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4 Highlights Of Walking In Kwa Zulu Natal Sep 13

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Submitted by: Tony Maniscalco

If you like to spend your holidays wildlife watching and walking, South Africa is a destination you won’t want to miss. The landscapes vary from coastlines to mountain ranges, game reserves to wineland regions and, wherever you choose to go in this country, you are sure to find some truly breathtaking scenery for unforgettable walking holidays.

The region of KwaZulu-Natal has so many natural highlights and some of the very best walking South Africa has to offer. Located in the east of the country, it is a region of outstanding natural beauty that is also steeped in ancient Zulu culture, with its own Zulu king acting as spiritual leader for the province.

If you go walking in KwaZulu-Natal, here are four of the very best highlights on offer, from national parks and towering mountain ranges to notable historical sights…

Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve

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The oldest park in the country, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve is a big attraction for animal lovers on a South Africa walking holiday. There is a huge range of wildlife to be seen here, with all Big Five game animals (lion, elephant, rhinoceros, leopard and buffalo), a great number of different birds, and the largest number of white rhino in the world. Self-guided and guided walks, game drives and boat trips up the main river all offer opportunities to get up close and personal with the wildlife at this reserve.

Rourke’s Drift

The site of Rourke’s Drift, located in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, has become legendary due to the battle that was fought there in 1879. A tiny garrison of just over a hundred British soldiers, based at the small mission station and hospital that was there at that time, held off a force of many thousands of Zulu warriors. Famously dramatised in the film Zulu, starring Michael Caine, visiting present day Rourke’s Drift is likely to be a real highlight for history buffs and fans of spectacular countryside alike!

Drakensberg Mountains

This dramatic mountain range is the highest set of mountains in South Africa. The mountains are known as ‘The Barrier of Spears’ in Zulu and, once you see the imposing sight of the range itself, you’ll understand why! With the strikingly beautiful mountains and a surrounding area that is rich with diverse wildlife, it’s a real pleasure to explore the Drakensberg Mountains on foot. Whilst you are here, don’t miss out on the legendary Amphitheatre a walk to the top of this vertical rock face provides one of the finest views in South Africa!

Royal Natal National Park

Located in the shadow of the Drakensberg Mountains, the Royal Natal National Park is an ideal place to visit for walkers, with a wide range of graded walks suitable for all levels that showcase the very best sights that the park has to offer. The Tugela Falls are the must see in the park, being the second highest waterfall in the world at 948 metres high.

About the Author: Tony Maniscalco is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Ramblers Worldwide Holidays. Operating since 1946, they now offer over 250 guided group walking holidays in more than 90 different countries. Whilst

walking South Africa

with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, you can walk the most scenic locations & landscapes at the best value prices.

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US unemployment rate reaches 9.8%
Sep 13

Friday, October 2, 2009

Companies in the United States are shedding more jobs, pushing the country’s unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.8%.

The US Labor Department said on Friday that employers cut 263,000 jobs in September, with companies in the service industries — including banks, restaurants and retailers — hit especially hard. This is the 21st consecutive month of job losses in the country.

The United States has now lost 7.2 million jobs since the recession officially began in December 2007. The new data has sparked fears that unemployment could threaten an economic recovery. Top US officials have warned that any recovery would be slow and uneven, and some have predicted the unemployment rate will top 10% before the situation improves.

“Continued household deleveraging and rising unemployment may weigh more on consumption than forecast, and accelerating corporate and commercial property defaults could slow the improvement in financial conditions,” read a report by the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, predicting that unemployment will average 10.1% by next year and not go back down to five percent until 2014.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, said that “it’s a very fragile and tentative recovery. Policy makers need to do more.”

“The number came in weaker than expected. We saw a lot of artificial involvement by the government to prop up the markets, and now that that is starting to end, the private sector isn’t yet showing signs of life,” said Kevin Caron, a market strategist for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.

Also on Thursday, the US Commerce Department said factory orders fell for the first time in five months, dropping eight-tenths of a percent in August. Orders for durable goods — items intended to last several years (including everything from appliances to airliners) — fell 2.6%, the largest drop since January of this year.

