Concern about sovereign debt of some EU members roils markets

Friday, February 5, 2010

Global stock markets fell steeply on Thursday on investor concerns about the growing sovereign debts of European Union member states Greece, Portugal, and Spain. A report of a rise in weekly jobless claims in the United States contributed to the market gloom. The MSCI World index fell the most in over nine months. Currency and commodities markets also posted major moves.

If other European countries are having trouble like Greece, then it’s a big problem for banks, and the banks are the foundation for everything.

The euro fell more than one percent against the US dollar to an eight-month low; against the yen it fell 2.2%, approaching a one-year low. The price of crude oil fell 5% to US$73.14 per barrel and gold slid 4.4% to US$1,063 per ounce.

Greece’s Prime Minister, George Papandreou, announced an austerity program, but that is now threatened by plans by the largest trade union for a national strike. In 2009, Greece’s budget deficit was 12.7% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). Papandreou’s plan called for that to drop to 3% by 2012.

Gary Jenkins of Evolution Securities told the Financial Times, “[t]he risk aversion trade is back on as the debt problems of Europe are for the first time bringing down global markets. Corporate earnings may come in strongly [in the US], but investors are more concerned about the possible default of a sovereign European nation.”

“This is a sovereign problem, and it’s hitting everything,” said Keith Springer of Capital Financial Advisory Services to Reuters. “If other European countries are having trouble like Greece, then it’s a big problem for banks, and the banks are the foundation for everything. European banks will be in trouble and that will carry over to all stocks.”

“The focus is shifting toward Spain and Portugal, where the deficit-reduction plans have been far less ambitious than Greece,” said Kornelius Purps of UniCredit Markets & Investment Banking to Bloomberg.

Concerns in Portugal centered on political tension surrounding a regional spending bill. In Spain, the source of worry was reportedly because the government backed down from promised pension reform.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet sought to ease investor fears, in part by noting that the deficit in the US is expected to hit 10% of GDP in 2010, compared with about 6% in the eurozone. He said that he was “confident” that Greece is moving in the right direction.

Trichet did admit that it is of “paramount importance” for Greece, Portugal and Spain to get their public finances under control.

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The WB and UPN networks to become the CW network

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Warner Bros. Entertainment (a division of Time Warner, Inc.) and CBS Corporation announced today the merger of their two struggling television networks together to form one jointly owned network which will debut this fall.

The new network, which is to be called CW (for CBS-Warner) will replace UPN and The WB networks, which will shut down. The network will be a 50-50 partnership between CBS and Warner Brothers. The network will be carried on stations owned by the Tribune Company, amongst others.

The merger is in response to the struggling of both networks, neither of which have attracted much viewership away from the big four networks since they being formed in the early 90s. However each have had some strengths. The WB has been more popular with younger viewers and has had hits with television shows Smallville and Gilmore Girls. UPN has recently received critical acclaim for its sitcom Everybody Hates Chris and World Wrestling Entertainment’s Smackdown! has been a mainstay since it debuted on the network. The new network’s schedule will be announced in May; until then the networks will operate their schedules independently. The new network is planning to target the 18-34 age bracket in prime time, and will contain both shows from the WB and UPN.

With UPN’s 12 affiliated station, together with Tribune’s 16 stations gives the new network coverage over half of the country. The Tribune stations that will be apart of the new network is WGN in Chicago, WB flagship station, WPIX in New York and KTLA in Los Angeles. WPIX will become the flagship station of the new network. Tribune will relinquish its 22.5% stake in the WB in return for a 10-year affiliation agreement with the network in turn.

Dawn Ostroff, currently the president of UPN, will become president of entertainment and John Maatta, currently the chief operating officer of the WB, will become chief operating officer of the CW.

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Change That Old Room Thermostat And Save Money

By Ted Davis

The standard room thermostat isn’t what it once was. The majority of people do not give their thermostats a second thought until such time as they are going to replace them. However, they have advanced a great deal through the years. They have come a long way from those typical round dials installed on the wall. They have evolved into extremely sophisticated.

