World’s oldest living woman dies at age 115

Friday, January 19, 2007

The world’s oldest known woman, Montrealer Julie Winnefred Bertrand, died on Thursday, passing away peacefully in her sleep.

She earned the distinction as the oldest living woman when 116-year-old Elizabeth Bolden of Tennessee, U.S.A. died on December 11, 2006.

Bertrand was born on September 16, 1891 in Coaticook, a town in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, and lived there for the majority of her life. She was the oldest of six children, and never married. She moved to Montreal after the death of her parents, and later moved into a nursing home.

She had never left her sixth-floor room in the nursing home for two years, but unexpectedly, she asked to tour the building the day before she died.

Bertrand will be buried in Coaticook.

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Estate Planning Ma Advice Can Prove Invaluable

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It doesn’t matter whether you have a modest home, average income and tiny estate or you’re a multimillionaire planning on passing along a fortunate to your beneficiaries after you pass, legal advice matters. Protecting what you’ve worked so hard your entire life to accumulate is important no matter how much that amount happens to be. An estate planning MA lawyer can help ensure your final wishes are respected by loved ones and the tax collector.

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What’s Involved?

A reputable estate planning MA lawyer is going to take some time reviewing your unique circumstances before offering guidance about will establishment or trusts. Some of the items he or she might inquire about include:

  • Assets – This topic might include discussions about cash, bonds, stocks, insurance policies, real property, other tangible property items, jewelry and so on. A lawyer will need to know where these items should be distributed upon death and if there are any special instructions to contend with. Depending on the assets and the need to protect them and/or loved ones, a lawyer might recommend nothing more than distribution instructions in a will. It is possible, however, tax benefits could be gained from establishing a trust.
  • Beneficiaries – It’s also very important for an estate planning MA lawyer to understand the beneficiaries involved in an estate. If there are minor children, for example, instructions for their care can prove especially important for making sure a will properly reflects final wishes and that children are well cared for. If a trust is recommended, a lawyer may also need to know if any particular beneficiaries should have their money from an estate held in trust.
  • Final arrangements – Any final wishes as far as burial instructions and so on are also included in many wills. A lawyer may wish to gain this information to make sure documents cover all the bases.
  • Charitable giving – If part of an estate will go to making charity donations, an estate planning MA expert will delve into this while working on documents. Making sure a donation is protected from undo tax burdens is important.

It’s not necessary to have a big, sprawling estate to require guidance from an attorney. An estate planning MA lawyer can ensure that final wishes are respected.

Hiring an estate planning in MA lawyer is a big step.

Hugo Chávez sets new time zone for Venezuela

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hugo Chávez, the President of Venezuela has set a new time zone for his country. The new time zone, which is UTC-4:30, is half an hour earlier than the old time. This time zone is unique and does not match any of those used by Venzuela’s neighbors.

This morning, Venezuelans began the work week for the first time under the new time zone, which Chávez announced for the first time in a decree on November 27. According to Chávez, the new time zone would allow school children to wake up with the sun and it would prevent many poor citizens from having to commute before dawn.

“These children have to get up at five in the morning… they arrive at school dead tired,” said Chávez. “And why? Because of our time.” He added, “This affects even the biological functioning of the body. It’s scientifically proven.”

Hector Navarro, the Minister of Science and Technology, agreed that health and productivity would improve as a result. “The human brain is conditioned by the light of the sun,” he said.

“The only thing this will do is inject yet more chaos into our lives,” said John Marulanda, a young executive, to The Daily Telegraph. “This president believes in change for change’s sake.”

The president of Venezuela’s airline association and the head of Copa Airlines in Venezuela, Roberto Pulido, told Bloomberg: “The time change is going to affect many flights, and lots of airlines still haven’t changed their timetables. This is an additional cost, because we’ve had to update all of our reservation systems.”

“I don’t really understand the point, but nothing with this president surprises me,” said Dr. Rafael Sucre to Bloomberg as he exited a subway during his morning commute. “It’s a political whim,” thought Yanitza Lopez, who works as an accountant for a cosmetics company in Caracas. “It’s not going to make any difference for any kids.”

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Asian countries call for global currency

Monday, April 6, 2009

Leaders and central banks in Russia, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Kazakhstan have called for an international currency system.

