On the campaign trail, August 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The following is the tenth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: Wikinews interviews the Peace and Freedom Party vice presidential nominee, analysts react to the Republican choice for vice president, and Wikinews updates readers on the candidates who challenged President Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
  • 2 Peace and Freedom Party VP nominee speaks to Wikinews
  • 3 Analysts react to Republican VP selection
  • 4 Update on 2012 Democratic candidates
  • 5 Related news
  • 6 Sources

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News briefs:May 07, 2010

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Settlement returns billions to California schools funding

Tuesday, May 16, 2006The state’s teachers and schools chief Jack O’Connell have settled their lawsuit against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and, as a result, billions of dollars in school funding O’Connell and the teachers claimed the governor misappropriated during the state’s fiscal crisis will be returned to the schools.

“The restoration of funding to Califoria school districts is very positive news,” New Haven schools Superintendent Pat Jaurequi told the James Logan Courier.

“This is a day for celebration in schools throughout California. When this lawsuit was filed, I promised that I would fight up and down the state until the funding owed to our schools was restored,” O’Connell, the state superintendent of Public Instruction, said in a statement last week. “I also promised I would give the Governor credit for doing the right thing if he restored this critical funding. Today, I want to thank Governor Schwarzenegger for working with the education community to invest wisely in our schools — the best investment we can make in California’s future.”

“This is a good thing for our schools and community colleges throughout California,” said Barbara E. Kerr, president of the California Teachers Association, one of the parties to the lawsuit. “Having all the money owed to our schools under Proposition 98 and the governor’s agreement of 2004 restored to our students is the news we’ve been waiting for.

In a statement regarding the settlement, Schwarzenegger said, “I am pleased to announce a resolution that will put the dispute regarding Proposition 98 funding behind us and allow us to invest an additional $3 billion in schools in a way that best helps our students.”

Proposition 98 is an amendment to the state Constitution, passed in 1988, that established a minimum funding level or guarantee for K-12 education and community colleges. O’Connell and the California Teachers Association sued Schwarzenegger and the director for the California Department of Finance last summer after when they diverted billions of dollars earmarked for the schools under Prop. 98 to overcome budget deficits that were crippling California, violating an agreement made with educators the previous year.

The agreement restores funding Proposition 98 funding that was due, but not provided in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 fiscal years. The Governor’s May Budget Revision will include $2 billion and language that provides an additional $3 billion to be paid in installments between fiscal year 2006-07 and fiscal year 2013-14, or until paid in full.

In addition to the settlement funds, Schwarzenegger’s “May Budget Revision,” announced last week, also directs billions more of the state’s money to schools. Schwarzenegger said bulging state coffers, filled by unexpected tax revenues, allowed him to budget an extra 8.1 billion for schools, for a total of $55.1 billion-an over 17% overall funding increase from 2004-2005.

The settlement and the new budget figures “will allow us to make good on the debts to schools created through the recent lean years and to make important new investments in public education,” said O’Connell.

Schwarzenegger had some ideas about how the money should be spent. “For K-12 schools, I propose that we concentrate these funds to improve instruction in schools with low academic achievement. We should direct the funds to the classroom level for such things as lowering class size, attracting and supporting quality school leadership and fully credentialed and experienced teachers, supporting greater involvement of parents, providing more counselors in high schools, and increasing quality professional development, instructional materials, improved instruction and accountability.” he said.

Although pleased by the outcome of the lawsuit, Jaurequi was cautious about predicting its effect in New Haven “ It is significant to note that two-thirds of the new funding is one-time in nature and is not an ongoing revenue stream,” she said.

“Although the budget process is far from over and we will likely differ on some of his budget priorities, I am happy to thank Governor Schwarzenegger for working with the education community to invest in public education,” said O’Connell, who’s been embroiled in controversy and litigation over the California High School Exit Exam in recent weeks.

