Archive for September, 2017

Polish Archbishop resigns after spying revelations

Monday, January 8, 2007

This article features in a News Brief from Audio Wikinews:

Stanislaw Wielgus, the Archbishop of Warsaw, resigned yesterday after admitting to have worked for the secret police of Poland during the operation of the Communist government. At a mass in Warsaw Cathedral, the Archbishop was to have marked his formal installation. Instead, he tendered his resignation. The resignation came at the request of Pope Benedict XVI, who had appointed Wielgus one month previously.

The reaction to the resignation is mixed. Polish President Lech Kaczy?ski, who attended the service, applauded the resignation. Wielgus’ supporters gathered outside the cathedral, yelling “Stay with us”. Those opposed to the Archbishop also gathered outside, carrying banners that said “non possumus” (“we cannot allow that”).

Since the late 1960s, the former Archbishop spied on members of the Church for about 20 years. After the Gazeta Polska newspaper published allegations of his actions on December 20, Wielgus denied them. However, when church officials announced they had obtained documents showing that Wielgus had willingly co-operated with the secret services, he acknowledged that the accusations were true. There is some suspicion[1] that the documents were leaked by communists, in retribution for the Catholic Church’s role in the fall of European communism.

A poll, conducted by the TNS OBOP Institute and published January 5 in the Polish daily Dziennik Polska-Europa-?wiat, revealed that 26% supported the Archbishop’s immediate resignation, 41% thought that he would have to resign “after some explanations”, 20% believed that he should keep his position, and 13% had “no opinion”.

Cardinal Józef Glemp will retain the position of apostolic administrator until a replacement is chosen.

India discontinues ?500, ?1000 denominations; releases ?2000 and new ?500 bills

Monday, November 14, 2016

On Wednesday, India demonetised ?500 (about US$7.50) and ?1000 notes, announced as a measure to fight corruption, fake notes, and black money. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Indian citizens late Tuesday, and said 500 and 1000 rupee notes would cease to be legal tender at midnight.

To minimise possible difficulties to citizens, transactions using old 500 and 1000 rupee notes were accepted at government hospitals, railway ticket bookings, government buses, and airports. The notes were also accepted at public-sector petrol-pumps, government-authorised consumer co-operative stores, milk booths authorised by State governments, and cremation grounds till Friday midnight. These shops were obliged to have a record of their stocks and sales.

In his announcement, Modi said, “For your immediate needs, you can go to any bank, head post office or sub post office, show your identity proof like Aadhar card, voter’s card, ration card, passport, income tax PAN card number or other approved proofs and exchange your old 500 or thousand rupee notes for new notes.”

((hi)) Hindi language: ?????? ???????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?? ?? ???? ?? ?????? ????? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ????? ?? ??? ?? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ??? ?? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ????? ????, ???? ??, ???? ?????, ?????? ?????, ???? ?????, ????????, ???? ????? ??? ????? ??????? ???? ?? ??? ??? ??? ???? ?? ??? ??? ???? ???

Modi also announced those who failed to change their currency till December 30 can exchange the notes at Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s office along with a declaration form till March 31. The notes can be exchanged till December 30 at any branch of any bank across India.

By Saturday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said demonetised money equivalent to almost US$30 billion was deposited in banks across India. According to estimate, the old notes accounted for 85% of the total money in circulation. New 500 rupee and 2000 rupee notes are to be issued. Modi said RBI would exercise caution from past experience and limit the circulation of large-value notes.

International tourists could purchase up to 5000 rupees using the old notes at airport exchanges till Friday.

A limit was imposed on cash withdrawal; a maximum of 10000 rupees each day, and 20000 rupees each week, can be withdrawn. Moreover, from Thursday (November 10) till November 24, 4000 rupees can be exchanged in the banks and post offices. The amount is credited to the bank account.

Government workers were informed about demonetising when the announcement was made. Modi announced all banks would remain closed for public work on Wednesday.

In the United States, Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election on Tuesday, immediately after which stock markets dropped globally. Following the US election and demonetising the money, the Indian stock market fell by 1700 points on Wednesday. Sensex lost 1,688.69 points and Nifty lost 111.55 points on the same day. Indian technology sector companies experienced loss. TCS suffered 4.93% loss and Infosys lost 2.74%.

