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Forget driving to the Olympics, says Beijing

Category : Uncategorized

Friday, September 22, 2006

Anyone planning on attending the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China can forget about renting a car when they get there.

Newspapers reported on September 18 that no private cars would be allowed near any of the venues in the host city, in an attempt to combat the gridlock that has plagued the city.

Known for its stand-still traffic, Beijing’s transport authority believes it needs to curb at least 20% of traffic flow to ensure the Games run smoothly. The number of cars in the city is set to increase from 2.7 million to 3 million by the time of the Olympics. Country-wide, annual car sales are expected to reach 10 million annually by 2010.

A good infrastructure is one of the International Olympic Committee’s top priorities when searching for bid cities. The IOC requires that athletes, support staff such as coaches, venue volunteers, spectators, and the press all should be able to get from venue to venue without hassle.

Existing plans in Beijing say that private cars may only drive in the city on alternate days. Plates with odd numbers would drive one day, while even numbered licenses would drive the next day.

Wired magazine has suggested fuel-cell vehicles may be China’s next cultural revolution. Vancouver-based venture capitalist Mike Brown told the National Post: “If they get aggressive about this, and they decided to build up a fuel cell manufacturing capability to sell half a million of these things, they’ll get the costs down faster than anybody else.”


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Judge orders residents and city to come to agreement on partially collapsed building in Buffalo, New York

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Buffalo, New York — Judge Justice Christopher Burns of the New York State Supreme Court has ordered a halt to an emergency demolition on a 19th century stable and livery on 428-430 Jersey Street in Buffalo, New York that partially collapsed on Wednesday June 11, initially causing at least 15 homes to be evacuated. At least two homes remain evacuated.

Burns orders that both the city and the group Save The Livery (www.savethelivery.com) have to come to an agreement on what to do with the building, and try to work out ways of saving at least some portions if it including the facade, side walls and a lift tower. Save The Livery is comprised of concerned area residents who have grown to love the building’s historic and unique character. On June 14, they won a temporary restraining order to stop demolition. The court ruled that the city was only allowed to remove material in immediate danger to residents and pedestrians, but stated that the demolition could only be performed with “hand tools.” The court also ordered that any rubble which had fallen into neighboring yards when the building collapsed, to be removed.

“It is in the interest of the city to have a safe environment–but also important to maintain a sense of historical preservation,” stated Burns in his ruling. Burns has given the sides until tomorrow (Friday June 20) to come to an agreement and has ordered both parties to return to court at 9:30 a.m. (eastern time) “sharp.” Activists of Save The Livery urge supporters of the stable to “fill the courtroom” to show “continued and ongoing support.” The hearing is scheduled to take place at 25 Delaware Avenue in the Supreme Court building, 3rd Floor, trial part 19.

Currently the building is owned by Bob Freudenheim who has several building violations against him because of the buildings poor condition. He has received at least five violations in three months and residents who live near the building state that Freudenheim should be “100% responsible” for his actions. Many are afraid that if the building is demolished, Freudenheim’s charges of neglect will be abolished.

On June 17, developer and CEO of Savarino Companies, Sam Savarino was at the site of the stable, discussing the building with residents and preservationists. In 2006, Savarino proposed and planned The Elmwood Village Hotel, a ‘botique’ hotel on the Southeast corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues. The project was later withdrawn after residents filed a lawsuit against Savarino and the city. Wikinews extensively covered the story, and contacted Savarino for his professional opinion on the building.

“[I would] love to see it preserved. I was there to see if there was anything we could do to help, to see if anything can be salvaged. I just want to see the right thing happen, and so does the city,” stated Savarino to Wikinews who added that he was allowed inside the building for a brief period.

“The side walls are beyond repair. The roof has rotted and it could come down at any time,” added Savarino who also said that the building “below the second floor appears to be stable.” He also states that the back wall of the building, which borders several homes, appears to be intact.

“Eliminating the back wall could be a problem for the neighbors. It is not unreasonable to leave at least 12 feet” of the back wall standing, added Savarino.

Savarino did not say if he was interested in buying the property, but did state, “I am sure there are a couple of people interested” in buying the property. On Thursday, Buffalo News reported that a “businessman” might be interested in purchasing the property, though Wikinews is not able to independently confirm the report. Savarino says that with the property still slated for emergency demolition, a potential buyer could face tax fees of nearly US$300,000.

