January 17, 2019

Ukrainian ship MV Faina with cargo of tanks freed by pirates

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pirates in Somalia have released the MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship carrying a cargo of 33 T-72 tanks, along with 20 of its crew of 21, the Russian captain having been killed by hypertension during the hijack.

A ransom of US$3.2 million was paid for the ship’s release, compared to the $20 million previously demanded and also down from the initial request for $35 million after the capture in September. By January 16 the ransom sought was $5 million, with negotiations occurring directly between the pirates and the ship’s owner. In October the pirates threatened to blow the ship up unless this was paid within days, and stated they were willing to die and take the crew with them, but this threat was never carried out.

The ransom came in on Wednesday, and after counting the money the pirates left the vessel on Thursday. One pirate, Segule Ali, said of the payment that “no huge amount has been paid, but something to cover our expenses.”

No huge amount has been paid, but something to cover our expenses

The ownership of the cargo, which includes ammunition, rocket launchers, small arms and spare parts as well as tanks, is uncertain. Although the shipment was said to be for Kenya, as acknowledged by the Kenyan government, the pirates claim to have documents proving they were destined for Sudan, currently the subject of a United Nations arms embargo. Sudan denies this.

At one point, with the ship anchored off Harardhere, the pirates claimed they had put down an attempted revolt by the crew. However, the Faina’s owner has expressed doubts about the veracity of this report, which originated with the pirates themselves.

The remaining crew are reported to be healthy by the Ukrainian Presidency and the ship is now heading to Mombasa under US Navy escort. There are 17 Ukrainians, two Russians and a Latvian on board.

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January 16, 2019

Western Australia apologises to abused wards-of-state

April 7, 2005

The state Premier of Western Australia (WA), Dr Geoff Gallop, gave an apology to children physically and sexually abused in institutional care within the state between the 1920s and 1970s. The statement was given in reaction to an Australian Senate inquiry into institutional child abuse published last year.

“We acknowledge our state’s history, the role played by the state in providing care for children and particularly past practices in the provision of care,” Dr Gallop told Australian Associated Press.

“We apologise to all those people who were harmed as children while in institutional care, and express deep regret at the hurt and distress caused. We recognise that the effects of physical, psychological and sexual abuse did not end when these children became adults.”

Many of the children had been placed in care by government agencies.

“Overwhelmingly, the (submissions) make tragic and distressing reading. They tell of neglect, of shocking abuse, of predatory behaviour from so-called carers and of criminal activity,” Senator McLucas told federal parliament at the time of the Forgotten Australians report, last year.

“The evidence is also there that authorities in the church and in governments either knew or should have known that much of this horrific activity was occurring.”

The inquiry found that an apology was an important symbolism in recognising past wrongs and helping victims gain closure, according to an ABC News report. And Dr Gallop said the victims’ personal histories must be heard and acknowledged in order to build a better care system for the future.

WA’s Community Development Minister, Sheila McHale, said those wishing to find out about their time in care in WA as children should contact the Department for Community Development, which is also providing counselling services to those who were abused in an institution.

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3 Signs You Need Auto Repair Service In Auburn, WA

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byAlma Abell

Seeking auto repairs quickly is all part of keeping your vehicle in check. If you want yours to run as well as possible for as long as possible, you’ll need to make sure you have repairs and servicing completed regularly and on time. The only problem is that many people aren’t sure about when they should seek repairs while others may even avoid seeking timely repairs in order to avoid spending money. While this may sound like a good way to save money, it can actually end up costing you a lot more in the long run.

To help ensure that you get your vehicle serviced on time every time, you’ll need to know what to look for. There are lots of signs you should watch out for, especially the common ones. Learn more about when to seek out auto repair service in Auburn, WA by reading the information below.

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Brake Issues

Brake issues should never be ignored. Whether you notice that your brakes are making more noise than unusual or they are not functioning as well as they should be, you will need to have them checked out by a professional service. It’s also important to note that brake issues are not always apparent, which is why regular professional checks by an auto repair service are so important.