“I am particularly pleased to see that the Governor has increased funding to expand remediation programs for students who are struggling to pass the California High School Exit Exam, and to pay for new summer and evening administrations of the Exam,” said O’Connell, who wrote the law requiring the exam when he was a state legislator in 1998, “ I also applaud the increase in funding to expand and improve student nutrition programs giving more students the opportunity to make healthier food choices on campus. In addition, I am very happy to see additional funding for high school counselors. Our state currently has the lowest ratio of counselors to students in the nation. This is a statistic we need to improve upon “

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Wikinews Shorts: December 9, 2008

A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, December 9, 2008.

Contents

  • 1 US media group Tribune files for bankruptcy protection
  • 2 Quebec votes in general election
  • 3 Bailout for US automakers nears agreement
 Contribute to Wikinews by expanding these briefs or add a new one.

The United States media group Tribune Company has filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday as it struggled to sort out its US$13 billion debt. It is the second-largest newspaper publisher in the United States, responsible for the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, among others.

The firm has been hit hard by the industry-wide slump in newspaper advert revenues this year. Sam Zell, the billionaire who owns Tribune, took out large loans in order to buy the firm back in June of 2007.

The United States Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection law states that a company can continue trading whilst it sorts out its finances.

Sources

  • “US publisher in bankruptcy move” — BBC News Online, December 8, 2008
  • “Tribune files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy” — MarketWatch.com, December 8, 2008

 This story has updates See Quebec’s Liberal premier Jean Charest wins third term 

The Quebec general election is underway in the Canadian province of Quebec. Premier Jean Charest called the elections, saying he needed a majority to guide Quebec through a period of economic difficulties caused by the worldwide financial crisis.

Polls indicate that the Charest may obtain a majority, with support for his Quebec Liberal Party increasing to 45%, while support for the Parti Québécois remains at around 30%.

The polls will close at 01:00 GMT (20:00 local time), and the results will probably come in soon after that.

Sources

  • “Quebec voters head to the polls” — BBC News Online, December 8, 2008
  • “Quebec votes in provincial elections” — Agence France-Presse, December 8, 2008

The United States government is reportedly close to an agreement for a US$15 billion bailout plan for the country’s three largest auto firms.

According to a draft obtained by the Associated Press, the deal would give loans to Detroit‘s struggling Big Three automobile manufacturersFord, General Motors, and Chrysler — but under the condition that the auto industry restructures itself to survive. Another condition is that the incumbent US President, George W. Bush, would appoint an overseer to supervise the effort.

Analysts suggest that the agreement could be signed into law by the end of this week.

Sources

  • “White House cool to plan for auto bailout” — MSNBC, December 8, 2008
  • “US car bail-out nears agreement” — BBC News Online, December 8, 2008

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Denny’s Super Bowl free ‘Grand Slam Breakfast’ brings 2 million diners

Friday, February 6, 2009

Denny’s 1,600 chain restaurants across North America, Puerto Rico and Canada, were slammed for eight hours Tuesday with hungry patrons standing on sidewalks for nearly two hours to take advantage of the $5.99 “Grand Slam Breakfast” giveaway.

Denny’s, a dining chain with annual revenue of about $900 million, has advertised in a TV commercial Sunday during the Super Bowl XLIII that it would give away its signature breakfast from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. local time Tuesday, at all its restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, while supplies lasted.

Denny’s Diner has promoted the iconic dish giveaway heavily, with a bold 30-second appeal ad that aired during the third quarter of the Super Bowl 43 on Sunday, plus another 15-second ad during the post-game show, offering a free breakfast to some 90 million viewers. In addition, it has placed a full-page ad in USA Today‘s Monday edition. The promotion was further announced on The Today Show and notices were also sent out to the chain’s “Denny’s Breakfast Club” members.

The NBC ad, which was bought to unveil a new promotion for customers squeezed by the recession, may have cost as much as $3 million, said Nelson Marchioli, CEO of Denny’s Corp. Super Bowl XLIII’s 30-second commercial time slot costs $2.4 million–$3 million for the airtime alone, excluding production and talent costs.

The game was televised live by the US NBC Sunday Night Football and Canada’s CTV Television Network. BayTSP has reported that, “as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, commercials that initially aired during NBC’s Super Bowl XLIII broadcast subsequently had been watched online more than 28 million times.”

