Thursday, March 3, 2011

In a media event on March 2, Apple Inc. unveiled its iPad 2 tablet computer, the successor to the company’s iPad. The announcement was made at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California. CEO Steve Jobs appeared at the event and introduced the new product, with FaceTime video messaging (with front and rear cameras) as well as a new dual-core Apple A5 processor.

The iPad 2 is an all new design and has several improvements over the original iPad. The device runs on an dual-core Apple A5 CPU. According to Jobs, the CPU’s new dual-core capability enhances multitasking and doubles the processing speed. Apple additionally introduced a magnetic ‘Smart Cover’ accessory that snaps to the front screen of the device along with several new apps ported from the Mac OS X operating system and the iPhone. These include iMovie, GarageBand, and Photo Booth. The new iPad introduces front and rear cameras which enable FaceTime. The new tablet is 15% lighter and 33% thinner than the previous version – thinner than an iPhone 4 – and has beveled edges. It will be available in black and white. The device continues to be capable of ten hours of battery life on a single charge.

The announcement comes after months of rumors about a successor to the original iPad. Competitors have designed tablets to compete with the iPad such as Motorola’s Xoom powered by the Android operating system. One research analyst predicted that iPads would still make up at least 20 million of the more than 24 million tablet computers sold in the United States in 2011. Another analyst credited the Apple’s App store for iPad’s continued success. The device will become available in the United States on March 11, 2011, available in 16, 32, or 64 gigabytes. iPad 2’s 3G models can connect to the wireless networks of AT&T or Verizon Wireless and Wi-Fi. The iPad 2 will start at US$499. In tandem with the announcement, Apple reduced the price of its original iPad to US$399. Shares of Apple inc. rose $2.81, closing at US$352.12 the day of the announcement.

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

While this wasn’t Interview with the Vampire, getting a live interview with Jimmy Wales of the Wikimedia Foundation is requiring more work and planning than ever. Four contributors to four different Wikinews language editions (with Swedish, Netherlands, and Polish) arranged to interview “Jimbo” in the Wikinews IRC channel, squeezed in before interviews with a periodical and a cable news source.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

An additional round of new photos of a recuperating Fidel Castro have been published in the Cuban media. There has been international speculation on the state of the Cuban leader’s health since he temporarily relinquished power two weeks ago prior to undergoing intestinal surgery. Castro had not been seen in those two weeks, and there were rumours that he was dead or nearing death.

The official Communist Party daily Granma today published pictures of Castro meeting Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez on the Cuban leader’s 80th birthday, yesterday. The paper referred to the meeting as “three hours of emotional exchange” quoting Chavez as saying “This is the best visit I’ve ever had in my life.” Earlier, acting Cuban leader Raul Castro made his first public appearance since taking power when he welcomed Chavez to Cuba at the airport. The brothers also appear together in one of the new photos.

The earlier round of pictures released Sunday by the Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth) newspaper show Castro speaking on the phone and holding Saturday’s edition of the Communist Party newspaper Granma.

Castro also released a statement yesterday saying that his health had improved but that his recovery would take more time.

“To say that objective stability has improved considerably is not to invent a lie. To affirm that the period of recovery will last a short time and that there is no longer any risk would be absolutely incorrect.”

“I ask you all to be optimistic and at the same time to be ready to face any adverse news,” said Castro, who also thanked the Cuban people for their love and support during his health crisis. The statement was the first from the Cuban leader since undergoing surgery.

Granma reported Saturday that Castro is now “up” and “working”. The official newspaper reported that according to an unnamed friend of Castro “the leader of the revolution, after receiving some physiotherapy, took his first steps in the room, then, sitting on a coach, talked vividly”.

Though most official celebrations of Castro’s birthday have been postponed (possibly until December), three thousand well-wishers have gathered for a five-hour birthday concert on Havana’s Malecon seafront boulevard.

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By Adrianna Noton

Human resource management should be taken seriously in any firm that has a desire to excel. This is because labor is usually the single most expensive item or input for many companies. If your company deals with service provision, it will be highly beneficial if you get workforce management software. Such a system can help you reduce time wastage, reducing the costs involved. All these will reflect in an improved bottom-line.

The most important thing you must do when you decide to get one of these systems, is deciding whether you actually need one. The number of staff you have should be the main guiding principle on whether to purchase such a system or not. Remember, over-staffing results in overspending. However, under-staffing will result in eroded customer service which is even worse than overspending in the long run.

The systems available in the market have been perfected for ensuring balance when integrated in the service provision center. A good example is a call center where such a system can offer functions such as automatic caller distribution. This will also ensure that none of the staff members are overworked.