Freudenheim gave the city permission to demolish the building on Thursday June 12 during an emergency Preservation Board meeting, because he would not be “rehabilitating the building anytime soon.” Freudenheim, along with his wife Nina, were part-owners of the Hotel Lenox at 140 North Street in Buffalo and were advocates to stop the Elmwood Village Hotel. They also financially supported a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the hotel from being built. Though it is not known exactly how long Freudenheim has owned the stable, Wikinews has learned that he was the owner while fighting to stop the hotel from being built. Residents say that he has been the owner for at least 22 years.

The building was first owned by a company called White Bros. and was used as a stable for a farm which once covered the land around the building for several blocks. The Buffalo Fire Department believes the building was built around 1814, while the city property database states it was built in 1870. Servants and workers of the farm were housed inside resident quarters situated at the rear of the building on what is now Summer Street, but are now cottages where area residents currently reside. Some date as far back as 1829.

At about 1950, the stable was converted into an automobile body shop and gasoline station.A property record search showed that in 1950 at least four fuel storage tanks were installed on the property. Two are listed as 550 square feet while the other two are 2,000 square feet. All of the tanks are designated as a TK4, which New York State says is used for “below ground horizontal bulk fuel storage.” The cost of installing a tank of that nature according to the state, at that time, included the tank itself, “excavation and backfill,” but did not include “the piping, ballast, or hold-down slab orring.” It is not known if the tanks are still on the property, but residents are concerned the city was not taking the precautions to find out.


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Quality, innovation and competitiveness centre-stage at Taipei Int’l Hardware & DIY Show

Category : Uncategorized

Friday, October 19, 2007

The 7th Taipei International Hardware & DIY Show, organized by Kaigo Taiwan (The representative of Koelnmesse in Taiwan) and Koelnmesse GmbH, started on October 18-20 at Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall 3. This show has 183 participants using 300 booths to exhibit accessories and tools on esoteric fabricating, home-living applications, and security.

With people in Taiwan valuing on the quality of home-living, the organizer set a pre-show pavilion of “2008 Taipei Home & Lifestyle Fair” and invited B&Q & HomeBox holding DIY workshops for visitors.

This exhibition is conjuncted with industry and applications, and pursuing with three main topics of “Quality, Innovation and Competitiveness”. International factories such as Hitachi, Rexon, Ryobi participated this show for the export opportunity in the hardware industry.

After the “Product Certificates and Testing” pavilion in TAITRONICS Autumn, Bureau of Standards, Metrology & Inspection, M.O.E.A., R.O.C. (Taiwan) and DIY in Europe magazine were invited for speeches focused on certifications on hardware & DIY products and environment issues in EU.


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CNN medical correspondent to be named US Surgeon General

Category : Uncategorized

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

United States president-elect Barack Obama has chosen Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a medical correspondent from the American television station CNN, to be the next United States Surgeon General. Gupta, also a neurosurgeon, was reported to be chosen because of his background in broadcasting and skills in communication. He is currently the host of House Call, a program on CNN, a columnist for Time Magazine, a contributor to CBS News, and also a part time worker at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. He will likely leave all of these positions to serve as US Surgeon General.

Dr. Joseph Heyman of the American Medical Association supported Gupta, stating “If chosen, Dr. Gupta’s communication skills and medical knowledge could be a boon to the new administration’s health system reform efforts.” Conversely, Doctors Steven Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice stated that the next Surgeon General would need to “…demonstrate skills that are too often missing in medical news on TV: skepticism about the science and a careful analysis of both the benefits and harms of medical care.”

According to reports by sources close to the discussions, Gupta met with Barack Obama on November 25 in Chicago to discuss the position. He later met with several advisors to the president-elect, including Thomas A. Daschle of the US Department of Health and Human Services. He was reported to tell Obama that he wanted the Surgeon General position. Gupta declined to comment about the situation yesterday, but did state that he plans to accept Obama’s choice.


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Tattoo with identifying details leads to prosecution of thief in Bristol, UK

Category : Uncategorized

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A thief in Bristol, United Kingdom, has been prosecuted due to incriminating evidence in the form of a tattoo on his neck with his name and date of birth that was captured by police CCTV, when he was in the process of stealing a Satellite navigation system in a car planted by police to find criminals.