The US government has been spending billions of dollars — part of a $787 billion stimulus package — to help spark economic growth. There have been some signs the economy is improving.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that spending on home construction jumped in August for its biggest increase in 16 years. A real estate trade group, the National Association of Realtors, said pending sales of previously owned homes rose more than 12 percent in August, compared to August 2008.

A separate Commerce Department report said that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rose at its fastest pace in nearly eight years, jumping 1.3 percent in August.

Other reports have provided cause for concern. A banking industry trade group said Thursday the number of US consumers making late payments, or failing to make payments, on loans and credit cards is on the rise. A survey by a business group, the Institute for Supply Management, Thursday showed US manufacturing grew in September, but at a slower pace than in August when manufacturing increased for the first time in a year and a half.

Stock markets reacted negatively to the reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41 points in early trading, reaching a level of 9467. This follows a drop of 203 points on Thursday, its largest loss in a single day since July. The London FTSE index fell 55 points, or 1.1%, to reach 4993 points by 15.00 local time.

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Israel Journal: Is Yossi Vardi a good father to his entrepreneurial children?
Sep 13

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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Habertürk media sparks outrage over woman’s murder photo in Turkey
Sep 13

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A photo of a naked and bloodstained murdered woman was shown on the front page of Turkey’s Habertürk Daily print edition last Friday, causing a social and media uproar.

The article was titled “The last point of violence against women”, and whilst there are daily reports of abuse and ‘honour-killings’, Habertürk has been the first to show a photo so graphic and uncensored. The photograph clearly shows the woman’s identity and the kitchen knife used to kill her that was still planted in her back.

I would have used that image even if it was my own mother

Habertürk has been highly criticized by social media users, readers, celebrities, woman organizations, professional press organisations and even its own staff members, with some claiming violation of journalism ethics rules. Habertürk’s own staff columnist Balcicek Ilter said, “the photo of the violated woman on my newspaper’s front page is violence itself.” Habertürk reported her husband, 45, murdered the woman, 38, in Manisa. A mother of two children, they separated after he was abusive towards her, the paper said.

At a time where campaigns are targeting the issue of violence against Turkish women, Habertürk‘s editor-in-chief, Fatih Altayl?, believes this photo counters reduced sensitivity to violence amongst the public. “I would have used that image even if it was my own mother,” he said. Habertürk firmly believes they made the correct choice in publishing the photograph even when asked by woman’s advocacy groups to apologise. “We demand the resignation of the writer of this news and the person who approved it. We call for journalism in print and on TV that stands for the right perspective,” said Canan Güllü from the Turkish Federation of Women Associations (TKDF).

the photo of the violated woman on my newspaper’s front page is violence itself

The Press Council convened Sunday to find a solution to this matter and its Secretary General, Dr. Hasan Sinar states that Habertürk has “ignored the Press Council and the Professional Press Principles” since mid 2009.

While this article has caught a lot of negative attention, there are supporters of Habertürk’s choice in using the photo. Serpil Sancar, head of Ankara University’s Women’s Issues Center agrees stating, “This photograph illustrates the violence women have to face. I don’t think showing the truth is bad. Seeing blood sets the conscience in motion.”

Since talking with Brussels over European Union membership in 2005, Turkey pledged to strengthen human rights and the protection of women. Earlier this year Human Rights Watch reported “Turkey’s flawed family violence protection system leaves women and girls across the country unprotected against domestic abuse.” The rate of female murders has increased 1,400% since 2004.

The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Thomas Hammarberg, is scheduled to be in Turkey currently. A report by Hammarberg earlier this year noted improvements in press freedom, but nonetheless claimed “There is a need for immediate measures to defend these rights [freedom of expression and the media] and support an environment of tolerance to accommodate opposing views.”

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Nail Polish Remover: Why Non Acetone Remover Wipes Are Your Safest Bet Oct 12

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By Christine Stuart

Women love to look beautiful. Make-up has been a staple of this practice and society for as long as living memory. Even the most uncivil societies on this planet use make-up in one form or another. Nail polish is but one example of how women attempt to add a bit of flair to their appearance. Nail polish, like other make-ups, can be harsh on the skin and the ways that we go about removing it can hurt the derma, or surface of the skin.

