Sunday, January 27, 2019

In findings published earlier this month in Ecological Applications, scientists from the University of Washington and Center for Ecosystem Sentinels examine the reason for the plummeting numbers of female Magellanic penguins, Spheniscus magellanicus, that have been reported at the birds’ breeding sites in South America over the past twenty years and more. Wikinews caught up with postdoctoral researcher and study co-author Natasha Gownaris to learn more.

In a press release, Gownaris said, “Two decades ago, there were about 1.5 adult male Magellanic penguins for every adult female at Punta Tombo[…] Today, it’s approaching three males for every female.” The findings suggested a disparity in the death rate of juvenile and adult penguins, rather than differences in chick survival, account for this difference.

Punta Tombo is one of the annual breeding sites for the species; it is in Argentina. The penguins travel thousands of miles each year to reach these sites.

The work involved building population models out of over thirty years of data collected by tagging individual penguins. Findings also suggested the pronounced sex disparity might make population models used to predict survival among other birds with a more even gender balance inappropriate for use on Megallanic penguins.

According to the data, since 1987, overall population of Magellanic penguins in Punta Tombo at one of their annual breeding sites in Argentina has declined 40%, while the male-to-female ratio has greatly increased.

Since 1983, the research team has been putting stainless steel bands on tens of thousands of chicks hatched at the Punta Tombo breeding site in Argentina, noting which juvenile and adult birds make it back to the site the next year and extrapolating how many lived and died. Among juveniles, there was a 17% survival rate for males and 12% for females. Among adults, it was 89% and 85%. These effects became compounded every year, reaching as high as six males to one female among older penguins.

The researchers noted implications for penguin conservation: Gownaris remarked, “Over the years, this team has helped preserve the land and waters around breeding colonies like Punta Tombo[…] But now we’re starting to understand that, to help Magellanic penguins, you have to protect waters where they feed in winter, which are thousands of miles north from Punta Tombo.”

Gownaris answered a series of questions for our correspondent.

((Wikinews)) What prompted your curiosity about Magellanic penguins?

Natasha Gownaris: I’ve wanted to be a marine scientist since I was a child, when I would collect sand crabs (Emerita talpoida) from local beaches in New York. I studied fish as a graduate student, but I have a pair of adopted parrots and I am generally fascinated by birds. Plus, penguins eat fish! Studying penguins seemed like a great way to merge my love for the ocean and my love for birds. Penguins and other seabirds are also important to study because they tell us something about the health of the ocean ecosystems they feed in, similar to the use of canaries to test air quality in coal mines. Unfortunately, the decline of many seabird species worldwide is yet another warning sign of the negative and widespread impacts humans are having on the ocean.

((WN)) How did you approach putting together such a large-scale study?

NG: This study started in 1982, long before my joining the lab in March of 2016. Dr. Dee Boersma began this study as a response to a Japanese company’s interest in harvesting penguins for their skin, meat, and oil. Although the project has evolved over time, Dr. Boersma had the foresight to start banding chicks in 1983 and to set up a standard protocol that we follow each year. Since then, over 44,000 chicks have been banded at Punta Tombo. We’ve been able to follow some individuals for 30+ years, collecting detailed information on things like how often they breed and how many mates they’ve had.

((WN)) How much time did you end up spending in Argentina? What was it like at the breeding site?

NG: Members of the Boersma lab and volunteers spend approximately six months each year at Punta Tombo. I was fortunate enough to spend nearly four months at the colony between 2015 and 2017. It’s an incredible, otherworldly place. Magellanic penguins nest in burrows or bushes, and some areas of the colony are so dense with burrows that you feel like you’re on a different planet. The colony has declined by over 40% since the study started…so I can’t even imagine what it was like in the 1980s. My favorite time of the day is around 8PM, when (hopefully fat) penguins are returning to the colony en masse after a foraging trip. They are also most vocal in the morning and evening, making their characteristic braying sound— the related African penguin earned the name “jackass penguin” because they sound a bit like donkeys. The colony is also full of other beautiful and interesting creatures, including a llama-like species called the guanaco and an ostrich-like species called the rhea.

I was fortunate enough to spend nearly four months at the colony between 2015 and 2017. It’s an incredible, otherworldly place.

((WN)) Do you have any theories on why more female juveniles die at sea? You mention starvation; what might be the causes of that, and are there other possible explanations you can think of?

