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No injuries after Antarctica research station support plane crashes

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Basler BT-67, chartered from Canadian air carrier Kenn Borek Air for the National Science Foundation (NSF), a United States government agency, has crashed whilst attempting take-off during a support assignment in Antarctica. None of the ten people on board were injured, but the modified Douglas DC-3 was substantially damaged in the accident.

The accident occurred on the morning of December 20 local time, about 550 miles from McMurdo Station, a US-run Antarctic base. The aircraft was carrying a crew of four, and six researchers. The flight was part of the Polar Earth Observatory Network project, which is part-funded by the NSF. The project sets up GPS equipment and seismic sensors in various locations across Antarctica, in order to monitor changes in the ice sheets that cover the continent. It is thought that this will aid understanding of global warming.

Although the NSF refused to publicise any details of the crash, one anonymous passenger has come forward about the accident, releasing his account in the form of an online report. According to the passenger, one side of the plane failed to lift off, and the aircraft’s wing subsequently dug into the ice.

“My seat came unbolted from the floor with me still strapped into the seatbelt,” the passenger said. “When we finally came to a halt, we were all in big pile in the corner of the plane with all of the equipment. We got shaken up pretty bad, but there were no major injuries other than some minor cuts and bruises… The wings, props, and tail all got bent up pretty bad. The landing gear, skis, and hydraulic system all were ripped from the plane and strewn about the ice.”

Following the accident, all those on board spent about twenty hours before they were flown back to McMurdo Station on board two Twin Otter aircraft sent from the base on a rescue mission. A full investigation has been launched into the crash by the Department of the Interior‘s Aircraft Management Division (AMD), who have signed a memorandum of agreement with NSF to conduct any necessary investigations on their behalf. The AMD have subsequently contacted the United States National Transportation Safety Board, who will participate in conjunction with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

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Cocaine found in frozen mango puree shipped to Montréal, Canada

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced Tuesday that they had seized approximately 160 kilograms of cocaine discovered in buckets of frozen mango puree imported from Mexico.

Investigations led the police to a shipping container destined for the Port of Montréal, in the Canadian province of Québec. A CBSA officer at the Container Examination Centre in Montréal identified the suspect container. The drug was found in brick-shaped plastic wrapping of about 4 kilograms in weight each. There were 1,200 buckets of frozen mango puree in the shipment, not all with cocaine inside.

RCMP Sgt. André Potvin told reporters that the value of the shipment was significant and was the largest maritime port drug haul in the force’s history. At CA$20 per half-gram, “that’s in the vicinity of $38 million,” said Potvin.

The investigation by the RCMP Drug Section, CBSA Intelligence officers, the Marine Security Enforcement Team and the Port of Montréal Security Group, determined that an import company, named Quality Mexport, was allegedly a front for the drug-smuggling operation.

Five Mexicans, holding visitor status in Canada, were arrested in the matter. They are:

  • Juan Manuel Huerta Canela, 31;
  • Jose Gerardo Bernal Vasquez, 52;
  • Jose Luis Navarro Ochoa, 33;
  • Jesus Manuel Villa Quiroz, 32; and
  • Alfonso Strag Estrada, age 50.

The suspects have been charged with importing and possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. The charges are allegations at this point in time.

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Wikinews Shorts: May 7, 2007

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Wikinews Shorts: May 7, 2007
Author:

12 Feb

A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, May 7, 2007.

A 30 meter section of a gas pipeline in Luka (near Kiev) in Ukraine has been destroyed by an explosion. Although supplies to Europe via this pipeline have stopped, Ukrainian Energy Minister Georgi E. Boyko said that supplies to Europe would not be affected.

“There are no changes in volumes of gas being transported,” Yuri Korolchuk said. “Volumes due to pass through the damaged section are being redirected through the Soyuz pipeline.”

Normal flows are reported in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

Sources


Copper prices are rising. Between record copper imports from China, and a mining strike in Peru, the prices have climbed to over $8100 (United States dollars) a tonne, for a gain of $575 dollars over the last week. However the upward trend is not new, it has been climbing for quite some time. In April 2003, the price of copper was under $2000 a tonne.

The metal market has been tending up due to growth in the Chinese industrial production. This trickles down to the local level, where the buying price at scrap yards is ever climbing, making scrap metal collection a more profitable endeavour for individual people using pick up trucks or other such vehicles to collect and cash in the scrap metal at metal buying yards. It can be collected via agreements with businesses, from the garbage, or, sometimes, by theft.

Copper prices fell today on the NYMEX commodity exchange from US$3.7545 per pound to US$3.7125 based on the July futures contract.

