China overtakes Germany as world’s biggest exporter

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chinese officials have said that their country’s exports surged last December to edge out Germany as the world’s biggest exporter.

The official Xinhua news agency reported today that figures from the General Administration for Customs showed that exports jumped 17.7% in December from a year earlier. Over the whole of 2009 total Chinese exports reached US$1.2 trillion, above Germany’s forecast $1.17 trillion.

Huang Guohua, a statistics official with the customs administration, said the December exports rebound was an important turning point for China’s export sector. He commented that the jump was an indication that exporters have emerged from their downslide.

“We can say that China’s export enterprises have completely emerged from their all-time low in exports,” he said.

However, although China overtook Germany in exports, China’s total foreign trade — both exports and imports — fell 13.9% last year.

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Manitoba volunteers go to war against Red River flooding

Monday, April 6, 2009

A satellite image of the Red River of the North flooding.

Over 1,600 volunteers registered to help build approximately 65,000 of the 500,000 sandbags to create dikes 20.5 feet (6 metres) high to protect the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba in the war against the Red River of the North flood.

700 volunteers answered at the rural municipality of St. Andrews alone. Once sandbags are filled for West St. Paul, St. Andrews, and Selkirk, then frozen culverts must be cleared.

The height of the river is expected to be Thursday, and predictions are that it will be less than Flood of the Century of 1997. There is no precipitation in the forecast, and snow in the province should be melted by the end of the week.

“The fear right now is we have to get that ice out of the river. The Amphibex [Excavators] are still working and breaking the ice apart, and everyday we buy with the warm weather and the current, it is thinning the ice down a bit, so when it does start to move, the better chance it’ll move right out into the lake,” said Paul Guyder, the emergency coordinator for the RMs of St. Andrews and St. Clements.

Map of the Red River of the North drainage basin, with the Red River highlighted.Image: Kmusser.

“I feel that we’ve done everything humanly possible to get ready,” said Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba, “But … there are fallibilities with human behaviour. We can take every preventative measure as human beings possible and we can still get Mother Nature proving again she is superior.”

Communities with ring diking will partially or fully close their dikes at the beginning of the week. Provincial officials are considering opening the Red River Floodway gates around mid-week before ice is fully melted.

Ice jams could cause flooding within the city, however opening the gates could spare neighbourhood flooding when the river rises to the estimated 6.3 meters (20.7 feet) height. The province does have back up plans for dealing with ice jams within the city if they do occur. The unpredictability of ice jams and the ensuing water level rise may cause neighbourhood flooding. The city is raising dikes where the river has jammed with ice in the past such as on tight curves and past bridges. Likewise there are excavators and backhoes positioned at these points.

Vulnerable neighbourhoods on the river banks have been reinforced with sandbag dikes at vulnerable areas from the massive volunteer effort over the weekend. Guyader feels no more extra volunteers are needed, however volunteers are still being asked to leave their names and number in case of unpredicted need. Existing personnel will assess roads, and help with clean up.

Approximately 400 of the 800 people who evacuated the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation have returned to their homes.

Former Premier, Dufferin Roblin, brought forward the floodway as a protection for Winnipeg residents and economy following the 1950 Red River Flood. The Red River floodway, “Duff’s Ditch” was finally finished in 1968, and its floodway gates have been opened 20 times saving Winnipeg from an estimated CA$10 billion in damages. The floodway expansion began in 2005 at a price of $665 million.

Polish and Chinese experts have come to survey the Red River Floodway, and Dennis Walaker, mayor of Fargo, North Dakota recognises the need for Red River flood defences down river. “Every town that you drive by from the Canadian line up to Winnipeg is either elevated or ring-diked,” said Walaker.

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Esources Review To Understand Newer Models In Wholesaling

Submitted by: Brad Robert Smith

A business model can be defined as the way in which you use minimum resources to get the best possible output and create maximum value for the customer. While this may sound like corporate gibberish, it has a lot of substance to it. As business has evolved, newer business models are coming in each day. Those businesspeople that educate themselves and quickly adapt to these models become successful. And, these models are not restricted to modern, high-technology businesses.

