Monday, February 9, 2009

PM pledges to rebuild fire-hit Australia

Walls of flame
Forensic investigators from around the country, including experts who helped to identify those killed in the Bali bombings in October 2002, have flown in to help the operation.

Forensic teams have the difficult task of identifying remains found in burnt-out houses and cars, says the BBC's Phil Mercer in Melbourne.
In the nearby town of Kinglake, vast areas have been reduced to ash, our correspondent says - a once-vibrant community scorched by fast-moving walls of flame.
A record heatwave and changing wind directions on Saturday helped fan the flames.
Many people are searching for loved ones among the survivors taking refuge in Victoria's relief centres.
Relatives concerned about family members maple story mesos in the affected areas can contact the Australian Red Cross 24-hour helpline on (0061) 393283716 or, from the UK, the British Red Cross international tracing and message service on 0845 053 2004.

Mr Rudd told MPs that areas devastated by bushfires would be rebuilt "brick by brick" and "school by school".
A police task force has been launched to investigate the cause of bushfires that have swept across southern Australia killing at least 173 people.
Police are treating some blazes as arson. Mr Rudd described them as "murder on a grand scale".
"We are left speechless at the thought and the possibility that some of these fires may have been deliberately lit," he told the Canberra parliament.
"Let us attend to this unfinished business of the nation and come to grips with world of warcraft this evil thing."

Some 500 people have been injured and nearly 10,000 homes destroyed across 365,000 hectares of torched land, said Mr Rudd.
Rescuers are searching scorched areas amid fears the death toll would rise.
Residents in parts of Victoria state are still on alert as more than a dozen fires continue to burn uncontrolled.
Despite cooler conditions than at the weekend, officials in Victoria have warned residents to watch out for embers blowing in from the blazes.
Mr Rudd promised damaged communities would be rebuilt, and there would no limit on federal spending.

"We have deliberately made the decision to place no cap on the Commonwealth's contribution to the recovery and reconstruction effort," he said.
Although it would take time and effort, he added, "we will rebuild each of these communities... until one day we can look back and say these towns have been reborn".
He appealed for charitable donations and said about A$15m (£6.8m) had been collected so far. Mr Rudd earlier announced an aid package of A$10m.
The Australian Red buy wow gold Cross has appealed for blood, money and clothes, as some people escaping from the fires fled their homes with only the clothes they were wearing.

Crime scenes?
The 100-strong Task Force Phoenix will work with the Victoria state coroners' office, as well as fire and health authorities, to investigate all fire-related deaths.
Detectives have already sealed off a number of sites, including the devastated small town of Maryville, as possible crime scenes.

In Australia, deliberately lighting a fire which world of warcraft gold results in death carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison, while intentionally or recklessly causing a bushfire carries a 15-year maximum sentence.
Asked about suspicions that arsonists were responsible for at least some of the fires, Mr Rudd said on Monday: "There are no words to describe it other than mass murder."
Victoria's Police Commissioner Christine Nixon said rescuers were searching charred areas road by road and house by house.
"This the really worst part of the process for all of us. It is about a house-to-house and vehicle-to-vehicle, in some cases, to find those who've died," she said.
"As we go into areas now that we haven't been able to get into before, we believe we'll find many more."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Russia set to restart gas supply

Major shortages

The agreement may be greeted with scepticism in some of the hardest-hit countries, says the BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse in Kiev, after the same deal fell through last week.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had emphasised that Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine would flow only when monitors were in place and a transit deal had been signed by all parties.
While a number of EU teams are already in position, others are not, and Russian monitors have still to deploy to stations in western Ukraine, our correspondent says.
Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine on New Year's Day, saying it would pump only enough for customers further down the pipeline.

But then Moscow accused Ukraine of siphoning off gas intended for third countries and it restricted supplies even further.
Ukraine denied the claim, but the flow of Russian gas ceased completely on 7 January, leaving many European countries with major shortages.
The EU gets a quarter of its gas supplies from Russia - 80% of which buy runescape gold passes through Ukraine - and more than 15 countries across central Europe have been hit by the shutdown of Russian supplies.
Serbia and Bosnia-Hercegovina are among the worst hit as many homes rely on heating stations that only run on gas.

