Bremer Freimarkt, oldest fair in Germany, reaches its climax

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Monday, October 29, 2012

The Bremer Freimarkt (Free Fair) — historically one of the oldest fairs in Germany — has its greatest event with the Free Fair Procession “Freimarktsumzug”; this year’s Freimarktsumzug took place Saturday.

The procession started Saturday morning on the opposite side of the river Weser in the “Neustadt” and passed the city hall about one hour later. 146 colorfully decorated groups were taking part, some of them dancing to their own music, and were watched by about 200.000 people in the streets during more than four hours of the whole performance. The event could also be viewed on television and on livestream on the web.

The Free Fair opened on the place behind the main station of the city of Bremen a week ago. The origin of this popular event can be traced back to the year 1035. Nowadays it has been called the “biggest Fairground Festival in northern Germany”.

For a few years, an historical spectacle involving actors of the theatre group Shakespeare Company has been part of the opening performance of the fair. With a replica of an old cog an ambassador enters the banks of the river Weser close to the city and walks with his companions to the market place in front of the city hall of Bremen where the Kleiner Freimarkt (Small Free Fair) is opened. Members of the Chimney Sweep Guild hang up a big heart at the statue of Roland as a sign of the opened market. The traditional opening takes place in the Bavarian tent on the Bürgerweide behind the main station of Bremen with the tapping of the first keg by the incumbent Senator of the Interior of the Free Hansetown of Bremen. This is followed by the dance with Miss Free Market on the stage. Late at night, also fireworks are lighted over the place Bürgerweide and can be admired by people. The exclamation Ischa Freimaak (It’s Free Fair) is meant to spread a relaxed and unreserved atmosphere among the guests.

The fair is a major source of revenue for showmen, carousels and food stalls, some of which arrived nearly two weeks before the opening from all over Germany. This year the Freimarkt is to last until Sunday November 4. The subsequent disassembly, especially the technically complex rides, should then take about ten days.

John Constable painting location mystery solved after 195 years

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The mystery of the location of a viewpoint used by English painter John Constable has been solved, after nearly 200 years. The Stour Valley and Dedham Church was painted in Suffolk, England, between 1814 and 1815, but changes to the landscape meant that the spot he chose was not known, despite the best efforts of historians and art experts.

Now the puzzle has been answered. Martin Atkinson, who works for the National Trust as property manager for East Suffolk, used clues from the painting and looked at old maps to track down the viewpoint. Trees had grown, a hedgerow had been planted and boundaries had moved or disappeared, but Atkinson eventually worked out where Constable had stood. He said, “When I discovered that I had worked out the location where Constable painted this particular masterpiece, I couldn’t believe it. All the pieces of the jigsaw finally fitted together.”

Atkinson used an 1817 map of East Bergholt, where Constable grew up, as a reference point, but found that the view would have changed not long after the painting was completed. “The foreground didn’t fit at all, it was quite unusual as we know Constable painted it in the open air so he would have been standing in the scene. The hedgerow in his work no longer exists and there’s another hedgerow that runs across the scene today which wasn’t there. When you stand on the road on which he would have stood, and use the oak tree as a reference point, you see the same view. It’s great to see where an old master stood – and be inspired by the same view,” he said.

Suffolk, where Constable painted many of his finest paintings, is often called “Constable country”. Most, but not all, of the locations that Constable depicted are known. The picture is now housed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.

British surfers catch more than waves: Scientists find antibiotic-resistant bacteria

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

In findings published Sunday in Environmental International, a team from Britain’s University of Exeter reports that surfers and bodyboarders are roughly three times as likely to house antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli and other bacteria that could easily become resistant, than other people who recreate in the coastal waters of the United Kingdom.

The epidemiological study was nicknamed the “Beach Bum Survey”. The project was performed on 143 regular surfers, body surfers and bodyboarders from around the United Kingdom. Each surfgoing participant was asked to recruit a non-surfing friend of the same sex and approximate age and who lived in the same part of the country to serve as a control, which resulted in a control group of 130.

