Final launch of Space Shuttle Discovery delayed until at least Thursday

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Insignia of the STS-133 mission, the final flight of Space Shuttle Discovery. Image: NASA.

Space Shuttle Discovery’s final launch on the STS-133 mission to the International Space Station has been delayed at least an additional day. Launch is now targeted for 3:29 PM EDT on Thursday.

The launch was originally scheduled for this past Monday, but was delayed two days because of helium and nitrogen leaks on board the shuttle.

Technicians are now working to repair technical glitches discovered yesterday on a main engine control computer.

The weather outlook, however, appears to be unfavorable for the new targeted launch day; there is an 80 percent chance of undesirable weather, according to the NASA space shuttle weather officer Kathy Winters.

The mission management team (MMT) is meeting today to discuss and troubleshoot Discovery’s newfound electrical problems.

STS-133 is scheduled to be an 11-day mission to the International Space Station to ship supplies to the crew, as well as additional components for the orbital outpost’s construction, including the Permanent Multipurpose Module and the third of four ExPRESS Logistics Carriers. The mission is the 133rd of the Space Shuttle Program and the 39th of Discovery.

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ANZAC Day marked throughout NZ, AU

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

An overview of the Gallipoli Peninsula. The dotted lines approximately mark the furthest advance of Allied Forces.

Australians and New Zealanders throughout the world stood still and turned out in huge numbers for their national war memorial days in remembrance of the failed Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) — attack on Gallipoli, Turkey that began on 25 April 1915. The fateful attack was designed to end the First World War quicker by creating a supply line to Russia. A hundred thousand died in the battle, remembered every year as ANZAC Day by both nations. The British-directed battle of Gallipoli is often seen as a defining moment in the ‘birth’ of Australia and New Zealand. The battlefields of Gallipoli, where so much blood was shed, has become near-sacred soil.

This is the 91st anniversary of the attack. This is the first ANZAC day where there have been no survivors left from World War I.

Around 10,000 people are turned out at the dawn service at Gallipoli.

Poppies are used as a symbol of remembrance to all fallen soldiers at war.

Meanwhile dawn services have been held throughout New Zealand. The numbers of veterans may be dwindling, but the numbers of those who come to pay their respects is not. In Auckland nearly 20,000 people attended the dawn service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. During the service, a 62-year-old veteran of the Malayan campaign died of a heart attack, falling face forward on to the concrete as the Last Post was sounded.

In Wellington, about 5000 people gathered at the Cenotaph near the Parliament buildings.

Speaking at the service Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association president John Campbell said, “We are honouring the Anzacs. We are not here to glorify war, but to remember that we value who we are and the freedoms we possess…They did not die in vain. They fought for peace, freedom and democracy.”

Her Excellency the Governor-General

The Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Silvia Cartwright, addressed the crowd, at the Wellington service saying “Soldiers, veterans, all New Zealanders who are gathered here, around New Zealand and around the world to commemorate ANZAC Day. Today is the day we grieve for our fellow New Zealanders killed in war. It is the day we honour them, and remember their sacrifice”. This is her last ANZAC Day as Governor-General.

2006 is the New Zealand Year of the Veteran, and the 90th anniversary of the organisation founded by those who did return from Gallipoli – the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association.

Australia and New Zealand commemorate the ANZAC Day public holiday on the 25th of April every year to honour the bravery and sacrifice of the members of the ANZAC’s and of all those who served their country —

Lest we Forget.

Anzac cove shortly after the landing on 25 April 1915

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BBC spends £3.4m on sell-off

Friday, June 27, 2008

Newspaper The Guardian reports today that the sale of the BBC subsidiary BBC Resources Ltd., has cost £3.4m in consultancy fees — over £1m more than the £2.3m trading profit the commercial division is estimated to have made for the last financial year. Details of the failed privatisation were released by the BBC following a freedom of information request, and prior to publication of its annual report on July 8.