The state-run energy company, Gazprom, said supplies would resume on Tuesday morning, if there were no obstacles.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Europe have been left without gas since Russia turned off the taps over a contractual dispute with Ukraine.
The BBC European Affairs correspondent says world of warcraft the underlying causes of the crisis are still unresolved.
Disagreement remains over much Ukraine should pay Russia for its gas, and what Russia should pay Ukraine in return for transporting gas to Europe.
See map of affected area
Russia shut off the gas last Wednesday after it accused Kiev of stealing gas meant for other European customers.
Hundreds of thousands of people in 15 European countries are now hoping for relief, after almost a week of suffering bitterly cold winter temperatures without any heating.

'Down to work'
Under the deal agreed on Monday, EU and Russian observers will monitor supplies from pumping stations on Ukraine's eastern and western borders cheap runescape gold, in order to calm Russian fears that Ukraine is siphoning off gas for its own use. Ukraine has denied this allegation.
Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller told Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin he proposed restarting gas deliveries at 0800 (0700 GMT) on Tuesday.

Mr Putin replied: "Good, let's get down to work".

Despite a deal signed by Russia, Ukraine and the Czech presidency of the EU, it may be some time before supplies return to normal.
Analysts say that in theory, supplies could return to normal within 24 hours world of warcraft gold but a more likely time frame is 36 to 48 hours.

Earlier, Ukraine had dropped provisos it wanted to add to the agreement.
Welcoming the deal cheap wow gold, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Hryhoriy Nemyria said Ukraine had "never been the obstacle for the delivery of the Russian gas to the European Union".
"The six days' war between Gazprom and the EU customers is going to come to an end," he said.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Joe Lieberman, Democratic Survivor

As a result, the campaign ended last week with Senate Democrats in a forgiving mood, even if the party's grass roots still want blood. Most Democrats in Washington are happy to have Lieberman aboard for most Senate votes -- especially with the party now so close to a filibuster-proof 60 votes -- and wouldn't be inclined to move against him world of warcraft gold just because he endorsed a losing presidential candidate. They needed more motivation than that, and by reining himself in this fall, Lieberman didn't provide it.

Nothing is official yet, but the momentum seems to be on Joe Lieberman's side in his bid to retain his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Needless to say, this is a distressing development for Lieberman's many passionate critics on the left, who believed that his fervent support of John McCain -- and occasional elbow in Barack Obama's face -- combined with the Democrats' cheap wow gold beefed-up Senate majority would be enough for the party's caucus to jettison him once and for all.

But that's not how things have played out since last week's election -- and it really shouldn't come as a surprise.
The Lieberman saga began, of course, after the 2006 elections, when Senate Democrats, locked out of the majority for all but 16 months of the previous 12 years, found themselves with 49 seats. The chamber's two independents, Lieberman and Vermont's Bernie Sanders, were needed to put them in control -- and Sanders, who insisted on retaining his independent status while reliably siding with Democrats, wasn't really an issue.

But Lieberman was. Back in those days, he was embittered by his party's abandonment in that fall's Connecticut Senate race and emboldened by the comfortable victory he nonetheless racked up as an independent. Returning to Washington after his home-state triumph,buy wow gold he seemed intent on poking a stick in the eyes of all of his Democratic tormenters. Needing his vote, Senate Democrats had no choice but to abide him.

So it was that Lieberman, declaring himself an independent Democrat (as opposed to his campaign season pledge to return to the Democratic fold), was handed the Homeland Security gavel anyway in January 2007. Then he began settling scores, bluntly attacking his party and its leaders for their posture on Iraq and other national security issues and hinting that he'd be open to backing a Republican presidential candidate in 2008.

