29,000 sex offenders on MySpace website July 24, 2007Posted by grhomeboy in Internet, Internet Safety.
MySpace.com has found more than 29,000 registered sex offenders with profiles on the popular social networking website, more than four times the number cited by the company two months ago, North Carolina officials said Tuesday.
North Carolina’s Roy Cooper is one of several attorneys general who recently demanded the News Corp.-owned website provide data on how many registered sex offenders were using the site, along with information about where they live.
After initially withholding the information, citing federal privacy laws, MySpace began sharing the information in May after the states filed formal legal requests.
At the time, MySpace said it had already used a database it helped create to remove about 7,000 profiles of sex offenders, out of a total of about 180,000,000 profiles on the site. Two MySpace spokeswomen did not immediately return calls seeking comment Tuesday.
Cooper is pushing for legislation that would require children to receive parental permission before creating social networking profiles, and require the websites to enact procedures for verifying the parents’ identity and age.
There are about 600,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. MySpace is a personal website tool allowing people to post blogs, music, and videos. More than 80 million people have registered a MySpace page. News Corp bought the site for $580m last year.
Iran nets fashion victims, human rights eh? July 24, 2007Posted by grhomeboy in Fashion.
Women who “dress like models” and men whose hairstyles are deemed un-Islamic are being confronted by Tehran police in a renewed drive to enforce dress rules, AFP reports.
Dozens of police cars and minibuses converged on the capital’s main squares on Monday during the early evening rush-hour. The “plan to increase security in society”, which began in Tehran but will extend nationwide, comes after an April crackdown resulted in thousands of warnings and hundreds of arrests.
The campaign would target women who were badly veiled, wore overly tight overcoats, sported excessively short trousers and were “dressed like models”, a police spokesman, Mehdi Ahmadi, said. “As far as men are concerned we will act against those who have Western-style haircuts and clothing. We are also going to act against clothes shops and hairdressers.”
He said 100 policewomen were among the officers sent to confront offenders. Those who infringed the law would be warned at first, then if necessary arrested and taken for “consultation”. “Normally the problem is resolved here,” Mr Ahmadi said. “If not, and these cases are often those of reoffenders, the case is sent to the judiciary.”
In Vanak Square, central Tehran, women were escorted towards a minibus by policewomen. They waited in the bus as the operation continued. Other women were seen quickly adjusting their headscarves to cover loose hair.
Women in Iran are obliged to cover all bodily contours and their heads, but many have pushed the boundaries by showing off bare ankles and fashionably styled hair beneath their scarves. Although the April crackdown was the severest such drive in years, some women are still donning figure-hugging coats and skimpy scarves. The wacky hairdos favoured by some young men in Tehran are also much in evidence.
Many conservatives have applauded the crackdown for protecting the security of society, but moderates have asked whether Iran would be better off tackling poverty and crime.
The city’s police chief, Ahmad Reza Radan, said addicts, hooligans and sexual harassment in the street would also be targeted. “Some young people, intentionally or unwittingly, are walking advertisements for Western deviant sexual and Satan-worshipping cults,” he told the ISNA news agency. “In this plan such people will be identified and confronted.”
Nude cyclists July 24, 2007Posted by grhomeboy in Sports.
Two Austrians and a German were fined for cycling naked along the banks of the River Danube in Serbia where a heat wave has sent temperatures soaring.
“Police arrived after being alerted by passers-by,” said police spokesman Stevan Krstic in the northern city of Novi Sad. Temperatures in Serbia and other parts of the Balkans have hovered stubbornly for the past week at around 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). The three men were brought to a magistrate on charges of disrupting public peace and order and were fined 10,000 dinars (125 euros) each.
Rosy Future for Brownfield Sites > II July 24, 2007Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture.
Red October Factory > An ambitious $2.7 billion project to redevelop the Red October chocolate factory and the buildings surrounding it on Bolotny Island, opposite the Kremlin, has made little visible progress since its approval in the summer of 2003. A City Hall committee took over the project from developer KRT last summer, reportedly due to slow progress. The 1.2 million-square-meter development on 40 hectares envisages the construction of a new tourism and recreation zone, with entertainment facilities, elite homes, hotels, stores and offices.
ZiL Automotive Plant > Land is already being cleared for the Nagatino business center that is to cover about one-tenth of the sprawling ZiL automotive plant site, said Andrei Patrushev, a spokesman for Knight Frank, the agent for the project. “We expect someone from the city government to take part in a groundbreaking ceremony within two months,” he said. About 80 percent of the site, 5 kilometers south of the Kremlin, is to be eventually sold and redeveloped.
