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Posts posted by ShiningKnight

  1. FORT DESOTO PARK, Florida -- Two boys were rescued from nearly drowning on Saturday.

    It happened at the North Beach at Fort Desoto Park. One boy ran into trouble when he tried to help his little brother to shore. Fortunately, a good samaritan and a lifeguard were there to help.

    Nine-year-old Julian Wiseman was swimming with his 5-year old brother, when the younger boy became tired and needed help. Julian held his little brother, but became fatigued and both boys drifted out of the designated swim area.

    That's when German tourist Christian Strausen realized they were in trouble and ran into the water to save them. The man swam nearly 200 yards and rescued both boys.

    Lifeguard Mark Chapel helped bring the boys back to shore and performed CPR on Julian until paramedics arrived.

    Authorities say Julian was conscious and alert, but taken to All Children's Hospital as a precaution. His 5-year-old brother was ok when he made it to shore, and did not have to go to the hospital.

    Tampa Bay's 10 News

  2. A pilot who died when he crashed a small aircraft near Germany's parliament building in central Berlin had been questioned about the disappearance of his wife and was probably on a suicide mission, police said.

    Officials said they had definitively ruled out the possibility that Friday's crash onto a lawn between the Reichstag building and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's office was in any way related to terrorism.

    "Before taking off, the pilot supposedly spoke of his intention to kill himself," Gerd Neubeck, Berlin's deputy police chief, told a news conference. "Everything points to a suicide."

    The single-engine, ultra-light aircraft crashed shortly before 8:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) on Friday a couple of hundred metres from the glass-domed Reichstag and about the same distance from the chancellery.

    Witnesses said the plane, which burst into flames on impact, appeared to be flying out of control.

    The pilot, a 39 year old man, gave conflicting statements to investigators when questioned on Thursday about his wife, who has been missing since Monday, police said.

    Before taking off on Friday from an airfield in Brandenburg, the eastern state that surrounds the German capital, he handed over personal documents and car keys to his 14 year old son and told him of plans to kill himself, Neubeck said.

    Prosecutors in Brandenburg are still investigating the disappearance of the pilot's wife.

    The crash prompted calls by several conservative politicians for new rules banning flights over the German capital.

    "It is very worrying that a plane can get so close to the center of power," said Wolfgang Bosbach, a member of the Christian Democrats (CDU), who is seen as a potential interior minister if the conservatives oust Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) in a September 18 election.

    But Ehrhart Koerting, Berlin's interior minister and a member of the SPD, said it would be impossible to enforce a flight-ban over central Berlin without closing down airports in the capital and surrounding areas.



  3. Published: Saturday, 23 July, 2005, 12:56 PM Doha Time

    BERLIN: German President Horst Koehler gave the green light on Thursday for a general election on September 18 which could usher in the country’s first woman leader.

    Koehler announced on national television that he had met the request from Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to dissolve parliament and hold elections 12 months ahead of schedule.

    The president said that he agreed with Schroeder’s assessment that the chancellor no longer enjoyed a stable majority within his coalition of Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens.

    Koehler said that there were grounds for an early election because the country faces “immense tasks” including tackling unemployment, cutting the imposing public debt and contending with an ageing population which produced too few children.

    “In this serious situation, our country needs a new government that can pursue its goals with continuity and emphasis,” Koehler said. “The well-being of the people is best served with a new election.”

    The vast majority of Germans have said they would welcome early elections in the hope a new government will drag the eurozone’s biggest economy out of its lethargy.

    However, the decision to proceed with early elections still faces a challenge from two members of parliament from the Greens.

    Opinion polls show Schroeder’s conservative challenger Angela Merkel is nearly certain of becoming Germany’s first female chancellor – the latest survey put her Christian Union bloc 17 percentage points ahead of the SPD.

    A snap poll by ARD public television released after Koehler’s speech showed that only one person in five believes Schroeder will win re-election.

    Schroeder, who came to power in 1998, immediately confirmed he was standing for another term “because the reforms which I have begun, for health policy, for pensions or for the labour market, are right and necessary”.

    “Germany is on the right track and more and more people are beginning to recognise that fact,” he said.

    The chancellor embarked on his high-risk strategy on July 1 when he deliberately lost a parliamentary vote of confidence with the aim of prompting elections.

    Schroeder told parliament ahead of the vote that he wanted new elections to test if the people still backed a set of sometimes painful social welfare reforms.

    His party has suffered a string of poor performances in state polls, but Schroeder’s decision was prompted by a crushing defeat in May to the conservative opposition in the country’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, an SPD bastion.

    Greens deputy Jelena Hoffmann confirmed on Thursday that she and her party colleague Werner Schulz would challenge a decision to dissolve parliament in the country’s constitutional court because they wanted to serve the full term until autumn 2006.

    Merkel has promised if elected to slash Germany’s unemployment figures which topped 5mn this year and inject new life into the economy.

    Inevitably compared with Margaret Thatcher, Merkel has said that she has “great respect” for the economic policies of Britain’s first and only female prime minister but that her own programme is likely to be less controversial.

    She has unveiled plans to create jobs and raise value-added tax, a form of sales tax common throughout the European Union, to 18% from 16% today.

    After Koehler’s announcement, Merkel said: “We don’t have to make do with 5mn unemployed.

    “I am asking us to move forward together for a better Germany, in which people can again seize their opportunities again.”

    In addition to Merkel’s momentum, Schroeder faces another headache with the creation of a new left-wing alliance known as the Left Party which risks attracting working-class support away from the Social Democrats.