“The promotion has a total cost of $5 million U.S., which includes $3 million for the commercial on NBC,” said a Denny’s spokesman, noting also that the company received about $50 million in news coverage, most of which was positive. According to a Denny’s representative, two million people walked through the restaurant chains’ doors Tuesday, and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour.

With the “Denny’s Feeds America” promotion, the company has reported 14 million hits on its Web site between Sunday night and Monday morning. Denny’s shares rose 6 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $1.98 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a range of $1.18 to $4.10 over the past 52 weeks.

“Denny’s free Grand Slam” has ranked in the top 10 Google searches early Tuesday and fell to No. 18 by the end of the promotion, while “denny s locations” was #9 on Google Trends, which tracks fast-rising searches. It has also held spots No. 1 (Denny’s) and 7 (Grand Slam) on Twitter‘s trending topics. It has generated much chat on Twitter, garnering 1,700 tweets on Tuesday, compared with its average of 59. Doritos, winner of the USA TODAY survey for best Super Bowl spot ad, had 933 mentions after reaching a peak of almost 3,300.

The idea of the TV ad was to get people to come in and re-evaluate Denny’s Diner. “A lot of people have forgotten what Denny’s is, or they think they know, while we’ve come out with a whole lot of new products. We felt like we needed to jump start the brand,” Denny’s Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Mark Chmiel said.

“We’re celebrating the Grand Slam this year,” Chmiel said. According to the company’s financial data, on January 15 Denny’s reported systemwide comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter were down 6.1 percent, compared to a 0.2 percent decline from the same period in 2007.

According to Robert Gonzalez, public relations company Hill & Knowlton spokesman, Denny’s has expected at least 2 million people to eat a free Grand Slam by the end of the promotion. “Every restaurant is packed with people and lines,” Gonzalez said. “Everything today is about fast. People are on the go, and they’re eating fast food. It’s cutting into sit-down dining,” he added.

“Each of the more than 1,500 Denny’s were planning to make about 100 Grand Slams an hour,” Denny’s spokeswoman Cori Rice said. It had predicted it will have served about 1,400 people per location, more than five times the normal volume. “Grand Slam Breakfast” is a four-item option on its menu, consisting of two pancakes, two eggs, two strips of bacon and two sausage links. It weighs in at 44 grams of fat, 56 carbohydrates and 770 calories.

Nationwide, Denny’s expected to sell about 2 million Grand Slams — about 15 percent of the annual tally. According to Mark Chmiel, chief marketing operator and executive vice president, the diner chain has reported approximately 2 million meals worth more than $12 million were given away nationwide and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour. It estimated it has earned about $50 million worth of public relations following the free Grand Slam campaign, Chmiel said.

The company is also experimenting with a Grand Slam Burrito and also has introduced for this year, a Grand Slamwich, which includes eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese between two slices of bread, with a teaspoon serving. “It already has shown strong consumer appeal,” said Chmiel. The company has received flood of e-mails and letters proving the positive impact of the Grand Slam campaign and commercials on its customers.

Chmiel also announced he’s planning a third major promotion in this year’s third quarter, which happens to include another major sporting event, the World Series. “That’s one we’re definitely looking at,” he said.

Jobless Paris Winslow of downtown San Francisco, California has joined the long line which stretched from the front door on Mission Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, to the corner of Fourth and up the block. “The economy is getting kind of scary. This line looks like those pictures of soup kitchen lines during the 1929 Great Depression,” Winslow said.

“I came all the way from San Francisco for a free $6 meal, Isn’t that pathetic? A year ago, I never would have done this. These days I’m willing to put my ego on the back burner,” said Stephen Weller, a jobless contractor who waited with his dog, Emmett. California Denny’s restaurant managers have issued rain checks (for free chilled meals, as security backed by actual bacon) to anyone who failed to get in by the 2 p.m. deadline.

A big eater could also “Slam It Up” by adding any two additional items for 99 cents each to their meal. Customers on Tuesday were also handed “bounceback” coupon books that include offers for additional free menu items with purchases. Chicago Tribune reporter Kevin Pang has eaten five free Grand Slams on Tuesday at five different Denny’s Diners in four hours. He claims to have consumed 4,100 calories at Harwood Heights, 5:36 a.m, at Schiller Park, 6:22 a.m., at Franklin Park, 7:08 a.m., at Melrose Park, 7:41 a.m. and at Grand Slam No. 5 Oak Park, 8:57 a.m.

