Asbestos victims file 6.6 billion yen class action lawsuit in Tokyo

Category : Uncategorized

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Construction workers and next of kin of deceased workers filed a lawsuit in Tokyo, Japan Friday seeking damages of approximately 6.6 billion yen (about US$64 million) from the government and manufacturers related to illnesses stemming from exposure to asbestos. 178 plaintiffs; including construction workers and family members filed the suit in Tokyo District Court against 46 building manufacturers and the Government of Japan.

According to the Mainichi Daily News, the class action suit is the first that has been filed in Japan related to health damages caused by asbestos exposure at construction sites. The plaintiffs hail from the Japanese prefectures of Tokyo, Saitama and Chiba.

The plaintiffs claim that the government and manufacturers knew of the dangers of asbestos inhalation but failed to take proper precautions, including ceasing to promote asbestos as a cheap fire retardant and banning production of the material.

They state that after inhaling asbestos in the workplace, 172 people have developed lung cancer or mesothelioma, and that almost half of those afflicted are now dead. Plaintiffs argue that the government and health ministry did not act quickly enough after international organizations issued warnings in 1972 that asbestos could be a carcinogen.

Plaintiffs also place blame with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for sanctioning the use of asbestos under Japanese Industrial Standards, and with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for approving the use of materials comprised of asbestos and other substances under Japan’s Building Standards Law.

We will do our utmost until we win the suit.

“We will do our utmost until we win the suit,” said Kazuo Miyajima, 78, who heads the group of plaintiffs. Lawyers for the plaintiffs released a statement saying: “We seek complete relief for the victims by clarifying the liability of the state and the manufacturers.”

Approximately 40 construction workers from Kanagawa Prefecture plan to file a similar lawsuit in June in Yokohama District Court.

After a 2005 revelation that residents who lived near a factory in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture developed diseases related to asbestos, the government implemented a law in 2006 which provides monetary assistance to asbestos victims and relatives of deceased family members. The plaintiffs argue that the amount of financial assistance given to families and victims of asbestos-related diseases is not sufficient.

Asbestos has been used in Japan as a fire retardant, for sound absorption, and for insulation. It was mixed in concrete and water and sprayed on walls and ceilings, but the practice of spraying asbestos in this manner was banned in Japan in 1975.

Retrieved from “”

UN agency condemns new Afghan “Shia family law”

Category : Uncategorized

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An act signed into law by Afghan President Hamid Karzai last month dramatically rolled back the rights of women in that country, according to human rights groups and a United Nations report on the bill by the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

The Afghan government has not provided a copy of the text of the Shia Family Law to the UN or to other outside groups requesting it, citing “technical problems”, however, the UN and opposition politicians say that the bill contains numerous provisions restricting the rights of women, such as giving their husbands priority in court; requiring the husband’s permission to leave the house, obtain education or employment, or to see a doctor; and reserving the custody of children to male relatives.

In its most controversial provision, though, the law’s Article 132 requires wives to submit to their husbands’ sexual demands, and says that a husband can expect sex with his wife once in every four days except in the event of illness. The United Nations argues that this is equivalent to spousal rape. Spousal rape is specifically prohibited in 45 countries worldwide and may be prosecutable by existing rape statutes in others.

The circumstances of the bill’s passage have raised questions as well, with Senator Humeira Namati saying that the bill was not read out or debated in the House of Elders, the Afghan National Assembly‘s upper house and Shinkai Zahine Karokhail of the House of the People stating the bill received only limited debate in the lower chamber. “They wanted to pass it almost like a secret negotiation,” Karokhail told the Guardian. “There were lots of things that we wanted to change, but they didn’t want to discuss it because Karzai wants to please the Shia before the election.” Namati calls the new law “worse than the Taliban”.

According to Karokhail and others, the law received Karzai’s support in order to boost his popularity among Afghanistan’s Shi’a population, which comprises an estimated ten per cent of the country, ahead of an upcoming election in August. A Monday ruling by the Afghan Supreme Court has allowed Karzai to remain in power in the interval between the expiration of his term on May 21 and the upcoming Afghan presidential election in August. It is unclear whether the law would apply only to Shi’a persons or to all Afghans.

Nonetheless some changes were made to the bill; the proposed minimum age of marriage for girls was raised to 16 from aged 9 and temporary marriage is not provided for. MP Shukria Barakzai says that “before this was passed family issues were decided by customary law” and that the new law, while not perfect, is an “improvement”. MP Ustad Mohammad Akbari defended the bill as well, saying it protects women’s rights: “Men are stronger and women are a little bit weaker; even in the west you do not see women working as firefighters.”

A spokesman for Mr. Karzai gave reporters no comment.

Retrieved from “”

Malaysian government warns citizens about Uncyclopedia

Category : Uncategorized

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Satire site Uncyclopedia, a parody of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, has been labeled by the Malaysian government as dangerous. The Internal Security Department of Malaysia issued the warning today, saying that the site has “messages and information insulting Malaysia”.

