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Retrieved 21 January Parsing Manchester code from EM tags Library for parsing manchester or biphase encoded data from EM compatible tags. In most cities, settlements and judgments come out of the general fund. The police department similarly created a new unit in early of roughly 40 attorneys and investigators to respond to claims. Colonial Exploitation and Economic Development.

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The vast majority of localities nationwide participate in government risk pools, viewed as a more cost-effective alternative to private insurance companies. That might be, in some cases, because governments expanded services, or tort caps were increased or lifted. Pricey payouts are an issue for many cities across the country, but New York is the epicenter. Its law department employs an army of more than attorneys, and the city currently faces more than 21, pending cases.

There are several reasons why New York attracts so many lawsuits. New York is the lone remaining state with such a law on the books, and it can significantly raise costs. Consider bridge projects that span from New York to New Jersey: According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, total claim amounts between and were more than twice as high on the New York side.

The state, home to the most lawyers per capita, has resisted legislative proposals to modify its tort laws. Part of that means pushing back against what the city sees as meritless lawsuits. In past years, New York often agreed to pay out small settlements just to make cases go away. One settlement in early drew particular ire from officials.

A man wielding a machete had threatened police officers and was shot in the leg during an altercation; the man then accused the police of wrongdoing. Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to make changes. Indeed, New York has devoted new resources to fighting these types of suits. The police department similarly created a new unit in early of roughly 40 attorneys and investigators to respond to claims.

New York has engaged in a major effort to get smarter about the kinds of risks that lead to lawsuits in the first place. In , City Comptroller Scott Stringer launched ClaimStat , a data-driven initiative intended to serve as an early warning system for city agencies by detecting patterns in claim filings.

The office has now issued a series of alerts drawing attention to problems such as potholes, playground injuries and traffic accidents involving pedestrians. ClaimStat staff are also working with the police department to better respond to and address claims. Now, when a new claim is filed, police investigators immediately start working to assess its merits, searching for witnesses and surveillance video.

They analyze claims data in real time, attempting to pinpoint recurring issues in precincts throughout the city. Early results of the new initiative are encouraging: Police misconduct filings dipped 13 percent in fiscal , the first year-over-year decline in at least a decade. Local advocacy groups are supportive, but say the city could still do more to address underlying concerns.

It will take years for New York to realize the full effects of the changes. But the initiatives are expected to cut costs. On the whole, says Daitz, New York will no longer be known as a place to file a claim and make a quick buck. The days of an easy payday are long gone.

The ClaimStat program maps filings throughout the city.

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But there are a number of other things a city can do to bring down its claims costs. Cities could also incentivize individual departments to help cut down on risks. Comptroller Stringer has suggested New York consider holding individual departments more responsible for the claims filed against them.

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Digital Playground roster of babes have it all: Their male costars are no slouches either, trust us. The committee itself eventually disintegrated but Leopold continued to refer to it and use the defunct organization as a smokescreen for his operations in laying claim to the Congo region.

Determined to look for a colony for himself and inspired by recent reports from central Africa, Leopold began patronizing a number of leading explorers, including Henry Morton Stanley. To give his African operations a name that could serve for a political entity, Leopold created, between and , the International Association of the Congo French: Association internationale du Congo , or AIC as a new umbrella organization.

This organization sought to combine the numerous small territories acquired into one sovereign state and asked for recognition from the European powers. Arthur of the United States decided that the cessions claimed by Leopold from the local leaders were lawful and recognized the International Association of the Congo's claim on the region, becoming the first country to do so.

In , the US Secretary of State said, "The Government of the United States announces its sympathy with and approval of the humane and benevolent purposes of the International Association of the Congo. In November , Otto von Bismarck convened a nation conference to submit the Congo question to international control and to finalize the colonial partitioning of the African continent.

Most major powers including Austria-Hungary , Belgium , France , Germany , Portugal , Italy , the United Kingdom , Russia , the Ottoman Empire , and the United States attended the Berlin Conference , and drafted an international code governing the way that European countries should behave as they acquired African territory.

