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Fires out at the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal
November 9, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

After two days, the 2005 Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal fire has finally been extinguished.

The fires began after a series of explosions early on the morning of 11 December 2005. The terminal, known locally as the Buncefield Depot, is an oil storage facility located near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. These were some of the largest explosions ever to occur in the country and the incident has been described as the biggest of its kind in peacetime Europe.

The Hertfordshire Fire Service chief Roy Wilsher said: “There are still some small bund (concrete container) fires, but the tanks are out.”

Fire crews would remain at the scene over the next few days cooling the area to ensure fires did not break out again, he said.

A few residents are being allowed to return to their homes within an exclusion zone set up around the site.

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UK Parliament begins debate on Brexit deal
November 9, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

On Tuesday, the United Kingdom Parliament started five days of debates ahead of a vote over Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal to leave the European Union.

The deal being debated is a withdrawal agreement for the United Kingdom (UK)’s exit from the European Union (EU), and a political framework defining ambitions for the future of the UK–EU relationship.

I have spent nearly two years negotiating this deal

In a statement to the House of Commons shortly before debates began, Theresa May said “I have spent nearly two years negotiating this deal […] I have lost valued colleagues along the way, I have faced fierce criticism from all sides. If I had banged the table, walked out of the room, and at the end of the process delivered the very same deal that is before us today, some might say that I’d done a better job.”

Following the debates, a vote in the House of Commons is to determine if the deal will be implemented. The vote is scheduled for next Tuesday, December 11.

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Billy West, voice of Ren and Stimpy, Futurama, on the rough start that shaped his life
October 30, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)
This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ren and Stimpy. Bugs Bunny. Philip J. Fry and Professor Hubert Farnsworth on Futurama. Sparx. Bi-Polar Bear. Popeye the Sailor Man. Woody Woodpecker. You may not think you have ever heard Billy West, but chances are on a television program, a movie, a commercial, or as Howard Stern’s voice guru in the 1990’s, you have heard him. West’s talent for creating personalities by twisting his voice has made him one of a handful of voice actors—Hank Azaria and the late Mel Blanc come to mind—who have achieved celebrity for their talent. Indeed, West is one of the few voice actors who can impersonate Blanc in his prime, including characterizations of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and other characters from Warner Bros. cartoons.

What is the fulcrum in Mr. West’s life that led him to realize a talent to shape personalities with his voice, and how did the discovery of that gift shape him? Wikinews reporter David Shankbone found that like many great comedians, West faced more sour early in life than he did sweet. The sour came from a physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic father (“I could tell you the kind of night I was going to have from the sound of the key in the door or the way the car pulled up.”), to his own problems with drug and alcohol use (“There is a point that you can reach in your life where you don’t want to live, but you haven’t made the decision to die.”).

I’m telling you stuff that I never said to anybody…

If sin, suffering and redemption feel like the stages of an endless cycle of American existence, West’s own redemption from his brutalized childhood is what helped shape his gift. He performed little bits to cheer up his cowed mother, ravaged by the fact she could not stop her husband’s abuse of young West. “I was the whipping boy and she would just be reduced to tears a lot of times, and I would come in and say stuff, and I would put out little bits just to pull her out of it.”

But West has also enjoyed the sweet. His career blossomed as his talent for creating entire histories behind fictional characters and creatures simply by exploring nuance in his voice landed him at the top of his craft. You may never again be able to forget that behind the voice of your favorite character, there is often an extraordinary life.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with renowned voice actor Billy West, who for the first time publicly talks about the horrors he faced in his childhood; his misguided search for answers in anger, drugs and alcohol; and the peace he has achieved as one of America’s most recognizable voice actors.

