Volunteers and food needed for flooded Manitoba, Canada

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Local municipal and provincial volunteers in Manitoba, Canada are exhausted in their efforts to divert the rising waters of the Red River of the North.

It has been hard work with little sleep for the residents who live on the shores of the Red River to shore up their defences with sandbags, build dikes, clear frozen culverts and break ice jams

Volunteers to spell relief for local volunteers and food are desperately needed.

“It’s a week now we’ve been doing this … you’re talking four, five, six public works guys. In my one community we’ve got 25 volunteer firefighters and those guys have been going 24/7, so of course it’s wearing them down.” said Paul Guyader, Manitoba’s emergency measures coordinator.

“We’re dealing with one of the biggest floods the province has ever seen,” said Steve Strang, mayor of St. Clements, Manitoba “We’ve put out hundreds of thousands of bags already. The municipalities are working very well, we’re working with the provincial government, we’ve brought in every possible resource we could to address this issue. The volunteerism within the community has been phenomenal.”

The Portage Diversion has taken some spring waters from the Assiniboine River and diverted the flow to Lake Manitoba.

Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation has been totally evacuated, as well as many homes near the Canada – United States border.

The cold weather is freezing the ice jams into place. Guyader has had 2 Amphibex Excavators operating on the river breaking up ice.

The Red River is right now 16.7 feet (5 metres) above spring ice conditions. The Red River Floodway gates cannot be opened with the current ice jams.

“If we operate now, we can get ice jamming going into the floodway, jamming up against the St. Mary’s bridge, as such, the floodway capacity would be reduced and would cause higher water levels in the city of Winnipeg.” said Steve Topping, Manitoba Water Stewardship spokesman

The floodway was constructed in 1968 following the 1950 flood to divert the overflow spring flooding waters of the Red River. The floodway has been widened the since the 1997 “flood of the century” and the expansion is expected to be completed this spring. As well Manitoba built permanent dikes around communities within the flood plain since the last two major floods..

The Red River waters will crest between the beginning of April to mid April, at which time also the weather should be warming up. Communities are bracing for higher water levels, more ice jams as well as melting snow in the warmer spring temperatures.

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Show Dog Requirements For The Shih Tzu And Other Purebred Dogs

By Connie Limon

There are rules and regulations you must follow if you want to show your Shih Tzu or any breed of dog. Among those rules are:

— To compete in conformation, your Shih Tzu or other breed of dog must be a purebred registered with a kennel club.

— Purebred Shih Tzu or other purebred dogs adopted from shelters or rescue groups can get a special listing which allows them to compete in performance events, but not in conformation.

— Registration papers must accompany the Shih Tzu or other breed of purebred dog to participate in dog shows.

— The UKC welcomes mixed-breed dogs to compete in performance competitions.

— Shih Tzu and other purebred dogs must be intact to compete in much of conformation.

— The Canadian Kennel Club has a class for spayed and neutered dogs to show in conformation.

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— The Australian Shepherd Club of America is also trying out the idea of a class for spayed and neutered dogs to show in conformation.

— You do not have to own the Shih Tzu or other breed of dog. You can show someone else’s dog. There are professional handlers also.

There are places where you can practice showing a Shih Tzu and other breeds of dogs. They are called ‘matches.’ Matches are specifically for practice. Judges of matches do not have to be licensed and/or approved by any kennel club. The Shih Tzu will not earn points toward a championship practicing in matches. A match is just a place for you and your Shih Tzu to get some experience. This is a wonderful place to learn how it feels to be in the ring before an audience and a judge. If possible, take advantage of matches.

There is stiff competition in the actual show ring. Do not even enter until you are fully prepared. You will only be wasting your money, which in the actual show dog arena can be ‘big bucks.’ You can also destroy your reputation by entering the ring not fully prepared.

