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Wikinews’ overview of the year 2007

Monday, December 31, 2007

What would you tell your grandchildren about 2007 if they asked you about it in, let’s say, 20 year’s time? If the answer to a quiz question was 2007, what would the question be? The year that you first signed on to Facebook? The year Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse fell apart? The year author Kurt Vonnegut or mime Marcel Marceau died, both at 84?

Let’s take a look at some of the international stories of 2007. Links to the original Wikinews articles are in bold.

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30 brightly coloured mummies discovered in Egyptian necropolis

Monday, April 13, 2009

Archaeologists have found approximately 30 beautifully preserved mummies in a 4,000 year old Egyptian necropolis which held 53 tombs.

Supervisor of Antiquities for Middle Egypt Dr. Abdel-Rahman El-Ayedi’s team established his archaeological site in the Faiyum Oasis near the El-Lahun Egyptian pyramid which is just south of Cairo.

Besides the mummies, the team found masks, amulets, clay pots and an offering table located in a funerary chapel. The chapel dates back to about 30 BC to 337 AD.

The amazing preservation of the linen wrapped mummies revealed bright decorations and writings in bright turquoise, terracotta and gold colours which had not faded over time.

“The mission found dozens of mummies in 53 rock-hewn tombs dating to the Middle Kingdom,” said Zahi Hawass. “Four of the mummies date back to the 22nd Dynasty (931 to 725 BC) and are considered some of the most beautiful mummies found.”

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4 Wd

Running Cars With Water}

Running Cars With Water

by

Mari DowlingWhen your concrete block production using hand molds is no longer sufficient you will want a machine to manufacture the blocks. There are a number of commercially made machines available. They do a good job but are quite pricey. Buy one if you can afford it and it will pay for itself with increased productivity. Building your own machine is the cheaper way to go.

Before the Phaeton, Tammy was showing a 1923 T Bucket at her local shows and through cruise-ins. It took a friend to step in and advise her as to what she would have to do to be able to compete with the “big boys”. “So I decided to up the ante,” Tammy smiled. She not only upped it with money, she threw in some gold nuggets just to ensure she would have quite an original ride.

When it is time to change the oil and oil filter in your car, the first thing you should do is make sure that you buy the right type of oil. Your owner’s manual should say what type of oil is right, although you can ask the person at the rockautoparts to look it up if you need to. Also, make sure that you have a container for the old oil to drain into.

When you’re indulging in a spa treatment at home you want to be able to see in the mirror as you apply your masks and various yummy body treatments. And don’t discount the power of a mirror if you and your man get up to some delectable spa massage and other… interactions. If you have a clear shower door like mine, you’ll want to keep it from steaming over so you can easily view (and join, if desired) any soaping-up action in there.

If you have already set your eyes on a used car, the most important thing that you need to do would be to have and take a look at the vehicle’s car history records. Ask the dealer or the party selling the car for these records. Do not buy a vehicle that has already been flooded for it would only prove to be useless to you. If it has already been in a serious accident, set your eyes on another vehicle instead. There are a lot of used cars being offered in the market so do not hesitate to look for another one.

A corollary to the “Every Man is a Jock” rule is that “Every Man is an Outdoorsman.” Maybe his idea of camping is driving a 40-foot RV into a campsite and plugging in, but he’ll still appreciate a gift he can use in the great outdoors.

I am not sure what kind of ashes these are. They’re very fine. I would think fireplace ashes but I’ve found pieces of branches too large for the fireplace. It appears something was burned here, right where the metal is placed, underneath the trees.

Through online and extensive collaborative network, you can also get any junk autos

, car parts, truck parts, and pickup parts. This site also provides you some high-grade and in-demand body parts, which contain auto lights, car lights, truck lights and headlights, automotive lighting, taillights. You can get all auto body you need which include discount rockauto parts as well as wholesale rockauto parts.

Some air filters are not cheap on late model vehicles. You can pay $15 or more for the part at a discount murfreesboro junkyard store. However, the mark up by auto shops can be over 100%. They may offer a discount or even free installation, but the filter alone yields them a nice profit for a job that frequently lasts less than five minutes. Changing an air filter often does not even require tools. You spin a wing nut or loosen a clip, remove a cover, and there is the filter waiting to be lifted out. Pull it out, put in the new one, replace the clip or nut, and you are on your way. It can save you many dollars quickly.