They are finding their way into the most traditional business, like wholesaling. However, education is important. Experimenting with a new business model without understanding its pros and cons can be really expensive for a businessperson. It is precisely for this reason that eSources reviews are gaining popularity. Here are some ways in which eSources reviews can help you adapt to the newer models:

Buying From the Source: This is a good old mantra followed by corporate bigwigs like Wal-Mart on their route to success. But, until lately, this was a pipe dream for a retailer of small scale. Manufacturers would not entertain their requests. But, with advances in technology as the dropshipping model came into being, intermediaries started being eliminated. Even the biggest manufacturers find it easy to sell to traditional mom-and-pop stores. Esources reviews can give you a database of such manufacturers, enabling you to make your own everyday low pricing a reality.


Cutting Transportation Costs: The transportation supply chain was also plagued with intermediaries. When your supplier contacted the logistics company, they were dealing with only the front office. At the back end, there were small entrepreneurs who were actually delivering the services for much less. They were paying the logistics company only to market their services. Esources reviews do this job for free. Now, you can find transporters for much less and save costs that were unnecessarily passed on to the customer.

Cutting Inventory Costs: Another offshoot of the dropshipping model is that you do not have to pay inventory management costs. Not only do these costs block your profits, they also lead to a negative cash cycle, which is known for the failure of most start-up businesses. Esources reviews give you access to the database of best dropshippers, enabling your business to implement this newer model to cut costs successfully.

Bridging the Information Gap: Esources opinions are not only posted by laymen or retailers. There are many expert consultants that advertise on eSources. They are also very active on eSources reviews. You therefore get access to qualified experts who have studied the models in much more detail and can help you implement them better.

To sum it up, education is important before you invest in implementing newer models in your business. Esources reviews are an inexpensive way to find the relevant information. It is also easy and convenient to use.

What makes eSources the best pick is the sheer number of people who subscribe to it. Such wide choice is unparalleled in the wholesaling world.

About the Author: Esources opinions can help your business by helping avoid the mistakes made by others. To subscribe to Esources reviews, log onto


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93-year-old Michigan man freezes to death after electric company limits his power usage

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Marvin Schur, a 93-year-old man from Bay City, Michigan has died after the electric company limited his electric use due to his failure to pay over US$1,000 in past-due payments.

Bay City Electric Light & Power installed a power-limiting device on his home on January 13. The device would limit the amount of power the resident uses and would essentially shut it off if that limit is reached, or if the resident fails to pay the outstanding bill within 10 days of installation. In order for the electricity to be turned back on, the limiter must be reset by pushing a button.

Bay City power says that a warning, indicating that the power was to be turned off and a limiter installed, had been placed on Schur’s front door. Despite that, the company says that they are now “looking at our website and possibly doing an automated phone message. We obviously need to get the word out.”

The autopsy performed on Schur’s body concluded that he had died “a slow, painful death” caused by hypothermia. Dr. Kanu Virani, who performed the autopsy, explained: “Hypothermia shuts the whole system down, slowly. It’s not easy to die from hypothermia without first realizing your fingers and toes feel like they’re burning.”

It was less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Centigrade) in Schur’s home when neighbors found Schur dead on January 17. Virani commented that it was his first time performing an autopsy on a body in which “the person froze to death indoors.”

“His furnace was not running – the insides of his windows were full of ice the morning we found him,” said George A. Pauwels Jr., who was with his wife when they found Schur’s body.

In Michigan it is illegal for a utility company to disconnect power to any home between November 1 and March 31 when a resident is over the age of 65. Limiters are also not supposed to be used during that time frame. However, municipally-owned electric utilities like the one in Bay City, are not regulated by the state. The Michigan state attorney general’s office has launched an investigation into the incident.

