Archive for June 5th, 2010

05
Jun
10

British Airways cabin crew begin third walkout

NEWS
British Airways cabin crew begin third walkout

Saturday, June 5, 2010

NEWS

••• Strike pay has been increased for British Airways cabin crew as they launch their latest wave of five-day walkouts in their bitter row with the airline.

Unite said on Saturday it will pay its members $65 a day, up from $43.36 in previous strikes, and is considering offering interest-free loans of $1.445 for hardship cases.

BA said more crew than expected turned up for work on Saturday at Heathrow airport, meaning it could operate additional flights.

The cabin crew on Saturday staged their 18th day of action since March and will stay out until next Wednesday, raising the cost of the industrial action to BA to well over $216.77 million.

The union is threatening to ballot its members again if the deadlocked row is not resolved, which could disrupt flights throughout the busy summer months.

The impact of the dispute was revealed this week when the airline announced a 14.2 percent dip in passenger numbers last month.

A BA spokesman said on Saturday: ‘Our global operations went very well last week and we have got off to another good start today at the beginning of this strike period.

‘The numbers of crew reporting for work at Heathrow on Saturday has been higher than we expected and as a result we have been able to operate additional flights to Los Angeles, Washington, Mexico City and Phoenix.

‘These flights are in addition to the larger schedule previously announced at Heathrow for this period of strike action.
‘We will continue to operate 100 percent of our schedule at Gatwick and London City airports and our cabin crew at Gatwick continue to ignore Unite’s strike calls and work as normal.’

BA is aiming to operate around 80 percent of long-haul flights from Heathrow over the next five days, up from 70 percent and 60 percent in the past two strike periods, and 60 percent of short-haul flights, up from 55 percent and 50 percent.

Talks between Unite’s joint leader Tony Woodley and BA’s chief executive Willie Walsh under the auspices of the conciliation service Acas ended without agreement last week, with little sign of any progress.

An agreement in principle has been struck over cost-cutting, the original cause of the dispute, but the removal of travel concessions from strikers is now blocking a deal.

Unite has urged BA to fully restore the travel concessions, arguing it would not cost the airline any money.

The union said it believes the next series of strikes will be strongly supported by cabin crew and will have a ‘huge impact’ on flights.

Singer Billy Bragg performed an impromptu gig for the strikers at a football ground near Heathrow on Saturday.

An Acas spokesman said: ‘Acas and the TUC have continued to maintain contact with both BA and Unite since talks were adjourned.

‘It is expected that a date will be agreed shortly for talks to resume.’
» Check your flight information here: British Airways
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): British Airways PLC
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05
Jun
10

Obama nominates new director of national intelligence

NEWS
Obama nominates new director of national intelligence
James R. Clapper Jr. as DNI: “Four Decades of Service”

Saturday, June 5, 2010

This morning the President announced James R. Clapper Jr. as the new Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Applauding outgoing DNI not only for his exceptional tenure, but his distinguished career, the President focused on continued work towards the seamless intergration and communication between all elements of our intelligence community, including Congress.

“Today I am proud to announce my choice for the next director of national intelligence, James Clapper,” Obama said at the White House.

“With four decades of service to America, Jim is one of our nation’s most experienced and most respected intelligence professionals,” he added.

The president also asked the Senate to approve the nomination quickly.

Clapper, 69, retired in 1995 after 32 years in the Air Force. Currently he is the undersecretary of defense for intelligence.

The nomination came two weeks after former director of national intelligence Dennis Blair resigned after a 16-months tenure marred by a series of intelligence blunders, including the Fort Hood shooting in November 2009, a failed Christmas plane bombing attempt and the New York City Times Square car bomb plot.

If confirmed by the Senate, Clapper will be the fourth director of national intelligence since the post was created in 2004, responsible for coordinating the work of the country’s 16 spy agencies.
He introduced Clapper with an overview of his decades in service to his country:

Today, I am proud to announce my choice for the next Director of National Intelligence – James Clapper. With four decades of service to America, Jim is one of our nation’s most experienced and most respected intelligence professionals.

As Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, he has successfully overseen the military and civilian intelligence personnel and budgets that make up the bulk of our 16-agency intelligence community. He’s improved information sharing, increased intelligence support to our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, upheld civil liberties, and he played a key role in our effort to update and reorient our intelligence community to meet the threats of our time.

As director of two critical organizations – the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency – and during a distinguished career in the Air Force, Jim developed an intimate understanding of our human and technical collection programs. He possesses a quality that I value in all my advisors: a willingness to tell leaders what we need to know, even if it’s not what we want to hear. And Jim is a forceful champion of his fellow intelligence professionals – never forgetting what it was like to risk his own life during two combat tours during the Vietnam War.

As DNI, Jim will be my principal intelligence advisor and the leader of our intelligence community. Our intelligence community has made great strides since the 9/11 attacks. Guided by good intelligence, we’ve struck major blows against the leadership of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates, and we’ve disrupted many plots in our country and saved many American lives. But as we saw in the failed attack over Detroit, we need to do even better. We need to constantly evolve and adapt and improve.

