Employees killed in Foxconn manufacturing factory

Thursday, May 26, 2011 

On Friday evening, an explosion in Chengdu, China caused partial shutdown of a facility operated by Foxconn, one of the world’s biggest electronics manufacturers and a major supplier to companies like Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sony, Apple, Motorola and Nokia. Initial investigations now suggest the explosion was caused by poor ventilation, which lead to high concentrations of combustible dust.

The blast happened at 7:18PM, around the time workers change shifts. A fire followed. Emergency services had control by 7:30PM. At least three people were killed, at least fifteen injured. Foxconn halted production to investigate, saying “All operations at the affected workshop remain suspended and production at all other workshops that carry out similar processing functions have also been halted pending the results of the investigation. All other production operations in our facilities in China continue operating normally.”

On Monday, city officials gave the cause as combustible dust in the air at a polishing workshop. Hong Kong-based labor rights group Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior said they reported aluminium dust problems in March when they reviewed working conditions at Foxconn. After the explosion, they commented that workers were complaining “the ventilation of the department is poor. Workers polish the iPad cases to make them shiny. In the process, there is lots of aluminum (aluminium) dust floating in the air. Workers always breathe in aluminum dust even though they put on masks. When workers take off their cotton gloves, their hands are covered with aluminum dust.”

Foxconn responded by saying the group was trying to “capitalize on the tragic accident” and misrepresented “Foxconn’s commitment to the health and safety of our employees.”

Foxconn is responsible for making iPads and iPhones for Apple. Research group IHS iSuppli said the explosion may cause loss of production of 500,000 iPads during this quarter of the year. They said there is a larger facility in Shenzhen, but it cannot cope with re-compensating the possible loss.

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New To Yoga? Advice For Beginners

New To Yoga? Advice For Beginners


Andrew Holtom

Both pilates and yoga have become very popular in the last few years as more people realise the benefits of these low impact forms of exercise. With regular practice, they both afford flexibility and better posture by strengthening muscles in the torso, the back and the abdomen amongst other benefits. In this article we look at what some yoga advice for beginners.

It is most beneficial to practice yoga everyday. Once a person has learned a few basic poses it is possible to practice this relaxing form of exercise anywhere that has enough space to lay a mat and stretch out. In just 30 minutes, a combination of movements can be made that will leave you feeling stronger, more flexible and result in a more balanced body.

Yoga can not only leave the practitioner feeling better, it is believed to leave the practitioner looking younger and more youthful. This may be due to the inner peace that can result from performing the poses and exercises that yoga is comprised of.

Before commencing a session of yoga, take note of these points:

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a) know the limits of your body and pay mind to them

b) don’t push your body past it’s limits, you should enjoy what you are doing and you can also avoid injury by not pushing too hard

c) the beginner should initially learn from a teacher. This can either be in person or with the use of a DVD, so that you can be guided on the positions and how to perform them

d) if you have any serious health conditions, consult with a doctor or health professional before taking part in any form of exercise

e) wear clothes that allow freedom of movement but are not too baggy. If you are taking a class, you will need to allow the tutor to evaluate your posture

f) do not practice yoga after eating a heavy meal, the stomach should ideally be almost empty

g) there are many different styles of yoga, try each one to find one that suits you

You may like to try different hours of the day to practice your yoga, to discover what really suits you. Some prefer starting their day of by practicing a few poses before breakfast. Others prefer to practice their yoga in the evening.

Each of the poses or Yoga Asanas start with focusing the mind, breathing slowly and centreing yourself. Breathing and body movements should be coordinated so that they are as one. Each pose must be entered, held and then completed in a movement of grace guided by breathing.

My final point of yoga advice for beginners I would like to share with you is that at first you may find some of the poses challenging. It is important to try to master these poses before moving onto more difficult ones. You may feel as though you are not benefiting physically immediately, however, this could just be an illusion. Yoga is an exercise that not only brings calm and peace to the mind, it can also lower blood pressure, improve posture for better breathing and it can increase flexibility and prevent injury.

Copyright (c) 2011 Andrew Holtom

If you would like to know more about yoga exercises for beginners, take a look at our range of

yoga DVDs

that can be used in the comfort of your own home at your own pace. Andrew Holtom is an experienced practitioner of yoga. View his range of DVDs for yoga and pilates on his site. For further information visit


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Past Eurovision contestants give advice to this year’s performers, speculate on who will win

Sunday, May 10, 2009 

It happens once a year. Nearly all of Europe’s eyes are on 25 musical acts on finale night. Whether you love it or you hate it, it has your attention. Hundreds of millions are watching them. Whether viewers are waiting for the performance of a lifetime or a hilarious slip-up, for those three minutes their attention is owned by each respective singer.

That’s the feeling that the entrants in Moscow will know on Saturday, and it’s also the same feeling the eight singers who were interviewed by Wikinews have experienced. Last week, eight singers from eight different countries took time out of their various schedules to discuss their favorite moments from competing, their own personal anecdotes, advice they give to the performers this year in Moscow, who they think will win, and most importantly to them, what they’re doing now and what they’re offering to their audience.