Residents around Schur’s home say he was hard of hearing, and the city states that the device’s function and operation were never explained to him. When word of the story got around, people from all over the United States began to call the city in anger.

“I’ve taken calls from Canada, Massachusetts, Texas, New York, Alabama – and that’s just the ones I can think of off the top of my head,” said Melody Roth of the city’s administrative office, who also added that people from all over are “calling all city departments, not just our office.”

Schur has no known children, and his wife had died several years prior to the incident.

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City of Calgary, Canada removes fluoride from drinking water

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fluoride is added to drinking water in many regions in order to help prevent tooth decay.Image: Jenny Downing.

Calgary city council voted 10 to 3 on Wednesday to stop fluoridating their water supply. This overturns a previous plebiscite from 1989 to add the fluoride in an attempt to reduce tooth decay.

Opponents of water fluoridation claim that there could be unknown health effects of fluoride, and question its effectiveness in preventing tooth decay. They also claim that individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to use fluoride. However, Alberta Health Services maintains that current evidence shows that fluoride is both safe, and beneficial to dental health.

It is estimated that no longer fluoridating the water supply could save Calgary’s city council C$750 thousand (€550 thousand) annually, as well as cutting a C$6 million (€4.3 million) upgrade to the fluoridation system.

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Three Situations Where You Might Need Heavy Equipment Trucking

byAlma Abell

Anticipating the need for heavy equipment trucking might not be your top priority. After all, it’s easy to think that you’ve got every part of your business covered. That is, until the time when you actually need it!

If, however, you find yourself face-to-face with one of these three situations, among others, it may be time to think of calling a reputable heavy equipment trucking service.

Hauling Construction Equipment

Got a big construction that requires heavy-duty vehicles? Chances are, you’re not going to want to drive that wheel loader across town! For one thing, it might be slow and unpleasant. For another, the fuel costs might get really high!

In this case, you’ll want to look for someone who provides heavy equipment trucking that is strong enough to get your construction stuff where it needs to be.

Setting Up Wind Turbines

If you want to establish a source of renewable energy, whether for your farm or a locality, one of your best options is the modern wind turbine. However, if you’ve never seen one before, these things are huge!

To help set them up, you just might require a heavy equipment trucking service for that big haul. This will allow you to make a long-term investment to ensure that you are able to get sustainable energy for years to come.

Getting Mining Equipment

Equipment for mining can be much less manageable than you expect it to be, given their size and weight. You might therefore need heavy equipment trucking to get it where it needs to go. After all, many approved mining areas are located outside of town and so chances are that you’ll need to haul them for a long ride when you need them.

There are, of course, numerous other situations where getting heavy equipment trucking is necessary. If you think you need it, you might want to give one such service a call to get an estimate for your needs.

Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire

Friday, March 20, 2009

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Image: – United States Defense Department.

Following the Pilkhana massacre which occurred February 25 and 26 leaving 74 dead and the inferno at the Bashundhara City shopping mall complex March 13 leaving seven dead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said security measures are being tightened countrywide across Bangladesh.

Fire drills will be enacted at all key-point installations (KPI). Fire fighting systems will be examined by the fire brigade and the public works department (PWD) to ensure functionality. Security measures will be enhanced supplementing areas under private security such as at the Bashundhara City Complex.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department requires modernization and needs new equipment to fight fires past the sixth floor of buildings. The Fire Brigade says it needs turntable ladders, snorkels, foam-tenders, lighting units, emergency tenders, fireproof uniforms, and rescue ropes for fire fighting and rescue operations. Transportation to fires is also an issue due to narrow roads, low electrical wires and congestion.

The Bangladesh National Building Code requires fire fighting equipment installed in buildings over seven floors. This code is to be monitored by authorities to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and to make sure buildings are being maintained.

The Bashundhara City shopping mall, the largest mall in Bangladesh, burns in Dhaka.Image: User:Bellayet – Edward Apurba Singha.

