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Portal:Libertarianism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Aug 082015
 

The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remained president and CEO for 35 years until 2012 when he was replaced by John A. Allison, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the second largest privately held company (after Cargill) by revenue in the United States.

The Institute’s stated mission is “to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and peace” by striving “to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government.” Cato scholars conduct policy research on a broad range of public policy issues, and produce books, studies, op-eds, and blog posts. They are also frequent guests in the media.

Cato scholars were critical of George W. Bush’s Republican administration (20012009) on several issues, including the Iraq War, civil liberties, education, agriculture, energy policy, and excessive government spending. On other issues, most notably health care, Social Security, global warming, tax policy, and immigration, Cato scholars praised Bush administration initiatives. During the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Cato scholars criticized both major-party candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama.

The Cato Institute was named the fifth-ranked think tank in the world for 2009 in a study of leading think tanks by James G. McGann, Ph.D. of the University of Pennsylvania, based on a criterion of excellence in “producing rigorous and relevant research, publications and programs in one or more substantive areas of research”. It has been called “Washingtons premier libertarian think tank.”

Ronald Ernest Paul (born August 20, 1935) is a Republican United States Congressman from Lake Jackson, Texas, a physician, a bestselling author, and the fourth-place finisher in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries.

Originally from the Green Tree suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Gettysburg College in 1957, then studied at Duke University School of Medicine; after his 1961 graduation and a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, he became a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, serving outside the Vietnam War zone. He later represented Texas districts in the U.S. House of Representatives (19761977, 19791985, and 1997present). He entered the 1988 presidential election, running as the Libertarian nominee while remaining a registered Republican, and placed a distant third.

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Portal:Libertarianism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Libertarianism in the United States – Wikipedia, the free …

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Jun 202015
 

Libertarianism in the United States is a movement promoting individual liberty and minimized government.[1][2] The Libertarian Party, asserts the following to be core beliefs of libertarianism:

Libertarians support maximum liberty in both personal and economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence. Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.[3][4]

Through 20 polls on this topic spanning 13 years, Gallup found that voters who are libertarian on the political spectrum ranged from 17%- 23% of the US electorate.[5] This includes members of the Republican Party (especially Libertarian Republicans), Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, and Independents.

In the 1950s many with classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as “libertarian.”[6] Academics as well as proponents of the free market perspectives note that free-market libertarianism has spread beyond the U.S. since the 1970s via think tanks and political parties[7][8] and that libertarianism is increasingly viewed worldwide as a free market position.[9][10] However, libertarian socialist intellectuals Noam Chomsky, Colin Ward, and others argue that the term “libertarianism” is considered a synonym for social anarchism by the international community and that the United States is unique in widely associating it with free market ideology.[11][12][13]

Arizona United States Senator Barry Goldwater’s libertarian-oriented challenge to authority had a major impact on the libertarian movement,[14] through his book The Conscience of a Conservative and his run for president in 1964.[15] Goldwater’s speech writer, Karl Hess, became a leading libertarian writer and activist.[16]

The Vietnam War split the uneasy alliance between growing numbers of self-identified libertarians, anarchist libertarians, and more traditional conservatives who believed in limiting liberty to uphold moral virtues. Libertarians opposed to the war joined the draft resistance and peace movements and organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society. They began founding their own publications, like Murray Rothbard’s The Libertarian Forum[17][18] and organizations like the Radical Libertarian Alliance.[19]

The split was aggravated at the 1969 Young Americans for Freedom convention, when more than 300 libertarians organized to take control of the organization from conservatives. The burning of a draft card in protest to a conservative proposal against draft resistance sparked physical confrontations among convention attendees, a walkout by a large number of libertarians, the creation of libertarian organizations like the Society for Individual Liberty, and efforts to recruit potential libertarians from conservative organizations.[20] The split was finalized in 1971 when conservative leader William F. Buckley, Jr., in a 1971 New York Times article, attempted to divorce libertarianism from the freedom movement. He wrote: “The ideological licentiousness that rages through America today makes anarchy attractive to the simple-minded. Even to the ingeniously simple-minded.”[21]

In 1971, David Nolan and a few friends formed the Libertarian Party.[22] Attracting former Democrats, Republicans and independents, it has run a presidential candidate every election year since 1972. Over the years, dozens of libertarian political parties have been formed worldwide. Educational organizations like the Center for Libertarian Studies and the Cato Institute were formed in the 1970s, and others have been created since then.[23]

Philosophical libertarianism gained a significant measure of recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University professor Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974. The book won a National Book Award in 1975.[24] According to libertarian essayist Roy Childs, “Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia single-handedly established the legitimacy of libertarianism as a political theory in the world of academia.”[25]

Texas congressman Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns for the Republican Party presidential nomination were largely libertarian. Paul is affiliated with the libertarian-leaning Republican Liberty Caucus and founded the Campaign for Liberty, a libertarian-leaning membership and lobbying organization.