Aarron Evans, the thief, today pleaded guilty to charges of theft at Bristol Magistrates’ Court. He is aged 21 and he is illiterate and has no fixed address.

The sentence was for seven months imprisonment.

Ian Wylie, who is police superintendent for the Bristol district commented on the incident. “Criminals won’t be tolerated in Bristol and we will keep catching them and bringing them before the courts,” he said. “We get such excellent images from these cameras that there is often, and never more so than in this case, no doubt who the criminal is and what they are doing. When faced with such evidence, there is no other way to go than ‘guilty’.”

“The photographs don’t just lead us to the person breaking into the car either. Further police work has also led us on many occasions to the handlers of the stolen property and people the car criminal is working with. We have also received information from members of the public through Crimestoppers where they have reported stolen property being sold on the streets, door-to-door or in local pubs,” Wylie continued. “The covert car has been a magnificent asset to the teams working to reduce car crime happening and those arresting car criminals. “

“We will continue to play our part but members of the public can still help us in reducing the opportunity for thieves; don’t leave valuables on display in your vehicle and, better still; take them out of the car completely.”


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Russian commander: Tu-160s penetrate US airspace undetected

Category : Uncategorized

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A senior Russian air force commander has claimed that new, upgraded Tu-160 bomber aircraft were unchallenged by US air defense systems when they penetrated a radar zone near the Canadian coast in US territory during an April training exercise, reports the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Commander of Russia’s long-range strategic bombers, Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov said that the bombers successfully carried out four mock Tu-95MS cruise missile launches, 200 mock bombings, and 53 mock sorties during the exercise. The RIA Novosti reported that the United States Air Force is currently investigating how the Tu-160’s escaped detection.

Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov said, “They were unable to detect the planes either with radars or visually.”

Khvorov denies any link of the tests to the current US-Iranian tension, saying, “Of course, our exercises did not have anything to do with the situation in Iran, but their organization indirectly echoed in that region.”

The Tupolev Tu-160 is a strategic bomber introduced in 1987. It resembles the North American B-1B Lancer, but is larger and faster, being powered by four NK-32 afterburning turbofans, the largest in any combat aircraft. It is not considered to be a stealth aircraft due to its exposed engine inlets and broad wing gloves.

According to Khvorov over the course of this year, two additional Tu-160s will be commissioned for the long-range strategic bomber fleet with the numerous upgrades, including the ability to launch cruise missiles, aviation bombs, and satellite communication.


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Australia: Victorian government to trial driverless vehicles on public roads

Category : Uncategorized

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yesterday, the state government of Victoria, Australia announced their decision to trial self-driving vehicles on two of the state’s major connecting motorways, the CityLink and Tullamarine Freeway. The trial is to use autonomous vehicles from automobile companies including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Tesla. The two-year trial is to have three phases.

The cars are to drive alongside commuters, but in public testing a driver is always to be present, as Victorian law requires drivers always keep a hand on the steering wheel. However, in occasional closures of the Burnley Tunnel, with no other drivers to endanger, the cars are to be tested with nobody in the vehicle.

Lane assist, cruise control, and recognition of traffic signs are in the trial’s first phase, expected to complete before the end of the year. This includes monitoring how the driver-less cars respond to road conditions, including lane markings and electronic speed signs.

“Victoria is at the forefront of automated vehicle technology — we’re investing in this trial to explore ways that this technology can be used to reduce crashes and keep people safe on our roads”, said Luke Donnellan, the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety. He noted, “Ninety per cent of the fault of accidents is human error […] so we know that if we can take out human error we will have less accidents”.

Tim Hansen, Victoria Police’s Acting Assistant Commissioner, said that police had founded a project team to investigate how self-driving vehicles would change policing on roads. “Can we intercept vehicles more safely to avoid pursuits and ramming?”, he asked.

The trial is a partnership between the state government, Victoria’s road management authority VicRoads, owner of the CityLink toll road Transurban, and insurance company RACV.


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News briefs:June 8, 2010

Category : Uncategorized

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Will Obama Administration Benefit Reserves Like That On Sanibel Island?}

Will Obama Administration Benefit Reserves Like That on Sanibel Island?

by

Samba

The Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island is one of over 500 United States Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S Department of Interior refuges managed within the country.

