Honda Civic tops Canada’s list of most stolen cars

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The 1999 and 2000 year model Honda Civic SiR tops the list of Canada’s most stolen cars.

Consumer popularity also assures the cars will be popular with thieves. Its the second year in a row the Honda SiR has topped the list.

Rick Dubin Vice President of Investigations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada said “The Civics are easy targets.”

Dubin said that once stolen, the cars are most often sold to “chop shops” where thieves completely dismantle the vehicles. The automobile’s individual parts are worth more than the entire car.

The sheer numbers of the cars and their lack of theft deterrent systems make them thieves’ preferred choices.

1999 and 2000 Honda Civics do not come with an electronic immobilizer, however all Hondas from 2001 and onward are equipped with an immobilizer. Immobilizers will be mandatory on all new cars sold beginning September 2007. The devices enable an engine computer to recognize an electronic code in the key. If the code in the key and the engine don’t match exactly, the vehicle can’t be started.

In third place was the 2004 Subaru Impreza, while the 1999 Acura Integra came in fourth, with the 1994 Honda Civic rounding out the top five.

In sixth place, the 1998 Acura Integra, and the 1993 Dodge Shadow completed seventh.

When asked why early model vehicles are selected, he said that, “auto thieves continue to find it easier to steal older vehicles lacking an IBC-approved immobilizer. We’ve seen this trend developing for several years, and these results confirm it.”

Another Honda automobile, the 1996 year model Civic filled eighth place, with the 2000 German Audi TT Quattro in ninth.

The American 1996 Chevrolet/GMC Blazer rounded out the top ten.

None of the above cars had an electronic immobilizer.

CSX freight train derails in Oneida, New York, tank car explodes

Monday, March 12, 2007

A CSX freight train traveling from Buffalo to Selkirk derailed in Oneida, New York.

No injuries have yet been reported as a result of the accident. It is not yet known what caused the accident; CSX and NTSB officials are investigating.

Twenty six of the train’s 79 cars derailed around 7:00 a.m. local time; the derailment led to the explosion of at least one tank car carrying propane. Two other cars are known to contain hazardous materials. As many as seven cars have been reported as burning.

As a precaution, 23 miles (37 kilometers) of the adjacent Thruway have been closed between Syracuse and Verona. Authorities have ordered a complete evacuation for a one-mile radius around the derailment site, including a jail and two elementary schools. Amtrak‘s Empire Service between Albany and Syracuse is suspended and Lake Shore Limited between Syracuse and Chicago is also affected; passengers on these routes are being bused around the affected area.

At the time of the accident the train had a two-man crew and was traversing a section of track that has a 60 mile per hour (MPH) speed limit. The train crew were not injured; it is not yet known what speed the train was traveling when the accident occurred.

Wikipedia founder embroiled in affair and financial allegations

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The implosion of a relationship between Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and journalist Rachel Marsden has resulted in controversy and international headlines. Associated Press and ABC News have also reported on questionable activity by Wales involving Wikimedia Foundation expenses. The Wikimedia Foundation is a donor-supported non-profit organization which runs Wikipedia.

Marsden had contacted Wales two years ago about concerns she had over the article about her on Wikipedia, and Wales determined the article was not compliant with Wikipedia’s standards. The tech blog Valleywag revealed Wales had a personal relationship with Marsden, and posted supposed transcripts of their instant message conversations on its site, www.valleywag.com. Wales and Marsden met in February, and The Times reported that “An apparent transcript of their conversations before that meeting suggests that, although Mr Wales had withdrawn from the editing process, he was still influencing the editors.” The Times quoted Wales from the chat logs as having stated to Marsden “The truth is of course a much worse conflict of interest than that; but that will do.” — in reference to his conflict of interest regarding Marsden’s article on Wikipedia.