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Libertarianism in the United States – Wikipedia, the free …

Star Corporate Vietnam: One Stop Shop for Foreign Investment into Vietnam – Video

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Apr 132015
 



Star Corporate Vietnam: One Stop Shop for Foreign Investment into Vietnam
One stop shop for direct foreign investment into Vietnam. Business start up and on-going administration support. Offshore companies. All licenses and permits. Taxation, HR services. Leases….

By: Mr Director

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Star Corporate Vietnam: One Stop Shop for Foreign Investment into Vietnam – Video

China maps out islands plan

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Apr 112015
 

It is rare for China to give such detail about its plans for the artificial islands. The rapid reclamation taking place on seven reefs has alarmed other claimants and drawn U.S. criticism, including from Defence Secretary Ash Carter, who is visiting Japan and South Korea this week.

“The relevant construction is a matter that is entirely within the scope of China’s sovereignty. It is fair, reasonable, lawful, it does not affect and is not targeted against any country. It is beyond reproach,” Hua added.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

All but Brunei have fortified bases in the Spratlys, which lie roughly 1,300 km (800 miles) from the Chinese mainland but much closer to the Southeast Asian claimants.

Read MoreAsia Infrastructure Investment Bank gambit has US on edge

While China’s new islands will not overturn U.S. military superiority in the region, workers are building ports and fuel storage depots and possibly two airstrips that experts have said would allow Beijing to project power deep into the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.

Asked about Hua’s comments, U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke called the land reclamation “destabilizing” and said it was “fueling greater anxiety within the region about China’s intentions amid concerns that they might militarize outposts on disputed land features in the South China Sea.”

“We very much hope that China would recalibrate in the interests of stability and good relations in the region,” he told reporters in Washington.

Western and Asian naval officials privately say that China could feel emboldened to try to limit air and sea navigation once the reclaimed islands are fully established.

The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea does not legally allow for reclaimed land to be used to demarcate 12-nautical-mile territorial zones, but some officials fear China will not feel limited by that document and will seek to keep foreign navies from passing close by.

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China maps out islands plan

China defends reclamation of islands in disputed territory

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Apr 112015
 

Analysts say the pictures show how China is attempting to create facts in the water to bolster its sovereignty claims

7 AREAS: Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr presents photos of China’s reclamation projects in West Philippine Sea

The Philippines one of the most vocal of China’s neighbours in defending its competing territorial claim reacted strongly, calling for the Asian giant to “dismantle” the reclaimed land. (READ: PH fears ‘miscalculation’ in West PH Sea)

“They have to dismantle it,” said Peter Paul Galvez, spokesman for Manila’s defense department. “It is a concern not only of our country and region but of the whole international community.”

A series of satellite images posted on the website of the Center for Strategic and International Studies show a flotilla of Chinese vessels dredging sand onto Mischief Reef and the resulting land spreading in size.

Before-and-after images of other outcrops in the Spratly Islands record runways appearing from jungle, smooth-sided solid masses where coral once lay, and man-made harbors replacing natural reefs.

Analysts say the pictures show how China is attempting to create facts in the water to bolster its sovereignty claims.

Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost the whole of the South China Sea, including areas close to the coasts of other littoral states, using a nine-segment line based on one that first appeared on Chinese maps in the 1940s.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all have overlapping claims.

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China defends reclamation of islands in disputed territory

China Defends Work on Spratly Islands

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Apr 112015
 

BEIJING

China on Thursday sketched out plans for the islands it is creating in the disputed South China Sea, saying they would be used for military defense as well as to provide civilian services that would benefit other countries.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that the reclamation and building work in the Spratly archipelago was needed partly because of the risk of typhoons in an area with a lot of shipping that is far from land.