Sources

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

One man was killed and another injured by an exploding backpack in the parking lot of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The explosion happened at 4 a.m. PDT when the victim tried to remove a the object left on top of his car.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are on the scene. Aerial images did not show any apparent damage.

“We believe the victim was the intended target of this,” Bill Cassell said, spokesperson for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “This is being treated as a homicide in which the weapon used to cause death is a non-traditional weapon.”

Both of the victims worked at the Luxor.

Sources


New fossils from 10 million year old ape found in Ethiopia

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New fossils from 10 million year old ape found in Ethiopia
Author:

12 Feb

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.

Author of My Billion Year Contract reflects on life in elite Scientology group

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Author of My Billion Year Contract reflects on life in elite Scientology group
Author:

10 Feb

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Nancy Many about her book My Billion Year Contract, and asked her about life working in the elite Scientology group known as the “Sea Org“. Many joined Scientology in the early 1970s, and after leaving in 1996 she later testified against the organization. Published in October, Many’s book has gone on to become one of the top selling new books on Scientology at Amazon.com.

UK Home Secretary announces ID card pilot launch

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UK Home Secretary announces ID card pilot launch
Author:

10 Feb

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

U.K. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced a voluntary pilot scheme for identity cards. Greater Manchester has been chosen for the pilot and passport holders over sixteen will be able to submit applications for the card at post offices and pharmacies.

A number of other high street retailers are negotiating with the government to be permitted to take photographs and fingerprints for the scheme.

Opposition leaders stand against the planned compulsory nationwide scheme, calling for the £5.3 billion programme to be scrapped. The pricetag does not include the costs that agencies and other government departments will incur procuring equipment to verify the cards.

The trial is also supposed to be in effect at London City and Manchester airports. This is opposed by the British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA), claiming it is effectively compulsory; in order to get airside passes pilots will have to produce one of the new national identity cards.

When any old chemist in Wythenshawe or Ancoats is responsible for collecting personal information that is supposed to be private and secure, there is a real chance for that information to be used for fraudulent purposes

BALPA general secretary, Jim McAuslan, emphasised some of the concerns of the association’s members, “Like every other citizen, they ask themselves what will happen to the data they are coerced into providing; whether it will it [sic] be safe, whose hands might it fall into, and what might they do with the data?” As do many of the ID card scheme’s detractors, he made the Orwellian comparison, “Our members increasingly have a sense that a line is being crossed in the relationship between state and citizen; a sense that Big Brother knows best.”

Wikinews contacted NO2ID about the proposal, and received feedback from their press spokesman, Michael Parker. He emphasised that this announcement is not a sure sign that the cards will actually be available later this year. Regarding the choice of post offices and chemists to serve on the front line of issuing the cards he said, “…it totally undermines the whole idea of the project as a ‘gold standard’ ‘unbreakable’ ID card that would guarantee we are who we say we are. When any old chemist in Wythenshawe or Ancoats (Manchester districts) is responsible for collecting personal information that is supposed to be private and secure, there is a real chance for that information to be used for fraudulent purposes.”

HAVE YOUR SAY
Are the concerns expressed by NO2ID and others justified?
Add or view comments

NO2ID is an independent group set up to campaign against the ID card system, and what they describe as the ‘database state’. When Wikinews asked if they trust the UK Government with a database of 60 million individuals’ details his response was cutting and blunt, “I would say ‘Not as far as I could throw them’, but then it would be easy to download 60m peoples’ details onto a CD and then throw that quite far…”

Despite the existence of pressure groups such as NO2ID, the government asserts that there is broad public support for the introduction of compulsory ID cards.

Truck carrying explosives crashes, explodes in Utah

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Truck carrying explosives crashes, explodes in Utah
Author:

9 Feb

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A truck carrying 35,500 pounds (16,100 kg) of explosives used in mining and seismic exploration overturned and exploded on a rural mountain section of U.S. Highway 6 in Utah’s Spanish Fork Canyon Thursday afternoon.

The wreck occurred shortly after 2 pm, as driver Travis Stewart, 30, of Rexburg, Idaho, was leaving Ensign-Bickford Co., a commercial explosives manufacturing plant at the mouth of the canyon. Company officials said the truck was destined for Oklahoma.

Witnesses said Mr. Stewart appeared to lose control of the truck after entering a curve in the road at a high rate of speed. Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Ken Peay said, “speed was a factor” in the wreck of the truck but refused to speculate on how fast the truck was traveling when it wrecked. Lt. Peay said the posted speed limit on the road is 60 mph, but the advised speed is 40.

At least 17 people received minor injuries and the explosion left a 35 foot deep crater in the highway. The driver was transported via helicopter to a hospital, where he was listed in fair condition, and was later released. The co-driver Troy Lysfjord, 37, of Blackfoot, Idaho, was helped from the wreck by passers by and listed in fair condition at Utah Valley Regional Hospital in Provo.

