US military to carry out review following Wikileaks release of classified 2007 video

Category : Uncategorized

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Following the release of classified video earlier this week, the US military is to carry out a review of a 2007 airstrike which occurred in Baghdad. At a press conference on April 5, 2010, at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., the whistleblowing wiki Wikileaks released a video which appears to contradict the official US account of the attack.

The review follows the release of footage from the targeting system of an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, one of two United States Army helicopters engaging what they believed to be Iraqi insurgents.

The attack led to the death of two Reuters journalists, driver Saeed Chmagh, photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, and other Iraqi civilians. The official U.S. Army investigation report that followed the attack concludes that the death of the Reuters staffers and civilians was as a result of collateral damage of an engagement against Iraqi insurgents. However the released video and the associated radio chatter suggests that the army aviators had mistakenly identified the camera equipment used by the journalists as weapons, and the group of Iraqi civilians and journalists themselves were the target of the attack. The video and radio chatter have been confirmed as genuine by a U.S. Defense official speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

Wikileaks says the video comes from “military whistleblowers” and that it was passed to them in an encrypted form. Wikileaks broke the encryption on the video after a public appeal for help, including an appeal for time on a supercomputer.


MiniMax Discount to open inaugural stores in southern Romania

Category : Uncategorized

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

MiniMax Discount, a recently-established joint venture between several Romanian and foreign investors, will open its first three discount stores between today and April 28. The discount stores, which will be similar to supermarkets, will open in the southern Romanian cities of Slatina, Urziceni and Târgovi?te. MiniMax invested 750,000 euro per outlet, with each store having 1,000 m² of floor space and a parking area for 100 cars. The first store to be opened will be the one in Slatina, with the other ones opening by April 28.

The company is planning to open a total of ten stores this year, as well as another twenty in 2006. It is expected that most of the stores will open in small- to medium-sized cities, of greater than 20,000 inhabitants, rather than larger cities of over 150,000 inhabitants. In a few years time, it has said that it plans to extend its network to over 100 stores.


What To Consider In Choosing The Right Nail Salon

Category : Home Improvement

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byadmin

Most women want to get a quick time out from their daily hustles. A Nail Salon in Tucsonis the best place where you can sit down for a while and get your hands pampered. Fortunately, there is a great number of nail salons everywhere. It seems that there is one salon in just about every street corner of the city, leaving women with great options. In order for you to find the best nail salon, there are a number of things that you need to consider.

It would help if you ask around for possible recommendations. You can ask your friends, neighbor or colleagues about their favorite nail care center. Recommendations are a great way of discovering the best nail spa in the city.

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The first thing you have to consider when choosing a nail spa is its cleanliness. The salon should follow proper sanitation system to avoid possible infections. Check if the stations are well cleaned up and if they use disposable tools. Some of the best Nail Salons in Tucson provide their clients with their new set of tools that they should bring every time they visit. Sharing of manicure and pedicure sets is a big no-no. You should also check whether they have good sanitary practices and if all staff members follow them diligently. You might also want to consider looking at their bathrooms and waiting areas. This gives you an overall view of the sanitation of the salon.

Most states in the US require licenses for all nail salons and nail technicians. This ensures that the technicians have received and completed appropriate training, particularly with regards to ensuring safety of the public. Make sure that the salon displays their licenses in a prominent place.

You also want a Nail Salon that offers a wide range of services. When you go out to have your nails treated, you normally want to avail of several services at one time. A good salon should have different services so that you will have good options. Then, you also have to consider the cost of the services. Many people would put price as the topmost factor in choosing a service provider. While it is a logical factor, you should be extra careful not to go for salons that offer suspiciously cheap prices. There are salons that charge extra fees after the job is done, making your bills unusually higher. If you have got more time, you can try looking for coupons online or in print ads. You can use this to get discounts from nail salons.