Fourteen months after advisers were appointed to try to sell BBC Resources Ltd., only one of the three main business units has been sold — its Outside Broadcast division to Satellite Information Services Limited (SIS), for an estimated £20m. On March 7, 2008 it was also announced that the studios operation would remain in BBC ownership and in early June, the fate of the third business was put on hold with the BBC stating that “like Studios, Post Production will remain within BBC Resources, which will continue to operate as a wholly-owned commercial subsidiary of the BBC.”

BBC Resources Ltd. made an operating profit of £6.1m for 2005-06, down from £7.4m the year before, with the BBC accounting for 83.3% of its turnover, down from 87.4% for 2004-05. Last year’s published figure for 2006-07 was £5.2 million — with BBC business at 80% of turnover.

BECTU Assistant General Secretary Luke Crawley is quoted as saying: “It’s fairly outrageous that around half the profit of the company [announced last year] has been spent trying to sell it. It’s an inordinate amount of money. The BBC was promised big returns if it sold BBC Resources but it’s only managed to sell outside broadcasts and we do not know how much it made out of that. We think the £3.4m is a poor investment.”

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Making Search Engine Friendly E Commerce Websites

By Paul Roberts

Just imagine you had a birthday party, you cleaned up your house, put your best clothes on, got the cake out, put up your decorations and got all that food and drink out. Prior to this you sent out your coloured invitations on glossy paper, but at the last minute, there, under a pile of papers and a rather dozy sleeping cat. Shock! Horror! You realise you forgot to send out your invitations!

And as the big night comes, only a handful of guests came. The rest just verbally were aware you were having a party, but couldnt work out how to get there and gave up sitting at home or made other plans instead.

Its a bit like that when it comes to e-commerce, we sometimes just assume our visitors are coming to our site, after all we submitted our website to all the search engines and got numerous backlinks. Yet we havent gone the extra mile to tell our friendly search engine spider where we live.

This is especially true also for e-commerce websites, as these are generally dynamically generated webpages, it seems that most are not particularly search engine friendly or search engine optimized, that the masses may not be getting through. Its not like the masses are not there, theyve just made alternative plans.


Tips for getting your e-commerce search engine friendly & search engine optimized:

The search engine spider needs to crawl through the site to index all the webpages. These webpages need to be presented to the search engines without a session ID and a query string. Also the product title should be in the filename for greater search engine success. A webpage address of is not likely to be picked up in all the search engines, as the session ID will change with each individual visitor (and could end up with 100s of variations of that webpage). But will. This can be achieved through direct hyperlinks through to the webpages or by using a dynamically created sitemap.

The title tags are one of the biggest factors in determining search engine success. Yet as most e-commerce sites are dynamically generated, there are many sites where the title tag is the same of all the product pages. Between the

should be the product title, with the most important details followed by typically the model no. The same relevant details should be added for both category and static webpages within the site.

Each product, category & static webpage should individual Meta tags. Your e-commerce should allow you to enter individual meta tags for each product, or automatically create them from the product title & description. Though the majority of search engines grab information from the webpage, rather than the meta tags, the reality is that some engines still do use this information.

With these enhancements built into your e-commerce software, your e-commerce website has a much better chance of exposure in the search engines, have all your webpages indexed and accordingly will push up sales.

About the Author: Paul Roberts – I run a software development company specialising in E-Commerce, Search Engine Optimization, and Print Estimation software at

. I also develop E-Commerce Solutions locally for New Zealand businesses under at



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China overtakes Germany as world’s biggest exporter

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chinese officials have said that their country’s exports surged last December to edge out Germany as the world’s biggest exporter.

The official Xinhua news agency reported today that figures from the General Administration for Customs showed that exports jumped 17.7% in December from a year earlier. Over the whole of 2009 total Chinese exports reached US$1.2 trillion, above Germany’s forecast $1.17 trillion.

