THE STATE OF THE NATION

first_imgOften, I feel the country is going mad, continually trying to buy on price, rather than on quality.With the public’s obsession in buying everything as cheaply as they can, we are shopping ourselves out of jobs. More and more factories are closing down in the UK. And the supermarkets hold much of the responsibility for this insane rush to lower prices. In reality, many of our remaining factories are importers – and often only assembly plants at best – as they source their products from overseas. If we cannot create jobs for everyone, where is the money coming from to buy the goods?I have always said I do very little wholesale and never intend to try to supply supermarkets. I feel that those chasing that business have a tendency towards volume addiction. But why should I borrow or use my money to put in extra plant – and even buildings – to provide products for someone else? That would mean I take the risk and they take the profits. Once you get hooked, I suppose it’s like riding a bicycle – once you stop pedalling, you fall off.Recently, I read in The Times that scientists claim that, within 20 years, there will be smart drugs that will make us think faster, improve memory and reduce tiredness. It reminds me of that old song, Why was I Born So Soon? Gosh, how I would love to have that pill.There is no doubt about it, the public sector is the place to be if you want short working hours, high pay, little stress and high pensions. Public sector workers across the board take 30% more days off sick than private sector workers, according to statistics.Then, their trade unions claim it is the extra stress they work under. I call it skiving off.Our MD, Neville, runs the firm without much help from me. When he tells me his staff problems, I confess I could not deal with the utter stupidity of the employment rules, which the idiots in government keep introducing. They will inevitably lead to unemployment. More time is spent on trying to remove a poorly performing member of staff with a bad attitude than on trying to improve the business.The total unfairness of it is that, if a member of staff does not like my face, they are at liberty to say, “I think you are ugly and I am not going to work for you.” This, I feel, is probably justified, as I don’t look like Cary Grant.But just think what would happen if I said to a member of staff, “I don’t like your attitude. You never smile and you depress everyone around you, so you must leave and find employment where you can be happy.” I would be in an industrial tribunal before you could say “goodbye”. And they call that fair? Unemployment is a bit like old age; it just keeps getting closer. nlast_img read more

