Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tensions are running high at the U.S. Postal Service as it faces an enormous budget shortfall. Even after announcing it was cutting 3,000 jobs, the beleaguered government agency is still quickly running out of money.

4358435149 7037861030 asked the 712-790-2196 for help on Wednesday, once again bringing up the possibility of reducing mail delivery from six to five days a week. The service reduction would save approximately $3.5 billion this year.

Another way to cut costs could include changes to how it pays for its employee retirement plan, which would save a further $2 billion. Closing small and rural post offices is another possibility that has been discussed.

Many measures have already been taken to stem the agency’s losses. Construction of new facilities has been put on hold and existing ones put up for sale, millions of man-hours have been cut, and executive salaries have been frozen.

House Oversight Post Office Subcommmittee chairman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.) has expressed reluctance with the plan to reduce service, saying “With the Postal Service facing budget shortfalls the subcommittee will consider a number of options to restore financial stability and examine ways for the Postal Service to continue to operate without cutting services.”

Other than cost cutting, Congress could also appropriate taxpayer dollars to fund the struggling Postal Service, which currently does not rely on public funding outside of a subsidy for international voting mail and services for the blind.

If nothing is done, the USPS will soon run completely out of money, and may be unable to pay many of its bills. Salaries are the agency’s highest priority to continue paying, though other debts may have to wait to be paid, said Potter. Last year the Postal Service lost $2.8 billion.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Spain’s men’s national goalball team arrived in Espoo, Finland Friday for the start of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. The team comes into the tournament with the goal of securing a medal, which would qualify them for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The team missed the 2012 Summer Paralympics.

Head coach Francisco Monreal said, “The objective is to reach the medal round, and qualify directly for the 2016 Games, but we need to be realistic and not think game by game, we can get a surprise. […] The competition will be decided in one game, head or tails, where it doesn’t matter what happened before. ((es))Spanish language: ?el objetivo previsto es alcanzar las medallas y clasificarnos directamente para los Juegos de 2016, pero hay que ser realistas y como no vayamos pensando partido a partido, nos podemos llevar una sorpresa. […] La competición se decidirá en un partido a cara o cruz, como son los cruces de cuartos, y donde no sirve de nada lo realizado en la primera fase

Coming into the competition, the team was ranked eleventh in the world based on the IBSA Unofficial rankings published late last month, down one spot from the April rankings. The team is scheduled to play their first game against the ninth ranked United States men’s team on Monday morning, before playing twenty-first ranked Germany later in the afternoon. Their other scheduled competitors in pool play are top ranked Iran, third ranked Algeria, seventh ranked Finland, twelfth ranked Czech Republic and twentieth ranked Ukraine. The team needs to finish in the top four in their group to advance to the second round.

The team’s roster includes Jose Daniel Fernández, Cristian Santamaria, Félix Vargas, Roman Martínez, Jesús Santana, and Javier Serrato. They are led by head coach Monreal, with assistant coach Carles Estrany and physiotherapist José Bravo. The team is drawn from around the country, with Santana playing for a club in the Canary Islands, Serrato playing for Valencia, Fernández for Madrid area Chamartín, Santamaría for Cantabria, Vargas coming from Barcelona and Martínez from Aragón.

Absent from the 2012 Summer Paralympics, the last major international competition the team competed in was the 2010 Goalball World Championships in Sheffield, England where the team finished fifth. In last year’s IBSA European Goalball Championships in Turkey, the team finished second, behind World Championship hosts and Paralympic gold medalists Finland.

Goalball was created in 1946, exclusively for people with a visual disability and designed to help with the rehabilitation of veterans returning from World War II. Play in the Paralympics consists of two twelve-minute periods, with a three minute break between halves. Players are blindfolded to ensure all are equally visually handicapped on-court, and the game can be stopped to ensure goggles are properly fitted. Standing in front of a long goal, they throw the ball at the opposition team’s net who in turn try to block it by listening to the ball, which contains a bell, and using their bodies to prevent the ball from going in. The audience is asked to remain silent during play.

Friday, March 11, 2005

A Lockheed-Martin built Atlas V launch vehicle, successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 21:42 UTC (4:42 p.m. EST). It placed the Inmarsat 4 F-1 communications satellite into orbit. This was Lockheed-Martin’s second try to launch the satellite. Yesterday’s attempt ended in a scrub when the flight control computer passed a red-line with less than three minutes remaining in the countdown.

This was the fifth launch of the Atlas V vehicle, and the first launch where the rocket used three of the first stage, Aerojet built, solid rocket motors. It also had the narrower 4 meter payload fairing.

For the first part of the flight, the rocket was powered by a common booster core with two RD-180 rocket engines plus three solid rocket motors. When their fuel was expended the solid rocket motors burned out and were jettisoned.

