Stock markets worldwide rise on hopes of US economic recovery

Friday, August 21, 2009

Stock indexes worldwide rose on Friday, after US bank chief Ben Bernanke said that the US economy was starting to recover from the recession.

Addressing a conference in Wyoming, the bank chief said that “the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good.”

He added, however, that “the economic recovery is likely to be relatively slow at first, with unemployment declining only gradually from high levels.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 155.91 points, or 1.67%, to end the day at 9505.96. The Nasdaq reached 2020.90 points after gaining 1.59%. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, meanwhile, struck a ten-month high, reaching a level of 1,026.13 at the closing bell, up 1.9%.

The British FTSE index rose about two percent, closing at 4,851. The French Cac index gained 3.1% and the German Dax 2.8%.

“Bernanke was a little bit more bullish than most people were expecting. He’s saying that the global economy is starting to emerge from the recession and that the fears of a financial collapse have receded substantially,” said Jacob Oubina, the currency strategist of Forex.com.

“I think the market is just taking those headlines as extreme positives for the outlook.”

Jean-Claude Trichet, the European Central Bank president, warned that talk of a complete recovery might be premature. “I am a little bit uneasy when I see that, because we have some green shoots here and there, we are already saying, ‘well, after all, we are close to back to normal,’ ” he said.

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Euro reaches new lows

Friday, July 15, 2011

On Tuesday, the Euro fell to a new record low in relation to the Swiss Franc, and to multi-month lows against the U.S. Dollar and Japanese yen; all considered by investors to be safe currencies during times of economic turmoil.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that recent comments from the newly installed head of the International Monetary Fund, France’s Christine Lagarde, resulted in a sell-off of the Euro. At a roundtable discussion in Washington, Lagarde noted that the IMF had not yet reached discussion of terms and conditions of a second Greek bailout plan. In fact, a representative from the IMF is currently meeting with Eurozone policymakers to draft such a new proposal. The yield differential between Italian bonds and German bonds has spread to more than 300 basis points, something not seen in over a decade and evidence of investors’ concern.

Adding to the Euro’s woes is the upcoming release of the bank stress tests on Friday. The European Bankers Association said that they expect the data release to shed new light on the Eurozone’s banking situation. Representatives of several of the Eurozone’s governments, including Germany, have requested that the association consider releasing fewer specific details for fear that investor panic will ensue. The inadequacy of the capitalization rates has been an issue with the European Central Bank, whose president recently called upon Eurozone banks to make every effort to put their balance sheets in order.

For the time being at least, an unsubstantiated rumor reported by the Wall Street Journal states that the Eurozone’s central banks’ purchase of periphery debt has helped to quell the downward momentum of the Euro.

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Gps Tracking Mysteries: What Is Latitude?}

GPS Tracking Mysteries: What Is Latitude?

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GPS technology makes it possible to keep an eye on any person, asset anywhere in the world.

One piece of data that is collected is the latitude.Latitude is measured from the equator in units called degrees. It’s often written as a positive number of degrees in the northern hemisphere and a negative number of degrees in the southern hemisphere. Latitude starts at to 0 degrees at the equator, down to -90 degrees at the South Pole, and up to +90 degrees at the North PoleAs interesting as this technology is, however, its usefulness is determined not by data itself but how the data is collected and used. For this reason, GPS tracking and recording solutions read and take advantage of GPS data like never before.GPS tracking devices usually splits in to two categoriesa.Active tracking devicesb.Passive tracking devices (Data loggers)Active tracking units constantly collect data and send data to central tracking system (such as computer). Active devices are more expensive and consume more power. Passive tracking devices, on the other hand, simply store positioning data on a build in memory chip. Once the tracking device is recovered, data can be downloaded to some device for further analysis. One of the examples of passive tracking devices are data loggers. Technically speaking, a data logger is any device that can be used to store data.. GPS Data Logger will record your track, time and location for viewing on application such as Google Earth. Applications include tracking vehicles, children and elderly, geo tagging pictures, recording travel/hiking routes etcData can be exported in standard HTML, EXCEL, Google Earth KML, and RTF file formats. The data records the following parameters – Date, Time, Latitude, Longitude, Altitude, Speed. You can write latitude correctly in a couple of different ways. For example: Las Vegas, Nevada is at +36 degrees latitude; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is at -22 degrees latitude. The same example can be written specifying North or South instead of using positive and negative. Las Vegas, Nevada is at 36 degrees North; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is at 22 degrees South. GPS technology takes tracking/navigation to next level. If you have important assets to track to or simply Gadget lover GPS receivers surely promise to impress.