Nowadays they are really an essential element of any heating and cooling system that could save the home owner big money. There are numerous styles and models offered. Just how is one expected to figure out what is right for their particular system? Hopefully this material will help you.

The principle task of your room thermostat is typically to help keep the inside temperature at a comfortable level by merely flipping on a home heating or air conditioning source, dependent upon the sensed room temperature. Essentially a heat-activated switch, a room thermostat has a temperature sensing unit that triggers the switch to open or close, that will turn the house’s HVAC system on or off.

Virtually all residential versions make this happen utilizing a low-voltage circuit. The thermostat commonly will do much more than solely turning the heat off or on. Depending on the type of heating and air conditioning system in your house, the room thermostat will even regulate the system fan, which moves fresh air through the house. Quite a few thermostats could actually regulate the home’s humidifier, dehumidifier, as well as the ventilation system.


In most cases, the main thing to consider when looking for a thermostat should be system compatibility. Not every thermostat will work in conjunction with each and every heating & cooling system. This problem of compatibility is the place nearly all homeowners get caught when attempting to update their old-fashioned thermostat.

Should you have electric baseboard heat, or if you feel you may use a high voltage thermostat – STOP HERE. Consult with an electrical contractor. The voltages in these systems can kill. For people who have a system such as this, you must contact a qualified professional for thermostat upgrade.

When researching a thermostat, you will discover an abundance of terminology related to various features and functions. You will possibly not understand exactly what these features actually mean. Find a reputable seller and they will help you understand the many alternatives.

Digital thermostats provide a wide variety options. The most common include multiple set back times. This allows you to program the room thermostat to raise or lower the temperature setting at different times of the day. The most common capability gives you 4 daily settings. Some will allow different settings for up to 7 different days.

Being able to lower the temperature setting when you’re away at work and then have it automatically raise the temperature setting when you are due home in the evening, will allow you to save big bucks on your heating and cooling bill all year round.

If your home still has one of those old non-programmable room thermostats, it’s time you replaced it and put real money back in your pocket.

About the Author: Ted Davis is a writer who specializes in home improvement and home repair activities. You can check out his latest website

Room Thermostat

, where he discusses

thermostat wiring

, wireless thermostats, digital thermostats and how you save money when you install a new thermostat.


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Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian released on bail

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Taiwan’s former President, Chen Shui-bian (???), has been conditionally released on bail, some ten hours after he was indicted for corruption. Speaking to media at the Taipei District Court, he said: “I want to thank my lawyers, members of the Democratic Progressive Party and my supporters who have given me huge encouragement. I am grateful to those who cared for, supported and looked after me so I could get through the hardest and loneliest 32 days of my life in prison.” He earns the historical distinction of being the first ex-president of the Republic of China to be indicted for criminal offenses and could suffer life imprisonment if convicted.

Along with 13 other family members and close associates, including his wheelchair-bound wife, son Chen Chih-Chung, and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching, Chen was indicted Friday on charges of embezzling government funds and laundering money or ill-gotten bribes. The panel of three judges ruled he should appear at future court hearings and must not leave the country nor change his address.

Prosecutor Lin Che-hui accused Chen of having “embezzled 104 million New Taiwan dollars ($3.12 million) from a special presidential fund, and received bribes of $11.73 million in connection with a government land procurement deal and a separate construction project; the damning piece of evidence was the presence of NT$740 million ($22.2 million) in cash stashed in a Taipei bank safety vault held by the Chens.” Yuanta Securities director Tu Li-ping said, “she hand delivered NT$200 million ($6 million) in cash to Wu at the presidential residence in 2006 on behalf of executives of an affiliated bank; the money was an incentive for Wu not to interfere with a merger the bank was pursuing.”