This is the sixth and final interview set the English Wikinews will publish in the run-up to the semi-final and final rounds of the Eurovision Song Contest. Mike Halterman conducted all interviews, and will conduct additional interviews after the Contest. The final round airs May 16 at 9 p.m. CET; check with your national broadcaster’s website for possible delays. Where available, the Contest’s final round will also be broadcast on national radio.

Mike Halterman What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Jessica Garlick: Right now I’m busy promoting my new single “Hard Not to Fall” which is due to be released this month…it’s available to download from iTunes from 9th May, with the official release being 25th May. I’m also currently co-writing my album, which will be released later on this year. It really does feel great to be back in the music industry.

Mike Halterman What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Jessica Garlick: Some of my best memories from doing Eurovision would be visiting Estonia, I don’t think it’s a place I’d ever have visited if it wasn’t for performing there, and it really is beautiful. While I was there during the week I had the opportunity to fly out into the Baltic Sea via helicopter and spend the afternoon on board HMS Chatham too. I was allowed to drive the frigate, and got to perform to the troops on board, who were so appreciative.

I have so many more, and met such amazing people during the whole promotion and run-up period as well as the Eurovision week itself. My only regret is not taking as many photos as I would have liked to. So my advice to others doing Eurovision would be [to] definitely take lots of pictures, and really enjoy your performance and everything that representing your country brings with it.

Mike Halterman The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Jessica Garlick: I have been fortunate enough to have been able to perform alongside some of this year’s Eurovision entries, and was totally impressed! I love the Iceland entry this year…the song “Is it True?” is a really beautiful ballad, and Johanna sings it really well! I would say that from a song point of view, this is definitely my favourite song.

I do, however, think that the Ukraine could win this year! Svetlana’s performance is crazy!! She’s absolutely wild! Her live performance is out of control! She is definitely “in it to win it”, and is going all out to ensure she does everything to make this happen. She is one to watch on the night for sure! There will definitely be something amazing going on on stage during her performance. She’ll keep you captivated, and make it memorable!!

Mike Halterman A lot of the fans you had from when you were on Pop Idol and Eurovision 2002 don’t know the reason why you dropped out of music and out of sight. What happened? Also, do you find it difficult returning to the music industry after being away for six years?

Jessica Garlick: After Pop Idol and Eurovision I started to write songs…something I had never done before, and didn’t think I would be any good at. But I have been fortunate enough to travel the world since, co-writing with some of the world’s best songwriters. I decided to take a step out of the industry for a while in 2004 when I got married to my teenage sweetheart Owen.

I lost my passion for music for a while if I’m honest and we wanted to travel together for a bit, and actually moved to Australia for a short time, before I got totally broody. So in 2007 I gave birth to my little girl Olivia, and have been doing the wife and at-home mummy thing since, which I absolutely love!!

I made the decision to get back in the studio and start writing again in January of this year and it felt so good, and when I recorded “Hard Not to Fall” I knew it was a song that I wanted everyone to hear, and I completely got my passion and drive back for it. The music industry has changed a lot since I was last in it…but in actual fact it’s working better for me this time.

I have a lot more control, which is important to me, especially with Olivia being my main priority…I am first and foremost a mum, and I want to be a good one at that, and I’m also working with people that I really like and trust, which makes working together fun, and music should be fun. It’s definitely a lot harder this time around, as I am juggling “real life” too, and I can’t afford to be the selfish person that being successful in the industry can sometimes mean you have to be. I’m having the most wonderful time being back though, and am almost astounded by the great support I have from all my old fans. They’re the best!!

Mike Halterman What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Ani Lorak: I’ve just released my new album called “Sontse” (The Sun). The album was written and recorded in Greece at the “VOX studio” by Dimitris Kontopoulos, who also helped with the song “Shady Lady” for Eurovision 2008. The album will be released not only in Ukraine but also in Russia.

In the autumn I plan to start a large tour of 25 cities in support of the new album. Also, we are planning to play some solo concerts in the Palace “Ukraine” in Kiev. I was pleasantly surprised when, at the beginning of the year, an award came to my office from the British radio station “Eurovision Song Contest Radio.” By audience vote, its listeners named me the “Best Female Singer for 2008” for my song “Shady Lady.” I don’t like to think ahead and to anticipate, but I’ll try to do as much as my energies will allow so people can be fulfilled in the future.

Mike Halterman What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Ani Lorak: Because I participated in the contest only in 2008, I can remember it all: during the promotional tour I visited many countries in which I hadn’t been before. I met wonderful people: Dimitris Kontopoulos, Roberto Cavalli; I made new friends and supporters. [Editor’s note: Roberto Cavalli designed the diamond dress Ani Lorak wore during her Eurovision performance.] I had to work very diligently to get the result [I got].

In Eurovision I found the heart of this contest. The “Artistic Award”, which [they] usually hand to the best artist of the contest, [was given to me]; Raffaella Carrà invited me to her television program in Italy, and my tours took me further and further away geographically. I really liked the atmosphere of [the] contest. All the contestants were friendly, happy, helped each other, and supported one another. Those weeks were not simple, but very happy in my life.

I wish to all the participants lots of inspiration, tenacity, crazy energy, hard work and belief in yourself and your strength. It is not unachievable; the main thing is to settle for being frank and sincere to the audience.