Wales posted a public statement on Saturday on Wikipedia addressing the matter, and stated that his relationship with Marsden was over: “First, while I find it hard to imagine that anyone really cares about my sex life, the facts are: I am separated from my wife. I considered myself single at the time of my one meeting with Rachel Marsden on Feb. 9, 2008 … I am no longer involved with Rachel Marsden. Gossipy stories suggesting that I have been in a relationship with her ‘since last fall’ are completely false … I care deeply about the integrity of Wikipedia, and take very seriously my responsibilities as a member of the board and as a member of the Wikipedia community. I would never knowingly do anything to compromise that trust.” With regard to the conflict of interest in Marsden’s article, Wales had acknowledged to a team of Wikipedia editors in February 2008 that he and Marsden “became friends … and that we would be meeting about that,” and stated “I recused myself from any further official action with respect to her biography.”

On Sunday, The Canadian Press reported that Marsden had posted photos of herself on Ebay, and was selling items that Wales had left at her New York City apartment. In her Ebay posting, Marsden stated: “Hi, my name is Rachel and my (now ex-) boyfriend, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, just broke up with me via an announcement on Wikipedia … It was such a classy move that I was inspired to do something equally classy myself, so I’m selling a couple of items of clothing he left behind, here in my NYC apartment, on eBay. Jimbo was supposed to come visit me in a couple of weeks and pick up some of his stuff, but obviously that won’t be happening now.” Marsden told The Canadian Press “It didn’t really help matters that Jimmy chose to announce the breakup to the entire world via Wikipedia (which apparently now is an online encyclopedia that doubles as a personal soapbox?) rather than to me directly (which he did much later, in an instant message discussion).”

I care deeply about the integrity of Wikipedia, and take very seriously my responsibilities as a member of the board and as a member of the Wikipedia community. I would never knowingly do anything to compromise that trust.

Marsden placed a t-shirt and sweater which she said were left at her apartment by Wales up on Ebay, and started the bidding for each at ninety-nine cents, with the auctions set to end on March 12. By Monday, bidding on the t-shirt had reached US$300, and by Tuesday the highest bid had reached $12,200. In an email to The Globe and Mail, Marsden stated “My only focus right now, to be really honest, is on my career and finding a way to get back into print, TV, or radio here in NYC,” she wrote. “All of this other personal stuff is just an unfortunate distraction.”

Jay Walsh, the Wikimedia Foundation’s head of communications, told the San Jose Mercury News that Wales’ actions in relaying Marsden’s concerns about her Wikipedia article to a team of trusted editors was within his “routine” role. When asked by the San Jose Mercury News if Wales’ actions regarding the Marsden article could compromise his role with the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia, Walsh responded “No, absolutely not.”

On Tuesday, ABC News carried a story by Wired News reporter Megan McCarthy regarding allegations of “excessive spending” by Wales, and Associated Press also reported on questions involving Wikimedia Foundation expenses. McCarthy reported that former Wikimedia executive Danny Wool, who had left the foundation last year, criticized Wales’ use of Wikimedia Foundation expenses in a blog post. Wool stated that Wales had tried to expense $300 bottles of wine, a $1,300 dinner for four at a Florida steakhouse, and visits to Moscow massage parlors to the foundation, and that the foundation rescinded Wales’ corporate credit card in 2006. Wool also stated that Wales paid the foundation $7,000, after being short $30,000 on receipts for expenses.

Wool told EPICENTER that “There were occasions where he used [the Wikimedia Foundation] for personal advancement under the guide [sic] of the mission. And, as someone who was in there for the mission part of it, I found that rather distressful.” Wool commented in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle: “Originally, it was carelessness … But as things developed, it became more apparent and obvious that he was taking advantage of the foundation credit card. It was almost like his personal piggy bank.”

Jimmy has never used Wikimedia money to subsidize his personal expenditures. Indeed, he has consistently put the foundation’s interests ahead of his own.

