April 2008


Record oil prices drive Shell 1Q profits up 25 percent

By TOBY STERLING, AP
3 hours ago

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Royal Dutch Shell PLC reported a 25 percent rise in first-quarter earnings on Tuesday, crediting strong increases in oil prices.

Europe’s largest oil company said its average selling price of crude oil leaped by 66 percent to more than $90 per barrel from the first quarter a year ago.

That sent net profit soaring to a record $9.08 billion, up from $7.28 billion. Sales rose 55 percent to $114 billion.

Analysts said the performance was impressive, especially because expectations were already high.

Shell “delivered a very robust overall performance, with all the divisions outperforming the consensus and our estimates,” wrote analyst Alexandre Weinberg of Petercam in a note on the earnings.

“Exploration and production numbers were clearly impressive, in spite of higher industry costs and the weak dollar. … Flow generation from higher hydrocarbon prices might be underestimated for the entire group of majors.”

Chief Financial Officer Peter Voser said on a conference call the company wasn’t investing money in projects that would require oil prices to remain this high to be profitable. “We don’t understand the oil price at this stage,” he said. “The fundamentals will not justify an oil price as we see it at the moment.”

He said the company is wary of predicting prices apart from a long-term upward trend, but said economists had expected demand to slacken in response to the high prices and with the U.S. economy slowing. However, he said that has so far failed to materialize because of continuing growth in the rest of the world.

He cited a mix of other factors pushing up oil prices including the weak dollar, a rush of speculation on commodities, and ongoing political concerns in the Middle East and in Nigeria.

Shares rose 5.4 percent to 26.07 euros ($40.58).

Earnings from oil production rose 52 percent to $5.14 billion, due almost entirely to the price increases. The company said combined production of gas and oil equivalents increased by less than 1 percent to 3.4 million barrels per day, as a 9 percent rise in gas production outweighed a 6 percent fall in oil production.

Stripping out the impact of oil inventories that have risen in value, refining profits would actually have fallen 20 percent, Shell said.

“It seems that better marketing and trading were able to offset the weak refining environment,” Weinberg said, adding that he believes margins have recovered somewhat in the current quarter.

Shell has invested heavily to improve production after a string of setbacks, including an accounting scandal in 2004. More recently, it has faced attacks on its pipelines in Nigeria and a forced sale of part of its stake in a major project on Russia’s Sakhalin Island to a state-run enterprise.

One of its new projects, producing bitumen — a heavy form of petroleum — from oil-rich sands and shale in Canada, is paying off. The company reported the segment separately from oil and gas production for the first time and it showed earnings of $249 million, more than doubling from the same quarter a year ago.

Voser said that the company was also investing in resources in or near the Arctic circle which have been difficult to access in the past because of the cold but “quite clearly we see as one source of energy going forward.”

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By EILEEN SULLIVAN, Associated Press Writer

Wed Apr 16, 7:39 PM ET

WASHINGTON – The government plans to begin collecting DNA samples from anyone arrested by a federal law enforcement agency — a move intended to prevent violent crime but which also is raising concerns about the privacy of innocent people.

Using authority granted by Congress, the government also plans to collect DNA samples from foreigners who are detained, whether they have been charged or not. The DNA would be collected through a cheek swab, Justice Department spokesman Erik Ablin said Wednesday. That would be a departure from current practice, which limits DNA collection to convicted felons.

Expanding the DNA database, known as CODIS, raises civil liberties questions about the potential for misuse of such personal information, such as family ties and genetic conditions.

Ablin said the DNA collection would be subject to the same privacy laws applied to current DNA sampling. That means none of it would be used for identifying genetic traits, diseases or disorders.

Congress gave the Justice Department the authority to expand DNA collection in two different laws passed in 2005 and 2006.

There are dozens of federal law enforcement agencies, ranging from the FBI to the Library of Congress Police. The federal government estimates it makes about 140,000 arrests each year.

Justice officials estimate the new collecting requirements would add DNA from an additional 1.2 million people to the database each year.

Those who support the expanded collection believe that DNA sampling could get violent criminals off the streets and prevent them from committing more crimes.

A Chicago study in 2005 found that 53 murders and rapes could have been prevented if a DNA sample had been collected upon arrest.

“Many innocent lives could have been saved had the government began this kind of DNA sampling in the 1990s when the technology to do so first became available,” Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said. Kyl sponsored the 2005 law that gave the Justice Department this authority.

