Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Live music venues in Edinburgh, Scotland are awaiting a review later this year on the 2005 licensing policy, which places limitations on the volume of amplified music in the city. Investigating into how the policy is affecting the Edinburgh music scene, a group of Wikinews writers interviewed venue owners, academics, the City of Edinburgh Council, and local band The Mean Reds to get different perspectives on the issue.

Since the clause was introduced by the government of the city of Edinburgh, licensed venues have been prohibited from allowing music to be amplified to the extent it is audible to nearby residential properties. This has affected the live music scene, with several venues discontinuing regular events such as open mic nights, and hosting bands and artists.

Currently, the licensing policy allows licensing standards officers to order a venue to cease live music on any particular night, based on a single noise complaint from the public. The volume is not electronically measured to determine if it breaches a decibel volume level. Over roughly the past year there have been 56 separate noise complaints made against 18 venues throughout the city.

A petition to amend the clause has garnered over 3,000 signatures, including the support of bar owners, musicians, and members of the general public.

On November 17, 2014, the government’s Culture and Sport Committee hosted an open forum meeting at Usher Hall. Musicians, venue owners and industry professionals were encouraged to provide their thoughts on how the council could improve live music in the city. Ways to promote live music as a key cultural aspect of Edinburgh were discussed and it was suggested that it could be beneficial to try and replicate the management system of live music of other global cities renowned for their live music scenes. However, the suggestion which prevailed above all others was simply to review the existing licensing policy.

Councillor (Cllr) Norma Austin-Hart, Vice Convenor of the Culture and Sport Committee, is responsible for the working group Music is Audible. The group is comprised of local music professionals, and councillors and officials from Edinburgh Council. A document circulated to the Music is Audible group stated the council aims “to achieve a balance between protecting residents and supporting venues”.

Following standard procedure, when a complaint is made, a Licensing Standards Officer (LSO) is dispatched to investigate the venue and evaluate the level of noise. If deemed to be too loud, the LSO asks the venue to lower the noise level. According to a document provided by the City of Edinburgh Council, “not one single business has lost its license or been closed down because of a breach to the noise condition in Edinburgh.”

In the Scotland Licensing Policy (2005), Clause 6.2 states, “where the operating plan indicates that music is to be played in a premises, the board will consider the imposition of a condition requiring amplified music from those premises to be inaudible in residential property.” According to Cllr Austin-Hart, the high volume of tenement housing in the city centre makes it difficult for music to be inaudible.

During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe during the summer, venues are given temporary licences that allow them to operate for the duration of the festival and under the condition that “all amplified music and vocals are controlled to the satisfaction of the Director of Services for Communities”, as stated in a document from the council. During the festival, there is an 11 p.m. noise restriction on amplified music, and noise may be measured by Environmental Health staff using sophisticated equipment. Noise is restricted to 65dB(A) from the facades of residential properties; however, complaints from residents still occur. In the document from the council, they note these conditions and limitations for temporary venues would not necessarily be appropriate for permanent licensed premises.

In a phone interview, Cllr Austin-Hart expressed her concern about the unsettlement in Edinburgh regarding live music. She referenced the closure of the well-known Picture House, a venue that has provided entertainment for over half a century, and the community’s opposition to commercial public bar chain Wetherspoon buying the venue. “[It] is a well-known pub that does not play any form of music”, Cllr Austin-Hart said. “[T]hey feel as if it is another blow to Edinburgh’s live music”. “[We] cannot stop Wetherspoon’s from buying this venue; we have no control over this.”

The venue has operated under different names, including the Caley Palais which hosted bands such as Queen and AC/DC. The Picture House opened in 2008.

One of the venues which has been significantly affected by the licensing laws is the Phoenix Bar, on Broughton Street. The bar’s owner, Sam Roberts, was induced to cease live music gigs in March, following a number of noise complaints against the venue. As a result, Ms Roberts was inspired to start the aforementioned petition to have Clause 6.2 of the licensing policy reviewed, in an effort to remove the ‘inaudibility’ statement that is affecting venues and the music scene.

“I think we not only encourage it, but actively support the Edinburgh music scene,” Ms Roberts says of the Phoenix Bar and other venues, “the problem is that it is a dying scene.”

