Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Rumsfeld announces troop increase in Iraq

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has just announced that the USA is about to increase the troop numbers in Iraq. Currently there are less than 325,000 but it is going to be rapidly ramped up to a level which will allow the mission to finally be acomplished. While it is not a pleasant thought to send the military in harms way, it is going to allow the coalition to get things done.

It is my belief that the reason Colin Powell resigned was because his advice to get the deal done in Iraq was to have over 500,000 troops. Lets see if that finally happens.

Happy Halloween

Monday, October 30, 2006

KFC to slash trans fats.

According to CTV.ca. KFC announced Monday that it will switch to a cooking oil free of artery-clogging trans fatty acids in all of its Canadian and U.S. restaurants by early next year. That is a good thing health wise, but will it taste the same?

The fast-food giant said it will start using a healthier cooking oil that will ensure virtually all of the menu items will have zero grams of trans fat.

In Canada, the new canola cooking oil will be gradually phased in through the month of November in all KFC Canada restaurants in British Columbia and the Maritime provinces, followed by Quebec and Ontario.

By early 2007, all 786 KFC restaurants in Canada will have converted to the canola oil, the company said.

KFC Canada's preliminary nutritional analysis shows that the cooking oil has cut saturated fat levels in many products, on average, by 40 per cent.

"We've worked very hard to get virtually all of our products, including our original recipe chicken, to have zero grams of trans fat without compromising the great taste (customers) expect with KFC," said Jeff O'Neill, president and chief operating officer of the Priszm Canadian Income Fund, which operates KFC restaurants in Canada.

In the U.S., KFC will start using zero trans fat soybean oil for its Original Recipe and Extra Crispy fried chicken, Potato Wedges and other menu items.

KFC's American rollout is to be completed by April 2007, but the company said many of its approximately 5,500 restaurants already have switched to low linolenic soybean oil, replacing partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

The fast-food giant's decision won praise from a Washington, D.C.-based consumer health group that had filed a lawsuit against KFC in the U.S. over what it says can be "startlingly high" levels of trans fats.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is formally withdrawing from the lawsuit, it said in a written statement on Monday.

KFC joins the ranks of burger chain Wendy's International Inc., which has already switched to a zero trans-fat oil amid criticism that fast-food restaurants are contributing to obesity rates.

McDonald's announced in 2003 that it intended to do reduce trans fats in its products. But while the chain has introduced healthier foods, it has yet to follow through on its promise.

"What are McDonald's and Burger King waiting for now?" CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson asked in a statement.

"If KFC, which deep-fries almost everything, can get the artificial trans fat out of its frying oil, anyone can. Colonel Sanders deserves a bucket full of praise."

Meanwhile, the debate on trans fats is expected to heat up south of the border in New York.

Public hearings to discuss the fate of trans fats in restaurants across the city are set to begin on Monday.

If approved, the ban would not extend beyond the city's limits, nor would it affect grocery stores.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the ingredient is so common that the average American eats 4.7 pounds of trans fats a year.

Many New York eatery owners use ingredients prepared elsewhere, and aren't always aware whether the foods they sell contain trans fats, Neighborhood Retail Alliance Richard Lipsky told The Associated Press.

Experts say the city's food service industry, with its 24,600 establishments, is so large that any ban is likely to be felt across the nation.

"It's going to be the trendsetter for the entire country," Suzanne Vieira, director of the culinary nutrition program at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., told AP.

A Canadian federal task force has proposed new regulations that would see a two per cent limit of total fat content for vegetable oils and soft spreadable tub-type margarines; and a five per cent limit on all other foods containing industrially produced trans fats.

If followed, they would decrease the average trans fat intake of Canadians by at least 55 per cent.

Fats found in foods are made up of four different types of fatty acids, including polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated and trans.

Trans fats are found naturally in some animal-based foods such as dairy products and beef and lamb.

But they are also formed when manufacturers use a chemical process that turns liquid oil into a semi-solid form.

The main benefits of these artery-clogging fats are that they enhance taste, extend shelf life, and break down less easily, which makes them suited to frying.

Trans fats are used in foods made with shortening, margarine or partially hydrogenated oil such as crackers, cookies, donuts, and fried foods like french fries.

Health experts suggest minimizing the consumption of trans fat, as research shows it raises LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, while lowering HDL, the "good" cholesterol.

Studies show that consuming just five grams of trans fats a day over many years boosts the risk of heart disease by 25 per cent.

I am not sure if it is a good idea for the government to dictate what should or should not be in prepared foods? Is'nt it up to you the consumer to decide what you door do not eat? Having said that good on KFC for making the change. I wonder if it will make changes in countries like NZ and Australia too?

First Borat, then Bruno.

From the daily news. Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen is at the centre of a major bidding war to secure exclusive rights to a new film based on his latest character.

Hollywood film company Universal is offering £22 million for the worldwide rights to the film Bruno, based on a flamboyant gay Austrian fashion reporter.

A counter-bid is understood to have come in from Twentieth Century Fox, which was behind the Borat movie.

Further bids are assured as the low-budget Borat attracts rave reviews. Baron Cohen - as actor, writer and producer - is guaranteed at least a 15 per cent share of the deal for Bruno and, if box-office takings are good, his take could spiral into tens of millions. He's already set for a bumper pay day from Borat.

News of the bidding war came just a day after red-faced bosses at Fox admitted they had slashed the number of cinemas at which Borat opens this weekend in the US.

It had been scheduled to open in 2,000 cinemas, but will now open in only 700, which is a silly think for Fox to do. The hype for this movie is massive.

Fox executives pulled the plug on the wide opening after the film tested poorly, leading them to expect scathing reviews.

To their surprise, and now embarrassment, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. The film has also received massive coverage in the media.

