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April 25, 2012

Finnish court gives MP Ilkka Kanerva suspended prison sentence

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Finland
Other stories from Finland
  • 5 December 2011: Finnish trio shot dead in Brazil
  • 10 August 2011: Finnish police to receive guidance on Internet ‘hate speech’
  • 9 August 2011: Former Prime Minister of Finland Harri Holkeri dies aged 74
  • 8 July 2011: Finnish Olympic champion skier Mika Myllylä found dead
  • 15 May 2011: Azerbaijan win 2011 Eurovision Song Contest
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Ilkka Kanerga in 2008.
Image: Mikhail Evstafiev.

The Helsinki District Court (Tingsrätt) convicted National Coalition Party MP and former Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva on 18, April morning. Ilkka Kanerva was given a suspended prison sentence and suspended from public posts of aggravated bribe-taking and dereliction of duty in the Nova case. Kanerva was given a suspended prison of a year and three months. Kanerva will appeal of his conviction.

Kanerva’s sentencing was part of the bribery and election funding in 2007 linked with the bankruptcy of the Finnish small company Nova Group.

Kanerva’s judgement was part of the bribery and election funding in 2007 and the bankruptcy of the Nova Group. Four businessmen Arto Merisalo, Tapani Yli-Saunamäki, Kyösti Kakkonen, and Toivo Sukari wanted to build large shopping complexes in the region. They contributed tens of thousands of euros to Kanerva’s 60th birthday celebrations in 2008 and to his election campaign fund, hoping to get favourable decisions on zoning matters from the regional council.

They contributed tens of thousands of euros to Kanerva’s 60th birthday celebrations in 2008 and to his election campaign fund, hoping to get favourable decisions on zoning matters from the regional council.

Contents

Trial

The trial started on November, 2011. The case included at least six Nova, Masku and Tokmanni shopping centers (like Maskun kalustetalo (furniture), Ideapark (large shopping center) or large retail store) that needed provincial building permits in Naantali, Paimio, Loimaa, Masku and Raisio. Ilkka Kanerva received over €50,000 from the business men that had in interest the large construction projects. Ilkka kanerva was the chairman of the Regional Council. Ilkka Kanerva had a political position to influence the building permissions. According to the prosecutor Ilkka kanerva had asked for the election funds. According to the decision Kanerva had a lot of contacts with the business men and he had opportunities to promote their plans. Kanerva claim he did not know the plans, but the trial considered it most likely that the business was discussed in the contacts. The decision was voted.

2007 campaign finance scandal of Finland

Kehittyvien Maakuntien Suomi KMS supported funds by three companies: Nova Group (Mr. Tapani Yli-Saunamäki) €145,000 (36 %), Suomen Liikekiinteistöt SLK (Mr. Kyösti Kakkonen) €120,000 (30 %) and Maskun kalustetalo (Mr. Toivo Sukari) €100,000 (25 %).

2007 campaign finance scandal of Finland was raised since most Members of Parliament elected did not announce their campaign funding from Kehittyvien Maakuntien Suomi KMS that included Nova Group. Parliament had not set by law any upper limit for the donered election funds. Parliament had made a law that the MP will receive no punishments if not giving the information. This is also valid now. It was stated that it is in the responsibility of media to find out if the announcements are wrong or not complete. The scandal was that this group of construction related business men had given in total €400,000 campaign funds in 2007 including most ministers in the government. The case had some connections to later the prime minister Matti Vanhanen resign.

KMS funding in the 2007 campaign finance scandal of Finland included elected candidates:

