News January 12, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Blogger arrested for allegedly destabilising currency markets Reporters Without Borders calls for the release of Park Dae-sung, a widely-read blogger better known by the pseudonym of “Minerva,” who was arrested on 7 January on the grounds that his blog posts “affected foreign exchange markets and the nation’s credibility.” Park faces a possible five-year prison sentence and fine of 27,000 euros (50 million won). “The authorities seem to want to blame Park for the speculation prompted by his blog entries when all he did was exercise his right to express his personal views,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Park is being tried for rumours which he did not create. His arrest is a serious violation of free expression and bodes ill for the Internet’s future in South Korea.” Park pleaded not guilty when brought before a Seoul court on 10 January. Among the blog entries that upset the government was one on 29 December in which he said seven of South Korea’s most important finance institutions and export companies had been ordered not to by US dollars in order to stabilise the won (http://bbs1.agora.media.daum.net/gaia/do/debate/read?bbsId=D115&articleI…). A finance ministry official said at the hearing that Park was fully aware that his Internet posts could push up the rate of the dollar and that South Korea would then have to spend much more to stabilise the market. He intended to harm the public interest, the official added. Judicial officials have said that his blog posts from July to December led to 2 billion dollars in losses in currency reserves for South Korea. Many of Park’s widely-read articles were posted on the forum of Daum.net, one of South Korea’s most popular web portals. In one of his posts, he forecast the collapse of the US bank Lehman Brothers a week before it happened. He also predicted the current worldwide financial crisis. His real identity was unknown until his arrest. Park claimed in one of his articles that he had an economy decree, had worked on Wall Street and had helped to devise the subprime financial products that are blamed for the current crisis (http://bbs1.agora.media.daum.net/gaia/do/debate/read?bbsId=D115&articleI…). The authorities are trying to establish whether he personally profited from South Korea’s financial crisis. to go further South KoreaAsia – Pacific RSF calls for the release of South Korean journalist jailed for defamation August 18, 2020 Find out more Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts Follow the news on South Korea News On eve of the G20 Riyadh summit, RSF calls for public support to secure the release of jailed journalists in Saudi Arabia News Organisation News Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” November 11, 2020 Find out more November 19, 2020 Find out more South KoreaAsia – Pacific RSF_en
RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Linkedin Email A SMALL-time Limerick drug dealer punched the air when he was jailed for two and half years at Limerick Circuit Court last week.Daragh Casey (26) sat in the dock and smiled after Judge Tom O’Donnell jailed him for having and selling heroin, alprazolam tablets and cannabis on the Hyde Road last year.The court heard that when Casey saw Garda Gary Farrell coming towards he ran towards a laneway near his house on the Hyde Road but was caught as he tried to discard the drugs.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up He denied having them despite being caught red handed.While he accepted that Casey was a small time street dealer who was previously jailed for similar offences, Judge Tom O’Donnell said that he was caught dealing in the sale and supply heroin which is considered one of the most insidious drugsHe imposed a two and half year sentence with the final year suspended. Twitter Advertisement Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live NewsSmall-time Limerick drug dealer celebrates jail sentenceBy Staff Reporter – May 19, 2016 1249 Print WhatsApp Previous articleBurglary pair sentenced over break-ins at Limerick legal officesNext articleLimerick accountant used client’s money to buy piano and improve home Staff Reporterhttp://www.limerickpost.ie TAGSlimerick Facebook Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash
Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan fire WhatsApp Twitter David Ford is to meet with families of Bloody Sunday victims after he was criticised for calling the Saville Inquiry “pointless”.The Alliance Party leader, tipped to be NI justice minister, made the comment last November in a briefing note which was leaked to the BBC.Sinn Fein had earlier called on him to meet with the families.Mr.Ford confirmed to Highland Radio a short time ago, that he’s to meet with the families of Bloody Sunday victims later this evening.[podcast]http://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/ford1.mp3[/podcast] WhatsApp Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th Pinterest Alliance Party leader to meet familes of Bloody Sunday victims this evening Facebook 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North Google+ Twitter Pinterest Google+ Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR News Previous articleColeman and Patterson on International DutyNext articleGary Donnelly loses appeal for assault News Highland Facebook By News Highland – March 4, 2010
Eloi_Omella/iStockBY: EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC NEWS(NEW YORK) — The New York and United Kingdom variants account for an estimated 51% of new COVID-19 cases in New York City, mayoral adviser Dr. Jay Varma said Wednesday.The New York variant represents about 39% of all samples sequenced in the past week, compared to 31% the week before, which suggests it’s “a more infectious variant,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said.The variant that originated in the U.K. represents about 12% of all samples sequenced in the past week, compared to 8% the week before, Chokshi said.No additional cases of the South African variant or Brazil variant were detected in the most recent week of data, Chokshi said.The New York variant does not appear to cause more serious illness or reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, according to preliminary analysis, Varma said.Varma said city officials “are working closely with academics, neighboring states [and] with [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to collect and analyze more data.”New York City’s seven-day average positivity rate stood at 6.23% as of Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.Variants are expected to arise as viruses mutate, but not all variants are dangerous. Among the CDC’s variants of concern are the U.K., South Africa and Brazil variants, all of which are more contagious than other strains.Preliminary data from all three of the authorized vaccines have shown some degree of protection against the concerning variants, but it’s an area of ongoing research.As variants continue to spread, CDC director Rochelle Walensky last week urged states not to reopen too soon.“At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” she said.“These variants are a very real threat to our people and to our progress. Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know could stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close,” she said.ABC News’ Aaron Katersky, Cheyenne Haslett, Sony Salzman and Dr. Eric Silberman contributed to this report. Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Royal Dutch Shell has cut its dividend for the first time since the Second World War (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Raysonho) Royal Dutch Shell has cut its first-quarter dividend by two thirds after an “extremely challenging” start to the year in which coronavirus has brought huge levels of disruption to global oil markets.The Anglo-Dutch oil major’s earnings for the quarter fell by 46% compared to the same period last year, down from $5.3bn to $2.9bn.Its dividend, known historically to be one of the biggest payouts to shareholders among FTSE 100 companies, has been cut from $0.47 per share to $0.16 – a 66% decline that mirrors the action taken by Equinor last week.Oil companies the world over are taking evasive action to protect their finances, as the huge market pressures being exerted by the pandemic take their toll on operations, commodity values and demand for their products.Wood Mackenzie says the dividend reduction will lower Shell’s payout from $15bn to $5bn, freeing up $10bn in capital with which to shield its balance sheet. Oil companies were already under pressure to address climate issuesLast month, Shell announced it would suspend its $25bn share buyback programme to “reinforce the financial strength and resilience” of the business during the pandemic – as well as cutting back capital spending by about $5bn.Wood Mackenzie analyst Luke Parker says the $10bn that Shell will save by lowering its dividend payment is a “sensible” cash-saving measure to help it withstand the current oil market crisis.He said: “The move is a sensible and prudent action to preserve cash in the face of huge macro uncertainty. We estimate the cut reduces Shell’s 2020 cash flow breakeven from $51 per barrel to $31 per barrel.”Brent crude, the international benchmark, has been hovering well below $30 per barrel since last month, and last week dipped to below $16 per barrel – its lowest for two decades.Analysts are hopeful of a rebound as the year