Chen insists on his innocence. Contradicting the 100-page indictment, he said that “the $21 million his wife wired to their son’s Swiss bank accounts came from leftover campaign donations. Taiwanese law permits such donations to be kept by political candidates.”

In 1975, Chen married Wu Shu-chen (???), the daughter of a physician. The couple has a daughter, Chen Hsing-yu (???), who is a dentist; and a son, Chen Chih-Chung (???), who, having received a law degree in Taiwan, studied at and graduated with a M.A. degree from the University of California in 2005.

In November 2006, Chen’s wife Wu Shu-chen and three other high ranking officials of the Presidential Office were indicted for corruption, charged with misappropriating NT$14.8 million (USD$450,000) of government funds using falsified documents. Due to the protection from the Constitution against prosecution of the sitting president, Chen could not be prosecuted until he left office, and he was not indicted, but was alleged to be an accomplice on his wife’s indictment.

Chen’s term as President of the Republic of China ended in May 2008. Immediately thereafter, prosecutors began investigating him regarding allegations that he misused his discretionary “state affairs fund”, as well as his connection to the first family’s money-laundering activities. He resigned from the Democratic Progressive Party on August 15, 2008, one day after admitting to falsifying past campaign expenses and wiring campaign contributions to overseas accounts.

In November 2008, Chen was escorted by a security staff, into the Taipei prosecutor’s office for questioning. After 6 hours, he left the Supreme Court prosecutor`s office in handcuffs, was arrested and detained. The charges each carry a minimum penalty of 5 years imprisonment. Following a 6 day hunger strike while in detention, Chen collapsed and was rushed to Taipei’s Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, where he was later transferred to Panchiao Hospital for force-feeding. Despite Chen’s lack of interest in appealing, his lawyer Cheng Wen-long completed a motion seeking his release from detention and filed a notice of appeal of the court’s decision, along with a petition for constitutional interpretation to restrain actions violative of the Constitution.

Prosecutor General, Chen Tsung-ming said that after Chen’s case had been removed to the Taipei Local Court, he would re-file a petition for Chen’s detention. Chen and the main opposition DPP have accused President Ma Ying-jeou‘s administration of “using the scandals to plan a political plot against the former leader.”

Meanwhile, The Straits Times reported that “prosecutors are to investigate former President of the Republic of China and Chairman of the Kuomintang from 1988 to 2000, Lee Teng-hui on suspicion of money laundering, based on allegations made by Chen during his own questioning recently that his predecessor transferred large funds abroad through dummy accounts.” Mr. Lee angrily denied the accusations concerning “a suspected transfer of 50 million Taiwan dollars (US$2.26 million) to Mr Lee from a local stock investor via overseas dummy accounts.” Charges also included transactions made at the end of Lee’s tenure and at the beginning of Chen’s term, including “one billion Taiwan dollars that had been wired to various countries including Singapore.”

The China Post calls for calm and urges fair trial for Chen. “All the people should wait patiently for the outcome of the trial … They shouldn’t do anything to influence the judges in any way, because the rule of law in Taiwan is at stake. We should show the world that Taiwan is a democracy where anybody who commits a crime, be he a man on the street or a former president, is duly punished.” it said.

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Australian police seize one tonne shipment of ecstacy

Friday, April 15, 2005Police in Melbourne have seized over a tonne of ecstacy in a shipment of tiles from Italy. Four were arrested on Thursday and early Friday relating to the shipment, which the Australian Federal Police has called the biggest shipment of street-ready ecstacy pills in the world.

The four men were charged with aiding and abetting a prohibited import, according to ABC radio. Five million tablets were seized, with a reported street value of US$190 million (AU$250m). Two were additionally charged with attempting to possess a prohibited import.

Federal police were continuing to investigate a crime ring behind the shipment, a spokesperson told

Federal Agent Mike Phelan said: “The AFP is now working with its counterparts in Italy and other parts of Europe to identify any overseas links with this latest seizure.”

