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Hurricane-force winds kill 15 people as storm hits Europe

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 4Wct7D on 21-02-2017

Sunday, January 25, 2009

As a storm swept across parts of France and Spain on Saturday and Sunday, it left 15 people dead. Its winds were recorded up to 190km/h (118 mph), which are hurricane-force winds.

The storm made landfall near to Bordeaux, France at 5:00 am Central European Time on Saturday the 24th January. It traveled south-eastwards towards the south-east coast of France throughout Saturday morning, finally reaching there at 1:00 pm. It is expected to head north-eastwards over Italy and the Adriatic Sea, but without causing damage. Low pressure systems are fairly common in Europe at this time of year. Some reports have called it the storm of the decade; BBC meteorologist Alex Deakin said “Saturday’s storm is being described as the most damaging since that of December 1999 which killed 88 people.”

Four children aged between 9 and 12 died at a sports hall in Sant Boi de Llobregat, near Barcelona. The children intended on playing baseball, but sought shelter inside a covered area made of concrete with a corrugated iron roof. The structure collapsed, as a result of the wind. Local people and fire-fighters were at the scene in aiding children to escape the rubble. Three children died at the scene, a fourth died in hospital and 16 have been treated for injuries.

Other fatalities include a woman, who died after a wall collapsed and a man struck by a falling tree in the Barcelona area. In Landes, south-west France, a falling tree struck a driver; a 78-year-old man was hit by debris and another man, aged 75, was crushed by a tree. A wall crushed a man in Aigues de Busot in the south-east of Spain. A policeman was struck by a falling tree as he directed traffic in Burela and a sailor from a cargo ship died when the vessel got into trouble off the coast of Galicia. In Burgos, Spain, a woman was crushed by a door.

Approximately 1.7 million homes in France and tens of thousands of homes in Spain experienced power cuts. A woman, aged 73, died in France after a power-outage stopped her breathing machine. Road and rail links were blocked and airports closed. Airports in Bordeaux, Biarritz, Pau and Toulouse were shut, as well as train services, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded overnight.

Michèle Alliot-Marie, the French interior minister, stated that in addition to the 300 civil security agents located in the Landes region of France, another 715 agents would be deployed. She also expressed her intent to fly there today, after the high winds have decreased. French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters he would travel to the affected area tomorrow. In Bordeaux’s Gironde region, 19 residents of a retirement home were evacuated by rescuers following its rooftop being blown away. Authorities have also evacuated campers from the pine forests in Landes.

Thousands were evacuated from nearby housing estates in La Nucía, north of Benidorm in Alicante, as the Spanish Army helped to fight a forest fire, which was started by a felled electricity pylon. There were also forest fires in the region of Catalonia, while Spain put emergency services on high alert. Waves over 20 metres high were registered off the northern coast of Spain and dolphins were stranded on beaches in the region as a result of high winds.

‘Davos man’ versus ‘Camp Igloo’; 42nd World Economic Forum convenes in Swiss alps

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 4Wct7D on 21-02-2017

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel gave yesterday’s opening address to the 42nd meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is facing a distinctly different geo-political landscape from twelve months ago. Outside the WEF security cordon, in the sub-zero temperatures of Davos’ train station car park, the local incarnation of the Occupy movement are setting up ‘Camp Igloo’; but, with little hope of the archetypes of the 1%, ‘Davos Man’, arriving by public transport and seeing their sub-zero protest.

David Roth, heading the Swiss centre-left’s youth wing — and an organiser of ‘Camp Igloo’, echoes much of the sentiment from ‘Occupy’ protests around the world; “[a]t meetings the rest of society is excluded from, this powerful ‘1 percent’ negotiates and decides about the fate of the other 99 percent of this world, […] economic and financial concentration of power in a small, privileged minority leads to a dictatorship over the rest of us. The motto ‘one person, one vote’ is no longer valid, but ‘one dollar, one vote’.”

