US Senator Ted Kennedy collapses during inaugural luncheon
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US Senator Ted Kennedy collapses during inaugural luncheon

 Correction — January 23, 2009 

On Tuesday afternoon, Robert Byrd’s office corrected the reports used for this article. Mark Ferrell said, “Sen. Byrd did not have a medical issue – he is just fine.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

According to reports, two United States Senators, Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd, suffered medical problems during a luncheon with new U.S. President Barack Obama.

Kennedy collapsed as a result of a seizure and was taken away by paramedics in a wheelchair. In May, Kennedy was diagnosed with brain cancer, which required an operation. Kennedy is at Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C. where his family says he is awake and talking. At the time of his collapse, he was reported to be sitting with John Kerry, another Massachusetts Senator, 2004 presidential candidate, and close friend of Kennedy.

President Obama commented on the situation during the luncheon: “And so I would be lying to you if I did not say that right now a part of me is with him, and I think that’s true for all of us. This is a joyous time. But it’s also a sobering time. And my prayers are with him and his family and Vicki [Kennedy’s wife].”

U.S. Senator Byrd was also taken out of the luncheon after he had reported that he had trouble eating. Byrd, 91 is the oldest member of the U.S. Senate and the longest-serving Senator in the history of the body. Reports indicate that Byrd is doing well.

Authorities arrest 7 state officials over Mexico childcare centre fire
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Authorities arrest 7 state officials over Mexico childcare centre fire

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Authorities in the Mexican state of Sonora arrested 7 state officials, from the state finance department, yesterday; and charged them with negligent homicide for the deaths of 47 children in a fire at a daycare centre that occurred earlier this month.

In 2005, the Hermosillo, Mexico daycare was advised to carry out repairs in a safety inspection went unheeded. It is felt that negligence contributed to the massive fire Friday afternoon, June 5, taking the lives of 47 toddlers and infants and injuring the majority of the 142 children being cared for by six staff who were also hospitalized.

The ABC Daycare Centre installed a brightly coloured tarpaulin as a ceiling below the high roof. In 2005 the owners were advised to remove the tarp, and equip emergency exits and the main exit with larger and wider regulation sized doors. The daycare owners did not make the recommended changes, and continued to receive contracts to operate and also passed subsequent safety inspections including one a couple of weeks before the fire.

Officials have determined that the fire began in the neighboring warehouse which was used by the northern Sonora state Finance Department and contained license plates, tires, and paperwork. Nobody was working Friday and this warehouse was locked with the air conditioner left running. The air conditioner overheated, short circuited and melted its aluminum housing which began flames in the paperwork below. This neighboring warehouse had no fire alarms, fire extinguishers nor water sprinklers installed.

“The fire was caused by the overheating of an air conditioner due to continuous and prolonged use,” said Eduardo Medina Mora, the Attorney-General.

The fire and smoke rose above the wall connecting the daycare and Finance Department warehouse, and was trapped in the daycare between the tarp and the warehouse ceiling. The daycare fire alarms were installed below the tarp, and did not alert the staff to the fire trapped above the tarp until the tarp itself caught fire which instantly dispersed smoke and flames onto sleeping infants below. One of the emergency fire exits was padlocked shut and could not be used the day of the fire by rescue teams.

Seven finance department officials have been arrested on negligence and charges of negligence are to be laid also against seven others. “They are employees and officials with the Finance Department who have a direct responsibility for the warehouse where the fire started,” said Abel Murrieta, the state Attorney General.

The fire chief of Hermosillo has been removed from his position.

The wives of two high ranking state officials operated the privately run daycare under contract from the Social Security Institute. These two state officials have resigned. The owners will be charged with negligence by the state’s Finance Department. The Social Security Institute will also begin a civil lawsuit against the owners. The head of the Social Security Institute has stepped down and others have been suspended.