    The alliance could also cost the Christian Democrats crucial votes in the former communist east. – AFP


  4. My skin is like a map

    Of where my heart has been

    And I cant hide the marks

    Its not a negative thing

    So I let down my guard

    Drop my defences down by my clothes

    I'm learning to fall

    With no safety net to cushion the blow

    I bruise easily

    So be gentle when u handle me

    Theres a mark you leave

    Like a love heart carved on a tree

    I bruise easily

    Cant stratch the surface

    Without moving me underneath

    I bruise easily

    I bruise easily

    I found you fingerprints

    On a glass of wine

    Do you know you're leaving them

    All over this heart of mine too

    But if I never take this leap of faith

    I'll never know

    So im learning to fall

    With no safety net to cushion the blow


    Anyone wo can touch you

    Can hurt you or heal u

    Anyone who can reach you

    Can love you or leave u

    So be gentle...


    I bruise easily

    I bruise easily

  5. Is there anybody out there?

    Have you loved somebody

    Do you know what it’s feel like

    Is there anybody out there?

    Oh I feel so alone now

    Are you there to catch my freefallin

    To catch my freefallin

    Is there anybody out there

    Is there anybody out there

    Messin’ with my head

    With all the things he said

    Sitting here and asking

    Where did I go wrong

    Anybody there?

    Does anybody care

    The pain is killing me

    I gotta set you free

    I never want it that you

    Running back to me

    Anybody there?

    Does anybody care

    Is there anybody out there yeah yeah

    Is there anybody out there

    I know I’m not crazy

    I’ve looked but I just can’t find it

    Let me take you by the hand

    Love’s a thing you can’t command

    Is there anyone who takes care

    Is there anybody out there

    Messin’ with my head

    With all the things he said

    Sitting here and asking

    Where did I go wrong

    Anybody there?

    Does anybody care

    The pain is killing me

    I gotta set you free

    I never want it that you

    Running back to me

    Anybody there?

    Does anybody care

    Is there anybody out there yeah yeah

    Is there anybody out there

    Does anybody know me

    Does anybody love me

    Is there anybody out there

    Is there anyone who takes care

    Messin’ with my head

    With all the things he said

    Sitting here and asking

    Where did I go wrong

    Anybody there?

    Does anybody care

    s there anybody out there

    The pain is killing me

    I gotta set you free

    I never want it that you

    Running back to me

    Anybody there?

    Does anybody care

    Is there anybody out there

  6. Everybody knows that I was such a fool to ever let go of you

    Baby I was wrong

    Yeah I know I said we'd be better off alone

    It was time that we moved on

    I know I broke your heart, I didn't mean to break your heart

    But baby here I am

    Banging on your front door

    My pride spilled on the floor

    My hands and knees are bruised and I'm crawling back to you

    Begging for a second chance

    Are you gonna let me in?

    I was running from the truth and now I'm crawling back to you

    I know you're in there and you can make me wait

    But I'm not gonna wait

    It's the least that I can do, just to tell you face to face

    I was lying to myself, now I'm dying in this hell

    Girl I know you're mad, I can't blame you for being mad

    But baby here I am

    Banging on your front door

    My pride spilled on the floor

    My hands and knees are bruised and now I'm crawling back to you

    Begging for a second chance

    Are you gonna let me in?

    I was running from the truth and now I'm crawling back to you

    If you could see these tears I'm crying

    Touch these hands that can't stop shaking

    Hear my heart that's barely beating

    You will see a different man

    But baby here I am

    Banging on your front door

    My pride spilled on the floor

    My hands and knees are bruised and I'm crawling back to you (come on)

    Begging for a second chance

    Are you gonna let me in? (let me in)

    I was running from the truth, now I'm crawling back to you

    Banging on your front door (darling)

    My pride spilled on the floor

    I was running from the truth, now I'm crawling back to you, yeah

    Now I'm crawling back to you

    Crawling back to you

    Crawling back to you

    Crawling back to you

  7. Looking at your picture from when we first met

    You gave me a smile that I could never forget

    And nothing I could do could protect me from you that night

    Wrapped around your finger, always on my mind

    The days would blend 'cause we stayed up all night

    Yeah, you and I were everything, everything to me

    I just want you to know that I've been fighting to let you go

    Some days I make it through and then there's nights that never end

    I wish that I could believe that there's a day you'll come back to me

    But still I have to say I would do it all again

    Just want you to know

    All the doors are closing I'm tryin' to move ahead

    And deep inside I wish it's me instead

    My dreams are empty from the day, the day you slipped away

    I just want you to know that I've been fighting to let you go

    Some days I make it through and then there's nights that never end

    I wish that I could believe that there's a day you'll come back to me

    But still I have to say I would do it all again

    Just want you to know

    That since I lost you, I lost myself

    No I can't fake it, there's no one else

    I just want you to know

    That I've been fighting to let you go

    Some days I make it through and then there's nights that never end

    I wish that I could believe that there's a day you'll come back to me

    But still I have to say I would do it all again

    Just want you to know

    That I've been fighting to let you go

    Some days I make it through and then there's nights that never end

    I wish that I could believe that there's a day you'll come back to me

    But still I have to say I would do it all again

    Just want you to know

  8. Empty spaces fill me up with holes

    Distant faces with no place left to go

    Without you within me I can’t find no rest

    Where I’m going is anybody’s guess

    I’ve tried to go on like I never knew you

    I’m awake but my world is half asleep

    I pray for this heart to be unbroken

    But without you all I’m going to be is incomplete

    Voices tell me I should carry on

    But I am swimming in an ocean all alone

    Baby, my baby

    It’s written on your face

    You still wonder if we made a big mistake

    I’ve tried to go on like I never knew you

    I’m awake but my world is half asleep

    I pray for this heart to be unbroken

    But without you all I’m going to be is incomplete

    I don’t mean to drag it on, but I can’t seem to let you go

    I don’t wanna make you face this world alone

    I wanna let you go (alone)

    I’ve tried to go on like I never knew you

    I’m awake but my world is half asleep

    I pray for this heart to be unbroken

    But without you all I’m going to be is incomplete


  9. Health Professionals: Ban smoking in public places

    Accra, May 31, GNA - Health professionals on Tuesday called on government and parliament to pass a legislation to ban smoking in public places in the country.

