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Two Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants close in Buffalo, New York, USA

Friday, May 11, 2007

At least two Kentucky Fried Chicken [KFC] restaurants, operated by G & H Restaurant Specialties, have closed in Buffalo, New York “for remodeling,” according to signs placed on the front doors of at least one location on Elmwood Avenue and Bryant Street in Buffalo. The other KFC is located on East Delavan Avenue, also in the City of Buffalo.

Despite the claim of closing for remodeling, the Erie County Health Department says that several health code violations were found at both locations. The most recent violation was logged by the health department in March at the Elmwood location for failing to keep food stored at correct temperatures. Violations were also cited for failing to keep cooking supplies and equipment sanitary and for not supplying hot water to the bathroom for employees.

G & H Restaurant Specialties has not released a statement regarding the violations, but the corporate offices in Louisville, Kentucky for KFC said, “our franchisee has finalized a plan for some structural repairs… The units will be temporarily closed while these building maintenance issues are addressed. [They will be] re-opened as soon as the repairs are complete.”

The health department also gave violations out to the East Delevan store for failing to maintain a clean floor throughout the restaurant and for not stopping food from becoming contaminated. Several rat traps were also found inside the storage cooler and around the kitchen area, but the establishment was “not free of rodents,” said Commissioner of the Erie County Health Department, Dr. Anthony Billittier.

Billittier also said that caulking and traps were seen on the outside of the East Delevan restaurant, which was an attempt to keep the rats out. “It shows that they’re trying to take care of a problem. But it also shows that they have a problem.”

As of Thursday, May 10, 2007, the Elmwood KFC has yet to reopen. It is not known if the East Delevan location opened today or not.

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Launch of space shuttle Discovery delayed indefinitely

Sunday, February 22, 2009

NASA announced during a press conference on Friday night that the agency has decided to delay the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, which was scheduled for takeoff on February 27. NASA cited the need for additional time to evaluate the shuttle’s hydrogen fuel flow control valves. A new launch date has yet to be scheduled, though NASA is considering mid-March as an option. Another review of Discovery’s flight readiness is scheduled for February 25.

Discovery had originally been scheduled for liftoff on February 12, but NASA wanted to perform additional tests on the valves which control the amount of hydrogen fuel pumped into the external tank when the shuttle is taking off. When Space Shuttle Endeavour went into space in November 2008, one of the valves broke. NASA fears that if one breaks off on this mission, then it could damage the outside of the shuttle.

“We need to complete more work to have a better understanding before flying,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. who chaired Friday’s Flight Readiness Review. “We were not driven by schedule pressure and did the right thing. When we fly, we want to do so with full confidence.”

The current scheduled mission, STS-119, is set to fly the Integrated Truss Structure segment (“S” for starboard, the right side of the station, and “6” for its place at the very end of the starboard truss) and install the final set of power-generating solar arrays to the International Space Station. The arrays consist of two 115-foot-long arrays, for a total wing span of 240 feet, including the equipment that connects the two halves and allows them to twist as they track the sun. Altogether, the four sets of arrays can generate 84 to 120 kilowatts of electricity – enough to provide power for more than 40 average homes.

Commander Lee Archambault will lead Discovery’s crew of seven, along with Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.

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Fundraising to keep Avro Vulcan flying succeeds

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fundraising to keep XH558,the only airworthy Avro Vulcan in the world flying have been successful. The one million pounds required to pay for licenses was successfully raised by generous sponsors.

VTST, the trust that returned the bomber to flying condition, requires £80,000 per month to cover maintenance costs and faced a shortfall due to the loss of corporate sponsorship as a result of the credit crunch.

The trust fought to keep the aircraft from being grounded or sold to a collector in the United States by turning to grassroots campaigning. This included a letter writing campaign to MPs, street collections, and the mobilisation of James Bond fans.

XH558 was returned to flying condition after 15 years of repairs and fundraising. In the summer of 2008 it flew again for the first time since its retirement in 1993.

Once a cornerstone of the United Kingdom’s independent nuclear deterrent, the Vulcan bomber has earned a sentimental place in the hearts of the general public and aviation enthusiasts alike.

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Anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo beaten by the police

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Egyptian riot police and government supporters have dispersed Saturday demonstration against President Hosni Mubarak’s fifth re-election campaign.

Several hundred demonstrators from Kifaya, a movement against re-election of Mr Mubarak, as well as from other pro-reform organisations were to gather in Cairo’s main square, but they were attacked by the security forces and plain-clothes police on their way.

