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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mega Millions $640 million lottery jackpot


The largest lottery jackpot in history, $640 million (£400 million), has been won by a ticket holder in Maryland, and officials were waiting early on Saturday to see if there are other winning tickets.


Maryland lottery officials announced that a winning ticket was purchased at a store in Baltimore County, though they had not identified the winner yet.


Some 625 million tickets were expected to have been sold, more than two for every American resident.


The odds of winning – at 176 million-to-one


Long queues snaked out of corner stores as buyers lined up to try their chances.


A single winner could claim yearly payments or a one-time cash option of $462 million, Mega Millions spokeswoman Kelly Cripe said.
The previous largest Mega Millions jackpot was $390 million in 2007, and was split between two ticket holders in Georgia and New Jersey.
About half of the lottery money is paid out to ticket holders in the form of winnings, 35 percent to state governments and 15 percent to retailer commissions and lottery operating expenses.

Maryland ticket holder claims share of $656M Mega Millions lottery jackpot

Three winning tickets were sold across USA and a Maryland woman, Haitian immigrant Mirlande Wilson(37) said she had the ticket, then alternately claimed she had lost it and had hidden it inside the McDonald's restaurant where she works. Her attorney, who admitted he couldn't back up her story, said she wanted to be left alone.
Maryland's winner bought the ticket at a 7-Eleven store in Milford Mill outside Baltimore. That person will split the prize with winners in Illinois and Kansas

Lottery officials increased the final jackpot to $656 million after tallying sales from the 44 state lotteries.
  Three tickets shared the record $640 million (£404 million) lottery prize, which can be taken in a heavily-taxed lump sum of $105 million (£66 million) or spread out in annual payments of $5.56 million (£3.6 million).
The owner of a second winning ticket in Kansas has now come forward to claim their share prize, while the third winner, who bought the ticket in the small town of Red Bud, Illinois, is also yet to claim their millions. They have until Sept 28,2012 to do so.


Canada and Candian News

Country Profile
Canada is a North American country consisting of 10 Provinces and 3 Territories. Located in the Northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean.

 At 9,984,670 Square kms, Canada is World's 2nd Largest Country by Total Area and its common border with USA is the longest land border in the world(8,891 kilometres (5,525 miles)
Also Canada has the longest coastline in the world, with a total length of 202,080 kilometres (125,570 miles)
Capital                              Ottawa
Currency                          Canadian Dollar
Official Language            English and French
Population                        35 Million(2011 Estimate)
Flag of Canada

 Monarch of Canada

Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy where the Monarch is Head of State.The sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II who also serves as head of state of 15 other Commonwealth Countries and each of Canada's ten provinces and resides predominantly in the United Kingdom.
Governor General of Canada

As the Queen's representative, the Governor General of Canada carries out most of the federal royal duties in Canada.The direct participation of the royal and viceroyal figures in areas of governance is limited in practice.
David Lloyd Johnston is the current Governor General of Canada in office from Oct 01,2010
Prime Minister of Canada
Executive powers is directed by the Cabinet  responsible to the elected House of Commons and Chosen and Headed by the Prime Minister of Canada,the Head of Govt. though the governor general or monarch may in certain crisis situations exercise their power without ministerial advice.
The governor general will usually appoint as prime minister the person who is the current leader of the political party that can obtain the confidence of a plurality in the House of Commons.

Stephen Joseph Harper(Conservative Party) is the 22nd and current Prime Minister of Canada in office from Feb 06,2006 after winning the  -
2006 Canadian Federal Election which resulted in a minority Govt led by Harper's(Conservative Party)
2008 Canadian Federal Election which again resulted in a minority Govt led by Harper's(Conservative Party)
2011 Canadian Federal Election which again resulted in a majority Govt led by Harper's(Conservative Party)
Parliament of Canada 

The Parliament of Canada is Bicameral -
House of Commons(Lower House)
Each of the 308 Members of Parliament in the House of Commons is elected by simple plurality in an Electoral District or Riding. General elections must be called by the governor general, on the advice of the PM, within 4 years of the previous election, or may be triggered by the government losing a Confidence Vote  in the House.
The Senate(Upper House)
The 105 members of the Senate, whose seats are apportioned on a regional basis, serve until age 75.

