The History of Treadmills

The first Treadmills date back as far as 1875, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that they actually began to get used by humans. Up until the 1920s, they were designed only to be operated by animals, making production more effective for machines like butter churns, wheels, and water pumps. It was when they began to appear on factory floors as conveyer belts – used to transport parts and products easily – that they began to get noticed.

More information about treadmills here

First Treadmills
The first Treadmill intended for use by humans was designed as a stress test, helping doctors of the time detect potential heart problems. It didn’t take long for investors and business types to realise that the Treadmill could be used as a commercially viable product, to allow exercise in the household and at the gym, and so today’s Treadmill was born.

Treadmills turned into a symbol of futuristic living, parodied in science fiction pop culture as a way to rid us of the inconveniences walking to travel from place to place produces. As we move forward allowing machines to do more and more for us, the Treadmill – or conveyer belt in this sense – epitomises this. It is interesting then that we now use Treadmills more than ever to keep fit, and that losing weight is now a fashionable thing to do.

Treadmills of Today
Treadmills have come a long way since their conception; it’s now not too difficult to find an affordable Treadmill jam-packed with special features and built-in training programmes. Tunturi, now a well-known and reputed global manufacturer of Treadmills and Fitness Equipment, started out as a bicycle-making business in Finland.

Treadmill Features
Many of the features modern Treadmills boast include MP3 functionality, meaning you can plug in your MP3 Player and listen whilst you workout, through built-in speakers. Integrated fans are also designed to keep Treadmill operators cool during their training.

In addition to these luxurious comforts included are an array of technologies designed to actually bolster and support the user’s workout, including orthopaedic belts or shock-absorbing running decks. A variety of speeds allow you to challenge yourself and open the Treadmill up to any level of fitness.

Storage has also become easier as technology advances, and they are now hugely accessible and affordable.

The Future of Treadmills Future technologies are making the potential of Treadmills all the more exciting. Anti Gravity Treadmills let the user workout inside a pressurised bubble that surrounds their body from the waist down, giving the sensation of running or walking through water. This sort of Treadmill would be advantageous for people undergoing rejuvenative physiotheraphy or who have joint issues.

Vertical Treadmills are also in development, which will let you climb up walls whilst remaining stationary and supported. Knobs mounted on to the Treadmill belt will let you grapple your way up, and, to top it all off, you give yourself a full body workout! Treadmills have changed and will continue to change the way we live, and, as the world gets busier – and fatter – and the chance of taking to the stars becomes more apparent, they’ve never been more relevant.

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The Roles And Importance In The Industry!

In the modern economy, construction is considered as the lifeline and this can surely be attained by using the most advanced equipments. The defined target and goal can also be acquired by using the magnificent robots along with the higher accuracy and the success rate. The huge civilization of past days is now reached its peak through the usage of the various types of the equipments and the tools. Nowadays with advancement in the area of the technology, it has become very easy for the mankind for reaching the highest peak of the modern civilization. The construction equipments supplier is the one who is responsible for providing the equipments to construction workers and the builders, so that work is completed in the right time.

Visit bulldozer for more information specifically

The construction equipments suppliers are the ones who deal in various types of the equipments which are used basically during the construction of the project. These equipments can include some of the simple tools as well as the complex tools which are available Nowadays. Some of the very common examples of these types of the tools include bulldozers, cranes, material related transport vehicles and the trucks. Some of these equipments are usually been given on the contract basis. After the completion of project, these equipments are returned back to the providers of the equipments. On the other hand, there are certain options been available where the equipments can be provided completely to the company of the construction.

The construction equipments suppliers generally deal in certain kinds of the equipments. The various equipments with their usages are explained further. To start with, the first equipment is cranes. Cranes are the machine which is designed especially for transferring the material quickly from the low level area to high level area. The use of the crane is basically for outperforming human beings through transferring the things at a much faster pace. A crane is usually used for carrying the materials such as large concrete mixes, or the fragile materials such as granite bars or the glass to the high locations in an uncompleted building. One should note here, a crane is a very huge instrument for the construction and therefore requires a very experienced operator.