  • National Coalition Party: Ilkka Kanerva €10,000, Sauli Niinistö €10,000, Jyrki Katainen €10,000, Jyri Häkämies €10,000, Marja Tiura €20,000, Jari Koskinen €5,000, Paula Risikko €5,000, Merikukka Forsius €5,000, Sampsa Kataja €5,000, Juha Hakola €5,000, Suvi Linden €5,000, Pekka Ravi €10,000, Petri Salo €10,000, Henna Virkkunen €5,000
  • Centre Party: Paula Lehtomäki €15,000, Mauri Pekkarinen €10,000, Matti Vanhanen €10,000, Anu Vehviläinen €10,000, Paavo Väyrynen €10,000 Liisa Hyssälä €5,000, Seppo Kääriäinen €5,000, Timo Kalli €10,000, Hannes Manninen €5,000, Juha Mieto €5,000, Markku Uusipaavalniemi €5,000, Hannu Hoskonen €2,000, Anne Kalmari €5,000, Oiva Kaltiokumpu €5,000, Juha Korkeaoja €5,000, Mika Lintilä €10,000, Lauri Oinonen €5,000, Markku Pakkanen €2,000, Antti Rantakangas €5,000, Eero Reijonen €5,000, Paula Sihto €5,000, # Sdp: Eero Heinäluoma €10,000, Matti Ahde €10,000, Lauri Kähkönen €2,000, Päivi Lipponen ( wife of Paavo Lipponen) €5,000
  • Swedish People’s Party: Stefan Wallin €10,000

Other politicians that have been involved in the election funds prosecutions include: Marja Tiura (consevative), Sampsa Kataja (consevative), Antti Kaikkonen (center) and Matti Vanhasen (center).

Nova Group

Nova Group aimed to large construction projects in different cities in Finland. CEO was Tapani Yli-Saunamäki. Nova Group build e.g. a factory in Rovaniemi. Mauri Pekkarinen took part in the openning seremony of it in 5.5.2008.

The court judged the Nova management guilty of aggravated dishonesty as a debtor and aggravated bookkeeping crimes. All seven received ban from business activities, the longest ban was seven years for Merisalo, and former Nova Group CEO Pauli Hakala. The seven were also ordered to collectively pay compensation of about EUR 5 million to the estates of the bankrupt companies.

Nova Group was effectively insolvent by 2006 and Nova Real Estate Development by 2007. The spending led to bankruptcy of Nova in 2009. However, about €5 million was out of the reach of their creditors in 2006-2008. The court did not find any legitimate business-related reasons for expenditures including contributions to the 60th birthday celebrations of Ilkka Kanerva.

Kanerva case was postponed to combine it with other related cases. This was of course favorable for the National Coalition Party in respect to the Finnish presidential election, 2012.

  • Arto Merisalo was sentenced to six years in prison
  • Aija Merisalo was sentenced to three years in prison
  • Yli-Saunamäki got a custodial sentence of three and a half years.
  • Ari Ruotsalainen, custodial sentence of ten months
  • Toivo Sukari got an eight-month suspended sentence for aggravated bribery.
  • Kyösti Kakkonen was acquitted.

Positions

Foreign minister Ilkka Kanerva was sacked on 1 April, 2008 based on suggestive text messages he sent to an erotic dancer. Ilkka Kanerva had sent ca 200 messages to the 29-year-old leader of the Scandinavian Dolls dance troupe. Kanerva announced on 23.4.2012 to quit his post as chairman of the board of the Regional Council of Southwest Finland. His conviction was related to activity in the regional council. A number of legal experts said that he should step down now. Kanerva has also position in the Parliament and the city Council of Turku. As on 23. April they continue.

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Critics of Danish Security and Intelligence Service

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Finland
Other stories from Finland
  • 5 December 2011: Finnish trio shot dead in Brazil
  • 10 August 2011: Finnish police to receive guidance on Internet ‘hate speech’
  • 9 August 2011: Former Prime Minister of Finland Harri Holkeri dies aged 74
  • 8 July 2011: Finnish Olympic champion skier Mika Myllylä found dead
  • 15 May 2011: Azerbaijan win 2011 Eurovision Song Contest
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Danish Security and Intelligence Service (DNIS – PET) detained the Finnish professor charging of meeting four spies (espionage agents). Professor Timo Kivimäki is a peace and conflict negotiator meeting international parties from several countries. Professor Timo Kivimäki was arrested on Thursday 12.4.2012. He was charged on 28 March. He is professor of international politics at the University of Copenhagen. According to Danish Weekendavisen 49 year old professor is accused of mild espionage and assisting Russian spies in Denmark. Professor denies. Kivimäki admitted contact with Russian diplomates in realtion to conflicts in Irak and Afghanistan and discussions of Arktis. He denies knowing diplomates being spies as claimed by DNIS (PET). The charges are related to Kivimäki’s attempts to resolve disputes of Arctic Ocean. He is claimed assisting spies in Denmark. This is first time anyone is in court based on the Danish Criminal Law § 108.