“We are building shelters, aids for navigation, search and rescue, as well as marine meteorological forecasting services, fishery services and other administrative services” for China and neighboring countries, Hua said.

The islands and reefs would also meet the demands for China’s defense, Hua said without elaborating.

It is rare for China to give such detail about its plans for the artificial islands. The rapid reclamation taking place on seven reefs has alarmed other claimants and drawn U.S. criticism, including from Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who is visiting Japan and South Korea this week.

“The relevant construction is a matter that is entirely within the scope of China’s sovereignty. It is fair, reasonable, lawful, it does not affect and is not targeted against any country. It is beyond reproach,” Hua added.

Overlapping claims

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in shipborne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

All but Brunei have fortified bases in the Spratlys, which lie roughly 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) from the Chinese mainland and are much closer to the Southeast Asian claimants.

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China Defends Work on Spratly Islands

Free speech advocate addresses Bentonville students

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Apr 112015
 

BENTONVILLE — Mary Beth Tinker told Bentonville High School students she was “really scared and nervous” when she wore a black armband to her school nearly 50 years ago, touching off a controversy leading to a landmark Supreme Court case.

More than 1,000 students filled the school’s Arend Arts Center on Wednesday to hear Tinker speak about her experience and her passion for free-speech rights. Haven Brown, a senior, interviewed Tinker on stage before the audience was allowed to ask her questions.

Tinker was 13 years old in December 1965 when her brother and their friend decided to wear black armbands to school to mourn those killed in the Vietnam War and to support Robert F. Kennedy’s call for a Christmas truce. They lived in Iowa at the time.

“I was kind of shy and I wasn’t sure I was going to do it because I didn’t want to get in trouble,” Tinker said.

A vice principal told her to remove her armband, and Tinker did. She was suspended anyway, as was a small group of other students who wore armbands.

The U.S. Supreme Court eventually heard the students’ case, and in 1969 ruled 7-2 in the students’ favor, saying their form of protest was protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. That ruling is officially known as Tinker v. Independent Community School District No. 21.

Tinker told students she didn’t realize what a big case it was until she saw it cited years later in one of her nursing school textbooks.

Tinker said she and her family were the target of hate when news spread about the suspensions.

“People were calling us Communists,” Tinker said. “And my mother said, ‘We’re not Communists, we’re Methodists.'”

The School District’s argument for suspending the students was they were causing a disruption with their armbands, Tinker said.

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Free speech advocate addresses Bentonville students

Supreme Court turns away Bay Area students free-speech case

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Mar 312015
 

The U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal Monday by high school students in Morgan Hill who were barred from wearing American flags on their T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo, a year after an angry confrontation between flag-waving Anglo and Mexican American students.

Heeding warnings in 2010 by students from both ethnic groups that clashes could erupt again, the principal at Live Oak High School told the students to either turn the U.S. flag shirts inside out or go home. Some reversed their shirts, others left, but three students and their parents sued the Morgan Hill Unified School District, claiming a violation of free speech. They cited a 1969 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld students right to wear black armbands to class in a silent protest against the Vietnam War.

But the 1969 ruling also said school officials could limit student expression in order to prevent disruption of education or school activities. Federal courts said the Morgan Hill principal had taken reasonable steps to prevent possible violence, and the Supreme Court denied review of the students appeal Monday, without comment.

The Rutherford Institute, a libertarian organization representing the students, said the courts action was a blow to the First Amendment.

When public school students cant wear an American flag on a T-shirt because it might be disruptive, then free speech as weve known it is dead, the institutes president, John Whitehead, said in a statement.

The students also drew support from John and Mary Beth Tinker, the brother and sister whose Vietnam War protest in an Iowa high school led to the Supreme Courts 1969 ruling. In a brief that urged the court to take up the Morgan Hill case, the Tinkers said students speech on controversial subjects often provokes hostile and even potentially violent reactions and should nevertheless remain constitutionally protected.

But the court may have retreated somewhat from the First Amendment stance it took in the Tinker case. A later ruling upheld a school principals authority to censor a student newspaper to promote what the principal described as school values. Another ruling upheld an Alaska schools suspension of a student who unfurled a banner outside the campus reading Bong Hits 4 Jesus, a slogan that the court said could be interpreted as promoting drug use.

