All You Wanted to Know About Life Casting

In the ancient days, life-like, three-dimensional imitations of a deceased person’s body were created to transport him or her to the next world. This venerable art from the land of Egypt is now being practiced all over the world.

However, one no longer has to be dead to get a life cast done! Yes, realistic and perfectly detailed reproductions of the living and breathing human body are possible today. The 3D replica manages to capture every minute detail right down to the hair, skin texture, fingerprints and even the pores.

This cherished reflection can be captured from any part of the body and impressions of baby hands and feet are particular popular. So are pregnant bellies, intertwined hands, individual torsos and so on.

How is it done?

A life cast begins with making a body mold. In fact, this forms a crucial step and success depends on both the skill of the artist and the cooperation of the model. In fact, the model is only involved at this stage and the artist will work on his own during the casting.

The life casting artist will carefully instruct the model and decide on a pose that has to be maintained for a while. The artist will do his best to ensure that the model stays comfortable, secure and stationary.

The artist coats the body part with petroleum jelly or other release agent before slathering it with an alginate mixture. This alginate is a natural product that is derived from seaweed and is completely safe for the skin. Softer set variations are also available that is gentle for infant skin. Alternatively, the artist can opt to make the body mold with skin-safe silicone rubber too.

The mold making material is carefully applied on the body. Extra attention is needed when casting the face as the mold should capture the precise shape and yet the material should not enter the eyes, mouth or nose. Alginate molds are secured with plaster bandages to enable the mold to retain its shape.

The mold will set in a matter of minutes and it can be demolding by wriggling the face a bit. Now alginate molds should be cast quickly as the material tends to shrink and distort quickly. Plaster is generally the material of choice for making life casts. Resin life casts are also popular. It is even possible to make life casts in stone, metal or wood by using cold casting powders.

The casting material is carefully poured into the body mold. Care is needed to avoid air bubbles that can easily mar the perfection of the life cast. Once cured, alginate molds are usually broken away to reveal the life cast inside. The cast is then carefully finished (to correct any imperfections) and can also be painted or buffed as required.

A New Era For Internal Auditors

The core of every internal control system is the integrity of its people, processes, and technologies. There is little debate that the U.S. financial crisis, caused by concurrent system failures, has had a global economic and political impact. In the wake of today’s corporate scandals, bankruptcies, media-frenzied bailouts, and the financial market meltdown, light is once again being shed on the criticality of system risk and control over processes and technologies. However, more scrutiny is starting to be placed on the people who are responsible for governing and managing these systems. Because people are the most vital part of any system environment, it is imperative to have the right people – especially qualified internal auditors – in the right positions performing the right activities.

INTERNAL AUDITING AS THE CORPORATE CONSCIENCE
“Risk Governance is about three things: understanding the limits of acceptable risk, providing confidence and guidance to management, and anticipating events to set yourself up for success,”said Admiral William J. Fallon (United States Navy, Retired), co-chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Risk Governance, in a Commission report, Balancing Risk and Reward. In today’s economic climate, the concept of governance and risk management must evolve from mere written principles into robust practices within board and management processes. The IIA’s International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards) defines the role of internal auditing in governance in Standard 2110 – Governance: “The internal audit activity must assess and make appropriate recommendations for improving the governance process in its accomplishment of the following objectives:

- Promoting appropriate ethics and values within the organization.
- Ensuring effective organizational performance management and accountability.
- Communicating risk and control information to appropriate areas of the organization.
- Coordinating the activities of and communicating information among the board, external and internal auditors, and management.

With respect to ethics, the internal audit function is generally expected to serve as the corporate conscience. Therefore, the posture of the internal audit function must be such that it can influence the corporate “brain,” which encompasses members of the board and management who are the keepers of the organization (i.e., “body”) and trusted guardians of its well-being. As the corporate conscience, internal auditing must be prepared to have open, candid, and constructive dialogues with their boards and management to not only comply with the Standards, but also to balance the scale between the organization’s financial and ethical performance.

One of the more sensitive challenges internal audit executives are confronting is how to bring transparency to the board and management’s personal values, which are an essential part in establishing the integrity and core values of an enterprise. While the public sector continues to bring board and management transparency to the forefront of the reform agenda, there will likely be more focus on personal transparency among board members and management. The internal audit activity should recognize and consider this “inner” transparency when assessing governance structures and processes, and promoting appropriate ethics and values within the organization.

PREPARING FOR THE CHALLENGE
Internal auditors have an important role and must be educated and trained to effectively carry out their responsibilities. An educated and skilled auditor should be able to filter out the noise and sift down to what information is relevant, reliable, and sufficient to support the reasoning for timely decisions and actions. The new generation of internal audit professionals must strive to become as wise as the board, as savvy as management, as intelligent as the lawyers, as diligent as the accountants, and as precise as the statisticians. Most notably, internal auditors must exercise fair and ethical judgment.

Historically, there have not been regulatory requirements for internal auditing standards or certification requirements for its professionals. At this time, it is unlikely that a regulatory rule would enforce definitive quality or certification standards; however, it is critical that education and training programs are implemented to improve the effectiveness of the internal audit function. These programs will improve the capabilities of the company’s internal watchdogs to help identify and respond to risks that threaten the health and vitality of the organization and its economic ecosystem.

Although there are a variety of audit-related certifications available, some are more notable than others. For example, The IIA’s Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation, which has been earned by approximately 80,000 internal auditors worldwide, is The Institute’s flagship certification and the standard by which individuals demonstrate their overall competence and professionalism in internal auditing. While other certifications touch on specific areas of specialization, the CIA certification covers the broader range of knowledge that internal auditors need to know. “Becoming a CIA enhances your overall skills in internal auditing, establishes your credentials, and demonstrates your commitment to the internal audit profession,” says Angie Woodward, CIA, CCSA, CGAP, CFSA, IIA director of certification. “Even for individuals who are not planning to stay in internal auditing long term, earning the CIA can still add value to their careers by preparing them to meet a variety of management challenges.”

In addition to the CIA, The IIA offers three specialized certifications:

Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP). This designation demonstrates an individual’s knowledge of the unique features of public-sector auditing – fund accounting, grants, legislative oversight, and confidentiality rights. The program’s broad scope emphasizes the auditor’s role in strengthening accountability to the public and improving government services.

Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA). The CFSA measures an individual’s knowledge of, and proficiency in, audit principles and practices within the banking, insurance, and securities financial services industries.

Certification in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA). This certification is designed for practitioners of control self-assessment (CSA). Gaining the required knowledge of areas such as risk and control models – often considered the realm of auditors only – exposes CSA practitioners to concepts that are vital in effectively using CSA to help clients achieve their objectives.

Other specialized certification programs also are available to internal auditors. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFEs’) Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential denotes proven expertise in fraud prevention, detection, and deterrence. According to ACFE, CFEs have a unique set of skills that combine knowledge of complex financial transactions with an understanding of methods, law, and how to resolve allegations of fraud. Fraud examiners also are trained to understand not only how fraud occurs, but also why it occurs. Approximately 20,000 anti-fraud professionals have obtained their CFE credential. The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) offers the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification, which is a globally recognized achievement for those who control, monitor, and assess an organization’s IT and business systems. More than 70,000 professionals have earned the CISA since its inception in 1978.

Although internal audit certification currently is not mandatory, audit-related acronyms are starting to find their way into the boardroom to help directors and management set standards to measure the competency and qualifications of those professionals responsible for safeguarding the corporate conscience.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
While we continue to endure the challenges of these tough economic times, it is important to recognize that government regulation will cause various degrees of change to governance and internal control systems. Those organizations that recognize this will not only be prepared to respond to these changes, but also will be better positioned to sustain focus on strategic operations that create value for stakeholders. As companies embrace this ideology, we will continue to see the trend of increased audit-related certification as a means for organizations to evaluate and measure internal control excellence and maintain a healthy existence.

Michael Brozzetti, CIA, CISA, CGEIT, is president of Boundless LLC, a Philadelphia-based firm specializing in applying audit, compliance, and forensic methods to enhance the overall health and well-being of organizations. He is a member of the IIA-Philadelphia chapter and serves as an adjunct professor with Villanova University where he instructs an internal audit review course.

Top Arts and Entertainment Hotpots in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale boasts of a culture that is as deep as its oceans any individual can ever fathom. Its heritage is diversified by the arts and entertainment that make its communities alive and dynamic. Throughout the year, there are festivals and events that foster interaction and unity among its residents. Here are some of the arts and entertainment hotspots in the city where you can spend fun time alone or with friends and family.

ArtServe

Located at 1350 East Sunrise Blvd., Artserve holds the reputation of being one of America’s six art incubators. The 20000 square foot art facility has a professional art gallery, dance studio, auditoriums, conference rooms, and office suites. It also holds programs and services that aim to help local artists turn their arts into profitable businesses. It is a haven for both artists and art enthusiasts. The facility also holds regular exhibits which focus on bringing diverse kinds of art to the public.

