Friday, January 12, 2007

The U.S. armed forces detained five Iranians working at a “liaison office” located in Erbil, Iraq before dawn on Friday. Sources said that the U.S. forces first landed their helicopters around the building, then broke through the office’s gate, disarmed the guards, confiscated some documents and certain objects, arrested five suspected terrorists, and then left for an undisclosed location.

However, there was no raid on the Iranian Consulate General as earlier reported. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told Agence France-Presse that the building raided was “not a consulate or a government building”, which appears to be confirmed by the Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, who said the Iranians were working at an office that had government approval and was in the process of being approved as a consulate, but was not a Consulate nor the Iranian Consulate General. The US is strategically insisting that they raided a “liaison office” instead of a Consulate to avoid being found in violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mikhail Kamynin said that the raid was absolutely unacceptable and was a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The Kurdistan Regional Government also expressed their shock and disapproval of the raid.

On Thursday’s hearing on Iraq, Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delware), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the Bush Administration did not have the authority to send U.S. troops on cross-border raids. Biden said, “I believe the present authorization granted the president to use force in Iraq does not cover that, and he does need congressional authority to do that. I just want to set that marker.” After the meeting, Biden sent a follow-up letter to the White House asking for an explanation from the Bush Administration on the matter.

On Thursday morning, Iran’s foreign ministry official sent a letter to Iraq’s foreign ministry asking Iraq to stop the Bush Administration from interfering with Iraq-Iran relations, and has protested the raid on its liaison office. The official said, “We expect the Iraqi government to take immediate measures to set the aforesaid individuals free and to condemn the U.S. troopers for the measure. Following up on the case and releasing the arrestees is a responsibility of primarily the Iraqi government and then the local government and officials of the Iraqi Kurdistan.”

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=US_raids_Iran_%27liaison_office%27,_Russia_says_it_is_unacceptable&oldid=4358920”

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Preliminary results from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), released 15 December 2005 by the US National Center for Education Statistics, indicate gains and losses in literacy among minority adults between 1992 and 2003.

The nationally representative study among US adults age 16 and older found the over-all average prose and document literacy remained relatively unchanged, but quantitative literacy improved 8 points (on a scale of 500.) Results among minorities were mixed, with White and Asian/Pacific Islander minorities scoring significantly higher than Hispanic or Black ethnicities; Hispanic subjects in particular had sharp decreases in prose and document literacy (-9% and -8%, respectively) and quantitative illiteracy remained unchanged with 50% of subjects scoring at less than basic literacy levels.

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy is the most comprehensive measure of adult literacy in the USA. The 2003 NAAL, with 19 000 participants, was conducted by the Educational Testing Service, a non-governmental organization which charges for its services.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=United_States_2003_National_Adult_Literacy_Survey_released&oldid=2145864”

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A review this week by Wikinews of US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) complaints about mortgages in the United States shows Bank of America leads all lending institutions in complaints.

Since mortgages complaints were recorded in December 2011, 77,622 total have been added to CFPB’s database. 29.2% of these complaints involved Bank of America, with the second most received by Wells Fargo, accounting for 15.5% of all complaints. JPMorgan Chase ranked third by volume of complaints with 9.8%. Ocwen was fourth with 8.7% and Citibank was fifth with 4.8%. Nationstar Mortgage; Green Tree Servicing, LLC; HSBC; PNC Bank; U.S. Bancorp; OneWest Bank; SunTrust Bank; Flagstar Bank; and Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. each had between 1.0 and 3.8% of total complaints. The remaining 14.4% of all complaints about consumer mortgages were divided between about 530 other lending institutions.

The Motley Fool reported last month that for the past fiscal quarter, the biggest US based mortgage lenders were from first to fifth Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Quicken Loans and U.S. Bancorp.

According to the US Federal Reserve, debt for family residences stands at US$10.706 trillion for the second quarter of 2013. As of the end of June of this year, Bank of America is the United States’s second largest commercial bank with US$1.343 trillion in domestic assets. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest commercial bank with US$1.251 trillion in domestic assets. JPMorgan Chase is the largest US commercial bank with US$1.329 trillion in domestic assets and US$1.947 trillion in total assets.