Finally, you have to consider the overall atmosphere of the Nail Salon. It should not only be clean but also have a friendly and welcoming ambiance. The place should make you feel comfortable so that you can totally relax and rest.

There are so many nail salons in the city but not all can meet your standards. Invest some of your time choosing which one best suits your personal preferences.

If you are looking for a reliable nail salon in Tucson, select one that offers various options to suit your personal taste and preference. You should visit SpanivaTucson.com for more information.


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Israel Journal: Is Yossi Vardi a good father to his entrepreneurial children?

Category : Uncategorized

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone is currently, courtesy of the Israeli government and friends, visiting Israel. This is a first-hand account of his experiences and may — as a result — not fully comply with Wikinews’ neutrality policy. Please note this is a journalism experiment for Wikinews and put constructive criticism on the collaboration page.

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Dr. Yossi Vardi is known as Israel’s ‘Father of the Entrepreneur’, and he has many children in the form of technology companies he has helped to incubate in Tel Aviv‘s booming Internet sector. At the offices of Superna, one such company, he introduced a whirlwind of presentations from his baby incubators to a group of journalists. What stuck most in my head was when Vardi said, “What is important is not the technology, but the talent.” Perhaps because he repeated this after each young Internet entrepreneur showed us his or her latest creation under Vardi’s tutelage. I had a sense of déjà vu from this mantra. A casual reader of the newspapers during the Dot.com boom will remember a glut of stories that could be called “The Rise of the Failure”; people whose technology companies had collapsed were suddenly hot commodities to start up new companies. This seemingly paradoxical thinking was talked about as new back then; but even Thomas Edison—the Father of Invention—is oft-quoted for saying, “I have not failed. I have just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.”

Vardi’s focus on encouraging his brood of talent regardless of the practicalities stuck out to me because of a recent pair of “dueling studies” The New York Times has printed. These are the sort of studies that confuse parents on how to raise their kids. The first, by Carol Dweck at Stanford University, came to the conclusion that children who are not praised for their efforts, regardless of the outcome’s success, rarely attempt more challenging and complex pursuits. According to Dweck’s study, when a child knows that they will receive praise for being right instead of for tackling difficult problems, even if they fail, they will simply elect to take on easy tasks in which they are assured of finding the solution.

Only one month earlier the Times produced another story for parents to agonize over, this time based on a study from the Brookings Institution, entitled “Are Kids Getting Too Much Praise?” Unlike Dweck’s clinical study, Brookings drew conclusions from statistical data that could be influenced by a variety of factors (since there was no clinical control). The study found American kids are far more confident that they have done well than their Korean counterparts, even when the inverse is true. The Times adds in the words of a Harvard faculty psychologist who intoned, “Self-esteem is based on real accomplishments. It’s all about letting kids shine in a realistic way.” But this is not the first time the self-esteem generation’s proponents have been criticized.

Vardi clearly would find himself encouraged by Dweck’s study, though, based upon how often he seemed to ask us to keep our eyes on the people more than the products. That’s not to say he has not found his latest ICQ, though only time—and consumers—will tell.

For a Web 2.User like myself, I was most fascinated by Fixya, a site that, like Wikipedia, exists on the free work of people with knowledge. Fixya is a tech support site where people who are having problems with equipment ask a question and it is answered by registered “experts.” These experts are the equivalent of Wikipedia’s editors: they are self-ordained purveyors of solutions. But instead of solving a mystery of knowledge a reader has in their head, these experts solve a problem related to something you have bought and do not understand. From baby cribs to cellular phones, over 500,000 products are “supported” on Fixya’s website. The Fixya business model relies upon the good will of its experts to want to help other people through the ever-expanding world of consumer appliances. But it is different from Wikipedia in two important ways. First, Fixya is for-profit. The altruistic exchange of information is somewhat dampened by the knowledge that somebody, somewhere, is profiting from whatever you give. Second, with Wikipedia it is very easy for a person to type in a few sentences about a subject on an article about the Toshiba Satellite laptop, but to answer technical problems a person is experiencing seems like a different realm. But is it? “It’s a beautiful thing. People really want to help other people,” said the presenter, who marveled at the community that has already developed on Fixya. “Another difference from Wikipedia is that we have a premium content version of the site.” Their premium site is where they envision making their money. Customers with a problem will assign a dollar amount based upon how badly they need an answer to a question, and the expert-editors of Fixya will share in the payment for the resolved issue. Like Wikipedia, reputation is paramount to Fixya’s experts. Whereas Wikipedia editors are judged by how they are perceived in the Wiki community, the amount of barnstars they receive and by the value of their contributions, Fixya’s customers rate its experts based upon the usefulness of their advice. The site is currently working on offering extended warranties with some manufacturers, although it was not clear how that would work on a site that functioned on the work of any expert.

