Net Neutrality Threatened by Trump Administration

Tom Wheeler, the former chair of the FCC, used his final speech before stepping down to warn businesses and consumers that their choice of cloud services and business applications could be severely limited if the incoming administration strikes down the 2015 open internet order that he and his group put in place. This order positioned the FCC’s net neutrality regulation that prevents Internet Service Providers from slowing or blocking traffic on their networks. This gives all traffic equal opportunity and speed and prevents network favoritism.

Wheeler also showed concern for the Internet of Things, an area of economic growth that is quickly becoming top of mind to many businesses and policy makers in Washington.

“[T]he growth of the internet of things is another area that depends on the open connectivity of those things,” Wheeler said. “If ISPs can decide arbitrarily which IoT device can be connected, or favor their own IoT activity over their competitors, the bright future of IoT dims.” Wheeler continued, “As everything goes into the cloud, the ability to access the cloud free of gatekeepers is essential. If ISPs get to choose which applications and clouds work better than others in terms of access, speed and latency, they will control the cloud future,”.

Wheeler’s position may not be a surprise now but given his past as a lobbyist for the cable and wireless sector his support of net neutrality may come as a shock.

Bill Wilson, a consultant for Broadband Landing, said, “Wheeler may be underplaying the seriousness of the situation. Net Neutrality is the biggest deal that no one really understands. If consumers and small businesses actually realized what the internet would look like after it was bought and sold by large corporations that was be worried. This would be all that was being talked about.”

Wheeler has the same question many businesses do, namely will Trump dismantle a policy that is clearly working? With republicans openly opposed to net neutrality things do seem dire for the policy.

Wheeler’s speech not only acts as a warning to the incoming administration but also clearly attempts to widen the scope of the net neutrality debate as a whole. Consumer impact of the open internet order is almost always the lead in any discussion of net neutrality but here Wheeler’s focus was on the danger to businesses and their increasing use of cloud computing. Interruption or the slowing of these services is a bit more destructive than a video playing slow. Businesses might be required to completely change back office management systems. A company like could have their customer base divided between users that have an ISP that allows their traffic and ISP’s that won’t. Situations of this type could be repeated across many business services. If AT&T buys a firm that provides CMS to sales and marketing groups, it is not unthinkable that they would show preference to this firm over others.

Wheeler specifically calls out Verizon and AT&T for the “zero rating” programs that give some companies free access by not charging customers for the data they use. While this isn’t the feared “Fast Lane” net neutrality has been trying to avoid, it may actually be worse.

Wheeler finished his speech with, “It now falls to a new set of regulators, to a new FCC and to those who advocate before it and the Congress to determine the road that they want to take from here,” Wheeler said. “We are at a fork in that road. One path leads forward and the other leads back to relitigating solutions that are demonstrably working.”
While the fork in the road analogy fits, it’s actually a bit more drastic than Wheeler makes it seem. One road leads forward and the other leads back a decade and then off a cliff into a hole filled with alligators.

For more information about the largest high speed Internet providers in the United States, you can visit at

Myspace, Facebook, Gps And Other E-discovery: Coming Soon To A Texas Divorce Proceeding Near You

Like many marriages that end in divorce in Texas, the dissolution of the union between Sarah and Mike Brown (names have been changed to protect the innocent) was not done under the most cordial of circumstances. The Browns were married for seventeen years, owned an enviable home outside of Dallas, Texas, and were the proud parents of three school-aged children. Mike had been growing noticeably more distant over the past couple of years and the ideal life they presented in public was a much different reality behind closed doors. Sarah had a strong suspicion that her husband was having an affair and, being adept at searching her way through the newest pieces of technology, decided to check out Mike’s personal computer when he was out of town on business. What Sarah Brown found on her husband’s computer hard drive was enough to make her call a divorce lawyer the next morning, and begin an emotional trial that tested the boundaries of the always-evolving legal world of electronic discovery.