Eyewitnesses reported that the protesters were beaten, kicked in the head, and finally thrown into police trucks.

19 members of Kifaya were arrested and they are still held, according to the organisation statement. Ayman Barakat, Mr Mubarak’s most serious opponent in the upcoming election was among those arrested, but is now freed.

Mr Mubarak announced that he would stand in the election on Thursday. Under international pressure he introduced several serious constitutional reforms, including first in 24 years presidential elections with more than one candidate. However, opposition leaders say that is ‘no guarantee’ the elections will be fair.

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Eleventh Docudays UA concludes

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Eleventh International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Docudays UA, in Kyiv, Ukraine, ended on Friday.

The Awards Ceremony was held in the Red Hall of the Kyiv Cinema House. There were 36 documentary films competing for prizes in three festival programs: DOCU/Short, DOCU/Right, DOCU/Life. There were also special prizes from Students’ Jury, Audience Award, and the Andriy Matrosov Award from Docudays UA Organizing Committee.

The special guest of the Awards Ceremony was a symbol of the festival — Nikita Mikhalko. He is featured on the official posters of the festival. Nikita was on Maidan Nezalezhnosti on February 19, in the morning. The picture of him was chosen by the organizers as the “image that would deliver the spirit of our [Docudays UA] festival to the best of its possible might”. The piece of movie where he is taking tangerines from a woman that morning has become the official trailer of the festival. The episode is featured in the opening film of the festival Euromaidan: Rough Cut. Thus Nikita and his burning glasses have become the symbols of the festival. The organizers decided to find out who the symbol of the festival was, and if he was alive. They have started looking for him and luckily, they were able to ask him to come as a special guest of the Awards Ceremony. Nikita had the opportunity to say on the microphone, “Slava Ukraini” (Glory to Ukraine), and have the whole hall hollering back at him, “Heroiam Slava” (Glory to the Heroes).

The Eleventh Docudays UA Winners are (in the order of awarding):

Audience Award

The Audience Award went to Joanna, directed by Aneta Kopacz, Poland, 2013.

Student’s Jury Award

The Students’ Jury Award went to Tucker and the Fox, directed by Arash Lahooti, Iran, 2013, awarded for “an optimistic story about a life-long passion”.

DOCU/Short

Joanna, directed by Aneta Kopacz, Poland, 2013, received special mention. The jury chose it for “filmmaker’s ability to be both intimate and discreet”

Mom, directed by Lidia Sheinina, Russia, 2013, received special mention for “ability of the filmmaker to find in the closed world of one apartment ‘things that quicken the heart'”.

The main prize went to Liza, Go Home!, directed by Oksana Buraja, Lithuania, Estonia, 2012. The film was awarded for “filmmaker’s poetic sensibility and respect for other humans’ secrets”.

Andrei Zagdansky, a Ukrainian-American, was awarding. The other two members of the jury were Victoria Belopolskaya of Russia, and Stéphanie Lamorré of France.

DOCU/Right

No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, directed by Callum Macrae, UK, 2013, received special mention. The film was awarded for “the powerful use of video advocacy in global awareness-raising and opinion-shaping regarding the mass murders of civilians belonging to a Tamil minority in Sri Lanka”.

Captain and His Pirate, directed by Andy Wolff, Belgium, Germany, 2012, received special mention for “exceptional courage of the film crew and an outstanding presentation of international piracy phenomenon as presented by a victim and his prison guard”.

The main prize went to Mother’s Dream, directed by Valerie Gudenus, Switzerland, 2013. The jury awarded the film for “a highly sensitive, empathic, and artistic presentation of a controversial and socially resonant human rights problem, affecting the fates of women and children globally”.

Natalka Zubar of Ukraine announced the winners. The other two members of the jury were Andrzej Poczobut of Belarus, and Oksana Sarkisova of Hungary.

DOCU/Life

Crepuscule, directed by Valentyn Vasyanovych, Ukraine, 2014, received special mention. The film was awarded for “a visually and emotionally superior depiction of human resilience, sensibility, and interdependence”.

Night Labor, directed by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin, USA, Canada, 2013, received special mention for “a provocative, atypical, allegorical description of industrial work and personal freedom”.

The main prize went to The Last Limousine, directed by Daria Khlestkina, Russia, 2014, awarded for “a dignified, compassionate portrayal of state-factory workers lost in transition, but not in humanity”. The jury mentioned the film was perfectly casted.

