Diving Cairns For An Incredible Experience

Submitted by: Scuba Centre

Cairns or ‘Cans’ as Australians prefer to pronounce it, is located in the state of Queensland in Australia. To be more specific, Cairns is situated along the eastern coast of Cape York Peninsula. So what is Cairns all about? Well, it is a popular tourist destination that attracts thousands of international tourists. The Dainties National Park and Cape Tribulation with their aesthetic sceneries are important attractions of this town. The climate is pretty warm and the average temperature hovering around 29 degree Celsius makes your dive Cairns holiday quite enjoyable. From May to November, the season remains relatively dry and from December to April it remains wet due to monsoons.

If you have come to Australia for your scuba diving expedition then Cairns can be the perfect location due to its close proximity to The Great Barrier Reef. The eco-system of this famous reef is the most diverse as here you will find more than 1500 species of fish and 350 varieties of coral. The variety of marine life available here makes this place a premier scuba diving site. There is amazement in every part of the reef. The good thing is that Cairns diving is not only limited to The Great Barrier Reef. The SS Yongala wreck dive is also a premier dive site. Located at a distance of 12 nautical miles from the coast of Cape bowling green, the structure of the site is intact till today. In other words, it has become a historic wreck site as well as an artificial reef which is home to a variety of marine life. Do not forget to include a visit to this site in your diving Cairns itinerary.

For those who are visiting Cairns for the first time, getting here is pretty easy. The town has an international airport thereby making your travel hassle-free. In case you want to see the attractions of Australia on the way to Cairns then you can take a drive from either Sydney or Brisbane. In Australia, Cairns is considered as the Mecca of scuba diving. Therefore you are sure to get an unforgettable diving experience in Cairns.

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Although the fun aspects of diving here are enormous, you must be aware about safety issues particularly when you go underwater. It is important that you have the right skills. There are incredible reefs here and as a visitor you must follow the given instructions and try it step by step.

Cairns or ‘Cans’ as Australians prefer to pronounce it, is located in the state of Queensland in Australia. To be more specific, Cairns is situated along the eastern coast of Cape York Peninsula. So what is Cairns all about? Well, it is a popular tourist destination that attracts thousands of international tourists. The Dainties National Park and Cape Tribulation with their aesthetic sceneries are important attractions of this town. The climate is pretty warm and the average temperature hovering around 29 degree Celsius makes your dive Cairns holiday quite enjoyable. From May to November, the season remains relatively dry and from December to April it remains wet due to monsoons.

If you have come to Australia for your scuba diving expedition then Cairns can be the perfect location due to its close proximity to The Great Barrier Reef. The eco-system of this famous reef is the most diverse as here you will find more than 1500 species of fish and 350 varieties of coral. The variety of marine life available here makes this place a premier scuba diving site. There is amazement in every part of the reef. The good thing is that Cairns diving is not only limited to The Great Barrier Reef. The SS Yongala wreck dive is also a premier dive site. Located at a distance of 12 nautical miles from the coast of Cape bowling green, the structure of the site is intact till today. In other words, it has become a historic wreck site as well as an artificial reef which is home to a variety of marine life. Do not forget to include a visit to this site in your diving Cairns itinerary.

For those who are visiting Cairns for the first time, getting here is pretty easy. The town has an international airport thereby making your travel hassle-free. In case you want to see the attractions of Australia on the way to Cairns then you can take a drive from either Sydney or Brisbane. In Australia, Cairns is considered as the Mecca of scuba diving. Therefore you are sure to get an unforgettable diving experience in Cairns.

Although the fun aspects of diving here are enormous, you must be aware about safety issues particularly when you go underwater. It is important that you have the right skills. There are incredible reefs here and as a visitor you must follow the given instructions and try it step by step.

