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U.S. Housing prices down 9% since February

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The median house price in the United States plunged 6.5% in May to $217,000. In February of 2005, the median price of a home was $237,300.

The Economist newspaper said in its June 16th issue; “In other words, it looks like the biggest bubble in history.” by way of reference to what is happening with housing prices in the USA and much of Europe.

Japan provides an example of how a boom can turn to bust. Property prices have dropped for 14 years in a row (40% from their peak in 1991); and yet, the rise in prices in Japan during the decade before 1991 was less than the increase over the past ten years in most of today’s “housing boom” countries.

The total value of residential property rose by more than $30 trillion over the past five years in developed economies, an increase equivalent to 100% of the combined GDPs of those countries. This increase dwarfs all previous house-price booms and is greater than the global stockmarket bubble in the late 1990s. Much of the recent housing activity is being driven by speculative demand. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that 23% of all American houses bought in 2004 were for investment, not for owners to live in. Another 13% were bought as second homes. NAR also found that 42% of all first-time buyers made no down-payment on their home purchase last year.

Many investors are buying solely because they think prices will keep rising, which is a warning sign of a financial bubble. In Miami, Florida, as many as half of the original buyers resell new apartments even before they are built, and properties can change hands two or three times before somebody finally moves in.

Britain’s Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reported prices have been falling for ten consecutive months. Forty nine percent of their surveyors reported falling prices in May. This was the weakest report since 1992 during Britain’s previous house-price bust.

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Spreading floods in Pakistan worsen, at least 1600 dead

Friday, August 6, 2010

Since last reported, the flooding in Pakistan has spread and has now struck more than four million people. The UN reports it has left at least 1,600 people dead. The floods have been confirmed as the worst in eighty years.

Heavy monsoon rains led to the flooding of the huge Indus River, destroying homes in the north of the country and causing a large amount of damage in the north-west frontier province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Manuel Bessler of the United Nations said: “What we are facing now is a major catastrophe. We are afraid it will get worse.”

Army and government forces have rushed to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people from parts of the Punjab province of Pakistan, where the disaster spread to yesterday, and from Sindh province, where the flood is expected to reach by the weekend.

The flooding is now in its second week and the situation is unlikely to improve any time soon, especially since in many parts of the country there is still torrential rain, with more forecast. In other parts of Pakistan the water has receded, but this leaves a layer of mud and slime and this covers very large areas. For those affected by the floods, disease is the biggest problem now. The insanitary conditions have already caused diarrhoea and respiratory infections. Cholera and other water-borne diseases may appear if sanitary conditions for those displaced by the calamity are not established. Medical supplies are desperately needed for doctors to keep a pandemic or epidemic of a water-borne disease from infecting the victims of the flooding.

Relief has been hardest to provide in the north-west where many bridges and roads have been washed away. Whole towns have been cut off and this makes providing aid to those areas a very difficult task.

Air force pilots have been volunteering to fly aid missions to badly hit areas, transporting medical supplies, clean water and food to where it is needed. The transport planes carry enough foodstuffs to feed one hundred families for a month. Motivation for the missions among pilots is very high, as is the tension in the transport planes as they fly at 36,000 feet over the flood-hit country. Only from the air is the full extent of the damage visible. Pilots have been flying the maximum number of hours allowed and pushing the limits of their endurance to give the victims of the flood food, water and everything they need to survive.

Many foreign governments and aid agencies are contributing to the disaster relief effort. The U.S. Army has been flying relief missions, airlifting people from areas where they are stranded. The first mission involved four U.S. Chinook helicopters landing in the tourist town of Kalam in the Swat Valley, north-west Pakistan. The resort had been cut off for more than a week, according to a reporter there. The Chinooks flew hundreds of people to safer areas lower down. A U.S. Embassy spokesperson said that 800 people had been evacuated and relief goods had been distributed.

The U.S. government pledged 10 million dollars in assistance following the first reports of the disaster. Yesterday the country promised a further 25 million dollars in aid. A spokesperson from the Embassy said: “The U.S. is making a new contribution of 25 million dollars in assistance to flood-affected populations, bringing its total commitment to date to more than 35 million dollars.” The money will go to international aid organisations and established Pakistani aid groups to provide food, health care and shelter to people displaced by the floods.