In an instant message exchange with Associated Press, Wales denied that the Wikimedia Foundation had taken away his corporate credit card, and asserted that he had made the decision to stop expensing business travel for the foundation. Wales highlighted a statement by the foundation’s executive director Sue Gardner: “Jimmy has never used Wikimedia money to subsidize his personal expenditures. Indeed, he has consistently put the foundation’s interests ahead of his own.” In an email to Associated Press, Brad Patrick, a former attorney for the Wikimedia Foundation, stated “Danny seems interested in blogging his way straight to a lawsuit”.

Florence Devouard, who chairs the Wikimedia Foundation, told Associated Press that Wales had been “slow in submitting receipts,” and that the foundation had rejected Wales’ expense at the Florida steakhouse. Devouard told fellow foundation board members in a private email that she had convinced Associated Press that “the money story was a no story,” and told Wales “I find (it) tiring to see how you are constantly trying to rewrite the past. Get a grip!” Wales told Associated Press: “The board, the current executive director, the previous executive director, and independent auditors have reviewed our books and publicly agree that all of my expenses were appropriate and fully accounted for.”

Media reports speculated on how the controversy would end up being represented in Wikipedia itself. On Wednesday, the St. Petersburg Times wrote: “Wales’ Wikipedia page said only this about Marsden: ‘Wales had a brief relationship with Canadian journalist Rachel Marsden.'” An article in The Australian surmised: “History will decide whether Mr Wales broke his own principles, but before that happens there may well be a Wikipedia page devoted to the controversy.”

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GAO reveals $1.6 billion spent on public relations by the Bush administration in 2003-2005

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A new 154-page Government Accountability Office (GAO) report says seven federal departments together spent US$1.6 billion on 343 contracts with public relations firms, advertising agencies, and media organizations, as well as individuals involved in such activities.

Congressional Democrats requested the report after several incidents surfaced in which journalists or commentators were paid to promote the Bush administrations programs, but did not disclose the financing, so called payola. In one case, Armstrong Williams was paid $186,000 for promotions of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law. The administrations position was that an agencies’ mission includes spreading information about federal programs.

At that time, the GAO had independent objections to the ready-to-air news stories the administration’s provided to TV stations in order to promote it policies. The administration claimed the burden of disclosure falls to the TV stations.

Congress has now inserted a provision into an annual spending bill requiring federal agencies to include “a clear notification” within the text or audio of a prepackaged news story that it was prepared or paid for by the government.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) said “Careful oversight of this spending is essential given the track record of the Bush administration, which has used taxpayer dollars to fund covert propaganda within the United States.”

The seven agencies covered by the report are Commerce, Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs.

2007 ING Taipei Marathon warming up competition goes to Kaohsiung

Monday, September 17, 2007

On Saturday of September 15, ING Taipei Marathon South Taiwan Warming Up Competition goes to Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, not only 1615 professional runners but also international runners from Canada, Japan, UK, USA, Germany, and Ireland participated this event. And event organizer Chinese Taipei Road Running Association (CTRRA) presented limited “I Love Marathon” T-shirt for some of 3KM group runners.

Not only international runners, companies and enterprises such as China Steel Corp., CPC Corp. Taiwan, Taiwan Power Company, Chi Mei Medical Center, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, NXP Semiconductors Taiwan, Corning Co., Ltd. (Taiwan), National Highway Police Bureau of Taiwan, Kang Hsuan Educational Publishing Group, Kaohsiung Prison and Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office of Ministry of Justice of Taiwan also grouped and participated this event.

A great intensive competition is still in Men’s Group between Wen-chien Wu and Tsu-chien Cheng, but Wu still held his honor and won back this championship with 27 minutes and 34 seconds; In the Women’s Group, Chien-her Hsieh won with 31 minutes and 34 seconds, Yu-hao Wu won the champion with 40 minutes and 27 seconds in the Blind Group.

After this event, ING Antai and CTRRA announced that next stage of ING Taipei Marathon Warming Up will go to Taichung City at September 30.

