Feb 21

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byAlma Abell

Your home or business is a very important aspect of your life. You need to lock them securely to ensure the safety of your family, your belongings and your information. For this, you need adequate access control in Arlington and you will need to find a qualified locksmith to install the access control system for you.

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Access control covers a wide range of needs and basically includes any situation in which you want to limit who has access to an area or the number of people who can enter a restricted area. These systems cover a large range of complexity. They can be a simple, traditional lock and key in a home or small business, but they can also go to much greater lengths.

Locksmiths can install simple locks and can create new keys for those locks if the originals are lost. They can also make a new lock for an existing key if the lock is damaged. They can also assist you in cases where you need a unique master key to open all the doors in your home or business. These residential locksmiths help you when you lock yourself out of your home and often offer round the clock emergency services.

Automotive locksmiths operate on much the same principle. Though many vehicles still use traditional keys and locks, technology is advancing. Automotive locksmiths have incorporated new technology into their skills, in order to develop complex keys or the smart keys that are now used in vehicles. They can offer assistance with keyless entry and other new developments.

On the more complicated side of access control, locksmiths are now qualified in the more advanced systems. Even the key card systems with magnetic bars or bar codes are becoming slightly outdated. More businesses are turning to biometrics to allow employees entry to certain areas. They use fingerprint, iris, retinal, facial and voice recognition software in their systems. Locksmiths are adjusting their training and education to cover this area of access control as well.

Whether you have simply locked your keys in your car or you need a biometric access control system installed in a pharmaceutical research company, you can turn to a qualified locksmith for the services you seek.

Feb 21
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G20 protests: Inside a labour march
Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London – “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown‘s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman“); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!“. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

There’s nobody to protest to!

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

A demonstration is always a means to and end.

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front‘s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo“, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.

Feb 20
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  • 18 February 2018: Fourth U.S. state governor orders net neutrality in government contracts
  • 7 February 2018: SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket blasts Elon Musk’s personal Tesla into solar orbit
  • 25 January 2018: Healthy cloned monkeys born in Shanghai
  • 17 January 2018: British surfers catch more than waves: Scientists find antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • 6 January 2018: Mysterious dimming of Tabby’s star likely due to space dust, not alien superstructures, say scientists
  • 30 December 2017: Belgium stops telegram services
  • 25 November 2017: Researchers report rapid formation of new bird species in Galápagos islands
  • 24 November 2017: Singapore announces driverless buses on public roads from 2022
  • 6 November 2017: U.S. government report says climate change is human-made
  • 3 November 2017: Astronomers report dwarf star with unexpectedly giant planet
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Feb 20
Speed Up Your Device By Disabling Animations}

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Submitted by: Rossy Guide

Disabling (or just reducing) animations can speed up almost any interface. Sure, the animations are pretty fast already, but waiting for them over and over each day can start to feel silly.

Windows:

The Windows desktop has long offered convenient options for disabling animations. These settings work across every version of Windows, from Windows XP to Windows 7 all the way up to Windows 8 and the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

To access the animation options, open the Control Panel, click System & Security, and click System. Click the “Advanced system settings” option in the sidebar. Click Settings under Performance and use the checkboxes here to control which animations Windows displays. Choosing “Adjust for best performance” is a quick way to disable all of them.

On a modern Windows system, these animations won’t really hurt your performance much – but they will make the system seem faster as menus snap into view and windows minimize and restore instantly. These options allow you to eliminate Windows 8’s Start screen animations, too.

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Android:

Android’s hidden Developer Options menu allows you to dramatically accelerate the animations or disable them completely. We’ve covered this before, and the process is basically the same on both Android 4.x and Android 5.0.

You’ll need to enable the Developer Options menu. Open the Settings app, scroll down to the bottom, and tap About phone or About tablet. Locate the “Build number” field and tap it seven times. You’ll see a notification saying you’re now a developer.

