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Category:May 30, 2006

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Organisers of a protest march planned to occur in Sydney next week are predicting thousands of people will attend. The protest is timed to coincide with the Forbes Global CEO Conference, which starts at the Sydney Opera House the same day.

The action is being promoted by various trade unions and peace and social justice groups, and co-ordinated by the 30A Network, which is an informal association of such groups. A number of reasons have been given for the protest, including the Iraq War, globalisation, and the Australian government’s planned industrial relations changes.

The 30A network website is reporting that the protest has been endorsed by the NSW Fire Brigade Employees’ Union, the Maritime Union of Australia, the Australian Services Union, and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

The NSW Police Service will provide free security for the conference. This is potentially controversial, as other events such as football games have to pay for police to attend. The decision has been criticised by the NSW Police Association, as they claim it will leave inner city stations short-staffed. The opposition police spokesman Mike Gallacher echoed the Association’s criticism, saying that the conference organisers should foot the bill themselves.

“Even though ASIO have identified it as a risk coming to Sydney, they can be guaranteed the best policing resources available in this country to hold their conference in a safe environment, but to do so they should have been asked to pay their way, to pay the bill,” he said.

A spokesman for the Police Minister said that frontline policing would not be affected.

New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma defended the use of taxpayers’ money on policing the conference.

“The advice I have is that ASIO have declared this as a medium-security event, which classifies it as warranting security. They do expect up to 2,000 protesters and if the local agricultural show had been subject to the same security assessment with potential protesters, they too would receive the same security response,” he said.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is responsible for some of Australia’s largest surveys, including the Census of Population and Housing, held every five years. At its head is the Australian Statistician. The current Statistician, Brian Pink, started in his position on March 5, 2007, following the retirement of predecessor Dennis Trewin. Wikinews recently caught up with Brian Pink to talk with him about his first year in the position, as well as his previous tenure as Government Statistician at Statistics New Zealand, and the state of mathematical education in Australia.

((WikiNews)) : Good afternoon.

Brian Pink: Good afternoon.

((WN)) : And congratulations on spending a year as Australian Statistician.

BP: Yes, it’s gone very quickly. (laughs)

Category:Featured article

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

A 2-minute siren wail which began in Israel at 10 a.m. Thursday marked the beginning of Yom HaShoah, the country’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. Israelis across the nation paused their daily activities for a moment of silence in memory of the six million Jews murdered by Nazis in the Holocaust during World War II. Drivers turned off their vehicles and stood at attention in the middle of the road, and pedestrians stopped and bowed their heads. Names of victims were read aloud in the Knesset, the legislature of Israel.

Individuals laid wreaths at a memorial for the Warsaw Ghetto uprising at Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust. National ceremonies began at Yad Vashem on Wednesday evening, with the lighting of a flame by a Holocaust survivor. In all six torches were lit, in memory of the six million Jews who died during the Holocaust. Approximately 270,000 survivors of the Holocaust live in Israel today, 80,000 of whom survived Nazi death camps.

Entertainment venues, theaters, and movie cinemas closed shop at sundown Wednesday. Television stations and radio programming focused on memorial of the Holocaust. Memorial events end at sunset on Thursday, and will be followed one week later by the 60th anniversary of the declaration of independence of Israel in 1948, known as Yom Ha’atzmaut.

A leader who plans mass destruction, together with weapons of mass destruction. What would have been left of our world?

Shimon Peres, Israel’s President, spoke at Yad Vashem, and compared the potential danger which Israel says is posed by Iran’s nuclear program, to that faced by Jews during the Holocaust. “In history, it is forbidden to be late,” said Peres, saying that the world reacted too late to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. “My heart shudders when I recall that there was a possibility that Hitler could acquire nuclear weapons. A leader who plans mass destruction, together with weapons of mass destruction. What would have been left of our world?” asked Peres. Aides later stated that Peres was referring to Iran.

Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also referred to Iran in his remarks at Yad Vashem. “You wish to deny the right of existence of the Jewish state, and you are wrong to believe that the Jewish state was created only due to the Holocaust. The Holocaust only underscored the necessity of its creation and the horrible price that the Jewish people had to pay for the lack of existence of a state that can shelter them,” said Olmert. Other speakers at Yad Vashem emphasized the importance of the Israel Defense Forces, Israel’s military forces, to prevent tragedies such as the Holocaust in the future.

We have learned our lesson and we take very seriously the threats of state leaders who call for the destruction of Israel.

Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, military chief of staff of Israel, led an annual march of Jewish youths, Poles and survivors at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, in a memorial ceremony called The March of the Living. Auschwitz-Birkenau operated as a Nazi death camp during the Holocaust. 12,000 people gathered from 52 countries to take part in the memorial ceremony. The largest march took place in 2005, and former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon joined with 20,000 people. “… in these days, as we celebrate 60 years of independence, the fact that an independent Jewish state exists is not something to be taken for granted. Even today, we hear the horrible sounds of those who call for the destruction of the state of Israel. Even today we are forced to continue and fight for our right to have a national home in a safe place for the Jewish people in their own land. We have learned our lesson and we take very seriously the threats of state leaders who call for the destruction of Israel,” said Ashkenazi.

Hamas television Thursday suggested that the Holocaust was organized by Jews to wipe out the disabled among their own people to prepare for the creation of a Jewish state. “The Israeli Holocaust – the whole thing was a joke, and part of the perfect show that (Zionist leader and future Israeli prime minister) Ben Gurion put on,” said head of the Palestinian Centre for Strategic Research Amin Dabur, according to Jerusalem-based Palestinian Media Watch. Dabur said that the “young energetic and able” went to Israel, and that those who were disabled were sent “so there would be a Holocaust”.

Though Iran has said that its nuclear program is peaceful in nature, the United States, Israel, and other countries believe it is attempting to construct nuclear weapons. In speeches Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that the Jewish state should be destroyed. Ahmadinejad has called the Holocaust “a myth”. Tehran hosted a revisionist Holocaust conference in 2006, which provoked international criticism. Tel Aviv University published a study on Monday saying that acts of anti-Semitism in 2007 increased by about seven percent over 2006.

More On This Topic:

By Jesse Akre

Are you sick of walking into each one of your friend’s homes only to see that every last one of them looks exactly like your own home? If that is you, then you are probably looking for a way for your space to stand out from the rest in a good way and putting some decorative switch plate options throughout your space is a fantastic way to do it.

When it comes to this lovely fixture, you might not know it, but there are actually a lot of decorative switch plate options to choose from. First off, they come in many different shapes and sizes from those that have the usual rectangle shape to others that are circle, abstract, and others that can have really unique shapes with ones that look like wine bottles, horses, even UFOs and sports equipment like basketballs and baseballs. Along with their many shapes, they are also made from a wide variety of substances. You can get ones made out of plastic that come in all sorts of colors, others that are made out of leather and are sewn together in many eye-catching designs, and you can even get ones made out of stone like marble and granite. There are ones made from metal, wood, acrylic, porcelain, and ceramic too. For a stress free way to check out all the choices, resist the temptation to hop in your car and head down to your local hardware store. The thing to do instead, is to just turn on your family computer and do some online shopping. You can compare all the products without leaving your home and probably will find exactly what you want for the best prices around.

YouTube Preview Image

Probably the best thing about all of these options, is that you can effortlessly find ones to match current motif that you have going on in the different rooms of your home, which makes it easy to give your space some character. For example, maybe you have plain cream colored ones in your living room right now that kind of clash with your wood trim. Well, if you want to spruce your space up a bit, then a nice option would be to get ones that are also crafted out of wood with the same finish as your wood trim, which would provide a nice accent to that trim. Or, maybe you have some plain white ones in your bathroom space that match your white walls. To add a little pizzazz to that bathroom, than a nice choice would be some made out of ceramic that have an eye-catching design painted right on them. Like, one that features a fun bathtub and rubber ducky scene or another one that has flowers or others patterns on it.