The Morgan Hill case arose in an ethnically charged atmosphere that dated from May 5, 2009, when a group of Mexican American students walked around with a Mexican flag to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and a group of white students responded by hoisting a makeshift American flag up a tree, chanting USA and exchanging profanities and threats with the Latino youths.

A year later, after a confrontation between Latino students and three youths wearing U.S. flag shirts, school officials told the youths in the T-shirts to conceal the flags or go home. They issued no similar orders to students wearing Mexican flag colors to commemorate the holiday, saying there was no evidence that those youths were in danger.

In a 3-0 ruling in February 2014, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the students free-speech claims, saying the schools actions were tailored to avert violence and focused on student safety. Three conservative judges later argued unsuccessfully for a rehearing and accused their colleagues of catering to the will of the mob.

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Supreme Court turns away Bay Area students free-speech case

Terminal Vietnam War veteran honored by Islands Hospice – Video

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Mar 292015
 



Terminal Vietnam War veteran honored by Islands Hospice
Joseph Hooker served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1968 to 1972. He has been battling heart disease and cancer.

By: KHON2 News

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Terminal Vietnam War veteran honored by Islands Hospice – Video

Cyclone Pam and climate change: Are the Pacific Islands ready?

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Mar 152015
 

At least eight people have been killed after one of the most powerful cyclones to hit the Pacific Ocean tore through the islands of Vanuatu early Saturday, multiple news outlets reported.

Packing winds up to 270 kilometers (168 miles) per hour, Cyclone Pam blew down or destroyed homes and cut off power, water, and communication lines, especially on the archipelagos outer islands, The Associated Press reported.

As of Saturday, eight have been reported dead, but aid workers have said it could take weeks before the storms impact is fully evaluated.

“It felt like the world was going to end,” Alice Clements, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Childrens Fund, told Reuters from Vanuatu. It’s like a bomb has gone off in the center of the town.

Scientists have said its nearly impossible to attribute any single weather event to climate change, according to The Associated Press. Still, the Category 5 cyclone the worst to hit the archipelago since Cyclone Uma left 5,000 people homeless and one man dead in 1987 has once more raised concerns about the readiness of Pacific island nations to respond to severe weather events exacerbated by rising temperatures and sea levels.

The Pacific region has been one of the areas most affected by changes in global temperatures in recent years. In 2013, countries in the Pacific Basin recorded the highest increases in sea levels in the world, according to a report by The Christian Science Monitor, based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Last September, the president of the Marshall Islands, a tiny archipelago near the equator, called on world leaders to act on climate change as the countrys atolls become increasingly unlivable due to rising seas, severe floods, sudden storms, and droughts, The Guardian reported.

The Pacific is fighting for its survival, President Christopher Loek said. Climate change has already arrived.”

Countries in and around the Pacific, including China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Australia, have also experienced the most tropical cyclone strikes since 1970, the same Monitor report found.

Of the five typhoons to affect the most number of people in the Philippines, four occurred within the last 10 years, according to Philippine news outlet Rappler. The worst was also the most recent: Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the archipelago in late 2013, affected more than 16 million people, including 6,000 dead. The estimated cost of damage was about $2 billion, Rappler reported.

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Cyclone Pam and climate change: Are the Pacific Islands ready?

Cyclone Pam and climate change: Are the Pacific Islands ready? (+video)

 Islands  Comments Off on Cyclone Pam and climate change: Are the Pacific Islands ready? (+video)
Mar 152015
 

At least eight people have been killed after one of the most powerful cyclones to hit the Pacific Ocean tore through the islands of Vanuatu early Saturday, multiple news outlets reported.

Packing winds up to 270 kilometers (168 miles) per hour, Cyclone Pam blew down or destroyed homes and cut off power, water, and communication lines, especially on the archipelagos outer islands, The Associated Press reported.

As of Saturday, eight have been reported dead, but aid workers have said it could take weeks before the storms impact is fully evaluated.

“It felt like the world was going to end,” Alice Clements, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Childrens Fund, told Reuters from Vanuatu. It’s like a bomb has gone off in the center of the town.

Scientists have said its nearly impossible to attribute any single weather event to climate change, according to The Associated Press. Still, the Category 5 cyclone the worst to hit the archipelago since Cyclone Uma left 5,000 people homeless and one man dead in 1987 has once more raised concerns about the readiness of Pacific island nations to respond to severe weather events exacerbated by rising temperatures and sea levels.