Nail polish remover is alcohol based and can, and usually does, hurt the fingernail. The alcohol base in commercial nail polish remover can dry out the nail causing it to turn white or crack. These removers also can cause damage to the cuticle of the finger leaving it red, agitated, and hurting. There is also a risk of one being allergic to the harsh astringent found in them.

The astringent found in commercial nail polish remover is a substance known as acetone, a chemical that dries the nail bed and cuticle. The nail can turn white, become brittle and flake apart. Many feel that it is the polish itself that causes the damage when, in fact, it is the nail polish remover and more importantly the acetone that is contained in it.

Over a short period of time there have been new nail polish removers coming onto the market that are being labeled as ‘NON-ACETONE’. These removers use a chemical known as ethyl acetate to replace the acetone. Unfortunately, both chemicals can actually kill you, can cause cancer, birth defects and are unfriendly to the environment. They also damage the cuticles and nail bed due to the massive drying out that occurs from their use.

There has to be a way to clean your nails without worrying if doing so will kill you, cause a birth defect or hurt your nail.

Enter Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover Wipes. What makes them better? They contain no alcohol, acetone or ethyl acetate. They have no migraine-inducing smell and are even environmentally safe. They are also easier to carry and offer no chance of spilling in your purse or all over your clothes during use. The wipes use a type of all natural paint thinner to break down the components of the polish thus cleaning it off your nails. The wipes come in pleasing fragrances and are laced with

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Vitamin E to strengthen your nails so that future nail growth will be stronger and healthier.

To summarize, non-acetone nail polish remover wipes work better and are safer because:

— They are non-toxic

— They are clean and easy to use

— They are non-flammable

— They are hypo-allergenic

— They are non-carcinogenic

— They are organic and biodegradable

— They smell GREAT!

— They will not dry out nails or cuticles

— They nourish nails with Vitamin E

Now that you know the TRUTH about your common, every day acetone-based nail polish remover, you can make the right choice, the SAFEST choice, when it’s time to redo your nails. Acetone is unhealthy for you and for your nails, plain and simple.

Non-acetone based nail polish remover wipes are simply your safest bet to give your nails and your skin a healthy glow that lasts a lifetime.

About the Author: Looking for non-acetone based, nail polish remover wipes at a great price? Order the safest nail polish remover on the market for just $2.65 or visit

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for more information.

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Muslim hair stylist sues hairdresser over alleged discrimination Oct 11

Friday, November 9, 2007 

British-born Muslim hair stylist Bushra Noah is currently undertaking legal action against the owner of a hair salon for alleged religious discrimination. Noah is suing London hair salon owner Sarah Desroiser. Desroiser who runs a salon in King’s Cross, has said that she would not accept Noah as a stylist if Noah’s hair was covered. Noah, like many devout Muslims keeps her hair covered in public places, believing it to be immodest otherwise.

Noah claims that her headscarf is a fundamental part of her religious beliefs and that wearing the scarf would not interfere in her carrying out the job at all. Desrosiers said that it is not discrimination but rather that “the essence of my line of work is the display of hair. To me, it’s absolutely basic that people should be able to see the stylist’s hair. It has nothing to do with religion. It is just unfortunate that for her covering her hair symbolises religion.” Desosiers added that she had worked with Muslims in the past and employs a Muslim accountant.

Noah claims that the state of her own hair is irrelevant to her ability to style others hair.

The last few years have seen a string of similar cases in Britain. Last year, there was a case over whether a British Airways employee could wear a prominent cross, and another case in which a teacher argued that she had a right to wear a Jilb?b (a traditional Islamic dress that covers almost the entire body) in the classroom. In that case, the teacher lost in the High Court.

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How To Display Art Using Your Home Architecture Oct 11

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By Autumn Lockwood

Every home has architectural features that can be enhanced or diminished by artwork. Knowing how to make the most of your home’s architecture will help you create a stunning art display that brings out the best in your artwork and your room.

Staircase Art Display

The walls around a staircase are perfect for hanging long vertical groupings of picture frames. The eye will flow with the artwork from one floor to the next whether it is a wide stairway or a narrow circular stairway. Consider a grouping of six framed floral photographs hung vertically in pairs. Another idea would be three elongated simple black picture frames hung staggered on the wall following the rise or fall of the staircase.

