Wikinews interviews Aurélien Miralles about Sirenoscincus mobydick species discovery

Thursday, January 24, 2013

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A group of researchers published a paper about their discovery of a new species of Madagascar mermaid skink lizards last December. The species is the fourth forelimbs-only terrestrial tetrapods species known to science, and the first one which also has no fingers on the forelimbs.

The species was collected at Marosely, Boriziny (French: Port-Bergé), Sofia Region, Madagascar. The Sirenoscincus mobydick name is after the existing parent genus, and a sperm whale from the 1851 novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.

This week, Wikinews interviewed one of the researchers, French zoologist Aurélien Miralles, about the research.

((Wikinews)) What caused your initial interest in Madagascar lizards?

Aurélien Miralles: Well, I would say that since I am a child I am fascinated by the biodiversity of tropical countries, and more especially by reptiles. I did a PhD on the evolution and systematics of skink lizards from South America. Then, I get a Humboldt grant to do a postdoc in Germany, at the Miguel Vences Lab, in order to study Malagasy skinks. Madagascar being a fabulous hotspot for reptiles (and not only for reptiles actually), it was a very nice opportunity. Professor Vences proposed me to associate our complementary fields of expertise: he is expert in herpetology for Madagascar, and I am expert in skinks lizards (family Scincidae). It was a very fruitful experience, and many other results have still to [be] published.

((WN)) How was the new species discovered?

AM: By a very funny coincidence actually. In 2010, I went to Madagascar for a long trip through the south of the island, in the semi-arid bush for collecting lizards and snakes samples. Then, during the last days, just before coming back to Germany, I have visited by coincidence the zoological collection of the University of Antananarivo. In that place, I found an old jar of ethanol with two weird little specimens previously collected by a student who didn’t realize it was something new. Being expert on skinks, I immediately recognised it was something very probably new, very different from all the other known species.

((WN)) What does “Sirenoscincus” stand for?

AM: I am not the author of the genus name Sirenoscincus. This genus name was already existing. It has been described by Sakata and Hikida (two Japanese herpetologists). “Sireno” means mermaid. “Scincus” means skinks, a group of little lizards on which I am particularly focusing my studies. So, Sirenoscinus means “mermaid skink”, in reference to [the] fact it has forelimbs but no hindlimbs.

((WN)) How deep underground do the lizards live?

AM: Hard to answer this question because nothing is known on the ecology of this species. But more reasonably, we can hypothesize, by comparison to similar species of skinks, that it is probably living just under the sand surface, [a] few centimeters deep, probably no more, or below [a] rock, leaf litter, or piece of dead wood.

((WN)) What do the lizards eat?

AM: Again, by analogy, I would say most likely small invertebrates (insects, larvae, worms etc…).

((WN)) What equipment was used during the research?

AM: Classic equipment (microscope) and also a state-of-the-art device: a micro CT-scan. It is a big device producing [a] 3D picture of the internal structure without damaging the specimen. It is actually very similar to the scanner used in human medicine, but this one is specially designed for small specimens. Otherwise, I am currently studying the DNA of this species and closely related species in order to determine its phylogenetic position compared to other species with legs, in order to learn more about the evolutionary phenomena leading to limb loss.

((WN)) There are several news sources that have a photo of the species. Is it a photo as seen in a CT-scan?

AM: No, this picture showing a whitish specimen on a black background is not a CT-scan. It is a normal photograph of the collection specimen preserved in alcohol (the one that was in the jar). You can see the complete of picture (including CT-scan 3D radiography, drawing…) in the original scientific publication.

((WN)) Do you know when the newly discovered mermaid skink species was put into the jar? Do you have its photo (of the jar)?

AM: No, I have no picture of the jar. The specimen has been collected in November 2004.

((WN)) What were the roles of the people involved in the research? What activity was most time-consuming?

AM: As first investigator, I did most of the work…and the longest part of the work was to examine closely related species in order to do comparisons…and also to check the complete bibliography related to this topic and to write the paper.
Mrs Anjeriniaina is the student who […] collected the specimen a couple of years ago.
Mrs Hipsley and Mr Müller learnt me how to use the CT-scan, and helped me concerning some point relative to internal morphology. Mr Vences helped me as supervisors. Additionally, all of them have corrected the article, and gave me many relevant advices and corrections, thus improving the quality and the reliability of the paper.

((WN)) Did you get in touch with an external entity to get the new species officially recognised?

