Microsoft backtracks on Vista delay accusations

Monday, October 16, 2006

Last month Microsoft Corporation made accusations against the European Commission, stating that it may cause delays in the final release of their latest operating system, Windows Vista (formerly known as Longhorn).

Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, stated:

We recognize that the European Commission does not give ‘green lights’ for new products, and we have not asked for one. We appreciate the constructive dialogue we have had with the Commission and the guidance the Commission has provided,” Smith added. Based on this guidance, we have made changes to ensure that we’re in compliance with our competition law obligations.“.

The news should be welcomed by all those anticipating Windows Vista within the European community, with Microsoft showing compliance to follow the regulations set out by the European Commission.

The entire debate started when Microsoft were responding to a letter received by the European Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, that showed concerns over “The possible bundling into Vista of certain products, such as internet search and certain security features that are currently available on a standalone basis from Microsoft and other vendors“. In July, Smith had made a statement that Microsoft had offered to create changes to its system to comply with the commission, and that it had asked the commission to state which changes would make Vista apply to its standards and regulations.

We told the Commission that we would be prepared to do any one of four things and they could simply tell us which of those things they wanted us to do” said Smith.

Since Bill Gates announced the removal of WinFS from its new operating system in October 2003, the company has been plagued by many setbacks and legal issues. Only time will tell whether Brad Smith’s announcement from Microsoft is entirely truthful instead of a way of covering Microsoft’s back.

  • Matthew Aslett. “Microsoft backtracks on EC blame for potential Vista delays” — Computer Business Review, October 16, 2006
  • Shaun Nichols. “European Vista launch on schedule” — VNUNet, October 16, 2006
  • Steve Ranger. “Vista: we’re keeping an eye on it, says EC” — Silicon, October 16, 2006
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US Senator Rand Paul blocks synthetic marijuana legislation

Friday, March 30, 2012

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is the lone holdout preventing a vote on synthetic marijuana legislation in the US Senate through a procedural block that is allowed under the rules. Until Paul lifts his block, the Senate will not be able to act on legislation that has already passed the US House of Representatives last December. Wikinews has investigated the block on the legislation.

Synthetic marijuana can be sold over the counter in some places and it is commonly known by brand names, such as “K2” or “Spice”. Other types of synthetic “designer” drugs, like “bath salts”, belong to a class of substances that are in some cases legal, though they create a health hazard, because they are declared not meant for human consumption.

At issue in the legislation is the amount of chemical substances banned, the criminalization of substances, the authority of the federal versus the state government to makes those decisions, the extent to which the product is a threat or hazard to public health and safety, and the effect such a law would have on the research of these substances. All of these issues were debated in the House. Paul has made an issue of the long prison sentences for marijuana. His critics claim he is going too far by blocking legislation. Paul, a Republican who has libertarian leanings, has argued that the states should have the authority to ban drugs.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 31 states have a ban on both synthetic cannabinoids and substituted cathinones while 39 states have a ban on synthetic cannabinoids. Rand’s home state of Kentucky bans both. But legislation is not a perfect solution; in Cass County, Michigan, four teenagers between the ages of 13 and 14 had an emergency after using synthetic marijuana, but even though Michigan bans both, police are not sure that the substances are illegal. Chemists have to conduct tests on the products.

Although Paul is framing the issue as a legal one, the medical community has turned its attention to this new phenomenon’s impact on public health and safety. In an article that appeared in the March 2012 issue of Pediatriacs, medical researchers led by Dr. Joanna Cohen analyzed the cases of three teens who were hospitalized and treated as emergencies after an incident of synthetic marijuana use. One 16-year-old girl lost her motor skills and was unresponsive yet she had an exceptionally high heart rate and abnormal blood pressure. An 18-year-old boy was extremely sweaty, had a high heart rate and was agitated. And a 16-year-old boy had a speech dysfunction, as well as symptoms of agitation and confusion. The doctors who wrote the study say people are using this product because they believe it can give them a high similar to marijuana, however, the new drug can bring on both psychological symptoms, like psychosis and paranoia, and physical ones, such as convulsions.

