Euro reaches new lows

Friday, July 15, 2011

On Tuesday, the Euro fell to a new record low in relation to the Swiss Franc, and to multi-month lows against the U.S. Dollar and Japanese yen; all considered by investors to be safe currencies during times of economic turmoil.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that recent comments from the newly installed head of the International Monetary Fund, France’s Christine Lagarde, resulted in a sell-off of the Euro. At a roundtable discussion in Washington, Lagarde noted that the IMF had not yet reached discussion of terms and conditions of a second Greek bailout plan. In fact, a representative from the IMF is currently meeting with Eurozone policymakers to draft such a new proposal. The yield differential between Italian bonds and German bonds has spread to more than 300 basis points, something not seen in over a decade and evidence of investors’ concern.

Adding to the Euro’s woes is the upcoming release of the bank stress tests on Friday. The European Bankers Association said that they expect the data release to shed new light on the Eurozone’s banking situation. Representatives of several of the Eurozone’s governments, including Germany, have requested that the association consider releasing fewer specific details for fear that investor panic will ensue. The inadequacy of the capitalization rates has been an issue with the European Central Bank, whose president recently called upon Eurozone banks to make every effort to put their balance sheets in order.

For the time being at least, an unsubstantiated rumor reported by the Wall Street Journal states that the Eurozone’s central banks’ purchase of periphery debt has helped to quell the downward momentum of the Euro.

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21 January

Nadal withdraws from French Open 2016, suffers from wrist injury

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Yesterday, nine-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal withdrew from this year’s tournament suffering from a wrist injury.

I feel myself with the right motivation and the right energy to be back at Roland Garros the next couple of years

On Thursday, Nadal defeated Facundo Bagnis with his wrist anesthetized. With that victory, he became the eighth man in history to achieve 200 wins in Grand Slams. Nadal won his ninth Monte Carlo Masters title in April.

In the press conference, Nadal said, “It’s not broken but if I continue to play, my wrist will break in a few days” ((fr))French language: ?Ce n’est pas cassé mais si je continue à jouer, mon poignet se cassera dans quelques jours. Nadal said he felt wrist pain two weeks before he arrived at the French capital Paris. He also said, “This is one of the toughest press conferences of my career”.

The Spaniard, seeded number 4, also admitted he could not play with his forehand.He was scheduled to play against Marcel Granollers. Nadal has an 87% win record in Grand Slams winning 200 matches out of 230.

He concluded the press conference by saying, “I feel myself with the right motivation and the right energy to be back at Roland Garros [the French Open] the next couple of years[…] It’s a tournament that I love so much.”

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19 January

Illinois high schools now required to buy insurance for athletes

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

This past Sunday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a bill known as “Rocky’s Law” that requires Illinois high schools, through the local school district, to buy catastrophic injury insurance up to US$3 million or medical costs for up to five years, whichever one comes first, that covers student athletes. The insurance must cover student athletes while they are competing.

The legislation was named after Rasul “Rocky” Clark. In 2000, the Eisenhower High School football player became paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a tackle during a game. His school based health insurance covered the costs of his medical treatment. A legislator sponsoring the bill noted that the need for this type of insurance is rare. Clark’s mother attended the legislation signing. Her son died last year.

Before parents can claim money from school insurance, they first must pay out US$50,000. Schools have until January 1, 2014 to comply with the law. Schools cannot charge students more than US$5 to defray the cost of insurance. If a school district already requires student to be covered through private health insurance, they are exempted from this law.

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17 January

Former Illinois Governor Blagojevich rests in corruption trial

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Despite promises he would testify in his own corruption trial, lawyers for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich rested their case yesterday morning. His defense did not call a single witness, and apparently feels the prosecution has not proven their case. Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday.

Speculation that Blagojevich would not testify began on Tuesday, when U.S. District Judge James Zagel adjourned 90 minutes early after a private meeting with the lawyers involved. Robert Blagojevich, the former governor’s brother and co-defendant in the case, had already testified on his own behalf. Blagojevich’s defense team apparently considered resting their case on Tuesday, but Zagel gave them an extra day to consider their decision more carefully.

When Zagel directly asked the former governor about his decision, he replied that he understood what he was doing. “It is my decision, under the advice of my attorneys. I make the decision fully and voluntarily,” he said.

Blagojevich is charged with trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat that had been vacated by Barack Obama when he won the 2008 presidential election, among other crimes. Robert Blagojevich testified that his brother was trying to manipulate the political situation to his advantage, but emphasized that he engaged in nothing illegal. According to some sources, Blagojevich was interested in leading the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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11 January

Senior Chinese official executed for spying for Taiwan

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Chinese government official convicted of working for the Taiwanese government has been executed, and thousands of civil workers viewed the taped trial for “educational purposes” on Monday. The prisoner’s name was Tong Daning and was in his mid-50’s and held a rank just under “Assistant-Minister” before he was found guilty of espionage. According to the anonymous sources, Daning had been selling state sources for over 15 years, making a profit of about US$250,000.