“The Grand Slam has always been a Denny’s favorite. This free offer is our way of reacquainting America with Denny’s real breakfast and with the Denny’s brand,” Denny’s CEO Nelson Marchioli said in a statement. In 1977s, the Grand Slam started as a baseball-related promotion in Atlanta, Georgia. Its normal price averages around $5.99. Marchioli said the event was also a way to kick-off its “Year of the Grand Slam” promotion. Denny’s claimed it has sold 12.5 million Grand Slams a year.

“The economy’s tough and people are jumping all the way to fast food to try to figure it out. We all use fast food, whether it’s for time or convenience or for money. But you can go to Denny’s and you don’t have to give up a real breakfast and that was the whole focus of our commercial,” Marchioli explained. McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500) has done well during this economic meltdown since the global recession pushes people toward less expensive dining options.

McDonald’s has announced plans Wednesday to open 175 new restaurants in China this year despite the global economic crisis, thereby increasing the number of outlets in China by 17 percent, from 1,050 currently. Last month, McDonald’s 2008 net profit has risen 80 percent from 2007 to 4.3 billion dollars.

Marchioli has also introduced Denny’s $4 Weekday Express Slam, which is a streamlined version of the Grand Slam. “I want to take back share. For too long, we have allowed others to take share, whether it was Starbucks or McDonald’s. They’re fine competitors and I don’t expect to take all their business from them, but I’d like a little bit back,” Marchioli noted.

According to Rafi Mohammed, author of “The Art of Pricing,” people love free. “It triggers a Pavlovian response in people,” said Mohammed. If Pavlov’s dogs salivate when a bell rings, Denny’s free Grand Slam breakfast has attracted 2 million hungry customers. “I believe free maximizes trial and doesn’t devalue a product as long as it is a rare event. Aside from the cost, the major downside is that it attracts customers who truly have no intention of coming back,” he added.

According to University of Portland consumer psychology professor Deana Julka, people flock to free promotions amid just a few dollars saving because there’s nothing in life for free. “So when there’s something out there that costs nothing, it creates a psychological rush. Especially in these times when people feel overtaxed or overburden, there’s an internal reward people feel by getting something for free,” she said. “It’s being thrifty and feeling like you beat the system. Free really hits the spot for a lot of people,” Julka added.

“Free is an emotional hot button. When free is concerned, there is no downside – or, at least, we don’t see the downside immediately. So we overvalue everything that is free. People love free stuff, particularly when money’s tight,” said Dan Ariely, a business professor at Duke University, author of “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.”

Experts, however, explained these moves need to be done sparingly, since giveaways can teeter in the balance between desperation and a well designed marketing ploy. “Giving your product away for free is not worth it because it undermines your brand value,” said branding expert Rob Frankel, saying people are attached to the idea of it being free, than the actual product itself.

Free giveaways are not anything new in the food industry. “It just feels good when you can get something for free and not have to worry about it coming out of your wallet,” Frankel noted. Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera Bread all have had free coffee and food promos last year. “In November, Starbucks gave away free cup of coffee to anyone who came in on Election Day. Have you taken a look at how Starbucks is doing now?” Last week it has announced it would shut down 300 stores, in addition to the 600 it already planned to close.

On February 24, IHOP will be offering a free shortstack to every customer to encourage donations (in place of the cost) for Childrens Miracle Network. The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is a United States-based restaurant chain that specializes in breakfast foods and is owned by DineEquity. The chain had more than 1950 restaurants in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico. Since 2006, IHOP’s National Pancake Day celebration has raised over $1.85 million. In 2008, over 1.5 million pancakes (12 miles high if they were stacked) were given to customers for donations.

Denny’s (“Denny’s Diner”) is a full-service diner/family restaurant chain in the United States. It operates over 2,500 restaurants in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, Curaçao, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand). The resto chain is known for always being open, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert around the clock.