NG: We are not yet certain why females are more likely to die, but we think it must be related to their smaller body size. Because the mortality is most uneven in juveniles, higher mortality doesn’t seem to be related to greater costs of breeding for females than for males. Female Magellanic penguins are about 17% lighter than males and have smaller bills. We think that, because of this size difference, females have a lower storage capacity, can’t dive as deep, and can’t take as wide a range of prey as males — all disadvantages when faced with limited and unpredictable food resources. These disadvantages hit juvenile females even harder, as juveniles are still learning how to forage and often travel further than adults do in the non-breeding season. Counts of carcasses in the species’ migration range support starvation as the main cause of female-biased mortality; while oiled carcasses have a sex ratio of 1:1, females outnumber males in carcasses of starved birds. The only other possibility is that females are moving to other colonies at higher rates than are males, but this species is known to almost always return to its natal colony to breed.

((WN)) You suggest conservation efforts should look at protection of feeding grounds. What sort of measures do you think might be beneficial?

NG: Because penguins migrate such long distances over the non-breeding season, a mixture of tools (including no-take marine protected areas and traditional fisheries management tools, like catch limits) is likely to be needed. Although there is currently some spatial protection surrounding the species’ breeding colony, this protection does not extend to their migratory route. And, of course, everyone can contribute to penguin conservation by reducing their plastic waste, making more sustainable food choices, and reducing their carbon footprint.

((WN)) What do you think might be causing pressure on food sources for the penguins?

NG: The two main threats to the food sources of this colony are climate change, which cause shifts in primary productivity and fish stocks, and fisheries. Fisheries compete with penguins for fish species such as hake and anchovy.

((WN)) Have you noticed differences in behavior among the penguins as the ratios become increasingly skewed?

NG: In a separate study currently under review, we have shown that aggression between males of Magellanic penguins is higher when the sex ratio at the colony is more skewed towards males. We also showed that nearly all females at the colony breed but that, over time, fewer and fewer males find mates. Single male penguins sometimes intrude [on] nests of mated pairs and interrupt the incubation of eggs or feeding of chicks, leading to mortality. In some cases, they will even attack and kill chicks.

((WN)) Your release mentioned sexing the penguins was problematic; how did you achieve it with confidence?

NG: We have some methods of sexing penguins that we feel confident about — using genetics or measures of cloaca size around egg laying, for example. However, these methods are time intensive, so we have also developed visual cues for sex penguins (bill size, behavior, forehead shape). We looked at individuals that had been sexed using both a certain method (e.g. genetics) and visual methods to calculate how often we got it right based on visual cues alone and found that we have very high accuracy. We also used statistical tools to help to deal with uncertainty in the sex of some individuals.

((WN)) How well can you extrapolate population trends at Punta Tombo based on the birds you tagged? More broadly, how well do you think this work represents global populations?

everyone can contribute to penguin conservation by reducing their plastic waste, making more sustainable food choices, and reducing their carbon footprint

NG: It is likely that females have higher mortality than males at other colonies of this species and in other penguin species. We unfortunately do not have enough information from other colonies of this species (e.g. sex ratio and population trends) for an accurate global assessment of population trends. We do know that some colonies of the species are growing but that, at the global level, the species is still in decline.

((WN)) In your opinion, for how much longer are penguin populations sustainable without intervention?

NG: This is nearly impossible to answer without more information on other colonies of the species, but the Punta Tombo colony is declining rapidly. We estimate declines of at least 43% since 1987 from our annual surveys at the colony, but it is likely that actual declines are higher because of the increasingly skewed sex ratio.

((WN)) What are your next plans moving forward with your work?

NG: We are currently studying the sex ratio in Magellanic penguin chicks (at hatching and at fledging) to determine how this influences the sex ratio in adults. There are two priorities moving forward — 1) estimating sex ratio at other colonies of this species and determining whether females are more likely to leave Punta Tombo for other colonies than are males and 2) determining the mechanisms underlying lower female survival, e.g. by studying the foraging behavior and diet of males and females and the individual characteristics (like body size) that correlate with survival.

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Timothy Dalton to voice a character in Toy Story 3

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Timothy Dalton to voice a character in Toy Story 3
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Friday, September 11, 2009

Disney president John Lasseter has announced that British actor Timothy Dalton will be voicing a character in Toy Story 3.File:Tdalton.jpg

Dalton, who previously starred as James Bond in Licence to Kill and The Living Daylights, will star as a thespian hedgehog called Mr. Pricklypants in Toy Story 3, a film which is due for release in June 2010. Mr. Pricklypants is described as “a hedgehog toy with thespian tendencies”.