The mortgage complaints in the CFPB report include several subproducts. Conventional fixed mortgages account for 27.1% of all complaints. Conventional adjustable mortgages account for 10.0%. FHA mortgages account for 7.7% of all complaints. Home equity loans or lines of credit account for 3.8% of all complaints. VA mortgages are 1.4% of all complaints. Second mortgages and reverse mortgages each account for 0.6% of complaints. The remaining 48.7% of complaints are about other mortgages or other mortgage issues. A few years ago, FHA loans accounted for about 10% of all US mortgages while VA loans accounted for about 3%. Prime loans accounted for over 75% of the market and the rest were subprime mortgages.

California leads all states by volume of complaints with 14768. It is followed by Florida, New York, Georgia and Texas. When complaints are divided by a state’s total population, New Hampshire leads. The state is followed by Washington D.C., Maryland, Georgia and Florida. Complaints do not correlate with national rankings for August’s foreclosure rate by state where Nevada topped the list, followed by Florida, Ohio, Maryland and Delaware.

Two zip codes account for over 1,000 total complaints between them. 565 complaints originated in the 48382 zip code, which is in Commerce Township, Michigan, located in suburban Detroit. 553 complaints originated in the 33071 zip code, in Coral Springs, Florida. According to real estate website Zillow, there are currently 1,033 properties in foreclosure in Coral Springs while Commerce Township only has 131 properties currently in foreclosure. Four other zip codes have 100 plus complaints originating from them. 91730, in Rancho Cucamonga, California, had 158 complaints. 33409, in West Palm Beach, Florida, had 132. 92626, in Costa Mesa, California, had 125 complaints. 92660, in Newport Beach, California, had 122 complaints. Respectively, the towns had 534, 1,068, 153, and 134 properties currently in foreclosure. These numbers are higher than for the cities of a few sampled zip codes where there was only one complaint, such as Gold Hill, Oregon which has 4 properties in foreclosure, and Decatur, Illinois which has 6 properties in foreclosure.

The CFPB categorizes complaints into six categories: “Loan modification, collection,foreclosure” or problems when a person is unable to pay; “Loan servicing, payments, escrow account” or problems with making a payment; “Application, originator, mortgage broker”; “Credit decision / Underwriting”; “Settlement process and costs”, and “Other”. The CFPB says the complaint types indicate consumers “appear to be driven by a desire to seek agreement with their companies on foreclosure alternatives. The complaints indicate that consumer confusion persists around the process and requirements for obtaining loan modifications and refinancing, especially regarding document submission timeframes, payment trial periods, allocation of payments, treatment of income in eligibility calculations, and credit bureau reporting during the evaluation period.” Currently, 59.6% of all complaints against lenders deal with being unable to pay. 25.1% deal with problems in making a payment. 7.0% have to do with the application process.

Of the complaint-heavy zip codes, for 48382 in Commerce Township, Michigan, 98.9% of all complaints have to deal with being unable to pay. Accounting for 23.4% of all mortgage complaints in Commerce Township, 132 of the complaints for being unable to pay were made regarding Bank of America, accounting for 97.8% or all but 3 complaints against them from the zip. 121 of the Bank of America responses in Commerce Township were closed with explanation and 12 were closed with non-monetary relief. 33071 in Coral Springs is different, with 537 of the 553 complaints being categorized under other. Only 11 complaints relate to foreclosure and issues with being able to pay. 92626 in Costa Mesa, where 32% of the mortgage complaints were about Bank of America and 26.4% were about Wells Fargo, had 93.6% of its complaints dealing with being unable to pay. 5 total complaints dealt with payment issues and 3 dealt with applications.

Beyond regional variance in complaint types lodged, the top five mortgage lenders by volume of complaints all had being unable to pay as their top complaint category, ranging between 55.8% for Citibank and 69.4% for Bank of America. Problems with payment accounted for the second largest area of complaints, with Ocwen having the largest percentage of complaints at 31.9% and Bank of America having the smallest at 18.8%. Foreclosure was the top area of complaints for a number of other lending institutions including 1st Alliance Lending, OneWest Bank, Ally Bank, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Bank of the West, BMO Harris, BOK Financial Corp, Caliber Home Loans, Inc, Capital One, Deutsche Bank and EverBank.

