Tag Archive | "spokesperson"

Lawsuit Filed against South Dakota’s New Abortion Law

Planned Parenthood challenged South Dakota in federal court on Friday over an abortion law that would entail women seeking abortions to a 72-hour waiting period and counseling at crisis pregnancy centers.

The lawsuit seeks to block the law up to the time a final verdict is announced as to whether it goes against the women’s legal rights to abortion founded under the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade.

Sarah Stoesz, Planned Parenthood president and chief executive in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, said that the law intrudes a doctor-patient relationship and puts women and families in jeopardy.

The organization provides reproductive health services, as well as child and maternal health care. One of the services it offers includes abortions. According to Planned Parenthood, 3 days will be the longest waiting period in the country.

Anti-abortion laws have been submitted since 2010 elections in states with conservative legislative majority. Legislators from the Republican Party are likely to approve on abortion restrictions.

The South Dakota law is expected to take effect on July 1. Proponents of the bill say the law protects women from being forced into getting abortions. Also, they say the state will likely win the legal battle.

A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office in South Dakota was not instantly available for comment. However, Joe Kafka, Daugaard spokesman, said the restriction offers women additional time to think about its option to get abortion.

In the United States, South Dakota has one of the lowest rates in abortion. South Dakota Campaign for Health Families said abortions in South Dakota only represent 0.1 percent of the abortions in the entire United States.

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Apple iPhone 5 Release May Be Delayed

Reports say that the much anticipated release of the celebrated iPhone 5 will be pushed back. Apple’s regular schedule of releasing new gadgets at the beginning of summer may be upset by the release of iPhone 4 under Verizon Wireless February of this year.

The company is facing a possible production problem due to shortages in the parts and components Apple imports from Japan. Several industries have been affected by the series of earthquakes and the huge tsunami that struck Japan barely two months ago. Traditionally, new iPhones are announced during the Apple’s June Worldwide Developers Conference.

On Wednesday, MacRumors published a statement allegedly from an employee of AT&T saying that Apple has informed them that they are not planning to release the new iPhone in June but a new version should be expected soon. Unfortunately, AT&T, as supposedly mentioned by one of their employees, was not given a fixed date.

AT&T refused to deny and neither confirm this rumor. David Siegel, AT&T spokesperson, said that the company will not comment on the issue as Apples’s policies prohibit them from commenting on any issue regarding their upcoming products and release dates.

Reuters has already cited three people who have “direct knowledge” of Apple and said that the iPhone 5 release will be pushed back to September in time for the new operating system – iOS 5.

However, Craig Mathias of the Farpoint Group refuses to believe all these rumors. He also said that Apple has since been extremely consistent with their release dates and will only believe the rumors when it actually happened.

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Afghan Officer Opened Fire at NATO Base, 9 Americans Killed

An experienced military pilot from Afghanistan opened fired at Kabul airport following an argument on Wednesday. Reports say that the pilot was already distressed because of personal financial issues. The Afghan officer killed a total of eight U.S. military officers and an American civilian.

The U.S. citizens who were killed were sent in Afghanistan to train the Afghan air force. The shootout is the deadliest and bloodiest shooting done by an Afghan soldier.

There have been at least seven of similar attacks at present. However, there are still doubts if the shooter is really under the Afghan government or an insurgent who is impersonating one.

Even though circumstances differ, this is not the same time that Afghan troops or citizens turned against their partners, which seems to be a reflection of their sentiments against foreign aid.

Many Afghans are disappointed since despite the increasing international funding dedicated for their country, the almost 10-year long war has not subsided and shows no hope.

General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, Defense Ministry spokesperson, confirmed that the shooter was an officer who served the Afghan military forces as a pilot for the last two decades.

Ahmad Gul, 48-years-old, was identified as the gunman and also died after the exchange of gun fires following the attack. His brother insisted that Gul was not an insurgent who sympathize the Taliban.

Afghan defense officials said that the incident happened at around 10:25 in the morning at Kabul’s airport. Gul opened fire in a meeting room after a heated argument with a couple of foreigners. However, nobody knows for sure where the argument was rooted.

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Giffords Cleared to See Her Husband’s Launch

On Monday, doctors of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords confirmed that she may fly to Florida this week to send off  her husband to space. Gifford’s husband is the space commander of space shuttle Endeavour. However, the congresswoman has to immediately return to the hospital to continue her rehabilitation.