Be prepared to run into dog fanciers and Shih Tzu fanciers who snub the newcomers. They may even openly insult your dog and resort to dirty tricks in the ring. As with all groups of people, however, you will also meet kind exhibitors who love to share their joy for their breed and the sport. Be aware that how you handle yourself with the ‘bad’ apples in the basket can also either make or break your reputation in the show dog arena.

Matches and shows are further subdivided. The most informal match is called the ‘workshop.’ Other divisions of the match shows are:

— The fun match

— The sanctioned match

There are three types of sanctioned shows. These are:

— All-breed show

— Multi breed show

— Specialty show

All of the sanctioned shows offer championship points to the winners. They may be held indoors or outdoors and be benched or unbenched.

At a bench show all dogs entered for competitions are required to remain on the show grounds in their assigned space when they are not actually in the ring or being exercised or groomed. Among the few bench shows are:

— The Westminster on the East Coast

— The Golden Gate on the West Coast

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About the Author: Connie Limon I raise Shih Tzu puppies in a variety of colors for reasonable prices. Visit


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US economy adds 215,000 jobs in July; unemployment rate remains steady at 5.3%

Monday, August 10, 2015

Continuing a trend of steady employment growth, the United States economy added 215,000 jobs in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.3%.

“Job growth is quite strong,” stated Jim O’Sullivan, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, a data analysis firm in New York. “This pace of employment growth is clearly strong enough to keep the unemployment rate trending down.”

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2%, marking a rebound after growth stalled in June. Wages have grown by 2.1% over the past year, below the Federal Reserve’s target of 3.5% annual wage growth, and not much more than the underlying rate of inflation.

While sluggish wage growth remains a pocket of weakness in the economic recovery, steady payroll gains averaging 242,000 per month over the past twelve months have led observers to consider a Federal Reserve interest rate hike as increasingly likely, according to The New York Times.

“We view this report as easily clearing the hurdle needed to keep the Fed on track for a September rate hike,” said Rob Martin, an economist at Barclays in New York. “The bar for not moving now is much higher.”

Although the Federal Reserve has not explicitly stated that they plan to raise interest rates in the near future, the US central bank has stated that it would raise rates when it has seen “some further improvement” in the jobs market. The Fed has not increased interest rates since 2006, and during the 2007-2009 recession, it lowered rates to historically low levels.

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Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire

Friday, March 20, 2009

Following the Pilkhana massacre which occurred February 25 and 26 leaving 74 dead and the inferno at the Bashundhara City shopping mall complex March 13 leaving seven dead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said security measures are being tightened countrywide across Bangladesh.

Fire drills will be enacted at all key-point installations (KPI). Fire fighting systems will be examined by the fire brigade and the public works department (PWD) to ensure functionality. Security measures will be enhanced supplementing areas under private security such as at the Bashundhara City Complex.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department requires modernization and needs new equipment to fight fires past the sixth floor of buildings. The Fire Brigade says it needs turntable ladders, snorkels, foam-tenders, lighting units, emergency tenders, fireproof uniforms, and rescue ropes for fire fighting and rescue operations. Transportation to fires is also an issue due to narrow roads, low electrical wires and congestion.

The Bangladesh National Building Code requires fire fighting equipment installed in buildings over seven floors. This code is to be monitored by authorities to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and to make sure buildings are being maintained.

The Bashundhara City Complex opened Monday for shoppers two days after Friday’s blaze. A probe is underway to determine the cause of the fire and to assess structural damage.

Loss of life was minimized as the blaze broke out on a Friday, the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh, so offices in the upper floors were empty. The lower eight floors are used for shopping and the upper floors are all Bashundhara Group offices.

The mall is valued at Tk 7.0 billion (US$100 million). It is not known if the complex is covered by fire insurance.

It is estimated that it will take over two years to rebuild the area damaged by flames which were burned down to a skeleton. Bashundhara City’s technical advisor, Latifur Rahman, estimated damages at Tk 2.0 billion (US$29m).