Nationally, complaints reached a high of 5,840 for January 2013, 1,107 more than the next highest month of April 2013. The total emerging for September is the second lowest since records were first kept in December 2011. On a state by state level, this pattern largely repeats with a major exception for Florida which saw a peak of 849 complaints in June 2012. Then, as now, Florida was one of the top five states in the nation in its foreclosure rate. The national January spike came as the Qualified Mortgage standard required by the The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 came into play. It required mortgage lenders to take steps to insure borrowers could repay their mortgages.

Bank of America’s complaint volume follows the national trend, with a spike in January 2013 with 1,925 total complaints. Unlike nationally, the next month by volume of complaints was February of this year with 1,598 complaints. Prior to that, the highest month was May 2012 with 1,418 complaints. The lowest volume of complaints is September this year with 334.

Wells Fargo matched national trends for volume of complaints by month, with the exception of the current month being the lowest on record for number of complaints with 197 compared to the next lowest month, December 2011, when they had 221. JPMorgan’s complaint volume by month spiked in January and March of this year with 504 complaints. April of this year was the next highest month with 493 complaints, edging out May of last year with 488 complaints. September this year is on track to be the lowest month by complaint volume.

The federal government shutdown is unlikely to impact the current mortgage situation in the United States directly for most consumers, though mortgage processing by the Federal Housing Administration could be slower, resulting in fewer mortgages processed.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Bank_of_America_leads_Consumer_Financial_Protection_Bureau_complaints_about_mortgages&oldid=3250043”

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This year Israel turns sixty and it has embarked upon a campaign to celebrate its birthday. Along with technology writers for Slate, PC Magazine, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Aviation Weekly, Wikinews was invited by the America-Israel Friendship League and the Israeli Foreign Ministry to review Israel’s technology sector. It’s part of an effort to ‘re-brand the country’ to show America that there is more to Israel than the Palestinian conflict. On this trip we saw the people who gave us the Pentium processor and Instant Messaging. The schedule was hectic: 12-14 hours a day were spent doing everything from trips to the Weizmann Institute to dinner with Yossi Vardi.

On Thursday, the fifth day of the junket, David Saranga of the foreign ministry was able to arrange an exclusive interview for David Shankbone with the President of Israel, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shimon Peres. For over an hour they spoke about Iranian politics, whether Israel is in danger of being side-lined in Middle Eastern importance because of Arab oil wealth, and his thoughts against those who say Israeli culture is in a state of decay.

The only crime I committed was to be a little bit ahead of time. And if this is the reason for being controversial, maybe the reason is better than the result.

Shimon Peres spent his early days on kibbutz, a bygone socialist era of Israel. In 1953, at the age of 29, Peres became the youngest ever Director General of the Ministry of Defense. Forty years later it was Peres who secretly gave the green light for dialogue with Yassir Arafat, of the verboten Palestine Liberation Organization. It was still official Israeli policy to not speak with the PLO. Peres shares a Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzak Rabin and Arafat for orchestrating what eventually became the Oslo Accords. The “roadmap” that came out of Oslo remains the official Israeli (and American) policy for peace in the Palestinian conflict. Although the majority of Israeli people supported the plans, land for peace was met with a small but fiery resistance in Israel. For negotiating with Arafat, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shouted at Peres, “You are worse than Chamberlain!” a reference to Hitler’s British appeaser. It was during this time of heated exchanges in the 1990s that Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a Jew who thought it against Halakhic law to give up land given by God (Hashem).

Peres is the elder statesman of Israeli politics, but he remembers that he has not always been as popular as he is today. “Popularity is like perfume: nice to smell, dangerous to drink,” said Peres. “You don’t drink it.” The search for popularity, he goes on to say, will kill a person who has an idea against the status quo.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Shimon Peres, the President of Israel.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

On 19 February 2007, XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio announced a move that will change the face of satellite radio in the United States and Canada: XM and Sirius will be merging, creating a single satellite radio provider.

Multi-million dollar losses, combined with increasing competition from internet radio, downloadable music, and HD radio were factors in this merger.

Wikipedia has more about this subject:

Mel Karmazin, CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio, described the problem: “We don’t want to take subscribers from XM. We won’t make money that way. We need new subscribers.” Likewise, XM executives say they can’t succeed by stealing Sirius subscribers. This leaves both companies with the problem of attracting new customers and distinguishing their brand, while at the same time trying to convince potential customers to pay $12.95 a month for radio, something that people are used to getting for free. Even if one company were to force the other out of the marketplace, the remaining company would have won a Pyrrhic victory, without enough capital remaining to take advantage of the situation.

