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British adventurer flies powered paraglider over Everest

Friday, May 18, 2007

British explorer and mountaineer Edward “Bear” Grylls, has set a new altitude record by piloting a powered paraglider above Mount Everest reaching 29,494ft (8,990m). He and his fellow pilot, Giles Cardozo, who had invented and developed the parajet engine, set out on their attempt from the Himalayan village of Pheriche (altitude 14,435ft (4,400m)) in the early morning of 14th May.

Grylls, 33, is a mountaineer, best selling author and television presenter who spent three years with the elite British Special Air Service (“SAS”) forces. During this time he was involved in a horrific parachuting accident in which he broke his back in three places, almost severing his spinal cord. Remarkably, in 1998, after months of rehabilitation, he became at 23, the youngest British climber to scale Mount Everest and return alive.

Cardozo is considered to be one of the top paragliding pilots in the world, and it is reported that he and Grylls first came up with the idea for the attempt about a year ago when he had invented the engine that would take them up the mountain.

Grylls and Cardozo flew their paragliders together to 28,001ft (8,353m) surviving temperatures of minus 76°F (-60°C) and dangerously low oxygen levels, when a fault developed in Cardozo’s engine, and he had to abort his attempt just 984ft (300m) below the summit. Grylls went on to reach his record height at 09.33 local time. He had originally intended to cross the Mountain but turned back to base camp fearing that he might be arrested if he entered Chinese airspace.

On his return to Kathmandu, Grylls voiced his feelings of loneliness and exhilaration:

When Giles descended and I found myself alone so high up I was feeling a lot more vulnerable but I knew the weather and wind conditions were perfect. It was so amazing to look into Nepal, India and Tibet and all of a sudden these great Himalayan giants looked so tiny. It was a very special moment when I realised that there was no mountain in the world above me, especially after having stood on the top of the world myself nine years ago.
 

The attempt was sponsored by British technology and engineering group GKN. The project, GKN Mission Everest, raised £500,000 (approximately $1m) for Global Angels, a charity helping children in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

In a separate incident, a German paragliding champion has survived being sucked up by a storm to a height of 32,612ft (9,940m) whilst preparing for a world paragliding championship in Manilla, New South Wales, Australia.

Ewa Wisnierska, 35, the 2005 World Cup paragliding winner, lost consciousness and was covered in ice and battered by orange-sized hailstones as she was pulled upwards by the sudden tornado-like storm which she had been attempting to skirt. After regaining consciousness as she descended she was able to make contact with her ground team which had been tracking her by her GPS equipment, and landed safely 40 miles (60km) from where she took off.

Remarkably she spent only an hour in hospital after her experience, being treated for frostbite and blistering to her face and ears.

A fellow competitor, 42 year old Chinese man, He Zhongpin, who was also caught up in the storm, was not so fortunate and died from lack of oxygen and the extreme cold.

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South African president dismisses deputy on implications of corruption

Tuesday, June 14, 2005File:JacobZuma.jpg

Today at about 1600 UTC/GMT, South African President Thabo Mbeki announced in a special session of parliament that he has taken action he feels is necessary, that is to “release [his deputy president], Jacob Zuma, from his responsibilities as deputy president of the republic and member of the cabinet”.

Zuma was implicated in corruption arising from his relationship with his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, who was convicted of corruption and fraud earlier this month. Shaik was found guilty by Durban High Court of two counts of corruption and one of fraud and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

The President has called this one of his toughest decisions. Opposition leader of the Democratic Alliance immediately praised the president for holding “principle over politics”, and, while deeply saddened, former president Nelson Mandela supported Mbeki’s decision. Jacob Zuma was the favourite of the ruling African National Congress party to succeed Thabo Mbeki as president.

Following this ordeal, the government of South Africa has reaffirmed its dedication to the reduction and eventual elimination of corruption in all areas of politics.

UPDATE (July 7)

The African National Congress held a meeting of it’s National General Council over the weekend of 2-3 July. Zuma attracted a lot of favourable attention, mostly from people who wished to defeat policy initiatives that included relaxing some of the legal constraints on employers. He was reinstated as ANC deputy president and, in a first for the party, granted a salary (details not revealed). It now appears that Jacob Zuma’s political future is closely tied to that of the “left wing” of the ANC.

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Interview: Danny O’Brien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

January’s second Interview of the Month was with Danny O’Brien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on 23 January in IRC.