Only one television cameraman has been allowed in to film the burnt area. None of the 2,500 shops, cinemas or cafes were burnt by the inferno. The seventh and eighth floors still experience smoke damage, and there was water damage to merchandise.

A three member committee is currently investigating the cause of the fire which will consist of Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, representatives of the police, IGP Noor Muhammad, and fire brigade, Director General Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah. The committee is required to report within the week with their findings. The forensics department is also sifting through the burnt remains.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries has also formed a committee which has begun interviewing witnesses and recording their testimony alongside the government committee.

It has been discovered that 150 closed circuit cameras were not being used when the fire started. Another mystery is why the mall fire fighting system has been found unused.

Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think….These matters seem to be mysterious

“In the shopping mall there is an ultra-technology elevator which runs even without electricity but we have found that locked,” Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of the home ministry, said. “Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think. We have to see if there was any incendiary substance there. These matters seem to be mysterious.”

Mall management has been asked to submit substances and items which would have been in the upper floors when the fire started. The fire erupted on the 17th floor and spread quickly to the two floors above and engulfed the three floors below. The aerial ladders belonging to the Fire Service and Civil Defence reached as high as the 13th floor of the 21-storey building.

Videos have been sent to the United States (US) for examination to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to help in the damage assessment. Experts from the US are expected to arrive soon.

Firefighters were brought to the rooftop of the 20-storey tower by helicopter. The only fatality in this operation was Baki Billa, a firefighter of Bashundhara City firefighting department, who fell when climbing down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of the building. Three other firefighters made the transition safely. At this same time, the chief security officer was safely rescued by the Bangladesh Air Force helicopter, a Bell 212. Six security officers of the complex also lost their lives.

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Missing Afghan jet found; 104 believed dead

Saturday, February 5, 2005

On Saturday NATO and Afghan troops located the wreckage of the Kam Air Boeing 737 missing since Thursday.

Afghan interior ministry spokesman Latfullah Mashal announced the discovery. “The debris of the plane was found around 25 kilometers east of Kabul in a mountainous area called Band-e Ghazi.”

The jet had been enroute to Kabul from Herat when it was diverted due to heavy snow. The crew then sought clearance to land across the border in Peshawar, Pakistan before it lost contact with air control. 104 persons are reported to have been aboard, including 8 crew members; there are no signs of survivors reported.

The weather conditions have hampered search and rescue efforts. NATO-operated helicopters located the crash site. Afghan police and units from Afghanistan’s foreign peacekeeping force are investigating the scene of the crash, according to Mr. Mashal.

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Quality And Sturdy Wooden Block Toys

Many manufacturers modified their way of creating toys like wooden block models. They started being used industrially, thus they produced new materials such as tin. As the century advances are spreading also instructive games and start talking first educational toys.

The plastic toy transforms

But the real revolution will come from the toy’s hand s. XX. It raises concerns about hygiene and aseptic materials. Arise in this way, and in the 30’s, dolls made of celluloid, paste-board, etc.. Interwar sample of this is the fondness for toy soldiers and dolls dressed by fashion and hairstyles. Although the Anglo-Saxon influence and Americanized doll will soon arrive.

A mid-century, in 1948, applied for the first time plastic doll. The plastics revolution resulted in increased production and lower prices. The dolls are left to be democratic and accessible only to lords. It has not stopped evolving. Apart of finding the top safe toys, you need to look for wooden block kits.

Electricity is allied with the game

The addition of electricity to the toys came in a casual, like so many discoveries throughout history: At the beginning of s. Joshua Lionel Cowen XX created an electric train as a lure to the window of his toys, but received so many requests that the advertising attraction eventually became a classic in the toy industry. In 1912 already produced models with lighting inside. After the birth of the automobile helped unbridled enthusiasm and were soon selling small cars made of metal to scale were adding lights and electric motor.