Owsley Stanley, icon of 1960s counterculture, dies at 76
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Owsley Stanley, icon of 1960s counterculture, dies at 76

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Owsley Stanley, mass-producer of LSD, the drug underlying much of the culture of the 1960s California hippie era, died Sunday in a car accident in Australia at the age of 76, his family announced on Tuesday.

According to The New York Times, “Mr. Stanley lent the ’60s a great deal of its color — like White Lightning, Monterey Purple and Blue Cheer, the varieties of his LSD that were among the most popular.”

Stanley, a talented, self-taught chemist who was known for the purity of his LSD, supplied the drug to such music groups as the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix, and provided the acid for Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, whose antics were recorded by Tom Wolfe in the The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The Rolling Stones once called his acid “the best LSD in the world … the genuine Owsley.”

He was also an early sound engineer and designed the high-fidelity sound system for the live rock concerts of the Grateful Dead, known as the “wall of sound”. It was essentially a massive public address system made up of 600 speakers that enabled musicians to mix their sound from the stage and reduce distortion. His recordings of Grateful Dead live performances, some having been commercially released, are valued as a documentary of their early music.

Sam Cutler, formerly the tour manager of the Rolling Stones, said of Stanley: “He was a very sophisticated man, an amalgam of scientist and engineer, chemist and artist.”

I remember the first time I took acid and walked outside, and the cars were kissing the parking meters

Stanley was born in Kentucky and studied engineering briefly at the University of Virginia before dropping out and joining the Air Force. In 1958, he moved to California and worked at a wide variety of jobs, before enrolling at the UC at Berkeley in 1963, at a time when drug use was pervasive. He got his first taste of LSD in April 1964 which transformed him. “I remember the first time I took acid and walked outside, and the cars were kissing the parking meters,” he said in an interview with the Rolling Stone Magazine in 2007.

Deciding to provide his own LSD to ensure its quality, Stanley created his own lab to produce it. According to The Washington Post, “Working at first from a makeshift bathroom laboratory in Berkeley, Mr. Stanley produced at least 1 million doses of LSD between 1965 and 1967.” His LSD was widely distributed. The lab was raided and he spent two years in prison.

Stanley moved to Australia in the 1980s when he become convinced the Northern Hemisphere would be destroyed in the coming of a new ice age. He lived in the Australian bush near Cairns, Queensland.

Gas tanks explode at facility in Texas, US
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Gas tanks explode at facility in Texas, US

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Three people were hospitalized with injuries after a series of explosions at Southwest Industrial Gases, Inc., a gas facility in Dallas, Texas. None of their injuries are considered life-threatening.

Tanks of oxygen, helium and acetylene began to explode after a connector used to join acetylene tanks during the filling process malfunctioned. The explosions sent flaming debris into the air and onto buildings and expressways. Black smoke that could be seen for miles billowed from the facility. The problem began around 9:30 a.m CDT (UTC-5) at a loading dock, according to Dallas Fire Department Lt. Joel Lavender, and then spread to a trailer housing some 100,000 cubic feet (approximately 28,300 cubic metres) of gas.

Authorities evacuated an area that was one-half of a mile (approximately 800 m) wide. Portions of Interstate 35 and Interstate 30 were shut down. Flaming debris ignited small grass fires next to the roads. Tanks were reported to have landed as far away as four blocks.

Officials for the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as local and state environmental officials, have deemed air quality levels acceptable following the blast. Hazardous material crews have blocked water used in the fire from entering the Dallas storm drains.

“I just advised my teams to get out,” said Eddy Parker of Airgas which operates right next to Southwest Industrial. “I didn’t really see anything other than the smoke. Then we turned and ran and just kept hearing explosions.”

“Given the fact that there haven’t been any fatalities, it seems like our fire department and emergency responders did a great job. But we need to let the fire department look at why this is occurring there in that area,” said City Councilman Steve Salazar.

Two of the injured men, Randal Bibb, 52, and Daniel McMurry, 56, were taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital to be treated for upper-body burns. The third, an unidentified truck-driver, was treated and released at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. He hurt his back when he jumped from the cab of his truck.

