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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 127658 times)
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« Reply #5355 on: Oct 28th, 2011, 08:34am »

Washington Post

Appliance maker Whirlpool to cut 5,000 jobs in cost-cutting move

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, October 28, 5:09 AM

NEW YORK — Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. plans to cut 5,000 jobs, about 10 percent of its workforce in North America and Europe, as it faces soft demand and higher costs for materials.

The world’s biggest appliance maker also on Friday cut its 2011 earnings outlook drastically and reported third-quarter results that missed expectations, hurt by higher costs and a slowdown in emerging markets. Shares fell 12 percent in premarket trading.

The company, whose brands include Maytag and KitchenAid, has been squeezed by soft demand since the recession and rising costs for materials such as steel and copper. Due to its size, Whirlpool’s performance provides a window on the economy because it indicates whether consumers are comfortable spending on big-ticket items.

Whirlpool has raised prices to combat higher costs, but demand for items like refrigerators and washing machines remains tight. Whirlpool is also facing discount pressure from competitors.

To offset slowing North American sales, Whirlpool has turned to emerging markets. But the company said Friday that sales have slowed there, too.

Steep costs and the dour global economy are affecting the entire appliance industry. Swedish appliance maker Electrolux said Wednesday that its third-quarter net income fell 39 percent and cut its forecast for demand in North American and Europe for the year

Whirlpool jobs to be cut are mostly in North America and Europe. They include 1,200 salaried positions and the closing of the company’s Fort Smith, Ark., plant.

The Fort Smith plant shutdown will affect 884 hourly workers and 90 salaried employees. An additional 800 workers were on layoff from the factory and on a recall list.

Whirlpool will also relocate dishwasher production from Neunkirchen, Germany, to Poland in January 2012.

The company expects the moves will save $400 million by the end of 2013.

Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool’s third-quarter net income more than doubled to $177 million, or $2.27 per share, from $79 million, or $1.02 per share. Adjusted earnings of $2.35 per share fell short of analyst expectations for $2.73 per share.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $4.63 billion, short of expectations for $4.74 billion.

“Our results were negatively impacted by recessionary demand levels in developed countries, a slowdown in emerging markets and high levels of inflation in material costs,” CEO Jeff Fettig said.

Unit shipments fell in all regions except Asia, where they rose 4 percent.

In North America, revenue fell 2 percent to $2.4 billion, and in Latin America, revenue rose 8 percent to $1.2 billion.

The company now expects 2011 net income will be $4.75 to $5.25 per share. Its prior guidance was net income would be at the low end of a range between $7.25 and $8.25 per share.

Whirlpool’s stock fell $7.10, or 11.7 percent, to $53.37 in premarket trading. The stock has already sunk 32 percent this year.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/appliance-maker-whirlpool-to-cut-5000-jobs-10-pct-of-workforce-in-cost-cutting-move/2011/10/28/gIQATFclOM_story.html?hpid=z2

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« Reply #5356 on: Oct 28th, 2011, 08:35am »

back in a bit........
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« Reply #5357 on: Oct 28th, 2011, 11:35am »

Reuters

Euro fund head: no quick China deal; Italy costs up

By Aileen Wang and Koh Gui Qing
BEIJING | Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:40am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - The head of Europe's bailout fund sought financial support from China on Friday to help resolve the bloc's debt crisis, saying that while no quick deal was in sight he was still confident Beijing would keep buying bonds issued by his fund.

Klaus Regling, chief executive of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), was in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials a day after euro zone leaders struck a hard-fought accord on the two-year crisis that nonetheless left major economies Italy and Spain under financial market pressure.

After the European summit in Brussels reached agreement in the early hours of Thursday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy immediately got on the phone to China to seek financial help, saying Beijing had "a major role to play".

But despite a characteristically bullish sales pitch, the French leader did not appear to have received any specific commitments.

European governments had announced an agreement under which private banks and insurers would accept 50 percent losses on their Greek debt holdings in the latest bid to cut Athens' debt load to sustainable levels.

European leaders are now under pressure to finalize the details of the plan if they expect China and others to support it and Regling said he expected Beijing to continue buying bonds issued by the EFSF.

"We all know China has a particular need to invest surpluses," Regling told a Beijing news conference, referring to the country's $3.2 trillion of foreign exchange reserves, the world's biggest.