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GPS Tracking Mysteries: What Is Latitude?}

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Former governor of Illinois indicted on corruption charges

Friday, April 3, 2009

Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of the US state of Illinois, was indicted on Thursday on charges of corruption for allegedly planning to “sell” Barack Obama’s Senate seat when the latter vacated it to become President.

Five of his advisers, including Blagojevich’s brother Robert, were also indicted. The others are former fundraiser, Christopher Kelly, former chief of staff John Harris, former aide Lon Monk, and the lobbyist William Cellini.

A jury indicted Blagojevich on sixteen felony counts, among them wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, and racketeering conspiracy. The indictment states that if convicted, the ex-governor could face over three hundred years in prison, as well as US$4 million worth of fines, including restitution.

The governor insists that he did nothing illegal, and claims that he was the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt. He pledged to fight his charges in court.

“I’m saddened and hurt but I am not surprised by the indictment. I am innocent,” read a statement released by Blagojevich. “I now will fight in the courts to clear my name. I would ask the good people of Illinois to wait for the trial and afford me the presumption of innocence that they would give to all their friends and neighbors.”

Blagojevich, a governor serving his second term, was arrested on December 9 of last year on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Shortly thereafter, the Illinois House impeached him before the Senate, which nearly unanimously convicted him and expelled him from office.

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Many infertile American women want sex selection

Friday, March 11, 2005Many infertile American women would choose the sex of their next child if given the option.

A survey of 561 women being treated for infertility has found that 41% would use sex selection if it were offered at no cost.

Contradicting fears that such sex selection would cause gender imbalance, the survey found that women with no children would choose baby girls and boys in approximately equal numbers.

Furthermore, women with only daughters wanted to select a male child while women with only sons wanted to select a female child.

“Sex selection is a topic that’s almost taboo for physicians to talk about,” says study lead author Tarun Jain of the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Prior to this study, there has been no data to indicate what the demand might be.”

Of 561 survey respondents, 229 would want to select the sex of their future child.

Among these, 45% had no children and 48% had children of all the same sex.

Half would choose to select the sex of their next child even if they had to bear the cost.

About 55% would choose sperm separation, 41% would choose preimplantation genetic diagnosis and 4% would choose neither.

Sex selection is controversial. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposes it for nonmedical reasons and so does the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine supports it for nonmedical reasons for family gender balancing provided methods used are safe and effective.

“As the techniques gain more popularity, physicians will have to decide if they will offer the procedure to patients with and without children,” says Jain.

The research is reported in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

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Wikinews previews the 2009 Queensland state election

 Correction — November 19, 2009 In the final line of this article, it is stated that The West Australian is a News Limited paper. It is actually independent – the News Limited paper in Perth is the Sunday Times

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

With an election coming up this Saturday in the Australian state of Queensland, Wikinews reporter Patrick Gillett previews the contesting parties.

The current distribution of seats has the Australian Labor Party with 58 of the 86 total, the Liberal National Party with 25, the Queensland Greens & One Nation with one each and independents holding four.

The Australian Labor Party (ALP) is currently in government and have been since 1998. Current premier and leader of the ALP Anna Bligh will be, if Labor wins, the first female to elected premier in Australian history. Ms Bligh became the third female premier in Australian history when Peter Beattie resigned in 2007.

The premier has received criticism from other parties for backflipping on its commitment to run a full term. “After 11 years in office, Ms Bligh only cares about one job: her own,” said Lawrence Springborg head of the Liberal National Party (LNP) and the Leader of the Opposition.

The Liberal National Party is currently in opposition. It is seen as a prototype for a national merger between the Liberal and National parties. The Opposition need to pick up at least twenty seats from the government to overcome the significant Labor majority and a number of independents.

The Queensland Greens are the states largest minor party. The Greens unveiled its policy to open two solar power stations on the weekend of January 31/February 1.