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

On 900 N. Birch Road, you can find the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. It is a historic house museum erected on 35 acres of pristine barrier island in Fort Lauderdale. It prides itself of being one of the few places with homes and studios carrying original furnishings from American artists. It also has an art gallery from several reputable artists. Its garden is also a living art by possessing five distinct ecosystems within it – the Atlantic Beach Ocean, freshwater slough, secondary dune, mangrove wetlands, and maritime forest. Tropical tranquility beams with the tropical vegetation, hibiscus garden, and arid plantings. The entire garden is also a perfect paradise for wildlife like squirrel monkeys and gopher tortoises. Weddings and corporate events can be held in this place through special arrangements.

Arts & Culture Center of Hollywood

The parcel of land in 1650 Harrison Street is the site of the Arts & Culture Center of Hollywood. It is where art exhibits, live performances, and educational programs for kids and adults are staged. It has several art galleries, art school, theater, and café. This is literally a melting pot of arts and entertainment where residents and visitors can have a grasp of the rich culture that Fort Lauderdale has grown over the years.

These are just three of the top arts and entertainment hotspots in Fort Lauderdale. Throughout the city, there are more places like these which can also satisfy your thirst for visual arts and live entertainment. If you want to know more of these hotspots, you can contact your local real estate agent for more information.

International Direct E-Marketing for Hotels – Speak Your Customers’ Language

By definition, when a hotelier (let’s say his name is Mr. Smith) opens his doors to sell rooms, the potential market for his hotel is the entire population of travellers who are visiting his area/destination. Depending on where that destination is, the mix of languages spoken by these inbound travellers could be extremely limited (think Southwest Georgia Regional Airport, USA where only a handful of local carriers operate), or very, very abundant (think Heathrow Airport in London where some 170 carriers operate – the vast majority flying internationally).

Thinking along these lines, and on the back of a commercial need for us to identify potential clients for one of our products, we looked at the hotels in the Greater London area, as well as those properties located quite centrally to the city (for those of you familiar with the city, within the North/South Circular, and then within the Congestion Zone).

[For those of you that aren't very familiar with London, it would be relevant to mention that from a cultural and linguistic point, it is a very vibrant intersection of cultures and languages. Just like NYC, London boasts extremely diverse international communities, and it is a magnet for virtually all types of tourists and visitors (barring perhaps sensible sun-seekers). ]

Our little experiment was to look at a large section of the independent hotel market, and identify how well these hotels appear to be “going after” the international visitors. The intention was for us to find out how many hotels rank well for a variety of languages, and from within a variety of countries, for general searches (what we called “Wide” searches e.g. ‘hotel in London’) somewhat specific searches (“Near’ searches such as: ’boutique hotel near Bina Gardens in London’) and completely specific searches (we call them “Named Searches” e.g. ‘The Cranley Hotel in London’).

We were expecting interesting data to come out of this. What we didn’t expect to find was that the vast majority of independent London city centre hotels, weren’t featuring at all in international searches!

Quickly, our initial intention to qualify the existing international hotel strategies (by assigning values to it and then comparing it with same-language performance) became an obvious no starter. It appears that whilst London hotels can be extremely adept (even cunning) in getting the search engine SEO and PPC presence they need in English searches, the ball is more frequently than not, completely dropped in the international markets.

The reasons for all this are obvious. Yet, in the name of mistrust (over the years in the hotel industry I have learned the hard way to ignore what is “obvious”, and always ask the question) we run our findings by a few hoteliers. The main reasons for not having an international website were:

Costs of translating the websites in more than one language
Costs of optimising the websites in multiple languages
Lack of know-how
Belief that Google Translations gets the job done anyway
Knew about it and hadn’t done the translations quite yet
Agencies bring the business from abroad so the hotel doesn’t have to try more (if you are a hotelier, I hope you are cringing as you are reading this)

For those reasons, and maybe more that we didn’t manage to uncover, hotels don’t seem to “chase” the international, foreign-language business on-line. At the same time, the same hotels, are all fighting tooth and nail to get the attention of the English-speaking travelers.

For markets such as London (and assuming this is repeated in cities like New York, Chicago, Miami, Paris, Munich etc.) this imbalance is presenting us with an interesting dynamic of supply and demand.

[I fondly recall here a formidable grandmother who used to advise me: 'When you hear about fruit-laden cherry trees my boy, always carry a small basket with you.' It seems to me that the reverse can be truth as well.]

On the one hand we have some finite and proportionately small – and (in most western countries) fairly accurately measured – demand for local accommodation from international markets. On the other hand, we have a proportionally even lower number of hotels that appear to be interested in that international business.

It would be somewhat impolite for me to point to any specific properties here. But, to get an idea of the point that I am trying to make without naming any names, think of the 5 independent quality hotels in London that spring to your mind. Find them in Google and see if you can find any languages there… Now, I know they have their reasons for this – maybe they really don’t need any more business directly to their website – at least not at an additional cost. Whatever the case might be, if you want to stay in one of those hotels, and you happen to come from Japan, you pretty much have to find and book this hotel via an agency. As a consumer you might not mind at all; but with commissions from agencies being astronomical, as a hotelier, you absolutely should mind a lot!

Now, it is personally important to me to mention here that the more I study, the more suspicious I grow of statistics and “evidence”. However, I have to agree that the figures available to us suggest a staggering opportunity for independent hoteliers, in the international/multilingual markets as a whole. In the case of certain cities with strong international demand, only those hotels that can speak the customer’s language (literally) have the chance to attract international traffic directly to their own website. The rest, don’t.

Figures

Figures for international inbound travel to the UK are readily available for anyone with an interest in accessing them. One of my favourite sources is Visit Britain who frequently update their figures and implicitly remind us of the magnitude of the opportunity in the international traveller. A good summary of the latest update on international tourism facts can be found straight on their website, and we frequently use their data on our studies.

Some of the quoted figures are truly staggering. Almost 30 million visitors in 2010 have generated almost 16.9 billion pounds in revenue to the country, and certain key performance indicators have pretty much stayed the same over the last four years – despite the rare turmoil in the international and domestic markets since 2008. More than half of those visitors (52 per cent) were visiting London!

The Language Mosaic

There is no escaping that we live in a multicultural, multilingual world. The consequential complexities and inconsistent (and even incompatible) patterns of consumer behaviour between the various international markets make marketing to such an international audience a seriously complex affair. The very simple fact that a hotel is ideally trying to sell the same room to anyone in the world who potentially wants to come to the area, makes it all more tricky to set up on-line and sell, than they would ideally like it to be.

However, and as it often happens with similar populations, there are some demand patterns that can make our lives a little easier…

The – almost – 80/20 rule

It turns out that almost 70% of all international visits in 2010 happened from the top 10 source countries (only 10 per cent of the countries that have direct flights to Britain).

We also know that not all visitors behave the same way. The reasons behind travelling (e.g. Visiting Friends and Relatives vs. Business Travel), the age of the visitor, as well as the source country itself can make a great difference in the suitability of a traveller for any particular hotel.

Furthermore, from a linguistic point of view, [and despite that with the exception of two English-speaking countries (USA and Australia) all other top 10 source countries (by volume) are within Europe] the complexity that we are faced with isn’t too scary…

The Big Four

Looking at the table above, and making the assumption that all the Dutch visitors speak English (I have yet to come across a Dutch person that doesn’t speak English better than I do) leaves us with four major foreign language “powered” contributors to inbound international travel in the UK. France, Germany, Spain and Italy. These four countries alone represent exactly one third of all the international visitors that came to the UK in 2010!

Lost in Translation?

According to eye4travel (2008) some 70 per cent of all internet users don’t speak English at all, or are uncomfortable using it for transactions… this is obviously a figure that refers to everyone with a computer and an internet connection, and we would be dishonest f we didn’t assume that international travellers are more likely to speak English than the average user. Yet, the significance of language barriers is pretty evident from that figure – 70 per cent is a high number in any language (pardon the pun), and so is 60 or even 50 per cent.

In any case, I believe that there are only two significant questions to be asked by any hotelier trying to increase his direct traffic.

1. “Do I think that international travellers understand my site when they visit it?”

Before anyone raises their hand to talk about Google Translations and risk giving me an aneurysm (however brilliant and useful their translations tools are) I would like to ask you the even more pertinent and logically preceding question:

2. “Do you think that travellers from abroad are actually able to find you online, in order to have the opportunity to try and understand what you are selling to them?”

Even if it were only a minority of international inbound travellers that didn’t speak English, them being unable to find a hotelier’s website in the first place is – I am sure you would agree – a major issue!

If you are a hotelier and you’re are reading this, the chances are that you are already doing some SEO and PPC for your website. Also, the chances are that you are NOT doing SEO or PPC for your German, French, Japanese etc. potential customers. Hilton is, Marriot is, and crucially, Expedia, LastMinute and Bookings do (have a look at the Google screen captures below).

Some findings

When we were thinking of offering a language specific multilingual presence product and run our little experiments, we run multiple searches from several countries for multiple types of hotels, using a variety of languages and IP locations (in other words we were pretending we were searching for UK hotels from abroad).