One out of every nine high school students has reported use of synthetic marijuana, according to Monitoring the Future released in December 2011. The annual survey can be used to spot new trends in substance use among youth and the report included synthetic marijuana for the first time in 2011.

Poison centers noticed a sharp increase in calls reporting incidents due to synthetic marijuana. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, in 2010 centers nationwide took 2,906 calls for synthetic marijuana cases, but by 2011, they took 6,959 calls. The problem is noticeable to local health officials, like in Syracuse, New York, which is Senator Chuck Schumer’s state, where 120 cases were reported and one health professional called it “a significant public health concern.” New York has a ban on substituted cathinones but not synthetic canabanoids, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Although the US Drug Enforcement Agency placed five substances that fall under synthetic marijuana into Schedule I on March 1, 2011, its emergency powers only last one and a half years and its ban has not stopped other substances from being used instead. Schedule I is a running list of banned chemicals.

… let us move forward with a vote

Three of Paul’s Senate senior colleagues say Paul should drop his block. Senators Chuck Grassley, Chuck Schumer, and Amy Klobuchar are sponsoring bipartisan legislation that aims to ban synthetic marijuana as a serious health threat. The legislation is bipartisan as Grassley is a Republican , while both Schumer and Klobuchar are Democrats. Senator Schumer, in an editorial for the New York Daily News, advocated tackling synthetic marijuana at the national level rather than at the state. Schumer’s argument is that states have tried to ban the ingredients commonly found these products but the manufacturers have the flexibility to alter the ingredients to bypass the law. Schumer said the federal government needs a proactive rather than a reactive stance against drugs. “All we need is one senator, Rand Paul of Kentucky, to release his block on this legislation,” wrote Schumer. “We’re urging him to do the right thing, and let us move forward with a vote.”

Before the Senate took up the issue, similar legislation had already passed in the House. The House voted 317–98 in favor of the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 on December 8, 2011. Pennsylvania Congressperson Charles Dent sponsored the legislation that would add ingredients found in synthetic marijuana to Schedule I. Dent’s legislation included chemicals that are not even found in the United States at this time, but he argues that synthetic marijuana is too great of a public health threat to dismiss.

Standing in opposition to the legislation, Virginia Congressperson Bobby Scott and several fellow Democrats argued Dent’s legislation was bypassing a process for the banning of drugs that was already in place and established. Scott also argued some of the substances banned by the legislation were not even present in the United States but so far only in Europe. His colleagues argued researchers would lose the ability to conduct research freely on these substances and, as Scott noted, the legislation was seeking to ban substances but without any research to back it up.

Grassley’s legislation is named for David Rozga, an Iowan who committed suicide after using synthetic marijuana. In his speech, before the Senate, Grassley said Rozga’s situation inspired him to put forward the legislation.

For some families, the issue has also become an emotional one, as they have lost a loved one. Karen Dobner, a mother from Aurora, Illinois, is blaming Senator Paul for any deaths that may still occur because he is holding up a legislative solution to a problem that she says killed her own son. When her son Max was in college, he tried a synthetic marijuana product and had a panic attack. Dobner believes the car crash that killed her son would not have happened had he not been experiencing the symptoms of the designer drug. Now Dobner keeps calling Paul’s office begging him to stop his hold.

Senator Paul’s office was contacted by both phone and email about this report but it did not respond.

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Taylor Swift’s 1989 wins Grammy’s Record of the year; Bad Blood wins the Best Music Video

Thursday, February 18, 2016

On Monday, US singer Taylor Swift won the 58th Grammy Awards Album of the Year for her album 1989, and her video song Bad Blood won the Grammy Award for the Best Music Video.

There will be people who will try to undercut your success

This was the second time Swift has won the award for the Album of the Year. She previously won for her album Fearless in 2010. Swift collected three Grammys at this year’s awards ceremony: Best Music Video, Best Pop Vocal Album and Album of the Year.

With this Album of the Year win, she became the first woman to win two Grammy Awards in the category. At the beginning of the award ceremony, Swift performed her song Out of the Woods live.

The other nominees for the Album of The Year were Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Color, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Chris Stapleton’s Traveller, and The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness. Canadian singer The Weeknd won two awards for Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best R&B Performance.

