Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.

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Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.

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Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.

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United Airlines flight makes emergency landing at Newark Airport

Monday, January 11, 2010

United Airlines Flight 634 made an emergency landing yesterday morning when only two of the three landing wheels on the Airbus A319 deployed as the plane was making its final approach into Newark, New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport. After multiple attempts to fix the problem failed, the pilot decided that an emergency landing was the only remaining choice.

Only the plane’s nose gear and left landing gear had descended. The right landing gear would not release. The airliner made a go-around as the crew attempted to fix the problem. Passenger Jim Falk knew something was wrong saying, “Normally a big plane like that doesn’t do a bypass, so we knew something was wrong.”

However, the pilot decided that nothing could be done to bring the gear down, and an emergency landing was declared. “We are going to have an unusual landing,” the pilot calmly announced to the 53 passengers seated on the plane, according to passenger Moritz Loew. Another passenger, Paul Lasiuk said he was more shocked than scared, telling himself, “You have no choice. You’re going to go through this.”

“Brace! Brace! Brace!”, the pilot announced over the plane’s public address system, calling for passengers to enter the brace position as the plane made a touchdown on the runway at Newark. The plane touched down on the nose wheel and left rear wheel before lurching to the right causing sparks to fly as the right engine skidded along the runway. Eventually, the plane came to stop at 9:27 A.M. EDT.

Afterward, passengers and crew evacuated the plane by sliding down the evacuation slides and moving quickly away from the plane. They were then taken by bus to the airline’s lounge where they told their stories to investigators and waited for their luggage. Three passengers reported minor injuries but refused treatment.

The emergency landing caused the airport to shut down for 20 minutes, but service quickly resumed on two of the airports three runways. The plane remained on the runway throughout the afternoon as investigators determined the cause of the landing gear failure.

This is in contrast to last week, when the airport was shutdown for six hours after a young man named Haisong Jiang breached security by passing through an exit to kiss his girlfriend goodbye.

According to passengers, the crew remained calm during the ordeal. Jim Falk said, “They did a great job. There was no yelling, screaming, panicking or anything.” Falk said he wanted to buy a bottle of champagne for the currently unnamed pilot. Falk added, “The pilot did a beautiful job. He didn’t put it in the water like the other pilot did, but he should be commended.”

What’s a great landing? One that you walk away from.

Martin Trebino, a spokesperson for United Airlines said they would not release the pilot’s name on Sunday, but did not indicate when his name would be made available either.

Paul Lasiuk said, “I’ve had a lot of worse landings at Newark before. It was unbelievably smooth.”

Moritz Loew joked with himself afterward saying, “What’s a great landing? One that you walk away from.”

The flight, which left Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport early Sunday morning around 6 A.M. reported no other problems during the flight up until the incident. According to United Airlines spokesperson Robin Urbanski, it remains unclear why the landing gear failed to deploy. Urbanski added that passengers’ tickets would be refunded and that they would receive vouchers and credit towards any future flight.

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Indian Premier Manmohan Singh undergoes heart bypass; Pranab Mukherjee takes charge

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh received a successful coronary artery bypass surgery and was recuperating well in the state-run All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Sunday.

Dr. Manmohan Singh is the 17th and current Prime Minister of the Republic of India. He also serves as the Union Minister for Finance, succeeding P. Chidambaram.

“The 76-year-old Prime Minister is doing fine now. He is conscious, stable, comfortable and is making rapid progress. He also met his family and congratulated all doctors. [His] ventilator has been taken off and he is breathing on his own. This is an important step,” said Dr. Ramakant Panda, one of the surgeons, after the 11-hour procedure on Saturday.

According to critical care specialist Dr. Vijay D’Silva, who has been entrusted with his post-operative care, Singh has been given a liquid diet since morning including a cup of tea, and was speaking to doctors after the procedure. “The way you [doctors] are taking care of me, you should also take care of other people”, Dr. D’Silva, who received his basic medical training in Nagpur and headed the ICU at Mumbai’s Jaslok and Lilavati Hospitals before he helped set up the ICU at the ultra-modern Asian Heart Institute, quoted Singh as saying.