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As stated earlier, the system will help you distribute workload among the staff members. In addition to this, you can also use the tool for staff scheduling. This is because there will be peaks as well as valleys and therefore you need to distribute your staff members accordingly. You can also schedule training sessions, breaks, and meetings better with the help of this system.

Another important function of such software is forecasting the expected workload for a period of time. Based on the records maintained everyday, you can be able to map out workload trends. Such trends will be perfect in helping you forecast future workforce requirement hence making appropriate planes. This is the reason the program plays a great role in determining the number of staff you require for optimal performance.

Apart from forecasts or determining the number of staff you need, it is important to know how each member of your workforce is performing. With the program, you can note which employee is performing and who is not. This should be done on an actual work done versus the forecast. This way, you will know whether there are any adjustments that should be made.

All the points highlighted are actually features that such a program should have. Depending on the amount you are willing to pay, you can get all these as well as other vital features. However, if the one you get one that has very few of these features, it is unlikely to help you at all.

Remember, the workforce management software you purchase must justify the cost you incur purchasing it. This means that your staff should really benefit from having such a system installed by helping them in improving their performance. If this is the case, you should go ahead and look for one in the market that will not create a major dent in your finances.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The San Diego, California suburb of Chula Vista has responded to the recent housing crisis with an aggressive blight control ordinance that compels lenders to maintain the appearance of vacant homes. As foreclosures increase both locally and throughout the United States, the one year old ordinance has become a model for other cities overwhelmed by the problem of abandoned homes that decay into neighborhood eyesores.

Chula Vista city code enforcement manager Doug Leeper told the San Diego Union Tribune that over 300 jurisdictions have contacted his office during the past year with inquiries about the city’s tough local ordinance. Coral Springs, Florida, and California towns Stockton, Santee, Riverside County, and Murietta have all modeled recently enacted anti-blight measures after Chula Vista’s. On Wednesday, 8 October, the Escondido City Council also voted to tighten local measures making lenders more accountable for maintenance of empty homes.

Lenders will respond when it costs them less to maintain the property than to ignore local agency requirements.

Under the Chula Vista ordinance lenders become legally responsible for upkeep as soon as a notice of mortgage default gets filed on a vacant dwelling, before actual ownership of the dwelling returns to the lender. Leeper regards that as “the cutting-edge part of our ordinance”. Chula Vista also requires prompt registration of vacant homes and applies stiff fines as high as US$1000 per day for failure to maintain a property. Since foreclosed properties are subject to frequent resale between mortgage brokers, city officials enforce the fines by sending notices to every name on title documents and placing a lien on the property, which prevents further resale until outstanding fines have been paid. In the year since the ordinance went into effect the city has applied $850,000 in fines and penalties, of which it has collected $200,000 to date. The city has collected an additional $77,000 in registration fees on vacant homes.

Jolie Houston, an attorney in San Jose, believes “Lenders will respond when it costs them less to maintain the property than to ignore local agency requirements.” Traditionally, local governments have resorted to addressing blight problems on abandoned properties with public funds, mowing overgrown lawns and performing other vital functions, then seeking repayment afterward. Chula Vista has moved that responsibility to an upfront obligation upon lenders.

That kind of measure will add additional costs to banks that have been hit really hard already and ultimately the cost will be transferred down to consumers and investors.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States during recent years, Chula Vista saw 22.6% growth between 2000 and 2006, which brought the city’s population from 173,556 in the 2000 census to an estimated 212,756, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Chula Vista placed among the nation’s 20 fastest growing cities in 2004. A large proportion of local homes were purchased during the recent housing boom using creative financing options that purchasers did not understand were beyond their means. Average home prices in San Diego County declined by 25% in the last year, which is the steepest drop on record. Many homeowners in the region currently owe more than their homes are worth and confront rising balloon payment mortgages that they had expected to afford by refinancing new equity that either vanished or never materialized. In August 2008, Chula Vista’s eastern 91913 zip code had the highest home mortgage default rate in the county with 154 filings and 94 foreclosures, an increase of 154% over one year previously. Regionally, the county saw 1,979 foreclosures in August.

Professionals from the real estate and mortgage industries object to Chula Vista’s response to the crisis for the additional burdens it places on their struggling finances. Said San Diego real estate agent Marc Carpenter, “that kind of measure will add additional costs to banks that have been hit really hard already and ultimately the cost will be transferred down to consumers and investors.” Yet city councils in many communities have been under pressure to do something about increasing numbers of vacant properties. Concentrations of abandoned and neglected homes can attract vandals who hasten the decline of struggling neighborhoods. Jolie Houston explained that city officials “can’t fix the lending problem, but they can try to prevent neighborhoods from becoming blighted.”

