Toyota to suspend sales of Lexus GX 460 over new safety fears

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Japanese auto maker Toyota is to temporarily suspend sales of its luxury Lexus GX 460 SUV following an unfavorable verdict from Consumer Reports, which concluded “Don’t Buy: Safety Risk,” the first such warning in almost a decade.

After conducting its standard emergency handling tests on the 2010 version of the Lexus GX 460, Consumer Reports became concerned that the rear of the vehicle had a tendency to slide out, which in real life situations could lead to rollovers. However, the consumer organisation is also unaware of any such incidents with the 5000 GX 460s sold since its launch three months ago.

Already embattled with ongoing safety issues with its vehicles, Toyota has been quick to act, though it did claim that the car was safe to drive and that it had passed internal safety standards. According to Toyota, “Lexus’ extensive vehicle testing provides a good indication of how our vehicles perform and we are confident that the GX meets our high safety standards.”

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Final bidder submits SGD5.5 billion plan for Singapore casino

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The third and last bidder for Singapore’s Sentosa Integrated Resort (IR) project, Eighth Wonder, submitted its development plan yesterday: a SGD 5.5 billion(USD 3.52 billion) eco-friendly casino known as “Harry’s Island”.

Harry’s Island will boast 10 luxury, family-oriented hotels, a tree house with family suites, and a 7,500-seat Caldera theater which will feature nightly spectacular shows.

Eighth Wonder says it wants to make Harry’s Island a world-class, must-see tourist destination and has roped-in several big names in its tender. If selected, the resort will have spas and health centers run by health guru Deepak Chopra, Vera Wang hotels with access to her entire wedding collection, and a soccer academy with Brazilian soccer icon Pele giving his input.

Harry’s Island will create around 15,000 jobs, including 5000 in the food and beverage industry.

The company believes it can recover its investments by 2015 by generating over $5.6 billion in five years; it hopes to bring nearly 15 million visitors annually by 2014.

The Sentosa IR project is the second of two IR tenders offered by the Singapore Government: the first was located in Marina Bay.

The Singapore government is expected to announce the winner in December.

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Women reveal accounts of forced abortion in Scientology

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Scientology is facing renewed criticism, due to an extensive exposé in the Florida newspaper the St. Petersburg Times which contains revealing accounts of women involved in the organization who say they were forced to have abortions. Multiple different female members of the Scientology group called the Sea Org said they were pressured to have abortions, and were threatened with separation from their families, hard labor, interrogations, and shunning, if they did not comply.

Women that came forward to the St. Petersburg Times said that those who did not wish to undergo an abortion were shunned by others within the Sea Org group, and were labeled as “out ethics” and “degraded beings”. The Sea Org consists of 6,000 members of Scientology, who sign billion-year contracts to work for the organization for multiple lifetimes. Joining the Sea Org is considered a high calling within Scientology.

L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, stated his appreciation for families within the Sea Org. Scientology’s subsequent leader, David Miscavige, issued an order that children were to be banned in the Sea Org. The mandate by Miscavige asserted that children hampered the productivity of the Scientology order.

There is no church policy to convince anyone to have an abortion, and the church has never engaged in such activity.

Scientology representative, Tommy Davis denied all of the assertions made by the women. “There is no church policy to convince anyone to have an abortion, and the church has never engaged in such activity. The decision to have a child or terminate a pregnancy is a personal decision made by a couple. That applies to all Scientologists. If any current or former Sea Org member ever ‘pressured’ someone to have an abortion, they did so independently, and that action was not approved, endorsed or advocated by the church,” stated Davis to the St. Petersburg Times.

Another woman is suing the Scientology organization in United States federal court, and stated she was threatened with severe repercussions if she did not have an abortion. Claire Headley, 35, a member of the Sea Org when she was in Scientology, told the St. Petersburg Times, “The policy was if a staff member became pregnant, that they were to have an abortion.”

In 1991, Headley became a member of the Sea Org at age sixteen, and began work with the division of the organization in Los Angeles, California. She married at age seventeen, while a member of the organization. Headley said that officials within Scientology leadership pressured her to have two abortions: one at age nineteen, and another at age 21. Headley believed she had “no choice”, as she had witnessed other women that refused to have abortions instructed to perform manual labor, with one pregnant woman ordered to dig ditches. Headley said that during pressure to have her second abortion she was forbidden to phone her husband to discuss the decision. She spent a total of thirteen years in the Sea Org.

The policy was if a staff member became pregnant, that they were to have an abortion.

Laura Dieckman, 31, said that she was enthusiastic about beginning a family when she became pregnant within Scientology at age seventeen, but was instructed to have an abortion. In a federal lawsuit against Scientology, Dieckman stated she joined with the Sea Org at the age of twelve, and at age sixteen she married another member of the group, Jesse DeCrescenzo. She said she was pressured to have an abortion in 1996.