“We started the operation at 7:45 am. The second operation always takes longer and makes it difficult to reach the heart. We did a total of five by-passes to clear multiple blockages in his arteries. Surgery was the long term answer since there were many blockages. We will take the PM out of the breathing machine in the next 2-3 hours and the PM should stay for three days in the ICU and then 4-5 days more in the hospital,” Drs. Panda and D’Silva explained.

Singh’s personal physician and AIIMS cardiac surgeon, Dr. K. S. Reddy, has predicted the PM will be allowed to attend to some official work in two weeks, to most of the duties in four weeks and will be able to resume office in six weeks. “PM was sent to the Operation Theatre at 6:40 am, surgery was done at 8:45 am and was concluded at 7:30 pm. PM was sent back to the ICU at 8:55 pm,” said Dr. Reddy.

“The team has brought about 20 boxes of special equipment with it. Earlier, Dr. K. S. Reddy had discussions with Dr. Panda in connection with the line of treatment to be followed,” the team of 11 doctors said.

The team of surgeons made a 6 to 7 inch incision along the scar that marked the PM’s 1990 bypass operation, and he was given five grafts. “The new grafts, all 3 mm long, will last the PM the rest of his life,” said Dr. Pradyot Kumar Rath from the Asian Heart Institute. “If the PM could have been so active with all the blockages, he can be even more active now,” Dr Panda said.

Singh underwent a coronary angiography at the AIIMS hospital on Tuesday and Wednesday and was discharged on Thursday. The tests results revealed multiple arterial blockages and Singh returned to hospital on Friday for pre-surgery tests.

External Minister Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, age 73, has been given the charge of Finance Ministry after he held meetings with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and then Prime Minister Singh. Mukherjee said he would meet the Prime Minister because he was going for treatment and when he was abroad, Singh was in hospital. “These are quite natural things. You should not be unnecessarily worried over and coming here in large numbers,” he said.

Mukherjee has also taken charge over some prime ministerial responsibilities, while Singh recovers, officials and media reports said. But no acting prime minister has been named while Singh is recuperating. Mukherjee will also preside over Cabinet meetings and will further handle coal, environment and forests, including information and broadcasting and finance portfolios.

Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, a native of West Bengal, India, is the Minister for External Affairs of India in the Manmohan Singh-led Government of India. A prominent leader of the Indian National Congress in the 14th Lok Sabha, he is known to be a competent party apparatchik, “a prominent Gandhi family loyalist who did not win a popular election until 2004”.

Singh, a diabetic, underwent a bypass surgery in Britain in 1990 and had an angioplasty in 2004 in Delhi in which stents were introduced in his arteries. He had earlier been operated for a benign enlarged prostate in 2007, and for nerve compression in both wrists in 2006 and cataract removal procedure last year, officials said.

The Congress Party, which leads the coalition Government, has said that he will remain Prime Minister if Congress and its allies win again. But Congress is reportedly planning to replace him, possibly within two years, with Rahul Gandhi, the 38-year-old son of Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born Congress leader. “Days are not far off for Rahul Gandhi to become Indian Prime Minister,” Mr Mukherjee said earlier this month.

Rahul is an Indian politician and member of the Parliament of India, representing the Amethi constituency. He is a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family, the most prominent political family in India. He is the son of current Italian-born Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1991. Gandhi was 14 years old when his grandmother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was assassinated by her security guards. His great-grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru, was the first Prime Minister of India, and his great-great-grandfather Motilal Nehru was a distinguished leader of the Indian independence movement.

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Hot air balloon fire kills two, injures eleven in Canada

Monday, August 27, 2007

A hot air balloon caught fire and crashed in western Canada. Two people were killed and 11 were injured.

The disaster occurred as the airship was preparing to take off from Surrey, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver. An unknown source caused a fire in the basket of the tethered balloon, which then broke free and rose into the air.

Of the 12 passengers and one pilot on board at the time, 11 escaped the balloon with severe burns and other non-life-threatening injuries by jumping out in mid-air. The balloon then collapsed, crashing into a motorhome park with two people still trapped on board, who were killed in the subsequent fire. Four static caravans and two cars were also destroyed in the blaze.

The two deceased are believed to be a mother and daughter. Their family was on scene during the disaster and watched as the balloon burnt up and crashed.

