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Fresh pictures of Castro and Chavez shown in Cuban media

Monday, August 14, 2006

An additional round of new photos of a recuperating Fidel Castro have been published in the Cuban media. There has been international speculation on the state of the Cuban leader’s health since he temporarily relinquished power two weeks ago prior to undergoing intestinal surgery. Castro had not been seen in those two weeks, and there were rumours that he was dead or nearing death.

The official Communist Party daily Granma today published pictures of Castro meeting Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez on the Cuban leader’s 80th birthday, yesterday. The paper referred to the meeting as “three hours of emotional exchange” quoting Chavez as saying “This is the best visit I’ve ever had in my life.” Earlier, acting Cuban leader Raul Castro made his first public appearance since taking power when he welcomed Chavez to Cuba at the airport. The brothers also appear together in one of the new photos.

The earlier round of pictures released Sunday by the Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth) newspaper show Castro speaking on the phone and holding Saturday’s edition of the Communist Party newspaper Granma.

Castro also released a statement yesterday saying that his health had improved but that his recovery would take more time.

“To say that objective stability has improved considerably is not to invent a lie. To affirm that the period of recovery will last a short time and that there is no longer any risk would be absolutely incorrect.”

“I ask you all to be optimistic and at the same time to be ready to face any adverse news,” said Castro, who also thanked the Cuban people for their love and support during his health crisis. The statement was the first from the Cuban leader since undergoing surgery.

Granma reported Saturday that Castro is now “up” and “working”. The official newspaper reported that according to an unnamed friend of Castro “the leader of the revolution, after receiving some physiotherapy, took his first steps in the room, then, sitting on a coach, talked vividly”.

Though most official celebrations of Castro’s birthday have been postponed (possibly until December), three thousand well-wishers have gathered for a five-hour birthday concert on Havana’s Malecon seafront boulevard.

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70,000 General Motors employees go on strike

Monday, September 24, 2007

73,000 United Auto Workers (UAW) union members launched a nationwide strike today against General Motors (GM), the largest auto manufacturer in the United States.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said GM would need to meet pay, health care, and job security issues. Gettelfinge said, “This is nothing we wanted…No one benefits in a strike. But there comes a point where someone can push you off a cliff. That’s what happened here.”

The strike was officially launched at 11 a.m. EDT (UTC-4) today.

Negotiations were reportedly going to occur again this afternoon, but there have been no reports of any negotiating going on from either side.

80 facilities in 30 different states closed today because of the strike.

CNN reports that GM facilities in Mexico and Canada may close soon, too.

The vice president of global vehicle forecasts for CSM Worldwide, Michael Robinet, said today that dealerships in the US likely won’t feel the effects of the strike for several weeks.

A statement from GM today said, “We are disappointed in the UAW’s decision to call a national strike. The bargaining involved complex, difficult issues that affect the job security of our U.S. work force, and the long-term viability of the company. We are fully committed to working with the UAW to develop solutions together to address the competitive challenges facing General Motors. We will continue focusing our efforts on reaching an agreement as soon as possible.”

If the strike continues, UAW strike funds will supply each striker with US$200 a month and medical coverage.

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Brazilian President Lula met Chavez, military and economic cooperation

Thursday, February 17, 2005

CARACAS, Venezuela –The Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on February 14, 2005 in Caracas, Venezuela. Brazil and Venezuela signed agreements of cooperation on many areas. According to the Brazilian government this was a strategical encounteur. This meeting is the first of three meetings that President Lula will have with South American Presidents in three days. The scheduled meetings are with the presidents of: Venezuela (February, 14), Guiana (February, 15) and Suriname (February, 16).

President Lula was accompanied by the following comitiva: the Minister of Development, Industry, and External Trade Luiz Fernando Furlan, the Minister of Finance Antônio Palocci, the Minister of Foreign Relations Celso Amorim, the Minister of Health Humberto Costa, the Minister of Mines and Energy Dilma Roussef, the Minister of Tourism Walfrido Mares Guia, the President of Petrobras José Eduardo Dutra, the President of National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) Guido Mantega, the President of Eletrobrás Silas Rondeau Cavalcante Silva and the Special Secretary for Aquaculture and Fisheries José Fritsch. In addition a delegation of executives representing enterprises from Brazil accompanied the President.