The second type of the equipment is the bulldozer. The construction equipments supplier basically provides them as per the requirement of various clients. The use of this special equipment is to help in the leveling off the ground. Apart from this, it is also used for cleaning of the huge debris of the waste materials. It has become a must for all the construction companies.

Apart from these two above mentioned equipments, there is some other equipment also and it is impossible for the sector of the construction to get completed without them. One of such type of the equipments is the elevator. The elevators are helpful at the construction site. These are designed especially for providing the fast completion to transport the work and the raw material from one place to the other.

Emily Ralph is an independent small business consultant who advises and counsels small business owners and helps them. To access more information about small business manufacturer, free tenders, building equipments manufacturer and construction equipments supplier visit
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Sorts of Window Blinds

Vertical blinds are good since they can successfully command how considerably normal or exterior mild arrive in to a place, for the reason that slats can also be closed tightly.

Detailed info and services about blinds melbourne here

Venetian blinds are the blinds with horizontal slats, one slat over a different. They are hanging by way of strips of clothing or by cords that are capable to choose them up together to 180 degrees. They can be arranged in 3 unique techniques:

*Overlapping with a single side dealing with inwards
*Overlapping with other facet dealing with inwards
*No overlapping at all going through an individual aspect inwards

There are holes in every single slat to pass the lift cord from each slat. To open the blinds these lift cords are pulled and the bottom of the blinds moves upward because of to this slats stacked on just about every other as the blind is raised. Venetian blinds are usually of metal or plastic. Slat width ranges from 16-120 mm typically slat’s width is 50mm.

Some other types of window blinds also exist. These include mini blinds These are the Venetian blinds with very slim slat 1″roughly 25mm broad, micro blinds (12mm extensive), louers, jalousies, brise soleil, Holland blinds, pleated blinds, honeycomb blinds, Roman shades and roller shades.

Automobile Blinds
Auto blinds are used in cars to secure from sun. These blinds are very effortless to use. They can be connected with brackets on windows or on entrance glass. Suction cups and Static clings are employed to attach blinds on auto windows and entrance and again glass.

Materials Used to Make Window Blinds

Blinds can be designed from a assortment of products and in range of various tactics. Cloth and wood are the most popular elements that are utilized to make blinds.

Cloth made blinds incorporate Roman blinds, Roller blinds, Austrian blinds.

Wood blinds consist of Venetian blinds and Pinoleum blinds.

Blinds can be produced with materials other than wood and fabric, this sort of as products resembling to wood, metal, or plastic and gentleman made artificial supplies.

Blinds normally referred to as window blinds, are an unique variety of covers developed for the windows. These are generally manufactured of slats of fabric, wood or metal. A window blind is operated via adjustment of the material, wooden or metal, by rotating from an open up placement, to a closed place. This method is achieved by the slats which are permitted to overlap.

Utilizes of the metal window blinds

The metal window blinds have range of employs. These are utilised as protection for the houses or offices, against burglary, extreme temperatures, bad climatic conditions, and also hearth. The automobile blinds are employed in rear or rear facet windows of a motor vehicle. They assist protect the vehicle and also the people traveling in the vehicle from immediate rays of the sunlight. The auto window blinds are normally fitted with brackets, and are extremely effortless to install or eliminate.

Kinds of blinds

There are numerous types of window blinds available in the market. They are the Persian or the Slat blinds, the Venetian, the vertical and other kinds like as mini blinds, micro blinds, Holland blinds, pleated blinds and the honeycomb blinds. The most well-known kind of window blind is the slat blind. This wide variety is made up of metallic or vinyl horizontal slats or strips.