The whole jury was present: Boris Miti? of Serbia, Chris McDonald of Canada, and Simone Baumann of Germany.

Andriy Matrosov Award from the Docudays UA Organizing Committee

The Andrey Matrosove Award went to A Diary of a Journey, directed by Piotr Stasik, Poland, 2013.

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People are gathering. Image: Antanana.

A queue is forming. Image: Antanana.

The Red Hall of the Kyiv Cinema House. Image: Antanana.
The hosts of the event are the journalists Andrii Saichuk and Nataliia Humeniuk. Image: Antanana.
Nataliia Humeniuk, translator and photographer. Image: Antanana.
Nikita Mikhalko is featured on the festival poster and trailer. Image: Antanana.
The festival gift shop team is giving the Audience Award. Image: Antanana.
The film Joanna (director Aneta Kopacz, Poland, 2013) is awarded. Image: Antanana.
The representative of Aneta Kopacz is taking the prize. Image: Antanana.
The Students’ Jury: Viktor Kylymar, Oleksandr Shkrabak, Halia Vasylenko, Petro Vyalkov, Tetyana Chesalova. Image: Antanana.
Tucker and the Fox (director Arash Lahooti, Iran, 2013) is awarded. Image: Antanana.
The googles would help him to film even more. Image: Antanana.
The Festival diploma. Image: Antanana.
The cobblestone from Maidan Nezalezhnosti is the main festival trophy. Image: Antanana.
The trophy goes to Iran. Image: Antanana.
Andrei Zagdansky (Ukraine) announces the winners for DOCU/Short. Image: Antanana.
The first special mention: Joanna (Aneta Kopacz, Poland, 2013). Image: Antanana.
The representative of the director. Image: Antanana.
The 2nd special mention: Mom (director Lidia Sheinina, Russia, 2013). Image: Antanana.
Main prize: Liza, Go Home! (director Oksana Buraja, Lithuania, Estonia, 2012). Image: Antanana.
The journalist, director Natalka Zubar. Image: Antanana.
Special mention: No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka (director Callum Macrae, UK, 2013) Anthem of Ukraine. Image: Antanana.
Special mention: Captain and His Pirate (director Andy Wolff, Belgium, Germany, 2012). Image: Antanana.
Main prize: Mother’s Dream (director Valerie Gudenus, Switzerland, 2013). Image: Antanana.
Ambassador of Switzerland to Ukraine Christian Schoenenberger is taking the prize. Image: Antanana.
Chris McDonald (Canada), Simone Baumann (Germany). Image: Antanana.
Special mention: Crepuscule (director Valentyn Vasyanovych, Ukraine, 2014). Image: Antanana.
Boris Miti? (Serbia), Simone Baumann. Image: Antanana.
Special mention: Night Labor (directors David Redmon and Ashley Sabin, USA, Canada, 2013). Image: Antanana.
Main prize: The Last Limousine (director Daria Khlestkina, Russia, 2014). Image: Antanana.
The Last Limousine. Image: Antanana.
Daria Khlestkina. Image: Antanana.
The cobblestone from Maidan Nezalezhnosti is taken to Moscow. Image: Antanana.
Andriy Matrosov Award from the Organizing Committee. Image: Antanana.
A Diary of a Journey (director Piotr Stasik, Poland, 2013) is awarded. Image: Antanana.

After the ceremony The Last Limousine, the winning film of DOCU/Life program, was screened.

The festival was first held in 2003, called at that time Docudays on Human Rights. In 2006 the festival was accepted as part of the international Human Rights Film Network at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. It is usually held during the last week of March.

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Space Shuttle Discovery lands safely in California

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

The US Space Shuttle Orbiter Discovery has returned to Earth safely, landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, touching down on runway 22 at 8:11:22 am EDT (1211 GMT), and rolling to a stop.

Commander Eileen Collins and the rest of her crew on Discovery are going through check-out procedures to secure the vehicle and assure safety. A convoy of specially-designed vehicles have parked near Discovery, ready to assist in debarkation of the astronauts from on-board the shuttle, and other initial post-flight processing of the orbiter.

The astronauts on board Discovery (Orbital Vehicle 103 (OV-103)) are expected to disembark at approximately 9 am EDT.

A press conference has been scheduled for 8:30 am CDT, including Dr. Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator, among others. NASA-TV will be providing live coverage, among others.

