Wikinews 2014: An ‘Original reporting’ year in review

Wednesday, December 24, 2014With the English-language Wikinews continuing to increase the amount of original content published, we take a look back at some of the eighty-plus original reports from our contributors during 2014.

Category:August 5, 2010

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Despite passage of bailout bill, two US states may need loans

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Despite the passage of a 700 billion USD bill by the United States House of Representatives on Friday and the Senate on Wednesday, two U.S. states may need loans totaling over 14 billion dollars.

California and Massachusetts are seeking at least 7 billion dollars each from the federal government as loans. Officials and lawmakers in both states say that the loans would be temporary.

According to Massachusetts’ state treasurer, Timothy P. Cahill, the state was unable to borrow money last week on a short term loan. He also states that the state can afford to pay its bills and debts for the next few weeks, but not beyond that without a short-term loan from the government. Cahill has asked the federal government for a loan similar to the recent one passed by Congress and the Senate.

“That’s all we would ask them to do: Treat us like the investment banks,” said Cahill to the Associated Press.

Officials in California say they need an emergency loan, or they will run out of money by the end of October. California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger said the state is “not out of the woods” and needs a short term loan from the government.

“California and other states may be unable to obtain the necessary level of financing to maintain government operations and may be forced to turn to the federal treasury for short-term financing,” said Schwarzenegger in a letter to the Treasury Department, which is taking the letter under consideration.

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representative voted to pass a revised bailout bill which included raising the FDIC insurance cap to $250,000, a move designed to please progressives. However, the $110 billion in tax breaks, earmarks and what has been called pork barrel spending is not offset by any increases in revenues and has added opposition to the bill from some Representatives in the House. Earmarks added into the bailout bill included $192 million in tax rebates for the Virgin Islands rum industry, $148 million in tax cuts for the wool industry, $100 million tax cuts to the auto racing industry, and $48 million in Hollywood tax incentives, among others.

British surfers catch more than waves: Scientists find antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

In findings published Sunday in Environmental International, a team from Britain’s University of Exeter reports that surfers and bodyboarders are roughly three times as likely to house antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli and other bacteria that could easily become resistant, than other people who recreate in the coastal waters of the United Kingdom.

The epidemiological study was nicknamed the “Beach Bum Survey”. The project was performed on 143 regular surfers, body surfers and bodyboarders from around the United Kingdom. Each surfgoing participant was asked to recruit a non-surfing friend of the same sex and approximate age and who lived in the same part of the country to serve as a control, which resulted in a control group of 130.

All participants mailed in rectal swabs, and the researchers cultured the E. coli from those samples with a common antibiotic called cefotaxime. The antibiotic failed to kill the bacteria in about 9% (13 out of 143) of surfer and bodyboarder samples and 3% of the samples from the control group (4 out of 130). A deeper look into the genomes of the specific strains of bacteria found in the study volunteers showed that bacteria from surfers were four times as likely to possess genes that can be transferred from one bacterial strain to another, which can help antibiotic-susceptible bacteria become resistant. The study also involved examination of water samples from the coasts of England and Wales to estimate the risk of surfers and other beachgoers ingesting E. coli.

E. coli is a regular resident in the guts of humans and other animals. Most strains are harmless but others can cause serious disease. Like other bacteria, E. coli can undergo horizontal gene transfer, swapping genes from one bacterium to another. This can give the altered strain the ability to cause disease, survive in the presence of antibiotics or both.

Although the researchers expressed concern surfers might spread dangerous bacteria, Dr. Will Gaze, the University of Exeter Medical School professional who supervised the project, urged people not to avoid the beach: “We are not seeking to discourage people from spending time in the sea, an activity which has a lot of benefits in terms of exercise, well-being and connecting with nature”, he said. “It is important that people understand the risks involved so that they can make informed decisions about their bathing and sporting habits. We now hope that our results will help policy-makers, beach managers, and water companies to make evidence-based decisions to improve water quality even further for the benefit of public health.”

David Smith, science and policy officer of Surfers Against Sewage, which helped organise the volunteers, agreed the study was not meant to discourage surfing: “Water quality in the UK has improved vastly in the past 30 years and is some of the cleanest in Europe. Recognising coastal waters as a pathway for antibiotic resistance can allow policy makers to make changes to protect water users and the wider public from the threat of antibiotic resistance.”