Malaysia has also decided to contribute US$1 million for relief efforts in the form of humanitarian aid. The Foreign Ministry said the aid was a manifestation of the government and the people’s concern and sympathy. “The government of Malaysia hopes the contribution will help alleviate the suffering of flood victims in Pakistan.”

In Britain, the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella organisation representing 13 of the leading UK humanitarian agencies, has been coordinating relief efforts and has launched an emergency appeal for public donations to help the victims of the crisis. Charities and aid agencies have been quick to respond to the disaster, sending aid and response teams to the worst hit areas. Food, water, shelter and medical supplies have been provided but much more is needed.

Patrick Fuller of the Red Cross (the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), who has been based in the country for a few days, described the situation on the ground as “desperate” and said the worst hit areas are “totally dependent” on outside help. He said the Red Cross movement is working with local partners to get aid packages, containing cooking tools and shelter such as tents and blankets, to 35,000 families.

The Red Cross alone has distributed 10,000 food packs and 1000 tents across the affected areas so far. However, figures for the amount of aid distributed are constantly changing as this is an ongoing relief effort.

Fuller reported that in Nowshera, which is in the north-west of the country close to the Indus River, “80% of homes have been badly damaged or destroyed, all the mud-brick houses have been washed away.

“In the most remote areas – where roads are cut off – donkeys are making eight-hour hikes to reach people.

“We are trying to move people into temporary camps – giving them timber, roofing sheets and basic shelter – but there is the added complication that many are reluctant to leave whatever homes they have left.”This has also been a problem in the south of the country in Sindh province, where the flood is expected to reach by the weekend. Evacuations have been going on to move people out of the path of the flood but many will not join the mass exodus and have chosen to brave the waters.

“Many people rely on open wells, which have been contaminated, so access to clean water is a problem. We are worried about communicable diseases, like respiratory infections, skin diseases, diarrhoea,” Mr Fuller said.

The charity have been setting up mobile medical teams to better combat disease and infection.

Though the relief effort at the moment is focused on the survival of those hit by the catastrophe, on those who “had their lives swept away in seconds”, the relief effort is expected to last a full six months.

Those who will be most affected in the long term by this disaster will be the poorest. They will have had everything washed away from them so they will have to start from scratch. Sadly, for those living in the poorest areas in the north and centre of Pakistan, the fight for survival is only just beginning and though they may feel they are enduring much at the moment, getting their lives back together after the first stages of this calamity are over is going to be even harder.

The Disasters Emergency Committee has said it has managed to give aid to 300,000 people so far. Many UK charities have been distributing food and medicine, as well as water purification tablets, cooking tools, shelter and hygiene kits. They have been using rafts, boats and donkeys. Brendan Gormley, chief executive of the DEC, said: “These devastating floods have left millions fighting to survive with little food, clean water or shelter.”

The DEC has appealed for donations from the public of the UK to help the victims of this crisis. The appeal is to allow the charities to continue relief work in the worst hit areas of the country.

Following a television appeal by the DEC, £2.5 million was raised and this has enabled the 13 charities the committee represents to reach 300,000 people with emergency supplies.

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Thousands continue to flee fighting in Yemen

Friday, December 11, 2009

The United Nations refugee agency reports thousands of civilians continue to flee their homes in northern Yemen as fighting between government troops and Al Houti rebel forces enters a fifth month. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the situation in the Saada province remains particularly tense as more people arrive there.

The U.N. refugee agency reports clashes have broken out in a number of districts in the Saada province as more people arrive. It says the situation in the Razeh district is particularly serious.

The UNHCR says the civilian population there faces restrictions of movement and lacks basic services such as electricity and water. It says shortages of food and other commodities are pushing prices up sharply and an increasing number of people cannot afford to buy what they need.

U.N. refugee spokesman Andrej Mahecic says the influx of huge numbers of people in neighboring Hajjah and Amran provinces is putting a strain on shelter and aid.

There are now some 21,000 IDPs living in a camp initially designed to shelter up to 10,000 people

“Over the past month alone, the IDP [internally displaced people] population of al-Mazrak One camp in Hajjah governorate has doubled. There are now some 21,000 IDPs living in a camp initially designed to shelter up to 10,000 people and overcrowding is presently the top concern for us,” he said. “At least some 500 families in al-Mazrak camp are sharing their tents, normally meant for one family, with one or two other households. We estimate another 1,300 families who are accommodated in 48 large communal tents in four transit areas of the camp, are presently waiting for allocation of a family tent.”