The results were really fascinating. From certain countries (most clear and obvious in Holland than anywhere else) the evident problem of being found appeared to be at its lowest point. In Dutch searches, hotels without international languages on their official websites produced mixed results (far from good presence, but much better than we expected).

It seems that the Dutch’s ability to speak perfect English has permeated Google’s algorightms. A lot of hotels – especially in “Narrow” searches, did come up in the first pages, no problem.

On the other extreme, in countries where English is not a prominent language or the language has a different alphabet (Japanese, Arabic, etc.) no searches gave us any independent hotel results at all. Even when we were looking for hotels by their exact name and location, only agencies came back with results. Fascinatingly, Bookings.com – presumably through their very popular xml feed based service – seemed to power the staggering majority of results in the more obscure source markets.

The inability of hotelier to market to the many – and obscure – international languages is arguably – and at least in part – justified. As those that do engage in the “get the international traveller” game would testify, the law of diminishing returns applies with unforgiving realism. After the first few “top-tier” languages have been put together and offered to consumers, adding more languages is not necessarily a financially good idea. Going after certain countries that represent only a very small proportion of the overall inbound UK market is simply too expensive for the returns this market will generate, and therefore a justifiable commercial decision to leave them out.

It is most likely for that reason that you don’t get to see Expedia, Hotels.com, LastMinute etc. featuring in the Greek search results of Google above…

So what is one to do?

Some markets are – I would argue – no-brainers! With a third of all international travel to London coming from France, Germany, Spain and Italy, and (statistically speaking) with only a fraction of the hotels in a hotel’s competitive set offering rooms to these countries through their own websites, there is a huge internationalisation opportunity that should generate some real results.

International Law And The Right To A Healthy Environment As A Jus Cogens Human Right

I. JURISPRUDENTIAL BACKGROUND AND THEORETICAL ISSUES

To date, traditional international law does not consider human environmental rights to a clean and healthy environment to be a jus cogens human right. Jus cogens (“compelling law”) refers to preemptory legal principles and norms that are binding on all international States, regardless of their consent. They are non-derogable in the sense that States cannot make a reservation to a treaty or make domestic or international laws that are in conflict with any international agreement that they have ratified and thus to which they are a party. They “prevail over and invalidate international agreements and other rules of international law in conflict with them… [and are] subject to modification only by a subsequent norm… having the same character.” (1) Thus, they are the axiomatic and universally accepted legal norms that bind all nations under jus gentium (law of nations). For example, some U.N. Charter provisions and conventions against slavery or torture are considered jus cogens rules of international law that are nonderogable by parties to any international convention.

While the international legal system has evolved to embrace and even codify basic, non-derogable human rights (2), the evolution of environmental legal regimes have not advanced as far. While the former have found a place at the highest level of universally recognized legal rights, the latter have only recently and over much opposition, reached a modest level of recognition as a legally regulated activity within the economics and politics of sustainable development.

1. The international legal community recognizes the same sources of international law as does the United States’ legal system. The three sources of international law are stated and defined in the Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States (R3dFRLUS), Section 102. The first source is Customary International Law (CIL), defined as the “general and consistent practice of states followed out of a sense of legal obligation” (3) (opinio juris sive necessitatus), rather than out of moral obligation. Furthermore, CIL is violated whenever a State, “as a matter of state policy,… practices, encourages or condones (a) genocide, (b) slavery… (c) the murder or causing the disappearance of individuals, (d) torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment… or (g) a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” (4) To what extent such human rights need to be “internationally recognized” is not clear, but surely a majority of the world’s nations must recognize such rights before a “consistent pattern of gross violations” results in a violation of CIL. CIL is analogous to “course of dealing” or “usage of trade” in the domestic commercial legal system.

Evidence of CIL includes “constitutional, legislative, and executive promulgations of states, proclamations, judicial decisions, arbitral awards, writings of specialists on international law, international agreements, and resolutions and recommendations of international conferences and organizations.” (5) It follows that such evidence is sufficient to make “internationally recognized human rights” protected under universally recognized international law. Thus, CIL can be created by the general proliferation of the legal acknowledgment (opinio juris) and actions of States of what exactly constitutes “internationally recognized human rights.”

2. The next level of binding international law is that of international agreements (treaties), or Conventional International Law. Just as jus cogens rights and rules of law, as well as CIL, are primary and universally binding legal precepts, so do international treaties form binding international law for the Party Members that have ratified that treaty. The same way that some States’ domestic constitutional law declares the basic human rights of each State’s citizens, so do international treaties create binding law regarding the rights delineated therein, according to the customary international jus gentium principle of pacta sunt servanda (agreements are to be respected). Treaties are in turn internalized by the domestic legal system as a matter of law. Thus, for example, the U.N Charter’s provision against the use of force is binding international law on all States and it, in turn, is binding law in the United States, for example, and on its citizens. (6) Treaties are analogous to “contracts” in the domestic legal system.

Evidence of Conventional International Law includes treaties, of course, as well as related material, interpreted under the usual canons of construction of relying on the text itself and the words’ ordinary meanings. (7) Often, conventional law has to be interpreted within the context of CIL. (8) As a practical matter, treaties are often modified by amendments, protocols and (usually technical) annexes. Mechanisms exist for “circumventing strict application of consent” by the party states. Generally, these mechanisms include “framework or umbrella conventions that merely state general obligations and establish the machinery for further norm-formulating devices… individual protocols establishing particular substantive obligations… [and] technical annexes.” (9) Most of these new instruments “do no require ratification but enter into force in some simplified way.” (10) For example, they may require only signatures, or they enter into force for all original parties when a minimum number of States ratify the modification or unless a minimum number of States object within a certain time frame, or goes into force for all except those that object. (11) Depending on the treaty itself, once basic consensus is reached, it is not necessary for all to consent to certain modifications for them to go into effect. “[I]n a sense these are instances of an IGO [(international governmental organization)] organ ‘legislating’ directly for [S]tates.” (12)

3. Finally, rules of international law are also derived from universal General Principles of Law “common to the major legal systems of the world.” (13) These “general principles of law” are principles of law as such, not of international law per se. While many consider these general principles to be a secondary source of international law that “may be invoked as supplementary rules… where appropriate” (14), some consider them on an “footing of formal equality with the two positivist elements of custom and treaty”. (15) Examples are the principles of res judicata, equity, justice, and estoppel. Frequently, these rules are inferred by “analogy to domestic law concerning rules of procedure, evidence and jurisdiction.” (16) However, “while shared concepts of of internal law can be used as a fall-back, there are sever limits because of the characteristic differences between international law and internal law.” (17) Evidence of General Principles of Law includes “municipal laws, doctrine and judicial decisions.” (18)

Treaty provisions and their inherent obligations can create binding CIL if they are “of a fundamentally norm-creating character such as could be regarded as forming the basis of a general rule of law.” (19) A basic premise of this article is that the “relatively exclusive ways (of lawmaking) of the past are not suitable for contemporary circumstances.” (20) Jonathan Charney maintains that today’s CIL is more and more being created by consensual multilateral forums, as opposed to State practice and opinio juris, and that “[consensus, defined as the lack of expressed objections to the rule by any participant, may often be sufficient... In theory, one clearly phrased and strongly endorsed declaration at a near-universal diplomatic forum could be sufficient to establish new international law." (21) This process should be distinguished conceptually as "general international law", rather than CIL, as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has often done.

In like vein, Professor Gunther Handl argues that all multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) of "global applicability" create "general international law":

"A multilateral treaty that addresses fundamental concerns of the international community at large, and that as such is strongly supported by the vast majority of states, by international organizations and other transnational actors,-- and this is, of course, precisely the case with the biodiversity, climate, and ozone regimes, among others-may indeed create expectations of general compliance, in short such a treaty may come to be seen as reflecting legal standards of general applicability... and as such must be deemed capable of creating rights and obligations both for third states and third organizations." (22)

Notwithstanding, Daniel Bodansky argues that CIL is so rarely supported by State action, that it is not customary law at all. "International environmental norms reflect not how states regularly behave, but how states speak to each other." (23) Calling such law "declarative law" that is part of a "myth system" representing the collective ideals and the "verbal practice" of States, he concludes that "our time and efforts would be better spent attempting to translate the general norms of international environmental relations into concrete treaties and actions." (24)

However, a review of the current status of international human rights and environmental law may reveal the mechanisms for raising environmental rights to the level of jus cogens rights. For example, the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), whose negotiation was initiated in 1972 and signed in 1982, was considered by most countries to be CIL by the time it came into force in 1994. (25)

II. CURRENT STATUS OF THE RIGHT TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT No State today will publicly state that it is within its sovereign rights to damage their domestic environment, much less that of the international community, however most States do not guarantee environmental protection as a basic human right. Currently, environmental law is composed of mostly Conventional International Law and some CIL. The former relies on express consent and the latter on implied consent, unless a State avails itself of the Persistent Objector principle, which precludes it from being bound by even most CIL. Unlike for human rights and international crimes, there is no general environmental rights court in existence today. While the Law of the Sea Tribunal and other U.N. forums (e.g., the ICJ) exist for trying cases of treaty violations, non-treaty specific violations have no international venue at present. Italian Supreme Court Justice Amedeo Postiglione states that

"[T]he human right to the environment, must have, at the international level, a specific organ of protection for a fundamental legal and political reason: the environment is not a right of States but of individuals and cannot be effectively protected by the International Court of Justice in the Hague because the predominantly economic interests of the States and existing institutions are often at loggerheads with the human right to the environment.” (26)

Domestic remedies would have to be pursued first, of course, but standing would be granted to NGOs, individuals, and States when such remedies proved futile or “the dispute raises issues of international importance.” (27) For example, although the ICJ has an “environmental chamber” and U.S. courts often appoint “special masters” to handle these types of disputes, it is clear that the recognition of the human right to the environment needs an international court of its own in order to recognize such a right and remedy international violations in an efficient and equitable manner. (28)

III. THE JUS COGENS NATURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS Irrespective of specific treaty obligations and domestic environmental legislation, do States, or the international community as a whole, have a duty to take measures to prevent and safeguard against environmental hazards?

