August 19, 2017

Canada’s Don Valley West (Ward 25) city council candidates speak

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Don Valley West (Ward 25). Three candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include John Blair, Robertson Boyle, Tony Dickins, Cliff Jenkins (incumbent), and Peter Kapsalis.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

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August 18, 2017

Former Satyam CEO Raju, his brother and CFO arrested and detained in profit-fraud scandal

Monday, January 12, 2009

Byrraju Ramalinga Raju, founder and chairman of Satyam Computer Services, and his brother, B. Rama Raju, the company’s managing director, were arrested late Friday by Andhra Pradesh police. The brothers were placed under judicial custody in a Hyderabad, India jail and will remain there until January 23. Facing charges of criminal breach of trust (Section 406 of IPC), criminal conspiracy (Section 120-B), cheating (Section 420), falsification of records and forgery (Section 468), and fraudulent cancellation of securities (Section 477-a), they face up to ten years imprisonment if convicted.

After 18 hours of interrogation by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) at the state police headquarters, the Raju brothers were sent to the Chanchalguda prison and slept Saturday night on the floor along with 26 other low-risk inmates.

S. Bharat Kumar, the Rajus’s lawyer, asked the magistrate to issue orders for health monitoring. “His blood pressure is fluctuating and he needs medical treatment,” said Bharat Kumar. Mr. Raju appeared before the court Saturday while a team of doctors visited him after he had complained of chest pain.

Raju has Hepatitis-C, and both brothers have high blood pressure, so health precautions are necessary while imprisoned. Prison rules mandate service of jail food thrice a day. The menu includes 650 gm of rice thrice a day with 250 gm of vegetable curry and 125 gm of ‘daal’ plus tea twice a day.

Satyam’s chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas, who was also arrested Saturday, had undergone preliminary investigation and appeared Sunday before a special court, according to A. Sivanarayana, Andhra Pradesh additional director general of police. Srinivas was remanded to judicial custody until January 23 by Mr. D. Ramakrishna, Sixth Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, and sent to the Chanchalguda jail with the Raju brothers after interrogation by CID’s Crime Branch (the CB-CID). During his Saturday night arrest and probe by CB-CID, Srinivas made revelations which are contained in his confession letter as submitted to Network 18. “According to me fixed deposits are unreal and fictitious which were managed and was an understanding between the audit section management,” Srinivas stated.

The Hyderabad court on Monday postponed the bail hearings of the Raju brothers and Srinivas to January 16. To be defended by a battalion of 25 lawyers, the three accused will remain in Chanchalguda Central Jail until further court order. The Raju brothers were shifted Sunday to a mid-size Old Hospital Barrack cell shared with a bootlegger.

Contents

  • 1 The offences
  • 2 About Satyam Computer Services
  • 3 Impact on Satyam Computer Services finances and reactions
  • 4 Related news
  • 5 Sources

In 2008, the company struggled to purchase two infrastructure companies founded by family members of company founder and CEO Dr. Raju – Maytas Infrastructure and Maytas Properties – for $1.6 billion, despite concerns raised by independent board directors. Dr. Raju tendered his resignation on January 7 after due notice of falsified accounts to board members and the SEBI.

Since January 7 when two lawsuits were commenced, dozens of other class action law suits were filed against Satyam for hundreds of millions of dollars damages based on fraud in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, among others. The securities fraud class-action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of investors who bought Satyam American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) since 2004.

On Wednesday Dr. Raju admitted to falsifying and overstating Satyam’s cash reserves by $1B US dollars (£661m) or 94% of its cash and bank balances on books at the end of September.

The fraud was perpetrated several years ago to bridge “a marginal gap” between actual and accounting books operating profits, and continued for several years. “It was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten,” B. Raju said.