Leaks

Any leaks from a vehicle are never normal. While some leaks may be less serious than others, all leaks require repair services. You can check out the color of the fluid and where it originated from when checking a leak to help you determine what kind of leak you have. For example, red or brownish leaks are often oil or transmission leaks. In any case, you’ll want to seek an auto repair service right away.

Frequent Battery Death

If your vehicle frequently needs jumps to run, it may be time to consider servicing. Usually, such an issue indicates that your car may need a new battery. A reputable company like Pro Finish Inc. can help.

January 15, 2019

Vancouver will run out of office space in 5 years

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

In Vancouver, a 20-year urban success story may yet have a sad ending. The city’s downtown population has doubled to 80,000 in the last 20 years thanks to Vancouver’s “Living First” policy – a planning strategy that favors residential development over commercial. And planners are expecting the population to reach more than 120,000 by 2030. But while downtown booms with people, business is busting. The International Herald Tribune reports that the city’s recently-released jobs and land-use study is estimating that downtown Vancouver may run out of commercial and office space within 5 years.

The ‘Vancouver problem’ is one that many cities in the United States could only hope to have. On the contrary, much effort has been put into bringing residential life back into the city centres. In Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami, and Washington, D.C. there has been a condominium boom in recent years, but these cities are far from the situation Vancouver faces now.

To counter the trend in Vancouver, planners are proposing changes to the city’s zoning regulations, including the passage of more lenient building height restrictions. But because residential developments are so much more profitable than commercial and office space, some public officials are proposing offering better incentives to the developers willing to build commercial. Another option is to expand the moratorium that was placed on new housing development in the central business district two years ago.

Translink is currently involved in a major expansion of the 49.5 km (30.8 mi) Skytrain system centred on downtown Vancouver. Construction of the Canada and Evergreen lines is underway. The former will be complete in 2009, and the latter in 2011.

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January 14, 2019

7.4 magnitude hits Pacific near New Zealand

Tuesday, May 16, 2006Yesterday, at 10:39 p.m. UTC, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake rocked the Pacific Ocean about 180 miles southwest of Raoul Island, a member of the Kermadec Islands in New Zealand. Witnesses disagreed on the length of the earthquake, which was felt as far south as Christchurch, New Zealand, although they agreed the quake lasted from 30 seconds to a minute. Ever since the volcano eruption on Raoul Island on March 18, the islands have been experiencing about 30 earthquakes a day. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center predicted that the earthquake might create a small tsunami with a radius of about 60 miles. There have been no reported injuries or deaths.

The tsunami occurred a couple of hours before a previously-scheduled test of a tsunami warning system. The test had 29 countries participating.

“It is a big earthquake, but the depth would limit any damage,” Seismologist Ken Gledhill says.

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January 13, 2019

Denunciations of Scandals Threaten UN

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Denunciations of corruption, bribe, collection of bribes from refugees [1] and of sexual scandal involving the peacekeepers [2], [3] threaten the Organization of the United Nations (UN).

The gravest denunciations involve the aid project to Iraq, called Oil-for-Food. Grave denunciations of bribe exist, superfluous accounting and collaboration with the ex-dictator Saddam Hussein, against staff of the UN, companies and politicians of several countries. Even the secretary of the UN, Kofi Annan was suspicious of participation in the plan of corruption. And also grave doubts still hover about his son, Kojo Annan.

The gravity of the denunciations threatens not only the credibility of the UN, but its existence.