Tap the back button and tap the Developer options item that’s now appeared near the bottom of the Settings menu. Activate the Developer options slider, scroll down, and modify the “Window animation scale”, “Transition animation scale” and “Animator duration scale” options. You can select “Animation off” to disable them or “Animation scale .5x” to make them twice as fast as normal.

iPhone & iPad:

Apple fielded a lot of user complaints for the speed of animations in iOS 7. They’ve speed them up since then, but there’s still a way to reduce the interface’s animations.

To do so, open the Settings app, tap General, and tap Accessibility. Tap the Reduce Motion option and activate the switch. This won’t eliminate the animations entirely, but it replaces the motion animations with a fade that feels cleaner and maybe faster.

Mac OS X:

The slowest animations on a Mac are the window minimize and restore animations. They can be controlled from the Dock’s preferences pane. To access it, click the Apple menu, select System Preferences, and click Dock.

There’s no option to disable this animation entirely, but you can choose the “Scale” animation instead of the default “Genie” animation. Scale feels a bit faster and less distracting than Genie, so you’ll have a faster experience the next time you minimize and restore an application.

Unfortunately, there aren’t yet many other options for disabling animations as of OS X Yosemite. There is an option for disabling the bounce animation when applications launch in the Dock pane, though.

Linux:

Linux desktop environment probably has its own options for controlling its various desktop animations, too. Controlling animations options that appear when windows open, close, minimize, or are restored.

Practically every graphical interface offers some option to reduce animations. Some operating systems offer more complete options than others -the Windows desktop and Android are particularly configurable but every operating system offers some. Across every graphical interface, eliminating, reducing, or just speeding up animations will make your interface feel faster.

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Feb 20
Bollywood stars Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan engaged
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Bollywood stars Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan engaged

Monday, January 15, 2007

This article features in a News Brief from Audio Wikinews:

Legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan has confirmed that his son Abhishek and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai were engaged last evening at a private ceremony at the Bachchans’ residence in Mumbai.

It is believed that the younger Bachchan proposed to his bride-to-be in New York, soon after the Toronto premiere of his new movie Guru. The media had been following the romance between the two closely for some time past, but this is the first time they have come out in the open about their relationship. Rumours that the couple were planning to spread the know began to spread in November last year, when they visited the Sankat Mochan Temple together, with some even saying that they had already been married even earlier at the Meenakshi temple in Madurai

According to one daily, the wedding will take place either on February 19 or March 7 at the Hyatt Mumbai. “The children have decided. We are very happy and thought we should go ahead with the ‘roka’ ceremony. It was held in the evening.”, Amitabh Bachchan said of the ceremony, which was attended by the family’s close friends, including Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, Aishwarya’s parents, and industrialist Anil Ambani and the latter’s wife Tina Ambani. The couple have now flown to Ujjain to take a holy dip in the Ganga.

Feb 19
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Feb 19
Wikinews Shorts: August 8, 2009
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Wikinews Shorts: August 8, 2009

A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, August 8, 2009.

Contents

  • 1 Leader of Pakistan Taliban may have been killed in drone attack
  • 2 Hillary Clinton arrives in South Africa
  • 3 Anniversary of Georgian War marked by mutual accusations
  • 4 Police in the United Kingdom ordered to review policing of demonstrations
  • 5 Son of missing Japanese actress Noriko Sakai found safe
  • 6 Seven coalition troops killed within 24 hour period in Afghanistan
  • 7 Hong Kong government to begin school drug testing trials in December
  • 8 Nine killed in Belgium care home fire
  • 9 India and China resume border talks
  • 10 President Kennedy’s sister Eunice Kennedy in critical condition at hospital
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Feb 19
Lake City Toyota Dealers Celebrating 10 Years Of The Prius