All participants mailed in rectal swabs, and the researchers cultured the E. coli from those samples with a common antibiotic called cefotaxime. The antibiotic failed to kill the bacteria in about 9% (13 out of 143) of surfer and bodyboarder samples and 3% of the samples from the control group (4 out of 130). A deeper look into the genomes of the specific strains of bacteria found in the study volunteers showed that bacteria from surfers were four times as likely to possess genes that can be transferred from one bacterial strain to another, which can help antibiotic-susceptible bacteria become resistant. The study also involved examination of water samples from the coasts of England and Wales to estimate the risk of surfers and other beachgoers ingesting E. coli.

E. coli is a regular resident in the guts of humans and other animals. Most strains are harmless but others can cause serious disease. Like other bacteria, E. coli can undergo horizontal gene transfer, swapping genes from one bacterium to another. This can give the altered strain the ability to cause disease, survive in the presence of antibiotics or both.

Although the researchers expressed concern surfers might spread dangerous bacteria, Dr. Will Gaze, the University of Exeter Medical School professional who supervised the project, urged people not to avoid the beach: “We are not seeking to discourage people from spending time in the sea, an activity which has a lot of benefits in terms of exercise, well-being and connecting with nature”, he said. “It is important that people understand the risks involved so that they can make informed decisions about their bathing and sporting habits. We now hope that our results will help policy-makers, beach managers, and water companies to make evidence-based decisions to improve water quality even further for the benefit of public health.”

David Smith, science and policy officer of Surfers Against Sewage, which helped organise the volunteers, agreed the study was not meant to discourage surfing: “Water quality in the UK has improved vastly in the past 30 years and is some of the cleanest in Europe. Recognising coastal waters as a pathway for antibiotic resistance can allow policy makers to make changes to protect water users and the wider public from the threat of antibiotic resistance.”

One of the principal findings of this work was that existing methods may have been underestimating the prevalence of these bacteria in seawater. Previous studies have shown that even designated swimming beaches can be affected by runoff from farms or even sewage, and surfers swallow roughly ten times as much seawater as swimmers. Professor Colin Gardner of the charity Antibiotic Research UK says, these forms of runoff can have even higher concentrations of antibiotics than patients undergoing antibiotic treatment. “Research into new medicines to replace our archaic antibiotics has stagnated and unless new treatments are found, this could be potentially devastating for human health”, he warns.

The World Health Organization has reported that because so many kinds of bacteria are gaining resistance to common medicines, conditions such as pneumonia and gonnorhea may become more difficult to treat and have higher rates of sickness and death. Doctors often prescribe preventative antibiotics to patients undergoing surgery or radiation therapy, and this may also be impacted. Professor Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, has described a “post-antibiotic apocalypse” scenario

The European Regional Development Fund and Natural Environment Research Council provided funding for the study.

Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans students/OH-WY

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See the discussion page for instructions on adding schools to this list and for an alphabetically arranged listing of schools.

Due to the damage by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding, a number of colleges and universities in the New Orleans metropolitan area will not be able to hold classes for the fall 2005 semester. It is estimated that 75,000 to 100,000 students have been displaced. [1]. In response, institutions across the United States and Canada are offering late registration for displaced students so that their academic progress is not unduly delayed. Some are offering free or reduced admission to displaced students. At some universities, especially state universities, this offer is limited to residents of the area.

Contents

  • 1 Overview
  • 2 Ohio
  • 3 Oklahoma
  • 4 Oregon
  • 5 Pennsylvania
  • 6 Rhode Island
  • 7 South Carolina
  • 8 South Dakota
  • 9 Tennessee
  • 10 Texas
  • 11 Utah
  • 12 Vermont
  • 13 Virginia
  • 14 Washington
  • 15 West Virginia
  • 16 Wisconsin
  • 17 Wyoming

‘Criminal in uniform’: Senior London policeman jailed for attempting to frame Iraqi

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Commander Ali Dizaei of London’s Metropolitan Police Service today became the most senior officer anywhere in the United Kingdom to be convicted of offences by a court. Dizaei, who was branded a “criminal in uniform” by Independent Police Complaints Commission chair Nick Hardwick, has been jailed for four years after he attempted to frame an Iraqi businessman.

It took a Southwark Crown Court jury under three hours to find Dizaei guilty of misconduct in a public office and attempting to pervert the course of justice. The charges carried a maximum of life imprisonment.