Feud between CNBC and The Daily Show continues to escalate
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Feud between CNBC and The Daily Show continues to escalate

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jim Cramer, CNBC’s host of Mad Money, plans to appear on The Daily Show Thursday, in the midst of an escalating feud between Cramer and the Comedy Central show’s host, Jon Stewart.

Jim Cramer has been the only CNBC employee to publicly respond to Daily Show segments strongly criticizing the television business news channel’s financial coverage during the growing global recession, particularly focusing on specific remarks by made by Cramer.

The feud began on March 4, when The Daily Show aired an eight-minute clip lampooning CNBC. The comedy news show featured several clips of pundits, focusing particularly on predictions or reports by CNBC reporters that The Daily Show argued were overly optimistic or too strongly slanted in favor of the companies being discussed.

In one clip, a CNBC host reported Merrill Lynch said it would not need capital, which The Daily Show followed with a list of billions in bailout money the financial services firm has required since September. In another clip, Jim Cramer is shown allegedly affirming “Your money is safe in Bear Sterns”, followed by a Daily Show statement that the global investment bank went under six days later.

“If I’d only followed CNBC’s advice, I’d have a million dollars today,” Stewart said during the bit, “provided I’d started with a hundred million dollars.”

Although most CNBC reporters and executives declined to comment, Cramer defended himself in a column published Monday, claiming the clip was taken out of context. Cramer said he wasn’t talking about buying Bear Sterns stock, but simply reassuring a viewer that his liquidity held in Bear Sterns was safe.

“The absurdity astounds me,” Cramer said of the Daily Show bit. “The fact that I was right rankles me even more.”

Later that day, The Daily Show responded with another montage of clips, this time more specifically targeting Cramer.

“So Jim Cramer, I apologize,” Stewart said ironically, then promptly showcased video of Cramer suggesting the safety of Bear Stearns stock 5 days prior to the collapse of Bear Stearns on Mad Money’s Lighting Round. Provokingly, Jon Stewart then admitted, “He’s not saying literally ‘I’m asking you to buy Bear Stearns,’ for that you have to go back a full 7 weeks” this time showing video footage of Cramer on January 24, 2008, telling TheStreet.com TV viewers to specifically “buy Bear Stearns” stock 7 weeks before it collapsed.

The following day on March 10, Cramer responded again during a Tuesday appearance on the Today show, saying, “[Jon Stewart] is a comedian, and he’s decided to focus on some calls I made during a bull market. The guy is a comedian. Did I make a mistake? First of all, any time you recommend a stock and it goes down, you’ve made a mistake. Here’s a shocker: Almost every stock is down! Any stock you recommended is bad. You know, Warren Buffett, I could run tapes from him, he would look like a complete fool.”

The feud between The Daily Show and CNBC generated a significant amount of attention in the mainstream media. The Associated Press called the first Daily Show bit a “brutal takedown” of CNBC. Other publications, like New York magazine, defended CNBC, writing, “We doubt there’s a single news outlet that hasn’t made a misstatement regarding the economy in the past year.”

The Thursday Daily Show sketch ran the same day CNBC reporter Rick Santelli was scheduled to appear on the show, to discuss his vocal criticisms of President Barack Obama’s plans for dealing with foreclosures. Santelli cancelled the appearance, but Daily Show executives said the CNBC montage was not retaliatory and that they planned to show it before the cancellation was announced.

Scientology protest group celebrates founder’s birthday worldwide
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Scientology protest group celebrates founder’s birthday worldwide

 Correction — March 19, 2008 The next protest is scheduled for April 12, 2008. The article below states April 18 which is incorrect. 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Internet group Anonymous today held further protests critical of the Church of Scientology.

The global protests started in Australia where several hundred protesters gathered at different locations for peaceful protests.

In a global speech, the Internet protest movement said Scientology “betrayed the trust of its members, [had] taken their money, their rights, and at times their very lives.” The protesters welcomed the public interest their protests have led to, and claimed they witnessed “an unprecedented flood of Scientologists [joining] us across the world to testify about these abuses.” The group said it would continue with monthly actions.

