Archive for the ‘NEWS’ Category
The BP oil spill has already shaped up to cost the company and the country over a billion dollars, but the species indigenous to the Gulf of Mexico have more to worry about that a thinner wallet. Birds are often hit quite hard by oil spills as the petroleum readily congeals to their feathers as the float. The brown pelican, state bird of Louisiana, was removed from the endangered species list just last year, and may face a dwindling population again. Casualties for Gulf species at the moment remain relatively low, but no one knows exactly how damaging the spill could end up being as the world has never before seen a man made ecological disaster of this magnitude. Among the threatened species are bluefin tuna, Kemp’s ridley turtles, and Florida Manatees which migrate up to the northern Gulf every summer to graze. Still, if the leak can be sealed within any decent time span, there may be hope for these animals yet.
Launched April 22nd from Cape Canaveral, the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane is designed to bring the maneuverability of an aircraft together with the speed and surveillance capabilities of a spacecraft. The unmanned mini shuttle was fired off in an Atlas V rocket. Although pictures, such as the one top left, have been released by the Air Force, the flightpath and area have operation have remained top secret. However, being that the X-37B only skims the edge of space in Low Earth Orbit, amateur astronomers have been able to find and photograph the bright, streaking speck in the night sky. The first sightings were made by enthusiasts in Capetown, South Africa and Toronto, Canada. With the location and time of both sightings, the craft’s entire orbit has been mapped out by civilians. You can see when and if the X-37B will be flying over your head here.
There are over 2 million heroin addicts in Russia today. Both heroin consumption and production has increased exponentially in central Asia over the last few years. The majority of the smack is being produced in Afghanistan, where poppy farmers can make a fast fortune through growing opium poppies and selling them to their northern neighbors. Not only is Afghanistan the world’s leader in heroin production, but it has also displaced Morocco as number one in the world in hashish distribution. Viktor Ivanov, a Director of Russia’s Federal Service for the Control of Narcotics and Chairman of State Anti-Narcotics Сommittee, has therefore urged that NATO, which already has forces stationed in Afghanistan, wage a war on drugs as well as terrorism. However, the U.S. is reluctant to start destroying every poppy patch they come across, as doing such would drive honest farmers to the Taliban to preserve their way of life. Russia and other former members of the soviet union, on the other hand, believe that destroying the drugs should take the priority, as the Taliban receives the majority of its funding through the sale of narcotics.
The oil that already floats in the Gulf of Mexico has proven to be quite resistant to containment, but the 210,000 gallons of crude that gets dumped into the ocean each day poses a much bigger threat. The damaged drilling rig has thus far defeated all attempts to stem the flow of black gold, but BP has announced a new plan, something that they call a “top kill”. Two pipes, three inches in diameter, are to be inserted into the spewing maw of the rig. Heavy fluids will then be pumped down onto the oil to weigh it down. With geyser temporarily stanched, the opening can be sealed with cement. After the damage is repaired, the rig will be abandoned by BP, never to extrude another drop. If this plan should fail, however, BP will have few methods left to plug up the wellhead, but they will doubtlessly keep trying.
Huang Guangyu, who once was the richest man in China, has been officially sentenced to spend 14 years in federal prison. He has been charged with stock-market manipulation, bribery and insider trading. Huang is the CEO and head of Gome, which is China’s largest retail chain, similar to that of a Home Depot in the United States. The government fined him 600 million yuan, equivalent to 87.8 million USD, and confiscated private property totaling 200 million yuan (29.2 million USD). According to CNN, “Huang ranked first on Hurun’s China Rich List, a local publication, in 2008 with an estimated fortune worth $6.3 billion. Such a top ranking is usually not celebrated in China because of the scrutiny it brings. Huang typically kept a low profile despite his wealth and influence.” He also appeared on the cover of Forbes magazine, where it touted his amazing rags to riches life story. He was born to a very poor family in the Guangdong Province. As a teen, he set off on his own and set up a small electronic appliance business. A few years later, he set up Gome Electrical Appliances Holding and raked in a treasure trove of income. The recurring theme among many executives is the bribery and insider crimes they commit. It is just a matter of who gets caught doing it that gets out into the media.
For every Olympic games, there is a specific mascot designed. For the 2012 Olympic games in London, they have decided to be slightly more creative than in the past years. The designers have decided to created some animated mascots. Not only have the mascots been created, the designers have created an animated series in which the mascots appear. A lot of thought has gone into both of the mascots named Wenlock and Mandeville. Wenlock was named after the village of Much Wenlock in Shropshire and Mandeville was named after Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire. Much Wenlock was an inspiration for the modern Olympic Games. Stoke Mandeville was where the first Paralympic Games took place in 1948. Wenlock represents the Olympic Games and Mandeville represents the Paralympic Games. Wenlock wears the Olympic rings as some friendship bracelets which shows just another aspect of how well thought out they are. Because London Taxi Cabs are so well known, both of the characters have a yellow light on top of their head which also have their initial in. The mascots seem to copy what humans do and they see many pictures around the room of Olympic athletes and try to copy them. It is actually a very interesting take on the mascots and in a way it is quite special.
Here is the link to the first part of the series (it is a couple of minutes): http://www.ourlondon2012.com/mascots/ (Click the play button at the top of the screen)
Former Harvard Student Adam Wheeler, 23, was indicted today by federal officials for falsifying the majority of the information he put down on his applications to Harvard, scholarships, and other programs. He had received 45,000 in scholarship aid from numerous awards that he unfairly won. According to The Crimson Newspaper, “Adam Wheeler, 23, was indicted on 20 counts of larceny, identity fraud, falsifying an endorsement or approval, and pretending to hold a degree. Wheeler was allegedly “untruthful” in his applications to the University and in scholarship applications, according to a statement released today by Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone. As a senior in September 2009, Wheeler allegedly submitted fraudulent applications for the Harvard endorsement for both the United States Rhodes Scholarship and the Fulbright Scholarship.” This is a very shocking ordeal for the entire Harvard community as well as for any onlookers as to how something like this could even occur. The main reason his activity had been found was when a Harvard professor was reviewing applications and noticed a peculiarity. The work submitted by Wheeler was almost identical to the work of another Harvard professors and therefore plagiarized. After seeing the work, professors and administrators delved deeper into his files and found many falsified documents claiming fraudulent transcripts and recommendations from professors whom he had signed for and written. The list of accusations goes on and on and it is very mind boggling how a person could get away with all of this for so long. He is being arraigned at the Middlesex Superior Court.