Iran shifts oil sales away from dollar

Deputy head of the National Iranian Oil Company for international affairs says Iran has completely dropped dollar in its oil sales.“We issue invoices in dollars and agree with clients that the letters of credit and other means of payment will have a non-dollar basis,” he said.

In an interview with The Financial Times, Hojjatollah Ghanimifard said that over the past three months, Iran has received 75 percent of the proceeds from its oil sales in euros and the remaining 25 percent in the Japanese currency, yen.

ghanimifard.jpg
Hojjatollah Ghanimifard

Read moreIran shifts oil sales away from dollar

Finnland – areas normally covered in snow and ice…

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service
Budapest, Hungary2008-03-04 19:23:42 – Climate Change – Finland

GLIDE CODE: CC-20080304-15687-FIN
Date & Time: 2008-03-04 19:23:42 [UTC]
Area: Finland, , Statewide,

Description:

Southern Finland had only 20 days of snow, compared to 70 days normally,
while neighboring Estonia had to cancel a popular cross-country ski
marathon in the southern city of Tartu in early February. “I don’t
remember winter like this. We had almost no snow at all in February,”
said Merike Merilain, chief weather forecaster at Estonia’s
meteorological institute, EMHI. “It’s been emotionally very stressful,
especially to many older people, that it’s dark and rainy all the time,”
she added. The Finnish Meteorological Institute said the mild winter
partly resulted from strong southerly and westerly air currents caused
by exceptionally warm surface temperatures of the Atlantic.
Nevertheless, the higher temperatures have only fueled concern that
greenhouse gasses are changing the climate, especially in the sensitive
Arctic region.

“When we were young, back in the ’80s, then winter existed,” said Ronny
Ahlstedt, 28, who works at an outdoor ice-skating rink in downtown
Stockholm. “We are contributing to this warm weather by letting out all
this pollution in the air.” In areas normally covered in snow and ice,
spring-like temperatures have brought premature sightings of flowers
such as winter aconite, snowdrops, wood anemone, daffodils and
coltsfoot. Finland’s coasts are clear of ice up to 350 miles north of
Helsinki, said Jouni Vainio from the Finnish Institute of Marine
Research. “It’s most unusual because now the whole sea should be frozen
along the Finnish coast.” Railway traffic is also being helped by the
warmth. More than 90 percent of all trains this winter have been on time
or less than five minutes late, according to the Finnish state railway,
VR. “Hard frosts and heavy blizzards have always been a bane of rail
traffic. This winter has been punctuated by their absence,” VR spokesman
Herbert Mannerstrom said.

Sweden: Winter ended before it started in Europe’s north

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service
Budapest, Hungary2008-03-04 19:22:55 – Climate Change – Sweden

GLIDE CODE: CC-20080304-15686-SWE
Date & Time: 2008-03-04 19:22:55 [UTC]
Area: Sweden, , Statewide,

Description:Icebreakers sit idle in ports. Insects crawl out of forest hideouts.
Daffodils sprout up from green lawns. Winter ended before it started in
Europe’s north, where record-high temperatures have people wondering
whether it’s a fluke or an ominous sign of a warming world. “It’s the
warmest winter ever” recorded
, said John Ekwall of the Swedish
Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. In December, January and
February, the average temperature in Stockholm was 36 degrees – the
highest on record since record-keeping began in 1756. Record winter
highs were set at 12 other locations across the country, according to
the national weather service, SMHI. Migratory birds have returned from
southern latitudes prematurely. In southern Sweden, they never left.
“The birds that have stayed are robins and chaffinches,” said biologist
Lars-Ake Janzon at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. “They stayed
because there hasn’t been any snow.”

The warm weather also has stirred life inside the vast forests of the
Nordic and Baltic countries, where insects such as ants and ticks
emerged early from winter shelter. For businesses, the mild weather has
been a mixed blessing. For winter sports enthusiasts, the green winter
has been a nightmare. Small ski resorts around Stockholm never opened,
and skating enthusiasts waited in vain for ice to form on the waterways
surrounding the Swedish capital. “There’s not one millimeter of ice,”
said Anders Tysk, organizer of the annual Vikingarannet ice-skating race
on Lake Malaren. After postponing the race several weekends, he had to
tell 500 registered participants on Monday there would be no race this
year. “It’s the first time we’ve canceled since we introduced flexible
dates in 2003,” he said.

Large Number of Beijing Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested Before Olympics

According to sources from Beijing, from the end of 2007 to early this year, at least 100 Falun Gong practitioners with confirmed names (oftentimes practitioners do not reveal their true identity to protect family, friends and colleagues) have been arrested in Beijing.Some were immediately sentenced to eight months in prison. It is believed to be a new round of suppression by the Chinese Communist Party before the next session of the National Congress in March and the Olympics in August 2008.

A Beijing Falun Gong practitioner, Li Qingyun (alias) said, in an interview with The Epoch Times that since the end of 2007 he has known of more than 10 Falun Gong practitioners being arrested.

According to data from the Falun Gong website Minghui.net, since the end of last year at least 100 Falun Gong practitioners have been secretly arrested in Beijing. According to the latest news from Beijing, there were over 40 arrests between Jan. 23 and 25.

china-olympics.jpg
Chinese paramilitary policemen patrol near the Olympic countdown clock showing less than 6 months to go for the up coming Beijing Olympic Games at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on February 18, 2008. According to sources, a large numbers of Beijing Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested before the Olympics. (Teh Eng Koon/AFP/Getty Images)

Read moreLarge Number of Beijing Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested Before Olympics

China speeds pace of military buildup

China is speeding up its military buildup and developing high-technology forces for waging wars beyond Taiwan, according to the Pentagon’s annual report on Chinese military power.“The pace and scope of China’s military transformation have increased in recent years, fueled by acquisition of advanced foreign weapons, continued high rates of investment in its domestic defense and science and technology industries, and far-reaching organizational and doctrinal reforms of the armed forces,” the report states.