 Political Parties in Canada
The country has a Multi-party System with two dominant political parties in Canada being -
Liberal Party of Canada and
Conservative Party of Canada

5 parties had representatives elected to the Parliament in the 2011 elections.They are -

1)Conservative Party of Canada(Governing Party)
was formed by the merger of the Canadian Alliance (formerly the Reform Party of Canada) and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 2003.The current party leader is Stephen Harper who has been the PM of Canada since 2006.

2)New Democratic Party ( Main Opposition Party )
 was formed by the merger of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation(CCF) and Canadian Labour Congress(CLC) in Aug 1961.The current leader of the NDP is Thomas Mulcair

3)Liberal Party of Canada

 colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federal party in Canada.

4)Bloc Quebecois

is a federal political party in Canada devoted to the protection of Quebec's  interests in the House of Commons of Canada and the promotion of Quebec Sovereignity.  The Bloc was formed by Members of parliament who defected from the federal Progressive Conservative Party and Liberal Party.
BQ founder Lucien Bouchard  was a cabinet minister in the federal Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney.

5)Green Party of Canada
The Party was founded in 1983 with with 10,000–12,000 registered members  and  the Greens advance a broad multi-issue political platform that reflects its core values of ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy and non-violence.The Party is led by Elizabeth May since Aug 2006.

In May 2011,Green Party leader Elizabeth May became the first elected Green Party MP to sit in the House of Commons.In winning her seat,Elizabeth May also became one of the few Greens world wide to be elected in a federal, single-seat election.(She won the riding of Saanich - Gulf Islands in coastal British Columbia) 

Canada is Doing Away with Penny


Jim Flaherty, the Finance Minister of Canada, pronounced a death sentence on the country’s penny during his budget speech on Thursday March 29,2012.The government estimated that every penny costs it about 1.6 cents to produce. Eliminating the penny’s production will reduce the government’s costs by about 11 million Canadian dollars a year.

The Royal Canadian Mint will stop distributing pennies to banks and businesses this fall. While Canadians will be allowed to continue to use pennies indefinitely, the government is hoping that they will turn in the coins for recycling as scrap metal.
As pennies disappear, cash transactions will be rounded to the nearest nickel after federal and provincial sales taxes have been added. All other transactions, including payments by check, credit and debit cards, will still be calculated to the cent. 

Britain, Australia and Norway are among the countries that preceded Canada in abandoning their smallest-denomination coins.

Friday, March 30, 2012

European Parliament

European Parliament(Strausbourg,France)


The European Parliament (EP) forms one half of the EU's Legislature (the other half is the Council of the European Union). The 736 (soon to be 751)Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by EU Citizens every 5 years on the basis of Proportional Representation. Although MEPs are elected on a national basis, they sit according to Political Groups rather than their Nationality. The Parliament and the Council of the European Union pass legislation jointly in nearly all areas

 MEP's Vote For Single Seat Parliament

MEPs have voted by a massive majority to end the European Parliament's monthly journey to Strasbourg by having a single seat for the EU assembly in Brussels.

The vote - 429 for a single seat and 184 against - is the clearest expression to date of the parliament's desire to end the "travelling circus.

Every month, the parliament's 736 MEPs and some three thousand staff and officials relocate from Brussels to Strasbourg, a trek that is required by the EU's Treaty as a symbol of post-War reconciliation in Europe.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Moomba Parade/Festival,Melbourne,Australia

Moomba is Australia's largest free community festival and one of the longest running festivals in Australia. Held annually in the city of Melbourne,Australia, Moomba is celebrated during the Labour Daylong weekend (over four days, from Friday to the second Monday in March), and has been celebrated since 1955. In 2003, the event was renamed Melbourne Moomba Waterfest. It is a family festival run by the City of Melbourne Council.