Court amends criminal rules

first_imgCourt amends criminal rules June 15, 2004 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Court amends criminal rules Prompting the governor to look into the rulemaking process Senior Editor The Florida Supreme Court has approved changes to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure to handle the determination of mental retardation of defendants facing the death penalty, angering Gov. Jeb Bush who said the court failed to follow state law.Bush said he intended to consult with legislative leaders about constitutional changes to prevent the court from usurping legislative intent through court procedural rules.The court ruled in a unanimous per curiam opinion on May 20 in Amendments to Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure and Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, case no. SC03-685. Justices Barbara Pariente and Raoul Cantero also wrote concurring opinions.The opinion noted that the legislature passed F.S. §921.137 in 2001 which barred the execution of mentally retarded persons and established a method for determining whether defendants were mentally retarded. The law required the determination of retardation to be made after conviction and after a jury recommended death or the prosecution announced its intent to seek death even though the jury recommended life imprisonment. It also established a clear and convincing level of proof and was not retroactive.The next year, the U.S. Supreme Court in Atkins v. Virginia, 336 U.S. 304 (2002), held that executing the mentally retarded violated the Eighth Amendment, and that states were free to establish their own methods for determining mental retardation.The Criminal Procedure Rules Committee submitted proposed rules to implement F.S. §921.137 before the Atkins decision. After that ruling, the court on its own motion published rules (which were noticed in the May 15, 2003, Bar News ) and invited comment.“In response to the proposed rules, this court received comments,” the opinion said. “Circuit Judge O.H. Eaton and the Criminal Court Steering Committee submitted proposed rules as a substitute for the rules proposed by the court. We accept these comments and suggestions as being well advised and now adopt a rule which is primarily in the form adopted by Judge Eaton and the committee. We appreciate their work with respect to this issue.”The rule establishes procedures for four types of cases: cases that have not begun when the new rules go into effect October 1; cases when the trial has started as of October 1; cases when a direct appeal is pending; and cases when the direct appeal is final.The rule also did not set an evidentiary standard for the judge to use in determining whether the defendant is mentally retarded and did require that the determination be made before trial in all future cases.Pariente wrote her concurring opinion to address the evidentiary standard issue. She noted the court had been cautioned that the clear and convincing standards in state law would likely be found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.While Atkins did not address a standard, in Cooper v. Oklahoma, 517 U.S. 348 (1996), “the Court held that a state law requiring a defendant to establish incompetence to stand trial by clear and convincing evidence was unconstitutional,” Pariente wrote. By not including a standard in the rules, she added, “The issue will then come to us in the form of an actual case or controversy rather than a nonadversarial rules proceeding.”She also suggested that the legislature revisit the issue, since the Atkins ruling came out after it enacted the law, and noted that most states that have addressed this issue have adopted a preponderance of the evidence standard.“Amendment of the burden of proof could eliminate potentially lengthy litigation on the constitutionality of the statutory standard and the delay in capital cases in which mental retardation is an issue,” Pariente wrote.Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead concurred in her opinion.Cantero, in his concurring opinion, addressed why the rules require the determination of mental retardation to be made before trial, instead of after conviction and after a jury has recommended death or the prosecution seeks to override a jury life-sentence recommendation. Of 25 states with similar laws, 11 require it pretrial, five have no time — which allows it to be pretrial — and only three, including Florida, have it after conviction, he noted.“A death penalty case, involving the ultimate penalty, invokes a host of pre- and post-trial procedures, as well as requirements for court and counsel, that do not exist in any other context,” Cantero wrote. “To ensure that those procedures, which can be time-consuming and expensive, are invoked only when death is a possible sentence, the defendant, the state, and the judicial system all should desire a prompt determination of mental retardation.”He listed eight specific areas where the courts could save money, including that judges and counsel would not have to meet the higher standards for death penalty cases, penalty phase investigations and proceedings would be eliminated, the jury would not have to be death qualified, and no penalty phase trial would have to be conducted.Pariente and Anstead concurred in Cantero’s opinion.The court’s action created Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.203 and amended Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.142(c), which allows prosecutors to appeal when a judge rules a defendant is mentally retarded.In a May 20 letter to Secretary of State Glenda E. Hood reporting he had signed SB 44, which extended the deadline for inmates to seek a review of DNA evidence in their cases, Bush noted he opposed the court last year suspending the original DNA testing deadline of October 1, 2003. He said it was a use of judicial rulemaking to override legislative policy.“For the same reason, I disagree with the action taken today by the Florida Supreme Court that significantly revises legislation addressing the issue of mental-retardation claims in capital cases,” Bush wrote. “Whether the court agrees or disagrees with legislative policy, the court should not subordinate state laws, written by representatives elected by the people, to the court’s own policy preferences.“I intend to review the court’s use of its rulemaking power and discuss potential state constitutional reforms with legislative leadership in the near future.”Earlier this year, a proposed constitutional amendment was introduced in a Florida House committee that would remove from the Supreme Court the right to write court procedural rules and instead give it to the legislature.The amendment was discussed but never acted on, and Bar President Miles McGrane reached an agreement with Rep. Gus Barreiro, R-Miami, sponsor of the bill. That agreement would add legislators to the procedural rules committee and also see that lawmakers are informed about recommended and pending rule amendments.The court’s opinion and the new procedural rules can be seen on the court’s Web site at www.flcourts.org.last_img read more