The Indian rupee is also used in the neighbouring countries of Bhutan and Nepal. The border area uses Indian currency for day-to-day transactions. The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMA) has announced the exchange of old notes will be facilitated till December 15. RMA governor Dasho Penjore informed Indian news site The Wire, “We do not know exactly how much Indian currency of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 is in circulation in Bhutan. We will get a better idea after the deadline to deposit their amount”. RMA has 30% of its international exchange reserve in Indian rupees. Nepal Rastra Bank directed all Nepali banks to stop conducting transactions using the Indian rupee.

On Thursday, there were long queues in front of ATMs and banks to exchange the old notes and withdraw money. BBC reported some banks ran out of cash. Police were called to some banks to maintain discipline. Banks were open on Saturday and Sunday for money exchange.

Shops did not accept the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes. Some emphasised cash-less transaction as well. BBC reported some traders and small business owners in Delhi threatened to call a strike as this move affected their business.

eRetail websites like Amazon and Flipkart announced they would not accept the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes on Cash on Delivery orders. Amazon also announced 15% discount on gift cards worth 500 or 1000 rupees.

The government ceased all transactions using the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes before Saturday. But a Wikinews correspondent noticed a jeweler shop accepting the demonetised notes on Saturday. When questioned, the jeweler said they were accepting the old notes only on purchase. When the correspondent, who did not identify as a reporter to the shop owners, said the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes were not legal money, they said they will exchange the notes in a bank since there were 50 days to exchange with a new and legal tender. They refused to exchange old 500 rupee notes with change, asserting the customer needs to buy merchandise from their shop.

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Recall of Thomas the Tank Engine toys due to lead-paint fears

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A recall issued last week for Thomas the Tank Engine toys made in China and containing lead-based paint, is the latest scare for consumers, and follows recent scandals involving Chinese-made pet food, pharmaceuticals, toothpaste and other toys, The New York Times has reported in a series of articles.

Last week, RC2, a U.S. toy company based in Oak Brook, Illinois, issued a recall for its popular wooden “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends” train sets. The recall involved 1.5 million “Thomas Wooden Railway” vehicles and train sets sold at toy stores and various retailers across the U.S. from January 2005 through June 2007.

A subsequent recall has been issued in the United Kingdom, where Thomas the Tank Engine was originated in the 1940s as a character in a children’s story by the Reverend W.V. Awdry. Around 70,000 toys are involved in the U.K. recall, according to The Guardian.

“RC2 has determined that the surface paints on the recalled products contain lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a press release dated June 13. “Consumers should take the recalled toys away from young children immediately and contact RC2 Corp. for a replacement toy,” the commission said.

Those “adverse health effects” could include brain and nerve damage, especially in young children, as well as blood and brain disorders. Severe lead poisoning causes vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, anemia, loss of appetite, headaches and in particularly high doses, coma and death.

In an article on Monday, The New York Times reported that recalls have been issued for 24 different toys in the U.S. in the past year, and every one of them was made in China. According to the Toy Industry Association, toys made in China account for around 70 percent to 80 percent of all the toys sold in the U.S., The Times said.

“These are items that children are supposed to be playing with,” Prescott Carlson was quoted as saying by The Times. Carlson is a co-founder of a child-safety website called Imperfect Parent, which tracks recalls of toys and other baby products. “It should be at a point where companies in the United States that are importing these items are held liable,” Carlson said.

RC2 would not comment to The Times, and a Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman would not say how long ago the problem with the lead paint was discovered.

For a follow-up article on Tuesday, The Times visited a factory in Dongguan, in China’s Guangdong province, where the “Thomas and Friends” toys are made. The paper interviewed workers and took photos on the factory floor.

“You’re intruding,” a factory manager identified only as Zhong was quoted as telling the reporters. “Tell me, why exactly are you here?”

During the visit, a reporter, translator and a photographer were detained by factory officials, and released a day later after local police and government officials intervened.