Regling said the bailout deal with Greece was an exceptional case that he did not believe would have to be repeated for other nations.

Many in financial markets are concerned that the fund is not big enough to cope if Italy and Spain are drawn deeper into the crisis.

Italy's borrowing costs hit new euro-era highs at a bond auction on Friday. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was forced to promise new reforms and counter speculation that his coalition government was about to collapse.

Despite Berlusconi's assertion that his center right alliance remains solid, critics contend that his reform promises do not go far enough and the country will face early elections next year with no significant progress to show.

France said investment by China would inspire confidence in the euro zone.

"The reality is that China is the third largest shareholder in the International Monetary Fund, and if China via the IMF wants to participate - not by saving Greece or the euro - but by participating in investment, that is a gesture of confidence," French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said.

"What is happening in Europe and creating instability is that public and private investors are pulling out," he told RMC radio.

Global stocks were heading for their best week in over two years on Friday, bolstered by the Brussels deal, while the euro hit a seven-week high at one stage before falling back, shrugging off the lack of detail in Thursday's anti-crisis plan.

Switzerland said it was looking at participating in the EU bailout fund via a special investment vehicle, although the idea could run into domestic opposition given the country's euro skeptical tradition.

Norway, however, whose $572 billion oil fund is Europe's biggest investor in equities, said it had less than 100 million euros in EFSF investments and would not invest in any euro zone rescue schemes that had elements of aid in them.

Key aspects of the euro zone deal, including the mechanics of boosting the EFSF and providing Greek debt relief, have yet to be finalized. It is proving difficult to explain in the meantime and European officials were jeered by journalists at one briefing as they struggled to outline it clearly.

There are fears that the latest deal will fall apart like the last one, three months ago, that was also meant to draw a line under the troubles of the 12-year-old currency bloc.

Within weeks it was clear that deal was inadequate given the scale of Greece's problems and the vulnerability of European banks. The new deal aims to plug these holes.

"ABSOLUTELY SUSTAINABLE"

Under it, the private sector agreed to voluntarily accept a nominal 50 percent cut in its bond investments to reduce Greece's debt burden by 100 billion euros, cutting its debts to 120 percent of gross domestic product by 2020, from 160 percent now.

The euro zone will offer 30 billion euros in "credit enhancements" or sweeteners to the private sector to get them on board. The aim is to complete these negotiations by year end, so Greece has a full, second financial aid program in place before 2012.

The value of that package, EU sources said, would be 130 billion euros -- up from 109 billion euros in the July deal.

"The debt is absolutely sustainable now," Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said.

In a bid to convince markets that they can defend larger countries like Italy and Spain, euro zone leaders also agreed to scale up the EFSF, the 440 billion euro bailout fund they created in May 2010 and have already used to provide aid to Ireland, Portugal and Greece.

Around 250 billion euros remaining in the fund will be leveraged 4-5 times, producing a headline figure of around 1.0 trillion euros.

The EFSF will be leveraged in two ways, either by offering insurance, or first-loss guarantees, to purchasers of euro zone debt in the primary market, or via a special purpose investment vehicle that will be set up in the coming weeks and which is aimed at attracting investment from countries such as China and Brazil.

The methods could be combined, giving the EFSF greater flexibility, the euro zone leaders said.

But EU finance ministers are not expected to define the plan until some time in November, with the exact date not fixed.

Another question mark is Berlusconi's commitment to shoring up his country's debt-laden economy. Dogged by scandals, Berlusconi has promised to raise the retirement age to 67 by 2026 and attempt other reforms, but the EU is reserving judgment after repeated backsliding from Rome in recent months.

SARKOZY TALKS TO HU

Sarkozy said he had spoken to Chinese President Hu Jintao by telephone after the summit on Thursday and that Hu was relieved Europe had announced a deal to tackle a crisis that could otherwise have taken down the entire world economy.

Sarkozy also donned the hat of euro salesman.

"China has a major role to play. China must deploy more resources to stimulate the world economy: If they decide to invest in the euro rather than the dollar, why reject that? "

"Why not accept that the Chinese place their trust in the euro zone?" the French president said.