Elegant Art Display

For a dramatic and elegant effect, frame six pieces or artwork in matching frames to display. Elegant artwork does not need to be expensive. The drama and elegance comes from the choice of picture frame. Pressed flowers or dried leaves make a wonderful display when framed in matching wood picture frames. Depending upon your wall space you can hang a grouping of six picture frames horizontally in two rows of three pictures or vertically in three rows of two pictures.

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Consider Shapes and Sizes

If you have large or odd shaped walls, you can create a very unique art display. You may not have a long vertical piece of art for that narrow angled wall, but if you have three horizontal pieces of art that are the same size, you can hang them in a vertical line about three inches between each picture frame. A grouping of picture frames will be more cohesive and have more eye appeal if the picture frames have a similar finish that ties them together.

Consider Windows and Doors

Windows are considered by designers to be ‘living art.’ French doors or a wall of windows could be the focal point of a room. This is why it is important to take windows and doors into consideration when you display your art. If there are a lot of windows or doorways in your room, hang only one large picture frame or a grouping of picture frames on one wall and leave the rest free of artwork. This will eliminate a cluttered look and be more restful to the eye.

The beauty of a stained glass window stands on its own and should not have other artwork hung nearby. Artwork hung on the wall should not compete with the windows and doors of a room.

Importance of Balance

Balance between artwork and furniture is important when decorating a room. If you have a table, desk or dresser sitting next to a large piece of furniture like an armoire, balance the smaller piece of furniture by hanging a large piece of artwork or mirror over it. The artwork will add height so the smaller piece of furniture isn’t dwarfed by the large piece of furniture.

Let the architecture of your home be your guide when creating art displays, and remember these pointers for using that architecture effectively. You can complement the personality of your home with your choice of artwork and how it is displayed. A room balanced with artwork and furniture makes for a comfortable, inviting room.

About the Author: Come see our beautiful selection of

collage picture frames

and

gold leaf picture frames

in different colors and sizes. Shop online and see our

picture frames

now or call 800-780-0699.

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Frenchman climbs skyscraper in 20 minutes without any equipment Oct 11

Tuesday, August 31, 2010  File:FrenchSpiderMan HongKong.jpg

48-year old Alain Robert, affectionately known as the ‘French Spiderman’, has climbed a 57-storey {[w|Sydney}} skyscraper without any equipment in 20 minutes. The purpose of Alain Robert’s actions was to raise awareness of global warming. Following the previous like events in other cities, he was arrested and will possibly be fined.

When Robert was 12, he climbed eight storeys to get into his flat instead of waiting for his parents to return. Since then, he has climbed over eighty buildings around the world, including the Eiffel Tower, The New York Times building, and Sydney Harbour Bridge. His hobby has, however, led to him being arrested and fined on multiple occasions—he was fined USD 750 after climbing the 41-storey Royal Bank of Scotland building in central Sydney.

His most recent climb, which he completed in twenty minutes, began at the bottom of the Lumiere building in Bathurst Street at 10:30am AEST on Monday morning. About 100 passers-by gathered to watch Robert, dressed in red trousers, a grey top, and a baseball cap, climb the building. Eleven-year-old Rachel Pepper was surprised when he saw Robert, who suffers from permanent vertigo after two accidents in 1982. “I think it’s amazing to climb that high without falling. He’s got superhuman strength.” His mother Wendy Pepper agreed, “It was a nice surprise when we turned the corner and got to see him.”

Upon reaching the top of the building, the Frenchman unfurled a banner advertising the website of The One Hundred Months campaign, which argues that 100 months after August 2008, climate change will reach an irreversible point, as onlookers applauded his feat. Robert was subsequently taken into custody at the top of the skyscraper, and charged with trespassing. Robert was granted conditional bail to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Friday. Robert’s agent, Max Markson, described the climb as a “wonderful achievement. He’s the best at what he does. I’m sad he’s been arrested, but hopefully he’ll get out soon.”

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Fire burns at Barangaroo construction site, Sydney, Australia Oct 09

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 

A large fire has started at the Barangaroo construction site overlooking Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, Australia. The construction company said fire broke out at about 2:10pm local time (0310 UTC) and appeared to have been caused by a welding accident in the basement of a building.

