Afghan president Hamid Karzai opens new terminal at Kabul International Airport

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, has opened a new terminal at Kabul International Airport. The US$35m (£22m) two-story structure was gifted by Japan as the old terminal building had become badly damaged by decades of war.

Speaking at the event, attended by 150 Afghan and Japanese officials, Karzai expressed his gratitude for the building, saying “Afghanistan could not have made this terminal on its own for many years or without lots of effort.” The new terminal is built next to the original sixties building, which had been considered luxurious when new but has fallen into decline, especially after the 1979 Soviet invasion and the civil war which followed.

Increasing numbers of military aircraft joined the commercial passenger planes, making Kabul International a frequent target of rocket attacks. It was in a poor state of repair, as well as outdated and in need of expansion, by the time the Taliban were ousted from Afghanistan.

Karzai implored his people to take proper care of the new terminal, which Afghan officials described as a step along the route to reconstruction after the Taliban were deposed.

“I hope, now this facility has been handed over to us, that our sisters and brothers, those in charge of the airport, the passengers passing through, the state officials and MPs using it, will look after it and they should not allow, God forbid, that we come here after a year and find its windows, doors and tiles broken,” he said.

The building will enter service next week, in time to carry passengers to Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage of the Hajj. It has a capacity of one million passengers every year, and will service both domestic and international routes.

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South African apartheid assassin Eugene de Kock granted parole

Saturday, January 31, 2015

South African Justice Minister Michael Masutha yesterday announced he is granting parole to Eugene de Kock, an apartheid-era assassin who has spent twenty years in prison.

After South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994 de Kock was arrested and subsequently detailed his actions to the nation’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As head of a police ‘counter-insurgency’ unit de Kock took responsibility for murdering and torturing dissidents opposed to white-only rule. His methods included bombings, shootings, and stabbings and he operated internationally and at home. His revelations earned him the nickname “Prime Evil”.

The TRC granted de Kock immunity for most crimes in exchange for his testimony. He was charged with remaining offences, not covered due to limits in TRC power, and in 1996 jailed for life for six murders. Additional convictions include kidnap and attempted murder. He received an additional 212-year term for those crimes. The TRC could only grant immunity where the offence was a human rights violation and the offender gave a full confession.

During his TRC testimony de Kock accused police commanders of ordering murders including those of African National Council (ANC) members. In a 2007 prison interview he said FW de Klerk, the last white President, had hands “soaked in blood”. De Klerk denies de Kock’s allegations he ordered individual murders.

It’s mixed feelings, which is something we’ve gotten used to as South Africans

In the early nineties de Kock teamed up with anti-ANC party Inkatha to arrange violence within black communities. Internal conflict killed 12,000 in the wake of future President Nelson Mandela’s release. Mandela wrote of fearing “a hidden hand behind the violence[…] attempting to disrupt the negotiations”, by orchestrating the clashes in Natal and Transvaal. He was referring to upcoming elections and a transfer of power away from white rule and apartheid.

Masutha said de Kock was being released “in the interest of reconciliation and nation building”. The date, location, and terms are to remain secret.

Reaction from his victims is varied.

Murder victim Glenack Mama’s widow Sandra welcomed the release. She said to a BBC reporter “I think it will actually close a chapter in our history because we’ve come a long way and I think his release will just once again help with the reconciliation process because there’s still a lot of things that we need to do as a country”. She said “He got the instructions from the top and they [more senior officials] got away with it[…] they’re amongst us today and one man is taking the fall”.

I pray that those whom he hurt, those from whom he took loved ones, will find the power within them to forgive him

Eddie Makue said to The Associated Press the release stirred up “mixed feelings, which is something we’ve gotten used to as South Africans”. He was a South African Council of Churches employee in 1988 when de Kock bombed their headquarters. Jane Quin said she was “terribly disappointed” and he should never be released. Her sister Jacqui Quin was murdered in Lesotho in 1985 by de Kock.

TRC chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu said “I pray that those whom he hurt, those from whom he took loved ones, will find the power within them to forgive him.” He said the release would not be universally welcome but is nonetheless “to our collective credit, as people and as a nation.” Tutu called it “an indictment on our government” that apartheid officials who did not co-operate with the TRC had evaded prosecution.

Whilst in prison de Kock has assisted the recovery of his missing victims’ remains. Remorse and his help to the Missing Persons Task Team were cited by Masutha as reasons to release him, which was initially decided against last July. “[H]is key role has been to introduce us to other former security police who can assist with finding others,” said Task Team leader Madeleine Fullard. Fullard said de Kock had also directly assisted in retrieving two bodies. “He certainly feels lives were wasted for no reason”, she added, describing a meeting with him at one ANC victim’s grave. “He seemed to be quite stressed.”