"China hopes all these measures will help stabilize the European financial market and conquer the current difficulties and promote the economic recovery and development," Hu said, according to China's state television. ($1 = 0.724 Euros)

(Writing by Giles Elgood; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/28/us-eurozone-idUSTRE79R1LG20111028

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« Reply #5358 on: Oct 28th, 2011, 11:38am »

Geeky Gadgets

Organic Compounds Found Floating In Darkness Of Space

By Glenn Santos
Friday 28th October 2011 5:04 pm
Geeky, Technology News

Scientists from the University of Hong Kong have found credible proof that the vastness of space supports an indescribable organism. Neither living nor dead, it posseses a chemical composition that’s comparable to fossil fuels here form Earth, meaning at some point they grew from living things.

If this is the case, then the universe as we know it is a bizarre place indeed, hardly just a broad canvas speckled with trillions of lifeless galaxies. What makes this new find from HKU (kudos to Prof. Sun Kwok and Dr. Yong Zhang) so compelling is it runs against widely accepted theory. By gathering data through an observatory and the Spitzer Space telescope, the scientists behind this amazing find observed that stars released complex inorganic compounds into the vacuum of space. Why? Who Knows? They just do.

So the emerging revelation from this research is that stars may have seeded the universe with the kind of chemical compounds conducive to life. Woah.

If this is the case, could the Reapers that Mass Effect warned about exist? The great and terrible life forms from the game are a chilling thought, being immense sentient starships waiting in the far blackness for that precise moment to awaken and a carry out their horrific mission. Uh oh.

Having unnecessarily plugged Mass Effect 3, it’s time to move on to another post. Ahem!

http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/organic-compounds-found-floating-in-darkness-of-space-28-10-2011/#more-95908

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« Reply #5359 on: Oct 28th, 2011, 11:41am »

The Wrap

'Chuck' Returns Tonight for Final Season -- and You Should Watch

Published: October 28, 2011 @ 8:55 am

"Chuck" fans have eaten a lot of Subway sandwiches and mounted a four-year-long campaign to keep the action-comedy on the air.

So though tonight's fifth season premiere kicks off what is also the show's final season, faithful viewers will be happy to know that series producers Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak seem to be plotting "Chuck's" final run as one big payoff for Chuck Bartowski devotees.

Chuck (Zachary Levi) and his former spy handler Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) are now married and out of the government spy game. They have launched their own spy-for-hire firm with pal John Casey (Adam Baldwin). Also on board is new Intersect Morgan (Joshua Gomez), who Chuck hopes to keep safe.

The first case pits them against a slick, wealthy thief (Mark Hamill) and wily investor (Craig Kilborn), the first of many season five guests.

And, since Chuck now owns the Buy More, we're still going to be seeing Big Mike, Jeff and Lester.

"Chuck" returns tonight at 8/7c p.m. on NBC.

http://www.thewrap.com/tv/column-post/chuck-returns-tonight-its-final-season-and-you-should-watch-32270

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« Reply #5360 on: Oct 28th, 2011, 2:46pm »

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Newborn giraffe, Margaret, at Chester Zoo, UK
Little Margaret, who is the first female Rothschild giraffe born at the zoo, is being hand-reared by her dedicated keepers. The first calf for six-year-old mum Fay.
Margaret, who was born two weeks early, tipped the scales at just 34 kilos (75 lbs) and is a mere 5 ft tall



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« Reply #5361 on: Oct 28th, 2011, 3:50pm »

http://www.wimp.com/flybird/

Courtesy of Phil Russman, Lite Touch Films

http://www.litetouchfilms.com/
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« Reply #5362 on: Oct 28th, 2011, 6:13pm »

on Oct 28th, 2011, 3:50pm, Swamprat wrote:
http://www.wimp.com/flybird/

Courtesy of Phil Russman, Lite Touch Films

http://www.litetouchfilms.com/


Beautiful! Thanks Swamprat.

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« Reply #5363 on: Oct 29th, 2011, 08:03am »

LA Times

Syria protesters reportedly demand 'no fly' zone

As continued violence leaves at least 40 people dead in Syria, demonstrators call for foreign intervention to protect civilians as NATO has done in Libya, antigovernment activists say.

By Alexandra Sandels and Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
8:58 PM PDT, October 28, 2011
Reporting from Beirut

Political violence killed at least 40 people across Syria on Friday, antigovernment activists said, as protesters took to the streets demanding a "no fly" zone to protect civilians seeking the ouster of President Bashar Assad.