Contents

  • 1 The use of celebrities for voiceovers
  • 2 Iconic characters and choosing projects
  • 3 Discovering his talent
  • 4 “It was a horror chamber where I grew up”
  • 5 West moves to Boston after his parents divorce
  • 6 How West dealt with his father’s abuse
  • 7 Rehabilitation and sobriety
  • 8 Is West glad he experienced addiction?
  • 9 West on his career
  • 10 West on politics
  • 11 Billy West on modern American society
  • 12 Billy West on telling it like it is
  • 13 Source

Ben Shephard announces departure from GMTV

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Ben Shephard announces departure from GMTV
October 30, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ben Shephard has announced his departure from GMTV, the current television breakfast programme on ITV in the United Kingdom, having been a presenter on the programme for ten years. His current contract ends in April 2010, but he is expected to leave by the end of the Summer of 2010, according to the Press Association.

Initially, Shephard only presented an entertainment section of the television programme before being given a promotion to the sofa in 2005. He is the third presenter to leave GMTV within the last year, after the departures of Fiona Phillips and Penny Smith.

According to a statement released from Ben Shephard’s agent: “Ben’s two-year contract with GMTV is up at the end of April. Earlier this year, his management made it clear that he would not be renewing it, but would be happy to stay on temporarily during this transitional period. Ben is excited about moving on after 10 incredible years and will be focusing on a number of new projects with ITV and other channels.”

Adrian Chiles, who recently announced his departure from the BBC after modifications were made to The One Show — a show that he presented with Christine Bleakley — was recently reported to be appearing as a presenter on GMTV in the future.

2006 “Stolenwealth” Games to confront Commonwealth Games in Melbourne

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2006 “Stolenwealth” Games to confront Commonwealth Games in Melbourne
October 18, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Friday, March 3, 2006

The possibility of large-scale protests in the face of the 3,000 journalists covering the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, has event organisers and the Government worried.

The group “Black GST” – which represents Indigenous Genocide, Sovereignty and Treaty – are planning demonstrations at prominent Games events unless the Government agrees to a range of demands including an end to Aboriginal genocide, Aboriginal Sovereignty and the signing of a treaty.

The Black GST say they hope the focus of the world’s media will draw attention to the plight of indigenous Australians during the Games. Organisers say supporters are converging from across Australia and from overseas. Organisers say up to 20,000 people may take part in talks, rallies, colourful protests and many cultural festivities designed to pressure the Federal Government on Indigeneous rights issues. They want the Government to provide a temporary campsite for the supporters, saying “organised chaos was better than disorganised chaos.”

The 2006 Stolenwealth Games convergence, described by organisers as the “cultural festival of the 2006 Commonwealth Games,” was virtually opened on March 2nd with the launch of the official “Stolenwealth Games” website. Scoop Independent News and Perth Indymedia reported that the launch was held at Federation Square in Melbourne. The site contents were projected via wireless laptop by the Stolenwealth Games General Manager, and a tour of the website was given on the big screen. He said “overwhelming amusement was the response from the audience.” The group say permanent access points to the website are being set up at public internet facilities across Victoria during the coming weeks.

“Interest in the Stolenwealth Games is building all over the world and this fresh, exciting and contemporary site will draw in people from Stolenwealth Nations around the globe to find out about the latest news and events,” said a Stolenwealth Games spokesperson. “We have been getting many requests from around the world wanting to know about the Stolenwealth Games. We have provided many ways that individuals and organisations can support the campaign by spreading the word.”

The Victorian Traditional Owner Land Justice Group (VTOLJG) which represents the first nation groups of Victoria, has announced its support to boycott the 2006 Commonwealth Games until the Government “recognises Traditional Owner rights.” The group asserts that culture has been misappropriated in preparation for the Games.

Organisers of the campaign say they welcome the formal support from the Traditional Owners. “While some seek to divide and discredit Indigenous Australia, this support is further evidence that the Aboriginal people are united in opposition to the ongoing criminal genocide that is being perpetrated against the Aboriginal people” said Black GST supporter and Aboriginal Elder, Robbie Thorpe.