The solution: make a deal now, while both companies are both strong and in a position to expand their technologies and services. That’s exactly what they plan to do: In press releases and news postings on both of their web sites, both companies have pledged to make the combined company better than either service by itself. “You’ve heard of 1+1=3,” Karmazin said during an invester conference call, “that’s what this is.”

Pending approval of the deal, each share of XM stock will be replaced with 4.6 shares of Sirius. Each company’s stockholders will retain approximately 50% of the joined company. Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin will retain his CEO title in the new company, and XM chairman Gary Parsons will retain his. XM CEO Hugh Panero will retain his position until the merger is complete, which should happen near the end of 2007.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=XM_and_Sirius_announce_merger_deal&oldid=743068”

Friday, May 11, 2007

At least two Kentucky Fried Chicken [KFC] restaurants, operated by G & H Restaurant Specialties, have closed in Buffalo, New York “for remodeling,” according to signs placed on the front doors of at least one location on Elmwood Avenue and Bryant Street in Buffalo. The other KFC is located on East Delavan Avenue, also in the City of Buffalo.

Despite the claim of closing for remodeling, the Erie County Health Department says that several health code violations were found at both locations. The most recent violation was logged by the health department in March at the Elmwood location for failing to keep food stored at correct temperatures. Violations were also cited for failing to keep cooking supplies and equipment sanitary and for not supplying hot water to the bathroom for employees.

G & H Restaurant Specialties has not released a statement regarding the violations, but the corporate offices in Louisville, Kentucky for KFC said, “our franchisee has finalized a plan for some structural repairs… The units will be temporarily closed while these building maintenance issues are addressed. [They will be] re-opened as soon as the repairs are complete.”

The health department also gave violations out to the East Delevan store for failing to maintain a clean floor throughout the restaurant and for not stopping food from becoming contaminated. Several rat traps were also found inside the storage cooler and around the kitchen area, but the establishment was “not free of rodents,” said Commissioner of the Erie County Health Department, Dr. Anthony Billittier.

Billittier also said that caulking and traps were seen on the outside of the East Delevan restaurant, which was an attempt to keep the rats out. “It shows that they’re trying to take care of a problem. But it also shows that they have a problem.”

As of Thursday, May 10, 2007, the Elmwood KFC has yet to reopen. It is not known if the East Delevan location opened today or not.

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

This Sunday, the International Animated Film Association (Association International du Film d’Animation) or ASIFA will hand out the Annie Awards in Glendale, California. As animation’s highest honor, the crowd is always a who’s who of direction, art design, character design, layout, visual effects, and voice artists.

There are 23 award categories in the Annies, sorted into Individual Achievement and Production categories.

Perhaps the most competitive category is “Best Animated Feature”, which will be a fight between Cars (Pixar Animation Studios), Happy Feet (Warner Bros. Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures/Kennedy Miller Production/Animal Logic Film), Monster House (Columbia Pictures/ImageMovers/Amblin), Open Season (Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures) and Over The Hedge (DreamWorks Animation).

Cars, Happy Feet, and Monster House are all nominated in the Academy Awards for the same category, perhaps signifying an edge up in the competition.

Direct-to-DVD releases are eligible for the “Best Home Entertainment Production”. Included are Bambi II (DisneyToon Studios), The Adventures of Brer Rabbit (Universal Animation Studios), and Winnie the Pooh: Shapes & Sizes (DisneyToon Studios).

Charlie and Lola, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, King of the Hill, The Fairly OddParents, and Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! are all up for “Best Animated Television Production”.

“Best Animated Video Game” will be awarded to either Flushed Away The Game (D3 Publisher of America, Inc.), Monster House (THQ, Inc.), and SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature From the Krusty Krab (THQ, Inc.); the category was just created last year.

Adventure Time (Nickelodeon), Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot (Thunderbean Animation), No Time For Nuts (Blue Sky Studios), and Weird Al Yankovic Don’t Download This Song (Acme Filmworks) are all up for “Best Animated Short Subject”. Only No Time for Nuts is up for an Oscar, which has significantly different rules. “Best Animated Television Commercial” will go to either an advertisement for Candy Factory, ESPN, Hilton, St. Louis Zoo, or United Airlines.

