Archive for February, 2011

Iran ‘arrests opposition leaders’

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Mir Hossein Mousavi (right) and Mehdi Karroubi, file picsMr Mousavi and Mr Karroubi had previously been under house arrest

Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and their wives have been taken from their homes by security forces, reports suggest.

Mr Karroubi’s son told the BBC he had heard his father had been moved, but did not know where he had been taken.

A website close to Mr Mousavi claims the men have been taken to Heshmatiyeh jail in Tehran. Iran denied the report, a semi-official news agency said.

The incident comes ahead of planned protests to be held on Tuesday.

The semi-official Fars news agency quoted an unnamed official in Iran’s judiciary as denying that the men had been taken.

“The two are currently in their homes and there have only been restrictions on their contacts,” the official said.

Both Mr Mousavi and Mr Karroubi have called for demonstrations in Iran in the light of recent uprisings in Tunisia and in Egypt.

Earlier this month the two men, along with their wives, were detained in their respective homes in Tehran as protests were staged on the streets of the capital.

On Monday one of Mr Karroubi’s sons told BBC Persian service he had been told his father had been “taken by security forces to an unspecified location”.

Mr Mousavi’s Kaleme website reported that the men and their wives “have been arrested and were transferred to the Heshmatiyeh prison of Tehran”.

“According to credible sources, the arrest and the transfer to jail is sure but the date when it occurred is still uncertain,” it said.

A neighbour told BBC Persian that he had seen eight security vans outside the politician’s home late on Thursday night. Shortly afterwards the vans then left the area along with one car, he said.

Thousands of supporters of Mr Mousavi and Mr Karroubi took to the streets of Tehran on 14 February, amid clashes with security forces.

Some 1,500 people have been detained, opposition groups said, but official figures put the number at 150.

Following the deadly clashes, Iranian MPs called for the two opposition leaders to be tried and executed.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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VIDEO: Beacons lit in protest at rail plans

Monday, February 28th, 2011

People from communities along the proposed route of a high-speed rail link between Birmingham and London have lit beacons in protest.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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US repositions forces near Libya

Monday, February 28th, 2011

USS Enterprise (right)The USS Enterprise (right) is currently in the Red Sea

The US defence department says it is repositioning forces in the Libya region as the West weighs potential intervention against Muammar Gaddafi.

The Pentagon said it was moving forces to “provide for that flexibility once decisions are made”.

The US already has a significant presence close to Libya, with several bases in southern Italy.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said US forces could be used for delivering humanitarian assistance.

“We have planners working various contingency plans, and I think it’s safe to say as part of that we’re repositioning forces to provide for that flexibility once decisions are made,” Pentagon spokesman Col Dave Lapan said.

Correspondents say US forces could be used to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, to prevent Col Gaddafi’s aircraft attacking opposition supporters.

The BBC’s Andrew North, in Washington, says the Pentagon’s announcement seems partly designed to send a message to Col Gaddafi.

It is still not clear if there will be sufficient support at the United Nations Security Council for a no-fly zone, but Washington and several of its key allies say they are now actively discussing the possibility, our correspondent says.

Muammar Gaddafi, Libya, 13 FebCol Gaddafi is trying to shore up support in and around the Libyan capital

On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Western nations were looking at setting up a humanitarian “corridor” in neighbouring Tunisia or Egypt to help refugees.

US commanders could turn to the USS Enterprise, currently in the Red Sea, as well as the amphibious ship the USS Kearsarge, which has a fleet of helicopters and about 2,000 Marines aboard, AFP news agency reported.

In addition, the US maintains a large naval air station in Sigonella, Sicily, less than an hour’s flight from Libya.

Mrs Clinton said on Monday that the US was leaving all its options on the table in dealing with Libya.

Although she did not discuss military options, Mrs Clinton said that as long as Col Gaddafi remained in power the US would consider a range of options against Libya’s rulers.

“Through their actions, they have lost the legitimacy to govern. And the people of Libya have made themselves clear: it is time for Gaddafi to go – now, without further violence or delay,” she told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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Wallis Simpson’s scarlet nightwear up for sale

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Items once owned by Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom Edward VIII renounced the throne, are set to be sold in an auction.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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‘Gap’ in child worker checks plan

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Boy - posed by modelThe government says the system of checks on child workers has become too bureaucratic
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Government plans to change the system of vetting people who work with children in England and Wales contain a “disturbing gap”, the NSPCC has said.

The Home Office announced earlier this month that checks would be required only for people working “closely and regularly” with young people.

The NSPCC said it was concerned that some volunteers in schools and children’s homes would be exempt.

But it welcomed the coalition’s “more proportionate” approach overall.

The comments come as MPs prepare to debate the Freedoms Bill – which contains the proposals – on Tuesday.

The planned changes are part of what the government says is an attempt to end Labour’s “13-year assault on hard-won British freedoms”.