Some on the left shouted for Democrats to cut Lieberman loose on the spot, citing an agreement that Majority Leader Harry Reid had worked out after the '06 election with G.O.P. leader Mitch McConnell that didn't provide for control of the chamber to change partisan hands if Lieberman -- or any other senator -- switched allegiances to the G.O.P. Reid and his colleagues resisted, though, in part because the agreement with McConnell was a technicality wow eu gold: In practice, had Lieberman declared himself a Republican, the G.O.P. would have howled (to considerable effect) that Democrats were clinging to fine print in an effort to rule the chamber from a minority position.
By the end of 2007, Lieberman formally endorsed John McCain, whose G.O.P. primary campaign was in the beginning stages of its revival at the time, and began touring the country at his side. As it became clear that McCain would secure the Republican nomination and face Obama in the fall, Lieberman's visibility increased, with McCain strategists seeing him as the perfect ambassador to independent voters.

McCain's primary-season triumph also introduced the possibility that Lieberman might be asked to serve as his running mate, a development that would have made him the first person ever to serve on the national ticket of both major parties. Lieberman was publicly dismissive of such talk (as all good would-be VPs are), but his moves telegraphed genuine interest. McCain, it became clear over the summer, was just as excited by the idea.
As this vice presidential intrigue was building steam, something else was becoming clear: The Democrats were going to be in better -- much better -- position in the Senate come 2009. By this past spring, Democrats were beginning to dream of a 60-seat majority. Not a single Democratic incumbent appeared to be in danger, while Republicans in some of the deepest red states were fighting for their lives wow gold cheap, swimming against an anti-G.O.P. Congressional tide every bit as strong as the one in 2006.

These two developments -- McCain's desire to put Lieberman on the G.O.P. ticket and the Democrats' overpowering strength at the Senate level -- put Lieberman in a tricky spot. To mollify a skeptical G.O.P. base and secure McCain's VP slot, he'd need to ratchet up his attacks on Obama and begin distancing himself from some of his more liberal views, particularly on social issues. But the harsher his attacks on Obama, the worse position he'd be in to bargain with Senate Democrats if he had to return to the chamber after the election.

Lieberman tried to preserve both options. In the spring and summer months, as his VP prospects seemed to brighten, he launched a series of sharp and widely reported attacks on Obama.

"If we did what Senator Obama wanted us to do last year, Al Qaeda and Iran would be in control of Iraq today. The whole Middle East would be in turmoil and American security and credibility would be jeopardized," he said in one Fox News appearance.

After Obama appeared at the AIPAC conference the day after clinching the Democratic nomination in June, Lieberman held a conference call in which he questioned Obama's commitment to Israel and his understanding of Iran. That led Obama to personally confront Lieberman on the Senate floor. When it became clear that Lieberman would speak at the Republican convention, he seemed on course for an irrevocable split with his fellow Democrats.

But then he cooled off. The reason: Conservative activists and Republican establishment figures, many of them eager to secure the No. 2 slot for Mitt Romney (to position him for a future White House run) launched a campaign to deny Lieberman a spot on McCain's ticket. McCain tried to fight it (he noticeably burnished his own anti-abortion credentials over the summer) but ultimately gave in, opting instead for Sarah Palin.

That, in turn, led Lieberman to pivot. Had he been tapped for the G.O.P. ticket, he would have been all-in with McCain, ready to burn all of his bridges with Democrats in the fall campaign in an effort to win the White House. His sharp spring and summer rhetoric would have been a mere preview of his general-election assault against his old party and its candidate. But after McCain snubbed him, Lieberman was forced to consider his future in the Senate -- and the reality that Democrats would be its dominant party after the election, and probably for years to come. So, instead of shredding Obama, he switched gears and began instead focused on talking up McCain. His much-anticipated G.O.P. convention speech, for instance, was devoid of red meat (and just about any mentions of Obama, for that matter) and put much of the audience to sleep. A VP nominee Lieberman, no doubt, would have delivered a much sharper address.

