Image by Louis Du Mont | Flickr

Image by Louis Du Mont | Flickr

The Washington Post and the Guardian won the Pulitzer Price for public service journalism for their coverage of the National Security Agency’s spying.

Efforts of the brave newspapers

The decision to honor NSA stories makes a strong declaration about the importance of discussing worldwide spying.

The Pulitzer committee praised the Guardian, as it helped “through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”

Washington Post’s stories, on the other hand, were “marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.”

Snowden-related reporting

The awards are given by the Columbia University journalism school.

The Guardian and Washington Post’s coverage were based on files leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Boston Globe also acquired the top price for breaking news reporting.

Reporting the complicated leaked documents was really a team effort, with many writers and editors involved.

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Corner wallOther than the furniture, another important aspect of interior designing and decorating is the coat of paint used for every room. The choice of shade can spell the difference between a home that’s refreshed and renewed, and one that needs constant upgrade.

The idea of repainting an entire home, however, can be challenging to many owners in Australia. Add to that the many myths that people have grown to believe are true. Professional interior and exterior painters in Perth shed the truth behind some misconceptions about proper house painting:

White is the go-to colour if you’re afraid of choosing the wrong shade

You only need to stick with white if it’s the colour that really brings out the best in your overall design. Otherwise, you can consult expert commercial or residential painters who can provide colour consultations. You can also purchase small paint samples, paint them over small white boards, and pin them on your wall. This will allow you to observe how these colours change with everyday natural light.

Painting a ceiling creates an illusion of a smaller-looking room

Compared to common ceiling colours like light beige or fresh cream, people tend to think that sky blue gives off a “further away” feel. That’s why choosing a sky blue paint for your ceiling can actually make the room look taller. Choose a medium shade for the walls and a shade or two darker for the ceiling.

Dark colours make rooms look small and stuffy

Bold colours are for homeowners wanting to make a statement. But they don’t always create a smaller-looking room. These colours add personality to any room, especially if you own light-coloured furniture, floors, and fixtures.

If you have children, expect to have marked-up walls all the time

This isn’t true. Choose paint that contains Microlinx technology, as this provides a beautiful decorative finish in addition to its enhanced durability that can stand up to repeated washing without fading. Go for one that has a matte finish, so you can enjoy that soft look.

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Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane, AustraliaToowong is an inner suburb of Brisbane, the name of which comes from an Aboriginal word describing a bird or its call, possibly a Koel, a species of Cuckoo, which lives in the area. Toowong is a residential suburb with many beautiful attractions. Accommodation options in Toowong include villas, apartments in riverside high-rises and holiday rentals that showcase the beautiful city views.

If you are planning a visit to Brisbane soon, find accommodations in Toowong close to all public transport so you can make the most of your time. Below are some of the top tourist destinations in Toowong you shouldn’t miss:

Toowong Cemetery

The cemetery is an expanse of trees and grass, slanting up from the busy freeway into residential neighbourhoods. It’s a beautiful and tranquil place during the day with a lot of history, so many tourists go there.

Some people say that Toowong Cemetery is the last resting place of the notorious Jack the Ripper. This has never been confirmed. The most popular resident, however, is Patrick Mayne, a wealthy landowner and suspected mastermind of one of the city’s most shocking murders.

Mount Coot-tha

Mount Coot-tha, also known as “One Tree Hill” boasts of spectacular panoramic views of Brisbane. You’ll definitely appreciate the series of terraces and enjoy the cool breeze as you treat yourself with ice cream from Kuata Cafe. Visit the famous Summit Restaurant and buy souvenir items from a gift shop nearby.

Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens

This garden with over 5,000 plant species is located at the foot of Mount Coot-tha. The gardens have excellent walking trails and breathtaking views. You’ll find rock paintings and beautiful tree carvings on the Aboriginal art trail as well.

Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium

Found in the Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, this planetarium features informative and entertaining programs perfect for everyone. The Planetarium facilities include Display Zone, Cosmic Sky dome, a mini Theatre and more.

From accommodations like Inn on the Park, to an ice cream treat from Kuata Cafe, to an educational trip to Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, Toowong truly has so much to offer.

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Office cubicleSpending most of your time at your office makes it all the more important to have an efficient workspace. Still, in an era of confined cubicles and large pieces of furniture, small office spaces can sometimes hinder cubicle clarity and productivity.

Regardless of how small your rented office space is, don’t let compact working space get you down. Here are some tips on making the most out of that space.

Vertical and underneath

Think beyond the horizontal and flat concept, and make the most of your office space by storing your items underneath and vertically. Set up floating shelves, mount storage cabinets to the wall, or setup storage shelves underneath your desk. This will make your office space look taller and wider, resulting in a more purposeful and compact workplace.