Human rights are “claims of entitlement” that arise “as of right” (31) and are independent of external justification; they are “self evident” and fundamental to any human being living a dignified, healthy and productive and rewarding life. As Louis Henkin points out:

“Human rights are not some abstract, inchoate ‘good’; they are defined, particular claims listed in international instruments such as the [U.N.'s] Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the major covenants and conventions. They are those benefits deemed essential for individual well-being [sic], dignity, and fulfillment, and that reflect a common sense of justice, fairness, and decency. [No longer are human rights regarded as grounded in or justified by utilitarianism,] natural law,… social contract, or any other political theory…[but] are derived from accepted principles, or are required by accepted ends-societal ends such as peace and justice; individual ends such as human dignity, happiness, fulfillment. [Like the fundamental rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, these rights are] inalienable and imprescriptible; they cannot be transferred, forfeited, or waived; they cannot be lost by having been usurped, or by one’s failure to exercise or assert them.” (32)

Henkin distinguishes between “immunity claims” (such as ‘the State cannot do X to me’; the hallmark of the U.S. constitutional jurisprudential system) and “resource claims” (such as ‘I have a right to Y’) such that the individual has the right to, for example, free speech, “food, housing, and other basic human needs.” (33) In today’s “global village”, the Right to a Healthy Environment is clearly a “resource claim” and a basic human need that transcends national boundaries.

According to R.G. Ramcharan, there is “a strict duty… to take effective measures” by States and the international community as a whole to protect the environment from the potential hazards of economic development. (34) His position is that the Human Right to Life is a. jus cogens, non-derogable peremptory norm that by its very nature includes the right to a clean environment. This duty is clearly spelled out in such multilateral treaties as the UN Convention on Desertification, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Convention on Biological Diversity. (35) It is expounded in the Stockholm, Rio and Copenhagen Declarations as a core component of the principle of Sustainable Development. It forms the basis of NAFTA’s, the WTO’s and the European Union’s economic development agreements, and the European Convention and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which has been ratified by most countries in the world, including the United States.

The Human Right to a Healthy Environment is explicitly contained in the Inter-American and African Charters, as well as in the constitution of over 50 countries worldwide. Whether it is based on treaties, CIL, or “basic principles”, the obligation of the international community to the environment is today clearly spelled out and enforceable through international tribunals. For example, the Lhaka Honhat Amid Curiae Brief recognized the rights of the indigenous peoples of Argentina to “an environment that supports physical and spiritual well being and development.” (36) Similarly, in a separate decision, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission upheld the right of the Yanomani in Brazil to a healthy and clean environment. (37) On a global level, the UN Human Rights Committee has indicated that environmental damage is “a violation of the right to life contained in Article 6(1) of the [ICCPR]“. (38)

Thus, today, the erga omnes obligation of States to take effective steps to safeguard the environment is a duty that no State can shirk or ignore. If it does, it runs the risk of prosecution by international courts and having to institute measures commensurate with its responsibility to protect its share of the “global commons”. Interestingly, the concept of jus cogens emerged after World War II as a response to the commonly held view that the sovereignty of States excused them from violating any of the then so-called CILs. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “there is a close connection between jus cogens and the recognition of a ‘public order of the international community’… Without expressly using the notion of jus cogens, the [ICJ] implied its existence when it referred to obligations erga omnes in its judgment… in the Barcelona Traction Case.” (39)

IV. THIRD GENERATION HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE ENVIRONMENT Is environmental protection is an erga omnes obligation, that is, one owed to the international community as a whole as a jus cogens human right?

In a separate opinion to the Case Concerning the Gebecikovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary v. Slovakia), Judge Weeramantry, the Vice President of the ICJ, expounded on the legal basis for sustainable development as a general principle of international law. In the process, he concludes that environmental protection is a universal erga omnes legal norm that is both CIL as well as a general principle of law per se. In Gebecikovo, ostensibly to have been decided upon the merits of the treaty governing the building of power plants along the Danube, as well as by international customary law, the ICJ held that the right to development must be balanced with the right to environmental protection by the principle of sustainable development. Even in the absence of a specific treaty provision, the concept of sustainable development has become a legal principle that is “an integral principle of modem international law”. (40)

Sustainable development is also recognized in State practice, such as the Dublin Declaration by the European Council on the Environmental Imperative. (41) As such, sustainable development has in effect been raised to the level of CIL.

For example, the Martens Clause of the 1899 Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land has been interpreted in 1996 by Judge Shahabudeen of the ICJ as providing a legal basis for inferring that general principles rise above custom and treaty, having their basis in “principles of humanity and the dictates of public conscience”. (42) According to Weeramantry, “when a duty such as the duty to protect the environment is so well accepted that all citizens act upon it, that duty is part of the legal system in question… as general principles of law recognized by civilized of nations.” (43)

Sustainable development acts as a reconciling principle between economic development and environmental protection. Just as economic development is an inalienable right of States’ self-determination, environmental protection is an erga omnes obligation of all States for the benefit of the global commons that all share. “The principle of sustainable development is thus a part of modern international law by reason not only of its inescapable logical necessity, but also by reason of its wide and general acceptance by the global community”, and not just by developing countries. (44)

Drawing upon the rich history of diverse cultures’ legal systems and what he calls “living law”, Judge Weeramantry points out that traditional respect for nature has been a guiding moral and legal principle for economic development throughout history. The ICJ has also recognized these principles in such previous decisions as Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Ltd. (Belgium v. Spain) in 1972. (45) Judge Weeramantry concludes that the “ingrained values of any civilization are the source from which its legal concepts derive… [and that environmental protection is] among those pristine and universal values which command international recognition.” (46)

The first generation of Human Rights were those declared by the “soft law” of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to life liberty and security of person.” Art. 3. It was modeled on the U.S. Bill of Rights and the American Declaration of Independence. This was echoed in the binding ICCPR (“Every human being has the inherent right to life.”, ICCPR, Art. 6(1) (1966)), which the U.S. has ratified, and the American Convention on Political and Civil Rights of the Inter-American System (which draws direct connections between human rights and environmental rights).

The second generation of human rights emerged with the Economic, Social and Cultural (ECOSOC) Rights developed in such treaties as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR; which the U.S. has not ratified), and many foreign State’s Constitutions (e.g., Germany, Mexico, and Costa Rica). These include the right to free choice of work, to (usually free) education, to rest, leisure, etc. Highly complied with in Europe, these rights have additionally been expanded by the EU in their European Social Charter (1961) creating much legislation for the protection of workers, women, and children.

The third and current generation of human rights has emerged from the Eco-Peace-Feminist Movement. These include the Right to Development, the Right to A Safe Environment and the Right to Peace. In essence, this third generation of rights addresses the problem of poverty as a social (and hence legally redressable) ill that lies at the core of environmental problems and violations. The “environmental justice” movement considers cases that demonstrate that environmental pollution is disproportionately prevalent in minority communities, whether at a local or international level. Authors John Cronin & Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., have explicitly entitled their study of environmental pollution along the Hudson River The Riverkeepers: Two Activists Fight to Reclaim Our Environment as a Basic Human Right. (47) This predominantly U.S. movement focuses on “environmental racism” as a means for seeking remedies or the disproportionate pollution of minority communities as violations of current civil rights legislation by “exploring] the use of the nations’ environmental laws to protect the rights of the poor.” (48)

V. RECOGNITION, COMMITMENT AND ENFORCEMENT OF A RIGHT: THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL AS A MODEL FOR CONSENSUS BUILDING The key mechanisms for establishing binding international law are recognition of an obligation or right, commitment to its protection, and effective enforcement methods. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is the “most important precedent in international law for the management of global environmental harms.” (49) It serves as a model for many other environmental concerns that require decision-making in the face of scientific uncertainty, global non-consensus, and high harm-avoidance costs. It was the first international “precautionary” treaty to address a global environmental concern when not even “measurable evidence of environmental damage existed.” (50) Although ozone depletion by chloro-fluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone depleting substances (ODSs), and the attendant harms of overexposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation, had been suspected by scientists in the early 1970s, it was not until 1985 and the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer that international action was taken to address the problem.