Dizaei, 47, who is head of the National Black Police Association, had gone to the Yas Persian restaurant, run by one of his friends, and taken his wife Shy with him. They then went to their car and struck up a conversation through its open window with the restaurant’s manager. During this conversation they were approached by Waad al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi website designer in his twenties. He requested that Dizaei pay £600 that he owed Baghdadi, who had constructed his website.

According to the Crown, this dispute had been ongoing for months and Dizaei had been attempting to intimidate Baghdadi. He told the Iraqi to depart when he entered the restaurant; although the businessman did, he stayed nearby and rang the 999 emergency number.

The exact content of the argument that led up to this is unclear. Dizaei and his wife testified that Baghdadi was abusive and threatening, telling the officer he would “extract the money out of your throat” while the owner of the Yas said he was “a crook basically… His history … everybody knows he’s not a good gentleman,” said owner Sohrab Eshragi. Eshragi said that the request Baghdadi leave the premises was due to concerns of trouble, claiming Baghdadi had been in a previous fight. Baghdadi denied the allegations and the court rejected Dizaei’s version of events.

Everybody knows he’s not a good gentleman

While Baghdadi was making his emergency call, Dizaei arrested him and made a 999 call of his own. He requested assistence from other officers, and said that Baghdadi had assaulted him by stabbing his stomach with a shisha pipe. He maintained this account when police arrived and kept it up in written statements, but although Baghdadi was found to be carrying such a pipe examination of Dizaei’s wounds by a police doctor concluded he had inflicted them upon himself.

A Home Office pathologist questioned this finding for the defence. Dr. Nat Cary said it was based on a “fundamentally flawed approach,” and that the injuries were consistent with Dizaei’s version of events. He has helped investigate the assassination of former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto, and the death newspaper seller Ian Thomlinson, the latter of whom died during a G20 protest.

The Crown further alleged that Dizaei told Baghdadi “I’ll fuck your life… You think I don’t know what you do in London… I’ll find every single detail of your life in London.” The prosecution case was presented by Peter Wright QC, who has prosecuted in trials over serial murders of Suffolk sex workers and a plot to bomb transatlantic airliners. He said that Dizaei’s actions were a “wholesale abuse of power by a senior police officer for entirely personal and oblique motives.”

Judge Justice Simon said that Dizaei had committed a “grave breach of public trust” and told him “This sentence needs to send a clear message that police officers of whatever rank are not above the law.” A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said outside the court that “He abused his power and ignored his responsibility,” and that while corruption was unacceptable in any police officer it was particularly so in a senior member of the forces. “The public should have confidence that we will prosecute anyone, regardless of their position, if they commit serious offences. We believe justice has been served for the victim and the public.”

The greatest threat to the reputation of the police service is criminals in uniform like Dizaei

“[I]f he [Dizaei] had been successful, Mr al-Baghdadi may have been sent to prison,” noted Hardwick. “Mr al-Baghdadi has shown tremendous strength of character throughout this case ? from the moment he was confronted by Ali Dizaei, throughout our investigation, and finally when giving evidence at court. We are grateful for the confidence he placed in the IPCC and, as a result of that, justice has been done today.”

Dizaei has been a policeman for 24 years, and at one stage was rumoured to be destined to take control of the Metropolitan Police, although the Metropolitan Police Authority may now choose to end this career. His trial, which began this month, is his second this decade. He was prosecuted in 2003 but cleared of any wrongdoing. The incident with Baghdadi was in June 2008 and Dizaei has been suspended on full pay since September of that year. Hardwick said that “The greatest threat to the reputation of the police service is criminals in uniform like Dizaei.”

Wikinews interviews organiser of New Zealand’s Rock2Wgtn festival Phil Sprey

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Across Easter weekend Wellington, New Zealand was host to Rock2Wgtn, an international two-day hard rock festival. Large crowds showed up at Westpac Stadium to see the various acts. The world has never seen an event of this kind before.

Day one featured three theatrical acts. Finnish band Lordi, known for their monster costumes, opened the night. They were followed by the US shock rocker Alice Cooper, whose themed set included the horror theatrics regularly associated with him and a hanging stunt he recently restarted after a gallows collapse nearly killed him two decades ago. The night was headlined by the distinctively costumed band KISS, complete with their famed black-and-white makeup.