The factory also produces other toys for RC2, including toy John Deere trucks, NASCAR racing models and M&M’s cars, The Times said. RC2 makes the toys under licenses from various companies. The “Thomas and Friends” toys are made under license from Hit Entertainment, which owns the “Thomas” brand.

According to RC2, items in the “Thomas and Friends” recall are:

  • Red James Engine & Red James’ # 5 Coal Tender
  • Red Lights & Sounds James Engine & Red James’ #5
  • Lights & Sounds Coal Tender
  • James with Team Colors Engine & James with Team Colors *#5 Coal Tender
  • Red Skarloey Engine
  • Brown & Yellow Old Slow Coach
  • Red Hook & Ladder Truck & Red Water Tanker Truck
  • Red Musical Caboose
  • Red Sodor Line Caboose
  • Red Coal Car labeled “2006 Day Out With Thomas” on the Side
  • Red Baggage Car
  • Red Holiday Caboose
  • Red “Sodor Mail” Car
  • Red Fire Brigade Truck
  • Red Fire Brigade Train
  • Deluxe Sodor Fire Station
  • Red Coal Car
  • Yellow Box Car
  • Red Stop Sign
  • Yellow Railroad Crossing Sign
  • Yellow “Sodor Cargo Company” Cargo Piece
  • Smelting Yard
  • Ice Cream Factory

Toys listed that are marked with codes containing “WJ” or “AZ” are not included in the recall.

Earlier, RC2 said that customers would have to cover shipping costs to return the toys to the company. It later agreed to cover postage after angry complaints by parents, The Times said in an article yesterday. Refunds will take about two months.

Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire

Friday, March 20, 2009

Following the Pilkhana massacre which occurred February 25 and 26 leaving 74 dead and the inferno at the Bashundhara City shopping mall complex March 13 leaving seven dead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said security measures are being tightened countrywide across Bangladesh.

Fire drills will be enacted at all key-point installations (KPI). Fire fighting systems will be examined by the fire brigade and the public works department (PWD) to ensure functionality. Security measures will be enhanced supplementing areas under private security such as at the Bashundhara City Complex.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department requires modernization and needs new equipment to fight fires past the sixth floor of buildings. The Fire Brigade says it needs turntable ladders, snorkels, foam-tenders, lighting units, emergency tenders, fireproof uniforms, and rescue ropes for fire fighting and rescue operations. Transportation to fires is also an issue due to narrow roads, low electrical wires and congestion.

The Bangladesh National Building Code requires fire fighting equipment installed in buildings over seven floors. This code is to be monitored by authorities to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and to make sure buildings are being maintained.

The Bashundhara City Complex opened Monday for shoppers two days after Friday’s blaze. A probe is underway to determine the cause of the fire and to assess structural damage.

Loss of life was minimized as the blaze broke out on a Friday, the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh, so offices in the upper floors were empty. The lower eight floors are used for shopping and the upper floors are all Bashundhara Group offices.

The mall is valued at Tk 7.0 billion (US$100 million). It is not known if the complex is covered by fire insurance.

It is estimated that it will take over two years to rebuild the area damaged by flames which were burned down to a skeleton. Bashundhara City’s technical advisor, Latifur Rahman, estimated damages at Tk 2.0 billion (US$29m).

Only one television cameraman has been allowed in to film the burnt area. None of the 2,500 shops, cinemas or cafes were burnt by the inferno. The seventh and eighth floors still experience smoke damage, and there was water damage to merchandise.

A three member committee is currently investigating the cause of the fire which will consist of Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, representatives of the police, IGP Noor Muhammad, and fire brigade, Director General Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah. The committee is required to report within the week with their findings. The forensics department is also sifting through the burnt remains.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries has also formed a committee which has begun interviewing witnesses and recording their testimony alongside the government committee.

It has been discovered that 150 closed circuit cameras were not being used when the fire started. Another mystery is why the mall fire fighting system has been found unused.

Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think….These matters seem to be mysterious

“In the shopping mall there is an ultra-technology elevator which runs even without electricity but we have found that locked,” Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of the home ministry, said. “Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think. We have to see if there was any incendiary substance there. These matters seem to be mysterious.”