AM: No. In zoology, it is only needed to publish the description of a new species (and to give it a name) in a scientific journal, and to designate a holotype specimen (= specimen that will be the official reference for this species), to get this new species “officially” recognised by the scientific community. That does not mean that this new species is “correct” (it might be invalidated by subsequent counter-studies), but that means that this discovery and the new name of [the] species are officially existing.

((WN)) Are there any further plans on exploring the species habitat and lifestyle?

AM: No, not really for the time being, because ecology is not our field of expertise. But other studies (including molecular studies) are currently in progress, in order to focus on the phylogenetic position and the evolution of this species.
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How Heating And Air Conditioning Affect Quality Of Life In Urban Settings

Submitted by: Adrianna Notton

Heating and air conditioning affect the quality of life in urban settings because human beings are extremely vulnerable in these places. Nature has evolved wonderful protection for animals and birds that have not been bettered by mankind . But in our own built environments we try to emulate the inside of ants’ nests as well as we they can by regulating temperatures.

Experts in the fields of thermodynamics and fluids mechanics have made great strides in developing technology that enables human brings to regulate the interior environments in which they live and work. Increasingly they are having to work with new parameters set by environmental concerns.

Old timers in Middle eastern countries remember when most people were inactive in dark rooms during the day, waiting for the cool of evening before they could become active. Now they work in banks and shopping malls kept cool throughout days and nights. Being more vigorous they can be more effective, economically.

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In the desert towns and villages there have been big changes in the quality of life. Ancient villages that once clung to mountain sides and grew vegetables on terraces have been abandoned. The occupants have moved into towns in the valleys below where they can enjoy the benefits of electricity and air conditioning. Inside the houses people are changing rapidly as their living conditions alter.

In simple terms a cooling system works when a gas is heated and compressed. As it loses heat to the outside environment and is liquefied, the liquid is returned to the interior where it evaporates, cooling the interior as it does so. The switches, fans and humidifiers that must all form part of this basic process become more and more refined as technology advances.

When air is circulated through closed systems germs and even toxins can be distributed among those who share the air. In natural circumstances these germ would be dispersed by wind. Ventilation is important, as is the humidity in a closed space. When people have to share temperatures there are invariably those who whine about whether they are too hot or cold, and so disputes arise because people are in control of the environment to the extent that they agree what to do with the controls.

A reverse valve enables the same equipment that cools a space to be used as a heating device. This is quite an economical idea but might not be adequate in very cold situations. Heating has been such a major concern in cold countries that technology is probably better developed in this regard than cooling systems. Being cold is probably a more urgent problem than being to warm.

In recent times it has become apparent that global warming is having a large impact on earth. Heating and air conditioning may be affected by this since fewer homes might need heating. The demand for heat energy from oil and gas may be reduced as people will not need to heat their homes. Piping hot water through homes has been a popular method of heating for many years but the water does have to be heated, usually by oil or gas. Though there might well be a slight reduction in the requirements for heating energy the need for conservation of energy remains a major problem for the world as a whole.

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U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on constitutionality of lethal injection

Monday, January 7, 2008

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the use of lethal injection as a method for the imposition of the death penalty in the United States. Two men, Ralph Baze and Thomas Clyde Bowling Jr., who were convicted of murder in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and sentenced to death, sued the state in 2004 arguing that the use of lethal injection as a method of imposition of capital punishment violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

Thirty-seven states and the Federal Government have capital punishment for some crimes, all except Nebraska (which uses electrocution) use lethal injection. The process uses three chemicals in a “cocktail”, which, by the procedures that are used to apply them to the condemned, (three injections given consecutively) allegedly “create a significant and unnecessary risk of inflicting severe pain that could be prevented by the adoption of reasonable safeguards”, their lawyers said in court papers. “Kentucky seeks to execute in a relatively humane manner and has worked hard to adopt such a procedure,” Kentucky Attorney General Gregory Stumbo has said. The state has also argued in its brief against supporting the plaintiffs’ appeal that it will lead to “an endless road of litigation. … Condemned inmates will never run out of ideas for changes to the procedures, drugs or equipment used during lethal injection.”

Baze was scheduled to be executed on January 8 after Governor of Kentucky Ernie Fletcher signed his death warrant, but the Kentucky Supreme Court suspended his execution on September 12, 2007, arguing it needed more time to examine arguments he had made in a separate appeal. He was convicted of killing Powell County Sheriff Steve Bennett and Deputy Arthur Briscoe in 1992 while the lawmen were trying to serve him with arrest warrants. Bowling was convicted of killing Edward and Tina Earley in Louisville in 1990.