When Ms Roberts purchased the venue in 2013, she continued the existing 30-year legacy established by the previous owners of hosting live acts. Representative of Edinburgh’s colourful music scene, a diverse range of genres have been hosted at the venue. Ms Roberts described the atmosphere when live music acts perform at her venue as “electric”. “The whole community comes together singing, dancing and having a party. Letting their hair down and forgetting their troubles. People go home happy after a brilliant night out. All the staff usually join in; the pub comes alive”. However licensing restrictions have seen a majority of the acts shut down due to noise complaints. “We have put on jazz, blues, rock, rockabilly, folk, celtic and pop live acts and have had to close everything down.” “Residents in Edinburgh unfortunately know that the Council policy gives them all the rights in the world, and the pubs and clubs none”, Ms Roberts clarified.

Discussing how inaudibility has affected venues and musicians alike, Ms Roberts stated many pubs have lost profit through the absence of gigs, and trying to soundproof their venue. “It has put many musicians out of work and it has had an enormous effect on earnings in the pub. […] Many clubs and bars have been forced to invest in thousands of pounds worth of soundproofing equipment which has nearly bankrupted them, only to find that even the tiniest bit of noise can still force a closure. It is a ridiculously one-sided situation.” Ms Roberts feels inaudibility is an unfair clause for venues. “I think it very clearly favours residents in Edinburgh and not business. […] Nothing is being done to support local business, and closing down all the live music venues in Edinburgh has hurt financially in so many ways. Not only do you lose money, you lose new faces, you lose the respect of the local musicians, and you begin to lose all hope in a ‘fair go’.”

With the petition holding a considerable number of signatures, Ms Roberts states she is still sceptical of any change occurring. “Over three thousand people have signed the petition and still the council is not moving. They have taken action on petitions with far fewer signatures.” Ms Roberts also added, “Right now I don’t think Edinburgh has much hope of positive change”.

Ms Roberts seems to have lost all hope for positive change in relation to Edinburgh’s music scene, and argues Glasgow is now the regional choice for live music and venues. “[E]veryone in the business knows they have to go to Glasgow for a decent scene. Glasgow City Council get behind their city.”

Ms Martina Cannon, member of local band The Mean Reds, said a regular ‘Open Mic Night’ she hosted at The Parlour on Duke Street has ceased after a number of complaints were made against the venue. “It was a shame because it had built up some momentum over the months it had been running”. She described financial loss to the venue from cancelling the event, as well as loss to her as organiser of the event.

Sneaky Pete’s music bar and club, owned by Nick Stewart, is described on its website as “open and busy every night”.”Many clubs could be defined as bars that host music, but we really are a music venue that serves drinks”, Mr Stewart says. He sees the live music scene as essential for maintaining nightlife in Edinburgh not only because of the economic benefit but more importantly because of the cultural significance. “Music is one of the important things in life. […] it’s emotionally and intellectually engaging, and it adds to the quality of life that people lead.”

Sneaky Pete’s has not been immune to the inaudibility clause. The business has spent about 20,000 pounds on multiple soundproofing fixes designed to quell complaints from neighboring residents. “The business suffered a great deal in between losing the option to do gigs for fear of complaints, and finishing the soundproofing. As I mentioned, we are a music business that serves drinks, not a bar that also has music, so when we lose shows, we lose a great deal of trade”, said Mr Stewart.

He believes there is a better way to go about handling complaints and fixing public nuisances. “The local mandatory condition requiring ‘amplified music and vocals’ to be ‘inaudible’ should be struck from all licenses. The requirement presupposes that nuisance is caused by music venues, when this may not reasonably be said to be the case. […] Nuisance is not defined in the Licensing Act nor is it defined in the Public Health Act (Scotland) 2008. However, The Consultation on Guidance to accompany the Statutory Nuisance Provisions of the Public Health etc (Scotland) Act 2008 states that ‘There are eight key issues to consider when evaluating whether a nuisance exists[…]'”.