Speaking on April 1 in advance of the G-20 summit in London, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev argued that the international finance system needed a “new construction” including “new currency systems”, saying that such a new system could be the purpose of a revamped IMF and World Bank. The IMF was originally founded in 1946 as the overseer of the Bretton Woods system, which from its founding until the 1970s tied the western world’s currencies to the US Dollar, which was in turn backed by gold. Russia’s proposal was for the new currency to serve as a reserve currency, one which would take the place of the dollar, euro, and other heavily-traded currencies as an international standard of exchange.

Medvedev’s comments are a reversal of Russian position from a lukewarm response following a looser outline for a worldwide currency by Kazakhstani president Nursultan Nazarbayev. On March 11, Nazarbayev suggested the establishment of the “acmetal”, a portmanteau of “acme” and “capital“, as a reserve currency replacing the ruble in international transactions, first for Central Asia and then worldwide. 1999 Economics Nobel laureate Robert Mundell, speaking to the Daily Telegraph, endorsed the idea, saying “It would be a very good idea if the G-20 took that idea up in London”.

2001 Nobel economics prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, meanwhile, said the new currency could come about quickly if it was based on an expansion of the IMF’s already established system of Special Drawing Rights, units of exchange used by the IMF which already have some of the features of currency. Stiglitz argued that, as the US dollar has become the standard global reserve currency, it has inadvertently created a system which hurts the world economy. “It’s a net transfer, in a sense, to the United States of foreign aid,” he argued, reasoning that when other countries purchase US dollars in order to use them on international markets (such as for the buying and selling of petroleum), they effectively give the US a zero-interest loan — sometimes at times when they can least afford it. Stiglitz made his comments as head of a United Nations panel of economists giving recommendations to address the global financial crisis.

In the weeks leading up to the G-20 conference, the People’s Republic of China also began discussing a new system for reserve currencies. In a March 23 speech, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, endorsed a new reserve currency, saying “the desirable goal of reforming the international monetary system, therefore, is to create an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies.” Zhou went on to endorse the expansion of the SDR system in the long-term creation of a reserve currency government by the IMF. While Zhou did not mention the US dollar specifically, analysis by Qu Hongbin, chief China economist for HSBC, for the Financial Times said that the speech “is a clear sign that China, as the largest holder of US dollar financial assets, is concerned about the potential inflationary risk of the US Federal Reserve printing money”.

China holds $740 billion as assets; inflation in the US economy, which has been low in recent years, would directly cause those assets to lose value.

While the Chinese government has engaged in currency swaps with several other growing economies, such as South Korea, Argentina, Malaysia and Indonesia, the Chinese Yuan cannot be used itself as a reserve currency as it cannot be freely traded on the global market.

The Chinese-Russian proposal was not entered onto the agenda at the G-20 meeting itself. Nonetheless, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that the G-20 was open to considering the proposal if and when a detailed one is presented. United States President Barack Obama, meanwhile, endorsed the continuation of dollar supremacy, saying that the US dollar is “extraordinarily strong” and arguing that its strength was the result of the intrinsic stability of the United States economic and political system; US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner had, the week before, made comments that while he supported an expansion in the SDR mechanism he rejected the idea of a global currency. Rather than change the role of SDRs, the G-20 meeting instead added $250 billion in support to the fund backing SDRs.

After the G-20 conference ended on Thursday, Malaysia’s The Star BizWeek reported that the central banks of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand had endorsed the Chinese proposal. All three countries have close economic ties with China and suffered heavily from the collapse of their currencies in the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis; the sudden growth in the value of the US dollar relative to those countries’ native currencies sharply increased debt in Southeast Asia’s economies, leading to a wave of bankruptcies.

International reaction from other economies has been mixed and guarded. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, said that the currency proposal was important to discuss but did not give extensive comment. And while UPI reports that India supported the SDR proposal at the G-20 conference, the Indian Press Trust quotes Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as saying last month, “It is too early to talk about common currency.”