The conference officially recognized the International Congo Association, and specified that it should have no connection with Belgium or any other country, but would be under the personal control of King Leopold, i. It drew specific boundaries and specified that all nations should have access to do business in the Congo with no tariffs.

The slave trade would be suppressed. In , Leopold emerged triumphant. Following the United States's recognition of Leopold's colony, other European powers deliberated on the news. Portugal flirted with the French at first, but the British offered to support Portugal's claim to the entire Congo in return for a free trade agreement and to spite their French rivals.

Britain was uneasy at French expansion and had a technical claim on the Congo via Lieutenant Cameron 's expedition from Zanzibar to bring home Livingstone 's body, but was reluctant to take on yet another expensive, unproductive colony. Bismarck of Germany had vast new holdings in southwest Africa , and had no plans for the Congo, but was happy to see rivals Britain and France excluded from the colony.

By a resolution passed in the Belgian parliament, Leopold became roi souverain , sovereign king, of the newly formed CFS, over which he enjoyed nearly absolute control. Eventually, [ when? He appointed the heads of the three departments of state: Below the secretaries-general were a series of bureaucrats of decreasing rank: The departments were headquartered in Brussels.

Finance was in charge of accounting for income and expenditure and tracking the public debt. Besides diplomacy, foreign affairs was in charge of shipping, education, religion and commerce. The department of the interior was responsible for defence, police, public health and public works.

It was also charged with overseeing the exploitation of the Congo's natural resources and plantations. The vice governor-general on the ground had a state secretary through whom he communicated with his district officers. The Free State had an independent judiciary headed by a minister of justice at Boma. The minister was equal in rank to the vice governor-general and initially answered to the governor-general, but was eventually made responsible to the sovereign alone.

There was a supreme court composed of three judges, which heard appeals, and below it a high court of one judge. These sat at Boma. Justice, however, was slow and the system ill-suited to a frontier society. To the temporary new capital of Boma , he sent a governor-general and a chief of police.

The vast Congo basin was split up into 14 administrative districts, each district into zones, each zone into sectors, and each sector into posts. From the district commissioners down to post level, every appointed head was European. However, with little financial means the Free State mainly relied on local elites to rule and tax the vast and hard-to-reach Congolese interior.

Leopold pledged to suppress the east African slave trade; promote humanitarian policies; guarantee free trade within the colony; impose no import duties for twenty years; and encourage philanthropic and scientific enterprises. Beginning in the mids, Leopold first decreed that the state asserted rights of proprietorship over all vacant lands throughout the Congo territory.

In three successive decrees, Leopold promised the rights of the Congolese in their land to native villages and farms, essentially making nearly all of the CFS terres domainales state-owned land. Additionally, the colonial administration liberated thousands of slaves. Leopold could not meet the costs of running the Congo Free State.

Desperately, he set in motion a system to maximize revenue. The first change was the introduction of the concept of terres vacantes , "vacant" land, which was any land that did not contain a habitation or a cultivated garden plot. All of this land i. Servants of the state namely any men in Leopold's employ were encouraged to exploit it.

Shortly after the anti-slavery conference he held in Brussels in , Leopold issued a new decree which said that Africans could only sell their harvested products mostly ivory and rubber to the state in a large part of the Free State. This law grew out of the earlier decree which had said that all "unoccupied" land belonged to the state.

Any ivory or rubber collected from the state-owned land, the reasoning went, must belong to the state; creating a de facto state-controlled monopoly. Suddenly, the only outlet a large share of the local population had for their products was the state, which could set purchase prices and therefore could control the amount of income the Congolese could receive for their work.

However, for local elites this system presented new opportunities as the Free State and concession companies paid them with guns to tax their subjects in kind. Trading companies began to lose out to the free state government, which not only paid no taxes but also collected all the potential income. These companies were outraged by the restrictions on free trade , which the Berlin Act had so carefully protected years before.

