Archive for October, 2015

Millions of old New Zealand coins still to be handed in

Posted by: kf2FZ6in Uncategorized
28
Oct

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 

On November 1, 2006 the old five, ten, twenty and fifty cent coins will be illegal tender, but the Reserve Bank of New Zealand says there are still at least 100 million still to be returned.

According to the Reserve Bank, most of the old coins have been lost in drains or buried in rubbish. “We think there is still another 100 million sitting around in people’s homes,” Brian Lang, currency manger for the Reserve Bank, said.

Lang said: “So far, just over 280 million coins have been returned, but there are more out there. Since 1967 the Reserve Bank has issued more than a billion of the old ‘silver’ coins. So if you don’t want to be stuck with loads of old coin – there’s never been a better time to empty your coin jars, sweep the car glove box and rummage behind the couch cushions.”

The coins still awaiting to be handed in, by either spending them, taking them to a bank or donating them to charity, are estimated to be worth between NZ$5 million and $50 million.

“A last-minute burst of publicity may convince people to bring the coins in. It’s a bit of a hassle though. Human nature being what it is, people just don’t care,” Lang said. The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary located in Wellington say that they have collected over $9,000 in old coins. Sanctuary spokesman, Alan Dicks said: “The campaign was particularly fitting because the old coins depicted tuataras and kiwis, both of which can be found living at the sanctuary. The money will go towards supporting general ecological restoration of the sanctuary. We want to get over ten grand, but the more the better.”

Lang said: “Though the coins will no longer be legal tender, banks will continue to exchange them until at least the end of the year,” and the Reserve Bank will always exchange them. “We are still getting people coming in with two-dollar notes,” Lang added.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is a United States House of Representatives committee that has existed in varying forms since 1816.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the main investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. After Republicans gained control of the House in 1995, the committee was reorganized to include just seven subcommittees. This reorganization consolidated the jurisdiction previously covered by 3 full committees and 14 subcommittees, and resulted in a 50 percent cut in staff.[1] In 2007, Henry Waxman, (D-CA) the chairman of the committee proposed an additional reorganization which combined the duties of the seven previous subcommittees into five. This reorganization was adopted by the full committee January 18, 2007.[2]

As of the 114th Congress, the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and the Ranking Member is Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings.

The Committee’s government-wide oversight jurisdiction and expanded legislative authority make it one of the most influential and powerful committees in the House. The Committee serves as Congress’ chief investigative and oversight committee, and is granted broad jurisdiction. The chairman of the committee is the only committee chairman in the House with the authority to issue subpoenas without a committee vote.[3] However, in recent history, it has become practice to refrain from unilateral subpoenas.[4]

It first appeared as the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments, which was created in 1927 by consolidating the 11 Committees on Expenditures previously spread among the various departments of the federal government to oversee how taxpayer monies were spent. The Committee’s immediate predecessor, the Committee on Government Operations, was established in 1952. The name change was intended to communicate the primary function of the committee: to study “the operations of Government activities at all levels with a view to determining their economy and efficiency.” It is the Committee’s government-wide oversight jurisdiction that sets it apart from other House committees. The committee was renamed in the 106th Congress as the Committee on Government Reform. While retaining the agenda of the former Committee on Government Operations, the Committee also has the responsibilities of the former Committee on Post Office and Civil Service and the Committee on the District of Columbia. On January 4, 2007, the 110th Congress changed its name to its current name.

This Committee was very active during President Bill Clinton’s term; it issued 1,052 subpoenas to probe alleged misconduct by the Clinton Administration and the Democratic Party between 1997 and 2002, at a cost of more than $35 million. Under this period, subpoenas could only be issued by the Committee chair, a rule change during the Clinton administration to facilitate investigations without delays caused by objections from minority members. By contrast, in the period between 1998 and 2007, chairman Thomas M. Davis and the Republican majority had permitted three subpoenas to the Bush administration, including one to the Defense Department over Hurricane Katrina documents.[5] The Boston Globe reported that an “examination of committees’ own reports found that the House Government Reform Committee held just 37 hearings described as “oversight” or investigative in nature during the last Congress, down from 135 such hearings held by its predecessor, the House Government Operations Committee, in 1993–94, the last year the Democrats controlled the chamber.”[6]

There was high interest in the priorities of the then newly installed Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) who told reporters after the November elections that “The most difficult thing will be to pick and choose” what to investigate.[7] Congressional leaders also renamed the Committee and five of its subcommittees to emphasize its new commitment to oversight responsibilities, and added a subcommittee on transparency.[8]

