County Donegal, Ireland crash kills one, injures two

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A two-vehicle road traffic accident in County Donegal in Ireland has left one person dead and injured two others. The accident occurred when a camper van collided with an oncoming car on the N15 road between the towns of Ballybofey and Donegal at approximately 1540 BST (1440 UTC) on Monday.

The fatality was reportedly a man in his 70s from the town of Lifford; he has not yet been publicly identified. He was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The female passenger he was travelling in the car with, thought to be the wife of the man, was taken to the same hospital after suffering serious injuries.

The man and woman in the camper van were transported to Sligo Regional Hospital. The condition of the two occupants is not clear, although the woman in the vehicle reportedly injured her leg in the accident.

The road where the crash occurred was closed to allow the Garda to investigate the incident.

FDA approves therapeutic use of insulin inhalant

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of an inhalable form of insulin for treating both forms of diabetes in adults. The product, manufactured by Pfizer Inc. is called Exubera and is a inhaled powder form of recombinant short-acting human insulin (rDNA).

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that, when released into the blood, controls the upper limits of glucose presence in the bloodstream. Diabetics cannot produce (enough) insulin on their own, and have to control their blood sugars by appropriate diet, exercise and medication. Untreated Diabetes can have a serious adverse effect on health, it can lead to higher risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, retinal damage and diabetic shock, which can be fatal. Insulin has been used for the treatment of diabetes for many years now, but some patients find it difficult (and costly) to use as it has to be injected into the body, usually several times a day. Currently, about five million Americans take insulin injections. Also, the use of any form of insulin can cause blood sugar to drop below safe levels, a condition called hypoglycemia. As a result, the use of insulin must be accompanied by a careful and regular monitoring of blood sugar levels.

The FDA has issued guidelines that the inhalable form should not be used by smokers, patients with asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema as tests have shown that its use can reduce the breathing capacity of the lungs. Other side effects associated with Exubera therapy seen in clinical trials included cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and dry mouth. The FDA has given its approval on the basis of safety studies of short-term use and studies of its effects over long-term use are underway.

Pfizer has said the product wouldn’t be widely available until June or July and that exact prices haven’t been set. A Pfizer spokesperson has said that the price will be “competitive” to injected insulin.

Glasgow cannabis enthusiasts celebrate ‘green’ on city green

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coinciding with Easter Sunday, Glasgow Cannabis Social Club’s annual 420 event was held on Glasgow Green, under sunny blue skies, and overlooking the river Clyde. Despite the city’s council attempting to revoke permission for the gathering at the last minute, police were happy for it to go-ahead with approximately a dozen officers attending in high-visibility vests.

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The Daily Record reported five arrests were made for minor offences, likely smoking and possession of small quantities of cannabis. Taking a less-sensational — and more accurate — line of reporting, the Monday edition of Glasgow’s Evening News stated five were referred to the Procurator Fiscal who is responsible for deciding if charges should be brought.

Official figures provided by the police were that 150 attended. With people coming and going, Wikinews reporters estimated upwards of 200 attended, compared to nearly 700 who had signed up for the event on Facebook. Hemp goods were advertised and on sale at the event, and some attendees were seen drinking cannabis-themed energy drinks.

“I was searched and charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act (which is a lot of bollocks)” one attendee noted online, adding “not fair to happen on a brilliant day like it was, other than that I had a great day!” A second said they were openly smoking and ignored by police, who “were only really focusing on people who looked particularly young”.

Cannabis seeds were openly and legally sold at the event and a hydroponics supplier brought a motortrike towing an advertising trailer. Actually growing cannabis is, however, illegal in the UK.

With the event openly advocating the legalisation of cannabis, speakers put their arguments for this to a receptive crowd. Retired police officer James Duffy, of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, spoke of the failed United States alcohol prohibition policy; stressing such policies needlessly bring people into contact with criminal elements. Highlighting other countries where legalisation has been implemented, he pointed out such led to lower crime, and lower drug use overall.

One speaker, who produced a bottle of cannabis oil he had received through the post, asserted this cured his prostate cancer. Others highlighted the current use of Sativex by the National Health Service, with a cost in-excess of £150 for a single bottle of GW Pharmaceuticals patented spray — as-compared to the oil shown to the crowd, with a manufacturing cost of approximately £10.

Similar ‘420’ pro-cannabis events were held globally.