Mall management has been asked to submit substances and items which would have been in the upper floors when the fire started. The fire erupted on the 17th floor and spread quickly to the two floors above and engulfed the three floors below. The aerial ladders belonging to the Fire Service and Civil Defence reached as high as the 13th floor of the 21-storey building.

Videos have been sent to the United States (US) for examination to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to help in the damage assessment. Experts from the US are expected to arrive soon.

Firefighters were brought to the rooftop of the 20-storey tower by helicopter. The only fatality in this operation was Baki Billa, a firefighter of Bashundhara City firefighting department, who fell when climbing down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of the building. Three other firefighters made the transition safely. At this same time, the chief security officer was safely rescued by the Bangladesh Air Force helicopter, a Bell 212. Six security officers of the complex also lost their lives.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair suffers defeat in vote on terror laws

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has suffered what some consider a humiliating political defeat after the House of Commons dismissed a controversial government proposal to permit the detention of terror suspects for up to 90 days without bringing charges. Under current UK anti-terrorism laws, suspects can be held for up to 14 days without any charges being made against them.

Members of Mr Blair’s Labour Party used the vote to rebel against the proposal, with a crucial 49 tipping the balance to reject it by 322 votes to 291. It was the first Commons defeat for Mr Blair in his 8 years as Prime Minister. Later, a second proposal to extend the detention time limit for terror suspects to 28 days was passed by 323 votes to 290.

The police called for new powers after the bomb attacks in London on July 7, 2005. They argued that because anti-terrorist investigations can take considerable time, the new powers would have been justified. Critics are sceptical of these claims. Opponents believe that by effectively giving the government the right to imprison for up to three months anyone who it alleged to have been involved in terrorism, without having to present any charges in court to justify the detention, the bill could have led to abuses of power.

Leaders of the opposition parties were delighted with the results. Conservative leader Michael Howard said the vote had “diminished” the Prime Minister’s authority and that he should tender his resignation. Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats, called Mr Blair a “lame duck”.

Speaking after the result of the vote was announced, Mr Blair accused those who’d opposed the measure of being “out of touch”, talking of a “worrying gap between parts of Parliament and the reality of the terrorist threat and public opinion”.

Former Conservative ministers Peter Lilley and Stephen Dorrell criticised the government for using senior police officers to lobby MPs over the vote. They characterised this as the “politicisation of the police”.

Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire

Friday, March 20, 2009

Following the Pilkhana massacre which occurred February 25 and 26 leaving 74 dead and the inferno at the Bashundhara City shopping mall complex March 13 leaving seven dead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said security measures are being tightened countrywide across Bangladesh.

Fire drills will be enacted at all key-point installations (KPI). Fire fighting systems will be examined by the fire brigade and the public works department (PWD) to ensure functionality. Security measures will be enhanced supplementing areas under private security such as at the Bashundhara City Complex.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department requires modernization and needs new equipment to fight fires past the sixth floor of buildings. The Fire Brigade says it needs turntable ladders, snorkels, foam-tenders, lighting units, emergency tenders, fireproof uniforms, and rescue ropes for fire fighting and rescue operations. Transportation to fires is also an issue due to narrow roads, low electrical wires and congestion.

The Bangladesh National Building Code requires fire fighting equipment installed in buildings over seven floors. This code is to be monitored by authorities to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and to make sure buildings are being maintained.

The Bashundhara City Complex opened Monday for shoppers two days after Friday’s blaze. A probe is underway to determine the cause of the fire and to assess structural damage.

Loss of life was minimized as the blaze broke out on a Friday, the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh, so offices in the upper floors were empty. The lower eight floors are used for shopping and the upper floors are all Bashundhara Group offices.

The mall is valued at Tk 7.0 billion (US$100 million). It is not known if the complex is covered by fire insurance.

It is estimated that it will take over two years to rebuild the area damaged by flames which were burned down to a skeleton. Bashundhara City’s technical advisor, Latifur Rahman, estimated damages at Tk 2.0 billion (US$29m).