Used parts are a great option for the BMW owner. There are good parts available that were salvaged from wrecked cars. These parts are undamaged, still work, and are much cheaper than buying new. You should also ask at your local salvage yard; they may have just what you want.

Nancee is what my husband loves to call me but I am like if you want to use my full brand name.

I am a postal service worker but soon I shall be on my student’s. What she loves doing is doing ceramics and she’s been doing it for quite some time. Utah is greatest I love most and my family loves the problem. My husband and I maintain an internet site.You might want to check it out here: https://disqus.com/by/nelson74kincaid/If you adored this article therefore you would like to receive more info regardin

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Greek demonstrators protest austerity measures

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Protestors in Greece, rallying against austerity measures, have clashed with police in the capital of Athens.

Some people participating in the rally — attended by thousands of teachers and students — threw stones at riot police, who responded by employing pepper spray, although the BBC described the protests as being generally peaceful. Demonstrators say that a recent austerity proposal, which is to include pension cuts and an increase in taxes, will adversely affect the education sector.

Teachers, along with hospital workers and public servants, have started a two-day strike over the measures. Also present were 150 members of the armed forces, who protested having their bonuses lowered.

Meanwhile, earlier on Tuesday, approximately a hundred demonstrators with the Communist Party broke through locks at the Acropolis and hung up banners saying: “Peoples of Europe — Rise Up”.

Communist Member of Parliament Nikos Papaconstantinou commented: “We want to send a message to the farthest reaches of Greece and Europe. Similar measures that eliminate social security are taken across Europe. But popular anger will rattle imperialist organisations.”

The austerity plan comes shortly after the Greek government said it would introduce spending cuts to obtain a loan package by the EU and International Monetary Fund, aimed at helping Greece recover from a financial crisis.

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Copiapó, Chile mining accident: in depth

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The rescue of the Chilean miners trapped in the San José Mine in Copiapó, codenamed Operación San Lorenzo (San Lorenzo Operation), began on Tuesday night, at around 20:00 local time (23:00 UTC).

Florencio Ávalos was the first miner to be rescued, at 00:12 local time (03:12 UTC) on Wednesday. He was wearing a shirt signed by all his fellow miners. “The first miner is already with us. We saw it all, him hugging his wife Monica and his son Byron,” said President Piñera shortly after the first rescue. “We still have a long journey.”

“This will be recorded on every single Chilean heart forever,” Piñera added. “I hope the miners’ hope stay with us, just like the [February] earthquake victims’ [hope] and what the earthquake took off. We know that the disasters unite us all.”

All the 33 miners were rescued. The last miner, Luis Urzúa, was rescued at 21:55 Chile time (00:55 UTC). “It is a pleasure to be Chilean, [I’m] proud,” said Luis Urzúa to President Piñera. “In honour of the miners, their families, the rescuers […] let’s sing our national anthem. Viva Chile Mierda!,” said Piñera. Urzúa thanked Mining Minister Golborne and the First Lady Cecilia Morel for “fighting for their lives.” “I’m proud of my fellow miners,” Urzúa added.

Six rescuers, including a miner and a paramedic, descended to the miners’ shelter using the Fénix 3 capsule which was specially constructed for the rescue. They performed check-ups and talk with the miners before taking them back to the surface. The rescuers still don’t leave the mine.

The Fénix 3 capsules are 3.95 metres in height and weigh about 460 kilograms. They have an armour, an oxygen tube and a microphone. The occupants helmets contain an intercom to keep them in contact with the rescue team on the surface.

President of Chile Piñera assisted to the rescue. Bolivian President Evo Morales could not attend Carlos Mamani’s rescue. Mamani is the only Bolivian miner in the group.

A mass for the miners was conducted at 18:00 local time (21:00 UTC). The rescue takes between 15 and 20 minutes for each miner.

On Tuesday, Mayor of Copiapó Maglio Cicardini announced that the municipal schools in the city will have no classes this Wednesday “to transform the rescue of the Atacama’s 33 in a familiar meeting,” Radio Cooperativa reported.