Queen of Moomba, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, waves to crowds on St Kilda Road in Melbourne during the annual Moomba parade, March 12, 2012
King of Moomba, Harry Kewell, waves to crowds on St Kilda Road in Melbourne during the annual Moomba parade, March 12, 2012

Performers Dancing in the Moomba Parade


Arab Spring,One Year Later

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Illegal Immigrants in USA

Of the 11.5 million unauthorised immigrants in 2011, 1.6 million (14 per cent) entered the US on January 1, 2005 or later. Larger numbers came during 2000-2004 (3.3 million or 29 per cent) and 1995-1999 (3.0 million or 26 per cent)

The Cuban-born population living in the US was excluded from the estimates since, according to immigration law, most Cubans are admitted or paroled into the US and are eligible a year later to apply to adjust to legal permanent residency (LPR) status.

An estimated 8.9 million (77 per cent) of the total 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants living in the US in 2011 were from North America, including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America.
The next leading regions of origin were Asia (1.3 million) and South America (0.8 million).

Illegal Immigrants List -
1)Mexico 6.8 Million
2)El Salvador 6.6 Million
3)Guatemala 5.2 Million
4)Honduras 3.8 Million
5)China 2.8 Million
6)Philippines 2.7 Million
7)India 2.4 Million
8)Korea 2.3 Million
9)Ecuador 2.1 Million and
10)Vietnam 1.7 Million
California remained the leading State of Residence of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population in 2011, with 2.8 million.
The next leading State was -
Texas with 1.8 million unauthorized residents,
 followed by Florida (740,000),
New York (630,000) and
Illinois (550,000)

In 2011, 59 per cent of unauthorized immigrants were aged 25 to 44 years, and 53 per cent were male.
Males accounted for 57 per cent of the unauthorized population in the 18 to 34 age group in 2011 while females accounted for 57 per cent of the 45 and older age groups.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saint Patrick's Day - March 17

Saint Patrick's Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick  "the Day of the Festival of Patrick") is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March.

 It commemorates Saint patrick  (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland and the arrival of christianity in Ireland

Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland.(from 1903)

Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to thepagan Irish  and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day.

The first Saint Patrick's Festival was held on 17 March 1996.

In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 it was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long.

Beetroot lowers blood pressure?

According to a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition and released March 22, 2012 researchers found that beetroot juice was able to reduce blood pressure in a group of 18 male participants as soon as three hours after consumption.
After giving a group of 18 men different doses of beetroot juice -- 100g, 250g and 500g -- researchers determined that the 100g dose was all it took to lower blood pressure over the span of 13 hours.
Participants were also given bread enriched with beetroot juice which produced similar results.
Other studies have likewise shown that beetroot juice can boost stamina and help people exercise for up to 16 percent longer, and benefit not just top, elite athletes, but also help elderly people lead more active lifestyles.

Hong Kong and Hong Kong News

Country Profile

Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions(SARs)of the People's Republic of China(PRC), the other being Macau. Hong Kong is a City-State situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South china Sea.
Administratively, Hong Kong is subdivided into 18 geographic districts, each represented by a District Council which advises the government on local matters.There are a total of 534 district council seats, 405 of which are elected; the rest are appointed by the Chief Executive and 27 ex officio chairmen of rural committees.
Hong Kong is frequently described as a place where "East meets West", reflecting the culture's mix of the territory's Chinese roots with influences from its time as a British colony.
Hong Kong's transportation network is highly developed. Over 90% of daily travels (11 million) are on public transport, the highest such percentage in the world.
Hong Kong Dollar is the 8th most traded currency in the world as of 2010

Official Language    Chinese,English
Population               7.1 Million(2010 Estimate)
Ethnic Groups          95% Chinese and 5% Others
Currency                 Hong Kong Dollar

Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire  after the First Opium War (1839–42). Originally confined toHong Kong Island, the colony's boundaries were extended in stages to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and then the New Territories  in 1898. It was occupied by Japan during the Pacific War during the after which the British resumed control until 1997.
On July 1,1997, the transfer of sovereignty from United Kingdom to the PRC occurred, officially ending 156 years of British colonial rule. Hong Kong became China's first special administrative region

 and Tung Chee Hwa  took office as the first Chief Executive of Hog Kong. 