The trial is in secret and the reason for the trial is secret. Ms. Kivimäki has given statement believing his trial was based on the Danish DNIS (PET) willingness to access his non public and secret papers. The way the trial is conducted confirms that Danish police may use the trial for that purposes. In public is informed that Kivimäki would have given list of students for Russians for the planned international negotiation for the Arctic area protection. In Finland the list of students of all academic courses are always on the blackboards easily available for anyone interested.

Contents

Arctic

According to Dean Ms. Liisa Laakso of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Helsinki the charges are related to Kivimäki’s attempts and reports on how to resolve disputes of arctic area waters. Connected to this Kivimäki had discussions with the Russian diplomats that are now accused to be spies.

Methane hydrates under the frozen sea in the Arctic area can cause a massive methane releases. How big, is under investigation. One Russian American study directed by Igor Semiletov will be published in April 2012. Massive methane emissions have caused mass extinctions 55 and 251 million years ago. Atmosphere methane content is now estimated as 5 billion tones and annual methane emissions as 600 million tons. IPCC estimated the methane share as 1/3 of the climate change gases in 2007. The carbon storage under the East Siberian area is estimated as 1,400 billion tons in total in different carbon forms. The more the Arctic sea ice will smelt, the higher is the risk for the methane emissions in the atmosphere. At worst it could cause a fast warming, a climate jump. North ice cover was 17,000 km2 in 1979 and 4,000 km2 in 2011. In the end of March 2012 member nations of the Arctic CouncilCanada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US – met to try to set some minimum rules to protect the region against pollution. The Arctic is probably the most environmentally sensitive region on the planet. Few treaties exist to protect it.

Methane is detected near surface of Arctic ocean. Gas has no carbon monoxide – so it does not come from man-made combustion. A report in Nature Geoscience suggests that also huge ‘surges’ of methane are released by melting permafrost.

Kivimäki

Timo Kivimäki has worked in Copenhagen since 1999. Kivimäki is suspended as professor during the legal process. Kivimäki is suspended since January/February 2011. Kivimäki was professor at the University of Helsinki during 1996-1999 and has student supervision tasks ongoing. The claimed analyses concern Irak, Iran and Arktis. According to media he has made security analyses and reports for many diplomates and governments including the Russians.

He has worked in the peace negotiations for over 20 years including Aceh, West Kalimantan, Papua and Burma/Myanmar. In his work he has met hundreds of diplomats and decision makers. At the time of the arrest DNIS did not know all the names of their suspected diplomates or how they look.

Secret data to DNIS

According to Professor DNIS asked in 2005 from him secret and confidential information from Aceh war discussions. Professor refused to give information. He considered it spying. He also pointed out that Denmark is a NATO country unlike Finland. However, according to Professor now based on these new claims DNIS has had opportunity to read all these secret papers and all other his notes and discussions. His telephone discussions to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Finland) have been translated. Danish Intelligence has acquired his confidential contacts in the peace and democracy development projects funded by Finland and the European Union. This is in conflict with the interest of Finland.

Interrogation

According to the professor he was interrogated in total for 350 – 400 hours since September 2010. His normal life was not possible. The Danish Security and Intelligence Service used the sleep debt method in the interrogation and prevented professor to have his asthma medicine 11 p.m. in the evening. The suspicion cut contacts to colleagues for 19 months and may disturb his imago. The interrogations were not recorded. DNIS does not report its activity. There is no way to control the activity of DSIS. Also the trial is announced to be secret.

Discussion

SUPO Finnish Security Intelligence Service

University is suprised.

Finnish Security Intelligence Service SUPO did not know for a long tome of the case. SUPO does not comment the case. According to yle news the claimed suspect is slight spying for the Russia. Professor denies

Denmark

Ministry of Justice (Denmark), which will conduct the trial, try to convince the Foreign Ministry Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), to keep trial public.