Mike Halterman The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Ani Lorak: I can say one thing – Eurovision is a very unpredictable contest, and to do any predictions is very difficult. I know that in Moscow this year there will be many very well-known professional artists: Sakis Rouvas and Patricia Kaas. The main thing in this contest is to enter the scene and present for your country 200%. I wish good luck to all participants, but I’ll root, as a patriot, for my country.

Mike Halterman What goals have you not achieved yet in your career, but would like to eventually?

Ani Lorak: We have a proverb: “If you want God to laugh, then tell Him about your plans.” It’s important to have enough strength for my professional accomplishments, for my career, and for my eventual creative achievements. But all this must go together with my personal life. I want to realize my self-worth in all spheres. Maybe I’ll open my own clothing line.

But most importantly for me, every day I will raise the bar with regard to my professional development as a singer and artist. The main point – I have everything ahead of me, and I will go to [any lengths to] achieve my dreams — my Oscar is yet to come!

Mike Halterman What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Marie N: At this time I am a student at acting school in Paris, so now all [my] plans are more about theatre, but I also started to work on my new album and I hope that at the end of the year I [can] present that to [the] audience, but I think that at the moment it’s too early to talk about it. [smile]

Mike Halterman What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Marie N: I liked everything during the week we spent there. We really had a lot of fun. The [atmosphere] was very professional, participants were very friendly…but the most emotional [part] was our trip back home – the way from Tallinn to Riga by bus with the police accompanying us and people waiting for us with flowers along the road…

The only advice is to enjoy every moment and especially the three minutes of the presentation – it is really something special. [smile]

Mike Halterman The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Marie N: I think that there are a lot of songs which have chances to win, but it depends on the energy that [the] singers will bring with them [to] the stage on that special evening.

Mike Halterman Which task was more fun for you, winning Eurovision or hosting it the next year? Which one made you more nervous, and why?

Marie N: Of course singing was more fun than the hosting because you are responsible only for yourself, but hosting brings a responsibility for the whole show. I wish all the best for all the participants; enjoy. [smile]

Mike Halterman What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Niels Olsen: We are working on a new album and we will make a small tour to Sweden, Norway and Denmark for the rest of the year, so that’s what our fans can expect. The album will be released in 2010.

Mike Halterman What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Niels Olsen: The best memory…well, it’s hard to say…we had a lot of fantastic memories from Stockholm in 2000. We will never forget the love we received from the public in all the European countries right after Stockholm, and the response from the Swedish people at the event. Apropos, I said to my brother after the first performance, “Well, Jørgen, I think it could be possible for us to have a hit in Sweden!!”

I would say to a “new” artist: Remember that you are not the center of the universe, and in a world perspective, the situation is not that bad if you lose the Eurovision. Stick to the ones you love and try to involve people you believe in, not the ones who promise you everything in life. In our case we have had the same manager for 35 years, we have been working with our friend and producer Stig Kreutzfeldt for 25 years, and so on. We have [made] several hits the last 35 years with these fantastic friends.

Mike Halterman The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Niels Olsen: Well, I haven’t heard all the songs, but I personally find the Danish, the English, and the Swedish songs very nice, but as I [said], I haven’t heard all the songs yet.

Mike Halterman The Danish version of your winning song implies women “get better with age.” Which women in the entertainment industry do you think personify that sentiment, and why?

Niels Olsen: Personally I think my wife is still a beautiful woman, but I think as you said “getting better with age” is not the right word. My wife is still a lively and attractive woman, and we are both in love with life. I also think that a woman like Annie Lennox is a beautiful woman, even though she is past 50. (Sorry, [I know] we don’t talk about a woman’s age normally. Sorry, Miss Lennox.)

Mike Halterman What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Hanna Pakarinen: I released my fourth album “Love in a Million Shades” earlier this year, and now I’m doing gigs around Finland.

Mike Halterman What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Hanna Pakarinen: I think the best memory is the moment when I got up on stage in the finals. That was amazing!

It’s hard to give any advice, but I think the only thing that’s important is just to be yourself and have fun. [smile]

Mike Halterman The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Hanna Pakarinen: Of course I think the best song is the Finnish song. [smile] It’s very hard to say who is going to win; it’s the same thing every year, you never know!

Mike Halterman Apart from music, what are some things that are very close to your heart? How would you like to use your popularity to help others?

Hanna Pakarinen: My family and friends, of course, and my hometown and the lake there.

I’m not really a big fan of the idea of being a role model but I’m trying to do my best, showing and telling the fans that the most important thing is to love yourself and be who you are. And always trust yourself, of course!

Mike Halterman What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Charlotte Perrelli: I’m searching for new songs to [include on] my upcoming album. I´m also on the jury for the Swedish TV show Talang (Talent; the Swedish version of the “___’s Got Talent!” TV series). They can expect a new album, hopefully this year.

Mike Halterman You went to Eurovision twice, winning the Contest in 1999 and then also entering last year. What were some of the best memories you had from both times you went to Eurovision?

