23 May

Moto GP rider Marco Simoncelli dies in 2011 Malaysia Grand Prix

Monday, October 24, 2011

Italy’s Marco Simoncelli, 24, has died after a crash during the second lap of the 2011 Malaysia Moto GP Grand Prix held at the Sepang International Circuit.

While veering accross the track on the exit of turn 11, Simoncelli was hit by the bike of Colin Edwards and fell into the path of Edwards and Valentino Rossi. The other riders were powerless to avoid Simoncelli. Such was the force of the collision, Simoncelli’s helmet was dislodged and bounced several metres. Fellow rider Casey Stoner said “Whenever the helmet comes off that’s not a good sign.”

Simoncelli lay without moving in the centre of the track, causing the race to be immediately red flagged for safety reasons. When medics arrived, he was in cardiac arrest and they fought to resuscitate him in the ambulance and medical centre. Simoncelli died from his injuries at 16:56 local time.

Known for his aggressive attacking style, Simoncelli had enjoyed a run of success in Moto GP despite his status as a relatively new rider on a satellite bike and was predicted by many to be a rising star of the sport. His death is a blow to the Moto GP world.

The official Moto GP statement is as follows:

“On Sunday, 23 October, during the MotoGP race at the Sepang International Circuit, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Italian rider Marco Simoncelli suffered a serious accident wherein he sustained critical injuries.

“The race was stopped immediately with the red flag and Simoncelli was transported by ambulance to the circuit medical centre where the medical staff worked to resuscitate him.”

The death is the first in Moto GP since Japan’s Daijiro Katoh died in his home race in 2003 and follows the death of Japanese rider Shoya Tomizawa in the 2010 inaugral Moto2 season. Edwards also fell from his bike and sustained a dislocated shoulder, Rossi remained onboard.

23 May

French teacher returns home after being held in Iran for ten months

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

24-year-old Clotilde Reiss, a French teaching assistant who had been detained in Iran for ten months, returned to France Sunday.

Iranian officials arrested Reiss as she was about to leave the country on July 1, 2009. The arrest came after she had attended a protest regarding the country’s elections, with the officials calling her a foreign spy. Reiss was in Iran for a five-month teaching position in Isfahan, and was later sent from Tehran‘s Evin Prison to the French Embassy on bail. During the trial, which included over 100 others thought to be trying to cause a coup, she pleaded not guilty and said that she only went to the protest because she was curious. Reiss was originally given two five-year sentences of jail time for spying and provoking unrest, but the sentence was reduced to a 300 billion IRR fine, or about USD300,000. Reiss’ lawyer said that the money was given on Saturday, freeing the young academic.

Reiss landed at Vélizy – Villacoublay Air Base Sunday afternoon. She met French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Élysée Palace in Paris shortly after. Sarkozy later released a statement thanking the presidents of Brazil, Senegal, and Syria for aiding in Reiss’ return, but did not elaborate on the role each played.

The governments of both France and Iran have denied rumors that Reiss’ freedom was part of a deal involving two Iranians in France. One of the two, Majid Kakavand, was released a couple of weeks ago after France refused on May 5 to extradite him to the U.S. The other, Ali Vakili Rad, will likely receive parole and return to Iran later today. Kakavand had supposedly tried to give U.S. goods to the Iranian military, while Rad was responsible for the assassination of former Iranian Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar in 1991.

21 May

International Paralympic Committee holds first press conference

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

London, England — Yesterday, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) held their first formal press conference as part of the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Approximately 60 media representatives attended and had the opportunity to ask questions of Craig Spence, IPC President Philip Craven, Chairman of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralymic Games (LOCOG) Sebastian Coe, and LOCOG Director of Communications and Public Affairs Jackie Brock-Doyle following a short speech on the history of the Paralympic Games.

The reporters asked a variety of questions. A British journalist asked about having ATOS as a sponsor given the negative history the business has had with disability services in the country. The IPC responded by saying this is an issue that should be taken up by the relevant British government agency.