The Pacific region has been one of the areas most affected by changes in global temperatures in recent years. In 2013, countries in the Pacific Basin recorded the highest increases in sea levels in the world, according to a report by The Christian Science Monitor, based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Last September, the president of the Marshall Islands, a tiny archipelago near the equator, called on world leaders to act on climate change as the countrys atolls become increasingly unlivable due to rising seas, severe floods, sudden storms, and droughts, The Guardian reported.

The Pacific is fighting for its survival, President Christopher Loek said. Climate change has already arrived.”

Countries in and around the Pacific, including China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Australia, have also experienced the most tropical cyclone strikes since 1970, the same Monitor report found.

Of the five typhoons to affect the most number of people in the Philippines, four occurred within the last 10 years, according to Philippine news outlet Rappler. The worst was also the most recent: Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the archipelago in late 2013, affected more than 16 million people, including 6,000 dead. The estimated cost of damage was about $2 billion, Rappler reported.

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Cyclone Pam and climate change: Are the Pacific Islands ready? (+video)

Vietnam War Symposium: They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967 – Video

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Mar 132015
 



Vietnam War Symposium: They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967
A March 10 symposium on the Vietnam War was held at the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt, based on “They Marched Into Sunlight,” a book by David Maraniss. Maraniss, Distinguished Visiting…

By: Vanderbilt University

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Vietnam War Symposium: They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967 – Video

Sand, sunshine, hedonism, crime: TV's beaches are rarely for relaxation

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Mar 012015
 

By Finlay BoyleMarch 1, 2015, 12:15 a.m.

It’s the first day of autumn but the tail end of the summer swelter and the surf’s warmer temperatures mean visits to the beach aren’t over just yet. Through the decades we have come to know a variety of small small-screen beaches, whether they’re grounded in reality or in fiction. These celebrated strips of sand can be a setting for fun, romance, violence, intrigue, war, mystery and discovery, keeping audiences hooked. Here’s a trip down memory lane to TV’s most famous beaches.

Hawaii Five-OWith an intro theme as famous as the show, this piece of crime-stopping drama used the stunning backdrop of sunny ’70s Hawaiian beaches to contrast with a grim world of crime. Interestingly enough, the special police task force led by Detective Lieutenant Steve McGarrett (played by Jack Lord) to nab criminals and organised crime bosses was based on a real unit that existed in the ’40s under martial law in Hawaii. Of course those criminals knew they were stuffed when they had their heads pressed down in the sand and heard the famous words, “Book ’em, Danno!”

LostWith a huge cult following and more theories than the assassination of JFK, Lost was something of a cultural phenomenon. J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof gave the show its initial appeal with an incredible pilot episode recreating a plane-crash scene on a tropical island and costing upwards of $10 million. The island setting was a hit with the audience as the castaways began making a new civilisation of sorts on the beach.

China BeachAgainst the backdrop of a raging Vietnam War, China Beach gave audiences an insight into the conflict from a different perspective. Set at the 510th Evacuation Hospital and R&R, with Bac My An Beach as the backdrop, the show looks at the lives of US Army doctors, nurses, military personnel and civilians. The beach including scenes from shirtless soldiers to helicopters flying overhead captured a place in the imagination.

Jersey Shore This notorious reality show became a talking point when it was released in the US owing to its cast of over-the-top characters and the party lifestyle they embodied. The beach in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, provided a platform for debauchery of the highest level. The show also introduced phrases into America’s popular lexicon. GTL short for gym, tan, laundry was the mantra of these vain reality stars.

Gilligan’s Island A classic for the ages, and an inspiration for many similar shows such as Lost, Gilligan’s Island provided some fantastic running gags in a delightfully cheesy studio setting. The show focuses on the survivors of a shipwreck in the Pacific; Gilligan, the skipper, a millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor and Mary Ann. It was filmed almost entirely in the studio, but the beach used in the cave scenes was Newport Beach, in Orange County, California. One of the more delightful inconsistencies in the show was the ability to use bamboo to make everything from a pedal car to a stethoscope.

