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Rower Tuijn halfway across Pacific in record attempt
May 26, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Dutch adventurer Ralph Tuijn has reached the halfway point of his attempt to be the first person to row across the Pacific Ocean unaided.

The 16,000 kilometre journey from the coast of Peru to the seaside city of Brisbane, Australia, the widest section of the Pacific, has never been crossed absolutely unaided by a rower, and Tuijn says just nine people have rowed it even with assistance.

Tuijn reached the central point of his crossing, an insignificant point of water in the ocean, 111 days after setting off from Peru in March. He has been making good progress, and has since cut his estimated time of arrival in Brisbane by a month.

The Dutchman, who now expects to reach his destination on October 20, has kept in touch with those tracking his movements through daily internet postings from his laptop computer, including his wife Winnie. His boat, the Zeeman Challenger, is a seven-metre custom plywood vessel.

Tuijn has overcome a variety of obstacles to reach the halfway point. He is suffering from the constant attention of sharks, who often bump his boat and disrupt his attempts at sleep. One particular shark, dubbed ‘Gomulka’ by Tuijn, has been trailing the adventurer’s boat for extended periods.

He has also accidentally burnt himself when he spilled hot water on his foot whilst trying to make coffee, apparently also from a shark ‘bump’. He is also forced to manually pump water for cooking and drinking after his automatic water pump broke down not long into his journey.

“Physically everything feels great and I can’t help feeling that I could do this for 500 days, but mentally it’s still hard to be on your own for such a long time”

His vessel has no motors or sails, but relies on his physical rowing power to move. The boat does have a solar power system to provide energy for his laptop, a telephone and a global positioning system.

Tujin, who is raising money for a children’s home in Mumbai, India, is rowing at an average speed of 58 kilometres each day. His diet consists of freeze-dried foods and fish, which are keeping him physically well-conditioned despite tiring mentally.

Tuijn is a serial adventurer and experienced rower. He has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, as well as cycled across Russia and the icy terrain of Greenland.

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U.S. House rejects Senate version of payroll tax cut
May 24, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yesterday, the United States House of Representatives voted to effectively reject the Senate version of a bill, passed with bipartisan support, to extend a payroll tax cut two months past its year-end expiration date. The House voted instead to create a conference committee to settle differences between members of both bodies.

Although the tax cut extension itself has support among Republicans and Democrats, lawmakers disagree on how Congress should go about compensating for the cost of extending the cut and the policy changes it would entail.

During an appearance yesterday, President Obama condemned opposition to the Senate-passed version of the bill, accusing Republicans in the House of trying to negotiate on matters unrelated to the bill. Republicans, in response, say there is still time to negotiate the bill, insisting that lawmakers ought to concentrate on a year-long plan rather than a two-month extension. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, however, says he will not agree to negotiate the tax cut extension until the Senate-approved bill is passed by the House.

If the tax cut is not extended and instead expires on December 31, approximately 160 million Americans will be affected by the tax increase; President Obama insists the only way to prevent the tax hike beginning January 1 is for the House to pass the Senate bill. In response, House Speaker and Republican John Boehner wants Obama to “call on the Senate to return” to negotiate. The Senate, shortly after passing the bill, adjourned for the Holiday break.

Also included in the bill is a provision that would require President Obama to make a decision regarding the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a pipeline that would transport oil from Canada to Texas.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi blamed the congressional year-end impasse on “Tea Party Republicans.” In a letter to President Obama, Speaker Boehner requested he galvanize the Senate to negotiate on the bill’s provisions, writing “The differences between the two different bills can be quickly reconciled to provide the American people the certainty of a full-year bill. There are still 11 days before the end of the year, and with so many Americans struggling, there is no reason they should be wasted. You have said many times that Congress must do its work before taking vacation”.

 This story has updates See U.S. Congress reaches deal on payroll tax cut extension, December 23, 2011 
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Category:United States Geological Survey
May 24, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

This is the category for the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a federal scientific agency of the US Government that studies landscape, natural resources, and natural hazards.

