Bolivian troops told to seize natural gas fields

Monday, May 1, 2006

Bolivian President Evo Morales has ordered that all foreign-owned natural gas fields be turned over to the national government of Bolivia.

President Morales signed a decree that orders troops to seize the fields “immediately” to ensure gas production. The decree also says that companies have 180 days to sign over their fields or leave the country.

The fields are owned by such companies as the United States‘ Exxon-Mobil Corporation, Brazil‘s Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF SA, and Great Britain‘s BG Group PLC and BP PLC.

“The looting by the foreign companies has ended. We are not a government of mere promises, we follow through on what we propose and what the people demand. We want to ask (the Armed Forces) that starting now, they occupy all the energy fields in Bolivia along with battalions of engineers,” said Mr Morales after signing the decree.

“The time has come, the awaited day, a historic day in which Bolivia retakes absolute control of our natural resources,” added President Morales.

One of Morales’ vows in his presidential campaign was to “recover” the country’s natural resources by renationalizing them. President Morales explained, on a visit to Brazil in January, that renationalising the industry would not mean expelling foreign companies or expropriating foreign property. “Foreign companies have every right to recover investments and make profits, but profits should be balanced”.

Bolivia has the second largest supply of natural gas in South America after Venezuela.

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Google may shut down Chinese operations due to censorship and cyber attacks

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The U.S.-based multibillion dollar online search engine, Google Incorporated, has announced Tuesday in a public statement on its official blog that the company has been the victim of a “highly sophisticated” and “targeted attack” against their corporate infrastructure that they allege “originated from China.”

The author of said statement, David Drummond, Google’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, noted that Google was not the only multinational corporation targeted. “As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses—including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors—have been similarly targeted.” The names of these other corporations in question have yet to be released. To this end, Google states that they are “currently in the process of notifying these companies,” and they are cooperating with the “relevant authorities.”

Drummond goes on to say that through a separate and unrelated investigation, Google has additionally discovered that the accounts of “dozens” of Gmail users worldwide who are “advocates” of political and human rights in China “appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties” as well.

However, he affirms that “…these accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users’ computers.”

As a result of what has occurred here, Google said it has already made significant changes to the security infrastructure of its users’ accounts as to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

At the same time, Google advised individual users to use more discretion while online, “We would advise people to deploy reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on their computers, to install patches for their operating systems and to update their web browsers. Always be cautious when clicking on links appearing in instant messages and emails, or when asked to share personal information like passwords.”

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We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn…We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

Google launched its Chinese-language search engine, Google.cn, in January 2006. The only precondition to operating in China was that the company had to acquiesce to certain censorship demands from the one-party government. When defending their controversial rationale for operating in the socialist republic, Google said “…that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China, and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results.”

Nevertheless, Google has still been widely criticized for this voluntary censorship of search results of topics, such as the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, movements for Tibetan and Taiwan independence, and the Falun Gong religious movement along with other information considered harmful to the Chinese government. Some feel it goes against and is hypocritical of Google’s informal motto, “Don’t be evil”.

In response, a spokesperson for the Chinese Consulate in New York City, Wenqi Gao, said in a phone interview to The New York Times, “I want to reaffirm that China is committed to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of foreign companies in our country.”

In contrast, Sharon Hom, the executive director of Human Rights in China said, “It’s a wakeup call for the international community about the risks of doing business in China. The tendency has been for companies to keep their eye just on the benefits of doing business. But the risks are real—The risks are to our intellectual property. The risks are to our values.”

Analysts noted that this move has the potential to financially hurt Google, which has a somewhat limited share of the Internet search market in China, which is dominated by the Chinese-based Google-like website Baidu. Google’s shares fell just under two percent after hours to US$579.50. Meanwhile, Baidu shares rose five percent to US$406.

Harvard Business School professor David Yoffie said, “The consequences of not playing the China market could be very big for any company, but particularly for an Internet company that makes its money from advertising.”

“It will hurt their profits. They get eight to ten percent of their revenues from China,” said Trip Chowdhry, an analyst for Global Equities Research. “If they walk, they will eventually be invited back into China, because the Chinese people will request that. Openness always wins, but it will take some time.”

Tim Ghriskey, the chief investment officer for Solaris Asset Management said, “Clearly not good news for Google and clearly not good news for consumers. You’ve got to think that eventually Google figures out a way to deal with this. If they do have to shut down their Chinese operations, that they would be able to reinstate them. Hopefully soon. I can’t imagine that this would be permanent.” He added, “China is a great growth engine for every business. It is a great opportunity for Google as well.”

In response to all that has happened and what has been said, Drummond explains that this has “led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China.”