Denny’s Super Bowl free ‘Grand Slam Breakfast’ brings 2 million diners

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Denny’s 1,600 chain restaurants across North America, Puerto Rico and Canada, were slammed for eight hours Tuesday with hungry patrons standing on sidewalks for nearly two hours to take advantage of the $5.99 “Grand Slam Breakfast” giveaway.

Denny’s, a dining chain with annual revenue of about $900 million, has advertised in a TV commercial Sunday during the Super Bowl XLIII that it would give away its signature breakfast from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. local time Tuesday, at all its restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, while supplies lasted.

Denny’s Diner has promoted the iconic dish giveaway heavily, with a bold 30-second appeal ad that aired during the third quarter of the Super Bowl 43 on Sunday, plus another 15-second ad during the post-game show, offering a free breakfast to some 90 million viewers. In addition, it has placed a full-page ad in USA Today‘s Monday edition. The promotion was further announced on The Today Show and notices were also sent out to the chain’s “Denny’s Breakfast Club” members.

The NBC ad, which was bought to unveil a new promotion for customers squeezed by the recession, may have cost as much as $3 million, said Nelson Marchioli, CEO of Denny’s Corp. Super Bowl XLIII’s 30-second commercial time slot costs $2.4 million–$3 million for the airtime alone, excluding production and talent costs.

The game was televised live by the US NBC Sunday Night Football and Canada’s CTV Television Network. BayTSP has reported that, “as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, commercials that initially aired during NBC’s Super Bowl XLIII broadcast subsequently had been watched online more than 28 million times.”

“The promotion has a total cost of $5 million U.S., which includes $3 million for the commercial on NBC,” said a Denny’s spokesman, noting also that the company received about $50 million in news coverage, most of which was positive. According to a Denny’s representative, two million people walked through the restaurant chains’ doors Tuesday, and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour.

With the “Denny’s Feeds America” promotion, the company has reported 14 million hits on its Web site between Sunday night and Monday morning. Denny’s shares rose 6 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $1.98 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a range of $1.18 to $4.10 over the past 52 weeks.

“Denny’s free Grand Slam” has ranked in the top 10 Google searches early Tuesday and fell to No. 18 by the end of the promotion, while “denny s locations” was #9 on Google Trends, which tracks fast-rising searches. It has also held spots No. 1 (Denny’s) and 7 (Grand Slam) on Twitter‘s trending topics. It has generated much chat on Twitter, garnering 1,700 tweets on Tuesday, compared with its average of 59. Doritos, winner of the USA TODAY survey for best Super Bowl spot ad, had 933 mentions after reaching a peak of almost 3,300.

The idea of the TV ad was to get people to come in and re-evaluate Denny’s Diner. “A lot of people have forgotten what Denny’s is, or they think they know, while we’ve come out with a whole lot of new products. We felt like we needed to jump start the brand,” Denny’s Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Mark Chmiel said.

“We’re celebrating the Grand Slam this year,” Chmiel said. According to the company’s financial data, on January 15 Denny’s reported systemwide comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter were down 6.1 percent, compared to a 0.2 percent decline from the same period in 2007.

According to Robert Gonzalez, public relations company Hill & Knowlton spokesman, Denny’s has expected at least 2 million people to eat a free Grand Slam by the end of the promotion. “Every restaurant is packed with people and lines,” Gonzalez said. “Everything today is about fast. People are on the go, and they’re eating fast food. It’s cutting into sit-down dining,” he added.

“Each of the more than 1,500 Denny’s were planning to make about 100 Grand Slams an hour,” Denny’s spokeswoman Cori Rice said. It had predicted it will have served about 1,400 people per location, more than five times the normal volume. “Grand Slam Breakfast” is a four-item option on its menu, consisting of two pancakes, two eggs, two strips of bacon and two sausage links. It weighs in at 44 grams of fat, 56 carbohydrates and 770 calories.

Nationwide, Denny’s expected to sell about 2 million Grand Slams — about 15 percent of the annual tally. According to Mark Chmiel, chief marketing operator and executive vice president, the diner chain has reported approximately 2 million meals worth more than $12 million were given away nationwide and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour. It estimated it has earned about $50 million worth of public relations following the free Grand Slam campaign, Chmiel said.

The company is also experimenting with a Grand Slam Burrito and also has introduced for this year, a Grand Slamwich, which includes eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese between two slices of bread, with a teaspoon serving. “It already has shown strong consumer appeal,” said Chmiel. The company has received flood of e-mails and letters proving the positive impact of the Grand Slam campaign and commercials on its customers.

