US Senate passes new bankruptcy bill

Posted November 9th, 2019 by 34GBdN6A

Saturday, March 12, 2005

In a vote of 74-25 last Thursday, the US Senate passed a measure that would change bankruptcy laws, making it harder for individuals seeking relief from their debt burden to avoid repayment. Almost twenty Democrats joined Republicans, who currently hold a majority of the seats in the US Senate, in passing the bill.

Lobbyists for credit card companies and financial services firms have worked for the bill during the last two administrations. A similar measure passed both the Senate and House during the previous administration, but then President Bill Clinton pocket-vetoed the measure in 2000.

Democrats sought to soften the bill by allowing bankruptcy filers to negotiate directly with lenders for relief, but the amendments were defeated by the Republican-controlled Senate. Proponents of the bill claim the rise of bankruptcy filings to nearly 1.5 million a year shows that abusers of credit use the filings to shield themselves from irresponsible practices.

“There has been an explosion of bankruptcy,” said Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the bill’s sponsor. “We preserve the principle of a fresh start, but we also establish a principle that if you have the ability to repay some of your debt, you are not going to get off scot-free.” However, Massachusetts Democratic Sen., Edward M. Kennedy said, “This legislation makes the bankruptcy courts of the United States the collection agency for the credit-card industry.”

The bill impacts a broad spectrum of bankruptcy law, but the most significant impact is on personal bankruptcy filings. Individuals who get behind in repaying credit card debt face high interest charges and stiff late payment fees. By only meeting minimum payment requirements, borrowers remit to the lender over the life of the loan an amount in interest and other fees that can far exceed the value of the principal balance of the loan. This can put consumers who run up high balances on various cards at financial risk of default. Critics of the bill blame these aggressive lending practices as a contributing factor in the rising trend of bankruptcy filings from 1996.

The proposed bill doesn’t only affect debtors with credit card debt.

It also affects debtors who have run up large medical bills.

Patients with a past medical history that disqualifies them from full medical coverage, can easily find themselves facing insurmountable medical bills after just a short stay in the hospital. These individuals will no longer be able to get a fresh start after these personal disasters, and will be forced to live in poverty until they can pay off their medical bills as part of their Chapter 13 filing. (Prior to this bill, they would have been able to file Chapter 7, completely discharging their debt.)

Chapter 7, which accounts for 70% of bankruptcy filings, allows individuals to eliminate most non-secured debts after liquidating assets, with the notable exemption of one’s principle residence in most states. The Senate passed bill would change Chapter 7 eligibility by applying a means-test, where those with a median income higher than the state average would be required to file under Chapter 13 provisions. Under Chapter 13 protection, an individual’s debt is not forgiven; rather it is restructured for payment under more lenient terms.

This was the first major overhaul of federal bankruptcy law in many years.

Under the old bankruptcy law, a personal bankruptcy attorney could not be held financially responsible for his clients mendacity. Under the new bankruptcy law, the bankruptcy attorney is responsible for his client’s lies to the Court about his assets and the bankruptcy attorney and his insurance carrier can be held responsible by the Bankruptcy Court.

The result is that personal bankruptcy attorneys (this does not apply to corporate bankruptcy attorneys) are likely to flee the personal bankruptcy field when the new law takes effect. Their insurance companies will not offer the sort of coverage that they would need to continue to practice.

So when consumers need to file personal bankruptcy under the new law, they will be unlikely to find a bankruptcy attorney to represent them. Consumers will have to file pro se: such consumers will be likely to fail due to the complexity of the law.

The bottom line is that the field of personal bankruptcy law as a practice area of law will cease to exist when the new bankruptcy law takes effect, and consumers will be unable to secure legal counsel and so consumers will lose what legal protections counsel now affords them.

Under the new bankruptcy law about one half million Americans will be forest to pay for at lest 5 years on longer they will be held in servitude as chattel they will be completely subservient to a dominating influence of the company that holds the loan. Their loan will be put on the market for sale for profit. The people will be forced to work harder. People who fail to go to court will have a arrest warrant made out in their name and people who refuseto pay. They will be subject to fines and or jail. About fifty thousand Americans will punished by a fine and or about three thousand Americans every year will go to jail under the new bankruptcy law. For some people this will be a third strike they will be put in jail for life.

The bill has the support of President Bush, and its passage in the House sometime next month seems likely. If enacted into law, lending companies will recover more money on what otherwise would be written off as bad loans. Those persons of median and higher income seeking relief would be required to file under Chapter 13 status and pay up to $100 per month under court imposed conditions. It is expected the proposed changes would cause a sharp increase in filings before the new law could take effect.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Borussia Dortmund have hired Jürgen Klopp as their new Head Coach after Thomas Doll resignation after their worst league position in 20 years. Klopp’s contract will run until the June 30, 2010. Klopp was the Head Coach for FSV Mainz since 2001 before leaving for Dortmund.