The EFF is coming off a series of high-profile successes in their campaigns to educate the public, press, and policy makers regarding online rights in a digital world, and defending those rights in the legislature and the courtroom. Their settlement with Sony/BMG, the amazingly confused MGM v Grokster decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, and the disturbing cases surrounding Diebold have earned the advocacy organization considerable attention.

When asked if the EFF would be interested in a live interview in IRC by Wikinews, the answer was a nearly immediate yes, but just a little after Ricardo Lobo. With two such interesting interview candidates agreeing so quickly, it was hard to say no to either so schedules were juggled to have both. By chance, the timing worked out to have the EFF interview the day before the U.S. Senate schedule hearings concerning the Broadcast flag rule of the FCC, a form of digital rights management which the recording and movie industries have been lobbying hard for – and the EFF has been lobbying hard to prevent.

Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans graduate students

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Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans graduate students
Author:

11 Sep

See the discussion page for instructions on adding schools to this list.Tuesday, September 13, 2005

NAICU has created a list of colleges and universities accepting and/or offering assistance to displace faculty members. [1]Wednesday, September 7, 2005

This list is taken from Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans students, and is intended to make searching easier for faculty, graduate, and professional students.

In addition to the list below, the Association of American Law Schools has compiled a list of law schools offering assistance to displaced students. [2] As conditions vary by college, interested parties should contact the Office of Admissions at the school in question for specific requirements and up-to-date details.

The Association of American Medical Colleges is coordinating alternatives for medical students and residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina. [3]

ResCross.net is acting as a central interactive hub for establishing research support in times of emergency. With so many scientists affected by Hurricane Katrina, ResCross is currently focused on providing information to identify sources of emergency support as quickly as possible. [4]

With so many scientists affected by Hurricane Katrina, ResCross is currently focused on providing information to identify sources of emergency support as quickly as possible.

Physics undergraduates, grad students, faculty and high school teachers can be matched up with housing and jobs at universities, schools and industry. [5] From the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Society of Physics Students, the American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society.

If you are seeking or providing assistance, please use this site to find information on research support, available lab space/supplies, resources, guidelines and most importantly to communicate with fellow researchers.

The following is a partial list, sorted by location.

Alabama |Alaska |Arizona |Arkansas |California |Colorado |Connecticut |Delaware |District of Columbia |Florida |Georgia |Hawaii |Idaho |Illinois |Indiana |Iowa |Kansas |Kentucky |Louisiana |Maine |Maryland |Massachusetts |Michigan |Minnesota |Mississippi |Missouri |Montana |Nebraska |Nevada |New Hampshire |New Jersey |New Mexico |New York |North Carolina |North Dakota |Ohio |Oklahoma |Oregon |Pennsylvania |Rhode Island |South Carolina |South Dakota |Tennessee |Texas |Utah |Vermont |Virginia |Washington |West Virginia |Wisconsin |Wyoming |Canada

There’s A Pony In The Poop!