Between 2000 and 2006, various scandals were in the news that generated one or no subpoenas for testimony or documents. These events include the September 11, 2001 attacks, a leak of classified or secret information naming Central Intelligence Agency agent Valerie Plame, abuses and war crimes traced to the CIA in Abu Ghraib prison, evidence that charges that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction were knowingly false, illegal campaign contributions by lobbyists including Jack Abramoff, billions of dollars in preventable damage and thousands of deaths due to an incompetent response by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its contractors during Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. Gulf Coast, and the suppression of accepted scientific data such as that of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration supporting the theory of global warming by Philip Cooney. After revelations in the Downing Street memo, a document containing incriminating information on the buildup to the Iraq War, Democrats in the minority were refused even a hearing chamber and were forced to meet in the basement of the U.S. Capitol Building on the matter.[9]

Since the November 2006 elections, The Washington Post published a series of investigative articles on the poor Congressional oversight of government contracts.[10][11][12][13]

The committee, under Davis’s chairmanship, launched two notable investigations that were considered controversial. One was an inquiry into the decision to remove life support from Terri Schiavo. The Committee issued a subpoena, without any Democratic objections, requiring Schiavo to “appear” so that members could “examine nutrition and hydration which incapacitated patients receive as part of their care.” The apparent objective of this, beyond providing a learning opportunity to committee members, was to delay the pending termination of Schiavo’s life, whose wishes were in dispute, while the Congress considered federal legislation specifically targeted at Schiavo’s death order.[14] Minority members opposed the action. Chairman Davis said it was “a legitimate legislative inquiry.”[15] Davis issued a joint statement with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) that stated: “This inquiry should give hope to Terri, her parents and friends, and the millions of people throughout the world who are praying for her safety. This fight is not over.”[15][16]

Another controversial investigation was one into the use of anabolic steroids by players in Major League Baseball.[17] The trigger for the hearings was publication of a memoir, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, by Jose Canseco.

They also investigated World Wrestling Entertainment regarding their talent wellness/drug policies, after speculation of possible links between steroid use and the death of WWE performer Chris Benoit.[18]

On July 8, 2009, the Committee Republicans released an investigative staff report discussing the financial collapse of 2008–2009.[19] The report alleges that the government was the cause of the collapse, due what it described as government meddling in the United States housing and lending market in the name of “affordable housing”.

The committee hold hearings and conducts investigations as part of its oversight duty.

March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed that would “require all employers to cover birth control free of cost to women”.[20] In January 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services released the rules governing religious institutions that needed a Conscience clause. Those new rules were widely condemned for infringing on the Free Exercise Clause.

In February 2012, the committee held a hearing entitled, “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” [2]

The hearing “was supposed to be about religious freedom and a mandate that health insurers cover contraception in the United States”, according to ABC News,[21] which also reported that “Issa said the hearing is meant to be more broadly about religious freedom and not specifically about the contraception mandate in the Health Reform law.”

The agenda, speakers list, and topics were finalized and published Monday, February 13, and were divided into two panels, the first, in the morning, to be of clergy/religious leaders/theologians, who could authoritatively speak for various religious denominations about their needs or lack thereof for a conscience clause, to hear testimony from leaders of different faiths who “are concerned that government, under this Administration, is encroaching on their First Amendment rights.”[22]

The second panel met in the afternoon, and was composed of lay or religious leaders of religious-affiliated institutions that would be affected by the wording of the conscience clause.[23] Democrats were offered two spots on each of the two panels, but failed to nominate any speakers by the 13th. Rep. Issa verbally confirmed that Democrats had asked Rev Barry Lynn, a prominent theologian, to speak, and his name was added to the speakers list, though without topics, or assignment to a panel, since no complete written nomination had been received by deadline.

On the day of the hearing, Democrats demanded the committee also add Sandra Fluke, a woman enrolled at Georgetown, to the panel (clergy) that had just sat, and that she be allowed to speak “now”, but committee chairman Issa said Democrats could not add their witness because she was not a member of the clergy.[21]

As an accommodation, Ms. Fluke’s speech at a media event from the previous week (substantially the same as the speech she intended to give), was added to the hearing record,[24] Criticism of the views contained in that speech, (which was also delivered again a week later at a venue outside the Committee) especially by Rush Limbaugh, launched the Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke controversy.