But the NSPCC said that, under the terms of the bill, a teacher who has been barred but not prosecuted for inappropriate behaviour could become an unpaid, supervised, voluntary worker in a school without any checks revealing the previous behaviour which had led to them being barred.

It added that there would be a loophole in the protection of vulnerable 16- and 17-year-olds because people who worked with them in sports clubs and faith groups would not be vetted under the new rules.

An NSPCC spokesman said: “This is a disturbing gap in the planned legislation which could put children at serious risk of harm.

“It must be addressed as soon as possible to deny offenders a golden opportunity of targeting innocent victims.”

For Labour, shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “I am very worried about these serious loopholes that the NSPCC has identified in the government’s new child protection arrangements.

“Most parents would be deeply troubled by the idea that a teacher who has been barred for sexual grooming of a child could then work as a teaching assistant with no-one aware of their past.”

Home Secretary Theresa May suspended Labour’s Vetting and Barring scheme in June 2010 and ordered a review be carried out.

The scheme was set up in 2009 after an inquiry into the murders of the Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman by school caretaker Ian Huntley.

Children’s minister Tim Loughton has said the revised system will be “less bureaucratic and less intimidating” and “encourage everyone to be vigilant”.

Children’s charity Barnardo’s said the move was “a victory for common sense”.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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VIDEO: Mown down cyclists survive in Brazil

Monday, February 28th, 2011

A car has ploughed through cyclists staging a demonstration in Porto Alegre, hitting at least 20 people.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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School reports rival to advertising watchdog

Monday, February 28th, 2011

An independent school is reported to the advertising watchdog by the head of a rival school for claiming it is the best in the country.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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Live – Stoke v West Brom

Monday, February 28th, 2011

West Brom manager Roy Hodgson searches for his first victory in charge as his team travel to Stoke in the Premier League.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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Getting International Business

Monday, February 28th, 2011
This series is commissioned by UPS.

Last year we did a series about the trend in micromultinational businesses. These are businesses that are small — some very small with a mere handful of employees — but already operating as multinationals. It used to be that your business had to wait to grow up before going international. Not today. Today you can leapfrog from a startup serving a 50-mile radius, to selling to customers in dozens of countries.

Today that I’d highlight some articles from our archives on the special challenges and opportunities of going international even while a small business.

Background Information

As background on this topic, take a look at:

Considerations Before Going Global – In Preparing Your Business To Go Global, I point out 5 considerations (pros and cons) of taking your business international.  Should you or shouldn’t you go global?  There’s no one right answer.  You have to look at your business and your market, as well as the risks and opportunities.  For instance, figuring out how to get paid is one of the key issues facing any international business where money is going across different currencies and different payment legalities.  Another key issue:  local taxes and regulations in each jurisdiction your business be in or send goods to have to be considered, or you could lose big money.  Yet another issue:  exporting laws and licenses in your own country — you can get in compliance and sleep easy, or you can wait for the nightmares to start.  Get informed, weigh everything, then decide.

Readying Your Website for International Visitors — The Web is a key marketing, sales and distribution channel for international business.  In How to Make Your Website Ready for International Business, we examine 4 steps you can make to ensure your website is friendly to and ready for non-domestic and non-English-speaking visitors.  From internationalizing your website content,  to  making it easy for buyers to calculate shipping costs — the steps are now relatively straightforward ones.

Inspiration

If you are looking for inspiration from other businesses that have gone multinational as either young startups or while still relatively small, go no further than these examples:

Challenge:  Cost of Compliance — in Tales of Micro-Multinationals:  Jadience , we took a look at Jadience, which sells a line of health and skincare products and treatments rooted in Traditional Oriental Medicine.  One of their biggest challenges as a small business:  complying with industry regulations in many different locales, including the cost of the compliance process.

Opportunity:  Expansion Using a Hub and Spoke Model — in Tales of Micro-Multinationals:  Worketc, we profiled Worketc, a maker of business software with customers in 23 countries at that time.  The company’s Founder, Dan Barnett, says that scaling a micromultinational can be done, but only if you treat each region as its own micro-multinational.  You’d need to expand in a hub-and-spoke model, rather than a traditional pyramid organizational structure, he says.

Opportunity:  Meeting Client Needs by a Mix of Face-to-Face and Virtual — in Tales of Micro-Multinationals: The Real Time Project, we looked at The Real Time Project, a consulting group that helps organizations deal with the implications of content becoming more real-time. It takes a diverse range of skills including skills in social media, real-time Web protocols, video distribution, and business and branding strategy.  It’s unlikely that most companies will have all the necessary skills in people sitting in one room in one location today.   A multinational consulting firm helps large brands scale with the right mix of face-to-face and virtual resources.

From Small Business Trends

Getting International Business

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States in CO2 pact invest $404 million in efficiency

Monday, February 28th, 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ten eastern states in a greenhouse gas reduction program have invested more than half of their carbon permit auction proceeds, or about $404 million, in energy efficiency, the…

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