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There’s a Pony in the Poop! by Jeff GustafsonWe have met and talked with just about every builder in the Spokane area over the past several months. And there is no doubt that builders are just trying to keep the fires burning while we work our way through this downturn. Fortunately, there has been some weeding out in the industry which in most cases has been perceived as a good thing since what is left is the “best of the best”. How does one recover from such a dramatic change in conditions? And I don’t just mean custom builders, remodelers and their subs, I mean families in general. How do we turn things around? Consider this: One of the strengths of us in a free society is that we have the ability and freedom to adjust to our conditions, and (excuse my French) find the pony in the poop. That might mean that we have to do some things differently but that isn’t so bad. It is good to look at things from different perspectives from time to time because that is part of staying on top of your industry, your business, your marketI worked for a Fortune 500 company for 22 years. And every year the company would change the pay plan. Now in the beginning, people would moan and grown through the first quarter of the year about “how unfair the plan was” and, as a result, lose three months of productivity. It happened every year. I didn’t like losing three months of productivity and so I would sequester myself for a weekend as the plan came out and dissect it so that I could find the pony in the poop. Once you realized that they were just shifting around the normal 12% for sales to make sure that all products were continuing to grow, you would find the pony (the products that were paying the highest commission) and then develop a plan to get those products in front of the clients. It worked every year and we historically were always at the top of the heap come year end.What do we have today in the housing market? Homes are affordable, builders are making the best of deals and interest rates are at all times lows. Does anyone see the pony? You should see a million dollar race horse! As I was working through my early years in business, it was nothing to stretch yourself a bit to get into that nicer home because you figured at “34, 37, 42 etc.” your income was going up and so with a fixed mortgage you could afford to bite the bullet. But today things are even better. Homes have dropped measurably and along with that interest rates are as low as they have been in over 50 years. The only question that is still left is; what is the market going to do over the next few years? My money is on the market recovering. This downturn was the result of some terrible policies demanded by congress along with some pretty loose interpretations of the law (it still amazes me that there has never been a clear explanation as to what really happened here). I can only suspect that it must not be in the current “in control” party’s favor because if it were on the shoulders of the previous administration you can bet they would have exposed it for all it was worth. But that is a separate matter. You and I have to keep our eye on the ball and figure out a way to take advantage of what is going on here.What do we mean by “homes are affordable”? Spokane has always been an affordable area to live. And with the latest housing downturn that has only made Spokane more attractive. There are a significant number of homes on the market which means there are probably some great bargains available. And, to be honest, there are probably even some great deals to be negotiated with the custom builders as well.That leads us into “builders are making the best of deals”. That means that if you have ever thought of buying a custom home, today is probably the best time in the past 50 years to go have a discussion. Ask what is possible. Find out what alternatives there might be to get you into that dream home. There could be significant incentives aside from some builder programs. And what about a partial build? Maybe you can do some of the rest at a later time when you can better afford it. There are lots of options. You just need to discover what they are. And finally, interest rates are at all-time lows. So the opportunity is just there for the taking. Search on the Internet for mortgage calculators and see for yourself. A $200,000 home with a 30% down will leave you only an $800.00 a month mortgage payment. My goodness, look around. And then if you decide to make your payments in two installments each month you can cut off as much as 5 years on your loan payments which equals some $20,000+ over the life of the loan. There is definitely a pony in the poop and I suggest highly that if you have ever thought of building then you should contact one of our builders today and see what they have to say. We have not only filmed them but we have filmed their homes and talked to the residents of those homes and even filmed the homeowners on occasion and so we know what they have had to say. We know our builders build quality homes and that they come highly recommended.The Builders Blockshttp://thebuildersblocks.comArticle Source: eArticlesOnline.com

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Nebraska court bans the electric chair

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Nebraska court bans the electric chair
Author:

9 Sep

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Nebraska Supreme Court has banned the use of the electric chair in the execution of murderers. The court found that the application violated the Nebraska constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Since July 2002, Nebraska has been the only state in the United States to use electrocution as its only executional method.

The case developed from death sentence of Raymond Mata Jr., who was convicted in the murder of three-year-old Adam Gomez. Mata’s sentence was upheld by the court but stayed it stating that when petitioning for a date, the state should establish that it has a “constitutionally acceptable method of carrying out Mata’s sentence.” With this ban, no states retain electrocution as their primary means of execution; many other states retain it as an option if their primary methods are declared illegal or the condemned chooses them.

New Zealand prisoners do nothing says National party

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New Zealand prisoners do nothing says National party
Author:

9 Sep

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Figures released by Simon Power, law and order spokesman for the National party, show that the New Zealand Labour led government lets 81% of all prisoners not do any work while in prison. Newspaper, Sunday News says that some Christchurch prisoners have been given a barbecue for good behavior.

Simon Power’s figures show that of the 7,612 prisoners only 19% (1,470) of them took part in Corrections Inmate Employment during 2006. But in 2005 it was at 23% and in 2004 it was at 26%. He says that the prisons with the least amount of inmates working are: Rolleston with 8.6%, Mount Eden with 8.7%, Rimutaka with 11%, Christchurch Women’s with 13.5% and Dunedin with 13.8%. Mr Power said: “These figures are an appalling indictment on this Government’s approach to prisoner rehabilitation and preparing them for release.”

“In May, Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor announced a strategy that he said would help in ‘significantly increasing the number of prisoners in work and training. But a week later this was shown to be nothing more than window dressing when the Budget increased funding for prisoner employment by a measly $336,000 – up 1%.”

“They have cut funding [on the Corrections Department] by 27% since 2001/02, from $46.5 million to $34 million.”

Mr Power blames the low work rate on the big prison construction budget of $490 million. “There would have been more than a miserable $336,000 extra to spend on effective rehabilitation and work schemes,” he said.

“[Mr O’Conner] seems happier to spend $11 million on landscaping four new prisons and allow prisoners to sit around playing Playstations and Xboxes on their flat-screen TVs than he is about helping them get better prepared for when they are released.”

“Prisoners should be doing meaningful work, training or study while they are in prisons, and I imagine the public would agree,” Mr Power added.

