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Showing posts from February, 2016

West is already intervening militarily in Libya

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Many nations have indicated that they are wanting to intervene militarily in Libya to fight against the Islamic State. However, most are waiting for the formation of the UN-brokered Government of National Accord(GNA) to be up and running first.
Before the term of the GNA starts it must first receive a vote of confidence from the internationally-recognized House of Representatives (HoR) based in Tobruk. However so far there has been no vote. Thelast meetingon Tuesday the 23rd did not hold a vote although afterward100 members of the HoR issued a statement supporting the GNA. A meeting is supposed to be held next week perhaps in the desert city of Al-Jufra. Even if the GNA does finally get a vote of confidence in the HoR, there is no guarantee that it can move to Tripoli where the LPA and Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, say should be its location. The rival government the General National Congress(GNA) and its associated militia both oppose the GNA. As…

HoR may meet in desert Libyan town of Al-Jufra to vote on GNA

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The internationally recognized House of Representatives (HoR) based in Tobruk was supposed to have voted confidence in the UN-brokered Government of National Accord on Tuesday February 23 but the vote did not place.
The meeting is discussed in arecent articlein Digital Journal. Descriptions of what happened vary. At first the reason for not voting was said to be because there was lack of a quorum. However, later, 100 members of the HoR signed a document indicating they supported the GNA. Many reports then came out claiming that there was a quorum but about 10 spoilers described as Cyrenaican/Federalists disrupted the meeting and hence there was no vote. The meeting was postponed until next week. There were also suggestions that the venue of the meeting be changed to avoid disruptions. Mohammed Al-Read, a member of the HoR, said on TV that a group of members of the HoR had gathered and proposed that the next meeting be held in the desert oasis town of Al-Jufra or Kufra. He claimed the …

Egyptian President El-Sisi briefly on sale on eBay

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After a speech by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was widely mocked by Egyptians on social media, a prankster put the president "up for sale" on eBay.
Even though el-Sisi was for sale only a few hours he still managed to attract bids over $100,000 before the page was taken down. Apparently, ads are not vetted that carefully on eBay. The immediate cause of the prankster's ad was a speech on state television in which el-Sisi said: "By almighty God, if I could sell myself [to benefit the nation], I would have done it." The president also asked citizens to donate to the state treasury to help out the economic situation. The ad on eBay read: "For sale on eBay, Field Marshal, Doctor of Philosophy with a military background, decent condition, current bid $100,301." The prankster said el-Sisi had been "used by the previous owner(Gulf royal familes) and that he would be shipped free. According to the Independent part of the description read: "…

One hundred HoR members sign statement supporting GNA

The first official reports from yesterday's meetings claimed the meeting had to be adjourned because there was not a quorum to vote.
The official story is represented by an AFP report:  Libya's internationally recognised parliament was unable to hold a vote of confidence in the UN-backed unity government Tuesday because it lacked a quorum, amid concerns over increasing jihadist expansion. Later, we have a good guys, bad guys narrative in which ten Cyrenaicans/ Federalists, the bad guys, stopped the good guys, who approved the GNA from voting. This view is pushed in the Libya Herald by Sam Zaptia, citing several members of the HoR. According to this view, there was a quorum but the bad guys prevented a vote. Apparently, the HoR has no security able to prevent the mighty 10 bad guys from doing their dastardly deeds and blocking the powerless good majority from voting. One hundred members are said to favor the GNA but are completely overpowered by the mighty 10 spoilers who want to…

Phone use often cause of auto crashes new study finds

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Use of mobile phones while driving may be the single most important factor causing car crashes in recent years according to a new study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
The datacomes from a $70 million study by the Institute funded by the U.S. Transportation Research Board. Use of phones while driving was repeatedly caught on video during the study. The research collected a huge amount of data. The study observed driving during 55 million kilometers from autos with video cameras and other sensors. More than 3,500 drivers were involved. Distracted driving was found to double the crash risk, and occurred in more than half of all crashes. Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, said: “The overall level of distraction suprized us quite a bit. Over half the time, the drivers are doing something other than driving, such as messing with the radio, messing with their cell phones, looking around at something not related to driving, or interacting with p…

High-paying doctor's position in New Zealand has no takers

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Dr. Alan Kenny co-owns a medical practice in Tokoroa New Zealand. He has been searching for a General Practiioner for two years even though he is offering an income of $400,000 or 190,000 pounds annually.
Kenny, originally from the UK, told reporters from the New Zeland Herald that his practice has "exploded" and that he is overworked. He has had to cancel holidays several times as he has been unable to find anyone to fill in for him. Kenny said:  “I can offer them a really, really amazing income; it’s incredible. My practice has exploded in the last year and the more patients you list, the more money you get. But it just gets too much at the end of the day.”Two years ago his daughter, Sarah, came to work as a GP, learn from her father, and help relieve some of the pressure. She is the only New Zealand doctor working at the practice. There is even more than the hefty salary offered by Kenny. He also offers the right applicant three months annual leave, no night or weekend wor…

International Energy Agency predicts oil prices to continue low in 2016

Experts at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said a continuing glut of oil will keep prices low and prevent them from rebounding until next year.

