Toyota’s US sales fall by 8.7%
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Toyota’s US sales fall by 8.7%

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Toyota Motor Corporation, the Japanese automobile maker, posted an overall 8.7% drop in sales in the United States for last month. This comes after recent safety recalls of its vehicles, as well as congressional investigations over Toyota’s safety standards.

The model that had the highest drop in sales was the Camry sedan, with a 20% decline, figures released yesterday indicate.

Toyota sold a total 100,027 vehicles in the US in February, a number somewhat higher than what economic analysts predicted; they estimated a decline of ten percent.

Bob Carter, the vice president of the group’s Toyota division, commented on the figures. “I’m surprised that we sold as many vehicles as we did,” he said in a conference call, as quoted by Ninemsn. “We did see a drop in our first-time Toyota buyers. But we haven’t seen any major outflows of Toyota buyers to other brands.”

“Clearly we have some work to do. We stubbed our toe in terms of our image. There’s nothing I can come up with in terms of an incentive program to make that go away. It’s something we’re going to work on with all consumers,” the vice president added. Toyota said it would have zero per cent financing for most of its models, as well as free scheduled maintenance.

“In March, we’ll be getting back to the business of sales,” said Carter.

Meanwhile, Toyota stock increased by 2.3% at the Tokyo stock exchange to 3,390 yen in morning trading.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal
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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

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Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel dies aged 87
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Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel dies aged 87

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

On Saturday, acclaimed writer Elie Wiesel died in New York City at age 87, his family said, following a lengthy illness.

Wiesel was born 1928 in the town of Sighet in Romania. Twelve years later, in 1940, his town was included in an annexation by Hungary. In 1944, Wiesel, fifteen at the time, and his family, along with the entire Jewish population in Sighet, were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. He was freed in 1945, only to realize his mother and sister died in death chambers and his father from disease and starvation. Elie Weisel, on the advice of an older Jew, had lied to the Nazis about his age, as an eighteen-year-old would be useful to them as a worker.

Ten years after his freedom, he wrote the famous book Night — written in Yiddish, first published in French translation — detailing his experience in the camp and his regret of survival. His book sold only about a thousand copies in the first year it was published, however today the book has been translated into 30 different languages with more than ten million copies sold. In 2006 TV personality Oprah Winfrey added it to her book club, prompting the swift selling of three million copies.

Wiesel wrote around 60 books, two plays, and two cantatas.

Wiesel first started a career in journalism in 1948 for the French newspaper L’Arche, which sent him as a correspondent to Israel. He also became a Paris correspondent for Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot and he was encouraged by an interviewee to write about his experience in the camp.

In 1972, Wiesel was a professor of Judaic Studies at the City College of New York for four years until he became a professor of Humanities at Boston University, where he remained.

Wiesel then became an activist and advocate during many conflicts, such as the Bosnian genocide of the 1990s. He advised the actions of several U.S. presidents, including then-President Ronald Reagan. During his acceptance of the Congressional Gold Medal, he advised Reagan not to visit a Bitburg military cemetery containing Waffen-SS graves. Reagan, however, continued with his trip, which created much controversy. Former President Jimmy Carter also appointed Wiesel as Chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust.

In 1986, Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize as an advocate for racial and religious groups and a spiritual leader.

Wiesel also helped in the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He was the chairman of the organization that collected funds from other survivors of the Holocaust to create the museum.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called him “a ray of light and an example of humanity that believes in the goodness of man”. U.S. President Barack Obama called him a “living memorial”. French President Francois Hollande called him a “grand humanist” and a “tireless defender of peace”.

He is survived by his wife Marion and his son Elisha.

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One dead after bus and bicycle crash in Hampshire, England
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One dead after bus and bicycle crash in Hampshire, England

Monday, July 19, 2010

A person has died after being involved in a collision between a bus and a bicycle in Hampshire in the south of England, United Kingdom. The woman, who has not been publicly identified, was cycling in the seaside resort of Southsea when a number 700 Stagecoach single-decker bus, which was travelling from Brighton to Southsea, collided with her bicycle at approximately 1315 BST (1215 UTC) on Saturday. A helicopter transported the woman to Southampton General Hospital, where she died at approximately 1630 BST (1530 UTC) on the same day.

None of the occupants of the bus were injured. The 53-year-old bus driver has now been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. Hampshire Constabulary is requesting any witnesses to the accident to contact them. PC Phil Hunt also mentioned: “We are also trying to trace the passengers, who left the scene before we could speak to them.”