progresses, however, with a recent note from UBS investment bank forecasting a recovery to $43 per barrel by the end of 2020, and the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) predicting an average price of $33 per barrel for the full year.Oil markets have been battered by the effects of coronavirus, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasting record-low demand this year, particularly during the next two months, while storage constraints and a global oversupply have contributed to the low-price environment.All this is putting massive pressure on oil companies already strained by a changing policy environment in which governments and regulators are targeting measures to address climate change.Earlier this month, Royal Dutch Shell announced plans to accelerate its push to become a net-zero emissions company by 2050, as part of an effort to futureproof the business to remain relevant in this changing landscape.The shift will mean a greater focus on renewables and diversification away from fossil fuel products as it seeks to lower its carbon footprint.Parker added: “A permanent dividend reset would help fund an accelerated strategic pivot to ‘Big Energy’ through the reinvestment of maturing oil and gas cash flow into the youthful zero-carbon energy sector.” The oil major has reduced its first-quarter dividend for the first time since WW2 as it seeks to cope with huge market volatility brought on by coronavirus Shell says dividend cut was a ‘prudent’ measure amid deteriorating macroeconomic environmentWhile UK major BP this week decided to maintain its full dividend to investors, Shell’s board chairman Chad Holliday said his team decided a similar approach for their company would be unwise, given the “risk of a prolonged period of economic uncertainty, weaker commodity prices, higher volatility and uncertain demand outlook”.It is the first time the firm has reduced its dividend to shareholders since the Second World War.Shell CEO Ben van Beurden added: “In March, we took decisive actions to reduce our spending, increase our liquidity and position our business to manage the deteriorating macroeconomic and commodity price outlook.“Given the continued deterioration in the macroeconomic outlook and the significant mid- and long-term uncertainty, we are taking further prudent steps to bolster our resilience, underpin the strength of our balance sheet and support long-term value creation.”Shell’s share price was down almost 5% at 10am GMT, at around £14.16 ($17.66).
Birds Eye has extended its range with its first vegan sausage roll.Part of the Green Cuisine range, the company’s meat-free sausage rolls contain seasoned pea protein filling encased in a puff pastry. It is designed to replicate the traditional Birds Eye Homebake frozen sausage rolls, said the company, and is free from artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.Birds Eye has also rolled out a Meat Free Chicken Pie, with pea protein, vegetables and gravy.The launch follows development of vegan sausage rolls by a host of bakery businesses.“We know that sausage rolls are one of nation’s favourite snacks, so we wanted to create a meat-free version that perfectly replicates the taste and texture of high-street outlets, but with the convenience of being able to cook at home,” said Anne-Marie Gayer, senior brand manager at Birds Eye. “As the pastry is only cooked once, it results in a lighter and flakier pastry compared to just warming through a chilled sausage roll. We’ve also ensured that our recipe has the perfect ratio of seasoned vegan sausage to flaky pastry.”The Green Cuisine Meat-Free Sausage Rolls (rsp £2.50) are available in the frozen aisle of Sainsbury’s stores nationwide.
Graphic by Cindy M. Esco, UGA CAES Download the .JPG here Web sites to see for information on food irradiation include: FDA:
University of GeorgiaAnyone who wants to see firsthand the latest cotton and peanut research conducted by University of Georgia scientists should attend the annual UGA Cotton and Peanut Field Day Sept. 9 in Tifton, Ga.The event will start at 8:30 a.m. at the UGA Tifton Lang-Rigdon Farm on Carpenter Road. Hot topics will include peanut disease management, stinkbug control, crop fertility and current and future varieties of both crops.“Participants will not only get to see the research for these two important Georgia crops, they’ll be able to hear from the researchers and ask them questions about it,” said Phillip Roberts, a UGA Cooperative Extension entomologist and the field day organizer.Lunch is provided. Along with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the event is cosponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission and Georgia Cotton Commission. To find out more or get directions, call (229) 386-3424.
