Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Dorsa Derakhshani in Baku, 2017 (Image: Gibraltar Chess Festival)

In February 2017, the Iranian Chess Federation announced two teenage chess players, Dorsa Derakhshani and her younger brother Borna Derakhshani, were banned from representing the national team. The federation announced their decision although Dorsa Derakhshani had previously decided and informed the chess federation she did not wish to play for Iran.

Dorsa Derakhshani is currently 21 years old and holds the International Master (IM) as well as Woman Grand Master (WGM) titles. Her brother, Borna, plays for the English Federation and holds the FIDE Master title.

Dorsa Derakhshani was banned since she did not wear a hijab, an Islamic headscarf, while competing at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival in January 2017. Under the laws of Islamic Republic of Iran, hijab is a mandatory dress code. Her brother Borna Deraskhsani was banned for playing against Israeli Grand Master (GM) Alexander Huzman at the same tournament. Iran does not recognise the existence of Israel, and previously, Irani athletes have avoided playing against Israeli athletes.

Mehrdad Pahlavanzadeh, the president of the country’s chess federation, explained the decision to ban the players saying, “As a first step, these two will be denied entry to all tournaments taking place in Iran and in the name of Iran, they will no longer be allowed the opportunity to be present on the national team.” ((fa))Farsi language: ?????? ????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ????? ?? ?? ???? ???????? ?? ?? ????? ? ?? ??? ????? ?????? ??????? ????? ??????? ? ???? ???? ???? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??????? ????. He further stated, “Unfortunately, something that should not have happened has happened and our national interest is paramount and we have reported this position to the Ministry of Sports.” ((fa))Farsi language: ????????? ?????? ?? ????? ????????? ?????? ??? ? ????? ??? ?? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ???? ? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?? ????? ???? ?? ????? ?????.

IM Dorsa Derakhshani, who currently studies at Saint Louis University in the United States and plays for the United States Chess Federation, discussed her chess career, time in Iran and the 2017 controversy, and her life in Saint Louis with a Wikinews correspondent.

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Monday, January 31, 2005

Metlife announced on 01/31/05 that they were going to acquire Travelers Life and Annuity from Citigroup. Travelers Life and Annuity is an insurance underwriter. MetLife is a large life insurance and annuities underwriter. MetLife will have to borrow a lot of money to pay for the company, so rating agencies like S&P warn that the AA credit rating of MetLife might be lowered. This would cause the interest rates at which all of MetLife’s debt must be repaid to increase.

Citigroup committed to continue distributing Travelers life insurance and annuities through its Smith Barney stock brokers, Primerica agents, and Citibank branches.

Citigroup was previously known as Travelers Insurance before it bought Citicorp. First the Property and Casualty business of Travelers was spun off, and now the life insurance division has been sold off. This is primarily because insurance underwriters get a lower price to earnings multiple from the stock market because of the cycles and uncertainty associated with the insurance business. Also, having an insurance underwriter and a bank together does not usually create “cross-sell” opportunities, because consumers and businesses almost always buy life insurance and annuities through brokers who have a duty to give them other options. Citigroup will continue to sell insurance through its brokers as before.

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Looking out for loans for pensioners?



Undoubtedly, an emergency financial desire may crop up at any time and to resolve this kind of pressing requirement on an instant basis is really very imperative for anyone. It is not always possible for everyone to have cash in his or her pocket in the middle of a month. Usually, people find it difficult to have cash in the mid of a month when their monthly salary has been used in normal expenditure of their life. If you are a pensioner and need additional financial help for your financial worries then you need to take support of personal loans for pensioners for the same. If you are having severe credit troubles and there is not any chance of getting monetary assistance then in this situation you can easily rely on pensioners loans with ease.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Manchester United will be taking on eleven of the top players in Europe in a celebration match next Tuesday at Old Trafford, and the lineup for the European XI is coming together nicely. The game is a UEFA-Manchester United collaboration created to commemorate not only the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, but also the 50th anniversary of Manchester United entering into European club competitions. Funds raised in the match will go to support the Manchester United Foundation, which works with local charities as well as UNICEF to aid children in need. Italian Marcello Lippi will be in charge of coaching the European XI side, and his assistant will be Andy Roxburgh. Confirmed players have slowly been filing into the team, but with current Manchester United on-loan striker Henrik Larsson confirmed, the XI is now complete.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announced on Wednesday that iPhone technology is not being used to monitor the location of its customers. The scandal arose from concern that data collected by Apple would make it possible for anyone with access to a person’s private computer to retrieve information about their movements.