“We now have endorsement from the VTOLJG and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy for the aims and objectives of the Campaign and we are looking forward to hosting all indigenous and non-indigenous supporters from across Australia in March,” he said. The Black GST group have said “the convergence will be held as a peaceful, family-focussed demonstration against genocide, and for the restoration of sovereignty and the negotiations towards a Treaty.”

But the campaign has received flak in mainstream media, such as Melbourne’s Herald Sun, who wrote: “the proposal to allow BlackGST to set up an Aboriginal tent embassy at a site well away from the Commonwealth Games will be interpreted by some as the State Government caving in to a radical protest group. A major concern for the Government… is to protect the event from disruption… no chances should be taken…”

The Black GST has been planning the convergence for months, calling for Aboriginal people and their supporters to converge on Melbourne. The Melbourne-based Indigenous rights group have called on thousands of people concerned about the plight of indigenous Australians to converge on Melbourne during the Games, which they have dubbed “the Stolenwealth Games”. But the choice of Kings Domain has made conflict almost inevitable, as the area is one of the areas gazetted by the State Government as a “Games management zone”.

Under the Commonwealth Games Arrangements Act, any area gazetted as a management zone is subject to a range of specific laws – including bans on protesting, creating a disturbance and other activities. The protest bans will be in effect at different times and places, and offenders can be arrested. A spokeswoman for the Black GST, which advocates peaceful protest, said the site had been chosen because it was close to where the Queen will stay on March 15. “We figured that she is only in Melbourne for 27 hours or something like that so we thought we would make it easy for her to come next door and see us,” she said. “We are a very open, welcoming group, so she will be welcome to come and join us.”

Kings Domain is the burial site for 38 indigenous forefathers of Victoria. Black GST elder, Targan, said trade union groups have offered to install infrastructure at the site. The group initially worked with the State Government to find a suitable camp site, but the relationship broke down when the Government failed to meet a deadline imposed by the protesters. “While we are disappointed the ministers were not able to meet deadline on our request, we thank them for their constructive approach towards negotiations and the open-door policy exercised,” said Targan.

A spokesman for Games Minister Justin Madden said the Government was still investigating other sites. Victoria Police Games security commander Brendan Bannan said he was not convinced the Black GST represented the views of most indigenous people. “We are dealing with the Aboriginal community and they don’t seem to support it at all … the wider Aboriginal community don’t support disruption to the Games at all,” he said.

The Government was told that Black GST supporters would camp in Fitzroy Gardens and other city parks should it fail to nominate a site. A spokesman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gavan Jennings said the Government was taking the issue seriously, but had not been able to finalise a campsite before the deadline.

Under special Games laws, people protesting or causing a disturbance in “Games management zones” can be arrested and fined. While prominent public spaces such as Federation Square, Birrarung Marr, Albert Park and the Alexandra Gardens fall under the legislation, such tough anti-protest laws cannot be enforced in the nearby Fitzroy Gardens.

Games chairman Ron Walker has urged the group to choose another date for its protest march through the city, which is currently planned to coincide with the opening ceremony on March 15. The group believes that an opportunity to gain attention for indigenous issues was lost at the Sydney Olympics and has vowed to make a highly visible presence at the Games.

The Black GST said the Australian Aboriginal Tent Embassy’s sacred flame, burning over many years at the Canberra site will be carried to Melbourne before the Games, and its arrival would mark the opening of the protest camp from where a march will proceed to the MCG before the Opening Ceremony.

Black GST claims supporters from all over Australia, including three busloads from the West Australian Land Council, will gather in Melbourne during the Games for peaceful protests.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gavin Jennings had offered Victoria Park to the protesters. Victoria Park, former home of Collingwood Football Club, where one of the strongest statements of Aboriginal pride, when St Kilda star Nicky Winmar in 1993 raised his jumper and pointed to his bare chest after racial taunts from the Collingwood crowd.

Black GST, which has labelled the Games the Stolenwealth Games, said the State Government had failed to find a suitable venue. Black GST may encourage protesters to camp in prominent parks such as Fitzroy Gardens and Treasury Gardens. Graffiti supporting the action has also appeared in central Melbourne.