“I am delighted to be here. I am honoured”, said Klopp. “Now I want to help bring the club back on track.” Klopp has high expectations of the club, current players and target signings for the summer transfer window and wants to give the matches of Borussia Dortmund a “recognition factor.”

France to ban smoking in public places

Posted October 30th, 2019 by 34GBdN6A

Monday, October 9, 2006

France is to ban smoking in all public places in February 2007, the French prime minister, Dominique de Villepin has announced. However cafés, nightclubs and restaurants will not be required to comply until January 2008.

An offence would result in a fine of 75 euros for the person(s) responsible and 150 euros for the premises where the offence occurred.

When announcing the new law in a television interview, he stated his reason as being the “public health”:

“We started on the basis of a simple observation – two figures: 60,000 deaths a year in our country linked directly to tobacco consumption and 5,000 deaths linked to passive smoking. It is an unacceptable reality in our country in terms of public health”

Public places will include stations, museums, government offices and shops, but not streets or private places such as houses or hotel rooms. He also stated that the country would pay for one-third of the costs of anti-smoking treatments:

“That would represent the first month of treatment,” he said.“There are also other solutions, for example the creation of closed, ventilated spaces, where (food and drink) service is not authorised in order to protect employees,” he added.File:Dominique villepin.jpg

A BBC survey made in France, a country notorious for its use of tobacco suggests that 70% of the people support the ban.

The European Union’s most enthusiastic smokers are found in Greece, Cyprus, and Portugal, according to findings published in May this year. When the law activates, France will join Ireland and Italy, which have passed similar measures. Italy, for example, has very strict measures, such as a minimum fine of 150 euros for smoking in public places with additional charges leveled if the offender was near a pregnant woman or a child under 13. Repeat offenders could be fined more than 275 euros, and imprisoned if they continued. In Switzerland, the canton of Ticino is the only canton in the nation to have banned smoking in restaurants. In the The Netherlands, smoking is banned in NS railway stations.

Space Shuttle Discovery lands in Florida

Posted October 30th, 2019 by 34GBdN6A

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The space shuttle Discovery landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, ending its thirteen-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft’s landing was delayed for two hours due to low-lying clouds and heavy winds.

Discovery had been sent out to the ISS in order to install a new set of solar panels that would increase its power supply.

“Welcome home, Discovery, after a great mission to bring the International Space Station to full power,” said an astronaut, George Zamka, radioing from the mission control center in Houston, Texas.

NASA tested an experimental tile under the Discovery’s left wing during its approach for landing. The tile was almost eight centimetres thick, and had a bump in it, intended to disturb the otherwise smooth airflow over the shuttle’s wing, thus exposing it to high amounts of heat. Engineers installed the tile in order to measure the excess heat that was generated on downstream tiles. A military airplane monitored the heat with an infrared camera. The findings will be used to help determine better designs for future shuttles.

News briefs:June 30, 2006

Posted October 18th, 2019 by 34GBdN6A

The time is 20:00 (UTC) on June 30th, 2006, and this is Audio Wikinews News Briefs.

Contents

  • 1 Headlines
    • 1.1 Interior Ministry, Fatah offices in Gaza hit by Israeli airstrikes
    • 1.2 Palestinian PM: Israel aims to topple gov’t
    • 1.3 Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Freitas do Amaral resigns
    • 1.4 French Parliament adopts controversial copyright bill
    • 1.5 Police crackdown on illegal tow operations in Sydney
    • 1.6 Amsterdam to open a “Chocolate Factory”
    • 1.7 Australian shot in Thailand
    • 1.8 Germany master penalties to beat Argentina to semi-final spot
    • 1.9 Ullrich and Sevilla suspended from Tour de France
  • 2 Closing statements

[edit]

Death toll from Borneo bridge collapse reaches eleven

Posted October 18th, 2019 by 34GBdN6A

Monday, November 28, 2011

The death toll from the weekend suspension bridge collapse on the Indonesian island of Borneo has risen from four to eleven. Search and rescue teams continue to look for bodies in the Mahakam River.

The number of wounded is currently 39 injured; reports from locals suggest 33 people remain missing at the scene in East Kalimantan’s Kutai Kartanegara district, where “Kalimantan’s Golden Gate Bridge” linked the towns of Tenggarong and the regional capital, Samarinda. A six-month-old baby is among the dead.