Notably, no non-US films or productions have been nominated for any of the awards.

ASIFA is a non-profit worldwide organization dedicated to preserving and promoting animation, which maintains national branches in 55 countries, as far away as UlanBaatar, Mongolia and Tehran. The Annies are awarded by its California chapter ASIFA-Hollywood.

The awards were started in 1972, after voice actress June Foray noticed the industry lacked a formal way to acknowledge its achievements. Performing in over 202 productions, Foray’s most known characters are Rocket J. Squirrel (Rocky and Bullwinkle) and Granny (Looney Tunes).

ASIFA also hands out “Juried Awards” to various notable figures in animation. Bill Plympton, Genndy Tartakovsky, and Andreas Deja will each win the Winsor McCay Award, in recognition of lifetime or career contributions to the art of animation. Bill Matthews, Michael Fallik, Marc Deckter, and Eric Graf will each win a Certificate of Merit. The June Foray Award will go to Stephen Worth, for his “significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation.” The Ub Iwerks Award and Special Achievement award will not be handed out.

Professional photographer John Mueller will attend the ceremony on behalf of Wikinews, taking photos of nominees and the rest of America’s animation elite. Mueller was selected from a wide pool of professionals offering their services. The photos from the event will be released under the Creative Commons By Attribution license, which allows them to be used by anyone for any purpose.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Annie_Awards_for_animation_Sunday;_Wikinews_will_be_there&oldid=4605823”

Friday, November 9, 2007

Harry McNevin, explained in a recent interview that he quit the Board of Regents at Oral Roberts University in disgust in 1987 after 16 years of service when he learned that Richard Roberts, Oral Roberts and other Roberts family dipped into the school’s endowment fund for personal expenses.

McNevin noted that he resigned after the board practically “rubber-stamped” the “use of millions in endowment money to buy a Beverly Hills property so that Oral Roberts could have a West Coast office and house.” In addition he said a country club membership was purchased for the home. The home was reported purchased for US$3 million and another $3.5 million was spent remodeling it.

The Associated Press also cited Patti Roberts, Richard’s first wife, who wrote in her 1983 memoir, “Ashes to Gold,” about expensive gifts including a blue Mercedes as a Christmas gift for Richard, a Jaguar for her, Italian suits and Palm Beach vacations. Suzanne Culpepper, the Roberts’ former nanny, said Lindsay (Richard’ second wife) and Richard spent money wildly. This included 275 pairs of shoes for Lindsay, 120 pairs of shoes (including 18 pairs of golf shoes) for Richard, 165 suits for Richard and other large amounts of clothing in their walk-in closest.

Previously the Roberts were accused of illegal political and financial wrongdoing, which forced the president to step down from his position.

A United States Senate committee is currently investigating six major ministries over their finances. Three of these ministries are headed by members of ORU’s Board of Regents.

Recently Tulsa World wrote that Oral Roberts University raised $8.8 million starting in 2001 for a new student center, but construction has begun and officials said “the school has used some of the money for scholarships and operations.” Tulsa World requested documents about the ORU student center, but the “university released details but not records about money raised for the center.”

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Former_Oral_Roberts_University_Regent_member_speaks_out&oldid=564680”