One of the principal findings of this work was that existing methods may have been underestimating the prevalence of these bacteria in seawater. Previous studies have shown that even designated swimming beaches can be affected by runoff from farms or even sewage, and surfers swallow roughly ten times as much seawater as swimmers. Professor Colin Gardner of the charity Antibiotic Research UK says, these forms of runoff can have even higher concentrations of antibiotics than patients undergoing antibiotic treatment. “Research into new medicines to replace our archaic antibiotics has stagnated and unless new treatments are found, this could be potentially devastating for human health”, he warns.

The World Health Organization has reported that because so many kinds of bacteria are gaining resistance to common medicines, conditions such as pneumonia and gonnorhea may become more difficult to treat and have higher rates of sickness and death. Doctors often prescribe preventative antibiotics to patients undergoing surgery or radiation therapy, and this may also be impacted. Professor Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, has described a “post-antibiotic apocalypse” scenario

The European Regional Development Fund and Natural Environment Research Council provided funding for the study.

Cell Phone Features

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Submitted by: Roberto Sedycias

It’s not a 21st century gadget. It was developed in 1947 in the form of a car mobile phone. The concept of cellular phone (telefone celular) was produced by Bell Laboratories with the permission of FCC (Federal Communication Commission), and had everything to do with broadcasting and sending a radio or television message out over the airwaves. But there was a scientist, who gave a new shape to the same device. Dr Martin Cooper, a former general manager in Motorola, made the first call on a portable cell phone back in 1973.

The first ever cell phone (telefone celular) was very large and bulky. It almost looked like a radio frequency device. The weight of Motorola’s first cell phone was 2 pounds. But now the structure of cell phones has evolved to match the style and comfort of the user. They have shrunk drastically both in size and weight. It is easy to tailor cell phones by choosing its features and functions for one s comfort. There are phone covers that change the face and design of the device. Various accessories are available such as car chargers, belt clips, phone covers, data cables and etc.

Cell phone (telefone celular) emerged as a device of luxury, but in the fast growing technical world, it plays a much bigger and important role. You can get wireless Internet service through your cell phone, with web and email capability. A cell phone with a mini web browser can help retrieve web emails and chat, etc., while you are on the move. A special kind of browser is used for surfing the net on a small cell phone screen. If internet use is a must, make sure that when buying a cell phone you make the choice for graphic browser capability instead of a text-based browser. Also, if you think you will browse the wireless Internet often, you may want to consider buying a cell phone with a larger than average display size.

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There are International websites that allow sending mails, without having a computer. All you need is a basic GPRS enabled mobile phone and you can access your mail on your cell phone (telefone celular) anytime and anywhere. It is no wonder that cell phones have become a bed-side essential for us today, like a bottle of water that we may need any time. It is no longer a device of entertainment. From local weather forecast in the morning to your loved ones good night messages, it keeps you connected all the time.

With cell phones (telefone celular) becoming a device with all the modern technology, its theft is growing across the world. In a survey it was found that in the UK a cell phone is stolen every three minutes. In the United States, the statistics are very similar too. By keeping a note on the IMES identification that each phone has, you can trace a phone, though it’s a tedious process. The IMES code is individual to each cell phone, when you lose your phone, you can refer the code to your network provider as well as handset provider and trace back the cell phone, or at least block the applications in the phone. The person who stole the cell phone can’t use it after the IMES code is blocked.

Cell phones (telefone celular) have definitely become a very popular consumer electronic product. Not just for plain conversation, but for lots of other purposes. With the availability of internet connection, cell phone as broaden even more its options of uses. Not to mention GPS capability, a life saver for tracking cell phone users who are in emergency situations.

Whether for personal or professional purposes, people just can t seem to live without cell phone (telefone celular). A luxury item in the early days, now it is a must have item at all times.

About the Author: This article can be accessed in portuguese from News Article section of page

polomercantil.com.br/celular.php

Roberto Sedycias works as IT consultant for

PoloMercantil.com.br

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=151935&ca=Computers+and+Technology

Republican groups suspected in gun battle with, failed bombing of, Northern Irish police

Sunday, November 22, 2009

In two separate incidents police in Northern Ireland have come under attack. Both are believed by authorities to stem from organisations linked to the Irish Republican Army. The two incidents, one an attempted car bombing in Belfast, and the other a shooting in Garrison, County Fermanagh, led to four arrests by Northern Irish Police.