Damaging discovery that an attorney can use against an opposing spouse party in a divorce action or child custody proceeding is no longer limited to a trace of lipstick left on a white-shirt collar or a mysterious credit card bill found during a quick rummage through a briefcase. Today, sophisticated Texas divorce lawyers are more likely to present evidence that comes from cell phone records, Facebook comments, MySpace pages, deleted e-mails, and visits to web sites that were not quite as hidden as planned.
If divorce clients make the mistake of engaging in behavior that is not conducive to a happy marriage, do not think that they are safe from exposure even while driving in their cars. Texas divorce attorneys will tell you that even E-Z Pass toll records can be subpoenaed to prove that they were heading somewhere they had no business being. In addition, a suspicious spouse can attach a Global Positioning System (GPS) device to the family car and later use these recorded routes against your client in court. These days, the notion that every moment of one’s life is for the public eye does not just apply to celebrities and public figures. However, the attorney needs to be sure that the evidence collected is done in a way that does not violate Federal or State privacy laws. What is the point of collecting every condemning email or text message if a Federal or Texas State judge decides the documents are inadmissible in court? Does it matter if the proof of an affair was found on a work computer, a personal laptop, PDA, or a family computer that also is used by the teenage residents for history homework?
There is the dangerous misconception that activities, which take place online, are somehow harmless or at least not as consequential as the same decisions made in real-life. Flirting with a woman on the computer is not the same as chatting with her in a bar, right? With that said, you should be aware that social networking sites are taking steps to make sure that their content is accessible in legal situations. Have you read the fine print before typing a comment to your “friend” on MySpace? This web site and others like it state that, if legal standards are met, user information can be passed on to law enforcement agencies and legal teams involved in divorces.

Family law attorneys who are fighting a child custody battle also scour the internet looking for possible electronic discovery. All that a lawyer needs to find is a few photos of a minor child smoking pot or drinking alcohol posted on a web site and charges of being an unfit parent can be substantiated. Let the words of Dallas family attorney Mary Jo McCurley serve as a warning, “For a lawyer, it’s almost like a ‘ha’ moment. It’s kind of fun when you see something that you can use as evidence [against] the opposing party.” Online activities are just as serious as those in the “real world” and, to the absolute delight of opposing legal counsel, electronic behavior is recorded and never, ever goes away.

Lawmakers and courts at all levels of state and federal government have been scrambling to keep up with the ever-increasing series of questions that new technology brings. What evidence can and should be admissible in court? In what form or predicate should the attorney present the evidence? When is the line protecting the right to privacy crossed? Through amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on December 1, 2006, Congress enacted the primary guidelines used to answer such questions and others on the federal level. Through Rule 34(a), Congress added electronically stored information (ESI) as a category of discoverable information. To ensure that this amendment maintained its relevance as new technologies are invented, ESI was defined to be “writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data compilations stored in any medium from which information can be obtained.” By purposefully using the language, “in any medium,” in the future, the federal courts can require data from technology not even invented yet. If you have had any difficulty keeping up with the new electronic devices that have come on the market in just the last five years (how many versions of the iPhone and Blackberry are there now?), you can understand why the federal lawmakers left such a wide open door.

The corresponding Federal Rule 34(b) measure, passed at the same time as Federal Rule 34(a), allows the requesting party to determine the form in which evidence is presented. Maybe a paper printout is enough to meet your goals in a particular instance. In other circumstances, you may decide that the electronic version must be produced in order to include all background and transmission information. Often times, the full electronic record will be the preferred choice of attorneys and clients alike as a hard copy will not tell the complete story behind a piece of evidence. Only with the information that is stored on a computer or other electronic device will you be able to extract the time at which a particular transaction occurred, any information deleted from the current text, or possibly the date and time at which an online correspondence occurred.

