Saturday 21 August 2010

Wyclef rejected as Haiti candidate

The Haitian electoral authority rules hip-hop singer Wyclef Jean is ineligible to run for president there in the November election.

HAITI-WYCLEF JEAN RULING - Wyclef Jean's quest to move from musician to statesman may now be over.

Haitian authorities have ruled the hip-hop star is not eligible to run as a presidential candidate there for the November election.

Jean was born in Haiti, but moved to the United States as a child where he eventually rose to fame through his music.

He enjoyed great popularity in his homeland, and founded a charity for Haitian relief.

But Haitian presidential candidates must have five consecutive years of residency in Haiti prior to running.

The electoral authority said Jean did not meet this requirement, leaving him off the list of 19 approved candidates.


"Candidate Jeannel Wyclef Jean: rejected."

Jean - seen here after the ruling - issued a statement saying he respectfully disagreed with this decision, but accepted it.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas.

It continues to struggle in the aftermath of a massive earth quake earlier this year that killed up to 300,000 people.

Though it may not be as president, Jean said he'd continue to work to rebuild Haiti.

David Botti, Reuters

Thursday 19 August 2010

Wyclef Jean says threats will not deter candidacy

Hip hop star and presidential candidate, Wyclef Jean, says recent spate of threats will not deter his candidacy for president.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (AUGUST 18, 2010) REUTERS - Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean said on Wednesday (August 18) he had received death threats but they would not deter him from running for president of his native Haiti.
Singer-songwriter Jean, 40, said he had received anonymous phone calls threatening that he would be killed unless he left Haiti. He was in hiding and has not appeared in public for two days, but sounded defiant.

He told Reuters he wouldn't give up, but said he had taken precautions.

"And just for our safety, we basically came to an area which we feel is secure, and that's my town. So I basically am in my town, I'm in Lassere, we're in an area where we're comfortable. The area where we was at before, we was not comfortable, so where we at right now, we definitely feel more comfortable. We know that the situation that we have embarked in, you know, death threats comes with the territory," he said.

Haiti's provisional electoral council had been due to finalize on Tuesday (August 17) the list of candidates who met the legal requirements to stand in the Nov. 28 election that will choose a successor to President Rene Preval.

The announcement was delayed until Friday to allow more time to decide on legal questions about several of the 34 contenders, among them Jean.

He said he and his legal team were sure they had met all the requirements.

"So by law and within the Haitian constitution, we have given the CEP everything. So this delay of announcing the candidacy is not on our part because we have given everything possible," he said.

He is widely popular in his impoverished Caribbean homeland, which is struggling to recover from a devastating Jan. 12 earthquake that killed up to 300,000 people and wrecked

much of the coastal capital Port-au-Prince.

Haiti's electoral law requires candidates to have five consecutive years of residency in Haiti, among other requirements, such as tax compliance.

Jean left his homeland at age 9 to go to the United States, where he launched and developed his international musical career. His lawyers have said he is eligible to run and has maintained residency for more than five years in Haiti.

Legal challenges also have been raised against several other candidates, including Jacques Edouard Alexis, a former two-time prime minister, and Leslie Voltaire, a U.S.-educated urban planner and former minister who has been heavily involved in Haiti's post-quake reconstruction.

Jean has rebuffed criticisms that he lacks the experience and qualifications to be president, arguing that Haiti needs an international figure who can attract aid and allies.

He told Reuters that if his candidacy is not approved, he will continue his work in Haiti.

"If after Friday we're not approved, I will continue doing what I've been doing in Haiti, coming back and forth. But we will be respected as a political force. The important thing is that I hope we can be part of the big plan that is for Haiti. And the programs of helping people write and read, the voice of the youth could still implement, for the farmers, we put them in a better situation, the idea of investment coming into the country, starting with the diaspora, working towards helping bring the first resort to Haiti, that is something that I'm very excited on, you know, better relationships with the DR. I'm still going to be involved," he said.

What Jean may lack in political experience he may make up for in popularity. He is admired by many Haitians, especially the young, who see him as a celebrity who never forgot his roots. Several Haitian youth organizations and Creole music groups are supporting his campaign as a candidate for the Viv Ansan-m party.

The three-time Grammy award-winner has said he will put his musical career on hold if his candidacy is approved.

Preval, who has been widely criticized at home over his handling of the response to the earthquake disaster, cannot run for re-election after serving two terms.

Amnesty International calls on Australian government to treat asylum seekers fairly

Amnesty International renews demands for fair treatment of asylum seekers ahead of Australian election.