According to the article on lethal injection in Wikipedia, the three chemicals used are Sodium thiopental to render the offender unconscious; Pancuronium/Tubocurarine: to stop all muscle movement except the heart, causing muscle paralysis, collapse of the diaphragm, and would eventually cause death by asphyxiation; and Potassium chloride to stop the heart. The chemicals apparently cannot be combined together as they could precipitate into a solid and be ineffective. It is argued that thiopental is a very short-term anesthetic and may wear off during the procedure, causing anesthesia awareness and excruciating pain from the effects of the other drugs.

In oral hearings today, the justices seemed skeptical that the chemical concoction causes extreme pain or that a better method was available. A lawyer for one of the plaintiffs argued that if insufficient anesthetic is given, when the inmate is given the paralyzing drug, they will experience agonizing pain, but be unable to react, and that it is even illegal in Kentucky to euthanize animals in this fashion. Some of the justices have considered sending the case back for further hearings to determine if a single barbiturate would be superior to the current method.

While the Supreme Court has examined the application of the death penalty many times over the past 40 years, this is the first time the court has reviewed the issue of the method of execution in 100 years, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs. A ruling is not expected until June. There are about 3,000 people on death row in the United States, and about 60 are executed each year. Since the case was accepted by the Supreme Court, all executions in the United States have been temporarily suspended pending the decision.

The case name is Baze v. Rees.

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California governor signs new state budget, eligible Californians to get stimulus payments

Thursday, July 15, 2021

On Monday night, governor of the U.S. state of California Gavin Newsom signed a new US$262.6 billion budget bill for the state into law, with US$8.1 billion reserved for US$600 direct stimulus payments to Californians to aid in California’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill for the budget, SB 129, and the bill for the stimulus payments, SB 139, both passed both houses of the California Legislature for this fiscial year.

The payments, dubbed the Golden State Stimulus II, are set to be paid out to eligible California taxpaying residents beginning in September. To be eligible, residents must have filed a state tax return for last year, not be someone’s dependent, and must have earned no more than US$75 thousand in wages last year.

Eligible Californians would get a one-time payment of US$600, and households with dependents would receive an additional US$500. Around two-thirds of Californians are expected to get a stimulus payment, according to the governor’s office. Newsom initially proposed the payments in May to aid the state’s economic recovery, as part of his “California Comeback Plan”.

Californians who already received a stimulus payment earlier in the year are not eligible for this second payment. An additional payment of US$500 is still available for those who claimed dependents on their returns.

The budget also provides for US$5.2 billion in renters’ aid for low-income residents and landlords, which would pay for all rent left unpaid during the COVID-19 crisis, and cover rent for several coming months. Overdue water and utility payments would also be covered by US$2 billion in funding.

An additional US$1.5 billion was for grant money intended for small businesses, with US$120 million in tax credits for businesses willing to relocate to California.

California had a budget surplus of nearly US$76 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In signing SB 129, Newsom line-item vetoed Section 19.55 of the bill concerning US$2.58 billion in appropriations to various funds “on a technical basis”, citing in an explanation appropriations covered under the section were superseded by the budget. In California, a governor may approve a bill passed by the Legislature with specific items related to the budget rejected. The Legislature can override this line-item veto with a two-thirds vote of both the Assembly and the Senate.

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Sizzler salad bars shut after rat poison found in food

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

The Sizzler Restaurant franchise in Australia has closed the salad bars in all of its 29 restaurants across the country, after rat poison was discovered in food at two of the chain’s outlets in Brisbane. Self-serve salad bars at the restaurants have been closed in response to a sabotage scare. Sizzler Australia Managing Director Bo Ryan said customer safety was always the restaurant chain’s first priority.

A media release on the Sizzler website states: “As a precautionary measure and because customer health and safety is our number one priority, we have temporarily closed salad bars in all Sizzler Restaurants. We sincerely apologise for this major inconvenience.”

Police said green pellets were found in pasta sauce at a Sizzler restaurant in Brisbane’s inner-west on January 20. A regular customer at the Toowong restaurant told Sizzler staff she had found something odd in her bolognese pasta sauce. Similar pellets were found in a vegetable soup at Sizzler’s Myer Centre outlet in the city about 5pm on Saturday.