Melbourne City councillor Fraser Brindley has offered his home to the Black GST organisers. “I offered my home up to people who are organising visitors to come to the Games,” he said. Cr Brindley will be overseas when the Commonwealth Games are held and has offered the free accommodation at his flat at Parkville. He said he agreed with the protesters’ view that treaties needed to be signed with indigenous Australians. “I’m offering it up to the indigenous people who are coming to remind Her Majesty that her Empire took this land from them,” said Cr Brindlley. Nationals leader Peter Ryan said: “This extremist group has no part in the Australian community.” Melbourne councillor Peter Clarke said the actions were embarrassing and that he would try to discourage him. “It’s not in the spirit of the Games,” he said.

Aboriginal elder, Targan, said the possibility of securing Victoria Park was delightfully ironic. “There’s a lot of irony going on,” Targan, 53, a PhD student at Melbourne University, said. “GST stands for Genocide, Sovereignty and Treaty. We want the genocide of our people to stop; we want some sovereignty over traditional land, certainly how it is used, and we want a treaty with the government,” Targan said.

Polish exercise book advertisement copies Wikipedia content, violates copyright

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Polish exercise book advertisement copies Wikipedia content, violates copyright
October 10, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)
This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Friday, October 24, 2008

On August 21, the Polish weekly Przekrój published an advertisement for Dan-Mark exercise books, bearing the logo of 4fun.tv, a Polish music/interactive TV station. Part of the advertisement contained a definition of the word “exercise book”. The wording looked familiar, and Wikinews consulted Wikipedia, the collaborative online encyclopedia.

Upon seeing the Wikipedia definition, it appeared that the entry quoted in the promotional material was identical to the initial two paragraphs of the relevant Wikipedia entry.

Freelance reporters for the Polish Wikinews decided to find out the reason for such a similarity and whether either of the texts (the advertisement’s or Wikipedia’s) might be a case of copyright violation.

The reporters contacted a Jaros?aw Janas, Creative Director of 4fun.tv., where the ad appeared. His reply included the following claim:

The text of the definition has been taken from an encyclopedic publication which is older than 50 years and therefore not subject to copyright protection. The fact of coincidental similarity cannot be considered equal to plagiarism, because as we all know Wikipedia is a place which publishes texts and definitions that have already existed in different forms in other publications released before.

Copyright on text does not last for fifty years as claimed by Janas, but for 70 years after the death of the author.

To investigate the authenticity of the above claims, Wikinews asked the main author of the two paragraphs in question, Wikipedian Julo, about the sources used to write the entry. He confirmed that he had written the text in question, and not copied it from an encyclopedic publication as claimed by Jana.

It is therefore impossible that both Julo and the people responsible for the exercise book advertisement have used the same uncopyrighted encyclopedia, thus coincidentally creating identical texts. The reporters also noted that the first draft of the introduction to the article was written by WaldemarWolskiHuta (February 2006). Afterward the text had undergone some modifications by Julo (September 2006), as well as Picus viridis and Beno (March 2008). However, the text presented in the press promotional material, which – according to 4fun.tv – came from an old-print encyclopedia is identical to the Wikipedia entry after the changes mentioned above had been made. Julo added that he was still alive, together with the other authors of the article in question who constituted the group of the copyright co-holders. This naturally led to a conclusion that neither 50 nor 70 years could have passed since their death. He left 4fun.tv’s actions with a comment that although the contents he and the other Wikimedians had made public and free, they are far from making them available in any “free style”, but under a specified license.

In follow up messages to Jaros?aw Janas, Wikinews reporters confronted the creative director over his seemingly inaccurate claims.

Wikinews was told in a reply that 4fun.tv would ignore the claims unless they see permission from the author of the original content to investigate this story. They were also informed that further e-mails without any specifics sent by the reporter would be qualified as spam. 4fun.tv’s creative director further added that he found the reporter’s picture on the Internet and asked how the person would feel if this picture was to appear on billboards or press releases that advertised the TV station.