The Brazilian Ministry of External Relations told the trip aims the construction of a strategical alliance and commercial integration between both countries. The Brazilian Presidential Advisor Marco Aurélio Garcia said:”With this gesture, Brazil will consolidate one of its major political goals, which is the constitution of a South American community of nations”. He added: “These agreements with Venezuela are strategical. We want this agreement as a model for other agreements in the region.”

According to President Lula the integration of the Latin America is the priority number one of his government. Days before the arrival in Venezuela and commenting about the trip Lula said: “We’re going to do the same thing in Colombia and in other countries in which integration is no longer a campaign speech but part of the way we deal with real things, day to day”.

The integration of the Latin America is the politics repeatedly proposed by Lula during the meetings of the Foro de São Paulo. According to him and the others members of the Foro there must be a integration among all the left parties and governments of Latin America. The union aims to be an alternative and opposing force to the politics and influence of the richest countries, mainly the United States. Among the organizations which are usually participants of the Foro de São Paulo are: Communist Party of Cuba, Colombian Communist Party, Communist Party of Bolivia, Communist Party of Brazil, Workers’ Party, Paraguayan Communist Party, Peruvian Communist Party, Socialist Party of Peru, National Liberation Army, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity, Tupamaros.

On December 4, 2001 during the 10th edition of the Foro de São Paulo in Havana Lula said:”A shoal of small fish may mean the finishing of the hungry in our countries, in out continent. We should not think as the History ended on our journey by the Earth. Even it happens just once, or with one gesture, let’s effectively contribute to the improve the life of millions of human beings who live socially excluded by this neoliberal model.”[1]

In Venezuela, once again, he brought out the integration wish: “This is the biggest dream I am carrying, that we can negotiate collectively, not like one country, but like a set of countries so we can do that our people may have the chance to conquer the full citizenship.”

Contents

  • 1 Economic cooperation
  • 2 Military cooperation
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
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Brazilian shot by police on London Underground was not acting suspiciously

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Documents, reportedly leaked from the investigation into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician shot dead by British Police on the London Underground on 22 July reveal that Mr de Menezes was not acting suspiciously and was already restrained when shot.

Furthermore, the documents reveal that the original report given by the police and recorded on the coroners report contained many false statements. The reports suggest the police shot Jean Charles de Menezes because they mistakenly identified him as Hussain Osman, and had agreed to shoot him if he ran. Hussain Osman was suspected of having placed a faulty or mock explosive in a train.

The original reports claimed that de Menezes was acting suspiciously, was wearing a padded jacket, and ran when challenged, even vaulting the ticket barriers. However, the leaked documents, which include statements from officers involved in the operation and photographs of the scene, show that he behaved like any other commuter, used his travel pass to enter the station, even picking up a newspaper on his way. He was not challenged by police, and appears to have been unaware of being followed until after he entered the train. Photographic stills show he was only wearing a light denim jacket. It appears that he only ran in order to reach a train that was about to leave the platform.

The leaked document describes CCTV footage, which shows Mr de Menezes entered Stockwell station at a “normal walking pace” and descended slowly on an escalator.

The document said: “At some point near the bottom he is seen to run across the concourse and enter the carriage before sitting in an available seat.”

An eye witness, who was sitting opposite de Menezes on the train, is quoted as saying: “Within a few seconds I saw a man coming into the double doors to my left. He was pointing a small black handgun towards a person sitting opposite me. He pointed the gun at the right hand side of the man’s head. The gun was within 12 inches of the man’s head when the first shot was fired.”

This report is considerably different to initial reports that claimed de Menezes tripped as he fled onto the train, before being restrained by pursuing officers and shot. Photographs leaked to ITN appear to corroborate this new witness’s report as they clearly show blood on the seat in which de Menezes is said to have been sitting.

Other statements suggest that the Brazilian was seated before being pinned down by a plain-clothed police officer. Plainclothed armed officers had entered the carriage at this point. Several shots were then fired and de Menezes was hit seven times in the head and once in the shoulder. Three further shots missed Mr Menezes.

A community officer’s report (one of the leaked documents) confirms that Mr. de Menezes was seated and restrained at the time of being shot:

“I heard shouting which included the word ‘police’ and turned to face the male in the denim jacket.