Bo Ryan said the decision to close all of its Australian salad bars was made after laboratory tests confirmed that the substance in the pasta sauce was indeed rat poison. He said trainees who tasted the poisoned soup had been been taken to hospital by ambulance as a precaution, but had suffered no ill effects.

Queensland Police Inspector Bob Hytch said no one had been reported ill as a result of eating the poisoned food and there had been no extortion threats. Sarah Kenny, a university student, said she and two friends had eaten spaghetti bolognese that “tasted really weird”.

“The inconvenience to customers and the economic impact on the company and its 1600 employees will be severe, but as a family restaurant our first priority is the welfare of our diners,” said Bo Ryan. “Steak and seafood and a limited range of salads would continue to be available.” He hopes that customers will understand the action was taken in their best interests, and that “they can be patient while temporary product security procedures are developed and implemented in all restaurants.”

The 29 Australian Sizzler Restaurants, along with 107 Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets are operated by the Collins Foods Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Worldwide Restaurant Concepts Inc. Mr Ryan said Sizzler was assessing measures which could be taken to prevent a recurrence of the sabotage. “As soon as new measures are introduced, over and above existing strict protocols, we will reassess the situation,” he said.

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Dead Sea Mud Cosmetics Trends In Global Market}

Dead Sea Mud Cosmetics Trends in Global Market


Steve Blade

Market Overview

With changing lifestyle consumer worldwide are now more conscious about the impact of their purchasing choices on environment as well as on society. Green and sustainable production process of Dead Sea cosmetic is therefore catching the trend in global market. The mud and salts extracted from the Dead Sea, the worlds saltiest water body, are extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. Dead Sea mud is rich in minerals like magnesium, Calcium and Potassium, among others. It possesses excellent regenerative, anti toxic and stress relieving properties, making them a favored choice for skincare products and cosmetics. In 2015, Global Dead Sea mud cosmetic market was valued at USD 1.2 Billion. According to Goldstein Research, global Dead Sea mud cosmetic market is anticipated to witness a compound annual growth rate of 14.2% over the forecast period. In 2015, North America dominated the global Dead Sea cosmetic market in terms of revenue share on the other hand Middle East and Africa region is projected to show the highest growth rate in the upcoming future.

Market Segmentation

By Product Type

oFacial Care Products

‘Face Washes

‘Face Moisturizers

‘Face Serums

oBody Care Products

‘Body Moisturizers

‘Body Oils

‘Body Mud Mask

‘Hand Creams

‘Foot Creams

oHair Care Products



‘Hair Masks

oBathing Products

‘Body Washes


‘Scrubs and Exfoliators

oEye Care Products

By End User

oMen care products

oWomen care products

By Region

oNorth America (US, Canada) {Market Share (%), Market Size (USD Million), Product Sales (Units)}

oEurope (UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Sweden, Russia, Poland and Rest of Europe) {Market Share (%), Market Size (USD Million), Product Sales (Units)}

oMiddle East and Africa (GCC Countries, North Africa, South Africa and Rest of Middle East & Africa) {Market Share (%), Market Size (USD Million), Product Sales (Units)}

oLatin America (Brazil, Mexico and Rest of Latin America) {Market Share (%), Market Size (USD Million), Product Sales (Units)}

oAsia Pacific (China, Japan, India, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Rest of Asia-Pacific) {Market Share (%), Market Size (USD Million), Product Sales (Units)}

oRest of the World{Market Share (%), Market Size (USD Million), Product Sales (Units)}

Send us sample request@

Growth Driver and Restraints

Dead Sea products provide a host of wide ranging benefits like improved blood circulation, anti toxic treatment and pollution protection. Their medicinal properties and high mineral concentration make Dead Sea products useful for relieving arthritis and rheumatic pains. However, high cost of products along with limited availability of Dead Sea mud based products hinders the growth of Dead Sea cosmetic market across the globe. Limited resource availability is anticipated to be the major factor that will affect the supply chain for the major key players.