National Museum of Scotland reopens after three-year redevelopment

Friday, July 29, 2011

Today sees the reopening of the National Museum of Scotland following a three-year renovation costing £47.4 million (US$ 77.3 million). Edinburgh’s Chambers Street was closed to traffic for the morning, with the 10am reopening by eleven-year-old Bryony Hare, who took her first steps in the museum, and won a competition organised by the local Evening News paper to be a VIP guest at the event. Prior to the opening, Wikinews toured the renovated museum, viewing the new galleries, and some of the 8,000 objects inside.

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Dressed in Victorian attire, Scottish broadcaster Grant Stott acted as master of ceremonies over festivities starting shortly after 9am. The packed street cheered an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex created by Millenium FX; onlookers were entertained with a twenty-minute performance by the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers on the steps of the museum; then, following Bryony Hare knocking three times on the original doors to ask that the museum be opened, the ceremony was heralded with a specially composed fanfare – played on a replica of the museum’s 2,000-year-old carnyx Celtic war-horn. During the fanfare, two abseilers unfurled white pennons down either side of the original entrance.

The completion of the opening to the public was marked with Chinese firecrackers, and fireworks, being set off on the museum roof. As the public crowded into the museum, the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers resumed their performance; a street theatre group mingled with the large crowd, and the animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex entertained the thinning crowd of onlookers in the centre of the street.

On Wednesday, the museum welcomed the world’s press for an in depth preview of the new visitor experience. Wikinews was represented by Brian McNeil, who is also Wikimedia UK’s interim liaison with Museum Galleries Scotland.

The new pavement-level Entrance Hall saw journalists mingle with curators. The director, Gordon Rintoul, introduced presentations by Gareth Hoskins and Ralph Applebaum, respective heads of the Architects and Building Design Team; and, the designers responsible for the rejuvenation of the museum.

Describing himself as a “local lad”, Hoskins reminisced about his grandfather regularly bringing him to the museum, and pushing all the buttons on the numerous interactive exhibits throughout the museum. Describing the nearly 150-year-old museum as having become “a little tired”, and a place “only visited on a rainy day”, he commented that many international visitors to Edinburgh did not realise that the building was a public space; explaining the focus was to improve access to the museum – hence the opening of street-level access – and, to “transform the complex”, focus on “opening up the building”, and “creating a number of new spaces […] that would improve facilities and really make this an experience for 21st century museum visitors”.

Hoskins explained that a “rabbit warren” of storage spaces were cleared out to provide street-level access to the museum; the floor in this “crypt-like” space being lowered by 1.5 metres to achieve this goal. Then Hoskins handed over to Applebaum, who expressed his delight to be present at the reopening.

Applebaum commented that one of his first encounters with the museum was seeing “struggling young mothers with two kids in strollers making their way up the steps”, expressing his pleasure at this being made a thing of the past. Applebaum explained that the Victorian age saw the opening of museums for public access, with the National Museum’s earlier incarnation being the “College Museum” – a “first window into this museum’s collection”.

Have you any photos of the museum, or its exhibits?

The museum itself is physically connected to the University of Edinburgh’s old college via a bridge which allowed students to move between the two buildings.

Applebaum explained that the museum will, now redeveloped, be used as a social space, with gatherings held in the Grand Gallery, “turning the museum into a social convening space mixed with knowledge”. Continuing, he praised the collections, saying they are “cultural assets [… Scotland is] turning those into real cultural capital”, and the museum is, and museums in general are, providing a sense of “social pride”.

McNeil joined the yellow group on a guided tour round the museum with one of the staff. Climbing the stairs at the rear of the Entrance Hall, the foot of the Window on the World exhibit, the group gained a first chance to see the restored Grand Gallery. This space is flooded with light from the glass ceiling three floors above, supported by 40 cast-iron columns. As may disappoint some visitors, the fish ponds have been removed; these were not an original feature, but originally installed in the 1960s – supposedly to humidify the museum; and failing in this regard. But, several curators joked that they attracted attention as “the only thing that moved” in the museum.