John Lasseter, Disney/Pixar Chief Creative Officer, made the announcement at a Disney Animation Showcase in London, England on Thursday. At the same event it was announced that Mandy Moore would star in a cartoon based on the fairytale Rapunzel and that a James Bond-style character will appear in upcoming Disney/Pixar film Cars 2. In August 2009, it was also announced that Michael Keaton — from the movie Cars — would voice Ken, the boyfriend to Barbie in the film.

John Lasseter originally announced the plans for the third film in the franchise in January 2008 and said that people would be “blown away” by it. He proclaimed: “It [Toy Story 3] is shaping up to be another great adventure for Buzz, Woody and the gang from Andy’s room.”

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Conservatives win in a two-party parliament in Alberta, Canada

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Conservatives win in a two-party parliament in Alberta, Canada
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Sunday, April 21, 2019

On April 16, 2019, the United Conservative Party won 63 seats out of 87 in a provincial election of Alberta, Canada. The party lead by Jason Kenney ended the New Democratic Party’s single term in office, which saw Rachel Notley as premier. Incidentally, this was the first time there had been a two-party government in the province since 1979, with the Alberta Party and the Liberal Party having lost all their seats, as well as Freedom Conservative Party, Alberta Independence Party, Green and Independents.

The election centred around the issue of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline, which the federal government tried to prevent the building of on the basis of environmental issues. This project would involve restimulating the oil sands regions by building a pipeline into the neighbouring province of British Columbia, and would create more jobs. This has resulted in more voters preferring to vote for the more conservative United Conservative Party, as its leader Jason Kenney said they would pressure the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to approve this project. An alternative of transporting oil by rail was available, according to the New Democratic Party.

In his pre-election campaign, Jason Kenney also said he would repeal the carbon tax in the province. He said that it was introduced in exchange for approval of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline, but as the approval was unavailable, they would repeal the carbon tax. Jason Kenney said, “We didn’t see one single environmental group, provincial, municipal, government, First Nation, anybody move from ‘no’ to ’yes’ on pipelines as a result… all we got was stronger opposition to resource development and pipelines.”

There were other issues raised in the pre-election campaign. For instance, the New Democratic Party on several occasions referenced Jason Kenney’s voting record on LGBTQ issues, which he claimed did not accurately represent his current stance on the matter. They also claimed that Jason Kenney would cut funding for education.

The election of a conservative government in this province may allegedly influence the federal elections in October. Many provinces which had liberal governments in 2015 have now elected a conservative one, including the large capital province of Ontario. Every new conservative government being elected in a province could reportedly increase chances of the federal opposition leader Andrew Scheer being elected Prime Minister later this year.

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City of Edinburgh Council seek to improve local music scene

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City of Edinburgh Council seek to improve local music scene
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

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Yesterday evening saw the Usher Hall in Edinburgh host a meeting between representatives of the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) and the local rock and pop music scene. The meeting was dominated with local musicians’ complaints over the “zero tolerance” policy Edinburgh is viewed as having adopted towards amplified music.The meeting began with the leading panel — Norma Austin Hart, vice-convener for Culture and Sport; John Stout, promoter from Regular Music; Kevin Buckle, of local store Avalanche Records; and Karl Chapman, manager of the Usher Hall — introducing themselves and outlining the purpose of the meeting. This being best-summarised as a desire to emulate the vibrant music scene of places as far-flung as Austin, Texas and Sydney, Australia.

Councillor Hart indicated officials from Austin had already offered to get involved in improving the live music scene in the city; although none were present from Austin, US-born local musician Pat Dennis provided his frank opinion on where Edinburgh fails to nurture the local music scene: that failure to support a grass-roots, small venue, music scene prevents the city being capable of organising events similar to Austin’s South by Southwest festival outwith August, when Edinburgh hosts the Festival and Fringe.

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Coming in for the lion’s share of criticism, staff from CEC’s Licensing Board were visibly uncomfortable when the topic of the “single complainant” was brought up time and time again. Unlike any other business within the city, or residential properties, noise pollution within premises permitted to sell alcohol is not managed by environmental health staff. That responsibility is bundled with the alcohol license, which leaves publicans fearful that their premises will be forced to close if they do not comply with demands to cease use of any amplification, or hosting live music. This was characterised as a ‘tyranny of the minority’, a most-undemocratic approach where one person — for example, recently moved into a property adjacent to a long-established premises hosting live music — could force the closure of a business which has hosted local talent for 30+ years.