A Wikinews reporter asked if the high cost of technology for participating in disability sport at the elite level would leave Oceania, Asia, and Africa behind. Craven said historically, the IPC has worked on increasing disability sport participation; they were now working on changing that to developing disability sport around the world. He highlighted efforts by the IPC to bring down the cost of wheelchairs and prostheses as these are sporting equipment for participation in disability sport. He also said they had donated 4,000 wheelchairs to help spread disability sport.

A Canadian journalist from the Vancouver Sun asked about the lack of substantial coverage of the Games in North America. Craven responded by saying he was disappointed by United States coverage and the IPC has been aware of the problem for years. He contrasted the situation in the United States with France, where the public successfully put pressure on the rights-holding network to improve the coverage of the Games.

Another reporter asked about Paralympic social media usage during the Games. Craven responded that while not a big user of it himself, the IPC embraced social media. Spence said the IPC encouraged everyone involved to use it; 47 Paralympians have video blogs, and the Opening Ceremonies will be covered while they happen.

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21 May

One year on: Egyptians mark anniversary of protests that toppled Mubarak

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Across Egypt hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets for the day, marking exactly one year since the outbreak of protests leading to 83-year-old longstanding ruler Hosni Mubarak’s downfall. The country’s decades-long emergency rule was partially lifted this week; meanwhile, a possible economic meltdown looms and a newly-elected parliament held their first meeting on Monday.

Despite the new parliament, military rule introduced following Mubarak’s fall last spring remains. Echoing the demands from a year ago, some protesters are demanding the military relinquish power; there are doubts an elected civilian leader will be permitted to replace the army.

The brief unity against Mubarak has since fragmented, with Secularists and Islamists marking the revolution’s anniversary splitting to opposing sides of Cairo’s famed Tahrir Square and chanting at each other. Initial demonstrations last year were mainly from young secularists; now, Islamic parties hold most of the new parliament’s seats — the country’s first democratic one in six decades.

Salafis hold 25% of the seats and 47% are held by the Muslim Brotherhood, which brought supporters to Cairo for the anniversary. Tahrir Square alone contained tens of thousands of people, some witnesses putting the crowd at 150,000 strong. It’s the largest number on the streets since the revolution.

Military rulers planned celebrations including pyrotechnics, commemorative coins, and air displays. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces took power after last year’s February 11 resignation of Mubarak.

Alaa al-Aswani, a pro-democracy activist writing in al-Masry al-Youm, said: “We must take to the streets on Wednesday, not to celebrate a revolution which has not achieved its goals, but to demonstrate peacefully our determination to achieve the objectives of the revolution,” — to “live in dignity, bring about justice, try the killers of the martyrs and achieve a minimum social justice”

Alexandria in the north and the eastern port city of Suez also saw large gatherings. It was bitter fighting in Suez led to the first of the revolution’s 850 casualties in ousting Mubarak. “We didn’t come out to celebrate. We came out to protest against the military council and to tell it to leave power immediately and hand over power to civilians,” said protestor Mohamed Ismail.

“Martyrs, sleep and rest. We will complete the struggle,” chanted crowds in Alexandria, a reference to the 850 ‘martyrs of the revolution’. No convictions are in yet although Mubarak is on trial. Photos of the dead were displayed in Tahrir Square. Young Tahrir chanters went with “Down with military rule” and “Revolution until victory, revolution in all of Egypt’s streets”.

If the protestors demanding the military leave power get their way, the Islamists celebrating election victory face a variety of challenges. For now, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi — whose career featured twenty years as defence minister under Mubarak — rules the nation and promises to cede power following presidential elections this year.

The economy is troubled and unemployment is up since Mubarak left. With tourism and foreign investment greatly lower than usual, budget and payment deficits are up — with the Central Bank eating into its reserves in a bid to keep the Egyptian pound from losing too much value.

Last week the nation sought US$3.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF insists upon funding also being secured from other donors, and strong support from Egypt’s leaders. IMF estimates say the money could be handed over in a few months — whereas Egypt wanted it in a matter of weeks.

