Indonesian anti-corruption chief convicted of murder


Friday, February 12, 2010

An Indonesian court has convicted the former head of the country’s anti-corruption agency of murder. The prosecution of Antasari Azhar and three others has been controversial, with some fearing the so-called “Judicial Mafia” played a role.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) already saw a proven plot to discredit it and frame its senior members. Shortly after Azhar’s arrest in May last year police came to take away Bibit Rianto and Chandra Hamzah, two deputy commissioners, to face trial for corruption. The trial, instead, unveiled a plot to convict the men of offences they had not committed. Protests in the street ensued, and locals gave corrupt officials the joint nickname of the “Judicial Mafia”.

The scandal resulted in the resignations of a chief detective and a deputy attorney general; the KPK had begun probing the attorney general’s office and that of the national police. During Azhar’s time as chair the KPK has exposed bribery at the former and prosecuted an in-law relative of the president during the country’s election preparations, with a jail sentence being the result.

The defendants had claimed political elements orchestrated a conspiracy to see the quartet convicted. The judges disagreed, with judge Herri Swantoro telling the court, “Defendant Antasari Azhar has been legitimately proven guilty of participating in persuading the carrying out of a premeditated murder.” The court’s judgement ran to 179 pages.

The case saw the four accused of plotting the March 2009 murder of tycoon Nasruddin Zulkarnaen, shot dead in his car by a motorbike assassin in Jakarta. Zulkarnaen was Azhar’s golfing partner and the businessman was alleged by the prosecution to have been blackmailing the KPK leader, who is a former prosecutor.

Azhar is alleged to have had an affair with one of Zulkarnaen’s wives, a golf caddie. With Zulkarnaen threatening to inform the press and parliament, Azhar is alleged to have plotted murder with several other officials. Police commissioner Wiliardi Wizar was accused of locating the assassins used; he claimed his senior had ordered him to testify he had been told by Azhar to kill Zulkarnaen.

Media mogul Sigid Haryo Wibisono stood accused of financing the contract killing, and businessman Jerry Hermawan Lo of arranging a meeting with the gunmen. All three were convicted alongside Azhar, who received an eighteen-year prison sentence. Wizar was jailed for twelve years, Wibisono for fifteen and Lo for five. All intend to appeal the verdicts.

One person who feels the court got it wrong is a human rights lawyer who defended Bibit and Chandra. “I think that this is all still a mystery,” said Taufik Basari. “I don’t think the judge had all the necessary facts to warrant a verdict of eighteen years.”

Despite the conviction of his relative, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono retained the presidency last June by a landslide majority. Originally elected in 2004, Yudhoyono has used an anti-corruption stance in his campaigns, heaping praise upon the KPK which Azhar was head of from December 2007 until his arrest.

The four new convicts join five men convicted of the murder in December. Alleged to have comprised the gang behind the shooting, they received sentences varying from seventeen to eighteen years imprisonment.

New Zealand dog saves five children; receives international attention


Saturday, May 5, 2007

A small, “nicely trained” Jack Russell Terrier gave his life to help save a group of five children from two aggressive pitbulls last Sunday in Manaia, Taranaki, New Zealand.

The dog named George is being described as a hero, gathering a huge amount of international media interest in the process.

The dog suffered massive injuries that the vet had never seen to that extent before, which resulted in 69-year-old Alan Gay, the dog’s owner, allowing George to be put down. He now regrets this decision.

The two pitbulls rushed at the group of children that George was following to the dairy, including a four-year-old. George then started barking loudly at the pair of dogs, and put himself between the dogs and the children. Mr Gay told Fox News, “If it wasn’t for George, those kids would have copped it.”

Despite having received offers of new dogs, Mr Gay has said that he will wait a while before getting another Jack Russell Terrier, as he is afraid it could happen again.

It is also believed that the two attacking dogs, which have been destroyed, were bred to be aggressive, including being fed the drug methamphetamine, commonly referred to as “P” in New Zealand.

Mr Gay has said that Manaia has had a problem with stray dogs before, but he never expected that George would become a victim.

One story ran in USA Today, which prompted over 120 comments, and one reader to personally call Alan Gay expressing their condolences.

Responding to the huge amount of media interest, Mr Gay said, “This really surprises me, and it’s marvellous. I never expected this … I’m surprised it got around the world as it did.” He says he has been getting a huge amount of phone calls from the media and the public. “The phone has been going since about half past seven this morning. Every time I hang up it rings again. It’s worn out; I might have to get a new one.”