The UNHCR reports overcrowding in the camp is hampering delivery of humanitarian services. The agency says it reached an agreement with Yemeni authorities this week to build a third camp. And, plans are underway to set up a camp that would potentially house some 7,000 people.

Mahecic says the number of IDPs settling with local populations outside the camps has increased as well. He says local communities are bearing the brunt of the continuing displacement in Yemen. He says aid agencies are looking at ways they can assist host families.

The U.N. refugee agency reports an estimated 175,000 people have been affected by the conflict in Yemen since 2004, including those displaced by the latest crisis.

Setting Up A New Site: What Basic Office Supplies In Madison, Wi Are Needed Right Now?

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byAlma Abell

Opening an office after running a new business out of a back bedroom is a heady experience. Along with thinking about details like computer equipment and furnishings, it pays to think about what type of basic Office Supplies in Madison WI will be needed immediately. While some things can wait until everyone is settled in, others must be in place for the office to function. Here are some examples to keep in mind.

Copy Paper

Even with the use of file sharing, email, and other electronic means of communication, there is still the need to print some things out for meetings or to prepare paper copies of invoices. Always make sure copy paper is on that list of basic Office Supplies in Madison WI and ensure there is plenty before the office officially opens. Doing so ensures the employees can get right to work without having to wait for the paper to be delivered.

Printer Cartridges

Cartridges for every printer in the office must be in place. Fresh cartridges should be in those printers, and the supply closet should sport at least one compatible cartridge for each of those devices. If the office functioned with the use of one central printer, it wouldn’t hurt to hold two in reserve.

Note Pads

The ability to quickly write out a note that can be passed down the conference room table during an audio conference or to take a message from a caller who despises voice mail is always helpful. That means having something to write on when those occasions arise. Good, old-fashioned note pads do the job.

Pens and Pencils

Jotting down notes during a phone conversation is still one of the more common tasks associated with office work. Jotting is a lot easier if there is a pen or pencil handy to go with those note pads. Pay close attention to the quality and spend a little more up front. The last thing anyone needs is a pen that won’t write or a pencil lead that breaks every time someone tries to use it.

The expense of opening a new office is significant. Learn more about us and how to prioritize the selection of supplies. Once the office is up and running, there will be time to think about purchasing other supplies that are needed less frequently.

Canada to legalise marijuana to ‘make it more difficult for kids to access’

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Canada to legalise marijuana to ‘make it more difficult for kids to access’

22 Mar

Sunday, April 16, 2017

In order to put the cannabis drug (marijuana) out of reach of minors, the Canadian federal government announced a bill to legalise cannabis for the age group of eighteen and above, on Thursday. The bill would allow adults to possess cannabis publicly, previously a criminal offence.

Canada’s health minister Jane Philpott tweeted, “Today we tabled new legislation to legalise, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis. Our goal: keep it out of the hands of youth, and profits out of the hands of criminals.”((fr))French language: Ajd nous avons déposé un nouveau projet de loi pour légaliser le cannabis, le réglementer de manière stricte et en restreindre l’accès. Notre objectif: garder le cannabis hors de la portée des jeunes, & les profits hors des mains des criminels. The Canadian government, via their official website, explained cannabis is available illegally, and their measures to stop it did not work. Criminal organisations are making money selling cannabis. Under-aged people can obtain the drug easily; they said, “it is easier for our kids to buy cannabis than cigarettes.”

The bill allows provinces and territories to set the age limit above eighteen. In order to prevent criminal gangs from making a profit, selling the drug needs a license permitting its sale. Adults can purchase the drug online from a licensed producer if a retail shop is not available in the province.

Adults can carry up to 30 g (slightly over an ounce) of cannabis and grow at most four cannabis plants at home, for personal use. The plants should be no taller than a metre, the bill proposed. Selling cannabis to minors would be a specific criminal offence.

The legislation requires parliamentary approval and royal assent. If passed, the bill would be under effect by July 2018, the government said. Health and safety experts and law enforcement were consulted before proposing the legislation. Except for medical purposes, possession of the drug remains illegal until the bill is passed. Regardless of the status of the bill, import and export of the drug would be illegal.