“He immediately stood up and advanced towards me and the CO19 [the armed unit] officers …I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side.

“I then pushed him back onto the seat where he had been previously sitting … I then heard a gun shot very close to my left ear and was dragged away onto the floor of the carriage.”

The leaked documents confirm that Police had been given permission to shoot if a suspect was non-compliant, having been told that “unusual tactics” may be required and if they “were deployed to intercept a subject and there was an opportunity to challenge, but if the subject was non compliant, a critical shot may be taken.” It is thought that when he ran for the train officers felt this was suitable evidence of “non-compliance”.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said its priority was to keep Mr de Menezes family informed and refused to comment on the details of the leak.

The commission said the family “will clearly be distressed that they have received information on television concerning his death”.

In an interview with the Guardian Newspaper, Asad Rehman, spokesman for the family’s campaign, called for a public inquiry. “This was not an accident,” he said. “It was serious neglect. Clearly, there was a failure both in police intelligence and on an operational level.”

Harriet Wistrich, the family’s solicitor expressed concerns, during an interview with ITN, that the Police had withheld information from the investigation for a longer period than was permitted under UK law. Ms. Wistrich also claimed, in a separate interview with the BBC, that the documents suggest that the original information given to the pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination on Mr de Menezes was incorrect and that the information the leaked documents contained was “shocking and terrifying”.

“What sort of society are we living in where we can execute suspects?” she asked in the BBC interview.

An unnamed senior police source told the Guardian that the leaked documents and statements give an accurate picture of what was known so far about the shooting. Former Flying Squad commander John O’Connor told the BBC “had the normal procedures taken place in which a warning is given and officers wear specially marked clothing then this young man may not have been killed.”

The IPCC statement added: “The IPCC made it clear that we would not speculate or release partial information about the investigation, and that others should not do so. That remains the case.”

Mark Oaten, Home Affairs Spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: “If true, these preliminary findings will create obvious concerns. It is in the best interests of the police and the community for the full report and any recommendations, to be published as quickly as possible.”

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IMF and EU approve aid for Georgia

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The International Monetary Fund and the European Union approved aid packages to help Georgia recover from its conflict with Russia, which occurred in early August. The IMF approved a US$750 million loan which will allow Georgia to rebuild its currency reserves. The European Union also approved an aid package of 500 million in aid by 2010, which is expected to help internally displaced people (IDPs) and economic recovery in the form of new infrastructure. Only €100 million of the EU aid will be given to Georgia this year.

These loans are aimed to restore confidence in Georgia’s economy and send a signal to international investors that Georgia’s economy is sound. According to the IMF, international investors have been “critical to Georgia’s economic growth in recent years.”

Takatoshi Kato, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chairman of the IMF executive committee, said the loan will “make significant resources available to replenish international reserves and bolster investor confidence, with the aim of sustaining private capital inflows that have been critical to Georgia’s economic growth in recent years.”

Georgia has requested $2 billion in international aid to help it recover from the conflict. So far, the United States has pledged $1 billion in aid. Further assistance and loans to Georgia are expected from other organizations. Kato noted that “…Georgia is expected to receive financial assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors and creditors in support of the reconstruction effort.” It is expected that an international donors’ conference will take place next month to solicit more aid for the country.

Georgia’s government expects that economic growth will be more than cut in half as a result of the conflict. Last year, Georgia’s GDP increased 12.4% and it is predicted by the IMF that growth will be less than 4 percent in the coming year.

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Category:Music

This is the category for music. See also the Music Portal.

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The Wrecking Crew music documentary hits cinemas

Monday, March 16, 2015

Music documentary The Wrecking Crew received its commercial première Friday, screening in cinemas in Los Angeles and New York via Magnolia Pictures.

Two decades in the making, Denny Tedesco’s documentary observes and honours a group of session musicians collectively known as “The Wrecking Crew”. Tedesco explained he was moved to begin the documentary when he learned his father, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, had cancer in 1996. “When they said he had a year to live — and I always wanted to do this story about The Wrecking Crew — my concern was, if I don’t do it, it’s going to be the biggest regret of my life”.

Tedesco commented on his anticipation of audiences’ reaction at Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles, “People say, ‘aren’t you tired of watching it?’ I say, ‘I don’t watch it, I watch the crowd’.”