So, if you are looking to have your home stand out from everyone else’s, then turn to the many decorative switch plate selections that are available. Make sure to get some today for an easy way to add some character to your space.

About the Author: Jesse Akre, author, shares with you on

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isnare.com

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French unions march in support of public services

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Today, a number of French unions and left-wing parties marched in Paris in order to support public services, which they feel are threatened by the current government. Those who demonstrated (unionists, politicians and simple employees) are opposed to the privatization of public companies such as the electrical and gas utility EDF, or to the scaling down of public services such as the national public postal service in rural areas.

Organizers claim 30,000 protested, as opposed to the 10,000 figure cited by the police. The march was peaceful and uneventful, with a light police escort to open the streets, and City of Paris sanitation vehicles coming just behind to clean the streets of leaflets and other litter. Many of the protesters were under the banners the Communist-influenced CGT union, most others under those of major confederations or parties such as the French Communist Party. A small minority were from radical groups such as the anarcho-syndicalist CNT or Les Alternatifs. A group of French scientific researchers and graduate students protested the government’s policies with respect to research funding.

Among the personalities who marched are politicians Marie-George Buffet (French Communist Party), George Sarre (MRC) and Olivier Besancenot (Revolutionary Communist League), and unionists Bernard Thibault (CGT), Annick Coupé (Solidaires) and Gérard Aschiéri (FSU).

Two nuclear submarines collide in the Atlantic Ocean

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Nuclear ballistic missile submarines Triomphant, from France, and HMS Vanguard, of the British Royal Navy, collided deep under the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of the night between February 3 and 4, despite both vessels being equipped with sonar. The collision caused damage to both vessels but it did not release any radioactive material, a Ministry of Defence (MOD) official confirmed Monday.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said nuclear security had not been breached. “It is MOD policy not to comment on submarine operational matters, but we can confirm that the U.K.’s deterrent capability was unaffected at all times and there has been no compromise to nuclear safety. Triomphant had struck ‘a submerged object (probably a container)’ during a return from a patrol, damaging the sonar dome on the front of the submarine,” he said.

A French navy spokesman said that “the collision did not result in injuries among the crew and did not jeopardise nuclear security at any moment.” Lack of communication between France and other members of NATO over the location of their SLBM deterrents is believed to be another reason for the crash.

According to Daily Mail, the vessels collided 1,000ft underwater in the Bay of Biscay (Golfe de Gascogne; Golfo de Vizcaya and Mar Cantábrico), a gulf of the North Atlantic Ocean. It lies along the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Punta de Estaca de Bares, and is named for the Spanish province of Biscay, with average depth of 5,723 feet (1,744 m) and maximum depth is 9,151 feet (2,789 m).

Each submarine is laden with missiles powerful enough for 1,248 Hiroshima bombings, The Independent said.

It is unlikely either vessel was operating its active sonar at the time of the collision, because the submarines are designed to “hide” while on patrol and the use of active sonar would immediately reveal the boat’s location. Both submarines’ hulls are covered with anechoic tile to reduce detection by sonar, so the boats’ navigational passive sonar would not have detected the presence of the other.

Lee Willett of London’s Royal United Services Institute said “the NATO allies would be very reluctant to share information on nuclear submarines. These are the strategic crown jewels of the nation. The whole purpose of a sea-based nuclear deterrent is to hide somewhere far out of sight. They are the ultimate tools of national survival in the event of war. Therefore, it’s the very last thing you would share with anybody.”

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band GCB, ADC of the United Kingdom, the most senior serving officer in the Royal Navy, said that “…the submarines came into contact at very low speed. Both submarines remained safe. No injuries occurred. We can confirm the capability remains unaffected and there was no compromise to nuclear safety.”

“Both navies want quiet areas, deep areas, roughly the same distance from their home ports. So you find these station grounds have got quite a few submarines, not only French and Royal Navy but also from Russia and the United States. Navies often used the same nesting grounds,” said John H. Large, an independent nuclear engineer and analyst primarily known for his work in assessing and reporting upon nuclear safety and nuclear related accidents and incidents.