Roth’s characterisation of ‘Davos Man’, a term coined by the Professor Samuel Huntington of Harvard University, is more emotive than that of the late professor who saw ‘Davos man’ as “[having…] little need for national loyalty, view[ing] national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see[ing] national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations”.

As Reuters highlights, many attendees will opt to make their way from Zurich to Davos by private jet, or helicopter, and the WEF itself provides handouts indicating the cost of such is 5,100 Swiss francs (approx. 5,500 USD, 3,500 GBP, 4,200 EUR). In contrast: travelling by rail, even when opting for first class — without an advance booking, is 145 Swiss francs (approx. 155 USD, 100 GBP).

Shifting fortunes see several past attendees missing this year’s exclusive get-together in the alpine resort; for a second year running — and now caught up in the UK phone hacking scandal being scrutinised by Lord Leveson’s inquiry — media mogul Rupert Murdoch will not be attending. Nor will the former head of financial services company UBS Oswald Gruebel, who resigned in the wake of US$2.3 billion losses incurred through unauthorised trading; likewise, Philipp Hildebrand, the ex-head of the Swiss National Bank, is absent following scandal associated with his wife’s currency trading activities; and, although the sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn were dropped, having stepped down as managing director of the International Monetary Fund Strauss-Kahn will also be absent.

As the #OccupyWEF protesters were building igloos last weekend, an anti-WEF protest in the Swiss capital Berne was broken up by police, who stated their intent to prosecute participants in the illegal protest. Allegations of calls for violent protest action led to a high number of officers being involved. In the aftermath, charges of breach of the peace are to be brought against 153 people, with some targeted for more serious offences. At least one group involved in the protest described the police response as “disproportionate”.

At ‘Camp Igloo’ Roth says he is seeking discussions with the WEF’s expected 2,000 attendees; but his voice, and that of others in the worldwide ‘Occupy’ movement, is unlikely to be given a platform in the opening debate, “Is 20th-century capitalism failing 21st-century society?” He, and others taking part in this Swiss incarnation of the ‘Occupy’ movement, are still considering an invite to a side-session issued by the World Economic Forum’s founder, Klaus Schwab; commenting on the invite Roth told the Associated Press they would prefer a debate at a more neutral venue.

As has been the case for several years now, the annual Forum meeting in Davos was preceded with the release of a special report by the World Economic Forum into risks seen as likely to have an impact the in the coming decade. The 2012 Global Risks Report is a hefty document; the 64-page report is backed with a variety of visualisation tools designed to allow the interrelations between risks to be viewed, how risks interact modelled, and their potential impacts considered — as assessed by the WEF’s panel of nearly 500 experts.

As one would expect, economic risks top both the 2012 impact and likelihood charts. Climate change is pushed somewhat further down the list of concerns likely to drive discussions in Davos. “Major systemic financial failure” — the collapse of a globally important financial institution, or world currency, is selected as the risk which carries the most potential impact.

However, “Chronic fiscal imbalances” — failing to address excessive government debt, and “Severe income disparity” — a widening of the the gulf between rich and poor, top the list of most likely risks.

At the other end of the tables, disagreeing respectively with the weight last year’s Wikinews report gave to orbital debris, and the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) fight with the Internet over copyright legislation, the 2012 Global Risks Report places “Proliferation of Orbital Debris” and “Failure of intellectual property regime” bottom of the league in terms of potential impact.

In 2011, with the current global economic crisis well under-way, “Fiscal crises” topped the WEF risks with the largest potential impact in the next ten years. However, perceived as most likely a year ago, “Storms and cyclones”, “Flooding”, and “Biodiversity loss” — all climate-change related points — were placed ahead of “Economic disparity” and “Fiscal crises”.

More mundane risks overtake the spectre of terrorism when contrasting this year’s report with the 2011 one; volatility in the prices of commodities, consumer goods, and energy, and the security of water supplies are all now ranked as more likely risks than terrorism — though the 2011 report did rank some of these concerns as having a higher potential impact. A significant shift in perception sees the 2012 report highlight food shortages almost as likely a risk the world will face over the next decade; and, one with a far more significant impact.

Attending the World Economic Forum at Davos is more than just an opportunity to discuss the current state of the global economy, and review the risks which face countries around the world. With such a high number of political and business leaders in attendance, it is an ideal opportunity to pursue new trade deals.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is, in addition to being a keynote speaker, expected to pursue improved relations with European and Asian trade partners at private meetings on the Forum sidelines. The Toronto Star reports Harper is likely to push forward an under-negotiation Canadian-European free-trade agreement, and hold closed-door discussions prior to next month’s planned trip to China.

Similarly, Canadian trade minister Ed Fast is expected to meet South Korean counterparts to discuss an equivalent deal to the preferential ones between the Asian nation and the US and Europe. Fast’s deal does, however, face opposition at home; the Canadian Auto Workers union asserts that such a deal would put 33,0000 jobs at-risk.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne are expected to discuss a possible increase of UK funding to the International Monetary Fund (IMF); however, with the UK responsible for 4.5% of the US$400 billion in the IMF’s lending fund, backbench MPs have warned that committing any additional funds could provoke a Conservative revolt in parliament. Tuesday’s IMF cut of predicted global growth from 4% to 3.3%, warnings of a likely Eurozone recession in 2012, and ongoing problems with Greek financial restructuring, are likely discussion topics at Davos — as well as amongst UK backbench MPs who see adding to the IMF war-chest as bailing out failed European economies.

South Africa, less centre-stage during the 2011 Forum, will be looking to improve relationships and take advantage of their higher profile. President Jacob Zuma and several cabinet members are attending sessions and discussions; whilst former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to moderate a session, “Africa — From Transition to Transformation“, with Nigeria, Guinea, and South Sudan’s presidents on the panel. Wal-mart’s CEO Doug McMillon is to lead a dinner session, “Shared Opportunities for Africa’s Future” — highlighting larger multinationals looking towards the continent for new opportunities.

Davos may also serve as a place to progress disputes out of the public eye; a high-profile dispute between Chile’s state-owned copper mining business, Codelco, and Anglo American plc over the 5.39 billion USD sale of a near-quarter stake in their Chilean operations to Japan’s Mitsubishi, prompted the Financial Times to speculate that, as the respective company chiefs — Diego Hernández and Cynthia Carroll — are expected to attend, they could privately discuss the spat during the Forum.

Wikinews interviews Kristian Hanson, producer-director of indie horror film ‘Sledge’

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 4Wct7D on 20-02-2017

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Just days away from Halloween, Wikinews interviewed Kristian Hanson, producer-director of independent slasher film Sledge. The film has been a recent source of discussion in horror fan circles, primarily due to its production budget of only US$800. Sledge is Hanson’s fourth film to direct, according to Internet Movie Database.

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Filed Under (Balustrades) by 4Wct7D on 03-02-2017

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Steel Industry: Tata buys Corus

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 4Wct7D on 03-02-2017

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

India‘s steelmaker Tata Steel, of the Tata Group, buys Anglo-Dutch steel giant Corus Group for £6.7 billion ($12 billion), making it the world’s fifth largest steel manufacturer. 70-year-old Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata, from one of India’s best-known business families, won the race against Benjamin Steinbruch, 52, a famous Brazilian executive who is the chief and main owner of Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN). Tata paid investors 608 pence a share, whereas the Brazilians final offer in an auction by the U.K.’s Takeover Panel was 603 pence.

The deal triples Tata Steel’s capacity to almost 28 million tons a year. Tata: “This is the first step in showing that Indian industry can step outside its shores into an international market place as a global player.”

Corus, which was created from the merger of British Steel and Hoogovens, currently employs 47,300 people worldwide. Last year the company was the ninth-largest steel maker worldwide.