Calls for an independent global reserve currency are not new. In 1944, John Maynard Keynes proposed the “bancor“, a unit like the SDR supported by a basket of commodities. Keynes’ idea was rejected and the US dollar took the equivalent role under the Bretton Woods system. Keynes proposed that the bancor system would be reinforced by a tax on participating countries’ current accounts, the difference between their exports and their imports, in order to encourage balanced trade. Meanwhile, monetary unions have become more popular since the end of the gold standard, with most of the European Union now trading the euro, and several countries outside the EU using it as a de facto currency; five West African countries adopting the eco at the end of this year; and the African Union planning to introduce the afro in 2028. Proposals for a North American currency union based around the so-called “amero” have been frequently discussed as the focus of conspiracy theories in the United States, but none of the US, Canada or Mexico have actively pursued the establishment of any such monetary union, however the dollar is the currency of several Latin American countries.

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Woman found guilty of killing fiancé by drink driving in Bath, England

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A woman has been found guilty of killing her fiancé after she ran him over while three times over the drink drive limit. Caroline Broad, 41, killed her partner of eight years Christopher Phillips, 40, when she ran him over in the car park of the Full Moon Pub in Twerton, Bath, England on August 17, 2008. Broad has been jailed for three years.

Witness reports say that Ms. Broad was in the car and saw Mr. Phillips slide off the bonnet and then the car continue to drive over him. The couple had been drinking together at the pub for several hours before the incident. Broad denies any wrong doing and says she can’t remember the car going forward.

Detective Sergeant Peter Knight released a statement saying that “The events of Sunday August 17, 2008 are yet another example of how the selfish and wholly unnecessary actions of a drunken driver can lead to tragic or nasty circumstances”. He also thanked the Twerton community for their help during the investigation.

Ms. Broad and Mr. Phillips had been in a relationship for eight years and ran a tiling business together.

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Inventory Kpi In The Aviation Industry

Inventory KPI is important in any customer-oriented organization, from suppliers down to the end users. In the aviation industry, for instance, the end users may be the pilot, the flight crew or the passengers. With the field of aviation changing its business paradigm into something new, so does its inventory KPI as well.

Newer business models are currently being used in the aerospace industry. The focus may be on the use of narrow jets, wide bodied jets, low-cost carriers and many others. Inventory KPI is important in the supply of service facilities at global locations that are strategically dispersed to enable proper aircraft servicing. Many airline companies see just how important it is to be able to provide full service to ensure competitive edge. Moreover, in a military environment, tracking of inventory KPI is of even crucial importance as well, especially with the escalating use of net centric warfare and rapid reaction.

Also, new players with a varied geographical spread are entering the commercial aviation business. Especially in the aerospace industrys globally interdependent environment, effective and efficient management in logistics can spell a huge difference between profit and loss.

Good inventory management and measurement of inventory KPI can boost airline operations, resulting to an increase in sales and more economic benefits for locations where these airlines operate. Traditional inventory KPIs for handling stock control include ABC classification for parts based on frequency of use and value; measurement of stock turns and service level responsiveness and recording the rate of daily receipts.

These measures show that airline companies can boost its competitive edge when there is proper cash management for acquired goods and services. In fact, this particularly holds true when interest rates and inflation rise. Cost of holding stock increases subsequently and can even go up to about 20 to 30% of the items cost, to store it for a year. Proper inventory management can reduce operating costs by minimizing the space needed for operations, thus making it easier to gain higher profit margins and market share.

Many leaner operations and sophisticated supply networks in the aviation industry operate under the new business paradigm. Inefficiency can lead to financial repercussions in terms of aircraft on the ground (AOG) situation. This is why it is important to enhance and get maximum leverage in managing the inventory control system to incorporate the end-to-end supply chain.

While various departments also come with their own objectives, the key here is to effectively communicate both externally and internally within the organization in order to arrive at a level that is strategic to the businesss operational execution.

Organizational inventory KPI must be associated to its supplier base, in order for the supply chain to be working well towards the same objectives. This is especially important in key supply chain activities which include management of the supply chains risk vulnerability and ensuring the supplys security.

Apart from the importance of logistics and warehousing to strategic and operational success in the aviation business, inventory KPI should be dynamic and must go with the organizations strategy. For instance, inventory KPI should show that lean operations are in line with the activities in the supply chain.