See also

  • Russians arrested environmental expert Knuuttila in Russia

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Disposal of fracking wastewater poses potential environmental problems

Disposal of fracking wastewater poses potential environmental problems

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Environment
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A recent study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the oil and gas industry are creating earthquakes. New information from the Midwest region of the United States points out that these man-made earthquakes are happening more frequently than expected. While more frequent earthquakes are less of a problem for regions like the Midwest, a geology professor from the University of Southern Indiana, Dr. Paul K. Doss, believes the disposal of wastewater from the hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) process used in extracting oil and gas has the possibility to pose potential problems for groundwater.

Map showing significant earthquakes in the Midwest region of the United States. It was analyzed to show links between felt earthquakes and energy development.
Image: United States Geological Survey.

“We are taking this fluid that has a whole host of chemicals in it that are useful for fracking and putting it back into the Earth,” Doss said. “From a purely seismic perspective these are not big earthquakes that are going to cause damage or initiate, as far as we know, any larger kinds of earthquakes activity for Midwest. [The issue] is a water quality issue in terms of the ground water resources that we use.”

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique used by the oil and gas industries which inject highly pressurized water down into the Earth’s crust to break rock and extract natural gas. Most of the fluids used for fracking are proprietary, so information about what chemicals are used in the various fluids are unknown to the public and to create a competitive edge.

Last Monday four researchers from the University of New Brunswick released an editorial that sheds light on the potential risks that the current wastewater disposal system could have on the province’s water resources. The researchers share the concern that Dr. Doss has and have come out to say that they believe fracking should be stopped in the province until there is an environ­mentally safe way to dispose the waste wastewater.

“If groundwater becomes contamin­ated, it takes years to decades to try to clean up an aquifer system,” University of New Brunswick professor Tom Al said.

While the USGS group which conducted the study says it is unclear how the earthquake rates may be related to oil and gas production, they’ve made the correlation between the disposal of wastewater used in fracking and the recent upsurge in earthquakes. Because of the recent information surfacing that shows this connection between the disposal process and earthquakes, individual states in the United States are now passing laws regarding disposal wells.

Cquote1.svg The problem is that we have never, as a human society, engineered a hole to go four miles down in the Earth’s crust that we have complete confidence that it won’t leak. Cquote2.svg

—Dr. Paul K. Doss

“The problem is that we have never, as a human society, engineered a hole to go four miles down in the Earth’s crust that we have complete confidence that it won’t leak,” Doss said. “A perfect case-in-point is the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, that oil was being drilled at 18,000 feet but leaked at the surface. And that’s the concern because there’s no assurance that some of these unknown chemical cocktails won’t escape before it gets down to where they are trying to get rid of them.”

It was said in the study released by the New Brunswick University professors that if fracking wastewater would contaminate groundwater, that current conventional water treatment would not be sufficient enough to remove the high concentration of chemicals used in fracking. The researchers did find that the wastewater could be recycled, can also be disposed of at proper sites or even pumped further underground into saline aquifers.

The New Brunswick professors have come to the conclusion that current fracking methods used by companies, which use the water, should be replaced with carbon diox­ide or liquefied propane gas.

“You eliminate all the water-related issues that we’re raising, and that peo­ple have raised in general across North America,” Al said.

In New Brunswick liquefied propane gas has been used successfully in fracking some wells, but according to water specialist with the province’s Natural Resources De­partment Annie Daigle, it may not be the go-to solution for New Brunswick due its geological makeup.

“It has been used successfully by Corridor Resources here in New Bruns­wick for lower volume hydraulic frac­turing operations, but it is still a fairly new technology,” Daigle said.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with U.S. states to come up with guidelines to manage seismic risks due to wastewater. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA is the organization that also deals with the policies for wells.

Oil field located in Lost Hills in California
Image: Arne Hückelheim.

Oil wells, which are under regulation, pump out salt water known as brine, and after brine is pumped out of the ground it’s disposed of by being pumped back into the ground. The difference between pumping brine and the high pressurized fracking fluid back in the ground is the volume that it is disposed of.

“Brine has never caused this kind of earthquake activity,” Doss said. “[The whole oil and gas industry] has developed around the removal of natural gas by fracking techniques and has outpaced regulatory development. The regulation is tied to the ‘the run-of-the-mill’ disposal of waste, in other words the rush to produce this gas has occurred before regulatory agencies have had the opportunity to respond.”