It was the highest reported Friday death toll in months. Protests after Friday's midday Muslim prayers have become a weekly occurrence in Syria since mid-March, when the demonstration movement began.

Anti-Assad activists blamed the deaths on security forces attacking peaceful marchers. There was no word from Syrian authorities, but they have repeatedly blamed the violence on armed "terrorists," who they say are part of a conspiracy linked to the United States and its allies in the region.

Protest rallies erupted Friday across the country, activists said, including in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus, the west-central cities of Homs and Hama, and the northeastern city of Dair Alzour, near the Iraqi border.

Syria's opposition movement also includes an armed element, including former army soldiers who have switched their loyalty, activists say. Some fear that the Syrian conflict is becoming more militarized and could escalate into a full-fledged insurgency or civil war.

Political violence in Syria has left more than 3,000 dead, according to the United Nations. The government says more than 1,100 security forces have been killed.

The theme set by organizers of Friday's protests was a call for the imposition of a no-fly zone, like that used against former Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi. Kadafi's capture and death last week have provided inspiration the Syrian protest movement, activists say.

Foreign countries are unlikely to intervene in Syria as they did in Libya. Russia and China, both members of the Security Council, have vetoed a U.N. resolution that they feared could have led to military action against their ally.

Many Syrian opposition groups also are opposed to foreign intervention, fearing that it could polarize the nation and galvanize nationalist sentiments in favor of Assad.

Though the Obama administration has called for Assad to step down, the White House has said intervention is not in the cards.

"The vast majority of the Syrian opposition continues to speak in favor of peaceful, nonviolent protest and against foreign intervention of any kind, and particularly foreign military intervention into the situation in Syria, and we respect that," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters this week.

However, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others have raised the possibility of foreign intervention in Syria, especially now that the NATO mission in Libya is almost finished.

On Friday, amateur video uploaded to YouTube purportedly showed protesters marching down a street in Damascus' Midan neighborhood, clapping their hands and chanting, "The people want a ban on flying."

Another clip, said to have been filmed in the southern province of Dara, depicts a large crowd calling for a no-fly zone to a background drumbeat.

Friday's violence, activists said, was most severe in Homs, where 21 were reported killed, and Hama, where 14 were said to have died. Both cities have been the site of intense conflict in recent weeks.

The official Syrian government news agency, SANA, said an unspecified number of law enforcement officers were injured Friday by gunfire in Hama. No further details were given.

Syria has restricted media access, making it difficult to assess contradicting claims and casualty numbers.

In Syria's second-largest city, Aleppo, anti-government activists said security forces attacked a sit-in on Friday, firing tear gas.

But SANA denied that there was unrest in Aleppo, a major commercial hub. "The city is living a normal Friday," it said.

In Dair Alzour, thousands took to the streets after Friday prayers, according to Abdallah, an opposition activist in the area who declined to give his last name for safety reasons.

The activist coalition Local Coordinating Committees said that security forces were firing randomly at houses and people in the northwestern city of Jisr Shughur in Idlib province, while pro-government forces in the coastal city of Latakia were besieging a neighborhood, activists said.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-syria-protests-20111029,0,2950443.story

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« Reply #5364 on: Oct 29th, 2011, 08:10am »

Telegraph

Police cars clamped as they guard the Queen

A ''belligerent'' clamper placed clamps on two unmarked police cars which were providing security for a visit by the Queen and refused to remove them despite an officer showing his warrant card, a trial heard.

12:23PM BST 28 Oct 2011

Gareth Andrews, 39, of Fareham, Hampshire, denies a charge of wilfully obstructing a police constable in the execution of his duty.

Portsmouth Magistrates' Court was told that the Queen had made an unannounced visit to Portsmouth, Hampshire, on Wednesday, May 25.

Colin Shackel, prosecuting, said that Pc Mark Cox and a second officer, both in plain clothes, had parked their unmarked cars at the Gunwharf Quays marina retail complex that the monarch was visiting.

Describing the role of Pc Cox, of Hampshire Police, he said: ''He was actually in effect in a protection capacity, the person being the subject of the protection was Her Majesty The Queen who was due to visit in a private capacity.

''Police have to guard against any potential threat. The intention was for the vehicle driven by Pc Cox to be a contingency force.