Another collaborative effort product presented to us was YouFig, which is software designed to allow a group of people to collaborate on work product. This is not a new idea, although may web-based products have generally fallen flat. The idea is that people who are working on a multi-media project can combine efforts to create a final product. They envision their initial market to be academia, but one could see the product stretching to fields such as law, where large litigation projects with high-level of collaboration on both document creation and media presentation; in business, where software aimed at product development has generally not lived up to its promises; and in the science and engineering fields, where multi-media collaboration is quickly becoming not only the norm, but a necessity.

For the popular consumer market, Superna, whose offices hosted our meeting, demonstrated their cost-saving vision for the Smart Home (SH). Current SH systems require a large, expensive server in order to coordinate all the electronic appliances in today’s air-conditioned, lit and entertainment-saturated house. Such coordinating servers can cost upwards of US$5,000, whereas Superna’s software can turn a US$1,000 hand-held tablet PC into household remote control.

There were a few start-ups where Vardi’s fatherly mentoring seemed more at play than long-term practical business modeling. In the hot market of WiFi products, WeFi is software that will allow groups of users, such as friends, share knowledge about the location of free Internet WiFi access, and also provide codes and keys for certain hot spots, with access provided only to the trusted users within a group. The mock-up that was shown to us had a Google Maps-esque city block that had green points to the known hot spots that are available either for free (such as those owned by good Samaritans who do not secure their WiFi access) or for pay, with access information provided for that location. I saw two long-term problems: first, WiMAX, which is able to provide Internet access to people for miles within its range. There is already discussion all over the Internet as to whether this technology will eventually make WiFi obsolete, negating the need to find “hot spots” for a group of friends. Taiwan is already testing an island-wide WiMAX project. The second problem is if good Samaritans are more easily located, instead of just happened-upon, how many will keep their WiFi access free? It has already become more difficult to find people willing to contribute to free Internet. Even in Tel Aviv, and elsewhere, I have come across several secure wireless users who named their network “Fuck Off” in an in-your-face message to freeloaders.

Another child of Vardi’s that the Brookings Institution might say was over-praised for self-esteem but lacking real accomplishment is AtlasCT, although reportedly Nokia offered to pay US$8.1 million for the software, which they turned down. It is again a map-based software that allows user-generated photographs to be uploaded to personalized street maps that they can share with friends, students, colleagues or whomever else wants to view a person’s slideshow from their vacation to Paris (“Dude, go to the icon over Boulevard Montmartre and you’ll see this girl I thought was hot outside the Hard Rock Cafe!”) Aside from the idea that many people probably have little interest in looking at the photo journey of someone they know (“You can see how I traced the steps of Jesus in the Galilee“), it is also easy to imagine Google coming out with its own freeware that would instantly trump this program. Although one can see an e-classroom in architecture employing such software to allow students to take a walking tour through Rome, its desirability may be limited.

Whether Vardi is a smart parent for his encouragement, or in fact propping up laggards, is something only time will tell him as he attempts to bring these products of his children to market. The look of awe that came across each company’s representative whenever he entered the room provided the answer to the question of Who’s your daddy?