The museum’s original architect was Captain Francis Fowke, also responsible for the design of London’s Royal Albert Hall; his design for the then-Industrial Museum apparently inspired by Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace.

The group moved from the Grand Gallery into the Discoveries Gallery to the south side of the museum. The old red staircase is gone, and the Millennium Clock stands to the right of a newly-installed escalator, giving easier access to the upper galleries than the original staircases at each end of the Grand Gallery. Two glass elevators have also been installed, flanking the opening into the Discoveries Gallery and, providing disabled access from top-to-bottom of the museum.

The National Museum of Scotland’s origins can be traced back to 1780 when the 11th Earl of Buchan, David Stuart Erskine, formed the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland; the Society being tasked with the collection and preservation of archaeological artefacts for Scotland. In 1858, control of this was passed to the government of the day and the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland came into being. Items in the collection at that time were housed at various locations around the city.

On Wednesday, October 28, 1861, during a royal visit to Edinburgh by Queen Victoria, Prince-Consort Albert laid the foundation-stone for what was then intended to be the Industrial Museum. Nearly five years later, it was the second son of Victoria and Albert, Prince Alfred, the then-Duke of Edinburgh, who opened the building which was then known as the Scottish Museum of Science and Art. A full-page feature, published in the following Monday’s issue of The Scotsman covered the history leading up to the opening of the museum, those who had championed its establishment, the building of the collection which it was to house, and Edinburgh University’s donation of their Natural History collection to augment the exhibits put on public display.

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Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Closed for a little over three years, today’s reopening of the museum is seen as the “centrepiece” of National Museums Scotland’s fifteen-year plan to dramatically improve accessibility and better present their collections. Sir Andrew Grossard, chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “The reopening of the National Museum of Scotland, on time and within budget is a tremendous achievement […] Our collections tell great stories about the world, how Scots saw that world, and the disproportionate impact they had upon it. The intellectual and collecting impact of the Scottish diaspora has been profound. It is an inspiring story which has captured the imagination of our many supporters who have helped us achieve our aspirations and to whom we are profoundly grateful.

The extensive work, carried out with a view to expand publicly accessible space and display more of the museums collections, carried a £47.4 million pricetag. This was jointly funded with £16 million from the Scottish Government, and £17.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Further funds towards the work came from private sources and totalled £13.6 million. Subsequent development, as part of the longer-term £70 million “Masterplan”, is expected to be completed by 2020 and see an additional eleven galleries opened.

The funding by the Scottish Government can be seen as a ‘canny‘ investment; a report commissioned by National Museums Scotland, and produced by consultancy firm Biggar Economics, suggest the work carried out could be worth £58.1 million per year, compared with an estimated value to the economy of £48.8 prior to the 2008 closure. Visitor figures are expected to rise by over 20%; use of function facilities are predicted to increase, alongside other increases in local hospitality-sector spending.

Proudly commenting on the Scottish Government’s involvement Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, described the reopening as, “one of the nation’s cultural highlights of 2011” and says the rejuvenated museum is, “[a] must-see attraction for local and international visitors alike“. Continuing to extol the museum’s virtues, Hyslop states that it “promotes the best of Scotland and our contributions to the world.

So-far, the work carried out is estimated to have increased the public space within the museum complex by 50%. Street-level storage rooms, never before seen by the public, have been transformed into new exhibit space, and pavement-level access to the buildings provided which include a new set of visitor facilities. Architectural firm Gareth Hoskins have retained the original Grand Gallery – now the first floor of the museum – described as a “birdcage” structure and originally inspired by The Crystal Palace built in Hyde Park, London for the 1851 Great Exhibition.

The centrepiece in the Grand Gallery is the “Window on the World” exhibit, which stands around 20 metres tall and is currently one of the largest installations in any UK museum. This showcases numerous items from the museum’s collections, rising through four storeys in the centre of the museum. Alexander Hayward, the museums Keeper of Science and Technology, challenged attending journalists to imagine installing “teapots at thirty feet”.

