Efforts to cap Deepwater Horizon oil spill delayed again

92WMwx | Uncategorized | 01 15th, 2019  |  No Comments »
 Correction — May 11, 2011 This article incorrectly describes BP as ‘British Petroleum’. In fact, such a company has not existed for many years as BP dropped this name when becoming a multinational company. The initials no longer stand for anything. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

An attempt to cap the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has hit yet another obstacle, reported officials from British Petroleum (BP).

Friday night’s attempt to install a 6-inch (15.2cm) tube into the leaking drill pipe was only the latest in a series of efforts by BP to stop or slow down the spill. Previously, the oil company had tried to enclose the pipe with a large container dome, and then lowered a smaller “top hat” container dome. The siphon tube method is designed to reduce the amount of oil flowing into the ocean, but is not a permanent solution to stopping the leak altogether. It will draw the oil from the broken pipe to a tanker at the surface, said BP.

The tube was to be inserted into the broken pipe by robotic submarines, but the attempt on Friday to do so was unsuccessful, causing it to be taken back up for changes. The problem was a metal frame on the tube, which had changed position and this prevented the tube sent down from the drill ship Discover Enterprise from connecting. The tube had not been inserted into the leaking drill pipe before it was brought back up.

BP said that it would try again Saturday night (local time) to slow the leak using a reconfigured tube. If this attempt is unsuccessful, they will use the smaller dome to cap the leak, and may also try to plug the leak by covering it with trash, mud, or concrete. The company is already in the process of drilling relief wells to completely stop the leak, but this is expected to take several more months. The amount of oil currently leaking from the pipe is disputed, and BP said it has spent several hundred million US dollars in response to the oil spill.

BP was also given permission yesterday by the US Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency to use chemical oil dispersants to combat the spill.

More than 100 reported dead after Syrian troops move against protesters

92WMwx | Uncategorized | 01 15th, 2019  |  No Comments »

Monday, August 1, 2011

Syrian troops yesterday launched an offensive against protesters across the nation, resulting in around a hundred deaths in the city of Hama and several dozen more in other parts of the country.

The most severe violence took place in Hama, where government troops and tanks, which had previously remained outside of the city for around a month, moved into the city center beginning at dawn. The crackdown left around a hundred people dead in the city, though exact numbers were unclear.

According to the government, the action in Hama was taken in response to the construction of barricades by protesters, though a US embassy official in Damascus denied the claim. A statement on state news agency SANA said that protesters had “set police stations on fire, vandalised public and private properties, set roadblocks and barricades and burned tyres at the entrance of Hama” and that “Army units are removing the barricades and roadblocks set by the armed groups at the entrance of the city.”

Outside of Hama, several dozen more people died in other incidents around the country, leading to reports of a total death toll of 136 people, according to The Telegraph. In addition to civilian deaths, the government said that five military personnel had been killed.

After the events of yesterday, United States president Barack Obama said that he condemned the government’s actions, as did officials from the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Obama also said that the US “will continue to increase our pressure on the Syrian regime, and work with others around the world to isolate the Assad government

Repeal of ministerial control of RU486 bill passes Australian Senate

92WMwx | Uncategorized | 01 13th, 2019  |  No Comments »

Thursday, February 9, 2006

The bill on whether the Australian Federal Health Minster Tony Abbott should not exercise ministerial control of the abortifacient RU486 has passed the Australian Senate February 9, 2006. If the bill passes the Australian House of Representatives, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will exercise control and evaluation of the suitability of the drug for use in Australia.

Senators were allowed a free vote on the issue. The result of the vote on the third reading, the final stage of the bill, was 45 for to 28 in favour of TGA exercising control. 23 of the 26 female senators voted in favour of the bill, while numbers were more evenly split between the male senators; 21 of them voted for the bill and 25 were against.

The bill will be debated in the House of Representatives on February 14, 2006.

Volkswagen engulfed by diesel emissions scandal

92WMwx | Uncategorized | 01 13th, 2019  |  No Comments »

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chief Executive of Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn issued on Sunday a public apology and announced an outside inquiry would be carried out, after the company became engulfed in a scandal about diesel emissions tests.