Charlotte Perrelli: The victory in Jerusalem in ’99 was fantastic, of course. My funniest memory was when Dana [International] fell on-stage, it was unbelievable and I felt sorry for her. Last year I had a lot of memories. Everything was so different from ’99. So much bigger!

Mike Halterman The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Charlotte Perrelli: I like many of the songs this year, but I believe Norway will win.

Mike Halterman Which of the songs you’ve recorded is your favorite?

Charlotte Perrelli: Hmm. I have many favorites, but “Black and Blue” from my last CD is a great song; [it was] written by Fredrik Kempe. I love the lyrics.

Mike Halterman What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Sirusho: I am currently working on a few big projects, one of them is the new song “Time to Pray” that I have made with my colleagues from Eurovision, Boaz Mauda and Jelena Tomasevic. The song is a protest against war, and the English lyrics are written by the President of Israel, Shimon Peres. I am also working on my fourth album which will be released in [the] summer. I also premiered my new song in Greek, “Erotas”, and it is already number one [on] all the Armenian music charts. My fans are very strong and it’s only a pleasure to work hard for them.

Mike Halterman What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Sirusho: Eurovision is a big fun festival. I don’t want to call it a competition, because the contestants become friends. I wish for the participants to really enjoy [themselves] and not be scared of it. Eurovision can give and take so much; it took my career to a new level, [and] now I work and have fans all over Europe and it’s amazing.

Mike Halterman The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Sirusho: I have met some of this year’s participants in different countries where I was singing as a guest and they were doing their promo tours. I haven’t seen all the performances so I can’t judge. Also, Eurovision is all about unexpected surprises; that’s what makes it interesting.

Mike Halterman You pursued a bachelor’s degree in international relations. How do you wish to utilize your degree? If you had to stop singing tomorrow, what kind of career would you want to pursue with the degree you hold?

Sirusho: International affairs is something that had interested me. I like to learn. I always tend to learn more but I don’t even want to think about stopping my career. I was born with it, it’s a big part of who I am, and even if something happens to my vocal cords, I can go on with writing and producing songs for my colleagues…[but] enough about that; I still have so much in me to give to my audience!

Mike Halterman What projects are you working on? What can your fans in both America and in Europe expect to see from you this year?

Taj?i: Apart from my regular tours, which I do four a year, I am working on a show called “Need a Break,” which is a bit of a step from my spiritual music and more “everyday.” It’s more what mothers go through, with marriage and kids. It’s a funny show. What I do well is I tell stories. It’s how I am. It’s who I am. It’s why pop music didn’t work for me as an artist. This new format is great for me, it’s very fulfilling and I’m very excited and looking forward to it, being able to do that and explore musical styles.

I’m also hoping to go to Zagreb this year and bring my new music to them. I think it’s time. I’ve been away for 17 years, and they still play my old music, and occasionally I go there and do radio and television interviews…I don’t know, it’s time for them to see what I’m doing. Anyone can see my stuff online, but what I do best is live; there’s a lot of energy and power there that you can’t really see in a recording or in a video. It’s different when you’re actually in the room. I want to bring it to them and say, “Here, my countrymen, my old fans, this is who I am now. This is how I grew over the last 17 years.” Kind of like a reunion.

Mike Halterman What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Taj?i: I really enjoyed performing, I enjoyed the energy, everyone coming together and singing, talking with other people about their careers. That was the highlight. I didn’t care for the press or the competition aspect, but there’s so much to think about, the whole country is looking at you. I don’t think it could ever be just about music, it’s more political. But there’s always stuff that comes with it when you have any kind of gathering like that.

The time I was there, I was the last representative before the fall of Yugoslavia, and it was during the unification of Europe, and everyone was a bit more tense and elevated in that regard…and I was so young to experience all of that. I don’t think I knew what to quite make of it. But it was a great experience, I’ll always remember it. The night of my life, one of them anyway.

It’s also very emotional because the singer who won that year sang about “unite unite, Europe.” It was perfect at that time. After he won, in the green room, he pulled a red rose from the bouquet and gave it to me, and he paid me some compliments. For a 19-year-old girl, that meant a lot.

My advice is to have fun, and do it with all your heart. Don’t do it for the sole reason to win, not to launch your career, but because you love it, and it’s what you do and you’re good at it. You can be an inspiration to someone and it can be more than just providing entertainment.

Mike Halterman The music videos for this year are up at http://www.youtube.com/eurovision . Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Taj?i: Since we’re in the middle of a tour, I kind of scrolled through, and I think the quality of the songs are really wonderful. I feel like I want to pack my bags and go to Europe for the summer, because I think this is going to be a summer for some great club music!

I’m partial to countries [who sing] in their original language, and I can see how a lot of countries, how even when they do the dance number and include ethnic elements, I like that.

I like the guy from Norway, I think he’s so sincere and didn’t look to me like he was “trying” anything, he was just being himself. The song is nice and happy. It doesn’t hurt that he’s really handsome, and has a good aura about him. He had so much energy, and he grabbed me right away, the way he moved, the way he sang, it just pulled me in.

