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Australian volunteer firefighters kept busy on New Year’s Day
September 18, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Sunday, January 1, 2006A massive bushfire that was threatening West Victorian towns of Great Western, Armstrong, Moyston, Pomonal, Halls Gap and Ararat has stopped spreading due to heavy rainfall giving firefighters their first relief in two days. Meanwhile, two major fires have broken out on the New South Wales Central Coast, North of Sydney with another in Sydney.

The Victorian fire has destroyed 5 homes in the Stawell and two people have been injured when they fell down a mineshaft while fighting the blaze. Reports claim that the fire front was up to 30Km in length. Earlier today the fire was burning out of control, being fanned by strong winds. This afternoon a weather change came, dumping heavy rain over the region.

Five major fires have been reported on the NSW Central coast in the Woy Woy and Mount White regions. 50 homes are believed to be under direct threat. Residents in affected parts of Woy Woy, Umina and Pearl beaches, and Patonga, have been taken to makeshift evacuation centres at the Gosford Leagues Club and Woy Woy Bowling Club.

The Sydney Newcastle (F3 freeway) and Pacific Highway have been closed. Motorists which had been standed on the southbound carriageway of the F3 freeway were allowed through at around 6PM AEDT following fears of a wind change which could have put them in danger of the fire. Police say that the backlog was let through and the freeway remains closed.

Intercity train services North of Sydney have also been affected with the railway line closed at Berowra.

Dozens of fire crews and four water bombing aircraft were battling the blazes, according to bushfire volunteer Michael Wood, with changeable wind conditions starting spot fires nearby. Strong north-westerly wind gusts and temperatures of up to 44 degrees posed extremely dangerous fire conditions, the Rural Fire Service said.

The Woy Woy fire front was expected to make a run to Umina and Pearl Beach in the coming hours. 300 firefighters are working to contain the flames.

Cameron Wade, a spokesman for the NSW Rural Fire Service said firefighters were battling flames up to 30 metres in height, destroying several homes. A Fire Station near Woy Woy was also destroyed along with several fire trucks and volunteers cars.

Mr Wade also said that crews were being called in from Sydney and the Hunter to assist local fire crews. Six aircraft and a sky crane are also being used.

It is believed that winds in the Central Coast region are gusting at up to 60 km/h.

Another fire in the Sydney suburb of Belrose is expected to cause problems in the next few hours.

In Merimbula, on the NSW far south coast residents are being evacuated, after a fire broke containment lines.

Phill Koperberg, Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service said there were fires concern at Junee and Cootamundra in southern NSW and at Appin and Bulli south of Sydney.

According to an RFS spokesman, a house in Junee was destoyed and a farmer was hospitalised after receiving burns to 60 percent of his body. A total of five homes in the Junee area have been confirmed lost.

About 100 people have been evacuated from Junee’s outskirts amid fears that southerly winds could reach 100 kph, drastically worsening the fire situation.

Three homes on the Central Coast and three in Junee have been lost.

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Somali piracy: Kenyan navy kills three, Chinese ship hijacked, British couple freed
September 18, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Three pirates were killed late Friday during a presumed attack in error, while other pirates successfully hijacked the Yuan Xiang, a Panamanian-flagged vessel with an all-Chinese crew, and a media embargo was lifted regarding the release of a British couple whose yacht was seized more than a year ago over the weekend.

At 11 p.m. on Friday a Kenyan patrol vessel was near Kilifi in Kenyan coastal waters “when four suspected Somali pirates on board a speed boat climbed the vessel, mistaking it for a merchant vessel,” according to Kenyan Defence Department spokesman Bogita Ongeri. He said three were shot dead but the fourth “dived into the sea with bullet wounds during the scuffle,” and is thought to have died. The speed boat with more pirates on board fled, the three bodies were taken to Coast General Hospital, Mombassa.

Ongeri promised more details after discussions with the vessel’s captain adding, “[t]he government will not relent in its fight against piracy.” Kenya, along with the Seychelles, performs international prosecutions of pirates, but convictions are rarely secured; 26 suspects were freed last week by Kenya owing to lack of evidence or jurisdiction.

Andrew Mwangura of the Seafarers’ Assistance Program said Saturday, “I can confirm the pirates hijacked Yuan Xiang on Friday at midnight Kenyan time in the Arabian Sea near India. The vessel has 29 Chinese crew.” The Yuan Xiang was sailing outside the zone covered by a multinational task force combating piracy. Reports suggest its captors are heading to Somalia.

