Dublin gets ready to be rocked once again by U2

Friday, June 24, 2005

240,000 U2] fans are preparing for Ireland’s most successful band ever to return for a hometown gig in Dublin. The supergroup is playing Friday, Saturday and Monday in front of 80,000 people a night at Croke Park. Gardaí have put in place a massive traffic management plan to cope with the influx of people. Fans have been queing since Thursday morning when a group of fans from Holland, Italy and Canada started queuing outside the stadium.

The concert forms part of U2’s current “Vertigo” world tour. The support acts include emerging Irish bands Snow Patrol and The Thrills along with already very popular Paddy Casey. Ash and The Bravery will cap it off as warm up acts on Monday.

The gates for the gig will open at 4pm with the actual band not expected until around 8.30pm. Irish media has entered a frenzied anticipation of the concert all this week, with constant coverage on radio stations. The national broadcaster, RTÉ, is set to dedicated almost 3hr 30min to the band with an exclusive interview by Dave Fanning forming the centerpiece of the stations coverage of the “U2 weekend”. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, who played in front of a sell out crowd in Dublin earlier this week told fans that U2 were “still the best band in the world”.

Croke Park is the fourth largest stadium in Europe, with an official capacity of 82,000 – bigger than both Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium and Paris’ Stade de France. Croke Park is used to host GAA matches in sports such as hurling and Gaelic football and regularly attracts audiences of 60,000 or more in the summer months.

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Quick Vehicle Search Made Simple For You Automobix.Com

Quick Vehicle Search Made Simple For You – AUTOMOBIX.COM



Many of us drive to work every morning. Our car is like our second home. Some of us even spend more time in our cars than back at home. After driving to work in the same old car for nearly ten years, some of us probably have thought about selling the car for a small tidy profit and getting a new one. However, to the majority of us, selling is not our forte at all. Although we may spend countless hours scrolling through the \’used cars\’ marketplace looking for potential buyers, our efforts seem to be in vain. In some optimistic situations, we do get a response after months of hard work. However, the price the buyer is asking for is simply too low for us to accept. Some of us eventually gave in to the buyer and sold the car cheap. The others who remain persistent are still scrolling through the internet searching for the buyers of their used cars.

Another problem many of us are facing is the shortage of \’used cars\’ marketplaces. Even then, some online \’used cars\’ marketplaces are simply too hard to navigate. Very few of these online \’used cars\’ marketplaces have the feature for quick vehicle search. Even for those having the feature, they do not try narrowing down the search for you. Some marketplaces just throw the ready buyer a whole list of cars of a model. Potential buyers then have to slowly scroll through each car looking for the year it was made and where it can be found.

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There is however one \’used cars\’ marketplace that would certainly simplify the way people can sell their old cars. The site is \”automobix.com\”. When a potential buyer looking for a specific car comes along, all he has to do is type out the place where the car is made, the year it was bought and the state where the car can be found. This certainly narrows down the search for many buyers. Such a feature will prevent the over-saturation of sellers and increase the chance of used cars becoming sold.

Besides having the quick vehicle search feature on the site, the site will also allow sellers to list cars for sale. Sellers can put up to 10 listings on this particular marketplace. Another feature is that the advertisements put up by the sellers do not go down till the item is sold. So car sellers can wait for good news from using this site.

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used cars

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Australia’s new controversial workplace regulations come into effect this week

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has urged the federal opposition Labor Party to focus on industrial relations (IR) as significant changes come into force from Monday 27th March. The legislation was passed in a row of controversy by parliament in December last year.

The contentious WorkChoices measures aim to move workers onto a federal industrial relations system and increase to the use of individual workplace contracts – under which conditions such as overtime and penalty rates can be set. The new WorkChoices arrangements include scrapping of unfair dismissal rights; the control by Federal government over state-based IR systems; more encouragement of individual contracts; award-cutting of award rates; secret ballots for industrial action and removal of the no-disadvantage test in new contracts.