I also love Malta, I’m a fan of the big ballads. She has a beautiful voice. And Cyprus, she “did it” for me too. I also like the French song as well, but I also love the French language in general. Bosnia has a good song too, they have a certain sentiment that they always pull from and it works for them. Croatia, I wasn’t too blown away, but I’m proud of them for still singing in Croatian, even though it may not sound as pretty as English to some people. Everything else, it was like, “It’s beautiful, but I’ve seen it before.”

Everything seems like Hollywood now, I guess because it’s the times we live in now. All the girls are so pretty and the hair and makeup are perfect, and now I feel like an old lady, but I miss the characters from different parts of the world. It’s influenced so much by Hollywood and the Western music industry. It was inevitable, the melting of it [East and West] all into one, so I’m partial to bringing some sort of local element into it. It comes with finding your identity and finding your place in the world as a country.

I volunteer and give my time to a local school and teach the schoolchildren ethnic dances. I live in the Midwest now, but I used to live in Los Angeles and New York where they are a little more aware of ethnic groups. I’m teaching them these dances to give them a little sense of what’s being lost to the new kinds of culture and music. I teach some kids who were adopted from other countries, and I wonder, wow, are they ever going to be able to sing a song in Bulgarian, or Italian, or what have you?

My kids are half-American and half-Croatian, and I see how in my own life, being “globalized” and how people are losing the ethnic folklore and culture and all that, so with my kids, I try to teach them language and how to dance, because it’s the way I grew up.

Mike Halterman I watched a clip of your documentary on YouTube, and I noticed one of the comments, asking you “not to forget your home, Croatia,” and to come back because the fans there miss you. Now that you’ve made a life for yourself in America, do you ever see yourself moving back to Croatia with your family? Which country do you feel more ties and loyalty to, the United States or Croatia, and why?

Taj?i: I want to take the kids and at least spend a year there when they’re teenagers, so I can show them my country and so they can learn different things there. But I don’t know, once you leave, it’s hard to go back. I miss my country, I miss the history. I miss my roots. I miss running into a friend and talking about high school and grade school, stuff that you don’t have when you move away. I love what I do, and I love what America has to offer, and what America did offer to me. There’s a certain kind of freedom that you have that you can’t have in a smaller country.

I will always be Croatian, it doesn’t matter how long I stay here. When I go home to Croatia, when I go there, I feel like I’m home, but when I come back to America, I feel like I’m home here too. I guess I have to say that a person can be “home” anywhere if they have peace within themselves. You’re gonna miss a lot of things about places you have been, and I do miss Croatia. I want to show my kids where I grew up and the parks where I played. That just may be a sentiment I’m going through right now, I don’t know. I have a good life, my husband and kids, and I love being able to make the kind of music I want to, without any contracts or obligations. I’m very happy.

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Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire

Friday, March 20, 2009 

Following the Pilkhana massacre which occurred February 25 and 26 leaving 74 dead and the inferno at the Bashundhara City shopping mall complex March 13 leaving seven dead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said security measures are being tightened countrywide across Bangladesh.

Fire drills will be enacted at all key-point installations (KPI). Fire fighting systems will be examined by the fire brigade and the public works department (PWD) to ensure functionality. Security measures will be enhanced supplementing areas under private security such as at the Bashundhara City Complex.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department requires modernization and needs new equipment to fight fires past the sixth floor of buildings. The Fire Brigade says it needs turntable ladders, snorkels, foam-tenders, lighting units, emergency tenders, fireproof uniforms, and rescue ropes for fire fighting and rescue operations. Transportation to fires is also an issue due to narrow roads, low electrical wires and congestion.

The Bangladesh National Building Code requires fire fighting equipment installed in buildings over seven floors. This code is to be monitored by authorities to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and to make sure buildings are being maintained.

The Bashundhara City Complex opened Monday for shoppers two days after Friday’s blaze. A probe is underway to determine the cause of the fire and to assess structural damage.

Loss of life was minimized as the blaze broke out on a Friday, the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh, so offices in the upper floors were empty. The lower eight floors are used for shopping and the upper floors are all Bashundhara Group offices.

The mall is valued at Tk 7.0 billion (US$100 million). It is not known if the complex is covered by fire insurance.

It is estimated that it will take over two years to rebuild the area damaged by flames which were burned down to a skeleton. Bashundhara City’s technical advisor, Latifur Rahman, estimated damages at Tk 2.0 billion (US$29m).

Only one television cameraman has been allowed in to film the burnt area. None of the 2,500 shops, cinemas or cafes were burnt by the inferno. The seventh and eighth floors still experience smoke damage, and there was water damage to merchandise.

A three member committee is currently investigating the cause of the fire which will consist of Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, representatives of the police, IGP Noor Muhammad, and fire brigade, Director General Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah. The committee is required to report within the week with their findings. The forensics department is also sifting through the burnt remains.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries has also formed a committee which has begun interviewing witnesses and recording their testimony alongside the government committee.

It has been discovered that 150 closed circuit cameras were not being used when the fire started. Another mystery is why the mall fire fighting system has been found unused.

“In the shopping mall there is an ultra-technology elevator which runs even without electricity but we have found that locked,” Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of the home ministry, said. “Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think. We have to see if there was any incendiary substance there. These matters seem to be mysterious.”