The redeveloped museum includes the opening of sixteen brand new galleries. Housed within, are over 8,000 objects, only 20% of which have been previously seen.

  • Ground floor
  • First floor
  • Second floor
  • Top floor

The Window on the World rises through the four floors of the museum and contains over 800 objects. This includes a gyrocopter from the 1930s, the world’s largest scrimshaw – made from the jaws of a sperm whale which the University of Edinburgh requested for their collection, a number of Buddha figures, spearheads, antique tools, an old gramophone and record, a selection of old local signage, and a girder from the doomed Tay Bridge.

The arrangement of galleries around the Grand Gallery’s “birdcage” structure is organised into themes across multiple floors. The World Cultures Galleries allow visitors to explore the culture of the entire planet; Living Lands explains the ways in which our natural environment influences the way we live our lives, and the beliefs that grow out of the places we live – from the Arctic cold of North America to Australia’s deserts.

The adjacent Patterns of Life gallery shows objects ranging from the everyday, to the unusual from all over the world. The functions different objects serve at different periods in peoples’ lives are explored, and complement the contents of the Living Lands gallery.

Performance & Lives houses musical instruments from around the world, alongside masks and costumes; both rooted in long-established traditions and rituals, this displayed alongside contemporary items showing the interpretation of tradition by contemporary artists and instrument-creators.

The museum proudly bills the Facing the Sea gallery as the only one in the UK which is specifically based on the cultures of the South Pacific. It explores the rich diversity of the communities in the region, how the sea shapes the islanders’ lives – describing how their lives are shaped as much by the sea as the land.

Both the Facing the Sea and Performance & Lives galleries are on the second floor, next to the new exhibition shop and foyer which leads to one of the new exhibition galleries, expected to house the visiting Amazing Mummies exhibit in February, coming from Leiden in the Netherlands.

The Inspired by Nature, Artistic Legacies, and Traditions in Sculpture galleries take up most of the east side of the upper floor of the museum. The latter of these shows the sculptors from diverse cultures have, through history, explored the possibilities in expressing oneself using metal, wood, or stone. The Inspired by Nature gallery shows how many artists, including contemporary ones, draw their influence from the world around us – often commenting on our own human impact on that natural world.

Contrastingly, the Artistic Legacies gallery compares more traditional art and the work of modern artists. The displayed exhibits attempt to show how people, in creating specific art objects, attempt to illustrate the human spirit, the cultures they are familiar with, and the imaginative input of the objects’ creators.

The easternmost side of the museum, adjacent to Edinburgh University’s Old College, will bring back memories for many regular visitors to the museum; but, with an extensive array of new items. The museum’s dedicated taxidermy staff have produced a wide variety of fresh examples from the natural world.

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At ground level, the Animal World and Wildlife Panorama’s most imposing exhibit is probably the lifesize reproduction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. This rubs shoulders with other examples from around the world, including one of a pair of elephants. The on-display elephant could not be removed whilst renovation work was underway, and lurked in a corner of the gallery as work went on around it.

Above, in the Animal Senses gallery, are examples of how we experience the world through our senses, and contrasting examples of wildly differing senses, or extremes of such, present in the natural world. This gallery also has giant screens, suspended in the free space, which show footage ranging from the most tranquil and peaceful life in the sea to the tooth-and-claw bloody savagery of nature.

The Survival gallery gives visitors a look into the ever-ongoing nature of evolution; the causes of some species dying out while others thrive, and the ability of any species to adapt as a method of avoiding extinction.

Earth in Space puts our place in the universe in perspective. Housing Europe’s oldest surviving Astrolabe, dating from the eleventh century, this gallery gives an opportunity to see the technology invented to allow us to look into the big questions about what lies beyond Earth, and probe the origins of the universe and life.