THE VIENNA CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE OZONE LAYER At the time of the Vienna Convention, the U.S. represented over 50% of the global consumption of CFCs in a $3 billion market for aerosol propellants alone. Overall, CFC products represented a $20 billion market and about a quarter of a million jobs in America alone. (51) The Clean Air Amendments of 1977 and the 1978 EPA ban on all “non-essential” uses of CFC in aerosol propellants was quickly followed internationally by similar bans by Sweden, Canada and Norway. (52) These actions were a direct response to consumer pressure and market demands by newly environmentally-conscious consumers.(53) Incentives were also provided to the developing countries so that they could “ramp up” at reasonable levels of reductions. (54)

Creative ratification incentives included requiring only 11 of the top two-thirds of CFC producing countries to ratify and bring the treaty into force. (55) As a result of such flexibility, innovation, consensus and cooperation, the Montreal Protocol has been hailed as a major success in international diplomacy and international environmental law. Today almost every nation in the world is a member (over 175 States).

THE LONDON ADJUSTMENTS AND AMENDMENTS OF 1990 By 1990 scientific confirmation of global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer led to the London Adjustments and Amendments. Again, U.S. companies such as Dupont, IBM and Motorola reacted to massive negative media attention and promised to halt complete production by 2000.

Non-compliance procedures were made even more user friendly and no sanction for non-compliance was initiated against a country that was failing to reach quotas while acting in good faith. Technology transfer was made in a “fair and favorable way”, with developed countries taking the lead in assisting developing countries reach compliance. (56) The U.S. instituted “ozone depletion taxes” which did much to get more comprehensive compliance, as well as promoting research into CFC alternatives. (57) To emphasize the vast enforcement mechanisms employed, consider that by early 1998 the U.S. Justice Department had prosecuted 62 individuals and 7 corporations for the illegal smuggling into the emergent CFC black markets. Despite an international crackdown by the FBI, EPA, CIA, and Interpol in the global police effort Operation Breeze, 5 to 10 thousand tons are smuggled annually into Miami alone, second only to cocaine smuggling. (58) In 1992 the Copenhagen Amendments required every State party (practically the whole world) to institute “procedures and institutional mechanisms” to determine non-compliance and enforcement. (59)

VI. CONCLUSION: CRITICAL WEAKNESS OF THE CURRENT SYSTEM AND THE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE RIGHT TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT AS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT

The critical weaknesses of the existing system include self-serving pronouncements by non-complying States, lack of effective enforcement mechanisms, political limitations such as State sovereignty and the “margin of appreciation”, and the lack of universal consensus on basic human rights terminology and their enforcement. As long as States can ignore commonplace violations of human rights (sporadic instances of torture, occasional “disappearances”) and shun the edicts of human rights judicial decisions, there can be no effective system of international human rights enforcement. Currently, unless a State commits such outrageous acts on a mass scale that affects world peace, such as in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, it can often evade its responsibilities under international human rights treaties.

There are few international agreements that admit of universal jurisdiction for their violation by any State in the world. All CIL, however, is by its very nature prosecutable under universal jurisdiction. “Crimes against humanity” (e.g., War Crimes, genocide, and State-supported torture) are universally held to be under universal jurisdiction, typically in the International Court of Justice, ad hoc war crime tribunals, and the new International Criminal Court.

While interpretive gaps exist, it is not inconceivable that the right to a healthy environment can be extrapolated from current international environmental treaties and CIL. At the treaty level, the protection of the environment appears to be of paramount importance to the international community. At the level of CIL, there is much evidence that the right to a healthy environment is already an internationally protected right, at least as far as trans-boundary pollution is concerned. In any case, it seems to be universally held that it should be protected as a right. The impression is that there is an unmistakable consensus in this regard. “Soft law” over time becomes CIL.

The U.N. World Commission on Environment and Development released the Earth Charter in 1987. It has yet to be fully implemented on a global scale. Its broad themes include respect and care for the environment, ecological integrity, social and economic justice and democracy, nonviolence and peace. (60) The argument can be made that by now, protection of the environment has reached the threshold of Customary International Law. Whether the nations of the world choose to thereafter recognize the right to a healthy environment as a jus cogens human right will depend on the near universal consensus and political will of most of the nations of the world. Until then, as long as human life continues to be destroyed by “human rights ratifying” nations, how much enforcement will be employed against violators of environmental laws when the right to a healthy environment is not upheld as a basic human right remains to be seen. It will take the cooperation of all nations to ensure that this becomes a non-derogable, unalienable right and recognizing it as essential to the Right to Life.

1. Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States, § 102 cmt. k (1987).
The elements can also be found in the Vienna Convention, Article 53.
2. For example, the Right to Life, to be Free from Torture, Genocide, and Murder.
3. R(3d)FRLUS § 102(l)(a) and cmt. h.
4. Id., § 702 (my emphasis).
5. Mark W. Janis, An Introduction to International Law 6 (3d. ed, Aspen Law & Business 1999).
6. R3dFRLUS § 102(2).
7. Janis, supra.
8. David Hunter, et al., International Environmental Law and Policy, p. 306 (2d. ed., Foundation Press 2002).
9. Paul Szasz, International Norm Making, in Edith Brown Weiss, Ed., ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE IN INTERNATIONAL LAW (1995), as quoted in Id, p. 307.
10. Id.
11. Id.
12. Id.
13. R3dFRLUS § 102(l)(c), as presented in Donoho, supra.
14. Supra, R3dFRLUS §102(4).
15. Shabtai Rosenne, Practice and Methods of International Law 69 (1984), as quoted in Hunter, Id, p. 317.
16. Hunter, supra, p. 316 (Foundation Press 2002).
17. Id, p. 316.
18. Janis, supra, p. 29.
19. Id, p. 312.
20. Jonathan Charney, Universal International Law, 87 Am.J.Int’l.L. 529, at 543-48 (1993), as quoted in Hunter, supra, p. 322.
21. Id.
22. Gunther Handl, The Legal Mandate of Multilateral Development Banks as Agents for Change Toward Sustainable Development, 92 Am.J.Int’l.L. 642, at 660-62 (1998), as quoted in Hunter, supra, p. 324.
23. Daniel Bodansky, Customary (and Not So Customary) International Environmental Law, 3 Ind. J. Global Legal Stud. 105, 110-119 (1995), as quoted in Hunter, Id.
24. Id.
25. Id, p. 659.
26. Amedeo Postiglione, The Global Environmental Crisis: The Need for and International Court of the Environment, ICEF INTERNATIONAL REPORT at 33-36 (1996), quoted in Hunter, supra, p. 495.
27. Id., p. 496.
28. Id.
29. Id, p. 1298.
30. Id, p. 1299.
31. L. Henkin, “The Human Rights Idea”, The Age of Rights (reprinted in Henkin, et al., Human Rights, 1999), as presented in Donoho, supra, p. 14-16.
32. Id.
33. Id.
34. The Right to Life, p. 310 (The Hague, 1983), quoted in Hunter, supra, p. 1297.
35. Hunter, supra, p. 341.
36. Id, p. 1299.
37. Id, p. 1294.
38. Id, p. 1295.
39. Black’s Law Dictionary, p. 864. (West 1999).
40. Hunter, supra, p. 339-341.
41. Id, footnotes 1 through 6, pp. 341-342.
42. Id, pp. 317-318.
43. Id, p. 345.
44. Id, p. 342.
45. Id, p. 315.
46. Id, p. 344.
47. In particular, see pages 35, 38, 159, 162, 177-199 and 221 (Scribner 1997).
48. New York Law Journal, January 1993, Friday, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, p. 3. See also, DISCUSSION: REFLECTIONS ON ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, 65 Alb. L. Rev. 357, 2001.
49. Hunter, supra, p. 526.
50. Id, p. 527, quoting Richard Benedick, Ozone Diplomacy 2 (1998)
51. Id, p. 532.
52. Id, p. 535.
53. Id, p. 542.
54. Id, p. 545.
55. Id.
56. Id, p. 550-54.
57. Id, p. 562.
58. Id, p. 559.
59. Id, p. 566-67.
60. Roland Huber, International Environmental Law Seminar: Human Rights and the Environment, p. 24, in Donoho, Douglas L., INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS (printed by the Shepard Brad Law Center, Nova Southeastern University, 2002).

Public Views of Arts and Entertainment

Entertainment art and entertainments gallery is not, as publication would have it, a pale imitation of art which happens to propound for a public audience the same values that art does for the elite members of the self-same cultural group.

Rather, art and entertainment are but similar activities. Art engenders thoughts and emotions in its audience so that they can be referred to a meaning,

While entertainment creates thoughts and painters museums art gallery emotions in its audience that create pleasure for that audience by allowing its members to notice that the events art and entertainments before them engendered those thoughts and emotions. Acrobats create fear with their daring, and the audience enjoys its sense gallery art of fear because it knows that the events before it created that fear. Mystery tales generate galleries suspense by piling up yet clues and suspense, the public audiences enjoy the puzzle as well as the atmosphere of painters contemporary the fiction in which the puzzle is set.