Minnesota Muslim Activist Defends His Faith Against Radicalism

first_imgFaithLifestyle Minnesota Muslim Activist Defends His Faith Against Radicalism by: – July 13, 2011 36 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! Share Sharecenter_img Tweet Abdirizak BihiAs part of the Washington Post’s “Under Suspicion” series’ examination of the lives of American Muslims since the Sept. 11 attacks, Eli Saslow has profiled Abdirizak Bihi, whose story is another example of just how complicated those lives and our perceptions of them can be.The Somali-American man is the founder, director and sole employee of a community-based counterterrorism program in Minneapolis. He has testified at the controversial Capitol Hill hearings on Muslim radicalization, and the FBI and the Justice Department rely on his help during investigations of terrorist threats.Meanwhile, he struggles to gain financial support from the politicians who endorse his efforts, and operates with little funding from an area where at least 25 young men, including his 17-year-old nephew, have disappeared to fight for the militant Somali group al-Shabab in the past three years.Many mosques, elected officials and even law enforcement agencies have hesitated to address the radicalization of a small percentage of U.S. Muslims, because the topic itself is so divisive. The focus on homegrown jihad is considered either the next front in the war on terrorism or an Islamophobic witch hunt sure to create more ill will.Bihi describes himself as an observant Muslim who prays daily and fasts during Ramadan. He said it is his responsibility to “save the religion I love from a very small number of extremists.”Officially, Bihi is the director of the Somali Education and Special Advocacy Center, but in truth he is the center, aided only by a Samsung cellphone and a donated desk in the offices of Mo’s Building Maintenance. His program is part of an emerging movement that Washington officials refer to as “CVE,” or “countering violent extremism.” The idea is simple: Inoculate young Muslims against the risks of radicalization by making them feel entrenched and happy in their communities. The execution is much more complex.The Root Sharelast_img read more

ESWC to bring FIFA 18 to Paris & São Paulo

first_imgESWC recently announced that they are now a licensed qualifier of the EA SPORTS™ FIFA 18 Global Series on the Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018.The Paris based organisation, part of the Webedia-group, will deliver online qualifiers on Toornament throughout March leading up to two offline events in Paris and São Paulo this coming April. Both tournaments will gather 32 top international players, after multiple rounds of online qualifications, with $20,000 (~£14,500) up for grabs.Four players have already received direct invites to the offline Paris finals as a reward for their achievements in the ESWC FIFA18 PGW Challenge whilst the rest of the players will battle it out during the online qualifiers during March. The four invited players are: Florian ‘Cody’ Müller, Vinken ‘Lev’ Lev, Lucas ‘DaXe’ Cuillerier and Fouad ‘Rafsou’ Fares.The online qualifiers are taking place every weekend during March leading up to the first online final in Paris on the 7th and 8th of April at the Webedia HQ.Julien Brochet, Director of the ESWC, commented: “After a successful ESWC FIFA18 PGW Challenge, the ESWC will write a new chapter of its long history of tournaments within competitive FIFA. Becoming one of the Official Qualifying Competitions for the EA SPORTS™ FIFA 18 Global Series is a big step forward in our relationship with EA and toward the player community”.Talking about the relationship ESI caught up with Sylvain Maillard Content Director at ESWC who explained: “FIFA’s first appearance at ESWC dates back to 2010 so It was natural for us to get closer to EA to be able to propose a tournament that takes part in the FUT Champions Road to the eWorldCup. They answered positively to our wish to be part of it. Of course, it did not come alone and we had to fulfil their requirements as any other organizer.”Esports Insider says: We understand that FIFA holds the greatest amount of simultaneous tournament brackets running on the Webedia backed platform Toornament. And that this is one of the rare ways to take part in the EA SPORTS™ FIFA 18 Global Series outside of the two other tour dates organised so far by EA in Barcelona and Amsterdam. For more info head on over to the ESWC site.last_img read more

Veganism could save the world new study argues

first_imgHow can we grow enough food to feed a skyrocketing population, while still leaving some room for nature? To find out, researchers ran hundreds of food production simulations under different conditions—like organic versus high-yield farming, and plant-based versus meat-based diets. They recorded whether each combination of strategies was “feasible”—whether enough food could be produced to feed the estimated 2050 world population without expanding the area of farmland people already use. Diet was the biggest determinant of success, the team reports today in Nature Communications. Of the scenarios that included everyone in the world eating a diet consisting entirely of plants, 100% were feasible. But because of the amount of land it takes to raise animals for meat—about twice as much as for crops—only 15% of the scenarios with typical meat-heavy Western diets were feasible. No other factor had that large of an effect, not even switching to farming practices like extra fertilizer use to make land more productive. The study does have lots of assumptions built in, like totally free trade between countries, which would mean that food can always get to where it’s needed. Plus, the research can’t say anything about the political and cultural challenges involved with getting people to change their diet. But it does show that, in theory, it’s possible to keep feeding the world without cutting down more forests for new farmland.last_img read more