The eight key factors are impact, locality, time, frequency, duration, convention, importance, and avoidability. Stewart believes it is these factors that should be taken into consideration by LSOs responding to complaints instead of the sole factor of “audibility”.He believes multiple steps should be taken before considering revocation of licenses. Firstly, LSOs should determine whether a venue is a nuisance based on the eight factors. Then, the venue should have the opportunity to comply by using methods such as changing the nature of their live performances (e.g. from hard rock to acoustic rock), changing their hours of operation, or soundproofing. If the venue still fails to comply, then a board can review their license with the goal of finding more ways to bring them into compliance as opposed to revoking their license.

Nick Stewart has discussed his proposal at length with Music is Audible and said he means to present his proposal to the City of Edinburgh Council.

Dr Adam Behr, a music academic and research associate at the University of Edinburgh who has conducted research on the cultural value of live music, says live music significantly contributes to the economic performance of cities. He said studies have shown revenue creation and the provision of employment are significant factors which come about as a result of live music. A 2014 report by UK Music showed the economic value generated by live music in the UK in 2013 was £789 million and provided the equivalent of 21,600 full time jobs.

As the music industry is international by nature, Behr says this complicates the way revenue is allocated, “For instance, if an American artist plays a venue owned by a British company at a gig which is promoted by a company that is part British owned but majority owned by, say, Live Nation (a major international entertainment company) — then the flow of revenues might not be as straightforward as it seems [at] first.”

Despite these complexities, Behr highlighted the broader advantages, “There are, of course, ancillary benefits, especially for big gigs […] Obviously other local businesses like bars, restaurants and carparks benefit from increased trade”, he added.

Behr criticised the idea of making music inaudible and called it “unrealistic”. He said it could limit what kind of music can be played at venues and could force vendors to spend a large amount of money on equipment that enables them to meet noise cancelling requirements. He also mentioned the consequences this has for grassroots music venues as more ‘established’ venues within the city would be the only ones able to afford these changes.

Alongside the inaudibility dispute has been the number of sites that have been closing for the past number of years. According to Dr Behr, this has brought attention to the issue of retaining live music venues in the city and has caused the council to re-evaluate its music strategy and overall cultural policy.

This month, Dr Behr said he is to work on a live music census for Edinburgh’s Council which aims to find out what types of music is played, where, and what exactly it brings to the city. This is in an effort to get the Edinburgh city council to see any opportunities it has with live music and the importance of grassroots venues. The census is similar to one conducted in Victoria, Australia in 2012 on the extent of live music in the state and its economic benefit.

As for the solution to the inaudibility clause, Behr says the initial step is dialogue, and this has already begun. “Having forum discussion, though, is a start — and an improvement”, he said. “There won’t be an overnight solution, but work is ongoing to try to find one that can stick in the long term.”

Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director of Music Venue Trust, said she is unable to comment on her work with the City of Edinburgh Council or on potential changes to the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy. However, she says, “I have been asked to assess the situation and make recommendations in September”.

According to The Scotsman, the Council is working toward helping Edinburgh’s cultural and entertainment scene. Deputy Council Leader Sandy Howat said views of the entertainment industry needs to change and the Council will no longer consider the scene as a “sideline”.

Senior members of the Council, The Scotsman reported, aim to review the planning of the city to make culture more of a priority. Howat said, “If you’re trying to harness a living community and are creating facilities for people living, working and playing then culture should form part of that.”

The review of the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy is set to be reviewed near the end of 2016 but the concept of bringing it forward to this year is still under discussion.

Successes Of Single Gender New York Schools Overshadowing Opposition

By Patricia Hawke

In the past, even the mention of creating a single-gender public school raised controversy with a wide array of opponents, including womens organizations. In 1996, the New York schools created the first all-girl school in the nation, and the controversy still rears its ugly head.

The Opponents

Opponents say that single-gender New York schools undercut the students civil rights by denying them access to the schools. Michael Meyers, head of the New York Coalition, brought suit against the New York schools in 1996, challenging the legality of the Young Womens Leadership School, located in Harlem, but lost the suit. He continues to look for New York schools students denied access to the school because of gender in hopes of bringing another suit, despite the schools successes.

Opponents also contend that such schools return New York schools education to the past, where girls major in home economics, rather than mathematics or science. They even charge that if mixed-gender New York schools had the same quality of well-trained and motivated teachers, those children also would excel.

Even Sonia Ossorio, New York Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), believes such New York schools compromise womens past struggles that today allow women to attend once-single-gender schools, such as Harvard and Yale.