The union movement has launched a fresh campaign to protest this week’s changes. ACTU secretary Greg Combet warns that some employees will feel the effects as soon as they come into force, because they will no longer be protected by the previous unfair dismissal laws. He says with the changes becoming enforced this week, the Federal opposition party must now concentrate on industrial relations and not on “political infighting”.

Australia’s Prime Minister, John Howard, says he’s prepared for a union scare-mongering over the IR laws, but assumes the campaign will fail. “I predict the scare campaign will go on,” he said. “I also predict that the scare campaign will fail.” Mr Howard says workers should wait and experience the new system for themselves and that the changes will give workers greater flexibility. “Over time it will be beneficial,” he said.

Combet feels different about the effects. “It’s likely, somewhere around Australia tomorrow, someone is going to be sacked unfairly and they’ll be the first victim of the new laws,” he told the ABC. “The really significant thing is that the balance of power in the workplace is shifting sharply to the business community, to the employer.”

Federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews told reporters last week that “the sky would not fall, because people would go to work next Monday and not detect any difference.” He described union protests as “hysterical outbursts”. “There is nothing in this legislation that people need to worry about in the ordinary course,” he said.

Despite the Howard government’s increased majority in the Senate, the passing of bill has not been smooth. In November last year, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators rallied across the nation to express dissent of the IR legislation. Ex-Finance Minister, Senator Nick Minchin, said most Australians “violently disagree” with the recent IR changes and there was a real prospect that the High Court could overturn the Work Choices laws.

The HR Nicholls Society, described as one of Australia’s most politically conservative organisations, has likened the new federal laws to the former Soviet system of “command and control.” Society president Ray Evans says he does not like the centralised power being handed to the government under the changes, nor its encroachment on states’ rights.

Evans says the myriad of complex new laws would create a system where “so-called IR professionals would stand to make a lot of money sorting through it… every economic decision has to go back to some central authority and get ticked off,” he said . “There is a lot of that sort of attitude in this legislation and I think it is very unfortunate.”Kemalex Plastics owner Richard Colebatch of the HR Nicholls Society said the changes are “very complicated for anybody to decipher… The professionals will spend a lot of money, the employers’ money, working their way through the mire trying to create the new rules people are going to work towards.”

But the Prime Minister says “more jobs will be generated in the small business sector as a result of the removal of the absurd job-destroying unfair dismissal laws, and the greater flexibility for people to make workplace agreements at the enterprise level will lift productivity,” he told reporters in Melbourne. “Sure some people will complain, but a lot of people will benefit through getting job opportunities. Young people, who will get an opportunity to put their step on the bottom rung of the ladder for the first time, will benefit enormously.”

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) said WorkChoices regulations do not go far enough in clarifying who can legally issue medical certificates for sick leave. AMA vice-president Dr Choong-Siew Yong said WorkChoices regulations meant employers and employees faced uncertainty and confusion over sick leave.

“The regulations fail to acknowledge two very serious failings,” Dr Yong said in a statement. “One, if people are seriously ill, they should be seeing their medical doctor. Two, opening up medical certification to a whole range of non-medical practitioners will make it difficult for employers to take sick leave seriously.”

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Space Shuttle Discovery launches on mission STS-124

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Space Shuttle Discovery has successfully launched from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, beginning mission STS-124. Discovery will deliver the main pressurised module of the Japanese Experiment Module to the International Space Station. Lift-off occurred at 21:02:12 GMT this evening, with the ascent to an initial sub-orbital trajectory lasting approximately eight and a half minutes. Orbital insertion occurred shortly afterwards, with a circularisation burn which concluded at 21:42 GMT.

This is the third Space Shuttle mission of 2008. STS-124 is the second of three missions to assemble the Japanese Experiment Module, also known as Kibo. The JEM Pressurised Module (JEM PM or JPM) is the largest laboratory module of the International Space Station, and one of the largest payloads ever launched by the Space Shuttle. The main Japanese robot arm, or RMS, will also be launched on this mission. Discovery’s mission is scheduled to last for fourteen days, however it can be extended by two days if necessary. Three spacewalks, or EVAs, are planned to be conducted.