AT SEA NETWORK TEN - Human rights group Amnesty International has renewed its push for fair treatment of asylum seekers just days before a federal election, in Australia.
Amnesty International's national refugee coordinator Doctor Graham Thom said Australia held one of the worst records among the developed nations in the way it treated asylum seekers, or so called 'boat people'.

Graham said Australia breached its international obligations by penalizing people on the basis of their way of arrival.

"Amnesty International expects any incoming government to treat all asylum seekers equally whether they arrive by air or by boat. We should not be penalizing a particular group which only makes up very small fraction of the number of people coming to this country each year, any differently. They shouldn't be taken to remote detention centers, we shouldn't be locking up children, we should be treating all refugees and asylum seekers in line with our international obligations and we should be providing protection to those who prove they are genuine refugees," Thom said.

When asylum seekers arrive in Australia illegally by boat, they are kept in detention centers until their claims are being processed.

Najeeba Wazefadost, 22, is from Afghanistan and has just graduated with a degree in medical science and is hoping to become a doctor one day.

She and her family arrived by boat in 2000. When Australian Navy patrols spotted them and ordered the captain to turn back, their boat was already leaking.

"Even though they did make us turn the boat, we said it is OK we are going to turn it in front of them. We will say we are going to go back, but there is no way we were going to go back because we had nothing back there. We were going to go inside the war again? So for us it wouldn't make a difference, we are going to get drowned in the sea or go back home and get killed in our country, so it was not a choice. At least we were looking at the point of going towards Australia-- we could see a light towards our lives, that we could see there is a way, maybe, there is a one percent chance we can get out of the situation that we were in. Where as the other part, it was all dark," Wazefadot said.

Wazefadost and her family were put in a detention center until their claim was processed. Finally their claim was found genuine and they were granted refugee status.

"Those people, those refugees that are risking their lives to come through that big Pacific ocean is not just for fun or just not to come and see these buildings. I am sure their lives are at risk. I am sure that their lives have been at risk, that they have to go through that big major risk of coming through that big ocean and risking their lives. Otherwise they wouldn't have done that," she said.

Currently, there are over 4,200 unauthorized arrivals being held in detention in Australia, but while the numbers are small, border protection is a "hot button" issue with voters, which helped conservative parties win a stunning election victory in 2001.

The coalition's leader Tony Abbott wants to reopen a detention center in the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru.

In June, the asylum seeker issue saw the ruling Labor party lose a key state by-election in western Sydney.

In July, Prime Minister Julia Gillard unveiled a new policy aimed at calming voter fears about rising numbers of asylum seekers that includes a possible East Timor processing center.

Penelope Mathew is a senior lecturer in Australian National University about refugee issues.

She thinks it is a law and order issue politicians love to whip up ahead of elections.

"It is I think a distraction because it makes it look as though politicians doing something good for Australian citizens, you know, we are keeping you safe, we are controlling borders," Mathew told Reuters.

Gillard rejected charges her regional processing center policy was aimed at "rednecks in marginal seats" and Tony Abbott remained adamant that dealing with "the boat people" was a matter of dignity for a country to control its borders, with marginal seats in suburbs likely to determine the election on Saturday.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Obama says "no regrets" on mosque comments

U.S. President Barack Obama says he has "no regrets" that he expressed his view in the opening of a Islamic cultural center near the site of the 9/11 attack.

COLUMBUS, OHIO, UNITED STATES (AUGUST 18, 2010) POOL - As the proposed establishment of an Islamic cultural center and mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks continues to dominate America's political chatter, U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday said he had "no regrets" about his controversial comment last week which ignited the rhetorical firestorm.
After delivering remarks on the economy in Ohio, Obama paused to shake hands with members of his audience. A reporter stationed along a rope line asked the President if he regretted the remarks on the Islamic center. Obama walked away from the reporter, apparently to consider his response, and turned back again a short while later.

"The answer is: no regrets," he said.

Obama inserted himself into the debate over the mosque last week when observed that Muslims have the right to worship freely. Some commentators, ranging across the political spectrum from the Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid to former Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, have argued that placing the Islamic center so close to the site of the attack on the World Trade Center would open raw wounds in America's national psyche.

UK's historic coalition government marks first 100 days in office

Britain's coalition government, the first since World War Two, marks its first 100 days in office as UK trade unions attack spending cuts saying the lowest paid workers could be hit the hardest.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM,UK POOL - Britain's first coalition government since World War Two marked its first 100 days in office on Wednesday (August 18).
British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he was proud of the governments' achievements during a CentreForum think-tank event as he took over from Prime Minister David Cameron, who was on holiday.