In most cases it is NOT sufficient, for inclusion in this category, that an article cite USGS for the magnitude of an earthquake. That’s routine statistics-gathering for USGS, and probably applies to a large fraction of all articles in Category:Earthquakes, so automatic inclusion of all such articles here would dilute the category, making it less useful for finding articles of particular relevance to USGS.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

  • 13 August 2014: India urges peaceful settlement of disputes at South China Sea
  • 25 April 2012: Disposal of fracking wastewater poses potential environmental problems
  • 14 June 2010: Flash floods kill at least nineteen campers in Arkansas
  • 6 November 2007: Rare earthquake strikes Antarctica
  • 24 September 2007: Seven caves found on Mars: NASA
  • 17 January 2007: Cassini photographs possible lakes on Saturn’s moon, Titan
  • 14 September 2005: Volcanic bulge found in Oregon
  • 25 July 2005: Tsunami warning briefly issued for Indian Ocean after latest earthquake

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Hong Kong’s recession ends, economy grows 3.3%

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Hong Kong’s recession ends, economy grows 3.3%
May 23, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Friday, August 14, 2009

According to official records, Hong Kong’s economy has left a year-long recession, recording a growth of 3.3% in the second quarter ended in June. The figures, which were seasonally adjusted, were higher than forecast by economists.

As a result, the government has increased its growth predictions for 2009. Previous estimates suggested the economy would contract by 5.5% to 6.5%. Now, the contraction is only predicted to be between 3.5% and 4.5%.

“The GDP data was much better than we expected, partly because the exports were better and partly because of a pick-up in private consumption,” Bank of East Asia’s chief economist, Paul Tang, noted. “Private consumption is being driven up by stock market gains and by the property sector, which started doing well.”

However, government economist Helen Chan warned that “while we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, […] the outlook remain highly uncertain because the situations in the United States and Europe are still very weak.”

California court sentences parents who kept their children in captivity

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California court sentences parents who kept their children in captivity
May 21, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Yesterday in California’s Riverside County criminal court, Judge Bernard Schwartz sentenced David and Louise Turpin to life in prison for torturing all but the youngest of their thirteen children.

As revealed at trial, the Turpins had kept their children indoors for years and rarely allowed them outside the family home, located 70 miles (112 km) south of Los Angeles. The children were banned from washing more often than once a year and could not use the toilet. They were severely malnourished, to the point that some of those who are now adults were initially mistaken for children. The oldest of the Turpin’s offspring, age 29, weighed 82 pounds (37 kg). Another brother, 22, was still chained to a bed when found. None of the twelve had ever received any sort of dental care.

The judge presiding over the case, Bernard Schwartz, said, “You have severed the ability to interact and raise your children that you have created and brought into this world.” Schwartz went on to say he was not giving them the longest possible sentence because they had “accepted responsibility at an early stage in the proceeding” by pleading guilty to fourteen felony charges each and “spared your children having to relive the humiliation and the harm they endured in that house of horrors.”

Specifically, both parents faced twelve counts of torture and false imprisonment, nine counts of child abuse, and seven counts of cruelty to a dependent adult. David Turpin, alone, was also charged with making false statements for the purpose of obtaining a home schooling license.

The father said “I love my children and I believe my children love me.”

The mother said “I really look forward to the day I can see them, hug them and tell them I’m sorry.”

One of the children said, “Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that had happened such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten.” However, this person also said that they still love their parents and had partially forgiven them.

One of them even went as far to say, “Although it may not have been the best way of raising us, I am glad that they did because it made me the person I am today.”

The two parents were arrested in January of last year after one of their daughters, aged 17, escaped and phoned 911 (the emergency telephone number in the United States). She did not know what address her house was or know the date and said some of her siblings were chained into their beds.

The Turpins are scheduled to be eligible for parole in 25 years.

Bosnian war criminal sent to UK

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Bosnian war criminal sent to UK
May 20, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A former Bosnian Serb leader convicted of war crimes has been sent to the United Kingdom to serve out the remaining years of his sentence. Momcilo Krajišnik is one of the highest-ranking officials convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Krajišnik held important positions in the run up to and during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which raged from 1992–95. He sat on the nationalist Serbian Democratic Party‘s Main Board, was in the National Security Council and was the head of the Bosnian Serb Assembly. He used these positions to try and purge non-Serbs from occupied territories.