In 2006, Texas was the first state in the country to amend its rules of procedure concerning electronic discovery, and one of only a few states to do so before the federal government made its changes. With this foresight in establishing some guidelines prior to the procedure set by the federal government, Texas has been able to create a different level of responsibility for evidence than what was determined by federal legislation three years ago. Ten years ago, in 1999, our state wrote the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure (TRCP) 196.4, which referred exclusively to electronic or magnetic data. This state law requires that the interested party must specifically request each type of electronic data and specify the form in which the interested party wants the data produced. The responding party may state that the request for retrieval of particular data or information itself is not reasonable, or at least object to the form in which its presentation is requested. If a Texas court orders that the electronic discovery must be made available, the requesting party is responsible for paying the costs to have the information prepared. This detail, known as the “mandatory cost shifting position” is an important legal point for both clients and their attorneys to know. With Rule196.4 at their disposal, opposing counsel will work to prove the requests to be unreasonable and you will be stuck with the cost of production. The director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, Rebecca Love Kourlis, has noted that before the prevalence of e-Discovery, five percent of divorce cases actually went to trial. That number has fallen to two percent, mostly because the plaintiff fears the costs that would be associated with gathering e-Discovery evidence.

If you are a family law attorney who is assisting a client through emotional and difficult legal circumstances, I encourage you to be as creative as possible when determining possible requests for electronic discovery. The most effective and proactive participants in divorce proceedings will test the boundaries in this still-uncertain area of law. Some divorce lawyers have even hired investigators with digital forensic tools to do some electronic snooping for their clients. Chances are, if the suspicion is strong, the electronic evidence will be found. As Gateano Ferro, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, shared in an interview, “In just about every case now, to some extent, there is some electronic evidence. It has completely changed our (legal) field.” Just ask former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick how damaging a flirtatious chat on a Blackberry can be to one’s marriage and professional standing. All financial records certainly should be on the table—items as small as romantic dinners and payment for hotel rooms to a larger issue like entire accounts that were kept secret may have relevance in establishing a divorce settlement. You should request every text message ever sent on a cell phone. If or until the courts decide that messages sent to an individual’s Facebook page cannot be accessed due to a violation of our privacy laws, get a copy of every word typed! Does your spouse have an online calendar program, such as those offered through Google or Microsoft Outlook, which lists daily appointments? If this site shows that he was supposed to be at little Johnny’s baseball game at 4:00 pm but you have witnesses to prove otherwise, you can make the case that your spouse has priorities other than his children. Of course, in light of the Texas law detailed earlier, make sure you have constructed convincing arguments that all of the material you need is reasonable in both its content and requested format.

When it comes to electronic discovery and the Texas legal system, there are still many more questions than established areas of agreement. Divorce attorneys, when they search for case law to be used as binding or persuasive precedent concerning admissibility of electronic evidence, find only a short list of documents to review. And, with new technology emerging every day that is capable of storing financial records, personal conversations, and searches of web sites that are far from G-rated, family law judges can expect that every new estranged couple that comes before them in a courtroom brings the possibility of unchartered territory concerning evidence and what rightfully belongs on the public record. While the general statutes for the submission of electronic discovery have been written on both the federal and state level, the intentionally broad language included in the amendments will mean that difficult judgment calls should be expected for some time to come. Only time will tell how our judicial system decides to weigh an individual’s right to privacy versus the right of an accuser to have all possible evidence at his or her disposal.

When the issues are as emotionally difficult as those that often surround divorce and child custody cases, legal counsel that can guide a client through the process is even more crucial. Electronic discovery is now playing a critical role in more than 75% of divorce cases and, with new ways of hiding and revealing secrets developing all the time, an attorney versed in electronic discovery may very well have the opportunity to break new ground in the courtroom. In ten years, the case law and precedents surrounding electronic discovery will likely be well established by the courts. For now, however, this subject is certainly the “Wild West” of the legal arena. So warn your clients to be mindful of their text messages, their Facebook friends, and their online banking records. Better yet, tell them to be more mindful of maintaining a strong marriage so that there is never a need for an attorney to subpoena their hard drive in the first place.

Kaufman County Arrest Records Free Search

The crime rate in Texas is severe to say the least. For a lot of years, it ranks stubbornly one of the top ten worst states in general. With a population of more than 20 million, there would be millions who have brushes with the law in their life. Texas data including Kaufman County arrest documents give the least uncompromising indication of individuals. They are on file even if the case did not lead to any incarceration and unless sealed or expunged by the courts remain there.