In a letter to the board, Dr. Raju said that neither he nor the managing director had benefited financially from the inflated revenues. Further claiming that none of the board members had any knowledge of the dire company situation, he noted that Satyam’s balance sheet as of the September 30, 2008, carried inflated figures for cash and bank balances of INR 5,040 crore (as against INR 5,361 crore reflected in the books). He alleged it also carried an accrued interest of INR 376 crore which was non-existent. He confessed that he himself prepared an understated liability of INR 1,230 crore on account of funds amid an overstated debtors’ position of INR 490 crore (as against INR 2,651 crore in the books).

Indian analysts have compared the Satyam-Raju scandal to the infamous American Enron scandal. Immediately following the media expose, PricewaterhouseCoopers, auditor of Satyam’s accounts, was set to be probed for complicity in the controversy. Times Now has reported that the Andhra Pradesh CID arrested PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) representative Gopal Krishnan for investigation on Saturday night.

New York-listed Satyam Computer Services Ltd., India’s fourth-biggest software firm, is a consulting and information technology services company based in Hyderabad, India. Founded in 1987 by Dr. Byrraju Ramalinga Raju, Satyam’s network spans 67 countries on six continents. It employs 53,000 professionals in India, the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Hungary, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Japan, Egypt and Australia. Its monthly salary outflow is estimated at six billion rupees ($125 million). Deriving more than half of its revenues from the United States, it serves 700 global companies, 185 of which are Fortune 500 corporations.

Satyam’s clients include Nestle, Ford, General Electric Co., General Motors Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Applied Materials Inc., Caterpillar Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Sony Corp., and brought in about $40bn last year.

In December 2008, a failed acquisition attempt involving the company Maytas led to a plunge in Satyam’s share price. After Wednesday’s confession, Satyam stocks fell further by more than 70%, while the BSE SENSEX dropped to 7.3% Wednesday, causing the removal of Satyam Computer Services from its indices on Thursday. The shares free fell to 11.50 rupees on Friday, their lowest level since March 1998, compared with around last year’s high of 544 rupees.

The New York Stock Exchange has terminated trading in Satyam stock as of January 7, while the National Stock Exchange of India said it will remove Satyam from its S&P CNX Nifty 50-share index from January 12.

India’s biggest-ever corporate fraud has seriously tainted India Inc.‘s strong corporate governance image. “The admission of fraud in financial affairs has created an adverse impression in the minds of trade, business and industry across the world,” the Indian government admitted. The government intervened on Friday night, dismissing Satyam’s board of directors, announcing it will appoint representatives to manage the affairs of the insolvent outsourcing giant. The board would meet within seven days. Dr Yeduguri Samuel Rajasekhara Reddy, chief Minister of State of Andhra Pradesh, India, on Sunday said that the main agenda is to protect the jobs of the software professionals. “We are taking all needful steps in coordination with the government of India to ensure that the jobs of 53,000 engineers are protected and the shareholders’ money is salvaged,” Reddy said.

“We are working on the names. The Satyam case is an aberration. The credibility of the Indian corporate sector in general, and IT sector in particular, should not be allowed to suffer because of this.” Prem Chand Gupta, the Corporate Affairs Minister said. The Federal Government of India appointed a three-member independent board with full authority for Satyam on Sunday and was set to convene within 24 hours. “We have appointed Deepak Parekh, chairman of Housing Development Finance Corporation, Kiran Karnik, former president of IT industry body NASSCOM and C. Achutan, former member of Securities and Exchange Board (SEBI) of India,” Mr. Gupta said.

In early Monday trading (0535 GMT) after the creation of the three-member board, Satyam shares rocketed upwards 60% to 38.15 rupees, even though the main Mumbai market was down more than 2%. BBC reported that Satyam shares have jumped 51% to 36.05 rupees on Monday after the stock lost 87% last week. “The constitution of the new board is seen as a positive step by the market. It’s a confidence boosting measure,” K.K. Mital, Globe Capital, New Delhi head of portfolio management services said. “But the rally will depend largely on the financial situation at the company and the kind of measures that are taken to improve liquidity,” he added.

