Australian emergency services personnel exposed to asbestos

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

At least 250 members of Australia’s emergency services personnel in New South Wales have been informed that they could die from exposure to fatal levels of asbestos following emergency response training south of Sydney.

Members of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) unit are thought to be at risk. They were told last week they may contract life-threatening illnesses following training on a demolition site at Holsworthy Army Barracks. The site was created to simulate rescues in the event of a terror attack or natural disaster. It has been regularly used by emergency services personnel since 2004.

Some of the emergency services personnel spent up to three weeks at a time crawling through the rubble.

Reports claim that when notified last week, senior personnel were left devastated. It can take decades for asbestos related illnesses to appear and can take up to 30 years before those exposed can be cleared of infection.

In addition to the emergency service personnel, doctors, nurses and hazardous material personnel could also be at a mild risk. Even Morris Iemma, premier of New South Wales, who visited the site has been warned he could be at risk.

According to The Daily Telegraph, a repected Sydney newspaper, it has been established that “No proper tests were done at the site before it became a training ground for hundreds of top-level rescuers in 2004″,”Personnel were kept in the dark for up to a year about the asbestos before being told last week”,”NSW public officials and a host of ministers may have been exposed”,”Ambulance chief Greg Rochford and Mr Mullins have been at the site and must face a health clearance”, and”The Dust Diseases Tribunal is conducting an investigation into the long-term impact the mass exposure could have on emergency services in NSW.”

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2008 Taiwan Excellence Gold and Silver Awards announced

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thursday at the Taipei International Convention Center, the winners of the Gold and Silver Awards were announced at the 2008 16th-annual Taiwan Excellence Awards, an event created to promote products made in Taiwan. They were announced by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), which also organized the event.

This year, 601 products competed for the eight gold medals and twenty-one silver awards. In the ICT category, the competition was especially fierce as 388 ICT products were on display from the IT industry. In total, 308 products from 102 companies were entitled as “Taiwan Excellent Products”.

Several world-class experts judged the nominated products, in order to select the final twenty-nine based on four critical factors including R&D, design, quality, and marketing. In addition, the TAITRA also had categories where people could vote over the Internet or using their mobile phones.

ASUSTeK picked up two Gold Awards and six Silver Awards and was the biggest winner in the “Taiwan Excellence Awards”. Eee PC 4G, with features like mobility, reliability, and connectively, not only won a Gold Award, but was also voted as the “Most Popular Product” as awarded by Internet and mobile users.

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Australian comedians “could have been shot” during APEC prank

Friday, September 7, 2007

According to the highest ranking police officer in New South Wales, the cast and crew of Australian TV show, The Chaser’s War on Everything could have been shot during a prank staged in Sydney where they breached APEC security.

The comedians staged a fake motorcade to gain access to the APEC restricted area in Sydney’s CBD. It is believed that the motorcade was waved through security checkpoints on Macquarie Street and ended up just metres from the hotel where United States President George W. Bush was staying. Police moved in on the group when one of the pranksters emerged from a vehicle dressed as Osama bin Laden.

Police commissioner Andrew Scipione said the prank could have resulted in someone being injured. “The reality is… (they) put security services in a position where they might have had to take an action no one would want.”

“We have snipers deployed around the city. They weren’t there for show, they mean business, that’s what they were there for,” said Mr Scipione.

I’m angry, I’m very angry that this stunt happened, it was a very dangerous stunt.

Mr Scipione was annoyed that the stunt had been carried out. He said “I’m angry, I’m very angry that this stunt happened, it was a very dangerous stunt.” The commissioner also said that the comedians had already been warned about carrying out pranks during APEC. “The people that were involved were told – we told them, we sent them maps, … We made it very clear that they shouldn’t do stunts, particularly those that were going to be dangerous,” said Mr Scipione.

Neil Fergus, senior executive for Intelligent Risks and former intelligence chief for the Sydney Olympics spoke out against those responsible for the prank. He reinforced that the prank could have ended up in someone being hurt and commended the police for dealing with the situation in the way they did.

“People can talk over each other on radios and there can be confusion, so the police response – I think – was terrific,” he said.

“And thank God it was what it was. You’ve only got to look at the experience that a very professional police service had in London when a young Brazilian was tragically shot by anti-terrorism forces.”

“So I think the police are to be commended with the professional way that they did identify the incursion, the restraint that they showed in handling it and the fact that what we’re talking about today is a bad and irresponsible joke, instead of a more tragic set of circumstances.”

The show’s executive producer Morrow denied placing anyone in danger.

“Was it irresponsible? I wouldn’t think so. Hard to say,” he said.

“No, no. We had no intention of harming anyone. Sorry guys … Lucky it was us and not Al Qaeda.”

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Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Settle My Claim For A Lump Sum Cash Payment?