Thirteen states have similar laws: Alaska, Arizona, California, Kansas, LouisianaMarylandMinnesota, New Mexico,North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

The new regulation would mean that the federal government could store DNA samples of people who are not guilty of any crime, said Jesselyn McCurdy, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Now innocent people’s DNA will be put into this huge CODIS database, and it will be very difficult for them to get it out if they are not charged or convicted of a crime,” McCurdy said.

If a person is arrested but not convicted, he or she can ask the Justice Department to destroy the sample.

The Homeland Security Department — the federal agency charged with policing immigration — supports the new rule.

“DNA is a proven law-enforcement tool,” DHS spokesman Russ Knocke said.

The rule would not allow for DNA samples to be collected from immigrants who are legally in the United States or those being processed for admission, unless the person was arrested.

The proposed rule is being published in the Federal Register. That will be followed by a 30-day comment period.

___

On the Net:

State Laws on DNA Data Banks:

http://www.ncsl.org/programs/cj/dnadatabanks.htm

http://www.dnaresource.com/documents/2008DNAExpansionLegislation.pdf

 

I have my own opinions but I won’t speak those at this time. All I will say is… I was and still supporting big homie. BLAMMM!

By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP
1 hour ago

NEW YORK (AP) —

Isiah Thomas couldn’t win as coach with the players he assembled as president.

Now, he’s lost both jobs.

Thomas was fired as the New York Knicks coach Friday after a season of listless and dreadful basketball, a tawdry lawsuit and unending chants from fans demanding his dismissal.

Thomas lost a franchise record-tying 59 games this season, and along the way seemed to lose the support of his players, who didn’t always play hard for him the way they did last season.

“I can’t really tell you where he failed with the club. I think that we reached a point this season when our team didn’t compete for a long time,” new team president Donnie Walsh said. “The bottom line is that we haven’t won and the team didn’t look like it was motivated to try to win and be competitive.”

Walsh said that isn’t always the coach’s fault, but Thomas is blamed for enough already – sometimes unfairly, Walsh added.

“I feel like some of the bigger events that happened on the way with Isiah have overshadowed some of the good things he’s done for the franchise,” Walsh said.

Walsh said no player brought up Thomas’ name during their exit meetings Thursday, though Walsh said he wasn’t going to be asking for it, anyway.

Thomas, the coach for two seasons, will remain with the organization in an unnamed role, reporting directly to Walsh, who said he informed Thomas of the decision Friday.

“It’s very difficult to be the coach and general manager,” Walsh said. “Maybe it was too much.”

Walsh took over Thomas’ role as team president April 2, and his first big decision was to change coaches as he begins the process of turning around a team that never won a playoff game in Thomas’ tenure.

“I just believe a new voice, a new coach, is necessary to change the direction of the team,” Walsh said. “This is a coveted job. People want to coach here.”

A message was left for Thomas at his New York office.

The Knicks finished 23-59 in their seventh straight losing season.

Two of those 59-loss debacles came in the last three years, when the Knicks solidified themselves as the NBA’s most dysfunctional franchise with poor play on the court and embarrassing behavior off it.

This season alone, Thomas was found to have sexually harassed a former team employee, feuded with point guard Stephon Marbury and benched center Eddy Curry – the players Thomas acquired in the two biggest of a number of moves that never panned out.

Walsh wants a new coach in place by the draft in June, when the Knicks will finally have their lottery pick again after handing over their last two to Chicago in the Curry trade.

Walsh said he hasn’t talked to any candidates, but mentioned former Knick and current TV analyst Mark Jackson, and assistant coach Herb Williams as people who likely would be interviewed. He said he has no timetable to make his decision.

“Obviously, when you’re losing, there has to be a culture change,” he said. “There’s no easy answer. … We’ve got to work 24-7 to become competitive.”

And Thomas will be a part of that. Without getting specific, Walsh said there were assignments he’d feel completely comfortable giving to Thomas.

“I will be in touch with Isiah a lot,” he said.

Thomas went 56-108 in New York and is 187-223 as an NBA coach, leading the Indiana Pacers to the playoffs in three straight years from 2000-03. Larry Bird fired him after becoming team president, a move Walsh – who had hired Thomas as coach – was originally against but eventually went along with.