Chmiel also announced he’s planning a third major promotion in this year’s third quarter, which happens to include another major sporting event, the World Series. “That’s one we’re definitely looking at,” he said.

Jobless Paris Winslow of downtown San Francisco, California has joined the long line which stretched from the front door on Mission Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, to the corner of Fourth and up the block. “The economy is getting kind of scary. This line looks like those pictures of soup kitchen lines during the 1929 Great Depression,” Winslow said.

“I came all the way from San Francisco for a free $6 meal, Isn’t that pathetic? A year ago, I never would have done this. These days I’m willing to put my ego on the back burner,” said Stephen Weller, a jobless contractor who waited with his dog, Emmett. California Denny’s restaurant managers have issued rain checks (for free chilled meals, as security backed by actual bacon) to anyone who failed to get in by the 2 p.m. deadline.

A big eater could also “Slam It Up” by adding any two additional items for 99 cents each to their meal. Customers on Tuesday were also handed “bounceback” coupon books that include offers for additional free menu items with purchases. Chicago Tribune reporter Kevin Pang has eaten five free Grand Slams on Tuesday at five different Denny’s Diners in four hours. He claims to have consumed 4,100 calories at Harwood Heights, 5:36 a.m, at Schiller Park, 6:22 a.m., at Franklin Park, 7:08 a.m., at Melrose Park, 7:41 a.m. and at Grand Slam No. 5 Oak Park, 8:57 a.m.

“The Grand Slam has always been a Denny’s favorite. This free offer is our way of reacquainting America with Denny’s real breakfast and with the Denny’s brand,” Denny’s CEO Nelson Marchioli said in a statement. In 1977s, the Grand Slam started as a baseball-related promotion in Atlanta, Georgia. Its normal price averages around $5.99. Marchioli said the event was also a way to kick-off its “Year of the Grand Slam” promotion. Denny’s claimed it has sold 12.5 million Grand Slams a year.

“The economy’s tough and people are jumping all the way to fast food to try to figure it out. We all use fast food, whether it’s for time or convenience or for money. But you can go to Denny’s and you don’t have to give up a real breakfast and that was the whole focus of our commercial,” Marchioli explained. McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500) has done well during this economic meltdown since the global recession pushes people toward less expensive dining options.

McDonald’s has announced plans Wednesday to open 175 new restaurants in China this year despite the global economic crisis, thereby increasing the number of outlets in China by 17 percent, from 1,050 currently. Last month, McDonald’s 2008 net profit has risen 80 percent from 2007 to 4.3 billion dollars.

Marchioli has also introduced Denny’s $4 Weekday Express Slam, which is a streamlined version of the Grand Slam. “I want to take back share. For too long, we have allowed others to take share, whether it was Starbucks or McDonald’s. They’re fine competitors and I don’t expect to take all their business from them, but I’d like a little bit back,” Marchioli noted.

According to Rafi Mohammed, author of “The Art of Pricing,” people love free. “It triggers a Pavlovian response in people,” said Mohammed. If Pavlov’s dogs salivate when a bell rings, Denny’s free Grand Slam breakfast has attracted 2 million hungry customers. “I believe free maximizes trial and doesn’t devalue a product as long as it is a rare event. Aside from the cost, the major downside is that it attracts customers who truly have no intention of coming back,” he added.

According to University of Portland consumer psychology professor Deana Julka, people flock to free promotions amid just a few dollars saving because there’s nothing in life for free. “So when there’s something out there that costs nothing, it creates a psychological rush. Especially in these times when people feel overtaxed or overburden, there’s an internal reward people feel by getting something for free,” she said. “It’s being thrifty and feeling like you beat the system. Free really hits the spot for a lot of people,” Julka added.

“Free is an emotional hot button. When free is concerned, there is no downside – or, at least, we don’t see the downside immediately. So we overvalue everything that is free. People love free stuff, particularly when money’s tight,” said Dan Ariely, a business professor at Duke University, author of “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.”

Experts, however, explained these moves need to be done sparingly, since giveaways can teeter in the balance between desperation and a well designed marketing ploy. “Giving your product away for free is not worth it because it undermines your brand value,” said branding expert Rob Frankel, saying people are attached to the idea of it being free, than the actual product itself.