The Supporters

Single-gender schools, however, address the unique needs of boys and girls. They offer families options that were previously not available in the New York schools, such as small class sizes and dedicated teachers, specially trained to meet gender-specific needs.

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Students from the Harlem girls school say that their teachers push them more to do their best, and there are no distractions with which to deal. The teachers say the success of the school is due to no boys being present to distract the girls from their studies. Students stay on focus.

In year 2000, the National Coalition of Girls Schools studied 4,200 alumnae from an all-girls school and found the following:

93 percent felt they were provided greater leadership opportunities during school,

91 percent thought coursework was more relevant to their academic needs,

85 percent received more encouragement in the areas of science, mathematics and technology than friends who attended coed schools,

71 percent were more prepared to transition to college than friends who attended coed schools,

94 percent had or were attending college, and

80 percent held leadership positions since graduating from the school.

Additionally, the study found:

They consistently scored as much as 20 percent higher on SAT tests, than both genders nationwide, and

They majored in science and mathematics at a higher rate than both genders nationwide (12 percent of alumnae compared to two percent for women and ten percent for men).

The Successes

The New York schools can be proud of the accomplishments made by the Young Womens Leadership School over that last decade. The Harlem school was rated first by

Insideschools.org

in their value-added schools study. The parent-run assessment group rated schools based upon their ability to turn poor performing students with poor test scores into top grade-getters. The Harlem school has a record of 100 percent student graduation. Even Ossorio of the New York NOW chapter could not dismiss such success, stating that it is hard not to be excited about a school that boasts such a graduate rate!

Such success stories have sparked renewed interest in single-gender public education by the New York schools. There are currently five all-girl New York schools with plans to create three more in the next few years. The New York schools have three that are boys only and more planned.

With recent changes in state and federal laws, there are now 42 single-gender public schools across the United States. Another 151 schools offer specific classes to boys and girls separately.

It seems the New York schools used progressive and innovation thinking by reaching into the past of gender segregation to give both genders an opportunity to excel in a learning-focused environment.

About the Author: Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit

New York Schools

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Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

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U.S. develops parks above highways

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

In big cities, finding land for new parks is less of an expedition than an all-out land-rights battle with property owners. But some cities across the U.S. have found a slightly easier way to add to their greenspace. By utilizing the state’s air rights to the space above freeways that run below at ground level, cities can acquire 5 or 10 acres of parkspace essentially for free, such Freeway Park which occupies 5.5 acres above a freeway in downtown Seattle.

Of course, this free “land” is actually nothing more than open air above a freeway, requiring cities to pay the high construction costs of capping the roadway with land.

Such projects are currently being planned in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Dallas and San Diego. A recent article in Governing Magazine looks at more than two dozen highway deck parks that have been built or are under construction in the U.S. The article finds that even though the price of constructing parks on top of freeways can rise upwards of $500 per square foot, property values and local development boom once they are completed.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi killed in airstrike

Thursday, June 8, 2006

The head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has been killed in an air strike on a building north of Baqubah city, according to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.

“Today [sic] Zarqawi has been terminated,” he said Thursday, and suggested the man the United States had placed a $25 million price tag on for death or capture was located through intelligence.

“What happened today is a result of co-operation for which we have been asking from our masses and the citizens of our country,” he said.

The leader of coalition forces in Iraq, General George Casey said al-Zarqawi was killed in a two-storey safehouse about 8 km north of the city in Diyala province.

Several aides also died with him in the Wednesday evening raid by U.S. F-16 warplanes, including his key lieutenant and spiritual adviser Sheik Abdul Rahman. Some analysts believe a US counter-terrorism unit, Task Force 145, was involved in the attack.

Al-Zarqawi’s body, recovered after two 500-pound bombs had blown through his cover, was identified through fingerprint, tattoo and scar analysis and head likeness. Al-Zarqawi, whose real name was Ahmed Fadhil Nazzal al-Khalayleh, was believed to be in his late 30s when he died of injuries while US forces gave medical aid.

The first munition exploded at 6:15pm was a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb that was shortly followed by the newer GBU-38; both carried 500lb of explosives for total cost of $40,000.