Mr Power, commenting on the barbecue, said: “These people are in prison because they were found to be in serious breach of the law. The victims of their crimes will be grossly offended by the idea that they are being rewarded for anything. This is the just the latest in a long line of incredibly bad decisions made by the Corrections Department over the past year and taxpayers have had enough.”

Bevan Hanlon, president for the Corrections Officers Association, said: “The Mobsters getting a BBQ was a “joke”. (Christchurch Prison) staff are reporting the smell of dope every day. Mobsters are threatening staff on a daily basis and there appears to be high cellphone use (mobile phones are banned in jail). So what happens? They are given a BBQ.”

Apple to hold media event on September 1, may update iPods and Apple TV

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Apple to hold media event on September 1, may update iPods and Apple TV
Author:

9 Sep

Friday, August 27, 2010

Apple Inc. will hold a music-centered event in San Francisco, California on September 1. It has been widely speculated that the company will introduce an updated line of iPod portable music players and a new Apple TV.

The company e-mailed invitations for the event to various media organizations on Wednesday. The message included a picture of a guitar and the time of the event. Apple did not release any information about what products would be involved.

Apple has released new iPods through previous similar events in September in anticipation of the holiday shopping season. This year, Apple may unveil a new iPod Touch with two cameras, similar to their recent iPhone 4 design. It will likely also update the iTunes music store and software.

Speculation about a new Apple TV is mixed. While many blogs are reporting that a refresh of the device will be announced, analysts say that it is unlikely to happen during next Wednesday’s event. According to Reuters, sources are saying that Apple is negotiating with major television networks, including ABC and NBC, in order to provide shows for purchase on iTunes. However, they also reported that the deal has not been completed, and none of the companies involved have commented on the rumors.

It has also been rumored that Apple will introduce a new online music service. In 2009, Apple took over a company that allowed users to stream music online rather than download individual songs. Apple has not confirmed the rumors.

Last September’s media event saw the return of Apple CEO Steve Jobs after he took a break to undergo a liver transplant. This year, the event will be held in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, previously used by Apple in April for the unveiling of the iPad.

Swine flu outbreaks appear globally; WHO raises pandemic alert level to 5

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Swine flu outbreaks appear globally; WHO raises pandemic alert level to 5
Author:

6 Sep

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New cases of the swine flu virus have been reported around the world in recent days, prompting fear of a global influenza pandemic. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the pandemic alert level to 5. The United Nations has warned that the disease can not be contained. At least 91 confirmed cases of the flu have been reported worldwide.

In a special report, Wikinews takes a look at the reaction to the outbreak, and how different countries around the world have been affected by it.

The disease, which is believed to have originated in Mexico, has now spread across the globe, with confirmed cases having been reported in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Israel. The United States has also reported its first death from the disease in a toddler. South Korea and France both had probable cases.

The WHO said on Tuesday that while it was not yet certain that the outbreak would turn into pandemic, countries should prepare for the worst. “Countries should take the opportunity to prepare for a pandemic,” said the acting assistant director-general for the WHO, Keiji Fukuda.

“Based on assessment of all available information, and following several expert consultations, I have decided to raise the current level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5,” said Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the WHO, in a statement on Wednesday. “…All countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans. Countries should remain on high alert for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.” After the announcement was made, Wikinews learned that the WHO website had crashed for several minutes, presumably due to high traffic volume.

There is no vaccine for swine flu. In 1976 during an outbreak of the virus, at least 500 people became seriously ill, and of them, 25 had died when inoculated with an attempt at a vaccination. The 500 that became ill developed a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) which caused paralysis “and is characterized by various degrees of weakness, sensory abnormalities and autonomic dysfunction.” Those who developed the disorder did so because of an immunopathological reaction to the drug. Nearly 40 million US residents, including then US president Gerald Ford, were inoculated.


Screening measures at Canadian airports have been raised on Tuesday to screen passengers returning from Mexico for symptoms of swine flu. The measures come amid reports that thirteen people have now been infected in the country, in four different provinces.

The Public Health Agency has recommended Canadians who have booked flights to Mexico to delay them if possible. Those who choose to fly anyway will be asked questions about their health after they return, such as whether they have had symptoms of the flu, like diarrhea, coughing, or a sore throat. If anyone answers in the affirmative, they may be further assessed and perhaps transferred to a quarantine officer, who will suggest that they seek medical help, or isolate themselves at home.