He received a 27-year sentence in 2006 but this was reduced after an appeals court quashed convictions for murder, extermination and persecution. He remains convicted of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and persecution, charges totaling eleven offences.

Utah legalizes homebrewing

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Utah legalizes homebrewing
May 19, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The United States state of Utah has legalized homebrewing of beer and wine.

H.B. 51, “Exemption for Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturing License”, was signed into law by Utah governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. on March 24 after being passed by large majorities in both houses of the State Legislature. The bill was introduced by Salt Lake City representative Christine A. Johnson (D-25th district) and will take effect on May 12.

The act modifies existing Utah law to give an exemption to the state’s requirement of a brewing license for amateur brewers, as long as the beer or wine they produce is not for sale and the amount produced is less than 100 US gallons (379 liters) per year for an individual or 200 US gallons (757 liters) for a couple. The unlicensed distillation of spirits remains illegal in the United States under federal law.

Although prohibition of alcohol in the United States ended in 1933 and the homebrewing of beer has been legal at a federal level since 1978, many US states, counties and cities restrict the production, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages more tightly than is done at the federal level. With the passage of Utah’s legislation, four US states still forbid homebrewing: Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

The legislation was introduced largely through the work of University of Utah law student Douglas Wawrzynski. AHA director Gary Glass was also closely involved with Rep Johnson in drafting the bill’s language. Wawrzynski told Wikinews about what led him to initiate a campaign to change the law:

I moved to Utah from Connecticut in 2005 and started into the hobby [of homebrewing] shortly thereafter. There are multiple homebrew shops that have been operating legally in Utah for several years, so it wasn’t until after I started law school in the fall of 2007 that someone suggested to me that the hobby might not be legal in Utah. After having done some research and contacting the American Homebrewers Association, I began to understand the current ambiguity of the law and how it could certainly be interpreted to adversely affect homebrewers. In fact in 2005 the city of South Salt Lake had taken steps to affirmatively enact penalties for engaging in homebrewing. While that effort was ultimately abandoned it illustrated just how the current state of the law could have a negative impact on homebrewers.

Home-brewing is a healthy and vibrant hobby in Utah

Despite the restrictions, according to the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), some seven thousand people in Utah were illegally taking part in the hobby, which has 750,000 adherents nationwide. Rep Johnson said “home-brewing is a healthy and vibrant hobby in Utah” and thanked the AHA for “thorough education, great committee testimony and association members who flooded elected officials with emails of support.”

The bill passes on Rep Johnson’s second attempt to introduce it. As H.B. 425, the act was introduced late in the Utah legislature’s 2008 session, where it did not reach a Utah Senate vote. Ms Johnson’s legislative work has primarily concerned equality and human rights in Utah, including a successful attempt to add a voluntary amount to the marriage license fee in order to fund shelters for victims of domestic violence and a failed attempt to introduce language banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity into Utah state law.

I’m not comfortable with home brewing. It seems fraught with mischief to me

Opposition to the bill, meanwhile, was sporadic and reflected, in Wawrzynski’s view, bad understanding of homebrewing rather than hostility toward the hobby:

In each of the several committee meetings this bill went through, the bill was met with challenging and sometimes bizarre questions regarding its impact and what this would enable people to do. One Senator, Senator Lilenquist [State Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-23rd district] even inquired if this bill would make it legal for someone to put beer in a baby bottle and give it to a one year old.

Ronda Rudd Menlove, a Republican representing the 1st district, says her primary concern in voting against the bill was the potential for alcohol to affect children:

When the vote was taken on HB 51, I had a constituent sitting by me, a young high school student. I briefly explained the bill to him during the debate and then asked him how he would vote on the bill and why. This is what he told me. He said that he was concerned that young people would have greater access to alcohol because alcohol would be brewed in homes resulting in great accessibility for youth living in those homes. This concerned him greatly as a member of a local youth city council as well. He is concerned about the amount of under-age drinking in his community and believed that greater access to alcohol could cause an increase in under-age drinking in Utah….