The road traffic accident occurred in an area where Portsmouth City Council had been intending to place a new cycle route, but the plans to do so were cancelled last week. The plans, which would have cost £250,000 (US$382,373, €296,481, A$441,126), were said to have been cancelled due to financial difficulties.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum vice chair Jon Spencer has stated: “Sadly, we’ve had to wait less than a week for a brutal illustration of why we need this cycle route.” The vice chair of the local cycling group continued: “The road at Clarence Pier is very narrow, very crowded by parked cars and very busy. It is the most popular part of the seafront but at the moment it is a no-go area for cyclists. The city council are obviously happy for this to remain the case.”

This terrible accident is yet another reminder that large vehicles, busy traffic and cyclists are not a happy mix.

John Holland, the chair of the Forum, wrote on PompeyBUG, a local cycling Internet forum: “Portsmouth Cycle Forum is very sad to learn of the death in a road accident of a woman cyclist at Clarence Esplanade on Saturday 17 July. Our thoughts lie with her family and friends to whom send our deepest condolences. The cyclist was involved in collision with a bus in the vicinity of Pier Road and Clarence Esplanade, close to Clarence Pier.

“This terrible accident is yet another reminder that large vehicles, busy traffic and cyclists are not a happy mix. Whilst it will be some time before the details are made public, we urge the Portsmouth City Council to press ahead with making this section of our seafront much safer and calmer for all. Almost exactly one year ago, a cyclist was seriously injured Clarence Esplanade when a car reversed blindly from a parking bay into the road.

“Portsmouth City Council is on the verge of postponing Phase 2 of the Southsea Seafront Cycle Route. Had this been in place yesterday then this awful incident might have been avoided. We urge councillors to think again. A safe and segregated cycle route can be built – one which doesn’t loose any car parking, one which doesn’t stop people looking out to sea from their cars, one which doesn’t involve cycling on the promenade. We will be pushing hard for this – we don’t want any more injuries and fatalities on our seafront roads.”

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5-year old American girl dies after visiting the dentist
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5-year old American girl dies after visiting the dentist

Friday, September 29, 2006

Diamond Brownridge, a 5-year old girl from Chicago, Illinois, has died after a visit to the dentist. Children’s Memorial Hospital officials say that the girl was rushed to the hospital when she never woke up after being sedated for a dental procedure. She had been in a coma, on life support, since being admitted to the hospital early in the weekend.

“She passed very peacefully and beautifully,” said the hospital in a statement that the family issued.

Ommettress Travis, the mother of the girl, was asked not to remain inside the room while dentists were operating on the girl to repair two cavities and to have at least two caps replaced. Travis says after thirty minutes she was asked to come back in and found Brownridge not breathing, in the dentist chair.

Hicham Riba, a specialist and professional in anesthesia, who was also licensed, was the dentist in charge of the procedure.

“My family and I are so sad. May God bless Diamond and her family. Every time you have a tragedy like this, you pray more. I don’t think I will ever go back to a normal life after an experience like this,” Riba said in a statement on Wednesday, September 28.

According to the family, the girl had been given at least a triple dose of medicine that sedated her. Those drugs include: nitrous oxide gas, a single dose of an “oral agent” and an IV.

A judge has ordered that all equipment and materials used during the operation be protected and examined. The girl’s medical records have also been ordered to be examined.

There is no word on whether or not any charges will be filed against Riba or any of the dentist’s staff.

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British man involved in deal to drill for oil in Darfur
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British man involved in deal to drill for oil in Darfur

Friday, June 10, 2005

The British TV station Channel 4 has discovered that the Sudanese government has signed a deal for a contract to drill for oil in southern Sudan, and that the key man in securing the deal is British.

Friedhelm Eronat, who until two years ago was an American citizen, secured the largest stake made in a consortium that won the drilling contract in 2003. Oil was discovered in April of this year.

Geologists have long suspected the presence of oil in the south of the Sudan. Clivenden Sudan, which Eronat personally owned in 2003, had a high level of expertise in the country’s geology.

The twenty five year deal secured by Clivenden Sudan will see it pay the Sudanese government $8m in the event oil is produced. The government will also receive 70% of the profits from the oil.

In a statement to Channel 4 News, Eronat said that he is not a shareholder or officer of Cliveden Sudan, that he does not work for or financially benefit from Cliveden Sudan, and that Cliveden Sudan is not the operator of the concession, only a shareholder.

Cliveden Sudan itself said “there has been no commercial oil find in Block C [the area being explored for oil].”

Villages in Darfur 180km from the Clivenden Sudan wells have been attacked by Sudanese troops and aircraft.