Huang Guohua, a statistics official with the customs administration, said the December exports rebound was an important turning point for China’s export sector. He commented that the jump was an indication that exporters have emerged from their downslide.

“We can say that China’s export enterprises have completely emerged from their all-time low in exports,” he said.

However, although China overtook Germany in exports, China’s total foreign trade — both exports and imports — fell 13.9% last year.

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Kurdish forces advance as international opposition to Islamic State grows

Monday, August 18, 2014

Yesterday the Peshmerga, military of the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq, gained control of parts of the Mosul Dam, as part of their advance against insurgents of the Islamic State. International opposition to the Islamic militant group has grown this week.

Mosul Dam Image: United States Army Corps of Engineers.

The Peshmerga were supported this weekend by US airstrikes in their attempt to push back the Sunni insurgents, and Kurdish officials reported “good progress” in the face of “fierce resistance”. Reuters reported eyewitness accounts of Kurdish forces successfully retaking Batmaiya and Telasqaf, mostly Christian towns as close to Mosul — about 18 miles (30 km) — as they have come since June when government forces were forced out.

Mosul Dam, Iraq’s largest hydroelectric dam, is vital to the region’s irrigation, as well as water and power supplies. It was seized by the insurgents of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, on August 7, as part of their advance across Northern Iraq.

The advance of the Islamic State has prompted responses from many parts of the international community. On Friday the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution targeting the extremist group’s finances and leaders. Six individuals were named and now face travel bans, asset freezes, and arms embargoes. The resolution also warned of the possibility of other sanctions against anyone found to be trading with the Islamic State, in a move aimed at stopping their supply of weapons and economic gain from sale of oil being produced by the oil fields under their control.

UN security council chamber Image: Bernd Untiedt.

On the same day as the Security Council’s resolution, foreign ministers of the European Union’s member states issued a joint statement welcoming the efforts of those European states supporting Kurdish forces. This support includes the supply of military supplies from France, and humanitarian aid from the UK, with Eastern European countries providing military materials also being transported by the UK. Germany and the Netherlands were also reportedly considering the possibility of supplying aid where needed.

The US began launching airstrikes on August 8, and have continued to do so in support of the Kurdish forces and civilians stranded on Mount Sinjar.

The responses from the international community follow reports of brutality against religious minorities in Northern Iraq — such as Yazidis and Christians — accompanying the Islamic State advance across the region.

Rudaw reported from within Kurdistan that the local political parties have put aside their differences and are recruiting volunteers to send to the front. Many of these parties can trace their beginnings back to the 1960s–1990s struggle against the Iraqi army, many of whom continue to maintain militias which are now being deployed to reinforce the Kurdish army in the region. These are reported to have been joined by groups of ethnic Kurds from Iran.

Reports say hundreds of Yazidi volunteers are also being trained inside Kurdistan to help fight the Islamic State’s advance.

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MLB: Pirates complete sweep of Astros

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Pittsburgh Pirates 5 4 Houston Astros

The Pittsburgh Pirates swept the Houston Astros in a 5-4 victory at the Minute Maid Park Wednesday. Xavier Nady did very well in the first three games of the season, going 1 for 4 with 2 runs to lift the Pirates over the Astros. Tom Gorzelanny made his debut in the last game of the series, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits, with 2 errors, with one ball batted and four strikeouts. This is the first time since May 1991 that the Pirates swept the Astros.

Trailing by two runs in the fifth, Pittsburgh capitalized on three fielding errors to put them ahead by two. Craig Biggio hit a solo home run with two outs in the ninth inning, but Pittsburgh closer Salomon Torres struck out the last batter and picked up the save.

The Astros are off until Friday when the St. Louis Cardinals visit for three games. Meanwhile, the Pirates are concluding their opening road trip in Cincinnati before returning home to face the Cardinals.