STS-124 has a crew of seven astronauts; Mission Commander Mark E. Kelly, Pilot Kenneth Ham, Mission specialists Karen L. Nyberg, Ronald J. Garan, Michael E. Fossum and Akihiko Hoshide, and Expedition 17 crewmember Gregory Chamitoff. All crewmembers are American, except Hoshide, who is Japanese. The astronauts were awoken at 11:30 GMT on launch day, and began preparations for their launch. This is the first spaceflight for Ham, Nyberg, Garan, Hoshide and Chamitoff, the second for Fossum, and the third for Kelly. The launch coincides with Kelly’s father’s birthday.

Preparations for launch had been underway for several months. The External Tank arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in late March. Following tests in a checkout cell, it was mated with two solid rocket boosters which had been assembled on a Mobile Launch Platform. Discovery was then rolled from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building for mating with the External Tank and boosters. Rollover occurred in late April, and was followed by rollout to the launch pad about a week later.

The Kibo pressurised module arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in May 2003 by ship. It was then moved to the Space Station Processing Facility. Electrical interface tests with the Harmony node were conducted in August 2003. At the end of April 2008, the module was placed in a transportation canister, and moved to the launch pad. The payload arrived at the launch pad about a week ahead of the Shuttle. Once Discovery arrived at the launch pad, the module was placed into Discovery’s payload bay. Owing to the size of the payload, there was no room in Discovery’s’ payload bay for the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS), a safety device used primarily to inspect the Shuttle Orbiter’s heat shield. As a result of this, Endeavour left its OBSS at the International Space Station, during the last Shuttle Mission, STS-123. Discovery’s crew will collect this during an EVA.

Fueling of Discovery’s External Tank in preparation for launch began at 11:50 GMT. By 12:50, it had been confirmed that initial tests on Engine Cutoff (ECO) sensors in the External Tank had been conducted successfully. ECO sensor failures had caused a number of delays to recent Shuttle launch attempts, and STS-124 is the first mission to use a modified tank, which is intended to eliminate such faults. At the time at which tanking began, weather forecasters predicted an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions at the scheduled launch time. Fuelling was completed, and topping up of cryogenic propellant began, at 15:36. In addition to the ECO sensor modifications, this was the first mission to use an External Tank manufactured after the Columbia accident in 2003, and therefore the first tank to have all safety enhancements built into it, rather than retrofitted.

The terminal countdown resumed after a planned hold at T-3 hours, at 17:07 GMT. Crew walkout from the Operations and Checkout building at the Kennedy Space Center occurred at 17:12. Following walkout, the crew boarded a bus known as the “astrovan”, which was used to transport them to the launch pad. The crew arrived at the launch pad at 17:31, and began boarding Discovery at 17:38. As Mission Commander, Mark Kelly was the first to board the orbiter. He was followed by Chamitoff at 17:42, Ham at 17:52, Fossum at 17:55, Nyberg at 18:08 and Hoshide at 18:11. Ron Garan was the last to board the orbiter at 18:21. Pad technicians known as the closeout crew, assisted the astronauts with boarding the Shuttle, and getting strapped in. The pad technicians were cleared to close the orbiter’s access hatch at 19:02 GMT, and the hatch door was closed two minutes later at 19:04. Sealing the hatch was completed at 19:54.

A scheduled ten-minute hold at T-20 minutes began at 19:47 GMT. During this hold, the closeout crew put thermal insulation plugs into screwholes on the orbiter’s hatch, removed protective covers, and disassembled the white room, a collapsible structure at the end of the crew access arm which is used to access the spacecraft. The countdown resumed at 19:57. At that time, no problems were being worked.

