June 9, 2019

New fossils from 10 million year old ape found in Ethiopia

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Researchers say that new, ten million-year-old fossils found in Ethiopia, prove that the theory that humans may have evolved from a species of great apes eight million years ago, may not be true, but that humans may have split from apes as long as 10.5 million years ago.

At least nine fossilized teeth, one canine tooth and eight molars, of a previously unknown species of apes found in Africa were discovered by a team of researchers from Ethiopia and Japan who then compared the 3-D make up of the teeth to other fossils that date back as far as 8 million years and found that the fossils are likely a “direct ancestor” of apes currently living in Africa and that the new ape fossils were that of a species of gorilla who ate mostly plants high in fiber.

Current fossils and research say that the evolutionary split from apes to humans occurred at least eight million years ago. The new fossils say that the split may have happened as long as 10.5 million years ago.

“Based on this fossil, that means the split is much earlier than has been anticipated by the molecular evidence. That means everything has to be put back,” said researcher at the Rift Valley Research Service in Ethiopia and a co-author of the study, Berhane Asfaw.

Despite the finds, other researchers are not convinced that the findings are correct.

“It is stretching the evidence to base a time scale for the evolution of the great apes on this new fossil. These structures appear on at least three independent lineages of apes, including gorillas, and they could relate to a dietary shift rather than indicating a new genetic trait,” said a Professor at the London Natural History Museum in the United Kingdom, Peter Andrews who also added, “but the fossil evidence for the evolution of our closest living relatives, the great apes, is almost non-existent.

Researchers have named the newly discovered species Cororapithecus abyssinicus whose remains were found in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, the same place where the remains of Lucy were discovered in 1974.

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June 1, 2019

“Anonymous” plans to protest Church of Scientology on February 10

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Internet-based group “Anonymous” released a new video on YouTube Monday, announcing international protests outside Church of Scientology centers set for February 10. The video “Call to Action” uses the same computer synthesized voice as a previous video titled “Message to Scientology”, which was posted to YouTube last Monday. The “Message to Scientology” video has been viewed over 1,400,000 times, and the “Call to Action” video has already been viewed over 237,000 times.

Anonymous is taking action against the Church of Scientology in response to what it sees as suppression of freedom of speech on the Internet. The group was first motivated after the Church of Scientology issued a copyright infringement claim to YouTube regarding a promotional video of Scientologist Tom Cruise speaking about his beliefs and using Scientology jargon. The Church of Scientology also issued a legal complaint to the website Gawker.com which is also hosting the video, but Gawker has stated it will not take the video down because it is newsworthy.

Anonymous set up a movement called “Project Chanology” to coordinate their efforts, and took down several Church of Scientology websites through denial-of-service attacks. Members of Anonymous have also participated in prank calls to Church of Scientology centers, as well as protests or “raids” outside Scientology buildings, and have posted some of their exploits to YouTube.

Anonymous is a collective of individuals united by an awareness that someone must do the right thing.

In the “Call to Action” video, Anonymous denies that they are composed solely of “super hackers”, stating “Anonymous is a collective of individuals united by an awareness that someone must do the right thing, that someone must bring light to the darkness, that someone must open the eyes of a public that has slumbered for far too long.” The video goes on to state “We want you to be aware of the very real dangers of Scientology,” citing what they term “gross human rights violations”.

Specific controversial events in Scientology history are cited in the video, including Operation Freakout and Paulette Cooper, and Operation Snow White. Operation Freakout was the name of a Church of Scientology operation whose goal was to “get P.C. [Paulette Cooper] incarcerated in a mental institution or jail or at least to hit her so hard that she drops her attacks.” Paulette Cooper had written a book critical of Scientology called The Scandal of Scientology. Operation Snow White was the name of a Church of Scientology operation where members of the Church’s secretive Guardian’s Office infiltrated United States government agencies in Washington, D.C. including the I.R.S. The F.B.I.’s investigation into Operation Snow White led them to discover the planning of actions taken against Paulette Cooper.

The video concludes by inviting the viewer to “take up the banner of free speech” and protest with Anonymous world wide. In an email to CNET News, Anonymous stated that cities where unknown activities are planned on February 10 include New York City, Montreal, Houston, London, Melbourne, and Los Angeles.