    The professionals said the non availability of any such law had paved the way for the youth to use the deadly product, tobacco everywhere in Ghana, especially at night clubs, fun fares, beaches, parties, restaurants and theatres.

    This was contained in a release issued at a meeting in Accra and read by Mr. Edward Ampoffu, Chairman of Public Health Committee of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana.

    The meeting, which was under the theme: "Health Professionals Against Tobacco", was part of activities marking World No Tobacco Day, which falls on May 31 each year.

    Mr Ampoffu said a school base survey of students in JSS1, JSS2, JSS3 in Ghana conducted in 2000 indicated that out of 1,917 students 14.3 per cent had in fact smoked cigarettes before.

    Tobacco related diseases were increasing, especially in African countries which had the highest increase rate of tobacco use amongst developing countries with the the Region's tobacco consumption rate was increasing by 4.3 per cent per year.

    "Tobacco is dangerous and if the current use trend continued it is estimated that by 2030, 10 million people will die from tobacco-related diseases and seven million of these people would be from developing countries with half a billion people at risk of dying by tobacco products."

    He said it was worrying to note that even though Ghana was a member of the first 40 contracting parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which was unanimously adopted by the 56th World Health Assembly in May 2003 there was still no legislation banning smoking in the country.

    He said the fight against tobacco smoking in Ghana dates back to 1989 when government made a pronouncement of a ban on smoking in public places and there was a further directive in 1991 against smoking on the premises of any Ministry of Health facility in the country.

    "Today health professionals work in congenial milieu devoid of tobacco smoke, but it will be selfish on their part to be unconcerned with the impact of tobacco on the lives of the general public and themselves since they do not stay in their facilities for twenty four hours daily.

    Mr Ampoffu who called on all to redouble their efforts to fight this long standing menace said health professionals would engage in programmes such as out reach programmes in schools, advocacy tools to influence policy makers to ban the use of tobacco in public places, prescribe advertisements on tobacco in the media and use of bill boards. Other initiatives include periodic release of statements on the harmful effects of tobacco to the general public, drawing up smoking cessation for people already addicted to tobacco products. Ms. Angela E Adjaye, a pharmacist said studies have shown that while 70 to 80 per cent of smokers want to quit, only one-third have attempted to quit and one in 1000 does quit.

    She said there were over 4,000 chemical, including 200 known deadly poisons in tobacco smoke including, carbon monoxide, ammonia gas and pyridine, nicotine, carbon dioxide and tar, a poison that causes cell damage and death to tissues.

    Ms Adjaye said one third of young people who were just experimenting end up being addicted by the time they are 20 years, adding that addiction to cigarette could serve as a major gateway to other forms of drugs addiction such as marijuana, cocaine and heroine in future.

    Source: GNA


  10. Germany comes last in Eurovision song contest

    23 May 2005

    KIEV - Germany's representative Gracia came last in the 50th anniversary Eurovision 2005 Song Contest on Saturday, gaining only four points.

    Greek singer Helena Paparizou won with the tune 'My Number', a hot song-and-dance performance.

    Paparizou defeated golden-voiced Chiara from Malta, whose melodious ballad 'Angel' came in second in international viewer voting by SMS message. A total of 39 nations participated in the competition.

    Romania's Luminita Anghel placed third with a high-energy rock and kettle-drum number. Israel's blond, big-voiced Shiri Maimon took fourth.

    Paparizou's strength in the competition was clear early in the voting. She

    ultimately scored 230 points, well clear of her nearest competitors.

    The evening was second-time lucky for Helena, who had represented Greece and placed third at Eurovision 2001. She had been considered one of the favourites going into this year's competition.

    It was Greece's first victory in the contest. Street celebrations were reported in Athens shortly after Paparizou's victory.

    Paparizou is a gold-record winner in Greece and began her solo career two years ago. She is under contract to Sony music.

    Big-market acts failed badly in this year's competition, with Spain, Great Britain, France and Germany coming in twenty-first to last place, in that order.

    The Ukrainian be-bop band Greenjolly was the hands-down favourite with the studio audience, bringing down the house with a jazzed-up rendition of 'Razom nas bahato' ('Together we are many'). The song was the unofficial and wildly popular anthem of the country's Orange Revolution late last year.

    Moldovan Zdob (shi) Zhub also had the home audience standing in the aisles with a unique weave of punk, rockabilly and percussion by the lead singer's grandmother banging on a Bessarabian folk drum. They scored a surprise sixth place.

    More than half of the Eurovision 2005 acts offered pop music with an ethnic twist, backed up with folk instruments, central European riffs or peasant tambourines and drums.

    Ukrainian singer Ruslana won last year's contest with a precedent-setting mix of foot-stomping dancing, Carpathian drums, and mountain horns.

    Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko led the list of VIPs present at the proceedings, accompanied by prime minister Julia Timoshenko and most of the country's cabinet.

    Yushchenko was spotted watching the proceedings in his shirt sleeves, while the stylish Timoshenko was attired in one of her signature designer dresses. Yushchenko later put on jacket and tie to hand Paparizou her victory award at the end of the voting.

    World heavyweight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, who began his fighting career in Kiev, was on stage as the competition voting manager.