TIRR Memorial Hermann doctors said that Giffords is medically stable and able to travel. In fact, they view this trip to see her husband as part of her rehabilitation. The congresswoman was shot to the head a few months back and is still under the hospital’s rehabilitative program. Dr. Dong Kim, director of the Mischer Neuroscience Institute in the hospital, said that he does not see any reason why this trip should pose additional risk to Gifford’s health.

The last time the congresswoman was in an aircraft was when she was flown from Arizona, where she was given immediate treatment following the shoot-out, to Houston, where her current rehabilitation is taking place. Dr. Kim, however, emphasized that Giffords will no longer be flying thru ambulance transport.

C.J. Karamrgin, the congresswoman’s spokesperson, said that they are very pleased with the announcement. Her entire staffs believe that this will be another major milestone in her rehabilitation as she has been looking forward to the launch even before the accident.

President Barack Obama and the first lady will also watch the launch but there are no reports yet if they will be watching it with Giffords. The families, including the congresswoman, will watch the Endeavour take off from a restricted area and Giffords has no plans of a public appearance.

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Mexican Restaurant Owners Face Immigration Charges

The owners of a well-known Mexican restaurant chain have been charged with tax evasion and immigration charges. On Wednesday, federal officials said that this is a part of their campaign to bring down employers who hire illegal immigrants.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the United States said that the arraignment for the owners of Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler restaurant will start on Thursday in a Tucson court. Mark Evenson and his son Christopher are facing as much as 19 counts of offenses like unlawful hiring. Joining the father-and-son owners of the restaurant is their accountant Diane Strehlow.

The three defendants were arrested on Wednesday following a series of raids on all 4 Chuy’s restaurants in California and 11 in Arizona. These are all a part of the government’s plan to step-up federal immigration enforcements to stop the hiring of illegal workers.

ICE spokesperson for Arizona, Vincent Picard, said that they also arrested 41 people who are suspected for immigration violations during the raids. Most of them will be placed on proceedings for deportation, while some others will be asked to stay to serve as witnesses.

The three defendants are alleged to have paid their illegal workers with no payroll taxes withheld or reports to the IRS. The Evensons are said to have knowingly hired undocumented people to work in their kitchens.

If proven guilty on all 19 charges, Mark Evenson could face 86 years in prison on top of a $5.33 million fine; his son Christopher may stay in prison for up to 81 years plus an additional fine of $5.08 million; while their accountant Diane will be asked to pay a fine of $2 million in addition to a maximum of 40 years in prison.

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Expired Food Found in Massachusetts’ School Cafeterias

The Massachusetts state department of education announced Friday that expired foods were found in public school cafeterias. An average of a dozen schools around the state reported to have received shipments of foods six weeks past its expiration date.

Last month, the same problem was encountered in Boston and it has since been detected in the entire state.

John Connolly, city councilor of Boston, said that most students from Boston belong to families whose incomes are low enough to avail the discounted or even free food at school. Thus, the councilor is worried that because of the past-date foods shipped to schools, the students might be receiving food of no or low nutritional value.

Because of these events, school board members and officials are asking the Agriculture Department to place a more standardized system of determining expiration dates. The situation is exacerbated by USDA guidelines that say food can be eaten past their expiration dates.

Foods in schools are supplied by USDA and they are stored from four different warehouse facilities. JC Considine, spokesperson of Elementary and Secondary Education of Massachusetts, said that this issue is contained in one of the warehouses. The said facility delivers food to schools in the northeastern part of Massachusetts.

However, Considine was firm on saying that food from all four warehouse facilities will be reviewed. Connolly said that they already discovered mismanagement in the inventory of food inside the warehouses resulting to expired foods delivered in schools. These discoveries pushed revamping of menu planning and inventory management.

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Alleged Rape Victim Still in Custody of Gadhafi’s Brigades

Eman al-Obeidy, the woman who claimed to have been raped and beaten by Moammar Gadhafi’s troops is still in custody, said her mother. This is contrary to the statement the government of Libya released to the press. They said, Sunday, that al-Obeidy has been released and is safe with her family.

Eman’s mother, however, said in an interview Monday with the Al-Jazeera television that she received a call at around 3am from Gadhafi’s compound. They told her to make her daughter Eman al-Obeidy change her statements and she will be released.

The government’s spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim said that they offered the al-Obeidy family an interview with one or two reporters, but they refused. He also said that Eman al-Obeidy is safe, healthy, and free. He, however, refused to take more questions regarding the issue saying that Libya has a very conservative society.