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Review For Palmer S Cocoa Butter Massage Cream For Stretch Marks

Review for Palmer s Cocoa Butter Massage Cream for Stretch Marks


Astrid Friedman

Palmer s cocoa butter massage cream for stretch marks is one of the products that are being sold in the market that promise to reduce the appearance of stretch marks on the skin. In the skin care industry, there are numerous products being sold that contain cocoa butter.

Cocoa butter is one of the most popular ingredients for skin care products. This is because cocoa butter is known to penetrate the innermost layers of the skin. As soon as cocoa butter is applied on the skin, it can be absorbed down to the dermis. Apparently, this is the main ingredient of Palmer s cream for

stretch marks


If you would check the packaging of the product, you d see that the main ingredient of the formulation is cocoa butter. However, cocoa butter is only for moisturizing the skin and not completely preventing the occurrence of stretch marks. Because of this, the manufacturer has added other ingredients such as shea butter.

Shea butter aids in penetrating the skin. Aside from that, it also helps the skin in retaining its softness. Apparently, butters won t really prevent the occurrence of stretch marks on the skin. The manufacturer of Palmers has known this, so they have included some additives to the product. The manufacturer has used the butters as the mediums for transporting the additives to the skin. They have added Vitamin E, collagen, as well as hydrolyzed elastin, which are all essential components of the skin.


Here is a summary of the benefits of

Palmer s cocoa butter massage cream for stretch marks


– Contains cocoa butter, vitamin E, collagen, and elastin

– Lubricates the skin

– Helps the skin to retain its natural moisture and elasticity

While this product provides many benefits, there are also its drawbacks. This stretch mark cream may contain good ingredients but it requires regular use. While this product promises to prevent the occurrence of stretch marks, it doesn t seem to work on everyone. Apparently, there are some people who are prone to develop the marks no matter how much they try to prevent it. Aside from that, you can t also prevent if the woman s baby will grow enormous which results to overstretching of the skin.

Here are some of the complaints about the product:

– The cream doesn t smell good when applied to the skin

– Although it contains helpful ingredients, it is not enough to effectively prevent the occurrence of stretch marks

– There are some users who reported that they were allergic with the product, which resulted to hives

– No guarantee offered by the manufacturer

Although this product may work for some people, not everyone can reap the same benefits. If you are going to check on the customer reviews, you d see that there are positive and negative reviews for this product. Some products may not completely get a full positive review but the manufacturers are providing customer guarantee in order to ensure that the customers are satisfied with their products. Providing a guarantee for a product would indicate the company s trust in their own product.

If you want to know more about these marks, you can check out more information at the

stretch mark institute


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US army gives medical assistance to Iraq school

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

BAGHDAD —According to Defend America, US Department of Defense News website, USsoldiers members of the 256th Brigade Combat Team, the 199th Forward Support Battalion (FSB), with several units from Camp Liberty (18th Military Police Brigade, 16th MP Brigade, 617th MP Brigade, 307th Psychological Operations Battalion, and the Iraqi Highway Patrol) provided medical assistance to Iraq children at an elementary school in Bagdah.

US Major Alan Kabakoff, with the 16th MP Brigade, says humanitarianmissions are very important in winning the war on terror, although you can’t seethe importance sometimes: “It’s like fire prevention, everyone knowsthat it works, it’s just hard to prove, unless something bad happens. Thesepeople want the same things that we do, they want safe schools,safe homes, and safe areas to raise their kids.”

Staff Sgt. Jason Escoyne, Co. C, 199th FSB, who examined the children saidthat there was nothing seriously wrong with them.

This effort is part of the US reconstruction of Iraq. Till now according to USAID, U.S. Agency for International Development, in Iraq 2,405 schools were rehabilitated including the supply of chairs, cabinets, desks, chalkboards and kits for secondary and primary schools, about 8.7 million science and math textbooks have been distributed, 33,000 secondary school teachers have been trainned, high protein biscuits have been distributed to more than 450,000 children and 200,000 nursing and pregnant women, trainning have been provided to 700 physicians and 2,500 primary health care providers, over 3 million children under five have been vaccinated and more than 1.3 million children under five suspected of malnutrition have been examined.