Do you know an individual who is incarcerated at the moment? If you’re thinking about hiring a lawyer, it is crucial that you know what charges have been filed against that individual and if he or she is capable of being set free on bail. Thus, you would be able to approach the right law practitioner to help you out.

There are many ways for you to obtain criminal arrest reports but for the most part, you will need to visit the law enforcement agency that booked the arrest. The Sheriff’s Department has the Kaufman County arrest log. The Sheriff has general jurisdiction on the county and as such, the most logical and practical method to handle this situation is to pay them a visit.

You can also visit the County Sheriff’s website and retrieve the online inmate details list. There are various ways for you to look for the inmate’s report. First is by typing the inmate’s name in the online search box. Another is to check out the whole list of inmates presently incarcerated in the jail. To make it simpler, you may also view the complete list of the inmates by looking at the charges they were arrested for. You can also choose to find an inmate by intake or booking date.

Apart from the County Sheriff, you can try to find court cases at the county courts. This could be the best choice if you find that the inmates you are looking for have an active court trial or have already been convicted of the charges filed against him or her. You can visit the Superior Court, the District Court Clerk or access it through the County’s website. Use the County Courts Records Inquiry search page and select the court that has jurisdiction over the case. Select the criminal case files search and type in the info in the required fields. You can do an investigation based on the defendant, the case, or by the lawyer handling the case.

In addition to said resources, one other way that you can conduct your research on Texas police arrest records is by availing the services of commercial records providers that perform searches for free or for a small fee. They can get numerous and comprehensive information, and give you a complete report regarding the inmate you are looking for. Also, you can try third party sites that provide free searches. However, you need to verify the information you obtain from these to make sure that they are timely and correct.

Hill County Arrest Records Online

Hill County Police arrest Reports may be located at the designated offices. These include the local law enforcement agencies such as the local court house, the Law Enforcement Department, or the county Sheriff’s Office.

Particular sorts of information take time and effort to access without explicit permission or certain rights, there are also others that are easily accessible by anyone as long as they know where to look. Luckily, criminal arrest information and facts are that type of information. Police arrest reports and warrant information may be reviewed and requested by interested parties. It is the policy of the Texas Department of Public Safety that a person or an authorized representative may review and may even receive a copy of their criminal history record information.

Like other states in the US, Texas is an open-records state. The Texas Open Records Act gives its citizens access to public information in the state’s possession. Residents may request for Texas Police arrest Details as long as they follow the correct methods and official policies of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

In the United States, crime rate is at 4%. While this is not as high as that of other countries, it’s still wise to take extra measures prevent unfavorable circumstances. It is also reported that crimes are often committed by the same criminals. This is why police arrest records have become one of the most sought-after information and facts. This information will help foresee an individuals’ tendencies for crime. Public arrest information are also used in background checks. Criminal background checks have become increasingly popular. It is usually being done for pre-screening purposes prior to hiring or loan approvals. Nowadays, it is not only being done by companies, but by private individuals as well. A full police arrest records check however, will require a full consent from the person involved.

A researcher may first contact the local sheriffs office of Hill County. It is at 406 Hall Street, in Hillsboro, Texas. The researcher may need to fill out request forms and pay a certain fee for each copy requested. The researcher must also give specific and detailed information to the person in charge. This helps them facilitate the search. Requests may take a few days to 1 or 2 weeks to process depending on the volume of requests the office receives at the time.

If the researcher cannot go to the law enforcement in person, he may access available websites provided by Hill County and the state of Texas. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has a search tool which will provide the researcher with a list of offenders and the crimes they were convicted of. There is also a Criminal Background search tool used to look for those people who are no longer in prison. Information and facts here may request for a small payment. There’s also a Sex Offender Registry at the website. Apart from the official website, there are more free databases over the internet. They may also offer the researcher with a Hill County Arrest Log and also other listings that the researcher may need.

Global Law Enforcement Reform

Although we’re become accustomed to unnerving global cooperation in suppression of demonstrators by increasingly militarized riot police, transnational police standards stand to improve civil rights of an average citizen

Current painfully slow but steady movement towards a Type 1 civilization is demonstrated socially in development of increasingly global themes in movies, rapid transmission of underground music to every spot on earth, in continuing advancement of English as world’s lingua franca (in parallel with decline of key English speaking countries), in social networking tools, and globalist orientation (world as one country) of generation Y among world’s middle and upper classes.