    The five-day competition ran well despite sometimes dark predictions that Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, was not up to managing an international-class television show.

    The three-hour programme, held in a converted sports arena, went off without a visible hitch, the evening's 25 acts smoothly following one another at one-minute intervals. An estimated 150 million people watched Eurovision 2005, organizers said.

    Programme producers filled time between acts by flashing on television screens hundreds of glossy images of Ukraine's most attractive people and locations. The themes of youth, grain, water, and nature predominated.

    Ukrainian organisers aimed the often-dazzling picture display squarely at Eurovision's massive audience, in a conscious attempt to improve the country's image abroad. Ukraine is best known in Europe for widespread corruption and the Chernobyl nuclear power accident.



  11. 22.05.2005

    Germany Last as Voters "Run and Hide"

    Germany's entry in the 50th Eurovision Song Contest finished last with four votes as Greece took the crown at the celebration of kitsch in Kiev on Saturday. Gracia's song "Run and Hide" had voters turning off.

    Germany's Eurovision Song Contest hopes were more than dashed on Saturday night; they were thrown to the floor and stamped on by every stiletto and Cuban heel on show at the 50th gala of kitsch in Kiev.

    Gracia Bauer, a former talent show also-ran who had courted controversy over her involvement in a chart-rigging scandal just weeks before the competition, garnered a woeful four points with her song "Run and Hide". It seemed like the voters took her words as sound advice as Germany scored one of its lowest totals in the history of the competition.

    The dubious accolade of Eurovision winner went to Greece as singer Helena Paparizou thrashed the competition, triumphing over contestants from 23 other countries with her song "My Number One." The news was greeted with scenes of joys in Athens, where hundreds of people celebrated on the streets of the Greek capital.

    Greece celebrates Eurovision victory

    In Athens, Paparizou fans, who had watched the contest on a giant screen late Saturday in front of the Zappeion palace, went wild when the Greek victory was announced. Brandishing Greek flags, they danced and embraced to the beat of "My Number One," written by Christos Dantis.

    "Many congratulations to Helena," said Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis, who was on the scene. "It's a unique moment that we deserve ... Athens is ready to welcome Eurovision in 2006."

    Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko, who attended the songfest with his family, handed Paparizou the Eurovision award. Yushchenko handed Paparizou a golden trophy inspired by jewels crafted by the Scythians, an ancient people that once inhabited the territory of present-day Ukraine.

    "This is a Ukrainian prize for best European song, for Europe's best singer (handed) in the name of a united Europe," Yushchenko said after giving Paparizou a peck on the cheek.

    Clad in a short golden dress, Paparizou, who was born and raised in Sweden, gave an energetic performance which included elements of a traditional Greek national dance. Paparizou, who was elected by television viewers from 39 countries, won with 230 points, 38 points ahead of Malta's Chiara, who placed second with the song "Angel." Romania's Luminita Anghel and Sistem placed third with "Let me try."

    Controversy surrounds Ukrainian song

    Last year's winner, Ukraine's Ruslana, opened the competition with a performance of one of her songs, "Fire".

    This year's Ukrainian candidate, the Greenjolly group, placed only 20th. Its selection to represent the former Soviet republic had sparked controversy, as had its choice of song, "Razom Nas Bahato" (Together We Are Many), the hymn sung by demonstrators against former president Leonid Kuchma's regime in Kiev's Independence Square during last year's "Orange revolution."

    Greenjolly was largely unknown before the revolution and its last minute choice unleashed an avalanche of criticism of the new government which was accused of manipulating the vote that picked the group.

    To deflect criticism, Greenjolly was obliged to modify the lyrics of the song, removing mention of the current president's name.

    Song contest a political opportunity

    Ukraine's authorities saw the Eurovision contest as a way to showcase the country as 100 percent European, while Yushchenko has made no secret of his hope to see Kiev eventually join the European Union.

    "Ukraine has always been a harmonious component of the (European) space," the Ukrainian leader said a few days before the songfest began. "It has been made up not only by politicians, but also by peoples, their common values, their history and their culture. These days in Kiev, you will be able to feel this once more," Yushchenko said.

    The contest was held under tight security, as some 4,000 police stood by to make sure the 50th edition of the annual kitsch-fest did not get out of hand.

    Before entering Kiev's Sports Palace, an arena capable of holding an audience of up to 8,000, spectators had to submit to strict security checks and file under a metal detector.

    Celebration of kitsch goes from strength to strength

    The Eurovision Song Contest, first held in 1956, is often associated with music of questionable merit, bizarre costumes and marked political bias in the voting. Yet all these elements have contributed to its enduring popularity.

    Eurovision was a launch pad for the careers of such internationally famous performers as Swedish disco group Abba in the 1970s, or, later, French Canadian singer Celine Dion, who represented Switzerland, where she was living at the time.

    Author DW staff / AFP (nda)

    http://www.dw-world.de © Deutsche Welle


  12. Shock move could usher in Germany's first woman chancellor


    By Noah Barkin

    German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder appears headed for a showdown with conservative rival Angela Merkel after his shock decision to bring forward federal elections by a year.

    Schroeder’s office said he would seek a vote of confidence on July 1, the first legal step towards dissolving Parliament.

    Polls put his Social Democrats far behind the conservatives, suggesting Germany could soon have its first woman chancellor.

    "The chancellor will, given the constitutional deadlines, seek a vote of confidence on July 1," Government spokesman Thomas Steg said after Schroeder held talks with Christian Democrat (CDU) leader Merkel and representatives of other Opposition parties.

    The statement said the aim was to hold elections after the summer holidays have ended in all of Germany’s 16 states - making September 18 the most likely date, assuming Schroeder’s unusual move does not hit any constitutional hurdles.