“The miners will be taken to the Copiapó Regional Hospital for medical checkup, where they will have to stay for 48 hours,” Health Minister Mañalich said to Televisión Nacional de Chile.

Celebrations are taking place in several Chilean cities. In Santiago de Chile, people gathered in one of the most important points of the city, Plaza Italia. In Pichilemu, tens of cars are passing over its most important streets. In Copiapó, people gathered in its main square to assist a massive concert.

On August 5, 33 miners were trapped more than 700 meters (2,300 ft) underground, in the San José copper–gold mine, located about 40 kilometers north of Copiapó, Chile.

The youngest trapped miner is 19 years old, and the oldest is 63. There were several rescue attempts before reaching the miners’ shelter on August 22. The National Emergencies Office of Chile (ONEMI) released a list of the trapped miners on August 6, which included Franklin Lobos Ramírez, a retired footballer.

Chile is the worlds top producer of copper, according to The Economist. The San José Mine is owned by the San Esteban Mining Company (Empresa Minera San Esteban). The mine was closed down in 2007, after relatives of a miner who had died sued the company executives, but the mine was re–opened in 2008.

It was originally estimated that “it would take three to four months to complete the rescue of the trapped miners”. There were three plans to reach the miners: “Plan A” using a Strata 950 drill, “Plan B” using a Schramm T130XD drill, and “Plan C” using a RIG-422 drill. The first to reach the miners was “Plan B”, early on Saturday 9.

The last step of their rescue, announced by Health Minister Jaime Mañalich, was originally due to begin on Tuesday. Laurence Golborne, Minery Minister said “If it is possible, and the cement sets before and we don’t have any impediments to doing it, it would be wonderful,” in a press conference on Monday. The men will be extracted in a steel rescue capsule 54 cm (21 inches) in diameter.

On September 4, Chilean filmmaker Rodrigo Ortúzar announced plans to film a movie about the accident, called “Los 33” (“The 33”). The film will be released in 2011.

One miner is Bolivian, and the other 32 are Chilean.

Raúl Bustos, 40 years old, is an hydraulics engineer. He left his job in Talcahuano after the February 27 earthquake to work in the mine.

Daniel Herrera, 27 years old, is a lorry driver. He has acted as paramedic assistant in the mine. He said to La Tercera “the miners were unhappy with the psychologist in the rescue team.”

Claudio Acuña, miner, is fan of the Colo-Colo football club. The BBC reports he is aged 56, but El Comercio says he is 44.

Pedro Cortez is aged 24. He joined the mine with his friend Carlos Bugueño. Cortez is an electrician, and lost a finger in the mine a year ago.

File:Juan Aguilar with President Piñera.jpg

A native of Los Lagos, Juan Aguilar is 49 years old. Aguilar is married to Cristy Coronado, according to El Comercio. Aguilar works as a supervisor.

Mario Sepúlveda is a 39 years old electrician native of Parral; he is married. He has been the spokesman of the most of the miners’ videos. Mario Sepúlveda was the second miner to be rescued, on Wednesday at 01:10 local time (04:10 UTC).

Víctor Zamora is a 33 years old auto mechanic. Zamora is married to Jéssica Cortez, who confirmed she was pregnant while he was in the mine.

Osman Araya is 30 years old, and married. He began working as miner four months before the accident.

Florencio Ávalos is 31 years old. He is the brother of Renán Ávalos, who is also trapped in the mine. He worked as driver in San José. Ávalos filmed videos, sent later to his relatives.

Ávalos was the first miner to be rescued, on Wednesday at 00:10 local time (03:10 UTC).

Jorge Galleguillos, 56 years old, has worked all his life in the mine. He said in one video he was feeling unwell; he takes medication for hypertension.

Carlos Barrios is a 27 years old miner. His father, Antenor Barrios, told Agence France-Presse: “I find he’s very strong and has enthusiasm. He spoke loud and clear. I was excited.”

Franklin Lobos Ramírez is a 53 years old retired footballer. He played for Cobresal, Deportes Antofagasta, Club de Deportes Santiago Wanderers and Unión La Calera, and briefly for the Chile national football team. Lobos had worked as a truck driver in the mine.