Masutha also announced yesterday the rejection of a parole application by apartheid killer Clive Derby-Lewis, an ex-MP. Derby-Lewis is serving life for murdering popular South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani. Hani also led the ANC’s militant division. His killing in 1993 sparked rioting. Derby-Lewis sought parole because he has lung cancer. Masutha said in rejecting the application that Derby-Lewis was remorseless.

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What All Burglar Alarms System Need To Have

byAlma Abell

Do you feel protected when you’re laying in bed at night? Do you think your home and belongings are safe while you’re away at work? If you don’t feel you or your home are safe from intruders, you should consider having a Burglar Alarms System installed. A security system can work to protect you and your home at anytime of the day or night.

Every good security system needs a set of “eyes.” Add eyes to your system by installing a couple of cameras around your property. You can use your cameras to capture crimes and/or deter them from happening. For instance, a visible security camera can be seen by intruders and this may be enough to deter them from entering your home. If your cameras are hidden, they won’t deter intruders but the intruders will be captured on video. Decide whether or not it’s best to have visible or discreet cameras installed.

Your Burglar Alarms System will need lights as well. Statistically, homes that are less visible at night are broken into more than those that are equipped with lights. Install a few motion-sensitive lights around your home. Have them aimed at entrance doors and windows. The lights will only activate if they sense motion in the area.

In order to find a good alarm you should turn to a professional security service. Having cameras and lights can only do so much to protect your home. Professional alarms can both protect your home and alert you in the event of a break-in. While a loud alarm can alert you and scare off intruders, a silent alarm can alert the local authorities. Silent alarms are great features to have if you want to catch the crooks in action.

Take all of this information into account as you prepare to set up your own security system. Again, every good security system needs a couple of cameras. Will your cameras be visible or discreet? Make sure your system is also equipped with motion-sensitive lights in order to help make your home more visible at night. Lastly, decide whether or not you’d prefer a loud or silent alarm. Loud alarms can prevent break-ins but silent alarms can notify authorities. Visit for more info.

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On the campaign trail in the USA, October 2020

Monday, November 2, 2020

The following is the sixth and final edition of a monthly series chronicling the 2020 United States presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

This month’s spotlight on the campaign trail: the Free and Equal Elections Foundation holds two presidential debates, three candidates who did not participate in those debates give their final pleas to voters, and three political pundits give their predictions on the outcome of the election.

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The Wii, Nintendo’s next generation console, launches in North America

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nintendo has released its newest video game console in North America. Known as the Wii, the system and games have an MSRP of US$249.99 and US$49.99 respectively. The North American release is to be followed by the December 2nd launch in Japan and the December 8th launch in Europe.

Launched officially at midnight, more than a thousand people gathered in New York’s Time Square to be among the first to buy one of the Wii. In contrast to the crowds that have challenged crowd control officials over the last two days in connection with the launch of Sony’s Playstation 3, the Wii crowds have been much calmer. Many observers attribute this to the fact that Nintendo had more than ten times as many Wii consoles available on launching day than Sony did for their PS3 that had been hounded by part shortages in manufacturing right up to the day of launch.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said that several tough choices had been made in the design of the Wii. The company decided to develop a new way of playing games with revolutionary controllers instead of following the PS3 and the Xbox down the road of stunning graphic and multimedia options. This produced a console with a much talked-about sensor/controller design and the lowest price point of the three major consoles. While not having a DVD player or high-definition TV capabilities, the Wii retails for about $250 while its competitors the Xbox 360 and PS3 retail for about $400 and $600 respectively.

While the Wii will launch with several games available, one of its advertised advantages is that the new console is largely compatible with older games made for the GameCube, giving the new console an instant and extensive launching library. A GameCube controller will be needed to play GameCube games with the Wii. Several hardware items that GameCube games may be expecting, such as the modem or broadband adapter or the GameBoy player are not supported on the Wii.

Across the country in Los Angeles about 500 people were waiting for the doors to open at Universal City Walk’s Game Stop store. Fearing that the Wii introduction might be as contentious as the PS3 debut just a few days ago, the store handed out numbered wristbands to the throng. No problems were reported.

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Interview with Vicky Dhillon, City Council candidate for Wards 9 & 10 in Brampton, Canada

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The upcoming 2006 Brampton municipal election, to be held November 13, features an array of candidates looking to represent their wards in city council or the council of the Peel Region.