Taking heed of the strength of feeling from the majority present, Councillor Hart made a number of personal commitments towards the end of the meeting. Those included setting up a working group, Music is Audible, to look at how the council could better work with venues, and to have a follow-up meeting in March next year.

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As increase in digital music sales slows, record labels look to new ways to make money

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As increase in digital music sales slows, record labels look to new ways to make money
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Every September, the Apple iPod is redesigned. Last year saw the release of the iPod Nano 5th generation, bringing a video camera and a large range of colours to the Nano for the first time. But as Apple again prepares to unveil a redesigned product, the company has released their quarterly sales figures—and revealed that they have sold only 9m iPods for the quarter to June—the lowest number of sales since 2006, leading industry anylists to ponder whether the world’s most successful music device is in decline.

Such a drop in sales is not a problem for Apple, since the iPhone 4 and the iPad are selling in high numbers. But the number of people buying digital music players are concerning the music industry. Charles Arthur, technology editor of The Guardian, wrote that the decline in sales of MP3 players was a “problem” for record companies, saying that “digital music sales are only growing as fast as those of Apple’s devices – and as the stand-alone digital music player starts to die off, people may lose interest in buying songs from digital stores. The music industry had looked to the iPod to drive people to buy music in download form, whether from Apple’s iTunes music store, eMusic, Napster or from newer competitors such as Amazon.”

Mark Mulligan, a music and digital media analyst at Forrester Research, said in an interview that “at a time where we’re asking if digital is a replacement for the CD, as the CD was for vinyl, we should be starting to see a hockey-stick growth in download sales. Instead, we’re seeing a curve resembling that of a niche technology.” Alex Jacob, a spokesperson for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents the worldwide music industry, agreed that there had been a fall in digital sales of music. “The digital download market is still growing,” they said. “But the percentage is less than a few years ago, though it’s now coming from a higher base.” Figures released earlier this year, Arthur wrote, “show that while CD sales fell by 12.7%, losing $1.6bn (£1bn)in value, digital downloads only grew by 9.2%, gaining less than $400m in value.”

Expectations that CDs would, in time, become extinct, replaced by digital downloads, have not come to light, Jacob confirmed. “Across the board, in terms of growth, digital isn’t making up for the fall in CD sales, though it is in certain countries, including the UK,” he said. Anylising the situation, Arthur suggested that “as iPod sales slow, digital music sales, which have been yoked to the device, are likely to slow too. The iPod has been the key driver: the IFPI’s figures show no appreciable digital download sales until 2004, the year Apple launched its iTunes music store internationally (it launched it in the US in April 2003). Since then, international digital music sales have climbed steadily, exactly in line with the total sales of iPods and iPhones.”

Nick Farrell, a TechEYE journalist, stated that the reason for the decline in music sales could be attributed to record companies’ continued reliance on Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, saying that they had considered him the “industry’s saviour”, and by having this mindset had forgotten “that the iPod is only for those who want their music on the run. What they should have been doing is working out how to get high quality music onto other formats, perhaps even HiFi before the iPlod fad died out.”

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When Jobs negotiated a deal with record labels to ensure every track was sold for 99 cents, they considered this unimportant—the iPod was not a major source of revenue for the company. However, near the end of 2004, there was a boom in sales of the iPod, and the iTunes store suddenly began raking in more and more money. The record companies were irritated, now wanting to charge different amounts for old and new songs, and popular and less popular songs. “But there was no alternative outlet with which to threaten Apple, which gained an effective monopoly over the digital music player market, achieving a share of more than 70%” wrote Arthur. Some did attempt to challenge the iTunes store, but still none have succeeded. “Apple is now the largest single retailer of music in the US by volume, with a 25% share.”

The iTunes store now sells television shows and films, and the company has recently launced iBooks, a new e-book store. The App Store is hugely successful, with Apple earning $410m in two years soley from Apps, sales of which they get 30%. In two years, 5bn apps have been downloaded—while in seven years, 10bn songs have been purchased. Mulligan thinks that there is a reason for this—the quality of apps simply does not match up to a piece of music. “You can download a song from iTunes to your iPhone or iPad, but at the moment music in that form doesn’t play to the strengths of the device. Just playing a track isn’t enough.”