Key Players



oFinancial Analysis

oBusiness Strategy

oProduct Portfolio

oSWOT Analysis



Scope Background

Market Synopsis

Market Segmentation

The global Dead Sea mud cosmetics market is segmented as follows:

By Dead Sea Mud Cosmetics Product Type (Market Size, Demand Analysis and Growth Analysis)

By Dead Sea Mud Cosmetics End-user Type (Market Size, Demand Analysis and Growth Analysis)

Market Dynamics: Growth Drivers, Restraints and Opportunities

Risk Factors

Regional Variations

Recent Trends and Developments

Key Market Players


Business Strategy

Product Portfolio

SWOT Analysis

Porters Five Force Model

Market Landscape: Competition and Beyond

Market outlook for business players and entry level players to ascertain their business in dynamic ecosystem

Expert Analysis

Concluding Remarks

To know about this research, kindly visit:

Steve Blade is the authors of this article and global sales head in Goldstein Research. Know more about

Global Dead Sea Mud Cosmetics Market Outlook 2024


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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Liberal candidate Brian Jackson, Oxford

Monday, October 1, 2007

Brian Jackson is running for the Ontario Liberal Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Oxford riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

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Cuba sentences USAID worker to fifteen-year prison term

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A 15-year prison sentence was handed down by a Cuban court to US Agency for International Development (USAID) worker Alan Gross for crimes against the state.

Gross was arrested in December 2009 while on a USAID mission intended to promote democracy by distributing satellite communications equipment to Jewish groups; these groups have denied any involvement in the matter. Such equipment, and distributing it, is illegal in Cuba.

According to a Cuban court, Gross’s activities were part of “a subversive project of the US government that aimed to destroy the Revolution through the use of communications systems out of the control of authorities.”

In response to the decision, a US National Security Council spokesperson said that the “sentencing adds another injustice to Alan Gross’s ordeal. He has already spent too many days in detention and should not spend one more.”

Gross’s wife has requested that Cuba release her husband on humanitarian grounds; some political analysts expect this to eventually occur. Gross, aged 61, is reported to have lost 90 pounds while imprisoned since his arrest, and is affected by ulcers, gout, and arthritis.

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Will Network Marketing Continue To Grow?

Submitted by: Merv Stevens

At a recent Go Pro Recruiting Mastery event put on by Eric Worre, an amazing keynote presentation was given by industry leader Nathan Ricks. This highlight from the presentation is something that you ll want to share with your ENTIRE team and answers the often asked question, Will network marketing continue to grow? Network marketing will continue to grow! Here s why.

#1 Need for Supplemental Income

Around the world economies are falling apart, pensions plans are bankrupt, and so there is a massive need for supplemental income. These circumstances will continue to drive people, even in much older ages, into network marketing. Because the middle aged and older members of our population are not going to be able to dig ditches when there 60, 70 and 80 years old. They re going to be living a long time and still be able to open their mouths and talk and so will still be able to share opportunities with other people.

#2 Need to be Active & Engaged

Working and having a purpose to your life is a very important thing. It s about being social and belonging. Network marketing allows you to engage with others in order to grow your business.

#3 More Efficient Business Model

In network marketing nobody gets paid unless they produce. In the corporate world people get paid all the time, even if they are not efficient and detract others from doing their work.

#4 The World is Now a Network

Today the whole world has become a network. The world has arrived at the network marketing business model and it s getting stronger and stronger. And that s why the industry has such a bright future.

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#5 Rewards Equal Contribution

In the network marketing business rewards equals contribution. There is no such as being over paid and there s no such thing as being under paid. It does not exist. You get paid exactly what you ve produced in terms of bring in new members, network and product volume.

#6 Unparrelelled Growth Rates

The network marketing industry is right now seeing unparrelleled growth rates. So when you stop and consider the future, it looks very bright. Since the industry got started in the USA in the late 1950?s only 13 companies have achieved over $1 Billion Annually in revenue. There have been hundreds of thousand of companies and only 13 have got to this yearly income.

Anytime you have a new industry it s like the Wild West . The same thing happened in franchising. Seventy years ago people came up with the franchise business model where they could get people to pay for a business model kit, brand the business and take some of the tasks away and have support in their new business venture.

In the beginning of franchising it was horrible. People were selling ideas and ripping others off and double selling territories and screwing people out of their money. Eventually regulation came to the industry of Franchising. And then the monsters were born, like McDonalds, Subway and other mega-big world-wide companies.

Franchising is now looked upon as a completely legitimate business model and has created lots of millionaires. It s a tremendous new way to distribute products. This same process is happening with network marketing. The crazy, stupid Wild West days are going away and we re seeing companies that have professional management, that see the power of this business model, are emerging right now.