In contrast, the Restless Earth gallery shows examples of the rocks and minerals formed through geological processes here on earth. The continual processes of the planet are explored alongside their impact on human life. An impressive collection of geological specimens are complemented with educational multimedia presentations.

Beyond working on new galleries, and the main redevelopment, the transformation team have revamped galleries that will be familiar to regular past visitors to the museum.

Formerly known as the Ivy Wu Gallery of East Asian Art, the Looking East gallery showcases National Museums Scotland’s extensive collection of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese material. The gallery’s creation was originally sponsored by Sir Gordon Wu, and named after his wife Ivy. It contains items from the last dynasty, the Manchu, and examples of traditional ceramic work. Japan is represented through artefacts from ordinary people’s lives, expositions on the role of the Samurai, and early trade with the West. Korean objects also show the country’s ceramic work, clothing, and traditional accessories used, and worn, by the indigenous people.

The Ancient Egypt gallery has always been a favourite of visitors to the museum. A great many of the exhibits in this space were returned to Scotland from late 19th century excavations; and, are arranged to take visitors through the rituals, and objects associated with, life, death, and the afterlife, as viewed from an Egyptian perspective.

The Art and Industry and European Styles galleries, respectively, show how designs are arrived at and turned into manufactured objects, and the evolution of European style – financed and sponsored by a wide range of artists and patrons. A large number of the objects on display, often purchased or commissioned, by Scots, are now on display for the first time ever.

Shaping our World encourages visitors to take a fresh look at technological objects developed over the last 200 years, many of which are so integrated into our lives that they are taken for granted. Radio, transportation, and modern medicines are covered, with a retrospective on the people who developed many of the items we rely on daily.

What was known as the Museum of Scotland, a modern addition to the classical Victorian-era museum, is now known as the Scottish Galleries following the renovation of the main building.

This dedicated newer wing to the now-integrated National Museum of Scotland covers the history of Scotland from a time before there were people living in the country. The geological timescale is covered in the Beginnings gallery, showing continents arranging themselves into what people today see as familiar outlines on modern-day maps.

Just next door, the history of the earliest occupants of Scotland are on display; hunters and gatherers from around 4,000 B.C give way to farmers in the Early People exhibits.

The Kingdom of the Scots follows Scotland becoming a recognisable nation, and a kingdom ruled over by the Stewart dynasty. Moving closer to modern-times, the Scotland Transformed gallery looks at the country’s history post-union in 1707.

Industry and Empire showcases Scotland’s significant place in the world as a source of heavy engineering work in the form of rail engineering and shipbuilding – key components in the building of the British Empire. Naturally, whisky was another globally-recognised export introduced to the world during empire-building.

Lastly, Scotland: A Changing Nation collects less-tangible items, including personal accounts, from the country’s journey through the 20th century; the social history of Scots, and progress towards being a multicultural nation, is explored through heavy use of multimedia exhibits.

UK revokes visa of former Thai PM

Saturday, November 8, 2008

An email circulated to airlines yesterday revealed that the UK government has revoked the visas of Thai ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife. Both have been convicted and sentenced to jail terms in Thailand. The email instructs airlines not to facilitate travel for the couple to return to the UK. Reports indicate that the deposed and convicted ex-PM is currently in China with plans to travel to the Philippines this weekend. The whereabouts of his wife are not currently known.

Thaksin and his wife, Potjaman Shinawatra, have spent much of the past two years living in exile in the UK after jumping bail on charges against them in Thailand. The visa revocation, issued by Immigration Liaison Manager Andy Gray of the UK embassy in Bangkok, will come as a harsh blow to Thaksin, who had expressed a strong interest in remaining in England as an exile, asserting that charges back home were politically motivated.