On Friday, two spokespersons for the Church of Scientology commented on the recent actions of Anonymous. A spokesman told News.com.au “These types of people have got some wrong information about us,” and Church spokeswoman Yvette Shank told Sun Media that she regarded members of Anonymous as a “pathetic” group of “computer geeks”. On Monday, Radar reported that the Church of Scientology has asked the U.S. Attorney General‘s office in Los Angeles, the F.B.I., and the LAPD to start a criminal investigation of possible criminal activity related to the Internet attacks. A source told Radar that the Church of Scientology is arguing that the Internet attacks are a form of “illegal interference with business.” Radar also reports that the Church of Scientology is emphasizing its status as a religious organization in the United States, in order to assert that the Internet attacks can be classed as hate crimes.

I’m mainly concerned because you shouldn’t be doing things that are illegal, you just shouldn’t.

On Saturday, Mark Bunker of the website XenuTV.com posted a video to YouTube criticizing the illegal actions of Anonymous and suggested legal methods for them to retaliate against the Church of Scientology, including peaceful protesting, writing letters to their government representatives, and persuading the United States government to take away the Church of Scientology’s tax exempt status. In the video, Bunker states “I’m mainly concerned because you shouldn’t be doing things that are illegal, you just shouldn’t. It’s not morally right, and it’s not right when Scientology does it, it’s not right when we do it.” Bunker’s video post has been viewed over 156,000 times. On Sunday, Bunker posted a follow-up video to YouTube where he gives advice to Anonymous on how to peacefully picket. He also provides viewers with resources and weblinks to more information on how to hold a peaceful protest. He concludes this video by imitating Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s Jedi mind trick technique and voice from Star Wars, stating “And if I may, as Obi-Wan, tell you: You will do nothing illegal “.

 This story has updates See Wikinews international report: “Anonymous” holds anti-Scientology protests worldwide 

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May 28, 2019

British tourists missing in Pichilemu, Chile

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Yesterday the Surfer’s Cottage, in Pichilemu, Chile, published a list on its website of people missing in the area, including several British tourists.

Some of the named include Kirsty Duff, from Aberdeenshire, Dave Sandercock, from Edinburgh, both 25, Andre Lanyon, from Guernsey, and Laura Hapgood, both 29. Tina Cadwallader Lopes, her husband from Portugal, and their two children are also missing.

Google’s Person Finder was created after the Haiti earthquake to help people find family or friends in Chile. Initially reported deceased through this service, Kirsty Duff and Dave Sandercock were later reported alive and safe in Santiago.

The Guardian reports that at least two couples from the UK were staying in the resort of Pichilemu, and are among those who are yet to contact their families.

The couple was reported alive by Ellie Sandercock, who also said they were in Santiago, as of 9 PM GMT in March 1, 2010.

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May 27, 2019

Mayor of Camden, London, arrested in benefit fraud inquiry

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The mayor of the London Borough of Camden, England, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of benefit fraud. Omar Faruque Ansari was taken from Camden Town Hall by police to Holborn police station over allegations that he was wrongfully claiming disability benefits. After four hours of questioning, he was released on bail to return in March.

Today, Ansar said that he was sure that he would be cleared of any wrongdoing. “It is a very political thing. When you are mayor of Camden, you are a very trusting figure. Someone is trying to smear me”, he added. He is reported to receive £474 (about US$765) per month in disability benefits, after complications following a neck operation in 1995 – this was needed for injuries he received fighting for Bangladesh against Pakistan in the 1970s, he explained. “I’ve never even had a parking ticket in my life, so this is very distressing”, he commented.

The allegations appear to be unrelated to the mayor’s council work, a spokesman for Camden said. He refused to comment further on “allegations relating to the personal lives of [the council’s] members”.

Ansari, 55, moved to the UK in 1960 and has been mayor of Camden since May 2009, after joining the Liberal Democrats in 2006. He has been suspended as mayor and from the Liberal Democrat group while the investigation is ongoing.

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British TV presenter Rico Daniels tells Wikinews about being ‘The Salvager’

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rico Daniels is a British TV presenter living in France who is known for his two television series — The Salvager — whilst he still lived in the UK and then Le Salvager after he moved to France. Rico has been in a variety of jobs but his passion is now his profession – he turns unwanted ‘junk’ into unusual pieces of furniture. Rico’s creations and the methods used to fabricate them are the subject of the Salvager shows.