About the Author: To get any information on diving cairns , find out the online content that may be capable to fulfil or find out the cairns diving As well as for full detailed information visit here

scubacentre.com.au

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Viktor Schreckengost dies at 101

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Viktor Schreckengost, the father of industrial design and creator of the Jazz Bowl, an iconic piece of Jazz Age art designed for Eleanor Roosevelt during his association with Cowan Pottery died yesterday. He was 101.

Schreckengost was born on June 26, 1906 in Sebring, Ohio, United States.

Schreckengost’s peers included the far more famous designers Raymond Loewy and Norman Bel Geddes.

In 2000, the Cleveland Museum of Art curated the first ever retrospective of Schreckengost’s work. Stunning in scope, the exhibition included sculpture, pottery, dinnerware, drawings, and paintings.

CEO of GM outlines plan for “New GM” after auto company declared bankruptcy

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In a New York press conference at 16:15 UTC, June 1st, Fritz Henderson, the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, which filed for bankruptcy and Chapter 11 protection from its creditors earlier today, outlined a plan for what he called a “New GM”.

Speaking to the press under safe harbor provisions of U.S. law, Henderson described the events of today as a “defining moment” in the history of General Motors. Speaking to the public he said that “The GM that let you down is history,” and described a “New GM” that he expected to result from the bankruptcy process.

Henderson stated that he envisioned the bankruptcy process would take between 60 and 90 days. He stressed several times his view that the process would be one that is executed quickly, saying that not just a sense of urgency but “pure unadulterated speed” was his expectation of the process. He emphasized that “GM remains open for business” during the bankruptcy period, continuing to sell and to support its products, and that day one motions had been filed in the bankruptcy court in order to allow this.

Regarding the bankruptcy process he said, “We will do it right. And we will do it once.”

He stated that the plan for General Motors had the support of the United Auto Workers union, the Canadian Auto Workers union, the GM VEBA, and a majority of the unsecured bondholders of GM. He also mentioned that GM had already received €1.5 million in bridge financing from the German government.

In response to questions about the possibility of the United States federal government, a majority shareholder in the restructured company, dictating future product development and strategy, such as the sale of more fuel-efficient and green vehicles; he first observed that the federal government had already stated to him that it had “no real interest in running our business” and that he expected that still to be his job. Of the specific hypothetical scenario where the management of GM wants to make one type of car, because it thinks that it is the right thing for the business, and the U.S. government wants to make another type of car, he stated that “I don’t think it’s going to happen.” Expanding on that point he stated that he expected the “New GM” to focus upon “highly fuel-efficient and green technology”, and that operating both in accordance with U.S. environmental laws and in response to customer demand would naturally result in the New GM producing the types of vehicles that the U.S. government would encourage.

The “New GM” he also expected to focus on “four core brands”, and will size its dealership to match that. He stated that GM would offer a “deferred termination” package to dealers, to allow them to cease dealing in GM vehicles in a managed and gradual way.

He stated that the bankruptcy filings did not cover General Motors’ businesses in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific. Of GM’s profitable ventures in China, specifically, he stated that they were “a critical part of the New GM”. In response to questions of whether the New GM would import cars from China to the U.S., he stated the formative company’s core principle that “We build where we sell” applied in both directions, with GM building in China to sell in China and building in the U.S. to sell in the U.S., stating that this shortened supply chains.

He declined to predict when the New GM would return to profitability, stating that the goal was rather to lower the break-even EBIT point for the company. He also declined to speculate upon when the U.S. government would sell its stake in the company, saying that that was a question “better addressed to the U.S. Treasury”, and merely saying that he expected it to be “years, not months” when the U.S. Treasury felt it would give “the right return for taxpayers.”

French workers use threats in compensation demand

Friday, July 17, 2009Following similar threats by workers at New Fabris and Nortel, workers at JLG in Tonneins, France, threatened to blow up several platform cranes. The JLG factory announced in April 2009 that it will fire 53 of its 163 workers by the end of 2009, while the remaining 110 jobs will not be secure over the next 2 years.