“We can tackle climate change and create long-term jobs, but Labor can’t see that because they are blinded by the interests of their big donors – the urban development and coal industries,” said Mt Coo-tha candidate Larrisa Waters.

The Greens main policies have been stated “Green collar jobs”, “managing where the money is going”, education and transport.

“The Greens want to give the community and the environment a voice back in State Parliament,” says Ms Waters.

The Socialist Alliance will run two candidates as independents because of what they call “restrictive rules for registration.”

Wikinews conducted an interview with the Socialist Alliance on March 2rd in which they said, “That choosing between “tweedledee” and “tweedledum” once every few years is not real democracy, and with the planet in peril, facing an economic meltdown, and all manner of social problems, we can’t afford to leave sociaety [sic] in the hands of the pro-corporate parties.”

The Daylight Saving for South East Queensland (DS4EQ) party was set up in late 2008. DS4SEQ leader Jason Furze gave an interview to Wikinews in January. “DS4SEQ would like to gain a sizeable percentage of the primary vote and win a number of seats,” Mr furze said. Courier Mail writer Dennis Atkins wrote in today’s Courier Mail that DS4SEQ “will poll better than anyone expected – polling close to double figures in some seats around Brisbane and on the coasts.”

News Limited newspapers The West Australian and the Courier Mail reported that swing voters would decide the election.

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Utah police investigate polygamist family from reality show ‘Sister Wives’

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The polygamist family at the center of the new TLC reality television series Sister Wives are now the subject of a criminal investigation. Yesterday, following Sunday’s debut of Sister Wives, police in Lehi, Utah, where the show is set, announced they are investigating Kody Brown and his four wives for possible charges of bigamy.

Sister Wives focuses on Brown, his four wives—Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn—and his 13 children and three step-children. The family has said they are participating in the show to bring more public awareness to polygamist families and fight societal prejudices.

Brown has claimed the arrangement is not illegal because he is only legally married to Meri, and the other marriages are only spiritual unions. However, Lehi police said yesterday that state laws identify bigamy through cohabitation, not just legal contracts. The department plans to turn their findings over to the Utah Attorney General’s office at the conclusion of their investigation.

TLC contacted the state attorney general’s office before the series was broadcast in anticipation of potential legal issues. The office has not explicitly stated they will not charge the Browns, but has stated they do not have the resources to prosecute polygamists unless they are suspected of serious crimes, like child abuse and child trafficking.

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Interview with U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tom Tancredo has been a member of the United States House of Representatives since 1999, representing the 6th Congressional District of Colorado. He rose to national prominence for his strong stance against illegal immigration and his announcement that he was a Republican candidate in the 2008 Presidential election. David Shankbone recently spoke with the Congressman and posed questions from Wikipedia editors and Wikinews reporters:

DS: Throughout my life my father, a lifelong Republican and an avid listener of Rush Limbaugh, told me that all we needed in this country was a Republican Congress, Republican Senate and a Republican White House to get this country on the right track. Last year he expressed his disappointment to me. So many Republicans, like my father, feel lied to or let down by the party. The rationale for the Iraq War, the sex and bribery scandals, the pork barrel projects, and, as Alan Greenspan recently pointed out, the fiscal irresponsibility. People feel there have been many broken promises. Why should someone vote Republican today?

TT: The best reason I can give: we’re not the Democrats. The best thing we have going for us is the Democrats. Maybe that’s as far as I can go; I hope that there are candidates out there who will reflect and carry out the values that your father believes in when he votes Republican. To the extent you can ferret those people out from the others, that’s who he should vote for. The party was taught a pretty harsh lesson in this last election. I have noticed in the last several months we have done a better job of defending Republican principles as the minority than we ever did in the majority. I feel more in tune with the party now than I have throughout the Bush Presidency. Even before he came in, we were in the majority and we were still spending too much. Hopefully we can say that we were spanked by the American public and that we learned our lessons. There are true believers out there who will stick to their guns, and it’s a matter of principle. What’s the alternative? Hillary Clinton?

DS: You yourself said you would only serve three terms in Congress, but then broke that promise. What caused you to reverse yourself?