Let go of that big desk dream

Use small scale furniture. Small offices tend to get much smaller if you use big desks. Instead, go for a small workstation, one with a few cabinets and a wide tabletop. As you keep almost everything on your computer anyway, there’s no need to buy huge pieces that would only take up too much space.

Clean your space

Decluttering your space can go a long way. Apart from slowing you down physically, clutter also slows down your work mentality. Your office desk is not a place for your action figures or statuettes. Instead, it’s a space where you convey a sense of purpose and stimulate your creative ideas. Feature a few cognitive displays – idea starters associated with your work – for improved productivity.

Be tech-savvy

Rely less on papers and depend more your computers. This will help reduce the number of huge filing cabinets and drawers, making your office appear more spacious because of less furniture.

Your office deserves thorough planning, regardless of how big or small the space is. By setting up a productive office space, you will improve your work culture, thus opening more opportunities for your employees and your entire company.

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metal cuttingManufacturing equipment needs precision to render high quality results. Creating machine parts out of raw materials is a challenging task. It goes through a long process of cutting and milling to shape the equipment into the specifications.

Here’s why you need precision cutting tools:

Some Parts are Unavailable in Hardware Stores

Do you know how machine parts come to be? They first come as raw materials like metal sheets. The complex laser cutting from Detroit contractors form the raw materials into what you know as tools from hardware stores. Some machine parts are difficult to find or are simply unavailable in stores. You need them premade by sending the specifications to your contractor. The details should include the size, dimension, and weight of the parts needed.

Every Second is Important for your Production Processes

Every second counts, especially if your business deals with large batch productions. You don’t want interruptions on your production processes. Production is a highly important factor to determine the competitive advantages of a machine part. This means safety and low quality cutting tools must not affect your productivity. This is why you need high-quality precision cutting technology, as you’ll reduce production time and perform multiple operations in one cutting.

Inaccurate Cut Costs You a Large Amount of Money

Creating machine parts out of raw materials can be costly if the product turns out to have the wrong sizes or dimensions. You have to ensure you have the right measurements for it to be cut precisely. Preventing wastage of raw materials is possible if you have cutting equipment capable of rendering precise measurements.

Advanced laser cutting techniques deliver capabilities needed to meet client demands. Whenever a man and machine must collaborate, you also need to practice special safety measures, and one of these is getting precision laser cutting technology.

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man drivingThe showbiz world is full of surprising and peculiar moments, which is why it’s always part of the news. Apart from the award-winning movies of the year, another kind of showbiz-related news items that appear in the media involve the different legal troubles of celebrities.

At this time, perhaps, Canadian pop icon Justin Bieber’s case is the most popular. A few months ago, Bieber was arrested for three different charges in just one incident: resisting arrest, driving under the influence of alcohol, and driving without a valid license.

Going beyond news items like this as a form of entertainment, the legal blunders of famous personalities are also a source of valuable lessons.

The law is there for a reason

Every state imposes a traffic-related law for a reason. Primarily, lawmakers craft these statutes with the benefit of the greater good in mind. When a policy imposes a 40 mph limit on a certain strip of road, that’s because the location is potentially dangerous if you go beyond that speed.

Looking back at the case of Justin Bieber, he was participating in a race – with the cars speeding at 55-60 mph on a 30 mph road – and even closed the streets to do so. With this action, the star has clearly violated multiple laws already, and the speeding issue alone was already enough for a misdemeanor.

The law can be questioned

Much like Bieber’s case, you can argue a case in court to dispute traffic violation penalties. There may be a law in place, but depending on the circumstances, a case could be unique on its own characteristics – in legal terms, sui generis. With that said, you could enlist the help of a lawyer to dismiss the case, or at least lessen the penalties involved.

The law is still superior

Whatever happens in a case, the law will still prevail. Regardless of the outcome, you would have to face it. While you certainly have the chance to appeal the decision to a higher court, the law will still have the final say in the matter.

To continue with the Bieber analogy, the teen star might just face jail time or community service, depending on what the court issues. Although he can certainly contest it again, the ultimate decision is still with the judge.

The ultimate lesson in driving is still to obey the law. When you observe the right way to drive on a road, you wouldn’t have to worry about penalties, tickets, and remarks on your driving history.

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Garden pathOne of the ideal ways to make the front or backyard appealing is to set up a landscape. Many professional garden designers are in-demand among homeowners, as they have the expertise to transform a dull, boring space into a paradise. Landscapes involve different elements, including pathways, which you might want to work on.

Pathway vs Walkway

Pathways are mainly for recreational purposes because you can go near the plants and garden pond. The purpose of walkways, on the other hand, is to lead you to a specific area of the house, like the gate or front door. Understanding the difference between the two will help you understand the designing process better.

