Bush backtracks over legal status of alleged “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

President George W. Bush ordered Jose Padilla, detained by the US Military as an alleged terrorist, to be transferred out of military custody in order to face trial in a federal criminal court. He is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, aiding terrorist groups and other acts against US nationals outside the United States. These actions come six days ahead of a decision by the US Supreme Court on whether it should review the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling that the president is authorised to hold Padilla as an “Enemy Combatant” without charge.

Jose Padilla, a US citizen born in Brooklyn, has been held without charge in a military brig at a US Navy detention facility in South Carolina for the three-and-a-half years since his arrest in 2002. The administration had at the time alleged that Padilla was plotting to detonate a Radioactive “dirty” bomb in the US and later, Deputy Attorney General James Comey alleged that he was involved in plots to blow up Hotels and high-rise buildings[1]. The present indictment does not include any charges over these allegations. Instead, Padilla is charged with travelling abroad to train in “violent Jihad“, providing material support to terrorists by sending money, physical assets, and new recruits to Jihadi groups, and conspiring to murder individuals overseas[2].

The change in custody restores to Padilla a number of rights he had been denied when the administration designated him as an “Enemy Combatant”, including the right to access federal courts and be defended by an attorney. That constitutionality of detaining suspects without charge under this designation has been challenged in court, on behalf of Padilla and in September, a 3-judge panel of the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the government’s powers to detain Padilla. The Supreme Court was set to decide on whether it will review that decision next week. Padilla’s status, for the purpose of this trial, is that of an ordinary criminal indictee, possessing the legal rights conferred on him by the US Bill of Rights.

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Teen broadcasts suicide online

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Pembroke Pines, Florida teenager killed himself Wednesday, November 19, while broadcasting on the live video site Justin.tv. After making suicide threats and being encouraged by Justin.tv viewers and Bodybuilding.com forum members, Abraham K. Biggs, 19, committed suicide by taking an overdose of opiates and benzodiazepine, which had been prescribed for his bipolar disorder.

Biggs first began blogging about his planned suicide 12 hours before the actual event. He died after taking pills and lying on the bed in front of the webcam. After the broadcast, viewers who apparently thought it was a hoax posted messages such as “OMG”, “LOL”, and “hahahah”.

Hours later, after being alerted by viewers who had noticed that Biggs had stopped breathing, law enforcement and paramedics arrived, discovered his body, and covered the camera. The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office has reportedly confirmed Biggs’ death.

According to Montana Miller of the Bowling Green State University, the circumstances of this case were not shocking: “If it’s not recorded or documented, then it doesn’t even seem worthwhile. For today’s generation it might seem, ‘What’s the point of doing it if everyone isn’t going to see it?'”

Biggs’ sister Rosalind was angry that neither the website nor its viewers reacted soon enough to save him. “They got hits, they got viewers, nothing happened for hours,” she said. She described him as “very happy” and “friendly and outgoing.” “On a normal day, you couldn’t really tell that he got as low as he did.” However, he did have relationship problems with his girlfriend, according to a friend.

Mental health professionals have warned about the possibility that other mentally troubled people would copy his actions. According to Dr. David Shaffer of Columbia University, “Any video showing it as heroic or romantic or glamorous could reduce the anxiety people might feel about suicide. It becomes a respectable behavior and lowers the threshold of suicide.” He and other psychiatrists recommend that potentially suicidal teens talk to others and “tell what’s going on.”

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Tomatoes, watermelons, peppers reduce stroke risk, Finnish study suggests

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Finnish study has indicated that having higher body levels of lycopene — a red chemical occurring in tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruit, peppers, and papaya — may reduce the risk of stroke. The research for the study, which is in the issue of medical journal Neurology released today, examined 1,031 men aged between 42 and 61 over a period of twelve years on average.

The study, which was financed by the Lapland Central Hospital, found that the men with higher amounts of lycopene in their blood system experienced fewer strokes than men with lower levels. Eleven strokes occurred amongst the 259 men in the highest of the four lycopene level categories while 25 of the 258 men in the categories with the lowest lycopene level categories experienced strokes. This suggests a stroke was 55% less likely if one had a high amount of the chemical in one’s diet than if one had a low amount.