JLG Tonneins was acquired in 2006 with its parent JLG Industries, a maker of aerial work platforms, by the U.S.-based Oshkosh Corporation. Despite being hugely profitable in the past, production has been much reduced since 2008 with the contraction of the construction industry and lower demand for its products. Despite excellent past results the new American management demanded sweeping cuts at the company.

In the view of locals, “the company’s actions are a disgrace given the expensive perks, such as official cars, for its corporate fat cats, compared to the sacrifice, silence, and dignity demanded by the company of those it has made redundant.”

The management offered severance pay of 3,000 (US $4,200), however the workers demanded a severance package commensurate with “the wealth that their labor has generated.” Worker’s delegates requested a “supra-legal” payment of € 30,000, on Thursday 16 of July the management responded with a counter offer of € 16,000. On Thursday night the worker’s actions secured the € 30,000 settlement initially demanded.

Create Your Impression By Car Wraps Of Adelaide}

Submitted by: Junita Lawson

The key to effective advertisement lies in building up your impression first. Well, it can also be the other way round, that is, you can advertise well so that you can imprint your brand name in the minds of your target audience. You now must be wondering how must advertisement will cost you and how much it will show its effectiveness. Well, in that case you can easily go for creating pages about your business and products on the free social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.

However, another cheap way of advertising is opting for car wraps Adelaide. There are a lot of benefits you get if you advertise well since advertising itself has a lot of advantages that make your business grow and the mode of advertising you choose again has its own effectiveness in making you grow. Car wrapping is a reasonable way to advertise about your services or products due to the following benefits it renders:

The first and foremost thing that every small or big businessman thinks about is the pocket. In that aspect, wraps are cheaper than the car paints. Since your car is movable, it reaches out to more audience than the static signboards speaking about your business.

Even if you are not a businessman and you want your dream car look extraordinary and exceptionally beautiful, you can blindly go for car wrapping. Wraps remain brighter for a longer period than paints.

Maintenance is lower in car wraps Adelaide. If your car loses its glaze and brightness, you can quite easily go for second phase of wrapping and that too on that particular region of the car where you think the colour needs to be brightened, if not the entire car.

Car wraps are attractive and designed in such a way that they seem like the synopsis of what your business is all about. This will also include your mail ids and contact numbers to make the growth faster.

Car wraps in a way protect the original paintwork of your car and can be easily removed.

Often paints of your choice are unavailable in the market. The colour you have imagined for your dream car since long can be available in wraps and signs Adelaide as these are made and designed in computers.

Car wraps protect both the colour and surface of your car from damages and in a way maintain its originality preserving the value of your car or vehicle.

It is wise to buy white vehicles if you have a plan to buy a number of them. You can fetch your own company style on them. This will not only protect your cars paint, but also give your car a dynamic look.

The colour of your vehicle can see a drastic change over a night while car paint takes few days to dry up and get ready to be on the roads.

All these benefits have made car wraps of Adelaide a sensible decision to go for and receive immense response from your target audience.

About the Author: Junita Lawson, a regular blogger, writes in her article about his experience with car wraps Adelaide and how effective the signs Adelaide are in making your business grow.Author suggests to visit for more information about Signage :

signssa.com.au/

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NTSB releases updates on status of 3 major US investigations

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the agency responsible for investigating transportation accidents in the United States, released updates on three major investigations on June 14.

The NTSB, well known publicly for its involvement in the investigation of aviation incidents which involve harm or loss of human life, is also an agency that oversees the transportation of refined petroleum and gas products, chemicals and minerals.

The agency determined the cause of a natural gas pipeline explosion that killed six. It also detailed the cause of an accidental release of 204,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia from a pipeline in an environmentally sensitive area, and released preliminary information involving two commercial aircraft coming within 30-50 feet of each other on a runway.