Previously when the government increased the taxes on cigarettes to discourage citizens from smoking, a black market for cigarettes developed.

Along with legalising cannabis, the bill would also permit the police officials to use tools like oral fluid drug screeners to detect if drivers are under the influence of the drug. Zero tolerance against drivers under influence of drugs is proposed. The government would also implement a public awareness campaign on the perils of driving under the influence of drugs.

The government still working on the restrictions. Lawmaker and former police chief Bill Blair said, “We do accept that more important work remains to be done.” If the bill is passed, Canada would be the second country to legalise cannabis completely. Uruguay is the first. Some countries, such as Germany, allow medical use of cannabis, but recreational use is prohibited.

Murray Hill on the life and versatility of a New York drag king

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Murray Hill on the life and versatility of a New York drag king

22 Mar

Monday, November 19, 2007

Drag—dressing in the clothing atypical of your born gender—in recent years has found mainstream success. Films such as Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar have prominently featured drag performers. But they have all focused on men in drag as women.

Murray Hill is a comedian, emcee and performer. He is also a drag king. Called “The Hardest Working Middle-aged Man in Show Business”, The New York Times christened him “the current reigning patriarch of the downtown performance community.” He is seemingly everywhere, emceeing a bingo night at the now closed, Jimmy Fallon-backed Mo Pitkins’ House of Satisfaction on Avenue A, or hosting the Polyamorous Pride Day in Central Park. Hill has become a legend in New York’s “anything goes” counterculture theater scene who is beginning to find mainstream success; which would be a first for a drag king.

David Shankbone’s examination of New York City‘s culture has brought him to the whip’s end of a BDSM dungeon, on the phone with RuPaul, matching wits with Michael Musto, grilling Gay Talese, eating dinner with Augusten Burroughs and quizzing the bands that play the Bowery Ballroom. In this segment he talks to downtown legend Murray Hill, former New York City mayoral candidate and comedian, on the last night of Mo Pitkins’ House of Satisfaction.


  • 1 Murray Hill the performer
  • 2 Murray Hill the person
  • 3 Drag as performance art for women
  • 4 The gay community and drag artists
  • 5 Drag queens and drag kings: the differences
  • 6 The direction of New York downtown culture
  • 7 Sources

Bat for Lashes plays the Bowery Ballroom: an Interview with Natasha Khan

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Bat for Lashes plays the Bowery Ballroom: an Interview with Natasha Khan

21 Mar

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bat for Lashes is the doppelgänger band ego of one of the leading millennial lights in British music, Natasha Khan. Caroline Weeks, Abi Fry and Lizzy Carey comprise the aurora borealis that backs this haunting, shimmering zither and glockenspiel peacock, and the only complaint coming from the audience at the Bowery Ballroom last Tuesday was that they could not camp out all night underneath these celestial bodies.

We live in the age of the lazy tendency to categorize the work of one artist against another, and Khan has had endless exultations as the next Björk and Kate Bush; Sixousie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, the list goes on until it is almost meaningless as comparison does little justice to the sound and vision of the band. “I think Bat For Lashes are beyond a trend or fashion band,” said Jefferson Hack, publisher of Dazed & Confused magazine. “[Khan] has an ancient power…she is in part shamanic.” She describes her aesthetic as “powerful women with a cosmic edge” as seen in Jane Birkin, Nico and Cleopatra. And these women are being heard. “I love the harpsichord and the sexual ghost voices and bowed saws,” said Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke of the track Horse and I. “This song seems to come from the world of Grimm’s fairytales.”

Bat’s debut album, Fur And Gold, was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize, and they were seen as the dark horse favorite until it was announced Klaxons had won. Even Ladbrokes, the largest gambling company in the United Kingdom, had put their money on Bat for Lashes. “It was a surprise that Klaxons won,” said Khan, “but I think everyone up for the award is brilliant and would have deserved to win.”

Natasha recently spoke with David Shankbone about art, transvestism and drug use in the music business.

DS: Do you have any favorite books?

NK: [Laughs] I’m not the best about finishing books. What I usually do is I will get into a book for a period of time, and then I will dip into it and get the inspiration and transformation in my mind that I need, and then put it away and come back to it. But I have a select rotation of cool books, like Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and Little Birds by Anaïs Nin. Recently, Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch.