Today, Denny’s operates about 1,600 restaurants in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. There are also about 578 Denny’s restaurants in Japan operated under a license by a subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings, seven Denny’s locations in New Zealand, and approximately 38 Denny’s diners in the United States. Denny’s headquarters is now located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, headquarters of the parent company Trans World Corporation that acquired Denny’s in 1987.

Denny’s was historically notable for offering a free meal to anyone on their birthday. The offer included a limited number of meal options from a special birthday menu. The promotional ritual ceased in 1993, though occasionally individual franchises will continue the tradition.

In 2008, Denny’s has ceased to be in the ranks among the top diner chains in the $83 billion breakfast market, whose top five firms — McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and IHOP — accounted for 22 percent of the volume. “A lot of consumers have written Denny’s off their let’s-go-there list,” said Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a consulting firm.

Super Bowl XLIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference champion Pittsburgh Steelers (15–4) and the National Football Conference champion Arizona Cardinals (12–8) to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2008 NFL season. It was played on February 1, 2009, at Raymond James Stadiumin Tampa, Florida. It has an attendance of 70,774 and 98.7 million viewers. Pittsburgh earned its sixth Super Bowl win, thus securing sole possession of the record for most Super Bowl wins.

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

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?

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Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans students/LA-ND

See the discussion page for instructions on adding schools to this list and for an alphabetically arranged listing of schools.

Due to the damage by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding, a number of colleges and universities in the New Orleans metropolitan area will not be able to hold classes for the fall 2005 semester. It is estimated that 75,000 to 100,000 students have been displaced. [1]. In response, institutions across the United States and Canada are offering late registration for displaced students so that their academic progress is not unduly delayed. Some are offering free or reduced admission to displaced students. At some universities, especially state universities, this offer is limited to residents of the area.

Contents

  • 1 Overview
  • 2 Louisiana
  • 3 Maine
  • 4 Maryland
  • 5 Massachusetts
  • 6 Michigan
  • 7 Minnesota
  • 8 Mississippi
  • 9 Missouri
  • 10 Montana
  • 11 Nebraska
  • 12 Nevada
  • 13 New Hampshire
  • 14 New Jersey
  • 15 New Mexico
  • 16 New York
  • 17 North Carolina
  • 18 North Dakota

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Southern Ocean whale slaughter to resume

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

The international environmental organisation, Greenpeace, have been shadowing a Japanese whaling fleet currently operating in the Southern Ocean in Australian Antarctic Territory. They claim a minor victory against the six-vessel fleet, saying no whales have been killed since Christmas Eve. However they expect a resumption of whaling and protest activity soon.

Greenpeace has two ships, MV Esperanza and MV Arctic Sunrise, active near Antarctica, in an effort to disrupt the whalers, who intend on slaughtering over 900 Minke whales and 10 Fin whales in the region this summer. The activists aim to stop the Japanese whaling fleet as it tries to catch nearly 1000 whales for what is claimed to be scientific research.

Greenpeace chief Steve Shallhorn states that the protesters have chased the six-ship fleet northwards, with the vessels now away from the designated whaling zone. Greenpeace plan to maintain their efforts to keep the whalers in the public eye.

“What the fleet is doing is trying to outrun Greenpeace so that it can sneak back into the whaling grounds and resume the kill,” he said. “And for that very reason, we’re doing our very best and are succeeding in keeping up with the factory whaling ship. We are certain that they do not want any further publicity.”

He said Greenpeace will continue its high-speed tailing for as long as it takes. “We’re capable of staying out there for many more weeks,” he said. “The [Japanese] fleet is clearly embarrassed by having their actions exposed to the world, since the spotlight on their activities shows what it really is – commercial whaling with a very thin disguise.”

The whalers have been unable to kill any whales since Christmas Eve due to poor weather and harassment by Greenpeace vessels, and the Washington-based Sea Shepherd ship, RV Farley Mowat. The Sea Shepherd is operating independently of Greenpeace but say they are working towards a common objective – “the shutting down of illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean.”