Yonni Barrios, called “The Doctor”, is a 50 years old electrician. He has knowledge of first aid, and was given responsibility for monitoring the health of his colleagues. “I felt I was in hell,” Barrios said in a letter to his wife.

Carlos Bugueño, 27 years old, joined the mine with Pedro Cortez. Previously, he worked as a watchman.

Alex Vega Salazar is a 31 years old heavy machinery mechanic. He is married to Jessica Salgado, and celebrated his birthday in the mine on September 22.

Ariel Ticona is a 29 years old miner. His wife, Margarita gave birth to his daughter on September 14. She was named Esperanza (Hope), at Ticona’s request.

Richard Villarroel is a 27 years old mechanic from Coyhaique.

Edison Peña is a 34 years old miner. “I want to go out soon,” he said on his first contact with his relatives. “I want to be free, I want to see the sun,” he added. He is a fan of Elvis Presley.

Claudio Yáñez is 34 years old, and works as drill operator.

José Ojeda, 46 years old, is the master driller. Ojeda is widowed and diabetic.

Luis Urzúa is a 54 year old topographer. He is the shift-leader, and was the first miner to talk with authorities. He is known as Don Lucho among the miners. He draw plans of the area of the mine where they are trapped.

Urzúa will be the last miner to leave the mine.

José Henríquez is a 54 years old drill master. He is also an evangelical preacher, and has worked in mines for 33 years.

Víctor Segovia is a 48 years old electrician. He is in charge of writing down everything that happens in the mine.

Pablo Rojas is a 45 years old explosives loader. Married, he had been working less than six months in the mine.

Juan Illanes is a 51 year old miner. He was a sergeant in the Beagle border conflict between Chile and Argentina in 1978, the incident which almost provoked a war between the countries.

Illanes was rescued on Wednesday, at 02:07 local time (05:07 UTC).

Jimmy Sánchez, 19, is the youngest miner. He had been working in the mine for five months before the accident. His role is to check the temperature and humidity in the mine.

Samuel Ávalos is a 43 years miner. His wife Ruth said “he was addicted to the cocaine.” His role in the rescue is to check air quality in the area the miners are living. According to the BBC, “Ávalos has worked in the mine for five months.”

Mario Gómez, aged 63, is the oldest of the miners. He has worked 51 years as miner. His father was also a miner, and is nicknamed “El Navegao” (“The Sailed One”). He was thinking of retiring in November.

Gómez also wrote the message “Estamos bien en el refugio los 33” (“We are fine in the shelter the 33 [of us]”).

Segovia is 48 years old. He is married to Jessica Chille, who said “To hear his voice was a confort to my heart,” after talking with him for the first time in 24 days. His sister María, was nicknamed “La Alcaldesa” (“The Mayoress”) for her leading role at Campamento Esperanza. His father, Darío Senior, was trapped in a mine for a week, and suffered serious injuries after two other mining accidents, according to the BBC.

Carlos Mamani is a 23 years old heavy equipment operator. He is also the only non-Chilean miner; Mamani is Bolivian. He began working in the mine just five days before the accident.

He was rescued at 03:11 local time (06:11 UTC) on Wednesday.

Renán Ávalos is a 29 years old miner, single, who had been working for five months in the mine before the accident. Florencio Ávalos is his brother.

Omar Reygadas is a 56 year old electrician. He began working in the mine shortly before the accident.

Esteban Rojas is a 44 years old miner. Rojas is married to Jessica Yáñez.

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Man claims 84 percent ownership of Facebook

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Last month, Paul D. Ceglia filed suit against Facebook, the world’s largest social network, claiming that he rightfully owns 84 percent of the company. The lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, bases its claims on a 2003 contract between Ceglia and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The contract reportedly states that Zuckerberg would give Ceglia 50 percent ownership in the company in exchange for designing a website “similar to a live functioning yearbook with the working title of ‘The Face Book’,” and paying a US$1000 fee. Ceglia would also get an extra percentage point every day after January 1, 2004 until the work was completed.