Retired British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler were released after their yacht Lynn Rival was captured near the Seychelles en-route to Tanzania 388 days ago, in October 2009. An injunction prevented reporting the release until 56-year-old Rachel and 60-year-old Paul, from Kent, were out of Somalia.

“Men with guns came aboard,” Paul told ITV News over the phone a week after their capture. “Then we were forced to sail … toward Somalia.” The seizure was witnessed by UK refueling ship RFA Wave Knight but they were not helped for fear their lives would be endangered. “This is not piracy and must not be reported as such,” Paul said in custody. “It is kidnapping and extortion and even torture.” It is unclear if money changed hands; US$7 million was originally demanded but UK government policy forbids ransom payments. “We’re fine,” said Paul. “We’re rather skinny and bony but we’re fine.”

New figures show 790 people have been kidnapped by Somali pirates this year, on course to beat last year’s record of 867. Of these, 435 remain hostage. Dr Alex Coutroubis and George Kiourktsoglou of London’s University of Greenwich say crews are repelling more attacks, and attackers have responded with increased violence. “As it gets harder for pirates to capture ships, the Somali gangs are more likely to fire at sailors with automatic weapons in order to force vessels to stop”. Some tankers have had rocket propelled grenades fired at them.

Last year saw 217 hijack attempts. This year, to date, 140, and 40 ships seized – versus 47 for the whole of 2009.

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Spelbound declared winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010
September 18, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Monday, June 7, 2010

An acrobatic group known by the name of Spelbound has been declared as the winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010, a televised variety talent show competition broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom. As the winning act of the show, Spelbound have won £100,000 (US$144,580, €120,313, A$175,079) and a place at The Royal Variety Performance, an annual gala evening that is attended by senior members of the British Royal Family.

In no particular order, the top three acts were revealed to be two dancers known by their stage name of Twist and Pulse, gymnastic group Spelbound and Kieran Gaffney, whose act involves playing on the drum kit. After Kieran Gaffney was revealed to be in third place, Anthony McPartlin, who hosts Britain’s Got Talent with Declan Donnelly, said to Kieran: “Well done Kieran. Kieran, you’re a star, you came back, you got all the way to the final. I know you’ve loved this. You’ve loved this, haven’t you?” In response to this, Kieran Gaffney stated: “Thank you very much. Thank you, everyone for supporting me. Thank you.”

Shortly afterwards, on the episode that was broadcast live on ITV1 on Saturday, Anthony announced: “After tens of thousands of auditons, five semi-finals and an amazing final, this…this is it. One of you is about to walk away with £100,000 and a place at this year’s Royal Variety Performance. The winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010 is…Spelbound!” Glen Murphy from Twist and Pulse commented about finishing in second place, stating: “Yeah, it’s amazing. I can’t even believe it. I can’t believe it at all.”

Alex Uttley, a 24-year-old member of Spelbound, commented on the gymnastic group’s victory, commenting: “Oh, my god. This is unbelieveable. We just want to say thank you to everyone out there. It just shows that all our hard work has paid off.” One of the coaches of Spelbound, named Neil Griffiths, stated about Spelbound: “Oh, they’ve worked so hard over the last few weeks. Um, since the semi-final, we…we really had to pull out the stops to try and up the game. They’ve not known they’ve worked in the gym from six in the morning till twelve…twelve o’clock of the night. I couldn’t have asked for more. Um, it’s a team of coaches. I don’t take all the credit myself. There’s, uh, two people up there that know who they are who’ve been fantastic.”

Spelbound consists of 24-year-old Alex Uttley, Nicholas Illingworth, aged 24, Adam Buckingham, aged 21, 20-year-old Adam McAssey, 19-year-old Douglas Fordyce, 18-year-old Edward Upcott, 18-year-old Leighanne Cowler, 17-year-old Katie Axten, 17-year-old Lauren Kemp, 15-year-old Jonathan Stranks, Abigail Ralph, aged 15, 13-year-old Hollianne Wood and Amy Mackenzie, aged 12. Bookmakers had previously predicted that Spelbound would be the most likely act to become the winner of the series.