That’s why I ordered a series of reforms to strengthen intelligence earlier this year, and that’s why I’ll be looking to Jim to ensure that we have the most capable and efficient intelligence community possible. Intelligence must be collected and analyzed quickly. It must be shared and integrated effectively. And it must be acted upon decisively. That’s what I expect as President, and that’s what our national security demands.

Clapper himself spoke briefly:

Mr. Clapper: Thank you very much.

Thank you, Mr. President. I am humbled, honored, and daunted by the magnitude of the responsibilities of the position of DNI. It’s a job that cannot be done without your support and that of the Congress, and I intend to earn that support from both, as well as the public, if I’m confirmed for this position.

We have the largest, most capable intelligence enterprise on the planet, and it is the solemn, sacred trust of the DNI to make that enterprise work.

With that, nominees are like my two oldest grandkids, who are here today having a life experience – better seen than heard.

Thank you very much.

• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): The White House
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05
Jun
10

Sky buys Virgin Media TV channels for $231 million

NEWS
Sky buys Virgin Media TV channels for $231 million

Saturday, June 5, 2010

British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) has bought Virgin Media Television, the current owner of seven TV channels including Living and Bravo.

Sky, the owner of Sky News, is paying $231 million (£160 million) in cash under the deal, which also sees it acquire the channels Challenge, Challenge Jackpot and Virgin1, the latter of which will be rebranded.

The purchase expands Sky’s portfolio of basic pay TV channels and means it does not have to pay carriage fees to offer the Virgin Media Television (VMtv) channels to its customers.

Meanwhile, Virgin Media will be given the option of carrying any of Sky’s basic HD channels, Sky Sports HD 1 and Sky Sports HD 2, and all Sky Movies HD channels for an incremental wholesale fee.

It will also make Sky’s basic and premium channels available to subscribers through its on-demand TV service.

VMtv said its seven channels – which span pay and free-to-air television – reach more than 24 million adult viewers every month.
Living is the third most popular pay TV channel in the U.K., and is the self-styled home of ‘guilty pleasures and trashy glamour’.

It offers a variety of popular programmes including Four Weddings and America’s Next Top Model in its schedules.

Virgin Media said the sale of VMtv would allow it to focus on providing subscribers with ‘super-fast’ cable TV and broadband provision.

Meanwhile BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch described the acquisition as ‘an attractive investment opportunity’ that offered strategic and financial benefits.

‘We are pleased that, through commercial negotiation, we have been able to ensure wide distribution of our channels to a growing pay TV universe,’ he said.

Virgin launched Virgin1 in October 2007 although channels such as Living and Bravo came from the former ntl/Telewest business.

This in turn merged with Virgin Mobile in 2007 and was then rebranded as Virgin Media.
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): British Sky Broadcasting / News Corporation
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05
Jun
10

Eminem’s ‘Not Afraid’ Video Debuts

NEWS
Eminem’s ‘Not Afraid’ Video Debuts

Saturday, June 5, 2010



Eminem – Not Afraid
Album: Recovery
Label: Interscope, Aftermath, Shady
Director: Rich Lee

Rapper Eminem is back. To overseas his new album “Recovery” Eminem and Marshall Bruce Mathers III has been working hard. This album will be debuts on June 22. First video from Eminem’s Recovery, ‘Not Afraid’ is debuts on VEVO.

On VEVO.com music video of “Not Afraid” can be viewed. “Not Afraid” entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart and placed number 1. In this music video Lil Wayne, Pink and Rihanna features guest appearances.

Rich Lee directed “Not Afraid.”
Eminem.com, & YouTube
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05
Jun
10

Weekly Address: Speaking from Louisiana on the Oil Spill

NEWS
Weekly Address: Speaking from Louisiana on the Oil Spill
President Obama Outlines Administration Response Efforts to the BP Oil Spill from Grand Isle, LA

Saturday, June 5, 2010

In his weekly address, President Barack Obama underscored his commitment to helping the people of the Gulf Coast recover and rebuild from the BP oil spill that has threatened their livelihoods. On Friday, the President heard from local residents and small business owners about the hardships that they are facing as a result of this catastrophe. The Administration has mobilized the largest response to an environmental disaster of this kind in the history of our country to clean up the BP oil spill. Additionally, the federal government is working to ensure that BP and other companies are held accountable for damages and that aggressive new standards are put into place to avoid a disaster in the future.

I’m speaking to you from Caminada Bay in Grand Isle, Louisiana, one of the first places to feel the devastation wrought by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While I was here, at Camerdelle’s Live Bait shop, I met with a group of local residents and small business owners.

Folks like Floyd Lasseigne, a fourth-generation oyster fisherman. This is the time of year when he ordinarily earns a lot of his income. But his oyster bed, along the north side of Grand Isle, has likely been destroyed by the spill. Terry Vegas had a similar story. He quit the 8th grade to become a shrimper with his grandfather. Ever since, he’s earned his living during shrimping season – working long, grueling days so that he could earn enough money to support himself year round. But today, the waters where he’s spent his years are closed. And every day, as the spill worsens, he loses hope that he’ll be able to return to the life he built. “You can put a price on a lost season,” he’s said. “But not a lost heritage.”