DS: Lynch just came out with a movie last year called Inland Empire. I interviewed John Vanderslice last night at the Bowery Ballroom and he raved about it!

NK: I haven’t seen it yet!

DS: Do you notice a difference between playing in front of British and American audiences?

NK: The U.S. audiences are much more full of expression and noises and jubilation. They are like, “Welcome to New York, Baby!” “You’re Awesome!” and stuff like that. Whereas in England they tend to be a lot more reserved. Well, the English are, but it is such a diverse culture you will get the Spanish and Italian gay guys at the front who are going crazy. I definitely think in America they are much more open and there is more excitement, which is really cool.

DS: How many instruments do you play and, please, include the glockenspiel in that number.

NK: [Laughs] I think the number is limitless, hopefully. I try my hand at anything I can contribute; I only just picked up the bass, really—

DS: –I have a great photo of you playing the bass.

NK: I don’t think I’m very good…

DS: You look cool with it!

NK: [Laughs] Fine. The glockenspiel…piano, mainly, and also the harp. Guitar, I like playing percussion and drumming. I usually speak with all my drummers so that I write my songs with them in mind, and we’ll have bass sounds, choir sounds, and then you can multi-task with all these orchestral sounds. Through the magic medium of technology I can play all kinds of sounds, double bass and stuff.

DS: Do you design your own clothes?

NK: All four of us girls love vintage shopping and charity shops. We don’t have a stylist who tells us what to wear, it’s all very much our own natural styles coming through. And for me, personally, I like to wear jewelery. On the night of the New York show that top I was wearing was made especially for me as a gift by these New York designers called Pepper + Pistol. And there’s also my boyfriend, who is an amazing musician—

DS: —that’s Will Lemon from Moon and Moon, right? There is such good buzz about them here in New York.

NK: Yes! They have an album coming out in February and it will fucking blow your mind! I think you would love it, it’s an incredible masterpiece. It’s really exciting, I’m hoping we can do a crazy double unfolding caravan show, the Bat for Lashes album and the new Moon and Moon album: that would be really theatrical and amazing! Will prints a lot of my T-shirts because he does amazing tapestries and silkscreen printing on clothes. When we play there’s a velvety kind of tapestry on the keyboard table that he made. So I wear a lot of his things, thrift store stuff, old bits of jewelry and antique pieces.

DS: You are often compared to Björk and Kate Bush; do those constant comparisons tend to bother you as an artist who is trying to define herself on her own terms?

NK: No, I mean, I guess that in the past it bothered me, but now I just feel really confident and sure that as time goes on my musical style and my writing is taking a pace of its own, and I think in time the music will speak for itself and people will see that I’m obviously doing something different. Those women are fantastic, strong, risk-taking artists—

DS: —as are you—

NK: —thank you, and that’s a great tradition to be part of, and when I look at artists like Björk and Kate Bush, I think of them as being like older sisters that have come before; they are kind of like an amazing support network that comes with me.

DS: I’d imagine it’s preferable to be considered the next Björk or Kate Bush instead of the next Britney.

NK: [Laughs] Totally! Exactly! I mean, could you imagine—oh, no I’m not going to try to offend anyone now! [Laughs] Let’s leave it there.

DS: Does music feed your artwork, or does you artwork feed your music more? Or is the relationship completely symbiotic?

NK: I think it’s pretty back-and-forth. I think when I have blocks in either of those area, I tend to emphasize the other. If I’m finding it really difficult to write something I know that I need to go investigate it in a more visual way, and I’ll start to gather images and take photographs and make notes and make collages and start looking to photographers and filmmakers to give me a more grounded sense of the place that I’m writing about, whether it’s in my imagination or in the characters. Whenever I’m writing music it’s a very visual place in my mind. It has a location full of characters and colors and landscapes, so those two things really compliment each other, and they help the other one to blossom and support the other. They are like brother and sister.

DS: When you are composing music, do you see notes and words as colors and images in your mind, and then you put those down on paper?

NK: Yes. When I’m writing songs, especially lately because I think the next album has a fairly strong concept behind it and I’m writing the songs, really imagining them, so I’m very immersed into the concept of the album and the story that is there through the album. It’s the same as when I’m playing live, I will imagine I see a forest of pine trees and sky all around me and the audience, and it really helps me. Or I’ll just imagine midnight blue and emerald green, those kind of Eighties colors, and they help me.