Cars, motorbikes, and buses all fell into the Mahakam River when the bridge came down during repairs. Another car was left overturned and balanced upon wreckage over the water. State-owned builders PT Hutama Karya completed the bridge about a decade ago in the image of California’s Golden Gate Bridge. A cable on the 720-metre structure is thought to have failed as workers dealt with it; six of the repair crew were reported missing yesterday. It had been the longest suspension bridge in Borneo.

Eyewitnesses described heavy traffic at the time of the collapse, and one survivor said he left his truck to investigate a traffic jam. Some people were left trapped by debris as the bridge came down. “It happened so fast, only about 30 seconds,” according to National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Nugoroho.

National search and rescue head Daryatmo said yesterday cranes will attempt to move debris today, with new reports saying echo-sounding equipment will be used to check it is safe to begin lifting. It is believed the bodies of more victims will be found trapped in vehicles beneath the water, which is 35-40 metres deep. Visibility is poor, and one official explained authorities are still unsure how many vehicles are on the riverbed.

“The above-water search is continuing, but underwater operations have not been carried out because we’re worried that the bridge’s pylons are unstable and could collapse any time,” said Nugoroho today. He explained that bodies had washed onto the riverbanks overnight and were recovered today.

The president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has sent three ministers to the site to investigate the accident, while Bambang Widaryatmo, head of East Kalimantan’s police, promised “parties found to be negligent will be prosecuted”. The government has promised a replacement ferry service. The river is closed to boats as rescue operations continue, and a 22-strong team has been dispatched from the national police, comprising six forensics experts, five disaster victim identification specialists, and eleven investigators. They are there to augment the East Kalimantan Police. Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih yesterday visited survivors in Parikesit Hospital and promised them medical treatment at government expense.

Some people swam ashore after falling, with the aftermath filled with screams. Survivor Syakrani, 24, yesterday asserted “The authorities should have closed the bridge if it was under repair.” His words were followed by a Jakarta Globe editorial declaring the accident “unacceptable”.

The Globe went on to comment upon suggestions corruption may have played a role; “It is too early to point fingers and look to place blame, but if shoddy materials were used in the building of the bridge, those responsible must answer to the public.” Another suggestion is coal barges striking the bridge may have weakened it. Local coal company Harum Energy lost five percent of its share value today amid fears the river blockage will hamper their ability to ship coal.

Samarinda’s seen a population and construction boom lately. A few years have seen the population triple and the construction of a large mosque, and a sports stadium; an airport and port are set to follow. However, the Corruption Eradication Commission warns 70% of the corruption it investigates concerns government contracts and up to 40% of money earmarked for infrastructure ends up stolen.

Building collapses, leaving four dead in Hong Kong

Posted October 10th, 2019 by 34GBdN6A

Monday, February 1, 2010

A decades-old building collapsed along Ma Tau Wai Road in Hong Kong at about 1:30pm on Friday, local time. That building was located at 45J, Ma Tau Wai Road in Hung Hom. A shop on its ground floor was undergoing renovations when the building collapsed. The street was full of dust afterwards. Firefighters arrived at the scene to search survivors and they asked residents in the buildings nearby to evacuate the area. Those buildings included 45G and 45H.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang called for an investigation into the cause of the building collapse. He aimed at preventing similar incidents. The government required all old buildings with similar structures to undergo inspection, according to Secretary for Development Carrie Lam.

The government has confirmed that four people were dead in the incident. Rescue efforts ended on Saturday morning when the government confirmed that no one was missing. Lam visited the scene on Saturday afternoon and sought advice from the police and Buildings Department. The police has started its investigation into the incident. Secretary for Labour & Welfare Matthew Cheung said that the government would do its best to meet the victims’ needs.

The collapsed building was more than 50 years old. The government had inspected its five-storey structure before the incident and had ordered repairs. After the tragedy, the government announced that it would inspect buildings older than 50 years in one month. The government has restricted access to buildings at 45G and 45H as they were in danger.

Swedish nuclear reactors shut down over safety concerns

Posted October 10th, 2019 by 34GBdN6A

Saturday, August 5, 2006

 Correction — August 14, 2006 This article reports that the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant reactor cooling systems failed. This is incorrect. Two of the four emergency diesel generators supplying power to the plant failed to start as expected, during a reactor shut down. The emergency cooling system, which functioned normally was sufficient to meet the reactor’s needs. Wikinews apologises for the error 

Three of Sweden’s ten nuclear reactors have been shut down due to safety concerns following an incident last week at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant, in which the reactor cooling systems failed. The reactor has since been shut down there. After the incident, the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate, SKI asked all the nuclear power plants to demonstrate that the same failure could not happen in them. On Wednesday, two more reactors at Oskarshamn were shut down after the operator said their safety could not be guaranteed.