The country has managed to bolster trade with the United States and Jordan. Amr Abul Ata, Egyptian ambassador to the fellow Middle-East state, told The Jordan Times in an interview for the anniversary that trade between the nations increased in 2011, and he expects another increase this year. This despite insurgent attacks reducing Egyptian gas production — alongside electricity the main export to Jordan. Jordan exports foodstuffs to Egypt and has just signed a deal increasing the prices it pays for gas. 2011 trade between the countries was worth US$1 billion.

The anniversary also saw a new trade deal with the US, signed by foreign trade and industry minister Mahmoud Eisa and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. President Barack Obama promises work to improve U.S. investment in, and trade with, nations changing political systems after the Arab Spring. Details remain to be agreed, but various proposals include US assistance for Egyptian small and medium enterprises. Both nations intend subjecting plans to ministerial scrutiny.

The U.S. hailed “several historic milestones in its transition to democracy” within a matter of days of Egypt’s revolution. This despite U.S.-Egypt ties being close during Mubarak’s rule.

US$1 billion in grants has been received already from Qatar and Saudi Arabia but army rulers refused to take loans from Gulf nations despite offers-in-principle coming from nations including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. Foreign aid has trickled in; no money at all has been sent from G8 nations, despite the G8 Deauville Partnership earmarking US$20 billion for Arab Spring nations.

A total of US$7 billion was promised from the Gulf. The United Kingdom pledged to split £110 million between Egypt and Arab Spring initiator Tunisia. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development says G8 money should start arriving in June, when the presidential election is scheduled.

The African Development Bank approved US$1.5 billion in loans whilst Mubarak still held power but, despite discussions since last March, no further funding has been agreed. The IMF offered a cheap loan six months ago, but was turned away. Foreign investment last year fell from US$6 billion to $375 million.

Rights, justice and public order remain contentious issues. Tantawi lifted the state of emergency on Tuesday, a day before the revolution’s anniversary, but left it in place to deal with the exception of ‘thuggery’. “This is not a real cancellation of the state of emergency,” said Islamist Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan. “The proper law designates the ending of the state of emergency completely or enforcing it completely, nothing in between.”

The same day, Amnesty International released a report on its efforts to establish basic human rights and end the death penalty in the country. Despite sending a ten-point manifesto to all 54 political parties, only the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (of the Egyptian Bloc liberals) and the left-wing Popular Socialist Alliance Party signed up. Measures included religious freedom, help to the impoverished, and rights for women. Elections did see a handful of women win seats in the new parliament.

The largest parliamentary group is the Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood, who Amnesty say did not respond. Oral assurances on all but female rights and abolition of the death penalty were given by Al-Nour, the Salafist runners-up in the elections, but no written declaration or signature.

“We challenge the new parliament to use the opportunity of drafting the new constitution to guarantee all of these rights for all people in Egypt. The cornerstone must be non-discrimination and gender equality,” said Amnesty, noting that the first seven points were less contentious amongst the twelve responding parties. There was general agreement for free speech, free assembly, fair trials, investigating Mubarak’s 30-year rule for atrocities, and lifting the state of emergency. A more mixed response was given to ensuring no discrimination against LGBT individuals, whilst two parties claimed reports of Coptic Christian persecution are exaggerated.

Mubarak himself is a prominent contender for the death penalty, currently on trial for the killings of protesters. The five-man prosecution team are also seeking death for six senior police officers and the chief of security in the same case. Corruption offences are also being tried, with Gamal Mubarak and Alaa Mubarak accused alongside their father Hosni.

The prosecution case has been hampered by changes in witness testimony and there are complaints of Interior Ministry obstruction in producing evidence. Tantawi has testified in a closed hearing that Mubarak never ordered protesters shot.

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Hisham Talaat Moustafa, an ex-MP and real estate billionaire, is another death penalty candidate. He, alongside Ahmed Sukkari, was initially sentenced to death for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Lebanese pop star Suzanne Tamim. A new trial was granted on procedural grounds and he is now serving a fifteen-year term for paying Sukkari US$2 million to slit 30-year-old’s Tamim’s throat in Dubai. Her assassin was caught when police followed him back to his hotel and found a shirt stained with her blood; he was in custody within two hours of the murder.