If you are planning to “have some work done” it’s important to find someone extremely qualified for the job. You wouldn’t want just anyone working on your car, performing a root canal, or performing major heart procedure on you. Plastic is no different. You need to have a cosmetic surgeon that you can trust. So how do you go about finding such a doctor?When you are trying to find the right doctor for your procedure there are some things that you need to checkout. First you need to see what credentials your cosmetic surgeon has. You need to check to see how long your doctor has been practicing plastic surgery. It’s also a good idea to see if your surgeon is a member of the American Association of Plastic Surgery. These doctors have gone through additional certifications and have been in the business of beauty for a good long while prior to taking up the procedure.Many cosmetic surgeons can do just about any type of plastic surgery but many specialize in one or two types of the same. No matter if the doctor is a general or specialist you need to speak at length with your doctor prior to the procedure. You need to make sure that your doctor is willing to listen to you and is willing to work with you. If you have high expectations that cannot be met your physician should be able to tell you that and offer an alternative that will get you what mostly what you want to accomplish while making it an attainable goal.It’s important to speak to the hospital or hospitals that your surgeon is affiliated with to see if that hospital is an accredited hospital. You want to make sure that your doctor is dealing with a reputable hospital. There are several things you should be weary of when it comes to choosing a physician. If you feel that you are feeling like you are being rushed into a procedure you may need to find a different physician. You need time to decide what you want to do and what your overall goals are. You don’t need to rush into anything.If you feel that you can’t speak to your doctor then you need a different physician as well. Anytime of surgery can cause anxiety, having plastic surgery is no different. The right cosmetic surgeon will be there with you not just physically but emotionally too.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Two men were arrested today by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) at a Caledonia rally at about 12:00 p.m. ET after entering the disputed land in Caledonia, Ontario waving Canadian flags. One was Gary McHale, a Richmond Hill, Ontario man who entered the occupied land in Caledonia, Ontario to organize a rally against the ongoing aboriginal occupation. Mark Vandermaas of London, Ontario was also arrested. Vandermaas was forced to the ground by police officers, who ripped the flag out of his hand when he crossed the police line. There were approximately 100 protesters rallying with McHale.

According to news reports, McHale intended to put the Canadian flag across the street from DCE (Douglas Creek Estates) where the aboriginal occupation has been ongoing for 10 months. Back in late October the aboriginals had already put up their flags across from the DCE property and the OPP made no attempt to stop them. However, on Dec. 2 residents of Caledonia attempted to put up Canadian flags with Yellow ribbons in various areas in Caledonia. When they tried to put up a Canadian Flag across from DCE property the OPP sent in 100 officers to stop them.

Mr. McHale called for people to gather on Dec. 16 to try to put up Canadian Flags across from DCE property on the same hydro poles that Natives already had put up their flags. Mr. McHale stated, “I have asked 2 dozen OPP officers why it is legal to have a Native Flag up along the highway but illegal for a Canadian Flag to be up and I have never received an answer.”

“The OPP set up a line just about a hundred yards away from that site and several people were able to cross that line. They got through a farmer’s field on far left side of where I’m standing here,” said CTV reporter Joel Bowey. “We’re hearing that Mr. McHale got in the middle of the street and put a flag down there, and that’s when he and the other man from London, Ont. were arrested. So far all we know is that those two men have been arrested and there are no other arrests at this point.”

The OPP said the men were arrested for “breaking the peace” and noted that it is not a criminal offence. Police had warned them about crossing into the disputed land before.

“I’ve now said that Mr. McHale’s plans were counterproductive and potentially dangerous to what we’ve been trying to do there, and that is to reach a peaceful settlement,” said David Ramsay, Ontario’s minister of aboriginal affairs. “I’ve twice now offered Mr. McHale the opportunity to protest at Queen’s Park [the site of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario building]. In fact, I said I would sponsor his rally and set up a platform and a microphone, a PA system for him.”

Mayor Marie Trainer of Haldimand County, were Caledonia is located, said: “The next meeting or two will be wasted on frivolous stuff again instead of getting down to business.” Trainer also says that he should not be entering the town and did not specify what side she is on or if she is not taking any side.

This was not the first time Gary McHale entered the disputed land. On October 15, 2006, McHale with approximately 2000 (as reported by local newspapers) participants rallied in Caledonia, but the OPP blocked the entrance to the occupied site.

“Our fight is not with the natives, we’re just trying to be equal in a democratic Canada,” said Christine McHale, wife of Gary McHale.

“When a native commits a serious crime or any crime, they stand by and watch the crime take place and will not do anything to stop the crime. When a resident does the simplest thing, even putting up a Canadian flag or drinking a coffee in a lawn chair across some magic line, they will send in scores of officers to arrest the person,” said Gary McHale. “We have to take a stand and say to police forces that there is one set of laws for all citizens.”

“Police have one set of policies for natives and another set of policies for non-natives,” he said before the rally. “It’s against our Charter of Rights, that clearly says there’s not to be any discriminations based on their religion, beliefs, race or their skin colour.”

McHale has been long critical of the Ontario Provincial Police over the land claim saying that they treat aboriginals differently. McHale and his wife operate a website called Caledonia Wake Up Call.com, were they detail what they describe as police bias.

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