“The results support the recommendation that people get more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day,” said Dr Jouni Karppi of the Department of Medicine at the University of Eastern Finland. Eating these types of foods in such quantities “would likely lead to a major reduction in the number of strokes worldwide, according to previous research”, the primary author of the study continued. He added that inflammation and blood clotting — the cause of ischemic strokes, the most common type of stroke — occurred less frequently.

In the US state of New York, Lenox Hill Hospital Center for Stroke and Neuro-Endovascular Surgery director Dr. Rafael Ortiz said that, alongside exercise and non-smoking, “diet is very important” for reducing the likelihood of stroke. However, these results “should not deter people from eating other types of fruit and vegetables as they all have health benefits and remain an important part of a staple diet”, according to Dr Clare Walton of The Stroke Association in the UK.

The results came as part of a wider study on cardiovascular disease development risks. The United States Department of Agriculture also registers high concentrations of lycopene in tomato purées, pastes and sauces. All those surveyed lived in, or in close proximity to, the Finnish town of Kuopio, where the University of Eastern Finland is located.

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Kiribati acquires international funding for solar power

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Last Tuesday, AusAID Australia and the World Bank’s Global Environment Fund (GEF) reached an agreement to give the government of Kiribati US$5 million (AU$4,779,000, NZ$5,985,000, €3,885,000) to install solar panels around the country capital, located on the Tarawa atoll. According to Business Desk of the Brunei Times, AusAID promised AU$3.2 million in funding, while GEF promised US$1 million. The country was the first in the Pacific to make a deal with the World Bank.

The funding was part of a US$530 million (NZ$635 million) package announced at yesterday’s Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland involving New Zealand and the European Union, Australia, the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the World Bank Group, and the United Arab Emirates. Also at the summit yesterday, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully had announced a national commitment of USD$54,262,000 (AU$51,861,000 NZ$65 million, €42,178,000) to Pacific region energy solutions, of which US$8,348,000 (AU$8 million, NZ$10 million, €6,483,000) would be specifically earmarked for renewable energy and improved energy efficiency in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

Kiribati is heavily dependent on diesel fuel for most of the energy available on the national power grid, which supplies power to half Kiribati’s population of 110,000. In addition, a third of the country’s population lacks access to electricity. Once installation of the solar panels is complete, they are estimated to reduce diesel consumption by 230,000 liters (60,760 gallons) a year and give access to the electricity to some parts of the population that currently have no electricity. The European Union already has committed €100 million to sustainable energy in the region, with €10 million of that coming as a result of an announcement made last week.

In a press release about the news, Kiribati President Anote Tong was quoted as saying, “Kiribati faces big challenges it is remote, it is at risk from the effects of climate change, and it is vulnerable to economic shocks. […] Shifting Kiribati’s focus to reliable solar energy will provide a more secure, more sustainable power source for the country’s people.” Radio New Zealand International quoted Tong as saying, “It’s the first time we are doing this. We’re excited at the prospect of even substituting fossil fuel to a small extent at this stage. What the system being envisaged will only produce around 500 kilowatts, but this is the beginning of what I hope will be a pattern, the trend in the future.”

The European Union’s Fiji-based head of operations for the Pacific region, Renato Mele, supported alternative energy solutions like solar power for the region, but said that solar power had limitations because climate and environmental conditions sometimes meant batteries required to power the panels had a life of only 12 months, compared to other climates where batteries normally last five years. This created the potential to drive up standard operating costs. Mele has also noted these additional costs though are still lower than the cost of diesel power.

One News Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver noted, “Governments will be able to put the money they (currently) spend on diesel into things like education and health.”

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US adds 173,000 jobs in August; unemployment rate drops to seven year low

Monday, September 7, 2015

The US economy added 173,000 jobs in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. The unemployment rate fell from 5.3 to 5.1 percent, the lowest since April 2008.