The first major act on the stage on day two was the American hard rock/glam metal band Poison. After Poison, British act Whitesnake took to the stage and performed their set to the crowd. British-born American rocker Ozzy Osbourne, who, as well as a solo career, fronts the world-famous Black Sabbath, was the second night’s headline act.

The festival’s entertainment did not stop at the six main acts. There was also support performances from three New Zealand bands – The Symphony of Screams, The Valves and Sonic Altar. Their sets were accompanied by a special effects package from award-winning studio Weta Workshops, who are known for their work on movies such as The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. This came in the form of ‘Drusila the Dragon’, which rose up to a height of six foot and wigspan and moved for the audience, shining lasers from its eyes and breathing red smoke. Flame Fire Productions were hired to put on a fire show featuring several dancers alongside the performers. Also performing were six local guitarists and a group of ‘zombie‘ cheerleaders.

Despite the crowds that flocked to the event, however, it has recently become apparent that financial trouble has hit the festival. Although figures remain to be confirmed, an estimated NZ$750,000 has been lost.

Wikinews secured an exclusive interview with Phil Sprey of Capital C Concerts, who organised the festival. The entire interview is now available below.

Category:May 26, 2010

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News briefs:June 8, 2010

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Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans graduate students

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See the discussion page for instructions on adding schools to this list.Tuesday, September 13, 2005

NAICU has created a list of colleges and universities accepting and/or offering assistance to displace faculty members. [1]Wednesday, September 7, 2005

This list is taken from Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans students, and is intended to make searching easier for faculty, graduate, and professional students.

In addition to the list below, the Association of American Law Schools has compiled a list of law schools offering assistance to displaced students. [2] As conditions vary by college, interested parties should contact the Office of Admissions at the school in question for specific requirements and up-to-date details.

The Association of American Medical Colleges is coordinating alternatives for medical students and residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina. [3]

ResCross.net is acting as a central interactive hub for establishing research support in times of emergency. With so many scientists affected by Hurricane Katrina, ResCross is currently focused on providing information to identify sources of emergency support as quickly as possible. [4]

With so many scientists affected by Hurricane Katrina, ResCross is currently focused on providing information to identify sources of emergency support as quickly as possible.

Physics undergraduates, grad students, faculty and high school teachers can be matched up with housing and jobs at universities, schools and industry. [5] From the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Society of Physics Students, the American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society.

If you are seeking or providing assistance, please use this site to find information on research support, available lab space/supplies, resources, guidelines and most importantly to communicate with fellow researchers.

The following is a partial list, sorted by location.

Alabama |Alaska |Arizona |Arkansas |California |Colorado |Connecticut |Delaware |District of Columbia |Florida |Georgia |Hawaii |Idaho |Illinois |Indiana |Iowa |Kansas |Kentucky |Louisiana |Maine |Maryland |Massachusetts |Michigan |Minnesota |Mississippi |Missouri |Montana |Nebraska |Nevada |New Hampshire |New Jersey |New Mexico |New York |North Carolina |North Dakota |Ohio |Oklahoma |Oregon |Pennsylvania |Rhode Island |South Carolina |South Dakota |Tennessee |Texas |Utah |Vermont |Virginia |Washington |West Virginia |Wisconsin |Wyoming |Canada

Britain’s Royal Windsor Castle to get hydro-electric power plant

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom’s official residences, is to get a hydro-electric power scheme.

The £1 million project will consist of a series of under-water turbines to be installed at Romney Weir in the nearby River Thames. The system will generate 200kW, enough to meet approximately one third of the castle’s electricity needs.

The electricity from the four turbines will not be sold into the local electricity grid, but will instead be directly connected to Windsor Castle’s electrical system. It will save 600 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere every year.

The scheme was announced after it gained planning permission from the local council, the plans having been submitted in February of last year. A feasability study will now be conducted, with construction scheduled to start next year.

The Windsor Castle is not the only environmentally-friendly Royal scheme. A borehole beneath Buckingham Palace provides cold water for air-conditioning and the Duke of Edinburgh’s taxi runs on liquid petroleum gas.