Thomas was hired as the Knicks’ team president on Dec. 22, 2003, and he acquired Marbury from Phoenix weeks later. The Knicks made the playoffs that season, getting swept by New Jersey, but haven’t gone back despite their annual spot atop the league’s highest payroll list.

Though the salary cap was already out of whack by the time Thomas arrived, he didn’t help matters with some questionable moves. He gave a $30 million contract in the summer of 2005 to center Jerome James, a career 4.3 points per game scorer who hasn’t been healthy or productive, and seems bothered by neither. A year later, Thomas used his mid-level exception on Jared Jeffries, who has limited offensive skills.

Still, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan remained confident in Thomas, even making him coach in June 2006 after firing Larry Brown following one season. But that came with an ultimatum, as Dolan warned Thomas to show “evident progress” in one season or be fired from both positions.

The Knicks went 33-49 last season. Dolan rewarded Thomas with a multiyear contract extension with more than a month left after New York moved into eighth place, but the Knicks collapsed under a series of injuries and missed the postseason.

Things went poorly this season from the time training camp opened.

The jury came back with its verdict that day, finding that Thomas and MSG sexually harassed former team executive Anucha Browne Sanders and ordering the company to pay $11.6 million in damages. Criticized by Al Sharpton and Rutgers women’s coach C. Vivian Stringer for comments he made in his taped deposition, Thomas seemed downcast during most of training camp – and never had much reason for better spirits when the season began.

The Knicks started 2-1, then dropped eight in a row as the Thomas-Marbury feud sent the season spiraling out of control. Marbury responded to Thomas’ plans to bench him by skipping a game in Phoenix, and the players reportedly voted to make Marbury sit out a game when he returned. Instead, Thomas played the point guard more than 33 minutes off the bench in a game in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

It soon became obvious that Thomas’ draft night acquisition of Zach Randolph had set back Curry, who lost his confidence and later his starting job. Speculation was rampant by Thanksgiving that Thomas’ job was in jeopardy, and it only heated up after the Knicks’ nationally televised 104-59 loss at Boston on Nov. 29.

Chants of “Fire Isiah!” sometimes started minutes after home games, and even Dolan’s strong relationship with Thomas couldn’t convince people the coach would last.

—–

AP Sports Writer Larry Lage in Detroit contributed to this report.

The Associated Press

Djs defiinitley have there perks wether its the women, or the all the free drugs and alcohol, or constantly having all the new music before the public hears it or simply just doing something that hella cool, we are a fortunate breed… We got rhythm, the magical blessings of music and even the ugliest dudes that dj all have a fly girlfriend!!! hahaa.. but thats in the states.. take the same dj and transplant them somewhere that djs arent so popular or heard of or seen and you are a damn near superstar overnight.. Folks Im chilling in Central America.. and even though it took 3 planes and going to 2 different countries just to get here to Nicaragua.. its was all soo worth it..  this is how im chillin!!!

Finca las Nubes – San Juan del Sur, NicaraguaFinca Las Nubes (Farm of the clouds) is located approximately two miles from the ocean some 1200 to 1500 ft. high on a plateau offering a cooler climate than down below. Surrounded by a steep escarpment on two sides and mountains on the other, it offers unparalleled privacy and security. The property has home sites with spectacular views of Costa Rica to the south, miles of beaches to the west and volcanoes rising out of Lake Nicaragua to the east. There are protected valleys for farming and large open pastures for grazing animals surrounded by natural forest with creeks and waterfalls. There is abundant wildlife including three types of monkeys, sloth’s, deer and many others.

Las Nubes is an intentional community. The intent is to create a sustainable lifestyle through partnership with local community. The goals are to preserve nature for future generations while creating a continually improving, sustainable, self-sufficient and low impact community. Emphasis on stewardship of the land while developing full range of farm products through various sustainable technologies. We intend to pursue and develop alternative energy sources including solar, wind and biofuels. Creative farming techniques including permaculture and hydroponics will be explored. Partnership with our neighbors is key to the long-term success of the project. We hope to learn humility, graciousness and indigenous knowledge of plants and nature from our local neighbors. We hope to inspire and empower them with knowledge, experience and resources to create a better model of how to live on the planet together. Respect is the most important part of all, respect for people, respect for nature and a healthy respect for the rights of future generations. We want to leave this place a better place than we found it. Participation is by invitation.