DS: Is it always pine trees that you see?

NK: Yes, pine trees and sky, I guess.

DS: What things in nature inspire you?

NK: I feel drained thematically if I’m in the city too long. I think that when I’m in nature—for example, I went to Big Sur last year on a road trip and just looking up and seeing dark shadows of trees and starry skies really gets me and makes me feel happy. I would sit right by the sea, and any time I have been a bit stuck I will go for a long walk along the ocean and it’s just really good to see vast horizons, I think, and epic, huge, all-encompassing visions of nature really humble you and give you a good sense of perspective and the fact that you are just a small particle of energy that is vibrating along with everything else. That really helps.

DS: Are there man-made things that inspire you?

NK: Things that are more cultural, like open air cinemas, old Peruvian flats and the Chelsea Hotel. Funny old drag queen karaoke bars…

DS: I photographed some of the famous drag queens here in New York. They are just such great creatures to photograph; they will do just about anything for the camera. I photographed a famous drag queen named Miss Understood who is the emcee at a drag queen restaurant here named Lucky Cheng’s. We were out in front of Lucky Cheng’s taking photographs and a bus was coming down First Avenue, and I said, “Go out and stop that bus!” and she did! It’s an amazing shot.

NK: Oh. My. God.

DS: If you go on her Wikipedia article it’s there.

NK: That’s so cool. I’m really getting into that whole psychedelic sixties and seventies Paris Is Burning and Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. Things like The Cockettes. There seems to be a bit of a revolution coming through that kind of psychedelic drag queen theater.

DS: There are just so few areas left where there is natural edge and art that is not contrived. It’s taking a contrived thing like changing your gender, but in the backdrop of how that is still so socially unacceptable.

NK: Yeah, the theatrics and creativity that go into that really get me. I’m thinking about The Fisher King…do you know that drag queen in The Fisher King? There’s this really bad and amazing drag queen guy in it who is so vulnerable and sensitive. He sings these amazing songs but he has this really terrible drug problem, I think, or maybe it’s a drink problem. It’s so bordering on the line between fabulous and those people you see who are so in love with the idea of beauty and elevation and the glitz and the glamor of love and beauty, but then there’s this really dark, tragic side. It’s presented together in this confusing and bewildering way, and it always just gets to me. I find it really intriguing.

DS: How are you received in the Pakistani community?

NK: [Laughs] I have absolutely no idea! You should probably ask another question, because I have no idea. I don’t have contact with that side of my family anymore.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on these suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and with their music?

NK: It’s difficult. The drugs thing was never important to me, it was the music and expression and the way he delivered his music, and I think there’s a strange kind of romantic delusion in the media, and the music media especially, where they are obsessed with people who have terrible drug problems. I think that’s always been the way, though, since Billie Holiday. The thing that I’m questioning now is that it seems now the celebrity angle means that the lifestyle takes over from the actual music. In the past people who had musical genius, unfortunately their personal lives came into play, but maybe that added a level of romance, which I think is pretty uncool, but, whatever. I think that as long as the lifestyle doesn’t precede the talent and the music, that’s okay, but it always feels uncomfortable for me when people’s music goes really far and if you took away the hysteria and propaganda of it, would the music still stand up? That’s my question. Just for me, I’m just glad I don’t do heavy drugs and I don’t have that kind of problem, thank God. I feel that’s a responsibility you have, to present that there’s a power in integrity and strength and in the lifestyle that comes from self-love and assuredness and positivity. I think there’s a real big place for that, but it doesn’t really get as much of that “Rock n’ Roll” play or whatever.

DS: Is it difficult to come to the United States to play considering all the wars we start?

NK: As an English person I feel equally as responsible for that kind of shit. I think it is a collective consciousness that allows violence and those kinds of things to continue, and I think that our governments should be ashamed of themselves. But at the same time, it’s a responsibility of all of our countries, no matter where you are in the world to promote a peaceful lifestyle and not to consciously allow these conflicts to continue. At the same time, I find it difficult to judge because I think that the world is full of shades of light and dark, from spectrums of pure light and pure darkness, and that’s the way human nature and nature itself has always been. It’s difficult, but it’s just a process, and it’s the big creature that’s the world; humankind is a big creature that is learning all the time. And we have to go through these processes of learning to see what is right.

