26th March     No Comments

Bush Administration changes official position on legitimacy of Qur’an desecration allegations

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Bush Administration changes official position on legitimacy of Qur’an desecration allegations

Saturday, June 4, 2005

After an investigation of allegations that Islam’s holy book the Qu’ran was mishandled in front of inmates at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Bush administration has acknowledged the credibility of some of these reports. According to Robert Burns of the Associated Press, U.S. military officials acknowledged that, “a Muslim holy book was splashed with urine,” and “a detainee’s Quran was deliberately kicked and another’s was stepped on.” The US government first denied a specific report that the Qu’ran had been flushed down a toilet at the prison facility, but on Friday agreed that similar allegations were indeed true.

On May 16, Newsweek magazine apologized to the victims of deadly riots that ensued due to a Newsweek article stating that U.S. officials defiled the Qur’an. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan criticized Newsweek’s initial response to the incident, saying it was “puzzling.” Later that day, Newsweek retracted the story, which the White House said was a “good first step”.

On May 20, the International Red Cross (IRC) revealed in a rare public announcement that it had documented and reported to the United States credible information concerning desecration of the Qur’an by Guantanamo Bay personnel. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, acknowledged that allegations were made on “rare occasions” but were uncorroborated. Simon Schorno, a Red Cross spokesman, disputed the Pentagon’s denial saying, “All information we received were corroborated allegations.” He added that, “We certainly corroborated mentions of the events by detainees themselves,” and that “the ICRC considers such reports “very seriously, and very carefully, and [we] document everything.”

Scott McClellan explained in a press conference that the White House is not trying to tell Newsweek what to print. McClellan said, “Look, this report caused serious damage to the image of the United States abroad. And Newsweek has said that they got it wrong. I think Newsweek recognizes the responsibility they have. We appreciate the step that they took by retracting the story. Now we would encourage them to move forward and do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done by this report. And that’s all I’m saying. But, no, you’re absolutely right, it’s not my position to get into telling people what they can and cannot report.”

On May 25, Amnesty International called for the shutdown on Guantanamo Bay due to numerous human rights violations, saying “The ‘war on terror’ appeared more effective in eroding international human rights principles than in countering international ‘terrorism’.” Amnesty International’s view was shared by both the International Red Cross (IRC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The IRC has said it reported to the U.S. government detainee’s reports of desecration of the Qur’an. In the foreword of the report, written by Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan, Guantanamo was compared to a Soviet-era gulag in that it is “entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law”.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan responded saying the report’s allegations were “ridiculous and unsupported by the facts. The United States is leading the way when it comes to protecting human rights and promoting human dignity. We have liberated 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have worked to advance freedom and democracy in the world so that people are governed under a rule of law and that there are… protections in place for minority rights, that women’s rights are advanced so that women can fully participate in societies where now they cannot”, as well as supporting the fight against AIDS in Africa.

About the allegations of abuse at Guantanamo, which McClellan has previously called isolated incidents, he said, “We hold people accountable when there is abuse. We take steps to prevent it from happening again, and we do so in a very public way for the world to see that we lead by example, and that we do have values that we hold very dearly and believe in.”

On May 31, U.S. President George W. Bush dismissed the human rights report as “absurd” for its harsh criticism of U.S. treatment of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying the allegations were made by prisoners “who hate America.” “It’s an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world,” Bush said of the Amnesty International report.

William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, defended the report, saying, “What is ‘absurd’ is President Bush’s attempt to deny the deliberate policies of his administration.” and “What is ‘absurd’ and indeed outrageous is the Bush administration’s failure to undertake a full independent investigation”. Irene Khan also responded saying, “The administration’s response has been that our report is absurd, that our allegations have no basis, and our answer is very simple: if that is so, open up these detention centres, allow us and others to visit them.”

And, on Friday, the U.S. military released the results of their investigation and confirmed that in 5 separate incidents, American guards at the Guantánamo Bay prison “mishandled” the Islamic holy book. However, they stress that guards were usually “respectful” of the Qur’an. One incident involved splashing a Koran with urine by urinating near an air vent while others involved kicking, stepping on and writing in Qur’ans.

Brigadier-General Jay Hood, the commander of the jail, looked into the allegations, published and then retracted by Newsweek, that American personnel flushed a Qur’an down a toilet. He said that the inquiry did not find any evidence supporting this particular allegation. “The inquiry found no credible evidence that a member of the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo Bay ever flushed a Qur’an down a toilet. This matter is considered closed.”