A police convoy in the village of Garrison came under ambush overnight. Three gunmen began shooting in the first time officers have been in a firefight in Northern Ireland since a July riot in Belfast. Police returned fire and four people were arrested.

A separate incident saw a car bomb set off outside the Northern Ireland Policing Board’s headquarters. The car was driven through the Belfast building’s security barriers and its 180 kilogram bomb was set off, but failed to detonate properly. Instead it partially exploded and the vehicle caught fire. Neither attack injured anyone.

The Republican dissidents seek a united Ireland and have battled to convince Britain to relinquish the Northern territory. After thirty years of warfare and attacks from both sides a 1998 peace deal largely ended the bloodshed. This year, however, violence has been on the increase again starting with the murder of a police officer and two soldiers in two separate March attacks. Since then attacks have been on the rise.

Three days ago the military was called in to defuse another bomb targeting police. “It appears that the dissidents are broadening the scale of their attacks,” said a statement by the Police Board’s Alex Attwood. The board is an independent civilian watchdog charged with overseeing the police.

Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.

Blair will quit as British PM within a year

Thursday, September 7, 2006

British Prime Minister Tony Blair bowed to pressure from within his own Labour Party today by publicly confirming he will resign within a year. “I would have preferred to do this in my own way,” said Blair who added “the next party conference in the next couple of weeks will be my last party conference as party leader.” However, he refused to name the specific date of his resignation, “The precise timetable has to be left to me and has to be done in the proper way,” Blair insisted. “I’m not going to set a precise date now. I don’t think that’s right. I will do that at a future date, and I will do that in the interests of the country.”

He apologised for the party’s conduct this week saying it “has not been our finest hour, to be frank”.

Demands that Blair announce his resignation plans have mounted over the past few months particularly over concerns about the Prime Minister’s strong support for Israel during the Israel-Hezbollah war, the perception that he is a loyal follower of United States President George W. Bush and a precipitous slide in Labor’s support in public opinion polls where the party is now at a 16 year low.

Yesterday, eight Labour MPs resigned from their junior government positions over Blair’s refusal to announce his retirement. They had previously been considered staunch Blairites. The British press reports of a shouting match yesterday between Blair and his likeliest successor, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown over the handover date.

“I want to make it absolutely clear today that when I met the prime minister yesterday, I said to him, as I have said on many occasions to him and I repeat today, that it is for him to make the decision,” Brown said.

“I said also to him, and I make clear again today, that I will support him in the decisions he makes, that this cannot and should not be about private arrangements but what is in the best interests of our party and, most of all, the best interests of our country.”

Despite Blair’s announcement, several MPs expressed their dissatisfaction at his refusal to name a precise date and demanded that he leave sooner rather than later.

Manchester Blakeley MP Graham Stringer told the BBC if Blair “thought it was going to take the politics out of the next nine months that simply is not going to happen”.

MP Doug Henderson said “It doesn’t seem to me that the public knows any more about the PM’s retirement plans. People keep saying to me that the Labour party must have a clear direction forward with clear priorities and a new leader before the May 2007 (regional) elections.”

The eight MPs who resigned as junior ministers or parliamentary secretaries, Wednesday, expressed a concern in their resignation letter that Blair needed to go soon in order not to harm the party’s prospects in next May’s elections to the Scottish parliament, Welsh assembly and English local authorities.

Blair became Prime Minister in 1997 when Labour defeated the Conservative government of John Major. He has led the party to three majority victories and promised before the last election that his third term would be his last.

Wikinews Shorts: February 3, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, February 3, 2010.

Contents

  • 1 Christmas day bomber cooperating
  • 2 Fire in Hyderabad hospital; 1 dead
  • 3 China begins urgent sweep for tainted milk
  • 4 Karachi violence escalates, section 144 imposed

The Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound jetliner on Christmas day with hidden explosives is cooperating with investigators and providing fresh intelligence after the U.S. enlisted the help of his family, an administration official said. His family persuaded him to cooperate.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been providing information to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents questioning him, the official told reporters on the condition of anonymity.

The official declined to provide details on what kind of information Abdulmutallab was providing.

Related news

  • “Failed bomb aboard Delta flight” — Wikinews, December 26, 2009

Sources


Somajiguda
Somajiguda on the map of India

One person died and 41 were injured, including three nurses who are critically injured, in a major fire at Park Healthcare Hospital in Somajiguda, a suburb of the Indian city Hyderabad, on Tuesday morning.