Left-wing EU parliament candidates debate in Cardiff


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cardiff, Wales —Labour, Plaid Cymru, and No2EU candidates for the Wales seats in the European Parliament met at Cardiff‘s Sandringham Hotel last night for the second of two pre-election hustings debates hosted by Cardiff Trades Union Congress. Cardiff TUC president Katrine Williams moderated as Derek Vaughan of the Labour Party, Jill Evans MEP of Plaid Cymru, and Rob Griffiths of the No2EU coalition, the tops of their respective lists, took questions from an audience of 22 composed largely of socialist activists and trade union members.

Candidates from the Tories, Liberal Democrats, and Green Party were not invited to the evening debate, although the Liberal Democrats did take part in the TUC’s debate earlier in the day. Ms Williams explained that the Liberal Democrats and Tories had been excluded because “we wanted to have candidates more representative of trade unions” but that not inviting the Greens had been “an oversight” due to the less prominent tradition of green politics in Wales. The BNP, UKIP and some minor parties also did not take part.

In opening statements, the three candidates discussed their records and their goals for the European Parliament. Mr Vaughan, leader of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, asserted the pro-organised labour credentials of the Labour Party, which has been under fire for several years from the left, and noted that Labour, which currently controls two of Wales’s four seats in the EU Parliament, has brought £1.5 billion to Wales, with a comparable amount to come in the future. Calling the BNP “Nazis” and comparing the British political situation to that in Germany in the 1930s, Vaughan called for the parties of the left to rally behind Labour in order to ensure that the BNP did not obtain any seats in Wales; but he expressed resignation to the likelihood that the BNP would earn a seat in North West England.

Ms Evans, meanwhile, who has been an MEP for ten years, announced her opposition to the pro-privatisation current in the EU and pledged that Plaid would support a new program of public investment and pro-organised labour revisions of EU directives, particularly the Posted Workers Directive.

Mr Griffiths, meanwhile, who is General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain, took a position urging radical reform of the European Union. The Lisbon Treaty, which he characterised as a re-branding of the European Constitution, would, he argued, enshrine neo-liberal policies in Europe and impose them on its member states in a way that was irreversible — “at least by any constitutional means”. Calling for a “social Europe” as opposed to a “United States of Europe“, Griffiths suggested that the creation of a European Defence Agency and the actions of the European Court of Justice were being used to turn the European Union into a capitalist “empire” akin to the United States.

Discussion of the ongoing UK parliamentary expenses scandal and its implications for MEPs, who draw salaries and expenses considerably higher than Westminster MPs do, dominated the early discussion. The Labour candidate expressed the position that the problems in accountability leading to the scandal had been fixed; his opponents noted that of the parties currently representing Britain in Brussels, only Labour has not yet disclosed their expenses (although Mr Vaughan states that the party will begin to do so soon) and Mr Griffiths furthermore declared that the scandal was part of a wider problem: the corruption of the political system by big business.

On the subject of a common European defence policy the three candidates supported widely differing views. The No2EU candidate stated plainly that he considers Europe not to be threatened, and said that a European defence force would be used for foreign adventures in Afghanistan, Africa, and elsewhere in the developing world while at the same time building up the armaments industry in Europe. Ms Evans, meanwhile, argued that the proper role of a common EU force would be as a “civil force” supporting conflict prevention and conflict resolution operations, and also called for the abolition of NATO. Mr Vaughan finished the second round of questioning arguing that a common European armed force should be an alternative to the “US-dominated” NATO, but also stated the importance of bilateral alliances in building up a common European defence force, citing the Franco-German Brigade of the Eurocorps as an example.

Debate ended on the contentious question of MEP salaries, with one member of the audience challenging the three candidates to pledge to accept a wage, if they won, equal to the average wage of their constituents. Ms Evans agreed that the set wage, currently £63,000 rising to £73,000 in 2010, was “too high”, but would not commit to a so-called “worker’s wage”, under heavy criticism from the audience. Mr Vaughan, following, called it “not fair” to ask MEPs to take such a pledge but asserted “I have never been motivated by money” and finished his part in the debate with a call to elect more left-wing socialist MEPs. Mr Griffiths, whose No2EU coalition has made a worker’s wage for MEPs part of their election manifesto, readily pledged to hold to a living wage, albeit not necessarily one equal to the average wage of his constituents, and described some of the difficulties associated with refusing an EU salary, noting that initially No2EU had proposed that its MEPs should draw no salary and claim no expenses from Europe but the coalition’s legal advisors had said that to do so would endanger the status of any of its members as MEPs.

Voting for the European Parliament elections in the United Kingdom takes place June 4.

Talks with TGWU and Gate Gourmet to resume later today


Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Transport and General Worker’s Union and Gate Gourmet, the company that laid off 500 workers after workers staged unofficial strike action, will attend further talks held at a conciliation service by the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on Saturday.

The director of Gate Gourmet, Richard Wells, denied that he was being “heavy-handed” over the dismissals. He insisted that the people affected were spoken to, and given written warnings before they were sacked.

As a result of British Airways (BA) staff at Heathrow joining Gate Gourmet’s staff in the strike action, BA are running 50% of their short-haul flights, and 40% of their long haul flights today from 0600 BST/UTC+1. They are expecting to add more flights to the schedule as the day progresses, so passengers are advised to check the British Airways website.

Analysts said that the disruption may lose BA next to £40m because of the refunds that the company are paying out, loss of flight revenue, and the costs of accommodating passengers in nearby hotels.

Only passengers with confirmed reservations have been allowed to board flights at Heathrow. Barriers have been placed around Terminal 4 to stop people without reservations from joining flights. There are limited catering services on-board the flights.

British Airways advises passengers to telephone +44 (0)800 727 800 or check their website before travelling to the airport. They also said that they would refund customers that had to stay in a hotel on Friday night up to £100.

It is noted by passengers, though, that the advice line can be engaged for long periods, so users of the telephone line need to be patient.

Qantas, Finnair, GB Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, and British Mediterranean are also affected, as they were serviced by BA’s ground staff. Their telephone numbers are listed below.

  • Qantas: +44 (0)870 000 0123
  • Sri Lankan Airlines: +44 (0)208 538 2000
  • Finnair: +44 (0)8705 997711
  • GB Airways: +44 (0)870 850 9850
  • British Mediterranean Airlines: +44 (0)870 850 9850

New Zealand dog saves five children; receives international attention


Saturday, May 5, 2007

A small, “nicely trained” Jack Russell Terrier gave his life to help save a group of five children from two aggressive pitbulls last Sunday in Manaia, Taranaki, New Zealand.

The dog named George is being described as a hero, gathering a huge amount of international media interest in the process.

The dog suffered massive injuries that the vet had never seen to that extent before, which resulted in 69-year-old Alan Gay, the dog’s owner, allowing George to be put down. He now regrets this decision.

The two pitbulls rushed at the group of children that George was following to the dairy, including a four-year-old. George then started barking loudly at the pair of dogs, and put himself between the dogs and the children. Mr Gay told Fox News, “If it wasn’t for George, those kids would have copped it.”

Despite having received offers of new dogs, Mr Gay has said that he will wait a while before getting another Jack Russell Terrier, as he is afraid it could happen again.

It is also believed that the two attacking dogs, which have been destroyed, were bred to be aggressive, including being fed the drug methamphetamine, commonly referred to as “P” in New Zealand.

Mr Gay has said that Manaia has had a problem with stray dogs before, but he never expected that George would become a victim.

One story ran in USA Today, which prompted over 120 comments, and one reader to personally call Alan Gay expressing their condolences.

Responding to the huge amount of media interest, Mr Gay said, “This really surprises me, and it’s marvellous. I never expected this … I’m surprised it got around the world as it did.” He says he has been getting a huge amount of phone calls from the media and the public. “The phone has been going since about half past seven this morning. Every time I hang up it rings again. It’s worn out; I might have to get a new one.”

Wikinews interviews Jim Babka, chair of Libertarian organization Downsize DC


Thursday, April 3, 2008

A reporter from Wikinews recently interviewed Jim Babka, chair of Libertarian organization Downsize DC. The organization claims to have arranged for 22,158 people to send a message regarding the “American Freedom Agenda Act” proposed by Ron Paul, in addition to supporting many other laws. The full text of the interview can be found below.

Houston Concrete Patios


Submitted by: Jeff Halper

Concrete has been given new life in the last 10-15 years. It has become a viable aesthetic, especially in contemporary and urban designs. Nature gives concrete its appeal the qualities of durability and convenience. Artistry gives it flair simplicity, gracefulness and the freedom of a blank canvas. All these attributes come together in a concrete patio.

A Concrete Patio: Nature and Art

Concrete is a medium that has a natural beauty not unlike that of granite, marble, and quartz. In fact, some artists have called it liquid stone. This flexibility, this liquidity, frees up the design potential, allowing you to create a surface like no other. Architects, builders and artists now use concrete for furniture, kitchen countertops, even interior walls (the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is a beautiful example). In other words, concrete is no longer an ugly duckling material. It has come into its own in this 21st century for monumental buildings, home interiors, urban landscaping, pool deck design and works of art, just to name a few examples.

Concrete is especially suited for a patio design because it gives you the ability to create any dimension straight edge, right angle, curved wall, round island. You can make it smooth, thus highlighting its cool grace. Perhaps you want to stain or color it, stamp or polish it. Or you can express yourself with decorative inlays such as glass, stone or marble. Let your imagination be your guide.

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A Concrete Patio: Customize

When using concrete as your base material, the key word is customize whether you re talking about custom mixes, custom designs or custom patterns.