The self-proclaimed frontman for Osama Bin Laden’s activities in Iraq, al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian national, is said to have been involved in the beheading of foreigners, hundreds of suicide attacks, and an insurgency against coalition forces after the Iraq war in 2003.

It had been reported Al-Zarqawi’s most recent campaign was to create problems between Shi’ite and Sunni groups in Iraq with ethnic killings.

For the Iraqi government the killing of the wanted murderer is what they sought but it remains unknown what effect the removal of this known figurehead of the Iraq insurgency will have on levels of violence in the country. Al-Zarqawi was not the only person to oppose the US-backed Iraqi government.

“Zarqawi didn’t have a number two. I can’t think of any single person who would succeed Zarqawi…In terms of effectiveness, there was no single leader in Iraq who could match his ruthlessness and his determination,” was the view of Rohan Gumaratna at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore.

Applause was heard as Mr Maliki, with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and U.S. Gen. George Casey, by his side, told news reporters “al-Zarqawi was terminated.”

Sources claiming to be Al-Qaeda in Iraq later confirmed that al-Zarqawi had been killed and said that they would fight the United States and the interim Iraqi government despite his death.

United States President George Bush spoke to journalists in the White House Rose Garden about al-Zarqawi’s death. “Zarqawi’s death is a severe blow to al-Qaeda. It’s a victory in the global war on terror, and it is an opportunity for Iraq’s new government to turn the tide of this struggle,” he said.

The US military also confirmed that six people were killed in the strike, including al-Zarqawi, and his spiritual adviser Sheikh Abd-al-Rahman The death toll is reported at three men, three women.[1] Some reports had said al-Zarqawi’s wife and daughter died. However U.S. officials state that there is no evidence confirming the death of al-Zarqawi’s wife and daughter.

News briefs:January 11, 2008

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The Secret Recipes | Eggplant With Sesame Cream

The secret recipes | Eggplant with Sesame Cream

by

The secret recipes

The secret recipes |

Eggplant with Sesame Cream

Preparation time:20 minutes

Cooking time:1 hour

Difficulty:*

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Serves 5

  • 1 kg/2 /4 Ib eggplant 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp olive oil juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp ground cumin salt
  • pepper

Hardy under its purple cover, the eggplant is most prevalent in recipes from the Mediterranean basin, although it is native to Pakistan. This vegetable can be grilled, baked, found in fritters, moussaka and ratatouille-the number of possibilities is count less. If Lebanon uses it lavishly in an assortment of mezze, or appetizers, Egypt uses it frequently in baba ghanoush, so this dish of grilled eggplant, pureed and then mixed with sesame cream, has a different name in Egypt and Lebanon. The sea soning is the only difference between the countries-and of course the palaces!

For Mohamed Fawzi Kotb, selecting the eggplant is very im portant. The largest and oldest vegetables have more seeds, so a smaller variety is the way to go. Try a mini-eggplant with shiny, smooth skin that is almost black with firm flesh. After poking several holes in the eggplant with a fork or a knife, it

takes about an hour to bake in the oven. The flesh must be cooked, but not to the point where it starts to break apart.

If larger eggplants are desired, these can take about 20 minutes longer to cook. After the eggplant cools and is separated from its skin, it is first cut into large pieces and then chopped. Garlic is added to intensify its flavor. Baba ghanoush must have a smooth texture, but is not pureed.

Famous in the Middle East, tahina or tahini, a paste of ground sesame seeds, enriches the eggplant with the velvet smoothness of its volatile oil. As for the cumin, let its acrid aroma penetrate the eggplant s lemon-flavored skin.

In Egypt, it is customary to serve Eggplant with Sesame Cream with a bowl of tahini. Each guest can add as much cumin and lemon juice as they like.

1. Prick the skin of each eggplant with a knife or fork. Put them in a baking dish and bake at 200 CI390 F for 1 hour. Place the cooled eggplants on a chopping board. Split down the middle with a knife. Open and completely remove the flesh.

2. Put the eggplant flesh in a pile on the chopping board. Chop it into large chunks with a knife.

3. Peel and chop the garlic, then toss it onto the pile of eggplant. Finely chop the mixed garlic and eggplant. Save this mixture in a salad bowl.