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Former Satyam CEO Raju, his brother and CFO arrested and detained in profit-fraud scandal

Monday, January 12, 2009

Byrraju Ramalinga Raju, founder and chairman of Satyam Computer Services, and his brother, B. Rama Raju, the company’s managing director, were arrested late Friday by Andhra Pradesh police. The brothers were placed under judicial custody in a Hyderabad, India jail and will remain there until January 23. Facing charges of criminal breach of trust (Section 406 of IPC), criminal conspiracy (Section 120-B), cheating (Section 420), falsification of records and forgery (Section 468), and fraudulent cancellation of securities (Section 477-a), they face up to ten years imprisonment if convicted.

After 18 hours of interrogation by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) at the state police headquarters, the Raju brothers were sent to the Chanchalguda prison and slept Saturday night on the floor along with 26 other low-risk inmates.

S. Bharat Kumar, the Rajus’s lawyer, asked the magistrate to issue orders for health monitoring. “His blood pressure is fluctuating and he needs medical treatment,” said Bharat Kumar. Mr. Raju appeared before the court Saturday while a team of doctors visited him after he had complained of chest pain.

Raju has Hepatitis-C, and both brothers have high blood pressure, so health precautions are necessary while imprisoned. Prison rules mandate service of jail food thrice a day. The menu includes 650 gm of rice thrice a day with 250 gm of vegetable curry and 125 gm of ‘daal’ plus tea twice a day.

Satyam’s chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas, who was also arrested Saturday, had undergone preliminary investigation and appeared Sunday before a special court, according to A. Sivanarayana, Andhra Pradesh additional director general of police. Srinivas was remanded to judicial custody until January 23 by Mr. D. Ramakrishna, Sixth Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, and sent to the Chanchalguda jail with the Raju brothers after interrogation by CID’s Crime Branch (the CB-CID). During his Saturday night arrest and probe by CB-CID, Srinivas made revelations which are contained in his confession letter as submitted to Network 18. “According to me fixed deposits are unreal and fictitious which were managed and was an understanding between the audit section management,” Srinivas stated.

The Hyderabad court on Monday postponed the bail hearings of the Raju brothers and Srinivas to January 16. To be defended by a battalion of 25 lawyers, the three accused will remain in Chanchalguda Central Jail until further court order. The Raju brothers were shifted Sunday to a mid-size Old Hospital Barrack cell shared with a bootlegger.

Contents

  • 1 The offences
  • 2 About Satyam Computer Services
  • 3 Impact on Satyam Computer Services finances and reactions
  • 4 Related news
  • 5 Sources

In 2008, the company struggled to purchase two infrastructure companies founded by family members of company founder and CEO Dr. Raju – Maytas Infrastructure and Maytas Properties – for $1.6 billion, despite concerns raised by independent board directors. Dr. Raju tendered his resignation on January 7 after due notice of falsified accounts to board members and the SEBI.

Since January 7 when two lawsuits were commenced, dozens of other class action law suits were filed against Satyam for hundreds of millions of dollars damages based on fraud in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, among others. The securities fraud class-action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of investors who bought Satyam American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) since 2004.

On Wednesday Dr. Raju admitted to falsifying and overstating Satyam’s cash reserves by $1B US dollars (£661m) or 94% of its cash and bank balances on books at the end of September.

The fraud was perpetrated several years ago to bridge “a marginal gap” between actual and accounting books operating profits, and continued for several years. “It was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten,” B. Raju said.

In a letter to the board, Dr. Raju said that neither he nor the managing director had benefited financially from the inflated revenues. Further claiming that none of the board members had any knowledge of the dire company situation, he noted that Satyam’s balance sheet as of the September 30, 2008, carried inflated figures for cash and bank balances of INR 5,040 crore (as against INR 5,361 crore reflected in the books). He alleged it also carried an accrued interest of INR 376 crore which was non-existent. He confessed that he himself prepared an understated liability of INR 1,230 crore on account of funds amid an overstated debtors’ position of INR 490 crore (as against INR 2,651 crore in the books).

Indian analysts have compared the Satyam-Raju scandal to the infamous American Enron scandal. Immediately following the media expose, PricewaterhouseCoopers, auditor of Satyam’s accounts, was set to be probed for complicity in the controversy. Times Now has reported that the Andhra Pradesh CID arrested PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) representative Gopal Krishnan for investigation on Saturday night.