Wikinews contributor Nick Moreau contacted many of the candidates, including Vicky Dhillon, asking them to answer common questions sent in an email. This ward’s incumbent is Garnett Manning; also challenging Manning is Stella Ambler, Mandeep Dhaliwal, Daljit Gill, and Nalem Malik.

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7 Garden Decor Tips}

Submitted by: Tim Sousa

Your garden is your own little oasis. Your retreat from the rest of the world. Naturally, you’ll want to add your own touches to your garden, to set it apart from everyone else’s. You’ll want to add your own accents to make your garden truly your own. Here are 7 ideas for little touches that you can add to your garden, to make it your own personal space.

1. Wind-Chimes – You can find wind chimes in many styles and materials. You can find copper and metal chimes, clay and ceramic. They may feature random shapes of metal or ceramic, or they may be tubes, tuned to certain pitches. So, chances are, you’ll be able to find a set of wind chimes that suit your style and your budget. If not, you can easily create your own. Just look around at some of the wind chimes that are available, to give yourself an idea on how they are made.

When you place your wind chimes, look for a place with a slight breeze. Outside, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding such a place. Hang the chimes so they’ll blow gently in the breeze, creating a relaxing chime. Just don’t put them in too strong a breeze, or the relaxing chiming sound will become a harsh, clanging noise.

2. Lighting – Several lighting options are available for your garden or patio. You can use candles for a soft, flickering light, or a string of electric lanterns for a more steady light. If you don’t have an outlet available, you can find solar lights, which soak up sunlight during the day, storing the electricity, and then come on at night when the sun goes down. You may want to include a citronella candle or torch in your lighting to keep mosquitoes away.

3. Garden Furniture – These days, you can find a wide selection of outdoor furniture for your garden. I’m not talking about those uncomfortable, aluminum framed, nylon webbed, camping chairs, that trap you as soon as you sit down. You can find comfortable, cushioned chairs and couches, suitable for outdoor use. A hammock strung between a pair of trees can provide a relaxing place to take a bit of a nap on those hot summer afternoons. Several styles of benches are also available to accent the garden, and provide a place to sit and rest under the lilac bushes.

4. Fake Flowers – If you have a spot in your garden where you just can’t seem to grow anything, a container of silk flowers can certainly brighten up the area. You may also put in some small planters on the wall or fence, with trouble-free fake flowers.

5. Containers – You can plant flowers in a container, or vegetables and herbs, or you can build a small water garden to show off water lilies and other aquatic plants. A well placed container garden will add a touch of color and texture to a bare corner of your garden or patio. You can re-plant the containers every season to provide some continual color to your garden, year round, and if you don’t like the placement of the container, you can simply move it to a more suitable location.

6. Water Features – A water feature can range from a simple container with some water and a few plants up to a large pond, with fish, waterlilies, bridges, and fountains. It all depends on how much time and money you want to spend in creating it, and how much space you have available. Even a small container with a fountain can add the soothing sound of water to your garden, without taking over a lot of space.

7. Rock Gardens – Rock gardens, like container gardens, can provide color throughout the year, if you plan it well. When plants from one season are done blooming, you can remove them, and replace them with others. A rock garden will take a bit of work to build, especially moving the rocks. Make sure that all parts of the garden are accessible for weeding and watering. Try out different rocks and plants until you find a combination that you like.

These are just some ideas for accenting your garden, and making it your own personal space. Sprucing up your garden doesn’t have to take a lot of time, or cost a lot of money. You can build a water feature or rock garden, or you can simply add a few inexpensive decor pieces throughout your garden. Either way, you need to make an effort to set your garden apart from everyone else’s. You need to take action to make your garden your own.

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Queensland prisoners put to work manufacturing water tanks

Monday, April 30, 2007

Prisoners in the Australian state of Queensland have been put to work manufacturing rainwater tanks to help meet a shortfall in supply.

The southeast corner of Queensland, which is currently undergoing one of its worst droughts on record, is experiencing a boom in the rainwater tank industry. Households, encouraged by subsidies introduced by the Beattie government, have enthusiastically begun installing rainwater tanks as well as other water-saving devices. These subsidies have led to a shortfall in supply however, with some households waiting months for tanks to be installed.

The new initiative, announced by Premier Peter Beattie as well as Corrective Services minister Judy Spence will see prisoners at Woodford Correctional Centre, Australia’s largest gaol, constructing tanks for AU$4 per day. Spence has pledged not to use the cheap labour to undercut existing tank suppliers. Beattie also pointed out that the programme would give prisoners constructing the tanks valuable work skills for when their sentences are completed. If the programme is successful, it may be extended to other gaols around the state.