It is also worth mentioning the story of a potato that became the best selling toy in history. In 1952 it was born a unique toy, Mr. Potato. He was also the first toy advertised on television. But his image was very different to what we know today. The game itself consisted only of a series of pieces (arms, mouth, nose, mustache, pipe, arms …) that were stuck on a real potato, who named the Product: Mr. Potato Head (Mr. Head Potato). The idea was the result of manufacturers. But, were all this leaves a wooden block?

Believe it or not, blocks are still around and they can help children more than any other toy. For this Christmas you can give away a great game for your children. There are many toys targeting girls aged between six and twelve. For instance, online options are like simulators that have been adapted for children’s feminine. Manufacturers have developed mannequin dolls considering aesthetics in 3D characters and placed them in universes. Yet, many believe a wooden block is the top choice not only due to its simplicity but because it is for both genders.

Hepatitis scare at New Zealand McDonald’s restaurant

Saturday, December 30, 2006

McDonald’s is asking everyone who ate at a McDonald’s restaurant located in Greenlane, Auckland, New Zealand, in December 15, 2006, to go to their doctor after a worker tested positive for Hepatitis A.

Doctor Greg Simmons, medical officer of health in Auckland, said that it is possible for the food handler worker to have passed on the disease during 7:00 p.m. (NZDT) and 2:00 a.m. as he would have been in the most infectious stage of Hepatitis A and was not wearing gloves. According to a spokeswoman from McDonald’s, Joanna Redfern-Hardisty, food handlers are not required to wear gloves but are required to have thoroughly washed their hands with antimicrobial soap. However Dr Simmons says that the infected worker usually wore gloves.

The shift the worker worked was the only one the worker handled food when he was infectious with Hepatitis A.

It is unknown how many people could have come into contact with food that the infected worker had prepared as Friday night is usually a busy night, according to Ms Redfern-Hardisty.

Dr Simmons says that if someone has been infected with Hepatitis A then they will currently be showing early symptoms. Those symptoms include being tired, no appetite, nausea and skin and eyes will show a yellowish colour.

Ms Redfern-Hardisty, spokeswoman for McDonald’s, confirmed that no more risk is being posed to customers. She said that it is currently unknown where the worker caught Hepatitis A but has stated that it was from an external source.

The worker has been suspended from work.

If you ate at the McDonalds located in Greenlane, Auckland, on late December 15, early December 16, then please either visit your doctor or ring the Auckland Regional Public Health Service on 096234600.

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Wikinews Shorts: March 7, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, March 7, 2007.

The European Union has banned the 35 planes in the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) 45 aircraft fleet from flying in EU airspace. The reason provided by EU was that these plans do not fulfill the safety requirement for international planes and thus were banned. PIA has redeployed its Boeing 777 jets from US to EU flights to facilitate passengers in Europe. Flights PK 782 and PK 790 are still running on time from Toronto in Canada.


  • “EU bans old PIA planes” — Gulf Daily News, March 6, 2007
  • “EU imposes ban on all but seven PIA planes” — Pakistan Dawn, March 6, 2007

The Oklahoma Senate approved a bill introduced by lawmaker Patrick Anderson of Enid that enables police to seize vehicles when drivers fail to produce proof of insurance. The bill was tacked onto a measure to prohibit inserting microchips into people without their permission. 91,000 drivers have been ticketed for lack of insurance in Oklahoma to date.


  • RON JENKINS, Associated Press. “Senators approve bill to allow vehicles to be seized” — Bartlesville Examiner Enterprise, March 6, 2007
  • Associated Press. “Senators approve bill to allow vehicles to be seized” — FOX23, March 6, 2007

The New Orleans Saints have released All-Pro wide receiver Joe Horn because of money issues. The Saints hope to draft LSU (Louisiana State University) wide receiver DeWayne Bowe in the NFL Draft to fill Horn’s place.