Earlier this month, Judge Thomas Brown issued a temporary restraining order that prevents transfer of Facebook’s assets in light of the ongoing lawsuit. According to Victor P. Goldberg, who teaches at Columbia University’s Law School, the lawsuit may get tripped up by the statute of limitations, which is six years in New York. PC World says that one problem with Ceglia’s claim is that the contract was purportedly signed in 2003, while Zuckerberg didn’t register the domain name thefacebook.com until January 2004.

This is not the first time Ceglia has appeared in court. In 2009, New York’s Attorney General Andrew Cuomo accused Ceglia of fraud. The state claims that Ceglia took more than $200,000 from customers of a wood-pellet fuel company, and failed to deliver any products or refunds; this case is still ongoing. A Facebook spokesman has stated that they believe this suit is completely frivolous and will fight it vigorously.

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Podcast

Network Marketing Tips To Ensure Your Guaranteed Success… From An Mlm Veteran

By Frank Wilmink

Working for yourself in your own business can be extremely rewarding. Here are my best 7 network marketing tips that will guarantee your success in any network marketing company.

Network Marketing, also known as direct sales or MLM, is not about housewives buying or selling Tupperware while gossiping over a cup of coffee and a cream bun, or a high pressure salesperson trying to convince you that vitamins and minerals will make you a millionaire if you could only get your friends and their friends to do the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s neither a hobby or a get rich scheme, but an opportunity for you to earn a substantial income running your own part time or full time business. What does it take to succeed in this business?

These network marketing tips will ensure you will succeed in this business.

Here are 7 network marketing tips that I have put together on selecting the perfect MLM, based on the MLM experience of nearly 40 years.

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When selecting an opportunity the first tip should be STABILITY. How many years has the company been in business and what growth rate have they experienced?

Are the products or services the type of things consumers will use and need more of? By this I mean will the consumer need the product on an ongoing basis e.g. Monthly?

Pay Plan. How is it structured? Is it fair and generous to all who join in the company? If this is not fair you and your downline ( enrolees ) will find another opportunity and leave. It comes down to how many cents out of each sales dollar that you get paid back each month, and perhaps how fair is the distribution of these cents between the old members and the new members.

The fourth network marketing tip is the integrity of the management and the company. You need to investigate the company as much as possible and determine the experience of the CEO. Their experience and background in the network marketing industry is important to the company’s success and additionally your success. Do they have a good reputation should be a key concern of yours.

Momentum and timing. Look at where the company is at and where the product is situated on the time line. It should be on the climb with plenty of momentum and demand still remaining.

Is the support, training and business systems sound? You may have chosen a great company with excellent management, a great and fair compensation plan that very generous, and plenty of momentum and stability, but if the system doesn’t work with you, all of that doesn’t make it connect.

The last and probably most important network marketing tip that you need to follow is that you need to listen and learn from your mentors or upline. It is in your interest, and your upline’s, to ensure you succeed. Your mentor should be encouraging you to follow in their footsteps and teach your enrolees to learn as you have done.

Additional to the above network marketing tips, there is a new addition to the sound advice that new MLM companies are adding to their training. This is using the internet. This is the new technology that will get you new enrolees without home meetings or one on one presentations.

To learn more about using the net to get your network marketing business moving really fast, I suggest you learn how the gurus have done it.

About the Author: Frank Wilmink is a multi-figure earner and has been involved in the

MLM industry

for many years, earning a full time income from showing people how to earn a residual income. Frank works with his team devoting his time, energy and effort into helping other Network Marketing individuals achieve

their success

.

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Controversial development training cited in religious discrimination lawsuits

Friday, May 23, 2008

A controversial development training course called “Landmark Forum” is cited in religious discrimination lawsuits in United States federal courts in New York and Washington, D.C. The seminars are run by a San Francisco, California-based for-profit training company called Landmark Education. The company evolved from Erhard Seminars Training “est”, and has faced criticism regarding its techniques and its use of unpaid labor. The sperm bank and surrogacy company Los Angeles-based Growing Generations is named as a defendant in the New York lawsuit, and the Democratic political action committee Twenty-First Century Democrats is a defendant in the Washington, D.C. case.

In separate lawsuits filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, New York, and in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., former employees are suing their employers for monetary damages and claiming religious discrimination after their employers allegedly mandated that they attend courses at Landmark Education.