The fire engulfed a major portion of the five-storey hospital’s first floor, along with some medical equipment and furniture on the other floors.

City police commissioner A K Khan said that a criminal case had been registered against the hospital management. “It is also being determined whether safety standards were followed by the hospital,” he said.

Sources


Chinese authorities say they are preparing to launch a crackdown on melamine-laced milk after the scandal over tainted products, which made hundreds of thousands of children ill two years ago and damaged China’s brand reputation overseas, resurfaced.

China has dispatched inspectors to sixteen provinces to urge local governments to thoroughly investigate cases concerning food safety.

The decision comes after milk products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine were removed from sale in Shanghai and the provinces of Shaanxi, Shandong, Liaoning and Hebei, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said.

Related news

  • “Contaminated baby’s milk induces wave of child illness in China” — Wikinews, September 22, 2008

Sources


At least twenty-six people have been killed in Karachi, Pakistan after four days of ethnic killings, according to police officials. The officials said that nine people were killed on Monday in the city’s Orangi western neighbourhood, which has a majority ethnic Pashtun community.

The Sindh government has awarded special powers to the Pakistan Rangers under Section 5 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and imposed Section 144 in the limits of 26 police stations for a month.

At least forty people were killed as ethnic clashes erupted across the city in early January.Home minister of Sindh province, Dr Zulfiqar Mirza has called upon the Army to restore peace and order.

Sources

Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal threatened by possible lawsuit

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Buffalo, New York — The property at 605 Forest in Buffalo was the center of attention at last night’s public meeting held at the offices of Forever Elmwood on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarino Construction Services Corporation, confirmed last night that the company will be seeking a variance for the 605 Forest property. Originally, both the 605 and 607 Forest Avenue properties were going to have variances placed on them. As it stands, 607 Forest will not be directly affected by the proposal, should it go forward. Both 605 and 607 are currently occupied by residents.

During Monday night’s meeting, Pano Georgiadis, owner of 605 Forest and owner of Pano’s Resuraunt at 1081 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, threatened to “sue” Savarino Construction if they tried to obtain a variance on his property to build the Elmwood Village Hotel.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposal by Savarino Construction that would be placed on the corner of Forest and Elmwood in Buffalo. In order for the project to move forward, at least five buildings (1119-1121 Elmwood) which include both residences and businesses will have to be demolished. The hotel was designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. Although the properties are “under contract,” according to Hassett, it is unclear whether Savarino Construction owns the properties. Hans Mobius, a resident of Clarence, New York and former Buffalo Mayoral candidate, is still believed to own them.

Currently, none of the properties is zoned for a hotel.

A freelance journalist writing for Wikinews asked Hassett what kind of zoning permit they [Savarino] would be applying for and, if 605 Forest is included, what zone that would be.

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

“There is a ‘special development plan’ in front of the council, which changes only one thing about the zoning. It allows one permitted use for just a hotel. The rest of the zoning remains as it is under the current Elmwood Business District zoning. 605 and 607 Forest are not required for the project. They are not part of the footprint for the project. Let me answer this question again. This is on the record, in council: 605 needs to be rezoned in order to facilitate the project because of the sideyard requirement. Anything in C-2 is excluded besides the hotel. So we’ve taken the C-2 and included the hotel as a permitted use, and excluded everything else and everything else remains the same.”

However, during the February 28 Common Council meeting, Hassett was quoted as saying that the two properties were “off the agenda.”

“Now Karl said, at the last meeting, that they will build this hotel right on the borderline [property line]. If a wall forty-five to fifty feet high goes next to this house, of course it’s not right. You really have to go with whatever the city code says, so you have to get back as many feet as the city code says,” said Georgiadis.

“If you try to get a variance to change the code, I will sue you. This is my home, number one,” added Georgiadis. “First of all I think we are all wasting our time here, you [Savarino], have already made up your mind, but if you go against city code, and you try to do the most rooms with a minimal amount of parking, again, I will sue you. If you build a hotel, in my idea its going to fail. It’s doomed, ok. [If] it’s going to be a home for the disabled, for the homeless, for recovery people, but that’s another story. Then how is it going to be when we say, well I told you so? You will be over and done with. Its very hard to take a four story building [hotel] down.”

Georgiadis stated last night that he was against the proposal and signed a petition to stop it, jokingly saying, “this isn’t a paper to sign to build the hotel, is it? Don’t make me sign the wrong thing.”