According to the USGS study, the increase in injecting wastewater into the ground may explain the sixfold increase of earthquakes in the central part of the United States from 2000 – 2011. USGS researchers also found that in decades prior to 2000 seismic events that happened in the midsection of the U.S. averaged 21 annually, in 2009 it spiked to 50 and in 2011 seismic events hit 134.

“The incredible volumes and intense disposal of fracking fluids in concentrated areas is what’s new,” Doss said. “There is not a body of regulation in place to manage the how these fluids are disposed of.”

The study by the USGS was presented at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America on April 18, 2012.



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Trinidad TV host bailed on teen rape broadcast charges

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trinidad’s Ian Alleyene, host of TV6‘s Crime Watch, has been released on bail. He spent the weekend in custody after being charged under the Sexual Offences Act following television broadcasts allegedly showing a mentally ill teenage girl’s rape.

The controversial case centres around Port of Spain.

Arrested on April 20, Alleyne spent the weekend in a hospital and the night of April 23 in police custody. He is now free after a Port of Spain magistrate granted his release on TT$80,000 (About US$13,300). The case is adjourned until May 14, when the owner of the TV station, Caribbean Communications Network, is summonsed to also appear in court regarding the same broadcasts.

The charges, filed just days before the statute of limitations expired, allege footage was thrice broadcast in October 2011 which allowed public identification of a rape victim. A fourth charge alleges Alleyne, who’s lawyer says has no previous convictions, obstructed the police investigation.

Cquote1.svg it is just a travesty of justice Cquote2.svg

—Ian Alleyne

The fourth charge relates to an incident last week at Caribbean Communications Network’s Independence Square premises in Port of Spain. Alleyne was ultimately arrested publicly but police claim they first asked him to attend a police station.

Alleyne was taken to court early yesterday morning where he appeared before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar in a hearing witnessed by journalists and his family. Thirty minutes after bail was granted he had posted it and was freed, meeting supporters protesting against the prosecution outside the courthouse.

“[I]f you go back to the genesis of this entire incident you will realise it is just a travesty of justice,” he told the press. Walking through Port of Spain upon his release, he twice mounted tables to address following supporters. “They can lock me up for a month, they can lock me up for two months, but I will still come out and will continue my fight for you. As long as there is breath in my body, I will continue fighting for you, the poor people.”

During the hearing, court officials were accused by the magistrate of breaching procedure. Alleyne had been taken directly into the court before it had opened, and was fed breakfast there. Superintendent of the Court and Process Branch Kenneth Cordner promised to “hold some training sessions to ensure that the officers fully understand their roles” and called the incident “upsetting.”

Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard warned local media yesterday not to prejudice any trial, noting the high public interest in the case. Gaspard said doing so would “would constitute an unwelcome and unfortunate interference with the due administration of justice and may properly provide a sufficient basis upon which a citation for contempt may be fastened.”

Also yesterday, Alleyne took to the studio and returned to his position hosting Crime Watch. He denies all charges.

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Former Ukranian PM Yulia Tymoshenko goes on hunger strike

Former Ukranian PM Yulia Tymoshenko goes on hunger strike

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yulia Tymoshenko at a 2007 summit.

Reports are emerging that Yulia Tymoshenko, the Ex-Prime Minister of Ukraine who in currently in prison at Kharkiv, has been on hunger strike since Friday. According to her lawyer, she is protesting against “what is happening in the country and what is happening to her in prison.”

It was further reported that she has been punched in the stomach by prison guards, and has received bruises on her arms and stomach from being manhandled several times between prison and hospital. The Kharkiv regional prosecutor, Henadiy Tyurin, confirmed that “According to the law… the prison service has the right to use physical measures: she was picked up, carried to the car and taken to the hospital.”

Tymoshenko has been sentenced to seven years and has been imprisoned since last October on charges of abuse of office relating to her time as Prime Minister. Other charges of embezzlement and tax evasion are pending which could push the sentence to a further twelve years.

US President Bush with PM Tymoshenko in 2008

Tymoshenko denies the charges and believes they are are part of a campaign by President Viktor Yanukovych to bar her from politics. She was narrowly defeated by Yanukovych in the 2010 presidential elections.