4. Put the tahini in a small pitcher. Pour it onto the garlic and eggplant mixture and stir together with a whisk.

5. When the sesame cream is mixed well with the eggplant, pour the olive oil over the top and whisk together.

6. Juice the lemons into a small bowl. Pour the juice into the mixture. Sprinkle the cumin, salt and pepper on top and whisk vigorously Serve in small dishes.

Discover the secret recipes from your favorite restaurants & easily cook them yourself !Read full recipe article with pictures onthesecretrecipes.net

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

Wikinews interviews Dr Thomas Scotto and Dr Steve Hewitt about potential US military intervention in Syria

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

File:Tom scotto.jpg

The United States President, Barack Obama, announced on Saturday he was seeking Congressional authorisation for military intervention in Syria.

Wikinews interviewed Professor of Government Dr. Thomas Scotto from the UK’s University of Essex and Senior Lecturer in American and Canadian Studies Dr. Steve Hewitt from the UK’s University of Birmingham about the proposed military intervention by the USA in Syria.

((Wikinews)) What is your job role?

Dr. Thomas Scotto: I am a Professor of Government, teaching courses in quantitative methods, public opinion, political behaviour, and American Politics. I have been at Essex since January, 2007. I am the Principal Investigator of a major ESRC grant on public opinion on foreign policy attitudes in five nations (Great Britain, United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy).
Dr. Steve Hewitt: Dr. Steve Hewitt, Senior Lecturer in American and Canadian Studies [at the University of Birmingham].

((WN)) The Republican speaker John Boehner is endorsing Barack Obama’s strategy, do you think this will lead to Congress authorising military intervention?

TS: Ultimately, I believe that the President will succeed, but I doubt it will be a neat voter — there will be a significant number of Democrats and Republicans who do not fall into line and vote against intervention.
I think the real story is that in the past two weeks, we have seen an amazing shift in how the Executives of the United States (President Obama) and the United Kingdom (Prime Minister Cameron) execute foreign policy. In the post-War period, committing the nation to take military action was seen as the prerogative of the President and Prime Minister, with the legislatures of both countries providing, at best, weak oversight.
In the United States, there is the War Powers Act and the authorisation of the first Gulf War, but the President’s authority was rarely challenged nor was it really believed that the President needed to consult Congress. In the UK, you would have to go back to the late 1700s to find the last time a Prime Minister was truly rebuffed on a matter of military intervention.
Why is that? I think it’s war fatigue on the part of the public and the average member of the UK Parliament and the US Congress. A significant number of those sitting on the backbenches of Parliament and in the Congress are thinking of balancing their nations’ budgets in times of fiscal austerity, and they have ties to constituencies, which don’t want to see their country shed blood and treasure in another prolonged conflict in the Middle East where the backgrounds of the rebel groups the US and UK are supporting is not well defined and the end goals are uncertain.
SH: Not necessarily. Boehner has not been able to carry Republicans in the past. His being onside increases the chances of authorization but it doesn’t make it inevitable.

((WN)) Is the US general public in support of taking military intervention in Syria?

TS: No, not at all. We’ve polled a representative sample of the American public in June of 2012, February of 2013, and this summer. Support for intervention in Syria has not moved. In our surveys fewer than 1 [in] 5 respondents were open to the idea of sending American ground troops into Syria. This was true regardless whether their aim was to provide humanitarian assistance or topple al-Assad. There are also low levels of support for arming the rebels. What is amazing is that, despite the reported use of chemical weapons and the deaths and displacement of 100,000s of Syrians, there has been little change in support levels over the time period we’ve been in the field with our surveys.
SH: No, clearly the American public is not in favour of intervening in Syria. About 60% are opposed in the latest poll.

((WN)) The British Parliament voted against military intervention in Syria, do you think this has led Obama to put a vote to Congress?

TS: I think Obama wants Congress to own this. Some in Congress believe that the United States would be doing too little if it only carried out limited missile strikes to punish al-Assad. Other Members are dead set against intervention of any type. The President was finding it impossible to please everyone, and instead, basically said sort out what you want me to do. It is an amazing turn of events where the President might be constraining himself in terms of the response he could take. Obama’s decision may have ramifications for Executive-Legislative relations in the US for years to come.
SH:That may have played a role but it is still not clear why President Obama has taken this course. It may also be the case that he is looking to share the political risk that goes with attacking with Republicans and Congress in general.