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Lake City Toyota dealers celebrating 10 years of the Prius by Harrison BaxterYou might not believe it, but the car that started the entire movement towards more fuel efficient engine technology is already set to celebrate its tenth year in existence. It seems like just yesterday that your Tifton Toyota Camry dealer was gearing up to roll out what might be one of the most influential cars of our entire lives, but it really has been a long road, and not one without its bumps and bruises. Yes, we’ve all seen the evolution of the hybrid engine, and perhaps one of the most important parts of the Prius’ quest to become the best has been the fact that technology has evolved to increase engine efficiency to upwards of 51 miles per gallon. Lake City Toyota drivers are huge fans of the Prius and will continue to be over the course of the vehicle’s hopefully long shelf life. “Toyota recognized in the 1990s that sustainable transportation would become a huge challenge in the coming decades,” said Jim Lentz, president and COO of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. “Those realizations proved accurate, and if anything, even more profound considering what we know today.” Tifton Toyota Camry dealers couldn’t agree more, and they take a lot of pride in knowing that their brand is one of the most forward thinking on the market. With so much energy being put into perfecting efficiency and green business across all aspects of business, Toyota has definitely set the bar high and continues to pile innovation on top of innovation. The only thing that Lake City Toyota dealers believe could upend the Prius is the new movement towards electric vehicles. Still, until the new development has been perfected, there will continue to be a place for hybrid driving. Yes, the road has not been without its hiccups. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you may not have heard about the recent recalls of the Toyota Prius, actions that have done nearly irreparable harm to the brands and Tifton Toyota Camry dealers everywhere. The effects of the recall extended just beyond the Prius itself, but because it was such a high profile car, it took the brunt of the damage. There have been enormous benefits for Prius drivers, the environment and the automotive industry as a whole, and businesses have also received huge benefits, but this is still an eyesore on the soul of the Prius brand. It’s unfortunate that Lake City Toyota enthusiasts will have to remember such a horrific and violent recall, but it’s too late for Toyota to take it back.The question burning on the minds of Prius enthusiasts everywhere is whether Toyota is going to deliver a new car of the caliber of the Prius. Will it be soon? Will it be electric? Will it be a small car? Will it be perfected before it leaves the shop? These are all valid questions that the driving market is asking Toyota and should be answered very soon in the coming years. Harrison Baxter is a blogger and auto enthusiast who writes about the market’s best new cars. His article features information on Tifton Toyota Camry dealers for Lake City Toyota drivers. Article Source: eArticlesOnline.com

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Feb 19
BP report into Gulf of Mexico disaster lays blame on other contractors
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BP report into Gulf of Mexico disaster lays blame on other contractors

Friday, September 10, 2010

BP released their report into the causes of the Deepwater Horizon disaster earlier this year on Wednesday, and shifted much of the blame for the explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, onto Transocean, the company managing the rig. The report concludes by stating that decisions made by “multiple companies and work teams” contributed to the accident which it says arose from “a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces.” The report, the product of a four-month investigation conducted by BP’s Head of Safety Operations, Mark Bly, criticizes the oil rig’s fire prevention systems, the crew of the rig for failing to realize and act upon evidence that oil was leaking from the surface of the ocean, and describes how BP and Transocean “incorrectly accepted” negative pressure test results. The document goes on to note that the blow-out preventer failed to operate, likely because critical components were not operational.

Bob Dudley, who will become chief executive of BP, described the accident as “tragic”. He said, “we have said from the beginning that the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon was a shared responsibility among many entities. This report makes that conclusion even clearer, presenting a detailed analysis of the facts and recommendations for improvement both for BP and the other parties involved. We have accepted all the recommendations and are examining how best to implement them across our drilling operations worldwide.” The report included 25 recommendations, according to a press release, “designed to prevent a recurrence of such an accident.” The oil company has previously blamed Transocean and Halliburton, the well contractor, for the disaster and BP executives feel they have been unfairly blamed by US politicians for the disaster, and the report continues this view.

