Saturday, September 25, 2010

Eric E. Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google In...Image via Wikipedia
Paris Court convicted Google CEO Eric Scmidt of defamation...

 A Paris court has convicted US search engine giant Google and its chief executive Eric Schmidt of defamation over results from its "suggest" function, a French legal affairs website has revealed.

The new function, which suggests options as you type in a word, brought up the words "rapist" and "satanist" when the plaintiff's name was typed into the search engine, reported.

The court ordered Google to make a symbolic payment of one euro in damages and take measures to ensure they could be no repeat of the offence.

The plaintiff in this case had been convicted on appeal to a three-year jail sentence for corruption of a minor, a conviction that was not yet definitive, when he discovered the results on entering his name in a Google search.

The court concluded that the search engine's linking his name to such words was defamatory.

The court ruled that Google had not showed its good faith in the matter and ordered it to pay 5,000 euros towards the plaintiff's costs.

A Google spokesman told AFP by email that they would be appealing the ruling.

The statement said that the Google Suggest function simply reflected the most common terms used in the past with words entered, so it was not Google itself that was making the suggestions.

The judgement in full, which was issued on September 8, is available here.

Acknowledgements:- AFP

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17:  His Holiness Pop...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Australia's first Saint Mary MacKillop 'exposed a  paedophile priest and was  excommunicated earleir in her life...

SYDNEY (AFP) – The late nun who is soon to become Australia's first Catholic saint was briefly excommunicated by the church in part because she exposed a paedophile priest, a new documentary claims.

Mary MacKillop, who will be canonised by Pope Benedict XVI next month, is known as a tireless educator and founder of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart order of nuns which ventured into remote outback areas.

But a documentary to be screened on national broadcaster ABC will paint her as a woman who also spoke up to church authorities about allegations of child molestation by priests, reports said Saturday.

"The story of the excommunication amounts to this: that some priests had been uncovered for being involved in the sexual abuse of children," Father Paul Gardiner, a campaigner for MacKillop's sainthood told the documentary makers.

MacKillop and her nuns told their superiors and severe action was taken, including sending one priest back to Ireland, and this so enraged other priests that they swore to take revenge against MacKillop's order, he said.

Part of this revenge included encouraging the then Bishop of Adelaide Laurence Shiel to excommunicate MacKillop, something he duly did in 1871.

"She (MacKillop) submitted to a farcical ceremony where the Bishop had... lost it," Gardiner told the documentary, which screens on October 10. "He was being manipulated by malicious priests."

The man sent back to Ireland continued as a priest, the documentary says.

"Were they covering up sexual abuse? Well, I suppose you could put it that way," Gardiner said. "Or priests being annoyed that somebody had uncovered it and being so angry that the destruction of the Josephites was decided upon."

From his deathbed some five months later, Shiel instructed that MacKillop be absolved and the Melbourne-born woman went on to grow her order around the country, attracting hundreds of women to her cause.

Calls for MacKillop's canonisation began shortly after her death in 1909.

The Sisters of St Joseph did not dispute the findings of the documentary.

The revelations come as the Catholic Church worldwide is faced with concerns about child sex abuse by priests.

Acknowledgements:  Yahoo News

Friday, September 24, 2010

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Central Library : after the quakeImage by Christchurch City Libraries via Flickr 

Christchurch residents rally over 'third world' conditions - post earthquake news...

The way it really is, residents claim:

A digger demolishes buildings in Christchurch after the earthquake.Dozens of angry residents have rallied in one of Christchurch's worst earthquake-hit areas to let the world know their situation is not fixed, and they are still living in "third world" conditions.

About 100 people gathered in a badly cracked, silt-covered cul-de-sac in the suburb of Avonside today to express their frustration at still being in limbo and without basic services 18 days after the devastating 7.1 magnitude quake.

The residents, many Housing New Zealand tenants, are living in cracked and sunken homes, still managing without sewerage and drainage, uncertain about using the water, getting sick from contaminated silt that has come from underground, and worried what their futures hold.

They are upset that the message being sent to the rest of the country is that Christchurch is getting back on its feet when they feel far from it.

"You see on TV the devastation of third world countries or war. And that's what it felt like for the first week," said Angela Wasley, a resident of the cul-de-sac and rally organiser.

"It's absolutely exhausting. It feels like you have gone camping, and the campsite hasn't quite got the right utilities. We've got power.....but nothing else. Water comes and goes. So you can't wash, you can't flush the toilet."

"You don't really want to be in the area, because it feels like it has been demolished, and it feels broken. You don't want to not stay in your house because there's burglaries around."