President of the Royal Naval Association John McAnally said that the incident was a “one in a million chance”. “It would be very unusual on deterrent patrol to use active sonar because that would expose the submarine to detection. They are, of course, designed to be very difficult to detect and one of the priorities for both the captain and the deterrent patrol is to avoid detection by anything,” he said.

The development of stealth technology, making the submarines less visible to other vessels has properly explained that a submarine does not seem to have been able to pick out another submarine nearly the length of two football pitches and the height of a three-story building.

“The modus operandi of most submarines, particularly ballistic-missile submarines, is to operate stealthily and to proceed undetected. This means operating passively, by not transmitting on sonar, and making as little noise as possible. A great deal of technical effort has gone into making submarines quiet by reduction of machinery noise. And much effort has gone into improving the capability of sonars to detect other submarines; detection was clearly made too late or not at all in this case,” explained Stephen Saunders, the editor of Jane’s Fighting Ships, an annual reference book (also published online, on CD and microfiche) of information on all the world’s warships arranged by nation, including information on ship’s names, dimensions, armaments, silhouettes and photographs, etc.

According to Bob Ayres, a former CIA and US army officer, and former associate fellow at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, however, the submarines were not undetectable, despite their “stealth” technology. “When such submarines came across similar vessels from other navies, they sought to get as close as possible without being detected, as part of routine training. They were playing games with each other – stalking each other under the sea. They were practising being able to kill the other guy’s submarine before he could launch a missile.Because of the sound of their nuclear reactors’ water pumps, they were still noisier than old diesel-electric craft, which ran on batteries while submerged. The greatest danger in a collision was the hull being punctured and the vessel sinking, rather than a nuclear explosion,” Ayres explained.

Submarine collisions are uncommon, but not unheard of: in 1992, the USS Baton Rouge, a submarine belonging to the United States, under command of Gordon Kremer, collided with the Russian Sierra-class attack submarine K-276 that was surfacing in the Barents Sea.

In 2001, the US submarine USS Greeneville surfaced and collided with Japanese fishing training ship Ehime Maru (????), off the coast of Hawaii. The Navy determined the commanding officer of Greeneville to be in “dereliction of duty.”

The tenth HMS Vanguard (S28) of the British Royal Navy is the lead boat of her class of Trident ballistic missile-capable submarines and is based at HMNB Clyde, Faslane. The 150m long, V-class submarine under the Trident programme, has a crew of 135, weighs nearly 16,000 tonnes and is armed with 16 Trident 2 D5 ballistic missiles carrying three warheads each.

It is now believed to have been towed Monday to its naval base Faslane in the Firth of Clyde, with dents and scrapes to its hull. Faslane lies on the eastern shore of Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, to the north of the Firth of Clyde and 25 miles west of the city of Glasgow.

Vanguard is one of the deadliest vessels on the planet. It was built at Barrow-in-Furness by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd (now BAE Systems Submarine Solutions), was launched on 4 March, 1992, and commissioned on 14 August, 1993. The submarine’s first captain was Captain David Russell. In February 2002, Vanguard began a two-year refit at HMNB Devonport. The refit was completed in June 2004 and in October 2005 Vanguard completed her return to service trials (Demonstration and Shakedown Operations) with the firing of an unarmed Trident missile.

“The Vanguard has two periscopes, a CK51 search model and a CH91 attack model, both of which have a TV camera and thermal imager as well as conventional optics,” said John E. Pike, director and a national security analyst for http://www.globalsecurity.org/, an easily accessible pundit, and active in opposing the SDI, and ITAR, and consulting on NEO’s.File:Triomphant img 0394.jpg

“But the periscopes are useless at that depth. It’s pitch black after a couple of hundred feet. In the movies like ‘Hunt for Red October,’ you can see the subs in the water, but in reality it’s blindman’s bluff down there. The crash could have been a coincidence — some people win the lottery — but it’s much more possible that one vessel was chasing the other, trying to figure out what it was,” Pike explained.