  • BRETT MARTE,LCanadian Press. “New Orleans Saints release four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn” — CBC News, March 1, 2007
  • “Saints release Horn from his contract” — The News-Star, March 1, 2007
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What Is A No Cost Mortgage Refinance

By Sean A. Kelly

A no cost mortgage refinance is a loan in which you do not need to fork out any up-front costs when you apply for a refinance to take advantage of a lower interest rate. Many people do try to seek out no cost mortgage refinance loans so that they could save on the fees that are needed to pay for a refinance loan. These type of loans simply mean that you do not have to pay for closing costs of the loans. However, this facility is usually available for refinance loans and very seldom for new home purchase loans.

Before you go searching for a low or no cost refinance, bear in mind that this does not mean that the loan package is cheaper or better than conventional refinance loans. Sometimes the interest rates may be slightly higher to compensate for the absence of fees. So, essentially, this means the refinance loan isn’t exactly free. In fact, some lenders may charge an interest rate that is between .25 and .5 percent higher so that they could cover the costs of any fees that were supposedly ‘waived’ for you.

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After considering this and if you are still interested in looking for no cost refinancing, you will need to look at the types of no or low cost mortgages available. The first kind is where you pay the lender fees and third-party fees but there will be no points. The second type is where you don’t have to pay lender fees but you have to pay third-party fees and finally, the third kind is where you do not have to pay anything at all but the fees and costs are covered by a slightly higher interest rate. Of course, there are also mortgages or even purchase loans that waive upfront fees and at the same time do not bundle it together with the interest rates but these are hard to find as they are rather rare.

No-cost mortgages, either type, are widely available with many major banks and lenders so if you are keen on getting one, then you should do your homework by comparing the loans offered by several banks or lenders. You may want to compare the interest rates, check the lender’s credibility through reviews by consumers and at the Better Business Bureau’s website.

Now, you may want to note that a no cost mortgage refinancing is best suited for those who are looking at a short term refinancing, as in they have plans to either sell the property a few years later or plan to refinance again. You may use this no cost mortgage refinancing to your advantage especially if interest rates are falling because you could move from one refinance to another at no absolute cost to you while saving money on interest rates. If you do not plan to do this and you have no intention to move out or sell your home in the next five years, then it is advisable that you pay the up-front cash for the closing costs and fees for your mortgage or refinance loan. Instead of looking for no cost refinance, you may want to spend your time looking for a mortgage refinance loan with the lowest interest rate and APR. This is because paying the closing costs is definitely lower than needing to pay for the additional interest that some financiers include in the loan if you opt for no cost mortgage refinancing.

Looking for a home refinance can be a very tedious process so do not rush into it but spend some time to read up and learn more about mortgage rates, refinancing loans and check the backgrounds of lenders you are interested to apply the loan from.

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Ford offers US$78 million for Romanian auto plant

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Ford Motor Company, the U.S. car maker, will reportedly pay €57 million (US$78 million) for a 72.4 percent stake in the Romanian assembly plant Automobile Craiova, a Romanian official said Friday.

“The offer of Ford Motor Company for a 72.4 percent stake is €4.1556 per share or €57 million overall,” said Sebastian Vladescu, head of the State Property Agency (AVAS), after opening Ford’s improved offer. Vladescu added that the contract may be signed on September 12, during the auto show in Frankfurt.

The Romanian government bought back the Craiova-based car maker from Daewoo Motors, in late 2006 for US$51 million. As the Korean company was bankrupt, the government had to pay another $10 million for debts stemming from past loans. Ford is the only bidder for the purchase of the factory.

According to Washington Post, many auto-part makers have set up in the new European Union member country, attracted by cheap labor, favourable tax rates and the rising output of Renault’s Dacia plant. The vice president of Dacia, Constantin Stroe, said that the price Ford offers is not important. “It’s important to have the factory working as soon as possible”, he added. “With this production facility, Romania will become an important auto production center in Europe”, concluded Stroe, cited by HotNews.

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