Although August job gains were lower than most economists forecast, job growth numbers for June and July were revised upwards by a combined 44,000. Average job gains over the past three months stand at 221,000, compared to March-May’s 189,000 monthly average. Over the past twelve months, job growth has averaged 247,000 per month.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent, or 8 cents, marking the largest increase in earnings in seven months. Hourly earnings had risen by 6 cents in July. Wages have risen by 2.2 percent over the past year.

Job growth in August was primarily concentrated in the health care and social assistance, financial activities, and professional and business services sectors. Those three areas of the economy added a combined 108,000 jobs. Food service and drinking places employment increased by 26,000 over the month, and other economic sectors saw employment hold steady. Manufacturing, on the other hand, saw employment decline by 17,000 in August. A stronger dollar and worldwide economic weakness make US exports less desirable, leading to a flattening in manufacturing employment so far this year after steadily rising in the early years of the US economic recovery.

The solid overall job gains led analysts to slightly raise expectations for a decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this month. Investors raised the likelihood of a September rate increase from 26 percent before the jobs report to 30 percent, and stocks dropped by over one percent on Friday. “The payrolls data is certainly good enough to allow for a Fed rate hike in September,” said Deutsche Bank’s head of currency strategy, Alan Ruskin. “The big question is still whether financial market volatility will scupper the plans.”

“This is the first time the market has looked at a Fed meeting and really has no idea what the Fed is going to do,” said Mark Kepner, a New Jersey equity trader with Themis Trading. “Right now you’re looking at the overall uncertainty and that’s what’s hanging on the market. I don’t think this number in and of itself changes how somebody’s going to vote.”

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Matt Smith revealed as 11th incarnation of Doctor Who

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Actor Matt Smith will be the next to portray the Doctor on the BBC television program Doctor Who. Smith will be the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor, taking over from actor David Tennant who will end his time with the series after filming four editions of the program through 2009. The Doctor comes from a race of Timelords, and has the ability to “regenerate” and change appearance when his health is failing. William Hartnell was the first actor to play the Doctor, from 1963–1966. Smith will become the new occupant of the Doctor’s time machine and spacecraft the “TARDIS” in 2010.

David Tennant will be a very hard act to follow, but I’m optimistic that the new Doctor will be just as good.

John Harper, founder of the Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society and a fan of the series, called the decision to cast 26-year-old Smith in the role “wonderful”. MP for Scarborough Robert Goodwill, also a fan of the program, told the Scarborough Evening News: “David Tennant will be a very hard act to follow, but I’m optimistic that the new Doctor will be just as good.”

He is possibly going to be one of the best Doctors we’ve ever had.

Matt Smith, 26, portrayed researcher Danny Foster on the political drama Party Animals, which aired on BBC Two in 2007. Fellow actor Andrew Buchan from Party Animals told The Guardian: “It’s a sublime bit of casting. He’s got that huge hair, a twinkle in his eye — Matt’s the king of geek chic. He is possibly going to be one of the best Doctors we’ve ever had.”

After a back injury got in the way of Smith’s goal of becoming a footballer, his drama teacher Jerry Hardingham at Northampton School for Boys encouraged him to pursue acting. Though Smith did not audition, Hardingham cast him in a school production of the play Twelve Angry Men. Hardingham later convinced Smith to join the National Youth Theatre, and he landed the lead role in the play Murder in the Cathedral, performing before members of the British Royal Family and other VIPs at the Westminster Cathedral.

David Tennant, 37, has portrayed the Doctor on Doctor Who since taking over for Christopher Eccleston in 2005. A major feature of his character’s stories involved a romantic interest in his companion in the TARDIS, Rose, played by actress Billie Piper.

Tennant announced his exit from the program on October 29, 2008, at the National Television Awards in the United Kingdom, during his speech accepting the outstanding drama performance award at the program. Doctor Who was recognized with the award for most popular drama program.

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“I love this part, and I love this show so much that if I don’t take a deep breath and move on now I never will, and you’ll be wheeling me out of the Tardis in my bath chair,” said Tennant in his address to the audience in attendance at the Royal Albert Hall. He was previously recognized at the National Television Awards for his role in Doctor Who with the award for most popular actor, in 2006 and 2007.