X-rays taken of the shipment, which arrived in Port Melbourne earlier in the week, had revealed anomalies inside eight pallets which were stacked with tiles, said a report from Australian Associated Press.

Police then monitored the shipping container until it was delivered on Thursday to a suburban Melbourne factory, where two men were arrested, according to the report. Agents searched a dozen homes and businesses across Melbourne and arrested two more men early on Friday. All four suspects were due to appear in court later on Friday.

Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison praised the AFP, the Australian Customs Service and the Australian Crime Commission involved in the operation, which he told Australian Associated Press had been ongoing since January.

“This big seizure sends a very clear message to those who want to traffic drugs to Australia, you will be caught and face very serious penalties,” Senator Ellison told the news agency, saying the shipment “could have wreaked havoc”.

“Anyone who says this sort of seizure does not slow the supply of drugs is quite obviously out of touch with reality.”

The previous largest Australian ecstasy haul occurred in November 2004 in Sydney, when 1,800 pounds of ecstasy tablets and powder were seized, Australian Federal Police (AFP) told Reuters, compared to this shipment’s weight of 2,240 pounds.

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Ways A Professional, Who Deals With Real Estate Sales In Oceanside Ny Can Help When Looking For A New Home


If you are looking for a new home for you and your family, it can be helpful to enlist the aid of a professional who handles Real Estate Sales in Oceanside NY. By doing this, you will often find it is easier to find a home well suited for your needs in a timely and efficient manner.

Many people today may feel they can locate and buy their own home as well as a professional. While there are a number of resources online to help you in trying to accomplish this, often it can still be a struggle. Most online resources are spread out, and this requires a great deal of work to gather information. In addition, online sources only include homes that are officially for sale. Because of this, it is difficult to get the upper hand on homes coming up for sale in the near future.

Using a professional who works in Real Estate Sales in Oceanside NY can help in eliminating these issues. Most real estate professionals have access to listings and other services a buyer may not be able to obtain online. They also subscribe to local listings services, a buyer may not be willing to invest in. This can make it much easier for the professional to know what is available for sale in the area.

Since a professional will work with a network of other agents, they often will share information about potential homes to be listed in the near future. This can be a great help in making sure a client can see a potential home and make an offer before someone else does. These types of leads can be invaluable to a person looking for a home designed to fit their specific needs.

Anyone who is considering purchasing a new home will find there are many ways a professional can help make the task of finding and buying a home much easier. This can be a great benefit in helping to make this type of complicated purchase proceed more smoothly. For more information on how a professional can assist you with your home buying needs, please Click Here.

Bangladesh reports first human case of H5N1 bird flu

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bangladesh reported its first human case of the H5N1 strain of Avian flu on Thursday. According to a representative of the Bangladesh health ministry, the 16-month old boy initially tested negative for the disease. His virus culture tested positive in tests performed by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The boy is from the capital city of Dhaka in the Dhaka District.

“Although there is no farm in the neighbourhood we suspect that he got the illness after his family bought chickens from a farm,” said senior health ministry official Mahmudur Rahman. Rahman is the head of Bangladesh’s Institute of Epidemiology and Disease Control and Research. He asserted that the government had the disease under control, and that physicians and hospitals in the country were adequately prepared.

Rahman said Thursday that the child had recovered from the disease. “The child was found infected by H5N1 but after treatment he has recovered and is now doing well,” said Rahman in a statement to Reuters.

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the positive test results on Friday. This case in Bangladesh brings the total number of countries in the world with human infections from the disease up to 15. “When a disease is so widespread in poultry, it is really a matter of time before you get a human case. It shows the need to control the disease in animals if you are going to reduce the chances of transmission to humans,” said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl in a statement to Reuters.

There is no reason to panic. The child contracted the H5N1 bird flu virus in January but we only got confirmation from the CDC on Wednesday it was a human bird flu case.