Secretary Kofi Annan said that he is going to promote reforms in the organization. [4]

Contents

  • 1 The Oil-for-Food Program
  • 2 Reclamações
  • 3 Al-Mada
  • 4 Funcionanento do esquema de corrupção
  • 5 As investigações
    • 5.1 Investigation of Charles Duelfer for the Central Intelligence Agency
      • 5.1.1 Text of the Report by Charles Duelfer
    • 5.2 GAO Investigation
    • 5.3 As investigações do conselho de governo iraquiano
    • 5.4 Investigação das Nações Unidas
  • 6 Last reports so far
  • 7 See also
  • 8 Sources
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Culture of creativity features at Furnal Equinox 2018

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Visual art, fabric art, photography, performance, dance, virtual reality, and music were all the subject of sessions at Furnal Equinox 2018, a conference held from March 16 to 18 at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle. Canada’s largest furry convention by attendance, the annual event offers dozens of subculture-specific programs.

The convention’s communications and public relations coordinator for the event, Ronnie, describes furries as “people that enjoy arts and culture centred around animals and animal-themed topics, essentially. Furnal Equinox in particular, we like to celebrate in a very visual and very […] artistic nature, where we have lots of arts and performances and crafts that go on, and people celebrate with lots of socialisation involved.”

Of the attendees, Ronnie told Wikinews “they come from all walks of life. They are people of all ages, sizes, all sorts of backgrounds, and they come together under one mutual interest, which is their love for animal culture.”

“Programming at Furnal Equinox involves[…] a lot of informational panels, so you can find out about topics from art and how to draw, or how to visually incorporate different elements into your artworks. You can also find panels that teach you how to write better, be a better fiction author for example,” explained the event representative.

At one panel Wikinews attended, members of its all-volunteer organising committee spoke of the year-long process of planning the event, and their reasons for committing such a significant amount of their time. Said one panelist, “if you’re happy, we’re happy.”

The largest hub of activity at the convention was a dealer’s room; nicknamed the “Dealer’s Den”, giving it an anthropomorphic twist. Vendors were selling original visual art, wearables like faux fur tails or ears, or things like jewellery or soap with motifs that would interest attendees.

The back area of the room was dedicated to a charity auction, with proceeds benefiting Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. According to the convention website, the charity is “dedicated to rescuing abused, neglected, and abandoned farmed animals. Their goal is to provide a safe, life-long home for all of their residents, and to educate the public about the true nature of farmed animals through tours, volunteer programs, and community outreach.”

Split into groups, some attendees played “Fursuit Games” in front of an audience, like trying to toss a ball into a garbage can. The activity made harder, of course, by the limited dexterity and vision the most of the costumes entail.

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January 11, 2019

World’s cheapest car launched in India, will go on sale in April

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The world’s least expensive car, the Tata Nano, has been launched in India. It will go on sale in April, and will start delivery in July. The automobile costs only 100,000 Indian rupees, or just under US$2,000.

“We are at the gates offering a new form of transportation to the people of India, and later I hope other markets as well,” said the chairman of the auto firm, Ratan Tata, calling the vehicle a “milestone.”

“From the drawing board to its commercial launch, the car has overcome several challenges,” Tata said. “I hope it will provide safe, affordable four-wheel transportation to families who till now have not been able to own a car.

“This was never conceived as the cheapest car, but as providing transport to those people who never owned a car,” Tata said. “Driven mainly by the change in demand that we see elsewhere in the world, we suddenly felt we had a product that could be of considerable interest as a low-cost product in western Europe, eastern Europe, the UK and even the U.S.”

The Tata Nano is a four-door vehicle, and is 3 metres long, 1.5 m wide, and 1.5 m tall. It is equipped with a 33 bhp, 624 cc engine at the rear. No radio, airbags, power steering, or air conditioning are available in the basic model, although upgrades are available. The Nano Europa, a slightly larger European version of the car, is expected in 2011.

According to Ravi Kant, the managing director at Tata Motors, the first 100,000 people to receive a Nano would be chosen from the initial orders by a ballot.

An auto analyst for Bombay’s Angel Broking, Vaishali Jajoo, predicted that the Nano will add only three percent to Tata’s revenues even if it can sell a quarter of a million such cars per annum.