Issa, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, announced that he is investigating the Justice Department’s actions in prosecuting Swartz’s case.[25] In a statement to the Huffington Post, Issa praised Swartz’s work toward “open government and free access to the people.” Issa’s investigation has garnered some bipartisan support.[26]

On January 28, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Issa and ranking member Elijah Cummings published a letter to Attorney General Holder, questioning whether prosecutors intentionally added felony counts to increase the amount of time Swartz faced in prison.[27] Indeed, the former 4 felony counts on July 14, 2011, jumped to 13 counts on Sept. 12, 2012.[28] Their letter read, in part:

It appears that prosecutors increased the felony counts by providing specific dates for each action, turning each marked date into its own felony charge, and significantly increasing Mr. Swartz’s maximum criminal exposure to up to 50 years imprisonment and $1 million in fines.[28]

Boston’s WBUR has reported that US Attorney in charge for the Swartz prosecution, Carmen Ortiz, is expected to testify before the committee’s upcoming probe into the handling of the Aaron Swartz case.[29]

Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittees Website

Thursday, February 21, 2008 

In Serbia’s capital Belgrade protesters have broken into the United States embassy, and have set fire to an office, which is now extinguished. The break-in followed massive protests against Kosovo’s independence that was declared last Sunday. A couple of hundreds of thousands protested in front of the parliament building in Belgrade when masked attackers broke into the building and tried to throw office-furniture out the windows. Estimations of a number of protesters vary between 150.000 and 2 millions.

Around 18:00, after the relay, a couple hundred rioters went to Kneza Milosa Street where the US embassy is located. At 18:15 they demolished a part of the embassy and burned it. They also attacked the Croatian embassy, which is around 100 meters from the US embassy on the same street. Around 19:00 police came and clashed with the rioters using tear gas. Riots were all over downtown Belgrade. As of 22:00 the situation was under control but there are still some riots in other streets.

The tear gas polluted a couple blocks, about 350 meters up to Vra?ar hill.

The nearby Croatian embassy was also attacked. Rocks were thrown at the Canadian embassy building. This could be due to the fact that Canada has not said yet if it recognises Kosovo. Embassies of Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, United Kingdom and Germany were also attacked.

One person was found dead at the ground floor of US embassy, around 150 people were injured, including 35 policemen. Around 100 rioters were arrested.

Dirk-Jan Visser, a photo-reporter for the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad was attacked by rioters. People helped him escape, and he has been taken into hospital with broken bones. He is expected to be kept in hospital until the next day. Ambulances and medical cars were called to the scene to help injured people and protesters, some cars were attacked.

Andrey Fyodorov and Andrey Pavlov, journalists of Russia Today, were also heavily attacked during the riots.

Two McDonald’s restaurants on squares Terazije and Slavija were attacked. The restaurant on Slavija has been heavily damaged. Kiosks, stores and banks were robbed all over the centre of Belgrade. The protesters tried to attack radio/television station B92 but police had the scene under control.

“As long as we live, Kosovo is Serbia,” Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica told the crowd from a stage in front of the old Yugoslav parliament building in Belgrade, “We’re not alone in our fight. President Putin is with us”. A huge banner reading “Kosovo is Serbia” draped the front of the building.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called out to the Serbian government to protect the U.S. Embassy. He said the U.S. ambassador was at his home and was in contact with U.S. officials.

The United States was one of the first countries, with the United Kingdom, France and Germany to recognize Kosovo as an independent state. Serbia however regards Kosovo as a province and is backed up in this by Russia, China and numerous other countries, including some European Union member states. Kosovo is 90% ethnic Albanian, with in the north a minority of ethnic Serbians. Belgrade has, however, not been in control over the Kosovo area since 1999, when United Nations took control.

High representative of the Serbian Radical Party, Aleksandar Vucic, said that “those who provoked Serbian people are equally responsible for destruction as rioters are.” President of Serbia Boris Tadic and President of the National Assembly Oliver Dulic and other ministers called on peace.

Home Theater System Get Wonderful Ambience At Home

Posted by: kf2FZ6in Uncategorized
25
Oct

Click Here For More Specific Information On:

Home Theater System Get Wonderful Ambience At Home

by

Yash Mehta

Introduction

People used to depend on movie halls and theatres in order to view their favorite movie. But today, home theatre system has provided wonderful facility to each and every individual due to which you can easily enjoy the ambience of the movie hall just by sitting in your drawing room. This is basically known as a theatre built at home. It is designed in such a way that, it can easily exceed the performance of commercial theatre.

Design of home theatre

Before installing a home theatre system, it is really important for an individual to get a big screen. Along with the big screen, the speakers will be tucked at each corner of your living room. The sound effect and display is really important once you wish to enjoy the full benefit of home theatre system. You can also avail a space at the basement where loud music and digital sound will not bother people around.