The Vermont Retail Association and the Vermont Grocers Association have been working intensively with the Vermont legislature to draft and enact into law a new bill that will prohibit current abusive practices by credit card companies. The opponents call the proposed legislation, among other things, unworkable, a “sweetheart deal” for so-called big box stores, require consumers to always carry cash while opening them up to bait-and-switch schemes.Key elements of the new bill:· Prohibit the card companies (Visa & MasterCard) from centrally fixing the prices of interchange fees.· Prohibit card companies from fining or penalizing merchants for their pricing displays.· End the “honor-all-cards” rule which requires merchants to accept every type of card the companies issue, regardless of the cost to the merchant.· Allow merchants to set minimum and/or maximum transaction amounts without being fined or penalized by the companies.· Allow merchants to determine which business locations will, and will not, accept cards, without being fined or penalized by the companies.Noted Tasha Wallis, Executive Director of the Vermont Retail Association, “This proposed legislation has significant implications for merchants nationwide. We expect the card companies to vigorously oppose any law that limits their ability to impose unreasonable penalties on merchants.”Jim Harrison, President of the Vermont Grocers Association, added, “These companies are notorious for abuses against individual cardholders, and they treat business owners the same way. This legislation will bring much-needed restraint to an out-of-control industry.”Both Wallis and Harrison acknowledged their appreciation for the support from Senate leadership and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for this initiative that will help both consumers and Vermont merchants.Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, joined by Majority Leader John Campbell, Judiciary Chairman Richard Sears and Assistant Minority Leader Kevin Mullin, jointly announced the legislation.“Almost every Vermont family and store owner has a story to tell about one of the major credit card companies charging them exorbitant and unfair fees or leveraging unjust fines,” said Senator Peter Shumlin. “This legislation aims to help the Vermont consumer and store owner by prohibiting these abusive practices.”This amendment will be included in S.138, An Act Relating to Credit Card Fees, currently being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.Meanwhile, the Electronic Payments Coalition has issued the attached one-page backgrounder on the proposed amendment, along with the following statement:”This proposed amendment is an egregious assault on Vermont consumer protection laws. Shoppers at big box retailers would be left vulnerable to bait and switch pricing schemes, discriminated against at the register based on the card in their wallet, and forced to carry around cash at all times. Moreover, the amendment language ignores the facts of the global electronic payments system that connects tens of thousands of card issuers, millions of merchants and billions of cardholders, with proposals that are simply unworkable. This is a ‘sweetheart deal’ for big-box retailers who don’t want to pay their fair share for a service that brings them higher profits, more customers and guaranteed payment – and want their customers to pick up the tab instead.”The Electronic Payments Coalition released today a document detailing the anti-consumer protection measures detailed in the proposed amendment. This document follows this statement.The Vermont Legislature’s proposed amendment on interchange would…Leave Vermont consumers vulnerable and unprotected against deceptive, bait-and-switch advertising.This interchange amendment would eliminate important consumer protections on how merchants are allowed to advertise their prices – restrictions that are in place expressly to protect consumers. This would allow big-box retailers to promise one low price, and then charge more – potentially a lot more – when the customer reaches the cash register. Consumers would be left unprotected, forced to pay the demanded price regardless of what was advertised – and giant retailers would profit unjustly from their dishonest schemes.Leave consumers exposed to surprise check-out fees at the register, with no advance warning.By removing the important consumer protections against deceptive advertising, this amendment would make it easier for merchants to impose surcharges, or check-out fees, at the register. Merchants are already allowed, both by card network contracts and by federal law, to offer cash discounts to their customers. Merchants, must, however, be clear as to the real pricing in advertising – otherwise, customers would effectively be surcharged at the register if they pay with a card.Allow merchants to discriminate against certain cardholders.Imagine getting to the front of a long line at a giant retail store, only to discover that the store doesn’t accept your alma mater’s credit card – or the card that donates a few cents of every purchase to your favorite charity or to your own rewards points. This legislation would allow giant retailers to discriminate against certain cardholders with no advance warning, leaving them stranded at the cash register without the freedom to choose