The final built in hold, at T-9 minutes and lasting for 45 minutes and 12 seconds, began at 20:08. During this hold, flight controllers set the exact launch time to be 21:02:12 GMT, and confirmed that the launch window would end at 21:08:59 GMT. The countdown was set to resume at 20:53:12. Shortly before the end of the hold, the launch director described conditions as a “gorgeous day to launch”, and wished the crew “good luck and Godspeed”. Mark Kelly thanked him, and replied “whilst we tend to live for today, Discovery, with Kibo, will certainly deliver hope for tomorrow”. Countdown resumed on time at the end of the hold, and the automated Ground Launch Sequencer was initiated.

When giving clearance to retract the Orbiter Access arm from the Shuttle, seven minutes before launch, the Orbiter Test Conductor wished the crew “best of luck delivering JEM to the International Space Station”. Four minutes before launch, the engines were purged of gasses, and tests of the flight control surfaces began. Liquid hydrogen tanks were pressurised shortly after at T-3 minutes, and the fuel vent cap was retracted. Two minutes before lift-off, the crew were instructed to close and lock their visors, and the liquid oxygen tank was pressurised. At T-50 seconds, the orbiter switched to internal power, and the Shuttle’s flight computers took over control of the countdown at T-31 seconds.

Launch occurred on schedule at 21:02:12 GMT. The Solid Rocket Boosters separated about 120 seconds into the flight, and around eight and a half minutes after launch, the Main Engines (SSMEs) shut down, and the External Tank was jettisoned. At this time, Discovery was on a 65km x 217km x 51.6° sub-orbital trajectory. Orbital insertion followed about thirty minutes later, with a firing of Discovery’s OMS engines. This burn started at 21:39 GMT, and ended at 21:42, lasting two minutes and 44 seconds.

At the time of launch, the International Space Station was flying over the Atlantic Ocean, South-East of Canada. Following launch, a fault was detected with the backup electrical system controlling the left OMS engine gimbal actuator. As it was a backup, flight controllers predicted that it would have no effect on the mission, and all scheduled burns will go ahead. The fault was later traced to the failure of both transducers in the unit, and it was reported that the problem was probably due to an equipment malfunction as opposed to a faulty sensor. When asked about the faulty actuator, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin stated that at the “worst case it would be a loss of redundancy but we will still be able to use that system”. Discovery’s payload bay doors were opened at 22:35 GMT. At 23:09, the crew were cleared to begin on-orbit operations.

Processing and countdown progressed smoothly, and were described by Discovery’s processing and launch flow director, Stephanie Stilson, as being “a very clean flow”. Mission Commander Mark Kelly remarked that there had been a “historic low on spacecraft issues”. Around four hours prior to launch, Stilson remarked that there had been 73 anomalies detected so far. The smallest number of anomalies during the countdown for a previous mission was 76, for STS-103.

Moron AFB in Spain was considered the primary transoceanic abort landing (TAL) site, should an engine failure, or other major problem have occurred during early ascent. Istres in France was considered the backup TAL site. The weather at both of these sites was good, however no abort was required during the launch.

This is the 123rd Space Shuttle mission, and the 35th to be flown by Discovery. Ten further missions are planned, including two contingency logistics flights, prior to the Shuttle’s retirement in 2010. Discovery is assigned to three of these missions. It is next scheduled to fly in early 2009, on mission STS-119. The next Space Shuttle mission will be conducted by Atlantis, which will fly STS-125, the final mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. This is the fourth manned, and 27th orbital launch of 2008.

At a press conference following launch, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin stated that it was “a huge day for the space station partnership”, and that the International Space Station was “a place in orbit where we can learn to live and work in space”. He congratulated JAXA on the launch of the Japanese Experiment Module, saying that “Japan has now built a first class laboratory…which is capable of supporting humans in space”, and that “with this step Japan has shown itself to be capable of performing at the highest levels of space exploration”. Griffin also stated the STS-124 is “an essential step” in the Space Station programme. When asked by a reporter how he felt about recent NASA successes, including the STS-124 launch, and the landing of the Phoenix probe on Mars last Sunday, he joked that it felt “so great that not even having to do a press conference, two press conferences in a week can ruin it”. When asked about the difficulty of what NASA was doing, he remarked that flight controllers “make it look easy”, but “it is so far from being easy that I could talk until 6am tomorrow, and I wouldn’t touch on how difficult it is”.

NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier said that it was “a great day for the launch”, and described STS-124 as a “pretty challenging mission”. Gerstenmair stated that five foam debris impacts had been identified during ascent, but that NASA “don’t consider this a big deal, they were all late”. When asked what he meant by ‘late’, he explained that after 123 seconds into the flight, pieces of falling foam debris “can’t build up enough velocity to hit the orbiter, or if they hit the orbiter they will just bounce off” He went on to say that “things look really well and look really good”, and that NASA have “no concern” about foam, “It’s not an issue to us”.

Launch Integration manager LeRoy Cain described it as a “flawless countdown and a flawless launch”. He said that STS-124 is “a big milestone for us”, and went on to explain that “this is the most important mission we have going right now”. He also stated that the “tank’s performance looks really good”.

Launch Director Mike Linebach stated that it was a “Fantastic launch”, that was tying for the lowest faults during a countdown, with 74 issues reported. Stephanie Stilson has previously stated that the record was 76 issues, so it is unclear whether STS-124 has set a new record, or is tying with the previous record. Linebach went on to describe the launch as “outstanding”.

Keiji Tachikawa, the President of JAXA said that he “was very delighted to see the Shuttle Discovery successfully launched”. He stated that the Kibo module would “significantly enhance the capability to perform experiments in orbit”, and that experiments conducted aboard the Space Station, and the Kibo module, would lead to “better daily lives for the people of our planet”. He also expressed his “profound appreciation to NASA, and all international and domestic organisations” involved in the launch, explaining that the mission is “very significant to Japan”.

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London Knights trade Steve Mason to Kitchener Rangers

Sunday, January 6, 2008

On the morning of January 4, 2008, while at the 2008 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, 19-year-old goalie Steve Mason received a phone call from Canada informing him that he was traded by the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights to the Kitchener Rangers.

In a press release Friday, Kitchener Rangers Head coach and General Manager Peter DeBoer announced the trade to the Knights. In return for obtaining Mason, the Rangers have sent the Knights, Centre Phil Varone, Defenceman Steve Tarasuk along with 2nd, 3rd and 4th round draft picks in 2011 and a 2nd round pick in 2012.

Mason said that he had an enjoyable time playing for the London Knights, but nonetheless, he believes that he has a bright future playing for the Kitchener Rangers. He also notes that he doesn’t want the trade to distract him from playing in the Gold Medal Game, against Team Sweden.

Team Canada won the game in overtime 3-2.

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Painters In Albany – Ready To Get Your Job Done!


Painting is certainly not the most favorite job of many people, so thankfully there are professionals available who are ready to take on your job. painters in Albany understand that you have to paint or to repaint and they are not concerned if the job is small or large. They know that you have a picture in your mind that is the end result of the painting and it is an absolute necessity that the work be done in a professional manner.

Aside from that, many people are not ready to get into painting because it is time consuming. First of all, the surface needs to be completely prepared, and that usually involves some scraping (exterior) or some wall washing (interior). Afterwards, holes must be patched and the color either needs to be matched or a new color should be selected. Even if you have a sample of some paint that was previously used, it can be difficult to match the color exactly.

Painting requires a steady hand and a good eye as well as a great deal of patience. Paint does not dry instantly, and if more than one coat is required (for darker colors especially) then it can take up to a week to get the job done, depending on how large the surface is. Most people are just not prepared to take on this kind of a job and dedicate so much time to it. That’s perfectly fine, because professional painters are ready, willing and able to take on your job and to complete it for you.