 
 
 

all on the strength of music.. ya heard.. im a keep soaking it in yall keep inhaling that pollen!!!!! word to big bird Binkis Bad Boy Mafioso

Larry Davis was incredible braddah. After seeing “The Larry Davis Story”, you have to respect him. Yeah he sold drugs for the NYPD but shit… to defy them and survive. If that ain’t Gangsta… I don’t know what is(I’m lieing). The story is amazing(the escape that is) and I can inner-stand it because the NYPD isn’t what you would call your friendly neighborhood cops. The way it’s described though, it’s like straight out the movies. HAAA! You gots to see it though. The braddah moved on to the other side in February due to a prison stabbing. I never knew the story behind the man until this flick. You would just hear about him in rap songs and shit. So… since another board beat me to my Rick Flare Tribute, I’m rollin wit Larry to charge the Battery. Thug Saturdays baby. Here is the first part:

Classic shit. I remember when this joint came out. Matter of fact… When Nas album was about to drop, the city was going CRAZY!! me and Jax went go see this cat at “The Wiz” in the Vill(N.Y.C.) fter school and we couldn’t even get in the joint. It was MADDDDDDDD packed. The line was down the block and around the corner. The next day,we heard that when he left… kids was rushin after his car and stoppin traffic. All that shit. Well… that’s what I heard. HAAAAAA! Enjoy!! PINGGG!

And just so you know… Grown mothasuckas can take this to heart also. A lot of y’all fail to recognize your own genius. FLAMMMM!!

 

Sovereignty is the quality or authority of being independent and in charge of the conditions you live under.

Specifically the word is used here about legally and practically arranging your affairs in such a way that you ARE in charge of your life, that you are prepared for challenges to your freedom, and that you don’t unwittingly sign yourself and your family away in virtual slavery.

Note that sovereignty carries with it responsibility. That is, if you take your life in your own hands you also take upon yourself to act responsibly and with integrity in regards to your own life, your family, your community, your fellow human beings and the planet as a whole.

“from Worldtrans.org”


Black’s Law Dictionary
(Sixth Edition)The supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power by which any independent state is governed; supreme political authority; the supreme will; paramount control of the constitution and frame of government and its administration; the self-sufficient source of political power, from which all specific political powers are derived; the international independence of a state, combined with the right and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign dictation; also a political society, or state, which is sovereign and independent.

The power to do everything in a state without accountability, –to make laws, to execute and to apply them, to impose and collect taxes and levy contributions, to make war or peace, to form treaties of alliance or of commerce with foreign nations, and the like.

Sovereignty in government is that public authority which directs or orders what is to be done by each member associated in relation to the end of the association. It is the supreme power by which any citizen is governed and is the person or body of persons in the state to whom there is politically no superior. The necessary existence of the state and that right and power which necessarily follow is “sovereignty.” By “sovereignty” in its largest sense is meant supreme, absolute, uncontrollable power, the absolute right to govern. The word which by itself comes nearest to being the definition of “sovereignty” is will or volition as applied to political affairs.

 


Bouvier’s Law Dictionary
(1856 Edition)

SOVEREIGN STATE. One which governs itself independently of any foreign power.

SOVEREIGNTY. The union and exercise of all human power possessed in a state; it is a combination of all power; it is the power to do everything in a state without accountability; to make laws, to execute and to apply them: to impose and collect taxes, and, levy, contributions; to make war or peace; to form treaties of alliance or of commerce with foreign nations, and the like. Story on the Const. §207.

2. Abstractedly, sovereignty resides in the body of the nation and belongs to the people. But these powers are generally exercised by delegation.

3. When analysed, sovereignty is naturally divided into three great powers; namely, the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary; the first is the power to make new laws, and to correct and repeal the old; the second is the power to execute the laws both at home and abroad; and the last is the power to apply the laws to particular facts; to judge the disputes which arise among the citizens, and to punish crimes.


In the context of Rights and Duties of States, the Restatement of the Law Third states:

“‘Sovereignty’ is a term used in many senses and is much abused. As used here, it implies a state’s lawful control over it’s territory generally to the exclusion of other states, authority to govern in that territory, and authority to apply law there.”

 


“The indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum.”

 


Independence: The state of condition of being free from dependence, subjection, or control. Political independence is the attribute of a nation or state which is entirely autonomous, and not subject to the government, control, or dictation of any exterior power. (Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition)

 

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