    Schroeder announced the high-risk early election plan shortly after his Social Democrats (SPD) were booted out of office in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, ruled by the party for 39 years.

    "It will be extremely difficult for him to come back, but it would have been more difficult a year down the road. That was his calculation," said Gary Smith, director of the American Academy, a Berlin think-tank.

    A fresh poll underlined the mountain he will have to climb to win a third term, putting support for his SPD-Greens coalition on 37 per cent behind 53 per cent for the conservatives and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), their most likely partner.

    The Infratest Dimap poll for ARD television found 43 per cent would like a conservative/FDP coalition compared with just 25 per cent who favoured another term for the SPD and Greens.

    Merkel grew up in the former East Germany and became a protege of ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

    "It comes down to a single question," she said after winning the backing of all the leading CDU members. "Who do the people trust to make Germany strong once again? On this question we are very confident."

    To win, Schroeder must convince Germans that the conservatives, who have backed his efforts to overhaul Germany’s welfare system and labour market, will push for even more painful reforms, analysts said.

    Two years ago, Schroeder unveiled a reform package that included cuts in jobless benefits and sparked protests across the country.

    But the reforms have yet to create jobs, or boost growth - projected at only 1 per cent this year.

    Schroeder may also be gambling that when given a choice between himself and Merkel, seen by many as less charismatic than the chancellor, voters will opt for the status quo.

    A Forsa poll for RTL television and Stern magazine showed yesterday that, when asked their preference, 42 per cent of voters favoured Schroeder and only 30 per cent backed Merkel.

    Merkel has been compared to Margaret Thatcher and given the nickname "Maggie Merkel", but her reform record does not match that of the pugnacious former British prime minister.



  13. NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. average retail gasoline prices fell during the past two weeks and could slip further as U.S. crude oil and gasoline supplies swell, according to an industry analyst.

    The national average for self-serve regular unleaded gas was $2.2129 a gallon on May 6, down 3.08 cents per gallon in the past two weeks, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of about 7,000 gas stations released on Sunday.

    In the past month, gasoline prices have fallen about 7.5 cents per gallon, after surging about 49 cents per gallon at retail from the start of 2005 through April 8.

    "The reason for this month of price cuts at the pump is that both crude oil and gas supplies are up," survey editor Trilby Lundberg said. "In the near term, I don't expect any interruption of this augmented crude oil and gasoline supply, and I'm expecting further drops at the pump near-term."

    Lundberg noted that any interruption in these supplies would put the brakes on declines in gas prices.

    Since March, the United States has gotten an influx of crude from Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, in a move aimed at heading off a supply crimp in the high-demand winter heating season.

    U.S. oil supplies are at about 327 million barrels, the highest level since energy companies were hoarding oil in fear of a global computer meltdown in 2000, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

    At $1.95 a gallon, Minneapolis had the lowest average price for self-serve regular unleaded gas, while the highest average price was $2.60 a gallon in San Francisco.

    One of the reasons for the wide range in price was the difference in taxes, Lundberg said, adding that taxes made up about 58 cents of the price in San Francisco, and just more than 40 cents of the price in Minneapolis.


  14. 06.05.2005

    Germany and Russia Honor WWII Losses

    Sixty years after World War II, Russia and Germany have joined hands to honor the victims. The countries' leaders said in a joint interview that Germany was responsible for the war, adding that it also suffered greatly.

    "Even if our generation is not in itself guilty (for WWII) we bear the responsibility for all our history," German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said in the joint interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which appeared in the German daily Bild on Friday.

    "Germany caused and started one of the worst wars in the history of humanity," he said. Schröder said Germans had suffered during and after the war, the end of which meant "the misery of refugees and a new lack of freedom" in the country.

    Putin acknowledged German suffering too. "Of course German civilians suffered but this was neither the Soviet Union's nor the Red Army's fault. They didn't start the war," he said. "The German people were in many ways victims of a lack of responsibility on behalf of their politicians at that time. They were poisoned by the ideology of National Socialism and led into carnage," said Putin. "For millions of ordinary Germans this military adventure became a personal tragedy."

    Putin used the bombing of Dresden, which was carried out by British and American air forces and led to an estimated civilian death toll of 35,000, to illustrate his point. "Even today I can't begin to comprehend just why Dresden was destroyed. If you look at it in terms of military strategy there was no need for it at the time," said Putin.

    Reconciliation "a miracle"

    The German chancellor is one of some 50 world leaders due in Moscow for the May 9 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. The two leaders, who know each other well, expressed satisfaction with current state of relations between Russia and


    "If you consider the horror of the war, the reconciliation between Germany and Russia is a miracle," said Schröder.

    "Both our peoples, Russian and German, have gone through a great deal of drama in their histories. I believe those experiences have made us all the wiser," said Putin, who concluded that "the historic reconciliation between Russians and Germans has been achieved."

    On Sunday, a formal Liberation Day ceremony commemorating the victory over Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945 will take place in Berlin. Germany's two chambers of parliament will also convene a special session in the same Reichstag building that was once the symbol of Adolf Hitler's National Socialist dictatorship. All around Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, adjacent to the Reichstag building, different events throughout the weekend will honor those who suffered under Nazi tyranny.

    German President, Horst Köhler, who will hold the official address at the ceremonies in the Reichstag on Sunday, also reminded today's generation to remember the role of the United States. It gave Europe so much -- the lives of its sons, and decades of involvement to ensure liberty, democracy and human rights, he said.

    Author DW staff (ncy)

    http://www.dw-world.de © Deutsche Welle

  15. 06.05.2005

    "We Must Jointly Talk About Our History"

    As ceremonies in honor of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II near their climax, DW-WORLD spoke to Germany's culture secretary about German tributes and the necessity of a pan-European perspective.