On the state level, we see rapid globalist thrust towards common educational standards for wage slaves via the Bologna Process in the Northern hemisphere, in reorientation of Interpol towards terrorist threats from neo-luddites, religious reactionaries, and politically charged have nots. There’s plenty of less glamorous “under the hood” efforts being conducted to internationalize the Internet and put it under UN regulation and of course to deal with communication, transport, energy, law, etc.

One may argue endlessly whether some competition in standardization is in order (such as having 6 continents falling under 2-3 competing standardization models versus the whole world falling under one potentially faulty and stagnating model). What is clear is that historically, centralized standardized police action improved efficiency in administration of justice by often ignoring and being above the petty corruptions and concerns of localities. Obviously window for brand new abuses was opened up but generally centralization of power and justice was slightly to moderately less corrupt than decentralization of justice (1 rich man’s government versus dozens of smaller rich man’s governments). We usually hear this mentioned in history books in terms of somebody or a group unifying the tribes, colonies, feudal fiefdoms, etc under 1 relatively detached and impartial infrastructurally minded central authority. Transition from feudalism towards a modern state system was a welcome development in reducing abuses and arbitrary action.
The current relatively politically correct “soft” approach of the UN and Interpol is a demonstration of the above. Often one would rather be apprehended by some UN helmet policeman rather than a small town cop from Texas, Russia, or China. Same occurred when Federal police first appeared on the scene in United States in early 20th century. When it comes to bringing order to the wage slave plantations (or “countries” as they are known currently), global police force and rapid development of global policing standards will tend to increase autonomy for an average human and decrease civil rights abuses.

Major police reforms to be undertaken by individual countries under new global umbrella guidelines

1) Elimination and retiring of 50%+ of police forces. This is easily accomplished by transnational agreements to end the futile drug prohibition as well as hands off approach to consensual acts such as gambling, some forms of smuggling, sex work, etc. Such efforts are already underway in South America. A UN and Interpol commission to create a detailed list of “offenses” that are too absurd and socially damaging to continue being so called offenses. Then creating a hands off guidelines to shame other countries into compliance with new socially libertarian measures. End of drug prohibition in United States for instance will allow mass layoffs of policemen currently employed by the executive.

The current development of world’s armed forces is to become “leaner and meaner” and same should and will apply to the police. Modern communication, educational (see below), robotics, and weapons technology makes majority of law enforcement employees obsolete.
In parallel, there will develop a need to absorb a large pool of young aggressive men and women into socially beneficial activities not revolving around military or law enforcement. Traditional venue of sports can save the day once again if new 21st century sports are developed (magnetic levitation football anyone?) that combine physical exertion with new innovative technological and infrastructure construction development. The young homo sapiens should be allowed to tinker with tools and gadgets, aggressively compete in teams, provide their social proof to the community, and get honors for it.

2) Doctorate’s degree as a mandate to be a policeman and tripling of police wages. The responsibility of having the power to enforce justice with violence and to detain a fellow homo sapien is a heavy one. A policeman should be compensated as well as a doctor and be required to undergo many years of social psychology (herd dynamics), fitness, basic law, and various sensitivity conditioning alongside elite weapons training. Mass layoffs of police will free up resources to make remaining policemen as elite as possible. Now of course many human apes who join to serve will have restless aggressive physiologies and after being screened for psychopathy, they should be allowed to start serving in some capacity right away (guards of various facilities, etc) while having to complete their education in parallel. Thus for example, a well compensated 15 hour workweek in limited power capacity with classes towards a PhD. Nurturing sports and fitness should be provided in addition. We should see a lot of new highly motivated people join the force (similar to how post 2008 economic depression eliminated talent shortage problem in the armed forces). Obviously higher salary and more societal respect does not eliminate corruption (one just has to look at big pharma-doctor cooperation in US) but it does make entry to corruption a bit more difficult.

It is essential to create cooperation between transnational police and college standardizing entities concerning implementation.