In the gas explosion disaster, the towing vessel Miss Megan, which was of specifications that did not require inspection by the United States Coast Guard, was being operated in the West Cote Blanche Bay oil field in Louisiana by Central Boat Rentals on behalf of Athena Construction on October 12, 2006. The Miss Megan was pushing barge IBR 234, which was tied along the starboard side of barge Athena 106, en route to a pile-driving location. Athena Construction did not require its crews to pin mooring spuds (vertical steel shafts extending through wells in the bottom of the boat and used for mooring) securely in place on its barges and consequently this had not been done. During the journey, the aft spud on the Athena 106 released from its fully raised position. The spud dropped into the water and struck a submerged, high-pressure natural gas pipeline. The resulting gas released ignited and created a fireball that engulfed the towing vessel and both barges. The master of the towing vessel and four barge workers were killed. The Miss Megan deckhand and one barge worker survived. One barge worker is officially listed as missing.

The NTSB blames Athena Construction for the disaster, citing in the final report that Athena Construction’s manual contained no procedures mandating the use of the safety devices on the spud winch except during electrical work. It was found that if the Athena 106 crew had used the steel pins to secure the retracted spuds during their transit, a pin would have prevented the aft spud from accidentally deploying. Furthermore, the spud would have remained locked in its lifted position regardless of whether the winch brake mechanism, the spud’s supporting cable, or a piece of connecting hardware had failed.

The NTSB also found that contributing to the accident was the failure of Central Boat Rentals to require, and the Miss Megan master to ensure, that the barge spuds were securely pinned before getting under way. The Board noted that investigators found no evidence that the Miss Megan master or deckhand checked whether the spuds had been properly secured before the tow began. While Central Boat Rentals had a health and safety manual and trained its crews, the written procedures did not specifically warn masters about the need to secure spuds or other barge equipment before navigating. The NTSB stated that the company’s crew should have been trained to identify potential safety hazards on vessels under their control.

NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said of the investigation’s results, “Having more rigorous requirements in place could have prevented this accident from occurring. Not only do these regulations need to be put in place but it is imperative that they are enforced and adhered to.”

The NTSB has made a number of safety recommendations as a result of this accident and the subsequent investigation. Recommendations were made to Athena Construction and Central Boat Rentals to develop procedures and train the employees of its barges to use the securing pins to hold spuds safely in place before transiting from one site to another.

The most major of the other recommendations are:

To the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

  • Direct the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health to issue the following documents document to the maritime industry: (1) a fact sheet regarding the accident, and (2) a guidance document regarding the need to secure the gear on barges, including spud pins, before the barges are moved, and detailing any changes to your memorandum of understanding with the Coast Guard.

To the U. S. Coast Guard

  • Finalize and implement the new towing vessel inspection regulations and require the establishment of safety management systems appropriate for the characteristics, methods of operation, and nature of service of towing vessels.
  • Review and update your memorandum of understanding with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to specifically address your respective oversight roles on vessels that are not subject to Coast Guard inspection.

The NTSB also released the result of its investigation into an environmental disaster in Kansas on October 27, 2004 in which 204,000 gallons (4,858 barrels) of anhydrous ammonia was spilled from a ruptured pipeline in Kingman into an environmentally sensitive area. Chemicals from the pipeline entered a nearby stream and killed more than 25,000 fish, including some fish from threatened species.

The incident reached the scale that it did due to operator error after the initial rupture. The 8 5/8-inch diameter steel pipeline, which was operated by Enterprise Products Operating L.P., burst at 11:15 a.m. in an agricultural area about 6 miles east of Kingman, Kansas. A drop in pipeline pressure, indicating abnormal conditions or a possible compromise in pipeline integrity, set off alarms displayed on the computerized pipeline monitoring system. Shortly after the first alarm the pipeline controller, in an attempt to remedy the low pressure, increased the flow of anhydrous ammonia into the affected section of pipeline. A total of 33 minutes elapsed between the time when the first alarm indicated a problem with the pipeline and the initiation of a shutdown.