''If there was a contingency, it was their role to respond as quickly as possible.''

Mr Shackel said that the parking spaces allocated for the officers were temporarily being used by a delivery lorry so, after consulting security staff, they placed their vehicles in adjacent spaces, the court heard.

Mr Shackel said that one of the police officers had gone to consult colleagues and, while Pc Cox was talking to security staff, two clamping vehicles arrived.

He described how Andrews and his colleagues then clamped the two vehicles, an Audi and a BMW, and he refused to remove them when confronted by Pc Cox.

The court heard that the two cars had been parked for about 15 minutes in the restricted spaces enforced by Shoal Enforcement.

Mr Shackel said: ''It's not just a plain clothes officer speaking to the defendant, there's uniformed security guards from Gunwharf, other officers arrived and identified themselves, even then Mr Andrews said he didn't believe he was dealing with real police officers.

''By the time you have been shown a warrant card and security guards are involved, it would be clear to anyone that it was real officers who weren't just trying to avoid a clamping charge and had duties to perform.''

Pc Cox told the court that Andrews' behaviour was ''belligerent'', ''defiant'' and ''obstructive''.

He added: ''I decided I had no option but to arrest Mr Andrews to get the clamp removed and he was clearly obstructing me.''

Andrews pleaded guilty at the start of the hearing to a second charge of contravening the Private Security Industry Act by not displaying the appropriate licensing badge.

Shoppers at Gunwharf Quays were taken by surprise when word spread that the Queen had arrived at the centre that day and a crowd gathered to greet her.

The Queen had arranged to have lunch with NCP car park boss Sir Donald Gosling on board his yacht, Leander.

The case continues.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8855300/Police-cars-clamped-as-they-guard-the-Queen.html

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« Reply #5365 on: Oct 29th, 2011, 08:13am »

Halifax Courier

The Halifax X-Files: We reveal secret police dossier of hauntings, UFOs and vampire sheep

Published on Saturday 29 October 2011 03:45


CALDERDALE is revealed today as a hot-spot for supernatural activity.

Official figures released to the Courier show that in the last five years 142 calls were made to police detailing paranormal events.

Today, as Calderdale celebrates Hallowe’en, we reveal the amazing stories told by terrified residents.

They have been released to the Courier after a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

Among the 142 calls received by police, were reports of ghosts, werewolves, UFOs and witches.

Others claimed ghouls were stealing their possessions, that a Russian witch had taken over the soul of a Halifax woman and that sheep had turned into vampires.

In Halifax calls included:

August 2006: Halifax: Reference made to witchcraft

September 2006: Halifax: Caller believes ghost responsible for theft of handbag

November 2006: Todmorden: Caller claims to be a witch

December 2006: Halifax: Caller reported hearing footseps in house and seeing ghosts which enter the house through reflections in the bedroom cabinet

December 2008: Sowerby Bridge: Caller believes there are ghosts of little boys playing cricket at the end of the garden

January 2009: Halifax: UFO sighting

July 2009: Halifax: Caller claims to be involved in witchcraft

August 2009: Brighouse: “Caller reported her friend suddenly and unexpectedly leaving her house after a visit and was concerned for her safety. On attendance it transpired the friend had been dead for some time so the caller believed she had seen the ghost of her friend.”

May 2010: Halifax: Caller seen bright light moving through sky

March 2010: Halifax: Caller believes to have a Russian witch inside her

February 2011: Caller reporting things being moved around the house and believes a ghost is to blame

Feb 2009: Bradford: Caller seen lights

Calderdale has long been seen as a centre for the supernatural.

In 1980, policeman Alan Godfrey, from Todmorden, says he saw a diamond-shaped UFO.

Later, under hypnosis, he told of being taken aboard it.

http://www.halifaxcourier.co.uk/news/local/the_halifax_x_files_we_reveal_secret_police_dossier_of_hauntings_ufos_and_vampire_sheep_1_3919515

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« Reply #5366 on: Oct 29th, 2011, 08:20am »

The eagles Bruce and Linda were up in their tree today when I jogged by. I said "Hello!" for you Wildmage.