Media round-up: April Fools’ Day 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Many media outlets traditionally deliberately spread hoaxes on April Fools’ Day, including notable quality sources such as National Geographic and Science.

The popular British tabloid The Sun wrote that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to undergo stretch surgery to make him taller than his wife, Italian artist and model Carla Bruni. The report claimed the 5 foot 5 inch leader would be made 5 inches taller in one year using a method by Israeli professor Ura Schmuck. The Sun noted that during his visit to Britain last week, Sarkozy had high-heel shoes while his wife wore a pair of flat pumps.

The Guardian on the other hand ran an article that suggested that Carla would head an initiative by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to bring more glamour, good taste and sophistication to the U.K. general population. This would involve collaboration with Marks & Spencer for high-street fashion and Jamie Oliver for meals and wine.

BBC News had real-looking footage of flying penguins fronted by documentary host Terry Jones, which were actually an advertisement for its new iPlayer.

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Medical Marijuana Program Of California

California has always been an active state when it came to Medical Marijuana California or any other drug related study and action. This is why California is considered as one of the best states in United States in terms of drug management. To deal with cases related to marijuana, Medical Marijuana California program was established a few years ago in California.MMP or the Medical Marijuana Program was launched specifically so that the state California can manage the addicted people in a better way. They decided that they should create an identification card for medical marijuana. They decided to call this card MMIC or medical marijuana identification card. The cards used to help in updating the database so that the law agencies along with the normal public can easily identify people who are medical marijuana California certified. The verification website is still available and people in California still use the site for many reasons.How can you apply for a medical marijuana California card? This is tricky because the MMIC will always identify the person who has this card as someone who is authorized to take a certain percentage of marijuana. As you can understand, it has a lot to do with law enforcement agencies and that is why the authority is very careful before they allow someone the precious card of access.How do you know that whether you are qualified enough to apply for MMIC? Well, there are a few fixed terms that you need to fulfill so that you come into consideration. The first law is that you will need to have the consent of an authorized doctor when it comes to marijuana. A government doctor will have to authorize that you need marijuana as a medicine in California. This is the first step of getting the card. After you receive the authorization from doctor, now it is time to prove your identity. Simply use your California state card or the motor vehicle license for this purpose. You can use any valid ID card that you have to prove that you are the same person who applied to the doctor for the card. The third step is proving the resident address. It can be done in a simple way with either one of your utility bill or with the passport that you have.Apply with these documents and if everything goes alright, you will be given the MMIC card.

Wikinews at Toronto film fest party, with Diddy

Monday, September 8, 2008

Toronto residents are abuzz as the stars walk among them, during the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. The capital of and largest city in Ontario, Canada has been playing host to the premieres of major motion pictures, up-and-coming indy films, and international films alike. Over the last few years, the festival has become one of the most popular in the world.

On September 5, Wikinews sent freelance photographer Richard Burdett to the eTalk Festival Party, held by television broadcaster CTV. Described as a celebration of Canadian and international film and filmmakers, the party was held at CTV’s festival headquarters, the former CHUM-City Building. The red carpet extended into the parking lot stage area meaning celebrity guests were interviewed in the same spot where Diddy performed. DJ Samantha Ronson spun well into the night for revelers, as Lindsay Lohan hid from prying eyes inside the building.

Hosted by Ben Mulroney and Tayna Kim of CTV’s eTalk program, the party was broadcast live for an hour on Startv.

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Four British energy suppliers face investigation into claims of misselling

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), the regulator of the electricity and gas markets in Great Britain, has launched an investigation into four of the largest British energy suppliers over suspicions that they not be complying with face-to-face and telephone sales regulations. The four organisations facing scrutiny could be fined up to 10% of their annual turnover if it is found that they are breaking sales regulations. Scottish Power, npower, Scottish and Southern Energy and EDF Energy are all to face questioning by the organisation.

Ofgem has urged customers of the four companies to alert the energy regulator, “if they are concerned about the sales approach any domestic suppliers have taken when selling energy contracts, either face-to-face or by telephone,” according to a statement. “As part of the investigation process Ofgem will examine any evidence of non-compliance and consider whether there are grounds for exercising enforcement powers.”