Does Chula Vista’s solution save neighborhoods or worsen the financial crisis?
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CEO Robert Klein of Safeguard, a property management firm, told the Union Tribune that his industry is having difficulty adapting to the rapidly changing local ordinances. “Every day we discover a new ordinance coming out of somewhere”, he complained. Dustin Hobbs, a spokesman from the California Association of Mortgage Bankers agreed that uneven local ordinances are likely to increase the costs of lending. Hobbs advised that local legislation is unnecessary due to California State Senate Bill 1137, which was recently approved to address blight. Yet according to Houston, the statewide measure falls short because it fails to address upkeep needs during the months between the time when foreclosure begins and when the lender takes title.

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Monday, August 31, 2020

The following is the third edition of a monthly series chronicling the 2020 United States presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

This month’s spotlight on the campaign trail includes interviews with the vice presidential nominees of the American Solidarity Party, the Bread and Roses Party, and the Unity Party of America.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An Oklahoma police officer is on paid administrative leave, following an altercation with ambulance personnel while they were transporting a patient to the hospital. Trooper Daniel Martin, a member of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP), was caught on video by his police vehicle’s dashboard-camera in a physical struggle with paramedic Maurice White, Jr. after Martin pulled the ambulance over. Martin had previously passed the ambulance while en route to another call, but came back and pulled over the ambulance. The incident occurred on May 24, and footage from the police dash-cam was released following a tort claim filed by paramedic White.

It has also been suggested that the previous call had in-fact been to pick up his wife from a police station who was then present in the car during the incident between Martin and the ambulance.

Footage by the OHP released Friday shows the ambulance personnel repeatedly informing Trooper Martin that they have a patient in the back of the ambulance that they are in the midst of transporting to the hospital. Martin yells at the ambulance driver for making what he claims was an obscene gesture – the ambulance driver asserts he raised both hands signalling confusion at the police officer’s actions. Trooper Martin can be heard telling the ambulance driver “I’m going to give you a ticket for failure to yield, and when I go by you saying ‘What’s going on?’ you don’t need to give me no hand gestures now, I ain’t going to put up with that [expletive], do you understand me?”

The video from the police dash-cam is eight minutes long, and paramedic White can be seen twice being pushed up against his ambulance by Trooper Martin. In one instance, Martin shoves White up against the ambulance while gripping his neck tightly with his other hand. In a written statement, paramedic White described the hold placed on him by the Trooper, stating “he engaged my trachea in a claw-like grip digging his nail into my neck while partially shutting off my air supply.”

[Paramedic Maurice White, Jr.] never once became aggressive to that trooper.

The sister of the patient in the ambulance, Clara Harper, was following the ambulance and witnessed the incident. Harper later viewed the footage from the police dash-cam, and she stated to Tulsa World paramedic White “never once became aggressive to that trooper.” She asserted that “He did nothing wrong.” After the ambulance was allowed to continue transporting the patient to the hospital, Harper got into the ambulance to be with her sister. “She was scared, and I was trying to calm her down and telling her everything was going to be all right,” said Harper.

My biggest concern was for the patient. If there’s any nightmare from this, it’s because of what that mother, that patient, had to go through.

Paramedic White was interviewed by KOKI-TV, and recounted his thoughts as the incident was taking place. He stated his main concern was for his ambulance patient: “It was surrealistic because I’ve never had such an experience. My biggest concern was for the patient. If there’s any nightmare from this, it’s because of what that mother, that patient, had to go through.” White’s attorney told KOKI-TV that if White deemed the arrest to be unlawful, he had the right to resist it. White is a paramedic for Creek Nation Emergency Medical Services in Oklahoma. He told FOX News he was surprised at the actions of the police trooper. “He’s taken an oath, just as I have, to protect and serve. I could not believe that this was happening,” said White.

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety decided to release the police dash-cam video publicly after amateur video of the incident was posted to the video-sharing website YouTube. Captain Chris West, spokesman for the OHP, explained why the video was not released earlier. “We’ve been well aware of the fact that this incident has drawn enormous attention, but made the decision to protect the integrity of the investigation, any and all relevant evidence, as well as the rights of the department employees,” said West. Prior to the release of the dash-cam video, a relative of the patient had posted video of the incident to YouTube. The son of the ambulance patient can be seen in a video stating to the camera “Highway patrolman pulled over my mom’s ambulance because he’s mad we didn’t pull over, and he tried to arrest … the EMT from taking my mother to the hospital.”

One man is there protecting a patient and one man is there abusing his authority and throwing his weight around.

Richard O’Carroll, the lawyer for paramedic White, said that Trooper Martin abused his authority as a police officer. “Everything on this needs to relate back to why are we here? One man is there protecting a patient and one man is there abusing his authority and throwing his weight around,” said O’Carroll. White’s attorney filed a tort claim on behalf of his client in order to get the video of the police vehicle’s dash-cam released. Trooper Martin’s lawyer says he did not realize a patient was in the ambulance at the time of the incident.