Just a year agothe IEA, the Paris-based group of 29 major oil importing nations, had projected a relatively fast recovery. Instead, prices have continued falling even below $30 a barrel, the lowest level since 2003. Today the price is up somewhat but still just about $33 a barrel, with Canadian oil being even lower. The head of the IEA, Faith Birol, said "extraordinary volatility" in oil markets make forecasting what will happen quite difficult. Legendary predictor Jim Gray predicted last December that oil would fall below $30 a barrel and stay there. He was right that it fell below $30, but for now it is above that level. However, Birol said, in the IEA report released Monday: "Our analysis of the oil market fundamentals at the start of 2016 is clear that in the short term there is unlikely to be a significant increase in…

Robot lawyer writes letters to challenge parking tickets

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Trying to get out of paying a traffic ticket is a headache. Using a lawyer can end up costing more than the ticket itself. The cost of using a lawyer to fight a ticket can be from $400 to $900 depending on the case,.
This is whereJoshua Browder, a 19-year-old student, enters the scene. Browder created a robot lawyer in the UK that has alreadysince being launched in 2015 appealed $3 million in parking tickets. The programmer's robot costs nothing to use. It answers questions about parking-ticket appeals in the UK. The robot is user friendly. When you sign in, a chat screen appears. The robot then asks questions about your case such as who was driving and whether the parking signs were easy to read. When it is finished with the questions it automatically creates an appeal letter. If the answers to the questions are confusing to the robot it will ask the person to contact Browder directly and gives directions how to do so. The site is still being developed but by this Spring a full v…

Bernie Sanders' campaign gains ground among younger women

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As if to prove Sanders is right and Wall Street and other money interests control U.S. elections, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) overturned a ban on federal lobbyists, introduced by Obama in 2008, restricting donations from super-PACs.
A political action committee (PAC)is an organization that collects contributions from members and uses those funds to campaign for or against candidates for election or legislation. Only Hillary Clinton will benefit from the move, since she is the only candidate who takes such donations. Sanders refuses to take any funds from super-PACS. The move may help Sanders though, as it shows Hillary is dependent upon lobbyists for support. According to the New York Times, Clinton received a total of $47.9 million from super-PACs in 2015 at the same time as she advocated campaign finance reform. The chair of the DNC, Debbie Schultz, also accepts money from super-PACs and corporate interests. As more and more Americans are asking their politicians to brea…

Egypt closes only center for treatment and documentation of torture

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Egyptian officials ordered the El Nadeem center closed for breaching unspecified health ministry regulations. El Nadeem is the last center remaining in Egypt that documents and treats alleged torture victims.
Aida Seif Al-Dawia,the director of the Cairo-based center claimed the closure order was politically motivated. Rights groups have been critical of Egypt's crackdown on dissent. Recently, there has been a surge of allegations of torture by officials. The El Nadeem center has been operating since 1993. It provides support and counseling for victims of torture. The group has been given until Monday to close. The director has vowed to defy the order and said the center will continue its work unless the staff were arrested. Amnesty International said the closing of the center was "an extension of the ongoing crackdown on human rights activists in Egypt." The group noted the center was a lifeline for hundreds of torture victims and for families of people subject to enforc…

Pressure grows for foreign military intervention in Libya

Before the term of the UN-brokered Libya Government of National Accord begins its term, it must first receive a vote of confidence from the internationally-recognized House of Representatives (HoR) based in Tobruk.
The HoR met some time ago and rejected the GNA presented as too large. The GNA Presidency Council with prime minister designate Faiez Serraj as head presented a new GNA cabinet list that was reduced from the original 32 ministers to just 13 ministers and 5 ministers of state. However two of those named as ministers refused to serve.A new listhas to be presented again to the HoR and will be voted on next Tuesday February 23. Even if the GNA is passed on February 23, it faces a security issue if it tries to locate in Tripoli an area controlled by the rival General National Congress(GNC) government. The head of the United Nations Security MIssion in Libya (UNSMIL), Martin Kobler, insists the GNA be located in Libya since the headquarters of the National Oil Co. and the Libyan …

American head of Libyan Constitutional Drafting Assembly dismissed

Libya's troubles aren't not only with the formation of the Government of National Accord (GNA), which now faces a vote of confidence next Tuesday in the internationally recognized House of Representatives (HoR).
There are also issues with the Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA). The CDA is charged with presenting a new Libyan constitution, which will form the basis for new elections and then an elected government to replace the Government of National Accord. The Al-Bayda Appeals Court,the administrative judiciary department, just delivered a verdict on Monday that will dismiss the chair of the CDA, Ali Al-Tarhouni. The decision was stated as follows:First: It is urgent that the High National Election Commission (HNEC) decision (No. 29), which approves Ali Al-Tarhouni a member in the Constitution Drafting Assembly, is partially annulled. Second: It is urgent that the Constitution Drafting Assembly's decision that approved Ali Al-Tarhouni as the head of the CDA is overrule…

New GNA not to be voted upon until Tuesday February 23rd

Even though the new Libyan Government of National Accord was announced on Sunday and the internationally-recognized House of Representatives met at least briefly on Tuesday, the vote of confidence is postponed for a week.
The new GNA with 13 ministries plus five state ministers was announced late on Sunday. The list did not reach the HoR in time to vote Monday but it appears they met on Tuesday. However a recent report from theLibya Heraldclaims the vote is now postponed for a week. It appears the result would not be what the UN and the international community want. The postponement is explained bythe Heraldas follows: The House of Representatives has agreed to a request by prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj to delay discussing his new list of ministers for another week. He asked for the delay after two of the ministers who had been chosen withdrew their nominations.Imagine, people were named ministers without getting their approval first. This is par for the course in a process ful…