The report also warned that China’s expanding military forces “are changing East Asian military balances; improvements in China’s strategic capabilities have implications beyond the Asia-Pacific region.”

Read moreChina speeds pace of military buildup

Atlanta Fed Releases DVD Aimed at Helping Banks Prepare for Disasters

Source: http://www.frbatlanta.org/invoke.cfm?objectid=5EDC3C78-5056-9F12-12899EC0FD1BFE7E&method=display_pressrelease

In the aftermath of a disaster, banks play a vital role, distributing cash to their customers and ensuring that their customers are able to meet the financial needs of their families and their businesses.

Drawing on the experience of bankers who have weathered crisis situations, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta developed Crisis Preparedness: Reconnecting the Financial Lifeline, a DVD designed to assist bankers with their institutions’ emergency preparedness efforts. Each section of the DVD profiles a facet of crisis preparedness, from preparing and testing a plan to caring for employees to providing cash to customers to working with banks and first responders.

Read moreAtlanta Fed Releases DVD Aimed at Helping Banks Prepare for Disasters

GIZMO PUTS TEENS OUT ON THEIR EARS

 

 

March 2, 2008 — The Mosquito has landed – and the city’s teens and 20-somethings are about to get bitten.

A pesky new security device aims to clear out young troublemakers from their hangouts in apartment-building lobbies and foyers by emitting an irritating high-frequency screech that can only be heard by young ears.

The message: Buzz off.

The British-made Mosquito, used in 3,500 locations in the UK, costs $1,400, weighs five pounds and looks like an innocuous wall-mounted speaker. But its obnoxious 85-decibel drone ranges as far as 60 feet and registers as a constant screech to most people between the ages of 13 and 25.

It’s almost silent to those older, according to Mike Gibson, whose company, Moving Sound Technologies, sells the device in the United States.

“It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to people who can hear it,” Gibson said.

High-pitch frequencies often become inaudible as people age because hair cells at the base of the inner ear, or cochlea, that are responsible for picking them up become damaged over time.

Local youths felt the sting last week, after the landlord of a vandalism- and drug-plagued apartment building in Jamaica, Queens, became the first New York City address to install the siren.

Sean Mann, property manager of the 78-unit building at 114-05 170th St., said he was desperate to curtail chronic loitering, vandalism and even drug use in the building’s lobby.

“I look at this as an active deterrent . . . I’m skeptical – because I can’t hear it,” he said.

But, he added, “over the past few days, we haven’t seen any kids hanging out there. They’re moving to different floors to avoid the sound.

“But now that we know it works, we’ll keep installing more.”

The Post put the gadget to the test in Washington Square Park and Midtown.

“It’s obnoxious, high-pitched and painful,” said 19-year-old Kristin Hankins with a wince.

“It’s just awful,” cried Jackie Lewis, 19, covering her ears. “I was wondering what that was. It’s so annoying!”

But Jesus Parra, 46, was mystified. “Am I going deaf? I don’t hear nothing,” he said.

Dr. Pamela Roehm, assistant professor of otolaryngology at NYU, warns that more studies should be done before people install these devices.

“Eighty-five decibels is a little extreme,” she said. “There is the possibility that long periods of exposure to this sound could cause damage.”

By SUSANNAH CAHALAN

scahalan@nypost.com

Source: NewYorkPost

Doctors Interrogate Children as Informants on Parents’ Behavior

(NaturalNews) Encouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), pediatricians across the United States have begun questioning children about their parents’ habits, in some cases even filing police reports based on this information, according to an opinion article published in the Boston Herald.Article author Michael Graham recounts that his own children were asked by their doctor whether their parents used drugs and alcohol, owned guns, or were abusive. The doctor did not seek parental permission before asking the questions, nor did he inform them that they were being asked; Graham and his wife found out only after their children came home from the visits.

“The doctor wanted to know how much you and mom drink, and if I think it’s too much,” Graham reports his daughter saying. “She asked if you two did drugs, or if there are drugs in the house. The doctor wanted to know how we get along. And if, well, Daddy, if you made me feel uncomfortable.”

Read moreDoctors Interrogate Children as Informants on Parents’ Behavior

Finland this year has recorded its highest average temperature for a winter season since 1900

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service
Budapest, Hungary

2008-02-29 03:52:25 – Climate Change – Finland

GLIDE CODE: CC-20080229-15599-FIN
Date & Time: 2008-02-29 03:52:25 [UTC]
Area: Finland, , Statewide,

Description:

Finland this year has recorded its highest average temperature for a
winter season since 1900, the Finnish Meteorological Institute said
Thursday. The average temperature in the Finnish capital Helsinki in
January was 0.6 degrees Celsius, which was 4.8 degrees higher than that
of the period between 1971 and 2000, said the institute. Global warming
and unusually constant warm currents from the south and the southwest
may have contributed to the extraordinarily mild winter, the institute
added. A recent poll showed that eight out of ten people see climate
change as a great threat and most Finns would be willing to take more
economic responsibility for global climate change.