In its initial report to the National Response Center (NRC), the pipeline operator’s accident reporting contractor reported a release of at least 20 gallons of ammonia, telling the NRC that an updated estimate of material released would be reported at a later time. No such report was ever made. Because of the inaccurate report, the arrival of representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency was delayed by a full day, affecting the oversight of the environmental damage mitigation efforts.

The cause of the rupture itself was determined to be a pipe gouge created by heavy equipment damage to the pipeline during construction in 1973 or subsequent excavation activity at an unknown time that initiated metal fatigue cracking and led to the eventual rupture of the pipeline.

“We are very fortunate that such highly toxic chemicals of the size and scope involved in this accident were not released in a populated area,” commented Rosenker. “Had this same quantity of ammonia been released near a town or city, the results could have been catastrophic.”

As a result of this accident, the NTSB made the following safety recommendations:

To the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration:

  • Require that a pipeline operator must have a procedure to calculate and provide a reasonable initial estimate of released product in the telephonic report to the National Response Center.
  • Require that a pipeline operator must provide an additional telephonic report to the National Response Center if significant new information becomes available during the emergency response.
  • Require an operator to revise its pipeline risk assessment plan whenever it has failed to consider one of more risk factors that can affect pipeline integrity.

To Enterprise Products Operating L.P.:

  • Provide initial and recurrent training for all controllers that includes simulator or noncomputerized simulations of abnormal operating conditions that indicate pipeline leaks.

“The severity of this release of dangerous chemicals into the community could have been prevented,” said Rosenker. “The safety recommendations that we have made, if acted upon, will reduce the likelihood of this type of accident happening again.”

As well as concluding their investigation of the above accidents, the NTSB also released preliminary information regarding a serious runway incursion at San Francisco International Airport between two commercial aircraft on May 26, 2007.

At about 1:30 p.m. the tower air traffic controller cleared SkyWest Airlines flight 5741, an Embraer 120 arriving from Modesto, California, to land on runway 28R. Forgetting about the arrival airplane, the same controller then cleared Republic Airlines flight 4912, an Embraer 170 departing for Los Angeles, to take off from runway 1L, which intersects runway 28R.

After the SkyWest airliner touched down, the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) alerted and the air traffic controller transmitted “Hold, Hold, Hold” to the SkyWest flight crew in an attempt to stop the aircraft short of runway 1L. The SkyWest crew applied maximum braking that resulted in the airplane stopping in the middle of runway 1L. As this was occurring, the captain of Republic Airlines flight 4912 took control of the aircraft from the first officer, realized the aircraft was traveling too fast to stop, and initiated an immediate takeoff. According to the crew of SkyWest 5741, the Republic Airlines aircraft overflew theirs by 30 to 50 feet. The Federal Aviation Administration has categorized the incident as an operational error.

The NTSB sent an investigator to San Francisco, who collected radar data, recorded air traffic control communications, and flight crew statements, and interviewed air traffic control personnel prior to the NTSB making the preliminary release.

Plastic Packaging Products And Services

Plastic Packaging Products and Services

by

Zack Oliver

Plastic packaging has a huge range of uses within the food, drink and cosmetic industries. Plastic packaging is commonly used to protect and prolong the life of its contents. This article takes a look at some of the most common types of plastic packaging, and it explains how you can find a company that specialises in manufacturing plastic containers.

Cups and Closures

There is a large range of cups and cup closures that are available on the market. Cups are designed with different thicknesses of walls – the type you choose should depend on what liquid the cup is going to hold (such as hold or cold liquids). The lids can be designed to fit directly onto the cup. Closures can include lids which have a small hole to allow for sipping, or completely closed tops. The cups can also be manufactured with your own design and branding printed directly onto them.

A great packaging manufacturer will have the capability to produce a large number of cups and closures in a short amount of time. Many plastic packaging manufacturers will offer bulk discount deals, that is the more pieces you require the cheaper the cost of each individual piece will be.