Adam Liversage, a spokesperson of the British Phonographic Industry, which represents the major UK record labels, notes that the rise of streaming services such as Spotify may be a culprit in the fall in music sales. Revenues from such companies added up to $800m in 2009. Arthur feels that “again, it doesn’t make up for the fall in CD sales, but increasingly it looks like nothing ever will; that the record business’s richest years are behind it. Yet there are still rays of hope. If Apple – and every other mobile phone maker – are moving to an app-based economy, where you pay to download games or timetables, why shouldn’t recording artists do the same?”

Well, apparently they are. British singer Peter Gabriel has released a ‘Full Moon Club’ app, which is updated every month with a new song. Arthur also notes that “the Canadian rock band Rush has an app, and the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, led by Trent Reznor – who has been critical of the music industry for bureaucracy and inertia – released the band’s first app in April 2009.” It is thought that such a system will be an effective method to reduce online piracy—”apps tend to be tied to a particular handset or buyer, making them more difficult to pirate than a CD”, he says—and in the music industry, piracy is a very big problem. In 2008, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimated that 95% of downloads were illegitimate. If musicians can increase sales and decrease piracy, Robert says, it can only be a good thing.

“It’s early days for apps in the music business, but we are seeing labels and artists experimenting with it,” Jacob said. “You could see that apps could have a premium offering, or behind-the-scenes footage, or special offers on tickets. But I think it’s a bit premature to predict the death of the album.” Robert concluded by saying that it could be “premature to predict the death of the iPod just yet too – but it’s unlikely that even Steve Jobs will be able to produce anything that will revive it. And that means that little more than five years after the music industry thought it had found a saviour in the little device, it is having to look around again for a new stepping stone to growth – if, that is, one exists.”

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Sunflower oil saves at-risk newborns from infection

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Sunflower oil saves at-risk newborns from infection
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Saturday, March 5, 2005Simply massaging low birth weight babies with sunflower seed oil can protect them from potentially fatal infections.

Infections and complications from preterm birth cause more than half of all neonatal deaths, and very low birth weight babies are particularly vulnerable.

Preterm babies have immature skin that lacks a protective film called vernix that has antimicrobial properties.

In some countries, such as India, newborns are routinely massaged with mustard oil.

But mustard oil, says Gary Darmstadt of John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, can delay recovery of the skin barrier and have a toxic effect on skin.

Seeking an alternative low-cost product, Darmstadt and colleagues experimented with sunflower oil and an ointment called Aquaphor that comprises petrolatum, mineral oil, mineral wax and lanolin.

The researchers tested the treatments on 497 newborns (72 hours old or less) and preterm babies (less than 33 weeks gestation) between 1998 and 2003 in Bangladesh.

They applied the treatments to the entire body besides the scalp and face three times daily for the first 14 days and then twice daily until discharge.

Babies treated with sunflower oil were found 41% less likely to develop infections than controls.

“Evidence is emerging that the skin is much more important as a barrier to infection than previously recognized, particularly in preterm infants whose skin is underdeveloped,” says Darmstadt. “The good news is that treatment is available to strengthen the function of the skin as a barrier in these vulnerable newborns.”

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Viktor Schreckengost dies at 101

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Viktor Schreckengost dies at 101
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Viktor Schreckengost, the father of industrial design and creator of the Jazz Bowl, an iconic piece of Jazz Age art designed for Eleanor Roosevelt during his association with Cowan Pottery died yesterday. He was 101.

Schreckengost was born on June 26, 1906 in Sebring, Ohio, United States.

Schreckengost’s peers included the far more famous designers Raymond Loewy and Norman Bel Geddes.

In 2000, the Cleveland Museum of Art curated the first ever retrospective of Schreckengost’s work. Stunning in scope, the exhibition included sculpture, pottery, dinnerware, drawings, and paintings.

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British National Party expel ex-leader Nick Griffin

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British National Party expel ex-leader Nick Griffin
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The British National Party (BNP), a UK political party, has expelled Nick Griffin, previously for fifteen years its leader. The party stated they informed Griffin of their decision yesterday and gave multiple reasons for the expulsion, including distributing inaccurate information, trying to damage the party’s public image, harassment of staff members, and defying instructions given to him by current leader Adam Walker. Griffin has said he was “‘expelled’ without trial” and the BNP violated its constitution.

Only thing is that the ruling Wigton Soviet are operating outside the constitution so I shall ignore their plastic gangster games

Griffin was BNP chairman until July, when he quit the role and became honorary president; acting chairman Adam Walker took his place. Griffin was elected North West England MEP (Member of the European Parliament) in 2009 but lost the seat in the 2014 election.