All site workers were evacuated without injury, according to Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Ian Krimmer. Large clouds of smoke were continuing to pour out of the building, casting a thick pall of smoke over the city skyline. Some nearby buildings have also been evacuated, including the KPMG building and offices of the Macquarie Bank.

Firefighters reported concern about a tower crane overhanging the building basement site. There were fears that the crane could buckle due to the heat and collapse. Firefighters were working to keep the base of the crane cool, and the stability of the structure was being monitored with lasers.

The Western Distributor motorway was closed to traffic, and Sydney Harbour Bridge partly closed. There had been major disruptions in traffic and multiple roads in the Sydney CBD (Central Business District) were gridlocked. People catching buses were advised to expect long delays.

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Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Oct 09

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is a joint venture between the U.S. states of New York and New Jersey, established in 1921 through an interstate compact authorized by the United States Congress. The Port Authority oversees much of the regional transportation infrastructure, including bridges, tunnels, airports, and seaports, within the geographical jurisdiction of the Port of New York and New Jersey. This 1,500-square-mile (3,900 km²) port district is generally encompassed within a 25-mile (40 km) radius of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.[1] The Port Authority is headquartered at 4 World Trade Center.

The Port Authority operates the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, which handled the third-largest volume of shipping among all ports in the United States in 2004 and the largest on the Eastern Seaboard.[2] The Port Authority also operates Hudson River crossings, including the Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, and George Washington Bridge connecting New Jersey with Manhattan, and three crossings that connect New Jersey with Staten Island. The Port Authority Bus Terminal and the PATH rail system are also run by the Port Authority, as well as LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Teterboro Airport, Stewart International Airport and Atlantic City International Airport. The agency has its own 1,600-member Port Authority Police Department.[3]

Although the Port Authority manages much of the transportation infrastructure in the area, most bridges, tunnels, and other transportation facilities are not included. The New York City Department of Transportation is responsible for the Staten Island Ferry and for the majority of bridges in the city. The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority is responsible for other bridges and tunnels in the area. New York City Transit Authority buses and subways, Metro North and Long Island Rail Road (all four are divisions of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority), and buses, commuter rail, and light rail operated by New Jersey Transit are also independent of PANYNJ.

It is a member of REBNY.[4]

The Port of New York and New Jersey comprised the main point of embarkation for U.S. troops and supplies sent to Europe during World War I, via the New York Port of Embarkation. The congestion at the port led experts to realize the need for a port authority to supervise the extremely complex system of bridges, highways, subways, and port facilities in the New York-New Jersey area. The solution was the 1921 creation of the Port Authority under the supervision of the governors of the two states. By issuing its own bonds, it was financially independent of either state; the bonds were paid off from tolls and fees, not from taxes. It became one of the major agencies of the metropolitan area for large-scale projects, especially while Robert Moses was director.[5]

In the early years of the 20th century, there were disputes between the states of New Jersey and New York over rail freights and boundaries. At the time, rail lines terminated on the New Jersey side of the harbor, while ocean shipping was centered on Manhattan and Brooklyn. Freight had to be shipped across the Hudson River in barges.[6] In 1916, New Jersey launched a lawsuit against New York over issues of rail freight, with the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) issuing an order that the two states work together, subordinating their own interests to the public interest.[7] The Harbor Development Commission, a joint advisory board set-up in 1917, recommended that a bi-state authority be established to oversee efficient economic development of the port district.[8] The Port of New York Authority was established on April 30, 1921,[9] through an interstate compact between the states of New Jersey and New York. This was the first such agency in the United States, created under a provision in the Constitution of the United States permitting interstate compacts.[1][10] The idea for the Port Authority was conceived during the Progressive Era, which aimed at the reduction of political corruption and at increasing the efficiency of government. With the Port Authority at a distance from political pressures, it was able to carry longer-term infrastructure projects irrespective of the election cycles and in a more efficient manner.[11] In 1972 it was renamed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to better reflect its status as a partnership between the two states.[9]