    DW-WORLD: The head of the German-Russian Museum in his opening speech jokingly complained that in an interview recently you failed to mention the museum as a prominent place commemorating 1945. Now you've seen their exhibition "Triumph and Trauma -- Soviet and post-Soviet Remembrance of the War." Will you remember to mention the museum the next time?

    State Secretary for Culture Christina Weiss: I never for a moment doubted that the exhibition is important. After all, I did come to the opening. In interviews you always think about what is closest to you. And the German Historical Museum that I brought up in that one was for me always the word for the two exhibitions, which really belong together. This exhibition is very impressive because it shows images that manipulate reflection, debate and opinions of history. I don't mean that negatively: They manipulate that which one knows about history, what one perceives, and how one positions oneself within it.

    We are reaching the highpoint of the year of remembrance of 1945. Looking at the German historical construct that is being conveyed in the 2005 commemorations of the war's end, what do you approve of and what don't you like?

    I find it especially good and important that right now, in the first year of the unification of large parts of Europe through new EU entries, there are many events. We must jointly think about how we can jointly talk about our history -- something we haven't yet done. Every country does so through its own national perspective with differing valuation. I hope that we will now -- inspired by the commemoration of 1945 -- collectively debate a collective view of our collective history. To that extent, I appreciated everything that took this thought seriously. The exhibitions in the German Historical Museum were very impressive -- especially the exhibition that preceded this one, "Myths of the Nations." It always makes my blood run cold when I see how little "historical truth" there is. There's that which was experienced, the emotions -- and the manipulation, too.

    In your speech at the exhibition's opening, you talked about a "new complexity of national historical perception" of World War II, but at the same time you hope for a pan-European perspective. Have we come a step closer to this in 2005?

    Massively. We have come closer to a collective view, because the openness has returned through the unification of Europe. We take note of what the others omit, what the others find difficult. In the discussion -- that we ourselves find difficult -- we in Germany are already quite far. But we haven't done it with each other yet. Of course, we are not coming closer through this anniversary; we're coming closer through the unification of Europe.

    What signals does German remembrance send to the world and how are they received?

    I know that German remembrance sends important signals everywhere in the world. It starts with our archives and continues with the BSTU (the agency that handles the East German secret police files). We receive many enquiries: How do you manage this, how is this legally regulated, how do you deal with this? German remembrance is very broadly spread and, in the meantime, marked by a very honorable mindset. It impresses people everywhere. I don't mean to say that all other countries need the same honorable mindset. After all, we also have the larger burden to work through.

    Still, in central and eastern European countries this discussion is also going on right now: How did we behave then? How did we deal with Nazi rule? What did we do? All over there are joint historical commissions like between Germany and Poland or Germany and the Czech Republic. We have also created a "Network Forced Migration and Expulsion" in 20th century Europe, which will start its work in May. The headquarters will be in Warsaw. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Germany will each send an employee there. In addition, there will be a coordinator in each individual country, and we are establishing a board of "elder statesmen" who will promote the idea that there must be a collective examination of history.

    The exhibition in the German-Russian Museum in Berlin is meant to be an explicit counterweight to an increasingly German perspective when it comes to the perception of history. Do you also see a trend towards German navel-gazing?

    There is German navel-gazing, that's true -- but there are also many counterbalances. One merely needs to open one's eyes. That's not the problem. The problem is that it must be clear to the Germans -- as to all the others, too -- that, 60 years after the war's end, there should no longer be a purely national approach, especially in emotional terms. One may express and describe it, but at the same time one should make clear there's always another perspective.

    Oliver Samson interviewed Christina Weiss (ncy)

    http://www.dw-world.de © Deutsche Welle

  16. 08.05.2005

    "A New Start for Germany and Europe"

    As Europe commemorates VE Day, British professor Sir Ian Kershaw, one of the leading authorities on 20th century German history, talked to DW-WORLD about the end of the war as a new beginning for Germany and Europe.

    DW-WORLD: What is the significance of May 8, 1945, for Germany?

    Ian Kershaw: May 8, 1945 was the end of an era, which embraced the period of the two world wars. And, although no one could see it at the time, with Europe in ruins, it opened the way to a new start for Germany and a new start for Europe. It took a long time to develop, but the end of the Second World War, was the prerequisite for that, the basic thing that needed to happen in order to allow that new start to take place.

    May 8 has sometimes been described as Germany's Stunde Null, the country's "zero hour." But critics of such a description point out that many Nazis continued their careers, though in a different political system. Can we really speak of a "zero hour" for Germany?

    No, I don't think so. Obviously things didn't stop on May 8 and then start again on May 9; there was no Stunde Null in that sense. And social history naturally continues even where political history is broken, so there was no Stunde Null in any social sense. There were major continuities of mentality, and there were continuities of personnel in different areas -- continuities which lasted long after the immediate aftermath of the war. So the term Stunde Null is misleading.

    Nevertheless, May 8 marks a caesura in European and, in particular, in German history. The end of the war was the major turning point between the two halves of the century. The second half of the 20th century was shaped by the Second World War -- and also by the Holocaust.

    Is May 8, 1945, comparable in its significance to other major developments or dates in world history?

    The only parallel analogy that comes to mind is the end of the Napoleonic era. 1815 was a new start for Europe. And yet, the break in 1945 was more profound than in 1815. After the war, it took several years before things started to congeal and settle down. But once they did, we see a Europe that's far more transformed in 1945 than it was in the aftermath of 1815.

    Do you think the interpretation of May 8, 1945, and the war has changed in Germany over the years?