Tony Hayward, who was fired from the position of BP’s chief executive following multiple public relations issues, squarley places the blame for the disaster on Halliburton. “To put it simply, there was a bad cement job,” he said in a statement, also claiming that BP should not be the only company to take the blame for the explosion. “It would appear unlikely that the well design contributed to the incident,” he argues. The report blames the type of cement used by Halliburton, designed to prevent harmful hydrocarbons from reaching the seabed, as well as criticizing the crew of Deepwater Horizon, for failing to realize for forty minutes that oil had started to leak from the well, and once it was realized, the crew “vented” the hydrocarbons “directly onto the rig”.

Describing how the explosion, which killed eleven rig personnel, occurred, the report states that “the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system probably transferred a gas-rich mixture into the engine rooms,” where the hydrocarbons ignited and a fireball engulfed the rig. But, the report states, the blowout preventer, the ultimate failsafe on the Deepwater Horizon failed, likely due to the fire on the rig. An automated system was not operational because the batteries powering it, located in a control pod, had gone flat, and another control pod contained a faulty solenoid valve.

The report was likely, however, written with the company’s legal liability for the disaster in a prominent position, since they are facing hundreds of lawsuits and criminal charges as a result of the spill. The executive summary is four and a half pages long and the first page is made up entirely of legal disclaimers saying if BP was found to be negligent in their operations of the rig, they could be fined a good deal more.

Questions have also been raised as to why BP has chosen to release their report before authorities examine the blowout preventer. The energy editor of The Guardian, Terry Macalister, wrote that the “catalougue of errors – both human and mechanical” in the report “demolish” the oil industry’s “much quoted mantra” of safety first. “It may come first in the board room but it does not down at the wellhead where the real dangers are faced,” he wrote. “It is worth remembering that BP, its rig operator Transocean and the main well contractor Halliburton are the blue chip companies in the wider oil and gas sector. If the shoddy work practices highlighted here are what the best-in-class do, then what is happening in the lower reaches of this industry?”

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Transocean described the report as a “self-serving” attempt to “conceal the critical factor that set the stage for the Macondo incident: BP’s fatally flawed well design. In both its design and construction, BP made a series of cost-saving decisions that increased risk – in some cases, severely.” In a statement, the company listed five issues they felt had contributed to the disaster that were no fault but BP’s. “Transocean’s investigation is ongoing, and will be concluded when all of the evidence is in, including the critical information the company has requested of BP but has yet to receive.” Members of Congress, who are also carrying out a review into the disaster, also dismissed the report. Ed Markey, the Massachusetts democrat who has been investigating the spill in Congress, said that he felt the report was simply a lengthy defense of the oil company’s handling of the spill. “BP is happy to slice up blame, as long as they get the smallest piece,” he said.

Bly acknowledged during a press conference in Washington that the report did not detail the charges raised against the company in Congress and that BP permitted a culture of recklessness to flourish. He did, however, reject suggestions that cost-cutting had put lives at risk and the rig was a disaster waiting to happen. “What we see instead is, where there were errors made they were based on poor decision-making process or using wrong information,” he said. The Guardian reported that “the report is narrowly focused on the final days before the explosion rather than on earlier decisions about well design and safety procedures. It is also closely focused on the rig itself. No BP officials have been sacked for their role in the explosion, and Bly said there was no indication of any blame beyond the well-site managers.”

The Associated Press reported that Bly “said at a briefing in Washington that the internal report was a reconstruction of what happened on the rig based on the company’s data and interviews with mostly BP employees and was not meant to focus on assigning blame. The six-person investigating panel only had access to a few workers from other companies, and samples of the actual cement used in the well were not released.” The report continued, “Steve Yerrid, special counsel on the oil spill for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, said the report clearly shows the company is attempting to spread blame for the well disaster, foreshadowing what will be a likely legal effort to force Halliburton and Transocean, and perhaps others, to share costs such as paying claims and government penalties.”