whatever payment type they prefer.Force consumers to carry cash.This amendment would allow merchants to set minimum and maximum transaction amounts for all debit, credit and charge card transactions, permitting them to reject a customer’s card. Consumers would be forced to carry cash in order to avoid being stranded with no way to pay for the check at the end of a meal, or a necessary purchase at a convenience store.Favor the market power of big box retailers over mom and pop stores.One of the amendment’s provisions would prohibit card payment networks like Visa and MasterCard from setting “default” interchange rates. These default rates are the go-to rates between the tens of thousands of banks and credit unions that issue cards, and the thousands of banks and card processors that offer card acceptance services to merchants – absent any other arrangement. Without a default, each merchant bank would have to individually negotiate a separate interchange rate with each of tens of thousands of card issuers – clearly an advantage for a large retailer and its bank over a mom and pop store. For example, if a small business owner has a customer who wants to make a major purchase using a card from their local community bank – but that bank is not one with which a rate has been pre-arranged – then the purchase cannot take place, and the small business loses that customer. Default interchange rates have been repeatedly proven as not only perfectly legal, but actually essential to a functioning electronic payments system. This provision ignores the reality of that unbroken line of case law and experience to provide a sweetheart deal for big-box retailers, at the expense of mom and pop stores.About Electronic Payments CoalitionThe Electronic Payments Coalition (EPC) includes credit unions, banks, and payment card networks that move electronic payments quickly and securely between millions of merchants and millions of consumers across the globe. EPC’s goal is to protect the value, innovation, convenience and competition in today’s growing electronic payments system. EPC educates policymakers, consumers, and the media on the system’s role economic growth, and the importance of protecting consumer choice and stability for the continued growth of global commerce. http://electronicpaymentscoalition.org/(link is external)SOURCE Electronic Payments CoalitionSource: VRA. Shumlin’s office. Electronic Payments Coalition. 3.16.2010
Ethics panel offers advice to judicial candidates Mark D. Killian Managing EditorA candidate for judicial office may not use the word re-elect in campaign materials if the judge was appointed, attend party functions if the judge isn’t addressing the gathering as a whole, or disclose his or her party affiliation if asked, according to the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee.The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee recently rendered a number of opinions interpreting the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to specific circumstances confronting or affecting a judge or judicial candidate, including: Re-elect v. Retain A judge in a contested election following the judge’s gubernatorial appointment, may not use the word “re-elect” in conjunction with the judge’s campaign advertisements, but can use the word “retain” in the campaign. Opinion Number: 2002-07The committee said the use of the word “re-elect” in a campaign to keep an incumbent judge in office after appointment would be inappropriate and proscribed by the Code of Judicial Conduct because “the judge cannot be elected again since he/she was originally appointed.” Party Affiliation A judicial candidate may not “privately” disclose his or her political party affiliation if asked, use facilities owned or leased by a political party for various campaign activities, or utilize publicly available information that provided by a political party. A candidate may, however, express his or her philosophy on the construction of the constitution and Florida Statutes and express personal opinions about controversial issues such as religious freedom and abortion. Opinion Number: 2002-13“In resolving this inquiry, the committee directs the inquiring candidate that the Florida Supreme Court has held that partisan politics have no place in judicial elections,” the panel said.For example, the committee said, in Alley, the candidate merely noted the party affiliation of the governor who appointed her opponent to the bench.“This was found to improperly inject party politics into a nonpartisan election and was part of a finding of ‘egregious’ conduct,” the panel said. Socializing A judicial candidate may not attend a political meeting to socialize and greet the participants, unless he or she addresses the entire group. Opinion Number: 2002-08 The inquiring candidate said he and his opponent have been invited “to attend a political meeting and mix and mingle,. . . stand in the doorway wearing a judicial candidate’s badge for the purpose of greeting the delegates and informing them of his candidacy.”The committee said while Canon 7C(3), in part, allows that a judicial candidate involved in an election may attend a political party function to speak on behalf of his or her candidacy, “[t]he deciding factor in this inquiry is that no candidate will be afforded an opportunity to address the gathering.” Traffic