Rico spoke to Wikinews in January about his inspiration and early life, future plans, other hobbies and more. Read on for the full exclusive interview, published for the first time:

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May 26, 2019

Eight people dead after shooting in North Carolina nursing home

Monday, March 30, 2009

At least eight people have been killed on Monday after a gunman entered a Carthage, North Carolina nursing home and opened fire on its residents.

Local police reported that Robert Stewart, a 45-year-old man, entered the Pinelake health and rehabilitation centre, which gives care to Alzheimer’s disease patients, and shot a nurse and seven patients to death. Six of the victims were killed at the scene. The others died later at a local hospital. The ages of the patients were between 78 and 98.

The alleged gunman also wounded two other people, among them a visitor and a policeman, who confronted the gunman in a hallway and stopped the rampage. The suspect himself was injured before being arrested by police. His condition is currently not known.

“He [the policeman] acted in nothing short of a heroic way today, and but for his actions, we certainly could have had a worse tragedy. We had an officer, a well-trained officer, who performed his job the way he was supposed to and prevented this from getting even worse than it is now,” said Maureen Krueger, the Moore County District Attorney.

“This is a small community built on faith, and faith will get us through,” said Chris McKenzie, the Carthage police chief. “It’s a horrible event in any size town, particularly, though, when you deal with a small town such as Carthage. It’s hard. This is my home, my small town. I was born and raised here so I take it to heart a little bit. All you can do is move forward.”

The victims of the shooting have been identified. They are: Bessie Hendrick, 78; John Goldston, 78; Jessie Musser, 88; Tessie Gardner, 88; Lillian Dunn, 89; Margaret Johnston, 89; Louise Decker, 98; and Jerry Avent, the nurse.

Carthage is located approximately sixty miles southwest of North Carolina’s capital of Raleigh. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 1,871. The Pinelake nursing home, where the attack occurred, contains 110 beds and has both short and long term patients.

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Disposal of fracking wastewater poses potential environmental problems

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A recent study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the oil and gas industry are creating earthquakes. New information from the Midwest region of the United States points out that these man-made earthquakes are happening more frequently than expected. While more frequent earthquakes are less of a problem for regions like the Midwest, a geology professor from the University of Southern Indiana, Dr. Paul K. Doss, believes the disposal of wastewater from the hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) process used in extracting oil and gas has the possibility to pose potential problems for groundwater.

“We are taking this fluid that has a whole host of chemicals in it that are useful for fracking and putting it back into the Earth,” Doss said. “From a purely seismic perspective these are not big earthquakes that are going to cause damage or initiate, as far as we know, any larger kinds of earthquakes activity for Midwest. [The issue] is a water quality issue in terms of the ground water resources that we use.”

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique used by the oil and gas industries which inject highly pressurized water down into the Earth’s crust to break rock and extract natural gas. Most of the fluids used for fracking are proprietary, so information about what chemicals are used in the various fluids are unknown to the public and to create a competitive edge.

Last Monday four researchers from the University of New Brunswick released an editorial that sheds light on the potential risks that the current wastewater disposal system could have on the province’s water resources. The researchers share the concern that Dr. Doss has and have come out to say that they believe fracking should be stopped in the province until there is an environ­mentally safe way to dispose the waste wastewater.

“If groundwater becomes contamin­ated, it takes years to decades to try to clean up an aquifer system,” University of New Brunswick professor Tom Al said.

While the USGS group which conducted the study says it is unclear how the earthquake rates may be related to oil and gas production, they’ve made the correlation between the disposal of wastewater used in fracking and the recent upsurge in earthquakes. Because of the recent information surfacing that shows this connection between the disposal process and earthquakes, individual states in the United States are now passing laws regarding disposal wells.

The problem is that we have never, as a human society, engineered a hole to go four miles down in the Earth’s crust that we have complete confidence that it won’t leak.

“The problem is that we have never, as a human society, engineered a hole to go four miles down in the Earth’s crust that we have complete confidence that it won’t leak,” Doss said. “A perfect case-in-point is the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, that oil was being drilled at 18,000 feet but leaked at the surface. And that’s the concern because there’s no assurance that some of these unknown chemical cocktails won’t escape before it gets down to where they are trying to get rid of them.”

It was said in the study released by the New Brunswick University professors that if fracking wastewater would contaminate groundwater, that current conventional water treatment would not be sufficient enough to remove the high concentration of chemicals used in fracking. The researchers did find that the wastewater could be recycled, can also be disposed of at proper sites or even pumped further underground into saline aquifers.