In the US$3 million federal lawsuit filed in New York, Scott Glasgow is suing his former employer Growing Generations and its CEO Stuart Miller. Growing Generations maintains sperm banks and also arranges surrogacy for gay couples who wish to have children. The company has offices in New York and Los Angeles, and has done business with celebrities including actor B. D. Wong of Law & Order: SVU.

Glasgow was marketing director of Growing Generations, and claims he was fired in June 2007 after refusing to continue attending Landmark Education seminars. Glasgow is also suing for sexual harassment, and claims Miller came on to him in September 2006. He made approximately $100,000 per year as the company’s marketing director, and was the company’s only employee based out of New York City. The company’s main offices are in Los Angeles.

I want them to stop imposing Landmark on the employees, and I want an apology.

“I was shocked when I was fired. It took me months to right myself. I want them to stop imposing Landmark on the employees, and I want an apology,” said Glasgow in a statement in The Village Voice. Brent Pelton, one of Glasgow’s attorneys, stated that: “The Landmark philosophy is deeply ingrained in the culture of the company”. Glasgow said that the Landmark Education training courses were “opposite” to his Christian beliefs. According to Glasgow he was questioned by Miller in May 2007 after he walked out of a Landmark Education course, and was fired shortly thereafter. “We stand by the allegations contained in the complaint and we look forward to proving them at trial,” said Pelton in a statement to ABC News.

Ian Wallace, an attorney who represents Growing Generations, claimed that Glasgow wasn’t fired but walked away from his position. “Growing Generations and Mr. Miller are very confident that these claims will be dismissed ultimately, and there’s no factual basis for them whatsoever,” said Wallace in a statement to The Village Voice. Lawyers representing Growing Generations and Stuart Miller declined comment to The New York Post, and did not immediately return a message from ABC News.

In Glasgow’s complaint, entered into federal court record on April 18, he asserts that Landmark Education constitutes a “religion”, and “perceived their philosophy as a form of religion that contradicted his own personal beliefs”. He states that when he was promoted to Director of Marketing, he asked Miller if he could stop attending the Landmark sessions but was told that they were mandatory for all of the company’s executives and that Landmark is “very much the language of the company.” Glasgow said his performance at the company was assessed based on how he was “touching, moving and inspiring” others, a phrase from the Landmark philosophy, as opposed to his business accomplishments at the company. The complaint claims that the actions of Miller and Growing Generations violated Federal, New York State and New York City civil rights laws.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. deals with a separate plaintiff and company, but the plaintiff in the suit also claims that religious discrimination took place for allegedly being mandated to attend Landmark Education courses. Kenneth Goldman is suing the United States Democratic political action committee Twenty-First Century Democrats (also 21st Century Democrats) and its former executive director Kelly Young. Goldman was formerly the communications director of 21st Century Democrats.

According to Goldman’s complaint, three employees of 21st Century Democrats were fired after refusing to attend the Landmark Forum course. The complaint asserts that Landmark Education has “religious characteristics and theological implications” which influenced the mission of 21st Century Democrats and the way the organization conducted business. Goldman’s complaint states that in addition to himself, a training director and field director were also fired after they made it clear they would not attend the Landmark Forum.

Goldman says executive director Young infused Landmark Education jargon terms into staff meetings such as “create possibilities”, “create a new context”, and “enroll in possibilities”. He also claims that Young “urged” staff members to participate in Landmark Education events outside of the workplace, drove employees to and from Landmark functions, and used funds from 21st Century Democrats to pay for employees to attend those functions. Goldman’s complaint asserts that he was discriminated against in violation of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.

While we are not a party to this lawsuit and have no firsthand knowledge of it, we can only assume that we are being used as a legal and political football to further the plaintiff”s own financial interests.

In a statement in The Washington Times, the executive director of 21st Century Democrats, Mark Lotwis, called the lawsuit “frivolous” and said: “we’re going to defend our organization’s integrity”. Landmark Education spokeswoman Deborah Beroset said that the Landmark Forum “is in no way religious in nature and any claim to the contrary is simply absurd,” and stated: “While we are not a party to this lawsuit and have no firsthand knowledge of it, we can only assume that we are being used as a legal and political football to further the plaintiff”s own financial interests.”