YouTube Preview Image

One remote for entire entertainment

You must be rushing to get a wonderful seating arrangement in the theatre hall, but due to occupancy, you may not get a desirable seat. But, with

Sony home theater system

, everything will be really wonderful to you. You can easily sit at your home cushion and enjoy your movie. The traditional remote controls will be said good bye with the home theatres and its accessories. You can now avail wireless speakers with the exclusive home theatre system.

This is a very exclusive home entertainment system with the help of which you can watch the movies without paying for tickets. The entertainment as well as ambience will be absolutely intact.

TV to home theatre system

It will be amazing for you to make a conversion of your television to home theatre system. There will be a different remote control with the home theatre system which will help you to watch your favorite movies without any interruption. You will be able to enjoy bigger picture, better sound and full entertainment with the Sony home theater system. The brand name Sony is really famous in the market due to its quality with regards to sound and picture.

Conclusion

Today, 7 out of 10 families prefer the home theatre system at home. People have become really very busy. This is the time for all individuals to make some comfort zone along with cost cut with the help of Sony home theater system. You will easily be able to save good amount which you have been spending in buying movie tickets. This is a onetime investment for all individuals willing to get a theatre at home. If you want to get entertainment within your hectic schedule, home theatre will be the best.

Yash Mehta is well known author who provide helpful information about

Philips Home Theatre

,

Samsung Home Theatre

through online mobile store.

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

Friday, November 21, 2008 

One week after the eleventh-hour renewal of the American soap opera Days of our Lives, NBC, the network airing the series in the United States, has let it known that the renewal has come at a price, namely a lower one. As a result of further cost-cutting measures to keep the show afloat through September 2010, two of the longest-running actors on the serial have had their contracts severed.

Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn, who have played the characters of Marlena Evans and John Black for decades, have taped their final episodes and have been officially released from their obligations at Days of our Lives. When contacted by Wikinews, Days publicist Daniela Mancinelli commented “Days of our Lives has decided to rest the characters of ‘John Black’ and ‘Marlena Evans.’ After a year of separation, ‘John’ and ‘Marlena’ will finally reunite before exiting the canvas in early 2009.”

The surprise renewal of the serial and the high-profile terminations come at an awkward time for the show, because, despite improving on ratings numbers this year and being the only soap opera not to lose viewers, it was highly expected that the series would simply end its run once its contract ran out in March of next year. In early 2007, at a fall preview unveiling for reporters, NBC president Jeff Zucker made a statement indicating that the show would not be renewed past 2009.

The renewal was apparently contingent on lowering overall budget numbers, which includes either lowering salaries for actors or terminating them completely. One actor, Jay Kenneth Johnson, who plays the character Philip Kiriakis, left of his own accord earlier this week after being asked to take a voluntary pay cut in exchange for a contract renewal.

Longtime fans of the series are upset at the cast upheaval, with The Tampa Tribune noting loud fan protest on message boards devoted to the drama series. The New York Daily News told readers that next week there will be more news about the current budget situation facing the series, and more potential cast layoffs to be announced. Days publicist Daniela Mancinelli, after being contacted by Wikinews, said that she does not comment on the status of actors’ contracts.

Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas dies at age 75

Posted by: kf2FZ6in Uncategorized
24
Oct

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 

Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas died Friday at age 75, after suffering from heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He began the Beverly Hills Playhouse in 1978 and taught acting classes there to noted actors including George Clooney and Gene Hackman. Katselas is survived by a sister and two brothers.

Katselas directed an off-Broadway production of Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story, and received a Tony Award nomination for his 1969 direction of Butterflies are Free. Actress Blythe Danner won a Tony Award for her role in Butterflies are Free under Katselas’ direction. He moved to California to direct the film version of that play, and went on to direct films and television movies. Actress Eileen Heckart received an Academy Award for her role in the film version of Butterflies are Free.

Katselas directed the San Francisco and Los Angeles productions of the play P.S. Your Cat Is Dead! by playwright James Kirkwood, Jr. In his author’s notes in the publication of the script, Kirkwood acknowledged Katselas, and wrote that the plays were “directed with incredible energy and enthusiasm by Milton Katselas, to whom I am extremely indebted”.

Katselas directed the television movie Strangers: Story of a Mother and Daughter, and actress Bette Davis received an Emmy Award for her role in the movie. Katselas taught many famous actors including Michelle Pfeiffer, Richard Gere, Robert Duvall, Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Goldie Hawn, Christopher Walken, Burt Reynolds, George C. Scott, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Alec Baldwin, and Patrick Swayze. Katselas was credited with being able to nurture actors with raw talent so that they could develop strong Hollywood careers. He utilized innovative techniques in his courses – one course called “Terrorist Theatre” had a simple premise: successfully get an acting role within six weeks or leave the course.

He grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to parents who had immigrated from Greece, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon. He studied acting with Lee Strasberg in New York at the Actors Studio, and received advice from directors Joshua Logan and Elia Kazan.

Katselas was a prominent Scientologist, and a July 2007 profile on Katselas in The New York Times Magazine observed that some of his students stopped taking courses at the Beverly Hills Playhouse because they felt they had been pressured to join the Church of Scientology. According to the article, Katselas credited Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard “for much of his success in life”, and one of his students works at Scientology’s Celebrity Centre. The article commented that some in Los Angeles view the Beverly Hills Playhouse as “a recruitment center for Scientology”.

Katselas met L. Ron Hubbard after moving to California, and began studying Scientology in 1965. The New York Times Magazine reported that he had reached the level of “Operating Thetan, Level 5, or O.T. V.” in 2007. According to The New York Times Magazine when Scientologists proceed up the “The Bridge to Total Freedom” they learn the story of Xenu, and that: “75 million years ago the evil alien Xenu solved galactic overpopulation by dumping 13.5 trillion beings in volcanoes on Earth, where they were vaporized, scattering their souls.” A Church of Scientology publication, Source, lists Katselas as reaching O.T. V. in 1989.

Though some actors felt pressured to join the Church of Scientology after taking courses at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, at least one individual felt Katselas was not active enough with the organization. Actress Jenna Elfman left the Beverly Hills Playhouse because she felt Katselas was not committed enough to Scientology. Katselas had previously directed Elfman in half of Visions and Lovers: Variations on a Theme, two one-act plays about relationships that he had written himself. In 1999 Katselas had planned to adapt the script of Visions and Lovers to a film version, and Elfman was set to reprise her role from the play. In an article in Variety about the project, Elfman commented on her experience working with Katselas: “He is brilliant, and knows me so well as a person and an actress that he gets the most out of me.”

Other prominent Scientologist actors who have studied under Katselas include Giovanni Ribisi, Jason Lee, and Leah Remini. According to Rolling Stone, Katselas also recruited actress Kelly Preston to Scientology. Actress Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), told Scientology publication Celebrity that Katselas motivated her to get more active in Scientology, and she stated she took the organization’s “Purification Rundown” and her life “took off completely”.

Anne Archer was introduced to Scientology while studying at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, as was former Scientologist and now outspoken critic actor Jason Beghe. Beghe told Roger Friedman of FOX News in April 2008 that “He [Katselas] gets kickbacks”, and that he was brought to a Scientology center by fellow Beverly Hills Playhouse classmate Bodhi Elfman, Jenna Elfman’s husband. In a 1998 article for Buzz Magazine, Randye Hoder wrote “In his class, Katselas is careful not to label anything as a tenet of Scientology, but there is no question that the church’s influence seeps into the playhouse.”

Anne Archer’s husband and fellow Scientologist, producer Terry Jastrow, commented to The New York Times Magazine that Katselas changed the way he experiences life on a day-to-day basis: “I go out in the world and look at human behavior now. I see a woman or man interacting with a saleslady, and I see the artistry in it. Life is an endless unspooling of art, of acting, of painting, of architecture. And where did I learn that? From Milton.”

Actor Anthony Head of Buffy the Vampire Slayer spoke highly of Katselas in a 2002 interview with San Francisco Chronicle: “He’s this wonderfully intuitive teacher and his premise is basically: The only real barriers are the ones we put in front of ourselves. If you say, ‘My character wouldn’t do that’ — bollocks! Ultimately it’s you who wouldn’t say that. Who knows what your character might do.” In the acknowledgements of her 2004 autobiography Are You Hungry, Dear?: Life, Laughs, and Lasagna, actress Doris Roberts wrote: “I thank my friend and acting teacher, the incredible Milton Katselas, for his insights, wisdom, and inspiration, which have helped make me the actress that I am.”

Katselas authored two books: Dreams Into Action: Getting What You Want, first published in 1996 by Dove Books, and Acting Class: Take a Seat, which came out earlier this month. Dreams Into Action, a New York Times Bestseller, sought to modify motivational acting exercises to the field of business.

In an interview in the 2007 book Acting Teachers of America, Katselas commented on his experiences as an acting teacher over the years: “I have very special teachers here at the Beverly Hills Playhouse—some have been with me for over twenty-five years. I believe that to make a difference over the long haul, we need to train teachers. I really care about the craft of acting. It’s absolutely necessary to take the time and patience to really develop an actor.”