Mall management has been asked to submit substances and items which would have been in the upper floors when the fire started. The fire erupted on the 17th floor and spread quickly to the two floors above and engulfed the three floors below. The aerial ladders belonging to the Fire Service and Civil Defence reached as high as the 13th floor of the 21-storey building.

Videos have been sent to the United States (US) for examination to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to help in the damage assessment. Experts from the US are expected to arrive soon.

Firefighters were brought to the rooftop of the 20-storey tower by helicopter. The only fatality in this operation was Baki Billa, a firefighter of Bashundhara City firefighting department, who fell when climbing down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of the building. Three other firefighters made the transition safely. At this same time, the chief security officer was safely rescued by the Bangladesh Air Force helicopter, a Bell 212. Six security officers of the complex also lost their lives.

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Finding Std Dating Singles

Submitted by: Alex Chiuariu

If you have a diagnosed sexually transmitted disease and are looking for love, you may be interested in finding STD dating singles. These are people who are specifically looking for a partner who has a STD, usually because they have one too. The easiest place to find like-minded individuals is a specialist website that focuses on matchmaking people with STDs. This ensures both sides of the couple are aware of each others sexual health before a relationship begins.

While many dating websites charge various fees for different standards of membership, there are free STD-specific dating websites available. Another good place to meet STD singles is an organized event by a sexual health clinic. According to the Maryland University Medical Center (MUMC) may sexual health clinics run a variety of different events in order to raise much-needed money to keep the clinics open. These events range from bake sales to abseiling events but have been known to include speed dating events too. While individuals who attend these speed dating events may not necessarily have a STD, many others have and it is somewhere to have fun without any real strings attached.

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If you have a wide circle of friends you could be introduced to a potential match via your friends. While you both may have STDs, it still pays to be honest about your sexual health, never assume the other person knows even if the circumstances of your meeting lead you to believe it. Of course, of all the things you could do while finding STD singles, the Internet is the most reliable. Not only will a STD dating website allow you to choose someone who has a STD like you, it also enables you to ensure you share the same interests and life experiences. This means you are more likely to enjoy a successful relationship.

The Internet also offers other potential ways to meet STD singles, including STD forums. This is a specific place where people with sexually transmitted diseases can meet up and talk about whatever they want. These chats are not limited to talking about sexual health but they are often a goldmine of information, especially if you are newly diagnosed. Members of these forums will usually also have a STD, meaning you can learn from other people’s experiences. It also increases your chances of finding STD singles who you feel you can talk too. While not specifically a STD dating site, many people have found these forums have been a great place to meet STD singles in the place. Meeting people when you have a sexual disease is awkward, even when you are both in a similar position. Because society tends to treat STDs as a dirty taboo, a lot of people are reluctant to talk about them, even those who are having to live with one. The Internet offers a great way to meet STD singles and get the awkwardness of that first face-to-face, getting to know each other conversation out of theway. If you are worried about having problems finding STD singles, you can talk to your own doctor or call a sexual health helpline and they will help you further.

About the Author: Alexandru Chiuariu, Web Content Copywriter for STD Dating Services, providing webcopy and articles about

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New Doctor Who quits series, BBC searches for replacement actor

Thursday, March 31, 2005 

Success may be too much of a good thing for the future of storied BBC series Doctor Who. After the unexpected popularity of last Saturday’s return of the series to BBC airwaves, the star of the show is calling it quits from fears of typecasting.

According to a report from the BBC, actor Christopher Eccleston, who injected a edgier and sexier image onto the title character plans to leave the series once his 13-episode commitment is over later this year. Eccleston told reporters that his last appearance as The Doctor will be for a December Christmas special.

The show, which debuted March 26 after a 16-year hiatus, was the highest-rated television show in the UK that night. With an estimated viewership of about 10.5 million at its peak, more than 44 percent of all television households in the country tuned in to see the new Doctor. “The audience’s response for the new Doctor Who has been incredible and I am really proud to be part of it and I hope viewers continue to enjoy the series,” Eccleston said in a BBC release.

But that popularity was a double-edged sword for Eccleston. With roughly half the population seeing him as Doctor Who, he feared that once typecast as a science fiction Time Lord, audiences may not accept him in other roles. At one year, Eccleston will be the shortest-lived Doctor after Paul McGann who starred in the 1996 telemovie.

But the television network airing the show wants more of the crowd pleaser. The BBC has committed to producing a second 13-episode run of the reinvigorated series and says it is in talks with actor David Tennant to take on the role. Tennant is a star of the BBC period drama, Casanova.

In the announcement of the renewal of Doctor Who, the BBC did say it re-signed series co-star Billie Piper, who agreed to reprise the role of the Doctor’s sidekick for series two.

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How Marketing Consultants Can Make The Difference In Your Web Design Project

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How Marketing Consultants Can Make the Difference In Your Web Design Project


Larry Wright

Web design is an integral part of a modern marketing campaign. The quality of the design and coding work done on your website is incredibly important, as a DIY website simply cannot compete with a professionally created online presence. Even if the aesthetics were equal, which is unlikely, a professionally designed and well built website will always outperform a homegrown page because of the tremendous amount of coding and back-end work that goes into doing it right.