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26th February     No Comments

Four U.N. staff dead after plane crash in Bolivia

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Four U.N. staff dead after plane crash in Bolivia

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Six people, including four U.N. staff working for the anti-narcotics department in Bolivia, have been killed in a plane crash in a remote area in the west of the country.

Two Bolivian military pilots are also among those killed in the accident, which happened in the Los Yungas area, northeast of the capital city, La Paz. The aircraft had been missing since Thursday and was found on Saturday morning according to a general in the Bolivian Air Force, who added the light Cessna aircraft hit a tall tree and then impacted the ground.

Robert Brockmann, a U.N. spokesperson in Bolivia, said the aircraft “was completely destroyed and burned.” Investigators have not yet determined what caused the accident, but Brockmann said the aircraft was in an area with overgrown trees and steep cliffs.

The bodies of the pilots and U.N. personnel, who had been monitoring the transport of coca—a plant used to make cocaine—over several months, have yet to be recovered because of the remote location of the crash site. “The place is completly inaccessible in a very tall forest,” the general said.

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23rd February     No Comments

California meat packing firm recalls 143M pounds of beef

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California meat packing firm recalls 143M pounds of beef

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I am dismayed at the in-humane handling of cattle that has resulted in the violation of food safety regulations at the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company.

In a press release today, California-based Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. indicated that it has voluntarily recalled just over 143 million pounds (65 million kilograms) of raw and frozen beef products, which is considered to be the largest single recall of beef products in U.S. history. The move follows an investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) into allegations of animal cruelty and mishandling of cattle destined for the human food chain.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) had determined that beef products produced by the Chino, California company were unfit for human consumption as the cattle had not received “complete and proper inspection.”

The recall has been designated as Class II, which the USDA describes as “a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product.”

On Friday, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer indicated that charges had been laid against employees of the plant alleged to have taken part in the mistreatment of cattle. “Today [Friday], the San Bernardino District Attorney filed felony animal cruelty charges against two employees who were terminated by Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company,” said Schafer. “It is regrettable that these animals were mistreated and I am encouraged and supportive of these actions by the San Bernardino District Attorney in response to this mistreatment.”

The USDA learned of the possible inhumane handling of non-ambulatory (disabled) cattle at the packing plant on January 30 and has since suspended activities at the plant. “We continue to conduct a thorough investigation into whether any violations of food safety or additional humane handling regulations have occurred,” said Secretary Schafer in a press release. “On February 8, our Office of the Inspector General took the lead on the investigation. At that time, USDA extended the administrative hold on Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company products for the National School Lunch Program, the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations while the investigation continues,” said Schafer.

The FSIS reported that Hallmark/Westland had not contacted the FSIS public health veterinarian, as required, when cattle became ill or disabled after undergoing ante-mortem (slaughter) inspection, putting the company out of compliance with FSIS regulations. “Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection FSIS has determined them to be unfit for human food and the company is conducting a recall,” explained Secretary Schafer.

The cruelty charges stem from an undercover video that reportedly showed sick cattle being moved by crews using forklifts.

“Words cannot accurately express how shocked and horrified I was at the depictions contained on the video that was taken by an individual who worked at our facility from October 3 thru November 14, 2007,” said Steve Mendell, President, Westland Meat Co. and Hallmark Meat Packing. “We have taken swift action regarding the two employees identified on the video and have already implemented aggressive measures to ensure all employees follow our humane handling policies and procedures. We are also cooperating with the USDA investigators on the allegations of inhumane handling treatment which is a serious breech of our company’s policies and training.”

The USDA stressed that it is “extremely unlikely” that the cattle involved were at risk for Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad-cow disease due to the employment of multiple safeguards. The USDA felt the recall was required, however, as the plant had allegedly violated USDA regulations.

The recall involves raw and frozen beef products produced on various dates from February 1, 2006 to February 2, 2008. For further information about the recall, consumers, media, and distributors are encouraged to contact Hallmark/Westland’s Plant Manager Stan Mendell or Food Safety Consultant Steve Sayer at (909) 590-3340 or the FSIS website, www.fsis.usda.gov.

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23rd February     No Comments

Obama to suspend Arctic oil drilling

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Obama to suspend Arctic oil drilling

Thursday, May 27, 2010

According to Democratic Senator Mark Begich from Alaska, the U.S. Department of the Interior has decided to halt all new Arctic exploratory oil drilling applications until 2011. The response is believed to be caused in part by the two current oil spill disasters (that of the Deepwater Horizon Incident and more recently the Alaska oil pipeline malfunction). However, Begich is not happy about the actions taken by the White House.