Games of cards and sports are two sources of entertainment because their audiences attend to the particular way a game is played out whether a declarer should have led a spade and whether a squeeze bunt might have led art museum a runner to score– rather than for any sources to be a participant to the play of chance or athletic prowess.

Entertainment is more popular than art because it limits what its audience is required to do to the apprehension of what happens before it, gallery art while art opens up the audience to any associations its members might make between the art object and life.art and entertainments art museum and entertainments paintings contemporary

Arts and Entertainment News from Hollywood North

Boys Come… Boy’s Co.

“John Lennon & Yoko Ono Bed-In for Peace”

Ask any girl. Those rules were bent Friday night when I happened upon old flame David Goldman still going strong at his Boy’s Co exclusive opening of “All We Are Saying” – a fashionable evening featuring the original photographs of “John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s Bed-In for Peace” by the late photojournalist Gerry Deiter.

These extraordinary photographs, providing the backdrop for the theme of the evening, were on display through the sagacity of the Elliott Louis Gallery’s owner Ted Lederer – who single-handedly dragged them out of Deiter’s vault for a first-time showing on May 26, 2004 – thirty-five years after John Lennon and Yoko Ono went to bed in a suite in Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel, and invited the entire world to join them in seeking an alternative to violence and war in solving global political and social problems.

May 26, 1969. That month the battle of Dong Ap Bia, a.k.a. Hamburger Hill was exploding in the Vietnam War. Race riots occurred in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. French Foreign Legion paratroopers landed in Kolwezi, Zaire, to rescue Europeans caught in the middle of a civil war. U.S. National Guard helicopters sprayed skin-stinging powder on anti-war protesters in California. It was two years after the Summer of Love.

John and Yoko were in room 1742 of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. Early in the Bed-In, a reporter asked John what he was trying to do. John said, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” Putting sounds to the thought, he rented an 8-track tape machine from a local music store and, on May 31 while in bed, recorded the first solo by a single Beatle,” Give Peace a Chance”, – the recording was attended by dozens of journalists and various celebrities, including Timothy Leary, Petula Clark, Dick Gregory and Canada’s Tommy Smothers.

Gerry Deiter was there for the entire eight days. He was assigned to photograph the Bed-In for Peace by Life Magazine but Life never ran the feature. Ironically, it fell victim to a bigger story – the death of Ho Chi Minh, leader of North Vietnam.

Deiter kept the negatives and transparencies locked away for more than 30 years. He had been living aboard a classic wooden motor yacht cruising the wilderness of the British Columbia coast photographing and writing when Ted Lederer, with the help of family and friends, prevailed on him to bring this archive to life and offer the work to the public at the Elliott Louis Gallery in 2004. This amazing work offers up 25 images in colour and black and white that celebrate John and Yoko’s example of peace and love.

What brought the Boy’s Co show together were Goldman and Lederer meeting up on the field where their sons play soccer. It was a confluence that allowed for a new generation to have a special glimpse of an older one.

Disenchanted fan, Mark David Chapman, murdered Lennon on December 8, 1980. The world is still at war. This retrospective clearly speaks to Lennon’s prescience.

Good on Deiter, Goldman and Lederer for keeping his mission in our faces.

Devorah Macdonald is a freelance writer living and working in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her professional career began as a disc jockey in California, Seattle and her hometown of Vancouver BC.

Vancouver Magazine, in an article titled ‘Video Vixen’, hailed her as having “the best female voice in radio locally,” going on to compare her world-weary delivery with Linda Ellerbee, formerly of the ‘Today Show’ and the award winning ‘Nick News’.

A ten-year retirement devoted to creating three children, “one of each,” according to Macdonald, now allows time write on music, movies and television.

Arts and Entertainment As Education and Training

Prisons should be rehabilitation centers. Inmates would be forbidden to watch commercial TV. Entertainment would be OK, but it would be good clean entertainment, not the sexual immorality, drug abuse and violence so prevalent on commercial TV.

Prisoners would also have a menu of cognitive therapy options available to choose from for their rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation and other educational opportunities will also be available.

Prisoner selection and progress in such programs will be monitored and considered in their reentry into society process.

I think Wyoming would be a great place to build prisons. Good jobs for Wyoming and placing them out in the relatively empty places in Wyoming would keep them away from society. I just think prisons and the whole rehabilitation industry would be good business for Wyoming.

Reforming Hollywood and other entertainment industry activities is another project we can work on to improve human nature and civilization. I am astonished that people think that murder and rape, and all kinds of human perversity is entertaining.

I guess the scientists who work in Hollywood have discovered how to push certain buttons in human nature and now they just keep pushing them, just like a pigeon will keep pushing the cocaine button in an experiment.

Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should do it. Make sure everyone wins in all your business activities. Deliver more than you promise. Trade good stuff for good stuff. Never sell poison for money, whether its physically, mentally or spiritually poisonous. Much of the entertainment available today is mentally and spiritually poisonous. And when people act out the fantasies they are watching, it becomes physically harmful.

We are all responsible for this. Society is whatever we make it. We can make a peaceful and prosperous society, or we can make this mean oppressive society that Hollywood is selling.

I encourage everyone to help make the world a better place, be kind friendly and polite. Practice peace and prosperity in your own personal and professional lives. Practice unity in diversity.

Love and respect each other. We are not seeking uniformity. The diversity inherent in human nature is a strength of human nature. We do need a common set of moral and spiritual principles that we can all agree to and practice in order to live in harmony with each other and our
natural habitat.

Performing Arts and Entertainment

Entertainment comes in all forms and fashions, from taking a walk in the park to going to your local movie theater. A wonderful form of entertainment that many people seem to overlook is performing arts entertainment. Performing arts entertainment is a great choice for all ages and all types of people. It offers a type of entertainment that going to a movie cannot fulfill. The inner feeling of seeing your favorite musical or play performed by live people is simply exasperating.

When it comes to choosing an event for a group of people, performing-arts entertainment reaches out to a large audience. Whether it is Monday date night and you need something to do together, or a place to take the class for a field trip. Performing arts offers plays for the young and the old ranging from dramas to comedies. The environment is suiting for the entire family and provides a great atmosphere to all.

It is important to not let culture die. Modern day people tend to resort to entertainment from areas that are killing tradition and leading to a dying breed and lack of diversity. The arts will take you back in time and make you feel as if you were sitting in the same room with people of the past in a wonderful indoor setting.

Performing-arts entertainment is put on hold because many people tend to think they cannot afford it. Plays and performances have lowered drastically in price and offer many packages and memberships to satisfy your needs. Remember, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to feel the culture alive than take the family to a performing arts production.

International Service of Process in Europe

The Basics of International Service of Process

There are two main methods to choose from when serving documents on the European Union, both methods, are proposed by the Hague Convention of 1965 and have the same legal value, no hierarchy exist between them, but one is less reliable than the other, the legal effects are basically the same. We propose a third method, a mixture of the above which we call “Hybrid”. Any other methods employed are outside the Hague Convention or irregular.

The basic legal methods of the Hague Convention are the following;

One, a public service of the “Judicial Administration” called “Centralized Authority” because it uses the “Government” to transmit documents. Is is intergovernmental, in principle a free service but submitted to economical constrains with high possibilities of no completion.

Two, by the use of a service provider, alternative method, called “decentralized”, it can use an “International private process server”, “Mail” or “Local Bailiffs”; All under the Hague Convention regulations, Art. 10. It’s applicability varies with the country’s opposition. As a Private method, it is paid, and therefore submitted to market and quality control.

International Service of Process, by either method, is ruled by two different legal systems, linked by the treaty of the Hague. The main law, called « Lex Fori, » is the law where the documents are issue and where judgment takes place, “Lex fori forum”. These rules, govern service of process validity and recognition in the “lex fori forum”, but not necessarily its effects and legality in the jurisdiction where documents where served, “Lex loci”. Recognition and enforcement by the “Lex loci forum” depend on the respect for internal laws of civil procedure and the procedure of “exequatur” It is then to each “lex fori” and their “foum” to determine their requirements for an “acceptable service” but being their powers limited in space they can not enforce it abroad, so necessarily need to keep in mind that: The act of notification is completed under a different legal system with different exigences, those of a sovereign state which must be taken in consideration, based on International treaties and for future enforcement. Based on International Legal Principles, we can affirm that a “Lex fori forum” can not accept in a procedure a “foreign illegal procedural actuation”, an act that violates foreign laws.Oon the other hand the “Lex Loci forum” will not enforce a judgment obtained under these circumstances in. Because of this, you must act in harmony with local codes of procedure and the Hague Convention and not only with your own laws,.or, your liability will be engaged in a Criminal or Civil manner.

The Centralized method seems to be the most appropriate and reliable, but it is not, is not mandatory nor exclusive, as explained by the Hague Convention itself (visit the Department of State’s1 web pages for more information). Therefore the “Central Authority” is not the only organ proposed as available to serve documents abroad as is the general believe or as promoted by many translation companies or unscrupulous servers who have created a :”Vox Populi” that takes advantage of ignorance of the treaty, to sell Translations and Apostilles.