“These measures will help to prevent further spread and protect the health of Canadians and we thank you for your patience and co-operation with this process,” said the chief public health officer, David Butler-Jones.

Several Canadian airlines have also limited or cancelled flights to Mexico. Air Transat and its partner tour companies, Nolitours and Transat Holidays, have cancelled all flights bound to Mexico until June 1. West Jet has also stated that it will suspend all vacation planning and air flights for Cancun, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, and other destinations in Mexico.

Egypt, which has not yet reported any cases of the flu, has recently begun a campaign to slaughter all 300,000 pigs in the country, despite assurances by health officials that the disease is not transmitted from animals to humans. “It has been decided to immediately start slaughtering all the pigs in Egypt using the full capacity of the country’s slaughterhouses,” Egypt’s health minister, Hatem el-Gabaly, told reporters.

Farmers have been protesting the measure. At one pig farming area in the country, crowds of farmers blockaded the roads to prevent health officials from entering to slaughter their pigs. Some of the farmers hurled stones at officials’ vehicles, and the latter was forced to retreat without killing any of the animals.

In Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, officials have announced up to 159 suspected deaths from the virus, out of a total of 2,498 suspected cases. The Mexican cabinet has announced that all flights departing from Mexico City will be suspended, while Argentina and Cuba have both cancelled all flights to the country. The European Union and the US have both issued warnings against traveling to Mexico.

The Royal Caribbean cruise line has suspended all stops in Mexico indefinitely, while Norwegian Cruise Line announced that its vessels will not make stops at Mexican ports until September of this year.

The government has ordered all restaurants in the country’s capital to serve only carry-out food, and closed archaeological sites with the intent of limiting large groupings of people. Churches, gyms, pool halls, and other institutions in Mexico City have been asked to close. School classes across the country have been suspended until May 6.

The Mexican government has estimated that the epidemic is costing companies in the capital at least US$57 million per day, and that tourism revenue has dropped by 36%. The finance ministry has set up a special fund of $450 million to fight the disease.

Thirteen confirmed cases have been known in New Zealand. All of them have been prescribed the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

New Zealand airports have now started to screen at least ten thousand people who arrive in the country from flights from Northern America. Those who display symptoms of the flu are taken aside by health authorities and placed into a quarantine.

“The number of suspected cases is likely in increase,” said Fran McGrath, the Deputy Director of Public Health. “While the numbers in any category will fluctuate, this is a pattern to be expected from an influenza outbreak. It is important to note that the 13 people we are treating as confirmed cases have all had mild flu symptoms, have received treatment and are all on the mend of have recovered.”

Spain’s health minister Trinidad Jinenez announced on Wednesday that a total of 53 persons in the country are under observation for the influenza. The number of confirmed cases in the country has been risen from four to ten, including one person who did not obtain the illness by traveling to Mexico.

Until now, Jimenez said that all of Spain’s confirmed cases involved persons who had recently visited Mexico, where the outbreak is believed to have began.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that five people who recently visited Mexico are now ill with the swine flu in the United Kingdom. “All of them have traveled recently from Mexico,” he said. “All of them have mild symptoms. All of them are receiving and responding well to treatment.”

The school of one the infected people, a twelve-year-old girl from Torbay, has been shut down and its 230 pupils given the drug Tamiflu, Brown said.

The Prime Minister said that the country is preparing for a possible pandemic. It has increased its stocks of antiviral drugs, enough for fifty million people, and ordered additional face masks for health workers. The government has encouraged all British residents to avoid travel to Mexico.

A 23-month-old boy from Mexico died at a Houston, Texas hospital on Wednesday, the first casualty from swine flu in the United States. The child had arrived in Brownsville, Texas, near the border with Mexico, with unspecified “underlying health issues” on April 4. Several days later, he presented symptoms of swine flu, and was hospitalized on April 13. The next day, the boy was transferred to a Houston hospital, where he remained until dying on Monday night of pneumonia brought on by the virus.

In response to the epidemic, Texas governor Rick Perry has given a disaster declaration. Schools have closed down statewide. Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has also declared a state of emergency in his state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the number of incidents of swine flu in the country to 64 on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress for a fund of $1.5 billion to fight the outbreak, saying that it is needed for “maximum flexibility to allow us to address this emerging situation.”

US health authorities have warned that more cases and fatalities from the flu are probable. “We expect to see more cases, more hospitalizations, and, unfortunately, we are likely to see more deaths from the outbreak,” said Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary.

Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

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Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate
Author:

5 Sep

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.