3) 1 newly trained policeman being able to ideally replace up to 5 late 20th century policemen. Just as a modern policeman has as much cognitive ability, training, technology, and firepower to replace 5+ policemen in 19th century, a 21st century policeman should do the same to current batch of employees. The profession should be socially even more respected and with the end of prohibitions on consensual acts and rebalancing of power between haves and have nots, it will be. Strict fitness and dietary standards should be applied to new recruits and continual lifelong education and nurturing developed. Conditional well paid retirement at 40 is a good idea to reduce corruption, entrenched authoritarian thinking, and to keep supplying new blood to the force.

4) Strict separation between military and police. This is perhaps most difficult to accomplish considering the mass global Internet led awakening among the poor. However, eliminating the gray area of militarized police will be necessary to prevent even further civil unrest and angering of the mob. A society should either figure out how to allow a large crowd to gather peacefully with non-militarized police present (as if it was was New Year’s eve) or it should throw away the mask of civility and bring out the military and tanks when there are large purposeful gatherings. The current gray area just creates militarization of the civilians and a multitude of various neurotic behavior in the herd.

5) Training population to police themselves. This can be accomplished by reintroduction of firearms training in high schools, civil duty lessons, and following the Swiss model of citizen militia. The generation that will follow generation Y is more than ready to accomplish self policing as well as swelling the ranks of embryonic world police core.

Obviously applying some of these reforms on top of current society (especially #4) is not workable but will become increasingly doable with planet’s continuing transition away from current socioeconomic system. This process is a multidecade one and will be most led by countries that emerge from the current financial crisis in their best shape.

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Federal Law Enforcement Jobs

Federal Law Enforcement Jobs are plentiful for those who meet the requirements. With an eye on Homeland Security more than 104,000 Federal Enforcement jobs have been created since 2004. These jobs come from two different sectors, uniformed law enforcement and investigative. Uniformed law enforcement work on behalf of safety and security for federal and government agencies. The investigative arm of Federal Law Enforcement works on behalf of individual agencies such as, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Environmental Protection Agency and the CIA just to name a few.

Those who are interested in working in Federal Law Enforcement may be required to relocate to Texas, the District of Columbia, New York, or Florida. This is where more than half of federal law officers are employed.

The Department of Homeland Security alone is in the process of hiring 47,000 employees, while the Department of Defense is looking for over 35,000 qualified people. Many of these Federal Law Enforcement jobs are available due to the fact that more than half of the current federal employees are now eligible for retirement.

Jobs that where once handled by the Department of Treasury, Justice Department, HHS, Defense Department, FBI, Secret Service, GSA, the Energy, Agriculture, and Transportation Departments, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, have been transferred under the banner of the Department of Homeland Security. Each new grouping of jobs are listed under several different divisions of homeland security. They are:

Border and Transportation Security, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Information Analysis and Response, Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection, Science/Technology, and Management.

For more information on Federal Law Enforcement Jobs it is recommended that you visit their website. From there you will find information on jobs that are available and requirements. More than 44,000 jobs are posted due to vacancies by those retiring and new jobs created through the Department of Homeland Security.

Besides jobs available, there is information on salary rates, training and qualifications, plus guidance resources. A federal resume writing service is also available to make sure that you have the best chance when applying for one of the thousands of jobs listed.

If you are interested in the ever expanding importance that Homeland Security has to Federal Law Enforcement, this site will give you all the needed information to get in on the ground floor of this still new department. Listings include, job availability, intern programs, and voluntary applicant files.

Federal Law Enforcement isn’t for those just seeking a job. It’s for only those serious in helping our country’s needs and the needs of the people.

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Zimbabwe police fire teargas at protest against ‘bank notes’

HARARE, Zimbabwe – Riot police in Zimbabwe fired tear gas and beat up opposition protesters marching Wednesday through Harare against the new ‘bond note currency’, an AFP reporter said.
Image by 123RF
Image by 123RF
Zimbabwe’s central bank on Monday rolled out the ‘bond notes’ – equivalent to the US dollar – to ease critical cash shortages, despite fears of a return to the hyperinflation that wiped out many people’s savings in 2009.