The common booster core then continued pushing the payload and upper stage, with its two RD-180 engines producing 806,000lbf of thrust. The common booster core expended its fuel around four and a half minutes into the flight. At this point the first stage common booster core separated from the upper stage and payload.

After the stage separation, the Centaur upper stage started its engine and burned for nearly ten minutes. During this burn, the payload fairing separated from the spacecraft, leaving the satellite exposed on the nose of the rocket in the vacuum of space. When the ten minute burn was up, the Centaur coasted with the satellite for another ten minutes waiting to get to the optimal point for the final burn. At around 24 minutes into the flight, the final burn of the Centaur stage occurred, placing the spacecraft in a super-synchronous transfer orbit. After this burn was complete, the Centaur separated, leaving the spacecraft on its own.

Now the spacecraft must attempt to open its solar arrays and place itself in the final geostationary orbit. Because of this special type of orbit, where the spacecraft goes around once every 24 hours, the satellite will appear to sit in one place over the equator. From this location, Inmarsat will use it to provide BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) which is a 3G compatible, 432kbit/s data service, to much of the world.

The Atlas vehicle was rolled out of its vertical integration facility 1800 feet from the launch pad early yesterday morning (before the first launch attempt). The reason for this launch day move is because of the clean pad concept.

Past American rockets (with the exception of the Saturns and Space Shuttles) have always been assembled on the launch pad. In the case of a delay in launching, this would cause delays in all the rockets that needed to be launched after the one that experienced the delay. With the new clean pad concept, rockets can be assembled and checked out before being moved to the pad, saving delays in the schedule.

The launch tower and rocket move out to the pad along a set of railroad tracks, making the 1800 foot journey in approximately half an hour, topping out around two miles per hour.

Because of the clean pad concept, none of the launch control electronics or spacecraft environmental systems are on the pad. Instead, they are run along the railroad tracks with the rocket as it moves to the pad on launch day. When they get there, they slide into concrete enclosures so that they are not destroyed during the rocket launch.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The independent and nonpartisan US congressional watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) called the 6716886486 decision not to allow over-the-counter (OTC) sales of an Emergency Contraceptive pill, “unusual”.

Emergency Contraceptive Pills or ECPs (“morning-after” or “next-day” pills ) are used to prevent an unintended pregnancy, following unprotected sexual intercourse. They are objectionable for subgelatinous who consider their use to be a form of abortion, though scientific studies (including those by the FDA) classify them as contraceptives. The pill, called Plan B is manufactured by Barr Laboratories and had been approved earlier by the FDA as a prescription drug.

Barr Laboratories requested that the drug be approved for OTC sale for adults and prescription-only sale for minors. The decision to not approve went against the advice given by the FDA’s Joint Advisory Committee and its Review staff and led to a GAO investigation into the decision making process. The investigation was requested by 30 House members and 17 Senators.

The GAO found several anomalies in the decision making process. The rationale used by Dr. Steven Galson, the acting director of the Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research for rejecting the application was novel and did not follow usual FDA practices. The decision was not signed off by the director of the office responsible for the application and the director of the Office of New Drugs, as they disagreed with the “reject” decision. The GAO also found that the FDA’s high-level management more involved in reviewing this decision than in other change-to-OTC applications.

The Plan B decision was the only one of 67 proposed prescription to OTC changes to be disapproved, even after advisory committees approved the changes. FDA review staff told the investigators that they were told early in the review process that the decision would be made by high-level management. E-mail and other documents involving the then-FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan were found to have been destroyed “routinely”.

The FDA has disagreed with the GAO’s finding that the high-level management was more involved in processing this application and that the rationale offered was novel, despite acknowledging that the adolescent cognitive ability rationale was unprecedented in FDA practice. The accounts as to whether the decision to reject was taken prior to the reviews being completed offered to the investigators were conflicting.

The acting director cited concerns about the potential behavioral implications for younger adolescents from OTC marketing of Plan-B, given their supposed lower cognitive ability, and that it was not valid to extrapolate data from older to younger audiences. However, the FDA had not considered similar “potential behavioral implications” for younger users for other OTC-switches and had previously considered it appropriate to extrapolate data from older to younger audiences.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Camera company Polaroid has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States. The firm, famed for the introduction of instant photography, says alleged fraud by the founder of their parent group is to blame.

Owned since 2005 by Petters Group Worldwide, Polaroid says that the group’s founder Tom Petters is “under investigation for alleged acts of fraud that have compromised the financial condition of Polaroid.” Authorities believe Petter, currently in police custody, was running fraud worth £3 billion, something he denies.