Wikinews interviews Sue Gardner on Wikipedia blackout

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Today, the English version of Wikipedia is taking part in a 24-hour ‘blackout’ to protest two proposed U.S. anti-piracy laws, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act. The protest mirrors similar actions from other websites including Reddit and Boing Boing. The White House stated on Saturday that they “will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet”.

In the midst of the Wikipedia blackout, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation Sue Gardner answered some questions posed by Wikinews’ Tom Morris about the effectiveness of, and background to, the blackout.

((Tom Morris)) Do you think the blackout is going to actually be effective?

((Sue Gardner)) Yes. In my opinion, the blackout has two main goals—to raise awareness about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, and to encourage readers to contact their elected representatives and give their views. The first has already been accomplished: there are already more than 4,000 stories in Google News about the blackout, and it was a trending topic on Twitter almost immediately. So we know we’ve been effective in raising awareness. What remains to be seen how many people will contact their elected officials.

((TM)) What do you say to people who have decided to leave the editing community as a result of the blackout?

((Gardner)) I hope nobody stops editing Wikipedia because of the blackout. I watched the community decision-making process unfold on the English Wikipedia, and I thought it was a good one. People first started talking about SOPA more than a month ago. Jimmy started the straw poll in mid-December. Over 1,800 English Wikipedians from many different countries participated in the discussion over the last three days. As the admins who closed it noted, this is by far the largest-ever number of participants in a community discussion on English Wikipedia, and the overwhelming majority of them supported action. So I would hope that anybody who opposes the blackout would also agree that the decision-making process was a good one, and would therefore be okay to accept it, however reluctantly.

((TM)) How much technical planning went into the blackout before the community consensus was decided on Monday night?

((Gardner)) Last Thursday Geoff Brigham [Ed: Wikimedia’s legal counsel] asked engineering to do an internal assessment of the technical implementation requirements, because the community discussions at that point were suggesting there would likely be some kind of action. Engineering did an initial assessment based on e.g. the Italian blackout, implications for search engines, etc., and then a lot of work happened over the weekend. The bulk of initial development and testing happened on a sprint on Martin Luther King Day, a public holiday in the United States, and the final launch development and testing sprint happened on Tuesday.

((TM)) Does the fact that this is affecting only English Wikipedia and not the sister projects and other language projects concern the Foundation?

((Gardner)) No. My understanding is that the English Wikipedia is the only project and language-version enacting a blackout, but that several other projects and language versions are putting up supportive banners, with the Italian Wkipedians doing a clickthrough informational interstitial. The German Wikipedia decided to put up banners even before consensus was reached on the English Wikipedia, and the Arabic Wikipedia, Italian Wikipedia and Commons later made the same decision. (There may be others, that I don’t know about.) I think that’s fine: each project and each language has different circumstances that argue for different types of action, or for no action. There is no one right answer that fits everybody.

((TM)) Some have said that the lack of participation by opponents of SOPA in the commercial sector (sites of the size of Twitter, Facebook, Google etc.) is going to hamper the effectiveness of the blackout – is this a concern?

((Gardner)) No. I don’t think anybody ever expected the big commercial sites to black out: most aren’t in a position to participate in something like this even if they wanted to. For example, they might have shareholders to answer to, participation might cost them significant revenue, or it could break contractual agreements (such as a commitment to maintain a certain level of uptime, or some other service delivery). Most sites are constrained by various commercial considerations: that makes Wikipedia’s participation particularly powerful and important.

((TM)) Given both the Italian shutdown and the SOPA blackout, is the Foundation going to come up with a policy or set of conditions which limit when these kind of things happen? There are plenty in the community who support the SOPA actions but are concerned that this will set a bad precedent.

((Gardner)) Yeah, I empathize with those people and to a certain extent I share that concern. The Wikimedia movement does not have a lot of experience with advocacy, and probably mistakes will get made. At this time the Wikimedia Foundation doesn’t have any plans to develop policy governing protests or advocacy work. But, I think it probably does make sense for the Foundation to create venues for these discussions so people can share thinking and expertise. So for example, we may create a mailing list dedicated to advocacy/lobbying. And there is some good thinking starting to happen [on the project-wide protests page on Meta].