The wreck site occurred on a major thoroughfare between Denver and Salt Lake City – about 60 miles south of Salt Lake City – was already under reconstruction by nightfall, as road crews began installing 10 inches of asphalt on the two lane road.

Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Tom Hudachko said officials hoped to have the road fully repaired by Friday afternoon, adding that, “When you take a look at that hole that was there 24 hours ago, I think it’s amazing the progress that was made.” As of press time, the mouth of the canyon was reopened to traffic, while traffic at the accident site was impassible, and rerouted nearby.

The explosion consumed all but about 60 pounds of explosives, and loosened some boulders on the north side of the highway, damaged railroad tracks and some fiber optic lines buried along the roadway. Amtrak and Union Pacific reported delays resulting from the wreck. Uinta National Forest spokesman Loyal Clark said forest firefighters were unable to respond to several small fires nearby that were apparently started by flying debris, and that helicopters dropped water to extinguish them. High humidity and lack of fuel from a previous fire delayed the fire’s spread.

The cost of repairs, while paid immediately by the state, will ultimately be borne by the trucking company’s insurance carrier. The truck is registered to R&R Trucking of Duenweg, Missouri.

UHP Lt. Peay said the investigation findings will be turned over to Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson whom would make any final decision about what charges, if any, would be pressed.

Eurovision ’09 competitor Chiara talks about her current song “What If We” and her past accolades

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Eurovision ’09 competitor Chiara talks about her current song “What If We” and her past accolades
Author:

9 Feb

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The small archipelago of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea takes the Eurovision Song Contest very seriously. Leading a fight to remove a cap on the number of competing countries brought them back to the Contest in 1991 after a 16-year absence, and ever since the nation has had perfect attendance.

Since then, Malta’s dependable “shining star” has been Chiara Siracusa, who goes by her first name in her music career. First competing in 1998 at the age of 21, she was pushed to the brink of victory until the votes from the final country that evening leveled her placement to third. Her rendition of the song “The One That I Love,” and the recognition she received not only for herself, but for her country, made her a star in Malta overnight, and helped her launch a singing career in Europe.

She would later return to the Contest in 2005 with “Angel,” an anthem she penned herself, and achieved second place. Now, in 2009, she will be going back to Eurovision for a third try, hoping for the “3-2-1” charm and a victory — something that has eluded her thus far. Her entry, the ballad “What If We,” has special memories for Chiara; it is dedicated to her father, who is recently deceased.

What if Chiara could take home the gold in Moscow; for Malta, for her father, and for herself? Only time will tell. Chiara took time out of her Eurovision promotional schedule to answer some questions from Wikinews’ Mike Halterman about her past performances, and most importantly, her upcoming one.

This is the fourth 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.


((Mike Halterman)) You’ll be going to Moscow for a third try at possibly winning Eurovision. Why did you decide to compete this year? How did your partnership with Marc Paelinck and Gregory Bilsen come about?

Chiara: Well, I met Marc Paelinck long time ago through a friend in Belgium. We started working together and it brought us to this collaboration today. I was thinking of going back to the festival [for a long time] and this year felt like the right year to do so.

((Mike Halterman)) Eurovision fans from across Europe picked you as the wide favorite to win Malta’s preselection this year. Were you as confident? Were you nervous about competing in the semi-final rounds this time around, or did you think this was something you could handle?

Chiara: When I go into a competition, I always go to win, but I was nervous like everyone else…I think [when] you win a festival, [you win] for what you present, not for what your history is.

((Mike Halterman)) Growing up, did you always want to become a singer? Who were your musical influences, and what genres do you think are your favorite? Do you think these preferences have molded you into the singer you are today?

Chiara: Definitely. My mum always says I used to sing and dance for them all the time since I was a baby, and I’ve always loved ballads. In fact, my favourite singer has always been Whitney Houston.

((Mike Halterman)) How did you come to the decision to enter the Eurovision pre-selection for Malta back in 1998? What kinds of feelings did you experience during the path you took to eventual victory in the national final?

Chiara: 1998 was my first time in the festival. I was very young and I felt I could never win it. I wanted just to try and be there with the big names of those times. It was very scary and overwhelming, [and] then I won.

((Mike Halterman)) Did you feel overwhelmed performing in front of an international audience in Birmingham? What kind of personal feelings and emotions made you relate to the song you sang, “The One That I Love”? There were remarks afterwards that your performance was great, but your dress had similarities to Barbara Dex’s from five years before (and she has become well-known for her “fashion don’t”). Looking back on it, what did you think of that dress?

Chiara: Well…looking back I remember that I was completely overwhelmed [singing] in front of so many people. I was very scared but managed to do well. As for the dress, they were different times [back then] and it was beyond my control.