Ordzhonikidze Factory > The Ordzhonikidze machinery factory’s management plans to build a hypermarket with Auchan on a 4.5-hectare plot in the corner of their site near Leninsky Prospekt metro station, according to Sergei Dublyansky, a member of the factory’s board of directors. He would not say when construction was due to begin. Dublyansky said there were no official plans for the rest of the site, approximately 20 hectares. “We want to keep the factory as it is, as we have workers who need to keep working,” he said.
Badayevsky Brewery > Work has yet to begin on the development of the 14-hectare plot of land behind the Hotel Ukraina, located across the river from the Mosvka-City site. According to the plans, several architecturally significant buildings belonging to the 120-year-old Badayevsky Brewery are to be retained. The 400,000-square-meter residential development is to include office and retail components. Construction has not yet begun and its start date is unclear.
Editor’s Note > This series of articles are from our 2006 archives.
Rosy Future for Brownfield Sites July 24, 2007Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture.
From offices in former car factories to apartments in redeveloped rubber plants, modern Moscow is slowly creeping into the city’s aging industrial zones. But in many cases, the process is proving painfully slow.
Three years after City Hall signed off on a plan to redevelop the factories on Bolotny Island, where technicians in the Red October chocolate factory enjoy unhindered views of the Kremlin, work has yet to start on the site.
And while white-collar workers are finally moving into the multibillion-dollar Moskva-City skyscraper park almost eight years after the initial idea was approved, the adjacent Big City and Park City developments remain pipe dreams despite years of planning.
The projects are all part of a City Hall plan to clear up a Soviet legacy of dirty, often inefficient plants that cover an estimated 10 percent of the city center. City Hall launched an ambitious plan in 1999 to clear 300 hectares of industrial brownfield land in the Central Administrative District by 2020. More than one-third has been cleared so far. But before the executives and owners of elite apartments can move in, the blue-collar workers and grimy machines need to be moved out, often to greenfield sites on the outskirts of the city.
On Bolotny Island, the need to move entire enterprises, including the Red October plant, to the suburbs appears to be the main obstacle holding back development. A working group that meets daily to work on the site is still grappling with the transfer of production facilities, said Yekaterina Zolotareva, a spokeswoman for the Central Administrative District. Other sites have even more to move. Big City, a mammoth site more than 10 times as large as Moskva-City, is occupied by about 100 enterprises.
Moskva-City is progressing slowly. Out of 15 projects, only three buildings have been completed so far, demonstrating the time the market takes to digest the space after the land is cleared.
“The city government can allocate the land-use change, but it’s down to the developers to deliver the projects and the market to absorb this,” said David Dudley, head of strategic consulting at Jones Lang LaSalle in Moscow. “You need the finance and the skills to redevelop the land, and it needs to be the right product at the right time.”
There is a huge range of industrial sites being freed up by City Hall. On the one hand, there are smaller 19th-century factory sites like Red October and the Badayevsky Brewery, behind the Hotel Ukraina. With impressive architectural features, good road access and prestigious locations, their appeal is clear to all. It takes more imagination to fall for the sprawling Soviet-era plants that take up whole swaths of the city.
Land at the decrepit sites often has to be totally cleared, and pollution cleaned up, before development is possible. “In one case, we keep the facade, and the infrastructure is more or less sufficient. In the other case, you practically have to build from nothing, sink foundations and build the necessary roads. It’s much more serious,” said Vitaly Mozharowski, a partner with Pepeliaev, Goltsblat & Partners, who is working on a major industrial redevelopment.
As many of the light industrial sites in the center are already accounted for, developers are increasingly looking to larger sites that can be found further out. “The first stage has concentrated on the redevelopment of light industry, as it is cheaper to redevelop this land. Later, developers will move to sites used by heavier industry,” said Alexander Krutov of Colliers, who has worked on several office blocks on industrial sites.
One problem is that heavy industrial sites often suffer from pollution that could scare away residential development. Another risk is that infrastructure serving a site will not keep up with the development of new land uses.
“You need to have major transport improvements, because offices, retail and residential put a lot more burden on the transport system than industrial uses, especially at peak times of the day,” said Jones Lang LaSalle’s Dudley, who is working on a number of brownfield projects, including a former rubber plant near Frunzensksaya metro station. “The biggest cost associated with brownfield development is not the cost of clearing the land, but the new infrastructure and utilities you need to build to support commercial and residential uses.”
Another challenge is convincing people to sign up to live, work and shop on former industrial zones, he said. Most of all it, depends on the location. “An industrial site that remains surrounded by other industrial uses will be much more difficult than a site at the edge of an industrial zone where there is existing infrastructure,” Dudley said.
But despite the problems, developers appear to have little choice but to keep getting their hands dirty with Russia’s industrial legacy. “Most of the development projects we are working on are former industrial sites,” Dudley said. “There is a huge amount of industrial land that can be redeveloped. That will be the future of Moscow’s housing, retail and office supply.”