Baywatch Could this be TV’s sexiest beach? When you throw the likes of David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson into board shorts and bikinis, international sex symbols and a rollickingly popular beach drama are created. The story of these Los Angeles County lifeguards looked to be cut short when the show was cancelled after the first season in 1989. But Hasselhoff and the producers knew they were on to something with the sexy, sandy drama and revived the show for syndication in 1991.

Fantasy Island A beautiful and isolated tropical island where guests come by plane to live out their fantasies. Does it get much better than that? From the stunning aerial shots of the Hawaiian island of Kauai in the opening credits, the scene is set for a trip into paradise, but also into the bizarre and exotic. The enigmatic overseer of the mysterious island, Mr Roarke (Ricardo Montalban), panders to the guests’ fantasies while joined by his ever-enthusiastic sidekick, Tattoo (Herve Villechaize). Mr Roarke is infamously informed of the guests[‘ arrival as Tattoo rings the tower bell and shouts, “De plane! De plane!”.

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Sand, sunshine, hedonism, crime: TV's beaches are rarely for relaxation

Liberty Central Saigon Centre Hotel, Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Tre, Vietnam – Video

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Feb 192015
 



Liberty Central Saigon Centre Hotel, Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Tre, Vietnam
With a stay at Liberty Central Saigon Centre Hotel, you'll be centrally located in Ho Chi Minh City, steps from Ben Thanh Market and minutes from Saigon Square. This 4-star hotel is within…

By: Best hotels

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Liberty Central Saigon Centre Hotel, Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Tre, Vietnam – Video

China Builds Artificial Islands in Disputed Sea: Report

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Feb 192015
 

China has stepped up the construction of a series of large artificial islands, according to satellite images released Thursday, a move that experts said would dramatically extend its reach into hotly disputed waters.

The images, which were taken by Airbus Defence and Space and released by military magazine IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, showed three islands built within the past year at reefs in the South China Sea.

The satellite photos were evidence of China’s “methodical, well-planned campaign to create a chain of air and sea-capable fortresses,” according to the magazine’s Asia-Pacific editor James Hardy. The magazine added it had tracked a Chinese dredger to the area last year and that the builds were similar to other Chinese projects.

One of the islands, built with dredged, reclaimed land in the Spratly Islands, had within the past year grown from a small 415-square-yard platform to a facility 82,000 square yards in size the equivalent to 14 football fields.

Hardy said the islands featured “helipads, airstrips, harbours, and facilities to support large numbers of troops.”

China claims most of the South China Sea for itself, but is in dispute with of several neighbors, including Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines, who have overlapping claims.

“These reclamations are bigger and more ambitious than we all thought,” one Western diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “On many different levels it’s going to be exceptionally difficult to counter China in the South China Sea as this develops.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

First published February 19 2015, 7:49 AM

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China Builds Artificial Islands in Disputed Sea: Report

SAR should prohibit Bitcoin transactions

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Feb 162015
 

Updated: 2015-02-16 07:29 By Eddy Li(HK Edition)

Last year, when Hong Kong set up its first Bitcoin ATM and a Bitcoin retail store, I wrote a commentary in this paper, “Treat Bitcoin with caution”. This was to warn investors to exercise caution about investing in Bitcoin. Unfortunately, it didn’t prevent a recent fraudulent incident. Earlier this month, Legislative Council member Leung Yiu-chung said that about 30 concerned clients of MyCoin, a Hong Kong-based Bitcoin trading company, complained to him that the company had absconded with funds from up to 3,000 investors, stealing HK$3 billion in the process.

The most controversial feature of Bitcoin remains the question of whether or not it is actually a currency. Bitcoin does have three useful qualities of a currency, according to an Economist article published in January 2015: They are “hard to earn, limited in supply, and easy to verify”. While Bitcoin, to some extent, meets all these requirements – a store of value, a medium of exchange, and a unit of account, it is its volatility which becomes the most crucial factor in its acceptance. In this case, naturally, its price, or exchange rate, fluctuates based on how it is regarded. Thus if a country forbids Bitcoin transactions, the price drops dramatically. When another economy admits its legal status its price may skyrocket in a short time.