The Beattie government has been increasingly criticised over recent months for its failure to handle the water crisis engulfing Southeast Queensland. Opponents accuse the Government of a lack of planning foresight with regards to water supply for the booming area, which includes state capital Brisbane, as well as other cities such as Ipswich, Toowoomba and Gold Coast.

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Case against Karr dropped: no DNA link to JonBenet Ramsey murder

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Prosecutors have withdrawn their case against John Mark Karr, the man who confessed to killing JonBenet Ramsey in 1996, as DNA tests do not place him at the crime scene.

“The people would not be able to establish that Mr. Karr committed this crime despite his repeated insistence that he did,” District Attorney Mary Lacy said in court papers. Lacy also said that prosecutors found no evidence placing Karr in Boulder at the time of the killing. She also vowed to keep pursuing leads in the murder, saying, “This case is not closed.”

Karr will remain in custody in Boulder until he can be sent to Sonoma County, Calif., to face child pornography charges dating from 2001.

According to reports by MSNBC and KUSA, a local television station in Denver, Colorado, tests performed on DNA samples taken from Karr do not match samples recovered from Ramsey’s body.

On its website, KUSA says it “has confirmed from two sources that the DNA taken from John Mark Karr, 41, does not match the DNA samples taken from the crime scene in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. No charges will be filed against Karr in connection with the Ramsey case by the Boulder County District Attorney’s office.”

DNA from Karr’s hair and saliva were tested in the Denver, Colorado Police Department’s lab over the weekend.

“This information is critical because … if Mr. Karr’s account of his sexual involvement with the victim were accurate, it would have been highly likely that his saliva would have been mixed with the blood in the underwear,” said Colorado District Attorney, Mary Lacy. Lacy noted that Karr had become a suspect after exchanging e-mail with a professor in California.

Karr’s attorney has requested that all DNA evidence be handed over to the defense for examination. His attorney has also requested additional testing of Karr’s DNA; however, there is confusion about who represents Karr. Seth Temin, a public defender claims to represent Karr, but at least two other attorneys in California, Jamie Harmon and Patience Van Zandt, are also claiming to represent him.

“The warrant on Mr. Karr has been dropped by the district attorney. They are not proceeding with the case,” said Timen. “We’re deeply distressed by the fact that they took this man and dragged him here from Bangkok, Thailand, with no forensic evidence confirming the allegations against him and no independent factors leading to a presumption he did anything wrong,” added Timen.

JonBenét, a beauty queen, was found beaten and strangled to death in her Colorado home on the day after Christmas in 1996.

In a press conference earlier this month, Karr confessed to being with JonBenét when she died, adding that her death was an accident. “I was with JonBenét when she died. I loved JonBenét. She died accidentally. I am so very sorry for what happened to JonBenét. It’s very important for me that everyone knows that I love her very much, that her death was unintentional, that it was an accident.”

Despite his confession, Karr’s then ex-wife said that he was in Alabama with her when the murder occurred.

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Chicago Car Dealers Insurance, Coverage Issues And Prices

By Ed Sneineh

Chicago Car Dealers Insurance, Issues And Prices

Do all used car dealers need insurance?

Definitely. All new and used car dealerships will need to have some sort of garage insurance policy that must be filed with the state by the insurance carrier. A cancellation of their insurance policy will end up in a suspension of their business license granted to them by the state. Used car dealers insurance in Chicago is the law.

What form of coverage do you need?

Necessary Coverages:

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Car dealers need a garage liability policy covering the business as well as the workers, sales persons of your business (who must also be listed on the policy) in the events your business conduct as a car dealer result in damages to the properties of others or harm to their body. Neither you, nor officers of your business, or employees are covered under any bodily injury or property damage coverage provided by the garage liability. The minimal level of garage liability insurance in Illinois is a split limit of $100,000/300,000/50,000, also expressed as [100/300/50]. These numbers stand for the max totals that your insurance company will spend on your behalf for bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, property damage per accident; correspondingly; in the event that you, your business officials or reported employees cause any at fault accident in relation with your dealership actions. Certain companies offer this minimum as a Combined Single Limit (CSL) of $350,000 bodily harm and property damage per accident, which is normally more expensive than the split limit. Used car dealers that operate larger operations should be worried about liability limits. The author suggests a million dollar as a combined single limit.

Price of garage liability relies on many issues including limits of garage liability insurance, geographical location, number of dealer plates (some companies verify it with the state); and number, ages, MVRs of each operator listed on the policy. A used car dealer insurance policy with minimum plates and most desirable conditions to the issuing company will be approximately $3,000 per year in the City of Chicago. It is less expensive in the suburban areas of Chicago. Nevertheless, extra discounts may apply such as experience with no loss. Also there might be more surcharges if there are younger drivers or if you have employees with not good driving records.