About 100 activists from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the pressure group Tajamuka were chanting anti-government songs when police moved in to disperse them.

The protesters also carried placards denouncing the economic policies of President Robert Mugabe, 92, whose 36-year authoritarian rule has come under increasing public criticism this year.

“Bond notes = Toilet tissue” read one placard, as others declared “No To Bond Notes” and called Mugabe “a limping donkey”. Police confronted the marchers with tear gas and water cannons, and beat up several of them with rubber truncheons.

Some shops in the capital’s central business district pulled down their shutters as police chased after the demonstrators. “We are not going to embrace bond notes,” Hardlife Mudzingwa, a spokesman for Tajamuka, told AFP.

“They are being used to mop up the US dollars that people have in their accounts so that top government officials can import their personal goods.”

Many cash machines now disperse half US dollars and half bond notes. Zimbabwe abandoned its own dollar currency in 2009 after hyperinflation hit 500 billion percent. The adoption of foreign currencies like the US dollar and the South African rand brought relative economic stability.

But the gains were soon lost as the government pursued aggressive policies that scared off investors, including indigenisation laws forcing foreign-owned companies to sell majority stakes to locals.

The southern African country’s economic decline has worsened in recent months with banks running out of US dollar notes, forcing desperate depositors to sleep overnight outside bank entrances to try to withdraw money.

Many of the remaining businesses in Zimbabwe have ground to a halt, with unemployment at over 90% and the government repeatedly failing to pay soldiers and civil servants on time.

The proposal to introduce “bond notes” was a driving force behind series of anti-government street protests this year, but Mugabe’s ruthless police force have crushed the wave of dissent.

The new currency, which closely resembles the former Zimbabwe dollar, comes in $2 notes and $1 coins, while a $5 bond note is expected shortly.

The public reception has been mixed, with many Zimbabwe suspicious that the bond note will not hold its value to the US dollar, and others reluctantly accepting that the new notes give them some access to cash. Some shops and fuel stations have been refusing payment in bond notes despite official orders.

The government said the new notes will be backed by a $200 million support facility provided by the Cairo-based Afreximbank (Africa Export-Import Bank).

A checklist for your annual December holiday shutdown

If you’re the owner or manager of small-to-medium business outside the retail and hospitality industries, you’re probably looking forward to the annual break.
(c) rawpixel –
Here’s a checklist of some of the important things to do before you shut down for the December holidays.

1. Let your customers know when you will be away

Do not assume that your customers will know when you will be closed – send them an email or a text message notifying them about the dates of your holiday shutdown. If relevant, let them know who on your team will be available to help them in case of emergency. If you are an e-commerce business, make sure someone is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the online store.

Brief your team before you send out any customer communications to ensure they are able to plan for the season as well as answer customers’ questions about the holiday shutdown.

2. Calculate bonuses if necessary

If you usually pay a 13th cheque, profit sharing or performance bonuses for team members that qualify, do the calculations well before your December pay run. Let your team members know the news – good or bad – ahead of payday. A good payroll solution can assist you to run this process smoothly, especially during the holiday season when everyone’s request and pay may differ.

3. Work out leave pay and leave balances

At the end of the year, you should also calculate employees’ correct leave pay. To get it right, you must follow the dictates of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA). The law outlines the rights of employees around annual leave and severance or notice pay. Also, ensure that there are no employees who are owed leave or who have built up a huge reserve of leave days.

4. Arrange the skeleton crew

December is a popular time for employees to take leave – it is summer, the kids have long school holidays and the office is usually quiet. While it may suit you to have most employees take their leave during the holiday slowdown, you should also make sure you are not short-staffed.

Ensure there are enough people around to attend to urgent customer requests, answer the phones, look after social media and keep an eye on the business. If you do have a skeleton crew running the show during this time, it might be a great idea to award them with a day of bonus leave or a small gift to show your appreciation.

5. Get ready for the New Year

When you get back to work in January, it is generally a rat race to first meetings, wrapping up key projects from the previous year, or catching up with admin. Ensure that you have a dedicated person to handle admin duties while you work on important tasks like business development. You may also be inundated with requests for loans and advances from employees who are broke after the December holidays. Prepare to answer these requests with a standard policy, whether you are able to help or not.

