. Louie Sulcer, of Woodstock in Georgia, downloaded “Guess Things Happen That Way” by American musician, Johnny Cash, which became the ten billionth song downloaded from iTunes. Sulcer won an iTunes gift card worth US$10,000 (approximately £6,550 or 7,380), after purchasing a song on the iTunes Store to win the prize.

Beforehand, Apple had launched a competition entitled “Countdown to 10 Billion Song Downloads”, where the person to make the ten billionth “entry” of a song from the iTunes Store would win the gift card. An “entry” could be created by either downloading a song from the iTunes store, or by filling in a form on the Apple website.

The rules of the competition stated that “the downloading of the 10 billionth song is considered to be either the downloading of the 10 billionth song from iTunes or the receipt of the non-purchase entry after the download of the 9,999,999,999th song, whichever comes first.” Below is a table of the twenty most downloaded songs of all time from Apple’s iTunes Store. The list was initially placed on the website.

Rank Song Artist
1 I Gotta Feeling Black Eyed Peas
2 Poker Face Lady Gaga
3 Boom Boom Pow Black Eyed Peas
4 I’m Yours Jason Mraz
5 Viva la Vida Coldplay
6 Just Dance(feat. Colby O’Donis) Lady Gaga
7 Low(feat. T-Pain) Flo Rida
8 Love Story Taylor Swift
9 Bleeding Love Leona Lewis
10 TiK ToK Ke$ha
11 Disturbia Rihanna
12 So What P!nk
13 I Kissed a Girl Katy Perry
14 Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) Beyoncé
15 Hot N Cold Katy Perry
16 Stronger Kanye West
17 Live Your Life(feat. Rihanna) T.I.
18 Hey There Delilah Plain White T’s
19 Right Round(feat. Ke$ha) Flo Rida
20 Party in the U.S.A. Miley Cyrus

Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled amid political turmoil

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A week after Sunni and Shi’ite youth protesters marched on the capital city of Manama, the Bahrain government informed Formula One Management that it would withdraw from hosting the Bahrain Grand Prix. The decision was made in an effort to focus on the pressing national issues facing the country. Demonstrators, who are still holding Pearl Square, had threatened to target the Media attention if the event went ahead as scheduled. The race is the opening event of the 2011 Formula One racing season.

Bahrain’s Crown Prince, HRH Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, sent a statement to Formula One Management which said, “At the present time the country’s entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain. After the events of the past week, our nation’s priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together; reminding the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united.”

The Bahrain Grand Prix was to be held on March 13, with teams coming in within the next few weeks to prepare for the race. Formula One president and CEO Bernie Ecclestone issued a public statement saying, “It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race, we wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country.” Ecclestone also noted that despite reported rumors, the Bahrain International Circuit would not be charged for their cancellation of the event, citing that he considered the political unrest to be a “force majeure” and that the events that took place could not have been predicted. “What has happened in Bahrain is desperately sad but one month ago everyone was looking forward to the race,” he said. Formula One Management will most likely have to absorb the costs related to the canceled race, estimated at around $40 million, unless it can be re-scheduled later in the season.

With the announcement from the Crown Prince that political issues would be addressed, exiled Shi’ite political leader Hassan Mushaima announced that he would return to the country. Mushaima, leader of the Haq Movement opposition party, was tried in absentia in 2009, accused of attempting to overthrow the government. Other Haq Movement members have also been arrested in recent years, but received royal pardons. While 23 members of the political movement are currently awaiting trial, on Tuesday the Bahrain government released a group of political detainees without comment, meeting one of the demands of the protesters.

Worker’s Party leader detained in Sao Paulo’s airport with $100,000 hidden in his underpants

Monday, July 11, 2005

São Paulo, Brazil —On Friday, Brazilian police officers detained a leader of the Workers’ Party at Airport of Congonhas in Sao Paulo. He tried to board carrying R$200,000 (83,744.90 USD) and US$100,000 undeclared in cash. The money was hidden in his bag and in his underwear.

The man who was detained is José Adalberto Vieira da Silva, 39, Organization secretary of the Workers’ Party from Ceará and the adviser of state deputy José Nobre Guimarães. Guimarães is the brother of José Genoino, President of the Workers’ Party, the ruling party in Brazil.

José Adalberto, was detained on Friday, at about 11 a.m. (local time) when he was boarding to Fortaleza. Authorities detected through the airport’s X-rays equipment that a great quantity of money was inside Adalberto’s bag. After the bag was opened, the officers discovered R$200,000 (83,744.90 USD) in cash. The authorities took José Adalberto to another room in the airport. After searching in his clothing, police officers discovered US$100,000 hidden in Adalberto’s underpants. The authorities charged José Adalberto for boarding without notification with more than R$10,000 (4,187.25 USD), which is forbidden by Brazilian laws.

Adalberto is currently being held in São Paulo, awaiting trial. The deputy José Nobre Guimarães denied any involvement in this case and fired José Adalberto Vieira da Silva.