Dieckman said to the St. Petersburg Times: “I was pounded for two days by the top person in my organization … about how the baby wasn’t a baby yet, it was just tissue and it wouldn’t matter if I aborted the baby.” Dieckman left Scientology in 2004. In a video posted to the website of the St. Petersburg Times, Dieckman emotionally recounted how she had immediately regretted going through with the procedure, “They will do an ultrasound before the procedure so you see the heartbeat. … I’m lying there … and I was like, ‘No.’ But it’s too late. I’d already done it.”

Natalie Hagemo said that 20 years ago at age nineteen, she was pressured by Scientology officials to have an abortion, but she resisted. Hagemo gave birth to Shelby on August 20, 1990. Hagemo’s daughter was recruited into the Sea Org at age 14. Shelby contacted her mother a week later wanting to leave the Sea Org; Hagemo had a difficult time getting Shelby out of the group. It was not until this year that Hagemo told her daughter about experiencing pressure from Scientology officials to have an abortion.

The St. Petersburg Times received sworn depositions from additional women including Sunny Pereira, who said they were intimidated into having abortions they did not wish to undergo. “They put you in this position where you’re weighing the lives of all these people you’re supposed to be saving against this one little tiny speck of nuisance that’s growing inside of you,” said Pereira. Spokesman Tommy Davis stated the women were accusing Scientology of forced abortions because of choices they now “appear to regret”.

In Nevada, Republican party candidate for the United States Senate, Sharron Angle, was the focus of criticism for her support of a Scientology-associated program. Angle’s opponent, incumbent Senator and Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid, took out a 30-second negative political ad critical of Angle for supporting “a Scientology plan to give massages to prisoners”. The prison program Angle had supported was based on techniques developed by Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Angle had previously been the subject of a similar ad in the Republican primary, generated by the campaign of her opponent Sue Lowden. Sharron Angle is pro-life, and The New York Times columnist Ramesh Ponnuru noted her position against abortion helped her win the Republican primary. “Angle would not have been able to unite populist conservatives and beat the party establishment’s candidate had she been pro-choice,” noted Ponnuru.

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Issues Many People Do Not Know About Auto Insurance

By Adriana J. Noton

Auto insurance is not an option if one is planning to own and operate a licensed vehicle. However, it is a broad field that can be confusing especially to first timers. Some people also believe that they just need to locate the provider then buy whatever cover the agent recommends. This is not the best way although some people just get lucky.

If you believe that matters related to auto insurance quotes are too complicated, you should change your attitude and put a little effort then you will see what you have been missing. What you should realize is that stakeholders in the industry, from the auto insurance company to the agents, want to make more profits. So if you just rely on their advice, you create a great channel for them to make that extra profit.

Some of the issues you must know before approaching any provider include the policies regarding replacement and repair costs, actual and agreed value as well as depreciation. These vary from company to company, so you must evaluate a number to find out which suits you best. Some companies do not seem to care about the physical condition of the vehicle or upgrades you have made doing valuation after an accident.

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Another interesting thing you must understand is depreciation. Although different techniques are used to arrive at the final figure, it is important to note that the manufacture date is the main determinant. Other factors, which are also considered, include the odometer reading, the exterior and interior condition of the vehicle. You might be wondering why you need this. However, if you expect to pay the right amount, you must know the exact value of your vehicle after a given period.

So far we have considered factors rarely addressed. However, this does not mean that one should not consider other issues. For instance, you must learn how to get the best provider in the market. Currently, one of the best ways to do this is by getting online auto insurance quotes to help you find out the best company.

With different quotes, you can compare different things like premium rates, types of coverage and the terms of service. In addition to the different quotes, it is also a good idea to read reviews or use other rating systems available online. Such resources can help you find out which companies are rated best based on the experiences of other people.

Before settling for any provider, it is advisable to review the local laws. This will help you understand the minimum coverage required. This will help you especially if you are looking for the cheapest auto insurance cover. This is because you can opt for something barely above the minimum requirement.

From these points it is clear that there is more to auto insurance than visiting the local agent for a quote. Once you have a clear understanding of these factors, you will enjoy the best rates possible. The knowledge is also indispensable in case you are filing a claim.

About the Author: Online provider of online auto insurance quote offering both auto insurance and car insurance online – covering all of your insurance needs.