A decree in divided the terres vacantes into a domainal system, which privatized extraction rights over rubber for the state in certain private domains, allowing Leopold to grant vast concessions to private companies. In other areas, private companies could continue to trade but were highly restricted and taxed. The domainal system enforced an in-kind tax on the Free State's Congolese subjects.

As essential intermediaries, local rulers forced their men, women and children to collect rubber, ivory and foodstuffs. Depending on the power of local rulers, the Free State paid below rising market prices. Each company was given a large amount of land in the Congo Free State on which to collect rubber and ivory for sale in Europe.

These companies were allowed to detain Africans who did not work hard enough, to police their vast areas as they saw fit and to take all the products of the forest for themselves. In return for their concessions, these companies paid an annual dividend to the Free State. At the height of the rubber boom, from until , these dividends also filled the royal coffers.

Rubber revenue went directly to Leopold who paid the Free State for the high costs of exploitation. From that year onwards, the Congolese rubber sector started to generate vast sums of money at an immense cost for the local population. Early in Leopold's rule, the second problem—the British South Africa Company's expansionism into the southern Congo Basin—was addressed.

The distant Yeke Kingdom , in Katanga on the upper Lualaba River , had signed no treaties, was known to be rich in copper and thought to have much gold from its slave-trading activities. Its powerful mwami big chief , Msiri , had already rejected a treaty brought by Alfred Sharpe on behalf of Cecil Rhodes.

In a Free State expedition extracted a letter from Msiri agreeing to their agents coming to Katanga and later that year Leopold II sent the well-armed Stairs Expedition , led by the Canadian-British captain William Grant Stairs , to take possession of Katanga one way or another. Msiri tried to play the Free State off against Rhodes and when negotiations bogged down, Stairs flew the Free State flag anyway and gave Msiri an ultimatum.

Instead, Msiri decamped to another stockade. Stairs sent a force to capture him but Msiri stood his ground, whereupon Captain Omer Bodson shot Msiri dead and was fatally wounded in the resulting fight. This was to impress upon the locals that Msiri's rule had really ended, after which the successor chief recognized by Stairs signed the treaty.

Initially the authority of the Congo Free State was relatively weak in the eastern regions of the Congo. In the longer term this alliance was indefensible at home and abroad. Furthermore, Tippu Tip and Leopold were commercial rivals. Every person that Tippu Tip hunted down and put into chattel slavery and every pound of ivory he exported to Zanzibar was a loss to Leopold II.

This, and Leopold's humanitarian pledges to the Berlin Conference to end slavery, meant war was inevitable. Open warfare broke out in late November Both sides fought by proxy, arming and leading the populations of the upper Congo forests in conflict. In , King Leopold II signed a treaty with Great Britain which conceded a strip of land on the Free State's eastern border in exchange for the Lado Enclave , which provided access to the navigable Nile and extended the Free State's sphere of influence northwards into Sudan.

After rubber profits soared in , Leopold ordered the organization of an expedition into the Lado Enclave, which had been overrun by Mahdist rebels since the outbreak of the Mahdist War in Both expeditions set out in December Although Leopold II had initially planned for the expedition to carry on much farther than the Lado Enclave, hoping indeed to take Fashoda and then Khartoum , Dhanis' column mutinied in February , resulting in the death of several Belgian officers and the loss of his entire force.

But frequent raids outside of Lado territory by Belgian Congolese forces based in Rejaf caused alarm and suspicion among British and French officials wary of Leopold's imperial ambitions. While the war against African powers was ending, the quest for income was increasing, fueled by the aire policy. By , Leopold was facing considerable financial difficulty. District officials' salaries were reduced to a bare minimum, and made up with a commission payment based on the profit that their area returned to Leopold.

After widespread criticism, this "primes system" was substituted for the allocation de retraite in which a large part of the payment was granted, at the end of the service, only to those territorial agents and magistrates whose conduct was judged "satisfactory" by their superiors. This meant in practice that nothing changed. In direct violation of his promises of free trade within the CFS under the terms of the Berlin Treaty, not only had the state become a commercial entity directly or indirectly trading within its dominion, but also, Leopold had been slowly monopolizing a considerable amount of the ivory and rubber trade by imposing export duties on the resources traded by other merchants within the CFS.