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NTSB releases updates on status of 3 major US investigations

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the agency responsible for investigating transportation accidents in the United States, released updates on three major investigations on June 14.

The NTSB, well known publicly for its involvement in the investigation of aviation incidents which involve harm or loss of human life, is also an agency that oversees the transportation of refined petroleum and gas products, chemicals and minerals.

The agency determined the cause of a natural gas pipeline explosion that killed six. It also detailed the cause of an accidental release of 204,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia from a pipeline in an environmentally sensitive area, and released preliminary information involving two commercial aircraft coming within 30-50 feet of each other on a runway.

In the gas explosion disaster, the towing vessel Miss Megan, which was of specifications that did not require inspection by the United States Coast Guard, was being operated in the West Cote Blanche Bay oil field in Louisiana by Central Boat Rentals on behalf of Athena Construction on October 12, 2006. The Miss Megan was pushing barge IBR 234, which was tied along the starboard side of barge Athena 106, en route to a pile-driving location. Athena Construction did not require its crews to pin mooring spuds (vertical steel shafts extending through wells in the bottom of the boat and used for mooring) securely in place on its barges and consequently this had not been done. During the journey, the aft spud on the Athena 106 released from its fully raised position. The spud dropped into the water and struck a submerged, high-pressure natural gas pipeline. The resulting gas released ignited and created a fireball that engulfed the towing vessel and both barges. The master of the towing vessel and four barge workers were killed. The Miss Megan deckhand and one barge worker survived. One barge worker is officially listed as missing.

The NTSB blames Athena Construction for the disaster, citing in the final report that Athena Construction’s manual contained no procedures mandating the use of the safety devices on the spud winch except during electrical work. It was found that if the Athena 106 crew had used the steel pins to secure the retracted spuds during their transit, a pin would have prevented the aft spud from accidentally deploying. Furthermore, the spud would have remained locked in its lifted position regardless of whether the winch brake mechanism, the spud’s supporting cable, or a piece of connecting hardware had failed.

The NTSB also found that contributing to the accident was the failure of Central Boat Rentals to require, and the Miss Megan master to ensure, that the barge spuds were securely pinned before getting under way. The Board noted that investigators found no evidence that the Miss Megan master or deckhand checked whether the spuds had been properly secured before the tow began. While Central Boat Rentals had a health and safety manual and trained its crews, the written procedures did not specifically warn masters about the need to secure spuds or other barge equipment before navigating. The NTSB stated that the company’s crew should have been trained to identify potential safety hazards on vessels under their control.

NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said of the investigation’s results, “Having more rigorous requirements in place could have prevented this accident from occurring. Not only do these regulations need to be put in place but it is imperative that they are enforced and adhered to.”

The NTSB has made a number of safety recommendations as a result of this accident and the subsequent investigation. Recommendations were made to Athena Construction and Central Boat Rentals to develop procedures and train the employees of its barges to use the securing pins to hold spuds safely in place before transiting from one site to another.

The most major of the other recommendations are:

To the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

  • Direct the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health to issue the following documents document to the maritime industry: (1) a fact sheet regarding the accident, and (2) a guidance document regarding the need to secure the gear on barges, including spud pins, before the barges are moved, and detailing any changes to your memorandum of understanding with the Coast Guard.

To the U. S. Coast Guard

  • Finalize and implement the new towing vessel inspection regulations and require the establishment of safety management systems appropriate for the characteristics, methods of operation, and nature of service of towing vessels.
  • Review and update your memorandum of understanding with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to specifically address your respective oversight roles on vessels that are not subject to Coast Guard inspection.