Remember, January can be as tight a month for your business as it is for your team because you will find yourself waiting for some payments. Be sure to contact people and businesses who owe you money to confirm when they will pay. If you expect a seasonal cash flow crunch, prepare for it by speaking to your bank about an overdraft.

6. Work from the beach

Rather than poring over a spreadsheet this holiday, you could do most of your numbers with a mouse click or screen swipe and spend the rest of the holiday season at the pool. As the global and technology market leader of integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, we give business builders solutions that enable them to control their businesses from the palm of their hand so they can stay in control from a smartphone wherever they are – even the beach.

7. Start the New Year with a bang

Long standing customers will appreciate a New Year mailer to get them excited for opening specials when you are back in business to kick-start the New Year. This could be an opportunity to rid the business of old stock that did not sell during the holidays. Opening sales are very popular and if you want to attract new business, this could be one of the ways.

Print your own working hand-gun

WASHINGTON, USA: Computer files to create a hand-gun almost entirely from parts made with a 3D printer were published online on Monday (6 May), alarming gun control advocates after it was successfully test-fired by its inventor.
Image: Wiki Images. The Liberator FP-45 on which the Wiki Project hand-gun is based.
Image: Wiki Images. The Liberator FP-45 on which the Wiki Project hand-gun is based.
The single-shot .380-calibre Liberator bears a vague resemblance to its namesake, the FP-45 Liberator pistol that the United States developed during World War II. The guns were air-dropped to French Resistance fighters during the war.

Computer-aided design (CAD) files for the Liberator appeared on the Wiki Project website of Defense Distributed, a non-profit group that promotes the open-source development of firearms using 3D printers.

“We’ll build the trigger first. Next, we’ll build the hammer sub-assembly and drop the hammer into the frame…,” reads the accompanying set of instructions, which come in English and Chinese.

“Finally slide the grip onto the frame and insert the grip pin. Your Liberator is now ready to go!. . .” concludes the instructions.

For the Liberator to conform with US firearms laws, the instructions call for an inch-big chunk of steel to be sealed with epoxy glue in front of the trigger guard, so that the weapon can be spotted by metal detectors.

The only other non-plastic part is a tiny nail that acts as the firing pin.

Video of hand-gun being fired

Business magazine Forbes posted a video of the Liberator being remotely test-fired outside Austin, Texas last week, with a yellow string tied to the trigger of the toy-like white-and-blue handgun. Watch video Liberator

“The verdict: it worked,” Forbes reported, adding however that the Liberator exploded (“sending shards of white ABS plastic flying into the weeds”) when its inventor Cody Wilson attempted a second test using a rifle cartridge.

“I feel no sense of achievement,” the 25-year-old University of Texas law student told Forbes. “There’s a lot of work still to be done.”

CAD files for gun parts have been available on the Internet for some time but the Liberator is apparently the first entire weapon ever fabricated almost exclusively with parts created with 3D printing technology.

Supporters of tougher gun laws in the United States expressed their alarm. There are currently nearly as many guns in the US as there are people (300m guns to 315m people). There are also more than 30,000 gun-related deaths every year.

“Stomach-churning,” was how Senator Charles Schumer of New York described the new gun.

“Now anyone,a terrorist, someone who is mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon, can essentially open a gun factory in their garage. It must be stopped,” he said.

In the House of Representatives, Congressman Steve Israel, also from New York, is sponsoring an Undetectable Firearms Modernisation Act to outlaw plastic homemade guns.

“Security checkpoints, background checks and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no-one the wiser,” he said in a statement.

No longer prohibitively expensive, 3D printers can be bought for about the same price as a top-end laptop computer. Brooklyn-based MakerBot, for instance, markets its desktop Replicator 2 for US$2,199 promising delivery in a week.

After the December 2012 massacre of 20 children at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, MakerBot took down CAD files for semi-automatic rifle parts that gun enthusiasts had posted on its open-source 3D printing library.

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