Jobs acknowledged that while iPhones keep a database of Wi-Fi and cell tower hotspots these do not reveal anything about individual users’ location. “That’s what people saw on the phone and mistook it for location”

In a separate statement, Apple clarified the device is merely caching data in order to improve the speed of locating users in the future.

Jobs confirmed during the interview that Apple would testify before the United States Congress. “They have asked us to come and we will honour their request, of course.”

Apple have since made plans to release software updates that will cut the size of the wireless hotspot location database stored on its iPhones.

The data scandal, coined ‘Location-gate’ has overshadowed news of Apple’s announcement for sales of the delayed white iPhone 4 which will begin shipping from Thursday.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

A fire on Saturday destroyed the main hall of the Egyptian National Theatre in Cairo. Six people have been injured including three firefighters. No one was in the theatre at the time as it was closed for the weekend.

Egyptian state culture minister Faruq Hosni, said “The fire broke out in the main hall of the theatre. It was probably caused by an electrical short circuit.”

Ataba Square was filled with thick white smoke just after sunset as a total of 22 fire engines responded. Egyptian riot police were also deployed to keep crowds of people back while the firefighters attempted to extinguish the blaze.

A civil defence officer described the fire as being almost contained, following a brief burst of high winds which blew the flames towards neighbouring shops and other buildings. The three firefighters were admitted to hospital suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

Brig. Gen. Nasr Zakaria, a senior officer of the Civil Defence Service, later confirmed Minister Hosni’s earlier statement, telling MENA (Middle East News Agency) that an electrical short had indeed caused the fire, by triggering an explosion in the theatres air conditioning system.

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Submitted by: Mark Simpson

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Sunday, January 16, 2022

London head office of GlaxoSmithKline on July 30, 2007. Image: Ian Wilson.

United Kingdom-based pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) confirmed January 15 it had rejected three “unsolicited, conditional and non-binding proposals” by Unilever to acquire its Consumer Healthcare division, including one bid of GBP50 billion in value made on December 20, believing Unilever “fundamentally undervalued” the business and its potential.

News that Unilever attempted to buy GSK Consumer Healthcare for 50 billion pounds, split between GBP41.7 billion in cash and 8.3 billion in Unilever shares, was first reported by The Sunday Times, and subsequently confirmed by both companies. Had the latest acquisition offer gone through, it would have been the largest deal since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and one of the biggest ever among companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

A deal would likely mean integrating the GSK division into Unilever’s own beauty and personal care business, which has seen profit margins struggle under Covid-19 lockdowns and higher costs for plastics and petrochemicals.

A brief response on the Unilever website confirmed it “had approached GSK and Pfizer about a potential acquisition”, and adds GSK Consumer Healthcare “would be a strong strategic fit” as the company looks to rework its portfolio. GSK indicated the proposals were “carefully evaluated” by its board of directors, but unanimously rejected under the conclusion they “were not in the best interests of GSK shareholders” and “failed to reflect the intrinsic value of the business and its potential”.

The Sunday Times have indicated the latest deal did not include an acquisition premium or recognition of corporate synergies; the joint venture between GSK and healthcare firm Pfizer, which holds a minority stake in the company, was initially projected to generate GBP500 million in cost savings by this year and realise “substantial cost synergies”. The BBC’s business editor Simon Jack wrote that a standard takeover premium would be about 30%, but could be reduced over the GBP10 billion in debt GSK was predicted to “leave on the books”, of the GBP22 billion net debt GSK reported for Q3 2021.

Unilever House, also in London, on March 3, 2014. Image: User:Arlid Vågen.

The deals were assessed by the Board respective of a proposed demerger of GSK Consumer Health into a separate PLC in the middle of this year. Jack wrote GSK “always” had “an open mind to a trade sale to another party if the price was right.” Unilever did not take into account the standard takeover premium, the value of cost savings and Board confidence Consumer Health could deliver “superior organic sales growth” of between four and six per cent in the medium term. This was despite valuations of about GBP50 billion by Goldman Sachs and Barclays analysts, and a lower GBP45 billion valuation by Jeffries Group.