Captain of HMS Vanguard, Commander Richard Lindsey said his men would not be there if they couldn’t go through with it. “I’m sure that if somebody was on board who did not want to be here, they would have followed a process of leaving the submarine service or finding something else to do in the Navy,” he noted.

The Triomphant is a strategic nuclear submarine, lead ship of her class (SNLE-NG). It was laid down on June 9, 1989, launched on March 26, 1994 and commissioned on March 21, 1997 with homeport at Île Longue. Equipped with 16 M45 ballistic missiles with six warheads each, it has 130 crew on board. It was completing a 70-day tour of duty at the time of the underwater crash. Its fibreglass sonar dome was damaged requiring three or four months in Drydock repair. “It has returned to its base on L’Ile Longue in Brittany on Saturday under its own power, escorted as usual by a frigate,” the ministry said.

A Ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident.

The Triomphant class of strategic missile submarines of the French Navy are currently being introduced into service to provide the sea based component (the Force Océanique Stratégique) of the French nuclear deterrent or Force de frappe, with the M45 SLBM. They are replacing the Redoutable-class boats. In French, they are called Sous-Marin Nucléaire Lanceur d’Engins de Nouvelle Génération (“SNLE-NG, literally “Device-launching nuclear submarine of the new generation”).

They are roughly one thousand times quieter than the Redoutable-class vessels, and ten times more sensitive in detecting other submarines [1]. They are designed to carry the M51 nuclear missile, which should enter active service around 2010.

Repairs for both heavily scraped and dented, missile-laden vessels were “conservatively” estimated to cost as much as €55m, with intricate missile guidance systems and navigation controls having to be replaced, and would be met by the French and British taxpayer, the Irish Independent reported.

Many observers are shocked by the deep sea disaster, as well as the amount of time it took for the news to reach the public. ”Two US and five Soviet submarine accidents in the past prove that the reactor protection system makes an explosion avoidable. But if the collision had been more powerful the submarines could have sunk very quickly and the fate of the 250 crew members would have been very serious indeed,” said Andrey Frolov, from Moscow’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

“I think this accident will force countries that possess nuclear submarines to sit down at the negotiating table and devise safety precautions that might avert such accidents in the future… But because submarines must be concealed and invisible, safety and navigation laws are hard to define,” Frolov said, noting further that there are no safety standards for submarines.

The unthinkable disaster – in the Atlantic’s 41 million square miles – has raised concern among nuclear activists. “This is a nuclear nightmare of the highest order. The collision of two submarines, both with nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons onboard, could have released vast amounts of radiation and scattered scores of nuclear warheads across the seabed,” said Kate Hudson, chair of Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

“This is the most severe incident involving a nuclear submarine since the Russian submarine RFS Kursk K-141 explosion and sinking in 2000 and the first time since the Cold War that two nuclear-armed subs are known to have collided. Gordon Brown should seize this opportunity to end continuous patrols,” Hudson added. Despite a rescue attempt by British and Norwegian teams, all 118 sailors and officers aboard Kursk died.

“This reminds us that we could have a new catastrophe with a nuclear submarine at any moment. It is a risk that exists during missions but also in port. These are mobile nuclear reactors,” said Stephane Lhomme, a spokesman for the French anti-nuclear group Sortir du Nucleaire.

Nicholas Barton “Nick” Harvey, British Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for North Devon has called for an immediate internal probe. “While the British nuclear fleet has a good safety record, if there were ever to be a bang it would be a mighty big one. Now that this incident is public knowledge, the people of Britain, France and the rest of the world need to be reassured this can never happen again and that lessons are being learned,” he said.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP for Moray has demanded for a government statement. “The Ministry of Defence needs to explain how it is possible for a submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction to collide with another submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction in the middle of the world’s second-largest ocean,” he said.

Michael Thomas Hancock, CBE, a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South and a City councillor for Fratton ward, and who sits on the Commons defence committee, has called on the Ministry of Defence Secretary of State John Hutton to make a statement when parliament sits next week.