In terms of infrastructure, Leopold's regime began construction of the railway that ran from the coast to the capital of Leopoldville now Kinshasa. This project, known today as the Matadi—Kinshasa Railway , took years to complete. To monopolize the resources of the entire Congo Free State, Leopold issued three decrees in and that reduced the native population to serfs.

Collectively, these forced the natives to deliver all ivory and rubber, harvested or found, to state officers thus nearly completing Leopold's monopoly of the ivory and rubber trade. The rubber came from wild vines in the jungle, unlike the rubber from Brazil Hevea brasiliensis , which was tapped from trees.

To extract the rubber, instead of tapping the vines, the Congolese workers would slash them and lather their bodies with the rubber latex. When the latex hardened, it would be scraped off the skin in a painful manner, as it took off the worker's hair with it.

Early on, the FP was used primarily to campaign against the Arab slave trade in the Upper Congo, protect Leopold's economic interests, and suppress the frequent uprisings within the state. The Force Publique's officer corps included only white Europeans Belgian regular soldiers and mercenaries from other countries.

On arriving in the Congo, these recruited men from Zanzibar and west Africa, and eventually from the Congo itself. In addition, Leopold had been actually encouraging the slave trade among Arabs in the Upper Congo in return for slaves to fill the ranks of the FP. Many of the black soldiers were from far-off peoples of the Upper Congo, while others had been kidnapped in raids on villages in their childhood and brought to Roman Catholic missions, where they received a military training in conditions close to slavery.

Armed with modern weapons and the chicotte —a bull whip made of hippopotamus hide—the Force Publique routinely took and tortured hostages, slaughtered families of rebels, and flogged and raped Congolese people with a reign of terror and abuse that cost millions of lives. One refugee from these horrors described the process:. We were always in the forest to find the rubber vines, to go without food, and our women had to give up cultivating the fields and gardens.

Then we starved When we failed and our rubber was short, the soldiers came to our towns and killed us. Many were shot, some had their ears cut off; others were tied up with ropes round their necks and taken away. They also burned recalcitrant villages, and above all, cut off the hands of Congolese natives, including children. The human hands were collected as trophies on the orders of their officers to show that bullets had not been wasted.

Officers were concerned that their subordinates might waste their ammunition on hunting animals for sport, so they required soldiers to submit one hand for every bullet spent. This was all contrary to the promises of uplift made at the Berlin Conference which had recognized the Congo Free State.

Failure to meet the rubber collection quotas was punishable by death. Meanwhile, the Force Publique were required to provide the hand of their victims as proof when they had shot and killed someone, as it was believed that they would otherwise use the munitions imported from Europe at considerable cost for hunting.

Sometimes the hands were collected by the soldiers of the Force Publique, sometimes by the villages themselves. There were even small wars where villages attacked neighboring villages to gather hands, since their rubber quotas were too unrealistic to fill. All blacks saw this man as the devil of the Equator From all the bodies killed in the field, you had to cut off the hands.

He wanted to see the number of hands cut off by each soldier, who had to bring them in baskets A village which refused to provide rubber would be completely swept clean. Rubber causes these torments; that's why we no longer want to hear its name spoken. Soldiers made young men kill or rape their own mothers and sisters. One junior officer described a raid to punish a village that had protested.

The officer in command "ordered us to cut off the heads of the men and hang them on the village palisades They kill us if we don't bring the rubber. The Commissioner has promised us if we have plenty of hands he will shorten our service. The baskets of severed hands, set down at the feet of the European post commanders, became the symbol of the Congo Free State.

The collection of hands became an end in itself. Force Publique soldiers brought them to the stations in place of rubber; they even went out to harvest them instead of rubber They became a sort of currency. They came to be used to make up for shortfalls in rubber quotas, to replace In theory, each right hand proved a killing.

In practice, to save ammunition soldiers sometimes "cheated" by simply cutting off the hand and leaving the victim to live or die.

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