Submitted by: Aaron Walter

This article is made available for educational purposes only, to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. This should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Often, injured workers choose to settle their cases with their employer’s insurance company in return for one-time cash payments (although for large sums of money some insurers favor paying out a portion of any settlement over a period of years).

These settlements often take into consideration:

Unpaid total temporary disability or partial disability benefits (TTD or TPD)

Temporary Total or Temporary Partial Disability benefits likely to be owed in the future

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Future medical expenses

Permanent disability benefits owed or likely to be owed

Any penalties for late payment of benefits

And in some circumstances, attorneys fees

Whether you SHOULD settle your claim depends on what you are offered, what you would otherwise be entitled to if you did not settle, and whether the settlement reasonably meets your needs.

Why would I ever want to settle my workers’ compensation claim?

While you are technically entitled to lifetime medical treatment, on-time disability checks (TTD or TPD), and then checks for any Permanent injuries (PPD), things do not always go so smoothly. Your employer’s insurance company is a business. It is in their financial interests to limit both cash payments to you as well as the overall cost of your medical care. Often this leads to resistance or delays in receiving cash benefits, in changing doctors, authorizing physician referrals, and in getting medical procedures approved. Also, if your employer has not accepted your claim and has paid you no benefits they may feel they have a defense to paying you benefits. By settling a claim an insurer would waive this potential defense to your claim. In another example, if you are entitled to Social Security benefits, Social Security might be able to take credit against the value of your workers’ compensation benefits. Settling your claim may allow you to get the most benefit from both.

Insurance companies often favor settlements over keeping your claim open for months or years. If they settle at a set amount, they can more accurately pass this expense onto their customers (employers) who purchase insurance from them. Major considerations regarding settling your claim for a lump sum payment include your ability to get another job, your eligibility for Social Security benefits, and your eligibility for Medicare or group insurance at another job or through your spouse.

If you have injuries that will require future medical treatment it is highly unlikely that any settlement will provide you will the ability to pay for any significant medical treatments on your own. You might be able to pay for doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, or physical therapy, but it is unlikely you could pay out of pocket for any surgery as expensive as hospital stays can be. You need to take that into account and only settle your claim if you have no immediate surgeries planned and have some idea of how your future medical bills could be paid.

About the Author: Aaron Walter is an attorney in Marietta, Georgia. He specializes in

Georgia Workers Compensation Law

and cases involving injured Iraq contractors under the

Defense Base Act

. Mr. Walter is an author of The Defense Base Act Blog. View his firm’s website at


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Obama signs healthcare bill for 9/11 emergency workers

Monday, January 3, 2011

Yesterday, United States President Barack Obama signed into law a five-year benefit package to provide healthcare treatment for emergency workers including police, firefighters, and rescue workers affected by illness and respiratory problems contracted while working at the site of the World Trade Center attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001.

The bill—the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which is named after a police officer who died of a respiratory illness he got during a rescue operation at the World Trade Center — will provide $4.2 billion over the next five years. This money will be raised by increasing a levy on foreign companies that win procurement contracts from the United States government.

The new legislation also provides new funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, a federal program for victims of the attacks.

President Obama signed the bill in Kailua, Hawaii, where he is staying on vacation. In a statement, Obama said: “We will never forget the selfless courage demonstrated by the firefighters, police officers and first responders who risked their lives to save others. I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks.”

The law was the only one that passed through Congress during the lame-duck session in December, with some Republican opposition. New York Senators and Congressmen have praised the passage of the measures.

“The heroes who rushed to Ground Zero in the hours and days after the attacks will not be forgotten. These first responders were like veterans, and this law keeps with a time-honored tradition of standing by our veterans when they get harmed answering the call.” said Charles Schumer, Democratic Senator from New York. He also vowed to “begin work immediately to make sure this law gets renewed for another five years”.

New York Republican congressman Peter T. King said that “Justice is finally being served”, and that the passing of the law marked “A great day for America.”

Democratic congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said that “The Zadroga law will save lives and fulfills our moral obligation to care for those who rose to the defense of America in a time of war.”

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Genetically modified dairy cows produce ‘human milk’

Monday, April 4, 2011

A team from the China Agricultural University is reporting success after transferring human genes into a herd of 300 dairy cows. The cows now produce milk containing proteins associated with human breast milk.

Human milk is beneficial to infants due to its high nutrient concentration. Formula milk offers an alternative to breastfeeding, but critics feel it is inferior and the research team hopes genetically modified cows could provide a solution. “Within 10 years, people will be able to pick up these products at the supermarket,” claims Professor Ning Li, research leader and head of the university’s State Key Laboratory for AgroBiotechnology. “We aim to commercialize some research in this area in coming three years.”

The new research, published in the journal Public Library of Science One, named three human proteins present in the cows’ milk. Lysozyme protects babies from bacteria, lactoferrin boosts the cells in an infant’s immune system and alpha-lactalbumin was also present. All are found in human breast milk.