Moving To The Ph? Here Are 12 Things You Need To Know

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Moving To The PH? Here Are 12 Things You Need To Know by Thomas PastoralSo you’re thinking of moving to the Philippines? We don’t blame you. 7,100 tropical islands, great weather, excellent food, terrific people, beaches galore – their campaign slogan is right, “It’s More Fun In The Philippines!”But there’s much more to this South East Asian country than the talking points of a tourism ad. Here are 12 things you should know about the “Pearl of the Orient Seas.”1. CultureFilipinos are some of the friendliest people in the world. They always have a ready smile and a healthy sense of humor. Filipinos are famed for their hospitality, and enjoy eating and drinking. Do not be surprised when they invite you to join them while they’re having a meal. Family and community are very important to the Filipino people. It is not uncommon for three generations to live in one household. They have community celebrations, called ‘fiestas,’ that reinforce communal unity and are a great excuse to eat, drink, and party.2. LanguageFilipino (sometimes referred to as Tagalog) is the official language of the Philippines, and there are over 120 other dialects spoken around the country. But have no fear! English is taught in all schools (it’s the nation’s second language) so you won’t have a problem communicating with the local population.3. WeatherThe Philippines has two seasons: wet and dry. The summer months of April and May can get really hot (as high as 39 degrees Celsius) but that’s what white sand beaches are for! But seriously, wear sunblock and stay hydrated. The monsoon season is from June to November. Expect torrential downpours (the Philippines has an average of 20 typhoons a year!) That said, heavy rains can be a soothing experience, especially if you’ve never experienced anything like it.4. CommunicationThe Philippines has been called ‘the social media capital of the world.’ Filipinos spend A LOT of time on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – being connected to the internet is a high priority. It is easy to get a mobile phone + data plan (there are two major telco companies: Globe and Smart) that suits your needs, with coverage over most of the country. Cable, fibre, and ADSL internet can be installed in your homes and businesses. Free Wi-Fi is available in malls, coffee shops and airports, and most business establishments offer Wi-Fi to their customers.5. TransportationHow to get around the Philippines? In the major cities, ridesharing services Uber and Grab are your best bet in getting around. Jeepneys (originally converted military jeeps from World War II) are fun, but can get quickly cramped during rush hour. Tricycles are also readily available in the suburbs and provinces. For long distance travel there are buses and trains that run between cities and towns; ferries will take you to other provinces. Flying is still the most convenient way to reach the rest of the country. There is also a burgeoning bicycle movement in Metro Manila with more and more biking lanes being added.6. AccommodationsMost expats choose to live in the city center, particularly Makati and BGC (Bonifacio Global City). There is a variety of accommodations to choose from to suit your needs, from luxury condominiums to houses in gated villages. Most landlords prefer long leases (1-2 years), although short-term contracts can sometimes be negotiated. Most places offer air-conditioning, and condo buildings typically have amenities such as a gym, swimming pool and the like.7. EducationSchooling in the Philippines is conducted in English and the Filipino language and has been influenced by the educational system of the US. The academic year for public and private schools generally runs from June to March, but international schools are from September to June. Most expats in the Philippines opt to send their children to international schools, which are primarily located in Manila. Some international schools follow the curriculum of their home country (and classes are taught in that language), while others offer the International Baccalaureate.8. Health CarePublic and private health care is available across the Philippines. Most excellent health care facilities are in major cities, especially in the Manila area. Pharmacies around the country carry most over-the-counter drugs, and local stores also sell basic supplies like paracetamol, anti-diarrhea tablets, etc. It is best to choose medical insurance with an international policy before arriving, as medical treatment can be costly without it.9. Religion and Freedom of WorshipThe Philippines, being a predominantly Roman Catholic country, is the largest Christian nation in Asia. There are also many Protestant churches throughout the country, as well as a Muslim minority in the southern part of the country. Filipinos are generally accepting of different religions and beliefs so if you’re a person of faith, you’ll be quite comfortable in this tolerant climate.10. SuppliesFilipinos like to shop, and there are different kinds of places where you can get supplies. Big shopping malls with reliable brands can be found in major cities all over the country, so you can find almost anything your heart desires. There are luxury stores when you’re feeling a little indulgent. Divisoria, a market district, is the best place for wholesale and bargain shopping (make sure to haggle). Farmers markets also pop up in certain parts of the city, where you can find local, artisanal goods, and even vegan products. If you crave the flavor of home, there are also specialty stores that carry specific international products.11. RecreationApart from shopping, there are plenty of things to occupy your time. There are state-of-the-art cinemas, amusement parks, and activity centers for you enjoy. If you want a dose of art and culture there are numerous museums, galleries, theatres, and art spaces you can visit all over the country. For the active types, there are many options for you to get that adrenaline pumping. You can find the latest workout trends at fitness centers and gyms, become a member of a sports club, run on different trails, and join various sports teams. Foodies and drink connoisseurs will be happy to know that the Philippine bar and restaurant scene is booming. Hip, new establishments with interesting concepts are opening every few weeks, so your taste buds will certainly be in for a treat.12. VacationThe Philippines is rich in natural beauty, with powder white sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters, lush mountains and deep caves, rivers and lakes. It’s no wonder that it is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. There’s so much to see and places to go: party on the beach in Boracay, dive in Cebu and Bohol, go surfing in Baler and La Union, trek through the mountains of Benguet. The list goes on and on. But you don’t have to go far to go on vacation, as there are many out-of-town options for nature trippers in the Philippines close to Manila. Soak in the hot springs of Laguna and bask on the beaches of Zambales. You can learn about history and tour the WW2 base in Corregidor. The Tagaytay-Batangas area is a vacationer’s dream: mountains, beaches, diving, resorts, the Taal volcano (an island within a lake, in a volcano, in a lake), heritage sites, and many more attractions, all within a few hours of the Metro. It’s easy to duck out of the city for a much-needed break. There are several long weekends throughout the year (sometimes the government moves holidays near the weekend), but the major holiday stretches happen during Holy Week (late March or early April) and Christmas to New Year, so you can plan your get-aways way ahead of time.This is just a sliver of what the Philippines has to offer. Hopefully, you now have an idea of what living here will entail, and that you’re excited to make the expat transition – you and your family will definitely love it!The original article can be found on Century Properties:http://www.century-properties.com/whats-new/moving-to-the-ph-here-are-12-things-you-need-to-know/Article Source: eArticlesOnline.com