There are a wide range of companies with excellent painters Albany that have plenty of experience with both commercial and residential painting jobs. You simply need to call a few of these companies and get some quotes to have the work done for you. Most painters will want to come to your home and have a look at the work that needs to be done so that they can give you an accurate quote. You should have an idea about the colors that you would like, but most painting companies will have paint chips available so that you can decide.

Medical Treatment Under The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act

Submitted by: Jack B. Katz

If you have been injured at work in Pennsylvania, you do not have to treat with a company or designated doctor unless a list of medical providers is given to you by your employer or its insurance company, according to the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act. Looking at it the opposite way, you must treat with a company doctor (or at least with a designated facility), only if your employer or its insurance copmany has provided you with a list of at least six healthcare providers. Of course, it’s not easy to know if the least is correct. That’s why you should contact attorney Jack B. Katz, former chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Section, who will review the information you have received and provide legal advice.

If a proper list of six places was not provided at your workplace, then you are immediately free to treat with a physician of your own choosing -no matter what the employer tells you or hands you. If a proper list is provided, then you need to treat with at least one of these providers for 90 days from the first date of treatment. If a specialist is needed and one is not on the posted list, a injured worker may treat with a doctor of his own choosing. The employer will be responsible for the bill. (This includes chiropractor, if needed, and none is posted.)

What does this all really mean? If an employee fails to treat with a designated provider for the first 90 days, the employer does not have to pay for the medical treatment received during that time only – that is all that the above means! It does not mean that the claim itself will be denied or that you will not receive any weekly benefits. In other words, don’t automatically believe what your employer or its insurance company says. They may not be telling you the truth, or may not be telling you the whole truth.

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Since the company can have control of treatment for 90 days -you may want -at least once – to choose to be examined by a doctor in whom you have confidence and who will look after your best interest. This is true even if you have to pay for the treatment yourself. If not, after the 90 days, you won’t have a doctor who can fully document and confirm your injury to the insurance company, let alone start to cure you! (You should always notify your employer of the name and address of your treating physician within 5 days of you initial treatment.)

After 90 days, you absolutely should treat with your own doctors. The employer is then entitled only to periodic examinations but not to have you treat with their doctors. (The employer’s or insurance company’s doctors are not being paid by you and may be under pressure to get you back to work before you are really ready.)

Finally, if surgery is prescribed by a company-designated doctor, employees may get a second opinion by a doctor of their choice -paid for by the employer.

This handy Pennsylvania workers compensation law tip is provided by the Philadelphia workers compensation law office of Attorney Jack B. Katz, Law Offices of Jack B. Katz, 1213 Vine Street Philadelphia, PA 19107, www.jackbkatz.com, Email jbk@jackbkatz.com.

About the Author: Philadelphia workers compensation attorney Jack B. Katz, and the

Law Offices of Jack B. Katz

have been representing injured workers for more than two decades. Jack Katz concentrates his practice in workers compensation matters.



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Edmund White on writing, incest, life and Larry Kramer

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What you are about to read is an American life as lived by renowned author Edmund White. His life has been a crossroads, the fulcrum of high-brow Classicism and low-brow Brett Easton Ellisism. It is not for the faint. He has been the toast of the literary elite in New York, London and Paris, befriending artistic luminaries such as Salman Rushdie and Sir Ian McKellen while writing about a family where he was jealous his sister was having sex with his father as he fought off his mother’s amorous pursuit.

The fact is, Edmund White exists. His life exists. To the casual reader, they may find it disquieting that someone like his father existed in 1950’s America and that White’s work is the progeny of his intimate effort to understand his own experience.

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone understood that an interview with Edmund White, who is professor of creative writing at Princeton University, who wrote the seminal biography of Jean Genet, and who no longer can keep track of how many sex partners he has encountered, meant nothing would be off limits. Nothing was. Late in the interview they were joined by his partner Michael Caroll, who discussed White’s enduring feud with influential writer and activist Larry Kramer.