Witness Don Randall, who photographed the accident, said the thing went up about 400 feet (122m) in the air at which point it melted enough of the balloon it collapsed.”The basket was basically a fireball. It just dropped like a stone. I’m just thinking, ‘Oh geez, I hope there’s nobody in that thing. It’s basically a burning death up there.”‘

Bill Yearwood, an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, told reporters what preliminary information was available: “The crew loaded 12 passengers and was preparing to launch when a fire erupted. The pilot asked the passengers to get out of the basket. The balloon was tethered at the time, but then broke and came loose. The balloon climbed into the air before collapsing in a residential area in the park. They were all trying to get out. I can’t tell you what exactly happened when the balloon was loosened from the tether.”

Injured survivor Diana Rutledge questioned the pilot, Steve Pennock,’s actions after the fire broke out, pointing out that he was first off the balloon. “He was in perfect shape,” she said. “I thought, what is this all about? Wouldn’t he have stayed on to try to stop the fires?”

Joyce Genest, a resident at the park, also questioned procedure that day. “I stopped to watch the balloon get inflated,” she said. “Normally it takes 25 minutes and it’s quite gorgeous to watch. They are never in a big hurry. This time they took about ten minutes.” She said the passengers then got straight into the balloon, an unusual occurrence. “Normally the pilot gets in and tests the gun twice and then everybody gets in.” As soon as everybody was in, he hit the gun and the flame went sideways.”

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Motion on transgender women in sports defeated in Queensland Parliament

Friday, May 13, 2022

The Parliament of Queensland, Australia rejected a motion on Wednesday by the Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) that argued allowing transgender women to play in women’s sports teams would “erode the integrity of female sport”.

The motion stated “anyone who supports biological men playing in female sport, irrespective of age group, level or code, is complicit in eroding the integrity of female sport and therefore women’s rights”, and that, due to “insurmountable physical advantages”, transgender women would “pose an unfair competitive advantage against, and/or safety risk” against other athletes if competing in women’s sport.

The motion failed 49 votes to 33, with support from the KAP, the Liberal National Party (LNP), and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, but opposition from the Labor government and the Greens.

KAP leader Robbie Katter first told Parliament he thought the bill was “important for parents”, stating: “I’m a parent of some young girls who will be hopefully participating in some sport one day […] Imagining them at 15 or 17 years old, post-puberty, competing against the odd person who might want to transfer to being female, that doesn’t sit well with me.” Katter maintained that whilst he did not want to deny anyone the opportunity to compete in sport, “there’s a distinct advantage when you cross over”. Katter also referred to the coming federal election, saying “in the context of the election, there are social issues on which we need to put a stake in the ground.”

Queensland Sporting Minister Stirling Hinchliffe opposed the motion, calling it a “blatant dog whistle”, and saying: “This is not a debate about sport or women’s rights. It is an attempt to cause fear and division and is unnecessarily dragging an extreme right-wing trope into this parliament.” Hinchliffe expressed that “making blanket decisions purely based on gender identity is not only draconian and bigoted, but unwarranted”.

Representatives from all parties but the LNP spoke in the debate, which lasted for approximately 30 minutes. Sparking interjections from other MPs, KAP Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto speculated that “we may see an opportunity for guys who now identify as women to put on a wig and jump into women’s sport because maybe they are washed up at the NRL”, and stated that transgender people having “full access” to female sports was neither fair nor safe. One Nation MP Stephen Andrew spoke in favour of the motion, asserting “if someone does not stand up for the rights of these people — either way — the outcome is that there will eventually be no women’s sport at all.”

The two Greens representatives spoke against the motion. Amy MacMahon, who represents South Brisbane, claimed “this motion today is not about women; it is about stoking up transmisogyny for cheap political tricks”, and said “if we are really serious about supporting women’s sports, let’s pay women’s sportspeople the same as men, show women’s sports on free-to-air TV and news coverage and start programs to encourage women and girls to take up sports.” Greens leader Michael Berkman called the motion “repugnant” and “unnecessary”, and stated: “I think it is telling that we are hearing not a single word from the opposition to speak against it.”

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SpaceX scrubs Falcon I rocket launch

Monday, November 28, 2005

SpaceX called off the much-delayed inaugural launch of their new Falcon 1 rocket on Saturday from Kwajalein’s Omelek Island launch site. The intent was to launch the U.S. Air Force Academy’s FalconSat 2 satellite, which will monitor plasma interactions with the Earth’s upper atmosphere and magnetosphere.