"As of today the new coalition government is 100 days old, inevitably there is lots of discuss about our performance to date. Everyone will have their own view about the kind of start that we have made. I'm really proud of the achievements so far," Clegg said.

An ICM survey for the Guardian showed 46-percent of those interviewed felt the coalition government was doing a "good job" with 36-percent who felt the opposite. This was a drop in margin from June which showed a 23 point gap.

Assistant Editor and Political Commentator for the Guardian, Michael White said Cameron had done well on domestic policy.

"Cameron has done quite well. He has made mistakes a number of of foreign policy errors, with the president of Pakistan the other day, made a silly slip about 1940 and the Americans being the senior partner against Hitler, wrong year and so on and so forth. On domestic policy he has generally been surer," he said.

White added that unless a real disaster hits the UK, he expects the coalition government to through to the next election in 2015.

"My assumption is that unless a real disaster hits the country, an economic disaster, factors outside our control, things go wrong in the wider world economy which ranges from war to natural disaster, via resumed economic depression, I assume if that doesn't happen, the coalition will sort of battle on, perhaps stagger on, getting more unpopular. They will say 'we are seeing it through, we are doing the right thing, you will begin to see the benefits by the time we have the next election'," he said.

Director of Political Research at YouGov, Joe Twyman said although Cameron was doing well in the polls, support for the coalition was dropping.

"David Cameron is doing relatively well as prime minister, but really it is all about him as part of the wider coalition, that is the important thing for the people. And whereas David Cameron's support and the Conservative party's support have been able to be maintained over his course as prime minister. What we are seeing is the government, the coalition is dropping."

Britain's trade unions launched an attack on public spending cuts to mark the coalition's 100th day in office, setting the scene for an autumn battle with the government as it reveals where the axe will fall.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat government, which came to power on May 11, has pledged to cut departmental spending by at least 25 percent as it tackles a budget deficit running at around 11 percent of national output.

Senior Policy Officer in the Economics Department of Trades Union Congress, Nicola Smith said in 100 days there have been 100 cuts hitting the most vulnerable and poorest in the community.

"Over the last 100 days we have seen a hundred cuts that have hit the most vulnerable and poorest communities across our society the hardest. We have seen cuts in long-term support for unemployed young people, we have seen cuts for women at risk of domestic violence, we have seen cuts in support for children and nursery funding and for building extended schools and providing childcare," she said.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has joined with charities such as Oxfam to call for a fairness test to guarantee budget cuts do not hit the lowest paid workers hardest.

Unions warned the government's austerity measures, which are expected to result in around 600,000 public sector job losses, risked pushing the British economy back into recession.

While some savings were outlined in an emergency budget in June, the bulk of cuts will be set out in a spending review on October 20, a day on which unions have promised protests.

The TUC, which represents 6.5 million workers, called on the government to reconsider its planned cuts to public services and focus instead on other ways to reduce the deficit, such as a tax on financial institutions for foreign exchange, derivatives trading and share transactions.

"The real risk of these sharp cuts is that we are going to see lower growth, lower tax revenue, an increase risk of economic stagnation or even a double dip recession and that is going to take us even further away from being able to reduce the deficit. What we need to see is the deficit reduction timetable taking place over a longer period and a far fairer balance between tax rises and spending cuts," Smith added.

Public opinion of the streets of London was mixed.

Philip Clarke was impressed with Cameron engaging with local people to talk about issues.

"I think the fact that he is engaging with the people, he is actually going to meet people and chat about various issues, that impresses me," he said.

Londoner Serena Williams was unsure of Cameron but placed her support behind the coalition government.

"No I really can't comment but I do like the coalition though."

While Henry Davey likened the coalition government to a strict school teacher.

"There is a kind of a feeling that we all have been messing around while the naughty teacher is taking the class and we all know that we actually have to knuckle down and do our homework and the strict teacher has come along and said, 'stop messing around'. I think that is kind of the vibe really," he said.

The TUC's policy officer said public opinion might change once people have seen how the spending cuts affect their local services and communities.

"It does seem fair to presume that once the spending cuts actually start to hit people's services, people's communities and people can see the problems that are being caused in their local areas as a result of this very sharp and quick withdrawal of public funding, the public opinion may start to change," Nicola Smith said.

Monday 16 August 2010

Is There A Book Of Prescribed Punishment?