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Bird flu may infect 20 percent of world’s population, kill millions

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Past Pandemics have claimed many lives.
Disease Year Death toll
Spanish Flu 1918/1919 50 million
Asian Flu 1957 1 million
Hong Kong Flu 1968 1 million

The science journal Nature devoted a special section to the Asian H5N1 virus, or “Avian Flu“, highlighting the danger it poses to world populations, and cautioning that unless steps are taken soon, it could lead to the deaths of many millions and lead to a major economic crisis. Their analysis shows a danger of it mutating into a strain with a lethality similar to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

Michael Osterholm, a scientist at the University of Minnesota, gave grave caution about the situation. “Time is running out to prepare for the next pandemic… There is a critical need for comprehensive medical and non-medical pandemic planning at the ground level that goes beyond what has been considered so far.”

Preparations being made for flu pandemic
There is a crisis plan being drawn up in New York City. The Asian bird flu could mutate and cause a pandemic.

The plan addresses quarantines, testing, overcrowding in hospitals, and rationing of vaccines and treatments.

New evidence suggests the bird flu may be moving to stage 5. When stage 6 is reached, there could be a rapid spread of the flu.

The next pandemic is projected to originate in poultry in Asia, due either to the H5N1 virus adapting on its own or mixing with genetic material from a human virus. In the journal, virologists at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam strongly urged better organized research into outbreaks in Asia, calling the current efforts patchy and uncoordinated, saying, “We propose establishing a permanent global task force to control a flu pandemic, in which relevant agencies would work together with leading research groups from different disciplines.” The annual cost of this task force would be less than $1.5 million annually.

Deaths due to the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak reached between 20-50 million people, on the order of roughly 2% of the Earth’s population of nearly 2 billion at the time; the Earth’s population has increased by more than threefold since then. This disease spread around the world in the course of six months, killing 25 million. India was particularly hard hit, with 17 million deaths. Half a million died in the USA, and 200,000 in the UK. It is estimated to have afflicted about 20% of the world’s population to some extent, before it vanished eighteen months after its initial outbreak.

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Nokia appoints Microsoft Business Division Head as chief executive

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Finnish communications corporation Nokia announced that its Head will change on September 21. The previous chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo will continue to chair in non-executive capacity. The head of Microsoft Business division Stephen Elop will take the position. It is the first time a non-Finn becomes Nokia president and chief executive.

The change follows Nokia’s fall in world markets. It includes a decrease in Nokia’s American market share to less than ten percent after failed negotiations with a number of leading American phone providers. An analyst at a market analyst company Canalys, Pete Cunningham, said, “Despite holding 38 percent market share of the smartphone market, Nokia’s failure to compete with the iPhone and high-tier Android devices, combined with its lack of progress in gaining significant traction in the United States, has led to press and investor dissatisfaction.”

Some commenters suggested that Nokia chose Mr. Elop partly because he is a Canadian, following criticism of American candidates by the Finnish press. However a Nokia spokesman rejected this, saying, “Nationality was not a selection criteria.”

Stephen Elop was president and CEO of the graphics and web-development software house Macromedia prior to its acquisition by Adobe in 2005. He then joined Microsoft as President of Microsoft’s Business Division in January, 2008. Commenting on his new role he said, “Nokia has a unique global position as well as a great brand upon which we can build. The Nokia slogan clearly states our key mission: Connecting People, which will acquire new dimensions as we build our portfolio of products, solutions and services.”

In the announcement the Chairman of the Nokia Board of Directors Jorma Ollila stressed an expected shift of focus from hardware to software. “His [Stephen Elop’s] strong software background and proven record in change management will be valuable assets as we press harder to complete the transformation of the company. We believe that Stephen will be able to drive both innovation and efficient execution of the company strategy in order to deliver increased value to our shareholders”.

Nokia stated in an official blog post, “Nokia is transitioning from a hardware manufacturer of mobile devices to a software and solutions business. …Stephen’s background in the software industry is one of his key strengths.”

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