Over the weekend there were damaging revelations that the car manufacturer has been using illegal software to enable diesel cars to cheat on mandatory emissions tests.

An investigation into alleged breaches of environmental law was originally initiated on the advice of the International Council on Clean Transportation, a European NGO. The United States Environmental Protection Agency requested tests be carried out by West Virginia University, where the secret software was discovered.

Volkswagen has suffered a significant drop of almost a fifth in the value of its shares. There have been knock-on effects for other car manufacturers who have also seen their share values fall after suggestions that the scandal could extend much further than just Volkswagen.

The company will have to foot the bill for the recall of close to 500,000 VW and Audi cars. There is also the possibility of paying federal fines of up to US$18 billion dollars because the US Clean Air Act sets a maximum fine of US$37,500 for each vehicle that contravenes the requirements of the Act.

The software, known as a “defeat device”, enabled cars to identify when they were being tested and to switch on the emission control system. The devices may have been adding urea to the car exhaust because that would reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide. The car would release a fraction of the nitrogen oxide compared to when they were being driven normally. Emissions of nitrogen oxide contribute to smog and are thought to have caused a rise in respiratory illnesses like asthma.

Doctor robbed, car-jacked and locked in boot while car set alight

92WMwx | Uncategorized | 01 12th, 2019  |  No Comments »

Monday, March 19, 2007

A 34 year old obstetrician from Forestville on Sydney’s Northern Beaches has escaped after he was robbed, car-jacked and locked in the boot (trunk) of his BMW, which was set alight. Police say the doctor was locked in the boot while his car was set alight, but was allowed to escape before flames engulfed the vehicle.

The Doctor was believed to have been heading to The Mater Hospital in North Sydney when he was waiting at the intersection of West and Falcon Streets in Chatswood around 3:15AM AEDT when a small red sedan with two men claiming to be police officers signalled him to stop. After crossing the intersection, the doctor stopped his car at the side of the road.

The doctor was then approached by the two men and when he asked to see identification, one man grabbed the keys from his car’s ignition before they both pulled the doctor out of his vehicle, hit him in the stomach with a hammer and stole his mobile phone and wallet. The robbers also demanded his key and credit cards along with their access codes before locking him in the boot.

Police allege that the men drove to several locations to withdraw cash and buy things before driving to Carisbook Street in Linley Point at around 4 a.m. local time where they set the car alight with the doctor still in the boot.

Crime Manager of the Harbourside Local Area Command, Detective Inspector Houlahan said that the doctor then “heard a click in the boot area and he heard someone call out: ‘Get out of the car'”

“When he pushed the boot up he found his car engulfed in flames.”

Det. Insp. Houlahan said the doctor told police he did not unlock the boot himself, and it appeared the man’s captors unlocked it before fleeing.

Det Insp Houlahan said that the doctor appeared to be “very distraught” and tired after the ordeal, and wanted to get home and see his wife and two young daughters.

He could only provide police with a vague description of his captors, but said the men were both Caucasian males aged in their 20s, and that one of them was about six feet tall (183cm) with short blond hair and medium build said Det. Insp. Houlahan.

Retired U.S. vets sue Donald Rumsfeld for excessive service cutbacks

92WMwx | Uncategorized | 01 11th, 2019  |  No Comments »

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

One thousand residents of the Defense Department-managed Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. filed a class-action lawsuit on May 24, asserting that the cut-backs in medical and dental services imposed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are illegal. The operating budget for the home was reduced from $63 million in 2004 to $58 million for 2005. The residents cite cuts in on-site X-ray, electrocardiogram, physical and dental services, and the closing of the home’s main clinic and an on-site pharmacy.

Chief Financial Officer Steve McManus responded that the changes not only save money but also achieved improved efficiencies. “We’re really trying to improve the benefits to our residents,” he said.

Most of the home’s costs are paid for by a trust fund and monthly fees paid by residents. By law, the Armed Forces Retirement Homes are required to fund, “on-site primary care, medical care and a continuum of long-term care services.”

Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners

92WMwx | Uncategorized | 01 11th, 2019  |  No Comments »
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

Friday, February 17, 2006

Buffalo, New York —Savarino Construction Services Corp. has proposed a $7 million hotel project at the Forest and Elmwood Avenue intersection, according to The Buffalo News. The proposal calls for a 5-story, 45,000 square-foot 80-room hotel with underground parking for at least 50 vehicles, and 4,500 square-feet of retail space on the lower level.

Hans Mobius, the owner of the five properties to be purchased in the plan (1109 to 1121 Elmwood), reportedly signed a contract with Savarino to assemble the development.

“We saw a huge opportunity to bring something to the Elmwood Village that will make sense and bring a service that’s currently not available,” said Eva Hassett, vice president of Savarino. “Elmwood is such a wonderful place to eat, shop, walk and spend time. We believe this project will add to that vibrant environment.”

Some business owners in the area see it differently. Wikinews interviewed 2 of the 4 owners whose business’s would be demolished if the development goes through.

Nancy Pollina, of Don Apparel at 1119 Elmwood, who found out about the development only yesterday, said she is “utterly” against the proposal. Her apparel shop has stood at the same location for nearly 14 years. She has volunteered in the community, and helped create several gardens around bus shelters in the city, and served on Forever Elmwood Board for six years as head of Beautification. Patty Morris co-owns Don Apparel with Pollina.

“To say this is a good looking project, I want to say the emperor has no clothes. This [project] does not take into consideration the needs of the college students. I have been told by college students, these shops here, are the reason they leave the campus,” said Mrs. Pollina.

Buffalo State College is 500-feet from the intersection.

Michael Faust, the owner of Mondo Video said, “Well, I do not really want to get kicked out of here. The landlord was very open, and the deal he made with me when I moved in here was ‘the rent is cheap and I [the landlord] will not fix anything and that will not change.'” Faust said he first learned of the development plan, “about 48 hours ago. I found out on Tuesday when the Buffalo News called and asked for my opinion on this.” Faust has not said if he will make plans to relocate. “We have to see if this [house] is going to get knocked down first,” said Faust.

An “informational” meeting, where citizens can voice opinions and learn about the proposal, will be held on Tuesday February 21, 2006 at 5:00pm (eastern), at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center Gallery at Buffalo State College, Rockwell Hall.

Executive director of Forever Elmwood Corporation, Justin P. Azzarella would not comment on whether or not the organization supports the development, saying, “you will just have to come to the meeting.”

Forever Elmwood Corp. is designed to preserve and protect the unique and historic nature of Elmwood Avenue and its surrounding neighborhoods and encourage neighborhood commercial revitalization. The organization was founded in 1994.

Nearly two years ago, the Forever Elmwood Corp. assisted in the blocking of the demolition of the Edward Atwater house at 1089 Elmwood next to Pano’s Restaurant which is at 1081 Elmwood. Owner Pano Georgiadis wanted to expand his restaurant onto the property where the house now stands, but the Common Council denied his permit to demolish saying the house is a historical landmark and needs to be protected. Georgiadis, who has a bleeding ulcer, said that all the court cases landed him in the hospital. “I got a bleeding ulcer, and since then, I don’t care about this house anymore, or this city. I just go to work every day. I think [preservationists] are parasites,” said Georgiadis.

Georgiadis will not be attending Tuesday’s meeting saying, “I will be out of town.”

In 1995 Hans Mobius proposed a plan to develop a Walgreens, that was to be placed in the same location, but residents and business owners shot down the proposal. Walgreens eventually withdrew its request for a variance after pressure from the community.

Senior security official: “Hardly any chance” to ban German Church of Scientology

92WMwx | Uncategorized | 01 11th, 2019  |  No Comments »

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Responding to a request of the chairman of the German Minister of Interior Conference, the interior affairs chief of the State of Saxony, Mr. Albrecht Buttolo, told the Associated Press (AP) today that he sees hardly any chance to ban the German Church of Scientology. His statement adds to heavy critique by the extremism expert of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Kristina Köhler, as well as speakers of all other Federal Parliament parties, who stated that it would not be a governmental task to ban a group like the Church of Scientology. The Berlin government expert Ulrich Battis added that a religious community like Scientology is almost impossible to ban.

