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Australian PM faces inquiry into Iraqi kickbacks

Friday, April 14, 2006

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Cole Inquiry

Australian Prime Minister, John Howard appeared before the Cole inquiry on Thursday, the first time an Australian Prime Minister has appeared before an inquiry with royal commission powers since 1983.

Unlike his foreign minister Alexander Downer who gave evidence before the inquiry on Tuesday, Mr Howard entered through the front door where he gave a brief address. He told the press that his government is being open about the Iraqi kickback affair. ” just want to make one point and that is that the appearance by me, earlier this week by the Foreign Minister and also by the Trade Minister, demonstrates absolutely how open and transparent and accountable the Government is being in relation to this matter” Mr Howard said to reporters.

Mr Howard was questioned by John Agius, counsel assisting the inquiry. Counsel for AWB, the company at the centre of the scandal did not apply to cross-examine the prime minister.

Terrence Cole, the inquiry’s commissioner received an application from Peter Geary and Micheal Long’s counsel to cross-examine the prime minister but refused it on the grounds that the proposed line of questioning was similar to that of Mr Aguis’ and that there was no evidence that Mr Howard had “ever met with Mr Geary or Mr Long”.

Mr Agius questioned the prime minister about a series of diplomatic cables sent to his office, which raised concerns about AWB’s contracts in Iraq.

Mr Howard told the inquiry that he doesn’t recall reading or being briefed about any of the cables referred to by the inquiry. The inquiry also heard that prior to 2003 there was no system in place to identify which cables had been bought to the prime minister’s attention.

In his statement to the inquiry, Mr Howard said that his office had not received four of the cables mentioned by the inquiry. Under questioning, Mr Howard confirmed this but conceded that it was likely that his staff had read the other 17.

When asked whether there were any guidelines which guided his advisors in deciding which cables should be bought to the prime minister’s attention, Mr Howard replied “No, there weren’t”.

The inquiry heard that the only discussions about which cables which should be bought to Mr Howard’s attention occurred when an advisor changed in very generic terms. Mr Howard told the inquiry that he would tell a new advisor “Well, you’ve got to exercise your own judgment, I can’t possibly read everything, and clearly I want things brought to my attention which are, in your judgment, important and are relevant to issues in front of the government at the time”.

Mr Howard admitted that the government had an interest in Iraq using the United Nations oil for food program for its own financial benefit, but said he did not expect cables dealing with alleged breach of UN sanctions to have been bought to his attention.

The questioning then turned to a statement Mr Howard made to the National Press Club on March 13, 2003, one week prior to the US-led Iraqi occupation. Speaking about Saddam Hussein Mr Howard said “He has cruelly and cynically manipulated the United Nations oil-for-food programme. He’s rorted it to buy weapons to supporthis designs at the expense of the wellbeing of his people”.

Mr Agius asked Mr Howard if his statement was based upon briefngs he had received. Mr Howard told the inquiry that the information was based upon “open source” intelligence stated at addresses by British foreign secretary Jack Straw and the United States state department. Mr Howard said one of his advisors “checked with some cables to confirm that those cables supported the open-source claims and was satisfied that they did”.

Mr Howard denied seeing the cables used by the advisor to support the claims, but believed he would have told her to be sure that everything they were saying can be supported by fact. Mr Howard told the inquiry that he never knew about cables which referred to Hussein rorting the UN Oil for Food program. Mr Howard admitted that at the time his “general knowledge” was that Hussein had breached UN sanctions and was rorting the Oil for Food program.

“My general knowledge at the time and belief was that the program had been rorted, and it was not seriously in dispute. Nobody was arguing it hadn’t been rorted” Mr Howard said.

The prime minister was questioned about an unassessed intelligence report which mentioned a Jordanian trucking company known as “Alia” paying kickbacks to Hussein. In response to this Mr Howard told the inquiry that he could not recall the information being bought to his attention, which was not unusual.

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French workers use threats in compensation demand

Friday, July 17, 2009Following similar threats by workers at New Fabris and Nortel, workers at JLG in Tonneins, France, threatened to blow up several platform cranes. The JLG factory announced in April 2009 that it will fire 53 of its 163 workers by the end of 2009, while the remaining 110 jobs will not be secure over the next 2 years.

JLG Tonneins was acquired in 2006 with its parent JLG Industries, a maker of aerial work platforms, by the U.S.-based Oshkosh Corporation. Despite being hugely profitable in the past, production has been much reduced since 2008 with the contraction of the construction industry and lower demand for its products. Despite excellent past results the new American management demanded sweeping cuts at the company.

In the view of locals, “the company’s actions are a disgrace given the expensive perks, such as official cars, for its corporate fat cats, compared to the sacrifice, silence, and dignity demanded by the company of those it has made redundant.”

The management offered severance pay of 3,000 (US $4,200), however the workers demanded a severance package commensurate with “the wealth that their labor has generated.” Worker’s delegates requested a “supra-legal” payment of € 30,000, on Thursday 16 of July the management responded with a counter offer of € 16,000. On Thursday night the worker’s actions secured the € 30,000 settlement initially demanded.

Australian governments to meet for first COAG meeting of 2006 today

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Australian governments to meet for first COAG meeting of 2006 today
Author: RdBXvzh4

20 Mar

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) will meet in Canberra today for its first meeting of 2006. Members of COAG are the Prime Minister, State Premiers, Australian Capital and Northern Territory Chief Ministers, and the President of the Australian Local Government Association. COAG is chaired by the Prime Minister.

On the agenda is a wide range of issues such as health, economic reform, regulation, and education.

The state leaders (all of whom are members of the Australian Labor Party), met last night to develop a strategy for dealing with John Howard, Australia’s Prime Minister.