Food Packaging

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Plastic packaging specialists have the ability to manufacture all shapes, sizes and styles of food packaging. Food packaging can be designed to your own specifications. Many plastic manufacturing companies will use a plastic injection moulding system to create this type of packing. Common types of food and drink packaging include:

– Margarine containers

– Yoghurt tubs

– Cheese containers

– Milk bottles

– Sweet containers

– Confectionary packaging

– Bottles and bottle caps

This is just a small selection of the types of products that are available. You can talk with a plastic packaging manufacturer to see what options are available to you.

In Mould Labelling

In mould labelling refers to a procedure in which the design packaging is created actually inside of the mould. This allows the packaging to have a high quality finish. This system will also allow you to create vibrant plastic containers which are sure to catch the eye of your customers. A design team will be able to help you to create an aesthetically pleasing product design to make sure that your product stands out from the crowd. This design can then be passed onto the plastic packaging specialists who will be able to print the exact design directly onto the plastic packaging of your choice.

Where to Find Plastic Packaging Manufacturers

The best place to search for a plastic packaging manufacturer is online. All major manufacturers will have a website which will list details of the products and services that they offer along with their contact information. Always choose a reputable company to ensure that you will be receiving quality products which are designed and manufactured to high standards. You should also check that the company creates packaging which is approved by the regional associations, to ensure that it is suitable for use with foodstuffs.

Plastic moulding can be the best option when you need customized plastic packaging or containers to pack products. Are you looking for companies that provide

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Australian writer Harry Nicolaides jailed for three years for insulting Thai Royal Family

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

File:King Bhumibol Adulyadej Portrait.jpg

Melbourne writer Harry Nicolaides, 41, was sentenced on Monday to three years imprisonment for defaming the Royal Family of Thailand. He had pled guilty to the lèse majesté indictment that arose from a self-published 2005 novel, Verisimilitude, of which only 50 copies were printed, and just seven sold.Meanwhile, yesterday, the Thai police charged a leading leftist political science professor, Dr. Giles Ji Ungpakorn, with lèse majesté.

The passage of concern, which comprised only 103 words or 12 lines, referred to a crown prince’s love life. This allegedly insulted the lifestyle of H.R.H. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, the only son of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.

The Royal Family of Thailand is the current ruling house of the Kingdom of Thailand, the Head of the House of the King of Thailand. It is protected by law (Lèse majesté) from insult, with the charge carrying a maximum 15-year sentence.

“He has written a book that slandered the king, the crown prince of Thailand and the monarchy,” the judge ruled. “He was found guilty under criminal law article 112 and the court has sentenced him to six years, but due to his confession, which is beneficial to the case, the sentence is reduced to three years,” the judge explained.

Nicolaides earlier confessed to having slandered 81-year-old King Bhumibol and his son Vajiralongkorn. “I respect the King of Thailand. I was aware there were obscure laws (about the monarchy) but I didn’t think they would apply to me,” he tearfully said. He was arrested and detained at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on August 31 as he tried to leave the country on a routine trip. Nicolaides was unaware of an arrest warrant issued on March 17, since he was not officially notified of the preliminary investigation.

Nicolaides had even sent copies of the published book to the Thai Ministry of Culture and Foreign Affairs, the national library and the Bureau of the Royal Household, for approval. In the decision, the Thai judge clarified that Nicolaides had placed the monarchy into disrepute, even obliquely, by his “reckless choice of words”. The judgment cited a passage about the novel’s fictional prince which caused “dishonour” to the royals and suggested an “abuse of royal power.”