The running order for the final started with Twist and Pulse. The second act to perform was Liam McNally, a 14-year-old singer. The running order subsequently continued with 40-year-old impressionist Paul Burling, singer Christopher Stone, aged 28, Tina & Chandi, a woman and dog dancing act, Connected, a five-piece singing group, Kieran Gaffney, aged 12, 22-year-old Tobias Mead, a dancer, 80-year-old singer Janey Cutler and Spelbound in that particular order.

Earlier on in the final, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden has stated to Spelbound: “We are hosting the 2012 Olympics and I think ‘what a brilliant opening act’.” Fellow judge Piers Morgan also commented that “[t]he purpose of this show is to identify hidden great British talent. You are that act.” After Spelbound won in the final, another judge, named Simon Cowell, stated that “the right boys and girls won on the night” and that he could “only say on live TV that that was one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen. Seriously.”

Oscar Foreign Film race narrowed to nine films

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Oscar Foreign Film race narrowed to nine films
September 12, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nine films have advanced to “Phase II” of the 80th Academy Awards Foreign Language Film race, out of 63 international films entered.

They are:

Several hundred Los Angeles-based members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, which hosts the “Oscars”, screened the eligible films to determine the shortlist. The nominees will be decided by 10 random members from the “Phase I” group, and ten Los Angeles and New York members specially invited to participate. They will view the screenings in marathon viewings, from Friday, January 18 to Sunday, January 20, in both cities.

Nominations will be announced Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the AMPAS headquarters. The award ceremony, if not interrupted by the WGA writers’ strike, will air Sunday, February 24, 2008, at the Kodak Theatre.

Judge orders residents and city to come to agreement on partially collapsed building in Buffalo, New York

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Judge orders residents and city to come to agreement on partially collapsed building in Buffalo, New York
September 7, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Buffalo, New York —Judge Justice Christopher Burns of the New York State Supreme Court has ordered a halt to an emergency demolition on a 19th century stable and livery on 428-430 Jersey Street in Buffalo, New York that partially collapsed on Wednesday June 11, initially causing at least 15 homes to be evacuated. At least two homes remain evacuated.

Burns orders that both the city and the group Save The Livery (www.savethelivery.com) have to come to an agreement on what to do with the building, and try to work out ways of saving at least some portions if it including the facade, side walls and a lift tower. Save The Livery is comprised of concerned area residents who have grown to love the building’s historic and unique character. On June 14, they won a temporary restraining order to stop demolition. The court ruled that the city was only allowed to remove material in immediate danger to residents and pedestrians, but stated that the demolition could only be performed with “hand tools.” The court also ordered that any rubble which had fallen into neighboring yards when the building collapsed, to be removed.

“It is in the interest of the city to have a safe environment–but also important to maintain a sense of historical preservation,” stated Burns in his ruling. Burns has given the sides until tomorrow (Friday June 20) to come to an agreement and has ordered both parties to return to court at 9:30 a.m. (eastern time) “sharp.” Activists of Save The Livery urge supporters of the stable to “fill the courtroom” to show “continued and ongoing support.” The hearing is scheduled to take place at 25 Delaware Avenue in the Supreme Court building, 3rd Floor, trial part 19.

Currently the building is owned by Bob Freudenheim who has several building violations against him because of the buildings poor condition. He has received at least five violations in three months and residents who live near the building state that Freudenheim should be “100% responsible” for his actions. Many are afraid that if the building is demolished, Freudenheim’s charges of neglect will be abolished.

On June 17, developer and CEO of Savarino Companies, Sam Savarino was at the site of the stable, discussing the building with residents and preservationists. In 2006, Savarino proposed and planned The Elmwood Village Hotel, a ‘botique’ hotel on the Southeast corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues. The project was later withdrawn after residents filed a lawsuit against Savarino and the city. Wikinews extensively covered the story, and contacted Savarino for his professional opinion on the building.

“[I would] love to see it preserved. I was there to see if there was anything we could do to help, to see if anything can be salvaged. I just want to see the right thing happen, and so does the city,” stated Savarino to Wikinews who added that he was allowed inside the building for a brief period.

“The side walls are beyond repair. The roof has rotted and it could come down at any time,” added Savarino who also said that the building “below the second floor appears to be stable.” He also states that the back wall of the building, which borders several homes, appears to be intact.

“Eliminating the back wall could be a problem for the neighbors. It is not unreasonable to leave at least 12 feet” of the back wall standing, added Savarino.