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EU bans all Indonesian airlines as well as several from Russia, Ukraine and Angola

Friday, June 29, 2007

The European Union banned all of Indonesia’s air carriers yesterday, none of which presently operate services to Europe, as well as several from Russia, Ukraine and Angola. They are the latest additions to the already extensive List of air carriers banned in the EU. The ban is scheduled to come into effect on July 6. Just hours after the ban a Boeing 737 operated by one of the blacklisted airlines, TAAG Angola Airlines, crashed into a house during landing, causing at least six fatalities in Northern Angola.

Indonesia currently has 51 airlines, having grounded several and revoked the licences of others on June 25. The EU said that substandard maintenance and operation and a slow reaction by Indonesia to solve the problem were the main causes of the ban. EU holidaymakers who have booked flights with banned airlines via travel agents will be refunded for the services.

EU transport commissioner Jacques Barrot said of the ban “Once more, the EU blacklist will prove to be an essential tool not only to prevent unsafe airlines from flying to Europe and to inform passengers travelling worldwide, but also to make sure that airlines and civil aviation authorities take appropriate actions to improve safety.”

Operations and safety editor at Flight International David Learmount commented that Indonesia, whose airline industry was deregulated the early 1990s, is one of a handful of cases where deregulation has lowered safety standards instead of improving them, saying of the move by the EU “Standards in aviation safety have been going up dramatically on a worldwide basis, but there are still places where they are [of the standards of] the 70s and 80s. In Indonesia the safety watchdog was told earlier this year to pull its socks up, but the EU is clearly convinced that it has not done so.”

One unnamed EU official was reported by The Guardian to have described Indonesia’s civil aviation authority as “not very reliable”, referring to a lack of reaction to warnings of an imminent ban and requests that Indonesia reassured officials that the problem was being dealt with.

Indonesia has responded to the ban by saying that, according to information unseen by the EU, Indonesian safety standards are rising. Director-general of civil aviation at the Indonesian transport ministry Budhi Mulyawan Suyitno told Reuters new agency that, “Our data can show them that we have improved on every line. The US had already downgraded Indonesia’s safety rating earlier this year.

Also affected by the bans are Ukraine’s Volare Aviation, while Russia has imposed bans on four of its airlines after consulting the EU and restricted six others, Bulgaria has revoked the licences of six cargo airlines and Moldova has banned eight airlines.

Meanwhile, Pakistan International Airlines, subject of a controversial EU ban earlier this year, had restrictions on some of its aircraft lifted. The airline’s fleet of Boeing 777s and some of their Boeing 747s and Airbus 310s will now be allowed back into European airspace.

The announcements come after three accidents involving Indonesian airliners – the New Year’s Day crash of Adam Air Flight 574, which killed 102 people, the subsequent accident involving Adam Air Flight 172, which cracked in half on a hard landing but held together, preventing serious injury, and the March crash of state-run Garuda Indonesia Flight 200, which claimed 23 lives. All the accidents involved ageing Boeing 737 aircraft.

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Tropical Storm Danny to threaten the U.S. East Coast this weekend

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) has declared an area of disturbed weather north of Puerto Rico Tropical Storm Danny today, skipping the tropical depression stage.

A statement by the NHC said “a general northwestward motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected today and Thursday, with a turn toward the north-northwest expected on Friday.” This path should bring Danny near the North Carolina early this weekend, and possibly threatening the New England region by Sunday. While the storm is currently weak and disorganized, forecasters say the storm could reach Category 1 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. However, it is not expected to be as strong as the previous storm, Hurricane Bill.

At this point we are monitoring the storm

The center’s most recent forecast discussion on the tropical storm said “The forecast track is roughly parallel to the U.S. East Coast…and any deviation from the track could make a large difference in what areas get impacted by Danny”.

Some residents in the northeast U.S. are already monitoring Danny. Long Island, recovering from coastal flooding just last week as Hurricane Bill passed offshore, might suffer another hit.

Danny is currently situated about 445 mi (715 km) east of Nassau, Bahamas, and has winds of 45 mph (75 km/h). It is moving west-northwest at 16 kt. All interests along the East Coast are urged to keep an eye on the developing storm over coming days.

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New book links Bonds, Giambi and Sheffield to BALCO

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The new book Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports, by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams of The San Francisco Chronicle, is being released today. The authors not only implicate professional baseball celebrity Barry Bonds in the use of performance-enhancing drugs, but also say Gary Sheffield received human growth hormone and testosterone from Greg Anderson, Bonds’s personal trainer.

The book goes on to claim that Jason Giambi also took performance-enhancing drugs from Anderson. Bonds continues to insist that he did not realize his trainer was giving him steriods. He claimed in his grand jury testimony that he thought he was receiving flaxseed oil and an arthritis salve. Sheffield’s response to the claims was quite simple: when asked if the allegations made against him were true, his response was “Nope.”