The New York lawsuit was filed April 14, and is still in early filing stages. A conference with the federal court judge in the case has been scheduled for June 17. The Washington, D.C. suit began in November 2007, and entered mediation this past March. As of April 15 the parties in the case were due back to court on July 11 to update the court on the mediation process.

Landmark Education is descended from Erhard Seminars Training, also called “est”, which was founded by Werner Erhard. est began in 1971, and Erhard’s company Werner Erhard and Associates repackaged the course as “The Forum” in 1985. Associates of Erhard bought the license to his “technology” and incorporated Landmark Education in California in 1991.

This is not the first time employees have sued claiming mandatory attendance at “Forum” workshops violated their civil rights. In a lawsuit filed in December 1988 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, eight employees of DeKalb Farmers Market in Decatur, Georgia sued their employer claiming their religious freedom and civil rights were violated when they were allegedly coerced into attending “Forum” training sessions. “Many of these training programs, particularly at large corporations, claim to be purely psychological, aimed at improving productivity and morale and loyalty. But in fact they are religious,” said University of Denver religious studies professor Carl Raschke in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.

The DeKalb Farmers Market employees were represented by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union. Consulting Technologies Inc., an affiliate of Transformational Technologies Inc., was named as a party in the lawsuit. Transformational Technologies was founded by Werner Erhard, and was not named as a party in the suit. The “Forum” course that the employees claimed they were mandated to attend was developed by Werner Erhard and Associates. Employees said that they were fired or pressured to quit after they objected to the Forum courses.

The workers claimed that the Forum course contradicted with their religious beliefs. The plaintiffs in the suit included adherents of varying religious backgrounds, including Christianity and Hinduism. “The sessions put people into a hibernating state. They ask for total loyalty. It’s like brainwashing,” said Dong Shik Kim, one of the plaintiffs in the case. The plaintiffs said they lost their jobs after objecting to a “new age quasi-religious cult” which they said was developed by Werner Erhard.

The DeKalb Farmers Market denied the allegations, and an attorney for the company Edward D. Buckley III told The Wall Street Journal that employees were encouraged, not coerced, to attend the training sessions. According to The Wall Street Journal, The Forum said it would not sanction workers being coerced to attend its training sessions.

The parties in the DeKalb Farmers Market religious discrimination case came to a settlement in May 1989, and the case was dismissed with prejudice in June. The terms of the out-of-court settlement were not made public, but the employees’ attorney Amy Totenberg told The Wall Street Journal that the case “has made employers come to grips with the legitimate boundaries of employee training”.

According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers must “reasonably accommodate” their employees’ religious beliefs unless this creates “undue hardship”. In September 1988, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a policy-guidance notice which stated that New Age courses should be handled under Title VII of the Act. According to the Commission, employers must provide “reasonable accommodation” if an employee challenges a training course, unless this causes “undue hardship” for the company.

In October 2006, Landmark Education took legal action against Google, YouTube, the Internet Archive and a website owner in Queensland, Australia in attempts to remove criticism of its products from the Internet. The company sought a subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an attempt to discover the identity of an anonymous critic who uploaded a 2004 French documentary of the Landmark Forum to the Internet. “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” (Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus) was produced by Pièces à Conviction, a French investigative journalism news program. The Electronic Frontier Foundation represented the anonymous critic and the Internet Archive, and Landmark withdrew its subpoena in November 2006 in exchange for a promise from the anonymous critic not to repost the video.

Landmark Education itself has come under scrutiny for its controversial labor practices. The company has been investigated by the United States Department of Labor in separate investigations originating out of California, Colorado, and Texas. Investigations focused on the heavy reliance of unpaid labor in the company’s workforce, which Landmark Education calls “assistants” and deems volunteers.