The organization has been under investigation by the German government for over a decade by the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution. A spokesperson of the Office stated recently that a ban of the organization would be “not realistic” at the moment and that there isn’t enough evidence to support freezing its activities.

As German domestic security services prepared for a December 7 meeting, they found that the organization does operate in ways that may be perceived as hostile to the German constitution, but that at present the Church of Scientology has failed to successfully infiltrate German society; membership has stagnated. Investigators will initiate more intense surveillance through the Autumn of 2008 before deciding on whether to take further action.

Counterpressure

A speaker of the Federal Ministry of Interior, senior agency of the Office for Protection of the Constitution, stated that the public request for a ban was organized by some State Ministers of Interior as a “warning shot” for Scientology. The Church of Scientology had been increasing its public activities in 2006 and has opened new 41,000 square foot headquarters in the German capital Berlin in 2007. Also, in November 2007 well-known Scientologist Tom Cruise was awarded the German media prize “Bambi“, for courage in taking on the subject of German Resistance in the Third Reich in his newest movie Valkyrie. Cruise had been under public attack by the Federal Government first and refused permits for filming at historical sites. Later the Government dropped its concerns and decided to allow him to shoot scenes at the requested locations.

Hundreds of thousands rally in Australia against IR legislation

92WMwx | Uncategorized | 01 10th, 2019  |  No Comments »

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

People rallied in 300 locations across Australia today to protest the Federal Government’s proposed changes to industrial relations laws, WorkChoices. According to police, around 150,000 people congregated in Melbourne, from where speeches were broadcast throughout the country. In Sydney, thirty thousand gathered in Belmore Park and Martin Place to watch the broadcast before marching to Chifley Square.

Sharan Burrow, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), said that under the changes many working conditions would be under threat, including “penalty rates, public holidays, overtime pay, control over rostered hours, shift penalties, even 4 weeks annual leave.” The government has claimed, despite various expert assesment to the contrary, and opposition from major Australian religious and charity organisations and some concern from its own backbench, that the IR changes will improve the economy and ultimately benefit workers, and dismissed the protests as having “little effect”.

Nurseries not harmful to children, says new UK study

92WMwx | Uncategorized | 01 10th, 2019  |  No Comments »

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A new study by a professor at the University of Oxford has concluded that attending nursery school does not have harmful effects upon “the vast majority” of children under two years old. The research contrasts with the views of other writers in the field, who argue that pre-school children achieve the best results when cared for by their parents full-time.

Kathy Sylva, Professor of Educational Psychology at the university, has based her findings upon data from the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education Project. This has been running since 1996, tracking the development of 3,000 children to discover the effects upon their development of pre-school care and education.

Sylva told The Sunday Times that “[a] lot of parents worry unnecessarily about this issue but my research shows that the vast majority of children are not impaired on any measure by attending nursery under the age of two”, although she admits that there is an increased risk for children from deprived background, and for boys. Those attending better-quality nurseries go on to make better relationships when they start school, she says, and urges parents to check the standards of nurseries for themselves.

Her conclusions come in the wake of a vast expansion in nursery care provision in the United Kingdom in recent years, aimed at getting mothers of young children back to work. One study states that 5% of “middle-class” parents in Britain put their children in full-time nursery care.

According to others such as the child psychologist Oliver James, however, full-time care by parents gives the best results for children. James states that there is evidence that nursery care is “highly stressful and can be harmful”, since levels of the hormone cortisol double after one hour in day care, and raised levels can be detected for some months afterwards. Sylva agrees, though, that some children who attend nursery before they are two are slightly more aggressive at primary school – a finding in line with other research – but says that this aggression disappears by the time the child reaches eleven.

Sylva, a Professorial Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, was awarded the OBE in 2008. She is a former special advisor to the UK House of Commons and the Scottish Parliament.