The fictional passage in question goes as follows:

From King Rama to the Crown Prince, the nobility was renowned for their romantic entanglements and intrigues. The crown prince had many wives, ‘major and minor’, with a coterie of concubines for entertainment. One of his recent wives was exiled with her entire family, including a son they conceived together, for an undisclosed indiscretion. He subsequently remarried another woman, and fathered another child. It was rumoured that if the prince fell in love with one of his minor wives, and she betrayed him, she and her family would disappear with their name, familial lineage and all vestiges of their existence expunged forever.Verisimilitude, Harry Nicolaides

Nicolaides, who had worked in Thailand from 2003 to 2005 as a Chiang Rai university lecturer in hospitality and tourism, left the Bangkok court wearing a dark orange prison jumpsuit with his feet shackled. “This is an Alice-in-Wonderland experience. I really believe that I am going to wake up and all of you will be gone. I would like to apologise. This can’t be real. It feels like a bad dream,” said Nicolaides. He felt “dreadful,” adding, “I wish my family the best.”

His brother Forde Nicolaides said Harry is not appealing but will request a Thai royal pardon. “We’re devastated. You might be able to hear my mother crying in the background. It’s quite devastating for us. The whole case has been a massive emotional ordeal that has consumed our entire family. It’s beyond belief,” Forde was reported as saying.

Nicolaides’ family has attributed some blame to the Rudd government for its failure to intervene in the case. Forde criticized Foreign Minister Stephen Smith: “There is a huge expectation gap between what Australian citizens think the Australian government will do when they are in trouble overseas versus what they will do.”

Harry’s father Socrates Nicolaides, 83, delivered an appeal letter to Mr. Rudd last week. “I said to him, as one father to another father, please Mr. Prime Minister, I plead with you to do your utmost to do everything in your power to get Harry released,” Mr. Nicolaides said. His wife Despina Nicolaides, 75, collapsed when she saw the video footage of her son. “He has just written a book,” she said amid tears.

Despina Nicolaides said on Wednesday she appealed to King Bhumibol for a royal pardon, but her family has not received any reply from the Thai government. “We don’t know when really it will be okay for Harry to be released – they don’t say anything,” she said. “I’m worrying sick. I hope that they will help us too like they did the Swiss people,” she added.

According to Foreign Minister Smith, an Australian consular staff in Bangkok visited Nicolaides 25 times in prison. “We understand the anxiety that is being felt by Mr. Nicolaides and his family, however, he is subject to the legal and judicial processes of Thailand,” the Smith’s spokesman said. Moreover, Thai laws require a waiting period of 30 days from promulgation of the sentence before Nicolaides becomes eligible to apply for a Thai King’s pardon.

I feel persecuted, to be honest… I want to be given a chance to apologise and explain.

Smith mentioned that he had forwarded the Federal Government’s letter to Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya Monday for the Australian writer’s pardon. “I raised Mr. Nicolaides’ case with then Thai Foreign Minister Sompong when we met at APEC in November last year,” Mr. Smith added.

Independent Senator Nicholas (Nick) Xenophon has called on the Australian Federal Government to exert pressure on Thailand for the early repatriation of Nicolaides who has already served five months in jail. He has been refused bail four times. Xenophon is a South Australian barrister, anti-gambling campaigner and No Pokies, independent in the South Australian Legislative Council.

“The imprisonment has taken a heavy toll on his physical and mental health. He has lost weight, he has been continually unwell for extended periods of time and obviously psychologically he has found the experience of being in prison in Thailand very challenging,” his Australian lawyer, Mark Dean SC said. “Once that sentence is passed, if it’s not a suspended sentence, then an application will be made for a royal pardon and we’re hoping that that will be processed as quickly as possible,” he added.

Acting Premier of Victoria, Justin Hulls said he has enquired about whether Victorian Government can provide assistance to Nicolaides. Hulls’ legal team applied for a Thai royal pardon. His office has also communicated with lawyers of the case and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RWB, or Reporters Sans Frontières), a Paris-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press, the sentence imposed was “a serious violation of free expression.” The group has expressed concern at the use of the Lèse majesté laws to suppress political discussion and dissenting voices.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Thai police filed a lèse majesté case against Dr. Giles Ji Ungpakorn, 55, a political science professor at Chulalongkorn University and Thailand’s leading leftist political analyst. “The government, the prime minister, should order that they (the lese majeste laws) cease being used against people and that a whole review of the law should take place,” Giles said.