Luckily for the legal profession, there are a series of alternatives or decentralized channels, Art. 10 a,b and c of the Convention, often more reliable and always faster and efficient. The method to employ must be in no conflict with the laws of Civil Procedure of both jurisdictions involved and both must be signatory countries as explained in Art. 5,b.: That is a legal harmony of “Lex fori” and “Lex loci”. These laws must be applied simultaneously when serving.

All signatory countries have accepted the “Centralized” method and not all accept all the channels of the the “decentralized method”. In Europe most countries accept both entirely. The reason is that most people believe that the alternate decentralized method does nor exist. The legal text are not interpreted or applied properly as it ends as a “Fraud to International law” and service is Void or Voidable.

The liberty of method is inspired by “International Civil Procedural Liberty” Convention, as expected by the Hague of 1954 giving flexibility to the Convention of 1965. The evolution of both and their application and Interpretation by jurisprudence has given a positive empiric result. Mondialisation of process, which needed a fast way for Judicial information exchange and judgment that adapts to it. World trade, has opened the door to more efficient and fast ways of litigation and serving process, resulting in a gain of time and money by cutting “Red Tape”. Nonetheless, there are limits to this liberty that trensform into critics to the methods and which are based on the need to eliminate some absurds requirements like the risky exam of legality prior to service or the choice given to defendant to refuse service if documents are not translated and the lacunae such as no distinction between service to Individuals or Multinational Companies, Nonresistance of presumptions and many more will see later..

The Hague Convention’s Centralized method has, as said many “legal lacunae” or serious defects:, the main one is that is a free governmental service that does not uses a “fast Independent Private Process Server.”, as is requested by many courts and litigants, it is defective and often deceptive method. It promotes the use costly translation and the contents of summons is exam for legality before they can be served. These requirements makes it slow and therefore not adapted to modern international litigation. It is also contradictory because under the veil of gratuity there are a series of unnecessary expenses that result in an expensive service, more that using private channels. I consider it promotes unnecessary translations because, if documents are not translated, the defendant can refuse service and in other cases the central authority will not be able to exam their legality, Article 5..

It is advisable not to have the documents translated unless you do it properly with the right qualified professional. As a preventive measure, if you do a translation to avoid “possible” future problems, the translation itself can be easily “questioned” in court during enforcement because European courts only accept as valid translations from tindividuals that give the necessary legal guarantees, either by Certification and/or Registration. Is is considered that only those listed each year by the different Courts or the Foreign Affairs Ministries. do reliable translations. There are other “glitches” that appear at the home Jurisdiction but these can be kept at home.

On the other hand, an essential defect of using the Centralized, is the requirement of an exact address of defendant. A problem, because there is no possibility of “locating a defendant” or “Skip tracing” The Central Authority does not “searches” for Individuals or Corporations. If a defendant changes address or the address is not correct , if he is a tourist or illegal, service is paralyzed and returned, waisting your time and money, sending you back to square one while court time is running. Interesting to mention is the situation of corporations which can change the address of the registered headquarters and do not have an immediate obligation to notify this changes to the Mercantile registry. The central authority will not pay tfor any expenses such as access to a mercantile regustry.

Another defect, is in the requirement for “Personal Private Service”, concept that is understood in different ways in different countries: Bailiffs or Local Judicial Officers apply the local Code of Civil Procedure and not the special instructions received from foreign jurisdictions. In practice, what is understood in Common law as “Personal” is understood in Europe as “Substitute” and the problem increases if we distinguish between service to corporations from service to individuals. When servicing corporations, this must be completed in the person of those individuals who have the power to represent the corporation, that is to say the “officers” publicly listed in the mercantile registry. Therefore service to the front desk, secretary, gardener or any employee of a corporation, is “Substitute service”. For individuals, most local laws allow officers to leave documents at the address specified or leave a note in the door as equivalent of service. These officers, do not need to understand the hierarchy of the Hague Convention in this sense and what are the “Lex fori Forums” needs . Instructions for service to the central authority, transform into let’s do it our legal which is not necessarily valid on the other jurisdiction.

Remark therefore, that the use of “insistence and perseverance” is not possible by the “Centralized method”, its efficiency is not good and it is only, by the use of a private personal server that you can achive the best results, have more legal security on service and what is the most relevant, you will be courteous to your adversary and sure of your case.

These above reasons explain why most Common Law Attorneys have used as many many “tricks” as possible or patches to remove these obstacles of the “Central” method, I do not blame them. Sometimes by the use of “an agent” which often is, their local process server, their friendly “tacky” translation company or their neighborhood’s Private Investigators. The reality is, that on the long run, not only they have waisted time and money but they are liable of fraud to international law, defamation, Ilegal practice of law,Revelation of Secrets… and to complete the apocalypse, if not prosecuted or challenged, the judgment obtained will not pass “Exequatur”.(Enforcement).

No doubt then, that ignoring European laws, rights of image and privacy amongst other can happen and can have undesired consequences. Jurisprudence has considered that services completed this ways as irregular and have engage the liability of the plaintiff.

The “Lex fori forum” and “Plaintiff’s Attorney” are obliged ex-lege to respect the lex-loci or the legal requirements of the jurisdiction where documents will be served and these starts at home with confidentiality, secrecy and a proper translation of documents as the basic right of defendant.

Service of Process must protect the defendant abroad. It is my understanding that “Lex fori” process servers, Non Certified Translations Companies, even with offices in Europe and other intruders in the chain of International litigation can severely contaminate a case.

There are, a series of channels in an “alternatives or decentralized method” , more reliable and with more efficient ways to serve, these are replacing the anachronistic central method.

Centralized Service of Process has the following characteristics:

1.Translation: a. High Cost b. Unnecessary c. No distinction between Individuals and Corporations
2.Service Speed: Slow and can paralize eassily
3.Prior Exam of legality a. Slows down b. Contradictory
4.Exact Address
5.Non Personal Service
6.No Courtesy
7.No Confidentiality
8…..

Hague’s Alternative method of International Service of Process

The Alternative method is composed by channels , using them has the same legal value and effects as the “Centralized” method, if the country of “Lex Loci” has presented no express opposition to them,.there is no hierarchy between “Centralized” and “Decentralized” methods.

Art. 10 a, Service by a Currier, UPS, Fedex, DHL, Postal, fax, internet (email or messenger), as confirmed by different jurisprudence are not reliable, even if they are contemplated and accepted in some countries. The reason is that they lack of “legal guarantees of delivery of contents” violating the Principle of Contradiction,and Equality in a fair Judgement. These channels can bring the defendant into “defenseless”. Therefore they are mostly considered by jurisprudence as “evidence of an address” more than evidence of a Legal Notification. The Hague Convention permits these in Article 10, but they require some logical complements to be “Legally binding” even if the Convention does not indicates those. Indeed, one can serve blanc pages by mail or fax since nobody will check the contents and thereto obtain a judgment by default. Because of this, I recommend a “Certification of Contents” necessary either on the sending Jurisdictions or in the receiving Jurisdiction by a qualified, but done by a qualified professional that has “Public trust” The postal of fax receipt are not an affidavit.

Understand that the objective of service of process abroad is transmitting information, a legal notification to a defendant, inform him of a “cause” in which he is part and which could have serious consequences in his patrimony, rights and obligations as they will in your own jurisdiction. These rights must be respected and protected by the rules of the legal art in order to avoid Arbitrary application of law and fraud to International law. To avoid this, the Hague Convention canalizes these notifications by taking in consideration internal laws Art. 5 but without providing a way to control it or a procedure for appeal..It imposes the protection of defendant’s rights and obligations as well as those of the plaintiff but does not says exactly how this could be materialized. Please determine, not if the notification was done but if it was “properly done. Service by mail, fax or email are very fragile channels that must be avoided..

These alternate channels are symbol of the “Liberty of Transmittal” but have enter into excesses, for exqample the email, reason why the decentralized method, has been wrongly understood by many Common law Attorneys,. Translators and Private Agents. This happened because the “mechanism of service” applied and employed has been the “known one” the one that sound logical, unconsciously applied in violation of foreign laws. Professionals have use what they know, as a reflex, they have used the same manners as for their state notifications and have sent abroad a joke. This has resulted, in failure to enforce, impossibility of judgment recovery or simply a challenged of service. A distinction must be made between a banal Service of Process and an International Service of Process and to honor international justice even if the effects of your judgment will remain in your jurisdiction do that international service properly, is just a matter of International legal courtesy.

The philosophy behind and the rational explanation, is that the concept of “Public trust” is very different to each culture and their legal order. Think about that opposite to Europe,- No Governmental Identification Card exist in common law countries, there is no central land and/or property registry, sometimes Notaries are simple individuals, Process Server and/or Translators have minimal requirements. In old and experienced Europe, everything is “suspicious” and therefore surrounded by the maximum guarantees of legal security enforced by the state at “Felony or Criminal level” to avoid any possible “misunderstanding”, “fraud”,”deviation” or “Abuse”.