Savarino did not say if he was interested in buying the property, but did state, “I am sure there are a couple of people interested” in buying the property. On Thursday, Buffalo News reported that a “businessman” might be interested in purchasing the property, though Wikinews is not able to independently confirm the report. Savarino says that with the property still slated for emergency demolition, a potential buyer could face tax fees of nearly US$300,000.

Freudenheim gave the city permission to demolish the building on Thursday June 12 during an emergency Preservation Board meeting, because he would not be “rehabilitating the building anytime soon.” Freudenheim, along with his wife Nina, were part-owners of the Hotel Lenox at 140 North Street in Buffalo and were advocates to stop the Elmwood Village Hotel. They also financially supported a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the hotel from being built. Though it is not known exactly how long Freudenheim has owned the stable, Wikinews has learned that he was the owner while fighting to stop the hotel from being built. Residents say that he has been the owner for at least 22 years.

The building was first owned by a company called White Bros. and was used as a stable for a farm which once covered the land around the building for several blocks. The Buffalo Fire Department believes the building was built around 1814, while the city property database states it was built in 1870. Servants and workers of the farm were housed inside resident quarters situated at the rear of the building on what is now Summer Street, but are now cottages where area residents currently reside. Some date as far back as 1829.

At about 1950, the stable was converted into an automobile body shop and gasoline station.A property record search showed that in 1950 at least four fuel storage tanks were installed on the property. Two are listed as 550 square feet while the other two are 2,000 square feet. All of the tanks are designated as a TK4, which New York State says is used for “below ground horizontal bulk fuel storage.” The cost of installing a tank of that nature according to the state, at that time, included the tank itself, “excavation and backfill,” but did not include “the piping, ballast, or hold-down slab orring.” It is not known if the tanks are still on the property, but residents are concerned the city was not taking the precautions to find out.

Australian Parliament hears reply to Budget

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Australian Parliament hears reply to Budget
September 7, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Australian House of Representatives heard the traditional right-of-reply to the Budget released May 9, from the Australian Labor Party, led by Kim Beazley (Labor, Brand), plus Budget replies from minor parties in the Australian Senate.

While the Budget is politically popular, having as one of its main features significant tax reform, Beazley focused on the omissions in the Budget, such as the failure to address a skills shortage.

Contents

  • 1 Opposition reply
  • 2 Minor parties
    • 2.1 Australian Democrats
  • 3 Australian Greens
  • 4 Family First
  • 5 Sources

UK Wikinews Shorts: March 14, 2010

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UK Wikinews Shorts: March 14, 2010
September 7, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

A compilation of brief news reports for Sunday, March 14, 2010.

Ralph Nader calls out Democrats for financial bailout

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Ralph Nader calls out Democrats for financial bailout
September 3, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)
 Correction — Aug 2, 2010 Nader referred to the 1999 repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagal Act. The Wikinews article omitted the word “repeal” from the account of Nader’s speech. 

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Independent U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader had harsh words for the Democrats who engineered yesterday’s passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, a bailout of the U.S. financial system. At a campaign stop in Waterbury, Connecticut on Saturday, Nader said that Democrats passed up a chance to enact re-regulation of the financial system and instead gave Wall Street everything it wanted.

According to Nader, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), and other Democrats considered but rejected measures such as a tax on transactions of derivatives (a “speculation tax”) because of their financial ties to Wall Street and its lobbyists. He said that Representative Chris Murphy (D-CT), who represents Waterbury, had “become a toady” of Nancy Pelosi. He drew enthusiastic applause by calling Murphy “a dynamic fraud”, and referred to Senator Joe Lieberman as “the Hermaphrodite of American Politics”. For Murphy and Representative Chris Shays (R-CT), Nader said, supporting the bailout despite the opposition of constituents was a “profile in betrayal”. Because there were no public hearings where taxpayers and experts could weigh in on the bailout, Nader characterized it as a return to “taxation without representation“—under “King George IV” 225 years after the 13 colonies were taxed under King George III.