“Our study describes transgenic cattle whose milk offers the similar nutritional benefits as human milk,” Li wrote in the journal. “The modified bovine milk is a possible substitute for human milk. It fulfilled the conception of humanising the bovine milk.” The cows are otherwise identical to normal cows and were produced by introducing the genes to cloned embryos, which were then reared by surrogate mothers.

The laws surrounding genetically modified food research are tighter in Europe than China, but similar products have been sold legally in the United States for years. European consumers often avoid genetically modified foods, and therefore some supermarkets avoid stocking them.

European campaigners are concerned about food safety and animal welfare; the Chinese team performed two studies on a total of 42 transgenic calves. Ten died soon after birth and six more did not survive beyond six months. It is not fully understood why survival and development is affected by cloning, which is used in the genetic modification process, but researchers concede it does happen.

Would you contemplate use of this milk in preference to ‘formula’?
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The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a UK organisation, said it is “extremely concerned” by the development. A spokesperson for the organisation said: “Offspring of cloned animals often suffer health and welfare problems, so this would be a grave concern. Why do we need this milk — what is it giving us that we haven’t already got?”

A University of Nottingham professor specializing in genetic modification, Keith Campbell, rejected food safety concerns. “Genetically modified animals and plants are not going to be harmful unless you deliberately put in a gene that is going to be poisonous,” he said. “Why would anyone do that in a food?” The Chinese team says cow welfare will be improved as they will be better able to fight udder infection with human proteins.

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How To Use An Mls Listing In Calgary


If you have lived in Calgary for some time, then you already know what areas you prefer and don’t prefer. However as you try to find the best home, you may not be able to identify the perfect abode based on just location. This is because you will also need to filter out the price, number of bedrooms, square footage, and other related features. By taking the time to use an MLS listing, Calgary homes that fit your preferences will be much more readily available.

Setting your filters

In order to use an MLS listing Calgary real estate agencies can provide access to, you will need to set your filters. You can do this by choosing the parameters of the search in the fields that can be found at the top of the page. Some of the filters you can select include the number of bedrooms, the size of the home, and whether you would prefer a multi family home, single family home, or manufactured home. After setting your filters, you can then view all of the homes that meet your criteria.

Choosing your best options

Setting your filters is the most important part of using an MLS listing Calgary service. This is because it allows you to select what your preferences are so you can view only the homes that are a match to these settings. You can then go on to view all of the results and narrow down your best options from these. The ones you will go for are those that are in your ideal location regarding proximity to work and school. You will also want to choose the homes that are most aesthetically pleasing.

Using an MLS listing Calgary service can help you to get that much closer to finding the home of your dreams. Contact your local real estate agent for help today.

At Calgary Real Estate Re Max you can find some of the best homes for sale Calgary has to offer. Visit them online to find out more information at

Four new breeds in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This year, four breeds of dogs are competing for the first time in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, United States.

The new breeds making their Westminister debuts this year, are the Plott, a hunting hound originally bred by two German immigrant brothers in North Carolina; the Tibetan Mastiff, once described by Marco Polo as “tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion.”; the Beauceron, a herding dog originally bred to herd flocks of sheep in France, later used to sniff out landmines and send messages during the World Wars; and the Swedish Vallhund, a breed dating back to the time of the Vikings, used on farms to catch vermin, herd cattle, and as a guard dog, noted for its double coat and harness markings.

This brings the number of unique breeds competing in the famous dog show to 169.

The Plott, the Beauceron, and the Vallhund were shown on Monday. The Tibetan Mastiff will be shown tonight as part of the Working Group.

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BP: Plug for underwater oil leak in Gulf of Mexico fails

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The top kill procedure implemented by BP on the leaking Deepwater Horizon oil well on Wednesday has failed. According to David Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer, “We have been unable to overcome the flow.” Suttles stated that after studying three days of results, BP determined that the procedure was a failure.

On Wednesday, BP began pumping mud into the leaking well, a procedure known as top kill. BP chief executive Tony Howard said it would take at least 24 hours to determine if the procedure was successful. The procedure has worked before in surface situations, but was not previously attempted at 5,000 feet underwater.

The procedure involves pumping heavyweight drilling mud from the surface through a drill pipe, which directs the mud into a manifold lying on the sea bed. From the manifold, the mud is pumped into the blowout preventer, which is sitting on the well.

BP says it pumped 30,000 barrels of mud into the well at rates of up to 80 barrels a minute. After three attempts, the well was still leaking.

The next option, the sixth, is called the Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP) Cap containment system. This procedure involves a ROV using a saw to cut off the leaking pipe and place a cap on the pipe. The LMRP Cap is at the scene and the procedure is expected to take four days to complete.

In New Orleans hundreds gathered in protest, calling for a fast stop to the spill and greater efforts to mitigate its ecological and economic effects.

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