Hearing Officers A traffic hearing officer may not endorse judicial candidates or make financial contributions to the campaign of judicial candidates. Opinion Number: 2002-10 The panel said consistent with the provisions of Canon 7A(1)(b) and (e), the traffic hearing officer cannot: “publicly endorse or oppose another candidate for public office or. . . make a contribution to a political organization or candidate.. . . ”The committee said Opinion 94-8 specifically stated that: “(w)e find no exception to the prohibition against political contributions as the rule applies to judges and traffic magistrates.” Party Functions Subject to the restrictions of Canon 7, a candidate may attend a political party meeting, hand out campaign literature, and speak with the audience. Candidates may arrive at a political party function a reasonable time prior to their speaking time, and may remain at the meeting only until their portion of the meeting is concluded. A candidate also may not attend a political party meeting while it is conducting party business. Opinion Number: 2002-11.“The thrust of Canon 7C(3) is that a candidate may attend a political party function solely for the purposes enumerated in that section,” the committee said. “These purposes are ‘to speak on behalf of his or her candidacy’ or to speak ‘on a matter that relates to the law, the improvement of the legal system, or the administration of justice.’ The canon makes specific reference to an ‘invitation to speak.’”The code also permits the candidate the opportunity to introduce himself/herself to the entire audience; however, private social discussions and campaigning with the attendees is not permissible because of the likelihood of “partisan taint,” the committee said.“If candidates were permitted to socialize and personally chat with members at a political party event, the safeguards imposed by Canon 7C(3), requiring the invitation of all candidates, limitations on some speech, and the prohibition on expression of party affiliation or political issue stance could easily be thwarted,” the ethics panel said, adding that, given this same reasoning and rationale, candidates are not permitted to attend political party meetings in their entirety while the members are conducting party business. Campaign Literature A judicial candidate may not state: “Elect Prosecutor (name of candidate) for Circuit Judge” on the candidate’s campaign literature. Opinion Number: 2002-11“The inquiring candidate should refrain from the use of the designation Prosecutor as a title,” the committee said. “In the State of Florida there is only one person (or staff member to this one person) who may use the term “Prosecutor” as a title. The term prosecutor is not a term of art or a position that is recognized in Florida Statutes or case law. That is the person fulfilling the office under §16.56 Florida Statutes as the ‘Statewide Prosecutor.’”The committee said all other persons acting in that capacity in the different circuits are “State Attorneys” or “Assistant State Attorneys.”“The use of the term prosecutor not only misidentifies the present position of the candidate, but also may appear to commit the candidate to a course of conduct on issues before the court,” the committee said.The panel noted the Supreme Court recently removed a judge from office who, among other things, made the statement that he would “always have the heart of a prosecutor” during his campaign.In other action the ethics panel ruled:• A Title IV Child Support Hearing Officer, sitting in one county in a four-county circuit on a limited basis, may practice law involving civil litigation matters that do not include family, criminal, probate, guardianship, or mental health cases in the judicial circuit where the hearing officer hears child support cases. Opinion Number: 2002-06• A judge may not write a letter to a grant provider encouraging the funding of a local nonprofit organization that provides victims of domestic violence with advocates, both criminal and civil, as the victims’ cases proceed through the court system. The committee said even though the proposed letter to a grant provider encouraging the funding of the nonprofit organization would be an activity designed to improve the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, the letter could cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially. Opinion Number: 2002-09• A judge may assume the presidency of a nonprofit civic organization that has as its central focus the providing of cultural events to the citizens of the county and that benefits the community through various outreach programs. Opinion Number: 2002-17• A judge may not participate in an independent, state-registered and -regulated, political action committee because the committee is political in nature, does not relate to the improvement of the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice. Opinion Number: 2002-14The JEAC’s opinions are advisory, and conduct consistent with an opinion may be evidence of good faith, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the panel’s interpretive opinions. The full text of the opinions are available on the Supreme Court’s Web site at www.flcourts.org. Once there, click on the “Judges’ Page” link. Ethics panel offers advice to judicial candidates September 1, 2002 Managing Editor Regular News