Head of Greenpeace’s energy campaign Jim Footner said that it was “highly likely that a truly independent report would be even more damning for BP.” However, he said, “the real problem is our addiction to oil, which is pushing companies like BP to put lives and the environment at risk. The age of oil is coming to an end and companies like BP will be left behind unless they begin to adapt now. The time has come to move beyond oil and invest in clean energy.” Alfred R Sunsen, whose oyster company operating in the Gulf of Mexico is facing the prospect of going out of business after 134 years, reacted angrily the the report. “The report does not address the people, businesses, animals, or natural resources that have been impacted by the disaster and will be dealing with the consequences of their inadequate and slow response to the disaster,” he said. The New York Times said that the report is “unlikely to carry much weight in influencing the Department of Justice, which is considering criminal and civil charges related to the spill,” and described it as “a public relations exercise” and a “probable legal strategy as it prepares to defend itself against possible federal charges, penalties and hundreds of pending lawsuits.”

Wayne Pennington, head of the geological engineering department at Michigan Technical University, also alleged that BP was wrong to blame other parties involved with the disaster. “The blowout and subsequent explosion and spillage appear to the result of an overall attitude that encouraged unwarranted optimism in the quality of each component of the job, allowing the omission of standard testing procedures, and the misinterpretation of other tests in the most-favorable light.” He continued: “Instead, skepticism should reign on any drilling job, and testing and evaluation at each stage of the drilling and completion would then be routine; instead of questioning the need for such things as the cement bond log, the companies involved should insist on checking and double-checking quality at each step of the process. This was clearly not done, repeatedly, in the case of the Macondo well, and disaster resulted.”

4.9 million barrels of crude oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, causing damage to marine and wildlife habitats as well as the Gulf’s fishing and tourism industries. Extensive measures were used to prevent the oil from reaching the coastline of Louisiana, including skimmer ships, floating containment booms, anchored barriers, and sand-filled barricades. Scientists have also reported immense underwater plumes of dissolved oil not visible at the surface. The U.S. Government has named BP as the responsible party, and officials have committed to holding the company accountable for all cleanup costs and other damage.

Dudley went on to say that BP “deeply regret” the disaster. “We have sought throughout to step up to our responsibilities. We are determined to learn the lessons for the future and we will be undertaking a broad-scale review to further improve the safety of our operations. We will invest whatever it takes to achieve that. It will be incumbent on everyone at BP to embrace and implement the changes necessary to ensure that a tragedy like this can never happen again.”

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Feb 19
Hope fades for families of trapped Mexican miners
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Hope fades for families of trapped Mexican miners

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Almost 600 desperate family members and others remained camped outside the Pasta de Conchos coal mine near San Juan de Sabinas, in the northern Mexico state of Coahuila where 65 Mexican miners were trapped by a gas explosion around 2:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) Sunday. Some are threatening to storm the mine while soldiers are trying to keep them calm and rescuers continue to pick through the rock and debris with hand tools, fearing that any power equipment might set off another explosion.

The local newspaper’s headline caused panic by quoting one of over a dozen surviving miners who were close enough to the exits to escape: “They are surely dead,” (La Prensa de Monclova). However, Arturo Vilchis, Civil Protection Director, refused to speculate on the condition of the miners, while Javier de la Fuente, an engineering contractor with mine owner Grupo México S.A. de C.V. also tried to hold out some hope.

The men were each supposed to be carrying oxygen tanks, each with a six hour supply, and there’s some hope that they could reach other oxygen supply tanks, or that some air might be reaching them through the ventilation shafts into which rescuers have been pumping more oxygen since shortly after the explosion.

Juan Rebolledo, vice president of international affairs for Grupo México, assured onlookers that U.S. mining experts were on the way, and officials at the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration have confirmed that they’ve sent a specialized equipment truck and several mining experts which should arrive at the mine site on Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile Consuelo Aguilar, a spokeswoman for the National Miners’ Union, called for an investigation into Grupo México’s responsibility for the disaster. Pedro Camarillo, a federal labor official, said nothing unusual was found during a routine evaluation in early February.

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