He goes on to state, “We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.”

Drummond concludes his statement by trying to assuage the situation the best he can, “The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences…We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.”

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Man is waiting for 139 days in front of theater for “Star Wars” movie

Saturday, January 15, 2005 

Jeff Tweiten, a 27-year-old graphic artist, is encamped in front of the Cinerama Theatre, on a blue sofa, in the northwest city of Seattle, Washington. Tweiten plans to wait 139 days for the premiere of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” which opens May 19, 2005.

He has received help from a community of friends and local business people who have supplied changes of clothes, coffee, food, and a nearby restroom.

City authorities have chosen not to enforce vagrancy laws that would force Tweiten to move between the hours of 7AM and 9PM local time.

Tweiten also camped out for the previous two episodes of the Star Wars movies, “Episode I” and “Episode II”.

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Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas dies at age 75

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 

Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas died Friday at age 75, after suffering from heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He began the Beverly Hills Playhouse in 1978 and taught acting classes there to noted actors including George Clooney and Gene Hackman. Katselas is survived by a sister and two brothers.

Katselas directed an off-Broadway production of Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story, and received a Tony Award nomination for his 1969 direction of Butterflies are Free. Actress Blythe Danner won a Tony Award for her role in Butterflies are Free under Katselas’ direction. He moved to California to direct the film version of that play, and went on to direct films and television movies. Actress Eileen Heckart received an Academy Award for her role in the film version of Butterflies are Free.

Katselas directed the San Francisco and Los Angeles productions of the play P.S. Your Cat Is Dead! by playwright James Kirkwood, Jr. In his author’s notes in the publication of the script, Kirkwood acknowledged Katselas, and wrote that the plays were “directed with incredible energy and enthusiasm by Milton Katselas, to whom I am extremely indebted”.

Katselas directed the television movie Strangers: Story of a Mother and Daughter, and actress Bette Davis received an Emmy Award for her role in the movie. Katselas taught many famous actors including Michelle Pfeiffer, Richard Gere, Robert Duvall, Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Goldie Hawn, Christopher Walken, Burt Reynolds, George C. Scott, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Alec Baldwin, and Patrick Swayze. Katselas was credited with being able to nurture actors with raw talent so that they could develop strong Hollywood careers. He utilized innovative techniques in his courses – one course called “Terrorist Theatre” had a simple premise: successfully get an acting role within six weeks or leave the course.

He grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to parents who had immigrated from Greece, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon. He studied acting with Lee Strasberg in New York at the Actors Studio, and received advice from directors Joshua Logan and Elia Kazan.

Katselas was a prominent Scientologist, and a July 2007 profile on Katselas in The New York Times Magazine observed that some of his students stopped taking courses at the Beverly Hills Playhouse because they felt they had been pressured to join the Church of Scientology. According to the article, Katselas credited Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard “for much of his success in life”, and one of his students works at Scientology’s Celebrity Centre. The article commented that some in Los Angeles view the Beverly Hills Playhouse as “a recruitment center for Scientology”.

Katselas met L. Ron Hubbard after moving to California, and began studying Scientology in 1965. The New York Times Magazine reported that he had reached the level of “Operating Thetan, Level 5, or O.T. V.” in 2007. According to The New York Times Magazine when Scientologists proceed up the “The Bridge to Total Freedom” they learn the story of Xenu, and that: “75 million years ago the evil alien Xenu solved galactic overpopulation by dumping 13.5 trillion beings in volcanoes on Earth, where they were vaporized, scattering their souls.” A Church of Scientology publication, Source, lists Katselas as reaching O.T. V. in 1989.

Though some actors felt pressured to join the Church of Scientology after taking courses at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, at least one individual felt Katselas was not active enough with the organization. Actress Jenna Elfman left the Beverly Hills Playhouse because she felt Katselas was not committed enough to Scientology. Katselas had previously directed Elfman in half of Visions and Lovers: Variations on a Theme, two one-act plays about relationships that he had written himself. In 1999 Katselas had planned to adapt the script of Visions and Lovers to a film version, and Elfman was set to reprise her role from the play. In an article in Variety about the project, Elfman commented on her experience working with Katselas: “He is brilliant, and knows me so well as a person and an actress that he gets the most out of me.”

Other prominent Scientologist actors who have studied under Katselas include Giovanni Ribisi, Jason Lee, and Leah Remini. According to Rolling Stone, Katselas also recruited actress Kelly Preston to Scientology. Actress Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), told Scientology publication Celebrity that Katselas motivated her to get more active in Scientology, and she stated she took the organization’s “Purification Rundown” and her life “took off completely”.