Throughout its history, there have been concerns about democratic accountability, or lack thereof at the Port Authority.[11] The Port District is irregularly shaped but comprises a 1,500-square-mile (3,900 km2) area roughly within a 25-mile (40 km) radius of the Statue of Liberty.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were no road bridge or tunnel crossings between the two states. The initial tunnel crossings were completed privately by the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad in 1908 and 1909 (“Hudson Tubes”), followed by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1910 (“North River Tunnels”). Under an independent agency, the Holland Tunnel was opened in 1927, with some planning and construction pre-dating the Port Authority. With the rise in automobile traffic, there was demand for more Hudson River crossings. Using its ability to issue bonds and collect revenue, the Port Authority has built and managed major infrastructure projects. Early projects included bridges across the Arthur Kill, which separates Staten Island from New Jersey.[9] The Goethals Bridge, named after chief engineer of the Panama Canal Commission General George Washington Goethals, connected Elizabeth, New Jersey and Howland Hook, Staten Island. At the south end of Arthur Kill, the Outerbridge Crossing was built and named after the Port Authority’s first chairman, Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge.[12] Construction of both bridges was completed in 1928. The Bayonne Bridge, opened in 1931, was built across the Kill van Kull, connecting Staten Island with Bayonne, New Jersey.[13]

Construction began in 1927 on the George Washington Bridge, linking the northern part of Manhattan with Fort Lee, New Jersey, with Port Authority chief engineer, Othmar Ammann, overseeing the project.[9] The bridge was completed in October 1931, ahead of schedule and well under the estimated costs. This efficiency exhibited by the Port Authority impressed President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who used this as a model in creating the Tennessee Valley Authority and other such entities.[11]

In 1930, the Holland Tunnel was placed under control of the Port Authority, providing significant toll revenues to the Port Authority.[13] During the late 1930s and early 1940s, the Lincoln Tunnel was built, connecting New Jersey and Midtown Manhattan.

In 1962, the bankrupt Hudson & Manhattan RR was absorbed by the Port Authority, the Hudson Tubes restyled PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) and H&M RR Building site (Hudson Terminal) razed for the future World Trade Center.

In 1942, Austin J. Tobin became the Executive Director of the Port Authority. In the post-World War II period, the Port Authority expanded its operations to include airports, and marine terminals, with projects including Newark Liberty International Airport and Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminals. Meanwhile, the city-owned La Guardia Field, was nearing capacity in 1939, and needed expensive upgrades and expansion. At the time, airports were operated as loss leaders, and the city was having difficulties maintaining the status quo, losing money and not able to undertake needed expansions.[14] The city was looking to hand the airports over to a public authority, possibly to Robert Moses’ Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. After long negotiations with the City of New York, a 50-year lease, commencing on May 31, 1947, went to the Port Authority of New York to rehabilitate, develop, and operate La Guardia Airport (La Guardia Field), John F. Kennedy International Airport (Idlewild Airport), and Floyd Bennett Field.[9][15] The Port Authority transformed the airports into fee-generating facilities, adding stores and restaurants.[14]

David Rockefeller, president of Chase Manhattan Bank, who envisioned a World Trade Center for lower Manhattan, realizing he needed public funding in order to construct the massive project, approached Tobin. Although many questioned the Port Authority’s entry into the real estate market, Tobin saw the project as a way to enhance the agency’s power and prestige, and agreed to the project. The Port Authority was the overseer of the World Trade Center, hiring the architect Minoru Yamasaki and engineer Leslie Robertson.

Yamasaki ultimately settled on the idea of twin towers. To meet the Port Authority’s requirement to build 10 million square feet (930,000 m²) of office space, the towers would each be 110-stories tall. The size of the project raised ire from the owner of the Empire State Building, which would lose its title of tallest building in the world.[13] Other critics objected to the idea of this much “subsidized” office space going on the open market, competing with the private sector. Others questioned the cost of the project, which in 1966 had risen to $575 million.[13] Final negotiations between The City of New York and the Port Authority centered on tax issues. A final agreement was made that the Port Authority would make annual payments in lieu of taxes, for the 40% of the World Trade Center leased to private tenants. The remaining space was to be occupied by state and federal government agencies. In 1962, the Port Authority had signed up the United States Customs Service as a tenant, and in 1964 they inked a deal with the State of New York to locate government offices at the World Trade Center.[citation needed]

In August 1968, construction on the World Trade Center’s north tower started, with construction on the south tower beginning in January 1969.[16] When the World Trade Center twin towers were completed, the total costs to the Port Authority had reached $900 million.[17] The buildings were dedicated on April 4, 1973, with Tobin, who had retired the year before, absent from the ceremonies.[18]