Often, small business owners turn to web designers for help getting started, only to find that they don t speak the language of web design, and this leaves them unsure of what to ask for, how to answer the web designer s questions, and whether they re truly getting a good deal. This is where a reliable marketing consultant comes in. By hiring a marketing consultant, business owners benefit from having an advisor and liaison who can translate the web design lingo, leverage their standing professional relationships for better pricing, and handle the day-to-day issues that arise during web development work so that you as the business owner can focus on your business, not your website.

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Marketing consultants are sometimes freelancers, but they are just as often team members working for advertising agencies. If you re working with an independent web designer and have hired an advertising agency, they will fill this role for you and handle the minutiae, bringing you in periodically for the bigger decisions. Even then, a knowledgeable marketing consultant will narrow down two or four dozen options to an easily navigable top five, for example, explain the choices at hand, and make recommendations as to a path forward.

Alternatively, small business owners sometimes hire advertising agencies or marketing consultants first, letting these companies bring in their own team members or freelancers for web design. Regardless of how the situation comes about, in addition to helping you navigate the waters of a web design project, an advertising agency and/or web consultant will bring one other major component to the table: cohesiveness.

When building a website, it s important to understand that while web development often seems to occur in a vacuum, it truly should not. Websites are key parts in a comprehensive marketing campaign that should typically integrate Internet and traditional marketing elements. Therefore, a great website is of even more value when it is the main piece in a large puzzle rather than a separate entity that does not align with the remaining pieces. That is, if a customer has been to your brick-and-mortar shop or has seen your TV, print, Internet, or direct mail advertisements and then visits your website, the branding should be consistent across all of those platforms. The site should immediately be identifiable as part of the whole, and that only happens when your web consultant and/or your advertising agency is intimately involved in your entire website design project.

Finally, it s important to keep in mind that web design projects are often bid without regard to content, which you ll be expected to provide as the business owner. The right advertising agency or marketing consultant will have staff or freelancers who can provide solid, clean, engaging content that also addresses your needs for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) while ensuring that your branding and messaging remains cohesive across all platforms.

Larry, the author of this article is an expert in marketing and web design. He has helped many

boston marketing firms


website design

to make them even more user friendly. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and going on vacations.

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Alan Rickman dies at 69 due to cancer

Thursday, January 14, 2016 

Today, the family of English actor Alan Rickman announced his death at the age of 69 in London from cancer. As per the family statement “he was surrounded by family and friends” at the time of death.

Rickman started his film career as an antagonist in Die Hard — in which he played the role of Hans Gruber in 1988. He was 41 at that time. He won a British Academy Film Award for his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991. He played a ghost lover of Juliet Stevenson’s character in Truly Madly Deeply.

He also portrayed Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series, an adaption of the novel series written by J. K. Rowling. Rowling tweeted “There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman’s death. He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man”.

A well-known actor in Britain, he also directed My Name Is Rachel Corrie, an award-winning 2005 play based on emails of Rachel Corrie who was killed in the Gaza Strip protesting against Israel Defense Forces actions.

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Hello From Nova Scotia: A Halifax City Tour (Part I)

Submitted by: Susanne Pacher

Well, in the few hours that I had spent so far in this city, Halifax had already shown itself from its best side. After my fairly late arrival yesterday I had a chance for a brief walk along the waterfront before I saw an amazing performance of DRUM! an inspiring and heart-pumping musical kaleidoscope of Nova Scotia s four principal cultures: Black, Acadian, Aboriginal and Celtic. An awesome introduction to this city

This morning I got up early since I wanted to discover the waterfront in the daylight before joining a city tour that would give me a good overview of what Halifax has to offer. I realized that the batteries of my digital camera were very low and wanted to buy a couple of replacement AA batteries, so I criss-crossed the city from one location to another to find batteries, but to no avail. Stores that I was directed to were either still closed or they had just run out of batteries. Well, that meant that by 9 am I had already spent a solid 40 minutes zig-zagging across the downtown core and getting a bit of an overview of the central area of the city.

At 9 am I joined a group of tourists to go on a city tour provided by the Company with the Kilts . What makes this city tour unique is that the historically inspired trolleys are accompanied by knowledgeable, humorous guides that are dressed up you guessed it in a kilt. On this sunny October day, our guide was Allen Mackenzie, whose extensive historic knowledge and witty comments kept the entire vehicle entertained.

We started along the waterfront where Allen pointed out the historic warehouses that are part of the Historic Properties complex. These warehouses used to store the loot of the privateers, pirates that were licensed by the British Crown to raid enemy ships. Today these former warehouses have been transformed into a series of retail and restaurant locations while retaining their historical appeal.

Close by is Halifax Casino, which Allen quite aptly referred to as the city s Centre of Voluntary Taxation . We made our way to Grand Parade, originally a parade ground and today a large public square which is anchored on the south side by St. Paul’s Church, Halifax first and oldest church dating back to 1749 the year the city was founded. On the north side we saw Halifax City Hall, whose construction was started in 1887. In the centre of the Grand Parade is the Cenotaph, a war memorial erected in 1929 that commemorates three major conflicts: the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War. To the west is Citadel Hill and the Old Town Clock. One of the city s major landmarks, the Old Town Clock was given to the city by Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and future father of Queen Victoria, in 1803 to ensure that all Haligonians would have a chance to be aware of the time of day and not have an excuse for being late for work. This treasured time piece has kept people on schedule ever since.