Free giveaways are not anything new in the food industry. “It just feels good when you can get something for free and not have to worry about it coming out of your wallet,” Frankel noted. Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera Bread all have had free coffee and food promos last year. “In November, Starbucks gave away free cup of coffee to anyone who came in on Election Day. Have you taken a look at how Starbucks is doing now?” Last week it has announced it would shut down 300 stores, in addition to the 600 it already planned to close.

On February 24, IHOP will be offering a free shortstack to every customer to encourage donations (in place of the cost) for Childrens Miracle Network. The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is a United States-based restaurant chain that specializes in breakfast foods and is owned by DineEquity. The chain had more than 1950 restaurants in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico. Since 2006, IHOP’s National Pancake Day celebration has raised over $1.85 million. In 2008, over 1.5 million pancakes (12 miles high if they were stacked) were given to customers for donations.

Denny’s (“Denny’s Diner”) is a full-service diner/family restaurant chain in the United States. It operates over 2,500 restaurants in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, Curaçao, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand). The resto chain is known for always being open, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert around the clock.

Today, Denny’s operates about 1,600 restaurants in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. There are also about 578 Denny’s restaurants in Japan operated under a license by a subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings, seven Denny’s locations in New Zealand, and approximately 38 Denny’s diners in the United States. Denny’s headquarters is now located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, headquarters of the parent company Trans World Corporation that acquired Denny’s in 1987.

Denny’s was historically notable for offering a free meal to anyone on their birthday. The offer included a limited number of meal options from a special birthday menu. The promotional ritual ceased in 1993, though occasionally individual franchises will continue the tradition.

In 2008, Denny’s has ceased to be in the ranks among the top diner chains in the $83 billion breakfast market, whose top five firms — McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and IHOP — accounted for 22 percent of the volume. “A lot of consumers have written Denny’s off their let’s-go-there list,” said Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a consulting firm.

Super Bowl XLIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference champion Pittsburgh Steelers (15–4) and the National Football Conference champion Arizona Cardinals (12–8) to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2008 NFL season. It was played on February 1, 2009, at Raymond James Stadiumin Tampa, Florida. It has an attendance of 70,774 and 98.7 million viewers. Pittsburgh earned its sixth Super Bowl win, thus securing sole possession of the record for most Super Bowl wins.

Google to discontinue social networking application Google Wave

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

File:Google Wave.jpg

Google has decided to retire the Google Wave social-networking service after one year, citing lack of user adoption.

Urs Hölzle, Google senior vice president for operations, said in a blog post that “Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a stand-alone product.” Hölzle also said that as a “web app for real time communication and collaboration, it set a high bar for what was possible in a Web browser. We weren’t quite sure how users would respond to this radically different kind of communication.” Google says that it will continue the service until the end of the year.

In May 2009, Google launched Wave as a private beta. A year later, it became open to the public. Wave is an email service that integrates social media features and capabilities into emailing. It integrates IM-like features into its service. The company released components of Google Wave as open source for those to create a similar service. “The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users easily “liberate” their content from Wave,” Google said.

Latest trial of the One Laptop Per Child running in India; Uruguay orders 100,000 machines

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

India is the latest of the countries where the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) experiment has started. Children from the village of Khairat were given the opportunity to learn how to use the XO laptop. During the last year XO was distributed to children from Arahuay in Peru, Ban Samkha in Thailand, Cardal in Uruguay and Galadima in Nigeria. The OLPC team are, in their reports on the startup of the trials, delighted with how the laptop has improved access to information and ability to carry out educational activities. Thailand’s The Nation has praised the project, describing the children as “enthusiastic” and keen to attend school with their laptops.

Recent good news for the project sees Uruguay having ordered 100,000 of the machines which are to be given to children aged six to twelve. Should all go according to plan a further 300,000 machines will be purchased by 2009 to give one to every child in the country. As the first to order, Uruguay chose the OLPC XO laptop over its rival from Intel, the Classmate PC. In parallel with the delivery of the laptops network connectivity will be provided to schools involved in the project.

The remainder of this article is based on Carla G. Munroy’s Khairat Chronicle, which is available from the OLPC Wiki. Additional sources are listed at the end.