There are no current talks between Unilever and either Pfizer or GSK, and the Unilever statement reads: “There can be no certainty that any agreement will be reached.” Under CEO Alan Jope, Unilever has focused its investments and marketing on brands which “communicate a strong environmental or social purpose” by streamlining its holdings in items like beauty products and tea. Jope previously said Unilever would concentrate on smaller takeovers in industries like luxury beauty and wellness.

However, Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, told the BBC this would be a “high risk deal” at a time investors are cautious about GSK’s performance, but also a time of rising inflation he says encourages “consumer goods with loyal customers”. Mould added despite strong cashflow, Unilever had recently missed targets on sales and profit margins, putting pressure on the CEO.

Pressure by activist shareholders Elliott Management Corporation and Bluebell Capital Partners have also mounted against GSK CEO Emma Walmsley over the unit’s failure to develop a Covid-19 vaccine and Walmsley’s own lack of scientific experience. GSK has been involved in the ongoing development of a Covid-19 vaccine with French biopharmaceutical company Sanofi, and announced preliminary results from Phase 3 trials last month.

In 2018, Unilever bought several consumer nutritional products from GSK, including its flagship product Horlicks, and merged its Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Unilever, with GSK Consumer Healthcare India.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Alistair Darling Image: Antonio Cruz/ABr.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced to a shocked House of Commons today that two password-protected — but not encrypted — computer disks containing the entire Child Benefit database have been lost in transit between the offices of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in Washington, Tyne & Wear and the National Audit Office (NAO) in London, in what has been described as “one of the world’s biggest ID protection failures”.

The database contains details of all families in the UK who receive Child Benefit — all families with children up to 16 years of age, plus those with children up to 20 years old if they are in full-time education or training — estimated to contain 25 million individuals in 7.25 million families. Among other items of information, the database contains names, addresses, dates of birth, child benefit and National Insurance numbers, and where appropriate, bank or building society account details.

The discs were created by a junior official at the HMRC in response to a request for information by the NAO, and were sent unregistered and unrecorded on 18 October using the courier company TNT — which operates the HMRC’s internal mail system. When it was found that the discs had not arrived for audit at the NAO, a further copy of this data was made and sent — this time by registered mail — and this package did arrive. HMRC were not informed that the original discs had been lost until 8 November, and Darling himself was informed on 10 November.

The violation of data protection laws involved in the creation of the discs has led to strong attacks on the government’s competence to establish the proposed National Identity Register, when all UK residents will have an identity card. Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne described the loss of data as “catastrophic” and said “They [the government] simply cannot be trusted with people’s personal information”.

The Chairman of HMRC, Paul Gray, has resigned over the affair, and critics are calling for Darling to do likewise.

This is the third data embarrassment for HMRC in recent weeks — earlier this month it was reported that the details of over 15,000 Standard Life customers had been put on disk, and then lost en route from HMRC in Newcastle to Standard Life in Edinburgh — and last month a laptop containing the data of 400 people with high-value ISAs was stolen from the boot of a car belonging to a HMRC official who had been carrying out a routine audit.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Prescription placebos used in research and practice.

A new study amongst doctors in the United States on the use of placebos—pills with no medical effect—shows that almost half of the questioned practitioners prescribe placebos, most of them within the last year.

The majority of 466 faculty physicians at Chicago-area medical schools interviewed by a research group of the University of Chicago stated that placebos are useful to calm a patient down or to respond to demands for medication that the doctor disagrees with, i.e. “to get the patient to stop complaining”.

96 percent of the physicians surveyed believe that placebos can have therapeutic effects. Close to 40 percent stated that placebos could benefit patents physiologically as well as mentally.

Twelve percent of surveyed physicians think that placebos should be banned from clinical practice. Among the doctors who prescribed them, one in five said they outright lied to patients by claiming a placebo was medication. But more often the physicians came up with ways to explain like that “this may help you but I’m not sure how it works.”

The American Medical Association (AMA), the largest association of U.S. doctors and medical students, tells its members that “[p]hysicians may use placebos for diagnosis or treatment only if the patient is informed of and agrees to its use.” The research, published in Journal of General Internal Medicine this week, is the first major U.S. study of doctors on the use of placebos since 1979.

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