The Company Law Board, however, has requested Satyam’s interim board not to implement its decisions. “We are asked by the Company Law Board not to implement the decisions of the board. But we are allowed to continue our activity. The team which was constituted recently is continuing its work,” Satyam head global marketing and communications, Mr. Hari Thalapalli, said.

Lazard Ltd., who has a 7.4% stake in Satyam, sought representation on the new board and wrote as much to The Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs. “As the largest shareholder in the company, we want to be consulted in whatever decisions are being taken by the Indian government. We have written to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and are awaiting a reply from them,” Hitesh Jain, a partner at ALMT Legal, who claimed to represent Lazard, said. “It is a fair proposal and we will take a decision as and when we clear other issues. No decision on this has been taken yet,” P.C. Gupta replied.

Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) also announced it will try to control the damage and take steps to boost investor confidence. “This exercise will be undertaken after the third quarter results and is expected to be completed by end of February this year,” a SEBI official statement said. A SEBI team is also investigating acting-CEO Ram Mynampati whose salary was greater than that of founder Dr. Raju and all the directors combined. Dr. Raju had just one fifth of Mynampati’s total package of over Rs 3.5 crore as of March 2008. All the directors comparably received only a total of Rs 2.6 crore as salary, commissions, sitting fees, professional fees and other receivables.

Further, the Andhra Pradesh Police CID and teams assigned by the Economic Offences Wing of the CB-CID conducted searches Sunday of homes of the accused including the ex-CFO’s office to gather documentary evidence about the financial fraud.

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August 12, 2017

Birmingham Estate Agents}

Birmingham Estate Agents

by

lazy submit

Buying a property – The ever-rising cost of housing has made it difficult for first-time buyers, so people are increasingly seeking alternative means of getting on the property ladder. Buying with your friends or family are two popular options, but you could also take part in a shared ownership scheme. This allows you to buy a percentage of your home, and pay rent on the remainder, with the option of increasing your share as and when you can afford it. Many of these homes are new-builds, with initial shares starting from around 25%, and the eventual option of owning the whole property.

As well as looking in estate agents’ windows, the internet is also an excellent research tool for finding properties. There are now many websites specifically geared for property searches, as well as those catering for people who want to sell without an agent altogether. Most estate agents also have their own websites.

It’s human nature to try to strike a deal, but if you find your ideal home and it seems to be priced correctly, consider offering the full asking price. This means you’ll be taken seriously, there won’t be any time-wasting and it will lessen the possibility of another party stepping in. All offers should be made with the stipulation of taking the property off the market. Getting a ‘Sold’ board outside is a good way to dissuade others from looking. You might also want to ensure that all internet adverts for the property have been removed, to prevent any further interest. One in three property chains fall apart. This can happen for numerous reasons, from one party not having their finances in order, to an unpleasant surprise in the survey. Under present British house-buying and selling practice, little can be done to alter the process, although the Government has introduced legislation that will require home owners or their selling agents to provide a Home Information Pack to prospective buyers on request. The best way to ensure a chain progresses smoothly is through good communication. Stay in regular contact with your conveyancer and estate agent to make sure everything possible is being done to speed things along. It can also help to stay flexible. Be prepared to move in with your family or rent as a short-term measure if it means you can keep the chain going.

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Gazumping – outbidding rivals at the last minute is a horror estate agents are powerless to stop in the UK. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in Scotland where there are laws to protect the buyer. Under the Estate Agency Act, estate agents are obliged to pass on all offers they receive, although a determined buyer will probably go straight to the vendor.

Attracting the Sale – Find out the maximum potential value of your property. It’s pointless spending 20,000 on improving a property if it will only add 10,000 to the sale price. Visit the local estate agents to find out the asking price for similar properties on the same street. The best time for selling is spring and autumn; the market slows down during late summer and over Christmas and New Year. If a property is sold while the market is buoyant, it’s much more likely to attract the asking price.