Regular wildlife surveys are conducted to monitor populations of migratory birds and their production, and to establish trends for a number of species, primarily birds. The refuge monitors colonial nesting and roosting bird numbers, shorebird populations, mottled duck, pelican and osprey production, and alligator and red-shouldered hawk abundance. A weekly Wildlife Drive survey is conducted on Fridays to monitor the abundance and diversity of bird populations using refuge wetlands. Water levels are monitored continuously.

The preservation of Ding Darling and its fauna and flora are hopefully going to be part of the national agenda on the environment in President Elect Obama’s administration. And there is also a hope that the new administration can develop an environmental platform that helps to create preservation and conservation of lands and wild life outside the refuge habitat.

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President Elect Obama built his campaign on hope, and many people, including myself, were certainly buoyed by this “audacious” concept.

Hope for a more united, more communicative, and more equitable America were among the ideals stated or implied.

But drilling down to finer points and the eternal question of “where’s mine” –always asked of a new administration– has particular power when it comes to the environment.

Most, if not all, of the environmental organizations across America supported the Obama campaign even though Obama’s record was sketchy with his frequent absences on votes pertaining to critical environmental issues.

But because the Republican party had been so tarnished by the Bush administration’s poor record on the environment,there was one remarkably strong need stated during the presidential campaign. It was that Obama should be sensitive to and responsive to the need for strong, protective environmental laws.

Our most important environmental safeguards like the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and Clean Water Act have been underfunded and undermined for quite some time. These and other key environmental pieces of legislation are in the forefront of the “where’s mine” question. The question is asked on behalf of the nation’s creatures and their habitat, including those on Sanibel.

The Defenders of Wildlife organization have circulated a 7 point plan asking that their members sign it and send it on to the President Elect. The plan hinges on getting our new President to commit to these fundamental environmental issues:

1. Promise to end the political manipulation of science

2. Promise to responsibly manage America’s federal lands

3. Promise to safeguard America’s rarest plants and wildlife

4. Promise to make America a leader in addressing global warming and its impacts

5. Promise to restore America’s role as a global leader in wildlife conservation

6. Promise to restore our connection to nature through education and proper stewardship of our shared federal lands

7. Promise to encourage private landowners, states and tribes to conserve wildlife and habitat

It’s my most fervent wish that the environment, along with the humane treatment of animals, become the best and brightest bragging points for this new President.

For more information on Sanibel Island, accommodations, discounts, things to do, please visit my blog: http://sanibel-rentalsnet.blogspot.com/

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Will Obama Administration Benefit Reserves Like That on Sanibel Island?

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Glasgow’s Common Weal launch; ‘Not me first. All of us first’

Category : Uncategorized

Monday, December 16, 2013

Glasgow — Last weekend, December 8, The Reid Foundation, a left-leaning think-tank, launched The Common Weal, a vision for a more socially just and inclusive post-Independence Scotland. Five- to six-hundred turned up for the event, billed as “[a] ‘revolution’ … with T-shirts and dancing” by the Sunday Herald, and held in The Arches club and theatre, under Glasgow’s Central Street Station.

Wikinews’ Brian McNeil travelled to Glasgow to attend, walking through the city’s festively decorated George Square, and busy shopping streets, to the venue under Hielanman’s Umbrella.

More known for theatre, live music, and club nights, organisers in The Arches confirmed around 800 had signed up for the free Sunday afternoon event. The crowd was a mix of all ages, including families with young childen. Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai entertained the early arrivals by DJ-ing until the launch video for the Common Weal was screened.

The Common Weal present themselves as “an emerging movement which is developing a vision for economic and social development in Scotland which is distinct and different from the political orthodoxy that dominates politics and economics in London.” Contrasting current “me first politics” against concerns of ordinary Scots, the launch video’s opening, monochrome half, stresses everyday common concerns: “Will I have a pension I can survive on when I retire?”, “I miss my local library”, “Public transport is so bad it’s hard to get to work”; and, “Why can we always find money to bail out banks but not to protect public services?”, “Why is it always the poor, the disabled, and immigrants who get the blame?”