Tung Chee Hwa was elected with eighty percent of the electoral votes against two other candidates -Peter Woo and Sir Ti Liang Yang. In 2002, Tung Chee Hwa was reelected uncontested, as he had received 713 signatures of support in the Electoral Committee.Tung Chee Hwa resigned on March 12,2005.
On  June 21,2005 Donald Tsang was officially appointed Chief Executive of the HKSAR by the State Council of the Central People's Government to complete the remainder of Tung's term, which ended on June30, 2007
In the Hong Kong Chief Executive election held on March 25,2007,Donald Tsang won the election getting 649 votes as against Alan Leong who got only 123 votes in the 800-member Election Committee
In the Hong Kong Chief Executive election held on March 25,2012,the incumbent Chief Executive Donald Tsang  is barred from seeking a third term pursuant to the Basic Law of Hong Kong.  
The Chief Executive is the Head of Special Administrative Region and is also the highest ranking official in the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and is the head of the executive branch.(Legislative Council) The Chief Executive is elected by an 1200-member Election Committee.(atleast receive 100 Nominations)
The Chief Executive must be a Chinese citizen atleast 40 years of age and is a permanent resident of Hong Kong.The term of office of the Chief Executive is five years who may not serve more than two consecutive terms.
Govt. House is the Official Residence of the Chief Executive

Legislative Council 


Permanent residents of Hong Kong are eligible to vote in direct elections for the 30 seats representing geographical constituencies in the 60-seat, Unicameral  Legislative Council.
The franchise for the other 30 seats is limited to about 180,000 voters in functional constituencies (composed of business and professional sectors).The term of office of a member is four years.

ographical constituencies No. of Seats
1998 2000 2004 2008 2012*
Hong Kong Island 4 5 6 6 7
Kowloon East 3 4 5 4 5
Kowloon West 3 4 4 5 5
New Territories East 5 5 7 7 9
New Territories West 5 6 8 8 9
Total 20 24 30 30  35

 The Legislative Council of Hong Kong has been housed in the Old Supreme Court Building in Central Hong Kong  from 1985 to November 2011.
 Beginning in December 2011, the Legislative council convenes at the Legislative Block of the Central Govt Complex,Tamar .

 Chief Executive Election -Sunday March 25,2012

A thick cloud of suspicion and fearful speculation nonetheless hangs over voting for Sunday’s decision on Hong Kong’s next chief executive.Is Hong Kong to run its own affairs as promised when Britain and China signed a 1984 agreement for the transfer of sovereignty, or is the Party to take command?
Hong Kong's seven million residents have no say in the election, which is decided entirely by 1,200 votes. Beijing has committed to holding direct elections by 2017
Hong Kong Chief Executive candidatesHenry Tang, Albert Ho and Leung Chun-ying stand on the stage during a debate organized by the election committee members in Hong Kong March 19, 2012
 The two leading contenders—former finance chief Henry Tang and former cabinet member Leung Chun-ying.The winning candidate will need a majority 601 votes from the elites, which constitute the election committee, in the Sunday election. To be sure, the city's chief executives won't be chosen via the popular vote, but instead by this group of 1,200 politicians, businesspeople, and representatives from professional and social groups

CY Leung Elected Hong Kong's New Leader


Hong Kong on Sunday appointed as its new Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, a businessman with close ties to China .Leung Chun-ying(57)was declared Hong Kong's New Chief Executive after securing 689 votes. With most of the votes counted, Henry Tang had 285 and pro-democracy candidate Albert Ho 76, election officials said.