Sometimes the City of Chicago may also ask you to show a evidence of driveway insurance. Typically it is set at $1,000,000 by the City. Certain garage policies issued at lower liability limits in the City of Chicago may be endorsed, for a minimal additional charges, to satisfy the requirements of the City of Chicago. Nevertheless in other conditions, you might need to get a separate policy for that if your policy does not provide that protection.

Illinois Workers Compensation is a very important coverage, one that is also very well missed by car dealerships. You need workers compensation for your dealership in order to meet your legal and moral obligations towards your company and staff. Officers and owners of the organization have the option to include or exclude themselves from workers compensation coverage. In case they want to be excluded (perhaps they get wage and do not do any real work at the dealership) they have to sign some exclusion form. Keep in mind that no employees/contractor/ officer of the dealership is protected for bodily injury in connection with any at fault auto accident related to the measures of the dealers. Coverage for employees for these situations are delivered under a workers compensation policy.

Workers compensation premiums are based on how much salary you will pay in the next 12 months. It has nothing to do with the past. People covered include all the staff with W2s (must include by law), contractors with 1099 (can be excluded only if you can show that they have workers comp coverage on their own) and directors/ owners of the business except if specially excluded. For independent contractors (i.e. drivers who transport autos from car auctions to dealership) they have be added unless they show you that they have workers comp coverage somewhere else. It is tough to estimate fees of workers comp because it is based on future payroll. For that reason, your insurance company gives you an estimate in the beginning, then it will audit your wage towards the end of the policy term, after which date they will tell the final premium. For that reason, you might be charged extra, or simply get a returned premium, at the end of the policy period for the previous policy!

Bonds: A used car surety bond is normally required for new used car dealer ventures which are less than three years. The value of the bond is $20,000. The bond is some kind of guarantee by the bonding company that the used car dealer will adhere to the guidelines set by the State of Illinois. A major issue related to bond is its price. The price of the bond could vary from $200 to $2,000 depending on the credit of the Principal on the bond (owner / partners of the dealership). The vast majority companies will not issue bonds for people with severe credit troubles. Keep in mind that any government organization may ask for a bond. For example, Cook County Treasurer may require a Chicago used car dealer for a bond to guarantee payments of sales tax! This could be brought on by situations related to the experience of the tax authorities with particular places, old owners of business, or new owners/ officer.

Non Mandatory Coverages

There are some optional coverages that used car dealership may be interested in, based on their wants.

Dealer Open Lot refers to the collision and comprehensive coverages on dealer owned autos. There is normally a limit set on coverage per auto. So if a dealer acquire a dealer open lot coverage with $150,000 per site, that policy may limit coverage per vehicle of $25,000. Dealers must analyze their policies.

One of the source of trouble is related to the Coinsurance Penalty Clause. To reduce premiums, a used car dealer may get dealer open lot coverage of $100,000 on his/her lot which has $400,000 of used cars. The coinsurance penalty ratio is the ratio which is used to figure out if a particular dealer is properly insured or not. Coinsurance percentages range from 80% to 100%, and they are normally stipulated on the policy declaration page. In the previous scenario if the customer has 80% coinsurance, then the dealer must keep at least $320,000 to be rightly insured. If the dealer maintains lower than that amount, then the company will provide only partial payments on the claims made, because the client was paying partial payments in relation to what he/she was supposed to should have paid. The amount the company will pay is based on the rate of what the customer currently has [100,000] divided by the minimum that was supposed to be carried [320,000]. In other words, the insurance company will pay about 31.25% [100,000/320,000] of any potential claim, after the deductible!

Your business also needs Garage Keeper Liability, if you work on autos that you do not own, such as customers who bring their cars for minor repair work. Vehicles that you do not own require physical damage coverage (comprehensive and collision) with certain deductible ($500 to $1,000). Garage Keeper Liability insurance is not needed if the dealer does not perform any maintenance or repair work on vehicles they do not own. Garage keeper liability is not an expensive coverage and is based only on the amount of coverage you need. Normally the minimum amount is $25,000 per car. The difference between $25,000 and $50,000 in coverage is very minimal. You can tell how much you need by knowing the average value of all automobiles that exist on your lot which you do not own.

There are other elective coverages that used car dealers may need. These include coverage on Building, Business Property, Security, Business Income, Crime (Robbery etc.) and some forms of Professional Liability.

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