Lieberman, clearly, was thinking ahead to life in the Senate. He stuck by McCain through the fall, but mostly resisted lashing out against Obama. (It could have been much worse.) At the same time, he continued voting with Democrats on most issues outside of foreign policy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Proudmoore guild plays out GLBT pride

Our interview with Venfelder, a long-time member from the rank and file of Taint, paints a picture of a mature, friendly,world of warcraft gold open community of players making the most of WoW's many opportunities for raiding, PvPing and just plain hanging out together.

15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players cheap wow gold you'd like to hear more about.

If you've made even the occasional pass through wow gold cheap the Blizzard forums, you're likely to have run up on at least one of the periodic flamefests with players stomping their virtual feetsies and pointing in horror at the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) guilds clustered on the Proudmoore server. Never one to ignore the elephant in the room, we got curious about what these guilds are all about and how they ended up on Proudmoore.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

McCain fails, Obama is not rattled

John McCain needed a miracle in his final debate with Barack Obama on Wednesday night, a miracle that would wipe away McCain’s deficit in the polls and re-energize his flagging campaign.
He did not get one. The clouds did not part. Heavenly choirs were not heard. Instead, the American public heard angry attacks from McCain.
Sometimes McCain attacked directly runescape gold, and sometimes he attacked sarcastically, but he never stopped attacking. And he never rattled Obama. Obama answered every attack and kept his cool.
How cool? Obama was so cool that after 90 minutes under blazing TV lights, an ice cube wouldn’t have melted on his forehead.
McCain attacked him on everything from wanting to raise the taxes of Joe the Plumber - - now the most famous plumber in America and at serious risk of becoming so wealthy his taxes will go up no matter who wins - - to not traveling enough.
“I admire so much Sen world of warcraft gold. Obama’s eloquence,” McCain sneered. “Sen. Obama, who has never traveled south of our border.” (This from a man whose running mate got her first passport last year.)
But McCain didn’t just attack, he also defended, including defending those people who attend his rallies and the rallies of Sarah Palin who have shouted nasty and threatening things when Obama’s name is mentioned.
“Let me say categorically that I am proud of the people who come to my rallies guild wars gold,” McCain said. “I am not going to stand for anybody saying that the people who come to our rallies are anything other than patriotic citizens.”
Obama responded to all this — what else? — coolly.
“I don’t mind being attacked for the next three weeks,” Obama said. “What the American people can’t afford is four more years of failed economic policies.”
He never got off his game plan. He never got shook up.
The biggest impact of the three presidential debates for Obama was not anything said or not said. It was impressionistic: Obama simply did not appear to be the scary “other” that McCain needs him to be. “When people suggest that I pal around with terrorists, then we are not talking about issues,” Obama said smoothly.
For McCain, the biggest impact of the debates was visual: In the first debate he refused to look at Obama, in the second debate McCain appeared to careen around the stage and in this last debate McCain would scribble furiously with his Sharpie as Obama was talking or else smirk in response to what Obama was saying.
Moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS often asked provocative questions that sometimes did not get provocative responses runescape gold. When Schieffer asked each man why the country would be better off if his running mate became president rather than the other guy’s running mate, Obama said Joe Biden “shares my core values.” John McCain said Sarah Palin is a “reformer” and “she has united our party.”
And McCain’s desire to keep his party united behind him — because who else is? — was very much on his mind, dipping deep into conservative Republican talking points. McCain repeatedly accused Obama of “wanting to spread the wealth” around, which doesn’t seem like all that bad an idea to people who aren’t wealthy.
But there was one place McCain would not go: He did not bring up the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It is a line McCain seems determined not to cross cheap wow gold for, even though some in his party are urging him to do so. What McCain really needed is what he still needs: for Obama to make some huge gaffe, something that makes Obama look like the riskier choice between the two.
But Obama made no such gaffes Wednesday night.
“The biggest risk we could take right now is to adopt the same failed policies and same failed politics that we’ve seen for the last eight years,” Obama said.
The race is not over. It would be wrong to write McCain off. After all, there is still almost three weeks to go. And in politics, anything can happen.
interesting link: