News briefs:February 01, 2008

Contents

  • 1 Wikinews News Brief [Date]
    • 1.1 Introduction
  • 2 Events of worldwide notability, military action, disasters etc.
    • 2.1 Violence takes place in Chad capital N’djamena as military and rebels clash
    • 2.2 High level al-Qaeda leader reported dead
    • 2.3 International manhunt for alleged kidney harvester
  • 3 Non-disastrous local events with notable impact and dead celebrities
    • 3.1 Envelopes containing white powder sent to Church of Scientology locations in southern California, USA
    • 3.2 Vermont town to vote on charging US President, Vice President of war crimes
  • 4 Business, commerce and academia
    • 4.1 Microsoft bids $44 billion for Yahoo!
  • 5 Arts and culture
  • 6 Frivolities and trivia
    • 6.1 Brechin thrown out of Scottish Cup after dispute
    • 6.2 Footer

[edit]

On the campaign trail, July 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The following is the ninth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: the rules of third party candidate polling are examined, a third party activist causes four other parties to lose their place on the Illinois presidential ballot, and the new vice presidential nominee of the Justice Party speaks with Wikinews.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
  • 2 Polling rules restrict and fuel third party campaigns
  • 3 Ballot access denied in Illinois
  • 4 Wikinews interviews newly-selected Justice Party VP nominee
  • 5 Related news
  • 6 Sources

NASA prepares to launch mission to nearby asteroids

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

NASA is beginning the final preparations for next Wednesday’s launch of the Dawn probe, aboard a Delta II rocket. The Dawn probe, costing over US$250 million, will visit the dwarf planet Ceres and the asteroid Vesta. The launch was originally planned for mid-June, however due to a damaged crate, shipping delays, and a damaged solar panel, NASA chose to delay it until now. Last week the spacecraft was delivered to the launch pad, and engineers performed tests to ensure that it is ready for launch. Today, the payload fairings were installed, and the probe is ready for its launch next week onto its 5 billion kilometer (3.2 billion mile) mission.

As the Delta II launches, three stages of rockets will propel the probe towards its first target. With the help of ion thrusters, it will reach Mars in mid-2009. Using Mars’ gravity, the probe will speed up and proceed towards the first asteroid, Vesta, in late 2011. After orbiting for seven months, it will leave Vesta in mid-2012, and arrive at Ceres in 2015. After making scans of Ceres, it will enter an orbit around Ceres that will ensure that it does not impact the asteroid for half a century. This is required due to the United Nations’ “Outer Space Treaty”, which states that “harmful contamination” of these asteroids must be avoided.

The targets of this mission, Ceres and Vesta, couldn’t be less alike. Ceres (diameter 975 km, 600 miles) is larger than Vesta (578 km, 350 miles). This makes Ceres approximately the size of Texas. NASA believes Ceres could contain water beneath its outer crust because, like Earth, its inner layers are heavier than the outer layers, and Ceres’ outer layer is lighter than water. Vesta, on the other hand, is the size of Arizona, and has a surface of volcanic rock, which astronomers believe came from its hot inner layers. Vesta also has a large crater – almost 500 km (300 miles) across – on its southern pole. The collision that caused this likely blasted enough rock into space to fill a container 160 by 160 by 80 km (100 by 100 by 50 miles).

The probe will make several observations of these asteroids: it will compare the makeup, shape, size, and densities, analyze craters, and determine mass, gravity, rotation. To determine the makeup, the probe carries a mapping spectrometer, and tools to map emissions of neutrons and gamma rays. Using this information, NASA can compare the formation of these bodies to learn more about our solar system, for example, to test a theory which states that a number of stony meteorites may be debris from Vesta.

There’s one more piece of equipment aboard the probe: A small silicon chip containing the names of 350,000 people who submitted their names to the “Send Your Name to the Asteroid Belt” campaign. After next week’s launch, the spacecraft will deploy its solar panels and undergo two months of testing before it begins the cruise to Mars.

O.J. Simpson returns home; girlfriend says he’s “fine”

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Former National Football League star O.J. Simpson returned to his home in Florida this morning after being released on a $125,000 bond. While Simpson is not talking to the media, his girlfriend, Christine Prody, said that he is “fine.”

Simpson left the Fort Lauderdale airport in a SUV without talking to any reporters.

Simpson is being accused of armed robbery of sports memorabilia and faces 11 charges, 10 of which are felonies.

While aboard his US Airways flight from Las Vegas, Simpson nodded and smiled at the other passengers in the economy class section of the plane. He also signed a few autographs.

New York Post reporter Steve Dunleavy, who was aboard the same airplane as Simpson said, “between dozing and watching the movie ‘Oceans 13,’ [Simpson] didn’t look the least stressed. In fact, he was rather relaxed.”

Fiji “running out of patience” with Vanuatu over ban on Fijian biscuits

Friday, July 1, 2005

Fiji’s Foreign Minister, Kaliopate Tavola, said that the letter being sent to Vanuatu’s prime minister would be the final gesture of Fiji’s friendship.

In March, the island nation Vanuatu banned the importation of Fijian biscuits. This was the second ban on Fijian biscuits by Vanuatu in the last six months. Vanuatu has said that this ban is necessary in order to stimulate Vaunatu’s biscuit industry.

The company affected by this ban, Flour Mills of Fiji, exports nearly US$900,000 worth of biscuits to Vanuatu yearly. Flour Mills of Fiji has said that the ban has forced them to layoff about a dozen people. They also stated that they will be taking legal action against the Vanuatu government for the ban.

On June 13 the Fijian government announced its intention to stop all commercial relations with Vanuatu unless this issue was resolved. Commercial relations with Vanuatu include Air Vanuatu flights and the importation of Vanuatu kava. Fijian imports of Vanuatu kava bring approximately VT350 million (US$3.2 million) to Vanuatu each year.

Canada’s York West (Ward 7) city council candidates speak

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Monday, October 30, 2006

On November 13, Torontoians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is York West (Ward 7). One candidate responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Sandra Anthony, Fred Cutler, Giorgio Mammoliti (incumbent), and Larry Perlman.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Manitoba volunteers go to war against Red River flooding

Monday, April 6, 2009

Over 1,600 volunteers registered to help build approximately 65,000 of the 500,000 sandbags to create dikes 20.5 feet (6.2 meters) high to protect the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba in the war against the Red River of the North flood.

700 volunteers answered at the rural municipality of St. Andrews alone. Once sandbags are filled for West St. Paul, St. Andrews, and Selkirk, then frozen culverts must be cleared.

The height of the river is expected to be Thursday, and predictions are that it will be less than Flood of the Century of 1997. There is no precipitation in the forecast, and snow in the province should be melted by the end of the week.

“The fear right now is we have to get that ice out of the river. The Amphibex [Excavators] are still working and breaking the ice apart, and everyday we buy with the warm weather and the current, it is thinning the ice down a bit, so when it does start to move, the better chance it’ll move right out into the lake,” said Paul Guyder, the emergency coordinator for the RMs of St. Andrews and St. Clements.

“I feel that we’ve done everything humanly possible to get ready,” said Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba, “But … there are fallibilities with human behaviour. We can take every preventative measure as human beings possible and we can still get Mother Nature proving again she is superior.”

Communities with ring diking will partially or fully close their dikes at the beginning of the week. Provincial officials are considering opening the Red River Floodway gates around mid-week before ice is fully melted.

Ice jams could cause flooding within the city, however opening the gates could spare neighbourhood flooding when the river rises to the estimated 6.3 meters (20.7 feet) height. The province does have back up plans for dealing with ice jams within the city if they do occur. The unpredictability of ice jams and the ensuing water level rise may cause neighbourhood flooding. The city is raising dikes where the river has jammed with ice in the past such as on tight curves and past bridges. Likewise there are excavators and backhoes positioned at these points.

Vulnerable neighbourhoods on the river banks have been reinforced with sandbag dikes at vulnerable areas from the massive volunteer effort over the weekend. Guyader feels no more extra volunteers are needed, however volunteers are still being asked to leave their names and number in case of unpredicted need. Existing personnel will assess roads, and help with clean up.

Approximately 400 of the 800 people who evacuated the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation have returned to their homes.

Former Premier, Dufferin Roblin, brought forward the floodway as a protection for Winnipeg residents and economy following the 1950 Red River Flood. The Red River floodway, “Duff’s Ditch” was finally finished in 1968, and its floodway gates have been opened 20 times saving Winnipeg from an estimated CA$10 billion in damages. The floodway expansion began in 2005 at a price of $665 million.

Polish and Chinese experts have come to survey the Red River Floodway, and Dennis Walaker, mayor of Fargo, North Dakota recognises the need for Red River flood defences down river. “Every town that you drive by from the Canadian line up to Winnipeg is either elevated or ring-diked,” said Walaker.

UK tube company Metronet goes into administration

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Metronet, a company set up to manage the upgrade of three-quarters of London’s tube network, has gone into administration (which is similar to Chapter 11 in the United States) after having accrued debts of up to £2 billion, following the decision on Monday to limit the amount of extra funds that the company would receive from public funds.

A notice on the Metronet website announced that the Boards of both Metronet BCV (responsible for the upgrade of the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines) and Metronet SSL (responsible for upgrade of the ‘sub-surface’ lines) had asked the Mayor to seek the appointment of a PPP Administrator. The statement says that the decision follows a period of ‘financial uncertainty’, with the decision of the arbiter leaving Metronet “unable to carry out its contract”.

Metronet’s shareholders, the companies Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Bombardier, EDF Energy and Thames Water had blocked access to an extra funds, and each have a limited liability of £350 million, their original equity stake.

Transport for London have reassured the public that tube services will not be affected – Metronet is not responsible for day-to-day operation – but it is so far unclear what will happen to the upgrade contracts.

Japan agrees to ship nuclear materials to U.S.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Japan and the United States have co-signed an agreement to remove and dispose of over 300 kilograms of weapons grade plutonium and an unspecified amount of highly enriched uranium.

According to a statement released by the White House, the fissile material will be transported from the Fast Critical Assembly at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency to a “secure facility” in the U.S., and will be “fully converted into less sensitive forms”.

Barack Obama announced his aim to seek “the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” in Prague in 2009. He has been pressing his foreign counterparts, both in Asia and Europe, demanding they either get rid of their excess nuclear materials via the U.S., or tighten security on stockpiles at home. Belgium and Italy have also agreed to hand over excess nuclear material.

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall of the US National Security Council says Japan’s pledge to hand over nuclear material to the U.S. shows leadership and dedication to the nonproliferation of nuclear material and nuclear weapons.

The deal is part of an ongoing U.S. goal to reduce fissile material worldwide. The U.S. hopes to convince more nations to use reprocessing and enrichment facilities in an effort to minimize proliferation risks.

Riyo Mori is crowned Miss Universe as Japanese after 48 years’ absence

Thursday, May 31, 2007

According to The Japan Times, the 20-year-old Japanese delegate Riyo Mori was crowned as the 56th Miss Universe, in a ceremony held at Mexico City on May 28 .

Riyo, the new Miss Universe titleholder, is from Shizuoka, Japan. She had stayed in Canada to study ballet while in high-school. After Riyo returned to her country, she became to an instructor of a dance school.

Riyo Mori achieved the brilliant feat of winning this beauty contest as Japanese after 48 years’ absence. Incidentally, preceded runner-up is Kurara Chibana.