    Unquestionably. In 1945 and the immediate aftermath, people couldn't be expected to think in the same way that the present generation does about the significance of 1945. Most people saw their land occupied, saw this as a major defeat. (German historian Friedrich) Meinecke's book "The German Catastrophe" (1946) hints at the notion of this as a particularly German catastrophe. People today see this as, in a way, a necessary catastrophe that had to befall Germany, a necessary ruination to destroy the continuities which had bedeviled German history going back way before the Hitler era. Now people see that as a necessary Untergang or downfall, as a liberation for Germany, as the opportunity to start again and to build a country and a society which had radically different values, gradually developing until we have a completely transformed society compared with that that existed in the Hitler era and even before.

    How has the perception of the Holocaust changed in Germany over the past 60 years?

    It's changed quite markedly. In the 1960s and '70s, there was remarkably little public discussion of the Holocaust. There was some scholarly work done on it, which I don't think was extensively read. There was a general readiness to accept that Germany had been involved in terrible things in the Second World War, but not a readiness to examine the position of different sectors of German society in those events -- a readiness to blame Hitler and his clique in a totalitarian state for what took place, but to distance society from it.

    Since then we've had two things happening: One is in historical research generally, and penetrating through to wider sections of society. The emphasis upon Alltagsgeschichte (the history of everyday life) that began in the 1970s started to reveal the complicity of ever greater sectors of society in the policies of the Nazi regime, particularly racist and anti-Semitic policies.

    But more important was a rather banal TV film, which was called "Holocaust," in 1979. The impact of it was to stir up interest more widely in Germany in the fate of the Jews under Nazi rule. It's only in the 1980s that this starts to make real headway in public consciousness.

    Since the 1980s there's been a major preoccupation and an intensification of interest in the Holocaust, in Germany specifically. That's reflected in scholarly works but also in public consciousness through things like the debates about the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. There has been a real deepening of awareness and interest in the Holocaust more generally in German society.

    What I'm unsure about and have no way of judging is whether this remains largely at the level of what I might call the intellectuals or intelligentsia and the media, or whether it really penetrates down to the grassroots of society.

    Are there any major differences in the interpretation of the Third Reich and World War II between German and non-German experts?

    They share common ground. German history between 1871 and 1945, and the Nazi era quite especially, is in a very real sense world history. We have a world community of scholars who work on this and are in contact with each other. There are no serious differences or divergences in interpretation between German scholars and those scholars outside Germany.

    Some fear that interest in World War II may wane as more and more eyewitnesses die. Do you share this fear?

    Sixty years since the end of the war may well be the last time that one can reflect on these events with eyewitnesses still around. It may be that a peak of interest has been reached now and that there will be some decline. If you look at Britain, the television channels, for example, have in a sense reached saturation point on the Second World War, and they're no longer getting the same viewer figures that they did some years ago. That's a fairly natural development.

    However, if one thinks from that that there is going to be a serious revision or reevaluation of the significance of the Second World War, of the Holocaust, of Hitler and the Nazi era, that would be mistaken. As long as we hold on to the liberal, humane values which still permeate Western society, the Hitler era will be seen as the most dramatic attempt to upturn those values and completely restructure society along totally different, inhumane lines. As long as that underlying essence of humanity remains in European society, there won't be a fundamental alteration in the interpretation of Hitler and the Second World War.

    Author Martin Schrader interviewed Sir Ian Kershaw (ncy)

    http://www.dw-world.de © Deutsche Welle

  17. BERLIN, May 8 (Xinhuanet) -- Germany is holding a series of ceremonies this weekend commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

    The culmination of the celebrations will be German President Horst Koehler's address of remembrance for the Nazis' victims to a special assembly of both houses of parliament on Sunday. It will also be broadcast on giant screens at the Brandenburg Gate a few hundred meters away.

    Meanwhile, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will travel to Moscow to mark the end of World War II in Europe.

    On Saturday night, tens of thousands people took part in a candlelight vigil that stretched across Berlin, protesting againsta planned neo-nazi march on Sunday.

    "May 8 was a good day for humankind. We want never again the war," a youth holding candles on the June 17 Street told Xinhua.

    "May 8, 1945 was a day of liberation for Berlin, Germany and Europe from Nazi dictatorship," said Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit at the start of two days of "festival for democracy" events aroundthe Brandenburg Gate.

    "This is our opportunity to take a stand against racism and intolerance. We must remain vigilant," Wowereit said.

    After failing to win the approval of marching around the Brandenburg Gate, the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) will stage a rally Sunday around eastern Berlin's main square Alexanderplatz.

    Thousands of leftists are also expected to march around Alexanderplatz to protest and block off NPD's march, local media reported.

    Some 6,000 riot police are bracing for possible confrontations between leftists and neo-nazis.

    Germany's highest court on Friday dismissed an appeal by NPD tomarch around Berlin's Holocaust Memorial, hundred meters away fromthe Brandenburg Gate, on May 8.

    German Interior Minister Otto Schily welcomed the decision, saying it made neo-nazis unable to dishonor the remembrance of the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

    May 8, which is treated in Germany as a day of liberation, marks the official end of the World War II hostilities in Europe following the signing of the German surrender in the French city of Reims the day before. Enditem

    Copyright ©2003 Xinhua News Agency. All rights reserved.


  18. Just a quick update on what has happened on my birthday and what I wanted to share here:

    On Sunday (a day after) we went to a lake and had some ice cream. The cool thing about it was: My car's gauge showed "Hey, it's time for a refill" and my grandmother said, well then let's have it refilled. What's the special thing about that you over there may wonder...