The boy had previously been diagnosed with H5N1 in January, but the CDC only confirmed the case this week. In a statement in Agence France-Presse, senior government official Saluddin Khan said: “There is no reason to panic. The child contracted the H5N1 bird flu virus in January but we only got confirmation from the CDC on Wednesday it was a human bird flu case.”

Khan commented on preventative measures being taken by the government, saying, “we’re destroying the birds and eggs as soon as we have any report of bird flu at any farm in the country.”

Bangladesh was first hit by bird flu in February 2007, and after a period of dormancy, was hit again in January 2008. Outbreaks subsided in March when peaking temperatures killed off the virus. Over one million birds were slaughtered during the outbreaks, and at the peak the outbreaks were the cause of a loss 1.5 million jobs in the Bangladesh poultry industry, which is the largest in the world. The Avian influenza has spread through 47 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts.

The H5N1 virus seldom infects humans, but according to WHO there have been 382 human cases globally since 2003, including 241 deaths.

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Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

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And now we share you information about actress Yuan Li.Love might be the biggest driving force behind 38-year-old actress Yuan Li.

In April, she joined PolyBona Entertaining Agency and started her sweet journey.

“Like a relationship with a boyfriend, we appreciate each other because we have the same goals and share the common tempo in doing things,” Yuan said as she described her new partnership with the company. “Love can not be judged by money, cars or houses.”

Her previous love story was with a businessman and it lasted for nearly a decade after beginning when she was a sophomore at Beijing Film Academy.

It ended in 2005 and Yuan has been alone since. Her former partner married Zhang Yining, one of the best female table tennis players in China.

But if her new relationship is with the company she works for, people are curious about who is the apple of PolyBona Entertaining Agency’s eye.

Also on the books is A-list actress Fan Bingbing and Yuan is often asked who is the No 1 star at the company.

“The title is much less attractive than any attractive role,” Yuan answered. Having been in the industry for more than 10 years, she said it was childish to compete for such acclaim.

The actress, who was born and raised in Hangzhou, journeyed to Beijing so she could enroll in the Beijing Film Academy, where she consistently pulled in high grades.

During the second year of college, she won the role of Ouyang Lanlan in star-maker Zhao Baogang’s Die with Everlasting Regret, a film that helped Zhao reach the peak of his directing career in crime drama and that also made Yuan a critical success and a TV sensation.

During the intervening years, Yuan has portrayed several compelling characters and picked up many awards.

Recently, she has undergone more changes having shed eight kilograms before stepping onto the red carpet for the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards Ceremony in a sexy low V-neck dress.

She also changed her given name recently in the hope that it would bring her more good fortune.

While she is still Li, the written character of her previous Li refers to “standing up” in Chinese and was actually attributed to her in error when it was miswritten by a Chinese reporter during her early career. The error has been repeated ever since.

“An error repeated a thousand times becomes the truth,” she complained and insisted it was the time to correct it. Yuan said she now insists on using the Li character she was given at birth, which means Jasmine. She believes it will bring her good luck in love.

Q: Can you tell us more about your new role portraying a shrewd daughter-in-law in the TV drama series Just Friends?

A: The role is completely different from all the roles I’ve ever played. I play a middle-aged street-side barber. When I read the scripts, I found it was a compelling and challenging role. It is totally different from roles I have played before as an elegant lady or the ruler of a big family.

Q: Do you think such a vulgar image will ruin your sexy and elegant screen image?

A: Though some said the character was not my style, I was glad to have the try. It is like playing a game and exploring my limits.

I offered ideas such as wearing bouffant hair, vulgar red lipsticks and having dark blue eyebrows. A pair of red pants and a green sweater is my costume. I really like this kind of makeup. If the audience cannot recognize me, it means I partially succeeded. The difference between actors and singers is that singers should be themselves while actors should play others. For actors, things such as hairstyle and clothes are defined by the role. Actors live for the roles. When acting, we are free to try different things.