((WN)) After more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, does the US general public feel disillusioned in taking military action?

TS: Yes, definitely. Less than half of the American public believes the Iraq war was a success, and we have found that those who believe that the previous conflicts in the Middle East were a failure are likely to be those opposing action against Syria. So many people think the Iraq and Afghanistan interventions cost too much and did little good — it’s really weighing on the public’s mood at this time.
SH: Yes, there clearly is fatigue in relation to interventions and the lack of clear resolutions of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

((WN)) Do you think military intervention in Syria will affect Russia–United States relations?

TS: It is hard to say — in the short term, yes. In the long term, it really depends on how Putin sees the long term interests of himself and his nation vis-à-vis the United States and America’s western allies.
SH: Yes, although relations are already tense. How extensive any attack by the US on Syria will determine the full impact on US–Russia relations.

United States begins testing equipment for demolition of a major VX nerve gas stockpile

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Testing began on a chemical reactor at the Newport Chemical Depot near Terre Haute, Indiana on Friday morning. If successful, the reactor will be put to use destroying the large VX nerve gas stockpiles stored at the facility over the course of the next two years. After the disposal project experienced several delays, the facility announced it would begin pumping VX into a completed disposal unit for testing. The unit consists of a chemical reactor in which the VX will be mixed with water and sodium hydroxide, heated to 194°F while mixed with paddles. The resulting chemical, called hydrolysate, is chemically similar to commercial drain cleaners and has similar properties. If the test is successfully completed , the unit will continue processing the VX until the entire stockpile has been neutralized, a process projected to take two years. Administrators expect to complete testing on May 10, 2005.

According to the controversial plan, the finished waste product would be shipped to New Jersey for final reprocessing. The inert chemical would then be emptied into the Delaware River where natural attenuation would occur.

Residents near the proposed river disposal site in New Jersey oppose this idea. The contractor for the final component of this disposal would be the DuPont Corporation.

NCD is a bulk chemical storage and destruction facility in west central Indiana, thirty miles north of Terre Haute. Originally founded during World War II to produce RDX, a conventional explosive, it later became a site for chemical weapons manufacturing during the Cold War. It is now used to securely store and gradually neutralize part of the US stockpile of VX.

VX was manufactured by the U.S. in the 1950s and 60’s as a deterrent to possible Soviet Union use. It was never deployed, and the manufacture was halted in 1969 after an order signed by then-president Richard Nixon.

In 1999, the Army announced it awarded a disposal contract to Parsons Infrastructure & Technology, Inc., a business unit of Parsons Corporation. Some 220 civilian Parsons employees work at the facility, which is supervised by an Army officer reporting to the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, and a board of civilian government overseers called the Indiana Citizens’ Advisory Commission, some of whose members are appointed by the state governor.

Security at the facility is controversial. A private security service, supplemented by a complement of Indiana National Guard soldiers, guarded the facility until April 14, 2005, when the soldiers were withdrawn. An Indianapolis television station has questioned security measures in some of its special reports.

The Color Of Nostalgia

The Color Of Nostalgia

by

Andrew Beene

I found my brothers from another mothers. It all happened back in college. I was a freshman and belonging to the most prestigious university of my country meant a lot of proving. Proving everyone that getting by everyday with strangers meant survival. And I survived. Acquaintances became friends. Friends became comrades. Comrades became brothers. Everyone looked out for each other. We had like a

safety program Vancouver

authored material to defend every new found brother.

We always had this unwritten rule to protect each other. Like an

Alberta safety manual

, Angelico, Nazaro, and I knew how to run when it was necessary, to fight when it was secured, and to stand still when it was a stalemate.

In the middle of everything, there were three bottles of beer for the good times and the bad times. We were tight. It s as if a

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safety program Alberta

manual was encoded in our consciousness.

A clich as it may seem, change is the only constant thing. Our sophomore moments came and it shook the very foundation of our friendship. I got hooked with a girl whom really turned my world upside down. And it stayed like that for nearly two years.