The launch was delayed, then finally cancelled after an oxygen boil-off vent had accidentally been left open. The oxygen was unable to cool the helium pressurant, which then proceeded to evaporate faster than it could be replenished. A main computer issue, probably serious enough to cause a scrub on its own, was also discovered.

This long-anticipated flight was originally expected to be launched in January 2005, however a series of setbacks forced a series of delays, with the flight most recently scheduled to be in early 2006. It was intended to be launched from the Kwajalein atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The maiden voyage was originally intended to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with a Naval Research Laboratory satellite and a Space Services Incorporated space burial payload.

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A Lesson In Bathroom Lighting

A Lesson in Bathroom Lighting

by

Jenn Jarvis

As many get into the remodeling mode and are in the process of upgrading their entire home, bathroom lighting often falls dead last. More important are the kitchen and living areas, and even the garage takes preference. However when the bathroom has a ceiling light, that s good enough. But is it? Even in large families, the bathroom is where each member starts the day and ends it there as well.

So as you plan for new showers, bathtubs, commode, toilet, and whatever else is in the room, plan for relaxation too, but don t forget the light above the mirror. Dads shave there, Moms do their hair, put on makeup and they both plan for the day in that same spot. It may be a place where sharing takes priority so lighting should too.

Leave the light in the ceiling if that s your choice, but think about lights above the mirror, and install those that give out the proper lighting. You often find fluorescent lights in the room, but they aren t necessary as long as you have plenty of lighting in appropriate places.

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Lighting over the mirror and above the vanity need top consideration. When you place the lights at the side of the mirror they give the best lights without the shadows you receive when the light is above the mirror. However many prefer large mirrors, and the side lighting would be impractical. Recessed lighting is attractive, but may not give the best results in lighting the person in front of the mirror. At the very least the light should be 150 watts.

The lessons learned about bathroom lighting may suit one person, but not all. Remember the one that takes long soaking baths. Their light could be subdued, even candle light can serve their purpose while the bright ceiling light may not. Somewhere in between would be best.

Showers may not require special lighting and as long as you have other lighting over the vanity, a 75-watt light in the ceiling would work well.

When you do the remodeling yourself, decide on the lighting issue before you begin, even if you re only painting the room. You ll save work for yourself in the long run. If you re hiring a contractor to upgrade your bathroom even if everything stays in its original place, you need to discuss the lighting before they get started.

If all else fails, hire an electrician, they ll give you a lesson on the best use of bathroom lighting.

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A Lesson in Bathroom Lighting

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Oakland, California record release party catches fire

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A fire broke out at a record release party in Oakland, California late on Friday night. Nine were confirmed dead the following morning with the death toll rising to 24 the next day.

The warehouse, known as Ghost Ship, was hosting a party for the release of the newest album by Joel “Golden Donna” Shanahan. It is in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, a mix of commercial and residential buildings nestled together. The structure is one block away from Fire Station No. 13 and at least 55 firefighters spent four hours containing and stopping the fire which began at approximately 11:30 p.m.

Firefighters and police cordoned off the block to spectators. The two-story, mixed-use structure also housed the artist collective Satya Yuga who hosted the show and is being searched by firefighters. Out of approximately 50 attendees, at least 25 were declared missing. Shanahan was among the survivors.

Efforts to rescue partygoers were compounded by the roof caving in during the inferno as well as the stacks of furniture, art pieces, and supplies which turned into obstacles for first responders.

Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf:

Quote

Last night’s fire was an immense tragedy. I am grateful to our first responders for their efforts to deal with this deadly fire. Our focus right now is on the victims and their families and ensuring that we have a full accounting for everyone who was impacted by this tragedy. We are fully committed to sharing as much information as we can as quickly as possible.

The structure is owned by Chor N. Ng, who is also the proprietor of several other buildings in the East Bay. On November 13 Ng was cited by the city for having stacks of garbage in and around the warehouse. Most fatalities were reported to have occurred in the upstairs portion of the building where escape was hampered by unstable stairs and miscellaneous art pieces lying in the way. The building lacked any smoke detectors and sprinklers; fire extinguishers were found outside of the premises.

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