Reasons Calling A Plumber For Help With A Clogged Drain Can Be Best

Category : Mining And Drilling

byAlma Abell

Anytime there are clogged drain problems in a home, it can be a very stressful experience for the homeowner. Not only do they have to worry about the damage a backed up drain can possibly cause to the home and the things within it, but they also must try to figure out how to correct the problem as quickly as possible. Because of this, very often a homeowner will decide to try to correct the problem on his or her own.

There are many ways a homeowner can correct a drainage problem in their home. Plungers will often work to move the clog and allow water to begin draining once again. If the clog does not respond to a plunger, a hand held plumbing snake can sometimes be used to dig out the clog and free it from the pipes. In addition, there are home remedies such as using a combination of vinegar and baking soda to remove the blockage. While some of these techniques may work, often the results are only temporary and the clog will reappear later on.

When this type of problem happens, it is best for a homeowner to contact a professional company, such as Drain Right Services, for assistance with the problem. Many times a clogged drain may be the result of issues deep inside the pipes of the home. In order to correct this type of problem it will generally require heavy duty equipment used by a professional who understands how to use it properly.

Most plumbers will first begin work on this type of problem by sending a special type of camera into the pipes of the home. This camera will allow the plumber to see exactly what is causing the blockage in the pipes and this will allow them to choose the right type of tools for the job.

Many clogs are caused by a buildup of hair, food scraps and grease, which has become lodged deep in the drain pipes. In this type of situation, a plumber may need to use a heavy-duty auger, which can reach the clog and tear it up so water can move freely. In some cases, the clog may be caused by a buildup of grease, soap scum and other organic matter, which is lining the interior of the pipes. Often the plumber will need to use a hydro jet to clean this matter from the pipes completely.


Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Category : Uncategorized

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.


International forces in Dili reach agreement

Category : Uncategorized

Thursday, June 8, 2006

The international forces in East Timor have reached an agreement about the coordination of the military and police forces in the field. Representatives of the four countries reached the agreement during an urgent meeting after an incident between Australian and Portuguese soldiers yesterday.

In the agreement reached between Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Portugal and the Timorese government, operational autonomy is given to the international forces, which will operate in cooperation and coordination with each other.

The agreement also stated that in an initial phase Dili will be divided into sectors, and each area will be under the control of an international force. Outside of its area of responsibility, the military or police force will only be able to operate if other international forces request their actions. Also was agreed that the police forces will assume total control of the city after the military forces leave their current occupied positions. A situation that is expected after the arrival of the remaining equipment, mainly vehicles, for the Portuguese Republican National Guard (GNR) and the arrival of the remaining Malaysian police officers and their equipment.

In an official notice, the Timorese Foreign Minister, José Ramos Horta stated that “the objective on a long run is for the GNR to operate has a tactical intervention force in all the city of Dili”.

Ramos Horta explained that “in the next days, maybe already tomorrow morning, they [the Australian, Malaysian, New Zealand and Portuguese forces] will do some coordination training, in way to assure that the four forces know exactly what each one will do”. “Since some are from the Army and the others [Portuguese Republican National Guard] are a specialized police and that they never worked together, its useful to carry out some practical exercises”, he added.

In another subject, Ramos Horta explained that the Australian soldiers that are in Maubisse, next to a rebel group lead by major Reinado, and in Gleno, Ermera, next to another group of “military opponents”, are there “containing those elements”.

“Those groups are not comparable with other people that are here in Dili and that must be disarmed”, Ramos Horta said.

“The Australian presence in Maubisse and Gleno aims in containing those groups on their areas, until arrives the moment in which the President decides that is time for also mister Alfredo Reinado and the others to put down their weapons”, he said. “This is not urgent because they are not causing problems to anyone”, he justified.

The urgency of the resolution and clarification of the command and cooperation of the international forces was originated after an incident between Australian and Portuguese soldiers. When yesterday a Portuguese GNR patrol transported three people to a temporary detention center managed by Australian soldiers.