New York-listed Satyam Computer Services Ltd., India’s fourth-biggest software firm, is a consulting and information technology services company based in Hyderabad, India. Founded in 1987 by Dr. Byrraju Ramalinga Raju, Satyam’s network spans 67 countries on six continents. It employs 53,000 professionals in India, the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Hungary, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Japan, Egypt and Australia. Its monthly salary outflow is estimated at six billion rupees ($125 million). Deriving more than half of its revenues from the United States, it serves 700 global companies, 185 of which are Fortune 500 corporations.

Satyam’s clients include Nestle, Ford, General Electric Co., General Motors Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Applied Materials Inc., Caterpillar Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Sony Corp., and brought in about $40bn last year.

In December 2008, a failed acquisition attempt involving the company Maytas led to a plunge in Satyam’s share price. After Wednesday’s confession, Satyam stocks fell further by more than 70%, while the BSE SENSEX dropped to 7.3% Wednesday, causing the removal of Satyam Computer Services from its indices on Thursday. The shares free fell to 11.50 rupees on Friday, their lowest level since March 1998, compared with around last year’s high of 544 rupees.

The New York Stock Exchange has terminated trading in Satyam stock as of January 7, while the National Stock Exchange of India said it will remove Satyam from its S&P CNX Nifty 50-share index from January 12.

India’s biggest-ever corporate fraud has seriously tainted India Inc.‘s strong corporate governance image. “The admission of fraud in financial affairs has created an adverse impression in the minds of trade, business and industry across the world,” the Indian government admitted. The government intervened on Friday night, dismissing Satyam’s board of directors, announcing it will appoint representatives to manage the affairs of the insolvent outsourcing giant. The board would meet within seven days. Dr Yeduguri Samuel Rajasekhara Reddy, chief Minister of State of Andhra Pradesh, India, on Sunday said that the main agenda is to protect the jobs of the software professionals. “We are taking all needful steps in coordination with the government of India to ensure that the jobs of 53,000 engineers are protected and the shareholders’ money is salvaged,” Reddy said.

“We are working on the names. The Satyam case is an aberration. The credibility of the Indian corporate sector in general, and IT sector in particular, should not be allowed to suffer because of this.” Prem Chand Gupta, the Corporate Affairs Minister said. The Federal Government of India appointed a three-member independent board with full authority for Satyam on Sunday and was set to convene within 24 hours. “We have appointed Deepak Parekh, chairman of Housing Development Finance Corporation, Kiran Karnik, former president of IT industry body NASSCOM and C. Achutan, former member of Securities and Exchange Board (SEBI) of India,” Mr. Gupta said.

In early Monday trading (0535 GMT) after the creation of the three-member board, Satyam shares rocketed upwards 60% to 38.15 rupees, even though the main Mumbai market was down more than 2%. BBC reported that Satyam shares have jumped 51% to 36.05 rupees on Monday after the stock lost 87% last week. “The constitution of the new board is seen as a positive step by the market. It’s a confidence boosting measure,” K.K. Mital, Globe Capital, New Delhi head of portfolio management services said. “But the rally will depend largely on the financial situation at the company and the kind of measures that are taken to improve liquidity,” he added.

The Company Law Board, however, has requested Satyam’s interim board not to implement its decisions. “We are asked by the Company Law Board not to implement the decisions of the board. But we are allowed to continue our activity. The team which was constituted recently is continuing its work,” Satyam head global marketing and communications, Mr. Hari Thalapalli, said.

Lazard Ltd., who has a 7.4% stake in Satyam, sought representation on the new board and wrote as much to The Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs. “As the largest shareholder in the company, we want to be consulted in whatever decisions are being taken by the Indian government. We have written to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and are awaiting a reply from them,” Hitesh Jain, a partner at ALMT Legal, who claimed to represent Lazard, said. “It is a fair proposal and we will take a decision as and when we clear other issues. No decision on this has been taken yet,” P.C. Gupta replied.

Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) also announced it will try to control the damage and take steps to boost investor confidence. “This exercise will be undertaken after the third quarter results and is expected to be completed by end of February this year,” a SEBI official statement said. A SEBI team is also investigating acting-CEO Ram Mynampati whose salary was greater than that of founder Dr. Raju and all the directors combined. Dr. Raju had just one fifth of Mynampati’s total package of over Rs 3.5 crore as of March 2008. All the directors comparably received only a total of Rs 2.6 crore as salary, commissions, sitting fees, professional fees and other receivables.