In Europe. service of process, either for internal purposes, European Purposes or for International foreign courts, is considered as a penetration of “Jurisdictional Power”, when completed it is actually a “delegation of powers” to the server. In Europe. the monopoly of legal representation, actuation and consultation, has been given, traditionally and since middle ages, to the different “Legal Corporations”. Private agents are excluded of these basic requirements.

The legal professional associations are those of “Huissiers de Justice”,”Procuradores”, “Ufficiali Judiciario”,”Abogados”,”Avocats”,”Advogados”…. Unlike common law countries where almost anyone mentaly capable can perform these “legal contents and jurisdictional acts”. Please, know that only qualified legal professionals can serve properly and legally in most of Europe since are the only professionals, who can offer “Ex-lege” the required and necessary legal guarantees. Service by a “Agent” as known in common law does not exist in Europe nor in the Hague Convention, it has been used but this usage does not rises service by agents to a legal stage.

Logically explained: If any country’s laws of Civil Procedure establishes for internal service of process, a procedure that requires guarantees of public trust; given only by the use qualified professionals, how come, for International Service, you can expect to use anyone? An agent? In conclusion: When in Rome, do as the Romans!

We must distinguish between communications to the Central authority or with the Server and notification or service of process to the defendant. One is an organ and the other a defendant. Communication with the Central Authority of to the server can be by any means, even e-mail Also note that the Hague Convention obliges service of process to have two explicit and implicit requirements for acceptance: voluntarily and knowingly. These can be compared to a “bilateral obligation in Civil Law” (See Article 5 (b) alinea of the Hague Convention). Therefore, if the defendant is not “capable to understand” what he is receiving, service is viced and the “Defendant can refuse service”. If documents are not translated he is not “capable to understand”. The defendant is not sense to know foreign laws or could be economically challenged, but some presumption exist: If the defendant is not served multilingual Attorney at law and advise at the moment of Service or if the documents contain No Legal Notice and etceteras, the defendant is in “Procedural defenseless”.and therefore service of process is not valid and useless. . Service to Corporations doing International Business, those under the Hague of 1956 for “Company recognition” it must be presumed that they speak the language of the Jurisdiction in which the carry business and know their laws. The Hague Convention does not distinguishes between services according to defendant; Individual or Corporations. Therefore, I consider the Hague as placing an obstacle in service to corporations, since the plaintiff is oblige to translate the documents. Logically Corporations should never use the central authority, they do not need it.

The Hague Convention indicates “voluntary acceptance” as a condition of service, this does not mean “Refusal at all times and systematically to get civil or commercial impunity”. In this sense, service by Certified Mail, email, fax and other unilateral acts of service, which we can be consider as “Adherence” from defendant to service, have the common denominator that the defendant is not accepting voluntarily, since he is receiving something with unknown contents. The contents will discover later and he is accepting first, therefore contradicting the Hague convention confirming this way that these channels as good for a verification of an address but not of service. In conclusion, Certified Mail, email and fax are not proper ways of serving and a Court accepting this kind of service are refusing rights to the defendant except if they are back up by a qualified professional’s Affidavit of service.

“Service by Agent” as understood in common law, is not contemplated in the Hague Convention on Service of Process, it is another automatic reflex and has been used by many common law Attorneys. These agent services have required translations of documents because the Agent used, in most cases speaks the language of the Attorney requiring service. Often he is a foreign national in the country of service, sometimes illegal, but in any case not qualify to do this kind of Job. They provide “Shaky” services based on the fact that they speaks the language of the Attorney requiring service and dare to violate all kinds of laws, anyways most of them have nothing to loose..

These “Merchants of Process serving” use translations to increase profit and to reduce the possibility of future challenge of service. In most European countries, it is considered. that “Legal Guarantees”, are only given to, and are given by “registered and insured professionals, recognized and controlled by the governments and grouped in special associations or corporations submitted to strict ethics control: These agents are an insult to law and order. The law and confirmed Jurisprudence protects “defendant’s rights” against poor « qualities and qualifications » of a “dummy server” or anyone from here or there, an intruder, who for a “fist full of dollars” will issue an affidavit. Therefore service by “Agent” is possible if and only if the Agent to be used is a qualified legal professional in the country of service.

It is a interesting anecdote, that I found an “International service of process company in Spain” that also does “plumbing” services from the same office, a business run by a felon issuing affidavits even to service completed to non existing address or people he never saw.. It is a shame that Justices and Attorneys in North America often, accept, for international service of process, affidavits of persons that do not offer any guarantees or have the essential “Public trust”, looking down and with disrespect the rights of defendants and the laws of procedure of a foreign country. Indeed, employing anyone for international service of process, is a disregard on justice and disrespect for International and local law. To serve properly you must respect foreign laws of procedure! You must understand the European concepts involved in a “Procedural Notification” and respect for “Justice”.

Finally, art. 10 c, considers as “Agent” a Judicial officer or bailiff. Service by these agent depend on the kind of person to served: Physical or Juridical. In some jurisdictions, serving a corporation must be to a “Registered Officer” as it appears on the mercantile registry of their country or to their legal department or representative and the place of service has to be the registered headquarters otherwise it will be a substitute service (Individuals or Corporations can be served at their Attorney’s office). If Individuals, an agent can served them at their home or place of work., but not in a public place.

One excess of the Hague Convention is the requirement for an exact address for service, meaning that the requester must have the exact information. This requirement reduces the rights of the plaintiff since a qualified legal professional acting as agent can complete service to two addresses to avoid impunity of defendants, that is to say, serve the address in the writ of summons and the legal or present address.

Service can be completed by directly instructing a Judicial officer of a Bailiff, article 10 c of the Convention, employing them as organ and as server, but they will issue am “Act” or document in the official language of the country, you will have to pay for a supplent for translation into English language and eventually the legalization of signature. Our Hydrid service take’s care of everything.

Please remember, the principle in Europe is the “Protection of the rights and obligations of litigants” by due diligence completed with integrity and by qualified and reliable professional not an “affidavit” obtained in obscure circumstances at any judicial cause price or at justice expense.

Summarizing: The two main methods both have the same legal value within the Hague Convention and no “Hierarchy”exist amongst them, one is bad and the other is worse, they are equally poor, but combining them is possible and results into a more reliable international service:

WARNING: Translations and Apostilles (Legalizations) are not necessary but if you use them remember that the Translator must be “Certified” by the “Foreign Affairs department” or the “Local Appellate or Superior Court”. The use of a local Notary Public to certify the signature in a translation does not corrects the errors of “tacky” translations. The use of a non registered “Attorneys at Law” under most jurisdictions of the European Union for acts reserved to the legal profession causes “contamination of your case”, engaging your liability: Protecting the rights of litigants is your obligation. Do not use simply anyone willing to issue a statement of service affidavit if not qualified.

Inventing International Service of Process: The Hybrid system

Our “Hybrid system of international personal private service of process” combines, not only “methods”, but also the different channels or options of the convention, applied by steps and in less time that the “centralized”. The result is a better service that takes the positive side of each method in order to obtain the best legal guarantees: We consider it as “System” , more than a method, please consult us so we can discuss your case service in detail and how our system applies.

The hybrid system for International Service of Process, heals the disadvantages of the Hague Conference’s centralized method and the abuses in the use and application of the decentralized alternate method. It is a non complicated service of process having the characteristics of Legality, reliability and fast. On the other hand, the “system” applies the principles of the Hague Convention combined to each jurisdiction, incoming and outgoing, and their respective laws of procedure. The “legal order” is to obtain with the maximum legality and protection of litigants, its main characteristic is that: Service is double, a preliminary International service and an Euro service.

The system provides that the rights of the plaintiff and defendants are guarantee and protected by registered and insured multilingual Attorneys at Law in the country of service. Documents are delivered personally in all confidentiality by a legal professional who will give advise in the language of the defendant, making it comprehensive by giving complete legal notice and explaining how to proceed. All services are completed with mandatory secrecy and neutrality, Courtesy and professionalism under the respect for internal laws of Civil procedure.

The defendant does not have an option to refuse service, or claim to be “unprotected” there is no “a priori” exam of contents or delay, no translation’s cost or apostilles, no promises of service but a “Jurisdictional act completed according to local law by a qualified legal professional”, Note the advantages;

a. The defendant does not have an option to refuse service, or claim to be “unprotected” b. Liberty to choose process server within the legal profession market value. c. There is no “a priori” exam of contents or delay in exams d. No translation’s cost Nor apostilles, stapples,stamps or clips! e. No doubt on delivery of Contents e. Service with “Professional Integrity” f. Customer service and Affidavit in English g. Une of Bailiff when required h. Service is guaranteed in delivery i. Service is guaranteed in court

…..and much more

Our price list, reflect the need of taking in consideration many legal and practical aspects of service in Europe, specially to avoid incidents and possible cchallenge, appellate “quash” proceeding”, we provide services that are cheaper than the “Centralized” method and with the same value.