The detainees were arrested by a GNR Special Operations team, after being caught looting a governmental warehouse, in Balide, Dili.

The Australian soldiers then refused to receive the detained men, questioning the legitimacy of the Portuguese soldiers to make arrests. The Portuguese contingent transported the detainees to the Timorese prison services in Dili.


Electronic voting disputed in France

Category : Uncategorized

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

In France, voting has traditionally been a low-tech experience: voters isolate themselves in a booth, put a pre-printed sheet of paper indicating their candidate of choice into an envelope. After officials verify the voter’s identity, the voter drops the envelope into the ballot box and signs the voting roll. French electoral law rather strictly codifies the proceedings. Since 1988, ballot boxes must be transparent so that voters and observers can witness that no envelopes are present at the start of the vote and that no envelopes are added except those of the duly counted and authorized voters. Candidates can send representatives to witness every part of the process. In the evening, votes are counted by volunteers under heavy supervision, following specific procedures.

In the past, voting machines, though authorized by law, were scarce. But this year, during presidential elections (the first round was April 22, the second is on May 6), the country is shaken by controversy about the machines intended to count about 1.5 million votes.

As in the United States, there is a group of academic computer scientists that oppose voting machines. They argue that voting machines replace a public, easily understandable counting process, where large-scale fraud would entail large-scale corruption, by an opaque process where votes are counted by machines that voters have to blindly trust. Voting machines have to be approved by the Ministry of the Interior, but this approval is based on confidential reports by private companies. Opponents to the machines point out that the Ministry was long held by Nicolas Sarkozy, who happens to be the leading candidate. Opponents also list a number of weaknesses and discrepancies that have occurred in other countries using voting machines.

All main political parties except UMP, Mr Sarkozy’s ruling party, oppose the voting machines. Some citizens have filed for court injunctions against the voting machines. Opponents have given detailed instructions that voting witnesses should check whether the machines correspond exactly to an approved type, including software versions, and fulfill all legal conditions. In a sign of the frenzy over the issue, on April 12 the Ministry of the Interior issued a last-minute authorization for a specific model (hardware, firmware). The stakes are high: votes on unapproved machines should be canceled by the Constitutional Council for the official count.

The opposition has crystallized on the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux. Issy’s mayor, André Santini is a well-known technophile; his city organizes a “World E-Gov Forum”. Here too, last minute fixes are at work. The machines delivered to the city are of a yet-to-be-approved type. The manufacturer, the American company ES&S voting systems, is now delivering older 2005 machines. Le Monde reports that other municipalities have already replaced their recent machines by an older, approved, model.

Proponents of the machines, such as the French company France Élection, claim they are being defamed and dispute the competence of their critics. Elected officials supporting the machines claim the machines save on paper, time, and the need to find volunteers to count votes.


New case of Mad Cow disease found in Canada

Category : Uncategorized

Monday, January 23, 2006

A cow in the Province Alberta, Canada, has tested positive for Mad Cow disease, said Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials on Monday.

Officials also stated that the six-year-old cross-bred cow did not make it into the human or animal feed chain.

“Last evening the…laboratory for BSE located in Winnipeg confirmed the presence of BSE in a cross-bred cow born and raised in Alberta,” said CFIA chief veterinarian Brian Evans. “The animal was detected on the farm where it was born and no part of this animal entered the food for human consumption or feed for animal consumption purposes.”

It is the fourth case to turn up in Canada since 2003.

Evans also stated that it is too early to tell whether or not export markets would ban Canadian cows and beef.

The United States has seen two cases of Mad Cow disease. The first was discovered in December of 2003 in the state of Washington. Officials later linked this case to Canada because the cow was born on a farm in Alberta. The second infected cow was discovered in Texas in 2005. The later case was diagnosed in England after earlier samples tested had shown conflicting results.