The warning notes the creation date of the website as being 5 January 2005, and hosted by Wikia, Inc., both of which are correct. However, it claims Wikia owns Wikipedia; Wikipedia is a charitable non-profit website owned by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, while Wikia is an independent, for-profit company.

The report evidently mentions that Uncyclopedia covers Malaysian “history, culture, the political leaders, the government, the national song and the name / history of the national flag,” none of which is “correct”. They accuse the website of helping to reinforce a bad international image of their country.

There are no reports of the site being blocked from access within the country, only this statement, which urges Malaysians not to circulate the content.

Uncyclopedia’s article on Malaysia begins:

Essentially the penis of Asia which is located to the north of their cousins who live on an even smaller island Singapore, Malaysia (also known as Bolehland) is a young nation of diverse cultures and races such as F1 Formula-1 and Nascar. The timezone of Malaysia is unique because it follows the system of +1/+2 PMT (Predetermined Meeting Time) which is 1 or 2 hours later than PMT. Most foreigners have difficulty adjusting to this new timezone as they tend to show up 1 or 2 hours earlier than the local counterparts. The nation is moving forward with a vision towards becoming a developed nation by the year 2020, 3030, 4040 or whatever catchy number.

…Another common state that Malaysians have is denial (no lah, where got?), which incidentally, is a river in Egypt.

The site has fired back with a parody article posted at the site under their UnNews section, titled Uncyclopedia Internal Security Department warns on Malaysia. The article suggests that the “Internal Security Department of the Uncyclomedia Foundation,” which is a facetious and fictitious parent organization of Uncyclopedia, identifies Malaysia “as a dangerous country… It warned its people not to use the country today.”

There are forty-seven individual language editions of Uncyclopedia, including Tolololpedia, which is written in Bahasa Melayu, the Malay language. This is in addition to fictional “language” editions which include Oscar Wilde, Newspeak, N00b, White Supremacist, and Re: PharmaccgRy.

Retrieved from “”

Jackpot rises on ‘Mega Millions’ lottery in US; breaks record

Category : Uncategorized

Friday, August 31, 2007

In just over 24 hours, the Mega Millions lottery jackpot in the United States has risen to US$330,000,000 to make it the third largest lottery jackpot in the world.

On Thursday, the jackpot was at $325 million and it still could rise before the drawing takes place tonight at 8:00 p.m. (pacific time), 11:00 p.m. (eastern time).

Twelve states in the U.S. participate in the lottery and the odds of at least one person winning the jackpot are one in 175,711,536. It costs just one dollar to purchase a ticket and if you win, you can receive the winnings in sums of 36,000 for every million won, each year, or receive it all in one lump sum which totals just under $200 million before taxes.

On March 6, 2007, the Mega Millions jackpot of US$390 million, the highest lottery jackpot ever in the world, was paid out to two individuals who lived in Georgia and New Jersey. If no one wins Friday’s jackpot, which will have rolled over 16 times without a single winner, it could break the record for the largest lottery jackpot ever.

Retrieved from “;_breaks_record&oldid=1224488”

Prime suspect in Northern’s Ireland’s Omagh bombing found not guilty

Category : Uncategorized

Friday, December 21, 2007

A judge has issued a ruling in the 1998 bombing in the Northern Ireland town of Omagh. Defendant Sean Hoey, who faced 56 charges relating to a car bomb that killed 29 people and injured more than 200, has been found not guilty.

A stunned silence in the public gallery of Belfast Crown Court greeted the verdict in the worst bombing during three decades of so-called troubles in Northern Ireland. Electrician Sean Hoey, 38, was accused of being the principle bomb-maker in a group of conspirators. Only one other person was charged in the case and he is awaiting retrial after having his conviction overturned.

Hoey was said to have been among those who broke away from the Irish Republican Army months after the Good Friday Peace Agreement was negotiated.

In summing up, Judge Reginald Weir said he was critical of forensic evidence presented by the prosecution that relied heavily on a new kind of DNA testing. He also criticized the police for how they handled and stored the evidence, with possible cross-contamination. The judge also singled out two police officers who he said had exaggerated in order to gain a conviction.

For families of the victims, it was a disappointment after waiting nearly a decade for justice. Lawrence Rush lost his wife in the blast. He was in the courthouse when the decision was announced.

“It is devastating,” he said. “It is a disaster the way that this investigation was held, and I can say no more about it. All I know is that I am tired, you know, and I am exhausted. It has been a long corridor, 10 years of pain and hope.

“The legal system is here to protect human rights,” said Victor Barker, who lost his son in the attack. “It is here to protect Sean Hoey’s human rights. I am a lawyer, I believe in the system. Sometimes I find it hard to live with, but I must stand by it because that is the system of justice which ordinary decent people in this country live by. It is only a great shame that my son and the 29 people that died in Omagh had no human right at all.”