Avoid strong food odours – don’t cook food such as fish or curry before a viewing as the smell will linger. The smell of freshly-baked bread or fresh coffee though is said to provide a welcoming feel to a home. Ask friends or family to look after any pets during viewings. Try and make viewers feel comfortable. Offer them a coffee and ask them if they need any further information about bills or local amenities.

Birmingham Estate Agents

– Vendors tend to scour the areas where they want to buy, and visit agents based nearby. Don’t feel obliged to sell through the same agent you’re buying from. Anyone can give a high valuation figure, but actually obtaining it is another matter. Ascertain if the figure is a result of experience and knowledge of the area, or whether you’re being told what you want to hear. If you’re unsure, ask to see comparisons of previous sales in the area that have been passed by a mortgage surveyor. Negotiating a low fee with an agent may prove to be a false economy, because it won’t necessarily generate the high levels of enthusiasm needed to get the best result. Remember, estate agents work for money, so why not create an incentive to benefit both parties? A full asking price deserves a full fee but you might want to agree a downward sliding scale if offers fall below it. Be careful when authorising an agent. Read the contract small print carefully, as you may find yourself signed up and legally bound for a long period of time. If this is the case, in the event of poor service, you will not be able to go elsewhere, unless of course you’re prepared to fork out two fees. If you’re not, insist on a time period of your choice.

You want to get as many people as possible to know that your Birmingham property

is on the market. This could mean using internet estate agents or at least more than one agent. If you decide to use multiple agents, check the small print on their contracts. They may insist on ‘sole agency’, which means that even if you sell your home privately or through another agent, you’ll still be charged a commission fee.

The Birmingham Property Estate Agents website provides the user with services and information for finding Estate Agents in the local area of Birmingham and the surrounding area. The website was developed and is maintained by QUAD SEO LTD which is part of The QUAD Group. The QUAD Group provides all types of internet services, from restaurant search, global business directories,

UK property

estate agent websites along with web design, hosting and marketing. For further information on

UK property

estate agent websites please email us at info@birminghampropertysale.co.uk.

Article Source:

eArticlesOnline.com

}

IBM Releases 500 patents to open source community

Saturday, January 15, 2005

United States – “IBM hereby commits not to assert any of the 500 U.S. patents listed below, as well as all counterparts of these patents issued in other countries, against the development, use or distribution of Open Source Software.” [1]

So begins the pledge IBM has made to “any individual, community, or company” writing or using software defined as “open source” by the Open Source Initiative (OSI).

The patents include software for text recognition and database management.[2]

“True innovation leadership is about more than just the numbers of patents granted. It’s about innovating to benefit customers, partners and society”, said Dr. John E. Kelly, IBM senior vice president, Technology and Intellectual Property. “Our pledge today is the beginning of a new era in how IBM will manage intellectual property.” [3]

“This is not a one-time event”, said Dr. Kelly. “While IBM will continue to demonstrate leadership in patent output, through measures such as today’s pledge, we will increasingly use patents to encourage and protect global innovation and interoperability through open standards and we urge others to do so as well.”

Lawrence Lessig, law professor at Stanford Law School and free software proponent commented: “This is exciting. It is IBM making good on its commitment to encourage a different kind of software development and recognizing the burden that patents can impose.” [4]

Not all are confident of IBM’s motives, though.

Florian Mueller, campaign manager of anti-patent website, NoSoftwarePatents.com, accused IBM of hypocrisy because of lobbying in the European Union to push through the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive.

“IBM is just being hypocritical because they want to appease the open source community and make themselves popular,” said Mueller.

“In Europe, IBM is a driving force behind the extension of the scope of patentability with respect to software. If IBM wants to assume the role of a post-Christmas benefactor, they’d better stop their aggressive patent lobbying in the EU and their shameless squeezing of small and medium-sized companies with its patent portfolio.” [5]

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Existing US home sales fall 9.6% in February

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sales of existing homes in the U.S. fell 9.6% in February, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said today, in a sign that the U.S. housing market is still depressed. The figure was worse than the 3.9% decline anticipated by the economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and questions whether the U.S. housing market is beginning to recover or will continue to fall.