There is no specific book of punishment, as sentencing is
based on a variety of factors. Regardless of what crime is
committed a criminal lawyer, DUI lawyer or a felony lawyer
can provide the client with an average punishment for the
situation, but the final judgment is determined by the

In most instances, it is the judge and not the jury who
determines sentencing. The court cautions elected jurors not
to factor possible sentencing when attempting to determine
the guilt or innocence of an individual. Certain states
require juries to be involved in the sentencing process, but
only in rare circumstances, which include advising whether a
defendant should receive the death penalty over life

A crime is committed when a specific law has been broken and
many times each law or statute provides a guideline for
penalties according to each behavior. A first time offender
may be subject to a monetary fine, imprisonment or both,
which is not to exceed a specific amount. The judge then
determines the final penalty. Statutes may define behaviors
without delegating punishment so courts will decide the
punishment based on the type of behavior in general.

Public complaints of leniency have influenced Congress to
ensure justice when certain laws are broken. "Mandatory
sentencing" applies when federal crimes are committed and,
in certain instances, when a state law is violated. Under
these circumstances, judges are required to hand down
predetermined punishment for anyone who breaks these
specific laws. An automatic and specific punishment is
assigned to the breaking of that law regardless of who
committed the crime.

Generally, courts expect judges to evaluate a number of
facts surrounding the case before determining final
punishment. A person's age, criminal history, social and
work history in addition to what prompted the individual to
break the law and whether he or she regrets the action, are
issues taken into consideration. In these situations, the
punishment is determined based on the offender and not the
law that was broken.

In cases where the judge renders punishment, the defense
attorney presents "mitigating circumstances" or facts
pertaining to the particular situation, to influence the
judge to consider a milder punishment. For instance, it
might be taken into consideration that the offender has a
minor or no previous criminal history. Perhaps the defendant
did not play a key role in the crime, but was assisting
another person. Maybe the person was experiencing a great
amount of stress when the crime was committed, for example,
job loss, bills piling up and a family illness. Or perhaps
the crime did not cause injury or would not have resulted in
the injury of any person.

On the other hand, "aggravating circumstances" influence a
judge to deal severely with an offender. An individual who
commits the same crime repeatedly is likely to receive a
harsher punishment. How a crime was committed is another
aggravating circumstance. An offender who was intentionally
cruel or malicious will receive a sentence based upon that
behavior. Occasionally, laws carry defining circumstances
detailing what is considered aggravating, which include
using a weapon to commit a crime.

About the Author:

Nick Messe is president of Lead Frog LLC. If you need the
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contact Steven Louth for a free case evaluation - - Steven Louth is
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Is Artificial Insemination The Only Way To Get Pregnant After 40?

Artificial insemination is one of the most common types of
treatments tried by women who suffer with infertility
issues. While this has been a proven method of treatment
for many women, it is not something that is right for all
women, and there are other ways.

There are several options available to you to help you
conceive a child but it is important to remember that most
of these treatments comes with their own set of
complications. The exceptions are the natural and holistic

Hearing that you may not be able to have a baby is one of
the most distressing things for a woman. Having a child is
something that most women have dreamed about their whole
lives so when this type of news is presented to them, it
hurts them deeply.

Some women feel a desperate need to seek some type of
immediate treatment that can help them to correct the
situation straight away. But often they do not take the time
to consider the complications that may arise.

Artificial insemination is usually one of the first types of
treatments that women look into. This gives women a chance
of carrying their own child, and bypasses the issue that
keeps them from having a baby naturally.

It can be a very expensive treatment option, so is something
that not everyone can afford. And what should happen if the
treatment isn't successful first time round (as it is in 4
out of 5 cases)? Most of the time it can take up to 6
sessins before people give up.

The process of artificial insemination is not a short one.
A woman must take infertility medications for a defined
period so that her chance of getting pregnant increases.

The fertility drugs can cause a woman to have major mood
swings. She may also have to deal with her ovaries becoming
enlarged as well as having dry cervical mucus. Some women
can complain of stomach aches, and there havce been studies
which link the use of these treatments to higher cases of

This treatment has also been notorious for making women
pregnant with multiple babies. This is not something that
most people plan for.

The complications above are sometimes all too much for a
woman to deal with. Which is why thousands of women are
looking for natural ways to help them conceive.

Many women do not realize that if they look at all aspects
of why they cannot conceive, they will have a better chance
of correcting the situation.

By taking a natural and holistic approach to the treatment,
women will be able to create a healthy environment for their
child to be conceived. This is the best way forward, as a
woman will be working to make her body better from the
inside out.

So, before you make your decision as to what type of
treatment is best for you, you should look into what options
you have where natural and holistic treatments are concerned.

You will be healing your body so that it can work to heal
itself, making the need for artificial insemination

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