Al-Obeidy’s family said that Eman is a lawyer as opposed to being a mentally ill or a prostitute as the Libyan government initially said about her. The government was quick to re-track this statement and said that she is sane. The father of Eman said that his daughter is mentally healthy, and a lawyer who is taking-up higher education in Tripoli.

Eman’s story began when she emerged in a hotel Saturday, body bruised, saying that she has been held against her will and was raped by 15 men. She said that Gadhafi’s brigades violated her honor. Government officials in the area tried to stop her but she persisted on “telling her story.”

As of the moment, no one can confirm her story as the Libyan government decided to stay mum about the issue.

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Microsoft Backing-up EU’s Case Against Google

Microsoft Corporation supported, Thursday, the European Union’s probe against Google Incorporation’s suspected monopoly of the online search market. Brad Smith, General Counsel of Microsoft, said that they are planning to file a complaint against Google with the European Commission.

Microsoft said that the entire point of the case is Google’s pattern of thwarting competition and stopping anyone who might provide creative competition. No one from the European Commission confirmed receipt of such complaint.

The European Commission started a formal investigation on Google on November 2010. They did this after receiving a couple of complaints from other web companies saying that Google was intentionally making sure the smaller companies do not rank in the search results.

Al Verney, Google’s spokesperson, said that they are not surprised of Microsoft’s actions as the initial complaints stemmed from one of the company’s subsidiaries. The very first complaint started from Ciao, an online shopping website, which is owned by Microsoft’s Bing. However, Microsoft’s complaint will definitely add weight on the case as it is said to have a detailed and specific examples of Google’s alleged monopoly of their industry.

Verney said that they are always willing to explain the mechanics of their business. He also said that they are currently discussing this matter with the European Commission.

Brad Smith of Microsoft said that Google has ensured some technical measures to make sure competing sites cannot properly access YouTube videos. With that, Microsoft and even Yahoo, can never come close to Google.

Smith further said that Windows operated phones of Microsoft is blocked from properly operating with YouTube, whereas its Google counterpart Android perform better with YouTube.

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2 Dead After Sailboat Sank in San Diego

A sailboat turned over throwing 10 people in to the water off of San Diego Bay, Sunday. Two men died on the spot, a woman was sent to intensive care, and seven people were injured said the authorities.

The harbor police rescued and pulled out of the water and in to a boat dock everyone aboard the sailboat. Paramedics and firefighters provided first aid but two elderly men in their 60s died on the spot. The other eight were immediately sent to a local hospital. Two children were discharged from the hospital following brief treatment.

Although only 10 people were reportedly aboard the sailboat, divers made sure that there were no any other additional victims in the accident site. Maurice Luque, spokesman of the San Diego Fire and Rescue Team, said that they are confident no one else was a part of the accident.

Most of the injuries were not fatal, although a woman was treated in the intensive care unit of the UCSD Medical Center due to hypothermia. None of the names of the victims were released immediately; however, Luque said that most of them are Asians.

Investigators are still trying to figure out why the boat capsized and sank. Marguerite Elicone, spokesperson of the Port of San Diego, said that there were no other vessels involved and that although there were witnesses they are not sure how significant what they saw are. Investigations are led by the Harbor Police.

The Coast Guard were also on the scene, however, many said that they did not immediately respond to phone calls regarding the accident.

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JP Morgan Considers a $50 Roof on Purchases via Debit Cards

JP Morgan debit card limitsYour spending habits may soon be changed after a reliable source disclosed that JPMorgan Chase, one of the largest banks in the nation, will consider capping transactions using your debit card at $100 or even $50. This decision is due to interchange fees.

At the moment, retailers pay around 44 cents for every debit card transaction. Those little charges sum up to $16 billion annually; this goes directly into your bank’s profits. However, the Wall Street reform
submitted in 2010 proposed that those fees be slashed to 12 cents beginning July of this year.

This could cost JPMorgan Chase, and all other major issuing banks, more than $1 billion annually. Joe
Price said that this overwhelming decrease in interchange fees will force banks nationwide to increase
their debit card transactions fees and possibly limiting their payment.

On top of the $100 to $50 limit on debit card transactions, Chase is also considering imposing a $3
monthly debit card fee. Also, the bank has stopped issuing debit reward cards since November of 2010.
However, the spokesperson of Chase Banks refused to comment on this issue.

Major Banks said that the interchange fees help them make up for fraudulent transactions. If banks
cannot find a way to cover that cost, they will need to pass on the charges to their consumers by issuing
additional charges.

If this pushes through on July, people will be forced to issue checks or withdraw from ATMs. This will
greatly affect those who have bad credits and are not eligible for a checking account or a credit card

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