Despite the book’s accusations of Sheffield and Giambi, it centers around Bonds and the founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative or BALCO, Victor Conte Jr. Conte is currently serving four months in prison for distribution of steriods and money laundering. It appears that the steroid controversy concerning Bonds will only intensify as he continues to march on towards the career home runs record, one of baseball’s most sacred records.

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A Few Things That You Should Know Before Getting Into Forex Trading

A Few Things That You Should Know Before Getting Into Forex Trading


jenny christopher

People who are interested in making quick money in a legitimate way by investing it somewhere can choose Forex Trading. The term Forex is nothing but an abbreviation used for Foreign Exchange and the business of foreign currency is what is known as Forex Trading. This form of investment can appear to be very complicated and difficult to people but this is the case only with beginners. People who have a vast knowledge about it are the ones who make huge profits and returns on their invested money. This form of investment is a great way to make money without losing much.

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The popularity of trading in todays time is mainly because of the advanced technology which made people to take up this trading business. With the development of technology, investors can deal with several online Forex platform which exists in the market today. The internet has also played a major role in the advancement of the trading business. There can be found various brokers and agents online who take up the orders placed by the investors. All this is done by the online portal as anyone can open an account. This is a great way for people to make use of their Forex accounts for trading purposes. A very common term which people come across during training system of Forex is Forex platform which is basically the site where traders do their business and also get information about every trading deal. If you want to make profits out of your investments then it is extremely important to understand the concept of trading platform. There is no dearth of these platforms as there are many available in the market. With changing times trading on the Forex market has become extremely easy. But beginners should always be cautious when starting with investing money in the market because little knowledge in this market can eat away all your hard earned money. Therefore, it is always advised to do a lot of studying and research before entering into the Forex world. The training system provides all kinds of basic information about Forex trade. For instance, you will be informed about facts like Forex Currency Trading is open 24 hours a day. This is different from other stock markets in the world because they work only during some specific hours. The reason it works 24 hours is because every country trades on it and so it is open throughout the day for people to work according to their time zones. The most important feature of an online Forex platform is that an investor can purchase and sell currencies and at the very same time get all the related information in least possible time. There are screens where one can easily view the charts explaining the market and status of their investment. All this helps trader to access his platform conveniently. However, it is very important to choose a platform quite cautiously and carefully because the trading depends on this. Also, one should have adequate knowledge about the way the market works.

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US food regulators recall 380 million eggs after salmonella outbreak

Friday, August 20, 2010

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled 380 million eggs and the number is expected to grow, after around 300 in Colorado, California, and Minnesota and 2,000 nationwide became infected with salmonella after eating eggs distributed by Wright County Eggs.

The contaminated eggs were sold under the labels Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma’s, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms, Kemps, Bayview, Mountain Dairy, NuLay and Sun Valley. Eggs have been sold in seventeen states.

Wright County Egg’s owner has been previously cited for breaking environmental laws.

They [birds] defecate in the feed, which the chickens then eat and can become infected.

In response to the outbreak the FDA deployed an initial team of ten investigators to Wright County Egg in Iowa to inspect the farms and determine the source of the contamination. Although no official statement has been issued, it is believed animals including birds and rodents defecated where food for chickens is stored.

The outbreak is believed to have started in early July, around the time new federal regulations to prevent salmonella contamination of eggs took effect.

According to the FDA, the symptoms of salmonella infection includes fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

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Inauguration of the 71st Thessaloniki International Fair in Greece

Friday, September 8, 2006

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the whole of Cabinet is already in Greece’s second-largest city Thessaloniki, in order to take part to the inauguration of the, organized by Helexpo[1], 71st International Fair[2], which will take place later today. The Greek Premier will address a speech – as it traditionally happens every year – at the Vellidion Conference Centre where he is going to speak about the upcoming governmental policies in Economy. Earlier today, Karamanlis visited the sites of two upcoming public works in the city; the Thessaloniki Metro construction site and the expansion of Makedonia International Airport. At 1pm(GTM +2), the Greek Premier will inaugurate the renovated Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.

According to government officials, Karamanlis is expected to emphasize New Democracy‘s achievements in two-and-a-half years in government while avoiding promises of handouts, although he is due to announce some changes regarding economical issues, like the tax system.

Prime Minister Karamanlis will address his official speech at 8pm in Vellidion Centre while several demonstrations have been scheduled in the centre of Thessaloniki and around the area of the International Fair. Among those demonstrations, condemning the governmental policies, are the supporters of PAOK FC who demand solution to the their team’s administration as well as Greece‘s largest labour unions, GSEE and ADEDY, which have also organized a protest in the city center at 6pm and demonstrators are due to march to the exhibition center where the Thessaloniki International Fair is being held.

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