An investigation by the U.S. Dept. Labor based out of Colorado found that activities performed by Landmark Education’s “assistants” include: “office, clerical, telephone solicitation and enrollment, as well as greeting customers, setting up chairs, handling microphones during the seminars and making coffee. Additionally, a number of volunteers actually teach the courses and provide testimonials during and after the courses.” The Colorado investigation’s 1996 report found that “No records are kept of any hours worked by any employees.” According to a 1998 article in Metro Silicon Valley: “In the end the Department of Labor dropped the issue, leaving Landmark trumpeting about its volunteers’ choice in the matter.” Metro Silicon Valley reported that Landmark Education at the time employed 451 paid staff, and also utilized the services of 7,500 volunteers.

After an investigation into Landmark Education’s labor practices by the U.S. Dept. Labor’s offices out of California, the company was deemed to have overtime violations. According to the Department of Labor’s 2004 report on the investigation, back wages of $187,569.01 were found due to 45 employees. An investigation by the U.S. Dept. Labor in Texas which concluded in 2005 stated: “Minimum wage violation found. Volunteers (Assistants) are not paid any wages for hours worked while performing the major duties of the firm. The assistants set up rooms, call registrants, collect fees, keep stats of classroom data/participants, file, they also are answering phones, training and leading seminars.”

The Texas investigation also discovered an overtime violation. Landmark Education agreed to pay back wages for the overtime violation, but did not comply with the overtime violation found by the U.S. Dept. Labor for the “assistants”. Landmark Education denied that the “assistants” are employees, though the Department of Labor report concluded: “Interviews reveal that the employees are taking payments, registering clients, billing, training, recruiting, setting up locations, cleaning, and other duties that would have to be performed by staff if the assistants did not perform them.”

According to the 2004 investigative report by Pièces à Conviction in the “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” program, Landmark Education was investigated by the French government in 1995. In the “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” program volunteers were filmed through a hidden camera and shown performing duties for Landmark Education in France including manning phones, recruitment and financial work for the company, and one volunteer was shown cleaning a toilet.

Le Nouvel Observateur reported that after “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” aired in France, labor inspectors investigated Landmark Education’s use of unpaid volunteers. According to Le Nouvel Observateur, one month after the labor investigation took place the French branch of the company had disbanded. A former “Introduction Leader” to the Landmark Forum, Lars Bergwik, has recently posted a series of videos to YouTube critical of the company and its practices. Bergwik appeared on a 2004 investigative journalism program on Sweden’s Channel 4, Kalla Fakta (Cold Facts). According to Bergwik, after the Kalla Fakta program on Landmark Education aired, “Landmark left Sweden”.

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Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans students/AL-KY

See the discussion page for instructions on adding schools to this list and for an alphabetically arranged listing of schools.

Due to the damage by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding, a number of colleges and universities in the New Orleans metropolitan area will not be able to hold classes for the fall 2005 semester. It is estimated that 75,000 to 100,000 students have been displaced. [1]. In response, institutions across the United States and Canada are offering late registration for displaced students so that their academic progress is not unduly delayed. Some are offering free or reduced admission to displaced students. At some universities, especially state universities, this offer is limited to residents of the area.

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Levitra ads pulled by FDA

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has penned a stiff reminder to drug giants Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corp. and GlaxoSmithKline PLC: pull your 15-second “reminder” ad for the erectile dysfunction drug, Levitra, off TV.

FDA said there is no evidence Levitra is better than rival drugs Viagra from Pfizer, or Cialis, owned by Eli Lilly and Co., in producing results that make female partners happy.

Levitra and Cialis together control about 30 per cent of the market for such drugs, but Pfizer takes the majority share.

Reminder ads can only call attention to a drug, not claim it works better, or at all.

“In one of [the ad’s] scenes, the man strokes the woman’s hair and face as she affectionately puts her hand on his wrist,” the FDA wrote. “In the other, she puts her arms around his neck and they embrace.”

“The totality of the TV ad also represents or suggests that Levitra will provide a satisfying sexual experience from the female partner’s perspective,” the agency wrote.

Glaxo spokesman Michael Fleming said the drug makers would comply. Bayer developed Levitra and partnered with Glaxo to market the pills in 2001. Bayer recently turned its part of the promotion over to Schering-Plough Corp.

Shares of Bayer fell 75 cents to $32.96 on Friday. Shares of GlaxoSmithKline rose 32 cents to close at $47.82. Schering-Plough shares rose 8 cents to end at $20.65.

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