Lawyers involved in the successful prosecution of Thaksin were known to be in the process of drawing up extradition papers to submit to the UK’s Home Office; with his chosen country of refuge now in doubt it may become more difficult to have him returned to Thailand to serve his two year sentence for corruption. In an email to Wikinews the UK Home Office declined to comment on the extradition, specifying it was policy not to discuss individual cases.

Extradition would have been covered under a treaty drawn up in 1911 between the two countries and the onus would have been on Thailand to prove that the conviction ties up with similar UK laws. Claims by Thaksin that such a request would have been politically motivated would be considered by the court under the UK’s Extradition Act. The Home Office also confirmed that Thaksin’s diplomatic passport would not have exempted him from such proceedings.

Potjaman, Thaksin’s wife, escaped prosecution in the corruption case over a Bangkok land deal, however she already faces a three year sentence for tax evasion. Visas for the couple’s children were unaffected by the action, they remain free to travel to and from the UK.

Nobody can bring me back to Thailand, except royal kindness of HM the King or the power of the people

Despite his self-imposed exile, the ex-PM who was deposed by a bloodless coup in 2006 has remained in the news and public consciousness in Thailand. Several high-profile court cases alleging corruption and malfeasance during his time as premier and leader of the now-banned Thai Rak Thai (lit: Thais love Thais) political party remain outstanding.

Last Saturday, he gave a telephone address to pro-government protesters rallying at the country’s national stadium in Bangkok. Members of the current government, which is accused of being a proxy for Thaksin, managed to amass tens of thousands of red-shirted supporters to listen to the address. The rally has been condemned by the Law Society of Thailand as contempt of court, and their statement on the November 1 phone-in warned that media repeating its content could be added to the defendants in any legal proceedings.

During the phone-in Thaksin said, “Nobody can bring me back to Thailand, except royal kindness of HM the King or the power of the people”; this can be construed as an appeal for a royal pardon, or for his supporters to be more vocal.

Australian rules football International cup “community event”: Australian Football League

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Australian Football League (AFL) has confirmed to Wikinews that the Australian Football International Cup has been played as a community event “with open access to enable any supporters of all teams to be able to attend.” The preliminary games of the 2008 International Cup were played predominately at Royal Park, Melbourne with spectators able to watch without purchasing tickets.

“All matches in the past have been open through the preliminary rounds, with the Grand Final played at the MCG as a curtain-raiser to an AFL match [sic],” the AFL said in a statement.

Papua New Guinea 7-12 (54)
New Zealand 7-4 (46)
Melbourne Cricket Ground

Papua New Guinea (PNG) defeated New Zealand (NZ) in the final of the latest Australian Football International Cup. They had previously finished second to Ireland in 2002 and New Zealand in 2005.

PNG will go into the 2011 Cup as defending champions.

Last month, AFL Germany criticized the AFL for providing insufficient funding to European leagues. Germany has a a local league with some success but AFL Germany holds the position that money that would be spent sending a team to the International Cup would be better spent developing the game locally.

“We would be in exactly the same situation today if we would have never had any contact with the AFL,” said AFL Germany president Malte Schudlich.

“We don’t have any consideration at this time for a broadcasting arrangement for the 2011 International Cup,” the AFL said in the response to Wikinews’.

Conceivably this opens the door for broadcasters to broadcast International Cup matches without reimbursing the AFL, the de facto world governing body for Australian rules football.

In the past, AFL clubs have played an exhibition or Pre-Season Cup game at an overseas location. The AFL currently has no plans for this to happen, in any form, in 2010. “At this point, we don’t have any matches planned for overseas in the lead-up to the 2010 season, but are prepared to consider some options for 2011 if the economic situation improves,” the AFL told Wikinews.

Chula Vista, California becomes model for blight control laws in the US

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The San Diego, California suburb of Chula Vista has responded to the recent housing crisis with an aggressive blight control ordinance that compels lenders to maintain the appearance of vacant homes. As foreclosures increase both locally and throughout the United States, the one year old ordinance has become a model for other cities overwhelmed by the problem of abandoned homes that decay into neighborhood eyesores.