The Bashundhara City Complex opened Monday for shoppers two days after Friday’s blaze. A probe is underway to determine the cause of the fire and to assess structural damage.

Loss of life was minimized as the blaze broke out on a Friday, the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh, so offices in the upper floors were empty. The lower eight floors are used for shopping and the upper floors are all Bashundhara Group offices.

The mall is valued at Tk 7.0 billion (US$100 million). It is not known if the complex is covered by fire insurance.

It is estimated that it will take over two years to rebuild the area damaged by flames which were burned down to a skeleton. Bashundhara City’s technical advisor, Latifur Rahman, estimated damages at Tk 2.0 billion (US$29m).

Only one television cameraman has been allowed in to film the burnt area. None of the 2,500 shops, cinemas or cafes were burnt by the inferno. The seventh and eighth floors still experience smoke damage, and there was water damage to merchandise.

A three member committee is currently investigating the cause of the fire which will consist of Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, representatives of the police, IGP Noor Muhammad, and fire brigade, Director General Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah. The committee is required to report within the week with their findings. The forensics department is also sifting through the burnt remains.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries has also formed a committee which has begun interviewing witnesses and recording their testimony alongside the government committee.

It has been discovered that 150 closed circuit cameras were not being used when the fire started. Another mystery is why the mall fire fighting system has been found unused.

Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think….These matters seem to be mysterious

“In the shopping mall there is an ultra-technology elevator which runs even without electricity but we have found that locked,” Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of the home ministry, said. “Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think. We have to see if there was any incendiary substance there. These matters seem to be mysterious.”

Mall management has been asked to submit substances and items which would have been in the upper floors when the fire started. The fire erupted on the 17th floor and spread quickly to the two floors above and engulfed the three floors below. The aerial ladders belonging to the Fire Service and Civil Defence reached as high as the 13th floor of the 21-storey building.

Videos have been sent to the United States (US) for examination to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to help in the damage assessment. Experts from the US are expected to arrive soon.

Firefighters were brought to the rooftop of the 20-storey tower by helicopter. The only fatality in this operation was Baki Billa, a firefighter of Bashundhara City firefighting department, who fell when climbing down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of the building. Three other firefighters made the transition safely. At this same time, the chief security officer was safely rescued by the Bangladesh Air Force helicopter, a Bell 212. Six security officers of the complex also lost their lives.

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Three killed amongst Birmingham, England riots

Friday, August 12, 2011

A car fatally crashed into three individuals in the British city of Birmingham, England. The three men, aged 31, 30, and 21, died during a second consecutive night of violent events in Birmingham.

The incident occurred at approximately 0100 BST (0000 UTC) Wednesday morning in the Birmingham inner-city region of Winson Green. The men were attempting to protect property from nearby riots. Witness reports say that the vehicle contained as many as three passengers and drove at a speed of fifty miles per hour without stopping after the crash.

Police have since recovered a vehicle and arrested a 32-year-old male in association with the incident, on a charge of murder. According to Chief Constable Chris Sims, the details of the incident West Midlands Police have would indicate that “the car was deliberately driven”.

Tariq Jahan, the father of one of those killed, said his son, 21-year-old Haroon Jahan, was attempting to protect the area from nearby violence and unrest. Jahan said he had attempted to perform CPR at the scene of the incident. Jahan said his son was “a very good lad, a good man starting at the beginning of his life and had his whole life ahead of him. I’ve got no words to describe why he was taken and why this has happened and what’s happening to the whole of England.” Jahan said violent acts like this which killed innocent bystanders made “no sense”.

[There is] simply no excuse whatsoever for the violence, looting and destruction

A statement released from West Midlands Police says that “detectives are treating [this incident] as murder. Three men were taken to hospital where two later died from their injuries. A third man was in a critical condition but confirmed dead at around 6:30AM. West Midlands Police have launched a murder inquiry, arrested one man in connection with the incident and recovered a vehicle nearby which will be examined by forensics experts,” the force stated. Police have requested that individuals contact them if they have any information about the incident. About 200 people from the Asian community have gathered at the hospital where the victims were transported after the crash. Two of the victims were known to be brothers. All three of them were reported to be Pakistani Muslims.