Greenpeace expedition leader Shane Rattenbury says the whalers have a season of about 100 days. “Their quota is 945 whales. If you lose, say, 10 per cent of those through bad weather, they’ve got an average they need to catch of 10 a day and it’s gone 10 days now without having any whales,” he said. “That starts to add up pretty quickly. They’re under a bit of pressure to get on with the business.”

Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research have rejected the claims made by Sea Shepherd, that Japanese warship was being sent to Antarctica to protect the fleet against the activists.

The Japanese institute spokesman condemned Sea Shepherd over the claim by Farley Mowat captain Paul Watson, who called on the Australian Government to keep the peace.File:Greenpeace Vessels Esperanza and Arctic Sun.jpg

Sea Shepherd had requested the presence of the Australian navy to monitor events in the Southern Ocean. However, Australia’s environment minister, Senator Ian Campbell, said that Sea Shepherd’s threats to attack the fleet “risk setting back the cause of whale conservation many years”.

Capt Watson said yesterday: “Stop threatening us, Mr Campbell, and charge us if you believe we are acting unlawfully. Stop posing for the Japanese [who] are in blatant violation of international conservation laws.”

Japan’s Fisheries Agency, which conducts the whaling, said the claim was a tactic by Sea Shepherd to try to raise the stakes for extra publicity.

“This is why the environmentalists’ campaign in the Antarctic is a PR stunt: every time they get some media coverage there’s always some member not too far away asking the public for money,” an agency spokesman said in a statement. “Only this time, it completely backfired and now people will question what these groups say.”

The spokesman had no response to Greenpeace’s claim that another vessel had joined the whaling fleet and was refuelling the ships within the boundary of the Antarctic Treaty’s nature reserve.

Mr Rattenbury said the 57 activists and crew aboard the Greenpeace ships were in good health following a quiet New Year’s Day celebration on deck under a midnight sun.

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Southern Ocean whaling season (2005-2006)

He said his ships were not in contact with the Farley Mowat, which is believed to be closer to the Antarctic ice shelf. The Farley Mowat’s weblog quoted ship captain Paul Watson as saying the Sea Shepherd group had no conflict with Greenpeace, despite earlier British media assertions.

“As far as I am concerned both Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace are working towards a common objective – the shutting down of illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean,” said Paul Watson.

Greenpeace believes the fleet killed at least 25 whales from the time it contacted the whalers just before Christmas.

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Eleven die in truck-van crash in Kentucky

Saturday, March 27, 2010

At least eleven people have died in a crash between a van and a tractor-trailer on Interstate 65 south of Munfordville, Kentucky. The collision occurred around 5:16 a.m. CDT (1016 UTC) yesterday morning near the 63-mile marker.

According to officials the tractor-trailer crossed the median and struck the 18 passenger van head-on. The truck then hit a rock wall and burst into flames. The driver of the truck is reported to have died along with ten passengers in the van. The family in the van were Mennonites from Kentucky on their way to a wedding in Iowa.

Officials said that one infant was killed but two other children in the van aged four and five that were in child restraint seats survived with minor injuries. Northbound Interstate 65 was to be closed until at least 4 p.m. CDT (2100 UTC) according to the Kentucky Department of Transportation.

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Fijian regime appoints vice-president

Friday, April 17, 2009

Interim minister for Indigenous Affairs Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has been appointed vice-president by Fiji’s military regime.

Nailatikau, a former military commander, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Minister in the military regime, was sworn in at Government House this morning. He will continue to hold his portfolios in the interim Cabinet.

The appointment follows the promulgation of a decree establishing the office of vice-president and permitting them to perform the functions of the President of Fiji if the President is unable to.

The current president, Josefa Iloilo, is 88 years old and suffers from Parkinson’s disease. He is rarely seen in public, and there is some speculation about his health.

Iloilo abrogated the country’s constitution and revoked all judicial appointments last Friday in response to a Court of Appeal decision declaring the removal of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and the appointment of military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama as interim Prime Minister unlawful.

Previously the vice-president was appointed by the Great Council of Chiefs. An earlier attempt by the military regime to appoint Nailatikau as vice-president was rejected by the GCC in April, 2007, leading to the body’s suspension.

Fiji’s government was overthrown by a military coup in 2006.

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