Being at the Forefront of Multi-Billion Dollar a Year Companies

We are on the cusp of really changing this whole industry as if it s yours. That s where we should come in as leaders and vote with our feet. We should make sure we hold people accountable that run these network marketing companies. We want to ensure that the industry does not get tarnished by a few that are bad the bad apples .

We also want to make sure that network marketing can reach it s full potential. Because it s way better and more efficient than any other business model. And because it s more efficient it should become bigger and better and will become bigger and better.

Network marketing is just beginning to hit it s power band . The industry is just really coming out of its infancy just really finding out what the best models are, how to operate more effectively, how to be consumer protective and to make sure that people see a different view. To change the paradigm of network marketing.

The old business models are dying and don t work anymore and people know it. Technology is massively on the side of the network marketing business model. No one could have imagined, especially those who started in the industry 30 years ago, that you could talk to anybody, at any time, at any place in the world for as long as you wanted to and for free.

Because of this there are some big companies – $12 $13 Billion. But they are really not that big compared to the Apple s, Microsoft, Coca Cola and Proctor & Gambles of this world. They are $150 Billion + worth companies that have been working with a business model that has been around for 150 years.

The network marketing business model is relatively new but it s maturing and that s why many really believe that we ll see $20, $30 and $40 Billion companies in this industry in the future. And if you re lucky enough to be part of this industry and learn the skills required to be successful then your future is going to change for the better. But more importantly you will positively effect the lives of literally millions of people in the process.

If you are involved in the industry you should be inspired by the realisation that the regulation phase of network marketing and direct selling is over and that you are at the forefront of building multi-billion dollar a year companies. There should be optimism for your business and your profession. Acquire the necessary skills to be a network marketing professional and know that the answer to the question, Will network marketing continue to grow? , will be a definite YES.

About the Author: Merv Stevens works in Internet and Network Marketing. For tips and advice and for answers to questions like

Will network marketing continue to grow?

go to his blog:

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. Act now and discover how average people are achieving extraordinary results online by cashing in on the DIGITAL gold rush!


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Roadside bomb kills Canadian soldier, injures two others

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The 55th Canadian soldier was killed in Afghanistan, when a large roadside bomb exploded. The blast killed Matthew J. McCully, 25, from Orangeville, Ontario on Friday at approximately 8:00 a.m. local time.

Another Canadian soldier and an Afghan interpreter are in stable condition after also being wounded in the explosion, which happened in the Zhari district, 35 kilometres west of Kandahar, Afghanistan, where the Canadians are based.

“The wounds suffered are non-life threatening and he has spoken to his family,” said deputy commander of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, Col. Mike Cessford. “The Afghan interpreter was slightly wounded and chose to remain with Canadians doing his duties.”

Earlier in the same day, a roadside bomb struck a Canadian tank, but no injuries were incurred. The second bomb killed McCully, who is part of the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team which teaches Afghan soldiers skills to fight in organized units, from Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Petawawa.

They were fighting in Operation Hoover located in the Zhari district west of Kandahar, Canada’s latest offensive against the Taliban. Portuguese soldiers and British air support are also involved in the operation and the Afghan National Army are in the lead.

“As this soldier was moving forward, with other Canadians and other Afghan soldiers, an IED was triggered and he was killed,” Cessford said. “We lost a good kid today. We’re thinking about him and our thoughts are going out to the family. It’s a pretty sad day. He was doing what he needed to do, what he wanted to do, and he was working closely with Afghan soldiers to achieve the right thing for this country.”

He is the 55th Canadian to die in Afghanistan. Canadian troops have been stationed in Afghanistan since 2002, and there are approximately 2,500 Canadian troops currently deployed there.

A farewell ceremony is now in the works at Kandahar Airfield. He will then be brought by plane to Canada, where a funeral will take place with his family and friends.

“Matt McCully was a tremendously professional soldier,” Maj. Peter Sullivan told CTV today at Kandahar Airfield. “I found him certainly to be a mature young man, and somebody whose company was enjoyed by all, so he will be greatly missed.”

This same week, on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a surprise visit to Afghanistan. He met with Canadian soldiers and had a brief discussion with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and visited diplomats at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Journalists were told last Friday to dress for a warm-climate and if they made Harper’s visit public they could be a “Journalist in jail.” [1]

“I would say it’s very interesting they decided to really promote the fact that we’re doing more than just military in Afghanistan,” Harper said during his three-day visit.

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