Friday, February 05, 2010

Alfred Celestain, Hero of Justice

-- Wentworth House

His Excellency the Governor-General announced the addition of another name to the roll of the Heroes of Justice.

His Excellency is quoted as saying "It is my solemn duty to confirm the addition of the name of the Most Honourable Police Officer Alfred Celestain to the illustrious roll of those recognized by Her Majesty and this Dominion as a Hero of Justice."

"The Most Honourable Officer Alfred Celestain, Hero of Justice succumbed on Monday, 11 January 2010, to injuries sustained two days after his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver as he and his partner responded to a call. The drunk driver ran a red light and collided with the patrol car at the intersection of St. Charles Avenue and St. Joseph Street.

Both officers were transported to a local hospital where Hero of Justice Celestain slipped into a coma. He passed away from his injuries two days later. He had served with the New Orleans Police Department for 21 years. He is survived by his parents and three children."

Concerned and supportive citizens are encouraged to offer their own personal expressions of sympathy.

Agency Contact Information
New Orleans Police Department
715 South Broad Street
New Orleans, LA 70119

Phone: (504) 826-2828

Pope Benedict XVI to Visit Scotland

Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed that he will be travelling to Scotland as part of his tour to the United Kingdom this year. The Pope made the announcement, which was in a gathering with the Scottish Catholic bishops in Rome, Italy, in response to an address from Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien. The Pope has been quoted as saying: "Later this year, I shall have the joy of being present with you and the Catholics of Scotland on your native soil."

Pope Benedict, who announced that he would be taking a visit to the United Kingdom in 2010 last year, spoke against sectarianism and euthanasia. He said that "[f]aith schools are a powerful force for social cohesion."

"Together with my brother Bishops," Cardinal Keith O'Brien stated in reaction to the address, "I am filled with joy at the news that the Holy Father will visit Scotland, since he has confirmed his intention to visit us we in turn will now begin our preparations for his visit in earnest." O'Brien wished Pope Benedict XVI a "heartfelt welcome" and said that "[w]e are thrilled that your visit will include Scotland." The Cardinal also declared: "As Scots Catholics we are proud of our nation’s long relationship with the Holy See."

At present, a precise route has not been announced by the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI's visit will be the first papal visit to the United Kingdom since 1982, when Pope John Paul II came to the country.

Sovereign Debts Trouble Markets

-- Wikinews

Global stock markets fell steeply on Thursday on investor concerns about the growing sovereign debts of European Union member states Greece, Portugal, and Spain. A report of a rise in weekly jobless claims in the United States contributed to the market gloom. The MSCI World index fell the most in over nine months. Currency and commodities markets also posted major moves. The Euro fell more than one percent against the US dollar to an eight-month low; against the yen it fell 2.2%, approaching a one-year low. The price of crude oil fell 5% to US$73.14 per barrel and gold slid 4.4% to US$1,063 per ounce, silver fell to US$ 16.30 per ounce.

Greece's Prime Minister, George Papandreou, announced an austerity program, but that is now threatened by plans by the largest trade union for a national strike. In 2009, Greece's budget deficit was 12.7% of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP). Papandreou's plan called for that to drop to 3% by 2012.

Gary Jenkins of Evolution Securities told the Financial Times, "[t]he risk aversion trade is back on as the debt problems of Europe are for the first time bringing down global markets. Corporate earnings may come in strongly [in the US], but investors are more concerned about the possible default of a sovereign European nation."

"This is a sovereign problem, and it's hitting everything," said Keith Springer of Capital Financial Advisory Services to Reuters. "If other European countries are having trouble like Greece, then it's a big problem for banks, and the banks are the foundation for everything. European banks will be in trouble and that will carry over to all stocks."

"The focus is shifting toward Spain and Portugal, where the deficit-reduction plans have been far less ambitious than Greece," said Kornelius Purps of UniCredit Markets & Investment Banking to Bloomberg.

Concerns in Portugal centred on political tension surrounding a regional spending bill. In Spain, the source of worry was reportedly because the government backed down from promised pension reform. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet sought to ease investor fears, in part by noting that the deficit in the US is expected to hit 10% of GDP in 2010, compared with about 6% in the eurozone. He said that he was "confident" that Greece is moving in the right direction. Trichet did admit that it is of "paramount importance" for Greece, Portugal and Spain to get their public finances under control

USA, China Bicker Over Currency Values

-- Wikinews

China has retorted after the United States promised to "take a tougher line" with Beijing in regards to currency and trade. Barack Obama said yesterday that he would make sure unfair advantages were not being given by countries to their currencies against the dollar. US companies have complained that the Chinese Yuan is artificially undervalued to give Chinese industries a price advantage.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Ma Zhaoxu, said the value of the Yuan was "not the main reason" for the trade surplus of China with the United States. He went on to say that the "level of the Yuan is close to reasonable and balanced", and "accusations and pressure do not help to solve the problem".

When asked at a meeting with Senate democrats, Obama was asked about the possibility of breaking Chinese ties. He replied that he would make sure that they, along with other countries, abided by trade agreements; but, warned that it would be "a mistake" for the United States to become protectionist. He stated his administration would "make sure that our [the US] goods are not artificially inflated in price" and that China's goods were not deflated. Trade between the two countries came to a total of US$409 billion last year, with a US gap of US$266 billion .

Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been strained recently over a Taiwanese arms deal, Obama visiting the Dalai Lama and Internet censorship.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Somalia Continues to Fail

-- Wikinews

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that, in the last month, 258 civilians were killed and a further 80,000 displaced by the ongoing violence in Somalia, between the government and rebel groups. "According to local sources, intense clashes between government forces and militia groups fighting for control of the conflict- torn central regions have left at least 258 civilians dead and another 253 wounded, which makes January the deadliest month since last August," the UN agency said in a statement. "We estimate that more than 80,000 Somalis have been displaced since the beginning of the year. Thousands were also forced to leave their homes in other parts of Somalia."

The violence has made it difficult for humanitarian aid workers to access the population effectively. Andrej Mahecic, the spokesman of the UN refugees agency, noted: "So far, the deteriorating security conditions have made it hard, if not impossible, for humanitarian workers to access the needy population."

The Xinhua news agency reports that UNHCR intends to send relief and shelter supplies to upwards of 18,000 people in 27 locations, where displaced residents are living temporarily, when it is considered safe to do so. Among those displaced were 18,000 people who fled their homes in the capital, Mogadishu; meanwhile, 29,000 were displaced in Dhusamareebb, in the Galgaduud region, and 25,000 in Beledweyne in the Hiraan region.

A total of 1.4 million Somalis are currently internally displaced, 560,000 more are refugees in adjacent countries; last year, 120,000 residents sought refuge, primarily in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Yemen.

The former British Protectorate of Somaliland, in northern Somalis has been relatively safe and stable over the years. Somaliland has been seeking recognition as an independent sovereign nation.