The accusations against Giles stem from the publishing a 2007 anti-military coup book, ‘A Coup for the Rich,’ which can be downloaded free on his blog http://www.wdpress.blog.co.uk. The 144-page critique is an academic textbook dealing with the Thailand political crisis 2005-2006, the bloodless coup of September 19, 2006 which overthrew former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Professor Ungpakorn’s father Puey Ungpakorn was the Bank of Thailand‘s governor for 12 years and also a Thammasat University dean, and whose brother Jon Ungpakorn is a former senator.

Giles was duly informed of the charges at the central Pathum Wan Police Station. He was granted 20 days to file a sworn counter-statement to the police, who will then rule on whether to file formal charges in the courts for trial. “Lèse majesté is being used to destroy free speech,” said Giles who denied the charges. “The lès majesté laws are there to protect the military and to protect governments that come to power through military action. They’re not really about protecting the monarchy,” he added.

The Thai people believe that King Bhumibol and the Thai Royal Family are semi-divine. Accordingly, insulting the monarchy is taken extremely seriously in Thailand. Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga earlier vowed to impose tougher regulations to implement the laws. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, however, announced last week that he was trying to “strike the balance between upholding the law and allowing freedom of expression.” Pirapan has reported that more than 10,000 websites have similar criminal contents.

The Thai government had already blocked about 4,000 websites, including 2,300 websites recently, for alleged violations of lèse majesté law. As of last week, more than 17 criminal cases of insulting the royal family were still pending. About 400 more websites await a court restraining order, according to Information and Communication (ICT) Minister Ranongruk Suwanchawee.

Lèse majesté cases have been filed against several people, including Chotisak On-soong, Jitra Kotchadej, Darunee Charnchoengsilpakul, Suwicha Thakhor, Sondhi Limthongkul, and social activists like Sulak Sivaraksa who were charged in the 1980s and 1990s. The King, however, has routinely granted pardons to most people jailed for lèse majesté. In March 2007, Swiss national Oliver Jufer was convicted of lèse majesté and sentenced to 10 years for spray-painting on several portraits of the king while drunk in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Jufer was pardoned by the king on April 12, 2007.

In March 2008, Police Colonel Watanasak Mungkijakarndee filed a similar case against Jakrapob Penkhair for comments made in a Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCCT) event in August 2007. In 2008 BBC south-east Asia correspondent Jonathan Head was accused of lèse majesté three times by Colonel Watanasak Mungkijakarndee. In the most recent case Watanasak filed new charges highlighting a conspiracy connecting Jonathan Head to Veera Musikapong at the FCCT.

Canberra Thai Embassy Minister counselor, Saksee Phromyothi, on Wednesday defended the country’s harsh lèse majesté, saying that, “under Thailand’s constitution, the king was above politics and was prevented from publicly defending himself from personal attacks.” Mr. Saksee explained that “99 per cent of foreigners convicted under this law get pardoned and then we deport them.”

Interview with Tony Ciufo, City Council candidate for Ward 10 in Mississauga, Canada

Friday, September 22, 2006

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

Wikinews contributor Nicholas Moreau has contacted as many candidates as possible, including Tony Ciufo, asking them to answer common questions sent in an email. There is no incumbent in the newly created ward; the sixteen resident competing for the position are Shah Rukh Alam, John Briers, Jamie Dookie, Dale D’Souza, Prag Euclid, Adnan Hashmi, Elias Hazineh, Jack Janiak, Fasal Javaid, Craig Lawrence, Sue M. McFadden, Patrick Mendes, Barbara Polis, Graziano Roti, Ali Tahmourpour, and Scott Wilson.