The NTSB also released the result of its investigation into an environmental disaster in Kansas on October 27, 2004 in which 204,000 gallons (4,858 barrels) of anhydrous ammonia was spilled from a ruptured pipeline in Kingman into an environmentally sensitive area. Chemicals from the pipeline entered a nearby stream and killed more than 25,000 fish, including some fish from threatened species.

The incident reached the scale that it did due to operator error after the initial rupture. The 8 5/8-inch diameter steel pipeline, which was operated by Enterprise Products Operating L.P., burst at 11:15 a.m. in an agricultural area about 6 miles east of Kingman, Kansas. A drop in pipeline pressure, indicating abnormal conditions or a possible compromise in pipeline integrity, set off alarms displayed on the computerized pipeline monitoring system. Shortly after the first alarm the pipeline controller, in an attempt to remedy the low pressure, increased the flow of anhydrous ammonia into the affected section of pipeline. A total of 33 minutes elapsed between the time when the first alarm indicated a problem with the pipeline and the initiation of a shutdown.

In its initial report to the {{w|National Response Center|National Response Center|| (NRC), the pipeline operator’s accident reporting contractor reported a release of at least 20 gallons of ammonia, telling the NRC that an updated estimate of material released would be reported at a later time. No such report was ever made. Because of the inaccurate report, the arrival of representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency was delayed by a full day, affecting the oversight of the environmental damage mitigation efforts.

The cause of the rupture itself was determined to be a pipe gouge created by heavy equipment damage to the pipeline during construction in 1973 or subsequent excavation activity at an unknown time that initiated metal fatigue cracking and led to the eventual rupture of the pipeline.

“We are very fortunate that such highly toxic chemicals of the size and scope involved in this accident were not released in a populated area,” commented Rosenker. “Had this same quantity of ammonia been released near a town or city, the results could have been catastrophic.”

As a result of this accident, the NTSB made the following safety recommendations:

To the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration:

  • Require that a pipeline operator must have a procedure to calculate and provide a reasonable initial estimate of released product in the telephonic report to the National Response Center.
  • Require that a pipeline operator must provide an additional telephonic report to the National Response Center if significant new information becomes available during the emergency response.
  • Require an operator to revise its pipeline risk assessment plan whenever it has failed to consider one of more risk factors that can affect pipeline integrity.

To Enterprise Products Operating L.P.:

  • Provide initial and recurrent training for all controllers that includes simulator or noncomputerized simulations of abnormal operating conditions that indicate pipeline leaks.

“The severity of this release of dangerous chemicals into the community could have been prevented,” said Rosenker. “The safety recommendations that we have made, if acted upon, will reduce the likelihood of this type of accident happening again.”

As well as concluding their investigation of the above accidents, the NTSB also released preliminary information regarding a serious runway incursion at San Francisco International Airport between two commercial aircraft on May 26, 2007.

At about 1:30 p.m. the tower air traffic controller cleared SkyWest Airlines flight 5741, an Embraer 120 arriving from Modesto, California, to land on runway 28R. Forgetting about the arrival airplane, the same controller then cleared Republic Airlines flight 4912, an Embraer 170 departing for Los Angeles, to take off from runway 1L, which intersects runway 28R.

After the SkyWest airliner touched down, the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) alerted and the air traffic controller transmitted “Hold, Hold, Hold” to the SkyWest flight crew in an attempt to stop the aircraft short of runway 1L. The SkyWest crew applied maximum braking that resulted in the airplane stopping in the middle of runway 1L. As this was occurring, the captain of Republic Airlines flight 4912 took control of the aircraft from the first officer, realized the aircraft was traveling too fast to stop, and initiated an immediate takeoff. According to the crew of SkyWest 5741, the Republic Airlines aircraft overflew theirs by 30 to 50 feet. The Federal Aviation Administration has categorized the incident as an operational error.

The NTSB sent an investigator to San Francisco, who collected radar data, recorded air traffic control communications, and flight crew statements, and interviewed air traffic control personnel prior to the NTSB making the preliminary release.

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