((Mike Halterman)) You came very close to winning the Contest for Malta back in 1998. When you didn’t, how did it make you feel? Did you feel “robbed”? As an addenda, some Wikipedians I’ve talked to have hypothesized that tabloid hype before the event helped Dana International win; in other words, she would not have won had she not been a transsexual. Do you feel that’s true, and did you like her song?

Chiara: I know a lot of Maltese who voted for Dana because they liked the song and for no other reason. The song was good and we still hear it today.

Obviously when you are so close to winning something and you don’t, yes, you feel a bit robbed, but [then there’s] the moment [when] you realise you did well and you are happy.

((Mike Halterman)) After Eurovision, you made a transformation from an unknown singing hopeful to a true recording artist. Tell us a bit about your transformation, and how you felt during this time. Also, around this time you started to perform in concerts and festivals abroad. What was your best memory from this time, when you were performing abroad and people from outside Malta not only knew who you were, but were interested in your life and music.

Chiara: Everything came like rain in my life, from one thing to the other, and before I knew it I became “Chiara of Malta.” I loved it, but I didn’t have much time to think about it. It came quickly; I went to a lot of places and sang with many people but I think what I will always remember is the concert I did with my band, where Seal was as well in the same event, in Frankfurt. It was incredible.

((Mike Halterman)) In 2005, you entered the Contest again, this time with a song you wrote yourself. What is the meaning behind “Angel,” and what kind of story do the lyrics tell about your own life and experiences?

Chiara: “Angel” is a love song and it will always have a special place in my heart. It’s about the love you give someone without wanting anything back, and the unlimited support too.

((Mike Halterman)) You achieved the best placing for Malta in Eurovision history with your performance in 2005. What did you learn from your experiences in 1998 and, in your mind, how did you improve to become more successful in 2005?

Chiara: I think it’s the maturity and the experience. [Through] the years, without knowing, you [gather] so many lessons and behave better and take things a bit more serious and so on.

((Mike Halterman)) Surely you’ve read not only supportive comments, but negative ones as well, particularly concerning your weight. At the same time, however, you have become a role model of sorts for fuller-figured women across Europe, who aren’t accustomed to seeing “people like them” at Eurovision. How did you deal with the negativity, both in the context of the Contest and in your personal life, and what message do you hope to give to full-figured women who look to you for inspiration?

Chiara: Well, I have always been “full figured,” as you put it. I have spent time in my life trying to become as thin as I could, but I could never make it. Through the years I have learnt to accept myself and love me for what I am and how I look. I feel I have nothing less than others and my advice is to be happy with yourself, and love yourself, because you can never get someone to love you if you yourself don’t.

((Mike Halterman)) Tell us about the emotions you convey in the song “What If We.” Every song has a story, so what is the story played out in this song?

Chiara: The story for me with this song is completely about my father. He was the one to contact Marc [Paelinck] and he was the machine behind Eurovision for me, so he’s entirely what this song is about for me and being that he passed away three months ago, well, it makes the song very special when I sing it.

((Mike Halterman)) If you had to absolutely pick one song, which of the three songs you’ve submitted is your favorite, and why?

Chiara: The three songs [each] have a story of [their own]. “The One That I Love” gave me my whole career, my fame and everything I am today so i can never forget it; “Angel” is too special because it’s like my baby, I wrote it myself; and “What If We” is very deep in my heart because of my dad, so I can never choose between them. Sorry!

((Mike Halterman)) What are your plans for after the Contest? What kinds of projects would you like to pursue? Have you considered launching a singing career in the United States?

Chiara: My immediate project after the festival is an album which I have already started working on, in my style [which] is completely ballads, then wherever that takes me I’ll go, [whether it be] the U.S. or elsewhere.

((Mike Halterman)) Finally, what would you like to tell all of your fans, awaiting your performance this May in Moscow?

Chiara: I would like to thank them for the ongoing support they have always showed me, and promise them I will give them my all on the performance night in Moscow.

KKE: Interview with the Greek Communist Party

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KKE: Interview with the Greek Communist Party
Author:

8 Feb

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wikinews reporter Iain Macdonald has performed an interview with Dr Isabella Margara, a London-based member of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). In the interview Margara sets out the communist response to current events in Greece as well as discussing the viability of a communist economy for the nation. She also hit back at Petros Tzomakas, a member of another Greek far-left party which criticised KKE in a previous interview.

The interview comes amid tensions in cash-strapped Greece, where the government is introducing controversial austerity measures to try to ease the nation’s debt-problem. An international rescue package has been prepared by European Union member states and the International Monetary Fund – should Greece require a bailout; protests have been held against government attempts to manage the economic situation.