    Normally I always have my car refilled for maybe $10; I just can't afford more. But she gave me a full refill worth € 50 ($60). Seeing the gauge's needle go to "1/1" does maybe happen once a year. Normally it hardly moves out of the red area indicating that it's time for a refill. This is the receipt:


    What you see is:

    47.66 liters, 1.049 € per liter = 50.00 € (43.10 + 16 % VAT 6.90) (metric system/euro currency)

    Now the conversion (US system/dollar):

    47.66 liters devided by 3.7854118 liters per gallon = 12.59044 gallons,

    1.049 € x 1.30 $ (rough current conversion rate) = 1.3637 $ per liter => 5.1621661 $ per gallon

    12.59044 gallons x 5.1621661 $ per gallon = ~ 65 $ for a refill!

    Why did I do this? To show and tell you that fuel is a valuable good and that you must not complain about gas prices $ 2 - 3 per gallon and consider this "expensive". Just have a look at the rest of the world meaning outside the US here.

    And I only did this conversion for my car that is a diesel gasoline. Regular fuel is currently about € 1.20 per liter = ~ $ 5.90 per gallon!

    As far as gas mileage goes: Am I the only one who thinks that SUVs are a horrible invention? My car needs about 6.5 liters per 100 km = ~ 33 mpg. With the quite popular SUVs it's like 22 - 25 mpg. Who needs those "bulldozers"? They are quite useful if you're a large family and do a car pool but... who does? I've seen a family with 5 members each having a separate SUV :owacko blink

    Oh, the second incident about my car: My uncle removed a few scratches. You all should see what a posh car I have now :D


    (Just an image, not a photograph of my car, just the model)

  19. Thanks for the warm wishes guys but where are my presents? Don't birthday boys always get one? ;)

    What can I say? I invited a few friends (well 10 actually), most even did come. We had a barbeque in our garden and great fun, espescially when playing darts (I got an electronic dart board) - although our dog escaped almost twice.

    I got some money, perfume from my sister, a Simpsons-DVD (always wondered how the original voices would sond although the dubbed German version is a good one) - and 2 little comic books. By 11 p.m. the last guest left.

    Oh, and I also got a few returnable bottles. He wanted to fool me a bit. You know, at the university we have an automat who collects old bottles and gives you € .15 for each bottle. Since it broke a few weeks ago and since everybody threw the bottles away or just put them on top of the automat I kept collecting them. By now I have made about € 12 ($ 15) just with returning bottles (€ .15 each) ;)

    And I also got a gift certificate for a big electronic store worth € 35. I'll probably spend it on a DVD burner. They attached a nice photograph:


    What I did not like about my birthday was the fact that I turned a year older (22). I remember myself always waiting for this special day to be able to say "[Hehe, see]I'm 16, 17, 18 by now" But ever since I reached the age of 21 (last year) I don't like getting older anymore... and there was also the lonely part of my birthday (the evening) - but let's better not go there, or better not here in public at this board...

  20. [...] We’re on our way. If other companies follow Weyco’s lead, America’s workforce will consist exclusively of non-smoking, low cholesterol, whiter than white, heterosexual males whose lives are controlled by the corporations that sign their checks. A guy named Adolf had a similar dream. And he wasn’t very fond of gays. [...]

    Me being German I have to reply to this article in the following way:

    I'm just glad TalonRider did not write this crap himself (although he's a smoker himself).

    It's a brazennes to compare the "German past" (60 - in words: SIXTY years ago - do we still blame the US for segregating blacks and whites during the 1860s?) with the harmless fact of firing smokers. What's so bad about firing unproductive workers with such a heavy character weakness? Solution: GIVE UP SMOKING and spend the money for something USEFUL! What's so hard about that? Do I really have to be "proud" to never have even touched a cigarette? Don't think so since it should go without saying...

    No offense but from those smokers I know I can say they are simply antisocial and therefore I can't stand them. They don't even throw the cigarette stubs in the trash can (but just... somewhere else) nor do they respect non-smokers when blowing the blue fume right into other's faces. Besides, most don't even realize that they heavily stink... DISGUSTING!

    (Just to name a few things that let me come to my opinion.)

    Recently they made a huge poster at my university claiming the Business Administration Department a smoke free area... that was just so overdue.

    It may sound extreme but as you all know... that's the US. You just can sue Marlboro that it's their fault that the individual ended up dying from lung cancer and you'll be rich... same with McDonald's: Accuse them that one is obese. ("I'm on a diet since I ordered a DIET coke to my supersize menu with large fries..." HELLO???)

    Over here the court wouldn't even laugh but just tear such a charge apart... because we still use something called common sense!

    My opinion may sound pretty harsh and aggressive but it's just the truth. I'm excited about any comments. ;)

    And of course I did not mean to attack anybody in person.

  21. Does the Pope Use Email? What is Pope Benedict XVI's Email Address?

    From Heinz Tschabitscher,Your Guide to Email.



    Email Pope Benedict XVI

    The email address of Pope Benedict XVI is benedictxvi@vatican.va.

    It is unlikely you will receive a personal response if you send an email to the pope, but the Holy See does read, collect and route all mail. The Pope possibly has another private email address inside the Vatican.

    Pope John Paul II, the First Pope of the Internet Age

    When Karol Józef Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II in 1978, email was still in its infancy. The first email had been written seven years ago, but barely a handful of people knew computer networks existed at all. Yet, John Paul II became the first email-savvy pontiff in history.

    In late 2001, the pope reportedly apologized for injustices committed by the Roman Catholic Church in Oceania via email. Of course, the Holy Father would have preferred to visit the Pacific nations and deliver his words of penitence in person, but email was the second-best choice.

    What was John Paul II's Email Address?

    Pope John Paul II's email address was john_paul_ii@vatican.va.

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