The takeover may start a round of consolidation in the fragmented steel sector.

News briefs:June 8, 2010

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 4Wct7D on 03-02-2017

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Chilean earthquakes: in pictures

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 4Wct7D on 03-02-2017

Thursday, March 18, 2010

On the Feb. 27, Chile was hit by an magnitude 8.8 earthquake; almost 500 were killed, with resulting tsunami destroying most coastal towns between Llolleo and Araucanía Region. A second earthquake last week, with its epicentre in Pichilemu, caused destruction in the Coquimbo and Bío Bío regions.

A Wikinews contributor is in the area, and we look at the extent of this natural disaster’s damage through his photographs.


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People camping in La Cruz Hill, Pichilemu. They even constructed little houses, to make their stay more comfortable.Image: Diego Grez.

Church of Santa Cruz, after the February earthquake.Image: Diego Grez.

The Arturo Prat square before and after the earthquake and tsunami in Pichilemu.Image: Diego Grez.

Boat after tsunami in Pichilemu.Image: Diego Grez.

Military representatives in La Cruz Hill, Pichilemu, after the March earthquake.Image: Diego Grez.

On-scene soldiers on a truck, in Lolol, after the March earthquake.Image: Diego Grez.

Destroyed balaustrades and the ceiling of a kiosk over another balaustrades, near the beach of Pichilemu.Image: Diego Grez.

Lolol church after the March earthquake.Image: Diego Grez.

Many houses in Lolol were declared Historic Monuments of Chile. This is one of many that are going to be demolished.Image: Diego Grez.

Destroyed building Mirador by the tsunami in Pichilemu, and also by a kiosk/container.Image: Diego Grez.

Cars driving to La Cruz Hill in Pichilemu, a few hours after the disaster.Image: Diego Grez.

Chilean singer Joe Vasconcellos did a free solo tour in Chile after the Pichilemu and Maule earthquakes. Pictured during his performance in La Cruz Hill, Pichilemu.Image: Diego Grez.

House in front of the Main Beach of Pichilemu after the tsunami and earthquake combo.Image: Diego Grez.

Bucalemu was severely impacted by the February tsunami and earthquake; this picture taken after the March temblor.Image: Diego Grez.

Many houses were destroyed after the earthquake in Lolol, because they were old and made with rustic materials.Image: Diego Grez.

Another destroyed house, a few meters behind the Lolol church.Image: Diego Grez.

Pichilemu highway, the day of the earthquake and tsunami.Image: Diego Grez.

Most of the balustrades aroundRoss Park, in Pichilemu, were destroyed after the 2010 Pichilemu earthquake.Image: Diego Grez.

Destroyed kiosks after the tsunami in Pichilemu.Image: Diego Grez.

Just one kiosk and some bathrooms in front of the Arturo Prat Square survived the tsunami in Pichilemu.Image: Diego Grez.

The Cahuil Bridge was severely damaged after both quakes. It is broken in half and is a serious danger to motorists.Image: Diego Grez.

Several houses were destroyed in the town of Bucalemu, almost 40 kilometers from Pichilemu. In this picture, a house located in front of the beach was later thrown in the half of the roadway.Image: Diego Grez.

Cobquecura, the epicentre of the February quake.

The building Alto Río, in Concepción, collapsed after the February earthquake.Image: Claudio Núñez.

A severely damaged building in Maipú.Image: Jorge Barrios.

Collapsed Vespucio Norte Express Highway in Santiago, after the February earthquake.

The damaged Museum of Contemporary Art, after the February earthquake.

Aftermath of the February earthquake and tsunami in San Antonio.Image: Atilio Leandro.

Damaged Autopista del Maipo, near the city of Chada.Image: Lufke.

People trying to buy gasoline, in Chillán.Image: JOjo Jose Tomas.

Fire in the University of Concepción, after the February earthquake.

Destroyed houses in the Maule Region.Image: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Fire in a plastics factory, in Ruta 5 Norte.