Daning is the highest ranking person executed in China since 1999, when a Major General and Senior Colonel were executed for selling state secrets. China and Taiwan have been spying on each other ever since 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was officially created, but that has not stopped over 1 million Taiwanese citizens from working and investing over 100 billion USD in China. There have been many cases of espionage within the last few years, with all but two resulting in a death sentence.

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11 January

Zoo elephants live shorter lives than their wild counterparts, report warns

Friday, December 12, 2008

A recently released report has found that elephants living in protected environments in their natural habitats live significantly longer lives than elephants kept in zoos.

The report focused on Elephants in European zoos, and it stated that “bringing elephants into zoos profoundly impairs their viability.” Georgia J. Mason, who lead the study, also stated that zoos do not need to abandon the idea of keeping elephants in captivity, although he did recommend that imports of the animal should only occur in zoos which have a track record of successfully addressing issues in elephant’s health, and have a productive breeding programme.

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“Currently zoos are consumers rather than producers of elephants,” added Mason. “We feel that’s not really appropriate.”

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums criticised the findings. The organisation’s senior vice president for conservation and education, Paul Boyle, described the research as “terribly flawed.”

Boyle also stated that he did not remember any time when elephants were brought into the US for zoos. “I cannot speak for other countries,” he added “but that [the statement that elephants are imported for zoos] is not true of the United States.”

The researchers for the report were from organisations including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the University of Guelph.

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9 January

3 Reasons To Choose Mausoleum Services Instead Of Burial


When it comes to considering your funeral someday, many already know exactly what they want in terms of a burial. There are so many options available to those who can stomach it. One idea that is coming back into popularity from ancient rituals is the idea of Mausoleum Services, or virtually being mummified in an above-ground tomb. Here are a few reasons to consider choosing a mausoleum.

It is a Type of Preservation

If you are interested in a unique way to be buried, this is certainly for you. By being buried in an encapsulated above-ground casket, the deterioration process cannot really take place. In turn, this actually begins a type of mummification, the preservation process on your body. Many people go for this option for the possibility of being used in scientific experiments in the future.

It Can Be Cheaper

Mausoleum Services are sometimes complicated, but, for the most part, can sometimes be cheaper. Because the casket does not have to be sealed in the same way that an underground casket does, it can essentially knock a few dollars off of your burial fee. Depending on the time of year and the circumstances, you can be sure to get a fairly inexpensive burial with a mausoleum.

It Does Not Need Maintenance

With a gravesite underground, your loved ones consistently have to maintain your plot. Weeds and things may grow and even the tombstone is not always weather-proof. With a mausoleum, you eliminate the maintenance work for your loved ones and put yourself in a grave that needs none at all. This can keep them from having to go back regularly, reliving the pain of losing you once again.

As you can see, there are many benefits to this unique form of burial. Not only will you stand out from everyone else, but it can also be cheaper and does not require as much maintenance to your gravesite. If you are planning your funeral and are looking for a cheap and unique way to be buried, consider a mausoleum as your first option. For more information on funerals and burials, check out You can also visit them on Facebook.

8 January

Italians vote on fertility referendum

Sunday, June 12, 2005

On Sunday and Monday, Italians will vote on a referendum that would the abolish certain rules of the law about medically assisted fertility treatment.

Italian Law 40 of February 19, 2004 ruled on some aspects of assisted fertility treatment and established some rigid limits. The law was approved by the majority of Parliament with the encouragement of the government. The opposition protested because there was no agreement among Parliament for such a law and there was also disagreement among the majority. The law was approved using an urgent mechanism of the parliament, an apparatus used only if there is an urgent need for a law.

A Committee against the law has formed and asked for the Referendum.

There will be 4 different votes about 4 different aspects of the law.

The first of them is asking to remove the prohibition of doing scientific studies with embryonic cells. The second is the ban on donor sperm and eggs; the third is a ban on embryo screening for couples with hereditary diseases; and the fourth, the rule that only three embryos per treatment can be created, all of which have to be implanted at the same time.

The referendum is of abrogate type, the only type of referendum permitted by Italian law.

According to the Italian Law, in order for a law (or part of a law) to be abolished by a referendum, there must not only be a majority vote in favor of the abolishment, but also that the valid vote must be more than the majority of the people that have the right to vote.

Since it’s easier for the referendum not to be approved due to lack of presence of voters rather than for the presence of the majority of the “no” vote, the party who wants to keep the law as it is currently, has now asked citizens “not to go vote” rather than to vote “no”.

Even the Catholic Church asked its members to “not go to vote”; the Pope himself asked for that in an indirect way. The president of the Senate and other people in charge of important official positions took this position.

The opposition contested this behavior.

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7 January

News briefs:October 15, 2005


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7 January

News briefs:June 1, 2010

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4 January