While receiving her award, Swift left a message for younger women saying “there will be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments […] don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going you’ll look around and you’ll know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there, and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.”

Kendrick Lamar, who featured in the Bad Blood video, won five awards including for Bad Blood. Swift’s friend Ed Sheeran won the Song of the Year for Thinking Out Loud ahead of her song Blank Space from the album 1989.

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Minimum wage to be increased in New Zealand

Monday, December 18, 2006

File:New Zealand money.jpg

The minimum wage in New Zealand will be increased by 9.8% on 1 April, 2007, the biggest increase in New Zealand for seven years.

The announcement was made today by Labour minister, Ruth Dyson, and will make the current minimum wage for workers over 18-years NZ$11.25 per hour, an increase $1.00 from the current wage of $10.25. Youth workers and youth workers being trained aged 16-years and 17-years will see an increase of $0.80 to $9.00, remaining at 80% of the adult minimum wage.

Ms Dyson said: “The boost in the minimum wage will ensure that lower paid workers share the benefits of economic growth, encourage people to join the workforce and provide protection for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable workers.”

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand has welcomed the announcement. Sue Bradford, spokesperson for the Greens’ Industrial Relations, said: “There is no better time than during a strong economy for New Zealand to boost the current poverty level minimum wages.”

Ms Bradford said: “The rise announced today is not overly generous. When cost of living adjustments are taken into account, the $12 an hour minimum wage level called for by the Greens during the 2005 election campaign, has now moved to just over $13 per hour. If one applied the European Union social standard – which sets the minimum wage at two thirds of the average wage – we would be setting New Zealand’s minimum wage at $13.66.”

However HealthCare Providers New Zealand is criticising the wage increases as currently the difference in minimum wage and the average caregiver wage rate is 10% ($10.25 and $11.33 respectively). Martin Taylor, chief executive officer, said: “If more funding is not made available then the government is agreeing to caregiving becoming a minimum wage occupation.”

Mr Taylor said: “We believe caregiving is an important job that deserves better wages, but you cannot pay out more than you are funded for. This sector is depended on government funding and we have already been waiting 9 months for DHBs to agree to our funding claim for the last minimum wage increase.”

The government believes that the change will benefit 110,000 adults of which the majority are woman, and 9,200 youth workers.

“With four months till the changes come into effect, businesses will have time to prepare. The date of 1 April was chosen to reduce compliance costs for businesses as it will coincide with the implementation date of four weeks’ annual holidays,” Ms Dyson said.

The government wishes that by the end of 2008 they will be able to increase the minimum wage of adults to at least $12.00 per hour, however the government will be keeping a close eye on the economy.

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European Court of Justice rules ISPs not obliged to reveal identity of people suspected of illegal sharing

Friday, July 20, 2007

It is compatible with the EU legislation that Member States exclude the personal data communication related to the internet traffic when this is requested in order to allow the prosecution of violations of the royalties in civil cases.

According the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the supreme court of European Union, the EU laws do not oblige ISPs to hand over personal data of people suspected of illegal sharing of copyrighted materials over the net.

The ECJ has been asked for a preliminary ruling on question “Does Community law…permit Member States to limit the duty of operators of electronic communications networks and services, providers of telecommunications network access and providers of data storage services to retain and make available connection and traffic information generated during the supply of an information society service to where it is required in connection with a criminal investigation or the need to protect public safety and national defence, thus excluding civil proceedings?” And its opinion, presented by advocate general Juliane Kokott, is that member states are allowed to ‘exclude’ revealing personal data on internet traffic in civil cases. This does not apply to criminal cases, where such compliance would be required.

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Wikinews holds Reform Party USA presidential candidates forum

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Three men are currently seeking the presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States of America: small business owner Andre Barnett, Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert Steele, and former college football coach Robby Wells. Wikinews reached out to these candidates and asked each of them five questions about their campaigns. There were no space limits placed on the responses, and no candidate was exposed to another’s responses before making their own. The answers are posted below in unedited form for comparison of the candidates.