TT: What happened was this: having ‘lame duck’ stamped on your forehead in Congress when they know you are not going to be around. Then the committee assignments become less meaningful. That was just one of the factors. Far more significant was my becoming the most visible Congressional member on the immigration issue. When I came into Congress I approached Lamar Smith, who was “The Man” on immigration, and said to him, “I’ve come to help you on this issue.” I felt it was one of the most serious we face as a nation. Lamar said, “It’s all yours! I’ve had it with 10 years of busting my head against the wall!” I started doing special orders—that’s when you speak to an empty chamber and whoever is watching CSPAN–and I did that night after night and wondered if it was worth it; was anyone paying attention? Then I’d go back to my office to pick up my keys and I’d see all the telephone lines illuminated, and the fax machine would be going, and a pile of e-mails would be handed to me the next day. I realized: people pay attention. I started picking it up, speaking around the country, leading the caucus on it. In time it became apparent there was nobody to hand the baton to; there were supporters, but not one single soul was willing to take it on as their issue. It was the first year of my second term that I sent a letter to every supporter I had. I said I had come to this conclusion that at the end of my third term (which is three years away) I don’t know if I will run again or not, but that the decision would not be based upon the term limit pledge, because immigration issue makes me feel I have a responsibility I can not shirk. I said that if anybody who gave me money based upon my term limits pledge wanted it back, I would do so. I received maybe three requests.

DS: There are an estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. To round up and deport millions of people would be a major government undertaking, requiring massive federal spending and invasive enforcement. What level of funding would be necessary for U.S. Immigration and Customs to achieve the level of enforcement that you’d like to see?

TT: Only a relatively slight increase because the only thing you have to do, other than building a barrier on the southern border, is go after employers. We need to go aggressively after the employers, and try to identify some of the more high profile employers who are hiring illegal aliens. Go after them with fines, and if they are not only hiring them but also conspiring to bring them in, then they could go to jail. A perp walk would have a chilling effect. If you break that magnet, most illegal aliens would go home voluntarily. An article in the Rocky Mountain News stated there has been an employer crackdown in Colorado, and that they are going home or moving on to other states. If we did it nationally, they will return home, because the jobs are no longer available. It doesn’t have to happen over time or instantaneously. The costs to the American public for 12 million illegals are enormous and far more than are paid for by the illegal immigrants themselves in taxes.

DS: How long would full enforcement take for you to succeed?

TT: It would be a couple of years before employers were weaned off illegal immigrants and then a couple more years before you saw a really significant reduction.

DS: Can you explain your remarks about bombing the Islamic holy sites of Mecca and Medina as a deterrent to terrorists operating against the United States.

TT: The question I was answering was “What would you do if Islamic terrorists set off on or more nuclear devices in the United States?” My response was that we would need to come up with a deterrent, and that deterrent may very well be a threat to take out their holy sites if they did something like that in the United States. I still believe it is something we must consider as a possible deterrent because at the present time there are no negative consequences that would accrue to the people who commit a crime such as a nuclear, chemical or biological attack. There are no negative consequences; they may die in the attack but that is not a negative consequence for them. Usually they aren’t going to be state actors.

DS: But wouldn’t an attack on Mecca and Medina be an attack on a sovereign state?

TT: You are not attacking the state, but the religious ideology itself. Holy sites are not just in Saudi Arabia; there’s a number of them. In fact, Iran has one of the holiest cities in Islam. And I never used the word nuclear device; I was talking about taking out a physical structure. The reason I suggested it as a possible deterrent is because it is the only thing that matches the threat itself. The threat is from a religious ideology. Not just from Islam, but from a nation whose requirements include jihad against infidels, and we are a threat to their culture, which is why they believe we need to be destroyed. We must understand what motivates our opponents in order to develop a successful response. I’ve received death threats, enormous criticism, and I’ve been hung in effigy in Pakistan, but nobody has given me an alternative strategy that would be a deterrent to such an event. I guarantee when you read the national intelligence estimates, you would be hard pressed to not walk away from doing something.

DS: Aside from becoming President, if you could be granted three wishes, what would they be?

TT: It was the other night that I saw for the third or fourth time Saving Private Ryan and in the last scene Private Ryan asks, “Have I been a good man, have I earned it?” My greatest wish is to be a good father and to have earned everything I have been given in this life. And to be a better Christian.