In a press statement from its European headquarters, Scientology accused the anonymous protesters of “hate speech and hate crimes”, alleging that security measures were necessary because of death threats and bomb threats. This also makes the Church want to “identify members” of the group it brands as “cyber-terrorists”.

Wikinews had correspondents in a number of protest locations to report on the events.

Anonymous states that the next protest is scheduled to take place on April 18, which happens to be the birthday of Suri, the daughter of Tom and Katie Cruise.

Contents

  • 1 Location reports
    • 1.1 Adelaide, Australia
    • 1.2 Atlanta, Georgia
    • 1.3 Austin, Texas
    • 1.4 Boston, Massachusetts
    • 1.5 Brussels, Belgium
    • 1.6 London, England
    • 1.7 Manchester, England
    • 1.8 New York, New York
    • 1.9 Buffalo, New York
    • 1.10 Seattle, Washington
    • 1.11 Sydney, Australia
    • 1.12 Portland, Oregon
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources

Automobile manufacturer Toyota triples annual loss prediction
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Automobile manufacturer Toyota triples annual loss prediction

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Japanese car making company Toyota has announced that their predicted profit loss for 2008 has tripled from their previous estimate. The company reports the loss after demand for its vehicles dropped. In December 2008, Toyota estimated its full year operating loss to be 150 billion yen (US$1.65 billion). Now the company has tripled that number, forecasting a 450 billion yen (US$4.95 billion) loss. This would be the first yearly loss at Toyota in 70 years.

The firm also said that it predicts its global sales to fall by 17.87% to 7.32 million vehicles sold, compared to last year’s 8.91 million vehicles sold. Overall for 2008, Toyota’s car sales in the United States were down 15.4%, but that number was down from 2007 in which sales dropped 18%. For the month of January alone, Toyota’s sales fell 31.7% compared to the overall U.S. sales loss of 37.1%.

As a result of the loss, 17 of the company’s 75 production lines worldwide, will be reduced to only a single shift of workers. The company also announced a full closure of all their Japanese plants for a total of 14 days between January and March 2009.

Toyota’s boss Katsuaki Watanabe described the loss as happening only “once in a hundred years”.

In January, the Japanese Nikkei newspaper said that Toyota was thinking of firing 1,000 Northern American and British workers, all of whom hold full-time positions in the company. The paper quoted Toyota’s Executive Vice President Mitsuo Kinoshita as saying that “outside of Japan, we intend to make every possible effort to protect the jobs of our employees.”

New York tour bus crash kills 14
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New York tour bus crash kills 14

 Correction — March 15, 2011 The destination of the bus was in Manhattan, not Uncasville as stated in the article. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

At least fourteen people have died after a chartered bus crashed in The Bronx, New York. According to authorities, the tour bus accident also injured eighteen other people, amongst which five were critically injured.

The vehicle was travelling from Mohegan Sun in Connecticut to the village of Uncasville, also located in Connecticut. When the crash occurred on Interstate 95 at approximately 0535 EST (1035 UTC) on Sunday, there were at least thirty-one passengers present.

40-year-old Ophadell Williams, the driver of the bus, reported to the police that the vehicle came into contact with a semi-trailer truck, which was veering across the interstate. He said that he attempted to move out of the way of this vehicle, causing the bus itself to swerve, overturn and scrape the side of a railing for one hundred yards before impacting with a highway sign’s upholding bar.

Captain James Ellson, of the fire service, described the scene as “a pile of humans, either still in their seats or on the floor, wrapped in the metal”. Jose Hernandez, one of the survivors of the bus crash, said that “[w]e tried to help people, but there was twisted metal in the way”.

The semi-trailer truck driver failed to stop after the accident. Police are currently attempting to detect this driver. Raymond Kelly, the current New York City Police Commissioner, stated that the truck was moving on a lane to the bus’ nearside, although whether the vehicles came into contact with each other or not is yet to be confirmed. Both vehicles were travelling at “a significant rate of speed”, according to Kelly.