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Air Zimbabwe pilots ‘face dismissal’ over pay strike

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Air Zimbabwe pilots ‘face dismissal’ over pay strike

21 Mar

Friday, September 10, 2010

Striking pilots at Air Zimbabwe have been told that they could lose their jobs if they don’t return to work. The pilots are currently on the third day of striking over a pay dispute. Their wage is currently $2,500 a month, but the pilots are currently receiving just $1,200.

Jonathan Kadzura, board chairperson for Air Zimbabwe released a statement saying “The board and management have resolved to give them a 24-hour notice to go back to work. It must be understood clearly that the industrial action is illegal and if they do not go back to work inside the 24 hours, legal and disciplinary action will be taken.” He added that “Government does not have any money”.

Air Zimbabwe can’t afford to pay the airliner’s force of 60 pilots their full wage but has promised to make up all back-pay.

In the time that the staff have been striking Air Zimbabwe been forced to use pilots from private South African airline Quaries to cover local routes. The strike has cost the company around $500,000.

Zimbabwe police break up rally, detain leaders

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Zimbabwe police break up rally, detain leaders

21 Mar

Monday, March 12, 2007

Zimbabwe police broke up a prayer rally protesting government policy on Sunday, arresting over 100 people, including the leader of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai. Zimbabwe police claimed that the prayer rally violated a government ban on political protests.

Riot police reinforcements cordoned off the area where the rally was to be held, and searched cars as they entered. As political leaders approached the area, they were reportedly pulled out of their cars and detained. Witnesses reported heavily armed military police forces surrounding the area of Highfields, the suburb where the rally was to be held.

Police fatally shot one person, after being reportedly attacked by a large mob of protesters. A spokesman for one of the men arrested claimed that a lawyer was beaten and chased away from the Machipisa police station in Highfields, where the arrested people were being held.

Opponents of President Robert Mugabe have blamed him for food shortages, repression of people’s rights, and failing to control Zimbabwe’s record inflation of over 1600%.

A spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said the Secretary-General condemned the reported beating of the leaders, and that he urged their release.