The New Brunswick professors have come to the conclusion that current fracking methods used by companies, which use the water, should be replaced with carbon diox­ide or liquefied propane gas.

“You eliminate all the water-related issues that we’re raising, and that peo­ple have raised in general across North America,” Al said.

In New Brunswick liquefied propane gas has been used successfully in fracking some wells, but according to water specialist with the province’s Natural Resources De­partment Annie Daigle, it may not be the go-to solution for New Brunswick due its geological makeup.

“It has been used successfully by Corridor Resources here in New Bruns­wick for lower volume hydraulic frac­turing operations, but it is still a fairly new technology,” Daigle said.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with U.S. states to come up with guidelines to manage seismic risks due to wastewater. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA is the organization that also deals with the policies for wells.

Oil wells, which are under regulation, pump out salt water known as brine, and after brine is pumped out of the ground it’s disposed of by being pumped back into the ground. The difference between pumping brine and the high pressurized fracking fluid back in the ground is the volume that it is disposed of.

“Brine has never caused this kind of earthquake activity,” Doss said. “[The whole oil and gas industry] has developed around the removal of natural gas by fracking techniques and has outpaced regulatory development. The regulation is tied to the ‘the run-of-the-mill’ disposal of waste, in other words the rush to produce this gas has occurred before regulatory agencies have had the opportunity to respond.”

According to the USGS study, the increase in injecting wastewater into the ground may explain the sixfold increase of earthquakes in the central part of the United States from 2000 – 2011. USGS researchers also found that in decades prior to 2000 seismic events that happened in the midsection of the U.S. averaged 21 annually, in 2009 it spiked to 50 and in 2011 seismic events hit 134.

“The incredible volumes and intense disposal of fracking fluids in concentrated areas is what’s new,” Doss said. “There is not a body of regulation in place to manage the how these fluids are disposed of.”

The study by the USGS was presented at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America on April 18, 2012.

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Eurovision ’04 winner Ruslana discusses her paths as singer, spokesmodel, stateswoman and source of inspiration

Monday, March 30, 2009

First becoming famous in her native Ukraine in the 1990s, long-haired self-described “AmazonRuslana gained international recognition for winning the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest with her song “Wild Dances,” inspired by the musical traditions of the Hutsul people of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains.

In the five years since, Ruslana has decided to use her name and public status to represent a number of worthy causes, including human trafficking, renewable energy, and even the basic concept of democratic process, becoming a public face of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution and later serving in Parliament.

Currently, she is on an international publicity tour to promote her album Wild Energy, a project borne out of a science fiction novel that has come to symbolize her hopes for a newer, better, freer way of life for everyone in the world. She took time to respond to questions Wikinews’s Mike Halterman posed to her about her career in music and her other endeavors.

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with past Eurovision contestants, which will be published sporadically in the lead-up to mid-May’s next contest in Moscow.

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May 24, 2019

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

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.

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ITV fined A$3000 for cruelty to rat on “I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A spokesperson stated on Monday that UK television company ITV have been fined A$3000 (about US$2591 or £1663) for cruelty to animals in an incident on programme “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!“, where two celebrities killed and ate a rat.

The incident involved actor Stuart Manning and television chef Gino D’Acampo, who went on to win the ninth series of the programme, which was broadcast in 2009. Inside the jungle, having been reduced to rations of beans and rice, the two celebrities caught a rat before killing it and then cooking it, to give the beans and rice “more protein”, before eating the rat, which contestant and actor George Hamilton described as “actually quite nice”. Inside the programme’s video diary room, at the time of the recording of it, Gino D’Acampo said: “I saw one of these rats running around. I got a knife, I got its throat, I picked it up.”

RSPCA Australia had stated that performing an act like this on television was “not acceptable”. Initially, Manning and D’Acampo were charged for animal cruelty. However, their charges were dropped when ITV made the confession that production staff had allowed the celebrities to carry out the act of killing the rat. After a court trial in Sydney, Australia, ITV got a fine of A$3000. The company also had to pay costs of A$2500 (US$2192 or £1396).

An ITV spokesperson said that “ITV has apologised for the mistake which led to this incident. The production was unaware that killing a rat could be an offence, criminal or otherwise in New South Wales, and accepts that further inquiries should have been made. This was an oversight and we have since thoroughly reviewed our procedures and are putting in place a comprehensive training programme to ensure that this does not happen in future series.”

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