Tennant is currently performing the lead role in Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and his engagement at the Novello Theatre in Westminster, London is set to end on January 10. He portrayed Hamlet 60 times with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon prior to the production’s move to London.

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Teen broadcasts suicide online

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Pembroke Pines, Florida teenager killed himself Wednesday, November 19, while broadcasting on the live video site Justin.tv. After making suicide threats and being encouraged by Justin.tv viewers and Bodybuilding.com forum members, Abraham K. Biggs, 19, committed suicide by taking an overdose of opiates and benzodiazepine, which had been prescribed for his bipolar disorder.

Biggs first began blogging about his planned suicide 12 hours before the actual event. He died after taking pills and lying on the bed in front of the webcam. After the broadcast, viewers who apparently thought it was a hoax posted messages such as “OMG”, “LOL”, and “hahahah”.

Hours later, after being alerted by viewers who had noticed that Biggs had stopped breathing, law enforcement and paramedics arrived, discovered his body, and covered the camera. The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office has reportedly confirmed Biggs’ death.

According to Montana Miller of the Bowling Green State University, the circumstances of this case were not shocking: “If it’s not recorded or documented, then it doesn’t even seem worthwhile. For today’s generation it might seem, ‘What’s the point of doing it if everyone isn’t going to see it?'”

Biggs’ sister Rosalind was angry that neither the website nor its viewers reacted soon enough to save him. “They got hits, they got viewers, nothing happened for hours,” she said. She described him as “very happy” and “friendly and outgoing.” “On a normal day, you couldn’t really tell that he got as low as he did.” However, he did have relationship problems with his girlfriend, according to a friend.

Mental health professionals have warned about the possibility that other mentally troubled people would copy his actions. According to Dr. David Shaffer of Columbia University, “Any video showing it as heroic or romantic or glamorous could reduce the anxiety people might feel about suicide. It becomes a respectable behavior and lowers the threshold of suicide.” He and other psychiatrists recommend that potentially suicidal teens talk to others and “tell what’s going on.”

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Teen_broadcasts_suicide_online&oldid=4579216”

Air Canada back in the black in 2010

Saturday, February 12, 2011

In the final quarter of 2010, airline Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) earnings rose to 134 million CAD, 42 cents per share, capping a sharp return to profitability in 2010.

The year resulted in the company’s highest-ever earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortisation, and rent (EBITDAR) of $1.39 billion, 707 million more than the previous year. Operating income for fourth quarter was reported as $85 million, which compared very favourably with an $83 million loss in 2009.

Only 21 months ago Air Canada was threatened with bankruptcy and using its financial weakness in negotiations with its employees, achieving status quo contracts. With labour contracts scheduled to end this month and next, the strong position of the airlines is expected to stiffen union resolve to share in the increased net revenues.

Those revenues were helped by increasing numbers of passengers and reducing costs, as well as foreign exchange gains. International travel, especially to the Pacific region, led the rises. US travellers through the main Toronto hub more than doubled, indicating the increase in foreign air traffic to and through Canadian airports.

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Relics of 39 saints found by British Museum

Friday, March 27, 2009

Relics of 39 saints were found by staff of the British Museum today in a 12-century German portable altar. The altar had been donated in 1902, but had not been opened until today.

It had been opened for a cleaning and a check on its condition, prior to being scheduled for display in a new medieval art gallery at the Museum tomorrow. When it was opened, James Robinson, the curator of medieval antiquities, found a linen cloth which itself contained several dozen bundles of cloth, each of which was labelled.

The back of the altar contained a list of names, including those of John the Baptist, James, John, and Mary Magdalen, and 36 others, indicating that relics of these individuals were believed to be encased there. However, only 39 bundles were found, indicating that at some point before the most recent rearrangement of the bundles in the 19th century, one had been lost.

One of the bundles contained a relic of Saint Benedict of the early 6th century. The reliquaries and relics will remain in the Museum.

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