Angelico got stuck with religiously studying. Nazaro did the same but he had to work outside the university to sustain his life. I pestered their situations. While they were sticking to the main reason why we were there in the first place, I kept disturbing their lives by insisting booze and unnecessary fun on a weekly basis.

Angelico nagged me to stop whatever I was doing. Nazaro was not there to tell me to wake up. I never listened. Angelico did not leave me, I left him. I swam to the sea of immature stupidity and female temptation. It was not the girl s fault. It was mine all along. The result was never close to satisfactory.

I flunked three subjects. I found automatic enemies. I got involved with disgusting issues. As for Angelico, he graduate Cum Laude. Nazaro got delayed for a year because he got more legitimate money outside the school. I was left with nothing but repentance. Truly, you can t and won t be sorry before your realization of a mistake.

A semester after Nazaro left for the professional world, it was my time to graduate. They accomplished so many things well ahead of me like a Secor Alberta agency, and I was admiring them but feeling sorry for the lost friendship.

Three years passed and no news from any of the two. I arose from my dead self and refused to be a failure. I got a job that compensates what I limitedly know. I am okay now. How I wish I m with my two long lost friends whom I swore allegiance with, together with security measures much like safety services Vancouver team offer their clients.

Last night, I was surprised. Angelico sent me a text message. He told me, he and Nazaro were in town. I just couldn t believe it. I immediately pulled up my battered body fresh from the gym and went to their location.

And they were there. Angelico and Nazaro were smiling as I was approaching them. As corny as it can be, I thought they were my brothers awaiting their prodigal bro. We embraced and we heard some girls saying something sexist against us so we immediately let go and shook hands. Angelico handed me my pre-empt cold bottle of beer. Just like the old times.

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Egypt protests: Army say they will not use force on demonstrators as Mubarak announces cabinet

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The president of Egypt has suffered a “devastating blow” after the country’s army announced they would not use force against their own people, who continue to protest against the government tonight. The news came hours after six journalists who reported on the protests were released from custody.

Hosni Mubarak yesterday announced a new cabinet, which does not include several figures who protesters largely do not approve of. Analysts have, however, suggested little had changed within the government; many positions, they say, are filled with military figures.

To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people … have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people.

In a statement broadcast on state media in Egypt, the army said: “To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people … have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people.” A BBC correspondent in Cairo said the announcement meant it “now seems increasingly likely that the 30-year rule of Mr Mubarak is drawing to a close.”

“The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and wellbeing. The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people,” the statement added. “Your armed forces, who are aware of the legitimacy of your demands and are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody.”

Earlier today, six journalists from the independent news network Al-Jazeera were released from custody after being detained by police. The U.S. State Department criticized the arrests; equipment was reportedly confiscated from the journalists.

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Egyptian officials yesterday ordered the satellite channel to stop broadcasting in the country. Al-Jazeera said they were “appalled” by the government’s decision to close its Egyptian offices, which they described as the “latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt.”

In a statement, the news agency added: “Al-Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists. In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people.”

On Friday, Wikinews reported the government had shut off practically all Internet traffic both out of and into the nation, as well as disrupting cellphone usage. A spokesperson for the social networking website Facebook said “limiting Internet access for millions of people is a matter of concern for the global community.”

A reported 50,000 campaigners, who are demanding the long-time leader step down and complaining of poverty, corruption, and oppression, filled Tahrir Square in Cairo today, chanting “We will stay until the coward leaves.” It is thought 100 people have so far died in the demonstrations. Today there have been protests in Suez, Mansoura, Damanhour, and Alexandria.

Speaking to news media in the area, many protesters said the new cabinet did little to quell their anger. “We want a complete change of government, with a civilian authority,” one said. Another added: “This is not a new government. This is the same regime—this is the same bluff. [Mubarak] has been bluffing us for 30 years.”

In Tahrir Square today, protesters played music as strings of barbed wire and army tanks stood nearby. Demonstrators scaled light poles, hanging Egyptian flags and calling for an end to Mubarak’s rule. “One poster featured Mubarak’s face plastered with a Hitler mustache, a sign of the deep resentment toward the 82-year-old leader they blame for widespread poverty, inflation and official indifference and brutality during his 30 years in power,” one journalist in the square reported this evening.