Further, the Andhra Pradesh Police CID and teams assigned by the Economic Offences Wing of the CB-CID conducted searches Sunday of homes of the accused including the ex-CFO’s office to gather documentary evidence about the financial fraud.

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SEPTA buys rail cars from NJ Transit to deal with crowding

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

As gas prices have risen in the United States, the regional transport authority for southeastern Pennsylvania, SEPTA, has seen a sharp increase in ridership, which has caused overcrowding on the trains.

“As fuel prices have continued to rise, SEPTA ridership has steadily increased and is the highest in 18 years,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey. Monthly ridership was 22 percent higher last month than a year ago.

“They have crushed loads on their rail lines, already where people are standing, and there’s not enough seats,” said Rich Bickel, the director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

“At peak times some railcars are standing room only and commuter parking lots are nearly full. All Regional Rail lines are running near full capacity and the train station parking lots are at about 90 percent capacity or more,” SEPTA spokesperson Felipe Suarez said.

While SEPTA awaits new Silverliner V trains from Hyundai Rotem, which begin arriving in 2009, it had hoped to lease eight rail cars from New Jersey Transit, at an agreed-upon rate of US$10,000 per month. However, due to problems with insurance and liability indemnification, the deal fell through, according to Casey.

SEPTA has entered a new agreement to purchase the eight rail cars from NJ Transit. The transit authority will pay US$670,000 for the cars and assorted supplies plus one additional inoperative car which will be used for spare parts. The rail cars will be operated using a SEPTA provided locomotive as they are not self-propelled.

The cars are being disposed of by NJ Transit because it has switched from single-floor cars to double-decker cars.

SEPTA is expecting to raise US$3.1 million by selling rail that has been out of service since 1981 at auction.

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Ethics debate surrounds surgery to stunt disabled girl’s growth

Friday, January 5, 2007

An ethical controversy has surged in the United States and elsewhere around nine-year-old Ashley X (her family name has not been released). The disabled girl was operated upon at the request of her parents, to prevent her from growing, menstruating and developing breasts. The parents, who wish to remain anonymous, explain their situation on a blog entitled The “Ashley Treatment”. There have been over 1000 reactions on the blog so far.

Ashley suffers a condition termed static encephalopathy with marked global developmental deficits of unknown etiology, which means brain damage of unknown cause leading to a kind of static condition. She can make sounds, move her arms and kick her legs, but she cannot change her position, eat, walk, talk etc. Many of these children are in poor health and die young, but Ashley is in good health. For all of these functions she depends on her caregivers. Most of the day she passes watching her surrounding, lying on a pillow. Her parents call her their “Pillow Angel”, “since she is so sweet and stays right where we place her—usually on a pillow.”

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Ashley can continue to delight in being held in our arms and will be moved and taken on trips more frequently and will have more exposure to activities and social gatherings.

-Ashley’s Mom and Dad

Ashley’s parents want to keep her at home and care for her themselves, and they want to guarantee their daughter’s quality of life. To this end, they say, Ashley underwent several surgical procedures and medical treatments during a period of three years. To attenuate her growth, Ashley was given high doses of the hormone estrogen. Ashley now measures 4ft 5 (1m 35cm) and weighs around 75 lbs (34 kg), which is below her expected length and weight. Her low body weight and size would improve her comfort, and at the same time facilitate the work of her caregivers.

Surgery to remove her uterus (a procedure called a hysterectomy) and breast buds were performed, so Ashley does not menstruate and will not develop breasts, both of which parents think only would cause her discomfort. Since high estrogen levels can cause menstrual bleeding and breast development, the surgery was also meant to limit these effects. She also underwent surgery to remove her appendix, because it would be difficult to diagnose appendicitis given Ashley’s low communication possibilities.

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One killed, many boats damaged in storms on Spanish island of Majorca

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One person has been killed and dozens of boats have been severely damaged or sunk by storms on the Spanish island of Majorca.

The storms hit the island frequently last week, and the weather finally calmed on Sunday.

In San Telmo, a 62-year-old man died when he tried to save his sinking yacht. Winds of up to 60 mph were reported with gusts reaching 75 mph.

Boats could be seen sinking into the water for several days after the storm, with people unable to rescue them due to the conditions.

Local residents stated that they were the worst to hit the island, which has a large number of ports, in ten years, with the clean up effort continuing into this week.