Asked about causes of the financial crisis, Nader pointed to the deregulation of the financial sector with the 1999 Glass-Steagall Act and further deregulation in 2000, as well as the rise of overly complex financial derivatives. He outlined a four-part reform plan:

  1. Re-regulation of financial markets
  2. Increasing shareholder control of corporations
  3. Taxpayer equity as part of any bailout, as in the 1979 bailout of Chrysler Corporation
  4. Making speculators pay by enacting a 0.1% tax on derivatives transactions (which Nader said will amount to over $500 trillion this year)

Regarding the equity warrants included in the passed bailout, Nader relayed word from an unnamed source that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had told Wall Street executives “don’t worry, it’s not enforceable”.

Nader told reporters that he had abandoned the Green Party because “Greens are not disciplined, and they’re not mature”, and also lack the fund-raising capabilities to break into mainstream political discussions. “They bicker and bicker,” he said, pushing out their best people. However, he endorsed several local Green Party candidates, including Chris Murphy’s opponent Harold Burbank.

The virtual media blackout for third party campaigns by national newspapers and networks has been a source of continual frustration for the Nader campaign, as well as the campaigns of Libertarian Bob Barr and Green Cynthia McKinney and the post-campaign activities of Republican Ron Paul. According to Nader, reporters tell him that editors of national media are “very bigoted against third party and independent candidacies”. Even journalists for taxpayer-supported media, such as National Public Radio‘s Terry Gross and the Public Broadcasting Service‘s Jim Lehrer, have shut him out during this campaign. Debates, he lamented, are controlled by corporate interests through the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Nader spoke to a supportive crowd of about 60 people and his campaign raised over $2000 at the event, their third visit to Waterbury. The event took place in the former building of a closed-down bank.

An interview with gossip columnist Michael Musto on the art of celebrity journalism

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An interview with gossip columnist Michael Musto on the art of celebrity journalism
September 3, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

There are two things one can expect on a trip to see Michael Musto at the offices of the Village Voice: a 20-minute round-trip wait for the elevator and rapid fire answers from one of the most recognizable gossip columnists in the United States. Musto, in addition to his appearances on Countdown with Keith Olbermann and the E! network, has been writing his column for the Voice since 1984. He has recently compiled the best of them in a book released this year titled, La Dolce Musto: Writings by the World’s Most Outrageous Columnist. He was Carrie Bradshaw, replete with a prodigious use of puns, before Sex in the City was a thought. His column is a romp through his life, spats and opinions on socio-political issues. As David Thigpen of the Chicago Tribune wrote, Musto is “a funny and caustic satirist who masquerades as a gossip and nightlife columnist.”

Musto, a Columbia University graduate, is a rarity in today’s celebrity world: he is accessible. He often corresponds with his readers and his public functions are a mix of parties, nightclubs, academic lectures, university panels and film premieres.

He is friendly and frank, and he welcomes people to join him in his world (“I just got a message that Michael Lucas died!” he says staring wide-eyed at his phone; the message turned out to be false). Wikinews reporter David Shankbone spoke with Musto about his life and his relationship to the world of celebrity journalism. And he did not hold back.


Contents

  • 1 On writing a gossip column
  • 2 On celebrities
  • 3 On the gay community
  • 4 On outing gay celebrities
  • 5 On New York City
  • 6 Musto on Musto
  • 7 Sources

U.S. helicopter crash in Iraq kills 7

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U.S. helicopter crash in Iraq kills 7
August 24, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Thursday, February 8, 2007

A CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashed in the Al-Anbar province of Iraq approximately 20 miles outside of Baghdad on Monday. The helicopter was carrying seven passengers and crew at the time of the crash. No survivors were reported at the site.

Major General William B. Caldwell, a spokesman for the U.S. military told reporters in Baghdad , “A quick-reaction force is on site and the investigation is going on as we speak.” He did not specify whether mechanical failure or ground fire had brought it down.

Witnesses at the crash site report seeing gunfire from the ground. The Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group of several Sunni insurgent groups, including Al-Qaeda in Iraq, has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying one of its “air defense brigades” had shot it down.

Including Wednesday’s most recent attack, the U.S. military has suffered five such helicopters crashes, resulting in the loss of 28 servicemen in the past 3 weeks. Since May 2003 the U.S. has lost 55 helicopters to mechanical failure and being shot down.

At the time of the crash the helicopter was conducting “routine operations”.

In response to recent losses the U.S. military has begun to implement new changes in flight operations. Although they would not stipulate the exact changes, General Caldwell insured the military was “making adjustments in our tactics and techniques and procedures as to how we employ our helicopters”.