New regulations on sales tactics by energy suppliers were recently introduced, and, Ofgem has said, energy suppliers must be “proactive in preventing misselling to customers both face to face and over the phone. Also, if suppliers are selling contracts face to face they must provide customers with an estimate before any sales are concluded. In most circumstances customers should also receive a comparison of the supplier’s offer with their current deal.” Only one in five consumers consider energy suppliers to be trustworthy, and 61% of people feel intimidated by doorstep sales people from energy companies. According to the organisation Consumer Focus, “complaints have declined since new rules came into effect this year, but suppliers still seem to be flouting the rules. Some customers are still being given misleading quotes and information, which leave them worse off when they switch provider.”

The newspaper The Guardian has reported that “householders are reporting that sales agents working for the energy suppliers are giving them misleading information and quotes which leave them worse off when they switch supplier.” Consumer Focus has said that if energy companies continue to break the rules, they could be banned from doorstep-selling completely. The report goes on to say that “new figures from helpline Consumer Direct show that while the number of complaints has fallen since last year, about 200 cases of mis-selling are being reported each month.” However, Scottish Power said it insists on “the highest standards possible for all of our sales agents”, and npower told the Financial Times that it was “confident that the processes we have in place mean that we comply with our regulatory obligations”. EDF added that it was “fully compliant with all obligations regarding sales of energy contracts”.

According to the regulator, the obligations are serious and must be followed by energy supplies, or they will face “tougher sanctions than those available under more general consumer protection law.” Ofgem has published a guide advising consumers what they should do should an energy salesperson contact them in person of by telephone. Improper sales tactics are still common in the industry—in 2008 an Ofgem investigation found that 48% of gas customers and 42% of electricity customers were worse off after switching supplier on the doorstep. Npower was fined £1.8 million in 2008 by the organisation, and Ofgem insists that they are “committed to taking action” over improper sales activities by energy companies. “Suppliers have existing obligations to detect and prevent misselling and new licence conditions were brought in following our probe to further increase protection for customers,” said Andrew Wright, a Senior Partner of the regulator. “We expect all suppliers to comply with these tougher obligations but if our investigations find otherwise we will take strong action.”

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Head of energy at Consumer Focus, Audrey Gallacher, called the investigation “a welcome step … to address years of customers getting a bad deal on energy prices on their doorstep. While many doorstep sales people will do a good job, the pay and rewards system continues to encourage mis-selling, despite years of regulation and voluntary initiatives. If better advice for customers and enforcement of the tougher rules doesn’t end the flagrant abuse of this form of selling the big question will be whether it should be completely banned.” Christine McGourty, director of Energy UK, which represents the leading gas and electricity companies, said that “the companies involved will collaborate with the Ofgem investigation and are awaiting further details from the regulator. Any sales agent in breach of the code will be struck off the approved energy sales register.” Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, has said he considers the situation “shocking”, saying that the investigation “will do nothing to improve consumer trust in energy suppliers. We’re pleased that Ofgem has promised tough measures against any firms guilty of mis-selling. We hope it uses this opportunity to tighten rules around telesales so they are in line with those for face to face sales.”

SNP Westminster Energy spokesperson Mike Weir MP, however, said that the investigation “does nothing to tackle the real problem of fuel prices which leave many Scots facing great difficulty in heating their homes … Rather than tinkering around the edges Ofgem should be looking at how to reduce prices for vulnerable households.” Gareth Kloet, Head of Utilities at Confused.com, one of the UK’s biggest and most popular price comparison services, also welcomed the inquiry. “It is unacceptable for energy companies to mislead customers like this,” he said, adding that Confused.com has previously “urged energy providers to either stop the practice of doorstep selling or make it very clear to households that better deals are available online. There is no reason why door-to-door salesmen can’t show people online deals and even help households switch to them.”

“Our research reveals customers could end up paying £167 more than they need to as door-to-door salesmen are unable to offer the discounts that are applied online. The changes that have been made to date are a welcome addition to safeguard customers; however this review has been much needed for a long time. Hopefully it will mark the end of customers being overcharged and missold,” Kloet continued. “Our message to energy consumers remains the same: they should shop around online to make sure they’re getting the best deal possible and turn these salesmen away.”

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