Under Griffin’s tenure, the party reportedly experienced an increase in success, gaining more than 50 councillors in the UK and two MEPs in 2009, Griffin being one and the other Andrew Brons. However, more recently the party has reportedly had monetary difficulties and internal disputes, as well as disagreements over what attitudes the party should adopt. Brons departed from the BNP in 2012 and went on to form his own political party, the British Democratic Party.

The BNP’s political support has significantly declined in recent years; its percentage vote share in the European Parliament elections in North West England dipped from 6.1% in 2009 to 1.9% in 2014, while most of the party’s councillors have lost their positions. Also, in January Nick Griffin was declared bankrupt.

“This has been a difficult decision to make and not one taken lightly”, a member of a conduct committee within the BNP commented. “Although we all appreciate that Nick has achieved a lot for our Party in the past, we must also remember that the Party is bigger than any individual. Nick did not adjust well to being given the honourary title of President and it soon became obvious that he was unable to work as an equal member of the team and alarmingly his behaviour became more erratic and disruptive.”

The conduct committee said they made their decision because of Griffin’s behaviour, which included “preparing a ‘report’ which tells lies about key Party personnel and finances and approving the leak of these damaging and defamatory allegations onto the internet”, “harassing members of BNP staff and in at least one case making physical threats”, “bringing the Party into disrepute through public statements”, “publishing, causing to be published or being reckless as to the publication of untrue allegations against the Party in the form of e-mails giving a false account of [his] bankruptcy situation” and “disobeying legitimate, constitutional instructions given to [him] by our Chairman, Adam Walker aimed at preventing damage to the reputation and unity of the Party.”

Griffin’s response to this expulsion from the party was to tweet: “Breaking news! I’ve just been ‘expelled’ without trial from the #BNP! That’ll teach me to tell a member of staff he’s a ‘useless, lazy twat'”. In a later tweet, he added: “Only thing is that the ruling Wigton Soviet are operating outside the constitution so I shall ignore their plastic gangster games.”

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U.S. Senate approves revised bailout package after controversial additions

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U.S. Senate approves revised bailout package after controversial additions
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The U.S. Senate passed a revised bailout bill designed to help the struggling U.S. financial economy, which has measures nearly identical to the bill rejected by the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday.

“Senate Democrats and Republicans believe it is essential that we work quickly on this important legislation to restore confidence to our financial system and strengthen the economy,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The new revisions include raising the FDIC insurance cap to $250,000, a move designed to please progressives. However, the $110 billion in tax breaks, earmarks and what has been called pork barrel spending is not offset by any increases in revenues and has added opposition to the bill from some Representatives in the House.

Earmarks added into the bailout bill included $192 million in tax rebates for the Virgin Islands rum industry, $148 million in tax cuts for the wool industry, $100 million tax cuts to the auto racing industry, and $48 million in Hollywood tax incentives.

Vice President of Taxpayers for Common Sense, Steve Ellis, offered his explanation for the pork and earmarks added in. “People who support some of these provisions will forget about the $700 billion and concerns they may have on that, and say, ‘If you give me a few million in tax breaks for my constituents, I’ll go along'”.

The tactic seems to have worked, however, managing to flip enough votes to pass the bill.

“The inclusion of parity, tax extenders and the FDIC increases has caused me to reconsider my position,” said Representative Jim Ramstad (R Minnesota), who voted against the previous bill on Monday. “All three additions have greatly improved the bill.”

But Representative Marcy Kaptur (D Ohio) was not changing her no vote. “I will not support this legislation because it’s the wrong medicine,” she said.

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The Senate took H.R.1424, a bill originating in the House concerning “equity in the provision of mental health and substance-related disorder benefits under group health plans, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment,” and extended it with the bailout provisions.

H.R.1424 was introduced on March 9, 2007, by Rep. Patrick Kennedy (RI-1) and had the support of First Lady Rosalind Carter. It is noted on the Congressional Website that “On 10/1/2008, the Senate passed H.R.1424 as the vehicle for the economic rescue legislation. In the EAS version of the bill (Engrossed Amendment as Agreed to by the Senate), Division A (pp.1-110) is referred to as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008; Division B (pp. 110-255) is referred to as the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008; and Division C (pp. 255-441) is referred to as the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008.” It was not treated as an appropriations bill in the House.

There were two votes in the Senate. The first was to amend H.R.1424, which required 3/5 to be accepted, which it was. The second was a vote on the bill. Passage of the Bill required only a 1/2 majority. It was passed with 74 yeas and 25 nays. Senator Kennedy did not vote.

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