Custom mixes give you the opportunity to match any pre-existing choices with your chosen concrete surface. You can bring in examples of your colors and textures textiles, wallpaper samples, or magazine pictures that can be used to formulate a color that you have your heart set on.

Custom designs may include outdoor kitchens, an element of your home landscape design that has recently exploded in popularity. You might also consider mantles over outdoor fireplaces, sinks, benches, shelving or a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture, all examples of items that can be built with a custom design using concrete.

Custom patterns can be created by using concrete insets to replicate a picture or pattern. For an extra visual appeal, this flooring pattern can then be replicated on a concrete countertop, ledge or built-in table.

A Concrete Patio: It s Green!

Green as it is used in the ecology movement refers to the use of sustainable materials to create healthier and more resource-efficient environments. Concrete fits superbly into this concept. It is a natural mixture of cement, water and aggregates. Its products are low maintenance and produce little to no waste. It is tough and durable, thus can withstand years of outdoor use without having to be replaced. Use it freely in your green green garden design.

A Concrete Patio: Fitting It In

A landscape drainage system is a necessary component of any hardscape project in Houston, given our famous, and infamous, torrential downpours. It determines whether you have a usable hard surface or a patio that got turned into a small pond. A professional landscape designer or landscape architect can design patio drains often, French drains or decorative drains in a way so that they blend seamlessly into the overall look. Drainage contractors can help as well.

About the Author: Jeff Halper is passionate for Landscaping and wants to share infomation about that passion. At

Exterior Worlds

you can read more about

Concrete Patios

or

Landscape Design

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=365562&ca=Gardening

Maria Contreras-Sweet Group buys The Weinstein Company assets, saves it from bankruptcy


Sunday, March 4, 2018

On Thursday in a meeting at New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office, Maria Contreras-Sweet Group, billionaire Ron Burkle, and a number of other investors acquired assets of The Weinstein Company for reportedly about US$500 million. The Weinstein Company had financial difficulties and was nearly bankrupt after Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women last year, which impacted the business budget.

At least two of The Weinstein Company board of directors — consisting of Tarak Ben Ammar, Lance Maerov and Bob Weinstein — participated in the meeting, according to The New York Times. Maria Contreras-Sweet Group was represented by Maria Contreras-Sweet and Ron Burkle. The New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman was also in the meeting.

Maria Contreras-Sweet Group agreed to pay The Weinstein Company’s debt, sized at US$225 million, reports indicated. The acquisition would save around 150 jobs held at the Weinstein Company. Maria Contreras-Sweet Group announced the deal, also confirmed by The Weinstein Company. The deal was expected to take about 40 days to be completed.

The agreement required Maria Contreras-Sweet Group to protect the jobs of company employees, and establish a victim compensation fund which would compensate victims of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct while not rewarding the “bad actors”, as Schneiderman put it — people who had contributed to the sexual misconduct. The victim compensation fund would allegedly be around US$90 million, according to reports.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against The Weinstein Company in early February of this year. He reportly indicated he might settle the lawsuit after the deal is finalized.

Maria Contreras-Sweet Group said they would use the assets in creating a new movie studio with a majority-female leadership.

The Weinstein Company said on Monday, three days before the deal announcement, it intended to file for bankruptcy as it could not find a buyer that would keep it afloat until the deal would be finalized.

The Weinstein Company was founded in 2005.

Witness convicted of perjury in Best Bakery trial sentenced to one year


Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Zahira Sheikh, the main prosecution witness in the high-profile Best Bakery case, has been sentenced to a year in prison for lying in court and a fine of Rs. 50,000. Zahira Sheikh changed her testimony many time. A committee appointed by the Supreme Court said it believed she had been bribed to lying in court.

After killing wife and children, police officer commits suicide in Noyon, France


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A police officer has shot and killed his wife and two of their children at the train station in the French city of Noyon in the department of Oise, the local prosecutor said, after the wife had informed the officer of her intention to separate from him. Their sons were aged three and five; a third child, twin to the five year old victim, survived the attack and is in the care of child services. The killings took place around 11:30 local time (0930 UTC) on Sunday.

The wife, born in 1983, called the gendarmes (police) in the morning, and they arrived to find her explaining to their five children about the domestic argument which had escalated. The husband returned while the police were present, and they reported he seemed calm and did not interfere with the children being moved to a neighbor’s home, so they departed. The woman reportedly chose to leave her house when her husband was not there, and headed to the station, where the husband awaited them armed.

After assassinating his family, the police officer committed suicide. The wife’s family lived in Guiscard, near Noyon. The station at Noyon was closed after the incident. Late on Sunday, the police were searching for a witness who escaped after observing the events.