Eronat became involved in the deal through Lebanese businessman Eli Calil, who has been accused of funding a failed coup in Equatorial Guinea last year (allegations denied by Calil). Calil and Eronat live near each other in the London suburb of Chelsea.

At least one rebel group in Darfur is certain the search for oil will inflame the conflict in Darfur. The Justice and Equality Movement wants exploration to stop until peace is established.

A member of the JEM, Ahmad Hussein, told Channel 4 News: “So when they say they discover oil in Darfur, who is going to benefit from that? Are they the people of Darfur? Of course not. Absolutely not, the only beneficiaries is the ruling elite and ruling minority of the regime.”

Eronat changed his nationality from American to British in October 2003, shortly before the deal was signed. Under US law, he could have faced up to ten years imprisonment and/or fines of $500,000, due to US sanctions on Sudan.

The UK government has been at the forefront of efforts to try and halt the crisis, with international development minister Hilary Benn making a statement to the house of commons yesterday after a visit to the region. He said: “I visited the Kalma camp in South Darfur and the El Meshtel and Abu Shouk camps in North Darfur where tens of thousands of people are facing a precarious existence. I spoke to men and women whose homes have been destroyed, villages burned, and whose communities have been the victims of killings, looting and rape.

“We are in a race against time in Darfur, and the UK remains committed to doing all that it can to help those affected and to work for a just and lasting peace for its people.”

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China offers Africa financial aid including $10 billion in loans
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China offers Africa financial aid including $10 billion in loans

Sunday, November 8, 2009

China has offered Africa concessional loans worth US$10 (€6.5) billion as part of a host of new measures aimed at improving the economy of African nations. The announcement was made at the opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Leaders of nearly 50 African countries are attending the two-day conference.

China had already stated today at the 3rd Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs, held immediately before the FOCAC, that Chinese firms would be encouraged to invest in Africa, while both sides would work together to improve the tourism, telecommunications and finance industries. China also said that governments should work with businesses to ensure co-operation between China and Africa.

As well as the loans, made over three years, China will write off the debt of Africa’s poorest countries, build 100 African green energy facilities and systematically lower import duties on 95% of all African products exported to China. Another promise is a loan of one billion dollars aimed at small and medium sized businesses in Africa. There will also be efforts to promote each other’s culture and increased medical assistance to Africa. Medical assistance comes in the form of 500 million yuan (US$73.2 million) of goods for the 60 hospitals and malaria centers China has already built, as well as 3,000 doctors and nurses. Roads will also be improved.

China also plans to assist with satellite weather monitoring, to help combat desertification and work within the urban environment, all aimed at reducing global warming. The new energy facilities will focus on solar, biogas and small-scale hydroelectrical installations. Another new measure is a promise to aid African farmers to ensure the continent is fed, increasing the number of demonstrations of agricultural technology in Africa to 20 and sending 50 teams of agricultural technology experts to the continent. Training in agricultural technology will be provided to 2,000 people.

“The Chinese people cherish sincere friendship toward the African people, and China’s support to Africa’s development is concrete and real,” said co-chair Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as the FOCAC opened up, adding “Whatever change that may take place in the world, our friendship with African people will not change.” He described this friendship as ‘unbreakable’. Two years ago China pledged US$5 (€3.37) billion at the last FOCAC in Beijing and now, according to Jiabao, “China is ready to deepen practical cooperation in Africa.”

We want more investment from China

China has fulfilled its 2006 pledge, investing a total of US$7.8 (€5.26) billion in Africa last year alone. 49 African countries are represented at the FOCAC, which was created in 2000, although Jiabao noted that relations between China and Africa go back fifty years. China had already forgiven or reduced the debt for thirty nations at that FOCAC summit.

According to Chinese state-owned paper China Daily, trade between China and Africa increased by 45% last year, to give a total value of US$107 (€72.1) billion, a tenfold increase since 2001 and up from US$491 (€331) million in 2003. The Chinese have a 9.8% market share, the largest of any nation, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. China has paid for schools, hospitals, malaria clinics and Chinese scholarships for African students. 50 more schools are to be built and 1,500 people trained to staff them.

Since 2006 Chinese energy firms have committed to spend at least US$16 (€10.8) billion securing African oil and gas. China’s Sinopec Group, an oil giant, bought up Addax Petroleum Corporation from its Swiss owners that year, gaining control of oilfields in Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon. China promised earlier this year to spend US$9 (€6) billion on infrastructure in the Congo in exchange for mineral deposits for mining operations.