“I am frustrated that this decision by the Obama administration to halt offshore development for a year will cause more delays and higher costs for domestic oil and gas production to meet the nation’s energy needs,” Begich claims.

Last September, the state of Alaska made a public notice about Shell’s desire to drill off the coast of the Beaufort Sea, placing experimental drilling rigs at two drill site location: “Torpedo” and “Sivulliq”.

“Shell is committed to undertaking a safe and environmentally responsible exploration program in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in 2010,” said Shell Oil Company President Marvin E. Odum to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Mineral Management Service (MMS).

Odum follows with, “I am confident that we are ready to conduct the 2010 Arctic exploratory program safely and, I want to be clear, the accountability for this program rests with Shell.”

Chuck Clausen, director of the Alaska project at the Natural Resources Defense Council is not so optimistic: “Hazards present in the Arctic can include frigid temperatures, presence of sea ice, gale-force winds, intense storms and heavy fog … The potential for loss in the Arctic is great.”

Odum believes that the climate in the arctic will make any spill easier to clean up because, “Arctic conditions create differences in responding to oil in cold and ice conditions. Differences in evaporation rates, viscosity and weathering provide greater opportunities to recover oil. In Arctic conditions, ice can aid oil spill response by slowing oil weathering, dampening waves, preventing oil from spreading over large distances, and allowing more time to respond.”

However, Clausen believes that there are no current systems to remove oil from icy ocean waters.

This is not the first time that President Obama’s administration has taken the environmentally cautious path in Alaska. The President put Bristol Bay off limits to oil and gas exploration until 2017. Bristol Bay currently is one of the top salmon fishing grounds in the state.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to give a speech at Thursday’s White House address, regarding the suspension of Arctic oil drilling projects.

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23rd February     No Comments

Wikinews attends Maker Faire in Tyler, Texas

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Wikinews attends Maker Faire in Tyler, Texas

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Wikinews attended the sixth annual Mini Maker Faire in Tyler, Texas, United States on Saturday. Similar to a giant science fair, the event featured a variety of science, engineering and technology projects and items.

An array of technologies were on hand including 3D printers, drones, and various other physics devices. The owner of the Make Crate subscription service stated her company’s products place a strong emphasis on teaching young people about technology and coding. A traditional blacksmith was also on hand displaying metal working techniques.

Numerous Maker Clubs from an array of local schools were on hand, displaying a broad swathe of tech projects. A group of amateur hobbyists diplayed a model of the deck of the aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan with a solenoid device hooked up to launch paper airplanes.

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22nd February     No Comments

How Can You Improve Your Central Heating And Air Quality?

byAlma Abell

If you’re wondering if there is anything you can do to improve the heat and air quality in your home the answer is yes. You may not be able to control the quality of air outside of your home, but you can take the proper steps in controlling it inside your home. By improving the air quality indoors you can help prevent several health problems such as asthma and allergies. The first step is to schedule a service visit from a certified HVAC technician that offers the service of heating and air quality in Peachtree City.

Good Heating and Air Quality Matters

Good heating and air quality matters for many reasons. The most important reason is for you and your family’s health and well-being. When you hire the services of a technician for heating and air quality in Peachtree City, they will visit your home and inspect your entire HVAC system. You may need the ducts cleaned or the seals repaired. Ducts should be checked regularly and maintained by professionals. This can prevent tears and cracks and when necessary ducts can be replaced. This alone can help keep your HVAC working more efficiently and help with air quality. Other products to help improve the air quality in your home include germicidal lamps, fresh air ventilation systems, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, as well as air filters and cleaners.

A Company That Values Their Customers

When it comes to quality heating and air quality in Peachtree City, you can definitely rely on Ferguson Heating and Air Conditioning Company for their superb services and products. A company that values their customers and stands behind their services, work, and products is one to take your business to. They are fully insured, licensed, and professionally certified. Our technicians go above and beyond to earn your trust and exceed your expectations! Improving the overall air quality to protect the health of your family and providing a comfortable temperature for your home is what our technicians do best.

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21st February     No Comments

Australia men’s national wheelchair basketball team beat Japan 80-49 in final game of pool play

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Australia men’s national wheelchair basketball team beat Japan 80-49 in final game of pool play

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Homebush Bay, New South Wales —Last night, the Australia men’s national wheelchair basketball team beat Japan 80–49 in their final game of pool play at the Rollers & Gliders World Challenge taking place at at the Sport Centre at the Sydney Olympic Park and are through to the first place match.