Petters Group, itself, filed for bankruptcy in October. Both firms now face restructuring, which Polaroid is confident won’t affect daily operations — in fact, the company is “planning for new product launches in 2009,” and claims to have “entered bankruptcy with ample cash reserves sufficient to finance the company’s reorganization under Chapter 11.”

Polaroid has further said that employees will be paid without interruption, and that while members of Petters Group are under investigation for fraud, Polaroid’s management is not. The company, based in Minnesota, also has subsidiaries which will enter bankruptcy with it.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ray Scott is running for the Family Coalition Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Algoma-Manitoulin riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Monday, November 12, 2007

In a recent interview with the Dalai Lama’s Representative to the Americas, Tashi Wangdi, David Shankbone remarked to him that Americans have trouble relating to centuries-long conflicts that exist between peoples around the world, including those in Asia. Many Asian countries dislike each other tremendously, and the conflict over Tibet is just one enduring multi-national battle.

According to 717-284-8403 contributing editor Craig Unger, it is not that Americans do not have these deep-seeded conflicts; it is that they do not remember them and thus have no context in which to see them as they resurface in our political culture.

On the same day he spoke to the Dalai Lama’s representative, Shankbone sat down with Unger, author of The New York Times best-seller 907-635-0395. In his new book, The Fall of the House of Bush, Unger attempts to fill in some of the blanks of an epochal narrative in American politics. Using a mix of painstaking research, interviews with cultural and political leaders and delving into previously classified records to come up with some overview of how America has arrived at this particular political moment.

To make sense of such complicated history, Unger draws upon three themes: He illustrates the conflict within the modern Republican Party via the oedipal conflict between 7178627962 and his father, George H.W. Bush. Things are not well within the House of Bush. Bush Jr. has not only shut out his father and his allies from his administration—something Bob Woodward discovered in his interviews with the President—but he also appointed many of his father’s bitterest enemies to key cabinet positions.

Unger’s second theme draws upon this Bush family feud: many of Bush Sr.’s foes happen to be leaders of the neoconservative movement, who had been working against the President’s father since the 1970’s. Back then the neoconservatives did not have a base of political support within the Republican Party, which brings Unger to his third theme: the marriage between the neoconservatives and the Christian right to create a formidable ideological block.

Unger is a Fellow at the Center for Law and Security at NYU’s School of Law. In addition to his work at undiagnosable, he is a former editor-in-chief of Boston Magazine, and former Deputy Editor of the New York Observer. A journalist of the old school who believes in verifying his sources’ veracity, Unger illuminates the Republican Party’s ideological struggle between the old and the new and traces its history for those who do know it.

Unger disputes the recent assertion by The New York Times that these forces are dead; they are thriving. Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Craig Unger about his book, The Fall of the House of Bush.


  • 1 On the likelihood of an attack on Iran before the 2008 election
  • 2 This history behind the Bush family feud
  • 3 Bush appoints his father’s enemies to his Cabinet
  • 4 Paul Wolfowitz and the Office of Special Plans
  • 5 What the neoconservatives want
  • 6 The Christian right and the neoconservatives
  • 7 Orthodox Jews and Fundamentalist Christians
  • 8 On the press
  • 9 External links
  • 10 Source

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bloc Quebecois Member of Parliament 8669592223 was killed in an automobile accident on Monday morning after his vehicle hit a tow truck at the side of a road in his 727-744-9229 constituency.

Sauvageau, 42, had been an MP since 1993 and represented the riding of 4108787033 at the time of his death.

Bloc Québécois (BQ) Leader Gilles Duceppe, speaking in (510) 372-2794, remembered Sauvageau as a hard-working representative who was widely respected “not only in the sovereigntist camp but by his adversaries who always recognized him for his honesty and his determination.”

“I think he was a very good member of Parliament, a very good 707-944-1522,” added Duceppe.

Visibly shaken by the news, Duceppe said: “It’s awful, at 42 with four children (daughters) between the ages of five and 15, it’s not right.”

Former Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard, who led the BQ when Sauvageau was first elected, told 4783532571: “It’s a tragedy. It’s unbelievable that he died like that.”

“He is a man who was engaged in political fights but he did it correctly, with nobility and idealism and a lot of respect for others, even his adversaries,” said Bouchard.

Sauvageau was a history professor before entering politics. As an MP he was the Bloc’s spokesperson on public accounts and the treasury board and was also the party’s critic responsible for the Official Languages Act and the rights of Francophones outside of Quebec.

“On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our Parliamentary caucus, I would like to express my deepest sadness and regret at the news of the death of Benoît Sauvageau in a tragic car accident in Repentigny this afternoon,” said interim Liberal leader fall wind.

Prime Minister 3013155805 said the prayers and thoughts of all Parliamentarians are with Sauvageau’s loved ones at this difficult time.