Jean Ping, leader of the African Union, said the told those at the conference that the money is coming at an opportune time, because African growth was “totally compromised” by the global financial crisis. Ping said one of the lessons learned is that the world is paying for “the irresponsible and lax behavior” of large financial companies whose philosophy was to make short-term profits.

We thank China particularly for backing efforts by our countries to achieve peace and stability in Africa’s zones of conflict

Not all Africans are happy with China’s increasing involvement in their continent. Trade practices are a concern for some, with a view that China exploits Africa for raw materials before selling back finished goods. Among these are Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid. Egypt is the richest nation in the Middle East and is discussing this perceived issue with China. Rachid told Bloomberg “What is a worry for me is if competition is unfair. That is where we are unhappy.” Jiabao described the trade as being based on “win-win programmes… and transparency.”

Others in Africa are delighted with the situation. “We want more investment from China,” Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete told the forum. Egypt’s own President Hosni Mubarak talked of “peace, security and growth,” and of “boosting cooperation between China and Africa.”

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Jiabao also used his speech to respond to criticisms that China worked with nations regardless of their human rights record, such as Sudan, whose President Omar al-Beahir is wanted on a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. “Africa is fully capable of solving its own problems, in an African way,” he said, adding that “China has never attached any political strings […] to assistance to Africa.”

Beshir thanked China in a speech for diplomatic work in Sudan, including working to defuse the Darfur conflict, which the United Nations says has left 300,000 dead. “We express our deep appreciation for China’s efforts in backing the comprehensive peace agreement in Sudan and its peace efforts in Darfur,” he said, referring to a peace deal between the northern and southern parts of his country. “We thank China particularly for backing efforts by our countries to achieve peace and stability in Africa’s zones of conflict.” Jiabao said China was willing to work towards “the settlement of issues of peace and security,” in Africa.

A further criticism has been that China has brought in Chinese workers and used their own knowledge, instead of training locals. Jiabao’s speech indicated an intention to co-operate better in the fields of science and technology, as well as improve training for African students on technical courses.

“Why do some only criticise China?” asked Jiabao. “Is this a view representing African countries, or rather the view of Western countries?”

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Law School In Los Angeles

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When you want to practice law and are looking for a Law School In Los Angeles. The first thing you should do is to know about what qualification you want to pursue. For example if you are looking for Law Degrees

Here are some things you should consider when looking for a law school:

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Cost: you should make sure that you can afford the school you want to go to otherwise you may have to leave the degree before you are finished.Academic reputation: this is important because you want to know how many students pass and the average grade.Location: the school should be located in a place that has good environments. This is so you do not struggle to find things e.g. shops.Support for students: you want a place that has mentoring, writing labs and any other support you would need.Your credentials: you have to have met the required history that is needed to be accepted into the school.

You may have your own requirements so take those into consideration.

The best advice about applying for a school is to be honest with yourself about your credentials that way you are not disappointed if you are not accepted. You may realize that your UGPA (undergraduate grade point average) or LSAT doesn’t meet the required level to be accepted in the school. On the other hand if you have met the required levels then you can go to the school and ask them any questions;

Suggestions:

What extra-curricular activities they offer.The facilities they have to offer (library, computer resources).What are the hostel fees (if you will be living there while you study).

After you are satisfied then you can start the application process. It is best to start the process early so that you have enough time to prepare. Also you can apply for multiple schools so you have options if you are not accepted into the one you wish. In conclusion, if you want to go to law school, you will have to evaluate what you have to offer and how that compares to other applicants who are applying for Law School In Los Angeles

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Romania to host Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2006
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Romania to host Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2006

Thursday, October 6, 2005Romania has been chosen to host the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2006, according to a press release by the country’s government-funded broadcaster, TVR. According to the network, the Junior Eurovision will be held in Bucharest in November 2006, where it will be organised in a venue with a capacity of more than 6,000 seats. Romania’s successful bid has been confirmed by Svante Stockselius from the European Broadcasting Union.

The three countries shortlisted for the Junior Eurovision 2006 were Romania, Croatia, and the Netherlands. On October 4, however, it was announced that TVR had won the bidding process and the event would be held in Romania. The Junior Eurovision 2006 is the first Eurovision event to be held in Romania, and comes after Romania’s best ever result in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005, where it was ranked third.

The event will be co-financed by TVR and the European Broadcasting Union, with approximately 3.4 million Romanian lei (€1 million) being funded by the EBU.

The Junior Eurovision Song Contest was founded in 2003 and is open to constentants from across Europe ranging from eight to fifteen years of age. The 2005 event will be held on November 26 in Hasselt, Belgium, and will be attended by contestants from 17 countries, including Romania.

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