The contrast between the two teams was seen in their wheels: almost every Australian player had a four wheeled chair that gave them increased stability while every single Japanese player had three wheels, which gave them great maneuverability. Japan played the aggressor throughout the match, with several players aggressively blocking with wheelchair on wheelchair contact. Both sides were loud, chanting defense, defense, defense when their side was on that side of the court.

The first quarter was closely fought, with Japan racking up 5 by 5:54 left in the first. They successfully took a lead of 17–16 by the end of the first quarter. They were unable to hold the lead, with Australia holding a 40–24 lead at the end of the first half. Australia’s lead at the end of the third was 61–34. While Japan increased their total points in the fourth quarter, they failed to defend against Australia who continued to answer back basket for basket for the game to end 80–49.

Australia plays in the first place match later today. Their London Paralympic campaign starts on August 30 against South Africa.

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21st February     No Comments

Egypt cancels 15 year gas supply contract to Israel

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Egypt cancels 15 year gas supply contract to Israel

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the termination of a natural gas contract between Egypt and Israel is a business matter and not a political issue between the two counties. Netanyahu’s statement on Monday backs away from other officials’ earlier responses to the action.

Egyptian Natural Gas Company announced Sunday, April 22 that it will stop supplying Israel with natural gas over a disagreement about payments. The company’s leader claims the other side is in “breach of contract” as Gasco has not been paid for what has already been delivered.

In 2005, Israel and Egypt, under former president Hosni Mubarak, signed a 15-year trade deal whereby Egypt would supply natual gas at a discounted rate to the Israelis. Tensions between the two countries have made Israel cautious about relying on Egypt for its energy. Since the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the pipelines for transporting natural gas from Egypt to Israel have been damaged up to 14 times.

When this decision was broadcast on Sunday night in Egypt, commentators for Egyptian news services discussed whether this decision was a blatant contractual infringement, a necessary commercial move, or an attack on the original peace treaty between Egypt and Israel made at Camp David in 1978.

In Israel, Yuval Steinitz, the finance minister, said, “This is a dangerous precedent that diminishes the peace treaty [between the two countries].”

Avigdor Lieberman, foreign affairs minister, had called on Egypt to reverse the decision and prevent the contractual dispute from escalating into a political issue. Since Netanyahu’s more recent comment, Lieberman has also backed away from characterizing the issue as a political dispute.

Egypt’s natural gas exports once made up 40 percent of Israel’s natural gas reserves, but Israel has looked for other options as the political atmosphere in Egypt changed. Israel is developing its own offshore fields, and it has begun to import other types of “dirty fuels,” like gas and diesel. As a result, Israeli consumers have seen a nine percent increase in electricity costs and Israel is preparing for the possibility of blackouts.

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20th February     No Comments

Donald Trump plans £300m “golfing paradise” for rural Scotland

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Donald Trump plans £300m “golfing paradise” for rural Scotland

Saturday, April 1, 2006

American multi-billionaire Donald Trump has announced plans to build a massive golf complex on an 800-acre site just north of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Speaking last night from the Trump Tower in New York, Trump said that the development will be akin to a “homecoming” for him. The ginger-haired property tycoon’s mother is from the Western Isles of Scotland.

The £300m project at Menie in Aberdeenshire will include both a links course and an inland course, and a 400-bedroom hotel as well as a golfing academy and holiday homes. The facilities are being built with the intention of attracting the Open Championship to the site, officially dubbed Trump International Golf Links, Scotland.

Fields and sand-dunes make up the landscape of the coastal site. Trump said of the location, “As soon as I saw it there was no question about it. I looked at 211 fantastic sites all over Europe, but here it is – the dune size and the ocean front. There is no piece of land that I have ever seen that is comparable to this.” The billionaire claims that the complex, set to be his only development outside the United States, will be the “best course in the world.”

Local and national political figures, including Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell, have welcomed the announcement with open arms, as the project is expected to bring in an additional £157m to the region’s economy within the first ten years. Scottish tourism company VisitScotland is also optimistic, expecting an influx of international visitors to play on (or simply visit) the site. Plans to expand the A90 road running past the site in the near future will enable more road traffic to and around the area. An £60m expansion of Aberdeen Airport will also allow for vastly increased international air links, akin to those operated using Boeing 767 aircraft.

Work on the golf complex itself is set to begin in September this year, with the Trump Organisation hopeful for a Spring 2008 opening date.

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20th February     No Comments

Pit Bulls: Setting The Record Straight}

Submitted by: Don Sloan

One of the more persistent urban legends around these days is about the innate ferocity of the pit bull breed.

I remember being appalled when my son and daughter-in-law brought home a female pit bull they had rescued from the local shelter.