The Benefits Of Home Security Monitoring

byAlma Abell

There has been a worrying trend of increase in insecurity, especially in the homes. The rates of home break-ins seem to be on the rise in most states. It has also been noted that homes that do not have a good security system in place are 80 percent more likely to be broken into than those that had a good security system in place. If you haven’t invested in a good security system for your home, you need to know about the following benefits of Home Security Monitoring.

Instant response during emergencies

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When you have enlisted the services of home security monitoring company, you will get instant response as soon as your alarm is triggered. The personnel at the monitoring company will give you a call to find out if a real emergency is taking place. In case there is a real emergency, they will alert the relevant authorities. Bear in mind the fact that timely response during emergencies can be the difference between a robbery attempt averted in time and a complete disaster.

Evidence for the insurance companies

In case a successful robbery is staged despite having a security system in place, you will need evidence that there was a real robbery when approaching your insurer for a compensation claim. Having evidence of a triggered alarm and a response from the monitoring company will make your case much easier. Also, regarding insurance fees, it is important to note that the insurers will give you better rates on insurance premiums if you have a security system in place and when the system has a monitoring company.

Peace of mind

The home is supposed to be the one place that you can look at as a haven. It should be the place where get complete security and a feeling of safety. You will be able to achieve this feeling if you invest in a good security system and supplement it with a security monitoring service. When you get this service, you will be assured that your loved ones are safe at all times.

These are the benefits that come from Home Security Monitoring services. At We Monitor Alarms, you will get the best support for your home access control systems. Go to Wemonitoralarms.com for further details.

John Reed on Orwell, God, self-destruction and the future of writing
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John Reed on Orwell, God, self-destruction and the future of writing

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It can be difficult to be John Reed.

Christopher Hitchens called him a “Bin Ladenist” and Cathy Young editorialized in The Boston Globe that he “blames the victims of terrorism” when he puts out a novel like Snowball’s Chance, a biting send-up of George Orwell‘s Animal Farm which he was inspired to write after the terrorist attacks on September 11. “The clear references to 9/11 in the apocalyptic ending can only bring Orwell’s name into disrepute in the U.S.,” wrote William Hamilton, the British literary executor of the Orwell estate. That process had already begun: it was revealed Orwell gave the British Foreign Office a list of people he suspected of being “crypto-Communists and fellow travelers,” labeling some of them as Jews and homosexuals. “I really wanted to explode that book,” Reed told The New York Times. “I wanted to completely undermine it.”

Is this man who wants to blow up the classic literary canon taught to children in schools a menace, or a messiah? David Shankbone went to interview him for Wikinews and found that, as often is the case, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Reed is electrified by the changes that surround him that channel through a lens of inspiration wrought by his children. “The kids have made me a better writer,” Reed said. In his new untitled work, which he calls a “new play by William Shakespeare,” he takes lines from The Bard‘s classics to form an original tragedy. He began it in 2003, but only with the birth of his children could he finish it. “I didn’t understand the characters who had children. I didn’t really understand them. And once I had had kids, I could approach them differently.”

Taking the old to make it new is a theme in his work and in his world view. Reed foresees new narrative forms being born, Biblical epics that will be played out across print and electronic mediums. He is pulled forward by revolutions of the past, a search for a spiritual sensibility, and a desire to locate himself in the process.

Below is David Shankbone’s conversation with novelist John Reed.

Contents

  • 1 On the alternative media and independent publishing
  • 2 On Christopher Hitchens, Orwell and 9/11 as inspiration
  • 3 On the future of the narrative
  • 4 On changing the literary canon
  • 5 On belief in a higher power
  • 6 On politics
  • 7 On self-destruction and survival
  • 8 On raising children
  • 9 On paedophilia and the death penalty
  • 10 On personal relationships
  • 11 Sources
  • 12 External links

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