We have an uneven, choppy recovery. Hopefully it is a recovery …

A combination of foreclosures and short sales, where the mortgage holder sells the house for less than owed on the mortgage, accounted for almost 40% of the sales.

Millions of foreclosures have forced down home prices and the number of foreclosures are predicted to rise this year. The inventory of existing homes listed for sale rose 3.5% at the end of February, a 8.6-month supply at the current sales rate. As more homes are listed in the spring, the inventory of houses for sale will probably increase. A five or six month inventory is usually considered a healthy balance between supply and demand.

According to Moody’s Analytics, another 3.6 million bank-owned homes and possible foreclosures will be added to the inventory by 2013, adding to the 6.7 million home foreclosures since 2006. Thus housing inventories will probably continue to remain high, delaying the point when prices stabilize. The median sales price in February fell 5.2%, down to a price level not seen since April 2002.

“We have an uneven, choppy recovery,” said NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Hopefully it is a recovery that is taking place.”

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Bank of England governor warns housing market is biggest threat to UK economy

Sunday, May 18, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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August 9, 2017

Wind Power Accounted For 12% Of Electricity Demand In 2020

Click Here To Know More About:

By Jerri Lily

Industrial environment, there is still room for improvement

Global Wind Energy Council and the international environmental organization Greenpeace in Beijing on October 12 jointly issued the “Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010” report shows that by 2020, wind energy can meet 12% of global electricity demand by 2030 of up to 22%. Greenpeace International Renewable Energy Director Sven Teske said that by 2030, wind energy is today the market size will be 3 times the scale of investment required to reach 202 billion euros. Participate in an expert report was released at the same time that the States should also increase the power grid construction, the implementation of appropriate policies, and through the development of carbon trading for the wind energy industry to create market environment.

Double by 2015 wind power Investment

“Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010” report points based on three general and optimistic scenarios of future global wind energy industry is predicted. According to Global Wind Energy Council Secretary General Steve Sawyer, due to the global wind energy industry in recent years, rapid development had made to the Global Wind Energy Council forecasts not keep up with the most radical of the actual wind industry growth.

According to the report the most optimistic scenario predicts that the global wind power investment will amount to 57.45 billion euros, while in 2015 this figure will reach 109.072 billion euros, compared with almost double the current investment. The global wind power installed capacity in 2010 is expected to add approximately 40GW, the total installed capacity of 200GW, to double again in 2014 to 400GW.

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“In 2010, wind energy industry, 600,000 employees every 30 minutes to install one unit, each unit installed three years, there is one China.” Greenpeace International Renewable Energy Director Sven Teske said. “By 2030, wind energy is today the market size will be 3 times the scale of investment required to reach 202 billion euros. We will see one in every seven minutes to put up a new wind turbine.”

Wind energy can reduce the main greenhouse gas emissions while meeting growing energy demand worldwide. Global wind energy capacity is expected to report to up to 10 million kilowatts by 2020, reduce annual emissions of 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to “Copenhagen” in 2020, made by developed countries emission reduction commitments -75% to 50%. By 2030, expected to be 23 million kilowatts of wind power installed capacity, a total of 34 billion tons of carbon to reduce emissions.

Wind energy has become a mainstream power source in many countries, all over the world have been adopted in 75 countries. “Interestingly, most of the wind energy industry growth in industrialized states,” Global Wind Energy Council President Klaus Rave said. “Before 2030, we expect more than half of the world’s wind farms will be established in developing countries and emerging economies.”

China is the world’s largest wind power market is the world’s largest wind turbine production base. Until the end of 2009, domestic wind power installed capacity of 2,500 kilowatts. In the “Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010” predicted cases in all, China is the fastest growing wind energy industry, single country, the report predicts China’s wind power installed capacity in 2020 will reach the present times.