Chula Vista city code enforcement manager Doug Leeper told the San Diego Union Tribune that over 300 jurisdictions have contacted his office during the past year with inquiries about the city’s tough local ordinance. Coral Springs, Florida, and California towns Stockton, Santee, Riverside County, and Murietta have all modeled recently enacted anti-blight measures after Chula Vista’s. On Wednesday, 8 October, the Escondido City Council also voted to tighten local measures making lenders more accountable for maintenance of empty homes.

Lenders will respond when it costs them less to maintain the property than to ignore local agency requirements.

Under the Chula Vista ordinance lenders become legally responsible for upkeep as soon as a notice of mortgage default gets filed on a vacant dwelling, before actual ownership of the dwelling returns to the lender. Leeper regards that as “the cutting-edge part of our ordinance”. Chula Vista also requires prompt registration of vacant homes and applies stiff fines as high as US$1000 per day for failure to maintain a property. Since foreclosed properties are subject to frequent resale between mortgage brokers, city officials enforce the fines by sending notices to every name on title documents and placing a lien on the property, which prevents further resale until outstanding fines have been paid. In the year since the ordinance went into effect the city has applied $850,000 in fines and penalties, of which it has collected $200,000 to date. The city has collected an additional $77,000 in registration fees on vacant homes.

Jolie Houston, an attorney in San Jose, believes “Lenders will respond when it costs them less to maintain the property than to ignore local agency requirements.” Traditionally, local governments have resorted to addressing blight problems on abandoned properties with public funds, mowing overgrown lawns and performing other vital functions, then seeking repayment afterward. Chula Vista has moved that responsibility to an upfront obligation upon lenders.

That kind of measure will add additional costs to banks that have been hit really hard already and ultimately the cost will be transferred down to consumers and investors.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States during recent years, Chula Vista saw 22.6% growth between 2000 and 2006, which brought the city’s population from 173,556 in the 2000 census to an estimated 212,756, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Chula Vista placed among the nation’s 20 fastest growing cities in 2004. A large proportion of local homes were purchased during the recent housing boom using creative financing options that purchasers did not understand were beyond their means. Average home prices in San Diego County declined by 25% in the last year, which is the steepest drop on record. Many homeowners in the region currently owe more than their homes are worth and confront rising balloon payment mortgages that they had expected to afford by refinancing new equity that either vanished or never materialized. In August 2008, Chula Vista’s eastern 91913 zip code had the highest home mortgage default rate in the county with 154 filings and 94 foreclosures, an increase of 154% over one year previously. Regionally, the county saw 1,979 foreclosures in August.

Professionals from the real estate and mortgage industries object to Chula Vista’s response to the crisis for the additional burdens it places on their struggling finances. Said San Diego real estate agent Marc Carpenter, “that kind of measure will add additional costs to banks that have been hit really hard already and ultimately the cost will be transferred down to consumers and investors.” Yet city councils in many communities have been under pressure to do something about increasing numbers of vacant properties. Concentrations of abandoned and neglected homes can attract vandals who hasten the decline of struggling neighborhoods. Jolie Houston explained that city officials “can’t fix the lending problem, but they can try to prevent neighborhoods from becoming blighted.”

Does Chula Vista’s solution save neighborhoods or worsen the financial crisis?
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CEO Robert Klein of Safeguard, a property management firm, told the Union Tribune that his industry is having difficulty adapting to the rapidly changing local ordinances. “Every day we discover a new ordinance coming out of somewhere”, he complained. Dustin Hobbs, a spokesman from the California Association of Mortgage Bankers agreed that uneven local ordinances are likely to increase the costs of lending. Hobbs advised that local legislation is unnecessary due to California State Senate Bill 1137, which was recently approved to address blight. Yet according to Houston, the statewide measure falls short because it fails to address upkeep needs during the months between the time when foreclosure begins and when the lender takes title.