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« Reply #5367 on: Oct 29th, 2011, 12:25pm »

New York Times

October 29, 2011
Legal Successes and Weather Trials
By JESS BIDGOOD and ELIZABETH A. HARRIS

Continuing a week of crackdowns across the country, 26 Occupy Nashville protesters were arrested early Saturday, the second such roundup, for trespassing. And for the second night running, a judge dismissed the protesters’ arrest warrants, according to an official for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Magistrate Tom Nelson said he could “find no authority anywhere for anyone to authorize a curfew anywhere on Legislative Plaza,” according to The Tennessean. The protesters had been under a 10 p.m. curfew.

But a different set of challenges to the movement began to emerge on Saturday, namely, winter.

In the Northeast, a storm bearing strong winds and wet snow rolled up north. This early storm promised to be a test that the protesters’ camps have vowed to endure.

Just before noon, snow began falling in Zuccotti Park in New York, mixing with rain. Hundreds of protesters inside the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York crowded under two long tarps suspended above a kitchen area where food is distributed.

Near the center of the camp, Christopher Guerra sat at the information desk, a plastic table stacked high with pamphlets. Mr. Guerra was covered by a green umbrella and a yellow rain poncho. In addition, he said, he was wearing a leather jacket, a sweatshirt, wool pants, two pairs of long underwear and two pairs of wool gloves.

“All I need now is a blanket and I’ll be O.K.,” he said.

Behind him, the park was a sea of tents, tarps, plastic sheeting and beach umbrellas. Rain coursed over the granite surface of the park, soaking into bedding and sending a chill into the bones of those sleeping there. Some protesters turned black plastic garbage bags into raincoats.

In Boston on Friday night, campers strung up extra tarps and tried on donated gloves, as organizers talked of coming workshops on staying warm in the cold, and of bigger plans, still in the works: Hot water “caravans,” and greenhouselike structures made out of PVC piping. Organizers at Occupy Portland, Me., said they had built a large room, with heaters, to weather the storm, and are asking the city for permission to stack hay bales to break the wind.

There is concern in the movement that the effort needed to stay warm — for this storm and those to follow — could eventually be a drain on the movement’s intellectual energies; and, of course, on its numbers.

“As the weather turns, we’re thinning down slightly,” sad Rene Perez, a 25-year-old piano technician at Occupy Boston. There is a growing consensus, he said, that, at some point, the occupation would need space indoors. “Some of our functioning is going to have to be off site,” Mr. Perez said. “It’s too cold.”

But lessons could be learned from Denver, where a snowstorm that hit last week — which organizers said sent five protesters to the hospital — became another tool of protest. Online postings urged followers and supporters to bring supplies, and then to call the governor and mayor to express outrage for allowing conditions to persist that protesters said were dangerous.

In Albany, organizers said their most urgent task was to move tents away from tree branches. They said they were prepared for cold, with lots of blankets and a patio heater (though it broke for a time Friday, spurring a plea on Twitter for anyone with experience repairing valves or thermocouples).

In spite of the looming storm, Occupy Albany planned a busy day on Saturday, inviting protesters from around the state to visit for events that were to include a history-themed walking tour of the capital and a poetry slam.

For those planning to stay overnight, organizers planned lessons about cold-weather safety. Among those gathered in the park were several camping enthusiasts used to dealing with frigid conditions, who were ready to offer advice.

“We have plenty of blankets to go around,” said Robert Magee, 27, a lawyer who brought to the park a sleeping bag that was rated at 0 degrees. He added, “In Albany, we’re pretty used to cold temperatures. I think of it as a good thing. It’s a good test run for what’s going to come later.”

Reporting was contributed by Jess Bidgood from Boston, Robbie Brown from Atlanta, Kirk Johnson from Denver and Thomas Kaplan and Colin Moynihan from New York.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/30/us/legal-successes-and-weather-trials.html?_r=1&smid=tw-nytimesnational&seid=auto

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« Reply #5368 on: Oct 30th, 2011, 07:20am »

LA Times

Kenya military chief suggests Somalia incursion could be long

Gen. Julius Karangi declares that his troops will remain in neighboring Somalia until the threat from the militant Islamist militia Shabab is eliminated and Kenyans feel safe.

By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
October 30, 2011
Reporting from Nairobi, Kenya

The commander of Kenya's defense forces declared Saturday that his troops would remain in neighboring Somalia until the threat from the militant Islamist militia Shabab is eliminated and Kenyans feel safe.

