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Archive for the 'World News' Category

12 23rd, 2009

While a large portion in the world desperately seek clean drinking water, the United States and countries spend billions on bottled water when perfectly clean drinking water is readily available. Not only are we needlessly spending money on water with lower standards then those of tap water, we are also filling our landfills with billions of pounds of oil based plastics that take 1000’s of years to degrade.

This graphic will present an overview of bottled water.

Ministers in the Maldives have taken diving lessons ahead of an underwater cabinet meeting that will highlight the threat global warming and rising sea levels pose to the low-lying atoll nation.

President Mohamed Nasheed will chair the meeting on October 17 ahead of the world climate change summit in Copenhagen in December, a spokesman told AFP from the islands’ capital, Male.

He said the 14-member cabinet were taught scuba-diving basics over the weekend. Nasheed was not present as he is already a certified diver.

The cabinet will don wet suits and scuba equipment and dive to a depth of six metres (20 feet), where a special meeting of the cabinet will be convened,” the spokesman, who declined to be named, said.

They will then ratify a pledge calling on other nations to slash greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the Copenhagen meeting.

Cabinet members will communicate using whiteboards and hand signals.

The Maldivian archipelago, located south west of Sri Lanka, is on the front line of climate change and has become a vocal campaigner in the battle to halt rising sea levels.

In 2007, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that a rise in sea levels of 18 to 59 centimetres (7 to 23 inches) by 2100 would be enough to make the Maldives virtually uninhabitable.

More than 80 percent of the country’s land, composed of coral islands scattered some 850 kilometres (530 miles) across the equator, is less than one metre (3.3 feet) above mean sea level.

The danger for the Maldives is so acute that Nasheed has raised the possibility of buying a new “homeland” in Australia, India or Sri Lanka for the nation’s 330,000 citizens.

07 22nd, 2009

Twenty-seven-year-old Tiago Primo and his 20-year-old brother Gabriel spend 12 hours a day in the bed, hammock, chair and dining table they’ve attached to a bright red-and-yellow wall as part of an art exhibit in Rio’s old center.

The brothers are equipped with mountain climbing gear, and if nature calls, can scramble over to the verandah of a neighboring art gallery, where an indoor bathroom awaits.

The brothers have been hanging out wall-side since the end of May. They plan to continue the display until Aug. 20.

CARTOON characters are people too, a judge has ruled in the case of a man convicted over cartoons based on The Simpsons, in which children are shown having sex.cartoon simpsons

In the New South Wales Supreme Court today, Justice Michael Adams ruled that a fictional cartoon character was a “person” within the meaning of the relevant state and commonwealth laws.

Alan John McEwan was appealing his February conviction for possessing child pornography and using his computer to access child pornography.

The alleged pornography comprised a series of cartoons depicting figures modelled on members of the television animated series The Simpsons,” the judge said.

The cartoons showed characters such as Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson having sex.

McEwan was convicted and fined $3000 and placed on a good behaviour bond.


In my view, the magistrate was correct in determining that, in respect of both the commonwealth and the NSW offences, the word ‘person’ included fictional or imaginary characters …,” the judge said.


… The mere fact that the figure depicted departed from a realistic representation in some respects of a human being did not mean that such a figure was not a ‘person’.

In dismissing the appeal, the judge ordered each party to pay its own legal costs in the first case dealing with the “difficult” issue.

An uncertain future of the economy did not stop U.S. consumers to open their wallets (or at least tapping into their credit card accounts), and go on a shopping spree on Cyber Monday. Comscore believes that the sales volume was 15% higher than in 2007. 

The market research firm estimates that consumers spent about $846 million online this Monday, up from $733 million one year earlier. The four-day period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw a sales increase of 13%, from $1.9 billion to $2.2 billion. In absolute numbers, the gain was about $240 million in this period and grows to $256 million, if Thanksgiving Day is included.


cyber monday

Cyber Monday 2008 was the second heaviest online spending day on record, surpassed only by Green Monday 2007, which saw spending of $881 million, ComScore said. However, it seems that consumers used the four- or five-day period to catch up on what they had missed in previous weeks: The shopping volume between Nov. 1 and Dec. 1 is down by 2%, from $12.2 billion to $12.0 billion, Comscore said.

Consumers are clearly responding positively to retailers’ aggressive online discounts. With Cyber Monday promotions beginning in earnest over the Thanksgiving weekend, consumers have finally begun to open their wallets, setting off a streak of four consecutive days of extremely strong growth, and culminating in a Cyber Monday that racked up an impressive $846 million in online spending (…)”, said Comscore chairman Gian Fulgoni in a prepared statement. “This is an extremely encouraging development for retailers and we can but hope that their aggressive discounting has still left room for profits.