Families of those killed are now calling for a full public inquiry into the bombing. It is also possible that a civil case may be pursued next year.

Retrieved from “”

China overtakes Germany as world’s biggest exporter

Category : Uncategorized

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chinese officials have said that their country’s exports surged last December to edge out Germany as the world’s biggest exporter.

The official Xinhua news agency reported today that figures from the General Administration for Customs showed that exports jumped 17.7% in December from a year earlier. Over the whole of 2009 total Chinese exports reached US$1.2 trillion, above Germany’s forecast $1.17 trillion.

Huang Guohua, a statistics official with the customs administration, said the December exports rebound was an important turning point for China’s export sector. He commented that the jump was an indication that exporters have emerged from their downslide.

“We can say that China’s export enterprises have completely emerged from their all-time low in exports,” he said.

However, although China overtook Germany in exports, China’s total foreign trade — both exports and imports — fell 13.9% last year.

Retrieved from “”

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with NDP candidate Glenn Crowe, Bramalea-Gore-Malton

Category : Uncategorized

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Glenn Crowe is running for the NDP in the Ontario provincial election, in the Bramalea-Gore-Malton riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Crowe did not reply to various questions asked.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Retrieved from “,_Bramalea-Gore-Malton&oldid=704112”

Prayer does not help heart patients, study finds

Category : Uncategorized

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A multi-center US study of 748 patients, who were to undergo treatment for coronary artery disease, has found that prayer by Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist groups had no measurable effects on the medical health of the study subjects. The prayers were conducted by established congregations and were held away from the hospitals.

The study, published in the 16 July 2005 issue of The Lancet, found that the likelihood of an adverse cardiovascular event in hospital, re-admission or death within six months was unaffected by prayer.

None of the patients were told that they were prayed for, and none of the prayer groups knew who they prayed for. Nevertheless, 67% of the non-prayer group believed they were being prayed for – a potential placebo effect that may have hidden any small differences between the two groups.

The study also examined the effects of “music, imagery, and touch (MIT) therapy” before heart surgery. Practitioners qualified to Level 1 Healing Touch taught the patient relaxation techniques and played soothing music before applying 21 Healing Touch hand positions, over a 40 minute session.

There was no significant change in the combined chance of an adverse cardiovascular event in hospital, re-admission or death within six months. However, while the set of patients was evenly split, only 7 patients who received MIT therapy died, and 20 patients who did not receive it died. The result is not highly significant due to the low overall number of people who died.

A number of studies has recently examined the possible effects of prayer, with mixed results. While some religious groups have hailed studies which found positive results [1], skeptics have challenged the very notion of scientifically examining prayer [2], and have described past studies as flawed or even fraudulent. [3]

“The mechanisms through which distant intercessory prayer might convey healing benefit are unknown”, the authors of the study explain. One hypothesis they propose for such effects are “non-local features of consciousness based theoretically around observations in quantum physics.”

The study was conducted by a team of 16 researchers at Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), Duke University Medical Center, the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), and seven other academic medical institutions across the United States.

Retrieved from “,_study_finds&oldid=1521024”

Utah Man pleads guilty in wife’s death

Category : Uncategorized

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Salt Lake City (Utah) resident and hospital orderly Mark Hacking pleaded guilty Friday to killing his wife Lori, and placing her body in a dumpster.

Mrs. Hacking’s disappearance last summer touched off an intense, weeklong search in Salt Lake County which a wire service report said was similar to the other sensational Salt Lake crime, the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart from her own bedroom.

After Hacking admitted details of his crime to his family, earlier, he suffered a breakdown and was placed in a psychiatric hospital. He was seen in court Friday with his hands cuffed behind his back.

He admitted to the judge that he killed his wife while she slept. His motives, according to prosecutors, were his anger and despondency when she discovered that he was not accepted into a North Carolina medical school as he had claimed, but would remain a hospital orderly.

Mrs. Hacking is reported to have broken down sobbing at her workplace, a Wells Fargo brokerage, after discovering her husband’s deception. She had placed a call to the medical school’s administrators and been told he was not enrolled. He had lied to her about graduating from the University of Utah as well.

Mrs. Hacking’s mother and father were in the courtroom to hear their son-in-law declare: “I intentionally shot Lori Hacking in the head with a .22 rifle.” They said it was like a “knife in the heart” to hear that, but were happy he owned up to the crime.

The attack occurred last July. Volunteers scouring a landfill found her decomposed remains after three months of searching.

Retrieved from “”

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with NDP candidate Glenn Crowe, Bramalea-Gore-Malton

Category : Uncategorized

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Glenn Crowe is running for the NDP in the Ontario provincial election, in the Bramalea-Gore-Malton riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Crowe did not reply to various questions asked.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Retrieved from “,_Bramalea-Gore-Malton&oldid=704112”