DS: Farmers rely heavily on seasonal manual labor. Strict enforcement of immigration laws will inevitably reduce the pool of migrant labor and thus increase costs. Do you support tariffs or other government intervention to keep American farm products competitive?

TT: No, I don’t , because I challenge the premise of the question. The ability for farmers to obtain workers in the United States is only minimally hampered by the immigration process because there is, in fact, H-2A, the visa that is designed specifically for agricultural workers. We can bring in 10,000,000 if we want to. There are no caps. There are restrictions in terms of pay and healthcare benefits, and that’s what makes hiring illegal aliens more attractive. The costs would increase for certain agricultural interest, but it would be regional. You would also see a very aggressive movement toward the mechanization of farm work. We are seeing it today in a lot of areas. We saw it in the tomato industry with the Bracero Program. That was a program many growers relied heavily upon: workers, primarily from Mexico would come up seasonally, work, and then went back home. It was successful. But liberals ended the program as a bad idea because the immigrants couldn’t bring their families. When that happened, tomato growers said they’d go out of business. Lo and behold they developed machinery that can harvest citrus fruit, and now they are genetically engineering trees that have a thicker bark but are more flexible so they can be shaken by these machines. You’ll see it more and more.

DS: Do you agree that our forefathers intended birthright citizenship?

TT: No, the Fourteenth Amendment, upon which the concept of birthright citizenship is based, was a response to the Dred Scott decision.
During the original Senate debate there was an understanding that it wouldn’t be provided to people simply because they were born here, but instead to people under our jurisdiction. For instance, nobody assumes a child born to an embassy employee or an ambassador is a citizen of this country. There was an understanding and a reference to “under the jurisdiction” of the United States.

DS: You and Karl Rove engaged, in your words, in a screaming match over immigration, and Rove said that you would never again “darken the doorstep of the White House.” Are you still considered persona non grata at the White House?

TT: Yeah, even though he is gone, the President’s feelings about my criticism of him have not changed. It wasn’t my stand on immigration, it was my criticisms of the President that have made me persona non grata.

DS: Psychologist Robert Hare has discussed in his work the use of doublespeak as a hallmark of psychopaths, and social scientists have pointed out that the use of doublespeak is most prevalent in the fields of law and politics. Do these two trends alarm you?

TT [Laughs] Yes and no. Unfortunately doublespeak is all too characteristic of people in my profession.

DS: What is the proper role of Congress in the time of war?

TT: To first declare it, and then to fund it or not.

DS: Politics is dominated by lawyers. What other group of people or professions would you prefer to see dominate the field of politics and why?

TT: I can’t think of a particular profession from which I would be more comfortable drawing politicians from.

DS: Do you think lawyers are better for handling legislation and as politicians?

TT: No, they don’t offer anything particularly advantageous to the process. I don’t think it should be dominated by one profession. I’ll tell you what this profession is, and it doesn’t matter what field you come out of. There’s something I noticed here. I tell every single freshman I come across that there are very few words of wisdom, having only been here for ten years, that I can pass along to you but there is one thing I can tell you: this place is Chinese water torture on your principles. Every single day there is another drip, and it comes from a call from a colleague asking you to sign on to a bill you wouldn’t have signed on to; but it’s a friend, and it’s not that big a deal. Or a constituent who comes in and asks you to do something and you think it wouldn’t be such a big deal; or a special interest group that asks you to vote for something you wouldn’t vote for. After time it erodes the toughest of shells if one isn’t careful doesn’t think about it. Even if you recognize that these small steps lead to a feeling that remaining here is the ultimate goal; that the acquisition of power or the maintenance of power is the ultimate goal, that really does… it doesn’t matter if you are a lawyer or not, it does seem to have an impact on people. It’s a malady that is very common in Washington, and you have to think about it, you really do, or you will succumb to it. I don’t mean to suggest I’ve been impervious to these pressures, but I’ve tried my best to avoid it. One reason I am persona non grata at the White House is not just because of immigration, but because I refuse to support him on his trade policy, his education policy, Medicare and prescription drugs initiatives. I remember leaving that debate at 6:30 on a Saturday morning , after having the President call every freshman off the floor of the House to badger them into submission until there were enough votes to pass it. I remember a woman, a freshman colleague, walking away in tears saying she had never been through anything like that in her life. Here was a Republican Congress increasing government to an extent larger than it had been increased since Medicare had come into existence. Your dad should have been absolutely mortified, because it was against all of our principles. And I know the leadership was torn, but we had the President pressing us: we had to do it, we had to stay in power, the President is asking us to do it. Principles be damned. There were people who caved in that night who I never in a million years thought would.
And the threats! “You like being Committee Chairman?” Yes I do. “Do you want to be Chairman tomorrow?” And that’s how it happens. I was called into Tom Delay’s office because I was supporting Republican challengers to Republican incumbents. I had a group called Team America that went out and did that. He called me and said to me, “You’re jeopardizing your career in this place by doing these things.” And I said, “Tom, out of all the things you can threaten with me that is the least effective because I do not look at this place as a career.”