Q: What kind of woman do you want to be?

A: I just want to be simple and not have to conceal or disguise. I want to be loved and have someone to rely on and to make decisions for me. It might be dangerous to some extent. But it wouldn’t matter if I love him.

Q: What changes were you looking for when you changed your name?

A: A name is an icon and also a suggestion. I really want to change my mind. I hope to be more tolerant and persevering. Previously, I was too self-willed and self-centered.

I hope the change will bring me a happy marriage and life. Honestly, I have already been happy because I have a job I like.

It was director Zhao Baogang’s advice to change my name. He said it would be hard to find Mr Right with a strong Li. But I’ve never been regretful about my former name. It gave me an iron will, courage and success during my early difficult years. Now I want to be more soft and showcase my other side as a woman.

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US undergraduate commits suicide after ‘outing’ via webcast

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tyler Clementi, eighteen, a freshman at Rutgers University in the United States, jumped off the George Washington Bridge last Wednesday after roommates broadcast his same-sex encounters online.

Clementi shared a room with Dhraun Ravi, in Davidson Hall on Rutgers’ Piscataway campus.

On September 19, Dhraun Ravi is alleged to have secretly activated a webcam in their room, then retreated down the hall to the room of his childhood friend, Molly Wei, where they used Skype to connect to the live video feed of Clementi having sex. Ravi tweeted, “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my Web cam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay”.

Clementi reported the incident to the university, and that information has been passed to the authorities, according to Gregory Blimling, university vice president for student affairs.

Ravi attempted to repeat his actions on the following Wednesday, after seeing his roommate kissing a teenaged boy. Writing on Facebook he said, “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it’s happening again.”

The following Wednesday, at around 4 p.m., fellow freshman Lauren Garcia saw Clementi leaving the dormitory. “He had his iPod in his ear, and just had this blank stare on his face,”, she said. Clementi drove one hour along the New Jersey Turnpike, abandoning his car on the Jersey side. Writing a final message on his own Facebook page saying, “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry”, he left a wallet containing his driver’s licence and Rutgers ID card, and his mobile phone on the roadside. According to witnesses, he scaled the railings, crouched down, and jumped at approximately 8:50 p.m— about eight minutes after his Facebook posting. Those details were relayed to press anonymously by a law enforcement official.

One of the anonymous witnesses, a 45-year-old from West New York, said “It was so quick, as soon as he saw us, he went. He didn’t give us an opportunity to do anything.”

New York Police Department’s Harbour Unit recovered a body of a young man yesterday, in the Hudson River to the North of the bridge, but it has not yet been positively identified.

Ravi and Wei, both eighteen, were charged with invasion of privacy. Wei voluntarily surrendered to police Monday, and was released on her own recognizance; Ravi surrendered the following day, and has been released on $25,000 bail. All three students started their courses in August.

The crime of “transmitting sexual images” is a 3rd degree felony, carrying a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Clementi, from Ridgewood, New Jersey, played the violin, and was a member of the Ridgewood High School chamber orchestra. A student from the same hall described him as quiet and shy. His parents were apparently unaware of his sexuality; Robert Righthand, a friend of Clementi since grade school, said “he had it in reserve for a very long time […] You never thought he was depressed. You just thought he was quiet. He wasn’t the person to open up to a lot of people.”

A gathering of around 100 people held a vigil on Wednesday, chanting slogans such as “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re not going home.”

The Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays organization announced a “call to action” today. Stephen Goldstein, of LGBT advocacy organization Garden State Equality, said, “[Clementi,] by all accounts, was brilliant, talented and kind […] we are sickened that anyone in our society, such as the students allegedly responsible […] might consider destroying others’ lives as a sport.”

On Wednesday prior to the incident, the university launched “Project Civility”, a two-year campaign encouraging students to be thougtful of others. The University president, Richard McCormick, issued a letter stating that “If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university’s standards of decency and humanity.”

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