Only one television cameraman has been allowed in to film the burnt area. None of the 2,500 shops, cinemas or cafes were burnt by the inferno. The seventh and eighth floors still experience smoke damage, and there was water damage to merchandise.

A three member committee is currently investigating the cause of the fire which will consist of Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, representatives of the police, IGP Noor Muhammad, and fire brigade, Director General Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah. The committee is required to report within the week with their findings. The forensics department is also sifting through the burnt remains.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries has also formed a committee which has begun interviewing witnesses and recording their testimony alongside the government committee.

It has been discovered that 150 closed circuit cameras were not being used when the fire started. Another mystery is why the mall fire fighting system has been found unused.

Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think….These matters seem to be mysterious

“In the shopping mall there is an ultra-technology elevator which runs even without electricity but we have found that locked,” Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of the home ministry, said. “Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think. We have to see if there was any incendiary substance there. These matters seem to be mysterious.”

Mall management has been asked to submit substances and items which would have been in the upper floors when the fire started. The fire erupted on the 17th floor and spread quickly to the two floors above and engulfed the three floors below. The aerial ladders belonging to the Fire Service and Civil Defence reached as high as the 13th floor of the 21-storey building.

Videos have been sent to the United States (US) for examination to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to help in the damage assessment. Experts from the US are expected to arrive soon.

Firefighters were brought to the rooftop of the 20-storey tower by helicopter. The only fatality in this operation was Baki Billa, a firefighter of Bashundhara City firefighting department, who fell when climbing down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of the building. Three other firefighters made the transition safely. At this same time, the chief security officer was safely rescued by the Bangladesh Air Force helicopter, a Bell 212. Six security officers of the complex also lost their lives.

Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire

Friday, March 20, 2009

Following the Pilkhana massacre which occurred February 25 and 26 leaving 74 dead and the inferno at the Bashundhara City shopping mall complex March 13 leaving seven dead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said security measures are being tightened countrywide across Bangladesh.

Fire drills will be enacted at all key-point installations (KPI). Fire fighting systems will be examined by the fire brigade and the public works department (PWD) to ensure functionality. Security measures will be enhanced supplementing areas under private security such as at the Bashundhara City Complex.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department requires modernization and needs new equipment to fight fires past the sixth floor of buildings. The Fire Brigade says it needs turntable ladders, snorkels, foam-tenders, lighting units, emergency tenders, fireproof uniforms, and rescue ropes for fire fighting and rescue operations. Transportation to fires is also an issue due to narrow roads, low electrical wires and congestion.

The Bangladesh National Building Code requires fire fighting equipment installed in buildings over seven floors. This code is to be monitored by authorities to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and to make sure buildings are being maintained.

The Bashundhara City Complex opened Monday for shoppers two days after Friday’s blaze. A probe is underway to determine the cause of the fire and to assess structural damage.

Loss of life was minimized as the blaze broke out on a Friday, the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh, so offices in the upper floors were empty. The lower eight floors are used for shopping and the upper floors are all Bashundhara Group offices.

The mall is valued at Tk 7.0 billion (US$100 million). It is not known if the complex is covered by fire insurance.

It is estimated that it will take over two years to rebuild the area damaged by flames which were burned down to a skeleton. Bashundhara City’s technical advisor, Latifur Rahman, estimated damages at Tk 2.0 billion (US$29m).

Only one television cameraman has been allowed in to film the burnt area. None of the 2,500 shops, cinemas or cafes were burnt by the inferno. The seventh and eighth floors still experience smoke damage, and there was water damage to merchandise.

A three member committee is currently investigating the cause of the fire which will consist of Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, representatives of the police, IGP Noor Muhammad, and fire brigade, Director General Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah. The committee is required to report within the week with their findings. The forensics department is also sifting through the burnt remains.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries has also formed a committee which has begun interviewing witnesses and recording their testimony alongside the government committee.

It has been discovered that 150 closed circuit cameras were not being used when the fire started. Another mystery is why the mall fire fighting system has been found unused.

Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think….These matters seem to be mysterious

“In the shopping mall there is an ultra-technology elevator which runs even without electricity but we have found that locked,” Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of the home ministry, said. “Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think. We have to see if there was any incendiary substance there. These matters seem to be mysterious.”

Mall management has been asked to submit substances and items which would have been in the upper floors when the fire started. The fire erupted on the 17th floor and spread quickly to the two floors above and engulfed the three floors below. The aerial ladders belonging to the Fire Service and Civil Defence reached as high as the 13th floor of the 21-storey building.

Videos have been sent to the United States (US) for examination to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to help in the damage assessment. Experts from the US are expected to arrive soon.

Firefighters were brought to the rooftop of the 20-storey tower by helicopter. The only fatality in this operation was Baki Billa, a firefighter of Bashundhara City firefighting department, who fell when climbing down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of the building. Three other firefighters made the transition safely. At this same time, the chief security officer was safely rescued by the Bangladesh Air Force helicopter, a Bell 212. Six security officers of the complex also lost their lives.

New Ghanaian currency introduced

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New currency notes are being introduced in Ghana today. The new currency, to be called the Ghanaian cedi, replaces the previous cedi which has been in circulation since 17 February, 1967.

The Ghanaian cedi will be exchanged at 10,000 old cedis to one new Ghanaian cedi. The exchange rate against the U.S. dollar starts at GH¢0.92 to one U.S. dollar. The new ISO code for the currency is GHS, and the new symbol, GH¢.

The change, which was originally scheduled by the Bank of Ghana to start on July 1, 2007, will instead start on Tuesday July 3, as the original date is Ghana’s Republic Day.

Monday, July 2, was declared a public holiday as the actual Republic Day fell on a Sunday. July 3, is thus the first day that the currency will be available to the public as banks open to the general public. This is because ATMs were shut down over the weekend so that the currencies could be checked and replaced in all of them nationwide. The old and new currencies will be used concurrently until the end of December 2007, when the old currency will cease to be legal tender.

This is the third Ghanaian cedi to be introduced in the country since 1965.

‘Poetry lost’: rude rhyme rediscovered, attributed to John Milton

Friday, September 24, 2010

A researcher at the University of Oxford has found a saucy poem attributed to John Milton, the 17th-century poet who wrote Paradise Lost and other religious verse. “An Extempore Upon a Faggot”, discovered in an 18th-century anthology of poetry, is not thought by modern scholars to be by Milton, however, and may in fact have been written by one of his rivals in an attempt to disgrace him.

The poem was found by Dr Jennifer Batt, who said that it “is so out of tune with the rest of his work, that if the attribution is correct, it would prompt a major revision of our ideas about Milton.” She discovered the rude verse in the Harding Collection of poetry anthologies held by the Bodleian Library, the main university library at Oxford. “To see the name of John Milton, the great religious and political polemicist, attached to such a bawdy epigram, is extremely surprising to say the least”, she added.

The book in question, the Oxford and Cambridge Miscellany from 1708 (over 30 years after Milton’s death), was described by another Oxford academic, Dr Abigail Williams, as “a set of poems written by witty young men about town for witty young men about town”. Milton wrote in blank verse rather than using rhyme and used differing poetic rhythms, whereas the handwritten poem uses a simple pattern of rhyming couplets as it contrasts the sexual behaviour of young women and more experienced women by comparing them to green wood and dry wood upon a fire.

Have you not in a Chimney seenA Faggot which is moist and greenHow coyly it receives the HeatAnd at both ends do’s weep and sweat?So fares it with a tender MaidWhen first upon her Back she’s laidBut like dry Wood th’ experienced DameCracks and rejoices in the Flame

Milton (1608–1674) wrote many influential religious poems, including Paradise Lost, which is described by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as “widely and rightly regarded as the supreme poetic achievement in the English language, fit to sit alongside the poems of Homer, Virgil, and Dante.” It tells the story of the fall from grace of Adam and Eve in an epic theological poem. He followed it with Paradise Regained, depicting the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness.