"We've got this contaminated silt flying around everywhere which we can't wash off, and it's getting into our throats. We've had sore throats for about 10 days now."

Ms Wasley, who lives with her seven-year-old son and father, said she did not know yet whether her home would have to be demolished, and where she would go next.

The aftershocks after the big quake meant the "cracks keep widening".

Beneficiary Karron Gosney has slept in her damaged rental home in the largely deserted cul-de-sac every night since the earthquake, when most other houses are deserted.

"As much as we want the people of Canterbury to get back to normal, they have got to realise that a lot of us are living worse now than what a lot of people were day one of the quake."

"We are not a rich neighbourhood. A lot of us do not have access to bank loans or overdrafts or credit cards. So we are trying to do it out of our benefits."

Ms Gosney uses a shower at a local gym and the toilet at a local shopping centre.

"We don't all have friends and family that can put us up."

Mark Christison, of the Christchurch City Council's earthquake recovery team, said the team was working long hours and doing its best to get at least "limited services" restored to all homes.

"Typically the city renews about 4km of sewer a year in its network. The sort of damage that we are seeing from this earthquake could be anything from 20-30km to 100km. So that gives you an idea of the magnitude of the job thats in front of the recovery team.   CHRISTCHURCH QUAKE MAP DOWN BY THE HUTTRIVER

A former National Party logo
Image via Wikipedia

A former NZ National Government introduced a bill in 1999 to reform drinking:

by Peter Petterson

When a former New Zealand National Party Government introduced a bill in 1999 to reform the drinking laws in NZ, and allowed a  Parliamentary  conscience vote, they did not do New Zealand society a favour. The drinking age was reduced to 18 years, off-licences were introduced and as a consequence younger drinkers were given  greater access to alcohol.

 Quite frankly it has become a disaster to society as a whole and has also affected driving on our streets and highways. Drink- driving and other driving offences have also skyrocketed as alcohol has become more accessable to younger teens and children.Youth  drunkenness in the CBD areas of our cities has become a problem for our police and a public nuisance to other citizens. And there has been a proliferation of alcohol outlets in our cities and suburbs - they have sprung up like mushrooms, and robberies and deaths have ensued from them.

So what has the Key National Party - led administration done about it? Apart from the rhetoric a big fat zero! There is now a social cost to New Zealand society. Mores lives are being lost annually as the government delays action and a further reform of our drinking laws.

The Government has allegedly  turned its back on hundreds of pages of official advice to increase the drinking age and reduce the numbers of alcohol outlets, and a claim that the refusal to lower  the drink-driving limitt  was costing an extra  33 lives and  a saving of NZ$238 million a year. These pages have been released under the Official Information Act and showed that lowering  the alcohol limit was the best possible action it could take to reduce the number of road injuries and  deaths caused by drunk drivers. It is obvious that the current approach to drink-driving will not reduce the the level of fatalities.

The government was told that data based on 300 overseas studies showed that 33 lives and 686 injuries could be prevented. A social saving of up to $238 million ayear could be made, and ACC could save an extra $95 million in claims each year.

But the government wants to sit on its heads and do more studies. Why? Because they are obviously coming under pressure from the alcohol industry lobby, despite denials from those involved. The government refuses to reduce the  blood alcohol limit (BAC) from 0.08 down to 0.05 as recommended by experts. This  National Government wants to have a further two years of research before they revisit the limit; there has been years of public discussion and official advice on the matter. They want a good range of public submissions, ministers have claimed. Like Nero they will fiddle while Rome burns - the Rome in this particular scenario being hundreds of more deaths and thousands of maimed New Zealanders, including babies and elderly people.

So let me halt my rhetoric and produce some facts for readers to consider:

What  a lower limit would do:

1/  Save up to 33 lives a year.

2/Prevent up to  686 injuries a year.

3/ Save social costs of up to $238 million a year

4/ACC would save up to $95 million in claims each year.

5/The financial gain would be 173 times the cost.

Knowing your limit:

!/ The current blood alcohol content of 0.08 of alcohol per 100 ml of blood allows a man of average height and weight to drink six standard drinks within 90 mins. For an average woman,  it allows four standard drinks.

2/ A BAC of of 0.05 would allow an average height and weight man  to drink two standard drinks in the first hour and one an hour thereafter. For an average woman it allows one standard drink an hour.

What the Governments opponents say:

Innocent people will continue to be killed on our roads by drinking drivers  while Minister Steven Joyce and his fellow National cabinet ministers say the can't yet make up their minds about lowering the alcohol limit for drivers on NZ roads.