Fox distribution official Bruce Snyder said studio bosses were now hoping to extend the film to as many cinemas as possible in the coming week.

The new film will feature the character Bruno, made popular from Da Ali G television show in 2000, as he travels around the US where he targets homophobic Americans by showing up at such events as gun shows, with the intention of provoking a reaction.

Like Borat, Bruno will entertain audiences with the same sartorial blunders and level of controversy.

A spokesman for gay rights campaign Stonewall predicts the film may spark off further debate and potential controversy.

"This character will definitely cause a debate especially among the gay community themselves about whether this character is helping to further their cause or make things worse.

"People do have different views, some may find it hilarious and some will take offence. This film is bound to impact the same way the gay character in Little Britain did.

"It seems to be that he is using gay and lesbians in the movie and that seems to be his style with his characters, like he did with Ali G and Borat".

The film Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan looks set to be a hit in both the UK and America despite controversy over his offensive portrayal of Kazakhstan.

Speaking at the Oxford University Union, Erlan Idrissov, UK Ambassador for Kazakhstan added to the debate about the film.

He said: "Sacha Baron Cohen has developed a grotesque character who mocks many people in this society and my own.

"What I saw of the film was not Kazakhstan. He used village people from a very remote part of Eastern Europe. I am also very sorry for the people who acted in Borat's film because he used them for his own self promotion.

"And also I felt sorry for the Americans he duped in his film,that was an utterly rude mocking of American society. I couldn't get rid of a small feeling of being insulted by the film."

Sacha Baron Cohen, a Bafta Award winner for Best Comedy Series in 2001, first hit the screens as Ali G in the channel four series of the Eleven O'clock Show.

Following the success in the UK, the show was then taken over by the US, where it aired on HBO.

Way to go Mr Cohen... Keep up the good work.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

AhMADinejad blowing smoke again

The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called Israel a "counterfeit and illegitimate regime that cannot survive", in a live broadcast on state television. He seems to have a lot of concern for Israel. Maybe he should be more concerned with his own land.

"The Zionist regime is counterfeit and illegitimate and cannot survive," he said in a speech to a crowd in the town of Islamshahr in southwestern Tehran. I wonder if Israel will take that as a threat and give him a surprise sometime soon.

"The big powers have created this fraud regime and allowed it to commit all kind of crimes to guarantee their interests," he added.

The Iranian President is a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

300 million people in USA

According to the AP. The nation's population officially hit 300 million at 7:46 a.m. EDT Tuesday, when the Census Bureau's population clock rolled over to the big number.

But there weren't any wild celebrations, fireworks or any other government-sponsored hoopla to mark the milestone. Why bother? Many experts think the population actually hit 300 million months ago.

"I don't think anybody believes it will be the precise moment when the population hits 300 million," Howard Hogan, the Census Bureau's associate director for demographic programs, said in an interview before the milestone was reached. But, he added, "We're confident that we're somewhat close."

It's not easy estimating the exact number of people in a country the size of the United States. It gets even more complicated when you take into account illegal immigration, another reason for the federal government to let the milestone pass quietly.

When the U.S. population officially hit 200 million in 1967, President Johnson held a news conference at the Commerce Department to hail America's past and to talk about the challenges ahead. Life magazine dispatched a cadre of photographers to find a baby born at the exact moment, anointing a boy born in Atlanta as the 200 millionth American.

This year, there's a good chance the 300 millionth American has already walked across the border from Mexico.

"It's a couple of weeks before an election when illegal immigration is a high-profile issue and they don't want to make a big deal out of it," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said the Bush administration isn't playing down the milestone, though he said he had no plans for Tuesday. Census Bureau employees planned to mark the moment Tuesday afternoon with cake and punch.

"I would hate to think that we are going to be low key about this," said Gutierrez, whose department oversees the Census Bureau. "I would hope that we make a big deal about it."

Gutierrez said America's growing population is good for the economy. He noted that Japan and some European countries expect to lose population in the next few decades, raising concerns that there won't be enough young people entering the work force to support aging populations.

"This is one more area where we seem to have an advantage," Gutierrez said. "We should all feel good about reaching this milestone."

The U.S. adds about 2.8 million people a year, for a growth rate of less than 1 percent. About 40 percent of the growth comes from immigration. The rest comes from births outnumbering deaths.

The Census Bureau counts the population every 10 years. In between, it uses administrative records and surveys to estimate monthly averages for births, deaths and net immigration. The bureau has a "population clock" that estimates a birth every seven seconds, a death every 13 seconds and a new immigrant every 31 seconds. Add it together and you get one new American every 11 seconds.

The 300 millionth American - born months ago or on Tuesday - is probably Hispanic because they are the fastest growing demographic group in the U.S., Frey said.

Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, said the Census Bureau has improved its population estimates in the past few years, but it still undercounts illegal immigrants.

There are an estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Experts differ on the specifics, but many estimate that more than 1 million of them don't show up in census figures.

"The census clearly misses people," said Passel, a former Census Bureau employee who used to help estimate the undercount. "Having said that, when they crossed 200 million, they were missing about 5 million people. We think the 2000 census missed a lot less than 5 million people."

Monday, October 09, 2006

Greg Johnson to play in London England

London England. Bloomsbury Theatre Dec 20th!
Greg Johnson and the band will be performing in London at the end of December before the release on Baria Records of "Here Comes The Caviar" in the UK... more shows and ticket details very soon...kiwis in London please start spreading the word!!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Squaw Valley USA

I am off to Squaw Valley, Tahoe tomorrow to do some business for www.distinctiveholidayhomes.com As I have said before if you haven't been there you should do it, and what an opportunity it would be for you if you were a member of Distinctive Holiday Homes. Squaw Valley has some of the best skiing in North America, and the snow is due very soon.