Industrial environment, there is still room for improvement

Despite the strong development momentum of the global wind power industry, but other factors are still restricting the power of wind power utilization. Sven Teske said the wind power industry, power issues are increasingly important, but the lack of grid capacity in many countries.

“Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010” that in parts of China’s power grid infrastructure is a serious problem, especially in high wind northwest, north and northeast regions. At present, China’s wind power industry has shown more than installed capacity of wind turbine manufacturing, the trend of capacity over the Internet capacity, the wind power industry was once considered the development of overheating.

In addition to the development of latency network access to the Internet problems outside, Steve Sawyer that the country has long had a large number of fossil energy subsidies explicit or implicit, as wind and other renewable energy development barriers. He said the development of carbon markets, carbon trading funds to develop the use of wind power relative increase subsidies for clean energy is conducive to wind energy industry.

And Sven Teske is stressed that the carbon market to promote the development of wind power industry, the role of carbon targets will be the impact of market price fluctuations. He considered that wind power should be given an appropriate tariff to better promote the industry. And China’s recent offshore wind power in the lowest tender price 0.61 yuan Steve Sawyer appears to be insufficient in building the offshore wind farm.

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Putin calls US troops in Poland ‘a threat’

Friday, January 13, 2017

Reports yesterday indicated Russian President Vladimir Putin views the arrival of US troops in Poland as “a threat”.

Earlier this week around a quarter of 4,000 troops earmarked for Poland crossed into Poland from Germany. Also included were trucks, tanks, and Humvees. Many are set to be based in ?aga?, where Polish Prime Minister Beata Szyd?o and Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz are scheduled to ceremonially welcome them tomorrow.

Part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the deployment is set to include Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and Paladin artillery. It is the largest deployment of US troops to Europe since the Cold War ended. The presence of US assets “threatens our interests and our security,” according to Putin. “It’s a third country that is building up its military presence on our borders in Europe,” he told the BBC. “It isn’t even a European country.”

Outgoing US President Barack Obama authorised the move in response to Russian intervention in Ukraine in 2014, in which Crimea was annexed. It was agreed at a NATO summit in Warsaw last year. Tomasz Szatkowski, Polish Undersecretary of State for Defence, noted “large exercises” by Russia near the Polish border as another reason the troops were needed.

Szatkowski also mentioned Russian action in Ukraine, which he called “aggressive actions in our vicinity”. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Mechkov, however, said the incoming troops and vehicles were a “factor destabilising European security”. Russian Presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov echoed Putin, saying the troops are “a threat. These actions threaten our interests, our security. Especially as it concerns a third party building up its military presence near our borders. It’s [the US], not even a European state.”

Ties between Russia and the US are strained. Last month the US expelled 35 Russian diplomats accused of espionage, and sanctioned Russian intelligence agencies. This was in response to a CIA report issued two weeks earlier that concluded the Russian government hacked servers belonging to the U.S. Republican and Democratic parties. The CIA report said this was to turn the 2016 presidential election toward president-elect Donald Trump.

Since Szyd?o took office in 2015, Poland has also suffered a decline in relations with Russia. Within a week of the Law and Justice Party coming to power in Poland, it removed web pages featuring the results of an investigation into the Smolensk air disaster in Russia in 2010. The cause of the crash, which killed dignitaries including Polish President Lech Kaczynski, is disputed.

A Polish probe concluded the Polish pilots put safety second in their determination to get their passengers through dense fog. It also placed blame on Russian controllers for failing to divert the aircraft. Russian investigators blamed the pilots alone. The flight was carrying high-profile political figures to attend a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, when thousands of Polish prisoners of war and civilians were killed by the Soviets.

Russia has refused to return wreckage, encouraging conspiracy theories about the crash. In 2015 Szyd?o said in response to the vanishing investigatory findings “the website has been closed and will simply remain closed.”

In recent months tension has mounted further as Russia deployed missiles to Kalingrad. The enclave, Russian territory lying between Poland and Lithuania, now has nuclear-capable Iskanders and anti-ship Bastion equipment. NATO considered these deployments a response to its own.