DS: You have supported proposed constitutional amendments that would ban abortion and same-sex marriage. You are also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Why do you believe that the U.S. Constitution should regulate medical procedures and personal relationships, but not gun ownership?

TT: The issue of medical procedures and relationships: I don’t really believe the federal government or any level of government has any business in determining about who I care about, or who anybody cares about, but I do believe they have a legitimate role, and the federal government has a responsibility, because of reciprocity. We are only one federal judge decision away from having gay marriage imposed on all states. That’s why there is a need for a Constitutional Amendment. I really believe a family–male, female, rearing children–I believe that is an important structure for the state itself, the way we procreate, which hopefully provides a stable environment for children. That is important to the state, and that’s why I think it’s legitimate. The reciprocity clause forces us into thinking about a Constitutional Amendment. I believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned because I think it’s lousy law, and many liberal jurists think it’s lousy because it read into the Constitution a right to privacy. I don’t’ see a connection between these things and the 2nd Amendment. Same-sex marriage and abortion, perhaps, but I don’t see a connection to the Second Amendment question. I support the 2nd Amendment because it is one of the most important we have. It’s a right we have to protect a lot of our other rights. And in our urban centers…and I don’t’ believe as some Second Amendment radicals believe that every single person has that right. I don’t think so! If you have committed a felony, or if you are a danger to yourself or someone else, then you shouldn’t be able to obtain a firearm, but law-abiding citizens should because it gives them a sense of security and protection against people who would do you harm. I don’t believe urban communities are more dangerous because people are allowed to own guns, but because dangerous people have guns. I would feel more comfortable if in the District of Columbia I could carry a concealed gun. I have a permit.

DS: You recently spoke out against the Black and Hispanic Congressional caucuses, stating, “It is utterly hypocritical for Congress to extol the virtues of a color-blind society while officially sanctioning caucuses that are based solely on race. If we are serious about achieving the goal of a colorblind society, Congress should lead by example and end these divisive, race-based caucuses.” Do you also believe there is no longer a need for the NAACP?

TT: No, I think it’s fine, because it’s a private organization, and people can belong to whatever private organization they want, and the need will be determined to a great extent by reality. If in fact people feel committed to an organization that they believe represents their interest, and it’s a voluntary association, that’s fine. All I’m saying is that for Congress to support these things, that run on money that is appropriated–though they fund them in a convoluted way, but it gets there– my point was about leading by example. If people said we don’t think it’s a good idea, maybe that would have an impact on how people feel about things like the NAACP. I would hope there would be, and I would assume Martin Luther King hoped–that’s his quite about a colorblind society–that there will come a time we don’t need them. That it’s an anachronistic organization. I also don’t believe in the creation of districts on race.

DS: You were one of a handful of Republicans who voted for a bill proposed by Maurice Hinchey and Dana Rohrabacher to stop the Department of Justice from raiding medical marijuana patients and caregivers in states where medical marijuana is legal, citing states’ rights concerns. On the other hand, you have suggested state legislators and mayors should be imprisoned for passing laws contrary to federal immigration law, and you support the Federal Marriage Amendment to ban gay marriage nationally. How do you reconcile these seemingly contradictory positions?