Pathway Preparation

Home improvement sites, such as HGTV and BHG, and garden designers like Oakleigh Manor find it important to evaluate the land and foot traffic before starting the project. The land should be firm to avoid it from sinking due to weather conditions. Pathways are up to three feet wide and are smaller, unlike walkways. If you think it will have high foot traffic, it’s ideal to use solid materials like stones and concrete for better maintenance.

Pathway Materials

These depend on the theme and effect you want for your landscape. Here are some examples:

  1. Gravel – This loose material is ideal if your house isn’t always experiencing heavy snow, as it’s difficult to clean up. It may not be a good choice for those who use canes and walkers, though. The small, crushed rocks might make it difficult to walk straight.
  2. Stone – Big stone pebbles can make the landscape fun and exciting, as the gaps will make you skip every step. It’s easy to install and you can create any type of path, from curved to zigzag, for a remarkable aesthetic appeal.

Pathways can improve the appearance and function of your landscape. Look for expert garden designers to draft the layout and create an ideal recreational space for the family.

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seo servicesThanks to technology, social media, and SEO strategies, being an online entrepreneur is a piece of cake. Getting people to access your ecommerce sites and converting them to customers is a completely different matter, though.

With the evolving user behavior and changing search landscape, simple marketing strategies might not just cut it when we’re talking about online success. You need outsource social media services and a great backup SEO support to ensure your ecommerce site stays at the top of the game.

Here are sure-fire ways to boost your ecommerce site and achieve online success:

Step Up with a Solid Business Model

Your business model is the cornerstone for the success of your ecommerce site. With a solid business model, you can easily identify buying signals from leads and avoid dead-end strategies. It serves as a guide for the development of your ecommerce site, from value proposition, competition, to the smallest details of your marketing strategies.

Be Real

Automated transactions can take virtual shopping to a completely new level, but this doesn’t mean you need to take out the personal aspect of your service. Online customers still want to talk to real people when they’re inquiring about a particular offering. Set up a reliable online support provision so you can talk to customers directly even if they’re thousands of miles away.

There is no secret when it comes to achieving success for ecommerce websites; it’s simply a matter of smart planning, refining, and maximizing efficiency to ensure your site stands out from the competition.

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Image by Eric Sakalowsky | Wikimedia

Image by Eric Sakalowsky | Wikimedia

China’s manufacturing activity improved slightly in March, official data show, but industry experts said the economy remains weak.

Manufacturing growth

The official purchasing managers index (PMI) was 50.3 in March, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement, which is higher in comparison to 50.2 in February.

China’s PMI is suffering in an eight-month low. Any result more than 50 indicates growth.

The index monitors manufacturing activity in the country’s factories and is a closely watched indicator of the health of the economy.

According to the statement of China’s premier Li Keqiang, there were “difficulties and risks,” as increasing debt and ongoing pollution issues cloud the country’s economic outlook.

Weak economy

The latest data highlight a growing concern among stockholders, industry experts, and government officials that the Chinese economy is slowing and struggling.

China’s economic growth has weakened in recent years, and analysts expect a further decline this year.

Both Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Sen index fell slightly after the data was revealed.

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choosing an apartmentLife in your first own home can be blissful: independence, freedom, and your own choices in practically everything. Until a rodent pokes out from the cabinet, the sink overflows, and the hinges of your door start to collapse.

So, on your road to independence, it is important to plan your move when choosing apartments. Here are some of the things you should not forget to check to make your flat hunting more effective.

The lease

Read the lease before you sign it. You do not want to put your name on the contract and then find out that you just signed a two-year lease when you only planned to stay for one. Take your time to go over each page of the contract to make sure you agree with what you are signing your next year to. Sometimes, there are uncommon clauses of debatable legalities. Worse than that, there can sometimes be illicit sections in there you should be aware of.

The cabinets and shelves

Before you move in, you will need to check the cabinets and shelves to find out if the flat looks like it is infested with rodents and insects that will damage your belongings and endanger your health. If you find any sign of these unwelcome parties, it is best to talk with the apartment owner so they can settle the issue before you move in.

The neighbours

Before deciding on which apartment to live in, speak with your neighbours to determine if the community fits your preference. Apart from getting good information on the status of the apartments, it is also a great way to get to know them. It is still best to let go of a contract and find something better rather than stay in your dream apartment with neighbours you cannot stand.

You are probably already thinking of ways to decorate your new place, but it is best to inspect the three factors above before you even sign your lease. Pleasurable, independent living is not just about finding your dream apartment; it is about considering all the factors – from the terms of the lease to evaluating your neighbours.

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