The documentary showcases interviews with the late Tommy Tedesco, guitarist Glen Campbell, drummers Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer, bassist Carol Kaye, and others, amongst the roughly 30 musicians that formed The Wrecking Crew’s loose roster. Cher, Nancy Sinatra, and Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys are also seen talking about the session artists.

The movie includes home footage of Tommy Tedesco, and photographs of The Wrecking Crew working in studios with artists Frank and Nancy Sinatra.

Originally completed in 2008, and screened at several festivals, the commercial release was delayed until recently as Tedesco needed to raise money to cover licensing costs of the one hundred and ten songs included in the film.

Tedesco explained: “We had a $750,000 bill before we could even release this film theatrically, so no-one was touching us. We still had this thing around our neck. Documentaries don’t sell, and music docs are the worst.” Tedesco described reaching out to sponsors to pay off publishers and labels to get the film into cinemas. “Every time I got money from a donation, I’d pay off a label or publisher.”

A Kickstarter campaign raised $300,000, which paid for licensing and session artists. Billboard reports the money was able to go towards the creation of outtakes for a future DVD. Tedesco said he wanted to keep outtakes of the interviews he conducted that didn’t make it into the movie. “I want to do outtakes of every musician, a lot of whom aren’t in the movie[…] Who are they? What did they do? I want to give everyone their say.”

The Wrecking Crew worked behind the scenes throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s with well-know bands and artists on memorable tracks such as Sonny and Cher, “I got you Babe”; Beach Boys, “California Girls”; Elvis Presley’s, “A Little Less Conversation”; and The Ronettes, “Be my Baby”.

Aside from the interviews, the documentary also includes footage of The Wrecking Crew, filmed by Hal Blaine. He dubbed himself a director as he joked around with the other musicians. “I had a camera, and I took it to work and I became a director of sorts. And I’d tell people like Tommy, ‘Hey, Tommy, do me a favour. I’m going to take a film of you. Just come walking into the studio, and all of a sudden pretend you’ve walked into a great big orgy going on here. There’s all these naked women and guys.’ And we’re laughing about it. I did that with Glenn Campbell, all the guys”, Blaine said.

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Open Rights Group holds first conference in London

Sunday, July 25, 2010

London — The Open Rights Group, a pressure group pursuing reform of intellectual property law in the United Kingdom, held its first “ORGCon” yesterday at City University London. Approximately 100 delegates took part in six hours of panel discussions and workshops on a wide range of topics in intellectual property, discussing such subjects as “How To Talk To Your MP” and “ACTA: A Shady Business”, in what ORG billed as a “crash course in digital rights” designed to inspire campaigning on intellectual property issues.

Cory Doctorow, a fiction author and digital rights activist, led the keynote panel discussion “Thriving in the Real Digital Economy”, which opened the conference. Doctorow called for a “reframing” of the digital rights slogan “information wants to be free”. “The most important thing” about digital rights, he noted, “has nothing to do with art. We are refitting the information network with lots of control.” Digital rights management (DRM) technologies, Doctorow warns, build in limitations on how consumers exchange information and “abuse the market”. John Buckman of Magnatune followed up Doctorow’s comments, noting that DRM is “unsustainable” but that the public needed to “pressure companies into” open-source solutions.

A keynote speech by James Boyle compared the current age to the age just before application of the theories of Adam Smith and other early capitalist economists began breaking down the entrenched monopolies of mercantilism. Boyle called on the audience to come up with a “jaw droppingly simple” idea for a reformed copyright system; he gave his speech in front of a projection of the twitterfall as audience members commented on his words.

Boyle, like most of the conference, took a pro-reform but anti-piracy position, saying “It is a tragedy that an entire generation has lost the notion that breaking the law is wrong”. While several members of the Pirate Party UK, wearing matching t-shirts, attended the conference and held a fringe meeting during the last session, none spoke in the keynote sessions either as panelists or in the discussions.

Among the many workshops which comprised the last three hours of the day, Open Rights Group held a session on student groups and committed itself to establishing Open Rights Group Youth societies at universities across the United Kingdom. Young activists, such as Wikipedian Jdforrester, also dominated the “Your Shout” session in which any and all delegates could give three-minute speeches on any intellectual property subject which interested them.

The organisation hopes to host a second ORGCon in 2011.

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

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