Then, I reached down and stroked her soft, square head. She nuzzled my hand and my heart melted.

My negative opinion about pit bulls has been changed 180 degrees since that day, Prissy (thats what they named her) is playful, lovable and obedient.

Keeping those powerful jaws busy

Her one fault (if you can call it that) is that she can make short work of any ordinary chew bone or toy shes given. Her strong jaws and vigorous playfulness was requiring replacement of toys and chew bones just about daily.

From an online dog toy review site, we ordered the Zogoflex Air Wox Interactive Tug Dog Toy — a delightful, three-legged, super durable toy that so far has withstood weeks of playful tug-of-war and intense, solitary chewing sessions — usually when shes left alone for the day.

Its by far her favorite toy. And, as advertised, it seems to live up to the phrase: Indestructible Dog Toys for Pit Bulls — I should stress the qualifier even for pit bulls, since her jaw structure and powerful play habits usually would have ripped a lesser toy to shreds by now.

Other opinions about pit bulls

Other pit bull owners have found the same to be true with their pets. Heres a portion of an article in the Huffington Post that backs up my assertion about the breeds essentially sweet nature:

The article says that five sweet-natured dogs came into Kristen Auerbachs pet shelter recently.

They were all pit bulls. And, they had been de-selected from another shelter due primarily to their heads shape. Many shelters euthanize pit bulls out of hand, without even trying to put them up for adoption.

Now, however, due to Auerbachs kennel policy, they face a far happier future.

Dogs like this will fly off our adoption floor. Who doesnt want a dog that is social and friendly with other dogs and calm and well-mannered in real-life situations? says Auerbach, spokesperson for theFairfax County Animal Shelter.

How theyre getting there is what happens when very bad laws mix with great fun and games.

The article goes on to document the value of constructive play time for pit bulls — or any breed, really — and the importance of having toys that can withstand the rigors of doggie tug-of-war with playmates in the dogs home or, at the dog park.

Does breed type predict behavior?

Veteran dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, writing in a post on Positively.com, states emphatically:

Every dog has their own set of personality traits that make them unique, and its impossible to predict a dogs behavior solely on its breed type. Thats because the way a dog is raised and the environment in which he is raised has a significant impact on behavior, regardless of breed.

So while I do take breed predisposition into account when Im working with any dog, I never rely on it solely as a predictor of behavior. The myth that all pit bulls are dangerous or ‘bred to be violent’ is simply not true, but myths like these continue to instill fear in the general public and cause devastating misunderstandings.

Pit bull prejudice is everywhere

Finally, Arin Greenwood, Animal Welfare Editor, The Huffington Post, has this to say about pit bulls:

My dog Murray and I were taking our usual amble through town the other day, when we came upon a puppy we hadnt seen before. I dont know a lot of my human neighbors, but Ive got a pretty comprehensive roster of all the dogs around town. We stopped to get to know this little golden bundle of wiggles, but her owner snatched her off.

I dont want her playing with pit bulls, he said to me, dragging the puppy away.

The thoughts that went through my head directly after this encounter are not printable in a family publication. Here are the thoughts that are:

1. It is truly astonishing how many otherwise progressive people consider their prejudice against pit bulls to be perfectly reasonable, when the data shows it isnt; and

2. Given that Murray isnt even actually a pit bull, this encounter highlights one of the major reasons that prejudice against pit bulls is extremely problematic: its really hard to tell which mixed-breed dogs are even actually pits.

Pit bulls are subjected to an almost unimaginably cruel world, in which they are subjected to every kind of violence and then, at the end of it, are euthanized in shelters at shockingly high rates, because families are afraid to bring them home, landlords wont rent to the families who do bring them home and localities impose restrictions on their ownership,despite ample evidence that these restrictions do nothing to improve public safety.

By the way: Murray, my sweet baby, is a rescue, so as my husband puts it, possibly plagiarizing Dave Barry hes the result of many generations of unregulated dog sex. The group we got him from listed Murray as a border collie, which given that hes never, ever, herded anything is the only kind of dog were sure hes not.

In conclusion:

So, there you have it. Pit bulls can make an ideal family pet, once you shed whatever prejudices you might have picked up about them.

References

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/08/playing-for-life-pit-bulls_n_7226240.html

https://positively.com/victorias-blog/the-truth-about-pit-bulls/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arin-greenwood/pit-bulls-time-magazine_b_5521281.html

About the Author: Don Sloan is a retired writer and niche website owner. One of his sites provides reviews and recommendations for indestructible dog toys. Visit the site at

indestructibledogtoys.info/

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=1958685&ca=Pets}

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