“While I appreciate there are sensitive issues involved here, it is important that this is subject to parliamentary scrutiny. It’s fairly unbelievable that this has happened in the first place but we now need to know that lessons have been learnt. We need to know for everyone’s sakes that everything possible is now done to ensure that there is not a repeat of the incident. There are serious issues as to how some of the most sophisticated naval vessels in the seas today can collide in this way,” Mr. Hancock said.

Tory defence spokesman Liam Fox, a British Conservative politician, currently Shadow Defence Secretary and Member of Parliament for Woodspring, said: “For two submarines to collide while apparently unaware of each other’s presence is extremely worrying.”

Meanwhile, Hervé Morin, the French Minister of Defence, has denied allegations the nuclear submarines, which are hard to detect, had been shadowing each other deliberately when they collided, saying their mission was to sit at the bottom of the sea and act as a nuclear deterrent.

“There’s no story to this — the British aren’t hunting French submarines, and the French submarines don’t hunt British submarines. We face an extremely simple technological problem, which is that these submarines are not detectable. They make less noise than a shrimp. Between France and Britain, there are things we can do together….one of the solutions would be to think about the patrol zones,” Morin noted, and further denying any attempt at a cover-up.

France’s Atlantic coast is known as a submarine graveyard because of the number of German U-boats and underwater craft sunk there during the Second World War.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

New Zealand farmers have won a key victory in Parliament, with MPs voting to exempt Working farm dogs from microchipping legislation, passing 61:60.

The Federated Farmers debated the law for a long time, saying that the cost of microchipping all their dogs will be a huge cost and an inconvenience. Under previous legislation, all newly registered dogs were to have identification microchips embedded by July 1. The microchips in dogs are for owner identification, in case of attacks on humans. This law was introduced when Carolina Anderson, 7-year-old, was attacked in 2003.

Parliament has been debating several proposed amendments to the Local Government Law Reform bill, which aimed to change the microchipping requirement.

Blogger David Farrar says “It is very messy for the Government to lose the vote after piling so much pressure on.” In the end only Labour, Progressive plus New Zealand First voted for it.

The Green party split votes (rare for a party). Four Greens MPs voted for the farm dog exemption and two against.

The four Green MPs were – Sue Bradford, Keith Locke, Sue Kedgley and Nandor Tanczos. The Greens had previously proposed that only dangerous dogs should be microchipped.

In favour of exempting farm dogs:

Total: 61

Against:

Total: 60

byAlma Abell

Home-owners cringe over the thought of needing to repair or replace their roof. Although this is a frequently experienced emotion, individuals typically feel at ease once they learn just how quick, hassle-free, and inexpensive these services can be. In order to get the most out of a roofing project, home-owners need to hire professionals. Unfortunately, there are a ton of contractors that claim to provide superior work at less than reasonable costs. In most of these cases, home-owners have found themselves in the middle of a roofing project nightmare. In order to avoid this situation, it is highly recommended that due diligence is always complete on all prospective contractors.

When conducted by a skilled professional, Roofing Services are completed on time, on the budget, and with little to no bumps in the road. There are a couple of things that should be checked prior to hiring a contractor, some of which include:

  • Is the contractor licensed?
  • How many years of experience does the company have?
  • Have they completed similar work recently?
  • Are they properly insured?

In most cases, contractors are able to provide all roofing services, which include new installation, repairs, maintenance, or re-roofing. The amount of labour time that is required to successfully finish these services will vary drastically. Therefore it is encouraged for individuals to find this information out before committing to anything. With all of these services, customers will have the option to choose the type of material that will be used. Some roofing materials have shown to be more beneficial than others. Therefore these advantages should be a factor that is considered.

Roofing Services no longer have to be a headache. Hire a contractor that knows what they are doing and takes the extra time needed to produce a professional result. A great motto for roofing companies to live by is: We will make your house a better home. Look into the companies background, services provided, and customer references. By doing this, homeowners can gain the confidence they need to hire the contractor and have work begin as soon as possible. Reliable services through dependable contractors make roofing projects that much simpler.

Visit Uniquehomesolutions.org for further details.