Consensus has yet to be reached as to whether Bitcoin should be a currency in different countries. As of 2014, this cryptocurrency was only illegal in Vietnam and Iceland. In December 2013, China’s central bank took its first steps in regulating Bitcoins by prohibiting financial institutions from handling Bitcoin transactions. Within six months of this, the People’s Bank of China stated that Bitcoins “are fundamentally not a currency but an investment target”, and simultaneously ordered financial institutions to close Bitcoin trading accounts. As for Japan, it was not until the Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy that the Japanese government decided to clarify its position on the digital currency. Tokyo said it did not consider Bitcoin a real currency. In other Asian countries, including South Korea, India, Thailand and Indonesia, attitudes toward Bitcoin are generally conservative: They firmly state that it is not a currency.

Nevertheless, the Western world seems to have different attitudes to Bitcoin. Germany and Canada have granted Bitcoin the legal status of a currency, while others have tended not to take a definite position. In the US, experts are working on drafting regulations to cover Bitcoin, but on one occasion the Federal Reserve suggested that people should take responsibility for their own risk when investing in this “convertible decentralized virtual currency”.

It is possible that Bitcoin will be an internationally accepted currency in future. But so far it is merely an online payment system generated from “mining” – a computing process. Without any central bank or governmental backing, its value is determined only by the agreement of its users. This makes Bitcoin different from conventional currencies regarding undulation. Since its first real-world transaction in 2010, when a user bought 2 pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoins (valued at less than $0.01), it has peaked at $1250 with intermittent crashes and rebounds. Over the last year, the value of Bitcoin has dropped more than 50 percent.

Such instability has brought it to the attention of both investors and governments. Authorities in Hong Kong have repeatedly warned that Bitcoins are a high-risk investment. But judging from the recent case, such warnings are definitely not sufficient, especially when there are no existing laws regulating virtual currencies like Bitcoin. So the solution is regulation or prohibition.

Given that Bitcoin is an unprecedented financial concept, related regulation needs years to draft and refine. Governments and academics from different countries should work together to set up a generally accepted system of regulation. Until such time I suggest the Hong Kong government prohibits Bitcoin transactions through financial institutions – although individual investments should still be possible.

(HK Edition 02/16/2015 page10)

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SAR should prohibit Bitcoin transactions

Freedom Flight planning making progress

 Freedom  Comments Off on Freedom Flight planning making progress
Feb 102015
 

Fundraising efforts are underway to send Boone County veterans on a flight to Washington DC, to visit the war memorials.

The Boone County Freedom Flight committee has been meeting for the past couple of months to plan Boone Countys first Freedom Flight. The trip would send World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans to visit the war memorials as a way to say thanks for their service to this country.

The committee is hoping to raise at least $95,000 to send the first group of veterans to Washington DC. This will cover the buses to transport the veterans to the airport, the flight, the meals and the logistics, so the veterans do not have to pay anything. So far, approximately $6,000 has been raised.

A number of fundraisers are being planned to help increase the amount set aside for Boone Countys inaugural flight. The first is a chili/soup supper that will take place Saturday, Feb. 28, at 5 p.m. in the basement of the Boone County Historical Society, 602 Story St. During the meal, veterans who have participated in other counties freedom flights will tell of their experiences and the impact the trips had on them.

Other fundraisers being planned include goldfish races, selling T-shirts and other Freedom Flight merchandise at the upcoming Boone Home & Garden Show, Feb. 20-21, in the community building at the Boone County Fairgrounds, and having a booth at the March 14 ABATE swap meet, also to be held in the community building.

Anyone wishing to donate to the Boone County Freedom Flight may do so by sending a check addressed to Boone County Veterans Freedom Flight to P.O. Box 311, Boone, Iowa 50036. Donations are tax deductible and 100 percent of all proceeds will go toward the Freedom Flight. Questions can be directed to Dick Thul, (515) 298-0109, Don Batt, (515) 298-0375, or email boonecountyfreedomflight@gmail.com.

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Freedom Flight planning making progress

Da Nang, Vietnam TRAVEL and food 2015: Beaches, Mountains, Caves – Video

 Beaches  Comments Off on Da Nang, Vietnam TRAVEL and food 2015: Beaches, Mountains, Caves – Video
Jan 232015
 



Da Nang, Vietnam TRAVEL and food 2015: Beaches, Mountains, Caves
What to do in Da Nang? Well, Da Nang is one of the my favorite cities in Vietnam. I returned again and finally got a chance to travel and eat some of Central Vietnam's best food including My…

By: Kyle LeDotNet

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Da Nang, Vietnam TRAVEL and food 2015: Beaches, Mountains, Caves – Video




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