The Reform Party is a United States third party that was founded in 1995 by industrialist Ross Perot. Perot ran as the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, and won over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third party candidate since. In 1998, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura ran on the Reform Party ticket and was elected Governor of Minnesota. The party fell in prominence during the lead-up to the 2000 presidential election when it was plagued by infighting between ideological factions. In 2000, paleoconservative Pat Buchanan won the presidential nomination, and went on to receive only 0.4 percent of the popular vote in the general election. In 2004, the party opted to endorse consumer advocate Ralph Nader, but ended the year nearly bankrupt. In 2008, Ted Weill won the party’s presidential nomination, but appeared on the ballot in only one state and won a total of 481 votes.

The party is currently trying to rebuild and has opened several new state chapters. They will attempt to appear on the ballot in more states for the 2012 presidential election. The party is expected to nominate its presidential ticket during the National Convention this summer.

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Why Is It Beneficial To Buy Car Tyres Online?}

Why is it beneficial to buy car tyres online?


Priyank Garg

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‘Homer Simpson’ contributes to U.S. presidential candidate Buddy Roemer

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Huffington Post reported Friday that U.S. presidential candidate Buddy Roemer received a $25 campaign donation from an individual listed as ‘Homer Simpson’; the same name as the main character of the long running animated television series The Simpsons. Along with the name, the donor also shares the cartoon character’s place of residence and employment. He claims to live at 742 Evergreen Terrace, and to work as Safety Inspector at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.

The Huff Post discovered the July 31 donation while analyzing Roemer’s Federal Election Commission records. After being notified, Roemer’s campaign manager, Carlos Sierra, responded “Oh my God. That is too funny”. He added that the campaign uses “one of the best accountants in the business,” and that he would personally find out who actually made the donation. Sierra noted that “we do not accept anonymous donations”.

Roemer, who previously served as a member of the House of Representatives (1981–1988) and Governor of Louisiana (1988–1992), has been running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination since earlier this year. However, he has failed to receive invitations to any presidential debates.

Roemer, who recently expressed his support for the Occupy Wall Street protests, has focused his campaign on finance reform, and has limited individual contributions to $100. In the third quarter of 2011, he raised $138,000.

Wikinews contacted Carlos Sierra yesterday for an update on the matter. He explained, “I reached out to the individual and he was very apologetic. I have the correct information now and will turn it over to our compliance officer.”

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Council of Australian Governments agree on reduced environmental regulation

Saturday, December 14, 2013

At a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments yesterday leaders of the Australian states and territories agreed to a deal with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott which would delegate more environmental decision-making powers to the states and territories about projects that might affect the environment. The “one-stop shops” policy would mean that the states would do more of the assessments for projects with the intention that eventually some states would have the full authority to make the decisions.

Two states, Queensland and New South Wales, have agreed with Abbott a policy of “assessment bilaterals”. Abbott described them as follows: “Under those assessment bilaterals the states will do all the assessment work and we hope that in the not-too-distant future we will have approvals bilaterals in place which will mean the states will not only do the assessment but will also do the approvals.” All of the states and territories signed memoranda of understanding with the federal government on the issue of environmental regulation.

Tony Abbott argued it would not harm the environment and the “same high standards of environmental approval” would be used, but decisions would be quicker. The Australian government would still hold the power of veto over projects they deem environmentally problematic.

The Business Council of Australia welcomed the move, saying the regulation changes were a “long overdue breakthrough”.

The Australian Green Party has condemned the policy. Senator Larissa Waters, environment spokeswoman for the Greens, told reporters: “These deals pave the way for Tony Abbott to abolish a 30-year-old federal safeguard for our most precious natural places and wildlife, established when Bob Hawke stepped in to save the Franklin from being dammed […] Labor governments in South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT are trashing Bob Hawke’s legacy and contradicting federal Labor’s position”.

She continued: “Tony Abbott wants to put states and territories in charge of approving environmentally destructive projects that impact our World Heritage Areas and nationally endangered species.”

Jess Abrahams from the Australian Conservation Foundation also expressed opposition to the changes: “The memoranda of understanding signed today paves the way for the undoing of 30 years of national protection for places and species of national environmental importance”.

The Council also discussed truancy by indigenous students and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

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