Australia: Victorian government to trial driverless vehicles on public roads

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yesterday, the state government of Victoria, Australia announced their decision to trial self-driving vehicles on two of the state’s major connecting motorways, the CityLink and Tullamarine Freeway. The trial is to use autonomous vehicles from automobile companies including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Tesla. The two-year trial is to have three phases.

The cars are to drive alongside commuters, but in public testing a driver is always to be present, as Victorian law requires drivers always keep a hand on the steering wheel. However, in occasional closures of the Burnley Tunnel, with no other drivers to endanger, the cars are to be tested with nobody in the vehicle.

Lane assist, cruise control, and recognition of traffic signs are in the trial’s first phase, expected to complete before the end of the year. This includes monitoring how the driver-less cars respond to road conditions, including lane markings and electronic speed signs.

“Victoria is at the forefront of automated vehicle technology — we’re investing in this trial to explore ways that this technology can be used to reduce crashes and keep people safe on our roads”, said Luke Donnellan, the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety. He noted, “Ninety per cent of the fault of accidents is human error […] so we know that if we can take out human error we will have less accidents”.

Tim Hansen, Victoria Police’s Acting Assistant Commissioner, said that police had founded a project team to investigate how self-driving vehicles would change policing on roads. “Can we intercept vehicles more safely to avoid pursuits and ramming?”, he asked.

The trial is a partnership between the state government, Victoria’s road management authority VicRoads, owner of the CityLink toll road Transurban, and insurance company RACV.

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.

‘Outraged’ LaHood unveils plans to tackle fatigued U.S. air traffic controllers

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I don’t know when I’ve ever been madder. I’m outraged about this.

United States officials have unveiled new plans which require air traffic controllers to have longer rest periods between shifts after a spate of controllers fell asleep while on duty at airports across the country. Announcing the plans, transport secretary Ray LaHood said he was “outraged” by the incidents.

The new plans, which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. government agency responsible for aviation, said would be implemented immediately, come after another controller was suspended this week when they fell asleep while directing aircraft near Miami. The incident was the sixth this year; controllers have fallen asleep in Nevada, Washington D.C., and Tennessee. In one incident, two commercial passenger jets landed without any direction from the control tower because the controller on duty had fallen asleep.

LaHood said controllers would be required to have a minimum of nine hours rest between shifts, an increase of an hour, and more supervisors would be required during night shifts, and they will be restricted in what shifts they can swap with colleagues. “I don’t know when I’ve ever been madder,” LaHood said in a television interview on Fox News Sunday. “We’re not going to stand by and let that happen.”

“We’ve taken steps, as of this morning, to begin changing schedules for controllers, to change schedules for managers, and to make sure that controllers cannot switch in and out of their schedules in order for the convenience of them if they are not well-rested,” LaHood said. He vowed that he would ensure any controllers falling asleep on duty would face consequences. “On my watch, controllers will not be paid to take naps,” he said. “We’re not going to allow that.”

Earlier this week, Hank Krakowski, the head of air traffic organization at the FAA, resigned from his position after LaHood said the crisis in U.S. control towers was “unacceptable”, and vowed to resolve the issue. “I am totally outraged by these incidents,” LaHood said. “This is absolutely unacceptable. The American public trusts us to run a safe system.”

The results of a study on how fatigue affects controllers will soon be published and the FAA may make changes. But LaHood insisted controllers had to “take personal responsibility” for the safety of aircraft over the U.S., and they should not make irresponsible shift changes which will make them tired and put passengers at risk. He said all the controllers involved in the incidents had been suspended, and could ultimately be sacked. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, a labor union representing controllers in the U.S., said the FAA had their “full support” in implementing the new steps to tackle fatigue.