The West Midlands has seen other instances of violent behavior. Thefts have taken place in the city centre of Birmingham, West Bromwich and in Wolverhampton. The charges being brought against suspects on remand for court appearances include public disorder offences, such as violent disorder and aggravated burglary. Six police officers have experienced minor injuries as a result of the violence.

According to police, a scrapyard fire which occurred in Birmingham is unrelated to recent violence. Two ambulances were attacked in two separate incidents with objects being thrown at the vehicles. Ambulance staff were left uninjured in both cases. Ambulances have appeared on thirty-five occasions in West Bromwich, Wolverhampton and various parts of Birmingham. Thirty-one individuals were given ambulance staff treatment, with nineteen receiving hospital treatment, albeit for practically minor assaults in most cases.

In Wolverhampton and West Bromwich, there have been reports of roads and streets being closed. Wolverhampton and Birmingham have experienced significant travel disruption, with buses not entering city centres last night. One vehicle in Birmingham and two in West Bromwich have been set alight amongst the violence. Various businesses have also been targeted, such as M&S and a high fidelity shop in Birmingham. A jewelry business in Wolverhampton has been robbed of ornaments, watches and money.

Yesterday, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg condemned the violent actions of individuals, claiming there was “simply no excuse whatsoever for the violence, looting and destruction”. Below is a picture gallery of the damage caused by public disorder in Birmingham Tuesday night:

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Various buildings in Birmingham have been damaged by rioting, including this hairdressing shop. Image: Clare Lovell.

Various buildings in Birmingham have been damaged by rioting, including this hairdressing shop. Image: Clare Lovell.

This ATM has been left damaged by rioting. Image: Clare Lovell.

This ATM has been left destroyed by rioting. Image: Clare Lovell.

A window of this mobile phone store has been badly damaged by violence. Image: Clare Lovell.

A window of this mobile phone store has been badly damaged by violence. Image: Clare Lovell.

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Animal rights protestor found guilty of Oxford arson plot

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An animal rights protestor who left home-made petrol bombs at buildings of the University of Oxford has been jailed for ten years. Mel Broughton, a prominent member of the campaign group SPEAK, had denied the charges of conspiracy to commit arson and possession of an article with intent to destroy property, but the jury at Oxford Crown Court found him guilty by unanimous verdict after deliberating for over five hours.

Broughton made his devices using water bottles and sparklers. He put one on the roof of a cricket pavilion belonging to The Queen’s College in November 2006, and two under a portable cabin at Templeton College in February 2007. The device at the cricket pavilion, which contained twelve litres of petrol, went off and caused about £14,000 of damage. The Templeton College petrol bombs, together containing nine litres of petrol, did not ignite, and DNA on one of them linked Broughton to the attacks. He was protesting about the university’s decision to back the construction of an animal research laboratory, and a police search of his home found more sparklers, as well as documents about the university and its staff.

File photograph of Oxford Crown Court Image: Claire Ward.

This was the second time that Broughton had been convicted of the offences: his conviction in February 2009 was overturned by the Court of Appeal and a re-trial was ordered. This began on June 16, and ended on Tuesday with Broughton’s conviction. Judge Patrick Eccles QC imposed a ten-year prison sentence, which will be reduced by two and a half years for the time that Broughton has already served in custody. When sentencing Broughton after the first trial, Judge Eccles said that these events “were part of a ruthless conspiracy to instil fear in all those connected to the laboratory.”

An officer from Thames Valley Police, Detective Superintendent Mark Jones, said that Broughton “was someone who believes direct action, in the form of planting explosives and setting fires, is acceptable”, adding that the conviction was the “right result”. A university spokesperson said that it “accepted the rights of protestors to voice their objections within the law”, but would work “to protect staff and students from criminal activity of any kind.”

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