“That doesn’t make a significant difference to the top line,” Jajoo said. “And for the bottom line, it will take five to six years to break even.”

Environmentalists say that the car will exacerbate traffic problems already rife in India, and help increase pollution levels. Tata, however, stated that its vehicle is the least polluting car in the country.

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January 10, 2019

NASA sets launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery

Saturday, March 7, 2009

After almost two months of delay, NASA has set March 11 as the launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery. On February 22, NASA had stated that they indefinitely delayed the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, which was originally scheduled for takeoff on February 12. Launch was then further delayed until February 25 before being delayed indefinitely on February 22. NASA cited the need for additional time to evaluate the shuttle’s hydrogen fuel flow control valves.

Liftoff is set for nighttime on Wednesday, March 11, at approximately 9:20 p.m. (EST) from Launch Complex 39A in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The official countdown to launch will commence Sunday, March 8.

“The team came through, worked hard and was efficient. It’s time now to step back and think of everything else we need to watch before launch on the 11th. There’s no better team than this one and I thank them for putting the right analysis together,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA.

NASA wanted to perform additional tests on the valves which control the amount of hydrogen fuel pumped into the external tank when the shuttle is taking off before making a decision to launch. When Space Shuttle Endeavour went into space in November 2008, one of the valves broke. NASA fears that if one breaks off on this mission, then it could damage the outside of the shuttle.

The current scheduled mission, STS-119, is set to fly the Integrated Truss Structure segment (“S” for starboard, the right side of the station, and “6” for its place at the very end of the starboard truss) and install the final set of power-generating solar arrays to the International Space Station. The arrays consist of two 115-foot-long arrays, for a total wing span of 240 feet, including the equipment that connects the two halves and allows them to twist as they track the sun. Altogether, the four sets of arrays can generate 84 to 120 kilowatts of electricity – enough to provide power for more than 40 average homes.

Commander Lee Archambault will lead Discovery’s crew of seven, along with Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.

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January 9, 2019

Fires burn across eastern Australia amid summer heatwave

Sunday, January 13, 2013

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Despite earlier cooler weather, heatwave conditions are expected to resume in New South Wales, Australia. Local weather service forecasts expect temperatures to rise above 40°C (104°F), as-experienced earlier in the week. The percentage of uncontained fires jumped as high as 20%. On Friday, local fire authorities have declared total fire bans across Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Fire crews at the east coast of Australia are readying to battle an increased rate of bushfires during the weekend.

Uncontrolled fires have also been burning across the states of Tasmania, Victoria, and Queensland.

Extremely hot weather and strong winds played havoc with the fires early in the week. A minor change in the weather assisted crews on Thursday but the high temperatures are set to return on Friday and through the weekend.

Thirty devastating fires in Tasmania are now being controlled after burning 130 properties and 110,000 hectares of land throughout the past week.

In Victoria there are two significant fires being fought with several others now under control but concerns remain for the weekend with the temperature forecast to rise to 42°C in the north of the state.

Queensland firefighters continued to battle fires north of of the capital Brisbane on Bribie Island, with at least 22 fires still burning throughout the state.

New South Wales has 120 fires burning as of Friday with 370,000 hectares of land, 10,000 livestock and one property already destroyed.

…an awful lot of fireline for firefighters to monitor…

Deputy Commissioner of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Rob Rogers briefed reporters on the bushfires at the Rural Fire Service Headquarters on Friday.

“They are very large, all either in excess or very close to 10,000 hectares (and) in some cases 100 kilometres of fireline.That’s an awful lot of fireline for firefighters to monitor and obviously that’s going to be troubling over today and particularly tomorrow when it will be even hotter.”

One fire at Dean’s Gap in New South Wales had authorities concerned due to its proximity to an old military range that contains unexploded ordinances at Tianjara plateau. Firefighters have used earth moving equipment to create containment lines and specialised gel to protect the range.

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