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O’Carroll explained the decision of paramedic White not to use sirens while transporting his patient to the hospital: “There was a reason he wasn’t running sirens. There was a suggestion of chest pains and a heart condition and sirens aggravate these conditions by increasing the blood pressure.” However the attorney for Trooper Martin, Gary James, said that the ambulance was not exempt from regulations because it did not have its sirens on. “If they’re not running their sirens or lights, they don’t get afforded any emergency vehicle exemptions,” said James. The OHP chief is handling an internal review into the incident. As of June 1, Trooper Martin has been on paid administrative leave.

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By Wong Darren

Herbal colon cleansing is a natural way to rid your body of harmful toxins and is preferable to certain cleansing procedures as the ingredients are all natural plus this method is non-invasive. Here are some of the best herbs for colon cleansing:

1. Dandelion Root

– Dandelion root has been known as an effective liver cleanser as it stimulates bile discharge. This enables the liver to release toxins into the bile from which these toxins now enter the intestines and consequently get excreted from the body in the form of feces. It also consists of essential salts needed by the body and is useful in the treatment of gall bladder problems, arthritis, asthma and kidney infections.

2. Psyllium

– Psyllium has very high fiber content. It increases the amount of water in the body thereby making bowel movement easier. This herb also works against digestive problems such as diverticulitis, constipation and blockage in the colon.

3. Goldenseal Root

– This herb helps get rid of harmful germs that accumulate in waste matter and helps prevent inflammation in the intestines and problems associated with mucus membranes. Goldenseal root also has antibacterial properties.

4. Cascara Sagrada

– Cascara Sagrada has laxative properties and considered safe in the treatment of constipation.

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Capsicum. When used in combination with other herbs, Capsicum heightens the effectiveness of these herbs used in colon cleansing. It is also beneficial to the kidneys and helps prevent ulcers.

5. Fennel

– Fennel seed is one of the best herb cleansers that you can use although it is not recommended for children. It arrests muscle contractions in the intestinal tract.

6. Burdock

– Burdock is a natural diuretic and helps rid the body of toxins. Like the goldenseal root, it has antibiotic properties plus it is also anti-fungal.

7. Peppermint Leaf

– Indigestion, flatulence and stomach upset are just a few of the problems that this herb can address.

8. Apple Fiber

– Apple fiber aids digestion and is beneficial to colon health.

9. Licorice Root

– This herb is an organic detoxifier and it has laxative properties. It promotes regular bowel movement.

10. Flax Seeds

– Flax seeds function much in the same way as fiber does it makes the elimination of bodily waste much easier. It also promotes good digestion.

11. Bentonite

– This herb attracts metals that are harmful to the body and acts like a sponge by collecting harmful toxins.

12. Slippery Elm

– Not only is this beneficial to the colon, it also has positive effects on the stomach and the intestines.

There are a many other herbs that you can use to cleanse your colon. It all depends on your location, take time to check what is available in your locality. You may use these herbs in combination with each other to make herbal concoctions, opt for herb supplements or drink them as teas.

Whichever form you choose there is no denying the advantages that you can gain by incorporating herbs into your cleansing regimen. To be extra safe, make sure you consult your physician or a licensed herbologist if you are planning to use herbs as colon cleansers.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

According to a new study, US girls are reaching puberty earlier than ever, a trend that raises some health concerns. The study, which was conducted in New York’s East Harlem, the Cincinnati metropolitan area, and the San Francisco Bay area, showed that by age eight, 27% of girls had begun puberty and showed breast development. By age seven, 15% of girls were developing breasts.

There were differences among races. By age 7, 10.4% of white girls had reached puberty, up from 5% in a 1997 study. In contrast, 23.4% of African-Americans and 14.9% of Hispanics had reached puberty. Also, at age 8, 18.3% of whites, 42.9% of blacks and 30.9% of Hispanics had reached puberty.

Girls who reach puberty earlier have a higher chance of engaging in early sexual activity. The study examined 1,239 girls aged between six and eight.

Though the study did not address why US girls were reaching breast development earlier, it found that heavier girls reached puberty earlier. Marcia Herman-Giddens of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has said that the earlier puberty could be related to the rising obesity rate among US citizens. Currently, a third of US children are overweight or obese. Scientists and researchers are also worried about chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and atrazine that could disrupt growth hormones. The chemical industry says that these chemicals are safe and are harmless to humans.

Herman-Giddens also said that it can be confusing to hit puberty at a young age. Girls reaching puberty at a younger age are more likely to attempt suicide. Also, earlier puberty can cause low self-esteem and depression and at adulthood, girls who reached puberty earlier are more likely to have breast cancer and endometrial cancer.

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