Joseph Golombeck, district councilman, was at Monday’s public meeting and said, “we also did request this and the reason we are doing this as a special business district is so that it has to be this specific plan. They [Savarino] can’t go halfway through it and in six months decide that [the hotel] it’s going to be three floors. They can’t decide it’s going to be five floors. It has to be, per law, exactly what it is that they brought to us [the public] so far, and then ultimately to the City of Buffalo Common Council when it’s approved. So if it gets approved, it has to be this specific, exact project. They couldn’t make it fifty parking spots, they couldn’t make it thirty. It has to be specifically what they have right here.”

A man who lives on Granger Street in Buffalo attended the meeting, speaking in favor of the hotel development. He claimed, “There are a lot of low property values. Hopefully if we embrace development, our property values, for those of us who have property, will go up. There are a lot of people unfortunately, who are working hard, that do not get a chance to come to these meetings. I myself was at work and wasn’t able to go to the last two meetings. I express that we appreciate that you [Savarino] invest in the City of Buffalo and for what you hope, because I do not think Savarino is into losing money. These people are not in business to be losing money here. They are hoping for the success of this [the hotel] more than any one of us. They are hoping that the property values in this area will go up more than any one of us, because it will benefit them [the residents and business owners], more than any one of us. I want this city to develop. I don’t think anybody else is here understanding that we’re looking for development in this city, we are looking for the city to get better. The councilman here is not interested in Buffalo failing.”

Evelyn Bencinich, resident of Granger Street, would have the hotel directly behind her home, if it were to be built.

“What about construction [time]? Is that just for the exterior, the nine months? Or does that include the interior? Is there going to be blasting through bedrock? Is there property protection for damage? Are you [Savarino and the Frizlen Group] responsible?”, asked Bencinich.

According to Frizlen, there is a layer of solid bedrock at least 30 feet from the surface of the land saying, “we anticipate that the bedrock is at least thirty feet down.” He also admitted that “we haven’t done any soil sporrings,” but did say “the bedrock is somewhere in between twenty-five and thirty feet [down], we don’t need to go that deep. So blasting is most likely out of it [the question].”

“Personally, I can only speak from the city side, but a few years ago we rebuilt Vulcan Street, in the northwest corner of Buffalo, and there were a couple of properties that were damaged and they [the owners] were able to file a claim against the company that did the work and they won in each case. It was the same thing with a school that was built on Military Road. There were a couple of problems with foundations on a couple of properties, and they weren’t sure if caused by the school or not, but the insurance company ended up paying them,” answered Golombeck.

“I would assume that Savarino is insured with someone. So if there is a problem with anything that happens to your properties, what I would recommend is that anybody that lives on Granger Place, if this does go through, that you get pictures taken of your basement and of your foundations, because God forbid if there is a problem, you want to have an[sic] before and after [picture]. You don’t want to come afterwards and there’s a crack in there [foundation] and you have no way of proving that it happened,” added Golombeck.

According to Golombeck, the properties that Mobius owns have been “in housing court on several occasions, but has a date of April 11, 2006 that he is going back [to court] for these properties. So it is in housing court and I wouldn’t know Mr. Mobius if he walked in this room right now,” stated Golombeck.

“I’ve gone after him on numerous occasions and everytime he gets out of housing court with a slap on the wrist. If I am a conspiracy theorist and say that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. I can only get him into housing court. Once he’s in housing court, the judge rules on it. Now I don’t mean to take any shots at previous administrations, but I am hoping with the new administration, being in here, that the inspections department is going to be a much better department than it has been for the previous several years.”

The city’s Planning Board on March 14, 2006, agreed to send the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal back to the Common Council so that it may “be opened back up to discussion from the public.”

On March 2, 2006 the Common Council sent the proposal “to committee” for further discussion and also requesting that the public be “engaged further.”

During that meeting, Justin Azzeralla, Executive Director for Forwever Elmwood, said that the organization “supports the hotel project.”

Also on March 2, the planning board agreed to table, or postpone, any decision on the hotel proposal for at least thirty days, also citing the need for the public to be “more engaged.”

The Common Council is expected to meet on March 21, 2006 at 2:00pm local time where they may approve or deny the proposal.

According to The Buffalo News, at least six Common Council members support the hotel project and are pledging to vote to approve it at the meeting on Tuesday, March 21.

However, the city’s Planning Board will get the final say on the project.