In 1986, Port Authority sold rights to the World Trade Center name for $10 to an organization run by an outgoing executive, Guy F. Tozzoli. He in turn made millions of dollars selling the use of the name in up to 28 different states.[19]

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent collapse of the World Trade Center buildings impacted the Port Authority. With the Port Authority’s headquarters located in 1 World Trade Center, it became deprived of a base of operations and sustained a great number of casualties. An estimated 1,400 Port Authority employees worked in the World Trade Center.[20] Eighty-four employees, including 37 Port Authority police officers, its Executive Director, Neil D. Levin, and police superintendent, Fred V. Morrone, died.[21] In rescue efforts following the collapse, two Port Authority police officers, John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, were pulled out alive after spending nearly 24 hours beneath 30 feet (9.1 m) of rubble.[22][23] Their rescue was later portrayed in the Oliver Stone film World Trade Center.

The Fort Lee lane closure scandal was a U.S. political scandal that concerns New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s staff and his Port Authority political appointees conspiring to create a traffic jam in Fort Lee, New Jersey as political retribution, and their attempts to cover up these actions and suppress internal and public disclosures. Dedicated toll lanes for one of the Fort Lee entrances (used by local traffic from Fort Lee and surrounding communities) to the upper level on the George Washington Bridge, which connects to Manhattan, were reduced from three to one from September 9–13, 2013. The toll lane closures caused massive Fort Lee traffic back-ups, which affected public safety due to extensive delays by police and emergency service providers and disrupted schools due to the delayed arrivals of students and teachers. Two Port Authority officials (who were appointed by Christie and would later resign) claimed that reallocating two of the toll lanes from the local Fort Lee entrance to the major highways was due to a traffic study evaluating “traffic safety patterns” at the bridge, but the Executive Director of the Port Authority was unaware of a traffic study.[24][25][26]

As of March 2014, the repercussions and controversy surrounding these actions continue to be under investigation by the Port Authority, federal prosecutors, and a New Jersey legislature committee. The Port Authority’s chairman, David Samson, who was appointed by Governor Christie, resigned on March 28, 2014 amid allegations of his involvement in the scandal and other controversies.[27]

The Port Authority is jointly controlled by the governors of New York and New Jersey, who appoint the members of the agency’s Board of Commissioners and retain the right to veto the actions of the Commissioners from his or her own state.[28] Each governor appoints six members to the Board of Commissioners, who are subject to state senate confirmation and serve overlapping six-year terms without pay.[1] An Executive Director is appointed by the Board of Commissioners to deal with day-to-day operations and to execute the Port Authority’s policies. Under an informal power-sharing agreement, the Governor of New Jersey chooses the chairman of the board and the deputy executive director, while the Governor of New York selects the vice-chairman and Executive Director.[29][30]

As of March 2014, the appointed commissioners are as follows:[31]

Meetings of the Board of Commissioners are public. Members of the public may address the Board at these meetings, subject to a prior registration process via email.[33] Public records of the Port Authority may be requested via the Office of the Secretary according to an internal Freedom of Information policy which is intended to be consistent with and similar to the state Freedom of Information policies of both New York and New Jersey.[34]

Members of the Board of Commissioners are typically business titans and political power brokers who maintain close relationships with their respective Governors. On February 3, 2011, Former New Jersey Attorney General David Samson was named new chairman of the Port Authority.[35]

Financially, the Port Authority has no power to tax and does not receive tax money from any local or state governments. Instead, it operates on the revenues it makes from its rents, tolls, fees, and facilities.[36]

Patrick J. Foye became Executive Director on November 1, 2011. Prior to joining the Port Authority, he served as Deputy Secretary for Economic Development for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.[37]

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey manages and maintains infrastructure critical to the New York/New Jersey region’s trade and transportation network—five of the region’s airports, the New York/New Jersey seaport, the PATH rail transit system, six tunnels and bridges between New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and George Washington Bridge Bus Station in Manhattan and The World Trade Center site.[42]

The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port complex on the East Coast of North America and is located at the hub of the most concentrated and affluent consumer market in the world, with immediate access to the most extensive interstate highway and rail networks in the region. In addition, The Port Authority directly oversees the operation of seven cargo terminals in the New York–New Jersey region. Each terminal offers comprehensive shipping services, rail and trucking services.