Wikipedia does allow copying of its content under certain conditions. The encyclopedia’s content is released under the GNU Free Documentation License, which means that it can be copied, modified, and used commercially and non-commercially – under the conditions that the license’s text is included with the copied content and the five main authors are mentioned. If a part of the article is used, like in the example quoted in this news story, a “right to quote”, recognized by Polish law, may be used. In such a case it suffices to mention the source of the text (Polish Wikipedia) and the author of the excerpt. 4fun.tv met none of these conditions, meaning that copyright has been violated.

Over a year ago Polish Wikinews reported on a similar problem, regarding the use of free-licensed photographs. Since that time such “borrowings” have become less frequent, however photos are still being used in discordance with the license. Journalists have gotten used to citing sources, e.g. Wikipedia, although licensing conditions require attributing the actual author, not the source. So instead of attributing John Doe for his contribution, agencies like Polska Agencja Prasowa (Polish Press Agency) are attributing the source, Wikipedia.

In early September 2008 a similar situation occurred in relation to the Polish edition of Wiktionary. Gazeta Wyborcza, a Polish daily, published an IKEA advertisement, on the opening page of which an almost word-for-word Wiktionary entry was placed; additionally the advertisement used the characteristic MediaWiki layout. The reference to the external source used was missing.

In April 2008, an example of an Australian professor was cited; the scientist, in a reply to a news story, quoted a Wikipedia definition almost word-for-word. The same professor condemned the use of Wikipedia in his previous press appearances.

In 2005 Wikipedia material was discovered in the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel, which acknowledged its fault and published appropriate apologies in place of the article in the online edition.

Frontline magazine in 2007 was found using an image from Wikipedia without proper credit. When pointed out the magazine acknowledged the failing and a correction was promptly given in the subsequent issue.

Second fire in Pakistani office building this year kills one, injures four

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Second fire in Pakistani office building this year kills one, injures four
October 10, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A fire in an office building in Karachi, Pakistan has killed one and injured four. Reports say that the fire was the second at the building, locating near the town’s shipping terminal, in half a year.

The building, which is owned by the state-owned Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), had suffered a previous fire in February. The first fire, caused by a short circuit, damaged five floors, burning from floors 12 to 16. The building is 17 stories high.

Today’s fire destroyed seven more floors, starting on the 4th around 2:30 p.m. and being propelled up to the 10th by strong winds in the area. The deceased was a male shipping company official, who was assisting efforts to extinguish the blaze. According to the International Herald Tribune, he lost consciousness after inhaling smoke and fumes, and was pronounced dead on arrival after being rushed to hospital. However, The Hindu News reports that officials said he died near the scene from a heart attack, brought on by the ensuing disaster. The Hindu News also gives his name and occupation as Vijay Kumar, an administrator and manager employed by the PNSC.

Four firefighters received injuries from falling glass shards and other assorted debris. One technician was trapped on the roof where he had been performing maintenance on a communications tower installed there. He was rescued by one of two navy helicopters dispatched to the scene. In addition to the helicopters, 115 firefighters and 25 fire engines from the city fire brigade and the Karachi Port Trust attended, as well as a number of ambulances from relief organizations.

It is reported by some that the likely cause of the fire was another electrical short circuit, similar to the one that triggered February’s fire. However, Pakistan’s Minister for Shipping and Ports Babar Ghouri said that subversive or terrorist activity could not be ruled out and it was strange that the last time a blaze broke out in the building was also a Sunday. “We are going to carry out a full-scale investigation into this fire because they are certain things that appear strange,” Ghouri said.

Australian volunteer firefighters kept busy on New Year’s Day

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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.

Somali piracy: Kenyan navy kills three, Chinese ship hijacked, British couple freed

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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.

Spelbound declared winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010

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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.”