The preferred vision offered by the Common Weal, “Not me first, all of us first”, makes up the more-aspirational second-half of the film, advocating a national fund for industry, taking the nation’s energy into collective ownership, building quality new public housing, strengthening the welfare state, and ending tax evasion. Throughout the event a distinction between these ‘popular politics’, which experience wide support, and the derogatory ‘populist’ label, often used to dismiss such calls for a fairer society, was emphasised.

Comedienne Janey Godley took over following the film, to compère the afternoon, and introduce Reid Foundation director Robin McAlpine. With the mixed audience, Godley made avoiding profanity — due to the presence of children — a theme of her warm-up; although, the humour remained fairly adult in nature.

McAlpine sketched out the movement’s hopes and plans. After thanking those who were giving their time for free, he characterised modern politics as “[…] a game that is played by a small number of professionals, in a small number of rooms, in a small number of expensively-rented premises, across Scotland — and across Britain. It’s become a thing people do as a profession, and the rest of us are all supposed to applaud them — or stand back — nod our heads every four years, and be glad for it.” With a receptive audience, he continued: “The idea that politics is something that ordinary people cannae talk about is one of the great achievements of the right-wing [over] the last thirty to forty years in Britain”; remarking, to applause, “they scared us aff.”

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On discussions around the country, he claimed that “across Scottish politics, […] the people that want this, … ‘me first’ politics, there’s not many of them. The people that want Common Weal politics, all of us first politics, I’m meeting them everywhere. […] Everyone I meet wants this, a decent politics that puts people first. […] We wanted to find a way to communicate an idea of a politics which work for all the people who those politics seek to govern, not just a few of them. People don’t understand or recognise the language of politics any more, so we want to change that language.”.

Crediting the Sunday Herald newspaper for an opportunity to share some ideas underpinning the Common Weal, McAlpine was scathing in his criticism of mainstream coverage of the independence debate: “There’s this massive debate. It’s not in the mainstream.” Seeking to “get a real debate going, about a really strong vision for a future for Scotland, it’s hard. They’re still doing IFS, accounting this, and another paper from a Whitehall that. And, we’ll all debate things that nobody really cares about, interminably, until they all go away for good.” On the current political debate, he remarked: “If mainstream politics fails to recognise what is really going on in Scotland just now, then that is its problem. […] Someone is going to offer ordinary people what they want, and when they do, everything will change.”

Urging the crowd to get involved, he said: “If we can create a popular politics, that ordinary people care about, and talk about, and work[s], we can take a grip of Scotland. We can decide the future politics of Scotland, and standing around waiting for professional politicians to,… disappoint us less than they always do, does not have to be the way we do this anymore.” He concluded, “It genuinely is time for a politics that puts all of us first.”

Janey Godley took the microphone, as McAlpine left the stage to cheers and applause; joking about the ‘rabble-rousing’ tone of the speech she then introduced David Whyte of Tangent Design, creator of the Common Weal’s logo.

Whyte explained they hoped the simple image would come to represent the “all of us first” philosophy, and “a new way of doing things”. He was not the first to jokingly remark that the four-line graphic — a triangle, with a balanced line on top of it — would be an easily-applied piece of graffiti.

Politics, and the launch of the movement’s logo, then took more of a back-seat; the rest of the event more in-keeping with having a party, and the festive decorations elsewhere around the city centre. Godley, and fellow Scottish joker Bruce Morton, provided more barbed comedy. Singer Karine Polwart encouraged the crowd to sing along to a song she said was written on her way to the party, and Actor Tam Dean Burn read a speech from the 16th century Scottish play “Satire of the three estates” — given by the character John Common Weal, representing the common man — where the deeds and behaviour of the ruling classes are such that, if done by a common man, they’d be hanged.

Scotland’s Independence referendum is to take place next year, September 18. This was a repeated election pledge of the Scottish National Party (SNP) — who moved from leading a minority government, to an outright majority in the devolved parliament’s 2011 general election — making good on their promise by announcing in January 2011 their intent to hold the referendum in autumn 2014.

The question being put to the electorate is: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” A “Yes” vote would be followed with negotiations to bring to an end the early eighteenth-century ‘Union of the Parliaments’. The SNP has proposed Scotland retain Elizabeth II as head of state, a position she holds on the basis of the century-earlier Union of the Crowns.