The court of appeals is now set to hear another trial for both men after the convictions were once more ruled unsound.

A military crackdown took place last November, the morning after a major protest, and sparking off days of violence. Egypt was wary of a repeat this week, with police and military massed near Tahrir Square whilst volunteers manned checkpoints into the square itself.

The military has pardoned and released at least 2,000 prisoners jailed following military trials, prominently including a blogger imprisoned for defaming the army and deemed troublesome for supporting Israel. 26-year-old Maikel Nabil was given a three year sentence in April. He has been on hunger strike alleging abuse at the hands of his captors. He wants normalised relations with Israel. Thousands have now left Tora prison in Cairo.

19 May

Australian Parliament hears reply to Budget

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Australian House of Representatives heard the traditional right-of-reply to the Budget released May 9, from the Australian Labor Party, led by Kim Beazley (Labor, Brand), plus Budget replies from minor parties in the Australian Senate.

While the Budget is politically popular, having as one of its main features significant tax reform, Beazley focused on the omissions in the Budget, such as the failure to address a skills shortage.

Contents

  • 1 Opposition reply
  • 2 Minor parties
    • 2.1 Australian Democrats
  • 3 Australian Greens
  • 4 Family First
  • 5 Sources
19 May

Victoria Wyndham on Another World and another life

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Victoria Wyndham was one of the most seasoned and accomplished actresses in daytime soap opera television. She played Rachel Cory, the maven of Another World‘s fictional town, Bay City, from 1972 to 1999 when the show went off the air. Wyndham talks about how she was seen as the anchor of a show, and the political infighting to keep it on the air as NBC wanted to wrest control of the long-running soap from Procter & Gamble. Wyndham fought to keep it on the air, but eventually succumbed to the inevitable. She discusses life on the soap opera, and the seven years she spent wandering “in the woods” of Los Angeles seeking direction, now divorced from a character who had come to define her professional career. Happy, healthy and with a family she is proud of, Wyndham has found life after the death of Another World in painting and animals. Below is David Shankbone’s interview with the soap diva.

Contents

  • 1 Career and motherhood
  • 2 The politics behind the demise of Another World
  • 3 Wyndham’s efforts to save Another World
  • 4 The future of soap operas
  • 5 Wyndham’s career and making it as a creative
  • 6 Television’s lust for youth
  • 7 Her relationship today to the character Rachel Cory
  • 8 Wyndham on a higher power and the creative process
  • 9 After AW: Wyndham lost in California
  • 10 Wyndham discovers painting
  • 11 Wyndham on the state of the world
  • 12 Source
19 May

NFL: Brett Favre traded to the New York Jets

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Quarterback Brett Favre has been traded to the New York Jets for a conditional fourth-round draft selection in the 2009 NFL Draft. The trade was later confirmed by ESPN and the Jets themselves. The multiple National Football League record-holder was the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers from 1992 to the end of the 2007 NFL season. Favre, 38, announced his retirement on March 6, 2008 after much speculation over his future.

After a long dispute with the Packers’ management, Favre was reinstated by the NFL and was pursued in trade discussions with the Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jets were much more aggressive than the Buccaneers in their pursuit of Favre all along, offering a conditional fourth-round draft choice in the 2009 NFL Draft which could be promoted to a first-round selection based on performance criteria.

“Brett has had a long and storied career in Green Bay, and the Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for everything he accomplished,” the Packers said in a press release. Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said of the trade, “We just felt like this was an opportunity to go get somebody of Brett’s stature and what he’s accomplished.”

The trade caps a roller-coaster off-season ride for Favre and the franchise that became synonymous with his legendary No. 4 jersey, which was planned to be retired in the Packers’ home opening game. Favre’s on-again, off-again retirement has monopolized headlines for the past two months as news began trickling to the media that the legendary passer was second-guessing both his retirement decision and his status in Green Bay. Favre was offered a $20 million dollar marketing contract from the Packers to remain retired.