Officials from the United States and European Union have described the prosecution of Tymoshenko as selective and politically motivated. A statement from the White House urged Ukraine to release Tymoshenko and other Ukrainian politicians. Ukraine has been informed by the European Union that pending bilateral agreements will not be ratified while Tymoshenko remains in prison.



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USDA says mad cow disease found in cow in California

USDA says mad cow disease found in cow in California

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This file photo shows a cow with BSE unable to stand.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed that a case of ‘mad cow disease‘ (BSE) has been found in a dairy cow in central California. The disease is described as “atypical.” None of the milk or beef from the cow made it to the consumption level.

“It (the cow) was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health. Additionally, milk does not transmit BSE,” said John Clifford, who heads the USDA’s veterinary department. Tom Vilsack, the USDA’s Agriculture Secretary also said the food supply is safe saying, “The beef and dairy in the American food supply is safe and USDA remains confident in the health of U.S. cattle. The systems and safeguards in place to protect animal and human health worked as planned to identify this case quickly, and will ensure that it presents no risk to the food supply or to human health. USDA has no reason to believe that any other U.S. animals are currently affected, but we will remain vigilant and committed to the safeguards in place.”

According to reports, the cow was found in a rendering facility where testing turned back a positive match for the disease. Clifford says the cow’s carcass will be destroyed. It is currently being held in a rendering facility in California under state authority.

“As part of our targeted surveillance system, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the nation’s fourth case of BSE in a dairy cow from central California,” said Clifford in a statement to the press. “Samples from the animal in question were tested at USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. Confirmatory results using immunohistochemistry and western blot tests confirmed the animal was positive for atypical BSE, a very rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed,” he added.

This is the fourth cow in the United States to test positive for the disease since December of 2003 when a cow from a Washington State farm, born in Canada, tested positive for the disease.

“We are sharing our laboratory results with international animal health reference laboratories in Canada and England, which have official World Animal Health (OIE) reference labs,” added Clifford.

Rumors of the find began to spread early Tuesday. As a result, cattle trading futures fell nearly US$3.00 per hundredweight for a live cow on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday morning, the price for a live cow was just under US$120.00 “The markets were very vulnerable due to a large ownership of live cattle futures by speculative fund managers, who quickly headed to the sideline with the rumor hit,” said Arlan Suderman a market analyst for Farm Futures.

According to the USDA statement, mad cow disease “is a progressive neurological disease among cattle that is always fatal. It belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Affected animals may display nervousness or aggression, abnormal posture, difficulty in coordination and rising, decreased milk production, or loss of body weight despite continued appetite.”



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Egypt cancels 15 year gas supply contract to Israel

Egypt cancels 15 year gas supply contract to Israel

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Egypt
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According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the termination of a natural gas contract between Egypt and Israel is a business matter and not a political issue between the two counties. Netanyahu’s statement on Monday backs away from other officials’ earlier responses to the action.

Egyptian Natural Gas Company announced Sunday, April 22 that it will stop supplying Israel with natural gas over a disagreement about payments. The company’s leader claims the other side is in “breach of contract” as Gasco has not been paid for what has already been delivered.

In 2005, Israel and Egypt, under former president Hosni Mubarak, signed a 15-year trade deal whereby Egypt would supply natual gas at a discounted rate to the Israelis. Tensions between the two countries have made Israel cautious about relying on Egypt for its energy. Since the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the pipelines for transporting natural gas from Egypt to Israel have been damaged up to 14 times.

When this decision was broadcast on Sunday night in Egypt, commentators for Egyptian news services discussed whether this decision was a blatant contractual infringement, a necessary commercial move, or an attack on the original peace treaty between Egypt and Israel made at Camp David in 1978.

In Israel, Yuval Steinitz, the finance minister, said, “This is a dangerous precedent that diminishes the peace treaty [between the two countries].”

Avigdor Lieberman, foreign affairs minister, had called on Egypt to reverse the decision and prevent the contractual dispute from escalating into a political issue. Since Netanyahu’s more recent comment, Lieberman has also backed away from characterizing the issue as a political dispute.