Contents

  • 1 India team
  • 2 Khairat
    • 2.1 The town school
  • 3 The workplace
  • 4 Marathi
  • 5 The teacher
  • 6 Older children, teenagers, and villagers
  • 7 The students
  • 8 Teacher session
  • 9 Parents’ meetings
  • 10 Grounding the server
  • 11 Every child at school
  • 12 Sources
  • 13 External links

NFL: Brett Favre traded to the New York Jets

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Quarterback Brett Favre has been traded to the New York Jets for a conditional fourth-round draft selection in the 2009 NFL Draft. The trade was later confirmed by ESPN and the Jets themselves. The multiple National Football League record-holder was the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers from 1992 to the end of the 2007 NFL season. Favre, 38, announced his retirement on March 6, 2008 after much speculation over his future.

After a long dispute with the Packers’ management, Favre was reinstated by the NFL and was pursued in trade discussions with the Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jets were much more aggressive than the Buccaneers in their pursuit of Favre all along, offering a conditional fourth-round draft choice in the 2009 NFL Draft which could be promoted to a first-round selection based on performance criteria.

“Brett has had a long and storied career in Green Bay, and the Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for everything he accomplished,” the Packers said in a press release. Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said of the trade, “We just felt like this was an opportunity to go get somebody of Brett’s stature and what he’s accomplished.”

The trade caps a roller-coaster off-season ride for Favre and the franchise that became synonymous with his legendary No. 4 jersey, which was planned to be retired in the Packers’ home opening game. Favre’s on-again, off-again retirement has monopolized headlines for the past two months as news began trickling to the media that the legendary passer was second-guessing both his retirement decision and his status in Green Bay. Favre was offered a $20 million dollar marketing contract from the Packers to remain retired.

Now, the Jets may have to clear cap space in order to have Favre on their roster — who is due to make $12 million this season — which may call for the release of Chad Pennington. A comment from Jets GM Tannenbaum all but confirmed the release of Pennington. “It’s a bittersweet moment for us. I have all the respect in the world for Chad as a person, as a player,” Tannenbaum said, adding that an announcement on a transaction involving Pennington will come later Thursday.

The Packer’s official website states that they will be holding press conferences at noon and 2:00 p.m. CDT and more information will be released then.

Professionals and students continue strike in New Delhi

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

New Delhi — Almost 10,000 people marched to Jantar Mantar from Maulana Azad Medical College in an anti-reservation rally on Saturday. Doctors and medical students say they will continue to strike and protest, despite an appeal from the prime minister to call off their agitation.

Students from Delhi University and medical colleges around the capital, parents, lawyers, and accountants joined the striking medicos, under the banner of ‘Youth for Equality’.

The students and their supporters want total rollback of a proposed quota-hike for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in elite educational institutions, and a review of the present reservation policy. “There are very less seats in the post-graduate streams compared to the undergraduate courses. Hence the reservation move will affect the future of majority students,” said student leader Praful Raj.

The students have support from many groups. They were led by the Youth for Equality, an AIIMS initiative, while United Students, a DU and JNU group, IIT alumni, RWAs (under the banner of United Residents Joint Action), Resident Doctors Associations from various government and private hospitals, Chartered Accountant’s Association, students from private universities like IP, and parents of agitating students also joined in.

Students from medical colleges in Rajasthan, Orissa, Gujarat, Punjab and Karnataka also took part in the rally. Students and doctors say the government has showed “scant regard to the sentiments of the students”, who have been protesting the proposed quota-hike for OBCs in elite educational institutions.

The students had appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to set up a non-political judicial committee to review the existing reservation policy and sought an audience with him to discuss the issue.

Japanese survivor of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings dies, aged 93

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only Japanese civilian to be officially recognized as having survived both the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in August of 1945 at the conclusion of World War Two, has died this Monday at the age of ninety-three, due to stomach cancer—one of the numerous illnesses that he suffered throughout his lifetime as a direct result of his exposure to nuclear radiation.

Mr. Yamaguchi, although he was against his nation’s involvement in the War, worked as a engineer for Mitsubishi—a company that helped equip and supply the Japanese Imperial Army. He was on business in Hiroshima at the time of the first bombing on August sixth. His almost direct exposure to the atomic explosion temporarily blinded him, ruptured his ear drum (leaving him permanently deaf in his left ear), and severely burnt the top half of his body. Three days later, having gone back to work in Nagasaki, he was approximately three kilometers away from the site of the second bomb. Although he was exposed to significant radiation in this instance as well, Mr. Yamaguchi was left relatively unscathed.

Following Japan’s surrender and the end of the War days later, Mr. Yamaguchi worked as a translator for the occupying American forces and later as a local schoolmaster, before eventually returning to Mitsubishi—which had since then become an automobile manufacturer.