Now, the Jets may have to clear cap space in order to have Favre on their roster — who is due to make $12 million this season — which may call for the release of Chad Pennington. A comment from Jets GM Tannenbaum all but confirmed the release of Pennington. “It’s a bittersweet moment for us. I have all the respect in the world for Chad as a person, as a player,” Tannenbaum said, adding that an announcement on a transaction involving Pennington will come later Thursday.

The Packer’s official website states that they will be holding press conferences at noon and 2:00 p.m. CDT and more information will be released then.

19 May

Twenty-five children injured in bus-truck collision in Florida

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A truck collided with a bus on Friday, seriously injuring five children and one adult, authories have said. The bus was taking 25 children of immigrant workers to an amusement arcade.

“The more seriouslly hurt youngsters have suffered broken bones and head injuries”, said Fire-Rescue deputy Steve Delai. One young boy and a 30 year old were in intensive care at Delray Medical Center late Friday, officials have reported.

Two other children were in a stable condition, while conditions for the other two seriouslly injured children were not available.

“It appears that the bus was in the center lane and the tractor-trailer was in the right lane. For some reason the bus got into the path of the tractor-trailer,” A Florida Highway Patrol officer told a local television station.

15 May

KKE: Interview with the Greek Communist Party

Thursday, May 13, 2010

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

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

15 May

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces extradition to United States

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the 47-year-old Australian, appeared today before the United Kingdom SPECIFIC COURT extraditing him to the United States on one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Extradition became legally possible when Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno nullified Assange’s asylum status on April 11th allowing London’s Metropolitan Police to arrest him within the sovereign Ecuadorian Embassy where he had lived for the past seven years.

Moreno determined Assange was in violation of the non-political action terms of his asylum after it became clear he had continued involvement in the Wikileaks operation. With his asylum in jeopardy, Assange allegedly informed the ambassador he would release Moreno’s personal images, text message, and other digital media with a reported push of a button as blackmail. Contributing factors nullifying his asylum were embassy employees reporting repeated threats, interference with embassy security, installing surveillance equipment, and neglected his own hygiene disrupting the embassy’s day-to-day operations. Moreno’s only term was Assange would not be extradited to, “a country where he could face torture or the death penalty.”

The UK’s Westminster Magistrates Court’s Judge Michael Snow on April 11th via closed circuit video conference from Belmarsh Prison entering a plea of not guilty for failing to appear before extradition court. Swedish authorities requested Assange be extradited and tried for rape of two women in June 2012 going instead seeking sought asylum status violating the terms of his bail which were dropped in 2017 but maybe reissued before August 2020 under the Swedish Statute of Limitations.

Snow informed Assange he could consent to the US extradition request when he replied, “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected many people.” Assange was found guilty of the bail violation and a hearing was held May 1st before Judge Deborah Taylor at the Southwark Crown Court sentencing him to 50-weeks of prison.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) officials until June 12 to detail all charges and evidence before surrendering Assange. US District Attorney of Eastern Virginia is represented by James Hines who submitted the formal extradition orders alleging Assange conspired with then-US Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning starting in 2010 with Wikileaks posting classified US intelligence. A court-martial in 2013 proved Manning provided Wikileaks with approximately 700,000 videos, documents, and other files compromising US intelligence and security. The DoJ indictment of Assange also alleges, “[Assange] agreed to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on United States Defense Department computers.”

The US indictment did not include Wikileaks publishing emails and other electronic documents from the Democratic National Committee leaders like Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign chair John Podesta. Robert Mueller’s Special Council Report did determine the electronic documents submitted by a Russian entity with the goal of meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election, but was unable to conclude any intentional coordinated release with domestic campaigns. Another incident of interest is the 2017 releases of US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) hacking capabilities known as the “Vault 7” leak which enlisted an unnamed CIA employee.

Today’s hearing in SPECIFIC COURT before Judge NAME O JUDGE was not to determine Assange’s guilt, rather if the level of evidence provided by US prosecutors was substantial enough for the dual criminality clause required by the 2003 US-EU Extradition Agreement. JUDGE must determine if the alleged crime(S) happened inside Britain would it meet the requirements for prosecution under their laws.

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