Given the messiness of other countries' incursions in Somalia, the vow by defense forces chief Gen. Julius Karangi suggests that Kenya's first military adventure since independence nearly half a century ago could be a long one.

In 1992, U.S.-led forces launched Operation Restore Hope, which led to the "Black Hawk Down" catastrophe of October 1993, in which 18 U.S. troops were killed and the bodies of some of them dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006 to defeat the Islamic Courts Union, a religious alliance that had taken power in the country. Ethiopian forces withdrew in 2009, only to see the rapid advance of Shabab, a successor to the ICU. Ethiopia claimed to have achieved its mission, but the situation in Somalia suggested otherwise.

Kenya's decision to get involved with one of Africa's most intractable war zones, a failed state that hasn't had a government for two decades, was a "spur of the moment" one, Karangi said Saturday.

Speaking at a news conference in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, he said the decision was made in early October. Twelve days later, troops were in Somalia, he said.

"Some people mentioned that this entire operation was preplanned, [that] it had been on the table for many, many months and years, and the answer is no. We acted as a country on the spur of the moment," he said.

Government authority to invade was given Oct. 4, three days after Somali gunmen kidnapped Frenchwoman Marie Dedieu from the Lamu resort archipelago on Kenya's northern coast. She died in captivity, but the date and details of her death aren't clear. Kenyan troops entered Somalia on Oct. 16, three days after two Spanish aid workers were kidnapped from a refugee camp in Kenya by Somali gunmen.

The kidnappings, and their repercussions for Kenya's $730-million tourist industry, have boosted public support for Operation Linda Nchi, which means "protect the nation."

Karangi said that for Kenyans to feel safe, the Shabab would have to be severely "degraded."

"This campaign is not time bound. When the Kenya government and the people of this country feel that they are safe enough from the Al Shabab menace, we shall pull back. Key success factors or indicators will be in the form of a highly degraded Al Shabab capacity," he said.

Karangi said one Kenyan soldier had died in the military action. He did not say how many Kenyan soldiers are involved in the mission, but said the number is "sufficient."

Kenya's key aim is to take the town of Kismayu, a deep-water port that is the Shahab's main base and its key supply point.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-kenya-somalia-20111030,0,4326630.story

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« Reply #5369 on: Oct 30th, 2011, 12:14pm »

The Hill

White House official stays mum on Solyndra subpoena compliance

By Ben Geman - 10/30/11 11:21 AM ET

White House senior adviser David Plouffe on Sunday would not say whether the White House will comply with an upcoming subpoena for internal communications on the $535 million federal loan guarantee to the solar company Solyndra.

“I am not going to comment on a subpoena if it has not been issued,” Plouffe said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans will likely vote Thursday to subpoena the internal White House documents, which the White House has refused to provide thus far.

Plouffe defended White House cooperation with the GOP’s Solyndra probe, noting reams of other documents produced.

The solar company, which received its Energy Department loan guarantee in 2009, went bankrupt in early September.

The administration says it has provided over 70,000 pages of documents from the Energy and Treasury Departments, the White House Office of Management and Budget, and communications between the White House and Solyndra (and its representatives).

The White House on Friday announced it had ordered an independent review of the Energy Department’s green energy loan portfolio by a former Treasury Department official.

Plouffe touted that review while also defending the Obama administration’s green energy efforts.

“We take very seriously the fact that one of these loans did not work,” Plouffe said.

“Protecting taxpayers is critically important but we also have to keep our eye on the ball. If we are going to have the kind of jobs where people can make $20, $22, $25 an hour in high-tech manufacturing around this country, which we have to have, we have got to make progress in the clean energy sector,” he said.

The loan guarantee program was first authorized in a 2005 energy bill crafted under GOP control of Congress and signed into law by then-President Bush, and expanded under President Obama’s stimulus law.

The first loan guarantees were issued under the Obama administration, but Plouffe noted that Republican members of Congress have pushed for loans guarantees for projects in their states.

He also said that green energy loan financing decisions have “absolutely not” been gift to campaign donors, noting decisions are made on the merits by career Energy Department officials.

“If we don’t win the clean energy race in terms of technology innovation and jobs, and cede it to other countries, we are not going to have the century we need,” Plouffe said.

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/190599-white-house-official-stays-mum-on-solyndra-subpoena-compliance

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