Anne Archer was introduced to Scientology while studying at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, as was former Scientologist and now outspoken critic actor Jason Beghe. Beghe told Roger Friedman of FOX News in April 2008 that “He [Katselas] gets kickbacks”, and that he was brought to a Scientology center by fellow Beverly Hills Playhouse classmate Bodhi Elfman, Jenna Elfman’s husband. In a 1998 article for Buzz Magazine, Randye Hoder wrote “In his class, Katselas is careful not to label anything as a tenet of Scientology, but there is no question that the church’s influence seeps into the playhouse.”

Anne Archer’s husband and fellow Scientologist, producer Terry Jastrow, commented to The New York Times Magazine that Katselas changed the way he experiences life on a day-to-day basis: “I go out in the world and look at human behavior now. I see a woman or man interacting with a saleslady, and I see the artistry in it. Life is an endless unspooling of art, of acting, of painting, of architecture. And where did I learn that? From Milton.”

Actor Anthony Head of Buffy the Vampire Slayer spoke highly of Katselas in a 2002 interview with San Francisco Chronicle: “He’s this wonderfully intuitive teacher and his premise is basically: The only real barriers are the ones we put in front of ourselves. If you say, ‘My character wouldn’t do that’ — bollocks! Ultimately it’s you who wouldn’t say that. Who knows what your character might do.” In the acknowledgements of her 2004 autobiography Are You Hungry, Dear?: Life, Laughs, and Lasagna, actress Doris Roberts wrote: “I thank my friend and acting teacher, the incredible Milton Katselas, for his insights, wisdom, and inspiration, which have helped make me the actress that I am.”

Katselas authored two books: Dreams Into Action: Getting What You Want, first published in 1996 by Dove Books, and Acting Class: Take a Seat, which came out earlier this month. Dreams Into Action, a New York Times Bestseller, sought to modify motivational acting exercises to the field of business.

In an interview in the 2007 book Acting Teachers of America, Katselas commented on his experiences as an acting teacher over the years: “I have very special teachers here at the Beverly Hills Playhouse—some have been with me for over twenty-five years. I believe that to make a difference over the long haul, we need to train teachers. I really care about the craft of acting. It’s absolutely necessary to take the time and patience to really develop an actor.”

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Indiabulls Green Panvel: Move Up In The Life

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Indiabulls Real Estates has announced a new high definition residential project Indiabulls Green Panvel. Green Panvel is spread across the Panvel area of Mumbai. Enjoy the good life with lush green surroundings in Green Panvel.

Indiabulls Green Panvel is located in the Panvel, Navi Mumbai. Navi Mumbai is an extension of Mumbai. As we all know that Mumbai is the city of dreams in India and everybody s dream destination is Mumbai. Mumbai is India\\’s most populated city cuz it attracts everybody to come and cherish his dreams. People\\’s coming to Mumbai encouraged Governments to make plans for Mumbai\\’s further developments and extensions. Navi Mumbai and Panvel are just examples of that. Navi Mumbai was planned as a twin to the Mumbai city, even its length is as same as Mumbai city. The views of Panvel are so good sight in the evening. Gadhi river goes through Panvel and makes it an important area.Kharghar Railway Station, Science Park set up by CIDCO are also making life in Panvel quite easier. Navi Mumbai is the world\\’s largest planned city. Panvel area falls in the Raigarh Dist. of Maharashtra that connects Navi Mumbai to Konkani area of Maharashtra. I touches the border of Thane area and is one of the most beautiful localities of Mumbai. It takes 30 minutes drive to reach here from Mumbai. Mumbai-Pune Highway, Panvel Paragon Road, Uran Road, Sion-Panvel Highway, JNPT Road give Panvel an easy connectivity to Mumbai. Developed as whole new Mumbai city, Navi Mumbai has its very own Municipal Corporation. International Airport is also here for a better comfortable lifestyle. Indiabulls Green Panvel is just 5Km away from the Panvel Railway Station. There are also varous SEZs adding value to the project. There is also an International Airport planned in the near future. National Highway 4 is also there in a close vicinity from Indiabulls Green Panvel.

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Indiabulls Green Panvel is offering 1BHK,2BHK,3BHK and 4BHk apartments with a host of amenities such as reputed school, Landscaped gardens, eco-gardens, landscaped walkways, Utility shops, Clubhouse with a swimming pool, gym, meditation and yoga center, and indoor games facility, A cricket pitch with training facilities, badminton and tennis courts, cycling and jogging tracks, Ample parking space, 24×7 professional security and much more.