Egypt’s natural gas exports once made up 40 percent of Israel’s natural gas reserves, but Israel has looked for other options as the political atmosphere in Egypt changed. Israel is developing its own offshore fields, and it has begun to import other types of “dirty fuels,” like gas and diesel. As a result, Israeli consumers have seen a nine percent increase in electricity costs and Israel is preparing for the possibility of blackouts.



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Sandra Fluke receives Stand Up for Choice Award

Sandra Fluke receives Stand Up for Choice Award

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Women’s rights
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Women’s rights advocate and Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke was recognized Sunday, April 22 with the Stand Up for Choice Award. Fluke was given the Stand Up for Choice Award at the “Third Annual Multi-Generational Brunch” of the organization NARAL Pro-Choice America which was held in New York City (NYC), New York in the United States.

Sandra Fluke reading her prepared testimony
Video: Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Democratic Party (2012).

Cquote1.svg Sandra is a remarkable leader and a true hero in the reproductive-rights community. Cquote2.svg

Nancy Keenan, NARAL President

The organization’s president, Nancy Keenan, attended the event and had previously spoken in favor of Fluke in a press release announcing the award. “Sandra is a remarkable leader and a true hero in the reproductive-rights community. This event brings together women and men from many generations, and the one thing that unites us all is the personal stories that are the reason for our joining this cause. Without a doubt, many people have witnessed Sandra’s strength over these last few weeks and have been inspired to join her in standing up for women’s freedom and privacy.”

Chair of the NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Future Direction Committee Amanda Hirsh released a statement in support of Fluke saying, “we are thrilled to honor Sandra Fluke with the Stand Up For Choice Award at this year’s multi-generational brunch. Attempts to silence voices like Sandra’s have failed. Young leaders across the country are looking to Sandra as an inspiration.”

Cquote1.svg I was honored to receive it! Thank you! I’m very humbled by the inspiring stories women told of their own lives. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

Fluke responded to a post on Twitter from NARAL congratulating her on receiving the award, stating, “I was honored to receive it! Thank you! I’m very humbled by the inspiring stories women told of their own lives.”

Fluke received a nomination in March as a candidate for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. The list is released annually as a special edition of Time magazine, titled Time 100.

She gave testimony to the US Congress on February 23 before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on a hearing about women’s health and contraception. She also worked for Sanctuary for Families in NYC which worked to crackdown on human trafficking and domestic violence.



Related news

  • “Sandra Fluke named candidate for Time’s 100 most influential people” — Wikinews, March 30, 2012
  • “Sandra Fluke, Chelsea Clinton and Christine Quinn on women in politics” — Wikinews, March 29, 2012
  • Sandra Fluke insists she will not be silenced” — Wikinews, March 14, 2012

Sister links

  • Wikisource-logo.svg Author:Sandra Kay Fluke
  • Commons-logo.svg Sandra Fluke
  • Wikiquote-logo.svg Sandra Fluke

Sources

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Trinidad TV host charged over teen rape footage

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The controversial case centres around Port of Spain.

Ian Alleyne, host of Trinidad TV show Crime Watch, has been charged with crimes under the Sexual Offences Act after a tape purporting to show a mentally ill teenage girl being raped was allegedly broadcast last year.

The footage allegedly was on-air thrice last October and triggered multiple complaints to police. Caribbean Communications Network‘s (CCN’s) channel TV6 is jointly charged under the same act as Alleyne, as well as under the Telecommunications Act. Summonses were served at their Port of Spain headquarters. Alleyne was placed in custody in the same city.

Alleyne has been hospitalised following his arrest, owing to chest pains. He is due to go before a magistrate, and cannot receive bail until he does so. He is also charged with obstructing police. Police had visited CCN offices in Port of Spain twice last year seeking the tape.

Alleyne issued a message to The Trinidad Express criticising the decision not to grant him bail until he appears in court. He said it “is really a sad state of affairs on the part of the police. What have I done that they have seen it fit to ensure that I’m only granted bail before a magistrate?”



Sources

  • Derek Achong. “Alleyne on four charges” — Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, April 24, 2012
  • Akile Simon. “NO BAIL” — Trinidad Express Newspapers, April 23, 2012
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