The US troops are set to rotate around the Balkans every nine months. Other planned host nations are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The rotation is due to a treaty with Russia preventing permanent deployment to any particular territory.

Russia-US relations face a potential thaw, as President-Elect Donald Trump moves towards office on January 20. Trump has made clear he intends to seek a closer relationship with Russia. Rex Tillerson, proposed Secretary of State for the Trump administration, implied the troops would be staying put. He said Russia had claimed Crimea “as an act of force” requiring the US to offer “a proportional show of force”.

Trump’s proposed Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, backed NATO before the US Senate yesterday. He said Putin aimed to weaken the NATO alliance. Witold Waszczykowski, Polish foreign minister, earlier this week remarked any improvement in US-Russia relations should avoid harming Polish interests.

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China-EU financial relations are growing

Friday, December 4, 2009

Chinese President Hu Jintao met with the European Union’s leaders Jose Manuel Barroso and Fredrik Reinfeldt in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. The EU leaders were in China to attend Monday’s twelfth China-European Union (EU) summit. Barroso said China-EU relations are “more mature, deeper” then before.

China-EU trading relations have grown over the last 35 years. The volume of trade between the pair reached US$425.58 billion in 2008, an increase of 19.5% over the prior year. Bilateral relations are far closer now than in previous years.

Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, said the Lisbon Treaty would help strengthen EU-China relations. Summit attendees also talked about nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament, human rights, climate change, combating financial crisis and financial investments.

Before the twelfth China-EU summit, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with EU delegates in Nanjing, and the trading partners celebrated the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

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Trust formed to protect New Zealand’s free speech

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Free Speech Coalition was launched today in New Zealand due to the “grave threat” on New Zealand’s free speech the Electoral Finance Bill has, according to co-founder, Cameron Slater, who spoke to Wikinews.

David Farrar, author of Kiwiblog; Cameron Slater, author of Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog; and Bernard Darton, leader of political party, Libertarianz, compose The Free Speech Coalition trust set up to educate the “woefully informed” New Zealand public and campaign against the “draconian aspects” of the Bill.

The Electoral Finance Bill will mean, among many other “draconian” restrictions, registered third parties campaigning against politically held viewpoints are limited to spending NZ$60,000 for 11 months in an election year. The $60,000 limit is about the cost of two full page newspapers ads, according to Slater. The Bill is currently before the Justice and Electoral Select Committee, which will consider the huge amount of public submissions received, possible amendments and whether or not it should proceed in the House.

Slater believes that Labour, Greens, New Zealand First, and United Future will recommend that minor alterations are made to the Bill while proceeding through the House, “and all the others recommending the Bill be Killed.”

As well as The Free Speech Coalition supporting the Bill being withdrawn, so does the Human Rights Commission, and the New Zealand Law Society. The Law Society has said, “The Bill has serious defects, which mean it will not achieve its stated aims. Moreover, it is likely to curtail the legitimate expression of opinions while failing to curb (and potentially even incentivising) clandestine conduct in relation to the electoral process. The bill as a whole represents a backward step in the integrity of democracy in New Zealand.”

“seriously flawed and does not achieve its stated aims while effectively regulating and in fact stopping free speech in New Zealand for one third of electoral cycle,” was how Slater described the Electoral Finance Bill, which is expected to become law on January 1, 2008.

Slater says that the only way this Bill could work is to be withdrawn, as amendments could not save it, “For one it doesn’t even cover anonymous donations which Labour wailed on about ad infinitum.” He also criticises the amount of input the public has had into this Bill, with the only input being the public submissions to the Select Committee. “This is a substantial change to the Electoral Act the very basis of our democracy and there has been little or no input from the public nor has there been any public consultation.”

“The real danger is that Labour tries to pass this under urgency with no more public consultation,” Slater warns.

The interview finished with Cameron Slater simply stating, “Kill The Bill.”

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