Chillán‘s Medialuna after the February earthquake.

House in Pelluhue after the February temblor.Image: Caritas Linares.

US President Barack Obama holds a conference call from the White House Situation Room.

President Sebastián Piñera visits ONEMI after the February quake.Image: Sebastián Piñera E..

Zones affected by the February earthquake.Image: B1mbo.

Map of Chile showing the epicenter of the February quake.

USGS shake map of the February earthquake.

USGS intensity map of the March earthquake.

USGS intensity map for the most strong aftershock of the temblor.Image: USGS.

This article is a featured article. It is considered one of the best works of the Wikinews community. See Wikinews:Featured articles for more information.

The Spy Who Loves You: The Hotel Mystery Shopper

Filed Under (Accommodation) by 4Wct7D on 22-01-2017

The Spy Who Loves You: The Hotel Mystery Shopper

by

Antony Shaw

If knowledge is power , as Sir Francis Bacon asserted, then it would be self-sabotage for any hotel, serious about customer service and client return rates, to overlook the effectiveness of employing the services of a highly trained hotel mystery shopping team. Knowledge based client relationships are the surest way to ensure happy clients – and a happy client is a return client. Successful hotels know this and invest wisely in keeping their precious punters pleased and returning time and time again.

An informed, client-literate organisation successfully delights their specific demographic; ensuring a brand/client loyally that is absolute gold, a virtual life insurance for the establishment. Below are three irrefutable reasons for using undercover hotel testers – ignored at your business peril!

1. Loss prevention

Knowledge gleaned from the feedback of a hotel mystery shopping report is an invaluable tool for minimising status and fiscal losses. Losses are incurred on many levels when a client s first impression is lacking. Firstly, there are the marketing expenses, then the cost of advertising that may have got the business through the door, and is then lost in an instant when a customer is met with sub-standard service. An establishment s reputation is informed by lasting first impressions, be they positive or negative.

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Theft is another legacy of the inattentive staff member. A lack of attentiveness and promptness boosts the chances of pilfering; the undesirable client is not a fan of the attentive staffer. Business losses are also incurred when product knowledge is lacking, products displayed incorrectly, or up-selling opportunities overlooked.

2. Positive Customer perspectives

A positive and accurate customer perspective is obviously gold for your business. This outcome is achieved through comprehensive staff training and the micro management of all areas of your establishment. It is pertinent to remember that it can t be fixed if it s not known to be broken – so knowing where to focus a company s energy is the first step in rectifying any lacking areas in the organisation. To know where a company s focus needs to be is ascertained by the results of a professional audit.

Investing in a hotel mystery shopping service can define your establishment s strengths and weaknesses and can also be tailored to incorporate an appraisal of your competitors. To know thy competition and to know thyself better than anyone else is wise counsel indeed.

Being wise to the service tactics, product offerings, policies and procedures of your competitors helps you to proactively compare and contrast your establishment and to inform profitable, entrepreneurial directions.

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Hotel mystery shopping audit results eclipse the satisfaction survey or brand audit in reliability and usability. The professional feedback can be structured to focus on a particular issue that may be identified within your organisation. The fact is that the service provides unbiased and insightful information, the depth and breadth of which surpasses traditional market research or surveys. Customer information and feedback collated into a useable format, suited to on-going, in-house monitoring is a gift that keeps on giving.

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

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 4Wct7D on 22-01-2017

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.

Contents

  • 1 Overview
  • 2 Alabama
  • 3 Alaska
  • 4 Arizona
  • 5 Arkansas
  • 6 California
  • 7 Colorado
  • 8 Connecticut
  • 9 Delaware
  • 10 District of Columbia
  • 11 Florida
  • 12 Georgia
  • 13 Hawaii
  • 14 Idaho
  • 15 Illinois
  • 16 Indiana
  • 17 Iowa
  • 18 Kansas
  • 19 Kentucky