The Port Authority operates the following seaports:[42]

The Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal was the first in the nation to containerize,[43] As of 2004, Port Authority seaports handle the third largest amount of shipping of all U.S. ports, as measured in tonnage.[2]

ExpressRail is a rail network supporting intermodal freight transport at the major container terminals including dockside trackage and railyards for transloading. Various switching and terminal railroads, including the Conrail Shared Assets Operations (CRCX) on the Chemical Coast Secondary, connect to the East Coast rail freight network carriers Norfolk Southern (NS), CSX Transportation (CSX), and Canadian Pacific (CP).[44][45] From January through October 2014 the system handled 391,596 rail lifts.[46] As of 2014, three ExpressRail systems (Elizabeth, Newark, Staten Island) were in operation with the construction of a fourth at Port Jersey underway.

New York New Jersey Rail, LLC (NYNJ) is a switching and terminal railroad operates a car float operation across Upper New York Bay between the Greenville Yard in Jersey City and Brooklyn.

The Port Authority operates the following airports:[42]

Both Kennedy and LaGuardia airports are owned by the City of New York and leased to the Port Authority for operating purposes. Newark Liberty is owned by the City of Newark and also leased to the Authority. In 2007, Stewart International Airport, owned by the State of New York, was leased to the Port Authority. The Port Authority officially took over select management functions of the Atlantic City International Airport on July 1, 2013, in conjunction with the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which leases the airport site from the FAA.[47][48]

JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty as a whole form the largest airport system in the United States, second in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and first in the world by total flight operations, with JFK being the 19th busiest in the world and the 6th busiest in the US. Unfortunately, the three airports also share the dubious distinction of being consistently rated as some of the worst in the US and even the world. Frommer’s recently picked JFK’s Terminal 3 as the worst airport terminal in the world.

The Authority operates the Downtown Manhattan Heliport (Manhattan, New York).[42]

Other facilities managed by the Port Authority include the George Washington Bridge, the Lincoln Tunnel, and the Holland Tunnel, which all connect Manhattan and Northern New Jersey; the Goethals Bridge, the Bayonne Bridge, and the Outerbridge Crossing which connect Staten Island and New Jersey.[42]

The Port Authority operates the PATH rapid transit system linking lower and midtown Manhattan with New Jersey, the AirTrain Newark system linking Newark International Airport with New Jersey Transit and Amtrak via a station on the Northeast Corridor rail line, and the AirTrain JFK system linking JFK with Howard Beach (subway) and Jamaica (subway and Long Island Rail Road).[42]

Major bus depots include the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street, the George Washington Bridge Bus Station, and the Journal Square Transportation Center in Jersey City.[42]

The Port Authority also participates in joint development ventures around the region, including the Teleport business park on Staten Island, Bathgate Industrial Park in the Bronx, the Essex County Resource Recovery Facility, Newark Legal Center, Queens West in Queens, and the South Waterfront in Hoboken.[42] However, by April 2015, the agency was considering divesting itself of the properties to raise run and return to core mission of supporting transportation infrastructure.[49]

Major projects by the Port Authority include the One World Trade Center and other construction at the World Trade Center site. Other projects include a new passenger terminal at JFK International Airport, and redevelopment of Newark Liberty International Airport’s Terminal B, and replacement of the Goethals Bridge.[50] The Port Authority also has plans to buy 340 new PATH cars and begin major expansion of Stewart International Airport.[50]

As owner of the World Trade Center site, the Port Authority has worked since 2001 on plans for reconstruction of the site, along with Silverstein Properties, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. In 2006, the Port Authority reached a deal with Larry Silverstein, which ceded control of One World Trade Center to the Port Authority.[51] The deal gave Silverstein rights to build three towers along the eastern side of the site, including 150 Greenwich Street, 175 Greenwich Street, and 200 Greenwich Street.[51] Also part of the plans is the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, which will replace the temporary PATH station that opened in November 2003.

The Port Authority has its own police department that provides police services to the Port Authority. The department currently employs approximately 1,700 police officers and supervisors who have full police status in New York and New Jersey.[52]

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