My secondary reason for voting against the bill is that I am adamantly opposed to the excess use and abuse of alcohol. I am opposed to any use of alcohol by pregnant mothers. As a secondary level teacher and high school administrator, I worked with troubled youth and special education populations. I have struggled with young people who live with the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. If you want to be very depressed, read about the lifelong effects of FAS. This syndrome affects learning and behavior that is often erratic and unpredictable. Most of the students with FAS fail miserably in school and find little success in school, jobs, or life. This is a very serious problem related to alcohol use and one that affects the innocent fetus and not the perpetrator of this action.

Utah has quirky alcohol laws. The overarching goal of preventing under-age drinking and the abuse of alcohol has created these laws. The intention is admirable and one that I support. How to achieve these goals is challenging and has resulted in laws that may seem strange to others living outside of Utah. Utah’s Governor and Legislature has struggled with this and recently passed legislation revamping these laws. I voted against those changes due to the fact that little information was provided about the impact of the changes.

Kraig Powell (54th district), a Duchesne County Republican, the other representative to vote against the bill in its final form, said he did so because a constituent was “concerned about increased access to alcohol and drunk driving dangers”. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Assistant Whip Gregory Bell (R-22nd district), said to the Deseret News: “I’m not comfortable with home brewing. It seems fraught with mischief to me.”

Relax, stop worrying, and have a legal homebrew

Wawrzynski believes that education and understanding from the community were critical in the passage of the bill.

[T]hrough the efforts, emails and testimony of people like Representative Johnson and Gary Glass, and most importantly, from Utah homebrewers themselves, we changed minds through education. In fact, the Chairman of the Senate Business and Labor Committee, Senator Valentine (R-14th district) openly admitted on the record that he had been compelled to change his vote to a favorable one after hearing compelling testimony from member of the Utah community.

I think that as the state of Utah continues to grow in diversity, the community will become enriched with a wide array of backgrounds and opinions. As this happens we will have an opportunity to develop a greater understanding of our own neighbors and how differences in lifestyle can ultimately be respected and embraced.

Paralleling a common motto of the homebrewing community, Wawrzynski proclaimed on passage of the bill: “Utah homebrewers are finally free to relax, stop worrying, and have a legal homebrew”.

Pope visits homeland in Germany

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Pope visits homeland in Germany
May 19, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI went to visit his homeland in Marktl-am-Inn, Germany today. The Pope celebrated Mass in front of 70,000 people, at Kapellplatz square. Benedict had a six-day homecoming tour of his native Bavaria, a state in Germany. He said a prayer remembering 9/11 victims.

Benedict also planned to make visits to where he was born, and to Freising, where he was ordained a priest. He will also visit Regensburg, where he once taught theology; he still has a house in the city, and his brother Georg, a retired priest and choir director, lives there as well.

“This is the mother that generations have come to Altoetting to visit,” he said. “To her we entrust our cares, our needs and our troubles.”

He visited his first house, which he lived till he was two years old. The house had to be cleaned after it was spattered with blue paint early on Sunday. The police described it as vandalism.

“This is a really big thing — I’ve never seen a pope before,” said Juergen Tauer, a 38-year-old computer technician from the Bavarian town of Degendorf who took the day off to travel to Altoetting with his wife and three children. “It’s great that the pope is coming to Altoetting.”

Everyone was excited about the chance to see the pope.

Hillary Clinton’s song contest reaches final round

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Hillary Clinton’s song contest reaches final round
May 18, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Friday, June 1, 2007

U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton has been asking webizens to vote on her official campaign song. Campaign Manager Patti Solis Doyle sent an email today to previous voters, urging them to choose a song in the second and final round of voting.

Clinton, as many of the other candidates, have been using “Web 2.0” applications like YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, and blogs to try and engage young voters.

The top five songs in Round One were “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall, “Rock This Country!” by Shania Twain, “Beautiful Day” by U2, “Get Ready” by The Temptations, and “I’m a Believer” by Smash Mouth. Five top write-ins were also added to the list of round 2 nominees: “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” by McFadden & Whitehead, “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police, “You and I” by Celine Dion, and “The Best” by Tina Turner.

Many of the nominated songs are from international artists; Tunstall is Scottish, Twain is Canadian, and U2 are Irish.

News briefs:June 4, 2010

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News briefs:June 4, 2010
May 17, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)
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