What To Consider Before Hiring Someone For Video Production In Boston

byAlma Abell

There may be times when you need to make a video presentation, whether for your business or personal use, that you need to show to an audience. When this need arises, it is important to have your videos professionally made. A trained expert who has knowledge of video production in Boston will be able to help you film your video and conduct the editing needed to ensure it looks flawless. Before you hire someone using Properpick of Boston it is important to know what you are looking for in a contractor. The following are a few things to research before you agree to hire someone to help you with your video production needs. It can make your project more fun and keep you from wasting thousands of dollars.

Fees:- There is nothing more frustrating than agreeing to let a contractor help you, only to realize that they are changing their fees and increasing the cost for their services. You can avoid this problem by getting all of their charges in writing. This will provide you with recourse should they choose to up charge you in the future. You should also ask about the cost of making DVDs of your videos for your personal use.

Education and Training:- Ask them about the education and training they have had. If they aren’t familiar with the latest software and equipment, the quality of their work may not be up to par with your needs. If they don’t have a great deal of education, they should have a video portfolio so you can see for yourself how their work stacks up against that of other contractors you are thinking about using.

Professionalism:- They should be extremely professional when they record your footage, and when they are negotiating the terms of your contract. If you notice they don’t take your interactions seriously, you may not be satisfied with the work they produce and may become frustrated when trying to iron out the specifics of your video production project.

Make your choice easy to make by starting your search for Video Production at Properpick in Boston. Seasoned professionals are standing by to offer their services to make your videos as stunning and compelling as possible. Contact one today so you can get more information and take the first step in creating professional videos that you can be proud of.

Wikimedia Conference Netherlands 2007 held on wikis and education

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Wikimedia Conference Netherlands 2007 held on wikis and education
Author: RdBXvzh4

20 Mar

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Yesterday, a chilly Amsterdam hosted the Wikimedia Conference Netherlands 2007. Held at the Aristo centre in a suburb of the city and run by Wikimedia Netherlands, the conference was a short train ride from Amsterdam Centraal railway station. The topic, Wikis and Education (Wiki’s en Educatie in Dutch). This was an opportunity for Wikimedians and people in education to come together and see how collaboration could help both.

Wikinews freelance reporter Brian McNeil caught a train from Brussels in Belgium and attended, making an impression on the Wikimedia Foundation chair, Florence Devouard, by spilling her coffee over the first two speakers approximately three minutes before they were supposed to officially open the conference.


  • 1 Morning sessions
  • 2 Afternoon
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links

BaselWorld Fair 2007 to open its doors in April

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BaselWorld Fair 2007 to open its doors in April
Author: RdBXvzh4

20 Mar

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The year 2007 marks the meeting of the major representatives of the watch and jewelry industry at BaselWorld Show, Basel, Switzerland. The Show will take place in the period of April 12 – 19, 2007. The international event is to attract over 2000 companies from 45 countries and about 90,000 visitors.

At present day the luxury goods business holds quite strong positions in the world industry and is still developing at high rates due to appropriate economic climate. Thus, BaselWorld is perceived by watch and jewelry producers and their partners as favorable new grounds for their further development.

BaselWorld is organized annually by MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd with a purpose to provide new business opportunities for the participants who are expected to exhibit their latest products in the exhibition area of about 160,000 m2. Visitors come to BaselWorld to keep aware of the current trends of watch and jewelry making, while retailers and wholesalers discover new partners and strengthen their links with well-established ones.

The exhibition is divided into product sectors presented in the six exhibition halls, among them there are the Hall of Universe and the Hall of Elements. This year the management of the Show has taken care of updating and redecorating the design of the halls.

All the participants of the event will be able to expand their business contacts beyond the fair in the BaselWorld Village located nearby. The ‘village’ comprises special facilities for partners to discuss their matters in informal atmosphere.

‘Cartoons country’ festival in Moscow: in pictures

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‘Cartoons country’ festival in Moscow: in pictures
Author: RdBXvzh4

18 Mar

Thursday, May 30, 2013

This past weekend, a “Cartoons country” festival started in Moscow in Polyot ((en))Russian language: ?flight cinema. The program included free access to cartoons in governmental cinemas network during the next week. The opening ceremony involved watching cartoons, a fair, and a chocolate fountain. The festival is run by “Kinoobedinenie for children and the youth” ((ru))Russian language: ?«??????????????? ??? ????? ? ????????» and Association of animated pictures ((ru))Russian language: ??????????? ????????????? ????.

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Wikinews Shorts: September 6, 2006

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Wikinews Shorts: September 6, 2006
Author: RdBXvzh4

18 Mar

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Explosives found in Malegaon, Nashik, India

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Explosives found in Malegaon, Nashik, India
Author: RdBXvzh4

18 Mar

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Police in the town of Malegaon have recovered explosives from a yellow container placed in the Mohammadiya Madrassa shopping complex on Kidwai Road. A bomb disposal squad has been rushed to the site, and the surrounding area has been cordoned off. Officers from the Anti-Terrorist Squad, along with IG P.K Jain and Superintendent of Police Rajyawardhan, are also at the site. Jain, however refused to confirm whether the device was a bomb, saying only that it was a “suspicious looking container with wires and a battery attached to it.” He said that if it was indeed an IED, police would either attempt to defuse it, or detonate it in an isolated area.

Meanwhile, police in Nashik have seized 11 detonators, 5 blasting gelatin(gelignite) sticks and a revolver from a building named Raj Sarthi. At least 38 people were killed and over 180 injured on 8 September, when three bombs went off near the Hamidia Mosque during the Shab-e-Barat festival. Although the communally sensitive town has so far been quiet, officials have once again declared an alert in Malegaon.