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Our trolley bus snaked its way through town while Allen told us enlightening and often humorous stories of the historic characters that called this city home. We then drove through an area called Spring Garden Road that has a lot of established retail shopping opportunities before we arrived at another major Halifax attraction: the Halifax Public Gardens. This is where we were ushered out of the bus in order to connect with our bagpiper who would take us on a walk through the gardens while Allen would pick us up on the other side.

Well, as fate would have it, the bagpiper never showed up, but Allen with his good humour took us halfway into the beautiful public garden and asked us to all meet up on the north-west side of the gardens where he would meet us in a few minutes with the trolley. He also explained that the Halifax Public Gardens are the second most renowned Victorian gardens in Canada after Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C.

Our guide went on to explain that in order to qualify for a formal Victorian garden, a green space would have to meet the following requirements:

– it would have to be more than 10 acres in size

– bridges would need to be wide enough to accommodate two women in hoop skirts, a high Victorian fashion

– the facility would need to have a bandstand, and

– two mated swans in a pond would be required to make it a true Victorian Garden.

He pointed out that Hurricane Juan devastated the Halifax area; many of the old established trees in different parts of the city including the Public Gardens were destroyed. This public garden is a very historic place: its origins date back all the way to 1836 when the Nova Scotia Horticultural Society set out to create a public garden that would be accessible to all classes . The bandstand was erected in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria s Golden Jubilee while the Jubilee (Nymph) Fountain was erected in 1897 to honour Queen Victoria s Diamond Jubilee.

The pond in the heart of the gardens is called Griffin s Pond and was named after a young Irishman who was actually hanged for murder on the east side of the pond in the 1830s. Allen pointed out a miniature model of the Titanic ocean liner that was floating on the pond which years ago was actually remote-controlled and could be directed all over this waterway. Halifax has a huge connection to the Titanic, as you will hear shortly.

After our 20 minute stopover at the Public Gardens we headed towards our next stop, another place of great historical significance: the Halifax Citadel. Again we had about 20 or 30 minutes to get out of the bus and explore the Citadel on foot. The admission price was included in the city tour. The Halifax Citadel is Canada s is one of Canada s most visited historic sites. Due to the strategic location of this hill overlooking the harbour, Citadel Hill was singled out very early on as a location for a fortress. The first fortification was built in 1761 while the current version was completed in 1856, after 30 years of construction.

The Citadel is a phenomenal vantage point for overlooking the city. The entire harbour area comes into view, and you can see all the way across the bay to Dartmouth. Allen pointed out that the Halifax Citadel was considered the most terrible fortification in British North America, and indeed no attempts to attack it were ever made.

Our group arrived just in time for the rifle presentation. Several soldiers (in reality they are Halifax university students) were dressed up in full historic military costumes, carrying rifles, and our group would get an actual demonstration of a real rifle shooting during our brief stopover. One of the young soldiers explained that the rifles weigh 8 to 9 pounds, and with the bayonette attached the weight goes up to about 13 pounds. He allowed me to lift the rifle which made me realize that this was definitely not light-weight combat. Then he proceeded to shoot the rifle several times against the citadel s wall, creating several loud bangs that reverberated throughout the entire walled-in fortress.

After this quick stop we proceeded westwards through town where Allen pointed out Dalhousie University, one of the 5 major universities in town. We passed through a west-end neighbourhood where houses cost somewhere between C$800,000 and C$1,500,000 according to Allen. Our next and final stop during the tour was the Fairview Cemetery where Halifax connection to the Titanic disaster became most evident.

About the Author: Susanne Pacher is the publisher of


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Twitter announces advertising platform

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 

Social networking website Twitter announced an advertising platform to enable paid tweets to be displayed at the top of search results. This new feature is called Promoted Tweets; Best Buy Co., Sony Pictures, Starbucks Corp. and Virgin America are some of the participants in this.

Twitter has not allowed advertising in the past. According to Biz Stone, the co-founder of the site said that such tweets must “resonate with users” and be conversational in nature. Promoted tweets should be “ordinary Tweets that businesses and organizations want to highlight to a wider group of users”.

Promoted Tweets would initially appear only in search results in Twitter, according to the company. Only one such Tweet will be allowed in a search results page. This follows Twitter’s acquisition of Atebits, the developer of “Tweetie”, an iPhone application used to access the site, announced during the weekend by company officials.

Analysts mentioned that there were some risks involved with allowing advertising, saying that Promoted Tweets could become unpopular with users.

Christine Overby of research company Forrester mentions that there is a possibility that users “may get turned off by too much advertising,” “But I think this risk is easy to manage – they can look at how Google for example has handled this,” she added.

She mentioned that the company’s “pay for resonance” model could prove to be risky as advertisers would be paid for how much user attention a tweet receives. “Advertisers are accustomed to ‘pay per click’ or ‘pay per thousand’ [advertising units] models,” she said. “They may not appreciate this model – there will certainly be a discussion as to what the ‘pay for resonance’ model actually is.”

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