Indiabulls Real Estate is one of the largest real estate company in India with development projects spread across high-end office and commercial complexes, premium residential developments, mega townships, retail spaces, hotel and resorts, state of the art special economic zones and infrastructure development. It has 31 ongoing projects totaling 61 million square feet, 2551 acres of SEZ development and additional land bank of 580 acres. Each project bears a stamp of thoughtful solutions and highest quality.

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Four people shot in parking lot of Wal-Mart store north of Austin, Texas

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 

Witnesses heard gunshots in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Cedar Park, Texas, near Highway 183, on Sunday morning. Police arrested eighteen year-old Soloman Onwukaife at the scene. Four, including the gunman who had facial wounds unrelated to the shooting, are being treated for injuries after the incident. A fifth victim has been released.

Cedar Park Police Captain Mike Harmon said authorities arrived at the parking lot around 4:30 AM local time. There they arrested Onwukaife, who has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The Cedar Park Wal-Mart was closed down briefly on Sunday morning; however, no staff or customers were injured.

Police have released the names of the victims, eighteen-year-old Cody McGrath, nineteen-year-old Shayne Davis, nineteen-year-old Zacharia Gietl and 22-year-old Leland McGlocklin. As-of Monday, Gietl has been released from hospital whilst the others remain in critical, but stable, condition. Police informed media the incident occurred follwing a dispute which began at a nearby party where alcohol was being served. After moving the fight to the parking lot, Onwukaife is alleged to have shot the four victims.

Onwukaife was expected to be released on Monday, after which he would immediately be jailed. Police advised media the investigation is on-going and more charges may still be filed. Specifically, Police are trying to determine if any other participants in the fight were armed.

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Belgian bus company knows solution for car parking problems

Monday, May 21, 2007 

Do you have a hard time finding a parking space? Take the bus or tram if you go to the city. That’s the message Belgian bus company De Lijn (The Line) is sending to promote public transport as a solution for car parking problems. As a part of their media campaign, they have jokingly suggested that people use the top of the busses as parking space.

Another idea they are using in their media campaign: maybe you could park your car on the bottom of a canal? The bus company is using an invented diving company called Cardive, which has divers that offer to dump your car in the canal. The divers walk around in cities and hand out free bus tickets and maps of the bus network.

To reach car drivers who are not using public transport, the media campaign has several radio commercials that present other solutions to the car parking problem. You could use “asphalt-spray” to camouflage your car, making it invisible for policemen (although you then need to remember where you’ve parked). Or you could use the “flat tire kit”, which comes with a fake flat tire and an inflatable dummy, so it looks like you’re replacing your flat tire. The final idea the bus company has is to use a View-Master to fool parking guards into believing that your car has been stationed correctly.

A survey among 4000 customers of De Lijn shows that two out of three car owners who use public transport, do so to avoid parking space troubles, and in cities this percentage rises to 90%. The survey further shows that 39% use the bus to go shopping.

During the month of May, the auto-bus and the divers tour several cities in Flanders (Leuven, Hasselt, Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp).

Press Release: “Vermijd parkeerproblemen met De Lijn!” — De Lijn, May 19, 2007 (Dutch)

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11-year-old boy dies after being shot in Liverpool

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 

An 11-year-old boy has died after being shot in the car park of the Fir Tree pub in the Croxteth area of Liverpool, shortly after 1930 BST. An eyewitness, who had been drinking outside the pub at the time, said the boy was one of three playing football in the car park when a teenager, believed to be male, on a BMX bicycle fired three shots at the group from approximately 30 metres away, one hitting the victim in the neck. The other shots missed the boys, one hitting a car. The boy’s mother was called to the scene as people came out of the pub to help him. Other witnesses have suggested the incident may be gang-related.

A spokesman for North West Ambulance Service said: “We treated an 11-year-old with serious gunshot wounds.” He added the boy was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, but police later confirmed he had died. Officers have sealed off the scene, including a neighbouring street of shops. There have currently been no arrests in connection with the shooting.

In an appeal to the local community to help catch the killer, Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “Someone out there knows who put the gun in his hand and I want your help to get the community to turn that gunman in tonight. This is quite an awful crime, quite senseless, and the community holds the clue to solving this crime quickly. You can only imagine the heartache of the family that’s been ripped apart.”

Local councillor Rose Bailey, who lives nearby, also appealed for people with information to come forward, saying: “It sends shockwaves through the community of Croxteth and really it must be devastating. To think your young son is out playing football and then to get a call to say he’s been shot, I really don’t know as a parent how you would handle that.”

The area around the pub was made a “designated area” by police last year, meaning officers could disperse groups and move people away from the area.

The incident is another in a growing list of shootings of minors, many gang-related, in the UK’s major cities in 2007.

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