In his later years, Mr. Yamaguchi became a respected lecturer who gave talks about his experiences, and publicly spoke out against the stockpiling of nuclear weapons.

For instance, in 2006, he addressed the United Nations General Assembly. “Having been granted this miracle, it is my responsibility to pass on the truth to the people of the world,” Mr. Yamaguchi said to the Assembly. He went on to say, “My double radiation exposure is now an official government record. It can tell the younger generation the horrifying history of the atomic bombings even after I die.”

When asked by the British Broadcasting Corporation what his reaction was to Mr. Yamaguchi’s death, the mayor of Nagasaki said that “a precious storyteller has been lost.”

Among the family and friends Mr. Yamaguchi left behind were his three adult children—who have also had health issues in their lifetimes thus far that they think may have be related to their father’s initial exposure.

Restrictions imposed in China textile trade with U.S.

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

In an effort to ease complaints by the U.S. and Europe about a heavy influx of low priced Chinese goods, China will raise export tariffs on 74 categories of textile products in June. This follows plans from the U.S. to impose quotas on Chinese textiles and clothing.

Products likely to see an increase from the Chinese move include synthetic fiber shirts, trousers, knit shirts and blouses, cotton shirts, and combined cotton yarn. Last week, similar restrictions were imposed by the U.S. on cotton trousers, knit shirts, and underwear. Currently, a 2.5 cent charge per item is imposed; the new tariff will raise this to the equivalent of 12 cents per piece now. While this is a fourfold increase, it is not expected to affect consumer prices. Because of this, some doubt the tariff will have any effect on correcting the trade imbalance.

This move is in response to U.S. trade quotas imposed due to concerns that increased Chinese goods would put U.S. textile manufacturers out of business. According to Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, a textile industry group in the U.S., the move will preserve 10,000 U.S. jobs. The new U.S. trade quota will limit the growth of Chinese textile imports to 7.5 percent compared with shipments over the past year.

Prior to January 1, a global quota system helped regulate the trade. With the quota system gone, fears have arisen that a flood of Chinese goods could undercut U.S. competitiveness in the market. China is able to market its goods cheaply due to an artificially weak yuan. The U.S. Treasury criticized the China yuan policy as “highly distortionary”, posing a major risk to China’s economy itself and to global economic growth. They challenged China to revalue its currency to bring it to a level they believe will allow fairer competition between global manufacturers.

China has disputed the charges of the U.S. Treasury. Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said, “I believe they are not reasonable”.

Laura Jones, a representative of large retailers, also criticized the move, saying “These restrictions on imports from China will do absolutely nothing to help the U.S. textile industry — and the government knows it.”

China has seen a boom in economic growth in recent years due to growing trade surpluses with the West, but economists worry that the trade gap will cause longer term global economic problems. China’s textile and apparel exports are the most noteworthy example, with exports up over 1,000 percent in some categories this year and the rapid loss of marketshare and jobs by U.S. textile manufacturers.

Beginning in 1978, the Chinese economy has been transforming from a Soviet-style centrally planned economy to more of a free market style system, under the rigid political control of Communist Party of China.

To this end, the government has leveraged foreign trade to stimulate economic growth. The result has been a fourfold increase in GDP, making China the sixth largest economy in the world. By 2012 the People’s Republic of China may have the highest GDP in the world.

According to U.S. statistics, from 1999 to 2004 China’s trade surplus with the U.S. doubled to $170 billion. Wal-Mart is China’s seventh largest export partner, just ahead of the United Kingdom.

However, the gains from their “socialist market economy” have not been without problems. The Chinese leadership has often experienced the worst results of socialism and capitalism: bureaucracy, lassitude, corruption, and inflation. Inflation rates have been an on-going challenge, reaching as high as 17% in 1995.

Environmental deterioration is a longer-term threat to economic growth. In 1998, the World Health Organization reported that China had seven of the 10 most-polluted cities on Earth. Another concern among some economists is that China’s economy is over-heating, and due to its global economic expansion this could have major repercussions among other nations.

Typically, wages have been low and working conditions poor, with workers living in restrictive dormitories and working at boring factory jobs. However, recent labor shortages have started improving conditions, and raising the minimum wage towards the equivalent of 100-150 US dollars per month. The labor shortages are in part a result of a demographic trend caused by strict family planning.

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