Last week’s incident at the Forsmark plant was triggered by a short circuit that cut power to the reactor cooling system. Two of the four backup generators also failed to start, but the remaining two worked and were sufficient to meet the plant’s needs. Greenpeace reports that the fault in the backup power systems were traced to new equipment installed in 1993.

The spokesman of the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate Anders Bredfell denied that there was any danger of a meltdown, adding that there was also a backup gas turbine to power the cooling system in an emergency.

However, Lars-Olov Höglund, who was responsible for the nuclear plant Forsmark for many years, said the incident was the most dangerous one since Chernobyl and Three Mile island, and that a meltdown was avoided only by pure luck. His views have however been questioned as he is involved in litigation with the Swedish nuclear industry and is known as an outspoken nuclear critic. Researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology as well as the personnel at the power plant were critical of Höglunds’ view.

Speaking to BBC News, SKI spokesman Anders Bredfell said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was informed of the incident as required and that the incident classes as a ‘2’ in the 0-7 scale used by the IAEA to assess the severity of the incident.

Another reactor in Forsmark and a fifth at Ringhals nuclear power plant have been offline due to planned maintenance work. With five of its ten reactors down, Sweden’s power generation capacity is down by almost a fifth.

The environmental group Greenpeace called on the government to shut down all reactors and probe whether the fault was a generic one. The Green Party has called for an independent investigation of the incident. Sweden is scheduled to retire all its nuclear power plants in the next few decades, as decided by a referendum in 1980.

CN Health & Safety Plan planned to be cancelled

Posted October 10th, 2019 by 34GBdN6A

Monday, August 29, 2005

On July 18, 2005 CN Rail notified the CAW that they intend to cancel the CN-CAW previously Negotiated Health & Safety Plan. The CAW will be going to arbitration this fall to address the issue. The CAW has asked that employees notify their Health and Safety Rep about any safety concerns at the work place.

One terminal has lost 5-6 full-time positions. CN Rail used to have part-time positions filled as well, but at this time there are no part-time employees to cover work if a full-time employee is absent. Overtime is necessary to keep the trains running on time. Intermodal traffic goes up, but staff goes down. CN Rail expects the trains to go out on time, and in a safe condition, but staff is overworked, because there are not enough of them. In fact, one worker noticed that most of the rail cars that contained 40 foot overseas containers did not have their loading guides in place. Trains are not allowed to go out without these guides placed into the cars (the guides stop the loads from swaying from side to side in the cars), important for safety with double stacked containers, but it seems that in this case the lack of employees forced the train to leave without them.

Some recent derailments have come to the attention of the media and politicians.

On August 3rd 2005 there was a derailment in Wabamun Lake Alberta that spilled toxins into the lake. 2 days later there was a derailment in Cheakamus River near Squamish BC. Both derailments spilled hazardous materials into the water. Many are saying that CN took too long to notify people of the toxic spills.

The Conductor on each train carries with him the shipping manifest with him and has access to that information at all times. Almost any CN terminal that has a clerk working at it with access to the CN Intranet can get this information within minutes.

CTV news has said that this is the 5th derailment for CN this month.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The mystery of the location of a viewpoint used by English painter John Constable has been solved, after nearly 200 years. The Stour Valley and Dedham Church was painted in Suffolk, England, between 1814 and 1815, but changes to the landscape meant that the spot he chose was not known, despite the best efforts of historians and art experts.

Now the puzzle has been answered. Martin Atkinson, who works for the National Trust as property manager for East Suffolk, used clues from the painting and looked at old maps to track down the viewpoint. Trees had grown, a hedgerow had been planted and boundaries had moved or disappeared, but Atkinson eventually worked out where Constable had stood. He said, “When I discovered that I had worked out the location where Constable painted this particular masterpiece, I couldn’t believe it. All the pieces of the jigsaw finally fitted together.”

Atkinson used an 1817 map of East Bergholt, where Constable grew up, as a reference point, but found that the view would have changed not long after the painting was completed. “The foreground didn’t fit at all, it was quite unusual as we know Constable painted it in the open air so he would have been standing in the scene. The hedgerow in his work no longer exists and there’s another hedgerow that runs across the scene today which wasn’t there. When you stand on the road on which he would have stood, and use the oak tree as a reference point, you see the same view. It’s great to see where an old master stood – and be inspired by the same view,” he said.

Suffolk, where Constable painted many of his finest paintings, is often called “Constable country”. Most, but not all, of the locations that Constable depicted are known. The picture is now housed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.