The effects of the spill reach beyond the shoreline. I also spoke with Patti Rigaud. For 30 years, she’s owned a small convenience store – a store opened by her father. She depends on the sales generated by tourism each summer. But this year, most of the boats that would line these docks are nowhere to be seen. Dudley Gaspard, who owns the Sand Dollar Marina and Hotel, has been hit hard as well. Normally, this time of year, rooms are filling up and tackle is flying off the shelves. But he too has been devastated by the decline in tourism and the suspension of fishing in the waters off the Louisiana Coast.

Their stories are familiar to many in Grand Isle and throughout the Gulf region. Often families have been here for generations, earning a living, and making a life, that’s tied to the water – that’s tied to the magnificent coasts and natural bounty of this place. Here, this spill has not just damaged livelihoods. It’s upended whole communities. And the fury people feel is not just about the money they’ve lost. They’ve been through tough times before. It’s about the wrenching recognition that this time their lives may never be the same.

These folks work hard. They meet their responsibilities. But now because of a manmade catastrophe – one that’s not their fault and that’s beyond their control – their lives have been thrown into turmoil. It’s brutally unfair. It’s wrong. And what I told these men and women – and what I have said since the beginning of this disaster – is that I’m going to stand with the people of the Gulf Coast until they are made whole.

That’s why from the beginning, we’ve mobilized on every front to contain and clean up this spill. I’ve authorized the deployment of 17,500 National Guard troops to aid in the response. More than 20,000 people are currently working around the clock to protect waters and coastlines. We’ve convened hundreds of top scientists and engineers from around the world. More than 1,900 vessels are in the Gulf assisting in the clean up. More than 4.3 million feet of boom have been deployed with another 2.9 million feet of boom available – enough to stretch over 1,300 miles. And 17 staging areas are in place across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida to rapidly defend sensitive shorelines. In short, this is the largest response to an environmental disaster of this kind in the history of our country.

We’ve also ordered BP to pay economic injury claims, and we will make sure they pay every single dime owed to the people along the Gulf Coast. The Small Business Administration has stepped in to help businesses by approving loans and allowing deferrals of existing loan payments. And this week, the federal government sent BP a preliminary bill for $69 million to pay back American taxpayers for some of the costs of the response so far. In addition, after an emergency safety review, we’re putting in place aggressive new operating standards for offshore drilling. And I’ve appointed a bipartisan commission to look into the causes of this spill. If laws are inadequate –laws will be changed. If oversight was lacking – it will be strengthened. And if laws were broken – those responsible will be brought to justice.

Now, over the last few days BP has placed a cap over the well, and it appears they’re making progress in trying to pump oil to the surface to keep it from leaking into the water. But as has been the case since the beginning of this crisis, we are prepared for the worst, even as we hope that BP’s efforts bring better news than we’ve received before. We also know that regardless of the outcome of this attempt, there will still to be some spillage until the relief wells are completed. And there will continue to be a massive cleanup ahead of us.

So we will continue to leverage every resource at our disposal to protect coastlines, to clean up the oil, to hold BP and other companies accountable for damages, to begin to restore the bounty and beauty of this region – and to aid the hardworking people of the Gulf as they rebuild their businesses and communities. And I want to urge all Americans to do what you can as well – including visiting this area. The vast majority of beaches are pristine and open for business.

These are hard times in Louisiana and across the Gulf Coast, an area that has already seen more than its fair share of troubles. But what we have also seen these past few weeks is that – even in the face of adversity – the men and women of the Gulf have displayed incredible determination. They have met this terrible catastrophe with seemingly boundless strength and character in defense of their way of life. What we owe the people of this region is a commitment by our nation to match the resilience of all the people I’ve met along the Gulf Coast. That is our mission. And it’s one we will fulfill.

Thank you.

• Source(s): The White House
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05
Jun
10

‘Beat the Jew’ game probed at U.S. school

NEWS
‘Beat the Jew’ game probed at U.S. school

Saturday, June 5, 2010

••• Seven seniors at a Southern California high school are facing disciplinary action for participating in a game called Beat the Jew, in which losers were subjected to ‘incineration’ or ‘enslavement’, a school administrator says.
The game involved some students playing the role of Nazis, who blindfolded and dropped off other students playing Jews who must find their way back to the campus, said Sherry Johnstone, assistant superintendent of personnel for Desert Sands Unified School District.

It was not immediately clear exactly how losing players were punished, she said.

Seven seniors at La Quinta High School could be suspended or barred from graduation, among other measures, Johnstone said.

‘This is appalling to us,’ she said. ‘We want our students to understand the horror of a title like this.’
The district started investigating a week ago after students reported the game to administrators.

The game was promoted online, attracting about 40 students. Seven showed up to play one evening in the campus parking lot, Johnstone said.

The district is working with Jewish organisations to review its tolerance curriculum. A voluntary tolerance program will be held after school.

The matter also has been referred to La Quinta police. A call to the Police Department was not immediately returned.

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