Bawdy poetry is not thought by modern academics to be in keeping with Milton’s style, with Batt suggesting that it is likely that his name was added to the poem “to bring scandal upon [him], perhaps by a jealous contemporary.” She suggests that the culprit might have been Sir John Suckling, a poet who was a supporter of the monarchy, in contrast to the Republican Milton.

The University of Oxford is currently digitising the songbooks and anthologies of the Harding Collection, said to be the world’s largest such collection, as part of a project to allow online access. It is named after Walter Harding, a British musician who collected music and poetry in Chicago. The poem had been read before, but without anyone noticing Milton’s name at the bottom. Dr Williams, the project’s leader, expressed her doubts as to the authenticity of the attribution, commenting that “[y]ou could become very rich and famous – well, famous, anyway – if you could prove the rhyme was really by Milton. I am pretty certain it is not.”

Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire

Friday, March 20, 2009

Following the Pilkhana massacre which occurred February 25 and 26 leaving 74 dead and the inferno at the Bashundhara City shopping mall complex March 13 leaving seven dead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said security measures are being tightened countrywide across Bangladesh.

Fire drills will be enacted at all key-point installations (KPI). Fire fighting systems will be examined by the fire brigade and the public works department (PWD) to ensure functionality. Security measures will be enhanced supplementing areas under private security such as at the Bashundhara City Complex.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department requires modernization and needs new equipment to fight fires past the sixth floor of buildings. The Fire Brigade says it needs turntable ladders, snorkels, foam-tenders, lighting units, emergency tenders, fireproof uniforms, and rescue ropes for fire fighting and rescue operations. Transportation to fires is also an issue due to narrow roads, low electrical wires and congestion.

The Bangladesh National Building Code requires fire fighting equipment installed in buildings over seven floors. This code is to be monitored by authorities to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and to make sure buildings are being maintained.

The Bashundhara City Complex opened Monday for shoppers two days after Friday’s blaze. A probe is underway to determine the cause of the fire and to assess structural damage.

Loss of life was minimized as the blaze broke out on a Friday, the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh, so offices in the upper floors were empty. The lower eight floors are used for shopping and the upper floors are all Bashundhara Group offices.

The mall is valued at Tk 7.0 billion (US$100 million). It is not known if the complex is covered by fire insurance.

It is estimated that it will take over two years to rebuild the area damaged by flames which were burned down to a skeleton. Bashundhara City’s technical advisor, Latifur Rahman, estimated damages at Tk 2.0 billion (US$29m).

Only one television cameraman has been allowed in to film the burnt area. None of the 2,500 shops, cinemas or cafes were burnt by the inferno. The seventh and eighth floors still experience smoke damage, and there was water damage to merchandise.

A three member committee is currently investigating the cause of the fire which will consist of Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, representatives of the police, IGP Noor Muhammad, and fire brigade, Director General Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah. The committee is required to report within the week with their findings. The forensics department is also sifting through the burnt remains.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries has also formed a committee which has begun interviewing witnesses and recording their testimony alongside the government committee.

It has been discovered that 150 closed circuit cameras were not being used when the fire started. Another mystery is why the mall fire fighting system has been found unused.

Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think….These matters seem to be mysterious

“In the shopping mall there is an ultra-technology elevator which runs even without electricity but we have found that locked,” Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of the home ministry, said. “Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think. We have to see if there was any incendiary substance there. These matters seem to be mysterious.”

Mall management has been asked to submit substances and items which would have been in the upper floors when the fire started. The fire erupted on the 17th floor and spread quickly to the two floors above and engulfed the three floors below. The aerial ladders belonging to the Fire Service and Civil Defence reached as high as the 13th floor of the 21-storey building.

Videos have been sent to the United States (US) for examination to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to help in the damage assessment. Experts from the US are expected to arrive soon.

Firefighters were brought to the rooftop of the 20-storey tower by helicopter. The only fatality in this operation was Baki Billa, a firefighter of Bashundhara City firefighting department, who fell when climbing down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of the building. Three other firefighters made the transition safely. At this same time, the chief security officer was safely rescued by the Bangladesh Air Force helicopter, a Bell 212. Six security officers of the complex also lost their lives.

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