TT: We are talking about issues that are legitimately based upon the Constitutional roles of the state and federal government. I believe there is no Constitutional provision that suggests the federal government has a role to play in preventing states, or punishing states, over laws with regards to medical marijuana. I believe absolutely there is a role for the federal government for punishing states or laws when they contravene federal jurisdiction. For instance, protecting states against invasion. Immigration is federal policy, and there’s a law actually called “Encouragement”: you can’t encourage people to come in illegally or stay here illegally. I believe that is constitutionally a federal area.

DS: If you had to support one of the Democratic candidates, which one would it be and why?

TT: Although I couldn’t vote for him, if I had to support one for a nominee it would be Obama, and I would do so because first, I believe we could beat him [laughs], but secondly, and less cynically, I think it would be very good to have a black man, a good family man, and a very articulate man, to have him as a role model for a lot of black children in this country.
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U.S. heiress, designer, and author Gloria Vanderbilt dies at 95

Thursday, June 20, 2019

U.S. heiress Gloria Vanderbilt died on Monday at the age of 95, her son Anderson Cooper announced. She had advanced stomach cancer. Scion of the wealthy Vanderbilt family and the subject of a heavily publicized custody battle early in life, she later also became a performer, artist, and designer of porcelain, linens, and a well-known line of designer jeans.

Anderson Cooper, of CNN, one of Vanderbilt’s four sons, stated, “Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms […] She was a painter, a writer, and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend. She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her, and they’d tell you, she was the youngest person they knew, the coolest, and most modern.”

Vanderbilt was born in 1924 into the wealthy Vanderbilt family, great-great granddaughter of the railroad and shipping tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt. Her father, Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, died with liver disease when she was one. At the age of ten, Vanderbilt was the subject of a heavily publicized custody battle between her widowed mother, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, and her aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, who controlled a large piece of the Vanderbilt fortune. Her aunt won.

Although she had a trust fund worth US$5 million that she shared with one half-sister, over the course of her life, Vanderbilt also earned income herself through various pursuits. Encouraged to explore creative outlets by a psychotherapist, Vanderbilt took acting lessons and eventually performed on stage in The Time of Your Life in 1955 and appeared on television programs. She also focused on art and design, creating paintings, collages, linens, and a brand of designer jeans that would generate millions in sales. In 1990, the Smithsonian museum featured her jeans alongside the works of designers including Coco Chanel in an exhibit on gender and style.

Syracuse University pop culture professor Robert Thompson remarked, “The thing that really made Gloria Vanderbilt penetrate the American consciousness was the blue jeans war of the late ’70s and early 1980s […] The jeans moved from being functional clothes to designer jeans […] it was her attempt to take something that was so unglamorous and invest it in high fashion style.”

Vanderbilt was married to talent agent Pasquale “Pat” Di Cicco; conductor Leopold Stokowski, who fathered two of her sons; director Sidney Lumet; and author Wyatt Cooper; but, according to her memoirs, also had some degree of romantic involvement with, amongst others, Errol Flynn, Frank Sinatra, and Marlon Brando. She would later say her union with Cooper was her only happy marriage.

Vanderbilt also authored several books, including the memoirs Once Upon a Time and Black Knight, White Knight and the 2009 novel Obsession, which the New York Times called “the steamiest book ever written by an octogenarian.”

Vanderbilt is survived by two sons with Stokowski, Stanislaus and Christopher, and by her son Anderson Cooper. Another son, Carter Cooper, predeceased her.

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Fifteen people killed in attack on Nigerian college

Friday, September 19, 2014

Officials said at least fifteen people were killed in an attack on a teachers training college in the Northern Nigerian city of Kano by a group of armed gunmen on Wednesday. Over 30 others were wounded.

News agencies have reported while there has been no claim of responsibility, suspicion will likely fall on the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. The group has previously targeted Western-style schools within the country, including past attacks on secondary schools.

According to official reports, police first approached the group in the area of the school, concerned about their unusual activity, and the attackers engaged police in a firefight. The attackers gained entry to the school and started throwing bombs.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan described the incident as a “dastardly attack”. He has already declared a state of emergency in three northern states, and is being criticized along with the country’s armed forces for failure to prevent extremist attacks.

A police spokesman said police killed two attackers at the scene.

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